January 30th: The Veil of the Tabernacle

If you’ve been following along, you know that in 2017 we’ve been reading through the Bible. If you haven’t been following along, now you know! If you’ve been wanting to simplify your quiet time and go through the Bible with us, you’re invited. Just choose a reading plan and start reading on today’s reading. God will meet you where you’re at. I’m encouraging those who are reading along to S.O.A.P. journal. I am following The Divine Mentor Reading Plan which is very simple and goes through the New Testament twice as well as everything else once. You can also check out our Facebook page and join our accountability group. 

Today I read Exodus 25-27 and Acts 6

S: Scripture

Exodus 26:31

31 “You shall make a veil woven of blue, purple, and scarlet thread, and fine woven linen. It shall be woven with an artistic design of cherubim.

O: Observation 

In chapter 24, Moses went to Mt. Sanai to be in the presence of God for 40 days. I almost read right over that fact yesterday! I actually didn’t realize that I missed that until this morning when I needed context for today’s continuation of the story. So, Moses is in the presence of God and God decided He needs to find a proper way to be able to dwell among men. So, God gives a LONG, LONG, list of very specific tasks to build a meeting place. This meeting place would be called the Tabernacle. Where one could come and sacrifice, pray and some were privileged enough to go beyond the “veil”, to meet with God. In this verse is a detailed description of the veil. 

A: Application 

This is a lot to read and understand and imagine. What I see are 2 things.

1) God is a HOLY God and needs specific requirements to be in His presence 

2)God is a LOVING God, He wants a way to meet with man, so He creates a plan. 

Before Christ, the Tabernacle and the Veil were the way to meet with God and pray in His presence, ask for forgiveness, repernt, give sacrifices and be atoned for. Now, on the other side of the veil, Christ has “tore the veil” (Matthew 27:51). Christ IS our Tabernacle to meet with God. 

P: Prayer

God, 

You have come into our hearts and given us the love of a savior, the forgiveness of our father in Heaven and the promise of eternal life. Thank you for Jesus, the Ultimate Sacrifice and mediator between us. Thank you for your Holy Word and showing us how your perfect plans have come together. I pray we can understand and fully grasp the weight of this.

Thank you. 

In Jesus’ Name,

Amen  

January 29th: Obey God


Today on my Bible Reading Plan I read Exodus 23&24, Psalm 14 and Acts 5.  My verse this morning was 

Acts 5:29 Peter and the other apostles replied: “We must obey God rather than human beings!

Here it is in it’s context:

Acts 5:25-29 (NIV)

25 Then someone came and said, “Look! The men you put in jail are standing in the temple courts teaching the people.” 26 At that, the captain went with his officers and brought the apostles. They did not use force, because they feared that the people would stone them.
27 The apostles were brought in and made to appear before the Sanhedrin to be questioned by the high priest. 28 “We gave you strict orders not to teach in this name,” he said. “Yet you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and are determined to make us guilty of this man’s blood.”
29 Peter and the other apostles replied: “We must obey God rather than human beings!
O: Observation

The disciples have already been in prison once, however, an Angel released them. After the prison guards and Pharisees and saducees realized they were out and preaching the gospel, they were angry. Here, you see the response of Peter. They were told NOT to preach about Jesus, but Peter reminds them, they are to follow the commands of God, even if it is against man. 

A: Application

 How often is society pushing us to accept the World view on unbiblical issues? We need to obey God and respond lovingly. 

P: Prayer

Lord, 

Thank you for reminding me that Your values are the only values that matter. Help me to have the courage to follow you even when the world hates it. Help me to love even when I disagree. Help me to put You first. 

In Jesus’ Name,

Amen

January 27th, 2017: A Lame Man Healed 

Yesterday I read about God giving BREAD From Heaven, with a description of a “small round substance, as fine as frost…” (exodus 16:14) and “the taste of it was like wafers made with honey”, (exodus 16:31). I chuckled to myself as I ate my ridiculously sweet treat of a raspberry turnover for breakfast and some of the pastry dough flakes stuck to my lip. I wondered, was this like Manna? The flakes of pastry dough fit the description. Thank you, Lord for that interesting thought this morning. It made me smile. 

Tonight I read Exodus 17-20 and Acts 3. Exodus tonight was the story of Jethro’s advice to Moses (on implementing a system for leadership), God speaking on Mt. Sanai and the 10 commandements. Wow. A LOT to take in! What an awesome and filled three chapters. Then in Acts a miracle! It’s interesting going from Luke l to Acts. I miss the words of Jesus being spoken, but it’s amazing to see the Holy Spirit at work. 

S: Scripture 

My verse tonight is Acts 3:8, here it is in context for you. 
Acts 3:6-8New King James Version (NKJV)

6 Then Peter said, “Silver and gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk.” 7 And he took him by the right hand and lifted him up, and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength. 8 So he, leaping up, stood and walked and entered the temple with them—walking, leaping, and praising God.
O: Observation 

The disciples of Jesus are spreading the gospel after Jesus ascended back into Heaven and the Holy Spirit was given to them. A beggar was asking for money and Peter acknowledged him with the gospel. The man- who was crippled (lame)- was healed! Immediately He kept up, stood and praised God! 

A: We are healed! Are we praising God daily? Are we leaping for joy? How can we show our joy daily to those around us? 

P: Prayer

Thank you, Lord, for the Holy Spirit. Thank You Lord for being our healer: spiritually and physically. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Let us praise you with our daily actions. 

In Jesus’ name, 

Amen

The Lord Guides Us: Are we following?

Today I am reading from Exodus 12 & 13 (Passover and ceremony of unleavened bread) , Psalm 21 and Acts 1- Jesus is taken to Heaven and Matthias replaces Judas

{If you’re just finding this blog, I encourage you to see what we are up to this year. I invite you to Join Us!)


S:SCRIPTURE 

Exodus 13:21 

And the LORD went before them by day in a pillar of cloud to lead them along the way, and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, that they might travel by day and by night.

O: Observation 

Pharaoh has finally released the Israelites! It took ten different plagues… phew. God showed up over and over again for the Israelites. Now God is showing up as He leads the Israelites out of Egypt. They are following him as he goes before them, day and night. It’s awesome to me that God provides a path for them to clearly follow.

A: Application

The Israelites had a Pillar of cloud by day and of fire by night to follow, but what do we have today to see where God is taking us? Yes, He has given us 3 ways! Amazing ways. 

1) His Holy Spirit 

2) Prayer and the ability to meet with God

3) His WORD! The Bible!

P: 

God Almighty, you are awesome. You lead us with your Holy Spirit, you answer our prayers and you meet with us in the Living Word. Forgive us for taking these things for granted. We don’t use these resources as we should. Sometimes, Lord, I talk more about something than I ever pray about it. I seek answers in other venues when you’ve already given them to me in your Word. And when the Holy Spirit prompts me, I have often failed to take orders. You are faithful to forgive, and for that I am thankful. Meet us, Lord. Help us to be more Christ like each day. 

In Jesus’ name we pray, 

Amen

God has a reason for every season: The 10 Plagues

Today I am reading Luke 24 and Exodus 9-11. 

I finished Luke. Wow. I love reading the gospels. I love savoring the words of Christ. Some of you may have read through the gospels during December with us, so you’ll know we just read Luke last month. However, God continues to constantly reveal new revelations to my heart. We serve a mighty God. We serve a God with no love limitations. We serve a God that goes beyond. I ended Luke with a sigh and a heart that was overwhelmed. Lord, we don’t deserve you, but you love us and you declare us worthy of reconciliation. Thank You Jesus. 

Tonight I also walked through Egypt as I flipped through the pages of Exodus. What a phenomenal layering of events and people and personalities tied together with the Hands of God. The beginning chapters of Exodus take us through Moses and him pleading with Pharaoh to let his people go. Here is my verse for the evening: 

S: SCRIPTURE 

Exodus 10:1-2 

Then the Lord said to Moses, “Go to Pharaoh, for I have hardened his heart and the hearts of his officials so that I may perform these signs of mine among them  that you may tell your children and grandchildren how I dealt harshly with the Egyptians and how I performed my signs among them, and that you may know that I am the Lord.”

O : OBSERVATION

Here we see the Lord giving insight to Moses for the meaning behind these plagues. He wants Moses to be able to share this historical story with his children and grandchildren so they may know that God is Lord! Wow! God tells Moses WHY He chose to have ten plagues. That blows my mind. 

A- Application 

God ALWAYS has a GOOD reason for events. Even when we can’t see it. 

P- Prayer 

God, 

You are powerful, all knowing and everywhere with us. You have a purpose for everything. Help us to trust you even when the metaphorical plagues are unending and seemingly ineffective. Let us trust in You Lord. You promise that we can. You are always at work. 

Thank you, Lord

In Jesus’ name, 

Amen

January 23rd, 2017 : Jesus is crucified. 

“Man of Sorrows!” what a name

For the Son of God, who came

Ruined sinners to reclaim.

Hallelujah! What a Savior!

Bearing shame and scoffing rude,

In my place condemned He stood;

Sealed my pardon with His blood.

Hallelujah! What a Savior!

Guilty, vile, and helpless we;

Spotless Lamb of God was He;

“Full atonement!” can it be?

Hallelujah! What a Savior!

Lifted up was He to die;

“It is finished!” was His cry;

Now in Heav’n exalted high.

Hallelujah! What a Savior!

When He comes, our glorious King,

All His ransomed home to bring,

Then anew His song we’ll sing:

Hallelujah! What a Savior!

This song played while reading tonight and it fit perfectly. Here the song Here.

Tonight I read exodus 6-8 and Luke 23. 

I have a very heavy heart after reading Luke 23, so I’m not sharing much. It’s an emotional chapter as they set Jesus up for trial and crucifixtion. All the while, Jesus never once defends himself. My scripture tonight was hard to choose. 

S: Scripture 

Luke 23:23

But they were insistent, demanding with loud voices that He be crucified. And the voices of these men and of the chief priests prevailed. 

O: Observation 

Jesus was presented before Pilate and Pilate was not finding a reason for death in Him (Luke 23:22) and wanted to chastise him and let him go. But the people insisted Jesus be killed. So (24) Pilate gave sentence that it should be as they requested. Jesus never defended himself. 

A: I’m not sure how to apply this except to try to soak in this deep moment of Christ’s life and death. 

P: Prayer

Lord,

You count all the costs of the cross and still count it worth the salvation of your children. I can’t understand that. Help me to be fully aware of this as I go through my day. I am beyond precious to you. Thank you, Jesus. 

Amen.  

But Lord, I am not eloquent 

It’s Sunday night and I’m finishing my journaling. Today was a day that God was flourishing and present in every way during worship at our service. It was amazing. Then I am reading in exodus about Moses and the burning bush. Whoa. Couldn’t imagine that! However, I can relate to Moses arguing with God about why he isn’t going to be able to represent the Lord. Satan loves to attack us, especially when we have been given a task. 
Some days I am utterly beaten down and have to verbally speak the words for Satan to stop attacking my mind and dragging me down. 
When God gives you a task, there is a reason. A seed to be planted, a heart to be lifted, a soul to be saved- not because of you but, perhaps, God can use you because He chooses to. Not to make you any better, but to make you more humble. We aren’t worthy of being used to glorify the kingdom, but for some reason, God wants to use us. He loves us. God met me right where I needed to be tonight, in the conversation of Moses and God. Here is my verse: 
Exodus 4:10 New Living Translation (NLT)
10 But Moses pleaded with the Lord, “O Lord, I’m not very good with words. I never have been, and I’m not now, even though you have spoken to me. I get tongue-tied, and my words get tangled.”
When you read this passage, if you’re like me, you’ll be astonished at the patience of God with Moses. 
Happy Sunday friends. I pray you are encouraged with these words.

January 21st, 2017: How do I understand what I just read in the Bible?

Have you ever read a passage and sat and thought- I have no idea what I just read?! Don’t just move on. Take some time to soak it in… read on to today’s blog post for 2 easy tips to get you started. 

Saturday. I love Saturdays. Full of morning snuggles and birthday parties. I found some time this evening to get my reading in. I admittedly haven’t SOAP journaled, but that’s okay. I’ll write my SOAP tomorrow. Tonight I wanted to share my verse and a slight insight to Bible translations. Tonight I started Exodus! 

Exodus 1-2, Psalm 88 and Luke 21

My verse tonight was 
Luke 21:14-15 NKJV

14 Therefore settle it in your hearts not to meditate beforehand on what you will answer; 15 for I will give you a mouth and wisdom which all your adversaries will not be able to contradict or resist.

A small insight on observation: this is Jesus speaking about the end days. Christians will be persecuted and Jesus says not to worry about what we will say. 

Something I’ve been wanting to share is how to get more out of reading through the Bible. I did a Bible study a few years ago called “How to Read the Bible for Life”. If your church ever offers a class on how to understand the Bible, take it! It was so full of great wealth. Here are a few tips to understand a passage better, most of which I got from that class I took in 2012. 

Here are 2 Simple ways to understand better:

#1: Understand the context of your passage. This is a lot of what the “O”, observation, of SOAP journaling is about. Who is writing? Who is the passage about? What event is being written about? Go a little Deeper and read the notes in the beginning of the book you’re reading if you have a study Bible. These are a wealth of knowledge. 

#2: Look up other translations. Some examples are word for word from the original languages while others are paraphrased. Reading a verse or chapter in a new translation can help you understand because of the word language  chosen may be easier to relate to or understand. 

Here is an example with my verse from today. 

LUKE 21:14-15

New King James Version (NKJV)

14 Therefore settle it in your hearts not to meditate beforehand on what you will answer; 15 for I will give you a mouth and wisdom which all your adversaries will not be able to contradict or resist.

New International Version (NIV)

14 But make up your mind not to worry beforehand how you will defend yourselves. 15 For I will give you words and wisdom that none of your adversaries will be able to resist or contradict.
English Standard Version (ESV)

14 Settle it therefore in your minds not to meditate beforehand how to answer, 15 for I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which none of your adversaries will be able to withstand or contradict.
New Living Translation (NLT)

14 So don’t worry in advance about how to answer the charges against you, 15 for I will give you the right words and such wisdom that none of your opponents will be able to reply or refute you!

I hope these tips help you to dig deeper while reading. 

Happy Saturday,

Jessica 

January 20th, 2017: The end of Genesis. 

How is your Bible journey going? Today I finished Genesis. Oh, the book of Genesis is NOT a boring book about animals following an old man, going two by two on an ark! Quite the contrary, Genesis is a book of great wealth. I read this book just a few months ago while following my church’s reading plan, however, I found many new things I hadn’t found before. That’s the awesome thing about the Bible: it is living and God breathed. Every time you read, God will reveal something new. It’s really awesome! From creation, to the fall of man, the covenant of Abraham and the line of Jacob and Joseph and the twelve tribes of Israel. The Bible is not a boring book; it’s filled with drama, seduction, dreams and visions, sin, promises, and blessings. I know this increases as the story builds, and I love being able to read these words and meet with God and learn and see Him on every part of this journey. 

Today I read Genesis 49-50, Psalm 8 and Luke 20 From my reading plan. If you haven’t chosen a reading plan yet, check this out

Today my verse was: 

S: Scripture 

Psalm 8:3-5

When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers,

The moon and the stars, which You have ordained,

What is man that You are mindful of him,

And the son of man that You visit him?

For You have made him a little lower than the angels,

And You have crowned him with glory and honor.

O: Observation

The psalmist is amazed by the fact that God, the creator of all things, would be mindful of man. 

A: Application

How can we take moments of our days and soak in the amazement of our Holy God and creator who thinks so highly of us- mere mortals? As I walk through the psalms, I love to rewrite the psalm as a mirror and in my own words. It helps me to understand and apply and meditate on the words. 

P: prayer 

God,

You are Holy, Mighty, Glorious and all knowing. You are the creator of all things beautiful and splendid. You have made man, and you are mindful of each one of us. You number the hairs in our heads; you think good thoughts and have great plans for us. Lord, we don’t deserve any of this, but you love us. We cannot work hard enough to earn your love, but we can trust you and love you. We can glorify you and live for you. 

Help us to give you glory. 

In Jesus’ name, 

Amen