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.

Ecclesiastes 8-12; Matthew 17

The righteous and the wise and their deeds are in the hand of God. Eccl 9:1

Wisdom is better than weapons of war, but one sinner destroys much good. Eccl 9:18

Life is unpredictable, and at times irrational, inconsistent. We try to find logical reason for the evil that exists and the bad that happens.

Why do “bad” things happen to “good” people? (Seriously, try making sense of the crucifixion to the disciples in the midst of it)

Why do “good” things happen to “bad” people? (And, the prosperity of Rome?)

I’ve been wrestling with the fallout of evil in our church in recent months. A pastor unchecked, money spent without accountability, leadership defending unbiblical decisions.

So hard. So much hurt. In the headlines, and not just local. So, not only do we wrestle with how to move forward personally and as a church, we wrestle with explaining this mess to our unbelieving friends and co-workers.

A stark reminder that sin still haunts us as long as we walk this earth.

The writer of Ecclesiastes also tried to make sense of these types of illogical happenings. In the end, it all comes back to obedience and trusting God for the outcome.

The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil. Eccl 12:13, 14

I can rest in Him. He knows it all. Unsurprised by it all. Already paid the ultimate price, and now patiently waiting for the right time and still actively at work in the waiting.

Lord, it doesn’t make sense, but it doesn’t need to. Help me trust unconditionally and keep obeying and following You regardless of outcome or what happens around me. You are good, and I will praise You. In Jesus Name, Amen

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Proverbs 5-8; Matthew 7

rejoice in the wife of your youth (Proverbs 5:18 ESV)

He dies for lack of discipline, (Proverbs 5:23)

if you are snared in the words of your mouth, (6:2) – plead urgently with your neighbor

 

While so much of what happens to us in life is out of our control, how it impacts our life is largely in our control.

We choose how to respond.

We choose our words.

We choose how long we linger on an offense.

We choose joy, or not.

We choose a disciplined life.

We choose to forgive.

We choose contentment.

We choose wisdom, or foolishness.

We choose surrender to God’s way, or spiraling into temptation and sin.

Proverbs does not paint a simple, easy picture of life, but it does make clear that we will be responsible for our choices. Throughout the verses we are warned against adultery, foolishness, temptation, and rebellion.

For whoever finds me [wisdom] finds life
and obtains favor from the Lord,  (Proverbs 8:35 ESV)

Proverbs also shows the protection that God builds into obedience – marital faithfulness, contentment, blessing (in various forms).

Matthew 7 adds a fresh filter to these chapters in Proverbs. In all these areas, we should focus on and start with self-examination.

Establish your life on Jesus Christ, grow in Him so you bear good fruit, seek after Him, and then, you can come back to verse 5 and help your brother with his speck. First, you need to acknowledge that it is just a speck compared to the log you had to wrestle through, too.

You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye. (Matthew 7:5 ESV)

I realized recently that it doesn’t say not to take out the speck as I had always kind of concluded – don’t judge, worry about yourself, stop finger-pointing, etc. It doesn’t really say that, but instead it gives a condition: remove your log first! Not only, just first.

Lord, I come to you again seeking wisdom. Show me those logs that obscure my vision, my judgment. Help me to mercilessly wrench them out of my life and thinking. Purify my heart and mind that I may be a catalyst for the body of Christ around me. ~Amen

Erin (6intow)

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2 Samuel 7-8; I Chronicles 17; 2 Corinthians 1; Psalm 2

[David said] “See now, I dwell in a house of cedar, but the ark of God dwells in a tent.” v.2

12 When your days are fulfilled and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring after you, who shall come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom.

25 And now, O Lord God, confirm forever the word that you have spoken concerning your servant and concerning his house, and do as you have spoken. 26 And your name will be magnified forever ~2 Samuel 7-8 ESV

Legacy.

Calling.

The two are irresistibly intertwined. Some, like David leave behind a national legacy, a royal lineage, and an eternal heritage. Others leave negative influences in their wake. Many go to their grave with regrets over tasks left undone or even unattempted.

For David, he had a dream – to build the house of God. He seemed to have lofty motivations – gratitude, honor, worship.

But God’s perspective is not always our own. We need to rest in God’s design for our life. All things might be permissible, but not all things are beneficial (I Cor. 10:23).  Rest. Trust. Obedience. When we often want to Plan. Work. Build.

So, David settled back into God’s gifting – warring against the Philistines. Sounds crazy, but that’s kinda how God wired him. As he lived out God’s calling for him as king and commander, he paved the way for the legacy to pass along to Solomon who would finish his dream.

11 Serve the Lord with fear,
and rejoice with trembling.
12 Kiss the Son,
lest he be angry, and you perish in the way,
for his wrath is quickly kindled.
Blessed are all who take refuge in him. ~Psalm 2 ESV

Instead of pressing ahead with “good” plans, we need to continually seek out God’s best for our lives and His Glory. Our human thinking does not equate rejoicing with trembling, but I imagine that was where David found himself after this word from Nathan. Constant surrender to God of every step, every decision to never settle with good enough.

20 For all the promises of God find their Yes in him. That is why it is through him that we utter our Amen to God for his glory. 2 Corinthians 1:20 ESV

Lord, help me to have a long-sighted vision of Your work in my life. One that extends beyond my death. One that walks with selfless obedience to Your Word and Your plan for my life. I want Your best, not just a good plan. Help me rest with gratitude for your direction. ~Amen

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I Samuel 28-30; I Corinthians 11; Psalm 109

Could I ever pray too much?

David faced incredibly complex and challenging circumstances. His constant response shows why he is known as a man after God’s own heart:

But David strengthened himself in the Lord his God. ~I Samuel 30:6 ESV

David inquired of the Lord ~ v.8

but I give myself to prayer. ~Psalm 109: 4b ESV

My knees are weak through fasting;
    my body has become gaunt, with no fat. ~ v. 24

Whether pursued by one of his many enemies or dealing with the fallout of wicked attacks, David pursued God’s justice.

In Psalm 109 we may not know the exact context, but he is clearly seeking God’s vindication with a clear desire for this other person to be punished. David leaves nothing to the imagination. He wants the other person to die and his family to be destitute.

Yet, David does not act. He prays. Fasts to the point of fatigue, serious weight loss.

With my mouth I will give great thanks to the Lord;
    I will praise him in the midst of the throng.
31 For he stands at the right hand of the needy one

In the face of opposition, we should rest in God’s power and sovereignty, continue to praise His name, and even give thanks knowing he is faithful. He provides the strength and peace even when the circumstance presses in with fear and loss.

Our situation might not be quite as dramatic as having our family kidnapped requiring us to march for days without provision to reclaim them in a hostile raid, but we must equally rely on God for our daily strength and direction.

David was ready to face such an event because he had a right relationship with God. We should also regularly seek our hearts and make sure we are in line with His.

28 Let a person examine himself . . . 31 But if we judged ourselves truly, we would not be judged. 32 But when we are judged by the Lord, we are disciplined so that we may not be condemned along with the world.  ~ excerpts from I Corinthians 11:27-32

Specifically referring to taking communion with the proper ceremony, but it may be safe to take a broader application here as well.

We often deceive ourselves concerning our own sinfulness. We ignore pride, deception, manipulation, judgment, and other sins. God calls us to judge ourselves truly. Examine our hearts.

Communion is a great time for this, but it should likely be done at other times as well. Weekly, possibly even daily we should let God’s spirit reveal those sins we have rationalized and ignored. Better to deal with them on an ongoing basis through confession, repentance, and God’s forgiveness, than to be subject to God’s judgment, which in this passage at times led to death!

Lord God, I want to be ready for the battles ahead in this day. There is hurt and fear of man in my heart that threatens to overwhelm and clouds my wisdom. Forgive me for acting out of human logic and help me to rely ever more on You alone. Point out my sin that I may not tolerate it or be hindered by it. Pressing on, In Jesus Name, Amen

 

 

 

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1 Samuel 12-13; 1 Chronicles 1-3; 1 Corinthians 1

16 Now therefore stand still and see this great thing that the Lord will do before your eyes. ~I Samuel 12:16 ESV

Not in our power, but in God’s. Not by our wisdom, but by God’s. Not us. Only Him.

23 Moreover, as for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord by ceasing to pray for you, and I will instruct you in the good and the right way. 24 Only fear the Lord and serve him faithfully with all your heart. For consider what great things he has done for you. 25 But if you still do wickedly, you shall be swept away, both you and your king. ~I Samuel 12:23-25 ESV

Reading the closing comments of many great leaders throughout the Old Testament and you find this common theme — Follow God only, and if you don’t you’ll by judged (with an often heavy emphasis on the judgment part).

Moses says it, here Samuel says it, and before God goes “silent” for 400 years Malachi pounds the message home again. Israel barely listens. Do we?

It’s not for lack of passion on the part of the leader. Moses gave the warning and taught them a song with the warning before he died, not stepping foot into the promised land. Samuel realizes the burden of the message and realizes it would be a sin not to pray for their success in following God. I’m not the priest for a nation, but I still bear this burden to pray for those that God has entrusted to me and requests He brings to my attention.

And, just minutes later, they prove the need for such prayer and reproof.

11 Samuel said, “What have you done?” And Saul said, “When I saw that the people were scattering from me, and that you did not come within the days appointed, and that the Philistines had mustered at Michmash, 12 I said, ‘Now the Philistines will come down against me at Gilgal, and I have not sought the favor of the Lord.’ So I forced myself, and offered the burnt offering.” ~I Samuel 13:11-12

In a pinch, we start looking around us. Looking at the trials, the enemies, the waves, the opposition. I resonate with the quote, “Don’t tell God how big your problems are, tell your problems how big your God is.” When our view shifts from the awesome, faithful, sovereign, just, loving, and good God of the universe to the more visible, but far more insignificant problems of our daily life, we cloud our thinking.

Saul made the same mistake Uzzah did. Forgetting the clear commands of God and thinking God needs help or hurrying along. I admit it is terribly tempting at times, but both these decisions brought disastrous results — Uzzah’s death and Saul’s loss of the kingdom. This moment secured David’s role in the promised Messiah’s lineage.

God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. ~I Corinthians 1:9

The New Testament renews this command with some beautiful promises — Jesus is our faithful mentor and advisor.

18 For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. ~I Corinthians 1:18

Even when God’s way seems foolish, it is the right way. It is the best way. The world will look down on us for the inconvenient choices that we make, but it is the only way.

24 but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men. ~I Corinthians 1:24-25 ESV

I can’t walk in my strength, it is nearly nothing. I must press on in my weakness, and that little portion of God’s strength that sustains me is far greater than the greatest, wisest, strongest man.

Erin (6intow)

 

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Judges 9-11; Mark 13; Psalm 49

22 Abimelech ruled over Israel three years. 23 . . . the leaders of Shechem dealt treacherously with Abimelech, 24 that the violence done to the seventy sons of Jerubbaal might come, and their blood be laid on Abimelech their brother, who killed them, and on the men of Shechem, who strengthened his hands to kill his brothers. (from Judges 9 – ESV)

Abimelech ruled for three bloody years. He had his 70 brothers killed to secure the throne, destroyed families, ambushed groups of people, killed another 1,000 hiding in a tower, and captured and killed until a woman dropped a millstone on his head. And, as much as he wanted to avoid the disgrace, it is still recognized that a woman ended his reign of terror even though his armor bearer officially ended his life.

All that wickedness, and he was afraid that he would have the reputation of dying at the hand of a female. The least of his worries.

Sadly, the leaders bear some blame as well. Instead of standing up to Abimelech, they strengthened his hands. (Lord, give me the wisdom to recognize evil and the boldness to speak out against it!)

We assume that Israel had at least a bit of a change of heart as the next two judges fill a brief five verses at the beginning of chapter ten with their length of reign and a note about their death and burial.

Before long though, Israel goes her own way. How often do I also find myself repeating the same sins? How often do pride and self-righteousness and bad habits and laziness poke their noses into my choices? My issue might not be foreign gods, but I have plenty of issues.

I find a bit of comfort in Jephthah’s story, despite the tragic ending. God used him. Someone rejected by society because of his out-of-wedlock birth, still had a place in God’s plan. (reminds me of Ruth, Rahab, Mary, and Tamar) I love that God forgives and looks at us from His unique perspective as our Creator. If we repent and surrender, and even sometimes when we don’t, he shows a love for us that goes beyond comprehension.

Lord, speak gently to my heart and help me to learn my lesson before I need to cry out to you from a place of punishment. Help me remember Your saving hand in times of peace and blessing as well as times of challenge. Thank you for using the broken, even me. ~Amen

Erin (6intow)

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Deuteronomy 32-34; Mark 3; Psalm 40

The reality of life – ups and downs. Good choices and bad. Gratitude and regret.

I see it in my kids, the eight year old just learning about life, the young adult “kids” figuring out the world around them. I see it in my parents, turning 80 this year and still seeking to honor God and not let past mistakes hold them back from that. And, I see it in myself, every day.

My only hope is to trust in Him . . .

People all around me are making daily choices and watching as I make mine.

Just like they watched him – to accuse him

And they watched Jesus, to see whether he would heal him on the Sabbath, so that they might accuse him. And he said to the man with the withered hand, “Come here.” And he said to them, “Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do harm, to save life or to kill?” But they were silent. And he looked around at them with anger, grieved at their hardness of heart (Mark 3:2-5 ESV)

Jesus drove to the underlying question – is it lawful to do good or to do harm?

They still could not see the good, only saw his breach of their rendition of the law and their hatred led to the natural next step – a desire for his death.

Check down a few verses  for the polar opposite reaction. Jesus has to have an escape plan so he isn’t crushed by the crowd of humanity that can’t get enough of him. They saw the good. The healing. The love. The Truth.

And, his family thinks he is crazy.

Scribes think he is possessed.

We, too, will be misunderstood at times.

This story  of struggle to respond to God as He deserves is as old as time.

For I will proclaim the name of the Lord;
ascribe greatness to our God!

“The Rock, his work is perfect,
for all his ways are justice.
A God of faithfulness and without iniquity,
just and upright is he. (Deuteronomy 32 ESV)

Israel had these opposite responses for millennia. The crooked and twisted generation could be seen in Egypt and to those who walked the earth when Jesus lived.

In the blessing Moses passed along to the tribes of Israel we also see this mixture of blessing and curse, devotion to God and those that lived with regret.

Even Moses who knew God face to face had his moments of rebellion and died before stepping foot in the promised land. Yes, still, his reward in heaven is great.

We will fail, we will knowingly or unknowingly speak or act in ways that are contrary to God’s Truth.

Yet, if we are surrendered to Him as our Lord and Savior, we can find in Him our help and deliverer  and pray as the Psalmist did:

I waited patiently for the Lord;

he inclined to me and heard my cry.

He drew me up from the pit of destruction,

out of the miry bog,

4 Blessed is the man who makes the LORD his trust,

11  As for you, O Lord, you will not restrain your mercy from me;

your steadfast love and your faithfulness will ever preserve me!

17 the Lord takes thought for me.

You are my help and my deliverer;

do not delay, O my God! (Psalm 40 ESV)

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