Tag Archives: Praise

1 Kings 18; 1 Thessalonians 1; Ezekiel 48; Psalm 104

Faithful work … loving deeds … enduring hope. When I read the encouragement poured out in 1 Thessalonians, I imagine a group of believers in life’s sweet spot where it’s easy to be faithful and loving. Understand: they weren’t in a sweet spot, yet a sweetness poured out from them–their faith. They were known by it, and God was known by it.

We always thank God for all of you and pray for you constantly. As we pray to our God and Father about you, we think of your faithful work, your loving deeds, and the enduring hope you have because of our Lord Jesus Christ.

We know, dear brothers and sisters, that God loves you and has chosen you to be his own people. For when we brought you the Good News, it was not only with words but also with power, for the Holy Spirit gave you full assurance that what we said was true. And you know of our concern for you from the way we lived when we were with you. So you received the message with joy from the Holy Spirit in spite of the severe suffering it brought you. In this way, you imitated both us and the Lord. As a result, you have become an example to all the believers in Greece—throughout both Macedonia and Achaia.

And now the word of the Lord is ringing out from you to people everywhere, even beyond Macedonia and Achaia, for wherever we go we find people telling us about your faith in God. We don’t need to tell them about it, for they keep talking about the wonderful welcome you gave us and how you turned away from idols to serve the living and true God. 10 And they speak of how you are looking forward to the coming of God’s Son from heaven—Jesus, whom God raised from the dead. He is the one who has rescued us from the terrors of the coming judgment. (1 Thessalonians 1:2-10, NLT, emphasis added)

In a three year drought, faith ignited a fire. Unwavering, confident, expectant faith from knowing God.

30 Then Elijah called to the people, “Come over here!” They all crowded around him as he repaired the altar of the Lord that had been torn down. 31 He took twelve stones, one to represent each of the tribes of Israel, 32 and he used the stones to rebuild the altar in the name of the Lord. Then he dug a trench around the altar large enough to hold about three gallons. 33 He piled wood on the altar, cut the bull into pieces, and laid the pieces on the wood.

Then he said, “Fill four large jars with water, and pour the water over the offering and the wood.”

34 After they had done this, he said, “Do the same thing again!” And when they were finished, he said, “Now do it a third time!” So they did as he said, 35 and the water ran around the altar and even filled the trench.

36 At the usual time for offering the evening sacrifice, Elijah the prophet walked up to the altar and prayed, “O Lord, God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, prove today that you are God in Israel and that I am your servant. Prove that I have done all this at your command. 37 O Lord, answer me! Answer me so these people will know that you, O Lord, are God and that you have brought them back to yourself.”

38 Immediately the fire of the Lord flashed down from heaven and burned up the young bull, the wood, the stones, and the dust. It even licked up all the water in the trench! 39 And when all the people saw it, they fell face down on the ground and cried out, “The Lord—he is God! Yes, the Lord is God!” (1 Kings 18:30-39, NLT)

(And rains came, ending the drought. Imagine the elation!)

Land is set aside for the tribes of Israel, and I read this piece:

11 This area is set aside for the ordained priests, the descendants of Zadok who served me faithfully and did not go astray with the people of Israel and the rest of the Levites. 12 It will be their special portion when the land is distributed, the most sacred land of all. (Ezekiel 48:11-12, NLT, emphasis added)

These are stories of man’s faith in a faithful God, not in life’s sweet spot, but in drought, in severe suffering, in focused and enduring service. It’s not just a believing faith, but a persistent, confident, expectant, actionable, demonstrable faith.

Lord Jesus, when I am burdened and bear a weight that’s heavy, what pours out of me? A three year drought … I am humbled, when I know a poor night’s sleep and a taunting stress are enough to make me snap. These scriptures remind me to keep a sure and eternal focus.

You placed the world on its foundation
    so it would never be moved. (Psalm 104:5, NLT)

Let all that I am praise you.

Courtney (66books365)

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Filed under 1 Kings, 1 Thessalonians, 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, Ezekiel, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, Psalms

1 Samuel 25; 1 Corinthians 6; Ezekiel 4; Psalm 40, 41

29 “Even when you are chased by those who seek to kill you, your life is safe in the care of the Lord your God, secure in his treasure pouch! But the lives of your enemies will disappear like stones shot from a sling! 30 When the Lord has done all he promised and has made you leader of Israel, 31 don’t let this be a blemish on your record. Then your conscience won’t have to bear the staggering burden of needless bloodshed and vengeance. And when the Lord has done these great things for you, please remember me, your servant!”

32 David replied to Abigail, “Praise the Lord, the God of Israel, who has sent you to meet me today! 33 Thank God for your good sense! Bless you for keeping me from murder and from carrying out vengeance with my own hands. 34 For I swear by the Lord, the God of Israel, who has kept me from hurting you, that if you had not hurried out to meet me, not one of Nabal’s men would still be alive tomorrow morning.” 35 Then David accepted her present and told her, “Return home in peace. I have heard what you said. We will not kill your husband.” (1 Sam 25:29-35)

David’s encounter with Abigail was such a blessing to him. Not only did she bring him and his men food, she also saved him from doing something foolish—quite the irony since the name “Nabal” means fool. He had set in his heart to avenge the act of one man by slaughtering all the males in his household. He would have had innocent blood on his hands. The future King of Israel, the man after God’s own heart. It was not God sending him to do battle, it was his own pride at being slighted and dismissed. He would have been using his power as a leader for his own benefit. I thought of Prov. 16:18—Pride goes before destruction . . .

Don’t I need an “Abigail” in my own life? Someone who will talk sense into me at a time when I have let my emotions get the better of me and I’m about to do something foolish? Something I will regret that has long-lasting repercussions? Pride is such a battle at times. It can cause me to shut my ears to God and what I know God wants. It’s behind hurtful words I might say that crush another person’s spirit. It’s what can keep me from serving others. It’s what I call the ugly in me and it comes out sometimes when I least expect it. That is not how Jesus taught us to live. He modeled humility. I am thankful to have people in my life who will call me to account. I have a God who knows how to humble me when I need to be reminded. It is a God who loves me so much.

I waited patiently for the Lord to help me,
    and he turned to me and heard my cry.
He lifted me out of the pit of despair,
    out of the mud and the mire.
He set my feet on solid ground
    and steadied me as I walked along.
He has given me a new song to sing,
    a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see what he has done and be amazed.
    They will put their trust in the Lord. (Ps. 40:1-3)

Yes, that is my testimony. I’m not always great about the “waiting patiently” part. I feel it was more him who waited patiently for me to seek him. When I did, he heard my cry. Who I am now compared to who I was when I was living in that self-made pit—well, all I can say is I have a reason to sing! I am a work in progress. But with the weight of shame lifted from my soul, I can praise my God. I can surrender to him when he shows me that pride. He wants only the best for me and from me.

Oh Lord, you and I have quite a story to tell. I thank you for your saving grace; I thank you for your unfailing love that fills my empty heart. I thank you for the times I see your blessings in my life, and I thank you for the times I see your correction. I thank you I can confess that ugly that shows itself and you forgive me. I thank you for the friends you’ve brought into my life who speak truth to me, encourage me, and make sure I always look to you.

Praise be to the LORD, the God of Israel, from everlasting to everlasting. Amen and Amen (Ps 41:13)

Cindy (gardnlady)

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Filed under 1 Samuel, 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, Psalms

1 Samuel 17; Romans 15; Lam. 2; Ps.33

“Don’t worry about this Philistine,” David told Saul.  “I’ll go fight him!” “Don’t be ridiculous!” Saul replied.  “There’s no way you can fight this Philistine and possibly win! You’re only a boy, and he’s been a man of war since his youth.”  But David persisted.  “I have been taking care of my father’s sheep and goats,” he said.  “When a lion and a bear comes to steal a lamb from the flock, I go after it with a club and rescue the lamb from it’s mouth.  If the animal turns on me, I catch it by the jaw and club it to death.  I have done this to both lions and bears , and I’ll do it to this pagan Philistine, too, for he has defied the armies of the living God!”  The Lord who rescued me from the claws of the lion and the bear will rescue me from the Philistine!” 1 Samuel 17:32-37 NLT

I have pictured David’s time as a shepherd being fairly easy.  I never thought of him rescuing lambs and killing lions and bears.  He didn’t know at the time how God was preparing him to fight Goliath. David was ready.  He didn’t let Saul’s lack of faith deter him from what God wanted him to do.

“Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand , and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory.  We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance.  And endurance develops strength and character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation.  And this hope will not lead to disappointment.  For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.” Romans 5:2-4 NLT

Like David, I usually can’t see how my faith was strengthened by a trial until God brings me into another one.  I can look back and draw strength from how God brought me through in the past.  It can be hard for me to find joy in the midst of my pain. I want to  scream, cry, run or avoid it at times.   I am thankful for a God who understands my emotions. I can run to him and  find comfort in knowing that he with me and doesn’t leave my side.

“For the word of the Lord holds true, and we can trust everything he does.  He loves whatever is just and good; the unfailing love of the Lord fills the earth.  The Lord frustrates the plans of the nations and thwarts all their schemes.  But the Lord’s plans stand firm forever; his intentions can never be shaken.  What joy for the nation whose God is the Lord, whose people he has chosen as his inheritance.  But the Lord watches over those who fear him, those who rely on his unfailing love.  He rescues them from death and keeps them alive in times of famine.  We put our hope in the Lord.  He is our help and our shield.  In him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his holy name.  Let your unfailing love surround us, Lord, for our hope is in you alone” Psalms 33 NLT

Dear Father,  Thank you for your unfailing love.  I rely on your strength when I am weak.  Thank you for giving me your Holy Spirit.  I praise you for who you are.  Amen.

Amy(amyctanner)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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1 Samuel 1; Romans 1; Jeremiah 39; Psalms 13,14

“Hannah was in deep anguish, crying bitterly as she prayed to the Lord.  And she made this vow: “O Lord of Heaven’s Armies, if you look upon my sorrow and answer my prayer and give me a son, then I will give him back to you.  He will be yours for his entire lifetime, and as a sign that he has been dedicated to the Lord, his hair will never be cut.  I am the very woman who stood here several years ago praying to the Lord.  I asked the Lord to give me this boy, and he has granted my request.  Now I am giving him the Lord, and he will belong to the Lord his whole life.” And they worshiped the Lord there.” 1 Samuel 1:10&11; 26-28 NLT

I can understand Hannah’s desire for a child.  And the hopelessness I felt after having two miscarriages.  Now we have a total of four kids.  There have been other times when I didn’t understand what God was doing.  I’ve prayed prayers like the one that David did in Psalms…

“O Lord, how long will you forget me? Forever? How long will you look the other way? How long must I struggle with anguish in my soul, with sorrow in my heart every day? How long will my enemy have the upper hand? Turn and answer me, O Lord my God! Restore the sparkle in my eyes, or I will die.  Don’t let my enemies gloat, saying, “We have defeated him!” Don’t let them rejoice at my downfall.  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 13:1-6 NLT

Waiting on God can cause me to get weary.  I am grateful for others that encourage me in my faith, even when I don’t realize I need it. A friend stopped by the other day and dropped off a note and a gift she made for me. Her thoughtfulness lifted my burden and gave me the strength to get up again.

“When we get together, I want to encourage you in your faith, but I also want to be encouraged by yours.  For I am not ashamed of this Good News about Christ.  It is the power of God at work, saving everyone who believes-the Jew first and also the Gentile.  This Good News tells us how God makes us right in his sight.  This is accomplished from start to finish by faith.  As Scriptures say, “It is through faith that a righteous person has life.” Romans 1:12-17 NLT

Dear Father, Thank you for your faithfulness.  For hearing my prayers.  Help me to listen to your prodding, to encourage someone else when they need it.  Give me the courage to share my story with those that need to hear it.  Amen.

“Who will come from Mount Zion to rescue Israel? When the Lord restores his people, Jacob will shout with joy, and Israel will rejoice.” Psalms 14:7 NLT

Amy(amyctanner)

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Joshua 2; Psalms 123-125; Isaiah 62; Matthew 10

“Then, since Rahab’s house was built into the town wall, she let them down by a rope through the window.  “Escape to the hill country,” she told them.  “Hide there for three days from the men searching for you.  Then, when they have returned, you can go on your way.”  Before they left, the men told her, “We will be bound by the oath we have taken only if you follow these instructions.  When we come into the land, you must leave the scarlet rope hanging from the window through which you let us down.  “I accept your terms,” she replied.  And she sent them on their way, leaving the scarlet rope hanging from the window…Then the two spies came down from the hill country, crossed the Jordan River, and reported to Joshua all that had happened to them.  “The Lord has given us the whole land,” they said, “for all the people in the land are terrified of us.” Joshua 2:15-23 NLT

The Lord positioned Rahab right where she needed to be for his purpose.  Rahab had the kind of courage that I want to have. She didn’t question, but accepted the plan.  And great things were accomplished because of it. It might have seemed like a small task to her at the time.  Did she even know all the lives she would affect through her obedience?

“O Jerusalem, I have posted watchmen on your walls; they will pray day and night, continually.  Take no rest, all who pray to the Lord.  Give the Lord no rest until he completes his work, until he makes Jerusalem the pride of the earth.  The Lord has sworn to Jerusalem by his own strength: “I will never again hand you over to your enemies.  The Lord has sent this message to every land: “Tell the people of Israel, ‘Look, your Savior is coming.  See, he brings his reward with him as he comes.”  They will be called, “The Holy People” and “The People Redeemed by the Lord.” And Jerusalem will be known as “The Desirable Place” and “The City No Longer Forsaken.” Isaiah 62:6-12 NLT

Am I a ‘Watchman on the Wall’ interceding for my family and friends daily?

“Look, I am sending you out as sheep among wolves.  So be as shrewd as snakes and harmless as doves.  When you are arrested, don’t worry how to respond or what to say.  God will give you the right words at the right time.  For it is not you who will be speaking-it will be the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.”  Matthew 10:16-19 NLT

I need to stay in prayer, so that I am not deceived.  I need to stay close to Him, so I can and be ready to answer anyone.

“I lift my eyes to you, O God, enthroned in heaven.  We keep looking to the Lord our God for his mercy, just as servants keep their eyes on their master, as a slave girl watches her mistress for the slightest signal.” Psalms 123:1-2 NLT

Dear Father, Thank you for so generously giving wisdom when I ask.  Help me to stay hopeful. Only you can break bonds. Amen.

Amy(amyctanner)

 

 

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