Category Archives: Old Testament

Job 3-5; John 21; Psalm 108

 

There are times in my life when I either act like Jesus is not around or actually do not feel His presence. When I act like He is not around, I am usually doing something that I want to do and do not wish to discuss with Him His thoughts on the matter. When I sense His presence not near me, I look for Him. It is a weird feeling sometimes when He does not engage.

I wonder how the disciples felt when Jesus rose from the dead and they had a bit of a distant relationship with Him. There was this real thing about Him having to ascend first before He engaged with them too much – He shared this thought with Mary. He did not see them that often or that regularly.

 This was now the third time that Jesus was revealed to the disciples after he was raised from the dead. – John 21:14 ESV

In this space of some awkwardness, the promise of the Holy Spirit who would always be with them, mattered most. Of course, we have that same promise.

In my imagination I cannot but help feel how alone Job must have felt. This is what he says —

After this Job opened his mouth and cursed the day of his birth. – Job 3:1 ESV

I do not talk about suicide a lot because I do not know the pain, but it sounds awful when you look at your life and decide that you no longer matter. That is why I like the Christmas movie, It’s a Wonderful Life.” We see both sides of the coin and I am glad that we have the Holy Spirit as part of our life these days.

David found the cure for His loneliness with God – worship. I sense many of us do, including myself.

My heart is steadfast, O God!
    I will sing and make melody with all my being. – Psalm 108:1 ESV

In fact, after a time of meditation, repentance and worship, I find that whatever I was going through, having placed that into God’s hand, I sense my relationship with Him back on track.

Father, thank you for sending the Holy Spirit to reside in me and  who calls me to walk with You. I am pretty sure that in my moments when I think I am alone, those times could make me express my life like Job. However, because of You, I can express my life more like David – I am so thankful for that. Jesus, I know that I spend too much time away from You. May may heart be more sensitive to Your calling and may I let my heart seek You always.  Thank you for caring and loving me so much. Amen

Erwin (evanlaar1922)

 

 

 

 

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

John 20; Psalms 148

“Early on Sunday morning, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and found that the stone had been rolled away from the entrance.  She ran and found Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved.  She said, “They have taken the Lord’s body out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!”  Peter and the other disciple started out for the tomb.  They were both running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first.  He stopped and looked in and saw the linen wrappings lying there, but he didn’t go in.  Then Simon Peter arrived and went inside.  He also noticed the linen wrappings lying there, while the cloth that had covered Jesus’ head was folded up and lying apart from the other wrappings.  Then the disciple who had reached the tomb first also went in, and he saw and believed-for until then they still hadn’t understood the Scriptures that said Jesus must rise from the dead.  Then they went home.” John 20:1-10 NLT

I wonder if  John outran Peter to the tomb because he couldn’t wait to see his beloved friend and savior.  And he couldn’t get to him fast enough. Did he have a deep knowing in his heart that Jesus was alive? Three days must have felt like forever to him. Sometimes the dead things in my life seem like they are never going to be restored. The process is longer than I was expecting. But, in the light of eternity it isn’t. God’s timing is always better than mine. Maybe John had faith that Jesus was alive as soon as he saw the linen wrappings.  So much so that he didn’t need to see to him to believe.

“You believe because you have seen me.  Blessed are those who believe without seeing me.  The disciples saw Jesus do many other miraculous signs in addition to the ones recorded in this book.  But these are written so that you may continue to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing in him you will have life by the power of his name.” John 20:20, 30&31 NLT

“Am I  trusting that God’s working things out? Even when I can’t see how?” (Lysa Terkeurst)

“Praise the Lord! Let every created thing give praise to the Lord, for he has issued his command, and they came into being.  He set then in place forever and ever.  His decree will never be revoked.  Let them all praise the name of the Lord.  For his name is very great; his glory towers over the earth and heaven! He has made his people strong, honoring his faithful ones- the people of Israel who are close to him. Praise the Lord!” Psalms 148 NLT

Dear Father, forgive me when I doubt.  Thank you that you always keep your promises.  Help me to slow down this season and remember my joy is found in you alone. I give you all the praise. Amen.

Amy(amyctanner)

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Nehemiah 7-9; John 17

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving.

I love Thanksgiving. I love the food, of course. I love the family all around. And I love having a day designated to reflect and remember the previous year and all that God has done for me.

This passage in Nehemiah fits so perfectly with Thanksgiving. It’s all about remembering. It’s all about recounting. And it’s all about repenting.

It takes place right after the great victory of finishing the repairs of the wall. The people are celebrating by reading God’s word and feasting! But then came the time of repenting and mourning over their failures.

In chapter 9, the Levites cry out to God, recounting all that God had done for them from the very beginning.

You made the heavens… You chose Abram…. You kept your promise… You saw our suffering… You heard our cries… You divided the seas… You led us day and night… You came down and spoke… In our hunger, you fed us… In our thirst you gave us water… You gave us the land…

But then…

We rebelled… We became arrogant… we did not obey… we refused to listen…

But God!

You are forgiving… You are compassionate… You gave your Spirit… You did not withhold… You sustained in the desert… We lacked nothing… We prospered… We were victorious… We reveled in your great goodness…

But then…

We rebelled… We became arrogant… we did not obey… we refused to listen…

And a cycle unfolded. In crisis, they cried out to God. In rest and relief, they rebelled. Even so, God was patient with them. And in this moment, they recognize their failure. They recognize their arrogance. And they recognize God’s righteousness as He was faithful to them even as they were unfaithful to Him. And so they repent. And they ask God for deliverance one more time.

Thanksgiving is all about looking back. And as much as I’d like to be able to say that I look back on the year with only joy and gratitude, I have to admit that there are also moments spread throughout the year where I did not act in a way that honored God. I can see times when I gave in to discouragement and failed to believe His promises. I recall moments of failure that followed success.

When I look back, it’s easy to see God’s hand in every situation. But when I was in the moment, I admit I didn’t always choose to see God’s hand in every situation. Far too often I gave in to fear. And I still catch myself doing that, even after seeing God come through for me every time.

So as I look back over the year, I see some great things God has done. But I also can recognize the not-so-great things I’ve done, and it gives me an opportunity not just to be grateful, but to be humbly repentant as I move forward into the new year to come with fresh vision and fresh goals, letting God lead me step by step into the freedom He has for me.

Father, thank you for your great kindness and patience towards me. Forgive me for not believing you. Forgive me for forgetting all the things you’ve done for me. Forgive me for taking you for granted. Help me to live in constant awareness of your love and goodness so that I can experience the freedom you have for me. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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Ezra 7-10; John 14; Psalm 131

All of the passages we read this morning speak to God’s faithful love and preservation of those who are in Christ. And for those of us in Him we have an eternal inheritance.

John 14:1-7, “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. 2 In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. 4 And you know the way to where I am going.” 5 Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” 6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 7 If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.”

Jesus is the only way we can enter this beautiful eternal home He is preparing for us. It’s interesting and I’m not sure I’m right, but have thought about this from time to time. It took Him six days to create the world we live in with all its beauty and majesty and since He has been gone — as I read this passage — Jesus has been preparing a beautiful place for us to dwell with Him! WOW can you imagine what that is going to be like? I sure can’t!

Here is the caveat… the way to this eternal home is only through the person of Jesus Christ. I’m sure that most of us if not all who are regular readers of 66books have already put our trust in Jesus alone for our salvation, but there may be someone reading who has never done that. My counsel to you is to do that today. Pray the prayer posted below and enjoy life everlasting with Jesus in the house he is building for all his followers.

Lord Jesus Christ, I am sorry for the things I have done wrong in my life (take a few moments to ask his forgiveness for anything particular that is on your conscience). Please forgive me. I now turn from everything that I know is wrong. Thank you that you died on the cross for me, so that I could be forgiven and set free. Thank you that you offer me forgiveness and the gift of your Spirit. I now receive that gift. Please come into my life by your Holy Spirit to be with me forever. Thank you Lord Jesus, Amen.

 

 

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Filed under Bible in a year reading plan, Ezra, John, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, Psalms, Uncategorized

Esther 4-7; John 12

When I go through the gospel message in my mind and review the journey that Jesus took to lay down His life, my life seems so small. I cannot say that this is my mantra for how I live.

Reading the story of Esther helps me. In fact, it is the story that we gave to our daughter on her sixteenth birthday with the promise that her life was to live the fullest for she was a young lady, needed by God, for such a time as this.

And they told Mordecai what Esther had said.  Then Mordecai told them to reply to Esther, “Do not think to yourself that in the king’s palace you will escape any more than all the other Jews.  For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”  Then Esther told them to reply to Mordecai,  “Go, gather all the Jews to be found in Susa, and hold a fast on my behalf, and do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my young women will also fast as you do. Then I will go to the king, though it is against the law, and if I perish, I perish.”[c]  Mordecai then went away and did everything as Esther had ordered him. – Esther 4:12-17  ESV

It passed me by in my readings until today that Jesus used similar words too.

Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him. “Now is my soul troubled. And what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? But for this purpose I have come to this hour. – John 12:25-27  ESV

I am challenged as a disciple of Jesus to follow Him. I need to be able to come to a place in that walk to lay down my own life and work. Even as I write these words, inside of me I hear other words that expect me to shrink from sacrifice and death. I love that the Holy Spirit is coming alongside me and encouraging me to understand that the true principle of life is of the Spirit, and only in the sacrifice of my desires regarding my physical and emotional life is my spiritual life realised.

Father, thank you for the power of Your Word to guide me to what real life is all about. I am called to lay down my life for You. I see it in the disciples, I see it in the Old Testament, I see it in Hebrews chapter eleven. I see it in Jesus. Fill me with Your Holy Spirit that I may walk each day doing just that. Amen

Erwin (evanlaar1922)

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Esther 1-3; John 11; Psalms 150

A man named Lazarus was sick.  He lived in Bethany with his sisters, Mary and Martha.  This is the Mary who poured the expensive perfume on the Lord’s feet and wiped them with her hair.  Her brother, Lazarus, was sick.  So the two sisters sent a message to Jesus telling him, “Lord, your dear friend is very sick.”  But when Jesus heard about it he said, “Lazarus’s sickness will not end in death.  No, it happened for the glory of God so that the Son of God will receive glory from this.” So although Jesus loved Martha, Mary, and Lazarus, he stayed were he was for the next two days.  Finally, he said to his disciples, “Let’s go back to Judea.”  John 11:1-7 NLT

I sat across from my once joyful daughter who looked like something had died inside her.  I was overtaken with the grief of the moment.  How come you haven’t healed her yet Lord?

“When Jesus saw her weeping and saw the other people wailing with her, a deep anger welled up within him, and he was deeply troubled.  “Where have you put him?” he asked them.  Jesus was still angry as he arrived at the tomb, a cave with a stone rolled across its entranceRoll the stone aside,” Jesus told them.  But Martha, the dead man’s sister, protested, “Lord, he has been dead for four days.  The smell will be terrible.” Jesus responded, “Didn’t I tell you that you would see God’s glory if you believe?” John 11:33-40 NLT

God has been speaking to me through Lazarus.  It’s such a familiar story to me, that I’ve overlooked important things about it.  I never realized the reason that God waited to raise Lazarus was so that he would get the glory.  I also never realized that He got angry over their lack of faith.

This is one of those readings that has been showing up everywhere else.   In a sermon, a blog, a counselor, this post.  I find myself processing and praying about how God wants to use this in my life. I know he wants to spur my faith. A friend reminds me that maybe what God wants to do is much more incredible than my mind can comprehend. That he wants me to see things from a different perspective. When I can’t see what he is doing now, to have the faith to trust him.  It will be no mistake who did it and He will get the glory.

“Praise the Lord! Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heaven! Praise him for his mighty works; praise his unequaled greatness! Praise him with a blast of the ram’s horn; praise him with the lyre and harp! Let everything that breathes sing praises to the Lord!” Psalms 150 NLT

Dear Father, thank you that you resurrect old dreams, broken people.  You give me new life again.  You breath hope into the circumstances that seem dead to me. I am grateful for the cross.  Amen.

Amy(amyctanner)

 

 

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Zech. 5-7; John 7; Ps. 126

Psalm 126 (NIV)

1 When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion,

we were like those who dreamed.

2 Our mouths were filled with laughter,

our tongues with songs of joy.

Then it was said among the nations,

“The Lord has done great things for them.”

3 The Lord has done great things for us,

and we are filled with joy.

 

4 Restore our fortunes, Lord,

like streams in the Negev.

5 Those who sow with tears

will reap with songs of joy.

6 Those who go out weeping,

carrying seed to sow,

will return with songs of joy,

carrying sheaves with them.

 

What a beautiful passage! This song was a long time coming. The exiles were finally returning from captivity and they were overjoyed at God’s deliverance.

But they weren’t always this joyful. In fact, while the psalm begins with rejoicing, the last half reminds us of what it took to get there: sorrow. There were tears and weeping. There was strife. There was pain.

But that suffering was not the end of their story! And it’s not the end of ours, either.

Though we walk through valleys, they are simply the way we must take to reach the mountain top. One day we will reach that victory. One day we will experience that deliverance. One day we will experience that joy.

In the midst of sorrow, it’s easy to become overwhelmed and fearful. But in this passage I’m reminded that God never ends a story in pain. He only uses the pain to bring greater healing, greater joy, and an exceedingly great reward.

Those who sow in tears WILL reap with songs of joy.

Those who go out weeping, WILL return with songs of joy.

It’s not an “if.”

It is a promise.

It is coming.

It’s on its way.

And all will see how Great God is when He delivers us from our sorrow and pain!

I once heard it said that the only thing harder than waiting on God is wishing you had.

Instead of focusing on the pain and suffering, I will choose to focus on the promise of deliverance and joy. I choose to live in hope. I choose to live in faith. Deliverance is coming. It may not look like I expect, or come when I expect, but it IS coming and it WILL be good.

Eventually, we will each receive the promise and be able to join in with the others who’ve gone before us in saying, “The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy!”

 

Father, thank You for the incredible encouragement You offer through Your word. Thank You for Your promise that You will not leave things undone. Thank You for working good out of bad, and for trading tears for songs of joy. Help me to wait for Your deliverance so that some day soon I can stand and proclaim Your power in my life. In Jesus’ name, Amen.  

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