Tag Archives: lent

Deuteronomy 23-26; Mark 1

I’m reading through Deuteronomy and seeing what the Lord values, his warnings, and his reasons why. Twice, I’m caught by the word “remember.”

17 “True justice must be given to foreigners living among you and to orphans, and you must never accept a widow’s garment as security for her debt. 18 Always remember that you were slaves in Egypt and that the Lord your God redeemed you from your slavery. That is why I have given you this command.

19 “When you are harvesting your crops and forget to bring in a bundle of grain from your field, don’t go back to get it. Leave it for the foreigners, orphans, and widows. Then the Lord your God will bless you in all you do. 20 When you beat the olives from your olive trees, don’t go over the boughs twice. Leave the remaining olives for the foreigners, orphans, and widows. 21 When you gather the grapes in your vineyard, don’t glean the vines after they are picked. Leave the remaining grapes for the foreigners, orphans, and widows. 22 Remember that you were slaves in the land of Egypt. That is why I am giving you this command (Deuteronomy 24:17-22, NLT, emphasis added).

Here, calls to justice, mercy, compassion. These are things the Lord values. He reminds the people to remember where they came from–for they were all once slaves who received justice, mercy, and compassion from the Lord. And more: they received what they needed, perhaps in abundance, so that there was leftover to spare. They didn’t need to hold tightly. The Lord provides.

New Testament readings, and my heart swells at this:

10 As Jesus came up out of the water, he saw the heavens splitting apart and the Holy Spirit descending on him like a dove. 11 And a voice from heaven said, “You are my dearly loved Son, and you bring me great joy.”

12 The Spirit then compelled Jesus to go into the wilderness, 13 where he was tempted by Satan for forty days. He was out among the wild animals, and angels took care of him.

14 Later on, after John was arrested, Jesus went into Galilee, where he preached God’s Good News. 15 “The time promised by God has come at last!” he announced. “The Kingdom of God is near! Repent of your sins and believe the Good News! (Mark 1:10-15, emphasis added)”

In Mark, Jesus, Son of God, who brings the Father great joy–even the angels take care of him. This is the God I love and who loves me too (Father, provider, protector, teacher–and so much more). I read of the healing that takes place as Jesus moves from place to place. Demons released, health restored, lives changed. He teaches with authority and shows the way.

35 Before daybreak the next morning, Jesus got up and went out to an isolated place to pray. 36 Later Simon and the others went out to find him. 37 When they found him, they said, “Everyone is looking for you.”

38 But Jesus replied, “We must go on to other towns as well, and I will preach to them, too. That is why I came (Mark 1:35-38, NLT, emphasis added).”

Self: do not live deceived by comfort. I was saved by grace. I know where I came from, and I know who I should have become in a lineage void of Jesus. I can trust him to show mercy, justice, compassion, generosity. He calls me to do the same–to remember where I came from and how he saved me. Lord Jesus, everyone is looking for you, to fill a void and soothe a cry, to show the way to freedom. I am so grateful I know you.

Courtney (66books365)

Advertisements

Leave a comment

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

Numbers 26-29; Luke 2

For some reason I have been drawn to the New Testament passages in this year’s readings. This one is particularly touching and profound to me. And this passage in Luke’s Gospel not only speaks to the birth of Jesus, but also His crucifixion. Also we have a grandson Simeon and I do think his parents named him that with this passage in mind. And before he was even born this passage always has brought tears to my eyes. It’s a great passage for Christmas and for this Lenten season.

25 Now there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. 26 And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. 27 And he came in the Spirit into the temple, and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him according to the custom of the Law, 28 he took him up in his arms and blessed God and said,
29 “Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace, according to your word;
30 for my eyes have seen your salvation
31 that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples,
32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles,
and for glory to your people Israel.”
33 And his father and his mother marveled at what was said about him. 34 And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, “Behold, this child is appointed for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is opposed 35 (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), so that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.” (Luke 2:25-35 [ESV])

Simeon had been told that he would not die till he saw the salvation of the Lord. Till he had seen the Messiah and here Jesus was. And Simeon said he could depart in peace because the greatest thing in the world had just happened to him. Wow! What an experience. He held and dedicated the God of the universe. What a privilege.

Then he mad a profound statement to Mary. That a sword would pierce Mary’s soul because of this little one. And 33 years later we see Mary standing at the foot of the cross and in torment she watches Jesus die for her and for us all.

What are you waiting for this Lenten season? Is Jesus on your list? You know that in Revelation 7 the Apostle John views heaven and sees people from ever tongue trip  and nation standing around the throne of God. There are presently 3,200 people groups that would have no representative in heave if Jesus came back today. So there is still much to do before He returns. What are you doing to hasten His return today?

Leave a comment

Filed under Luke, Numbers, Uncategorized

Exodus 28-31; Philippians 2

The craftsmanship of the ephod.

12 Fasten the two stones on the shoulder-pieces of the ephod as a reminder that Aaron represents the people of Israel. Aaron will carry these names on his shoulders as a constant reminder whenever he goes before the Lord. Exodus 28:12, NLT.

The making of the chestpiece.

15 “Then, with great skill and care, make a chestpiece to be worn for seeking a decision from God. Exodus 28:15, NLT.

A sense of purpose and community.

42 “These burnt offerings are to be made each day from generation to generation. Offer them in the Lord’s presence at the Tabernacle entrance; there I will meet with you and speak with you. 43 I will meet the people of Israel there, in the place made holy by my glorious presence. 44 Yes, I will consecrate the Tabernacle and the altar, and I will consecrate Aaron and his sons to serve me as priests. 45 Then I will live among the people of Israel and be their God, 46 and they will know that I am the Lord their God. I am the one who brought them out of the land of Egypt so that I could live among them. I am the Lord their God. Exodus 29:42-46, NLT.

Skilled craftsmen, equipped by God, working together.

Then the Lord said to Moses, “Look, I have specifically chosen Bezalel son of Uri, grandson of Hur, of the tribe of Judah. I have filled him with the Spirit of God, giving him great wisdom, ability, and expertise in all kinds of crafts. He is a master craftsman, expert in working with gold, silver, and bronze. He is skilled in engraving and mounting gemstones and in carving wood. He is a master at every craft!

“And I have personally appointed Oholiab son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan, to be his assistant. Moreover, I have given special skill to all the gifted craftsmen so they can make all the things I have commanded you to make.” Exodus 31:1-6, NLT.

Unity. Community.

Is there any encouragement from belonging to Christ? Any comfort from his love? Any fellowship together in the Spirit? Are your hearts tender and compassionate? Then make me truly happy by agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, loving one another, and working together with one mind and purpose. Philippians 2:1-2, NLT.

Equipped.

Work hard to show the results of your salvation, obeying God with deep reverence and fear. 13 For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him. Philippians 2:12b-13, NLT.

For a purpose.

You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.

Though he was God,
    he did not think of equality with God
    as something to cling to.
Instead, he gave up his divine privileges;
    he took the humble position of a slave
    and was born as a human being.
When he appeared in human form,
    he humbled himself in obedience to God
    and died a criminal’s death on a cross.

Therefore, God elevated him to the place of highest honor
    and gave him the name above all other names,
10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
    in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11 and every tongue declare that Jesus Christ is Lord,
    to the glory of God the Father. Philippians 2:5-11, NLT

To the glory of God the Father.

Courtney (66books365)

Leave a comment

Filed under 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, Exodus, New Testament, Old Testament, Philippians

Deuteronomy 1-2; Mark 11:1-19

A mountain and a valley and a battle.

Deuteronomy’s scriptures are very personal to me. Whenever I read them, I time travel to that place of clover and big sky. It was summer and my house was filled with boxes and disarray. We were packing to move, and at the time, I wasn’t even sure where we were going. An enemy’s taunting finger poke was soon like a battering ram knocking against the very foundation that held me up. It was oppressive (thick, smothering, suffocating, weighty).

“When we were at Mount Sinai, the Lord our God said to us, ‘You have stayed at this mountain long enough. It is time to break camp and move on. Go to the hill country of the Amorites and to all the neighboring regions—the Jordan Valley, the hill country, the western foothills, the Negev, and the coastal plain. Go to the land of the Canaanites and to Lebanon, and all the way to the great Euphrates River. Look, I am giving all this land to you! Go in and occupy it, for it is the land the Lord swore to give to your ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and to all their descendants.’” Deuteronomy 1:6-8 NLT (emphasis mine).

They must have felt fear. Many times, the Lord had to tell them not to be afraid. It’s easy to read over Bible stories and fail to connect to the situation, but I know how fear feels, how it weakens and weights. I know what it’s like to move, and not know what home will look like.

30 The Lord your God is going ahead of you. He will fight for you, just as you saw him do in Egypt. 31 And you saw how the Lord your God cared for you all along the way as you traveled through the wilderness, just as a father cares for his child. Now he has brought you to this place.’ Deuteronomy 1:30-31 NLT.

I know what it’s like to trust God, and then feel uncertain. Oh, there was a battle, and I found myself in the thick of it. Even years later and his faithfulness my home, I look back at that mountain and that journey. The Israelites needed reminding of God’s provision and faithfulness. I remind myself too.

Jesus would walk a road to a destination that his disciples didn’t imagine. He entered Jerusalem to the cries of an expectant crowd.

Many in the crowd spread their garments on the road ahead of him, and others spread leafy branches they had cut in the fields. Jesus was in the center of the procession, and the people all around him were shouting,

“Praise God!
    Blessings on the one who comes in the name of the Lord!
10 Blessings on the coming Kingdom of our ancestor David!
    Praise God in highest heaven!”

11 So Jesus came to Jerusalem and went into the Temple. After looking around carefully at everything, he left because it was late in the afternoon. Then he returned to Bethany with the twelve disciples. Mark 11:8-11 NLT.

He was also part of a battle. The Israelites fought forces in their midst–and the Lord delivered them. Jesus was the the target of both earthly and spiritual attacks–so that he could deliver us.

(Praise God in the highest heaven!)

Every battle looks different, but the enemy is the same.

Jesus came to give life (freedom, hope, salvation, comfort, forgiveness, healing, power, example, victory). God fights for us still.

Courtney (66books365)

Leave a comment

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

Deuteronomy 26,27; Luke 7:1-30

Prepare the Way

Preparation is important.

In Deuteronomy the preparation for entrance into the promised land continues with Moses’ instruction to the people. The last 40 years had been preparation for them as they lived in the desert. Now they are instructed to give their firstfruits and tithes when they enter the land. They are instructed to build an altar and to write very clearly the words of the law on stones covered in plaster. They are instructed to obey the laws they have been taught. Preparation is at a fever pitch as we near the completion of this book.

In Luke, John the Baptist sends messengers to ask Jesus if he is “the one who is to come”. We aren’t sure if John was starting to doubt, or if this is done simply to provide an opportunity for Jesus to point out how the prophesy in Isaiah is being fulfilled in Jesus’ healing and teaching ministry. In any case, we are reminded of how John the Baptist prepared the way for Jesus’ coming. And then there is an interesting parenthetical that catches my attention:

29 (All the people, even the tax collectors, when they heard Jesus’ words, acknowledged that God’s way was right, because they had been baptized by John. 30 But the Pharisees and the experts in the law rejected God’s purpose for themselves, because they had not been baptized by John.) Luke 7: 29-30 NIV

These verses make me realize just how important proper preparation is. If my heart is too hard to be prepared for Jesus, then it will be too hard to receive him. It makes me realize how fruitful a proper Lenten preparation can be in the celebration of Easter. We need a season of wilderness, fasting, and repentance in order to prepare ourselves to receive the amazing gift of salvation.

Let us prepare ourselves as we get closer to Easter so that we can rejoice this weekend in a spirit of true rejoicing!

suegraff

Leave a comment

Filed under 66 Books, Deuteronomy, Luke, Uncategorized