Author Archives: gueston66books

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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Deuteronomy 6; Psalm 89; Isaiah 34; Revelation 4

Faithful . . . forever . . . for all generations . . . firm . . . established . . . foundational . . . endure . . . future . . . shout it out . . . never stop

My faith is not just for a lifetime. It’s not a phase or a passing fad.

In each passage the generational thinking, the eternity of our God and our faith comes bursting through:

Deuteronomy 6:1,2 — Now this is the commandment, the statutes and the judgments which the LORD your God has commanded me to teach you, that you might do them in the land where you are going over to possess it so that you and your son and your grandson might fear the LORD your God, to keep all His statutes and His commandments which I command you, all the days of your life, and that your days may be prolonged.

Psalm 89: 15,16, 33 —

15Blessed are the people who know the festal shout,
who walk, O LORD, inthe light of your face,
16who exult in your  name all the day
and in your righteousness are exalted. . .

but I will not remove from him my steadfast love
or be false to my faithfulness.

Isaiah 34:1, 17 — Draw near, O nations, to hear; and listen, O peoples! Let the earth and all it contains hear, and the world and all that springs from it. He has cast the lot for them, And His hand has divided it to them by line. They shall possess it forever; From generation to generation they will dwell in it.

Revelation 4:8 — Each of the four living creatures had six wings and was covered with eyes all around, even under its wings. Day and night they never stop saying:

“‘Holy, holy, holy

is the Lord God Almighty,’

who was, and is, and is to come.”

My life needs to never stop praising, never stop transferring to others, never rest. Just as God is faithful, so should my faith in Him remain.

It’s not just about my growth, my obedience, or my walk. It must influence others, shine from this cracked pottery, shout daily what lies within me.

Just like those winged creatures my life should praise continually, “Holy, Holy, Holy!”

Time for some examination —

What in my life doesn’t glow for Him?

Am I diligent about passing my faith on to my children, my relatives, my neighbors, my realm of influence?

Do I get outside of myself and take time to revel in the eternality of God?

Does my quiet time capture my faith or ignite it for the rest of the day, month, year, life?

God, take this simple life of mine and let it explode for You. For my family, for my generation, and for the next, for the country, for the world, for generations to come. I want to burn out for You, to shout boldly Your praise. I can never out-give you or out-trust you, but I want to spend everyday trying.  For You for eternity.  ~In Jesus name, Amen

Erin/6intow

From the archives. Originally published June 2, 2011.

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Numbers 35, Psalm 79, Isaiah 27, 1 John 5

I have always struggled with confidence. I am constantly comparing my “ugly” insides to someone else’s “pretty” outsides.  I question myself every day.  “Am I good enough?”, “Do I give enough?”, “Did I say too much?” and so on and so forth.  Every single day I struggle with this.  There is a fear that I am a failure.

I often forget what God has said about me – there are so many promises right in scripture that I need to cling to… I am “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Ps139) or God has a plan for me (Jer 29:11 – a little out of context but a promise nonetheless) and in our reading of 1 John today God tells me that I need to be confident in my salvation, in the fact that God listens to me and in overcoming my struggles with sin.

1 John 5:13 tell me that I can be confident that if I believe in Jesus I will have eternal life.  “Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves the father loves his child as well.”  Verse 5 says that I can be confident because through believing in Jesus I am his child.  What a relief.  I do not have to stress about being good enough; I just have to believe that Jesus is who He says He is and I have confidence in my salvation – in that fact that I am his child (also see  Act 16:31 and Romans 6:23).

Not only can I be confident in my salvation, according to 1 John 5:14-15, I can have confidence in my prayers.  “This is the confidence we have in approaching God:  that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.”  Alright, so there is a little catch.  If I ask “according to his will” he will hear me (not give me – but hear me and consider what I am asking!).  I can be confident that God will hear and consider my prayer and that he will give me whatever I ask within his will.  God is all knowing and even though I believe that something is right for me right now – God sees the bigger picture and therefore might not answer me the way I want him to.  However, according to vs. 15 if what I am asking for is within his will then he will not only hear my request but he will grant my request.  At this, I need to trust his judgment and be confident that he is God.

Another confidence that I can be assured of according to 1 John 5 is that God is helping me overcome the world through him.  Verse 18 starts out saying “We know that anyone born of God does not continue to sin…”  Uh oh… there is a problem because I sin all the time and yet I believe that I am born of God…  The verse goes on to say “…the One (note – capital “O”) who was born of God keeps them safe and the evil one cannot harm them.”  I can be confident that God (my father) is keeping me safe.”  Verse 19 says that the “whole world is under the control of the evil one”.  Sin causes harm – maybe embarrassment, maybe punishment and this chapter says that sin may cause death.  There is nothing more that Satan wants then to embarrass me or punish me or to take my confidence in God away from me.  When I lack the confidence that God’s “got this” and turn to myself then I make myself vulnerable to falling into what the world wants me to do or be and not finding confidence in what God wants me to do or be.  When I struggle with this I can look to Jesus for “understanding (vs. 20) as He has already “overcome the world” (John 16:33).

I will always struggle with being confident in who I am. When I take my eyes off of God and look around at everyone else I struggle.  (Perhaps that is where vs. 21 comes into play?)  However, when I am basking in the presence of God, seeking to do what he has asked me (vs. 2) and holding onto the promises that he loves me (John 3:16), that he hears me and that he has overcome the world,  I can find peace and total confidence in all that he has made me to be.

Amy W. (gueston66books)

From the archives. Originally published May 26, 2013

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Numbers 29; Isaiah 28; Psalm 73; 2 John 1

Walk in Truth

“I was very glad to find some of your children walking in truth, just as we have received commandment to do from the Father.” (2 John 1:4 NASB).

In today’s world, we are constantly bombarded with what to believe.  Most of it goes against what God says is Truth.  We need to stay grounded in His word in order to discern what it true and what is one of Satan’s many lies.

Be aware of false teachers

“Anyone who goes too far and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God; the one who abides in the teaching, he has both the father and the Son.” (2 John 1:9)

The false teachers in the world are in abundance.  They tell us what “sounds” right but when we stop to listen, we hear the whisper of the Holy Spirit telling us that it’s not.

Walk in Love

And this is love, that we walk according to His commandments. This is the commandment, just as you have heard from the beginning, that you should walk in it.” (2 John 1:7)  

So how do we love those who are teaching the wrong things or living in deception?  We walk in love.  We don’t accept what they tell us as Truth, but we treat them as God would.  We are kind and forgiving and lovingly honest with them if and when they’re open to finding the error of their ways.

God’s joy

…that your joy may be made full.” (2 John 1:12b)

I love how 2 John chapter 1 ends, “that your joy may be made full.”  When we study God’s word, are grounded in Truth to see through the Enemy’s lies and treat others with love, we will experience God’s joy.  And He will make that joy fill us up.  We need nothing else.

Lord,

Help us navigate through this very troubled world we live in.  Lies are everywhere and we need to be Truth bearers.  Help us to live life focused on You and Your will so that you can “make us full with joy.”

Amen, Kellie (gueston66books)

Kellie

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Numbers 22; Psalms 62,63; Isaiah 11,12; James 5

The earnest (heartfelt, continued) prayer of a righteous man makes tremendous power available [dynamic in its working]. ~ James 5:16 AMP

 The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much. ~ James 5:16 NASB

 The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. ~ James 5:16 NKJV

 The prayer of a godly person is powerful. It makes things happen. ~ James 5:16 NIRV

 The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results. ~ James 5:16 NLT

Over the past three weeks, in three different circumstances, God brought this verse to my attention three times.  I’m noticing a theme and the common denominator is James 5:16.

For what seems like forever, my husband and I have been praying and believing that God will move MIGHTILY in our lives.  We’ve believed for a “shift.”  This is not a mediocre, subtle movement, but a huge and powerful change.  And that time has finally arrived!  I know for certain, when we first began to believe for God to move mightily in our lives, to shift us, we never dreamed it would involve the things we are facing today…as most people don’t look to trials to move them.  But nevertheless, here we are and our choices are to sit still, wondering “when it will pass,” or to forge ahead, knowing we already have the victory!

After we got over the initial shock, we “strapped our armor on,” called close a couple of our friends, and asked them to stand with us on the Word of God.  In order for God to move mightily, we must believe mightily.  The word “fervent” means “intensity.”  War is not for the faint of heart, but for the armed.  With great intensity and mighty power, this war will be won—this trial overcome—through worship, prayer, faith, and courage to believe as we keep moving forward.

Thank you, Father God, for all the ways you have prepared us for this opportunity to run into victory.  Thank you for good friends who let me text them at midnight, just to ask for extra encouragement.  Father, I can’t wait till we have full victory.  To You be all the glory!  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Heatherpotts5

From the archives. Originally published May 13, 2013.

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