Monthly Archives: January 2023

Exodus 19-21; Luke 22

“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you should labor, and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work…For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.” Exodus 20:8-11 ESV

My pastor asked this question on Sunday, “Am I working for rest? Or am I working from rest?” More often than not, I am working for rest. But, when I take a Sabbath, I am energized to do the work that God has called me to do. When I quiet my heart and mind before Him, I remember that I’m not in control. I don’t have to frantically live my life and worry that I am falling behind. “Rest. in His strength to do it, Rest in His ways above ours, Rest in Him who is with you, in you & is 100% for you.” (Ann Voskamp)

And God spoke all these words, saying, “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.” Exodus 20:1 ESV

Am I resting in His care for me?

“And he said to them, “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. For I tell you I will not eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.” And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he said, “Take this, and divide it among yourselves. For I tell you that from now on I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the Kingdom of God comes.” Luke 22:15-18 ESV

When I take communion, I reflect on what God did for me. That He paid the ultimate sacrifice for my sins, because He loves me that much. It strengthens my faith, knowing that His promises will be fulfilled.

Thank you Father for your faithfulness. Thank you that your law is for my protection, because you know what is best for me. Thank you for your grace and mercy. I love you. Amen.



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Exodus 15-18; Luke21

The first time I heard this song, What if I gave all by Ray Boltz, likely a new release at the time, it resonated deeply and still does. That penetrating question it asks repeatedly: “What if I gave all?” My daughter just shared with me the song, “Available” by Elevation with a similar message.

Jesus looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the offering box, and he saw a poor widow put in two small copper coins.And he said, “Truly, I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them. For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.”

Luke 21:1-4 ESV

My giving to church is often too comfortable. I would likely fall more into the category of the “rich” in this scenario than the poor widow. I live on far more than a dollar a day, and I am tempted to hold too tightly to my time, talents, and treasure. I rarely have to sacrifice a meal let alone my entire bank balance to still give generously to my church and other ministries.

Two convictions weave their way through my thoughts as I read these two passages:

  • I often invest too heavily in temporary treasure
  • I undervalue all that God has done for me

34 “But watch yourselves lest your hearts be weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and cares of this life, and that day come upon you suddenly like a trap.

Luke 21:34 ESV

I appreciate the clarity the Amplified bible brings to that verse:

“But be on guard, so that your hearts are not weighed down and depressed with the giddiness of debauchery and the nausea of self-indulgence and the worldly worries of life, and then that day [when the Messiah returns] will not come on you suddenly like a trap;

Dissipation is defined as a squandering. The poor widow had nothing to squander. Likely, she was on the alert, looking for the Messiah, definitely not weighed down by earthly possessions. Yet, when God asked her to give all she could have easily replied, “But I have so little already.” Instead she simply said, “Yes.”

The nation of Israel squandered their time post-Egypt. Instead of marveling at how God had preserved them and protected them, they grumbled about not enough water or meat or comfort. After generations of fighting to survive as slaves, they did not know how to shift their thinking and trust God.

“Who is like you, O Lord, among the gods?
    Who is like you, majestic in holiness,
    awesome in glorious deeds, doing wonders?
12 You stretched out your right hand;
    the earth swallowed them.
13 “You have led in your steadfast love the people whom you have redeemed;
    you have guided them by your strength to your holy abode.

Exodus 15:11-13 ESV

They could sing truth, and live a grumbling life. I can do the same. Worship God with outstretched arms on Sunday and worship my own agenda and comfort the rest of the week. What if I gave all? Every day of the week to him? He has saved me from a life of slavery to sin. He has brought me into a life of complete love and forgiveness, and I worry about an increased cost of living. He secured eternal life for me, and I spend my time and energy on temporary trimmings for this life.

What if I gave all?

Lord God, keep trimming away those items that tempt me to look away from you, to find security and comfort in anything aside from you. Continually bring to mind your blessings lest I invest in the wrong things, lest I lose my grateful heart. You are so good. May I hold nothing back as my gratitude overflows in complete trust for your plan. I love you, Lord. Amen.

Erin (6intow)

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Exodus 12-14; Luke 20; Psalm 21

Doorposts marked with lamb’s blood. They ate dressed to go, ready to go. That’s what I noticed first. But then, an army in pursuit, to take them back, to make them captives again, slaves. After all the signs, and after the deaths of all first born, probably a worse fate awaited them if they returned. Moses tells them that God will fight for them, but still, they also had to take action. They had to walk in the path opened before them.

In Luke, Jesus is teaching.

One day, as Jesus was teaching the people in the temple and preaching the gospel, the chief priests and the scribes with the elders came up and said to him, “Tell us by what authority you do these things, or who it is that gave you this authority.”

Luke 20:1-2, ESV

And later,

19 The scribes and the chief priests sought to lay hands on him at that very hour, for they perceived that he had told this parable against them, but they feared the people. 20 So they watched him and sent spies, who pretended to be sincere, that they might catch him in something he said, so as to deliver him up to the authority and jurisdiction of the governor. 21 So they asked him, “Teacher, we know that you speak and teach rightly, and show no partiality, but truly teach the way of God. 22 Is it lawful for us to give tribute to Caesar, or not?” 23 But he perceived their craftiness, and said to them, 24 “Show me a denarius. Whose likeness and inscription does it have?” They said, “Caesar’s.” 25 He said to them, “Then render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” 26 And they were not able in the presence of the people to catch him in what he said, but marveling at his answer they became silent.

Luke 20:19-26, ESV, emphasis added

And this is what I notice–how an enemy hunts. An army in pursuit–a vast force. Or here, watching and baiting spies pretending to be sincere. How an enemy opposes freedom, opposes truth, opposes God.

Your hand will find out all your enemies;
    your right hand will find out those who hate you.

You will make them as a blazing oven
    when you appear.
The Lord will swallow them up in his wrath,
    and fire will consume them.
10 You will destroy their descendants from the earth,
    and their offspring from among the children of man.
11 Though they plan evil against you,
    though they devise mischief, they will not succeed.

12 For you will put them to flight;
    you will aim at their faces with your bows.

13 Be exalted, O Lord, in your strength!
    We will sing and praise your power.

Psalm 21:8-13, ESV, emphasis added

Lord, be exalted in your strength. I will sing and praise your power.

Courtney (66books365)

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Exodus 9-11, Luke 19

Today’s readings sent me on a rollercoaster of emotion.

First, the High.

“The Lord said to Moses, ‘Go to Pharaoh.  For I have hardened his heart and the heart of his courtiers, in order that I may display my signs amongst them, and that you may recount and tell your children and your children’s children how I made a mockery of the Egyptians and how I displayed my signs amongst them – in order that you may know that I am the Lord.'” (Exodus 10:1-2)

Brave Moses, Oppressed Israelites, Hard-Hearted Pharoah, Frightened Egyptians, and ten plagues that ultimately ended up with the Israelites being set free and delivered from Egypt. Exodus is a stunning visual display of God’s tremendous power and an epic story that showcases God’s love, protection, and providence for his people, for us, for me. It is awe-inspiring and it sends my faith soaring in the one and true God.

Now, the low.

12  So He said, “A nobleman went to a distant country to receive a kingdom for himself, and then to return.  13  And he called ten of his own slaves and gave them ten  [e] minas, and said to them, ‘Do business with this money  [f] until I come back.’  14  But his citizens hated him and sent a delegation after him, saying, ‘We do not want this man to reign over us.’  15  When he returned after receiving the kingdom, he ordered that these slaves, to whom he had given the money, be summoned to him so that he would learn how much they had made by the business they had done.  16  The first slave appeared, saying, ‘ [g] Master, your  [h] mina has made ten minas more.’  17  And he said to him, ‘Well done, good slave; since you have been faithful in a very little thing, you are to have authority over ten cities.’  18  The second one came, saying, ‘Your  [i] mina,  [j] master, has made five minas.’  19  And he said to him also, ‘And you are to be over five cities.’  20  And then another came, saying, ‘Master, here is your mina, which I kept tucked away in a handkerchief;  21  for I was afraid of you, because you are a demanding man; you take up what you did not lay down, and reap what you did not sow.’  22  He *said to him, ‘ [k] From your own lips I will judge you, you worthless slave.” (Luke 19:12-22)

The minas in the parable, I believe, are representative of gifts, talents and resources God gives us to do the work of the Kingdom on Earth. The first two slaves who received the King’s minas made good use of them, but the third servant did just the opposite. He was afraid to take risks and truly use the resources entrusted to him. His fears made him take the greatest risk of all: doing nothing.

As I read Luke 19:12-22, my heart was pierced, and the high I had from reading Exodus plummeted because of some sobering questions that started to creep into my heart. Which slave am I? Am I the slave that kept the mina hidden away in a handkerchief? If so, why? If I say I know and believe in the God of Exodus who is faithful to love, provide and protect his beloved people and who sent His son to die for us, then why would I not be like the first slave, who was devoted to and obedient to his master’s words which resulted in him multiplying his
minas? God is faithful to provide answers if we simply ask Him.

Father God, Please keep my heart from being afraid to do the things You have called me, equipped me, and entrusted me to do for Your kingdom and Your glory. In Jesus’ name. Amen.


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Exodus 5-8, Luke 18

Afterward Moses and Aaron went and said to Pharaoh,” Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, “Let my people go, that they may hold a feast to me in the wilderness.” But Pharaoh said,” Who is the Lord, that I should obey his voice and let Israel go? I do not know the Lord, and moreover I will not let Israel go.”  (Exodus 5:1-2 ESV )

Pharaoh could have said yes right away, but we knew he wasn’t going to because God said He would harden his heart.  Moreover, Pharaoh thought that if the Israelites had time to go and worship their God, they must have time to get their own straw. 

So the people were scattered throughout all the land of Egypt to gather stubble for straw.  The taskmasters were urgent, saying, “complete your work, your daily task each day, as when there was straw. (Exodus 5:12 ESV)

Because the Israelites now had more tasks, were being beaten, and treated harshly, they were disillusioned as to what God was doing.  Like them, I can’t always look at my circumstances to see what God is up to.  He does work in mysterious ways, and He almost never does things the way I would like Him to.  I must go by what I know about God, not what I see going on around me.  But because the Israelites had been living in Egypt, and probably heard the stories of how the Egyptians took care of them during the famine, their allegiance to God had probably waned, and they looked to Pharaoh as their god.

They met Moses and Aaron who were waiting for them, as they came out from Pharaoh, and they said to them, “ The Lord look on you and judge, because you have made us stink in the sight of Pharaoh and his servants, and have put a sword in their hand to kill us.”

Then Moses turned to the Lord and said,” O Lord, why have you done evil to this people? Why did you ever send me? For since I came to Pharaoh to speak in your name, he has done evil to this people, and you have not delivered your people at all.” (Exodus 5:20-23 ESV)

God was working in the hearts of the Israelites, Moses, and Pharaoh.  How like God to begin by orchestrating people, one at a time. God builds faith one person at a time, one step at a time.  When it is happening, you may not recognize the hand of God at the time.

God is building Moses’ confidence in himself, and in God. 

God is showing Pharaoh that He is real, and that He is greater than all his magicians.

God is showing the Israelites that He is God, the same God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.  Remembering the same promises He made to Abraham so long ago. 

As they look around at their situation, they could not believe how it can be so.  I can relate with them, with them all!  I have felt the same feelings throughout my life.  I have felt as if I was in charge of my situation and those around me. I have felt that I was not good enough for a specific task. And I have felt as if I was being overlooked at different times, and in different situations. A broken spirit can cause you to draw wrong conclusions. So, at this point, the Israelites cared more about what Pharaoh thought, than what God thought.  After all, Pharaoh was the one having them beaten, and God is the one that caused it.  They wanted to please Pharaoh. They wanted their suffering to stop.

Patience is what they needed, but they did not know it yet.

Moses and Aaron went back to Pharaoh, and said, “let God’s people go!

But still, Pharaoh refused. 

So, God proceeded to turn up the heat a bit. First God turned the water to blood.  The magicians were able to do the same. Pharaoh did not even beg for mercy; he just turned and went into his house.  Maybe he had a stash of Deer Park in his basement.

Next came the frogs.  The magicians were able to make frogs too. 

Why would they want more frogs? Just to prove God wasn’t all that?  There will always be deception around to keep my eyes from seeing God at work.  Satan mimics God at times steals my trust and destroys my faith.  Sometimes he will create bad stuff so I will think God doesn’t care. And sometimes, he puts good in my life, by the hands of someone else not associated with God,  to divert whom I put my trust in.  Fortunately, I have the bible (unlike the Israelites) to help me along the way, but I am sometimes slow to grasp what God is saying to me, how God is guiding me, and who God is and what His character is.

Then came the gnats. The magicians could not duplicate the gnats. 

The magicians tried by their secret arts to produce gnats, but they could not.  So there were gnats on man and beast.  Then the magicians said to Pharaoh, “This is the finger of God,” But Pharaoh’s heart was hardened, and he would not listen to them, as the Lord had said. (Exodus 8:18-19 ESV)

Sometimes God uses other people to help me see that God is at work. But sometimes my heart will not believe them. God will not stop trying to reach me, in spite of me.

Next up- the frogs. 

But on that day I will set apart the land of Goshen where my people dwell, so that no swarms of flies shall be there, that you may know that I am the Lord in the midst of the earth.  Thus I will put a division between my people and your people.  Tomorrow this sign shall happen.’ and the Lord did so. (Exodus 8:23-24a ESV)

God is starting to get Israel’s attention by separating them from the plagues.

Pharaoh would ask Moses to plead for mercy with God, but after he got what he wanted, he would change his mind about letting the people go.  That is how it works with me, sometimes. I can make a promise to God, and if I get my way, sometimes I revert away from my promise.  It shows that I was not sincere with my words, only for the moment, to get my way.  That is why God says let your yes be yes and your no, no. God knows my heart, He knows my sincerity, He also knows my insincerity. But sometimes, I think He works with me to build my faith, and open my eyes to see what He is doing. God meets me right where I am, that is why He deals with each of us individually, because we are in different places, in different situations.  Pharaoh was starting to see God through Moses.  It was a start.

All three, Moses, Pharaoh and the Israelites; are learning that God is who He says He is, and that God will do what  He says He will do. 

When God says He will be with you, He will be with you!  No matter what He has to go through, to make it happen, He will get there, I just need to be patient.  I have no idea how many obstacles he has to go through, one step at a time.  But He will work it all out in the end.

He said,” In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor respected man.  And there was a widow in that city who kept coming to him and saying,” Give me justice against my adversary.” For a while he refused, but afterward he said to himself, “Though I neither fear God nor respect man, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will give her justice, so, that she will not beat me down by her continual coming.” And the Lord said,” Hear what the unrighteous judge says.  And will not God give justice to his elect, who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long over them? I tell you, he will give justice to them speedily.  (Luke 18: 2-8a ESV)

This sounds like the same situation as Pharaoh and the Israelites.  If God doesn’t seem to answer quick enough for me. I must not give up.  Not necessarily to wear God down, but because I know that I am in the right, and he will let justice prevail, even if it takes longer than I want it to.

Father God, there is so much going on behind the scenes that I do not know about.  Help me to wait on your timing, no matter my struggles, because your answer will be perfect and just what I need.  There are things hidden from me and also things I do not grasp, or understand, such as the whys of the circumstances. Please build my faith and trust to know that you will work all things out for my good. I love you and it is in Jesusname that I pray……AMEN

Carol (carolvorwe)

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