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.

Ezekiel 16:44-20:17

When a reader finds themselves locked into the plot of a captivating read, they allow their emotions to swell and plummet along with the flow of the story line. Some page-turners, bring the reader almost to the point of despair as they trap their protagonist in such a seemingly impenetrable dilemma when they enter the so-called “dark night of the soul” chapter of their story. The reader can see no way out, no hope, no possible conclusion aside from death and loss. And yet, they know the end cannot be all loss, perhaps unless they happen to be reading a tragedy. Even in those rare books that kill off the main character himself, a solid book will work its way toward a satisfying conclusion.

Ezekiel seems to want to remind us of this real life truth as well. When all is despair – God is present. When all seems lost – God has a plan. When the wicked seem to prosper – God will judge. When the righteous seem forgotten – God sees them. When the wicked change their ways – God is ready to forgive.

We might sometimes get caught up in the hopelessness around us, the injustice and evil. Our hope should never fail. We always can rest in God’s sovereignty, wisdom, and compassion.

20 The soul who sins shall die. The son shall not suffer for the iniquity of the father, nor the father suffer for the iniquity of the son. The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself.

Ezekiel 18:20 ESV

God does not transfer guilt, but holds each person accountable for their own choices. This always reminds me afresh of the awesomeness of the cross. A completely just God needed a way to forgive us who could never compensate for our sinful choices. The sin demanded judgement. So, He paid it himself. He took on the guilt and punishment that he could not pass over in His overriding eagerness to forgive and bless us. His love made Him take our place in absorbing and absolving His own wrath.

 Cast away from you all the transgressions that you have committed, and make yourselves a new heart and a new spirit! Why will you die, O house of Israel? 32 For I have no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Lord God; so turn, and live.

Ezekiel 18:31-32 ESV

God does not want even the rebellious to die in their rebellion. We might sometimes cheer at the downfall of the wicked, but God prefers transformation. His own son paid an astronomical price so that all may enjoy forgiveness of sin and eternal life.

But I acted for the sake of my name, that it should not be profaned in the sight of the nations among whom they lived, in whose sight I made myself known to them in bringing them out of the land of Egypt.

Ezekiel 20:9 ESV

God’s promises are eternally trustworthy. His name, his integrity, aligns with the holiest of standards, his own unchanging truth, consistent through millennia.

Regardless of how the tides of our lives, nations, and histories rise and fall, God never changes. Our eternal hope in Him should not diminish as it carries us through the most confusing life circumstances, and the most dire of plot twists.

Lord God, thank you that you are here, were here, will always be here. Thank you for your incomprehensible compassion toward me. Help me to rest in the three pronged power of your sovereignty, goodness, and wisdom. In Jesus name, amen.

Erin (6intow)

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Isaiah 33:1-37:29

Isaiah cried out in light of desperate circumstances. Pain, enemies, fear. He needed God immediately! Even in his crying out, he rested in two eternal truths – evil would be vanquished and the righteous would be avenged. Someday. His hope looked beyond the threats that were beating down his door and found peace, strength, and security in God’s eternal promises. He knew the hope of eternal blessing.

But there the Lord in majesty will be for us
    a place of broad rivers and streams,
where no galley with oars can go,
    nor majestic ship can pass.
22 For the Lord is our judge; the Lord is our lawgiver;
    the Lord is our king; he will save us.

Isaiah 33:21-22 ESV

Those promises that paint pictures of future joy should lift all of us on those battle-weary day.

And the ransomed of the Lord shall return
    and come to Zion with singing;
everlasting joy shall be upon their heads;
    they shall obtain gladness and joy,
    and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.

Isaiah 35:10 ESV

This day, and the one after, might still bring heartache and challenge, but we can look to God’s unbreakable promises to keep us pressing on.

And yet.

And yet, this life matters to God, too. When Hezekiah came under attack, he laid everything out before God, literally.

Hezekiah received the letter from the hand of the messengers, and read it; and Hezekiah went up to the house of the Lord, and spread it before the Lord. 15 And Hezekiah prayed to the Lord: 16 “O Lord of hosts, God of Israel, enthroned above the cherubim, you are the God, you alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth; you have made heaven and earth. 17 Incline your ear, O Lord, and hear; open your eyes, O Lord, and see; and hear all the words of Sennacherib, which he has sent to mock the living God. 18 Truly, O Lord, the kings of Assyria have laid waste all the nations and their lands, 19 and have cast their gods into the fire. For they were no gods, but the work of men’s hands, wood and stone. Therefore they were destroyed. 20 So now, O Lord our God, save us from his hand, that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that you alone are the Lord.”

Isaiah 37:14-20 ESV

So when the struggles in our lives have us praying prayers similar to Isaiah’s:

O Lord, be gracious to us; we wait for you.
    Be our arm every morning,
    our salvation in the time of trouble.

Isaiah 33:2 ESV

We can rest in God’s promises. He will be the stability of our forever, and the stability of our current time.

Lord God, thank you for your presence. I don’t need to ask you to be with me, because you already are. You are my salvation in this moment and for eternity. You are my daily strength, and my eternal security. You are my momentary hope, and my unbreakable promise. You are concerned with both this temporary world and the eternal one to come. Thank you for caring for me in the everyday circumstances that threaten to overwhelm while also giving eternal assurance that supersedes everything this world might bring my way. In Jesus name, amen.

Erin (6intow)

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Proverbs 21-23

Proverbs draws a double yellow line between the life of the righteous and the wicked.

The righteous are characterized by justice, wisdom, honesty, generosity, joy, victory, might, hard work, thoughtfulness, well-respected, blessing, purity, knowledgeable, self-control, maturity, contentment.

The wicked are headed completely the opposite direction. Drunkenness, gluttony, lazy, impulsive, foolish, violent, pride, selfish, lying, sinful, crooked, quarrelsome, simple, crooked.

Despite the obvious external contrast, the true difference between the two directions lies hidden in the heart.

Incline your ear, and hear the words of the wise,
    and apply your heart to my knowledge,
18 for it will be pleasant if you keep them within you,
    if all of them are ready on your lips.
19 That your trust may be in the Lord,
    I have made them known to you today, even to you.

Proverbs 22:17-19 ESV

Compare that with the opposite viewpoint:

Haughty eyes and a proud heart,
    the lamp of the wicked, are sin.
The plans of the diligent lead surely to abundance,
    but everyone who is hasty comes only to poverty.
The getting of treasures by a lying tongue
    is a fleeting vapor and a snare of death.
The violence of the wicked will sweep them away,
    because they refuse to do what is just.
The way of the guilty is crooked,
    but the conduct of the pure is upright.
It is better to live in a corner of the housetop
    than in a house shared with a quarrelsome wife.
10 The soul of the wicked desires evil;
    his neighbor finds no mercy in his eyes.

Proverbs 21:4-10 ESV

With the two options painted clearly in these chapters, and throughout proverbs, I have a choice. In some ways, every day I have a choice. All day long I have choices. Both paths have consequences. One leads us into closer communion with Christ, shines our light more brightly, and honors God. The other leads us further into ourselves often with dangerous repercussions.

Although I have declared Jesus to be my Lord and Savior and trust his work on the cross for my ultimate eternal life of blessing, I still need to be cautious not to make U-turns as I drive through life. These chapters hint at some of the temptations that might make the other direction appealing – pleasure, success, self-indulgence. They sound way more fun than discipline, hard work, and self-control. Yet, I trust that His way is best. I choose to love Him. I choose to deny myself. I choose to reject the world’s wisdom.

Dear God, your way is best. May the world never deceive me to thinking otherwise. May your truth control my path. Keep my steering steady and unswerving. Thank you for the reminders of the side-effects of evil choices that the temptation may never over power me. Thank you for the courage and boldness to press on. In Jesus name, amen.

Erin (6intow)

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Psalms 119:161-124:8

Drowsiness causes car accidents, work errors, impatience, forgetfulness, and diminished productivity. The human body needs sleep, hours of it, everyday. We likely spend more time sleeping than any other singular activity.

God never sleeps, not even a little.

He will not let your foot be moved;
    he who keeps you will not slumber.

Psalm 121:3 ESV

God is always alert, watching over us, aware of every minute activity across the globe. He knows when you stub your toe in the middle of the night. He saw my private reaction to a social media post, before I pulled my emotions together and replied diplomatically. He sees every first step, every trip to the emergency room, every tear cried, every joy celebrated.

The Lord is your keeper;
    the Lord is your shade on your right hand.

Psalm 121:5 ESV

His “keeping” us might look different than we expect, but my pastor reminded our church recently that nothing gets to us without going through Jesus first. Whatever comes into our life (even suffering on Job’s scale), was screened by God and He walks through every step of it with us. Not because we deserved it, not because He’s mad at us or testing us, but rather because we live in a fallen, sinful world that brings us into terribly dark situations at time where God’s glory will shine even more brightly.

Great peace have those who love your law;
    nothing can make them stumble.
166 I hope for your salvation, O Lord,
    and I do your commandments.

Psalm 119:165-166 ESV

In my waiting, in my hoping for the release from this world, I’m continually learning to lean into God. When I keep my eyes fixed on Him, my actions should come in line with Him also. Over and over in these psalms I see a close connection between loving God and obeying Him. To love God is to love (and do) his law and commands.

Thankfully, we serve a constantly vigilant God that we will spend a lifetime learning to follow and love from our head to our heart to our hands. I seek to obey because I have saving faith in a God who loves me enough to lay down His life for me.

Dear Savior Jesus, thank you for revealing yourself and your love throughout history. Help me to have clear sight to follow you and your commands. Thank you for the security you offer in this insecure world to my at times insecure heart. I love you, Lord. In your name, amen.

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Psalms 89:38-91:13

When we had young children and a special occasion would hover on the horizon, we would try to help them understand how close or far the event was. Sometimes we would make a paper chain, sometimes just talk often about how many days or nights or “sleeps” until the vacation or holiday arrived. For us as adults, the time often seemed to pass too quickly as we tried to hurry to get everything in place, but for the kids the time often dragged on in a seemingly interminable way.

They obsessed over the countdown and every day would check on it throughout the day, making sure no one ripped off extra links, sometimes recounting them to verify they had the right number still. I never quite understood their fixation with the links.

Then I thought about the adult preoccupation with time and age. Is it really that different?

Lord, you have been our dwelling place
    in all generations.
Before the mountains were brought forth,
    or ever you had formed the earth and the world,
    from everlasting to everlasting you are God.
You return man to dust
    and say, “Return, O children of man!”
For a thousand years in your sight
    are but as yesterday when it is past,
    or as a watch in the night.

Psalm 90:1-4 ESV

Does God view us similarly to how I viewed our children in those days? Worrying would not change the number of links. The day did not move any quicker, the specialness did not get any sweeter as they worried over the slow passing of time. And, for the adult mind, it was just wasted energy instead of enjoying the present, and preparing for the approaching event.

The Lord has the benefit of a more complete picture of our lives and eternity. Suffering or afflictions are temporary and serve a purpose. Instead of counting the days, I need to lean into Him a bit more and not be blinded by the challenge and the paper chain it creates for me.

After that reminder that puts things in perspective, we run headlong into the beauty of Psalm 91.

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
    will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress,
    my God, in whom I trust.”

Psalm 91:1-2 ESV

How often in a dark moment when I’m huddled in the corner checking if my paper chain is intact, if I’ve been forgotten, if I’ve missed a memo, do I recall these verses! God is my shelter. I can trust his timing, his protection, his faithfulness, his fortitude, his perspective. I love this picture of a giant wave crashing against a lighthouse and the keeper stepping outside just long enough to remind us that he is safe and secure in the light house despite the malicious attempts of the ocean all around him.

For he will command his angels concerning you
    to guard you in all your ways.
12 On their hands they will bear you up,
    lest you strike your foot against a stone.
13 You will tread on the lion and the adder;
    the young lion and the serpent you will trample underfoot.

Psalm 91:11-13 ESV

Most (all) days I do not come in contact with anything as physically threatening as a lion or deadly snake. However, I believe applying this to the emotional protection God provides is an accurate interpretation as well. He protects my heart as he would my hands. He protects my mind as he would my feet. I realize that these verse do not promise smooth, danger-free pathways, but rather protection in the midst of the danger and pain. Shelter while the storm rages. Thank you, Lord.

Lord, continue to help me trust you more. Trust your perspective and handiwork. Trust your safety and power. Pull me out of small-thinking and into your glorious peace. Thank you for your patience as I process and continue to reset you on the throne of my heart. Thank you for the reminders that your word is so rich with that you are present and active in my life. In Jesus name, amen.

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