Tag Archives: Gift

2 Chronicles 29; Revelation 15; Zechariah 11; John 14

I saw what looked like a sea of glass mixed with fire. All of those who had won the victory over the beast and his idol and over the number of his name were standing by the sea of glass. They had harps that God had given them. They sang the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb:

“You do great and wonderful things,

Lord God Almighty.

Everything the Lord does is right and true,

King of the nations.

Everyone will respect you, Lord,

and will honor you.

Only you are holy.

All the nations will come

and worship you,

because the right things you have done

are now made known.” Revelation 15:2-4 (NCV)

I’ve got to admit. I’ve been having a difficult time ‘getting into’ the Christmas season this year. It is tough to be listening to holiday songs that are singing about the snow and the cold when it is in the low- to-mid 90’s during the day. It is tough to be decorating a tiny, fake tree with tacky plastic ornaments when sweat is rolling down my back from the heat. It is tough knowing that my extended family and my friends will all be gathering together while I am feeling lonely on the opposite side of the planet missing everyone, missing the holiday rituals I grew up with. It is tough knowing that tomorrow, instead of spending time with our little family of four celebrating, we will be spending the day at church ministering to the widows and orphans.

Oh.My.Gosh! Even as I write this I am feeling selfish and shallow. I know that songs I sing in the season, trees that I decorate, and family and friends gathering together isn’t remotely what Christmas is really about. I need an attitude check…Right! Now!

I adjusted my Pandora station and changed the holiday music I was playing to carols that honor Christ – O Come, O Come Emanuel, The First Noel, Joy to the World, It Came Upon the Midnight Clear, Angels We Have Heard on High, Away In A Manger, Silent Night, Little Drummer Boy, Come Thou Long-Expected Jesus, O Holy Night (my all-time favorite), etc. I spent the first half hour with tears in my eyes, singing lyrics celebrating Jesus, remembering the true reason for the season.

Jesus said, “Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust in me…I am the way, and the truth, and the life. The only way to the Father is through me…Those who know my commands and obey them are the ones who love me, and my Father will love those who love me. I will love them and will show myself to them.” John 14:1, 6, & 21 (NCV)

I celebrate Christmas because it is the day all believers celebrate His birth. I celebrate Christmas to recollect His life, His miracles while on Earth. But most of all, I celebrate Christmas to remember the gift He gave to me. The real gift was, and is, and will always be His death and resurrection, His sacrifice, His grace, His mercy, His love. It is a gift that I don’t deserve at all, but it is a gift that He gave to me willingly and without reservation. All He asks is for me to trust and obey.

Hezekiah said, “Listen to me, Levites. Make yourselves ready for the Lord’s service, and make holy the Temple of the Lord, the God of your ancestors. Remove from the Temple everything that makes it impure…My sons, don’t waste any more time. The Lord chose you to stand before him, to serve him, to be his servants, and to burn incense to him.” 2 Chronicles 29:5; 11 (NCV)

And so, I choose to offer myself as a living sacrifice, good and pleasing to the Lord, because He chose me for this work. I will make myself, my heart ready for His purposes. I will honor Him by honoring others. I will serve Him, by serving the widows and the orphans. I will minister God’s never-ending love to them in the spirit of giving freely, as I have freely been given. I will lay down the Christmas customs of my childhood and alongside my husband and my daughters, create new traditions that will teach my children the real meaning of Christmas and strengthen our faith in the Joy of Our Salvation.

Yesappa, Thank You for coming to set me free from my fears and release me from my sins. Thank You for giving me rest and bringing joy to my longing heart. Thank You for coming to earth to taste my sadness and to give me gladness. Thank You for being my Redeemer, my Shepherd, my Friend. You were born to deliver me. You were born a child, and yet a King. You were born to reign in me forever, to rule in my heart alone.* Thank You for showing Yourself in the midst of my bad attitude and helping make change in me. In Jesus’s name. Amen.

Blessings – Julie (writing from Sholavandan, India)

MERRY CHRISTMAS TO YOU AND YOURS!

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

*Based on the lyrics of “Come Thou Long-Expected Jesus” by Charles Wesley

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

Leviticus 5; Psalms 3, 4; Proverbs 20; Colossians 3

No one can say, “I am innocent; I have never done anything wrong.” Proverbs 20:9 (NCV)

If a person sins and does something the Lord has commanded not to be done, even if he does not know it, he is still guilty. He is responsible for his sin. Leviticus 5:17 (NCV)

There are 613 individual laws that the Jews were told to follow in the early days of Israel and even unto today. The Mosaic Law is a list of many things that must be done and many more that must not be done to be holy unto God. The laws touch on every thinkable aspect of life and death. It is a list of unattainable perfection.

[By offering the sacrifice] the priest will remove the person’s sin so he will belong to the Lord, and the Lord will forgive him. Leviticus 5:10b (NCV)

When one or more sins were committed, the sinner was required to bring a sin sacrifice to the priests. Whether they knew they were sinning or not they were required to offer sacrifices. And only after those sacrifices were made would that person then be forgiven.

There are so many laws to remember, to understand, and to follow and obey. So many things that need to be monitored, regulated. No matter how hard I try, I can’t even imagine actually fulfilling each and every single letter of the law.

I will pray to the Lord, and he will answer me from his holy mountain. Psalms 3:4 (NCV)

Answer me when I pray to you, my God who does what is right. Make things easier for me when I am in trouble. Have mercy on me and hear my prayer. Psalms 4:1 (NCV)

When I inevitably stumble, all I have to do is pray, ask my Father for forgiveness. My sin is forgiven and forgotten. I am redeemed. The blood sacrifice that was made by Christ at Calvary was, is, and will always be enough to set me free from the law that only serves to show me that I will never be able to do it without His help. His love is everlasting. His mercy is never ending. His grace is the gift of life that keeps on giving and can never be lost.

God has chosen you and made you his holy people. He loves you. So you should always clothe yourselves with mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.  Colossians 3:12 (NCV)

I am a new creation, a righteous life raised from the grave, my grave clothes left behind in the tomb. I am the beloved daughter of the King being prepared as a spotless bride. I walk in freedom and in the delight of being one with Him.

Your old sinful self has died, and your new life is kept with Christ in God. Colossians 3:3 (NCV)

You have begun to live the new life, in which you are being made new and are becoming like the One who made you. This new life brings you the true knowledge of God. Colossians 3:10 (NCV)

Blessings – Julie, Vadipatti, India (written in the U.S.A.)

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 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, Colossians, Leviticus, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, New Testament, Old Testament, Proverbs, Psalms, Uncategorized

Psalm 84, 90; Revelation 9

Then out of the smoke crawled locusts with the venom of scorpions. They were given their orders: “Don’t hurt the grass, don’t hurt anything green, don’t hurt a single tree—only men and women, and then only those who lack the seal of God on their foreheads.” Revelation 9:3-4 MSG

I spent a year in ministry school. In one of my favorite classes we focused on the various schools of thought surrounding the ‘end times’. We were divided into groups to research each belief and then argue the points. Every group was able to find Bible verses to back up their theory and time line of predicted events…but how many times can the world really end!?

Ultimately, as a whole, we came to one conclusion: the particulars of the timeline don’t matter (GASP).

Think about it…

The Pharisees and Sadducees, the priests of Israel, so diligently schooled in the prophecies surrounding the coming of a savior didn’t even recognize the true Savior when he arrived as a babe in arms. They didn’t recognize Him when He was moving in a supernatural way, going about His Father’s business, reaching out in miracles for the people. They didn’t recognize Him when He was dying on the cross or when He rose from the dead three days later. They didn’t recognize who He was, is, and is to come.

Does the timeline matter if you don’t recognize Christ when He comes again? Or even worse, He doesn’t recognize you?

In these times, the times leading up to the second coming, it is so important for each of us to intentionally align ourselves with God, by wearing the seal of God on our forehead; a seal of blood no different than the blood smeared across the lintels in the days of Moses (Exodus 12:21-23).

Are you wearing the seal? Have you made the decision to immerse yourself in the blood of Jesus that cleanses you of your confessed sin, gives you life renewed, and makes you whole?

The Bible tells us that Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life and only way to receive God’s stamp on our lives is through His blood (John 14:6). When you decide to follow Jesus, all you need to do is choose the simple road: confess with your mouth that Jesus is the Lord and believe in your heart that He has risen from the dead (Romans 10:9).

Now is the time. The whole purpose for this season was to birth a life laid down, One who would ultimately bring us to Calvary, One who is our home.

God, it seems you’ve been our home forever;
long before the mountains were born,
Long before you brought earth itself to birth,
from “once upon a time” to “kingdom come”—you are God
. Psalm 90:1-2 MSG

Don’t wait any longer! When you feel the nudging in your heart to be known by Christ, to have His cleansing blood wash you into freedom, let Him meet you right where you are. Let Him walk with you side by side through your journey of life. Let Him carry you through the temptations and trials you will meet on the road. Know Him and be known by Him.

And how blessed all those in whom you live,
whose lives become roads you travel;
They wind through lonesome valleys, come upon brooks,
discover cool springs and pools brimming with rain!
God-traveled, these roads curve up the mountain, and
at the last turn—Zion! God in full view! Psalm 84:5-7 MSG

Say this prayer with me: Jesus, I believe that You are Lord, that You came to earth as man, that You died for my sins and, three days later, rose from the dead. My life has been full of sin as my back has been turned away from You. Now I choose of my own free will to accept You as the Savior of my life. I ask You to reside in me, cover me with Your blood shed at Calvary, and renew my heart.

Now take some time to own up to your sins before God. Speak them out. Get them off of your chest. Give them to Jesus to bear. Then ask Him for forgiveness, mercy, and His gift of grace. Then make a resolution to not walk in those sins again. Purpose every day to be in relationship with your Redeemer.

Accept the best gift you’ll ever receive this year and every year for the rest of eternity.

Blessings – Julie, Vadipatti, India (writing from Zion, Utah)

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Filed under 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, New Testament, Old Testament, Psalms, Revelation

Isaiah 45, Isaiah 46, Romans 8:22-39

I am the Lord, and there is no other; There is no God besides Me. A just God and a Savior; Isaiah  45

 I am God, and there is none like Me, Declaring the end from the beginning, And from ancient times things that are not yet done, Saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, And I will do all My pleasure,’ Isaiah 46

 … good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. It is God Who justifies, Who also makes intercession for us, Through Him Who loved us. Romans 8

Read Bible Passage – http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Isaiah%2045,%2046;%20Romans%208:22-39&version=NKJV

Isaiah 45                   Thus says the Lord to His anointed, To Cyrus, whose right hand I have held—To subdue, And loose, To open, … I will go, And make, I will break, And cut, I will give, I will gird you, That you may know that I, the Lord, Who call you by your name, Am the God of Israel.

                Lord God, You called a man, King Cyrus, saying “I have named You, though You have not known Me.”  You had Cyrus DO Your Good and Perfect Will! (Romans 12:1-2) You use whom You will, as You will for Your will and immense Glory for ONE Major Purpose!! “That they may know from the rising of the sun to its setting That there is none besides Me. I am the Lord, and there is no other;” 

              Lord God, You are SO Rich!! So Full of Power, Majesty and Brilliance!! I stand in Awe of You by Your Word!!  I tremble in holy fear of the Lord God “Who created the heavens, formed the earth, established it and formed it to be inhabited!”   

     I form the light and create darkness, I make peace and create calamity; I, the Lord, do all these things. … I, the Lord, have created it.  “Woe to him who strives with his Maker!

                  Lord God Almighty, “Let the earth open, let them bring forth salvation, And let righteousness spring up together!”  Have your people deeply trust and obey Your Word by Your Holy Spirit and know without any doubt that they “shall be saved by the Lord With an everlasting salvation; You shall not be ashamed or disgraced Forever and ever.” For You say, “I have not spoken in secret. I, the Lord, speak righteousness, I declare things that are right.”

            Lord Jesus, in this time and day, have “the nations. They have no knowledge,” make supplication to Your people, “saying, ‘Surely God is in you, And there is no other; There is no other God. Truly You are God, who hide Yourself, O God of Israel, the Savior!” so they will be saved by Your Atoning Blood Sacrifice!!

“Look to Me, and be saved, All you ends of the earth! I have sworn by Myself; The Word has gone out of My mouth in righteousness, And shall not return, That to Me every knee shall bow,”

In the Lord all the descendants of Israel Shall be justified, and shall glory.’”

Isaiah 46                   Bel bows down, Nebo stoops; Their idols were on the beasts. Though one cries out to it, yet it cannot answer Nor save him out of his trouble. —  Listen to Me, who have been upheld by Me from birth, Even to your old age, I am He, And even to gray hairs I will carry you! and will deliver you. To whom will you liken Me, and make Me equal And compare Me, that we should be alike?

             Lord God, thank You for being all Wise, Nurturing, Faithful and Perfect in Your relating with me All Ways!! Lord Jesus, I regret and am deeply sorry for turning my heart and mind away from You. I have harmed myself most of all. Yes, I have hurt others, You and Your Kingdom agenda, too. “Jumping Ship” is Never excusable. Turning my back on Pure Love, Truth, and Hope (You are all of this Jesus!) in a trade for acting upon lies and deception is the cause of pain, loneliness, heartache and much worse. 1

              I have bowed down to “idols” because of my own fear of man and my own deceptions and insecurities. How wicked when I have You God Who is SOOO Real, Vibrant and Completely Good!!! The world might not even notice my sins because they may not consider it sin, but higher are Your Ways, Oh God, than mine!! I am to live a life of faith pleasing to You, Lord God, a life of Faith and Truth in my innermost parts, to Delight myself in You and rejoice that You are my Very Great Reward!  2

            Lord Jesus, thank You for Your Word and Blood! I acknowledge MY sins as my own. I confess them to You directly. I turn away from each section whole heartedly and in disgust and hatred for the willful “evil” of them. And I rejoice in Your complete cleansing of my soul and conscience! Teach me Your Ways in my innermost parts so that I will not sin against You and others. I rejoice in You, my God and Savior! 3

I am God, and there is none like Me, Declaring the end from the beginning, And from ancient times things that are not yet done, Saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, And I will do all My pleasure,’ —  I bring My righteousness near, it shall not be far off; My salvation shall not linger. And I will place salvation in Zion, For Israel My glory.

Romans 8:22-39                 Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.

            Thank you for the gift of praying with the Holy Spirit! Holy Spirit I praise you for interceding for me! I worship You Almighty Living God!

            Thank You Lord God for having me in Your process of conforming me into the image of Your Son Jesus! No wonder you fill me with the Holy Spirit in order to protect, teach, comfort, guide, etc. for You to succeed in having me “more than conqueror” through You Lord God each moment!!  4

NO Thing “shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Bible Insights –

1 – 1 John 4:8; 1 John 4:16; Psalm 119:160; John 14:6; John 1:14; John 17:17; Isaiah 42:1-4; Matthew 12:21; 2 Corinthians 7:9-11

2- Proverbs 29:25; Proverbs 14:27; Psalm 52:1; Psalm 73:1; Psalm 118:1; James 1:17; Psalm 143:10; Isaiah 55:8-9; Habakkuk 2:4; Romans 1:17; Hebrews 10:38; Hebrews 11:6; Psalm 51; Psalm 37:4; Philippians 4:4; Genesis 15:1  

3- Psalm 51, Ezekiel 18:32, Psalm 119:11, Luke 1:47

4- 1 Corinthians 14:14-19; Hebrews 7:25; Exodus 31:3; Matthew 3:11; Acts 2:4; Acts 4:8; Acts 4:31; Acts 13:9; Acts 13:52; Romans 15:13; Ephesians 5:18

Crystal (PsalmThirty4)

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Filed under 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, Isaiah, New Testament, Old Testament, Romans, Uncategorized