Author Archives: llilly2017

2 Kings 17; Titus 3; Hosea 10; Psalm 129-131

For some reason, especially this year, I’ve been trying hard to be perfect. I know that trying my best and working hard aren’t bad. But more and more recently, whether it’s messing up on the piano or not getting something at dance class, I’ve found that I keep getting angry at myself when I make mistakes. And I’ve also been anxious before lessons, because I worry that the teacher isn’t going to think I’m good at the thing if I don’t get it right away.

It’s kind of the same thing with sin. I either try too hard (or don’t) to be good, and when I fail I’m annoyed with the results.

Samaria Falls to Assyria

Then the king of Assyria invaded the entire land, and for three years he besieged the city of Samaria. Finally, in the ninth year of King Hoshea’s reign, Samaria fell, and the people of Israel were exiled to Assyria. They were settled in colonies in Halah, along the banks of the Habor River in Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes. This disaster came upon the people of Israel because they worshiped other gods. They sinned against the LORD their God, who had brought them safely out of Egypt and had rescued them from the power of Pharaoh, the king of Egypt. (2 Kings 17:5-7 NLT)

I said, ‘Plant the good seeds of righteousness, and you will harvest a crop of love. Plow up the hard ground of your hearts, for now is the time to seek the LORD, that he may come and shower righteousness upon you.’ (Hosea 10:12 NLT)

The people of Israel’s continuous sins against God caused Samaria to fall. God had warned them to stop, but they didn’t. Their actions led to their downfall.

This makes me think of all the times my actions have led to my downfall. For the people of Israel it was worshiping other gods; for me it’s what I say to others.

LORD, if you kept a record of our sins, who, O LORD, could ever survive? But you offer forgiveness, that we might learn to fear you. (Psalm 130:3-4 NLT)

But—“When God our Savior revealed his kindness and love, he saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He washed away our sins, giving us a new birth and new life through the Holy Spirit.” (Titus 3:4-5 NLT)

I know I don’t have to do good things to get into heaven. But while I’m here, I really want to grow closer to God and try to do what’s right!

Dear God,

Thank you for today’s reading. It really helped me to realize how much you don’t like it when I sin. And because of Jesus I can be forgiven for all that I’ve done. For now and in the future I hope to be at least a little bit better at watching what I say, since it’s my biggest downfall. I know I don’t have to be perfect at everything. So even though I will still work hard, please help me to at least watch what’s going on in my heart so I won’t think I’m better than others. Amen

Lanie (llilly2017)

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1 Kings 10; Philippians 1; Ezekiel 40; Psalm 91

Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty. This I declare about the LORD: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; he is my God, and I trust him. (Psalm 91:1-2 NLT)

You’re my safe place. I can go to you whenever I need to, because I have access to you every second of my life. Through you I find shelter.

Do not be afraid of the terrors of the night, nor the arrow that flies in the day. Do not dread the disease that stalks in darkness, nor the disaster that strikes at midday. Though a thousand fall at your side, though ten thousand are dying around you, these evils will not touch you. (Psalm 91:5-7 NLT)

You’re with me through everything. Because of you I don’t have to be afraid. You already know what will happen before it even begins, and you always bring something good out of the bad.

Paul’s Life for Christ

For I fully expect and hope that I will never be ashamed, but that I will continue to be bold for Christ, as I have been in the past. And I trust that my life will bring honor to Christ, whether I live or die. For to me, living means living for Christ, and dying is even better. But if I live, I can do more fruitful work for Christ. So I really don’t know which is better. I’m torn between two desires: I long to go and be with Christ, which would be far better for me. But for your sakes, it is better that I continue to live. (Philippians 1:20-24 NLT)

You’re my confidence. I can trust in you. You’ve kept your promises. Even when you’re angry, you never break your word. I want to make a better effort of living for you.

Live as Citizens of Heaven

Above all, you must live as citizens of heaven, conducting yourselves in a manner worthy of the Good News about Christ. Then, whether I come and see you again or only hear about you, I will know that you are standing together with one spirit and one purpose, fighting together for the faith, which is the Good News. (Philippians 1:27 NLT)

I can learn so much from you. I’m so excited to see what you have in store for my life! Thank you so much for everything, God. Even just a glimpse of what you can do is truly amazing. I love you. Amen

Lanie (llilly2017)

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1 Samuel 18; Romans 16; Lamentations 3; Psalm 34

Saul Becomes Jealous of David

After David had finished talking with Saul, he met Jonathan, the king’s son. There was an immediate bond between them, for Jonathan loved David. From that day on Saul kept David with him and wouldn’t let him return home. And Jonathan made a solemn pact with David, because he loved him as he loved himself. Jonathan sealed the pact by taking off his robe and giving it to David, together with his tunic, sword, bow, and belt. Whatever Saul asked David to do, David did it successfully. So Saul made him a commander over the men of war, an appointment that was welcomed by the people and Saul’s officers alike. When the victorious Israelite army was returning home after David had killed the Philistine, women from all the towns of Israel came out to meet King Saul. They sang and danced for joy with tambourines and cymbals. This was their song: “Saul has killed his thousands, and David his ten thousands!” This made Saul very angry. “What’s this?” he said. “They credit David with ten thousands and me with only thousands. Next they’ll be making him their king!” (1 Samuel 18:1-8 NLT)

Saul first loved David, but then, as time wore on and David grew more victorious, he became jealous of him. When I normally think of a king, I never imagine that he’d be jealous of someone who has less than he has. But actually, David possessed much more than Saul did; but it had nothing to do with possessions. David had a full heart for God, and God blessed him for it. Saul had an empty heart.

The LORD is good to those who depend on him, to those who search for him. So it is good to wait quietly for salvation from the LORD. (Lamentations 3:25-26 NLT)

God gave David many victories over things he could’ve easily given to Saul. But he wanted someone to pursue a relationship with him, not just leave him behind when the request was fulfilled.

Dear God,

Please give me strength, and show me the way you want me to go. I want what you want, not what I want. I am so thankful for all you’ve blessed me with. Amen

Lanie (llilly2017)

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Judges 12; Acts 16; Jeremiah 25; Mark 11

A month or two ago in my class at church, one of the girls said that she tried to live every day like it was her last day. Instantly in my mind I decided to do the same. But it wasn’t as easy as it seemed…I soon realized that living every day like it was my last had nothing to do with seeing how much I could get done. Instead, it had to do with obeying God. Paul and Silas did just that.

A Call from Macedonia

Next Paul and Silas traveled through the area of Phrygia and Galatia, because the Holy Spirit had prevented them from preaching the word in the province of Asia at that time. Then coming to the borders of Mysia, they headed north for the province of Bithynia, but again the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them to go there. So instead, they went on through Mysia to the seaport of Troas. (Acts 16:6-8 NLT)

Even in the midst of trouble, they didn’t turn away from God.

Paul and Silas in Prison

One day as we were going down to the place of prayer, we met a demon-possessed slave girl. She was a fortune-teller who earned a lot of money for her masters. She followed Paul and the rest of us, shouting, “These men are servants of the Most High God, and they have come to tell you how to be saved.” This went on day after day until Paul got so exasperated that he turned and said to the demon within her, “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.” And instantly it left her. Her masters’ hopes of wealth were now shattered, so they grabbed at Paul and Silas and dragged them before the authorities at the marketplace. “The whole city is in an uproar because of these Jews!” they shouted to the city officials. “They are teaching customs that are illegal for us Romans to practice.” A mob quickly formed against Paul and Silas, and the city officials ordered them stripped and beaten with wooden rods. They were severely beaten, and then they were thrown into prison. The jailer was ordered to make sure they didn’t escape. So the jailer put them into the inner dungeon and clamped their feet in stocks. (Acts 16:16-24 NLT)

Paul and Silas are a great example of what it really means to trust and obey God. God places people in tough situations to see how much they really trust him. Right now I can think of several people who are in those kinds of situations. I’ve been in them, too. But I have to remember that God is love. He loves me, and he wants the best for me. I can’t let bad situations pull me down; I have to trust that God’s in control. Because that’s the truth.

Dear God,

Thank you for giving me an understanding of what it means to trust and obey you. I know the bad situations I’ve been in won’t be my last. So I will trust you, God. For your ways are better than my ways, your thoughts better than my thoughts. Amen

Lanie (llilly2017)

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Joshua 3; Psalm 126-128; Isaiah 63; Matthew 11

When the LORD brought back his exiles to Jerusalem, it was like a dream! We were filled with laughter, and we sang for joy. And the other nations said, “What amazing things the LORD has done for them.” Yes, the LORD has done amazing things for us! What joy!

How joyful are those who fear the LORD—all who follow his ways! You will enjoy the fruit of your labor. How joyful and prosperous you will be! (Psalm 126:1-3, 128:1-2 NLT)

Joy. Lately I’ve been trying to find joy in all my situations—good and bad. But it’s hard. Sometimes I don’t want to be joyful. The burdens of fear and sadness block my path, getting in the way of God’s truth.

Praise for Deliverance

I will tell of the LORD’s unfailing love. I will praise the LORD for all he has done. I will rejoice in his great goodness to Israel, which he has granted according to his mercy and love. He said, “They are my very own people. Surely they will not betray me again.” And he became their Savior. In all their suffering he also suffered, and he personally rescued them. In his love and mercy he redeemed them. He lifted them and carried them through all the years. (Isaiah 63:7-9 NLT)

Jesus and John the Baptist

When Jesus had finished giving these instructions to his twelve disciples, he went out to teach and preach in towns throughout the region. John the Baptist, who was in prison, heard about all the things the Messiah was doing. So he sent his disciples to ask Jesus, “Are you the Messiah we’ve been expecting, or should we keep looking for someone else?”

Jesus told them, “Go back to John and tell him what you have heard and seen—the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised to life, and the Good News is being preached to the poor. And tell him, ‘God blesses those who do not turn away because of me.’” (Matthew 11:1-6 NLT)

God has done so much. But not just for people in the Bible. For me, too. Every day now I look for miracles from him. Miracles don’t have to be big. They can be really simple, like time with a friend or a family member. Miracles are anything that God does for those who love him.

Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30 NLT)

Thank you, Jesus, for allowing me to give my burdens to you so I’m no longer weary. Thank you for the little miracles I find each day. Thank you for showing me that you are there. Thank you for being my best friend. Amen.

Lanie (llilly2017)

Oh My Soul, Casting Crowns

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Deuteronomy 7; Psalm 90; Isaiah 35; Revelation 5

The Privilege of Holiness

“When the Lord your God brings you into the land you are about to enter and occupy, he will clear away many nations ahead of you: the Hittites, Girgashites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites. These seven nations are greater and more numerous than you. When the Lord your God hands these nations over to you and you conquer them, you must completely destroy them. Make no treaties with them and show them no mercy. You must not intermarry with them. Do not let your daughters and sons marry their sons and daughters, for they will lead your children away from me to worship other gods. Then the anger of the Lord will burn against you, and he will quickly destroy you.

“For you are a holy people, who belong to the Lord your God. Of all the people on the earth, the Lord your God has chosen you to be his own special treasure.” (Deuteronomy 7:1-4, 6 NLT)   

I’ve always been told that I become like who I hang out with. Moses was basically telling the people the same thing. If they intermarried or spent all their time with the people of the other nations, pretty soon they’d be worshiping idols and getting farther and farther away from God.

For you, a thousand years are as a passing day, as brief as a few night hours. You sweep people away like dreams that disappear. They are like grass that springs up in the morning. In the morning it springs and flourishes, but by evening it is dry and withered. We wither beneath your anger; we are overwhelmed by your fury. You spread out our sins before you—our secret sins—and you see them all. We live our lives beneath your wrath, ending our years with a groan. Seventy years are given to us! Some even live to be eighty. But even the best years are filled with pain and trouble; soon they disappear, and we fly away. Who can comprehend the power of your anger? Your wrath is as awesome as the fear you deserve. Teach us to realize the brevity of life, so that we may grow in wisdom. (Psalm 90:4-12 NLT)

I don’t know how long I’ll live on this earth. But all I know is that I don’t have much time left. My entire life is barely even a second in God’s time. I want to live my life intentionally, spending my time doing what God wants me to do, instead of what the world wants.

O Lord, come back to us! How long will you delay? Take pity on your servants! Satisfy us each morning with your unfailing love, so we may sing for joy to the end of our lives. Give us gladness in proportion to our former misery! Replace the evil years with good. Let us, your servants, see you work again; let our children see your glory. And may the Lord our God show us his approval and make our efforts successful. Yes, make our efforts successful! (Psalm 90:13-17 NLT)

Lanie (llilly2017)

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Numbers 14; Psalm 50; Isaiah 3, 4; Hebrews 11

Make thankfulness your sacrifice to God, and keep the vows you made to the Most High.

But God says to the wicked: “Why bother reciting my decrees and pretending to obey my covenant? For you refuse my discipline and treat my words like trash. When you see thieves, you approve of them, and you spend your time with adulterers. Your mouth is filled with wickedness, and your tongue is full of lies. You sit around and slander your brother—your own mother’s son. While you did all this, I remained silent, and you thought I didn’t care. But now I will rebuke you, listing all my charges against you. Repent, all of you who forget me, or I will tear you apart, and no one will help you. But giving thanks is a sacrifice that truly honors me. If you keep to my path, I will reveal to you the salvation of God.” (Psalm 50: 14, 16-23 NLT)

God, thank you so much for loving me. Thank you for helping me whenever I’ve cried out to you. And thank you for giving me answers to my questions in your time.

Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.

All these people died still believing what God had promised them. They did not receive what was promised, but they saw it all from a distance and welcomed it. They agreed that they were foreigners and nomads here on earth. Obviously people who say such things are looking forward to a country they can call their own. If they had longed for the country they came from, they could have gone back. But they were looking for a better place, a heavenly homeland. That is why God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.

It was by faith that Isaac promised blessings for the future to his sons, Jacob and Esau.  It was by faith that Jacob, when he was old and dying, blessed each of Joseph’s sons and bowed down in worship as he leaned on his staff. It was by faith that Joseph, when he was about to die, said confidently that the people of Israel would leave Egypt. He even commanded them to take his bones with them when they left. It was by faith that Moses’ parents hid him for three months when he was born. They saw that God had given them an unusual child, and they were not afraid to disobey the king’s command.

All these people earned a good reputation because of their faith, yet none of them received all that God had promised. For God had something better in mind for us, so that they would not reach perfection without us. (Hebrews 11:1, 13-16, 20-23, 39-40 NLT)

God, I have faith that through you all things are possible. No one is greater than you.
Lanie (llilly2017)

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