Category Archives: Exodus

Exodus 35-37; Psalm 26; Philippians 4

Six days work shall be done, but on the seventh day you shall have a Sabbath of solemn rest, holy to the Lord. Whoever does any work on it shall be put to death.

Exodus 35:2 ESV

God took the Sabbath pretty seriously. It has gradually gone out of style over the years. There is lots of (mostly self-motivated) debate around the Sabbath. Does it now mean on Sunday instead of Saturday? Does this law apply to us since we live under grace? Does this apply to modern day since it was not repeated in the New Testament? How do pastors and other church staff take a Sabbath when they have to work then? Can I participate in sports on Sunday? And so on.

I’m going to intentionally, admittedly side-step this debate and settle on one fact I think we can all agree on — we all need rest. We need time set apart from the crazy activities of the rest of the week to refresh and worship. We need to just stop, at least once a week and just be.

But as for me, I shall walk in my integrity;
    redeem me, and be gracious to me.
12 My foot stands on level ground;
    in the great assembly I will bless the Lord.

Psalm 26:11,12 ESV

Even if I have daily devotional time with Jesus, I still need that time each week to gather with other believers and worship, learn through others’ teaching of Scriptures, realign my week with God’s agenda, let Him level the path ahead.

Many things drive us from setting aside time to worship and be with other Christians — exhaustion, laziness, lack of transparency, scheduling conflicts, transportation troubles, viruses, illness, fear, judgment, guilt, depression, conflict, confusion, and more.

God doesn’t give a lot of latitude here. I need to be there. Stop the physical and mental chaos that sometimes ravages my days and get myself to church. Stepping away from everything else in my life, before God, with other believers, blessing the Lord, every week.

Greet every saint in Christ Jesus. The brothers who are with me greet you.

Philippians 4:21 ESV

As I bring my weekly life plan into sync with God’s glory, the blessings of Philippians 4 open up before me.

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. . . The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. . . the God of peace will be with you.

I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. 13 I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

19 And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.

23 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.

Philippians 4:4-23 excerpts ESV

It takes serious discipline to get everyone up and out the door on Sunday morning. It takes profound trust to take a day off my to-do list. It takes some sacrifice to say “no” to some opportunities to preserve the rest and worship my body and soul need. I don’t always succeed, but I am reminded again today of the power of rest and the importance of God-above-all priorities.

Lord, help me to keep You first. First in my day, first in my week, first in my plans. I want to trust You with everything. Trust that six days is enough to accomplish everything You have for me. Grow my faith to walk this path of surrender more consistently. Show me clearly what Sabbath-rest looks like in my world. Thank you for the beautiful promises that come when we live recklessly for You. In Jesus name, Amen.

Erin (6intow)

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Filed under Exodus, Philippians, Psalms

Exodus 10-12; Ephesians 2

The blood on the houses where you are staying will be a distinguishing mark for you; when I see the blood, I will pass over you. No plague will be among you to destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt. – Exodus 12:13 HCSB

I like to think of the blood as a distinguishing mark of love, especially in the context of Jesus who brought us into the New Testament through the shedding of His own blood. He loved me while I was still turning my back on Him and pledged to love me into eternity.

It is a distinguishing mark of intense love, not just a love uttered from lips, not a love that looks more like mercy, but a love that wells up from His heart. It is a love that I do not doubt.

It is a distinguishing mark of a mighty love and testifies to the One who gave it – an undying love which water nor death could quench. I received it from His hand.

It is a distinguishing mark of a love that is given through wisdom – the Lord already knew why I rebelled against Him and has met me where I am at.

It is a distinguishing mark of a love that is unlimited – not sparing even His own Son, God gave it freely. It is a love that I will prize.

So then you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with the saints, and members of God’s household. Ephesians 2:19-20 HCSB

This love allows me to be united in Christ and that means I am also united with other followers of Jesus. There are differences between us, but not divisions. That is what love looks like.

Father, when I take communion with other followers of Jesus, it is in the taking of the bread and of the wine that allows me to remember and to celebrate what You have done. I love that You have asked me to do this as often as I meet with other believers. This past Sunday morning, as we celebrated together, I remembered vividly the tears that were shed by me as I released my shame into Your hands as You loved me and forgave me. For one who was forgiven much, I love You much. Your love has never failed, Your love has never disappointed, and Your love has always been enough. Thank You. Help me to be generous in my love and in my forgiveness to others so that I will look more like You. Amen.

Erwin (evanlaar1922)

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Filed under 5 day reading plan, 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, Ephesians, Exodus, New Testament, Old Testament, reading plan

Exodus 4-6; Galatians 6

Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself.

Galatians 6:2-3 ESV

We need each other. God did not create us to live in isolation, but in partnership with other believers. Bearing burdens, gently rebuking those in sin, sharing together the truths of God’s word, doing good every opportunity we find.

Sometimes I might rely too heavily on those around me. Seeking affirmation, encouragement, a shared workload. Sometimes I just feel the need to know someone has my back. Therefore, I can easily relate to Moses when called to go before Pharaoh and he immediately pulls out every excuse he can think of.

I’m afraid of snakes (Exodus 4:3)

“I am not eloquent . . . I am slow of speech and of tongue.” (Exodus 4:10)

“please send someone else” (Exodus 4:13)

God does not let him off that easily. Logically, He tried simply equipping Moses to do the job himself, but even with those displays of power at his disposal, Moses needed someone physically standing by him before he could muster the courage to return to Pharaoh’s presence.

And, God also gave him a staff. That staff that I’m sure meant so much to him throughout his lifetime, not because it was special in and of itself, but because of the Giver. I wonder if he ever thought of the ways God used that simple stick and was encouraged that God just might be able to use him, too.

There were rough days ahead for Moses. Rejection, delays, stress, mountains of responsibility, discouragement, and loss. The Hebrews had their burdens multiplied and when the weight of it all seemed unbearable, God was enough.

But the Lord said to Moses, “Now you shall see what I will do . . . ” (Exodus 6:1 ESV)

Sometimes, God provides all we need. Miraculous displays, people to help us in the work, a tool to get the job done. And still, the one thing we seek (Freedom, in the case of the Hebrew nation) remains elusive. They were brought very low. Waited for decades. And when there could be no doubt that only God could change their situation, He stepped in and they saw what He could do.

In the meantime, God calls us to bear each other’s burdens, lift each other up, look for every opportunity to do good to each other, and not grow weary in the waiting.

And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.

Galatians 6:9 ESV

Father God, thank you that You are always enough. You give me all I need and even the faith to wait for Your timing comes from you. Help me not grow weary in the task ahead and not neglect lifting up those around me that might be even wearier than I am. Thank you for the rich promises of your word to anchor my hope on everyday. In Jesus name, Amen.

Erin (6intow)

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Filed under Bible in a year reading plan, Exodus, Galatians

Exodus 35; John 14; Proverbs 11; Ephesians 4

Then Moses told people of Israel, “The Lord has specifically chosen Bezalel son of Uri, grandson of Hur, of the tribe of Judah.  The Lord has filled Bezalel with the Spirit of God, giving him great wisdom, ability, and expertise in all kinds of crafts.  He is a master craftsmen, expert in working with gold, silver, and bronze.  He is skilled in engraving and mounting gemstones and in carving wood.  He is a master at every craft.  The Lord has given them special skills as engravers, designers, embroiders in blue, purple, and scarlet thread on fine linen cloth, and weavers.  They excel as craftsmen and as designers.” Exodus 35:30-35 NLT

There are times I doubt my calling as an artist.  It is encouraging to know that the Lord chose Bezalel and others for these specific purposes.  I think of when I was asked to paint during a worship service at church and I said no for years.  I kept thinking, “Why would an artist, who creates while they are alone, want to stand up in front of people and paint?” I let fear stop me.  But, when I finally stepped out in faith even when I was afraid, God used it to shift my perspective. To show me that it wasn’t about me.  That it was about worshipping him.  One Sunday I had two members of my church tell me that my painting meant something different to each of them.  I was amazed to see how the Spirit was moving in their hearts and mine. I always want to remember how he took that step of obedience and mustard seed faith and multiplied it for his kingdom.  So, that he gets the glory and I don’t think it’s all about me.

“Pride leads to disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.  The generous will prosper; those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed.” Proverbs 11:2&25 NLT

How am I using my gifts to unify the body of Christ?

“Therefore I, a prisoner for serving the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God.  Always be humble and gentle.  Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love.  Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace.  For there is a one body and one Spirit, just as you have been called to one glorious hope for the future.” Ephesians 4:1-4 NLT

Dear Father, thank you for always being with me. Help me to live a life worthy of your calling.  I praise you for who you are.  I pray that I would look for opportunities to serve others.  Amen.

“Don’t let your hearts be troubled.  Trust in God, and trust also in me.” John 14:1 NLT

Amy(amyctanner)

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Filed under Ephesians, Exodus, John, Psalms, Uncategorized

Exodus 28; John 7; Proverbs 4; Galatians 3

Distracted driving! This is a term that has come to the forefront in the past few years. Thanks to technology, we can communicate with any one at any time. This has created quite an issue with drivers and become dangerous. For myself, I can remember being tired and driving home from work with glazed eyes just staring ahead. Once I got home, I wasn’t even sure how I got there. I have missed turns because I was having a conversation and not paying attention. Sometimes I really, really struggle to resist looking at my phone because someone texted me while I was driving. I am sorry to admit I have, on occasion, given in and tried to read and drive. That is not only dangerous to me, but it is also dangerous for anyone around me. I need to keep my eyes focused on the road before me at all times and be aware of my surroundings. This knowledge creates wisdom.

20 My son, pay attention to what I say;
turn your ear to my words.
21 Do not let them out of your sight,
keep them within your heart;
22 for they are life to those who find them
and health to one’s whole body.
23 Above all else, guard your heart,
for everything you do flows from it.
24 Keep your mouth free of perversity;
keep corrupt talk far from your lips.
25 Let your eyes look straight ahead;
fix your gaze directly before you.
26 Give careful thought to the paths for your feet
and be steadfast in all your ways.
27 Do not turn to the right or the left;
keep your foot from evil. (Prov. 4:20-27)

Solomon has been credited with writing most of the proverbs. He is also known as the man who asked God for wisdom. (1 Kings 3:9). The dictionary defines wisdom as “knowledge, and the capacity to make due use of it” (Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary). These words are a warning for our protection.  Pay attention! Remember my words, keep them in your heart, for your very life is at stake!

First, Solomon tells us to guard our hearts for everything flows from it. How true is that statement! I have let my heart make decisions for me that turned out to cause so much pain in my life. I have had to learn when it is okay to share it and when I must guard it. I need to watch what I say and speak loving, kind words—not words considered acceptable by the rest of the world. These words not only hurt my heart, they hurt the heart of our God.

I learned the hard way what happens when you do not keep your eyes on the path before you. I followed my heart into a situation that took me away from God. I took my eyes off Jesus! It seemed the right choice at the time, but God showed me that someone was taking advantage of my compassionate heart and I was being manipulated into doing something I thought was the loving thing to do. I looked away for an instant and paid the price–it led me straight into sin. Have you ever noticed that when you are driving and you look away, the car steers where your eyes are directed? We are not to turn to the right or the left but follow the path before us. We cannot let ourselves be distracted.

36 “Make a plate of pure gold and engrave on it as on a seal: holy to the Lord. 37 Fasten a blue cord to it to attach it to the turban; it is to be on the front of the turban. 38 It will be on Aaron’s forehead, and he will bear the guilt involved in the sacred gifts the Israelites consecrate, whatever their gifts may be. It will be on Aaron’s forehead continually so that they will be acceptable to the Lord. (Ex. 28:36-38) NIV

Jesus paid much too high a price for us to not listen to his words, his wisdom, which comes from his Father. Because of him, we have the Holy Spirit in us. Because of him, we have “HOLY TO THE LORD” written on our souls—not our foreheads. We do not need a priest to bear our guilt, Jesus did it on a cross. It was the greatest gift of all time. Because of him, we are acceptable to the LORD.

28 There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise. (Gal 3:28-29)

Lord Jesus, thank you for leaving us your wisdom. Thank you for the example you lived before the eyes of the disciples that has been passed down to us. Because of you, we are heirs to a great promise and a great future. We must keep our eyes focused on you at all times looking neither to the right or the left so we will not be distracted. Help us to guard our hearts, for streams of living water flow from within us as it says in John 7. Let it flow from us to the places you want it to go. I pray this in your precious name, Amen.

Cindy (gardnlady)

 

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Filed under 66 Books, Exodus, Galatians, John, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, Proverbs