Author Archives: kateredding

1 Kings 12, Psalm 94, Ezekiel 42, Philippians 3

Philippians 3 is such a sweet passage and encouragement for a person who is a people pleaser and perfectionist at heart. I have known Jesus since I was 5 years old and was always taught that it is by grace we are saved through faith. End of story. But very early on, I fell into a pattern of striving and working in my own flesh that has carried on into adulthood. Like Paul, I could rattle off my accomplishments and good record. Straight A honor student, Bible club participant, youth groupie, small group leader, MOPS coordinator, nurse, mom, wife…… I could continue spouting off my duties, callings and good deeds. It’s what I’ve worked for these last 37 years. But, I’m tired. I’m worn.

I have a good “pedigree” but I’m empty. I have learned to rely on my own flesh and not the power of the Holy Spirit working in and through me. I have said “yes” to too many things that were good but not necessarily my calling simply to not let someone down. I have always tried to put other’s feelings higher than myself and sometimes that leaves me (and my family) stressed and overwhelmed because our needs come last. Balance. I hate it. I’m all or nothing. Give me a to do list and I’m good to go, checking off the items and getting things done leaves me feeling accomplished. But I’m learning those things that I strive for get me nowhere. At the end of the day, it’s not my accomplishments that win me more points or more love. It’s Christ’s perfection and sacrifice on the cross that sets me free from the pattern of striving in the name of good works.

 Paul shared what he learned about about his “righteous behavior” and the joy he received from setting aside his perfection and taking hold of Christ’s works. He realized his own good works were never good enough. What was enough was knowing Jesus.

though I myself have reason for confidence in the flesh also. If anyone else thinks he has reason for confidence in the flesh, I have more: circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the law, a Pharisee; as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to righteousness under the law,[c]blameless. But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith— 10 that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead. Philippians 3:4-11

Like Paul, I’m learning to understand the freedom I have in Christ and because of Christ. I am learning that there is no such thing as perfection nor does it matter. Maturity in Christ leads to a place of freedom that allows for saying “no”, making mistakes and pressing forward. It’s not about measuring up or checking off the to do list, praise God.

12 Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. 13 Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. 15 Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you.16 Only let us hold true to what we have attained. Philippians 3:12-16

These days, when I am tempted to fall back on the perfectionist attitude with myself or my family, I have been learning to take every thought captive and ask the Lord if the thought is from him or not. I am learning to let go of things that don’t matter in the long run and make space to say “yes” to God things by saying “no” to good things.

Thank you, Jesus for your perfect life sacrificed for mine. Thank you that I don’t have to be perfect to receive the Father’s love, all because of you. Help me when I am weak and want to rely on myself. Holy Spirit, help me to listen for your voice when I am tempted to say yes when I should say no. Amen. 

 

kateredding

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2 Samuel 21, Psalm 77, Ezekiel 28, Galatians 1

Pride. A virtue or vice? It is used so frequently in our day and age. In the positive, “I’m so proud of my family….”, “Take pride in your work”, “Do your parents proud.” These all seem like wonderful things but when is it

Pride stands in the way of seeing our own sin. It makes us feel better about ourselves than we really are. Pride puffs up our spirits with a false sense of security in ourselves or the people and processions we surround ourselves with. It leaves us feeling alone, stressed, successful or like a failure. It’s all up to us.

Ezekiel prophesied the words of the Lord to the king of Tyre who had become so proud and was being warned of the consequences of his pride.

1The word of the Lord came to me: “Son of man, say to the prince of Tyre, Thus says the Lord God:

“Because your heart is proud,
    and you have said, ‘I am a god,
I sit in the seat of the gods,
    in the heart of the seas,’
yet you are but a man, and no god,
    though you make your heart like the heart of a god—
you are indeed wiser than Daniel;
    no secret is hidden from you;
by your wisdom and your understanding
    you have made wealth for yourself,
and have gathered gold and silver
    into your treasuries;
by your great wisdom in your trade
    you have increased your wealth,
    and your heart has become proud in your wealth— Ezekiel 28:1-5

I think of my own pride. How do I rely on myself? What do I look to to provide me with security? Is it the things I have accomplished, the money in the bank, or the good job that I have today? My pride tells me I am in control and all that I have is because I worked hard. My pride lies to me daily, wanting me to believe I have something to do with my own success (or failure).  Alternatively, when things are not going well, I am tempted to feel like a failure, like I’m not enough, like I missed out on something I should have done. Either way, it is pride. Self reliance. Self dependence. Self.

The truth, is that God gave me the ability to be successful. It is by the Lord’s mighty and outstretched hand of grace and mercy that I even have breath at this very moment. At any moment those things that make me proud of the life that I have built or the things I have accomplished could vanish. When I sit and meditate on God’s incredible grace to me; it is by grace, through faith that I not only believe but am saved, I am humbled.

I remember, like the Psalmist:

11 I will remember the deeds of the Lord;
    yes, I will remember your wonders of old.
12 I will ponder all your work,
    and meditate on your mighty deeds.
13 Your way, O God, is holy.
    What god is great like our God?
14 You are the God who works wonders;
    you have made known your might among the peoples.
15 You with your arm redeemed your people,
    the children of Jacob and Joseph. Selah

16 When the waters saw you, O God,
    when the waters saw you, they were afraid;
    indeed, the deep trembled.
17 The clouds poured out water;
    the skies gave forth thunder;
    your arrows flashed on every side.
18 The crash of your thunder was in the whirlwind;
    your lightnings lighted up the world;
    the earth trembled and shook.
19 Your way was through the sea,
    your path through the great waters;
    yet your footprints were unseen.[c]
20 You led your people like a flock
    by the hand of Moses and Aaron. Psalm 77: 11-20

 

 

Sweet Jesus. Thank you for your Word that is sharper than any two-edged sword. It pierces my pride and reminds me of your great and mighty works and your even greater mercy and grace. I look to you, Jesus as my source of hope when I am tempted to place faith in myself. You alone rescue. Amen.

kateredding

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2 Samuel 6, Psalm 55, Ezekiel 14, 1 Corinthians 16

Our cities, our nation, our world is under attack. It seems winds of natural disasters are blowing from all sides not to mention the day to day turmoil of civil injustice and infighting that is leaving neighbor against neighbor. In just over two weeks our country has been slammed with not one but two devastating hurricanes that left thousands of people homeless overnight. I have been in awe of the powerful mighty hand of God. In seeing his power in the storm itself and remembering that even the winds and the waves obey his commands.

I am sure there are many people in awe of the power of God and many who are left wondering how a loving God could allow this to happen. If the waves and the wind obey his commands, why did God allow these storms to become so destructive.

I am sure David had a few of those thoughts go through his mind a time or two. During a trip to Jerusalem to Bring in the Ark of the Covenant back, there aw a little mishap. As the oxen stumbled, the Ark began to slide. One of David’s men instinctively reached out to catch it. God’s anger burned against Uzzah and he was killed instantly.

And David and all the house of Israel were celebrating before the Lord, with songs[c] and lyres and harps and tambourines and castanets and cymbals. And when they came to the threshing floor of Nacon, Uzzah put out his hand to the ark of God and took hold of it, for the oxen stumbled. And the anger of the Lord was kindled against Uzzah, and God struck him down there because of his error, and he died there beside the ark of God. And David was angry because the Lord had broken out against Uzzah. And that place is called Perez-uzzah[d] to this day. And David was afraid of the Lord that day, and he said, “How can the ark of the Lord come to me?” 10 So David was not willing to take the ark of the Lord into the city of David. 2 Samuel 6:5-10

What’s difficult to comprehend is that Uzzah was just trying to help protect the Ark. But sometimes there is no way to understand the Lord’s why.

Even though David was angry and fearful of God he knew that God was still good. He knew that God loved him and he knew that God was in control. Earlier in David’s life he had been through testing and knew what to do when things didn’t make sense. He turned to the Lord in prayer.

 

16 But I call to God,
and the Lord will save me.
17 Evening and morning and at noon
I utter my complaint and moan,
and he hears my voice.
18 He redeems my soul in safety
from the battle that I wage,
for many are arrayed against me.
19 God will give ear and humble them,
he who is enthroned from of old, Selah
because they do not change
and do not fear God.

22 Cast your burden on the Lord,
and he will sustain you;
he will never permit
the righteous to be moved. Psalm 55:16-19, 22

 

For those who still remain in the storm today, whether it’s Hurricane Irma or a trial or temptation you are struggling with, may you remember that God is good, God loves you and God is in control. Cast your burdens on Him and he will sustain you!

Dear Lord, thank you for your powerful and mighty right hand that upholds us in our times of deepest need. Be with all the storm victims as they pick up the pieces of their life and try to move on. Holy Spirit, move in the hearts of the hurting people like the winds of a hurricane that they would come to know you as their Lord and Savior. Amen.

kateredding

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1 Samuel 20, Psalm 36, Lamentations 5, 1 Corinthians 2

Bad things happen to good people. Bad things happen to believers in Christ who pursue a relationship with him. No one is immune to sin’s far reaching touch and trials and suffering will continue until Jesus returns. As I began to mature in my faith, this realization struck me as a surprise. I felt like suffering was for those people who were not obedient or didn’t have a relationship with the Lord. I relied very much on my own efforts to be obedient and check off all the boxes to be a “good girl” but my formula for avoiding suffering didn’t work and neither does it for anyone else.

David must have wondered, “Why me, Lord? I thought I was anointed King. Why is Saul pursuing my death?”

Jeremiah must have wondered, “Why us, Lord? I thought we were your chosen people. Why is the temple destroyed?”

You can fill in the blanks with your own situation, trial or period of suffering. I praise the Lord for his true word that provides me with reminders of his faithfulness to his people throughout all generations. One of the most difficult things about trials is that I often don’t understand why or see the good. When this happens, I must remember the truth of God’s word and his promises. I must remember that he works all things together for good (not necessary my personal good). Obedience plus faith is not the formula to avoid trials but does help us through the hard times.

God’s true word gives us knowledge and wisdom to deal with our day in and day out struggles. When we turn to the Lord, walk daily in the Spirit and trust in him, he reveals to us the things we need to know at the time we need it.

Speak to us, Lord…..

“What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him”- these things he has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God.” 1 Corinthians 2:9-10

When we seek God’es true word, we remember his enduring love…….

“Your steadfast love, O Lord, extends to the heavens, your faithfulness to the clouds. Your righteousness is like the mountains of God; your judgments are like the great deep; man and beast you save, O Lord.” Psalm 36: 5-6

Dear Father, thank you for your word that brings truth to our souls. Holy Spirit, speak to us in our times of trial, when it’s hard to see the good or understand your ways. Remind our hearts that your love is never ending. Amen.

 

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1 Samuel 4, Psalm 18, Jeremiah 42, Romans 4

I own a wellness clinic and our main focus is helping people regain and improve their health through weight loss. We use a very specific program and all our coaches are very knowledgeable in that particular protocol. Each and every day we have people walk through our doors desperately wanting a change. Some are referred by friends because they just can’t stand the way they look, others are referred by their doctor who has threatened more medications, increases in insulin or even bariatric surgery as a final resort. When they begin, their desperation is heard loud and clear and their commitment to the program is 100%. On a scale from 1-10 they are an 11. They want it so bad they will do anything we say to improve their health. We hear, “Just tell me what to do and I will do it!” every day.

Fast forward 6 weeks. The crises and emergency is over. Twenty pounds are gone, blood pressure is improved, doctor is happy and friends are noticing. And even though they haven’t met their target weight, something in their mind begins to change.  They start easing up on the strict protocol. They make exceptions and compromises when they are out to dinner with their family and a few bites here are there at the birthday parties. When they return to our office and jump on the scale, they are disappointed. We give advice, review their food journal and find none of the exceptions recorded but we know from the scale that there were at least a few. They say to us, “Really? Just a few bites messed up my results? I don’t believe it!” or make excuses, “You don’t understand. I was out of the house all day and forgot my supplies so I just stopped picked something up at the store that wasn’t on the protocol. It really should have worked the same. The product was comparable” And then the compensation, “I increased my water intake to flush it all out”. They leave the clinic disappointed and confused to try for another week and can’t understand how their minor deviations could have prevented success. The spiral often continues and leads to missed coaching appointments and eventually they throw in the towel.

After their initial crises is over, it is difficult to stay the course and follow what the “expert” recommends. Even though they are still a long way from their goal, once they begin feeling better it becomes much more difficult to follow the rules. Their flesh wants to follow its desire and even the best advice from their coach seems extreme and restrictive even though it is unchanged from when they started.

As people, we find ourselves in crises throughout the pages of scripture and we cry out to the Lord (and his prophets) for help. We are desperate to hear from the Lord. We will do whatever it takes….

“Let our plea for mercy come before you, and pray to the Lord your God for us, for all this remnant—because we are left with but a few, as your eyes see us— that the Lord your God may show us the way we should go, and the thing that we should do.” Then they said to Jeremiah, “May the Lord be a true and faithful witness against us if we do not act according to all the word with which the Lord your God sends you to us.Whether it is good or bad, we will obey the voice of the Lord our God to whom we are sending you, that it may be well with us when we obey the voice of the Lord our God.” Jeremiah 42: 2-3, 4-6

When the Lord responds, are we willing to do what he says? Are we prepared to sacrifice our own fleshly desires every step of the way to follow him? Sometimes his word feels restrictive and sometimes it just plain doesn’t make sense to us. But we can trust him. Just as our coaches can see what lies ahead for the client’s that deviate repeatedly (no permanent health change) so too was the information the prophet Jeremiah received from the Lord for his people.

Dear Lord, thank you for the reminder that your word to us is not always easy to accept but you are always in it. You are for us, not against us and even the most restrictive or difficult of circumstances is meant to draw closer to you. Help us to hear you clearly and obey immediately, knowing you are in control. Amen.

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Judges 14, Acts 18, Jeremiah 27, Mark 13

And Jesus began to say to them, “See that no one leads you astray. Many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am he!’ and they will lead many astray. And when you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be alarmed. This must take place, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in various places; there will be famines. These are but the beginning of the birth pains.” Mark 13

Since childhood, this passage has haunted me as did all of chapter 13. There is something encouraging and terrifying about it. I don’t know why it has stuck out at me like a sore thumb throughout the years but I distinctly remember reading this at a young age and being deeply affected. I grew up when the Frank Peretti novels and Left Behind series were popular. I would peak around corners in my home scared of my own shadow. I was completely convinced that Jesus would return by the time I graduated high school. And when high school came and went, I just knew in my heart he would return before I had children. I have watched the news; wars come and go, evil rise to power, right become wrong and wrong become right and men evangelize truth and lies. I long for His return. This one passage has affected me probably more than any other from God’s word. I have been watching and waiting for the signs. But not even Jesus knows when he will return to take home his elect.

32 “But concerning that day or that hour, no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. 33 Be on guard, keep awake.[a] For you do not know when the time will come.  37 And what I say to you I say to all: Stay awake.” Mark 13

Though I did not grow up learning that works were required for eternal life, I did strive greatly in my heart hoping that my good deeds would make be better, more presentable. I think that’s what was terrifying about the passage. Jesus will return unexpectedly. There will be wars. There will be suffering. We may have to stand up for what we believe and be harmed in the process. It is happening, all over the world. The sprouts are on the fig tree but we have no idea when the leaves will blossom. It could be tomorrow or in a thousand years. My encouragement comes from knowing no matter how bad this world gets, it’s only temporary. I will be called up with Jesus one day. He has warned us so we can look on with great expectation and without fear. We know he will strengthen us during trials and the Holy Spirit will place the words in our mouth at the right time. I am encouraged to know that the Earth will not pass away until God’s plan has been fulfilled. He is in control and not one of the elect will be snatched from his hand, not one of the elect will miss the boat.

This passage now gives me confidence, not in my own works and good deeds but in Christ’s work on the cross and his triumphant return. I will continue to watch and wait, longing for my permeant home and sharing the good news of Jesus Christ with whomever God grants me the opportunity. I will stay awake, testing what the preachers preach and teach my children three children the truth of God’s word.

Dear Lord, thank you for your warning. Though we do not know the details of Christ’s return, you have shared with us what to expect in your word. Help us to test and approve according to your word. Holy Spirit help us discern the truth from lies. Even so, come, Lord Jesus.

 

Kate

 

 

 

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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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