Monthly Archives: December 2017

2 Chronicles 36, Revelation 22, Malachi 4, John 21

Another year flies by. This is a time when I reflect and recommit. I take a hard look at where I’ve been and where I want to be. It’s not so much a time for resolutions because, really, those would be the same every year. I have the same goals and dreams as last year, and the year before. I use this time for recommitting myself, for putting new systems in place, for weeding out bad habits that keep me stuck.

In this process, the most important question I ask myself is this:

Do I live every day as if Jesus might come back tomorrow?

In the book of Revelation, Jesus said:

“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.”  Revelation 22:12-13

The painful, brutally honest answer is of course, no. I will never be so perfect as to live each day as if it is my last, to live each day as if I’ll be in the presence of Jesus the next. If that is my goal, all I can do is take steps toward it. There are many minutes in a day, and I can spend more of them wisely. I can spend more minutes loving those around me the way Jesus would want.

Again Jesus Said, “Simon son of John, do you truly love me?”

He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.”

Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.” John 21:16

Jesus asks me, like he asks Simon Peter, to take care of his people. This is my purpose. As I assess how to move forward next year, I will keep this as my focus: to spend more minutes … hours … days … loving my people.

Dear Lord, I look forward to the day that you come back and take us to our real home. While I am here I want to live my life so that I reflect your love for me. Help me to overcome my sinful nature so that the minutes turn into days of loving others as you love.  Amen

Diona

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

Josiah Celebrates Passover

Then Josiah announced that the Passover of the LORD would be celebrated in Jerusalem, and so the Passover lamb was slaughtered on the fourteenth day of the first month. Josiah also assigned the priests to their duties and encouraged them in their work at the Temple of the LORD. (2 Chronicles 35:1-2 NLT)

Josiah was a good king who did right in the Lord’s sight. He made sure to follow the directions so that the Passover would be done as God wanted it.

Jesus Appears to Mary Magdalene

Mary was standing outside the tomb crying, and as she wept, she stooped and looked in. She saw two white-robed angels, one sitting at the head and the other at the foot of the place where the body of Jesus had been lying. “Dear woman, why are you crying?” the angels asked her. “Because they have taken away my Lord,” she replied, “and I don’t know where they have put him.” She turned to leave and saw someone standing there. It was Jesus, but she didn’t recognize him. “Dear woman, why are you crying?” Jesus asked her. “Who are you looking for?” She thought he was the gardener. “Sir,” she said, “if you have taken him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will go and get him.” “Mary!” Jesus said. She turned to him and cried out, “Rabboni!” (which is Hebrew for “Teacher”). (John 20:11-16 NLT)

When Jesus was resurrected, Mary was upset because she didn’t know where Jesus was. Sometimes I think I don’t know where Jesus is. I get too caught up in my own thoughts and what I have to do, and I forget that Jesus is always with me. I can talk to him whenever I need to, and he’ll listen.

Purpose of the Book

The disciples saw Jesus do many other miraculous signs in addition to the ones recorded in this book. But these are written so that you may continue to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing in him you will have life by the power of his name. (John 20:30-31 NLT)

Jesus, thank you so much for this amazing gift of eternal life. It’s the best gift that I’ve ever received, and that I’ll ever receive. What you’ve done means so much to me. Please show me the way, because I want to be like you and do what’s right. I love you. Amen

Lanie (llilly2017)

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

Josiah pleased the Lord by doing what was right. He sought God. The young king went from place to place, getting rid of idols–smashed, scattered, demolished.  His men restored what the kings of Judah had allowed to fall into ruin. When ancestors had led the people to God’s great anger, this man led them in humility.

26 “But go to the king of Judah who sent you to seek the Lord and tell him: ‘This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says concerning the message you have just heard: 27 You were sorry and humbled yourself before God when you heard his words against this city and its people. You humbled yourself and tore your clothing in despair and wept before me in repentance. And I have indeed heard you, says the Lord. 28 So I will not send the promised disaster until after you have died and been buried in peace. You yourself will not see the disaster I am going to bring on this city and its people.’” 2 Chronicles 34:26-28 NLT.

Living on purpose, with purpose. Wholehearted. This is one word that comes to mind lately.

33 So Josiah removed all detestable idols from the entire land of Israel and required everyone to worship the Lord their God. And throughout the rest of his lifetime, they did not turn away from the Lord, the God of their ancestors. 2 Chronicles 34:33 NLT.

A warning in Malachi grabs my attention. Listen, listen … make up your mind.

Listen, you priests—this command is for you! Listen to me and make up your minds to honor my name,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies … Malachi 2:1-2a NLT.

A call. I look at where a life lived half-hearted leads … and I don’t want that. A call, a call, an awakening. I’ve read that “if you want something, you’ll find a way–otherwise, you’ll find an excuse.” Jesus made the way for me–to walk in the Spirit. I don’t want to make excuses–not to God, not today, not tomorrow. He doesn’t expect perfection out of me–he just wants my whole heart. He is pleased when I seek him.

10 Are we not all children of the same Father? Are we not all created by the same God? Then why do we betray each other, violating the covenant of our ancestors?

A call to action …

Lord, I’m so easily distracted and, at times, over scheduled. A filling up of calendar days looks more like treading life than living it on purpose. A new year signals new starts, but through Jesus Christ, I have been given new life. I want to honor you, revere you and live in awe of your goodness. Help me to become aware of situations and actions that don’t please you–help me to smash, scatter and demolish the things in my life that are stumbling blocks. I’m thankful to look ahead to a sixth year in your word with fellow believers, and a closer walk with you.

Courtney (66books365)

From the archives. Originally published December 29, 2013.

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2 Chronicles 33; Revelation 19; Malachi 1; John 18

Manasseh built altars across the land to worship false gods. He did what was evil in the Lord’s sight. His reigning years peak at likely his lowest point: 10 The Lord spoke to Manasseh and his people, but they ignored all his warnings. 11 So the Lord sent the commanders of the Assyrian armies, and they took Manasseh prisoner. They put a ring through his nose, bound him in bronze chains, and led him away to Babylon (2 Chronicles 33:10-11, NLT).

A ring through his nose. Bound in chains. A prisoner.

12 But while in deep distress, Manasseh sought the Lord his God and sincerely humbled himself before the God of his ancestors. 13 And when he prayed, the Lord listened to him and was moved by his request. So the Lord brought Manasseh back to Jerusalem and to his kingdom. Then Manasseh finally realized that the Lord alone is God (2 Chronicles 33:12-13, NLT)!

Offerings. Honor. Obedience. These are the words that repeat through the four readings. I take note and quiet myself before the Lord. At a year’s end, I look back and reflect on losses, responses and responsibilities. This heart of mine still sorts through thoughts of legacy and life.

Offerings. Honor. Obedience. A look back framed by those words. A look ahead to a new year, and I pray (oh, I pray Lord!) that my offerings to You would be generous and cheerfully given of time, talent, treasure. That my thoughts and actions would honor You. And that even in the difficulties, I would choose obedience.

Lord, “My heart says of you, ‘Seek his face!’ Your face, Lord, I will seek.” Thank you, Jesus, for bending low to hear me, for answering prayers, for guiding my steps and leading me through this year’s very rough waters. I quiet myself at your feet to listen and learn. Help me to live a life that honors you.

Courtney (66books365)

 

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

Revelation 18:19 “Alas, alas, that great city, in which all who had ships on the sea became rich by her wealth! For in one hour she is made desolate.”

Close your eyes, open your Bible, and point to anywhere on the page. What if this is the way we were instructed to find God’s plan for the day, the year, the expectancy of life? If so, might this denouncement of Babylon be a call for wrath towards me or towards my enemies? I would hope not! Yet this passage painfully reminds me that in one hour the hopes and dreams of a life can be destroyed. I guess that is why I read on, seeking grace from God’s throne. If I can be blown away by judgments or the act of violence from man’s hand, then I am even more in need of the study of God’s word.

I have written on more than one occasion about my great sorrow, wrestling to understand the love of God. I may have, at times, even anesthetized His love with platitudes about His will as if my helplessness was holy. Yet the Divine Christ knows my limits and will not allow me to hold these thoughts for long.

When writing in the past and before today’s post, I longed to hear God speak directly to my soul. It may be selfish, but I seek the exquisite, liquid gold flow of His love and the blinding brilliance of His glory.

This lavish love is described by Christ Jesus in John 17:20, “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, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one just as We are one: I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me.”

I emphasize Christ’s words, “I in them, and You in Me…loved them as You loved Me.” There was and is no isolation in my desolation. The Divine was then and is with me now. With renewed hope, I read on.

The prophecy in Zechariah 18 said that all nations will worship the King (Jesus the Messiah) at the Feast of Tabernacles. This is the one feast that will still be celebrated in Messiah’s kingdom, for it is a feast of thanksgiving. Do I hear my soul again question God’s love? Autumn is the season of this everlasting Feast, and yet each autumn I experience the strongest jolt of loss. How can God call my heart to worship in the midst of my pain? Yet, His perfect peace comes undeniably with my obedience in giving thanks.

I search again and reflect on what I have read and written this year for 66 Books. A new focus word for the New Year comes to mind – RAISE. Am I to dress myself with the prayer warrior’s armor so that I can raise up broken relationships? Am I to raise awareness of the injustices I see in the treatment of patients afflicted with addiction? Or am I to raise up my countenance to look into Christ’s wonderful face?

Lord, I pray that the end of a season of writing is just the beginning preparations of this year’s call to be raised up as one of Your servants. I humbly surrender to Your lovingkindness.

2 Chronicles 32:5 “And he strengthened himself, built up all the wall that was broken, raised it up to the towers, and built another wall outside; also he repaired the Millo in the City of David, and made war weapons and shields in abundance.”

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