Tag Archives: humility

Deuteronomy 8; Psalm 91; Isaiah 36; Revelation 6

What did I learn in the wilderness? What did I learn in the wait?

Remember how the Lord your God led you through the wilderness for these forty years, humbling you and testing you to prove your character, and to find out whether or not you would obey his commands. Yes, he humbled you by letting you go hungry and then feeding you with manna, a food previously unknown to you and your ancestors. He did it to teach you that people do not live by bread alone; rather, we live by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord. (Deuteronomy 8:2-3, NLT)

Deuteronomy 8 is very special to my family. It is deeply meaningful, and I read these words in the space of “after.”

“So obey the commands of the Lord your God by walking in his ways and fearing him. For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land of flowing streams and pools of water, with fountains and springs that gush out in the valleys and hills. It is a land of wheat and barley; of grapevines, fig trees, and pomegranates; of olive oil and honey. It is a land where food is plentiful and nothing is lacking. It is a land where iron is as common as stone, and copper is abundant in the hills. 10 When you have eaten your fill, be sure to praise the Lord your God for the good land he has given you. (Deuteronomy 8:6-10, NLT)

Remember how the Lord led you through the wilderness? Remember how he humbled you and tested your character? He taught you. He taught you–we live. We live by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord. He is trustworthy. He is faithful. He is our provider. Remember and write it down–what you learned in the wilderness, what you learned in the wait. Do not forget it.

In Isaiah, representatives from Assyria come to Judah to intimidate and plant seeds of doubt.

These are the terms the king of Assyria is offering: Make peace with me—open the gates and come out. Then each of you can continue eating from your own grapevine and fig tree and drinking from your own well. 17 Then I will arrange to take you to another land like this one—a land of grain and new wine, bread and vineyards.

18 “Don’t let Hezekiah mislead you by saying, ‘The Lord will rescue us!’ Have the gods of any other nations ever saved their people from the king of Assyria? 19 What happened to the gods of Hamath and Arpad? And what about the gods of Sepharvaim? Did any god rescue Samaria from my power? 20 What god of any nation has ever been able to save its people from my power? So what makes you think that the Lord can rescue Jerusalem from me?” (Isaiah 36:16b-20, NLT)

In a practical way, Judah is presented with an option to make peace and they can keep their lifestyle. Assyria appeals to comfort and safety–but what is the cost?

Lord, I sit with these words, a feast. You lead me deeper into relationship with you, and I pray fervently for focus. You capture my attention, and I linger here and wait.

Courtney (66books365)

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Filed under 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan

Numbers 12,13; Psalms 49; Isaiah 2; Hebrews 10

But Caleb tried to quiet the people as they stood before Moses. “Let us go up at once and take the land,” he said. “We can certainly conquer it!”  But the other  men who had explored the land with him disagreed. “We can’t go up against them, they are stronger than we are !” Numbers 13:30-31 NLT 

Caleb was standing up for what he believed.  His trust was rooted in God alone.  This is convicting for me…when I think about times that I’ve let comparison and self-doubt rob me of my purpose. And cloud my vision.  Just like the Israelites, I’ve made decisions based on my limited perspective. And not on the promises of God’s word.

“Why should I fear when trouble comes, when enemies surround me? They trust in their wealth and boast of great riches…But as for me, God will redeem my life.  He will snatch me from the power of the grave.  So don’t be dimayed when the wicked grow rich and their homes become ever more splendid.  For when they die, they take nothing with them.  Their wealth will not follow them into the grave.  In this life they consider themselves fortunate and are applauded for their success.” Psalms 49:5, 15-18 NLT

Am I investing in eternity?

“Israel is full of silver and gold; there is no end to its treasures.  Their land is full of warhorses; there is no end to its chariots.  Their land is full of idols; the people worship things they have made with their own hands.  So now they will be humbled, and all will be brought low-do not forgive them.  Idols will completely disappear. On that day of judgement they will abandon the gold and silver idols they made for themselves to worship.”  Isaiah 2:7-20  NLT

Anything I put before God is an idol.  What am I letting control me? What am I relying on, instead of God?

“Remember how you remained faithful even though it meant terribble suffering.  Sometimes you were exposed to public ridicule and beaten, and sometimes you helped others who were suffering the same things.  So do not throw away this confident trust in the Lord.  Remember the great reward it brings you! Patient endurance is what you need now, so that you will continue to do God’s will.  Then you will receive all that he has promised.  “For in just in a little while, the Coming One will come and not delay.  And my righteous ones will live by faith.” Hebrews 10:32-38 NLT

In my bible study group we were grappling with the question, “Why do we have to suffer?” Sometimes I wish I didn’t have to go through hard trials.  Even though, I know that God will use them to increase my faith…to bring me closer to Him…to strengthen my prayer life…to help someone else.  In the middle of my pain, I can get frustrated and weary.  When I start to lose hope, I have to remember God’s promises. And I am thankful for others who can lead me back to Him. 

Dear Father, Thank you for loving me despite my fear, doubts and questions.  For always meeting me where I am.  For being a Good Father.  Help me to surrender my idols to you.  Thank you for suffering for me on the cross, so that I can have the hope of heaven. I love you.  Amen.

Amy(amyctanner)

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Exodus 35; John 14; Proverbs 11; Ephesians 4

Then Moses told people of Israel, “The Lord has specifically chosen Bezalel son of Uri, grandson of Hur, of the tribe of Judah.  The Lord has filled Bezalel with the Spirit of God, giving him great wisdom, ability, and expertise in all kinds of crafts.  He is a master craftsmen, expert in working with gold, silver, and bronze.  He is skilled in engraving and mounting gemstones and in carving wood.  He is a master at every craft.  The Lord has given them special skills as engravers, designers, embroiders in blue, purple, and scarlet thread on fine linen cloth, and weavers.  They excel as craftsmen and as designers.” Exodus 35:30-35 NLT

There are times I doubt my calling as an artist.  It is encouraging to know that the Lord chose Bezalel and others for these specific purposes.  I think of when I was asked to paint during a worship service at church and I said no for years.  I kept thinking, “Why would an artist, who creates while they are alone, want to stand up in front of people and paint?” I let fear stop me.  But, when I finally stepped out in faith even when I was afraid, God used it to shift my perspective. To show me that it wasn’t about me.  That it was about worshipping him.  One Sunday I had two members of my church tell me that my painting meant something different to each of them.  I was amazed to see how the Spirit was moving in their hearts and mine. I always want to remember how he took that step of obedience and mustard seed faith and multiplied it for his kingdom.  So, that he gets the glory and I don’t think it’s all about me.

“Pride leads to disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.  The generous will prosper; those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed.” Proverbs 11:2&25 NLT

How am I using my gifts to unify the body of Christ?

“Therefore I, a prisoner for serving the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God.  Always be humble and gentle.  Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love.  Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace.  For there is a one body and one Spirit, just as you have been called to one glorious hope for the future.” Ephesians 4:1-4 NLT

Dear Father, thank you for always being with me. Help me to live a life worthy of your calling.  I praise you for who you are.  I pray that I would look for opportunities to serve others.  Amen.

“Don’t let your hearts be troubled.  Trust in God, and trust also in me.” John 14:1 NLT

Amy(amyctanner)

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Filed under Ephesians, Exodus, John, Psalms, Uncategorized

Exodus 21; Luke 24; Job 39; 2 Cor 9

“But the one who plants generously will get a generous crop.  You must each decide in your heart how much to give.  And don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure.  “For God loves a person who gives cheerfully.”  And God will generously provide all you need.  Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others.  As Scriptures say, “They share freely and give generously to the poor.  Their good deeds will be remembered forever.”  For God is the one who provides seed for the farmer and then bread to eat.  In the same way, he will provide and increase your resources and then produce a great harvest of generosity in you.  Yes, you will be enriched in every way so that you can always be generous.” 2 Corinthians 9:6-15 NLT

My level of generosity is a barometer for how much I am trusting God.  If my faith is weak, I find myself holding onto things more tightly and worry creeps in.  Reflecting on God’s goodness gives me a new perspective.  It helps me to remember that everything I have is a gift from him.  Which gives me the freedom to let go of it.

“Can you hitch a wild ox to a plow? Will it plow a field for you? Given its strength, can you trust it? Can you leave and trust the ox to do your work? Can you rely on it to bring home your grain and deliver it to your threshing floor? “Is it your wisdom that makes the hawk soar and spread its wings toward the south? Is it at your command that the eagle rises to the heights to make its nest?”   Job 39:10-27 NLT

I find myself having to learn the same lesson as Job, over and over again.  That God is ultimately in control.  That he is the one who supplies everything I need.

“Then some women from our group of followers were at his tomb early this morning, and they came back with an amazing report.  They said his body was missing, and they had seen angels who told them Jesus is alive! Some of our men ran out to seem and sure enough, his body was gone, just as the women said.” Then Jesus said to them, “You foolish people! You find it so hard to believe all that the prophets wrote in the Scriptures.  Wasn’t it clearly predicted that the Messiah would have to suffer all these things before entering his glory?” Luke 24:22-26 NLT

I can forget all that God has done, as quickly this group of Jesus’s followers.  And ungratefulness starts to creep in.

Dear Father, Forgive me for my unbelief.  Thank you for your provision.  That it’s really all about you and giving you the glory. Help me not to lose sight of that. I want to live with an eternal perspective.  You are faithful. Amen.

Amy(amyctanner)

 

 

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Filed under 2 Corinthians, 66 Books, Exodus, Job, Luke, Uncategorized

Job 19-22; 1 John 5

1 John 5:1-5 (NIV)

Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves the father loves his child as well. This is how we know that we love the children of God: by loving God and carrying out his commands. In fact, this is love for God: to keep his commands. And his commands are not burdensome, for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.  Who is it that overcomes the world? Only the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.

This chapter challenges me in so many ways. As I read through it, so many questions fill my heart and my mind.

Am I loving God’s children? It’s so easy to become frustrated and irritated with fellow believers due to various wrong expectations and selfish motives. Here I must ask myself, am I showing my brothers and sisters in Christ love through patience, kindness, and prayer? Am I showing that I love them in the way that I speak of them and with them?

Am I loving God? The evidence of my love for God is in my obedience. Am I choosing to do the right thing at the right time regardless of how I feel? Am I making my relationship with God a priority through prayer and study? Am I interacting with others in a way that glorifies God? Am I sharing His good news with those around me? Am I walking in integrity, honesty, and proving myself to be His child in what I say and do?

Are God’s commands burdensome to me? Or do I recognize the benefit of obedience and find joy in serving Him even when I find it challenging? Do I complain when I must love others? Do I get angry and resentful when God asks me to serve? Am I hiding from sharing Him with others because I’m afraid of what they will think of me?

 Am I overcoming the world, or is the world overcoming me? Have I let myself become fixated on myself and the world around me? Or has my relationship with God empowered me to walk in victory over my own sinful desires and the temptations of the world around me? Am I walking by faith or by sight?

Far too often I catch myself walking by sight, burdened by the things God asks of me, fearful of the cost of obedience, and as a result, failing in love towards others and, ultimately, God.

I especially find myself struggling during the holiday season. There’s so much going on, so much to do, so many obligations and demands on my time and attention, that I often catch myself trying to live on “cruise control” when it comes to my relationship with God. But when I fail to make my relationship with God a daily priority, everything else in my life begins to breakdown. His commands become burdensome, people become obstacles, and I find myself overcome by fear, insecurity, and the circumstances of the moment.

I know that if I want to walk in victory, I must be deliberate in my love toward God. As I make spending time with Him a priority, everything else begins to fall into place. People become opportunities. Things that were cause for fear are now material for hope. Irritating circumstances become a launching pad for prayer and dependence on God’s grace. And my life becomes much more victorious, not just in the big moments, but in the everyday moments that fill my day.

Father, forgive me for letting the world around me overcome me and overshadow my relationship with You. Forgive me for walking by sight instead of faith, fear instead of love, and obligation instead of relationship. I choose to make You my priority. Renew my love and passion for You, and let it overflow into my relationships and into my perspective of the world around me and the circumstances you place in front me. Help me to honor you by walking by faith in every moment, choosing love over annoyance, peace over fear, and joy over anxiety. In Jesus’ name, Amen.  

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Filed under 1 John, 66 Books, New Testament

Nehemiah 7-9; John 17

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving.

I love Thanksgiving. I love the food, of course. I love the family all around. And I love having a day designated to reflect and remember the previous year and all that God has done for me.

This passage in Nehemiah fits so perfectly with Thanksgiving. It’s all about remembering. It’s all about recounting. And it’s all about repenting.

It takes place right after the great victory of finishing the repairs of the wall. The people are celebrating by reading God’s word and feasting! But then came the time of repenting and mourning over their failures.

In chapter 9, the Levites cry out to God, recounting all that God had done for them from the very beginning.

You made the heavens… You chose Abram…. You kept your promise… You saw our suffering… You heard our cries… You divided the seas… You led us day and night… You came down and spoke… In our hunger, you fed us… In our thirst you gave us water… You gave us the land…

But then…

We rebelled… We became arrogant… we did not obey… we refused to listen…

But God!

You are forgiving… You are compassionate… You gave your Spirit… You did not withhold… You sustained in the desert… We lacked nothing… We prospered… We were victorious… We reveled in your great goodness…

But then…

We rebelled… We became arrogant… we did not obey… we refused to listen…

And a cycle unfolded. In crisis, they cried out to God. In rest and relief, they rebelled. Even so, God was patient with them. And in this moment, they recognize their failure. They recognize their arrogance. And they recognize God’s righteousness as He was faithful to them even as they were unfaithful to Him. And so they repent. And they ask God for deliverance one more time.

Thanksgiving is all about looking back. And as much as I’d like to be able to say that I look back on the year with only joy and gratitude, I have to admit that there are also moments spread throughout the year where I did not act in a way that honored God. I can see times when I gave in to discouragement and failed to believe His promises. I recall moments of failure that followed success.

When I look back, it’s easy to see God’s hand in every situation. But when I was in the moment, I admit I didn’t always choose to see God’s hand in every situation. Far too often I gave in to fear. And I still catch myself doing that, even after seeing God come through for me every time.

So as I look back over the year, I see some great things God has done. But I also can recognize the not-so-great things I’ve done, and it gives me an opportunity not just to be grateful, but to be humbly repentant as I move forward into the new year to come with fresh vision and fresh goals, letting God lead me step by step into the freedom He has for me.

Father, thank you for your great kindness and patience towards me. Forgive me for not believing you. Forgive me for forgetting all the things you’ve done for me. Forgive me for taking you for granted. Help me to live in constant awareness of your love and goodness so that I can experience the freedom you have for me. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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Daniel 5-6; John 1; Psalms 130

“From the depths of despair, O Lord, I call to you for help. Hear my cry, O Lord. Pay attention to my prayer. I am counting on the Lord; yes, I am counting on him. I have put my hope in his word.” Psalms 130:1&5 NLT

I have been in a hard season where I can get weary praying. I wonder if my prayers are making a difference. But, God honors obedience.  I want to have a faith like David and Daniel and pray from what I know about God, instead of how I am feeling.

“But when Daniel learned that the law had been signed, he went home and knelt down as usual in his upstairs room, with his windows open toward Jerusalem.  He prayed three times a day, just as he had always done, giving thanks to his God.  Then the officials went together to Daniel’s house and found him praying and asking for God’s help.  “Then they told the king, “That man Daniel, one of the captives from Judah, is ignoring  you and your law.  He still prays to his God three times a day. Hearing this, the king was deeply troubled, and he tried to think of a way to save Daniel. He spent the rest of the day looking for a way to get Daniel out of this predicament. So at last the king gave orders for Daniel to be arrested and thrown into the den of lions.  The king said to him, “May your God, whom you serve so faithfully, rescue you.” Daniel 6:10-16 NLT

Daniel went against the culture and stood up for what he believed. He earned the King’s favor, but still ended up in the lions den.

“Then King Darius sent this message to the people…”I decree that everyone throughout the kingdom should tremble and fear before the God of Daniel.  For he is the living God, and he will endure forever. His kingdom will never be destroyed, and his rule will never end. He rescues and saves his people; he performs miraculous signs and wonders in the heavens and on the earth. He has rescued Daniel from the power of the lions.” Daniel 6:25-27 NLT

What situations do I find myself in that feel like I will never find a way out? Am I trusting God to deliver me and my family, like he has before? Would the king say of me, “The God of Amy, like he said for Daniel? (Vs.25). As I think on these verses I am reminded of the depth of God’s love for me. He is with me. And I have no reason to fear.

Dear Father, Give me the courage to obey, even when I don’t understand. Help me to remember that your ways and plans are higher than mine. Thank you for the encouragement and promises from your word. I am holding  tight to them. Amen.

 “The Word gave life to everything that was created, and his life brought light to everyone.  The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it.” John 1:4&5 NLT

Amy(amyctanner)

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