“When the Lord your God destroys the nations whose land he is giving you, you will take over their land and settle in their towns and homes. Then you must set apart three cities of refuge in the land the Lord your God is giving you…And if the Lord your God enlarges your territory, as he swore to your ancestors, and gives you all the land he promised them, you must designate three additional cities of refuge. (He will give you this land if you are careful to obey all the commands I have given you – if you always love the Lord your God and walk in his ways.)” Duet. 19:1-9 NLT
Many who came to these cities were literally running for their lives and God gave them a place to go. Where/who do I run to? I hope that I am running to the Lord. He is my shield and hiding place. But, when I run to other things he is always there welcoming me back with open arms. I think on the picture of the sparrow safe in the Lord’s hands. That is where I want to be and know that I am.
“When you go out to fight your enemies and you face horses and chariots and an army greater than your own, do not be afraid. The Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, is with you! When you prepare for battle, the priest must come forward to speak to the troops. He will say to them, ‘Listen to me, all you men of Israel! Do not be afraid as you go out and fight your enemies today! Do not lose heart or panic or trouble before them. For the Lord your God is going with you! He will fight for you against your enemies, and he will give you victory!” Deut. 20:1-4 NLT
Like the Israelites, I sometimes feel overwhelmed and defeated. God told them that he was always with them & already reuscued them from potential danger. It comforts me to know that he is not just with me, but he goes before me. Paul understood this. He continued ministering to others even when he was a shipwrecked prisoner.
“In that region there was an estate of the leading citizen of the island, whose name was Publius, who received us and entertained us courteously for three days. And it happened that the father of Publius lay sick of a fever and dysentery. Paul went in to him and prayed, and he laid his hands on him and healed him. So when this was done, the rest of the island who had diseases also came and were healed. They also honored us in many ways; and when we departed, they provided such things as were necessary.” Acts 28:7-9 NLT
Dear Father, I am so grateful that I can run to you. Thank you for your patience and mercy. Your are my safe place. I pray that I can share with others from the confident trust I have in you. Amen.
“For the next two years, Paul lived in Rome at his own expense. He welcomed all who visited him, boldly proclaiming the Kingdom of God and teaching about the Lord Jesus Christ. And no one tried to stop him.” Acts 28:30 NLT
Filed under 66 Books, Acts, Bible in a year reading plan, Deuteronomy, New Testament, Old Testament
Tagged as 66 books, Bible reading plan, Boldness, Courage, Faith, fear, hard heart, healing, Holy Spirit, miracles, New Testament, Old Testament, refuge, rescue
“God’s light came into the world, but people loved the darkness more than the light, for their actions were evil. All who do evil hate the light and refuse to go near it for fear their sins will be exposed. But those who do what is right come to the light so others can see that they are doing what God wants.” John 3:19–21 NLT
Jesus brought the Samaritan women’s sins into the light. Not to expose her and make her feel shame, but to restore her and break her free from her bondage…
“Soon a Samaritan woman came to draw water, and Jesus said to her, “Please give me a drink.” The woman was surprised, for Jews refuse to have anything to do with Samaritans. She said to Jesus, “You are a Jew, and I am a Samaritan woman. Why are you asking me for a drink?” Jesus replied, “If you only knew the gift God has for you and who you are speaking to, you would ask me, and I would give you living water.” John 4:7-10 NLT
Jesus initiated the conversation with the Samaritan woman. He was more concerned with her healing than how she would respond. He saw into her heart and spoke identity and love over her. She was so moved by his compassion towards her that she wanted to tell everyone.
“The woman left her water jar beside the well, and ran back to the village, telling everyone, “Come and see a man who told me everything I ever did! Could he possibly be the Messiah?” John 4:28&29 NLT
Dear Father, Thank you that you see me. That you pursue me. Thank you for your mercy and for calling me your Beloved. Forgive me for the times that I’ve let fear hold me back from telling others about you. I praise you for who you are. Amen.
“He must become greater, and I must become less and less.” John 3:30 NLT
Filed under 66 Books, John
Tagged as 66 books, Bible in a year, healing, hope, humility, Identity in Christ, Jesus, love, mercy, New Testament, restoration, shame
“What is the price of two sparrows-one copper coin? But not a single sparrow can fall to the ground without your Father knowing it. And the very hairs on your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows.” Matthew 10:29-31 NLT
The sparrow is a small, seemingly insignificant bird. If God cares about them, how much more does he care about me? It reminds me of these lyrics by Casting Crowns, “Who am I, that the Lord of all the earth would care to know my name. Would care to feel my hurt?”
The Pharisees asked Jesus, “Does the law permit a person to work by healing on the Sabbath?” (They were hoping he would say yes, so they could bring charges against him.) 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. And how much more valuable is a person than a sheep! Yes, the law permits a person to do good on the Sabbath.” 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 12:10-13 NLT
The Pharisees placed their law above human need. But, Jesus cared more about the person he was healing, than that it was on the Sabbath.
This fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah concerning him: “Look at my Servant, whom I have chosen. He is my Beloved, who pleases me. I will put my Spirit upon him, and he will proclaim justice to the nations…And his name will be the hope of all the world.” Matthew 12:17-21 NLT
Dear Father, thank you that your spirit is resting inside of me. When I’m worried, I will remember your constant care for me. Thank you for your provision. Nothing is too hard for You. Amen.
“About that time Hezekiah became deathly ill. “This is what the Lord says: ‘Set your affairs in order, for you are going to die. You will not recover from this illness.” When Hezekiah heard this, he turned his face to the wall and prayed to the Lord, “Remember, O Lord, how I have always been faithful to you and have served you single-mindedly, always doing what pleases you. “This is what the Lord, the God of your ancestor David, says: I have heard your prayer and seen your tear… I will add fifteen years to your life” Isaiah 38:1-5 NLT
Hezekiah was so bold to pray that prayer. He knew that God had more for him to do. Am I praying courageous prayers in faith? Or has the enemy got me so discouraged that I don’t?
“Only the living can praise you as I do today. Each generation tells of your faithfulness to the next. Think of it-the Lord is ready to heal me! I will sing his praises with instruments every day of my life in the Temple of the Lord.” Isaiah 39:19&20 NLT
I think about times when the Lord has answered my prayers and I journal about His faithfulness. And my faith is strengthened. But, I can also get forgetful. Did Hezekiah know that he would get discouraged to? That’s why he took the time to write his story? And he wanted the Lord to get the glory for what He did in his life, for generations to come?
“Listen! It’s the voice of someone shouting. “Clear the way through the wilderness for the Lord! Make a straight highway through the wasteland for our God! Fill in the valleys, and level the mountains and hills. Straighten the curves, and smooth out the rough places. Then the glory of the Lord will be revealed, and all the people will see it together. The Lord has spoken!” Isaiah 40:3-4 NLT
Dear Lord, thank you that you are a God of restoration and redemption. Thank you for your grace. Thank you that you still perform miracles today. Even if the healing doesn’t come, you are still good. You are sovereign. I trust You. Amen.
“Look up into the heavens. Who created all the stars? He brings them out like an army, one after another, calling each by its name. Because of his great power and incomparable strength, not a single one is missing.” Isaiah 49:26 NLT
“Then Jehoshaphat, Asa’s son, became the next king. The Lord was with Jehoshaphat because he followed the example of his father’s early years and did not worship the images of Baal. He sought his father’s God and obeyed his commands instead of following the evil practices of the kingdom of Israel. He was deeply committed to the ways of the Lord. He removed the pagan shrines and Asherah poles from Judah. Then the fear of the Lord fell over the surrounding kingdoms so that none of them wanted to declare war on Jehoshaphat.” 2 Chronicles 17:1-10 NLT
Jehoshaphat was unwavering in his faith. The Lord was protecting him. What ways am I trying to protect myself? To cover up? Do I believe that the Lord is my safety?
“As I watched, the Lamb broke the first of the seven seals on the scroll. Then I heard one of the four living beings say with a voice like thunder, “Come!” I looked up and saw a white horse standing there. Its rider carried a bow, and a crown was placed on his head. He rode out to win many battles and to gain the victory. When the Lamb broke the second seal, I heard the second living being say, “Come!” Revelation 6:1-3 NLT
I can get too caught up in what I don’t understand about the imagery of Revelation, that I miss the message. Jesus is beckoning me to come. He calls after me and pursues me. Sometimes I let too many things hinder me. I come up with excuses, like the man in the story at the pool in Bethesda….
“After Jesus returned to Jerusalem for one of the Jewish holy days. Inside the city, near the Sheep Gate, was the pool of Bethesda, with five covered porches. Crowds of sick people-blind, lame, or paralyzed-lay on the porches. One of the men lying there had been sick for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him and knew he had been ill for a long time, he asked him, “Would you like to get well?” “I can’t, sir,” the sick man said, “for I have no one to put me into the pool when the water bubbles up. Someone else always gets there ahead of me.” Jesus told him, “Stand up, pick up your mat, and walk!” Instantly, the man was healed! He rolled up his sleeping mat and began walking!” John 5:1-9 NLT
Dear Father, thank you that you never stop pursing me. That you look straight through to my heart. Thank you for coming to earth as a baby and that your coming back one day. I praise you. Amen.
“The Lord says, “Shout and rejoice, O beautiful Jerusalem, for I am coming to live among you. Many nations will join themselves to the Lord one day, and they, too, will be my people. I will live among you, and you will know that the Lord of Heaven’s Armies sent me to you.” Zechariah 2:10-11 NLT