Genesis 19-20; Psalm 1; Mark 7

For the Lord watches over the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked leads to destruction. (Psalm 1:6 NLT)

Abraham knew his nephew Lot and his family were living in Sodom. In chapter 18, God tells Abraham he is going to destroy Sodom.  He sends two men who were with him ahead to see if they are as wicked as he has heard.  Abraham asks the Lord if he will save the city for 10 righteous people.  In chapter 19, Lot sees the men as they enter the city and invites them back to his house. The men of the city surrounded Lot’s house and ordered that the men be sent out to them.  He was willing to turn his daughters over to the townsmen in order to spare the men. The remaining text refers to the men as angels.  These angels saved the lives of Lot’s family by rushing them to safety—literally grabbing them and running.

23 Lot reached the village just as the sun was rising over the horizon. 24 Then the Lord rained down fire and burning sulfur from the sky on Sodom and Gomorrah. 25 He utterly destroyed them, along with the other cities and villages of the plain, wiping out all the people and every bit of vegetation. 26 But Lot’s wife looked back as she was following behind him, and she turned into a pillar of salt. (NLT)

In verse 17, the angels told Lot and his family: “Run for your lives! And don’t look back or stop anywhere in the valley! Escape to the mountains, or you will be swept away!” Yet after they were away from danger and in a safe place, Lot’s wife hesitated and turned to look back even after they had been warned not to do so.  Maybe it was nothing more than a wistful glance at a home in which she had spent many years, but when God says no, he means no!

Wow! Haven’t I been guilty of doing the same thing?  There is something about “looking back” that can paralyze us.  I have a similar story in my life.  After praying to God about something, I clearly sensed him telling me “no”.  He was sparing me from danger but I wanted what I wanted.  I did not obey. The pain caused by my choice is an emotional scar I bear to this day.  Even after time had passed and God provided a way out, I turned to look back!  That was just the amount of time needed for the enemy to pounce!  There are always consequences for our actions.  God has since redeemed that choice, but the ripple effects remain to this day in the lives of people I love.

27 Abraham got up early that morning and hurried out to the place where he had stood in the Lord’s presence. 28 He looked out across the plain toward Sodom and Gomorrah and watched as columns of smoke rose from the cities like smoke from a furnace.

29 But God had listened to Abraham’s request and kept Lot safe, removing him from the disaster that engulfed the cities on the plain. Gen 19:23-29 NLT)

Abraham goes and looks at the burning cities. I am sure he is wondering if Lot and his family survived.  Because of Abraham, God did save a remnant of the city—four to be exact:  Lot, his wife, and two daughters.  Only three made it to the cave in the mountains.

Lord, I thank you for redeeming lives. When you say no, it is for our own good because of your great love for us.  Even when we don’t listen, you lovingly pick us up on the other side of our bad choice.  Just like the prodigal son, you welcome us home with open arms.  I am forever grateful to Jesus my Savior.  In his name I pray, Amen.

Cindy (gardnlady)

 

Advertisements

1 Comment

Filed under 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)

Leave a comment

Filed under 66 Books, Genesis, Mark

Genesis 12-15; Psalm 148; Mark 5

Jesus as the Source of Wholeness, Healing, and Life in Mark 5.

Wholeness:

And he asked him, What is thy name? And he answered, saying, My name is Legion: for we are many.

10 And he besought him much that he would not send them away out of the country.

11 Now there was there nigh unto the mountains a great herd of swine feeding.

12 And all the devils besought him, saying, Send us into the swine, that we may enter into them.

13 And forthwith Jesus gave them leave. And the unclean spirits went out, and entered into the swine: and the herd ran violently down a steep place into the sea, (they were about two thousand;) and were choked in the sea.

14 And they that fed the swine fled, and told it in the city, and in the country. And they went out to see what it was that was done.

15 And they come to Jesus, and see him that was possessed with the devil, and had the legion, sitting, and clothed, and in his right mind: and they were afraid. (KJV)

A man in utter torment. A man full of “many.” From broken torment, to wholeness. From “we” to “me.”

Healing:

25 And there was a woman who had had a discharge of blood for twelve years, 26 and who had suffered much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was no better but rather grew worse. 27 She had heard the reports about Jesus and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his garment. 28 For she said, “If I touch even his garments, I will be made well.” 29 And immediately the flow of blood dried up, and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease. 30 And Jesus, perceiving in himself that power had gone out from him, immediately turned about in the crowd and said, “Who touched my garments?” 31 And his disciples said to him, “You see the crowd pressing around you, and yet you say, ‘Who touched me?’” 32 And he looked around to see who had done it. (ESV)

She felt in her body that she was healed of her disease.

33 But the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came in fear and trembling and fell down before him and told him the whole truth. 34 And he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease.” (ESV)

She pressed in to reach for Him. Healed by His power

Life-Giver:.

35 While he was still speaking, there came from the ruler’s house some who said, “Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the Teacher any further?”36 But overhearing[e] what they said, Jesus said to the ruler of the synagogue, “Do not fear, only believe.” 37 And he allowed no one to follow him except Peter and James and John the brother of James.38 They came to the house of the ruler of the synagogue, and Jesus[f]saw a commotion, people weeping and wailing loudly. 39 And when he had entered, he said to them, “Why are you making a commotion and weeping? The child is not dead but sleeping.” 40 And they laughed at him. But he put them all outside and took the child’s father and mother and those who were with him and went in where the child was. 41 Taking her by the hand he said to her, “Talitha cumi,” which means, “Little girl, I say to you, arise.” 42 And immediately the girl got up and began walking (for she was twelve years of age), and they were immediately overcome with amazement. 43 And he strictly charged them that no one should know this, and told them to give her something to eat. (ESV)

One who was dead, now made alive.

Jesus. One very public miracle: healing a man and destroying 2000 pigs. One quiet,  personal healing: a woman acknowledged and declared. One secret healing: A little girl restored.

Jesus, worker of miracles. May I be close to You this year to feel Your power, know you in the secret place, and value that which You value. Your love is real.

Rebecca (offeringsbecca)

2 Comments

Filed under 66 Books

Genesis 9-11; Mark 4

I’ve never been on a boat in a storm. I’ve seen movies and video footage of boats and ships maneuvering in treacherous waters. From the couch, I don’t feel the full effect of peril. Today I slowed a bit to read and imagine this moment on a boat.

35 That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side.” 36 Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him. 37 A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. (Mark 4:35-37, NIV)

A furious squall. Waves breaking over the side. Nearly swamped.

I’ve stood in places where life felt furious and I felt small. I’ve looked out at circumstances that seemed to grow intensely, immensely before my eyes and tower over the side of boundaries I thought could protect me. Nearly swamped–that felt like most of 2017.

38 Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?” (Mark 4:38, NIV)

Was there panic? Was there urgency?

39 He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.

40 He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” (Mark 4:39-40, NIV)

Getting off the boat that day, I can only imagine these men: drenched, tousled, perhaps shoeless, and definitely shaken–that’s just outward appearances. Inside? Changed.

41 They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!” (Mark 4:41, NIV)

Lord, I see you in life’s glories–all of nature proclaims your name, from rainbows to furious squalls. You are there. In the storm and after, you show me you can be trusted. And though I walk sometimes tousled and shaken, oh, am I grateful I can call on you. You remind me in those moments (of feeling small, of panic/despair/doubt) that you are bigger than the things I see. Thank you.

Courtney (66books365)

 

1 Comment

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

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)

1 Comment

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)

Leave a comment

Filed under 66 Books, Genesis, Mark

And So It Begins — 2018

Genesis 1-2; Psalm 19; Mark 1

Why do we do this? What are we spending precious time in 2018 reading and studying God’s Word. I believe the reason can be found in this first day of reading and especially in Psalm 19.

7 The law of the Lord is perfect,
reviving the soul;
the testimony of the Lord is sure,
making wise the simple;
8 the precepts of the Lord are right,
rejoicing the heart;
the commandment of the Lord is pure,
enlightening the eyes;
9 the fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever;
the rules of the Lord are true,
and righteous altogether.
10 More to be desired are they than gold,
even much fine gold;
sweeter also than honey
and drippings of the honeycomb.
11 Moreover, by them is your servant warned;
in keeping them there is great reward (ESV).

When we read through this section of Psalm 19 there is great worth in studying, obeying and sharing God’s Word.

APPLICATION: What are your concerns or needs or desires in this year of 2018? What does God need to do in your life this year? In the lives of those around you? Reading through the Bible at the rate we are going to is like drinking from a fire hose. There is just so much here for us to digest in 2018. So what are those things you want to get out of this read through of God’s Word? Three is probably a good number. I’ve used that number of things in year’s past. So here are mine for 2018. I want to learn more this year about the following:

  1. The ministry of the Holy Spirit in my life
  2. The area of prayer
  3. Our responsibility to the poor and the topic of social justice

I don’t know what yours are, but please feel free to share them with us as we move through they year.

PRAYER: Father-God, I want to grow on your Word this year. Please give me clarity of mind as I read your Word. Give those sharing in Sixty-Six Books wisdom and direction in sharing what you have laid on our hearts. We pray these things in Jesus Name, Amen.

4 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized