Tag Archives: submission

1 Samuel 1-3; Galatians 3; Psalms 66

 “Why are you crying, Hannah?” Elkanah would ask.  “Why aren’t you eating? Why be downhearted just because you have no children? You have me-isn’t that better than having ten sons?”  “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 will 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.  When Elekanah slept with Hannah, the Lord remembered her plea, and in due time she gave birth to a son.  She named him Samuel, for she said, “I asked the Lord for him.  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 to the Lord, and he will belong to the Lord his whole life.” And they worshiped the Lord there.” 1 Samuel 1-2 NLT

It is refreshing to see Hannah’s vulnerability.  In her faithfulness, she was still human.  She struggled and shed tears.  She cried out to the Lord and he answered her prayer.  He rewarded her faithfulness.  He gave back to her in abundance.

“Before they returned home, Eli would bless Elkanah and his wife and say, “May the Lord give you other children to take the place of this one she gave to the Lord.” And the Lord blessed Hannah, and she conceived and gave birth to three sons and two daughters.  Meanwhile, Samuel grew up in the presence of the Lord.” 1 Samuel 2:20&21 NLT

What am I holding onto that God is asking me to give to him? What is my Samuel?  Sometimes it is a daily surrendering to him.  He knows I can’t do it alone, so he gave me his Spirit.

“You received the Spirit because you believed the message you heard about Christ.  How foolish can you be? After starting new lives in the Spirit, why are you now trying to become perfect by your own human effort? Have you experienced so much for nothing? Surely it was not in vain, was it?” In the same way, “Abraham believed God, and God counted him as righteous because of his faith.” The real children of Abraham, then, are those who put their faith in God.” Galatians 3:6&7 NLT

Dear Father, Thank you for Father for your presence.  That you promise to always be with me.  Forgive me when I doubt.  Thank you for your faithfulness in my life.  Thank you for your patience and unfailing love towards me.  Help me to live in a posture of surrender to you.

“If I had not confessed the sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened.  But God did listen! He paid attention to my prayer.  Praise God, who did not ignore my prayer or withdraw his unfailing love from me.” Psalms 66:18-20 NLT

Amy(amyctanner)

 

 

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Judges 19-21; Mark 16

Now in those days Israel had no king (Judges 19:1a, NLT).

These are the opening words to a tragedy. A story that ends with this:

25 In those days Israel had no king; all the people did whatever seemed right in their own eyes (Judges 21:25, NLT).


The tragic story in Judges 19-21 didn’t begin when the troublemakers of Gibeah beat on an old man’s door.

22 While they were enjoying themselves, a crowd of troublemakers from the town surrounded the house. They began beating at the door and shouting to the old man, “Bring out the man who is staying with you so we can have sex with him” (Judges 19:22, NLT).

It began here:

There was a man from the tribe of Levi living in a remote area of the hill country of Ephraim. One day he brought home a woman from Bethlehem in Judah to be his concubine. 2 But she became angry with him and returned to her father’s home in Bethlehem (Judges 19:1b-2, NLT).

Whatever happened between them, I don’t know. But something happened, and she reacted. Likely, he didn’t count the cost of his actions. Surely, she didn’t count the cost of her actions. Catastrophe starts small, with an unchecked thought, word or action.

I sit with words, watching a scene unfold, grimacing at the abandonment (a host abandoning his daughter; a husband abandoning his wife; troublemakers abandoning all decency and mercy), eyes widening in shock as deaths mount by the thousands in a warfare of tribe against tribe.

I can look all over these scriptures and point out places where there’s fault. And maybe there’s something to their opening and end:

Now in those days Israel had no king (Judges 19:1a, NLT) … 25 In those days Israel had no king; all the people did whatever seemed right in their own eyes (Judges 21:25, NLT).

Father God, you are Lord over all. Be Lord over my life. Be Lord over my heart. Be Lord over my words. Be Lord over my actions. I don’t want to be right in my own eyes. I want to live right by your standards. I only want your approval.

Courtney (66books365)

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Filed under 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, Judges, Old Testament

1 Chronicles 22; 1 Peter 3; Micah 1; Luke 10

I am a 56 year old middle child and I still have an annoying tendency to whine that I don’t get enough attention. And my older sister continues to carry a mantel of authority as she was responsible for looking out for my younger sister and I while our parents were at work. Adult as we are, we still find ourselves slipping into certain roles unwittingly and then laugh about it, if not roll our eyes at one another.

Here’s the thing, God could have easily switched up the birth order, yet I know for a fact that God has used this to develop certain skills and traits. If this small scale pecking order is something that He has used, how does He use the authority structure of governments, marriages, employers, and the like to shape me for his purposes? The very structures put in place that I chafe against end up being tools in the redemptive hands of God.

Peter instructs, “For the Lord’s sake accept the authority of every human institution…” 1 Peter 2:13 and then fleshes out what this means in 1 Peter 3.  And yet these imperfect human institutions that may cause us suffering. Peter says that when we submit, we are actually submitting to Jesus (1 Peter 3:22) who is “at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers made subject to him.”  These are difficult words, yet the one who holds all things together is ultimately in control. Do I really believe this? And under what circumstances should I refuse to submit?

Jesus has given believers a different kind of authority that extends beyond human institutions to usher in the kingdom of God. Jesus declared, “I watched Satan fall from heaven, like a flash of lightning. See, I have given you authority to tread on snakes and scorpions and over all the power of the enemy; and nothing will hurt you. Nevertheless less, do not rejoice at this that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.” Luke 10:18

And Peter encourages me to keep my eyes on the one who has everything under him, “Do not fear, and do not be intimidated, but in your hearts sanctify Christ as Lord. Always be ready to make your defense to anyone who demands from you and accounting for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and reverence.” 1Peter 3:13-15.

Do I live as one who believes these passages? Sometimes yes and sometimes, no, but I want to. It’s easy to get hung up on what I what is immediately before me and not see the big picture of God’s truth, but I know that this is where true freedom lies. Like the father of the epileptic, I pray, “Lord, I believe. Help my unbelief,” Mark 9:24 and then trust God to use the imperfect to mold and make me in his image.

Kathy

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Numbers 16, Psalms 52-54, Hebrews 13

 

I have to admit, I have never read this story in Numbers. I am pretty sure I would have remembered a story about the Earth opening up and swallowing a crowd of people. It’s a shocking ending to the events that took place as I take a step back and look at what lead to that consequence I find myself right there with him. Like Korah, how have I:

  • Questioned authority and who assigned it to them?
  • Challenged how they are leading?
  • Started a “rebellion” of my own by gossiping about the leader and convinced others that something needs to be done about their leadership?
  • Been jealous or not understood why someone was in authority over me?
  • Felt like I was a better fit for the job?

Thinking about how I am like Korah reminds me of several times in my life both in ministry and in the workplace that I have been discontent it those the Lord has placed in leadership over me. I am a very independent person and like to control things. I feel very strongly about my opinions which can make working “under” someone very difficult.

Korah was discontent. Things were not going like he and his friends thought they should go. But Korah wasn’t really challenging Moses and Aaron, was he? No, when we challenge our leaders, we are really challenging the Lord for He is the one who set ups leaders and rulers over us both in and out of ministry. Certainly, there are times, seasons and leaders who are not following the Lord’s calling and will. Dictators and ruthless authorities have always been around. But in our everyday life, I can see myself often challenging leadership out of selfish ambition and gain. So here are a few questions I must ask myself when evaluating those in authority:

  • Am I seeking to glorify God or receive my own fame?
  • Have I prayed about the situation and for the leader over me?
  • Do I simply not agree with their opinion or is what they are asking of me against the word of God?
  • Am I making their job more difficult by my attitude? Am I stirring up strife by trying to convince others of my personal opinion of their leadership?
  • Am I simply jealous for control because I think my way is better?

These can be some really tough questions to ask. When I sit down with the Lord and really dig deep, I am often ashamed and disappointed it the answers I find. I am so grateful that His grace is sufficient for me!

Hebrews 13:17 reminds us:

“Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you.”

In this case, I believe the writer was referring to our pastors and teachers but in every case of authority this rings true. At the end of the day, I am not responsible for how they lead but how I follow. My goal is to follow them with joy and without groaning and complaining.

Father, forgive me for the times I have wanted to gain control for my own pride and fame. Help me each day to pray for those you have placed in authority. Help me to trust that ultimately you are in control. God, “you are my helper and the upholder of my life” and you will one day put an end to the evil rulers and reward those who are obedient. Amen.

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Exodus 20; Luke 23; Job 38; 2 Corinthians 8

Help me, Lord, to remember well.

Help me to remember your life-giving rain, your power over the waves, your beauty in the sunrises, your mystery in the stars. (Job 38)

Help me to remember your jealous love for me–your want of my love and your promises to love me back. (Exodus 20)

Help me to remember Christ’s humility on the cross–his submission to your will–to take on my sin and die in my place, and not just my sin, but everyone’s. That my offenses and offenses against me aren’t a burden for me to carry, and the cross is the place to lay them down. And in that is all the sadness; and in that is all the joy; and in that is all your glory. (Luke 23)

Help me to remember you know what I need. You know it before I even ask. Help me to live a generous life in time, talent or treasure–oh, but especially in eager love. (2 Corinthians 8)

Sometimes my focus is on what I have to do today, tomorrow, next week. Sometimes my focus in on past hurts that cut deeply, the memories cut fresh and I wonder if they can ever heal. Sometimes my focus is of loss or overwhelm or wondering why–answers beyond my reach and understanding.

Father God, thank you for loving me as you do. I am looking for you everywhere today. I want you to be my focus. I’m trusting you for healing and peace. I’m trusting you for strength and guidance. Thank you, God, for your word in my hands and in my heart.

Courtney (66books365)

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Isaiah 27-28; Ephesians 5

 Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.

Ephesians 5:21

I like to think of myself as a humble person, but the truth is, I am not. That’s not to beat myself up; it’s just that deep down I am pretty sure that my opinion is the right one. I have to remind myself to truly listen with the intention of understanding, versus half hearted listening and thinking that I already know what the person is going to say and then formulating a response before the person is even finished.

Paul’s description of Christian community requires authentic humility. I KNOW I can’t fake humble in marriage. If I get the idea that I know better and the other person is wrong, too often, I think it’s my job to change the other person. That’s not been a winning strategy for community or marriage. Submission has required that I humbly speak what I understand to be true (and risk rejection, conflict and the embarrassment of being wrong) and be willing to lay all that aside for the good of others. Humility doesn’t come naturally to me. It’s a work of the head and heart that requires God’s mercy on me. If I submit to another in action but not with my heart, ugly, snarky passive aggression comes sneaking out of me. Ugh.

There has been one practical thing I’ve found that’s helped in the battle; it’s taken the form of praise and prayer. I thank God for the other person, for who they are and what God is doing in their life. Then I pray for them as agenda free as possible. In my mind’s eye, I hold them up before God and ask Him to give that person the best for them. I ask God to help me let go of who I want that person to be and what I want from them.

Submission isn’t weak and passive. It’s strong and active. It’s a choice steeped in love for God and for the other person. It isn’t  something that always happens instantly. Sometimes, my actions submit, my heart bucks like a wild horse and then I run back to God to do the heart work. When my proud heart insists that my way is best, it is God that I am shaking my fist at. When I submit to others in love, I submit to God and follow Christ.

klueh

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Genesis 26, Matthewe 25, Esther 2, Acts 25

Themes of Acts 25:

False accusations (v. 7),

Entrapment (v. 3),

Injustice (v. 8).

Sound familiar?

In the various accounts of the trials of Jesus throughout the Gospels, there are noted similarities to Paul’s trial in Acts.

Acts 25:27 ~ “For I think it is unreasonable to send a prisoner on to Rome without specifying the charges against him” – Festus

Luke 23:4 ~ Then Pilate announced to the chief priests and the crowd, “I find no basis for a charge against this man.”

Acts 25: 10b ~ “I have not done any wrong to the Jews, as you yourself know very well.”

John 18:23 ~  “If I said something wrong,” Jesus replied, “testify as to what is wrong. But if I spoke the truth, why did you strike me?”

I couldn’t help notice similar general weaving themselves through the trial of Jesus and Paul. I am not suggesting the two are mirror images, but the comparisons are certainly there. False accusations, entrapment, injustice.

More pertinent and relevant than the similarities, is the idea and theme in my own life of experiencing the trials of Jesus to become more like Him.

I think that Paul was intentionally allowed to experience this “trial” to grow, be changed, and experience more of the life and death of Christ.

The battle cry of enduring all to be more like Him, to

know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead. Phil. 3:10-11

To become like him in his death as I submit to my parents,

To become like him in his death as I listen to a friend unload their life,

To become like him in his death as I make time to rest. Cease striving. Admit that I am not God. And allow Him to take His rightful place.

And hopefully, through these trials, through these tiny “deaths to self,” that the resurrection of Christ may be more revealed in me. As I die. And He becomes my life.

– christiancourier517

from the archives, January 25, 2011

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