Monthly Archives: December 2016

Thank You–and Here’s to a New Year!

Thank you for reading the Bible with us in 2016. But it doesn’t have to stop here.

We’ll return January 1, 2017, with a new plan and an old favorite–the M’Cheyne Bible reading plan. It’s two Old Testament and two New Testament readings daily. Check out the plan for yourself, grab a few bookmarks and join us. We saved you a seat.

See you Sunday!

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Job 40-42; Psalm 150; Revelation 22

Another year of reading through the Bible ends today and something wonderful continues. What was a daily Christian obligation (something good girls and boys do) has become an invitation to enter into something sacred and holy. This more or less daily occurrence is a time when my inner compass is mysteriously, often imperceptibly reoriented to true north. Self absorption loses hold when faced with the fierce love of God. His steadfast grace washes over me day after day and transforms the shoreline of my being.

God’s authority stands firm. Period. My world may get rocked and my vision may cloud. Natural disasters, wars, death and even death come, but God has it covered:

Who then is able to stand against me? Who has a claim against me that I must pay? Everything under heaven belongs to me.” Job 41:10-11  

Job gratefully replies, I know that you can do all things; no plan of yours can be thwarted.” Job 42:2

God invites me to peer into a beautiful vision of who He is and what He has done. This is my future:

“Then an angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing 12 crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. and the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads.” Revelation 22:1-3.

Can this be? Does what happens in heaven start here on earth? As I get glimpses of who God  is, am I eventually transformed so that others look past my human weakness to see “his name on my forehead?”

Jesus extends his hand and offers this invitation:

Behold, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End. Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may go through the gates into the city.  Revelation 22:12-14

“The Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come!’ And let him who hears say, ‘Come!’  Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life.” Revelation 22: 17. 

Lord,  I take up your invitation to follow you into this day.  Keep my eyes fixed on you are so that self absorption and doubt melt away in the light of the wonder and power of who you are. Let me delight and rejoice in you.  Amen.

 “Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.” Psalm 150:6

Kathy

 

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Job 37-39; Psalm 103; Revelation 21

“My heart pounds as I think of this …” Job 37:1a, NLT

Today’s scriptures point to a magnificent God. An organized, creative, intentional designer.

“Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth?” Job 38:4a, NLT

A look back on a full year. I could tell about the losses and heartaches. But I’d rather remember my God and all that He did. There were a lot of things beyond my control, but not out of my God’s hands–and where I saw dead ends and loss, he brought out goodness, newness, hope.

When God speaks in Job, I remember my smallness. It humbles me. And all the things that seemed so big, they become small too in light of the Lord. He is able.

“Have you ever commanded the morning to appear
    and caused the dawn to rise in the east? Job 38:12, NLT

A definite perk to an early start is an expectant seat to a morning sunrise. He does that. Not me. Some mornings the first rays are so majestic; they are a visual orchestra proclaiming the glory of God. Or, like today, a soft whisper of rain, a gentle patter against the slate.

34 “Can you shout to the clouds
    and make it rain? Job 38:34, NLT

I rest in his ability.

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. Psalm 103:1-2, NLT

With my whole heart, Lord, I praise you. May I never forget the good things you do 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. Psalm 103:3-4, NLT

And if the heavens’ song didn’t show his might, a universe and eternity held in his hands–would this? That he cared enough for me–this body, this heart, this soul–to forgive all my sins. To redeem me from death. To crown me.

With love.

With tender mercies.

This humbles me. When even life’s challenges seem bigger than me, he sees me. He knows my name.

Father God, greater riches await, and not because of who I am, but because of who you are. I am grateful for all that you do and all that you are. Thank you for meeting me where I am with love and tenderness, to set me straight and draw me close.

Courtney (66books365)

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Job 34-36; Revelation 20

11Then I saw a great white throne and the One who was sitting on it. Earth and sky ran away from him and disappeared. 12And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne. And the book of life was opened. There were also other books opened. The dead were judged by what they had done, which was written in the books. 13The sea gave up the dead who were in it. Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them. Each person was judged by what he had done. 14And Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This lake of fire is the second death. 15And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire. Revelation 20:11-15 (ICB)
I’ve been enjoying cheesy Christmas romantic comedies the last couple of weeks. They’re light-hearted and they distract me from the difficulties in the day to day of life, despite being particularly predicable.
This week I watched  a new one, called “How Sarah Got Her Wings”. It was about a woman who died and had to come back to earth to get her name on the list to get into heaven. She was desperate not to got to hell, a place where the people look pathetic and forlorn like a row of wallflowers at a junior high school dance. So the manager of purgatory sent her back to earth to do something, anything to get her name on the list. It took her a few tries, but she finally figured out the way to get into heaven.
Though the movie was cute and enjoyable, I had to shake my head at the message that’s being sent by a movie which sets up the gates of heaven to be like a hip new restaurant that you need reservations for.
The truth is the only way to heaven is through Jesus Christ and He’s the only one who can make certain that my name is in the book of life. It doesn’t matter how many good deeds I have done in my life. It doesn’t matter how many amazing things I do for other people or how many sacrifices I make before my life is over. What matters is whether or not I believe in Jesus-come to earth in the flesh-that I believe that He died on the cross, and rose again, and is now sitting at the right hand of God continually interceding on my behalf.
When and only when I turn my life and my heart to Jesus, will I be able to enter heaven when my time comes. My name will be in the book of life.
Yesappa, Thank You for choosing to lay yourself down, so that in death and in life we can always be connected. Thank You for the eternity in heaven that You made possible for me. Thank You for rescuing me from the pit of hell and writing my name in the book of life. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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Psalm 102; Revelation 19

My days are like an evening shadow; I wither away like grass. But you, O Lord, are enthroned forever; you are remembered throughout all generations. You will arise and have pity on Zion; it is the time to favor her; the appointed time has come.” Psalm 102:12-13 ESV

I know what it is like to be in a dark place and cry out to God like David did. If my focus is on myself, I continue down that gloomy path. When I remember, “But, God,” my perspective changes. I am reminded that this is not all there is, and I am filled with hope. Ann Voskamp says, “There’s a hope waiting right up ahead right now for you in the dark.” My daughter is afraid of the dark. She sleeps with all of her lights on in her room. I was afraid of the dark at her age too, I would leave my door cracked so some light could get in. Am I letting God’s light flood my soul? Or am I listening to the lies of the enemy? In Revelation, I see Satan’s schemes and how he has a plan for my life as well.

And I saw the beast and the kings of the earth with their armies gathered to make war against him who was sitting on the horse and against his army. And the beast was captured, and with it the false prophet who in its presence had done the signs by which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped its image. These two were thrown alive into the lake of fire that burns with sulfur.” Revelation 19:19&20 ESV

But, in Jesus, I already have the victory.

Nations will fear the name of the Lord, and all the kings of the earth will fear your glory; he regards the prayer of the destitute and does not despise their prayer. Let this be recorded for a generation to come, so that a people yet created my praise the Lord: that he looked down from his holy height; from heaven the Lord looked at the earth, to hear the groans of the prisoners, to set free those who were doomed to die, that they may declare in Zion the name of the Lord, and in Jerusalem his praise, when peoples gather together, and kingdoms, to worship the Lord.” Psalm 102:15-22 ESV

Father, Show me where I need to let your light fill up my dark places. So, that I desire you above everything else. Amen.

Hear my prayer, O Lord; let my cry come to you! Do not hide your face from me in the day of my distress! Incline your ear to me; answer me speedily in the day when I call! For my days pass away like smoke, and my bones burn like a furnace. My heart is struck down like grass and has withered; I forget to eat my bread.” Psalm 102:1-4 ESV

Amy(amyctanner)

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