“Holiness: Speak, See, Hear, Think No Evil” September 2

 

"Holiness: Speak, See, Hear, Think No Evil" - God's desire for us is for holiness. Holiness is more than our outward actions. It's about what's going on in our hearts.God’s desire for us is for holiness. Holiness is more than our outward actions. It’s about what’s going on in our hearts.

 

Today’s Readings:
Song of Solomon 3 & 4
Psalm 104.10-23
Proverbs 24.17-18
1 Corinthians 12.1-31

 

Holiness: Speak, See, Hear, Think No Evil

 

Song of Solomon 3 & 4:

Holiness & Our Heart

 

3.5b, “I charge you, O daughters of Jerusalem, by the gazelles or by the does of the field, do not stir up nor awaken love until it pleases.”

This verse emphasizes the importance of keeping sexual passions within the boundaries God has laid down. Whether we are married or single, it’s important to set godly standards of purity for ourselves and, if necessary, make ourselves accountable to godly friends.

Often times, we think that means simply not doing anything we see as sinful. But God’s standard is much higher, it is inner and outer holiness. Job said he had made a covenant with his eyes not to gaze at a virgin ().  Continue reading

“From Grief to Joy” July 28

 

From Grief to Joy - <a class=Nehemiah 8.10 says, "... the joy of the Lord is your strength." How did the people in Nehemiah's day go from grief to joy?" width="400" height="400" srcset="https://i1.wp.com/donnareidland.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/jump-for-joy-Kiras.jpg?w=400 400w, https://i1.wp.com/donnareidland.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/jump-for-joy-Kiras.jpg?resize=150%2C150 150w, https://i1.wp.com/donnareidland.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/jump-for-joy-Kiras.jpg?resize=300%2C300 300w" sizes="(max-width: 400px) 100vw, 400px" data-jpibfi-post-excerpt="" data-jpibfi-post-url="http://donnareidland.com/from-grief-to-joy-july-28/" data-jpibfi-post-title="“From Grief to Joy” July 28" >Nehemiah 8.10 says, “… the joy of the Lord is your strength.” How did the people in Nehemiah’s day go from grief to joy? How did the people in Nehemiah’s day go from grief to joy? Why should we find joy for the same reason?

Also, read about the confidence we can have in life’s storms.


From Grief to Joy

 

& :

The Importance of Different Gifts

 

God was at work. He had prepared Ezra with a great knowledge of the Scriptures and Nehemiah as a great leader with the energy and gifts to accomplish the rebuilding of the walls. What a great example of how God gifts people differently and then brings them together to accomplish His work. Ezra, while a great man of God, had been back in Jerusalem for twelve years, but it wasn’t until Nehemiah came that the Feast of Booths was reinstated, the walls were rebuilt, and other things began to happen.

In the New Testament we are called the body of Christ. Romans 12.4-8 says:

4 For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, 5 so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another. 6 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith; 7 or ministry, let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching; 8 he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.

As believers, each of us has been gifted to serve God and each other. 1 Corinthians 12 says:

“But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all” (v.7).

Every gift is necessary and important.

“If the whole body were an eye, where would be the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where would be the smelling? …And if they were all one member, where would the body be?” (v. 17, 19).

 

From Grief to Joy

 

The result of Ezra’s and Nehemiah’s gifts working together, along with those of others who helped teach the people, was a reverence for the Word. They stood for three hours or more while the Scriptures were read and expounded … they bowed their faces to the ground … they wept in repentance.

It was good that the people wept and were grieved over their sin. We, too, should be grieved when we are confronted with our sin through the reading and study of the Scriptures, the preaching of the Word, or the rebuke of others. But, as Matthew Henry says in his commentary: Continue reading

“Do you know your spiritual gifts?” July 9

 

 spiritual gifts of the Holy Spirit.

All believers receive spiritual gifts at the time of salvation. Do you know your spiritual gifts and are you using them for God’s glory?

 

Do you know your spiritual gifts?

 

Today’s Readings:
2 Chronicles 13 & 14
Psalm 81.1-5
Proverbs 20.22-23
Acts 15.22-41

 

:

Different Gifts & Strengths

In  Paul and Barnabas have a disagreement over whether or not to take John Mark with them on their second missionary journey—so much so that they split up and go two separate ways.

God gifts us all differently and sometimes we will disagree on things even in areas of ministry. I imagine Paul as being very practical. John Mark had deserted them on the previous journey and he wanted someone he knew would be dependable.

thumbs up

Barnabas, on the other hand, was an encourager. In fact, Barnabas was not his actual name. His name was Joses, but he was such an encourager that the apostles nicknamed him Barnabas which means “Son of Encouragement” (). God used their differences to further spread the gospel as two missionary teams went out with their different styles and callings.

All believers receive a spiritual gift or, perhaps, we might call it a gifting as it is often a blend of spiritual gifts in varying amounts (1 Pet. 4.10, 1 Cor. 12). We receive it at the time of our conversion. This spiritual gifting is unique to us and different from our natural talents, although they sometimes work together. Spiritual gifts are not given to make us look good or to use for our own spiritual gain, but for the benefit of the body of Christ (1 Cor. 12.7).  Continue reading

“Housewife or Superhero” April 19

 

"Housewife or Superhero?" Do you think you're too grown up to be a superhero? Today in the book of Judges, you will meet Jael, a housewife turned superhero.Do you think you’re too grown up to be a superhero? Today in the book of Judges, you will meet Jael, a housewife turned superhero.

 

Today’s Readings:
Judges 3 & 4
Psalm 48.9-14
Proverbs 14.18-19
Luke 14.25-35

 

& :

Housewife turned superhero

The book of Judges contains some very interesting stories to say the least!

One of the more surprising, especially if you haven’t read it before, is the story of Jael and her tent peg! God used a “housewife,” a “tent-wife” in this case, to destroy Israel’s and God’s enemy with a hammer and a tent peg. Judges 4:

¹ When Ehud was dead, the children of Israel again did evil in the sight of the Lord. So the Lord sold them into the hand of Jabin king of Canaan, who reigned in Hazor. The commander of his army was Sisera, who dwelt in Harosheth Hagoyim. And the children of Israel cried out to the Lord; for Jabin had nine hundred chariots of iron, and for twenty years he had harshly oppressed the children of Israel.

A Prophetess named Deborah was judging Israel at this time. She had assured the people that God would give them victory over Sisera and Jabin’s army, but when Israel’s commander, Barak, refused to go to battle without Deborah, she told him, God would still deliver them, but he would get no glory for the victory. Instead, a woman would get the credit. Verse 15: Continue reading

September 2 “Speak, see, and hear no evil”

speak see hear no evilGod’s desire for us is that we would be holy just as He is holy. What standards have you set for yourself so that you will speak, see, and hear no evil?

Today’s Readings:
Song of Solomon 3 & 4
Psalm 104.10-23
Proverbs 24.17-18
1 Corinthians 12.1-31

Song of Solomon 3 & 4:

Staying within God’s boundaries

3.5b, “I charge you, O daughters of Jerusalem, by the gazelles or by the does of the field, do not stir up nor awaken love until it pleases.”

This verse emphasizes the importance of keeping sexual passions within the boundaries God has laid down. Whether we’re married or single, it’s important to set godly standards of purity for ourselves and, if necessary, make ourselves accountable to ne 6 “Friends who will speak the truth – have any?”" href="http://donnareidland.com/june-6-friends-who-will-speak-the-truth/" target="_blank">godly friends.

Often times, we think that means simply not doing anything we see as sinful. But God’s standard is much higher, it is inner and outer holiness. Job said he had made a covenant with his eyes not to gaze at a virgin (Job 31.1).

even a foolAnd Ephesians 5 says:

But fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints; neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks.

In fact, we don’t sin outwardly without first having issues in the heart (Prov. 23.7).

18 But those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and they defile a man. 19 For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies (Matt.15.18-19).

So the next time you let you eyes, your mind, or your mouth wander somewhere it shouldn’t go, remember you’re on a slippery slope. We all tend to think we can play around with sin and can “handle it.” But the sinful thoughts we believe we can handle often end up “handling” us!

Continue reading

July 28 “Our sin, His grace” & LINKUP

grace

How do you respond when you come face to face with your own sin? Nehemiah 8.10b, “Do not sorrow, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” The wretchedness of our sin should cause us to rejoice in the amazing grace of God!

Today’s Readings:
Nehemiah 8 & 9
Psalm 89.11-18
Proverbs 21.29-31
Acts 27.27-44

Nehemiah 8 & 9:

The importance of different gifts

God was at work. He had prepared Ezra with a great knowledge of the Scriptures and Nehemiah as a great leader with the energy and gifts to accomplish the rebuilding of the walls. What a great example of how God gifts people differently and then brings them together to accomplish His work. Ezra, a great man of God, had been back in Jerusalem for twelve years, but it wasn’t until Nehemiah came that the Feast of Booths was reinstated, the walls were rebuilt and other things began to happen. Continue reading

May 10 “Use what you have”

We often look at others and wish we had their gifts and talents. We think about our mistakes and, sometimes even, our family history. And we wonder … can God really use me?

can God really use me

Today’s Readings:
1 Samuel 22 & 23
Psalm 59.6-17
Proverbs 16.1-2
John 1.1-28

1 Samuel 22 & 23:

Use what you have!

Have you ever wondered about your spiritual gifts? Or lamented the fact that you don’t have certain talents? Even wondered if you were good at anything?

It’s so easy to look at someone with great musical abilities or teaching gifts or success in the business world and wish that were you.

Perhaps it’s education you believe you lack or experience or opportunity.

Or maybe it’s your past mistakes or your family history or even your race that you believe keeps you from being used by God.

I hope you’ll take some time to read and consider this passage. Look at the men described here … men who would later be called David’s “mighty men.”

“… everyone who was in distress, everyone who was in debt, and everyone who was discontented …” (v. 22.2). These were not the elite or the talented. These were not the princes or the royalty. They were probably not well educated or polished. There were the guys not making it some place else.

Yet … God would make a mighty army out of them. They would one day march into Jerusalem. They would become the king’s men.

But what if they had stayed home and simply bemoaned the fact that they weren’t well bred or well educated or born into different circumstances? Instead, they took a risk. They had to leave something behind and go where God was working.

What do you need to do to be used by God? Is there something you need to leave behind? Do you need to quit grumbling and complaining and get in motion? Where do you see God working?

can God really use me

Maybe you don’t have a degree in theology. Maybe you don’t have a degree at all. But you can go to a Bible study. You can pray and look for someone to disciple you. Perhaps you need to start working on that degree or get some other training. Maybe you can take classes on line. You can read books … or listen to podcasts. There is a wealth of information out there!

Perhaps you don’t have the experience to teach a class right now. But you can volunteer to be an assistant and let that teacher mentor you. Maybe you aren’t the soloist, but you can join the choir. Start where you are. Use what you have available to you. God can do great things with those who will humbly and obediently make themselves available to be used by Him.

One example

I spend a lot of time helping and encouraging men and women who want to be involved in Biblical counseling, for example. There is an abundance of resources and opportunities to get trained today. Many of them are free and doable from home even with kids and jobs and other responsibilities.

Maybe you just want to be better equipped to help or able answer questions when friends ask for advice. There is a wealth of information and training available through the Institute for Biblical Counseling and Discipleship … much of it absolutely FREE!

Many Bible teachers offer their sermons and notes online. There are podcasts, audios, and even, video recordings. (I’ve listed a few below.)

Get in motion! God can and will use you, if you’ll be faithful with the opportunities you have (Lk. 19.11-27)! God is a great Rewarder of faithfulness!

It’s not always smooth sailing

Let’s go on with our passage. Notice how David sought God in these verses, and as he did, God blessed and protected him. But also see how his decision in chapter 21 to deceive Ahimelech had far reaching consequences. David recognized that fact and took responsibility for it in 22.22.

But what about the priests? Why did they have to suffer the consequences of David’s actions?

Walking with the Lord, even stepping out in faith to be used by Him in a new way, doesn’t mean their won’t be setbacks or struggles.

God doesn’t guarantee us a life free of pain and suffering, but in 1 Peter 3 we’re told, “… even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you are blessed (v. 14) … For it is better, if it is the will of God, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil” (v. 17). Continue reading

April 27 “Sin & its bizarre results” & LINK-UP

The consequences of rejecting God are not pretty. As one sin leads to another, the results are sad, costly, and sometimes downright bizarre.

sin

Today’s Readings:
Judges 20 & 21
Psalm 51.12-19
Proverbs 15.1-3
Luke 19.1-27

Judges 20 & 21:

Sin’s bizarre end

Today we wind up one of the saddest periods is Israel’s history—to quote MacArthur, “Judges 17-21 vividly demonstrates how bizarre and deep sin can become when people throw off the authority of God …”

Grab your partner … do-si-do

Can you imagine telling some cousins, we’re sorry you don’t have any women to marry you, but some of our other cousins are having a party and some of the girls will be out back dancing. So just grab some of them and we’ll look the other way!? Or how about offering your virgin daughter to a bunch of rapists or shaking up your complacent relatives by sending a part of your murdered wife’s body to each family. It makes you wonder why the human race has even survived this long … only because of the grace of God!

Our own bizarre consequences

But before we criticize our spiritual ancestors too harshly, we need to look at our nation today. Where has sin and the rejection of God led us?

… to men who bomb, kill, and maim innocent people to further some cause.
… to increasing numbers of people who commit murder-suicide, even of their own children, because of some grievance.
… to aborting our babies when pregnancy is inconvenient.
… to acceptance of homosexuality as just another lifestyle choice.
… to parents who defend their rebellious children instead of allowing them to suffer the consequences of their rebellion.
… to rampant divorce, adultery, abuse, fornication, self-harm, and the list could go on and on.

While laws and vigilance may help, the only real hope is for revival, starting in our own hearts. Then we must prepare ourselves to “be witnesses to [Him] in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth” (Acts 1.8b).

And when we’re tempted to feel like it’s hopeless, we need to remember that a handful of men and women going out in the power of the Holy Spirit to share the love and truth of God, without TV, radio, computers, planes, or any modern conveniences … turned the known world upside down (Acts 17.6)! Continue reading

April 19 “Hammers and tent pegs and you”

What do hammers and tent pegs and a “tent-wife” by the name of Jael have to do with you? Are we too quick to write-off some of the stranger Old Testament stores as irrelevant for today?

hammers and tent pegs

Today’s Readings:
Judges 3 & 4
Psalm 48.9-14
Proverbs 14.18-19
Luke 14.25-35

Judges 3 & 4:

Just a tent-wife

The book of Judges contains some very interesting stories to say the least!

One of the more surprising, especially if you haven’t read it before, is the story of Jael and her tent peg! God used a “housewife,” a “tent-wife” in this case, to destroy Israel’s and God’s enemy with a hammer and a tent peg. Think about the courage it took. What if he had awaken while she was getting a good grip on the hammer? What if she had missed and just managed to awaken him? Can you imagine the fear she might have felt?

What can we learn from Jael’s story or any passage of Scripture, especially when it seems so removed from our life experiences?

Try dialoging with the Lord. Ask questions like. What are You trying to tell me through this passage? Is there a promise here I can claim? Is there a command I should obey? Is there a principle I need to put to work in my life? Is there an example I should follow? And then reread the passage. Continue reading

April 11 “Busy & distracted”

We can all understand how the things of this world can distract us from our devotion to God. But good things, even our service to God, can distract us, too.

 

martha busyToday’s Readings:
Joshua 11 & 12
Psalm 44.4-19
Proverbs 14.1-2
Luke 10.25-42

Joshua 11 & 12:

Occupying the land

Verse 23 is a key verse in chapter 11, “So Joshua took the whole land, according to all that the LORD had said to Moses; and Joshua gave it as an inheritance to Israel according to their divisions by their tribes. Then the land rested from war.” God had given Joshua and the people victory. However, we will see in tomorrow’s reading that there were still pockets where the Israelites did not completely destroy the pagan nations and those people would cause problems for them over and over in the future. Continue reading