The Lord Guides Us: Are we following?

Today I am reading from Exodus 12 & 13 (Passover and ceremony of unleavened bread) , Psalm 21 and Acts 1- Jesus is taken to Heaven and Matthias replaces Judas

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S:SCRIPTURE 

Exodus 13:21 

And the LORD went before them by day in a pillar of cloud to lead them along the way, and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, that they might travel by day and by night.

O: Observation 

Pharaoh has finally released the Israelites! It took ten different plagues… phew. God showed up over and over again for the Israelites. Now God is showing up as He leads the Israelites out of Egypt. They are following him as he goes before them, day and night. It’s awesome to me that God provides a path for them to clearly follow.

A: Application

The Israelites had a Pillar of cloud by day and of fire by night to follow, but what do we have today to see where God is taking us? Yes, He has given us 3 ways! Amazing ways. 

1) His Holy Spirit 

2) Prayer and the ability to meet with God

3) His WORD! The Bible!

P: 

God Almighty, you are awesome. You lead us with your Holy Spirit, you answer our prayers and you meet with us in the Living Word. Forgive us for taking these things for granted. We don’t use these resources as we should. Sometimes, Lord, I talk more about something than I ever pray about it. I seek answers in other venues when you’ve already given them to me in your Word. And when the Holy Spirit prompts me, I have often failed to take orders. You are faithful to forgive, and for that I am thankful. Meet us, Lord. Help us to be more Christ like each day. 

In Jesus’ name we pray, 

Amen

God has a reason for every season: The 10 Plagues

Today I am reading Luke 24 and Exodus 9-11. 

I finished Luke. Wow. I love reading the gospels. I love savoring the words of Christ. Some of you may have read through the gospels during December with us, so you’ll know we just read Luke last month. However, God continues to constantly reveal new revelations to my heart. We serve a mighty God. We serve a God with no love limitations. We serve a God that goes beyond. I ended Luke with a sigh and a heart that was overwhelmed. Lord, we don’t deserve you, but you love us and you declare us worthy of reconciliation. Thank You Jesus. 

Tonight I also walked through Egypt as I flipped through the pages of Exodus. What a phenomenal layering of events and people and personalities tied together with the Hands of God. The beginning chapters of Exodus take us through Moses and him pleading with Pharaoh to let his people go. Here is my verse for the evening: 

S: SCRIPTURE 

Exodus 10:1-2 

Then the Lord said to Moses, “Go to Pharaoh, for I have hardened his heart and the hearts of his officials so that I may perform these signs of mine among them  that you may tell your children and grandchildren how I dealt harshly with the Egyptians and how I performed my signs among them, and that you may know that I am the Lord.”

O : OBSERVATION

Here we see the Lord giving insight to Moses for the meaning behind these plagues. He wants Moses to be able to share this historical story with his children and grandchildren so they may know that God is Lord! Wow! God tells Moses WHY He chose to have ten plagues. That blows my mind. 

A- Application 

God ALWAYS has a GOOD reason for events. Even when we can’t see it. 

P- Prayer 

God, 

You are powerful, all knowing and everywhere with us. You have a purpose for everything. Help us to trust you even when the metaphorical plagues are unending and seemingly ineffective. Let us trust in You Lord. You promise that we can. You are always at work. 

Thank you, Lord

In Jesus’ name, 

Amen

January 23rd, 2017 : Jesus is crucified. 

“Man of Sorrows!” what a name

For the Son of God, who came

Ruined sinners to reclaim.

Hallelujah! What a Savior!

Bearing shame and scoffing rude,

In my place condemned He stood;

Sealed my pardon with His blood.

Hallelujah! What a Savior!

Guilty, vile, and helpless we;

Spotless Lamb of God was He;

“Full atonement!” can it be?

Hallelujah! What a Savior!

Lifted up was He to die;

“It is finished!” was His cry;

Now in Heav’n exalted high.

Hallelujah! What a Savior!

When He comes, our glorious King,

All His ransomed home to bring,

Then anew His song we’ll sing:

Hallelujah! What a Savior!

This song played while reading tonight and it fit perfectly. Here the song Here.

Tonight I read exodus 6-8 and Luke 23. 

I have a very heavy heart after reading Luke 23, so I’m not sharing much. It’s an emotional chapter as they set Jesus up for trial and crucifixtion. All the while, Jesus never once defends himself. My scripture tonight was hard to choose. 

S: Scripture 

Luke 23:23

But they were insistent, demanding with loud voices that He be crucified. And the voices of these men and of the chief priests prevailed. 

O: Observation 

Jesus was presented before Pilate and Pilate was not finding a reason for death in Him (Luke 23:22) and wanted to chastise him and let him go. But the people insisted Jesus be killed. So (24) Pilate gave sentence that it should be as they requested. Jesus never defended himself. 

A: I’m not sure how to apply this except to try to soak in this deep moment of Christ’s life and death. 

P: Prayer

Lord,

You count all the costs of the cross and still count it worth the salvation of your children. I can’t understand that. Help me to be fully aware of this as I go through my day. I am beyond precious to you. Thank you, Jesus. 

Amen.  

But Lord, I am not eloquent 

It’s Sunday night and I’m finishing my journaling. Today was a day that God was flourishing and present in every way during worship at our service. It was amazing. Then I am reading in exodus about Moses and the burning bush. Whoa. Couldn’t imagine that! However, I can relate to Moses arguing with God about why he isn’t going to be able to represent the Lord. Satan loves to attack us, especially when we have been given a task. 
Some days I am utterly beaten down and have to verbally speak the words for Satan to stop attacking my mind and dragging me down. 
When God gives you a task, there is a reason. A seed to be planted, a heart to be lifted, a soul to be saved- not because of you but, perhaps, God can use you because He chooses to. Not to make you any better, but to make you more humble. We aren’t worthy of being used to glorify the kingdom, but for some reason, God wants to use us. He loves us. God met me right where I needed to be tonight, in the conversation of Moses and God. Here is my verse: 
Exodus 4:10 New Living Translation (NLT)
10 But Moses pleaded with the Lord, “O Lord, I’m not very good with words. I never have been, and I’m not now, even though you have spoken to me. I get tongue-tied, and my words get tangled.”
When you read this passage, if you’re like me, you’ll be astonished at the patience of God with Moses. 
Happy Sunday friends. I pray you are encouraged with these words.

January 21st, 2017: How do I understand what I just read in the Bible?

Have you ever read a passage and sat and thought- I have no idea what I just read?! Don’t just move on. Take some time to soak it in… read on to today’s blog post for 2 easy tips to get you started. 

Saturday. I love Saturdays. Full of morning snuggles and birthday parties. I found some time this evening to get my reading in. I admittedly haven’t SOAP journaled, but that’s okay. I’ll write my SOAP tomorrow. Tonight I wanted to share my verse and a slight insight to Bible translations. Tonight I started Exodus! 

Exodus 1-2, Psalm 88 and Luke 21

My verse tonight was 
Luke 21:14-15 NKJV

14 Therefore settle it in your hearts not to meditate beforehand on what you will answer; 15 for I will give you a mouth and wisdom which all your adversaries will not be able to contradict or resist.

A small insight on observation: this is Jesus speaking about the end days. Christians will be persecuted and Jesus says not to worry about what we will say. 

Something I’ve been wanting to share is how to get more out of reading through the Bible. I did a Bible study a few years ago called “How to Read the Bible for Life”. If your church ever offers a class on how to understand the Bible, take it! It was so full of great wealth. Here are a few tips to understand a passage better, most of which I got from that class I took in 2012. 

Here are 2 Simple ways to understand better:

#1: Understand the context of your passage. This is a lot of what the “O”, observation, of SOAP journaling is about. Who is writing? Who is the passage about? What event is being written about? Go a little Deeper and read the notes in the beginning of the book you’re reading if you have a study Bible. These are a wealth of knowledge. 

#2: Look up other translations. Some examples are word for word from the original languages while others are paraphrased. Reading a verse or chapter in a new translation can help you understand because of the word language  chosen may be easier to relate to or understand. 

Here is an example with my verse from today. 

LUKE 21:14-15

New King James Version (NKJV)

14 Therefore settle it in your hearts not to meditate beforehand on what you will answer; 15 for I will give you a mouth and wisdom which all your adversaries will not be able to contradict or resist.

New International Version (NIV)

14 But make up your mind not to worry beforehand how you will defend yourselves. 15 For I will give you words and wisdom that none of your adversaries will be able to resist or contradict.
English Standard Version (ESV)

14 Settle it therefore in your minds not to meditate beforehand how to answer, 15 for I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which none of your adversaries will be able to withstand or contradict.
New Living Translation (NLT)

14 So don’t worry in advance about how to answer the charges against you, 15 for I will give you the right words and such wisdom that none of your opponents will be able to reply or refute you!

I hope these tips help you to dig deeper while reading. 

Happy Saturday,

Jessica 

January 20th, 2017: The end of Genesis. 

How is your Bible journey going? Today I finished Genesis. Oh, the book of Genesis is NOT a boring book about animals following an old man, going two by two on an ark! Quite the contrary, Genesis is a book of great wealth. I read this book just a few months ago while following my church’s reading plan, however, I found many new things I hadn’t found before. That’s the awesome thing about the Bible: it is living and God breathed. Every time you read, God will reveal something new. It’s really awesome! From creation, to the fall of man, the covenant of Abraham and the line of Jacob and Joseph and the twelve tribes of Israel. The Bible is not a boring book; it’s filled with drama, seduction, dreams and visions, sin, promises, and blessings. I know this increases as the story builds, and I love being able to read these words and meet with God and learn and see Him on every part of this journey. 

Today I read Genesis 49-50, Psalm 8 and Luke 20 From my reading plan. If you haven’t chosen a reading plan yet, check this out

Today my verse was: 

S: Scripture 

Psalm 8:3-5

When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers,

The moon and the stars, which You have ordained,

What is man that You are mindful of him,

And the son of man that You visit him?

For You have made him a little lower than the angels,

And You have crowned him with glory and honor.

O: Observation

The psalmist is amazed by the fact that God, the creator of all things, would be mindful of man. 

A: Application

How can we take moments of our days and soak in the amazement of our Holy God and creator who thinks so highly of us- mere mortals? As I walk through the psalms, I love to rewrite the psalm as a mirror and in my own words. It helps me to understand and apply and meditate on the words. 

P: prayer 

God,

You are Holy, Mighty, Glorious and all knowing. You are the creator of all things beautiful and splendid. You have made man, and you are mindful of each one of us. You number the hairs in our heads; you think good thoughts and have great plans for us. Lord, we don’t deserve any of this, but you love us. We cannot work hard enough to earn your love, but we can trust you and love you. We can glorify you and live for you. 

Help us to give you glory. 

In Jesus’ name, 

Amen


January 19th, 2017: Psalm 10:4


Today my readings were from Genesis 47-48, Psalm 10 and Luke 19.

S:Scripture 

Psalm 10:4

The wicked in his proud countenance does not seek God;God is in none of his thoughts.

O: Observation 

The psalmist seems to be reflecting on his pain of feeling forgotten by God. It seems the wicked persevere without any punishment. The end of the psalm, the psalmist reflects on how God is in control. 


A: When it seems evil is not able to be overcome by good, we need to remember that God is sovereign and He is in control. 

P: Prayer 

Dear God, 

As we reflect on the fallen world we live in, help us to remember that you are in control. When chaos ensues and it seems all righteousness is overpowered by wickedness, let us trust in you. 

In Jesus’s name, 

Amen 

January 18th, 2017… Patience in Persistence


Ahhh… what’s your Wednesday like? Do you have days of the week that get a little hectic? I pray for extra patience on Wednesdays because I really need it! Our Wednesdays our hectic. We have awana club and practice and running from work, to home, to club, to home…and- well, Wednesday’s go quickly and I am a little worn out by the end of the day. But it is all good things and some days are meant to be filled up. 

This morning I made a point to be sure to set my alarm for very early so I could have my coffee and read my Bible. I am so glad I did because it set the tone for the whole day! 

Today I read Genesis 44-46 and Luke 18. Genesis story is so complex and deep and we continue into Egypt and Joseph revealing himself as a brother at the end of chapter 46!! I wanted to keep on reading, but I had to stay on track. I’ll get to continue that drama tomorrow. Today my verse comes from Matthew. I love the applicable truths that Jesus speaks. Some are more profound and complex than others, but my verse is so true and so needing of reminding. 

S: SCRIPTURE 

Luke 18:1

Then He spoke a parable to them, that men always ought to pray and not lose heart

O: OBSERVATION 

Jesus is about to tell a parable, but before Luke goes into the words of Jesus, he explains why Jesus told this parable and what it was about. 

1) men ought to pray 

2) men ought to not lose heart (while praying) 

Jesus goes on to share the Parable of the persistent widow

A: Jesus often speaks and tells stories in parables. I think one thing I can apply here is he generally gets his idea across in a simple and concise manner. To the point. Here in the parable of the persistent widow, Jesus shows the importance of continually praying. He uses contrast instead of side by side comparison to show how God cares about our prayers and answers us when we keep seeking. (Note: He doesn’t always answer how we anticipate or ask for). Luke 18:6-7 (NIV) says:

6 And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. 7 And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off?

P: PRAYER

Lord, 

Help us to keep your words in our hearts. You tell us so plainly what you need us to know. You do answer prayers, and you also tell us (many times) to pray continually; pray without ceasing; pray at all hours. Help us to look up instead of outwards and around for answers. Help us to be patient in our persistence. Let us not lose hope. You are our adversary, our guardian and just judge. 

Thank you Lord, 

In Jesus’ name, 

Amen

Tuesday January 17th,2017

We are reading through the Bible in 2017, I am following The Divine Mentor Reading Plan this year and reading through the NKJV (New King James Version) translation. Stay tuned for a blog on my favorite translations and the differences between them. If you’re ready to join and haven’t picked a Bible Reading Plan, I’ve compiled 15 options for you in this blog post. If you’re already following along, even better! I’m happy to be on this journey with all of you who are hitting your goal of reading the Bible in 2017. You can also join us in our group for more encouragement and a place to have community Join Us HERE.

Genesis 42-43

Psalm 5

Luke 17

I am SOAP journaling my daily experience and love being able to see where God has taken me, I encourage you to consider it too as you read along! It’s a perfect way to have a simple quiet time with God each day. 

Here is my SOAP journal from today 

S: SCRIPTURE 

Psalm 5:11-12 

But let all those rejoice who put their trust in You;

Let them ever shout for joy, because You defend them;

Let those also who love Your name

Be joyful in You.

For You, O Lord, will bless the righteous;

With favor You will surround him as with a shield.

O: OBSERVATION

The psalmist is reflecting upon the goodness of God and his guidance. Psalm 5 is notated as “a prayer for guidance”. The beginning of the psalm asks God to “give ear to my words, consider my mediation”, and goes on to say qualities of the Lord. That he hears, he listens, he hates workers of iniquity and does not take pleasure in wickedness or evil. The psalmist takes time to exalt the Lord and examine His qualities. He ends with my favorite part, reflecting on the joy and praise of those who trust in the Lord and His protection.

A: APPLICATION

I love the poetry of the psalms. It reminds me to reflect on the qualities of our Holy God and all He has done and will do for those who trust in Him. May we take time to reflect on His immeasurable goodness. When we do that, we will inevitably be filled with praise! 

P: PRAYER

Lord, I trust in you, let me rejoice. I know you defend me, so I praise your name and shout for joy. I love your name and all you do, let me be filled with your joy and let that overflow into my daily actions. You bless the riteous, let me follow your lead in the steps of righteousness. You give me favor and surround me with a shield, let me praise your name for my protection and favor. Let me meditate on these things to be filled with praise. 

In Jesus’ name,

Amen 

Monday January 16th, 2017: God’s favor in difficult times

We are reading the Bible in 2017, and if you’re new to joining us you’re never too late to jump in. You can check out your options for Bible reading plans and Join our Facebook group for daily encouragement and accountability. I personally and reading through The Divine Mentor reading plan- which actually goes through Old Testament once and New Testament twice. I also encourage everybody to SOAP journal if they’re up to it. It really helps to remind you of what God has shown you and records the year long journey. So, what did I read today? 

Genesis 39-41

Luke 16

S: SCRIPTURE

Luke 39:21 (NKJV)

21 But the Lord was with Joseph and showed him mercy, and He gave him favor in the sight of the keeper of the prison.


O: OBSERVATION 

Joseph has been wrongly accused of attempting to lay with his Master’s wife. In reality, she had begged him more than once, and because Joseph is an honest man, he would not. The master’s wife then made Joseph look guilty and now Joseph’s master has thrown Joseph (read: INNOCENT… also, he is in Egypt because his brothers were awful to him and made it look like he died after they dumped him into a hole!). So, here is Joseph. Alone, mistreated, and wrongly accused as an innocent man in jail. However, God was with Joseph, He showed him mercy and even put him in favor with the prison guard! 


A: Application 

In this world, Christians and those who have found favor with God, will have Satan attempting to attack us at all angles. We will face hardship, unfair and wrong accusations when we follow our faith, and even batalant lies against us. Satan wants us to only see the wrong; but God clearly has shown us in the story if Joseph, that even amongst the most confusing and lonely times, HE is with us; He is for us; He is granting grace and provision. Let us believe this! 

P: PRAYER 

LORD, 

Oh, Heavenly Father. 

Thank you for your word and the genealogy and history you’ve given us through your Word! Thank you that it is alive and breathing. Thank you that we can meet with you daily. Lord…  Remind us when we feel that all is at a low or loss, that you have great thoughts and plans towards us. That you are constantly blessing our paths and providing blessings. We pray that as we continue reading through the amazing history of Genesis (and the awesome miracles of Luke), that you help us to be in awe. Fill the gaps of what we may not understand, and help us to not just read but apply and change our lives to be modeled more like Jesus. 

Thank you Lord, 

In Jesus’ name, 

Amen