Tag Archives: God’s will

Genesis 27-28; Luke 8; Psalm 4

Jacob and Esau. God’s purposes bring to light what’s in the heart.

Jesus speaks of seeds and light:

11 “This is the meaning of the parable: The seed is God’s word. 12 The seeds that fell on the footpath represent those who hear the message, only to have the devil come and take it away from their hearts and prevent them from believing and being saved. 13 The seeds on the rocky soil represent those who hear the message and receive it with joy. But since they don’t have deep roots, they believe for a while, then they fall away when they face temptation. 14 The seeds that fell among the thorns represent those who hear the message, but all too quickly the message is crowded out by the cares and riches and pleasures of this life. And so they never grow into maturity. 15 And the seeds that fell on the good soil represent honest, good-hearted people who hear God’s word, cling to it, and patiently produce a huge harvest (Luke 8:11-15, NLT).

Jesus heals a man possessed by a legion of demons, yet the area people beg Jesus to leave out of fear.

40 On the other side of the lake the crowds welcomed Jesus, because they had been waiting for him (Luke 8:40, NLT).

There, a woman reaches out and touches the hem of his garment. A daughter is healed.

The full reading illustrates contrasts–worldly focus against kingdom focus. One son burns with resentment; the disciples are terrified by the storm; a town is fearful of supernatural power–in contrast to seeking God’s will even when everything feels upended; trusting in God’s protection in the storm (and nothing reveals that protection quite like the storm); a crowd welcoming and waiting on an opposite shore.

You can be sure of this:
    The Lord set apart the godly for himself.
    The Lord will answer when I call to him (Psalm 4:3, NLT).

Lord, thank you for impressing upon me a kingdom focus. Thank you for reminding me again and again to focus on you.

In peace I will lie down and sleep,
    for you alone, O Lord, will keep me safe (Psalm 4:8, NLT).

Thank you for loving me. You call me yours. You are there when I call to you. You keep me safe.

Courtney (66books365)

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, Genesis, Luke, New Testament, Old Testament, Psalms, Uncategorized

Esther 4-6; Revelation 2

We come upon one of the most profound verses in the Bible when it comes to matching God’s will with our lives and our will. It’s the words of Mordecai, Queen Esther’s relative. The king has ordered that all the Jews be killed in the kingdom and Mordecai is persuading Esther to intervene. Here are his words:

14 For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:14 [NIV])

The Apostle Paul tells us in Acts 17 that we are here on earth in God’s timing and to do God’s will. That’s what Mordecai was sharing with Esther. She had come to power at such a time as this. Really to save God’s people from annihilation. Esther was placed on earth at just the right time for just this purpose (I’m sure there was more she did for God, but this was the big one).

Why did God cause you to be born in the 20th or 21st century? Why does He have you living where you are? Why does He have those neighbors living close to you? Well in Mordecai’s words, “For such a time as this.”

1 Comment

Filed under 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, Esther, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, Revelation, Uncategorized

Numbers 8-11; Colossians 1

Dallas Willard has made a comment that it may be best to stay in one verse or chapter in the Bible and go deep there for a year instead of a cursory tree top reading of the entire work in that time frame. If he is right about that, this chapter is one that a person could spend a whole year in and still not plumb the depths of its meaning or applications in one’s life.

Just Friday I read Colossians through in one sitting. The leadership team from our church was away at a retreat and one of our core values is Valuing the Word of God.  So our pastor had us read this letter from the Apostle Paul through in one setting and then we discussed it as a team. We read it by ourselves and then came back and shared our thoughts together. Looking at my notes two things from chapter one really hit me.

First Paul shares that he is an apostle by the will of God. What are you? Who are you? What do you do each day in and day out? Is that God’s will for you? Do you look at your work as a sacred calling? I don’t think only apostles are in that role by the will of God. Certainly they are, but all of us have been called to where we are in this life through the will of God. Are you taking your job, responsibilities each day as the will of God? What changes if you keep that important truth in mind?

Second, Paul shares an interesting truth:

3 We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, 4 since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love that you have for all the saints, 5 because of the hope laid up for you in heaven (Colossians 1:3-5a [ESV])

The Colossians were given excellent marks for the love they showed to other believers. And it was a result of the hope that was laid up for them in heaven. What a concept. Our love comes from the fact that our future — now and for all eternity — is secure in Christ. We are freed to love others because we no longer worry about our futures. We are safe in Jesus. When was the last time you meditated on that truth? Do it today!

Spend time thinking of and thanking God for your secure future that will go on for ever and ever. Then find a fellow believer to love on.

Leave a comment

Filed under Colossians, Numbers, Uncategorized

Exodus 5; Luke 8; Job 22; I Corinthians 9

I’ve heard it said that God’s word is rhema; that is, “It is a word that signifies the action of utterance (my emphasis),” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rhema. Not superfluous, surface, or meaningless words. So I submit that neither can we listen passively; rather we should be active listeners expecting God’s word to bear fruit. It is usually easy, at least in America, to hear God’s word spoken, written, paraphrased, and even misquoted. Childhood songs like “Jesus Loves Me,” or “This Little Light of Mine,” are tunes familiar in many homes, daycare centers, and after-school programs. And though I take the words directly quoted from the Holy Bible to be true, I am not always likely to grasp the fullness or the revelation of those words because of familiarity, disassociation, or resistance.

Eliphaz lacked ears to hear God’s heart for loving one’s neighbor as he loves himself. Quoting Scripture, Eliphaz instead talked the entire time; accusing, pronouncing judgment, and mocking suffering Job, who sought to only speak truth. How often, I too have thought, “I’ve got this,” and used the Sword of the Spirit to slash away at imagined demons in the mist only to find wounded innocents in the clearing.

Jesus said in Luke 8:10, “To you it has been given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God, but to the rest it is given in parables that ‘Seeing they may not see, And hearing they may not understand.’” I wonder how many of the over 800,000 words, reportedly printed in several versions of the Bible, (words are like seeds), have found root in my own soul’s soil. “The ones by the wayside hear, but the devil comes and takes away the word out of their hearts. The ones on the rock hear and receive with joy, but have no root and are tempted away. The ones among the thorns hear but the word is choked out by cares, riches, and pleasures of life. The ones who hear with a noble and good heart keep the word and bear fruit with patience (Luke 8:11-15).” Without revelation, I stumble over chapters and verses that do not seem relevant to my modern-day world. Yet, how amazing to hear someone preach on the same passage of Scripture in a way that illuminates God’s will and exponentially increases my faith.

I think my worst error in experiencing the active voice of God is resistance. I may listen to, understand, and even set out on my calling from God. Then I behave much like Moses early in his mission. God called Moses to lead His people out of Egypt. Moses heard these words – “Tell Pharaoh, ‘Let My people go.’” Yet when Pharaoh did not listen to Moses, but ordered more hard labor from the Israelites, Moses complained to God, “Why have You brought trouble on this people? Why is it You have sent me? For since I came to Pharaoh to speak in Your name, he has done evil to this people; neither have You delivered Your people at all.” Just a little resistant? Not a burning bush, not having Aaron by his side, not even given miraculous powers could stop Moses from complaining. I, too, find myself questioning why I struggle in the midst of doing God’s will.

I want to be like the Apostle Paul. He writes to the Corinthians that since he received God’s calling to be a minister of the gospel, he listened to God, and with overwhelming passion, ran “with certainty.”

Lord God, You are a God of great compassion. Forgive me for listening half-heartedly, for failing to seek Your deeper truth, and for resisting Your calling. More importantly, open my ears to hear Your voice and embolden me to do Your will. In Christ’s name.

Janet (jansuwilkinson)

All Scripture quoted from The Nelson Study Bible, New King James Version, Trinity Fellowship Church 25th Anniversary Commemorative Edition, 2002.

Leave a comment

Filed under 1 Corinthians, 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, Exodus, Job, Luke, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, New Testament, Old Testament, Uncategorized

1 Kings 7, 2 Chronicles 4, Psalm 44, 1 Timothy 2

The world around us changes minute by minute. Each morning I wake up to unbelievable headlines and not just here in the US but also on the other side of the pond. Each day I wonder if this is the day Christ will return for we know we are living in the “last days”.

As the local and world events unravel it is easy to get distracted from our goal as Christ followers and throw our two cents into the mix with our selfish, human opinions. I have been reading friends posts on Facebook after the recent events in England and the sit in from our own government and I see fear, hopelessness and defeat. I see people claiming to have the solutions to all of our world’s problems but what we forget as Christians is that this world is not our home. This world will continue to decline and the speed at which this will happen will continue to increase like a train derailed. We are not called or promised to have an easy life but we are promised that the Lord will never leave us or forsake us.

Here, Paul reminds us to pray for those people whom we may not always agree with; people in position of authority or government. We don’t know any of their hearts. We do know that the Lord works all things according to His greater plan.

“First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” 1 Timothy 2: 1-4

Our prayers for those in high positions (leaders, teachers, politicians, pastors, parents….) should not be out of selfish ambition but instead desire to bring God the glory and praise he is due. God’s plan is rarely clear to us as we are in the process of trail, persecution, pain or confusion but He is always with us. It’s those experiences that turn hearts to him. It is not our personal power that solves the problems or turns a heart but the Holy Spirit. But we are told our prayers are “good and pleasing in the sight of our God our Savior”.

Like in the days of the Psalmist, we need to remember that it is the Holy Spirit working in and through us to accomplish the will of the Father. He will never leave us and his plans will always prosper.

“O God, we have heard with our ears,
our fathers have told us,
what deeds you performed in their days,
in the days of old:
you with your own hand drove out the nations,
but them you planted;
you afflicted the peoples,
but them you set free;
for not by their own sword did they win the land,
nor did their own arm save them,
but your right hand and your arm,
and the light of your face,
for you delighted in them.” Psalm 44: 1-3

 

Thank you, Lord for the opportunity and privilege to come before with our prayers of request, thanksgiving and intercession. Help us to be diligent in praying not only for those who are easy to pray for but also those whom we disagree with. Help us to seek your will and in all things bring you glory. Amen.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Leviticus 26-27; Psalm 112; Hebrews 10

Of all the Scripture in the Bible, Hebrews 10 has caused the most fear in my heart.  Fear that I will fall out of love with God, relapse into perdition, and lose my way in a world of hurt. It’s been a while since I’ve felt this kind of fear. But lately, I’ve caught myself (though not in time to stop my tongue, sadly) speaking increasingly negative comments about politicians, neighbors, family members…even to the point of tossing a curse word or two into my annoyed monologue. Fear of saying the wrong thing in front of those around me is eclipsed by my conscience which hears the displeasure of my Lord. So I’ve started looking for the expected punishments. Knowing that God is the same yesterday, today, and forever, I am really made uncomfortable by Leviticus 26:24 a, “If despite these [punishments] you will not be chastised toward Me, and you behave casually with Me, then I, too, will behave toward you with casualness…” I read a commentary that explains this passage by saying that if we persist in thinking that all the “carefully calibrated punishments” by God were coincidental; thereby invalidating God’s message, then He withdraws His Presence and makes it harder for us to see His Divine truth. Therefore, it is easier to continue falling away.

Hebrews 10:29 speaks clearly on this same principal, though with an even greater penalty than exile or plagues. “Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace?” Of course, I’m not speaking about a curse word slipping out. I’m thinking that the intent of my heart to follow the will of God is slipping away at these times. Whether because of treating the Word of God casually, forsaking the assembling with sisters and brothers in Christ, or casting away my confidence of hope to the saving of my soul, I see the danger in drawing back from God’s truth. Should God withdraw His Presence, how will I be able to see His Divine truth; and will I be able to trace His hand as He continuously writes His will on my heart?

Psalm 112:6-8, speaking of the righteous man, says, “Surely he will never be shaken; The righteous will be in everlasting remembrance. He will not be afraid of evil tidings; His heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord. His heart is established, he will not be afraid…” Lord Jesus, You are the righteous Man who made even my sins, though red as scarlet become white as snow. Meditating on Your truth slows the rapid, chaotic beating of my heart.  I can stop holding my breath and breathe deeply. Breathing in Your Spirit of truth and trusting the complete perfection of Your sacrifice expels my fear of having Your Presence withdraw from me. Lord, let Your Presence drive out my mindless mimicry of the media, acceptance of unholy Hollywood drama, and my desire to sit in the company of the scornful. I know better than this. Help me breathe deeper still until my breath matches the pace of God’s timeless hand writing His will for my eternity.

2 Comments

Filed under 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, Hebrews, Leviticus, New Testament, Old Testament, Psalms, Uncategorized

Zechariah 4, 6; Revelation 18

Then he said to me, “This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord of hosts…Then the word of the Lord came to me, saying, “The hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundation of this house; his hands shall also complete it. Then you will know that the Lord of hosts has sent me to you. For whoever has despised the day of small things shall rejoice, and shall see the plumb line in the hand of Zerubbabel. Zechariah 4:6, 8-10

I just finished reading a book called “Return to Me” by Lynn Austin. It is a historical novel based on the life of Zechariah during the years that God called His people back to Jerusalem, after having been exiled for 70 years in Babylon, and commanded them to rebuild His temple. After many years of disobedience, rooted in the fear of man, the people opened their eyes to God’s glory and were reminded once more that when God puts something in motion, nothing will stop it from happening.

I love reading the Bible, and yet sometimes, especially when I am reading from the Old Testament, I have a difficult time connecting to the story. Today seems so distant from the happenings that are shared about in the Word, and when I have so much going on in my present life, the past doesn’t always seem relevant to what I need right now. But the truth is that the past can teach me so much; the lessons that the men and women of the Bible learned are the same things that I need to understand for my own life.

Books that are Biblically and historically based, though of course mostly fictional (because no one alive today truly has a firsthand account of the actual moment by moment events), help me put a face on the impersonal stories that I have read over and over. They help me connect to the ‘person’ of the story and help me understand even better that they weren’t people who should be placed on a proverbial pedestal, people who never had problems, never had struggles or crises of faith. They were just like me.

One of my favorite parts of ‘Return to Me’ is when Zechariah is coming into his gifting as a prophet to the people of Jerusalem. God gives him the Word “Not by might, nor by power – but by My Spirit.” This is something that I have often needed to remember, especially in the midst of trials, when I start believing that I am all alone in my battles.

Everything that I do, everything that I accomplish, is because of God’s Spirit within me. When I do anything in my own strength and by my own power, it amounts to nothing. But when I fully rely on God to help me achieve what I know He has called me to do, trusting Him to complete a good work in me, it doesn’t matter what the circumstances are I will always be successful. I don’t need to fear anything, I just need to depend on God and believe in His Truth.

Yesappa, Thank You for Your Spirit within me, always giving me strength and always giving me power. Thank You for never leaving me alone. And, thank You for bringing Your Word in my life to pass. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

 

Blessings – Julie (writing from the U.S.A.)

 

Return to me book image

 

Unless otherwise indicated, all scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Leave a comment

Filed under 66 Books, ESV Through the Bible in a Year, New Testament, Old Testament, Revelation, Zechariah