Category Archives: Bible in a year reading plan

Job 20:12-24:12 

There were some interesting comments made between Eliphaz and Job.

Here is the first portion that I read. With a hand towards revenge, towards being ungodly, God still wants to spare the sinner and yet they treat His grace in an unworthy and ungrateful manner and they do not turn from their ways.

In the second portion I read, the world gets an opportunity to see God’s power and goodness, and we rather look at the short term value of the end of our life and our own happiness. This kind of thinking is so tight minded that there is no room for the Holy Spirit to even breathe. They cannot see that if they took their Will and placed it in the purposes of God, at their end, they would be free.

In this third portion, I put more attention. I see it most days I am sharing my faith. When I go from the route of the Law, or if I chose to go the route of Grace, the person I am talking to runs from God’s presence. What is worse is when God pursues them, they turn and tell Him to leave them alone. Just in case there is any presence of light in their soul, they completely drown themselves in the prison of unrighteous living. I have met these men – there is no desire to be crucified to worldly delights and are rather intoxicated by them. I look for a breath of goodness knowing there must be something there, but there is not. Creature comforts is all that matters. It is like they are trying to thrust themselves out of God’s presence. Their choice and delight is their damnation.

If you can believe it, this is where Eliphaz goes with Job and accuses Job of being such a person who has driven God out of his life. He accuses Job of thinking that God owed him something because he thought he had integrity and was complaining that God was afflicting him when He should have been beholden to him for his holiness and righteousness. Honours and happiness should have been his. The conversation is now getting messy.

I love this dialogue – on God alone is the only place to place the foundation of my life. It is with Him and only Him that I can say that God is my treasure.

My purpose is all of the sudden as clear as can be – when I set God as my foundation. Even in the middle of trouble and danger, I can have an abundance of joy and hope. So much so that I can give it away! God will save the humble and the humble will be exalted, not only in honour, but in comfort.

Father, may my pride not get in the way of our relationship and may I be found to walk before You with a humble heart.

Erwin (evanlaar1922)

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Job 12:13-16:10

I recently caught up with a friend who has been going through severe and mysterious health ailments. Tentatively she shared a detail, then another. I don’t have the full picture of what she’s been through these past months, but I recognized a holy privilege to be invited into any space of her journey. (Oh, the awe of holy ground. I do not want to mar it with an impulsive or incomplete response!) As I listened to her, I heard the natural bubble of her voice. She has always been joyful. And even in this, she waits with joy and patience and confidence.

“I have heard many things like these;
    you are miserable comforters, all of you!
Will your long-winded speeches never end?
    What ails you that you keep on arguing?
I also could speak like you,
    if you were in my place;
I could make fine speeches against you
    and shake my head at you.
But my mouth would encourage you;
    comfort from my lips would bring you relief
.” (Job 16:2-5, NIV, emphasis added)

I wonder if it is the deep lows in life that allow one to speak comfort to another. Empathy. Compassion. Sincerity.

I don’t know all that she’s experienced in this trial, but I know she still walks by faith on this dark path. She looks at me and shines her light. She is in the deep lows, and yet when our conversation was over, I felt hope, comfort, and relief because of her joy and confidence.

As I read through Job’s story, I think on his friends and their responses. They speak in judgment. They speak judgment of God. But God wasn’t penalizing or punishing Job–God called Job faithful. Maybe someone carries a heavy burden because of mistakes they’ve made, or from actions made by others. And maybe someone was appointed by God to carry a heavy burden, because God knew he could.

Lord, I hope I always remember the person’s heart who walks through heartache and trial. I pray that you would give me guidance how to comfort, encourage, or even to be still as I bear witness the journey. I pray that in my own walk, that you would send me support to encourage me for burdens I might carry. I give thanks for my friend, Lord, and your presence with us.

Courtney (66books365)

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Nehemiah 8:9-11:21

When they were frustrated with their circumstances, the Israelites turned away from God.

16 “But they, our ancestors, became arrogant and stiff-necked, and they did not obey your commands. 17 They refused to listen and failed to remember the miracles you performed among them. They became stiff-necked and in their rebellion appointed a leader in order to return to their slavery. But you are a forgiving God, gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love. Therefore you did not desert them, 18 even when they cast for themselves an image of a calf and said, ‘This is your god, who brought you up out of Egypt,’ or when they committed awful blasphemies. (Nehemiah 9:16-18, NIV, emphasis added)

When they were frustrated with their circumstances, the Israelites turned to God.

32 “Now therefore, our God, the great God, mighty and awesome, who keeps his covenant of love, do not let all this hardship seem trifling in your eyes—the hardship that has come on us, on our kings and leaders, on our priests and prophets, on our ancestors and all your people, from the days of the kings of Assyria until today. 33 In all that has happened to us, you have remained righteous; you have acted faithfully, while we acted wickedly. 34 Our kings, our leaders, our priests and our ancestors did not follow your law; they did not pay attention to your commands or the statutes you warned them to keep. 35 Even while they were in their kingdom, enjoying your great goodness to them in the spacious and fertile land you gave them, they did not serve you or turn from their evil ways.

36 But see, we are slaves today, slaves in the land you gave our ancestors so they could eat its fruit and the other good things it produces. 37 Because of our sins, its abundant harvest goes to the kings you have placed over us. They rule over our bodies and our cattle as they please. We are in great distress. (Nehemiah 9:32-37, NIV, emphasis added)

I sit with these scenarios. Sin. Choice. Slavery. In the first, wanting to return to it. In the second, slaves again. I read these words, just now, and know that I will sit with them throughout the day.

Lord, help me to keep a kingdom focus. Help me to guard my heart–to remember your goodness and all that you’ve done; to not become hardened or unwilling to serve you. While (kings, leaders, priests, and ancestors) made decisions that affected me, I am still and only responsible for my obedience to you. Help me to live in the free indeed found in you.

Courtney (66books365)

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Nehemiah 6:1-8:8 

“So the wall was completed on the twenty-fifth of Elul, in fifty-two days.  When all our enemies heard about this, all the surrounding nations were afraid and lost their self-confidence, because they realized that this work had been done with the help of our God.”    Nehemiah 6:15-16

They were told all along that it could not be done.  The job was too big and the problems and obstacles that they faced were too large.   What was once thought impossible is now not only possible, but done in an astonishing fifty-two days!  The wall was completed in record time and all of the enemies of Nehemiah and all of the surrounding nations are left with nothing else to do but gaze upon Jerusalem in stunned disbelief.

There is no fanfare, no great ceremony, no ribbon cutting.  Only God could have accomplished this amazing task.   During the fifty-two day period of rebuilding the wall surrounding Jerusalem, Nehemiah demonstrated incredible leadership.  When his enemies were hurling insults, ridicule, threats, rumors, deceit and false reports, Nehemiah met this opposition with prayer, encouragement, bravery, and an amazing love and incredible heart for God, determined to do His will.  He stood firm when most would have given up, and now God gets the glory and praise that He is so worthy of.

What a tremendous example Nehemiah is.  The wall around Jerusalem is more than just a wall of defense and protection.  It is a monument to God’s amazing and unfailing love and a reminder of His faithfulness to do amazing, even impossible things, in the lives  of the people who love Him and obey Him.

Nehemiah encountered just about every form of opposition imaginable in rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem.  Satan has thrown so many obstacles from his bag of tricks to cause him to stumble and fall.  He does this same thing in my own life today, only I find way too many times in my own experiences, unlike Nehemiah, it often ends up Satan succeeding and I fail.

But I also know that God does not desire for me to fail.  His desire is to accomplish great things with my life and in the process, continually transform my heart and my mind into the likeness His Son, while drawing me closer to Him each and every day.    Nehemiah allowed God to work in Him and through Him with the power of prayer and perseverance.  Every time he faced an obstacle or one of his enemies attempted to make him fail, He prayed prayers of praise and thanksgiving and made specific requests to God that were centered on God getting glory for the work He was doing in his life.  This is the type of prayer and perseverance that God desires from me in order for Him to use my life for His will.

O great God of all that was and is and is to come, what an incredible and awesome God you are!  Whenever I read stories like this in your word, my heart just bursts with praise and adoration for you!  You keep your beautiful covenant of love with your people all the time, without fail!  You get all the glory that you are so worthy of receiving through the lives of people who love you and obey you.  I humbly thank you for loving me and desiring to use me to accomplish your great and awesome deeds in my life and in eternity.

Lord, I confess to you my sins.  Far too often, I have acted foolishly and wickedly in the face of obstacles and temptations that have been placed in my path.  Far too frequently, I have failed the test of faithfulness and instead of taking those unique opportunities to pray to you and use them to honor and glorify you, I have failed and leaned on my own strength and the world’s wisdom, instead of turning to you.

O Lord, how foolish I have been to think that I could accomplish great things on my own when you have shown throughout history, that it is only through you that I am truly successful in anything.  But Lord, I thank you that you are a God of infinite grace!  Lord, I repent of these sins and I ask that you restore me to you and take this existence and do great and awesome things through me.  I can’t do it by myself.  My heart’s desire is that your success in me not be used for my own personal advantage, position or acclaim, but instead, I ask that you work out your purpose for my life so that you may get the credit and the glory and that others may marvel at what an awesome God you are!

I commit myself to you.  I will listen for your calling on my heart and I will pray earnestly for your success in my life.  Lord, be magnified and glorified in me!  Use me!  Let my joy be in understanding and knowing you! Redeem the time you have given me.  Make it fruitful. The only thing that truly brings my heart abounding joy and gladness is you.  The only thing that brings me peace is you.  The only thing I could ever be satisfied with is you.  The only one who makes my dreams pleasant is you.  You are the absolute delight of my heart and I cannot live without you.  If you are not the one orchestrating my life for your glory, then it is not worth living.

How awesome are your deeds. So great is your power that your enemies cringe before you.  All the earth bows down to you.  They sing praise to you.  They sing praise to your name!

Love you!

John (johnd7264)

From the archives. Originally published June 7, 2009.

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2 Chronicles 35:20-36:23; Ezra 1-3

Before I read about how Israel returns to the promised land, I want to make sure I understand what caused them to leave in the first place. Then, if I can apply that to my life, I will not have to worry about having to leave at all, when it comes to the presence of God in my life.

I start with King Josiah. It was a simple life – he came to cleanse the land and then he died. I am not too sure why his journey to death is so detailed in 2 Chronicles 35:20-27 I can only imagine that it was the method of his death that mattered. For a king to die of sickness or disease or to be murdered by a servant or family member would not be honourable, but to die, with honour on the battlefield, there is some glory in that for them.

Lastly and most significant is the last chapter leading up to the exile and so descriptive of God’s perspective and I read those words here in 2 Chronicles 36:11-21

Right now I just want to preach at myself, to get it out of my voice box. There is only one claim of God on me and that is simply this – to worship and glorify Him. The honoured word “worship” is too often dishonoured when I do not keep in my vivid memory what it is. This is what it is – “to love supremely, to obey perfectly, to serve perpetually, to express praise and render homage intelligently, and to say without a reserve that all this is the simple due of the object adored.”

There is something to the word “eternity.” I think the word to best describe it is “immortality.” There is immortality to honour and there is honour of immortality itself. My lesson, my takeaway, is along those those lines – Judah never learned that she was not her own. I need to ensure that I do not forget this lost lesson.

I rarely define what happiness is, but I know that I am happy when I am full of life, patience, strength, and confidence knowing that when I am on my journey in this life that I am not my own. I do not belong to sin or Satan either, but rather am the property of God and I am loved, adored, and prized by that God! The only time that is not true is when my gift of free-will becomes infatuated will, perverse will, self-will – there is no glory there.

It is my turn to do what Judah could not – I will be studious in remembering that I am God’s and belong to Jesus – I am not my own, to do with myself, my lifetime, my powers, my heart and my tongue whatever I like.

Father, thank You for these powerful words and expressions of what it means to be walking with You. No confusion here.

Erwin (evanlaar1922)

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