Author Archives: amyctanner

Genesis 35-37; Luke 11

“Then God said to Jacob, “Get ready and move to Bethel and settle there.  Build an altar there to the God who appeared to you when you fled from your brother, Esau.”  So Jacob told everyone in his household, “Get rid of all your pagan idols, purify yourselves, and put on clean clothing.  We are now going to Bethel, where I will build an altar to the God who answered my prayers when I was in distress.  He has been with me wherever I have gone.”  Genesis 35:1-3 NLT

Jacob’s family didn’t leave for Bethel until they threw away all of all their pagan idols.  I imagine Jacob telling them not to pack the idols and try to hide them.  What idols am I still holding onto? So many times I give them to God and take them back.  It hinders me from moving forward to what God has for me next.

Jacob knew that God would be with him, just like he was before. If only I could remember that more often.  I think that’s why it’s important to have “altars” in my life to remember all God has done. He was with me, even when I felt like he was far away.  He was working when I couldn’t see it.  It spurs on my faith for future unanswered prayers.

“And so I tell you, keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for.  Keep on seeking, and you will find.  Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you.  For everyone who asks, receives.  Everyone who seeks, finds.  And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.” Luke 11:9-10 NLT

I was talking to a friend’s daughter who is in the process of looking for a college.  She wants to go to the same art college that I went to.  As I was telling her about my experience there, I was remembering all of God’s goodness.  It wasn’t the first college I went to. I transferred there from a Christian college.  I was planning on commuting, but I needed transportation.  God provided a car.   As I stood in the art store on one of my first days there, I met a girl who was involved in a small Christian group on campus.  God was showing me that I wasn’t alone. That he was intimately involved in my life.  Reciting his faithfulness, gives me the hope that he is not finished with me yet.  His plans are still good.

Fast forward 25 years or so later.  And I am still asking Him what it looks like for this 43 year old mom of four to use her gifts. Trying to discipline myself to make it a priority.  Sometimes it means becoming an intern at my church so that I catch up on skills that are foreign to me.  And trusting God in the process. Remembering when I stepped out of my comfort zone before, gives me the courage to do it again.

Thank you Father for always meeting me where I am.  Forgive me for when I doubt.  I pray that my weaknesses would bring me closer to you.  And that my faith would flourish (my one word this year). Amen.

Amy(amyctanner)

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Genesis 1-4; Luke 1

Zechariah said to the angel, “How can I be sure this will happen? I’m an old man now, and my wife is also well along in years.” Then the angel said, “I am Gabriel! I stand in the very presence of God.  It was he who sent me to bring you this good news!  But now, since you didn’t believe what I said, you will be silent and unable to speak until the child is born.  For my words will certainly be fulfilled at the proper time.” Luke 1:18-20 NLT

Zechariah’s response takes me back to a time in my life when I was having trouble having a baby.  After two miscarriages I went to doctor after doctor to find out what was wrong.  The wait seemed so long. Scientific answers  were found.  But, to this day, I wonder if it was God’s timing all along.  I couldn’t imagine life without the four children he has blessed us with.

“In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a village in Galilee, to a virgin named Mary.  She was engaged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of King David.  Gabriel appeared to her and said, “Greetings, favored woman! The Lord is with you!” Confused and disturbed, Mary tried to think what the angel could mean.  “Don’t be afraid, Mary,” the angel told her, “for you have found favor with God!  You will conceive and give birth to a son, you will name him Jesus…Mary asked the angel, “But how can this happen? I am a virgin.” Luke 1:26-34 NLT

Mary was confused, but she responded in faith and not fear.  Will I be able to look back at this new year and remember all the times I did something afraid?  Will I be able to say that I was stretched out of my comfort zone, but trusted that God was with me? Recounting the mighty ways that he showed up in my life?

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.  The earth was formless and empty, and darkness covered the deep waters.  And the Spirit of God was hovering over the surface of the waters.  Then God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.  And God saw that the light was good.  Then he separated the light from the darkness.  God called the light “day” and the darkness “night.”  And evening passed and morning came, marking the first day.” Genesis 1:1-5 NLT

This passage is so familiar that I can lose the wonder of it.  And the way he can be so interactly involved in my life, but so powerful at the same time.

Help me Lord, not to lose my awe of you.  Thank you for new beginnings and fresh starts.  A new year to see how you will work in my life.  I pray that I never lose sight of you.  Amen.

Amy(amyctanner)

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Job 12-14; Psalm 100; Revelation 13

“But true wisdom and power are found in God; counsel and understanding are his.” Job 12:13 NLT

Job’s friends were trying to make sense of his suffering.  Even though Job himself, didn’t understand, he pointed them to the one who he knew did.  He knew where true wisdom could be found.

“O God, grant me these two things, and then I will be able to face you.  Remove your heavy hand from me, and don’t terrify me with your awesome presence.  Now summon me, and I will answer! Or let me speak to you, and you reply.  Tell me, what have I done wrong? Show me my rebellion and my sin.  Why do you turn away from me? Why do you treat me your enemy?” Job 13:20-24 NLT

There have been times in my life when my faith has been stretched and I wonder what God is doing.  I can relate to Job, when I think that God’s silence means that I have done something wrong.  But, I’m learning to lean in and trust in the waiting.

“Even a tree has more hope! If it is cut down, it will sprout again and grow new branches.  Though its roots have grown old in the earth and its stump decays, at the scent of water it will bud and sprout again like a new seedling.  “But when people die, their strength is gone.  They breathe their last, and then where are they? As water evaporates from a lake and a river disappears in drought, people are laid to rest and do not rise again.  Until the heavens are no more, they will not wake up nor be roused from their sleep.  “I wish you would hide me in the grave and forget me there until your anger has passed.  But mark your calendar to think of me again!  Can the dead live again? If so, this would give me hope through all my years of struggle, and I would eagerly await the release of death.  You would call and I would answer, and you would yearn for me, your handiwork.  For then you would guard my steps, instead of watching for my sins.  My sins would be sealed in a pouch, and you would cover my guilt.”  Job 14:7-17 NLT

I am thankful that I don’t struggle without hope.  Even when things seem dark, I know that light is coming.  Jesus is near. I grapple with Job’s questions and vulnerability.  He didn’t have the knowledge of Jesus like I do. Yet, he still pressed in, when it would have been easier to fall away.

Help me to remember Lord, in times of silence, you are teaching me to depend on you.  Thank you for friends who point me to you.  Thank you for your word and your promises.  Help me to praise you in the midst of suffering. Amen.

“Shout with joy to the Lord, all the earth! Worship the Lord with gladness.  Come before him, singing with joy.   Acknowledge that the Lord is God!  He made us, and we are his.  We are his people, the sheep of his pasture.  Enter his gates with thanksgiving; go into his courts with praise.  Give thanks to him and praise his name.  For the Lord is good.  His unfailing love continues forever, and his faithfulness continues to each generation.” Psalm 100 NLT

Amy(amyctanner)

 

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Esther 7-10; Revelation 3

“On that same day King Xerxes gave the property of Haman, the enemy of the Jews, to Queen Esther.  Then Mordecai was brought before the king, for Esther had told the king how they were related.  The king took off his signet ring-which he had taken back from Haman-and gave it to Mordecai.  And Esther appointed Mordecai to be in charge of Haman’s property.  Then Esther went again before the king, falling down at his feet and begging him with tears to stop the evil plot devised by Haman the Agagite against the Jews.  Again the king held out the gold scepter to Esther.  So she rose and stood before him.  Esther said, “If it please the king, and if I have found favor with him, and if he thinks it is right, and if I am pleasing to him, let there be a decree that reverses the orders of Haman son of Agagite, who ordered that Jews throughout all the king’s provinces should be destroyed.  For how can I endure to see my people and my family slaughtered and destroyed?”  Esther 8:1-6 NLT

Esther had great faith.  She didn’t let fear control her.  She believed in God’s protection.

“Then Mordecai left the king’s presence, wearing the royal robe of blue and white, the great crown of gold, and an outer cloak of fine linen and purple.  And the people of Susa celebrated the new decree.  The joys were filled with joy and gladness and were honored everywhere.”…“And King Ahasuerus imposed tribute on the land and on the islands of the sea.  Now all the acts of his power and his might, and the account of the greatness of Mordecai, to which the king advanced him, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Media and Persia? For Mordecai the Jew was second to King Ahasuerus, and was great among the Jews and well received by the multitude of his brethren, seeking the good of his people and speaking peace to all his countrymen.” Esther 8:15&16; 10:1-3 NLT

Even though Mordecai was convicted to die, he became the second highest ranking official in the nation.

“Because you have obeyed my command to persevere, I will protect you from the great time of testing that will come upon the whole world to test those who belong to this world.  I am coming soon.  Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take away your crown.  All who are victorious will become pillars in the Temple of God, and they will never have to leave it.  And I will write on them the name of my God, and they will be citizens in the city of my God-the new Jerusalem that comes down from heaven from my God.  And I will also write on them my new name.  ”  Revelation 3: 10-12 NLT

When I hear about bad things happening in the world today, my first reaction is not always that God is in control.  It is often times, fear.  I question God, instead of trust him.  I try to figure things out on my own.  But, when I remember that my citizenship is in Heaven, I rest in God’s sovereignty.  And can view my own problems in the light of eternity.

Dear Father, Help me to trust you, even when I don’t understand.  Thank you that you can turn the darkest situations around for good.  I want to have a faith like Esther and Mordecai.  Amen.

Amy(amyctanner)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H0wpP5o7xpI

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Ezra 3-4; Psalms 92; 1 John 1

“When the builders completed the foundation of the Lord’s Temple, the priests put on their robes and took their places to blow their trumpets.  And the Levites, descendants of Asaph, clashed their cymbals to praise the Lord, just as King David had prescribed.  With praise and thanks, they sang this song to the Lord:  “He is good! His faithful love for Israel  endures forever!”  Then all the people gave a great shout, praising the Lord because the foundation of the Lord’s Temple had been laid.  But many of the older priests, Levites, and other leaders who had seem the first Temple wept aloud when they saw the new Temple’s foundation.  The others, however, were shouting for joy.  The joyful shouting and weeping mingled together in a loud noise that could be heard far in the distance.”  Ezra 3:10-12 NLT

Restoration has been a theme in my life for the past few years.  I can understand the feeling of joy mixed with sorrow.  The grief over what was and the hope for what will be.

These verses encourage me to…

Press On (the rebuilding of the new temple didn’t start until 50 years after the old one was destroyed).

Expect opposition.  Satan is a very real enemy, who wants to take me down. (“The enemies of Judah and Benjamin heard that the exiles were rebuilding a temple to the Lord, the God of Israel…Than the local residents tried to discourage and frighten the people of Judah to keep them from their work. ”Ezra 4:1&4 NLT)

Anticipate what God is doing.  Wait on him and be watchful. Listen to his voice.  Even when things don’t look like I thought they would, know that he can be trusted.

But the godly will flourish like palm tress and grow strong like the cedars of Lebanon. For they are transplanted to the Lord’s own house. They flourish in the courts of our God. Even in old age they will still produce fruit; they will remain vital and green. They will declare, “The Lord is just! He is my rock! There is no evil in him!” Psalms 92:12-15 NLT

No one can stop the work that God has begun.

“But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all wickedness.” 1 John 1:9 NLT

Dear Father, thank you for your faithfulness.  Thank you that you are working eveything for my good.  That you forgive my sins. For your promise to always be with me. Amen.

Amy(amyctanner)

 

 

 

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Ezekiel 34-36; Psalms 86; John 12

“Six days before the Passover celebration began, Jesus arrived in Bethany, the home of Lazarus-the man he had raised from the dead.  A dinner was prepared in Jesus’ honor.  Martha served, and Lazarus was among those who ate with him.  Then Mary took a twelve-ounce jar of expensive perfume made from essence of nard, and she anointed Jesus’ feet with it, wiping his feet with her hair.  The house was filled with the fragrance.  But Judas Iscariot, the disciple who would soon betray him, said, “That perfume was worth a year’s wages.  It should have been sold and the money given to the poor.”  Not that he cared for the poor-he was a thief, and since he was in charge of the disciples’ money, he often stole some for himself.  Jesus replied, “Leave her alone.  She did this in preparation for my burial.  You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me.”  John 12:1-7 NLT

Did Mary feel misunderstood?  Or was she so focused on Jesus that she didn’t worry about what anyone else thought?  She didn’t try to explain herself.  She knew that Jesus was her defender.  She was preparing for Jesus’s burial.  She knew that he wouldn’t be with them soon.  She was very purposeful about what she did.  How many times have I let the opinions of others get in the way of what He has called me to do?

“Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean.  Your filth will be washed away, and you will no longer worship idols.  And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you.  I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart.  And I will put my Spirit in you so that you will follow my decrees and be careful to obey my regulations.  “And you will live in Israel, the land I gave your ancestors long ago.  You will be my people, and I will be your God.”  Ezekiel 36:25-28 NLT

God gave the Israelites a new covenant that Jesus would ultimately fulfill.

Jesus replied, “Now the time has come for the Son of Man to enter into his glory.  I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat is planted in the soil and dies, it remains alone.  But its death will produce many new kernels-a plentiful harvest of new lives.  Those who love their life in this world will lose it.  Those who care nothing for their life in this world will keep it for eternity.  Anyone who wants to serve me must follow me, because my servants must be where I am.  And the Father will honor anyone who serves me.  “Now my soul is deeply troubled.  Should I pray, ‘Father, save me from this hour’? But this is the very reason I came! Father, bring glory to your name.” John 12: 23-27 NLT

Is my heart receptive toward him or hardened? Am I living in my old ways or new?

“Be merciful to me, O Lord, for I am calling on you constantly.  Give me happiness, O Lord, for I give myself to you.  O Lord, you are so good, so ready to forgive, so full of unfailing love for all who ask for your help.  Listen closely to my prayer, O Lord; hear my urgent cry.  I will call to you whenever I’m in trouble, and you will answer me.” Psalms 86:1-7 NLT 

Thank you Father for restoring what was lost.  For dying on the cross for my sins.  For putting your spirit inside me.  I pray that I would live by that power every day. Amen.

Amy(amyctanner)

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Ezekiel 4-6; Psalms 82; John 2

“The place will be littered with corpses, and you will know that I alone am the Lord.  “But I will let a few of my people escape destruction, and they will be scattered among the nations of the world.  Then when they are exiled among the nations, they will remember me.  They will recognize how hurt I am by their unfaithful hearts and lustful eyes that long for their idols.  Then at last they will hate themselves for all their detestable sins.  They will know that I alone am the Lord and that I was serious when I said I would bring this calamity on them.” Ezekiel 6:7-10 NLT

Sometimes the destruction is all I see.  But, when I look up to God I have hope.  He is merciful.  He can use my brokenness to teach me to run to him.

“Then his disciples remembered this prophecy from the Scriptures: “Passion for God’s house will consume me.” But the Jewish leaders demanded, “What are you doing? If God gave you authority to do this, show us a miraculous sign to prove it.” “All right,” Jesus replied. “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” “What!” they exclaimed.  “It has taken forty-six years to build this Temple, and you can rebuild it in three days?” But when Jesus said “this temple,” he meant his own body.  After he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered he had said this, and they believed both the Scriptures and what Jesus had said.” John 2:17-22 NLT

Like the Jewish leaders, I don’t always understand what Jesus is doing.  It can be hard to see past my hurts.  The tearing down of my own life can be painful.  There are unhealthy habits that took a long time to build.  But, they don’t take long to tear down when I surrender to him.  He promises to rebuild and restore.  He breaths life into the dead areas in my life and makes them new. By His blood, I already have the victory.

“Because of the miraculous signs Jesus did in Jerusalem at the Passover celebration, many began to trust in him.  But Jesus didn’t trust them, because he knew all about people.  No one needed to tell him about human nature, for he knew what was in each person’s heart.” John 2:23&24 NLT

Jesus knew that some would still betray him, even after seeing the miracles he did.  They were caught up in the moment and their hearts  wavered.  Their trust didn’t run deep.  It was fleeting.

Dear Father, I desire to remain faithful to you.  Thank you for the promise to heal my broken heart and bind my wounds (Psalms 147:3).  Thank you for your faithfulness. I give you the Glory. Amen.

Amy(amyctanner)

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