Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Here it is, the Beginning and the End. The end of the New Testament, the end of the year. It is also the beginning. The beginning of another year of overcoming and the joy of maturing spiritually. Jesus says to John, "Write, for these words are true and faithful." Read these biblical words, all of them. They will help you overcome.They will bring you nearer to God.

Revelation 21:5-8
Then He who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” And He said to me, “Write, for these words are true and faithful.”
And He said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts.
He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son.
But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.”

Monday, December 30, 2013

Are you willing to be tested? I am. I pray I am among the one-third. We will call on His name and he will say "This is My people". We will say "The Lord is my God."

Zechariah 13:9
I will bring the one–third through the fire,
Will refine them as silver is refined,
And test them as gold is tested.
They will call on My name,
And I will answer them.
I will say, ‘This is My people’;
And each one will say, ‘The Lord is my God.’”

Sunday, December 29, 2013

This is pretty dramatic, but you see why I think the Word of God is so compelling. The words in the bible are more than just history or myth. Those words are the answer. They are the Savior himself.

Revelation 19:11-13
Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war.
His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on his head are many diadems, and he has a name written that no one knows but himself.
He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which he is called is The Word of God.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Truth, justice, and peace, think of how much trouble we could avoid if we used these three things to judge our fellow man.

From December 28th reading:

Zechariah 8:16-17
These are the things you shall do:

Speak each man the truth to his neighbor;

Give judgment in your gates for truth, justice, and peace;

Let none of you think evil in your heart against your neighbor;
And do not love a false oath.
For all these are things that I hate,’
Says the Lord.”

He "will overcome." I've found I must let Revelation wash over me, whether I understand it or not. Some things I understand clearly: I want to be called "chosen, and faithful."

From Friday, December 27 reading:
Revelation 17:12-14

“The ten horns which you saw are ten kings who have received no kingdom as yet, but they receive authority for one hour as kings with the beast.

These are of one mind, and they will give their power and authority to the beast.

These will make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them, for He is Lord of lords and King of kings; and those who are with Him are called, chosen, and faithful.”

Thursday, December 26, 2013

This is my God!

Psalm 147:15-18
He sends out his command to the earth;
his word runs swiftly.
He gives snow like wool;
he scatters frost like ashes.
He hurls down his crystals of ice like crumbs;
who can stand before his cold?
He sends out his word, and melts them;
he makes his wind blow and the waters flow.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Are you brokenhearted or wounded this Christmas Eve? He heals. This is the God who counts the stars and calls them by name! Merry Christmas!

Psalm 147:1-6
Praise the Lord!
For it is good to sing praises to our God;
For it is pleasant, and praise is beautiful.
The Lord builds up Jerusalem;
He gathers together the outcasts of Israel.
He heals the brokenhearted
And binds up their wounds.
He counts the number of the stars;
He calls them all by name.
Great is our Lord, and mighty in power;
His understanding is infinite.
The Lord lifts up the humble;
He casts the wicked down to the ground.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Even when the world is bleak and nothing seems right, Habakkuk finds joy in the Lord. Find joy in the Lord, especially now when we celebrate his birth. The world has changed forever, rejoice!

Habakkuk 3:17-19
Though the fig tree should not blossom,
nor fruit be on the vines,
the produce of the olive fail 
and the fields yield no food,
the flock be cut off from the fold 
and there be no herd in the stalls,
yet I will rejoice in the Lord;
I will take joy in the God of my salvation.
God, the Lord, is my strength;
he makes my feet like the deer's;
he makes me tread on my high places.
To the choirmaster: with stringed instruments.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

This once scared me to death. Revelation was just so weird. Now I like it. I especially like the idea of Satan being thrown out of heaven. I do want to be one who loved not my life even unto death.

Revelation 12:7-11
Now war arose in heaven, Michael and his angels fighting against the dragon. And the dragon and his angels fought back,
but he was defeated, and there was no longer any place for them in heaven.
And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world—he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him.
And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, “Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come, for the accuser of our brothers has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God.
And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Hey what about you? Are all your desires satisfied? God will open his hand and satisfy. This whole year I was falling, I was bowed down. The Lord upheld me, he raised me up. He is kind in all his works.

Psalm 145:13-17
Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom,
and your dominion endures throughout all generations.
The Lord is faithful in all his words 
and kind in all his works.
The Lord upholds all who are falling 
and raises up all who are bowed down.
The eyes of all look to you,
and you give them their food in due season.
You open your hand;
you satisfy the desire of every living thing.
The Lord is righteous in all his ways 
and kind in all his works.

Friday, December 20, 2013

We are all still waiting, but that's okay. Believing that God will come again gives us hope and the will to carry on. It is also motivation to be ready at any moment. "...no one shall make them afraid"."

Micah 4:3-5
He shall judge between many peoples,
and shall decide for strong nations far away;
and they shall beat their swords into plowshares,
and their spears into pruning hooks;
nation shall not lift up sword against nation,
neither shall they learn war anymore;

but they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree,
and no one shall make them afraid,
for the mouth of the Lord of hosts has spoken.
For all the peoples walk
each in the name of its god,
but we will walk in the name of the Lord our God
forever and ever.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

I feel as if I've had a Jonah experience this year. For those of you who knew about my chronic nerve pain I am finally on the mend. Whatever I was doing I needed a direction change. God is so good, he not only had a fish swallow me up, but he then spoke to the fish and it vomited me onto dry land.

Jonah 2:7-10
“When my soul fainted within me,
I remembered the Lord;
And my prayer went up to You,
Into Your holy temple.
“Those who regard worthless idols
Forsake their own Mercy.
But I will sacrifice to You
With the voice of thanksgiving;
I will pay what I have vowed.
Salvation is of the Lord.”
So the Lord spoke to the fish, and it vomited Jonah onto dry land.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Ever wonder how to pray? Here's one way. "Answer me" "Cause me to hear" "Cause me to know the way" "Deliver me" "Teach me" "Lead me" "Revive me".

Psalm 143:7-12
Answer me speedily, O Lord;
My spirit fails!
Do not hide Your face from me,
Lest I be like those who go down into the pit.
Cause me to hear Your lovingkindness in the morning,
For in You do I trust;
Cause me to know the way in which I should walk,
For I lift up my soul to You.
Deliver me, O Lord, from my enemies;
In You I take shelter.
Teach me to do Your will,
For You are my God;
Your Spirit is good.
Lead me in the land of uprightness.
Revive me, O Lord, for Your name’s sake!
For Your righteousness’ sake bring my soul out of trouble.
In Your mercy cut off my enemies,
And destroy all those who afflict my soul;
For I am Your servant.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Wait! I like my lofty dwelling, I earned it right? Wrong. Has the pride of my heart deceived me? Yes, and every time I get too big for my britches, I either wisely climb down from that rock or God keeps his promise: "I will bring you down."

Obadiah 1:3-4
The pride of your heart has deceived you,
  you who live in the clefts of the rock,
  in your lofty dwelling,
who say in your heart,
  “Who will bring me down to the ground?”
Though you soar aloft like the eagle,
  though your nest is set among the stars,
  from there I will bring you down,
declares the Lord.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

So he was hiding in a cave when he wrote this, David was. But, it applies to the various hiding places I find for myself. Crying out to the Lord is always the right answer. "When my spirit faints within me you know my way!"

Psalm 142:1-7

With my voice I cry out to the Lord;
  with my voice I plead for mercy to the Lord.
I pour out my complaint before him;
  I tell my trouble before him.
When my spirit faints within me,
  you know my way!
In the path where I walk 
  they have hidden a trap for me.
Look to the right and see:
  there is none who takes notice of me;
no refuge remains to me;
  no one cares for my soul.

I cry to you, O Lord;
  I say, “You are my refuge,
  my portion in the land of the living.”
Attend to my cry,
  for I am brought very low!
Deliver me from my persecutors,
  for they are too strong for me!
Bring me out of prison,
  that I may give thanks to your name!
The righteous will surround me,
  for you will deal bountifully with me.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

So when that thought pops into your head, "Uhm, I wonder how Susie's doing?" (Or whatever it is.) The Lord, the God of hosts has declared to you that thought. You might want to listen and act on it.

Amos 4:13

For behold, he who forms the mountains and creates the wind,
and declares to man what is his thought,
who makes the morning darkness,
and treads on the heights of the earth—
the Lord, the God of hosts, is his name!

Friday, December 13, 2013

Overcome, conquer, persevere and you get to sit down and eat with Jesus. You get to sit with him on his throne. Wow!

Revelation 3:20-22

Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.
The one who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I also conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne.
He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’”

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Tear your heart, not your garments. Yes that thing in your chest behind the skin, behind the protective bones. "Return to me." You can't hide, he's known you since the womb. He wants you back. Give the core of your being 100%. The only thing you have to lose is eternal life.

Joel 2:12-13
“Yet even now,” declares the Lord,
“return to me with all your heart,
with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning;
and rend your hearts and not your garments.
”Return to the Lord your God,
for he is gracious and merciful,
slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love;
and he relents over disaster.

It is easy to be near to God when you are hurt and small and need saving. When you are fat and happy, not so much. We must listen to this: don't forget him. Besides him, "there is no savior."

Hosea 13:4-6
But I am the Lord your God
from the land of Egypt;
you know no God but me,
and besides me there is no savior.
It was I who knew you in the wilderness,
in the land of drought;
but when they had grazed, they became full,
they were filled, and their heart was lifted up;
therefore they forgot me.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Are you doubting? The beloved here are told to have mercy on you. For others, save them by "snatching them out of the fire". How? That answer is in this verse too: PERSEVERE.

Jude 1:17-23
But you must remember, beloved, the predictions of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ.
They said to you, “In the last time there will be scoffers, following their own ungodly passions.”
It is these who cause divisions, worldly people, devoid of the Spirit.
But you, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit,
keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life.
And have mercy on those who doubt;
save others by snatching them out of the fire; to others show mercy with fear, hating even the garment stained by the flesh.

Monday, December 9, 2013

This is totally out of context but even so it is wise on its own. Have you eaten the "fruit of lies" and trusted in your own way? It is obviously a timeless human condition. "Break up your fallow ground, for it is the time to seek the Lord."

Hosea 10:12-13

Sow for yourselves righteousness;
reap steadfast love;
break up your fallow ground,
for it is the time to seek the Lord,
that he may come and rain righteousness upon you.

You have plowed iniquity;
you have reaped injustice;
you have eaten the fruit of lies.
Because you have trusted in your own way 
and in the multitude of your warriors,

Sunday, December 8, 2013

"Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;"

Psalm 139:1-6
O Lord, you have searched me and known me!
You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
     you discern my thoughts from afar.
You search out my path and my lying down 
     and are acquainted with all my ways.
Even before a word is on my tongue,
     behold, O Lord, you know it altogether.
You hem me in, behind and before,
     and lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
     it is high; I cannot attain it.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Ever have trouble figuring out what is true? The answer is below. Oh, and by the way, stay away from those idols, including money, anxiety, status and self-reliance. They will mess up everything.

1 John 5:19-21

We know that we are of God, and the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one.
And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us an understanding, that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. 

This is the true God and eternal life.
Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen.

Friday, December 6, 2013

If you were absolutely certain that you would not be hurt or tormented, wouldn't you be able to pour out your love without reservation? What do we think we are protecting ourselves from? Besides we are always better off following direct commandments.

1 John 4:18-21

There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.
We love because he first loved us.
If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen.
And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

God may be talking to Israel here, but at the end, I think he's talking to me. He has had mercy on me and I can say with a full heart "You are my God!"

Hosea 2:19-23

“I will betroth you to Me forever;
Yes, I will betroth you to Me
In righteousness and justice,
In lovingkindness and mercy;
I will betroth you to Me in faithfulness,
And you shall know the Lord.
“It shall come to pass in that day
That I will answer,” says the Lord;
“I will answer the heavens,
And they shall answer the earth.
The earth shall answer
With grain,
With new wine,
And with oil;
They shall answer Jezreel.
Then I will sow her for Myself in the earth,
And I will have mercy on her who had not obtained mercy;
Then I will say to those who were not My people,
‘You are My people!’
And they shall say, ‘You are my God!’”

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

The right thing comes along just at the right moment. This is for my dear friend Ken. In the day when you cried out, God answered and made you bold with strength in your soul.

Psalm 138:1-3
I will praise You with my whole heart;
Before the gods I will sing praises to You.
I will worship toward Your holy temple,
And praise Your name
For Your lovingkindness and Your truth;
For You have magnified Your word above all Your name.
In the day when I cried out, You answered me,
And made me bold with strength in my soul.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Don't give up right before the miracle happens! Remember, we don't have any idea what God is up to. Our job is to believe and behave, oh, and repent. Don't forget that part!

2 Peter 3:8-9
But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.

The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

He defended his public right to worship God. First he survived being thrown into a furnace then into a lions' den. He moved kings and nations with his salvation. If Daniel survived lions, you can survive cynics.

Daniel 6:25-27
Then King Darius wrote to all the peoples, nations, and languages that dwell in all the earth:
"Peace be multiplied to you.
I make a decree, that in all my royal dominion people are to tremble and fear before the God of Daniel,
for he is the living God,
enduring forever;
his kingdom shall never be destroyed,
and his dominion shall be to the end.
He delivers and rescues;
he works signs and wonders 
in heaven and on earth,
he who has saved Daniel
from the power of the lions.”

Saturday, November 30, 2013

There he is again in the Old Testament, the Son of God. Daniel and the other two believers were willing to put God above their own safety. Look at their reward: affirmation of the one true God and a few moments with his Son on earth.

Daniel 3:24-25
Then King Nebuchadnezzar was astonished; and he rose in haste and spoke, saying to his counselors, “Did we not cast three men bound into the midst of the fire?” They answered and said to the king, “True, O king.”
“Look!” he answered, “I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire; and they are not hurt, and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.”

Friday, November 29, 2013

I would be scared to death if there were a lion stalking me, roaring, ready to pounce! "Resist him." Are you kidding? Apparently Peter is not kidding. "Resist him, firm in your faith." Then the promise for suffering a little: God himself will restore, confirm, strengthen and establish you. OK, I'm game.

1 Peter 5:8-11

Be sober-minded; be watchful.
Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.
Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world.
And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.
To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Why does stuff like this make women crazy? It says by your mere behavior you have the power to win your husbands to the word. What is wrong with that? Also, at this stage I am up for imperishable beauty.

1 Peter 3:1-4
Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives,
when they see your respectful and pure conduct.
Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear—
but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God's sight is very precious.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

As a kid, I remember how safe I felt in my father's arms. To feel that childlike sweetness of being truly safe we have to give up a couple of things.

1 Peter 2:1-2
So put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander.
Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation—

Monday, November 25, 2013

Through the centuries one thing has never changed. It was true for Isaiah, it was true for Peter, and it will save you. "...the LIVING and abiding word of God..." (emphasis mine)

1 Peter 1:22-25

Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart, since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God;

“All flesh is like grass and all its glory like the flower of grass.The grass withers,and the flower falls, but the word of the Lord remains forever.”

And this word is the good news that was preached to you.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Hate to interfere? Here is some encouragement from James.

James 5:19-20
My brothers, if anyone among you wanders from the truth and someone brings him back,
let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from his wandering will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.

Friday, November 22, 2013

"Earthly, unspiritual, demonic." Doesn't James' description make you think a little of our political leaders? I've always thought wisdom was wisdom and that wisdom was good. But James knows better and he has good advice: " do not boast and be false to the truth."

James 3:13-17

Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom.

But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth.
This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic.
For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice.
But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. 

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Ever wonder why you seem to get yourself in the same mess over and over again? It happens to me all the time. James has the answer: faith. It is not a concept to be pondered. It is a state of being that takes practice.

James 1:5-8
If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.
But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind.
For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord;
he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

This is packed with things we all need to hear. I'm also delighted that the author of Hebrews seems to like the same Old Testament verses I do.

Hebrews 13:5-8

Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said,

“I will never leave you nor forsake you.” 

So we can confidently say,

    “The Lord is my helper; 
      I will not fear;
     what can man do
     to me?”

Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith.
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

Monday, November 18, 2013

I've always liked this, but now I realize I never understood it. Discipline is not to be endured because it is some weird form of love. It springs the trap we impose on ourselves spiritually and shows us the way ahead. We don't move there willingly. Our traps may be painful but they are familiar and so safe.

Hebrews 12:5-7

And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons?
     “My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord,
             nor be weary when reproved by him.
     For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, 
             and chastises every son whom he receives.”
It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline?

Sunday, November 17, 2013

A Proverb for Sunday!

Proverbs 28:25

A greedy man stirs up strife,
but the one who trusts in the Lord will be enriched.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Are you exhausted from holding your life together? Are you sleepless with anxiety? Give over, have a little faith and then enjoy this promise, " he gives to his beloved sleep."

Psalm 127:1-2
Unless the Lord builds the house, 
   those who build it labor in vain. 
Unless the Lord watches over the city, 
  the watchman stays awake in         vain.
It is in vain that you rise up early
  and go late to rest,
eating the bread of anxious toil;
  for he gives to his beloved sleep.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Do you know yet what you can endure? We are often so busy keeping ourselves comfortable we never experience those soul-wrenching depths. Jesus wrenches our souls. Let him, there is great reward.

Hebrews 10:35-39

Therefore do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward.
For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised.

   “Yet a little while, and the coming one will come and will not           delay;
     but my righteous one shall live by faith, and if he shrinks            back, my soul has no pleasure in him.”

But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and preserve their souls.

Bible Gateway link

Wednesday, November 13, 2013