Saturday, June 30, 2018

Starting 120 day reading plan on Monday!!


Starting Monday, July 2,  you can read about 2 chapters a day and be finished with the New Testament in less than four months!   Share this post with others!!  Encourage someone else to do this with you!

There are great benefits to reading the New Testament straight through at a quick pace.  Here are a few:

Benefits:
1.) Studying verse by is very helpful in learning minor themes, but reading a letter straight through gives you the major theme and purpose of the author.  This can be missed when reading verse by verse.  (Don’t get me wrong; both are valuable.  I’m just explaining the advantage of a quick read through.)

2.) Reading straight through has made me feel like I have a personal friendship with the writers!  I feel like Paul, Peter, John, Apollos, Bart, and Luke are personal friends of mine!  I actually get emotional thinking of their commitment to the gospel and how they all died for it.

3.)  The advantage of doing the reading with me is that you get the opportunity to “meditate” on the word of God with someone.  If something hits you that you want to share or ponder, you can go on the blog and talk about it with me and others!

4.) I’m not even going to go into detail on these benefits, but they are true!
  • You will feel calmer (1 Peter 5:6)
  • It’s a way to gather tools to combat the devil (Eph. 6:17)
  • It’s a source of hope (Rom. 5:2)
  • It’s amazingly relatable to what is happening in daily life!

Some tips:

1.) I recommend you make the reading part of your routine.  The advantage of a routine is that when get off your routine, you feel it…. you miss it!  The day just doesn't seem to go right when you mess up your routine. Right?!

2.) I recommend you do the reading with someone!  Challenge a friend to read with you, but here’s the thing, don’t plan to read along side them.  It is way harder to get 2 schedules in sync to read “together”. Do your daily reading as part of your routine and then talk about the reading with the other person when you get a chance.

3.)  Challenge your kids to do the reading with you!  Even if they have homework or a job, they can handle two chapters a day.  It takes less time than catching up on all their Instagram!  What a great tool to talk with your kids about key themes in life!

All this to say, 
I hope you join me Monday!!!

Friday, June 29, 2018

Day 178- Rev. 20-22 We finished the NT!

“They came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended.  This is the first resurrection.”  (20:5)

This verse reminded me of what Christ said to the church of Laodicea.
“The one who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I also conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne.” (3:21)

My 5 year old son often says, “I want to cuddle!” As he crawls onto my lap.  If I’m close to a table while sitting, I will try to stop him, thinking there isn’t enough room for him.  But he wiggles and turns and manages to place himself square on my lap!

That’s the way I see myself on the throne with Jesus, cuddling on his lap like a little girl would do.  When I leave this body and planet, my resurrected body (the first resurrection) will go straight to Jesus and crawl into his lap.  I can’t wait to be cuddled by my Heavenly Father!

I’m so looking forward to it, all I can say now is, “Come” (22:17), Lord Jesus!


So, we are done with the reading!  I will be stargazing a new reading plan on Monday.  If you enjoyed the reading, don’t stop!  Why break a good habit?  Ask a friend to join you this time!!

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Day 177~Rev. 18-19~ She’s com’in down!

It’s interesting to me that the voice from heaven in ch. 18 says, “Come out of her, my people, lest you take part in her sins....” (vs 4)
In order for his people to come out, they have to be in her (Babylon), right?  This chapter doesn’t seem like it was put in chronological order to the chapters before.  After all, we already read, “Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great...” (14:6) and “It is done!” (17:17) and the angel already gathered the grapes for the winepress of the wrath of God (14: 19).t that mean that all had already “come out of her”?

So, what are we reading?  It seems to me we have come to another example of “recapitulation” (explained on day 172).  We are reading another view of the event that occurred in chapter 17- the “judgement of the great prostitute”. 
Like I said before, the idea of recapitulation helps me to make sense of the reading since I am such a linear thinker.  Reading these chapters is like a police officer gathering different versions from witnesses of the same event. In this case, the angles are giving John different views of the end time. So, John is the one witness, but he gets to see the event from different views points.


What I can learn from these different angles is.....stay out of Babylon with her “power-driven, pleasure-crazed value system” (quote from my commentary)....’cause she’s com’in down!!

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Day 176~ Rev. 16-17~ I'm going to keep my clothes on!



We are reading about the total destruction of the earth now.  The trumpet judgements we read about in chs 8-11 were limited to “a third of the earth”.  Now, with these bowl judgements.  Yikes!  All water becomes blood, fierce heat, darkness everywhere, every island fled way and no mountains were to be found (16:4-20)  Imagine the earthquaking and volcanos going off!!!…It’s how I imagined the earth and mountains being formed in the first place.

A person reading this may think God is being too harsh.  Yet, John says something key here….”They did not repent of their deeds” (15: 9&10).  God was still looking for hearts that would turn to him. He was still giving them a way out!  That doesn’t sound harsh on his end..it sounds stubborn on their end!

I can’t help thinking about the Christ followers during this time of total destruction.  They are going through all the misery as the one’s that are not repenting.  To those people Jesus says, “Behold, I am coming like a thief!  Blessed is the one who stays awake, keeping his garments on, that he may not go about naked and be exposed.” (16:14)

Did you notice that Jesus said the same thing earlier in the book when he told John to write to the church in Laodicean (Ch. 3) “Buy from me…white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness may not be seen…”(3:18)  He is warning the church in Laodicean (and us) not to be luke warm.
Trials have a way of making one decide whether to be “hot” or “cold”.  Just like the believers and nonbelievers of the end times, we today, go through hard times.  Nonbelievers “gnaw their tongues in anguish and curse the God of heaven for their pains and sores”, yet they do not repent of their deeds (16:11).  Christians, on the other hand, turn to Jesus, staying clothed in their salvation, keeping their “garments on” (vs 15).  Our responses to the trails we go through are the same today as they will be for those at the end.  Some will turn to Jesus, others won’t.


I am going to keep my righteous clothes on!!😉

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Day 175~Rev. 14-15~ The harvest WILL happen!

Today’s reading reminded me of what Jesus said in Matt. 13, when he was explaining the parable of the weeds.  Don’t you think it’s crazy how John is seeing it just as Jesus explained it?!

“The harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are angels.  Just as the weeds are gathered and burned with fire, so will it be at the end of the age.” (Matt. 13:39-40). 

John describes 2 “reapers”.  One angel gathers “the harvest of the earth” that is fully ripe (Rev. 14:15), the other gathers grapes that are ripe and he “threw it into the great winepress of the wrath of God.” (Rev. 14:19).  It is clear that the second reaper is gathering nonbelievers who will suffer Gods wrath, but John isn’t clear who the first reaper is gathering.  We can look to what Jesus said in Matthew to figure that the first angel is reaping believers.

“Let both grow together until the harvest and at harvest time I will tell the reapers, “Gather the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my barn.” (Matt. 13:30).

All I can say is that I’m glad to know that I am not part of the cluster of grapes!!! 🍇 😮 

Monday, June 25, 2018

Day 174~ Rev. 12-13 ~ His time is short!

So, did you ask yourself who the woman was clothed in the sun?  I always have to ask myself questions like that to keep my mind clear on the symbolism.

Biblical scholars agree that the the the woman symbolizes Israel.  Why?  Because we can look back to Genesis and the story of Joseph to get some clarity on that metaphor.  Joseph had a dream very similar to John’s description of what he saw.  Joseph tells his brothers, “Behold, the sun, moon, and eleven stars were bowing down to me.” (Gen. 37:9).  That was in reference to a prophesy that indeed came to pass where his dad (Jacob-the sun, AKA, Israel), mother (step-mom=the moon) and brothers (the stars- who become the 12 tribes of Israel) all bowed down to Joseph’s authority in Egypt (42:6).

Once you know the woman is Israel it’s easy to figure that the child she gives birth to is Christ and the red dragon is Satan.  Here we come to another recapitulation (See Day 172 for meaning).  Recapitulation can cause people to interpret the same passage differently.  Some scholars feel the time period of 1,260 days when the woman is being nourished is symbolic and it began with Christ’s ascension and will end when God withdraws his restraint of Satan’s power.  Other scholars jump from Christ’s ascension to a specific time period known as the “great tribulation”.  The Jewish believers of that future time will be persecuted by the Antichirst and will flee into the wilderness.

Now you can see why there are different views people take on the interpretation.  Once you decide on a view point, you can call yourself a “Premillennial”, “Postmillennial” or “Amillennial”.
Whatever you call yourself, you can rest assured, “…for the devil has come down to you in great wrath because he knows that his time is short.” (12:12)


Whew!  Thank goodness his time is short!!

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Day 173~ Rev. 10-11~ Learning to obey

I don’t think I would be as obedient as John was when he was told to eat the scroll.  
“Take and eat it; it will make your stomach bitter, but in your mouth it will be sweet as honey.” (Rev. 10:9)
I don’t care how sweet something is, if it’s going to make my stomach hurt, I don’t want it!  (However, if a bright, huge angel with a loud voice told me to do it, I would probably do it out of fear.)

Maybe it’s best we don’t get to hear the message of the 7 trumpets.  Maybe if we heard it, like me not wanting to eat the scroll, we would decide we didn’t want to do or see what the message said.  After all, it’s not going to be good if it “turns our stomach sour.”

Did you know the metaphor of eating the scroll was also used in Ezekiel?
 “And he said to me, “Son of man, feed your belly with the scroll that I give you and fill your stomach with it.  Then I ate it, and it was in my mouth as sweet as honey.” (3:3). 
Ezekiel, by eating the scroll was acting in obedience as well.  He did want to go speak to the people of Israel, but with God’s encouragement, he ate the scroll and found it to be sweet, and then went to those “stubborn people” with God’s message.


Reading about John and Ezekiel, I see I need to obey no matter what!  It is surprisingly sweet to obey God’s word.  From this reading, I am also thankful that I don’t know the whole story to come.  In this case I think it is a blessing to be in the dark about some of the things to come, or else fear (wanting to avoid the sour stomach) may tempt me to  disobey.

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Day 172~ Rev 8-9~ This book may not be in chronological order!

“The fourth angel blew his trumpet and a third of the sun was struck and a third of the moon, and a third of the stars...” (8:12)
Wait a minute...didn’t we already read something that said the stars already fell? Oh yea!....
“When he opened the sixth seal…the stars of the sky fell to the earth as the fig tree sheds its winter fruit...”(6:13)

So had they  fallen or did more fall? 
My commentary helped me understand a little better. 
When something is repeated in the Bible (aka recapitulation), a technique also used in Genesis, Daniel, and Acts, it is to “elaborate Gods purpose and confirm their certainty.  In Revelation recapitulation means that the order in which John received visions does not necessarily indicate the order of the events they symbolize.”

Isn’t that interesting? It helps understanding why Revelation can be so confusing. John may not be writing all the events in chronological oder.


Huh! Interesting.🧐

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Day 171~ Rev. 6-7~ The red horse!

Did you know that a police officer, deputy sheriff, state trooper, or constable are all peace officers?  They are civil servants payed to maintain the peace.  

I found the red horse one of the most frightening of the seven seals. “It’s rider was permitted to take peace from the earth, so that people should slay one another and he was given a great sword.” (6:4)

What happens to all the peace officers during this time?  I can only imagine that the verse in Matthew has come to a reality at this point.  
Matt 5:13, “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.”
If the rapture happens before all this tribulation, the salt has been removed from the earth.  There is no good person left on earth to hold back the flood of evil. The moral compass is gone and a bunch of vigilantes are running amuck.
That’s frightening!

I hope that the rapture takes me away first, but if not, I pray that God gives me the stress to endure what he gives me

Day 170~ Rev. 4-5~ Worthy of praise!!

Have you ever watched a National Geographic show where something spectacular is explained about nature? Cameras have been set up to capture a scene. They may have been left in place for a year, to capture the changing of seasons, the growth of a plant or the cycle of life for a wild animal. We get to see accumulation of snow, the melting of it, flowers blooming, babies being born all in one minute! When I get to see the sped up versions I am left with a feeling of awe, only able to respond with a,“Wow!”

In chapter 4 we are given a spectacular scene of God on the throne in heaven. John can only describe Him with attributes of light verses describing physical traits (4:3). He gets more physically descriptive with those surrounding God. 

The nature shows I described above have helped give me an ever so slight understanding to the feelings the creatures and elders around God are feeling.  The have personally seen the mighty works of God. Instead of my feeble response of “Wow”, they respond appropriately with, “Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.” (4:11)

It’s amazing that we humans can forget how worthy God is of our on going worship and praise. This glimpse into heaven is a good reminder!!


Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Day 169~ Rev. 2-3~ We are more than conquerors!

I remember back when I was five years old, my mom put me at a Christian school for my preschool year.  The whole school would gather in the morning for an opening devotion & prayer.  Then we would get dismissed by grade.  We would all stand singing, 🎶“Onward Christian soooldierrr, marching as to waaarrrr...”♬
They sent the preschoolers out first so that is all of the song I remember.  I also remember marching like a soldier on a mission.  I loved it!!!

I’m assuming here...but I don’t think a Christian school would choose to sing that now....it seems politically incorrect....

However, it sure does seem appropriate to me as I read Revelation 2&3!!

“To the one who conquers, I will grant to eat of the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.” (2:7)
“To the one who conquers I will give some of the hidden manna,..” (2:17)
“To one who conquers and who keep my words until the end, to him I will give authority over the nations...” (2:26)
“To one who conquers will be clothed in white garments...” (3:5)
“To the one who conquers, I will make him a pillar in the temple of my God.” (3:12)
And lastly,
“To the one who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I also conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne.” (3:21)


Looking back, I think my preschool did good!  They were training little Christians to go out into the world, persever and conquer Satan and any arrows he may shoot our way.  We are soldiers battling the principalities of this world (Eph. 6:12).  And, with Christ as our leader in the battle, “We are more than conquerors (Rom. 8:37)!!!!

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Day 168~ Jude and Rev 1~ watch out for the reef!


I used to think Jude, being such a short book, didn’t say a lot, but, it does! 

Wasn’t it sad to read, “Although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith...”(1:3)
Augh! Here he thinks he has some people he can relate to in a common faith but instead he has to encourage them to keep the faith. 
“Now I want to remind you, although you once fully knew it, that Jesus, who saved...(1:5).   These people, once fully understood God’s (Jesus’) judgement, but now...they seem to be forgetting the sever consequences of sinful behavior. 
Jude goes right to the source of how their attitudes (memories)were changing.  They had people posing as Christians, in their church, that he describes as “hidden reefs at your love feasts, as they feast with you without fear...” (1:12). These hidden reefs were “grumbles, malcontents, following their own sinful desires; they are loud-mouthed boasters showing favoritism to gain advantage.” (16). 
Talking about how a little yeast can ruin the whole batch of dough! (Galatians 5:9)

Jude is a great example himself as to what he is telling his readers and us:
“Remember the predictions of the apostles...build yourself up in the faith, and praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God,...And have mercy on those who doubt, save others  but snatching them of of the fire; to others show mercy with fear, hating even the garment stained by the flesh.”  (17-22)

Monday, June 18, 2018

Day 167~ 2 John and 3 John

 I have some missionary friends that use Spain as their home base, but  travel extensively throughout the Muslim countries in order to encourage and strengthen church planters they know in each place. We get a newsletter from them via email every couple months.
 The way they write their email is very vague just in case their computers were to ever get hacked. A letter from them may sound like, “Please pray for us as we go to the place that is east of the star on the map.” Then they will show a map of Jordan, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, etc. They write in code not only to protect themselves, but to protect the missionaries in their respective countries.
Likewise, John seems to be doing the same in his second letter to  “the elect lady and her children”. Scholars believe he is addressing members of a church. If the letter was intercepted by people who were enemies of Jesus, they would not know any names connected with this church.
Boy! You can almost feel the clandestine operation going on as you read, “many deceivers have gone out into the world....Watch yourselves” (2:7-8)

Doesn’t it seem the same warning applies to us today? 

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Day 166~ 1 John 4-5~ Keep from idols !


You gotta love how John ends his letter! “Little children, keep yourselves from idols.” (5:21)
That pretty much sums up everything and it’s very simple! 

We are God’s little children, “We know that everyone who has been born of God does not keep on sinning,…” (5:18)
So, if we are God’s children, born of him, how do we keep from idols?  
By keeping yourself from trusting, obeying, revering, and following (in effect , worshipping) -anyone or anything other than God himself, and his Son Jesus Christ (my Bible footnote). 
That is a fair and good warning that John gives.  I pray that I can do just that! 


There was so much in these last 2 chapters! What attic out to you? 

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Day 165~ 1 John 1-3- Abide!

Did you notice how many times John used the word abide? Starting with, “Let what you heard from the beginning abide in you.” (1:24). He uses it 13 more times in the rest of that chapter and the next.
Abide means to accept or act in accordance with.
It’s clear that John took to heart the words of Jesus and integrated them into his own teaching. He was there when Jesus said, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:31)
My commentary says, to abide in Jesus’ word means to continue believing what Jesus has said and walking in obedience to them.”
It looks to me like we have come to another litmus test of a true believer= one who continues to trust Jesus and obey him.
John is stressing this point in his writing, as did Jesus. Jesus was quite clear on what will happen to the person who fails to continue to abide.

“If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers, and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire and burned.” (John 15:6)😲

Friday, June 15, 2018

Day 164~ 2 Peter 1-3~ Make every effort to supplement your faith...

I’m feeling a little emotional today. I felt like I was fighting back tears as I read, “I think it right, as long as I am in this body, to stir you up by was of reminder, since I know that the putting off of my body will be soon, as our Lord Jesus Christ made clear to me.” (1:14). 😢 Indeed it is thought that Peter probably wrote this letter from a Roman prison and was martyred shortly after.😔
Now that I’m reading his second letter, I feel like I know Peter and am sad to hear he died.  (Well,....you know what I mean...everyone 2000 years ago has died now....but the way he died....waiting in prison...getting ready to die because he was proclaiming the good news....it’s sad....)
Anyway, I better think more on what he was trying to tell me. What was he wanting to stir up in me? Oh yeah, to “make every effort to supplement my (your) faith with virtue,..knowledge...self-control...steadfastness...godliness...brotherly affection and...love.” (1:7)
Lord, help me to increase these qualities so that I can be effective and fruitful in the knowledge of you! (1:8). And, if I practice these qualities I will never fail! (1:10)I want to never fail, even to the point of death, like Peter.

Thanks, Peter, for reminding me to strive for these qualities!!

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Day 163~ 1 Peter 3-5~ Be a good steward!

I’m sorry for another late posting.  I am in an area where there has been no internet.  But, good day to you now!!! 😁

My Bible titled chapter 4, “Being a steward of God’s grace”.   What a great title!
  
I have never really thought of being a Christian in those terms.  I have heard of being a good steward of my money because, after all my money is God’s money, I am just to take good care of it; share it, invest wisely for the kingdom, don’t squander it.

In the same way, grace is from the Lord.  I need to handle it carefully, just as I would handle my money.  So,...how is one to be a good steward of grace?  “..so as to live for the rest of the time in the flesh (meaning our life here on earth) no longer for human passions but for the will of God.” (4:2) and “As each has received a gift use it to serve one another as good stewards of God’s varied grace.” (4:10).
I am not to squander the grace given to me, take it for granted, or act like I deserve it.
I love that phrase!  Be a good steward of the God given grace through Jesus....


Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Day 162~ 1 Peter 1-2~”I can’t wait!”

I’m going to confess here.  Over the years when I would hear Christians say, “Come Lord Jesus!” Or “I can’t wait for the rapture!”,  I would kind’a roll my eyes and think, “Well, that won’t be for a long time, so make yourself comfortable here!”  I thought they just wanted to escape this life because things weren’t going well for them.  
If I could go back to my old self, I would slap my hand and say to me, “Shame on you!”  Those people were expressing their “living hope” (3:5) in what was/is promised for them.
They had learned to 
“..set your mind fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ (1:13).  

Maybe my mind was not fully on the grace....maybe I was having a good time here and didn’t really look forward to heaven.  I was thinking these people just wanted out of their hard time, but perhaps the Lord was working on their faith and they responded appropriately when saying they were looking forward to Christ’s return.

“In this you (those friends of mine) rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been riled by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith- more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire- may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” (1:7)

Their faith had been tested and they were still praising the Lord, looking forward to his return.

This is one of the major themes of Peter’s letter.  We are sojourners and exiles (2:11) in this world and it is good and right to be looking forward to our heavenly home.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Day 161~ James 3-5- How do you speak?

I commented yesterday on this verse, “If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless.” (1:26)
Yesterday I was thinking more about the person deceiving himself, today, I am noticing how much James wants his readers to watch their mouth.  There must have been some major loose tongues flapping for him to comment in the next three chapters about how Christians should be speaking.

“So speak and so act as those who are to be judged under the law of liberty.” (2:12)
Don’t curse people (3:9) 
Don’t speak against one another (4:11). 
And lastly, he says, “But above all, my brothers do not swear..”(5:12)

James may have not believed his brother was the Christ when he was on the earth, but he must have been listening to his brother while He was here because James is preaching exactly what Christ taught.  
Jesus said in Matthew 12: 34, “You brood of vipers!  How can you speak good, when you are evil? For out the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.  The good person out of his good treasure brings forth good, and the evil person out of his evil treasures brings forth evil. I tell you, on the day of judgement people will give an account for every careless word they speak, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”


I believe we have found another litmus test to check to see if one has a true saving faith.....how do you speak? 

Monday, June 11, 2018

Day 160~James 1-2~ Don’t deceive yourself!

So, here we start with a letter penned by James, one of the brothers of Jesus. I really like the letter! It gives a lot of practical advise!
One thing I noticed is that Jame repeats that a person can deceive themself. That means a person can think they are a Christian and be wrong about that!  😬
“But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.” (1:22)
And again
“If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceived his heart, that persons religion is worthless.” (1:26)

 One pastor on Biblegateway said,

If sin is seen as our choice to run our own lives instead of submitting to God's rule, we cannot ask Christ to save us from sin and then go right on running our own lives; it is self-contradictory. To think we can so live is to practice self-deception. The core of accepting salvation is accepting Christ as Savior and Lord. If I am saved, I will give myself to the doing of my Lord's word. It is not that I will attempt to save myself by obeying commands; rather, because I am saved, I will set my heart on doing the will of God who is my Savior.


That’s interesting, to think that one can deceive himself.  Here is another litmus test to use when evaluating yourself, “Who am I serving? Myself or God”


Sunday, June 10, 2018

Day 159~ Hebrew 11-13~Believe that he exists!

 “And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.” (Heb. 11:6)
I like this verse! It shows me that everyone, even the famous people of the Old Testament had to chose to believe God exists.
I always thought that Moses had an easy time believing in God because he saw the “burning bush”. Who wouldn’t believe if they heard an audible voice coming form something burning, but not burning up? However, the writer of Hebrews makes it clear that Moses believed in God before that burning bush episode. “By faith Moses, when he was grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, choosing rather to be mistreated with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin.” (11:25)
Remember that Moses stuck up for the Hebrew slave (Exodus 2:11) and then ran for his life? He was about 40 years old at that time. It was at that point that he wanted to identify with God’s people rather than Pharaoh’s family. Yet, it was another 40 years of faith in God BEFORE Moses had his personal experience.
I think of Paul as well. I also thought Paul had an easy time believing since he had that ‘Damascus experience’ (Acts 9). Yet, Paul too, already believed in God, although he was misguided in his zeal (Gal. 1:14). He’s a good example of “..he rewards those who seek
him.” (11:6). Paul was rewarded with understanding the full revelation of God’s mysterious plan (Eph. 3:2-3)
On another note, did you catch that if we just acknowledge the name of Jesus to others, confessing our faith, we are “offering up a sacrifice of praise”?! We are to do that continually. 😬
I better acknowledge His name to others more often then, ‘cause I want to be continually praising
him!!!
“Through him (Jesus) then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name.” (Heb. 13:16)

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Day 158~ Hebrews 9-10- We are the perfect temple!



“For Christ has entered, not into holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true things…” (9:24)

That made me think….what are the true things?  The earthly things “serve a copy and shadow of the heavenly things” (8:5)  So,…is there a perfect temple in heaven?  Will it look like the earthly one but better?….while I was thinking that, it hit me!…..wait a minute……Jesus says WE are the temple!  

“Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit?”  (1 Cor. 6:19)  When I put these Hebrew verses into that frame of mind, I found it quite poetic! 

The Most Holy Place items:

-the first section has the lamp stand (9:2)= Picture what people first see in us…Our testimony (Matt.5:16).

-there is no curtain existing between the two holy areas (10:20) = Jesus tore that away (Matt 27:51).

-golden alter of incense (9:4) =Our prayers are like incense (Psalm 141:2 & Rev. 8:4).

-ark of the covenant holding manna ( 9:4)= Jesus, living in us, is the bread of life (John 6:35).

-the tablets of the covenant (9:4)= “I will write it on their hearts (Hebrews 10:16).

-above it are cherubim (9:5) = Angels are ministering spirits over us (Hebrews 1:14).

-the high priest “comes in” (9:6)= Jesus is our high priest who comes in and stays, not just once a year (Eph. 3:17).

So,…..the way I see it,  there isn’t a perfect ‘structure’ in heaven…the perfect temple is each perfect (in the eyes of God) Christian, together with all other Christians that make up the body of Christ, the church (1 Cor. 12:27).  The temple in the Old Testament is a representation of our perfect, heavenly body with Christ living in it.

That’s pretty cool!  That thought also brings clarity to Rev.21:2 when it talks about the dwelling place of God coming down to earth~ it’s us! 🤗


Friday, June 8, 2018

Day 157~ Hebrews 7-8- It's worth it, but you can't retire!

My husband and I had the privilege of meeting a couple, Ralph and Marian Stuck, who spent 40 years in Ecuador, sharing the gospel with the Huarani, aka, Auca tribe.  
This couple was one of the first on the scene after 5 missionaries died trying to make contact with this unreached people group (1956).  When the wife of Rodger Youderian (one who was killed) left her home in the jungle, moving up to Quito, Ralph and Marian moved into her house to continue the work started in that part of the jungle.  We met Ralph and Marian 40 years later and four children later, when they were close to retiring.  They took us on a tour of all the places they lived and worked over the years.  While doing so, they were doing a mental evaluation of sorts, reflecting on the past 40 years and asking themselves if it was all worth it.  They explained how they saw many converts over the years, but many of these converts would go back to their old habits of seeking healing or advice from the village witch doctor verse going straight to Jesus.  
Talking about “Old habits die hard”! 

As I am reading Hebrews, I can’t help think the writer is doing the same type of reflecting.  The writer is still trying to get his readers to leave their old way of thinking and see that Jesus is the better way.  We can see his concern for this group when he says they have become “dull of hearing” (5:11) and “need someone to teach you again” (5:12)  These “Hebrews” are Jewish by culture, but Christian by choice.  Using their Jewish background, the writer explains in terms they understand, that Jesus became our high priest, “not on the basis of a legal requirement concerning bodily decent (meaning a Levite), but by power of an indestructible life.” (7:6)

These Hebrews were in danger of slipping back into their old way of offering sacrifices to God through an earthly priest, just as the Auca Indians were in danger of slipping back to using their witch doctor.  I’m so glad that we have the letter to the Romans to remind us that Jesus is the BEST, Superior Way, “a better hope introduced, through which we draw near to God.” (7:19)

All the work the writer did for the Hebrews, all the work the Stucks did for the Auca people, all the work we did for our kids….it is worth it!  Yet, it is a work we never can truly retire from. 

On-going exhortation is necessary until the end…(See Day 156 on that point) 😄

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Day 156~ Hebrews 5-6~ Suburban Josephine

I think this section of reading is one of the hardest to understand.  Chapter 6 has been debated by scholars throughout the ages!  The central debate among Christians is over the description given in verses 4-5. Is the writer describing a true believer who can “fall away” and lose their salvation or one who was never a true believer to begin with.  
Since scholars debate over this, I certainly won’t be able to make a definitive conclusion.  But, one thing I can rest on is that a true believer will “show the same earnestness to have full assurance of hope until the end.” (6:11)
Being a Christian is an ongoing venture.  It’s not a one moment activity that can be checked off and never thought about again.  Like I pointed out yesterday, a litmus test of a true believer is one who holds to their “original confidence firm to the end.” (3:15)

When I was a teenager Christian Rock music was popular with the converts of the Jesus Movement of the 70’s. Servant was a popular band at the time.  They did a 50’s parody that had a profound impact on me spiritually~ Suburban Josephine.  Even though I was young, I clearly understood the message of the song.  Now, all these years later, I may have become a suburban housewife, but I did not become a Suburban Josephine! 😉

If you have four minutes you can click on the link to hear the words that molded my way of thinking. 


Lyrics:
She thinks she can remember
What her calling should have been
Serve the Lord was her desire
When she was only seventeen

But she fell in love with someone else
That she could touch and feel
Lord only knows what she could have been
As Sister Josephine

Laundry, Floors, Diapers, chores
Feed the kids by noon
She has to get her hair done
And her Hubby gets home soon

But better off when she took the plunge
And her plans all changed it seems
Now she lives a life at home
A Suburban Josephine

Corus: 
Suburban Josephine
Suburban Josephine
Lord only knows
What you could have been
Josephine

Avon Ladies
AMWAY men
Are pounding on her door
She needs another vacuum cleaner
To massage her brand new floor

Soap operas for breakfast
Her Idols on the screen
21 inch living color screen
For Suburban Josephine

Corus

One day while watching the Price Is Right
She saw her friends fly by (Come on Down)
Right past her kitchen window
And up into the sky
(yip, yip, yip, yip ya boom)

Suddenly she remembered
What she had already known
That one day, In the twinkling of an eye
Jesus would return

Corus