Tag Archives: obedience

Exodus 15-18; Luke21

The first time I heard this song, What if I gave all by Ray Boltz, likely a new release at the time, it resonated deeply and still does. That penetrating question it asks repeatedly: “What if I gave all?” My daughter just shared with me the song, “Available” by Elevation with a similar message.

Jesus looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the offering box, and he saw a poor widow put in two small copper coins.And he said, “Truly, I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them. For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.”

Luke 21:1-4 ESV

My giving to church is often too comfortable. I would likely fall more into the category of the “rich” in this scenario than the poor widow. I live on far more than a dollar a day, and I am tempted to hold too tightly to my time, talents, and treasure. I rarely have to sacrifice a meal let alone my entire bank balance to still give generously to my church and other ministries.

Two convictions weave their way through my thoughts as I read these two passages:

  • I often invest too heavily in temporary treasure
  • I undervalue all that God has done for me

34 “But watch yourselves lest your hearts be weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and cares of this life, and that day come upon you suddenly like a trap.

Luke 21:34 ESV

I appreciate the clarity the Amplified bible brings to that verse:

“But be on guard, so that your hearts are not weighed down and depressed with the giddiness of debauchery and the nausea of self-indulgence and the worldly worries of life, and then that day [when the Messiah returns] will not come on you suddenly like a trap;

Dissipation is defined as a squandering. The poor widow had nothing to squander. Likely, she was on the alert, looking for the Messiah, definitely not weighed down by earthly possessions. Yet, when God asked her to give all she could have easily replied, “But I have so little already.” Instead she simply said, “Yes.”

The nation of Israel squandered their time post-Egypt. Instead of marveling at how God had preserved them and protected them, they grumbled about not enough water or meat or comfort. After generations of fighting to survive as slaves, they did not know how to shift their thinking and trust God.

“Who is like you, O Lord, among the gods?
    Who is like you, majestic in holiness,
    awesome in glorious deeds, doing wonders?
12 You stretched out your right hand;
    the earth swallowed them.
13 “You have led in your steadfast love the people whom you have redeemed;
    you have guided them by your strength to your holy abode.

Exodus 15:11-13 ESV

They could sing truth, and live a grumbling life. I can do the same. Worship God with outstretched arms on Sunday and worship my own agenda and comfort the rest of the week. What if I gave all? Every day of the week to him? He has saved me from a life of slavery to sin. He has brought me into a life of complete love and forgiveness, and I worry about an increased cost of living. He secured eternal life for me, and I spend my time and energy on temporary trimmings for this life.

What if I gave all?

Lord God, keep trimming away those items that tempt me to look away from you, to find security and comfort in anything aside from you. Continually bring to mind your blessings lest I invest in the wrong things, lest I lose my grateful heart. You are so good. May I hold nothing back as my gratitude overflows in complete trust for your plan. I love you, Lord. Amen.

Erin (6intow)

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Exodus 12-14; Luke 20; Psalm 21

Doorposts marked with lamb’s blood. They ate dressed to go, ready to go. That’s what I noticed first. But then, an army in pursuit, to take them back, to make them captives again, slaves. After all the signs, and after the deaths of all first born, probably a worse fate awaited them if they returned. Moses tells them that God will fight for them, but still, they also had to take action. They had to walk in the path opened before them.

In Luke, Jesus is teaching.

One day, as Jesus was teaching the people in the temple and preaching the gospel, the chief priests and the scribes with the elders came up and said to him, “Tell us by what authority you do these things, or who it is that gave you this authority.”

Luke 20:1-2, ESV

And later,

19 The scribes and the chief priests sought to lay hands on him at that very hour, for they perceived that he had told this parable against them, but they feared the people. 20 So they watched him and sent spies, who pretended to be sincere, that they might catch him in something he said, so as to deliver him up to the authority and jurisdiction of the governor. 21 So they asked him, “Teacher, we know that you speak and teach rightly, and show no partiality, but truly teach the way of God. 22 Is it lawful for us to give tribute to Caesar, or not?” 23 But he perceived their craftiness, and said to them, 24 “Show me a denarius. Whose likeness and inscription does it have?” They said, “Caesar’s.” 25 He said to them, “Then render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” 26 And they were not able in the presence of the people to catch him in what he said, but marveling at his answer they became silent.

Luke 20:19-26, ESV, emphasis added

And this is what I notice–how an enemy hunts. An army in pursuit–a vast force. Or here, watching and baiting spies pretending to be sincere. How an enemy opposes freedom, opposes truth, opposes God.

Your hand will find out all your enemies;
    your right hand will find out those who hate you.

You will make them as a blazing oven
    when you appear.
The Lord will swallow them up in his wrath,
    and fire will consume them.
10 You will destroy their descendants from the earth,
    and their offspring from among the children of man.
11 Though they plan evil against you,
    though they devise mischief, they will not succeed.

12 For you will put them to flight;
    you will aim at their faces with your bows.

13 Be exalted, O Lord, in your strength!
    We will sing and praise your power.

Psalm 21:8-13, ESV, emphasis added

Lord, be exalted in your strength. I will sing and praise your power.

Courtney (66books365)

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Exodus 9-11, Luke 19

Today’s readings sent me on a rollercoaster of emotion.


First, the High.

“The Lord said to Moses, ‘Go to Pharaoh.  For I have hardened his heart and the heart of his courtiers, in order that I may display my signs amongst them, and that you may recount and tell your children and your children’s children how I made a mockery of the Egyptians and how I displayed my signs amongst them – in order that you may know that I am the Lord.'” (Exodus 10:1-2)

Brave Moses, Oppressed Israelites, Hard-Hearted Pharoah, Frightened Egyptians, and ten plagues that ultimately ended up with the Israelites being set free and delivered from Egypt. Exodus is a stunning visual display of God’s tremendous power and an epic story that showcases God’s love, protection, and providence for his people, for us, for me. It is awe-inspiring and it sends my faith soaring in the one and true God.

Now, the low.

12  So He said, “A nobleman went to a distant country to receive a kingdom for himself, and then to return.  13  And he called ten of his own slaves and gave them ten  [e] minas, and said to them, ‘Do business with this money  [f] until I come back.’  14  But his citizens hated him and sent a delegation after him, saying, ‘We do not want this man to reign over us.’  15  When he returned after receiving the kingdom, he ordered that these slaves, to whom he had given the money, be summoned to him so that he would learn how much they had made by the business they had done.  16  The first slave appeared, saying, ‘ [g] Master, your  [h] mina has made ten minas more.’  17  And he said to him, ‘Well done, good slave; since you have been faithful in a very little thing, you are to have authority over ten cities.’  18  The second one came, saying, ‘Your  [i] mina,  [j] master, has made five minas.’  19  And he said to him also, ‘And you are to be over five cities.’  20  And then another came, saying, ‘Master, here is your mina, which I kept tucked away in a handkerchief;  21  for I was afraid of you, because you are a demanding man; you take up what you did not lay down, and reap what you did not sow.’  22  He *said to him, ‘ [k] From your own lips I will judge you, you worthless slave.” (Luke 19:12-22)

The minas in the parable, I believe, are representative of gifts, talents and resources God gives us to do the work of the Kingdom on Earth. The first two slaves who received the King’s minas made good use of them, but the third servant did just the opposite. He was afraid to take risks and truly use the resources entrusted to him. His fears made him take the greatest risk of all: doing nothing.

As I read Luke 19:12-22, my heart was pierced, and the high I had from reading Exodus plummeted because of some sobering questions that started to creep into my heart. Which slave am I? Am I the slave that kept the mina hidden away in a handkerchief? If so, why? If I say I know and believe in the God of Exodus who is faithful to love, provide and protect his beloved people and who sent His son to die for us, then why would I not be like the first slave, who was devoted to and obedient to his master’s words which resulted in him multiplying his
minas? God is faithful to provide answers if we simply ask Him.

Father God, Please keep my heart from being afraid to do the things You have called me, equipped me, and entrusted me to do for Your kingdom and Your glory. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

-Robin

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James 1:1-4:10

I have a calendar where I write down my training plan for each month. I write what I hope to accomplish and what I did accomplish toward that goal. It helps me to get my head around what I need to do, and to make forward progress toward a goal (race). One thing I learned this year was that I couldn’t just wing a half marathon. I had to train for it. I learned that lesson in October during a half marathon where I had slacked over the summer on the training, and I wasn’t prepared for the distance. (It was a physically painful lesson.) Because of that experience, I have a deep and serious respect for training.

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.

James 1:2-8, NIV

While I can plan what races I want to run and create a training plan to support them, I don’t always know what the day holds in other regards. I don’t always get a warning of conflict, disappointment, loss, or challenge awaiting me. And I tend to lose sight of the purpose and point when I fail to look at life through a kingdom lens. These verses in James redirect my focus. They reset my perspective. And because I tend to relate everything to running, I get it. God is training me. He is growing me so that I may be mature and complete. Not only that, but God is always with me, always ready and willing to give me wisdom–generously!–because he wants me to finish strong–it’s for his glory! God knows what’s ahead, and he’s preparing me. But if I go through my days failing to recognize this training, I can easily let my thoughts or emotions take control instead of my faith.

My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, 20 because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires. 21 Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.

22 Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.

James 1:19-22, NIV

Father God, I am grateful for your word. All the time. I’m grateful that when I come near to you, you are near to me. So tender. So willing. So loving. Help me to keep a kingdom focus. Help me to mature in my walk with you, for your glory.

Courtney (66books365)

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Filed under 66 Books, 7-day reading pln, Bible in a year reading plan, Cover to cover

1 Cor. 15:29-16:24; 2 Cor. 1-2

“Death has been swallowed up in victory.” “Where, O Death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your Labor in the Lord is not in vain.” 1 Corinthians 15:55-58 NIV

I began my morning workout listening to a sermon that was about these verses and I knew God had a word for me. The pastor asked a question that stuck with me. “How can I expect victory with partial obedience?” Because, deep down I knew I haven’t been living in victory. Instead, I’ve been going through the motions and “limping” my way into the new year. Sometimes I am tempted to quit on the process. But, then I remember that I am not fighting for victory, but fighting from it. It’s a gift that I have to receive every day.

“Be on guard. Stand firm in the faith. Be courageous. Be strong. And do everything with love.” 1 Cor 16:13 NLT

The devil would want nothing more than for me to give up.

We think you ought to know dear brothers and sisters, about the trouble we went through in the province of Asia. We were crushed and overwhelmed beyond our ability to endure, and we thought we would never live through it. In fact, we expected to die. But, as a result, we stopped relying on ourselves and learned to rely on God, who raises the dead. And he did rescue us from mortal danger, and he will rescue us again. And you are helping us by praying for us. Many people will give thanks because God has graciously answered so many prayers for our safety..” 2 Corinthians 1:8-11 NLT

Dear Father. Thank you for your grace and mercy. I surrender my will to you. Thank you for the power of prayer. That you hear me and answer me. Your mercies are new ever morning. Great is your faithfulness. Amen.

Amy(amyctanner)

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