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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, 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, Why Do Good People Die Before Their Time? —Isaiah 57:1-2

 

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Today’s Scripture Reading: Isaiah 52:13- 57:21

Heavenly Father, so much about this life doesn’t make sense. Evil, suffering, death—there is no formula to follow. The evil live long lives, the good die prematurely. Pain and suffering happen to those who try so hard to avoid it and people who live on the edge and flirt with death seem to flourish.

Lord, I’ve served You and read Your Word long enough to know that there is no “one answer” to life’s hard questions. You are God and only You know “why” things happen but this scripture gives me insight and comfort. It shows me Your heart. It lets me know You are looking out for Your children’s best interest.

Good people pass away;
the godly often die before their time.
But no one seems to care or wonder why.
No one seems to understand
that God is protecting them from the evil to come.
For those who follow godly paths
will rest in peace when they die. —Isaiah 57:1-2

I’ve had people I love die “before their time.” I still shake my head in disbelief knowing they’re gone from this world. “It doesn’t make sense,” or “God doesn’t make sense” is the thought that crosses our minds. The longer I live and the more evil I see, the more I start to understand that it’s not You who doesn’t make sense, it’s living in this world that doesn’t make sense.

Father, once again I’m reminded that I see life through a pin-hole and You see and know it all. It all comes down to trust. Do I trust You to do what’s best for me and the people I love?

Lord…

I don’t always trust You.

I want to trust You.

I need to trust You.

If I can’t trust You, who can I trust.

I’m trying to trust You.

I have moments of trusting You.

I’m learning to trust to more everyday!

Lord, help me to trust You when life doesn’t make sense.

In Jesus Name. Amen and Amen!

©2014, Dianne Guthmuller

*Unless noted all scripture references are from the New Living Translation (NLT)
Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: Isaiah 58:1-63:14

Lord, Please Use My Mistakes to Save Others–Jonah 1:16

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

Jonah purposely rebelled against the Lord by heading in the opposite direction of Nineveh, his next “ministry opportunity.”

This wasn’t an optional assignment.  God went after Jonah and some innocent bystanders, the crew of a ship headed to Joppa, got caught in the middle of Jonah’s mistake.  

At first it looked as though they were going down with Jonah…

But the Lord hurled a powerful wind over the sea, causing a violent storm that threatened to break the ship apart.  —Jonah 1:4

The crew came to the conclusion that Jonah was the problem:

Then the crew cast lots to see which of them had offended the gods and caused the terrible storm. When they did this, the lots identified Jonah as the culprit.  “Why has this awful storm come down on us?” they demanded. “Who are you? What is your line of work? What country are you from? What is your nationality?”  —Jonah 1:7-8

Once Jonah told them he was a Hebrew and a worshiper of the Lord, the God of Heaven who made the sea and the land (Jonah 1:9) AND that he was running away from the Lord (Jonah 1:10), they knew they were going down unless they did something quick.  They asked Jonah what they should do…

“Throw me into the sea,” Jonah said, “and it will become calm again. I know that this terrible storm is all my fault.” —Jonah 1:12

The sailors tried everything they could think of to save Jonah, the ship, and themselves.

Instead, the sailors rowed even harder to get the ship to the land. But the stormy sea was too violent for them, and they couldn’t make it.  Then they cried out to the Lord, Jonah’s God. “O Lord,” they pleaded, “don’t make us die for this man’s sin. And don’t hold us responsible for his death. O Lord, you have sent this storm upon him for your own good reasons.”   —Jonah 1:13-14

Everything they tried failed.  So…

Then the sailors picked Jonah up and threw him into the raging sea, and the storm stopped at once.  —Jonah1:15

The storm was about Jonah’s mistake, it wasn’t about the sailors.  But God used Jonah’s mistake to show Himself to the sailors, so that they could know Jonah’s God.

The sailors were awestruck by the Lord’s great power, and they offered him a sacrifice and vowed to serve him.  –Jonah 1:16

Friends, even our mistakes aren’t just about us.  God can use our biggest and greatest mistakes for His Glory and His Plan.  Give Your mistakes to God and watch Him use them to cause others to know Him and serve Him .

Heavenly Father, I have made some “Jonah-size” mistakes.  I give them to You.  Use them for Your Glory!

In Jesus’ Name.  Amen and Amen!

©2014, Dianne Guthmuller

Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: Amos 1:1-6:14

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

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

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

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

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

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

1. We sin

2. We disappoint You

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

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

5. You provide for our rescue

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

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

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

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

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

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

In Jesus Name. Amen and Amen!

 

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

Lord, I Don’t Want to Be a Troublemaker—2 Samuel 20:1

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

Heavenly Father, these words jumped off the page at me: There happened to be a troublemaker. 

How terrible to be recognized in Your Word as a troublemaker!

There happened to be a troublemaker there named Sheba son of Bicri, a man from the tribe of Benjamin. Sheba blew a ram’s horn and began to chant:

“Down with the dynasty of David!
We have no interest in the son of Jesse.
Come on, you men of Israel,
back to your homes!” —2 Samuel 20:1

Lord, there have been times in my life when being a troublemaker was my claim to fame. Just like Sheba I made trouble with my mouth. It’s always been a challenge. It was so bad when I was in my 30s that the Holy Spirit felt I needed a scripture song to remind me to keep my mouth shut unless it met the following criteria:

And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you. —Philippians 4:8-9

These verses were set to music and I heard them over and over in my head. It was so convicting that I had to keep myself completely away from some of my friends because I couldn’t control my mouth when I was around them. I’m sad to admit this, but it’s true.

Lord, I don’t want to allow the sin of gossip to creep into my life. I realize that an emotion that feeds gossip is jealousy.  I actually had this happen yesterday and felt emotions, entertained thoughts, and made comments that were traits of a troublemaker.

Jesus, thank You for Your Word. Thank You for convicting me quickly. Forgive me and help me to go straight to You when feelings of jealousy creep into my life.

Lord, help me to remember this formula:  Jealousy + gossip = a full-fledged troublemaker

In Jesus Name. Amen and Amen!

 

©2014, Dianne Guthmuller

Tomorrow’s  Scripture Reading: 2 Samuel 22:1-51, Psalm 18

Lord, Thank You for Substitutes—Numbers 3:11

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Today’s Scripture Reading: Numbers 2:1-3:51

Heavenly Father, as we move from Leviticus to Numbers, I am amazed at Your attention to detail! How can I question Your concern about the daily “goings-on” in my life when all through Your Word You are the God of order. You are in the details of our daily life.

Lord, when You gave the instructions for the first Passover it sounded like a way to get Pharaoh’s attention, rescue Your chosen people and make a way for them to remember the rescue forever, but it was much more.

On that first Passover a lamb had to be sacrificed so that each Israelite family’s first-born son would be redeemed. On that day God forever set apart the first-born of Israel and declared they were His:

And the Lord said to Moses, “Look, I have chosen the Levites from among the Israelites to serve as substitutes for all the firstborn sons of the people of Israel. The Levites belong to me,for all the firstborn males are mine. On the day I struck down all the firstborn sons of the Egyptians, I set apart for myself all the firstborn in Israel, both of people and of animals. They are mine; I am the Lord.”   —Numbers 3:11-13

In today’s reading the Levites became the substitutes for each first-born male. This clan would carry this responsibility for many years but not forever. Our forever-substitute was a once-in-for-all, it is finished, God made a way where there was no way kind of substitute—Jesus, the Son of the One, True God. Our Savior, Redeemer, the spotless lamb, our high priest! Father, I am in awe of You! I am in awe of the way You made a way of escape!

Jesus, thank you for being my substitute!

 

In Your mighty Name!

Amen and Amen!

©2014, Dianne Guthmuller
Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: 4:1-5:31

Lord, What Do Think of My Choices? –Leviticus 18:1-3

 

Today’s Scripture Reading: Leviticus 17:1-19:37

Heavenly Father, as I read about the many ways in which the Israelites could become defiled, I thought what does that word really mean?

Dictionary.com agrees with the biblical meaning of the word defiled:

  1. To make foul, dirty, or unclean; pollute; taint; debased.
  2. To violate the chastity of.
  3. To make impure for ceremonial use; desecrate.

Lord, many things in these two chapters of defilements are still seen as sinful acts by today’s Christ followers, but there are several things that we wouldn’t think twice about; like trimming the hair on our temples or trimming our beards (Leviticus 19:27).

Heavenly Father, what do You think about our choices?

Lord, it would be so easy to talk about the sinfulness of our country, celebrities, or next-door neighbors and then we could be off the hook.

But, that’s not what our prayer journey is about.  This year we’re focusing on ourselves and our lives as it relates to Your Word.

So Lord…

What do You see in me?

What do You think about my choices?

What areas in my life seem foul, dirty, unclean, or in violation of the chastity You expect from Your children?

In my humanness I want to say, “We don’t have to live by the Levitical law!”  While that is thankfully true, I still believe we are called to live a life that is pleasing to You Lord, a life that’s not defiled.

Holy Spirit, speak to us.  Show us the areas in our lives that need some work.  We want to be pure in Your eyes.  Jesus, make us like you!  Help us to have a clean heart (Psalm 51:10).

In Jesus’ Name.  Amen and Amen!


©2014, Dianne Guthmuller

 

Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: Leviticus 20:1-22:33

Jesus, Thank You for Being Our Scapegoat—Leviticus 16:20-22

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Today’s Scripture Reading: Leviticus 14:33-16:34

Heavenly Father, today’s reading gives us more examples of…

  • Why it’s important to read all the Bible
  • How the Old Testament and New Testament fit together
  • Our desperation to be clean and pure
  • The failure of rules and regulations to purify
  • Our need of a savior

“Aaron will present his own bull as a sin offering to purify himself and his family, making them right with the Lord. Then he must take the two male goats and present them to the Lord at the entrance of the Tabernacle. He is to cast sacred lots to determine which goat will be reserved as an offering to the Lord and which will carry the sins of the people to the wilderness of Azazel. Aaron will then present as a sin offering the goat chosen by lot for the Lord. The other goat, the scapegoat chosen by lot to be sent away, will be kept alive, standing before the Lord. When it is sent away to Azazel in the wilderness, the people will be purified and made right with the Lord.  —Leviticus 16:6-10

The children of Israel were finding out very quickly that trying to stay pure before the Lord was a 24 hour-a-day job. Heavenly Father, I’m amazed at the lengths You went to make a way of escape for Moses and his people. The processes You put in place were mind-blowing. 

I sometimes wonder, “why didn’t You just send Jesus to die for our sins in the time of Moses?” After all, You knew we couldn’t keep “The Law”.  But the more I study Your Word and understand Your nature I realize You knew we needed a savior but we had to discover that. We (Your people) had to get in touch with our sinfulness.

Lord, You knew we needed a scapegoat, someone to transfer our sins to and a way to remove those sins from Your presence. You gave us and example of what that would look like in Leviticus:

“When Aaron has finished purifying the Most Holy Place and the Tabernacle and the altar, he must present the live goat. He will lay both of his hands on the goat’s head and confess over it all the wickedness, rebellion, and sins of the people of Israel. In this way, he will transfer the people’s sins to the head of the goat. Then a man specially chosen for the task will drive the goat into the wilderness. As the goat goes into the wilderness, it will carry all the people’s sins upon itself  into a desolate land.  —Leviticus 16:20-22

Lord, I’m sure Moses and the people in today’s reading were very thankful for the scapegoat. I’m sure they were happy when they saw the goat leave the camp with “their sins.” Oh how they would be amazed to know that many generations later there would be One who would carry our past, present, and future sins to the cross and die for us and those sins would be gone forever.

Lord, as we read pages and pages of regulations, rules, and laws, help us to realize how helpless and hopeless we would be without Jesus!

Father, thank You for making a way of escape!

Thank You for Jesus!

 

Amen and Amen!

 


Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: 17:1-19:37

Lord, I Didn’t Know That Was Wrong–Leviticus 4


Today’s Scripture Reading: Leviticus 4:1-6:30

Heavenly Father, in today’s reading Moses made it very clear that saying, “I didn’t know” was no excuse for sin.

How many times have we said…

It’s easier to ask forgiveness than permission.

Lord, you must laugh when we think that attitude will work in our relationship with You.  After all, You know every thought we’ve had or ever will have.

Jesus, I’m so thankful for the assurance of my salvation (Romans 10:13).  I’m thankful for the grace you’ve extended to me all the while knowing that I not perfect.  But Lord I also know that You expect me to love You enough to strive for a pure heart (Matthew 5:8).

Knowing Your Word and Your nature is one of the ways we strive for a pure heart.

Lord, help us not to be deceived into thinking ignorance is bliss. Draw us to Your Word.  Teach us Your Ways.  We want to be like You!

Lord, forgive us for taking Your Word for granted.  Show us the areas in our lives that aren’t pleasing to You.

Lord, we want to know You more!

In Jesus’ Name.  Amen and Amen!


©2014, Dianne Guthmuller

 

Tomorrow’s Devotion: Leviticus 7:1-8:36

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