Tag Archives: God’s word

Proverbs 1-4; Matthew 6

Matthew 6 is the middle chapter in Jesus’ great Sermon on the Mount. There is almost too much to take in when reading through these three chapters. D Martyn Lloyd Jones, the British theologian, wrote a book on these three chapters. The book is over an inch thick. Just think about what is found in that book that we can’t even take the time here to contemplate.

So what do we take away from this reading today? And that doesn’t even take into account Proverbs 1-4. In fact while reading these passages this week, they sound eerily similar. Two passages of God’s Word separated by many years, yet many good admonitions in living a godly life in the here and now.

What is your daily routine? What’s the first thing you do when you get up in the morning? Do you check email first? Do you read the news? Or do you spend time in God’s Word and prayer? I was watching a video blog by a person I follow in the business world and I believe he is far from a Christ-follower. He let’s nothing from the outside into his mind till he has done his yoga and meditation in the morning. Yet many of us who are Christ-followers are reading our emails, watching/reading the news and then by the time we get around to reading the Bible and prayer we are so distracted we cannot hear what God has for us. Here in Matthew 6 we are told not to worry about tomorrow or one could say anything before spending time with our Lord.

25 “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? 28 And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, 29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.34“Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” (Matthew 6:25-34 [ESV])

I have found that if the first thing I do in the morning is to spend time with God, almost everything else takes care of itself. Worrying and being anxious before your time with God limits His access to your life and mind. It’s like a haze or fog you have already put in front of you. Then you strain to see what He is trying to teach you about Himself and His plans for your life.

Father God thank you for the life-giving power of your Word and presence. Give us the discipline and power to focus on You and You alone at the beginning of each day. We pray this in the wonderful and strong name of Jesus, Amen.

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Ezekiel 4-6; Psalms 82; John 2

“The place will be littered with corpses, and you will know that I alone am the Lord.  “But I will let a few of my people escape destruction, and they will be scattered among the nations of the world.  Then when they are exiled among the nations, they will remember me.  They will recognize how hurt I am by their unfaithful hearts and lustful eyes that long for their idols.  Then at last they will hate themselves for all their detestable sins.  They will know that I alone am the Lord and that I was serious when I said I would bring this calamity on them.” Ezekiel 6:7-10 NLT

Sometimes the destruction is all I see.  But, when I look up to God I have hope.  He is merciful.  He can use my brokenness to teach me to run to him.

“Then his disciples remembered this prophecy from the Scriptures: “Passion for God’s house will consume me.” But the Jewish leaders demanded, “What are you doing? If God gave you authority to do this, show us a miraculous sign to prove it.” “All right,” Jesus replied. “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” “What!” they exclaimed.  “It has taken forty-six years to build this Temple, and you can rebuild it in three days?” But when Jesus said “this temple,” he meant his own body.  After he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered he had said this, and they believed both the Scriptures and what Jesus had said.” John 2:17-22 NLT

Like the Jewish leaders, I don’t always understand what Jesus is doing.  It can be hard to see past my hurts.  The tearing down of my own life can be painful.  There are unhealthy habits that took a long time to build.  But, they don’t take long to tear down when I surrender to him.  He promises to rebuild and restore.  He breaths life into the dead areas in my life and makes them new. By His blood, I already have the victory.

“Because of the miraculous signs Jesus did in Jerusalem at the Passover celebration, many began to trust in him.  But Jesus didn’t trust them, because he knew all about people.  No one needed to tell him about human nature, for he knew what was in each person’s heart.” John 2:23&24 NLT

Jesus knew that some would still betray him, even after seeing the miracles he did.  They were caught up in the moment and their hearts  wavered.  Their trust didn’t run deep.  It was fleeting.

Dear Father, I desire to remain faithful to you.  Thank you for the promise to heal my broken heart and bind my wounds (Psalms 147:3).  Thank you for your faithfulness. I give you the Glory. Amen.

Amy(amyctanner)

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2 Kings 2-3; Psalm 48; Matthew 4

The view outside of my front window is of one large shade garden. There are several gardens in our yard, and most of them now are dominated by weeds. Last year, losses and crises took my attention from home to urgent issues. And this year, I’ve had to examine areas of my life and focus small first to nurture things that have been neglected–the garden is certainly symbolic of that.

This morning, I head out to the big garden with gloves and clippers to try to take back what two growing seasons have taken over. I read in 2 Kings 3 of armies in the wilderness: “The king of Edom and his troops joined them, and all three armies traveled along a roundabout route through the wilderness for seven days. But there was no water for the men or their animals (2 Kings 3:9, NLT).

They called on Elisha who explained, “This is what the Lord says: This dry valley will be filled with pools of water! 17 You will see neither wind nor rain, says the Lord, but this valley will be filled with water. You will have plenty for yourselves and your cattle and other animals. 18 But this is only a simple thing for the Lord, for he will make you victorious over the army of Moab! 19 You will conquer the best of their towns, even the fortified ones. You will cut down all their good trees, stop up all their springs, and ruin all their good land with stones.”

20 The next day at about the time when the morning sacrifice was offered, water suddenly appeared! It was flowing from the direction of Edom, and soon there was water everywhere (2 Kings 3:16-20, NLT).

In Matthew, Jesus is tempted by Satan–to satisfy himself, to prove himself, to exalt himself. Jesus responds to each offer with scripture. I think on this now, because whether it’s temptation (to take things into my own hands, to prove myself, to be in charge) or accusation, an enemy’s motives always reveal an intention to kill, steal, or destroy. It could be the unseen things like peace or faith, or it could be very visible–relationships, possessions, jobs … even gardens.

Dawn breaks. I won’t get to all the garden spaces today, but I ready myself to tackle both the unseen and the visible. I think long on scriptures I know that tell of who God is, and remind me of who I am because of Him, in Him.

13 Take note of the fortified walls,
    and tour all the citadels,
that you may describe them
    to future generations.
14 For that is what God is like.
    He is our God forever and ever,
    and he will guide us until we die. (Psalm 48:13-14, NLT)

Lord, an enemy is bent on stealing and destroying–and already so much is wounded or broken by lies, grief, evil. When I look at the destruction, I linger in the loss and am weak. Lord, I look to you, to what you can do, to the valley you will fill with water.

Courtney (66books365)

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Happy New Year!

A heartfelt thanks to everyone who journeyed with us through the Bible in a year in 2017! And a warm welcome to you in 2018!

We’re blogging through the Bible again with a 5-day weekly approach, and we’d love for you to join us.

Have you tried to read through the Bible before? Has Bible reading become a task to do? Would you like to engage in the Word with meaning and heart in 2018? Pick up your Bible, any translation will do, and follow along with us. If you don’t keep up, don’t worry! No one is keeping score. We are all here to get to know the Lord better, and to let His Word find home in our hearts.

Wishing you a very happy New Year, and again, thank you and welcome back!

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2 Kings 7; 1 Timothy 4; Daniel 11; Psalm 119:25-48

Do not waste time arguing over godless ideas and old wives’ tales. Instead, train yourself to be godly. “Physical training is good, but training for godliness is much better, promising benefits in this life and in the life to come.” This is a trustworthy saying, and everyone should accept it. 10 This is why we work hard and continue to struggle, for our hope is in the living God, who is the Savior of all people and particularly of all believers. 1 Timothy 4:7-10, NLT.

I wonder what people think when they hear the word godly. I heard a perspective somewhere before, and it changed my whole perception on the word–that godliness is a pursuit of God. It isn’t perfection. It is a heart that seeks God.

If this year has taught me anything, it is to make space for God. At times I’ve felt pulled in too many directions, and I’ve had to enforce new boundaries. It has brought a lot of peace. But moreover, it has given me footing to be intentional in my walk with the Lord. Every day, His Word refreshes me, strengthens me, gives me hope.

25 I lie in the dust;
    revive me by your word.
26 I told you my plans, and you answered.
    Now teach me your decrees.
27 Help me understand the meaning of your commandments,
    and I will meditate on your wonderful deeds.
28 I weep with sorrow;
    encourage me by your word. Psalm 119:25-28, NLT (emphasis added)

It’s easy (for me) to feel guilty for not meeting someone’s expectations–for saying no to a friend for getting together; delaying a request to perform a task; declining an invitation; even to stepping down for a season from serving at church. Surprisingly, the cost of trying to do it all took me away from my time with the Lord. And not so surprising in hindsight, the Lord said no for me with car troubles, other mishaps, and illness.

Lord, I want to be true to the calling and gifting you’ve placed in my life. But I know that apart from you, I wither. Thank you for grace in all things I’ve declined so that I can say yes to you.

Courtney (66books365)

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1 Samuel 7; 1 Corinthians 8; Ezekiel 6; Psalm 44

Narrative is a powerful force. We each walk around with our individual stories being crafted in our heads. My husband has this clever way of telling me that my narrative is not in sync with his. When he puts it that way, we’re much less likely to get in an argument.

Psalm 44‘s author’s narrative is that God “has made us the taunt of our neighbors, the derision and scorn of those around us.” Yet when he remembers the truth of who God is, accusations become pleas: “Rise up, come to our help. Redeem us for the sake of your steadfast love.” Psalm 44:26    The Psalms demonstrate that God understands the depth and complexities of emotion and thought and that He is not content to leave us in “stuck.” When I pray, when I call out to him, my story changes. I am changed by his narrative—not the other way around.

God tells Ezekiel and the people of Israel that desolation is heading their way. They will know the war, disease and suffering, but it doesn’t end there. In the end, “They shall know that I am the Lord.” Ezekiel 6:14.  Once again, God and his story rise above the course of human history and people change.

When I read and pray God’s Word, my narrative submits to God’s. I need to be mindful of the Gospel every day (and sometimes multiple times a day) to get a grasp of reality. A joy takes over when I pray with Jesus and the saints, “Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as is is in heaven.” Whether I am in a place of suffering or joy, my story becomes grounded in who God is:

“Indeed, even though there may be so-called gods in heaven or on earth- as in fact there are many gods and many lords–yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ through whom are all things and through whom we exist.”  1 Corinthians 8:5-6.

Lord, I get absorbed in my thoughts and emotions. Sometimes I only see what’s going on around me.  Too easily,  I forget that you are Lord. By your Holy Spirit, may your Word take root in my heart and thrive. May your truth and grace rule. Hold me close to you so that when others see me, they can see your grace at work in my life. Amen.

Klueh

 

 

 

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Deut. 29; Ps.119:49-72; Isa. 56; Matt. 4

Of course I know bad things happen. And being a follower of Christ doesn’t exempt me from them. Yet, why am I still surprised by tragedy and heartache?

There were seasons of the sometimes-struggle: things in the Grand Scheme that shouldn’t have carried the weight they did. It didn’t surprise me when hate came from unbelievers. But it did when unkindness came from a believing friend. That one took me a surprisingly long time to get over. During that time, it was the closest I had ever felt to Jesus. Oh, Lord, who loves even the outcasts.

For the Sovereign Lord,
    who brings back the outcasts of Israel, says:
I will bring others, too,
    besides my people Israel.” (Isaiah 56:8, NLT)

Another difficult season presented itself, and perseverance seemed impossible. I almost quit. In a snowy winter, being back in the woods, I was delightfully home-bound to hibernate and process and pray.

2 Moses summoned all the Israelites and said to them, “You have seen with your own eyes everything the Lord did in the land of Egypt to Pharaoh and to all his servants and to his whole country— all the great tests of strength, the miraculous signs, and the amazing wonders. But to this day the Lord has not given you minds that understand, nor eyes that see, nor ears that hear! For forty years I led you through the wilderness, yet your clothes and sandals did not wear out. You ate no bread and drank no wine or other alcoholic drink, but he provided for you so you would know that he is the Lord your God. (Deuteronomy 29:2-6, NLT)

I prayed a lot that winter. Friends prayed for me and over me. I saw the battlefield. I learned that prayer is not a last defense. When God moved, I was stunned and speechless. I wondered why it surprised me so, when he is sovereign in everything.

This year I planned for balance and simplicity. My one word, restore. But winter brought loss after loss. A mother-in-law. A father. A sister’s (ongoing) health crisis. The loss of a friend. A niece. This heart, pummeled.

These months have felt like a persistent storm.

49 Remember your promise to me;
    it is my only hope.
50 Your promise revives me;
    it comforts me in all my troubles. (Psalm 119:49-50, NLT)

In this world, there will be trouble. There will be things that wound, that don’t seem right (because they aren’t!), that are brutal and senseless. There will be things that haunt and shame. The wounding doesn’t have to defeat me like it once did.

71 My suffering was good for me,
    for it taught me to pay attention to your decrees.
72 Your instructions are more valuable to me
    than millions in gold and silver. (Psalm 119:71-72)

When the Holy Spirit led Jesus into the wilderness where he would be tempted by Satan, Jesus responded to the enemy with clarity, “No, the scriptures say …”

I will still cry over losses. I will still wrestle with wounding. But God’s Spirit is inside of me. His Word strengthens and instructs me. Without him, the truth and trustworthiness of him, how would I hope?

Father God, because of who you are, your sovereignty and mighty power, I don’t need to rely on my own shaky hopes–I can stand confidently on your word. Your instructions are more valuable to me than millions in gold and silver.

Courtney (66books365)

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