Monthly Archives: March 2013

Lev. 2,3; John 21; Prov. 18; Col. 1

Leviticus 2,3

 The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are safe.

Proverbs 2:10

 A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.

Proverbs 2:24

 . . .Feed my sheep. . .

John 21:17

Colossians 1:15-16

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by him all things were created; things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him.

 

I’m always amazed at how seemingly unrelated verses can so easily come together when reading the Bible. Leviticus 2 and 3 discuss the rules and regulations of lifting up a grain or animal offering to the Lord. These two short chapters are steeped in rules; as a New Testament follower and a member of the 21st century “progressive” Christian movement, I know that most of the members of my immediate Christian community have put aside ceremony, rules, and regulations almost entirely. We fear legalism as the manner in which we lose sight of God as our Father, friend, confidant and confessor. But what fascinates me is that ceremony is not all negative. Used appropriately and when in relationship with God, it can be a way for us to focus on what we are doing and how much weight we put to the things that we do in His name. I’m certainly not arguing that rules and regulations as part of our “religious” experience are necessary. I’m simply asking you to consider whether there are areas of your life in which you may want to concertedly set aside time, develop a process, or create a routine that will bring you closer to God and put yourself in a place where you specifically block out the outside influences of the world to offer your self, your time and your energy up to God because not only is He our Father, confessor, and protector but He is first and foremost our Master. And this role is one that I find many of us do not focus upon.

Our Lord is a strong tower; He never abandons us. But He served us so immensely first by sending His son who was the ultimate Servant Leader. I’m astounded when I read John 21 and take in how, upon His third interaction with His disciples after His death, Jesus prepared a meal for them. He served first. He served humbly. He served without complaint. The ultimate King of Kings served, served and served again. And He asked us to feed His sheep. All we are, all we have, all we do belongs to Him. We are His servants and above all else, He is our Master. We are to feed His sheep. As Easter is upon us, and we remember His servitude, while we deal with family dinners, church services, Easter egg hunts, and making sure the Easter Bunny arrives on time and without disappointment, are you setting time aside to serve the one most deserving? Have we set Him aside as the absolute most important, first focus of our lives? Where do we each need to change our lives to make sure that we are serving Him totally and sacrificially? There is nothing easy about it. There is nothing comfortable about it. The reward is amazing though. Today, on this amazing Easter Sunday, rejoice in our Savior’s resurrection. . .and let’s feed His sheep!

Karen S. (guest on 66 Books)

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Leviticus 1, John 20, Proverbs 17, Philippians 4

Read atwww.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Lev.%201;%20John%2020;%20Prov.%2017;%20Phil.%204&version=NKJV

Leviticus 1                Now the Lord called to Moses, …saying “Speak to the children of Israel, ‘When any one of you brings an offering to the Lord, … If his offering is a burnt sacrifice of the herd, let him offer a male without blemish; he shall offer it of his own free will at the door of the tabernacle of meeting before the Lord. Then he shall put his hand on the head of the burnt offering, and it will be accepted on his behalf to make atonement for him.  … shall sprinkle its blood all around on the altar.” 

           Of your own free will, bring an unblemished offering to the Lord God. Stand before the Lord God with it, putting your hand on the offering and transfer onto the offering the sins which you have committed against the Holy God. The offering serves as your Atonement. Then consider its blood is sprinkled all around God’s altar and Jesus’ Resurrection (we’ll read about later) as proof that the sacrifice is acceptable to the Lord God and your sins are forgiven.

            Son of God, Jesus, You are the unblemished Lamb of God. The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! John 1:29, 36 Jesus referred to Himself, “I am a worm, and no man; A reproach of men, and despised by the people.” Psalm 22:6  (1)

            Lord Jesus, You are the High Priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek. (2)  “So the priest shall make atonement for him concerning his sin, and it shall be forgiven him.”  “For such a High Priest was fitting for us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and has become higher than the heavens; …for this He did once for all when He offered up Himself.… the Son who has been perfected forever.” (3)

            Lord God Almighty, I put my hands on the head of Your Son, Jesus the Messiah, to be the Atonement for my own sins. “For I acknowledge my transgressions, And my sin is always before me. Against You, You only, have I sinned, And done this evil in Your sight— That You may be found just when You speak,And blameless when You judge.” (4)

Then the priest shall bring it all and burn it on the altar; it is a burnt sacrifice, an offering made by fire, a sweet aroma to the Lord. Leviticus 1:9 

“Come now, and let us reason together,” Says the Lord, “Though your sins are like scarlet, They shall be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They shall be as wool.” Isaiah 1:18

            I offer my thoughts, feelings, words, actions, hopes, dreams and all that I am to You Lord God in prayer. I ask you to accept the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross for my sins, for everything bad thing I have thought, said, felt, did and didn’t do. Cover me with the Blood of Jesus that I will be clean and fill me with Your Holy Spirit that I would live for You forever and always.  (5)  

            Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit. Then, behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth quaked, and the rocks were split, and the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised; and coming out of the graves after His resurrection, they went into the holy city and appeared to many. Matthew 27:50-53  (6)

              For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.  For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:6-8

            Lord Jesus, no one killed You. You performed so many miracles that this fact is undeniable. Instead, You chose to obey Your Father and be the atonement sacrifice for the sins of the world. “For God loved the world in this way: He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.” (7) 

 “Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again. No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father.” John 10:17-18

Lord God – Thank You! Because of what You did, Lord Jesus, I have trusted You for my salvation and my daily life. “Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, Whose sin is covered.” Psalm 32:1  (8)

John 20         Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene went to the tomb early, … and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb. … and said to them, “They have taken away the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid Him.” … stooping down and looking in, saw the linen cloths lying there; … and he saw and believed.

              But Mary stood outside … Jesus said to her, “Do not cling to Me, for I have not yet ascended to My Father; but go to My brethren and say to them, ‘I am ascending to My Father and your Father, and to My God and your God.’”

            Jesus, You became alive again, healthy and whole, after dying a torturous death! Your life shows that anyone who believes Your Word and trusts You with their life will also rise from the dead!  “And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. … I and My Father are one.” John 10:28  I cannot avoid Your evidence Lord Jesus!

             Then, the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in the midst, and said to them, “Peace be with you.” When He had said this, He showed them His hands and His side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. V.19-20

            He breathed on them, and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.” … v.22

            What patience you have, Lord Jesus. You meet me just where I am. In my frailties, my “lack of faith” and in my head-strongness.

          Then He said to Thomas, “Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing.” And Thomas answered and said to Him, “My Lord and my God!” v.27-28

            Thomas was the first to declare You as his personal Lord and God! Thomas “got it”. Many of us know of Your miracles, but not many of us know Who You are, Jesus Christ. 

Jesus said to him, “Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” V.29 

             Whether I have in the flesh seen You, heard You or read You, I am to trust You, love You and obey You by the Holy Spirit. Thank You Lord God for the remarkable life You give to me and everyone who adheres to Your Word by the free gift of Faith that You alone impart! 

… these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name. v.31

Proverbs 17        The refining pot is for silver and the furnace for gold, But the Lord tests the hearts.

             Help me to live my life holy and pleasing to You, my Savior and Lord Jesus Christ! Thank you for your wisdom and counsel, Lord God. (9) 

            Lord Jesus, Son of God, You are the “friend loves at all times, And a brother is born for adversity.”

Philippians 4            Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice! Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

            Since You’ve won the war over sin and death – (10)

But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.  1 Corinthians 15:20, 56-57

I am free to think, feel and live for You, Lord Jesus Christ.

          “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.” Phil 4:8-9

Dear reader, if you have placed all of your sins on the cross of Christ Jesus, and chosen to live for Him today and forever, according to His Word and Holy Spirit, then: “my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. Now to our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen.” Phil 4:19-20

Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord. 1 Corinthians 15:58

Bible Insights –

1- John 3:16-21; Psalm 22

2- Genesis 14:18-23; Psalm 110; Hebrews 5:1-10; Hebrews 6:13-20; Hebrews 7

3- Leviticus 4:26; Ephesians 1:7; Hebrews 7

4- Psalm 51

5- Revelation 8:3-4

6- Psalm 22; Isaiah 52:13-15; Isaiah 53

7- Matthew 26:51-54; Luke 22:51; John 18:4-9; John 18:33-38; John 11:43; Luke 7:11-17; Matthew 26:36-46; Matthew 20:22; John 5:30; John 6:38; Philippians 2:8; Hebrews 5:7; John 3:16-18

8- Psalm 32

9- Romans 12:1-2; Ephesians 1-2; Revelation 8:3-4

10- Romans 8:2

Crystal (PsalmThirty4)

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Ex. 40; John 19; Prov. 16; Phil. 3

Please indulge me for a time as I want to focus my work on John 19 and the meaning behind this writing and its timely description of this season of life and rebirth…

In John 19:1-18, it has amazed me over the years what key decisions made that day of Christ’s death had from that day forward, particularly that of Pilate, to be thought and spoken of by so many great men. What my Lord endured for me was brought to life in the 2004 Mel Gibson film The Passion of the Christ… willing to be exposed to such scorn. While many of the scenes were incredibly difficult to witness, I believe that they helped strengthen my faith exponentially… to behold Christ Jesus in his sufferings… to behold Him, and fall in love with Him even if for the first time; to be still looking unto Jesus in utter helplessness. There was a scene in the film when Jesus was being whipped and the witnessing Pharisees needed to turn away at the sight of Jesus’ suffering… what were they thinking then having help to put Jesus in this place? Even Pilate seemed to have thought that Jesus might be someone above the common order. In the end, our Lord was made to suffer the sins of both Jews and Gentiles; that the Jews should first purpose his death, and the Gentiles carry that purpose out. But, had not Christ been rejected by men that day, we would have been forever rejected of God! Now the Son of man was delivered into the hands of wicked and unreasonable men. He was led forth for us, that we might escape. He was nailed to the cross, as a human Sacrifice bound to the altar. That day, Scripture was fulfilled; he did not die at the altar among the sacrifices, but among criminals sacrificed to public justice.

John 19: 19-30 articulated many amazing events surrounding the circumstances of Jesus’ death. Pilate refused the chief priests that the writing above Jesus be altered… perhaps God dwelling within his heart? That this statement “Jesus of Nazarath, King of the Jews” describing our Lord’s character and authority might continue? Additionally, the many things done by the Roman soldiers were fulfilments of the prophecies of the Old Testament including how Christ tenderly provided for his mother at his death. Sometimes, when God removes one comfort from us, he offers another in ways and places we never considered. Christ’s example teaches us to honor our parents always… providing for their needs, and to provide comfort whenever possible. Observe the dying words of Jesus as He breathed His last… It is finished; that His sufferings were now fulfilled… that all prophecies of the Old Testament, which pointed at the sufferings of the Messiah, were accomplished… that the ceremonial law is abolished; the substance is now come, and all the shadows are done away… that an end is made of transgression by bringing in an everlasting righteousness… that His sufferings were now finished in both soul and body… that the work of man’s redemption and salvation is now completed. His life was not taken forcibly from Him but freely given up.

John 19:31-37 saw Jesus lay His life down with his body speared. The very fountain of life offered blood and water from the pierced side of our Redeemer, signifying the two great benefits which all believers partake of through Christ, justification and sanctification with blood signifying atonement and water for purification (Philippians 3). Pilate not allowing Christ’s legs to be broken fulfilled Scripture (Psalm 34:20)… the paschal lamb described in Exodus 12:46.

In John 19:38-42, just as Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus stepped up to tend to Christ’s body after his death and show value they had for Christ’s person and doctrine, we are called to do our duty daily and leave it to God to fulfill His promises in His own way and His own time. However, in order to accomplish this task, we must prepare our hearts, for where God has a throne and an altar in the heart, there is a living temple in which the Spirit will be manifested (Exodus 40, Proverbs 16).

My prayer is that we continue to look to Jesus, whom, by our sins, we have ignorantly and heedlessly pierced, who shed from His wounded side both water and blood, that we might be justified and sanctified in His name. So great was His love for us, that He endured unspeakable suffering to set us free from condemnation forever… what greater love than this exists? Let us continue to live our lives in such a way that is honoring to God for His tremendous suffering, so that when people who don’t even know our name can recognize that there is change… that when they see us, they’re seeing You! In Jesus’ name… Amen.

Happy Easter all…
Greg (gstefanelli)

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Ex. 39; John 18; Prov. 15; Phil. 2

Filigrees and gems. Rich color and finery. Garments beautifully made. Names engraved like a seal. Holy to the Lord. This is Exodus 39.

Jesus is betrayed and he is questioned about his teaching. Pilate asks,

“So you are a king?”

Jesus responded, “You say I am a king. Actually, I was born and came into the world to testify to the truth. All who love the truth recognize that what I say is true.” John 18:37 NLT.

In Proverbs 15, it’s a view of a walking path splintered at choice–on the one side, the things God detests, and fools belching, trash feasts, trouble, and crushed spirits. The other side, understanding, gentleness, a hunger for knowledge, a continual feast, life.

  • A lazy person’s way is blocked with briers, but the path of the upright is an open highway. Proverbs 15:19 NLT
  • Foolishness brings joy to those with no sense; a sensible person stays on the right path. Proverbs 15:21 NLT
  • The path of life leads upward for the wise; they leave the grave behind. Proverbs 15:24 NLT

There was a time I never thought about the path I was on. I followed the map that was handed to me, until Jesus redirected my steps.

In Exodus, the priests wore garments with the names of the tribes of Israel engraved upon the gems. And in the New Testament, Jesus, my high priest, bears my name engraved upon his hands.

Though he was God,
he did not think of equality with God
as something to cling to.
Instead, he gave up his divine privileges;
he took the humble position of a slave
and was born as a human being.
When he appeared in human form,
    he humbled himself in obedience to God
and died a criminal’s death on a cross. Philippians 2:6-8 NLT

A phone call this past weekend showed me how a path can seem so far, and yet so close at the same time. That map I once held is really only a choice away from me.

Oh, God, help me to always seek and choose truth.

12 Dear friends, you always followed my instructions when I was with you. And now that I am away, it is even more important. Work hard to show the results of your salvation, obeying God with deep reverence and fear. 13 For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.

14 Do everything without complaining and arguing, 15 so that no one can criticize you. Live clean, innocent lives as children of God, shining like bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people. 16 Hold firmly to the word of life; then, on the day of Christ’s return, I will be proud that I did not run the race in vain and that my work was not useless. 17 But I will rejoice even if I lose my life, pouring it out like a liquid offering to God, just like your faithful service is an offering to God. And I want all of you to share that joy. 18 Yes, you should rejoice, and I will share your joy. Philippians 2:12-18 NLT, emphasis mine.

Hold firmly to the word of life.

Courtney (66books365)

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Ex. 38; John 17; Proverbs 14; Phil. 1;

There is absolutely nothing like encouragement, especially the encouragement of knowing someone is praying for you.  It fills you up and gives you joy and purpose.  It ignites a fire that pushes you to want to do even more.  It can also be contagious and cause you to want to pass along that same joy to someone else.  Even hearing or witnessing it can have an effect on a person.

When I read Jesus’ prayer in John and Paul’s prayer in Philippians, I can feel the love they had for the people in their lives, the desire they had for them to succeed.  They wanted the best for them and they asked God to bless them and help them to succeed.

“I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine making request for you with all joy,” Philippians 1:3-4

“But now I come to You, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have My joy fulfilled in themselves.” John 17:13

“I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one,” John 17:20-21a

Is that cool or what?  Jesus, over 2000 years ago, is praying to God for us.  How does that make you feel?  I can tell you that for me, it makes it more real as it forms a connection to my life and what Jesus wanted for my life.  It fills me with hope, joy and encouragement.  It makes me want to pray for others in my life.

God, thank you that before time began, You had a plan for my life.  A plan filled with purpose and hope.  Thank You for Your word and the saints who came before me.  Help me to be a strong link in the chain and to encourage others with prayer and with my words.

Allen (allen4myfamily)

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Exodus 37, John 16, Proverbs 13, Ephesians 6

Our fight is not against people on earth but against the rulers and authorities and the powers of this world’s darkness, against the spiritual powers of evil in the heavenly world. That is why you need to put on God’s full armor. Then on the day of evil you will be able to stand strong. And when you have finished the whole fight, you will still be standing. Ephesians 6:12-13 (NCV)

God is the creator of all things in the heavens and in the earth. I think of my children and how perfectly formed they are, down to the smallest details, including the heart-shaped birthmark on my toddler’s abdomen and the perfectly kissable lips on my baby; and I marvel that, as unique as these two little girls are, they are only two of the trillions of completely distinctive human beings who ever lived or died.

As I read more about the details that God laid out for the construction and artistry of the items used within the tabernacle, and even the tabernacle itself, it is amazing to me how specific He is for each item. From the type of materials used to the measurements and sizes, all crafted by a man whose name means ‘In the Protection of God.”

I believe that there is so much significance to everything that God does, meaning within meaning. There is a reason each of these items were certain dimensions. There is a reason each item was adorned with specific decorations. There is a reason certain materials were used in the construction of each item. Of course, physical beauty to be admired and strength to withstand the ages, but also everything ultimately points in some way to the cross, the finished work of Christ.

More specifically, what stood out to me was the use of acacia wood and gold. Annette Ettinger, my dear mother-in-the-Lord, a woman who has extensively studied Biblical botanicals, writes this:

 “Acacia or shittim wood was a virtually incorruptible wood that God chose for the construction of the Tabernacle of Moses and its contents; excluding the laver, the golden lamp stand and the mercy seat.  All of the acacia wood was overlaid with pure gold representing the deity of the Lord.  The acacia wood depicts the Lord’s humanity and His sinless incorruptible nature.

We enter into this anointing through the framework of the tabernacle…This imagery clearly brings forth a prophetic picture of the body of Christ being jointly fit together, standing ‘shoulder-to-shoulder’ and resting in the finished work of the cross.  Overlaid in gold represent His Bride taking on His image from glory to glory through His refining fire!” 1

When I accepted Christ in my heart, we became one, I in Him and Him in me. Through Him, I am given strength; I am given everlasting life. I am grafted into His vine. As I continue to receive His gift, He infuses my life and literally changes me from the inside out. He trains me, teaches me and gives me the tools I need to withstand – truth, righteousness, peace, faith, salvation, the Word of God, and prayer.

At the same time, His glory covers me from head to toe, and I am given God’s armor which reflects His image and His glory to protect me. My image transforms from that of a woman clothed in the filthy rags of sin to the image of a warrior princess covered in the gilded splendor of my King. And, I am able to stand against the wiles of the enemy.

Armour of God 2

Blessings – Julie, Vadipatti, India (written in the U.S.A.)

1 http://www.hegai.org/products/acacia.html

2 http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_cdhgqHhno4o/SjTLwf0sFcI/AAAAAAAAAY0/BwC3WLKSPX8/s1600-h/Armour+of+God.jpg

Scripture taken from the New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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Exodus 35, John 15, Proverbs 12, Ephesians 5

“Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.  I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” ~John 15:4,5

What is a branch apart from the vine?

Nothing.

It has no life; no ability to do or be anything.

I love this. So much of the struggling and falling short of us branches is due to our refusal to recognize that we are nothing, and can do nothing, apart from Christ.

That it is Him alone who gives us worth.  We are not capable of bearing true spiritual fruit on our own, so there is no room for any glory in ourselves. There is no room for esteeming any man above another.

We are just branches, He is the life.

Yet, because we are on the vine, because we have that privilege- that gift of amazing grace to live in union with Jesus Christ, we branches have great worth.

Because {and I speak as a fool}, what is a vine without branches?

He has chosen, in his amazing love and unimaginable condescension, to make us one with Him, and extension of Him.

He has chosen for us to be his branches, and bear his fruit, his glory!

This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.” (v.8)

I have never seen a branchless vine covered in grapes.

This is incredible. The glorious one, choosing to display his glory through us! Choosing to let us be the bearer s of his fruit, choosing to accomplish is purposes through us.

This abiding in Him, being a branch, is such an incredible privilege.

*

Jesus goes on to say, “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” (v. 12,13)

This is his desire for us. But here’s the thing.

We are not capable of loving how he loves. Not by ourselves! This love…is it not the first listed fruit of the Spirit in Galations 5:21?

That fruit that he is bearing in us and through us? It includes that love.

So we don’t have to strive to produce love. We don’t have to be discouraged at our lack of love, naturally speaking.

He has shown the provision before the command.

All he asks, he provides.

Lord, help me abide in you, remain in you, remember my absolute need for you, rely on you, yield to you, and let you produce this love in me that only can come from you!

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