Category Archives: Psalms

Genesis 35-37; Psalm 12; Mark 14

If you assume that Christianity means satisfaction in this life of all your desires, including the ones that lie deepest in your heart, then you live as no person was meant to live. You demand satisfaction. You live for it. You feel entitled to it. You become incapable of real love, only self-centered passion.Dr. Larry Crabb

I thought of Joseph’s brothers and just how much they wanted their father’s love, and they wanted it desperately.

Now Israel loved Joseph more than his other sons because Joseph was a son born to him in his old age, and he made a robe of many colors[o] for him. When his brothers saw that their father loved him more than all his brothers, they hated him and could not bring themselves to speak peaceably to him. – Genesis 37:3-4 HCSB

It reminds me of an important general lesson – being satisfied in love cannot be received from a father or mother, by friends or even monetary things. To be fully satisfied and content I must look to Jesus. That emptiness in my heart is reserved there as the only place He can fill. Everything else will fail, but God’s love will never fail.

Lord, help me to be more faithful. (Psalm 12:1)

I walk away from reading Mark chapter fourteen with this invitation. If I would receive the life-changing love of Jesus and respond with extravagant devotion, I will never be the same again.

Father, the word love can be messy – it crosses healthy boundaries and makes things that are a hindrance in my life, like co-dependency, look like a good thing. In the pursuit of love, sometimes I even use manipulation, deception, coercion and even bribery to make things happen. But there is something wrong with this foundation – it is all about what I want. I am tired of the pursuit of wanting anything other than You. Everything else comes up empty, hollow, even baseless. Teach me how to invite You into my life. Teach me how to love like You. I look at what happened to Peter and know that he followed You from a distance. I want to make the decision to follow You as close as I can. I desperately want to be more faithful. May I find myself seeking only You – Your love will never fail – and that is the love I want.

Erwin (evanlaar1922)

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Filed under 5 day reading plan, 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, Genesis, Mark, New Testament, Old Testament, Psalms, Uncategorized

Genesis 24-25; Psalm 4; Mark 9

Many of my friends, who have families, have immigrated with an arranged marriage. All the questions I have about what that looks like in real life have been answered. So when I read of arranged marriages like the one of Isaac, I have a better picture of what it means.

And Isaac brought her into the tent of his mother Sarah and took Rebekah to be his wife. Isaac loved her, and he was comforted after his mother’s death. – Genesis 24:67 HCSB

A new home has begun and it is filled with love. I am sure that Rebekah loved Isaac too. Not in a romantic or sentimental kind of way but the kind of love that deepends and strengthens. The kind that stands the strain of trial, nor falters in the times of sickness or trouble.

For me and my wife it was “love at first sight.” Our love has been genuine in the sense that it has become more hallowed and more tender as the thirty-six years have gone by. As much as the arrangements were in place for their marriage, I believe that Isaac and Rebekah also experienced a “love at first sight.” I love the testimony that comes with a marriage that maintains a moral and life-long unity. A unity that proves to be a mutual blessing and represents that of the relationship between Jesus and His Church.

How quickly am I reminded how the Church is so messy in this arena. When there is no unity there is arguing. Where there is arguing there is no healing.

Then He asked them, “What are you arguing with them about?” – Mark 9:16 HCSB

What Jesus is really asking is – what is this big tear all about? He used the expression two other times in order to shed a unique light on the problem with the absence of unity.

Father, I am thankful for Your love for me that I can so graciously give the same to my wife. A home filled with You and filled with love is definitely a blessing. It is amazing to see love live, grow, be more in awe of, yield and so much more easily shared as our marriage matures. Love within the body of Christ also becomes a testimony of the relationship of Jesus and Your Church and those who see it, get it. How terrible it is when we cannot provide that testimony to the world who are looking at us. So many churches closing down, splitting, dwindling in numbers. They all have their story. I pray that our love does not become lukewarm. I pray that the Holy Spirit will spur us on to love one another, to honour each other. I pray that our testimony will be a light to a world who has lost hope. Amen

Erwin (evanlaar1922)

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2 Kings 22; Hebrews 4; Joel 1; Psalms 140,141

Sin is ugly. It’s awful, messy, destructive, painful, and dark. And, we usually recognize that, in other people. Recognizing sin in ourselves is sometimes a little trickier.

When the king heard the words of the Book of the Law, he tore his clothes.

2 Kings 22:11 ESV

While we all have sinned and will sin, the issue is not necessarily the sin, but the recognition of it and response to it. When Josiah’s eyes were opened to the sin of their nation, he did not waste a minute to repent and mourn the sin that was disrupting their relationship with God.

This is a common refrain throughout the Old Testament. While many generations got it wrong, there were also many that got it right. When the law or a prophet exposed sin, it broke those that were truly seeking God.

Not a quick, “Oh, God, please help me be better in this area.” Or, “Lord, I know that I haven’t been as good as I could be, but . . .”

We need to repent. Yes, Jesus already paid for it. No, our salvation isn’t lost because we sinned, again. But, we cannot gloss over the pain caused by sin, the gravity of ignoring God’s commands for righteous living.

Consecrate a fast;
    call a solemn assembly.
Gather the elders
    and all the inhabitants of the land
to the house of the Lord your God,
    and cry out to the Lord.

Joel 1:14 ESV

It has been a while since I sat down with a pen and paper and asked God to show me areas in my life that needed to change. Temptation that I was slipping too close to. Habits that were blinding me to sin. It is as I let Him strip those sins away, that I find a fresh wind in my walk with Him.

16 Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

Hebrews 4:16 ESV

I don’t approach Him with confidence because of anything that I have done, but standing firmly on His sacrifice, His grace, His justice.

Lord, open my eyes to any sin that is lying unrecognized in my heart. Help me see it, confess it as such, and turn from it. May Your mercy flood in fresh waves over me as I set out energized, and unburdened by any wrong thoughts, words, or actions. In Jesus Name, Amen.

Erin (6intow)

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2 Kings 16; Titus 2; Hos. 9; Ps. 126-128

“As for you, Titus, promote the kind of living that reflects wholesome teaching. Teach the older men to exercise self-control, to be worthy of respect, and to live wisely. They must have sound faith and be filled with love and patience. Similarly, teach the older women to live in a way that honors God. These older women must train the younger women to love their husbands and their children, to live wisely and be pure, to work in their homes, to do good, and to be submissive to their husbands. We should live in this evil world with wisdom, righteousness, and devotion to God, while we look forward with hope to that wonderful day when the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, will be revealed. 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. You must teach these things and encourage the believers to do them.” Titus 2:1-15 NLT

I am so grateful to have had older, wiser, godly woman mentors in every season of my life. From singleness to marriage to children…they have encouraged me, spoke the truth in love and gave me a hunger for God’s word. They were humble and would admit their need for Him. They showed me what it was like to live for Jesus. They walked with me through painful and joyful times. I pray that I can be that person for someone else. Even when I don’t feel adequate, God can use me the most through my weakness and surrender. He is weaving a testimony of faithfulness and victory in my life. I wonder who needs to hear my story? Who needs to know that on the hard days when sowing the seeds can be tiresome, that it matters. That God will make something beautiful from it one day.

“When the Lord brought back his exiles to Jerusalem, it was like a dream! We were filled with laughter, and we sang for joy. And the other nations said, “What amazing things the Lord has done for them.” Yes, the Lord has done amazing things for us! What joy! Restore our fortunes, Lord, as streams in the desert. Those who plant tears will harvest with shouts of joy. They weep as they go to plant their seed, but they sing as they return with the harvest.” Psalms 126 NLT

Dear Father, I praise you for who you are. Thank you for always meeting me where I am at. Thank you that you hear my prayers. Thank you for the people that you have brought into my life at key moments. I know it wasn’t by accident. You love me that much, to show your love through others. Help me to live with an eternal perspective. Amen.

“Unless the Lord builds a house, the work of the builders is wasted. Unless the Lord protects the city, guarding it with sentries will do no good. Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from him. Children born to a young man are like arrows in a warrior’s hands.” Psalms 127:1-4 NLT

Amy(amyctanner)

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2 Kings 2; 2 Thessalonians 2; Daniel 6; Psalm 112,113

What do you think about Elijah trying to trick Elisha regarding his passing away – the where and when of it?

The time came for the Lord to take Elijah up to heaven in a whirlwind. – 2 Kings 2:1 GNT

What do you think about him using prayer as one of the means of tricking him into not following him?

One thing I do love about this event is the need for Elisha, far above all the tricky that Elijah threw at him, to have Elijah pray one more time with him, and to have the last prayer with him – to receive a blessing. Is that not what we want when a loved one or a friend is getting ready to leave us?

What will I be doing when the Lord comes back? I pray that I will be praying.

Concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered together to be with him. – 2 Thessalonians 2:1 GNT

Prayer is one of those deep spiritual activities that not only draw me closer to God but it draws me closer to others too.

Remember the story of Daniel and the issue of would he pray when he was forbidden to do so?

And so King Darius signed the order. – Daniel 6:9 GNT

“Suppose the law of the land were proclaimed, ‘No man shall pray during the remainder of this month, on pain of being cast into a den of lions,’ – how many of you would pray? I think there would be rather a scanty number at the prayer-meeting. Not but what the attendance at prayer-meetings is scanty enough now! But if there were the penalty of being cast into a den of lions, I am afraid the prayer-meeting would be postponed for a month, owing to pressing business, and manifold engagements of one kind and another.” – Spurgeon

Father, it is my hope that I have inspired people to pray. I know I could do much more. How much I pray alone does not compare to my need to pray with others. Even when it may be inconvenient or out of place or maybe one day, against the law, may You find me still faithful. For I believe Lord that Your Holy Spirit draws me into a relationship with You and I love spending time with You. Be honoured and glorified in my life. Amen.

Erwin (evanlaar1922)

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Filed under 2 Kings, 2 Thessalonians, 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, Daniel, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, Old Testament, Psalms