Tag Archives: Praise

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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Job 28-30; Revelation 18

20 Where then does wisdom come from?
Where does understanding dwell?
21 It is hidden from the eyes of every living thing,
concealed even from the birds in the sky.
22 Destruction[b] and Death say,
“Only a rumor of it has reached our ears.”
23 God understands the way to it
and he alone knows where it dwells,
24 for he views the ends of the earth
and sees everything under the heavens.
25 When he established the force of the wind
and measured out the waters,
26 when he made a decree for the rain
and a path for the thunderstorm,
27 then he looked at wisdom and appraised it;
he confirmed it and tested it.
28 And he said to the human race,
“The fear of the Lord—that is wisdom,
and to shun evil is understanding.” (Job 28:20-28) NIV

Sometimes I read scripture and it touches the very core of my being.  Tears well into the corners of my eyes as I think about the goodness of God in my life. These words affected me this way.  I shudder to think where I would be if He had not pursued me.

Truthfully, I know exactly where I’d be!  Still searching for that one “thing”, that one “person” that would fill the emptiness inside me.  Nothing satisfied that longing for acceptance, significance, and unconditional love until I began my relationship with Him.

Quite a few years ago, I heard a sermon at our church that spoke of choosing one word as our focus each year instead of making resolutions.  I’ve been doing that for several years now and have been amazed how God has used each word in my life for something going on at the time.  The year I was unemployed my word was “abide”.  It was the perfect word for that season of my life because abiding in Jesus is what got me through.

This past year my word was “light” and I am not sure any of my words have had more of an impact. I started the year still in a deep depression that I had been struggling with for quite some time.  When He brought that word to my mind, it went with the verse “God is light, in him there is no darkness at all.” (1John 1:5b)  I knew He was my way out of the darkness of soul I felt.  During the course of the year, God has revealed the many meanings of the word through verses, studies, devotionals, and sermons.  God spoke and light came into being.  His word is light.  Light is illumination (makes things visible, gives you understanding, the proverbial light bulb over your head).  He taught me so much this past year about Him and about me—things I saw and understood for the first time.  Light also means “not heavy”.  He has lifted burdens from my heart and given me a freedom I didn’t know was possible.  I am truly lighter in so many ways.  Light is gentle, delicate.  All colors depend on light. You can light a fire, ignite a flame.  As I spent time with Him and let Him work, each of these meanings was revealed to me in different ways.

“The fear of the Lord—that is wisdom, and to shun evil is understanding.”

If we ask Him, God will reveal wisdom to us.  Somehow or other as this year comes to a close, I feel wiser.  It really has been a year of growth for me.  It has been painful—I think I’ve cried buckets of tears as I’ve let go of so many lies (shun evil).  In order to do this, I’ve had to bring them out into the light.  Those lies buried deep in my heart were hidden in darkness.  But no more!  “Surrender it all to me”, I felt Him tell me.  I was afraid of the magnitude of the pain of doing that. “On the other side of surrender is freedom” was what I sensed Him telling me in my spirit.  And it was!  Once I surrendered that last bit of my past, that last piece I was clutching, came freedom.

Today is Christmas.  It is the day we celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  He came to earth to set us free.  I have been singing Christmas Carols as long as I can remember but this year, in particular, there are many I cannot sing without tearing up.  The gratitude I feel for what He did by coming to earth and sacrificing Himself for me is overwhelming.  “O, come let us adore Him, Christ the Lord.”

Merry Christmas!

Lord, thank you for Jesus!  Thank you for your plan of redemption through his birth, his life, and his death on a cross.  Thank you that he was raised to life once again and now sits at your right hand interceding for those of us who call upon His name.  Thank you for loving me as you do.  In Jesus name, Amen

Cindy (gardnlady)

 

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Job 12-14; Psalm 100; Revelation 13

“But true wisdom and power are found in God; counsel and understanding are his.” Job 12:13 NLT

Job’s friends were trying to make sense of his suffering.  Even though Job himself, didn’t understand, he pointed them to the one who he knew did.  He knew where true wisdom could be found.

“O God, grant me these two things, and then I will be able to face you.  Remove your heavy hand from me, and don’t terrify me with your awesome presence.  Now summon me, and I will answer! Or let me speak to you, and you reply.  Tell me, what have I done wrong? Show me my rebellion and my sin.  Why do you turn away from me? Why do you treat me your enemy?” Job 13:20-24 NLT

There have been times in my life when my faith has been stretched and I wonder what God is doing.  I can relate to Job, when I think that God’s silence means that I have done something wrong.  But, I’m learning to lean in and trust in the waiting.

“Even a tree has more hope! If it is cut down, it will sprout again and grow new branches.  Though its roots have grown old in the earth and its stump decays, at the scent of water it will bud and sprout again like a new seedling.  “But when people die, their strength is gone.  They breathe their last, and then where are they? As water evaporates from a lake and a river disappears in drought, people are laid to rest and do not rise again.  Until the heavens are no more, they will not wake up nor be roused from their sleep.  “I wish you would hide me in the grave and forget me there until your anger has passed.  But mark your calendar to think of me again!  Can the dead live again? If so, this would give me hope through all my years of struggle, and I would eagerly await the release of death.  You would call and I would answer, and you would yearn for me, your handiwork.  For then you would guard my steps, instead of watching for my sins.  My sins would be sealed in a pouch, and you would cover my guilt.”  Job 14:7-17 NLT

I am thankful that I don’t struggle without hope.  Even when things seem dark, I know that light is coming.  Jesus is near. I grapple with Job’s questions and vulnerability.  He didn’t have the knowledge of Jesus like I do. Yet, he still pressed in, when it would have been easier to fall away.

Help me to remember Lord, in times of silence, you are teaching me to depend on you.  Thank you for friends who point me to you.  Thank you for your word and your promises.  Help me to praise you in the midst of suffering. Amen.

“Shout with joy to the Lord, all the earth! Worship the Lord with gladness.  Come before him, singing with joy.   Acknowledge that the Lord is God!  He made us, and we are his.  We are his people, the sheep of his pasture.  Enter his gates with thanksgiving; go into his courts with praise.  Give thanks to him and praise his name.  For the Lord is good.  His unfailing love continues forever, and his faithfulness continues to each generation.” Psalm 100 NLT

Amy(amyctanner)

 

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Daniel 1-3; Psalm 88; John 17

Daniel is one of my favorite books of the bible. The early chapters are filled with God taking care of the exiles as they dwell in Babylon—in particular Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. They remained true to their God and refused to worship any of the foreign gods. No matter what King Nebuchadnezzar threatened them with, they were unwilling to renounce their faith. They were willing to die rather than forsake the Lord. Because of this, God blessed them.

Daniel is devoted to God:

But Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine, and he asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself this way. (Dan 1:8) NIV

And God blesses him:

17 To these four young men God gave knowledge and understanding of all kinds of literature and learning. And Daniel could understand visions and dreams of all kinds. (Dan 1:17) NIV

Daniel seeks God’s direction:

17 Then Daniel returned to his house and explained the matter to his friends Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah. 18 He urged them to plead for mercy from the God of heaven concerning this mystery, so that he and his friends might not be executed with the rest of the wise men of Babylon. (Dan 1:17-18)

God answers their prayer:

19 During the night the mystery was revealed to Daniel in a vision. (Dan 1:19)

Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego refuse to bow down to other gods:

16 Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to him, “King Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. 17 If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us[c] from Your Majesty’s hand. 18 But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.”

God saves them and brings glory to His name:

28 Then Nebuchadnezzar said, “Praise be to the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, who has sent his angel and rescued his servants! They trusted in him and defied the king’s command and were willing to give up their lives rather than serve or worship any god except their own God. 29 Therefore I decree that the people of any nation or language who say anything against the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego be cut into pieces and their houses be turned into piles of rubble, for no other god can save in this way.” (Dan 3:28-29)

Meditating on these chapters, their act of devotion has spurred a fresh resolve in me. They were constantly praising and worshiping God in public. They didn’t care who heard them; they were unwilling to compromise. I must confess I have noticed myself compromising in the area of praying before a meal when I am in public. There are many times I go to a restaurant with people and do not pray before I eat—even with fellow believers. I am more concerned with what others around me will think than giving God the recognition of His provision. The Lord has blessed me and deserves my devotion. He deserves to be praised and thanked for the abundance in my life.  So, from now on I am going to pray quietly to myself if I am with a group of non-believers with my head down and eyes closed.  Maybe others might see me and do the same.  When I am with a group of believers, I am going to lead us to pray out loud.

Jesus prayed for the disciples:

16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. 17 Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. 18 As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. (John 17:16-18) NIV

Daniel and his friends lived their lives that way; they knew they were not of this world. They did not let the world dictate their actions.  They were true to their God. I pray to live my life the same way.

Lord, I pray that my love for you overcomes any fear of what others think or say. I want to live my life devoted to you. I think our world today is no different than Babylon and like Daniel, I want to keep my focus on you. In Jesus name, Amen

Cindy (gardnlady)

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Jeremiah 37, 21, 34; Psalms 79; James 5

“Zedekiah son of Josiah succeeded Jehoiachin son of Jehoiakim as the king of Judah.  He was appointed by King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon.  But neither King Zedekiah nor his attendants nor the people who were left in the land listened to what the Lord said through Jeremiah.  Nevertheless, King Zedekiah sent Jehucal son of Shelemiah, and Zephaniah the priest, son of Maaseiah, to ask Jeremiah, “Please pray to the Lord our God for us.”  Jeremiah 37:1-3 NLT

King Zedekiah’s heart wasn’t right before the Lord.  He didn’t want to listen to what Jeremiah said.  But, he wanted his prayers answered.  How many times have I come before the Lord with the wrong heart? Feeling far from him.  Knowing that I needed to ask for forgiveness.  What a contrast to David’s humble plea…

“Help us, O God of our salvation! Help us for the glory of your name.  Save us and forgive our sins for the honor of your name.” Psalms 79:9 NLT

Sometimes “Help” is the only word I can utter.

“Are any of you suffering hardships? You should pray.  Are any of you happy? You should sing praises.  Are any of you sick? You should call for the elders of the church to come and pray over you, anointing you with oil in the name of the Lord.  Such a prayer offered in faith will heal the sick, and the Lord will make you well.  And if you have committed any sins, you will be forgiven.” James 5:13-15 NLT 

I am amazed at all the prayers God has answered in my life.  I look through old photos and pause to reflect on his goodness.  A verse comes to mind, “Who am I Lord, that you have brought me and my family this far?” (2 Sam 7:18).  But, still at times I forget all he has done. I get tired in the waiting.

“Elijah was human as we are, and yet he prayed earnestly that no rain would fall, none fell for three and a half years!  Then, when he prayed again, the sky sent down rain and the earth began to yield its crops.” James 5:17&18

If it would have been three and a half days, I’m sure Elijah would have been grateful .  But, I can imagine how elated he was after three and a half years.  Did he ever want to give up hope? Maybe. But, he didn’t give up praying. What an example his faith is to me.

“Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.  The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.” James 5:16 NLT

Dear Father, I praise you for who you are.  Thank you for your faithfulness.  How you care about my every need.  Thank you for your promises and for the hope I have in you. Amen.

Amy(amyctanner)

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Zephaniah, Psalms 74; 2 Corinthians 8

“Now I want you to know, dear brothers and sisters, what God in his kindness has done through the churches in Macedonia.  They are being tested by many troubles, and they are very poor.  But they are also filled with abundant joy, which has overflowed in rich generosity.  For I can testify that they gave not only what they could afford, but far more.  And they did it of their own free will.  They begged us again and again for the privilege of sharing in the gift of the believers in Jerusalem.  They even did more than we had hoped, for their first action was to give themselves to the Lord and to us, just as God wanted them to do.” 2 Corinthians 8:1-3 NLT

I can learn a lot from the churches in Macedonia…

They had abundant joy.

They gave themselves to the Lord first.

They had a strong faith.

They were not focused on what they were lacking, but what they could give.

“I want you to excel also in this gracious act of giving.  Let the eagerness you showed in the beginning be matched now by your giving.  Whatever you give is acceptable if you give it eagerly.  And give according to what you have, not what you don’t have. ” 2 Corinthians 8: 7-13 NLT

How many times have I felt lead to give and than I talk myself out of it? I make a mental list of all the reasons why I shouldn’t.  I give in to my fears and my eagerness fades. But, when I have followed through, my heart is fuller.  I am more grateful for all he has given me. He doesn’t hold back, so why should I?  I am reminded that my treasure truly is in Heaven.  I am reminded that it is all his.

“You, O God, are my king from ages past, bringing salvation to the earth.  You split the sea by your strength and smashed the heads of the sea monsters. You caused the springs and streams to gush forth, and you dried up rivers that never run dry.  Both day and night belong to you; you made the starlight and the sun.  You set the boundaries of the earth, and you made both summer and winter.” Psalms 74:12-17 NLT

Thank you Father for how you pour out your love on me.  Thank you for your faithfulness and provision.  Help me to live with open hands to others.  Give me wisdom and discernment where needed.  I pray that my eyes would be open to those around me who are in need of a touch from you.  That I would be willing to be inconvenienced when it would be easier to turn the other way. Amen.

“For the Lord your God is living among you.  He is a mighty savior.  He will take delight in you with gladness.  With his love, he will calm all your fears.  He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.” Zephaniah 3:17 NLT

Amy(amyctanner)

 

 

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Isaiah 17-19; Psalm 62; 1 Corinthians 1

I’m learning to be quiet. To wait quietly. Sometimes under the stress of a circumstance, the thoughts torment and wound again, and I want to turn to someone and tell them–as if it lessens the pain, or heals the wound (it does not). The validation of being understood is only temporary.

These past few months I’ve set aside a special time to exercise every day. At first, it presented new and uninterrupted opportunity to replay hurtful conversations and worry. But God got through to me–he put songs in my mind, and soon I learned to hear the song around me. While I have been at work training physically, he has been at work training me emotionally and spiritually.

Psalm 62 has come to my attention in the past to remind me of God’s sovereignty. It is a sweet and special comfort today as I think back on this journey of learning to quiet myself before him.

Let all that I am wait quietly before God,
    for my hope is in him.
He alone is my rock and my salvation,
    my fortress where I will not be shaken.
My victory and honor come from God alone.
    He is my refuge, a rock where no enemy can reach me.
O my people, trust in him at all times.
    Pour out your heart to him,
    for God is our refuge. (Psalm 62:5-8, NLT)

Lord, thank you for loving me so deeply. Thank you for teaching me how to quiet myself before you. Thank you for your presence each day and for not tiring of hearing my broken heart, but instead teaching me to praise you and delight in you. I am so grateful.

Courtney (66books365)

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