“When the Lord your God destroys the nations whose land he is giving you, you will take over their land and settle in their towns and homes. Then you must set apart three cities of refuge in the land the Lord your God is giving you…And if the Lord your God enlarges your territory, as he swore to your ancestors, and gives you all the land he promised them, you must designate three additional cities of refuge. (He will give you this land if you are careful to obey all the commands I have given you – if you always love the Lord your God and walk in his ways.)” Duet. 19:1-9 NLT
Many who came to these cities were literally running for their lives and God gave them a place to go. Where/who do I run to? I hope that I am running to the Lord. He is my shield and hiding place. But, when I run to other things he is always there welcoming me back with open arms. I think on the picture of the sparrow safe in the Lord’s hands. That is where I want to be and know that I am.
“When you go out to fight your enemies and you face horses and chariots and an army greater than your own, do not be afraid. The Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, is with you! When you prepare for battle, the priest must come forward to speak to the troops. He will say to them, ‘Listen to me, all you men of Israel! Do not be afraid as you go out and fight your enemies today! Do not lose heart or panic or trouble before them. For the Lord your God is going with you! He will fight for you against your enemies, and he will give you victory!” Deut. 20:1-4 NLT
Like the Israelites, I sometimes feel overwhelmed and defeated. God told them that he was always with them & already reuscued them from potential danger. It comforts me to know that he is not just with me, but he goes before me. Paul understood this. He continued ministering to others even when he was a shipwrecked prisoner.
“In that region there was an estate of the leading citizen of the island, whose name was Publius, who received us and entertained us courteously for three days. And it happened that the father of Publius lay sick of a fever and dysentery. Paul went in to him and prayed, and he laid his hands on him and healed him. So when this was done, the rest of the island who had diseases also came and were healed. They also honored us in many ways; and when we departed, they provided such things as were necessary.” Acts 28:7-9 NLT
Dear Father, I am so grateful that I can run to you. Thank you for your patience and mercy. Your are my safe place. I pray that I can share with others from the confident trust I have in you. Amen.
“For the next two years, Paul lived in Rome at his own expense. He welcomed all who visited him, boldly proclaiming the Kingdom of God and teaching about the Lord Jesus Christ. And no one tried to stop him.” Acts 28:30 NLT
Filed under 66 Books, Acts, Bible in a year reading plan, Deuteronomy, New Testament, Old Testament
Tagged as 66 books, Bible reading plan, Boldness, Courage, Faith, fear, hard heart, healing, Holy Spirit, miracles, New Testament, Old Testament, refuge, rescue
Psalm 38. A psalm of David. A petition. That is the heading that precedes the verses. The psalm is an acknowledgement of sin. The physical and emotional descriptions that follow underscore to me that sin is death.
Lord, do not rebuke me in your anger
or discipline me in your wrath.
2 Your arrows have pierced me,
and your hand has come down on me.
3 Because of your wrath there is no health in my body;
there is no soundness in my bones because of my sin.
4 My guilt has overwhelmed me
like a burden too heavy to bear.
5 My wounds fester and are loathsome
because of my sinful folly.
6 I am bowed down and brought very low;
all day long I go about mourning.
7 My back is filled with searing pain;
there is no health in my body.
8 I am feeble and utterly crushed;
I groan in anguish of heart. (Psalm 38:1-8, NIV)
As I continued to read, I became curious about the circumstances of the psalm. I did a quick search. A preview of one link held this: “David Guzik commentary on Psalm 38 describes the only hope a sinner has, who has been forsaken by friends and hunted by enemies: God.”
The only hope.
21 Lord, do not forsake me;
do not be far from me, my God.
22 Come quickly to help me,
my Lord and my Savior. (Psalm 38:21-22, NIV)
The only hope at all.
The salvation of the righteous comes from the Lord;
he is their stronghold in time of trouble.
40 The Lord helps them and delivers them;
he delivers them from the wicked and saves them,
because they take refuge in him. (Psalm 37:39-40, NIV)
I’m reading a book called Resilience by Eric Greitens and just finished a section about praying. “I can’t tell anyone else how to pray, but I find myself praying more when things are harder. I also find myself drinking water more when I am thirsty, and eating more when I am hungry, and sleeping more when I am tired. And I’ve finally begun to accept that if I pray more when I am troubled, that’s just as natural.” (191)
Lord, I’m grateful that my prayers reach you. And just like water to quench a thirst, or food to nourish and strengthen, when I am troubled (or any time), I can call to you and it is just as natural.
Filed under 66 Books, 7-day reading pln, Bible in a year reading plan, Cover to cover
Tagged as 66 books, 66 books in a year, Bible in a year, Bible reading plan, hope, Old Testament, prayer, refuge, resilience
”When you enter the land the Lord your God is giving you, be very careful not to imitate the detestable customs of the nations living there. For example , never sacrifice your son or daughter as a burnt offering. And do not let people practice fortune telling, or use sorcery, or interpret omens, or engage in witchcraft, or cast spells, or function as mediums or psychics, or call forth spirits of the dead. Anyone who does these things is detestable to the Lord. But you must be blameless before the Lord your God” Deut. 18:9-13 NLT
The Israelites had ungodly practices to face in the Promised Land. The evil was surrounding them, but God was there with them. I can’t help but to think about how this is just as prevalent in the world today. It seems like Satan has a stronghold, but Jesus has the ultimate victory.
What am I letting into my life that isn’t pleasing to God?
“Then anyone who has killed someone can flee to one of the cities of refuge for safety. If someone kills another person unintentIonally, without previous hostility, the slayer may flee to anyone of these cities to live in safety. That is why I am asking you to set aside the cities of refuge. And if the Lord your God enlarges your territory , as he swore to your ancestors , and gives them all the land he promised them, you must designate three additional cities of refuge. (He will give you this land if you are careful to obey all the commands I have given you-if you always love the Lord your God and walk in his ways.)” Deut. 19:3-9 NLT
God gave the innocent a place to flee. He was showing His mercy towards His people. I am reminded that He always makes a way when there seems to be no way. I can run to Him when my world seems crazy. He gives me a place of safety. He is my place to hide. His presence is always with me.
Thank you Father for going before me. For your provision and faithfulness. You are my refuge. Amen.
“The Lord said to Joshua, “Now tell the Israelites to designate the cities of refuge, as I instructed Moses. Anyone who kills another person accidentally and unintentionally can run to one of these cities; they will be places of refuge from relatives seeking revenge for the person who was killed. These cities were set apart for all the Israelites as well as the foreigners among them.” Joshua 20:1-9 NLT
Where do I find my refuge?
“Not a single one of all the good promises of the Lord had given to the family of Israel was left unfulfilled; everything he had spoken came true.” Joshua 21:44-45 NLT
When I get impatient and start to feel weary, this verse gives me renewed hope.
“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere-in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Acts 1:8 NLT
I can get complacent and forget that he calls me to be a testimony for him. At times I just want to go about my day and get my tasks done. But, this is most often when God will put someone in my path who needs to hear about him.
“Lord, there is no one like you! For you are great, and your name is full power. Who would fear you, O King of the nations? The title belongs to you alone! Among all the wise people of the earth and in all the kingdoms of the world, there is no one like you.” Jeremiah 10:6&7 NLT
I am thankful that God knows the future and I don’t have to. I can get so caught up in thinking too far ahead that it causes me to be anxious and fearful. He is sovereign.
“So you, too, must keep watch! For you don’t know what day your Lord is coming. Understand this: If a homeowner knew exactly when a burglar was coming, he would keep watch and not permit his house to be broken into. You also must be ready all the time, for the Son of Man will come when least expected.” Matthew 24:42-44 NLT
My daughter and I went out to lunch after church this past Sunday. And my car was broken into. Thankfully we were fine and nothing valuable was stolen. It was more that we were taken off guard. What a picture it was for me, that I want to live my life in a way that I am not surprised by the Lord’s return. I want to be ready.
“I know, Lord, that our lives are not our own. We are not able to plan our own course. So correct me, Lord, but please be gentle. Do not correct me in anger, for I would die.” Jeremiah 10:23&24 NLT
Dear Father, I surrender my life to you again. Thank you for your love, mercy and patience with me. Thank you for your Holy Spirit. I want to be set apart to do your work. I put my trust in you. Amen.
Filed under Acts, Jeremiah, Joshua, Matthew, Uncategorized
Tagged as Faith, fear of the Lord, Holy Spirit, hope, Jesus, refuge, trust
There are days the tasks I face are things like cutting the grass, doing the laundry, preparing school lessons. There are days the tasks I face are way harder–standing up under scrutiny and judgment, making decisions I never imagined I’d have to, pushing through circumstances that could truly change my heart.
These are the nations that the Lord left in the land to test those Israelites who had not experienced the wars of Canaan. 2 He did this to teach warfare to generations of Israelites who had no experience in battle. 3 These are the nations: the Philistines (those living under the five Philistine rulers), all the Canaanites, the Sidonians, and the Hivites living in the mountains of Lebanon from Mount Baal-hermon to Lebo-hamath. 4 These people were left to test the Israelites—to see whether they would obey the commands the Lord had given to their ancestors through Moses. (Judges 3:1-4, NLT)
In the midst of a battle for my heart, my faith, my words, my actions (in sum, my life), I’m thankful that Jesus is my Savior, my light, my teacher. I look to these words about battles and testing, and I want to cling tightly to my God.
Lord, you are my strength and fortress,
my refuge in the day of trouble!
Nations from around the world
will come to you and say,
“Our ancestors left us a foolish heritage,
for they worshiped worthless idols.
20 Can people make their own gods?
These are not real gods at all!”
21 The Lord says,
“Now I will show them my power;
now I will show them my might.
At last they will know and understand
that I am the Lord. (Jeremiah 16:19-21, NLT)
Stephen recounts a history of God’s faithfulness and direction. Lord, don’t let me be so distracted by an enemy or a battle or a faulty perception that I forget all that you are and all that you have done.
5 Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the paralyzed man, “My child, your sins are forgiven.” (Mark 2:5, NLT)
10 So I will prove to you that the Son of Man has the authority on earth to forgive sins.” Then Jesus turned to the paralyzed man and said, 11 “Stand up, pick up your mat, and go home!” (Mark 2:10, NLT)
14 As he walked along, he saw Levi son of Alphaeus sitting at his tax collector’s booth. “Follow me and be my disciple,” Jesus said to him. So Levi got up and followed him. (Mark 2:14, NLT)
27 Then Jesus said to them, “The Sabbath was made to meet the needs of people, and not people to meet the requirements of the Sabbath. 28 So the Son of Man is Lord, even over the Sabbath!” (Mark 2:27, NLT)
You make all things new.
22 “And no one puts new wine into old wineskins. For the wine would burst the wineskins, and the wine and the skins would both be lost. New wine calls for new wineskins.” (Mark 2:22, NLT)
Filed under 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, Uncategorized
Tagged as 66 books, 66 books in a year, battle, Bible reading plan, Bible study, Faith, refuge, restore, spiritual warfare