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.

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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Genesis 35-37; Luke11

Now Joseph had a dream, and when he told it to his brothers they hated him even more. He said to them, “Hear this dream that I have dreamed: Behold, we were binding sheaves in the field, and behold, my sheaf arose and stood upright. And behold, your sheaves gathered around it and bowed down to my sheaf.” His brothers said to him, “Are you indeed to reign over us? Or are you indeed to rule over us?” So they hated him even more for his dreams and for his words.

Genesis 37:5-8 ESV

What was Joseph thinking?

Many sermons over the years have tried to interpret his motivation and perspective on the world as the favorite son of the well-known patriarch Israel. According to various teachers, he was selfish, foolish, prideful, innocent, trusting, oblivious, attention seeking, or sheltered. I do not claim to really know. Very few places in scripture unveil the full thought life of these people that I like to think I know so well.

Maybe he was a little of all those things. Maybe he needed a trip to Egypt via a hole in the ground and an Ishmaelite caravan to become the God-fearing man that would save his extended family from starvation.

As God matures me, I am growing more thankful for the hard situations that he walks through with me. I would not be who I am without those pits and detours. In this chapter we see some of the crafting of Joseph’s character. Even his brother Reuben recognized the harshness of the situation that Joseph’s other brothers intended and tried to spare Joseph from it.

21 But when Reuben heard it, he rescued him out of their hands, saying, “Let us not take his life.” 22 And Reuben said to them, “Shed no blood; throw him into this pit here in the wilderness, but do not lay a hand on him”—that he might rescue him out of their hand to restore him to his father.

Genesis 35:21-22 ESV

29 When Reuben returned to the pit and saw that Joseph was not in the pit, he tore his clothes 30 and returned to his brothers and said, “The boy is gone, and I, where shall I go?”

Genesis 35:29-30 ESV

No person can “rescue” another person from the path that God intends to use to grow them. God loves our souls more than our bodies, our eternity more than our temporal. The pharisees in the New Testament and many of us in the church today still struggle with valuing our bodies a little too much.

38 The Pharisee was astonished to see that he [Jesus] did not first wash before dinner. 39 And the Lord said to him, “Now you Pharisees cleanse the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside you are full of greed and wickedness. 40 You fools! Did not he who made the outside make the inside also? 41 But give as alms those things that are within, and behold, everything is clean for you.

42 “But woe to you Pharisees! For you tithe mint and rue and every herb, and neglect justice and the love of God. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others. 43 Woe to you Pharisees! For you love the best seat in the synagogues and greetings in the marketplaces. 44 Woe to you! For you are like unmarked graves, and people walk over them without knowing it.”

Luke 11:38-44 ESV

“Give as alms those things that are within.”

Joseph was forced to lay down his life and his agenda. I don’t think I ever considered the bougie life he was accustomed to. The favorite son. Enviable wardrobe, spared from working, clearly felt secure enough to say whatever popped into his head. In that state and environment he was not yet ready to be used by God. God had to make it vividly clear that those outer trappings had no value in His economy. Joseph had everything taken from him so he could learn to serve God with his inner character, to give alms to God of the only commodity he had left in the trials that would follow, himself.

May I daily learn to live out the same truth regardless of the challenges brought my way. Trusting God in words, heart, and actions.

Dear Precious, Loving, Good Father, You are Holy and Wise beyond comprehension. Help me continue to grow in my trust in you and all you are accomplishing on earth throughout history. Give me what I need today and tomorrow that I may rest in both your blessing and sufficiency. I desire to forgive generously, just as you do. May I walk in purity and boldness through whatever path you lead. In Jesus name, amen.

Erin (6intow)

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Genesis 1-4; Luke 1

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.

Genesis 1:1-2 ESV

In the beginning the earth held just a promise of what was to come, like the deepest dark before the sunrise of a new day, or the final sleep before the first month of a new year. None of the beauty of creation was visible as God spoke the universe into existence on that very first day ever. Yet there was God, hovering literally and figuratively over the beginnings. He had a plan. For celestial wonders, vibrant plants, a diversity of creatures, and then the pinnacle of his creation. His final handiwork he could craft in his image. Man would have many physical similarities to the animals God created, but in people he put an imprint of himself.

So God created man in his own image,
    in the image of God he created him;
    male and female he created them.

Genesis 1:27 ESV

the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature.

Genesus 2:7 ESV

God fashioned man according to his own image. With his own breath, God breathed life into that first man. This final creation could think, reason, communicate, and create on a level far beyond the rest of the material world. Everything else in existence God had made with simple words, but he took more time in the creation of one man than he had in conjuring the whole cosmos.The universe is a true marvel, but the creation of mankind holds greater complexity than everything else because of our immaterial substance, the breath of God, the God-imprint that we still bear.

Unfortunately, sin marred this beautiful creation. Sin has brought pain, disease, separation, and death. God’s marvelous intent for creation was relatively short-lived, as he knew it would be. In his divine plan, he even included his response to man’s sin and rebellion. He would provide a way of redemption. His promise of a Messiah he tucked into the story even here at the beginning of time. Animal skins, bruising of Satan. Judgement, but not without hope.

Thousands of years later, Mary and Zechariah would erupt with praise at the long awaited fulfillment of the Messiah’s coming.

And his mercy is for those who fear him
    from generation to generation.

Luke 1:50 ESV

because of the tender mercy of our God,
    whereby the sunrise shall visit us from on high
79 to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death,
    to guide our feet into the way of peace.

Luke 1:78,79 ESV

God’s plan of redemption reawakened worship in a profound way. The beginning of the life of Christ was another creation, as is evident in the beginning of each gospel, especially John 1 that is patterned after Genesis 1. A new beginning. A moving out of darkness once again.

I envision God rewriting the first verses of Genesis each new year, on a smaller scale. “In the beginning of the year, God created January. January was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of each day. And the Spirit of God was hovering over all that was to come.” Obviously, that’s not what the verse says, but I feel a similar sense of anticipation for all of creation that is to come in Genesis 1 as I do in this beginning of a new year. I imagine that God hovered at that moment before creation with both joy and sorrow at what would follow. Despite the looming evil, God created and also planned for the needed redemption.

As I head into this new year, I carry that story in my heart. God’s hovering spirit over the year ahead as he continues to guide and orchestrate, and shower grace and mercy. The knowledge that sin will bring flaws to my beautiful hopes and dreams for the year ahead. The confidence that God redeems when I fail or when others disrupt. With a trusting heart, I will follow God’s example and begin crafting the year ahead with goals and plans and structure, resting in his continued hand over it all despite my humanness.

Creator God, I surrender this year ahead to your plan. Guide my thoughts, decisions, and actions to begin well, to continue when my energy wanes and I face disillusionment, and to finish strong. May this year be a beautiful testimony to your grace and mercy, giving light to those who sit in darkness around me as you guide our feet in the way of peace. In Jesus name, amen.

Erin (6intow)

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Hebrews 2:11-6:20

Rest.

We need it. We crave it. God created us with this longing. He set the example of rest during that first week of time, at the conclusion of creation. He built it into the law. He promised it again as he walked this earth and called the weary to come to him and find rest. And yet, even while we claim to desire rest, which God freely offers, we paradoxically keep chasing after tangible and intangible rewards and benefits convinced. We somehow fall into the trap of thinking that our own efforts still need to come into play or will provide better rest.

Rest is not necessarily relaxation. I think I often misdefine it in my hastiness. I think of a quiet moment to put my feet up. An empty day on the calendar. A cleared out email inbox. Retirement. Quiet. Lack of responsibility. None of those are true rest. In each of those scenarios, stress can still consume and bondage to this world can still ensnare.

But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.

Hebrews 3:13 ESV

Sin is a liar. We think it will bring satisfaction, so we chase after it, seeking what only God can provide. It gives some momentary pleasure, success, or solution and the thrill pleases our hedonistic selves. Instead, God offers rest.

For if Joshua had given them rest, God would not have spoken of another day later on. So then, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God, 10 for whoever has entered God’s rest has also rested from his works as God did from his.11 Let us therefore strive to enter that rest, so that no one may fall by the same sort of disobedience.

Hebrews 4:8-11 ESV

I need to trust his promise. I fight, he says to be still. I struggle, he says the battle is his. I try to “do,” and he says to simply be. The Christian life is to be one of rest. The battle won, the price paid, the eternity secure.

We have a great high priest who is an example, our sacrifice, our savior, our mediator, our brother and his work assures our rest. God’s rest does not rise and fall, it is not illusive or artificial, it does not depend on my circumstances. His rest is what I truly need instead of whatever the world pretends to offer.

Dear Shepherd God, thank you for leading me to rest. Thank you for providing all that I need each day and into eternity. Keep opening my eyes to your work in my life and the true security and peace that you ensure. Forgive me for chasing fake or temporary rest instead. Thank you for the example and the faith to trust you more deeply each new day. In Jesus name, amen.

Erin (6intow)

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1 Corinthians 12:12-15:28

22 On the contrary, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23 and on those parts of the body that we think less honorable we bestow the greater honor, and our unpresentable parts are treated with greater modesty, 24 which our more presentable parts do not require. But God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it, 25 that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. 26 If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together.

I Corinthians 12:22-26 ESV

The depth of the analogy of the body and the church runs deep. Just this passage shows layer after layer of this comparison, not to mention the other references to this concept in Romans, Colossians, Ephesians, and Hebrews.

In a recent bible study discussion about this concept, one lady said, “I must be the toenail.” She had deduced that toenails were nonessential and so was she. Now, we might all have days we feel non-essential, but just that week I had lost a good chunk of a toenail while running, and I could verify that even a toenail plays an important role in our body function.

While I do not think Paul’s purpose in writing this passage was for us to match body parts to ourselves or others in the local or global congregation, he does have many other purposes in using this illustration.

The church is made up of different people with different roles to play and different gifts.

The church is interconnected, and reliant on one another.

We cannot discredit someone else’s (or our own) place in the body of Christ.

The church is both complex and uniform, diverse and united, many yet one.

I should not diminish someone else’s place, nor should I discredit my own. On the days I feel like a toenail (or appendix or whatever organ I have deemed non-essential), I need to remember that even a cracked or missing toenail affects the whole body. It is not okay for me to sit on the sidelines uninvolved or feeling inadequate. I am a part of the body of Christ and I am indispensable!

What does it look like to function as the body of Christ? The next couple chapters lay that out with a little more detail.

13 So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

I Corinthians 13:13 ESV

As I move about my life as the body of Christ, my faith in God and my hope of eternity with him, should overflow in love. Love that sacrifices self. Love that champions others. Love that swallows harsh reactions, love that celebrates, love that shoulders burdens, believes the best, endures the worst.

Love. God’s love. It reconciled me to him and should be the driving force behind each breath I take as a member of the church, his body, on earth.

Loving Father, you have created a marvel in your creation of the Church. The task you call us to would be impossible on our own or with simply human guidelines and so you reminded us to do it all in love. May love craft my everyday as I seek to fill the role you created me for. Thank you for the powerful tool that is the body of Christ and for my part in it. In Jesus name, amen.

Erin (6intow)

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