Monthly Archives: December 2019

Thank you!

Thank you for journeying through the Bible with us in 2019.

We’ll be back here tomorrow, ready to start again.

Will you join us?

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Psalms 117; Psalms 125

“Those who trust in the Lord are as secure as Mount Zion; they will not be defeated but will endure forever.  Just as the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the Lord surrounds his people, both now and forever.  The wicked will not rule the land of the godly, for then the godly might be tempted to do wrong.  O Lord, do good to those who are good, whose hearts are in tune with you.  But banish those who turn to crooked ways, O Lord.  Take them away with those who do evil.  May Israel have peace!” Psalms 125 NLT

Where is my trust? Trust has been hard for me this year. It seems like God is building into it, in situations I can’t control. It has made me question if I am operating out of fear or faith.  There have been times when I have been battle weary and tempted to lose hope. But, in simple obedience I have seen the Holy Spirit move in miraculous ways.  He has given me strength that I didn’t know I had. And has used me in spite of my weakness.  When I look for how He  is working, it takes the focus off of me and puts it back on Him.

“Praise the Lord, all you nations.  Praise him, all you people of the earth.  For his unfailing love for us is powerful; the Lord’s faithfulness endures forever.  Praise the Lord!” Psalms 117 NLT

When I reflect on His goodness, I see beyond the struggle to the things that matter…Bravery. Vulnerability. Old patterns being torn down. Child like faith. Purpose. Persistence. Hope restored.

Dear Father, I praise you for who you are.  I want my heart to be in tune with you.  I want to live expectant in the new year.  Amen.

Amy(amyctannner)

 

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Psalm 119

Photo by Mandy Baldwin;
The Washington National Cathedral

How many times have you read Psalm 119? I read it again, but this time in a different translation. The meaning didn’t change but it felt different. The familiar became new.

Take a minute and read it again, or at least your favorite part, in a different translation.

“O Lord, listen to my cry; give me the discerning mind you promised.

Listen to my prayer; rescue me as you promised.

Let praise flow from my lips, for you have taught me your decrees.”

Psalms 119:169-171; NLT

These verses speak of desperation and praise. This past year I have been learning more and more about how seemingly opposites can be present at the same time. Happy and sad; joy and jealousy; longing and contentment.

Photo by Mandy Baldwin;
Girl dancing in the light.

Like many of the Psalms, Psalm 119 brings together opposites. The author seeks salvation and praises God for His provision at the same time. I can long for more and be content with what I have. I can long for relief from suffering and be filled with joy because of who my God is. I love the example the author sets for us.

Dear God, thank you for this gift of life. As we continue to walk with hurt and pain and confusion may we also be filled with your peace and your joy and your contentment. We pray for relief…for healing…for restoration. And we praise you for your presence. Amen.

Mandy (mkaybaldwin)

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Revelation 19-22

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adored for her husband. Revelation 21:1-2 ESV

While much of Revelation can be confusing, the ending of the book leaves no uncertainty: God will triumph, sin and Satan will be defeated, and there will be a new heaven and a new earth. After all the struggles and tribulations described in the book, John receives the complete and final end of the story, where everything is finally set right and the effects of sin are no longer felt.

And he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment. The one who conquers will have this heritage, and I will be his God and he will be my son. But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for the murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.” Revelation 21:6-8 ESV

Once again, God clearly promises that if sinners turn from their sin to Jesus, he will save them and welcome them into his family. Those who follow Jesus lay claim to this heritage and Jesus’ righteousness covers them and washes away all their sins. This is a truth that I need to dwell on. It is too easy to just brush off Jesus’ sacrifice as just another part of His story without fully grasping the weight of it and how He saved me from an eternity of permanent torment. While I am a sinner, through Christ I can conquer and claim my heritage, despite deserving an eternity forever separated from God.

“Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense with me, to repay everyone for 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, so that they may have the right to the tree of life and that they may enter the city by the gates. Revelation 22:12-14 ESV

Dear God, Thank You for sending Jesus so that I can spend eternity with You. Please help me tell others the Good News so that they may be with You for eternity too. Thank You for Your promises. I will faithful wait for Your return. In Your Holy Name, Amen.

Nathanael (nborger2017)

 

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Revelation 15-18

What does Christmas feel like? Our regular radio station played Christmas music almost every day in December. We drove down streets with houses festooned in colorful, blinking lights and displays. Our house had its tree decorated and lit; shimmering red ribbons curled and placed across a mantel; snowflakes and ornaments dripped from light fixtures and windows. I tried to recreate my favorite childhood memories of the season–purchasing boxes of chocolate covered cherries, baking a Christmas morning warm cinnamon pastry, playing music throughout the house to signal the celebration of the new day.

Despite the outward display, though, sometimes it doesn’t feel like Christmas. So, what does Christmas feel like?

In Revelation, End Times approach and there’s no escaping it. From my vantage point, I read of what will happen, and wonder: then and there, would it feel like End Times?

So the first angel left the Temple and poured out his bowl on the earth, and horrible, malignant sores broke out on everyone who had the mark of the beast and who worshiped his statue. (Revelation 16:2, NLT)

The first of the seven bowls of God’s wrath are poured out. I noted by the fourth bowl, a first mention: They did not repent of their sins and turn to God and give him glory. (Revelation 16:9b, NLT)

What will End Times feel like? And would one know when the time is upon him?

15 “Look, I will come as unexpectedly as a thief! Blessed are all who are watching for me, who keep their clothing ready so they will not have to walk around naked and ashamed.” (Revelation 16:15, NLT)

So much in the Bible requires further explanation by the speaker. Revelation describes a future yet to take place, people yet to be born, and items yet to be made.

“Why are you so amazed?” the angel asked. “I will tell you the mystery of this woman and of the beast with seven heads and ten horns on which she sits …” (Revelation 17:7, NLT, emphasis added)

Back-to-school morphs into packages of candy in October, sharing shelf space with Thanksgiving and Christmas–a blending blur of season. Christmas seems out of place in October, and yet, its date is fixed and arrival certain–whether it feels like it or not.

Courtney (66books365)

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