Tag Archives: instruction

2 Kings 3; 2 Thessalonians 3; Daniel 7; Psalm 114-115

My mom wanted a do-over. She put her hope in a next life–she wanted to believe in reincarnation. If she had known Jesus, she would have been given new life, a new heart–she could have known freedom. My dad lived eighty years, and when he died, his wake made clear what he truly valued. When I read the verses in 2 Kings 3, some details almost get lost in all the words, but I slow here:

Ahab’s son Joram began to rule over Israel in the eighteenth year of King Jehoshaphat’s reign in Judah. He reigned in Samaria twelve years. He did what was evil in the Lord’s sight, but not to the same extent as his father and mother. He at least tore down the sacred pillar of Baal that his father had set up. Nevertheless, he continued in the sins that Jeroboam son of Nebat had committed and led the people of Israel to commit. (2 Kings 3:1-3, NLT)

When I stood at the open grave the day my dad was buried, I was acutely aware of my new rank in a lineage, that space we all find ourselves when an older generation passes away and we rise to their spot. I think long on the influence I have on a next generation and what I leave behind. Lord, only you can break chains of generational sin. You are the way, the truth, and the life.

And now, dear brothers and sisters, we give you this command in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ: Stay away from all believers who live idle lives and don’t follow the tradition they received from us. For you know that you ought to imitate us. We were not idle when we were with you. (2 Thessalonians 3:6-7, NLT, emphasis added, and the Greek for believers is noted from every brother)

When I first started goal setting, I had a friend in another state that was as driven and motivated as I was, and we encouraged one another. Sometimes, the mentors and models I needed weren’t local or available (or even people that I personally knew). When I read these words in 2 Thessalonians from Paul, you know you ought to imitate us, I know God’s Word will guide and instruct me, whether or not I have a mentor or model nearby.

11 All you who fear the Lord, trust the Lord!
    He is your helper and your shield.

12 The Lord remembers us and will bless us.
    He will bless the people of Israel
    and bless the priests, the descendants of Aaron.
13 He will bless those who fear the Lord,
    both great and lowly.

14 May the Lord richly bless
    both you and your children.
15 May you be blessed by the Lord,
    who made heaven and earth.
16 The heavens belong to the Lord,
    but he has given the earth to all humanity.
17 The dead cannot sing praises to the Lord,
    for they have gone into the silence of the grave.
18 But we can praise the Lord
    both now and forever!

Praise the Lord! (Psalm 115:11-18, NLT)

Dear Lord, the older I get, your grace towards me grows more and more precious. The years humble and soften me. Time shows me what really matters. Your Word does too.

Not to us, O Lord, not to us,
    but to your name goes all the glory
    for your unfailing love and faithfulness. (Psalm 115:1, NLT)

Courtney (66book365)

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1 Kings 8; Psalms 30; 1 Timothy 3

All of today’s passages reflect on people’s behavior and how it affects their standing in the temple/church.

First, a Psalm of Thanksgiving from David for forgiveness of his past sins.

“Sing praise to the Lord, you His godly ones, and give thanks to His holy name.  for his anger is but for a moment, his favor is for a lifetime. Weeping may last for the night, but a shout of joy comes in the morning.” (Psalms 30:4-5 ESV)

Later his son, Solomon, dedicates the temple.

“Oh Lord, the God of Israel, there is no God like You in Heaven above or earth beneath, keeping covenant and showing lovingkindness to Your servants who walk before You with all their heart, who have kept with Your servant, my father David, that which you have promised him; indeed, You have spoken with Your mouth and have fulfilled it with Your hand as it is this day.” (1 Kings 8:23-24 ESV)

Finally, Timothy gives instruction concerning leaders in the church and how they are to live.

I am writing these things to you, hoping to come to you before long; but in case I am delayed, I write so that you will know how one ought to conduct himself in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and support of the truth.” (1 Timothy 3:14-15 ESV)

Lord, we’re thankful for all of the examples of people in the bible who “mess up” but are forgiven.  Thank you for forgiving and saving us.

Kellie (mmattix)

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Deuteronomy 32; Psalm 119:121-144; Isaiah 59; Matthew 7

“Take to heart all the words of warning I have given you today. Pass them on as a command to your children so they will obey every word of these instructions. 47 These instructions are not empty words—they are your life!” Deuteronomy 32:46-47a NLT.

I am your servant; deal with me in unfailing love,
    and teach me your decrees.
125 Give discernment to me, your servant;
    then I will understand your laws. Psalm 119:124-125 NLT

24 “Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock. 25 Though the rain comes in torrents and the floodwaters rise and the winds beat against that house, it won’t collapse because it is built on bedrock. 26 But anyone who hears my teaching and doesn’t obey it is foolish, like a person who builds a house on sand. 27 When the rains and floods come and the winds beat against that house, it will collapse with a mighty crash.” Matthew 7:24 NLT

It’s been a muggy, humid, summer week. A soffit reaches over the window flower boxes, preventing my petunias from getting rain. So I go out with a hose and put the nozzle on the mist setting to water the plants. My youngest likes to follow me around–she eagerly watches all the things I do–and stands nearby as I water the flowers. The mist spray blows in the breeze and showers her too with tiny ice-like shards of cold water. She loves it, and laughs and dances under the spray, reaching out for more. Now that I think of it, she’s around me like a little satellite–my company in the garden, a kitchen companion while I’m baking (and she gets to lick the spoon!), my shadow as I reach into the freezer to break off a cold piece of chocolate (and she gets a piece too). She learns a lot following me around–the good, and the not-s0-good.

When Moses speaks to the people and says to pass these words on to their children, what follows is arresting:

These instructions are not empty words—they are your life!

When I read of God’s teaching falling like rain, a gentle shower–it reads like summer and his teaching refreshes and quenches me in the heat, so I can grow. It underscores to me how important it is to keep his word a steady part of my life–to be connected to him daily to learn. I want this for myself (certainly!), and I want it for my kids. I want them to see faith worked out in real life–from taking hold of the log in my eye, to the asking-seeking-knocking of the Lord, and so much more.

Father God, I pray to you:

133 Guide my steps by your word,
    so I will not be overcome by evil.

135 Look upon me with love;
    teach me your decrees. Psalm 119:133, 135

Courtney (66books365)

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Daniel 3, 4; Titus 2

11 For the grace of God has been revealed, bringing salvation to all people. 12 And we are instructed to turn from godless living and sinful pleasures. We should live in this evil world with wisdom, righteousness, and devotion to God, 13 while we look forward with hope to that wonderful day when the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, will be revealed. 14 He gave his life to free us from every kind of sin, to cleanse us, and to make us his very own people, totally committed to doing good deeds. Titus 2:11-14 NLT.

I am sometimes the one who needs the action plan, rather than the call to action. Having not grown up in a Christian home/community, the examples around me were, quite often, worldly. I think of the lifestyle I was born into and see how hurts and reactions carry forward. It is sometimes discouraging to see a family history repeat itself, but to me, I see the need for Jesus that much more.

Grudge, deception, bitter roots–these are things I grew up learning. Forgiveness, loving-kindness, good works–these are just years old to my life; they are values I want to instill in my children. I’m thankful for a church community and friendships with believers who lead by example. God has placed women in my life for me to learn from: sisters in Christ of any age … they teach me, so I can learn and teach too. They are the “Rack, Shack and Benny”s in my life–ones who stand for what is right, sometimes at a cost of criticism and condemnation. But their example helps me–that I don’t bow down to looming statues of past, but commit myself further to following Jesus.

I so prefer the heat of a figurative furnace of my trials than literal flame of Daniel’s book, but regardless, I don’t stand alone. Christ is with me. And others are watching–whatever it is I might face, God can use for his glory–perhaps even as an example for someone else to choose to follow (or not).

Dear Jesus, thank you for showing me brothers and sisters in Christ who love you and honor you in deed and truth. My story could have had a very different ending. I’m thankful for your loving intervention and access to you through prayer and your word–you are the one who knows my heart. You know what needs to be changed and you know how to bring it about. Your refining fire is difficult, but I know you stand with me.

Courtney (66books365)

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Exodus 28; John 7; Proverbs 4; Galatians 3

The Jews were amazed  and asked, “How did this man get such learning without having studied?” Jesus answered, ” My teaching is not my own, It comes from him who sent me. If anyone chooses to do God’s will, he will find out whether my teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own, He who speaks on his own does so to gain honor for himself, but he who works for the honor of the one who sent him is a man of truth, there is nothing false about him. John 7: 15-18

When I drive anywhere the radio is either off, which allows for prayer and meditation; or on and typically tuned into a Christian program.  I thoroughly enjoy listening to sermon’s while I drive.  This obviously keeps me from paying attention to those who drive erratically, thus defusing any anger in me.  Good for me and good for all.  I am aware that not all men who preach do so with Godly wisdom, there are those who speak to gain honor for themselves or to reap monetary rewards for their words.  However, by reading God’s word and learning what it says, meditating on scripture; we can know who’s teaching truly comes from God.

Listen my sons, to a father’s instruction; pay attention and gain understanding.  I give you sound learning, so do not forsake my teaching… Proverbs 4: 1-2

I often take long trips down memory lane; I recall my parents and grandparents taking very active roles in my upbringing…if you get my drift.  In other words, I was a handful.  I can still remember the lessons I learned from the wisdom of my father and his father.  I learned that wisdom does not always come in the form of words.  Sometimes it’s the absence of words and a witness of patience that teaches.  The action of discipline was not favored but it was used, and although it brought forth tears, it also gained my attention and I learned to obey.  Now as a parent, I now have this responsibility to give instruction; thanks be to God that I have him to help me teach my children.

Thank you Father for your Son; Christ Jesus and that we are called sons and daughters and are justified through faith in him.  Thank you that through your word,  we gain understanding of your glorious plan for our salvation.  Father I pray that we as your children will embrace your wisdom and understanding and live it out in our life.  And father as many have come to you in prayer for your children in Japan; I too come before you and lift those who have lost family and friends.  I pray for the rescue and relief efforts to be abundant and swift and that the people of Japan seek you and rest in your strength.  In Jesus name; Amen.

Cindi



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