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Showing posts from August, 2017

Day 63~ Phil 1-3

OK, I admit, I read the first sentence in ch. 4 as part of today’s reading.  I had to, it goes with the thought of chapter 3!!!!  (I don’t know why the Bible editors put the 4 marker where they did!)
“Therefore…that is how you should stand firm in the Lord, dear friends!” (4:1)
How do you stand firm?  You gotta go back to ch.3 to see how. “Join with others in following my example, brothers, and take note of those who live according to the pattern we gave you.” (3:15)  And, “…eagerly await a savior from there (heaven), the Lord Jesus Christ.” (3:20).
So Paul is saying if you live according to the pattern he gave and eagerly wait for Jesus, you should be able to stand firm in the Lord.
I buy that.  I think we Christians, well,…I’ll speak for myself…have lost the “eager anticipation” part.  Not surprising since it’s been nearly 2000 years since Jesus left saying he would come back.  I have been guilty of thinking “It won’t be in my time.”  If you don’t truly believe Christ is coming back “lik…

Day 62~Eph. 4-6

“Live as children of light….find out what pleases the Lord.” ( 5:8-10)
Find out what pleases the Lord….one way to do that is to read the Bible.  I bet, if you think about it, some verses might pop into your mind about what what pleases the Lord…..
One popped into my mind that I learned as a song.  I love it when songs help you learn scripture!!   This particular song was popular back in the 90’s and I can still quote the verse!! 
 “He has shown you, O man, what is good.  And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” Micah 6:8
Can you think of other things that please the Lord, using scripture to back it up?
There are quite a few verses!  Come on….comment on some that popped into your head……

Listen if you want to learn Michah 6:8, (remember to skip the ad after 3 seconds):
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CIJIqwCIPcw

Day 61~ Eph. 1-3

I love Paul’s prayer for these saints in Ephesus, the faithful in Christ Jesus (1:1)!!
He prayed that God would give them the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, that they would know the hope to which God called them, the richness of his inheritance and lastly, God’s power! (1:15-18)
That’s a powerful prayer that I want to accept as if he is praying that for you and me as well!  After all, we are “faithful in Christ Jesus” too, right?!
It reminds me of Jeremy Camp’s song, “Same Power”. Click on the link, skip the ad (if there is one) and enjoy a moment of encouragement!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=InsifiZxVXU&list=PL8hzXWF5x9ztklH3s_GIlAFvq4XsoqdIM&index=5

Day 60~ Gal. 4-6

Before I say what verse stuck out to me today, I want to remind you of a few things.  First, as a Christian, you are sanctified, made holy (1 Cor. 1:2). You have been made new (2 Cor. 5:17).  So, comparing your present self to your old self, you can test your actions, “Then he can take pride in himself, without comparing himself to somebody else, for each one should carry his own load.” (Gal. 6:4)  You can take pride, that you are doing so much better than when you were living a life of sin.  You can be confident when you go before the Lord. Therefore, please don’t say, (and I heard a Christian sister say this) “I can’t judge, I am just as bad of a sinner as that person.” (She was referring to a nonbeliever).  Really??? You better not be if you are truly born again!  I think Christians today feel they can’t feel confident (take pride) that they are “spiritual”.  They would rather take on a false humility and quote, the log/splinter analogy (Matt 7:5) in order to avoid conflict.
So, now …

Day 59~ Gal. 1--3

The last time I read Galatians 1-3, I was thinking more about the people that Paul was so concerned about.  They were deserting the faith ( 1:6) and Paul was fearing that he may have wasted his efforts on them (4:11).
This time however, I was thinking more about Paul.  How frustrated he must have been when he heard that these Christians were being “thrown into confusion” by people who were perverting the gospel of Christ (1:7). I can imagine his frustration!  He had to take all three chapters we read today to defend his credentials and establish his authority to speak the gospel in truth.
Fortunately for him, he didn’t live in our politically correct world. He could say exactly what is on his heart, which probably wouldn’t go over well today! “You foolish Gentiles! Who has bewitched you?” (3:1)  Boy…, I have wanted to say that same thing to some people I know who are buying into the world’s teaching on some current social issues! They are willing to bend or change what the Bible says to …

Day 58~ 2 Cor, 13

The other day, a Christian said to me that she felt “the church has done a huge disservice to the gay community.  Unfortunately, I did not have the opportunity to ask her to explain what she meant by that.So, I was left to speculate.The weird thing is, is that I am starting to hear that same accusation out of the mouths of other Christians as well. Like I do every time I am stunned by what I hear, I stay in shocked silence, yet I continue to dwell on the matter until I am able to articulate a response.  But the moment has usually passed so I am left with the classic, “I should have said this or that.” So, in my current state of “dwelling” on that statement, I am pondering,…..the whole church?….the body of Christ?….where the Holy Spirit dwells……has done a disservice? Then I did today’s reading. If my fellow Christians had done the same reading today, would they stick to their accusation?
“I already gave you a warning when I was with you…on my return I will not spare those who sinned earlie…

Day 57~ 2 Cor. 10-12

“Everything we do, dear friends, is for your strengthening.” (12:19)   I like that! Paul said something similar in 10:8.  His entire ministry was directed to this goal.  The more I read Paul’s writings, the more I admire his love for his fellow man.  He is so committed to their eternal wellbeing!  However my admiration shouldn’t just be, “Wow! He was a great man!  Good for him!” Rather, he says he wants us to be like him. “I wish that all of you were as I am.” (1 Cor. 7:7) “I plead with you, brothers, become like me, for I became like you.” (Gal. 4:12) “Join with others in following my example, brothers, and take note of those who live according to the pattern we gave you.” (Phil 3:17)
So, if we are to be like Paul, than everything we do should be centered around strengthening others in their faith. …. So, …am I doing that?….Is that my goal in life?….not yet….😬 I better keep reading Paul’s letters so I can learn from his example!
This has been a new way of looking at what my goal in life shoul…

Day 56~ 2 Cor. 7-9

Remember in the first letter to Corinth, Paul calls out the church on being proud about a sin that was going on in their midst (5:1). Today we read how these church members responded to his letter.  Now he says, “See what godly sorrow has produced in you: what earnestness, what eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation, what alarm, what longing, what concern, what readiness to see justice done.” (2 Cor. 7:11)
I like how one commentary (Albert Barns) wrote in regards to this verse.  “When people are thoroughly convinced of sin, they will set about removing it with the utmost diligence.” And, “One effect of true repentance is to produce decided hatred of sin. It is not mere regret, or sorrow, it is positive hatred.”
The verse got me to think, is that the way I respond when someone calls me out on bad behavior?  Am I eager to get rid of the sin in my life? Do I have godly sorrow when I see I am doing something wrong in the eye of the Lord?  Sadly, I think, instead, I start out being d…

Day 55~ 2 Cor. 4-6

“And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.” (5:15)
That sentence is radical!  When reading it, it can be easily lost in the paragraph, or at least, it can be lost in the thought that it only applied to Paul and his companions because they were the radical ones.   However, if you apply it to yourself (which you should because Christ died for all, vs. 14), it’s radical!  …no longer live for myself but for him….. That’s hard to imagine since everything I do is for myself!  Maybe I can say that some of what I do is for my husband and kids…..but….I am pretty focused on myself.  What will make me full (food), what will make me comfortable (housing, clothes. temperature), what will make me happy (exercise, activities, friends, travel), what will entertain me (books, movies, music).  Yup, it’s all about me.  
What if I put myself in the mind frame of a servant of days gone by (we don’t have servants these days…

Day 54~ 2 Cor. 1-3

“Therefore, since we have such a hope, we are very bold.” (3:12)
Are you bold in your faith? I think that question gets a lot of people squirming.  “Oh no!”  She is going to tell me I have to be confrontational; go to street corners yelling at passerbyers the four spiritual laws!” 😖
No,…I’m not…so relax.
However, it is a good question to ask yourself.  Because…if you know that you aren’t bold in your faith…you need to look at the first part of that statement…. “since we have such hope.”  Do you truly have that hope that Paul is talking about; the hope and trust in the unfading glory of the ministry of the Spirit? (3:8) Can’t the referee of Paul’s statement be true, if you truly have that hope, you will be bold?
This is a good time to self reflect… Are there doubts lingering in your mind regarding certain issues that keep you from fully embracing the whole Bible?  If so, that will affect the hope you have and ….rightly so….make you less bold in sharing your faith.
So, how do we get more fait…

Day 53~ 1 Cor. 16

The way my Bible is set up, I had to turn the page to read the last 3 sentences of Paul’s letter.  Prior to turning the page, as I am reading, I am almost being lulled to sleep with sweet words of, “Do everything in love..”, “I was glad,…”, “…they refreshed my spirit..” (16:14-18)   Calm words in a peaceful goodbye….😌  And then I turn the page….“If anyone does not love the Lord- a curse be on him.  Come, O Lord!” (16:22) 😳  Boy did my eyebrows shoot up!  I’m thinking, “Whaaat?”  What happened to all the warm and comforting, good-bye words?! What is Paul saying?????
Then I thought about Paul.   This actually fits right in line with all his preaching!  Remember, he is the guy who says, “I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some.” (1 Cor. 9:22)  Save them from what?  From perishing….. “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to those who are being saved it is the power of God.” (1:18)  
Remember back in Acts when …

Day 52~ 1 Cor. 13-15

“Bad company corrupts good character.” (15:33)  Have you ever spent much time pondering that saying?   I always pictured that those with bad character would be villainous.  You know, goth, scary looking, the type you wouldn’t want to meet in a dark ally.  But…when you really think about it, according to verse 22, ….it is anyone who takes the saying, “You only live once!” seriously.  It’s anyone who doesn’t give heaven or hell a thought.  Do you hang out with people like that?  Do you know someone like that?  Or, here is something to think about…do you “hang out with people” that you “know” by book, TV, movie or music that do not hold to the resurrection?…..That’s looking at it from a new perspective!
For good reason, Paul is warning us, “Bad company corrupts good character.”   I have experienced something that illustrated this for me… I went for a stretch of time without watching TV.  Then my schedule changed where I found myself turning on the TV at the same time every evening.  When I sa…

Day 51~ 1 Cor. 10-12

I have read through the New Testament in 90 days a few times now.  I must admit, I have sped through 1 Cor. 11. quite fast; and to be honest, without much thought.  I have felt the whole head covering thing was a custom of the times and something I didn’t need to pay attention to now since no one in Southern California wears anything on their head, except maybe a baseball cap or visor to protect from the sun. 
However, today….boy did I ponder…..why do we take some verses literally and others we disregard as irrelevant since our culture has changed?   The chapter before (10) talks of the freedom we have in Christ.  I take that seriously…. The chapter after (12) talks of instructions on taking the Lord’s Supper.  I take that seriously….. Why wouldn’t I hold Paul’s teachings on “propriety in worship” as seriously as his other teachings? Well, let’s break this down a little bit.   First, I remember that Paul said, “Some from Chloe’s house have informed me that there are quarrels among you.”(1:1…

Day 50 ~ 1 Cor. 7-9

I believe, if you are reading daily with me, you are becoming a mature Christian.  But, beware, with maturity comes responsibility.
I was struck by the fact that Paul uses the term “weak conscience” 3 times in Chapter 8.  So, it made me ponder…. there is a difference between “weak” believers and strong (mature) believers.  According to Paul, the weak Christian is influenced by the example of the stronger Christian.  He says it is possible to cause others to sin (8:13) and destroy them (8:11)…..whoa!
What a huge responsibility we have to each other!  In fact, Jesus even goes as far as to say, “Things that cause people to sin are bound to come, but woe to that person through whom they come.  It would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around his neck than for him to cause one of these little ones to sin.  So watch yourself.” (Luke 17:2)  😳 I always read that thinking Jesus was referring to nonbelievers causing believers to sin….now after today’s reading, I see…

Day 49~ 1 Cor. 4-6

“For the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power.” (4:20)
I am seeing friends and acquaintances that I have had over the years, drifting away from the Lord, or flat out denying Him.   Oddly, it seems like they are all doing it at the same time, right now!   So, I am left thinking….what can I say to them to get them to change their mind?  What brilliant words can I utter that would cause an epiphany in their life?  After all, I feel an urgency for these people’s souls!!  I take it seriously when I read,  “Be merciful to those who doubt; snatch others from the fire and save them;…” (Jude 22).  I don’t want anyone I know and love to be in “the fire”  😳
So, I felt a great sense of relief when I read 4:20 in our reading today! I don’t need to say all the right words and have convincing arguments.  It is by the power of God that hearts change.  I’m going to trust in that and pray for these people.  I pray that they have soft hearts and eyes open to see that power!

Day 48~ 1 Cor. 1-3

Believe it or not, I hadn’t read more than a couple lines in today’s reading before I found myself in a “word study” that took me on a bunny trail for about a half hour! The word?..…..sanctified… Do you know that Bible scholars have expounded on the subject using the terms, positional sanctification, progressive sanctification, moral sanctification and vocational sanctification? Whew! Well, I am not going to bore you with the details of all the different ways of describing the concept.  (If you want to read more on the subject here is a website that has a pretty comprehensive writing on the topic: www.biblestudytools.com/dictionaries/bakers-evangelical-dictionary/sanctification.html)
I’m just going to comment on Paul’s context of the word in 1Cor. 1:2, “To the church of God in Corinth to those sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be holy,..”
The word sanctified means to be set apart for the Lord; to be made holy.  The way the word “sanctified” is used in this context is that it is not …

Day 47~Romans 16

Once again, I am amazed at how much one can learn by reading just one chapter in the Bible! And this one chapter happens to be closing remarks to a letter that has a bunch of names! You would think it would just be...blah, blah, blah..peace to you, good bye.  Instead, it is rich with instruction!  i.e. "Watch out for those who cause division....keep away from them" (16:17) and "I want you to be wise about what is good, and innocent about what is evil" (16:19). 
The question is, do I follow these instructions,  that are tacked onto the end of this letter, or do I overlook them as some added after thought, not really applying them me.......🤔

Day 46~ Romans 13-15

“For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the scripture we might have hope.” (15:4)
Have you ever gone through a hard time and turned to read something in Psalms (for example) and you found it spoke to your soul at the perfect time….like it was written for you?….  Well, according to 15:4, it was!!! By reading scripture everyday, or even once in awhile, we find hope.  That is why it was written!!  That’s a cool thought!!

I am glad you are reading with me!  I hope that the word of God is encouraging you and giving you that hope!

Day 45~ Romans 10-12

"Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ." (10:17) I often wonder why some people have faith and others do not.  I like that Paul explains how and why we have faith. We get our faith through Christ speaking his gospel. Sadly, while some hear and receive it gladly, others hear it, but because of being "disobedient and obstinant" (vs.21), they reject the faith that comes from hearing. It's sad to think that I know people who are nonbelievers and according to the Bible it is because they are being stubborn!
They don't even realize that Jesus is holding out his arms to them "all day long" (10:11) 😔

Day 44~ Romans 7-9

I think today's reading can be some of the most confusing chapters of the New Testament! For example, when Paul in 7:14-24 is talking from the perspective of one who is not a Christian, "I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin." (vs.14).

He is trying to illustrate how unbelievers think. It might be hard for some to see that he is not speaking of his present self especially when he says, "I delight in God's law" (vs.22).However, if you look closely you can see he was referring to the fact that as a Pharisee (prior to becoming a Christian) he was "zealous for God.... but their zeal is not based on knowledge"(10:2). The easiest way to confirm that Paul is not speaking as a Christian is when he ends this futile way of thinking with a rhetorical question, "What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? (7:24)
So, please, if you are a believer, don't take this scripture out of context and apply it to yourself, "For wha…

Day 43~Romans 4-6

As a Christian, have you ever given much thought to how God created the earth?  
Was it a literal 6 days or billions of years broken into 6 time periods? Some Christians believe the later based on that says, “With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.” (2 Peter 3:8) But, using that verse would take it out of the context of why it was being said.  The context was illustrating God’s patients.
Why am I asking you this question while we read Romans?  Because I pondered the implications of 5:12, Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned..”  I have always been of the mind set that when sin entered the “world”, that is when the “world”(meaning all creation) started dying.  Therefore, prior to Adam, animals and plants didn’t die. I was taken a—back when a Christian friend said, “That applies to man not animals.”  This person holds this belief because they are “o…

Day 42~ Romans 1-3

Whenever I start a new letter, I like to figure out to whom the letter was being written.  It was especially helpful for me to do that with this letter written to the Romans because it gave some clarity to the reading.
We just got finished reading about Paul’s trip to Rome where he spoke to Jewish people.  “Some were convinced” and “others would not believe” (Acts 28:24).  Paul then stayed in Rome for 2 years preaching to the Gentiles as well (Acts 28:28). So, now we are reading a letter he sent to “all in Rome” (1:7); that would be to both believing Jews and Gentiles.   I bet the Gentiles were glad to have their believing Jewish brothers there to help them understand Paul’s letter since it had a lot of references to Old Testament teaching that they may have been unfamiliar with (2:17-28 and ch.4 as well).  We can even see who Paul is addressing at certain times in the letter with specific remarks like, “Now you, if you call yourself a Jew…” (2:17) and “I am talking to you Gentiles.” (11…

Day 41~ Acts 28

I think God is very sweet and kind to the Jewish people!  
We read in 20:22 that Paul was compelled to go to to Jerusalem.  Why do you think God wanted him to go there?….To get an all expense paid trip to Rome of course! 😉  God tells Paul, “As you have testified about me in Jerusalem, so you must also testify in Rome.” (23:11)
Isn’t that sweet of God?  He wanted all Jews, even the ones far away from home to get to hear about Jesus.  So, in today’s reading we come to the reason for the trip.  To a large gathering of Jews, “From morning till evening he explained and declared to them the kingdom of God and tried to convince them about Jesus from the Law of Moses and from the Prophets.” (Acts28:23)
God is still doing this today! “This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and come to a knowledge of the truth.” (1 Tim. 2:4).. Sadly, what was reality then, still holds true today, “Some were convinced by what he said, but others would not believe.” (Acts 28:24)😞
Ev…