Category Archives: Amos

Amos 1-3; Matthew 13

When I was younger we build forts and fought other kids in the neighbourhood for their treasure.  Buried treasure was a big thing for us as we checked out our local vacant fields for signs of what others had left behind.  I learned early that treasure was important and something to hang on to, maybe, if necessary to fight for.

So why was it in my adult life that I forget what treasure was?  Why did I forget that my relationship with God was my greatest treasure.  Why was it that I forget to seek first God’s kingdom and everything else would be taken care of?  Why did I stop panting like a deer pants for water to meet the Lord each morning?

And so the Lord God has sworn
    that they will be surrounded.
Enemies will break through
their defenses
    and steal their treasures. – Amos 3:11  CEV

God knew that I would have these desert moments in my life and He kept me safe and kept my treasure safe for me.  It did not take me long to realize that I had stepped away.  I become a follower of Christ who not only knew Him as Saviour but also as Lord.

The kingdom of heaven is like what happens when someone finds a treasure hidden in a field and buries it again. A person like that is happy and goes and sells everything in order to buy that field. – Matthew 13:44  CEV

So if Satan comes only to steal, kill and destroy and Jesus has come to give me life and to give me life abundantly, then it speaks well for me to embrace Him and allow Him into every arena of my heart and my life.  In welcoming Him into my space with His life-changing Word, I have the incredible opportunity to speak that Word into the lives of others.  Not only do I share the old treasures with new perspectives, but I also see new treasures that I and others have missed. I become a disciple of Jesus who has become a disciple-maker of others.

So he told them, “Every student of the Scriptures who becomes a disciple in the kingdom of heaven is like someone who brings out new and old treasures from the storeroom.” – Matthew 13:52

Lord, You are my only treasure. Every treasure You have given me I lay gladly back at Your feet and only wish to glorify You through them.  There is nothing like sharing Your Word with someone and see their eyes light up and the light bulb goes off as Your Holy Spirit illuminates who You are.  Thank you that I can be used to give Your treasure to others. Amen

Erwin (evanlaar1922)

 

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Filed under 66 Books, Amos, Bible in a year reading plan, Matthew, New Testament, Old Testament, Uncategorized

I Chronicles 5, 6; Hebrews 10; Amos 4; Psalm 148-150

Sometimes I am conflicted about the will of God in my life. “Should I move or should I stay” is a line in a Third Day song that mimics my own questions. When nothing seems to be working out as I would like or had expected, I doubt my heart and look for sin or some other barrier deafening me to God’s will. I feel like the rejected firstborn or one of a whole lineage of people that God judged as unfaithful. When I search my heart I see the after effects of trauma, unresolved grief, periods of isolation from God’s community of believers, and the constant dripping of remorse. Still, I hold tenaciously to Jesus Christ, the One who knows me intimately – my Creator. Amos 4:13 says,

“For behold, He who forms mountains and creates the wind, who declares to man what his heart is, and makes the morning darkness, who treads the high places of the earth…the Lord God of hosts is His name.”He is the One who declares what my heart is – no matter that I am unaware of this heart’s condition.

Even when convicted of sin, my Lord Jesus does not leave me. He could have. He could have saved only Israel through the Levitical practice of offering sacrifices and left me in the dust. I Chronicles 6:49 describes the importance of the high priest’s function:

“But Aaron and his sons offered sacrifices on the altar of burnt offering and on the altar of incense for all the work of the Most Holy Place, and to make atonement for Israel…” However, Jesus Christ, said to God,

“Sacrifice and offering You did not desire, but a body You have prepared for Me. In burnt offerings and sacrifices of sin You had no pleasure. Then I [Christ] said, ‘Behold, I have come…to do Your will, O God,’”(Hebrews 10:5-7).

That once and for all sacrifice, that unwavering willingness of Christ to die for me, that love and understanding of my human frailty, is my inspiration to hold fast to what I know: God is faithful even when I cannot readily see His will for me. He encourages me through Scripture, through friends, through study, and through prayer.

“And let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching,” (Hebrews 10:23-25).

For example, I was reminded yesterday by one of my ‘golden’ friends to praise God in all things – in my sorrow, in my joy, in my confusion, in the most difficult and dark times. And today, God punctuated His reminder to praise Him as I read the last three chapters in the Book of Psalms which exhort Creation from “the heavens to the human heart,” (commentary) to praise God for His mighty works, for the assembly (the church), to praise God for His salvation and judgments, and finally for all things to praise Him:

“Let everything that has breath praise the Lord,” (Psalm 148-150).

So, my Lord God, with the breath You have graciously given me to know Your heart and to breathe in Your love for me, I praise You today – in word, in deed, in song, in quietness, and in loud “Halleluiahs!” You have a way of cutting through the fog and clearing the path to see that You are before me, always with me, and upholding me through all that has been and is to come. Most wonderful of all, I praise You for Your very Presence even now! Thank You Jesus, Lord and Savior!

Janet (jansuwilkinson)

All Scripture and commentary quotes from: The Nelson Study Bible, New King James Version, Trinity Fellowship Church 25th Anniversary Commemorative Edition, 2002.

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Amos 7-9; Revelation 7

On that day I will raise up The tabernacle of David, which has fallen down; And repair it’s damages; I will raise up it’s ruins, And rebuild it as in the days of old” Amos 9:11 NKJV

I am thankful that God is a God of restoration. That He restores what is broken and makes it new. He brings Beauty from ashes. I like the way that Tami Yeager describes it in her story. She says, “Where we live we are able to burn yard debris during certain times of the year. Each fall we clean up dead and dying plants and toss them into the burn pile, having deemed each plant as having served its purpose and its season having come to an end. A huge pile of ash remains. This last spring a beautiful squash plant rose from the burn pile. Not a single person in our family planted it or tended to it once it sprouted from the ashes. Yet this plant was the healthiest plant on the property…The beauty of the abundant life rising from the ash pile has captivated me. It comforts me to know that God can bring beauty from ashes, and seeds buried in the soil of disappointment, sorrow, and despair.”

They shall neither hunger anymore nor thirst anymore; the sun shall night strike them, nor any heat; “for the Lamb who is in the midst of the throne will shepherd them and lead them to living fountains of waters. And God will wipe every tear from their eyes.” Rev 7:16,17 NKJV

As I reflect on this advent season, these words from Revelation give me a fresh new hope. That Jesus came as a little baby and experienced all the emotions that I do. He knows how it feels to have a broken heart. And He is the only one who can truly heal mine. He is the Wonderful Counselor, Almighty God, Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. The Alpha and Omega. The Beginning and the End.

Will I trust Him enough to know that He sees my hurt and understands? That He CAN make beauty from ashes, even if I don’t see it all until Heaven?

All the angels stood around the throne and the elders and the four living creatures, and fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying:

Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom,

Thanksgiving and honor and power and might,

Be to our God forever and ever. Amen.” Rev 7:11,12 NKJV

Amy(amyctanner)

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1 Chronicles 13, 14; James 1; Amos 8; Luke 3

But if any of you needs wisdom, you should ask God for it. He is generous to everyone and will give you wisdom without criticizing you. But when you ask God, you must believe and not doubt. Anyone who doubts is like a wave in the sea, blown up and down by the wind. Such doubters are thinking two different things at the same time, and they cannot decide about anything they do. They should not think they will receive anything from the Lord. James 1:5-8 (NCV)

As I think about the word wisdom, I am struck that wisdom is so much more than simply being intelligent. I can be educated, well-studied, but that doesn’t mean that I am wise. I can have common sense, street-smarts as it were, but it doesn’t mean that I have wisdom.

Wisdom is defined as the ability to apply knowledge, experience, understanding, common sense, and insight in a situation. It is using the education I have received through schooling and through life experience in the context of the circumstances I am living through right now. But it shouldn’t start there; it should start with a conversation with the Lord; it should start with His Living Word.

This verse in James reminds me that if I need wisdom in any situation, all I need to do is ask God and believe that He will give it to me. I need to trust that He will give me the wisdom that I require in every circumstance. He is all-knowing, all-seeing and desires to help me through all of the events of my life. He has all of the answers and is just waiting for me to ask Him for help.

David asked God, “Should I go and attack the Philistines? Will you hand them over to me?”

The Lord answered him, “Go, I will hand them over to you.” 1 Chronicles 14:10 (NCV)

Soon the Philistines attacked the people in the valley again. David prayed to God again, and God answered him, saying, “Don’t attack the Philistines from the front. Instead, go around them and attack them in front of the balsam trees. When you hear the sound of marching in the tops of the balsam trees, then attack. I, God, will have gone out before you to defeat the Philistine army.” David did as God commanded, and he and his men defeated the Philistine army all the way from Gibeon to Gezer. 1 Chronicles 14:13-16 (NCV)

Throughout David’s life, he consistently looked to God for wisdom and God gave it to him. He asked God for help. He asked God what he should do, what steps he should take. And, when he asked, God gave him instructions, detailed directives in everything, from how to slay Goliath when he was a youth to how to bring the Ark of God to Jerusalem after he became king. Repeatedly, David asked for wisdom in how to defeat the Philistines in battle, and God never failed to share with him the way to gain victory over Israel’s enemy.

In Luke, as John the Baptizer began paving the way for Christ, he brought conviction to the hearts of the people. As John preached about changed hearts and lives for the forgiveness of sins, the people began looking to him for answers. They asked him, “What should we do?” and because of His dedication to God, he was able to give them godly counsel to demonstrate their transformation.

The Lord God says: “The days are coming

when I will cause a time of hunger in the land.

The people will not be hungry for bread or thirsty for water,

but they will be hungry for words from the Lord. Amos 8:11 (NCV)

In Proverbs it shares that ONLY God gives wisdom, knowledge, and understanding. I can look to a book, to education, or to another person, but the One who IS Wisdom, is the only one who can impart strategic wisdom for my specific situation. And I can receive that wisdom by asking Him and then listening to and obeying His response.

As I remember to look to God first for wisdom in every aspect of my life, He will help me apply the earthly knowledge that I have by giving me better understanding of the state of affairs by giving me directions, by guiding me in each step I need to take.

Yesappa, Thank You for providing for ALL of my needs, especially my need for Your wisdom for the various circumstances of my life. Lord, I ask for wisdom in what steps to take in managing my home well. I ask for wisdom in my relationship with my husband, my marriage. I ask for wisdom in parenting my children. I ask for wisdom to help me survive and thrive each day, to not feel overwhelmed in the day to day of life. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Blessings – Julie (writing from Sholavandan, India)

Scripture taken from the New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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1 Chron 1,2; Heb 8; Amos 2; Psalm 145

Heads up! The days are coming when I’ll set up a new plan for dealing with Israel and Judah.  I’ll throw out the old plan I set up with their ancestors when I led them by the hand out of Egypt. They didn’t keep their part of the bargain, so I looked away and let it go. This new plan I’m making with Israel isn’t going to be written on paper, isn’t going to be chiseled in stone; This time I’m writing out the plan in them, carving it on the lining of their hearts. I’ll be their God, they’ll be my people. They won’t go to school to learn about me, or buy a book called God in Five Easy Lessons. They’ll all get to know me firsthand, the little and the big, the small and the great. They’ll know me by being kindly forgiven with the slate of their sins forever wiped clean.  By coming up with a new plan, a new covenant between God and his people, God put the old plan on the shelf. And there it stays, gathering dust.” Hebrews 8 MSG

The page has turned…He is doing a new thing.

He gives us an undeserved new beginning.

A fresh start.

A new day.

God gives a hand to those down on their luck, gives a fresh start to those ready to quit….All eyes are on you, expectant…Generous without a fault, you lavish your favor on all creatures. Everything God does is right- the trademark on all his works is love….He does what’s best for all those who fear Him-hears them call out and saves them. My mouth is filled with God’s praise. Let everything living bless him, bless his holy name from now to eternity!” Psalm 145 MSG

Sometimes I want to be made new without going through the hard work of God molding me into who He wants me to be. Am I really ready to be molded like a hunk of clay and become a new person in the process? Unrecognizable…giving my whole heart to him?

Thank you Father for the changing work you have done in my life. I don’t want to stay the same person. I want to keep changing and growing in You. Thank you for your mercy and grace. And that Your love for me in unfailing. Help me to keep my eyes on You, with expectancy. Amen

Amy(amyctanner)

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2 Kings 25; Hebrews 7; Amos 1; Psalms 144

Lord, why are people important to you?

Why do you even think about human beings?

People are like a breath;

their lives are like passing shadows. Psalm 144:3-4 (NCV)

There are times in my life when I suffer from hopelessness. In those moments, my world as I know it comes crashing down around me, dreams shatter and desires smash. And, like most people, I begin questioning “why”.

When I feel hopeless, I experience a sense of depression. I wonder if I am valuable to anyone, loved by anyone. I start thinking about what could have been, fantasizing about greener grasses. It is easy to listen to the lies of the enemy when I am vulnerable, the whispers of worthlessness, insinuations of rejection.

…Now a better hope has been given to us, and with this hope we can come near to God. Hebrews 7:19b (NCV)

Before I knew Jesus, my hope was based on my aspirations and on my relationships with people who surrounded me. Then, when the Lord revealed Himself, arms wide open, waiting expectantly for me to walk into His embrace, I began to see that my hope needed to be grounded in Christ. I realized the importance of centering my expectations on the Everlasting, Always-Loving God.

…Because Jesus lives forever, he will never stop serving as priest. So he is able always to save those who come to God through him because he always lives, asking God to help them.

Jesus is the kind of high priest we need. He is holy, sinless, pure, not influenced by sinners, and he is raised above the heavens. He is not like the other priests who had to offer sacrifices every day, first for their own sins, and then for the sins of the people. Christ offered his sacrifice only once and for all time when he offered himself. Hebrews 7:24-27 (NCV)

When I put my hope in the fallible things around me, in mutable thoughts of the future I will inevitably be disappointed. When I put my hope in other people – family, friends, and those I don’t even really know – I am often hurt, my heart disillusioned and feeling more lonely than ever.

Happy are those who are like this;

happy are the people whose God is the Lord. Psalm 144:15 (NCV)

But, when I draw near to God, placing my hope in Him, I am able to give thanks in all things. And, when I choose to bless His name, especially when circumstances are challenging, happiness arises from His gift of sufficient grace. I remember my heavenly identity and the sacrifice Jesus made for me on the cross. I find joy in my salvation. I discover that I’ve become strong despite my weakness and my faith has been fortified.

Yesappa, Thank You for being my hope, my salvation. Thank You for thinking of me and counting me as important, valuable, and worthy of Your Love. Thank you for Your steadfastness and Your grace. Thank you for drawing near to me as I draw near to You. Thank You for Your many blessings over my life. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Blessings – Julie (writing from Sholavandan, India)

Scripture taken from the New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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A LETTER TO AMOS

Dear Amos,

You are making me a bit uncomfortable. You lived in Old Covenant times.  Don’t I get a break because I live under the New Covenant?  Don’t I escape judgement because I am  a redeemed and forgiven believer?

You see, life is comfortable and secure. I can divert my eyes and ignore corruption, perversion and oppression. It is as simple as changing my television channel from the News to the Food Network.  After all, I am only one in a billion.  What difference can I make?  Besides, it’s easier to keep quiet and not stir up trouble. What do you expect from me?

But you, Amos have been in my face these past couple of days.  You could have stayed in Judah and tended your flocks and orchard, but God’s truth was stronger than your desire to live a quiet,  secure, low resistance life.  The same truth that burned within you got Jesus hung on a cross.  That same truth also raised him from the dead and bought my freedom.

So what am I to do with you and the words God gave you?  I am not really sure.  I know that your words change me and God’s truth remains the same today as in your time.  God wants to be worshiped wholeheartedly.  He is not one of those idols I can take out to feel better about myself and then tuck away when my fears are assuaged.  You tell me that He longs for justice and restored relationships here on earth.  You had the conviction to stand up and  speak the difficult but healing word.  I pray that I am more like you when the time comes to speak up and do what God asks me to do.  The truth does not give me any other viable option.

Kathy

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