{Summer} Psalms – 2

Hi friends! My goal today was – to begin reading through the Chronological Bible reading plan. I missed a lot of days after my surgery, and I firmly believe *I can* still catch up. But, that is not the reason for today’s post. Earlier today, I was able to write out chapter 2 of our beloved book of Psalms.

One of my favorite parts of this passage is – the writer is pointing out people’s sins. The sins of leaders isn’t ignored, but it is exposed – which is what we are taught to do as Christians (follower of God’s Son Jesus Christ).

You are God’s children whom he loves, so try to be like him. . . Try to learn what pleases the Lord. 11 Have nothing to do with the things done in darkness, which are not worth anything. But show that they are wrong (vv. 1, 10-11; NCV).

Through today’s Psalm, we see this being lived out before our eyes.

For a summit conference of the nations has been called to plot against the Lord and his Messiah, Christ the King (vv. 2, TLB).

The God who sits on his throne in heaven laughs. The Lord makes fun of those rulers and their plans (vv. 4, NIrV).

I will announce what the Lord has promised (vv. 7a).

O blessed (happy, fortunate, and to be envied) are all those who seek refuge and put their trust in Him! (vv. 12b, AMPC)

Three specific truths spring to mind, and I want to share those with you – today.

(1) God demonstrates an effortless mode of acting with justice. He isn’t involved in a frenzy of activity or left without any strength. He shows He is all powerful. God is noted as sitting in heaven. God is supreme, and ruler over all. These earthly rulers aren’t the ones who have the most power. They are no match for God, and need to watch their steps carefully.

(2) We, too, need to have the freedom to point out sin and announce what God has promised as followers of Jesus Christ who are given the Holy Spirit {although, we need to be careful how we do these things}. God is awesome, and we are invited to join Him! Like this psalmist, we can choose the eternal things – over what is temporary.

(3) God will be the place of safety for those who trust in Him! As we live out our daily lives, let us choose to trust Jesus Christ – our Risen Lord – above the things of this world. Let us choose to run to God for safety. God promises to bless us beyond measure, when we do this.

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Declared Grace and Mercy {1 Timothy 1:1-2}

textgram_1489616274Paul, an apostle of King Jesus according to the command of God our Saviour and King Jesus our hope, to Timothy, my true child in faith: grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and King Jesus our Lord (1 Tim. 1:1-2, NTE).

Paul is a messenger of God. He doesn’t write Timothy to chit-chat about the latest gossip news (he wouldn’t do that, anyway). The Holy Spirit compelled Paul to write and remind Timothy to which he has been called. Here in 1:1-2, Paul reminds Timothy of the hope we have found in Christ – that Timothy too had come to know on an intimate level.

This hope found in Jesus Christ, we need to know on an intimate level. We need to dig deep into our relationship with God through His Son Jesus Christ, for He is where hope and life is found. Through the Bible and prayer, Jesus is where we need to place our focus.

When our hope is fixed on Jesus Christ, we will not become easily discouraged (see Heb. 12:1-3). In Jesus Christ, the Living God, our souls are built up and “placed on a rock” (see Ps. 40:2), where we and our faith will be protected from the fiercest of storms.

The Place of Grace

“Jesus is the basis for Christian hope, because He is the Mediator of the covenant of grace (on 1 Timothy 1:1, Reformation Study Bible).”

God has true unconditional love for us, and wants to bring us back to Him – to restore the kind of relationship we have with Him. He wants to call us His friends – His people – and not His enemies. This is what led Jesus to the cross. We are given forgiveness and entrance into God’s Kingdom, as we acknowledge what Jesus has done on our behalf and just come to Him.

Pronounced Mercy

In his letters to Timothy, Paul makes sure to pronounce mercy upon Timothy’s weary soul. As a man of God, Timothy needed the reminder of God’s abundant mercy. God is going to take care of us, just as He took special care of Timothy. Even though we could do nothing to earn any of God’s grace, peace, or mercy, God joyfully gives it to His people – those who have chosen to accept His Son Jesus Christ and follow Him.

[Paul] calls down the benefits of God’s covenant, which no one merits but God freely gives. Grace refers generally to all God’s gifts and his loving disposition toward his people. Peace describes the one who is at rest in God.

Mercy in this instance denotes God’s special care of an individual in need. At the outset, Paul thus reminds Timothy that God’s unearnable love and peace will overshadow his servant even in the most difficult of circumstances. Today, this is our promise—as sure as the authority of Scripture (on 1 Timothy 1:2, IVP Commentary).

Our Living Hope

God has chosen to overflow our souls with His grace, peace, and yes – His awesome mercy. This is what we have been welcomed into, as we answer His invitation –

And He said to them, “Follow Me [as My disciples, accepting Me as your Master and Teacher and walking the same path of life that I walk], and I will make you fishers of men (Matthew 4:19, AMP).”

Jesus Christ is our hope. He is the reason we can wake up every morning and celebrate, even when circumstances are more than a little bit on the difficult side. Jesus Christ is our Risen Savior, who paid the price of our sins and has restored our relationship with the Father. We can now walk and talk with our heavenly Father like Enoch did, as he lived on earth.

And Enoch walked [in habitual fellowship] with God; and he was not, for God took him [home with Him] (Genesis 5:24, AMPC).

Until next time,

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Week 7: Friday Five (2 Thess. 1)

Originally, I was turned onto this mode of carrying out the “Five Minute Friday,” by a dear friend. Marie faithfully carries out this Friday series, on her own blog. The idea is to offer five bold points, that you may read within five minutes.

Five Truths on 2 Thessalonians 1

(1) As we continue to follow Jesus Christ, we are kept safe (1:1). This is perhaps one of the greatest treasures I have found. As a woman, I crave protection. So to know that my Jesus, my King, is protecting me and keeping me safe – is comforting beyond words! It makes me okay with the difficult days, when I stop long enough to realize I am being protected and kept safe by the King of Kings!

. . . To: The church of Thessalonica—kept safe in God our Father and in the Lord Jesus Christ (1:1, TLB).

(2) We are given rich blessings, which are found through our relationship with Jesus (1:2). In my digital Bible, it is translated a bit differently which helps to understand the Bible more clearly. Because of God the Father and our Lord Jesus, we have been given rich blessings and peace-filled hearts and minds (1:2b, TLB).

Does it get any better? In the world we live in, peace – filled hearts and minds are one of the greatest gifts we can be given. In a day where our minds and hearts run like they are on a treadmill all night long, the peace Jesus gives is enduring and ever-loving!

(3) We have the opportunity to do three specific things based on the knowledge of those God has placed in our path, who continue to be an encouragement to our faith (1:3-4). We can pray for them, share with others about lessons we are learning through their example, and give thanks.

Each of these things are growing points for me. I believe they are for each of us. We live in a “me first” world, which causes us to forget or neglect others, their faith, and the privilege of praying for them or sharing things we learn through their example.

(4) God can use our sufferings to make us ready for His Kingdom (1:5-6). This set of verses will cause us to give James 1 a second chance, where we are urged to count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.  But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing (James 1:2-4, NKJV).

We need to trust that God will use our sufferings for His ultimate good. He is preparing us for something greater. His Kingdom is worthy of our suffering (see Prov. 3:5-6; Rom. 8:18).

(5) As we face suffering, God will provide us with quality rest through Jesus’ second coming (1:7, 10). As we come into His Kingdom, we will forever know God as He honestly is – with no holding back. 

One day, we will stand in His presence and will never again be distracted by the circumstances we are facing or the things of this world. We will stand in His presence in utter awe and overwhelmed with joy. We will be fully satisfied in the Lord.

Deuteronomy 5-11

This is a large chunk of Scripture to ingest, but let’s see if we can make it through these seven chapters.


Chapter 5: The Big Move –

God brought Israel out of Egypt and is jealous (and protective) of them (5:6, 9). In chapters 5-8, I want to say that Israel is reacquainted with the Lord their God – their first love. Israel is moved from their old life and introduced to a life with God. Let’s remember how Jesus Christ has rescued us, and continues to teach us how to live with Him by our side.

Walk in obedience to all that the Lord your God has commanded you. . . (5:33)

Chapter 6: The Great Heart Issue –

In 6:13-19, we are taught to fear God and keep Him where He belongs in our lives. Our response to God ought to be love and excitement to enjoy Him and speak of His name boldly to others (6:2-3, 5-9). We need to make it a common practice to talk about the Lord and make King Jesus our focus.

Because of who we are in Christ, we can fearlessly share His truth.

Chapter 7: Our God –

Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commandments (7:9). . . If you pay attention to these laws and are careful to follow them, then the Lord your God will keep his covenant of love with you, as he swore to your ancestors. He will love you and bless you (vv. 12-13a).

God is holy. The Israelites likely understood this truth more than we do today. God is faithful, but He is holy too. God is the One who deserves all of our affection. We need to allow our actions to be made for God alone.

Our Relationship –

Now as we move into chapters 8-11, we are encouraged to think abut our own relationship with our Risen Lord Jesus Christ. These words in Deuteronomy are for us too.

Chapter 8: The Discipline –

Remember how the Lord your God led you all the way in the wilderness these forty years, to humble and test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands. . .Know then in your heart that as a man disciplines his son, so the Lord your God disciplines you (8:2, 5).

We are reminded why we face testing. I have this passage highlighted in my Bible, because I need it to stand out whenever I open it to chapter 8. As we face testing in our lives, we need bold reminders that God is with us and He is doing a work in us.

. . . This is where we are reminded of our need to cling tighter to our Lord Jesus Christ!

Chapter 9-11: Stiff – Necked People

Israel was given the Promised Land because of a specific promise God made. It is fully dependent upon God, rather than the people of Israel. They turned from God, which cost them many blessings. Rejecting God and His Word brought curses on themselves, because that’s what they ran toward.

. . . You had turned aside quickly from the way that the Lord had commanded you. (9:16b) Circumcise your hearts, therefore, and do not be stiff-necked any longer. (10:16)

Friends, we have our own stubbornness keeping us from God. We need to turn our hearts away from sin. . . and run to King Jesus!

Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. (11:18).

Deuteronomy 1-2

See, I have given you this land. Go in and take possession of the land the Lord swore he would give to your [ancestors] (1:8).

Israel was told to go and take possession of the land. While God gave the Israelites special land, God has given us sacred spiritual land. We need to go and take possession of it. We do this by seeking our Lord Jesus Christ and being sensitive to the direction of the Holy Spirit. Also by keeping the Bible close to our hearts, and using it as our road map for life (see Joshua 1:6-9).

Fear –

Then I said to you, “Do not be terrified; do not be afraid of them. The Lord your God, who is going before you, will fight for you, as he did for you in Egypt, before your very eyes, and in the wilderness. There you saw how the Lord your God carried you, as a father carries his son, all the way you went until you reached this place (1:29-31).”

We have been urged by God to not be afraid. God loves us and promises to fight for us, His people. This is the truth we need, as we set our feet on this journey of seeking after our Risen Lord – Jesus! We don’t need to be afraid, because God has shown us that He will fight for us!

They will be afraid of you, but be very careful. Do not provoke them to war, for I will not give you any of their land, not even enough to put your foot on (2:4-5a).

God prepared the Israelites, as they went into pieces of land. I can understand why God would need to direct them to be careful and not harass (see vv. 9). It is easy to want to “poke the bear,” so to speak by taking pride in the fact that others are afraid of us. When others are afraid of us, we have to be very careful.

Our Spiritual Possessions –

God urges His people to begin to take possession of it and engage [them] in battle (2:24b). The time had come, where they would begin to experience the place God was calling them toward.

There is a parallel between God giving them their land, and the spiritual possession He is desiring to give us. In our own lives, how are we listening to and answering the voice of God? If we cannot hear Him, it is possible that our sins and distractions are louder than His voice. Our sins are always louder and more distracting than the voice of God, which greatly hinders our spiritual walk and the possessions God wants to give us.

I am not talking about financial blessings that rain down from Heaven, like televanglists assure you. While God make you filthy rich, I doubt that is His plan for our lives. It might very well cause us to quit seeking God.

However, God does want to bless us!

God wants to give us enormous blessings that this world cannot begin to give. As we seek after the things of God, we will face road blocks, trials, and great difficulties. This is because of the enormous level of the spiritual possessions God wants to give to us – the people He calls His own children through Jesus’ death and resurrection!