Author Archives: gueston66books

Proverbs 29-31; 1 Thessalonians 4

“And we also thank God continually because, when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but as it actually is, the word of God, which is at work in you who believe.”  1 Thessalonians 2:13

Sometimes I treat the Bible like a coffee table decoration. I may read through the words as if they were nice theories or a self improvement project or gloss through the difficult passages and patronize them by passing them off as antiquated and therefore, irrelevant. God’s word is far too powerful to remain in the box that I attempt to keep it in. In reading the Word, God invites me to sit with him, wrestle with my questions and doubts and dance with hopes and dreams. All these things I lay before God in the light of his Word.

God’s Word asks me if I truly believe that I am a sinner in need of forgiveness? Do I really, REALLY believe that Christ died on the cross and physically rose from the dead so that I might live? When the truth of Jesus Christ sets in, I awaken from my stupor and the world changes; I change. His resurrection brings light and joy into unexpected places.

Following Christ is not a quest to be a better person or to find fulfillment; those things might happen, but they are not the end. God wants something much greater, wilder, and more beautiful for me; He wants holiness.

“For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life. Therefore, he who rejects this instruction does not reject man but God who gives the Holy Spirit.” 1 Thessalonians 4:7-8.

Holiness is the odd combination of laying aside my idea of righteousness to accept that of Jesus and leaning forward in gratitude to live the life He has called me to. It means being transformed by his love into the his likeness. It’s being willing to let go of my ego long enough to be able to take risks and believe that God’s power will win the day. A holy life focuses on God and not man’s ability to get things right or wrong.

The people that I know who live holy lives are “clothed in strength and dignity” that comes from God and isn’t stuffy and judgmental. Quite the opposite. They are people who can laugh and have grace for themselves and others. Think of the woman in Proverbs 31. Knowing and living the truth of the Gospel opens the door for the Holy Spirit to do that kind of work in ordinary lives.

Lord, I believe you are who you say you are. Help me when unbelief slips in. Keep me focused on you today. Holy Spirit, please be at work in and through me today. Amen.

Kathy (Klueh)

From the archives. Originally published June 17, 2016.

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Proverbs 16-18, Romans 15

For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.  (Romans 5:4, NIV)

Everything in the Scriptures was written to teach us.  Everything.  Every story, every historical detail, every psalm, every proverb, every word.

It was written to teach us.  To teach me and every single person who has opened the Bible and will open the Bible.  It is personal.

So that we might have hope.  So that we may know Jesus.

It’s no wonder so many proverbs are written about learning.  We are advised to gain wisdom, knowledge, understanding, and discernment.  A few from today’s reading:

How much better to get wisdom than gold, to choose understanding rather than silver! (Proverbs 16:16)

The heart of the discerning acquires knowledge; the ears of the wise seek it out. (Proverbs 18:15)

Every time I open my Bible, I learn something new about the God of hope.  I interact with Him as I study and ask Him to reveal Himself to me.  The more I learn about Him, the more I want to learn.  The more I understand His character, the deeper I grow in my love for Him.

I know, however, that Scripture alone is not the source my hope.  God is the source of my hope.  And this hope is provided by the power of the Holy Spirit.

As I open myself and allow God to teach me through the Scriptures, I pray Romans 15:13:

Heavenly Father, You are the God of hope.  Fill me with all joy and peace as I learn to trust in You, so that I may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.  Amen    

Diona (dionak1)

From the archives. Originally published June 10, 2016.

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2 Samuel 9-10; 1 Chronicles 18-19; Psalm 89; Acts 26

12One time the leading priests gave me permission and the power to go to Damascus. 13On the way there, at noon, I saw a light from heaven. The light was brighter than the sun. It flashed all around me and the men who were traveling with me. 14We all fell to the ground. Then I heard a voice speaking to me in the Jewish language. The voice said, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you doing things against me? You are only hurting yourself by fighting me.’ 15I said, ‘Who are you, Lord?’ The Lord said, ‘I am Jesus. I am the One you are trying to hurt. 16Stand up! I have chosen you to be my servant. You will be my witness—you will tell people the things that you have seen and the things that I will show you. This is why I have come to you today. 17I will not let your own people hurt you. And I will keep you safe from the non-Jewish people too. These are the people I am sending you to. 18I send you to open their eyes that they may turn away from darkness to the light. I send you that they may turn away from the power of Satan and turn to God. Then their sins can be forgiven and they can have a place with those people who have been made holy by believing in me.’

19“King Agrippa, after I had this vision from heaven, I obeyed it. 20I began telling people that they should change their hearts and lives and turn to God. I told them to do things to show that they really had changed. I told this first to those in Damascus, then in Jerusalem and in every part of Judea, and also to the non-Jewish people. 21This is why the Jews took me and were trying to kill me in the Temple. 22But God helped me and is still helping me today. With God’s help I am standing here today and telling all people what I have seen. But I am saying nothing new. I am saying what Moses and the prophets said would happen. 23They said that the Christ would die and be the first to rise from death. They said that the Christ would bring light to the Jewish and non-Jewish people.” Acts 26: 12-23 (ICB)

Paul’s testimony is one of the most famous conversion stories in the Christian faith and literally a case laid out in his own defense to Agrippa.

This is who I was…this is what God did in my life…this is who I am today…

Sharing the testimonies of my life isn’t about attention seeking or getting in my fifteen minutes of fame. Testimonies are about giving glory to God for the ways He moves in my life. Testimonies are stories of encouragement; me sharing about the struggles I have faced and how God is bringing me through. They are stories of miracles. They are stories of awe and worship, a reminder of God’s goodness and why He is worth of praise.

From beginning to end, the Bible is chock-full of the testimonies of men and women who were chosen and raised up by God to accomplish great things in His Kingdom – Moses, Noah, Rahab, Ruth, Esther, John, Peter, Paul, and of course Jesus, to name small handful.

1I will always sing about the Lord’s love.

I will tell of his loyalty from now on.

2I will say, “Your love continues forever.

Your loyalty goes on and on like the sky.” Psalm 89:1-2 (ICB)

And, David wrote song after song in praise of God, sharing testimonies of his journey from a young man slaying a giant to battle after battle won as a victory of the Lord.

The Bible reminds me that God will never leave me nor forsake me, but when I have moments of weakness, I sometimes forget that truth, and instead, listen to the lies of the enemy. Then I hear someone’s story of what God did for them, or I recognize through my own fog that He has done something surprising for me. A testimony is shared and I once more hold onto the truth that God is good and greatly to be praised, my countenance is lifted, and hope returns to my heart.

Yesappa, Thank You for making me a part of your story, for giving me testimonies to share as encouragement to myself and for others. May my life demonstrate Your goodness, Your love, Your provision, Your sacrifice to those around me. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Blessings – Julie

From the archives. Originally published May 18, 2016.

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2 Samuel 6, 1 Chronicles 13, Psalm 60, Acts 23

The passages today have me thinking about journey. Acts 23 includes the account of Paul’s incredible journey from Jerusalem to Caesarea with a surprising escort. In 2 Samuel 6 and 1 Chronicles 13, David orchestrates the journey of the ark of God to Jerusalem. These are, of course, the types of journeys that are acts of traveling from one place to another.  But that’s not the kind of journey I’m thinking about.  I’m thinking about the inner journey of my spirit as I grow closer to Jesus.

My journey is filled with good intentions.  I want to live in a way that pleases God.

“He (David) and all his men set out from Baal-ah of Judah to bring up from there the ark of God…” 2 Samuel 6:2

Along the way, I neglect to follow God’s instructions for me.  The people of David’s time had specific instructions for moving the ark.  Clearly these do not apply to me.  What does apply, and I routinely neglect, are God’s instructions for loving Him and loving people.

“They set the ark of God on a new cart…” 2 Samuel 6:3

I suffer consequences.  These consequences certainly do not include death, but the effects of sin have devastating effects on my spirit.

“The Lord’s anger burned against Uzzah because of his irreverent act; therefore God struck him down and he died there beside the ark of God” 2 Samuel 6:7

My spiritual progress has pauses along the way.

“He (David) was not willing to take the ark of the Lord to be with him in the City of David.  Instead, he took it aside to the house of Obed-Edom the Gittite.” 2 Samuel 6:10

I continue forward in my lifelong journey of following Jesus.  The consequences and pauses do not stop me from going where God wants me.

“…So David went down and brought up the ark of God from the house of Obed-Edom to the City of David with rejoicing.”  2 Samuel 6:12

I praise God!

“David, wearing a linen ephod, danced before the Lord with all his might, while he and the entire house of Israel brought up the ark of the Lord with shouts and the sound of trumpets.” 2 Samuel 6:14-15

Lord, My greatest desire is to be close to you.  I know I make mistakes.  I know you love me enough to show them to me.  Help me to keep moving towards you.

Diona (dionak1)

From the archives. Originally published May 13, 2016.

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Genesis 21-23; Psalm 107; Mark 8

Anything is possible with God.  He has proved Himself over and over, so why do we doubt or worry about the future?

Sarah laughed when God told her she would have a baby in her old age.  But in Genesis 21 we read:

“The Lord visited Sarah as He had said, and the Lord did to Sarah as He had promised.  And Sarah conceived and bore Abraham a son in his old age at the time of which God had spoken to him.” (Genesis 21:1-2 ESV).  Notice ‘as He had said’ and ‘as He had promised.’  He keeps His word.

We are in the midst of deciding how to school our oldest through high school.  The Lord led us to her grammar school, so why do I worry that He won’t lead us to her high school?

In Psalm 107 we read about troubled times people go through or foolish mistakes people make, yet over and over Psalm 107 repeats:

“Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love,

    For the wondrous works to the children of man!” (Psalm 107:8)

He is faithful.

In Mark 8 Jesus tells his disciples plainly that He will go to the cross.  Peter argues with what he hears and Jesus rebukes him:

But turning and seeing his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said ‘Get behind me Satan!  For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.” (Mark 8:32-33)

Satan likes to whisper and cause us to doubt that God keeps His words, means what He say, is faithful and loves us.  We need to set our mind on things of God in all of our decision making.  This includes decisions like education.  We should not get distracted by the influences of others or in face of what seems like an overwhelming decision.  We cannot see the future.  But He can.  He is already there.  Pray and trust Him for the answer.

Lord,

Help us to trust You in the decisions of our lives, both big and small.  You are true to Your word and know what is yet to come for our good.

Amen,

Kellie

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2 Chronicles 18; Revelation 7; Zechariah 3; John 6

The passages today are full of visions.  All promises to hold onto.

Micaiah’s vision:

“Therefore, hear the word of the Lord.  I saw the Lord sitting on

his throne, and all the host of Heaven standing on His right and

on His left.” (2 Chron. 18:18 NASB)

Joshua’s vision:

    “Thus says the Lord of hosts, ‘if you will walk in My ways and if

you will perform My service, then you will also govern My house

and also have charge of My courts, and I will grant you free

access among these who are standing here.’ (Zech. 3:7)

Jesus’s promise:

“For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds

the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life; and I

myself will raise him up on the last day.”  (John 6:40)

John’s vision:

“For the Lamb in the center of the throne will be their shepherd

and will guide them to springs of the water of life; and God

will wipe every tear from their eyes.” (Rev. 7:17)

“Amen, blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor

And power and might, be to our God forever and ever.  Amen.”

(Rev. 7:12) ~Kellie

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2 Chronicles 1; 1 John 1; Micah 7; Luke 16

That night God appeared to Solomon and said to him, ‘Ask for whatever you want me to give you.’  Solomon answered God, ‘You have shown great kindness to David my father and have made me king in his place. Now,Lord God, let your promise to my father David be confirmed, for you have made me king over a people who are as numerous as the dust of the earth. Give me wisdom and knowledge, that I may lead this people, for who is able to govern this great people of yours?’ ” ~2 Chronicles 1:7-10

Oh how I need this today. This reminder to ask God for wisdom! How glorious is it that He promises to give us wisdom if we ask?

” If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God,who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” ~James 1:5.

Then in Proverbs 2: 3-6 “Indeed, if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding,and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the Lord  and find the knowledge of God.  For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.”

I’m so excited to be reminded of Solomon’s story in this chapter today because I purposed earlier this year to obey Proverbs chapter 2 and make a habit of literally calling out for insight and crying aloud for understanding because I truly want to understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God, but I had forgotten lately. I needed this reminder and it encourages me so much to keep seeking and that I will find what I seek and more.

Solomon asked for wisdom specifically for the charge he had been given; for leading the people of Israel. I’m encouraged tonight to continue asking for wisdom in a general sense but to also pray for wisdom in the specific areas that He has charged me with: my family and home, other relationships both with believers and non-believers, my business,  and prayer primarily.

Thank you, Lord, for this reminder and encouragement to cry out to you for wisdom. Help me not to forget and to pray specifically for it in every area of my life, especially in the work that you have given me to do.

-amywalkerwrites

From the archives. Originally published December 2, 2013.

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