Tag Archives: hope

Song of Solomon 1-3; 1 Thessalonians 5; Psalms 72

“Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 NLT

This has always been one of my favorite verses. One that I would recite when I didn’t feel like being joyful, thankful, grateful. But, after reading it in context, I see it in a new way. It is keeping me alert and on guard until Jesus returns. It reminds me that there is a hope when I might have lost it. If I give thanks out of obedience my attitude changes. I see things differently. A devotional that I read on this verse mentions, an attitude of prayer. What does that mean in my day to day life? Humility, hope, resting in God’s sovereignty, trust…not defaulting to worry.

“But you aren’t in the dark about these things, dear brothers and sisters, and you won’t be surprised when the day of the Lord comes like a thief. For you are all children of the light and of the day; we don’t belong to darkness and night. So be on your guard, not asleep like the others. Stay alert and clearheaded. Night is the time when people sleep and drinkers get drunk. But let us who live in the light be clearheaded, protected by the armor of faith and love, and wearing as our helmet the confidence of our salvation.” 1 Thessalonians 5:4-8 NLT

Joy is a weapon.

“For God chose to save us through our Lord Jesus Christ, not to pour out his anger on us. Christ died for us so that, whether we were dead or alive when he returns, we can live with him forever. So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing.” 1 Thessalonians 5:8-11 NLT

Dear Father, Help me to cultivate a grateful heart. Help me to remember that you can use trials for your glory. That you work all things together for good. Amen.

“He will rescue the poor when they cry to him; he will help the oppressed, who have no one to defend them.” Psalms 72:12 NLT

Amy(amyctanner)

 

 

 

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Proverbs 6-7; Psalms 7; Romans 11

“Even so then, at this present time there is a remnant according to the election of grace. And is by grace, then it is no longer of works; otherwise grace is no longer grace. But if it is of works, it is no longer grace; otherwise work is no longer work.” Romans 11:5&6 NIV

After reading Romans 11, this question from a devotional comes to mind …“Do I scoop out grace with a shovel or a spoon?”  If I am honest, it’s a spoon more often than not.  But when I look into my own heart, I know how ugly it can be.

“O Lord my God, in You I put my trust; Save me from all those who persecute me; And deliver me, Lest they tear me like a lion, Rending me in pieces, while there is none to deliver.” Psalms 7:1&2 NIV

I’ve learned that forgiveness takes trust…

Trust that He has a plan greater than my hurt.

Trust that He will never fail of abandon me.

Trust that He loves me and has my best interest in mind.

Trust that He will bring justice.

I like how Lysa TerKeurst describes forgiveness.  “A complicated grace that uncomplicates my anger and helps me see beautiful again.”

“My defense is of God, Who saves the upright in heart.” Psalms 7:10 NIV

Father, thank you for your forgiveness. Help me to freely give it to others.  So that my heart does not become hardened and bitter.  To You be the glory.  Amen.

“Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out! “For who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has become His counselor? “Or who has first given to Him And it shall be repaid to him?” For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever. Amen.” Romans 11:33-36 NIV

Amy(amyctanner)

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1 Kings 3; 2 Chronicles 1; Psalm 42; Romans 8

Heading into a new month, I consider the goals I’m setting, but first, I lay down the things that are heavy on my heart. Fear. I list the things that I’m afraid of, and new questions emerge–what if? I shift my gaze and ask new questions–what is the next right thing, the next loving thing; what is God’s will for me in this situation? How can I honor God?

Solomon asked for wisdom to lead, and how blessed I am too to have a Father who doesn’t hold back love or wisdom, in fact, gives me his Spirit to intercede when words fail me!

I thirst for God, the living God.
    When can I go and stand before him?

Why am I discouraged?
    Why is my heart so sad?
I will put my hope in God!
    I will praise him again—
    my Savior and my God! (Psalm 42:2,5-6, NLT)

I praise him, my Savior, my God.

I can walk in the Spirit. (Singing freedom!)

Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit. So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace. For the sinful nature is always hostile to God. It never did obey God’s laws, and it never will. That’s why those who are still under the control of their sinful nature can never please God.

But you are not controlled by your sinful nature. You are controlled by the Spirit if you have the Spirit of God living in you. (And remember that those who do not have the Spirit of Christ living in them do not belong to him at all.) 10 And Christ lives within you, so even though your body will die because of sin, the Spirit gives you life because you have been made right with God. 11 The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as God raised Christ Jesus from the dead, he will give life to your mortal bodies by this same Spirit living within you.

12 Therefore, dear brothers and sisters, you have no obligation to do what your sinful nature urges you to do. 13 For if you live by its dictates, you will die. But if through the power of the Spirit you put to death the deeds of your sinful nature, you will live. 14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God.

15 So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, “Abba, Father.” 16 For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children. 17 And since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God’s glory. But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering. (Romans 8:5-17, NLT)

 

I’m not a slave to fear. I am a child of God.

Deeply, completely, eternally grateful.

Courtney (66books365)

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Filed under 1 Kings, 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, Romans, Uncategorized

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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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