Tag Archives: God’s word

Exodus 25; John 4; Proverbs 1; 2 Corinthians 13

Place inside the Ark the stone tablets inscribed with the terms of the covenant, which I will give to you. Then put the atonement cover on top of the Ark. I will meet you there and talk to you from above the atonement cover between the gold cherubim that hover over the Ark of the Covenant. From there I will give you my commands for the people of Israel.” Exodus 25:21-22 NLT

The Ark of the Covenant was a visual sign of the Lord’s presence. How do I feel the Lord’s presence today? Do I know that He is always with me, even when I can’t sense it?

Jesus asked, “Will you never believe in me unless you see miraculous signs and wonders?” The official pleaded, “Lord, please come now before my little boy dies.” Then Jesus told him, “Go back home. Your son will live!” And the man believed what Jesus said and started home.” John 4:48-50 NLT

He promises to always be with me. Sometimes I am distracted by so many other things, that I miss His voice. Maybe God is always speaking to me, I’m just not listening. I am thankful that He pursues me and meets me where I am. If I just clear the clutter in my mind, I know he is there waiting patiently for me to return to him.

Come and listen to my counsel. I’ll share my heart with you and make you wise. “I called you so often, but you wouldn’t come. I reached out to you, but you paid no attention…But all who listen to me will live in peace, untroubled by fear of harm.” Proverbs 1:23,24&33 NLT

My stubbornness to do things on my own can get in the way of hearing him. Than I miss out on his power. I can see his hand in my life when I humble myself before him and acknowledge that I can’t do it on my own.  And as much as I don’t want to suffer, that is when I know he is  most near.  Just as I read in my You-Version devotional this morning, “But when we suffer and choose to trust Christ through the trials we face, we are filled with his power and presence, reflecting his image to those around us.” (Hope when it Hurts, Kristen Wetherell & Sarah Walton)

I will give you all the proof you want that Christ speaks through me. Christ is not weak when he deals with you; he is powerful among you. Although he was crucified in weakness, he now lives by the power of God. We, too, are weak, just as Christ was, but when we deal with you we will be alive with him and will have God’s power…Dear brothers and sisters, I close my letter with these last words: Be joyful. Grow in maturity. Encourage each other. Live in harmony and peace. Then the God of love and peace will be with you.” 2 Corinthians 13:3,4&11 NLT

Dear Father, Thank you for your word and for the promise of your presence. Help me to quiet my heart, so I can hear your voice above all others. I need you every minute of every day. Amen.

Amy(amyctanner)

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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.

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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

Genesis 3; Matthew 3; Ezra 3; Acts 3

Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden?” Genesis 3:1 ESV

My One Word for 2016 was TRUST. I reflect on all the ways God used that word in my life this past year, to build my trust in Him. And how Satan was working extra hard to fill my mind with confusion. This line from Laura Story’s song, Blessings, stands out to me. “We doubt your goodness, we doubt your love, as if every promise from your word is not enough.” The other night when I was putting my daughter to bed, I read bible verses as she was falling asleep. I was once again reminded how much I need God’s word. And the power it has, especially when I read it out loud. Because  it leaves no room in my mind for the question, “Did God really say that?” (Gen.3:1 NLT)… like Satan would have me believe.

Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to John, to be baptized by him. John would have prevented him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?” But Jesus answered him, “Let it be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Matthew 3:13-15 ESV

He is faithful to keep his promises, because he came to fulfill them.

In the name of Jesus of Nazareth, rise up and walk!” And he took him by the right hand and raised him up, and immediately his feet and ankles were made strong. And leaping up he stood and began to walk, and entered the temple with them, walking and leaping and praising God. And all the people saw him walking and praising God, and recognized him as the one who sat at the Beautiful Gate of the temple,asking for alms. And they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him. And when Peter saw it he addressed the people: “Men of Israel, why do you wonder at this, or why do you stare at us, as though by our own power or piety we have made him walk? The God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, the God of our fathers, glorified his servant Jesus, whom you delivered over and denied in the presence of Pilate, when he had decided to release him….But what God foretold by the mouth of all the prophets, that his Christ would suffer, he thus fulfilled.” Acts 3:6-18 ESV

Dear Father, Thank you for your word. I pray that I would commit to staying in it this new year. Thank you for your faithfulness in my life. Amen.

“For he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever toward Israel.” Ezra 3:11 ESV

Amy(amyctanner)

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Filed under 66 Books, Acts, Ezra, Genesis, Matthew

Isaiah 56-59; Psalm 70; 1 Corinthians 16

I did not become a Christian until much later in my life. It was in that place of complete and utter brokenness that Jesus came and found me.  I somehow knew He was the only answer to healing and not continuing down that same road of self-destruction I had been walking.  I cried out to God and He heard my cries.

Psalm 70:5 But as for me, I am poor and needy; come quickly to me, O God.  You are my help and my deliverer; Lord, do not delay.

I started going to a counselor.   As I went through therapy, the counselor pegged quite early on how to get her point across to me. She would give me analogies to represent what she was talking about.  It took me some time to catch on to this—mainly because when I first started my journey with her, I felt like I was in the middle of a dark cavern.  To give an analogy, years ago I went with a friend to see Mammoth Cave in KY.  We walked through this cave and saw the beautiful stalactites and stalagmites and when we were in the middle, the guide turned off the lights.  As we stood there, I seriously could not see my hand in front of my face while it was touching my nose.  It was very frightening because I know without light I would never have found my way out.  That blackness is the only way to describe how I felt at that point in time.

But as I surrendered to God’s process, ever so slowly I could see a light. The Light (Jesus) became real to me.  It was through that therapy I learned so much about myself: how I learn, why I react to things the way I do, and how to finally let go of so much baggage.  God was my constant companion.  He was my Teacher.  His Word taught me how He intended for us to live and His Spirit enabled me to change.

Is 59:12 For our offenses are many in your sight, and our sins testify against us. Our offenses are ever with us,

There are certain movies I’ve seen over the years that have made a powerful impact upon my life. “A Beautiful Mind” is one of them for me.  The movie is about John Nash, a Nobel Prize winner who suffered with schizophrenia.  The part of the film that spoke to me most was the part at the end when he is talking to his wife and he looks over to the side and standing there are three characters he thought were real at one point in his life.  He tells her that he chooses not to acknowledge them even though they follow him around everywhere he goes.

Sometimes, I feel the same way.  As a follower of Jesus, I know that I’ve been forgiven for the sins from my past, and I have forgiven the people who hurt me.   But sometimes, out of nowhere, those memories of my past come into my mind or the people from my past will show up in my dreams.  Then I feel like they follow me around (our offenses are ever with us).  If I let them become real again, they will overtake me–and they have a time or two!  But I have a loving Father who will not let me stay there.  When I fall on my face before Him, He reminds me of the truth of who He is and who He says I am.  He picks me up off the floor and sets my feet back on the path, that narrow path that Jesus talks about.  With Jesus as my Lord, those characters that follow me around can’t get to me because He is stronger.

1 Cor 16:13 Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong.

I have learned that I have God’s Word to cling to at all times, that I can protect my mind with praise music or sermons when I am weak, and to call on friends and ask them to pray for me when I am being haunted by the lies. I have the name of Jesus and have just called that out when I didn’t know what else to say. God has given us everything we need to live a victorious life.  It is our choice to trust Him, rely on Him, and to find our strength in Him.

 Lord, I am so thankful that you never give up on us.  You continue to love us, to teach us, and to draw us to You.  When we truly grasp who You are and that you truly are for us, our lives change.  I pray that our changed lives will be contagious and others will want to know You because of all You’ve done in us.  Let them see Jesus!  In His name I pray, Amen.

Cindy (gardnlady)

 

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Filed under 1 Corinthians, Bible in a year reading plan, Isaiah, Psalms, Uncategorized

Isaiah 26-29; Psalm 65; I Corinthians 4

Do you have problems with trust? I often say that I trust others to do what they say they will do, only to think silently that I doubt they will adequately fulfill the promise made or complete the requested task. Just yesterday, I spoke on the phone with someone who asked if I wanted to cancel my services since I moved. This is the third time I have “cancelled” the services by phone, and I just knew there would be some extra charge. After droning on about the inefficiency of the company, my unwillingness to accept further charges, etc., the agent repeated, “Would you like to cancel the service today?” Polite but frozen calmness and the use of fragmented sentences and monotone voice relayed my irritation. Ever the diplomat, the agent cancelled the service and assured me there were no further charges on my account. This is just one example of how I step in to gain control, become overwhelmed, and realize too late that I have failed at doing what someone else was really capable and more qualified to do. This pattern of thinking and behavior has infected personal and working relationships, but mostly my relationship with God. It all boils down to trust.

Isaiah 26:3 “You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.” If I am stressed, worried, or anxious, then do I really trust in God? And does my cynicism about the state of this world interfere with the belief that “With my soul I have desired You in the night; yes, by my spirit within me I will seek You early; for when Your judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness” (Isaiah 26:9)? Do I really trust that the judgments of God will one day right the world? Also, do I trust in my abilities and knowledge to affect change in others, open those proverbial doors and set me in high places? Or do I seek the source of all good counsel? Isaiah 28:29 says, “This [wisdom] also comes from the Lord of hosts, who is wonderful in counsel and excellent in guidance.”

Psalm 65:9 reminds us that God visits the earth and waters it, and that God greatly enriches it, so that “The pastures are clothed with flocks; The valleys also are covered with grain,” (v13), yet I toy with thoughts that the good we receive in life is circumstantial and coincidental. I say that God is wonderful in counsel and excellent in guidance, yet do I boast about what I have received and judge others (and even myself) for what we lack?

I could go on with evidence of lacking trust…but beating me up for a lack of trust serves no other purpose than confessing my weakness. I Corinthians 4:5 says, “Therefore judge nothing before the time until the Lord comes, who will both bring to light the hidden things of darkness and reveal the counsels of the hearts. Then each one’s praise will come from God.” Come, let us learn to hand over the need for control to the One who with absolute perfection will accomplish His will in our lives.

God, I will trust You today to teach me how to be a faithful servant in the field You have provided me to tend. Though, as the Apostle Paul said, I might have a thousand teachers, only You, Lord Jesus, are rightfully called the Wonderful Counselor. I will not judge others by my standards nor interfere when Your righteousness is being poured out. I will trust that You know my needs (and those of all Your creation), and that You will increase the fruit of our labor and drop, as from an overflowing cart, abundance. Thank You Almighty God and Lord Jesus Christ for providing me opportunities to trust You today as I dwell in Your presence.  Amen.

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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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Ecclesiastes 7-9; Psalm 46, 2 Timothy 3

10 You, however, know all about my teaching, my way of life, my purpose, faith, patience, love, endurance, 11 persecutions, sufferings—what kinds of things happened to me in Antioch, Iconium and Lystra, the persecutions I endured. Yet the Lord rescued me from all of them. 12 In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, 13 while evildoers and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. 14 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, 15 and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God[a] may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

It seems that everything I hear, learn, or experience lately has the theme of story. It started last summer when my best friend died. I did not know how to process what had happened and I cried out to God as I tried to make sense of it.  I really felt Him tell me that I need to share her story and He has given me multiple occasions to do just that.  Being able to talk about her has helped me deal with the loss of my friend who was not only a sister in Christ but someone who was like a sister to me.  She adopted me into her family like I was born there.

I met her eight years ago at Celebrate Recovery. If you aren’t familiar with CR, it is a Christ-centered twelve step program.  Anyone with hurts, habits, or hang-ups is welcome to attend.  We were both believers who were looking for healing from past hurts and knew Jesus was the only way to find it.  She became my accountability partner and I became hers.  Over time, I learned I could trust her and she is the person I opened up to and was honest with about everything in my life—all those things you really don’t want to share.  But there comes that time in recovery when you have to bring them out into the light in order to heal from them. As she walked through this process with me, I learned the meaning of love—not just the feeling part of love but the willingness to love another no matter what. I learned that there are people who will encourage you, cheer you on, help you grow, keep you grounded.  When she saw me heading in a wrong direction, she would call me on it, and I would do the same with her.  We used to talk to each other every morning as we drove to work and share a devotional we were reading or something we had learned in a bible study.  Together we would figure out how to apply it to our lives.  We were each other’s “safe haven” when things weren’t going so well.

After we finished CR, we both headed into ministry in different directions but we were there for each other,  supporting each other, as God used our gifts to help others. We had conflicts, but we had learned tools to work through them.  We could talk and be honest when one of us had done something to hurt the other knowing that our brokenness was behind our actions.

As I read these verses in 2 Timothy, they made me think of her and our friendship. Our friendship was based on our relationship with Jesus.  He was the focus of our healing; He was the basis of our growth and maturity. We discussed Scripture and how it “is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”

Just as Timothy knew Paul’s “story” (You, however, know all about my teaching, my way of life, my purpose, faith, patience, love, endurance, 11 persecutions, sufferings—what kinds of things happened to me in Antioch, Iconium and Lystra, the persecutions I endured), she knew my story and I knew hers. We would remind each other of the things we learned in CR (continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it,).

In a few days it will be the first anniversary of her death. I am thankful and blessed for having her in my life.  When her mother was cleaning out her house last year, she asked me if there was anything I wanted.  While there are pictures of the two of us together that are precious to me, I took her Recovery Bible and a journal of pages of Scripture written in her own hand—she had every page filled.  They are reminders to me of a journey we took together.  For a period of time, our paths merged and we walked together.  I wonder if that is how the letter Paul wrote to Timothy felt to him?

Heavenly Father, thank you for the people you bring into our lives who love us just as we are—broken and hurting, empty and needy. They invest into our lives and pour love into us, the love You first poured into them.  Thank you for Scripture and how you speak to us personally through it.  I know from these verses Timothy was someone Paul loved.  He shared his life with him, the good times and bad.  He shared his relationship with Jesus with him.  It is a model to me of how I can relate to people and do the same.  You are so good to us and know just when we need those encouraging words from You the most.  Thank you for blessing me!  In Jesus name, Amen

Cindy (gardnlady)

 

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