11Then I saw a great white throne and the One who was sitting on it. Earth and sky ran away from him and disappeared. 12And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne. And the book of life was opened. There were also other books opened. The dead were judged by what they had done, which was written in the books. 13The sea gave up the dead who were in it. Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them. Each person was judged by what he had done. 14And Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This lake of fire is the second death. 15And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire. Revelation 20:11-15 (ICB)
Tag Archives: Old Testament
Psalm 29 (ICB)
God in the Thunderstorm
A song of David.
1Praise the Lord, you angels.
Praise the Lord’s glory and power.
2Praise the Lord for the glory of his name.
Worship the Lord because he is holy.
You are glorious, full of power. I’m in awe of You. You are worthy to be praised. You are good. You are holy. You are full of righteousness. I lift my eyes to You and raise my hands in worship. I open my ears and my heart to You, trusting in Your grace, Your mercy, Your love.
3The Lord’s voice is heard over the sea.
The glorious God thunders.
The Lord thunders over the great ocean.
4The Lord’s voice is powerful.
The Lord’s voice is majestic.
I listen for Your voice in everything. I listen in the midst of moments of stillness. I listen in the midst of the tempests of life. I can find You in the quiet, yet Your voice is loud. I can find You in the thunder, yet Your voice is tranquil. Your voice can be heard no matter where I am. Your voice reverberates truth in my heart. Your powerful voice gives strength to me in my weakness and comforts me when I am feeling low, reminding me that I am Yours, I am the daughter of the King.
5The Lord’s voice breaks the trees.
The Lord breaks the cedars of Lebanon.
6He makes the land of Lebanon dance like a calf.
He makes Mount Hermon jump like a baby bull.
7The Lord’s voice makes the lightning flash.
8The Lord’s voice shakes the desert.
The Lord shakes the Desert of Kadesh.
9The Lord’s voice shakes the oaks.
The leaves fall off the trees.
In his Temple everyone says, “Glory to God!”
Your voice makes the earth respond to Your commands. With one word, You can build up. With one word, You can tear down. Your voice changes things; it changes the world around me. Your voice changes me, changes my heart.
10The Lord controls the flood.
The Lord will be King forever.
11The Lord gives strength to his people.
The Lord blesses his people with peace.
You are in control. Nothing is too big or too small. You are King. You will reign forever in the heavens and on the earth. Your name will ever be praised by Your creations.
You are more powerful than the storms in my life, thunderstorms that threaten my safety. You give me strength to withstand. You give me strength to overcome. Your peace that surpasses my understanding rests on me and Your truth brings triumph.
In Jesus’ name. Amen.
13So, Tattenai, the governor west of the Euphrates, Shethar-Bozenai and the others obeyed. They carried out King Darius’ order quickly and carefully. 14So the Jewish elders continued to build. And they were successful because of the preaching of Haggai the prophet and Zechariah son of Iddo. They finished building the Temple as the God of Israel had said. It was also done to obey the kings Cyrus, Darius and Artaxerxes of Persia. 15The Temple was finished on the third day of the month Adar. It was the sixth year that Darius was king. Ezra 6:13-15 (ICB)
Many years had gone by since King Cyrus had given a special order for the Temple to be rebuilt in Jerusalem. At the urging of the prophets Haggai and Zechariah, Zerubbabel and Jeshua picked up the work again to complete the project so that God’s people could worship Him in the Temple once again.
But the governors of the land were not pleased. They approached the men demanding to know who had authorized their project; and sent a letter to King Darius to confirm that the men were telling the truth.
They were (of course) and King Darius not only enforced King Cyrus’ ruling, but raised the stakes, issuing a decree saying that anyone who hindered the progress of the temple construction would be severely punished. The temple was completed in record time with the help and finances of the king.
So many years before God set the rebuilding of the temple in motion, even before the Israelite returned to Jerusalem, and put protection in place so that no one would be persecuted for following God’s instructions.
This story makes me wonder about how many different ways God sets up and provides for my own journey and the successes I find well before I am even near those moments.
I am reminded of an instance a few short month after I was married. I found that I needed to leave India unexpectedly due to a change in visa laws. When looking at my pre-purchased plane ticket, I realized that the departure date was three days later than when I needed to be out of the country.
In a whirlwind, I was forced to cancel my ticket and book a flight on the only airline that had seat available in that short notice. I was frustrated because the flight would take me through the middle east and that made me nervous.
Throughout the trip God provided “angels” in the form of flight attendants and seat mates who made the journey much easier than it could have been.
The following day after I arrived stateside, I learned that all of the flights from my original airline had been grounded because of the volcanic ash plume in the atmosphere coming from Iceland. Because the middle eastern flight took a much lower flight pattern, my plane was not delayed at all, and therefore I was still able to honor the visa stipulations.
1Come, let’s sing for joy to the Lord.Let’s shout praises to the Rock who saves us.2Let’s come to him with thanksgiving.Let’s sing songs to him.3The Lord is the great God.He is the great King over all gods.4The deepest places on earth are his.And the highest mountains belong to him.5The sea is his because he made it.He created the land with his own hands.6Come, let’s bow down and worship him.Let’s kneel before the Lord who made us.7He is our God.And we are the people he takes care ofand the sheep that he tends. Psalm 95:1-7a (ICB)
Psalm 91 (ICB), a well loved and oft repeated psalm of refuge and protection throughout the centuries, one I have spent many a struggle professing; because sometimes it’s important to be reminded that I have a protector that can be trusted and that I am not alone:
1Those who go to God Most High for safety
will be protected by God All-Powerful.
2I will say to the Lord, “You are my place of safety and protection.
You are my God, and I trust you.”
Yesappa, I trust you. You are faithful. You are full of power. You are above all. Even in the midst of danger and trials, you can be counted on to protect me as your beloved child.
3God will save you from hidden traps
and from deadly diseases.
4He will protect you like a bird
spreading its wings over its young.
His truth will be like your armor and shield.
You outstretch Your massive arms over me acting as my covering. My Savior and Giver of Truth rescue me from that which seeks to trap and destroy me. Be my armor. Be my shield in the midst of my trials.
5You will not fear any danger by night
or an arrow during the day.
6You will not be afraid of diseases that come in the dark
or sickness that strikes at noon.
Make me brave and give me courage to face the dangers that come into my life by day and by night. Remove fear that tries to control me. Remove sin that tries to defeat me. Remove illness that tries to snuff my life.
7At your side 1,000 people may die,
or even 10,000 right beside you.
But you will not be hurt.
8You will only watch what happens.
You will see the wicked punished.
It doesn’t matter what happens around me, the destruction, the despair. My focus is on You. My understanding acknowledges Your judgement and rejoices at Your redemption, Your grace, Your mercy as I turn toward You, as I look at Your face.
9The Lord is your protection.
You have made God Most High your place of safety.
10Nothing bad will happen to you.
No disaster will come to your home.
11He has put his angels in charge of you.
They will watch over you wherever you go.
12They will catch you with their hands.
And you will not hit your foot on a rock.
13You will walk on lions and cobras.
You will step on strong lions and snakes.
I can walk without fear into the scariest of situations, the most dangerous circumstances and I am assured of Your care for me. I can be certain that You will never leave me nor forsake me. I can be firm in my belief that Your arms are a place of strength and safety.
14The Lord says, “If someone loves me, I will save him.
I will protect those who know me.
15They will call to me, and I will answer them.
I will be with them in trouble.
I will rescue them and honor them.
16I will give them a long, full life.
They will see how I can save.”
I love You Lord and I know that You Love me more than I can ever imagine. I call to You for help and You are there. You listen to my prayers. You give me answers, solutions to my problems. You put Your hedge around me, enveloping me in Your arms. You strengthen me. You encourage me. You give me life.
Thank You for being my refuge and my fortress. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
35Jesus heard that they had thrown him out. So Jesus found him and said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?”36He asked, “Who is the Son of Man, sir? Tell me, so I can believe in him!”37Jesus said to him, “You have already seen him. The Son of Man is the one talking with you now.”38He said, “Yes, Lord, I believe!” Then the man bowed and worshiped Jesus.39Jesus said, “I came into this world so that the world could be judged. I came so that the blind could see and so that those who see will become blind.” John 9:35-39 (ICB)
Since the beginning of time, the thing that God desires most is to be known by His creation. Throughout the Bible, every story talks about the ways He shows himself to people who will listen; and how He shows himself to the people who won’t.
He wants us to believe in Him, to know His name, to see His goodness and His power, to experience His mercy, grace, and love.
I think back in my own life about the ways that God has revealed Himself to me and realize that I probably don’t even truly recognize all of it. But I know that more than 10 years ago, He lifted the veil off of my eyes and I could see Him in a way I never had before.
The Old Testament is filled with stories of the wrathful, angry God. In Ezekiel, there is prophecy after prophecy of how God is going to destroy the nations who chose not to believe in Him and the people who chose to come against Him.
7So I will use my power against you. I will give you to the nations as if you were valuables taken in war. I will wipe you out of the lands so you will no longer be a nation. I will destroy you. And you will know that I am the Lord.’” Ezekiel 25:7 (ICB)
The key to the prophecies in Ezekiel is, “Then they will know that I am the Lord.”
When the blindness has fallen away, when I choose to seek His face and seek to know Him, when I believe in the saving power of His Son, than His wrath falls away and His love reigns. His goodness is reflected to the world through my life.
9God will soon save those who respect him.And his greatness will be seen in our land.10Love and truth will belong to God’s people.Goodness and peace will be theirs.11On earth people will be loyal to God.And God’s goodness will shine down from heaven.12The Lord will give his goodness.And the land will give its crops.13Goodness will go before Godand prepare the way for him. Psalm 85:9-13 (ICB)
17Help the man you have chosen.
Make this human being strong for your service.
18Then we will not turn away from you.
Give us life again, and we will call to you for help.
19Lord God of heaven’s armies, take us back.
Show us your kindness so we can be saved. Psalm 80:17-19
God desires me to serve Him. His command to me, above all else, is to love Him with all my heart and soul and mind. But, as hard as I try, I still fail miserably at times.
I believe that God offers second (and third, and fourth…) chances. Because He knows that I am not even close to being perfect, because He can see into my heart and understand everything that is there, He knows the intentions of my heart are to serve Him always.
9And so the Lord knows how to save those who serve him. He will save them when troubles come…2 Peter 2:9
Noah and Lot are examples of men in the Bible who were not perfect (I mean Lot offered his daughters to be raped by lustful men – yikes), but because of their desire to serve God and follow Him, He rescued them from devastation.
The Philistines, Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites and other tribes were not so lucky. They had no love for God in their heart and served idols who called for death and destruction. Though they were given warnings, they did not turn away from their sin and they reaped what they sowed.
16But a donkey told Balaam that he was sinning. And the donkey is an animal that cannot talk. But the donkey spoke with a man’s voice and stopped the prophet’s crazy thinking. 2 Peter 2:16
God won’t give up hope for those who turn away. He will constantly pursue anyone whose heart is blackened by sin by any means possible, from the natural consequences of a life lived with bad choices to words straight from a donkey’s mouth.
Just as I pursue my children in the midst of their bad choices, calling them back to obedience and cultivating a repentant heart, my Father in Heaven does the same for me. He gives me life and gives me strength. He shows me kindness that I don’t deserve and saves me from the enemy.
Yesappa, Thank You for being the God of many chances. Thank You for showing me kindness, grace, and mercy in the midst of my bad choices. Give me life where the enemy only wants death. Help me draw nearer to You in each moment to find strength to stand against sin; and give me life. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Blessings – Julie
International Children’s Bible, Copyright © 2015 by Tommy Nelson™, a Division of Thomas Nelson, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
14My brothers, if someone says he has faith, but does nothing, his faith is worth nothing. Can faith like that save him? 15A brother or sister in Christ might need clothes or might need food. 16And you say to him, “God be with you! I hope you stay warm and get plenty to eat.” You say this, but you do not give that person the things he needs. Unless you help him, your words are worth nothing. 17It is the same with faith. If faith does nothing, then that faith is dead, because it is alone.
18Someone might say, “You have faith, but I do things. Show me your faith! Your faith does nothing. I will show you my faith by the things I do.” 19You believe there is one God. Good! But the demons believe that, too! And they shake with fear.
20You foolish person! Must you be shown that faith that does nothing is worth nothing? 21Abraham is our father. He was made right with God by the things he did. He offered his son Isaac to God on the altar. 22So you see that Abraham’s faith and the things he did worked together. His faith was made perfect by what he did. 23This shows the full meaning of the Scripture that says: “Abraham believed God, and God accepted Abraham’s faith, and that faith made him right with God.” And Abraham was called “God’s friend.” 24So you see that a person is made right with God by the things he does. He cannot be made right by faith only.
25Another example is Rahab, who was a prostitute. But she was made right with God by something she did: She helped the spies for God’s people. She welcomed them into her home and helped them escape by a different road.
26A person’s body that does not have a spirit is dead. It is the same with faith. Faith that does nothing is dead! James 2:14-26
One of my all-time favorite movies is Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. I like just about everything about that movie, including Harrison Ford’s handsome face 😉 .
One scene always stands out to me: Indy is working his way through the cave to find the Holy Grail coming against tests to prove his worth. During one test, as he stares down into the abyss of the cavern, he realizes that he’s going to have to have faith to “leap” to the other side. He gathers his courage. He puts his foot out and leans forward, half expecting to fall to his death. As he begins to fall, his foot lands on an invisible bridge that stretches across the gap and he is able to walk across safely.
I often feel like this is how I live my life. So many chasms lay before me in this journey. When I have faith in God to be there every step of the way, I am able to stick my foot out and leap.
Indiana didn’t simply have faith and then walk away from the impossible. He took action. He did something. He put out his foot and started walking, knowing that it was quite possible it could lead to his death.
As James points out in his letter, both Abraham and Rahab had faith in the God of Israel, and they acted on it, being obedient to what God had instructed. They demonstrated their faith through their actions…and were blessed for it.
Faith doesn’t stop at believing that Christ died and rose again. Yes, that the first step, but faith is also about how I live my life, the outcome of the choices that I make, and the strong foundations that I strive to build in myself and others.
Faith is a tree, and works are it’s fruit. I’m saved because I believe in Christ as my Savior, but my maturity lies in how I live that faith out in my daily life – do I ignore the needs of the people around me, living selfishly in my own little bubble or do I reach out and help, encourage, and love them without an expectation of return as Christ instructed?
Do I demonstrate my faith through my actions, my behavior, my choices, my speech or do I pray and read the Bible only for brownie points and notches on my spiritual belt?
Yesappa,Thank You for your gift of grace given for all who believe and have faith. Help me grow strong in my faith in You and Your goodness and mercy. Help my faith in your be evident in the way I live my life and the things that I do to glorify You and honor those you’ve put in my life, be it for a moment or a season. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Blessings – Julie
International Children’s Bible, Copyright © 2015 by Tommy Nelson™, a Division of Thomas Nelson, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.