Author Archives: look2thehills

About look2thehills

Happily married to my best friend. Graciously blessed with five children, who I am with God's grace, able to homeschool. Wanting to continue to grow in knowledge and love for my Lord Jesus.

2 Chronicles 21, Zechariah 5, John 8, Revelation 9

Light vs Darkness

I love light. One of the first things I do in the morning, when the sun rises, is to open up the blinds and curtains and let all the glorious light in. On those cloudy days, when the sun doesn’t make much of an appearance, I can feel gloominess trying to push its way in.

Today’s passages give us a glimpse into the darkness of sin, but on the opposite side, the gloriousness of the Light of Life.

2 Chronicles tells the story of King Jehoram, firstborn of Jehoshaphat, who did not walk in the way of his father, but rather walked in the ways of the kings of Israel and led Judah and the people of Jersusalem to prostitute themselves, just as the house of Ahab did. Verse 20 says: “He passed away, to no one’s regret, and was buried in the City of David, but not in the tombs of the kings.”

Zechariah 5 gives the account of 2 visions that Zechariah received. The first about a flying scroll that acts as a curse that will go out over the whole land. The second about a measuring basket, which contained the iniquity of the people throughout the land. In it was a woman, whose name was Wickedness.

Revelation 9 tells about a light that had fallen, in actuality the antithesis of light.  “I saw a star that had fallen from the sky to the earth. The star was given the key to the shaft of the Abyss. When he opened the Abyss, smoke rose from it like the the smoke from a gigantic furnace. The sun and sky were darkened by the smoke from the Abyss.” (vs. 1b – 2)

Then words about light and truth, that sooth the soul and give joy and meaning to life, from the mouth of Jesus in John 8.

“I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in the darkness, but will have the light of life.” (vs. 12)

“If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (vs. 31b – 32)

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This world does have its share of darkness as we look at the sinfulness that plagues our planet, but despite the dreariness that we feel, the ultimate truth is that Christ is always there, just waiting to envelope us in His light.

A quote from yesterday’s devotional reading in one of my books titled, Jesus Calling, by Sarah Young. “Come to Me with all your gaping emptiness, knowing that in Me you are complete. As you rest quietly in My Presence, My Light within you grows brighter and brighter. Facing the emptiness inside you is simply the prelude to being filled with my fullness. Therefore rejoice on those days when you drag yourself out of bed, feeling sluggish and inadequate. Tell yourself that this is the perfect day to depend on Me in childlike trust.”

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Thank you Father for being my Light when the darkness threatens to push its way into my soul. I want to rely on you in total dependence in all things and in all ways.

Amen.

Beckie (look2thehills)

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Filed under 2 Chronicles, John, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, New Testament, Old Testament, Revelation, Zechariah

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

The wonder of childhood is amazing. I love watching things through the eyes of my children and listening in (when they aren’t complaining) to their view of life.

During the Christmas season, I love watching them in the darkness as they admire the lights on the Christmas tree, watching them plan our annual home-Christmas pageant, or listening in as they play the “Christmas Lights” game, while driving in the dark.

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“But Jesus called the children to Him and said, ‘Let the little children come to me,  and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.’”

Luke 18:16 & 17

“How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!…

Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made know. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. Everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.”

1 John 3:1a & 2 – 3

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Here’s the really cool thing…I am a child too…God’s child! I can gaze upon Him with wonder and marvel at His incomprehensible love.

During this Christmas season, I am really trying to focus in, during my own personal devotions and times with my children, on the lavish love of the Father as I/we contemplate Him sending His son, Jesus, to earth as a newborn. A baby, and not just any baby, but the Creator of the Universe, exposed to all the filth and nastiness of a fallen world. And also to marvel at the lavish love of the Son, as He choose to come to our rescue.

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“This how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down His life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.”

1 John 3:16

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Yes, Jesus loves me, Yes, Jesus loves me, Yes, Jesus loves me, The Bible tells me so

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The Father, Son and Spirit could have chosen to rescue our race from the far reaches of heaven, but instead they chose to come close. They put Their love into action by sending Baby Jesus to live with us…Immanuel…God with us.

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“Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.”

“This is His command: to believe in the name of Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us. Those who obey His commands live in Him, and He in them. And this is how we know that He lives in us: We know it by the Spirit He gave us.”

1 John 3:18 and 23 – 24

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Oh come let us adore Him, Oh come let us adore Him, Oh come let us adore Him, Christ the Lord.

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Beckie (look2thehills)

Scripture references taken from NIV

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Filed under 1 John, Luke, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, New Testament

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

“What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, ‘Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,’ but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.”

James 2:14 – 17 NIV

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Almost every morning, I listen to Mercy Me’s latest CD The Generous Mr. Lovewell while packing lunches and making breakfast for the kids. The history and thoughts behind the making of the CD can be found here under Biography/Artist.

“The message of committing to extravagant selflessness and faithful optimism threads its way through every song.” *

So with thoughts and aspirations on how to love my neighbor and be available to those around me as the hands and feet of Christ, enters my scripture passage from James 2 and it’s message of Faith and Deeds. Faith by itself isn’t enough. “You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that – and shudder.” (James 2:19)

How often do I call myself a Christian by my faith, yet fail to live a Christian life in deeds? How often do I put my own desires ahead of someone’s true needs?

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Lord,

I want to be available to You and doing your deeds for those around me. Please open my eyes to the needs of others and help me to love them because of your unending, undeserving love of me. May the words of this song be our prayer and aim as Christ-followers. “We will be Your voice calling. We will be Your hands healing. We will be Your feet walking into a broken world. We will be Your chain breaker. We will be Your peace maker. We will be Your hope and joy. We will be Your LOVE.”

Your blessed beyond measure daughter,

Beckie (look2thehills)

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Filed under James, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, New Testament

2 Kings 19, Psalm 135 & 136, Hosea 12, Hebrews 1

It’s all about love.


Really, it’s only all about God’s love.

He loves. He created. He loves. He made a way to be reconciled. He loves. He’s making a forever home for us.

I’ve been plunked down in Psalm 136 for a week pondering and marveling at His wondrous love.

“Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good. His love endures forever.

Give thanks to the God of gods. His love endures forever.

Give thanks to the Lord of lords: His love endures forever.

to Him who does great wonders, His love endures forever.

who by His understanding made the heavens, His love endures forever.

who made the great lights – His love endures forever.

the sun to govern the day, His love endures forever.

the moon and stars to govern the night: His love endures forever.

Psalm 136:1 – 9 NIV

And after a week of meditating on these 9 verses, what I find the most amazing, is that it is His love that compels Him. He is not doing “it all”  for a mighty  power-trip, but rather for love.

His love endures all things and endures for all time.

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Lord,

Thank you for your all encompassing, all enduring, beyond human comprehension love. Saying “thank you” doesn’t seem nearly enough of a thing to say to the God of the Universe who loves me so completely. I want to follow you every step of the way, through the good and bad. Thank you for being there to pick me back up when I fall, and for providing forgiveness through the gift of Your Son, Jesus…all because of love. You are so amazing!

Amen.

– Beckie (look2thehills)

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Filed under M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, Old Testament, Psalms

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

2nd Kings tells the stories of 4 different miracles of God performed through His prophet Elisha. The widow who needs money to pay the soon-coming creditor, pours her “remaining” oil into jar after jar after jar. The Shunammite woman’s cherished son, who dies from sun poisoning,  is brought back to life. The poisonous gourd soup that is made good with flour. And the feeding of a hundred men with only twenty loaves of barley bread.

What struck me most was the dependency of the people in the stories on the prophet. He was just human, but he was God’s ambassador to the people. The people went to him when they needed deliverance from their problem.

In today’s society, I find myself and others around me, with a very self-sufficient attitude. Not reaching out to others when we truly need help. Wearing ourselves to the bone trying to do it all.

I also see in myself at times, an attitude of self-reliance in regards to approaching the King of Kings. I choose not to reach out to God to gain His strength and power for my life. I can do it on my own. I can handle what curve ball comes my way, instead of armoring up with God and preparing myself for the bombs the enemy likes to plop into my day.

I marvel at my own thick-headedness. On those mornings, when I make it a priority to armor up God’s way. I am so much more prepared to deal with life (the not-so-pretty life). But yet, I revert back to doing it on my own and then have to deal with the not-so-pretty consequences of my actions.

Thanks be to Jesus for his mercy and compassion.

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“The Lord is gracious and righteous, our God is full of compassion. The Lord protects the simplehearted; when I was in great need, He saved me.”

Psalm 116:5&6 NIV

Paul puts it so wonderfully in 1 Timothy 1:15

“Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners – of whom I am the worst.”

And still He gives and appoints…

“I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that He considered me faithful, appointing me to His service.”

1 Timothy 1:12

“How can I repay the Lord for all His goodness to me? I will lift up the cup of salvation and call on the name of the Lord. I will fulfill my vows to the Lord, in the presence of all His people.”

Psalm 116:12-14

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Lord,

I want to be so reliant on You each and every day. To trust You with my life and the storms that blow through it. Help me to reach out to others for help and also to reach out to others with help. Even more importantly, help to reach out to You for Your strength and power to see me through. I long to glorify You with my life, in action, word and deed.

Amen

– Beckie (look2thehills)

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Filed under 1 Timothy, 2 Kings, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, New Testament, Old Testament, Psalms

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

Tuesday, October 5th, 2010…a day I wish I could do-over.

Expectations not fulfilled, followed by disappointment. Disobedience, followed by disappointment in my own parental reaction. Tears from children and mom. Busy schedule causing a stressed attitude. Dragged out bedtimes, followed by harried preparation for the next day. Repentance. Lessons learned. Blessings counted.

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“Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”

Philippians 3:13b & 14 NIV

Thank you Jesus for winning the prize already. Thank you for Your merciful forgiveness time and time again. Thank you for continuing to call me heavenward towards Your righteousness and glory.

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“I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.”

Philippians 3:12b

“I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, 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 is through faith in Christ – the righteousness that comes from  God is is by faith.”

I want to know Christ….”

Philippians 3:8 – 10a

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So, thanks be to Jesus, that He can take a terrible day and make it into a learning lesson and an opportunity to turn and run towards Him with arms wide open. Nothing that I have to offer, but only humbling taking what He has freely given me.

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“But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who by the power that enables Him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like His glorious body.”

Philippians 3:20 & 21

Come quickly Lord Jesus!

– Beckie (look2thehills)

 

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Filed under M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, New Testament, Philippians

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

“Will the Lord reject forever? Will He never show His favor again? Has His unfailing love vanished forever? Has His promise failed for all time? Has God forgotten to be merciful? Has He in anger withheld His compassion?”

Then I thought, “To this I will appeal: the years of the right hand of the Most High.” I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember Your miracles of long ago. I will meditate on all Your works and consider all Your mighty deeds.

Your ways, O God, are holy. What god is so great as our God? You are the God who performs miracles; You display Your power among the peoples. With Your mighty arm You redeemed Your people, the descendants of  Jacob and Joseph.

Selah

Psalm 77:7 – 15 NIV

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I admit it – sometimes I feel very frustrated with my children. I wonder why they act they way they do.  I wonder if they will ever listen the first time I ask. I wonder if we are even speaking the same language. I wonder what I’m doing wrong as their mother.

As I pondered the verses in Psalm 77 this week, I could see some correlations between my thoughts and the thoughts and feelings expressed by the psalmist, Asaph.

Why is God doing this? Why does it seem like God is not listening?

So what does the psalmist do when he doesn’t understand and can’t explain his current problematic situation? He remembers. He recalls. He mediates on what the Lord has done.

I find myself doing a similar thing with my children too. When I’ve had an especially difficult day with the kids and I wonder if it will ever change, one my favorite things to do is to go in their bedrooms and watch them sleep. To stare at their innocent face and marvel at their beauty. To remember them as babies and realize how fast the time has gone by. To realize that my time with them is so limited. And to vow once again to be more patient and as they grow and mature, even if I can’t make sense of it all.

Basically, count my blessings. Remember what the Lord has given me and treasure it. When I count my blessings, I focus on what God has done and all that He has poured into my life. I focus on the positive and not the negative of the current situation.

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Heavenly Father,

When my life doesn’t seem to make sense and I wonder why things happen, and start to focus on the negative, help me to keep counting my blessings and recall how abundantly You have blessed and led me in the past and will continue to do so in the future.

Yours Forever,

Beckie (look2thehills)


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Filed under M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, Old Testament, Psalms