Tag Archives: transformation

1 Samuel 11-13; Psalms 38; Acts 9

“So, I said, ‘The Philistines are ready to march against us at Gilgal, and I haven’t even asked for the Lord’s help!’ So I felt compelled to offer the burnt offering myself before you came.” “How Foolish!” Samuel exclaimed. “You have not kept the command the Lord your God gave you. Had you kept it, the Lord would have established your kingdom over Israel forever. But now your kingdom must end, for the Lord has sought out a man after his own heart. The Lord has already appointed him to be the leader of his people, because you have not kept the Lord’s command.” 1 Samuel 13:12-14 NLT

How many times am I like King Saul and try to do things in my own strength?  Instead of having a humble and repentant spirit like David.

“O Lord, don’t rebuke me in your anger or discipline me in your rage! You arrows have struck deep, and your blows are crushing me. Because of your anger, my whole body is sick; my health is broken because of my sins…I am exhausted and completely crushed. My groans come from an anguished heart. You know what I long for, O Lord; you hear my every sigh.” Psalms 38:1-3,9-10 NLT

In Acts I read about another Saul.  One that God chose, even though he was far from him.  Maybe God knew that his heart could be softened like Davids.  It took blindness to get Saul’s attention. Sometimes in my own life I am blind to what is paralyzing me. I forget I am chosen, like Saul was. I am encouraged by God’s constant pursuit of him. And the impact he made for the kingdom. When I want to give up praying for someone, this reminds me that no one is too far gone. God didn’t give up on Saul.  He saw him for what he was becoming, not who he was.

“But the Lord said, “Go, for Saul is my chosen instrument to take my message to the Gentiles and to kings, as well as the people of Israel. And I will show him how much he must suffer for my name’s sake.” So Ananias went and found Saul. He laid hands on him and said , “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road, has sent me so that you might regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” Instantly something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes, and he regained his sight. Then he got up and was baptized. Afterward he ate some food and regained his strength… And immediately he began preaching about Jesus in the synagogues, saying, ”He is indeed the Son of God!” All who heard him were amazed. “Isn’t this the same man who caused such devastation among Jesus’ followers in Jerusalem?” they asked. “And didn’t he come to arrest them and take them in chains to the leading priests?” Saul’s preaching became more and more powerful, and the Jews in Damascus couldn’t refute his proofs that Jesus was indeed the Messiah.” Acts 9:15-22 NLT

Lord, Thank you for never giving up on me.  For your grace, mercy and forgiveness. I desire to have a heart that searches after you. Amen.

Amy(amyctanner)

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Leviticus 26-27; Psalms 112; Hebrews 10

How joyful are those who fear the Lord and delight in obeying his commands. Their children will be successful everywhere; An entire generation of Godly people will be blessed.  They do not fear bad news; they confidently trust the Lord to take care of them.  They are confident and fearless and can face their foes triumphantly.  They share freely and give generously to those in need. Their good deeds will be remembered forever. They will have influence and honor.”  Psalms 112:1-9 NLT

Legacy fills my mind…

A question that Courtney asks in her  post  sticks with me. “How will my children remember me?”

A dear family lost their husband and father in a tragic car accident ten years ago.  I reflect on this man’s faith. It has left a Godly mark on his six children. His time with them was short, but left an eternal impact.

A friend told the story of how her dad read a Billy Graham book and was saved. This changed the course of her family.

“I will look on you with favour and make you fruitful and increase your numbers, and I will keep my covenant with you. You will still be eating last year’s harvest when you will have to move it out to make room for the new. I will put my dwelling-place among you, and I will not abhor you. I will walk among you and be your God, and you will be my people. I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt so that you would no longer be slaves to the Egyptians; I broke the bars of your yoke and enabled you to walk with heads held high.” Leviticus 26:9-13 NIV

I am thankful for the story of restoration and redemption  that God is writing in my family.   I am getting to see first hand how he brings beauty from ashes.  God is using two broken people to reflect His glory to the four children that he has entrusted us.  When I start to feel overwhelmed by it all, I come to him again.  He promises to be with me.  And to finish the work he has started.

“So do not throw away this confident trust in the Lord. Remember the great reward it brings you! Patient endurance is what you need now, so that you will continue to do God’s will. Then you will receive all that he has promised.” Hebrews 10:35&36 NLT

Thank you Father that you are the lifter of my head , that your yoke is easy.  Help me to carry my burdens to you and to teach my kids to do the same. Thank you for your faithfulness, mercy, kindness and forgiveness. Amen.

“Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise.” Hebrews 10:23

Amy(amyctanner)

 

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Leviticus 19-20; Hebrews 7

I know people who are generous. I know people who are stingy. I know people who are encouraging. I know people who are deceptive. I know people who are patient. I know people who are easily ruffled. I think about traits that mark an impression and define a life and lifestyle.

How will my children remember me?

How will my words or actions influence a stranger?

Whether my life is lived in a big way or a small way, it will leave a mark that seems temporary, but one that has a potential to affect generations. (Lord, help me steward well what you’ve entrusted me.)

The Lord speaks of being set apart as holy in Leviticus.

So set yourselves apart to be holy, for I am the Lord your God. Keep all my decrees by putting them into practice, for I am the Lord who makes you holy. (Leviticus 20:7-8, NLT)

I find comfort in these words as they point to Jesus, the author and perfecter of my faith. He is the Lord who makes me holy. He is at work within me, transforming me.

26 He is the kind of high priest we need because he is holy and blameless, unstained by sin. He has been set apart from sinners and has been given the highest place of honor in heaven. 27 Unlike those other high priests, he does not need to offer sacrifices every day. They did this for their own sins first and then for the sins of the people. But Jesus did this once for all when he offered himself as the sacrifice for the people’s sins. (Hebrews 7:26-27, NLT)

I don’t expect my kids to master any topic in a first reading. Learning takes practice. I’m so grateful for a gracious God who will walk with me all the years of my life to guide and correct me and love me all the while–on my good days, on my bad days.

Lord God, thank you for your words in my hands, that I can turn to you for instruction and wisdom. Thank you for your great patience in my life, the hard tests and tasks that transform me. Thank you for relationship–that I can be close to you and know I am loved.

Courtney (66books365)

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2 Chronicles 22,23; Revelation 10; Zechariah 6; John 9

“Ahaziah was twenty-two years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem one year. His mother was Athaliah, a granddaughter of King Omri. Ahaziah also followed the evil example of King Ahab’s family, for his mother encouraged him in doing wrong. He did what was evil in the Lord’s sight, just as Ahab’s family had done. They even became his advisers after the death of his father, and they led him to ruin. Then Jehu’s men searched for Ahaziah, and they found him hiding in the city of Samaria. They brought him to Jehu, who killed him. Ahaziah was given a decent burial because the people said, “He was the grandson of Jehoshaphat-a man who sought after the Lord with all his heart.” 2 Chronicles 22:2-4,9 NLT

I wonder if King Ahaziah’s grandfather Jehoshaphat prayed for him and his mother to follow the Lord.  Was his heart broken over all the bad decisions they made? Ahaziah was given favor in his burial because of his grandfather’s Godly legacy.  What seemed like a sad ending, turned into one of honor.  Jesus can redeem and restore any hopeless situation. He gave sight to the blind man who saw Him for the first time.

“As Jesus was walking along, he saw a man who had been blind from birth. “Rabbi,” his disciples asked him, “why was this man born blind? Was it because of his own sins or his parent’s sins?” “It was not because of his sins or his parent’s sins,” Jesus answered. “This happened so the power of God could be seen in him.” When Jesus heard what had happened, he found the man and asked, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” The man answered, “Who is he, sir? I want to believe in him.” “You have seen him,” Jesus said, “and he is speaking to you!” “Yes, Lord, I believe!” the man said. And he worshiped Jesus. Then Jesus told him, “I entered this world to render judgment – to give sight to the blind and to show those who think they can see that they are blind.” John 9:1- 39 NLT

The blind man’s eyes were open to see Jesus.  Are mine?

“Then the angel I saw standing on the sea and on the land raised his right hand toward heaven. He swore an oath in the name of the one who lives forever and ever, who created the heavens and everything in them, the earth and everything in it. He said, “There will be no more delay. When the seventh angel blows his trumpet, God’s mysterious plan will be fulfilled. It will happen just as he announced it to his servants the prophets.” Revelation 10:5-7 NLT

Dear Jesus, I have a choice to follow you everyday. Forgive me when I choose lesser things. Thank you for sending your son to this earth to die for my sins. I pray that I won’t miss you this Christmas.  I am in awe of your majesty and power.  I anxiously wait for your return. Amen.

Amy(amyctanner)

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2 Samuel 10; 2 Corinthians 3; Ezekiel 17; Psalms 60, 61

Misinterpreted motives lead to war. The Ammonites thought the visit was in deceit. The truth was, David sent his ambassadors in honor and to show honor. (Be careful of who influences thoughts.)

But when David’s ambassadors arrived in the land of Ammon, the Ammonite commanders said to Hanun, their master, “Do you really think these men are coming here to honor your father? No! David has sent them to spy out the city so they can come in and conquer it!” (2 Samuel 10:2b-3, NLT)

A broken covenant leads to wrath. Israel sought a back-up plan. The truth is that God is the one who makes the way. (He sets paths straight.)

22 “This is what the Sovereign Lord says: I will take a branch from the top of a tall cedar, and I will plant it on the top of Israel’s highest mountain. 23 It will become a majestic cedar, sending forth its branches and producing seed. Birds of every sort will nest in it, finding shelter in the shade of its branches. 24 And all the trees will know that it is I, the Lord, who cuts the tall tree down and makes the short tree grow tall. It is I who makes the green tree wither and gives the dead tree new life. I, the Lord, have spoken, and I will do what I said!” (Ezekiel 17:22-24, NLT)

I read through 2 Corinthians 3 several times, and each time cried harder over God’s great love and grace upon my life. He has taken this heart of mine and written upon it.

16 But whenever someone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. 17 For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18 So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image. (2 Corinthians 3:16-18, NLT)

In my overwhelm, I cry out to you, Lord, and you hear me. You know my heart, and you give me new eyes in light of your word. Oh, that I would always seek you.

O God, listen to my cry!
    Hear my prayer!
From the ends of the earth,
    I cry to you for help
    when my heart is overwhelmed.
Lead me to the towering rock of safety,
    for you are my safe refuge,
    a fortress where my enemies cannot reach me.
Let me live forever in your sanctuary,
    safe beneath the shelter of your wings! Interlude

For you have heard my vows, O God.
    You have given me an inheritance reserved for those who fear your name.
Add many years to the life of the king!
    May his years span the generations!
May he reign under God’s protection forever.
    May your unfailing love and faithfulness watch over him.
Then I will sing praises to your name forever
    as I fulfill my vows each day. (Psalm 61, NLT)

Courtney (66books365)

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1 Samuel 21&22; 1 Corinthians 3; Ezekiel 1; Psalms 37

Be still in the presence of the Lord, and wait patiently for him to act. Don’t worry about evil people who prosper or fret about wicked schemes.” Psalms 37:7 NLT

I have a hard time being still. As I sit here now, my mind is scattered and I can’t help but think of all the tasks I need to complete. But, his words refresh me. They remind me of his constant care.

The Lord directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives. Though they stumble, they will never fall, for the Lord hold them by the hand.” Psalms 37:23 NLT

His provision.

Once I was young, and now I am old. Yet I have never seen the godly abandoned or their children begging for bread.” Psalms 37:25 NLT

His goodness.

Put your hope in the Lord. Travel steadily along his path.” Psalms 37:34 NLT

Sometimes I lose sight of his faithfulness and I start to compare my life to others. Instead of reaching out to others, I can become discontent. Doesn’t Paul say, that is acting like the world?

Dear brothers and sisters, when I was with you I couldn’t talk to you as I would to spiritual people. I had to talk as though you belonged to this world or as though you were infants in Christ. I had to feed you milk, not with solid food, because you weren’t ready for anything stronger. And you still aren’t ready, for you are still controlled by your sinful nature. You are jealous of one another and quarrel with each other. Doesn’t that prove you are controlled by your sinful nature? Aren’t you living like people of the world?” 1 Corinthians 3:1-4 NLT

When I sit quietly in his presence, my hope is restored. I find myself living in gratitude for all he has done for me. His glory is revealed to me in ways that I wouldn’t have known otherwise.

All around him was a glowing halo, like a rainbow shining in the clouds on a rainy day. This is what the glory of the Lord looked like to me. When I saw it, I fell face down on the ground, and I heard someone’s voice speaking to me.” Ezekiel 1:28 NLT

Dear Father, Strip my heart of anything that is not from you. Forgive me for when I look to lesser things to bring fulfillment. Everything I have comes from you. Help me to quiet my heart before you and rest in your presence. Amen.

The Lord rescues the godly; he is their fortress in times of trouble. The Lord helps them, rescuing them from the wicked. He saves them, and they find shelter in him.” Psalms 37:39&40 NLT

Amy(amyctanner)

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Judges 18; Acts 22; Jeremiah 32; Psalm 1, 2

In a few days I will be on an airplane heading to Kigali, Rwanda. We will be staying at a Youth for Christ facility that is so alive with the presence of Jesus.  This is my third time travelling to this country and I know I go back to visit the piece of my heart I left the first time I went.  There is a group of women at YFC who have called themselves the Blessed Ones–they feel blessed because God has provided for them and their families.  They are widows and women with HIV/AIDS who had no way to support themselves but the Director of this facility gathered them out of the slums and they have learned to support themselves and their families by sewing and jewelry.  They have bible studies together and have learned about Jesus.  Most have accepted Him as Savior, though some have not, but we love on them all.  Being around them fills me with joy.  We really have so much in common—we are all broken women healed by Jesus.  Our time together is filled with fun and laughter, hugs and tears, shared activities, and hearts filled with love for God and each other.

This time I’ve been asked to stand before them and give my testimony. There will be a translator there to tell them what I’ve said because my Kinyarwanda is not very good.  In Acts 22, Paul had no such hindrance as he spoke to the gathered Jews in their own language.

“Brothers and fathers, listen now to my defense.”When they heard him speak to them in Aramaic, they became very quiet.

Paul begins to give his testimony. The crowd is silent as they listen to him share his encounter with Jesus and how he changed Paul’s life.

Then Paul said: “I am a Jew, born in Tarsus of Cilicia, but brought up in this city. I studied under Gamaliel and was thoroughly trained in the law of our ancestors. I was just as zealous for God as any of you are today. I persecuted the followers of this Way to their death, arresting both men and women and throwing them into prison, as the high priest and all the Council can themselves testify. I even obtained letters from them to their associates in Damascus, and went there to bring these people as prisoners to Jerusalem to be punished.

“About noon as I came near Damascus, suddenly a bright light from heaven flashed around me. I fell to the ground and heard a voice say to me, ‘Saul! Saul! Why do you persecute me?’

“‘Who are you, Lord?’ I asked.

“ ‘I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom you are persecuting,’ he replied. My companions saw the light, but they did not understand the voice of him who was speaking to me.

10 “‘What shall I do, Lord?’ I asked.

“ ‘Get up,’ the Lord said, ‘and go into Damascus. There you will be told all that you have been assigned to do.’ 11 My companions led me by the hand into Damascus, because the brilliance of the light had blinded me.

12 “A man named Ananias came to see me. He was a devout observer of the law and highly respected by all the Jews living there. 13 He stood beside me and said, ‘Brother Saul, receive your sight!’ And at that very moment I was able to see him.

14 “Then he said: ‘The God of our ancestors has chosen you to know his will and to see the Righteous One and to hear words from his mouth. 15 You will be his witness to all people of what you have seen and heard. 16 And now what are you waiting for? Get up, be baptized and wash your sins away, calling on his name.’

17 “When I returned to Jerusalem and was praying at the temple, I fell into a trance 18 and saw the Lord speaking to me. ‘Quick!’ he said. ‘Leave Jerusalem immediately, because the people here will not accept your testimony about me.’

19 “‘Lord,’ I replied, ‘these people know that I went from one synagogue to another to imprison and beat those who believe in you. 20 And when the blood of your martyr[a] Stephen was shed, I stood there giving my approval and guarding the clothes of those who were killing him.’

21 “Then the Lord said to me, ‘Go; I will send you far away to the Gentiles.’”

I know when I give my testimony it will not be met with the same reaction that Paul faced from the angry crowd.  People react to Jesus. They either love him or want to kill him.  Because we associate with him, we can get a similar reaction from people.

We are blessed here in the United States. We are not treated brutally for sharing about Jesus but that is not so in all countries.  We read about all the times Paul was beaten and put into jail for going from city to city proclaiming Jesus and all that he did.  We think that only happens in the bible, but Christians are persecuted today for their belief in Jesus—even more so as the end times draw near.

My encounter with Jesus was not anything as dramatic as Paul’s, but it was just as transforming. In his first speech to the Jews in the synagogue, Jesus told them he came to bring good news to the poor, bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for prisoners, comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion—to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair (taken from Isaiah 61:1-3).  When I tell them my story, that is what I intend to share—the impact of those words on my life.  I could make a checklist of those promises:  did He bring me good news?  Check.  Did He bind up my broken heart?  Check.  Did he clothe me with a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair?  Check.  Did he bestow on me a crown of beauty instead of ashes?  Check.  Check.

To the outward eye, these women may look different than me. But in our inner person, we are sisters in Christ.  We have been through trials and overcome them by the love of Jesus.  His presence in our lives has given us value beyond what the world says.  The last time we went, I got to hear some of their stories of how He changed their lives.  I can’t wait to tell them mine.

Lord, I thank you for changed lives. I thank you that I can go halfway around the world and have something in common with other women.  You have given us a connection through Jesus.  May we sing His praises in whatever language we speak.  It all sounds like a choir to You!  In His name, Amen

Cindy (gardnlady)

rwanda 1

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