Category Archives: 66 Books

Ezekiel 10-12; Psalm 83; John 4

The chapter of Ezekiel 12 leaves me with a relevant message for my life today. Sometimes I think that God allows me to continue in a certain direction that I know does not glorify Him. Yet, I have to remember while He is merciful and patient, He always hates evil. And therefore, He will not allow me, one of His children, to sin and sin forever. His hand will move in my life and encourage me to stop sinning. God wants a relationship with me, a holy one centred in love.

It is why I try to encourage those who read Psalm 83 to keep it as a prayer. It is so easy to judge and much harder to love. I have begun to pray that God’s enemies will start to love Him. I am constantly reminded to do so every time they do something contrary to who God is.

I also pray that I might bring a message of hope even when there might not be one. The woman at the well inspires me on so many fronts. I realize that I must bring so much of Jesus to the table when I engage with those who do not know Him.

 “Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did! Could this be the Messiah?” – John 4:29 HCSB

I know that love was in His eyes, I know that He outed sin and yet left no shame in His manner of speech, and I know that this woman did not want to run away but knew that He had what she was looking for her whole life – love, security and safety. How do I relate to others? Can they see love in my voice and the words I choose to use? Is there a sense of security or are they looking for the trap door to escape? Am I a safe place for them to share their guilt and shame while their sin is exposed? I need to make that a priority today – give people a safe place to confess their sin, repent and put their trust in Jesus.

Father, may my voice become Your voice in the ears of those I talk to today. May it be filled with words and expressions of Your love, grace and mercy. May I remember to apply those same thoughts into my own life as I remember that You want to walk with me in Your holiness – may I receive Your love today too. I know that You know me better than anyone else. Even so, Your love for me calls me right into Your arms. I know what it means to be loved, to have a place where I run to for security and I know what it means to be in a safe place. May I be put into situations where I can share these precious moments with others so that that they too may know You. Thank You.

Erwin (evanlaar1922)

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Jeremiah 50-51; 2 Peter 3

Did they scoff back then? When Jeremiah spoke a message from the Lord, who took him seriously? If he walked into a room today with this message, would anyone even care about what he said?

29 The earth trembles and writhes in pain,
    for everything the Lord has planned against Babylon stands unchanged.
Babylon will be left desolate without a single inhabitant.
30     Her mightiest warriors no longer fight.
They stay in their barracks, their courage gone.
    They have become like women.
The invaders have burned the houses
    and broken down the city gates.
31 The news is passed from one runner to the next
    as the messengers hurry to tell the king
    that his city has been captured.
32 All the escape routes are blocked.
    The marshes have been set aflame,
    and the army is in a panic.

33 This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies,
    the God of Israel, says:
“Babylon is like wheat on a threshing floor,
    about to be trampled.
In just a little while
    her harvest will begin.” (Jeremiah 51:29-33, NLT)

Peter cautions believers:

This is my second letter to you, dear friends, and in both of them I have tried to stimulate your wholesome thinking and refresh your memory. I want you to remember what the holy prophets said long ago and what our Lord and Savior commanded through your apostles.

Most importantly, I want to remind you that in the last days scoffers will come, mocking the truth and following their own desires. They will say, “What happened to the promise that Jesus is coming again? From before the times of our ancestors, everything has remained the same since the world was first created.”

They deliberately forget that God made the heavens long ago by the word of his command, and he brought the earth out from the water and surrounded it with water. Then he used the water to destroy the ancient world with a mighty flood. And by the same word, the present heavens and earth have been stored up for fire. They are being kept for the day of judgment, when ungodly people will be destroyed. (2 Peter 3:1-7, NLT)

And even with a warning, and even in the waiting, the day of the Lord’s return will come as unexpectedly as a thief (verse 10). The verses in these readings arrest me. Is there much difference in the people in the times of the holy prophets “long ago”, the people in the apostles’ day, the people today? It comes down to believing who God says he is and that he’ll do what he says he’ll do–but regardless of the belief, I think on that verse: for everything the Lord has planned (against Babylon) stands unchanged.

I imagine Jeremiah’s scroll, Peter’s letters, all the books of the Bible (oh, his very voice in the garden!)–at what point does one take God’s word to heart?

14 And so, dear friends, while you are waiting for these things to happen, make every effort to be found living peaceful lives that are pure and blameless in his sight.

15 And remember, our Lord’s patience gives people time to be saved. This is what our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you with the wisdom God gave him— 16 speaking of these things in all of his letters. Some of his comments are hard to understand, and those who are ignorant and unstable have twisted his letters to mean something quite different, just as they do with other parts of Scripture. And this will result in their destruction.

17 You already know these things, dear friends. So be on guard; then you will not be carried away by the errors of these wicked people and lose your own secure footing. 18 Rather, you must grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. All glory to him, both now and forever! Amen. (2 Peter 3:14-18, NLT)

Lord, help me to grow in the grace and knowledge of you. May I not be found ignorant and unstable, twisting your word into a meaning that would lead to my destruction.

Courtney (66books365)

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 Jeremiah 38, 39, 52; 1 Peter 2

When I see the words “honour” and “love” in one verse, it immediately grabs my attention.

Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the Emperor. – 1 Peter 2:17 HCSB

I am called to love others who have made the decision to follow Jesus and with them I am called to have a closer relationship. I get what Peter means when he commands me to fear God. Out of the fear of God comes the call to honour those in leadership and everyone else.

Honouring and loving are the keys to unity and harmony in human relationships. In the Godhead, in the church, in marriage, and in any relationship, honour and love are the basis for unity.

Exclude Jesus and I am more motivated by self-interest. Include Jesus and I am motivated by faith, hope and love and it results in self-sacrifice. My honouring and loving enables me to endure suffering because my motivation is not in this world – they are in my heavenly hope and the love that God generates in me.

Honouring in itself is an act of love and I am commanded not to love the world. While I should honour those in leadership without conflict with others, to do so takes wisdom. God promises to give me wisdom as I love to seek it out.

True honouring is not building up anyone with flattery, but in truth that is not only proclaimed but practiced in love. I love this call from Peter as he provides an example of what that sounds like.

Dear friends, I urge you as strangers and temporary residents to abstain from fleshly desires that war against you.[r]Conduct yourselves honorably among the Gentiles,[s] so that in a case where they speak against you as those who do what is evil, they will, by observing your good works, glorify God on the day of visitation. – 1 Peter 2:11-12 HCSB

Father, these days I need wisdom from You more than I ever have felt before. Wisdom in how to honour and wisdom to understand what love looks like. I want individuals to know that I honour You more than anything and part of that means honouring those in leadership even though I struggle so much with how they are leading. Walk with me Lord so that as I begin to look like You more and more each day, may You be glorified. Thank You.

Erwin (evanlaar1922)

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Filed under 1 Peter, 5 day reading plan, 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, Jeremiah, New Testament, Old Testament, reading plan, Uncategorized

Jeremiah 25, 35, 36, 45; Psalm 133; James 3

I get a taste of the times by reading Jeremiah 25, 35, 36, 45–a sampling over a span of chapters. Jeremiah confronts again:

“For the past twenty-three years […] the Lord has been giving me his messages. I have faithfully passed them on to you, but you have not listened.

“Again and again the Lord has sent you his servants, the prophets, but you have not listened or even paid attention. Each time the message was this: ‘Turn from the evil road you are traveling and from the evil things you are doing. Only then will I let you live in this land that the Lord gave to you and your ancestors forever. Do not provoke my anger by worshiping idols you made with your own hands. Then I will not harm you.’

“But you would not listen to me,” says the Lord. “You made me furious by worshiping idols you made with your own hands, bringing on yourselves all the disasters you now suffer. (Jeremiah 25:3-7, NLT)

(I read of the cup of God’s anger, and it’s not an only mention in the Bible. The cup is mentioned in several books, and in each, it is terrifying.)

To another family, a promise from God in response to their obedience.

And in audacity, King Jehoiakim’s response to God:

21 The king sent Jehudi to get the scroll. Jehudi brought it from Elishama’s room and read it to the king as all his officials stood by. 22 It was late autumn, and the king was in a winterized part of the palace, sitting in front of a fire to keep warm. 23 Each time Jehudi finished reading three or four columns, the king took a knife and cut off that section of the scroll. He then threw it into the fire, section by section, until the whole scroll was burned up. 24 Neither the king nor his attendants showed any signs of fear or repentance at what they heard. 25 Even when Elnathan, Delaiah, and Gemariah begged the king not to burn the scroll, he wouldn’t listen. (Jeremiah 36:21-25, NLT)

Father God, may I never take your word so lightly. If your promises and word are trustworthy, and they are, they should be the direction I seek to draw even closer to you. I am glad your word doesn’t change, and that you are true. You are the same yesterday, today and tomorrow, and I can walk in full confidence of your promise.

13 If you are wise and understand God’s ways, prove it by living an honorable life, doing good works with the humility that comes from wisdom. 14 But if you are bitterly jealous and there is selfish ambition in your heart, don’t cover up the truth with boasting and lying. 15 For jealousy and selfishness are not God’s kind of wisdom. Such things are earthly, unspiritual, and demonic. 16 For wherever there is jealousy and selfish ambition, there you will find disorder and evil of every kind.

17 But the wisdom from above is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and the fruit of good deeds. It shows no favoritism and is always sincere. 18 And those who are peacemakers will plant seeds of peace and reap a harvest of righteousness. (James 3:13-18, NLT)

Lord, help me to live a life undistracted, but with a keen kingdom focus.

Courtney (66books365)

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Jeremiah 8-10; 2 Corinthians 11

If I were to sum up a theme in these readings, it would be a warning about false teachings.

You happily put up with whatever anyone tells you, even if they preach a different Jesus than the one we preach, or a different kind of Spirit than the one you received, or a different kind of gospel than the one you believed. (2 Corinthians 11:4, NLT)

What of the false teacher? What is deceit’s disguise?

14 But I am not surprised! Even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. 15 So it is no wonder that his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. In the end they will get the punishment their wicked deeds deserve. (2 Corinthians 11:13-15, NLT)

A deceiver knows how to disguise and hide. Some disguised themselves as apostles of Christ. That’s tricky. Even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. We are told this for a reason. Bad intentions can sport good appearances.

But what of truth? Shouldn’t truth have an easy road? After all, it is right and pure. If Paul’s story is any example of trying to bring truth to light, that road is far from comfortable. For example, he:

  • worked harder
  • was put in prison more often
  • was whipped times without number
  • faced death again and again
  • 5 different times the Jewish leaders gave him 39 lashes
  • 3 times he was beaten with rods
  • he was stoned
  • 3 times he was shipwrecked
  • he spent a whole night and a day adrift at sea
  • he traveled on many long journeys
  • he faced danger from rivers
  • he faced danger from from robbers
  • he faced danger from his own people, the Jews, as well as from the Gentiles
  • he faced danger in the cities, and in the deserts, and on the seas
  • he faced danger from men who claimed to be believers but were not
  • he worked hard and long
  • he endured many sleepless nights
  • he was hungry and thirsty
  • he often went without food
  • he shivered in the cold, without enough clothing to keep him warm (from 2 Corinthians 11:23b-27, NLT)

I read the account again, and this time, I imagine standing next to him. Working. Whipped. Shipwrecked. Facing danger–again and again. Exhausted. Hungry. Thirsty. Cold. And when I read it again, I look into the eyes of other prisoners, assailants holding whips and rocks, intimidating authorities, forceful robbers, a shunning community, even the ones who claimed to be believers. Paul’s not telling a passing story of what he did over the weekend. He’s telling a story of how he faced the extreme pressure to abandon the truth and abolish his faith.

I am ever more grateful for these words in my hands. Grateful for all the people who came before me, speaking and preserving truth, so that I could know Jesus and live. I will never know all that it cost them. But I know if they hadn’t persevered, my ignorance would have cost me my life.

Courtney (66books365)

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Filed under 2 Corinthians, 5 day reading plan, 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, New Testament