Exodus 1-2 B

I’m so thankful for the inclusion of the women’s stories in today’s chapters.

The midwives. They are brave and saving lives! What a reminder to obey God’s authority over anyone else we find ourselves under. I’ve always found their actions a great example of how godly obedience isn’t always black and white. Are we suppose to lie and sneak around behind authorities? No. But they make a judgment call and are greatly rewarded by the Lord because of their wisdom and reverence. Staying in rhythm with God’s heart will make choices like that one a no-brainer.

Moses’ mom. SLOW. CLAP. I can’t even fathom sending a newborn baby down the river, because that was my best option to preserve his life. Sometimes we have to let someone go to save them. Motherhood is intense and a constant lesson of trusting God while we take care of the lives he’s entrusted us with.

Miriam. I imagine her young here, following the floating basket down the river until it’s pulled from the water. But her quick response that lands Moses’ back home for a few years seems so wise and mature! She is so brave; approaching Pharaoh’s daughter and making bold suggestions. Godliness is sticking your neck out for the vulnerable.

The rest of Exodus is patriarchal and will focus a lot on great, godly men. But for now, on the eve of Mother’s Day, reflect on the godly women in your life and pray over them.

-Carly

Jonah B

I hear a lot of people frame this story as if Jonah was afraid to go to Nineveh, but fear wasn’t his main deterrent for bringing the LORD’s message.

After all the mayhem with the storm, his near drowning, his salvation through the fish, his eventual obedience leading to Nineveh’s repentance and forgiveness, we find out his clear motivation:

“Please LORD, was not this what I said while I was still in my own country? Therefore in order to forestall this I fled to Tarshish, for I knew that You are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness, and one who relents concerning calamity.” (4:2)

He goes on to ask the LORD to kill him, because that would be better than to witness the salvation of his enemies. He would have rather the LORD let him drown in the sea than see the Ninevites receive mercy.

I love the LORD’s reply: “Do you have any good reason to be angry?” (4:4) “Should I not have compassion on Nineveh, the great city in which there are more than 120,000 persons who do not know the difference between their right and left hand, as well as many animals?” (4:11)

The attitude of Israel to keep the LORD to themselves is something too easily mirrored in us. We shrug at the wrath of the LORD when it comes to our enemies, but we cherish His tender heart towards us. It makes sense. It feels good. We like to point to Romans 9 and say, “who are we to argue with a God who choose us and didn’t choose them?”. 

Yikes. The LORD has compassion on all His creation.

Let’s search our hearts to see if there is any of this grossness in ourselves. Is there someone, or some group of people, you would like to see the wrath of God come against? Sometimes I think we use the “come back Jesus” line as an excuse to not get involved, but is the LORD calling you to wade into the territory of your enemies? Ask Him about it today.

-Bethany

Proverbs 31 B

This chapter use to really piss me off. I felt pigeon-holed and crammed into a box I didn’t feel like I fit into. Like we often say around here, Scripture can take a beating. It holds up. You can use it as a punching bag for your hurt and pain inflicted by the church or men or God, etc, and it will still be holy, true and perfect. It’s alive and will work to reconcile you with God; it will smooth over your wounds like a soothing balm.

(I still remember a conversation I had with a friend over ten years ago about this chapter. His words redeemed it greatly for me and allowed me to see it with fresh eyes. Our relationship with the Bible is just that, a relationship. It will grow and change!)

I love what Beth wrote about verses 10-31 and encourage you to revisit it.

“Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves; ensure justice for those being crushed. Yes, speak up for the poor and helpless, and see that they get justice.” 31:8-9

We are commanded to speak up. Don’t feel bogged down by this; not everyone is going to MLK Jr. But be praying about what portion of advocacy you can take on. There are many ways, big and small, to work for justice.

Vote well. Shut down racist or misogynist remarks immediately. Give away more of your money to people who need it, or to the people who are helping those in need. If you are pro-life, speak up for all forms of life who can’t defend themselves, whether they’re in the womb or out.

Take time today to pray about how you can get involved.

 

-Carly

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” – Margaret Mead

Proverbs 29-30 B

“Give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with the food that is my portion, that I not be full and deny You and say, ‘Who is the LORD?’ or that I not be in want and steal, and profane the name of my God.” (30:8-9)

While this verse, at once, affirms a couple natural inclinations when it comes to wealth and poverty, it pleads for a middle.

There is a major theme throughout scripture of having enough. From the Israelites collecting only a day’s-worth of manna in the desert, to Jesus teaching us how to pray, “Give us this day our daily bread”, these are constant encouragement toward trust. A welcome companion of trust would be contentment. It is the opposite of fear, which tempts us to hoard.

There are temptations surrounding each level of income, but certainly some have more than others. This brings us back to what is most important: the glory of God in our lives. If we forget Him in our wealth, He is not glorified. If poverty leads us to some shady business, that dishonors Him as well.

How in the LORD glorified in your finances? What does your budget say about Him? How are you stewarding what you have, and are you presenting your dilemmas to the LORD? Sometimes it can be strange to ask the LORD for money, but He does have a track record of providing. Pair this with a budget that honors Him through generosity and responsibility. How are you praying when it comes to provision?

What is your portion? Thank Him for that.

-Bethany

Proverbs 27-28 B

So many good one-liners in here today!

“In the end, people appreciate honest criticism far more than flattery.” 28:23

“A loud and cheerful greeting early in the morning will be taken as a curse!” 27:14 (Where my early morning people at?)

“Whoever gives to the poor will lack nothing, but those who close their eyes to poverty will be cursed.” 28:27 

Lots of emphasis on tending to the poor and respecting authority in here. The verses above really stuck out to me. Receiving honest criticism has never been my strong suit, but the more I stay on track to become like Jesus, the more my desire for humility grows. I’m also learning that my resistance to being wrong about something is, obviously, a pride struggle, but it’s mostly rooted in insecurity and doubt that I’m perfectly loved.

As a major morning person, I’ve always found the verse above really funny. But it’s a good reminder to stay self-aware and treat people graciously.

God insists that the wealthy do not ignore the poor. But also, verse 28:3 really caught my eye; even the poor are not to mistreat the poor.

What verse moved you today? Which one did you linger on a little longer? Come back to it, reread it and pray about how you could apply it to your day.

 

-Carly

Proverbs 25-26 B

There are so many wonderful nuggets in these chapters. Sometimes it helps to brings visualization to these short sayings.

The timing is kind of uncanny, but today my sister finished a project for her pastor where she illustrated a series of verses, some of which are found in today’s reading.

Please enjoy this beautiful art and also, let us know which verse came alive for you today.

-Bethany

Proverbs 23-24 B

“Don’t eat with people who are stingy; don’t desire their delicacies. They are always thinking about how much it costs. ‘Eat and drink,’ they say, but they don’t mean it. You will throw up what little you’ve eaten, and your compliments will be wasted.” 23:6-8

I don’t hesitate to receive help from people, and I’m not uncomfortable being a guest in someone’s luxurious home. But it’s greatly uncomfortable to receive someone’s false generosity and know you’re going to pay for it later.

Like the person who always jumps up to help, but then complains about all the work they had to do later. The relative who remembers (and resents) whether or not you sent a thank you card. Or the host who insists on this or that, but holds it over your head, their pride silently punishing you.

Grace, expensive wine, generosity, rich food or any other kind of resource should be given freely. No strings attached. No unspoken debt. The Lord lavishes us with gifts, with no other motive other than his love for us. He extends perfect and true kindness to us.

How do you give gifts? 

 

-Carly