Tag Archives: abundant life

Judges 6; Acts 10; Jeremiah 19; Mark 5

The Israelites were hungry.

The Israelites did evil in the Lord’s sight. So the Lord handed them over to the Midianites for seven years. The Midianites were so cruel that the Israelites made hiding places for themselves in the mountains, caves, and strongholds. Whenever the Israelites planted their crops, marauders from Midian, Amalek, and the people of the east would attack Israel, camping in the land and destroying crops as far away as Gaza. They left the Israelites with nothing to eat, taking all the sheep, goats, cattle, and donkeys. (Judges 6:1-4, NLT, emphasis added)

The Israelites were hungry, and this makes an impression upon me. How many times have I read Gideon’s story (it’s really a favorite!)? But this time, I notice the mention of food, and its scarcity.

11 Then the angel of the Lord came and sat beneath the great tree at Ophrah, which belonged to Joash of the clan of Abiezer. Gideon son of Joash was threshing wheat at the bottom of a winepress to hide the grain from the Midianites. (Judges 6:11, NLT, emphasis added)

The Lord has a task for Gideon, and I love that part. But today, I notice Gideon’s response to the Lord.

18 Don’t go away until I come back and bring my offering to you.”

He answered, “I will stay here until you return.”

19 Gideon hurried home. He cooked a young goat, and with a basket of flour he baked some bread without yeast. Then, carrying the meat in a basket and the broth in a pot, he brought them out and presented them to the angel, who was under the great tree.

20 The angel of God said to him, “Place the meat and the unleavened bread on this rock, and pour the broth over it.” And Gideon did as he was told. 21 Then the angel of the Lord touched the meat and bread with the tip of the staff in his hand, and fire flamed up from the rock and consumed all he had brought. And the angel of the Lord disappeared. (Judges 6:18-21, NLT, emphasis added)

Gideon was from a small clan, and proclaimed himself the least within it. As I read on, even his family members were far from the Lord, and Gideon was afraid of them and other people in the town:

25 That night the Lord said to Gideon, “Take the second bull from your father’s herd, the one that is seven years old. Pull down your father’s altar to Baal, and cut down the Asherah pole standing beside it. 26 Then build an altar to the Lord your God here on this hilltop sanctuary, laying the stones carefully. Sacrifice the bull as a burnt offering on the altar, using as fuel the wood of the Asherah pole you cut down.”

27 So Gideon took ten of his servants and did as the Lord had commanded. But he did it at night because he was afraid of the other members of his father’s household and the people of the town. (Judges 6:25-27, NLT, emphasis added)

I love how Gideon saw himself, and yet he acted in obedience and courage, even though he was afraid. I love how the Lord viewed Gideon as a “mighty hero” and gave him encouragement and signs. But what stands out to me today is Gideon’s enthusiasm and urgency–“Don’t go away until I come back and bring my offering to you.” And Gideon hurried home to get it. His offering was not from his abundance–food was scarce. His offering took effort–meat and bread. His offering was generous–not leftovers and not excuses. And this leaves a mighty impression upon me.

Lord, thank you for your generosity toward me. You encourage me and speak to my heart in your word. I value generosity, and I know you do too as you give so abundantly.

Courtney (66books365)

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2 Chronicles 25; Revelation 12; Zechariah 8; John 11

He did what was pleasing in the Lord’s sight, but not wholeheartedly. Decisions and actions that followed revealed the leaning of his heart. He wouldn’t heed warnings.

So the prophet stopped with this warning: “I know that God has determined to destroy you because you have done this and have refused to accept my counsel.” (2 Chronicles 25:16b, NLT)

I think about the messages and messengers. A prophet warning a king. In Revelation, a revealing of a mystery. In John 11, Jesus receives the message that Lazarus is sick. Zechariah 8 opens with a message, and I listen.

Then another message came to me from the Lord of Heaven’s Armies: “This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says …” (Zechariah 8:1-2a, NLT)

And He says a lot. I keep reading. He speaks of restoration and perseverance and the impossible and rescue.

“This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: All this may seem impossible to you now, a small remnant of God’s people. But is it impossible for me? says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. … “This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: Be strong and finish the task! (Zechariah 8:6, 9a, NLT)

He plants seeds of peace and prosperity, grapevines heavy with ripe fruit.

13 Among the other nations, Judah and Israel became symbols of a cursed nation. But no longer! Now I will rescue you and make you both a symbol and a source of blessing. So don’t be afraid. Be strong, and get on with rebuilding the Temple!

14 “For this is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: I was determined to punish you when your ancestors angered me, and I did not change my mind, says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. 15 But now I am determined to bless Jerusalem and the people of Judah. So don’t be afraid. 16 But this is what you must do: Tell the truth to each other. Render verdicts in your courts that are just and that lead to peace. 17 Don’t scheme against each other. Stop your love of telling lies that you swear are the truth. I hate all these things, says the Lord.”

18 Here is another message that came to me from the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. 19 “This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: The traditional fasts and times of mourning you have kept in early summer, midsummer, autumn, and winter are now ended. They will become festivals of joy and celebration for the people of Judah. So love truth and peace. (Zechariah 8:14-19, NLT)

Lord Jesus, you are my foundation I build upon and anything else IS sinking sand. I have watched you tear down and demolish strongholds, and I know that nothing is impossible for you. The praise is yours. The glory is yours.

23 “This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: In those days ten men from different nations and languages of the world will clutch at the sleeve of one Jew. And they will say, ‘Please let us walk with you, for we have heard that God is with you.’” (Zechariah 8:23, NLT)

And

25 Jesus told her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Anyone who believes in me will live, even after dying. 26 Everyone who lives in me and believes in me will never ever die. Do you believe this, Martha?” (John 11:25-26, NLT)

Grateful.

Courtney (66books365)

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Psalm 15-16, John 9:1-23

His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”

“Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him. John 9:2-3 

Lord, who may dwell in your sanctuary? Who may live on your holy hill? Psalm 15:1 

You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence. Psalm 16:11

Whose is responsible for the way people are?

Jesus cited a blind man’s condition as a canvas for the display of God’s glory. Jesus painted new vision into a sightless life with muddy fingers.

Jesus’ blood opened my eyes. Now I observe God’s glory in the beauty of nature. The colors of the rainbow remind me of God’s covenants. I appreciate God’s workmanship in strangers I meet. Why can’t I see Him in challenging individuals in my life?

Am I too afraid to speak a truth that could

  • make known the path of life
  • bring joy in God’s presence
  • transform difficult into delightful
  • establish a righteous heart
  • guarantee a secure inheritance
  • offer an unshakeable refuge

Apart from God, I can do nothing. Jesus’ sacrifice is what makes my walk blameless. What can I expect of someone who doesn’t even know Him? Don’t the lost deserve a chance to see God triumph in their lives?

Lord, I have a choice. I can either remain annoyed by those who don’t know any better or I can offer a choice for change. Help me to articulate clearly the bad news=death and the good news=eternal life through Jesus Christ. In Jesus Name I pray.

yicareggie

 

 

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2 Chronicles 4-6

Scripture

“And the priests could not perform their service because of the cloud, for the glory of the Lord filled the temple of God.” 2 Chronicles 5:14 (NIV)

Observation

I love a celebration. The ark is brought to the temple and a crowd has gathered to celebrate. There is music and singing. Reading this chapter made me just want to close my eyes and imagine the sights and sounds.

“Accompanied by trumpets, cymbals and other instruments, they raised their voices in praise to the Lord and sang: ‘He is good; his love endures forever.'”

We still sing these words today.

But the part that I love was when the priests couldn’t perform because of the glory of the Lord.

Application

I like it in my life when I sing my heart out to God and suddenly have to stop because I am overcome by his glory. I like it when the sun is shining on my face and birds awaken me with a song and the colors of nature are vibrant and a gentle breeze whispers to me and I just want to soak it all in … I am overcome by his glory. I like it when a day is so good, so perfect, that I wish it was the day before, so I could do that perfect day all over again. Again, his great glory.

On days that have his glory and goodness written all over them, they make me think of John 10:10, about Jesus, and how he came so that we may have life, and have it to the full.

Life to the full: Was it meant that I would enjoy something so much that I felt like I could cry from gratitude? Was it that foods and sights and sounds could be so rich that all my senses are fully engaged? Or is this full life found in worship, that when God is around me and his Spirit in my heart, that my voice would fail me because of his great glory?

When my days aren’t perfect, or are ones I hope never to repeat, when I wake to rocky starts instead of singing birds, or spend too long inside because it’s still raining and cold, can’t I be left speechless from the Lord’s glory then? Aren’t these the days when sought treasure is found through the search? That I would experience a full life being in the presence of God and witness to glimpses of glory. Could a full life, an abundant life, be one in which I am satisfied in knowing the Lord is all I could ever need or want? 

This verse has me pondering God’s glory and the mystery of abundant life.

Prayer

Lord, I pray to know you better and to enjoy those speechless times when I am overcome by you. You are good and your love endures forever. Amen

Courtney

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