Tag Archives: truth

Exodus 12-14; Luke 20; Psalm 21

Doorposts marked with lamb’s blood. They ate dressed to go, ready to go. That’s what I noticed first. But then, an army in pursuit, to take them back, to make them captives again, slaves. After all the signs, and after the deaths of all first born, probably a worse fate awaited them if they returned. Moses tells them that God will fight for them, but still, they also had to take action. They had to walk in the path opened before them.

In Luke, Jesus is teaching.

One day, as Jesus was teaching the people in the temple and preaching the gospel, the chief priests and the scribes with the elders came up and said to him, “Tell us by what authority you do these things, or who it is that gave you this authority.”

Luke 20:1-2, ESV

And later,

19 The scribes and the chief priests sought to lay hands on him at that very hour, for they perceived that he had told this parable against them, but they feared the people. 20 So they watched him and sent spies, who pretended to be sincere, that they might catch him in something he said, so as to deliver him up to the authority and jurisdiction of the governor. 21 So they asked him, “Teacher, we know that you speak and teach rightly, and show no partiality, but truly teach the way of God. 22 Is it lawful for us to give tribute to Caesar, or not?” 23 But he perceived their craftiness, and said to them, 24 “Show me a denarius. Whose likeness and inscription does it have?” They said, “Caesar’s.” 25 He said to them, “Then render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” 26 And they were not able in the presence of the people to catch him in what he said, but marveling at his answer they became silent.

Luke 20:19-26, ESV, emphasis added

And this is what I notice–how an enemy hunts. An army in pursuit–a vast force. Or here, watching and baiting spies pretending to be sincere. How an enemy opposes freedom, opposes truth, opposes God.

Your hand will find out all your enemies;
    your right hand will find out those who hate you.

You will make them as a blazing oven
    when you appear.
The Lord will swallow them up in his wrath,
    and fire will consume them.
10 You will destroy their descendants from the earth,
    and their offspring from among the children of man.
11 Though they plan evil against you,
    though they devise mischief, they will not succeed.

12 For you will put them to flight;
    you will aim at their faces with your bows.

13 Be exalted, O Lord, in your strength!
    We will sing and praise your power.

Psalm 21:8-13, ESV, emphasis added

Lord, be exalted in your strength. I will sing and praise your power.

Courtney (66books365)

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1 Timothy 1-5

God our Savior, wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.

1 Timothy 2:4

Turn away from godless chatter and the opposing ideas of what is falsely called knowledge, which some have professed and in so doing have wandered from the faith.

1 Timothy 6:20

In his letter to Timothy, Paul:

  • taught on grace and faith
  • warned against false teachers
  • encouraged prayer, worship and scripture reading
  • gave guidelines for overseers and deacons
  • urged use of spiritual gifts
  • advised guarding righteousness and fleeing temptation

Paul knew from his debates with philosophers at the Aeropegas in Greece that bright and shiny new ideas can sometimes lead us astray. He warned Timothy not to get involved with controversies that divide rather than unite.

The Internet is an exchange place of ideas both good and bad. The cause of Christ can fade beneath the constant friction that promotes high traffic. The pursuit of righteousness, godliness, and faith are often drowned out by meaningless chatter on Facebook and Twitter.  A pure heart, sincere faith and a clear conscience wrestle with malware and pornography lurking beneath the surface. It is so easy to get carried away.

When I think of my wandering heart I remember the hymn “Come Thou Fount Of Every Blessing.” Robert Robinson was saved on December 10, 1755.  Three years later, at the age of twenty three,  he wrote these words.

Prone to wander. Lord I feel it. Prone to leave the God I love.

Here’s my heart, O take and seal it, seal it for they courts above.

Lord, my attention span is so short. Save me from my wandering eyes. Protect me from false ideas. You are the truth and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through you. May I never stray from you. Thank you for your mercy and grace. In Jesus Name I pray.

yicareggie

From the archives. Originally published December 9, 2009.

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1 Thessalonians 2:13-5:28; 2 Thessalonians 1-3

I was at an end-of-year party recently with fellow teammates. After mingling and catching up, the company owner showed a video interview of seven triathletes who shared their experiences racing. The video was encouraging, amusing, and inspiring. One athlete shared her mantra, “helmet for hat,” as she finished up the bike portion to transition to running because of a time she forgot to take her bike helmet off for the run. Another teammate shared how he had a plan to float in an open water segment, and then told how one of the kayakers stopped him because he was floating in the wrong direction, off course. I value the years of experience my teammates offer–their advice gives me food for thought, highlights areas to exercise caution, and gives me encouragement to not only have hope to start but to finish well.

As I slow to read through 1 and 2 Thessalonians, these words hold the same sentiments–food for thought, areas to exercise caution, and hope to finish well. In a separate study, I’m reading a lot about abiding (remaining) in Christ, the importance of God’s Word, and an emphasis on the importance of my fellowship with the Lord. Because of that, I view the Scriptures differently as I read through them. In the same way I would implore my children to follow Jesus, I welcome and receive the same sincerity from Paul. He writes of identity, work ethic, hope, and perseverance.

But you, brothers and sisters, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief. You are all children of the light and children of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness. So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be awake and sober.

1 Thessalonians 5:4-6, NIV, emphasis mine

11 With this in mind, we constantly pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling, and that by his power he may bring to fruition your every desire for goodness and your every deed prompted by faith. 12 We pray this so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.

2 Thessalonians 1:11-12, NIV, emphasis mine

15 So then, brothers and sisters, stand firm and hold fast to the teachings we passed on to you, whether by word of mouth or by letter.

2 Thessalonians 2:15, NIV, emphasis mine

In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, we command you, brothers and sisters, to keep away from every believer who is idle and disruptive and does not live according to the teaching you received from us. For you yourselves know how you ought to follow our example. We were not idle when we were with you, nor did we eat anyone’s food without paying for it. On the contrary, we worked night and day, laboring and toiling so that we would not be a burden to any of you. We did this, not because we do not have the right to such help, but in order to offer ourselves as a model for you to imitate.

2 Thessalonians 3:6-9, NIV, emphasis mine

Lord, thank you for loving me so much. Thank you for your Word that I can know you and follow you. Thank you for the encouragement of brothers and sisters in Christ.

Courtney (66books365)

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2 Corinthians 8-12

Paul certainly endured a lot. In 2 Corinthians 11:23-29, he lists the many things (physically and mentally painful things) he went through–and survived. But it’s the portion before this that prepares me: And I will keep on

12 And I will keep on doing what I am doing in order to cut the ground from under those who want an opportunity to be considered equal with us in the things they boast about. 13 For such people are false apostles, deceitful workers, masquerading as apostles of Christ. 14 And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. 15 It is not surprising, then, if his servants also masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve.

2 Corinthians 11:12-15, NIV

Paul endured so many things, but it is in these verses that I see purpose. He knows there’s a spiritual battle at hand. A quest for hearts, minds, souls.

His examples straddle two realms. When he speaks of generosity, the fruit is enjoyed in a physical realm, the seed provided by a spiritual one.

Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. 11 You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.

12 This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of the Lord’s people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God. 13 Because of the service by which you have proved yourselves, others will praise God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone else. 14 And in their prayers for you their hearts will go out to you, because of the surpassing grace God has given you. 15 Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!

2 Corinthians 9:10-15, NIV

I notice it here too–the world and the divine:

I beg you that when I come I may not have to be as bold as I expect to be toward some people who think that we live by the standards of this world. For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

2 Corinthians 10:2-5, NIV

Because he has such a deep understanding, he has learned to welcome endurance.

Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

2 Corinthians 12:7b-10, NIV, emphasis mine

Lord, help me to remember the words “And I will keep on” in the face of adversity. I am thankful for your provision and your power. I am grateful for your Word as truth, for weapons that have divine power.

Courtney (66books365)

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Acts 21:1-23:25

Paul was on the move. He was going from place to place, meeting with people. Several times he was warned of danger ahead of him. As he had once been a persecutor, I’m sure he was familiar with what persecution entailed. I can’t imagine … and yet, I can by his words. How his own words stirred up so much anger. I imagine a mob and the surge of harm pushing toward and against him. Guards grabbing at him and carrying him off. None of this was kind or gentle. And later to find that an ambush awaited him … (I wonder what is harder? To know or not know?)

While he is in prison …

The following night the Lord stood near Paul and said, “Take courage! As you have testified about me in Jerusalem, so you must also testify in Rome.”

Acts 23:11, NIV

Take courage.

Immediately I think on what Jesus told the disciples before he left, from John 16:33–how in this world we will have trouble, but to take courage (take heart, be of good cheer, be courageous), because he has overcome the world.

Paul will use the very words that pit him against hatred and speak them as his testimony–the truth.

Lord Jesus, I’m thankful for these words to grasp and tuck in my heart. Help me to take courage and speak truth.

Courtney (66books365)

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