Tag Archives: Devotional

1 Kings 10; Philippians 1; Ezekiel 40; Psalm 91

Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty. This I declare about the LORD: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; he is my God, and I trust him. (Psalm 91:1-2 NLT)

You’re my safe place. I can go to you whenever I need to, because I have access to you every second of my life. Through you I find shelter.

Do not be afraid of the terrors of the night, nor the arrow that flies in the day. Do not dread the disease that stalks in darkness, nor the disaster that strikes at midday. Though a thousand fall at your side, though ten thousand are dying around you, these evils will not touch you. (Psalm 91:5-7 NLT)

You’re with me through everything. Because of you I don’t have to be afraid. You already know what will happen before it even begins, and you always bring something good out of the bad.

Paul’s Life for Christ

For I fully expect and hope that I will never be ashamed, but that I will continue to be bold for Christ, as I have been in the past. And I trust that my life will bring honor to Christ, whether I live or die. For to me, living means living for Christ, and dying is even better. But if I live, I can do more fruitful work for Christ. So I really don’t know which is better. I’m torn between two desires: I long to go and be with Christ, which would be far better for me. But for your sakes, it is better that I continue to live. (Philippians 1:20-24 NLT)

You’re my confidence. I can trust in you. You’ve kept your promises. Even when you’re angry, you never break your word. I want to make a better effort of living for you.

Live as Citizens of Heaven

Above all, you must live as citizens of heaven, conducting yourselves in a manner worthy of the Good News about Christ. Then, whether I come and see you again or only hear about you, I will know that you are standing together with one spirit and one purpose, fighting together for the faith, which is the Good News. (Philippians 1:27 NLT)

I can learn so much from you. I’m so excited to see what you have in store for my life! Thank you so much for everything, God. Even just a glimpse of what you can do is truly amazing. I love you. Amen

Lanie (llilly2017)

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Isaiah 4-6; Matthew 23

Maybe it was the emotion of the weekend – sending our oldest off to his first year of college, our second child starting her first official week of a paid internship in an area of God’s gifting, our third child getting baptized and publicly, clearly sharing her testimony.

Or, maybe it was the constant stirring of God and a teeny glimpse of His Glory as I sat and soaked in Isaiah 6 this morning:

  • his robe filled the temple
  • Above him stood the seraphim
  • And the foundations of the thresholds shook
  • the King, the Lord of hosts
  • I heard the voice of the Lord

Either way, God spoke afresh of the need to follow Him with a pure, motivated heart as I sang in church this weekend.

Arms high, heart abandoned, tears flowing – it would have been impossible to not worship.

Moving from a time of worship in His throne room, I then sat in on a scathing attack on hypocrisy in the lives of those that claimed to follow Him. Matthew 23 holds this rebuke, “You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will you escape being condemned to hell?

How had the Pharisees strayed so far from the heart of the law they claimed to follow? They stopped looking at God.

You can tell by their response. When Isaiah saw God in His holy temple he cowered as his own sinfulness became painfully obvious. Many generations before Jesus spoke these woes aimed at the Pharisees, the Jewish leaders had likely had a similar response as they responded by placing God’s Word physically close to their hearts and minds and putting boundaries in place to protect against sinful habits. Their faith drove them to do all they could to remove sin and follow God.

But, they didn’t stop there. They forced it on others. They looked at the habits and traditions as if they had some saving value. They forgot.

God, draw me close again, to see You, not just the law that You fulfilled, not just my own sinfulness that You already atoned, just You. And, then let me walk in worship, constant worship, all for You. ~Amen.

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Genesis 1-2; Psalm 19; Mark 1

We used to live in a big field. The morning sunrises were spectacular and the sky seemed endless. If anything sang glory, that sky did each morning.

The heavens proclaim the glory of God.
    The skies display his craftsmanship. Psalm 19:1, NLT

Now we live in the woods, and I never really expected to see the sunrises because of the trees. I’ve learned to appreciate seasons in a different way living in the woods, and winter is no exception. I’ve even learned to love winter in a way I never thought possible. It is still and quiet, and the sunrises sneak up on me through the woods line–only visible because all the foliage has fallen away.

Day after day they continue to speak;
    night after night they make him known.
They speak without a sound or word;
    their voice is never heard.
Yet their message has gone throughout the earth,
    and their words to all the world. Psalm 19:2-4, NLT

Sometimes it takes a barren season and stillness to become aware of what has always been.

I have a friend who is like a father to me. He is eighty, and the years have stolen ability and freedom from him. He has long periods of time and stillness to reflect on life. He told me his lack of busyness has birthed wonderment in the world around him.

I praise God that in the winters of life, we can see something in a new way.

I try to find a connection between the readings. In Genesis, creation of heavens and earth, creation of all things and mankind. In Psalm 19, the glory of the heavens proclaiming God and his goodness, and reflection on the frail and faulty heart.

How can I know all the sins lurking in my heart?
    Cleanse me from these hidden faults.
13 Keep your servant from deliberate sins!
    Don’t let them control me.
Then I will be free of guilt
    and innocent of great sin. Psalm 19:12-13, NLT

And in Mark 1, a way is made, the first disciples follow Jesus, and Jesus travels a region healing people and telling them of God’s kingdom.

It is January 1, and I look at a new year with a mental list of changes I want to make. I can’t help it. Like the psalmist, I’m aware of the visible and the existence of the unseen–I know how sin wrecks a life. But Jesus didn’t tell his disciples to make a list of their faults and a list of how they proposed to fix it all. He just said, “Follow me.”

Thankful for a savior who is bigger than my mess.

Lord, help me to keep my eyes on you. You have the power to create heavens and earth with a word; you have the power to (restore broken relationships, heal the sick and hurting, make the impossible possible, change a heart …). Whether through your word or your creation, help me to seek and see you with wonderment.

Courtney (66books365)

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Jeremiah 1, 2; II Thessalonians 2

I’m not a superstitious person, but I grew up with a mother who will grab your arm and in alarm warn, “It’s bad luck to leave a house through a different door than the one you used to come into it,” and refuse to do so herself. I’ve heard many such sayings, and of course, most people have heard of the superstition – break a mirror and you’ll have seven years bad luck.

So I had to smile the other day when the director at work came to me and said the mirror she had kept in her office for years fell off of the wall and broke. However, it did seem uncanny the next morning at work when I reached for my lipstick and found that the miniature mirror I had transferred from purse to purse over the years had cracked from the middle out to each corner of the frame.  Well, I can tell you that the director and I who have both been hired within the last two months thought it a hoot that we should both be cursed with seven years of bad luck (which by the way is about the number of years left before I retire)!

The thought occurred to me that in reality this new job will be a challenge to me as a first time supervisor. Providentially (not coincidentally), in my 66 Books in a Year devotional reading this week, I recognized Jeremiah’s timidity at God’s call to be His prophet. God has to encourage Jeremiah several times by saying, “Do not be afraid of their faces,” and again, “Do not be dismayed before their faces … for I am with you…” (Jeremiah 1)

With any call from God comes my responsibility to answer, “Yes, Lord,” and my expectation that the Lord Jesus Christ will “comfort [my] heart and establish [me] in every good word and work,” (2 Thessalonians 2:16). If I truly believe that God has a purpose in placing me in this environment, then it would be foolish to look to any other source for wisdom, courage, strength, and mercy.  Not just so that my day to day is a path of roses, but so that every moment spent with God will reveal a deeper level of trust and faith in Him. It’s a win-win situation, really. The more I am challenged, the deeper I dive into God’s word. The closer I walk with God, the more His Spirit is able to do for and with me. I believe this not because of an old wives tale, but because it is written in Scripture that “our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and our God and Father has loved us and given us everlasting consolation and good hope by grace,” (2 Thessalonians 2:16).  Given these beliefs, how then am I to view the job ahead that God has given me? What if the changes needed bring difficulties like those experienced by Jeremiah who endured decades of abuse, threats, apathy, and humiliation? Will I be faithful and obedient, and will I persevere in doing what is right not just expedient? Will the next seven years be someone else’s bad luck or golden opportunities for others to see Christ through me? I’m not about to look to any mirror for those answers!

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Isaiah 50-52; 1 Thessalonians 1

In Isaiah we read about God’s sovereignty. Quite a mighty concept. We read of His wrath, His power. We read of our sin, and how what we deserve is his wrath. But we get a foretelling of Jesus to come. The Good News. Our salvation!

I grew up in a Christian home, learning from a child of God’s sovereignty, but I don’t think any of us can truly grasp it this side of heaven. Like many things, I think of this as something we see through a glass darkly. I read of a God who created the heavens and the earth, and yet knows the number of hairs on my head. How can this be?

This morning I was up before dawn, getting ready to write this post. I let the dog out, and right there in front of me I am reminded of God’s power, His glory. It was dark, the stars were out, and there were faint waves of lighter sky emanating from where the sun would soon rise. If you really weren’t looking, you wouldn’t see them at all. Then, over to my right, I see the Morning Star (technically Venus). I am reminded of a very dark time in my life when I was in this very same spot and saw the very same thing (Venus in the same location). At that time I thought back to a CD of a Christmas cantata that I would listen to constantly. It was a recording of a live event that my former church had every year. The music was beautiful. There was occasional narration, and I remember the narrator (a voice of a person I knew, making it more special) speaking of the coming of Christ and He was referred to as the “bright and Morning Star”. As I looked out on the night sky I remember seeing this star that morning, remembering the cantata, and feeling true hope deep down in my heart. Actually feeling the presence of God. Hearing a whisper that He is there with me. The Bright and Morning Star.

I struggle, because on the one hand I know that God is Good, and He is merciful.

14 What then shall we say? Is God unjust? Not at all! 15 For he says to Moses,

“I will have mercy on whom I have mercy,
and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.”[f]

16 It does not, therefore, depend on man’s desire or effort, but on God’s mercy. 17 For the Scripture says to Pharaoh: “I raised you up for this very purpose, that I might display my power in you and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.”[g] 18 Therefore God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy, and he hardens whom he wants to harden.

19 One of you will say to me: “Then why does God still blame us? For who resists his will?” 20 But who are you, O man, to talk back to God? “Shall what is formed say to him who formed it, ‘Why did you make me like this?’”[h] 21 Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for noble purposes and some for common use? (Romans 9:14-21)

God is in control and not me. Why does that scare me so? Why can I rest in that sometimes, and other times it scares me to death? But I am warned not to give up and light my own torch, find my own way.

10 Who among you fears the Lord
and obeys the word of his servant?
Let him who walks in the dark,
who has no light,
trust in the name of the Lord
and rely on his God.
11 But now, all you who light fires
and provide yourselves with flaming torches,
go, walk in the light of your fires
and of the torches you have set ablaze.
This is what you shall receive from my hand:
You will lie down in torment. (Isaiah 50: 10-11)

My instruction is to fear the LORD, and obey the word of his servant.

I am to know that God created me for a purpose, and I am accountable to that. I am to fear God. Trust in Him. Let His Morning Star be my light and my salvation. I do not need to create my own light to see and lean on my own understanding. Thank you for this reminder today, Lord, as I get ready for a new week.

suegraff

From the archives, originally published October 1, 2012. Thanks, Sue!

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Song of Songs 6-8; Galatians 1

For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ.” Galatians 1:10 NKJV

I am a people pleaser…it has been my downfall at times. But, it can also be one of those weaknesses that turns me back towards Jesus. Usually it is when I have exhausted all of my energy trying to make everyone happy. I hear Him tell me to come and find my rest in Him.  I am His beloved.

I am my beloved’s And my beloved is mine.” Song of Songs 6:3 NKJV

I can find rest in knowing that He loves me unconditionally. He offers a gift that is free. And so many times I want to make it more complicated than it needs to be. Just as Courtney talked about in her post last Thursday, I need to stop, slow down and enjoy being with my Jesus. To soak up His presence. I am blown away to think that He enjoys being with me.

I read this the other day from Ann Voskamp and it really spoke to my heart… “And Lord, we can feel it, You gently smoothing out the tension lines and undoing our knots with that whisper: “I know you well and you are special to me. I know you by name. I’m the One who named You!  So when You call us ‘Beloved, we turn and answer to our truest name and believe the Namer of the stars has named You His…”You are Mine.” The God who made, named and numbers the stars, names you and pays attention to you and what matters to you, matters into Him and that is what changes your life, what renames you…Wanted. Beloved. Held.”

Dear Father, thank You for loving me enough to die for my sins. Help me to love others with the same extravagant love that You have shown me. Amen.

Set me as a seal upon your heart, As a seal upon your arm, For love is as strong as death, Jealousy as cruel as the grave; Its flames are flames of fire, A most vehement flame. Many waters cannot quench love, Nor can the floods drown it.” Song of Songs 8:7 NKJV

Amy(amyctanner)

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1Chron.21; 1Pet. 2; Jonah 4; Luke 9

Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good. ~ 1 Peter 2:2-3

 

The word “taste” means to experience.  With this being my second pregnancy, I can say that I’m not at all surprised by a lot of the things happening in my body, whereas with my first pregnancy, everything was unexpected, and sometimes scary.  For example, I’m not surprised—though annoyed—that I can’t tolerate any sugary foods or dairy products.  Once you’ve experienced something, you feel a little more comfortable the second and third times around (not that I plan to be pregnant a third time around).  But it’s like that with faith.  The first time you experience faith, or the Holy Spirit, or even the voice of God, it can be quite scary because you’ve never experienced anything like it before.  But once you’ve experienced God and the power of His Holy presence, you’ll never want to miss out on it again.

 

God longs for us to spend daily time with Him, not just for the “experience,” but for the relationship.  But it’s through that intimate relationship that we are able to experience, to taste, the goodness of the Lord.

 

Father, thank you for our relationship and the times I’m able to step into and experience Your Holy Presence.  Help me to desire and to seek after that intimate time with You on a daily basis.  Father, I pray that You would be with us today and always.  In Jesus’ Name I pray, Amen.

Heatherpotts5

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