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Matthew 1-7 Late posting on the first week of reading!! We are well into the second week. Happy Reading!!

It's Thursday today!  I have gotten thrown off my game with the new reading plan in regard to when to post for you all!!You see, I am in a group called Community Bible Reading (CBR).  The weekly reading starts on Tuesday and ends the following Monday.  But with the blog, I ended my reading on Sunday and then posted.  I have been struggling to figure out the best way to continue with CBR and also encourage people in their reading using the blog. So, I didn't post regarding the first week of reading.  If you want to see a video from CBR related to the 1-7 ch. reading, you are welcome to do that.  It's about 1/2 an hour.  Please excuse the technical difficulties we were having with our zoom recording.๐Ÿ˜–Click this link: https://youtu.be/yvzwHpOlmBYIf you have started Matthew with me, you should be on chapter 10 of Matthew today.  There is soooo much rich content in the reading!!  I would love to hear what has stood out to you!  Please feel free to comment in the comment secti…

Starting a New Reading Plan!!

Hello fellow readers! I am starting a new plan to read through the New Testament in one academic year.  Starting today, if you read one chapter a day, you will be done with the whole New Testament by the first week of June!  What a great challenge!! Read with me!  Each week I will post something about the seven days of reading.  I would love to hear your comments about the reading as well!  It would be like we were in a Bible study together....but....not together...We are getting used to that since COVID, right?!  ๐Ÿ˜HOWEVER, if you are getting sick of this "virtual" thing and want to actually be with people, you can join me each week at South Shores Chruch to be with people face to face, talking about the week's worth of reading.  If you want more info. on that, ask in the comment section, and I will get back to you with the info.Ask a friend to join you!!  You will find the reading plan on the "Spiritual Fervor" tab.Hope you join me and Happy Reading!!!!

Judges 20- Ruth 4- We are done with the summer reading!

We are done!!
We finished our summer reading in the Old Testament! That was fun!  How did you like getting to know our God, three in One,  a little better?

This past week's reading was interesting to me! Did you catch how Judges ended and Ruth began?  Judges ended with, "In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as they saw fit." (21:25), which implies everyone was doing their own thing, not what God commanded in Joshua. Disobedience and waywardness was running rampant!

Then the book of Ruth starts off with, "In the days when the judges ruled, there was a famine in the land." (Ruth 1:1). That's a clear reference to the time of “Willy Nilly” the Israelites were practicing during the “time of Judges”. Yet, as we read Ruth, we learn of a couple who are of  “noble character" (Ruth 2:11 &  3:11), actually following God’s commands.  I loved the reminder that even in the bleakest of times, there always seems to be a remnant of true believers in the …

Judges 13-19~ This reading definitely has some important take-aways!!

Again, I found myself wondering what I can get out of this terribly sad reading we are doing in Judges.  I was sad reading about Sampson (ch. 16), but my stomach turned reading chapter 19!  In fact, my 8-year-old son, who was sitting across the room from me when I was reading said, "What are you doing with your face, Mom?"  I laughed when I realized he had looked at me right when my face was twisted with horror as I read about the poor concubine.
I simply said, "I don't like what I am reading!" Thankfully, he didn't ask what I was reading specifically,....yet he knew it was from the Bible. ๐Ÿ˜ฌ๐Ÿ˜ณ I wonder what that little guy thought of that answer?!... I should probably talk to him about it later.  But, at the time, I couldn't respond with much more.....I wouldn't have been able to explain the Bible right then and there for him...I needed time to process...what am I reading?... and why is this in the Bible?!!

Well, I have processed now, and this is…

Judges 6 - 12- God is faithful even when our faith falters!

I don't know about this past week's reading.....in just 7 chapters we read about 8 leaders of Israel...who weren't the stellar examples of godly leadership for the "chosen people of God"! To be honest, I was left feeling uneasy about how the country was going (a little like how I feel these days in our own county). Even Gideon, who I remember as being one of the "heroes of the faith" mentioned in Hebrews (ch. 11), didn't seem like a hero I would encourage my boys to emulate.

So....what can I get out of this reading?  How is this part of scripture "God-breathed and useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work." (2 Tim. 3:16-17)?
Humm...well, Gideon might not be the picture of faith, since he faltered several times,.....but we can certainly learn a lot about God through Gideon's faltering faith! God is faithful even when our faith falt…

Joshua 23-Judeges 5- It all points to Jesus!

Monday we read Joshua exhort the people, "So be very careful to love the Lord your God." (23:11) Then through the rest of Joshua he continues to warn and plead with the Israelites to "Yield their hearts to God."  As I was reading Joshua, I was kind'a surprised that he didn't have a lot of hope for these people to remain faithful. After all, he had spent the last years of his life on the battlefield with the men of Israel who continually rallied to battle to defeat and conquer the people in their promised land.   
Yet, Joshua was right,  as soon as the exhortations were out of his mouth he states, "You are not able to serve the Lord.  He is a holy God, he is a jealous God." (24:19) We saw the truth in that statement as soon as we started to read Judges!  Immediately, in chapter 3, we start to see the pattern of the people: live in peace --> sin --> fall into captivity --> moan for help --> God rescues --> peace again comes, but the pa…

Joshua 16-22- Inquire of the Lord while you wait!

After reading how the land was divided between the tribes in this week's reading, I bet some of you were thinking...."Do I really need to read all these names? I can't find a lot of practical application for myself in this reading, do I really need to keep reading?....."

Come on, be honest, did you have any of those thoughts?  Well, I have a challenge for you! If you feel you got nothing out of the reading take a look again, looking for these subjects:

Thoughts on women's rights (chapter 17)?  An acknowledgment for the need for capital punishment yet there is a time for not implementing capital punishment (chapter 19)?Did you notice to whom the cities of refuge were given? I thought it was interesting that the one's designate to be the priests (the intercessor between the people and God) would be the ones to receive those who needed mercy. Maybe God felt they were the best equipped to deal wtih the emotions involved in those cases, who knows, I just found tha…

Joshua 9-15- Boy, that was a lot of killing!๐Ÿ˜ง

This week we read how Joshua, along with all the Israelites, engaged in the conquest and "moving in" to the territory that made up "the Promised Land".
If one just skims over these chapters, it can leave a feeling of, ๐Ÿ˜ฑ"Ugg!  How horrific!"  The killing of "all who had breath" (10:40)- that sounds barbaric and merciless by today's standards! What kind of God do we serve who would be so harsh?!๐Ÿ˜ฆ

Yet, while I was reading, a verse came to me that I remember reading a while back.  I'm so glad God brought it back to the forefront of my mind as I read these chapters!   I remember a scene in Genesis where God was talking with Abraham.  Abraham is at a scenic lookout point, a view that eventual became what we know today as Israel.  God and Abraham just had an exchange about the promise of a son, a promised land, and an explanation of the timing of those events.   In fact, God told Abraham exactly what would happen over the next 400 years! Du…

Joshua 2-8 - God hasn't changed a bit!

If you have been reading along with me for any length of time, you may have heard me say that everything in the Old Testament points to Jesus.  Did you see any of that in this week's reading? Once again, I did!

I read one commentary that pointed out how Joshua himself was a "Christ-like" figure.  Joshua in Hebrew means Savior and we read how he was the one designated to deliver the Israelites to the Promised Land.  In the same way,  the name Jesus means Savior in Greek and we know that he is the one who will deliver his people to the heavenly Promised Land.

I can say more on this foreshadowing to Christ, but to be honest, my attention was caught more in how God expects the same from us today as he did of his true followers back in the time of Joshua.
While I was reading about Rehab in chapter 2, I thought, "Boy, God does not change! (Hebrews 13:8). He is always looking for a heart that is open to him and when he finds it, He blesses that person. Rehab is a perfect …

Deuteronomy 29 - Joshua 1- God is our Rock, our reason to be strong and courageous!

I have to say, I really enjoyed reading Deuteronomy! I hope you did too!

This week I was reminded:

1.  The only way to do things is God's way!  We can not create our own way of doing things and think we will get to heaven that way.  It's God's way or no way (Deut. 29:20)!  Jesus reiterates that idea when he says, "No one comes to the Father except through me."(John 14:6). There is just one way, God's way!

2. I saw foreshadowing in Deut. 30:4, "Even if you have been banished to the most distant land under the heavens, from there the Lord your God will gather you and bring you back." to the words Jesus says in Matthew 24:3 when he says he will send his angels to "gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other."  This is going to happen, people! I can't wait!  Are you excited for that day?

3. I saw the first reference to God being our Rock in Deut.32.  Moses makes that reference 7x's in the song God ha…

Deuteronomy 22-28- For our protection!

Among the various laws we read over the week, I was left pondering........a lot!! Some of what we read was strange!

Yet, one verse stood out to me like a light bringing clarity to it all!!
"For the Lord moves about in your camp to protect you and deliver your enemies to you." (23:14)

I love that!!! God gave us laws to use for "teaching, correcting and rebuking" (2 Tim. 3:16) because He loves us!! He wants to protect us!

I also had this thought, while I was reading all those rules, like a parent with a child, we don't always get the "why" behind the rule.  At times, I have given a rule to one of my kids and just expected obedience because of my relationship with that child.  My kids know I love them and want the best for them, so for the most part, they obey the rules of the house without asking why. Actually, most of the time, they can figure out the "why" without asking.

I noticed that a lot of the rules God put forth in the Law have obvio…

Deuteronomy 15-21- Happy Father's Day!!

How fortunate that we are reading what our Heavenly Father has said to us!

However, there were some strange, or hard things to process in our reading this week, wouldn't you agree?! Like, our reading today, ch.21, whoa, am I right?! ๐Ÿ˜ณ

Yet, even if it sounds barbaric, or not applicable today, there are still lessons to learn.  After all, Paul says in his letter to Timothy that "all Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, rebuking, for correcting for training in righteousness" (2 Tim 3:16). Therefore, we can not throw out scripture that makes us uncomfortable as we read.
I have a friend who is a teacher in a Christian elementary school.  She has the privilege to get to teach the Bible to her students daily.  She teaches her students to look for the "Timeless Truths" in what they read.  I love that!
So, what were some timeless truths you found even in scriptures you found to be uncomfortable?

One timeless truth that stood out to me was the…

Deuteronomy 8-14- Hungry for some manna?

When one reads the Old Testament through the lens of the coming Christ, it's kind'a easy to see the things that point to Jesus.  Did you see anything this week that pointed to Jesus?

I noticed chapter 8 had some big-time arrow pointing!! → = Jesus!
Moses was reminding the Israelites about the manna they had in the desert.  "He (God) humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your ancestors had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone by on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord." (8:3)
Did that sound familiar to you? It should!  Jesus, himself, quoted that verse to the "tempter" in Matthew 4:4.

I also can't help think of the scene when, once again, God was providing a miraculous amount of food for the people that gathered around Jesus on the shore of the Sea of Galilee.  Jesus even reminds the people the same thing Moses was reminding the Israelites about,  "Your ancestors a…

Deuteronomy 1-7- Welcome to the Summer Reading Plan!

Here we go, diving into the Old Testament to remind ourselves of our mighty God's wisdom, power, love, and mercy!

How did you like the first week of reading?  Chapters 1-3 felt like I was reading the Cliff notes to the book of Numbers.  I loved the brief overview!  It was also great to read the 10 Commandments again in chapter 5; so simple yet so profound!!

I mentioned that I was going to be looking for foreshadowing to Jesus as I do my summer reading since I have been told the whole Old Testament (OT) points to his coming.   Well, sure enough, I found some!  How about you?  Did you notice anything that points to Jesus?
What I noticed was in the very first chapter of Deuteronomy!

The history that Moses was reviewing with the current generation of Israelites regarding the actions of their parents, is exactly the same human behavior we have today!  Wouldn't you agree? And, God was the same back then as He is now!  He foreshadowed the work of Jesus by displaying his character b…

Revelation 20- 22- It’s going to be awesome!!

We did it! We are done with Revelation! Congratulations on finishing strong!
What stood out to you in this last week of reading?

The verses that stood out to me were, “They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes.  There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain for the old order of things has passed away.” (21:4)

Did you catch that? Now I know that the Holy Spirit lives in me now, but when he is “with us”  face to face, there will be a new “order of things”. We are going to see Jesus face to face and things are going to be REAL different! How EXCITING!! It’s going to be beyond what we can imagine because we only know and understand the “old order”.

Personally, I can’t wait! But until then, I am going to keep reading so I can keep learning new things about my Lord.
The Old Testament has lots of good stuff that points straight to Jesus. I am going to hunt for those indicators or bits of foreshadowing,  a…

Revelation13-19- Maybe sad things can motivate!

We have only three days left of our semester reading!! We did it! The whole New Testament!  Wow, time flys when you are having fun, right?!! Did you have fun?

Yeah,....but....umm.....are we having fun right now in the reading? ๐Ÿ˜ง  Some people, reading this section, may feel relief reading how, in the end, evil does not win. One might feel some righteous anger over injustices they have experienced and look forward to the day that the perpetrator will get his due.

However, I have found the reading to be a bit sad this week! Yes, it is good to read that the evils of "Babylon" will end, but, you gotta admit, God's righteous judgment on people is overwhelming!
The saddest for me to read was the people's response, "..they cursed the name of God, who had control over these plagues, but they refused to repent and glorify him." (16:9) and "People gnawed their tongues in agony and cursed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, but they refuse…

Revelation 6- 12- Watch a great review of what we have read so far!

At this point, you might be getting anxious reading John's vision or you are getting very confused.  Perhaps, like me, you are excited!!

Through the many times I have read Revelation, I have gone through different teachings and discovered the many different ways people interpret Revelation. There is predominant teaching in our US Christian culture today that became very popular from the Left Behind book series published in 1995.  The thought is that there will be a rapture of believers at an unknown time. With Christians out of the way, all the plagues of the seals, trumpets, and bowls will occur in chronological order in a 7 year period. During that time there will be new converts to Christianity. Christ will then return and rule for 1000 years only to then have to once again engage in battle and finally defeat Satan and Satan's followers.   At the end of the 1000 years will be the judgment of all mankind.

I have had a very hard time with that interpretation of Scripture be…

3 John 1- Revelation 5- I am a priest!

Happy Mother’s Day to all you moms!!! ๐ŸŒท๐ŸŒธ๐ŸŒบ


So, our reading this week, wow!! Right? There is so much to comment on in this week's reading! Again, I know that the things that stood out to me may not have stood out to you, but let's talk together about what we got out of the reading!

Me first! (haha)

Did you catch that we are all priests? (Rev. 1:6) I have never thought of myself as a priest! Yet, the way John put it,  we are "priests to serve his God and Father".  There are a lot of other things I would love to talk about in chapters 2-5, but this priest idea in chapter 1 caught me. We also just read from Peter that we are holy priests (1 Peter 2:5). I had to look into that a tad bit more since being a priest sounds like an important role and I am one who likes to know my job description and what is expected of me in my role as a priest.

In the Old Testament, the Levites were the priests.  Everybody back then knew that the Levites were "set apart" from the…

2 Peter 3- 2 John 1- Are you a bright light that will attract others to the flame?

So, this is interesting! I did some research and found that scientists have no idea why a moth is attracted to a flame.  There are several hypotheses, but none of them are convincing in the scientific world so, it has been chalked up as a mystery!

I think there is a similar mystery in Christianity.  There is seemingly no explanation as to why some secular people are attracted to the light of Christians and others are repulsed by the same light.  I would think every nonbeliever would be repulsed by Christianity when I read things like, "In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God." (2 Corinthians 4:4) and ""For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come into the light, lest his works should be exposed." (John 3:20).

Yet, there are those who see the light and do a nose dive toward it like a moth to a flame. Th…

1 Peter 1- 2 Peter 2- Stand firm in your faith!

Again, in our reading this week, God uses his word to be encouraging during these uncertain times!

"Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.  Be alert and of sober mind.  Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.  Resist him, standing firm in the faith because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings."  (1 Peter 5:7-9)

Isn't that the truth! I was on a Zoom talk yesterday with missionary friends who live in Germany.  They described their lockdown being very similar to ours here in the USA.  Likewise, some missionary friends in Spain have been experiencing the same kind of "suffering".   Praise the Lord, these friends, have cast all their anxiety on God.  They stand firm in their faith!

What I love about the above verse is that it not only gives encouragement, it gives an action step.  I don't like just sitting back, doing nothing in times of…

Hebrews 12 -James 5- Have you been boasting about tomorrow?

With the lockdown of the country and the unknowns on how and when it will "open up", it's near impossible to "boast about tomorrow", wouldn't you agree?!
This situation we are in sure made James 4 stand out to me! "Now listen, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money." Why you don't even know what will happen tomorrow.  What is your life?.....all such boasting is evil." (James 4 13-17)

Could God be using this virus to remind us not to boast about our plans?
Well, I am a planner!  I love to think of the next adventure and do what I need to do to make it happen. God has definitely put a reality check on me! Reading James, I was asking myself, have I left God out of my plans?
I like what Francis Chan says about this passage.  "There are two issues here (in this scripture). One is the sovereignty of God and secondly is our submission to God."

I have u…

Hebrews 5-11- Encourage each other to persevere! He rose, and he's coming back!

Happy Easter!!

I can't believe the perfect timing of reading Hebrews as we celebrate our risen King this Easter Day!!  Did you see how the writer of Hebrews basically hit every point and reason, we celebrate today?!

He described how we need a mediator before our Holy God.  Jesus is that mediator! "He became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him and was designated by God to be high priest in the order of Melchizedek." (5:9-10, 6:20 7:24)"He sacrificed for their sins once for all when he offered himself." (7:27)And our Friday reading!! Yes! "Just as people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many." (Hebrews 9: 27)And the spot-on verse that declares Jesus is ruling right now!! "But when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, and since that time he waits for his enemies to be made his footstool.  For …

Titus 2- Hebrews 4- Are you eager to do what is good?

Well, Titus 3 sure stood out to me this week! “Remind people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good, to slander no one, to be peaceful and considerate, and always to be gentle towards everyone.” (vs.1)

I have been reminding my adult kids often about being subject to the authorities. Obeying the new rules of social distancing and staying home has been hard on them!

Fortunately, for believers, the directives Paul gave to Titus, especially “to be self-controlled” (2:5, 2:6   & 2:12) is doable because we have the Holy Spirit to help us! I love Titus 2:11-14, “For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness andworldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope – the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to pu…

1 Timothy 5- Titus 1- Keep reading! It will prepare you!

There was a verse that stood out to me this week that caused me to reflect back on a conversation with a friend who was disappointed at the reputation of Christians as a whole "the church".  She felt that if the church worded things better, or had more tolerance of other people, we, as a whole would have a better standing in society.

First of all, when someone starts to say anything in the form of a blanket statement against the church, I bristle. Why would I bristle?  Because the Bible tells us that we, the church, are the body of Jesus! (Rom 12:4-5,1 Corinthians 12:12, 27, Eph. 5:30, Col. 1:18, 24, to name a few).

So, for one to say they don't like "the church", they are grouping every Christian around the globe, basically stating they don't like Jesus!  Right?  After all, we are like the body of Christ!  And here is something to think about, God loves his church like a husband loves his bride!  And like a husband, God will defend the honor of his bride.…

2 Thessalonians 1- 1 Timothy 4- If it doesn't sound right, take time to figure it out!

One week of "lockdown" complete!
How is your daily Bible reading coming along?  Do you have more time to read now that everything has been canceled? I would love to hear what has stood out to you in the reading!

On Friday, a distant friend called to check to see how I was doing with the new way of life due to the coronavirus.  She was busy watching her granddaughter and was also listing her concerns with other family members and how she was helping them. She ended with, "I hope the man upstairs sees how hard I am trying to help everyone and gives me extra credit for it, and lets me in!"

Well...that's not exactly how it works...but I didn't feel it was the time to get into a theological discussion, so we signed off with love and good tidings. However, I was left reviewing in my head that nothing we "do" will earn our entrance into heaven, except the "doing" of having faith in Jesus and what he did on the cross.  That's it!  Everythi…

Colossians 3- 1 Thessalonians 5- This is a long one if you are interested in going deep! :)

Was your church service canceled today? If so, maybe, like our church, you can watch your service online.  And since you may have a lot of extra time on your hands, now that much of your busy schedule has been wiped clean, you can watch some interesting videos that I will be including in this blog!

I find it so interesting when God seems to talk to me using a theme that keeps coming up in my daily reading and continues in other areas as well (i.e. YouTube).

It was recommended to me that I should watch a movie called, "American Gospel: Christ Alone"
I did not see the whole movie, which is 2 hours, but I watched a one hour version that was very interesting.  It's a documentary critiquing how the Gospel in America has been diluted down or even lost in the teaching of prosperity or morality.  It's definitely worth watching so here is the link:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ocHm18wUAGU&t=2747s

I found it interesting that one of the pastors on the film said his goal wa…

Ephesians 6 - Colossians 2- Keep looking ahead!!

We are flying through the letters now!!
There is so much to comment on!  I would love to hear what is standing out to you!  Please share in the comment section!

For me..something I read on Friday stood out.  When Paul was writing to the Philippians he was talking about those that are enemies of the cross. "Their mind is set on earthly things."(3:19)  That was a convicting statement!! What is my mind set on?  What do I think about the most?

I love how Paul refocused me!  "But our citizenship is in heaven.  And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body." (3:20-21)

Again, I am asking myself questions...do I eagerly await the Savior?  Why not?  Why do I keep getting caught up with the hear and now? Why don't I keep that heavenly perspective?
Our reading this week was as if God was trying to remind …

Galatians 5- Ephesians 4- We can be strong with His power!

In light of what I commented on last week, it doesn’t surprise me that the verse below stood out to me this week.
“I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.” (Eph. 3:16).

The Holy Spirit will strengthen our “inner”being.

I liked reading that!! I often feel very weak physically but more often, I feel very weak with things like self control, patience, trust, you know, those inner things. I know what to do to improve my physical weakness; eat right, exercise, get rest.....but how do I fix the inner weaknesses? Paul gives such hope with his prayer for us! By the power of the Holy Spirit, I can have power over those inner weaknesses!

Like I mentioned last week, we are not guaranteed a life without physical ailments or healing from those ailments, but Paul encourages us with something very special! He reminds us that by the Spirit’s will, we are strengthened in our in…

2 Corinthians 11- Galatians 4- Watch out for false teaching!

A friend of mine has alerted me to a teaching that is occurring in a particular Christian church right now that, to me, sounds dangerously false.  Jesus warns us to watch out for false teachers (Matt.7:15), so I thought I would bring this to your attention, least you get "taken in" by something that sounds so good.  Our reading this week reminded me of the truth, so I thought this would be a good time to explain the false teaching I heard.

Here it is.
Bill Johnson, who pastors Bethel Church in Redding, California, has a particular theology that goes against traditional Christian theology.  (Right there, people's warning flags should go up when being introduced to his teaching.)  It's been dubbed "Jesus Christ is perfect theology". Doesn't that sound good and right? Well, he makes a jump from there that is WAY off! This theology claims that it is always God's will to heal someone. Wow!! How did he get there?

This is a quote from him, "How can G…

2 Corinthians 4- 10- This was a mixed audience!!

I don't know about you, but my discovery last week, helped me better understand the reading this week! Remembering that the group that made up the Corinthian church was a mixed group of believers and "not quite believers yet" helped me to understand why Paul had to explain why a Christian no longer lives for themselves (5:15), why he had to explain why he does what he does (6: 6-12) and why he was concerned about the monetary gift they had promised to collect and give for the Christians in Jerusalem (8:8).

This clears up a lot of questions for me, because if he was talking to only 'true followers', the things he was saying would be really strange!   After all, like Paul says, "if anyone is in Christ the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!" (5:17").  It would be the desire of a true follower to, "purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God." (7:1).

1 Cor. 13- 2 Cor.3- "In part"?...wait...what?

Here are some verses that I have read several times before but brushed over without much thought:

"For we do not write you anything you cannot read or understand.  And I hope that, as you have come to understand us in part, you will come to understand fully that you can boast of us just as we will boast of you in the day of the Lord Jesus." (2 Cor. 1:13-14).

This time, reading those verses I stopped and thought....what on earth is Paul saying??  That was confusing! We can understand, but we only get part of what he is saying?  We won't fully understand everything until Jesus comes back?  I don't get it.  Why would he say he doesn't write things that can not be understood?  In other words, he just got finished saying everything IS understandable.  Well, I needed help in trying to figure out what Paul was meaning.  So, I turned to some commentaries.

I  praise God for the people who have spent a lifetime studying the Bible and then took the time to write down what…

1 Corinthians 6-12- Keep Jesus the Reason You Do the Things You Do.

Paul really stuck to a theme in these chapters!  I sum it up as, "Keep Jesus as the reason you do the things you do!"  Unfortunately, we have a sneaky little "self" that always wants to get into the position as to why we do the things we do, wouldn't you agree?  I guess that can be called our "sin nature", always putting ourselves first. So, Paul uses many examples to remind us to do things with Jesus being the reason for our actions.

Starting with Paul's talk on lawsuits, he asks, "Why not rather be wronged?  Why not rather be cheated?" (6:7)  Because I want to defend my honor, my pride, my rights, that's why!!  Those reasons all describe putting oneself as the reason for what you do.  Paul is reminding us that God wants to be the reason.  He can fight battles for us, we don't need to do it. (Exodus 14:14, 2 Chron 20:17, Rom. 8:31, Isaiah 13:5)

Then Paul talks about our position in life, i.e. married, single. Paul says to opera…

Romans 15-1 Cor. 5- God is talking to you!!

I feel a stirring.......I want more people to read their Bibles on their own.....What would you want me to do about that, Lord?  Should I start a "Community Bible Reading Study", like a book club?  I can't do that!  I am not gifted at teaching!....I've never done it......

These are the thoughts going through my head these days when I get up to do my reading.  Again, it's like God is answering my private thoughts and questions with his Word, as I simply keep going in my daily reading.

This is what I was reading this week, "When I (Paul) came to you, I did not come with eloquence or human wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God....I came to you in weakness with great fear and trembling." (That would be me!) "My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit's power, so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God's power." (1Cor. 2: 1-5)

It was like God…

Romans 8-14-God’s word will speak to you directly.

God's word speaks to me and I am so encouraged!!!  I am so glad I read every day!  If I didn't I would miss out on God directly encouraging me!!!
Let me explain.

Monday I read, "No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us." (8:37). This was where Paul was talking about how nothing can separate us from the love of Christ.  No battle that we engage in will separate us from God.  We are on the winning team!  Those are very encouraging words!!  So off I go on my week.....I'm encouraged to battle for the Lord!

As you know, I work in the pro-life movement.  I got an opportunity to speak at a high school group this week, sharing what I do at the Pregnancy Resource Center (PRC).  In that talk I gave abortion statistics, so the magnitude of the problem was made fresh in my mind.

Coincidently, I received an email this week from a statistic gatherer who said that Planned Parenthoods latest reports show that "it committed more abortions…

Romans 1-7- Life is like being on a teeter-totter!

We are in a new book!!  I love Romans because it is so black and white!!  It's the whole gospel summed up in a couple of chapters.  We are all sinners deserving death (ch. 1), God through his kindness wants to draw us to him (ch. 2), and we only need to fully believe this fact, that has been demonstrated through Christ (ch. 3), to have peace with Him (ch.5).

I have often heard people ask what one book would they use to explain Jesus to nonbelievers.  The book of John is many people's choice, maybe to get people acquainted with Jesus. However, I think my choice would be to start with  Romans.  For a Gentile (that's us), Romans helps us understand the need for a Savior.  Our culture has lost sight of the fact that we are sinful.  Our culture says, "There is nothing wrong with you! Your truth is your truth.  There is no absolute truth, therefore no one can tell you that you are wrong (or sinful)."

Well, Paul laid it out clearly in chapters 1-3, didn't he?!!  Th…

Acts 25-28- Happy New Year!!!

I hope you enjoyed celebrating Christ's birth and ringing in the New Year! I also hope that the break didn't throw you off from the good habit of reading the Bible every day.  Maybe you jumped to other parts of the Bible during the break like I did.  I ventured into Proverbs and was inspired to pray for wisdom again!!  I can always use more of God's wisdom, that's for sure!!

So this week we read only three chapters.  I was struck by what Jesus said to Paul, which I feel can be applied to all Christians. "I am sending you to them to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me." (Acts 26:17b-18)

What a powerful verse!! If Christians truly believed that all are under the power of Satan, wouldn't we all want to play a role in turning our loved ones to God so that they may have a place among those who are sanctified…