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 13-15; 1 John 3

“Let me have silence, and I will speak,
    and let come on me what may.

Behold, I have prepared my case;
    I know that I shall be in the right.

23 How many are my iniquities and my sins?
    Make me know my transgression and my sin.(Job 13:13, 18, 23 ESV)

Job had been through a lot. (The understatement of the year). Lost all his children, all his wealth; even his health was stripped from him. And, while He did not curse God, he clearly did not have an accurate understanding of His working either (who among us does?)

Job thought that given the right platform, he could defend himself, justify his cause, prove his innocence before the almighty God of the universe.

But, it was apparently just talk, as time would tell. Job tried hard, but he still fell short in claiming the depth of his sin and revering the holiness, wisdom, and sovereignty of God.

18 Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth. (I John 3:18 ESV)

We, like Job, might also jump to justify ourselves now and then. Blinded by self and pride to the sin that still nips at our heels, we can talk a good talk. But then, God told us to love.

Love.

16 By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. (I John 3:16)

He even showed us love. Not just describing it from behind a veiled current or looking down from heaven, but walking in our shoes, he left his blood-stained footprints on this world in a completely pure living-out of love. Not because we deserved it, but because He is completely holy and He is love.

Something to spend a life time living up to. Not in a guilt-ridden, failure-streaked way, but joyfully following and imitating our master in his poured-out love for this hurting world.

Dearest Father, give me Your love for the world around me. Give me an accurate perspective of myself that I may never think I am above showing love to a fellow human, but neither would I judge myself incapable of making a difference. Pour me out as Your son so freely did. Both resting in and standing on Your holiness. In Jesus Name, Amen.

Erin (6intow)

 

 

 

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Nehemiah 1-3; John 15; Psalm 133

. . . I continued fasting and praying before the God of heaven. And I said, “O Lord God of heaven, the great and awesome God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, let your ear be attentive and your eyes open, to hear the prayer of your servant that I now pray before you day and night for the people of Israel your servants (Nehemiah 1:4-6 ESV)

The key to unity in the church, in a Christian marriage, in a family, in a ministry, or in any Christian community is submission to God first and foremost. Nehemiah knew this started with prayer. He prayed with serious intentionality. Fasting, praying, continuing to cry out to God.

Then the king said to me, “What are you requesting?” So I prayed to the God of heaven. (Nehemiah 2:4)

He also had apparently mastered the shotgun prayer. Quick, sent up in a moment of stress. He lived in an attitude of prayer so that God was the first go-to for him in a pinch.

The beautiful result of this habit of prayer and living a surrendered life? Unity in the people of Israel.

I love that throughout these first few chapters, he treasures in his heart the leading of God on his life. He waits for just the right moment, after days of prayer and planning, to invite other followers of God into the project.

18 And I told them of the hand of my God that had been upon me for good, and also of the words that the king had spoken to me. And they said, “Let us rise up and build.” So they strengthened their hands for the good work. (Nehemiah 2:18)

Then, they respond with full enthusiasm and committed hard work. They are all sold out to rebuilding with Nehemiah.

Behold, how good and pleasant it is
    when brothers dwell in unity! (Psalm 133:1)

Once again, I love how these chapters for today so beautifully weave themselves together. The unity as the Jews served God in the face of opposition to carry out His commands was “good and pleasant.”

And, it started with one man’s prayer and surrender to God, abiding in Him.

Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. (John 15:4,5)

17 These things I command you, so that you will love one another. (John 15:17)

As believers we are meant to function this way, one with Christ, one with each other, unable to restrain His love as it bursts from us and floods our relationships with each other. Whether it’s building a house, rebuilding a marriage, sharing the gospel, or heading to the ends of the earth, our personal faith should overflow into corporate unity within the body of Christ.

To God be the Glory.

Erin (6intow)

 

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Ezra 3-4; John 5; Psalm 113; Psalm 127

Who is like the Lord our God,
    who is seated on high,
who looks far down
    on the heavens and the earth?
He raises the poor from the dust
    and lifts the needy from the ash heap,
to make them sit with princes,
    with the princes of his people.
He gives the barren woman a home,
    making her the joyous mother of children.
Praise the Lord! (Psalm 113: 5-9 ESV)

God sees the invisible, the needy, the hurting. He sees the real person. not the broken shell.

In these lay a multitude of invalids—blind, lame, and paralyzed. One man was there who had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had already been there a long time, he said to him, “Do you want to be healed?” (John 5:3-6 ESV)

He looked deep into this individual and recognized the healing that was needed. And, after 38 years of waiting, this man experiences a new body.

The Jews also had to wait for God’s timing in the rebuilding of the temple. Their diligent craftsmanship was put to a halt when opposition brought their efforts to the attention of the king. God’s timeline doesn’t always make sense from our human mind.

God’s timing for restoration might not match our expectation. Lysa Terkeurst said,

 “What if disappointment is really the exact appointment your soul needs to radically encounter God?
We don’t know for sure the heart response of this man that was healed, or the work that God did in Jerusalem as they waited years for the temple’s completion, but we can be sure that God did not waste those opportunities. After 38 years, that man did face a radical encounter with God, one that might not have been so radical had it come 37 years and 11 months earlier.

God works in the wisest way and driven by His great love for us. Reminds me of another quote from this book I am reading through right now:

“God’s Word is the Truth. And His Truth says you are a holy and dearly loved child of your heavenly Father. You are wonderfully made. You are a treasure. You are beautiful. You are fully known by Him and lavishly loved by Him. You are chosen. You are special. You are set apart. No matter what you’ve done or what’s been done to you, these words of God are true about you.”
(Lysa TerKeurst, It’s Not Supposed to Be This Way: Finding Unexpected Strength When Disappointments Leave You Shattered)

As we wait we can be assured that God sees us, loves us, and has the wisest plan.

It is in vain that you rise up early
    and go late to rest,
eating the bread of anxious toil;
    for he gives to his beloved sleep. (Psalm 127:2 ESV)

Dear Father God, resting in You today. In Your timing and guidance. The waiting is hard and sometimes painful, but thank you for the assurance that You see me and love me. In Jesus Name Amen.

Erin (6intow)

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Ezekiel 33-36; 1 Peter 4

For thus says the Lord God: Behold, I, I myself will search for my sheep and will seek them out. 12 As a shepherd seeks out his flock when he is among his sheep that have been scattered, so will I seek out my sheep, and I will rescue them from all places (Ezekiel 34:11-12 ESV)

The shepherd and sheep analogy shows the beauty of God’s commitment to us as believers. In the Old Testament God used it often in talking to the nation of Israel, and he renews this image in speaking to believers in the New Testament.

He will seek us out. He will rescue us, no matter where we find ourselves.

What a comfort, what unsearchable love.

26 And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules. (Ezekiel 36:26-27 ESV)

But, he doesn’t just stop there in keeping us physically safe, His concern is for our eternal soul. He makes us new. New heart, new spirit. He enables us to follow Him, something we could not do out of our old nature.

Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. 10 As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: 11 whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. (I Peter 4:8-11 ESV)

Peter takes our faith a step further with this litany of directives:

  • Love
  • Host
  • Serve
  • Glorify

The New Testament proves time and again that following Christ is not about following a list of rules, but of being in Christ, of following in His footsteps, constantly seeking to model our lives after His holiness.

Father God, my loving Shepherd, thank you for guarding and protecting me. Thank you for renewing me when on my own everything was hopeless. Thank you for setting a high standard for me to follow each day of my life. Give my strength and boldness to follow without fear. In Jesus Name, Amen

Erin (6intow)

 

 

 

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Ezekiel 24-26; Hebrews 13

then you will know that I am the Lord God (Ez 24:24 ESV)

they will know that I am the Lord (Ez 24:27 ESV)

Then you will know that I am the Lord. (Ez 25:5b ESV)

Then you will know that I am the Lord. (Ez 25:7 ESV)

(and on, and on)

God makes His commands clear, along with judgements for disobedience and blessings for obedience.

Israel, and other nations, live however they please.

God judges.

Then, they know that He is the Lord.

He has standards. He defines truth, goodness, justice, right and wrong. And, He holds us to those expectations.

As the New Testament roles along and we now have the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, the expectations are higher and more complete:

Love continually

show hospitality

Remember prisoners

honor marriage

don’t love money

be content  (Hebrews 13:1-5 ESV)

Jesus is the same, then and now. And, His expectation of us to live out our faith and trust in Him remains as it did for the people of Israel, although some of the commands are slightly adapted for a personal religion on a church community as opposed to the nation of Israel.

It is not for me to live as I please. Each day I am to take up my cross and follow Him. Gather people around you to pray for one another that we all may “have a clear conscience, desiring to act honorably in all things.” (Hebrews 13:18).

Dear God, thank you for communicating with love and clarity for thousands of years. Thank you for forgiving when I come to You, repentant of my failings. Help me again, today and every day to live with a clear conscience, acting honorably as You have instructed. May my life be pleasing in Your sight. In Jesus Name, Amen.

Erin (6intow)

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Jeremiah 32-34; Hebrews 3; Psalm 74

In the midst of heartache, God’s presence can seem distant. His actions (or apparent lack thereof) can confuse our finite minds.

I marvel that one of the most common “favorite” verses that people share today (Jeremiah 29:11) comes just before incredible destruction for Judah. In this passage in Jeremiah we see him still wrestling a bit with the durability of this promise and God steps in again to confirm its truth.

First, let’s look at the highlight reel from these chapters:

Jeremiah said, “The word of the Lord came to me: Behold, Hanamel the son of Shallum your uncle will come to you and say, ‘Buy my field that is at Anathoth, for the right of redemption by purchase is yours.’ (Jeremiah 32:6-7 ESV)

[so, Jeremiah bought it – a seemingly foolish purchase since they were all about to be hauled off into captivity – so Jeremiah has his say with God]

I prayed to the Lord, saying: 17 ‘Ah, Lord God! It is you who have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and by your outstretched arm! Nothing is too hard for you.

[really earth-rattling prayer in verses 18-21, if you skipped over it, go back and worship along with Jeremiah. Even in his worry and doubt — he knows how to worship!]

22 And you gave them this land, which you swore to their fathers to give them,  23 And they entered and took possession of it. But they did not obey your voice or walk in your law. . . Therefore you have made all this disaster come upon them. 24  . . . What you spoke has come to pass, and behold, you see it.

25 Yet you, O Lord God, have said to me, “Buy the field for money and get witnesses”—though the city is given into the hands of the Chaldeans.’” (Jeremiah 32:16-25 ESV – emphasis mine)

27 “Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh. Is anything too hard for me?

42 “For thus says the Lord: Just as I have brought all this great disaster upon this people, so I will bring upon them all the good that I promise them. 43 Fields shall be bought in this land of which you are saying, ‘It is a desolation, without man or beast; it is given into the hand of the Chaldeans.’

[it gets better]

Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known. (Jeremiah 33:3)

in the cities of Judah and the streets of Jerusalem that are desolate, without man or inhabitant or beast, there shall be heard again 11 the voice of mirth and the voice of gladness (Jeremiah 33:10,11)

God tells Jeremiah to buy a basically useless piece of land as an awesome picture of His promises. This land will be restored. God’s Word won’t fail. If you every doubt, come to me, the great I AM, and ask and I’ll bring matchless peace and wonder once again.

Let not the downtrodden turn back in shame;
    let the poor and needy praise your name. (Psalm 74:21)

Life will have trouble. Life-altering, gut-wrenching, incomprehensible trouble. God is still there, still ruling, still waiting patiently for what He knows is the right timing.

Still worthy of our worship.

Resting in Him is not always easy, but it is always right.

Lord God, thank you for holding us all in Your hands. Protecting us in front and behind and never letting go, never straying from your goodness and your promises. You never fail. ~In Jesus Name Amen.

 

Erin (6intow)

 

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Jeremiah 17-18; 2 Timothy 4; Psalm 96

Thus says the Lord:
“Cursed is the man who trusts in man
    and makes flesh his strength,
    whose heart turns away from the Lord.
He is like a shrub in the desert,
    and shall not see any good come. . .

“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord,
    whose trust is the Lord.
He is like a tree planted by water,
    that sends out its roots by the stream,
and does not fear . . . and is not anxious.

The heart is deceitful above all things,
    and desperately sick;
    who can understand it?
10 “I the Lord search the heart
    and test the mind,
to give every man according to his ways,
    according to the fruit of his deeds.” ~Jeremiah 17:5-10 (excerpts ESV)

God alone knows the truth of the state of our hearts. Even we can fool ourselves sometimes. We can rationalize, ignore, or compare away our sins.

God knows us to the core of our beings and promises to be a righteous judge over us.

Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead (2 Timothy 4:1 ESV)

10 Say among the nations, “The Lord reigns!
    . . .
    he will judge the peoples with equity.”
11 Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice;
    let the sea roar, and all that fills it;
12     let the field exult, and everything in it!
Then shall all the trees of the forest sing for joy
13     before the Lord, for he comes,
    for he comes to judge the earth.
He will judge the world in righteousness,
    and the peoples in his faithfulness. (excerpts from Psalm 96:10-13 ESV)

Our response? (peppered throughout 2 Timothy 4 and Psalm 96):

  • Rejoice (along with the whole earth) that justice will ultimately prevail
  • Fear and tremble
  • Worship his glory and strength
  • Sing to the Lord
  • Preach the Word
  • Reprove, rebuke, exhort
  • Be sober-minded
  • Endure
  • Evangelize
  • Fight the good fight
  • Finish
  • Keep the faith
  • Hope

Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing. (2 Timothy 4:8)

We can rejoice and rest in the truth that God’s just, righteous judgement is coming. And, while we wait we should keep busy. Not usurping His role as judge, but rather being busy about His work for us – worship and preaching with every action and word that we choose.

Jehovah Mekoddishkem, the God who sanctifies (Exodus 31:13), is ready to change our hearts and grow our faith.

Father God, thank you for your perfecting love. Chase lethargy far from my spiritual life and replace it with undying fervency for You. May Your love and holiness overflow in my daily walk. Trusting Your judgement and timing on the hard days as well. In Jesus Name Amen.

 

 

 

 

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