Author Archives: Judy Baumgartner

August 2020 Devotion

REFLECTION ON PSALM 99

Psalm 99 New International Version (NIV)

Psalm 99

The Lord reigns,
    let the nations tremble;
he sits enthroned between the cherubim,
    let the earth shake.
Great is the Lord in Zion;
    he is exalted over all the nations.
Let them praise your great and awesome name—
    he is holy.

The King is mighty, he loves justice—
    you have established equity;
in Jacob you have done
    what is just and right.
Exalt the Lord our God
    and worship at his footstool;
    he is holy.

Moses and Aaron were among his priests,
    Samuel was among those who called on his name;
they called on the Lord
    and he answered them.
He spoke to them from the pillar of cloud;
    they kept his statutes and the decrees he gave them.

Lord our God,
    you answered them;
you were to Israel a forgiving God,
    though you punished their misdeeds.[a]
Exalt the Lord our God
    and worship at his holy mountain,
    for the Lord our God is holy.

Perhaps no nation trembled before the Lord like Egypt. By the time the plagues were finished, they wanted Israel to take whatever they wanted and leave. No more frogs or flies – just go away! (Sounds like how we feel about the Corona virus).

By the time Israel reached Mount Sinai, the news of Egypt’s demise was well known. The surrounding kingdoms wondered if their gods were powerful enough to fight with a God of slaves who was stronger than any who protected Egypt. No nation, demon, or power can withstand our Holy LORD Almighty!

Moses and Aaron administered God’s perfect Holy Law before His beloved people. Although He loves justice and hates what sin has done, His loving forgiveness is always evident. The King’s wrath is only displayed when people reject, ignore, or fail to appreciate His authority.

Samuel represents the prophets in Psalm 99. They provide information whenever God’s people are in special need. Encouragement, correction, warning, and direction are all part of their assignments.

The beginning and ending of this song poetically connect in thought. We are reminded to worship the Almighty in humility and respect. His authority is unsurpassed. The images of a footstool, cherubim, and holy mountain provide insight into His heavenly throne room. In eternity, ALL injustice, including racial,  will be vanquished!

July 2020 Devotion

LIFEGUARD

It is much safer to swim in an area where lifeguards are on watch. Although many may attempt to become lifeguards, special training is required. Imagine the foolish of an untrained person attempting to save someone. In lakes, ponds, oceans, pools, and other “swimming holes,’ Qualified personnel are recommended.

“Can a blind man lead a blind man?” Luke 6:39 (NIV)

“Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.” Timothy 2:15 (NIV)

Daily Bible study is needed for our spiritual training. In this manner, we become qualified. For example, what if we were asked how to get to heaven? Life the lifeguard and Timothy, we must be ready. This information is on our new “Need Jesus Page.”

Jesus is our redeeming lifeguard. We can trust Him to always rescue. He is always prepared.

Daily Bible reading is paramount. This is the best textbook. This is why it is called God’s Word.

June 2020 Devotion

FORSAKEN

Luke 24:25-27 New International Version (NIV)

25 He said to them, “How foolish you are, and how slow to believe all that the prophets have spoken! 26 Did not the Messiah have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?” 27 And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.

Psalm 22:1-2 New International Version (NIV)

For the director of music. To the tune of “The Doe of the Morning.” A psalm of David.

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
    Why are you so far from saving me,
    so far from my cries of anguish?
My God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer,
    by night, but I find no rest.[b]

Matthew 27:45-46 New International Version (NIV)

The Death of Jesus

45 From noon until three in the afternoon darkness came over all the land. 46 About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eli, Eli,[a] lema sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”).[b]

Have You ever felt rejected by God or experienced feeling numb from all the suffering? Does it ever seem like the heavens are made of brass? During this season of the pandemic, everyone has probably felt this.

Lamentations 3:17-20 New International Version (NIV)

17 I have been deprived of peace;
    I have forgotten what prosperity is.
18 So I say, “My splendor is gone
    and all that I had hoped from the Lord.”

19 I remember my affliction and my wandering,
    the bitterness and the gall.
20 I well remember them,
    and my soul is downcast within me.

Allow me to share this wonderful hope that we have. Because our Lord is Love, I believe that every drop of suffering is not wasted.  We are being molded into the image of Jesus. Although all suffer, no pain served a greater purpose. Through His awful/wonderful sacrifice, by faith, we can be emancipated from sin, fear, and hopelessness. It is my prayer that He will show His Reasoning. But even if He does not at this time, I pray we will continue to persevere and cling to Jesus!!

Philippians 1:19-26 New International Version (NIV)

19 for I know that through your prayers and God’s provision of the Spirit of Jesus Christ what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance.[a] 20 I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. 21 For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. 22 If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! 23 I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; 24 but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body. 25 Convinced of this, I know that I will remain, and I will continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith, 26 so that through my being with you again your boasting in Christ Jesus will abound on account of me.

Lamentations 3:21-26 New International Version (NIV)

21 Yet this I call to mind
    and therefore I have hope:

22 Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
    for his compassions never fail.
23 They are new every morning;
    great is your faithfulness.
24 I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion;
    therefore I will wait for him.”

25 The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him,
    to the one who seeks him;
26 it is good to wait quietly
    for the salvation of the Lord.

Jeremiah 17:7 New International Version (NIV)

“But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord,
    whose confidence is in him.

May 2020 Devotion

REFLECTION ON PSALM 24

Of David. A psalm.

The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it,
    the world, and all who live in it;
for he founded it on the seas
    and established it on the waters.

Who may ascend the mountain of the Lord?
    Who may stand in his holy place?
The one who has clean hands and a pure heart,
    who does not trust in an idol
    or swear by a false god.[a]

They will receive blessing from the Lord
    and vindication from God their Savior.
Such is the generation of those who seek him,
    who seek your face, God of Jacob.[b][c]

Lift up your heads, you gates;
    be lifted up, you ancient doors,
    that the King of glory may come in.
Who is this King of glory?
    The Lord strong and mighty,
    the Lord mighty in battle.
Lift up your heads, you gates;
    lift them up, you ancient doors,
    that the King of glory may come in.
10 Who is he, this King of glory?
    The Lord Almighty—
    he is the King of glory.

(Psalm24:1-18 NIV)

Most of David’s psalms are highly emotional. This particular one is instructional. It seems more like a poetic proverb. Many modern worship songs use these verses as lyrics.

First and foremost, this poem brings glory to God, the Creator of Heaven and Earth. The structure of the poem has the ending recapping the beginning. The names of God are like facets of a cut gem. Each one reveals another part of His wonderful character. This psalm is the only place in the New International Version were the name “King of Glory” is used.

Next, the poem lists the qualifications for being in God’s holy place. Holy means special or set apart. Clean hands are metaphoric for purity. We need to have or hearts clean to be in or Lord’s presence. Idol worship pollutes. Anything we trust in more than the LORD is spiritual poison.

Further, blessings are conditional. Our faith and trust will determine the results. Our interaction is required.

Some of our Savior’s promises are unconditional. Foe example, Jesus is alive forever. Nothing I do can disrupt this action. He is eternal.

“I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive for ever and ever. And I hold the keys of death and Hades.” (Revelation 1:18 NIV)

Finally, David portrays the Lord as a Mighty Warrior who can open gates that no one can close. The images of Jerusalem or opening our hearts denote an all-encompassing worship celebration.

Lord, thanks for cleansing or hearts and minds through the blood of Jesus. We, like David, join in this powerful worship celebration. We long expectantly for the unimaginable worship with you in heaven. Continually open the gates of hearts. In Jesus’ name we pray. AMEN!

April 2020 Devotion

OUR KINGDOM INHERITANCE

1 Peter 1:1-5 New International Version (NIV)

1 Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ,

To God’s elect, exiles scattered throughout the provinces of Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia, who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, to be obedient to Jesus Christ and sprinkled with his blood:

Grace and peace be yours in abundance.

Praise to God for a Living Hope

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.

An inheritance typically becomes effective upon the death of a loved one. The legal terms are specified in a will. Assets are divided according to the wishes of the deceased. Laws governing taxes also apply.

The death of Jesus provides us with a special heavenly inheritance that cannot be destroyed. This was purchased by His blood upon the cross. We are receiving an endowment of grace. Our faith in God provides hope as we wait for the reading of the will.

Peter focuses on the resurrection rather than the sacrificial death of Jesus. Our hope is in the One that is more powerful than death. Nothing can interfere with our inheritance. It is secure in a heavenly vault. That only Jesus can open.

Revelation 5:1-5 New International Version (NIV)

The Scroll and the Lamb

Then I saw in the right hand of him who sat on the throne a scroll with writing on both sides and sealed with seven seals. And I saw a mighty angel proclaiming in a loud voice, “Who is worthy to break the seals and open the scroll?” But no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth could open the scroll or even look inside it. I wept and wept because no one was found who was worthy to open the scroll or look inside. Then one of the elders said to me, “Do not weep! See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed. He is able to open the scroll and its seven seals.”

January/February 2020 Devotion

SOLOMON’S WISDOM

2 Chronicles 1:7-12 New International Version (NIV)

That night God appeared to Solomon and said to him, “Ask for whatever you want me to give you.”

Solomon answered God, “You have shown great kindness to David my father and have made me king in his place. Now, Lord God, let your promise to my father David be confirmed, for you have made me king over a people who are as numerous as the dust of the earth. 10 Give me wisdom and knowledge, that I may lead this people, for who is able to govern this great people of yours?”

11 God said to Solomon, “Since this is your heart’s desire and you have not asked for wealth, possessions or honor, nor for the death of your enemies, and since you have not asked for a long life but for wisdom and knowledge to govern my people over whom I have made you king, 12 therefore wisdom and knowledge will be given you. And I will also give you wealth, possessions and honor, such as no king who was before you ever had and none after you will have.”

Solomon’s request is unique. As a prayer leader, I often hear requests for salvation of loved ones, healing, relationships, and finances.  I do not often hear requests for wisdom. Perhaps we are missing a special blessing.

Our LORD was well pleased with the new monarch’s request. Solomon was the wisest king. His proverbs and poetry still reveal incredible wisdom today.

November 2019 Devotion

DOG TRAINING Part 1

Have you every trained a dog to wait? This becomes a special bond between the canine and master. Through this, the dog learns obedience.

Like the dog, we must learn to wait upon God. This is all part of our discipleship. It creates a special bond with our Master. It is not easy, but always worth it in the end.

The prophet Isaiah offers incredible insight into this process. His timeless words still apply today. The power of the Holy Spirit is evident through his message.

“Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” (Isaiah 40:28-31 NIV)

“Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; do not fret when men succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes.” (Psalms 37:7 NIV)

“Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.” (Psalms 27:14 NIV)

Waiting for the Lord is not complicated. It helps us in every area of our life as we learn to surrender to His will. The Spirit’s help is available for everything. The list includes family relationships, marriages, unsaved loved ones, sex, money, power, wisdom, and much more.

“You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you.” (Isaiah 26:3 NIV)

October 2019 Devotion

THE COUNSELOR

“All this I (Jesus) have spoken while still with you. But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” (John 14:25-27 NIV)

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33 NIV)

There are times when people can feel like god is an enemy rather than a friend. Peacefulness seems to evaporate like a desert mirage. What seemed like a hope vanishes quickly. Trust disappears.

How can we make peace with the Lord again? Has is love been exhausted? S t too late? Are the blessings gone forever?

The Lord gives His disciples a powerful ally – the Holy Spirit. Through the Counselor’s empowerment Christians can quickly reconnect with Peace and joy. This is not a vanishing optical illusion.

“Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” (Words of Jesus, Lue 11:10-13 NIV)

The Father wants to do something incredible in our lives. The Holy Spirit empowers us for daily living. We should never be afraid to ask. Trust Him.

If you love lasagna ask for seconds. Or Gourmet Chef is more than happy to provide. Divine empowerment is a key to peace. Reconciliation is only a heartbeat away in God’s kitchen. Heaven’s pantry is full.

This gift is conditional. We won’t get it if we don’t ask. God will not force His love upon people. We can ask for empowerment with every prayer. There is no limit to the Father’s generosity.

September 2019

STREET SMARTS

“I, (Jesus), am sending you, (His 12 disciples), out like sheep among wolves. Therefore, be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.” (Matthew 10:16 NIV)

Shrewd (sHrood): adjective meaning having or showing sharp powers of judgment

Perhaps in today’s vernacular, we would call this “street smarts,” which is the ability to read into someone’s motives or actions. Jesus wanted this tempered with innocence, purity, and love. They were to expect the worst while giving their best.

Little has changed today. As leaders we, too need this supernatural judgement. Our motives must be centered in love. Much damage has been wrought by impure leadership. Being in ministry for selfish gain destroys lives.

“Do not take along any gold or silver or copper in your belts; take no bag for the journey or extra tunic, or sandals, or a staff; for the worker is worth his keep.” (Matthew 10:9-10 NIV)

“Then he, (Jesus), said to them all: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save his lfe will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it.” (Luke 9:23-24 NIV)

“And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.” (Luke 14:27 NIV)

All of these warnings remind us that self-sacrifice is a requirement. The cross is a place of execution where our agenda must die. This willingness to die for God conflicts with our natural instinct for self-preservation. Little wonder the world thinks we are nuts!

Perhaps self-sacrifice is the hardest part of discipleship. Daily abandonment of our will includes; popularity, worldly wisdom, security, safety, acceptance, and freedom. Upon completion we become a reflection or image of Christ. It’s tough!

Lord, grant me wisdom to adhere to and appreciate Your instruction. My desire is to please You. AMEN!

August 2019

Discipline

Psalms 94:12-13 (NIV)

 Blessed is the one you discipline, Lord,
    the one you teach from your law;
you grant them relief from days of trouble,
    till a pit is dug for the wicked.

Proverbs 3:11-12 (NIV)

My son, do not despise the LORD’S discipline and do not resent his rebuke, because the LORD disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in.

Proverbs 12:1 (NIV)

Whoever loves discipline love sknowledge, bur he who hates correction is stupid.

Proverbs 10:16-17 (NIV)

He who heeds discipline shows the way to life, but whoever ignores correction leads others astray.

A loving reprimand is a powerful tool that God uses o everyone. All of us are sinners and experience discomfort. We are reminded by the servant of our Lord, that difficulties are not always a result of pain. Therefore, we should learn without judging others.

Finding joy, wisdom, understanding, and peace through the discomfort is a demonstration of spiritual maturity. The standard for right or wrong is the Bible. It is beneficial to consider Scripture to understand pain. We should also be encouraged through the process.

Prayer:

I thank You Holy Spirit for loving us enough to provide us with correction. Help us to keep discipleship in proper perspective. Without Your enlightenment we stumble in spiritual blindness. Therefore, we invite You into our lives even when it hurts or we struggle to comprehend. Please give us the words to encourage others. In Jesus’ name we pray. AMEN!