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Showing posts from August, 2019

Revelation 21-22~ Last day of the 120 Day reading plan!!!

Reading the last two chapters definitely leaves a Christian excited, don't you think?!! The new heaven and the new earth with all God's people there, "arrayed with God's glory" (21:11), sounds fantastic!!

Yet, I can't help notice the contrast and reminders that John keeps throwing in to describe what the future holds for people who are not Christians.  "Their share will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death." (20:15 & 21:8b)

If a Christian (me) truly believes in the glorious new earth to come for those who believe in Jesus, wouldn't that Christian, in obedience to the command to love one another, do every thing in their power to share Christ with all he/she came in contact with?

Why do we (I), in our (my) comfortable USA culture, not feel the urgency that Paul, John, Peter and all the other outspoken Christians throughout history held?  After all, we just got finished reading, "Look I am coming soon…

Revelation 19-20~ Day 119~ A vast multitude!!

One day to go on the 120 Day Reading Plan!!!

I was encouraged with today's reading!

There are times that I think,"O dear, where are all the Christians in our culture?"  Are there very many out there?  Why don't they stand up and say something as our culture seems to be decaying morally by the hour?!"
It's at those times of disparaging thought that I think of the what Jesus said in Matthew 7:14, "But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it."  πŸ˜¦
Really, Lord.  Are there so few?
Also in Luke 13:23, when asked, "Lord, are only a few people going to be saved?"  He responded, "Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because I tell you, many will try to enter and won't be able once the homeowner gets up and shuts the door."

Well...that's concerning.....

YET, today's reading made me happy in regard to how many will be there!!  (Revelation is so encouraging for us believe…

Revelation 17-18 ~ Day 118 ~ Rejoice for Babylon (sin) is destroyed!!

I don't know about you, but I have a hard time keeping straight in my mind the symbolism of Babylon the Great.  the symbolism of Babylon being a lady is carried on so long through out the reading today, I forget it's not actually a lady!  It's not even one city!

So what is it?

Well, Babylon at one time, was a powerful city.  It's "golden age" was during the 6th century BC.  It fell in glory when Cyrus the Great conquered it in 539BC.  Although it was still an active city for centuries to come, it never regained the legendary wealth and power it had in the 6th century BC.  Yet, the fame of that golden era period made the proper noun, Babylon into a regular noun. Babylon describes a package of selfish wealth, self-serving opulence, and cravings for indulgences of every kind.  I liken it to how the town of Sodom became a noun with a different meaning than the town.  Sodomy now defines sexual acts that are "unnatural" or immoral.

So, back to what we re…

Revelation 14-16 ~ Day 117~ The angels can see your mark!

I don't often go back to old posts to see what I have written in the past, but today I was curious...what did I get of today's reading before?  Sadly, my memory is so bad, I read this post and thought, "Wow! I don't even remember writing that!  I like what it says!" Hahaha!!   So, I decided to repeat a lot of what was said and add a little more.

Let's talk a minute about that “mark of the beast” from chapter 13.  I always thought it was a literal mark that everyone would be able to see. Yet, one thing I know about Satan, he loves to imitate God.  God marks his followers (Rev. 7:3).  We are already marked according to what Paul wrote in 2 Cor. 1:22, Eph. 1:13 and 4:30.  We are marked with the Holy Spirit.  It’s not a tattoo or implanted chip.  The proof that we have been marked with the Holy Spirt is that we have a repentive heart, we exhibit fruit of the Spirit, we are conforming to God’s commands and we have love for His people. 
So, why would I think that Sata…

Revelation 12-13~ Day 116~ The battle will get stronger!!πŸ₯΅

On a trip I took to Haiti awhile back, I learned why they say (about themselves) that 90% are practicing Catholics but 100% practice Voodoo.  They say, "We know God is good, so we don't need to worry about him.  But, Satan is bad so we try to appease him."
Wow!  Has Satan deceived them!!!!  What Haitians know and realize is that they can never make Satan happy, so they have to keep going with the chicken sacrifices, dances and other forms of idolatry worship.

Today's reading made me reflect back to that time in Haiti.  The reading made me realize that the Haitian mentality will permeate the entire world at some point.
"(The beast) began to speak blasphemies against God...And it was permitted to wage war against the saints and to conquer them....All those who live on the earth will worship it." (13:6-7) 😞

We don't need to look far ahead in the future for this to happen...it's happening now....there is an element in our culture that is waging war ag…

Revelation 10-11~ Day 115~Lot's of symbolism!!

My husband sits across the room from me in the morning and does his reading while I do mine.  I am one day ahead in the reading plan, which works out perfectly for us because he has become my editor!  He does his reading and then re reads the blog.  He catches my mistakes on what I posted that morning and I fix them right away before others get to their reading.  If you ever catch mistakes in my writing...he probably didn't have time to do his reading that morning! πŸ˜›

Anyway, he sat down today and said, "Revelation is so hard to understand!"  Believe me, I get it!!  It is hard to understand, in part, because John uses symbolic images to get the messages across to his readers. Some examples include, the dragon, representing Satan, an earthquake symbolizing God's judgement and a three different female characters to describe Babylon, the 'bride' of the Lamb and the nation of Israel.

We come to another interesting use of symbolism in today's reading when we r…

Revelation 8-9~ Day 114~ Spiritual warfare can result in death!!

Have you ever had a day that was real difficult and thought, "Man! This must be spiritual warfare! Satan is trying to get at me!"
I have had many of those days and often think of Paul's words when he says, "For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms." (Ephesians. 6:12).

Since I am aware of the spiritual battle, I know how to fight it!  I make sure I am wearing my helmet and I pick up my sword! (Eph. 6:17).  How sad for those who aren't Christians!!  They can't fight back!  They don't know how! For them, I cringe when I read, 1 Peter 5:8, "Your adversary the devil is prowling around like a roaring lion, looking for anyone he can devour."
😳
Needless to say, it's frightening to read Revelation, thinking of those who don't have the seal of Jesus, therefore are at the mercy of rad…

Revelation 6-7~Day 113~ The wrath of the Lamb.

And they said to the mountains and to the rocks, "Fall on us and hide us from the face of the one seated on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb, because the great day of their wrath has come! And who is able to stand." (6:16-17)

I couldn't help but think about the singer I mentioned the other day who was "losing his faith" because he couldn't reconcile how a loving God could send so many people to hell (Day 110).  I think our Christian culture has done a good job teaching people about the love of Jesus.  Yet, the teaching of Jesus is not complete if his righteous and just side is not taught as well.  That is why it is so important to read Revelation once in a while (as well as the Old Testament)!

My Bible's commentary had a great little side note that answered the question, "Does God's wrath contradict his love?"  I wanted to share their answer with you:

"The revelation of God's love necessitates the revelation of God's…

Revelation 4-5~ Day 112~ Again, one Kingdom!

I always tend to read Revelation like I'm watching a movie with flash back scenes, future scenes and lots of out of this world visual effects!
Chapters 4 and 5 are mind blowing, showing the awesomeness of  God's "throne room".  Flashes of lightening, rumblings and peals of thunder (vs 4:5), how incredible!!  This scene occurs after the work Christ did on the cross (5:6).  Because of that work, the celebration of the king is better than any event coordinator could have conceived!!

So, I'm in the middle of reading about this glorious scene, and notice something again, the same thing that stood out to me in yesterday's reading, "...you purchased people of God by your blood from every tribe and language and people and nation.  You made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they will reign on the earth." (5:10)

There it is again!  One kingdom made up of all believers!  Not two special groups of people- just one big one.  I think Jesus, through Joh…

Revelation 1-3 ~ Day 111~ Jew and Gentile believers are ONE kingdom under Jesus!

OK, here we go...the last book of our reading plan...and it'a a good one!!

Right away, two verses caught my eye because they had a repeat word in them.
"To him who loves us...and made us a kingdom, priest to his God and Father-..." (1:6)
and
"I, John, your brother and partner in the affliction, kingdom and endurance that are in Jesus..."(1:9)

What's up with that? John is stressing that those who believe that Jesus "set us free from our sins by his blood" are a group of people that make up a kingdom.....that's interesting and actually reminds my of another verse that we read just a few days ago.

"But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his possession, so that you may proclaim the praises of the one who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.  Once you were not a people; you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy." (1 Peter 2:9-10)

If you remember, Peter addressed his le…

Jude ~ Day 110 ~ Help me snatch them out of the fire, Lord!

I don't mean to make light of a very sad situation, but I can't help signing to myself, lately, "....And another one gone, and another one gone, another one bites the dust...."  πŸŽΆ
Poor Marty Sampson, the worship music writer for Hillsong Worship, recently stated that his faith is "on incredibly shaky ground". He sounds like another one who has lived a lie for 30+ years (like we talked about others doing on day 107).

"Why is the Bible full of contradictions? No one talks about it. How can God be love yet send four billion people to a place, all ‘coz they don’t believe? No one talks about it," Marty wrote in his confession.

I think Marty should join us on reading the Bible straight through over and over. When one does the reading and the research themselves, one can see that the Bible does not contradict itself.  In addition, if one clearly understood how evil each person is and when left to their own desires becomes more and more evil (Genesis 6:5)…

2 & 3 John ~ Day 109 ~ I have Truth in me!

Reading different translations often makes me get new insights to familiar verses.  It happened today when I read the first verse of today's reading!
"To the elect lady and her children, whom I love in the truth and not only I, but also all who know the truth- because of the truth that remains in us and will be with us forever." (1&2)

I love how Jesus defined himself in John's gospel account, "I am the way, the truth, and the life." (John 14:6). John heard these words first hand from Jesus and knew he could use any of these descriptions interchangeably.  So, we can read the above verse like: "To the elect lady and her children whom I love through Jesus and not only I, but also all who know Jesus- because He remains in us and will be with us forever."

What hit me with this realization is that we can do the same today!  We can fill in the blank with the names Jesus used for himself.
"because of the ___________that remains in us and will b…

1 John 4-5~ Day 108~ God is listening to every word!

Just last night, I was with a group of Christians and the topic came up about having "the fear of the Lord".  The question was asked, do Christians need to have a healthy fear of the Lord?

I believe the discussion ended with a redefining of the term "fear" to "healthy respect of his power".  Yes, everyone needs to have a healthy respect of God.

However, I find it quit remarkable that today's reading felt like God was answering the question for us,......the way He wanted to answer!  "And we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us.  God is love, and the one who remains in love remains in God, and God remains in him.  In this,  love is made complete with us so that we may have confidence in the day of judgement, because as he is, so also are we in this world.  There is no fear in love; instead, perfect love drives out fear, because fear involves punishment.  So the one who fears is not complete in love.  (1 John 4:15-18) Well, ther…

1John 1-3~ Day 107~Walk like He walked!

I know someone who has claimed to be a Christian for 30 years.  This person's life was never real exemplary of a Christian, but, hey, who am I to judge, right?  After some time, the person divorced and is now living with a new "significant other".  Needless to say, it has left the friends of this person confused and somewhat speechless.  If this person was a teenager, I think Christian friends would call this person out and instruct the teen in the what the Bible has to say about sexual sin. "Avoid it!" (1Cor. 6:9-11, 6:18-20, 7:2, Gal. 5:19, 1 Thess. 4:3 and Heb. 13:4).

Yet, some sort of muzzle occurs on believers when the "Christian" is older and more autonomous in their thinking.  Maybe the friends think the person knows better so there is no need pointing out the obvious....I don't know what creates the muzzle.  I actually have not been in a position to talk with this person yet about their new living situation, but I have often wondered what…

2 Peter 1-3~ Day 106~ Know the basics well!

Have you ever head that Federal agents don’t learn to spot counterfeit money by studying the counterfeits. They study genuine bills until they master the look of the real thing. Then when they see the bogus money they recognize it?  I heard that in a sermon once so I had to look it up to see if it's true.  It is!!  The best way to spot a counterfeit is to know the real thing well!!!

I often say that the gospel (the good news of salvation through Jesus) is simple to understand....and it is...yet, there are also somethings that are hard to understand.  Peter admits that! "There are some matters that are hard to understand," (3:16)

Both Peter and Paul exhort their fellow Christians, watch out!!

"I want to stir up your sincere understanding by way of reminder so that you recall the word's previously spoken by the holy prophets and the command of our Lord and Savior given through your apostles." (3:1-2)
To me, that is like Peter is saying, "Go back to the t…

1 Peter 4-5~ Day 105~ I better get to practicing!πŸ€“

Have you noticed all the talk of suffering in our reading?  Today, it really stood out to me, but it's not the first time we have been warned!
Jesus starts the warning with, ""Blessed are those who are persecuted, because of righteousness.." (Matt. 5:10).  In his letter to Timothy, Paul warned, "Everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted." (2 Timothy 3:12). James says we are to "consider it all joy when we experience trials of many kinds." (1:2) And, today, Peter says, "But even if you should suffer for righteousness, you are blessed." (3:13), and "Therefore, since Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yourself also with the same understanding." (4:1) That last verse was key for me!  We have been warned over and over that we will be persecuted just for being a Christian, and this last verse gives a directive- "arm yourself"!  Be prepared! Don't be surprised when you are treated poorly …

1 Peter 1-3~ Day 103~ Salvation= Being saved from hell.πŸ™ŒπŸ» Woo πŸ™ŒπŸ»Woo!

”Though you have not seen him, you love him; though not seeing him now, you believe in him, and you rejoice with inexpressible and glorious joy, because you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.” (1Peter 1:8-9)

That verse stood out to me. I sometimes reword sentences in my head to get clear meaning.  For example, I read the above versus like, “The goal of your faith is the salvation of your souls. Because your soul will be saved, you love the Lord for it.  You believe this wholeheartedly, therefore you are filled with joy.

That makes me ponder “the goal of my faith”. The goal isn’t to love others, the goal isn’t to become the best person I can be… the goal is to be saved (my salvation).  That just begs the question… To be saved from what?

The dictionary says salvation means “a deliverance from harm, ruin or loss.”  In the Christian world it means to be “delivered from the consequences of sin”.  So, the long and the short of it is, the goal of my faith is …

James 3-5~ Day 103~ What did you get out of the reading?

Can you believe we only have a few books to go before we are done with the New Testament?!

I love the book of James! There are so many practical points he made on how to live a godly life: Be loving to others, control your speech, use godly wisdom, don’t have the same attitude toward wealth as the world does, don’t be prejudice, the list goes on. Yet, it’s clear that these commands are not to gain entrance to heaven. These actions are used to be a good representative of Christ while we wait for his return. (5:8)

One of my favorite verses was, “Draw near to God and he will draw near to you.” (James 4:8) I think of how my little guy (nearly 7 years old now!!) will come to me to snuggle, when he does, I draw him in and we cuddle.  I love that precious time!! That’s what God wants to do with us!!

What did you like most about James?

James 1-2 ~ Day 102~ God given wisdom

“Now if any of you lack wisdom, he should ask God – who gives to all generously and ungrudgingly– and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith without doubting.” (1:5-6)

That sounds great....but....wisdom about what? Wisdom like Solomon had where he understood ants ways, plant life and human behavior?  James gives a little more description of what wisdom is in 3:17.
 I like how my commentary said James was referring to wisdom as Christian enlightenment. I can see that! James (the brother of Jesus) was addressing the “12 tribes dispersed abroad”.  These were Jewish Christians that needed to learn how to share Jesus with Jewish people that were very set in their traditions, culture and religion.

Yet, James knew, as do we, that Old Testament scriptures are filled with words about the coming Christ. Those that receive God’s wisdom can read the Old Testament and see all the prophesies that point to Jesus, those who don’t get that insight from The Lord....well...they just don’t ge…

Hebrews 11-13~ Day 101~A sacrifice of praise!

These Hebrews, who are reading this letter ,were probably well acquainted with the temple system where the aroma of BBQ was on-going.  God commanded it to be this way, "The fire must be kept burning on the alter continuously; it must not go out." (Leviticus 6:13)

I thought it was so cool to read today, "Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever." (Hebrews 13:8)  So, does he want the fire burning continuously like he did back then?  Well....yeah, in a way he does!  As I kept reading today, this stood out to me, "Therefore, through him let us continually offer up to God a sacrifice of praise, that is the fruit of lips that confess his name." (13:15)

One reason God wanted that fire burning all the time was to remind the people of his on going presence.  He was with them.  In that way, God doesn't change! He still wants his followers to have a reminder that he is with us.  When we continually "confess his name", we are reminded of his pres…

Hebrews 9-10~ Day 100~ This may seem complicated, but I find it simple!

"And just as it is appointed for people to die once- and after thus, judgement- so also Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him."  (9:27-28)

"He is now waiting until his enemies are made his footstool." (10:13)

I like these verses because they are very straight forward and simple!  Jesus will "appear a second time" to bring salvation, (no secret hovering to collect some believers and then a third "appearing")   And, praise the Lord!!  He will give salvation to those who have put their hope in him (as Paul so eloquently describes in Romans 8:24-25, the Hebrew writer describes in 6:11-12, and Peter does in 1 Peter 1:3)!!!  But to those who do not put their hope in him at the time of his second coming, they don't get the salvation Jesus brings with him, they will face judgement.

So....he's waiting now.....Is he just waitin…

Hebrews 7-8~ Day 99~ Believers are the house of Israel.

I have been learning lately that many Christians believe that Jewish people have a "special spot" in God's heart.  I didn't grow up with this belief so I was slow on the uptake that this is a popular interpretation of scripture.  However, I would challenge that assumption on the basis of New Testament scripture and on how Paul describes who "Jewish people" are, or more specifically who makes up "the house of Israel".

Paul set out to define the true seed of Abraham in three of his letters.  It was very important for the early Jewish believers to understand this new concept and have a paradigm shift. (Perhaps the old way of thinking persists today.). It was not just Paul who was explaining this new way of thinking, I bring this up because of our reading in Hebrews today.

The writer quotes Jeremiah 31:31, "Look, the days are coming"-this is the Lord's declaration- "when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and wit…

Hebrews 5-6~ Day 98~ Share the basic principles!

"Although by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the basic principles of God's revelation again." (5:12)

Hummm..... Do I know the basic principles well enough to teach them?  I should, I've been a Christian for quite some time! How about you?  Have you turned around and taught the basic principles to others?

I just got an email from some friends we have in India.  The goal of their ministry is to spread the gospel throughout their country where less than 1% of the population are believers.  The model they use to do this is very bold (when compared to the western standard of "lifestyle evangelism"). Their model works like this; they share the gospel with one, when that person accepts the Lord as their savior, they are invited to a week long training, the first of four training sessions.  Then that person is to go back home and share the gospel with another.  The trained person has 2 ½ months to invite another to the training, t…

Hebrews 3-4~ Day 97~ Reading scripture through the right lens is key!

The lens you use greatly influences what you see in Scripture.  Wouldn't you agree?!

I love how the Hebrew writer connected the 7th day of the creation story, when God rested, to the rest we enter when we receive "the good news" (4:6).  He explained the concept so well, using the story of the Israelites in the desert...it made me wonder what Jews today believe about heaven.  So, I googled a site called MyJewishLearning.com.   The site "offers 1000's of articles, videos and other resources to help people understand Judaism".  I thought that would be a good place to look into what  Jews, today, think about heaven.

There was no mention of "entering God's sabbath".   They do not pick up on the symbolism of the Lord's sabbath as the Hebrew writer did.  In fact, what I read of their view (they have several theories) is that most believe people go to haven, but bad people will have a period of time in an interim state to think about the wrong d…

Hebrews 1-2~ Day 96~ Pay attention!!

"For this reason (the fact that Jesus is superior~1:4), we must pay attention all the more to what we have heard (about Jesus), so that we will not drift away(2:1)....Don' neglect your salvation."(2:3)

That verse stood out to me after receiving an email this morning.  The note was from a person I knew 35+ years ago.  He was trying to get in touch with the whole gang that hung out together at the YMCA, for a couple of years.  We were a group of teens joined together under the leadership of a "Grizzle Adam's" type, Christian leader.  Those were fun years for me and pivotal in the growth of my Christian faith.

Now, time has shown that not all in our group maintained their Christian beliefs.  They didn't pay attention to what they heard, so they drifted away.They neglected the one who was offering them salvation.  πŸ˜”

I love the directive the Hebrew writer gives, "we must pay attention all the more to what we have heard."  Learning about Christ is …

Philemon ~ Day 96~ Am I quick to forgive?

So, the other day I noticed and commented on that horrible list Paul wrote to Timothy of what people would be like in the last days.  One stood out to me that I hadn't noticed before.  "For people will be....irreconcilable." (3:3)

Being that we are in the last days now (Acts 2;17, Rom. 13:11-12, Heb. 1:1-2, James 5:3&8 and 1Peter 4:7), I'm sure you can share a story of two people you know who were never able to reconcile their differences.  I can! An argument can occur between Christians,  neither will humbly back down and as a result, the relationship is forever damaged.  If this occurs between two believers, then we can safely say, that neither of the two can clearly see the fact that Jesus forgave them from their own wicked ways. If they truly understood that, they would be able to turn around and forgive the other.

I bring this up because I think it's very consistent of Paul to first tell Timothy to look out for people who are irreconcilable, and then he…

Titus 1-3~ Day 94~ Be the moon, reflect the Son.

Image
Can God's word be slandered by things I do?
.....yup...you bet it can!

Paul gives a list of instructions on how a Christian should present themselves to the world, which include, reverent behavior, not slanderous, not slaves to excessive drinking, teaching what is good, encourage others to love their family, be self-controlled, pure, etc. (2:3-5). It's a pretty long list, but certainly not exhaustive, so Paul adds a line at the end that catches everything else that can be included in the lifestyle of a Christian, "so that God's word will not be slandered." (2:5b). That statement doesn't leave wiggle room.  Anything that can malign the word of God should be avoided.

Rephrasing that line can become a great question to use when self-evaluating.   "Will what I am about to do put a negative light on Jesus, Christianity, the church, and God's Word?"
OR,
to put it positively, "Will what I am about to do reflect well on Jesus?"   I gotta reme…

2 Timothy 3-4~ Day 93~Hard times are at hand...

I really gotta stop reading my news feed before I do my Bible reading!  It can be depressing!  And boy, was it depressing yesterday!
"Princeton Grad, 34, Faces Life Behind Bars, Convicted of Killing Dad Who Cut Off His Allowance", was the title of the article that caught my eye.
😡At 30 years old, this spoiled brat, who golfed, surfed and traveled-all paid for by his parents-decided to shoot his 70 year old father because his allowance of $1000 a week was being cut back. His father felt he needed to learn some responsibility and get serious in life.
The story made me sick to my stomach, so I pushed it away, picked up my Bible and started to read, "But know this: Hard times will come in the last days.  For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, proud, demeaning, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, slanders, without self-control brutal, with our love for what is good, traitors, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure ra…