Category Archives: 66 Books

Exodus 28-31; Acts 1

There’s a lot of description about the priests’ garments. Skill and care went into making them.

And you shall make holy garments for Aaron your brother, for glory and for beauty. You shall speak to all the skillful, whom I have filled with a spirit of skill, that they make Aaron’s garments to consecrate him for my priesthood.

Exodus28:2-3, ESV

I love that God filled them with a spirit of skill. I love that he had specifications of how things should be made. I love that in the colors and gems and details, he lists the names.

You shall take two onyx stones, and engrave on them the names of the sons of Israel, 10 six of their names on the one stone, and the names of the remaining six on the other stone, in the order of their birth. 11 As a jeweler engraves signets, so shall you engrave the two stones with the names of the sons of Israel. You shall enclose them in settings of gold filigree. 12 And you shall set the two stones on the shoulder pieces of the ephod, as stones of remembrance for the sons of Israel. And Aaron shall bear their names before the Lord on his two shoulders for remembrance.

Exodus 28:9-12, ESV

29 So Aaron shall bear the names of the sons of Israel in the breastpiece of judgment on his heart, when he goes into the Holy Place, to bring them to regular remembrance before the Lord. 30 And in the breastpiece of judgment you shall put the Urim and the Thummim, and they shall be on Aaron’s heart, when he goes in before the Lord. Thus Aaron shall bear the judgment of the people of Israel on his heart before the Lord regularly.

Exodus 28:29-30, ESV

From the detail of the garments, the sacrifices offered, the anointing of the priests–a way of setting things apart, a holiness. Even the names of the sons of Israel. Each act and detail meaningful. But the names–being known by the Lord.

Known by the Lord.

In the first book, O Theophilus, I have dealt with all that Jesus began to do and teach, until the day when he was taken up, after he had given commands through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen. He presented himself alive to them after his suffering by many proofs, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God.

Acts 1:1-3, ESV

Chosen.

21 So one of the men who have accompanied us during all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, 22 beginning from the baptism of John until the day when he was taken up from us—one of these men must become with us a witness to his resurrection.” 23 And they put forward two, Joseph called Barsabbas, who was also called Justus, and Matthias. 24 And they prayed and said, “You, Lord, who know the hearts of all, show which one of these two you have chosen 25 to take the place in this ministry and apostleship from which Judas turned aside to go to his own place.”

Acts 1:21-25, ESV

This is a precious pause in my day–to consider his vast love, his intentional creativity, and that in the details he includes names, he knows hearts. He chooses and equips people to glorify him.

Lord, you show me that you’re in the details and that nothing is overlooked. Thank you for your Word.

Courtney (66books365)

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Exodus 25-27; Luke 24

When my wife and I are with friends, we noticed how we have great conversation, great food, and have a long night of being together. What gets us is that at the door, with everything ready to go, we spend another 30 minutes or even more, talking some more. We were at one time embarrassed by that, but then rested in it because those 30 minutes were some of the more intimate moments of conversation that we did not have around the dining room table or in the living room. I see that a little bit in how my alone time with God has been looking. I spend time and then I want to linger. So I love the story of the two on the road to Emmaus.

 And so they strongly urged Him, saying, “Stay with us, for it is getting toward evening, and the day is now nearly over.” So He went in to stay with them. – Luke 24:29 NASB

Is it not true? When I spend time with Jesus, I do not want to let go. I am starving for truth, for love, for conversation that takes me to a place where I am more than who I am. I have boldness, courage, strength, faith to move mountains. Is it true that faith comes from hearing the Word? It must be, because Jesus is the Word and when He speaks my life compeletely changes. Here the two men “strongly urged” Him to stay with them because they wanted to spend as much time as they could with this experience, this feeling, this life changing conversation. I keep forgetting that they just came from Jerusalem where Jesus was crucified a few days ago.

And then their eyes were opened and they recognized Him; and He vanished from their sight. – Luke 24:31 NASB

This is crazy right? They did not see Him, recognize Him – not at all? How many times have I not prayed for the Holy Spirit to open my eyes as I read the Word? How can I possibly forget to invite Him into my world to change me, to give me an experience with Him that I will never forget? I tell you what, if I had just spent a long journey with someone who changed my life, then found out it was Jesus, the lover of my soul, and then see Him vanish before my eyes, I too would have ran back to Jerusalem to tell everyone He is indeed was risen from the dead.

I am reminded again how important the Old Testament was to Jesus. I love that we look at the Word from both an Old Testament (larger reading portion because there are more books) and from a New Testament lens every day. Each day is an adventure as to how the Holy Spirit will speak to me and from which portion of the Word.

May the time we spend together in Your presence nourish our hearts and minds; may it strengthen our relationship with You, and renew our commitment to live in this world as Your faithful disciples.

Erwin (evanlaar1922)

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Exodus 12-14; Luke 20; Psalm 21

Doorposts marked with lamb’s blood. They ate dressed to go, ready to go. That’s what I noticed first. But then, an army in pursuit, to take them back, to make them captives again, slaves. After all the signs, and after the deaths of all first born, probably a worse fate awaited them if they returned. Moses tells them that God will fight for them, but still, they also had to take action. They had to walk in the path opened before them.

In Luke, Jesus is teaching.

One day, as Jesus was teaching the people in the temple and preaching the gospel, the chief priests and the scribes with the elders came up and said to him, “Tell us by what authority you do these things, or who it is that gave you this authority.”

Luke 20:1-2, ESV

And later,

19 The scribes and the chief priests sought to lay hands on him at that very hour, for they perceived that he had told this parable against them, but they feared the people. 20 So they watched him and sent spies, who pretended to be sincere, that they might catch him in something he said, so as to deliver him up to the authority and jurisdiction of the governor. 21 So they asked him, “Teacher, we know that you speak and teach rightly, and show no partiality, but truly teach the way of God. 22 Is it lawful for us to give tribute to Caesar, or not?” 23 But he perceived their craftiness, and said to them, 24 “Show me a denarius. Whose likeness and inscription does it have?” They said, “Caesar’s.” 25 He said to them, “Then render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” 26 And they were not able in the presence of the people to catch him in what he said, but marveling at his answer they became silent.

Luke 20:19-26, ESV, emphasis added

And this is what I notice–how an enemy hunts. An army in pursuit–a vast force. Or here, watching and baiting spies pretending to be sincere. How an enemy opposes freedom, opposes truth, opposes God.

Your hand will find out all your enemies;
    your right hand will find out those who hate you.

You will make them as a blazing oven
    when you appear.
The Lord will swallow them up in his wrath,
    and fire will consume them.
10 You will destroy their descendants from the earth,
    and their offspring from among the children of man.
11 Though they plan evil against you,
    though they devise mischief, they will not succeed.

12 For you will put them to flight;
    you will aim at their faces with your bows.

13 Be exalted, O Lord, in your strength!
    We will sing and praise your power.

Psalm 21:8-13, ESV, emphasis added

Lord, be exalted in your strength. I will sing and praise your power.

Courtney (66books365)

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Exodus 9-11, Luke 19

Today’s readings sent me on a rollercoaster of emotion.


First, the High.

“The Lord said to Moses, ‘Go to Pharaoh.  For I have hardened his heart and the heart of his courtiers, in order that I may display my signs amongst them, and that you may recount and tell your children and your children’s children how I made a mockery of the Egyptians and how I displayed my signs amongst them – in order that you may know that I am the Lord.'” (Exodus 10:1-2)

Brave Moses, Oppressed Israelites, Hard-Hearted Pharoah, Frightened Egyptians, and ten plagues that ultimately ended up with the Israelites being set free and delivered from Egypt. Exodus is a stunning visual display of God’s tremendous power and an epic story that showcases God’s love, protection, and providence for his people, for us, for me. It is awe-inspiring and it sends my faith soaring in the one and true God.

Now, the low.

12  So He said, “A nobleman went to a distant country to receive a kingdom for himself, and then to return.  13  And he called ten of his own slaves and gave them ten  [e] minas, and said to them, ‘Do business with this money  [f] until I come back.’  14  But his citizens hated him and sent a delegation after him, saying, ‘We do not want this man to reign over us.’  15  When he returned after receiving the kingdom, he ordered that these slaves, to whom he had given the money, be summoned to him so that he would learn how much they had made by the business they had done.  16  The first slave appeared, saying, ‘ [g] Master, your  [h] mina has made ten minas more.’  17  And he said to him, ‘Well done, good slave; since you have been faithful in a very little thing, you are to have authority over ten cities.’  18  The second one came, saying, ‘Your  [i] mina,  [j] master, has made five minas.’  19  And he said to him also, ‘And you are to be over five cities.’  20  And then another came, saying, ‘Master, here is your mina, which I kept tucked away in a handkerchief;  21  for I was afraid of you, because you are a demanding man; you take up what you did not lay down, and reap what you did not sow.’  22  He *said to him, ‘ [k] From your own lips I will judge you, you worthless slave.” (Luke 19:12-22)

The minas in the parable, I believe, are representative of gifts, talents and resources God gives us to do the work of the Kingdom on Earth. The first two slaves who received the King’s minas made good use of them, but the third servant did just the opposite. He was afraid to take risks and truly use the resources entrusted to him. His fears made him take the greatest risk of all: doing nothing.

As I read Luke 19:12-22, my heart was pierced, and the high I had from reading Exodus plummeted because of some sobering questions that started to creep into my heart. Which slave am I? Am I the slave that kept the mina hidden away in a handkerchief? If so, why? If I say I know and believe in the God of Exodus who is faithful to love, provide and protect his beloved people and who sent His son to die for us, then why would I not be like the first slave, who was devoted to and obedient to his master’s words which resulted in him multiplying his
minas? God is faithful to provide answers if we simply ask Him.

Father God, Please keep my heart from being afraid to do the things You have called me, equipped me, and entrusted me to do for Your kingdom and Your glory. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

-Robin

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Exodus 2-4; Luke 17; Psalm 88

Exodus 2-4. Pharaoh’s daughter knew that Moses was a Hebrew child. She allowed her maidens to seek out the Hebrew mother to nurse the child. Pharaoh’s daughter even paid the mother of Moses to care for him. Moses was then educated to be an Egyptian prince and lived a life of luxury among royalty before the moment when his eyes were open to the shameful treatment of his Hebrew brethren. Moses fled Egypt, not because God sent him away, but because he murdered an Egyptian and Pharaoh sought to kill him. Moses seemed content afterward, relieved to live among the Midianites, herding sheep and raising a family. But then the burning bush appeared.

Just when you think your life is moving along smoothly, God may call you to experience the unimaginable. Maybe even call you back to your Egypt. When you are called, do you answer, “Here am I, Lord?” Or after learning what may be required, do you plead as Moses did, “O my Lord, please send by the hand of whomever else You may send”? (My emphasis in italics.) I, too, am faced with ‘going around the mountain’ again, re-experiencing challenges that I thought were past. I am not sure that I want to go there again.

That thought causes me to ask myself, how well am I listening to God? Will I argue as Moses did and merit God’s anger? For like a parent instructing an unruly child or like a boss chastising an uninspired employee, God had to command Moses – “Now you shall speak; I will teach you what you shall do; And you shall take this rod in your hand, with which you shall do the signs.” (My emphasis in italics.) Whew! God could not be clearer than that. And like Moses, I would have shut my mouth at that point and did what I was told. But do I believe that God is with me now, and am I ready to do His bidding?

Luke 17. Jesus loves me. Many Scriptures describe that unfathomable love. However, Jesus also instructed His disciples through parables and analysis of events in their journeys, often employing negatives or consequences of wrong thinking. For example, Jesus warned that judgment awaited false teachers and those who harbor unforgiveness. He debunked discrimination by healing other people hated by the Jews. He tied faith and duty to humility, refuting any expectation for reward and honor. Jesus also warned that the coming of the Son of Man will be a stark reality of judgment.

If I take on these tasks that God has called me to complete, am I ready to have my biases and opinions challenged? Christ will have no other way than to follow Him precisely as He commands. Can I do so wholeheartedly? Thankfully, I am assured that I am not alone in this. I have the words of Christ, His compassion and understanding, and His Holy Spirit guiding me into all truth. He will keep me focused and clear out the old man thoughts and behaviors. Christ will create a clean heart in me.

Psalm 88. If the Old and New Testament Scriptures in today’s reading end with Heman’s song in Psalm 88, I might faulter in my hope that all will be well with my soul. Let’s say that I genuinely want to follow God’s plan even if the plan takes me back to my Egypt. I am not so foolish to think that the road will be smooth or that I will not be brought through challenging experiences. ‘This isn’t my first rodeo,’ as my Texas buddies would say. Yet, Heman’s laments point out that the darkness can grow so deep as to nearly snuff out the light. He even asks God, “Shall Your lovingkindness be declared in the grave? Or Your faithfulness in the place of destruction? Shall Your wonders be known in the dark?”

What I know about this depth of despair is the same as Heman proclaims. But my hope is not shattered by the circumstances of past, present, or future tragedy. Rather, I confess my faith in God’s saving goodness. I cry out with Heman, “O Lord, God of my salvation…”

I recently watched a movie, Paul, Apostle of Christ. Most of the movie was dark and disparaging. The Christians were being fed to the lions in Nero’s “circus.” Paul was in prison, often beaten or whipped. Some Christians were led into taking revenge, killing Roamn soldiers. Even the muted lighting during most of the movie indicated despair, hiding, and fearfulness. Yet, the Apostle Paul interjects truths into that darkness, such as, “If Christ had not risen from the dead, then our preaching is useless, and so is our faith.” My favorite line from the movie spoken by Paul is this: “It is Christ himself that looks upon you and shatters your defenses and, in that moment, you will understand that you are completely known by God…and you are completely loved. I will pray that moment comes to you.”

Prayer. Whatever works created beforehand that I shall walk through, I pray to be completely known by You, my God. Your love, Your presence, and Your promises are all that matters. That is my declaration of trust and faith in knowing Your goodness. Calm my soul, give me the courage to continue this journey with You here on earth. I wait for You, my Lord and Savior, Christ Jesus.

jansuwilkinson

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