Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Day 30, January 30 - Galatians 1

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Alas, one would think for $185 a night that would include WiFI, however, that is not the case. It can be yours for $12.95 more a night... so I'm tethering off my phone, which is now going very slow... so I will be brief... feel free to continuing sharing your great comments. I don't always comment back but I do read them and am blessed and encouraged by them.

Paul as in many of his letters wish the audience grace and peace.

I love the note (ESV Study Bible) that Galatians 1 refers back to in Romans 1:7:
Peace is not just the absence of conflict but echoes the Old Testament concept of shalom, where a person's life with God and with everything else is in ordered harmony, both physically and spiritually, and "all is well."

Grace is God's unmerited favor. We don't deserve it and we can't earn it, it just is.

May you remember God's grace in your life and experience His peace to it's fullest.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Day 29, January 29 - John 21

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I love the story of them going fishing and catching nothing all night, yet this guy on the beach (which they don't seem to realize is Jesus just yet) tells them to throw their nets over the side one more time. They obey and catch more fish than they can handle!

Isn't God like that so often? He ask us to do something and when we listen and obey he does so much more than we could anticipate.

I love the reminder that this Gospel (as well as the other I'm sure) doesn't tell everything that Jesus did. Can you imagine the stories that are to be told?!?!

I leave for a conference tomorrow. I should have internet access at the hotel, but on the chance there's a problem. I'm going to set the next several days to post with at least the link to the scriptures. Hopefully I'll be able to give my thoughts and feelings. If not, I hope to hear from you guys.


Monday, January 28, 2013

Day 28, January 28 - John 20

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I think my favorite section of this passage is verse 29 - Jesus said to him, "Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed."

We haven't seen Jesus the way the disciples did but that we have the scriptures as John wrote in verse 31 "but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name."

We have scripture to teach us about Jesus so we can believe.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Day 27, January 27 - Psalm 14 & 15

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Eternal One, who is invited to stay in Your dwelling?
Who is granted passage to Your holy mountain?

Here is the answer: The one who lives with integrity, does what is right, and speaks honestly with truth from the heart.

The One who doesn't speak evil against others or wrong his neighbor, or slander his friends.

The one who loathes the loathsome, honors those who fear the Eternal, and keeps all promises no matter the cost. The one who does not lend money with gain in mind and cannot be bought to harm an innocent name.

If you live this way, you will not be shaken and will live together with the Lord.

Psalm 15 The Voice

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Day 26, January 26 - Psalm 12, 13

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This year the devotional book I'm using is The One Year Book of Psalms. I loved the devotional thought for Psalm 13 here are some of the highlights. I hope they encourage you as much as they did me:

Dwelling in the Dust - Sermon by F.B. Meyer

He says there are 5 kinds of people who dwell in the dust:

  1. Those who feel forsaken by God
  2. Those who feel their prayers are going nowhere
  3. Those who are discouraged with life's possibilities
  4. Those who are going through difficult financial or physical stress
  5. Those who are stuck in a job or family situation they can't get out of
Meyer points out that in the first two verses David is complaining about his situation. In the next two he is praying and finally in the final two verses he is trusting and rejoicing. 

It is a reminder that it's okay to complain about our situations to God, but we need to move on to praying about them and rejoicing in God's goodness.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Day 25, January 25 - John 19

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There is much that can be said about this passage, but I think this Matt Papa video says it well.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Day 24, John 24 - John 18

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First thing I find interesting about this passage, is the statement that Judas procured a band of soldiers and officers from the chief priests (v3). I've missed that in past readings.

It also jumped out at me that Annas was not the high priest during that time, but his son-in-law Caiaphas was, yet Annas interviewed Jesus first. My ESV study Bible explained the reason as:
Under the Roman procurators three wealthy priestly families largely controlled the extremely important position of high priest. Annas was the patriarch of one of these powerful families of high priests. He served as high priest during A.D. 6-15, and the high priesthood was subsequently held by five of his sons, including his son-in-law Caiaphas. Annas's past stature merited his continued designation as "high priest" and even after his deposition he retained significant control over his family's exercise of this position.

Isn't it great that we now have Jesus as our High Priest and we don't have to worry about the corruption of a man as High Priest as we see in Annas and Caiaphas (and many others during history).

The other thing is the fact that one of the disciples (presumably John) was well known enough to Annas that he was allowed to enter the court with Jesus. (v15)

I appreciate Peter. In verse 10 he is cutting off the ear of a soldier and by verse 17 he denies that he's one of Jesus' disciples. How many times can I be bold in my faith at one moment and cower in the corner the next. But like Peter, God forgives me and restores me!

Sorry so lengthy today. (and that I'm late posting!)

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Day 22, January 22 - John 16

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Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away,the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you.
And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment:
concerning sin, because they do not believe in me;
10 concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no longer;
11 concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.
12 "I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now.
13 When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.
14 He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you.
15 All that the Father has is mine; therefore I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.

One of the things I like about John is his descriptions of the Holy Spirit. Here John teaches us that the Holy Spirit will be our guide into all truth. We also know that He glorifies Jesus. 

Monday, January 21, 2013

Day 21, January 21 - John 15

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The image of God as the vinedresser caring for the vines. When you think about how you care for vines (or any plant). You water it, fertilize it, and prune it so that it will eventually produce fruit.  That's what God does for us.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Day 20, January 20 - Psalm 10 & 11

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Psalm 10 points out the evil in the world and how it does seem to prosper for a time at least, but I love verse 16 - The Lord is King forever and ever, the nations perish from his land.
No matter what, God is King and that's not going to change.

Psalm 11 is a little more upbeat but not much, but again the Psalmist gives us hope - For the Lord is righteous; he loves righteous deeds; the upright shall behold his face.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Day 19, January 19 - Psalm 8 & 9

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When I gaze to the skies and meditate on Your creation - on the moon, stars and all You have made, I can't help but wonder why You care about mortals sons and daughters of men - specks of dust floating about the cosmos. (8:3,4)

It is so true when we look at all of God's creation you have to wonder why God cares for us, yet the truth is He does. This passage reminds me that there is a God that created everything we see, yet loves us personally and intimately.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Day 18, January 18 - John 14

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I love this chapter. From the opening where Jesus reminds us to not let our hearts be troubled. This was just hours before He endured a horrific beating and a painful death on a cross and He reminds us not to let our hearts be troubled.

This is also the passage where Jesus promises the Holy Spirit, our helper.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Day 17, January 17 - John 13

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The thing jumped out at me today. One in the story of Jesus washing the disciples' feet and Peter's response. (vv6-10). How often are we like Peter and don't want the help of others. I've always attended a small church where people are involved with each other. For example, when we had our first child the church planned to provide us meals. At first my husband was like, "No, I don't want them to do that. We can take care of it ourselves." Like Peter, I think it was a little bit of a pride issue. I reminded him, we need to let our brothers and sisters minister to us in this way. I think they brought food in the first week. I think if we would have asked them to bring food for us the first month it would have been like Peter saying "Wash me all Lord!" (the Holly paraphrase).

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Day 16, January 16 - John 12

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20 -Now among those who went up to worship at the feast were some Greeks.
21 -So these came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and asked him, "Sir, we wish to see Jesus."
22 -Philip went and told Andrew; Andrew and Philip went and told Jesus.
23 -And Jesus answered them, "The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.
24 -Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.
25 -Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.
26 -If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him.

The passage doesn't seem to indicates whether Jesus visited with the Greeks or not. The first thing that grabbed me was verse 26, about the Father honoring those who serve Jesus, but as I looked at the context and the imagery Jesus gives here it makes so much sense. This imagery would have made a lot of sense to the listeners. They understood the idea of planting a grain of wheat and when grows it produces so much more. It's that the same way for us, when we die to our bad habits, sins and the like we will bear much fruit.  

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Day 15, January 15 - John 11

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"I am the resurrection" those were Jesus' words to Martha. Jesus knew that Lazarus would die and he would raise him from the dead to show God's glory. Yet, He wept and was deeply troubled. (33, 35 and 38).  It showed not only his sorrow at the death of Lazarus as well as his sorrow for his friends' suffering. (ESV study Bible notes).  I like the way John showed us Jesus' humanity. He loved Lazarus and his sisters.

This passage reminds me of the humanity of Jesus and that He understands how I feel and hurt for lost loved ones.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Day 14, January 14 - John 10

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Jesus the good shepherd. I love verse 17 - Where Jesus says, "...I lay down my life that I may take it up again."
Jesus made the choice to die for us.
The whole imagery of Jesus as a shepherd is such a great one. When you think about how a shepherd would care for his sheep. He made sure they had food and water. A safe place to sleep and kept them from danger. Of course there's all the talk about how dumb sheep are and how the shepherd leads them every step of the way. So fits us!  And that's how Jesus wants us to live our life. Following His voice and allowing Him to lead us.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Day 13, January 13 - Psalm 7

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Please bring the evil actions of these wicked, wicked people to an end! But secure the righteous, For You, righteous God, examine our hearts and minds. (9 The Voice)

As I read through this verse especially, knowing that this was the author's prayer to God about his situation, I think about our world and how much evil there is in it today. And I'm reminded praying scriptures is a good thing. A very good thing.

I also love verse 10: God is my defender; He rescues those who have a pure heart.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Day 12, January 12, Psalm 5 & 6

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One of many favorite chapters.
I need to remember to make sure God hears my voice in the morning. So often it's a struggle for me to get out of bed.  (I'm not a morning person) but this chapter reminds me it's important to spend some time with the Lord first thing in the morning to set the stage for my day.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Day 11, January 11 - John 9

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I love the story of the blind man that was healed in this chapter. Once again, the Pharisees are upset because Jesus "worked" on the Sabbath.

I think the thing though that jumped out the most was verse 31. The ESV Study Bible included the cross references to the Psalms. Thankfully when we sin we can go to God and ask forgiveness.

31 We know that God does not listen to sinners, but if anyone is a worshiper of God and does his will, God listens to him.

Psalm 34:15 - The eyes of the LORD are toward the righteous and his ears toward their cry.

Psalm 66:18 - If I had cherished iniquity in my heart, the Lord would not have listened.

Psalm 109:7 - When he is tried, let him come forth guilty; let his prayer be counted as sin!

Psalm 145:19 - He fulfills the desire of those who fear him; he also hears their cry and saves them.

Thankfully we have 1 John 1:9 - If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Day 10, January 10, John 8

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So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, "If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." (31,32)

How many times have we heard "you will know the truth and the truth will set you free" but not verse 31, "If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples..." I think John is telling us if we don't spend time in God's Word you won't know the truth. 

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Day 9, January 9, John 7

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In this passage it is time for the Festival of Booths which was one of the important feasts that the Jews celebrated. It was in remembrance of their time in the desert where they lived in tents.  It was celebrated in September or October, two months prior to the Feast of Dedication. It is called the "Feast of Booths" because people live din leafy shelters to remember God's faithfulness to Israel during her wilderness wanderings (Lev. 23:42-43) It was also a time of celebration and thanksgiving for the harvest (Lev. 23:39-41; Deut. 16:13-15).

I love the part where the temple guards were sent to arrest Jesus, yet they returned empty handed. Their response: "No one ever spoke like this man." (46) Evidence when people listen to Jesus' words they see/hear the difference. The Pharisees wouldn't really listen to Jesus' words so they never completely understood, yet these temple guards did.

A reminder to us that we need to listen to Jesus' words with open minds and hearts and not be caught up in religious ideas and attitudes. (I'm speaking to me, if this fits you too great)

Have a blessed day

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Day 8, January 8 - John 6

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This is a big chapter full of so much. A couple of things that jumped out at me come from this passage:
Verse 14 - When the people saw the sign that he had done they said, "This is indeed the Prophet who is to come into the world!"
From the ESV Study Bible:
The people here see Jesus as fulfilling the prediction of a prophet like Moses who was promised in Deut. 18:15, 18.

and verse 51 - I am the living bread that came down from heaven..
From the ESV Study Bible:
The "bread" Jesus gives is his flesh (a reference to Jesus' death on the cross). Jesus' statement intermingles physical and spiritual truth. Jesus is not talking about literal "bread," but he is the true "living bread" in the sense that those who believe in him have their spiritual hunger satisfied.

There's so much here, I look forward to to seeing what you guys have to say.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Day 7, January 7 - John 5

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The fascinating story of Jesus healing the man by the Sheep Gate pool on the Sabbath. Which, of course, leads the Jewish Religious leaders to want to kill Jesus.

What can we learn about the nature of God throughout chapter 5?  Or anything else you'd like to share about this passage.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Day 6, January 6, Psalm 3 & 4

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There are some encouraging verses in these chapters:

I lie down at night and fall asleep. I awake in the morning - healthy, strong, vibrant - because the Eternal supports me. (3:5)

Tonight I will sleep securely on a bed of peace because I trust You, You alone, O Eternal One, will keep me safe. (4:8)

The devotional book I am using this year from the Psalms tells us about Psalm 3 -
In the 16th century the Huguenots of France were known for their Psalm singing. They sang when they ate, they sang when they worked, they sang when they worshipped. They even sang when they were persecuted and when they went into battle. ... Chanting Psalm 3 signaled danger. Whenever a Huguenot heard this Psalm, he knew an attack by the enemy was imminent.
The One Year Book of Psalms.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Day 5, January 5 - Psalm 1 & 2

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From The Voice:
Psalm 1:
God's blessings follow you and await you at every turn; when you don't follow the advice of those who delight in wicked schemes, When you avoid sin's highway, when judgment and sarcasm beckon you, but you refuse. (1)

You are like a tree, planted by flowing, cool streams of water that never run dry. Your fruit ripens in its time; your leaves never fade or curl in the summer sun. No matter what you do, you prosper.  (3)

I love the imagery in verse 3. We are a tree planted by a stream that never dries up. When you think about Jesus and the Samaritan Woman and Jesus talking about being living water and this passage it's a great reminder of what Jesus does for us.

Psalm 2:
There is only one God, the Eternal; worship Him with respect and awe; take delight in Him and tremble. Bow down before God's son. If you don't, you will face His anger and retribution, and you won't stand a chance. For it doesn't take long to kindle royal wrath, but blessings await all who trust in Him. They will find God a gentle refuge. (11, 12)

The picture of God as angry and royal wrath, yet blessings await all who trust in Him as well as a gentle refuge.  The contrast between an angry God and gentle refuge.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Day 4, January 4 - John 4

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Jesus and the Samaritan woman is a great story. A little background on Samaria:

For Jews in Israel, Samaria is a place to be avoided. Before Solomon's death 1,000 years earlier, the regions of Samaria and Judea were part of a united Israel. After the rebellion that divided the kingdom, Samaria became a hotbed of idol worship. The northern kings made alliances that corrupted the people by introducing foreign customs and strange gods. They even had the nerve to build a temple to the True God on Mt. Gerizim to rival the one in Jerusalem. By the time the twelve are traveling with Jesus, it has long been evident that the Samaritans have lost their way. By marrying outsiders, they have polluted the land. Israel's Jews consider them to be half-breeds, mongrels, and the Jews know to watch out for them or else be bitten by temptation. (The Voice p. 1293).

I love verses 39 - 42. Meanwhile, because one woman shared with her neighbors how Jesus exposed her past and present, the village of Sychar was transformed - Many Samaritans heard and believed. (39)... They began their faith journey because of the testimony of the woman beside the well; but when they heard for themselves, they were convinced the One they were hearing was and is God's Anointed, the Liberating King, sent to rescue the entire world. (42)

The people started believing because of the woman's testimony but they were convinced when they heard for themselves. That's why it's so important for us to tell our story. Our Pastor shared how we can prepare to tell our testimony by answering the following questions:

  1. What my life was before I knew Jesus?
  2. How I came to know Jesus?
  3. How has my life changed since knowing Jesus?
He encouraged us to get it down to a 3 to 5 minute story, most people will give you that.

Have a blessed Friday!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Day 3, January 3 - John 3

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I guess the most obvious question that this chapter answers is "What does this passage tell us about salvation?"  (Feel free to share anything)

God loves us enough to send His son to die for us. (16)
Who ever believes in the Son has eternal life (36)

Of course John reminds us of the flip side of what happens if we don't believe.

Blessings all!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Day 2, January 2 - John 2

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The Wedding in Cana and Jesus then clears the Temple. Jesus first miracle (as recorded by John) and His first statement regarding His "relationship" to God.

Feel free to share anything you want regarding this passage, but if you want to answer this question, "What insight does this passage give in relationship between the church and secular powers?"


Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Day 1 - January 1 - John 1

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As you read the chapter answer the question:

What does this passage tell you about the nature of God?

For me, this passage reminds me that God has always been (verse 1). He has the key to life (v4) and He is the light for all men (and women) (v4). He gave us the power to become His children (v14).
This tells me that God loves me.