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2 Chronicles 8:1-11:12 

Marriage is a topic of incredible importance. Most churches hold counselling sessions for the upcoming bride and groom in order to see if they can properly prepare them for the moments of truth. I believe I have read 52 books on the subject as part of my growth in understanding my role in our marriage. It is no wonder that there are many warning signs in the Bible suggesting that your marriage partner is one of the most important partnership one could make. It is one made with a lifetime commitment.

So when Solomon comes down to the day of decision, it is here I have the opportunity of watching him make decisions. He is the wisest person on earth, making the simplest mistake, and covering it up with reasons that do not make sense.

Here is the slippery slope Solomon found himself on.

 Solomon brought Pharaoh’s daughter from the City of David to a house built especially for her, “Because,” he said, “my wife cannot live in the house of David king of Israel, for the areas in which the Chest of God has entered are sacred.” – 2 Chronicles 8:11 MSG

Solomon knew beyond a doubt that this new wife was not a sacred relationship. It begs so many questions but I think we all know most of the answers. It can be explained away with so many excuses but at the end of the day, the core of who I am as a follow of Jesus, it does not measure up. It is a warning for me and for others that I come alongside – I think I will influence them, most likely they will influence me.

What was missing in Solomon – probably the passion that his father had. Definitely the need to repent was not seen or heard of. At least he honoured his father’s memory by making sure these women who did not honour God would not reside in the same house his father had resided in. It was a sacred place, a place where David prayed and where he worshipped.

Marriage is where principles and spiritual affinities are the basis of the alliance, the foundation to build on. If the marriage partner is unworthy to live in the palace, then it is known that she is morally unworthy and whatever her practices are, would dishonour rather than adorn the rooms where portions of the Bible were written and sung.

 Marriage is honourable in all. Solomon knew this and just chose to ignore it.

Father, while I am enjoying 40 years of marriage, I still come across moments where I think a basic principle of partnership is not important, that it really does not matter. Moments later I am being screamed at by the Holy Spirit calling into questions my thoughts and my motives. I am so thankful that I have You walking with me. I could not be the man of God You have called me to be without You walking with me. Thank You.

Erwin (evanlaar1922)


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Filed under 2 Chronicles, 66 Books, 7-day reading pln, Bible in a year reading plan, Cover to cover, Old Testament, reading plan

Job 37-39; Psalm 103; Revelation 21

If you asked me last January what I thought the year would hold, I never would have imagined this: chickens. My youngest daughter started high school, and this summer, as part of immersive learning, we ordered a few baby chicks to raise. Not only were they adorable, soft and cuddly–they were already smart. A touch of their beak to water, and they knew to drink; they instinctively knew to dust bathe; to take shelter or freeze from a predator’s call; to take shelter in the coop at night and roost; and they have a song they sing when they lay an egg. Sometimes I sit out in the run with them, holding them, listening to their chatter, and admiring the crazy beautiful colors of their feathers. The feathers shimmer and throw off hues of emerald in the amber and black. All that beauty in a chicken.

When the Lord challenges Job in today’s chapters, I believe him. I see his majesty in all that he mentions, just as I see it in the iridescence of a bird’s feather. When I read through Psalm 103’s reminder of what the Lord has done, I praise him too. The truth of who he is and what he has done gives me confidence (awe and reverence) of Revelation.

 I heard a loud shout from the throne, saying, “Look, God’s home is now among his people! He will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them. He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.”

And the one sitting on the throne said, “Look, I am making everything new!” And then he said to me, “Write this down, for what I tell you is trustworthy and true.” And he also said, “It is finished! I am the Alpha and the Omega—the Beginning and the End. To all who are thirsty I will give freely from the springs of the water of life. All who are victorious will inherit all these blessings, and I will be their God, and they will be my children.

“But cowards, unbelievers, the corrupt, murderers, the immoral, those who practice witchcraft, idol worshipers, and all liars—their fate is in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.” (Revelation 21:3-8, NLT)

Going into a next year, I have no idea what it holds. But I trust in the Alpha and the Omega–my God who is trustworthy and true.

The Lord has made the heavens his throne;
    from there he rules over everything.

20 Praise the Lord, you angels,
    you mighty ones who carry out his plans,
    listening for each of his commands.
21 Yes, praise the Lord, you armies of angels
    who serve him and do his will!
22 Praise the Lord, everything he has created,
    everything in all his kingdom.

Let all that I am praise the Lord. (Psalm 103:19-22, NLT)

Courtney (66books365)

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Filed under 5 day reading plan, 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan

Ruth 1-2; Acts 3

All she saw was against her. Her husband died. Her sons died. She was returning to her former land. She was bitter, and she changed her name to reflect it. She said a tearful goodbye to her daughters-in-law. She had nothing but her story.

But Ruth clung tightly to Naomi. 15 “Look,” Naomi said to her, “your sister-in-law has gone back to her people and to her gods. You should do the same.”

16 But Ruth replied, “Don’t ask me to leave you and turn back. Wherever you go, I will go; wherever you live, I will live. Your people will be my people, and your God will be my God. 17 Wherever you die, I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord punish me severely if I allow anything but death to separate us!” 18 When Naomi saw that Ruth was determined to go with her, she said nothing more. Ruth 1:14b-18, NLT.

Naomi’s story is transformed by love. Word of the two women traveled.

11 “Yes, I know,” Boaz replied. “But I also know about everything you have done for your mother-in-law since the death of your husband. I have heard how you left your father and mother and your own land to live here among complete strangers. 12 May the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge, reward you fully for what you have done.” Ruth 2:11-12, NLT.

Their story is still told. It speaks of bitterness turned joy; death to new life; love, loyalty, provision. God took what seemed barren, empty and final, and he wrote a new story.

A beggar is carried to the gate.

As they approached the Temple, a man lame from birth was being carried in. Each day he was put beside the Temple gate, the one called the Beautiful Gate, so he could beg from the people going into the Temple. Acts 3:2, NLT.

The disciples had no money, but they gave him something else.

Peter and John looked at him intently, and Peter said, “Look at us!” The lame man looked at them eagerly, expecting some money. But Peter said, “I don’t have any silver or gold for you. But I’ll give you what I have. In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, get up and walk!”

Then Peter took the lame man by the right hand and helped him up. And as he did, the man’s feet and ankles were instantly healed and strengthened. He jumped up, stood on his feet, and began to walk! Then, walking, leaping, and praising God, he went into the Temple with them. Acts 3:4-8, NLT.

The beggar had been crippled since birth. The begging life was all he knew. God took what likely seemed permanent and wrote a new story–one that the beggar probably never imagined could happen outside of dreams.

If our very breath matters to the God who formed us, our stories matter too.

How have I perceived and reacted to situations with short-range focus instead of an eternal and kingdom view? God, I never want to forget who you are: provider, father, healer. You are capable of things I can’t even imagine.

Courtney (66books365)



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Gen. 32; Mark 3; Esther 8; Rom. 3

He makes things new.

These brothers at odds, and understandably so–one tricked his way into an inheritance. Their family divided. This is the start of a nation and people–though threaded thick with sin-theme (all of us). But God would make something new from it–something better. Jacob wrestles alone with God at night …

28 “Your name will no longer be Jacob,” the man told him. “From now on you will be called Israel, because you have fought with God and with men and have won.” Genesis 32:28 NLT.

Made new.

A people on the verge of destruction–Haman’s plot sealed with a king’s signet ring. God uses Esther to bring about a different ending–and Mordecai writes words that empower and protect the Jews. There was great joy. A fate reversed, and hope–

made new.

Jesus on the Sabbath …

Jesus went into the synagogue again and noticed a man with a deformed hand. Since it was the Sabbath, Jesus’ enemies watched him closely. If he healed the man’s hand, they planned to accuse him of working on the Sabbath.

Jesus said to the man with the deformed hand, “Come and stand in front of everyone.” Then he turned to his critics and asked, “Does the law permit good deeds on the Sabbath, or is it a day for doing evil? Is this a day to save life or to destroy it?” But they wouldn’t answer him.

He looked around at them angrily and was deeply saddened by their hard hearts. Then he said to the man, “Hold out your hand.” So the man held out his hand, and it was restored! Mark 3:1-5 NLT.

Restored. (Restored!)

Made new.

21 But now God has shown us a way to be made right with him without keeping the requirements of the law, as was promised in the writings of Moses and the prophets long ago. 22 We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. And this is true for everyone who believes, no matter who we are.

23 For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. 24 Yet God, with undeserved kindness, declares that we are righteous. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins. 25 For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood. Romans 3:21-25 NLT.

Sinners, fallen short of the standard–declared righteous.

Made new.

Father God, when I wrestle with you, and you make me new. I hold out my hand to you, and you restore what is broken–even if others say you can’t (or shouldn’t). You make me new. Kindness undeserved, your mercy–thankfully received. My life in your hands, new joy (my fate reversed–from death to life!) and hope. Declared righteous, and yours.

Courtney (66books365)


Filed under 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, Esther, Genesis, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, Mark, New Testament, Old Testament, Romans

Exodus 17; Luke 20; Job 35; 2 Corinthians 5

For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this tent we groan, longing to put on our heavenly dwelling, if indeed by putting it on we may not be found naked. For while we are still in this tent, we groan, being burdened—not that we would be unclothed, but that we would be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee.   2 Corinthians 5:1-5  ESV

All Paul’s talk about tents makes me think of my time as a Boy Scout.  I spent a LOT of nights in tents while in scouting, most of them memorable.  I remember my brother and me diving into our tent to take refuge from a cloud of those demonic black flies that infest the Canadian wilderness in the spring.  I remember shivering through the night with 20 of the guys in a lean-to in single-digit temperatures.  I remember my friends and I unknowingly pitching our tent in a dried riverbed in Yellowstone.  We discovered our error only when it reverted to a river during a downpour that afternoon.  I endured the worst thunderstorm of my life one night in a tent in a Vermont valley.  That was a good night to be in a tent.  We once set up our tents by the shore of Nevada’s Lake Powell.  The stars were so vivid that night that we arranged our sleeping bags on a tarp on the ground, drifting to sleep gazing at the sky.  That was a good night to be out of the tent.

A couple days later we arose from our tents before dawn, laced our boots, filled our canteens, and descended into the Grand Canyon for the hike of a lifetime.  We braved the scorching August sun, choked on the dust kicked up by the careless feet of those in front of us, and by early afternoon had descended a vertical mile to the Colorado River.  Our scoutmaster insisted on snapping a group photo before we retired to a cabin at Phantom Ranch to rest up before continuing to the far canyon rim.  One of the guys posted it on my Facebook page last year.  A pretty picture it is not.

Despite our exhaustion, it was too hot to sleep, so when 9PM arrived and we returned to the trail, I was more interested in finding a nice soft bed.  Instead we marched.  For hours.  Through the deepest  of the night.  The concrete slabs placed across the trail to keep mules awake served us with the same purpose, but stepping over them soon made each foot feel like lead.  We had to keep to the middle of the trail for fear of rattlesnakes, but had to jump off the trail to avoid the scorpions.  We still choked on the dust, and we trudged on.  By 2AM I was virtually comatose.  Our promised resting spot was just around the next bend according to our scoutmaster, but he’d been saying that for hours and it had become the running joke.  In my daze I looked up, and once I did I couldn’t look away.  The silhouette of the canyon wall was plainly visible high above against the brilliant star-field, and there at the edge glowed the most beautiful palace I could imagine.  The Grand Canyon lodge sat perched on the rim above and before us, so tantalizingly close, yet unreachable.  As I stared at the soft lights illuminating the exterior, my thoughts were of those inside, those who had feasted in the evening, those who had watched the sun set across the most wondrous of the natural wonders of the world, those who were sleeping like babies on impossibly soft beds in air conditioned rooms.  It was the most beautiful sight I could imagine at that moment, and I longed with all my heart to be transported there that very instant.  It was literally my shining city on a hill.

That agonizing and amazing night comes to the forefront of my mind when reading 2 Corinthians 5.

The Holy Spirit resides inside me, but I still reside within a tent of fallen flesh.  My spirit groans now, and grows louder each day as I grow in Him and He grows in me.  But, God has made a promise, and each day brings me closer to the moment He will free me from this tent that ensnares me, closer to the moment He will install me into a permanent, eternal dwelling fashioned personally by Him.  That dwelling will possess dexterity and strength I’ve never commanded, with talents and capabilities I can’t imagine, a body fit only for an adopted prince of the King of the universe.  In it I will not suffer, I will not grow weary, I will not fade, I will not fail, I will not sin, I will not cease to worship my Father and Savior and Counselor.  I will love Him perfectly, I will serve Him faithfully, I will delight in Him purely, I will glorify Him endlessly!  The moment is getting closer, and one day I will finally come around that last bend.


Michael  (mmattix)


Filed under 2 Corinthians, 66 Books, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, New Testament