Author Archives: 6intow

About 6intow

Erin (6intow) Raised in a Christian home, my faith became personal early on and grew immensely during high school and college. God has blessed me with an amazing, godly husband to lead our home and six kids ranging in age from four to seventeen. I love homeschooling, blogging, and sharing my faith with others. I look forward to walking through the Bible together this year and learning all that God has to teach us. I love that His Word is rich and living, and always fresh and refreshing.

Job 1:1-5:16

~Grief~

Grief overwhelms and exposes. It cuts deep within and shows what we truly think and believe. In times of grief and trial, I have found God intimately close, and Job would eventually find the same, after a bit of a roller coaster to get there.

The story of Job’s life as told in the book of Job does not sugar coat anything. We see Satan’s plan to take Job down as presented to God himself. God placed limits, but let the plan continue.

 And the Lord said to Satan, “Behold, he is in your hand; only spare his life.”

Job 2:6 ESV

Job at times responded wisely, and yet the full story demonstrates the internal struggle. When he first met with unfathomable tragedy, he responded without sin or blaming God. He lost everything. Everything! And he continued to trust God’s sovereignty.

Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head and fell on the ground and worshiped. 21 And he said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.”22 In all this Job did not sin or charge God with wrong.

Job 1:20-22 ESV

He actually worshiped. He surrendered his heart, his circumstances, his all to the will of the God of the universe. I imagine in those moments he felt a rush of God’s presence. God is near to the broken hearted, and the words he spoke show us that he felt that proximity. But more was to come. He responds similarly as his health breaks down.

“Shall we receive good from God, and shall we not receive evil?” In all this Job did not sin with his lips.

Job 2:10b ESV

He did not sin with his lips. Is this to distinguish from the first time when it says he did not sin, period? Or is it just a repetition of his heart condition? We cannot know for sure, but we know out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks, so again Job surrenders his life to the Almighty.

When Job’s friends show up, we see the result of Job’s emotional battle. He curses the day he was born and mourns. They mourn with him for a whole week. What committed friends to just sit with Job in his pain! Of course, when they open their mouths what comes out is a mixed bag of judgment, discouraging comments, sound wisdom, and twisted logic. Isn’t that the way people still behave today when trying to comfort a friend in deep grief? I wish I could roll back some of the comments I have made when I was searching for the right words, or those I have heard others make. Perhaps Job’s friends came with the best of intentions. Perhaps they really did have a decent theological understanding, on a better day. I try to give them the benefit of the doubt, although their muddled attempts are recorded for all of history to replay and cringe.

I am thankful that God can accept our raw life-tainted responses and love us anyway. He might challenge us to rethink some of our conclusions, but He stays close by as we wrestle through to the outcome.

I am thankful for friends that are willing to sit with me through the awkward times of verbally processing the craziness and pain of life. And, those that put up with me and my misspeaks when they find themselves on the receiving end of grief.

I am thankful for a faith that God has slowly grown in me over the years that keeps calling me back to Him even when life does not make sense, even when the pain runs deep. I might not respond with the fortitude that Job exhibited, but I pray I continue to move that direction.

Precious Shepherd, my perspective is so warped by my everyday experience, and yet, you continue to teach and shape and mold me and my thinking. Thank you for holding my hand even when it closes into a fist of frustration. Thank you for reteaching my wayward thoughts. Thank you for being present in the darkest of seasons. Thank you for friends that try their best to walk with me. Help me to be that friend as well. Help me trust your plan and wisdom completely. In Jesus name, amen.

Erin (6intow)

Leave a comment

Filed under Job

2 Chronicles 16:1-20:13 

For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to give strong support to those whose heart is blameless toward him.

2 Chronicles 16:9a ESV

Life is filled with both intentional choices and incidents that appear random, yet God’s sovereignty paints each scene.

31 As soon as the captains of the chariots saw Jehoshaphat, they said, “It is the king of Israel.” So they turned to fight against him. And Jehoshaphat cried out, and the Lord helped him; God drew them away from him. 32 For as soon as the captains of the chariots saw that it was not the king of Israel, they turned back from pursuing him. 33 But a certain man drew his bow at random and struck the king of Israel between the scale armor and the breastplate. Therefore he said to the driver of his chariot, “Turn around and carry me out of the battle, for I am wounded.”

2 Chronicles 18:31-33 ESV

Jehoshaphat sought wise counsel while Ahab rejected it. Jehoshaphat intentionally cried out to God while Ahab disguised himself and trusted man’s advice. A “random” shot found its mark and ended Ahab’s reign.

Both Jehoshaphat and Ahab were in the battle, but they had chosen differently how to respond to it. So also, following God’s leading does not necessarily keep us out of the battle, but it does mean we have someone walking with us, hearing our cries, and fighting for us.

The Lord was with Jehoshaphat, because he walked in the earlier ways of his father David. He did not seek the Baals, but sought the God of his father and walked in his commandments, and not according to the practices of Israel. Therefore the Lord established the kingdom in his hand.

2 Chronicles 17:3-5 ESV

Jehoshaphat understood that he could not rule or live by his own gut responses, self-defense, or human logic. He had to remove sinful habits from his life and kingdom and set his face toward God.

12 In the thirty-ninth year of his reign Asa was diseased in his feet, and his disease became severe. Yet even in his disease he did not seek the Lord, but sought help from physicians.

2 Chronicles 16:12 ESV

Earlier in Chronicles, Asa lived out the opposite side of this truth. He did not seek God, but turned exclusively to human intervention to resolve his issues. This is not a statement against modern medicine, but rather an indictment against those that reject God. No amount of human effort or wisdom can bring about something contrary to God’s plan. We see this time and again.

12 O our God, will you not execute judgment on them? For we are powerless against this great horde that is coming against us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.”

2 Chronicles 20:12 ESV

Following God does not mean an easy life. Jehoshaphat had daily challenges as the ruler of a large nation. No doubt, the stress he faced weighed heavily on him. He faced the front lines of the battlefield more than once, he got sick, enemies came up against him. He kept coming back to his need to rely on God. His eyes kept their focus, and he called all his people to follow suit.

No matter the setting, our eyes can be sure of their proper focus.

Father God, teach me to hold you steadily in my line of sight. May no situation of life win my focus. Thank you for being constant and for fighting my battles and responding to my cries. Make it clear which wisdom belongs to You and which to this world. Even when I don’t know what to do, my eyes are on You. In Jesus name, amen.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

2 Kings 23:10-25:30; 1 Chronicles 1:1-16

So the city was besieged till the eleventh year of King Zedekiah. On the ninth day of the fourth month the famine was so severe in the city that there was no food for the people of the land. Then a breach was made in the city, and all the men of war fled by night by the way of the gate between the two walls, by the king’s garden, and the Chaldeans were around the city. And they went in the direction of the Arabah. But the army of the Chaldeans pursued the king and overtook him in the plains of Jericho, and all his army was scattered from him. Then they captured the king and brought him up to the king of Babylon at Riblah, and they passed sentence on him. They slaughtered the sons of Zedekiah before his eyes, and put out the eyes of Zedekiah and bound him in chains and took him to Babylon.

2 Kings 25:2-7 ESV

Siege, famine, war, death, captivity.

No cheery news from this era of Judah’s history. God’s judgment comes flooding down on them as they are repaid for their years of idolatry and rejection of God’s commands. While it might have been Zedekiah’s rebellion against Babylon that was the immediate cause of this tragedy and destruction, ultimately, God’s sovereignty brought this about as the culmination of his judgment for their years of doing what was right in their own eyes.

My choices will have consequences. Although much of this life’s rewards and punishments will not come until after death, we can be assured that God’s justice will prevail. He is not one to overlook willful rebellion, nor is He prone to be complacent about obedience and humility.

Thankfully, my daily mess-ups are now covered by the blood of Jesus Christ. He is the only escape. A breach in the wall, a night escape, an excuse, a cover-up — nothing will thwart God’s ultimate justice. That truth brought great heartache to those in Judah and to Zedekiah himself.

19 And he did what was evil in the sight of the Lord, according to all that Jehoiakim had done. 20 For because of the anger of the Lord it came to the point in Jerusalem and Judah that he cast them out from his presence.

2 Kings 24:19-20 ESV

Zedekiah might have thought that he was in control of his destiny as he sat on the throne. Even so bold as to rebel against the king over him, but with a heart turned away from God, he had no true hope.

Jesus, and a heart surrendered to His life poured out for us, is the only protection from God’s justice against the evil that continues to play a part in our lives today.

Lord Jesus, thank you for paying what I could not pay. Thank you for the promised hope when harsh justice is what I would deserve without You. Thank you for saving these hard lessons of history for us to learn from as well as the joy-filled ones. May your plan mark my steps rather than my own. In your name I pray, amen.

Erin (6intow)

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

2 Kings 14:11-17:18 

And the bronze altar that was before the LORD he removed from the front of the house, from the place between his altar and the house of the LORD, and put it on the north side of his altar. 15And King Ahaz commanded Uriah the priest, saying, “On the great altar burn the morning burnt offering and the evening grain offering and the king’s burnt offering and his grain offering, with the burnt offering of all the people of the land, and their grain offering and their drink offering. And throw on it all the blood of the burnt offering and all the blood of the sacrifice, but the bronze altar shall be for me to inquire by.” ~ II Kings 16:14,15 ESV

Israel continues to slide further from God, each new king marking a new record low. Ahaz sacrificed his own children to false, foreign gods. He burned incense to them, he took money from the temple of the true God to pay for an alliance with an ungodly king. He sold himself out.

He also tried to hang on to the faith of David, a little. Taken with the model of an idol’s altar, he had one made just for him. He tried to “keep up with the Jones’s” and still keep God within reach. Moving the true altar to the side, he wanted to keep it on hand in case he ever had a question.

The power of the great I AM was unmistakable, but he wanted to retain the sacrifice part of  faith (hoping to gain victory in battle and direction in times of uncertainty) without having to worry about the obedience aspect of it.The rest of the time (the morning offering, the evening, the blood, the kind’s offering, the grain offering, etc.) he wanted to call the shots.

Our faith is not built on a pick and choose mentality. It’s all or nothing. It’s the pearl of great price. Jesus Christ needs to be our everything.

We cannot borrow models from the world’s design. God has laid out how we should live and a book that shows us who He is. I need to avoid temptation to add or take away from God’s character based on what sounds pleasant to my human mind.

God needs to stay the center of my focus. He can’t be just part of the picture, He needs to be the center, the guide, the lead, the driver, the instructor, the epicenter that everything else reverberates out from.

Dear Lord, I want You to always be my ultimate priority. Give me the strength and wisdom to perpetually keep You first in my life. I don’t want You to be my last resort, but rather my first defense. Help me to put a hedge around Your place in my life and not let anything infringe on that. Lord, I don’t want to pattern my life according to the world’s example, but rather to always look to Your instruction and standards even when my sinfulness threatens to pull me a different direction. Thank you for Your gracious forgiveness when I fall short and the graphic reminders in Scripture to keep me learning at Your feet. ~Amen

5intow (Erin)

From the archives. Originally published May 7, 2009.

Leave a comment

Filed under 66 Books, 7-day reading pln, Bible in a year reading plan, Cover to cover

1 Kings 4:20-7:39

Judah and Israel were as many as the sand by the sea. They ate and drank and were happy. 21  Solomon ruled over all the kingdoms from the Euphrates to the land of the Philistines and to the border of Egypt. They brought tribute and served Solomon all the days of his life.

1 Kings 4:20-21 ESV

The eye of the storm.

This time of peace in Israel seems a beautiful thing. No wars or rumors of war. Peace treaties and collaboration. A time of abundance and wealth. Construction projects and growth. Unashamed worship and sacrifice.

I know the hard battles fought to get them to this point. And, I also know what is to come shortly as they begin to drift from following God. But for now, they enjoy a season of relative prosperity and calm. Blessing after blessing rolls their way. A beautifully crafted temple, a wise king, ornate furnishings throughout temple and palace. And, along the way, a reminder from God.

11 Now the word of the Lord came to Solomon, 12 “Concerning this house that you are building, if you will walk in my statutes and obey my rules and keep all my commandments and walk in them, then I will establish my word with you, which I spoke to David your father. 13 And I will dwell among the children of Israel and will not forsake my people Israel.”

1 Kings 6:11-13 ESV

If.

Thankfully our salvation is not conditional as Solomon’s blessings were in those days. But, God’s desires for us are still the same. He still calls me to obey. He still wants His word established in my life. Thankfully, He still wants to dwell with me.

The words of Jesus hundreds of years later as shared in the book of John come to mind. He spoke these while walking in Solomon’s colonnade in the temple. Perhaps he called to mind that promise spoken to Solomon and the continual desire for relationship between God and man.

27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.

John 10:27-29 ESV

While my life might still fluctuate in terms of intimacy with God and consistency in my spiritual walk and discipline, my eternity is secure. Israel would stray so far so fast and experience God’s wrath and judgment. Jesus covered that for me. Every time, He picks me back up, draws me back to himself, reminds me of His voice, and continues to lead me in his truth. No one can snatch me out of God’s hand.

Dear Jesus, thank you for making this permanent. Thank you for the secured gift of eternal life bought at the cost of your life that I could never have earned, yet that I still desire inconsistently. Thank you for the blessings, for eternal peace, for unending love, and for your secure hold on my life. Continue to grow my faith this day and always. In Jesus name, amen.

Erin (6intow)

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized