Author Archives: gueston66books

1 Samuel 9; Romans 7; Jeremiah 46; Psalm 22

From deep, deep down when desire nearly drowns in dread
when I am desperate for You…
When I can’t see, and I can’t hear You. ( taken from Ps22:1-2)

Yet you are holy…” and I choose to remember.

I will remember what YOU have done.

“In you our fathers trusted… and you delivered them.
To you they cried…and you rescued them.” PS.22:4-5

When I am desperate, depressed. When all despise me.
I feel alone, and I can’t find You.
When I am daunted by their doubt… (verses 6-7)

“He trusts in the Lord, let Him deliver him;
let Him rescue him for he delights in Him.” Ps22:8

I will remember what You have done for me.

“Yet YOU are He who took me from the womb;
YOU made me trust YOU at my mother’s breasts,
On YOU was I cast from my birth
and from my mother’s womb YOU have been my God.” Ps22:9-10

Oh Father,
Some days will be dark and dreary.
Deal tenderly with us. We want to see Your face.
Help us remember what You have done.
Be our everlasting delight. For,

“He has not hidden His face from Him, but has heard, when he cried to Him.” Psalm 22:24

Oh how desperately we need You…

amy in peru

republished from the archives, August 17, 2010

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1 Samuel 2; Jeremiah 40; Psalm 15 & 16; Romans 2

There are songs of praise and trust in our readings today.  In 1 Samuel, Hannah sings from her heart about God answering her prayer.

“My heart exults in the Lord; My horn is exulted in the Lord,

    My mouth speaks boldly against my enemies,

    Because I rejoice in Your salvation.

    There is no one holy like the Lord,

    Indeed there is no one besides You.

    Nor is there any rock like our God.” (v.1-2 NASB)

Like Hannah I prayed for children and received them.  There is no greater blessing.

In the 16th Psalms, David declares his trust in the Lord.

The Lord is the portion of my inheritance and my cup;

    You support my lot.

    The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places;

    Indeed my heritage is beautiful to me.” (v. 5-6)

Last summer we suffered a job loss.  Right from that first day we sensed God whispering that it was all going to be alright; He’d take care of us.  We just needed to trust.  And two months later exactly, a new job began.

“I will bless the Lord who has counseled me;

    Indeed my mind instructs me in the night.

    I have set the Lord continually before me;

    Because He is at my right hand I will not be shaken.

    Therefore my heart is glad and my glory rejoices;

    My flesh also will dwell securely.” (v. 7-9)

We have had health issues come up in our family that have shaken us.  God counsels us when we’re broken and questioning “why.”  His ways are not our ways.

    You will make known to me the path of life;

    In your presence is fullness of joy;

    In your right hand there are pleasures forever.” (v.11)

Ultimately I am slowly learning to take life a day at a time, very challenging for a planner like me.  But I know the joy comes in focusing on God and all He’s given us.

Lord, like Hannah and David, help us to use the trials and the harvests in life as pieces of our testimony.  May others want to know You by knowing what You’ve done for us.

Amen.

~Kellie   (gueston66books)

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1 Samuel 1, Romans 1, Jeremiah 39, Psalms 13, 14

I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes.   Romans 1:16

Whenever I read this verse, I am struck by Paul’s word choice.  Not ashamed?  Why does Paul feel the need to defend his belief in the gospel?

One reason I gravitate to Paul’s writing is his logical bent.  He took the message of Jesus to the centers of culture, where the greatest minds of the time were located. He spent time speaking to philosophers in Athens.  Now he is writing to believers in the seat of power, Rome.  Paul knew that he needed to appeal to the intellect, as well as the heart, to persuade his audience of the truth of the gospel.  And he didn’t shy away from this.

As someone who naturally favors logic over emotion, I can appreciate Paul’s perspective.  I, too, would associate shame with an inability to logically defend my position.  In fact, I think it is the fear of this shame that drives me to take such a keen interest in defending my faith when the “intellectual elite” try to cut it down.

No subject elicits more intellectual attacks on our faith today than the subject of origins.  Popularly over-simplified as a choice between a “6 day creation account” and “godless evolution”, debate rages on about how the world, and we humans, came to exist.  And curious Christians (including this one), immediately start looking at the theological implications of these alternatives.  Undoubtedly, the interpretation of the Genesis creation account hinges on the answers to these “HOW” questions.   But the even bigger question, the “WHO” question, has been answered:

The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them.  For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities–his eternal power and divine nature–have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.  Romans 1:18-20

While the details of the mechanics of creation are in hot debate, Paul makes it clear that God is the creator and his creation testifies to his eternal power and divine nature.

Lord,
Thank you that the beauty, majesty, design, and intricacy of your creation testifies so boldly to your existence and your nature.  I pray that the pursuit of the “how” questions draws more people to a saving knowledge of you.

Greg (gmd40187)

 

(Repost from 66 books archives.)

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Judges10-11:11; Acts 14; Jeremiah 23; Mark 9

Judges 10:6 “Then the children of Israel again did evil in the sight of the Lord…”

Acts14:15 “Men, why are you doing these things? We also are men, of like nature with you, and we bring you good news, that you should turn from these vain things to a living God…”

Jeremiah 23:22 “But if they had stood in My council, then they would have announced My words to My people.”

Mark 9:19 “O faithless generation, how long shall I be with you?”

We all can get off track; chasing after idols, playing around with the forbidden, participating in gossip or slander with a neighbor or against a co-worker.  We are also prone to following after charismatic spiritual leaders, becoming comfortable in relying on the weekly inserts in church bulletins to inform our lazy minds what God is saying (at least to the televangelist or pastor).  Why is it so easy and dangerous to run with the crowd? I think it is complacency.  Complacency is a lack of effort, a slipping away from spiritual vigilance over our soul.  We let day after day go by without so much as a glance at the Word of God or a heartfelt, intercessory prayer for others.  It may be difficult to identify how our morals, beliefs, and intentions have been compromised.  We cannot see it happening.  Yet, our testimony, (not the one that brought us to Christ, but the one that we speak every day with our words and actions) points to this falling away.  Over time, we will have to admit we have been compromised when our omniscient God pulls us up abruptly with the words, “…cut it off; it is better for you to enter [eternal] life…than to be cast into hell.”  Strong words, I know.  Yet I have seen the devastation when a believer falls into the death grip of denial and immorality.  Years of wasting away a life once devoted to the things of God, now self-serving.  The collateral damage will require the faith of saints and the mercy of God to repair.

I once heard that most Americans are but a paycheck away from homelessness.  In the same way, our spiritual bank can become low in reserves of truth, belief, faith, utter dependence on, and gratitude to God.  We will find ourselves homeless, holding onto the transitory thoughts and mores of our world and our own darker imaginings.  Our good deeds will not save us; avoiding the reckoning will not delay the inevitable; minimizing the consequences will not justify us.  We can tough it out and hope the saints are wrong, or we can repent and return to diligently seeking the Master’s face, asking for His mercy, putting away the things that interfere with discipleship, then serving Him with our whole heart. My own conscious tells me this is so – have mercy on me, oh Lord.

Janet

From the archives. Originally published July 27, 2013.

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Joshua 22; Jeremiah 11; Matthew 25; Acts 2

As a Sunday School teacher and a kindergarten teacher at a Christian school, I’m often telling the kids that Jesus said “If you love Me, you’ll keep My commands” (John 14:15).  It’s that simple.

In Joshua’s farewell message to the tribes he states,

    “…love the Lord your God and walk in all His ways and keep His

    Commandments and hold fast to Him with all your heart and

    With all your soul.” (Joshua 22:5 NASB)

Later Jeremiah warns the people to be faithful to their covenant with God. “…listen to My voice and do according to all which I commanded

    you; so you shall be My people and I will be your God.”

    (Jeremiah 11:4)

Then in Peter’s sermon at Pentecost, Peter mentions the signs that we’ll see in the last days as prophesized by Joel.

“And it shall be in the last days, God says, that I will pour forth

    Of my Spirit on all mankind; and your sons and your daughters

    Shall prophesy; And your young men shall see visions, and your

    Old men shall dream dreams; Even on my bondslaves, both men

    And women, I will in those days pour forth of my Spirit, and they

    Shall prophesy; And I will grant wonders in the sky above and

    Signs on the earth below, blood and fire and vapor and smoke.

    The sun will be turned into darkness and the moon into blood,

    Before the great and glorious day of the Lord shall come.  And it

    Shall be that everyone that calls on the name of the Lord shall

    Be saved” (Acts 2:17-21).

So until Jesus either calls us Home or comes back for us, we need to be vigilant like the ten virgins because we don’t know when that day is coming.

    “But at midnight there was a shout, ‘Behold the bridegroom!’

    Come out to meet Him.  Then all the virgins rose and trimmed

    their lamps.  The foolish said to the prudent, ‘Give us some of

    your oil for our lamps are going out.’  But the prudent answered

    ‘No, there will not be enough for us and you too; go instead to

    the dealers and buy some for yourselves.’  And while they were

    going away to make the purchase, the bridegroom came, and

    those who were ready went in with Him to the wedding feast

    and the door was shut.” (Matthew 25:6-10).

May we always show we love You by obeying your commands.

May we live in expectation and preparedness for Your return.

Kellie (gueston66books)

 

Kellie

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Joshua 12,13; Psalms 145; Jeremiah 6; Matthew 20

“The workers who were hired about five in the afternoon came and each received a denarius.  So when those came who were hired first, they expected to receive more. But each one of them also received a denarius.  When they received it, they began to grumble against the landowner.  ‘These who were hired last worked only one hour,’ they said, ‘and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the work and the heat of the day.’    Matthew 20:9;12

I tend to place myself within parables as I read them (always identifying with the most godly of the story’s characters, of course!).  After I read the parable of the workers in the vineyard, I instead imagined a scene from my future:

I walk into Heaven after serving God for most of my long life and find myself face to face with a couple of Nazis.

Huh?  This is Heaven right?  What’s going on here?

I suddenly recall reading the testimony of the U.S. Army chaplain assigned to minister to the surviving leaders of the Third Reich during their year-long trial at Nuremburg.  He claimed several were saved, including the chief of the German armed forces and the head of their massive slave labor force.  As I stand in Heaven staring them straight in the eye, I see that he was right.  I’m not sure how I feel about sharing the same eternal fate as men who were personally responsible for the deaths of tens of millions and caused great misery for hundreds of millions more.  They dedicated themselves to God only in the eleventh hour as they approached their executions.  Something doesn’t seem right.  Something doesn’t seem fair.

I look around the golden city and marvel at this, my eternal reward, and then start to wonder anew if I’m really being given nothing more than the reward these reformed killers have received.  Suddenly my eyes fall upon Jesus.  He’s looking at me with an expression that suggests He’s waiting for something to click within my mind.  Finally it does.  I realize that this eternal reward I feel slighted in having to share with the Nazis is a reward that Jesus alone actually earned.  Fairness to Jesus would require that I  take up residence in hell.  I’m only here because of God’s grace.  How then can I be wishing, even for a moment, that He apply a little justice to someone else?

I see Jesus is still waiting, and my thoughts break through yet another wall.  I might be sharing the same eternal fate as men who rebelled against God to a degree that few others in history ever have, but it’s SO wrong to think that God has blessed us equally.  We might be neighbors in Heaven, but I was given something they never were.  They served God only toward the end of lives filled with evil.  On the other hand, God prevented me from committing such levels of evil, and blessed me by drawing me to Him early in life.  These men lived most of their lives in service to themselves.  I was invited to live most of my life in service to the Great and Holy King.  What an unparalleled privilege!

Dear Lord, thank you for mercy rather than justice.  Destroy my lingering love of fairness.  Replace it with an ever greater love of goodness and grace.  Amen.

Michael   (mmattix)

From the archives. Originally published July 10, 2011.

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Deuteronomy 22; Psalm 110 & 111; Isaiah 49; Revelation 19

Last week was one of those weeks where anything irritating that could happen, happened.  Looking back on them some are funny and most not that bad, but boy at the time I had had about enough.  Wonder how many of those “uggh I can’t believe it” moments were simply life playing out or tests of how patient I could be in the situations. Honestly I didn’t get a very good grade but with any luck through them I’m learning to be more wise.

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; a good understanding have all those who do His commandments; His praise endures forever” (Psalm 111: 10 NASB).

This week we are using patience to help our oldest in a new situation.  She is going through a medical experience due to a genetic condition that God allowed her to have.  I begged God to spare our children but he said “no.”  He knows better than we do.  We firmly believe that dealing with this trial in her life will mature her and make her faith stronger, but it still hurts as parents.  Makes me daydream about the day Jesus returns to make all things new and takes all types of pain away.

And I saw Heaven opened and behold a white horse, and He who sat on it Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and wages war.  His eyes are a flame of fire, and on His head are many diadems; and He has a name written on Him which no one knows except Himself.  His is clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God.  And the armies which are in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, were following Him on white horses.  From His mouth comes a sharp sword, so that with it He may strike down the nations, and He will rule them with a rod of iron; and He treads the wine press of the fierce wrath of God the Almighty.  And on His robe and on His thigh He has a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.” (rev. 19:11-16)

Lord, You are there through the trivial annoyances in life and also that difficult trials. May we become wiser as we learn to fear/know/love You more.  May we also look forward to the day when You’ll return to wipe every tear away and defeat all the darkness of this world.

Amen,

Kellie (gueston66books)

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