Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Bible in 90 Days - Final Thoughts

When I first announced that I was going to read the entire Bible in 90 days, most people asked why I would read it so quickly. If I was asked that question again today, I would offer the same explanation. Reading many pages each day puts God and our relationship with Him into perspective. It makes it easier to see what is really important in life, what God values and wants from each one of His children.

I realized a few things as I read. First, God loves every single human being more than I can imagine. He loves you and me and everyone else with an infinite love, regardless of the positive or negative choices we've made in the past and continue to make day by day. In numerous ways, God calls people to Him so that He can give us life. This calling doesn't happen once and if rejected, never again. So many stories in the Bible show God calling people back to Him over and over and over again. He allows our choices to play out so that we can see that God's way is better. But in our misery or in our joy, God continues to call us back to Him.

I also learned that my relationship with God is based on my heart, not on my actions. Many texts, especially in the gospels, address the need for a clean heart, a pure heart, an undefiled heart. By spending time with God in prayer and in Bible study, I can become more like Him. When my heart becomes more like God's, my actions reflect what's on my heart. This is where keeping the commandments comes into play, honoring God with my actions because my heart is like His. I can't earn my way into heaven or God's favor. That's not what He wants from me. Instead, He desires my love and that my love would translate into actions.

Another glaring realization is that my priorities need to be rearranged. Life is not about having fun, following my own pleasures and enjoyments. Instead, I need to learn more about God, become more like Him, minister to my husband and to all the people I come in contact with. By doing this, I can be a great witness to the love of God. By loving like God loves, I can show people that I serve an awesome God and hopefully they will want to know more.

The last thing I learned is that both myself and often the Christian church in general places too much of an emphasis on the things of life that aren't that important. I have judged people on their appearance, criticized them for lifestyle choices, and felt superior because I "know more" or am "farther on my Christian walk" than someone else. However, wearing jewelry, eating meat, and watching movies, all these different lifestyle choices, are a choice and a conviction between an individual and God. It is not up to me or any church to dictate how someone lives their life.

As an individual and as a collective Christian family, we need to focus on the greatest two commandments - loving God and loving other people. This is the greatest joy and responsibility we have. This should be our focus every minute of every day. After all, a Christian is someone who takes on the ministry of Christ. Loving others. Pointing the way to God.

I would recommend reading the Bible in 90 days to everyone who would possibly be interested. It has opened my mind to new ideas and a new way of thinking. It really is a life changing experience and offers a unique perspective of God, His children, and our relationship to both.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Bible in 90 Days - Day 87 & 88

I have finished reading through the Bible! I was planning on finishing tomorrow, but then I looked at the chapters that were scheduled. Day 87 covers Jude through Revelation 17. As Revelation is only 22 chapters, I decided to go ahead and finish.

It feels great. I have thoughts, but I'm going to post on Wednesday about the entire experience. It was a blessed one!

I marked several great promises in Jude and Revelation.

Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy,

To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen

Jude 1:24-25.

Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.

To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne

Revelation 3:20-21.

Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created
Revelation 4:11.

I especially love this last verse. This is talking about Christ, as He was the one who created all things. He is worthy to receive glory and honor and power. Why? Many reasons, but also for the one listed here. Christ is our creator. He provides life for every living thing. And I really like the last part of the verse. For Christ's pleasure I exist and I was created. Christ created ME for His own pleasure. I can't help but want to praise Him and serve Him in every way I can.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Bible in 90 Days - Day 86

Two days left. Only Jude and Revelation left to read.

Today's reading covered 1 & 2 Peter, 1, 2, & 3 John. I marked another wonderful promise. I really do think that there are many beautiful promises in the Bible if we take the time to look for them.

Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.

Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is

1 John 3:1-2.

Praise the Lord. I can't wait to see God face to face, to really see Him as He is.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Bible in 90 Days - Day 85

Only three days left...

Before church this morning, I read Hebrews and James. Hebrews is a book I definitely need to study soon as it has a lot of information and guidance on Abba and Christ. I find the study of the sanctuary fascinating and much of the heavenly application is in Hebrews.

Wherefore in all things it behooved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people.

For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succor them that are tempted

Hebrews 2:17-18.

These two verses tell me that Christ wanted to be made like us so that He would understand what we struggle with. Christ was tempted, the most famous temptations being those in the wilderness immediately after His baptism. Because Christ was tempted and overcome, He is able to succor (come to the rescue, aid, help) us deal with our temptations.

Along that same vein of thought:

Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession.

For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.

Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need

Hebrews 4:14-16.

Because we have a High Priest who was tempted like we are, we can boldly come to the throne to find mercy, grace, and help whenever we need it. Praise the Lord! He is very good.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Bible in 90 Days - Day 84

4 days left.

This morning I read 1 & 2 Thessalonians, 1 & 2 Timothy, Titus, and Philemon. It was enjoyable reading and there was a lot of really good instruction included.

One of my struggles, as I mentioned fairly early in this challenge, is the idea of perfection being required by God. I've been assured by several people, including two pastors, that the idea of perfection is not about sinlessness but about love. I still need to do an in depth study for myself, but today I found two really powerful passages about that topic.

And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you:

To the end he may establish your hearts unblamable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints

1 Thessalonians 3:12-13.

But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.

Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses

1 Timothy 6:11-12.

Maybe it's really not about doing all the right things, but instead about loving everyone as Christ loves me. When I love people, I will desire their good and try not to hurt them. I think that is where works comes into play, but only as an outpouring of love. I think the focus should be on love. Love God. Love your neighbor. The rest will follow naturally.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Bible in 90 Days - Day 83

5 days left.

Today I read Ephesians, Philippians, and Colossians. There were a lot of really good verses in those three books.

This was my favorite passage:

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:

According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:

Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,

To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.

In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;

Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence;

Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself:

That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him:

In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:

That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ

Ephesians 1:3-12.

It is long, but speaks volumes. To God be the glory!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Bible in 90 Days - Day 82

Six days left.

Today's reading covered all of 2 Corinthians and Galatians. In 2 Corinthians, Paul offered an appeal.

(For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succored thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation)
2 Corinthians 6:2.

Now is the day of salvation. Not yesterday. Not tomorrow. Not next month. Not next year. Today is the day to decide that God's way is right. Today is the day to accept His offer of eternal life. Now is the accepted time. Now is the day of salvation. Embrace it.

And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father
Galatians 4:6.

Abba, Father. Change me. Make me like You. Show me Your glory.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

What's On My Nighstand - March

5 Minutes for Books
I haven't been reading much lately. Once I started having more energy after being sick (for over three weeks!), my reading dropped dramatically. The cleaning and most of the cooking fell by the wayside while I was sick and now I feel a desperate need to catch up.

With that said... I'm going to keep my reading list short this month. If I get to each book, great. If not, that's okay. The library will carry them again next month. I tell myself that but I also feel compelled to finish every book on my shelf...

Emma, by Jane Austen - I'm half way through this book, reading it for the first time. Pride and Prejudice is better, though I am enjoying Emma.

Beguiled, by Deeanne Gist and J. Mark Bertrand - I received a review copy of this book and really need to get it read and post a review on my blog. I think I've read almost every book that Gist has published thus far and am looking forward to reading this one.

The Rewards of Simplicity, by Chuck Pierce - Another review copy that I really need to read soon.

My Life in France, by Julia Child - I believe this was on my list last month but I've only just started it. I need to finish this one shortly as it's due back at the library in a little over a week.

And that's it for my list. My priorities right now are spring cleaning our entire apartment, trying out new vegan recipes, and learning Japanese. Finishing the Bible in 90 Days project is in a category of its own and will be finished next Tuesday. Maybe my reading list will be more intensive in April.

Bible in 90 Days - Day 81

I'm not reading exactly what the schedule calls for as I want to read entire books in one sitting if at all possible. Today, instead of reading 1 Corinthians 1 through 14, I read the entire book. It only adds a couple of chapters but I feel like I'm getting the entire context.

I marked another promise that is really encouraging to me.

There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it
1 Corinthians 10:13.

This text tells me that I am not alone in my struggles. First, other people experience some of the same issues that I fight with. Second, Abba is not going to allow me to be tempted more than I can handle with His help. When temptations come, Abba provides a way of escape.

Too many times, I fight with temptations and fall. I need to keep my eyes on Him and He will provide a way for me to escape the temptations. All I need to do is ask.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Bible in 90 Days - Day 80

Today's reading schedule covered Romans 1 through 14. Romans is only 16 chapters so I decided to read the entire book. It took me exactly one hour, and that included a five minute stop where I discussed the idea of stumbling blocks vs. love with my husband. I think I've reached a better understanding of that topic but I will wait to see if the rest of the New Testament has anything further to say.

When I started reading, I immediately found a text that is a wonderful promise.

For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.

For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith

Romans 1:16-17.

Where is the righteousness of God revealed? Not in works. Not in our actions, much as we love to believe that our good works will earn us entrance to heaven. The righteousness of God is revealed in the gospel of Christ. Amen!

I also came across another of my favorite promises:

For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.

The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:

And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together

Romans 8:15-17.

There are so many promises and assurances in these three verses. My favorite is the word "Abba." In the Aramaic, this word literally means "my father." This is the term Christ used as He was praying in Gethsemane.

And he said, Abba, Father, all things are possible unto thee; take away this cup from me: nevertheless not what I will, but what thou wilt
Mark 14:36.

Matthew Henry's Commentary on the Whole Bible says this about the word Abba: "It denotes an affectionate endearing importunity, and a believing stress laid upon the relation. Little children, begging of their parents, can say little but Father, Father, and that is rhetoric enough."

There are two terms used in both Romans 8:15 and Mark 14:36, "Abba" and "Father." Abba is Aramaic for "my Father," which is what the Jews call God the Father. "Father" is actually the Greek word "pater." Why are there two different words for God the Father in one verse? Matthew Henry writes that "it also denotes that the adoption is common both to Jews and Gentiles: the Jews call him Abba in their language, the Greeks may call him patēr in their language; for in Christ Jesus there is neither Greek nor Jew."

And in Romans, we are given the ability to call God the Father by the same term that Christ used. Even though I am struggle with sin, I can have a very close relationship with Abba. That's amazing!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Bible in 90 Days - Day 79

Today's reading was Acts 17 through 28. Paul was certainly blessed and saved from many dangers. He was saved from being persecuted by the Jews because he was a Roman. He survived a shipwreck, a storm, and a poisonous snake bite. And this was all in quick succession!

I don't have any stories of God saving me from death by persecution or disaster. But I do have other practical stories of how God has led in my life. One of the clearest examples is how I've been in five car accidents and only have a twinge in my shoulder because of it. I was protected in each car accident when the other drivers were not paying attention.

Also, last year both my husband and I were out of work for six months. In that time, we had a bit of help from family members and very small unemployment checks. That income did not add up to our expenses/bills/debt payment. And yet we were able to pay tithe and pay every single bill that was due during that six month period. On time. It was a miracle because no accountant could have made that situation work.

God is very, very good. We just have to open our eyes and see it.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Bible in 90 Days - Day 78

Today's reading, Acts 7 through 16, provoked wonder and some questions. It's amazing how people responded to the preaching of the disciples. Thousands were saved in one day! What was it about their preaching that was so on fire? Was it their conviction in what they had seen and knew about Christ? Was it their preaching style? The simplicity of the message? Or was it that their faith combined with the Holy Spirit was convicting people of the truth about Christ?

I also have a question about a text. I can't build doctrine on only one text, but this is the first time in this read-through that I'm seeing this idea.

And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed
Acts 13:48.

My first thought is that I'm not understanding King James' Version of this text and that I need to look it up in another translation.

When the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and honored the word of the Lord; and all who were appointed for eternal life believed. - NIV

When the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord; and as many as had been appointed to eternal life believed. - NASB

When the Gentiles heard this, they were very glad and thanked the Lord for his message; and all who were chosen for eternal life became believers. - NLT

Nope, they all say the same thing.

The simplest explanation is that every single person who heard the message believed. Everyone is chosen. But I'm not sure that is what this text says.

I am reminded of this text, from the mouth of Christ:

For many are called, but few are chosen
Matthew 22:14.

I will definitely need to study this further.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Bible in 90 Days - Day 77

Today I read John 16 through Acts 6. I love the book of John and am really disappointed that I'm already done reading it.

Jesus' love amazes me.

When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son!

Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother! And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home

John 19:26-27.

While Jesus was dying on the cross, He thought of others. He forgave the thief for his sin. He placed His mother in John's care. He prayed for the forgiveness of the officers who were crucifying Him.

If I was undergoing difficulties, would my first thought be for someone else? Based on past experience, no. I want that pure love that Christ had for everyone around Him. "Amazing love! How can it be that You, my King, should die for me."

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Bible in 90 Days - Day 76

Today's reading covers John 6 through 15. There was so much in these chapters that I felt like I was missing most of it by reading so quickly. Maybe after I'm finished with this reading plan I will study the gospels for a quarter. That's an idea that definitely appeals to me.

Christ is so important. He is our connection to our Father. He is the giver of life. He is the Creator. The Saviour. The law-giver.

Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.

I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing

John 15:4-5.

These two verses are packed with information and guidance. Christ instructs us to abide in Him. Not only that, but He will abide in us. A vine gives nutrients and life to its branches. Christ gives us instruction and life. If I abide in Him, I will bring forth much fruit.

What is the fruit?

That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ.

Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God

Philippians 1:10-11.

Christ gives us fruits of righteousness if we abide in Him. This is important because it offers glory and praise to the Father. Amen!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Bible in 90 Days - Day 75

I didn't get to read this morning, as I received a message from my brother immediately after I got out of bed. He was coming through town to pick up his daughter and wanted to know if I was interested in joining them for the morning and lunch. Yes! So I completed my Bible reading shortly upon returning home this afternoon.

The reading covered Luke 21 through John 5. I love John. It's my favorite gospel. I feel John is packed with great advice, information about Christ, and motivational verses. John even starts out wonderfully.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

The same was in the beginning with God.

All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.

In him was life; and the life was the light of men

John 1:1-4.

And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth
John 1:14.

This tells us that the Word is Christ. He existed in the beginning and is God. Christ created the world and formed Adam with His own two hands. For some reason, this makes the creation story so much more personal. Jesus Christ, the one who offered up His life for me, created cats and trees and water and whales and MAN. Not only did Christ create us, He is life. He is our life source. My overwhelming response is gratitude. What an amazing gift.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Bible in 90 Days - Day 74

Today I covered Luke 10 through 20. I challenged myself to keep my eyes on Christ, to focus on what He was saying and doing. I had to remind myself several times to focus on Christ but the reading went well.

I marked one passage during my reading.

If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?
Luke 11:13

For some reason, I only knew this passage as it is worded in Matthew.

If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?
Matthew 7:11

The first part of each passage is identical. The second half is where they differ. Matthew says that my Father will give me "good things" if I ask. This is how I've always understood this promise. However, Luke says that my Father will give "the Holy Spirit" if I ask. Luke's version is so much more powerful. Good things are always a blessing. But the Holy Spirit being in my life is vitally important. This passage promises that I all I have to do is ask.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Bible in 90 Days - Day 73

This morning I read Luke 3 through 10. Only 15 days left to go. I'm starting to wonder what I'm going to do after this read through is complete. I've thought about repeating the 90 day program but I want to savor passages rather than speed read them. I'm afraid that if I don't plan my upcoming Bible study, I will flounder.

I don't have anything specific to say about today's reading. I just read with a sense of sadness that the gospels are such a short account of such an important life. Christ's life should span 1,000 books. We have that much to learn from Him.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Bible in 90 Days - Day 72

Today I finished Mark, reading Mark 10 through Luke 2. While Mark does cover a few details that the other gospels don't, there were no additional stories unique to Mark.

I noticed something today that made me very uncomfortable. As I was reading through the stories, I realized that I was concentrating on what other people were doing. For instance, in reading the story of Christ and the rich young ruler, I was focusing on the rich young ruler. In the story of Jesus and Caiaphas, I focused on Caiaphas and the false witnesses. While I believe there is much to learn from the stories of other human beings, my focus is in the wrong place.

The Bible is supposed to be a revelation of Jesus Christ and His Father. While reading it, I should be concentrating on what I can learn about God. Learning from the mistakes of others is beneficial. However, I want to be like God. In order to do that, I must study the character of God, His actions while on Earth, and how He deals with people. To become more like Christ, I must study Christ more than I study other sinful people.

I'm going to read the Bible again and intentionally direct my focus to God instead of people. I think I'll learn more that way.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Bible in 90 Days - Day 71

Today's reading covered Mark 1 through 9. So far, there is very little in Mark that is not covered in either Matthew or Luke. There is a parable of the growth of a seed, a sermon about evil coming from the heart, and two healings that are unique to Mark.

I've noticed in many of the healing miracles that Jesus is asking people to have faith before they are healed. He will ask them if they believe Jesus can heal them. Or He will ask them to rise up and walk. When the person makes the effort to rise, that is when they are healed. We can't just ask miracles of God without having faith that He will perform them. It is when we believe that we begin to see Him working in our lives.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Bible in 90 Days - Day 70

Today's scheduled reading covered Matthew 16 through 26 but I went ahead and finished the entire book. It's such a short account of 33.5 years of life, though the Old Testament covers much longer time periods in only a few short chapters. I recently finished reading a Holocaust memoir that only covered several years and it was longer than Matthew's telling of Christ's life.

I don't have any specific thoughts and I didn't mark any passages while reading. I'm glad that Christ came to live on earth for awhile but disappointed and saddened that He was killed. Why are human beings so threatened by anything different? We tend to live in our own little bubble, only socializing with people who agree with all of our religious and lifestyle beliefs. The Jewish leaders had their ideas of what it meant to be Jewish. Christ threatened their security. And for that they killed Him.

I don't want to get so zealous about minor issues that I fail to see the big picture. Christ criticized the Jewish leaders because they tithed mint but failed to grasp the ideas of judgment, faith, and mercy (Matthew 23:23). Tithing was and is important, but mercy is more important. It's important to have lifestyle standards like dress and food but even more important to love people. If your attitudes about what other people are wearing gets in the way of loving them, it's time to take a step back and analyze your religion. If my beliefs about food are causing me to judge others, I need to look at my priorities. People are more important than anything else and we are called to love.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Bible in 90 Days - Day 69

Today's reading covered Matthew 5 through 15. What spoke the most to me was this passage in Matthew 15.

Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying,

This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me.

But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men

Matthew 15:7-9.

This idea makes me a bit nervous. Christ is telling the scribes and Pharisees that while they think they are doing all the right things, they are actually being hypocrites. They are keeping the commandments, making up all these little rules for themselves that will make commandment keeping easier. But Christ calls their bluff. He tells them they are worshiping in vain because their hearts are not in the right place.

My church, like all churches, teaches that they are a commandment keeping church. They have guidelines that are supposed to keep people on the straight and narrow. Guidelines about jewelry, makeup, worship, music, food, etc. But if my heart isn't in Christ, my worship will be vain. I pray that God will keep my spirit teachable, that I will love Him and everyone else with the purest of intentions.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Bible in 90 Days - Day 68

Today I finished reading the Old Testament and started the New. Whew! That was a very fast trip through the first half of the Bible.

The chapters today covered Zechariah 11 through Matthew 4. Right away, I marked another Messianic prophecy.

And I said unto them, If ye think good, give me my price; and if not, forbear. So they weighed for my price thirty pieces of silver.

And the LORD said unto me, Cast it unto the potter: a goodly price that I was prised at of them. And I took the thirty pieces of silver, and cast them to the potter in the house of the LORD

Zechariah 11:12-13.

My study Bible has a footnote regarding this verse. Mosaic law dictated that when an ox killed a slave, the ox's owner was to pay the slave's owner thirty shekels of silver as a reimbursement for his loss (Exodus 21:32). According to Judas and the chief priests, Christ was worth only the price of a dead slave. How tragic that the King of everything was sold for the price of a dead slave. How could He be so devalued?

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Bible in 90 Days - Days 66 & 67

I was having problems with everything Google yesterday and that included the ability to log into my blog. Therefore, there was no post.

Between yesterday and today, I read Obadiah through Zechariah 10. Tomorrow I start reading the New Testament!

I marked down several more Messianic prophecies.

But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting
Micah 5:2.

Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass
Zechariah 9:9.

This last passage shows me what is really important to God.

Wherewith shall I come before the LORD, and bow myself before the high God? shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves of a year old?

Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams, or with ten thousands of rivers of oil? shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?

He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?

Micah 6:6-8.

God doesn't want thousands of burnt offerings or my first born child sacrificed on an altar to forgive my sins. What does He want? That I do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with Him. Such simple requirements but so hard to follow. I pray that God will give me a spirit that will want to follow Him.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Bible in 90 Days - Day 65

Today I read Joel and Amos. It's so cool being able to read multiple books all in one day. I know they are short, but still. It's an accomplishment.

I am noticing a theme across the Bible. I don't believe this is the only theme, but I think it's a major theme of the Bible. What is it? God loves us and keeps calling for us to return to Him. I know I've posted at least a few texts about God calling Israel back to Him, pleading with them to give up their stubborn ways and return to the life Giver.

Therefore also now, saith the LORD, turn ye even to me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning:

And rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the LORD your God: for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth him of the evil

Joel 2:12-13.

And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the LORD shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the LORD hath said, and in the remnant whom the LORD shall call
Joel 2:32.

No matter what Israel did, whether it was idolatry, murder, distrust, corrupt kings, sexual perversion... God called Israel back to Him. The people didn't always listen, but God kept calling. I know it is the same with us today. No matter what we've done, God keeps calling us back to Him so that we might have life. I hope we listen.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Bible in 90 Days - Day 64

I missed posting yesterday because I didn't remember until the evening and then I was so tired I crashed in bed. I did complete the reading, though.

Today I read Daniel 9 through the end of Hosea. This is the first time I've read through Hosea since reading Redeeming Love. That book really touched me so I was excited to read through Hosea, the story that inspired Redeeming Love.

It amazes me that God told Hosea to marry a prostitute who was still living in sin. I understand the symbolism. God wanted Israel to understand His love for them and illustrated it through Hosea and his wife. But Hosea's wife left him and went back to prostitution. God told Hosea to retrieve his wife from prostitution. Hosea paid for her to bring her back into his home (Hosea 3:2). He paid for his own wife to escape prostitution. That's how important it was to him.

I love the imagery in this verse:

Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground: for it is time to seek the LORD, till he come and rain righteousness upon you
Hosea 10:12.

I want to sow righteousness and reap mercy. It is time to seek the Lord until He comes and rains righteousness upon His people!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Free books to review?

I'm so excited! I've seen mention around the web about receiving free books if you publish a review on your blog. Bethany House, one of the Christian publishing houses, participates in this type of program. If I see a book at the library by Bethany House, chances are I'll enjoy it. So, I went to their website and filled out the form to be a book reviewer.

A few days later, I received an email stating that there were several nonfiction books eligible for book reviews. I chose one that sounded like something I would borrow from the library and read. The email said that requests will be filled as books are available, so I wasn't sure I would receive one.

My book came in the mail today! I'm going to be reading The Rewards of Simplicity: A Practical and Spiritual Approach. This is definitely something I would have chosen from the library and it also fulfills one of my 2010 reading challenges.

Now I need to read the book and write an honest review of it, discussing why I liked or disliked it. I'm really excited about both the book and the chance to review it.

Bible in 90 Days - Day 62

Today I completed Ezekiel. The schedule only had me reading through chapter 47, but I decided to read an extra chapter so I could finish the book. I found several texts that I want to study more in depth. Instead of posting them here, I want to discuss them with hubby to see if he can explain them.

I did find one text that reinforces the idea that a heart change comes before behavior modification.

For I will take you from among the heathen, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land.

Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you.

A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.

And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them

Ezekiel 36:24-27.

In these verses, God says that He will give us a new heart and His spirit. When that happens, we will walk in God's statutes, keep His judgments, and do them. That is powerful. It's not my determination that will cause me to keep God's commandments. Instead, I need to ask Him for a new heart, for His spirit in me. As a result of that new heart and His spirit, I will want and be able to follow God's laws out of love to Him and others around me.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Bible in 90 Days - Day 61

Today's reading covered Ezekiel 24 through 35. The only thought I have is about a text that addresses the character of God.

Therefore, O thou son of man, speak unto the house of Israel; Thus ye speak, saying, If our transgressions and our sins be upon us, and we pine away in them, how should we then live?

Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?

Ezekiel 33:10-11

So many people think that God is vindictive, that He takes delight in punishing people for their sins. But this text says that God has no pleasure in the death of the wicked. In fact, God pleads with people to abandon their wicked plans and actions so that they can live. God wants all people to live, not die because of their bad choices. The Bible is very clear in that.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Bible in 90 Days - Day 60

Two thirds complete! Today's reading covered Ezekiel 12 through 23. Ezekiel 18 had some interesting thoughts about sin. The Jews believed that the sins of the father affected the children. Christ addressed this during His time on Earth, but I didn't realize it was also discussed in the Old Testament.

God says about a faithful man and his son:

If he beget a son that is a robber, a shedder of blood, and that doeth the like to any one of these things,

And that doeth not any of those duties, but even hath eaten upon the mountains, and defiled his neighbour's wife,

Hath oppressed the poor and needy, hath spoiled by violence, hath not restored the pledge, and hath lifted up his eyes to the idols, hath committed abomination,

Hath given forth upon usury, and hath taken increase: shall he then live? he shall not live: he hath done all these abominations; he shall surely die; his blood shall be upon him

Ezekiel 18:10-13.

So, if a father is faithful and has a son who sins, that son will be held accountable for his own sins. BUT -

Now, lo, if he beget a son, that seeth all his father's sins which he hath done, and considereth, and doeth not such like,

That hath not eaten upon the mountains, neither hath lifted up his eyes to the idols of the house of Israel, hath not defiled his neighbour's wife,

Neither hath oppressed any, hath not withholden the pledge, neither hath spoiled by violence, but hath given his bread to the hungry, and hath covered the naked with a garment,

That hath taken off his hand from the poor, that hath not received usury nor increase, hath executed my judgments, hath walked in my statutes; he shall not die for the iniquity of his father, he shall surely live

Ezekiel 18:14-17.

So if the father sins and the son learns from those sins and decides not to repeat them, he lives. I find this very comforting, that a person will not be held responsible for the sins of their parents. On the other hand, a person can also not ride on the coattails of their parents and expect to get into heaven. It is all decided on an individual basis.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Bible in 90 Days - Day 59

I almost forgot about posting this evening. I really should write my thoughts immediately after reading instead of waiting until hours later.

This morning I read Lamentations and Ezekiel 1 through 12. I don't want to take things out of context, but I really hope this promise can be applied to me personally as well as having applied to Israel in the past.

And I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them an heart of flesh:

That they may walk in my statutes, and keep mine ordinances, and do them: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God

Ezekiel 11:19-20.

I've been praying lately that God will give me a new heart. This passage shows that the order of our spiritual walk is: 1 - A new heart. 2 - Keeping God's commandments. We don't keep God's commandments in order to gain a new heart. Instead, we can pray that God will give us a new heart so that we can keep His commandments. I think that order is very important because otherwise humans tend to focus on works and what we can do to earn our way into heaven. But we have it backwards. We can ask God for a new heart and that will enable us to keep His commands. It's much easier and keeps us from taking pride in our own accomplishments. All I have to do is ask.