Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from April, 2011

The Prophets Speak

Today's readings are from Isaiah 5, 6, 7, 8

This reading plan is called a "Historical Plan". It's based on reading - more or less - as the Bible was written. While reading about the Kings of Israel and Judah we can see that their failure to trust God, and instead to turn to idols, other "gods", and their own power moves resulted in repeated confrontation with the Prophets of God.
One of those prophets, and perhaps the most famous of all, was Isaiah. The context of his writings is in chapter 6, and the vision he receives, while very well known among Christians, was received in the setting of world powers breathing down on Israel's borders. Isaiah sees the problem, not as political, or military, or threats of invasion; but rather as a faith issue.

That's the real lesson of reading this section. We may fear many things, but Jesus reminded us, the only legitimate fear is the "fear of the Lord".

Sorry, Still Reading

Hi.
A quick note to let you know I'm sorry I've been tardy on getting notes out that let you know where we're still reading in Scripture.

I am still using the program for Reading through the Bible in a Year and have continued to read. I've just not been faithful in posting where, what, etc...

SO...if you're still interested in reading along, today's readings are from 2 Kings 23, 24, 25.

We come to the end of 2 Kings and the story is a rather sad one as it recounts the decay and death of the nation as Judah, the last of the nation of Israel is taken into captivity. The writer makes it clear: it all could have been prevented, but they simply refused to turn in truth to God.
2 Kings 24:1 and following says,
1 During Jehoiakim's reign, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon invaded the land, and Jehoiakim became his vassal for three years. But then he turned against Nebuchadnezzar and rebelled.2 The Lord sent Babylonian,t Aramean, Moabite and Ammonite raiders against h…

Prayer and Politics

Today's readings are from 2 Kings 18 & 19

18.5 Hezekiah trusted in the Lord, the God of Israel. There was no one like him among all the kings of Judah, either before him or after him.

The story of Hezekiah as King is a story of a leader whose trust in God is unparalleled in it's depth of commitment. The summary statement at the beginning of 2 Kings 18 is amplified in the story that follows. The northern 10 tribes - Israel - come under the invasion threat of the Assyrian Kingdom led by the armies of Sennacherib. Hezekiah is King of Judah in the southern territories. It's interesting that Hezekiah, even though listed as King of Judah, is said to have trusted in the Lord, the God of Israel.
Israel was the name given to those northern tribes. It was the failure of the Northern tribes to follow the Lord that ultimately led to their demise. It's a simple principle, but an important one - choose to live without God and a person, or in this case, an entire group of pe…

Prayer and Politics

Today's readings are from 2 Kings 18 & 19

18.5 Hezekiah trusted in the Lord, the God of Israel. There was no one like him among all the kings of Judah, either before him or after him.

The story of Hezekiah as King is a story of a leader whose trust in God is unparalleled in it's depth of commitment. The summary statement at the beginning of 2 Kings 18 is amplified in the story that follows. The northern 10 tribes - Israel - come under the invasion threat of the Assyrian Kingdom led by the armies of Sennacherib. Hezekiah is King of Judah in the southern territories. It's interesting that Hezekiah, even though listed as King of Judah, is said to have trusted in the Lord, the God of Israel.
Israel was the name given to those northern tribes. It was the failure of the Northern tribes to follow the Lord that ultimately led to their demise. It's a simple principle, but an important one - choose to live without God and a person, or in this case, an entire group of pe…

Day 39 - In Between

Today's reading is from Luke 23:55-56, and Matthew 27:57-66

It is Saturday, the day between Good Friday and Easter Sunday. Often referred to as "Holy Saturday", it was a tradition in the early church that young believers would be baptized on this day. Their sins were taken care of on the cross and the blood of the lamb has been spilled for redemption. Now in preparation for a "new life" they were baptized - Easter was soon to come.

"In between"...it's a good way to describe where we are in life. We have the fruit of Christ's redemption...our sins are forgiven. There's no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus...BUT, we do not have the bodies of the resurrection. We are "in between"...redeemed and waiting redemption. Our soul and spirit long for, groan Paul says, to have Christ fully formed within.

It's Holy Saturday...the day of preparation as we await Christ's return for us.

Maranatha, even so come Lord Jesus.

Day 38 - Good Friday

Today's reading is from Mark 15.

Good Friday is the name we give to the day of Christ Jesus' crucifixion. It doesn't seem like a good day at all; but it is for us.

Jesus' arrest was sham. His trials before the Sanhedrin were based on one purpose - to justify killing him and getting rid of his influence over the population. Before Pilate he is submissive and even though Pilate doesn't know what to do with him, it all ends with Jesus being crucified.

What a horrendous picture Mark portrays: Mark 15:16-20 (NIV)
16 The soldiers led Jesus away into the palace (that is, the Praetorium) and called together the whole company of soldiers.
17 They put a purple robe on him, then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on him.
18 And they began to call out to him, "Hail, king of the Jews!"
19 Again and again they struck him on the head with a staff and spit on him. Falling on their knees, they paid homage to him.
20 And when they had mocked him, they took …

Day 37 - The Trials

Today's readings are from Luke 22:66 - 23:25 & John 18: 28-40

There were six trials that took place in a few hours of time that early Friday. The first, recorded by John in 18:12-14, was before the aged, former High Priest, Annas. The second trial was before Caiaphas, the High Priest at the time. Caiaphas had little trouble convening a council in the wee hours of the morning. The trial was a sham since Jesus' fate was already determined. The Sanhedrin - the council of leaders - broke all the rules to make sure Jesus was convicted. According to their law, a person was presumed innocent unless corroborating evidence was brought by credible witnesses - each of which had to give their testimonies separate from each other to make sure they were not conflicting.
The High Priest was to remain neutral, presiding over the trial much like a debate - to hear the various charges, listen to the evidence, and lead the members in making a just decision. It was Jesus himself who gave…

Day 36 - The Arrest

Today's reading is from Matt. 26: 47 - 75

A Harmony of the four Gospels gives slightly differing accounts of all that happened in Jesus' arrest and the subsequent trials. Matthews account is simple. In order to bring Jesus to trial, they had to arrest him. In order for there to be an arrest, two things had to take place. The cooperation of Judas, and the location of Jesus. They tried to grab him on other occasions, but he always alluded their arrest. So Judas agreed, for 30 pounds of silver, to betray Christ. It was the cost of a common slave, a very cheap price. But for 30 pieces of silver, Judas really sold himself, not Christ.

Matthew 26:48-54 (NIV)
48 Now the betrayer had arranged a signal with them: "The one I kiss is the man; arrest him."
49 Going at once to Jesus, Judas said, "Greetings, Rabbi!" and kissed him.
50 Jesus replied, "Friend, do what you came for." Then the men stepped forward, seized Jesus and arrested him.
51 With that, one of…

Day 35 - In The Garden

Today's reading is from Matt. 26: 36 - 46

Jesus' time with his disciples in the Upper Room is ended. They make their way through the city of Jerusalem streets until they climb the stairs to the familiar garden on the edge of the Mount of Olives called "Gethsemane". It is an Olive grove and the word for which it gets its name means "to press". Olives are picked and pressed to squeeze the rich oils and fats they contain. Here Jesus is pressed.

He asks his discipls to pray for him while he also goes on to pray. Matthew 26:37-38 (NIV)
37 He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled.
38 Then he said to them, "My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me."

Jesus disappears into the darkness of the Olive grove, but his sorrow, and the groans of the weight of what he is beginning to bear all begin to be felt. Matthew 26:39 (NIV)
39 Going a little far…

Day 34 - The Promise

Today's reading is from John 14: 15 - 31 & 15: 26 -27

On the last earth night Jesus spent with his disciples, he shared from his heart. Chapter 13, he washes feet and tells them the greatest thing they can do to show who they were as disciples was to love one another. Chapter 14 he tells them that they shouldn't worry, because he was going to prepare a place for them, and that he and the Father know what is happening.

Now here, in the rest of chapter 14, and the end of 15, he tells us that we will not be left alone - literally, left as orphans - but that the promised Holy Spirit, the Comforter, will come to be with them, even after he goes. Who is this comforter?

He is the Spirit of Truth: John 14:16-17 (NIV)
16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever--
17 the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.

God puts a premiu…

Day 33 - The Arrest

Today's reading is from Mark 14.

This reading is occupied with various things: the anointing of Jesus by the woman of expensive perfume; and the first Lord's Supper Jesus had with his disciples; the prediction of Jesus of the disciples denial and abandonment of him; the agony of Jesus in the garden of Gesthemane; and finally his arrest by the Jewish authorities.

What Jesus does is prepare his disciples for the inevitability of what is about to occur. He knows that he will be arrested, falsely accused, tried and convicted and then killed. He knows this is to occur; but they do not yet comprehend what his final work is to be. So, in many ways, all of the things early on are to make them aware later on that all that happened was supposed to happen.

Among the things that occurred that evening we can see the coming "agony" of Jesus in Gethsemane. Mark 14:34-36 (NIV)
34 "My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death," he said to them. "Stay here…

Day 32 - The Watch

Today's reading is from Mark 13.

Among the many things that accompanied the last days Jesus spent upon the earth is the discourses on the future. In Mark's gospel, there is a long record of this...
Mark 13:1-8 (NASB)
1 As He was going out of the temple, one of His disciples *said to Him, "Teacher, behold what wonderful stones and what wonderful buildings!"
2 And Jesus said to him, "Do you see these great buildings? Not one stone will be left upon another which will not be torn down."
3 As He was sitting on the Mount of Olives opposite the temple, Peter and James and John and Andrew were questioning Him privately,
4 "Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign when all these things are going to be fulfilled?"
5 And Jesus began to say to them, "See to it that no one misleads you.
6 "Many will come in My name, saying, 'I am He!' and will mislead many.
7 "When you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be fri…

Day 31 -

Today's reading is from Mark 12. During Lent we are reading the Gospel of Mark.

In the midst of parable telling, Jesus' point begins to sink in to the Pharisees. The story of the landowner who sent his servants to the farmers who rented it from him, only to have those same farmers kill his servants is only a prelude to the real point - that same landowner sends his Son to them: "surely they will respect my son." They did not, Jesus says. They killed him.

It's a picture of the coming days ahead for Jesus. The father had sent Prophets as messengers for centuries and each of them had been, at best, ignored; at worst, killed. Now God's own Son was here and what were they about to do...kill him.

Mark 12:9-11 (NIV)
9 "What then will the owner of the vineyard do? He will come and kill those tenants and give the vineyard to others.
10 Haven't you read this scripture: "'The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone;
11 the Lord has do…

Day 30 - Knowing The Father

Today's reading is from John 14: 6 - 14.

John 14:6-14 (NIV)
6 Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
7 If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him."
8 Philip said, "Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us."
9 Jesus answered: "Don't you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, 'Show us the Father'?
10 Don't you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you are not just my own. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work.
11 Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the miracles themselves.
12 I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greate…

Day 29 - The Comfort of the Way

Today's reading begins at John 13:36 through John 14:6

John 13:36-14:6 (NIV)
36 Simon Peter asked him, "Lord, where are you going?" Jesus replied, "Where I am going, you cannot follow now, but you will follow later."
37 Peter asked, "Lord, why can't I follow you now? I will lay down my life for you."
38 Then Jesus answered, "Will you really lay down your life for me? I tell you the truth, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times!
1 "Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me.
2 In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you.
3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.
4 You know the way to the place where I am going."
5 Thomas said to him, "Lord, we don't know where you are going, so how can we know the way?"
6 Jesus answered, …

Day 28 - Love Wins

Today's reading is from John 13: 21 - 38

The night of Jesus' arrest - Maundy Thursday - he washed his disciples feet. From the text it's clear, that means he washed Judas' feet also. The lesson of washing feet came at an important time. It was one of the last clear lessons he disciples received from Jesus. When it was over he declares....

John 13:21 (NIV)
21 After he had said this, Jesus was troubled in spirit and testified, "I tell you the truth, one of you is going to betray me."

A dark shadow comes into play here. Jesus knows what Judas is about to do. It does not make Jesus deviate from his decisions of what to do next. He treated Judas as he treated the other 11, with dignity and honor, washing his feet also. Judas is ruled by his own desires, his own sense of rightness, and the "truth is not in him". The others at the table are not aware of what Judas is about to do. In the style of Jesus' mysterious way of teaching, he leaves i…

The Fifth Sunday of Lent

During Lent there are no devotional readings in scripture to follow. Today is "the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it." So says the Psalmist as a way of reminding us that worshipping God together in community is a great way of rejoicing... re-stating-with-joy... who are God is.

Peace

If you're reading along with me in the "through-the-Bible-in-a-year" the readings today are 2 Samuel 22, 23, 24.


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Day 27 - The Temple

Today's reading is from Mark 11 -

Mark mentions the temple "area" in vs 15. The significance of that is that when a person entered into the "area" of the Temple, the first thing they stepped into was the area for the "ethne" - the nations, the Gentile area. It was the only part of the Temple area that Gentiles were allowed in. It was also the biggest part of the Temple area, and a Jew had to go through it to get to the part that contained the Temple building itself.

When Jesus arrives at the Temple he sees bustling traffic. He sees the money changer tables, doing a huge business in taking the money of foreign pilgrims so that they might purchase animals and grain for the sacrifices they came to offer to God. Thousands of people came to the Temple during the Passover - from all over the Roman world. The first century historian, Josephus, wrote that during Passover one year, some 255,000 lambs were brought, sold and sacrificed at the Temple area. …

Day 26 - The Ransom

During Lent we're reading through the book of Mark on Friday's and Saturday's. Today's reading is Mark 10.

Jesus' journey to the cross was purposeful. He never hid from his disciples the reason why he was here. He came to die. He told that to his disciples repeatedly. In Mark, Jesus had already said it twice:
Mark 8:31-32 (NIV)
31 He then began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and after three days rise again.
32 He spoke plainly about this...";
and then in the next chapter again:
Mark 9:31 (NIV)
31 because he was teaching his disciples. He said to them, "The Son of Man is going to be betrayed into the hands of men. They will kill him, and after three days he will rise."

So also here in chpt 10...Mark 10:32-34 (NIV)
32 They were on their way up to Jerusalem, with Jesus leading the way, and the disciples were astonished, while …

Day 26 - The Ransom

During Lent we're reading through the book of Mark on Friday's and Saturday's. Today's reading is Mark 10.

Jesus' journey to the cross was purposeful. He never hid from his disciples the reason why he was here. He came to die. He told that to his disciples repeatedly. In Mark, Jesus had already said it twice:
Mark 8:31-32 (NIV)
31 He then began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and after three days rise again.
32 He spoke plainly about this..."; and then in the next chapter again: Mark 9:31 (NIV)
31 because he was teaching his disciples. He said to them, "The Son of Man is going to be betrayed into the hands of men. They will kill him, and after three days he will rise."

So also here in chpt 10...Mark 10:32-34 (NIV)
32 They were on their way up to Jerusalem, with Jesus leading the way, and the disciples were astonished, while …

Day 25 - The Journey to the Cross, 2

Today's reading is from John 12: 20-50

In the few short days before the Passover, and the cross, Jesus moves steadily towards Jerusalem, and the eventual confrontation with the Roman authorities and the leaders of the Jewish religious institution.

John 12:20-21 (NIV)
20 Now there were some Greeks among those who went up to worship at the Feast.
21 They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, with a request. "Sir," they said, "we would like to see Jesus."

The "Greeks" (from the Greek word "Hellen" for Hellenists) were Gentiles. The "world" outside of Israel was beginning to turn to Jesus. It is a prophetic symbol of the effects of his death, burial and resurrection, that the church would come into being and both Jew and Gentile would be unified as the people of God. They went to Philip because he was from Bethsaida, a border town in the north that had many Greek speaking citizens, and so he seemed the perfect person to…

Day 24 - The Journey to the Cross - 1

Today we begin to look at the last few days of Jesus' life on earth. The reading for today is from John 12: 1 - 11...

1 Six days before the Passover, Jesus arrived at Bethany, where Lazarus lived, whom Jesus had raised from the dead.
2 Here a dinner was given in Jesus' honor. Martha served, while Lazarus was among those reclining at the table with him.
3 Then Mary took about a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus' feet and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.
4 But one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, who was later to betray him, objected,
5 "Why wasn't this perfume sold and the money given to the poor? It was worth a year's wages."
6 He did not say this because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief; as keeper of the money bag, he used to help himself to what was put into it.
7 "Leave her alone," Jesus replied. "[It was intended] that she should sa…

Day 23 - Avoiding the Flood

Today's readings are from Psalm 32 and John 3:14-21

There's a remarkable verse translated in the New Living Translation from Psalm 32:6. First a bit of context. This Psalm of David is written as a companion Psalm to Psalm 51. Both come out of the experience of David's sin when he had sex with Bathsheba and in trying to cover his affair up, he ended up causing the death of her husband, Uriah. For over a year David lived a lie, trying desperately to cover up the facts of what he did. When Nath;an the Prophet comes to David with a rather sad story of a man with one hundred sheep, stealing the one lone sheep of a poor man, David is indignant and rises in judgement against the rich man...only to have Nathan turn the tale into a confrontation of David's own actions with Uriah and Bathsheba. A year after the events, David confesses his sin, and in a public repentance, he comes back to a place where he replaces the weights of guilt and condemnation with the freedom of rep…

Day 23 - Avoiding the Flood

Today's readings are from Psalm 32 and John 3:14-21

There's a remarkable verse translated in the New Living Translation from Psalm 32:6. First a bit of context. This Psalm of David is written as a companion Psalm to Psalm 51. Both come out of the experience of David's sin when he had sex with Bathsheba and in trying to cover his affair up, he ended up causing the death of her husband, Uriah. For over a year David lived a lie, trying desperately to cover up the facts of what he did. When Nath;an the Prophet comes to David with a rather sad story of a man with one hundred sheep, stealing the one lone sheep of a poor man, David is indignant and rises in judgement against the rich man...only to have Nathan turn the tale into a confrontation of David's own actions with Uriah and Bathsheba. A year after the events, David confesses his sin, and in a public repentance, he comes back to a place where he replaces the weights of guilt and condemnation with the freedom of rep…

Day 23 - Avoiding the Flood

Today's readings are from Psalm 32 and John 3:14-21

There's a remarkable verse translated in the New Living Translation from Psalm 32:6. First a bit of context. This Psalm of David is written as a companion Psalm to Psalm 51. Both come out of the experience of David's sin when he had sex with Bathsheba and in trying to cover his affair up, he ended up causing the death of her husband, Uriah. For over a year David lived a lie, trying desperately to cover up the facts of what he did. When Nath;an the Prophet comes to David with a rather sad story of a man with one hundred sheep, stealing the one lone sheep of a poor man, David is indignant and rises in judgement against the rich man...only to have Nathan turn the tale into a confrontation of David's own actions with Uriah and Bathsheba. A year after the events, David confesses his sin, and in a public repentance, he comes back to a place where he replaces the weights of guilt and condemnation with the freedom of rep…

Day 22 - Lost and Found

Today's readings are from Luke 15 and 2 Cor. 5:21

There are three stories Jesus tells - all about "lost" things. The lost sheep and the lost coin are a prelude to the real drama - a lost son. What is crucial to understanding the story is the context: Luke 15:1-3 (NLT)
"Tax collectors and other notorious sinners often came to listen to Jesus teach.
This made the Pharisees and teachers of religious law complain that he was associating with such sinful people—even eating with them!
So Jesus told them this story..."

The crowd was mixed..."notorious sinners" and "tax collectors" were there. So were the "Pharisees and teachers of religious law". The first ones were there because of the need for forgiveness and hope. They knew they were in great need. They didn't have to translate what Jesus meant by the adjective, "lost". They knew they were far away from God, and had lived recklessly. On the other hand, the Pharis…

Day 22 - Lost and Found

Today's readings are from Luke 15 and 2 Cor. 5:21

There are three stories Jesus tells - all about "lost" things. The lost sheep and the lost coin are a prelude to the real drama - a lost son. What is crucial to understanding the story is the context: Luke 15:1-3 (NLT)
"Tax collectors and other notorious sinners often came to listen to Jesus teach.
This made the Pharisees and teachers of religious law complain that he was associating with such sinful people—even eating with them!
So Jesus told them this story..."

The crowd was mixed..."notorious sinners" and "tax collectors" were there. So were the "Pharisees and teachers of religious law". The first ones were there because of the need for forgiveness and hope. They knew they were in great need. They didn't have to translate what Jesus meant by the adjective, "lost". They knew they were far away from God, and had lived recklessly. On the other hand, the Pharis…