Tag Archives: belief

II Chronicles 22-23; II Kings 11; Psalm 131; Matthew 8

II Kings 11:20 Then he [the child king] sat on the throne…so all the people of the land rejoiced and the city was quiet…

II Chronicles 23:21 So all the people of the land rejoiced; and the city was quiet, for they had slain Athaliah with the sword.

Psalm 131:2 Surely I have calmed and quieted my soul…like a weaned child is my soul within me.

Matthew 8:23 Then He [Jesus] arose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm.

There is a great hymn with the opening lines: “When peace like a river attendeth my way; when sorrows like sea billows roll; whatever my lot I have taught myself to say, It is well, it is well with my soul.” I’ve read that these lines were penned by Horatio Spafford, a Christian man who was a successful lawyer and loving husband and father to a son and four daughters. Within the span of two years, his son died, then the Great Chicago Fire destroyed most of his investments, and a trip meant to bring comfort to his family ended horribly when his four daughters were killed in a collision at sea while traveling with their mother to England.  Spafford reportedly wrote the poem/prayer on his way to his grieving wife. Further reading revealed that Horatio and his wife, Anna, had three more children, one son who died at the age of four from disease, and two daughters who lived to adulthood. Horatio’s religious views were also persecuted to the point of separating from the Presbyterian Church.  He and Anna became philanthropists to the people in Jerusalem, and their work continued by others was said to play a critical role in supporting those communities during and after World War I.

Can we really relate to the tragedy of others?  Do we have the kind of faith that weathers storms that threaten to blow our preconceived notions about the goodness of God right out of the waters? Some days I think I’m doing all right holding onto the peace of God.  Then circumstances cause another walk through the recent tragedy of my own life, retracing those steps to set up an estate account, to move my home again, to pick up her ashes…

Horatio wrote those opening lines as he crossed the same waters where his four daughters drowned. His wife wrote to him on that fateful day, “Saved alone.” Where does this strength come from?  A faith and a peace that is no mere human effort, I think.

For in my own strength, I fall to pieces.  In my Lord’s presence, I am held up.  After 38 years of walking with Christ, I think I am just beginning to be like the weaned child – trusting that He will rise up and command the storms in my life to be still. Fearing not destruction.  Believing the following:

Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7)

Peace to us all.

Janet

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

1 Kings 12; 2 Chronicles 10-11; Titus 1

In the New Testament, Paul shows the contrast in example (elders versus rebellious people)–because people are watching. He appoints Titus to select elders in each town.

An elder must live a blameless life. He must be faithful to his wife, and his children must be believers who don’t have a reputation for being wild or rebellious. An elder is a manager of God’s household, so he must live a blameless life. He must not be arrogant or quick-tempered; he must not be a heavy drinker, violent, or dishonest with money.

Rather, he must enjoy having guests in his home, and he must love what is good. He must live wisely and be just. He must live a devout and disciplined life. He must have a strong belief in the trustworthy message he was taught; then he will be able to encourage others with wholesome teaching and show those who oppose it where they are wrong. Titus 1:6-8, NLT (emphasis mine)

Because there are other influencers who are turning whole families away from God.

10 For there are many rebellious people who engage in useless talk and deceive others. This is especially true of those who insist on circumcision for salvation. 11 They must be silenced, because they are turning whole families away from the truth by their false teaching. Titus 1:10-11, NLT. (emphasis mine)

Circumcision isn’t a qualifier for salvation in my circles, but I do know people who imply that service, perfection, charity, etc. are markers of salvation. I feel cautious about sharing my bad-day feelings with them, feel pressure to push myself to serve/host/give sometimes at the cost of peace in my home (or in myself). In recent weeks, I’ve tried to balance so many things that when a child’s health problem (and lifestyle changing diagnosis) got put on top, I found I was dropping pieces–distracted, forgetful, stressed, overwhelmed, grouchy.

I kind of need a reset.

I look into an elder’s role, an example, and I see the starting block of faith/belief. So, I’ll start there.

Lord, you know the things that have been pulling me into so many directions they’re pulling me apart. Lord, I give you my heart and my life, because it’s safe (loved, precious) in your hands. Thank you for being able to handle my bad-day feelings and for giving me peace (especially when I dropped it all). Please speak into my life about discipline and wisdom. Thank you for putting so many people into my life to be an example and encouragement through this change.

Courtney (66book365)

 

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Filed under 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan

Ecc 10-12, 2 Timothy 4

The events of the last several months have shocked even the un-believing world. Right is wrong and wrong is right. I remember my mom telling me when I was growing up that things aren’t getting any worse, we just hear about it more and more. I’m not sure that’s the case, things are getting worse and it seems, by the minute. With each new event or overturned ruling reminding us this world is not our home. I have a tendency to become more and more anxious, quickly reverting back to my flesh and I worry about the future like I somehow have control of things yet to come. It’s difficult in this day and age, with all the technology we have at our fingertips and all the resources available to us to become led astray but fancy teachings. We live in an over you fill in the blank society where you can pick and choose what to believe. There are no absolutes, rights or wrongs. If you stand up for truth you must be a hater.

Once again, Paul’s words form 2,000 years ago ring true today. As he reminds Timothy to be strong and charges him with a huge task that he could only do with the Spirit of God:

“Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. As for you, always be sober- minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.”

Be ready in and out of season. Reprove. Rebuke. Exhort. Patient. Sober- minded. Endure suffering. FULFILL YOUR MINISTRY. Wow, what a list. Am I ready for this, Lord? Have I done enough to prepare for such a time as this? I look at the world around me and see so much hurt and evil. You can’t look at anything anymore and not see it. It’s everywhere. I know without his strength on a daily basis I will not be able to fulfill my ministry, whatever that may be. For me, right now that is teaching my children about the loving and gracious Lord I serve who came to rescue me from my own sin. Tomorrow, my ministry may be different. Seasons change, times change, ministries change but the goal remains the same. To serve the Lord by and through the gift of the Holy Spirit, helping others see the amazing gift of salvation through Jesus Christ’s death burial and resurrection.

Our window of time is closing to be able to share this good news freely and openly. I want to make sure I can say at the end, whenever that may be,

“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge will ware to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing.”

Dear, Lord. Help me to not despair at the events surrounding me but to lean into you and follow you even harder than before. My days are numbered and in your hands and my ministry was planned in advance by you. May I use every opportunity you give me to share your good news with others and fight the good fight. What an honor to serve you, Jesus. Amen.

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Ecclesiastes 1-3; Psalm 45; 2 Timothy 1

He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end. I know that there is nothing better for men to be happy and do good while they live…So I saw that there is nothing better for a man than to enjoy his work, because that is his lot. For who can bring him to see what will happen after him? Ephesians 3:11-12…22.

Life can run away with us. We believers can have more in common with the characters in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s, The Great Gatsby than we would like to admit. Perhaps we are not chasing riches and opulence, but sometimes serving the Lord slides into a pursuit of more activities, programs, power and good works so that in the end, we find ourselves depleted, disillusioned and empty. What went wrong? We can find ourselves feeling far from the Lover of our souls.

I remember feeling disillusioned the first time I ever read the Bible cover to cover. As I worked my way through the Old Testament, I understood the the fatigue of Ecclesiastes’ author; the people of Israel would find God, enjoy the benefits of the relationship and then be inevitably be led away and meet with disaster. Eternity was in their hearts, but it did not seem to be enough to sustain them. Try as they would, their best attempts at following God did not hold. The cycle scared me.

Enter Christ. Enter grace.

This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel…That is why I am suffering as I am. Yet I am not ashamed because I know whom I have believed and I am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him for that day. Saint Paul, 2 Timothy 1:9-10…12.

Lord Jesus, you are Grace made flesh and blood. Thank you for going to the Cross and defeating death so that I am delivered from all that would lead me away from you. Father, you call me by name; your arms reach out for me and welcome me home. Spirit, you live within me and guide my steps. Hold me fast this day. Amen.

klueh

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Filed under 2 Timothy, Ecclesiastes, Psalms

2 Samuel 24, 1 Chronicles 21, Romans 4

Dictionary.com defines the word faith as “belief in something not based on proof”.  The writer of Hebrews defines it as “Faith is the assurance of things hoped for and the conviction of things not seen.” Because I don’t remember ever not believing in Jesus I sometimes have a hard time with people who are lacking in the faith department. How could they not see? How could they doubt? How could they not understand there is something, no someone, in control of every step we make?

Recently, I have struggled a little more with my own faith. Not that I have changed my mind, suddenly becoming unconvinced of what I was previously sure of, that Jesus Christ is our Lord and Savior. No, just struggling with my pride and self reliance. I am quick to trust in my own capabilities or my spouse’s strength and less on the Lord. But if I am justified by works I have has something to boast about and if I have something to boast about than faith is null and void. There’s no need to believe in something unseen if you are busy believing in yourself or someone else.

I have also struggled with the simplicity of faith and justification. Could it really be that simple? But what about faith without works is dead? Romans 4 has challenged my thinking. It’s a passage I have read dozens of times but each time brings a deeper understanding of a special and amazing gift. Salvation is just that, a gift. A gift that is not given and then taken away. It’s a gift that is given out of love and sacrifice and blood, sweat and tears.

“But he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised. That is why his faith was counted to him as righteousness.”

I am reminded that faith is a moment in time and a journey; a process. It may be messy and full of twists and turns and doubts but it’s a growing process as I continually choose to trust in Jesus. It’s a available to all and was planned thousands of years before Jesus was even born. God’s great plan of redemption through faith began long before the birth of his Son. It was always about faith and trust and never about works.

“But the words “counted to him” were not written for his sake alone, but for ours also. It will be counted to us who believe in him who raised from the dead Jesus our Lord who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification.”

Father God, thank you for your amazing plan and gift of your Son, Jesus. Through him we are seen and declared as righteous if only we believe by faith. Thank you that you don’t keep a score card of our rights and wrongs. Work in our hearts as we move along in our faith journey and strengthen our hearts to trust you more and more each day.

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Filed under 1 Chronicles, 2 Samuel, Romans