Monthly Archives: December 2015

Thank you!

Thank you for reading through the Bible with us in 2015!

You know what? We’re doing it again in 2016, starting tomorrow.

Read the Bible with a 5-day approach. Join us here Monday through Friday with a Bible reading plan that gives you weekends to catch up and a chronological influence.

Whether you’ve read the Bible before or this is your first time through it, God will meet you where you are.

Join us?

Happy New Year from all of us here at 66 Books in a Year.

2016 writers collage

 

 

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Job 40-42; Psalm 150; Revelation 22

I catch my breath in the opening verses.

Then the Lord said to Job,

“Do you still want to argue with the Almighty?
    You are God’s critic, but do you have the answers?”

Job Responds to the Lord

Then Job replied to the Lord,

“I am nothing—how could I ever find the answers?
    I will cover my mouth with my hand.
I have said too much already.
    I have nothing more to say.” Job 40:1-5, NLT

In Job’s trials, he talks to his friends, he talks about God, but in the end of his book he talks to God–and then Job listens. This is a fresh reminder to me to get back to basics. To talk to God and then be still and listen.

Last weekend my husband and I looked back at 2015 and how God has worked in our lives. I admitted God had given me direction, and I didn’t listen. God had the answers; he knew things about this year that I couldn’t know. As I look back in reflection of this time, I see God’s love for me, even when I didn’t follow his leading. He walks with me through the hustle. He is good.

Lots of nudges have been coming my way about prayer. About praising God. About trusting him. About seeking his will, and not my own. About listening.

Psalm 150 is all about praise and it underscores the prompts.

Praise the Lord!

Praise God in his sanctuary;
    praise him in his mighty heaven!
Praise him for his mighty works;
    praise his unequaled greatness!
Praise him with a blast of the ram’s horn;
    praise him with the lyre and harp!
Praise him with the tambourine and dancing;
    praise him with strings and flutes!
Praise him with a clash of cymbals;
    praise him with loud clanging cymbals.
Let everything that breathes sing praises to the Lord!

Praise the Lord! Psalm 150:1-6, NLT

Revelation 22, the words stand out, and I can’t help but remember Greg’s post back in October.

17 The Spirit and the bride say, “Come.” Let anyone who hears this say, “Come.” Let anyone who is thirsty come. Let anyone who desires drink freely from the water of life. Revelation 22:17, NLT.

Lord, your word teaches me so many things and I don’t want to stop learning. Thank you for your word in my hands and in my heart. Thank you for walking with me through difficulties and showing your love for me in the most unexpected ways. I praise you for your sovereignty and power, and I’m grateful for your patience and grace. Forgive me, Lord, that I put my want ahead of your leading. You are so good to redeem this time. Thank you that when I am thirsty, you call me to come and let me drink freely.

Courtney (66books365)

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Job 37-39; Psalm 103; Revelation 21

We cannot imagine the power of the Almighty;

but even though he is just and righteous,

he does not destroy us.

No wonder people everywhere fear him.

All who are wise show him reverence.”

Job 37:23-24

Elihu spoke correctly. It doesn’t matter how hard I try, I cannot fully imagine the complete power of God. A friend of mine once said that even if God showed every one of us in the world a new facet of who He is every day, He’d still only show us the tip of the proverbial iceberg.

That, in and of itself, is mind blowing. And then on top of His righteousness, the depth of His character, personality, abilities, etc. is His love, grace, mercy, and goodness. He is a good Father, a merciful God. He is the Beginning and the End. He gives me life and calls me His own.

And the one sitting on the throne said, “Look, I am making everything new!” And then he said to me, “Write this down, for what I tell you is trustworthy and true.” And he also said, “It is finished! I am the Alpha and the Omega—the Beginning and the End. To all who are thirsty I will give freely from the springs of the water of life. All who are victorious will inherit all these blessings, and I will be their God, and they will be my children. Revelation 21:5-7

Though I am undeserving, He loves me with an everlasting love. He gives me everything I need and surprises me with more of my desires. He is full of forgiveness. He heals me, protects me, and gives me His strength. He redeems my life daily, liberating me, and allowing me to walk in truth and freedom.

Let all that I am praise the lord;

with my whole heart, I will praise his holy name.

Let all that I am praise the lord;

may I never forget the good things he does for me.

He forgives all my sins

and heals all my diseases.

He redeems me from death

and crowns me with love and tender mercies.

He fills my life with good things.

My youth is renewed like the eagle’s! Ps 103: 1-5

In the day to day hustle and bustle, it is easy to forget all of the good things God has done for me. It is easy to get lost in the mundane tasks and the chaos of busyness. It is easy to lose focus on what matters and let God slip into the background.

As David knew, the way to remember, to regain focus is to praise the Lord; to worship His name with my whole heart, with every fiber of my being. And, as I praise Him, I create a memorial to His glory.

Yesappa, Thank You for loving me, showing me mercy, and giving me gifts of grace. Help me to remember the good things you’ve done for me. Help me to make praise more and more a part of my daily life so I focus on Your truth rather than my circumstances. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

 

Blessings – Julie,

 

Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

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Job 34-36; Revelation 20

Job opens his mouth in empty talk; he multiplies words without knowledge.” Job 35:16 ESV

I was thinking back to Courtney’s post from December 17. I can relate to how Job’s emotions were all over the place and how I often feel that way. I will be praising God one minute and feeling defeated the next. Our water heater broke on Christmas Day. I couldn’t help wondering why it had to happen then. But just weeks earlier I was grateful for how God provided in an unexpected way. And than having to go for a scary doctor appointment just before the new year. It never seems like the “right time.” God might be teaching me to trust Him, so that my first reaction will be one of faith and not fear. The song, No Longer Slaves, has been playing in my head.  “I’m no longer a slave to fear. I am a child of God.”

Behold, God is great, and we know him not; the number of his years is unsearchable. For he draws up the drops of water; they distill his mist in the rain, which the skies pour down and drop on mankind abundantly. Can anyone understand the spreading of the clouds, the thunderings of his pavilion?” Job 36:30-32 ESV

Sometimes He uses the most simple things to remind me I am His.  I am a visual person. And not that He always gives me signs, but this one was so clear to me. A red lined heart inside of a bruise on my arm. I immediately thought of how He was showing me He loves me.  And how He works all things together for good…even this ugly bruise that I wanted to go away.

Thank you Father that You always meet me where I am at. Thank you for your grace and mercy. I pray that I would learn to trust You more in 2016. In You, I have victory. Amen.

Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, holding in his hand the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain. And he seized the dragon, the ancient serpent, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years, and threw him into the pit , and shut it and sealed it over him, so that he might not deceive the nations any longer, until the thousand years ended.” Revelation 20:1-3 ESV

Amy(amyctanner)

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Psalm 102 and Revelation 19

“It breaks you down…time after time…then what can you do?” These words came from an afflicted youth who was overwhelmed by what could not be controlled, fixed, or changed. Reaching for a substance to ease the pressure and pain seemed normal and justified. Oh, if only there was an easy solution we could swallow. Unfortunately, self-medication is the modern deception that only prevents healing.

Anyone of us can become overwhelmed by depression, anxiety, sadness, extreme loss, trauma, racing thoughts, or debilitating memories, especially over a lengthy time when there seems to be no abatement. I think back on this year, and I admit that most days have proved this statement to be true, at least in my life. Like the psalmist, each day I have cried, “Hear my prayer, O Lord, And let my cry come to You. Do not hide Your face from me in the day of my trouble…”

Unlike those who would choose to anesthetize the pain, I have not sought a drug any stronger than Ibuprofen to calm my headache and heartache. I do not want my voice to be quieted before my God. This salvation walk is teaching me that God expects me to call to Him.  Psalm 102:19-22 says, “For He looked down from the height of His sanctuary; From heaven the Lord viewed the earth, To hear the groaning of the prisoner, To release those appointed to death, To declare the name of the Lord in Zion, And His praise in Jerusalem.” God looks and listens.

God is not dead; Christ Jesus is Faithful and True (Revelation 19:11) and He intercedes on our behalf. Christ looked down, came down, walked among us, prayed for us, healed us, died for us, and rose again to prove His faithfulness and eternal love. He knew what it felt like to be overwhelmed as a human being, and He determined not to leave us orphans. So in those moments when there is no magical pill or anesthetic to blot out the most hopeless of times, the Holy Spirit of Christ is the testimony that holds us up.  Right now. How reassuring to know that we are not alone, and God sends this message every day. Can we see the evidence in those family and friends that call or write or may be silently praying for us? Are we sure that God is good? What about those nuggets of truth that pierce our conscience when we refused to give up?

And can we look with joyful expectation to the Second Coming of Christ who comes in victory (Revelation 19)? If so, like my old pastor was fond of saying, “Can I get an Amen, Alleluia!” Instead of suffering, we will be singing with angels!

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Job 28-30; Revelation 18

Job, one of the oldest stories in the Bible with the youngest, bookends with Revelation.  Job and John tell us something we know by the end of Christmas day; material goods may delight and distract us for a moment, but they ultimately fail us. They do not answer our deepest needs.

Job is whittled away to nothing. His health, children,  wealth and security are gone and he is left with gnawing questions. Why the pain? Why the suffering? Answers evade him; but he knows where to turn:

“But where can wisdom be found? Where does understanding dwell? Man does not comprehend its worth; …It can not be bought with the finest gold, nor can its price be weighed in silver.” Job 28:12-13… 15

“God understands the way to it and he alone knows where it dwells… And he said to man, ‘ The fear of the Lord, that is wisdom and to shun evil is understanding.'”  Job 28:23…28

 Babylon falls like Job. She has been the nation that all other nations look to and has been defined by her wealth and luxury. While Job is righteous, God knows Babylon  to be “a home for demons and a haunt for every evil spirit.” Revelation 18:2.   Within an hour’s time, her wealth is snatched away, and the heavens have a message for the people of God, “Come out of her my people, so that you will not share in her sins, so that you will not receive any of her plagues.” Revelation 18:4.

Both Job and Revelation challenge us to focus on what is truly important and live accordingly. God calls us to push away all that distracts and dazzles and turn our hearts to Him, back to the manger, for there in the lowliest of places, we find Him. There we see God humbling himself to become one of us: Emmanuel, God with us, our Salvation and Deliverer.

Lord, forgive my distracted heart. May I hear your invitation and find my way into your Presence this Christmas Day.

Klueh

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Job 24-27; Revelation 17

Things aren’t always as they seem.

It’s taken me seven years to follow through on a book recommendation by a friend. Last weekend I read The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom–her story stays with me on many levels. I read of Corrie and her sister Betsie, of their life before World War 2, of the conditions of the prison camps. Their words shook me and challenged me in areas of truth, faith, trust, perseverance, and hope–Betsie’s testimony most of all.

Job’s story leaves me questioning. Words that seem wise often get knocked over in arguments–even here, I’m challenged to seek truth. Job contemplates the wicked in these chapters. His impressions hint that things aren’t always as they seem.

The wicked go to bed rich
    but wake to find that all their wealth is gone.
20 Terror overwhelms them like a flood,
    and they are blown away in the storms of the night.
21 The east wind carries them away, and they are gone.
    It sweeps them away.
22 It whirls down on them without mercy.
    They struggle to flee from its power. Job 27 19-22, NLT.

Perversions of power that mask weakness and fear. Deceit that masquerades as success. And sometimes even defeat is really victory. Things aren’t always as I see them–my understanding is so limited.

17 For God has put a plan into their minds, a plan that will carry out his purposes. Revelation 17:17a, NLT.

Lord, I want to sit with your words and learn from you. I want to quiet my thoughts to hear from you. You are the source of wisdom and truth. You are sovereign and just. You are author and perfecter of faith. Nothing escapes you.

Courtney (66books365)

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