July 22 Holy Real Estate

Image by Stephen Corbett

Image by Stephen Corbett


2 Chronicles 6:12-18:10; Romans 7:14-8:8; Psalms 18:1-15; Proverbs 19:24-25

Thus Solomon finished the house of the Lord…Then, the Lord appeared to Solomon in the night and said to him, “I have heard your prayers and have chosen this place for myself as a house of sacrifice. When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command the locusts to devour the land, or send pestilence among my people, if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and heal their land. Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayers made in this place.” 2 Chronicles 7:11-16

“Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own for you were bought with a price, so glorify God in your body.” 1 Corinthians 6:19-20

“For we are the temple of the living God as God said, “I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them and I will be their God and they shall be my people.” 2 Corinthians 6:16

House hunting is not for the faint of heart. Our most recent list of must-haves included: 2 car garage, 2 bathrooms, 4 bedrooms, finished family room, fireplace, dishwasher, self-cleaning oven, and a well-kept landscaped yard within the city limits to name a few. After looking at many, many houses we had to reassess our list, re-prioritize, make some concessions. We did at last find a house we could make into a home that would meet our family’s needs.

Solomon acquired the solemn task of making God a home from his father, King David. Thankfully, David kept great notes of all the detailed information that the Lord specified regarding His future temple. Solomon faithfully followed the blueprints and created a magnificent Holy piece of Real Estate.

Though the temple was perfect, Solomon and the people he governed were not. Sin and rebellion followed. The grand temple was destroyed. God packed up and left. Or so it seemed….

God did not, however, stop listening to the prayers of repentance. He continued to forgive and restore and preserve the faithful. He ultimately sent His only son, Jesus, who radically changed the housing market once and for all on the Cross. By his death and resurrection Christ redefined His Father’s Home.

Through Water and the Word in Baptism, He creates his home in the believer’s heart. Christ’s righteousness adorns this home and fills it with light. God grant that we treat your home with utmost respect and care. May we not abuse it or pollute it or neglect to fill it with Your Word. May we meet you there daily in prayer and praise. And when our sins mess it up, let us confess our sins and let Your righteousness cleanse it and make it new again. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.

July 21 Monday Montage

Image by Brandon Johnson

Image by Brandon Johnson

2 Chronicles 1:1-3:17;  Romans 6:1-23;  Psalm 16:1-11;  Proverbs 19:20-21

“Solomon, son of David established himself firmly over his kingdom for the Lord his God was with him and made him exceedingly great. ”  2 Chronicles 1:1

 

“Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?  We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.”  Romans 6:3-4

 

“Lord you have assigned me my portion and my cup;  you have made my lot secure.  You have made known to me the path of life and you will fill me with joy in your presence.”  Psalm 16:5,11

 

“Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.”  Proverbs 19:21

 

Snapshots of our God

in His Holy Word,

Leading the world

through

earthen vessels

to bring glory to Him.

Life through death,

Baptism raises up

people free to live

under grace,

to listen, to heed

their Savior’s voice,

no longer driven

by sin’s whims.

Deeply secure

in God’s provision

for body and soul,

joy is ever present

as He is ever present.

Design our plans

to match yours, O God,

so that Your will be done

on earth as it is

in Heaven.

Thank you for this Monday montage–a picture Your Holy ways, Your truths, Your life in ours, O Lord.  Grant that we live this day for You.  In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.

July 19 Holy Hill

Photo by M Jones

Photo by M Jones

1 Chronicles 28:1-29:30;  Romans 5:6-21;  Psalm 15:1-5; Proverbs 19:18-19

“Lord, who may dwell in your sanctuary?  Who may live on your holy hill?

He whose walk is blameless

and who does what is righteous,

who speaks truth from the heart

and has no slander on his tongue,

who does his neighbor no wrong

and casts no slur on his fellowman,

who despises a vile man

but honors those who fear the Lord,

who keeps his oath

even when it hurts,

who lends money without usery

and does not accept a bribe

against the righteous.

He who does these things

will never be shaken.”

Psalm 15:1-15

Clean and holy art Thou

Perfect and blameless

I’m not.

But Christ in my heart

by faith

leads me to Your holy hill.

His righteousness

I bear,

doors open wide

and admit a forgiven

sinner there.

I may not always

speak the truth

or do my neighbor good.

I may delight

in unholy things

and fail to do

what I should.

Faith takes hold

when evil lurks

and tries to rattle me.

“I know you’re weak,

but I am strong,”

my Savior comforts

me.

He who never once did sin

leads me on

to reach

Your holy hill.

Thank you, Lord Jesus, that through your righteousness I will stand firm on Your holy hill.  May I seek to do those things that please you:  to speak the truth, gossip not, help my neighbor, abhor evil, rejoice in the good, keep my promises, and serve my fellowman to your glory.  In your name I pray, Amen.

 

July 18 Lend A Hand

Photo by Aaron Watt

Photo by Aaron Watt

1 Chronicles 26:12-27:34; Romans 4:13-5:5;  Psalm 14:1-7;  Proverbs 19:17

“He who is kind to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will reward him for what he has done.”  Proverbs 19:17

 

Many ways of being kind,

many kinds of poor.

Lord, let me see

the ways to reach

those

who need more

love,

forgiveness,

peace,

healing,

deliverance

which you

abundantly give.

Let me lend as though

lending to You

not counting the cost

as you have freely

done for me.

You lent your blood,

your sweat,

your life

to cover all

my sin.

The Father sees

not me, but you

and bids me

enter in.

I can never repay you for this

immeasurable

gift,

but may I live my life

by faith

as a little child

to lend my hand,

my smile,

a warm embrace,

an encouraging word

in Your dear name,

Amen

July 17 Rescued

Photo by Simeon Hughes

Photo by Simeon Hughes

1 Chronicles 24:1-26:11;  Romans 4:1-12;  Psalm 13:1-6;  Proverbs 19:15-16

“How long, O Lord?  Will you forget me forever?  How long will you hide your face from me?  How long must I take counsel in my soul and have sorrow in my heart all the day?  How long shall my enemy be exalted over me?  Consider and answer me, O Lord, my God;  light up my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death, lest my enemies say, “I have prevailed over him,” lest my foes rejoice because I am shaken.  But I have trusted in your steadfast love;  my heart shall rejoice in your Salvation.  I will sing to the Lord for he has dealt bountifully with me.” Psalm 13: 1-6

There are days when the sun

shines brightly,

but my eyes dimly see

for the anguish

which clouds my vision.

Dark times

deep inside me

trouble roils

and evil coils to strike

again and again

without relief.

I cry out, “My God,

why have you forsake me?”

Or so it seems.

It is not so.

He has not forsaken,

nor forgotten.

He cried out the same

from high upon

the accursed tree.

My Savior was forsaken.

It seems his enemies

did triumph

and that he lost

to sin, death and the devil.

Yet He was raised

to light up my eyes

and give me hope;

to release me from

the inward snares.

Faith springs me free,

breaks the bonds

of sin.

I rejoice in my Savior

and once again

see clearly

through His eyes

the path laid out

for me.

Lord God, thank you for rescuing me time and again from the dark places where my own efforts fail and land in a heap.  Your Salvation reaches out to me and lifts me out of all my troubles and sets me on solid ground.  For this I give you thanks and praise.  Thank you Lord Jesus, for your unending grace and mercy.  Help me live this day for you.  In your Name I pray, Amen.

July 16 All I Know

Image by Matt Dalrymple

Image by Matt Dalrymple

1 Chronicles 22:1-23:32;  Romans 3:9-31;  Psalm 12:1-8;  Proverbs 19:13-14

“For there is no distinction:  for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and we are justified by his grace as a gift through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith.”  Romans 3:22-25

All I know is that my faithful parents brought me to the waters of Baptism where I received the forgiveness of sins and the gift of faith.

All I know is that even as a child God had called me to be His own, to follow Him, learn from Him, be like Him.

All I know is that my life is far from perfect, but I desire to serve my God and King and that Salvation’s gift keeps the door open to His Presence.

All I know is that He loves me dearly, hears my prayers, and desires my worship and praise.  He forgives my sins and grants me the Holy Spirit whose fruit He nurtures day by day.

All I know is that without Him I would be lost in this world with no hope for the next.

I’m glad that all I know is Him–Jesus Christ and Him crucified, resurrected, and coming again!

Lord God, thank you for the gift of faith through your Son Jesus Christ–a priceless treasure.  May I share what I know–what I believe–what I have received by faith with others.  For Jesus’ sake, Amen.

 

July 15 Who’s Counting?

Image by Phyl Brown

Image by Phyl Brown

1 Chronicles 19:1-21:30;  Romans 2:25-3:8;  Psalm 11:1-7;  Proverbs 19:10-12

“Then Satan stood against Israel and incited David to number Israel.”  1 Chronicles 21:1

Counting is a bad thing?

Why did King David need to know how many fighting men he had at his disposal?  He had already seen first hand that it didn’t matter if his army was outnumbered, the Lord fought with them and for them and their enemies were always defeated.

With God on our side, we have never reason to fear–or to count:

pennies,

     friends,

        or shoes in our closet.

Awards,

    degrees,

         or promotions.

Years of experience,

     volunteer hours,

         or tithes given.

There is no need to count.

But being sinful as we are–we do.

Lord God, in your great mercy forgive us when we put more faith in the things we can count rather than in you alone.  You who gave your live fro us so that we might not be counted under the law, strengthen our faith.  Help us to always count on your promises and to count the many blessings we have received from you–the greatest gift being the salvation of our souls.  We give you our thanks and praise this day!  In Jesus’ name, we pray, Amen.