Category Archives: 66 Books

Ezekiel 27-30; James 1

James 1:9 tells us to “Let the lowly brother glory in his exaltation, but the rich in his humiliation,…”

Some may interpret this Scripture as a political sentiment leaning to the left – saying something like this: the poor will be given the wealth that the rich will have to give up.  However, James does not indicate in this passage that this is so. In fact, the profit of the lowly (poor) brother is one of perseverance through experiencing difficult circumstances which has the effect of perfecting his character and faith (thus, exaltation). The same effect is wrought for the rich brother who can glory (count it all joy) when he learns through experience that his pursuits for money and his wealth will fade away, thus teaching him he should always trust in the Lord, not himself or his money.

To be sure, if you are poor you are looking for a way to get what you need and want. Then again, if you are rich you are looking for ways to get more of what you need and want. What is different for each of them, then? The difference is not between the desires of the rich and the poor but between the man who trusts in the Lord and the one who does not. Jeremiah 17:7-8 says, “Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, and whose hope is the Lord. For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters, which spreads out its roots by the river, and will not fear when heat comes; but its leaf will be green, and will not be anxious in the year of drought, nor will cease from yielding fruit.”

There are many other such passages of Scripture that assure us that God cares for us and is with us in our time of need or plenty (Matthew 6:33, for example). There are just as many that speak about learning contentment in all circumstances (I Timothy 6:6-10 outlines godliness with contentment). So how does a Christian gain contentment at all times? The first rule of thumb is to remember in whose hands we are held. Jeremiah was given the task to remind God’s chosen people of this truth. In Jeremiah 18:1-6, [The Lord told Jeremiah to go down to the potter’s house.]  “The potter was making something at the wheel, and the vessel that he made was marred in the hand of the potter; so he made it again into another vessel, as it seemed good to the potter to make. Then the Lord said, “

‘…can I not do with you as this potter?’”

Now, I’ve never made pottery, but I am fascinated watching the potter work with clay and water, using his hands to build a base and shape an object, making adjustments or even starting over when the product collapses or tilts to the wrong side.  As long as the clay is wet and pliable, the potter continues to form and smooth the vessel until satisfied with the finished design. What an illustration of how God with expertise, patience, and purpose fashions us from the elements of this world into His chosen vessels capable of holding His Spirit to pour out His blessings.

Yes, it is hard to declare that there is purpose in going through trials when one is poor, and it even harder to say that a rich man should lose everything in order to learn godly contentment. (Hey, I’m just the messenger!) As Jeremiah lamented, “O Lord, You induced me, and I was persuaded; You are stronger than I, and have prevailed,” Jeremiah 20:7 Yet, I, too am persuaded by this message that we all, rich or poor, should not trust in man but must trust only in the Lord our God.

Janet

From the archives. Originally published October 5, 2015.

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Ezekiel 24-26; Hebrews 13

then you will know that I am the Lord God (Ez 24:24 ESV)

they will know that I am the Lord (Ez 24:27 ESV)

Then you will know that I am the Lord. (Ez 25:5b ESV)

Then you will know that I am the Lord. (Ez 25:7 ESV)

(and on, and on)

God makes His commands clear, along with judgements for disobedience and blessings for obedience.

Israel, and other nations, live however they please.

God judges.

Then, they know that He is the Lord.

He has standards. He defines truth, goodness, justice, right and wrong. And, He holds us to those expectations.

As the New Testament roles along and we now have the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, the expectations are higher and more complete:

Love continually

show hospitality

Remember prisoners

honor marriage

don’t love money

be content  (Hebrews 13:1-5 ESV)

Jesus is the same, then and now. And, His expectation of us to live out our faith and trust in Him remains as it did for the people of Israel, although some of the commands are slightly adapted for a personal religion on a church community as opposed to the nation of Israel.

It is not for me to live as I please. Each day I am to take up my cross and follow Him. Gather people around you to pray for one another that we all may “have a clear conscience, desiring to act honorably in all things.” (Hebrews 13:18).

Dear God, thank you for communicating with love and clarity for thousands of years. Thank you for forgiving when I come to You, repentant of my failings. Help me again, today and every day to live with a clear conscience, acting honorably as You have instructed. May my life be pleasing in Your sight. In Jesus Name, Amen.

Erin (6intow)

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Ezekiel 14-16; Hebrews 10; Psalm 70

It seems like one step, then another, then another and sooner than later I can find myself lost in myself. I actually start believing that I made myself. I actual trust in me. That pride is the root of what destroys me. My forgetfulness to the fact that I was nothing when God found me and that my strength and giftedness was given to me by Him made me trust in the the blessing of God instead of in God HImself.

But you trusted in your beauty and played the whore[d] because of your renown and lavished your whorings[e] on any passerby; your beauty[f] became his. 16 You took some of your garments and made for yourself colorful shrines, and on them played the whore. The like has never been, nor ever shall be.[g] You also took your beautiful jewels of my gold and of my silver, which I had given you, and made for yourself images of men, and with them played the whore. And you took your embroidered garments to cover them, and set my oil and my incense before them. Also my bread that I gave you—I fed you with fine flour and oil and honey—you set before them for a pleasing aroma; and so it was, declares the Lord God. – Ezekiel 16:15-19  ESV

F.B.Meyer spoke of what my proper attitude should be.

“Let us not presume. We have nought of our own. When the temptation tries us to pride ourselves on our goodness; to arrogate to ourselves a special position because of our superiority to others; to assume that we can be independent of our immortal Lover—then let us remember what we were.”

That is why I am called to endure, it is my pivotal call to action when it comes to my walk with God. It is where the genuine difficulty of discipleship shows itself in my life.

For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised. – Hebrews 10:36 ESV

When I am faithful to serve, when I am faithful to Jesus, when I am faithful to hold on to His promises and when I am faithful to resist sin – I endure.

May all who seek you
rejoice and be glad in you!
May those who love your salvation
say evermore, “God is great! – Psalm 70:4  ESV 

AMEN

 

Erwin (evanlaar1922)

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Ezekiel 3-6; Hebrews 7

22 Because of this oath, Jesus has become the guarantor of a better covenant.

23 Now there have been many of those priests, since death prevented them from continuing in office; 24 but because Jesus lives forever, he has a permanent priesthood. 25 Therefore he is able to save completely[c] those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.

26 Such a high priest truly meets our need—one who is holy, blameless, pure, set apart from sinners, exalted above the heavens. 27 Unlike the other high priests, he does not need to offer sacrifices day after day, first for his own sins, and then for the sins of the people. He sacrificed for their sins once for all when he offered himself. 28 For the law appoints as high priests men in all their weakness; but the oath, which came after the law, appointed the Son, who has been made perfect forever. Hebrews 7 NIV

Jesus is able to save completely. He always lives to intercede for me. He offered himself once for all.

Melchizedek is a perfect high priest AND He is a high priest of a different order. Abraham offers him a tenth of the plunder- something that was technically not required as Melchizedek is not traced as a descendant of Levi, and Melchizedek blesses Abraham.

 Without father or mother, without genealogy, without beginning of days or end of life, resembling the Son of God, he remains a priest forever.

Just think how great he was: Even the patriarch Abraham gave him a tenth of the plunder!  Verses 3 and 4

Jesus is juxtaposed next to Melchizedek (and ultimately, the Law); Jesus’ priesthood is one based on the power of an indestructible life (v 16).  who is stated to be a priest forever. Jesus’ priesthood is in the order of Melchizedek’s which is a new order- significant for the new way, the new covenant formed through Christ.

Jesus is the true High Priest. A better hope is introduced and that hope is in Christ and not in the Law. The ESV states that Jesus saves to the uttermost (the greatest, highest degree; the farthest extent). Fully known. Fully loved. Fully Saved. Praise be.

Lord, Scripture joyfully declares the hope I have in Christ and the freedom of the new covenant. Awaken my heart to wonder at the generous mercy and grace that are in Christ. Help me to know Jesus as my High Priest who always lives to intercede for me- and to rest in the knowledge that He offered Himself once for all. Expand my mind to understand Your mystery. Amen.

Rebecca (offeringsbecca)

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Ezekiel 1-2; Hebrews 6; Psalms 143, 144

The imagery in these scriptures stirs something in me. A call. A confirmation. An encouragement. A reminder. A focus.

Stand up, son of man,” said the voice. “I want to speak with you.” The Spirit came into me as he spoke, and he set me on my feet. I listened carefully to his words. “Son of man,” he said, “I am sending you […] 6 Son of man, do not fear them or their words. Don’t be afraid even though their threats surround you like nettles and briers and stinging scorpions. Do not be dismayed by their dark scowls, even though they are rebels. You must give them my messages whether they listen or not. But they won’t listen, for they are completely rebellious! Son of man, listen to what I say to you. Do not join them in their rebellion. Open your mouth, and eat what I give you.” (Ezekiel 2:1-3a, 6-8, NLT, emphasis added)

An enemy knows how to distract me, to take my focus off the Kingdom and busy it with fruitless concerns. God’s Word resets my focus (He stands me on my feet, a Father who is always willing and ready to provide guidance.).

So let us stop going over the basic teachings about Christ again and again. Let us go on instead and become mature in our understanding … We are confident that you are meant for better things, things that come with salvation. 10 For God is not unjust. He will not forget how hard you have worked for him and how you have shown your love to him by caring for other believers, as you still do. 11 Our great desire is that you will keep on loving others as long as life lasts, in order to make certain that what you hope for will come true. 12 Then you will not become spiritually dull and indifferent. Instead, you will follow the example of those who are going to inherit God’s promises because of their faith and endurance. (Hebrews 6:1a, 9b-12, NLT, emphasis added)

I think on His promises, and gasp at this image–hope guides:

18 So God has given both his promise and his oath. These two things are unchangeable because it is impossible for God to lie. Therefore, we who have fled to him for refuge can have great confidence as we hold to the hope that lies before us. 19 This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls. It leads us through the curtain into God’s inner sanctuary. (Hebrews 6:18-19, NLT, emphasis added)

Lord, this time in Your Word is precious to me.

Let me hear of your unfailing love each morning,
    for I am trusting you.
Show me where to walk,
    for I give myself to you.
Rescue me from my enemies, Lord;
    I run to you to hide me.
10 Teach me to do your will,
    for you are my God.
May your gracious Spirit lead me forward
    on a firm footing
. (Psalm 143:8-10, NLT, emphasis added)

You go before me. You prepare tables for me. You prepare works in advance for me to do. Certainly You will equip me.

Praise the Lord, who is my rock.
    He trains my hands for war
    and gives my fingers skill for battle.
He is my loving ally and my fortress,
    my tower of safety, my rescuer.
He is my shield, and I take refuge in him. (Psalm 144:1-2, NLT, emphasis added)

Rock, loving ally, fortress, safety, rescuer, shield, Father. I praise you!

Courtney (66books365)

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Jeremiah 28-31; Hebrews 2

I don’t know about you, but I can read a passage of Scripture over and over and over again. And then I read it again and a new truth jumps out at me. That’s what happened when I started getting ready for this passage of 66books. The two verses I focused on are included below:

3 …How shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation? It was declared at first by the Lord, and it was attested to us by those who heard, 4 while God also bore witness by signs and wonders and various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will (Hebrews 2:3&4 [ESV]).

I love studying about spiritual gifts and have led many seminars and classes helping Christ followers understand their gifts. We have all been given at least one spiritual gift when we come to Christ. For many it’s two or three. right in the middle of verse three the writer to the Hebrews writes that one of the ways we know our salvation is sure is the spiritual gifts the Holy Spirit has given us. And He has done it according to His will. He has placed in just the right place and given us just the right gift(s) to use in service to Him and through that experience we know that we are sons and daughters of God the Father and brothers and sisters of Jesus His Son. And I have never seen these verses in this light. I must have just read through this passage without seeing this mention of spiritual gifts this way.

So, do you know what spiritual gift(s) you’ve been given by the Holy Spirit? If not, you are not experiencing the sense of the reality of your salvation that you could if you knew what they were and using them in the service of our God. Ask your pastor and do some reading about how one finds out. And then use your gift(s) and steward them as you grow in Christ.

What are your top three spiritual gifts? Mine are 

  1. Teaching
  2. Leadership
  3. Apostleship (starting new ministries and being comfortable in cross cultural situations.

In the comments section share yours with us all.

Lots more to share, but we’ll leave that for another day or year;-)

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Hebrews 1; Psalms 67, 118

In Hebrews, I read of the Father’s love for the Son.

I read of His delight, generosity, pride and affirmation.

I read in Psalms of His love, and it is faithful and enduring.

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good!
    His faithful love endures forever (Psalm 118:1, NLT).

I thank you, Lord, for your goodness, your faithfulness, your trustworthiness. When I read about your attributes, my heart finds safety and security.

I got a package in the mail yesterday from a friend who has a special way of showering joy like confetti upon her friends. Inside were gifts that she knew would delight–soft things, lovely things, cozy things, tied in bright pink ribbons. Even the mailing label sported her colorful, festive, telling way of celebrating people in her life.

When I opened God’s Word this week and looked over the scriptures for today, I saw love. I saw love on every page. And I saw the writers’ response of gratitude and praise in return. He is so very worth celebrating.

Father, you show me how to love and live. You model delight and joy and generosity. You model faithfulness and perseverance and unchanging, stable grace. I open your word and my heart finds your embrace. I am so grateful. Thank you for loving me.

Courtney (66books365)

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