Author Archives: llilly2017

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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Leviticus 11, 12; Psalm 13, 14; Proverbs 26; 1 Thess. 5

Paul’s Final Advice

Dear brothers and sisters, honor those who are your leaders in the Lord’s work. They work hard among you and give you spiritual guidance. Show them great respect and wholehearted love because of their work. And live peacefully with each other. Brothers and sisters, we urge you to warn those who are lazy. Encourage those who are timid. Take tender care of those who are weak. Be patient with everyone. See that no one pays back evil for evil, but always try to do good to each other and to all people. Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. Do not stifle the Holy Spirit. Do not scoff at prophecies, but test everything that is said. Hold on to what is good. Stay away from every kind of evil. (1 Thess. 5:12-22 NLT)

If someone were to ask me if I was patient, my quick response would most likely be “Yes”. But that’s not really true…although I can be patient, I’m usually not.

As I thought about it, I realized that patience is used in some character qualities. Kindness requires patience, because sometimes being kind takes someone away from what they’re doing. Patience is also used in love, because it’s not always easy to show love towards others. And lastly, trust requires patience, because sometimes God takes a while in answering prayers.

Recently, my aunt was moved to a nursing home facility. Before we could go into her room to see her, my dad, sister and I had to wait outside it for a few minutes (my mom was already in there). As I waited, I occupied myself by watching some of the workers as they passed by. I noticed that they showed lots of patience toward the nursing home patients. The workers treated the patients just like they were really special and important: which they are. I want to be able to show patience (and kindness) towards others like that: easily and freely.

Dear God,

Please help me to be patient, with others and with you. It’s not easy, but I know that with you all things are possible. Amen

—Lanie (llilly2017)

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Exodus 22; John 1; Job 40; 2 Corinthians 10

Protection of Property

“If someone steals an ox or sheep and then kills or sells it, the thief must pay back five oxen for each ox stolen, and four sheep for each sheep stolen.     

“If a thief is caught in the act of breaking into a house and is struck and killed in the process, the person who killed the thief is not guilty of murder. But if it happens in daylight, the one who killed the thief is guilty of murder.                                    

“A thief who is caught must pay in full for everything he stole. If he cannot pay, he must be sold as a slave to pay for his theft. If someone steals an ox or a donkey or a sheep and it is found in the thief’s possession, then the thief must pay double the value of the stolen animal.” (Exodus 22:1-4 NLT)

God presented Moses with these regulations (and many more) to tell to the Israelites. As I read through some of them, I wondered: did any of the Israelites ever get tired of obeying God (even if they didn’t say it)? Have I ever gotten tired of obeying God?

The Lord Challenges Job Again

Then the Lord answered to Job from the whirlwind: “Brace yourself like a man, because I have some questions for you, and you must answer them. Will you discredit my justice and condemn me just to prove you are right? Are you as strong as God? Can you thunder with a voice like his?” (Job 40:6-9 NLT)

We will not boast about things done outside our area of authority. We will boast only about what has happened within the boundaries of the work God has given us, which includes our working with you. We are not reaching beyond these boundaries when we claim authority over you, as if we had never visited you. For we were the first to travel all the way to Corinth with the Good News of Christ.                

Nor do we boast and claim credit for the work someone else has done. Instead, we hope that your faith will grow so that the boundaries of our work among you will be extended. Then we will be able to go and preach the Good News in other places far beyond you, where no one else is working. Then there will be no question of our boasting about work done in someone else’s territory. As the Scriptures say, “If you want to boast, boast only about the LORD”. When people commend themselves, it doesn’t count for much. The important thing is for the Lord to commend them. (2 Corinthians 10:13-18 NLT)

Have I ever tried to be in control over God—have I ever tried to prove that I’m right over him? Paul quoted, “If you want to boast, boast only about the LORD”. This should be true in my life; in my thoughts and my actions, for God is in control.

Hey God,

Thank you so much for your Word, and all the truths about you in it. Please equip me to faithfully obey you through every circumstance, for I’ve chosen in the past to follow you, and I’m keeping that decision. Amen

—Lanie (llilly2017)

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Genesis 44; Mark 14; Job 10; Romans 14

Jesus Predicts Peter’s Denial

On the way, Jesus told them, “All of you will desert me. For the Scriptures say, ‘God will strike the Shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered’. But after I am raised from the dead, I will go ahead of you to Galilee and meet you there.” Peter said to him, “Even if everyone else deserts you, I never will.” Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, Peter—this very night, before the rooster crows twice, you will deny three times that you even know me.” “No!” Peter declared emphatically. “Even if I have to die with you, I will never deny you!” And all the others vowed the same.” (Mark 14:27-31 NLT)

I love Bible passages where Jesus is speaking. I immediately feel refreshed after reading what he has to say. And when I read this passage—whoa. I’ve heard this story before, but I’ve never actually focused on it. I can’t even imagine how Peter felt when Jesus told him “…this very night, before the rooster crows twice, you will deny three times that you even know me.” Peter would deny Jesus—the Son of God—my Savior. If I was Peter, I’d want to run off or beg Jesus to say he was joking. But it was no joke. Jesus had spoken the truth.

Peter Denies Jesus

Meanwhile, Peter was in the courtyard below. One of the servant girls who worked for the high priest came by and noticed Peter warming himself at the fire. She looked at him closely and said, “You were one of those with Jesus of Nazareth.” But Peter denied it. “I don’t know what you’re talking about,” he said, and he went out into the entryway. Just then, a rooster crowed. When the servant girl saw him standing there, she began telling the others, “This man is definitely one of them!” But Peter denied it again. A little later some of the other bystanders confronted Peter and said, “You must be one of them, because you are a Galilean.” Peter swore, “A curse on me if I’m lying—I don’t know this man you’re talking about!” And immediately the rooster crowed the second time. Suddenly, Jesus’ words flashed through Peter’s mind: “Before the rooster crows twice, you will deny three times that you even know me.” And he broke down and wept. (Mark 14:66-72 NLT)

Hey God,

I have sinned, just like everyone else on this earth. But I could never even imagine denying that I know you. Please keep my mind and heart pure so that I won’t even have a chance to give in to Satan’s wishes. It’s your breath in our lungs; and you’ve created us. There is no one as great as you. Amen.
—Lanie (llilly2017)

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Genesis 7; Ezra 7; Matthew 7; Acts 7

God wasn’t happy with the people on the earth, because they continuously sinned against him. So he decided to flood the earth. But there was one man who trusted God completely and served him. His name was Noah, and he was saved because of his strong faith.

“When Noah was 600 years old, on the seventeenth day of the second month, all the underground waters erupted from the earth, and the rain fell in mighty torrents from the sky. The rain continued to fall for forty days and forty nights.” Genesis 7:11-12 NLT                   

All through the storm, in the thick of the trial, Noah trusted God. I want to be able to trust God like that. God tests people all the time to trust in him. During any trial I will have, I want to be able to trust God with all my heart, just like Noah did during the flood. But Noah wasn’t the only person in the Bible to show great faith in God. Ezra did too; but he came many years after.

“This Ezra was a scribe who was well versed in the Law of Moses, which the Lord, the God of Israel, had given to the people of Israel. He came up to Jerusalem from Babylon, and the king gave him everything he asked for, because the gracious hand of the Lord his God was on him.” Ezra 7:6 NLT

The verse says that the “gracious hand of the Lord his God was on him.” That makes me wonder why God protected and helped him. First of all, God loved him, as he does everybody. But Ezra trusted God with his plans; and God rewarded him by assisting him.

 

“Then the high priest asked Stephen, ‘Are these accusations true?’                    This was Stephen’s reply: ‘Brothers and fathers, listen to me. Our glorious God appeared to our ancestor Abraham in Mesopotamia before he settled in Haran. God told him, ‘Leave your native land and your relatives, and come into the land that I will show you.’ So Abraham left the land of the Chaldeans and lived in Haran until his father died. Then God brought him here to the land where you now live.” Acts 7:1-4 NLT

God keeps his promises. He is faithful to the end. I now trust God with my entire life, because his plan is much better than any plans I will ever have! I know I can count on him.

Hey God,

I trust you with my entire life, with all the decisions I make, and with my future. Give me wisdom when you test me, so I won’t let my faith waver. I don’t want to ever doubt you. You’ve kept your promises up until now, so I know that you will continue to. In your name I pray, Amen.

–Lanie (llilly2017)

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