Tag Archives: grace

Numbers 27; Psalms 70,71; Isaiah 17,18; 1 Peter 5

Inheritance. Restoration. The Lord of Heaven’s Armies. A prowler and an exhortation.

At times, I thought it was a sprint–times of intensity and the perception of an end … in a week … in a couple of weeks … I’m beginning to understand I can’t look that far ahead. It’s a whole new level of one-day-at-a-time. Sprint turns marathon, and did I exhaust energy early on? I stumble here or there, weary. There are unfamiliar hurdles, and they are harder to clear. Defeat comes from inside.

A post on identity in my inbox encourages me after a fall, and I get back up. I read today of inheritance–and I remember I am a child of God.

An enemy taunts from a new vantage point; it’s too close and I’m caught off guard. The psalms sing:

19 Your righteousness, O God, reaches to the highest heavens.
    You have done such wonderful things.
    Who can compare with you, O God?
20 You have allowed me to suffer much hardship,
    but you will restore me to life again
    and lift me up from the depths of the earth.
21 You will restore me to even greater honor
    and comfort me once again. Psalm 71:19-21, NLT (emphasis mine)

I run through mines that are buried in the course–a battlefield. I will not forget the God who can save me. I will not forget the Rock who can hide me. The Lord of Heaven’s Armies.

So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up in honor. Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.

Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith. Remember that your family of believers all over the world is going through the same kind of suffering you are.

10 In his kindness God called you to share in his eternal glory by means of Christ Jesus. So after you have suffered a little while, he will restore, support, and strengthen you, and he will place you on a firm foundation. 11 All power to him forever! Amen. 1 Peter 5:6-11, NLT (emphasis mine)

I am reminded God cares for me and I can give all my worries to him. I am reminded to stand firm against an enemy, and to be strong in my faith. I am reminded that God will restore, support and strengthen me. He will place me on a firm foundation.

My purpose in writing is to encourage you and assure you that what you are experiencing is truly part of God’s grace for you. Stand firm in this grace. 1 Peter 5:12b, NLT

Amen.

Courtney (66books365)

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Exodus 12, Job 42, John 3, 2 Corinthians 12

Have you ever experienced an earth shattering, life changing, stop you right in your tracks kind of event that tuned your world upside down? Just a few years ago, my family’s lives were changed when were in a horrible car accident that landed me in shock trauma for a month and another 10 months recovering. It was one of those experiences that will definitely go down in our family’s history book as a game changer.

Just today I was talking with someone about something completely unrelated to our experience and realized that I  think of life as “before the accident” or “after the accident”. It has left a mark on our family mentally, spiritually and physically. Our trials, our pain, the lasting effects of trauma still rear their ugly head on a daily basis. Not too long ago, I was really caught off guard and convicted in my own self pity. You see, when there’s a life altering event, things are never the same again. I was fortunate to survive the accident and be put back together by some great surgeons and we, quite literally, experienced a miracle but there are lasting effects that friends and family don’t always see. There’s the day to day pain, medications for permanent nerve damage, intersections to avoid because it’s too hard to see and difficulties traveling in any type of moving vehicle, bus or plane . I am not the same friend and mom I was before and often tire quickly and have difficulty with even mundane tasks.

In reading Paul’s word, I am convicted and reminded that these weaknesses I now experience in my life are a reminder of how big my of God is. Not just that he saved me from death in the accident but so much more than that.

Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:8-10

We learned so much from that blink of an eye moment in time three and a half years ago. We learned how to rely on the Lord for strength. We learned how to accept help from others and lean on our brothers and sisters in Christ for prayer and support. The good and fruitful things we experienced from the hardship was far greater than bad. When I feel the pain in my neck or the numbness in my arm, I am reminded of my weaknesses. In my weakness, He is strong. And like Job, the Lord has blessed us beyond measure and far greater than we could ever imagine.

Sometimes we don’t understand the things we are going through and there are certain experiences we never will. But we can be sure that the Lord has a purpose in everything.

Then Job answered the Lord and said:

“I know that you can do all things,
    and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted.
‘Who is this that hides counsel without knowledge?’
Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand,
    things too wonderful for me, which I did not know.
‘Hear, and I will speak;
    I will question you, and you make it known to me.’
I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear,
    but now my eye sees you” Job 42:2-5

 

Dear Lord, help me to boast only in my weakness and in your strength. Thank you for having a purpose in everything, even when we don’t understand. May we decrease so that you may increase! 

kateredding

 

 

 

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Exodus 16; Luke 19; Job 34; 2 Corinthians 4

For we do not proclaim ourselves; we proclaim Jesus Christ as Lord and ourselves as your slaves for Jesus’ sake. For it is God who said, “Let light shine out of darkness, “who has shown in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” 2 Corinthians 4:5-6

2 Corinthians 4 is a warm Spring breeze blowing through the open window of a house that has been closed up for the winter. It brings life and renewal, song and sunlight. There’s a new fragrance coming into the house that pushes away the stale air.

This gospel is not about me; it’s not about me clenching my jaw and willing myself to be good enough, effective enough and (the Lord knows) busy enough. This gospel is about Him and his goodness, his love. The gospel transforms the humble and broken; it brings them to life:  life in the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. I can breathe again.

Here’s my manna from heaven, what feeds my soul: God has deposited within me this eternal weight of glory. It is not of my making nor because I deserve it. It is God’s idea and by his good grace that he invites me to put aside my sorry attempts at self righteousness to be dressed in the very glory of his Son.

For this slight momentary affliction is preparing us for an eternal weight of glory beyond all measure, because we look not at what can be seen but at what cannot be seen; for what can be seen is temporary, but what cannot be seen is eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:17-18.

It’s been the Father’s desire that his people know and enjoy this glory throughout history. He wants us to know and enjoy the peace that only He can provide. In Exodus, God longs for the Israelites to be satisfied, but too often, like me they insist on having their way and refuse his command to honor his provision (they gather too much or too little manna) and don’t embrace his Sabbath rest. This human rebellion grieves Jesus so deeply that he weeps over Jerusalem saying, “If you, even you, had only recognized on this day the things that make for peace!” Luke 19:42.  And then he enters the very city and ministers to those of us who are so insistent on our not needing him; we end up crucifying him.

But anything I throw at Christ has been conquered by his love for me. This is the love that breaks the power of sin and death over me. This is my eternal weight of glory.   When I accept his love for me and rest in it, I am changed. The peace that he longs for me to possess is mine.

O Lord, may I respond to your transforming love with a full and grateful heart. Help me to recognize on this day the things that make for peace. Thank you for your love and kindness towards me, an undeserving sinner who rejected you. But here I am, and you call me yours. You are my glory and joy forever.  Amen

Kathy

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Exodus 2; Luke 5; Job 19; 1 Corinthians 6

Outcasts, aliens and misfits. Moses straddles two worlds. He is the adopted Hebrew son of an Egyptian queen and then a criminal on the run. He has carried the pain of the alienation on his journey; it is heard when he names his firstborn Gershom, for “I have been an alien residing in a foreign land.” Exodus 2:22

Job is drowning in sorrow, forsaken by God and man:

“He has stripped my glory from me and taken the crown from my head…He has put my family far from me, and my acquaintances are wholly estranged from me. My relatives and close friends failed me; the guests in my home have forgotten me.” Job 19:9…13

He clings to the surety of God’s love; this prevents him from being overcome by punishing waves of sorrow, loneliness and pain:

“I know that my Redeemer lives, and that at last he will stand upon the earth; and after my skin has been thus destroyed, then in my flesh I shall see God, and my eyes shall behold, and not another. My heart faints within me!” Luke 19:25-27

Jesus reaches out to those who are despised and rejected. You can hear the derision in the words of the Pharisees and scribes:

“Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?” Luke 5:30

It’s for the rejected and needy that Jesus stands up:

“Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick; I have come to call not the righteous but sinners to repentance.” Luke 5:31

At one time or another, we are all the middle schooler sitting alone in the crowded lunchroom, the refugee, the homeless, the forgotten. Christ opens his arms and invites himself into our lives and our homes. He was despised and rejected so that I would not know separation from God.

Paul invites me to abandon the crowd mentality and the futile living that threatens to wall me off from joy of knowing Christ. He tells me that I am a temple of the living God. As God said,

“I will live in them and walk among them, and will be their God, and they shall be my people. Therefore come out from them, and be separated from them, says the Lord, and touch nothing unclean: then I will welcome you, and I will be your father, and you shall be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty. 1 Corinthians 6:16-18 

 

Lord of all creation, thank you that you humble yourself and pursue me. Jesus, thank you for taking the rejection, pain and sorrow that belonged to me so I would not be separated from you. Show me the parts of my life that I hold back so that I might repent and surrender all that I am to you. For you are my Father and  I am your daughter. Show me  what it means to live for you you today. Amen.

Klueh

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Genesis 13; Matthew 12; Nehemiah 2; Acts 12

God’s provision.

14 After Lot had gone, the Lord said to Abram, “Look as far as you can see in every direction—north and south, east and west. 15 I am giving all this land, as far as you can see, to you and your descendants as a permanent possession. 16 And I will give you so many descendants that, like the dust of the earth, they cannot be counted! 17 Go and walk through the land in every direction, for I am giving it to you.” Genesis 13:14-17, NLT (emphasis mine)

***

11 And he answered, “If you had a sheep that fell into a well on the Sabbath, wouldn’t you work to pull it out? Of course you would. 12 And how much more valuable is a person than a sheep! Yes, the law permits a person to do good on the Sabbath.”

13 Then he said to the man, “Hold out your hand.” So the man held out his hand, and it was restored, just like the other one! Matthew 12:11-13, NLT (emphasis mine)

***

I also said to the king, “If it please the king, let me have letters addressed to the governors of the province west of the Euphrates River, instructing them to let me travel safely through their territories on my way to Judah. And please give me a letter addressed to Asaph, the manager of the king’s forest, instructing him to give me timber. I will need it to make beams for the gates of the Temple fortress, for the city walls, and for a house for myself.” And the king granted these requests, because the gracious hand of God was on me. Nehemiah 2:7-8, NLT (emphasis mine)

***

11 Peter finally came to his senses. “It’s really true!” he said. “The Lord has sent his angel and saved me from Herod and from what the Jewish leaders had planned to do to me!” Acts 12:11, NLT (emphasis mine)

A place, a people, food, restoration, equipment, protection. And that’s just a sampling of these four chapters. (How many of these acts ended in exclamation!)

He is generous. He is merciful. He is gracious. He is strong.

21 And his name will be the hope
    of all the world. (Matthew 12:21, NLT)

Amen!

Courtney (66books365)

 

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Gen. 8; Matt. 8; Ezra 8; Acts 8

Reading the Sermon on the Mount feels like a homecoming. I can get worked up about the events of the day, good and bad,  but falling back onto these words of Jesus puts reality back in view. God’s way radically differs from my ideas of how things should work.

As soon as Jesus finishes his sermon, he comes down off the mountain and demonstrates what it means to live this new world order, this life of grace. Untouchables are embraced; faith and trust are rewarded above effort and getting things right. He breaches social, cultural and geographic boundaries to deliver and heal. He isn’t worried about what others will think or how they will respond. He stays true to the Father’s will.

The early church fathers imitate him despite heated persecution. People who never knew what it meant to be a chosen people, find themselves the target of God’s grace. Samaritans, once despised by the Jews, now embrace the good news of the Gospel so that the name of Jesus continues to heal and deliver, and “there was great joy in that city.”Acts 8:8 God uses Phillip to lead an influential Ethiopian eunuch to salvation. Immediately afterwards, Phillip finds himself miraculously transported to another region to share the Gospel. The favor of God which had found home in the lives of a few during of Noah and Ezra’s times, is now poured out unrestrained and with force. It is like a river roaring over and above its banks and covering a land knowing no borders.

Stephen’s admonishment to the Jewish leaders (from yesterday’s reading) challenges me, “Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool. What kind of house will you build for me, says the Lord, or what is the place of my rest? Did not my hand make all these things?” Acts 7:49-59 How am I building my house, my life? There is this very large part of me that doesn’t want the status quo that the Pharisees held onto so dearly; that kind of self righteousness is stifling and squeezes all the fun out of life, but there is also the part of me that doesn’t want to take risks and wants to remain comfortable and secure in what I know. But I hear the call of Jesus and he invites me into something far greater, far more beautiful than the meager vision I have for my life.  So I pray:

Dear Lord, relieve me of my imagined, personal world order and that illusion of control. Let me trust you and your ways. Thank you for the life you have given me, these eyes that you have opened to see your beauty and this heart that yearns to know you. Thank you for your unwarranted favor. Take my life and make it want you it want to be. In the name of your son, Jesus, Amen.

Kathy

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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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