Author Archives: naturelady

About naturelady

Christ-Follower. Wife (married 30 years). Mother of 7. Grandmother of 1. Home educator. Occupational therapist. Blogger (www.skippingston.es). Director ofTimbernook of Greater Baltimore. So many titles, but woven through all of them is a desire to participate in God's story in my realm of influence. I love spending time outdoors and encouraging others to do so - I think it is such a tangible way to see God's character as it heals, grows, calms and brings us to a place of awe and wonder. Looking forward to growing closer to God with you as we journey through HIs Word this year.

Exodus 15, Luke 18, Job 23, 2Cor 3

Your very lives are a letter that anyone can read by just looking at you.

2 Corinthinans 3: 3 The Message

Paul’s statement to the Corinthians got me thinking about what kind of letter my life represents. As a believer in Christ, my desire is that my life would be a loving invitation to the world to join in on the journey, a testimony that this beautiful mess is the place to be. Sadly, I think my life is probably more often like a letter of complaint, or a rejection letter that says, “I got this, I don’t need Christ today.”

We see the Israelites in Exodus 15, on the other side of the Red Sea, proclaiming victory. They had just been spared their life through a miraculous event!

I’m singing my heart out to God—what a victory!
    He pitched horse and rider into the sea.
God is my strength, God is my song,
    and, yes! God is my salvation.
This is the kind of God I have
    and I’m telling the world!

Exodus 15:1-3 The Message

I can’t even imagine the relief and joy they must have been feeling. To have seen the enemy so close, chasing them down, only to be swallowed up by the sea. I can picture them face down on the ground, praising God for his deliverance. Yet….only 3 days later, when they struggle to find water, they grumble. How could they have forgotten so quickly? Yet, I often do the same. What kind of letter am I sending??  Am I declaring with my life that God is in the glaring victories, as well as, in the struggles?

Jesus uses the parable of the rich official to demonstrate how hard it is for the wealthy to let go of material things. The rich official is feeling pretty good about all he has sacrificed but when Jesus tells him to sell all his belongings, he is crest-fallen.

23 This was the last thing the official expected to hear. He was very rich and became terribly sad. He was holding on tight to a lot of things and not about to let them go.

Luke 18:23 The Message

I have been fortunate enough to travel to quite a few places in the world. I have seen poverty up close. Like nothing we see on a daily basis in the United States. I understand how rich we truly are. Yet, even in that understanding, my hands are clinging too tightly to “things.” Recently, I have heard a worship leader ask, “how can we recieve from God when our hands are closed?” How true! How humbling! What kind of letter am I sending? One of that invites freedom or one declares fear?

We find Job in Chapter 23 wondering where God is. He seems nowhere to be found. Yet, even still, Job has a proper view of who God is.

But he is singular and sovereign. Who can argue with him?
    He does what he wants, when he wants to.
He’ll complete in detail what he’s decided about me,
    and whatever else he determines to do.

Job 23:13-14

Accepting God’s sovereignty and trusting in his decisions is something I want in my life. Rather than questioning and struggling with my circumstances. Who am I to question the Maker of the Universe?

Lord, help me be a letter that invites people to draw closer to you, that declares your goodness. Help me to trust in who you are and not grumble in my circumstances. Help me cling to Jesus as I walk through the life you have given me so that you will be glorified. 

Ann (naturelady)

 

 

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Filed under 2 Corinthians, 66 Books, Exodus, Job, Luke, Uncategorized

Genesis 37; Mark 7; Job 3; Romans7

What is the condition of your heart? Today’s readings brought me to a humble place of introspection regarding the health of my own heart. Joseph’s brothers were filled with jealousy that lead to them to take dire action against Joseph and their father.

When his brothers saw that their father loved him more than any of them, they hated him and could not speak a kind word to him.

Joseph had a dream, and when he told it to his brothers, they hated him all the more.Genesis 37: 4-5 NIV

It is easy to write off the brother’s actions as drastic and beyond anything we could imagine doing. But how often do I long for something belonging to someone else? How often do I envy someone else’s recognition? How often do I neglect my own position and purpose as I envy another?

While Joseph’s brother’s were physically malicious, the Pharisees manifested their “diseased” hearts by using their postion to act superior to others. Jesus had no compassion for this behavior.

He replied, “Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; as it is written:

“‘These people honor me with their lips,
    but their hearts are far from me.
They worship me in vain;
    their teachings are merely human rules.’[b]

You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to human traditions.” Mark 7: 6-8 NIV

It is easy for me to look down on the Pharisees for their intolerance. But how often do I judge people on their actions without considering where they are coming from? How often do I focus on “looking spiritual” rather than pursuing the heart change that matters most to God?

Job was suffering when we encounter him in Job 3; his heart was aching. What struck me most here is that God allows our hearts to ache. We can cry out to God as we hurt. The Psalms are full of David crying out. The real question is what are we going to do with our heartache. Are we going to act out on our jealousy like Joseph’s brothers? Are we going to pass judgement while failing to see our own hardened heart? Or as Paul does in Romans, can we, aware of our own sinfulness, come to the throne of God, grateful for the gift of deliverance through Christ?

25 Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord! Romans 7: 25 NIV

Create in me a clean heart, Lord.

Ann (naturelady)

 

 

 

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Filed under 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, Genesis, Job, Mark, New Testament, Old Testament, Uncategorized