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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

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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, is the Fear of Being Labeled Judgmental Silencing the Church? —John 12:37-43

images-4Today’s Scripture Reading: John 12:37-50, Mark 11:12-14, Matthew 21:18-22, Mark 11:15-19, Matthew 21:12-17, Luke 19:45-48, Mark 11:20-33, Matthew 21:23-27, Luke 20:1-8

Jesus, I know that John was describing Your time on earth in these verses but they have an uncanny resemblance to our current times.

But despite all the miraculous signs Jesus had done, most of the people still did not believe in him. This is exactly what Isaiah the prophet had predicted:

“Lord, who has believed our message?
To whom has the Lord revealed his powerful arm?”
But the people couldn’t believe, for as Isaiah also said,

“The Lord has blinded their eyes
and hardened their hearts—
so that their eyes cannot see,
and their hearts cannot understand,
and they cannot turn to me
and have me heal them.”

Isaiah was referring to Jesus when he said this, because he saw the future and spoke of the Messiah’s glory. Many people did believe in him, however, including some of the Jewish leaders. But they wouldn’t admit it for fear that the Pharisees would expel them from the synagogue.* For they loved human praise more than the praise of God. —John 12:37-43

Lord, pages could be written about this passage but the thoughts that are consuming my mind today are around *the people who loved human praise and acceptance so much that they kept their belief in Jesus quiet for fear of being expelled from their synagogue. For the Jews their synagogue wasn’t just their church, it was their family, friends, school, religion, ethnicity, and political affiliation. Today’s sociological challenges of peer pressure and bullying were also alive and well in those days.

Jesus, it seems to me that peer pressure progresses to bullying and when not addressed it leads to persecution. It’s ironic that the very reason the believing Jews kept quiet was to avoid persecution, yet over the years they have been severely persecuted. Is this what is going to happen to today’s church?

Lord, Christian persecution has arrived in America, a country founded on religious freedom is now a place where Christians are beginning to keep quiet about their convictions for fear of peer pressure, bullying, and persecution. Fear of being labeled “judgmental” is silencing the boldest and largest Christian voices in our country.

Lord, I really don’t know how to react. I’m confused and feel this desire to pull away and keep my mouth shut. I see the world pulling one or two scriptures out of Your Word and using it to silence the church. I’m afraid it’s beginning to silence me as well. Holy Spirit, please speak loudly. Give me supernatural boldness. My heart is racing as I title this post, fearing that I will be misunderstood. I do not want to succumb to the enemy’s tactics. I do not want to desire human praise and acceptance more that Yours. It scares me to read in Matthew 24:20-24 that in the last days the very elect will be deceived. Holy Spirit, I don’t want to be deceived.

Lord, give our pastors, teachers, prophets, and Christian leaders supernatural discernment, wisdom, and boldness to lead Your people in these difficult times.

Lord, judging is a delicate subject. I know I’ve judged when I shouldn’t and haven’t judged when I should. I know we don’t win the lost by judging them but “not judging” within the church is dumbing down the gospel. We have adapted the same philosophy as the world, “don’t ask, don’t tell.” Holy Spirit, without Your help  we will get it wrong every time. Show the church when and how to judge today’s complicated world.

Dear friends, don’t be surprised at the fiery trials you are going through, as if something strange were happening to you. Instead, be very glad—for these trials make you partners with Christ in his suffering, so that you will have the wonderful joy of seeing his glory when it is revealed to all the world.

If you are insulted because you bear the name of Christ, you will be blessed, for the glorious Spirit of God rests upon you. If you suffer, however, it must not be for murder, stealing, making trouble, or prying into other people’s affairs. But it is no shame to suffer for being a Christian. Praise God for the privilege of being called by his name! For the time has come for judgment, and it must begin with God’s household. And if judgment begins with us, what terrible fate awaits those who have never obeyed God’s Good News? And also,

“If the righteous are barely saved,
what will happen to godless sinners?”

So if you are suffering in a manner that pleases God, keep on doing what is right, and trust your lives to the God who created you, for he will never fail you. —1 Peter 4:12-19

In Jesus Name. Amen and Amen!

 

 

©2014, Dianne Guthmuller
 
Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: Matthew 21:28-32, Mark 12:1-12, Matthew 21:33-46, Luke 20:9-19, Matthew 22:1-14, Mark 12:13-17, Matthew 22:15-22, Luke 20:20-26, Mark 12:18-27, Matthew 22:23-33, Luke 20:27-40

Lord, Teach Me to Judge Correctly—John 7:21-24

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Today’s Scripture Reading: John 7:1-9, Luke 9:51-56, Matthew 8:18-22, Luke 9:57-62, John 7:10-8:20

Heavenly Father, I’m really confused about judging. These days Christians and non-Christians use the phrase “Don’t judge me” as a warning that says “stay out of my business and I don’t care what you think.”

Jesus replied, “I did one miracle on the Sabbath, and you were amazed.  But you work on the Sabbath, too, when you obey Moses’ law of circumcision. (Actually, this tradition of circumcision began with the patriarchs, long before the law of Moses.) For if the correct time for circumcising your son falls on the Sabbath, you go ahead and do it so as not to break the law of Moses. So why should you be angry with me for healing a man on the Sabbath? Look beneath the surface so you can judge correctly.” –John 7:21-24

Lord, in today’s world these words are seen as synonyms for judging:

  • Warn
  • Counsel
  • Instruct
  • Observe
  • Teach
  • Hold Accountable

But, it’s a trick of the enemy of our to souls to silence the voice of reason is a world gone crazy.

Jesus, I don’t want to do anything that’s displeases You but I also don’t want to be silenced by the world’s broad definition of judging.  I don’t want to develop a “live and let live” attitude that causes me to look the other way when You prompt me to warn, counsel, and call to account those I love and care about.

Lord, teach me balance. Teach me to look beneath the surface so I  can judge correctly.

 

In Jesus Name. Amen and Amen!

 

 

 

©2014, Dianne Guthmuller

 

Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: John 8:21-59, Luke 10:1-11:13

Lord, I Trust You With the Consequences—Mark 7:36

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Today’s Scripture Reading: Mark 7:24-30, Matthew 15:21-28, Mark 7:31-37, Matthew 15:29-31, Mark 8:1-10, Matthew 15:32-16:4, Mark 8:11-21, Matthew 16:5-12

Heavenly Father, from today’s reading it seems that all people are really the same. All it takes to get something to go viral is to tell people not to tell anyone.

Jesus told the crowd not to tell anyone, but the more he told them not to, the more they spread the news. –Mark 7:36

Jesus, there’s no mention of You finding that person and chastising them for being disobedient. You told them what You wanted them to do but it was their choice to obey or disobey. Their choice directed affected You but You trusted Your heavenly Father with the consequences.

Lord, I’m learning to trust You with the consequences. Holy Spirit, remind me when You see me slipping.

Have Your will in my Life.

In Jesus Name. Amen and Amen!

 

 

 

©2014, Dianne Guthmuller

 

Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: Mark 8:22-30, Matthew 16:13-20, Luke 9:18-20, Mark 8:31-9:1, Matthew 16:21-28, Luke 9:21-27, Mark 9:2-13, Matthew 17:1-13, Luke 9:28-36

Lord, How Can I Get My Prayers Answered?—Ezekiel 36:22-23

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Today’s Scripture Reading:Ezekiel 34:1-36:38

Heavenly Father, these verses pull back the curtain and let us understand another facet of Your character.

“Therefore, give the people of Israel this message from the Sovereign Lord: I am bringing you back, but not because you deserve it. I am doing it to protect my holy name, on which you brought shame while you were scattered among the nations.  I will show how holy my great name is—the name on which you brought shame among the nations. And when I reveal my holiness through you before their very eyes, says the Sovereign Lord, then the nations will know that I am the Lord.  —Ezekiel 36:22-23

Once again, it’s not about us. Your heart is moved and prayers are answered when we focus on these two things:

1. Your Name—if you said it You will do it. You are the God who cannot lie. You will never answer a prayer that doesn’t protect the honor, greatness and holiness of Your Name.

2. Causing other people and nations to know that You are the Lord. Everything that happens to us and through us is so that we know that You are God. Your greatest desire is that we give the lordship of our lives to You and You alone.

These two things sum up the Old Testament. EVERYTHING that we’ve read about for the last eight months is about these two things.

This isn’t just Old Testament thinking. Jesus, You taught the same principle in the gospels.

Pray like this:

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

Lord, as I begin my day I pray that Your name will be honored in all I say and do. Use my life, my pain, my victories, and my blessings to cause others to know You more. Teach me how to live each day for the Glory of Your Great Name.

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In Jesus Great Name and for His Glory and Honor. Amen and Amen!

 

©2014, Dianne Guthmuller

*Unless noted all scripture references are from the New Living Translation (NLT)
Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: Ezekiel 37:1-39:29, Ezekiel 32:1-16

Lord, It Must Break Your Heart to Watch Your Children Destroy Themselves—Jeremiah 44:7

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Today’s Scripture Reading: Jeremiah 42:1-44:30, Ezekiel 33:21-33

Heavenly Father, throughout Your Word You have given us clues into Your heart. You are the first parent. Many times in the Bible we see Your  parent’s heart. Just like human parents, You experience great joy and extreme sadness because of  Your children’s choices.

In this verse we saw one of Your painful days as a parent.

And now the Lord God of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, asks you: Why are you destroying yourselves? For not one of you will survive—not a man, woman, or child among you who has come here from Judah, not even the babies in your arms. —Jeremiah 44:7

Father, reading this verse makes me sad for You and it makes me sad for parents who are watching their children self-destruct as I write this prayer.

It’s tough to watch those we love endure pain and suffering that is not of their choosing.

But

It’s worse to watch our children make conscious choices to self-destruct and take their families along with them.

Lord, there’s a great lesson in this verse. You allowed Your children to bear the consequences of their choices, even though You could have forced them to do what You knew was best for them.

Today’s parents think protecting our children and alleviating their suffering is what good parents do. Many parents spend their whole lives exhausting their time, money, and health trying to save children who do not want to be saved.

Jesus, You came to this earth to pay the price for our sins and give us eternal life.

But

You did not take away our ability to choose life or death, heaven or hell, or safety or self-destruction.

Father, teach parents to train their children as You train Your children:

Choices = Consequences

Lord, help us to learn from Your example.

Comfort us as only You can when our children choose the road to self-destruction.

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: Ezekiel 34:1-36:38

Lord, Strengthen Me to Bear the Consequences of My Mistakes—Ezekiel 23:35

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Today’s Scripture Reading: Ezekiel 22:17-23:49, 2 Kings 24:20b-25:2, Jeremiah 52:3b-5, Jeremiah, 39:1, Ezekiel, 24:1-14

 

Heavenly Father, I know the message You gave Ezekiel was directed at the Jews during their exile to Babylon but I also know that consequences weren’t just reserved for the Your rebellious children of long ago.

“And because you have forgotten me and turned your back on me, this is what the Sovereign Lord says: You must bear the consequences of all your lewdness and prostitution.” —Ezekiel 23:35

The principle of consequence goes all the way back to Adam. We are still bearing the consequences of his sin. Because of Adam’s poor choice every baby born into this world is born into sin.

When Adam sinned, sin entered the world. Adam’s sin brought death, so death spread to everyone, for everyone sinned. —Romans 5:12

But because of Your love for us, You sent Your son so that we don’t have to bear the consequences of Adam’s sin.

For the sin of this one man, Adam, caused death to rule over many. But even greater is God’s wonderful grace and his gift of righteousness, for all who receive it will live in triumph over sin and death through this one man, Jesus Christ. —Romans 5:17

Jesus, it’s easy to feel free from my mistakes because of Your sacrifice. It sure would be nice not to have to deal with the consequences of  my poor decisions.

But Your Word says otherwise:

Don’t be misled—you cannot mock the justice of God. You will always harvest what you plant. Those who live only to satisfy their own sinful nature will harvest decay and death from that sinful nature. But those who live to please the Spirit will harvest everlasting life from the Spirit. —Galatians 6:7-8

Jesus, I’ve made so many mistakes but because of Your love and sacrifice, my past, present, and future sins are forgiven. All I have to do is admit them and ask for Your forgiveness.

And then…

I have to deal with the consequences.

Sometimes, Your grace and mercy completely blot out the consequences of my mistakes but most of the time consequences are Your tools to teach, train, and grow me.

Lord, strengthen me to bear the consequences of my mistakes with grace and trust. Help me to learn from them quickly and never make the same mistake again. Use my mistakes and their consequences to get Your will accomplished in my life.

And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. —Romans 8:28

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: Ezekiel 24:15-25:17, Jeremiah 34:1-22, Jeremiah 21:1-14, Ezekiel 29:1-16, Ezekiel 30:20-31:18

Lord, Display Your Holiness Through Me—Ezekiel 20:41-42

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Today’s Scripture Reading: Ezekiel 20:1-22:16

Heavenly Father, the word holiness brings back all kinds of memories: A preacher my parents watched on Sunday mornings, bare faces, long skirts and sneakers, up-dos and long hair, Mrs, Holley the lunchroom lady at my school, the church next to my house as a teenager…too many to list.

My memories were mostly about people’s efforts to display their holiness. I’ve never thought You were displaying Your holiness through their lives except maybe Mrs Holley, the lunchroom lady. She seemed like an angel to me.

When I bring you home from exile, you will be like a pleasing sacrifice to me. And I will display my holiness through you as all the nations watch. Then when I have brought you home to the land I promised with a solemn oath to give to your ancestors, you will know that I am the Lord. —Ezekiel 20:41-42

I looked up the word holiness in my Bible dictionary and it means to be consecrated, dedicated, set apart. Lord, I want to be consecrated, dedicated and set apart for You. I want Your holiness displayed in my life.

This passage says YOU will display YOUR holiness. Is there anything I need to do?

Lord, You don’t really answer my question in these verses but I think You’ve answered it over and over in our journey through Your Word this year.

If I…

Listen

and

Obey

Then…

You will do the rest.

Lord, I’m trusting You to display Your holiness through me as the world watches.

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: Ezekiel 22:17-23:49, 2 Kings 24:20b-25:2, Jeremiah 52:3b-5, Jeremiah 39:1, Ezekiel 24:1-14

Lord, I Don’t Want to Become Desensitized to the Detestable Sins Being Committed—Ezekiel 9:3-5

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Today’s Scripture Reading: Ezekiel 5:1-9:11

Heavenly Father, this passage in Your Word is causing me to do some soul-searching.

Then the glory of the God of Israel rose up from between the cherubim, where it had rested, and moved to the entrance of the Temple. And the Lord called to the man dressed in linen who was carrying the writer’s case. He said to him, “Walk through the streets of Jerusalem and put a mark on the foreheads of all who weep and sigh because of the detestable sins being committed in their city.”

Then I heard the Lord say to the other men, “Follow him through the city and kill everyone whose forehead is not marked. Show no mercy; have no pity! —Ezekiel 9:3-5

Lord, have I become calloused to sin?

Everyday I hear about the senseless suffering of thousands because of heinous sins being committed in our world. It’s easy to weep and sigh when someone’s sin personally affects me but what about the defenseless people down the street,in the cities and towns across America and in foreign countries?

Lord, I’m no Bible scholar so I can’t analyze these verses and decide if it relates to yesterday, today, or tomorrow but I know that if You were angered at the apathy of Your children towards detestable sin in Ezekiel’s day, You are still angered by it.

In today’s culture we are bombarded with words, images, and ideologies contrary to Your Word and Your ways during every waking moment of our day. Things that weren’t okay 20 years ago are embraced today. The analogy of the frog in the pot of boiling water has definitely come to pass in our country in regards to acceptance of unacceptable behavior.

Our politically correct culture has told us we can’t love the sinner with out accepting the sin. Lord, I must admit I’m not sure how to do it. How do I weep and sigh over the sins of our world and not get angry at the sinner?

Jesus, what would You do if You were living in today’s world?

Lord, I want to live out the rest of my days on this planet in a way that’s pleasing to You. I want to love the unlovable. There’s so much I don’t understand but for today I will…

Trust in the Lord with all your heart;
do not depend on your own understanding.
Seek his will in all you do,
and he will show you which path to take. —Proverbs 3:5-6

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: Ezekiel 10:1-13:23

Lord, I Don’t Understand Your Plan—Micah 4:12

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Today’s Scripture Reading: Isaiah 34:1-35:10

Heavenly Father, letting go of my thoughts and plans has been a struggle for me throughout my life. As I think back on my grave yard of failed plans it’s almost comical. I’m sure You have had Your share of laughs watching me think and plan.

But they do not know the Lord’s thoughts
or understand his plan.
These nations don’t know
that he is gathering them together
to be beaten and trampled
like sheaves of grain on a threshing floor.  —Micah 4:12

Humans see life through a pin-hole. Lord You see the past, present, and future. Why would ever we choose our plans over Yours?

I can’t speak for everyone but I think it’s my sinful, pride-filled nature that keeps me planning and trying to control my life. I want it easy. Yes, I’ve grown and matured. I trust You much more than I did in the early days of knowing You but Lord, I have not arrived. I still question Your thoughts and Your plans.

I know Your ways are higher and better than my ways (Isaiah 55:8-9) but I’m weary from disappointment. Your plans are hard and they take so much strength, courage, and trust.

Yes, I’m in my 50s but I sometimes feel like a kid stomping my feet and saying, “I want to go outside and play. I don’t want to clean my room.” Lord, You are the kind of parent I want to be.

Thank You Lord for the tough love. Thank You for giving me the life You planned.

Jesus, I trust You.

In Your Name I pray.

Amen and Amen!

 


©2014, Dianne Guthmuller

*Unless noted all scripture references are from the New Living Translation (NLT)
Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: Micah 2:1-5:15

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