Monthly Archives: August 2018

Micah 5-7; Matthew 25

The chapters I read in Micah and Matthew seem to go together perfectly. Micah tells of a coming Messiah, judgment of the wicked, and redemption of the righteous. In Matthew, the Messiah has come and tells the disciples of the Final Judgment, when he will fulfill Micah’s prophetic words and judge all people.

But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose origin is from of old, from ancient days. Micah 5:2 ESV

Micah foretells of the Messiah, the One who is coming to save Israel. He declares that although Bethlehem is too small to be among the clans of Judah, it will produce Israel’s ruler. Jesus, Israel’s eternal king would come from the same town and lineage as David, just as the LORD had promised.

“With what shall I come before the LORD, and bow myself before God on high? Shall I come before him with burnt offerings with calves a year old? Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousands of rivers of oil? Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for my soul?” Micah 6:6-7 ESV

This passage offers some very interesting foreshadowing as Micah rhetorical asks what men must do before they can approach the LORD. Ultimately, he declares that God requires of man to do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with Him. God gave His firstborn for my transgression. I do not need to sacrifice animals or my firstfruits to the LORD made the ultimate sacrifice: His own Son.

Who is a God like you, pardoning iniquity and passing over transgression for the remnant of his inheritance? He does not retain his anger forever, because he delights in steadfast love. He will again have compassion on us; he will tread our iniquities under foot. You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea. Micah 7:18-19 ESV

Who is like you, O LORD?

When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. Matthew 25: 31-32 ESV

In Matthew 25, Jesus tells His disciples of the Final Judgment, when He will gather the nations and separate the righteous from the unrighteous. The righteous will inherit the Kingdom of God while the unrighteous will be cast into the eternal fire.

Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me… Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me’ Matthew 25:34-36, 40 ESV

One of God’s major callings to Christians is to care for others. Jesus spent much of his time on earth caring for other people. Whether it was feeding them, teaching them, or healing them of their sicknesses, Jesus’ whole life was based around serving others, culminating in His death on the cross to ultimately save me from my sins. Just as Jesus had a kind and compassionate heart towards those around him, so I also should have a heart that looks to serve instead of be served.

Dear God, please give me a servant’s heart. Please help me care for those around me who need love and support. In Your Holy Name, Amen.

 

Nathanael (nborger2017)

 

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Micah 1-4; Psalm 10; Matthew 24

That very first sin, in the garden, they were faced with a choice. At first, it kinda looked like a choice between disobedience and obedience. Or maybe it was doubt over trust. Or maybe it was power over relationship. Maybe it was all of those things, but as I’ve thought on that this week, it was (insert the sin or desire) over relationship (in that case, with God).

I’ve watched that same thing play itself out in a variety of ways throughout my life. Popularity vs. relationship. Lust vs. relationship. Pride vs. relationship. Greed vs. relationship. Addiction vs. relationship.

Micah 1-4 is a list of accusation against a nation and their wickedness. Because they chose evil, unbelief, disobedience over relationship. Psalm 10 takes a look at a heart.

For they brag about their evil desires;
    they praise the greedy and curse the Lord.

The wicked are too proud to seek God.
    They seem to think that God is dead.
Yet they succeed in everything they do.
    They do not see your punishment awaiting them.
    They sneer at all their enemies.
They think, “Nothing bad will ever happen to us!
    We will be free of trouble forever!”

Their mouths are full of cursing, lies, and threats.
Trouble and evil are on the tips of their tongues. (Psalm 10:3-7, NLT)

If you’ve ever been on the relationship side of being ditched, you know the sting of sin. But when it’s man vs. God, it’s man choosing an idol over God, and that idol goes by many names. It is temporary, powerless, empty.

Those choices can be defining, life altering, eternal.

 

Though the nations around us follow their idols,
    we will follow the Lord our God forever and ever. (Micah 4:5, NLT)

Every day, a choice.

As Jesus was leaving the Temple grounds, his disciples pointed out to him the various Temple buildings. But he responded, “Do you see all these buildings? I tell you the truth, they will be completely demolished. Not one stone will be left on top of another!” (Matthew 24:1-2, NLT)

This life, this world, they are so very temporary.

Live kingdom focused.

45 “A faithful, sensible servant is one to whom the master can give the responsibility of managing his other household servants and feeding them. 46 If the master returns and finds that the servant has done a good job, there will be a reward. 47 I tell you the truth, the master will put that servant in charge of all he owns. 48 But what if the servant is evil and thinks, ‘My master won’t be back for a while,’ 49 and he begins beating the other servants, partying, and getting drunk? 50 The master will return unannounced and unexpected, 51 and he will cut the servant to pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth (Matthew 24:45-51, NLT).

Lord, the choices I make, the words I say, the actions I take, they tell a story, and whether intended or not, the story they tell will show my heart. But truly, importantly, I hope those choices show you–my strength in weakness, my hope in grief, my faith in what seems futile. You are just. You are sovereign.

Courtney (66books365)

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Isaiah 4-6; Matthew 23

I know the Lord is good and you may rightly respond – all the time.

So why is it that I step away from Him, try to find my own way, enjoy my own pleasures and even find spiritual words, tasks and behaviours to justify such behaviour?

Have I really stopped thinking about Him?

I am the Lord All-Powerful! Israel is the vineyard, and Judah is the garden I tended with  are. I had hoped for honesty and for justice, but dishonesty and cries for mercy were all I found. At your drinking parties you have the music of stringed instruments, tambourines, and flutes. But you never even think about all the Lord has done. – Isaiah 5:7,12  CEV

I have run into many followers of Christ who say they would never do what the Israelites did crossing the desert to the promised land.  I have said – how could they have forgotten and so quickly, what the Lord had just done one day before?

The words are hardly out of my mouth and I have done the very same thing on the very next day.

There is one secret though that I have found, and it is the most real I can get in my relationship with Jesus.  I fess up right away, I get clean right away, I set things straight and ask for forgiveness.  There is one thing I do not want, will not tolerate and will not accept in my life – the absence of the Holy Spirit.  A hard heart will turn Him away every time.  At some point I would be afraid that I actually might not let Jesus rule my life one day should I keep rejecting His love.

Jerusalem, Jerusalem! Your people have killed the prophets and have stoned the messengers who were sent to you. I have often wanted to gather your people, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings. But you wouldn’t let me. – Matthew 23:37  CEV

Father, I know you care for me, You tend to my heart and whisper to me during the day.  You set up so many different ways to protect me in my walk.  Your love is felt as sweetly as the wind that blows around me when I walk and spend time in silent prayer with You.  I cannot believe though that I can, the very next day, not even think about You as I find myself busy, occupied, caught up in something so meaningless. But the beauty of it all is that I notice.  In noticing I can come and ask You to forgive me and You do.  Thank You for being so gentle and so present.  I love You.

Erwin (evanlaar1922)

 

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Isaiah 1-3; Psalms 9; Matthew 22

I“Don’t put your trust in mere humans. They are as frail as breath. What good are they?” Isaiah 2:22 NLT

Who am I trusting?

“The Lord is a shelter for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble. Those who know your name trust in you, for you, O Lord, do not abandon those who search for you.” Psalms 9:9&10 NLT

Am I only loving when it is convenient and easy? Because sometimes it’s hard.  If I am trusting in God’s perfect love for me, than I am free to reach out to others without expecting anything in return.  The simple tune of “Jesus Loves Me” fills my mind.  “For the Bible tells me so…” I am convicted to fill my mind with Scripture. Because I know there is an enemy working against me. But, Jesus shows me how to love. And he already has the victory.

“Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses?” Jesus replied, “’You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ The entire law and all the demand of the prophets are based on these two commandments.” Matthew 22:36-40 NLT

I  let these sentences by Henri Noreen sink in…

“The question is not: How many people take you seriously? How much are you going to accomplish? Can you show the same results? But: Are you in love with Jesus? Perhaps another way of putting the question would be: Do you know the incarnate God? In our world of loneliness and despair, there is an enormous need for men and women who know the heart of God, a heart that forgives, cares, reaches out and wants to heal.  In that heart there is no suspicion, no vindictiveness, no resentment, and not a tinge of hatred.  It is a heart that wants only to give love and receive love in response.” ( In the Name of Jesus)

“I will praise you, Lord, with all my heart; I will tell of all the marvelous things you have done.  I will be filled with joy because of you.  I will sing praises to your name.” Psalms 9:1-2 NLT

Dear Father, help me to love others like you do.  And to remember how much I have been forgiven, so I can forgive.  Give me a heart like yours. Amen.

Amy(amyctanner)

 

 

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2 Kings 15-16; Matthew 21

As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage on the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, 2 saying to them, “Go to the village ahead of you, and at once you will find a donkey tied there, with her colt by her. Untie them and bring them to me. 3 If anyone says anything to you, say that the Lord needs them, and he will send them right away.”

4 This took place to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet:

5 “Say to Daughter Zion,
‘See, your king comes to you,
gentle and riding on a donkey,
and on a colt, the foal of a donkey.’”

6 The disciples went and did as Jesus had instructed them. 7 They brought the donkey and the colt and placed their cloaks on them for Jesus to sit on. 8 A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. 9 The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted,

“Hosanna to the Son of David!”

“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”

“Hosanna in the highest heaven!”

10 When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred and asked, “Who is this?”

11 The crowds answered, “This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee.” (Matthew 21:1-11 [NIV])

Sixty-six Books in a year is a devotional series reading through the Bible every year. It’s not a commentary of sorts or a deep theological treatise. So although the above passage we are reading today is a pivotal one in pointing to the veracity of biblical inerrancy and what goes to the very heart of the reality of God’s message to us, let’s keep general in tone and focus.

In Daniel chapter 9 he prophecies about Nehemiah re-building the walls of Jerusalem. Now he doesn’t mention Nehemiah by name, but he does prophesy about the historical fact that took place. Furthermore when the wall is finished (and it took only 52 days for that to be accomplished) another clock started ticking. That clock (prophesy) was of the Messiah riding into Jerusalem on a donkey. And to the day — the very day — of that clock’s alarm ringing Jesus rides into Jerusalem on the back of a donkey.

Nobody can make this stuff up! It’s way too complicated for anyone to figure out. And yet here are the Holy Scriptures foretelling the arrival of the Messiah in Jerusalem hundreds of years before it happens.

Have you found this year’s journey to be boring? Has it gotten tedious? Please realize that these pages we read everyday are trustworthy and the very source of our faith and practice and they can be trusted. And along the way we find nuggets of cosmic truth that make the gospel more of a reality in our lives. Keep reading my friends! Keep reading.

 

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