Tag Archives: Bible study

Leviticus 24-25; A Sabbath Year

I wonder what it would be like if every seven years, the world went on vacation. No one worked. Not even soldiers in war zones. CEO’s would make no deals. Lawyers would argue no cases. Shops would close. Even policemen would stay home because thieves would take a break, too. For 365 days, everyone would stay home, love on their families, put the cares of the world aside.

Ain’t gonna happen.

But what if it did?

We would learn about the way God provides. We’d learn to give up a bit of control, trust more, worry less.

I wonder what it would be like if every seven days, the world went on vacation. Just 24 hours to worship God, to relax, to love on our families, to play. We are so busy, aren’t we? We fill up our days with good things, or we waste time on useless things. Even our thoughts race at 100 MPH much of the time.

God instructed His children to regularly take time off. Not to “find themselves.” But to find Him without the busyness of life.

I wonder what it would be like if just for one hour each day, the world would take that time off. Mini vacations spent with the Lord, basking in His light, loved on by the Savior, spending time with the God of Creation.

I wonder.

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December 31 – Worship

Revelation 19-22

I can hardly wait. John’s description of the last and best eternal worship service has my soul eagerly looking forward to being a part of it all. God, sitting on His throne right there in front of me. Me, a sinner in this lifetime, clothed in Jesus’ righteousness and bowing before my Holy God, holy myself because of His Son.

Angels and saints and hymns and psalms and joy and light and perfect love. Forever. No more tears. No more disease or heartache. Just me and Jesus (and a few million other souls washed by the blood of the Lamb) hanging out with the Father.

Holy! Holy! Holy! Worthy is the Lamb!

As I look forward to 2017, I want my life to be an act of worship. I don’t have to wait until I get to heaven. This same Jesus is worthy of my worship today. God is on His throne in all His majesty. And even though I can’t see them at the moment, they are as real as they’ll be when I get there.

I want my eternal worship of God to be a seamless transition from this life to the next, because I’ve learned to worship Him the way He deserves. He is Holy. He is Powerful, Almighty, Sovereign, Perfect, and full of love. I, who cannot look on His face in and of myself, can go boldly to Him because I have accepted His gift of grace through Jesus’ work on the cross. I can stand before Him, without any good thing in me, yet dressed in Jesus’ righteousness, holy because of Jesus, acceptable because of Jesus.

Holy God, I worship You. I adore You. I bow before You unworthy, yet made worthy, sinful, yet made sinless because of Jesus. I want to worship You today and every day in a way that pleases You, because You deserve it. Thank You for preparing a place for me to be with You forever. I worship You. I adore You.

_____________

Thank you for visiting my blog this past year. I hope that I was able to encourage you to read God’s Word every day, to cherish it, and learn from it. I hope your walk with the Lord is closer today than it was a year ago.

I have been reading through the Bible every year for several years now. But this year I found myself frustrated a bit with having to read so fast through these precious verses in order to finish Revelation by today. So I’m going to do things a bit differently next year.

I’ll begin tomorrow with Genesis 1:1. But I’m going to let God dictate how much I read of His Word every day. I want to devour each verse, to pray over it, meditate on it, learn from every sentence. My goal will not be to get through the whole book in a year, but to make this precious book more a part of me than it is today.

I don’t plan to share a post every day. I’ll let God nudge me in that area, too. But I will let you know what I’m learning and how I’m doing as I read the Bible slowly, intentionally, and carefully this year.

I hope you’ll open its pages every day, too. Let’s determine together to be children of God’s Word, and continue to let it guide and strengthen us to maturity.

God bless you in 2017, my friend.

Because He love us,

Connie

June 23 – The Bible

I Kings 12-14

How important is it that you spend time in God’s Word, that you read it, that you memorize it, and pray for understanding? I Kings 13 has that answer.

If you don’t know what God has said, you will believe anyone who says they’ve had a message from God. You’ll believe that preacher who uses verses to promote his lies. You’ll believe God gave someone an addendum to the Bible, and follow a new religion.

Now here is what God says about that. Just because someone says they’ve had a message from God doesn’t make it so. And if you believe the lie, you will be held accountable.

The prophet of God died because he fell for the lies of a false prophet. God didn’t overlook his disobedience, didn’t say his intentions were good, didn’t say he was sincere, or gave him a pass because he had followed God in the past.

And God won’t say that to any of us, either.

Many times in Scripture God has warned about false prophets. Do you know one when you hear one? They are out there. They are on our TV’s, in social media, they are bloggers, and some are standing behind pulpits in some of our churches.

You won’t recognize their lies if you don’t know Scripture. Don’t take anyone’s word for it, if you haven’t read it yourself. Don’t believe what I say, without reading the passages for yourself. Don’t assume your pastor is true to the Bible if you don’t know what the Bible says.

You have got to know God’s Word, the Scripture He inspired men to write so long ago. This Bible we hold in our hands is the only Truth that matters. Your life depends on your knowing it.

May 15 – The Deceiver

2 Samuel 13-15

Absalom, King David’s son, was pretty devious. First he plotted, then carried out his plan to kill Amnon. Then he decided to turn his attention to his dad. Absalom wanted to be king. And he could be patient.

He started by sitting at the city gate, greeting people as they entered. What a nice guy, they must have thought. Then Absalom began talking to them, listening to them, sympathizing with them.

Next, after he had gained their confidence, he began throwing out little suggestions to undermine David’s kingship. “Too bad I’m not judge, ” he told them. “I’d take care of things for you.”

Pretty soon, Absalom had a following. Then he made his move.

Satan uses those same tactics. He doesn’t always present himself with pitchfork in hand. In fact, he can be charming, intelligent, funny, and patient.

He’s a funny gay couple in your favorite sitcom. He’s a rationalization for a sin you’ve committed. He’s a look at someone else with whom you compare yourself and say, “I’m not as bad as she.” He’s a talk show host who promotes positive thinking, or a TV preacher who says you have power within you to get what you want. It’s the popular notion that you must put yourself first in order to be happy. It’s the pressure to tolerate false beliefs and sinful choices. It’s that “Don’t judge” abuse of His Word.

Satan has been called “the deceiver.” Do we recognize his tactics to take our eyes off Jesus, to doubt our faith, or compromise that which God wants us to hold firm? Let’s use Scripture as our plumb line, our rule book and guide. If what we hear doesn’t agree with the Bible (and not just a verse here and there) let’s reject it as an attempt by Satan to subtly win us to his side.

Father, I pray for your children. May we be grounded in Your Word, may we recognize the lies, and stand up for the Truth. Defeat Satan in our lives, in the lives of our loved ones, and in the world.

March 23 – Friday Night Lights and Monday Morning Grind

Joshua 1-4

I’m a band geek. I not only played clarinet in high school and college, I became a band director and spent fourteen years of my career helping kids to love making music, too.

One of my favorite memories is of high school football games and half-time shows. Every Friday, I would make sure my white bucks were polished, I’d fluff my plume, put on my blue and gold uniform, and tie my tie. I’d put that hat on my head, fasten my reed to the mouthpiece, then get in a straight line with my fellow band members.

We’d snap to attention at the director’s command. Then the whistle would blow and the drummers would pound out that cadence. We’d march, left, right, left, right, our arms snapping up on the first beat of every measure. Heads high, knees up, backs straight, we’d make our way toward the field, lights glaring and making the night come alive. Fans cheered with excitement. We were on the brink of something amazing.

I don’t care how many Friday nights I went through that routine, every time my heart would start pumping, my adrenaline would kick up a notch. My whole body would tingle with anticipation. I just new, every Friday night, something good was about to happen – and I was a part of it!

The Israelites were standing by the Jordan River. They could see the Promised Land from there. I think I can imagine their excitement.

I was struck by what Joshua said to the people in 3:5. “Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do wonders among you.”

And, if you read these chapters in Joshua, you know God did do a mighty wonder when He stopped the Jordan River from flowing so the Jews could cross into the land that had been promised them so long ago, on dry land!

God is asking me today if I approach my days like that. Do I anticipate that God is going to do wonders in my life every day? Do I take time to prepare myself for His blessings by praying, by reading His Word, by confessing sin? Do I fellowship with my amazing God before I take my first steps into my day?

Sometimes our days become a grind. Our routines anything but exciting. The cares of the day, the challenges of life are like weights on our shoulders. The Jews knew they were heading toward war when they crossed the Jordan. But I don’t think that stopped them from preparing themselves to witness God’s wonders even in their struggle. If we focus on the weight of our troubles, we can miss the blessings God showers on us every day.

I want to start my days in anticipation. God is doing a great work and I have the privilege of being a part of it. I might be facing some wars, some hardships, some grief. But I also walk with the God of miracles. That makes my heart pump, and my adrenaline kick up a notch.

“Consecrate yourself, Connie,” God seems to be saying. “You don’t want to miss what I have in store for you today!”

Who Wants To Be Considered A Slug?

Today is the birthdate of the US Marine Corps, and the anniversary of the day my Dad entered that branch of service. It must have been 1943 when Dad finally got to join the fight during WWII at the young age of 18.

Dad was proud to be a Marine, and toward the end of his life, talked about what it was like to train, and go to war. He would describe a group of fit, strong, active, and determined young men who were ready to battle 24/7. I don’t think you could be lazy and wear a Marine uniform.

Hebrews 6, and the memory of my father, challenged me today. The word “sluggish” got my attention because I am afraid that describes me too often. Sitting here this morning, I see dust on my baseboards, and a cobweb on my ceiling. I can sit in front of my computer, or the TV for hours instead of getting out to walk, or visit a friend. And that gets me thinking about my walk with the Lord.

That’s the topic the writer of Hebrews was addressing here in chapter 6. I wonder if there are cobwebs in my heart, the place I’ve invited my Savior to live. Are there opportunities to serve Him that I’ve missed because I’m slow to move?

For God is not unjust to forget your work and labor of love, which you have shown toward His Name, in that you have ministered to the saints, and do minister.” (verse 10)

Being a member of a Bible believing church fellowship means I have work to do for God’s kingdom. There are people associated with my church to pray for, to visit, to encourage, to rake leaves for or fix a meal for. There are people outside my church who need to know Jesus, who need to see Him in me. That can’t happen if I’m content to be a slug.

And who wants to be considered a slug?

I think of the training Dad endured on Parris Island, getting ready to go to war. It was hard. It was intense. It was constant. We need to prepare in such a way to do the things required of us as Christians, too. Oh, I don’t mean target shooting or running multiple miles with fifty pounds of equipment on our backs. But seriously spending time in God’s Word, searching, studying, praying, talking about it, questioning and not giving up until we find answers.

But all the training in the world is worthless unless we use it. Dad finished his boot camp, then went to war. We, too need to prepare – and go! Our world depends on us.

Being a Marine isn’t for the lazy or sluggish. And neither is being a Christian.

Our Heavenly Captain, Our Commander in Chief, we are soldiers (or Marines) in your army. May we be equipped for the battles ahead, may we be willing to serve at a moments notice. May we be intentional about our training in Your Word. And may we not hesitate when you call. Forgive our laziness. Make us fit and capable to do what you would have us do. No slugs here, Lord. We want to win this war!

Imbedded Truth

My Bible reading plan for 2015 had me in the first two chapters of Lamentations this morning. I realize that this book, like all the Old Testament, tells us what happened or was going to happen to the flesh and blood people of that day. I know the buildings were brick and mortar, the wars resulted in bloodshed, the famines were severe. Real people suffering real hardships in real time.

Then I turned to the third chapter of Titus where Paul says something I hadn’t seen before. He said to avoid genealogies because they are “unprofitable and useless.” (Titus 3:9 NKJV) I had to stop and think about that. I myself have researched our family tree. And I know, for a Jew at that time, tracing their ancestry was everything to them. Why would Paul say genealogy is useless?

First of all, I thank God for that truth! Many people still today want to give importance to the genealogy of the Jewish nation, and can point to verses to back them up. Others can point to verses that proclaim there is no difference between Jews, Greeks, men, women. I’m not here to dispute or agree with either belief. Because I think God would have us see a bigger truth.

Psalm 119:137 says:

Righteous are You, O Lord, and upright are your judgments.

I believe God would have us see Him and our world from His vantage point when we read His written Word. “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world. But that the world, through Him, might be saved.” (John 3:16-17)

Yes, the Bible is made up of the accounts of individual people, nations, and events. But the purpose of recording all of that is to show us Who God is, what He demands, the result of disobedience, and the love of God for each of us, a love that sent Him to Calvary. As we read the Old Testament we see over and over a God who is Holy, Almighty, Just, a God who demands obedience and punishes disobedience. In the New Testament we see the same God, and One who loves each of us so completely He paid what we could not pay, the debt of our sin. We need to see that today. And that’s why God inspired men to record the events we read here.

If we read the Bible as an historical account, or a mystery novel trying to figure out the end from the clues, we miss the big, most important picture. I think that’s why Paul said genealogy is unprofitable. It’s just not important in the light of eternity.

Dear God, thank you for your written Word. Thank you for the men and women whose lives we read about, people who followed you, people who didn’t, people who were blessed, and people who suffered the consequences of sin. Because through those lives you have painted a picture of my own life and relationship with You. Thank you for the accounts of the life of Jesus, for revealing the fact that He is the one and only Savior of all of mankind, and that His forgiveness is available to anyone who believes. I pray that none of us will miss the relevant Truth imbedded in each book of the Bible. And may we apply that Truth to our lives today.