Author Archives: kateredding

Joshua 24, Jeremiah 13, Matthew 27, Acts 4

In my Bible next to the passage in Joshua 24 is a handwritten note that says, “Christianity is just one generation away from extinction.” I have never understood that more than when I became a parent. The weight of carrying on a legacy of faith in our family is heavy on my heart. It requires thought, commitment, time, action. Joshua knew his life was coming to an end. He had lead God’s people for decades after Moses died. He followed the Lord’s commands and listened for His voice for direction. Now, he was questioning the people of God to see if they had caught on to his teaching and leading.

After reminding the Israelites of God’s mighty power and protection that they had received as a nation for hundreds of years, Joshua asks the people, not once, not twice, but THREE times whom they will serve.  Joshua said:

 

“Then put away the foreign gods that are among you, and incline your heart to the Lord, the God of Israel.”  And the people said to Joshua, “The Lord our God we will serve, and his voice we will obey.” Joshua 24:23-24.

Service requires commitment and action. We are called to put away (idols) and put on (Christ). We are to look different and act different than the world around us. Often, I find it difficult to hear the Lord because of all that goes on around me. Passing on the legacy of faith is not easy in any day and age but with the buzz of technology that distracts our hearts and minds, I find it increasingly difficult to teach my children to walk with the Lord. Idols are everywhere. They look shiny, they may even appear as service to the Lord.

As a parent, I look to God’s word to help guide me in teaching my children. Joshua was intentional. Not only in his personal walk with the Lord but in teaching it to the people he was leading. He did not take the job lightly. He lead by example and at the end of his life he challenged the people one last time and the people “caught” it:

Israel served the Lord all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders who outlived Joshua and had known all the work that the Lord did for Israel.” Joshua 24:31

My greatest desire as a mom, is for my children to love the Lord with all their heart, soul, mind and strength and to follow him all the days of their life. That to me is success! Reading further on in God’s word, the nation’s faith declines because they stopped following God’s commands and instead followed the idols of their time. It reminds us as parents and believers that we have must be intentional in passing on God’s word. Jeremiah reminds the people that we must walk closely with the Lord:

For as the loincloth clings to the waist of a man, so I made the whole house of Israel and the whole house of Judah cling to me, declares the Lord, that they might be for me a people, a name, a praise, and a glory, but they would not listen.” Jeremiah 13:11

Dear Lord, my greatest desire in life is that I do not keep my faith as my own but pass it on to others so that your name would be lifted high. Drown out the distractions of this world and help me to be intentional in my daily walk, clinging only to you. Amen.

Kate

 

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Joshua 5, Psalm 132-134, Isaiah 65, Matthew 13

13 This is why I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand.14 Indeed, in their case the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled that says:

“You will indeed hear but never understand,
and you will indeed see but never perceive.”
15 For this people’s heart has grown dull,
and with their ears they can barely hear,
and their eyes they have closed,
lest they should see with their eyes
and hear with their ears
and understand with their heart
and turn, and I would heal them.’

16 But blessed are your eyes, for they see, and your ears, for they hear.17 For truly, I say to you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it. Matthew 13: 10-17

 

There are many times I wonder why God’s word can be so plain to understand for some and not for others. I wonder about that in my own life and with my friends. How is it that I can read God’s word and understand the stories told by Jesus and yet others don’t make the same connections?  There were some parables that Jesus told that were later explained but many were left a mystery.

Truly understanding God’s word doesn’t just happen overnight but through many years of studying, reading, memorizing, and praying. When I was younger, I would read the parable of the sower and wonder which type of seed I was like. I would wonder if I was missing something or if my understanding of the parable was wrong. I was always wondering if I had understood enough of God’s word and believed “enough” to have salvation. Then reading one tiny little line at the end of that story changed everything. Sandwiched in between the story of the sower and Jesus’ purpose for speaking in parables was an important line that changed my thinking.

“Other seeds fell on good soil and produced grain, some a hundred-fold, some sixty, some thirty.” Matthew 13: 8-9

All my life I have felt like I wasn’t doing enough or being enough for the Lord. I believed that if I was really a believer I would be “doing” more than living a mundane, simple life. So, naturally that must mean my soil was bad, my roots not deep and my faith not good enough for salvation. There has often been so much second guessing that I torment myself but this line is a game changer. Jesus said that the seeds that fall in the good soil produce different amounts. He didn’t say one was better than the other for his kingdom or that a greater reward was offered for one or the other. The seed that produced one hundred-fold was not promised anything better than the one that produced thirty.

Our understanding of God’s word (and Jesus’ parables) increases with time as our relationship grows. Our walk with the Lord is not something attained at once or overnight but over many years of study and prayer. The truth is, my faith is never good “enough” and my works are never good “enough”.

Why does the Lord reveal his mysteries to some and not others? Because he is the Lord! That is not for me to understand but I can thank him and praise him for revealing them to me!

Father, thank you for revealing your mysteries in your word through your Holy Spirit. When I am tempted to believe a lie that my faith is too small, remind my heart that Jesus’ death was sufficient, not my works. Amen.

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Deuteronomy 24, Psalms 114 & 115, Isaiah 51, Revelation 21

Over the past three years, life for my husband’s family has been rough. From unexpected deaths to tragic car accidents and everything in between, it has been a roller coaster. We have walked through very quick boughts of cancer where we fought hard and lost. Most recently, another cancer diagnosis on top of another family member’s serious motorcycle accident, has left us spending many days and nights in shock trauma and several other hospitals. Job loss, military deployment and simply day to day life has been difficult. After decades of seemingly wonderful blessings of good health and protection, the walls have come crashing down.

Just a few minutes ago I arrived home after taking the children to visit their 82-year-old great grandmother in the hospital. Her time left on earth is coming to a close and we were saying our goodbyes and praying for the Lord’s peace and comfort.

Life. Is. Hard.

We all go through seasons in our lives that take us up and down. Whether your experience was car accidents and failing health or something else, I’m sure you have suffered at some point in your life. But the Lord reminds us that he is always near. He always has been and always will be. Our sufferings and hardships draw us closer to him.

During the hardships while Israel was in captivity, they needed reminders of Gods’ power and his faithfulness. They needed to be reminded of all the trials the Lord had brought them through. We need the same reminders today.

“Listen to me, you who pursue righteousness,
you who seek the Lord:
look to the rock from which you were hewn,
and to the quarry from which you were dug.
Look to Abraham your father
and to Sarah who bore you;
for he was but one when I called him,
that I might bless him and multiply him.
Lift up your eyes to the heavens,
and look at the earth beneath;
for the heavens vanish like smoke,
the earth will wear out like a garment,
and they who dwell in it will die in like manner;[b]
but my salvation will be forever,
and my righteousness will never be dismayed.

“Listen to me, you who know righteousness,
the people in whose heart is my law;
fear not the reproach of man,
nor be dismayed at their revilings.
For the moth will eat them up like a garment,
and the worm will eat them like wool,
but my righteousness will be forever,
and my salvation to all generations.”  Isaiah 51

 

Life won’t necessarily get easier but through our hardships we can draw closer to the Lord and rely on him and most of all remember that his promises will come true because of his proven faithfulness over time. There are times when all I can do is cling to the last part of verse 8, “my righteousness will be forever and my salvation to all generations.”

 

Gram has been a very special lady in the lives of everyone she knew and even those she didn’t. She loved Jesus and his Church and cared for anyone and everyone around her. She was a hard worker, creative, fun-loving, deeply committed to her family and “Gram” to all. Though our hearts will mourn over our loss, we will rejoice in her healing and full restoration to health when she passes into the arms of Jesus.

 

And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place[a] of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people,[b] and God himself will be with them as their God.[c] He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” Revelation 21

 

Thank you, Lord for the time you give us to love one another and live these few moments on Earth with ones that we love. Lord Jesus, be near to the broken-hearted. Holy Spirit, bring peace and comfort to those suffering today and remind them of your faithfulness.

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Deuteronomy 9, Psalms 92 & 93, Isaiah 37, Revelation 7

14 Hezekiah received the letter from the hand of the messengers, and read it; and Hezekiah went up to the house of the Lord, and spread it before the Lord. 15 And Hezekiah prayed to the Lord: 16 “O Lord of hosts, God of Israel, enthroned above the cherubim, you are the God, you alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth; you have made heaven and earth. 17 Incline your ear, O Lord, and hear; open your eyes, O Lord, and see; and hear all the words of Sennacherib, which he has sent to mock the living God. 18 Truly, O Lord, the kings of Assyria have laid waste all the nations and their lands, 19 and have cast their gods into the fire. For they were no gods, but the work of men’s hands, wood and stone. Therefore they were destroyed. 20 So now, O Lord our God, save us from his hand, that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that you alone are the Lord.” Isaiah 37: 14-20

 

Have you ever received bad news and wondered what would happen next? Or maybe just news that was completely unexpected, something that catches you off guard? The way that we respond to such unexpected things can be a testament of our faith. I am a person who enjoys being in control of all circumstances. I like structure and routine. I like to know what to expect in every situation that lies ahead and for me, there’s nothing worse than the unexpected.

I find recently that the Holy Spirit has been whispering reminders to me of his greatness, his power and sovereignty. Though independence can be a good characteristic it also can lead to pride and mistrust. Despite my knowledge of the Word, I often forget that the Lord knows the steps ahead of me long before I take eve one. It is quite humbling to read this passage where King Hezekiah gets on his knees and not only acknowledges God’s sovereignty but boldly asks for God to handle this situation in front of him. He remembers the power of the Lord and Hezekiah’s desire is not simply for the rescue of his people but that the people in all the earth would know that there is only one true God.

I am trying to imagine Hezekiah going into a quiet place, getting down on his knees and literally laying out before the Lord the letter he had received from his enemies. How often do I take my problems to the Lord instead of looking to my own power? How often do I trust that He is in control and has planned my steps before time began? How often do I rest in the Sovereignty of his plan knowing that he will be with me in the future just like he was with me in the past?

I am so thankful for God’s true and holy Word. For reminders of His Sovereignty and the whispers of the Holy Spirit.

Thank you, Lord for being all power, all knowing and all present. Father, help me to trust in you with my next steps no matter what the circumstance that lies ahead. Amen.

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Numbers 31, Psalms 75 & 76, Isaiah 23, 1 John 1

One of my favorite songs circa 1995 starts off with some hard to swallow truth. “I keep trying to find a life, on my own, apart from you.” Independence instead of dependence. Pride instead of humility. John begins the chapter  sharing the importance of fellowship with the One True God. From the beginning, it’s always been about relationship with Him and yet our human nature so frequently wants independence.

We focus on ourselves. Day in and day out we deceive ourselves. Our minds and hearts are put to ease when we compare to ourselves others and think, “I’m doing better at ________ than _________”. I have read the following passage probably one hundred times in my life but there are always new little pieces that stick out with each reading.

Deception. Selfishness. Pride. Forgiveness. Redemption.

This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us. John 1

 

Simply put, this passage reminds me of my incredible need for a Savior! As much as a I want to walk in the light at all times, there moments, days or even seasons when the lights are dim. As I was sitting here this morning reflecting on this passage, the Holy Spirit brought a few questions to my mind.

  1. Is there any area where I am walking in darkness opposite from fellowship with the Lord?
  2. In what ways am I lying to or deceiving myself and not practicing truth?
  3. Are there areas of deception that I need to confess to the Lord?

Confession of sins not only leads to restoration of fellowship with the Lord but also one another. It’s Jesus’ blood that cleanses us from our sin and wanderings in the dark. Each and every day I must ask the  Holy Spirit to reveal those areas of sin that are not acceptable and spend time in self reflection and repentance. Naturally, on my own, I may not see my sin but the Spirit will reveal it.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for creating us with a desire for relationship. Thank your for making a way through Jesus Christ to be in fellowship with you forever. Holy Spirit, would you reveal to me those areas where I may be walking in darkness and help me to turn and run to your light! Amen. 

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Numbers 16, Psalms 52-54, Hebrews 13

 

I have to admit, I have never read this story in Numbers. I am pretty sure I would have remembered a story about the Earth opening up and swallowing a crowd of people. It’s a shocking ending to the events that took place as I take a step back and look at what lead to that consequence I find myself right there with him. Like Korah, how have I:

  • Questioned authority and who assigned it to them?
  • Challenged how they are leading?
  • Started a “rebellion” of my own by gossiping about the leader and convinced others that something needs to be done about their leadership?
  • Been jealous or not understood why someone was in authority over me?
  • Felt like I was a better fit for the job?

Thinking about how I am like Korah reminds me of several times in my life both in ministry and in the workplace that I have been discontent it those the Lord has placed in leadership over me. I am a very independent person and like to control things. I feel very strongly about my opinions which can make working “under” someone very difficult.

Korah was discontent. Things were not going like he and his friends thought they should go. But Korah wasn’t really challenging Moses and Aaron, was he? No, when we challenge our leaders, we are really challenging the Lord for He is the one who set ups leaders and rulers over us both in and out of ministry. Certainly, there are times, seasons and leaders who are not following the Lord’s calling and will. Dictators and ruthless authorities have always been around. But in our everyday life, I can see myself often challenging leadership out of selfish ambition and gain. So here are a few questions I must ask myself when evaluating those in authority:

  • Am I seeking to glorify God or receive my own fame?
  • Have I prayed about the situation and for the leader over me?
  • Do I simply not agree with their opinion or is what they are asking of me against the word of God?
  • Am I making their job more difficult by my attitude? Am I stirring up strife by trying to convince others of my personal opinion of their leadership?
  • Am I simply jealous for control because I think my way is better?

These can be some really tough questions to ask. When I sit down with the Lord and really dig deep, I am often ashamed and disappointed it the answers I find. I am so grateful that His grace is sufficient for me!

Hebrews 13:17 reminds us:

“Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you.”

In this case, I believe the writer was referring to our pastors and teachers but in every case of authority this rings true. At the end of the day, I am not responsible for how they lead but how I follow. My goal is to follow them with joy and without groaning and complaining.

Father, forgive me for the times I have wanted to gain control for my own pride and fame. Help me each day to pray for those you have placed in authority. Help me to trust that ultimately you are in control. God, “you are my helper and the upholder of my life” and you will one day put an end to the evil rulers and reward those who are obedient. Amen.

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Numbers 1, Psalm 35, Ecclesiastes 11, Titus 3

“I don’t believe in heaven and hell. I don’t know if I believe in God. All I know is that as an individual, I won’t allow this life – the only thing I know to exist – to be wasted.” (Celebrity quote)

Although there have always been naysayers and critics of God’s true word, I feel like we are living in a culture that is more self dependent and selfish than other times in history. The days of common moral values are gone and people are out to get everything they can. It’s truly a dog eat dog world and why not? Aren’t we all entitled to the American Dream?

Slogans are so common you could finish these off without me typing the words. Slogans such as “Live everyday like it was your last” or “Create your own happiness”. We are conditioned to believe that we are responsible for our happiness and our own good fortune and outcomes.  We are quick to take credit for our own accomplishments and good works but can just as quickly turn around and blame God when “bad things” happen.

Even in Solomon’s day he knew there was a balance between good works, enjoying life and being accountable for one’s own actions. We are called to live each day to the fullest but who are we living it for is the real question that differentiates good works for the kingdom of God rather than for selfish and prideful gain. Solomon’s wise words also come with a warning:

So if a person lives many years, let him rejoice in them all; but let him remember that the days of darkness will be many. All that comes is vanity.[b]

Rejoice, O young man, in your youth, and let your heart cheer you in the days of your youth. Walk in the ways of your heart and the sight of your eyes. But know that for all these things God will bring you into judgment.

10 Remove vexation from your heart, and put away pain[c] from your body, for youth and the dawn of life are vanity. Ecclesiastes 11:8-10

Yes it is important that we live each day to the fullest but it is only by the grace showed to us by Christ and the washing of our sin with his blood that any “good” work is seen by God as righteous.

 For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another. But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit,whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.  Titus 3:3-7

The irony in the celebrity’s quote above is that the very thing he is trying to avoid (wasting life) is exactly what he is doing by living for himself and his own glory. Without Christ, everything is meaningless. May our enjoyment and blessing of each new day be evident in the our good works, done not for self pleasure or advancement in to heaven but in gratitude to our Savior who gave his all for our sin!

Dear Jesus, than you for your blood that washes over my sin. Thank you for dying in my place so that when the Father looks at me he see’s your righteousness. Holy Spirit, help me to live each day joyfully devoted to good works that bring you glory. Amen!

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