Category Archives: 5 day reading plan

Job 37-39; Psalm 103; Revelation 21

If you asked me last January what I thought the year would hold, I never would have imagined this: chickens. My youngest daughter started high school, and this summer, as part of immersive learning, we ordered a few baby chicks to raise. Not only were they adorable, soft and cuddly–they were already smart. A touch of their beak to water, and they knew to drink; they instinctively knew to dust bathe; to take shelter or freeze from a predator’s call; to take shelter in the coop at night and roost; and they have a song they sing when they lay an egg. Sometimes I sit out in the run with them, holding them, listening to their chatter, and admiring the crazy beautiful colors of their feathers. The feathers shimmer and throw off hues of emerald in the amber and black. All that beauty in a chicken.

When the Lord challenges Job in today’s chapters, I believe him. I see his majesty in all that he mentions, just as I see it in the iridescence of a bird’s feather. When I read through Psalm 103’s reminder of what the Lord has done, I praise him too. The truth of who he is and what he has done gives me confidence (awe and reverence) of Revelation.

 I heard a loud shout from the throne, saying, “Look, God’s home is now among his people! He will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them. He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.”

And the one sitting on the throne said, “Look, I am making everything new!” And then he said to me, “Write this down, for what I tell you is trustworthy and true.” And he also said, “It is finished! I am the Alpha and the Omega—the Beginning and the End. To all who are thirsty I will give freely from the springs of the water of life. All who are victorious will inherit all these blessings, and I will be their God, and they will be my children.

“But cowards, unbelievers, the corrupt, murderers, the immoral, those who practice witchcraft, idol worshipers, and all liars—their fate is in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.” (Revelation 21:3-8, NLT)

Going into a next year, I have no idea what it holds. But I trust in the Alpha and the Omega–my God who is trustworthy and true.

The Lord has made the heavens his throne;
    from there he rules over everything.

20 Praise the Lord, you angels,
    you mighty ones who carry out his plans,
    listening for each of his commands.
21 Yes, praise the Lord, you armies of angels
    who serve him and do his will!
22 Praise the Lord, everything he has created,
    everything in all his kingdom.

Let all that I am praise the Lord. (Psalm 103:19-22, NLT)

Courtney (66books365)

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Job 34-36, Revelation 20

Then I saw a large white throne and the one who was seated on it; the earth and the heaven fled from his presence, and no place was found for them. And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne. Then books were opened, and another book was opened – the book of life. So the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to their deeds.

Revelation 20:11-12

Without a doubt, one of my favorite chapters in all of scripture is Revelation 21. The vision of a restored heavens and earth, creation put back to shalom is something I look forward to constantly.

But alas, chapter 20 fell to me, and I’m glad it did, it was a good challenge for me.

I was talking to a friend today about a situation we are both trying to navigate and I realized that I have a pretty big fixation on justice. I think that all people do, but for some reason I’ve always felt especially passionate about issues of injustice. I appreciate that now, but I didn’t appreciate it as much the time I started crying during a speech against abortion in 7th grade.

Anyhow, I can tend to get kind of fired up about injustice, but oftentimes I gauge injustice by my own standards, not necessarily God’s standards. Honestly there are just times that I don’t understand God’s standards, most of the time I do, but there are times when it’s a little tougher.

In chapter 20 there is a clear separation, it seems in the end the thing that matters is whose name is written in the Lamb’s book of life, and whose isn’t. Which is where I have trouble.

I often want chapter 21 without chapter 20, but it isn’t possible.

The brokenness and evil in the world has to be dealt with. In order for shalom, justice, and peace to be restored to God’s original and final hope for creation, the evil must be removed. In order for healing, the pain must be dealt with. It’s not something that people like to talk about, it makes me uncomfortable even now. My hope is that not a single human soul would be left out of the book of life. A hope that I echo from 1 Timothy 2:3-4

“This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.”

Ultimately I trust God as he pursues all people with his endless grace and love, but the hope that all people might eventually declare Jesus as Lord requires that I live in a way that Jesus is actually real, is actually Good news, and is desperate to reconcile relationships with all people.

Even the ones that I have the hardest time loving.

My prayer for this next year is that the walls I’ve built up against people would be broken down, that Jesus love might be shared through my love for them. Tangible love backed up with action is what drew me to Jesus, now it’s time to share that with others.

Sam (anglinsam)

From the archives. Originally published December 29, 2014.

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Job 21-23; Psalm 101; Revelation 16

Job’s story reminds me–there is a spiritual realm. And if I didn’t know the beginning of his story, when Satan and God spoke of Job, my opinions would bounce around as much as Job’s and his friends’ do. It’s hard to find logic and cause-and-effect in situations that don’t make any sense. I understand Job’s resentment that evil people get away with doing evil things–they may even be honored through it. Or, like Eliphaz, I might think that bad things happen because someone (however unknowingly) brought it upon himself. Job was known for his faith, but even as he speaks, I hear the deep grief and grappling of his thoughts. If a man who was known by God to have a strong faith is tossed about by his emotions in crisis and calamity, oh, what of me? There is a lesson here.

If I live in ignorance of the spiritual realm, then the hard things that happen in life can seem a logical reward when there is cause-and-effect, but when life doesn’t make sense, the hard things just seem cruel. When I live with a Kingdom focus, I can see the refining work of God through trial. If he never built me up through difficult situations, I may not be capable of withstanding disaster. Job talks of cliches, and I think of the phrase I’ve thought and spoken, “God equips those he calls.” And maybe this equipping sometimes comes through training and trial.

What does spiritual warfare look like in 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.

Then the second angel poured out his bowl on the sea, and it became like the blood of a corpse. And everything in the sea died.

Then the third angel poured out his bowl on the rivers and springs, and they became blood […] … and they cursed the name of God, who had control over all these plagues. They did not repent of their sins and turn to God and give him glory. (Revelation 16:2-4, 9, NLT)

In the midst of disease, calamity, torment, the people curse God’s name, angered that he had the power to stop it, but didn’t. They do not repent of their sins. They do no turn to God. They do not give him glory. They are unaware of the true battle and the battlefield. They do not understand their role in it.

While not part of today’s reading, this verse stood out to me recently: This means that God’s holy people must endure persecution patiently and remain faithful. (Revelation 13:10b, NLT)

I think of Job. Standing outside these stories, it’s easy to throw down a trite response. In fact, reading through parts of Revelation, I couldn’t help but think, “Y’all need Jesus.” But today, this moment, I say to myself: God, I need you. I need your word in my head, in my hands, in my heart. I need your guidance. I need your strength.

Father God, I used to look at the wounds and hurts of life as fractures, but now I see them as chiseling away to define (strengthen) me and to make me more like the image of your son. Help me to keep a Kingdom focus, to live with clarity, to stand in faith, to bring you glory.

Courtney (66books365)

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Job 18-20; Psalm 141; Revelation 15

Growing up in a dysfunctional home does not make me an expert as to what love looks like. Through trial and error, and many more errors, I began my journey to being relatively healthy except when it comes to conflict with those I would call my superiors in the workplace. They have not modelled love very well and to this day I still struggle with what that looks like. For those I lead, I try to be the one who loves through conflict. From the testimonies I have collected, I would say I am doing a fairly good job. In marriage I have not had that much success when it comes to speaking the truth in love. In my relationship with God, I have excelled. We have loved each other with a major intensity. He has called me out on many issues and has demanded a more closer walk with Him.

Let the righteous one strike me—
it is an act of faithful love;
let him rebuke me—
it is oil for my head;
let me[a] not refuse it.
Even now my prayer is against
the evil acts of the wicked. – Psalm 141:5 HCSB

King David learned to love rebuke too. Somehow, when God rebukes, He does not shame, He causes me to sing.

They sang the song of God’s servant Moses and the song of the Lamb:

Great and awe-inspiring are Your works,
Lord God, the Almighty;
righteous and true are Your ways,
King of the Nations. – Revelation 15:2-3 HCSB

The principle I learn is this – there is a perfect harmony in the retributive acts of God in dealing with this world and the highest conception of His love and mercy which the gospel brings. God’s dealings with me are meant to manifest His character that I may know and love Him. The motive is His own love, the end is the glory of His Name, in the love and knowledge of those like me whose life and blessedness depend on my knowing and loving Him.

God’s demand for my supreme love – is it just? That would depend on two things:

  • Whether I have the power of loving any one supremely
  • Whether God has attributes adapted to awaken this love within me

I think it is found in everyone to love some object supremely. My choice is quite easily understood then – I make a choice to love God with all my heart, soul, mind and strength.

Father, thank you for calling my name in the darkest moments of my life. I am so thankful that You allowed me to hear Your voice. Every time You spoke You imparted Your love in an incredibly meaningful way. Your love mattered more than life itself. Thank You.

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Job 4-7; Psalm 99; Revelation 11

The Lord is king! Let the nations tremble! (Psalm 99:1, NLT)

In all the reading, I am most focused on God’s power, sovereignty and wisdom.

The Lord is king. Let the nations tremble.

When tragedy and horror strike, may I remember his word, what has passed and what will come.

Let them praise your great and awesome name. Your name is holy! (Psalm 99:3, NLT)

Going from the very lows of Job’s story to the enormity of terrors in Revelation, reverence humbles me.

Exalt the Lord our God! Bow low before his feet, for he is holy! (Psalm 99:5, NLT)

I went to get the mail last night. Our driveway is long. The moon was up and bright, lighting my way, and I noticed it so acutely. I looked to the sky and saw a few bright stars. One of my bucket list items for the next year is to get so far away that I can really see the night sky and stars, just like in pictures I’ve seen.

I think on my limited view of stars, and my limited experience in history, and my limited knowledge of all the riches of the Bible. There is so much more–a universe, all of humanity, and a God with a plan who spoke and it existed. When today seems so big before me, when questions don’t have answers yet, I want to live in reverence for God.

Lord, there is so much to see and so much to learn, and you are at the center of it all.

Courtney (66books365)

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