Monthly Archives: December 2010

2 Chron.36; Rev. 22; Malachi 4; John 21

His glory whispers through the ages … I listened as he moved the heart of Cyrus.

(He moved mine too.)

Beginning and End, enduring, lasting ever, standing … even at the shore of the beach, calling, “Friends.”

(He calls me friend too.)

Sun of Righteousness–a son, with healing in his wings to set us free, to leap with joy.

(I am free!)

A beginning in January, an ending in December. These words a journey through his power, his grace. In his pages, the story of love and redemption. My story, forever touched. And there are others.

There are so many other things Jesus did. If they were all written down, each of them, one by one, I can’t imagine a world big enough to hold such a library of books. John 21:25 (the Message)

My life, for his glory. He bids me, “Follow.”

And I call, “Come.”

Courtney (66books365)

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Filed under 2 Chronicles, John, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, Malachi, New Testament, Old Testament, Revelation

2 Chronicles 35; Revelation 21; Malachi 3; John 20

But who can endure the day of his coming? Who can stand when he appears? For he will be like a refiner’s fire or a launderer’s soap.
~ Malachi 3:2

Remember the commercials for laundry soap? The latest and greatest vs. the “other leading laundry soap.”

A few swishes of the wooden spoon, or maybe a run through the washing machine and the one we used to love still leaves a noticeable stain. But the new product returns the item to near new condition. In fact after repeated washings, the fibers in the shirt still appear new and spotless!

God is like the laundry man, or rather the soap. I don’t think I ever heard that comparison before. I need to trust Him to clean me, to purify me. My “leading laundry soap” leaves the stain, or even a hole in its place.

The chapter goes on to point out the stains that we ignore, or try to cover up with a well placed scarf, safety pin, or other alteration. We rob God of the tithes that He deserves even when He wants to pour out His blessing. We arrogantly say that God prospers evil doers when life doesn’t look so rosy from our angle.

Yet, God calls us back to a fresh place before Him as His treasured possession.

Revelation shouts it out:

I am making everything new! ~Revelation 21:5

New. New Year. New hope. New opportunity. New life. Same God.

Thank you, God, for giving me new life. Thank you for looking past my pathetic attempts to meet your standard and picking up the pieces and scrubbing out the stains when I fall humbly before you. Thank you for showing me afresh my desperate need for You. I love you! ~Amen

Erin (5intow)

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2 Chronicles 34; Revelation 20; Malachi 2; John 19

Josiah was eight years old when he became king.  2 Chronicles 34:1

When I was eight years old, I learned how to ride my Big Wheel down the steep hill in the back alley without skidding into the cross traffic of Leiden Road. 

Once I get past the inferiority complex, I find that there is a lot to learn from the example of Josiah.  Josiah was a product of generations of evil men (see 2 Chronicles 33).  And yet when Josiah was a mere teenager he “began to seek the God of his father David” (2 Chron 34:3).  Nothing about the upbringing of Josiah nor the culture in which he lived, would encourage him to seek God.  But Josiah chose to follow God anyway.

Other than that “becoming-king-at-the-age-of-eight” thing, my circumstances compare favorably to Josiah’s:

  • I was born into a family that DID point me toward the God of Israel
  • I have ready access to the scriptures to discover God’s nature for myself
  • I live in a community that includes examples of godly men and women

 But do I choose to seek God as Josiah did?  Sometimes yes. Sometimes no.

Worse, there are times when I allow limitations of  my heritage to affect my faithfulness.  If Josiah didn’t use this excuse, I sure can’t. 

God allowed Josiah to experience the blessing as a result of his faithfulness:

 Tell the king of Judah, who sent you to inquire of the LORD, ‘This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says concerning the words you heard: Because your heart was responsive and you humbled yourself before God when you heard what he spoke against this place and its people, and because you humbled yourself before me and tore your robes and wept in my presence, I have heard you, declares the LORD.   Now I will gather you to your fathers, and you will be buried in peace.”  2 Chronicles 34:26-28a

Lord,

Grant me the faith of Josiah to seek you regardless of my circumstances.  Help me to overcome any perceived limitations of my past, to be of greatest service to you.  May I experience the peace and blessing that you provide to all of your children.

Greg (gmd40187)

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2 Chron. 33, Rev. 19, Malachi 1, John 18

The further I walk towards Christ, the more aware I am that there are an infinite number of things that separate our character.


Identifying with the character of Peter in John 18, I see that he and I share many things in common in comparison to the flawless character of Christ:

When sought out for who He is by the Roman guard, Jesus answers with absolute confidence, certainty, and righteousness. “I am he.”

When sought for who he is by a slave girl, Peter denies his identity and relation to Jesus.

When questioned by the High Priest, Jesus answers frankly and honestly. Holding nothing back yet not acting to protect himself, apologize, or manage the truth. He has no confession or excuse.

When questioned by a commoner, Peters shirks from the truth, looks to his own interests, and denies Jesus.

When answering with who He is, people fall to the ground.

When answering with who he is, he falls back in shame.

When unjustly struck Jesus responds in truth and love.

When overcome with fear and confusion, Peter strikes another unjustly.

Drinks the cup, swallows the pill, eats the plate set before Him by the Father. Jesus receives everything from God with obedience; trusting the Designer behind the design.

Peter. Characterized by self-interest. Riddled by fear. Reacting in anger. Caught in confusion.

Jesus. The definition of love. Emanating with boldness. Acting in righteousness. Shameless, blameless, pure. Coming with one mission:

“…that I am a king. For this I have been born, and for this I have come into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.”

Jesus ~ You are truth.

Teach me to walk in love and truth. Not fear. In everything.

Speak. I will listen ~ for what You have for me is truth. And where there is truth there is freedom.

I want to be free. From sin. From guilt. From shame. From myself.

Close the gap between you and I each day. As I draw. Close. To you.

– christiancourier517


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2 Chronicles 32; Revelation 18; Zechariah 14; John 17

“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or discouraged because of the king of Assyria and the vast army with him, for there is a greater power with us than with him. With him is only the arm of flesh, but with us is the LORD our God to help us and to fight our battles.” And the people gained confidence from what Hezekiah the king of Judah said. (2 Chronicles 32:7-8, NIV)

I have weak arms. When my kids were small, and I carried around toddlers and babies and diaper bags, my arms were more toned. But the last few years…let’s just say, the backs of my arms keep waving hello, even when my hand is done.

Triceps of jello.

A few months ago, a friend gave me Jillian Michaels’ exercise DVD, “30 Day Shred”. Ms. Michaels’ goal, I think, is to kill me. Or at least to make me wish for death. I’ve worked up to Level 3 now, but I still struggle to do push-ups. With each attempt, my arms tremble and shake and ache and ask me what on earth they’ve ever done to me to deserve such punishment.

My arms of flesh? Not too strong. Not strong at all.

“But with us is the Lord our God,” Hezekiah said. What a great phrase to repeat to myself in so many of life’s challenges! Arms of flesh—even the toned arms of Jillian Michaels herself—aren’t enough. I need a “greater power”. Lord, how desperately I need You “to help me and to fight my battles.” I rest in Your strong arms, God. Amen.

amystorms

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2 Chronicles 31; Revelation 17; Zechariah 13:2-9; John 16

Beginnings…Endings…Beginnings

Here we are…smack dab in the middle of the Christmas season. For those of us of the Christian faith, it’s the time of the birth of our savior. A time when the God of the universe came to this earth in human form to be “with” us and to ultimately save us. This time of year marks the moment that God bridged the vast distance between the glorious heavens and an earthly realm bent on opposing all that is holy. What’s amazing about this is that God did not “need” to do this…nor did He “have” to do this…instead He did it because He loved us. For us it was the beginning of our chance at eternity.

Part of today’s scripture takes us to yet another pivotal moment in the destiny of humanity. Christ brings us to the foretelling of His death. He marks the time and summarizes His life embraced with humanity. He reflects back on His time here on the earth and gives it as a clear example of the path we all find ourselves on. He adamantly proves out that we will have sorrow in this world…that we will find tribulation breaching the hulls of our lives. But (and probably the largest interpretation of the word “but”)…He provides us with hope beyond the sorrow and tribulation. That these things must pass in order for Glory to become realized. (John 16:22) And not only that, but the tribulation we now face and have yet to face HAS BEEN OVERCOME! (John 16:33) The life of the Son in this world is coming to an end…all because of the love of the Father.

And while these passages deal with Christ’s life coming to end here on this earth…it also opens up to yet another glorious beginning. For as God sent His Son for us to die…Christ now sends the Holy Spirit to indwell us with power and guidance. (John 16:13-14) Oh how we so undeservingly were given a Helper to be “within” us and not just “near” us. For all who have accepted Christ, this gift of the Holy Spirit is the lifeblood we all have beating through our veins and powering our hearts.

Lord, let me find newness in your Son’s birth…thanksgiving in your Son’s death…and wisdom in your Spirit’s guidance.

The implications of the name “Immanuel” are both comforting and unsettling. Comforting, because He has come to share the danger as well as the drudgery of our everyday lives. He desires to weep with us and to wipe away our tears. And what seems most bizarre, Jesus Christ, the Son of God, longs to share in and to be the source of the laughter and the joy we all too rarely know.
~ Michael Card ~

~ chefdave11

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2 Chronicles 30; Revelation 16; Zechariah 12-13:1; John 15

On Christmas Day we celebrate the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ. Immanuel. “God with us”.

So I focus on John 15 today. Almost the whole chapter is about being “with” Jesus. The key word that many of us know and love in this chapter is “abide”. Jesus came to this earth and walked among us, and he tells the disciples that they must always abide in Him.

“I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.”  (John 15:5 NKJV)

This year has certainly had its share of ups and downs as our family has had some significant challenges. I can look back and see how Jesus’s words have truly played out in my life. While sometimes I think “you can do nothing” is very extreme, I do know that life simply goes better when I am abiding in Christ. Sometimes it means circumstances are better right away, sometimes not until later, but it always means that I am more at peace.

I look ahead and I am frightened, but not for long, as long as I take time to read Scripture, meditate, and “abide”. I heard an excerpt from a Billy Graham interview on the radio the other day and Billy said that if he had to do his life over again he would study more, travel less. He said “I’d spend more time in meditation and prayer and just telling the Lord how much I love Him and adore Him and looking forward the time we‘re going to spend together for eternity.” Can you imagine this coming from Billy Graham? At 92 Mr. Graham certainly understands deep in his heart the value of simply abiding. My goal for next year (actually starting today!) is to make sure I spend more time abiding. He is the vine, I am a branch, and my life and being come from Him.

Immanuel. God with us. Always. To the end of the age.

Merry Christmas to all!

suegraff

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