Tag Archives: serving the Lord

Joshua 24, Jeremiah 13, Matthew 27, Acts 4

In my Bible next to the passage in Joshua 24 is a handwritten note that says, “Christianity is just one generation away from extinction.” I have never understood that more than when I became a parent. The weight of carrying on a legacy of faith in our family is heavy on my heart. It requires thought, commitment, time, action. Joshua knew his life was coming to an end. He had lead God’s people for decades after Moses died. He followed the Lord’s commands and listened for His voice for direction. Now, he was questioning the people of God to see if they had caught on to his teaching and leading.

After reminding the Israelites of God’s mighty power and protection that they had received as a nation for hundreds of years, Joshua asks the people, not once, not twice, but THREE times whom they will serve.  Joshua said:

 

“Then put away the foreign gods that are among you, and incline your heart to the Lord, the God of Israel.”  And the people said to Joshua, “The Lord our God we will serve, and his voice we will obey.” Joshua 24:23-24.

Service requires commitment and action. We are called to put away (idols) and put on (Christ). We are to look different and act different than the world around us. Often, I find it difficult to hear the Lord because of all that goes on around me. Passing on the legacy of faith is not easy in any day and age but with the buzz of technology that distracts our hearts and minds, I find it increasingly difficult to teach my children to walk with the Lord. Idols are everywhere. They look shiny, they may even appear as service to the Lord.

As a parent, I look to God’s word to help guide me in teaching my children. Joshua was intentional. Not only in his personal walk with the Lord but in teaching it to the people he was leading. He did not take the job lightly. He lead by example and at the end of his life he challenged the people one last time and the people “caught” it:

Israel served the Lord all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders who outlived Joshua and had known all the work that the Lord did for Israel.” Joshua 24:31

My greatest desire as a mom, is for my children to love the Lord with all their heart, soul, mind and strength and to follow him all the days of their life. That to me is success! Reading further on in God’s word, the nation’s faith declines because they stopped following God’s commands and instead followed the idols of their time. It reminds us as parents and believers that we have must be intentional in passing on God’s word. Jeremiah reminds the people that we must walk closely with the Lord:

For as the loincloth clings to the waist of a man, so I made the whole house of Israel and the whole house of Judah cling to me, declares the Lord, that they might be for me a people, a name, a praise, and a glory, but they would not listen.” Jeremiah 13:11

Dear Lord, my greatest desire in life is that I do not keep my faith as my own but pass it on to others so that your name would be lifted high. Drown out the distractions of this world and help me to be intentional in my daily walk, clinging only to you. Amen.

Kate

 

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2 Chronicles 35; Revelation 21; Malachi 3; John 20

At eight years old, Josiah was a young king. He lived to be about twenty-six. A large portion of his short life was spent in seeking and serving the Lord. Today’s reading is a detailed description of the Passover. My takeaway word: wholehearted.

18 Never since the time of the prophet Samuel had there been such a Passover. None of the kings of Israel had ever kept a Passover as Josiah did, involving all the priests and Levites, all the people of Jerusalem, and people from all over Judah and Israel. 19 This Passover celebration took place in the eighteenth year of Josiah’s reign. 2 Chronicles 35:18-19 NLT.

I am left with a sobering impression: ancestors who had done evil; Josiah’s desire to seek the Lord; his obedience to God; his wholehearted living.

Malachi 3 speaks of the Lord’s coming, of his call to return and repent. I hear the bewilderment of the responses: “When did we ever leave you?”; “How did we ever cheat you?”; “What have we said against you?”

14 “You have said, ‘What’s the use of serving God? What have we gained by obeying his commands or by trying to show the Lord of Heaven’s Armies that we are sorry for our sins? 15 From now on we will call the arrogant blessed. For those who do evil get rich, and those who dare God to punish them suffer no harm.’”

The Lord’s Promise of Mercy

16 Then those who feared the Lord spoke with each other, and the Lord listened to what they said. In his presence, a scroll of remembrance was written to record the names of those who feared him and always thought about the honor of his name.

17 “They will be my people,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. “On the day when I act in judgment, they will be my own special treasure. I will spare them as a father spares an obedient child. 18 Then you will again see the difference between the righteous and the wicked, between those who serve God and those who do not.” Malachi 3:14-18 NLT.

Its antonym is lukewarm. Half-hearted. Grudging.

Josiah’s ancestors were known by how they lived, and so was Josiah.

So am I.

Those who seek the Lord and fear him are known by him as special treasure, his children.

I heard a loud shout from the throne, saying, “Look, God’s home is now among his people! He will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them. He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.”

And the one sitting on the throne said, “Look, I am making everything new!” And then he said to me, “Write this down, for what I tell you is trustworthy and true.” And he also said, “It is finished! I am the Alpha and the Omega—the Beginning and the End. To all who are thirsty I will give freely from the springs of the water of life. All who are victorious will inherit all these blessings, and I will be their God, and they will be my children. Revelation 21:3-7 NLT.

A Father, my Father.

17 “Don’t cling to me,” Jesus said, “for I haven’t yet ascended to the Father. But go find my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’” John 20:17 NLT

This is the God I serve. Nothing, nothing, is worthy of my whole heart but him.

27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and look at my hands. Put your hand into the wound in my side. Don’t be faithless any longer. Believe!”

28 “My Lord and my God!” Thomas exclaimed.

29 Then Jesus told him, “You believe because you have seen me. Blessed are those who believe without seeing me.”

Purpose of the Book

30 The disciples saw Jesus do many other miraculous signs in addition to the ones recorded in this book. 31 But these are written so that you may continue to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing in him you will have life by the power of his name. John 20:27-31 NLT.

Courtney (66books365)

**My heartfelt thanks to everyone who has journeyed through the Bible in a year with us in 2013. Plans are already made for next year–I hope you’ll join us for a new reading plan (ESV: Through the Bible in a Year) and new voices joining us here.**

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2 Chronicles 34; Revelation 20; Malachi 2; John 19

Josiah pleased the Lord by doing what was right. He sought God. The young king went from place to place, getting rid of idols–smashed, scattered, demolished.  His men restored what the kings of Judah had allowed to fall into ruin. When ancestors had led the people to God’s great anger, this man led them in humility.

26 “But go to the king of Judah who sent you to seek the Lord and tell him: ‘This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says concerning the message you have just heard: 27 You were sorry and humbled yourself before God when you heard his words against this city and its people. You humbled yourself and tore your clothing in despair and wept before me in repentance. And I have indeed heard you, says the Lord. 28 So I will not send the promised disaster until after you have died and been buried in peace. You yourself will not see the disaster I am going to bring on this city and its people.’” 2 Chronicles 34:26-28 NLT.

Living on purpose, with purpose. Wholehearted. This is one word that comes to mind lately.

33 So Josiah removed all detestable idols from the entire land of Israel and required everyone to worship the Lord their God. And throughout the rest of his lifetime, they did not turn away from the Lord, the God of their ancestors. 2 Chronicles 34:33 NLT.

A warning in Malachi grabs my attention. Listen, listen … make up your mind.

Listen, you priests—this command is for you! Listen to me and make up your minds to honor my name,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies … Malachi 2:1-2a NLT.

A call. I look at where a life lived half-hearted leads … and I don’t want that. A call, a call, an awakening. I’ve read that “if you want something, you’ll find a way–otherwise, you’ll find an excuse.” Jesus made the way for me–to walk in the Spirit. I don’t want to make excuses–not to God, not today, not tomorrow. He doesn’t expect perfection out of me–he just wants my whole heart. He is pleased when I seek him.

10 Are we not all children of the same Father? Are we not all created by the same God? Then why do we betray each other, violating the covenant of our ancestors?

A call to action …

Lord, I’m so easily distracted and, at times, over scheduled. A filling up of calendar days looks more like treading life than living it on purpose. A new year signals new starts, but through Jesus Christ, I have been given new life. I want to honor you, revere you and live in awe of your goodness. Help me to become aware of situations and actions that don’t please you–help me to smash, scatter and demolish the things in my life that are stumbling blocks. I’m thankful to look ahead to a sixth year in your word with fellow believers, and a closer walk with you.

Courtney (66books365)

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2 Kings 22, 23; Galatians 6

Sometime in my thirties when I got serious about following the Lord, I wondered what my spiritual gift was. Pastors from pulpits said every believer has at least one. I took some online tests. Depending on the day and my mood, I ranked higher in some places than others, but I didn’t feel like I had a definite gift. So I didn’t really do much as far as service went.

As a parent, I read the book The Five Love Languages of Children, and I figured a child’s love language probably mirrored an adult’s. I don’t remember all the love languages, even though there were only five, but I recognized the language(s) my family spoke, and mine: time spent with others. I soon realized that spending time with others was a close sister to hospitality–and things that I was already doing. I looked for opportunities to open heart and home to others.  My house became the weekly meeting spot for playdates and (sometimes) book clubs, and holiday gatherings. When I figured out how I was wired, and its gifting from the Lord, I poured intention into it. Time spent together is chatting a friend while we push our kids on the swings in the back yard. It’s peanut butter and jelly sandwiches on paper plates, us standing around the kitchen island while littles buzz around our feet. It’s a cup of coffee with a neighbor. Or a kitchen explosion of contents for an impromptu friends-of-family dinner.

It’s how I say I love you, however fanciful or plain. If he had gifted me musically, why wouldn’t I sing? If he had gifted me otherwise, why would I hide?

I pour myself into the service, and whether the cookies are homemade or store bought–it doesn’t matter. Isn’t it always what’s in the heart? The place where God knows us, where he sees beauty. Not from outward appearances.

I have sometimes faced criticism for my efforts–and it quenches when another would mock time and intention as an attempt for superiority–when it was an invitation to be loved. Rejection and mockery made me not want to be so bold–but then good sense intervenes: God wired me this way–to love in this manner. I want my actions to be pleasing to him. I am responsible for my own conduct.

Do not get tired of doing what is good.

Courtney (66books365)

Josiah was eight years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem thirty-one years. His mother was Jedidah, the daughter of Adaiah from Bozkath. He did what was pleasing in the Lord’s sight and followed the example of his ancestor David. He did not turn away from doing what was right. 2 Kings 22:1-2 NLT

Pay careful attention to your own work, for then you will get the satisfaction of a job well done, and you won’t need to compare yourself to anyone else. 5 For we are each responsible for our own conduct. Galatians 6:4-5 NLT.

Those who live only to satisfy their own sinful nature will harvest decay and death from that sinful nature. But those who live to please the Spirit will harvest everlasting life from the Spirit. So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up. Galatians 6:8-9

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