Tag Archives: God’s Kingdom

Genesis 41-43; Luke 13; Psalm 5

The truth comes out.

Finally, the king’s chief cup-bearer spoke up. “Today I have been reminded of my failure,” he told Pharaoh (Genesis 41:9, NLT).

Joseph is brought to interpret Pharaoh’s dreams.

Seven years of plenty, and seven years of famine, and all the years before that of hiding their deceit, Joseph’s brothers never truly escaped the truth.

21 Speaking among themselves, they said, “Clearly we are being punished because of what we did to Joseph long ago. We saw his anguish when he pleaded for his life, but we wouldn’t listen. That’s why we’re in this trouble.”

22 “Didn’t I tell you not to sin against the boy?” Reuben asked. “But you wouldn’t listen. And now we have to answer for his blood!” (Genesis 42:21-22, NLT)

Jesus cuts through the argument and gets straight to the heart.

14 But the leader in charge of the synagogue was indignant that Jesus had healed her on the Sabbath day. “There are six days of the week for working,” he said to the crowd. “Come on those days to be healed, not on the Sabbath.”

15 But the Lord replied, “You hypocrites! Each of you works on the Sabbath day! Don’t you untie your ox or your donkey from its stall on the Sabbath and lead it out for water? 16 This dear woman, a daughter of Abraham, has been held in bondage by Satan for eighteen years. Isn’t it right that she be released, even on the Sabbath?”

17 This shamed his enemies, but all the people rejoiced at the wonderful things he did (Luke 13:14-17, NLT).

Lord, you are the truth. I’m grateful that I can place my faith and my heart in your hands. Joseph couldn’t count on the cup-bearer to remember, or his brothers to look out for him before that. Even a daughter of Abraham was left in bondage by the religious. But you are truth, you see truth, you speak truth, you reveal truth. You set us free to walk in the truth–to follow you and walk with you.

Because of your unfailing love, I can enter your house;
    I will worship at your Temple with deepest awe.
Lead me in the right path, O Lord,
    or my enemies will conquer me.
Make your way plain for me to follow.

My enemies cannot speak a truthful word.
    Their deepest desire is to destroy others.
Their talk is foul, like the stench from an open grave.
    Their tongues are filled with flattery.
10 O God, declare them guilty.
    Let them be caught in their own traps.
Drive them away because of their many sins,
    for they have rebelled against you.

11 But let all who take refuge in you rejoice;
    let them sing joyful praises forever.
Spread your protection over them,
    that all who love your name may be filled with joy.
12 For you bless the godly, O Lord;
    you surround them with your shield of love. (Psalm 5:7-12, NLT)

Lead me in the right path, O Lord, make your way plain for me to follow. I only want to walk in truth.

Courtney (66books365)

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Jeremiah 11-13; 2 Corinthians 12

In Mark Batterson’s latest book Whisper he shares an experience he had with healing. You see Mark has had asthma since childhood. At the writing of his book he had been healed from asthma by God for 700 plus days. However, the first time he was prayed for in healing the asthma, something else miraculously happened. Mark also had feet that were covered by warts. The next morning after the prayer for healing the warts were gone, but he still had asthma. It was like God was saying to him, “I have the power to heal you, but I have chosen not to do so at this time.” Mark had a thorn in his side that lasted for 35 plus years. That may be why his ministry has been so remarkable and he has been so humble.

Paul’s experience is found below:

Therefore, so that I would not exalt myself, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to torment me so that I would not exalt myself. 8 Concerning this, I pleaded with the Lord three times that it would leave me. 9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is perfected in weakness.”

Therefore, I will most gladly boast all the more about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may reside in me. 10 So I take pleasure in weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and in difficulties, for the sake of Christ.a For when I am weak, then I am strong (2 Corinthians 12:7b-10 [CSB]).

I believe the “good news” is the more prideful you are the more serious the thorns God may give you. He wants us to point to Him always and not to our talents and abilities. His plan for us is to be a vessel that He uses and works through to further His kingdom.

Can you point to any thorns in your life God has given you? These weaknesses are given to you so that God’s glory will shine brighter through you and that through those weaknesses His kingdom will advance.

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Numbers 3-5; Hebrews 12

It is March. I am entering a third month of six where I purposed to make changes in my life after a (last) year that took a physical and emotional toll. While some big things were accomplished (yay!) in February, I noticed the smaller, daily goals weren’t always met. Why was that? I was too tired. I was too busy. I just didn’t care. I thought for a long time about perseverance and endurance and following through.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. (Hebrews 12:1, NLT)

I knew I needed to be mindful of the things and thoughts that were tripping me up. I looked up scriptures for direction and encouragement, keyword: training. I found a verse that surprised me. In my pursuit of the practical, visible things, I had nearly neglected to consider the spiritual, eternal ones.

We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. (Hebrews 12:2a, NLT)

Oh, if I look to the wrong reward, how far off will I be from the true mark? Lord, I seek your kingdom.

14 Work at living in peace with everyone, and work at living a holy life, for those who are not holy will not see the Lord. 15 Look after each other so that none of you fails to receive the grace of God. Watch out that no poisonous root of bitterness grows up to trouble you, corrupting many. (Hebrews 12:14-15, NLT)

It is March, and I press on, my grip renewed.

11 No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening—it’s painful! But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way.

12 So take a new grip with your tired hands and strengthen your weak knees. 13 Mark out a straight path for your feet so that those who are weak and lame will not fall but become strong. (Hebrews 12:11-13, NLT)

Thank you, Father.

28 Since we are receiving a Kingdom that is unshakable, let us be thankful and please God by worshiping him with holy fear and awe. 29 For our God is a devouring fire. (Hebrews 12:28-19, NLT)

I praise your name.

Courtney (66books365)

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2 Kings 7-8; 2 Chronicles 21; Matthew 6

We are just over two weeks into my daughter’s Celiac diagnosis. I’ve spent that time researching the disease, joining online groups, reading (lots of) books from the library, cleaning out our kitchen, and removing foods we can no longer eat. I got a few cookbooks and was looking forward to relearning how to bake–but when I went online to price the cost of gluten-free flours, I was shocked. As much as I wanted to restock our pantry, it wouldn’t happen overnight.

A friend texted me, “”Listen, the verses that talk about not worrying about what we eat, etc. apply here to (this situation) too. It’s a learning curve and very stressful I know but God is going to direct your steps and He cares so much about (her) health and well being.” I wasn’t sure what verses she was talking about specifically, but they had a ring of familiarity to them. I admit, I was worried–especially when I went to get a loaf of bread and it was $8. I didn’t buy it.

One day, a friend showed up with a bag of gluten-free (GF) products for us–brownie and cookie mixes, crackers, pasta. I was completely taken off guard by her thoughtfulness. Another day, another friend showed up with GF energy bars, a dinner mix and a pasta. A few days later, a neighbor gifted us with almond and coconut flours. Another friend showed up during a thunderstorm with GF waffles, a variety of boxed cereals, pastas and tortillas. And even yesterday, I had been at the grocery store to get corn pasta to make a quick dinner with meat sauce, I thought longingly of a garlicky bread that would be perfect with the dinner. I eyed a little GF loaf, at least a third the size of its wheaty cousin, for $7. I didn’t buy it. But later in the afternoon? I received a package in the mail with boxes full of gluten-free muffins, cookies, and two loaves of bread–purchased for us by a loving relative. (I made garlic butter and put it on one of the loaves.)

My husband and I have been repeatedly amazed at the outpouring of love and generosity.

My heart has been for hospitality–spending time with others and feeding them. But under the new diagnosis, I worried about cross-contamination and cost. How would I keep up?

The same friend who texted me early on in this journey sat at my house last week and said, “If God has put it on your heart to offer hospitality, he will provide. Keep doing what he has wired you to do.” I thanked her for reframing my thoughts.

I am not surprised to read verses today on God’s sovereignty and provision.

Elisha replied, “Listen to this message from the Lord! This is what the Lord says: By this time tomorrow in the markets of Samaria, six quarts of choice flour will cost only one piece of silver, and twelve quarts of barley grain will cost only one piece of silver.”

The officer assisting the king said to the man of God, “That couldn’t happen even if the Lord opened the windows of heaven!”

But Elisha replied, “You will see it happen with your own eyes, but you won’t be able to eat any of it!” Kings 7:1-2, NLT.

And it was so.

And Gehazi was telling the king about the time Elisha had brought a boy back to life. At that very moment, the mother of the boy walked in to make her appeal to the king about her house and land.

“Look, my lord the king!” Gehazi exclaimed. “Here is the woman now, and this is her son—the very one Elisha brought back to life!”

“Is this true?” the king asked her. And she told him the story. So he directed one of his officials to see that everything she had lost was restored to her, including the value of any crops that had been harvested during her absence. Kings 8:5-6, NLT.

Shazam!

And the verses my friend texted me about? Matthew 6–the verses waiting for me this morning.

25 “That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are? 27 Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?

28 “And why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, 29 yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. 30 And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith?

31 “So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ 32 These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. 33 Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.

34 “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today. Matthew 6:25-34, NLT. (Emphasis mine.)

Thank you, God, for your constant reminders that you’ve got this. The whole world. In your hands. Thank you for these scriptures, that I can come to you and you already know.

Courtney (66books365)

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Judges 12-14; Luke 9:37-62

We all have stories that define us and tell of who we are. For the Israelites, it was a story of rebellion and falling into the hands of the enemy. For Manoah and his wife, it was a story of unfulfilled longing and empty arms after years of childlessness.  For the father of the child possessed by a demon, it was a story of desperation; watching helpless as his beloved son fell under the spell of a violent demon.

“And the Lord did an amazing thing while Manoah and his wife watched,” Judges 13:19

“But Jesus rebuked the evil spirit, healed the boy and gave him back to his father. and they were all amazed at the greatness of God.”  Luke 9:42,43

These stories of ordinary people and recent events in my own life have made me a firm believer that it is by God’s intervention in ordinary lives that history is changed. Consider what the angel told Manoah and his wife about their son, “and he will begin the deliverance of Israel from the hands of the Philistines.” Judges 13:5.

God’s Kingdom is established one story, one life at a time. Eternal things can grow from the soil of pain and sorrow if submitted to the Master Gardener’s hand.  What is your story? How has God amazed you in the past and where do you long for his healing to come? Never discount your story because it is in you that his Kingdom wants to take root and change the course of history, one life at a time for his glory.  

klueh

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