Day 90 Bible Reading Plan

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Have people tried to keep you in a box? Do you feel unseen? God sees you, friend, and He has a plan and a purpose for your life. Don’t let anyone try to define or limit you. You are loved.

7-Fold One-Year Bible Reading Plan

Day #90: Mark 5-6

Scripture of the Day: Mark 6:3(b)-6

Listen: https://www.biblegateway.com/audio/mclean/niv/Mark.5

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Day 89 Bible Reading Plan

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Our suffering is not pointless. It has purpose. We can comfort others with the comfort we have received and draw near to God Who showed us how to endure suffering. He is our comfort. And when we suffer, God loves us and is with us. He does not want us to respond with self-debasement or anger, but trust. He is accomplishing more than we realize in the midst of what we would not ever wish for. Self-debasement is not righteousness. Humility in recognizing there is nothing good in us does not mean that we cannot be redeemed and changed by our good God.
7-Fold One-Year Bible Reading Plan

Day #89: Job 25-26

Scripture of the Day: Job 26:11-14

Listen: https://www.biblegateway.com/audio/mclean/niv/Job.25

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Day 88 Bible Reading Plan

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Waiting is hard. But not so hard when we really know who we are trusting in. Our God never fails. He is trustworthy. Whatever you are going through today, there is hope when you place your trust in God.

7-Fold One-Year Bible Reading Plan

Day #88: Psalms 31-33

Scripture of the Day: Psalm 31:14-18

Listen: https://www.biblegateway.com/audio/mclean/niv/Ps.31

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Day 87 Bible Reading Plan

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Do you feel worn out, friends, by the troubles you face? Jeremiah understands. God does, too. But God has still called us to be His representatives at such a time as this. It is hard to speak truth into a land that loves lies, but when we are faithful to God, He has our back. The harvest is ripe today! People need Jesus! May we be faithful to the call, proclaiming the whole truth.

7-Fold One-Year Bible Reading Plan

Day #87: Jeremiah 7-12

Scripture of the Day: Jeremiah 8:7(b)-9

Listen: https://www.biblegateway.com/audio/mclean/niv/Jer.7

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Day 86 Bible Reading Plan

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Who is able to stand in the presence of God? Only the one who has repented and received the free salvation of the LORD Jesus. This acceptance is not passed down. It has to be chosen. Is God the LORD of your life? We can claim that is the case and want the blessings of God in our lives, but if God is not truly LORD of our lives, we will reap troubles instead.

7-Fold One-Year Bible Reading Plan

Day #86: 1 Samuel 6-10

Scripture of the Day: 1 Samuel 10:26-27

Listen: https://www.biblegateway.com/audio/mclean/niv/1Sam.6

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Day 85 Bible Reading Plan

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What do you want to be defined by? Our choices in this life define us. Good and bad. Whether we have hurt others or others have hurt us, we realize, like in the story of Joseph, that God’s perspective and purpose trumps ours. He uses every part of our story for our good and His glory. And there will be blessings or cursings waiting for us at the end of our life for the choices we made here on earth. Choose well, friends. Choose to surrender to the One Who truly loves you so much that He died for you. And no matter what happens in this crazy life, the good news is that our sovereign God is over it all and death has lost its sting.

7-Fold One-Year Bible Reading Plan

Day #85: Genesis 49-50

Scripture of the Day: Genesis 50:20

Listen: https://www.biblegateway.com/audio/mclean/niv/Gen.49

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Running Behind

running-substance-more-than-form

Inspirational Thought of the Day:

Our form does not matter as much as the substance from which we are made.

Scripture of the Day:

1 Timothy 4:8

“For physical exercise has some value, but godliness is valuable in every way. It holds promise for the present life and the life to come.”

Being the new year and all, it seems “fit”ting to write some about health. So forgive me for hopping on the typical new year’s resolution binge. (There I go again with corny word plays, my apologies).

Running on the treadmill this week I could not help but notice my bee-hind was behind, if you know what I mean. Seems the winter months have already not been too kind. Ugh. And so, like a hamster, I hop on my “wheel” and try to counter the effect that gravity is having on my *ahem* lower extremities.

Fellas, my apologies for being so transparent, but we sisters have a little harder time keeping in shape, I think.

Why bother, you may ask? Physical training is of some value. What does that even mean? What is “some” value?

I am writing today’s post to spur myself on, too, for in everything I do, I want to give God my best and bring Him glory. Does He care if I am a little more fluffy?

God looks on the heart while man looks at the outward appearance. Our form does not matter as much as the substance from which we are made. What our mind reflects on, our heart desires – these matter much more than trying to have a perfect physique.

Yet the words, “some value” haunt me. Rats. God does care about the stewardship of our bodies – not the perfect size or shape – but the care of His temple.

Ironically, a lot of the reason for lack of good health is because of being too busy and “running behind” on all my to do’s. Taking care of self seems to be low on my list of priorities.

Here comes that “some value” phrase again in my brain. Commentaries render this phrase as actually meaning “of little value”, but there is still some worth in this statement.

In the end, if my heart longs for food that harms me, I have to ask myself if this honors God. Then ultimately, I need to die to self when my craving is getting in the way of being healthy.

Like the Israelites who were asked to choose between life and death – righteousness and sin, the food and exercise choices we make are essentially choosing life or death, too.

Being healthy (as much as depends upon us) matters because it means we are better able to serve God. These fleshly tents we dwell in will all fade away. The physical training we do here is temporary and serves our earthly ministry, but both physical and spiritual training yield eternal rewards. Physical ailments can also have a negative affect on our spiritual growth from discouragement.

So, the end of the matter is perhaps where we began. Physical training does matter and can impact how much we are able to serve God, but it does not matter as much as our souls being right with our living God. Physical training can also become an idol if not kept in proper perspective. More than our outer shell which ultimately will fail, is the building up of our inner Spirit which lasts forever.

Unequal “Yokedom” and Keeping Our Children’s Hearts

Photo Credits: My son Sam

Photo Credits:
My son Sam

Genesis 28:1-7

28:1 So Isaac called for Jacob and blessed him. Then he commanded him, “You must not marry a Canaanite woman2 Leave immediately for Paddan Aram! Go to the house of Bethuel, your mother’s father, and find yourself a wife there, among the daughters of Laban, your mother’s brother. 3 May the sovereign God bless you! May he make you fruitful and give you a multitude of descendants!  Then you will become a large nation4 May he give you and your descendants the blessing he gave to Abraham so that you may possess the land God gave to Abraham, the land where you have been living as a temporary resident.” 5 So Isaac sent Jacob on his way, and he went to Paddan Aram, to Laban son of Bethuel the Aramean and brother of Rebekah, the mother of Jacob and Esau.  6 Esau saw that Isaac had blessed Jacob and sent him off to Paddan Aram to find a wife there. As he blessed him, Isaac commanded him, “You must not marry a Canaanite woman.” 7Jacob obeyed his father and mother and left for Paddan Aram.

2 Corinthians 6:14-18

“Do not become partners with those who do not believe, for what partnership is there between righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship does light have with darkness? 15 And what agreement does Christ have with Beliar? Or what does a believer share in common with an unbeliever? 16 And what mutual agreement does the temple of God have with idols? For we are the temple of the living God, just as God said, “I will live in them and will walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people.” 17 Thereforecome out from their midst, and be separate,” says the Lord, “and touch no unclean thing, and I will welcome you, 18 and I will be a father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters,” says the All-Powerful Lord.”

Ok, so we are not cattle and it might seem a bit archaic to still use the terminology “yoked”.  Perhaps another analogy would serve today’s generation better, nonetheless our souls confirm this truth.  It was not a racial slur when Jacob’s parents were opposed to Jacob marrying a Caananite woman.  They knew that Jacob’s heart could be turned away from following the living God by marrying an unbelieving spouse.  This is not just a principle for the Old Testament.  I fear in our day of tolerance and relevance that we have lost touch with the truth that God’s word never changes and His principles still stand, no matter how sophisticated or independent we think we’ve become.

I have three daughters and two sons that God has blessed me with.  Later in life, He also brought a step-daughter into my life.  When God enabled me to be a parent, my greatest heart’s desire was that I would be faithful to raise them in the LORD.  God was seeking godly offspring when He chose Abraham and when He chose us.  These children He has given are truly His.  Being charged with guarding their hearts and guiding them in Christ has been a challenging task, indeed, but it is worth it.

Suitors are now coming to call and the foundation that was laid all of these years is holding, by the grace of God.  It is not easy, and I, too, can easily falter if it were not for the compass I hold in my hand each day – the Bible.  You see, the philosophy of this day and age is to minimize the authority that parents have in their children’s lives.  It is viewed as old-fashioned.  So be it.  The role God gave parents is one He holds them accountable for, and that truth, coupled with the fear of the LORD, keeps me seeking God for His choice, not mine, in my children’s lives.

Worldliness is easy.  It is so woven into all of society, even in Christian places, that we can become dumbed down and not detect it anymore.  It is so hard to keep our hearts, let alone our children’s.  If I put my oxygen mask (the Bible) on each day, I am able to see clearly enough to place it on my children, but this also requires discipline and consistency in my life.

It starts when they are young.  Even when my children were first able to understand, I shared with them God’s word and how it differed from the world around us.  At that time I told them we were not going to follow the customs of the culture around us, including dating at a young age.  The follow up to that standard never relents and must not just be a legalistic mantra.  Godly standards flowing from genuine conviction breathe life, not rebellion.

This morning, my 10-year-old son knew I was not to be interrupted during my devotion time.  It is still so hard for him to not do so. Instead, he got his Bible out and read beside me and drew a picture from his devotion time, which I used for today’s blog. These moments are precious, but we cannot rest in them.  We have to keep building on this foundation and remind our kids that the faith they were taught has to become their own.

Back to my daughters.  Young men are now coming, asking to date or court my two oldest – pesky thing it is, them growing up.  Trying to walk the line of counseling my daughters and letting them make decisions is difficult, to say the least.  True character is shown soon enough, though, whether a young man will respect the parent’s place in the young woman’s life whom he admires, or whether he will secretly attempt to subvert the authority God has placed in my daughter’s lives.

We did not permit dating or courtship until they were 18 and have certainly been judged for doing so.  No regrets here. This past week I had the joy of having a godly young man inquire after one of my daughters.  They have been friends for a year and a half and walked through this process beautifully.  Moments like this make it all worth it.  Suitors can lie, manipulate and couch their professions of love in “Christianese”, but the Holy Spirit is able to guide important life decisions.  We just have to be seeking and listening.  True character is shown in time – we just must be vigilant!

My older son is a couple of years away from adulthood now.  Completely different and also much the same.  The principles of purity and guarding our hearts have been laid as groundwork since before he could first understand those words.  May he and his younger brother continue to walk in God’s ways and seek a righteous wife someday, for even the wisest man, Solomon, had wives turn his heart away from God toward worthless things.

Although Jacob might have easily disregarded his parent’s counsel, he did not.  He chose to obey and was rewarded for it. He had his own past of deceit and maybe learned from it.  My prayer is that my children will continue to choose the path of following God, but that will be their decision.  I am blessed to say that they are walking with God, but the spiritual battle for all of our children’s hearts is waged daily.  We have experienced firsthand how the disobedience of one person caused incredible pain and horrific consequences in our lives.  We do not want to walk that path again.

We never arrive as parents and never are done inspiring our children to love God.  The costs are just too high, and future generations are counting on the faithfulness of us right now.  We cannot become trapped in cultural pressure or fads.  Even terminology can become an idol – dating or courtship.  Choices lie before us all each day.  What we choose impacts those who follow behind us.  I choose by the grace of God blessing and not a curse – walking in obedience over rebellion, life over death.  What say you?

Lord, thank you for saving me and showing me the need for discipleship of the children You have given.  When I fall short, LORD, protect their hearts and enable us to follow hard after You, for You are our life!