Tag Archives: the gospel

Proverbs 3-5; Romans 10

This is sort of unfair as we look at the passages of Scripture for this morning. All should have a post each written about them. So, I’m going to pick a couple verses from Romans 10 that mean a lot to me.

14 How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? 15 And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” (Romans 10:14&15 [NIV])

These two verses are a reference to Isaiah 52:7

How beautiful on the mountains
are the feet of those who bring good news,
who proclaim peace,
who bring good tidings,
who proclaim salvation,
who say to Zion,
“Your God reigns!”

We have friends around the world this morning who have beautiful feet. They are taking the gospel of Jesus to those who have no opportunity to hear. Did you know there are 3200 people groups in the world who have no way to hear about Jesus. We have a friend in an African country that is closed to the gospel. It’s a closed country to missionaries. He and his wife and children are in this mountainous region of the world sharing Jesus through a business. They have beautiful feet!

Are your feet beautiful? Who are you sharing the gospel with today? Can you find someone to pray for who is in another part of the world sharing Jesus with those who need to hear about Him? Look up the term Unengaged Unreached People Groups (UUPG) and find a people group to pray for. Then you too will have beautiful feet!

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under 66 Books, Proverbs, Romans, Uncategorized

Joshua 5-8; Psalm 14; Luke 15

That prodigal son. That older brother. And a father.

I was hoping for the story of the lost sheep found, and it was here in Luke 15. But so was that prodigal son, that older brother, and a father.

Father, for me, on earth, represented a lot of pain, striving, and rejection. How glad I was to find a Father in the pages of scripture to show me what love is–all these years of searching His Word, it has brought me closer to Him with a deeper understanding of true love.

This story of a wasteful, wayward son, and a son who did all the right things. I could focus on all the wrong things the wayward son did, and the frivolity that led to his remorse and humility. I could focus on all the right things the other son did, and the wounding that stirred in him–oh what about me, wasn’t I worth a feast?

But I focus on a Father, whose love is generous and abundant. And this is a glimpse of His heart. Isn’t what and how we love and give a glimpse of our own heart?

Oh, that my last words on earth would be love.

Father God, thank you for calling me your own. Thank you for adopting me into your family. Thank you for your Word in my hands and heart. Thank you for loving me so generously.

Courtney (66books365)

 

Leave a comment

Filed under 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, Uncategorized

2 Kings 24-25; 2 Chronicles 36; Psalm 126; 1 Peter 3

I spoke to a friend about a difficult time in my life from years ago that I thought could find a parallel an experience she shared. When we carry burdens we weren’t meant to carry, they can break us. And if they don’t break us, perhaps they hinder us from being effective at all.

First Peter 3:1-2, NLT,  talks to wives:

In the same way, you wives must accept the authority of your husbands. Then, even if some refuse to obey the Good News, your godly lives will speak to them without any words. They will be won over by observing your pure and reverent lives.

To husbands, in 1 Peter 3:7, NLT:

In the same way, you husbands must give honor to your wives. Treat your wife with understanding as you live together. She may be weaker than you are, but she is your equal partner in God’s gift of new life. Treat her as you should so your prayers will not be hindered.

To all believers:

Finally, all of you should be of one mind. Sympathize with each other. Love each other as brothers and sisters. Be tenderhearted, and keep a humble attitude. Don’t repay evil for evil. Don’t retaliate with insults when people insult you. Instead, pay them back with a blessing. That is what God has called you to do, and he will grant you his blessing. 10 For the Scriptures say,

“If you want to enjoy life
    and see many happy days,
keep your tongue from speaking evil
    and your lips from telling lies.
11 Turn away from evil and do good.
    Search for peace, and work to maintain it.
12 The eyes of the Lord watch over those who do right,
    and his ears are open to their prayers.
But the Lord turns his face
    against those who do evil.”

Suffering for Doing Good

13 Now, who will want to harm you if you are eager to do good? 14 But even if you suffer for doing what is right, God will reward you for it. So don’t worry or be afraid of their threats. 15 Instead, you must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if someone asks about your hope as a believer, always be ready to explain it. 16 But do this in a gentle and respectful way. Keep your conscience clear. Then if people speak against you, they will be ashamed when they see what a good life you live because you belong to Christ. 17 Remember, it is better to suffer for doing good, if that is what God wants, than to suffer for doing wrong! 1 Peter 3:8-17, NLT.

From the events in the world down to a child’s poor attitude, there is nothing I can do to change things outside of my own thoughts, words, and actions–and isn’t that challenge enough? This is an opportunity to worship Christ as Lord of my life–and an opportunity to share my hope as a believer.

Lord, I want to keep my eyes on you and my focus on your kingdom. Certainly an enemy is bent on destruction–and always has been. Your word tells us to be of one mind. Oh, when things are out of my control, I want my heart to be tender, my attitude to be humble, and my retaliation to be a blessing.

Yours, Courtney (66books365)

2 Comments

Filed under 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, Uncategorized

Leviticus 22-23; Mark 1:1-22

I find it fascinating to read about the Jewish holidays as set out in Leviticus, particularly, Yom Kippur or the Day of Atonement (Leviticus 23:26-32). This is considered by Israel even today as the High Holy Day of the year.  How the Jews celebrate this day of fasting and prayer is significant in my own understanding of repentance.

Repentance from the Greek word metanioia is a compound for meta meaning ‘after’ suggesting change and nous meaning ‘mind.’ The word also implies remorse for each sin, a desire to turn away from one’s sin, and a hope to God for salvation. On the Day of Atonement, it is necessary to afflict the soul to encourage repentance, and this is done by making the body uncomfortable through fasting. The Jew is also prohibited from wearing leather shoes, washing and bathing, using perfumes and lotions, and having marital relations. It seems to me that the effect would be similar to that of being a homeless person.

I once experienced a missionary challenge to find out what homelessness might be like – not knowing how to find transportation to a destination, not knowing anyone to ask, having only $2 in my pocket to feed me and another person, and having no cell phone to call for help. The purpose of the experience was to feel pain to understand how others feel when they are in pain. How better to prepare oneself to focus on giving charity and asking others for forgiveness?

Repentance is also privately and publically confessing sin. At the beginning of Yom Kippur, the congregation repeats three times, “May all the people of Israel be forgiven, including all the strangers who live in their midst, for all the people are in fault.” If sin can be kept secret, confessed only to God in silent prayer, then why would we make amends? Confessing one to another, as is commanded in Scripture, (James 5:16) holds us accountable to those whom we offend with our sins (and don’t we offend others, no matter what our sin?), and God knows I need accountability.

Yet beyond confession and making amends, in the Book of Mark, Jesus Christ calls all to “ believe in the gospel”(Mark 1:15).  Another interesting tradition on Yom Kippur is that the congregation actually sings words describing sin to a tune, representing the joy of being cleansed from one’s sins. This is foreign to me because I find myself mournful and despicable as I recite my sins to God.  Yet being joyful should be the result of believing in the gospel.

The gospel is the good news of “peace (restoration of relationship with God – Ephesians 6:15), of hope (the hope of heaven and everlasting life – Colossians 1:23 ), of truth (God’s word is true and reliable – Colossians 1:5), of promise (he rewards those who seek him – Ephesians 3:6)), of immortality (God gives everlasting life – 2 Timothy 1:10), and the good news of salvation (liberty from sin and freedom to live as sons and daughters of God – Ephesians 1:13).”  [Excerpt from “The Gospel of Mark: a commentary & meditation,” by Don Schwager, 2010].”

So for me, every day is the Day of Atonement, and it should always end with the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Janet

1 Comment

Filed under 66 Books, Leviticus, Mark, New Testament, Old Testament

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)

3 Comments

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

Jeremiah 20, 35, 36; Colossians 4

These words stand out on their own:

Remember my chains.

I scroll online back and forth between Old Testament and New Testament. Two prisons and two prisoners. Jeremiah and Paul.

I didn’t catch on at first that I was reading about Jeremiah with a separation of many chapters. In Jeremiah 20, he’s whipped and put in stocks for his prophesy. In Jeremiah 36, he’s talking again through scroll; King Jehoiakim burns it piece by piece. And I laugh–because Jeremiah tells it all again. Rewritten–words that won’t be denied, because he can’t hold them in.

When I speak, the words burst out.
“Violence and destruction!” I shout.
So these messages from the Lord
have made me a household joke.
But if I say I’ll never mention the Lord
or speak in his name,
his word burns in my heart like a fire.
It’s like a fire in my bones!
I am worn out trying to hold it in!
I can’t do it! Jeremiah 20:8-9 NLT

Paul is also in chains. He writes to believers about The Why he is in chains: the opportunities God gives [us] to speak of his mysterious plan.

Devote yourselves to prayer with an alert mind and a thankful heart. Pray for us, too, that God will give us many opportunities to speak about his mysterious plan concerning Christ. That is why I am here in chains. Pray that I will proclaim this message as clearly as I should.

Live wisely among those who are not believers, and make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be gracious and attractive so that you will have the right response for everyone. Colossians 4:2-6 NLT.

When Paul writes, “remember my chains,” I think on this … remembering how he was held back physically, remembering his desire to make Jesus known, remembering his vulnerability at the hands of men. Nothing could really hold back Jeremiah or Paul. So what’s holding me back from living intentionally?

Lord, I’ve been sleepwalking lately … living routinely and not so intentionally. I really want to wake up and be aware of opportunity around me to engage with others and serve them. Help me to make the most of every opportunity in your name. Every day.

Courtney (66books365)

3 Comments

Filed under 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, Colossians, Jeremiah, New Testament, Old Testament