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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, Am I Too Casual?—Jeremiah 5:24

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Today’s Scripture Reading: Jeremiah 5:20-6:30, 2 Kings 22:3-20, 2 Chronicles 34:8-28

Heavenly Father, we live in a day of casualness. Casual clothes, casual meals, casual homes, casual parenting and casual relationships. As Christians we talk about our relationship with You like a friend we meet for coffee once a month. We say things like “it’s not a religion, it’s a relationship.” Lord, from everything I read in Your Word I think a relationship is what You desire.

But Lord, have we gone too casual in our relationship with You?

Have you no respect for me?
Why don’t you tremble in my presence?
I, the Lord, define the ocean’s sandy shoreline
as an everlasting boundary that the waters cannot cross.
The waves may toss and roar,
but they can never pass the boundaries I set.
But my people have stubborn and rebellious hearts.
They have turned away and abandoned me.
They do not say from the heart,
‘Let us live in awe of the Lord our God,
for he gives us rain each spring and fall,
assuring us of a harvest when the time is right.’
Your wickedness has deprived you of these wonderful blessings.
Your sin has robbed you of all these good things. —Jeremiah 5:22-25

Lord, I want to be as close and intimate as possible in my relationship with You but I never want to forget that You are the God who made me and I’m a little spec in Your Kingdom. I never want to take the beauty of Your world for granted. I want to stand in awe of You when I see a new-born baby, the sunrise, a full moon, our beautiful white-sand beaches, the mountains, the seasons changing…my list could go on and on.

Lord, I never want to take Your provision for granted. A house to live in, food to eat, clothes to wear, my health, family, friends and church.

Jesus, I want to continually be in awe of the sacrifice You made for me. I’m amazed that eternal life and heaven are in my future!

Father, if I’m disrespecting You or being too casual in Your Presence please show me. Teach me how to live in awe of You.

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 23:1-20, 2 Chronicles 34:29-33, 2 Kings 23:21-28, 2 Chronicles 35:1-19, Nahum 1:1-3:19

Lord, Help My Motives to Be Pure–2 Samuel 3:9-10


Today’s Scripture Reading: 2 Samuel 3:6-4:12

Heavenly Father, today’s reading was filled with impure motives.  It’s so easy to deceive others and ourselves into thinking our hearts are in the right place, but You, Lord know the truth.

Abner, had revenge written all over his plot to help David “get what the Lord had promised him.”

May God strike me and even kill me if I don’t do everything I can to help David get what the Lord has promised him!  I’m going to take Saul’s kingdom and give it to David. I will establish the throne of David over Israel as well as Judah, all the way from Dan in the north to Beersheba in the south.”  —2 Samuel 3:9-10

Abner’s impure motives ultimately got him killed.

Holy Spirit, show me the real condition of my heart. Do a daily motive check on my attitudes and point out the things that aren’t pleasing to You.  I join with David in asking You to create in me a clean heart…

Create in me a clean heart, O God. Renew a loyal spirit within me. Do not banish me from your presence, and don’t take your Holy Spirit from me. –Psalm 51:10-11

Father, I’m so amazed that You always get Your will and Your plans accomplished whether we work with You or against You.  I want to enjoy life in the flow of Your Spirit and Your will…It’s the sweet spot we’re all looking for.

Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”  Matthew 11:28-30

Lord, You are a God who can be trusted!

You are who You say You are and You will do what You say You will do!

I trust You!

Amen and Amen!

 

©2014, Dianne Guthmuller
Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: 2 Samuel 5:1-3; 1 Chronicles 11:1-3; 1 Chronicles 12:23-40; 2 Samuel 5:17-25; 1 Chronicles 14:8-17; 2 Samuel 5:6-10; 1 Chronicles 11:4-9; 1 Chronicles 3:4b; 2 Samuel 5:13, 4-5, 11-12; 1 Chronicles 14:1-2; 1 Chronicles 13:1-5; 2 Samuel 6:1-11; 1 Chronicles 13:6-14 

Lord, I Want to Come Near to You–Leviticus 10:3

Today’s Scripture Reading: Leviticus 9:1-11:47

Heavenly Father, I want to be one of “those” who come near You.

Then Moses said to Aaron, “This is what the Lord meant when he said, ‘I will display my holiness through those who come near me. I will display my glory before all the people.’”  And Aaron was silent. –Leviticus 10:3

I want to see Your holiness.

I know…

  • It can sometimes be scary
  • Being a leader holds great responsibilities
  • The costs can be high

But, Lord when I’m near You…

  • I can hear Your whispers
  • I’m not so distracted
  • I feel deeply loved

Lord, You are the GREAT I AM!

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Lord, show me Your holiness!

In Jesus’ Name.  Amen and Amen!


Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: Leviticus 12:1-14:32

Have You Ever Felt Abandoned by God? –Psalm 22:1

Today’s Scripture Reading: Psalms 22-26

At noon, darkness fell across the whole land until three o’clock.  At about three o’clock, Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” which means “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?”  —Matthew 27:45-46

I’ve read and heard these words countless times over the years but today I saw them in Psalms 22 and I was surprised:

My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?
Why are you so far away when I groan for help?  
Every day I call to you, my God, but you do not answer.
Every night you hear my voice, but I find no relief.
Yet you are holy, enthroned on the praises of Israel.
Our ancestors trusted in you, and you rescued them.
They cried out to you and were saved.
They trusted in you and were never disgraced.    —Psalms 22:2-5
 

Yes, David penned those words many years before Jesus shouted them on the cross.

Jesus AND David felt abandoned by God.

Have you ever felt abandoned by God?

Have you ever felt like God did not answer?

David used a word that we need to remember when we feel abandoned:

Yet

My paraphrase of Psalm 22:1-5

Lord, I feel like you’ve abandoned me.  I call you, but You do not answer.  I know You hear me, but you are sending me no relief.

Yet, 

You are still holy.  

You still deserved my praise.  

Our ancestors trusted You when they felt abandoned.  

They cried out to You and You saved them.  

They were never disgraced by trusting You.  

So I’m going to do the same.

Do you feel abandoned today?

Tell the Lord exactly how you feel and when you’ve said all you need to say, add this line:

Yet, You are Holy Lord.  I don’t understand but I praise You and I trust You.

In Jesus’ Name.  Amen and Amen!

 

©2013, Dianne Guthmuller

Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: Psalms 27-32

Are You Afraid of His Presence?

Today’s Scripture Reading:  2 Samuel 6:12a; 1 Chronicles 15: 1-28; 2 Samuel 6:12b-16; 1 Chronicles 15:29; 2 Samuel 6: 17-19a; 1 Chronicles 16: 1-43; 2 Samuel 6: 19b-23

Then King David was told, “The Lord has blessed Obed-Edom’s household and everything he has because of the Ark of God.  ~ 2 Samuel 6:12

There are many names in the Bible for the Ark of God. Here are a few I’ve found:

The Ark

The Ark of the Testimony

The Ark of the Covenant

The Ark of the Lord

They all mean one thing: The sacred chest representing the Presence of God.

In yesterday’s reading David tried to bring the Ark to Jerusalem, but the tragic death of Uzzah stopped him in his tracts.

David became afraid of the “presence of God” and decided to leave it at Obed-Edom.

In today’s reading things have changed.  God is blessing Obed-Edom’s household and everything he has because of “His Presence,” so David decides he’ll try again to bring the Ark to Jerusalem.  He handles the Ark much differently this time.

David handles it like a treasure.

In David’s day the average person didn’t have the Presence of God living inside them. God’s presence was confined to a gold box some 45 inches wide and 27 inches long and 27 inches tall.

Today, we have our own personal “Ark of God” living inside of us.  Knowing that, this scripture in 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 takes on a whole new meaning!

Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body.

 

How do we handle the Presence of God?

How do we handle the ark (our body) that His Presence resides in?

Do we treat His Presence like a treasure or is it just some souvenir from a onetime experience we had in days gone by?

Are we afraid of God’s presence in our lives?

 

Holy Spirit, who am I  that You would live within me?

Lord, you are my treasure! Consume me by Your Presence today!

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Emanuel!  God is With Us!

 
 
©2013, Dianne Guthmuller
Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: 2 Samuel 7: 1-17; 1 Chronicles 17: 1-15; 2 Samuel 7: 18-29; 1 Chronicles 17: 16-27; 2 Samuel 8: 1-14; 1 Chronicles 18: 1-13; Psalm 60
 

What’s the Difference Between Sacred and Common? –Leviticus 10:10

Today’s Scripture Reading:  Leviticus 9:1 through Leviticus 11:47

In today’s reading we saw both the glory of God and the holiness of God displayed in a way that leaves us wide-eyed with shock. It’s such a somber thought to imagine what it must have been like to have been there that day.  It began as a celebration…

It was eight days after the ordination ceremony of Aaron and his sons.  They were finally beginning their ministry.  Aaron did everything Moses commanded him to do and the glory of the Lord appeared to the whole community.  When the people saw this, they shouted with joy and fell face down on the ground.

What an amazing thing to witness!  This was God’s approval of everything that had happened thus far.  Aaron must have felt happy and relieved that his first duties as Priest went off without a hitch!

And then everything changed.

Aaron’s sons Nadab and Abihu offered the wrong kind of fire.

The commentaries that I read weren’t sure if this was an intentional or innocent mistake.  Either way both of these sons of Aaron died before the Lord that day.

Can you imagine how quickly the mood changed?  To top it all off Aaron and his remaining sons weren’t allowed to grieve for Nadab and Abihu.

How did the Israelites make sense of this?

How do we make sense of this?

Moses offered our only explanation:

Then Moses said to Aaron, “This is what the Lord meant when he said, ‘I will display my holiness through those who come near me.  I will display my glory before all the people.’”  And Aaron was silent. –Leviticus 10:3

This is an example of the responsibility of being a spiritual leader.  The priests were held to a higher standard; they were the ones who came near the Lord.  As The Bible Reader’s Companion says “Priests, whose duty is to guard the holiness of the nation, must show themselves holy by strict obedience to God’s Word.”

A few verses later the Lord spoke directly to Aaron without the mediation of Moses,

“You and your descendants must never drink wine or any other alcoholic drink before going into the Tabernacle.  If you do, you will die.  This is a permanent law for you, and it must be observed from generation to generation.  You must distinguish between what is sacred and what is common.” –Leviticus 10:9-10

Heavenly Father, I know that You sent Your son Jesus to rescue us from death.  I know we don’t live under Levitical Law anymore but  I don’t want to take Your holiness for granted.

  • I want to come near the Lord
  • I want to have a healthy fear and reverence of You Lord
  • I don’t want to relate to You in a common way
  • I want my actions and my obedience to display the sacred privilege of serving Him
  • I want to be looking for You glory in my everyday life

Lord, I don’t understand the somber events of today’s reading, but I know this…

I want to see Your glory displayed. I want to come  near You.  I want to be a display of Your holiness!

In Jesus Name.  Amen and Amen!

 

 

©2013, Dianne Guthmuller

Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: Leviticus 12:1 through Leviticus 14:32

What is Your Badge of Holiness? Exodus 39:30

Today’s Scripture Reading: Exodus 37:1-39:31

Holiness.

What’s the first thing you think of when you hear that word?

When I was in the 9th grade my family moved from Panama City, Florida to a very small town 50 miles North called Cottondale.  In one-red-light towns there aren’t many housing options, so my family bought the only house available.

I guess you could say our new house was on “holy” ground.  There was a grave yard behind us that connected to the Methodist church.  Across the street was a monument company that made headstones and vaults for caskets.  To the right of us was an old-fashioned “holiness” church.

Since my room was on the holiness church side (I’m sure glad I didn’t have to look at the grave yard) I love to watch the folks arrive on Sundays and Wednesdays.  All the women looked alike: hair in a bun, no makeup, long skirts.

Was their outward appearance their “badge of holiness”?

Aaron, the first high priest of the Israelites was given a “badge of holiness” by the Lord that attached to his turban.  This “badge” had the words inscribed, HOLY TO THE LORD.

The word holy in this particular context means apartness, holiness, sacredness, and separateness.

Aaron’s plate, his sacred emblem, his badge of holiness was designed by God to set him apart from everyone else.

Maybe, Aaron’s badge of holiness was more for Aaron than the Israelites.

Remember, just a few chapters ago, right after he was anointed as the high priest, Aaron helped the Israelites create a golden calf and watched as they gave it credit for rescuing them from Egypt.

Maybe, God decided to give Aaron something to remind him that he was set apart for sacred duty.

Who knows, maybe that’s what the little ladies at the holiness church had in mind also.

The Word of God doesn’t tell us that we have to dress a certain way (except modestly of course),

but

it’s very clear that He expects the world to know Him by our love (John 13:35)

Humm…it sounds like our love for others is our badge of holiness.

Heavenly Father, set us apart with Your badge of holiness.  Help us to love others in such a way that points them to You.  Lord, make us holy because You are holy.

In Jesus’ Name.  Amen and Amen!

 

 

©2013, Dianne Guthmuller

Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: Exodus 39:32-40:38

Words That Can Take the Fun Out of a Blessing—Ezekiel 36:32

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

“Dianne, I’m going to bless you but you don’t deserve it!”  Ouch!  Those words could sure take the fun out my blessing.

As a parent I’m sad to say that I must have said that to my kids at some point, but hearing it from God, now that’s another story…

Things are looking up for the Israelites, God says He’s bringing them back to their home land; they will be coming home soon (36:8)!

  • I care about you (v. 9)
  • I will pay attention to you (v.9)
  • Your ground will be plowed and your crops planted (v.9)
  • I will greatly increase the populations of Israel (v.10)
  • The ruined cities will be rebuilt (v.10)
  • I will increase your people and your animals (v.11)
  • I will make your more prosperous than you were before (v.11)

Just think about it, the Israelites are in exile in Babylon, thinking they’re never going home, when Ezekiel shares the good news with them.  Surely the celebration plans were already beginning when Ezekiel tells them the sobering reason they are going home—

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 emphasis mine)

“God, you mean it’s not about me?”

“Lord, You would bless me to protect Your Holy Name?”

“Lord, You would bless me so that others would know that You are the Lord?”

What would happen if our prayers, our desires, our priorities, our time, talent, and treasure were all about glorifying the Name of the Lord and causing others to know Him?

We would be world-changers; not frustrated, burned-out, tired,

trying-to-make-it Christians.

How do we stop the “selfishness train” to nowhere and get on the “it’s all about Him rocket-ship” to a life that makes a difference for the Kingdom?

Ask God to do what he promised to do for the Israelites:

And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart.  And I will put my Spirit in you so that you will follow my decrees and be careful to obey my regulations. —Ezekiel 36:26-27

Heavenly Father, in my natural unholy state, I am a disgrace to Your Name, but because of Your Son, Jesus Christ I can have a new heart and a new spirit.  I can be holy, tender and responsive to Your Spirit so that Your Name will be glorified and others will know You more.  Help me walk in that confidence today! Lord, I don’t deserve it but bless me for the honor of Your Name.

In Jesus’ Name.  Amen and Amen!

 

© 2012 Dianne Guthmuller

 Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading:  Ezekiel 37:1 through Ezekiel 39:29; Ezekiel 32:1-16

Life is a Highway—Isaiah 35:8

Today’s Scripture Reading:  Isaiah 34:1 through Isaiah 35:10; Micah 2:1-5 through Micah 5:15

The phrase Life is a Highway has been used is several songs over the years. I can definitely see the similarity between life and a highway.  The beginning of our life is like the beginning of a long road trip.  Sometimes we have good road conditions and interesting places to visit along the way…and sometimes we don’t.  Sometimes we have flat tires, fender benders, lose our way and go round in circles, and many, many times we forget to look at a road map or ask directions.

The writers of Life is a Highway is not the only person who likes to use the metaphor of a highway.

And a great road will go through that once deserted land.
It will be named the Highway of Holiness.
Evil-minded people will never travel on it.
It will be only for those who walk in God’s ways;
fools will never walk there.

Isaiah 35:8

During the Assyrian invasion, the highways were not safe (33:8), but during the Kingdom Age (the Millennial reign of Christ*) it will be safe to travel. There will be one special highway: “The Way of Holiness.” In ancient cities, there were often special roads that only kings and priests could use; but when Messiah reigns, all of His people will be invited to use this highway. ~ From Warren Wiersbe’s Be Comforted.

*Explanation mine

Matthew, the disciple of Jesus and the author of the first New Testament book also used a highway to get his point across to the New Testament Church.

You can enter God’s Kingdom only through the narrow gate. The highway to hell [the road that leads to destruction] is broad, and its gate is wide for the many who choose that way.  But the gateway to life is very narrow and the road is difficult, and only a few ever find it. Matthew 7:13-14

“The highway of Holiness” isn’t some 8-lane super highway, it’s only wide enough for one person—Jesus.  He walks in front and you follow!

Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible defines the word holiness  as– apartness, holiness, sacredness, separateness. Holiness isn’t a particular denomination, a style of dress, or a list of rules; it’s a life-walk following Jesus so closely that you are stepping in His footprints.

Isaiah could speak from experience.  God made it clear to him back in chapter 11 that He did not care if EVERYONE was taking the wide road, God wanted him on the narrow way.

Isaiah had a choice and so do we–Do we go the way of “Everybody’s doing it?” or do we go the narrow way, the highway of holiness?

Why would anyone choose the highway of holiness in a world where the wide road is so glamorous and enticing?

–Safety and protection along our journey, assurance of arriving at our destination (heaven), and living a life that points others to Jesus Christ.  And… because our Lord said, “this is the way you should go!”  (Isaiah 30:21)

Yes, life is like a highway…

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I–

I took the one less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference.


From Robert Frost’s poem, The Road Not Taken


Heavenly Father, we know that each day we make the choice either to step in your footprints or step on the wide road. Give us the boldness to take the road not taken by most, so that we will live for you in such a way that others will come to know you.  In Jesus’ Name.  Amen and Amen!

I know I’ve shared this song before but it touched me as I thought about the Holiness of God.

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Lord, teach me to be holy…

 

© 2012 Dianne Guthmuller
Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading:  Micah 6:1-7:20; 2 Chronicles 32:1-8; 2 Kings 18:13-18; Isaiah 36:1-3; 2 Kings 19:20-37; Isaiah 36:4-22

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