Author Archives: kateredding

2 Chronicles 3 & 4, Nahum 2, Luke 18, 1 John 3

Awe:

noun

an overwhelming feeling of reverence, admiration, fear, etc., produced by that which is
grand, sublime, extremely powerful, or the like.
I have recently come to realize how under-inspired I have become. I have lost my sense of awe of the Creator of the universe. When the day to day life becomes mundane and boring, crazy and chaotic, I tend to take my relationship with the Lord for granted. When I am far from him, I forget the beauty of his splendor.
Out of fear and reverence of the Lord, King Solomon not only built the history Temple but he spared no expensive. The temple Solomon built was not built out of pride for what he could afford or what he would be able to show off to the people around him like so many other Kings would have done, it was built out of sheer awe!
Back in 2 Chronicles 2 Solomon said,
“5 The house that I am to build will be great, for our God is greater than all gods. But who is able to build him a house, since heaven, even highest heaven, cannot contain him? Who am I to build a house for him, except as a place to make offerings before him? 7″
Solomon didn’t take the left over money in his bank account to build the walls of the temple. He didn’t simply hire someone to make the plans and take care of the details. Out of reverence and honor, Solomon took his time and spared no expense. Bronze, silver and gold metals, rare wood materials and large fountains were all engineered and commissioned by skilled workmen brought from the east and the west. Solomon stopped at nothing to attempt to build a temple that would be adequate to hosue the Ark of the Covenant, the home of the Lord all while knowing nothing would ever really be good enough.
19 So Solomon made all the vessels that were in the house of God: the golden altar, the tables for the bread of the Presence, 20 the lampstands and their lamps of pure gold to burn before the inner sanctuary, as prescribed; 21 the flowers, the lamps, and the tongs, of purest gold;22 the snuffers, basins, dishes for incense, and fire pans, of pure gold, and the sockets[f] of the temple, for the inner doors to the Most Holy Place and for the doors of the nave of the temple were of gold. 2 Chronicles 4:19-22
Even reading the scriptures of Solomon’s temple I take for granted how beautiful and huge this temple was. My husband is a general contractor and works in the field of civil engineering. He cannot even fathom the logistics of how this was built let alone how the obtained the materials and afforded it. The details literally boggle the mind. And what boggles my mind even more is that it all started with Solomon’s fear and reverence for the Lord. He loved the Lord God so much that this was the outpouring of his heart.
So, I must ask myself this question. Do I live in fear and reverence of the Lord God Almighty who created the heavens and earth? Do I worship him in spirit in truth to express the awe that is within my heart? Do I stop at nothing to share that with others? I have a long way to go and am thankful that the Lord is gracious and merciful because often my answer to these questions is “no”.
Thank you, Father, for your incredible love, grace and mercy to me. O, Lord, You are great and greatly to be praised. There are not enough words to praise you and as Solomon said, who is able to build you a house since even the highest heaven cannot contain you. I stand in awe of you, Lord. Amen.
temple
Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under 2 Chronicles, Uncategorized

1 Chronicles 15, Amos 9, Luke 4, James 2

The kids and I have been reading a book together called “Kisses From Katie”. It’s a story about Katie Davis who, at age 19 left her home in TN and became a missionary in Africa and within eight months began adopting 13 children and caring for hundreds more. It’s so important to read inspiring stories and not just for the sake of our kiddos but also for us! I think I am learning more than my kids. What is inspiring most of all is not the specific good works that Katie has done (which, by the way are truly amazing) but it’s her heart that shines and inspires me to think about my own life.

Katie traveled to Africa after high school planning to stay only one year. But very shortly into her stay the Lord began to change the passions and desires. She realized, it wasn’t enough to just pray for these people she needed to DO something about their needs.

14 What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good[b] is that? 17 So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. James 2:14-17

After reading a portion of the book the other evening, my seven year old daughter and I ended up having a very long conversation about works and faith. I could see the wheels turning in her brain and I remember asking the same questions as a child. “Am I doing enough good to go to heaven? What happens if I sin? Am I good enough?” “My friends say they are Christians but they don’t act like it.” “How do I know my friend is a real Christian?”

I have struggled with many of these same questions for nearly 3 decades and this passage in James has been a love hate relationship for me. Though I know I am justified by Jesus’ finished work on the cross, I still question am I doing enough. Is my faith really genuine? I am an all or nothing person so when I miss an opportunity to serve or worse, when I sin, I feel doomed. It was in explaining to my daughter the beauty of God’s grace, Jesus’ sacrifice and the joy of serving Christ that I was able to realize the truth for myself.

Katie’s story left me asking questions of myself and my family. Am I (are we) intentional with my time, money, resources, and love? When I (we) hear of or see a need around me do I respond quickly with love, compassion and resources or do I (we) offer a quick prayer and move on? Not all of us will be called to be full time missionaries to Africa or to adopt thirteen children but ALL Christians are called to love everyone like Christ loves. That can be sticky and hard and ugly and beautiful and joyous! Good works are the fruits of our genuine faith in a God that gave the ultimate sacrifice. They come from a heart that desires what God desires not our own selfish desires that store up treasures on earth. Genuine faith says, “yes” to God when he asks us for our time, our resources, our love.

Like Katie, I am flabbergasted by the statistics. There are more than 2 billion people claiming to be Christians. If only 8% of them provided food for 1 child, there would be no more starving children IN THE WORLD. Modern day Christianity has become watered down and easy, particularity in the US. We offer our prayers and canned goods but only if we have time to stop by the local grocery store and grab a few items. Many people believe in Jesus but so do the demons. This Thanksgiving and Christmas our family is taking more time to first of all, appreciate this season and worship our Lord and Savior but also be more intentional. The shoeboxes we packed for Operation Christmas child looked different than before. The amount of money we will spend on gift giving will be different as well as the source they gifts are coming from. Not all of us will become missionaries in a foreign country but God’s people are everywhere and the needs are great. We will start by opening our eyes and hears and meeting the needs of the people God places in front of us today.

Dear Jesus, thank you for your sacrifice on the cross, the ultimate sacrifice that granted me eternal life. Thank you for the privilege to participate in doing kingdom work, not out of obligation but love. Help us to serve your people with the royal law of love and place their needs above our own. Amen.

kateredding

1 Comment

Filed under James, Uncategorized

2 Kings 19, Psalm 156 & 136, Hosea 12, Hebrews 1

Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs.  Hebrews 1

God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit….speaking to us in different ways throughout time.  He uses people, prophets, his word and the whispers of the Holy Spirit to communicate with us his will and his plans.

But who am I, O Lord that you are mindful of me? Who am I that you would hear my prayers, that you would reach down and comfort my soul? Jesus, as Hezekiah spread out the letter before the Lord and poured out his heart in his darkest moment, may we be so bold to bring our hearts desires, hopes, dreams and supplications to you. Just as Hezekiah sought wise council, listened to the appointed prophet and turned to you, may we be brave to turn off the distractions and voices surrounding us that pull us away from you. For you have made a way for us to approach your throne of grace with confidence without the need of intercessors. You alone, Jesus tore the veil making it possible to have a direct connection with the God of the universe who created it all. Again, Lord, who am I that you are mindful of me?

 Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good,
    for his steadfast love endures forever.
Give thanks to the God of gods,
    for his steadfast love endures forever.
Give thanks to the Lord of lords,
    for his steadfast love endures forever Psalm 136

Thank you, Father for sacrificing your Son to be the propitiation for our sins. For suffering the ultimate disgrace and pain to make a way for me, a wretched sinner undeserving but ever so grateful for your grace. Help me to never lose my awe of the beauty and power of the cross of Christ. Amen.

kateredding

Leave a comment

Filed under Hebrews, Psalms, Uncategorized

2 Kings 4, Psalm 116, Daniel 8, 1 Timothy 1

The older I get the more I realize the incredible gift of eternal life and come to understand the sacrifice Christ made for me. As a young child growing up in the church I heard of Christ’s sacrifice for me so often that I took it for granted. I learned to be a “good” law abiding Christian and though I knew works didn’t “get” me in to heaven, I felt they would make the Lord love me more. This led to a lot of messed up thinking on my part. From seeking perfection in my life to be “good enough” to judging others who didn’t measure up to my standards that I chose to live by, my thinking didn’t allow for much grace and mercy.

But then you get older. Time goes by and you see things, you experience things and the Holy Spirit changes you little by little. Recently, our family experienced a shocking revelation of sin in one member’s life. It was completely uncharacteristic and completely out of the blue. But I was more shocked by the first thought that came to my mind, “We are all sinners. Sin is sin. Whether it’s big or little. So thank you, Jesus for your grace and mercy!”

Paul mentions this to his young men-tee, Timothy when he realized the depths to which Christ rescued him from.

15 The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. 16 But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life. 1 Timothy 1

 

When I am reminded of the depth of my sin, I am reminded that my “little” sins are no better or worse than the murderers, thieves, and the lawless and disobedient. The only difference is recognizing my need for a savior. Thank you, Jesus for reaching down and lifting me out of the pit of hell and bestowing on me eternal life.

I love the Lord, because he has heard
    my voice and my pleas for mercy.
Because he inclined his ear to me,
    therefore I will call on him as long as I live.
The snares of death encompassed me;
    the pangs of Sheol laid hold on me;
    I suffered distress and anguish.
Then I called on the name of the Lord:
    “O Lord, I pray, deliver my soul!”

Gracious is the Lord, and righteous;
    our God is merciful.
The Lord preserves the simple;
    when I was brought low, he saved me.
Return, O my soul, to your rest;
    for the Lord has dealt bountifully with you.

For you have delivered my soul from death,
    my eyes from tears,
    my feet from stumbling;
I will walk before the Lord in the land of the living. Psalm 116:1-9

 

Thank you, Lord that we are not alone. Thank you for sending your Son, Jesus Christ who humbled himself and was obedient to you, sacrificing his life for mine. To the King of ages, immortal, invisible, the only God be honor and glory forever and ever, Amen. 

Leave a comment

Filed under 1 Timothy, Psalms, Uncategorized

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

Leave a comment

Filed under Philippians, Uncategorized

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

1 Comment

Filed under 66 Books, Ezekiel, Psalms, Uncategorized

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

Leave a comment

Filed under 2 Samuel, 66 Books, Psalms, Uncategorized