11/25/19 One Year Bible Recap

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

11/24/19 OYBR Sunday Edition

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

11/22/19 One Year Bible Recap

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

11/21/19 One Year Bible Recap

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!

Psalm 119: 1-16

Proverbs 28: 6-7

11/20/19 One Year Bible Recap

Ezekiel 40: 28—41: 26

One noticeable difference between this temple and the one in described in Exodus…..No veil!  This temple will have swinging doors into the Holy of Holies because there is no more separation!  Here is the picture I left out yesterday, sorry about that!

A circuit board

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James 4: 1-17

Contrasted with being encouraged to be peacemakers yesterday, today’s reading reveals that these dispersed Jews were being the opposite of peacemakers.  And this is what struck me today; there is no middle ground with God.  You cannot be right with him and friends with the “world.”  You cannot be a Christian one day and then turn around the next and plot to get what you want. Being friends with the world means you have stopped fighting that inner war, you have just let your sin nature take over.  And here is the thing I have discovered in my years of walking with the Lord, if you are not fighting that internal war, you are losing ground, you are regressing.  You cannot get to a point and decide, “Ok, I am a good enough Christian, I am done fighting for the Holy Ground in my spirit.”  Remember how the Israelites stopped fighting for the Promised Land because they got comfortable with what they had already acquired?  Well it did not stay that way, as soon as they stopped fighting their borders started shrinking.  It is the same for us.  We have to keep asking God for the grace needed to fight this fight.  The only way to do that is to humble ourselves and beg him to show us where we are allowing the world to rule in our hearts.

Psalms 118: 19-29

Proverbs 28: 3-5

“To reject the law is to praise the wicked; to obey the law is to fight them,” is what I am trying to say in the James recap!  When we partner with God and fight the internal fight, we will naturally start following the law because the law reflects his holiness.  This is how we fight the internal fight! 

11/19/19 One Year Bible Recap

Ezekiel 39: 1—40: 27

As the Tribulation comes to a close, Gog and Magog are defeated, and Israel plunders them and uses the resources acquired to thrive.  From that victory God starts to set up His new order, also known as, the Millennial Kingdom.  He spends chapters 40-43 detailing the new Temple.  This is important because this will be the reminder for the world of the New Covenant God has established.  Therefore, nothing like it has ever been seen.  Here is a rendering I found that I promise does not even come close to the glory it will possess in actuality. 

James 2: 18—3: 18

To sum up James has taught us how to walk through trials and how to stand firm in temptation (chp. 1).  He walked us through how to exercise our faith in a way that shows compassion and is free of favoritism (chp. 2).  And now he teaches us about how powerful our tongue is and how to bridle it.  Wisdom is the key to getting our tongue under control.  Bible Knowledge Commentary called this section of James, “Cultivating thoughts.”  I have fallen in love with that term.  This is the key because our tongue is only the vocal extension of our thoughts.  If your thoughts are “a whole world of wickedness,” your tongue will communicate wickedness.  No one can control the tongue because here is the deal, if you are covering up your wicked thoughts by “boasting and lying,” then your tongue is now boasting and lying.  Get it?  You have to “cultivate wise thoughts.”  You have to learn the word of God, act on, and cultivate a thought life that reflects it.  Then the tongue is controlled by the One who can control it, The Lord! 

Psalm 118: 1-18

Proverbs 28: 2

11/18/19 One Year Bible Recap

Ezekiel 37: 1—38: 23

“Dry bones listen to the word of the Lord!”  Goodness, I have never been more thankful for the Word of God.  It is powerful enough to make dry bones spring to life.  And this is why we cling so tightly to the actual Word of God.  Being adjacent to the Word of God, singing about the Word of God, talking about the Word of God, posting about the Word of God, or hanging signs in your house about the Word of God will not cause your dry bones to come alive.  You have to pick it up for yourself, read it and LISTEN to Him. 

Ok side note.  So, on the biblical timeline there is this spot we learned about in bible school labeled “God and Magog.”  We were learning stuff so fast at bible school that I did not have the bandwidth to dig deeper into who Gog and Magog were.  I mean knowing what happens during that spot makes it obvious they are enemies of God, but for all I knew they were two brothers whose parents were not creative with names.  So, imagine my nerdy delight to come across them today!  It makes so much sense now!  Remember when God uses the words “at peace,” and “regathered” with Israel he is referring to the End Times when he will regather them and finally cleanse them fully of sin and give them a new heart.  Well get this, we learned today from the section that even though God is evident by the fact that He is in the world cleansing it, there are still a group of unbelievers who will rise up and stand against Him—enter Gog, and Magog.  They are group of people formed from surrounding nations that want to stand against God, and as we will read about later, they are under the control of Satan.  This whole endtimes thing will get so much clearer as we read through Revelation.  Don’t worry, you don’t have to be afraid.  God will prepare us for it so we don’t have to live in fear of the zombie apocalypse, oops I mean, End Times. 

James 1: 19–2: 17

Well we finished up Hebrews and now we are starting James.  James, as in, half-brother of Jesus.  It has to be said, from a human perspective, can you imagine having Jesus as your brother?  I don’t know where I have heard this so I can’t really take credit for this joke, but can you imagine Mary saying to James, “Why can’t you be more like your brother Jesus, He is Perfect.”  LOL—That cracks me up every time.  There was definitely some family drama because we see in the Gospels that his brothers show up at one point to take Him home because they think He has lost his mind.  But James at some point realized his brother actually was perfect and his Savior. 

This Epistle was written sometime between 45 and 48 AD.  James is writing to the scattered Jewish believers that are living “abroad.”  Probably in Mesopotamia and Babylon.  We cannot forget the most important thing in this book: He is writing to believers.  They have already put their faith in Jesus.  They are not having to be scolded for putting their faith in other things to save them.  These are people who have been saved by Jesus but stopped at Salvation.  They have not stepped into that idea that Romans 12 tells us about—giving our bodies as a living sacrifice, being transformed by the renewing of our minds, etc.  This book gets misused to beat people into working themselves to death to prove they are saved.  And I would like to stand here as living proof that if you don’t seek to understand what the author is saying to the scattered people you will end up using this letter to justify your busy life.  Please learn from my mistakes and don’t do that.  

What James is encouraging them to do is to live out their faith by doing what the Word of God says.  Remember we learned to day Ezekiel that dry bones come alive when we actually listen to the Word of God.  James takes that a step further and says basically, “Now that your dry bones have come to life, let them walk out your faith by loving others.” 

And let me also say that I had a crisis of faith when we went through this book in Bible School.  As I read it, I started to feel like James was contradicting everything I knew to be true about faith.  So, if you are like me and are having a hard time with it, come back tomorrow and we will dig in further.  Please believe me when I say that James is not contradicting the fact that we are saved by faith alone. 

Psalm 117: 1-2

Proverbs 28: 1

11/16/19 One Year Bible Recap

Ezekiel 33: 1—34: 31

I totally forgot that Ezekiel could not talk except for when God told him to pronounce judgements.  But now, because his message had been authenticated God gave him his voice back.  And my prayer for us all is that God is never a source of entertainment.  I mean I think it can happen when He displays the power the He has or when He does things like take someone’s voice away and then give it back at the exact time, He said He would.  We are beings that love to be entertained, that is partly why we have such a propensity to chase after desires and awe-inspiring things.  But I pray we rail against this and not be like the sheep who hear what God says but do what we want to do instead. 

Hebrews 13: 1-25

Another lining up of OT and NT passages that is poetic.  Jesus is our Perfect Shepherd.  He will never leave us or abandon us.  He will always give us help and He never changes, no matter what the new thoughts or trends are.  He is outside of the old Tabernacle sacrificial system and made a new home for us.  And because of all this we can be satisfied with what we have, and we can be empowered to listen to the leaders Jesus has put over us.  These spiritual leaders are accountable for their watchfulness over our souls, so let’s all agree not to be a hassle for them. 

Psalm 115: 1-18

Proverbs 27: 21-22

11/15/19 One Year Bible Recap

Ezekiel 31: 1—32: 32

I cannot get over how shocking it must have been to see Egypt fall.  I mean think about it.  Egypt was the country everyone went to for food, military help, trade and knowledge.  They had it “figured out” in a human sense.  In terms of human thought, they had solved the mystery of the sciences, the afterlife and medicine.  The only problem with all that is they were essentially a clay jar looking up at the Potter saying, “You did not make me, I made myself.”  God will not allow this to go on because His creation will be led astray by the wrong thinking.  Think about where you were when 9/11 happened and how you felt.  As a nation we were certain we were untouchable by terrorism.  It never occurred to us that we were not smart enough or prepared enough to stand against it.  But when that plane struck the first tower not only were we horrified by the fact that innocent lives were lost but there was an underlying shock to our system because we thought we were untouchable.  This must have been what it was like to watch Egypt go down in the OT.  And God will allow this shaking of the foundation of our beliefs because He loves us too much to see us put our faith in anything but Him. 

Hebrews 12: 14-29

I’m having a thought!  Watch out!  In verse 18, where the author compares the mountains at which we get to approach God, a light bulb go off for me.  If you have not put your faith in Jesus or if you need your pride crushed, then the mountain you are approaching is the mountain at Sinai.  You need to stand at this mountain and take it all in because you need to understand why you should be in awe of God and you need to understand the wrath you deserve as you stand in the presence of a Holy God.  But if you have put your faith in Christ and you are clinging to His arm as you approach God, you are approaching the mountain at Zion.  This is the place where you have perfect communion with the Holy God because Jesus has sprinkled you with the blood of the New Covenant.  You are covered in forgiveness and are welcomed to the mountain because you are a beloved child.  So, which will it be for you?  The Wrath of Mt. Sinai or Jesus and Mt. Zion.  The correct answer is Jesus.  And here is the thing, you have to sort this out with God because if you are putting your faith in anything less than Jesus alone to save you (your government, your money, your church, your family, your intelligence or your shining personality) then you will find yourself approaching God in the same way the Israelites did: needing to be humbled.  But if you know you cannot save yourself and you have taken Jesus’ hand and walked through the veil of the Holy of Holies then live like it!  You have access to God himself!  Angels sing over you!  Jesus mediates for you!

Psalm 113: 1—114: 8

Proverbs 27: 18-20

11/14/19 One Year Bible Recap

Ezekiel 29: 1—30: 26

Ok, so here is what we have to square with, “I am gonna give you a pearl,” as my dad says, everything is under God’s control.  It’s as if the earth is His giant Holy Risk game.  He moves army’s around to suit His Perfect Plan.  He would have loved if His creation would have just followed the rules in the Garden, but He put those people in there KNOWING they would fall.  So now He is working out His plan to restore the earth to Perfection.  He will use whatever circumstances He deems necessary to bring about this plan.  There is a part of me that could get absolutely lost in the study of how God cultivated the world; nation conquering nation, leaders rising and falling; to bring about the perfect situation to bring Jesus into to the world.  Like, down to allowing the Romans to rule so that roads would be built so the Gospel could get our easier.  Come on!  That is brilliant. 

My point is, as I was reading today about Egypt being conquered by Babylon, I was struck by the fact that God will allow and use war to move His plan along.  And He is still doing it today.  He did not want people to rely on Egypt and all her wealth, He was trying to teach them that He was in control of it all.  I love where He is like, “Well I gotta pay Babylon, so uh, yeah, go and take all of Egypt’s wealth.”  It shows us just how dumb it is to put our faith in those things.  Like we talked about yesterday, the real truth about any resources on earth is that they are all under God’s control.  I don’t know about you, but I want to put my faith in the one Who is in control of the earth, not what’s on earth itself. 

Hebrews 11: 32—12: 13

And to continue our discussion from above, faith carried these heroes of the OT into situations that looked like failure to the watching unbelieving world.  There is some part of us that feels like if we have faith in God, nothing bad will happen to us on earth.  That is just not the case.  This Holy Risk Game is the ground where we learn how to be faithful.  We learn that God is God and we are not.  We learn that earth is not the be all and end all but the jumping off point to Resurrected life.  And now I am going to drop a bomb on you.  Not only will we have to faithfully walk through suffering, that suffering is actually the Lord’s discipline on us.  He loves us so much that He wants us to grow out being ruled by circumstance and grow into someone who has been tested and found pure faith.  This is what God does to His children to perfect their faith.  And as we are running this race we get to look back and remember those who have run the race faithfully so that we know we are in good company when we are suffering.  Our Savior himself suffered the worst kind of death to save us all, and like the author of Hebrew’s said, “After all, you are not dead yet, so get up and keep going.” (creative license taken)

Psalm 112: 1-10

Proverbs 27: 17

11/13/19 One Year Bible Recap

Ezekiel 27: 1—28: 26

And here is why you have to pay attention to what you are reading and be intentional when you read things in the Bible.  Were you shocked like I was to learn that the king of Tyre was in the garden of Eden?  Do you remember reading about the king of Tyre when we learned about the garden all the way back in Genesis 3?  NO! Of course NOT!  So, what gives?  Did you figure out who is being address?  That is right we are getting a look at what happened to Satan and why he was cast out of heaven and how is working on earth (still to this day) to try to bring God down.  The thing is people if you are not with God, you are with Satan.  In God’s economy there is no middle ground.  You either agree with God that God is God or you are like Satan and want your own way.  The nation of Tyre has gone their own way so essentially Satan is their king, not God.  God uses this funeral dirge for Tyre to teach us what it looks like when Satan is at work.  But remember, the story is not over yet and Satan is not going down without a fight.  Spoiler: God wins, Satan is defeated. 

Hebrews 11: 17-31

Look at how BKC defined faith:

In its essence faith is being sure and certain about unseen hopes and realities. That this is honorable is seen in the fact that Old Testament worthies, the ancients, were commended for it. Faith is also a way of viewing all experience since it is the way in which believers see the universe for what it is—a creation by God.[1]  I don’t know why this hit me so hard this morning, but I am going to try to explain, in as few words as possible.  Faith is not religion.  Faith is not a feelgood feeling.  Faith is not blindly believing in something impossible.  Faith is not a George Michael song that teaches us to hope for the best.  (Although for the life of me I cannot get that song out of my head since we have started chapter 11.)  Faith is actually believing in what is actually real.  Faith is not being duped, when we look up in the sky and see the stars and universe, into thinking that it all just happened by accident.  Faith is believing what God says and acting on it as if we believe it is true.  God says, “Love your neighbor,” so by faith you love your neighbor.  Faith, in the end, is believing that all that is unseen right now, is actually the real deal.  These heroes of faith all believed that what God said was true and that the circumstances they found themselves in were not as important as looking forward in faith to what God would do in the end.  Faith is the opposite of what Satan did in the section of Ezekiel we read today.  And faith is all that is required for God to LIGHT UP YOU LIFE with fruit of the Spirit: Peace, joy, love, patience, kindness, gentleness and self-control.  Look at what He did for the heroes of faith!  Parted the Red Sea, fell the walls of Jericho, and rescued a whole people group from slavery.  He did that because of faith—seeing everything for what it really is, a creation by God.

Psalm 111: 1-10

Proverbs 27: 15-16 

[1] Hodges, Zane C. “Hebrews.” The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures. Ed. J. F. Walvoord and R. B. Zuck. Vol. 2. Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1985. 807. Print.

11/12/19 One Year Bible Recap

Ezekiel 24: 1—26: 21

I don’t have time to do an extensive recap today because I have a sick goat that I have to go tend to.  But I was impacted by what Ezekiel had to endure in the passage today.  As God’s messenger to the people of Jerusalem God orchestrated these things (death of his wife, and loss of voice) to get the attention of His lost people.  He could trust Ezekiel with this suffering because Ezekiel had put His faith in God.  And He tells the people:  Ezekiel is an example for you, you will do what he has done and then you will know that I am the Sovereign Lord.  As believers in God we have to square with the fact that God is in the business of wooing people back to Him.  He will use everything that happens in your life to teach you about Him, but He will also use everything that happens in your life to teach the people who are watching you about Him.  If we learn from Ezekiel, we can walk into tragedy knowing the purpose behind it and will end up closer to God instead of farther away.

Hebrews 11: 1-16

One of my professors at bible school told us that chapter 11 is a “walk through the Hall of Faith.”  The word faith is mention 10 times just in these 16 verses of this chapter.  Faith is what pleases God, faith is what secures our payment for our sin, and faith is how we are transformed into people who represent Jesus.  So learn from these faithful people.  Not a single one of them earned their salvation by being perfect.  They all walked imperfectly by faith in the One who is Perfect. 

Psalm 110: 1-7

Proverbs 27: 14