Hebrews 10 is a worthy read about how animal sacrifices could never do for us what Christ did, and how His death was God’s will, to take away the first covenant and to establish the second. It talks about how Christ gave the ultimate offering for our sin, and how by that offering, it brings perfection to those who are sanctified. Powerful thoughts, for sure.
In the second part of the chapter, there’s this bit about how righteous people live by faith and can know that amidst the destruction or plundering of worldly goods, they have an “enduring and better possession in Heaven.”
At the end of the second part is Hebrews 10:35, which simply states:
Therefore, do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward.
The chapter ends with the thought of promise for those who live by faith and continue to do His will.
My journal version (ESV) said to not throw away your confidence. This made me think of a wastebasket, which is what I chose for the journal entry today.
How often do we do this? The Bible teaches in I John 5:13 that we can know with some assurance that we have eternal life. And yet we doubt. Then, we get discouraged. Holding tight to confidence is what helps many athletes triumph in their quest for that much-coveted win. They’re told to keep their eye on the prize, and Christians should, too. We CAN triumph over Satan. We CAN have hope of eternal life. We CAN be confident in this!
For the journal entry:
I circled the phrases: Do not throw away your confidence, and you have need of endurance, and highlighted those in purple. No reason for the purple today 🙂 I was just feeling it. And then, I circled: you may receive what is promised, and highlighted in green to make the promise stand out.
I spent last quarter working with the 1st-3rd grade class studying the book of Job. You may be thinking, “That’s a THICK book for elementary kids,” and you’d be right. Job’s tough. But it contains a ton of great lessons, AND we’re preparing for Lads to Leaders Bible Bowl competition this April. Considering the January theme of hope, there’s no better book to walk through the ups and downs of life and come up on top.
The first passage I chose for today is often taken out of context. As it stands alone in the meme above, it’s a picture of complete positivity. Like the tree, we have hope. If we’re torn, we can regrow. Rebuild. Renew.
Job 14 is a continuation of what many Bibles label “Job’s Despondent Prayer.” He doesn’t utter these words because he’s being encouraging or uplifting. Rather, this is a point where Job’s spirit is low because he’s lost hope. It begins with desperation in verse 1:
Man who is born of a woman is few of days and full of trouble. He comes out like a flower and withers; he flees like a shadow and continues not.
And following this thought in verses 7-9, Job is pointing out that there is hope for a tree, while there is no hope for man. In verse 10, he laments that “man dies and is laid low, and where is he? As waters fail from a lake and a river wastes away and dries up, so a man lies down and does not rise again.”
This might lead a flailing Christian to believe that there is no hope at all. But thankfully, we have the second verse in the entry, which appears in Romans 5:5-6:
Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us. For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.
My journaling thought for today:
- Draw a budding branch in the margins close to Job 14:7-9. Write Romans 5:5-6 beside it to remember that these two verses are connected in our entry
- Draw this same branch in Romans 5:5-6
- In Job 14:7-9, circle the phrases: hope, sprout again, and it will bud. Remember that this is what our Christianity does for us. It allows us the renewal through Christ because he died for our sin.
- In Romans 5:5-6, circle: hope does not disappoint, the love of God has been poured out in our hearts, and “Christ died for the ungodly”
- Write the phrase “Yes, there is hope. In Him.” in decorative text.
*Mine ended up spanning two pages, so I wrote the link to Romans at the top of the next page and carried a little of the tree over to there.
Carrying on with the theme of hope…
Lamentations 3 has always been one of my go-to chapters when I get discouraged. Reading that first line where the prophet says, “I am the man who has seen affliction by the rod of His wrath.”
The book of Lamentations is about the destruction of Jerusalem by Babylon, and every time I get discouraged, I try to remind myself that none of the obstacles that I ever face are as terrible as the events leading to such devastating words as “even when I cry and shout, He shuts out my prayer” or “He has also broken my teeth with gravel, and covered me with ashes.”
At first, reading this chapter, one might ask how it could possibly bring encouragement. Well, true. Prior to verse 20, it’s definitely a valley. But then, you read these powerful words.
What an amazing thought, to be renewed every day. And, to have the promise that we are not consumed.
For the journaling today:
- Circle the phrases: never ceases, never come to an end, new every morning, and I will hope in him. I chose blue for this because blue skies in the morning always bring hope of a brighter day.
- Lightly sketch a sunrise over the text. I kept mine muted because I didn’t want the sky to take over the sun. Also, when I shaded, I tried to make “I will hope in Him” stand out and didn’t add much shading there. Now, when I look at that passage, it’s the first thing I see.
- Add some hearts coming down from the sky to the horizon. I actually didn’t take this to the horizon because I drew the line below verse 24, so my hearts stop right as it says the steadfast love of the Lord. A lot of times, I picture his love as raining down on us and covering us, so I wanted to continue that thought.
My 2017 resolution is to spend more time reflecting on the scripture that I read. To do this, I’ll be doing some journaling and sharing on the blog. Feel free to join in and post your pictures/variations/thoughts in the comments. Be kind 🙂
Here’s today’s thought:
God is forever. Eternal. Everlasting. No matter what troubles you face or burdens you carry, God transcends them. Therefore, I need to learn to let go of my day-to-day, minute-to-minute petty issues and focus on what God has called me to do.
Disclaimer: Sometimes I draw well, and other times I draw like a third grader.
And, I’m kind of new at this myself. When I first started, I felt a little overwhelmed and needed step-by-step instructions.
So, here goes. Bible Marking 2017 #1 Theme: Hope
Psalm 90:1-2 reads:
Lord, You have been our dwelling place in all generations. Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever You had formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God.
- Highlight in green: “Lord, You have been our dwelling place in all generations” and “from everlasting to everlasting.” The color green was chosen for this thought because it represents nature, and specifically the earth, which God created for us as our dwelling place. And yet, this verse points to God himself as a dwelling place. Sometimes we get so caught up in the fear of natural disasters that we forget our security in him. So in 2017, I want the color green to remind me that God is in control of all nature. I have no need for worry. He calmed the storm, He called the rain in the flood, and He created everything that comprises nature.
- Circle the phrases: “in all generations,” “before the mountains,” and “from everlasting to everlasting” to emphasize that God is forever.
- Lightly sketch mountains over the two verses
- Choose one phrase to write in the margins with decorative text. I chose everlasting to everlasting. The (badly drawn) squiggles are supposed to represent continual growth. Something like a plant that continues growing and never dies.
Take away: I can place my hope in God because he is eternal.
A big thanks to everyone who’s downloaded Cavernous in my free promo. Humbling numbers in the rankings and I’m honored to share Callie’s story with so many people. Unfortunately, there was a small glitch in the download and a lot of readers only accessed chapter one. The revision has been uploaded to Amazon, but not before 200+ people downloaded the story. For those who have automatic updates turned on, hopefully you’ll get the revised version, but I’ve messaged KDP and requested they push the full one out to anyone who downloaded the story prior to the revision going live. I’m SO sorry for that!
It was one of those “proud of myself” moments where I learned how to do drop caps and decided to go back and put them in. Made a test file to preview with only chapter one, and apparently I never got around to uploading the correct one. When am I ever going to learn LOL? I so appreciate your kindness in forgiving me in this matter! Anyway, Cavernous is back up and the promo is going until midnight tomorrow, so everyone enjoy!
Connie Lounsbury has written a heart-wrenching and beautiful written story about second chances, love, and a man forgiving himself to become what God made him to be.
Pete Walters knows loss far too well following the deaths of his beloved wife and daughter, and a year later, he drowns his sorrows with alcohol and swims in his depression. Even worse, because his focus is so inward, he can’t seem to stop himself from making terrible mistakes that lead to further loss, like the devastating barn fire that sends his already-struggling friend into an even deeper financial chasm.
With his head tucked under his chin, Pete does the only thing he knows to do–he signs his house and horses over to his friend, packs up his veterinary equipment and a few personal things and travels cross-country to find work in Texas.
Misfortune follows Pete–thieves take his car and money, and he’s unable to find work as a vet. Through what can only be explained by God’s providence, a chance encounter with an experienced hobo gives Pete a glimpse at another life. Though Pete is hesitant at first, before long, he’s riding the rails like a pro, seeking work as he moves from town to town. He makes great friends along the way, but it’s not easy. Between hunger, jail time, and his ragged appearance, Pete’s self-confidence wanes. He perseveres, however, and comes to discover how small glimpses of happiness can be found in unexpected places, especially by offering kindness to others. When he stops focusing on inward things, such as his own self-pity, and reaches outward, he begins to hope again.
As he continues his journey, another hobo tells him about a place called Kathleen Creek, and he decides to go there to start a new life. But it’s difficult–no one likes or respects a hobo, and they sure don’t want his degrading presence in their town. Still, Pete’s not giving up. One-by-one, he finds small ways to serve them, from using his veterinary skills to help a wounded dog and a struggling farm family to offering a young man companionship and relationship advice. He even catches the eye of a beautiful woman and dreams of a second chance at marriage and a family. Can Pete convince the townspeople through his kindness that he deserves acceptance from this beautiful community he’s so grown to love?
If you haven’t read the first three books in the Everstone Chronicles, you’re missing out. I loved them all, and book four was no exception.
Finally, Vance Everstone finds his redemption. Throughout the entirety of this wonderful series, Vance has been the black sheep of the family. From the moment I read in book two of the series that he led Meredyth Summercourt into a dreadful mistake that haunted her, I seethed at this brother who couldn’t seem to grow into his responsibility. It was refreshing to turn the first few pages and see how he’d changed.
I enjoyed a few things about this book. Violet Hawthorne pricked my heart. From the loss of her parents and home to her unwilling commitment to a trickily arranged marriage, she continues to persevere. And Vance, so new in his conversion, has so many temptations and walks beneath the shadow of his past.
To me, this book is about strength and overcoming. That anyone can find God and become a new person. That even the worst of situations can work out for the greater good for those who trust the Lord.
I love the series and highly recommend it. Five stars, no reservations!
This week, I’m running a sale on the digital versions of ALL my books. You can snag a copy of Humbled Goddesses, Pandora’s Deed, Cavernous, Medusa’s Hands, or my Ladies Bible Class book, Ungodly Clutter for only 99-cents each!
Here are the links:
Hope you enjoy!
I enjoy those, “They had one job” memes a little more than I should. The misspelled words, the literal photo drive on the cake instead of the photo, the toilet stalls that were installed too high for privacy… Some of those will draw a pretty good laugh. And yet, I become sober when I think of what God must wish to utter to the Christian. I can imagine him sitting in Heaven, looking down on us with disdain.
“You had one job,” he says, shaking his head and perhaps crying a few tears. “I sent my Son. He carried the burden of your sin, and you had one job.”
And we’re failing miserably.
What is that one job, you might ask? After all, the Bible does have several commands, and all of them go along with that one job. It’s easy enough to find in Scripture. In Matthew 22, the lawyer asks Jesus a question, testing him. He asks,
“What is the greatest commandment?”
Well, Jesus gives him two answers, but truly, they can be summarized in one word: love.
In verses 37-40, Jesus says,
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it. You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”
Ask yourself, right now, how many of the ills of this world could be solved with simple, unadulterated love? Even the Beatles understood this, right? Love is all we need.
If we love, truly love, then we can step aside from our own wants and wishes to make life better for another person. Obedience comes second nature when you have love for your parents or authority. You want to please them and make them happy. Kindness becomes involuntary. Patience and compassion, a must.
The Dalai Lama once said,
“Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them, humanity cannot survive.”
Do we not see the daily evidence of this? And how can we expect the world to know love if we don’t show it ourselves? Just as the Ethiopian eunuch in Acts 8 needed help to understand what he was reading, sinners need the help of Christians to understand love. Stop making excuses for why you can’t, or why you can be justified to withhold your love. Show it, don’t just tell it, every day of your life.
The Bible is clear. You cannot love God and hate your brother. So, if you’re out there spewing hatred for this person or that person, this political candidate or that one, this colleague or that one, this police officer or that criminal… I’m sorry. You don’t love God. It’s Biblical.
If you aren’t following the great commission and trying to lead others to the peace that surpasses all understanding, then you do not love your neighbors. It’s Biblical.
Christians, you have just one job. To love, truly love, the way Christ loves.