The Intervention of Jesus Christ – Grace

In the movie, “The Resurrection of Gavin Stone,” he was an actor in trouble. He trashed a motel and was given 200 hours community service in a church.

They were casting for their big Easter production and he tried out. Claiming Christianity to participate, they gave him the role of Jesus Christ. While rehearsing the scene of the woman caught in adultery, he asked a question…

“What did Jesus write in the sand?”

“The Bible doesn’t say,” the director replied.

He spent a lot of time with three of the men playing “his disciples.” And even helped repair a car that was given to a single mother. He stopped shouting his lines dramatically and started saying them kindly.

He finally understood on opening night. During the scene of the woman caught in adultery, he wrote in the sand…

“Grace”

“Letting go of every single dream, I lay each one down at your feet. Every moment of my wandering never changes what you see.” “How Can It Be” Lauren Daigle

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2 Peter 1:1-2, “…I write this to you whose experience with God is as life-changing as ours, all due to our God’s straight dealing and the intervention of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ. (2) Grace and peace to you many times over as you deepen in your experience with God and Jesus, our Master.” The Message

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2 Peter 1:12-13, “Because the stakes are so high, even though you’re up-to-date on all this truth and practice it inside and out, I’m not going to let up for a minute in calling you to attention before it. (13) This is the post to which I’ve been assigned – keeping you alert with frequent reminders – and I’m sticking to it as long as I live.” The Message

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“The letter is written out of pastoral concern to counter false teachings and their influence on the lives of early Christians. Certain teachers, for their own personal gain, were promising that people could be Christians and still live immoral lives. …concerned that there be a check against this false teaching and immoral living even after he is gone (1:12-15).” Chronological Study Bible Introduction to 2 Peter

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“When we focus on our perceived value and worthiness, we lose our sense of awe and wonder at just how magnificent Jesus is. …the first century believers in Colossae,… wanted to be right with God, and there was no shortage of people willing to tell them exactly how they could do that. Some argued for religious observances like circumcision, holy days and rules about food. Others suggested angel worship and secret rituals, plus other mystical practices. …Paul speaks firmly against these checklist teachings, explaining that those who promote such ideas are not holding on to Jesus. It’s Jesus alone…and He is enough.” “You are Not Enough, and That’s OK” Asheritah Ciuciu, on Proverbs 31 Ministries email

©2009-2018 thisyearsbiblereadingguide.com. All Rights Reserved.

Frittering Away Their Days

Turning the page on my DayTimer, I found it was the last one. Yeah, I planned to print off the pages for July last Thursday.

A food journal is on one side and a regular journal on the other. It’s more of a diary than a planner now. I have a line down the middle of the 2nd page. It is easier to record activities and reads like a newspaper.

My task list is long but I have no energy. After 2 loads of laundry and writing 2 posts, I shopped online. David’s birthday is next Wednesday. No luck.

Derek came home for lunch and turned on the TV. I decided to play computer games until he went back to work. That turned into playing until I won. The afternoon slipped away and guilt moved in. I’m as bad as the young widows Paul warned Timothy about.

1 Timothy 5:13, “…frittering away their days on…trivialities…” The Message

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2 Chronicles 20:15, ‘For the battle is not yours, but God’s…’ …Why then do you discourage yourself into defeat, trying to win the battle in your own strength? You engage in a fruitless cycle of repentance, resolutions, struggles, defeat, and discouragement, which leads to more repenting. The only sort of spiritual conflict that’s ever successfully won, is the one God fights for you.” The Word for You Today

I’m adjusting to a new normal. In 2009, we lost our first parent. Since then, we lost 2 more. Burying our parents became our new normal.

This week, we buried our niece’s father. I thought it would be years before that happened. Yet, we’ve lost many classmates. Burying our peers is becoming a new normal.

“As you and I follow Jesus in our new normal, we’ll continually climb out of the familiar because that’s life. We may not always know what’s ahead, but we can be assured we’re on good ground if we’re following Jesus.” “Adjusting to a New Normal” Suzie Eller, Proverbs 31 Ministries

In 11 weeks, Derek will come home for lunch for the last time. An empty nest will be my new normal. I’m sad and excited all at once. I’ll miss him, but I already have plans for his room.

Dad would have been 86 today. I still miss him. Happy Birthday in heaven, Dad.

©2009-2018 thisyearsbiblereadingguide.com. All Rights Reserved.

If You Have a Heart

July 3, 2018, 3:00 a.m.

The only clothes I set out were a jean jacket and a pair of shoes. *Sigh* I decided dressing could wait and started writing. Halfway through, I stopped and ordered shoes for Derek’s wedding.

“Sacrifice, and then celebrate. Don’t get it the other way around. …All sacrifice and no celebration means no strength. It’s the danger of deprivation.” “Sacrifice, Then Celebrate,” 1 Min Motivation, Steven Furtick

I got up at 3:00 to write for 4 hours before leaving for Terry’s funeral. It was a sacrifice worth making.

Terry had two daughters from his first marriage. I’m sure he would have loved a picture of all three girls together.

That picture exists now. Sadly, they were on motorcycles riding to the cemetery. Just the way he would have liked…

“When Jesus arrives on the scene, He doesn’t diminish her distress or sidestep her sorrow. He just weeps with her as they walk to her brother’s tomb, (John 11:33-35). …Think about it – Jesus knows Mary’s weeping will soon turn to joy. He knows that He’s going to bring her brother back to life, and all the tears will be trumped by cheers. But Jesus doesn’t use the hope of a better tomorrow to avoid the imminent pain of today.” “How to Hold a Hurting Heart” Alicia Bruxvoort, Proverbs 31 Ministries

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Philippians 2:1-2, “If you gotten anything at all out of following Christ, if His love has made any difference in your life, if being in a community of the Spirit means anything to you, if you have a heart, if you care – (2) then do me a favor: Agree with each other, love each other, be deep-spirited friends.” The Message

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I Urge You to Eat

Stephanie’s father died of a heart attack – 2 states away. (She had rushed to his side after the first heart attack.) She was alone because her husband is deployed.

We received the news while driving to Cedar Rapids Saturday. On the way home, I called her. Alone in a motel room, she was happy to let me ramble for an hour. I told her every funny story I could remember about him.

What do you say to someone suddenly responsible for a cattle ranch, 2 llamas, and several pets? You tell them to eat.

Acts 27:34, “But I urge you to eat something now. You’ll need strength for the rescue ahead. You’re going to come out of this without even a scratch.” The Message

Sunday, I called again to check on her…

“Did you eat today?”

“Oatmeal and yogurt.”

“Not enough. Go eat more.”

Monday, I texted, “Did you eat?” She was smart and replied, “Breakfast.” 

I left her alone while she made arrangements with the funeral director. The Red Cross was able to locate her husband and get him home. After he arrived, I stopped nagging her. I figured he could make sure she ate.

Making funeral arrangements is difficult. I know God will be with her every step of the way. I expect God to bless her even during this journey of grief.

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Acts 27:1, “As soon as arrangements were complete for our sailing to Italy…” The Message

Paul knew he needed to share the Message of Jesus in Rome. He talked about going to Rome, (Romans 1:15). God made arrangements for the Romans to pay for his trip!

It was not an ideal journey. He was in chains and the ship was lost in a 2-week storm. He ended up stranded on an island for 3 months.

How do you survive a difficult journey? Take the next step. Put one foot in front of the other. Each day, get up and do it again. Don’t ever give up.

“Peter teaches us that sometimes the greatest courage is in not giving up. It’s in rising from defeat, daring to walk with Jesus another day.” “When You Used to Be Brave” Elizabeth Laing Thompson, in Proverbs 31 Ministries

©2009-2018 thisyearsbiblereadingguide.com. All Rights Reserved.

Change Your Life

I watched “The Zookeeper’s Wife” today. It started on a bright, sunny day. She breezed through her routine with a baby camel following her. Then the Nazi’s bombed Warsaw and everything changed!

“When disaster strikes, understanding God is at risk.” The Message Introduction to the book of Joel.

The Nazis took their rarest animals to Berlin “for safekeeping.” And shot the rest, saying they wouldn’t make it through the winter. Of course, the head zoologist shot the eagle himself. “Stuff it and bring it to my office.”

“I don’t think I’m gonna find a solution if I start with myself.” Why you need a new loop, Steven Furtick, April 24, 2018

Desperate to keep their zoo, they talked the Nazis into letting them raise pigs. After all, the soldiers needed meat.

“Where will you get food for them?”

“From the garbage in the Warsaw ghetto.”

The Nazis liked that idea and agreed.

“We can fight change, or we can trust God has a plan and purpose for it. And allow our trust in His faithfulness to be the foundation for joyful living.” Tracie Miles, Proverbs 31 Ministries, 4-24-2018

Each time they collected garbage, they smuggled a few Jews out in it. It was extremely dangerous. They were the first step to freedom for the Jews. There were others who made fake identification papers for them. Some transported them to a “safe house” and others hosted a “safe house.”

Joel 2:8, “They don’t get in each other’s way. Each one knows his job and does it.” The Message

God’s mercies are new every morning, (see Lamentations 2:22-23). Each day is an opportunity to change our lives in spite of circumstances.

Joel 2:13, “Change your life, not just your clothes.” The Message

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“If you change the way you think about change, the way you’re looking at that change just might change.” Tracie Miles, Proverbs 31 Ministries, April 24, 2018

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