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.

Leviticus 1; John 20; Proverbs 17; Philippians 4

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I love reading the resurrection accounts. I love that they are all different. The way Jesus appeared to each person. Sometimes suddenly, sometimes almost incognito, sometimes in the midst of their tears, sometimes after the truth of the resurrection already settled into their thinking.

We all respond differently to Christ, just as they responded differently as they grappled and processed the reality of the resurrection. Mary stood weeping. John ran ahead but then stopped and takes it all in visually before his first step into the tomb. Peter just rushes right in. Thomas needs to touch the physical wounds to make sure for himself.

Jesus knows and loves each one. Jesus died and rose for each one.

That is how He can be the God of such deep peace.

And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you. (Philippians 4:7-9 ESV)

He is intimately acquainted with us – our quirks and idiosyncrasies, our emotional needs and shortcomings, our situations and limitations, our intellect and sense of humor. And, He reaches down to meet us exactly where we are and offer His peace and perspective.

Our seasons of life change, but He does not.

Dear Father God, thank you for coming into the midst of me in all my messiness and being the love that I needed. Thank you for bringing that peace that would guard my thinking. Thank you for giving everything when I could never repay or anticipate the depth of that sacrifice. I love you, Lord. In Jesus Name, Amen.

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Exodus 27; John 6; Proverbs 3; Galatians 2

My son, do not forget my teaching,
    but let your heart keep my commandments,
for length of days and years of life
    and peace they will add to you.

Let not steadfast love and faithfulness forsake you;
    bind them around your neck (Proverbs 3:1-3a ESV)

Scripture overflows with truths to live by. Commands, teaching, precepts, rules, laws, directives, principles, and statutes make God’s expectations from us pretty clear and mostly unquestionable.

The point of all of those laws was not to save us, but rather to open our eyes to our fallenness and our need to fall solely on the grace of God. We should still study how God wants us to live and seek daily to follow His way, but our eternal hope comes in our identifying with Christ’s crucifixion on our behalf.

20 I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. (Galatians 2:20 ESV)

We can drop the nit-picky legalism and just follow his lead.

Get our eyes off the physical needs that thrill or entertain us, and awaken our spiritual eyes to the works of God around us. Simple trust is what He most calls us to.

 

27 Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you. For on him God the Father has set his seal.” 28 Then they said to him, “What must we do, to be doing the works of God?” 29 Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent” . . . my Father gives you the true bread from heaven. 33 For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” 34 They said to him, “Sir, give us this bread always.”

35 Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst. (John 6:27-29; 32-35 ESV)

Of this we can be certain. He’s got the whole world in His hands. He is the bread of life. He satisfies. He loved and gave himself for us.

His word will never leave us hungry, except for more of Him.

Dear Lord, thank you that you provide all we need even in uncertain times when we have no choice but to live day by day. Help us realize the abundant rest that You can bring to this world, and reveal to us afresh Your certainty and completeness. In Jesus Name ~Amen.

 

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Exodus 13; Luke 16; Job 31; 2 Corinthians 1

The world is full of uncertainty. The wicked prosper and suffering swirls around us.

But God.

He is certain. Secure. Faithful. Unchanging. Wise. Gracious. Powerful. Good.

God also knows our limits. He draws us just close enough to the edge to prove we cannot do it on our own and force us into reliance on Him. But, He is also a gentle, compassionate God that knows when we need to heal, to be protected and shielded, when we need a break.

Sometimes that break might look haphazard. It might look like taking the long way around. It might not feel easy in the moment. Israel had just come out of slavery. 400 years of it. What was their mental health like in those days? They didn’t have the law. Likely their understanding of God was a bit tainted and for some nearly non-existent.

Looking back, we think they should have been awed at the power God showed through the 10 plagues and their release from Egypt. But, likely, they were struggling to make sense of it all. Maybe hesitant to trust this domineering Being that killed first-born children. He knew they needed a clean break from Egypt and a rest before the battle. So, He took them the long way.

17 When Pharaoh let the people go, God did not lead them by way of the land of the Philistines, although that was near. For God said, “Lest the people change their minds when they see war and return to Egypt.” (Exodus 13:17 ESV)

And, all along the way He reinforced His love for them. His strength upheld them and His outstretched arm drew them close.

Then Moses said to the people, “Remember this day in which you came out from Egypt, out of the house of slavery, for by a strong hand the Lord brought you out from this place. (Exodus 13:3a)

Life as a believer is uncertain at times. It is not carefree. We experience struggles to make us stronger to face the next one. We suffer as a testimony for others. We experience pain to teach us to trust. And, sometimes we go through incredible trials for no humanly-obvious reason at all.

For we do not want you to be unaware, brothers, of the affliction we experienced in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. . . . But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead. 10  . . . On him we have set our hope that he will deliver us again. 11 You also must help us by prayer . . .  (2 Corinthians 1:8-11 ESV)

But God. You know, the One who raises the dead?

We can cry out in prayer. We can help our brothers and sisters in prayer. And the God of the universe will establish us in Christ. Not a guarantee of comfort or ease, but a seal of assurance for eternity.

21 And it is God who establishes us with you in Christ, and has anointed us, 22 and who has also put his seal on us and given us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee. (2 Corinthians 1:21-22)

Gentle Father, help me not let my eyes stray to the trouble that threatens around me, but rather to rest in your security and stability. Help me trust Your plan to stretch me when I need stretching and to teach me ever increasing reliance on You. In Jesus Name, Amen.

Erin (6intow)

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Genesis 50; Luke 3; Job 16,17; I Corinthians 4

Many whose lives are recorded in the pages of Scripture had profound faith.

They didn’t look just at the life around them, but they looked to the past and saw God at work, they rested in the present trusting His plan, and the hoped in the future confident of His promises. The situations they found themselves in were irrelevant because they walked in faithful obedience regardless of the pressures of life that pressed in around them.

Joseph went from favored son to slave to prisoner to the palace and in the end, he had this to say to his brothers, upon whom we could easily heap the blame:

19 But Joseph said to them, “Do not fear, for am I in the place of God? 20 As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today. (Genesis 50: 19-20 ESV)

His faith freed him to forgive, because he recognized God’s sovereignty. There might have been nights along the way when he lost hope momentarily, but in the end, he held no grudges and he trusted God implicitly. So much so, that he believed they were headed for a better land and since he would not live to see it, he at least wanted his bones in the promised land when the time came (400 years later).

25 Then Joseph made the sons of Israel swear, saying, “God will surely visit you, and you shall carry up my bones from here.” (Genesis 50:25 ESV)

Jumping ahead about a millennium, John’s faith also proves to be unbound by time or his life span. As he prophesied the coming of the eternal God in human form, he spoke with unbridled boldness about the coming power. He saw what human eyes could not see.

16 John answered them all, saying, “I baptize you with water, but he who is mightier than I is coming, the strap of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. (Luke 3:16 ESV)

We too can see with our spiritual sight. God placed us as stewards of His great mysteries. Mysteries that the world needs to know, needs to hear. What is asked of us? To be faithful. Trusting in the dark, when he asks us to dream with Him, take a stand for him, and trust His mysteries even when they seem illogical.

This is how one should regard us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. Moreover, it is required of stewards that they be found faithful.
(I Corinthians 4:1,2 ESV)

Lord God, loving Shepherd, thank you for leading when the way is dark, for never deserting us even when we are tempted. Hold my steps secure, planted solidly in confident faith. Thank you that we can always trust You to speak truth, act justly, and out love us. In Jesus name Amen.

Erin (6intow)

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Genesis 35,36; Mark 6; Job 2; Romans 6

How much do I stand out from those around me?

different color

A life of obedience to God’s commands pretty quickly sets us apart. There are activities that we won’t participate in, moral boundaries that we hold ourselves to, and habits that we work diligently to maintain.

Church attendance, tithing, Bible reading, protecting our purity, moderation, and integrity all tend to make our way of living a bit different from the cultural norm.

Really, this “otherness” started back at the beginning. Jacob’s descendants were clearly seen as different from others.

So Jacob said to his household and to all who were with him, “Put away the foreign gods that are among you and purify yourselves and change your garments. Then let us arise and go up to Bethel, so that I may make there an altar to the God who answers me in the day of my distress and has been with me wherever I have gone.” . . . And as they journeyed, a terror from God fell upon the cities that were around them, so that they did not pursue the sons of Jacob. (Genesis 35:2-3,5 ESV)

While our actions and decisions may set us apart, it is God’s response that makes it even more noteworthy. He responds to a life lived in obedience and those around us cannot help but take note.

“Have you considered my servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, who fears God and turns away from evil? He still holds fast his integrity, (Job 2:3)

God pointed out Job to Satan because Job chose the higher path. His wife didn’t know how to handle the suffering and broke down. Job still had lessons to learn, but he also at least refrained his lips from speaking against God.

Jumping to the life of Christ in the book of Mark, we find the community that he grew up in struggled to make sense of Him. They simply could not believe.

“Where did this man get these things? What is the wisdom given to him? How are such mighty works done by his hands? Is not this the carpenter . . . ” And they took offense at him. (Mark 6:2-3)

God’s work on earth doesn’t always make sense to the non-believing mind. It usually causes a stir, and we should expect to stand out as not-of-this-world.

22 But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life.  (Romans 6:22)

We are free. Free to walk in His power. Not bound by sin. Not held back by guilt. Not seeking the approval of the world or our neighbor.

We might look a little weird at times, but if we do, we are in good company.

Lord God, you have done an awesome work to transform my simple self into one that shines Your light and can walk obediently in Your Word. Give me boldness to be different and perseverance when walking with the crowd seems the easier path. My life doesn’t need to make sense to anyone but You. In Jesus Name, Amen.

Erin (6intow)

 

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Genesis 21; Matthew 20; Nehemiah 10; Acts 20

Do we put worship in a box?

Or, define worship as the music we sing on Sunday mornings at church?

I love the creative ways that we see people worship (ascribing worth to God, bringing Him glory) throughout Scripture.

Abraham even planted a tree.

33 Abraham planted a tamarisk tree in Beersheba and called there on the name of the Lord, the Everlasting God. (Genesis 21:33 ESV)

Paul broke bread and fellowshipped. He also preached until midnight. Serving. Humility. Tears. Pouring out of self.

On the first day of the week, when we were gathered together to break bread, Paul talked with them, intending to depart on the next day, and he prolonged his speech until midnight.  . . 19 serving the Lord with all humility and with tears and with trials that happened to me through the plots of the Jews; 20 how I did not shrink from declaring to you anything that was profitable, and teaching you in public and from house to house, 21 testifying both to Jews and to Greeks of repentance toward God and of faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. (Acts 20:7, 19-21 ESV)

Jesus served and those he healed followed him.

But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, 27 and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, 28 even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20: 26-28 ESV)

  . . . immediately they recovered their sight and followed him. (Matthew 20:34)

And, the people in Nehemiah gave money and offerings, followed rules, and vowed not to neglect the house of God.

Worship can look different and is woven through each day of our life. It recognizes the position that God has in our life and over our will, our personality, our schedule, and our possessions.

Dear Father God, may my whole life be an act of worship toward you. Every step in faith, each gift given, choices made, creative expressions, commitments sealed, songs sung, and even trees planted. Every bit of it, for Your Glory, my everlasting God. ~Amen

Erin (6intow)

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Genesis 6; Matthew 6; Ezra 6; Acts 6

The context of the Bible is so outdated and yet the message proves timeless.

Genesis 6 – Can’t get much more antiquated than Noah and the flood. Floating around on a wooden boat for a year caring for a countless number of animals.

Ezra 6 – to search for a previous decree, Darius sends his staff searching through scrolls to confirm the existence of a command from Cyrus to rebuild the temple in Jerusalem.

Matthew 6 – The life of Christ. A time of trumpets and Pharisees, money could only be given in person (no paypal or electronic bank transfers).

Acts 6 – When it talks about serving tables, it means literally serving at physical tables. And, the heated debate between Jews and early Christians took place face to face, not via a Facebook post.

Yet, the lessons learned by the people in each of those settings remain relevant today.

 But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord.

Noah did this; he did all that God commanded him. (Genesis 6:8, 22 ESV)

God hates sin. Always has. But, those who follow his commands will discover His limitless love and protection.

And they kept the Feast of Unleavened Bread seven days with joy, for the Lord had made them joyful and had turned the heart of the king of Assyria to them, so that he aided them in the work of the house of God, the God of Israel. (Ezra 6:22)

Obedience and diligence brings joy and sometimes brings favor from other men. The eternal rewards are guaranteed, and sometimes we even see God’s blessing on our work in this life as well.

so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

 But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. (Matthew 6:4, 6)

We don’t need to create our own neon sign, God sees what is done in secret and will honor our quiet giving, prayer closet prayers, unspoken suffering, and eternal treasure stashes. His rewards are far better than any earthly compensation we could receive. And, in this day and age it is much easier to live an obedience driven life without notice. All giving can be done online. Most of us live in houses with unused space that we can find an unattended place to pray. We have various schedules from those around us that might allow us to fast without anyone even noticing that we are skipping a meal or some indulgence.

 But they could not withstand the wisdom and the Spirit with which he was speaking. (Acts 6:10)

God’s Word is untrumpable. He simply cannot be beat. As we stand boldly for Him, we might face opposition, but it can never find a weakness or loophole in the message or God we stand for.

God and His Word have been relevant and significant from the beginning of time through today and into eternity.

Our obedience to Him is never wasted.

Lord God, let me stand on Your power and timeless truth. Give me the boldness to live each new day in obedience to You regardless of the enemy’s counterattack. Thank you for Your Word that bolsters our strength to follow in the footsteps of many godly believers that have gone before us. In Jesus Name – Amen.

Erin (6intow)

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