This break in the One Year Bible Recap is brought to you by Flu B. We have met 3 John, Jude, Joel, and started Revelation and I would like to comment on all of those things, but I can’t put two thoughts together to do that or hold my head up long enough to write. I will be back with you as soon as this Tamiflu kicks in.
Hosea 4:1—5: 15
Oh, I don’t like the thought of the priest’s loving it when the people sinned so they could get more food. This shows me that the system had left the worship of God and it had become a way for people to get their needs met. There is no place for this in the service of God. Leaders cannot get their needs met by the followers. Only God can meet your needs. When you expect humans to meet your needs, that just becomes an unhealthy cycle of human neediness. The leader needs you to sin so you will have to come them and offer sacrifices, which they get to eat—ew, I don’t like that. Leaders have to be leaders regardless of what they can get out of the followers. I think the leaders’ position should be, “Gosh I hope no one sins against God. I hope all our people are in perfect fellowship with him. Sure, I might have to eat ramen noodles for dinner, but I would be happy to do that knowing the people are living in step with the Lord.” And let me tell you something from my own personal book of “learning things the hard way:” People will not follow someone who they think needs something from them. So pro tip from coach Sarah, if you need the people following you to tell you that you are doing a great job and that they love you as their leader, go to the back of the line, flip that thinking around and use that energy to tell the people following you that they are doing a great job and that you love them. Don’t suck the life out of them by putting your needs on them.
“The chosen lady and her children?” Is he writing this to me? Just kidding. That is just that Enneagram 3-ness coming out in me. Because there is not a proper name used here, it seems that the “chosen lady” is a church and the “children” are her members. This is one of those beautiful ways women are honored in the Bible. Beloved city’s and churches are personified as women, as is wisdom. But whose counting? Certainly not me.
This letter was written by John but it is hard to know exactly when. The cool thing is that this letter would have fit “on a single sheet of papyrus of standard size.”  That is like a post-it note in the context of the rest of the letters included in the NT. So why has this little letter been preserved for all time? Obviously because the contents are very important.
John in this letter warns us not to fall away from the true doctrine. At this point in early church history, because they could not deny that Jesus had risen from the dead, enemies of God (antichrists) were telling people that Jesus was a ghost of some sort. The problem with that is that, as we learned from the OT, the payment for sin is death, blood had to be spilled. If Christ were not a real man, he could not really die to pay the sin debt for all. Isn’t it just like the devil to twist the truth ever so slightly? He is too slick to totally deny Christ, so he says he was a ghost or something.
So, here is the hard part for us. There are people going into church every week believing some sort of version of this. Science and reasoning have convinced them that Jesus was a “good prophet” or a “cool guy,” and not the real-life Son of God. If they are believing that, then even if they go to church every week, they are still going to die and go to hell because they are not trusting Jesus to cover their sin debt. Our job, according to John, is to not stand for this kind of thinking. Don’t agree with it by listening to it, and don’t support it by welcoming people who teach it in. The most loving thing we can do is to confront that wrong thinking and seek to help the person understand that they have a sin debt that needs dealing with.
But I get it. You go to church, you assume everyone believes in God until you hear someone say, “Well it’s all good, I mean I know Jesus was a good guy, like Buddha or Gandhi, but I just can’t believe he rose from the dead and all that, but I love the music and the message here, it makes me feel better.” NO!!! That is not the point!!! And we have to be brave enough to love that person enough to tell them they are missing the point. Now, you will have to find another blogger who can tell you how to do that in a loving way that does not make them mad, I have not figured that out yet. But I’m working on it. All I know is John tells us that not saying anything and just going along with it is not ok. (PS. This recap of 2 John is 200 words longer than 2 John, clearly, I don’t understand the meaning of recap)
Psalm 125: 1-5
Proverbs 29: 9-11
Hosea 1: 1—3: 5
What a charming little tale of a prophet so devoted to the Lord he married a woman who he kept having to buy back from pimps. Truly, the Lord will go to any lengths to get our attention, am I right? This story is unfolding during the time of 2 Chronicles 26—32. So, this is before the war with Babylon and before the Exile. Israel is separate from Judah, and they are still locked in idol worship. (Israel more so than Judah) The purpose of the book is clearly stated in verse 1:2; Hosea’s actions were meant to illustrate Israel’s likeness to a prostitute who runs after multiple partners instead of sticking to the man she made a covenant with. This book also reflects the same sin cycles we read about in Judges and Kings.
Sin->Judgement->Salvation…..rinse and repeat.
The part of today’s story that really stuck with me is where God said, “She doesn’t realize it was I who gave her everything she has—the grain, the new wine, the olive oil; I even gave her silver and gold. But she gave it to Baal.” It just made my heart jump and think, “What gifts has God given me that I have thrown at things lesser than God?” Yikes.
1 John 5: 1-21
I think John is at the back half of the NT because people geared like me need to read all of the first half of the NT to be able to read John and not turn into a zealous “Sin Caller Outer.” I totally get what he is saying about if we love God, we love his commandments. I have never “Loved my neighbor,” and regretted it. The commandments, when not being followed to seek salvation, are not burdensome. But when he started talking about sins that lead to death, I get all freaked out like, “Wait, what sin doesn’t lead to death.” But the smart dudes in Bible Knowledge Commentary shed some light on it for me. The sin that leads to death that John refers to is something like Ananias and Sapphira did. Remember them? They lied to the Holy Spirit and died instantly. There are sins that are committed that are so great the result is instant physical death. Ananias and Sapphira still went to heaven, but their lives on earth were over. No more chance to earn Eternal rewards by being faithful followers of Jesus. But the point that John is making is the way to deal with sin that we see fellow believers committing is to pray for them, and let God shine light on their sin. Now if you see someone about to commit a sin that ends in instant physical death, don’t take the time to stop and pray, say something to them! But the point I want to leave you with is the way to deal with other people’s sin is to pray first. This gets the one involved who actually is perfect at judging sin, God.
Psalm 124: 1-8
Proverbs 29: 5-8
Daniel 11: 36—12: 13
So, yesterday we saw that every single one of the prophecies that God laid out for Daniel came true historically. Every single one, to the letter. So much so that skeptics will say that there is no way that was written in Daniels time. But I lay this before you: If we believe God has the power to create the World, surely logic would tell us, that He has the knowledge of what is going to happen and how it is going to end. With that truth in our hand and hearts, we can read through the future revealed in today’s section, and bank on it. The king described today is the one who will take the world through the Tribulation. He is that figure known as the Antichrist, the Beast and the little horn. The world will think he is the greatest thing until Jesus comes and stomps him to the ground. Sorry that was graphic, I’m just getting you warmed up for when we start Revelation.
The book of Daniel ends with a promise. He promises Dan that he will live out the rest of his life, rest for a while(like, in a tomb) and then be resurrected so he can receive the inheritance set aside for him. I just love this reminder that this is not the end of the story. That is the hope you have to cling to in times of trouble, this is not the end.
1 John 4: 1-21
So, here’s the deal, if you are going to listen to someone teach you about Jesus, they have to believe the truth of the what Jesus says about Himself. We read above about how God predicted what would happen historically hundreds of years before it happened. That shows us that God’s Word is 100% true. So if you are somewhere listening to teaching about Jesus and that person says, “I don’t think we have to read the gospels because the information in there was really just meant for the ancients,” quietly slip out the back door and don’t listen to anything else they say. If you believe in Jesus, you have to take the entire Bible too. But John tells we’ll come in contact with people who want to lead us astray by picking away at the truth of what Jesus said about Himself. These people are people of the world not of God, and who runs the world? No, Beyoncè, it’s not girls, it’s Satan. God is sovereign over all, as always, nothing comes to us that does not pass through His hands, but as we have learned from our bible reading, during this spot on the Timeline, Satan is the lord of this world. (Hence the battle that is coming during Tribulation when Jesus comes back and finally crushes the head of the serpent.)
Psalm 123: 1-4
Proverbs 29: 2-4
Daniel 11: 2-35
Check out this awesome video that I found! I hope it blows your mind and causes you to be in awe of the fact that God told Daniel exactly how the world would roll before Jesus came. Every single thing happened, just like God said it would. This video covers chapters 11 and 12.
1 John 3: 7-24
As I was reading this section today, I kept thinking, “What if a camera crew followed me around all day?” If you watched that video would you be able to see that I am in fellowship with God and that He is within me? My second thought was, “Well, it depends on the day maybe?” Yesterday I was annoyed that it wasn’t Christmas Break so therefore, everything that happened annoyed me. That doesn’t reflect that fact that I belong to God. If I belong to God that means I believe He is sovereign. And if He is sovereign that means every single thing that annoyed me yesterday passed through His hands. They were on purpose, meant for my good and His Glory, and yet my response was annoyance. And as I reflect on that truth, I want to go back to bed and give up. BUT NO!
John tells us not come to God with guilt. Why? Because God is greater than our feelings! ALL THE PRAISE HANDS. If my feelings were more powerful than God, I would never look like I belong to the Lord. But He is so good that if I want to follow Him, He empowers me to do so! I can go boldly before Him and say, “Lord, I want my actions to reflect the fact that I follow you!” And He will empower me deny myself and feelings and follow Him! What absolute Good News!!!!!!!!!
Psalms 122: 1-9
Proverbs 29: 1
Can I be honest with you? We have one month left in our daily bible reading and it is getting really hard for me to stick with it. It seems so crazy! On one side I’m like, “One month to go, you can do this!” And on the other side I’m like, “You have done enough, skip the last month!” It is my own real-life struggle with knowing that being in His Word is the best thing for me and wanting to go watch Mandalorian on Disney +. It’s exactly the same as Paul talks about in Romans: Spirit v. flesh. So, what do we do about this? We keep showing up and doing it anyway. We set alarms and use our “parent voice” when talking to ourselves: “Now Sarah, you get out of that bed and go read your bible!” And this is how we win that war. Who’s with me? (Picture a really uplifting scene in a move about winning against all odds.)
Daniel 9: 1—11: 1
There is so much in today’s section. I am going to stick with seventy sets of seven section just so this is not 2000 words today. Seven was a big deal for Israel. There whole measurement of time was broken up into 7’s. What Daniel is being shown is that God’s plan will be carried out in 70 sets of 7 years. So, this 70 sets of 7 is actually 490 years. That is all the math I am doing on a Monday morning. This clock starts at the time the command is given to rebuild Jerusalem after the Exile. (Remember our friends Ezra and Nehemiah who were part of that rebuilding) Then, from there God is telling Dan that at the “7 sets of 7 plus 62 sets of 7” mark, Jesus will come. God tells Dan that Jesus will be killed, and then the end will come with a flood and the miseries of the Tribulation. However, that timer that started with the decree to rebuild Jerusalem is paused right now. This is indicated by the statement “killed, appearing to have accomplished nothing.” Jesus told us that in the Gospels because Israel rejected His offer to be their savior by crucifying Him, they would be set aside and He would do something new, that being the church. When the church has, “come into its fullness,” and is raptured, then the time starts and that last set of 7 will start. The Tribulation is that last 7 years that have not happened yet. Here is the really cool thing, if you are so inclined, look up this section in the Bible Knowledge Commentary and all the historical events that should have happened in this 69 sets of 7 have happened, just like God said! It is so cool! (Don’t google it because you will get some crack pot interpretations of this section. Go to a real source that has been through a multiple theologian editing process.)
1 John 2: 18-36
A letter from John to believers. This little practical letter was written sometime between 60 and 70 AD, and maybe sooner? It is hard to decipher, and this little letter is not giving up a lot of clues. Maybe that is because it doesn’t really matter because the truth of this letter still rings true in our hearts today. John, who was a disciple of Jesus is encouraging a group of believers to be in fellowship with the Lord and each other. He is also teaching them how to avoid falling victim to false teaching. At this point in church history the false teaching about how to live a life devoted to Jesus was rampant. Isn’t that just in line with Satan’s character? He can’t keep the Messiah down, so he decides to twist Jesus’ words. It’s the same thing he did in the garden with Eve.
In today’s section we see that there must have been a line of teaching that taught, “Since, Jesus covered our sin, sin away my friend.” This is just not true of someone who really understands what it cost Jesus to pay our sin debt. But also, as you learn to love Him, you learn how much sin is the opposite of what sets us free. Righteousness is what sets us free. It is a trick of our flesh that makes us think that sin is actually better than being righteous and doing the right thing. Don’t fall for that friends!
Psalm 121: 1-8
Proverbs 28: 27-28
Daniel 4: 1-37
Did you know Kanye West got saved? I have read the words to his “Jesus is King” song and he legitimately seems to have a relationship with Jesus. What does Kanye have to do with our story today? Well friends, Kanye, in his new believer zeal for the Lord, has created an opera called Nebuchadnezzar. As committed as I am to reporting the facts, I looked up how opening night went at the opera and how Kanye portrayed this story. All I can say is, “Bless his heart.” I remember what it feels like to have this new relationship and be all zeal and no wisdom. So anyway, maybe don’t go to the opera just yet.
Today’s story is actually literature that circulated at the time by Neb himself. Through the Lord’s direction Dan recorded the proclamation. What I love about today’s section is the point that without the Lord we really are just insane. We are no better than animals running around who eat grass and don’t know that Eternity is coming. And God, He will use the craziest stuff to get our attention. Even saving Kanye. That will get some people’s attention.
2 Peter 1: 1-21
I am in the car, don’t worry Jesse is driving. We are headed to Lubbock for Thanksgiving. I have now made myself carsick and am going to make this short and sweet. Peter is probably writing to the same group of people he wrote 1 Peter to. BKC said this of this letter:
This epistle may be titled “The Believer’s Conflict in the Latter Days.”
As you journey through this letter you will be called to grow into maturity so you can look forward to future when God brings about the End Times. Sounds crazy right? But that is what maturity does to us. It makes us believe the Lord so deeply that we yearn for Him to bring us back to Perfection.
Psalm 119: 97-112
Proverbs 28: 17-18
Daniel 2: 24—3: 30
The fact that Daniel could tell Nebuchadnezzar (from now on known as Neb) what he dreamed of is the authentication that Dan is speaking with the Lord’s authority. It is the “near prophecy” coming true, if you will. So then what Dan says about the interpterion of the dream can be trusted. Neb is awed and believes that God is the greatest God. On this side of that prophecy we have the advantage of being able to see history play out, and parts of this interpretation come true. The gold is Neb, the silver is the Medo-Persians, the bronze is the Greeks, the iron is the Romans and the clay/iron is the kingdom that was left in the wake of the very disunified Romans. Obviously, the rock cut from the mountain is representative of the fact that God will overthrow all human government in the future.
But Neb’s awe is short lived and before long he runs with the “gold” theme and erects a statue for himself. He then makes it an edict that everyone must worship him. That my friend is where we faithful get to draw a line in the sand. That is when you refuse government officials and stick with God. The theme today is that faith is purified by fire. When you are being persecuted for refusing to bow down to an idol God will show up for you every single time.
1 Peter 4: 7—5: 14
Hmmmm, “don’t be surprised at fiery trials” you say dear Peter? Ok, we will take that and the example of our three friends fresh out of the furnace from the section above and choose joy when we are suffer for believing in Christ. But don’t miss this either! Don’t you dare blame the consequences of your bad choices on God. Suffering from your bad decisions is just reaping what you are sowing. Suffering for refusing to deny Christ will be rewarded. Let me put it another way….If you are broke because you are up to eyeballs in debt, demoted at work because you are a punk who can’t show up on time, car breaks down because you never change the oil, hated because you are gossip and mean and persecuted by the law because you murdered someone who made you mad—DON’T SEND GOD THAT BILL, THAT IS ALL YOU BUDDY. However, if you are broke because you gave all your money to the church but live in your means, demoted at work because you wanted to lead a bible study, your car is damaged because you pull over on the side of the highway to render aid to someone, made fun of because you always talk about Jesus, and persecuted because you will not bow down and worship a fake god—TRUST GOD WITH IT BECAUSE HE WILL NEVER FAIL YOU.
Psalm 119: 81-96
Proverbs 28: 15-16
Daniel 1: 1—2: 23
Our first real apocalyptic book! All this means is that the meat of this book is teaching us about the end times. Apocalyptic literature is known for having a lot of imagery. Don’t worry though, the Bible always defines its imagery, so we don’t have to speculate on what this or that means. That is not good for anyone because you start to see signs and wonders everywhere that have nothing to do with scripture.
Daniel was written during the Exile. Details of the book and contextual clues place it in the 6th century BC. But even more authoritative than that, the book itself tells us when it was written, and since all scripture is God breathed, we can take that to the bank. The purpose of the book was to teach the Israelites a few important things. 1. How to honor God in the Exile. 2. About the end times. 3. To teach the Gentile nations who God is. (also a running theme in the Bible) As we read through the book, we must keep these things in mind so we don’t take a weird detour.
The section today gives us the historical background so we can place Daniel in the right part of the Bible story. But we also learn about Daniel’s character. He is finding a way to honor the Lord and not get beheaded. And God blesses him for that. We will see God’s hand over Daniel throughout this story, teaching us that He really is sovereign over all. This section today also authenticates Daniel’s position as a prophet. Remember, God will always give near and far predictions to authenticate His messengers. He will also always define the meaning of a vision to authenticate any messages, so we know they are from Him.
1 Peter 3: 8—4: 6
So, if we do all the things we read about yesterday, and we deal with each other compassionately, evangelism will be easy because we will be so different from the world that unbelievers will come up to us and ask about our hope. Do you see that? When the transformation happens and we are walking out our faith, people notice without us even having to harass them! And when they do ask, you respectfully tell them about your Savior and what He has done in your life, and let Jesus do the rest.
Psalm 119: 65-80
Proverbs 28: 14
Ezekiel 47: 1—48: 35
I wanted to jump on today and talk about the end of Ezekiel because tomorrow we start Daniel. It seems that Ezekiel ends abruptly but really when you look at the structure of the book it ends with just the right information. The detailed description of the Millennial worship is the hope of better things to come for Israel. All the things they did not do in their time will be done in the Millennial Kingdom because God promised it would happen. Even down to the measurements of grain. Remember how Ezekiel condemned the priests for using false weights? None of the will happen in the Millennial Kingdom. Because the King will be there, and everyone will know the Jesus is Lord.
Also, the river that flows out of the New Jerusalem has really stuck with me today. Probably because one of the things that I have learned to love about the Lord is that wherever He goes He leaves redemption in His wake. And this holy water that causes all things to grow and is swarming with life reminded me of that. Wherever He is, there is life flowing out of Him.
1 Peter 2: 11—3: 7
Yesterday Peter taught us that we are temporary residents of this Earth because our actual home is in Heaven with Jesus. Because of this we are called to act like we are foreigners in this land, we should be different. We want to be different because of what Jesus has done for us. We want to be different because we have been born again into residents of heaven. We are empowered to act like Jesus because of the Spirit. And there is another reason too: eternal rewards. We will be rewarded based on our time here as foreigners when we get home with the Lord. Now this is not a heaven or hell decision for us because you cannot get kicked out of your homeland based on your behavior. This is a “well done good and faithful servant,” decision. And because of this potential for reward, Peter tells us how to act so we can be rewarded for our time here.
In today’s reading he tells us the key to acting like residents of heaven. The idea is that God is in control of everything, and as residents of heaven we believe that. So, if He is in control of everything that means He is in control of kings, appointed officials, masters, husbands and wives. And because God has authority over these things, even if the officials are the furthest thing from Christians that we can imagine, we can submit to them with confidence because we know that God is in control. Submission is the key. Submission proves that you know God is sovereign. Submission allows you to patiently endure unfair treatment because you know that God sees what is happening to you and is allowing it for some reason that is for your good and His glory. Now, hold on before you unsubscribe to the blog, I know these are soul level ideas here that you and the Lord have to work out. I understand and have documented how the Lord had to teach me about submission. It was the most painful thing I have ever had to endure. But I would encourage you to do the work because you are not a resident of this world and I want you to stand before Jesus and have Him say, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”
PS. Did Peter just give us women permission to wear yoga pants everywhere?
Psalm 119: 49-64
Proverbs 28: 12-13
Ezekiel 44: 1—45: 12
Oh well, I have been racking my brain to come up with something intelligent to say about this section today and all I can come up with is the Millennial Kingdom will be run exactly how God wants it to be. It will be so glorious that we will be like Ezekiel and fall down on our face because the Glory of God overwhelms us. It will not disappoint; in fact it will be more than we can even imagine. So when you look around and wonder in what new ways the world will invent to be horrible today….remember, this is not the end.
1 Peter 1-12
Ah! A return of my favorite Apostle. My Ready! Fire! Aim! comrade. The Rock in a hard place….that’s right it’s PETER! (Applause) (Should I become an announcer or what?) This letter was written to believers in Asia minor that were under Roman control. It was written in late 64 AD or early 65 AD, right before Nero when crazy and wanted to kill all Christians. Seriously, something was really wrong with Nero, he was cray cray. Anyway, it is good that Peter is instructing them in this letter to endure suffering with honor. He also teaches them where to put their hope when they get bogged down in the persecution. I think the most encouraging portion of this opening section is that we can be sure that trials are testing our faith and refining us. This means that if you are struggling, if you are having to deal with stuff that feels like more than you can handle, if you are being shut out of things because of your belief in Jesus, if you are struggling internally to beat down your sin nature and allow your spirit to rise up, well then my friend, you are IN IT!!! You are winning back holy ground and being refined. And that is a good thing!! Your faith is being purified and that means that you are not sitting on the sidelines becoming a complacent Christian. So keep going!
Psalm 119: 17-32
Proverbs 28: 8-10
Ezekiel 42: 1—43: 27
With the final measurements today, God tells Ezekiel that in the Millennial kingdom the worship that he set up all the way back in Exodus will be carried out. The difference is that the Israel now have a new heart, so they are empowered to set aside the idol worship of their ancestor and worship God in total holiness. The fact that this worship is set up in the Millennial kingdom is proof that it was never meant to save anyone or be a way to cover your sin debt with God. Jesus has already paid their sin debt, and they will be displaying their holiness by establishing this temple worship.
James 5: 1-20
Sections like this are dangerous for Jesse (my husband). Why you ask? Because his wife reads them and decides that it is time to sell every possession they have and move to a place where the need is very great so they can use their resources to help people. I don’t want what I have hoarded testifying against me! I don’t want to hear the cries of the workers who have harvest my fields! Please remember this book is really hard for me and caused me crisis of faith the first time I read it. So, before I start listing stuff on Facebook Market, I have to take a breath and figure through what James is really trying to communicate here.
Yesterday he addressed that non-peacemakers and the planners. In today’s section he is addressing the greedy and the impatient.
With greedy people he is addressing the heart behind their wealth. The challenge is, “what are you spending your life doing?” Collecting wealth in a way that breaks peoples backs and not using it to help people? My worry is that we here in the luxury of the USA are just fattening ourselves up for the slaughter. The need to hoard, at the basic level, is not trusting God to provide enough. James is challenging us to really look at our stockpiles and ask ourselves if the need for wealth and stuff has become our god. And that is what makes me want to sell everything. Just to prove to myself that it is not my god and God is really my God. But wisdom tells me to slow my roll because I am a Ready! Fire! Aim! kind of person. Which brings me to the impatient people.
The need to get out of suffering is what causes impatience. But James gives us examples here of how to walk through the suffering. God is so good because His answer for impatience is not just, “Deal with it.” He gives us the greatest thing to do when we are impatient: PRAY. Instead of grumbling to your neighbor, you get to go right to the One who can do something about it! And to wrap it all up because it is 7:06 am and I have to go make lunches…Prayer is the key to deal with all these sinful postures James has just addressed. Ok, gotta go!