Category Archives: Bible in a year reading plan

2 Chronicles 19-20; 2 Kings 1; Psalm 20; Matthew 3

We started a new tradition in our home recently.  We have come to realize that our kids and their spouses may not know, remember or might not even think about some of our experiences that our fifty years of living has given us insight on.  We thought we would let them all ask one question about us that they would like to know.  Thankfully most of them were pretty light, but my son went ahead and asked the deep question – was there ever a time when there was no light, no way out of an experience and what did you do? Great question and I was reminded of that as I read Jehoshaphat’s story – what did he do when there was no hope?

Early the next morning, as everyone got ready to leave for the desert near Tekoa, Jehoshaphat stood up and said, “Listen my friends, if we trust the Lord God and believe what these prophets have told us, the Lord will help us, and we will be successful.” Then he explained his plan and appointed men to march in front of the army and praise the Lord for his holy power by singing:[g]

“Praise the Lord!

    His love never ends.”

As soon as they began singing, the Lord confused the enemy camp, so that the Ammonite and Moabite troops attacked and completely destroyed those from Edom. Then they turned against each other and fought until the entire camp was wiped out! – 2 Chronicles 20:20-23   CEV

My wife and I shared with our family that there is no other way but prayer.  No matter what, where, why, when or how, God’s love for you will keep you safe. We shared a few stories and all of them involved having a conversation with God.

I pray that the Lord
will listen
when you
are in trouble,
and that the God of Jacob
will keep you safe. – Psalm 20:1   CEV

There is something amazing when I have invited God into my space.  He takes all that I give Him.  He has never asked me to do anything, especially singing in public.  However, He has asked me to wait, He has asked me to stay still and He always asks to leave things in His hands. When we stand with Jesus, He stands with us and when we enter His presence on the last day, He will greet us and say, “Well done!”

Then a voice from heaven said, “This is my own dear Son, and I am pleased with him.” – Matthew 3:17   CEV

Thank you Lord that I could answer my son’s question.  I pray that any member of my family will reach out to You regardless of where they are in relationship with You or the difficulty they are facing. Amen

Erwin (evanlaar1922)

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Filed under 2 Chronicles, 2 Kings, 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, Matthew, New Testament, Old Testament, Psalms, Uncategorized

2 Chronicles 15-16; 1 Kings 16; Philemon

I didn’t see it coming. As Asa’s story unfolded, I felt bolstered by the prophet’s words: “Whenever you seek him, you will find him,” and “be strong and courageous” (2 Chronicles 15). Asa heard and took courage. He removed idols, repaired an altar, and called together the people. There were covenants made and sacrifices offered. Asa’s heart remained faithful throughout his life (2 Chronicles 15:17b, NLT. Note this.).

So I didn’t see it coming, when in 2 Chronicles 16, he would overlook consulting the Lord, a decision that carried crucial consequences. His first thirty-five years of reign were marked by an intentional abiding, but the last years of leadership are an unraveling of sorts–misplaced trust, anger and oppression.

What happened?

***

While disappointing to read, was it a surprise that Israel’s leaders were evil and angered the Lord time after time?

25 But Omri did what was evil in the Lord’s sight, even more than any of the kings before him. 26 He followed the example of Jeroboam son of Nebat in all the sins he had committed and led Israel to commit. The people provoked the anger of the Lord, the God of Israel, with their worthless idols. (1 Kings 16:25-26, NLT)

I think long on examples. I consider influences in my lifetime (some influenced me not to follow them!). But how often do I take into consideration my own words and actions and the influence they have on those around me?

***

I’ve spent the past few days working on a baby’s knit hat, and I’ve started it over so many times I’ve lost count. I noticed that sometimes the row was a stitch or two longer than it should have been, or that I dropped a stitch accidentally and there was a big hole in it. These mistakes weren’t made on purpose. They were so very unintentional.

***

I always thank my God when I pray for you, Philemon, because I keep hearing about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all of God’s people. And I am praying that you will put into action the generosity that comes from your faith as you understand and experience all the good things we have in Christ. Your love has given me much joy and comfort, my brother, for your kindness has often refreshed the hearts of God’s people. (Philemon 4-7, NLT)

Paul writes to Philemon, reminding him of his generosity and love–and to take it a step further (to extend grace, forgiveness, or welcome to someone who has wronged him).

17 So if you consider me your partner, welcome him as you would welcome me. 18 If he has wronged you in any way or owes you anything, charge it to me. 19 I, PAUL, WRITE THIS WITH MY OWN HAND: I WILL REPAY IT. AND I WON’T MENTION THAT YOU OWE ME YOUR VERY SOUL!

20 Yes, my brother, please do me this favor for the Lord’s sake. Give me this encouragement in Christ.

21 I am confident as I write this letter that you will do what I ask and even more! (Philemon 17-21, NLT)

Paul’s letter to Philemon reads like encouragement and caution.

***

I’m not responsible for the decisions other people make–and lately I’ve been surprised at how someone’s choice can influence my response. I do pause and wonder: should it? Like Philemon, if someone has wronged me, should I be less loving or generous in my own behaviors, or like Paul suggests–to do as much or more than expected? Do I stay true to how God has wired me? If I’m not intentional, abiding in Christ, I could look back at the fabric of the story of my life and see holes and wonder, “What happened?”

Lord, I’m so imperfect, but I know that you are at work in my heart. Help me to be true to who you’ve created me to be, independent of how another behaves. Some days effort seems grossly out of proportion to return. I am humbled and saddened as I wonder over the question of what’s in it for me? I pray that I continue strong, even in seasons of drought, because it pleases you.

Courtney (66books365)

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1 Kings 13-14; 2 Chronicles 12; Psalm 47; Titus 2

11 For the grace of God has been revealed, bringing salvation to all people. 12 And we are instructed to turn from godless living and sinful pleasures. We should live in this evil world with wisdom, righteousness, and devotion to God, 13 while we look forward with hope to that wonderful day when the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, will be revealed. 14 He gave his life to free us from every kind of sin, to cleanse us, and to make us his very own people, totally committed to doing good deeds.

15 You must teach these things and encourage the believers to do them. You have the authority to correct them when necessary, so don’t let anyone disregard what you say. (Titus 2:11-15) NLT

I clearly remember the time in my life before I became a Christ-follower. In fact, even as “mature” (in age) as I am, there are still more years behind me when I wasn’t. I thought I was a “good person”—at least by my own standards–but I lived a worldly life. After I became a believer, I had no idea how to change my life. I know it needed to change because my life up to that point was full of turmoil, strife, and pain. I needed a Paul and a Titus in my life!

I went to church for most of my life. Yet somehow I had never been taught about having a personal relationship with Jesus. That was a pretty confusing concept to me. But the Lord guided me to a different church. It was there I found the “Paul” I needed. The Pastor of that church taught straight from the bible and explained what the verses meant. He introduced me to Jesus. “For the grace of God has been revealed, bringing salvation to all people.”  Much as Paul did in his teachings, that Pastor helped me understood that in order for my life to change I needed “to turn from godless living and sinful pleasures”.   God had a better plan for my life than I did. Through his instruction, and studying the bible on my own, I had a better understanding of the “why” I needed to change and let the Holy Spirit show me the “how.” I never would have changed by myself.

I had done most of this learning on my own up to this point. Then God brought a “Titus” into my life—a woman who became a friend and a mentor to me. I had never seen a godly life modeled. As I got to know her and how she lived her life, I knew I never wanted to go back to the life I used to have. Through our meetings, she embodied, “You must teach these things and encourage the believers to do them.” Sometime she did this with words but mostly she taught by example. While others in my life didn’t understand why I no longer chose to do as they did, she encouraged me to make better choices. Little by little, God pruned those non-believers from my life. He knew my heart was devoted to Him.

1 Come, everyone! Clap your hands!
    Shout to God with joyful praise!
2 For the Lord Most High is awesome.
    He is the great King of all the earth. (Psalm 47:1-2) NLT

Lord, I will never be able to thank you enough for showing me a better way to live and for changing the direction of my life.  So often, tears pour unashamedly from my eyes as I lift my hands, clap my hands, and sing joyful praise to you as I think of how you’ve loved me into wholeness.  You’ve shown me the true meaning of love.  You ARE awesome as it says in the Psalm.  I thank you for Jesus and all he has taught me.  In his name I pray, Amen.

Cindy (gardnlady)

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Ecclesiastes 7-9; Psalm 46; 2 Timothy 3

Yesterday was Independence Day in the United States. My family and I had a quiet day at home. But I was acutely aware of past celebrations: swimming, cookouts, a bonfire. As I walked around the yard, I stopped and remembered–Alan stoking a fire (that was the summer he was diagnosed with cancer; he died almost two years later); Linda and her wide-brimmed hat (disease took her away from us last year); another family staying later, wrapped in blankets as the evening cooled dramatically; Denise holding up a flag and smiling for the camera. Some of these, years ago but the memories felt fresh yesterday.

***

I think of her as The One Who Loves Me. She has called me lately to share her heart, thoughts, and fears. She has a heart catheter procedure scheduled tomorrow. She tells me the things she needs to say, just in case. She will call me again today, and she will tell me those things again, and I will do my best not to cry at the implication.

The same destiny ultimately awaits everyone, whether righteous or wicked, good or bad, ceremonially clean or unclean, religious or irreligious. Good people receive the same treatment as sinners, and people who make promises to God are treated like people who don’t.

It seems so wrong that everyone under the sun suffers the same fate. Already twisted by evil, people choose their own mad course, for they have no hope. There is nothing ahead but death anyway. There is hope only for the living. As they say, “It’s better to be a live dog than a dead lion!”

The living at least know they will die, but the dead know nothing. They have no further reward, nor are they remembered. Whatever they did in their lifetime—loving, hating, envying—is all long gone. They no longer play a part in anything here on earth. (Ecclesiastes 9:2-6, NLT)

While he was alive, and especially after his death, my father’s life caused me to think long on legacy. Paul’s printed words affect the future, but at the time, he was writing to Timothy. The words were to him.

10 But you, Timothy, certainly know what I teach, and how I live, and what my purpose in life is. You know my faith, my patience, my love, and my endurance. 11 You know how much persecution and suffering I have endured. (2 Timothy 3:10-11a, NLT)

While we are here, we are known by those around us. Influence, example, purpose–these things speak of us and for us. I know the things I value, but does my life reflect them?

Thank you, Lord, for your word in my hands and heart. I want to be true to the person you designed me to be, to live this life to glorify you. You put songs and delight in my heart. Help me to live this life well.

Courtney (66books365)

So go ahead. Eat your food with joy, and drink your wine with a happy heart, for God approves of this! Wear fine clothes, with a splash of cologne! … 10 Whatever you do, do well. For when you go to the grave, there will be no work or planning or knowledge or wisdom. (Ecclesiastes 9:7-8, 10, NLT)

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Ecclesiastes 4-6; Psalm 125; 2 Timothy 2

I love Ecclesiastes.  Remember Peter, Paul and Mary singing, Turn Turn Turn? I was only a child then but I remember every word.  My favourite chapter in the entire Bible is chapter 3, and again probably because of that song.  When I read Chuck Swindoll’s book on Ecclesiastes, that probably sealed the deal – it finally all made sense (that is, the other chapters other than chapter 3 – that one I had nailed down).

So it makes sense that my wisdom comes from this book more than any other.

 Be careful what you do when you enter the house of God. Some fools go there to offer sacrifices, even though they haven’t sinned.[d] But it’s best just to listen when you go to worship.  Don’t talk before you think or make promises to God without thinking them through. God is in heaven, and you are on earth, so don’t talk too much.  If you keep thinking about something, you will dream about it. If you talk too much, you will say the wrong thing. – Ecclesiastes 5:1-3  CEV

Be thoughtful when I enter into God’s presence, listen while I worship, and think through what God is asking from me making sure that whatever I say or do will in the end glorify Him.

It is probably why I have so much faith in God protecting me.

Just as Jerusalem is protected
    by mountains on every side,
the Lord protects his people
    by holding them in his arms
    now and forever. – Psalm 125:2  CEV

In my role with the Navigators, I am called to share how I have been growing in my faith and to lead others into the same kind of walk I have with Jesus. I disciple disciple-makers.

Timothy, my child, Christ Jesus is kind, and you must let him make you strong.  You have often heard me teach. Now I want you to tell these same things to followers who can be trusted to tell others. – Timothy 2:1-2  CEV

Father, as You lead me today, give me wisdom to know that needs to be done.  Allow me to see Your hand making the day exactly what You made it to be.  Protect me and my family as I move out to do what You have called me to do.  Show me how to be full of grace and allow me to let You make me strong.  I want to tell others how they can follow You, show me who can be trusted to do and be this kind of person in order to advance Your Kingdom. Amen.

Erwin (evanlaar1922)

 

 

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2 Chronicles 5-7; Psalm 121; 1 Timothy 4

One thing I know about cultivating a new habit is that it takes intention. I didn’t become a runner by getting off the couch and lacing up my shoes. In fact, my first day out, I barely rounded the bend of my driveway. The second day out, I might have made it twenty-five feet farther. The third day out, I made it to the top of the driveway. I had to plan on it. I had to get out and do it. I had to push myself. I still have to push myself, but my distance, thankfully, is farther than the top of my driveway.

But what credit is it to run but be weak in areas of eternal matter?

“Physical training is good, but training for godliness is much better, promising benefits in this life and in the life to come.” This is a trustworthy saying, and everyone should accept it. 10 This is why we work hard and continue to struggle, for our hope is in the living God, who is the Savior of all people and particularly of all believers. (1 Timothy 4:8-10, NLT)

Paul encourages Timothy to be an example “in what you say, in the way you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity. (1 Timothy 4:b, NLT)” Aren’t we all an example to someone? A coworker. A neighbor. A stranger. A friend. A family member. An enemy.

When I think of the end of my time, some of the goals I’ve set may not hold entirely great significance–the daily run in itself is conditioning for my body, works on discipline and self-control–good things, yes. But what if I did not live a life true to the person God made me to be? What if I neglected the gifts?

14 Do not neglect the spiritual gift you received through the prophecy spoken over you when the elders of the church laid their hands on you. 15 Give your complete attention to these matters. Throw yourself into your tasks so that everyone will see your progress. 16 Keep a close watch on how you live and on your teaching. Stay true to what is right for the sake of your own salvation and the salvation of those who hear you. (1 Timothy 4:14-16, NLT)

Father God, I am thankful to you that you hear my prayers. You are quick to forgive. Your faithful love endures forever. Thank you for watching over my life, Maker of heaven and earth. Thank you for loving me so well. I offer my life song to you in praise.

Courtney (66books365)

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1 Kings 8; Psalms 30; 1 Timothy 3

All of today’s passages reflect on people’s behavior and how it affects their standing in the temple/church.

First, a Psalm of Thanksgiving from David for forgiveness of his past sins.

“Sing praise to the Lord, you His godly ones, and give thanks to His holy name.  for his anger is but for a moment, his favor is for a lifetime. Weeping may last for the night, but a shout of joy comes in the morning.” (Psalms 30:4-5 ESV)

Later his son, Solomon, dedicates the temple.

“Oh Lord, the God of Israel, there is no God like You in Heaven above or earth beneath, keeping covenant and showing lovingkindness to Your servants who walk before You with all their heart, who have kept with Your servant, my father David, that which you have promised him; indeed, You have spoken with Your mouth and have fulfilled it with Your hand as it is this day.” (1 Kings 8:23-24 ESV)

Finally, Timothy gives instruction concerning leaders in the church and how they are to live.

I am writing these things to you, hoping to come to you before long; but in case I am delayed, I write so that you will know how one ought to conduct himself in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and support of the truth.” (1 Timothy 3:14-15 ESV)

Lord, we’re thankful for all of the examples of people in the bible who “mess up” but are forgiven.  Thank you for forgiving and saving us.

Kellie (mmattix)

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