Category Archives: 66 Books

Exodus 2-4; Luke 17; Psalm 88

Exodus 2:11-15a NIV

One day, after Moses had grown up, he went out to where his own people were and watched them at their hard labor. He saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew, one of his own people. Looking this way and that and seeing no one, he killed the Egyptian and hid him in the sand. The next day he went out and saw two Hebrews fighting. He asked the one in the wrong, “Why are you hitting your fellow Hebrew?”

The man said, “Who made you ruler and judge over us? Are you thinking of killing me as you killed the Egyptian?” Then Moses was afraid and thought, “What I did must have become known.”

When Pharaoh heard of this, he tried to kill Moses, but Moses fled from Pharaoh and went to live in Midian…

Moses was clearly troubled by what he saw and he wanted to rescue his people. However, rather than seeking God, Moses sought his own intellect and decided to take matters into his own hands. It didn’t work. Instead of things improving, they worsened – not only with the Egyptians, as Pharaoh wanted to kill Moses, but even with his own people, who disrespected and challenged him.

Like Moses, I find it so tempting to take matters into my own hands. When I see someone else suffering, or if I, myself, am feeling overwhelmed, my gut reaction is to jump into action and attempt to work out deliverance for myself. The problem is that my thoughts and my understanding are tainted by sin and emotions that frequently are running out of control. Therefore my actions make things worse rather than improving the situation. I’ve learned that deliverance can only come from God’s hands, not my own.

Moses reacted to the situation by running away – again, I so easily identify with that instinct! However, God used the next 40 years to work in Moses’ heart and develop in him a humility and dependence on the Lord rather than himself. It was a tough lesson to learn, I’m sure – it always is. However, we all must learn it because humility is the prerequisite for being used by God.

In chapter 3, God spoke to Moses and invited him to join Him in delivering the Israelites from slavery. In a shocking contrast to chapter 2, we read that Moses began to argue with God about his inability to rescue the Israelites.

I’ve found that it’s easy to confuse humility with insecurity. I may think I’m acting humble when, in reality, I’m giving into my insecurities. Insecurity causes me, like Moses, to still rely on my own understanding, abilities, and judgment. Humility, though aware of my inability, doesn’t fixate on my failures, but instead trusts in God’s understanding, abilities, and judgment.

While insecurity causes me to question and doubt, humility causes me to say, “Yes, Lord. I know you are able; I will trust you to do what you say you will do.” And that humble surrender is exactly what allows me to begin experience deliverance and, ultimately, victory.

Father, please forgive me for believing the lie that deliverance depends on me. Help me to trust your abilities, your understanding, and your plan in my life and in the lives of those I love. I surrender to what you’re doing and will wait for your direction before I speak or act. Thank you for loving me and being patient with me, even in my failures and when I interfere with what you’re doing. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

 

Bethany Harris (drgnfly1010)

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Genesis 50; Exodus 1; Luke 16; Psalm 8

Joseph threw himself on his father and wept over him and kissed him. (Gen 50:1) NIV

God had promised Jacob this was what was going to happen. As He assured Jacob he should not be afraid to go to Egypt, God told him Joseph himself would be the one to close his eyes after his death (Gen 46:4). I can imagine Joseph’s tears came from a place so many of us have felt—being cheated of enough time with a loved one. Losing someone we love to death. There was never a doubt in Joseph’s mind that he was loved by his father. Years of separation had not changed that. Now he was gone.

The first separation was not of his doing, it was forced upon Joseph. At that time, he had no idea if he would ever see his father again. Yet, after so many years, here he was blessed to be reunited with his father when he least expected it. Jacob got to see his grandsons grow and speak a blessing over them as was the custom. God orchestrated the grand reunion of father and son. He restored a family—or so Joseph thought.

15 When Joseph’s brothers saw that their father was dead, they said, “What if Joseph holds a grudge against us and pays us back for all the wrongs we did to him?” 16 So they sent word to Joseph, saying, “Your father left these instructions before he died: 17 ‘This is what you are to say to Joseph: I ask you to forgive your brothers the sins and the wrongs they committed in treating you so badly.’ Now please forgive the sins of the servants of the God of your father.” When their message came to him, Joseph wept. (Gen 50:15-17) NIV

 They had just come back from burying their father—as a family. I think Joseph wept because he was deeply hurt by their words. His brothers did not know him at all. They feared him. Did they not know how much he loved them, that he had forgiven them? They were still living in the place of guilt for their actions. There was still distance between them even though they were all together again.

18 His brothers then came and threw themselves down before him. “We are your slaves,” they said.

Here again, Joseph’s dream was being played out before him (Gen 37:7-9). His brothers were bowing down before him. This time, however, his response was different. As a young man, he saw himself “lording” over his brothers. Now, he was humble and he gave credit to the Lord!

19 But Joseph said to them, “Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God?20 You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. 21 So then, don’t be afraid. I will provide for you and your children.” And he reassured them and spoke kindly to them.

I am so glad the story of Joseph is in the Bible. It shows me such an example of God’s ability to rebuild and restore relationships. It shows me forgiveness is possible. In the natural, one would think as Joseph’s brothers thought—surely he is going to pay us back for what we did. But God had done such a restoration of Joseph’s heart that he had love and compassion for his brothers. A heart like that can be put in charge of saving a nation from starvation. A heart changed by God!

Lord, I thank you for the work you do in us when we surrender to you! Your supernatural power allows us to do what we could never do in the natural. Forgiveness is never easy. There are wounds only your holy salve can heal. I know there is still bitterness inside of me and I release it to you. Let me say as Joseph did “God intended it for good”. With cleansing tears, I surrender. In Jesus precious name, Amen

Cindy (gardnlady)

 

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Genesis 44-47; Luke 14

Scripture:

14:25-33, Now great crowds accompanied him, and he turned and said to them, 26“If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. 27 Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple.28For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? 29Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, 30saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’31Or what king, going out to encounter another king in war, will not sit down first and deliberate whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? 32And if not, while the other is yet a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace. 33So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.

Observation:

Jesus is gathering a strong following. I believe he knew that many were following him for the wrong reasons. They wanted their stomachs full, they wanted to be healed and they enjoyed his teaching from a purely intellectual point of view. However, many did not understand that part of the way of Christ is one of suffering and hardship. Now Jesus wasn’t stating here that if you didn’t count the cost first you couldn’t follow him. He was stating that a wise person would do that. Salvation is always by faith alone, but it’s wise to count the cost before committing to something. I was listening to a dialogue between Bill Hybels and Dallas Willard and the topic of the lions came up. When a person in the first century was presented the claims of Christ, did they also have to know about the lions? You know, those animals that ate Christians in the Colosseum in Rome! Or did you let them find out about it afterwards? Dallas stated that they already knew about the lions. Christians were counting the cost and dying for their faith. Others contemplating Christianity knew that was a part of the deal. Jesus was telling the crowds it was time to count the cost. Many left him over that little talk.

Application:

It’s too late for many of us. We are already in. We have trusted Christ alone for our salvation. So we didn’t count the cost before joining God’s family. However, I need to count the cost every morning when I awake. I need to remember there are responsibilities that come along with my position in Christ. It’s not always easy and I need to realize that and plan my days accordingly. John Maxwell was quoted over the weekend as saying the closer we walk with God, the more he requires of us and the more friends we tend to lose because of the path he has us on. That very well could be true. Some reading this have lost relationships with family or close friends because of your faith. Others have been passed over for promotions and the resulting better life-style that brings because of your faith. We are counting the cost. There are brothers and sisters that are suffering greatly around the world today for their faith. That makes me feel less than adequate knowing my cost for following Christ is minuscule compared to them.

Prayer:

Father God thank you for saving me. Thank you for giving me eternal life. I pray that every morning I would count the cost of following you and that I would not shy away from paying that price. Help me to be true to you and follow strong after your Son Jesus. I pray for my brothers and sisters around the world today who are suffering beyond comprehension. Please be their portion. I pray these things in Jesus Name Amen.

Dave (dmbaldwin)

From the archives. Originally published on 66 Books in a Year on October 27, 2009.

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Genesis 41-43; Luke 13; Psalm 5

The truth comes out.

Finally, the king’s chief cup-bearer spoke up. “Today I have been reminded of my failure,” he told Pharaoh (Genesis 41:9, NLT).

Joseph is brought to interpret Pharaoh’s dreams.

Seven years of plenty, and seven years of famine, and all the years before that of hiding their deceit, Joseph’s brothers never truly escaped the truth.

21 Speaking among themselves, they said, “Clearly we are being punished because of what we did to Joseph long ago. We saw his anguish when he pleaded for his life, but we wouldn’t listen. That’s why we’re in this trouble.”

22 “Didn’t I tell you not to sin against the boy?” Reuben asked. “But you wouldn’t listen. And now we have to answer for his blood!” (Genesis 42:21-22, NLT)

Jesus cuts through the argument and gets straight to the heart.

14 But the leader in charge of the synagogue was indignant that Jesus had healed her on the Sabbath day. “There are six days of the week for working,” he said to the crowd. “Come on those days to be healed, not on the Sabbath.”

15 But the Lord replied, “You hypocrites! Each of you works on the Sabbath day! Don’t you untie your ox or your donkey from its stall on the Sabbath and lead it out for water? 16 This dear woman, a daughter of Abraham, has been held in bondage by Satan for eighteen years. Isn’t it right that she be released, even on the Sabbath?”

17 This shamed his enemies, but all the people rejoiced at the wonderful things he did (Luke 13:14-17, NLT).

Lord, you are the truth. I’m grateful that I can place my faith and my heart in your hands. Joseph couldn’t count on the cup-bearer to remember, or his brothers to look out for him before that. Even a daughter of Abraham was left in bondage by the religious. But you are truth, you see truth, you speak truth, you reveal truth. You set us free to walk in the truth–to follow you and walk with you.

Because of your unfailing love, I can enter your house;
    I will worship at your Temple with deepest awe.
Lead me in the right path, O Lord,
    or my enemies will conquer me.
Make your way plain for me to follow.

My enemies cannot speak a truthful word.
    Their deepest desire is to destroy others.
Their talk is foul, like the stench from an open grave.
    Their tongues are filled with flattery.
10 O God, declare them guilty.
    Let them be caught in their own traps.
Drive them away because of their many sins,
    for they have rebelled against you.

11 But let all who take refuge in you rejoice;
    let them sing joyful praises forever.
Spread your protection over them,
    that all who love your name may be filled with joy.
12 For you bless the godly, O Lord;
    you surround them with your shield of love. (Psalm 5:7-12, NLT)

Lead me in the right path, O Lord, make your way plain for me to follow. I only want to walk in truth.

Courtney (66books365)

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Genesis 38-40; Luke 12; Psalm 7

As a teenager, the story of Joseph refusing the advances of someone else’s wife was key to my own walk with Jesus. It was a story that was instrumental in my decision that  pornography was not going to be the path I would take as I grew up to be a young man. I needed the strength to make the kind of decision that Joseph could make if I was going to live my life completely for Christ.

But he refused and said to his master’s wife, “Behold, because of me my master has no concern about anything in the house, and he has put everything that he has in my charge.  He is not greater in this house than I am, nor has he kept back anything from me except you, because you are his wife. How then can I do this great wickedness and sin against God?” – Genesis 39:8-9  ESV

Now as an adult, I realise that Joseph was not just sticking to principles, those principles were going to cost him. I can imagine that it came close to being his life, but it still resulted in quite a few years in prison. The principal I learned as an adult follower of Jesus was that if it cost my life then I would choose to gladly give it. In my day, there were many stories coming out of Russia and China at the time, of incredible persecution, and how those who stood true to their walk with Jesus, died. Those testimonies were crucial in my own walk with Jesus. In fact, this promise gave me the context to give my life completely to Jesus —

And he said to his disciples, “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat, nor about your body, what you will put on.  For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. – Luke 12:22-23  ESV

I find it liberating to trust Jesus to supply all of my needs.  I find it liberating that He guides and leads me to places of employment.  I find it completely liberating that I can trust Him to look after my wife and children. I find it liberating that I can trust Him completely.

Lord my God, in you do I take refuge;
save me from all my pursuers and deliver me – Psalm 7:1  ESV

Father, I thank for the testimony of Joseph. I thank you that he gave you everything he was and You looked out for him. I thank You for Your promise to look out for me too. You have been so faithful that You set me free from any anxiety in my life. I thank you for David’s prayer to You. He trusted in You too and in his simplicity of faith, You answered his prayer and saved him. What a blessing to joy in You today. I enter today in Your rest and am thankful for it. 

Erwin (evanlaar1922)

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Genesis 32-34; Luke 10

Genesis 32:27-29

The man asked him, “What is your name?”

He answered, “Jacob.”

“No longer will your name be Jacob,” the man told him, “but Israel, because you have fought with God and with men and have prevailed.”

Then Jacob asked, “Please tell me your name.” 

“Why do you ask my name?” the man replied.

 Then he blessed Jacob there.

This text humbles me.

Because there’s something here that I’ve missed all along.

Every other time I’ve read the story, I’ve gone the same route:

Trying to ‘figure it out’

Asking questions like,

Who is the man Jacob wrestles with?

 Is it an angel?

 Is it Jesus?

 What’s the point?

 Is it about wrestling with God in prayer?

 Why doesn’t the author just explain it?

Missing what’s there right in front of me.

Jacob asks the question I keep asking.

And the man answers.

“Why do you ask my name?”

As an American I tend to miss things like this, we aren’t exactly the type of culture that chooses names with a purpose, let alone one that allows seeks the Lord’s counsel in naming our children. A friend of mine had a girl in his middle school Boys and Girls Club program named

‘La-a’

(pronounced ‘La-dash-uh’)

Yep.

But in the ancient cultures, a name wasn’t just an arbitrary word to keep track of different people, like a tracking number,

A name meant something.

 A name was who you are.

 Jacob’s name was important.

Heel-Grabber, one who contends with,

His name proved to be true,

Getting his brother’s birthright, as well as his blessing,

Gaining wealth from Laban’s flocks,

The debacle with Rachel and Leah,

Strife seemed to follow him wherever he went.

The man asks Jacob his name, not so he knows what to call him, but he’s asking him:

at the deepest level of your being Jacob,

Who are you?

 and when Jacob tries to turn it around and ask the same question?

It’s not about me right now, Israel

 It’s about you, and who you’re going to be,

 because of me

 And there’s the simple, but impossibly hard question I need to ask myself before every action,

before every word,

today.

What’s my name?

 Who does God say that I am?

Lord help me to become more and more, Who I am in you, Let the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart, be acceptable in your sight.

 -Samuel,

son of Paul.

son of God.

From the archives. Originally published by (anglinsam) January 13, 2014.

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Genesis 29-31; Luke 9

Longing and love. Blessing and trickery. The ways of man and the way of God.

I have been reading Genesis in my personal Bible time- and pondering quietly the ways of man and the way of God toward man and through man.

The tangled relationships puzzle me.

Leah.

30 So Jacob went in to Rachel also, and he loved Rachel more than Leah, and served Laban for another seven years.

31 When the Lord saw that Leah was hated, he opened her womb, but Rachel was barren. 32 And Leah conceived and bore a son, and she called his name Reuben,[c] for she said, “Because the Lord has looked upon my affliction; for now my husband will love me.”

The tug of war; the push and pull of woman(women, really) to woman (women) in Genesis 29-30.

My heart hurts, even as I know I do not fully understand. Why is this okay, I wonder?  

Rachel

34 Now Rachel had taken the household gods and put them in the camel’s saddle and sat on them. Laban felt all about the tent, but did not find them. 35 And she said to her father, “Let not my lord be angry that I cannot rise before you, for the way of women is upon me.” So he searched but did not find the household gods. Genesis 31 ESV

The beloved woman of Jacob. Deception. I am not told why she felt compelled to take and hide these gods. I study a bit in my study bible- but still find no definitive answer. She secretly sits, and no man knows what she has hidden.

The Lord blesses and establishes Jacob. Flocks, and children. Wives. Then, it is time for him to leave. At God’s command:

 Then the Lord said to Jacob, “Return to the land of your fathers and to your kindred, and I will be with you.” Genesis 31

Laban cannot divide between what is his and what is not. All that he sees, he believes belongs to him.

Then Laban answered and said to Jacob, “The daughters are my daughters, the children are my children, the flocks are my flocks, and all that you see is mine. But what can I do this day for these my daughters or for their children whom they have borne? Genesis 31 ESV

His eyes are blinded to truth and to Jacob.

Yet, even so, my heart grieves:

[x] Early in the morning Laban arose and kissed his grandchildren and his daughters and blessed them. Then Laban departed and returned home.  Genesis 31 ESV

There is an emptiness as he leaves. And, I think, perhaps, he lost it all by immersing so deeply, so fully in his greed and gain. He would not, of his own, let Jacob go freely to live into what was rightfully his.  I know it is more nuanced than that- but I think, this is part.

Lord, You show me through Your Word, and through my heart- how much man needs you- how much I need You. Prone to trickery, deceit, blindness, greed, lust, ungodly gain- what are we without You? O Lord, do not leave me to myself. I see how it is the life-giving gift of grace through faith that gives anyone the ability to live a different, better way. Your way. Jesus, captivate my heart with love for you. Amen

Rebecca (offeringsbecca)

 

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