Tag Archives: blessings

1 Kings 3; Ephesians 1; Ezekiel 34; Psalms 83, 84

While he was at Gibeon, the Lord appeared to him in a dream during the night. God said, “Ask for whatever you want me to give you.”

Solomon answered, “You were very kind to your servant, my father David. He obeyed you, and he was honest and lived right. You showed great kindness to him when you allowed his son to be king after him. Lord my God, now you have made me, your servant, king in my father’s place. But I am like a little child; I don’t know how to do what must be done. I, your servant, am here among your chosen people, and there are too many of them to count. I ask that you give me a heart that understands, so I can rule the people in the right way and will know the difference between right and wrong. Otherwise, it is impossible to rule this great people of yours.”

The Lord was pleased that Solomon had asked this. So God said to him, “You did not ask for a long life, or riches for yourself, or the death of your enemies. Since you asked for wisdom to make the right decisions, I will do what you asked. I will give you wisdom and understanding that is greater than anyone has had in the past or will have in the future. I will also give you what you did not ask for: riches and honor. During your life no other king will be as great as you. If you follow me and obey my laws and commands, as your father David did, I will also give you a long life.” 1 Kings 3:5-14 (NCV)

 

I am like a little child; I don’t know how to do what must be done. Give me a heart that understands…

There are so many times in my life when this has been my exact sentiment. There are times when I don’t know how to manage in the circumstances of the moment. And, times when I don’t understand how to maneuver within the vast differences between the culture I was raised in and the Indian culture in which I live.

And yet, time and again, I walk through life thinking that I have all of the answers, that I know how to accomplish everything, manage everything. I neglect to ask God (or anyone else) for help. I go at it alone, and in my pride, I often take a fall. Then, picking myself off the floor, nursing my scrapes and bruises, I turn to God, remembering that His wisdom is much greater than mine.

I see this duplicated in my toddler. She is 2 ¾, going on 23. She thinks she knows it all, acts like she has got it all together. But even she comes crying when she realizes she can’t do it by herself, when she can’t reach the play dough, or when she has spilled the juice while trying to pour it into her toy tea cup, or when she has climbed up onto the washing machine and can’t figure out how to get down without falling.

And like God is ALWAYS there for me, I am there for her. I am there to pick her up when she falls, there to kiss her booboos and wipe her tears. I am there to help her learn from her mistakes and gain greater knowledge for her future endeavors. I am there to teach her to look to God for wisdom, instead of looking only to herself.

I know in my heart that God will never leave me nor forsake me (Deuteronomy 31:6) no matter the situation. I believe that it is God’s desire to give good things (Luke 11:13), like His wisdom, His understanding, and His discernment through Holy Spirit. Just as Solomon asked for those things when God asked him what he wanted, it is important that I also ask. When I ask, He will give me those things as well (John 16:23; 1 John 5:14).

When I seek Him, I take the focus off of myself and put it back in the right place – on God. When I humble myself before Him, there is no more room for pride. I am able to accept His gifts and I am able to be used by Him.

My prayer for myself, my children, and for you:

I have not stopped giving thanks to God for you. I always remember you in my prayers, asking the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, to give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation so that you will know him better. I pray also that you will have greater understanding in your heart so you will know the hope to which he has called us and that you will know how rich and glorious are the blessings God has promised his holy people. And you will know that God’s power is very great for us who believe. That power is the same as the great strength God used to raise Christ from the dead and put him at his right side in the heavenly world. Ephesians 1:16-20 (NCV)

 

Blessings – Julie (writing from Sholavandan, India)

Scripture taken from the New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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Filed under 1 Kings, 66 Books, Ephesians, Ezekiel, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, New Testament, Old Testament, Psalms

Deut. 26, Ps. 117, 118, Isa. 53, Matt. 1

What’s in a name?

I remember just before my two daughters were born, the arduous process of selecting just the right name for our unseen treasures. First, a list of names was created and thought was given to which sounded right. But, I recall one night having a dream… perhaps I was overthinking the name selection process. In the dream, I was asked what the baby’s name was, I couldn’t speak… and I remember having a handful of index cards intended to hold the names being considered, and when I offered the cards as possible options, each card was blank. It was then that I realized that this name selection process had a much deeper meaning… that perhaps we needed to consider something more than how the name sounded. After researching a number of names for their meaning, it became clear that there was a definite connection between the name given to a child and the destiny of that child. God’s Word speaks of the tremendous power of the tongue. As such, the choice of names for our children has the power to impact their journey in life more than we can imagine!

Names were especially important to the Israelites. Often times throughout the Bible, babies were named to symbolize events surrounding their birth or for prophetic reasons affecting a circle of influence wider than one family, even as great as an entire nation. While reviewing the passages for today’s posting, I found it interesting that Matthew began his Gospel with a long list of names leading up to Jesus’ birth. Going through the genealogy had me wanting to get past the long, unpronounceable names in order to get to what I thought was the real reason of Matthew 1. I learned that genealogy should not be scanned too casually as, in this case, it led to the crescendo in the announcement of our Savior’s birth and naming.

The genealogy in Matthew 1 reveals a very unique and important slice of history… many generations who waited for their Messiah to come. Finally, in one unassuming night in Bethlehem, our Savior was born. Of all the names God could have chosen, He selected one with exceptional meaning for His precious Son… Immanuel… God is with us! (Matthew 1:23) With the simple act of naming His Son, God sent a message to His people that he would be with them forever. Immanuel wasn’t just a name, but a promise, a hope, a fulfillment of prophecy, and the beginning of a legacy… the turning point of eternity.

Even in the midst of terrible tragedy revealed in Isaiah 53, the name of Jesus evoked great hope over death. The spikes that pierced His wrist left holes that He filled with the souls of those who accept His salvation. And in a beautiful twist of irony, those holes made it possible for Him to fill up our emptiness with His wholeness. We are all living in Immanuel’s legacy… today, many generations after Jesus received His name, God is still with us. Even the psalmist attests to this and praises God, calling upon us to give thanks to God for the grace and blessings bestowed on all of us… that there is a Redeemer that is with us always (Ps. 117, 118)!

So… what’s in a name? When it comes to Jesus’ name… everything!

Sweet Jesus… with the simple speaking of your name… thank you for being the hope of the world. May my life point others to its meaning for them… Amen!

P.S. What’s in a name in my world? My daughter Brianna’s name means strong… a name characterized with a deep inner desire to inspire others in a higher cause. If any of you know my daughter, you know how true this is of her… incredibly strong willed; recently graduated and certified as a teacher, wanting to devote her life to teaching and inspiring elementary age children… what better calling than to positively influence the mind of a child. Julia, has a name characterized as youthful with a desire for order and physical creativity. Not sure I agree with the order characteristic, but her creative outlook on life helps to balance an otherwise overly analytical family!

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Deut 17; Ps 104; Isa 44; Rev 14

My five year old son Ian finished his first t-ball season today. I went to check on him while he was asleep and he had his trophy on his belly. He told me it was special to him. It is a tangible reminder to him of how proud we are of him, much fun he had, the hits he made and the courage that he learned.

While the trophy seems like a fun, harmless object…I want him to know that God gave him that courage and the ability to run and hit the ball. I think about the “trophies” in my life that can become idols. That is usually when I forget that they are reminders of God’s faithfulness and not something to hold on to. I need to give them back to him in thankfulness and praise. Because He is so generous to me, pouring out his gifts on me…

When you begin living in the towns the Lord your God is giving you, a man or woman among you might do evil in the sight of the Lord your God and violate the covenant. For instance, they might serve other gods or worship the sun, the moon, or any of the stars-the forces of heaven-which I have strictly forbidden…You are about to enter the land, the Lord your God is giving you…you must never return to Egypt” Deut 17 NLT

I want to be satisfied in You...

O Lord my God, how great you are! You made the moon to mark the seasons, the sun knows when to set…They all depend on you…they are richly satisfied….”Psalm 104 NLT

You have not forgotten me…

Do not be afraid…For I will pour out water to quench your thirst and to irrigate your parched fields. I will pour out my Spirit on your descendents, and my blessing on your children. They will thrive like watered grass, like willows on a riverbank…Who is like me? Do not tremble, do not be afraid, didn’t I proclaim my purposes for you long ago? How foolish are those who manufacture idols. I made you, I will not forget you.” Isaiah 44 NLT

I want to fear You alone…

Fear God,” he shouted.“Give glory to him. For the time has come when he will sit as a judge. Worship him who made the heavens, the earth, the sea, and all the springs of water…Anyone who worships the beast and his statue or who accepts his mark on the forehead or on the hand must drink the wine of God’s anger. God’s holy people must endure persecution patiently, obeying his commands and maintaining their faith in Jesus.” Rev 14 NLT

Let all that I am praise the Lord!” Psalm 104 NLT

Jehovah-Jireh, thank you for your provision and unfailing love towards me. I pray that I would give glory to You alone. Amen

Amy(amyctanner)

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Deuteronomy 3; Psalm 85; Isaiah 31; Revelation 1

Do not be afraid. God fights for you. This was in Deuteronomy 3, along with testimony of God’s protection and provision. Lately I’ve come up against situations where I remind myself to trust God. In a place of hindsight from ugly battles, I can see how he has fought for me and protected me. I can trust him going forward too.

He speaks peace to his faithful people, but let them not return to their foolish ways. Psalm 85:8 NLT.

Yes, the Lord pours down his blessings. Psalm 85:12 NLT.

Depending on strength of human armies instead of looking to the Lord. Isaiah 31:1. I’ve looked to my own strength too often, instead of God’s. I’m learning more and more to rely on him, and to take my thoughts to him in prayer.

I know the glorious day will come when each of you will throw away the gold idols and silver images your sinful hands have made. Isaiah 31:7. Thank you, God, for showing me what I placed before you–so I could walk away from it and worship you.

Freed us from sin by his blood. He has made us a kingdom of priests for God his Father. Revelation 1:5b, 6. Made us a kingdom, here, of priests. For God. That certainly reframes the morning.

John, a brother and partner in suffering, in God’s kingdom, in the patient endurance that Jesus calls us. Revelation 1:9.

Lord, thank you for these words today, to sit with you over coffee. Thank you for speaking into my life with words of trust, protection, freedom. Thank you for showing me a bigger picture (of suffering and battles and your strength). Love you.

Courtney (66books365)

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

Genesis 22, Matthew 21, Nehemiah 11, Acts 21

Abraham is called by God to demonstrate his faith.  We all know the story I’m sure, I can vividly remember the cartoon version I watched on VHS as a little boy, of Abraham and his young son traveling up the mountain to the place, which God had called him.  The young Isaac realizing part way up the hill that they hadn’t brought a lamb for sacrifice, and asking his father what they were going to sacrifice.  Abraham’s response demonstrates a large amount of faith, he knew God had promised him descendants and blessing, and he trusted in God to provide the lamb for sacrifice.

There are times in all of our lives where we have to put flesh and bones on the faith that we have claimed.  Even Abraham’s great faith in telling his son God would provide the sacrifice, didn’t stop the process, because this time, words were not going to be enough.  I can remember the first time God called me, it was easy to respond.  I was at the end of my rope, after my 3rd attempt at suicide which by all means should have worked, I realized that God wasn’t going to let me go, and he spoke in my heart that he had things here for me to do.  It was easy to follow that call, because what else did I have going for me? Absolutely nothing. I was broken, and lost.

A little over 4 years later, and I think about the comforts in which I now rest.  God has provided schooling at a great biblically centered university, the wife of my dreams, a job in ministry, great friends and supportive family, and a place to live.  What else could I ask for?

Abraham had already received much of what had been promised, but he was then asked to give that up, to receive more than he could ever comprehend.  Am I content with what I have now so much so that when God asks me to give up the comforts of my current situation for something more, will I trust him? Or will I be so nearsighted as to withhold things that God has given, and miss out on all that he wants to give.  My pastor gives a great analogy, which says that you can’t accept a gift with closed hands.  If you hold everything you have been given with open hands, how much more can the Lord bless you!

I must remember when it seems like God asks the impossible, his desire is to bless and take care of me, and he always fulfills his promises.

Sam A. (guest on 66 Books)

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Filed under 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, Genesis, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, Old Testament