Category Archives: Psalms

2 Chronicles 19-20; 2 Kings 1; Psalm 20; Matthew 3

We started a new tradition in our home recently.  We have come to realize that our kids and their spouses may not know, remember or might not even think about some of our experiences that our fifty years of living has given us insight on.  We thought we would let them all ask one question about us that they would like to know.  Thankfully most of them were pretty light, but my son went ahead and asked the deep question – was there ever a time when there was no light, no way out of an experience and what did you do? Great question and I was reminded of that as I read Jehoshaphat’s story – what did he do when there was no hope?

Early the next morning, as everyone got ready to leave for the desert near Tekoa, Jehoshaphat stood up and said, “Listen my friends, if we trust the Lord God and believe what these prophets have told us, the Lord will help us, and we will be successful.” Then he explained his plan and appointed men to march in front of the army and praise the Lord for his holy power by singing:[g]

“Praise the Lord!

    His love never ends.”

As soon as they began singing, the Lord confused the enemy camp, so that the Ammonite and Moabite troops attacked and completely destroyed those from Edom. Then they turned against each other and fought until the entire camp was wiped out! – 2 Chronicles 20:20-23   CEV

My wife and I shared with our family that there is no other way but prayer.  No matter what, where, why, when or how, God’s love for you will keep you safe. We shared a few stories and all of them involved having a conversation with God.

I pray that the Lord
will listen
when you
are in trouble,
and that the God of Jacob
will keep you safe. – Psalm 20:1   CEV

There is something amazing when I have invited God into my space.  He takes all that I give Him.  He has never asked me to do anything, especially singing in public.  However, He has asked me to wait, He has asked me to stay still and He always asks to leave things in His hands. When we stand with Jesus, He stands with us and when we enter His presence on the last day, He will greet us and say, “Well done!”

Then a voice from heaven said, “This is my own dear Son, and I am pleased with him.” – Matthew 3:17   CEV

Thank you Lord that I could answer my son’s question.  I pray that any member of my family will reach out to You regardless of where they are in relationship with You or the difficulty they are facing. Amen

Erwin (evanlaar1922)

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Filed under 2 Chronicles, 2 Kings, 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, Matthew, New Testament, Old Testament, Psalms, Uncategorized

1 Kings 13-14; 2 Chronicles 12; Psalm 47; Titus 2

11 For the grace of God has been revealed, bringing salvation to all people. 12 And we are instructed to turn from godless living and sinful pleasures. We should live in this evil world with wisdom, righteousness, and devotion to God, 13 while we look forward with hope to that wonderful day when the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, will be revealed. 14 He gave his life to free us from every kind of sin, to cleanse us, and to make us his very own people, totally committed to doing good deeds.

15 You must teach these things and encourage the believers to do them. You have the authority to correct them when necessary, so don’t let anyone disregard what you say. (Titus 2:11-15) NLT

I clearly remember the time in my life before I became a Christ-follower. In fact, even as “mature” (in age) as I am, there are still more years behind me when I wasn’t. I thought I was a “good person”—at least by my own standards–but I lived a worldly life. After I became a believer, I had no idea how to change my life. I know it needed to change because my life up to that point was full of turmoil, strife, and pain. I needed a Paul and a Titus in my life!

I went to church for most of my life. Yet somehow I had never been taught about having a personal relationship with Jesus. That was a pretty confusing concept to me. But the Lord guided me to a different church. It was there I found the “Paul” I needed. The Pastor of that church taught straight from the bible and explained what the verses meant. He introduced me to Jesus. “For the grace of God has been revealed, bringing salvation to all people.”  Much as Paul did in his teachings, that Pastor helped me understood that in order for my life to change I needed “to turn from godless living and sinful pleasures”.   God had a better plan for my life than I did. Through his instruction, and studying the bible on my own, I had a better understanding of the “why” I needed to change and let the Holy Spirit show me the “how.” I never would have changed by myself.

I had done most of this learning on my own up to this point. Then God brought a “Titus” into my life—a woman who became a friend and a mentor to me. I had never seen a godly life modeled. As I got to know her and how she lived her life, I knew I never wanted to go back to the life I used to have. Through our meetings, she embodied, “You must teach these things and encourage the believers to do them.” Sometime she did this with words but mostly she taught by example. While others in my life didn’t understand why I no longer chose to do as they did, she encouraged me to make better choices. Little by little, God pruned those non-believers from my life. He knew my heart was devoted to Him.

1 Come, everyone! Clap your hands!
    Shout to God with joyful praise!
2 For the Lord Most High is awesome.
    He is the great King of all the earth. (Psalm 47:1-2) NLT

Lord, I will never be able to thank you enough for showing me a better way to live and for changing the direction of my life.  So often, tears pour unashamedly from my eyes as I lift my hands, clap my hands, and sing joyful praise to you as I think of how you’ve loved me into wholeness.  You’ve shown me the true meaning of love.  You ARE awesome as it says in the Psalm.  I thank you for Jesus and all he has taught me.  In his name I pray, Amen.

Cindy (gardnlady)

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Ecclesiastes 4-6; Psalm 125; 2 Timothy 2

I love Ecclesiastes.  Remember Peter, Paul and Mary singing, Turn Turn Turn? I was only a child then but I remember every word.  My favourite chapter in the entire Bible is chapter 3, and again probably because of that song.  When I read Chuck Swindoll’s book on Ecclesiastes, that probably sealed the deal – it finally all made sense (that is, the other chapters other than chapter 3 – that one I had nailed down).

So it makes sense that my wisdom comes from this book more than any other.

 Be careful what you do when you enter the house of God. Some fools go there to offer sacrifices, even though they haven’t sinned.[d] But it’s best just to listen when you go to worship.  Don’t talk before you think or make promises to God without thinking them through. God is in heaven, and you are on earth, so don’t talk too much.  If you keep thinking about something, you will dream about it. If you talk too much, you will say the wrong thing. – Ecclesiastes 5:1-3  CEV

Be thoughtful when I enter into God’s presence, listen while I worship, and think through what God is asking from me making sure that whatever I say or do will in the end glorify Him.

It is probably why I have so much faith in God protecting me.

Just as Jerusalem is protected
    by mountains on every side,
the Lord protects his people
    by holding them in his arms
    now and forever. – Psalm 125:2  CEV

In my role with the Navigators, I am called to share how I have been growing in my faith and to lead others into the same kind of walk I have with Jesus. I disciple disciple-makers.

Timothy, my child, Christ Jesus is kind, and you must let him make you strong.  You have often heard me teach. Now I want you to tell these same things to followers who can be trusted to tell others. – Timothy 2:1-2  CEV

Father, as You lead me today, give me wisdom to know that needs to be done.  Allow me to see Your hand making the day exactly what You made it to be.  Protect me and my family as I move out to do what You have called me to do.  Show me how to be full of grace and allow me to let You make me strong.  I want to tell others how they can follow You, show me who can be trusted to do and be this kind of person in order to advance Your Kingdom. Amen.

Erwin (evanlaar1922)

 

 

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Filed under 2 Timothy, 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, Ecclesiastes, New Testament, Old Testament, Psalms, Uncategorized

Ecclesiastes 1-3; Psalms 45,2 ; 1Timothy 1

“Everything is wearisome beyond description. No matter how much we see, we are never satisfied. No matter how much we hear, we are not content.” Ecclesiastes 1:8 NLT

“You can live with pain easier than you can live with purposelessness.” (Beth Moore)

I think about how true this has been in my own life. When I am focused on how God is going to use my pain, I am less likely to fall into self-pity over it.  It gives me a sense of purpose. How might I help someone else? What work does God have for me to do?

“What do people really get for all their hard work? I have seen the burden God has placed on us all. Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end.” Ecclesiastes 3:9 NLT

When I make my work about me, I get anxious, worried.  I wonder if I am enough.  But when I remember there is an eternal perspective to it, I can hand it over to God.  I can trust that he’ll  help me in my weakness. Than I know that I can’t take the credit, but give him the glory for the gifts he’s given me.

“I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength to do his work. He considered me trustworthy and appointed me to serve him, even though I used to blaspheme the name of Christ. In my insolence, I persecuted people. But God had mercy on me because I did it in ignorance and unbelief. Oh, how generous and gracious our Lord was! He filled me with the faith and love that come from Christ Jesus.” 1 Timothy 1:12-14 NLT

My 10 year old son was was telling me that he prayed on the pitcher’s mound during his championship baseball game.  He was feeling the pressure of the bases being loaded and everyone depending on him.  In that moment, he realized that he didn’t have the strength on his own.  This mom’s heart swelled with this life lesson.  My son knew who to turn to.  I imagine Jesus cheering him on for his faith.  Maybe that’s how Paul felt about Timothy.

“Timothy, my son, here are my instructions for you, based in the prophetic words spoken about you earlier. May they help you fight well in the Lord’s battles. Cling to your faith in Christ, and keep your conscience clear. For some people have deliberately violated their consciences; as a result, their faith has been shipwrecked.” 1 Timothy 1:18-19 NLT

Thank you Father for your faithfulness.  Help me to run to you.  I give you the glory. Amen.

Amy(amyctanner)

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1 Kings 7; 2 Chronicles 4; Psalm 44; 1 Timothy 2

My drive time to work in the morning is an extended part of quiet time I’ve had with the Lord.  Some mornings I can’t get it together and fly out the door before even acknowledging God.  But I can depend on having at least 35 minutes of uninterrupted time in my car as I drive to work.  Some of my most profound moments have been in that quiet time. There are mornings so beautiful the praise flows in spoken prayer.  Sometimes I listen to music and praise at the top of my lungs because it is in that space I can sing like no one is listening except the Lord.  Other times there are tears streaming down my face as I think about how good He is to me and how grateful I am for all that He continues to do in my life.  There have also been times when the tears are from a place of pain as we’ve worked through some trials, some pruning, and places of brokenness.

7 You are the one who gives us victory over our enemies;
    you disgrace those who hate us.
8 O God, we give glory to you all day long
    and constantly praise your name. (Psalm 44:7-8 NLT)

This week’s readings spoke to me about the quality of what I do for God.

Solomon had received instructions from the LORD on how to build his Temple. We learn in a previous chapter that he had asked for a master craftsman to be sent from Tyre.  The brass maker, Huram-abi, was sent.  I can imagine he took his time and created each intricate piece to be placed in the temple. He was giving God his best.  These articles were going to be used for the sacrifices and glory of God in His holy temple.  God created him to have this talent and he painstakingly used his gift for the articles God had given instruction to create.

So at last Huram-abi completed everything King Solomon had assigned him to make for the Temple of God:

12 the two pillars;
the two bowl-shaped capitals on top of the pillars;
the two networks of interwoven chains that decorated the capitals;
13 the 400 pomegranates that hung from the chains on the capitals (two rows of pomegranates for each of the chain networks that decorated the capitals on top of the pillars);
14 the water carts holding the basins;
15 the Sea and the twelve oxen under it;
16 the ash buckets, the shovels, the meat hooks, and all the related articles. (2 Chron. 4:12-16 NLT)

I thought of my own gifts and talents.  Where has He asked me to use them? Am I giving Him my best?  Do I do everything with excellence or are there times I do just enough to get by?

I have noticed the difference when I serve God with what I think I am supposed to do vs when I am actually serving doing what He has called me to do.  With the later, somehow I never tire, am full of enthusiasm, and the time flies.  If someone gives me praise for what I’ve accomplished, I quickly point to God and give Him the glory for I know it was from Him I was able to do whatever it was.  However, there have been times when I did things out of a place of insecurity and wanting people to notice me.  There is no fulfillment in me when that happens, no joy, and I feel drained.  Over the years I have learned it is never good to strive to do what I want to do.  Learning to listen to God for those opportunities draws me deeper into relationship with Him.  It always amazes me how He sends me to the exact place, to the exact person, or the exact event where I can use my gifts and talents. When we all are acting as our part of the Body of Christ, we can see God make lasting change in people’s lives.

Heavenly Father, I continue to look to you to do what only You can do through me.  I never want to miss out on an opportunity to serve you, to be Your hands and feet, and fulfill my place in the Body of Christ.  My soul is filled when I empty myself and my motives and give You control. Thank you for letting me share the story of what you’ve done in my life with others.  In Jesus name, Amen

Cindy (gardnlady)

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Song of Solomon 1-3; 1 Thessalonians 5; Psalms 72

“Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 NLT

This has always been one of my favorite verses. One that I would recite when I didn’t feel like being joyful, thankful, grateful. But, after reading it in context, I see it in a new way. It is keeping me alert and on guard until Jesus returns. It reminds me that there is a hope when I might have lost it. If I give thanks out of obedience my attitude changes. I see things differently. A devotional that I read on this verse mentions, an attitude of prayer. What does that mean in my day to day life? Humility, hope, resting in God’s sovereignty, trust…not defaulting to worry.

“But you aren’t in the dark about these things, dear brothers and sisters, and you won’t be surprised when the day of the Lord comes like a thief. For you are all children of the light and of the day; we don’t belong to darkness and night. So be on your guard, not asleep like the others. Stay alert and clearheaded. Night is the time when people sleep and drinkers get drunk. But let us who live in the light be clearheaded, protected by the armor of faith and love, and wearing as our helmet the confidence of our salvation.” 1 Thessalonians 5:4-8 NLT

Joy is a weapon.

“For God chose to save us through our Lord Jesus Christ, not to pour out his anger on us. Christ died for us so that, whether we were dead or alive when he returns, we can live with him forever. So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing.” 1 Thessalonians 5:8-11 NLT

Dear Father, Help me to cultivate a grateful heart. Help me to remember that you can use trials for your glory. That you work all things together for good. Amen.

“He will rescue the poor when they cry to him; he will help the oppressed, who have no one to defend them.” Psalms 72:12 NLT

Amy(amyctanner)

 

 

 

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Proverbs 19-21; Psalm 40; Romans 16

When I accepted Christ, I was a mess!  I was in the process of getting a divorce, I was fighting rejection, brokenness, and had hit rock bottom. My friend described it as being so low you have to reach up to touch bottom.  That is what it felt like to me.  I didn’t know how to go on with my life.  I kept making the same mistakes over and over.  Life seemed hopeless.  I somehow knew to cry out to God.

1 I waited patiently for the Lord to help me,
    and he turned to me and heard my cry.
2 He lifted me out of the pit of despair,
    out of the mud and the mire.
He set my feet on solid ground
    and steadied me as I walked along.
3 He has given me a new song to sing,
    a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see what he has done and be amazed.
    They will put their trust in the Lord. (Psalm 40:1-3)

He truly lifted me out of the pit of despair those many years ago and he did set my feet on solid ground.  We started our journey together and my life has totally changed because of his faithfulness.  He asked me to trust him.  It didn’t happen overnight but has been a steady build of our relationship.

12 Ears to hear and eyes to see—both are gifts from the Lord. (Prov 20:12)

I tried to go a different path once several years later.  It was one of those paths that looks beautiful and draws you in.  It wasn’t long before I looked around and realized I was going somewhere he didn’t want me to go. I had the choice to continue down that path if I wanted.  I couldn’t do it—I turned around and ran back to my Abba Daddy.  There is nothing more beautiful than Him and nothing worth losing the peace I get from being in his presence.

30 No human wisdom or understanding or plan can stand against the Lord. (Prov 21:30)

21 You can make many plans, but the Lord’s purpose will prevail. (Prov 19:21)

Five years ago the company I worked for was closed.  I had been there for 23 years.  We knew it was coming for six months before it actually happened.  I would say that has been the greatest tool God has used to show me he is sovereign.  I went on so many interviews and wouldn’t get offered a job.  I don’t even want to admit how many times I was on the floor in tears wrestling with fear.  I knew God was in control, I just didn’t know where he was going to take me.  But looking back, I could see exactly what he was doing.  For the year I was unemployed, I was able to volunteer at a food pantry where the people who worked there ministered to my heart while I was able to help hand out food to people in far worse financial conditions than me.  I was able to be with my mother during her final months of life and I was able to be at the bedside of two dear friends as they passed away.  I had planned to be back to work in several months.  God had a different plan.  When all he had planned for me to do was complete, I got another job.  God provided everything I needed during that year.

29 The glory of the young is their strength; the gray hair of experience is the splendor of the old. (Prov 20:29)

Yes, there is a blessing that comes from years of walking with the Lord.  I have gained experience through the trials I’ve encountered along the way.  There is one mountain in particular that has gotten in the way more than the others.  In my reading one day recently, I felt God assure me we would conquer this one area that keeps tripping me up (Acts 3:10).  You see, God is patient.  Sometimes there are things we hold on to like a life jacket even after we’ve been rescued.  We know we are safe but not quite ready to take the jacket off.  He has given me hope that this too will give me reason to sing a new song, a hymn of praise to my God.

Lord, I know there are days I take everything you’ve done for me for granted, and I don’t ever want to do that.  When I remember who I was and how far you’ve brought me, I can do nothing but lift my heart, my hands, and my voice in praises to you.  I sing songs with all the Saints—“Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.”  Amen

Cindy (gardnlady)

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