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Lord, Bring Peace to this Place—Haggai 2:6-9

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Today’s Scripture Reading: Haggai 2:1-9, Zechariah 1:1-6, Haggai 2:10-19, Ezra 5:2, Haggai 2:20-23, Zechariah 1:7-5:11

Heavenly Father, on this somber day as we remember the tragedy of 9-11, my heart longs for peace.

“For this is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: In just a little while I will again shake the heavens and the earth, the oceans and the dry land. I will shake all the nations, and the treasures of all the nations will be brought to this Temple. I will fill this place with glory, says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. The future glory of this Temple will be greater than its past glory, says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. And in this place I will bring peace. I, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, have spoken!” —Haggai 2:6-9

Lord, there’s so much hope in these verses. The exiles were returning home. They were looking at a temple leveled to ground zero, wondering how to begin again and You promised to bring peace. You promised the future glory to be greater than the past glory. Lord, let this come to pass in our nation. Bring peace to this place. Let our reputation as a Christian nation who worships and serves You be greater in the future than it’s been in the past.

Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land. —2 Chronicles 7:14

In Jesus Name. Amen!

©2014, Dianne Guthmuller

*Unless noted all scripture references are from the New Living Translation (NLT)
Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: Zechariah 6:1-15, Ezra 5:3-6:14a, Zechariah 7:1-8:23

 

Lord, Help Me to Listen to Your Warning—Ezekiel 33:4-5

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Today’s Scripture Reading: Ezekiel 32:17-33:20, Jeremiah 52:28-30, Psalm 137, 1 Chronicles 4:24-5:17

Heavenly Father, spending time in the book of Ezekiel causes me to think about this world being destroyed and Jesus return.

Then if those who hear the alarm refuse to take action, it is their own fault if they die. They heard the alarm but ignored it, so the responsibility is theirs. If they had listened to the warning, they could have saved their lives. —Ezekiel 33:4-5

Jesus, I don’t know when You’re returning but I know You are and it’s getting closer every day. The warning signs are everywhere.

As Jesus was leaving the Temple grounds, his disciples pointed out to him the various Temple buildings. But he responded, “Do you see all these buildings? I tell you the truth, they will be completely demolished. Not one stone will be left on top of another!”

Later, Jesus sat on the Mount of Olives. His disciples came to him privately and said, “Tell us, when will all this happen? What sign will signal your return and the end of the world?”

Jesus told them, “Don’t let anyone mislead you,  for many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah.’ They will deceive many. And you will hear of wars and threats of wars, but don’t panic. Yes, these things must take place, but the end won’t follow immediately. Nation will go to war against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in many parts of the world. But all this is only the first of the birth pains, with more to come.

“Then you will be arrested, persecuted, and killed. You will be hated all over the world because you are my followers. And many will turn away from me and betray and hate each other. 11 And many false prophets will appear and will deceive many people. Sin will be rampant everywhere, and the love of many will grow cold. —Matthew 24:1-2

Holy Spirit, speak loudly. I don’t want to miss the warning signs. I pray that this sinful world will shake itself from the spell of the evil one and turn to You. Lord, I pray that Your people will wake from their sleep and see the destruction  that’s crouching at our door. Holy Spirit stir us to do what You instructed us to do.

Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land. —2 Chronicles 7:14

Jesus, You are coming soon! We need to be about the business of knowing You and causing others to know You!

 

In Your strong and powerful Name. Amen and Amen!

 

©2014, Dianne Guthmuller

*Unless noted all scripture references are from the New Living Translation (NLT)
Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: 1 Chronicles 5:18-26, 1 Chronicles 6:3b, 49, 4-15, 1 Chronicles 7:1-8:28

Lord, I Want to Respond Appropriately—2 Chronicles 32:24-25

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Today’s Scripture Reading: 2 Kings 20:1-11, Isaiah 38:1-8, 2 Chronicles 32:24-31, Isaiah 38:9-22, 2 Kings 20:12-19, Isaiah 39:1-8

Heavenly Father, Hezekiah was one of the most godly kings, since King David. Unfortunately power, fame, success, supernatural healing and miracles led Hezekiah to believe he was a big deal.

About that time Hezekiah became deathly ill. He prayed to the Lord, who healed him and gave him a miraculous sign. But Hezekiah did not respond appropriately to the kindness shown him, and he became proud. So the Lord’s anger came against him and against Judah and Jerusalem. —2 Chronicles 32:24-25

Hezekiah witnessed one of the most amazing miracles mentioned in the Bible:

Meanwhile, Hezekiah had said to Isaiah, “What sign will the Lord give to prove that he will heal me and that I will go to the Temple of the Lord three days from now?”

Isaiah replied, “This is the sign from the Lord to prove that he will do as he promised. Would you like the shadow on the sundial to go forward ten steps or backward ten steps?”

“The shadow always moves forward,” Hezekiah replied, “so that would be easy. Make it go ten steps backward instead.”  So Isaiah the prophet asked the Lord to do this, and he caused the shadow to move ten steps backward on the sundial[b] of Ahaz!  —2 Kings 20:8-11

Jesus, this type of arrogance in an epidemic in the Christian world. “I’m more godly than you because God has done great miracles in my life” has been the fall of many good men and women since the beginning of creation.

Lord, how many times have You graced me with Your presence, grace, favor, or kindness only to watch me pridefully think I somehow deserved it or made it happen myself. Watching Hezekiah’s pride and arrogance play out in 2 Kings 20:12-19 reinforces the old saying that “success shows our true character.” Lord, forgive me for taking credit for the gifts You’ve given me (James 1:17).

Lord, allow me to learn from the mistakes of Hezekiah. I want to respond appropriately to Your kindness and the kindness of others.

In Jesus Name. Amen and Amen!

 

©2014, Dianne Guthmuller

*Unless noted all scripture references are from the New Living Translation (NLT)
Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: Isaiah 40:1-44:5

Lord, I’m So Glad You Know Me Well—2 Kings 19:27

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Today’s Scripture Reading: 2 Kings 19:1-19, Isaiah 37:1-20, 2 Chronicles 32:9-19, 2 Kings 19:20-37, Isaiah 37:21-38, 2 Chronicles 32:20-23

Heavenly Father, I sometimes forget that You Know Me through and through. You know where I live, when I come and go, when I’m happy or sad, and You know when I’m mad, frustrated, and angry.

“But I know you well—
where you stay
and when you come and go.
I know the way you have raged against me. —2 Kings 19:27

When life gets hard and I wonder if You see me—You Know.

Yes, in this verse You were speaking through Isaiah to King Hezekiah about King Sennacherib of Assyria but it’s true of every person who ever was or will be conceived. Lord, I can’t fathom it but I believe it–You Know me!

Jesus, I want to know You (Philippians 3:10). I know that as a human being I’m not capable of knowing You like You know me but I want to know You more than I do today.

Lord, come near to me. Let me see You through Your Word and through Your creation. Lord, speak to me.

In Jesus Name. Amen and Amen!

 

©2014, Dianne Guthmuller

*Unless noted all scripture references are from the New Living Translation (NLT)
Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: 2 Kings 20:1-11, Isaiah 38:1-8, 2 Chronicles 32:24-31, Isaiah 38:9-22, 2 Kings 20:12-19, Isaiah 39:1-8

Lord, My Heart is Willing, But I’m Too Busy—2 Chronicles 29:31

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Today’s Scripture Reading: 2 Chronicles 29:3-31:21

Heavenly Father, I’m taking a bit of liberty with this scripture today. It’s really about offerings but when I saw the words “all whose hearts were willing” my brain immediately thought, “Lord, there are so many desperate needs around me. People who just need a call, visit, their dishes washed, or a meal delivered. I want to help them. I’m willing, but I’m so busy. I just don’t have time.”

Then Hezekiah declared, “Now that you have consecrated yourselves to the Lord, bring your sacrifices and thanksgiving offerings to the Temple of the Lord.” So the people brought their sacrifices and thanksgiving offerings, and all whose hearts were willing brought burnt offerings, too.  —2 Chronicles 29:31

Maybe, this verse is more accurate than I thought. When I give to others it is definitely an offering of worship and many times it’s a sacrifice. I think the sacrifice word is the problem. In 2014, in America, sacrifice is a dirty word. We want our lives to be easy, comfortable, and all about us.

Lord, the enemy of our soul uses our fast paced and self-centered culture to keep us so busy with me, my, and mine that we “don’t have time” to care about anyone else. As Christians we expect the “church” or some social organization to care for the needs of the hurting because that’s why we pay our tithes or taxes. We’d rather just throw money at it and feel like we’d done our part.

We have been deceived into thinking that benevolence or caring for others in their time of need is a spiritual gift, some have it and some don’t. I know everyone doesn’t enjoy cooking or visiting people in the hospital but when the day comes when I’m the one in need and no one has the time or the desire to reach out to me, I see things from a completely different perspective.

Lord, I know from personal experience that the quality of the meal or the eloquence of someone’s words is the last thing on my mind when I’m in need. The ONLY thing I’m thinking when someone shows up to check on me or bring a meal is, THEY STOPPED THE CRAZINESS OF THEIR WORLD TO CARE ABOUT ME!!!

Jesus, continue to convict me of this need in my circle of influence. Help me to realize a meal from the deli at Publix means just as much as slow-cooked meal from home. Remind me that a 5 minute visit can mean the world to someone. Show me what I need to stop in my life so I can be Your hands and feet to the hurting world.

Lord, use me as Your representative today.

In Jesus Name. Amen and Amen!

 

©2014, Dianne Guthmuller

*Unless noted all scripture references are from the New Living Translation (NLT)
Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: Proverbs 25:1-29:27

Lord, Let it Happen as You Have Planned and Decided—Isaiah 14:24

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Today Scripture Reading: 2 Kings 16:19-20, 2 Chronicles 28:25-27, Isaiah 13:1-16:14

Heavenly Father, while this verse was a message from You through Isaiah about the nation of Assyria, it also shows me something about You and Your Kingdom on this earth.

The Lord of Heaven’s Armies has sworn this oath:“It will all happen as I have planned. It will be as I have decided. —Isaiah 14:24

Jesus, today there is a decision being made that will affect someone I love and care deeply about. It’s so complicated that I don’t know what to ask or how to pray. Please let the decision be according to Your plans and what You have decided.

Our Father in heaven, may your name be kept holy. May your Kingdom come soon. May your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. —Matthew 6:9-10

In Jesus Name. Amen and Amen!

 

©2014, Dianne Guthmuller

*Unless noted all scripture references are from the New Living Translation (NLT)
Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: 2 Chronicles 29:3-31:21

Lord, I Don’t Want to Reject You When I’m In Trouble—2 Chronicles 28:22-23

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Today’s Scripture Reading: Isaiah 12:1-6, Isaiah 17:1-14, 2 Chronicles 28:16-21, 2 Kings 16:10-18, 2 chronicles 28:22-25, 2 Kings 18:1-8, 2 Chronicles 29:1-2, 2 Kings 15:30-31, 2 Kings 17:1-4, Hosea 1:1-2:13

Heavenly Father, King Ahaz had two generations of godly examples (father-Jotham, grandfather-Uzziah), yet he rejected You.  It seems that the more trouble in which he found himself, the farther he moved away from You.

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

In today’s world we tend to tune out the parts of Your Word that mention idol worship. We think, “How silly to worship a piece of wood or clay! How could Ahaz sacrifice his child to a god made by human hands (2 Kings 16:3)? I would never do something as crazy as that!”

But

If we examine our hearts and lives when we’re in trouble, we may find that just like Ahaz we turn to people, activities, and things when times get hard. As crazy as it is to comprehend, we sometimes sacrifice our children too. We put people, accomplishments, stuff, and our own desires ahead of their simple need to have parents who are 100% engaged in their daily lives.

Lord, I guess we have idol “issues” as well.

Lord, search my heart today. Show me what You see. I want to move closer to You during my times of trouble. Jesus, I don’t want to reject You. I don’t want to replace You with the things of this world.

 

In Jesus Name. Amen and Amen!

 

©2014, Dianne Guthmuller
Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: Hosea 2:14-8:14

Lord, Show Me the Pagan Shrines in My Life –2 Kings 15:34-35

Today’s Scripture Reading: 2 Kings 15:32-38; 2 Chronicles 27:1-9; Micah 1:1-16; 2 Kings 16:1-9; 2 Chronicles 28:1-15; Isaiah 7:1-25

Heavenly Father, as I read through 1st and 2nd Kings there seemed to be many “godly” kings who did not destroy the pagan shrines and allowed their people to offer sacrifices and burn incense in these places.

Jotham son of Uzziah is one example:

Jotham did what was pleasing in the Lord’s sight. He did everything his father, Uzziah, had done. But he did not destroy the pagan shrines, and the people still offered sacrifices and burned incense there. He rebuilt the upper gate of the Temple of the Lord.  –2 Kings 13:34-35

Lord, do we do the same thing in our lives today?

What do pagan shrines look like in the 21st century?

Father, I don’t want it said of me…

Dianne did what was pleasing in the Lord’s sight, but she did not destroy the pagan shrines in her life.

Holy Spirit, show me the idols in my life.  Show me the things I unknowingly worship more than the One, True, God.  Remind me Lord that anything I desire more than You is an idol.

Jesus, I want to be more like You today.  Help me.

In Your Name I pray.  Amen and Amen!

©2014, Dianne Guthmuller

Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: Isaiah 8:1-11:16

Lord, I Want to See You–Isaiah 6:1

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Today’s Scripture Reading: Amos 7:1-9:15; 2 Kings 14:28-29; 2 Kings 15:8-29, 6-7; 2 Chronicles 26:22-23; Isaiah 6:1-13

Heavenly Father, I want to see You; REALLY see You, like Isaiah.

Are there things that are hindering me?

I know Isaiah REALLY didn’t see You until King Uzziah died.  I don’t want to have people, plans, or things between You and me.  Show me my heart.

It was in the year King Uzziah died that I saw the Lord. He was sitting on a lofty throne, and the train of his robe filled the Temple.  Attending him were mighty seraphim, each having six wings. With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they flew.  They were calling out to each other,

   “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of Heaven’s Armies!
      The whole earth is filled with his glory!”  —Isaiah 6:1-4

Lord, before Isaiah could be used he had to be cleansed.  Show me the things in my life that aren’t pleasing to You.

Then I said, “It’s all over! I am doomed, for I am a sinful man. I have filthy lips, and I live among a people with filthy lips. Yet I have seen the King, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.”

Then one of the seraphim flew to me with a burning coal he had taken from the altar with a pair of tongs. 7 He touched my lips with it and said, “See, this coal has touched your lips. Now your guilt is removed, and your sins are forgiven.”

Then I heard the Lord asking, “Whom should I send as a messenger to this people? Who will go for us?”

   I said, “Here I am. Send me.”

 And he said, “Yes, go, and say to this people,

   ‘Listen carefully, but do not understand.
      Watch closely, but learn nothing.’  —Isaiah 6:5-9

Father, let me see You. Reveal my sinful ways, and then cleansed me and use me for Your Glory today.

In Jesus’ Name.  Amen and Amen!

©2014, Dianne Guthmuller

Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: Amos 7:1-9:15; 2 Kings 14:28-29; 2 Kings 15:8-29; 6-7; 2 Chronicles 26:22-23; Isaiah 6:1-13

Lord, What About the Waiting? —2 Kings 13:1-5

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Today’s Scripture Reading: 2 Kings 13:1-11, 2 Kings 12:17-21, 2 Chronicles 24:23-27, 2 Kings 13:14-25

Heavenly Father, as I read this scripture passage I began to see a process unfold:

Jehoahaz son of Jehu began to rule over Israel in the twenty-third year of King Joash’s reign in Judah. He reigned in Samaria seventeen years. But he did what was evil in the Lord’s sight. He followed the example of Jeroboam son of Nebat, continuing the sins that Jeroboam had led Israel to commit. So the Lord was very angry with Israel, and he allowed King Hazael of Aram and his son Ben-hadad to defeat them repeatedly.

Then Jehoahaz prayed for the Lord’s help, and the Lord heard his prayer, for he could see how severely the king of Aram was oppressing Israel. So the Lord provided someone to rescue the Israelites from the tyranny of the Arameans. Then Israel lived in safety again as they had in former days. —2 Kings 13:1-5

Lord, in today’s culture we like processes. The most read posts throughout the blogosphere are the ones with lists and processes. We don’t want the long story, we just want the steps. These steps jumped out to me in this passage:

1. We sin

2. We disappoint You

3. We realize our mistake (when the consequences come flooding into our lives) and pray and ask for Your help

4. You hear our prayer (You always hear us)

5. You provide for our rescue

This looks like a great 5-step formula, a “get out of jail free” card. But my relationship with You isn’t neat and tidy. My life is messy and it doesn’t stay in the lines. You don’t always provide for my rescue in the timeframe I like or the way I expect and desire. Everything does not fit neatly in my process-driven, black and white world.

Lord, I see a fallacy in this process. I don’t see a waiting step. Waiting is a big part of my relationship with You. It doesn’t say how long Jehoahaz had to wait before You provided for his rescue but I’m pretty sure he had to wait.

I’ve learned many things in my life of serving You; the most important thing I’ve learned is You are God. You can do whatever You want as long as You honor Your Word because You are the god who does not lie. You are too big to be locked into some time-bound 5 step plan. Your plans are bigger than my plans. You operate from the long view not the daily drama view.

I’ve walked through these five steps many times but it wasn’t smooth and easy. Many times it was one step forward and two steps back. And there was a lot of waiting, is a lot of waiting…

Lord, it’s my desire to trust You more than the process. Help me to stay strong when I’m tired of waiting and my faith is weak. Thank You for the thousands of examples, including today’s passage, of  Your faithfulness You gave us in Your Word. They give me hope and confidence that You will rescue me.

Lord, forgive me when I try to make You fit into a process or formula. Forgive me for seeing You much smaller than You are.

In Jesus Name. Amen and Amen!

 

©2014, Dianne Guthmuller
Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: 2 Kings 14:1-14, 2 Chronicles 25:1-24, 2 Kings 13:12-13, 2 Kings 14:15-16, 23-27, 2 Chronicles 25:25-28, 2 Kings 14:17-22, 2 Kings 15:1-5, 2 Chronicles 26:1-21, Jonah 1:1-4:11

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