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Lord, Do We Still Have to Obey the Old Testament Laws? —Galatians 3:19

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Today’s Scripture Reading: Acts 14:21-28, Galatians 1:1-3-23 

Heavenly Father, I love Your Old Testament! The stories of the patriarchs and prophets build my faith. But it can be challenging to understand how the law of the Old Testament and the free gift of salvation Jesus died to give us fit together into today’s world.

Why, then, was the law given? It was given alongside the promise to show people their sins. But the law was designed to last only until the coming of the child who was promised. God gave his law through angels to Moses, who was the mediator between God and the people. —Galatians 3:19

*******

Is there a conflict, then, between God’s law and God’s promises? Absolutely not! If the law could give us new life, we could be made right with God by obeying it. But the Scriptures declare that we are all prisoners of sin, so we receive God’s promise of freedom only by believing in Jesus Christ. —Galatians 3:21-22

Lord, the Bible I’m using has some commentary on this question—do we still have to obey the Old Testament Laws?

When Paul says that non-Jews are no longer bound by these laws, he’s not saying that the Old Testament Laws are of no value to us today. One way to think about the Old Testament laws is to think about three categories:

Ceremonial law-Related to Israel’s worship. While we are no longer bound by ceremonial laws, the principles behind them—to worship and love a holy God—still apply.

Civil law-Dictated Israel’s daily living. Because modern society and culture are so radically different, some of these guidelines cannot be followed specifically. But the principles behind the commands should guide our conduct.

Moral law-A direct command of God—for example the Ten Commandments. It required strict obedience. It reveals the nature and will of God, and it still applies to us today. We are to obey this moral law, not to obtain salvation, but to live in ways pleasing to God. —Chronological Life Application Study Bible

Holy Spirit, I know these are man’s thoughts. Give me Your wisdom and Yours alone to apply Your Word to my daily life.

Jesus, thank You for releasing me from the prison of sin. Thank You for Your grace. Thank You for Your law. Teach me how to know You more through both.

In Your mighty and awesome name. Amen and Amen!

 

 

 

©2014, Dianne Guthmuller
Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: Galatians 3:24-6;18, Acts 15:1-21

Lord, Help Me to See Opportunities—Acts 3:12a

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Today’s Scripture Reading: Acts 3:1-5:42

Jesus, I wonder if Peter and John had any idea what was going to happen on their way to the temple?

Peter and John went to the Temple one afternoon to take part in the three o’clock prayer service. As they approached the Temple, a man lame from birth was being carried in. Each day he was put beside the Temple gate, the one called the Beautiful Gate, so he could beg from the people going into the Temple. When he saw Peter and John about to enter, he asked them for some money.

Peter and John looked at him intently, and Peter said, “Look at us!” The lame man looked at them eagerly, expecting some money. But Peter said, “I don’t have any silver or gold for you. But I’ll give you what I have. In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, get up and walk!”

I don’t think they were surprised. I think they probably prayed every morning and asked the Holy Spirit to anoint them to serve others as they went about their day.

But

They didn’t know there would be a lame man

and

They didn’t know there would be an opportunity to speak to a crowd about YOU.

Peter saw his opportunity and addressed the crowd. —Acts 3:12a

Yes, we’d all agree healing a man who had never walked in his life sounds like a divine appointment and getting to speak to a large crowd about Jesus sounds like a God opportunity.

But was THIS a God opportunity?

While Peter and John were speaking to the people, they were confronted by the priests, the captain of the Temple guard, and some of the Sadducees. These leaders were very disturbed that Peter and John were teaching the people that through Jesus there is a resurrection of the dead. They arrested them and, since it was already evening, put them in jail until morning. —Acts 4:1-3

Lord, maybe Peter and John immediately knew being thrown in jail was a divine appointment but if it were me, I would be thinking, “My God, My God why have You forsaken me! How can this be happening?”

There’s such a lesson in these verses. If we believe God has made an opportunity for us and we choose to step into that opportunity there may be opposition. The number one thing we get straight before we ever ask to be used is…

Will I be obedient to God when the going gets tough?

So they called the apostles back in and commanded them never again to speak or teach in the name of Jesus.

But Peter and John replied, “Do you think God wants us to obey you rather than him? We cannot stop telling about everything we have seen and heard.” —Acts 4:18-20

Holy Spirit, I want to immediately see the opportunities You place in my life and step out in faith believing that Your leading me. Lord, help me to be obedient and stand tall when opposition comes.

Lord, I want to serve others in Your name. Use me today.

In Jesus Name. Amen and Amen!

 

 

 

 

©2014, Dianne Guthmuller

Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: Acts 6:1-8:1a

Lord, I Don’t Want to Panic—Mark 13:5-11

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Today’s Scripture Reading: Mark 13:1-23, Matthew 24:1-25, Luke 21:5-24, Mark 13:24-31, Matthew 24:26-35, Luke 21:25:33

Heavenly Father, I’ve never been one to panic. I’m usually pretty level-headed in a crisis but we all have our areas of vulnerability and I have discovered that when one of my areas is touched I can move in to full-on panic mode.

Jesus replied, “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 earthquakes in many parts of the world, as well as famines. But this is only the first of the birth pains, with more to come.

“When these things begin to happen, watch out! You will be handed over to the local councils and beaten in the synagogues. You will stand trial before governors and kings because you are my followers. But this will be your opportunity to tell them about me. For the Good News must first be preached to all nations. But when you are arrested and stand trial, don’t worry in advance about what to say. Just say what God tells you at that time, for it is not you who will be speaking, but the Holy Spirit. Mark 13:5-11

Lord, these verses spoke volumes to me.

1. This life is not about my comfort. It’s about knowing You and causing others to know You.

2. I have to be alert. It’s easy to be deceived.

2. There is a purpose in EVERY trial.

3. There are opportunities in EVERY trial.

4. I do not have to worry. I do not have to panic. You have it all planned out, even down to the words I will say.

Jesus, You were talking to James, John and Andrew, three of your most committed disciples. Many of today’s Christians would never say to You, Tell us when this will happen? What sign will show us that these things are about to be fulfilled? (Mark 13:3-4) It’s too negative and depressing—after all, ignorance is bliss! As Dewey Moede said in his post, in today’s world “many think they are walking with God, but too many are not, they are dating God, not committed to God.”

Lord, dating You won’t get us through the tough times. It takes total commitment. It takes running to You instead of giving in to panic. It takes having Your plans and Your kingdom at the top of our priorities rather coming in last place behind earthly pleasures.

Jesus, the final thing these verses say to me is the trials I’m facing today are preparing me to stand strong in the days ahead. These trials are opportunities to strengthen my faith and tell the world about You.

Holy Spirit, help me not to waste these opportunities living in panic.

In Jesus Name. Amen and Amen!

 

 

©2014, Dianne Guthmuller
 
Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: Mark 13:32-37, Matthew 24:36-51, Luke 21:34-38, Matthew 25:1-46

Lord, I Sometimes Forget—John 10:10

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Today’s Scripture Reading: John 10:1-42, Luke 13:22-14:24

 

Heavenly Father, I sometimes forget that You said …

 

The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life. –John 10:10

 

Lord, life on this earth feels like a tug of war. It’s funny, Satan’s entices us with promises of a rich and satisfying life, yet a life of serving him ends in poverty, death, and destruction. You tell us to take up our cross and follow You…

 

Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me. If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it. And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul?  For the Son of Man will come with his angels in the glory of his Father and will judge all people according to their deeds. –Matthew 16:24-27

 

…And offer us a rich and satisfying life.

 

Jesus, I want Your best life, a rich and satisfying life. Give me discernment to recognize the deceptive tools of the enemy of my soul. Thank You for reminding me that nothing is worth more than my soul.

 

In Your great and powerful Name! Amen and Amen!

 

 

 

 

©2014, Dianne Guthmuller
 

 

 

Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: Luke 14:25-17:10, John 11:1-37

Lord, How Can People Like Us Be Saved? —Isaiah 64:5

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Today’s Scripture Reading: Isaiah 63:15-66:24, 2 Kings 20:20-21, 2 Chronicles 32:32-33

Heavenly Father, I have never known this kind of hopelessness. As a young child I learned about Your Son, Jesus. When I was ten years old I knew how “people like us” can be saved and I accepted Jesus as my savior.

You welcome those who gladly do good,
who follow godly ways.
But you have been very angry with us,
for we are not godly.
We are constant sinners;
how can people like us be saved? —Isaiah 64:5

Lord, the people of Israel knew it was impossible to keep The Law. They felt like constant failures. Yes, I read the stories of their pride and stubbornness and criticize and judge but the truth is “For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard.” (Romans 3:23) The only difference between my sins and the Israelites’ sins is they had their sins recorded in Your Word and my sins have only been seen by a few people.

I feel so bad for them. Every time they sinned they felt worse, more hopeless, and more doomed.

Jesus, without Your sacrifice on the cross I would know that kind of hopelessness.

Thank You Lord for making a plan for our salvation:

1. Admit we were born in sin, have a sinful nature, and can’t be good enough on our own. (Romans 3:23)

2. Believe that the One, True, Living God who made the universe and everyone and everything sent His one and only son to rescue us from the consequences of our sinful nature and eternal death. (John 3:16)

3. Confess with our mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in our heart that You raised him from the dead.  (Romans 10:9)

4. Accept Your free gift of salvation.

Lord, Thank You for making a way for me to be saved!

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 21:1-9, 2 Chronicles 33:1-9, 2 Kings 21:10-17, 2 Chronicles 33:10-19, 2 Kings 21:18, 2 Chronicles 33:20, 2 Kings 21:19-26, 2 Chronicles 33:21-25, 2 Kings 22:1-2, 2 Chronicles 34:1-7, Jeremiah 1:1-2:22

Lord, I Want to Know You Intimately–1 Chronicles 28:9

Today’s Scripture Reading: 1 Chronicles 26:1-28:21

Heavenly Father, in today’s reading David charged his son Solomon to learn to know You intimately.

“And Solomon, my son, learn to know the God of your ancestors intimately. Worship and serve him with your whole heart and a willing mind. For the Lord sees every heart and knows every plan and thought. If you seek him, you will find him. But if you forsake him, he will reject you forever.  —1 Chronicles 28:9

Lord, it sounds like “knowing You intimately” is a learned skill, but now that I think about it, knowing anyone intimately is a learned skill.

Lord, in this verse. King David, a man who knew You intimately gave us four things to remember as we seek God in our daily lives:

What we’re to do:

1) Worship

and

2) serve You

How we’re to do it:

with

3) my whole heart

and

4) willing mind

Lord, I want to know you intimately.  I want to know You so well that I think like You, act like You, and most importantly, love like You.

Jesus, teach me.  Train me.  Lord, communicate with me.  Holy Spirit, draw me to Your Word.

Lord, I give You my heart and my mind.

In Jesus’ Name.  Amen and Amen!

©2014, Dianne Guthmuller

Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: 1 Chronicles 29:1-22; 1 Kings 1:1-53

The Christian Life Simplified–Mark 12:28-34

Today’s Scripture Reading: Mark 12:28-34; Matthew 22:34-40; Mark 12:35-37; Matthew 22:41-46; Luke 20:41-44; Mark 12:38-40; Matthew 23:1-12; Luke 20:45-47; Matthew 23:13-39; Mark 12:41-44; Luke 21:1-4

I’m sure that “simple” is not the way most people would describe their life as a Christ Follower.  My life can certainly get complicated at times.

The Holy Spirit is in the process of teaching me something about making the Christian life simple; so come along and think this through with me.  In our journey we’ve spent almost nine full months in the Old Testament. Throughout that time I kept noticing this one phrase over and over:

So that they will know that I am the Lord their God.

Last week, I came to the conclusion that the purpose of the Old Testament was so that the earth and all its inhabitants would know that God, Jehovah, Yahweh– the God of the Bible, is the Lord our God.

This word “know” is translated from the Hebrew word yada’ and is used 947 times and means to know, learn to know or to know by experience.

Test this out; read any book or story in the Old Testament and ask yourself why did that happen; what was the purpose?  The answer is most likely going to be so that they would know (learn to know and experience) that the God of the Bible is the Lord their God.

So what was the message of the New Testament?

I’m so glad you asked!

Matthew 22:34-40

Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”

Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

Wow!  God shouted the message I am your God throughout the Old Testament.  Then Jesus came and said we are not only to know that God is God, but we are to love Him with all our heart, soul, and mind.

This is step one of the Simple Life.

Jesus gave us the second step in that same scripture—Love your neighbor.

Jesus didn’t just tell us how to love, he showed us by dying on the cross for his “neighbor(s)”.  So the New Testament is all about loving your neighbor as yourself.

Life is so crazy these days; there’s so much we can do.  How do we know what we should do and what we shouldn’t do?

Wouldn’t it be great if we had a filter (a device that removes impurities) that we could run every situation, decision or conversation through to see if it lined up with the will of God for our lives?

I think the Greatest Commandment is that filter!

In the future when I have a question about how to handle a situation, person, or decision I’m going to filter it through the Greatest Commandment:

1. Will this situation, decision, or conversation show My God that I love him with all my heart, soul and mind?

2. Will this situation, decision, or conversation treat my neighbor in a way that I would want to be treated?

If the answer to either question is no, then I will have to S-T-O-P and rethink my strategy.

Have I over simplified our Christian walk?

What are your thoughts?

Heavenly Father, help me to refrain from complicating my life as a Christian.  Help me to remember that it’s all about knowing You and causing others to know You.  Lord, use me today.

In Jesus’ Name.  Amen and Amen!

 

© 2013 Dianne Guthmuller

Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: Mark 13:1-23; Matthew 24:1-25; Luke 21:5-24; Mark 13:24-31; Matthew 24:26-35; Luke 21:23-33

Lord, What Does it Mean to be Your Disciple? — Matthew 5:3-12

Today’s Scripture Reading: Mark 3:7-19; Luke 6:12-16; Matthew 5:1-12; Luke 6:17-26; Matthew 5:13-48; Luke 6:27-36; Matthew 6:1-4

Lord, I want to be Your disciple.  I want to serve You.  I don’t want to just “know” about You, I want to REALLY know You and I want to cause others to know You.

But, where do I start?

Can you give me an idea of what one of Your representatives looks like?

One day as he saw the crowds gathering, Jesus went up on the mountainside and sat down. His disciples gathered around him, and he began to teach them.

The Beatitudes

“God blesses those who are poor and realize their need for him,

      for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.

 God blesses those who mourn,

      for they will be comforted.

 God blesses those who are humble,

      for they will inherit the whole earth.

God blesses those who hunger and thirst for justice,

      for they will be satisfied.

God blesses those who are merciful,

      for they will be shown mercy.

God blesses those whose hearts are pure,

      for they will see God.

God blesses those who work for peace,

      for they will be called the children of God.

God blesses those who are persecuted for doing right,

      for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.   –Matthew 5:1-10

Yes, Lord.  I want to be this kind of person.  Make me more like You today.

 

In Jesus’ Name.  Amen and Amen!

 

© 2013 Dianne Guthmuller

 

Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: Matthew 6:5-7:6; Luke 6:37-42; Matthew 7:7-20; Luke 6:43-45; Matthew 7:21-29; Luke 6:46-49

Which One Would You Choose? –Exodus 20:19

Today’s Scripture Reading:  Exodus 22:16 through Exodus 24:18

As I read today’s reading, I thought it was very interesting that the Israelites did not want God to speak directly to them (Exodus 20:19).  This was right after God gave the people the Ten Commandments.  I wonder how different things would have been if the Israelites would have chosen to hear directly from God.  I see a similarity in today’s world.

If there were two options to being a Christ follower and you could choose, which one would you pick?

  1. Be in constant communication with God so that you know His ways, His thoughts, His Word and His desires
  2. Get a onetime list of all the dos and don’ts and follow that list each day

The Israelites definitely chose option 2.

I think they thought it was the easiest way.

But before we’re too hard on the Israelites, don’t many of us just want to go to church on Sundays and have the pastor “hear from God” and give us an executive summary.

Let’s go one step further, don’t we sometimes want a pastor, teacher, friend or even a stranger to pray for us or someone we love, before we  whisper a prayer to God for ourselves.

Dear Lord help us to never settle for a second-hand experience with you!  Holy Spirit, draw us to your Word each day!  Strengthen our desire to communicate with you through prayer and meditation. Jesus, Make us more like you!  Amen and Amen!

Here is my favorite rule in today’s reading:  “Take no bribes, for a bribe makes you ignore something that you clearly see.  A bribe makes even a righteous person twist the  truth.”   ~Exodus 23:8

Could we open the Bible to this page and have all of our politicians swear to live by this scripture?  **I’m sorry, but I just couldn’t resist  🙂

Have a great week-end!

Let’s Have a First-hand Experience with God!

 

 

©2013, Dianne Guthmuller

Tomorrow Scripture Reading:  Exodus 25:1 through Exodus 28:43

When’s the Last Time You Took a Risk?—Mark 15:42-43

Today’s Scripture Reading: Mark 15:42-47, Matthew 27:57-61, Luke 23:50-56, John 19:38-42, Matthew 27:62-66, Mark 16:1-8, Matthew 28:1-7, Luke 24:1-12, Mark 16:9-11,  John 20:1-18, Matthew 28:8-15

Two years ago I was in full-on risk mode.

  • Stepping of my comfort zone
  • Going on an adventure
  • Taking a chance

I was doing what I believed God had spoken to me to do.

But my risk was nothing compared to the risk of Joseph of Arimathea…

This all happened on Friday, the day of preparation] the day before the Sabbath. As evening approached,  Joseph of Arimathea took a risk and went to Pilate and asked for Jesus’ body. (Joseph was an honored member of the high council, and he was waiting for the Kingdom of God to come.) –Mark 15:42-43 (emphasis mine)

Up until this point Joseph had been a secret disciple of Jesus.  He was a wealthy member of the Sanhedrin (the supreme council and tribunal of the Jews headed by a High Priest and having religious, civil, and criminal jurisdiction). But on the day of Jesus’ crucifixion he gathered his courage and went to Pilate boldly. His action was risky because:

  • He was not related to Jesus
  • His request was a favor that would likely be denied on principle since Jesus had been executed for treason
  • He risked ceremonial defilement in handling a dead body
  • His request amounted to an open confession of personal loyalty to the crucified Jesus which would doubtless incur his associates’ hostility

(The Bible Knowledge Commentary)

He was a secret disciple no longer…

Joseph was part of God’s plan.  He didn’t just “suddenly” get the idea to do this, it demanded much preparation.  Had Joseph not acted boldly, the body of Jesus might have been disposed of like rubbish.

It was important that Jesus’ body be prepared for burial so that the empty grave-clothes could be left behind in the tomb (John 20:1–10). Also, the way He was buried fulfilled prophecy (Isa. 53:9). The fact that He was buried is proof that Jesus actually died on the cross, for the Roman officials would not have released the body without proof that Jesus was dead.  (The Bible Exposition Commentary)

The Holy Spirit prompted Joseph to go to Pilate and ask for Jesus’ body, but at some point he had to step up and do it.  It’s the same with us today.  The Holy Spirit will urge or nudge us  to step out or speak out for Jesus, but it will never happen unless we act on it.

Two and a half years ago I received an email from an organization I’ve been a part of for over fifteen years.  This email was announcing the 2010 Writer’s Conference.  When I read the announcement, something inside of me said, “You should go.”

I dismissed the thought for several reasons:

  • I’ve only been writing for a couple of years
  • It’s a big financial investment
  • This is a professional writer’s conference and I’m just a beginner
  • I’m not really clear on God’s plan for me beyond this year
  • I’m not even sure God wants me to be a “writer”

A month or so passed and I mentioned it to my husband, who is my greatest fan and cheerleader.  He said, “You have to go!”  For a few weeks I tried to talk him out of it; told him every reason I could think of why I shouldn’t go…

I prayed about it and asked the Lord to dismiss it from my mind if I wasn’t supposed to go.  Just the opposite happened.  It was constantly on my mind.  I really felt like God spoke to me to go.  So I registered, paid my money, and bought a plane ticket.

As I shared my plans with family and friends I kept apologizing for going. Saying things like:

  • I don’t know why I’m going
  • I’m not a real writer
  • I shouldn’t be spending the money

I heard the Holy Spirit speak loudly, “Dianne, you need to stop saying and thinking these things.  I set this up.  It’s a divine appointment.  Go with excitement and expectation!”

So that it what I did!  I took a risk.  But is not really a risk when God encourages you.  It’s an act of obedience.

God used that Conference to point me in the direction of my next season of ministry. It changed my life.  I’m so glad I took a risk and said, “yes” to God.

Joseph took a risk that fulfilled prophesy that is still talked about today.

What risk is God calling you to take today?

Step out in obedience and take it, it could change the world forever!

Heavenly Father, use us for Your Glory and Your Kingdom.  Speak loudly Holy Spirit.  Give us the boldness and confidence to step out!

In Jesus’ Name.  Amen and Amen!

 

© 2012 Dianne Guthmuller
Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: Luke 24:13-43, Mark 16:12-13, John 20:19-23, Mark 16:14, John 20:24-21:25, Matthew 28:16-20, Mark 16:15-18, Luke 24:44-49


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