Tag Archives: reading the Bible

Judges 17-18; What You Believe

What do you believe about God? On what or whom do you base your theology? Is it church doctrine? Are your beliefs based on the writings of a Bible scholar you like? A dynamic speaker, or your own pastor? Is what you believe about God based on your own thoughts and desires?

We read about Micah, his mom, and some Danite thugs, and they all seem to call on the God of their Fathers. But their religion cannot be described as one based on the Word of God.

The key to this account is the fact there was no king in Israel at the time. Everyone did as they felt was best for themselves. (18:1) So it was not unheard of that someone like Micah might fashion a religion to his own liking, one that appears to acknowledge God, yet in reality denies Him.

I am burdened for those here in 2017 who have fallen for the same deception as Micah did; religions that acknowledge God, or a higher power, or a supreme being, yet place idols around their homes and in their hearts. I am burdened for people who use God’s Holy Word as a suggestion rather than the complete and utter Truth.

Dear one, I would encourage us to put away the commentaries, the self-help books, the opinions of men and women for a while. Turn off the TV and radio, quit reading blogs, (including mine) and open up the Bible. Read it. Pray about it. Meditate on it. Open your heart and mind to the Holy Spirit. Let God speak to us through His Word, as He longs to do.

I’m not saying we should never read study guides and enrich our beliefs with the opinions of others. I hope you’ll come back to reading my blog after you’ve spent time in the Word.

But I am convinced we shouldn’t be reading those things until we are first and foremost firmly grounded in the Bible. If our theology isn’t based on the Truth of Scripture, with no add-ons or take-aways, then we have acted as though there is no King, and have fashioned a religion to our liking.

And that, my friend, is not a religion, or a belief system God will honor.

 

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Exodus 1-2 Gotcha

When Joseph brought his whole family – 70 people – to Egypt he did it to save them. He gave them the best land and provided for their every need. The Jews went right to work. They planted, cared for the king’s livestock, and they prospered.

Eventually, gradually, they went from being tenants and employees, to being slaves. And before too many years had passed, they found themselves subject to harsh task masters working for a king who only saw the dollar sign.

Their place of shelter and increase become their place of bondage.

This might be a picture of what happens when we get too comfortable, when our needs are met and we stop paying attention. Sometimes, even good activities begin to control us. We fill our days up with appointments and projects, sports and church activities, and we find less and less time to spend with the Lord. Before we know it, we’re a slave to our schedule, or to our job, or to someone other than God.

God is speaking today. I am reminded that He has commanded us to love Him above all else, and I believe that means making time with Him our priority. I believe that means cherishing and protecting our relationship with Him by being in His Word, and praying, by intentionally including Him in everything we do and say.

Jesus died so that we can live freely. Let’s not return to slavery by neglecting so great a salvation.

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

September 20 – You Want Me To Live Where?

Haggai

How much is enough? God, through Haggai, asks us to consider our ways:

You have sown much, but harvest little; you eat, but there is not enough to be satisfied; you drink, but there is not enough to become drunk; you put on clothing, but no one is warm enough; and he who earns, earns wages to put into a purse with holes. (1:6)

There seems to be two groups of people in our world today. One group works to get ahead, to buy the big houses, to drive the nice cars, to grow a portfolio. The other group wants what the first group has, feels entitled to it, and demands the first group hand it over.

They really aren’t so different, you know. One word can describe them both: MORE.

God told the people in Haggai’s day to rebuild the temple, His home on earth. And they do. But when it was finished God kind of said, “Seriously? Does this come close to the temple that was? You expect me to live here?” (2:3)

Got me to thinking about the temple called Connie. I’m a work in progress. But how much care am I putting into the building of this temple? How choosy am I as to what goes into it? Am I building a temple fit for a king, or a nice little tent that even I wouldn’t want to live in?

I know many of us have obligations and interested that pull us in many directions. We only have 24 hours in a day, right? Family, jobs, school, sports, cooking meals, and cleaning toilets are important things that demand our attention. So where does temple building come in?

Do we read the obligatory psalm at night when our bodies are weary and our thoughts are going in every which direction? Do we fall asleep during our nightly prayer? That’s like using cardboard to erect the frame of our temple. It’s cheap, and it won’t stand.

Building a temple fit for the King of Kings requires making it a priority. That means taking quality time with God every day. That means reading and studying His Word, talking to Him, including Him in every decision no matter how small.

Building a temple means turning off that questionable show on TV, shutting down the computer or phone, controlling our thought lives. It’s a choice to take time each and every day in the quiet Presence of God Himself.

Haggai has me asking myself if I am putting my efforts in things like he described in 1:6? Am I building a flimsy, ugly, neglected temple that I expect God to live in?

I do want the word, “More” to refer to me. But only in the sense that people will recognize I want more of God than I have today, I want to serve Him more, love Him more, spend more time with Him every day. And in doing so, I’ll be building a temple He will be pleased to inhabit.

I want God to live in me, and like it here!

July 20 – My Rock

Isaiah 23-27

Selling two homes, buying one, moving 600 miles away from family, packing boxes, moving vans, closings, finances, utilities. To say I’m feeling a little overwhelmed is an understatement. In the past two weeks I have contracts on my two condos, have gone through about twenty homes with my realtor, and put an offer on one. My head is spinning.

It’s times like this when I am reminded that, no matter how busy my life, no matter how many directions I am pulled, I need to protect my time in God’s Word. These intentional moments I spend with my Savior are really the most important part of every day.

Isaiah reminded me this morning to “Trust in the Lord forever, for on God the Lord, we have an everlasting Rock.” (26:4)

My footing right now feels unsteady. There are so many questions yet to be answered about this move. I may be stressed. But I have a Rock. I need but trust Him with today and eternity.

So with Isaiah I will pray “O Lord, You are my God; I will exalt You, I will give thanks to Your name; for You have worked wonders…”

He has. And He will.

June 1 -Go Ahead And Read It

Psalm 119:89-176

It makes me sad when I hear someone say they don’t read the Bible because it’s too hard to understand. To me that’s like saying, “I quit eating because I can’t read a recipe.” Or a baby saying, “When I try to walk I keep falling, so I just won’t walk.”

Your handwriting ability improved with practice. You most likely weren’t successful riding that bicycle the first time, either. I imagine you kept trying, didn’t you?

When you realize the God of the Universe wants you to spend time with Him in His Word, that He wrote it with you in mind, that He will give you understanding, you’ll also realize you have no excuse for not reading it.

Verse 174 says: I long for your salvation, O Lord, and Your law is my delight.

Reading the Bible doesn’t have to be like taking that awful spoonful of medicine. Reading the Bible can be something you take delight in! Look forward to. The best part of your day.

I’ve read this precious Book several times, and I can honestly say I learn something every time I open its pages. God didn’t give me the ability to understand everything the first time I read it. He hasn’t given me the ability to understand everything even yet. But He gives me understanding as I am ready to receive it, and at just the right time.

If you aren’t in the habit of reading the Bible, get it out. Go ahead and read it. Pray and ask God to give you understanding (something He is eager to do anyway), then read expecting to have Him open your eyes to exactly what He wants you to know today.

This is God’s love letter to you! Let Him help you understand what He’s done for you. Let Him reveal Himself in the pages you have in front of you. I pray that you will delight in reading and re-reading God’s Word.

Beginning today.

Jan 1 – Let’s Do It Again

Genesis 1-3

Another new year. Another opportunity to read through God’s Word. This year, I’ll be reading the NASB chronologically, and I am excited to see what God has for me to learn.

Today, as I read the first three chapters of Genesis I was impressed with how much God demonstrated His love for us during those first days of our existence. His thoughtful creation not only provides for our needs, it’s beautiful!

Tiny ladybugs to sturdy oaks. Changing seasons to twinkling stars. And in every detail we can see a God who lovingly created it all for us to use and enjoy.

God rested on the seventh day. Why? Did creating all this stuff tucker him out? Of course not. But God knew WE would get tired so He gave us the gift of a day off. And He showed us by example our need of rest. I love that!

Love is also demonstrated in the intimate way Eve was created from Adam’s rib, a bone that protected his heart. It’s such a beautiful picture of marriage, of love.

And even after they disobeyed, God Himself lovingly provided for Adam and Eve by clothing them, covering their nakedness, their sin, with the first blood sacrifice.

Reading the Bible reveals a God of love on every page. As I read from Genesis to Revelation in 2016 I want to recognize His love. I want to love Him more, serve Him better.

Will you join me? You may have read the Bible already. Maybe you just finished reading through the Bible in 2015. But let’s do it again. There is so much for us to learn, so many blessings God wants us to have.

I’ll continue to blog my thoughts, and I look forward to hearing from you. May God bless you in 2016 with a deeper relationship with Him, a burning love for Him, and a zeal to share Him with those around you.

Happy New Year, dear one. Let’s use it to read God’s Word each and every day!