Obadiah

“The day is near when I, the Lord, will judge all godless nations! As you have done to Israel, so it will be done to you. All your evil deeds will fall back on your own heads.” Verse 15

We are so eager to be the authority on judgement or revenge and God is so eager to remind us that we are not.

The concept that the Lord will right every wrong and personally judge every heart should bring peace and humility. Not vindication. We are so quick to rub our hands together and imagine how great it will be when our enemies finally get paid back!

But the gospel tells us that we shouldn’t have enemies. And if we do, our behavior towards them should be marked by love.

Does God’s impending judgement on the world bring you anxiety?

We should all experience a healthy dose of fear about it, remembering our standings with the LORD. But it should prompt humility, compassion, quick forgiveness and grace, grace, grace, grace.

This message has been hemmed into every story in the Bible: God will have the final word. He’s sovereign. He’s trustworthy. Your life on earth is momentary, and a life with Christ is eternal!

I’m so thankful for the hope we have in Him.

-Carly

Hebrews 11-12 B

“By faith these people overthrew kingdoms, ruled with justice, and received what God had promised them. They shut the mouths of lions, quenched the flames of fire, and escaped death by the edge of the sword. Their weakness was turned to strength. They became strong in battle and put whole armies to flight. Women received their loved ones back again from death.” 11:33-35

As we wait out the pandemic, here’s a faith-boosting exercise:

-Read Hebrews 11 out loud. At the very least, read the above verses aloud. (I love the writing voice of whoever wrote Hebrews, it’s so powerful and creative!)

-Write down your story, summarized by what you have done “by faith”. What choices or decisions in your life mark your faith?

Notice that the author of Hebrews doesn’t describe faith as believing that everything will be fine. Faith is disregarding the fleeting desires of this life and prioritizing the eternal promises of the next.

What does practicing your faith look like right now? For me, it’s remembering that God is bigger than plagues, illness and fear. It’s claiming that my worst case scenario isn’t losing this life or the people in it. It’s leaning away from the world’s anxious presence and into His peaceful one.

This is a great time to take notice of how your faith holds up when it’s tested. I’m so thankful for a book of stories of people who have trusted God!

-Carly

Hebrews 7-8 B

“The law appointed high priests who were limited by human weakness. But after the law was given, God appointed his Son with an oath, and his Son has been made the perfect High Priest forever.” 7:28

I’m a big advocate of having a mentor. Someone older and wiser than you, someone further along in their faith, to speak into your life. Someone you confess to, someone who encourages you, buys you lunch and holds you accountable to the crappy behavior you’re prone to.

But your mentor, pastor or really godly friend cannot have a relationship with God for you. We are all responsible for our own standings with God.

We all have the best advocate and mediator possible, his Son. Jesus is perfect. He never misrepresents God’s love or gives bad advice or lets us down.

He’s our Moses, leading us through the wilderness and vouching for us when God has had enough of our complaining and idolatry.

He’s the perfect High Priest!

Who do you rely on for your relationship with God? Are you pressing into Jesus?

-Carly

Hebrews 3-4 B

“But Jesus deserves far more glory than Moses, just as a person who builds a house deserves more praise than the house itself. For every house has a builder, but the one who built everything is God.” 3:3-4

Out of all the richness of today’s chapters, these verses grabbed my attention:

Mostly, I liked the reminder that we need to give God the credit for the things we love. We are so quick to worship the wrong things! Maybe it’s a person, or a hobby, or a landscape. Maybe it’s something you made with your own hands. Directing our praise and thanksgiving to God helps us practice being humble and deepens our love for Him.

The author of Hebrews is redirecting the readers worship and awe of Moses, back to Jesus. I’ve done that before. Instead of noticing the Christ-like qualities in someone, and allowing it to deepen my love for the Lord, I get side-tracked by the person and fan the flame of my people-pleasing and performing.

The one who built everything is God.

What is something you just love. Do you prop it up and idolize it instead of God?

How can you redirect yourself on that?

-Carly

Revelation 21-22 B

I remember panicking whenever they talked about Heaven in church. (Bethany touches on this in her post last time.) “We will get to worship God for the rest of eternity!” My mind would flicker back to the all-family worship services my church held quarterly. The ones that dragged on and on and were only survived by frequent bathroom trips, breath mints dug out of moms purse and tic tac toe games on the church bulletin. Please, this could not possibly be how we are spending eternity!

As I’ve continued to live my life following Christ, I’ve experienced lots of different kinds of worship and realized all the things I love about life are acts of worship. Eating a good meal. Listening to a really good story that points back to God’s goodness. Quality time with a companion. Snuggling a really excited puppy. Watching winter transition into spring. Seeing fog drag across the top of mountains. Serving other people because I love them. Receiving an act of service from someone because they love me. Harvesting vegetables out of the dirt. Watching my house plants twist towards the sunlight, no matter where I put them in the house. Being with God’s people. These all provide small moments of worship and leave my bones aching for an eternity of it all. Especially in the New Heavens, where pain, suffering, trauma, abandonment, abuse, neglect, theft, drought, anxiety, fear, scarcity, starvation, loneliness, panic, rejection, poverty, mourning and death will never exist.

We still have one more book left to read together, but the completion of Revelation feels like a good spot to reflect.

The Bible starts with creation and ends with the new creation. With lots of stories in between about Christ making things new in the meanwhile.

What book, chapter or verse really resonated with you? What did you learn about God?

What was something that left you really uncomfortable? What’s a question you have for Him? (And I encourage you to confront him with it! Don’t let that fester.)

Tomorrow we start Hebrews!

-Carly

Revelation 17-18 B

” ‘The fancy things you loved so much are gone,’ they cry. ‘All your luxuries and splendor are gone forever, never to be yours again.’ ” 18:14

“In a single moment, all the wealth of the city is gone.” 18:17

This description of Babylon’s wealth completely evaporating is humbling just to read. As part of a country that prides itself on material possession, status and security, I often lose sight of the only thing that truly lasts. God’s love for me and my love for him!

Fancy gadgets, luxuries, expensive wine and savings account can disappear in a heart beat. Then what are you left with?

What have you truly invested in? Is it a comfortable life, fluttering with Apple products and isolating hobbies? Or is it a deep faithfulness to the Lord? Can you have both?

-Carly

Revelation 13-14 B

“This means that God’s holy people must endure persecution patiently and remain faithful.” 13:10

I know this verse isn’t intended to be cherry-picked, but it’s remarkable to me even out of context.

A life dedicated to Christ is not an easy one. It requires steadfastness, long-suffering, persecution, patience, or in other words, faithfulness.

I, like you, want answers to why God allows suffering. At all! Why must we endure persecution? Can’t he prevent it? This is where you flex the faithfulness.

Does reading Revelation introduce any fear or dread? What parts of it?

I feel humbled reading it, remembering that I can’t have control over my future, the future of the earth, mankind, etc. But that it’s safe and thought-out in God’s hands.

-Carly