Tag Archives: Jesus

Exodus 9-11, Luke 19

Today’s readings sent me on a rollercoaster of emotion.


First, the High.

“The Lord said to Moses, ‘Go to Pharaoh.  For I have hardened his heart and the heart of his courtiers, in order that I may display my signs amongst them, and that you may recount and tell your children and your children’s children how I made a mockery of the Egyptians and how I displayed my signs amongst them – in order that you may know that I am the Lord.'” (Exodus 10:1-2)

Brave Moses, Oppressed Israelites, Hard-Hearted Pharoah, Frightened Egyptians, and ten plagues that ultimately ended up with the Israelites being set free and delivered from Egypt. Exodus is a stunning visual display of God’s tremendous power and an epic story that showcases God’s love, protection, and providence for his people, for us, for me. It is awe-inspiring and it sends my faith soaring in the one and true God.

Now, the low.

12  So He said, “A nobleman went to a distant country to receive a kingdom for himself, and then to return.  13  And he called ten of his own slaves and gave them ten  [e] minas, and said to them, ‘Do business with this money  [f] until I come back.’  14  But his citizens hated him and sent a delegation after him, saying, ‘We do not want this man to reign over us.’  15  When he returned after receiving the kingdom, he ordered that these slaves, to whom he had given the money, be summoned to him so that he would learn how much they had made by the business they had done.  16  The first slave appeared, saying, ‘ [g] Master, your  [h] mina has made ten minas more.’  17  And he said to him, ‘Well done, good slave; since you have been faithful in a very little thing, you are to have authority over ten cities.’  18  The second one came, saying, ‘Your  [i] mina,  [j] master, has made five minas.’  19  And he said to him also, ‘And you are to be over five cities.’  20  And then another came, saying, ‘Master, here is your mina, which I kept tucked away in a handkerchief;  21  for I was afraid of you, because you are a demanding man; you take up what you did not lay down, and reap what you did not sow.’  22  He *said to him, ‘ [k] From your own lips I will judge you, you worthless slave.” (Luke 19:12-22)

The minas in the parable, I believe, are representative of gifts, talents and resources God gives us to do the work of the Kingdom on Earth. The first two slaves who received the King’s minas made good use of them, but the third servant did just the opposite. He was afraid to take risks and truly use the resources entrusted to him. His fears made him take the greatest risk of all: doing nothing.

As I read Luke 19:12-22, my heart was pierced, and the high I had from reading Exodus plummeted because of some sobering questions that started to creep into my heart. Which slave am I? Am I the slave that kept the mina hidden away in a handkerchief? If so, why? If I say I know and believe in the God of Exodus who is faithful to love, provide and protect his beloved people and who sent His son to die for us, then why would I not be like the first slave, who was devoted to and obedient to his master’s words which resulted in him multiplying his
minas? God is faithful to provide answers if we simply ask Him.

Father God, Please keep my heart from being afraid to do the things You have called me, equipped me, and entrusted me to do for Your kingdom and Your glory. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

-Robin

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Genesis 32-34; Luke 10

I spent a lot of years stuck in patterns, rhythms, relationships. When I was finally unstuck, I wondered why I hadn’t chosen freedom sooner. In these verses, I see freedom.

Esau had plenty of reason to be angry. I wouldn’t have blamed him at all. In fact, I’ve often wondered about Esau and how he must have wrestled with his past/family. Jacob knew he wronged his brother. He had good reason to be afraid of seeing him. Jacob sends offerings ahead of himself, a peace offering of sorts.

Esau said, “What do you mean by all this company that I met?” Jacob answered, “To find favor in the sight of my lord.” But Esau said, “I have enough, my brother; keep what you have for yourself.” 10 Jacob said, “No, please, if I have found favor in your sight, then accept my present from my hand. For I have seen your face, which is like seeing the face of God, and you have accepted me. 11 Please accept my blessing that is brought to you, because God has dealt graciously with me, and because I have enough.” Thus he urged him, and he took it.

Genesis 33:8-11, ESV, emphasis added

Esau’s statement, “I have enough, my brother …” this is freedom.

When Jesus sends out the 72, he’s not about making them stay until they’ve convinced everyone. He gives them permission to move on, and not be stuck somewhere. Even their peace will return back to them if they are not received. They don’t have to feel like they’ve failed. They have peace.

Whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace be to this house!’ And if a son of peace is there, your peace will rest upon him. But if not, it will return to you. And remain in the same house, eating and drinking what they provide, for the laborer deserves his wages. Do not go from house to house. Whenever you enter a town and they receive you, eat what is set before you. Heal the sick in it and say to them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’ 10 But whenever you enter a town and they do not receive you, go into its streets and say, 11 ‘Even the dust of your town that clings to our feet we wipe off against you. Nevertheless know this, that the kingdom of God has come near.’

Luke 10:5-11, ESV

It’s interesting to me that a lawyer would ask Jesus these questions. That someone who so deeply valued rules, parameters, and justice would want to know the exact terms to live by. He was stuck in the details.

29 But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” … 36 Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?” 37 He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” And Jesus said to him, “You go, and do likewise.”

Luke 10:29, 36-37, ESV, emphasis added

Having been one who has hosted gatherings, I know how easy it is to get stuck in the task and the details that sometimes I miss the point–I miss out on the joy of gathering and spending time together because of distraction (and frustration).

40 But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.” 41 But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, 42 but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.”

Luke 10:40-42, ESV

Thank you, God, for freedom and peace. Thank you for cutting through resentments, performance, and the details we’ve puffed up that somehow make us ineffective, to show us how to live free, to love, to have peace, to be unstuck. Thank you for mercy. Life is so much fuller living unstuck.

Courtney (66books365)

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Filed under 5 day reading plan, 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, ESV Through the Bible in a Year

Happy New Year!

Thank you for journeying with us through the Bible in 2022.

We are happy to say we’ll be starting up again on Monday, January 2, 2023, with a 5-day plan. The plan is up on the blog–or take a look here.

We hope you’ll join us and trust that God will meet you wherever you are.

Happy New Year and God’s blessings to you!

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Revelation 9:12-14:8 

Endurance is the ability to withstand hardship or adversity. It implies permanence or, at least, duration. It’s an act or an instance of enduring or suffering. It was my word for the year in 2022–mostly because I was focused on stamina, not so much the part about suffering. When I think of endurance, I think of physical and mental toughness. I apply it to training plans and finish lines. Endurance goes farther and deeper than that.

It was given power to wage war against God’s holy people and to conquer them. And it was given authority over every tribe, people, language and nation. All inhabitants of the earth will worship the beast—all whose names have not been written in the Lamb’s book of life, the Lamb who was slain from the creation of the world.

Whoever has ears, let them hear.

10 “If anyone is to go into captivity,
    into captivity they will go.
If anyone is to be killed with the sword,
    with the sword they will be killed.”

This calls for patient endurance and faithfulness on the part of God’s people.

Revelation 13:7-10, NIV, emphasis added

An enemy is given power to wage war against God’s holy people and to conquer them. And this familiar refrain from the gospels “whoever has ears, let them hear” tells me to pay attention. But it’s the word endurance that really grabs my attention.

This calls for patient endurance and faithfulness on the part of God’s people.

It causes me to ponder endurance and faith when it comes to my walk with Christ, and how my example, effort, and attitude not only affect my ability to endure, but are seeds sown into future generations. I was 47 years old when I bought a pair of running shoes. I couldn’t even run .25 mile without stopping to catch my breath. Now, at 53, I run half marathons, and I’m signed up for my first triathlon in 2023. That progress took consistent, intentional effort. I factored in cross-training and rest days. Some days I was enthusiastic. Some days I went through the motions just to get started. But what it all taught me was that there was growth outside of my comfort zone–and that I was capable of way more than I ever imagined.

This year, an Advent study on 1 John sparked new intention in my Bible studies. I’m grateful and excited to read through the Bible on 66 Books again in 2023–and expectant of what God has in store. So grateful to have his words in my hands and in my heart. So grateful that he can do way more than I ever imagined.

20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. (Ephesians 3:20-21, NIV)

Did you have a word of the year in 2022? Do you have one in mind for 2023? I’d love to hear about it in the comments.

Courtney (66books365)

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Filed under 66 Books, 7-day reading pln, Bible in a year reading plan, Cover to cover

James 4:11-5:20; 1 Peter 1:1-3:12

13Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed. 14As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. 15But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; 16for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.”

~I Peter 1:13-16 (NIV)

As I Peter calls us to stand firm in the grace of God (that will come more explicitly in tomorrow’s reading — I Peter 5:12), this firm stance must come on many fronts. God’s amazing grace will infiltrate our minds, our maturing process, our emotions, our relationships, our everything.

Our minds, not just our emotions,  play an active role in our spiritual lives. With intentionality, knowledge, obedience, imitation of Christ. As unbelievers we remained ignorant to holiness and absorbed with our own desires. As believers we should become consumed with the knowledge and growth of His holiness in our lives.

My mind needs saturation in God’s Word — reading, meditating, memorizing.

Spiritual growth will not happen without effort and study. As my knowledge grows my behavior will naturally progress as well, but not without effort and surrender.

Those who are not Christians are often blinded by their own ignorance and desires. We need to share our knowledge without hesitation, but also with understanding that it will appear foolish to their mindsets.

I need to get to know God more in order to be more like Him.

Lord, I want to be more like You. Help me to know You more, to gain knowledge and understanding of Your holiness that it may radiate more evidently from my life. Thank you for saving me from the sin I was too ignorant to even recognize at the time. You are all I need to focus on and to hope in. ~Amen

Erin (5intow)

From the archives. Originally published December 17, 2009.

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Filed under 66 Books, 7-day reading pln, Bible in a year reading plan, Cover to cover