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Exodus 9-11, Luke 19

Today’s readings sent me on a rollercoaster of emotion.

First, the High.

“The Lord said to Moses, ‘Go to Pharaoh.  For I have hardened his heart and the heart of his courtiers, in order that I may display my signs amongst them, and that you may recount and tell your children and your children’s children how I made a mockery of the Egyptians and how I displayed my signs amongst them – in order that you may know that I am the Lord.'” (Exodus 10:1-2)

Brave Moses, Oppressed Israelites, Hard-Hearted Pharoah, Frightened Egyptians, and ten plagues that ultimately ended up with the Israelites being set free and delivered from Egypt. Exodus is a stunning visual display of God’s tremendous power and an epic story that showcases God’s love, protection, and providence for his people, for us, for me. It is awe-inspiring and it sends my faith soaring in the one and true God.

Now, the low.

12  So He said, “A nobleman went to a distant country to receive a kingdom for himself, and then to return.  13  And he called ten of his own slaves and gave them ten  [e] minas, and said to them, ‘Do business with this money  [f] until I come back.’  14  But his citizens hated him and sent a delegation after him, saying, ‘We do not want this man to reign over us.’  15  When he returned after receiving the kingdom, he ordered that these slaves, to whom he had given the money, be summoned to him so that he would learn how much they had made by the business they had done.  16  The first slave appeared, saying, ‘ [g] Master, your  [h] mina has made ten minas more.’  17  And he said to him, ‘Well done, good slave; since you have been faithful in a very little thing, you are to have authority over ten cities.’  18  The second one came, saying, ‘Your  [i] mina,  [j] master, has made five minas.’  19  And he said to him also, ‘And you are to be over five cities.’  20  And then another came, saying, ‘Master, here is your mina, which I kept tucked away in a handkerchief;  21  for I was afraid of you, because you are a demanding man; you take up what you did not lay down, and reap what you did not sow.’  22  He *said to him, ‘ [k] From your own lips I will judge you, you worthless slave.” (Luke 19:12-22)

The minas in the parable, I believe, are representative of gifts, talents and resources God gives us to do the work of the Kingdom on Earth. The first two slaves who received the King’s minas made good use of them, but the third servant did just the opposite. He was afraid to take risks and truly use the resources entrusted to him. His fears made him take the greatest risk of all: doing nothing.

As I read Luke 19:12-22, my heart was pierced, and the high I had from reading Exodus plummeted because of some sobering questions that started to creep into my heart. Which slave am I? Am I the slave that kept the mina hidden away in a handkerchief? If so, why? If I say I know and believe in the God of Exodus who is faithful to love, provide and protect his beloved people and who sent His son to die for us, then why would I not be like the first slave, who was devoted to and obedient to his master’s words which resulted in him multiplying his
minas? God is faithful to provide answers if we simply ask Him.

Father God, Please keep my heart from being afraid to do the things You have called me, equipped me, and entrusted me to do for Your kingdom and Your glory. In Jesus’ name. Amen.



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Revelation 14:9-18:24 

“They will make war against the Lamb, but the Lamb will overcome them because he is Lord of lords and King of kings – and with him will be his called, chosen and faithful followers” (Rev. 17:14)(NIV).

“The Beginning and The End.”

I am struck by the humble intensity of this verse – a lamb overcoming the powers of evil. There is a meekness and a fire here that only God is capable of. He is sovereign. He will destroy every form of evil in His time. He will judge the living and the dead, and will make reparations for what has been lost. Revelation is full of fire and intensity. But the Lamb’s tender love for us motivates His actions throughout the Bible, and for all eternity. He is the same here, at the Bible’s end, as He was in the beginning, when He reached out from the cosmos to create us in His image.

I started this Biblical journey in Genesis: Christianity’s prologue, describing the downfall of mankind and his separation from God after the events in the Garden of Eden. I am ending it in Revelation: Christianity’s quixotic epilogue, in which God and man are reconciled through Christ. And so the beginning and the end reveal the Bible’s single, interminable thread: God loves us. He has pursued us for millennia, given us miracles and wonders, pillars of smoke and seas split open, His own Son, and the Holy Spirit as our counselor, because He loves us. Revelation is the marriage of the Church (us!) and it’s Creator. Ultimately, the Bible is a love story. And here, in Revelation, is our happily-ever-after.

Thank you, Heavenly Father, for your un-ending pursuit of me. Let me live my life worthy of Your love until that exalted day in which I meet you face to face.

“He who testifies to these things says, ‘Yes, I am coming soon.’ Amen. Come, Lord Jesus. The grace of the Lord Jesus be with God’s people. Amen” (Rev. 22:20-21).


From the archives. Originally posted December 29, 2009.

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Revelation 5:1-9:11 

Revelation 4:11

“Worthy are you, our Lord and God,

to receive glory and honor and power,

for you created all things,

and by your will they existed and were created.”

A simply stated truth about God; about His worthiness to receive glory, honor and power because of who He is – the creator of all things, and the power He possesses – He spoke the world, us and all that there is, into existence.

This knowledge of God’s worthiness ought to move us to worship Him as we recognize what has been true of Him since before time began. For us, His creations, it’s all about worship.

The question for me then becomes – How do I worship God?  What is the appropriate expression of worship through my unique personality? I’ve struggled with this for years because of my narrow view of worship… singing. Yes, I’m one of those! I love music but I’m not always moved by the worship music I sing. I’m left feeling guilty, even ashamed that I wasn’t able to “worship” the God I profess to love. For a non-singer, imagine the thought of spending eternity… singing!

I’ve had to expand my view of worship. I feel like I am honoring God and giving him worship when I…

– spend time quietly in His presence.

– talk about His goodness to those who are seeking.

– encourage fellow believers in their faith.

– when I admit my own struggles to trustworthy saints – entrusting myself to His care through the Body of Christ.

– reach out to the broken, hurting , lost souls that silently cry for help.

– pray and ask him to help me see people through His eyes.

– do the things I’d rather not do because in my heart I know He is calling me to step out in faith.

– use my gifts and talents in a way that brings glory to God and not myself.

Worship has become the essence of my personal relationship with the Living God. Sometimes I gaze in wonder, sometimes I’m anxiously excited, sometimes my heart aches and the tears well up, and sometimes I’m even moved to… sing.

At the end of the day, it is still all about worship.


From the archives. Originally published December 24, 2009.

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James 4:11-5:20; 1 Peter 1:1-3:12

13Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed. 14As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. 15But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; 16for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.”

~I Peter 1:13-16 (NIV)

As I Peter calls us to stand firm in the grace of God (that will come more explicitly in tomorrow’s reading — I Peter 5:12), this firm stance must come on many fronts. God’s amazing grace will infiltrate our minds, our maturing process, our emotions, our relationships, our everything.

Our minds, not just our emotions,  play an active role in our spiritual lives. With intentionality, knowledge, obedience, imitation of Christ. As unbelievers we remained ignorant to holiness and absorbed with our own desires. As believers we should become consumed with the knowledge and growth of His holiness in our lives.

My mind needs saturation in God’s Word — reading, meditating, memorizing.

Spiritual growth will not happen without effort and study. As my knowledge grows my behavior will naturally progress as well, but not without effort and surrender.

Those who are not Christians are often blinded by their own ignorance and desires. We need to share our knowledge without hesitation, but also with understanding that it will appear foolish to their mindsets.

I need to get to know God more in order to be more like Him.

Lord, I want to be more like You. Help me to know You more, to gain knowledge and understanding of Your holiness that it may radiate more evidently from my life. Thank you for saving me from the sin I was too ignorant to even recognize at the time. You are all I need to focus on and to hope in. ~Amen

Erin (5intow)

From the archives. Originally published December 17, 2009.

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1 Timothy 1-5

God our Savior, wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.

1 Timothy 2:4

Turn away from godless chatter and the opposing ideas of what is falsely called knowledge, which some have professed and in so doing have wandered from the faith.

1 Timothy 6:20

In his letter to Timothy, Paul:

  • taught on grace and faith
  • warned against false teachers
  • encouraged prayer, worship and scripture reading
  • gave guidelines for overseers and deacons
  • urged use of spiritual gifts
  • advised guarding righteousness and fleeing temptation

Paul knew from his debates with philosophers at the Aeropegas in Greece that bright and shiny new ideas can sometimes lead us astray. He warned Timothy not to get involved with controversies that divide rather than unite.

The Internet is an exchange place of ideas both good and bad. The cause of Christ can fade beneath the constant friction that promotes high traffic. The pursuit of righteousness, godliness, and faith are often drowned out by meaningless chatter on Facebook and Twitter.  A pure heart, sincere faith and a clear conscience wrestle with malware and pornography lurking beneath the surface. It is so easy to get carried away.

When I think of my wandering heart I remember the hymn “Come Thou Fount Of Every Blessing.” Robert Robinson was saved on December 10, 1755.  Three years later, at the age of twenty three,  he wrote these words.

Prone to wander. Lord I feel it. Prone to leave the God I love.

Here’s my heart, O take and seal it, seal it for they courts above.

Lord, my attention span is so short. Save me from my wandering eyes. Protect me from false ideas. You are the truth and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through you. May I never stray from you. Thank you for your mercy and grace. In Jesus Name I pray.


From the archives. Originally published December 9, 2009.

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