Monthly Archives: December 2018

Job 28-30; Revelation 18

20 Where then does wisdom come from?
Where does understanding dwell?
21 It is hidden from the eyes of every living thing,
concealed even from the birds in the sky.
22 Destruction[b] and Death say,
“Only a rumor of it has reached our ears.”
23 God understands the way to it
and he alone knows where it dwells,
24 for he views the ends of the earth
and sees everything under the heavens.
25 When he established the force of the wind
and measured out the waters,
26 when he made a decree for the rain
and a path for the thunderstorm,
27 then he looked at wisdom and appraised it;
he confirmed it and tested it.
28 And he said to the human race,
“The fear of the Lord—that is wisdom,
and to shun evil is understanding.” (Job 28:20-28) NIV

Sometimes I read scripture and it touches the very core of my being.  Tears well into the corners of my eyes as I think about the goodness of God in my life. These words affected me this way.  I shudder to think where I would be if He had not pursued me.

Truthfully, I know exactly where I’d be!  Still searching for that one “thing”, that one “person” that would fill the emptiness inside me.  Nothing satisfied that longing for acceptance, significance, and unconditional love until I began my relationship with Him.

Quite a few years ago, I heard a sermon at our church that spoke of choosing one word as our focus each year instead of making resolutions.  I’ve been doing that for several years now and have been amazed how God has used each word in my life for something going on at the time.  The year I was unemployed my word was “abide”.  It was the perfect word for that season of my life because abiding in Jesus is what got me through.

This past year my word was “light” and I am not sure any of my words have had more of an impact. I started the year still in a deep depression that I had been struggling with for quite some time.  When He brought that word to my mind, it went with the verse “God is light, in him there is no darkness at all.” (1John 1:5b)  I knew He was my way out of the darkness of soul I felt.  During the course of the year, God has revealed the many meanings of the word through verses, studies, devotionals, and sermons.  God spoke and light came into being.  His word is light.  Light is illumination (makes things visible, gives you understanding, the proverbial light bulb over your head).  He taught me so much this past year about Him and about me—things I saw and understood for the first time.  Light also means “not heavy”.  He has lifted burdens from my heart and given me a freedom I didn’t know was possible.  I am truly lighter in so many ways.  Light is gentle, delicate.  All colors depend on light. You can light a fire, ignite a flame.  As I spent time with Him and let Him work, each of these meanings was revealed to me in different ways.

“The fear of the Lord—that is wisdom, and to shun evil is understanding.”

If we ask Him, God will reveal wisdom to us.  Somehow or other as this year comes to a close, I feel wiser.  It really has been a year of growth for me.  It has been painful—I think I’ve cried buckets of tears as I’ve let go of so many lies (shun evil).  In order to do this, I’ve had to bring them out into the light.  Those lies buried deep in my heart were hidden in darkness.  But no more!  “Surrender it all to me”, I felt Him tell me.  I was afraid of the magnitude of the pain of doing that. “On the other side of surrender is freedom” was what I sensed Him telling me in my spirit.  And it was!  Once I surrendered that last bit of my past, that last piece I was clutching, came freedom.

Today is Christmas.  It is the day we celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  He came to earth to set us free.  I have been singing Christmas Carols as long as I can remember but this year, in particular, there are many I cannot sing without tearing up.  The gratitude I feel for what He did by coming to earth and sacrificing Himself for me is overwhelming.  “O, come let us adore Him, Christ the Lord.”

Merry Christmas!

Lord, thank you for Jesus!  Thank you for your plan of redemption through his birth, his life, and his death on a cross.  Thank you that he was raised to life once again and now sits at your right hand interceding for those of us who call upon His name.  Thank you for loving me as you do.  In Jesus name, Amen

Cindy (gardnlady)

 

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Job 24-27; Revelation 17

So it is Christmas Eve. We celebrate the coming of Jesus the Messiah into the world. This event is but a chain of events that end in the total victory of the Messiah — the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world — against the powers of darkness in this universe. So it is fitting that we read Revelation 17 today. The verses that strike me are as follows:

14 They will wage war against the Lamb, but the Lamb will triumph over them because he is Lord of lords and King of kings—and with him will be his called, chosen and faithful followers.” 15 Then the angel said to me, “The waters you saw, where the prostitute sits, are peoples, multitudes, nations and languages (Revelation 17:14&15 [NIV]).

Today we celebrate a link in the chain that brings total victory for God. An eternal Kingdom that will be established and God’s reign will be established for all eternity.

Part of celebrating this first advent is also preparing for the second advent, when Christ returns and this prophecy begins to be fulfilled. What are you doing this Christmas 2018 to prepare for the coming second advent of Jesus? Think and pray about that because what we read in Revelation 17 will some day become reality.

Merry Christmas!

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December 21. Job 21-23; Psalm 101; Revelation 16

In Job 21, I read of Job’s next attempt to defend himself against his three friends. While his friends keep telling him that the sinner suffers and the righteous always prosper. Job argues back that the wicked do prosper, despite sinning.

“Why do the wicked live, reach old age, and grow mighty in power? Their offspring are established in their presence and their descendants before their eyes.” Job 21:7-8 ESV

Job voices a question that sometimes rings in the head of myself and many other believers I am sure. Why does God allow the wicked to prosper? This response from Job tears his friends’ “solution” to the problem of his suffering to pieces. While his friends try to make everything into a black-and-white “those who sin are immediately punished but those who are righteous immediately prosper” case, Job understands that things go deeper than that while still questioning why God allows the wicked to live fulfilling lives.

Then Job answered and said: “Today also my complaint is bitter; my hand is heavy on account of my groaning. Oh, that I knew where I might find him, that I might come even to his seat! I would lay my case before him and fill my mouth with arguments.” Job 22:1-4 ESV

In Job’s next response, he declares that he wishes he could appear before God Himself and bring his problems and pain forward. Job did nothing to deserve his suffering and he wishes he could implore upon God’s justice and ask why he was being punished and not the wicked. I, too, have felt the same. I longing to ask God to bring justice and to help the innocent.

“But he knows the way that I take; when he has tried me, I shall come out as gold. God has made my heart faint; the Almighty has terrified me, yet I am not silenced because of the darkness, nor because thick darkness covers my face.” Job 23:10,16-17 ESV

Job ultimately resolves that God knows what is best for his life and that he will continue to trust Him. Job’s faith has gone through a lot due to his sudden misfortune and the arguments of his friends, however, it is still strong and Job refuses to curse God in the midst of his pain.

Dear God, Please give me strength to trust in you like Job. Help me to trust in you through my struggles. In Your Holy Name, Amen.

Nathanael (nborger2017)

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Job 18-20; Psalm 141; Revelation 15

Empty offers. Canceled plans. Things unspoken, withheld, erased. You aren’t worth it. You don’t matter. These are the words I’ve heard over the years from family and friends, spoken through their tone and by their actions. These are the words an enemy said to me over and over. They became the filter I used to look at my place in life and in relationships, and I hardly knew it. That belief took me to dark places: From I feel lonely to I am alone; from I feel overlooked to I am invisible. I see it in Job, his own thoughts change from a once confidence in God to:

“How long will you torture me?
    How long will you try to crush me with your words?
You have already insulted me ten times.
    You should be ashamed of treating me so badly.
Even if I have sinned,
    that is my concern, not yours.
You think you’re better than I am,
    using my humiliation as evidence of my sin.
But it is God who has wronged me,
    capturing me in his net.

“I cry out, ‘Help!’ but no one answers me.
    I protest, but there is no justice.
God has blocked my way so I cannot move.
    He has plunged my path into darkness.
He has stripped me of my honor
    and removed the crown from my head.
10 He has demolished me on every side, and I am finished.
    He has uprooted my hope like a fallen tree (Job 19:2-10, NLT, emphasis added).

Hey, Job, maybe you didn’t know this, but in the beginning of your story: God thought a lot of  you.

He put a hedge of protection around you, but you didn’t know it. All the crazy and loss and pain going on around you made it hard to see. But maybe when you look back, you’ll see you were held.

He thought you could withstand this. And I wonder, if you had known … if you had told yourself those things instead, what would your testimony be?

When I read Job, I don’t always know what to think, but it certainly has me thinking this time around: What are others telling me? What am I telling myself? What is the truth?

Lord, I need to be grounded in YOUR truth to know the truth. I want eyes to see, ears to hear, and a humbled heart to accept what is. I want to tell myself the truth. And when life doesn’t look the way I thought it should or hoped it would, I want to look to You and ask with expectation, “So, what do You have planned instead?” I’m so thankful that anything that happens is under your notice and watch–crazy, loss and pain can have new meaning and purpose.

Courtney (66books365)

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Job 15-17; Revelation 14

It is certainly different for me these days to be reading Job and Revelation during the Advent season. Poor Job – he is getting all kinds of advice and long lectures from his friends. Some of them call their words so special that they believe they are coming right from God. That sounds so familiar to me from certain days gone by. I am still afraid I might run into it again, but I trust that God has made me wiser and more mature to respond a little bit more like Job.

And you have been offered
comforting words from God.
Isn’t this enough?

I have often heard this,
and it offers no comfort.
But I would offer hope
and comfort instead.

Job 15:11; 16:2,5 CEV

I think the Advent season is such a time for me to be comforted. Every year brings it toils and snares and this year of 2018 is not different. Yet God has words of comfort this Advent season. Words of hope, peace, joy and very soon love. They make a difference to me. And I realize that they are more than just comfort for a trying year. They are also a bugle call as I pray into the new year coming. Those same messages of comfort become my call to action to live a life with exclamation marks of hope, with a heart centred in peace, for the joy of the Lord to be my strength and to see every bit of life through the lens of God’s love. Life as a follower of Jesus is not necessarily going to get easier, but I walk into each new year with an amazing promise.

God’s people must learn to endure. They must also obey his commands and have faith in Jesus.Then I heard a voice from heaven say, “Put this in writing. From now on, the Lord will bless everyone who has faith in him when they die.” The Spirit answered, “Yes, they will rest from their hard work, and they will be rewarded for what they have done.” – Revelation 14:12-13 CEV

It is my prayer for my family that this promise with be part of our celebration and comfort this Christmas season but also our challenge and comfort in the new year.

Father, thank you for Christmas, for Your words of incredible comfort. Job would have loved to hear them as much as I and my family do today. I give You my family, walk with them, may they joy in walking with You. Should this be the year that they meet You face to face, I pray they will enter into Your promise and I look forward to the day that I will too. Help me walk in faith, obey Your call in my life and I will look forward to receiving Your promise if that day should come. Thank You.

Erwin (evanlaar1922)

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