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Nahum; Psalms 149; 2 Corinthians 4

The scene is ugly.  As this example about Ninevah, woe to those at odds with God.

“The Lord is a jealous and avenging God; the Lord is avenging and wrathful; the Lord takes vengeance on his adversaries and keeps wrath for his enemies. The Lord is slow to anger and great in power, and the Lord will by no means clear the guilty.  His way is in whirlwind and storm, and the clouds are the dust of his feet.  He rebukes the sea and makes it dry; he dries up all the rivers; Bashan and Carmel wither; the bloom of Lebanon withers.  The mountains quake before him; the hills melt; the earth heaves before Him, the world and all who dwell in it.  Who can stand before his indignation?  Who can endure the heat of his anger?” (Nahum 1:2-6 ESV)

But those on God’s side get to help with the victory.

“Let the praises of God be in their throats and the two-edged swords in their hands, to execute vengeance on the nations and punishments on the peoples, to bind their kings with chains and their nobles with fetters of iron, to execute on them the judgement written!  This honor for all his godly ones.  Praise the Lord!” (Psalms 149:6-9 ESV)

And the Apostle Paul reminds us that we have the good news to share with others to help them out of their darkness.

“For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake.  For God, who said ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” (2 Corinthians 4:5-6 ESV)

Help us to shine the light on those in darkness.

Kellie

 

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Isaiah 64-66; 2 Corinthians 2

Many of us know that the entire Bible — Old and New Testaments — have a crimson thread that ties it together. It’s all about Jesus. And many of its prophecies are about things that have happened way before we were born, but today we see a prophecy that is yet to be realized. It’s a beautiful picture of what the New Jerusalem will be like. These prophecies are some of my favorite because they share with us what the future for Christ-followers will ultimately be like. Read carefully through these verses and imagine what it will be like when we are there in person.

17“See, I will create

new heavens and a new earth.

The former things will not be remembered,

nor will they come to mind.

18 But be glad and rejoice forever

in what I will create,

for I will create Jerusalem to be a delight

and its people a joy.

19 I will rejoice over Jerusalem

and take delight in my people;

the sound of weeping and of crying

will be heard in it no more.

20 “Never again will there be in it

an infant who lives but a few days,

or an old man who does not live out his years;

the one who dies at a hundred

will be thought a mere child;

the one who fails to reacha a hundred

will be considered accursed.

21They will build houses and dwell in them;

they will plant vineyards and eat their fruit.

22No longer will they build houses and others live in them,

or plant and others eat.

For as the days of a tree,

so will be the days of my people;

my chosen ones will long enjoy

the work of their hands.

23They will not labor in vain,

nor will they bear children doomed to misfortune;

for they will be a people blessed by the Lord,

they and their descendants with them.

24Before they call I will answer;

while they are still speaking I will hear.

25The wolf and the lamb will feed together,

and the lion will eat straw like the ox,

and dust will be the serpent’s food.

They will neither harm nor destroy

on all my holy mountain,” (Isaiah 65:17-25 [NIV])

What about these prophecies warms your heart? What if anything makes you nervous? What are you looking forward to the most? Share in the comment section.

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Isaiah 60-63; 2 Chronicles 1

Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD has risen upon you. And nations shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising. Isaiah 60:1,3 ESV

My reading today begins with some familiar verses from Isaiah. In fact, these verses are very similar to Matthew 5:14,16 when Jesus tells His followers, “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” My life is to be a light to those in the dark, a declaration of God’s glory and power.

The Spirit of the LORD GOD is upon me, because the LORD has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; Isaiah 61:1 ESV

God has appointed me to deliver His Good News to all people. He has sent me to help those in need and to comfort those who are mourning. However, there are times when I myself am in need of help and comforting.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 ESV

In 2 Corinthians 1, Paul tells the Corinthians of the affliction Christians in Asia where experiencing. However, this suffering taught them not to rely on their own strength but to lean on God for strength and comfort. Paul states that God delivered them from the peril they where in and he trusted God to deliver them again. Like Paul, I too need to lean on Christ, not relying on my own strength but relying on Him.

The LORD has sworn by his right hand and by his might arm: “I will not again give your grain to be food for your enemies and foreigners shall not drink your wine for which you have labored; but those who garner it shall eat it and praise the LORD, and those who gather it shall drink it in the courts of my sanctuary.” Isaiah 62: 8-9 ESV

Sometimes it feels like I have the weight of the world on my shoulders, a burden so heavy I cannot carry it alone. That is when I need to turn to God for help and ask for His strength and comfort. He will help me through my struggles, strength, and comfort me. He will not let me go.

Dear God, please help me call to You when I need strength instead of trying to do everything myself. Thank You for sending Your Holy Spirit to help me and for always caring for me. I want to love and trust you more LORD. In Your Holy Name, Amen.

Nathanael (nborger2017)

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Isaiah 56-59; Psalm 70; 1 Corinthians 16

I’d never been in the presence of such a warrior. We were talking about life and hard issues, and I shared something that had hurt me deeply that I was still trying to resolve in my mind and heart. She offered to pray for me, and when she did, I felt small and humbled by the things she took to the throne on my behalf–boldly, powerfully. In fact, I almost felt afraid at her great, impassioned petition for vengeance.

Please, God, rescue me!
    Come quickly, Lord, and help me.
May those who try to kill me
    be humiliated and put to shame.
May those who take delight in my trouble
    be turned back in disgrace.
Let them be horrified by their shame,
    for they said, “Aha! We’ve got him now!”
But may all who search for you
    be filled with joy and gladness in you.
May those who love your salvation
    repeatedly shout, “God is great!”
But as for me, I am poor and needy;
    please hurry to my aid, O God.
You are my helper and my savior;
    O Lord, do not delay. (Psalm 70, NLT)

 

God is so mighty. And her mighty prayer showed me who I’m dealing with. This was many years ago, and I don’t remember the exact words she said (mostly because I was drop-jawed stunned as she said them), but I will never forget that evening. Weeks later I got word of some things that immediately brought this warrior to mind as her prayer was answered. I was awestruck. I couldn’t get my head around it. But that incident became grounds for great trust in God, his might and sovereignty. (As well as the very real power of prayer!) I learned over the years to trust him with the outcome of things that were so much bigger than I was. And I still do.

I read an article recently that left a long impression on me about forgiveness, “Forgiveness means we don’t ignore. We don’t excuse. But we do release the right of vengeance to God without pretending vengeance isn’t right” (True Woman, Haley Mullins, 9/4/18). God is just. He is judge. I take the wounds and hurts and offer them to him, to free my heart–because it is the wellspring of my life.

The Lord looked and was displeased
    to find there was no justice.
16 He was amazed to see that no one intervened
    to help the oppressed.
So he himself stepped in to save them with his strong arm,
    and his justice sustained him.
17 He put on righteousness as his body armor
    and placed the helmet of salvation on his head.
He clothed himself with a robe of vengeance
    and wrapped himself in a cloak of divine passion.
18 He will repay his enemies for their evil deeds.
    His fury will fall on his foes.
    He will pay them back even to the ends of the earth.
19 In the west, people will respect the name of the Lord;
    in the east, they will glorify him.
For he will come like a raging flood tide
    driven by the breath of the Lord.

20 “The Redeemer will come to Jerusalem
    to buy back those in Israel
who have turned from their sins,”
    says the Lord.

21 “And this is my covenant with them,” says the Lord. “My Spirit will not leave them, and neither will these words I have given you. They will be on your lips and on the lips of your children and your children’s children forever. I, the Lord, have spoken! (Isaiah 59:15-21, NLT)

When I’m taking a walk, I notice the size of the trees, trees that seem so big when I stand beside them, but look so small compared to the backdrop of the heavens–and I am so much smaller, a young child is smaller still.

Oh, Lord, how is it you notice me? I am so grateful. That of everything under your watch, you see me and you care for my heart. You value truth and what is right, and it is worth fighting for. You give me hope. What a precious gift.

Courtney (66books365)

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Nahum 1-3; Psalm 149; 2 Corinthians 4

I have just finished a wonderful week of vacation and have really enjoyed knowing that God has been caring for me and protecting me no matter where our family went and no matter what our family did.  It was so gracious to hear each of us take time to thank God for asking Him to protect us.  He honoured our trust in Him and was so faithful to be present in all of our activities.

The Lord is good.
He protects those who trust him
in times of trouble. – Nahum 1:7  CEV

This is why Sunday morning worship is something our family enjoys the most when we go to church.  It is a time where we join with others to thank God and to worship Him for all His blessings.

Shout praises to the Lord!
Sing him a new song of praise
when his loyal people meet. – Psalm 149:1  CEV

What makes this the hardest to understand is that so many times I think about all these blessings coming my way because in some way or form I have earned them.  It is the hardest thing to get out of my system.  My head knows the truth, there is no way in this world that I could deserve even a little of what God has been so gracious to give.  My head knows that my body is the temple of the Holy Spirit and each morning when I spend time with Him, I invite Him to walk with me during the day.  I know He fills me with His Holy Spirit so that the work I will do for Him does not come from my own strength but from Him alone.

We are like clay jars in which this treasure is stored. The real power comes from God and not from us. – 2 Corinthians 4:7  CEV

Lord, forgive me when I have even a passing thought that I have earned anything. I know it is You and You alone that has protected me, cared for me, loved me and have blessed me.  You have graciously given me so much including the power of Your Holy Spirit to live the life You have asked me to live.  I have so much to be thankful for and I thank You right now, today, for this gracious gift you have so freely given. Amen.

Erwin (evanlaar1922)

 

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Isaiah 45-48; 1 Corinthians 13

“Good morning, Pooh Bear,” said Eeyore gloomily.  “If it is a good morning,” he said.  “Which I doubt,” said he.  AA Milne, Winnie the Pooh

Eeyore moments are no laughing matter. When our vision is confined to what we see, despair, anger and depression follow. Isaiah and his people have every earthly reason to throw up their hands and give in to the darkness around them. Morally bankrupt leaders and nations are on the attack; the world as they know it is collapsing around them. It is only natural that the people of Israel take an Eeyore posture, but God speaks and commands his people to listen.

“I have not spoken in secret, from somewhere in a land of darkness; I have not said to Jacob’s descendants, ‘Seek me in vain.’ I, the Lord speak the truth; I declare what is right.”                     Isaiah 45:19

“…And there is not God apart from me, a righteous God and a Savior; there is none but me. Turn to me and be saved, all you ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is no other…Before me every knee will bow; by me every tongue will swear. They will say of me, ‘In the Lord alone are righteousness and strength.’  All  who have raged against him will come to him and be put to shame. But in the Lord all the descendants of Israel will be found righteous and will exult.”   Isaiah 45:22

God appeals to Israel’s imagination; He gives them a vision of what is to come:

“Before me every knee will bow; by every tongue will swear. They will say of me, ‘In the Lord alone are righteousness and strength. All who have raged against him will come to him and be put to shame. But in the Lord and all the descendants of Israel will be found righteous and will exult.”                                                                                                                                                                                      Isaiah 45:23-25

I hear God asking me about my hopes and dreams. To whom and in what am I entrusting my future? Politicians, pastors, 401K’s? My own ability to figure things out? My force of will and determination? When I hit snags in personal relationships, do I trust in my sense of personal righteousness and insist on my way, or do I submit to God’s definition of love (1 Corinthians 13)?  Do I allow Him to win the day  even when if things appear to be a total loss?

O dear Father,  thank you for calling me by name and telling me to listen. Your Word sits before me;  you speak. I am listening. Have your way in my life. Strengthen my humble faith so that I trust you in all things—the major and the minor, no matter how things appear. Teach me to sing of your beauty and goodness in all things and in all times.

Klueh

From the archives. Originally published September 9, 2016.

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2 Kings 20; Isaiah 38-40; Psalm 68; 1 Corinthians 11

I remember watching an actress being interviewed, and she told a story of how her dad said that when life felt like it was too much, to go stand on the beach and look up and around, and she would see how small she and all the issues of her life really are. I imagined this woman, who had had success and fortune and a measure of pull, feeling overwhelmed, and that she needed to know somewhere in her soul that she was small. That she was held.

26 Look up into the heavens.
    Who created all the stars?
He brings them out like an army, one after another,
    calling each by its name.
Because of his great power and incomparable strength,
    not a single one is missing.
27 O Jacob, how can you say the Lord does not see your troubles?
    O Israel, how can you say God ignores your rights?
28 Have you never heard?
    Have you never understood?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
    the Creator of all the earth.
He never grows weak or weary.
    No one can measure the depths of his understanding.
29 He gives power to the weak
    and strength to the powerless.
30 Even youths will become weak and tired,
    and young men will fall in exhaustion.
31 But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength.
    They will soar high on wings like eagles.
They will run and not grow weary.
    They will walk and not faint. (Isaiah 40:26-31, NLT)

 

The issues in life sometimes feel consuming, pressing in from all sides, stealing peace, stealing rest, and I am reminded that the enemy prowls crouched to pounce–a thief to steal, kill and destroy. But my God is sovereign. When I feel defeated, he reminds me of his victory. When I feel weak and powerless, he will be my power and strength. When I trust in him, I will find new strength to soar, to run, to walk and not faint.

Lord, I feel your loving hand upon my face, turning my gaze to focus again and again on you. When I look too long at my problems, they get bigger. But when I remember who you are, things fall back into perspective. You created everything I see. You hold all time. You know my troubles. You know my heart. It is so good to know you and to be known by you. Grateful.

Courtney (66books365)

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