chronological day 270 :)

So much going on today!  Please read Mark 1:12-13, Matthew 4:1-11, Luke 4:1-15, John 1:19-51, and John 2.  Got a highlight?  Please leave a comment and share – I’d love to hear your thoughts!

270

“Jesus answered by quoting Deuteronomy: ‘It takes more than bread to stay alive. It takes a steady stream of words from God’s mouth’ ” (Matthew 4:4 MSG)

Fasting is such an important discipline, and now Jesus carries it into the NT.  It takes discipline to know the Word.  Once you recognize that your spirit must be fed even more than your physical body must be fed, you must respond with discipline to be in the Bible and in prayer every day – and hey, you are doing it!  Here we are on day 270! 

The wedding at Cana, Jesus’ anger directed at the sellers in the temple…. Too much to hit it all in a minute!

chronological day 269 :)

Loving the change from Old Testament to New Testament!  Today, we’ll read Matthew 2, Luke 2:41-52, Mark 1:2-8, Matthew 3:1-12, Luke 3:1-18, Mark 1:9-11, Matthew 3:13-17, Luke 3:21-22.  Let’s go!

269

 “After Jesus was born in Bethlehem village, Judah territory— this was during Herod’s kingship—a band of scholars arrived in Jerusalem from the East. They asked around, ‘Where can we find and pay homage to the newborn King of the Jews? We observed a star in the eastern sky that signaled his birth. We’re on pilgrimage to worship him.’ When word of their inquiry got to Herod, he was terrified—and not Herod alone, but most of Jerusalem as well. Herod lost no time. He gathered all the high priests and religion scholars in the city together and asked, “Where is the Messiah supposed to be born? (Matthew 2:1-4 MSG)

When I read Matthew 2 today, I was struck that the wise men and Herod were searching for the birthplace of the Messiah at the same time.  It reminded me of when we read Isaiah 21, and the watchman warned that the darkness and the light were both coming (not together, but simultaneously). We must be so sensitive to the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

I notice how John told the truth without fear, I notice how Jesus lived and breathed obedience.  What a tremendous example!

chronological day 268 :)

Today, we’ll read Luke 1:39-80, Matthew 1:18-25, and Luke 2:1-40.  I have lots of highlights, but just want to focus on one.  What stands out to you today?

268

Just short today:

“Mary didn’t waste a minute” (Luke 1:39 MSG)

Lord, help us rush to obedience!

 

chronological day 267 :)

WE MADE IT TO THE NEW TESTAMENT!  Is anyone else ready for some Jesus up in here?Mark 1:1, Luke 1:1-4, John 1:1-18, Matthew 1:1-17, Luke 3:23-38, Matthew 1:1-17, Luke 3:23-38, Luke 1:5-38.  As the Gospels share many histories (four disciples sharing many of the same events from their unique perspectives), there will seem like lots of repetition here.  Hang in there – remember, when there was repetition in the Old Testament, we reminded ourselves often that it was good for us.  What’s your highlight today? 

267

The good news of Jesus Christ—the Message!—begins here, following to the letter the scroll of the prophet Isaiah.

Watch closely: I’m sending my preacher ahead of you;
He’ll make the road smooth for you.
Thunder in the desert!
Prepare for God’s arrival!
Make the road smooth and straight!

(Mark 1:1-3 MSG)

Yay! I’m ready for some NT and some Jesus! Some 400 years have passed Malachi and Joel – God has been silent these 400 years and now He comes with the Word became flesh! It’s hard not to highlight everything – one more before we close today:

The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighborhood.
We saw the glory with our own eyes, the one-of-a-kind glory,
    like Father, like Son, Generous inside and out,
    true from start to finish” (John 1:14 MSG)

And now God, in the flesh, coming to us!

chronological day 266 :)

WE ARE DOWN TO DOUBLE DIGITS!  What a day – only 99 days to go!  Here we go! Please read Malachi 2:10-17, Malachi 3, Malachi 4, and Joel 1, 2, 3. What is your highlight today?

266

Wow – look at this:  

“You make God tired with all your talk. ‘How do we tire him out?’ you ask. By saying, ‘God loves sinners and sin alike. God loves all.’ And also by saying, ‘Judgment? God’s too nice to judge’ ” Malachi 2:17 MSG)

Don’t we say these things even today? God is not being unkind by judging us – we NEED His correction desperately.  Don’t make this mistake and misunderstand His love in this fundamental way.

“I am God—yes, I Am. I haven’t changed. And because I haven’t changed, you, the descendants of Jacob, haven’t been destroyed. You have a long history of ignoring my commands. You haven’t done a thing I’ve told you. Return to me so I can return to you,” says God-of-the-Angel-Armies” (Mal 3:6-7 MSG)

So powerful. God always wants us back.  He has never changed, and we benefit constantly from His great compassion, even today. 

“Change your life, not just your clothes. Come back to God, your God.
And here’s why: God is kind and merciful. He takes a deep breath, puts up with a lot,
This most patient God, extravagant in love, always ready to cancel catastrophe.
Who knows? Maybe he’ll do it now, maybe He’ll turn around and show pity.
Maybe, when all’s said and done, there’ll be blessings full and robust for your God!” (Joel 2:13-14 MSG)

Change your heart, not your clothes. Receive this most patient God, He loves you extravagantly. Let’s let this God-change in us be honest, from the inside out.

chronological day 265 :)

Today, we are reading Nehemiah 12:27-47, 13:1-6, 5:14-19, Nehemiah 13:7-31, and Malachi 1, Malachi 2:1-9.  We’re only 100 days away from being finished, can you believe it? 

265

“Judah was so appreciative of the priests and Levites and their service; they, along with the singers and security guards, had done everything so well, conducted the worship of their God and the ritual of ceremonial cleansing in a way that would have made David and his son Solomon proud. That’s the way it was done in the olden days, the days of David and Asaph, when they had choir directors for singing songs of praise and thanksgiving to God” (Nehemiah 12:45-46 MSG)

They did their work so well it would have made David and and his son Solomon proud – what a compliment!

A few highlights from Malachi 1 – how about these?

“God said, “I love you’ ” (Malachi 1:2 MSG)

Doesn’t He always? ❤

God describes worship:  

“Isn’t it true that a son honors his father and a worker his master? So if I’m your Father, where’s the honor? If I’m your Master, where’s the respect?” God-of-the-Angel-Armies is calling you on the carpet: “You priests despise me! You say, ‘Not so! How do we despise you?’ “By your shoddy, sloppy, defiling worship” (Malachi 1:6 MSG)

Let’s not respond to God’s great kindness with half-hearted worship and praise. (I’m excited to be in Malachi – maybe we are getting close to the New Testament!)

chronological day 264 :)

A little Nehemiah, a little 1 Chronicles.  Please read Nehemiah 11, Nehemiah 12:1-26, and 1 Chronicles 9:1-34. What are you thinking about?  Here’s what’s on my heart today:

264

“The singers got their orders from the king, who drew up their daily schedule” (Nehemiah 11:23 MSG)

Did you notice in Neh 11 that the singers got their schedule “daily” from the king?  Us too! We ought to worship and look to the King every day! Great example for us!

chronological day 263 :)

Today, it’s all about Nehemiah again!  Here we go: Nehemiah 8:13-18; then full chapters 9 and 10.  Read and come on back – let’s visit!

263

“You are not to blame for all that has come down on us. You did everything right, and we did everything wrong” (Nehemiah 9 MSG)

The people did not blame God for their hardships…. you know, sometimes, it really is our fault.  It’s so important to recognize the connection between our actions and our circumstances. Now they enter a period of fasting again – fasting brought a victory before, now they continue the discipline. Fasting also brings favor.  

“we will not neglect the temple” (Nehemiah 10:39)

This is referring to the tithe. Tithes belong in the storehouse (for us, that is our home church) – it’s not a way to purchase favor (we can’t buy favor from God), it’s an act of obedience. Obedience releases blessing.

chronological day 262 :)

Continuing in Nehemiah!  Let’s read the following: 7:4-73 and 8:1-12. Got a highlight?  Here’s mine:

262

At the completion of the work, they remembered God:

“the people went out, brought in branches, and made themselves booths on their roofs, courtyards, the courtyards of The Temple of God, the Water Gate plaza, and the Ephraim Gate plaza. The entire congregation that had come back from exile made booths and lived in them. The People of Israel hadn’t done this from the time of Joshua son of Nun until that very day—a terrific day! Great joy! Ezra read from the Book of The Revelation of God each day, from the first to the last day—they celebrated the feast for seven days. On the eighth day they held a solemn assembly in accordance with the decree” (Nehemiah 8:16-18 MSG)

Once one vision is complete, it’s important to turn our eyes to the Lord purposefully and worship.  Tune in to Him, find out what He is doing next – worship Him for the victory and continue to work!  A victory is not a stopping point – it is a springboard into your next victory!

chronological day 261 :)

All in one place again – that’s nice!  Today, we’ll read Nehemiah chapters 3, 4, 5, 6, and finally 7:1-3.  Got a highlight?  I’d love for you to leave a comment and share it with me!

261

Everyone worked –

“except for their nobles, who wouldn’t work with their master and refused to get their hands dirty with such work” (Nehemiah 3:5 MSG)

It’s a blessing to have the strength to work, a blessing that God would allow people such as we are to cooperate with Him in restoration or whatever He needs accomplished – I don’t ever want to be so self-important that I refuse “such work”.  If God is involved, I want to be involved!

I love the response and when the enemy opposed to restoration (because you know the enemy will oppose) –

“We countered with prayer to our God and set a round-the-clock guard against them”(Nehemiah 4:9 MSG)

Prayer is a weapon! I like Nehemiah 5:16 – they were too busy working for the Lord to be distracted by their own needs, and they trusted God to take care of them. And don’t miss this one:

“I’m doing a great work – I can’t come down” (Nehemiah 6:3 MSG)

What determination. Whatever your situation is, that’ll preach!