Numbers 28; Psalm 72; Isaiah 19, 20; 2 Peter 1

Numbers 28

Numbers 28 is clear instructions concerning offerings for those days. These offerings had to be brought regularly and according to prescribed rituals. Following these instructions and preparing everything must of taken an age but must also have given the people the opportunity to prepare their hearts correctly. The act of giving or offering is an act of worship and if our hearts are not correctly prepared, this worship is meaningless. It is so much easier to give and make offerings if our hearts are prepared with thankfulness.

1 The Lord said to Moses, 2 “Give this command to the Israelites and say to them: ‘Make sure that you present to me at the appointed time my food offerings, as an aroma pleasing to me.’ 

Psalm 72

1 Endow the king with your justice, O God, the royal son with your righteousness.

2 May he judge your people in righteousness, your afflicted ones with justice.

God desires all who rule under him to be righteous and just. With our leaders and politicians in the news every day we get a front row seat to their “righteousness and justice”. If only all the world leaders would commit to these two qualities right? Pray for our leaders that they might realize their need for the Lord and that He would help them rule with righteousness and justice.

Isaiah 19

Egypt was well known for its wisdom, but here its wise men and officials were deceived and foolish. True wisdom can come only from God. We must ask him for wisdom to guide all our decisions, or we too will be uncertain and misdirected

11 The officials of Zoan are nothing but fools; the wise counsellors of Pharaoh give senseless advice. How can you say to Pharaoh, “I am one of the wise men, a disciple of the ancient kings”? 12 Where are your wise men now? Let them show you and make known what the Lord Almighty has planned against Egypt. 13 The officials of Zoan have become fools, the leaders of Memphis are deceived; the cornerstones of her peoples have led Egypt astray. 14 The Lord has poured into them a spirit of dizziness; they make Egypt stagger in all that she does, as a drunkard staggers around in his vomit. 15 There is nothing Egypt can do— head or tail, palm branch or reed.

 Isaiah 20

2 at that time the Lord spoke through Isaiah son of Amoz. He said to him, “Take off the sackcloth from your body and the sandals from your feet.” And he did so, going around stripped and barefoot.

God asked Isaiah to do something that seamed shameful and illogical. At times, God may ask us to take steps we don’t understand. We must obey God in complete faith, for he will never ask us to do something wrong.

2 Peter 1

Peter lists several of faiths actions: learning to know God better, developing perseverance , doing God’s will, loving others. These actions do not come automatically or naturally, they require hard work. They are not optional; all of them must be a continual part of the Christian life. We have a great responsibility so ask God to empower and enable you to learn and grow.

God Bless

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Numbers 27; Psalms 70,71; Isaiah 17,18; 1 Peter 5

Inheritance. Restoration. The Lord of Heaven’s Armies. A prowler and an exhortation.

At times, I thought it was a sprint–times of intensity and the perception of an end … in a week … in a couple of weeks … I’m beginning to understand I can’t look that far ahead. It’s a whole new level of one-day-at-a-time. Sprint turns marathon, and did I exhaust energy early on? I stumble here or there, weary. There are unfamiliar hurdles, and they are harder to clear. Defeat comes from inside.

A post on identity in my inbox encourages me after a fall, and I get back up. I read today of inheritance–and I remember I am a child of God.

An enemy taunts from a new vantage point; it’s too close and I’m caught off guard. The psalms sing:

19 Your righteousness, O God, reaches to the highest heavens.
    You have done such wonderful things.
    Who can compare with you, O God?
20 You have allowed me to suffer much hardship,
    but you will restore me to life again
    and lift me up from the depths of the earth.
21 You will restore me to even greater honor
    and comfort me once again. Psalm 71:19-21, NLT (emphasis mine)

I run through mines that are buried in the course–a battlefield. I will not forget the God who can save me. I will not forget the Rock who can hide me. The Lord of Heaven’s Armies.

So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up in honor. Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.

Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith. Remember that your family of believers all over the world is going through the same kind of suffering you are.

10 In his kindness God called you to share in his eternal glory by means of Christ Jesus. So after you have suffered a little while, he will restore, support, and strengthen you, and he will place you on a firm foundation. 11 All power to him forever! Amen. 1 Peter 5:6-11, NLT (emphasis mine)

I am reminded God cares for me and I can give all my worries to him. I am reminded to stand firm against an enemy, and to be strong in my faith. I am reminded that God will restore, support and strengthen me. He will place me on a firm foundation.

My purpose in writing is to encourage you and assure you that what you are experiencing is truly part of God’s grace for you. Stand firm in this grace. 1 Peter 5:12b, NLT

Amen.

Courtney (66books365)

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Numbers 26; Psalm 69; Isaiah 16; I Peter 4

Isaiah 16:5 “In mercy the throne will be established; and One will sit on it in truth, in the tabernacle of David, judging and seeking justice and hastening righteousness.”

Yet what of my erring, essentially my death wish? What darkness creeps in on the heels of hope firmly rooted in the coming joy of Messiah’s reign? For I know my future in Christ. Thoughts jump back in time to the mistakes and purposeful wrongs that I defended then and rue today.  My thoughts race in ‘now’ time to what ought to be and what I’m called to be. No perfection here. And thanks to the Holy Spirit, real conviction in real time. I submit willingly and pray for mercy.

Psalm 69: 13 “But as for me, my prayer is to You, O Lord, in the acceptable time; O God, in the multitude of Your mercy, hear me in the truth of Your salvation.”

What more can I ask? For Jesus Christ has brought salvation and provided unending mercy – in fact, mercies new every morning. Instead of my crimes screaming condemnation to the heavens, God listens to the splendid sound of Christ’s salvation song about me. I am saved. I am covered by His blood. And just as His mercy covers me, so my prayers and love for others should mirror His mercy when I experience rejection, humiliation, abandonment, and hurts inflicted by others. Only unconditional positive regard for another human being is acceptable.

I Peter 4:8 “And above all things have fervent love for one another, for ‘love will cover a multitude of sins.’” Yes, “The humble shall see this and be glad; and you who seek God, your hearts shall live. For the Lord hears the poor, and does not despise His prisoners. Let heaven and earth praise Him, the seas and everything that moves in them,” (Psalm 69:32-34).

Worship, I read once, is defined as bowing down or kissing the ground to show profound reverence. Not singing, though our praises in word and song are beautiful to our Lord. More than a heart swelling with love for God, and even more than a prostrate sinner repentant, the hands and feet of love, hospitality, and forgiveness pleases our Lord best.

Father God, You have modeled the ultimate sacrifice of love, mercy, and forgiveness. Shall I be paltry in giving the same or lavish in extending the same to others? Though I am in no way able to love like You, forgive to the width of Your expansive salvation, nor extend mercy for others or myself to the depths of Your sensitivity, I will give myself over to You. Make me Your instrument that my song will be a testimony of Your unfettered reach to those who need Your love the most. And who is it that does not?

In Jesus Christ’s precious Name,

Yours because I choose no other.

Janet (jansuwilkinson)

All Scripture quoted is from The Nelson Study Bible, New King James Version, Trinity Fellowship Church 25th Anniversary Commemorative Edition, 2002.

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Num. 25; Ps. 68; Isa. 15; 1 Pet. 3

Would there be enough evidence to find you guilty as charged?

Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives… Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered. 1 Peter 3

In lieu of the current-day statistics on marriage, the good news is there’s a 100% chance of success in marriage! A rather bold statement in light of how marriage is portrayed today in the world. I know that 100% sounds extreme, but it is possible! How? Because our God made marriage and He never makes or designs anything to fail! Nor does He make anyone to fail. God speaks to us throughout His word in various forms, but nowhere more clearly and direct, than in 1 Peter 3, which speaks to both men and women about His perfect plan for covenant relationship. And, just like in Ephesians 5, men and women are given specific instructions to submit to one another in the fear of God, then continues with specific instructions to each on their responsibility.

So, if the “manual” tells us what to do, why do so many Christian men and a women fail to fulfill their God-given calling as husband and wife? Why is the divorce rate of Christians and non-Christians virtually the same? The answer is simple… 18”! The distance between the head and the heart… it’s the distance between the knowing and the doing, as many Christians have chosen to ignore or reject God’s perfect plan for marriage into their hearts. Head knowledge offers a mental perspective of God’s plan, however it is in the heart where true relationship with God resides and actions have the best chance of survival.

But the LORD said to Samuel, “Don’t judge by his appearance or height, for I have rejected him. The LORD doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7

Other factors are at work, as well, which threaten God’s plan for marriage… contemporary attitudes towards marriage have distorted God’s architecture of mutual submission to mean something negative, using descriptors such as dominated, oppressed, and dictatorial instead of the divine expression of God’s love and understanding for His children and how they innately function in the context of relationship.

Jimmy Evans, in his book “Marriage on the Rock,” stated that of the scriptures related to relationship, couples love Ephesians 5 because of what it says about their partners responsibility to relationship, not their own! Perhaps the answer to living according to God’s plan lies in considering what scripture says about ourselves first, and inviting God into the process of holding us accountable to our roles, and let Him handle the rest. Man… Woman… God… three strands… not easily broken!

A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken. Ecclesiastes 4:12

God, who made us, understands completely that the innate need of a woman is security and to be loved, and for a man, to be respected and honored… both 1 Peter 3 and Ephesians 5 speak to this directly. Interestingly, women are not commanded to love their husbands, rather to submit to their husbands… to understand and support them, as that is the language that speaks to men! Men? 1 Peter and Ephesians 5 use different language on what you’re to do… the command for men is to love their wives, as Christ loved the church, who gave Himself up for her… to live with her in an understanding way. Different approach… different language… same origin… SACRIFICE for each other, using the language of your partner! Isn’t He amazing? God knew what He was doing and His design is perfect! God’s plan isn’t meant to harm us… QUITE the contrary. God’s plan, at its foundation, is to protect us… it’s the instructions on how to penetrate brokenness and speak deep within our partner’s heart.

Perhaps, if things aren’t going so well relationally, prayers aren’t being answered, it might be worth considering a different approach… How about God’s plan for marriage… so that our prayers may not be hindered.

So… a quick question… (answer honestly!)…

If you were accused of “acting like a Christian _____ (husband/wife)”, would there be enough evidence to find you guilty as charged?

Father, in our humanness, we often forget that You designed us… and who better than You to guide us how best to live as husband and wife. Lord, soften our hearts to adopt Your way as the only way to live this life in relationship as husbands and wives, so that our actions towards one another are a tangible expression of You living within us. Amen!

Greg (gstefanelli)

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Numbers 24; Psalm 66; Psalm 67; Isaiah 14; 1 Peter 2

1 Peter 2

Laying a foundation of identity and value. Defining who I am and what should be precious to me. Precious. Calling me to an integral life that follows Christ’s example and in His steps.

The Word of God is renewing, restoring, life-altering truth to my mind- a mind that is prone to darkness, forgetfulness, and the influence of the world.

Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind. Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good. NIV

Crave pure spiritual milk. Crave the Word. I have spent a lot of time lately, thinking about how I can live more aligned with this reality. How can I live the preciousness and life-giving reality of the Scriptures day to day? And, O the promise: Taste that the Lord is good!

Jesus is the living stone and most precious. Likewise, we are living stones. We are precious.

As you come to him, the living Stone—rejected by humans but chosen by God and precious to him— you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house[a] to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. For in Scripture it says:

“See, I lay a stone in Zion,
a chosen and precious cornerstone,
and the one who trusts in him
will never be put to shame.”[b]

Now to you who believe, this stone is precious. NIV Emphasis mine

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. NIV

Light and darkness. Not a people; now a people. No mercy; recipient of mercy. My heart and my mouth should be singing and declaring praise, full of joy and wonderment. Sometimes, I need to be reminded.

How to live to glorify God during present difficulties in a land of unbelief:

13 Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human authority: whether to the emperor, as the supreme authority, 14 or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right. 15 For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish people. 16 Live as free people, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as God’s slaves.17 Show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers, fear God, honor the emperor. NIV

Live as free people. Live free. Use freedom to honor God.

19 For it is commendable if someone bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because they are conscious of God . But how is it to your credit if you receive a beating for doing wrong and endure it? But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God. 21 To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps. NIV

Recently, I spent some personal time reflecting on this theme in 1 Peter. The theme of suffering from wrong (undue, unjust treatment.) We were reading passages aloud daily from 1 Peter 4 for a couple of weeks- trying to gain comfort and instruction and peace. A personal trial afflicting myself and two of my teen-aged children had lanced our hearts- and O! how needed it was and is to remember that vengeance belongs to the Lord and that He has specific directives for us when we are wronged and misunderstood. The beautiful secret and treasure is this: Christ is found and made manifest in real, personal ways during such times. When I am writhing in heart pain and I have grace to turn to the Lord, I find Him in very intimate ways. Indeed, we are called to entrust ourselves to Him who judges justly – just as our Perfect, blameless Lord did… and we are gathered into fellowship with Him in that place, in the midst of the pain and trial.

We are granted grace to live to righteousness through Christ:

23 When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly. 24 “He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed.” NIV Emphasis mine

Lord, help me to prize what you prize. Help me to live in the reality that You, Jesus, are so very, very precious. Help me to live and walk free in Christ for good, for honor, for Your glory. Let my life proclaim Your excellencies- You who have called me out of darkness and into Your marvelous light!

Rebecca (offeringsbecca)

 

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Numbers 23; Psalms 64-65; Isaiah 13; 1Peter 1

Numbers 23 was written for a people prone to squeezing the life out of living. It’s written for me. Self imposed to-do lists are usually far longer than what can be humanly accomplished in one day, and (I confess) are often, how I define success that day. I joke that I don’t want to miss a thing out of life, but then if left to my own devices,  miss what is most important.

My inclination is to do, not to be. My family knows when I am on this train. Once my daughter looked me square in the eyes and said, “Mom, you’re not here.” And she was right; my brain was chasing the next squirrel up a tree. Somehow, I never catch the squirrel.

God knows that this endless doing never satisfies;  He commands his people to STOP, set themselves apart (consecrate) and rest. He appointed festivals and “holy convocations” and warned the people that if they refused to deny their inclinations that they “would be cut off from the people.” Numbers 23:30.  It seems to me that is exactly what I do to myself, when I refuse to rest in God and keep up my futile chase of doing. All this striving is really a fear that God won’t meet me if I stop my talking, stop my doing.

Enter the Word of God to cleanse, refresh and restore:

You have been born anew, not of perishable but of imperishable seed, through the living and enduring word of God.  ‘All flesh is like grass and all its glory like the flower of grass. the grass withers, and the flower falls, but the word of the Lord endures forever.’ 1Peter 1:23-25

When I stop moving and listen and look, God opens up my heart and does a work within that I don’t understand. His presence fills the restless, greedy places and there is peace:

You visit the earth and water it, you greatly enrich it:  the river of God is full of water; you provide the people with grain, for so you have prepared it. You water its furrows abundantly, settling its ridges, softening it with showers, blessing its growth. You crown the year with your bounty; your wagon tracks overflow with richness. The pastures of the wilderness overflow. The hills gird themselves with joy, the meadows clothe themselves with flocks, the valleys deck themselves with grain, they shout and sing together for joy.  Psalm 65:9-13

The Psalmist describes a place inhabited by a people who are following God. On another level, he describes the human heart, when God is allowed access to the land within.

Lord, you know my inclination to go and do, but you call me to come, be still, and enjoy the Sabbath rest you have prepared for me . Forgive me when I have chosen distraction over you. Thank you for your patient, steady call to come and rest in your presence. Thank you for the healing rain of your grace and the joy that springs up within my soul at you goodness. You are mine and I am yours. Amen.

Kathy

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Numbers 22; Psalms 62,63; Isaiah 11,12; James 5

The earnest (heartfelt, continued) prayer of a righteous man makes tremendous power available [dynamic in its working]. ~ James 5:16 AMP

 The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much. ~ James 5:16 NASB

 The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. ~ James 5:16 NKJV

 The prayer of a godly person is powerful. It makes things happen. ~ James 5:16 NIRV

 The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results. ~ James 5:16 NLT

Over the past three weeks, in three different circumstances, God brought this verse to my attention three times.  I’m noticing a theme and the common denominator is James 5:16.

For what seems like forever, my husband and I have been praying and believing that God will move MIGHTILY in our lives.  We’ve believed for a “shift.”  This is not a mediocre, subtle movement, but a huge and powerful change.  And that time has finally arrived!  I know for certain, when we first began to believe for God to move mightily in our lives, to shift us, we never dreamed it would involve the things we are facing today…as most people don’t look to trials to move them.  But nevertheless, here we are and our choices are to sit still, wondering “when it will pass,” or to forge ahead, knowing we already have the victory!

After we got over the initial shock, we “strapped our armor on,” called close a couple of our friends, and asked them to stand with us on the Word of God.  In order for God to move mightily, we must believe mightily.  The word “fervent” means “intensity.”  War is not for the faint of heart, but for the armed.  With great intensity and mighty power, this war will be won—this trial overcome—through worship, prayer, faith, and courage to believe as we keep moving forward.

Thank you, Father God, for all the ways you have prepared us for this opportunity to run into victory.  Thank you for good friends who let me text them at midnight, just to ask for extra encouragement.  Father, I can’t wait till we have full victory.  To You be all the glory!  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Heatherpotts5

From the archives. Originally published May 13, 2013.

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