Tag Archives: blessings

Genesis 6-8; Psalm 104; Mark 3

As I think about my first 2018 post, I look back on 2017 knowing right from the very first month that God was going to take care of me and my family through a difficult year.  It was tough on quite a few different fronts.  Yet Jesus walked with me in each and every day.  Sometimes I think – why does it matter that I love God with all my heart, soul, strength and mind? At the end of such a year and the reflecting on this new year, it matters a lot – I believe I am giving God a window to be a blessing in my life.

But the Lord was pleased with Noah,  and this is the story about him. Noah was the only person who lived right and obeyed God. – Genesis 6:8-9 CEV

As much as blessings are great, and they are – for they are visible expressions of God caring for me and others can see that I have His favour – promises are even better.  God’s promises are rock solid and every one of the them points to me the incredible and detailed expressions of just how much God cares. They are only visible when I am confident in them and people around me can see that they demonstrate in my life that God is a priority.

Now you have set boundaries,
    so that the water will never
    flood the earth again. – Psalm 104:9 CEV

I mean, would I forgive the people who hung me on a cross?  Can I forgive those in leadership over me that do not understand the abuse they had out every day?  What about family members who just want to hurt because they cannot get their own way?  Yes, 2017 had some bad memories and I know God wants me to forgive and many I have and will probably still forgive in 2018.

Jesus was angry as he looked around at the people. Yet he felt sorry for them because they were so stubborn. Then he told the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He did, and his bad hand was healed. – Mark 3:5 CEV

Yes, my love affair is with God.  It is His Holy Spirit that sustains me, heals me, cares for me, extends the power of His grace and peace to me and like a hen gathers me under His wings.  Wow – can I do that for those who have hurt me and who have been stubborn? Yes, because the promises of God that are true for me are true for them.  Looking forward to a great 2018 being more like Jesus.

Lord, I am yours.  Let me demonstrate You are my priority this year. I want to care as much as You do. Let people look at me and say I have my Father’s eyes. Amen.

Erwin (evanlaar1922)

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

1 Kings 22; 1 Thessalonians 5; Daniel 4; Psalms 108, 109

Our credit card number was stolen and charged fraudulently (the second time this year). My husband texted me early yesterday morning to ask if I had been shopping for shoes. No? He cancelled the card, which instantly redirected the day I planned.

Instead, I set about local tasks–one including tracking down the cleared title to my dad’s truck so we can sell it for his estate. It meant going to the MVA, which I had been putting off for months because–it’s the MVA.

I explained my situation to the first clerk, who told me I’d have to purchase a replacement and they would mail it to his house (out of town and the mail service forwarded). A second clerk said the mail couldn’t be forwarded and I’d have to go to the main office (much further away) and get it there. Then they handed me a wait ticket to meet with someone else.

I explained to this third helper what my situation was, and reiterated for confirmation what I was told at the first desk. She typed some things into her computer. A Whitney Houston song (I Wanna Dance With Somebody) came on their music system and my daughter pulled at my arm.

“Mom!” she said, and smiled. I sing this song to my dog almost daily, and she dances and prances for a treat she knows is coming. I told the clerk as much as my daughter and I grinned large–and the clerk smiled and giggled with us too.

The next thing I know, the clerk steps away to talk to a manager and comes back with a freshly printed, cleared title and we’re on our way.  (Thank you, Lord!) There were other big tasks to complete locally, and we got them moving along. (Only You, Jesus!)

When I got home, for the first time in many weeks, I felt lighter. (So grateful, God.)

There have been several times lately that God has put an abrupt stop to my plans. And when he does, I feel he makes a different way available to me. With a day that started with a cancelled card, I actually got more accomplished than if I’d been able to proceed with my original plan.

I read it twice this morning, once here and once on an Instagram image:

16 Always be joyful. 17 Never stop praying. 18 Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, NLT)

This year has felt overwhelming to me with the tasks and emotions associated with grief and loss. At times I’ve felt a real pressure of a weight upon my shoulders and heart. However, all along, I have sensed God’s hand involved in the details, in ways I never imagined. Even to the way he grabbed my attention with a song yesterday, like he was saying, “Pay attention. I don’t want you to miss this.” Title in hand, same day. And it didn’t stop there.

Lord, I know you are moving in my life and in my sister’s life. Thank you for people who help us. Yesterday was a miracle and blessing from start to finish, even though it seemed a bummer beginning. Thanks for focusing my wandering, worried mind on you.

Courtney (66books365)

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Filed under 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, Uncategorized

Deuteronomy 15; Psalm 102; Isaiah 42; Revelation 12

Busyness. Full calendars. Early mornings. Late nights.  That’s the season I’m in right now.  It’s full and it’s good and it’s beautiful, but it’s still full.  Full can be tricky.  It is fulfilling and overflowing and magnificent but is also overwhelming and not empty and stressful sometimes.

In the midst of full, I often lose sight of God and his plan and purpose and his presence.  I just start going and doing and staying afloat and then all of the sudden, I forget the last time I had an encounter with God.  Sometimes in the full, quickly enter into darkness and dread when lose sight of God.  I see that played out here:

“Lord, hear my prayer!
Listen to my plea!
Don’t turn away from me
in my time of distress.
Bend down to listen,
and answer me quickly when I call to you.
For my days disappear like smoke,
and my bones burn like red-hot coals.
My heart is sick, withered like grass,
and I have lost my appetite.”

Psalm 102: 1-4 (NLT)

My heart becomes sick and my prayers become frantic, grasping for a glimpse of God when I finally slow down enough to realize that I haven’t seen him lately.

This feeling is legitimate and it’s my reality in this moment, but God’s truth is greater.  When I feel sick and lost and wandering and life gets hard, God reminds me that he is good and he is constant and that he blesses me when I obey his commands.

“But you, O Lord, will sit on your throne forever.
Your fame will endure to every generation.”

Psalm 102: 12 (NLT)

God constantly reminds me that he is constant and he will never change and he will never leave me.

“God, the Lord, created the heavens and stretched them out.
He created the earth and everything in it.
He gives breath to everyone,
life to everyone who walks the earth.
And it is he who says,
“I, the Lord, have called you to demonstrate my righteousness.
I will take you by the hand and guard you,
and I will give you to my people, Israel,
as a symbol of my covenant with them.
And you will be a light to guide the nations.
    You will open the eyes of the blind.
You will free the captives from prison,
releasing those who sit in dark dungeons.

“I am the Lord; that is my name!
I will not give my glory to anyone else,
nor share my praise with carved idols.
Everything I prophesied has come true,
and now I will prophesy again.
I will tell you the future before it happens.”

Isaiah 42: 5-9 (NLT)

God reminds me that he is good and he is all-powerful and his promises are true.

“There should be no poor among you, for the Lord your God will greatly bless you in the land he is giving you as a special possession.You will receive this blessing if you are careful to obey all the commands of the Lord your God that I am giving you today. The Lord your God will bless you as he has promised. You will lend money to many nations but will never need to borrow. You will rule many nations, but they will not rule over you.”

Deuteronomy 15: 4-6 (NLT)

God promises to bless me if I follow his commands.

That is such a beautiful truth: to know that the Lord will bless me if I only obey.  Obeying God leads to blessing and blessings often lead me to full.  The full can be overwhelming but it is good.  I find myself in cycles of full and blessing that lead me to busy that then leads me to too fast and then I eventually pause and find God and he reminds me of who he is and leads me into obedience which brings me back to blessing and to full.

The most difficult thing for me is finding the balance and learning to find God in the full so I don’t get to the part of the cycle that is busy and overwhelming.  For now, I am rejoicing in the cycle, for every part teaches me more about God and grows my relationship with him.

Emma

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Filed under 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, Deuteronomy, Isaiah, New Testament, Old Testament, Psalms, Revelation, Uncategorized

Genesis 12; Matt. 11; Nehemiah 1; Acts 11

Merry Christmas; Happy New Year; Glad Tidings; Joy to the world – songs and cards and greetings for a season. Many of us wistfully desire to keep holiday smiles, generosity, and sentimentality the whole year through. Life interrupts. We’re pulled up short. Then we wonder, “Where did my joy go?”

Commercialized industry urges us to pack up our Christmas joy, stuff it in the attic for next year, and wait obediently for the next brief holiday to hit the shelves. I have to admit that I keep my Christmas decorations up long after the New Year’s party is over, perhaps fearing I will box away joy leaving home and heart as void as my depleted checkbook. I was asked the other day if I am someone who sees the glass half empty or half full, and I could only stutter something unintelligible about relativity. So I prayed, “God, teach me where to find Your joy.” I think He took great pleasure in answering right away.

In Genesis 12:2, God promises Abraham that all the families of the earth will be blessed through him, “I will make you a great nation; I will bless you and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing.” Joy can be found in God’s smile and in the warmth of His pleasure. Even before Abraham left his countrymen to follow God’s plan, God was happy with him. I, too, can enjoy the blessings of an intimate relationship with God.

But fear and anxiety can steal joy. Over the last six months, the grandson of a good friend has been undergoing cancer treatment at St. Jude’s. I marvel to read his testimony of courage and strength, penned by his Christian mother. She points to the blessings spoken by Jesus Christ in Matthew 11:29. “Take my yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” Joy can be found in that invitation, for fear and anxiety melt away when burdens are laid at the feet of Jesus.

Joy also comes from knowing that God looks and listens when we pray. Nehemiah 1:5 records the confidence in Nehemiah’s prayers. “I pray, Lord God of heaven, O great and awesome God, You who keep Your covenant and mercy with those who love You and observe Your commandments; please let Your ear be attentive and Your eyes open, that You may hear the prayer of Your servant which I pray before You now, day and night…” Day or night, in triumph or tragedy, even in the midst of confession there is joy in that the God of the universe sees and hears me and, most of all, answers prayers!

So when I look for joy, I need not venture far. I can see the grace of God in me, in my friends, in the church, and in the salvation of each new Christian. I want to be like Barnabas, the New Testament missionary, when he responded to Gentiles receiving the gospel message. Acts 11:22-24 says, “When he came and had seen the grace of God, he was glad and encouraged them all that with purpose of heart they should continue with the Lord.” Joy does not end with the passing of a season or the storage of the Baby in a manger. Nor is my cup half empty or half full. For my  cup is overflowing with joy from the daily blessings of a good Father, divine rest from heavy burdens, and unending grace in the presence of Christ Jesus. Wouldn’t you like to drink this cup of joy?

Cheers to us all!

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

After writing, today, I listened to this sermon delivered by the son-in-law of my good friend. What a delight to hear a similar message (much better delivered, too!) about joy.

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Filed under 66 Books, Acts, Bible in a year reading plan, Genesis, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, Matthew, Nehemiah, New Testament, Old Testament, Uncategorized

Deuteronomy 28; Mark 15:27-47

I have a hard time convincing some of the people I talk to that God is a loving Father who desires to give us the very best of His love through salvation, spiritual gifts, material gain, family, friends, honorable positions, victory over enemies, and just through being called His own people.  Even though anyone can read these promises in the 15 verses of Deuteronomy 28:1-15, there follows 42 verses of curses outlined by God that a majority of people identify Him with – just waiting to act out these curses on them. To be honest, when I read these curses, I shudder to think the God that I am in love with could write such horrible pronouncements. Take verses 53-57 which describe how when a town is besieged by the enemy that the fathers will eat the flesh of their own children; what could be worse? Yet, history of Israel reveals that this event actually did happen during a dark period of turning away from God.

So why does God spend only 15 lines of conversation to woo us, only to pound out 42 verses of what will happen if we try to walk away?  I think the answer lies in the story of the Crucifixion.

If we focus on the agony of the Cross which Jesus Christ suffered, we may understand the hellish torture that he withstood until all was accomplished.  The purpose of the Crucifixion, as planned by God, agreed and performed by Jesus Christ, and energized by the Holy Spirit was for Jesus to take on all these curses of disobedience for our sakes.

I hear this in the description of Christ dying on the Cross as told by Mark. Christ called out several times in a loud voice.  He did not say, “Oh, my hands, my feet, my head – they hurt!”  He cried out with a loud voice, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?!” He could barely speak due to the swelling of His tongue, so He cried out, “I thirst.” When He said, “It is finished,” he did not whisper it, but “Jesus cried out with a loud voice” before breathing His last.

At least once a year, I watch the Mel Gibson movie version of the Crucifixion called The Passion. I do this, not because I enjoy watching the re-enactment of this traumatic event, but because I choose to shock my soul and mind with the reality of my Savior’s terrible death. The curses that I want to hurl at the mob, the false religious leaders, the Roman military, and the sarcastic individuals that dogged Him issue out of my helplessness to do anything about what happens to the Son of God.  Yet we are told that Jesus Christ voluntarily submitted to the torture, the travail of spirit, and the moment of earthly death.  He laid down His life when He was ready. We hear that even Pilate wondered how He could be dead so soon (Mark 15:44).

So even though it may be hard to understand how the supernatural love of God could utter the curses of old, I recognize that these curses and more, including the ones I brought on myself, were experienced in this Son of Man-Son of God who cried out in a loud voice.  A voice loud enough to be heard by the crowd.  A voice loud enough to split the veil in the Jewish synagogue from top to bottom.  A voice loud enough to wipe out the curses of old, restore the human soul, and usher in this age of Grace.  Grace to the very ones who deserved all the curses. If you fear the God who told us we would experience the consequences of disobedience through these curses, remember that this same God took on all these curses for us the day that Jesus died on the Cross.

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Filed under 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, Deuteronomy, Mark, New Testament, Old Testament