Posts Tagged With: God

New Beginnings

Word of the DayExodus 5:1-9:12

“But Pharaoh said, ‘Who is the LORD that I should obey his voice and let Israel go? I do not know the LORD and moreover, I will not let Israel go.'” Exodus 5:2

The Israelites were on the cusp of something new, something wonderful and miraculous. They were about to witness things the LORD had never shown anyone before them. He was about to deliver them out of slavery in such a mighty and miraculous way that the enemies of the Israelites would fear them for GENERATIONS afterwards. Not because they feared the Israelites, but because they feared their GOD. God was about to do something for these people that the entire world is still talking about today!

In the story of the fall of Jericho, Rahab shares with the two spies how terrified everyone is of them,

“I know that the LORD has given you the land, and that the fear of you has fallen upon us, and that all the inhabitants of the land melt away before you. For we have heard how the LORD dried up the water of the Red Seas before you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to the two kings of the Amorites who were beyond the Jordan, to Sihon and Og, whom you devoted to destruction. And as soon as we heard it, our hearts melted, and there was no spirit left in any man because of you, for the LORD your God, he is God in the heavens above and on the earth beneath.” Joshua 2:9-11

Even 40 years after these Israelites left Egypt everyone is trembling in their boots because the Israelites have their sights set on Jericho. And most of the people inside the “impenetrable” wall know that the God who is able to part the Red Sea and then the Jordan just so that His people don’t have to get their feet a little wet, well, an impenetrable wall probably isn’t too difficult for Him to penetrate.

But in today’s reading, none of that has happened yet. Today, we find the Israelites still dwelling in Egyptian slavery waiting to be rescued just like the LORD told them they would be. Yesterday found Moses at the burning bush getting his marching orders from I AM. Today we see him entering into the presence of Pharaoh who is believed to be a god by his own people. (That’s funny, in the matter of just a couple of weeks Moses has been in the presence of THE God and a “god”. Sorry, I just found that humorous enough to point out.) Anyway, an interesting and yet not altogether surprising thing happens when Moses tells Pharaoh to let his people go. Pharaoh gets mad and tells him “No.” Shocking right?

If you were Pharaoh and some slave representative comes to you in the name of some God you’ve never heard before (because remember, up to Moses at the burning bush the Israelites didn’t even have a name for their God), and tells you that this “god” is commanding you to let all your slave labor go, do you really think you would do it? Of course not! You’d laugh in their face; which is exactly what Pharaoh did and more. He made the Israelites’ brick-making work harder by taking away their straw.

Here they were, Moses, their deliverer has come to save them and ends up making their work harder for them. “Thanks a lot Moe. Way to save us.”

My point is this. Many of us are on the cusp of something truly miraculous; a spectacular deliverance that the world has never seen before. But with that comes change. Change is uncomfortable. Like birthing a child, the pain will be temporary and worth it, but it will definitely be present.

The Israelites had to go out and find stubble for their bricks, their water turned to blood too, the frogs were in their beds, and the gnats were everywhere the Israelites were. These Israelites experienced the plagues right along with the Egyptians. Perhaps, the LORD did this for the purpose of testing and strengthening their faith in Him. It’s hard to say and God doesn’t really explain Himself on this one. But considering the week I’ve had this week, that’s what I think it was for.

I think He tells us what His plans are and then circumstances arise that fly in direct opposition to what He just told us. Will we believe what God has told us? Or will we believe what our circumstances are telling us? Will we stand firm in our faith that God is good? Or will we cave under the pressure of our circumstances?

A little while back I was “feeling the pressure” and was frustrated by what was going on around me. As I prayed. I don’t even remember what it was that I was praying, I only remember what God showed me. In a vision he showed me holding a little white mouse in my hand. I wasn’t holding it with my hand open palm up, but rather with my hand closed around it. The little head and ears were poking out the top of my hand near my thumb and its sweet little tail was sticking out the bottom by my pinkie. And ever so slightly my hand tightened around the mouse until it squeaked, letting me know that the pressure was too great, at which point I released the mouse.

It is out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks. God was showing me in this illustration how He works our circumstances for our good. He uses our circumstances to increase the pressure surrounding us until we squeak. And we can then HEAR what is filling our own hearts. Remember, tests aren’t for God to know what’s in us, He already knows. But we don’t; therefore the tests are for US to discover what’s in our hearts. When we squeak, I mean, speak out in our circumstantial pain, we are able to hear our hearts speak out the true root of what is troubling us.

In the plagues of Egypt God was encountering each of the Egyptian gods. It was like He was walking along the shelf of Egyptian idols flicking each of them over as He went down the line.

He does the same thing in our lives! Hallelujah! Although we fall into idol (or idle) worship, God isn’t willing to allow us to stay in that place! He will knock that idol down taking away whatever it was that we were trusting in instead of Him.

Writing that I’m realizing that this last month has been a month where God knocked down my god of “predictability”. For the first month of summer I had a schedule (written out even) that I stuck to like glue. But then June turned into July and everything seemed to change. It was really only a couple of things that changed, but without that piece of paper telling me what to do at what time I felt lost and confused and frustrated. Then God dropped a bomb on me that things would be changing around here. Drastically. And I WASN’T happy about it. This last month has been me fighting with God about things changing. I didn’t want them to change, I wanted to keep doing what I had been doing, the way I had been doing it. Period. I didn’t want MORE work to do. My life had become predictable and I liked that. I knew what to expect and I knew what was expected of me. I was comfortable.

Then I was told to get a job, I haven’t had one in years. Next I was told to take on the Women’s Ministry Directorship, never done that before, I have no human training in theology, no certificates of completion to prove my qualification for the position, yet other women in the church that I will be leading do. This leaves me feeling terribly naked and vulnerable. Yet God says, “Trust Me”. (Yesterday’s post)

God just said to me, “How do you think Joseph felt when Pharaoh told him to lead the country? He’d never done THAT before either. But he managed with quite well with My help don’t you think?” “Yes, Lord.” (giggle)

This last month I have felt like that little mouse in the hand of the Master being squeezed until I squeaked. Not out of abuse or sheer meanness, but out of PURE LOVE. I was scared, which caused all kinds of reactions in me, but I didn’t know what it was I was scared of and why. Without the pressure I never would have squeaked out what was in my heart which allowed me to hear what I was feeling and made it possible for me to DEAL WITH IT. I can’t give something to God if I don’t know I have it. If I have a fear of failure, but never step out in faith giving me opportunity to fail then I would never be able to give my failures to God. (Huh, I just found out I have a fear of failure. Lord, it’s YOURS! Please take it!)

My friends, we DO stand on the cusp of something big and exciting today. I know I’m not the only one. Let’s step out in faith, having handed our fear of failure to the LORD our GOD. Sure, we may not get everything right the first time, but that’s OK. Just as long as we get back up and try again. After all, if you do not stand firm in your faith, you will not stand at all.

Categories: 365 Life, Exodus, Writing Through the Bible in a Year | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Eyes that SEE


Deuteronomy 1:1-3:22

“Your eyes have seen all that the LORD your God has done” Deuteronomy 3:21

“Your eyes have seen”, it’s such a powerful statement. It’s such a powerful concept, eyes that see. We take them for granted all too often, and yet some have eyes that are shut so tightly that even the brightest light has trouble penetrating.

There is so much that I long to say to you, things that I pray God opens your eyes to, today and every day. “Blessed are the eyes that see what [I] see! For I tell you that many prophets and kings desired to see what [I] see, and did not see it and hear what [I] hear and did not hear it.” (Luke 10:23)

Do you know what I see?

I see the Word of God laid out before me filling my lap every morning. Do you know what I see in that Word?

I see God’s love for me. I see His deliverance from evil for me. I see His unshakable faith in me even when I have proven myself so untrustworthy. I see His willingness to put His good name on the line by attaching it with mine. I see His people coming to church to punch their time card and say they’ve been there only to rush back out the door in order to go do something else. I see His CHILDREN begging for bread at the doorsteps of idols because they’ve never been taught that they are God’s righteous children through Christ. I see the LORD’S Beloved Bride opening herself up to be ravaged time and time again by “lovers” who don’t care a bit for her; all because she doesn’t realize that she’s been bought with an un-payable price that has redeemed her beyond any human ability to pay. His Bride is YOU.

Right now you may be reading this nodding your head in agreement and thinking of someone else, but it’s YOU. I don’t want to see others walking through their lives without opening the gift that God has placed in their laps. There is POWER in the Word of God, a power beyond your wildest imagination. Sure, that sounds good, and you may believe it, but have you experienced it? I have. And I can tell you that even the little nibble I’ve experienced is nothing compared to the power and glory of Jesus that waits just beyond those simple books covers.

As Christians we were created to rule this world, just read the creation story. “Dominion over all the earth” it’s kind of a big deal. Yet how much ruling do you feel like you’re doing right now? God has given you the keys to an eternal kingdom. A place where His power and majesty lives and breathes and bestows upon you the strength and courage to keep moving forward through the sludge of life that we deal with day in and day out. Those keys lay in the palm of your hand in the middle of an open Bible. You need only take them out and USE THEM.

What good is having a car if you never drive it? What’s the point of buying that gorgeous new dress if you never wear it? Why spend time making that gourmet meal if you never eat it? What’s the point of having a Bible if you never read it? What’s the point of having eyes if you never use them or ears that don’t listen to the still soft voice of Jesus whispering through the turning pages of a Bible? If your spouse wrote you a love letter would you never read it? Or would you get it out time and time again to pour over their words of adoration for you?

Jesus loves you. YOU. But unless you’re reading your Bible on your own, it’s next to impossible to feel the full force of His love toward you. If I called you my friend, but never answered your phone calls am I really being your friend? Ring, ring, your Bible is calling…

“Son of man, look with your eyes, and hear with your ears and set your heart upon all that I shall show you, for you were brought here in order that I might show it to you. Declare all that you see to the house of Israel.” (Ezekiel 40:4) God is SHOWING you His love for you each and every day, are you opening your eyes to see it? God has brought you to this place in your life where you HAVE SEEN the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living, are you declaring to the world what you have seen or are you keeping it hidden under a basket?

You have tasted and seen that the Lord is good, are you telling people about His goodness so that they may taste it too? How will they know if someone doesn’t tell them? How do you know that that someone isn’t you? What if God has placed you in this circumstance of life, for such a time as this, so that you can reach that one person who’s planted right next to you in the garden of life?

“Lord, I pray for eyes to see You and ears to hear Your voice loud and clear. In Jesus’ name, Amen!”

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Only YOU


Daniel 4:19-6:28

For the past few weeks I’ve been emphasizing the importance of doing what God has called you to do and being who God has made you to be. Last night I found out why I’ve been doing that. I received an email that confirmed everything. It was a Women of Faith Devotional, forwarded from a friend of mine, and written by Thelma Wells. In it she recounted the story of a dream that God had given to Rick Howard a dream that you need to hear about.

“Rick had a dream that he went to the judgment seat of Christ and was surrounded by people he knew. When it was his time to stand before the Lord, he thought he would be rewarded as the pastor of a megachurch and having fame in the media that surpasses many. He stepped up to Jesus sitting in the Judge’s seat and presented his works.

In this dream, Jesus tried Rick’s works in the fire—and they burned and burned and burned until nothing was left but a deep, black hole. The pastor stood there with a broken heart and asked Jesus why all of his works were burned because he had worked for the Lord all his career. Jesus told him that, no, he had not worked for the glory of God because God had told him to go into ministry on foreign fields. But because his wife refused to marry him if he went, the pastor had selected the woman over God. He had been responsible for millions accepting Jesus and for many great and wonderful works, but because the pastor did not accept the real calling of God and instead pleased his wife, his works were burned up like wood, hay, and stubble. Sure, the pastor entered into the kingdom of God in heaven, but he lost his rewards for the work he did on earth.

Rich also saw an old lady of no acclaim. Someone who was never written up in the paper, never appeared on television, did no radio interviews, and never spoke for a conference of any size. As she walked up to the judgment seat of Christ and presented her works to Jesus, they begin to burn. When they finished burning, what was left were stacks of gold, silver, and precious stones. This nobody on earth was rewarded at the judgment for edifying people while glorifying God. She received the rewards that Jesus will bestow at his judgment seat.

As Rich stood before the judgment seat waiting for Jesus to talk to him, there was a period of total silence and no activity. Disappointed and wondering, he woke up from the dream with no precise results.”*

What kind of pressure are you under today? Are you being pressured to eat the king’s food (worldly wisdom and media)? Are you being pressured to worship false idols (money, medicine, possessions)? Are you feeling pressured to be someone you’re not, do something you don’t feel is quite right? DON’T CAVE UNDER THE PRESSURE!!! Stand firm, be strong and courageous. Look at that fiery furnace before you and say, “O (fill in a name here), I have no need to answer you in this matter. If this be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.” (Daniel 3:16-18)

I think it’s always important with the story of the furnace to point out the “But if not”, for those circumstances where God doesn’t do what we hope and expect of Him. This doesn’t mean He’s not faithful and true and just and real. It simply means that He has a better plan that we can’t understand with our finite minds and perspective. If He doesn’t save in the way WE want Him to, does that make Him less God? No.

When we stand firm in our faith we have to stand firm with a “But if not” attitude, where come what may, we will still stand strong for God and HIS glory, knowing full well that it will not be easy.

In Rick’s dream his works were burned up because he chose his wife’s plan for his life instead of God’s plan. When I stand before that judgment seat of God and He asks me why I didn’t do what He told me to do; “because my husband told me not to”, will not be an acceptable answer. Ultimately, I’m responsible for my own life and how I live it.

We all have eternal life… somewhere. We have to live with today’s choices for eternity, no matter where we’re going.

God made YOU for a reason. YOU have a purpose, a position, a job that ONLY YOU can fulfill in this world. If you are not doing it then who will? If you’re not living out the dream that God placed deep in your heart then how will you answer Him on that day? The judgment seat isn’t for condemnation of sins – those have already been judged in the flesh of Jesus. The judgment seat is the day of REWARD. What will yours look like? You don’t have to do big things in human eyes to get your reward. You only have to do one thing – TRUST GOD. Trust His opinion of YOU. Trust His love for YOU. Trust His forgiveness of YOU. Trust His plans for YOU. They are plans for hope and a future not harm and destruction. The God of Love made these plans for you so they MUST be good! Good for YOU. Trust Him. Jesus loves YOU.

Lord, after weighing me in the balances of life, may I never be found wanting in Your eyes! In Jesus’ name, Amen!

* Devotionals Daily FaithGateway. Refining Grace by Thelma Wells. Copyright © 2013 HarperCollins Christian Publishing, 501 Nelson Place, Nashville, TN, United States. All Rights Reserved. http://www.faithgateway.com/refining-grace/

Categories: 365 Life, Daniel, Writing Through the Bible in a Year | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Only God

2 Chronicles 35:1-36:23 & Daniel 1:1-21

OK, today I especially loved the “coincidence” that we went from reading about the exile from Jerusalem to Babylon and then followed Daniel into the Babylonian king’s court. How cool was that? That doesn’t happen often when we’re reading alphabetically. Anyway, I feel I need to pull more on Daniel’s story today than on Josiah and Jehoahaz.

Daniel had just been sitting around in Jerusalem, minding his own business, doing his own thing when out of the blue he finds himself exiled to Babylon. Once in Babylon he is told that he has been chosen to “stand in the king’s palace” where he will learn “the literature and language of the Chaldeans”. Intimidating, but exciting none the less. Hey, it’s not slave work right? But then there’s something else. Mealtime rolls around and Daniel sits down to the table, his stomach rumbling and his mouth is watering from the smells that are coming from the palace kitchen. He was probably thinking, “This hasn’t been nearly as bad of a day as I had expected.” I can only imagine how crestfallen he felt when they brought in the trays filled with food that he couldn’t eat. Like a sweet-toothed diabetic in a candy factory, he couldn’t eat a thing. Then he probably thought, “I’m going to starve. I’ll be the smartest dead guy around.” The pressure to eat that steaming food before him had to have been incredible. Yet he stood firm in his faith and refused to eat it.

Sometimes in life God plants us into situations where we are forced to make a choice, his ways or the world’s, God’s food or the Babylonian king’s. We’re placed at a fork in the road where whichever path we choose will change life dramatically and neither really looks to be that fun. But we can’t stand at the fork forever; we have to choose one or the other. The pressure to take the World’s way is incredible, yet the eternal resentment of not taking God’s way is equally unbearable. But there is hope. 1 Corinthians 10:12-13 tells us,

“Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall. No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and He will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.”

Do you remember in yesterday’s reading when the king of Assyria (Sennacherib) had been attacking Judah and “sent his servants to Jerusalem to Hezekiah king of Judah and to all the people of Judah who were in Jerusalem, saying, “Thus says Sennacherib king of Assyria, ‘On what are you trusting, that you endure the siege in Jerusalem?'” (2 Chronicles 32:9-10) The Enemy of Judah was attacking the cities of Judah and putting intense pressure on the people. Yet they were enduring it and that infuriated Sennacherib causing him to turn his cause of frustration into a taunt. “On what are you trusting, that you endure the siege?” I talked about it yesterday and how there is always SOMETHING we are trusting in to save us, whether it’s money, medicine, doctors, or God. But of all these options, and the many more that I didn’t take the time to list, which of them is able to help you endure the siege? Which of them is able to help you withstand the pressure of the World to eat the king’s food? Which of them is able to help you locate the trap door hidden within every single temptation of life?

Only God.

Only God can be our source of salvation from the siege. Jesus is our shield and refuge, our shelter in times of trouble and in times of glee. Only the power of His Holy Spirit can hold us up in our human weakness.

Only God.

Hallelujah!

Categories: 2 Chronicles, 365 Life, Daniel, Writing Through the Bible in a Year | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

Victory in Christ

2 Chronicles 20:24-24:19


Victories these days look a little different than they used to. It used to be that if your team had the most people still alive at the end of the battle you won. If you were the last one to call “Uncle”, you won. Today the battle isn’t fought on a huge field with swords and chariots. It’s fought in your mind and in your heart with words and faith. The words that win the battle, are the words found in your Bible. Romans 10:17 tells us that “faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.” What is the word of Christ? The BIBLE! All of it! How can you know the words that will defeat the Enemy if you never read your Bible for yourself? How will you have the faith to slay the giant if you never hear the words of Christ? Still not convinced that it’s imperative to read your Bible daily? Check out Hebrews 11:6 “Without faith it is impossible to please Him. For whoever would draw near to God must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who seek Him.” This is a hard verse for me to share, but I promised you and God both that “what my God says, that I will speak”. (2 Chronicles 18:13) This is the Word of God, it is the truth, without faith it is IMPOSSIBLE to please God. What brings God pleasure? Your faith in Him! Hebrews 11:1 tells us that “faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” Although the LORD is not a God that you can see sitting on a shelf, do you believe that He exists? That brings Him pleasure!

Are you seeking His presence? That brings Him pleasure!

Do you believe that He rewards those who seek Him? That brings Him pleasure!

Personally, the first two are easy. Does He exist? I’ve experienced too much to believe otherwise. Do I seek Him? LOL! I’ve experience too much to do otherwise! Do I believe that He rewards those who seek Him? Sure! Do I believe that applies to me personally? That part is a lot harder for me to accept. I know who I am and what I’ve done. I know the thoughts I’ve thought and the things I’ve done or not done. Plus who am I that He would reward ME? I admit it’s an extremely hard pill to swallow. The Enemy has worked my entire life to keep me from taking this Truth and applying it to my life. The other day the Holy Spirit gave me a perfect visual of salvation that I think really applies to everything in the kingdom.

Jesus died to save the WHOLE WORLD, not just the Jews and not just those that were present at that time, but everyone in all of time. His death was a sacrifice that He offered on our behalf effectively paying our price of admission to heaven and onto the lap of God the Father as His child. You are His CHILD and everything that that implies. This sacrifice of the cross was given to us as a gift.

You don’t pay for gifts, you just accept them. But here’s the picture that God gave me the other day. I can give you the gift of a bar of soap, but just because I give it to you doesn’t mean that you will accept it, and it doesn’t mean that you will choose to use it. Those things are completely up to you.

Just because Jesus’ death has been given to us as a gift from the LORD, who adores us, doesn’t mean that we will accept that gift. Or that we will use it to declare ourselves righteous through Christ and eligible for receiving rewards from Him. (Romans 3:22) Those things only happen through faith. And faith comes through hearing. And hearing comes through the Word of Christ.

Categories: 2 Chronicles, 365 Life, Writing Through the Bible in a Year | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Spinach

2 Chronicles 10:1-15:19

“And when Judah looked, behold, the battle was in front of and behind them. And they cried to the LORD, and the priests blew the trumpets. Then the men of Judah raised the battle shout. And when the men of Judah shouted, God defeated Jeroboam and all Israel before Abijah and Judah.” 2 Chronicles 14:14-15

Have you ever been there? I’m sure you have. You know, that place where you look up and the battle isn’t just in front of you, it’s behind you too. You’re surrounded, and trapped and helpless. There is a choice to make in that moment, keep fighting or surrender. And it is in that moment where it is key to know your opponent! Who is it exactly that you’re fighting?

Ephesians 6:12 says, “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.”

We aren’t fighting other people. We’re not in a battle with the attorneys, or against the bank, or against our spouse. We are batting with the spiritual forces behind the attorneys, the bank, our spouse. These people are the hostages held up between us and the true Enemy. And the longer you battle the flesh and blood problem and not the spirit behind it, the longer that Spirit will continue pushing you further back.

Right now, if you’re having trouble with your finances, and it seems like money is running through your fingers faster than sand, you’re not struggling with money. You’re struggling with Greed. Fight Greed not money and you’ll win every time.

If you’re struggling with your weight and it just doesn’t seem to want to come off. You’re not fighting the battle of the bulge; you’re fighting the spirit of Indulgence.

In both instances the world will tell you to tell yourself, “No, I don’t need that new pair of shoes. These work just fine.” Or, “No, a second cupcake is too much.” But you’re not fighting you! The battle isn’t against flesh and blood; it’s against the spirit that has been influencing your flesh and blood. Yes, you still need to say “no” to those things. But you’re not telling you “no”, you’re telling the Spirit-monkey on your back “no”!

Let’s say it, just for fun. Say, “NO!” as loud as you can! In James 4 verses 7 & 8 God reveals to us the secret of victory. “Submit yourselves to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” There’s a formula here that I want you to see:

  1. Submit yourself to God: Submit yourself to His leadership in the battle, to His authority over you (AND the spirits you battle) and to His amazingly abundant love for YOU. He wants to see you saved from this light and momentary trouble even more than you do! Submit to Him and He will be your shelter. Not just a storm shelter, your home shelter. Your place of refuge, comfort and REST from the battle that rages outside that door.

  2. Resist the Devil: He is doing everything he can to cause you to trip and fall and screw things up. Ignore his temptations! God has made the POWER of His Holy Spirit available to all who believe in the name of Jesus and call on Him for salvation (“Jesus save me”) and power to defeat this Enemy (“Holy Spirit of Jesus, I welcome you into my heart. Please guide me into all truth and away from this father of lies! In Jesus Name! Amen!”)*

  3. He will flee from you: This is an ongoing battle. We push the Enemy back, he retaliates. It’s a cycle, but it’s a diminishing cycle! The more ground we win the less ground he has to stand on. The more we resist his temptations the more ground we gain and the less ground he has. Every temptation we cave to is allowing Satan to gain our territory. So every time you stab your fork into a spinach salad instead of cake you can picture yourself piercing the heart of the spirit of Indulgence and gaining lost territory. The longer you do it, the better you will get until it’s not even a battle anymore. He just turns into a pesky fly that you smack and kill.

  4. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you: I have been harping on this a lot this week and I’m going to keep doing it (a) because the Holy Spirit is leading me to and (b) because I know it’s important. You’ve got to read a portion of your Bible daily! God has blessed me with a reading plan that is simple and quick. 30 minutes a day is NOT a lot! There are 1,440 minutes in your day, spending 30 reading your Bible leaves you with 1,410. See, it hardly leaves a dent! But the impact that those 30 concentrated minutes with God can have on your life is immeasurable!

    The words that you read in those 30 minutes will stick with you all day long. God will use them to give you the strength and hope to keep going when all you want to do is quit! Those 2 ½ pages of reading are like spinach to Popeye, they will make you strong to the finish, because you ate your spinach!

    And it will make it possible for you to say, “O Satan, do not fight against the LORD, MY GOD, for you can not succeed!” (adapted from 2 Chronicles 14:12)

    * If you prayed this prayer please email me (tamarknochel at gmail dot com) and let me know so my team and I can pray for you by NAME! We love you and want to do everything we can to support you!

Categories: 2 Chronicles, 365 Life, Writing Through the Bible in a Year | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Solomon’s Temple

061913_1253_Sacrifice1.jpg 1 Chronicles 25:1-29:30

Sorry for the extreme delay! *Someone* didn’t want you to see this! But here it is, and I pray that you are fully able to receive this word today!
Part 1 of the video

Part 2 of the video

Part 3 of the video: Like I said, technical difficulties! Thank God I’m stubborn!

The “puzzle piece” picture

20130620_092134

Video of 1 Chronicles 29:11 Yours, O LORD video:

Categories: 1 Chronicles, 365 Life, Writing Through the Bible in a Year | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

“Back Burner” with Guest Writer Beth Lively

061313_0054_IsThataSire1.jpg 1 Chronicles 7:30-11:47

Mmmmmm…. my Spirit feels nice and filled after this week of feasting on the Word of God prepared by my Beloved friends! I am so amazingly blessed to call you all “friend”. You have no idea how much you all mean to me. Thank you all from the bottom-most place in my heart! We all are eternally grateful for your willingness to contribute to our cause. I pray that God will bless you more tremendously than you ever though possible! And if you ever wish to come back and share the stage here you are more than welcome!

Today’s guest is an artist extraordinaire! She can sing, she can play guitar, she can draw and paint and makes jewelery. She writes poetry and stories too, so I had no idea what to expect from her offering today. She decided to go with a devotional for us. And after having read it I  am positive that you will all love it! (I know I do! Maybe because her message is so similar to mine and therefore quite close to my heart. a DAILY walk with God.) Anyway, I digress, so without further ado, I give you my friend Beth Lively!

*Thunderous round of applause* You know, because this place is ROCKIN! (Can you tell I’m feelin’ frisky today?)

Philippians: 4:6 Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need and thank Him for all He has done.

God intended our lives to be like children at play—happily completing the tasks of our days, our hearts filled with wonder and joy, as we relish the company of loved ones, friends, and coworkers; working hard, satisfied in our labor, comfortable in our careers; fulfilled in our families, our heritage . . . but, often enough . . . we don’t, we aren’t, we are not.

We are guilty of worry; we waste time, sleep, and peace of mind, even to the point of endangering our mental health. We run our minds over worries like gerbils on a metal wheel—over and around, over and around—essentially, stubbornly, attempting to solve this weary world’s troubles and challenges  all by ourselves.  The temptations and tragedies of this world corrupt us as we struggle through the evil imposed by our complicated civilization.

Truly, though, we do not have to be tainted by any of it—not any of it.   By simply, literally, placing God firmly in front, our vision of the world (and ultimately our reaction to it) will change.

Getting closer to God is something we can fix . . . and that will fix everything else!  Keeping God close is easy, but initially takes practice until keeping a prayer, (a running conversation) with God on the back burner of our minds, becomes a hot mug of love, goodness, joy, and hope, ready at hand in our souls, as we meet the challenges and joys of each day.

Devotionals, Stephen’s Ministers, Pastoral Counseling, Bible study, Disciple classes, Christian music, radio talk shows, and phone apps. can help create the habit, and once firmly fixed in our daily routine, (and I do mean daily, because this wicked world is loud, enticing, harsh, discouraging, and can eat up our strength so fast and cunningly we are drowning in negativity before we even realize), will carry us safely above the currents of distress.

Salvation isn’t only about dying and meeting God in Heaven; Jesus saved us here, too—saved us from daily troubles and worries—when He showed us beyond doubt that nothing can separate us from the love (joy) and protection (worry free) of God.

So . . . go fly a kite, catch a fish, jump in a pool, roast a marshmallow for a so’ more, then laugh until your eyes tear up and your tummy hurts . . . and pray for God to take care of the rest!

Categories: 1 Chronicles, 365 Life, Writing Through the Bible in a Year | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Letter from God

Acts 13:1-15:35

Beloved,

I can’t fit in a box and neither can you. You have to be who I made you to be or you’ll never be happy with yourself. You’ve got to do what I made you to do. Say what I made you to say. Look the way I made you to look. Live the way I made you to live. Act the way I made you to act. I made you to be you, a unique and special individual unlike anyone else in all of creation, why would you want to be just like someone else? Just be yourself, it’s who I made you to be. And I think you’re pretty spectacular if I do say so myself! 😉 I love you. The you I made you to be. Stop trying to copy other people, it’s not worth your time and effort, because no matter how hard you try, you can’t be them and they can’t be you. My world doesn’t work that way. It only works if you be you and let them be them. They’re a foot and you’re an eye. They can’t see and you can’t walk so get over it and move on to do the function I created you to perform. Be an “I”, the most beautiful “I” you can be, the “I”, I made you to be. You’ll never be sorry you did.

Love ALWAYS,

God

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Always the Carpenter

This winter I dropped my precious camera and broke it while taking pictures of an icicle that had formed over our Christmas lights.  Since then I have been begging God for a nicer newer one, you know, so I can take *better* pictures of course.  My lovely friend Jennifer let me borrow her camera for a time, which helped me cope with my loss, but it just wasn’t the same. My camera is my lifeline to the absolute breathtaking beauty of God and without it I have seriously lost something very special in my life. I can hardly begin to describe the absolute thrill of the hunt for that shot that captures the beauty of God’s artwork.

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Anyway, so a month or two ago Jennifer needed her camera back and I was left alone with Mr camera phone. Not terribly professional looking or exciting, but God wasn’t seeming to provide anything else soooo I had to make due.
My daughter picked one of the wild violets out of our yard and brought it to me while I was sitting under a tree reading. The lighting was delicious, the flower was so lovely and the gesture so sweet I just had to take a picture, real camera our not. I grabbed my phone And this is what came out:

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That’s when God started getting through to me. Maybe it’s not the camera that takes the pictures, but the person behind it! Maybe there really is a gifting here that can’t hide behind fancy technology and expensive editing software because with those things He doesn’t get any credit. But take all those things away and the only thing left is Him! I have often said that He is the one who creates the picture I just stand there and push the button. And over the last few months He has really proven that to be true.

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It seems to me that this isn’t the only area of my life where God has been doing this for me either. Little by little he seems to be shaving things away, carving me into this new and improved version of who I’ve always been. 

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I heard that Michelangelo said God had the statue of David already in the rock all he did was uncover it. That’s kinda how I feel right now, like this person I am now has always been there inside just waiting to be uncovered. And it makes me wonder how I will continue to change as God continues to carve away pieces, and sand away the rough spots in me. Although man plans the way, the LORD guides his steps.  (Proverbs 16:9)

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And OH the plans that He has for us if we were to just let go and let God do His thing!

(P.S. Every picture in this post is from my phone.)

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