Tag Archives: Unbelief

Micah 1-4; Psalm 10; Matthew 24

That very first sin, in the garden, they were faced with a choice. At first, it kinda looked like a choice between disobedience and obedience. Or maybe it was doubt over trust. Or maybe it was power over relationship. Maybe it was all of those things, but as I’ve thought on that this week, it was (insert the sin or desire) over relationship (in that case, with God).

I’ve watched that same thing play itself out in a variety of ways throughout my life. Popularity vs. relationship. Lust vs. relationship. Pride vs. relationship. Greed vs. relationship. Addiction vs. relationship.

Micah 1-4 is a list of accusation against a nation and their wickedness. Because they chose evil, unbelief, disobedience over relationship. Psalm 10 takes a look at a heart.

For they brag about their evil desires;
    they praise the greedy and curse the Lord.

The wicked are too proud to seek God.
    They seem to think that God is dead.
Yet they succeed in everything they do.
    They do not see your punishment awaiting them.
    They sneer at all their enemies.
They think, “Nothing bad will ever happen to us!
    We will be free of trouble forever!”

Their mouths are full of cursing, lies, and threats.
Trouble and evil are on the tips of their tongues. (Psalm 10:3-7, NLT)

If you’ve ever been on the relationship side of being ditched, you know the sting of sin. But when it’s man vs. God, it’s man choosing an idol over God, and that idol goes by many names. It is temporary, powerless, empty.

Those choices can be defining, life altering, eternal.

 

Though the nations around us follow their idols,
    we will follow the Lord our God forever and ever. (Micah 4:5, NLT)

Every day, a choice.

As Jesus was leaving the Temple grounds, his disciples pointed out to him the various Temple buildings. But he responded, “Do you see all these buildings? I tell you the truth, they will be completely demolished. Not one stone will be left on top of another!” (Matthew 24:1-2, NLT)

This life, this world, they are so very temporary.

Live kingdom focused.

45 “A faithful, sensible servant is one to whom the master can give the responsibility of managing his other household servants and feeding them. 46 If the master returns and finds that the servant has done a good job, there will be a reward. 47 I tell you the truth, the master will put that servant in charge of all he owns. 48 But what if the servant is evil and thinks, ‘My master won’t be back for a while,’ 49 and he begins beating the other servants, partying, and getting drunk? 50 The master will return unannounced and unexpected, 51 and he will cut the servant to pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth (Matthew 24:45-51, NLT).

Lord, the choices I make, the words I say, the actions I take, they tell a story, and whether intended or not, the story they tell will show my heart. But truly, importantly, I hope those choices show you–my strength in weakness, my hope in grief, my faith in what seems futile. You are just. You are sovereign.

Courtney (66books365)

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Filed under 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, Matthew, Micah, New Testament, Old Testament, Psalms, Uncategorized

Gen. 47; Lk. 1:1-38; Job 13; I Cor. 1

Belief and unbelief.

Joseph trusted in God. His brothers trusted in their own plans (their plot to be rid of a little brother–good thing for them that God had other plans!).

Job was grappling with faith in the midst of an unimaginable hardship. His friends were at work to find his human flaws to justify punishment.

Zechariah asked a question of the messenger–Mary did too!–but what was at work on a heart level differentiated them. One, who was perhaps doubtful. The other, seeking.

Mary responded, “I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have said about me come true.” Luke 1:1:38 NLT.

Paul talks about God using the least expected to confound the wise–and it’s splayed across chapters: a brother sold into slavery who becomes a leader … a wealthy man who loses everything in moments … a virgin girl and a barren, old woman to both conceive children who would change everything … and even Paul, hater turned lover of Christ.

26 Remember, dear brothers and sisters, that few of you were wise in the world’s eyes or powerful or wealthy when God called you. 27 Instead, God chose things the world considers foolish in order to shame those who think they are wise. And he chose things that are powerless to shame those who are powerful. 1 Corinthians 1:26-27 NLT.

Overall, a message of being chosen, and a reminder that nothing is impossible with God.

Courtney (66books365)

 

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Filed under 1 Corinthians, 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, Genesis, Job, Luke, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, New Testament, Old Testament

Leviticus 8, 9, 10; Mark 6:30-56

When God does miracles today, people respond in different ways. Some people get scared. Some people get excited. Some people run to find others to tell. Some people refuse to believe that it is possible. Some people think it is fake. Some people are jealous. Some people are encouraged. Some people are amazed.

In today’s reading there are four miraculous occurrences that take place, each with different responses:

Aaron lifted his hands over the people and blessed them. Having completed the rituals of the Absolution-Offering, the Whole-Burnt-Offering, and the Peace-Offering, he came down from the Altar. Moses and Aaron entered the Tent of Meeting. When they came out they blessed the people and the Glory of God appeared to all the people. Fire blazed out from God and consumed the Whole-Burnt-Offering and the fat pieces on the Altar. When all the people saw it happen they cheered loudly and then fell down, bowing in reverence. Leviticus 9:22-24 MSG

The Israelites witnessed fire falling from heaven consuming the sacrifices prepared for God by Aaron and his sons. In times past, the fires of the sacrifices were started by man. In this instance, fire came out from before the Lord and burned the fat of the sacrifice. This was a supernatural fire. The peoples’ response was to shout with joy and triumph and fall on their faces in fear and reverence.

Jesus got them all to sit down in groups of fifty or a hundred—they looked like a patchwork quilt of wildflowers spread out on the green grass! He took the five loaves and two fish, lifted his face to heaven in prayer, blessed, broke, and gave the bread to the disciples, and the disciples in turn gave it to the people. He did the same with the fish. They all ate their fill. The disciples gathered twelve baskets of leftovers. More than five thousand were at the supper. Mark 6:39-44 MSG

When Jesus looked to heaven and blessed and divided the five loaves of bread and two fishes, food which normally would have fed five to ten people, there was enough was enough to feed everyone eating with twelve baskets of remnants left over. There is no report about how the 5000 men who ate of the loaves and fishes responded to this miracle of provision, except that they ate their fill. The people may have been accustomed to Jesus’ miracles and were not surprised, just assumed that this was a normal thing when in His presence, or they may not have even realized that a miracle had occurred at all.

Jesus was quick to comfort them: “Courage! It’s me. Don’t be afraid.” As soon as he climbed into the boat, the wind died down. They were stunned, shaking their heads, wondering what was going on. They didn’t understand what he had done at the supper. None of this had yet penetrated their hearts. Mark 6:50-52 MSG

When the disciples saw Jesus walking on water they were initially scared. When Jesus comforted them and told them not to be afraid they were amazed. Even though they walked with him and regularly saw Jesus do miracles, they were shocked and didn’t understand.

They beached the boat at Gennesaret and tied up at the landing. As soon as they got out of the boat, word got around fast. People ran this way and that, bringing their sick on stretchers to where they heard he was. Wherever he went, village or town or country crossroads, they brought their sick to the marketplace and begged him to let them touch the edge of his coat—that’s all. And whoever touched him became well. Mark 6:53-56 MSG

These people had heard about Jesus and the miracles He had been performing. They knew that Jesus would heal all those who were brought to Him. The people of Gennesaret responded with belief and great expectation by bringing all of their sick to Him to be healed. Those who needed healing responded in faith by touching Jesus and were healed.

 

I believe in miracles. I pray for miracles on a regular basis and see them happen first hand, in India and elsewhere: A woman’s leg lengthened so she no longer walks with a limp or with pain. A leper who can now open and close his hands to be able to grip a spoon so he can eat again. A joyful song sung by a pastor who wasn’t able to preach the Gospel for a year because an illness damaged his vocal chords. A teary eyed smile from a woman who could see clearly again after cataracts slowly took her eyesight. Tumors in a man’s arm shrinking more than 50% before my very eyes. Chest pain, headaches, and emotional heart aches…gone in Jesus’ name.

Each time I witness God’s miracles I am encouraged to pray for more. I am amazed. I am excited. I am filled with awe at God’s love for me. I don’t understand them or why some receive miracles and some don’t. But I don’t need to. I trust in God’s divine, supernatural power and His ability to do whatever needs to be done according to His will and purposes.

Holy Spirit, thank you for all of the miracles you have done in my life – both the seemingly small miracles to the huge ones. I want to see more miracles in my life and in the lives of others. Help my heart understand and not ever harden to how you are moving today. Keep my heart always soft toward you so that I can freely receive and freely give all that you have given me. Amen.

 

Blessings – Julie, Vadipatti, India

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Filed under Bible in a year reading plan, Leviticus, Mark, New Testament, Old Testament

Exodus 15; Job 33; Luke 18; 2 Corinthians 3

She told me things like, “Never shop for shoes in the morning”; “Clean a stove top while it’s still warm”; “We make our own heaven and hell here on Earth.” She had an anecdotal belief in reincarnation. Her theology was hodgepodge and self-designed. Following Jesus was not part of that mix.

Not everyone who hears the Word wants to follow because of the cost involved. Salvation: free. Transformation: costly.

When Jesus heard this, he said to him, “You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” Luke 18:22 (NIV)

The rich man in Luke. This man loved God; he was obedient to the letter–the ministry that brought condemnation–but could he follow the Word?

If the ministry that brought condemnation was glorious, how much more glorious is the ministry that brings righteousness! For what was glorious has no glory now in comparison with the surpassing glory. And if what was transitory came with glory, how much greater is the glory of that which lasts! 2 Corinthians 3:9-11 (NIV)

I think of torn veils and His glory, of Jesus’ words, “What is impossible with man is possible with God.” Luke 18:27 (NIV)

Thankful today for salvation, forgiveness, His Spirit in me. Thankful for torn veils and nearness to God. Thankful for His Word that leads, and calls me to follow. Thankful that He makes the impossible possible.

Courtney (66books365)

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Filed under 2 Corinthians, 66 Books, Luke, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, New Testament

Genesis 39; Mark 9; Job 5; Romans 9

So much going on today! In Genesis 39, Joseph demonstrates a one-word strategy for facing temptation. Run!

Job is just beginning to endure his companions’ lectures in chapter 5.

Romans is probably my favorite book, but the 9th chapter is a passage I really had to wrestle with while trying to come to terms with the idea of predestination.

Then there’s Mark 9. We see Jesus’ full nature briefly revealed. I scoff at the disciples for having to debate what ‘rise from the dead’ means. Then I listen to Jesus tell them ‘Elijah’ has already returned (in the person of John the Baptist) and I decide to cut Peter some slack for looking for non-obvious meaning in Jesus’ words.

Then we get to verse 24:

Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” Mark 9:24 NIV

The above verse is in my mind the most honest statement anyone’s ever made to God. There’s perhaps no statement in the Bible I can relate to more. I believe in an all-knowing, all-powerful, personal, true, just, merciful Creator God who sent his Son to die in my place and whose Spirit inspired every word of the Bible. Why then do my thoughts and actions so seldom reflect what I believe?

 

Lord, if I believe every word of the Bible comes from you, then why do I need a Bible reading plan to keep me motivated to open it?

If I believe your words concerning hell, why am I not spending every waking moment working to lead others away from it?

If I believe you are the sovereign Creator of the universe who invites me to commune with you, why do I so frequently fail to make prayer a priority?

After I watch you answer a prayer, why do I wonder if you’ll hear the next?

If I believe in your loving wisdom, why do I ever question your will?

You tell me dozens of times to ‘fear not’, so why am I so familiar with that feeling?

If I believe you went to the cross for me, why do I struggle to serve you whenever it is inconvenient or calls for some small sacrifice?

If I believe you took my sin upon your shoulders on the cross, how can there be times when I knowingly add to your burden?

If I take you at your word concerning the wonder of Heaven, why do I sometimes fear the idea of leaving this earth?

If I believe that my children belong to you and that you love them more than I ever could, then why, in sleepless moments in the dark of night, do I fear for their well-being if I were no longer here?

 

The questions are many, but I believe the answers are just one: My unbelief.

Dear Lord, I believe. Help me overcome my unbelief!

 

Michael (mmattix)

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Filed under 66 Books, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, Mark