Look Up

Have you been on any trips lately? Maybe you have some summer plans to take a vacation somewhere.  In our household, the process of a trip can go awry, starting with the items selected for travel, the route, time, or expectations of plans for the upcoming journey.  There is also a difference in our packing styles between Jennifer and my packing style.  Although Jennifer and I can both get everything in the space we have, the way it is put in the car can vary.  Often my pack job is repacked.  An earlier version of myself would take this to heart and kick off a long journey with us both being in a bad mood because of my desire to be correct.  (I’ve matured a little)

Today’s reading of Psalm 121 talks about a journey taken and where we should place all our trust.  It makes a difference when you take every journey, trip, and vacation and lift it up to the Lord.  Instead of my internal focus on the desires, I plan to happen, and I can look up and know He will provide.  As a family or on our own, we are seemingly on the go constantly.  (that’s another prayer) but still, even in these moments through the hills and valleys, we can look to Him for guidance, patience, hope, and love to put us exactly where we should be instead of panic or the power struggle of constantly feeling like we need to be in control.

On our journey, once you have looked up at Him, he reminds us in verse three that He won’t allow us to go off course once we have put our trust in Him. He will never sleep or leave or side.  That even when our eyes want to shut or we feel like we may need to pull over and get some rest.  He will be up waiting for us.

Any help we need in whatever real or metaphorical journey we take can be found in our Lord.  Whether you are looking ou the windshield of life, the rearview mirror of the past, or lost on the side of the road, Look Up! Our Lord is right there.  Our journey in life each of us is on today is God’s handiwork.  We can have the assurance and protection He provides throughout our journey in life when we look to Him and trust.

He made the mountains and the valleys.  He is with us in these moments in our lives. We will never reach any earthly destination that will look, feel, and be like it will in our eternal home in heaven.  Even as you read this today, God’s untiring watch over our lives is present.

Our coming and going routines of life can feel like going through the motions.  Look up! He’s right there, ready to go.  So are you prepared for your next trip? You are not alone. 

 

121 I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? 2 My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.

3 He will not let your foot be moved; he who keeps you will not slumber. 4 Behold, he who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.

5 The Lord is your keeper; the Lord is your shade on your right hand. 6 The sun shall not strike you by day, nor the moon by night.

7 The Lord will keep you from all evil; he will keep your life. 8 The Lord will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forevermore.

Guilt

Guilt is hard to handle.  It can drag you down; it can control your thoughts and emotions.  Some people can hold onto guilt for weeks, months, years, to even a lifetime. Guilt from sin can bring fear, shame, and hurt.  If you are dealing with guilt from something from long ago or recently, ” STOP.”

In a world full of sin, God sent His son to give us all eternal freedom when we repent from them.  He sent Him to forgive us our sins and show His love for us.

Today’s reading is Leviticus 16:20-34.

Historically, this passage refers to today’s Day of Atonement or Yom Kipper.  The day of Atonement was a time for confession from rebellion and wickedness.  A time to deny self.  What happened on this day with the high priest once a year is now available to us today.  Every day through our Lord’s decision to send Jesus to save us from our sinful nature.

Whatever happened today, yesterday, or in the past. Take it to God. Repent.  Come with a sincere heart. Deny yourself from making excuses or downplaying the sin.  Cleanse yourself from this guilt.  For years I have held onto sin, I would find ways to avoid talking, thinking, or owning it.  I was ashamed, too proud, and would downplay the thoughts and actions I made.  I wish I could say that each day gets easier, that I’m sin-free.  You already know the answer.  Every day is a daily prayer to deny me and my desires.  A new day to repent and pray for obedience and complete surrender of my life for eternal life with Him.

Hebrews 10:19-22 A Call to Persevere in Faith

19 Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, 20 by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, 21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.

Confidence in God’s Love

We have been reading, reflecting, and celebrating the love Jesus has for us.  He died for all of us, and He knew that his father would raise Him to prove to us we can have hope and confidence in His plans and love for us.  (Jeremiah 29:11) Nothing can change your Christian faith once you have submitted to this truth and decided to die to yourself.

As I was thinking about the days immediately following his resurrection, I was amazed by His love.  The love He showed to everyone that had rejected him just hours and days before.  He never blamed, complained, or showed anger or frustration with anyone He encountered during the days he walked the Earth.  (John 3:17)

Today’s Reading is Psalm 118: 15-29.  Give thanks to the Lord; for He is good, His love endures forever.  God’s love is unchanging in the midst of our changing situations.

Even though the Easter baskets are getting put away.  The leftovers are not tasting the same anymore, and the celebrations we enjoyed together are a couple of days passed.  We can still rejoice.  There are days when the last thing we may want to do is rejoice. Our mood is down, a situation may feel out of hand, sadness and guilt is overwhelming.  We can still rejoice.  You were uniquely made, and the day was uniquely made for you.  Trust in His love, have confidence in every part of your day not matter the good or bad.  Let God know how your feeling. (1 Peter 2:7)  Take a breath and look around.  Our Lord is a whisper away, and honest prayer seeking Him will be found.

 

27 The Lord is God, and he has made his light to shine upon us.
Bind the festal sacrifice with cords, up to the horns of the altar! 28 You are my God, and I will give thanks to you; you are my God; I will extol you. 29 Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever!

Let this song bring you some joy and remind you of the confidence and blessing we have on ever part of our lives.  ~ Enjoy this blessing of a day.

Glorious Vision

Today’s Reading: Daniel 10:1 – 11:1

Daniel had multiple visions as you read through all of Daniel. Today as we read through Daniel 10 & 11, you read about his heavenly message, which some commentators believe is the pre-incarnate Christ( Daniel 10:6).

5 I looked up and saw a man dressed in linen clothing, with a belt of pure gold around his waist. 6 His body looked like a precious gem. His face flashed like lightning, and his eyes flamed like torches. His arms and feet shone like polished bronze, and his voice roared like a vast multitude of people.

This verse connects with Revelation 1:14-15

14 His head and his hair were white like wool, as white as snow. And his eyes were like flames of fire. 15 His feet were like polished bronze refined in a furnace, and his voice thundered like mighty ocean waves.

Lyden mentioned yesterday Daniel’s prayer life.  Daniel dedicated his life to Him. This chapter shows how in-tune Daniel was with God. Daniel had a vision of possible future events.  He knew the only way to see the truth was to submit honestly.  He cut out the social drinks, was fasting, and cut out all the fragrant lotions. As I thought about Daniel and our present time, I thought of things we do or put on that can make it appear like, “it’s all good.” Daniel had a heart attitude focused on prayer and connecting with God. So I ask today, “Where is your heart?” How close do I get in my intimate moments? Are there things we can do to draw closer? Am I more worried about the world race? Sadly, I know my answer at times.

This chapter has helped me refocus on what is truly important. We get a chance to see into the heart and life of Daniel, a man of prayer.  With a broken heart and a selfless heart, Daniel’s prayers were about others.  Where do my blessings come from? How selfless are they?

The last part that made me reflect was the truth behind the warfare between angels and demons.  This battle can impact our hope for immediate answers to prayer.  We know that the enemy is always trying to get us to lose hope. It is being able to stay strong and trust in Him.

13 But for twenty-one days, the spirit prince[c] of the kingdom of Persia blocked my way. Then Michael, one of the archangels,[d] came to help me, and I left him there with the spirit prince of the kingdom of Persia.

Today, I was able to see, know, and trust that we draw near to Him in the stillness and focused time with God. When we set up our ACTS prayer, get quiet, and away from the distractions, we find Him.  This closeness to God can become increasingly rare in this world addicted to noise and speed. Even as I write, I fight the battle to think of and worry about what I have to get done today and what lies ahead later this week.   God has it. Draw near to Him as Daniel would.

Dear Heavenly Father,

I ask you for the stillness in my soul I need to see, hear, and feel your presence. Provide the place and moments where like Daniel, I can put aside all things and focus on your love. Lord, help us see the vision you have planned and seek you when we question ourselves. Let us put aside the worldly race to remember that you alone answer our prayers in your time and not ours. Lord, help us have a selfless heart that allows us to get face down to the ground crying out for your presence.  Meet us in the moments where we have no strength or breath in our lungs.  Lord, it is you along that answers prayer.  You give us power; you provide us with breath; you lift us up.  When we struggle, lose focus, and are laid out on the ground with no words to say, you draw near. You lift us up. God, our spiritual battle we will face every day will be won by You when we have a heart like Daniel.  ~ Amen

 

Nothing is too hard…

Good Morning Bible Journal family.  I hope you have a fantastic day.

Today’s Reading Jeremiah 32:16-44

Yesterday Lyden told us about Jeremiah listening and trusting God in his purchase of a field.  At the time, it seemed crazy.  Still, he trusted in the Lord.  Today we get to finish the chapter.  It is such a great answer to what we need today.

What did Jeremiah do first? He prayed.  Jeremiah 32:16-25 is a prayer.  Prayer is what we all need.  Are the moments where things seem impossible or irrational in the case of stepping out of your comfort zone? This is where Jeremiah prayed for guidance and understanding.  These daily prayers are what strengthen our faith. We all need this.

After praying about his decision, Jeremiah received the word of the Lord.

26 Then this message came to Jeremiah from the Lord: 27 “I am the Lord, the God of all the peoples of the world. Is anything too hard for me?

Nothing is too hard.  This verse brings a tear of joy and guilt when I think of my decisions.  It means I can step back and look up.  It means I can step down from my pedestal and trust the one who is really in control.  God doesn’t provide what I want; He gives me what He wants for my life.  I can breathe.  The world we try to keep up with, fit into, or control is all in His hands.  Slow down.  Take more time to pray and trust.

The people of Israel had to learn to trust God.  God was realigning their lives; He was realigning their desires and purpose with His.  He gave them “one-heart” towards Him.  We must deeply develop this too.

38 They will be my people, and I will be their God. 39 And I will give them one heart and one purpose: to worship me forever, for their own good and for the good of all their descendants. 40 And I will make an everlasting covenant with them: I will never stop doing good for them. I will put a desire in their hearts to worship me, and they will never leave me.

I’m not sure what you’re going through right now.  Maybe it feels like an impossible road that deals with health, family, children, work.  It may seem unfair, unjust, irrational? Turn to God.  Pray. Trust. His plans are for you.  Pray for understanding His plan and checking to make sure you’re not trying to create your plans.

Dear Lord,

I need the daily realigning of my heart to be closer to yours.  Shape my desires and purpose to glorify you.  Help me trust in your decisions and plans already written by You.  Please help me step out of this world’s race and into the eternal race towards Your Kingdom.  Nothing is too hard for You! Amen

How do you look at life?

Psalm 36

How are you looking at the day ahead?  Where are you on your spiritual journey?  I wish I could say I had my spiritual maturity a lot further than where it stands today. I pray I keep a closer connection to our Father in my words, actions, and thoughts. I pray for eternal faith and not a faith defined by my circumstances. David shares a special message concerning how the wicked look at life and live.

Thankfully, God knows us thoroughly. He knows our hearts. He takes all my shortcomings and weaknesses and calls me His. He died for us, knowing our selfish and sinful state. Jesus tells us that in our weakness, He is strong. Confess. We don’t have to take on this world alone. David talks about the priceless and unfailing love He has for us. I’m grateful for these words today and every day. It reminds us that no matter our failures, big or small, His love for me never fails. I love the imagery in verse 7.  ~ people take refuge in the shadow of Your wings. 

As a new season prayerfully on the horizon, I see signs of spring all around. Take in these moments to reflect on our Lord’s beauty. His wonderful creations. His new life He gives to everything around. The new life He can give to you.

Heavenly Father,

I want your Word to be alive and active in my life. Your Word helps me to examine all aspects of my life and convicts me to live closer to the way Jesus did. I cannot live apart from You or Your Word. When the world and Satan does me in, reveal yourself and sustain me through Your Word and presence.

In Jesus name, Amen

 

Verdict = Love

God’s Words of Love: John 3:1-21

verdict = a decision on a disputed issue in a civil or criminal case

John 3:19 This is the verdict. Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil.

I’m guilty. There are many moments where I have fallen short and let in the “darkness instead of the light.”  Selfishly we allow the world to impact many of the choices we lean towards daily.  Does my current circumstance or response to the circumstance show light or darkness?  Thankfully, we have a LORD who came not to condemn us but to save us through Him. v 17.

Do you need to be saved? Do you need some direct exposure to light? Believe! Believe that this given day, today, was designed by God and made specifically for you. It is a day that allows our testimony to point back to Jesus and shine light into the darkest areas. Today, we can submit any earthly circumstance we are wrestling with and trust our Lord with the light He is waiting to shine on us.

John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that He gave his one and only Son, that whosoever believe in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.

Pray Psalm 51  – Dear Lord,

Have mercy on me, O God,
according to your unfailing love;
according to your great compassion
blot out my transgressions.
2 Wash away all my iniquity
and cleanse me from my sin.

3 For I know my transgressions,
and my sin is always before me.
4 Against you, you only, have I sinned
and done what is evil in your sight;
so you are right in your verdict
and justified when you judge.
5 Surely, I was sinful at birth,
sinful from when my mother conceived me.
6 Yet you desired faithfulness even in the womb;
you taught me wisdom in that secret place.

7 Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean;
wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
8 Let me hear joy and gladness;
let the bones you have crushed rejoice.
9 Hide your face from my sins
and blot out all my iniquity.

10 Create in me a pure heart, O God,
and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
11 Do not cast me from your presence
or take your Holy Spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation
and grant me a willing spirit to sustain me.

13 Then I will teach transgressors your ways,
so that sinners will turn back to you.
14 Deliver me from the guilt of bloodshed, O God,
you who are God my Savior,
and my tongue will sing of your righteousness.
15 Open my lips, Lord,
and my mouth will declare your praise.
16 You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it;
you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings.
17 My sacrifice, O God, is[b] a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart
you, God, will not despise.

Amen

I love you

Today’s Reading: 1 John 3:1-24 

Do you believe that God’s love is shown through you? What if today you took every interaction and made it a platform to show God’s love through you? I know we are all at different seasons of life. There have been times where we have been too busy, not have enough finances, not have the time, or preoccupied with our events to spend the time with others.  I’ve been there, said that, done that, and missed the opportunity to point everything good that I know, seen, or happened to me or others back to Jesus.  Jesus never had excuses. He made time for everyone, no judgments about past sins, no worries about what others would think.  Jesus just showed love.  It’s the same calling from John in verses 11-24. 

Love One Another

11 The message you heard from the very beginning is this: we must love one another. 12 We must not be like Cain; he belonged to the Evil One and murdered his own brother Abel. Why did Cain murder him? Because the things he himself did were wrong, and the things his brother did were right.

13 So do not be surprised, my friends, if the people of the world hate you. 14 We know that we have left death and come over into life; we know it because we love others. Those who do not love are still under the power of death. 15 Those who hate others are murderers, and you know that murderers do not have eternal life in them. 16 This is how we know what love is: Christ gave his life for us. We too, then, ought to give our lives for others! 17 If we are rich and see others in need, yet close our hearts against them, how can we claim that we love God? 18 My children, our love should not be just words and talk; it must be true love, which shows itself in action.

Pastor Mike asked us to this week reflect on this, What is the evidence of Jesus in our lives?”  How can I love today? How do I love moving forward? 

  • Unconditionally. God calls us sons and daughters to love people as they are and to pray that He will do work in their lives.  (Romans 5:7-8) 
  • Sacrificially. We should not merely tell others of God’s love but show them that God loves through our demonstrations of love.  (1 John 3:16-18 
  • Personally. The only Christ some people may see is in us!  (1 John 4:20-21) 

Verse 10 This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right, nor if anyone who does not love their brother and sister. 

I can claim a lot of things. But do I show love towards others? Am I living in the past or taking every interaction, moment, and choice of words to show His love?

Hey Bible Journal family.  I love you all and am grateful for all of the words of hope you provide every day! 

Lord, Help me to love more.  Not just in my words but in my actions. Help these actions to come deep from my heart and not just at the surface.  Amen 

Believe it or Not

 

Before we begin today, I’m asking for some prayers for Emily and Myles.  Doctors recently told Emily that her life would be cut short because of a recent medical diagnosis.  The medical diagnosis can only be cured on this side of the earth through a miracle from God that we know He is capable of.  Please pray for God’s hand in this time to come.  Pray for Emily and Myles to trust in His plan and will for this situation.  As they embark on their bucket list, pray that their testimony and witness points back to Him along this journey.  Emily said that whatever happens, the Victory is His.  Amen  

Today’s Reading: John 8:27-41

What do you believe? Who do you believe in? Did you know that 3,326 questions were asked in the Bible, according to a quick Google search? But, back to What do you believe?  I know the answer. I know your answer as well. Still, on my best days, I can fall to my sins. Lurking beneath us is the persistent tendency to trust other things besides God. When challenges are faced, do we trust in God or other things?   I can believe more in my efforts, resources, or thinking that I want to believe will make everything Ok.  I’m wrong.

 Do you hear him? Do you see him? Who? The Father of lies. He is always trying to convince you that we can do it on our own. The world has so much to offer. The pleasures available can consume your 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

 In these moments, what do we seek? Who do we seek? As Jesus spoke to the Jews and those who gathered, he reminded them and us about the only way we will be with Him. 

“I told you that you would die in your sins, for unless you believe that I am he, you will die in your sins.”

‭‭John‬ ‭8:24‬ ‭ESV‬‬

It’s when I surrender when I’m in His words and letting them live in my heart instead of looking to other people to guide, rescue, or protect me. I need always to remember to look to my Heavenly Father. 

“So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

‭‭John‬ ‭8:31-32‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Many people believe in many things.  Only until we put our trust in Him ultimately will we have peace.  Will we know the truthWill we be able to trust in His victory

Gods Word of Life

Chalk it up to a strong case of insecurity and a self-inflicted case of selfishness. Today’s reading of what we are focusing on is God’s Words of Life. It’s not too far into our assigned reading of John 6:25-59, and I found my life in Him.

Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, you are looking for me, not because you have seen the signs I performed but because you ate the loaves and had your fill.  Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you.  For on him God the Father has placed his seal of approval.

I can pick out the “food that spoils” I have selected along my journey. I can recall those that attempted to speak the truth to me, and I didn’t listen. The things of this world that look good, feel good, sound good but are not connected to Jesus are temporary. . It wasn’t until I genuinely ate of His bread that my life changed, and I indeed had the feeling of fullness.

This temporary physical life goes quick. The world will tell you one thing and make it feel like instant temporary gratification will make you “full.” It won’t. Only Jesus will provide you with this. The Son of Man came for you and me to give a full eternal life. Today’s a new day, what are you eating?