Tag Archives: God’s promises

Exodus 5-8; Luke 18

My friend for more than twenty-five years died the other week. I listened as his wife spoke in eulogy of his lifetime–told about this man I loved, and shared many things about him I never knew. He had delightful interests, so much talent, and his life story was full and generous and loving and adventurous. How I wished I’d had more time with him–he was truly like a father to me. His life, even in death, continues to inspire me: to live in purpose, on purpose.

The weight of grief, worry, strife and stress has felt oppressive in recent years–these things can take me off course, derail me from life and its purposes. I live in the woods, and find myself wishing I was deeper in the forest, averting my eyes and sometimes my heart from making contact—it feels an awful lot like despair.

I’m not sure if it’s circumstance or the things one tells himself or hears from others, but I hear it in Pharaoh’s voice as he tells Moses, “Moses and Aaron, why are you distracting the people from their tasks? Get back to work! Look, there are many of your people in the land, and you are stopping them from their work (Exodus 5:4-5, NLT).”

I can get caught up in the task (of work or routine or stress or grief) at hand, that my focus is redirected into a worldly (small) view instead of a deeper calling and purpose. And whether one places it upon himself, or it’s the voices of those in his life, Kingdom work and purpose can become muddled and muted. Moses and Aaron weren’t distracting the people from their tasks–they were pointing them to it. The world gets it so very backwards, and I fall for it too. Too many hoops, too many tasks, too much people pleasing and accommodating that I neglect the very One who gives me strength, neglect the passions He’s put in my heart and compromise my focus and time until I am weary and worn out. It feels an awful lot like despair.

“Therefore, say to the people of Israel: ‘I am the Lord. I will free you from your oppression and will rescue you from your slavery in Egypt. I will redeem you with a powerful arm and great acts of judgment. I will claim you as my own people, and I will be your God. Then you will know that I am the Lord your God who has freed you from your oppression in Egypt. I will bring you into the land I swore to give to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. I will give it to you as your very own possession. I am the Lord!’”

So Moses told the people of Israel what the Lord had said, but they refused to listen anymore. They had become too discouraged by the brutality of their slavery (Exodus 6:6-9 NLT).

Lord, repeatedly I train myself to order my tasks but to keep my eyes on you. Again. Again. When my focus slips to what’s in front of me, I forget what’s inside of me and what’s ahead of me. The shrill of the ringtone, the chipping away at peace, when I lose sight of you, I become too discouraged too.

I set my thoughts on a Kingdom purpose, a Kingdom focus.

29 “Yes,” Jesus replied, “and I assure you that everyone who has given up house or wife or brothers or parents or children, for the sake of the Kingdom of God, 30 will be repaid many times over in this life, and will have eternal life in the world to come (Luke 18:29-30, NLT).”

That rich man was disheartened because, perhaps, his (wealth/success/pride/ability) was his real focus, not the inheritance of eternal life he believed he wanted.

Lord, help me to do what I need to do, and let go of what needs to go. I want to walk in truth, and keep my eyes focused on you. Thank you for a friend like David, whose life spoke of intention and inclusion, generosity and love. Thank you for challenging me to see things in a new way, for revealing truths I didn’t see, and for reminding me to seek your Kingdom first.

Courtney (66books365)

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Leviticus 1-3; Psalm 27; Hebrews 2

Procedures for the Burnt Offering

The LORD called Moses from the Tabernacle and said to him, “Give the following instructions to the people of Israel. When you present an animal as an offering to the LORD, you may take it from your herd of cattle or your flock of sheep and goats.” (Leviticus 1:1-2 NLT)

Through Moses God gave the Israelites very detailed instructions on how to prepare sacrifices to him. He wanted the Israelites to obey him and pay close attention to what he had Moses say to them.

A Warning against Drifting Away

So we must listen very carefully to the truth we have heard, or we may drift away from it. For the message God delivered through angels has always stood firm, and every violation of the law and every act of disobedience was punished. So what makes us think we can escape if we ignore this great salvation that was first announced by the Lord Jesus himself and then delivered to us by those who heard him speak? (Hebrews 2:1-3 NLT)

God’s intention of the Israelites’ sacrifices to him was for people to revisit what he said more regularly so that they wouldn’t get too caught up in other things and forget him and his promises.

What we do see is Jesus, who was given a position “a little lower than the angels”; and because he suffered death for us, he is now “crowned with glory and honor.” Yes, by God’s grace, Jesus tasted death for everyone. God, for whom and through whom everything was made, chose to bring many children into glory. And it was only right that he should make Jesus, through his suffering, a perfect leader, fit to bring them into their salvation. (Hebrews 3:9-10 NLT)

Dear Jesus,

What you’ve done is so important to me. Thank you so much for sacrificing yourself so that I can live. You know how precious time with you is to me and how it helps me. Please help me to make you even more of a priority of my life so that I don’t begin to forget any of the amazing things you’ve done. I love you. Amen.

Lanie (llilly2017)

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Job 21-23; Psalm 101; Revelation 16

With a broad brush, I wipe the words across the page: sometimes life doesn’t seem fair. And isn’t that what Job and his friends were saying?

“Why do the wicked prosper,
    growing old and powerful?
They live to see their children grow up and settle down,
    and they enjoy their grandchildren.
Their homes are safe from every fear,
    and God does not punish them.
10 Their bulls never fail to breed.
    Their cows bear calves and never miscarry.
11 They let their children frisk about like lambs.
    Their little ones skip and dance.
12 They sing with tambourine and harp.
    They celebrate to the sound of the flute.
13 They spend their days in prosperity,
    then go down to the grave in peace.
14 And yet they say to God, ‘Go away.
    We want no part of you and your ways.
15 Who is the Almighty, and why should we obey him?
    What good will it do us to pray?’
16 (They think their prosperity is of their own doing,
    but I will have nothing to do with that kind of thinking.)

17 “Yet the light of the wicked never seems to be extinguished.
    Do they ever have trouble?
    Does God distribute sorrows to them in anger?
18 Are they driven before the wind like straw?
    Are they carried away by the storm like chaff?
    Not at all! (Read Job 21:7-18, NLT)

Job’s story spans the spectrum–loss, grief, pain, anger, condemnation, confusion, despair, fear. He’s trying to make sense of heartache. Oh, aren’t we all?

I will sing of your love and justice, Lord.
    I will praise you with songs. Psalm 101:1, NLT

Sometimes my worship song rang out through tears this year as he taught me about trust and his sovereignty. This advent season of wait and hope, an end of year reflection of 2016 events near and far–I think of what God is doing in my own heart.

Father God, you care for every tear that falls from my eyes. You care for the condition of my thoughts and heart. You stand with me and encourage me through the difficulties and trials. Thank you for loving me as your dear daughter. Thank you for teaching me and guiding me. Oh, how I need you!

Courtney (66books365)

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1 Kings 17-18; Psalm 119; Jude

The Lord said, “Go …”

Then the Lord said to Elijah, “Go to the east and hide by Kerith Brook, near where it enters the Jordan River. Drink from the brook and eat what the ravens bring you, for I have commanded them to bring you food.”

So Elijah did as the Lord told him … (1 Kings 17:2-5a, NLT)

The Lord said, “Go …”

Then the Lord said to Elijah, “Go and live in the village of Zarephath, near the city of Sidon. I have instructed a widow there to feed you.”

10 So he went … (1 Kings 17:8-10a, NLT)

The ravens fed him. The widow’s flour and oil did not run out. But there’s more–the son’s revival, the fiery supernatural showdown, Elijah running free ahead of the promised rain.

45 And soon the sky was black with clouds. A heavy wind brought a terrific rainstorm, and Ahab left quickly for Jezreel. 46 Then the Lord gave special strength to Elijah. He tucked his cloak into his belt and ran ahead of Ahab’s chariot all the way to the entrance of Jezreel. (1 Kings 18:45-46, NLT)

The things that happen when God says “Go,” and faith follows. A friend shared this statement as she witnessed a student’s follow on a calling, his proud mama commented, “It’s amazing what God can do when you get out of His way.”

Oh, Lord, haven’t I questioned and second-guessed? Even in obedience, my heart first felt anxious at the unknown. Don’t I know how faithful you are? Haven’t I witnessed firsthand the fulfillment of your promises?

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. (Psalm 119-2-3, NLT)

When you say, “Go,” I want to walk only on your path. I read through Psalm 119 and it calls to my heart. The testimony of God’s promises, and of delight in God and his word. The more time I spend with the Lord, the more I want of him. When the trials and challenges come, he is my comfort and strength.

Lord, I want to soak up your word more and more so that when you say “go,” that I would run fast and sure like Elijah. Thank you for your patience with me.

Courtney (66books365)

 

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2 Samuel 24; 1 Chronicles 21; Romans 4

20 Abraham never wavered in believing God’s promise. In fact, his faith grew stronger, and in this he brought glory to God. 21 He was fully convinced that God is able to do whatever he promises. 22 And because of Abraham’s faith, God counted him as righteous. 23 And when God counted him as righteous, it wasn’t just for Abraham’s benefit. It was recorded 24 for our benefit, too, assuring us that God will also count us as righteous if we believe in him, the one who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. 25 He was handed over to die because of our sins, and he was raised to life to make us right with God. Romans 4:20-25, NLT.

Summer five yearsIMG_0893 ago, we were preparing to move. We were preparing to move to a house that God told us about. A year of waiting and wondering, it was about to become our “home sweet home.” That summer, my kids attended a local VBS. A craft that one of my girls made there is on my refrigerator, still, as a  reminder of God’s faithfulness, trustworthiness and sovereignty–delivered to me by the sweet hands of my child. But I don’t need a magnet to tell me of these things. His Word is full of promises kept, and our lives are full of them too.

I remember a summer cookout with friends. I was in the pool, and my youngest slid down the slide into my arms, where I caught her. Over and over again.

“Each time she slides down and you catch her, you are building up her trust in you,” a friend observed. I never thought of it that way.

When difficulties come, and they do, it helps to remember the times that God caught me. Or to remember the times God did what he said he’d do in his word–times recorded for our benefit and his glory.

Thank you, Lord. You are faithful, you are trustworthy, you are sovereign–and it means everything.

Courtney (66books365)

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Joshua 18-21, Psalm 15, Luke 18

“Thus the LORD gave to Israel all the land that he swore to give to their fathers. And they took possession of it, and they settled there. And the LORD gave them rest on every side just as he had sworn to their fathers. Not one of all their enemies had withstood them, for the Lord had given all their enemies into their hands. Not one word of all the good promises that the LORD had made to the house of Israel had failed; all came to pass.” Joshua 21:43-45

 

Despite the fussing and fighting, the disobedience and the defiance, somehow, someway, Israel was finally taking procession of the Promised Land. If you have read anything in the bible previous to this you would know that this was clearly a gift. Certainly not because of their own merit or good works or obedience but simply because the LORD had promised them. This was a fulfillment of the promise the Lord made to the nation of Israel, dating all the way back to Abraham nearly 400 years in the past. What an incredible feeling it must have been physically to be given the inheritance but even more so spiritually.

 

This reminds me that the Lord keeps his promises. There is nothing I could do or not do to make him fulfill the promises he has made to me. They are based entirely on his character and his power and his love for me. If the Lord kept his promise to the nation of Israel, even though it took 400 years, then all the other promises in His Word are also true.

  • The Lord promises he will never leave me nor forsake me.
  • The Lord promises the plans he has for me are good and not for disaster but to give me a hope and a future.
  • The Lord promises that I am at my strongest when I am weak
  • The Lord promises to supply all my needs according to his riches, which have been given to me in Christ.
  • The Lord promises that nothing can ever separate me from God’s love.

The fact that his promises are tried and true and unchanging simply blows my mind. I am a performer at heart and want to work hard for my God. But his promises are not based on my good works. Praise the Lord!

Lord, thank you a thousand times over that you are who you say you are and you will do what you say you will do. You have proven you are trustworthy and you fulfill your promises. May I be reminded daily of all you have done for me and see you how truly amazing you are! Amen.

Below is a clip from a ladies conference. These truths are rooted in the promises God has made to Christ followers.

 

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Deuteronomy 10-14, Psalm 5, Luke 8

“And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require of you, but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to keep commandments and statues of the Lord, which I am commanding you today for your good?” 10:12-13

From the beginning the God’s plan has been all about love in fact, it’s the greatest love story ever told.  It’s not about following every command because we could never live up to his standards. It always was and always will be about loving him and having faith in his promises. The people of the Old Testament put their faith in the promise of Jesus. The people of the New Testament put their faith in the fulfillment of the promise. Either way, it was faith not the rules and regulations that earns salvation. The commandments were simply for their good; for our good! God knew it would all too easy for us to get distracted and turn from him. He knew it wouldn’t take much for us to turn our head to the right or to the left so he reminded us to purge the evil and meditate on his Word day and night.

“You shall therefore lay up these words of mine in your heart and in your soul, and you shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall teach them to your children, talking of them when you are sitting in your house, and when you are walking by the way and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates, that your days and the days of your children may be multiplied in the land that the Lord swore to your fathers to give them, as long as the heavens are above the earth.” 11:18-22

God’s Word should be at the forefront of our minds. Not just on Sundays at church or Wednesday night bible study but each and every morning, afternoon and evening. Every situation that comes up. To this day there are some who still have scriptures written over their doorposts as reminders. I look around my home and wonder if anyone would be able to tell what I believe in if they visited my home. Would it be obvious that I love the Lord? Are there things around my home that remind me and my children of the promise God made?

God’s command to love and serve him came with an incredible promise. We have the Creator of the universe’s promise of love and protection.

Be careful to obey all these words that I command you , that it may go well with you and with your children after you forever, when you do what is good and right in the sight of the Lord your God. 12:28

I still have a hard time comprehending in my mind the amazing love my Lord has for me. That he would choose me…..it takes my breath away. God didn’t need me for any reason whatsoever but he chose me. I was hand chosen by God to believe.

 “Behold, to the Lord your God belong heaven and the heaven of heavens, the earth with all that is in it. Yet the Lord set his heart in love on your fathers and chose their offspring after them, you above all peoples, as you are this day.” 10:14-15.

Thank you, Lord for choosing me to be called a child of God. Thank you that even though you didn’t need me, you wanted me. Lord, help to live everyday walking in your spirit and laying up your words in my heart.

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