Sunday, December 31, 2017

Save those candy canes from Christmas!!

If you don't have mini candy canes on hand....go get some now at 50% off during this post Christmas season!!!I made these suckers for Valentines last year.  Believe it or not, they turned out just like they should have from the Pinterest idea I pinned and they were easy to make!!

Yes, I have a child that is at the age where he gives Valentines  to everyone in his class room, but these suckers are much too elegant for little kids!
These are for us adults!! (In my sweet tooth opinion)
Your girlfriends will ohh and ahh when you hand them one of these!  Who wouldn't ohh and ahh over white or dark chocolate?
These are how mine turned out:

If you want step by step directions go to this website:

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Day 88~ Last three chapters of Rev and we're done!

After reading about all the tribulation and death, it sure is nice to get to the happy ending!!

How cool- “God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them.” (21:3)  Can you imagine?  The same God that freaked out all the Old Testament people to the point of wanting to die, the same one who, just being in His presence made Moses too bright to look at,…will now be the one to “wipe every tear from their eyes.” (21:3)  That sounds so tender and sweet!

But sadly there will be those who will miss out on the tender side of God.  A whole list is given of those who won’t be in heaven (21:8). Most are obviously evil & shouldn’t get to experience God’s glory- you know- the vile, murderers, sexually immoral, etc. 
But there is one, to me, that doesn’t seem down right evil; the cowardly.  Being a coward is evil? Did you notice that the cowardly are separated from the unbelieving?  That means they believe that Jesus is the Son of God, but they are to chicken to admit it out loud in fear of losing something.  What I need to remember is that Jesus said, “Whoever tries to keep their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life will preserve it.” (Luke 17:33)  and  “But whoever disowns me before others, I will disown before my Father In heaven.” (Matt 10:33).  
Jesus wasn’t kidding!  
Also, the writer of Hebrew writes “If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” (Rom 10:9)  In God’s eyes, being a coward, not standing up for Him, not confessing with your mouth…is evil…and it is worthy of eternal punishment. 😳

If only cowards could see and understand that the “Tree of Life” (22:2) promised to all, is so much better than what they have now!

Well, that’s a wrap!  Thanks for reading with me!  I hope it was a high light of your day, everyday.  God bless you as you continue to Walk With Him!  

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!☃️

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Day 87~ Rev 17-19

“I saw that the woman was drunk with the blood of God’s people, the blood of those who bore testimony to Jesus.” (17:6)

Right there….pre-Christians should really consider if they want to become a Christ follower….one literally puts their life on the line when doing so. We Christians in the US can’t really imagine that, yet….but it will get there! 

She (the woman) is actually a great city that rules over the kings of the earth.  So, this ‘great power’ hated Christians so much, that they were being killed in such great number, she appeared drunk on their blood. 😳

Did you catch that this power ruled over all the peoples, multitudes, nations and languages (vs. 15)? Sounds like a ‘one world power’, doesn’t it?  Side note: then an 8th king will rise up & hate her (vs. 16).  It’s not surprising that evil hates evil, but it’s interesting don’t you think?  The ‘one world’ power will be destroyed by a different evil entity.  

Anyway, back to the woman…to me she sounds like a successful form of capitalism.  “Merchants grew rich” (18:3), there was a lot of importing and exporting going on (18:12-13).  Life was pretty good during that era.  There was music playing (18:22), workers were making a good living (vs.22) & people were getting married (vs. 23).  Those are all things that indicate prosperity, stable economy, and a mind at ease.  It sounds like 1st world countries these days on a good year, doesn’t it?  So, what was the problem?……She hated Christians and everything they stood for! (18:24). 

In other words, you could not hold to Christian principles and beliefs without being persecuted for it and even killed. (Still…sounds like countries these days.)  If you listen to the news on TV or internet, it’s not too hard to see the entire world is heading to be just as John described this scene.
“For all the nations have drunk the maddening wine of her adulteries.” (18:3).  People today are craving materialistic things and hate for Christianity is growing.  😬

I love, love, love that a voice from heaven called for the Christians (who hadn’t been killed yet) to come out of her before the punishment begins! (18:4) Whew! 

Friday, December 22, 2017

Day 86~ Rev 13-16~ 666?

It’s kind’a funny how I, being an American, with my English language, can read this section of scripture and not have a clue what it means.  How can I use wisdom and be the person “who has insight to calculate the number of the beast” (13:18)?  The problem is, I took Spanish as a second language in high school instead of Hebrew or Greek.  

If I had taken one of those languages, I would know that the letters of their alphabet can also be used for numbers!  The first letter of their alphabet can represent the number “one”, the second letter is “two” and so on.  With this system the letters of a name are changed to numbers, and the numbers are then added to arrive at a total. 

I wonder how many Christians throughout  history have calculated the names of evil people to see if that person was going to be the prophesied “beast”. I know some did this at the time John wrote this book.  Nero Caesar- a very evil emperor in AD 54, killed a lot of Christians.  His name, just using the consonants- NRWN QSR (different language than ours) total up to 666.  This inscription was found in a manuscript dated during that time (55AD), found 15 miles south of Jerusalem.  So, people back then were trying to figure it out. He wasn’t the predicted beast of John’s book, but he was a horrible beast in his own right!  So, now were are left to do some calculating of our own when the time comes…..😬 (that is, if you want to be one with wisdom and insight).

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Day 85~ Rev 10-12

These have got to be the three most confusing chapters of the book!  It really seems like John is seeing visions that jump back and forth in time (which is very hard for me since I am in a chronological state of mind).
Chapter 12 in particular seems like the vision of the woman giving birth to a male child would be referring to Israel giving birth to Jesus 2000 years ago.  Indeed, many scholars feel that is exactly what the vision means.  Yet, I did some digging and found what other scholars think about this section and what it represents (and it seems to go with a chronologic sequence of events).  

First we need to understand that John used images and symbols that the first readers would be familiar with.   For example, the readers understood that the woman clothed with the sun, moon and stars symbolized a glorious triumphal entity that would be greater than the light of the sun, etc. (The sun, and standing on the moon was not a new symbol for them.  These were common enough that they were even printed on some ancient coins.) John’s entity, according to Coffman’s Commentary, is the radiant glory of God’s church (from a heavenly perspective).  The church includes the “true Israel of both the Old and New Testament- including Christians” (children of the woman).
The Old Testament used similar imagery to John’s when it portrays the righteous remnant (that would be the woman) laboring & giving birth to a child, symbolizing the future restoration of God’s people.  Isaiah 66:7-10 & Mic.5:3.  So, the first readers were familiar with this imagery and would understand that this is a looking forward to restoration.
If the first readers were familiar with this symbolism and they knew Christ had already come and is now sitting at the right hand of God:
Matt. 26:64
Acts 7:55
Rom. 8:38
Eph 1:20
Col 3:1 
Heb 1:3 & 8:1
..then they would read this as the church waiting (laboring) for Jesus’ second coming. (Oh!  That’s a different way to look at it!)

This kind’a makes sense to me in the chronological sort of way.  Especially when the text goes on to say that after the battle, the “accuser..has been hurled down.”(12:10).  We know that hasn’t happened yet! Satan is still in front of God to this day bringing accusations before Him.  That is why each person needs Jesus to intercede for them (Rom 8:34).

Anyway, I thought I would throw out a different way to interpret this section so you have something new to chew on today!

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Day 84~ Rev 7-9~ Meteriorite?

The rest of mankind who were not killed by those plagues still did not repent of the work of their hands;…” (9:20).

Still did not repent…..they sound stubborn don’t they?  However, I want to propose something.  I think these ‘end time’ people are the same as people today.  As we read of the events in Revelation, we get the behind the scene insight that the events are caused by supernatural forces.  Angels hold back the winds (7:1), angels open the Abyss (9:1) and demons inflicting pain (9:5).  We get to see the spiritual battle going on around these humans still on the Earth.  But the people don’t see the obvious spiritual warfare, just as we don’t see it today. 

I wrote a post one time that said I think the old saying, “Seeing is Believing” is wrong.  In reality it is “Believing is Seeing”.  When you believe in Christ, your eyes are opened to see the spiritual battle that is waged against you.  When you don’t believe, you chalk  plagues and such, up to natural causes.  I am sure when the time comes, these people in the future (and maybe not so distant future) will say the “huge mountain, all ablaze” (8:8) was just a large meteorite that got caught in the Earth’s atmosphere.  “Tragically it killed a lot of people- but that’s just the consequence of a natural event”.  The same goes for the “great star, blazing like a torch” (8:10).  

I can hear the news anchor now, “Astronomers say a supernova has projected new debris that has entered our solar system.  These two tragic events on our planet are due to a stream of meters now being drawn by the Sun’s gravitational pull, into our orbit.  Schools are being advised to practice “meteorite drills”.  The President is purposing a massive project of building bunkers at each school site in the country. However, there is controversy in the legislature as to the cost and effectiveness of bunkers.  The President has a 90% approval rate due to his proactive approach in dealing with the devastation caused by these last two events.  He would like to see the building begin immediately, yet, due to the massive drop in the country’s population, there is a short fall in available contractors.”

Some, at this time, will think, “Wait a minute!  These events were predicted in some ancient writing my grandma used to read….maybe God is doing this!”  I think these ones (like people today) have a good chance of finding truth.  Others who want to stay in their rebellion (as some do today) will insist it’s ridiculous to attribute these natural events to something supernatural.  These one’s will miss out again on their chance to see truth and repent.  Doesn’t that sound like people today?  It reminds me of what the writer of Ecclesiastes said in 935 BC (nearly 3000 years ago), “What has been done will be done again; There is nothing new under the sun.” (Ecc. 1:9)

People were the same 3000 years ago, as they are today, as they will be tomorrow- stubborn or open hearted to God.   Fortunately, Jesus is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Heb. 13:8), ready to forgive at any moment, if people repent. 

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Day 83~ Rev 4-6

“I wept and wept because no one was found who was worthy to open the scroll or look inside,” (Rev 5:4)
Why did John cry?  I ask myself that every time I read this! How did he know to weep?  After all, he is new to the scene, just having walked through the door of heaven (4:1).  You would think that he would be so taken with the sights around him that he wouldn’t be able to think straight!  Yet, his purpose for walking through that door was to see “what must take place after this.” (4:1)  So, his whole purpose for being there was not going to come to fruition because no one was found worthy to open the scroll.  

But, again, why would John cry over that? My commentary gave me some insight as to why John would cry.  
“In the ancient Near East, a royal official would inscribe the king’s will onto a scroll.  the king would seal the scroll with a ring pressed into wax.  The seal would remain bound until it was unsealed and read by the properly designated royal official.  Then the king’s will could be carried out in the kingdom.  John used the scroll metaphor to depict the unfolding of the will of God on earth.  Without a properly authorized person to open the scroll, God’s will remained merely inscribed in the scroll.”
And here we come to the reason why John would cry… “Unchecked by the divine will, injustice could continue to reign upon the earth.”
John wept and wept because of his despair due to the injustice that surrounded him.  After all, he was in prison for his faith (1:9) and his fellow Christians were being killed for their faith (2:10). 
Without getting that document open, evil would continue to prevail on Earth.  I can see now why John was crying! Can you imagine our evil world continuing on without the hope we have in Christ?!  Murder, envy, strife, deceit would continue unchecked.
But, if the document is opened by the correct “royal official”, the King’s will could be carried out.  And, we know what the King’s will is because we know the “King above All Kings” is good, just, fair and righteous (Psalm 25:8, Prov. 11:1, Isaiah 61:8, Deut. 32:4, Col. 3:25, and Rom. 12:19~ to name a few verses!).

As hard as it is to read the judgement that comes on the Earth is God’s will, we know that it ultimately leads to a new, purified, glorious creation~ all thanks to the Lamb!

Monday, December 18, 2017

Day 82~ Rev 1-3

The group of people in the Thyatira church sound very similar to churches today.  They were not all “like minded”.
Some, were doing it right; they had love, faith, service and perseverance.  This outward demonstration of commitment to Jesus not only was theirs from the beginning of their faith, but it was growing as time went on (2:19). 

Yet, some in that church weren't living like that.  Maybe they had the mentality that many Christians have today, “I can’t judge others”.  However, Jesus held that against them!  He doesn’t like Christians being tolerant to sin in the church (2:20).  Being tolerant to sin leads to falling for “her teaching” and getting sucked into “Satan’s so-called deep secrets” (2:24)
I thought the wording Jesus chose was interesting when he said to those who were doing things right, “I will not impose any other burden on you…” (They already had faith, love, serving and perseverance.) “…except hold on to what you have until I come.” (2:25)

I think for some, it can be a burden to “hold on”.  Staying in fellowship with other believers, reading the Bible to get your spiritual food for the day and sharing your faith with others, can feel like a burden at times.  That is because there is a spiritual battle all around you! Satan is working hard to get you to feel burdened! (Eph. 6:12).  Knowing it’s a spiritual battle, we have to use spiritual weapons to combat him.  Praying will get through each burdensome moment. (Prov. 15:29).  Being in fellowship gives us the opportunity to remind each other that we have the greatest advantage in this spiritual battle (John 14:26).
A popular saying these days on the internet is, “You have one job” (It’s usually the caption to a funny picture of where the person failed at their one job.) 
I want to encourage you not to fail at your one job,  “hold on to what you have” until you die or until Jesus returns.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Day 81~ 2 Jn & 3 Jn

One week left of reading chronologically through the New Testament!  I think this has gone fast!  I’m going to be starting back up again January 1st.  I hope you join me!  It will be at a slower pace. So, instead of finishing the New Testament in 3 months, it will be 6 months.  Very do-able!!!  Make it your New Year’s Resolution!

I really like how John clarified, exactly, what loving one another means, “And this is love, that we walk in obedience to his commands.” (2 John 1:6)

So, here is an example.  Jesus tells his disciples- and I am one of them- to “go make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you” (Matt 28:19).  
If I don’t do that,……I am not obeying.   If I don’t walk in obedience, I am not loving to the people around me. 😳  It’s not loving to hold back from telling others of Jesus.
The clarification statement John made expands on the idea of “good works” that I was talking about on Day 68.

Loving others and doing good works will always and should always point to Jesus.  If your “good” actions or thoughts don’t….well….they aren’t loving or good.😬  That’s hard to understand because we keep looking at what we think love should be in the context of our society's definition (kind acts, accepting of another person’s truth, etc.). God’s definition is, to share with others so that they may “believe in the name of the Son of God so that you (they) may know that you (they) have eternal life.” (1 John 5:13)

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Day 80~ 1 John 1-5- Liar!

There is some debate as to whether John, who wrote these letters we are about to read, is the same John as the apostle.  Let’s just say he is.  The apostle John died around AD100.  If Jesus died at around AD 30, 70 years had lapsed since the resurrection of Jesus.  John was probably the youngest disciple; let’s say he was in his late teens.  That would make him about 88 years old while he was writing these letters!  Old people can get away with being very direct.  They don’t have time to beat around the bush!

My husband was listening to talk radio a few years ago when he heard someone with an Indian accent call into the program.  It became a heated conversation and the accented man blurted out, “You’re a liar! A liar to da pee-pole!  Well, that caught my husbands attention and tickled his funny bone.  He came home and told me about the dialogue.  That saying became one of those phrases that became part of our family’s vocabulary.  We use it with each other, but you probably won’t hear us use it outside of our family.

It is not politically correct to call anyone a liar these days. (Probably because our society doesn’t know absolute truth.)  Everything is relative.  ‘Your truth is your’s, but not my truth”.  Thus, no one is allowed to tell a boy he is a boy if he wants to be called a girl.  Anyway…..I won’t go there…let’s get back to John……

Did you notice how many times John was pointing out the liars?
  • 1:6 “If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness we lie and do not live out the truth.”
  • 2:4 “ Whoever says, ‘I know him’, but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in that person.”
  • 2:21 “I do not write to you because you do not know the truth, but because you do know it and because no lie comes from truth.  Who is the liar?  It is whoever denies that Jesus is the Christ.”
  • 4:20 “Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar.”
  • 5:10 “Whoever believes in the Son of God accepts this testimony.  Whoever does not believe God has made him out to be a liar, because they have not believed the testimony God has given about his son.”

Isn’t it just like Satan to operate exactly opposite to the Bible?  John calls out those who lie to themselves and others.  Yet, today, Satan has manipulated our society to feel it is ‘inappropriate’ to call anyone a liar.  The sad result is that there are a bunch of people who are just deceiving themselves. They may think that since they say they are Christian, they are.  However, John goes to great lengths to explain that it is more than just saying you’re a Christian; you have to believe with such sincerity that your actions naturally demonstrate that belief (4:20).  If they don’t….as John and the Indian man say, you’re a lair!  A liar to da pee-pole (and to yourself). 😣

Friday, December 15, 2017

Day 79~ Heb 10-13- Earthquake!

OK, this is the last time I’m going to mention my geology class!  I took my final yesterday!! Whew!!  But, I can’t help applying what I learned about God in the class to what I am reading today!
Chapter 12 speaks of God’s awesomeness.  God can be so huge and powerful that Moses said, “I am trembling with fear.”  Learning about how expanse the universe is has definitely reminded me how big God is.  So now let’s get down to the earthquakes!πŸ˜‰

First, when it comes to geological time, there are 7 principles geologists go by to date rocks.  The first principle is uniformitarianism.  This principle say, “The key to the present is the past.”  The physical processes we observe today also operated in the past.  That means everything moves slow today so that is how it moved in the past…slowwwwly….

The Israelites, in the desert , experienced the ground shaking when God spoke to them (12:26) and they were  filled with reverent fear.  The ground shook every time God spoke.  This was a not a typical ‘plate tectonic’ ground movement.  It was something that was done outside of naturally occurring, slow moving plates.  It was “super natural” (above nature).  Well, the reading today was quite interesting!  The writer of Romans says we are going to be experiencing some super natural shaking as well! (We, as in those alive when Jesus comes back.)  
“Once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.” (12:26)

Yet, this is not the first mention of earthquakes in the future.  The Old Testament book Haggai, predicts shaking that some suggest will take place when Christ returns.  “In a little while I will once more shake the heavens and the earth, the sea and the dry land.  I will shake all nations, and the desired of all nations (that would be believers) will come, and I will fill this house with glory, says the Lord Almighty.” ( Haggai 2:6)

In Revelation earthquakes are mentioned again in reference to end times.  
“When he opened the sixth seal, I looked, and behold, there was a great earthquake, and the sun became black as sackcloth, the full moon became like blood, and the stars of the sky fell to the earth as the fig tree sheds its winter fruit when shaken by a gale. The sky vanished like a scroll that is being rolled up, and every mountain and island was removed from its place.” Rev 6:12-14
Every mountain and island will be removed from its place? 😳My word, that is going to be one huge earthquake!!!!
“Then there came flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder and a severe earthquake. No earthquake like it has ever occurred since mankind has been on earth, so tremendous was the quake.” Rev 16:18

I don’t know if the principle of uniformitarianism has always been the case, but clearly, the writer of Hebrews is saying things will move quickly in the end!  I love how he ends that thought:
“Let us be thankful, so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire.” (Heb. 12:28)

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Day 78~ Heb 7-9

"Just as people are destined to die once, and after that face judgement, so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.” (9:27)

Did you notice that it says “many”, not “all”.  He died for all (2 Cor. 5:15), but he will only take away the sins of those who chose to accept this gift.  He will not take away the sins of those who don’t. 😳

A friend once asked me if I thought people get another chance to choose Jesus after one dies.
God is love, after all, why wouldn’t he offer that?  A person can “show contempt for the richness of His kindness” (Rom 2:4) their entire life, but a second before they die, they can have a change of heart and chose to take the gift.  After all, we see that example with the thief on the cross (Luke 23:43). 

So, if it is possible to be forgiven of all, a second before one idea, why not a second after one dies?  I get the logic used in this way of thinking, but we can’t base our theology on feelings and what we think God should or would be like.  We have to base our theology on scripture-His Word.
So to answer my friend, I pointed out the above scripture.  We die once…we face judgement. That’s the order.
Also, there are a couple of other verses that can be used in coming to a conclusion on the matter.

“But whoever denies Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father who is in heaven  (Matt. 10:33).

“If we endure, we will also reign with Him; If we deny Him, He also will deny us.” (2 Tim 2:12).

And, Romans 12:16-17 seems to really settle the matter. 😬 We’ll be reading that tomorrow. 

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Day 77~ Heb 4-6 Diligent to the end

"We want each of you to show this same diligence to the very end, so that what you hope for may be fully realized.” (6:11)

This verse has a sad note in it for me.  I can’t help but think back to a girl I met when I was 19.  She was about 25.  She was a beautiful piano player who led worship for the college group at the church I went to at the time.  She always seemed so engrossed in the worship.  Which to me, displayed that she had “the hope” of eternal life with Jesus.  She appeared to be in love with Jesus and sang passionately.  

Well, life led me to a different church and I lost touch with her.  About three years later, I bumped into her at a gas station as we were both filling our cars.  I asked her how she was doing and if she was still at that church.  Her response utterly floored me!  “No, I don’t go to church.  I’m not into that anymore.”
😯What?!?! Not “into that”???
Sadly, she didn’t “show the same diligence to the very end”…what she had hoped for will never “be fully realized”. 😩
Unfortunately, when I get stunned, it’s as if my brain goes numb.  I can’t come up with an articulate response if my life depended on it!  I still cringe thinking it may have been her life that depended on it. 😒
I don’t remember exactly how I responded, but it was probably something like, “Oh…”
Then she drove away….
I haven’t seen her since but I still pray that the Lord drew her back.

It’s that story and the verse above that makes me want to encourage all my friends to read with me.  It’s why I do this blog.  I want to encourage fellow believers just as the writer of Hebrews is doing.
Stay committed, stay firm in your faith, “show the same diligence to the very end”!!! 
What you hope for will be realized!

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Day 76~ Heb 1-3

“We must pay careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away.” (2:1)

We are a water skiing family. If it is real hot at the river, we may need to take a break from pulling a skier so that we can all cool off.  We get on our lifejackets, grab a cool drink and hop into the cool, clear water.  We usually go with friends, so we take this time to chat with people from other boats.  Eventually someone may call out, “The boat is getting near the rocks!”  That usually gets one of us to swim quickly to the boat and bring it back. We, or the boat, had drifted!
What I know from this analogy about drifting is that it is a quite, subtle process that happens without you noticing.

I can’t help but think of another example of drifting.  I have two very different children. They both were, and are, curious kids. One will go explore without thinking of what she is drifting away from, and the other will not.  The first, when we are in a crowd, will see something sparkly and feel she needs to investigate.  She doesn’t have a thought about the crowd and I am sure she thinks that if she sees it, we all see it and have stopped with her and are going with her.  Little does she realize, that is not the case..we keep walking while she drifts away into the crowd with her eyes focused on the sparkly thing.  (Fortunately, we have found her every time she has done this! Whew!)
The other child is completely different.  In the crowd, before he sees anything that can divert his attention, he looks at me and says something like, “Keep your eyes on me Mommy” (which has made me smile every time). I always need to assure him that I am watching him. If he sees something sparkly that catches his eye, he slides his hand in mine and takes me with him to see the item. That little one has a fear of getting lost! He will not let it happen! 

I think we all have the tendency to be like the first child.  Our attention gets diverted and off we go.  What the writer in the verse above is saying is that we need to take note of how the second child does it…“pay careful attention..not to drift away”.  Look to the Lord and say, “Please don’t take your eyes off me” (Which he promises he won’t- Heb.13:5), and take Him with us when we are investigating other things.  

I like how other verses in our reading continued with this thought..

“fix your thoughts on Jesus…”(3:1)

Like holding the hand of Jesus…"hold firmly to our confidence and the hope in which we glory.” (3:6)

Don’t be like some who, “Their hearts are always going astray….So, they shall never enter my rest.” (3:11)

Monday, December 11, 2017

Day 75~ Jude 1; 2 Peter 1-3

Some of the wording in Jude is similar to that of 2 Peter, so scholars feel that these letters were written at roughly the same time.  That is why we are reading it here in our chronologic reading.

The following verse stuck out to me, “The Lord will come like a thief, the heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare.” (2 Pet 3:10)

Since the verse talks of elements being destroyed by fire, I thought I would give you the quickest review ever given of elements, since I recently learned all about that in my geology class! 😜
Elements are the primary constituents of matter.  When the Big Bang occurred hydrogen and helium were created in a millisecond. In extreme heat, these combined (fused) creating heavier elements like carbon and oxygen.  Through the fusion process you can make everything on the periodic table up to iron! Fusion takes place in really hot stars.
When stars explode (supernovas) these elements float off into space, get attracted to each other by their gravitational pull, combine and start to form little planets.  Each planetesimal has their own gravitational pull, some get sucked into others, creating bigger planets, others smash into pieces when they hit another, creating meteoroids. 

Putting it simply, all the elements on our earth came from an old star that exploded. As the ball of elements gathered together, the dense elements sank to the center of the ball, the lighter elements stayed in the outer shell.
What would be the element that sinks to the center? Iron.  What are the lighter elements?  Everything that makes up rocks. That’s right, rocks are the ‘light weight’ stuff on top!
So, 91.2% of the Earth’s mass is made up of iron (in the core), oxygen, silicon and magnesium.  I have had the privilege of learning how God uses these elements to form chemicals, minerals, glasses and rocks!  It’s absolutely fascinating!!!

Now, I’m not going to debate if time since the Big Bang has been 12-20 billion years or if it was quicker than that. “For he spoke, and it came to be; he commanded, and it stood firm.” (Psalm 33:9).  What I would like to point out here in 2 Peter is that it says, the day of the Lord will come like a thief (meaning unexpected)…and the elements will be destroyed by fire.  It was heat that brought elements into existence and it will be heat that takes them away! 😯
What all mankind needs to comprehend is that there was a “start” to this universe and there will be an end.  Even my geology teacher admits that!  

Yet, God created us, in his image, to be eternal souls.  I love the question Peter asks in 3:11, “Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be?”

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Day 74~ 1 Peter 1-5

The exact date is not known, but it is speculated that Peter was martyred during the reign of Nero in about AD 64.  So this book may have been written just prior to that in AD 63. 
Christianity had been a growing movement for about 30 years, and at this point believers were experiencing persecution.  This letter was written primarily to bring a message of hope and encouragement.  It may seem like we Christians, in the United States, don’t experience persecution these days,…..but we do.

As I was doing today’s reading, i couldn’t help but think of a young  Christian friend of mine that recently broke up with his girlfriend.  Rather, his girlfriend broke up with him because he was “too moral” for her.  He is really sad at this point.  He is suffering “for doing good” rather than doing evil” (3:17).  This girl was “surprised that (he) did not join her in reckless, wild living, and she heaped abuse on him” (4:14).

I would love if this Christian brother read and took to heart these verses:
“If you are insulted because of the name of Christ you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you.” (4:14)

“So, then, those who suffer according to God’s will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good.” (4:19)

This brother is blessed and God will lift him up in due time! (5:6)  God will restore him and make him strong, firm and steadfast. (5:10)  I believe that “restoring” will include being in a new relationship (he was in a relationship and will be restored into a relationship), but if he is made strong, firm and steadfast in the Lord, through this difficult experience, the next relationship will be with a girl that he can be equally yoked (2 Cor. 6:14).  He just needs to trust that God will work in His “due time”.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Day 73~ 2 Tim 1-4

On day 70 & 72 I mentioned learning.  I love to learn!  I had an instructor say to me once, “Nurses are life-long learners”.  I would agree with that, at least concerning myself.  So, you can imagine how I perked up when I read Paul’s description of some women who are victims to false teachers.  He described them as “gullible women, loaded down with sins and are swayed by all kinds of evil desires, always learning but never able to come to a knowledge of the truth.” (2 Tim 3:7). 
Ugg!  Always learning but never coming to the truth?  That would kill me!!
That would bring such despair! 

Learning is good, only when it leads to truth.

The writer of Ecclesiastes was known to be very wise.  He had spent a life time learning, yet this was his conclusion-
“Then I applied myself to understanding of wisdom,…but I learned this too, is a chasing after the wind.” (1:17)
He also pursued pleasures (like the ladies described above) and worked hard for material gain.  This was his evaluation of it all-
“Yet, when I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I had toiled to achieve, everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind.” (2:11)
I love how he concludes his book, “Of making many books there is no end, and much study wearies the body.  Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments for this is the whole duty of man.  For God will bring every hidden deed into judgement, including every hidden thing whether it is good or evil.” (12:12-14)

So it’s OK to be a “life-long learner” but, it better be leading to truth! And what is truth?  Remember….Jesus is the way, the truth and the life. (John 14:6)

Friday, December 8, 2017

Day 72~ Titus 1-3

Titus is a very practical letter!  My take away is, “The grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people.  It ( the grace of God) teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions…” (2:11)

We can learn “what is appropriate to sound doctrine”(2:1) We can learn all the practical steps from pastors like Titus and Timothy, but it is the grace of God (truly understanding what that is) that prompts us to act as the thankful servants we are.  With thankful hearts, good flows.
“A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart.  For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.” (Luke 6:45)

Pretty simple!  If Christ is in you heart, speaking good things and “living self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age” (2:12) will be the natural out pouring.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Day 71~ 1 Tim 4-6

“For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, because it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer.” (4:5)

My dad, bless his heart, was not an outspoken Christian. You would not find him preaching on a street corner, that is for sure!  Yet, he lives his faith.  He serves the Lord by going to the church whenever the pastor asks, to fix whatever electrical issue the building may have or any other mechanical issue for that matter.  He is the Lord’s servant.
However, as far back as I can remember, the one verbal thing he never failed to do was to pray over his meal.  If the family had already started eating and he came in late from work, he would sit down with us and silently pray by himself.  At times I would think, “Opps!  I forgot!  I better pray with him.”  How can I forget to be thankful? I admired my dad; he never forgot to be thankful.

I operate best when I have a “trigger” to remind myself of things I want to do.  Some people might feel that praying before meals is a religious, mundane ritual that becomes so routine, it’s a trite obligation.  Not me!  For me, meal time is a valuable trigger that reminds me to be thankful.  What better trigger is there than your growling tummy every 4-5 hours?   

I’m thankful for my dad’s example and my trigger that brings the above verse into practical implementation.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Day 70~ 1 Tim 1-3

Here’s a tidbit of information for you;
1&2 Timothy and Titus are letters that are addressed to pastors, not to churches. Therefore, they are called the Pastoral Letters. They are believed to be written near the end of Paul’s life, so that is why they are placed here in our chronological reading.

In line with what I mentioned yesterday about learning, this verse stood out to me today, “A woman should learn in quietness and full submission.” (2:11)
I thought my commentary made an interesting point. “Women were generally far less educated then men. Jewish women were far less likely to be trained in the law. In such context, the admonition for women to ‘learn in quiteness’ might prove more striking for its emphasis on learning than for an emphasis on doing so quietly, which was considered the appropriate way for all novices to learn.”

I love that way of looking at it! That means women should be learning too (which is something I love to do!), just as the men should be learning! Love it!!!

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Day 69~ Eph 4-6

In our scientific, research based world, a nonbeliever may throw the accusation out, "Christianity is a blind faith that involves no scientific fact."  "Religion is a crutch."  If you listen to the world long enough, you can start to think that Christians are a bunch of jello brains unable to articulate an intelligible thought.
Yet, Paul, here in Ephesians, talks a lot about learning.  The thing is, the world doesn't like what we are learning.  The world is learning to "indulge in every kind of impurity" (4:19), while we are learning to stand firm in the truth. (6:11)
Paul actually goes out of his way to stress that we need to continue to learn.

"That, however is not the way of life you learned when you heard about Christ and were taught in him..."(4:20).
"You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self." (4:22)
"..find out what pleases the Lord." (5:10)
""Be careful, then, how you live- not as unwise but as wise." (5:15)
"Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord's will is."
"..stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist." (6:14)

Doesn't that sound like we better keep reading the Bible even when we are done with the chronological reading?  I need to, at least, because I need to keep learning what pleases the Lord!

Monday, December 4, 2017

Day 68~ Eph.1-3 -Good works?

“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (Eph. 2:10)

Just marinate in that for a moment…we are God’s handiwork.  “God saw all that he made, and it was very good.” (Gen 1:3)  He loves what he made; he has “great love for us”(Eph 2:4)!! πŸ€—It’s good to think on that, remember it and truly believe it. 

After Paul established how God feels about us, he further clarifies that it is by God’s grace alone that we are saved (2:8).
So, with the realization that we are loved and saved, what are these “good works” that he prepared in advance for us?

Well, you actually have to do a little bit of tomorrow’s reading to get the context.  Satan would like to have us believe that it is any ‘kind’ act.  The more kind acts you do, the better odds of getting into heaven, according to him, right?  So, keep cleaning the beaches and save the whales.  
However, “good works” would be anything that creates “unity in the faith” and “knowledge of the Son of God.” (Eph 4:12-13)  There it is!  That’s your templet to figure out if you are doing the “good works prepared in advance” for you to do.
 Are you building up God’s church by handing the beggar on the street corner a dollar? Or, do you need to take it a step further and get out of your car to share the gospel with him?  Ask yourself with all the kind acts you do….”Does this further God’s kingdom?”  If you don’t see the connection…maybe you want to reconsider how you spend your energy.  

Never underestimate the spiritual battle going on at all times! Consider how Satan intentionally tries to get our eyes off the main task.  He does not want there to be unity in the faith and knowledge of God’s grace getting spread around.  So, he will distract with all sorts of other “good deeds”, getting one to think they are doing good works.  But, are they good works?  If you aren’t sharing Christ with others, is that loving?  Rather, isn’t it almost cruel to give a dollar to someone and NOT share the knowledge that you have?😳