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Things God Hates…It May Surprise You–Proverbs 6:16-19

Today’s Scripture Reading:  Proverbs 5:1 through Proverbs 7:27

When my kids were little I was a fanatic about teaching them to respect other people.  I literally had them thinking words like dumb, stupid and shut up were curse words.  Another biggie was the word, “hate.”  They would definitely get in trouble if they said they hated another person.

In today’s reading God used the word “hate.”

God didn’t say He hated a person or a people group, but there are some things people do that really irritate Him.

So, if we are Christ followers and He hates “stuff,” we should probably hate it too.

Here are seven things God hates in Proverbs 6: 16-19

  • Haughty eyes
  • A lying tongue
  • Hands that kill the innocent
  • A heart that plots evil
  • Feet that race to do  wrong
  • A false witness who pours out lies
  • A person who sows discord in a family

In verse 16, Solomon said there are six things the Lord hates—no, seven things he detests.  The commentaries I read said this pattern of writing (six…seven) was to let the reader know that this wasn’t an exhaustive list.  In other words, there are more things the Lord hates.  But I think this list deserves our attention.

The last one struck a chord with me.

  “A person who sows discord in a family”

This says a lot about the importance God places on the family. We all know that the biblically created family unit is under tremendous attack. From this scripture it should be clear we need to fight to protect it. But before we get our signs and head to Washington, we need to sweep around our own front door.

Do you know of any mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters who refuse to speak to one another?

Do you know family members who gossip back and forth to stir up trouble?

How about adult brothers and sisters whose hearts are filled with jealousy?

Do you know divorced moms and dads who make life miserable for their children because they’re too selfish to “let it go?”

God hates this; we must stop it!

If you have been divorced make every effort to let the past go; your kids have suffered enough.  Let their weddings, children’s’ births, and birthdays be joyous occasions that aren’t about you and your ex’s “stuff.”  Get over it!

Let’s make a pack that we will guard our families at all costs and work with everything we have to create peace.  Don’t major on minors and ask God for grace and guidance to keep discord from growing like a cancer in our families.

Holy Spirit, illuminate the areas in our lives that you hate.  Show us, then help us to overcome it.  Jesus, I especially pray for families; help us as Christians to realize our family is our first mission field.

Help us to love like you love!

In Your Holy Name.  Amen and Amen!

 ©2013, Dianne Guthmuller

Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading:  Proverbs 8:1 through Proverbs 10:32

Lord, Have Mercy on Our Wayward Children–2 Samuel 18:5

Today’s Scripture Reading:  2 Samuel 17: 15-29; Psalm 3; Psalm 63, 2 Samuel 18: 1 through 19:30

My heart breaks for King David.

His son

not his friend

not a co-worker

but

his son—flesh of his flesh and blood of his blood betrayed him and was trying to kill him.

I had my share of trials when my kids were teenagers. At some point I probably “thought” I was going to die but my life was a walk in the park compared to David and it’s was a walk in the park compared to what some of you are dealing with today.

David was running for his life from his own son; hiding like an animal pursued by a hunter.

I know that most of us aren’t hiding in caves to keep from being killed by one of our children.  But I do know there are parents out there who didn’t get a good night’s sleep last night because of one of their children.

And yes, for all you young parents, that instinct to protect your children from life’s hard knocks is still there when your kids are adults.

And yes, when someone just “seems” to be treating your adult child poorly, you come unglued and want “to hurt somebody!”

When King David heard the news of Absalom’s death he took his King hat off and began to grieve like a parent.

The King was overcome with emotion.  He went up to the room over the gateway and burst into tears.  And as he went, he cried, “O my son Absalom!  My son, my son Absalom!  If only I had died instead of you!  O Absalom, my son, my son.   –2 Samuel 18: 33

I have many friends who are walking with God on a road they never wanted to travel with one of their children.  Like David, this was NOT the way you planned it.  Whether it’s teenage rebellion, a gay or lesbian lifestyle, an addiction, divorce, criminal conviction, financial irresponsibility, teenage pregnancy, or a host of other issues.

I’m sure you can relate to David when he said to Joab, Abishai, and Ittai, For my sake, deal gently with young Absalom.  –2 Samuel 18:5

As parents, we have pleaded and begged for mercy for our wayward children, just like David.  Sometimes it’s hard to keep going; to even keep praying.  What do we do when it seems no mercy is coming?

We keep asking!

Father, I pray for my friends who are going through a heart-breaking time with their “Absalom” child.  Holy Spirit comfort them as only you can comfort.  I join them is asking for mercy on their child’s behalf.  I pray that today is a day of miracles for those wayward children. Bring them home like the prodigal son.  Help those children to “come to themselves” and run to You, Jesus!   Give these parents strength for today and hope for tomorrow!  Heavenly Father, we trust you with our children!

In Jesus Name.  Amen and Amen!  Let it be so Lord!

 

©2013, Dianne Guthmuller

Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading:  2 Samuel 19:31 through 20:26; Psalm 7; 2 Samuel 21: 1-22;1 Chronicles 20: 4-8

1 Possible Cause of My Tough Times? –2 Samuel 12:11-12

Today’s Scripture Reading:  2 Samuel 12: 26-31; 1 Chronicles 20: 2-3; 2 Samuel 13: 1 through 14:33

In yesterday’s reading Nathan spoke for the Lord and confronted David of his sin of murdering Uriah and sleeping with Uriah’s wife.  As we discussed yesterday David was sincerely repentant.

The Lord immediately forgave him

but

there were consequences to his actions that would go on throughout his life and into the next generation:

  • The child that he fathered with Bathsheba died
  • From that day forward David’s family would live by the sword
  • David’s household would rebel against him
  • David’s wives would be given to another man and  he will go to bed with them in public view
  • All these things would become public knowledge

As we move into today’s reading we begin to see these things come to pass.

I found an interesting article that helped me to understand how these hard things could happen to someone who was forgiven and set a part for God’s service.

Here is an excerpt from The Law of Sowing and Reaping  by Don Rousu:

In the Book of Genesis we find the expression of a seed principle that runs throughout the scriptures, and a principle that will endure as long as the earth. Chapter 8, verse 22 reads, “As long as the earth endures, seed-time and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease.” In other words, seed-time and harvest, that is “sowing and reaping”, will be as unchangeable and predictable as day and night.

Sowing and reaping is a law, like the law of gravity. The law of gravity always works the same way for everyone. So does the law of sowing and reaping. It’s a fixed principle that God built into his creation. In Galatians 6:7, we are told, “Whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.”

Essentially, this means that every action has a predictable consequence. If I sow corn, I’ll get corn, not potatoes. If I sow radishes, I’ll get radishes, not squash… It also works the same way in the spiritual realm. If I sow (give away) life to others, I will reap life myself.  If I sow provision for others, I will reap provision for myself. If I sow forgiveness toward others, I’ll reap forgiveness for myself…

And I’ll add to that…

If I sow hate for others, I will reap hate from for myself.

If I sow unforgiveness toward others, I’ll reap unforgiveness for myself.

Today the rebellion of David’s household begins:

  • The tragic rape of Tamar
  • David becomes angry but does nothing to address this family sin
  • Absalom determines to kill Amnon and conceals his intentions for two years
  • Absalom begs his father David to attend a feast at his house but for some reason he refuses
  • Amnon goes in David’s place; Absalom’s servants kill Amnon
  • David refuses to see his son for two years
  • Absalom forces Joab to intercede, and David welcomes Absalom home

There have been many times I tried to pray away Satan, the enemy of my soul, out of my life when in reality  I was reaping what I had sown.

Here are a few examples that come to mind:

  • Financial problems-trying to live beyond my means
  • Health Issues-Not treating my body as the temple of God
  • Scheduling Issues- Over-committing and wondering why I can’t get it all done
  • Bitterness-Lack of Forgiveness that was sucking the life out of me

I know that there are times God makes an exception and minimizes the reaping process but many times He does not.

As a disclaimer, I must say that there are many examples in the Bible where God’s people reap good AND bad things that they didn’t sow but when we go through tough times we must self-assess with the help of the Holy Spirit our responsibility to our circumstances.

As I look back on my life I may have made the same mistakes again if I had not had to do some reaping!

Heavenly Father, I don’t want to reap tough times and tough situations.  Help me to sow good things into my life and the lives of others.  Lord, when I make a mistake and sow the wrong thing, help me to learn from my mistakes and move through the reaping as quickly as possible.

In Jesus’ Name!  Amen and Amen!

 

©2013, Dianne Guthmuller

Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading:  2 Samuel 15:1 through 17:14

Is It Possible to Remove the Stains of Sin AND Guilt? Psalm 51:1-9

Today’s Scripture Reading:  1 Chronicles 20:1; 2 Samuel 11: 1 through 12: 14; Psalm 51; 2 Samuel 12: 15-25; 2 Samuel 5: 14-16; 1 Chronicles 14: 3-7; 1 Chronicles 3: 5-9

Can I be candid?

I’ve often wondered how David could have been a murderer and an adulterer and still have been “a man after God’s own heart.”

Don’t get me wrong, I’m so thankful he was, because it gives me hope; it’s just hard to understand.

After reading David’s prayer of repentance in Psalm 51, I think I know a bit more about the heart of the man who touched the heart of the God of the Universe.

David revealed his broken spirit and repentant heart in that Psalm.  He came clean before the Lord.  David prayed to the Lord in verse 17, The sacrifice you desire is a broken spirit, You will not reject a broken and repentant heart, O God.

I encourage you to read Psalm 51 out loud; David said the words we would like to say but can never articulate.  I’ve prayed David’s prayer many times when I needed God’s forgiveness but couldn’t put my feelings into words.

There were two phrases that caught my eye in this beautiful Psalm, “blot out the stain of my sins” (1 b) and “remove the stain of my guilt” (9 b).

What do you do with a garment that has a stain that you can’t get out?

I either save it for yard work or give it to Goodwill.  I can’t stand to wear clothes with stains on them.  I wonder if David felt the same way about stains and worried that he would be cast aside because of his imperfections.

Oh the wisdom of David.

He knew these were two separate issues.

He knew he couldn’t get rid of the stain of either by himself.

I have asked the Lord to forgive me of my sins many, many times but I can  never remember asking Him to take away my guilt.  I have often thought that guilt was a consequence of sin that I had to live with; a battle I had to fight alone.

Friends, I have good news!

God answered David’s prayer and He will answer ours as well!

I can’t wait for you the read the rest of the Psalms and see

  • the joy flowing out of David’s heart
  • the confidence that could only come from a life that was stain-free before the Lord

Both the sin and the guilt were gone forever!

David found out how he could be perfect, even after committed sins so bad that he is remembered for them to this very day.

From his own lips…

  • God is my strong fortress and He makes my way perfect (2 Samuel 22: 33).
  • God arms me with strength, and He makes my way perfect (Psalm 18:32)

It’s God who makes us perfect.

It’s God who removes the stain of sin and the stain of guilt.

Father, we pray with David…

Create in us a clean heart, O God. 
Renew a loyal spirit within us.
Do not banish us from your presence,
And don’t take your Holy Spirit from us.
Restore to us the joy of your salvation
and make us willing to obey you.
                                                      Psalm 51: 10-12
 
 

In Jesus’ Name.  Amen and Amen!

 
©2013, Dianne GuthmullerTomorrow’s Scripture Reading:  2 Samuel 12: 26-31; 1 Chronicles 20: 2-3;2 Samuel 13: 1 through 14:33

Have You Ever Been Betrayed?

Today’s Scripture Reading: 1 Samuel 20:1 through 21:15, Psalm 34

Today’s reading is a great example of the beauty of the Chronological Bible. Samuel narrates the story and Psalms 34 tells us what David was feeling. It makes much more sense when we read them together.

Before I read the Bible chronologically I thought David was sitting out in some beautiful pasture with angels singing as he wrote the Psalms, but that could not have been further from the truth. Let’s try to imagine how this really took place…

In a matter of a couple of days David’s best friend Jonathan had confirmed his father Saul’s intention to kill David, he said goodbye to his best friend, in desperation for food, he ate the Holy Bread from the Tabernacle, and he pretended to be insane to save his life! Oh, and he wrote a Psalm…

I’m sure when he wrote it he never thought it would be a part of the Holy Scriptures. David found the strength and energy to write his feelings  following this trying ordeal because the Holy Spirit anointed him.  Sharing his feelings with the Lord was a common practice for him. Singing and/or writing was the way he worshiped and communicated with God.

I encourage you to read Psalm 34 out loud. It is so powerful! David is reminding himself of the goodness and faithfulness of his God.

Have you ever had a talk with yourself?

David did.

He was hurt and offended by Saul’s change of heart toward him, but he knew what was right. Let’s look at what he says:

Does anyone want to live a long life? Then keep your tongue from speaking evil and your lips from telling lies! Turn away from evil and do good. Search for peace, and work to maintain it. –Psalm 34:12-14

Many years ago I was deeply hurt by the betrayal of a friend. Through a business relationship I was forced to interact with her publically a couple of times a month. I would literally become ill after these encounters. One night after one of these stressful times I came home and prayed and asked God what I needed to do.

Yes, I was in the process of forgiving her.

I wanted to forgive.

I was working on it,

but

every time I saw her all the hurt would come flooding back.

I felt God spoke to me and said, “I want you to handle her like David did Saul.”

“What does that mean?”

I went to the scriptures and studied David and Saul’s relationship. It was the most amazing thing. The Bible was written over 2000 years ago and it was completely relevant for my situation—how could that be?

Dianne, you are to do two things:

  • Do not speak evil against her
  • Stay away from her

This was liberating for me. I thought if I had forgiven I should be able to be around her without feeling the pain. The Lord told me that day to stay away so I could heal. It was a life changing day for me.

As we continue to study the life of David, we will be more amazed at the respect David showed Saul, but he definitely did his best to stay away from him.

Have you every been betrayed? How did you handle it?

Thanking God for You!

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©2013, Dianne Guthmuller

Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: 1 Samuel 22: 1-2, Psalm 57, Psalm 142, 1 Chronicles 12:8-18, 1 Samuel 22:3-23, Psalm 52, 1 Samuel 23:1-12

 

Watch Out, You May Be Seduced–Job 26:18

Today’s Scripture reading:  Job 35:1 through Job 37:24

Do you ever wonder why the wicked (godless) prosper?

Do you ever get irritated when some people with no morals, no integrity, no values and no mention of Christ seem to have everything going for them?

I’m raising my hand; I have certainly asked this question before.

I did some research on the word godless (Job 36:17).  The Hebrew word is rasha.  It means wicked, guilty of sin (against God or man).  This word is used 37 times in the book of Job.

Elihu had some wise words to share, even though his tone was definitely judgmental.  I think he was on to something regarding  Job’s issue with the wicked prospering, especially since it’s mentioned 37 times, that’s almost one time for each chapter.

What was Elihu’s advice?  “Don’t worry, judgment and justice will be upheld.  But watch out, or you may be seduced by wealth” (Job 26:17-18).

I think there’s a connection between being bitter and  jealous when the wicked prosper and being seduced by wealth.

What is wealth?

My definition:  Just a little more than you have right now.

How do we judge the prosperity of another person?

By physical things, such as houses, cars, clothes, careers, and education.  Sometime we also compare things like spouses, health, parents, friends, ability to have children and the behavior of our children.

I’m sure Job was observing everything that everyone had and comparing it with everything he had lost and saying, “There’s something wrong with this picture!”

If Ellihu was right, we need to be careful when we start comparing; we don’t have to worry about judgment, God will take care of that but we do have to worry about being sucked into the addiction of pursuing wealth and wanting what others have.

In the New Testament, Paul counseled young Timothy on this same topic:

“For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. And some people, craving money, have wandered from the true faith and pierced themselves with many sorrows.”  –1 Timothy 6:10

Dear Lord, help us to recognize the seduction of wealth and run from it!

In Jesus Name—Amen and Amen!

 

 

©2013, Dianne Guthmuller

Tomorrow’s Scripture reading: Job 38:1 through Job 40:5

A Test to Check your Emotional Healing

Today’s Scripture Reading:  Job 26:1 through Job 29:25

I noticed something in today’s reading that has gotten me thinking…

In verses 1-25 of chapter 29, Job uses the word

  • Me- 13 times
  • My- 10 times
  • I   – 19 times

I know these verses are a discourse of Job’s defense, but I thought it was interesting that there were so many personal pronouns in this short section of scripture.

I certainly never want to compare myself to Job because my life looks like a walk in the park compared to his, but there was a time when I lost a lot in a short period of time.  During that season it was definitely “all about me.”  It was all I could do to survive so there was no energy, time, compassion, or finances to help anyone else.

I was so caught up in my pain that anyone who stopped by, including the U.P.S. man got an ear full!  Someone could say, “It’s sunny outside” and I could turn it into a conversation about my misery.

Now that I am many years past that difficult time, here’s my observation:

When we continually talk about and  rehash our problems it’s a sign we’re still hurting.

I’m not sure if psychologists would agree, but what I’ve experienced in my own life is…

The best way to check your level of healing is by observing how much your past hurts are discussed.

Don’t feel bad…

…talking about it is part of the healing process but there comes a time when we have to let it go. 

If you’ve been deeply hurt by another person make it your mission to get free of the bitterness as soon as you can.  For me, the bitterness, hurt, and anger came off like layers of onion skin.  It took a long time, but one day it was gone.

For you folks who don’t talk about your problems don’t get to feeling too confident here; if you’re thinking about it all the time, it’s just like talking about it.

There’s a positive side to Job’s willingness to “get his pain on the outside.”  Because Job talked through the pain and the healing you and I are learning from it today.  Just think about how many people Job has helped over the years.

What if he would have gone into a cave, disappeared and died of a broken heart?

Isn’t that what we want to do when we are hurting?

But just like Job, we can’t do that because God has a plan for the pain.

“The fear of the Lord is true wisdom; to forsake evil is real understanding.”   ~ Job 28:28

Blessings in Jesus!

 

©2013, Dianne Guthmuller

Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading:  Job 30:1 through 31:40

Which Road Will You Take Today?

Today’s Reading: Genesis 36: 1-19, 1 Chronicles 1: 35-37, Genesis 36: 20-30, 1 Chronicles 1: 38-42, Genesis 36: 31-43, 1 Chronicles 1:43 – 2:2

In Genesis 31:3, the Lord told Jacob to return to the land of his father and grandfather and his relatives, and the Lord said He would be with him. Jacob did just as the Lord told him to do.

Today we find that Esau decides to leave the Promised Land and Jacob.   He took his wives, his children, and his entire household, along with his livestock and cattle—all the wealth he had acquired in the land of Canaan—and moved away from his brother Jacob.  There was not enough land to support them both because of all the livestock and possessions they had acquired. (Gen. 36:6-8)

This story sounds like Abraham and Lot in Genesis 13, except there was no discussion between Jacob and Esau recorded.  I wonder if there really wasn’t enough land for them both, or did Esau just not want to be near his brother, or maybe Esau did not want to be in the presence of the Living God.

Today’s reading was mostly genealogy.  Yes, it’s was a little boring, but my one take away from the day was worth digging through all those names I can’t pronounce.  So here it is:  When Esau left the Promised Land he made a conscious choice to leave God out of his genealogy. All of those names we read were real people—think of the lives they lived, the children they bore, and the things they accomplished.  Think about this:  They never knew the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob because of the decision of one person—Esau.  The decision Esau made not only affected the descendants listed in Genesis 36 but that decision affected future generations that reach into the 21st Century.

I don’t about you, but I have had times when I just wanted to run away from conflict.  I wanted to move away and get a fresh start.  I didn’t want to have day-to-day contact with someone who had hurt me; I didn’t want to hear their name around town and stay intertwined in their life.  But God had a better plan, he wanted me to stay in the midst of the hurt and pain and work through it, not run away from it.

True freedom doesn’t come when you run away from your problems but when you stay and face them head-on.

When trouble and conflict come, we have a choice, we either move toward God or away from Him.  It’s a daily choice—the Promised Land or Edom.

I’m Choosing the Promised Land! What about you?

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©2013, Dianne Guthmuller

Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading:  Genesis 37:1-38:30; 1 Chronicles 2:3-6,8; Genesis 39:1-23

It’s the Most “Difficult” Time of the Year –2 Timothy 3:1-5

Today’s Scripture Reading:  2 Timothy 2:1-4:18

“It’s the most wonderful time of the year!” How many times have you heard this song in the last month?

I love it, but as I talk to people this Christmas season and look into their eyes their song sounds more like “it’s the most difficult time of the year!”

What do difficult times look like in 2012?

…people out of work and more expected to be laid off next year, rising costs of food and health care, foreclosures every where we look, life-threatening health issues, stress, exhaustion, addictions, rage, suicide, a crazy person shooting up  an elementary school…the list could go on and on.

In today’s reading Paul warns Timothy of difficult times in the last days.

In the last days there will be very difficult times.

People will…

  • love only themselves and their money
  • be boastful, proud, scoffing at God, disobedient to their parents and ungrateful
  • consider nothing sacred
  • unloving and unforgiving
  • slander others and have no self-control
  • be cruel and hate what is good
  • betray their friends, be reckless, puffed up with pride and love pleasure  rather than God
  • act religious but reject the power that could make them godly

Friends, Paul was talking to Timothy, a young leader of the church of Jesus Christ.  These were problems with religious people, not atheists.

Do any of these “signs of the times” look familiar in those around you?

Do you see any of these signs in your heart?

Heavenly Father, help us to be on the lookout for “heart changes” in these difficult times. This is our finest hour to reach out to the lost and hurting. If Paul’s description is a description of us, we will be no value to Your Kingdom. Help us to see ourselves as you see us.  Jesus, break our heart for the things that break Yours.  Send us into the hurting world this Christmas season to show Your love in these difficult times.

In Jesus’ Name.  Amen and Amen!

 

© 2012 Dianne Guthmuller

Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading:  2 Timothy 4:19-22, Hebrews 1:1-4:13

Can I Recover From My Poor Choices?–Acts 27:21

Today’s Scripture Reading: Acts 27:1-44

If we’re honest, there are many times we could say to someone, “I told you so.”  In today’s reading Paul didn’t just think it, he said it!

No one had eaten for a long time. Finally, Paul called the crew together and said, “Men, you should have listened to me in the first place and not left Crete. You would have avoided all this damage and loss. But take courage! None of you will lose your lives, even though the ship will go down. For last night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve stood beside me, and he said, ‘Don’t be afraid, Paul, for you will surely stand trial before Caesar! What’s more, God in his goodness has granted safety to everyone sailing with you.’  So take courage! For I believe God. It will be just as he said.  –Acts 27:21-25

Paul handled his “I told you so” moment quite differently than most of us.  He used it as an opportunity to encourage and point them to God.

Paul wasn’t just encouraging the crew, this was written for you and me.  God knew we were going to “choose the wrong door” from time to time.

God knew I was going need an encouraging “I told you so” from time to time. I have been kicking myself the last couple of days about a bad decision I made.

Here’s what I believe God is telling us through Paul’s story.

  • There will be times when we do not listen to the voice of God
  • There will be consequences to our bad choices
  • Our ship may go down but we will be safe if we don’t jump out of the boat
  • If God says it, it will come to pass

Are there consequences to my bad decision?  Definitely

Will God help me and show me a way to recover from it?  Absolutely

Will He miraculously make my mistake go away? Probably not

Heavenly Father, forgive me for making the wrong choice.  Thank You for Your forgiveness. Thank You for encouraging me, and not dwelling on the “I told you so.” Fill me with Your Spirit today!

In Jesus’ Name.  Amen and Amen!

 

© 2012 Dianne Guthmuller

Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: Acts 28:1-32; Ephesians 1:1-2:22

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