Archive for the ‘Project 66’ Category

Project 66 – Lamentations

The next portion of Scripture for Project 66 comes from Jeremiah’s book of Lamentations. It’s his vision of Jerusalem being left wasted while Babylon is exulting in it’s conquest, quite the opposite of what we see in Revelation 18, 21, & 22.

But even in the midst of all these collected laments, there is hope. In the third chapter the prophet’s anguish is summarized when he concludes in verse 18:

My strength and my hope have perished from the Lord.

Gone! Dead! There is no more hope! Perish!

But just 3 verses later we see hope restored. The hope that he thought had perished has resurrected.

And the only difference between the lost hope of verse 18 and having hope in verse 21, is the affliction, wormwood and gall being remembered in 19-20. Remember Good Friday, and all that transpired that day in regards to the Lord Jesus. It was for me. That gives me hope of a Resurrection Day!

And this next portion, which is the portion I have chosen for Project 66, is my daily reminder to my own soul, to wait quietly for the Lord:

Through the LORD’s mercies we are not consumed,
Because His compassions fail not.
they are new every morning;
Great is Thy faithfulness.
“The LORD is my portion,” says my soul,
“Therefore I hope in Him!”
The LORD is good to those who wait for Him,
To the soul who seeks Him.
It is good that one should hope and wait quietly
For the salvation of the LORD.

Thank the Lord that His compassions and tenderness fails not, that they are new every morning, for most often, I do exhaust them all by day’s end. But the morning comes with a new set, and never failing supply.

A New Morning at the Tetons with new mercies

A New Morning at the Grand Tetons Mountain range, loaded with new mercies

And what can I lose, that is not more than compensated by the truth that “The Lord is my portion.”

And to my soul, I charge, “Seek Him! Wait for Him! Hope for Him! Quietly. Be patient…Easter is on the way!”

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Project 66 – Jeremiah

The passage I chose from Jeremiah is listed as #2 on Biblegateway.com’s top most-read Bible passages! Only John 3:16 has been read more often on biblegateway.com!
(interestingly enough, 25% of the verses on that list are contained in Project 66!)

Jeremiah 29:11-13 – Hope & a Future

“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you,” says the LORD,
“thoughts of peace and not of evil,
to give you a future and a hope.
Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me,
and I will listen to you.
And you will seek Me and find Me,
when you search for Me with all your heart.”

Context

Just what is the historical context of this precious promise that many hold tightly to their bosom clinging to the hope of a brighter future for them personally?

Well, with the northern kingdom of Israel already taken away by the Assyrians over a century before, the kingdom of Judah, under questionable rulership, remains behind between the two world powers of Egypt and Babylon.

Just before Nebuchadnezzer (King of Babylon) attacks Judah, Jeremiah prophesied that it would happen and that Neb would take the cream of the Jerusalem crop people-wise and export them to Babylon. Jeremiah said that the exiles would remain in Babylon for 70 years (Jeremiah 25).

This did not settle well with the ears of the people so the leaders tried to kill the messenger Jeremiah for having spoken of desolation, but he escapes.

What do you supposed happened next?

That’s right! Just as that lamentable Jeremiah had said, Nebuchadnezzer, King of Babylon, attacked Jerusalem, Judah, for the first time in 605 BC.

The king of Judah paid tribute and promised future payments to entice Nebuchadnezzer to withdraw. The Babylonians did so, but took away to Babylon some exiles, including Daniel and his three friends (whom we know best by their Babylonian names, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego).

Seven years later, in 598-7 BC, Nebuchadnezzer returns, after the Judean king foolishly stops paying tribute. This time he deposes the king, sets up his own puppet from the Judean royal family, and takes thousands more into exile. Jeremiah remains in Jerusalem.

Jeremiah puts a yoke on his neck in chapter 27 to symbolize God’s judgment to be in bondage to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon for 70 years of captivity.

The message was bleak, and the people did not like it. So they collected prophets and teachers to themselves to tell them pleasant things.

The resultant contest between Hananiah the false prophet and Jeremiah in chapter 28 is a case study for discernment and contrast between true and false prophets; and as I read it I am left to wonder how I might have responded had I been there listening to Jeremiah and Hananiah.

Hananiah and other false prophets in Babylon and Jerusalem were claiming that the captivity was going to be very short – that God would break the power of Nebuchadnezzer and send the captives back to Jerusalem very shortly. In effect, they were saying, “God will prosper both you and Jerusalem in less than two years.”

Jeremiah had a sober and true message–dismal and condemning in the short term but not without a future hope. Jeremiah clearly says, “No! God is NOT going to prosper Jerusalem during the next several years. Don’t think you’re coming back soon – live out a normal life in Babylon!”

Jeremiah 29

Three years later in 594 BC, Jeremiah sends a letter (chapter 29to the exiles in Babylon. Regardless of the false-hope message of Hananiah’s short term victory and vindication, God had made up His mind–70 years of captivity.

In this context, the Lord instructs the people not to be overcome by the severity of the consequences, but to take heart in a long distant promise. They are to build houses, have children, carry on, etc., and not shrink back from all hope.

Here it is, in context:

Jer 29:10-14

For thus says the LORD: After seventy years are completed at Babylon, I will visit you and perform My good word toward you, and cause you to return to this place.

11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.

12 Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you.

13And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.

14 I will be found by you, says the LORD, and I will bring you back from your captivity; I will gather you from all the nations and from all the places where I have driven you, says the LORD, and I will bring you to the place from which I cause you to be carried away captive.

(Note that Daniel in exile is aware of this letter. In Daniel 9, written more than 50 years later, Daniel realizes the prophesied time of the captivity is almost over, yet the exiles are not living in accordance with God’s laws. So he confesses the sins of his people, and asks God nevertheless to fulfill the promise contained in Jeremiah for His own Name’s sake.)

Ironically, this verse–on so many hearts, posters and mirrors–is smack dab in the middle of God’s pronounced judgment of 70 years captivity.

70 years is generally regarded as a “type” of a human life span. It is the time that represents our sojourn here on earth.

Ps 90:10 The length of our days is seventy years–or eighty, if we have the strength; yet their span is but trouble and sorrow, for they quickly pass, and we fly away.

So it is fitting that so many of us have taken a shine to this verse. For we too have seem sentenced to live as exiles in this world for seventy years—so to speak—with broken hearts, dead-end jobs, shattered dreams, losing loved ones, etc.

Jeremiah 29:11 is thus a ray of hope in this dark world—not of short-term success and prosperity, but rather that after the just sentence of God has passed… we will be restored.

"I know the thoughts I think towards you," says the Lord.

Devotional

I’m comforted by the present tense of I think towards you. It’s not the thoughts He had about me when He planned for me, or created me, but that He is thinking right now. Even if I should find myself in a 70-year captivity that was brought on by my own poor choices, He is thinking about me.

Also, He shall not just think hopeful thoughts towards me for a year or two, but He shall go on, at least in this case, for seventy years, thinking thoughts towards me!

His thoughts are not only present and current, real time, but they are also towards me. His thoughts drift towards me.

When most I fear the Lord has forgotten me, He provides this verse that three times over repeats the word “I am thinking about you, even now!” It is as if He can’t stop thinking about me, for His thoughts meander over to me yet again!

When through the course of life, people give no more thought towards me, God has me on His mind all the time!

And the thoughts that consume Him about me are of peace, hope, future, bright, reconciliation, oneness with Him.

I don’t suppose there are angels in heaven trying to counsel Him regarding some wayward child, “Ah, just forget about her. She’s done nothing for You, she just keeps turning her back on You every chance she gets. It’s like she just looks for new and fresh ways to hurt You.” But even if such counsel existed, He doesn’t seem to pay mind to it. For His thoughts keep drifting back towards me presently with thoughts of good.

So many times when I have great problems, I think, “Oh, God’s forgotten me. God’s not thinking of me anymore.” Oh, that’s not so. God is thinking of me. But God is always looking down at the end of the road.

My common mistake is that I am always looking for immediate advantage, immediate fulfillment. And I don’t consider the end result or the consequences of the things that I do. How many times I jump into things not considering what the end result is. “Oh, but it looks exciting. It looks fun. Let’s jump in.”

And God is warning and He is saying, “No, the end of that path is destruction. Now I’m thinking about you. Don’t think I’ve forgotten you. I am thinking about you. And My thoughts concerning you are for your peace to bring to you this expected end.”

Return

It is at the end of that 70-year captivity that we call upon Him and He hears us. And I like that the promise is to the whole-hearted seeking of Him. I need to be moved out of my complacency.

I think that one of my problems is that I oftentimes have a half-hearted attitude towards God. I’m not really seeking God with all of my heart. “Well, God, if You want to, I’m here. And You can do it for me if You desire. I won’t stop You, Lord.”

And I oftentimes take a very passive attitude towards God, towards the things of God. Rather than really seeking God with all of my heart.

I don’t imagine really that I can do anything whole-heartedly. But I’ve been close regarding things or people on earth. And so I just want to seek the Lord with that same intensity and passion. I want to be as whole-hearted as Deborah Lein can be for where she is right now, and to have my thoughts presently, currently, real-time be about the Lord for good, and to have my thoughts just naturally drift towards Him and His goodness.

I cling to this portion of the promise the most…that He will captivate me with Himself, when I see Him as He is! The more I seek Him, the more I will be captivated, for to know Him is to love Him!

Project 66 – Isaiah

It was tough to choose just a singular portion of Isaiah. So much great stuff, especially in the last 27 chapters of the book.

Perhaps you have heard the book of Isaiah compared to the Bible as a whole, since it has 66 chapters, just as the Bible has 66 books.

The first chapter begins with sin and transgression while chapter 39 ends with negative consequences and captivity. (The Old Testament has 39 books)

Then springs forth chapter 40 with great comfort, carrying it all the way through the 27 chapters to 66th as it closes in with a new heaven and a new earth. (The New Testament has 27 books)

The central chapter of the second portion of Isaiah is the 53rd chapter just as the central theme of the New Testament is the Cross.

Interestingly, Isaiah is midway between the time of

  • Moses (giver of the law) and
  • Christ (though Whom came Truth and Grace), and
  • in Isaiah we clearly see the distinction between Law and Grace.

So the portion from Isaiah comes from the central chapter in the second portion of Isaiah, Isaiah 53, which talks about the central theme in the New Testament…

Isaiah 53 – Jesus Christ and His work on the cross

Surely He has borne our griefs
and carried our sorrows;
Yet we esteemed Him stricken,
Smitten by God, and afflicted.
He was wounded for our transgressions,
He was bruised for our iniquities;
The chastisement for our peace was upon Him,
And by His stripes we are healed.
All we like sheep have gone astray;
We have turned,
every one,
to his own way;
and the Lord has laid on Him
the iniquity of us all.

All we like sheep have gone astray

I need a Shepherd

It was my grief He bore.

He not only knows my grief, but He bares it for me. I’m sure many have felt nearly swallowed up by overmuch grief, I know I have. So I cannot even begin to imagine how it would utterly crush me altogether if it were not for Christ bearing my grief.

It was my sorrows He carried.

I picture sorrows like an Alfred Hitchcock movie with spiders and roaches crawling all over the body…desparately, maddeningly, swatting and lashing out at them with a complete insanity and inability to do anything else, except to writhe in disgust trying to swipe them away.

But what’s more…sorrows are the vermin of the heart and soul, not the body. And Who will rescue me from the attack of these insidious cockroaches?

Thanks be to God, Jesus Christ has carried away my sorrows to the tree of Calvary.

And though the crowd may have looked on at the time of His crucifixion and determined that Jesus was being punished on the cross for His own sins, yet today, I cannot help but acknowledge, it was for my transgressions, for my iniquities, and all in order that I might have peace, in order that I might be healed.

The truth is it was I who went astray and walked in my own selfish way. The very wanderings that fell me headlong into the pit of poisonous insects and rodents. I want to be the kind of sheep that turns to the Shepherd for guidance rather than brashly making poor choices and suffering for them afterwards.

Just thinking about this portion of Project 66, compels me to thank God with the words from this hymn…

Why would I ever leave the suffering Shepherd’s side who never leaves my side?

Project 66 – Isaiah

It was tough to choose just a singular portion of Isaiah. So much great stuff, especially in the last 27 chapters of the book.

Perhaps you have heard the book of Isaiah compared to the Bible as a whole, since it has 66 chapters, just as the Bible has 66 books.

The first chapter begins with sin and transgression while chapter 39 ends with negative consequences and captivity. (The Old Testament has 39 books)

Then springs forth chapter 40 with great comfort, carrying it all the way through the 27 chapters to 66th as it closes in with a new heaven and a new earth. (The New Testament has 27 books)

The central chapter of the second portion of Isaiah is the 53rd chapter just as the central theme of the New Testament is the Cross.

Interestingly, Isaiah is midway between the time of

  • Moses (giver of the law) and
  • Christ (though Whom came Truth and Grace), and
  • in Isaiah we clearly see the distinction between Law and Grace.

So the portion from Isaiah comes from the central chapter in the second portion of Isaiah, Isaiah 53, which talks about the central theme in the New Testament…

Isaiah 53 – Jesus Christ and His work on the cross

Surely He has borne our griefs
and carried our sorrows;
Yet we esteemed Him stricken,
Smitten by God, and afflicted.
He was wounded for our transgressions,
He was bruised for our iniquities;
The chastisement for our peace was upon Him,
And by His stripes we are healed.
All we like sheep have gone astray;
We have turned,
every one,
to his own way;
and the Lord has laid on Him
the iniquity of us all.

All we like sheep have gone astray

I need a Shepherd

It was my grief He bore.

He not only knows my grief, but He bares it for me. I’m sure many have felt nearly swallowed up by overmuch grief, I know I have. So I cannot even begin to imagine how it would utterly crush me altogether if it were not for Christ bearing my grief.

It was my sorrows He carried.

I picture sorrows like an Alfred Hitchcock movie with spiders and roaches crawling all over the body…desparately, maddeningly, swatting and lashing out at them with a complete insanity and inability to do anything else, except to writhe in disgust trying to swipe them away.

But what’s more…sorrows are the vermin of the heart and soul, not the body. And Who will rescue me from the attack of these insidious cockroaches?

Thanks be to God, Jesus Christ has carried away my sorrows to the tree of Calvary.

And though the crowd may have looked on at the time of His crucifixion and determined that Jesus was being punished on the cross for His own sins, yet today, I cannot help but acknowledge, it was for my transgressions, for my iniquities, and all in order that I might have peace, in order that I might be healed.

The truth is it was I who went astray and walked in my own selfish way. The very wanderings that fell me headlong into the pit of poisonous insects and rodents. I want to be the kind of sheep that turns to the Shepherd for guidance rather than brashly making poor choices and suffering for them afterwards.

Just thinking about this portion of Project 66, compels me to thank God with the words from this hymn…

Why would I ever leave the suffering Shepherd’s side who never leaves my side?

Project 66 – Song of Songs

Today’s portions are found in the Song of Songs from the King of Kings,
the Dirge from the Suffering Savior, and
from the Lament of Jeremiah.

Song of Songs 6:3 – Jesus is My Beloved

My favorite all time author and preacher is Charles Spurgeon, and he aptly described Song of Solomon like this:

“The Song of Solomon is the central Book of the Bible;
it is the innermost shrine of divine revelation,
the holy of holies of Scripture;
and if you are living in communion with God,
you will love that Book,
you will catch its spirit, and
you will be inclined to cry with the spouse,
‘Make haste, my Beloved.’”

And while it is in the heart of the Bible because it is the heart of the Beloved to His bride, there are many differentinterpretations of it. For example:

  1. It is a collection of independent poems (23) dealing with the subject of love, either written or gathered by Solomon.
  2. It is written to celebrate the marriage of Solomon to Pharaoh’s daughter
  3. It is strictly an historical account of how Solomon wooed and won a fair maiden from Lebanon, and their mutual love
  4. It is strictly an historical account of how a shepherd and a maiden stayed faithful in their love for each other, in spite of the attempts by Solomon to turn the latter to himself.
  5. It is not historical only (if at all), and serves mainly as an allegory.
    An allegory of what you might ask…
    again, many interpretations:
    • The deliverance of Israel from Egypt, their wilderness wanderings and their entrance into Canaan
    • Union of Jehovah with Ancient Israel
    • Union of Christ and the Church
    • Love-life of the soul with the Lord

Being that I am not married, nor even romantically involved with anyone, I can’t quite read this book as a treatise about sex, love and intimacy in the marriage quite the way Tommy Nelson does (though Tommy’s book does make for a great read!).

I have been greatly blessed reading it as an allegory (while recognizing that it is historical as well) of the love-life of the soul with the Lord.

The three chief characters are:

  • Solomon = World
  • Shulamite Woman = the Individual Soul (me)
  • Shepherd/Lover = Christ

The story is a beautiful country girl from Shunem was surprised by the king on one of his journeys to the north (6:11ff). She was brought to Jerusalem and placed in the royal palace (1:4-5), where, as the poem opens, the ladies of the harem (daughters of Jerusaelm) are singing the praises of Solomon.

The king himself makes great efforts to win the affection of the Shulamite (1:9, etc). But she remains faithful to the memory of her Shepherd/Lover (1:7, etc), who at last, appears, and is allowed by the magnanimous monarch to return to His mountain home with His bride (8:5ff).

Climax of the story is 8:6-7.

Set me as a seal upon your heart,
As a seal upon your arm;
For love is as strong as death,
Jealousy as cruel as the grave;
Its flames are flames of fire,
A most vehement flame.
Many waters cannot quench love,
Nor can the floods drown it.
If a man would give for love
All the wealth of his house,
It would be utterly despised.

Song of Songs 6:3

Rooted in my Beloved, Jesus Christ

Now as for the portion of this beautiful song that is part of Project 66 (6:3)…

I am my Beloved’s,
And my Beloved is mine.
He feeds His flock among the lilies.

This is the reverse order of Song of Songs 2:16

My beloved is mine, and I am his.
He feeds his flock among the lilies.

dark season ensued between 2:16 and 6:1.

So now we see that after that dark tumultuous time, the grounds of security is based on Christ’s love towards me, rather than mine towards Him, as it was in 2:16.

What a comfort to know that I am Jesus’. That He even wants me, desires me. And that He allows me to call Him “mine,” likes it when I “show Him off” as mine!

Where Jesus is, there is growth and life and beauty. “He feeds His flock among the lilies.” That conjures up the green pastures found in Psalm 23!

Project 66 – Proverbs & Ecclesiastes

Proverbs and Ecclesiastes finish up Part 7 of Project 66, as well as year 2010!

Proverbs 9:10 – A Summarization of the Book

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.

The Proverbs speak often of the fear of the Lord from a very positive perspective. Fear of the Lord. The word fear bugs some people because we have in our minds the concept of a phobia. But the word translated fear is not a phobia type of fear. It is that kind of awe and reverential fear as we really think about God, His greatness, His power, who He is. It is that awe that comes over you when you stand at the ledge of the Grand Canyon, or look up into the clear bright night sky from the bush of Africa.

Resurrection Morning at the edge of the Grand Canyon

The fear of the Lord is desiring to do what God would have me to do. Love what God loves. Hate what God hates. That desire recognizing who God is. To seek to please Him, that’s what the fear of the Lord is about. That’s the beginning of wisdom. And knowing  the Holy One Himself …that is understanding. Not simply knowing what is holy or pure, but knowing The Great Shepherd Himself, leaning your head on the breast of God to hear His heartbeat. Wisdom, Knowledge and Understanding are found in the Lord. Not simply inside of myself. With that as the foundation stone, so knowledge, understanding and wisdom shall be able to increase more and more each day.

Ecclesiastes 3:11 – God-sized Hole in Our Hearts

God has made everything beautiful in its time Also, He has put eternity in their hearts, Except that no one can find out the work that God does from beginning to end.

  • Every desire
  • Every aspiration
  • Every hunger
  • and thirst
  • Every longing of our nature

is nothing less than a desire for God. As G.K. Chesteron says,

Even when men knock on the door of a brothel they are seeking for God.

We were born for His love and cannot live without it. Only God can fill our God-sized void! Lord Jesus, help me in 2011 to go to the Fountain of Heaven to have my thirst for love quenched. Amen.

Awesomeness of God

Project 66 – Psalm 23

The seventh set of three portions from Project 66 is from the wisdom literature, where we get to hear God’s people pouring out their hearts to their Redeemer as they go through the chaos and tumult of this world.

This project is so needful in my life. What a beautiful state it must be to have every thought taken captive by the Lord Jesus Christ! Come Holy Spirit to do that captivating in me!

I’ll divide up Part 7 into two parts, since all of Psalm 23 is a masterpiece unto itself!

The Lord is my Shepherd

Psalms – Intimacy with God

How do you chose a portion from the longest book in the Bible with 150 chapters? Well, probably the most renowned is Psalm 23. It is this portion that a preacher once taught me how to meditate and contemplate the Scriptures. So…

The LORD is my Shepherd;

  • Not merely a lord, but THE Lord.
  • Not has been or will be, but is presently in the here and now, despite my circumstances.
  • And though it is true He is our Shepherd, He drives it closer to home, to a more intimate relationship of, He is MY Shepherd.
  • And speaking of intimacy, He is the Creator, the Master of the Universe, God Almighty, but to me He is a Shepherd. Watchful, caring, present, guiding, providing.

I shall not want.

  • Or better rendered as in the NIV, I lack nothing, or I shall not lack anything.
  • I may not have all I want or everything that I perceive as a need, but my Shepherd knows exactly what is required for my growth and faithfully provides it.

He makes me to lie down in green pastures;

  • There is much to-do about freewill and I suppose I believe in it (I’d hate to credit God for some of my impetuous sinful selfish behaviors),
  • but I am thankful that there are times when He just has to take over, to overrule my unruly ways.
  • He makes me lie down, to stop, to breath, to rest.
  • Not to stand, or even to sit. But in that most restful horizontal position, to lie down!
  • Not in the barren wasteland, or the desert places, but in the lush, healthy, nutritious green pastures.

He leads me beside the still waters.

  • And I’m also thankful there are times where He affords me the opportunity to follow.
  • And oh the places He will lead if I just let Him.
  • While the raging seas may look “adventuresome” and “exciting”, it is the still waters He prefers to lead me to.
  • Still waters should not be confused with stagnant or standing water, but rather quiet, peaceful, calm waters!
  • And notice that He doesn’t throw me in the deep end for my “own good” or pushes me in to be the butt of some prank. He simply leads me beside the still waters.

He restores my soul;

  • That’s my prayer for 2011, that He would restore my soul and my heart.
  • He doesn’t just wind me up and leave me to myself like a watch,
  • but like a good Shepherd, He feeds me daily and cares for me daily, and daily gets me out of jams that I manage to get myself into.
  • He constantly is always bringing me back to restoration, to Himself.

He leads me in the paths of righteousness

  • I may not naturally be attracted to righteousness, but I am most definitely attracted to Him. Where He leads, I will follow.
  • And though the way may seem dark and gloomy and lonely, I can be assured that it is the path of righteousness on which He leads me, if I will only follow Him.
  • Following Him, I don’t have to wonder or teeter back and forth on whether something was right or wrong. I can know it is righteousness.

For His name’s sake.

  • And it provides security to know that all these good things He does towards me does not hinge on me nor is motivated by me or my behavior.
  • It is for His unchanging namesake.
  • It is motivated for the glory of His name.
  • That is a motivation that will always remain constant and good.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil;
For You are with me;

  • Thankfully I have never been near the valley of death or even the shadow of death
  • But the darkest valleys that I have experienced, He has shown Himself faithful to care for me and be with me.
  • Broken hearts, shattered dreams, severed relationships, failures, etc…I will not fear
  • Why?
  • For Thou art with me. Right now. Always. Uninterrupted. Constant.
  • You are my light, my shield, my refuge, my lover, my Shepherd.

Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.

  • It is YOUR rod that disciplines me
  • It is YOUR staff that rescues me
  • They are instruments of YOUR guidance
  • What rest there is in knowing that You have me girded in and protected…even from my own dastardly choices.

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;

  • The Lord goes from Shepherd, to Guide, and now to the Host!
  • We are to wait on the Lord, but in this Psalm we find Him waiting on us!
  • Why in the presence of our enemies?
  • I count my enemies to be my doubts and fears. And the Lord responds to my doubts and fears and questions with His abundant provision, as if to silence them.

You anoint my head with oil;

  • Because of Psalm 133 I associate anointing with fellowship. He will provide friends.
  • Also, biblically, royalty was commissioned by the anointing of the head. A good reminder than I am royalty, daughter of the King.
  • And back to my prayer for 2011, anointing was used for healing. To heal wounds caused by my enemies of doubts, fears, and “old tapes”!

My cup runs over.

  • A sure sign of abundance.
  • Blessed so much that I cannot contain it all.
  • And presumably it is filled with wine, which signifies happiness and a carefree life.
  • At the beginning of the Psalm it is said minimalistically, “I lack for nothing.”
  • But after taking some time to count his blessings it is now reported in fullness “My cup runneth over!”

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life;

  • Two beautiful angels to have escort you through this life!
  • But why “follow” me? Why not “go before”?
  • Because some of my enemies are in the rear; they attack me from behind.
    There are foes in my yesterdays which can give me fatal wounds.
    They can stab me in the back!
    I have turned my face toward the Lord, but my yesterdays pursue me like a relentless hound!
    So I have an enemy in the rear.
  • But, blessed be His name, my mighty God is in the rear as well as my foe.
    “Goodness and mercy shall follow me!”
    Between me and my wounded past there is the infinite love of the Lord.
    The loving Lord will not permit my past to destroy my soul.
  • My Lord is Lord of the past as well as of the morrow, and so to-day “I will trust and not be afraid.”

And I will dwell in the house of the LORD Forever.

  • I will, not I hope so.
  • Dwell, like feel at home with, live, reside, a place to call my own.
  • It is not an enjoyment that I must wait for, but it can be a part of my life here and now.
  • In the same house he prepares me a feast and causes my cup to run over.
  • Why do I ever leave His house to go dine out of the dumpster?

Oh Keep me close to You Lord Jesus and never let me roam on my own.

Project 66 – Nehemiah, Esther, Job

Today we are running the gamut of the Old Testament…backwards!

Nehemiah and Esther are near the end of the Old Testament period (around 400 bc) while Job is considered to be a book placed somewhere back in the days of Abraham.

I took nearly 2 months off Project 66 (aside from refreshing my memory of the verses in my head while I drive) in order to concentrate on teaching a 10-week course on the History and Geography of Israel. But that is complete, so I’m returning to my Route!

Nehemiah – God’s Response to Brokenness

Nehemiah is a great book to turn to for leadership characteristics and strategies. But even more, it is a man of God doing what God called him to do…very convicting, this book!

The verse chosen from Nehemiah is 2:18:

[Nehemiah wrote]
And I told them
of the hand of my God
which had been good upon me,
and also of the king’s words
that he had spoken to me.

So they said,
“Let us rise up and build.”

Then they set their hands to this good work.

This relates to the enormous task of building up the crushed and shattered walls of vulnerable Jerusalem. What a blessing that Nehemiah had an “us” to help him! Indeed, it is not good for a person to be alone!

The convicting part comes from the “rise up” portion. It indicates a readiness towards activity. To move forward even with the prospect of failure and disapproving people. Just Get on Your Feet.” I get stuck there every time.

Oh Lord, enable me in my 44th year to become more like Nehemiah!

One more portion of this phrase is the word “build”!

Building is something positive, constructive, and uplifting. The opposite of destruction, tearing down, and breaking.

Even if I don’t know what exactly to build (like others did – Noah, Solomon, Jesus, Paul) I want to be a builder, a restorer! Of myself, of others and of Christ’s Cause!

Esther – God’s Response to Certain Death

The name of Jehovah is not in this book, but His fingerprints are all over it. I’ve often wondered if she was stripped of the opportunity to have true love, in order to fulfill this call to be the queen of Xerexes.

Whatever the case, God called Esther to a great task, and she got on her feet and did it! Convicting yet again!

I originally had wanted to memorize the longest verse in the Bible which is found in Esther 8:9, but the warmth of devotional thought from it (as well as the difficulty of it!) compelled me to choose a different verse!

Instead I selected Esther 4:16! Esther says:

“Go,
gather all the Jews who are present in Shushan,
and fast for me;
neither eat nor drink
for three days,
night or day.
My maids and I will fast likewise.
And so I will go to the king,
which is against the law;
and if I perish, I perish!”

Just like Nehemiah, she gave no mind to success or failure, just the mere call and need compelled her to action, even to the loss of her very own life.

What has to happen to make a person so recklessly abandoned to do God’s bidding? I believe I want it, as if there is nothing to lose.

It isn’t so much death or perishing that frightens me (perhaps a lack of reality makes it that way for me), but loneliness, or lack of community, or wastedness. For me the battle would be to say “If I must be lonely, I must be lonely!”

However, even in the surrendering over to the Lord, I’m also glad, that in Esther as well as Nehemiah, there is an “us”. She had people praying for her. Fasting for her. Even serving her. I don’t suppose we can all be Esthers, but we can be a part of Esther’s faith!

Esther is one of those books I could go on and on about, but I must move on to Job!

Job – My Heart Yearns within me for  Hope

Job 19:25-27

“For I know that my Redeemer lives,
And He shall stand at last on the earth;
And after my skin is destroyed, this I know,
That in my flesh I shall see God,
Whom I shall see for myself,
And my eyes shall behold, and not another.
How my heart yearns within me!”

Just like Job, only one thing I know, “My Redeemer Liveth!” I shall see Him face to face. With my own eyes. Accepted in the Beloved. Fully. Unconditionally. Eternally.

“Oh how my heart yearns within me!”

Restoring the People, Rebuilding the Temp

Restoring the People, Rebuilding the Temple...Let me a part of this Great Work

Project 66 (6 of 22)

Today we are running the gamut of the Old Testament…backwards!

Nehemiah and Esther are near the end of the Old Testament period (around 400 bc) while Job is considered to be a book placed somewhere back in the days of Abraham.

I took nearly 2 months off Project 66 (aside from refreshing my memory of the verses in my head while I drive) in order to concentrate on teaching a 10-week course on the History and Geography of Israel. But that is complete, so I’m returning to my Route!

Nehemiah – God’s Response to Brokenness

Nehemiah is a great book to turn to for leadership characteristics and strategies. But even more, it is a man of God doing what God called him to do…very convicting, this book!

The verse chosen from Nehemiah is 2:18:

[Nehemiah wrote]
And I told them
of the hand of my God
which had been good upon me,
and also of the king’s words
that he had spoken to me.

So they said,
“Let us rise up and build.”

Then they set their hands to this good work.

This relates to the enormous task of building up the crushed and shattered walls of vulnerable Jerusalem. What a blessing that Nehemiah had an “us” to help him! Indeed, it is not good for a person to be alone!

The convicting part comes from the “rise up” portion. It indicates a readiness towards activity. To move forward even with the prospect of failure and disapproving people. Just Get on Your Feet.” I get stuck there every time.

Oh Lord, enable me in my 44th year to become more like Nehemiah!

One more portion of this phrase is the word “build”!

Building is something positive, constructive, and uplifting. The opposite of destruction, tearing down, and breaking.

Even if I don’t know what exactly to build (like others did – Noah, Solomon, Jesus, Paul) I want to be a builder, a restorer! Of myself, of others and of Christ’s Cause!

Esther – God’s Response to Certain Death

The name of Jehovah is not in this book, but His fingerprints are all over it. I’ve often wondered if she was stripped of the opportunity to have true love, in order to fulfill this call to be the queen of Xerexes.

Whatever the case, God called Esther to a great task, and she got on her feet and did it! Convicting yet again!

I originally had wanted to memorize the longest verse in the Bible which is found in Esther 8:9, but the warmth of devotional thought from it (as well as the difficulty of it!) compelled me to choose a different verse!

Instead I selected Esther 4:16! Esther says:

“Go,
gather all the Jews who are present in Shushan,
and fast for me;
neither eat nor drink
for three days,
night or day.
My maids and I will fast likewise.
And so I will go to the king,
which is against the law;
and if I perish, I perish!”

Just like Nehemiah, she gave no mind to success or failure, just the mere call and need compelled her to action, even to the loss of her very own life.

What has to happen to make a person so recklessly abandoned to do God’s bidding? I believe I want it, as if there is nothing to lose.

It isn’t so much death or perishing that frightens me (perhaps a lack of reality makes it that way for me), but loneliness, or lack of community, or wastedness. For me the battle would be to say “If I must be lonely, I must be lonely!”

However, even in the surrendering over to the Lord, I’m also glad, that in Esther as well as Nehemiah, there is an “us”. She had people praying for her. Fasting for her. Even serving her. I don’t suppose we can all be Esthers, but we can be a part of Esther’s faith!

Esther is one of those books I could go on and on about, but I must move on to Job!

Job – My Heart Yearns within me for  Hope

Job 19:25-27

“For I know that my Redeemer lives,
And He shall stand at last on the earth;
And after my skin is destroyed, this I know,
That in my flesh I shall see God,
Whom I shall see for myself,
And my eyes shall behold, and not another.
How my heart yearns within me!”

Just like Job, only one thing I know, “My Redeemer Liveth!” I shall see Him face to face. With my own eyes. Accepted in the Beloved. Fully. Unconditionally. Eternally.

“Oh how my heart yearns within me!”

Restoring the People, Rebuilding the Temp

Restoring the People, Rebuilding the Temple...Let me a part of this Great Work

Project 66 – 1 & 2 Chronicles, Ezra

1 Chronicles to Ezra is Today’s portion

Well, it has been a month of not blogging, but I have been pondering and scribbling out all 66 portions of scriptures, one per book!

Verses Scribbled on the Board

66 Portions scribbled on Plywood

1 Chronicles 4:10 – That I may not cause pain

And Jabez called on the God of Israel saying,
“Oh, that Thou wouldst bless me indeed,
and enlarge my territory,
that Thy hand would be with me,
and that You would keep me from evil,
that I may not cause pain!”
So God granted him what he requested.

I shared a thought from Leonard Sheldrake on this passage at the beginning of the summer, and highly recommend giving it a read if you have the time:

http://www.communicatinggrace.com/2010/05/possess-your-rightful-possessions/

I know for me, my greatest desire is that I don’t cause pain to anyone, intentionally or not. And only the Lord can prevent me from doing that, He is the only one able to manage and understand just what it is that could hurt others and what each person’s sensitivities are.

And how encouraging it is to read that little addendum at the end
“So God granted him what he requested.”

O that the Holy Spirit would nurture His fruit in my life!

2 Chronicles 7:14 – Seek His Face

If My people, who are called by My name,
will humble themselves
and pray
and seek My face
and turn from their wicked ways,
then will I hear from heaven
and will forgive their sin
and will heal their land.

This is a promise of God to the nations, particularly Israel. But for me today, I cling to it as a promise that He will hear from heaven, forgive me my sin and heal my heart. So I want my occupation to be humbling myself, praying, and seeking the face of my Saviour, my only Hope.

At St. Philip’s we are doing the 21-day Prayer Project, and God knows how much I desire to have the results be the same as that declared in this verse 2 Chronicles 7:14.

I can’t even begin to enumerate how often I have sought after other faces or spent time conversing with others rather than seeking Him and praying to Him.

O for healing, Jehovah Raphi.

Ezra 7:10 – Prepared My Heart

For Ezra had prepared his heart
to seek the Law of the LORD,
and to do
it,
and to teach statutes and ordinances in Israel.

As I mentioned in the previous passage (2 Chronicles 7:14) the healing of my heart is a desire of mine. But in this passage we see that there is a role that we get to play in the accomplishment of that end.

Ezra PREPARED his own heart, whether healed or not, to seek the Law of the Lord, or even the Lord Himself. Like it says in Philippians 4:8, we can choose what we think on.

Nothing gives me more comfort than the word of the Lord and sharing it with others. I just need to learn not to seek comfort from something other than Him.

I definitely want to be in fellowship with others, but as far as the depths of the heart where deep calls unto deep, only God Himself can put His healing balm on it.

I like the NIV translation too, it says, Ezra was devoted to the study and observance of the Law of the Lord. It’s convicting, isn’t it? What am I devoted to? What am I consumed by?

May it be the Lord Himself!