Category Archives: Old Testament

Genesis 32-34; Psalm 145; Mark 13

Imagine a young lady who is loved by a man and that same man rapes her.  Love in my family was just as dysfunctional but more so in another family of mine where the sister sexually abused her younger sister. To this day the emotional abuse continues. No wonder the Jacob’s family had other intentions for the rapist other than marriage.

Three days later the men who had been circumcised were still weak from pain. So Simeon and Levi,[h] two of Dinah’s brothers, attacked with their swords and killed every man in town,  including Hamor and Shechem. Then they took Dinah and left. – Genesis 34:25-26

Love is a strange word and I often wonder how I survived my dysfunctional past to have a rather healthy relationship with God. The Holy Spirit must have done some amazing work in my life transforming me and making me new because there is no reason for being the person I am except by grace and His power in my life.  I know one thing for sure, Jesus was the only person, when I was growing up, that I knew loved me and because He did, I loved Him right back.

You take care of everyone
who loves you,
    but you destroy the wicked. – Psalm 145:20

Every day that I follow the reading schedule found on the top of this blog, and every day that I am challenged to love my wife as Christ loved the Church, I understand this task is one that takes place every day.  Jesus loved us so much that He made sure to tell us how hard it will be when we face difficult times, even the end times.  I am challenged every day knowing that no matter if He comes suddenly, or destruction visits the door of my home, or I am tempted to go against Him in some part of my life, the only way I will hang on, the only way I can survive and sustain my walk with Him is to never waver in my love for Him, always bring Him into every area of my life and to walk with Him wherever I go.

But if he comes suddenly, don’t let him find you asleep.  I tell everyone just what I have told you. Be alert! – Mark 13:36-37

Thank you so much for loving me.  Your love reaches to the core of my heart, it is pure, life changing, and it sets me free to be me.  I can even forgive those who have hurt me or the family members that I love very much. Your love alone can change the world, and yet somehow the Church has lost its will to love You and by not loving You, they have lost the sense of Your love for them. Father, revive us, restore us and bring back to us our first love that You gave so freely to us on the day we gave our lives to following Jesus. Thank you.

Erwin (evanlaar)

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

Genesis 30-31; Psalms 11; Mark 12

“Then the Lord said to Jacob, “Return to the land of your father and grandfather and to your relatives there, and I will be with you.” So Jacob called Rachel and Leah out to the field where he was watching his flock. He said to them, “I have noticed that your Father’s attitude toward me has changed. But the God of my father has been with me… Jacob outwitted Laban the Aramean, for they set out secretly and never told Laban they were leaving. So Jacob took all of his possessions with him and crossed the Euphrates River, heading for the hill country of Gilead.” Genesis 31:3-5,20&21 NLT

When the Lord told Jacob to go, he obeyed.  God protected him when Laban came searching for him. God saw Jacob’s hard work and came to his rescue.  Jacob didn’t have to defend himself.  He knew that the Lord was on his side.

“In fact, if the God of my father had not been on my side-the God of Abraham and the fearsome God of Isaac-you would have sent me away empty-handed. But God has seen your abuse and my hard work. That is why he appeared to you last night and rebuked you!” Genesis 31:42 NLT

Those times when I feel like I have to defend myself, God is fighting for me. He goes to battle on my behalf. Sometimes even in obedience, I am assaulted by the enemies lies. But, God is there. He is with me. I can’t flee his presence.

He is my helper.
He is my defender.
He is my protector.

“I trust in the Lord for protection. So why do you say to me, “Fly like a bird to the mountains for safety! The wicked are stringing their bows and fitting their arrows on the bowstrings. They shoot from the shadows at those whose hearts are right. The foundations of law and order have collapsed. What can the righteous do? But the Lord is in his holy Temple; the Lord still rules from heaven. He watches everyone closely, examining every person on earth.” Psalms 11:1-4 NLT

He sees my faithfulness in the mundane of life, even when my offerings feel small.

“I tell you the truth, this poor widow has given more than all the others who are making contributions. For they gave a tiny part of their surplus, but she, poor as she is, has given everything she had to live on.” Mark 12:43 NLT

Thank you Father for you faithfulness. Thank you for meeting me where I am at. For revealing fresh and new things from your word. For hearing my prayers.  I love you.  I desire to love you more. Amen.

And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.” Mark 12:31 NLT

Amy (amyctanner)

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Filed under 66 Books, Genesis, Mark, Psalms

Prophecy fulfilled: Daniel 9, Zechariah 9, and the triumphal entry (Mark 11) (Genesis 28&29)

Many times we read through these prophecies and stories without realizing their significance nor connectedness. Here is a remarkable connection Daniel 9, Zechariah 9 and the book of Nehemiah all point to this event of Jesus coming into Jerusalem as king. When the rebuilt wall was finished in Nehemiah’s day a clock started ticking (Daniel 9) that predicts that cosmic event of Jesus riding into the city on a donkey (Zechariah 9). And the prophecy is fulfilled down to the very day. That makes the hair (what I have left of it) on the back of my head stand up straight and gives me chills. Hundreds of years prophecy fulfilled down to the very day.

This is a devotional site, not an in depth Bible study one, so not enough time her to pick these passages apart, but suffice it to say that the passage we read today is a culmination in prophecies there were made hundreds of years in advance.

How does that tie into the Genesis (28&29)? God predicts what will happen to Jacob’s lineage. Little did Jacob know that night that every word that came from God would be fulfilled down to the very last jot and tittle. That’s why we are reading this great book aren’t we? Because we know this book has the true words of life and it is steadfast and trustworthy. Let’s thank God for this grand truth today!

Father God, we firmly put our trust in You knowing that your wisdom and plans are true and trustworthy. We look forward with a blessed hope to the culmination of all prophecy and find ourselves in your presence for evermore. In Jesus Name we pray, Amen!

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Filed under 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, Genesis, Mark, Uncategorized

Genesis 16-18; Mark 6

In my first blog post for the new year I mentioned I would be looking for the subject of prayer as we read through the Bible together. Well in Genesis 18 we find a very interesting example of prayer. Abraham is talking face-to-face with God over the plight of Sodom and Gomorrah. He is standing eye-to-eye with the pre-incarnate Jesus. Read how this prayer time goes below:

22. So the men turned from there and went toward Sodom, but Abraham still stood before the Lord. 23. Then Abraham drew near and said, “Will you indeed sweep away the righteous with the wicked? 24. Suppose there are fifty righteous within the city. Will you then sweep away the place and not spare it for the fifty righteous who are in it? 25. Far be it from you to do such a thing, to put the righteous to death with the wicked, so that the righteous fare as the wicked! Far be that from you! Shall not the Judge of all the earth do what is just?” 26. And the Lord said, “If I find at Sodom fifty righteous in the city, I will spare the whole place for their sake.”
27.  Abraham answered and said, “Behold, I have undertaken to speak to the Lord, I who am but dust and ashes. 28. Suppose five of the fifty righteous are lacking. Will you destroy the whole city for lack of five?” And he said, “I will not destroy it if I find forty-five there.” 29. Again he spoke to him and said, “Suppose forty are found there.” He answered, “For the sake of forty I will not do it.” 30. Then he said, “Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak. Suppose thirty are found there.” He answered, “I will not do it, if I find thirty there.” 31. He said, “Behold, I have undertaken to speak to the Lord. Suppose twenty are found there.” He answered, “For the sake of twenty I will not destroy it.” 32. Then he said, “Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak again but this once. Suppose ten are found there.” He answered, “For the sake of ten I will not destroy it.” 33. And the Lord went his way, when he had finished speaking to Abraham, and Abraham returned to his place.

Just a few observations here:

  • I think it’s okay to bargain with God. Abraham did here. He went back and forth with Him. I believe that some times we think this is being unspiritual when we do it, but I don’t think it is. Think about it.
  • Abraham’s prayer was not a selfish one. He was bargaining for the lives of his loved ones.
  • Although he was bargaining with God he was respectful. He wasn’t being abusive or curt in his prayers.
  • It was obvious that Abraham loved God and His Kingdom.

And then surprise surprise Mark 6 has an episode where in the midst of busyness and ministry Jesus gets alone to pray. Sometimes we think we are too busy to pray and that may be just the time when we need it the most.

45 Immediately he made his disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side, to Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd. 46 And after he had taken leave of them, he went up on the mountain to pray (ESV)

Do you have something we can all benefit from prayer that you could share with the rest of us?

Father God I pray that we would all put the priority of prayer high on our list of things to do and experience each day. May we never grow tired of talk with You. In Jesus Name we pray, Amen!

Dave (dmbaldwin)

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Genesis 6-8; Psalm 104; Mark 3

As I think about my first 2018 post, I look back on 2017 knowing right from the very first month that God was going to take care of me and my family through a difficult year.  It was tough on quite a few different fronts.  Yet Jesus walked with me in each and every day.  Sometimes I think – why does it matter that I love God with all my heart, soul, strength and mind? At the end of such a year and the reflecting on this new year, it matters a lot – I believe I am giving God a window to be a blessing in my life.

But the Lord was pleased with Noah,  and this is the story about him. Noah was the only person who lived right and obeyed God. – Genesis 6:8-9 CEV

As much as blessings are great, and they are – for they are visible expressions of God caring for me and others can see that I have His favour – promises are even better.  God’s promises are rock solid and every one of the them points to me the incredible and detailed expressions of just how much God cares. They are only visible when I am confident in them and people around me can see that they demonstrate in my life that God is a priority.

Now you have set boundaries,
    so that the water will never
    flood the earth again. – Psalm 104:9 CEV

I mean, would I forgive the people who hung me on a cross?  Can I forgive those in leadership over me that do not understand the abuse they had out every day?  What about family members who just want to hurt because they cannot get their own way?  Yes, 2017 had some bad memories and I know God wants me to forgive and many I have and will probably still forgive in 2018.

Jesus was angry as he looked around at the people. Yet he felt sorry for them because they were so stubborn. Then he told the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He did, and his bad hand was healed. – Mark 3:5 CEV

Yes, my love affair is with God.  It is His Holy Spirit that sustains me, heals me, cares for me, extends the power of His grace and peace to me and like a hen gathers me under His wings.  Wow – can I do that for those who have hurt me and who have been stubborn? Yes, because the promises of God that are true for me are true for them.  Looking forward to a great 2018 being more like Jesus.

Lord, I am yours.  Let me demonstrate You are my priority this year. I want to care as much as You do. Let people look at me and say I have my Father’s eyes. Amen.

Erwin (evanlaar1922)

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

Genesis 3-5; Mark 2

“The serpent was the shrewdest of all the wild animals the Lord God had made. One day he asked the woman, “Did God really say you must not eat the fruit from any of the trees in the garden?” “Of course we may eat fruit from the trees in the garden,” the woman replied. “It’s only the fruit from the tree in the middle of the garden that we are not allowed to eat. God said, ‘You must not eat it or even touch it; if you do, you will die.” “You won’t die!” the serpent replied to the woman. Genesis 3:1-4 NLT

Satan’s tactics haven’t changed. Even though he can’t read my mind, he’ll try and put doubt in it. Whispering… “Did God really say that?” Before I know it, trust turns to confusion and I am deceived. Sometimes he sneaks up on me so slyly and I have to be on guard. The best way to battle him is filling my mind with the truth of God’s word ever day.

“When Jesus returned to Capernaum several days later, the news spread quickly that he was back home. Soon the house where he was staying was so packed with visitors that there was no more room, even outside the door. While he was preaching God’s word to them, four men arrived carrying a paralyzed man on a mat. They couldn’t bring him to Jesus because of the crowd, so they dug a hole through the roof above his head. Then they lowered the man his mat, right down in front of Jesus. Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the paralyzed man, “My child, your sins are forgiven. Stand up, pick up your mat, and go home! And the mam jumped up, grabbed his mat, and walked out through the stunned onlookers. They were all amazed and praised God, exclaiming, “We’ve never seen anything like this before!” Mark 2:1-5, 11&12 NLT

I want to have faith like the crippled man and do whatever I can to get to Jesus.  He didn’t let his brokenness hold him back. He let others help him. When I am too weak, I pray for friends who will carry me to his feet.  Sometimes, I let my stubbornness keep me from his healing touch. Or, like Adam and Eve, I think I can hide and cover up. But God knows my heart. There’s no pretending with him. So, why do I try? He is always there, waiting for me to draw near and come in his presence.

When Jesus heard this, he told them, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor-sick people do. I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners.” Mark 2:17 NLT

Dear Jesus, thank you for making a way for me to come to you, through your death on the cross. I am grateful for your Holy Spirit. Thank you for the promise that you are always with me. Amen

Amy(amyctanner)

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2 Chron. 31; Rev. 17; Zech. 13:2-9; John 16

“You will shine like silver and gold through my purifying fire.”

“I will bring that group through the fire and make them pure… I will say, ‘These are my people,’ and they will say, ‘The Lord is our God.’” Zechariah 13:9 NLT

In this season of celebration for the birth of our Lord and Savior, this passage in Zechariah reminds us that God’s greatest act of love was sending His Son to die for us… In essence, our Father handed us holiness!

However, our Father shows His love in another way… one that seems harsh apart from His perspective. He loves us by putting us through His refining process, which, on the surface, goes against our understanding of a loving Father towards His children.

Many are thrown off by His willingness, even His proactive efforts, to let us suffer for our good. Indeed, it makes little sense to us why He would offer a gracious salvation, but then submit us to troubles with the intention of growing us to be more like Him. Is He making us pay for our sin after all?

This is a question we each need to settle completely, because our interpretation of it impacts our view of God, and where we stand with Him. Simply put, the answer to the question of “Is God making us pay for our sin?” is no… if we believe that, we’ve missed the whole point of adversity in the context of God’s model for us. God’s refining fire is not a way designed to be viewed as a payment plan for our wrongs. We aren’t earning His love through His refining. God doesn’t love us because He refines us… He refines us because He loves us.

If He didn’t give us the attention to beautifying us with His own character, He would be a negligent parent who allows His children to continue in destructive and dangerous habits. What caring parent lets his precious offspring endanger themselves and others with immature behavior? He wouldn’t be true to His identity as our heavenly Father if He didn’t act in our best interests.

This area of spiritual growth requires unlearning old ways and perspectives, and relearning new ways of understanding our heavenly Father… including rejecting the idea that pain is bad when it is from God’s hand for our benefit. It is through this pain that we learn to return to Him, to cling to Him, and to be like Him. In essence, we learn to wear the holiness of the salvation that He gave us at such great pain to Himself.

Heavenly Father… if it were up to me, I would not choose the pain of your refining fire. But just as Your Son spoke to You in the Garden of Gethsemane on the night before He was to be crucified, He asked that You take what He was dealing with away, but that if it were Your will, that it be done, since He had the faith that You knew best. Father, it is that same faith we seek now… to know that whatever You put us through, is done so because You love us and know what is best for us. Thank you for loving us into becoming like You… Amen!

Greg (gstefanelli)

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Filed under 66 Books, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, Old Testament, Zechariah