Tag Archives: Father

Deuteronomy 27-28:19; Psalm 119:1-24; Isaiah 54; Matthew 2

I read about his promises, his provision, his protection.

When you cross the Jordan River and enter the land the Lord your God is giving you, set up some large stones and coat them with plaster. Write this whole body of instruction on them when you cross the river to enter the land the Lord your God is giving you—a land flowing with milk and honey, just as the Lord, the God of your ancestors, promised you. (Deuteronomy 27:2-3, NLT)

He shows the way. It is a path made by love, loving guidance and instruction.

Joyful are people of integrity,
    who follow the instructions of the Lord.
Joyful are those who obey his laws
    and search for him with all their hearts.
They do not compromise with evil,
    and they walk only in his paths.
You have charged us
    to keep your commandments carefully.
Oh, that my actions would consistently
    reflect your decrees!
Then I will not be ashamed
    when I compare my life with your commands.
As I learn your righteous regulations,
    I will thank you by living as I should!
I will obey your decrees.
    Please don’t give up on me! (Psalm 119:1-8, NLT)

 

His word is truth.

14 That night Joseph left for Egypt with the child and Mary, his mother, 15 and they stayed there until Herod’s death. This fulfilled what the Lord had spoken through the prophet: “I called my Son out of Egypt.”

17 Herod’s brutal action fulfilled what God had spoken through the prophet Jeremiah:

18 “A cry was heard in Ramah—
    weeping and great mourning.
Rachel weeps for her children,
    refusing to be comforted,
    for they are dead.”

23 So the family went and lived in a town called Nazareth. This fulfilled what the prophets had said: “He will be called a Nazarene.” (Matthew 2:14-15, 17-18, 23, NLT)

Lord, you are the Father who delights in me. You comfort me in my distress. You strengthen me in my weakness. You make a path straight for me, so I can walk in joy. You protect me. You provide for me. Your promises are trustworthy. You are trustworthy. Your love never fails. By your love, you show me how to love. By your love, you show me how to live. Thank you.

Courtney (66books365)

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Numbers 33; Psalm 78:1-37; Isaiah 25; 1 John 3

Children are so important.  It does not matter what age of the world we look into, children play an incredible role as we see them as a gift to our families.  When I think of the one and final plague in Egypt – the one that finally turned Pharaoh decision – it was the loss of every family’s first born.

They set out from Rameses in the first month, on the fifteenth day of the first month; on the day after the passover the Israelites went out boldly in the sight of all the Egyptians, while the Egyptians were burying all their firstborn, whom the Lord had struck down among them. – Numbers 33:3-4 NRSV

Being a Christian Education Coordinator in my church helped me focus on the children and their families.  It was there that I learned how weak our education perspective was compared to other faith traditions.   I spent 17 hours a year with my kids in direct biblical education while the others were closer to 400 and 600 hours.  I lot of that had to do with traditional celebration periods, but still, it was engagement with God’s Word.  So it is no surprise to see this call to action in the Psalms —

He established a decree in Jacob, and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our ancestors to teach to their children; that the next generation might know them, the children yet unborn, and rise up and tell them to their children, so that they should set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments; and that they should not be like their ancestors, stubborn and rebellious generation, a generation whose heart was not steadfast, whose spirit was not faithful to God. – Psalm 78:5-8 NRSV

Here I am today – I am called a child of God.  I know I need to spend time getting to know my Father.  This world is not where my hope lies, it lies with my Him.

See what love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God; and that is what we are. The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Beloved, we are God’s children now; what we will be has not yet been revealed. What we do know is this: when he[a] is revealed, we will be like him, for we will see him as he is. And all who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure. – 1 John 3:1-3 NRSV

My prayer today is similar to the one Isaiah prayed —

O Lord, you are my God; I will exalt you, I will praise your name; for you have done wonderful things, plans formed of old, faithful and sure. – Isaiah 25:1

As Your child Lord, I yield myself into Your hands that you may shape me and mold me and then may I be used by You to glorify Your name. Amen.

evanlaar

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Exodus 26; John 5; Proverbs 2; Galatians 1

I remember the first time I told someone God talked to me.  I now know why the reaction was so much of a recoil.

Moses was my first inspiration.  In fact, I remember vividly telling God that I wanted to be the next Moses.  I mean look at the details that God gave him – imagine the conversations.

You shall also make curtains of goats’ hair for a tent over the tabernacle; you shall make eleven curtains.  The length of each curtain shall be thirty cubits, and the width of each curtain four cubits; the eleven curtains shall be of the same size.  You shall join five curtains by themselves, and six curtains by themselves, and the sixth curtain you shall double over at the front of the tent.   – Exodus 26:7-9 NRSV

Even Jesus told those in His time that if they really knew God, really heard from Him, they would know that He was God.  Why?  Because Moses wrote about Jesus.

Do not think that I will accuse you before the Father; your accuser is Moses, on whom you have set your hope.  If you believed Moses, you would believe me, for he wrote about me.  But if you do not believe what he wrote, how will you believe what I say?” – John 5:45-47 NRSV

And in the copy of my first book, given to me by the wife/mother of a family that took us into their home when we had nothing – she penned this proverb…

My child, if you accept my words and treasure up my commandments within you, making your ear attentive to wisdom and inclining your heart to understanding; if you indeed cry out for insight, and raise your voice for understanding; if you seek it like silver, and search for it as for hidden treasures—then you will understand the fear of the Lord  and find the knowledge of God. – Proverbs 2:1-5 NRSV

I took all of this with me into my first pastorate experience.  That is where I found out just how many people “hear” what God has been telling them.  So the issue, I found out, really isn’t that God does not talk to us and that we shouldn’t take time to listen, the issue is – who am I listening too?

For I want you to know, brothers and sisters,[d] that the gospel that was proclaimed by me is not of human origin; for I did not receive it from a human source, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ. – Galatians 1:11-12 NRSV

Lord, I want to hear your voice, I want you to speak through Your Word to me loud and clear.  Enable me to grow more intimate with You, to serve as You in our world and to leave this world a better place than when I entered it because I walked with You.  Thank You.  

evanlaar

 

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Genesis 49-50; Galatians 4

Inheritance and legacy, big themes in these chapters. I read of Jacob’s last words to his sons.

I think on (all) these brothers, the men they’ve become.

Reuben, as unruly as a flood, and will be first no longer.

Zebulun, a harbor for ships.

Asher will dine on rich foods and produce foods fit for kings.

“Simeon and Levi are two of a kind;
    their weapons are instruments of violence.
May I never join in their meetings;
    may I never be a party to their plans.
For in their anger they murdered men,
    and they crippled oxen just for sport.
A curse on their anger, for it is fierce;
    a curse on their wrath, for it is cruel.
I will scatter them among the descendants of Jacob;
    I will disperse them throughout Israel. Genesis 49:5-7, NLT

A father knows his sons.

Jacob’s body is laid to rest in the land he designated. The brothers accompany Joseph back to Egypt. The brothers who sold him for dead. 15 But now that their father was dead, Joseph’s brothers became fearful. “Now Joseph will show his anger and pay us back for all the wrong we did to him,” they said. Genesis 50:15, NLT.

These are the words that comfort me today:

20 You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people. Genesis 50:20, NLT.

Words of a son who knows his Father.

I know this truth. I know that God redeems the lost time. I know that God is able to turn someone’s harmful intent into something good. All of it.

I know my Father.

And He knows me.

Courtney (66books365)

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Job 37-39; Psalm 103; Revelation 21

We cannot imagine the power of the Almighty;

but even though he is just and righteous,

he does not destroy us.

No wonder people everywhere fear him.

All who are wise show him reverence.”

Job 37:23-24

Elihu spoke correctly. It doesn’t matter how hard I try, I cannot fully imagine the complete power of God. A friend of mine once said that even if God showed every one of us in the world a new facet of who He is every day, He’d still only show us the tip of the proverbial iceberg.

That, in and of itself, is mind blowing. And then on top of His righteousness, the depth of His character, personality, abilities, etc. is His love, grace, mercy, and goodness. He is a good Father, a merciful God. He is the Beginning and the End. He gives me life and calls me His own.

And the one sitting on the throne said, “Look, I am making everything new!” And then he said to me, “Write this down, for what I tell you is trustworthy and true.” And he also said, “It is finished! I am the Alpha and the Omega—the Beginning and the End. To all who are thirsty I will give freely from the springs of the water of life. All who are victorious will inherit all these blessings, and I will be their God, and they will be my children. Revelation 21:5-7

Though I am undeserving, He loves me with an everlasting love. He gives me everything I need and surprises me with more of my desires. He is full of forgiveness. He heals me, protects me, and gives me His strength. He redeems my life daily, liberating me, and allowing me to walk in truth and freedom.

Let all that I am praise the lord;

with my whole heart, I will praise his holy name.

Let all that I am praise the lord;

may I never forget the good things he does for me.

He forgives all my sins

and heals all my diseases.

He redeems me from death

and crowns me with love and tender mercies.

He fills my life with good things.

My youth is renewed like the eagle’s! Ps 103: 1-5

In the day to day hustle and bustle, it is easy to forget all of the good things God has done for me. It is easy to get lost in the mundane tasks and the chaos of busyness. It is easy to lose focus on what matters and let God slip into the background.

As David knew, the way to remember, to regain focus is to praise the Lord; to worship His name with my whole heart, with every fiber of my being. And, as I praise Him, I create a memorial to His glory.

Yesappa, Thank You for loving me, showing me mercy, and giving me gifts of grace. Help me to remember the good things you’ve done for me. Help me to make praise more and more a part of my daily life so I focus on Your truth rather than my circumstances. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

 

Blessings – Julie,

 

Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

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Joshua 9-10 & Luke 3

There is a scene in The 13th Warrior, (a movie loosely based on the epic, Beowulf), where actor Antonio Banderas’s Arabian character looks anxiously to the heavens and says, “Are you listening, God?” The question makes me smile every time because I relate so well.  There is no doubt in my mind that God is all-powerful, all-seeing, and all-knowing.  I even believe in miracles such as recorded in Joshua 10:12 where we are told that God answered Joshua’s prayer for the sun to stand still and the moon to stop for an entire day to allow him to finish the battle with his enemies.

What I sometimes doubt is that I’ve done everything necessary to get my prayers answered.  I totally believe that God is a personal God who cares about us, and that Jesus Christ our Savior even intercedes for us.  I acknowledge the work of the Holy Spirit to change me from the inside out and to make deep, silent prayers on my behalf.  I enjoy meaningful communion with God when I go to my knees in prayer.  It’s just that sometimes when I get up, having left my burden at the Cross, I still have no clue what to expect next.

Was my prayer aligned with God’s will? Did I do everything right to get His attention? Believe me, I’ve looked into this to see if there is a formula that works every time.  I’ve search through books, listened to learned pastors, sought teachings, and participated in conferences on answered prayer. I’ve learned that Scripture does give guidance on getting our prayers answered.

For instance, we cannot have unforgiveness toward others.  Make apologies. We must confess our sins and accept Christ’s redeeming blood.  Nightly confessions. We should always pray and sometimes even fast in approaching God.  No Little Debbie’s for a week and keep praying. We are told to go to God boldly, but remember to remain humble. Cry out and beat my chest. And above all, enter the spiritual realm though praise and thanksgiving to God. Make a gratitude list.

When all is done and I begin to wait expectantly, some well-meaning soul will say something like, ‘In this world we all will have trouble.’ Deflate.

Oh, to be like Jesus! When He came up from the baptismal water, He prayed and God answered immediately, “This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased!” (Luke 3:22)

To be honest, this declaration by God to the world gives me more hope and comfort than all the instruction on answered prayer. For in John 17:20-26, Jesus demonstrates God’s intent to love and accept us just the same as He loves Jesus. His prayer is “that they are one just as We are one…I in them, and You in Me…that [You] have loved them as You have loved Me…that the love with which You loved Me may be in them.”

This knowledge restores my wavering faith and stops these runaway fears. God listens to and answers my prayers, not because I am following a formula but because I am His daughter, and He is my Father who loves me.

Janet

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Filed under 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, John, Joshua, Luke, New Testament, Old Testament

Judges 20; Acts 24; Jeremiah 34; Luke 3

When all the people were being baptized by John, Jesus also was baptized. While Jesus was praying, heaven opened and the Holy Spirit came down on him in the form of a dove. Then a voice came from heaven, saying, “You are my Son, whom I love, and I am very pleased with you.” Luke 3:21-22 (NCV)

There were so many topics bouncing around my head while I was reading today’s passages. I was having a hard time even focusing, because of the depth of the subjects (Israel against the Benjamites, prophecies of Judah falling into the hands of Babylon, Paul in Jail…) and, because my kids wouldn’t settle down long enough for me to read or write a complete sentence.

And, then I read Luke 3:22, “You are my Son, whom I love, and I am very pleased with You.”

These words coming directly from the mouth of God Himself; a Father’s love poured out over His Son. Pure acceptance, not for anything He did, but simply for who He was, is, and is to come.

Jesus was still a ‘nobody’ to the world. He hadn’t turned water into wine. He hadn’t healed anyone, hadn’t cast out demons, hadn’t raised anyone from the dead. He hadn’t walked on water or calmed storms. He hadn’t challenged the sensibilities of the priest or changed the hearts of sinners. He hadn’t died, hadn’t been buried, hadn’t risen from the dead.

I think about when I watch my own daughters. I consider who they are. I study the beauty that they carry, both inside and out. I reflect on the short time that I have had to get to know them, their personalities, their quirks, their identities. I ponder in my heart their possibilities and what the future may hold for them.

They are my daughters, whom I love. And, I am well pleased with them. They are ‘nobodies’ to the world; they have ‘done’ nothing. And, yet, I am overwhelmed at the immensity of how much love I have for them, the pleasure they bring to my heart and soul.

I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that the amount of love I have for my girls, is only a tiny fraction of the amount of love that God has for them…and, the amount of love that God has for me.

He didn’t just say those words to Jesus. He said them to me, to my daughters, to everyone…ALL of His children. It doesn’t matter if I am ‘known’ or ‘unknown’, if I have done ‘something’ or done nothing at all but live life. It doesn’t matter if have a pure heart and clean hands or if I am walking in sin.

It doesn’t matter because He loves me with an everlasting love. He sees me for the diamond that I am, even if I am covered in muck. He sees my potential. He sees my future and He knows the plan is good.

Yesappa, Thank You for Your acceptance and Your love. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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 66 Books, Acts, Jeremiah, Judges, Luke, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, New Testament, Old Testament