Posts tagged ‘God’
Well we did it! Can you believe it has already been 365 days since we started reading through the Bible together? What a journey it has been!
Somehow, I must have messed up numbering my blog posts because we do not have a reading for today, considering how we finished with Revelation yesterday. Instead, I wanted to take the time today to thank you for sticking to it.
So, our Bible in 365 goal may be met, but this is not the end. Imagine this was just a small race run in preparation for the lifetime journey of drawing closer to God through Bible reading, Bible study, prayer, and service. I will no longer be blogging daily about my Bible reading, though I may occasionally post something about it if I just cannot keep myself from sharing.
This year, I will again be sticking to the reading plan that my church puts out as there is something extremely motivating about reading the same things as my small group friends and being able to talk through it with others. We do not have our new plan yet, but I have heard it will be less of a “read through” of the Bible and more of a Bible study. We will be taking an in-depth look at a handful of books this next year. I am definitely looking forward to slowing down my reading and focusing more on studying the passages. I am looking forward to really taking the time to think, question, and meditate on God’s word.
But until the church’s new Bible reading plan begins (I heard it will start toward the end of this month), I will be reading some Psalms and Proverbs and mainly focusing on prayer. In fact, this whole year I want to intentionally focus on prayer. Over the past year, I got so caught up in making sure I wrote a blog post everyday that I must admit my prayer life suffered. I am going to read the book Oh God, Please Teach Me To Pray by Leighann McCoy for inspiration and most importantly, I am going to carve out some time every day to actually spend in prayer. What are your plans for continuing your Bible reading over this next year and growing your faith?
And for those of you who were not doing the reading, thank you for putting up with a year’s worth of blog posts about the Bible. I am glad you are still following my blog. My plan for the blog includes a definite break from blogging every day, but I have set a goal to try to write one post a week.
The posts will probably have to do with lessons my children are teaching me, maintaining my marriage, date night ideas, my recommendations for mothers of small children, books I am reading, growing my relationship with Jesus, cooking adventures, the beauty in the world around me, finding the laughter in the ordinary (and sometimes frustrating) day-to-day events, and really any other thing I feel like ranting about in the moment. I hope you will find my posts inspiring and useful. But most of all I hope you will be encouraged to live a life full of joy, the joy that comes from a relationship with Jesus Christ.
The Lord wins!
The great thing about the book of Revelation is that we now know the ending to the war. We know that Jesus is victorious over Satan. We know that Christians are on the winning side.
“[The ten kings] will wage war against the Lamb, but the Lamb will triumph over them because he is Lord of lords and King of kings—and with him will be his called, chosen and faithful followers.” (Revelation 17: 14)
What does this mean for our lives today? Well, we all struggle with a battle inside ourselves. Rest assured that, through Jesus, we have the victory. We have already won!
[Our brothers and sister] triumphed over [the accuser] by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony.” (Revelation 12:11)
Take some time to watch this YouTube video of the song “Overcome” by Desperation Band. It brings to light the victory we have in Christ.
More on worshiping God:
Today we get into some really interesting parts of Revelation, and I am the first to admit that I do not understand it all. Oh yes, I could speculate along with everyone else, but when all is said and done none of us are 100% certain how to interpret these passages.
There are plenty of scholars who have spent years studying these passages and still do not agree on the meaning. At some point I am going to study this book more in-depth and look at what those scholars say.
But until then, I will read this book with eyes wide open and revel in the glory and mystery of God. I will continue to worship my creator as the Almighty and All-Powerful God who is in control of this all.
Just look at the beautiful example of worship we see in this book! “Praise and glory and wisdom and thanks and honor and power and strength be to our God for ever and ever. Amen!” (Revelation 7:12)
“We give thanks to you, Lord God Almighty, the One who is and who was, because you have taken your great powers and have begun to reign.” (Revelation 11:17)
This is true worship. This is humility. This is truth about our God.
There is nothing like the book of Revelation to humble a person. When I read this book, I see God’s majesty and awesome power more than in any other book of the Bible.
Yes, Revelation is complicated and full of imagery and symbolism, but there is no doubt about the bottom line: God reigns above all. Even the heavenly beings proclaim praise to Him.
So as we read through Revelation, be taken aback by God in all his power and glory. We even get a glimpse into the throne room of heaven as we read chapter 4 today!
What about you? Are you singing praises to God today? Need inspiration? Check out Revelation 4:8 and Revelation 5:12.
“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come.”
“Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!”
These verses find their way into a beautiful song of praise by Phillips, Craig, and Dean. Enjoy!
2 Peter; Jude
Is your faith effective?
Both of these books are written with an eternal perspective—looking forward to the last days and the subsequent new heaven and new earth. As a side note, these books are full of interesting information about the beginning and end of the world, so turn to them when you feel like contemplating creation.
With this perspective in mind, we realize that our faith needs to be genuine and shared with others. We realize, possibly, that we are being ineffective as Christians. But, Peter gives us some hope and some things to focus on in order to be productive members of the body of Christ.
Peter tells us to add the following seven qualities to our foundation of faith:
- Mutual affection
The above “will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (2 Peter 1:8)
So, then, this New Year’s Eve as you consider resolutions to make, consider focusing on building up one or all of these qualities in your own life. With God’s help, we can become more than church-goers. We can become the body of Christ working together to help others.
Helped anyone lately?
Does the list of people you have fed, given gifts to, and helped out include only people you know? If so, you may be missing out on an amazing opportunity.
I love Hebrews 13:2 which says, “Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.”
When we serve those we do not know, not only are we pouring out God’s love to more people but we are also possibly serving ANGELS! Wow!
What a fabulous opportunity awaits us! So, are you ready to go out on a limb and help out that person you do not know?
Need help? Try prayer.
Hebrews is a dense book full of deep theological thoughts. I must admit that it is a challenging book for me to read. I could spend an entire day thinking about just one verse, so it is very difficult to read so many chapters in this book in one day. I hope I am not the only one who feels this way.
The recurring theme I saw in these first few chapters was that Jesus is our high priest.
What exactly is a high priest? Well, Hebrews chapter 5 tells us some basic information about high priests. High priests:
- Represent the people in matters related to God.
- Offer gifts and sacrifices for sins.
- Deal gently with those going astray because they themselves are subject to weakness.
- Are called by God to this position.
This is exactly what Jesus does for us! He is our empathetic high priest. “Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.” (Hebrews 2:18)
“Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16)
So if we find ourselves in a trying situation, we need only to pray for help. If we are tempted, we must pray. If we are hurting, we can pray about it. If we are rejoicing, we should pray. In all situations, we can pray. Jesus truly is our great high priest; turn to him for help.
What to wear:
I am in the process of cleaning out my closet. I think it is time for me to finally get rid of the abundance of clothes I have been hanging onto but absolutely never wear. I am sure there are plenty of people out there who would actually use the clothes.
Anyway, because I am in the process of cleaning my closet, 1 Peter 3:3-5 really stood out to me today. “Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to adorn themselves. They submitted themselves to their own husbands.”
So, how am I supposed to dress my inner self? This passage tells me to put on a gentle and quiet spirit and submit to my husband. What does this mean?
I think it means showing respect to my husband and not blowing up at him when I am upset. It means not yelling, screaming, and using many loud words to try to get my point across. It means staying calm and having a peace about me even when things are tough. It means following my husband’s lead so long as it does not blatantly go against God’s word.
I think this Scripture really piggy-backs off of the few verses right before it that say “Wives, in the same way submit yourselves to your own husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives.” (1 Peter 3:1)
Did you get that? If your husband is not a believer, then your job is not to have arguments with him about it, talk his ear off about it, or even approach him about it. Instead, your job is to respect him, honor his authority in your life, and act in a way that will eventually draw him to the truth. Actions truly do speak louder than words!
So, of course this morning I put on some clothes from my closet and fixed my hair (there is nothing wrong with clothes, jewelry, or fixing your hair), but I need to focus on those inner qualities more than I focus on my outward appearance. This passage is written for women, because, let’s admit it, we tend to focus on our outward appearance. The point is to shift our focus onto those inner qualities that last instead of focusing on outward beauty that fades.
To write a post on the entire book of Ephesians is laughable, so I will just touch on a few of the things that really stood out to me while I read this book.
- By grace we have been saved – This is not just some church cliché but is directly found in the Bible many times but never more plainly than in this book. “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9) To listen to these words sung by my all-time favorite Christian music group, take a listen.
- We are all God’s masterpiece – When we consider that God created us, crafted us, and spent time on us, it is impossible to speak poorly of yourself or others. “For we are God’s handiwork…” (Ephesians 2:10)
- Jesus’ love is beyond compare – “I pray that you…may have power…to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge.” (Ephesians 3:17-19) This song says it all:
- No dirty jokes, no curse words, no gossip – This is not just some ideal touted by the church but is completely Biblical. “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” (Ephesians 4:29) In other words, if you are talking about someone else, it better be good things you are saying about them! Later, we also read, “Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving.” (Ephesians 5:4)
- There is a hierarchy for the family set up by God – Although this is not a popular modern view, it is a Biblical truth. Husbands are instructed to submit to Jesus, wives are instructed to submit to their husbands, and children are expected to obey their parents. As a wife, of course, Ephesians 5:24 stands out the most to me: “Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.” I take this as a challenge and a beautiful way I can proclaim a truth about God. After all, Jesus himself submitted to the Father. If God himself has this same hierarchical nature, then there must be an amazing unity it creates.
What things stood out to you while you were reading Ephesians? There is so much information in this book! Let me know what you learned.
Why read the Bible?
There are many Scriptural answers to this question, but we get a couple of reasons in today’s reading.
“For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope.” (Romans 15:4)
So, read the Bible if you would like to receive:
- Instruction in endurance (i.e. How to handle all that life throws your way)
I do not know anyone who would not like these things. Just think, it is all at our fingertips. All we have to do is open up the Bible and read it.
So, dust off your Bible and open it up (though I am sure I am preaching to the choir…for if you are still reading this series on my blog at this point, then I am sure you are also reading the Scriptures that go along with the posts as well).
By the way, thank you to those of you faithful readers of my blog. It really is an encouragement to me to keep reading God’s word daily (especially as I am currently still adjusting to life with two children) just knowing I am being held accountable by my faithful readers.