Tag Archives: hope

1 Samuel 15-16; 1 Chronicles 1; Psalm 39; Acts 11

Samuel gave a message to Saul from the Lord. Saul didn’t completely obey the command. Perhaps he thought he did enough, but he really did what pleased himself.

35 Samuel never went to meet with Saul again, but he mourned constantly for him. And the Lord was sorry he had ever made Saul king of Israel. (Samuel 15:35, NLT)

Those words cause me to mourn too. Tasks unfinished, or work half-hearted, one doesn’t have to be a king to do a poor job, to be selfish. The Lord, he sees it all.

Lately, I’ve been working on goals, and as big things get checked off and I consider the little things, I lose heart. These dailies, they seem quite small and insignificant (and to be honest, some things I just don’t want to do). But a friend kindly pointed out the deep importance of my diligence. And when I shifted my gaze to what God has before me, the diligence is not only shaping character, it has a potential to affect generations. These daily little things–a choice to do them or not has very real (and bigger) consequences.

David was out in the fields watching sheep and goats. His place in the family–shepherd and youngest–seeming, perhaps, quite small and insignificant. He wasn’t given a thought to be called to meet Samuel.

11 Then Samuel asked, “Are these all the sons you have?”

“There is still the youngest,” Jesse replied. “But he’s out in the fields watching the sheep and goats.”

“Send for him at once,” Samuel said. “We will not sit down to eat until he arrives.”

12 So Jesse sent for him. He was dark and handsome, with beautiful eyes.

And the Lord said, “This is the one; anoint him.” (Samuel 16:11-12, NLT)

David goes from the field to serving in Saul’s court as harpist and armor bearer. And that was just the start. He was chosen by God. Would David choose God back? (Perhaps Saul wanted to follow God, but he wanted what he wanted more, and his lack of focus would cost him.)

Lord, remind me how brief my time on earth will be.
    Remind me that my days are numbered—
    how fleeting my life is.
You have made my life no longer than the width of my hand.
    My entire lifetime is just a moment to you;
    at best, each of us is but a breath.” 

We are merely moving shadows,
    and all our busy rushing ends in nothing.
We heap up wealth,
    not knowing who will spend it.
And so, Lord, where do I put my hope?
    My only hope is in you. (Psalm 39:4-7, NLT)

These readings are full of wisdom and encouragement. Lineages chronicled of people, all part of God’s story. And in Acts, believers, unnamed, are scattered with the power of the Lord, influencing many lives. Life, wholehearted.

24 Barnabas was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and strong in faith. And many people were brought to the Lord. (Acts 11:24, NLT)

Lord, thank you for this gentle correction. I praise you for the big ways you’ve moved in my life this year. And I want to be passionately diligent with the (seemingly) little things. You’re looking at my heart. I put my hope in you.

Courtney (66books365)

 

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Filed under 1 Chronicles, 1 Samuel, 66 Books, Acts, Bible in a year reading plan, New Testament, Old Testament, Psalms, Uncategorized

Judges 9-11; Psalms 17; Luke 23

“The Israelites were in great distress. Finally, they cried out to the Lord for help, saying, “We have sinned against you because we have abandoned you as our God and have served the images of Baal.” The Lord replied, “Did I not rescue you from the Egyptians, the Amorites, the Ammonites, the Philistines, the Sidonians, the Amalekites, and the Maonites? When they oppressed you, you cried out to me for help, and I rescued you. Yet you have abandoned me and served other gods. So I will not rescue you anymore. Go and cry out to the gods you have chosen! Let them rescue you in your hour of distress!” But the Israelites pleaded with the Lord and said,”We have sinned. Punish us as you see fit, only rescue us today from our enemies.” Then the Israelites put aside their foreign gods and served the Lord. And he was grieved by their misery.” Judges 10:9-16 NLT

What other gods am I following? Sometimes good things can turn into idols if I am not careful.  Before I know it my focus is on them and off of the one who graciously gives them to me.

“As they led Jesus away, a man named Simon, who was from Cyrene, happened to be coming in from the countryside. The soldiers seized him and put the cross on him and made him carry it behind Jesus. A large crowd trailed behind, including many grief-stricken women.” Luke 23:26-27 NLT

I reflect on the things in my life that have over-shadowed the cross.

“But Jesus’ friends, including the women who had followed him from Galilee, stood at a distance watching.” Luke 23:49 NLT

The women followed Jesus all the way to the cross.  “The more we follow Jesus, the more we fall in love with Him, want to obey Him, experience life with Him, and become a beacon of light to others through Him.  Will following Him be inconvenient? Maybe.  Will it cost us in ways that stretch us? Sometimes.  Does it force us to live life with a less self-centered outlook? Yes.  Does living to follow Jesus at every turn bring joy that we can’t get any other way? Absolutely.  Following Him is the very thing our souls were created to do.  And it is the most daily way to discover our purpose in life.” (Embraced Devotional, Lysa TerKeurst)

“As his body was taken away, the women from Galilee followed and saw the tomb where his body was placed.” Luke 23:55 NLT

They wanted to be near him.

“I have followed your commands, which keep me from following cruel and evil people. My steps have stayed on your path; I have not wavered from following you. I am praying to you because I know you will answer, O God. Bend down and listen as I pray. Show me your unfailing love in wonderful ways. By your mighty power you rescue those who seek refuge from their enemies. Guard me as you would guard your own eyes. Hide me in the shadow of your wings.” Psalms 17:4-8 NLT

Dear Father, please forgive me for putting other things before you. Thank you for your grace and mercy. For your presence.  To you be the glory. Amen.

Amy(amyctanner)

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Deuteronomy 32-34; Psalms 13; Luke 13

“Then Jesus said, “What is the Kingdom of God like? How can I illustrate it? It is like a tiny mustard seed that a man planted in a garden; it grows and becomes a tree, and the birds make nests in its branches.” Luke 13:18&19 NLT

He also asked, “What else is the Kingdom of God like? It is like the yeast a woman used in making bread. Even though she put only a little yeast in three measures of flour, it permeated every part of the dough.” Luke 13:20 NLT

As I prepare my heart for Easter, I think about God’s Kingdom coming to earth. Humble beginnings. The obedience of Jesus.  Even with the knowledge of his death, he pressed on…

“Jesus went through the towns and villages, teaching as he went, always pressing on toward Jerusalem.” Luke 13:22 NLT

Moses, the man who once couldn’t find the words, lead the children of Israel with a song.  He reminded them of God’s faithfulness.

“Listen, O heavens, and I will speak! Hear, O earth, the words that I say! Let my teaching fall on you like rain; let my speech settle like dew. Let my words fall like rain on tender grass, like gentle showers on young plants. I will proclaim the name of the Lord; how glorious is our God! He is the Rock; his deeds are perfect. Everything he does is just and fair. He is a faithful God who does no wrong; how just and upright he is!” Deuteronomy 32:1-4 NLT

Moses was called Israel’s greatest prophet, but his disobedience kept him from entering the Promised Land.

“Then the Lord said to Moses, “This is the land I promised on oath to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob when I said, ‘I will give it to your descendants. ‘I have now allowed you to see it with your own eyes, but you will not enter the land.” So Moses, the servant of the Lord, died there in the land of Moab, just as the Lord had said.” Deuteronomy 34:4&5 NLT

Sometimes God wants my obedience, even when I can’t see the results.

“There has never been another prophet in Israel like Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face. The Lord sent him to perform all the miraculous signs and wonders in the land of Egypt against Pharaoh, and all his servants, and his entire land. With mighty power, Moses performed terrifying acts in the sight of Israel.” Deuteronomy 34:10-12 NLT

Dear Father, Help me to be more concerned about building your kingdom, instead of my own.  Thank you for making a way to you through your death on the cross.  Give me eyes to see glimpses of your glory everyday.  Amen.

“But I trust in your unfailing love. I will rejoice because you have rescued me. I will sing to the Lord because he is good to me.” Psalms 13:5 NLT

Amy(amyctanner)

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Filed under 66 Books, Deuteronomy, Luke, Psalms

Exodus 35-37; Psalms 26; Philippians 4

“Come, all of you who are gifted craftsman. Construct everything that the Lord has commanded: the Tabernacle and its sacred tent, its covering, clasps, frames, crossbars, posts, and bases; the Ark and its carrying poles; the Ark’s cover-the place of atonement; the inner curtain to shield the Ark.” Exodus 35:10-12 NLT

My one word for the year is TRUST. But, since I had a difficult time narrowing it down to just that word, give and create are also on that list. I’ve come to realize they both fall under the umbrella of trust. I have to trust that God will take what I offer him and use it for his purposes, even if I can’t see it now. He cares about the big and small details. So many details went into the making of the Tabernacle, Ark, Table, Lamp stand and Incense altar. He didn’t just ask anyone to make it. He chose certain craftsman (Exodus 36:1 NLT). This is such a great reminder that when my calling feels small and insignificant, he sees me and gave me unique skills that only I can do.

“Then Moses said to the whole community of Israel, “This is what the Lord has commanded: Take a sacred offering to the Lord. Let those with generous hearts present the following gifts to the Lord: gold, silver, and bronze; blue, purple, and scarlet thread; fine linen and goat hair for cloth; tanned ram skins and fine goatskin leather; acacia wood; olive oil for the lamps.” Exodus 35:4-8 NLT

The people were generous in their help donating material things towards the completion of the sanctuary. They gave. They didn’t hold back. What might I be holding back from the Lord? Being generous and living in community will cost me something… time, energy and resources. Do I trust that God will supply what I need like Paul did?

“Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength. Even so, you have done well to share with me in my present difficulty. As you know, you Philippians were the only ones who gave me financial help when I first brought you the Good News and then traveled on from Macedonia. No other church did this. Even when I was in Thessalonica you sent help more than once. I don’t say this because I want a gift from you. Rather, I want you to receive a reward in kindness. At the moment I have all I need-and more! I am generously supplied with the gifts you sent me with Epaphroditus. They are a sweet-smelling sacrifice that is acceptable and pleasing to God. And the same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:11-19 NLT

Dear Father, thank you for your provision. I pray that I wouldn’t let fear hold me back from what you called me to do. Help me to love others and share my life with them. Amen.

“I have trusted in the Lord without wavering. Now I stand on solid ground, and I will publicly praise the Lord.” Psalms 26:1&12 NLT

Amy(amyctanner)

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Filed under Exodus, Philippians, Psalms

Exodus 25-27; Psalm 90; Philippians 1

Everyone could play a part. From metal workers, wood workers, designers/decorators, fabric tamers–they constructed the Tabernacle supports, curtains, lampstand, table, utensils and the Ark of the Covenant. And if they weren’t a worker in the effort, they could still contribute.

The Lord said to Moses, “Tell the people of Israel to bring me their sacred offerings. Accept the contributions from all whose hearts are moved to offer them. (Exodus 25:1-2, NLT)

Involvement was a choice of heart. They worked together, doing their part, bringing their best–in reverence and in love.

Teach me, Lord.

Teach us to realize the brevity of life,
    so that we may grow in wisdom. (Psalm 90:12, NLT)

I have a different translation of Psalm 90:12 on top of a page where I’ve narrowed my focus in the coming months to cultivate areas of my life that need tending. I’m glad to see it here today, reminding me. Reminding me.

You sweep people away like dreams that disappear. (Psalm 90:5a, NLT)

One thing I learned last year in handling my dad’s estate is that what (we) leave behind reveals what mattered to (us). (Oh, where your treasure is, there your heart will be also!)

Heart, work, purpose, passion. Paul is in prison. His words are marked with thanks, joy, and faith.

I pray that your love will overflow more and more, and that you will keep on growing in knowledge and understanding. 10 For I want you to understand what really matters, so that you may live pure and blameless lives until the day of Christ’s return. 11 May you always be filled with the fruit of your salvation—the righteous character produced in your life by Jesus Christ—for this will bring much glory and praise to God. (Philippians 1:9-11, NLT, emphasis mine)

He looks at where he is and sees purpose–not cause for complaint.

12 And I want you to know, my dear brothers and sisters, that everything that has happened to me here has helped to spread the Good News. 13 For everyone here, including the whole palace guard, knows that I am in chains because of Christ. 14 And because of my imprisonment, most of the believers here have gained confidence and boldly speak God’s message without fear. (Philippians 1:12-14, NLT)

I reexamine my position, my posture, my purpose.

27 Above all, you must live as citizens of heaven, conducting yourselves in a manner worthy of the Good News about Christ. Then, whether I come and see you again or only hear about you, I will know that you are standing together with one spirit and one purpose, fighting together for the faith, which is the Good News. 28 Don’t be intimidated in any way by your enemies. This will be a sign to them that they are going to be destroyed, but that you are going to be saved, even by God himself. 29 For you have been given not only the privilege of trusting in Christ but also the privilege of suffering for him. 30 We are in this struggle together. You have seen my struggle in the past, and you know that I am still in the midst of it. (Philippians 1:27-30, NLT)

Every day, Lord, you remind me I am free. You call me to walk in freedom. You tell me I am yours, my home is with you, my portion is you.

Satisfy us each morning with your unfailing love,
    so we may sing for joy to the end of our lives. (Psalm 90:14, NLT)

Courtney (66books365)

 

 

 

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Filed under 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, Uncategorized

Exodus 19-21; Psalm 33; Ephesians 5

18 But the Lord watches over those who fear him, those who rely on his unfailing love.  19He rescues them from death and keeps them alive in times of famine. (Psalm 33:18-19) NLT

I have never experienced a famine. The pictures we see of those who are in the midst of it and living in a society where it is the norm make me want to cry.  I want to send them all food out of my abundance.  I feel compassion for these people with all my heart.

Looking back over my life, there is a time I can picture my soul looking exactly like the people we see living in a country that knows nothing but famine, people who are starving—it was emaciated and near death from lack of spiritual food. I believe it is referred to as the dark night of the soul. The sadness and depression were weighing me down and eating at my insides.  I had no hope.  At that time, there was nothing of God in my life.  I knew who God was in my head but did not yet have the heart knowledge of Him.  I cried out to him and His hand reached down and found me in my pit.  I grabbed tight when He called my name.  It was as if He said, “Baby girl, enough of doing life your way.”  I had lived in that land of famine for so long I didn’t even know a different way.  He showed me what I was missing most–I was missing the bread of life (John 6:35 Jesus replied, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry again. Whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.)  I was starving because I was missing the only food that truly feeds my soul—the Word of God.  Jesus rescued me from death.

20 We put our hope in the Lord. He is our help and our shield. 21 In him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his holy name. 22 Let your unfailing love surround us, Lord, for our hope is in you alone.

Heavenly Father–Every day I need to rely on your unfailing love. It is what fills me, sustains me, lifts me when I begin to feel defeated, and gives my heart a reason to rejoice.  My hope is in you alone, Lord.  Your well never runs dry. My neediness is never too much for you.  Thank you for breathing life into my soul.  In Jesus name, Amen

Cindy (gardnlady)

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Genesis 3-5; Mark 2

“The serpent was the shrewdest of all the wild animals the Lord God had made. One day he asked the woman, “Did God really say you must not eat the fruit from any of the trees in the garden?” “Of course we may eat fruit from the trees in the garden,” the woman replied. “It’s only the fruit from the tree in the middle of the garden that we are not allowed to eat. God said, ‘You must not eat it or even touch it; if you do, you will die.” “You won’t die!” the serpent replied to the woman. Genesis 3:1-4 NLT

Satan’s tactics haven’t changed. Even though he can’t read my mind, he’ll try and put doubt in it. Whispering… “Did God really say that?” Before I know it, trust turns to confusion and I am deceived. Sometimes he sneaks up on me so slyly and I have to be on guard. The best way to battle him is filling my mind with the truth of God’s word ever day.

“When Jesus returned to Capernaum several days later, the news spread quickly that he was back home. Soon the house where he was staying was so packed with visitors that there was no more room, even outside the door. While he was preaching God’s word to them, four men arrived carrying a paralyzed man on a mat. They couldn’t bring him to Jesus because of the crowd, so they dug a hole through the roof above his head. Then they lowered the man his mat, right down in front of Jesus. Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the paralyzed man, “My child, your sins are forgiven. Stand up, pick up your mat, and go home! And the mam jumped up, grabbed his mat, and walked out through the stunned onlookers. They were all amazed and praised God, exclaiming, “We’ve never seen anything like this before!” Mark 2:1-5, 11&12 NLT

I want to have faith like the crippled man and do whatever I can to get to Jesus.  He didn’t let his brokenness hold him back. He let others help him. When I am too weak, I pray for friends who will carry me to his feet.  Sometimes, I let my stubbornness keep me from his healing touch. Or, like Adam and Eve, I think I can hide and cover up. But God knows my heart. There’s no pretending with him. So, why do I try? He is always there, waiting for me to draw near and come in his presence.

When Jesus heard this, he told them, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor-sick people do. I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners.” Mark 2:17 NLT

Dear Jesus, thank you for making a way for me to come to you, through your death on the cross. I am grateful for your Holy Spirit. Thank you for the promise that you are always with me. Amen

Amy(amyctanner)

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Filed under 66 Books, Genesis, Mark