Author Archives: mmattix

Ecclesiates 6-7; Psalms 18; Matthew 16

June used to be my favorite month. But in recent years, June is when all the bad things seem to happen in our family. So now it kind of keeps me on edge.  Five years ago my husband had mayor surgery. It was a physical strain on him and an emotional strain on me and our children.  Then, four years ago my parents were in a head on collision. My dads truck was totaled and my mom broke a few fingers.  Finally, three years ago my grandfather passed away and my husband lost his job the very next day. We spent the rest of the summer daily trusting that another job was on its way.
I can look back at all of these June’s with bitterness or I can choose to realize that God was faithful through them all. I can look back and be grateful for the trials as they made me grow and lean on Him more. Today’s readings provide passages that reflect my sentiments.
  • “Sorrow is better than laughter, for by sadness of face the heart is made glad.” (Ecclesiastes 7:3 ESV)
  • “In my distress I called upon the Lord; to my God I cried for help.  From His temple He heard my voice, and my cry to Him reached His ears.” (Psalms 18;6 ESV)
  • This God- His way is perfect; the word of the Lord proves true; He is a shield for all those who take refuge in Him.” (Psalms 18:30 ESV)
  • Then Jesus said to His disciples, ‘If anyone would come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.  For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.” (Matthew 16:24-25 ESV)

Lord, we cry to You in our distress.  You are always right there.  Trials give us the closeness that we would never have if everything was perfect.  We give up our lives to follow You because its then that we truly DO have life.  Help us to always remember your faithfulness.

Amen,

Kellie

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1 Kings 1;1 Chronicles 26-28; 2 Corinthians 10; Psalms 91

In 1 Kings we read that King David is coming to the end of his life.  God has already chosen his son Solomon to replace him.

“And the king swore, saying ‘As the Lord lives, who has redeemed my soul out of every adversity, as I swore to you by the Lord, the God of Israel, saying, ‘Solomon your son shall reign after me, and he shall sit on my throne in my place, even so I will do this day.  Then Bathsheba bowed with her face to the ground and paid homage to the king and said ‘may my lord King David live forever,” (1 Kings 1:29-31 ESV)

David assembled all of the Jerusalem officials together and gives a charge to Solomon.

“Then David said to Solomon his son, ‘Be strong and courageous and do it.  Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed, for the Lord God, even my God, is with you.  He will not leave you or forsake you, until all the work for the service of the house of the Lord is finished.” (1 Chronicles 28:20 ESV)

The Psalmist, perhaps David or Moses, reflects similar sentiments.  It’s a good passage to remember when going through trials in this life.  God is on our side.

“He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.  I will say to the Lord, ‘My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust…..Because you have made the Lord your dwelling place- the Most High, who is my refuge- no evil shall be allowed to befall you, no plague come near your tent.  For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways.” (Psalms 91:1-2, 9-10 ESV)

But as Paul reminds us, any boasting that we do in this life for things we have done or trials we have made it through, the praise belong to God alone.

Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.  For it is not the one who commends himself who is approved, but the one whom the Lord commends.” (Psalms 91:17-18 ESV)

Lord, help us remember that only in You can we find our refuge in times of trouble.

Kellie

 

 

 

 

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1 Samuel 27; 1 Chronicles 9; 1 Corinthians 10; Psalms 141

We just celebrated Easter.  Christ’s resurrection is the cornerstone event of the Christian faith.  Because He died for our sins and rose from the dead, we too can be resurrected.  Easter gives us that hope.

Several verses stood out to me this week in the light of Easter.

“The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof.” (1 Corinthians 10:26 ESV)  Everything belongs to Him.

“So whatever you do, whether you eat or drink, do all to the glory of God.” (1 Corinthians 10:31 ESV).  Whatever we do in life, whether its changing diapers, driving a bus or running a company, we need to do all things like we’re doing them to God.  He gets the glory when we live our lives to the best of our ability no matter the task.

But my eyes are towards you, O Lord my God; in you I seek refuge, leave me not defenseless.” (Psalms 141:8)  Our job is to focus on the Lord, not our problems, and He will take care of the rest.

Dear Lord,

“Let my prayer be counted as incense before you and the lifting of my hands as an evening sacrifice.” (Psalms 141:2)

Amen,

Kellie

 

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Judges 7-8; Mark 12; Psalms 52, 42

“So Gideon and the hundred men who were with him came to the outskirts of the camp at the beginning of the middle watch, when they had just set the watch.  And they blew the trumpets and broke the jars.  They held in their left hands the torches, and in their right hands the trumpets to blow.  And they cried, ‘A sword for the Lord and for Gideon!'” (Judges 7:19-20 ESV)

Gideon was simply following God’s instructions on how to defeat his enemy.  Because they attacked at night and with light and noise, the enemy didn’t know what hit them.  God is here to help us when we ask Him to and follow His lead.

“And as for the dead being raised, have you not read in the book of Moses, in the passage about the bush, how God spoke to him, saying, ‘I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob?  He is not God of the dead, but of the living.  You are quite wrong.” (Mark 12:26-27 ESV)

Jesus is addressing the Sadducees as they question about the resurrection.  Jesus points out that they don’t understand God’s power and those who believe in Him, will indeed be resurrected.

“But I am like a green olive tree in the house of God.  I trust in the steadfast love of God forever and ever.  I will thank you forever, because you have done it.  I will wait for your name, for it is good, in the presence of the godly.” (Psalms 52:8-9 ESV)

Those of us who believe in Him can rejoice like the psalmist.  We can be equipped to fight our enemies like Gideon and trust in our own resurrection.  How glorious to know this!

Kellie

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Numbers 22-25 & Acts 20

In today’s reading, the story of Balaam and the donkey stood out to me.  As a Kindergarten teacher at a Christian school, I tell my students about this each year.  Balaam was not obedient to the Lord by going to a place He did not want him to go and for the wrong reasons.  So God intervened in a unique way:

“But God’s anger was kindled because he went, and the angel of the Lord took his stand in the way of his adversary.  Now he was riding on the donkey, and his two servants were with him.  And the donkey saw the angel of the Lord standing in the road, with a drawn sword in his hand. And the donkey turned aside out of the road and went into the field.  And Balaam struck the donkey, to turn her into the road.” (Numbers 22:22-23 ESV)

Notice that the donkey saw the angel, not Balaam the person, but the animal.

“Then the angel of the Lord stood in a narrow path between the vineyards, with a wall on either side.  And when the donkey saw the angel of the Lord, she pushed against the wall and pressed Balaam’s foot against the wall.  So he struck her again.” (Numbers 22:24-25 ESV)

The donkey is trying very hard to stay put, but Balaam is becoming more and more frustrated and angry with her.

Then the angel of the Lord went ahead and stood in a narrow place, where there was no way to turn either to the right or to the left.  When the donkey saw the angel of the Lord, she lay down under Balaam.  And Balaam’s anger was kindled and he struck the donkey with his staff.” (Numbers 22:26-27 ESV)

Then the Lord took it a step further and had the donkey question Balaam.

Then the Lord opened the mouth of the donkey and she said to Balaam, ‘What have I done to you that you have struck me three times?  And Balaam said to the donkey, ‘Because you have made a fool of me.  I wish I had a sword in my hand, for then I would kill you.’  And the donkey said to Balaam, ‘am I not your donkey which you have ridden all your life long to this day?  Is it my habit to treat you this way?’  And he said, ‘no.'” (Numbers 22:28-30 ESV)

God made a donkey talk to help soften Balaam’s heart.  It doesn’t seem to surprise him that this happened.  They are having an ordinary conversation.  Finally, Balaam’s eyes are opened to what transpired.

Then the Lord opened the eyes of Balaam, and he saw the angel of the Lord standing in the way, with his drawn sword in his hand. And he bowed down and fell on his face.  And the angel of the Lord said to him, ‘Why have you struck your donkey three times?  Behold, I have come out to oppose you because your way is perverse before me.  The donkey saw me and turned aside before me these three times.  If she had not turned aside from me, surely just now I would have killed you and let her live.’  Then Balaam said to the angel of the Lord, ‘I have sinned for I did not know that you stood in the road against me.  Now therefore, if it is evil in your sight, I will turn back.’  And the angel of the Lord said to Balaam, ‘Go with the men but speak only the word that I tell you.’  So Balaam went on with the princes of Balak.” (Numbers 22:31-35 ESV)

After he saw the angel of the Lord, Balaam was repentant and honestly tried to do the right thing this time.  In God’s mercy, he let him go on his way unharmed with only directions of what to say.

Lord, help us to learn from this story that your way is the better way.  When we try to take matters into our own hands, we would be lucky to have a “talking animal” stand in our defense.  May we always rely on You and not our pride in making decisions.

Amen, Kellie

 

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Exodus 25-27; Luke 24

But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they went to the tomb, taking spices they had prepared.  And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they went in they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus.  While they were perplexed about this, behold, two men stood by them in dazzling apparel.  And as they were frightened and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them, ‘Why do you seek the living among the dead?  He is not here, but has risen.  Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men and be crucified and on the third day rise.'” (Luke 24:1-7 ESV)

Easter morning, the morning when hope became a reality.  After the horrors of Friday and the waiting on Saturday, suddenly a miracle burst forth with the sunrise.  The older I get the more I appreciate Easter Sunday.  It is a fresh reminder that because He lives, so can those who believe. It fiills me with such joy that I cannot explain it, and it makes me long for Heaven when I can be with Him.

God is daily close to us when we have a relationship with Him.  He too longs to be near.  Back when the Jews were building and filling the tabernacle, God included details of how to be near.  “And you shall set the bread of the Presence on the table before Me regularly.” (Exodus 25:30 ESV)

Then after He is resurrected, His presence is right there with them when they didn’t realize it. “When He was at the table with them, He took the bread and blessed and broke it and gave it to them.  And their eyes were opened, and they recognized Him.  And He vanished from their sight.” (Luke 24:30-31)

This is the good news that we can be forgiven of our sins if we turn and follow Him.  “And said to them, ‘Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance for the forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in His name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem.  Your are witnesses of these things.” (Luke 24:46-48 ESV)

Lord, help us to appreciate the miracle of Your and our resurrection every day.  May we realize how things changed eternally that miraculous Easter day!

Kellie

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Genesis 13-16; Luke 4

We are told to trust God.  Let Him handle situations even when His timing takes longer than we would like.  But we tend to be impatient.  I know I am.  Many times I’ve prayed about things and supposedly left it up to God, but then when He’s not moving fast enough I get tired of waiting and take matters into my own hands.  That is what Sarai does in this Genesis passage.  She was too old to have children so she gave her husband to her slave so that they could have a child.  She knew this wasn’t God’s way and that He had promised Abram offspring but she took matters into her own hands.

“And Sarai said to Abram, ‘Behold now, the Lord has prevented me from bearing children.  Go in to my servant; it may be that I shall obtain children by her.  And Abram listened to the voice of Sarai.  So, after Abram had lived ten years in the land of Canaan, Sarai, Abram’s wife, took Hagar the Egyptian, her servant, and gave her to Abram her husband as a wife.  And he went in to Hagar, and she conceived.  And when she saw that she had conceived, she looked with contempt on her mistress.” (Genesis 16:2-4 ESV)

Did you notice the phrase that stated, “And Abram listened to the voice of Sarai?”  Not only did Sarai get impatient, but Abram went along with it.  Neither of them were strong against temptation.  To the contrary, Jesus comes up against Satan himself, but does not give in to temptation.

“The devil said to Him, ‘If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread.’  And Jesus answered him, ‘It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone.’  And the devil took Him up and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in the a moment of time, and said to Him, ‘to You I will give all this authority and their glory, for it has been delivered to me, and I give it to whom I will.  If you, then will worship me, it will all be Yours.’  And Jesus answered him, ‘It is written, You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only shall you serve.”  And he took Him to Jerusalem and set Him on the pinnacle of the temple and said to Him, ‘If You are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here, for it is written, ‘He will command His angels concerning You, to guard You and on their hands they will bear You up, lest you strike Your foot against a stone.”  And Jesus answered him, ‘It is said, You shall not put the Lord Your God to the test.‘  And when the devil had ended every temptation, he departed from Him until an opportune time.” (Luke 4:3-13 ESV)

Sarai and Abram believed God but didn’t really trust He would do what He said.  They felt that God needed their help to keep the promise.  On the other hand, Jesus was confronted by Satan with his temptations and his lies but responded by stating the word of God and not giving in.

Lord,

Help us to follow Jesus’s example of standing strong and speaking Your word to fight off the temptations that come our way.  You don’t need our help to make things in our lives come to pass.  We just need to be still and know.

Kellie

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