Ezekiel 1-3; John 1

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being.  John 1:1-3

This Word of God, this Son of God changes everything. He breathes and life comes to be.

And he said to me, “Son of man, eat what is before you, eat this scroll; then go and speak to the house of Israel.”  So I opened my mouth, and he gave me the scroll to eat. Then he said to me, “Son of man, eat this scroll I am giving you and fill your stomach with it.” So I ate it , and it tasted as sweet as honey in my mouth. Ezekiel 3:1-3

The Word of God speaks into the past, present and future. Ezekiel’s time was war wrought and the people of Israel failed to accept God’s sovereignty and goodness. Even in their defeat, they could not, would not submit their hearts to the One who made them. They refused to acknowledge the Holy One of Israel.

This Word of God stands true. Jesus is who he says he is, the very Son of God. Unbelief on my part doesn’t change reality one bit, nor does others’ acceptance of Him. Global warming, corrupt leaders, wars and natural disasters can’t change the fact of who Jesus is.

And God repeats, “Do not be afraid…do not be afraid…do not be afraid.” Ezekiel 2:6

Jesus, your very Word speaks to me today. You assure me of your sovereignty and goodness no matter what the circumstance. All of creation, all of life is held together by you.  Holy Spirit, strengthen me to live in the truth of who you are. When fear of the opposition threatens to take me under, fill me with your Holy Spirit.  May I live to please you alone. Amen

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Jeremiah 50-51; 2 Peter 3

When the prophets spoke of things to come, who believed them?

The Lord gave Jeremiah the prophet this message concerning Babylon and the land of the Babylonians.This is what the Lord says:

“Tell the whole world,
    and keep nothing back.
Raise a signal flag
    to tell everyone that Babylon will fall! (Jeremiah 50:1-2a, NLT)

Did listeners sit in their comfort? Did they go about the everyday? When God gave warning to turn from sin, to turn to him–did they not know his power?

Listen, Babylon, for I have set a trap for you.
    You are caught, for you have fought against the Lord. (Jeremiah 50:24, NLT)

He calls armies. He appoints leaders.

“I will come like a lion from the thickets of the Jordan,
    leaping on the sheep in the pasture.
I will chase Babylon from its land,
    and I will appoint the leader of my choice.
For who is like me, and who can challenge me?
    What ruler can oppose my will?” (Jeremiah 50:44, NLT)

What did they think when they heard these things?

People in Peter’s day mocked and scoffed.

Most importantly, I want to remind you that in the last days scoffers will come, mocking the truth and following their own desires. They will say, “What happened to the promise that Jesus is coming again? From before the times of our ancestors, everything has remained the same since the world was first created.” (2 Peter 3:3-4, NLT)

Peter reminds:

The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent. (2 Peter 3:9, NLT)

Peter closes:

So be on guard; then you will not be carried away by the errors of these wicked people and lose your own secure footing. 18 Rather, you must grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. (2 Peter 3:17-18, NLT)

Every day I make a decision of whose voice to believe. An enemy speaks over me with scoff and mockery. God’s word reminds–do not be afraid. Do not lose your secure footing.

Lord, truly your approval is the only one I need, and your voice the one that speaks truth. You cannot lie. You are creator and Lord of all. Help me continue to grow in grace and knowledge of you. My Savior.

Courtney (66books365)

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Jeremiah 47-49; Psalm 80; 2 Peter 2

17Help the man you have chosen.

Make this human being strong for your service.

18Then we will not turn away from you.

Give us life again, and we will call to you for help.

19Lord God of heaven’s armies, take us back.

Show us your kindness so we can be saved. Psalm 80:17-19

God desires me to serve Him. His command to me, above all else, is to love Him with all my heart and soul and mind. But, as hard as I try, I still fail miserably at times.

I believe that God offers second (and third, and fourth…) chances. Because He knows that I am not even close to being perfect, because He can see into my heart and understand everything that is there, He knows the intentions of my heart are to serve Him always.

9And so the Lord knows how to save those who serve him. He will save them when troubles come…2 Peter 2:9

Noah and Lot are examples of men in the Bible who were not perfect (I mean Lot offered his daughters to be raped by lustful men – yikes), but because of their desire to serve God and follow Him, He rescued them from devastation.

The Philistines, Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites and other tribes were not so lucky. They had no love for God in their heart and served idols who called for death and destruction. Though they were given warnings, they did not turn away from their sin and they reaped what they sowed.

16But a donkey told Balaam that he was sinning. And the donkey is an animal that cannot talk. But the donkey spoke with a man’s voice and stopped the prophet’s crazy thinking. 2 Peter 2:16 

God won’t give up hope for those who turn away. He will constantly pursue anyone whose heart is blackened by sin by any means possible, from the natural consequences of a life lived with bad choices to words straight from a donkey’s mouth.

Just as I pursue my children in the midst of their bad choices, calling them back to obedience and cultivating a repentant heart, my Father in Heaven does the same for me. He gives me life and gives me strength. He shows me kindness that I don’t deserve and saves me from the enemy.

Yesappa, Thank You for being the God of many chances. Thank You for showing me kindness, grace, and mercy in the midst of my bad choices. Give me life where the enemy only wants death. Help me draw nearer to You in each moment to find strength to stand against sin; and give me life. In Jesus’ name. Amen.


Blessings – Julie


International Children’s Bible, Copyright © 2015 by Tommy Nelson™, a Division of Thomas Nelson, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

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Jeremiah 43,44,46; 2 Peter 1

“By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know him, the one who called us to himself by means of his marvelous glory and excellence. And because of his glory and excellence, he has given us great and precious promises. These are the promises that enable you to share his divine nature and escape the world’s corruption caused by human desires. In view of all this, make every effort to respond to God’s promises…The more you grow like this, the more productive and useful you will be in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But those who fail to develop this way are shortsighted or blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their old sins.” 2 Peter1:3-5,8&9 NLT

“Have you forgotten the sins of your ancestors, the sins of the kings and queens of Judah, and the sins you and your wives committed in Judah and Jerusalem?” Jeremiah 44:9 NLT

My 11 year old daughter had forgotten a piano sheet that she needed for her piano lesson. I asked her how I could help her remember for next time. I told her that I can be forgetful too and need to write things down. I take notes on my phone, on paper and have bible verses taped to the wall. In hopes that they will soak into my mind and heart. I am thankful that the Holy Spirit helps me to remember. But, I am convicted how little I rely on his power. Because, I know that my tendency is to drift towards earthly comfort and to build my own little kingdom, instead of investing in God’s Kingdom. Sometimes, I am just trying to get through the day. And I miss his voice. Just like Jeremiah and Peter had a message from the Lord, God has spoken through other people in my life. Maybe that is what the Lord is trying to teach me. He is always speaking, I have to be ready to hear.

“Above all, you must realize that no prophecy in Scripture ever came from the prophet’s own understanding, or from human initiative. No, those prophets were moved by the Holy Spirit, and they spoke from God.” 2 Peter 1:20& 21 NLT

Am I listening to the prompting of the Holy Spirit?

“Therefore, I will always remind you about these things-even though you already know them and are I standing firm in the truth you have been taught. And it is only right that I should keep on reminding you as long as I live. For our Lord Jesus Christ has shown me that I must soon leave this earthly life, so I will work hard to make sure you always remember these things after I am gone.” 2 Peter 1:12-15 NLT

Thank you Father for your faithfulness in my life. I praise you for who you are. Amen.


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Jeremiah 40-42, Psalm 147, Obadiah, 1 Peter 5

I have been thinking a lot this week about the flow pattern of my quiet time with the Lord. I am constantly seeking him for wisdom and guidance. I want to see the Lord and hear from him in new ways. I ask for him to speak to me and I tell him I will be obedient to his call on my life. Have you ever thought about the words you pray to the Lord? I mean really thought of them? We go to church and sing songs of worship to him like “wherever you lead, I will follow” and “Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders…wherever you would call me.” Have you really thought of the meaning of those words?

The prophet Jeremiah was a young but brave soul who served the Lord through thick and thin. Here we see the people coming to him again for advice and asking Jeremiah to go to the Lord on their behalf for what their next steps should be. They promised they would be obedient to whatever the Lord told Jeremiah to tell them:

“Let our plea for mercy come before you, and pray to the Lord your God for us, for all this remnant—because we are left with but a few, as your eyes see us— that the Lord your God may show us the way we should go, and the thing that we should do.”

Then they said to Jeremiah, “May the Lord be a true and faithful witness against us if we do not act according to all the word with which the Lord your God sends you to us. Whether it is good or bad, we will obey the voice of the Lord our God to whom we are sending you, that it may be well with us when we obey the voice of the Lord our God.” Jeremiah 42:2-6

When I do hear from him, though, I am often unwilling to move. I find excuses to stay inside my comfort zone instead of stepping out in faith and following him where he leads. So often, it is fear that holds me back because I can’t see what’s up ahead. It’s easy to serve the Lord where I know I will be safe but when I must move beyond the walls of comfort, I feel unbalanced and shaky. But I must remember that protection comes from His loving hand and not the walls I have so carefully built.

Moving beyond my convenient, happy, and contented life may require some discomfort and ultimately sacrifice. I may be in situations that are not “safe” but this life is only temporary as are the sufferings. Peter’s words encourage my heart that no matter what lies ahead, focusing my eyes on Christ and His calling and purpose will result in the ultimate reward that will never be taken away.

 Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. 10 And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. 11 To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen. 1 Peter 5:8-11

Dear Lord, my we humble ourselves and cast all our worries on you when you call us to go. Thank you for your promise that you will restore, confirm and strengthen us when we rely on you. To you be the praise and glory forever! Amen.

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Lamentations; Psalm 137; 1 Peter 4

Suffering.  The inescapable theme in all of today’s readings.  Different times, different people, different causes.

The horrors of war:

“My eyes fail from weeping,

I am in torment within,

My heart is poured out on the ground

Because my people are destroyed,

Because children and infants faint

In the streets of the city.” Lamentations 2:11

The misery of captivity in enemy country:

“By the rivers of Babylon we sat and wept

When we remembered Zion.” Psalm 137:1

The persecution for following Christ:

“Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you.  But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.”  1

Peter 4:12-13

Now I am certainly no authority on suffering and am not qualified to write anything about the subject.  I can barely read an account of a martyr – I want to look away.  I’ve read the story of Corrie Ten Boom and simply do not have the capacity to fully grasp the horror or her courage.

Although these are not the type of scripture that I like to read, I see purpose in them. These passages cause me to cry out to God.  They cause my heart to ache.  I lament along with the authors.  From the depths of my soul, I ask God the hard questions.

I believe it is okay to ask God hard questions:  “Why are people so cruel?  Why do You allow children to starve?  Why are Your followers unjustly harmed for doing good?”

In asking God these types of questions, I do not believe I am questioning the authority of God.  In fact, I am confirming His very nature.  I am acknowledging that He is all-powerful, all-knowing, and holy.

And in asking Him hard questions, I am seeking is a deeper relationship with Him.

Dear Lord, I know from experience and from my study of Your Word, that you are a loving God.  In fact, you are Love.  You hurt when your people hurt.  Provide comfort to all that are suffering today.  Open my eyes and soften my heart so that I may offer comfort to someone today who is hurting.  Amen


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2 Kings 24-25; 2 Chronicles 36; Psalm 126; 1 Peter 3

I spoke to a friend about a difficult time in my life from years ago that I thought could find a parallel an experience she shared. When we carry burdens we weren’t meant to carry, they can break us. And if they don’t break us, perhaps they hinder us from being effective at all.

First Peter 3:1-2, NLT,  talks to wives:

In the same way, you wives must accept the authority of your husbands. Then, even if some refuse to obey the Good News, your godly lives will speak to them without any words. They will be won over by observing your pure and reverent lives.

To husbands, in 1 Peter 3:7, NLT:

In the same way, you husbands must give honor to your wives. Treat your wife with understanding as you live together. She may be weaker than you are, but she is your equal partner in God’s gift of new life. Treat her as you should so your prayers will not be hindered.

To all believers:

Finally, all of you should be of one mind. Sympathize with each other. Love each other as brothers and sisters. Be tenderhearted, and keep a humble attitude. Don’t repay evil for evil. Don’t retaliate with insults when people insult you. Instead, pay them back with a blessing. That is what God has called you to do, and he will grant you his blessing. 10 For the Scriptures say,

“If you want to enjoy life
    and see many happy days,
keep your tongue from speaking evil
    and your lips from telling lies.
11 Turn away from evil and do good.
    Search for peace, and work to maintain it.
12 The eyes of the Lord watch over those who do right,
    and his ears are open to their prayers.
But the Lord turns his face
    against those who do evil.”

Suffering for Doing Good

13 Now, who will want to harm you if you are eager to do good? 14 But even if you suffer for doing what is right, God will reward you for it. So don’t worry or be afraid of their threats. 15 Instead, you must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if someone asks about your hope as a believer, always be ready to explain it. 16 But do this in a gentle and respectful way. Keep your conscience clear. Then if people speak against you, they will be ashamed when they see what a good life you live because you belong to Christ. 17 Remember, it is better to suffer for doing good, if that is what God wants, than to suffer for doing wrong! 1 Peter 3:8-17, NLT.

From the events in the world down to a child’s poor attitude, there is nothing I can do to change things outside of my own thoughts, words, and actions–and isn’t that challenge enough? This is an opportunity to worship Christ as Lord of my life–and an opportunity to share my hope as a believer.

Lord, I want to keep my eyes on you and my focus on your kingdom. Certainly an enemy is bent on destruction–and always has been. Your word tells us to be of one mind. Oh, when things are out of my control, I want my heart to be tender, my attitude to be humble, and my retaliation to be a blessing.

Yours, Courtney (66books365)


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