Tag Archives: deliverance

Exodus 22-24; Luke 23; Psalm 12, 14

14 “Each year you must celebrate three festivals in my honor. 15 First, celebrate the Festival of Unleavened Bread. For seven days the bread you eat must be made without yeast, just as I commanded you. Celebrate this festival annually at the appointed time in early spring, in the month of Abib, for that is the anniversary of your departure from Egypt. No one may appear before me without an offering.16 “Second, celebrate the Festival of Harvest, when you bring me the first crops of your harvest.

“Finally, celebrate the Festival of the Final Harvest[i at the end of the harvest season, when you have harvested all the crops from your fields. 17 At these three times each year, every man in Israel must appear before the Sovereign, the Lord. (Exodus 23:14-17, NLT)

A deliverance. A planting. A harvest. These are the three festivals for the Lord’s honor.

When I first started reading the scriptures today, I hoped that I could gain insight to a specific circumstance in my life. While the reading didn’t necessarily address it, I was reminded: God is just. And I trust in that. As I read about the festivals in His honor, I think of it symbolically today.

God delivered me from the captivity of sin and oppression. He has planted me in this place to sow what I will. And at the end of a life or a time, there will be a harvest.

19 “As you harvest your crops, bring the very best of the first harvest to the house of the Lord your God.” (Exodus 23:19a, NLT)

These festivals were held yearly in the Old Testament–and I wonder if I looked closely at how I spend my time, what would I notice of sowing and harvest in a year? Would it honor God? Did I take what He has given me and use it wisely, intentionally? Have I given Him the honor and best of the harvest?

Lord, I’m so grateful for all that you have done for me. In this time of healing and discovering, I trust in you. I want to take my eyes of my broken heart and focus on purpose–a kingdom purpose. Help me to steward well what you have entrusted me. Help me to honor you and keep you as the focus of my heart, my words and my actions. Thank you for your Word that speaks to me of your presence and promises. Thank you for being trustworthy and just. Thank you for loving me just as much on the days I’m a shortsighted mess as you do on the days I’m bringing my best.

Courtney (66books365)


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Filed under 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, Exodus, Old Testament

Exodus 2-4; Luke 17; Psalm 88

Exodus 2:11-15a NIV

One day, after Moses had grown up, he went out to where his own people were and watched them at their hard labor. He saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew, one of his own people. Looking this way and that and seeing no one, he killed the Egyptian and hid him in the sand. The next day he went out and saw two Hebrews fighting. He asked the one in the wrong, “Why are you hitting your fellow Hebrew?”

The man said, “Who made you ruler and judge over us? Are you thinking of killing me as you killed the Egyptian?” Then Moses was afraid and thought, “What I did must have become known.”

When Pharaoh heard of this, he tried to kill Moses, but Moses fled from Pharaoh and went to live in Midian…

Moses was clearly troubled by what he saw and he wanted to rescue his people. However, rather than seeking God, Moses sought his own intellect and decided to take matters into his own hands. It didn’t work. Instead of things improving, they worsened – not only with the Egyptians, as Pharaoh wanted to kill Moses, but even with his own people, who disrespected and challenged him.

Like Moses, I find it so tempting to take matters into my own hands. When I see someone else suffering, or if I, myself, am feeling overwhelmed, my gut reaction is to jump into action and attempt to work out deliverance for myself. The problem is that my thoughts and my understanding are tainted by sin and emotions that frequently are running out of control. Therefore my actions make things worse rather than improving the situation. I’ve learned that deliverance can only come from God’s hands, not my own.

Moses reacted to the situation by running away – again, I so easily identify with that instinct! However, God used the next 40 years to work in Moses’ heart and develop in him a humility and dependence on the Lord rather than himself. It was a tough lesson to learn, I’m sure – it always is. However, we all must learn it because humility is the prerequisite for being used by God.

In chapter 3, God spoke to Moses and invited him to join Him in delivering the Israelites from slavery. In a shocking contrast to chapter 2, we read that Moses began to argue with God about his inability to rescue the Israelites.

I’ve found that it’s easy to confuse humility with insecurity. I may think I’m acting humble when, in reality, I’m giving into my insecurities. Insecurity causes me, like Moses, to still rely on my own understanding, abilities, and judgment. Humility, though aware of my inability, doesn’t fixate on my failures, but instead trusts in God’s understanding, abilities, and judgment.

While insecurity causes me to question and doubt, humility causes me to say, “Yes, Lord. I know you are able; I will trust you to do what you say you will do.” And that humble surrender is exactly what allows me to begin experience deliverance and, ultimately, victory.

Father, please forgive me for believing the lie that deliverance depends on me. Help me to trust your abilities, your understanding, and your plan in my life and in the lives of those I love. I surrender to what you’re doing and will wait for your direction before I speak or act. Thank you for loving me and being patient with me, even in my failures and when I interfere with what you’re doing. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

 

Bethany Harris (drgnfly1010)

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Filed under 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, Exodus, Old Testament, Uncategorized

Joel 1-3, Matthew 10

I was holding my mother’s hand the moment she died. I’ve mourned the loss of children I never named or held. I’ve felt the sting of losing a job. I’ve known the ache of betrayal. But there was one loss that lingered for years, one I couldn’t name at first, a sense of imbalance I couldn’t right, a futile pursuit that exhausted. It greeted me each morning with every sunrise, and gripped me with a pressure that bruised and suffocated–oh, how ridiculous it seemed when I named it: the loss of expectation.

It shamed and embarrassed me–how it tormented me–how could something so shallow (compared to death or destruction) sink me into a depressing heaviness of heart whose tablemates were rejection and mockery? I wanted to shake it off. Every day I determined to be bigger than it, toggling between pretending none of it mattered, and raging at how it dared to touch the tender places I couldn’t protect. It created such a fracture in my heart, that my life is marked by that time as before and after.

It was a spring in the after that God stuck a verse in my thoughts, a steady repetition of the words “I will give you back the years.” I was working in the yard that day, and stopped to get to a computer and search the scriptures for those words. They led me straight to Joel  (In more than one way–we purchased this land from a man named Joel.).

The Lord says, “I will give you back what you lost
    to the swarming locusts, the hopping locusts,
the stripping locusts, and the cutting locusts. (Joel 2:25a, NLT)

The next sentence was totally unexpected. I stopped short.

It was I who sent this great destroying army against you. (Joel 2:25b, NLT)

And suddenly those years before made sense. The loss made sense. I was humbled and awed, truly, but above all, I was grateful.

Thank you, God, for showing me what life can be like when I lay down my own pursuits and seek your will. Thank you for bringing us here. Thank you for healing and hope restored. Thank you for changing my heart. Thank you for these five full years. Thank you for saving me from an even greater grief.

In life before, I never imagined that I would ever find myself grateful for heartache, dashed dreams, or loss of expectation. But in life after, I’m thankful for God’s intervention and the very hard heart work that changed my life.

Courtney (66books365)

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Genesis 45-46; Psalm 108; Galatians 2

Have you ever felt that Satan was out to get you and your family?  Or when you are at your most vulnerable state that the chaos of this world hurls more bullets and bombs? It is as if the onslaught of a great wind is knocking me down sideways when I walk and waking me in the dead of sleep with the raw voice of impending disaster. Deliverance seems to be the theme of my life these days, and my prayers are pleas for God to deliver me and my family from first one thing then another.

Even before my daughter died last November, the events leading up to her death were traumatic and emotional.  Now it seems harm is crouching behind every cracked door. For instance, yesterday morning I nearly was involved in a multiple car crash on the interstate. If I had not left my house later than is my custom to do, I would have been on the interstate instead of looking at the traffic backed up to from exit to the next. Later that day we drove in snow and sleet that started at the same time we were able to get on the road for a trip out of town.  Then in the middle of the night when my husband and I were sound asleep in a hotel room, several men in the next room woke us with loud shouting, threats to kill us, and forceful shoving on the door of our room.  We spent the next two hours barricaded behind our door waiting for the police to make an arrest so that we could flee this dreadful scene.

Later at the restaurant, the waitress asked how our morning was going, and I said, “Not too good, but I’ve already been through the worst thing that could happen.” She was kind with her apology, but said, “No, things could always be worse.” At that point I tried to reconcile the treacherous road of calamity in the flesh that tries to refute the belief that God is in control, that He loves me, and that my prayers for protection will be heard.

Unfortunately, I could not find the words to pray this time. Instead, my mind raced through the Scriptures copied here:

Galatians 2:20 “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me, and delivered Himself up for me.”

Genesis 45:8 “Now, therefore, it was not you who sent me here, but God; and He has made me a father to Pharaoh and lord of all his household and ruler over all the land of Egypt.”

Genesis 46:2-4 And God spoke to Jacob in a vision in the night, saying, “I am God…I will go down with you to Egypt, and I will also surely bring you up again; and Joseph [Jacob’s son] will close your eyes.”

Psalm 108:4 For Thy lovingkindness is great above the heavens; and Thy truth reaches to the skies…be exalted…that Thy beloved may be delivered.

What I do not know how to pray I do know how to believe.  That is, belief does not originate with my prayers – prayers which may or may not be according to the Spirit of God.  But God’s word, infallible, irresistible, and irrefutable, stands solid regardless of what I cannot see or feel.  Therefore, I will close my eyes and rest in His assurance that He will deliver me.  I pray His Word over you, too!

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Filed under 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, Galatians, Genesis

Deuteronomy 1-2; Mark 11:1-19

A mountain and a valley and a battle.

Deuteronomy’s scriptures are very personal to me. Whenever I read them, I time travel to that place of clover and big sky. It was summer and my house was filled with boxes and disarray. We were packing to move, and at the time, I wasn’t even sure where we were going. An enemy’s taunting finger poke was soon like a battering ram knocking against the very foundation that held me up. It was oppressive (thick, smothering, suffocating, weighty).

“When we were at Mount Sinai, the Lord our God said to us, ‘You have stayed at this mountain long enough. It is time to break camp and move on. Go to the hill country of the Amorites and to all the neighboring regions—the Jordan Valley, the hill country, the western foothills, the Negev, and the coastal plain. Go to the land of the Canaanites and to Lebanon, and all the way to the great Euphrates River. Look, I am giving all this land to you! Go in and occupy it, for it is the land the Lord swore to give to your ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and to all their descendants.’” Deuteronomy 1:6-8 NLT (emphasis mine).

They must have felt fear. Many times, the Lord had to tell them not to be afraid. It’s easy to read over Bible stories and fail to connect to the situation, but I know how fear feels, how it weakens and weights. I know what it’s like to move, and not know what home will look like.

30 The Lord your God is going ahead of you. He will fight for you, just as you saw him do in Egypt. 31 And you saw how the Lord your God cared for you all along the way as you traveled through the wilderness, just as a father cares for his child. Now he has brought you to this place.’ Deuteronomy 1:30-31 NLT.

I know what it’s like to trust God, and then feel uncertain. Oh, there was a battle, and I found myself in the thick of it. Even years later and his faithfulness my home, I look back at that mountain and that journey. The Israelites needed reminding of God’s provision and faithfulness. I remind myself too.

Jesus would walk a road to a destination that his disciples didn’t imagine. He entered Jerusalem to the cries of an expectant crowd.

Many in the crowd spread their garments on the road ahead of him, and others spread leafy branches they had cut in the fields. Jesus was in the center of the procession, and the people all around him were shouting,

“Praise God!
    Blessings on the one who comes in the name of the Lord!
10 Blessings on the coming Kingdom of our ancestor David!
    Praise God in highest heaven!”

11 So Jesus came to Jerusalem and went into the Temple. After looking around carefully at everything, he left because it was late in the afternoon. Then he returned to Bethany with the twelve disciples. Mark 11:8-11 NLT.

He was also part of a battle. The Israelites fought forces in their midst–and the Lord delivered them. Jesus was the the target of both earthly and spiritual attacks–so that he could deliver us.

(Praise God in the highest heaven!)

Every battle looks different, but the enemy is the same.

Jesus came to give life (freedom, hope, salvation, comfort, forgiveness, healing, power, example, victory). God fights for us still.

Courtney (66books365)

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Numbers 21; Psalms 60,61; Isaiah 10: 5-34; James 4

How many times do we turn to a close friend for help with our problems?  Ask advice, get feedback, seek wise counsel?  I bet that last one sounds real familiar doesn’t it?  Would we be wrong to go to a mentor or accountability partner for help with a problem?  I think not for we know that God wants us to encourage one another.  However, it’s when we look to man (friends, mentors, pastors) for answers to our problems without seeking God’s will first, that might keep us from seeing God’s victorious hand in our life.   Of course we should continue to seek wise counsel from those who will partner with us in prayer and petition, but not for victory in our battles. Only with God will we win against our enemies. I want victory.

Give us aid against the enemy, for the help of man is worthless. With God we will gain the victory, and he will trample down our enemies. Psalm 60:11-12

What does humbling yourself before the Lord look like? Do we need special clothing, the right songs, how about the size of church we go to?  Is it the version of Bible we read that humbles us before the Lord?  The ministries we serve in or the statuses we post on our social media pages?

How about this vision; standing naked before the Lord, not physically, but spiritually.  Striped of pride, anger and judgment of others. Surrendering yourself unto Him, confession and repentance of sins….how often?  I think just getting in that position would be a good starting place, habits form with repetition. I want to be lifted up.

Humble yourselves before the Lord and he will lift you up. James 4:10

Confession: I spend too much time online and (this will hurt) I seek acceptance and accolades from people.

Revelation: It occurred to me today that the time I spend online could be spent serving others.  How did I go astray?

Goal: Push back from online activities outside of work and give that extra time to the Lord and His work.

Application: Less time online more time in the Word, more time at His feet.

Father, lead me into victory from things that seek to steal my time from you.  This world gives nothing but takes abundantly, but in order for the world to take I know that I am the one who allows this.  Grow  my desire to serve others in your name with joy and eagerness.  Deliver me from those who seek to hold me back from my daily walk and devotion with you.  Cleanse me, strip me of pride, remove my desire to seek approval from others.  Open the eyes of my heart to see others before myself.  In Jesus name. Amen

cindi

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Leviticus 26; Psalm 33; Ecclesiastes 9; Titus 1

I attended a Passover Seder on Monday. Each guest read from the Haggadah, this “telling” of history, of deliverance from slavery … God makes a way for his people. We took turns reading, and there were songs, and we dipped parsley in salted water. I was sitting at the table with people I loved and people I had just met. Under each plate, the hostess had placed a card with a word written upon it and a question. Through these words under plates, we would all learn about each other. My word was hallel. A brief definition followed: praise, to praise and give thanks to God.

This holy week especially causes me to slow and consider the cross–scripture in Leviticus of the delights of obedience, the penalty and punishment of sin, of God making a way and repentance:

“But for their sake I will remember the covenant with their ancestors whom I brought out of Egypt in the sight of the nations to be their God. I am the Lord.” Leviticus 26:45 (NIV)

Other psalms are directly associated with hallel, but I think of praise as I read Psalm 33. Sing, make music, shout for joy. It’s all there. God scoops and breathes and speaks and he’s a great artist, lover, creator and king.

Earth is drenched in God’s affectionate satisfaction. (from Ps 33:4-5, The Message)

Opening lines of Titus and hope: the knowledge of truth that leads to godliness–a faith and knowledge resting on the hope of eternal life, which God, who does not lie, promised before the beginning of time, and at his appointed season he brought his word to light …

These words were written after a crucifixion, and yet they lead me straight to it.

On Monday, I was sitting at a Passover table, thinking of my Lord as he reclined and remembered. Later he’d be led to a cross … the payment of sin, the sacrifice, the final making of a way out of slavery.

On this side of time and the cross, I can celebrate his love, knowing as he said that it is finished–God doesn’t lie.

We’re depending on God;  he’s everything we need. What’s more, our hearts brim with joy since we’ve taken for our own his holy name. Love us, God, with all you’ve got— that’s what we’re depending on. (Ps 33:20-22, The Message)

Brimming with joy and praise.

Courtney (66books365)

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Filed under 66 Books, Leviticus, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, Old Testament, Psalms, Titus