Author Archives: kateredding

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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Leviticus 14, Psalm 17, Proverbs 28, 2 Thessalonians 2

 

I don’t know why exactly but since I was a child, I have always felt wrestling in my heart: a sort of homesickness though I have never been far from home. I have always had a stirring in my heart for as long as I can remember that wants to be home with the Lord. As an adult believer, this is not so surprising but when I was eight, people thought it was quite strange! I was keenly aware of the happenings in the world around me and would look for signs that pointed to Jesus’ return for his believers. Though I believed in Jesus at a young age, I can still remember feeling fearful of the unknown that may occur at any moment.

 

Today, things have not changed much but as the crazy events of the world seem to be increasing like the speed of an out of control freight train I can hear some of my same childhood fears in my own children’s words. The nightly news, school system, smart phones and social media is very different than when I was young and my children hear so much more than I do and so much quicker but their fears are the same as mine. So, we talk about God’s word and his promises and pray for our brothers and sisters who are persecuted. Reading this passage reminds me of a few more nuggets of truth to share with them straight from Paul’s mouth:

 

        Don’t worry- we haven’t missed the boat! Jesus came for our sins and we are currently waiting for his return to conquer sin and death and take us home. Don’t be confused by false prophecy or words from fools! (2 Thess 2:13)

 

        Things are going to get worse before they get better but that’s not a surprise! It doesn’t surprise God and it shouldn’t surprise us. (2 Thess 2:3-4)

 

        Nothing will happen without God’s say so. He has already planned Christ’s return and knows the day and the hour and nothing will happen until then! (2 Thess 2:5-7)

 

        We know Christ has already won the battle! If we are in Christ, the victory is already ours no matter how bad things get! (2 Thess 2:8)

 

        It seems like evil is winning and fools are prospering but it’s only an illusion! (2 Thess 2:10-12)

 

        Believers in Christ were chosen before the foundation of the world and called through the gospel and will glory with Christ! (2 Thess 2:13-14)

 

        Though the world seems to be falling apart, stand firm and hold to the teachings found in God’s word! (2 Thess 2:15)

 

The only way to combat fear is through the powerful Word of God. I am always encouraged when I read that the first believers struggled with the same fears and worries as I did. It’s why Paul was writing.  We will soon be going home but until then, let us continue to walk daily in the truth! 

 

“Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God our Father, who loved us and gave us eternal comfort and good hope through grace, comfort your hearts and establish them in every good work and word.” Amen.

kateredding

 

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Exodus 38, Proverbs 14, John 17, Philippians 1

I have a friend, William who has been incarcerated for 12 years. He was wrongly accused of a terrible crime and sentenced to 20 years without parole. One would think he had murdered someone or burned down a house but it was nothing even close. This friend of mine has been in prison since 2004 and watched his daughter grow up through letters, pictures and occasional supervised visits. About a year before he found out about the charges (the incident had occurred years prior), William came to faith in the Lord and was excited to live a live centered and focused on Jesus. He became involved in our church, was a hard worker and would lend a hand to anyone in need.

Though my friend wasn’t imprisoned because of his faith, he has a thing or two in common with Paul who was unjustly accused. To be honest, our family worried quite a lot about William’s faith when this initially happened for two reasons. First, he was a new believer and second, he was being imprisoned in Mississippi so visitation and support from his newly found church family would be impossible.

But each and every time I read Paul’s letters to the churches I am reminded of William because William surprised us all! Instead of shrinking back, giving up and throwing in the faith towel, William pursued Christ with the little resources he was given in prison. His faith is put to the test each and every day from knowing he is unjustly serving a harsh sentence and missing his daughter to being bullied by others around him who don’t want to hear his “preachin”. And William would never admit it because he is too modest but he is changing the minds and hearts of those around him. There have been prison guards who act differently today then they did before. There are family members and friends who look at his example of faith and ask William how? William has opportunities each and everyday that most of us never will and instead of being angry and unfruitful, he listens to the Holy Spirit and speaks when he is prompted. There are still very tough days for him. But his faith and perseverance inspire m

12 I want you to know, brothers,[e] that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel, 13 so that it has become known throughout the whole imperial guard[f] and to all the rest that my imprisonment is for Christ. 14 And most of the brothers, having become confident in the Lord by my imprisonment, are much more bold to speak the word[g] without fear. Philippians 1:12-14 ESV

There are times our family talks with William and he encourages our spirits and other times we encourage him. He has truly learned to be brought high and down low. He has a purpose and a calling he wouldn’t wish on anyone else but knows he is right where the Lord wants him.

Yes, and I will rejoice, 19 for I know that through your prayers and the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ this will turn out for my deliverance, 20 as it is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death. 21 For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. 22 If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. Yet which I shall choose I cannot tell. Philippians 1:19-22 ESV

 

I have not seen William in 12 years but we have written back and forth hundreds of times and have speak on the phone several times per month. We are continuing to pray for his early release and that the governor would pardon his sentence. We are praising the Lord together that he is God’s messenger in a very dark place that is in need of the Light.

Dear Lord, thank you that you who began a good work in each one of us (including Williams) will be faithful to complete it! Even when our circumstances appear differently than we hoped or dreamed, you are loving, faithful and merciful. Strengthen each one of us to do your will and avance your kingdom through your sweet gospel message! Amen.

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