Tag Archives: savior

1 Corinthians 15; Psalm 68

This quote comes from a Christian-focus book on perseverance and starting over.

“No one is coming to save you.”

I’ve thought on these words since last September. They scare me. There were likely other messages from the book about accountability and movement, but this is the sentence that stuck hard with me. And the heckler in my head speaks it over me in my lowest times.

I read this next in a book about redeeming lost years from childhood neglect:

“The fact is, you can’t totally trust me or anyone else. When push comes to shove, I’ll probably save [myself] first.”

It stole the breath from my lungs as I considered humanity and sin and that even important-to-you people will put impossible burdens upon shoulders, or flee in the crisis. Can one trust his life to anyone? Ever?

It is this Good News that saves you if you continue to believe the message I told you—unless, of course, you believed something that was never true in the first place (1 Corinthians 15:2, NLT).

I took the riding mower out to cut the grass. There are many mature trees in our yard, and two oaks in the front yard have large, long, dead limbs. It makes me nervous to ride beneath them for fear they’ll fall on me. That day, I wondered to the Lord, oh, that He would show me a sign of His protection over me: let a tree limb fall after I pass by so I won’t worry about it (and “it” is symbolic of more than a tree limb). I moved on to the field and made several laps around the perimeter, moving a tractor deck’s width inward each lap. Coming down the straightaway, a limb I never noticed lie fallen, dead, long and large, right in the area I had passed by just earlier.

He didn’t drop the limbs I was thinking about. I knew I could count on Him for my soul’s salvation, but could I count on Him to protect me? Especially in times of feeling very targeted, emotionally, physically, would He protect me? He told me then that He’s protecting me from threats I’m not even aware of; I can trust him.

In recent readings, David and Eleazar stood together on the battlefield because all the other men deserted them to an enemy army. They were outnumbered. They should have died. But it was God who gave them the victory.

I tell my kids that truth can handle scrutiny. It doesn’t run from questions or doubts. Truth is not afraid. It doesn’t change itself or hide the evidence to make itself look like something it’s not. Truth doesn’t back down or bully back or threaten. It stands.

34 Think carefully about what is right, and stop sinning. For to your shame I say that some of you don’t know God at all (1 Corinthians 15:34, NLT).

I am thankful for His Word in my hands, so that I can know Him in these pages (so that I can know Him also in my life). I can look at an impossible story in the Bible, and read of His victory in what should be defeat, see His miracles in the unimaginable.

58 So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and immovable. Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless (1 Corinthians 15:58, NLT).

He fashions me into His image–with encouragement to be strong! Be engaged! It matters!

19 Praise the Lord; praise God our savior!
   For each day he carries us in his arms.
20 Our God is a God who saves!
   The Sovereign Lord rescues us from death (Psalm 68:19-20, NLT).

I matter.

You matter.

Praise be to God!

I get up and begin again.

Courtney (66books365)

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Exodus 10-12; Ephesians 2

Captive 430 years.

40 The people of Israel had lived in Egypt for 430 years. 41 In fact, it was on the last day of the 430th year that all the Lord’s forces left the land. 42 On this night the Lord kept his promise to bring his people out of the land of Egypt. So this night belongs to him, and it must be commemorated every year by all the Israelites, from generation to generation. (Exodus 12:40, NLT)

A ruler’s hardened heart.

Signs of such magnitude, so all will know.

Then the Lord said to Moses, “Return to Pharaoh and make your demands again. I have made him and his officials stubborn so I can display my miraculous signs among them. I’ve also done it so you can tell your children and grandchildren about how I made a mockery of the Egyptians and about the signs I displayed among them—and so you will know that I am the Lord.” (Exodus 10:1-2, NLT)

Modern day captive.

Once you were dead because of your disobedience and your many sins. You used to live in sin, just like the rest of the world, obeying the devil—the commander of the powers in the unseen world. He is the spirit at work in the hearts of those who refuse to obey God. All of us used to live that way, following the passionate desires and inclinations of our sinful nature. By our very nature we were subject to God’s anger, just like everyone else. (Ephesians 2:1-3, NLT)

Modern day hardened hearts.

Signs of such magnitude, so all will know.

But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!) For he raised us from the dead along with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus. So God can point to us in all future ages as examples of the incredible wealth of his grace and kindness toward us, as shown in all he has done for us who are united with Christ Jesus.

God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. 10 For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. (Ephesians 2:4-10, NLT)

Father, Savior, King of my heart–I’m grateful for your work in my life, your love and mercy. Celebrating you, praising you. Saved by grace. Created anew. Grateful.

Courtney (66books365)

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I Kings 17; Colossians 4; Ezekiel 47; Psalm 103

A thread runs through the scriptures that is hard to miss – God’s provision. I have seen it im my own life, as well. God has provided in countless ways that I could never have imagined. While it may not have always been what I expected, He has always given me what I needed at the time. Like there was the time our family was struggling financially – 3 young children at home, Christmas was just around the corner. As a mom, I was heartbroken about not having gifts under the tree. One day a packaged arrived filled with wrapped gifts for my children. To this day I don’t know who sent it.

God provided.

Sometimes it is less tangible, but just as needed. I was in the midst of a particularly challenging job that was required to earn my master’s degree. I didn’t think I could make it through another day. I awoke one morning to find that my daughter had posted a verse on my mirror:

 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Phil4:6-7

I was praying to leave the situation.

God provided a way through it.

In I Kings 17, God provided food and water for Elijah, a widow, and her son during a time of drought and difficulty.

13 Elijah said to her, “Don’t be afraid. Go home and do as you have said. But first make a small loaf of bread for me from what you have and bring it to me, and then make something for yourself and your son.14 For this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘The jar of flour will not be used up and the jug of oil will not run dry until the day the Lordsends rain on the land.’” NIV

God provides

In Ezekiel 47, we learn of a tree that bears nourishing fruit and heals.

 12 Fruit trees of all kinds will grow on both banks of the river.Their leaves will not wither, nor will their fruit fail. Every month they will bear fruit, because the water from the sanctuary flows to them. Their fruit will serve for food and their leaves for healing.” NIV

God provides a beautiful picture of things to come. God provides a Savior.

Paul encourages us in Colossians 4 to “make the most of every opportunity.” as we speak with outsiders. May we be ready and willing to share of His provision in our lives and His provision for all lives.

Let’s sing praises as David did:

Praise the Lord, my soul;
    all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
Praise the Lord, my soul,
    and forget not all his benefits—
who forgives all your sins
    and heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit
    and crowns you with love and compassion,
who satisfies your desires with good things
    so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s. Psalm 103: 1-5 NIV

Ann (naturelady)

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1 Kings 16-18; John 1:29-51

Baasha. The Lord’s anger was provoked by Baasha’s sins. 1 Kings 16:7b, NLT.

Elah. 13 This happened because of all the sins Baasha and his son Elah had committed, and because of the sins they led Israel to commit. They provoked the anger of the Lord, the God of Israel, with their worthless idols. 1 Kings 16:13, NLT.

Zimri. 19 For he, too, had done what was evil in the Lord’s sight. He followed the example of Jeroboam in all the sins he had committed and led Israel to commit. 1 Kings 16:19, NLT.

Omri. 26 He followed the example of Jeroboam son of Nebat in all the sins he had committed and led Israel to commit. The people provoked the anger of the Lord, the God of Israel, with their worthless idols. 1 Kings 16:26, NLT.

Ahab. 30 But Ahab son of Omri did what was evil in the Lord’s sight, even more than any of the kings before him. 31 And as though it were not enough to follow the example of Jeroboam, he married Jezebel, the daughter of King Ethbaal of the Sidonians, and he began to bow down in worship of Baal. 32 First Ahab built a temple and an altar for Baal in Samaria. 33 Then he set up an Asherah pole. He did more to provoke the anger of the Lord, the God of Israel, than any of the other kings of Israel before him. 1 Kings 16:30-33, NLT.

There’s a pattern and a progression here. Sin and worthless idols. Each leader led the people further into sin–Ahab, even more than any of the kings before him.

They may have been known for other things, but these scriptures read as sketch of their character.

I think on things like example, leadership, legacy, generational sin. I look back on a lineage whose blood I share–what can I learn from this? How am I spending my days? I think on what my children will learn from me, and sometimes wonder what will be passed onto future generations.

Jesus. 29 The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” John 1:29, NLT.

I mess up a lot, but I hope my kids will see a Savior’s love, forgiveness and redemption in my very imperfect life.

Lord, I’m thankful for your grace and example. Help me to continue to learn from you.

Courtney (66books365)

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1 Kings 3-5; Luke 23:1-26

“And they began to accuse him saying, ‘We have found this man subverting our nation. He opposes payment of taxes to Caesar and claims to be Christ the king.’

So Pilate asked Jesus, ‘Are you the king of the Jews?’

‘Yes, it is as you say,’ Jesus replied.” Luke 23:2-4

Jesus isn’t just accused of being Christ the king; he was and is the anointed one, the Messiah, the answer to all Israel’s hopes and dreams.

Peter later confirms this and Luke records this in Acts 2:36, “Let all of Israel be assured of this:  God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.”

The Jews anticipate a king who displays political and worldly power and force. A deliverer who elevates their status in a downtrodden and dog eat dog world. Jesus, the Messiah God sends is not who they want. When Pilate offers to give Jesus back to his people, they choose another hero, a murderer and troublemaker, Barabbas.

This leads me to ask myself the questions, “When has Jesus asked to come into my life and I have turned him away because he isn’t who I want him to be? When do I accuse Jesus of upending my world and subverting my ways?”

I pray that God frees my heart from its own stoniness so that I can be more like the transformed Peter.  Daily, I surrender my life to Christ the King, the anointed One who is so much more than I could ever dream or hope Him to be. I pray that God keeps me from being bound by my agenda and not His. I want more of Jesus and less of me.

May it be so.

Klueh

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

Elijah approached the people and said, “How long will you not decide between two choices? If the Lord is the true God, follow him, but if Baal is the true God, follow him!” But the people said nothing.

Elijah said, “I am the only prophet of the Lord here, but there are four hundred fifty prophets of Baal. Bring two bulls. Let the prophets of Baal choose one bull and kill it and cut it into pieces. Then let them put the meat on the wood, but they are not to set fire to it. I will prepare the other bull, putting the meat on the wood but not setting fire to it. You prophets of Baal, pray to your god, and I will pray to the Lord. The god who answers by setting fire to his wood is the true God.”

All the people agreed that this was a good idea.

Then Elijah said to the prophets of Baal, “There are many of you, so you go first. Choose a bull and prepare it. Pray to your god, but don’t start the fire.”

So they took the bull that was given to them and prepared it. They prayed to Baal from morning until noon, shouting “Baal, answer us!” But there was no sound, and no one answered. They danced around the altar they had built.

At noon Elijah began to make fun of them. “Pray louder!” he said. “If Baal really is a god, maybe he is thinking, or busy, or traveling! Maybe he is sleeping so you will have to wake him!” The prophets prayed louder, cutting themselves with swords and spears until their blood flowed, which was the way they worshiped. The afternoon passed, and the prophets continued to act like this until it was time for the evening sacrifice. But no voice was heard; Baal did not answer, and no one paid attention.

Then Elijah said to all the people, “Now come to me.” So they gathered around him, and Elijah rebuilt the altar of the Lord, which had been torn down. He took twelve stones, one stone for each of the twelve tribes, the number of Jacob’s sons. (The Lord changed Jacob’s name to Israel.) Elijah used these stones to rebuild the altar in honor of the Lord. Then he dug a ditch around the altar that was big enough to hold about thirteen quarts of seed. Elijah put the wood on the altar, cut the bull into pieces, and laid the pieces on the wood. Then he said, “Fill four jars with water, and pour it on the meat and on the wood.” Then Elijah said, “Do it again,” and they did it again. Then he said, “Do it a third time,” and they did it the third time. So the water ran off the altar and filled the ditch.

At the time for the evening sacrifice, the prophet Elijah went near the altar. “Lord, you are the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel,” he prayed. “Prove that you are the God of Israel and that I am your servant. Show these people that you commanded me to do all these things. Lord, answer my prayer so these people will know that you, Lord, are God and that you will change their minds.”

Then fire from the Lord came down and burned the sacrifice, the wood, the stones, and the ground around the altar. It also dried up the water in the ditch. When all the people saw this, they fell down to the ground, crying, “The Lord is God! The Lord is God!” 1 Kings 18:21-39 (NCV)

Elijah played a vital role in God’s strategy to reveal to the people of the time His glory and His power. God used Elijah to send a message to the men and women of Israel. God placed Elijah in the center of a miraculous event designed to challenge the status quo of those who had chosen to worship false idols, to definitively prove that He was, is, and will always be the ONLY Living God.

Elijah’s faith in the reality of God’s power gave him the ability to step out in boldness to proclaim the truth and confront the priests of Baal and the unfaithfulness of the people of Israel. He gave them an experiential demonstration of the uselessness of putting their trust in counterfeit gods, the hopelessness of rituals intended to convince a statue to relieve suffering and provide for needs.

Daring the believers of Baal to authenticate their god, Elijah goaded them with taunts of a deity too busy to listen, too preoccupied with thinking or traveling or sleeping. It didn’t matter how loud the priests prayed, how hard they danced, or how much blood they let flow from their bodies, an imitation with no eyes to see or ears to hear would never be able to ease their desperation. Elijah allowed the priest to expend themselves in the futility of calling on a fake.

When it was Elijah’s turn to take part in the competition, he upped the ante, asking the on-lookers to pour twelve buckets of water over the altar he had rebuilt, soaking the sacrificed bull and drenching the firewood. A simple, yet fervent prayer – “show us who You are Lord” – called on God to take the impossible, and make it possible.

I have seen first-hand the fruitlessness of rituals, the worthlessness of worshipping a stone or a tree or an animal or money. I have heard the stories of men and women and children who have no hope and no peace. I have looked in desolate eyes that are seeking a savior, but were never told of Jesus. And, I have encountered the desperation of hearts seeking the joy of salvation without even knowing what they were searching for.

My whole being, praise the Lord.

Lord my God, you are very great.

You are clothed with glory and majesty…

I will sing to the Lord all my life;

I will sing praises to my God as long as I live.

May my thoughts please him;

I am happy in the Lord. Psalm 104:1, 33-34 (NCV)

I have also experienced the faithfulness of God. I have felt His Father arms wrapped around me, offering hope, giving a second chance. I have surveyed the wondrous cross, His sacrifice, partaking in Christ’s Blood and in His Body, my sins cleansed. I have been comforted by the assurance of Holy Spirit, convicted in the certainty of my Savior. I have witnessed His power to make the lame walk, the deaf hear, and the blind see. I offer testimony to His miraculous works.

It is clear to us, friends, that God not only loves you very much but also has put his hand on you for something special. When the Message we preached came to you, it wasn’t just words. Something happened in you. The Holy Spirit put steel in your convictions. 1 Thessalonians 1:4-5 (MSG)

Like Elijah, like you, I am an integral part of His story, of God’s plan to establish His Kingdom on the Earth. I was created to exhibit Truth, to reveal His goodness. I was born to carry mustard seed faith, hope in the One, True God, the All-Powerful, the All-Knowing. I was called to walk in boldness, receiving courage from Holy Spirit to exhort the undecided, the complacent to make a choice between false idols and the Genuine Article. I was sent to carry His love, His grace, and His mercy to my family, to my neighborhood, to my city, and to the outreaches of the world.

Blessings – Julie (writing from Sholavandan, India)

P.S. Thank you for your patience with the delay in this post…we had a full day shut down, no electricity for 8 hours, no internet access for 8 hours. Helps me remember the blessings of living in America. 🙂

Scripture taken from the New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Scripture taken from The Message. Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002. Used by permission of NavPress Publishing Group.

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Filed under 1 Kings, 1 Thessalonians, 66 Books, Ezekiel, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, New Testament, Old Testament, Psalms

1 Kings1; Galatians 5; Ezekiel 32; Psalm 80

“So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature.  For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit,  and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature.   They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want.  But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.”  Galatians 5:16-18

Some may wonder how will they know if they are living by the Spirit versus living by the law.  Living by the law or under the law is like following  rules, only not following them because they are the rules but because you might get caught not following the rules.  Take the speed limit for instance, does a person go the speed limit because they want to or because they have to.  Living by the Spirit is like going the speed limit because you want to, not because you have to.   When you are led by the Spirit you don’t feel the need for speed on the highway, you’re happy to cruise, taking in the sights, the sounds and feeling with wind in your face.  Those fruits of the Spirit, the peace, joy and self control are abundant when you are led by the Spirit.

Now turn that around and look through a different lens.  A person sees the speed limit and ignores it, choosing to speed down the road of life.   Then they see someone ahead of them going the posted speed, obeying the law because they want to, what do you think they feel?  Maybe jealous because that other person seems so peaceful.  Then comes hatred for those silly rule followers.  Do you think the speed racer person is filled with kindness?  how about patience?  goodness?  Yeah…no!  More like fits of rage and selfish ambition.  And you thought road rage was a new thing?   Oh and while  haul’n down the road of life, breaking all kinds of rules, just because they want to (that’s the sinful nature by the way) the only sights a person might take time to enjoy is something they shouldn’t be looking at.   Like that pretty car in the next lane, “humm…why can’t I have one like that”  they might begin to wonder.

“Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passion and desires.  Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.”  Galatians 5: 24-25

So is it just a given that if we belong to Christ Jesus that we will be led by the Spirit?  Well my car has four wheels and is designed to take me where I need to go, but only if I start the engine, put gas in it and steer it in the direction I want go.  So maybe accepting Jesus as my savior starts my journey, but I have to put fuel in (the word) and I need a driver to lead me in the right direction, that would be the Spirit.  So maybe not so much a given as it is a decision to follow and a be submissive to be led, not because you have to, but because you want to.

Father God I praise you for providing a Savior for my sins, thank you for your word to nourish and enrich my life, and thank you for the Spirit that guides me through my life so that I can produce sweet abundant fruit for your glory. Amen.

Cindi

from the archives, originally published 9/29/11

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