Tag Archives: Bible

 Ecclesiastes 9-12; Song 1-2

Since Ecclesiastes is my favourite book in the Bible, the stories I could tell are vast and very different. It explains why I am as weird as I am 🙂

Still, anyone selected out for life has hope, for, as they say, “A living dog is better than a dead lion.” – Ecclesiastes 9:4 MSG

Basically, whether I am honoured in this life or not, I am a mortal that remains a mortal. This is why money has never had a hold on my life and I am thankful, neither has it had a hold on my wife.

Whatever turns up, grab it and do it. And heartily!
This is your last and only chance at it,
For there’s neither work to do nor thoughts to think
In the company of the dead, where you’re most certainly headed. – Ecclesiastes 9:10 MSG

It does not matter what it is – a job, a car, a pet, even just recently, a house – my wife and I look at the first opportunity and take it. The house sale had five more offers coming in the very next day and we did not wait. The right offer came and and we took it valuing this wisdom in our lives that we had practiced so much.

You who are young, make the most of your youth.
Relish your youthful vigor.
Follow the impulses of your heart.
If something looks good to you, pursue it.
But know also that not just anything goes;
You have to answer to God for every last bit of it. – Ecclesiastes 11:9 MSG

What a verse – tempts you and then calls God’s judgement on you. Only one way to know the right path – dishonour, if you will, or at least detest those things of pleasure calling your name. I cannot genuinely set my sights on God until I renounce the things of this world.

In old age, your body no longer serves you so well.
Muscles slacken, grip weakens, joints stiffen.
The shades are pulled down on the world. – Ecclesiastes 12:3 MSG

There is something to this – gallery of honour.” If I had the money to back me up, my greatest desire would be to meet as many older people I could and write their story. So many followers of Jesus have paved the way and now when old, no one seems to pay attention. What a way to bridge the gap and gladden their hearts. They have earned their place in God’s book.

The last and final word is this:

Fear God.
Do what he tells you. – Ecclesiastes 12:13 MSG

If one does not know God, they are condemned, but the honour is placed on the one who fears God. The fear of God excels everything.

I have to remember God. I do not live for myself, but for the Creator who made me. My role is simple enough – worship and enjoy Him – all while doing everything he tells me to do.

Father, I thank You for this journey I am on with You. You are quite amazing and so different than what the world wants. I thank You that I can be different too.

Erwin (evanlaar1922)

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Filed under 66 Books, 7-day reading pln, Bible in a year reading plan, Cover to cover, Ecclesiastes, Old Testament, reading plan, Song of Solomon

Judges 16; Acts 20; Jeremiah 29; Mark 15

Looking at examples in the Bible, I think God is trying to say that it’s okay to go through pain – only He wants to walk through it with us.

Samson is a fine example.  Even though he had failed, God did not leave him.

Then Samson said, “Let me die with the Philistines.” He strained with all his might; and the house fell on the lords and all the people who were in it. So those he killed at his death were more than those he had killed during his life. – Judges 16:30 NRSV

For Paul pain was a way of life and he prophesied the same to us. Only way through it and its the staple of my walk with Jesus is to place my hope in God, counting on His grace as my foundation and my fountain of joy.

 Keep watch over yourselves and over all the flock, of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God[d]that he obtained with the blood of his own Son.[e]  I know that after I have gone, savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock.  Some even from your own group will come distorting the truth in order to entice the disciples to follow them. – Acts 20:28-30

That is why I struggle with this promise that I still quote from time to time —

For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope Then when you call upon me and come and pray to me, I will hear you.  When you search for me, you will find me; if you seek me with all your heart,  I will let you find me, says the Lord, and I will restore your fortunes – Jeremiah 29:11-14

I struggle with it not because it is not true, but because if it is taken out of context it misses the fact that there was 70 years of pain before this promise was realized.

So Jesus’s life has to be the accumulation of all my thoughts.  The cross and Skull Hill represented death, mockery and pain but for me I found there a place of redemption, forgiveness and hope because of Jesus.  What begins in horror and inhumanity, ends in victory and grace.

 Then they brought Jesus[d] to the place called Golgotha (which means the place of a skull).  And they offered him wine mixed with myrrh; but he did not take it.  And they crucified him – Mark 15:22-24

Lord, thank you for your promises, they are true, every last one of them.  While I  journey with You and we might be joined by hurt, may I take comfort that You and others that You have called have already gone before me.  

evanlaar

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Filed under 66 Books, Acts, Bible in a year reading plan, Jeremiah, Judges, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, Mark, New Testament, Old Testament, Uncategorized

Nehemiah 1-3; Acts 2:1-13

 All were astounded and greatly confused, saying to one another, “What does this mean?” But others jeered at the speakers, saying, “They are drunk on new wine!”

Acts 2:13

I work at a church, so my wife and I often have front row seats to some interesting spiritual ‘stuff’ – for lack of a better word. 

The Holy Spirit, what he* does, when he does it, etc. is a tricky subject, and it’s easy to step on toes. Everyone’s particular opinions tend to be a mix of what they grew up with, what they’ve been taught, and what they’ve personally experienced. I tend to be much more operative out of what I’ve been taught, and to be honest what I’ve experienced (in terms of the miraculous) have been somewhat limited. I’m also a skeptic by nature, I don’t believe things right away, and it can be a fault. I probably have missed out on countless miracles as I searched for a rational explanation. Ultimately I came back to God because there were things happening around me that I couldn’t explain anymore without Him.

In any event, there was something that happened at church last week that sort of challenged some of the ‘boxes’ I had put the Holy Spirit into. And in the process of praying and thinking through the experience afterwards I came to a conclusion: I don’t really know how you’re supposed to determine whether or not something is from the Holy Spirit or not.

Do I just go on how it feels? Seems dangerous.

The exec. Pastor that oversees me and has been mentoring me a bit shares this quote often, not sure if it’s his or not, “One of the most dangerous thing about being human is you can always choose to interpret data a different way”. 

Seems to apply to ‘spiritual’ events as well.

So I started thinking I needed to establish some criteria on how I sort of filter these sorts of things in the odd circumstances, but also in the everyday. Like when someone tells me the church should be doing a certain program, is that from the Spirit? or just someone’s opinion?

I came up with these three things, you might have a few more, and these might change for me over time, but it’s a starting point for me: 

Where’s the fruit? (Matt 7:16, Luke 6:44, Matt. 7:20 etc.)

Does it bring Glory and Honor to Jesus? (1 Cor. 10:31)

Is it done out of love? (John 13:35)

Again, not an exhaustive list, and certainly room for interpretation, but these are my three quick checks. If it doesn’t pass these three, chances are it’s not a work of the Spirit.

Is the message, prophecy, tongues, etc. done out of love for another? Is there other fruit in this person’s life or ministry to back up this message? Does it bring glory to Jesus? That’s where I start. 

And if applied to the following passages in Acts, we see Peter preach boldly, thousands get saved, glory given to God, and ongoing fruit in the lives of the disciples. I never want to miss out on what the Spirit of God is doing in the midst of his people today, but I want to remain sound in what I affirm and live by. There were many people in Acts who missed out on God’s goodness because they couldn’t believe what was happening through God’s Spirit poured out on men (Gentiles nonetheless!)

Lord would you allow my walk with you to become so close, that I would constantly bring you glory, love others, and bear fruit as I obey your statutes? Lord allow me the gift of repentance for the times I’ve missed out on your Spirit’s work in the world, open my eyes to see your glory in the midst of your people.

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Filed under 66 Books, Acts, Bible in a year reading plan, Luke, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, Matthew, New Testament, Old Testament, Psalms, Uncategorized

2 Chronicles 10; Revelation 1; Zephaniah 2; Luke 24

Then starting with what Moses and all the prophets had said about him, Jesus began to explain everything that had been written about himself in the Scriptures…

He said to them, “Remember when I was with you before? I said that everything written about me must happen—everything in the law of Moses, the books of the prophets, and the Psalms.”

Then Jesus opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. He said to them, “It is written that the Christ would suffer and rise from the dead on the third day and that a change of hearts and lives and forgiveness of sins would be preached in his name to all nations, starting at Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. Luke 24:27; 44-48 (NCV)

Since I truly gave my heart to the Lord and began following Him, I have sought out authentic understanding of the scriptures. As I read, I’ve had questions, often generated by conflicts in teachings I have heard over the years.

I’ve heard many versions of the gospel from many different teachers. I have heard some teachings which have resonated with the Spirit inside me and some that have made my toes curl. Some teachers sought to control, while others preached freedom in Christ. Some taught hell fire and brim stone doctrine, full of sin and suffering. Some taught circumcision of heart flesh, co-crucified/co-heir identity, and sin-saturated grave clothes left behind in the tomb.

In the beginning of my journey into the Bible, I didn’t fully understand the importance of the Old Testament, a telling of the history of Israel. And then slowly those passages were opened up to me. The pages became relevant and personal. The stories became real to me, not simply words on ‘papyrus’ anymore. I was shown the significance of each story, of each man and woman’s journey, the role they played in the big picture. The foretelling of Christ hidden within those pages, hidden in plain sight, was revealed to me. I was given eyes to see and ears to hear and I have come to love the Old Testament as much as the New.

Come to the Lord, all you who are not proud,

who obey his laws.

Do what is right. Learn to be humble.

Maybe you will escape

on the day the Lord shows his anger. Zephaniah 2:3 (NCV)

Two years ago, as the new mom of a 10 month old and living on the mission field, I was searching for a way to get deeper in the Word despite the busyness of life, of motherhood and ministry. I prayed for something, anything to help me stick to my plan. I needed encouragement; I needed accountability. Less than two days passed and God answered my prayer with an email from Courtney (66Books365), a friend of a friend who I had never met before, inviting me to become a part of the 66Books community. I was astonished by the timeliness and the answer to my prayer. And, I continue to be in awe of our ensuing friendship.

Blessed is the one who reads the words of God’s message, and blessed are the people who hear this message and do what is written in it. The time is near when all of this will happen. Revelation 1:3 (NCV)

As I read the Bible as a part of this book club, I am blessed beyond measure.

I have come across verses that I have read many times before that didn’t mean much to me in the past, but that resonate for such a time as this. These passages have become significant to my current situation and circumstances and offer new wisdom, re-enforcing my godly identity. Sometimes, what I read is God’s way of preparing me for what I am about to experience, His way of giving me new tools to use in the future, even as early as later in my day.

As I read, I gain new insight and understanding of areas of my walk with Christ that were a mystery to me before. I am given revelation about my struggles and the solutions to those issues. I am given real life examples to follow, mentors to help me through, and a Comforter to walk alongside me. And, in turn, God is using me to teach and impart what I am learning to others, both on and off the foreign mission field.

The Bible is encouraging and inspiring. It is transforming and life-changing. It has increased my faith and my reliance on Christ. It has become the sword I use to deflect the darts of the enemy. God’s Word has become my life-giving, daily bread.

Yesappa, Thank You for blessing me with Your Word. Thank You for making Your Word rhema for my life, my daily bread. Thank You for revealing Your love, Your grace, Your wisdom to me. Continue to open my eyes and ears to receive and to understand Your scriptures; continue to explain to me all that has been written about You. Help me humble myself so that I may truly hear and obey Your message. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Blessings – Julie (writing from Sholavandan, India)

Scripture taken from the New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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Filed under 2 Chronicles, 66 Books, John, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, New Testament, Old Testament, Revelation

Numbers 20, Psalm 58, Psalm 59, Isaiah 9:8-10:4, James 3

Read - http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Num.%2020;%20Ps.%2058,59;%20Isa.9:8-10:4;%20James%203&version=NKJV

Numbers 20             Moses said, “Hear now, you rebels!” Then Moses lifted his hand and struck the rock twice with his rod; and water came out abundantly – The Lord spoke to Moses, “Because you did not believe Me, to hallow Me in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore you shall not bring this assembly into the land which I have given them.”

            Not by Faith, but out of anger did Moses serve the Lord God. Therefore God was not seen as Holy by the witnesses. The consequence? No Promised Land for Moses. How many times do my emotions over rule my trust in God and His Word? How many witnesses of my words and actions have I turned away from God? How many ways do I circumvent Jesus’ Glory by my own self interests? How many “promised land” situations have I been cut off from because of this!? Jesus, I willfully, actively choose to think and act by faith and trusting Your Word/ Relationship so that I do not focus on what so easily ensnares me. (1)

Psalm 58 , Psalm 59, Isaiah 9:8-10:4, James 3 –

               The wicked … go astray, speaking lies. Their poison is like the poison of a serpent; The mighty gather against me, Not for my transgression nor for my sin, O Lord.For the sin of their mouth and the words of their lips, And for the cursing and lying which they speak. Psalm 58-59

               The tongue is a little member and boasts great things. The tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. … it defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire by hell. No man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our God and Father, and with it we curse men…  James 3

            Lord, am I double minded and forked tongued? Do I say and do what I think and feel? Please have mercy on me and reveal to me my innermost motives, desires and Your Truth perspectives. If I do not yield to You, You will overtake me by wrathful force. (2)

              Because of this, He shall take them away as with a whirlwind, As in His living and burning wrath. .. Consume them in wrath, consume them, And let them know that God rules in Jacob To the ends of the earth. … the Lord shall set up the adversaries against him, the Lord will cut off … Through the wrath of the Lord of hosts The land is burned up. Psalm 58-59, Isaiah 9:8-10:4

              I fear both Your just judgment and wrath as well as losing Your peace, joy and intimacy in relationship with You. I confess to You the realty of my fickleness. I hate sin!

Who say in pride and arrogance of heart: “We will rebuild with hewn stones; We will replace them with cedars.” For the people do not turn to Him who strikes them, Nor do they seek the Lord of hosts. Isaiah 9:8-10:4

              I surrender to You, Lord Jesus Christ, my willfulness to do things my own way, as I see fit without doing Your Word and Holy Spirit counsel. I purpose my mind to “take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” and have my tongue, hands and feet move according to Your Holy Spirit. (5)

Your judgments are clear:

              “Woe to those who decree unrighteous decrees, Who write misfortune, Which they have prescribed To rob the needy of justice, Without Me they shall bow down among the prisoners, And they shall fall among the slain.” Isaiah 9:8-10:4

Yet You say FOUR TIMES in Isaiah 9:8-10:4

For all this His anger is not turned away, But His hand is stretched out still.”

             You reach out to me and to all of us – Come to Me!” “For I take no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Sovereign Lord. Repent and live!”  Rejecting my usual patterns, turning away from sinful relationships, not wasting time, not looking at useless information, abhorring addictions, habits and weak mindsets is Your Requirement for holiness! Step by step, day by day, I will live Your success by Your Way! (3)

The righteous shall rejoice when he sees the vengeance;  So that men will say, “Surely there is a reward for the righteous; Surely He is God who judges in the earth.” I will wait for You, For God is my defense. My God of mercy shall come to meet me; Psalm 58-59

              Repentance’s fruit is Sweet! What Peace, Joy and Freedom to be unselfish and not needy when I walk in repentance! Repentance takes time, practice, pain without regret and a lot of work by Repeatedly Doing Your thoughts and Your Ways. But the Refreshment and Still waters are more than worth it!! Thanks my Mentor and Power, Lord God Jesus Christ! (4)  

But I will sing of Your power; Yes, I will sing aloud of Your mercy in the morning; For You have been my defense And refuge in the day of my trouble. To You, O my Strength, I will sing praises; For God is my defense, My God of mercy. Psalm 58-59

But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace. James 3

 

Crystal (PsalmThirty4)

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Filed under 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, Isaiah, James, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, New Testament, Numbers, Old Testament, Psalms, Uncategorized