Tag Archives: God’s will

Judges 1; Acts 5; Jeremiah 14; Matthew 28

God is with (us) always. His will prevails.

This is the overture, the repeating refrain and undercurrent of the readings. Judges: God gives land and victory to Judah. Victory was given before they even started, but there was still a fight.

After the death of Joshua, the Israelites asked the Lord, “Which tribe should go first to attack the Canaanites?”

 

The Lord answered, “Judah, for I have given them victory over the land.” Judges 1:1-2 NLT

(Israel, however, fails to conquer other lands.)

Jeremiah, the land is parched and cracked from drought, and a people suffer. False prophets paint a brighter picture and the Lord responds.

13 Then I said, “O Sovereign Lord, their prophets are telling them, ‘All is well—no war or famine will come. The Lord will surely send you peace.’”

14 Then the Lord said, “These prophets are telling lies in my name. I did not send them or tell them to speak. I did not give them any messages. They prophesy of visions and revelations they have never seen or heard. They speak foolishness made up in their own lying hearts. 15 Therefore, this is what the Lord says: I will punish these lying prophets, for they have spoken in my name even though I never sent them. They say that no war or famine will come, but they themselves will die by war and famine.” Jeremiah 14:14-15 NLT.

The apostles are imprisoned for speaking of Jesus. God makes a way for their escape, and the religious leaders find them back in the temple courts.

29 But Peter and the apostles replied, “We must obey God rather than any human authority. 30 The God of our ancestors raised Jesus from the dead after you killed him by hanging him on a cross. 31 Then God put him in the place of honor at his right hand as Prince and Savior. He did this so the people of Israel would repent of their sins and be forgiven. 32 We are witnesses of these things and so is the Holy Spirit, who is given by God to those who obey him.”

33 When they heard this, the high council was furious and decided to kill them. 34 But one member, a Pharisee named Gamaliel, who was an expert in religious law and respected by all the people, stood up and ordered that the men be sent outside the council chamber for a while. 35 Then he said to his colleagues, “Men of Israel, take care what you are planning to do to these men! 36 Some time ago there was that fellow Theudas, who pretended to be someone great. About 400 others joined him, but he was killed, and all his followers went their various ways. The whole movement came to nothing. 37 After him, at the time of the census, there was Judas of Galilee. He got people to follow him, but he was killed, too, and all his followers were scattered.

38 “So my advice is, leave these men alone. Let them go. If they are planning and doing these things merely on their own, it will soon be overthrown. 39 But if it is from God, you will not be able to overthrow them. You may even find yourselves fighting against God!

40 The others accepted his advice. They called in the apostles and had them flogged. Then they ordered them never again to speak in the name of Jesus, and they let them go.

41 The apostles left the high council rejoicing that God had counted them worthy to suffer disgrace for the name of Jesus. 42 And every day, in the Temple and from house to house, they continued to teach and preach this message: “Jesus is the Messiah.”

In Matthew, Jesus breathes the Great Commission.

18 Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. 19 Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. 20 Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20 NLT.

And this is what I take away: There is victory in life, and fight–Judah fought; the apostles persevered through hardship. But if it is from God, He will make a way. His truth will prevail.

Lord, irritations pick at me lately. I find myself wanting to retreat–my heart tells me that’s the way to peace, and it sounds much like the empty visions of false prophets. But you tell us all to go and make, teach and obey–let my steps and my life proclaim in word and deed that you are the Messiah.

Courtney (66books365)

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Num. 35; Ps. 79; Isa. 27; 1 John 5

I have always struggled with confidence.I am constantly comparing my “ugly” insides to someone else’s “pretty” outsides.  I question myself every day.  “Am I good enough?”, “Do I give enough?”, “Did I say too much?” and so on and so forth.  Every single day I struggle with this.  There is a fear that I am a failure.

I often forget what God has said about me – there are so many promises right in scripture that I need to cling to… I am “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Ps139) or God has a plan for me (Jer 29:11 – a little out of context but a promise nonetheless) and in our reading of 1 John today God tells me that I need to be confident in my salvation, in the fact that God listens to me and in overcoming my struggles with sin.

1 John 5:13 tell me that I can be confident that if I believe in Jesus I will have eternal life.  “Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves the father loves his child as well.”  Verse 5 says that I can be confident because through believing in Jesus I am his child.  What a relief.  I do not have to stress about being good enough; I just have to believe that Jesus is who He says He is and I have confidence in my salvation – in that fact that I am his child (also see  Act 16:31 and Romans 6:23).

Not only can I be confident in my salvation, according to 1 John 5:14-15, I can have confidence in my prayers.  “This is the confidence we have in approaching God:  that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.”  Alright, so there is a little catch.  If I ask “according to his will” he will hear me (not give me – but hear me and consider what I am asking!).  I can be confident that God will hear and consider my prayer and that he will give me whatever I ask within his will.  God is all knowing and even though I believe that something is right for me right now – God sees the bigger picture and therefore might not answer me the way I want him to.  However, according to vs. 15 if what I am asking for is within his will then he will not only hear my request but he will grant my request.  At this, I need to trust his judgment and be confident that he is God.

Another confidence that I can be assured of according to 1 John 5 is that God is helping me overcome the world through him.  Verse 18 starts out saying “We know that anyone born of God does not continue to sin…”  Uh oh… there is a problem because I sin all the time and yet I believe that I am born of God…  The verse goes on to say “…the One (note – capital “O”) who was born of God keeps them safe and the evil one cannot harm them.”  I can be confident that God (my father) is keeping me safe.”  Verse 19 says that the “whole world is under the control of the evil one”.  Sin causes harm – maybe embarrassment, maybe punishment and this chapter says that sin may cause death.  There is nothing more that Satan wants then to embarrass me or punish me or to take my confidence in God away from me.  When I lack the confidence that God’s “got this” and turn to myself then I make myself vulnerable to falling into what the world wants me to do or be and not finding confidence in what God wants me to do or be.  When I struggle with this I can look to Jesus for “understanding (vs. 20) as He has already “overcome the world” (John 16:33).

I will always struggle with being confident in who I am. When I take my eyes off of God and look around at everyone else I struggle.  (Perhaps that is where vs. 21 comes into play?)  However, when I am basking in the presence of God, seeking to do what he has asked me (vs. 2) and holding onto the promises that he loves me (John 3:16), that he hears me and that he has overcome the world,  I can find peace and total confidence in all that he has made me to be. 

Amy W. (gueston66books)

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Gen. 5; Matt. 5; Ezra 5; Acts 5

This whole Christianity thing?  Not for the faint of heart.  The Bible is replete with examples of the Divine courage it takes to profess a belief in Jesus as Lord.  Take the apostles, for example.  They were imprisoned, they were beaten, and they rejoiced in every minute of it, because they were working under the Highest of orders.

“’Leave these men alone! Let them go!  For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail.  But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God.’  His speech persuaded them.  They called the apostles in and had them flogged.  Then they ordered them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go.  The apostles left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name.  Day after day, in the temple courts and from house to house, they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Christ.”  (Acts 5:38-40).

I am convicted here of my chicken-heartedness.  If I’m being honest, the only thing I’ve ever really suffered in the expression of my faith is an eye roll or a knowing look.  At its worst, a friendship becomes strained.  And yet my eternity remains secure.  My personal investment is so far outweighed by His great reward to me.  And yet He loves me anyway.

Like the apostles, I am called to a divine purpose.  I know, because my failures are always due to my activity of “human origin.”  Human origin.  As in, “not omniscient.”  As in, “flawed.”  I can imagine God’s view downward upon us, the miniscule specs of humanity, moving our life’s pieces on a tiny planet, thinking we know how everything is supposed to work out, when in reality, the Divine Design guides every move.  I’ve been known to try shoving a square-peg decision into a round hole outcome because I want it so bad.  I’ve tried to shoe-horn, fast-track, kick-open.  And then I’m surprised when it doesn’t work.  That’s because it’s all me.  There is no God in it.  But when the Lord puts the hint of an idea in my heart, when I feel the hem of His garment as it passes by and there is a happy marriage of desire and success, I am emboldened.  I cannot be stopped.  I have courage enough to face imprisonment, or worse.

Mostly.

May I always rejoice in being counted worthy to endure whatever comes my way, suffering included.  May I remember God’s purpose does not – cannot – stop.

Sarah Perry

Guest today on 66 Books, and a wife and mother of three children ages eight and under. She received her J.D. from the University of Virginia, and in addition to numerous webzine articles and short stories, Sarah is the co-author of “When the Fairy Dust Settles: A Mother and Her Daughter Discuss What Really Matters” (Warner Faith 2004).  Sarah has served in youth ministry for over ten years, and is currently writing for www.ChosenFamilies.org where she uses her son’s Asperger’s Syndrome diagnosis to encourage other families living with disabilities.

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Isaiah 20,21,22; Ephesians 5:1-16

Isaiah 20

at that time the Lord spoke through Isaiah son of Amoz. He said to him, “Take off the sackcloth from your body and the sandals from your feet.” And he did so, going around stripped and barefoot. Then the Lord said, “Just as my servant Isaiah has gone stripped and barefoot for three years …

Ephesians 5

But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people. Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving. For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person—such a person is an idolater—has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.

15 Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.

The days are evil!  I need to be wise, putting away my foolishness, carefully seeking to understand the will of the Lord.  I can easily accept that I need to live like Paul explains in Ephesians chapter 5.  However, when I read about people who have been caught in the center of God’s will, I am forced to stop and ponder.  Isaiah was commanded by God to run around naked and barefoot for three entire years.  This would definitely change the way my life looks. Can you even imagine what would happen to me if I was asked to do this today (assuming I actually listened and did it).  Having been raised in Western Culture, I like to have everything fit into my orderly life in a neat, clean, easily explained fashion. I like to think that I would respond with a yes to anything God asks me to do.  But…… when I’m being honest, I really hope he doesn’t ask too much of me.  I don’t really want anything messing up my life.  I don’t want to lose my friends or have everyone laughing at me. This leads me to wonder if God’s will is really so hard to find or if I am just not wanting to hear what he is telling me.

It seems to me that we actually find comfort in our struggle with the things Paul lists in verses three through five.  Paul says that there must not be even a hint of these bad behaviors and yet these types of behaviors are the kinds of things that I struggle with most.  I’m afraid that I do this because it makes it easier to ignore the more difficult things that God asks of me.  When people ask me what my struggle is, I have to answer “my pride!”  How radical would it be to have to respond with “Jesus asked me to walk around naked for three years and I’m trying to figure out how not to get arrested?”  I doubt that Jesus needs me to run around naked but I’m pretty sure that he expects more from me than a struggle with things that Paul claims have no room in our lives at all.  Jesus died for me so that I would no longer be a slave to these things .  I am now free to serve my Savior and Lord, Jesus!  I am ready Lord, show me your will so that I may follow it where ever it may lead!

Ed Sorrell

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Psalm 48, Psalm 49, Psalm 50, 1 Corinthians 11:17-34

 God says: Now consider this, you who forget God, Lest I tear you in pieces, And there be none to deliver. Psalm 50:22

 For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged. But when we are judged, we are chastened by the Lord, that we may not be condemned with the world. 1 Cor 11:31-32

Whoever offers praise glorifies Me; And to him who orders his conduct aright I will show the salvation of God.” Psalm 50:22-23

Please Read – www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Ps%2048,49,50;%201Cor11:17-34&version=NKJV

For if we would judge ourselves”. To judge myself means to examine my self, thoughts, actions, motives and words with the Bible. I must ponder the Law of God while asking and applying the Holy Spirit’s wisdom. I must discern if, where and how I have gone against the Holy God. If I examine myself and am honest, being without compromise, excuse, rationalization or blame of others, then God will make clear to me my faults and show me the Way out for His honor and glory. After I confess, agreeing with God about my sin, and turn away from it then Jesus cleans me. 1

            If I do not examine myself and I have sin, I remain unworthy of communion and I cause God’s judgment upon myself. If I do not confess and repent of my sins, then I WILL BE chastened by the Lord. Jesus does this so that I will stop continuing my sins. If I stop my rebellion against God, I will not be condemned with the world. 2

            Lord Jesus Christ, when my joy of You, Lord, is not full, I am sure there is something lurking within me. Please eradicate it. Take it out. Have me see, confess and repent of it, for Your cleansing, healing and fulfillment of Your good and perfect will in my life. Amen!  3  

According to Your name, O God, So is Your praise to the ends of the earth; Your right hand is full of righteousness. … For this is God, Our God forever and ever; He will be our guide Even to death. Psalm 48

           Lord Jesus Christ, thank you for setting me Free! I praise You because of Who You Are!! The Great ‘I AM’ ! Glorify Yourself through my life. Number my steps according to Your Holy Will. Thank You for showing me mercy and giving me salvation through your unblemished Son of God, the Lamb of God, Lord Jesus Christ. 4 

Why should I fear in the days of evil, When the iniquity at my heels surrounds me? My mouth shall speak wisdom, And the meditation of my heart shall give understanding…  God will redeem my soul from the power of the grave, For He shall receive me. Psalm 49

            Lord, Your Word has shown me that the days are evil. I praise You for teaching me and encouraging me to work out my salvation with fear and trembling so that You, Lord God will work in me to both to will and to do for Your good pleasure. You hide me within Your Priestly garments where I am safe and secure, peeking out to do Your bidding, hopefully as You command. I rejoice to be just Your child! 5

           Lord God Almighty, the fields are ripe for harvest! Please send out Your workers to sow and reap for the salvation of souls, mightily Glorifying You! I love You – please have Your children love them with Your heart!  6

Whoever offers praise glorifies Me; And to him who orders his conduct aright I will show the salvation of God.” Psalm 50:22-23  

            I cry out to my God: I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul shall make its boast in the Lord; The humble shall hear of it and be glad. Oh, magnify the Lord with me, And let us exalt His name together. Psalm 34 

1- Psalm 19:7-11; Hebrews 4:12-13; Exodus 20:1-17; Psalm 51  and John 14:1 

2-  1 Corinthians 11: 27-30, 1 Corinthians 11:32, Deuteronomy 28

3-  Romans 12:1-2; Ezekiel 18:32; Romans 10:10; Isaiah 1:18; 1 John 1:9, Nehemiah 8:10

4-  Exodus 3:14-15, Proverbs 3:5-8; Psalm 37:5; Proverbs 16:9; Psalm 119:9, Isaiah 45:21; John 8:58; Acts 4:8-12; Titus 3:3-7; Isaiah 52:13-53:12; John 1:29

5-  2 Peter 3:3; Ephesians 6:10-18; Colossians 3:23-24; Ephesians 5:15-20; 2 Timothy 3:1-9; Psalm 119:105; Philippians 2:12-13; Luke 12:4-5; John 1:12-14; 1 John 3:1

6-  Luke 10:2; John 4:31-42; Galatians 6:7; Galatians 6:9   

7-  Psalm 34 

Crystal (PsalmThirty4)

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Psalm 17, Psalm 19, John 9:24-41

Now we know that God does not hear sinners; but if anyone is a worshiper of God and does His will, He hears him. John 9:31

 Read at – http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Ps%2017,19;%20John%209:24-41&version=NKJV

 The Amazing Goodness of the LORD.

         I am grateful and honored to be a worshipper of the Lord God Almighty (1). Because of what the Lord Jesus Christ has done on my behalf by His Atonement for my sins (2), God is Immeasurably Good to me and to those I bring before Him (3). I depend upon the Lord Jesus Christ for my sustenance in every area and these verses explain why.  Oh, What Joy!

 Psalm 19       The heavens declare the glory of God; … shows His handiwork, …  utters speech, … reveals knowledge. There is no speech nor language Where their voice is not heard.

            God communicates to me bountifully! In speech, sound, and sight! I cannot escape from Nature’s witness! (4)   

            God’s explicit Word communicates to me, converting my soul, changing me, making me wise, rejoicing my heart, enlightening my eyes, having me desire God’s Word ever increasingly, warning me, ensuring His rewards, cleansing me from secret faults and from presumptuous sins from ruling over me by Lord Jesus’ Word convicting me of my sin and my repenting. (Psalm 51)  

            Because of God’s Good Pleasure for me, I desire to have “the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart Be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer.” (Psalm 37:4)

Psalm 17                 Because You, Lord God declare me to be Your Own (1), I seek You continuously to bring “a just cause”, the deep cry of pain from my heart for a family member in sin, for You to set them free soon in the best manner glorifying to You. I know You hear me because “my prayer which is not from deceitful lips.” (5)

               I implore You to “Uphold my steps in Your paths, That my footsteps may not slip” so that I may follow closely You, Lord Jesus, to be with You all the time and bring others closer to You.  

               When I am to be around people who “have closed up their fat hearts; With their mouths they speak proudly”, I hide in Your Presence praying “save those who trust in You From those who rise up against them. Keep me as the apple of Your eye; Hide me under the shadow of Your wings, From the wicked who oppress me, From my deadly enemies who surround me.

                I ask You Lord toDeliver my life from the wicked with Your sword”, the Word of God by the Holy Spirit. (6)

                 Because of “the Word of Your lips, I have kept away from the paths of the destroyer” ,“my vindication comes from Your presence” so I REJOICE in this Glimpse of Heaven: I will see Your face in righteousness; I shall be satisfied when I awake in Your likeness.”

John 9:24-41            “Since the world began it has been unheard of that anyone opened the eyes of one who was born blind. If this Man were not from God, He could do nothing.” Speaking of Jesus Christ.

             Tangible proof! (8) The Reason for my Eternal Life.One thing I know: that though I was blind, now I see.Jesus gave sight to a blind man.

             After testifying that Jesus was from God, Jesus “found him, He said to him, “Do you believe in the Son of God?” The blind man answered, “Who is He, Lord, that I may believe in Him?

               And Jesus said to him, “You have both seen Him and it is He who is talking with you.”   Then he said, “Lord, I believe!” And he worshiped Him.

            That is me! Jesus has opened my blind heart, mind and eyes!! Jesus set me free from my depravity and deceptions, and is still working on me. The Lord Jesus Christ brought me into His Marvelous Light and gave me sight! (9)  I choose to Worship the Lord Jesus Christ! (10) 

Jesus said, “For judgment I have come into this world, that those who do not see may see, and that those who see may be made blind.”

Some people who thought they were right by their own design asked Jesus, “Are we blind also?

              Jesus said to them, “If you were blind, you would have no sin; but now you say, ‘We see.’ Therefore your sin remains.  (7)

                 … Who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus…  2 Timothy 1:9

            His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him Who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; 1 Peter 2:9 

1- John 4:23-26, John 1:1-3, 12-14, 29, John 3:3-8, 15-21, 1 John 3:1, 1 Peter 1:23, Ezekiel 36:25-27, Isaiah 1:18, Psalm 51, John 15, John 15:5-11  

2- Matthew 26:28, Luke 23:38-47, John 19:30, Hebrews 9:22, Romans 3:21-26, Hebrews 2:17-18, Hebrews 9

3- 2 Corinthians 5:17-18, 1 Peter 2:9, Romans 1:16, Joel 2:27-29

4- Romans 1:19-20, Genesis 1, Job 38:1-42:6

5- Matthew 6:9-10, Psalm 84:10

6- Ephesians 6:17-18, Hebrews 4:12-13

7- Romans 3:22-24, John 8:24, 1 John 1:5-10, Romans 2:5-11 

8- Hebrews 7:24-25, Luke 24, Matthew 28

9- John 1:4-5,9, John 8:12, John 12:46, 1 Peter 2:9, John 3:18-21, John 14:1

10 – Exodus 34:14, Genesis 22:5, Hebrews 11:21, John 4:23-26, Revelation 15:4

Crystal (PsalmThirty4)

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2 Samuel 19, 20; John 5:25-47

So thankful that my eternity rests in the hands of a just, loving God. I know His judgment will be fair.

Jesus expressed His ability to judge fairly in this way, “I can do nothing on my own. As I hear, I judge, and my judgment is just, because I seek not my own will but the will of him who sent me.”

In this verse in John 5:30 I find peace and hope about my eventual judgment, but I also find a challenge for how I judge others.

Look at how Jesus judges — as he hears. Not thwarted by bigotry or grudges. He calls ‘em as he sees ‘em.

Of course, easier said than done, but I love that he gives us a little hint as to how we can move toward that unbiased format for judging as well — by seeking God’s will and not our own.

Jesus doesn’t pass judgment for his own glory or reputation, but purely for the will of the Father.

I need to remove myself from the picture and see as God sees. Love as He loves.

Lord, Help me to see as you do and to view others as you have created them. Remove my personal filter of insecurity, past hurts, or stereotypes from my thinking to love as You love. ~In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Erin (5intow)

Originally published December 15, 2011.

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