Tag Archives: hope

2 Samuel 18-20; 2 Cor. 6; Psalm 56

Photo by Mandy Baldwin

“When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.
     In God, whose word I praise
in God I trust and am not afraid.
    What can mere mortals do to me?” Psalm 56:3-4, NIV

I’ve read this passage of scripture so many times. When I was younger I struggled in understanding how I could not be afraid … especially of tornadoes. I would sit in the back hallway of the house with the rest of my family and shake and cry in fear of what would happen when the tornado hit…which it never did. I would love to say I outgrew this fear and although I don’t sit and shake and cry when the tornado sirens go off, I’m still very much afraid.

Fear can be all encompassing. It can fill all our thoughts and cause us to singularly focus on the thing that is terrorizing our minds. We can freeze and loose hope for the future. All we know about the life of David demonstrates that he had every right to be afraid. Protecting his sheep from wild animals as a young kid, going up against Goliath as a young man, running from King Saul, running from his own son and as we see in this passage, being captured by the philistines have all been times of potential fear for David.

Photo by Mandy Baldwin

And yet…He says “I trust and am not afraid.” (Psalm 56:4,11) Right before each of these statements of trust, however, is the phrase “In God”. Unlike David, I have not learned to trust so completely that my fear is gone. I’m still afraid of many things. I can’t in my own power compel my fear to subside. But… “In God”. In God, I can learn. In God, I can slow down. In God, I can rest. In God, I can see God working. In God, I feel love. In God, I can love. In God, I receive mercy. In God, I am merciful. In God, I find grace. In God, I can be gracious. In God

In God. Am I in God? Am I pursuing God? Is my fear and anger keeping me from being in God? Is yours? In God is everything because it sets the stage for where God wants to lead us and what He wants to do in and through us. Are we In God?

Dear God, I pray my heart will be In You. I pray that when fear overwhelms, I will find my strength and identity In You. I pray that when I’m consumed with myself and my desires and wants I would turn and place myself In You. When I can’t do any more, I pray you take my life and place it In You. Please Father, do a work that I cannot. Do a work that brings me even more into you. I pray for those reading that they would be drawn into you. May our lives point others to you. And may the fear that clouds our vision, be diminished by being IN YOU. Amen.

Mandy Baldwin (mkaybaldwin)

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Joshua 22-24; Mark 9; Psalms 44;47

“Rather, cling tightly to the Lord your God as you have done until now.  “For the Lord has driven out great and powerful nations for you, and no one has yet been able to defeat you.  Each one of you will put to flight a thousand of the enemy, for the Lord your God fights for you, just as he has promised.” Joshua 23:9-10 NLT

I am reading a book by Max Lucado called, Glory Days.  It is about Joshua.  This is his response to Joshua 23:9&10…”Don’t you love that image? One man of you shall chase a thousand.  I envision a single Hebrew soldier with drawn sword racing after am entire battalion of enemies.  He is outnumbered a thousand to one, but since God fights for him, they scatter like scared pigeons.  I picture the same for you.  The Amorites of your life-fears, dread, hatred, and hurt-come at you like a legion of hoodlums.  Yet rather than run away, you turn and face them. You unsheathe the promise of God’s word and defy the enemies of God’s cause.”  And than he says this, “Did you know that God is fighting for you?”  Wow, how different would I live if I truly remembered that.  And prayed like that.  Jesus fights for me. Just like he fought for the little boy with the evil spirit inside him…

Jesus said to them, “You faithless people! How long must I be with you? How long must I put up with you? Bring the boy to me.” So they brought the boy.  But when the evil spirit saw Jesus, it threw the child into a violent convulsion, and he fell to the ground, writhing and foaming at the mouth.  “How long has this been happening?” Jesus asked the boy’s father.  He replied, “Since he was a little boy.  The spirit often throws him into the fire or into the water, trying to kill him.  Have mercy on us and help us, if you can.”   “What do you mean, ‘If I can’?” Jesus asked. “Anything is possible if a person believes.” ” The father instantly cried out, “I do believe, but help me overcome my unbelief!” Mark 9:19-24 NLT

What areas do I still need healing in that I am not believing God for?  What lies from Satan am I still listening to?

“You drove out the pagan nations by your power and gave all the land to our ancestors.  You crushed their enemies and set our ancestors free.  They did not conquer the land with swords; it was not their own strong arm that gave them victory.  It was your right hand and strong arm and the blinding light from your face that helped them, for you loved them.”  Psalms 44:2&3 NLT

Dear Father, thank you for how much you love me.  Thank you that you give me the power to defeat my enemies.  Sometimes it is my own self-doubt and insecurity that defeats me before I even start.  I claim your promises over my life.  Amen.

Amy(amyctanner)

 

 

 

 

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Deuteronomy 15-18; Acts 27; Psalms 88

“Give generously to the poor, not grudgingly, for the Lord your God will bless you in everything you do. There will always be some in the land who are poor. That is why I am commanding you to share freely with the poor and with other Israelites in need. When you release a male servant, do not send him away empty-handed. Give him a generous farewell gift from your flock, your threshing floor, and your winepress. Share with him some of the bounty with which the Lord your God has blessed you. Remember you were once slaves in the land of Egypt and the Lord your God redeemed you! That is why I am giving you this command.” Deuteronomy 15:10-15 NLT

Remember. But, oh, how many times I forget. I think on God’s faithfulness. His provision. His constant care in my life. How can I not be generous? And share what he has given me. Sometimes it seems easier to hold on to it. Not only money, but my time, talents…all the ways he has been good to me. Sharing is to trust that God will fill the need. Many times, above and beyond what I could ask or imagine.

                                                *

Paul was sailing to Rome. He was a prisoner, under the custody of a Roman officer. He didn’t have a choice, but to rely on friends to take care of him. How humbling that must have been. I am thankful for the times that God has used other people to provide for me and my family. My prayer is that I would do the same for others who have a need.

“The next day we docked at Sidon, Julius was very kind to Paul to let him go ashore to visit with friends so they could provide for his needs.  The next day, as gale-force winds continued to batter the ship, the crew began throwing the cargo overboard. The terrible storm raged for many days, blotting out the sun and the stars, until at last all hope was gone. No one had eaten in a long time. Finally, Paul called the crew together and said, “But take courage! None of you will lose your lives, even though the ship will go down. What’s more, God in his goodness has granted safety to everyone sailing with you.’ So take courage! For I believe God. It will be just as he said. But we will be shipwrecked on an island.” Acts 27 NLT

Paul never gave up hope.  He kept encouraging the people, even after they didn’t listen to him.  His faith and courage had to be contagious.  When I feel alone, I want to be like Paul. Remembering that God is with me.  And reach out to those around me, while proclaiming my belief.  Knowing that the God who got me through the trial before, will be faithful again. 

Dear Father, thank you for your goodness. Help me to remember that everything I have comes from you. Help me to live with open hands. Thank you that you rescue me. Amen.

“O Lord, God of my salvation, I cry out to you by day. I come to you at night. Now hear my prayer; listen to my cry.” Psalms 88 NLT

Amy(amyctanner)

 

 

 

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Numbers 12-14; Acts 17; Psalms 27

“They said, “Has the Lord spoken only through Moses? Hasn’t he spoken through us, too?” But the Lord heard them. (Now Moses was very humble-more humble than any other person on earth.) “And the Lord said to them, “Now listen to what I say: “If there were prophets among you, I, the Lord, would reveal myself in visions. I would speak to them in dreams. But not with my servant Moses. Of all my house, he is the one I trust. I speak to him face to face, clearly, and not in riddles! He sees the Lord as he is. So why were you not afraid to criticize my servant Moses?” Numbers 12:2,6-8 NLT

What does it mean to ‘see the Lord as he is?’ Is it trusting in his goodness, even when life seems out of control? So often, I am like the Israelites and question his plan. I sit too long with the past, instead of moving forward.

“Why is the Lord taking us to this country only to have us die in battle? Our wives and our little ones will be carried off in plunder! Wouldn’t it be better for us to return to Egypt?” Then they plotted against themselves, “Let’s choose a new leader and go back to Egypt!”  “And the Lord said to Moses, “How long will these people treat me with contempt? Will they never believe me. even after all the miraculous signs I have done among them?” Numbers 14:3&4, 11 NLT

The Israelites wanted a new leader. But, their rejection did not detour Moses from pleading to the Lord on their behalf (Numbers 14:17). His humble spirit shown through. He might have been hurt, but he didn’t let his feelings get in the way of God’s call on his life. He trusted the Lord.

“The Lord is my light and my salvation – so why should I be afraid? The Lord is my fortress, protecting me from danger, so why should I tremble? When evil people devour me, when my enemies and foes attack me, they will stumble and fall. Though a mighty army surrounds me, my heart will not be afraid. Even if I am attacked, I will remain confident.” Psalms 27:1-3 NLT

Dear Father, thank you that you are not a God of confusion. But of clarity and peace. Help me to listen to your voice. And not be so quick to lose heart. Thank you for your faithfulness to me. Amen.

Yet I am confident I will see the Lord’s goodness while I am here in the land of the living.” Psalms 27:13 NLT

Amy(amyctanner)

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Leviticus 8-11; Acts 7

“So Aaron and his sons did everything the Lord had commanded through Moses.” Leviticus 8:36 NLT

Moses and Aaron were obedient to God’s call on their life. They might not have always understood it, but they kept showing up.

“After that, Aaron raised his hands to the people and blessed them. Then, after presenting the sin offering, the burnt offering, and the peace offering, he stepped down from the altar. Then Moses and Aaron went into the Tabernacle, and when they came back out, they blessed the people again, and the glory of the Lord appeared to the whole community. Fire blazed forth from the Lord’s presence and consumed the burnt offering and the fat on the altar. When the people saw this, they shouted with joy and fell face down on the ground.” Leviticus 9:22-24 NLT

They saw the fruits of their labor. Glory was revealed to them.

Then Moses said to Aaron, “This is what the Lord meant when he said, ‘I will display my holiness through those who come near me. I will display my glory before all the people.” Leviticus 10:3 NLT

How many times have I been tempted to give up before God’s plan is revealed? Or I spend too much time questioning his calling on my life, instead of walking faithfully where I am?

God found Moses where he was. He sent him back to people who once rejected him. His willingness to walk into hurt and pain, lead him and others to victory that they wouldn’t have otherwise known.

Forty years later, in the desert near Mount Sinai, an angel appeared to Moses in the flame of a burning bush. When Moses saw it, he was amazed at the sight. As he went to take a closer look, the voice of the Lord called out to him, ‘I am God of your ancestors- the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.’ Moses shook with terror and did not dare to look. Now go, for I am sending you back to Egypt.’ So God sent back the same man his people had previously rejected when they demanded, ‘Who made you a ruler and judge over us?’ Through the angel who appeared to him in the burning bush, God sent Moses to be their ruler and savior. And by means of many wonders and miraculous signs, he led them out of Egypt, through the Red Sea, and through the wilderness for forty years.” Acts 7:30-36 NLT

Dear Father, I pray that I would take time to listen to your voice and guidance. Give me faith to move forward when I don’t understand your plan. Thank you for your faithfulness. Amen.

Amy(amyctanner)


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Exodus 15-18; Luke 21

“Then Moses said, “This is what the Lord has commanded: Fill a two-quart container with manna to preserve it for your descendants.  Then later generations will be able to see the food I gave you in the wilderness when I set you free from Egypt.” Exodus 16:32 NLT

I picture the Israelites filling their jars with manna, so that they can remember how God provided for them. I have a journals of God’s past faithfulness, but also some really painful things that he has brought me through. What do I want future generations to know about my life? If I’m honest, I’d like to filter it. And only put in the good stuff.  And hide the rest.  I am encouraged by Moses’s vulnerability to his father-in-law.  He didn’t leave the struggles out.  

“Moses told his father-in-law everything the Lord had done to Pharaoh and Egypt on behalf of Israel.  He also told about all the hardships they had experienced along the way and how the Lord had rescued his people from all their troubles.  Jethro was delighted when he heard about all the good things the Lord had done for Israel as he rescued them from the hand of the Egyptians.  “Praise the Lord,” Jethro said , “for he has rescued you from the Egyptians and from Pharoah.  Yes, he has rescued Israel from the powerful hand of Egypt!  I know now that the Lord is greater than all other gods, because he rescued his people from the oppression of the proud Egyptians.” Exodus 18:8-10 NLT

When sharing my story, there are parts I would rather hide. But, than I would be leaving out the ways that God has had the victory in my life.

“Than Moses and the people of Israel sang this song to the Lord: “I will sing to the Lord, for he has triumphed gloriously; he has hurled both horse and rider into the sea.  The Lord is my strength and my song; he has given me victory.  This is my God, and I will praise him-my father’s God, and I will exalt him! The Lord is a warrior; Yawheh is his name!” Exodus 15:1-3 NLT

Thank you Father that you are the true manna who meets my every need. Thank you for your healing, your faithfulness. For your words that speak life into my soul. Amen. 

“Heaven and earth will disappear, but my words will never disappear.” Luke 21:33 NLT

Amy(amyctanner)

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Genesis 9-12; Luke 3

Lord, let me build my altar to you.

Ancestry–a lineage from Adam to Jesus. In these passages, I linger in Noah’s story. I witness a tower project–and a scattering. I travel territories with Abram. He stops. I notice what he does.

Then the Lord appeared to Abram and said, “I will give this land to your descendants.” And Abram built an altar there and dedicated it to the Lord, who had appeared to him. After that, Abram traveled south and set up camp in the hill country, with Bethel to the west and Ai to the east. There he built another altar and dedicated it to the Lord, and he worshiped the Lord. Then Abram continued traveling south by stages toward the Negev (Genesis 12:7-9, NLT).

I’ve read lots of reflection on a finished year, and I consider my own. In a digital age, the altars are images and words. Am I making monuments of milestones–or altars of angst? Still fresh, coming out of a year-end reading of Job and Revelation, was 2018 the year I lost (a sense of everything) or the year I was restored?

Ancestry–a lineage in a genetic test kit. I read my results with wonder. I think of sea views and mountain views and snowy valleys–journeys traveled through the ages leading here. This place. My place in the story of a history.

Lord, let me build my altar to you, grateful for your work in me and in my life.

I celebrate your majesty, your sovereignty, your faithfulness and love. I worship you here. Thank you for restoring me. You are near, and I am thankful.

Courtney (66books365)

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