chronological day 357 :)

Please read 1 Peter 5:12-14, 2 Peter chapters 2, 3 and 4 today.  1 Peter is finished, we have 8 days to go and we’ve finished the entire Bible – can you believe it? Wow – you are amazing!  Come on back and let’s visit!  Just for something a little different, I’ll go from the Phillips today:

 For this very reason you must do your utmost from your side, and see that your faith carries with it real goodness of life. Your goodness must be accompanied by knowledge, your knowledge by self-control, your self-control by the ability to endure. Your endurance too must always be accompanied by devotion to God; that in turn must have in it the quality of brotherliness, and your brotherliness must lead on to Christian love” 2 Peter 1:5-7 J.B. Phillips

It’s dangerous to stop growing.  If we lack any of “these things”, we’ll forget the cleansing of our sins.  You can see the progression that comes: knowledge, then self-control, then endurance, then devotion, then brotherliness, then Christian love.  Like a roadmap for our spiritual growth, here are the signs!

I relate 2 Peter 2:20-23 to Hebrews 6.  To know the truth and then turn away from it must be the worst.

“But you should never lose sight of this fact, dear friends, that time is not the same with the Lord as it is with us—to him a day may be a thousand years, and a thousand years only a day. It is not that he is dilatory about keeping his own promise as some men seem to think; the fact is that he is very patient towards you. He has no wish that any man should be destroyed. He wishes that all men should come to repent.” 2 Peter 3:8-9 J.B. Phillips 

God desires for ALL to come to repentance.  ALL. Fill in any blank – from the best person you can think of (God wants that person) to the worst person you can think of (God wants that person), from any background, from any belief system, from any high or low – God wants that person.  All the more reason for us to operate in love continually.

chronological day 356 :)

9 days to go, I can’t believe it. Today we are all in 1 Peter – please read 2:4-25, chapters 3 and 4, and finally 5:1-11. Let’s do a little word study today – my Strong’s concordance is a favorite reference tool!  Come and back and let’s visit!

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In the King James version, the word “precious” in 1 Peter 2:4 and 2:7 caught my eye:

“Coming to Him as to a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God and precious” 1 Peter 2:4

“Therefore, to you who believe, He is precious” 1 Peter 2:7

In 2:4, “precious” refers to us.  Strongs #1784: held in honor or prized.  You are held in honor by God, prized by Him.  How powerful.  How humbling, really.

In 2:7, “precious” refers to Jesus. Strongs #5092: honor by reason or rank or office, value of price paid, highest degree of honor.

We are precious because we are chosen.  Jesus is precious because of His sacrifice.  Our believing and trusting in Him makes Him more precious in our sight. “Value of price paid” – let that sink in for a moment.  If your value is determined by the price paid for you, just imagine: the Blood of Christ paid that price!  What could be more precious?

“Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul,  having your conduct honorable among the Gentiles, that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by your good works which they observe, glorify God in the day of visitation” 1 Peter 2:11-12

You cannot be victorious in battle while there is an inner struggle going on in your soul.  To put it bluntly: we need a different level of character to be victorious at a different level of battle.

I relate 2:24 to Isaiah 53:5 – another place where a simple word is important: did you notice the change in tense?  In the OT, Isaiah says “by His stripes we are healed”.  In 1 Peter, Paul quotes it was “by His stripes we were healed.”  I love that.  By the time Paul wrote it, the prophecy had been fulfilled by the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  Our healing was done, it is available to us now: we were healed by Jesus’ sacrifice. It is finished.

I highlighted 2:21 and 4:7 too – I’ve just already written too long today!

 

chronological day 355 :)

How do we only have 10 days left in our reading? Are you planning to read through the Bible again next year? 🙂

Today, we are finishing Hebrews and starting 1 Peter. It’s a whirlwind! Please read Hebrews 13, 1 Peter 1 and 1 Peter 2:1-3. Come on back and let’s visit!

“But do not forget to do good and to share, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased” Hebrews 13:16 NKJV

So simple! “Don’t forget to do good and share!” There’s a preschool lesson for you, and one that will serve you well your entire life!

In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, receiving the end of your faith—the salvation of your souls.” 1 Peter 2:6-9

We can rejoice through trials because we know they serve a purpose. We can rejoice through trials because we were given this heads up: the Lord is with us, even when times are hard (and there will be hard times). We can rejoice through trials because they are producing precious faith. They are a season. Is today a hard day? Remind yourself of this!

“searching what, or what manner of time, the Spirit of Christ who was in them was indicating when He testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow” 1 Peter 1:11

It’s surely a comfort that nothing is a surprise. Paul means to communicate the truth, the Lord means for us to be prepared.

chronological day 354 :)

Nearly finishing up Hebrews today – can you believe it? 🙂 One more chapter to go, and it’s another book down! You are doing GREAT – nearly done with our year-long commitment to the Bible! Please read Hebrews 11 and 12 today. Come on back and let’s visit- what’s your highlight today?

The “Hebrews Hall of Fame” in chapter 11 is familiar territory to us! It hasn’t even been a year since we spent time with these saints, reading their histories and ours in the Word. The impact of their obedience is literally immeasurable.

“After all, your fight against sin has not yet meant the shedding of blood, and you have perhaps lost sight of that piece of advice which reminds you of our sonship in God: ‘My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord, nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by him; for whom the Lord loves he chastens, and scourges every son whom he receives’. “Hebrews 12:4-6 Phillips

“After all, your fight against sin has not meant the shedding of blood” – short of that, how can we stop? Jesus paid the ultimate price for us. Going on to verses 5 and 6: our trials are not a punishment, please do not misunderstand. Jesus loves us so!

I relate Hebrews 12:25 to Deuteronomy 5 – God does desire for us to hear His voice.

chronological day 353 :)

Please read Hebrews 8, 9 and 10.  We have lots of Old Testament references – I love it.  I wrote down a few – did you see one that I missed? This is our history – it’s important that we know it! Come on back and let’s share!

I love all these references to Moses. We spent so much time with him in the Old Testament, he’s a good friend to us by now. Did you notice these:

Hebrews 8:5 – Exodus 25:8-9
Hebrews 8:6 – Exodus 25:40

“For the law, having a shadow of the good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with these same sacrifices, which they offer continually year by year, make those who approach perfect. For then would they not have ceased to be offered? For the worshipers, once purified, would have had no more consciousness of sins. But in those sacrifices there is a reminder of sins every year. For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins.” Hebrews 10:1-4 NKJV

“every priest stands ministering daily and offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God, from that time waiting till His enemies are made His footstool. For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified.” Hebrews 10:11-14 NKJV

Hebrews 10 is literally everything. Other blood cannot remove sins. The Old Testament law was a “shadow”, a hint of what was to come (see – we didn’t spend all that time in the OT for nothing!). When Jesus came, He didn’t destroy the law – He destroyed the curse of sin. Jesus fulfilled and completed the law. One offering, the Blood of Jesus, perfected us forever, cleansed our sins once and for all. If we don’t get anything else, we have to get this.

chronological day 352 :)

Please read Hebrews 4:14-16, and Hebrews chapters 5, 6, and 7.  Come on back and let’s visit – does anything stand out to you today?

“that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need” Hebrews 4:16

In this sentence, the word “THAT” works like the word “BECAUSE”. It’s important to notice: beyond salvation, why did Jesus have to be tempted in all things? BECAUSE/THAT we need to know that help is available to us and that we are understood.

“Though He was a SON, HE learned obedience by the things He suffered” Hebrews 5:8

Even though Jesus was fully God Himself, He still took on our infirmities and all our temptations and He did have to suffer.  We would be wrong to expect or even assume that we will get out of this life without sufferings. Growth comes through trials. (Will you allow a side note here? We make a mistake sometimes by thinking “if it’s uncomfortable, it must be wrong” or “if it doesn’t make me happy, it must be wrong”.  We make a mistake when we think our comfort and happiness is the goal – our holiness and righteousness is the goal.  Living a life worthy of our calling in Christ is the goal.  Making it to heaven and communicating the Gospel to as many people as we can is the goal.). What an amazing example Jesus sets before us!

chronological day 351 :)

Please read 2 Timothy 4:19-22; Hebrews chapter 1, 2, and 3; and Hebrews 4:1-13.  Lots going on today!  What are you learning, what is your highlight?  Come on back and let’s visit!

“make every effort to come before winter” 2 Timothy 4:21

It’s unusual for Paul to show emotion about himself. Really, brings me to tears. He’s alone, he’s imprisoned, and implores Timothy to “come before winter”: a gray and cold time. He’s looking for comfort. I feel this way too, sometimes. Can you also relate?

The Lord speaks to us in many and varied ways: through times and prophets (Hebrews 1:1), angels (1:7), words (2:2-3), miracles and gifts (2:4)…. It’s vital that we stay sensitive and open to the Holy Spirit.

LOTS of OT references today – did you catch them?
Hebrews 1:1 – Psalm 21:7
Hebrews 1:9 – Psalm 46:6-7
Hebrews 2:6-8 – Psalm 8:3-5
Hebrews 2:12 – Psalm 22:2
Hebrews 2:13 – 2 Samuel 22:3, Isaiah 2:7
Hebrews 3:7 – Psalm 95:7-11

So important to see the Bible as a whole!

chronological day 350 :)

Please read 2 Timothy 2, 2 Timothy 3 and 2 Timothy 4:1-18.  15 days to go – this is CRAZY! You’re doing GREAT! Is this your first time all the way through, or have you done this before?  Has reading the Bible in Chronological order changed the way you view the Word as a whole?  Come on back and let’s visit – I’m “bullet point” style again today!

“You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who enlisted him as a soldier.” 2 Timothy 2:3-4

There will be warfare, make no mistake. We don’t have time to be distracted. The Amplified translation says that as soldier doesn’t have time to get involved in “ordinary business” and that he “avoids” them. Major on the majors.

“if anyone cleanses himself from the latter, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified and useful for the Master, prepared for every good work. Flee also youthful lusts; but pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart” 2 Timothy 2:20-22

To be used by the Lord, flee from impurity. We talked about this the other day: we don’t just stop one thing, we stop one and start another; the Lord always shows us a better way.

“that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will” 2 Timothy 2:26

God has a plan for your life, but so does Satan. Be so full of the Word and so guided by the Holy Spirit that you cannot be distracted or disillusioned.

Let”s highlight this one in the Amplified: “All Scripture is God-breathed [given by divine inspiration] and is profitable for instruction, for conviction [of sin], for correction [of error and restoration to obedience], for training in righteousness [learning to live in conformity to God’s will, both publicly and privately—behaving honorably with personal integrity and moral courage]” 2 Timothy 3:16

As all Scripture is given for reproof, we must commit to seeking the Word until we know we have the answer.

“But the Lord stood with me and strengthened me, so that the message might be preached fully through me, and that all the Gentiles might hear.” 2 Timothy 4:17

Remember that? we were there with Paul when he received the word that the Lord stood with him (Acts 23:11)!

chronological day 349 :)

Please read 1 Timothy 6:11-21, Titus in its entirety (don’t worry, it’s only 3 chapters) and 2 Timothy 1. We finish 1 Timothy today, we finish Titus today – we’re knocking out the New Testament!  What’s your highlight today?  When you’ve read these few chapters, come on back and let’s visit for a minute!

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some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness. Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life” 1 Timothy 6:10-11 NKJV

What do we do in the midst of all these challenges?  We flee from them, in pursuit of the Holy Spirit (we never stop one thing without replacing it with another – God offers a better way every time!). We guard what has been placed in our trust.  We do not stray.  We do not trust in false knowledge.  We fight.  You see what is your responsibility – do you see what is not your responsibility?  God does not command us to win, because victory belongs to Him (phew, really takes the pressure off!).  You do your best, leave the results to the Lord.

in all things showing yourself to be a pattern of good works; in doctrine showing integrity, reverence, incorruptibility, sound speech that cannot be condemned, that one who is an opponent may be ashamed, having nothing evil to say of you” Titus 2:7-8

You cannot control what other people say – but you can control your own actions/speech/behaviors.  Live in a way that doesn’t give others an opportunity to speak evil of you.

“Remind them to be subject to rulers and authorities, to obey, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing all humility to all men.” Titus 3:1-2

Don’t speak evil of others (don’t even take the opportunity to do so!).

But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.” Titus 3:4-7

BUT (sometimes that’s a great little word!) when kindness and love appeared, amen. Kindness and love ought to show up when we show up too.

 

 

chronological 348 :)

Please read 1 Timothy 3, 4, 5, and 6:1-10.  All in one place!  What are you learning today?  Even the familiar passages are so important to re-visit.  It’s a surprise every day – how the Bible can seem new every time we open.  What did you circle in your reading today?  Come on back and let’s visit!

“And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness:

God was manifested in the flesh,
Justified in the Spirit,
Seen by angels,
Preached among the Gentiles,
Believed on in the world,
Received up in glory.”

 1 Timothy 3:16

And there it is – how about Paul, getting straight to the bottom line?  The Gospel is simple, accessible to all.  Let’s not present this as complicated.

“Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons” 1 Timothy 4:1

People will turn away, so don’t be surprised or discouraged by these things. It is disheartening, heartbreaking even, to see people of faith fail.  Seems as if we see it happen more and more…. However, regardless of the choices of others: you stay faithful, you make your progress evident, you move forward- even as others move forward. You can grow spiritually without judgement on the progress of others – that is a sign of maturity. Concern yourself with God’s judgement of you. Can we just highlight this entire chapter?

“For we brought nothing into this world, [a]and it is certain we can carry nothing out” 1 Timothy 6:7

I relate 1 Timothy 6:7 to Exodus 20:17: “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor’s.” Focus on what is important.  Choose the best part. Even under grace, we still have to follow the law. Jesus fulfilled the law – He did not nullify it.