Tag Archives: worship

Exodus 8:16-11:10

While full and meaningful in itself, the story of the exodus feels like a foreshadowing. Plagues and devastation make me think of what’s to come in Revelation. And the three days of darkness and the death of the firstborn son make me think of Jesus’s death and three days in the tomb.

Other things I notice in the reading: God intentionally brings these things to pass so that generations will remember what he’s capable of, and so that Pharaoh and his officials will know there’s no one like him.

13 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Get up early in the morning, confront Pharaoh and say to him, ‘This is what the Lord, the God of the Hebrews, says: Let my people go, so that they may worship me, 14 or this time I will send the full force of my plagues against you and against your officials and your people, so you may know that there is no one like me in all the earth. 15 For by now I could have stretched out my hand and struck you and your people with a plague that would have wiped you off the earth. 16 But I have raised you up for this very purpose, that I might show you my power and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth. (Exodus 9:13-16, NIV)

God spares his people of these losses, and they are a witness to others of God’s promise.

But the Lord will make a distinction between the livestock of Israel and that of Egypt, so that no animal belonging to the Israelites will die.’”

The Lord set a time and said, “Tomorrow the Lord will do this in the land.” And the next day the Lord did it: All the livestock of the Egyptians died, but not one animal belonging to the Israelites died. Pharaoh investigated and found that not even one of the animals of the Israelites had died. Yet his heart was unyielding and he would not let the people go. (Exodus 9:4-7, NIV)

A hardened heart is the breeding ground for corruption, deceit, sin, and cruelty. How quickly when the pressure is off, an unchanged heart returns to its wickedness. An unchanged heart cannot be trusted.

29 Moses replied, “When I have gone out of the city, I will spread out my hands in prayer to the Lord. The thunder will stop and there will be no more hail, so you may know that the earth is the Lord’s. 30 But I know that you and your officials still do not fear the Lord God.” (…) 33 Then Moses left Pharaoh and went out of the city. He spread out his hands toward the Lord; the thunder and hail stopped, and the rain no longer poured down on the land. 34 When Pharaoh saw that the rain and hail and thunder had stopped, he sinned again: He and his officials hardened their hearts. 35 So Pharaoh’s heart was hard and he would not let the Israelites go, just as the Lord had said through Moses.

In all the occasions that Moses spoke to Pharaoh, of all the things that happened as Moses said they would, Pharaoh still refused to believe him. And it would cost him dearly.

So Moses said, “This is what the Lord says: ‘About midnight I will go throughout Egypt. Every firstborn son in Egypt will die, from the firstborn son of Pharaoh, who sits on the throne, to the firstborn son of the female slave, who is at her hand mill, and all the firstborn of the cattle as well. There will be loud wailing throughout Egypt—worse than there has ever been or ever will be again. But among the Israelites not a dog will bark at any person or animal.’ Then you will know that the Lord makes a distinction between Egypt and Israel. All these officials of yours will come to me, bowing down before me and saying, ‘Go, you and all the people who follow you!’ After that I will leave.” Then Moses, hot with anger, left Pharaoh. (Exodus 11:4-8, NIV)

God wants a relationship with his people. Here, he works to set them free from enslavement so that they are free to worship him (through sacrifice). And it makes me think of Christ’s sacrifice so that we could be free to worship God. So much of the Bible tells of this desire to be in relationship, and so that God will be known throughout the world.

Father God, Your Word is living and active, and I am so very grateful to have access to it.

Courtney (66books365)

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2 Chronicles 28; 2 Kings 17; Psalm 66; 1 Corinthians 7

When I think of worship, I think of song. But worship is more than that, isn’t it? Judah, Israel, the surrounding nations, all of them were guilty of turning from the Lord and worshiping something else. They installed their idols in shrines and altars. They offered sacrifices to idols. So worshiping is more than just singing to something–it’s giving it a place of honor; consulting and trusting in it for needs, favor, salvation; placing all hope in it; giving offerings/making sacrifices to it; revering it; talking about it. In all, worship is giving something/someone a place of honor, and power, over us.

22 Even during this time of trouble, King Ahaz continued to reject the Lord. 23 He offered sacrifices to the gods of Damascus who had defeated him, for he said, “Since these gods helped the kings of Aram, they will help me, too, if I sacrifice to them.” But instead, they led to his ruin and the ruin of all Judah. (2 Chronicles 28:22-23, NLT)

King Ahaz rejected the Lord, even in his times of trouble. He gave honor and power to something else, which led to his ruin. And it led to the ruin of his nation.

This disaster came upon the people of Israel because they worshiped other gods. They sinned against the Lord their God, who had brought them safely out of Egypt and had rescued them from the power of Pharaoh, the king of Egypt. They had followed the practices of the pagan nations the Lord had driven from the land ahead of them, as well as the practices the kings of Israel had introduced. The people of Israel had also secretly done many things that were not pleasing to the Lord their God. They built pagan shrines for themselves in all their towns, from the smallest outpost to the largest walled city. 10 They set up sacred pillars and Asherah poles at the top of every hill and under every green tree. 11 They offered sacrifices on all the hilltops, just like the nations the Lord had driven from the land ahead of them. So the people of Israel had done many evil things, arousing the Lord’s anger. 12 Yes, they worshiped idols, despite the Lord’s specific and repeated warnings. (2 Kings 17:7-12, NLT)

The Israelites put in great effort and attention to worship other gods and idols. They were intentional. When I read this passage from 2 Kings 17, they were busy and active pursuing practices of other nations, as well as funding and building things to revere in place of the Lord.

The Lord sends a message through prophets and seers–he persists to turn them from their sin. Like a parent warning a child of imminent danger: “Don’t do that!” The warnings go ignored.

14 But the Israelites would not listen. They were as stubborn as their ancestors who had refused to believe in the Lord their God. 15 They rejected his decrees and the covenant he had made with their ancestors, and they despised all his warnings. They worshiped worthless idols, so they became worthless themselves. They followed the example of the nations around them, disobeying the Lord’s command not to imitate them.

16 They rejected all the commands of the Lord their God and made two calves from metal. They set up an Asherah pole and worshiped Baal and all the forces of heaven. 17 They even sacrificed their own sons and daughters in the fire. They consulted fortune-tellers and practiced sorcery and sold themselves to evil, arousing the Lord’s anger. (2 Kings 17:14-17, NLT)

It’s easy for me to point to the leaders of these nations for setting a dangerous course. Leaders do carry responsibility. And leaders are accountable for their actions.

But so am I.

Lord, help make it clear to me who I follow, where I put my trust and hope, what or who I’ve given power to. And if it’s not you, help me to see my error and correct my way. I cannot imagine a better life or truer calling apart from you. Thank you for your persistent love.

Courtney (66books365)

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2 Samuel 2; 1 Cor. 13; Ezekiel 11; Psalms 50

“Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.  Prophecy and speaking in unknown languages and special knowledge will become useless.  But love will last forever! Now our knowledge is partial and incomplete , and even the gift of prophecy reveals only part of the whole picture! But when the time of perfection comes, these partial things will become useless.  Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity.  All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely.  Three things will last forever-faith, hope, and love-and the greatest of these is love.” 1 Corinthians 13:7-13 NLT

When I tell my kids I love them I want them to know that my love for them doesn’t change based on their actions.  I begin to see that that is how God loves me.  I don’t have to earn his love. When I realize the depths of God’s love for me, I am free to love others. Even people that I don’t agree with.  Oh, how Satan would want to steal my faith and hope away so that I become angry and bitter.

Is there anything hindering me from loving others well?

“Therefore, tell the exiles, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Although I have scattered you in the countries of the world, I will be a sanctuary to you during your time of exile.  I, the Sovereign Lord, will gather you back from the nations where you have been scattered, and I will give you the land of Israel once again.’ “When the people return to their homeland, they will remove every trace of their vile images and detestable idols.  And I will give them singleness of heart and put a new spirit within them.  I will take away their stony, stubborn heart and give them a tender, responsive heart, so they will obey my decrees and regulations.  Then they will truly be my people, and I will be their God.” Ezekiel 11:16-20 NLT

Is unity my goal?

“Make thankfulness your sacrifice to God, and keep the vows you made to the Most High.  Then call on me when you are in trouble, and I will rescue you, and you will give me glory.  But giving thanks is a sacrifice that truly honors me.  If you keep to my path, I will reveal to you the salvation of God” Psalms 50:14&15,23 NLT

Dear Father, thank you that you are a God of restoration. Thank you for hearing my prayers when I call out to you. I praise you for who you are.  You are my refuge. Amen.

Amy(amyctanner)

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Deuteronomy 16; Psalm 103; Isaiah 43; Revelation 13

It’s good to remember what the Lord has done. When I read through the Bible, I read of his history of faithfulness, provision, love and forgiveness. I read of his victory and sacrifice. I read of his power and plan.

In Deuteronomy 16, there are the celebrations of Passover, the Festival of the Harvest, and the Festival of Shelters. These celebrations unite the people in worship and remembrance. It’s important to worship and remember.

Psalm 103 is both worship and remembrance. When I meditate on God’s goodness and love, it stirs my soul. It comforts me. It gives me security to trust him.

Isaiah 43:1-7, NLT:

But now, O Jacob, listen to the Lord who created you.
    O Israel, the one who formed you says,
“Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you.
    I have called you by name; you are mine.
When you go through deep waters,
    I will be with you.
When you go through rivers of difficulty,
    you will not drown.
When you walk through the fire of oppression,
    you will not be burned up;
    the flames will not consume you.
For I am the Lord, your God,
    the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.
I gave Egypt as a ransom for your freedom;
    I gave Ethiopia and Seba in your place.
Others were given in exchange for you.
    I traded their lives for yours
because you are precious to me.
    You are honored, and I love you.

“Do not be afraid, for I am with you.
    I will gather you and your children from east and west.
I will say to the north and south,
    ‘Bring my sons and daughters back to Israel
    from the distant corners of the earth.
Bring all who claim me as their God,
    for I have made them for my glory.
    It was I who created them.’”

Deep waters, rivers of difficulty, fires of oppression–he says do not be afraid. He says you are honored and he loves you. He says he is with you.

It is important to remember his goodness, his faithfulness, his promises, his power.

13 “From eternity to eternity I am God.
    No one can snatch anyone out of my hand.
    No one can undo what I have done.” Isaiah 43:13, NLT

Held in his hands.

Courtney (66books365)

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Genesis 29; Matthew 28; Esther 5; Acts 28

“Early on Sunday morning, as the new day was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went out to visit the tomb.  Suddenly there was a great earthquake! For an angel of the Lord came down from heaven, rolled aside the stone, and sat on it.  His face shone like lightning, and his clothing was as white as snow.  The guards shook with fear when they saw him, and they fell into a dead faint.  Then the angel spoke to the women.  “Don’t be afraid!” he said.  “I know you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified.  He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead, just as he said would happen.  Come, see where his body was lying.  And now, go quickly and tell the disciples that he has risen from the dead, and he is going ahead of you to Galilee.  You will see him there.  Remember what I have told you.”  The women ran quickly from the tomb.  They were very frightened but also filled with great joy, and they rushed to give the disciples the angel’s message.  And as they went, Jesus met them and greeted them.  And they ran to him, grasped his feet, and worshipped him. Then Jesus said to them, “Don’t be afraid! Go tell my brothers to leave for Galilee, and they will see me there.  Then the eleven disciples left for Galilee, going to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshiped him-but some of them doubted!  Matthew 28 1-10, 16 NLT

My word for the year is Presence…intentionally seeking God’s presence, so that it overflows into the rest of my life.  The presence of the Angel at the tomb was enough for the women to believe. But, some of the disciples doubted, even after seeing Jesus.  I’m reading a book with my bible study called  Twelve Ordinary Men, by John McArthur.  He writes about how human the disciples were.  He says, “That’s because they were perfectly ordinary men in every way.  Not one of them was renowned for scholarship or great erudtion.  They had no track record of as orators or theologians.  In fact, they were outsiders as far as the religious establishment of Jesus’ day was concerned.  They were not outstanding because of any natural talents or intellectual abilities.  On the contrary, they were all prone to mistakes, misstatements, wrong attitudes, lapses of faith, and bitter failure.” They were just like me.  How often have I worshipped and had God reveal something to me and than doubt enters my mind?

“They left with this final word from Paul: “The Holy Spirit was right when he said to your ancestors through Isaish the prophet, ‘Go and say to this people: When you hear what I say, you will not understand.  When you see what I do, you will not comprehend.  For the hearts of these people are hardened, and their ears cannoth hear, and their hearts cannoth understand, and they cannot turn to me and let me heal them.” Acts 28:25-27 NLT

Am I listening to the Holy Spirit?  Or is my heart hardened?

Dear Father, I want to be like both Marys and run to you, lay at your feet, and worship you.  Forgive me when I run to lesser things.  I want to be filled with renewed joy of your resurrection power.  Thank you that you are always with me.  Amen.

“I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:20 NLT

Amy(amyctanner)

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