Category Archives: New Testament

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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Filed under 5 day reading plan, 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, Ezekiel, John, New Testament, Old Testament, Psalms, reading plan, Uncategorized

Ezekiel 4-6; Psalm 82; John 2

–And they shall know that I am the Lord–

This phrase repeats again and again throughout these chapters of Ezekiel. It brought to mind this completely opposite clip from the Wizard of Oz . . .

When the Lord speaks, it is not as some charlatan from behind the curtain. His promises will be kept. His judgements will be carried out. His people will be protected or chastened as appropriate. What he has said he will do.

When the master of the feast tasted the water now become wine, and did not know where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), the master of the feast called the bridegroom 10 and said to him, “Everyone serves the good wine first, and when people have drunk freely, then the poor wine. But you have kept the good wine until now.” 11 This, the first of his signs, Jesus did at Cana in Galilee, and manifested his glory. And his disciples believed in him.

John 2:9-11 ESV

And, when Jesus steps foot on this earth, we find these same attributes as well. The powerful God, in human form, is not bound by the laws of science (although He created those, too, and as a general rule works within them) and can make water into wine, the best wine, with no effort.

And making a whip of cords, he drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and oxen. And he poured out the coins of the money-changers and overturned their tables. 16 And he told those who sold the pigeons, “Take these things away; do not make my Father’s house a house of trade.” 17 His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for your house will consume me.”

John 2:15-17 ESV

He of course has no tolerance for those that ignore His law, or deface His house. Jesus is wholly God, the same from before the beginning of time.

But Jesus on his part did not entrust himself to them, because he knew all people 25 and needed no one to bear witness about man, for he himself knew what was in man.

John 2:24-25 ESV

The evil hidden away in the heart of man was all too familiar to Jesus. He had watched the people of Israel vacillate between following and ignoring the law for thousands of years at this point.

“Son of man, set your face toward the mountains of Israel, and prophesy against them, and say, You mountains of Israel, hear the word of the Lord God! Thus says the Lord God to the mountains and the hills, to the ravines and the valleys: Behold, I, even I, will bring a sword upon you, and I will destroy your high places. Your altars shall become desolate, and your incense altars shall be broken, and I will cast down your slain before your idols. And I will lay the dead bodies of the people of Israel before their idols, and I will scatter your bones around your altars. Wherever you dwell, the cities shall be waste and the high places ruined, so that your altars will be waste and ruined, your idols broken and destroyed, your incense altars cut down, and your works wiped out. And the slain shall fall in your midst, and you shall know that I am the Lord.

Ezekiel 6:2-7 ESV

The destruction prophesied in Ezekiel seems so harsh, and critics show no surprise at the fire and brimstone God of the Old Testament. However, He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. The condemnation He gave out to Canaan, to Babylon, to Assyria, and ultimately to Jerusalem was all in response to their gross sins and their rejection of Him. People like to portray Jesus as loving and a “fresh” view of God. Just because He came with a different focus (to serve, not be served, to sacrifice Himself for all mankind), does not mean that He was any softer on sin. In fact, He was coming to take all that judgment on Himself. He knew the full power of God’s wrath, as only a person can truly know Himself. These chapters of John open our eyes to who this God-man is, and prepare us for the momentous occasion when God will both pour out and be the recipient of His great wrath. Not until we have a clearer understanding of the intensity of God’s incredible wrath toward sin, can we begin to understand the enormity of what Christ bore and satisfied on the cross.

And, when those dark hours hang over the earth, people would again know that He is the Lord, for He has spoken.

Lord, you are powerful! You are steady,constant. And, You stepped in the way of Your own wrath to save my life. When You speak, help me to listen and act. Help me to hate my sin as much as You do, and to hold tightly to Your hand and Your perfect way. Help me to trust the power of Your words. In Jesus name, Amen.

Erin (6intow)

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2 Kings 24-25; 2 Chronicles 36; Psalm 126; 1 Peter 3

“I am by nature a dealer in words, and words are the most powerful drug known to humanity.”

Rudyard Kipling

While I understand where he was headed, unfortunately, Rudyard Kipling undervalued the power of a life well lived.

. . . they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives

I Peter 3:1b ESV

While words can at times be potent, the reflection of God in my daily actions speaks even louder. The context here specifically addresses a marriage, the most intimate of human relationships, but many of the calls to action have broader application.

If our desire is to “win someone over” to our thinking or to encourage them to consider our faith, we should consider our conduct carefully.

let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious. . . do good and do not fear anything that is frightening.

I Peter 3:4-6 ESV

More on living a gentle life follows this in a section about relating to other believers:

Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind. Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless,

I Peter 3:8-9 ESV

That is a pretty high calling — beautify your inner person, be respectful, keep your conduct pure, have a gentle, quiet (tranquil, unflappable) spirit, not arguing or resisting (the opposite of defending self-interest), humble, hope in God, do good, do not fear.

We cannot shoulder the blame for a lack of response in others or view these attributes as the perfect recipe for salvation of a loved one. We all strive to do better in these specific areas and pray that God would open their eyes to His working in our lives that will draw them to seek answers for the hope and difference they see in us. This is a Holy Spirit byproduct in our own lives as well as the residual response from others, also courtesy of the Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit is hard at work developing these traits in our lives, and we need to submit first to His work there and then leave the results in others’ lives up to Him also.

Lord, thank you for the power of living life where others can see us. Use me to speak well, but more importantly to live well. May I not be known for well-crafted arguments, or even worse, emotional tirades, but for a quiet life of humility that places others before myself and in which my good deeds continually point my neighbors to you. In Jesus name, Amen.

Erin (6intow)

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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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Filed under 5 day reading plan, 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, James, Jeremiah