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Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Leviticus 20:22-22:16; Mark 9:1-29; Psalm 43:1-5; Proverbs 10:18 (New Living Translation)

Old Testament

1. Do not do the same wicked things the people around you do, they are detestable to God.

2. You are set apart from other people.

3. Mediums and those who consult the dead are put to death.

4. Instructions to the priests. "...I am the Lord who makes them holy."

New Testament

5. The Transfiguration

- The sequence of events is important here. Jesus has just told His disciples of His coming death and resurrection, and pointed out the disciples too could be transformed if they would only give up their old lives for Him. The Lord tells them, "I tell you the truth, some standing here right now will not die before they see the Kingdom of God arrive in great power!"

- Six days later Jesus visits the Mount of Transfiguration. There, with Peter and James and John watching, Jesus "was transformed, and his clothes became dazzling white, far whiter than any earthly bleach could ever make them."

- The glory that lay ahead for Jesus, a glory to be visible to all when "the kingdom of God comes with power," was shown to the three disciples.

- The bible tells us that Elijah and Moses appeared and taled with Jesus, while a voice from heaven said, "This is my dearly loved Son. Listen to him."

- The disciples were given a glimpse of the splendor to come after the Cross. Death truly was the pathway to glory.

- This incident reassured the disciples, and should give reassurance to us as well. The daily cross of the disciple is hard to bear. Often we are called to make choices that seem to us to involve great cost. What we need to remember is that beyond each cross God calls us to bear, and beyond the little death that obedience may seem to involve, lies the splendor of transformation for you and for me.

-The disciples did not yet understand the meaning of what they had seen. They had not yet even grasped the fact that Jesus would be crucified, and they discussed what "rising from the dead" might mean. But rather than asking Jesus, they moved to safer ground, and raised a theological question:"Why do the teachers of religious law insist that Elijah must return before the Messiah comes?" It is not wrong to ask these theological questions. But what is most important is in simple faith to take heed of the words that were heard on the mountain. " This is my dearly loved Son. Listen to him."

- If we simply listen to Jesus, and do what He says, our lives will be transformed!

6. Jesus heals the Demon-possessed boy.

- Jesus then went on to instruct the disciples in the kind of life they would be expected to live.

- Prayer. There are two lessons here:
a. God demand perfect faith in people. We do believe. But we still need help in our unbelief. Jesus accepts even imperfect faith and generously works His miracles in our lives.

b. For the challenges of our lives as Jesus' disciples we must rely, not on our own strength, but completely on God's. And we express that dependence most perfectly in prayer.

- Servanthood

- Nonjudgmentalism

- Harmony


7. "Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in God!"


8. "...slandering others makes you a fool." Didn't we talk about gossipers yesterday? ;)

See you next post...

No posts Thursday, Friday or Saturday

Sorry, I will be away from my computer.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Leviticus 19-20:21; Mark 8:11-38; Psalm 42:1-11; Proverbs 10:17 (New Living Translation)

Old Testament

1. "...You must be holy because I, the Lord your God, am holy."

2. Respect for parents, Sabbath, the elderly.

3. Do not worship other idols. "I am the Lord your God."

4. The proper way to offer sacrifices.

5. Leaving food for the poor in the feilds...gleaning.

6. Do not steal or cheat.

7. Do not swear using the Lord's name.

8. Pay wages on time.

9. Do not pervert justice for the rich or poor.

10. Do not gossip.

11. "Do not nurse hatred in your heart..." Feeling convicted yet?

12. No cutting or tatooes.

13. Numerous ways not to have sex, again.

14. Don't offer your children to Molech. Molech (Moloch) is another name for Ba'al (Baal).

15. Avoid spiritual prostitution. You are set apart to be holy.

16. Punishments seem to come in two categories separation or death!

New testament

17. The Pharisees want to see miraculous signs.

18. The disciples lament, then argue that they have forgotten to bring food. Again.

- Jesus laments, the disciples aren't getting it. He has fed the 5,000 and the 4,000 with very little and had food left over.

- It's not about the signs or the food. It's about the hearts. All their hearts are hard. The Son of God is standing in their midst and they are asking for magic tricks.

19. Jesus heals the blind man. He does this in 2 steps. Perhaps demonstrating to the disciples that they too see incompletely. At least until they make that final leep of faith.

20. Jesus finally asks them, "Who do people say I am?"

- They give several answers, but Peter...you've got to love Peter...Peter replied, “You are the Messiah.”

21. Jesus predicts His death and resurrection. but again, the disciples don't want to hear this. Don't they know about the prophecies?


22. "As the deer longs for streams of water, so I long for you, O God."

23. "...But each day the Lord pours his unfailing love upon me"

24. "Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in God! I will praise him again— my Savior and my God!"


25. Discipline gives life.

26. Quote- Some people regard discipline as a chore. For me, it is a kind of order that sets me free to fly- Julie Andrews

See you next post...

Monday, February 25, 2008

Leviticus 16:29-18:30; Mark 7:24-8:10; Psalm 41:1-13; Proverbs 10:15-16 (New Living Translation)

Old Testament

1. Sabbath is for rest.

2. Purification offerings..."to purify the people of Israel from their sins, making them right with the Lord once each year."

3.Making sacrifices on your own, without the priests or th

4. "...for the life of the body is in its blood. I have given you the blood on the altar to purify you, making you right with the Lord. It is the blood, given in exchange for a life, that makes purification possible."

- Blood given in exchange for life, for purification- the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, the clothing of Adam and Eve. A blood sacrifice is required to "get right" with God, to get back ito relationship...to keep us from being separated.

5. Forbidden sexual practices. Does it not seem incredible that God has to list so many ways not to have sex? Incest, homosexuality, bestiality. These practices were apparently the norm in Canaan.

6. Why is God making all these rules?

- We need to realize that God was acting to train and to discipline His people. He was working with them, to give them a sense of their own identity as His people: to help them realize constantly the privilege- and responsibility- of fellowship with Him.

- There was a tremendous danger that these people would forget their God. Sinai demonstrated how quickly and easily they forgot. Now, however, He begins to establish a pattern for daily life in Israel, so that it was almost impossible to forget God...almost.

- Each meal served was a reminder. The presence of priests were reminders. The Sabbath was a weekly reminder; the festivals were annual reminders. He is trying to constantly remind them of their special relationship with Him.

New Testament

7. The faith of a Gentile woman

- What's happening here?

- The disciples, the crowds and the Pharisees had seen Jesus' miracles and had heard His teaching, and still held back. They would not eat this spiritual food spread so generously on their tables. But this woman had believed! Driven by her need, she came to Jesus and acknowledged Him as "Lord." She knew He could healand expected Him to be gracious even though she had no claim on His grace.

- This is the key. We must recognize Jesus as Lord. We must come to Him, recognizing that we have no claim on His grace, but expexting Him to be gracious. When we do, Jesus Himself will heal our diseased hearts and bring new life.

8. Jesus heals the deaf man

- This same Jesus changes out hearts and opens our spiritual senses. Those who come to Him with faith, acknowledging Him to be Lord, will be spiritually healed and made truly well.

9. Jesus feed the 4,000


10. "Oh, the joys of those who are kind to the poor!"

- This isn't just about money. It's about poor in finances certainly, but also about the poor in spirit. Do we reach out to help the poor in spirit? Those who have lost their way? Depressed? Hurting? Confused? Are we a shining beacon to help guide them back home? Or do we hide our light?

11. "All who hate me whisper about me, imagining the worst." Do you whisper or gossip about others? Do you listen? Do you laugh?

12. "You have preserved my life because I am innocent; you have brought me into your presence forever."

- The Lord preserves us, because He wants us to return to His presence...to relationship.


13. "The earnings of the godly enhance their lives..." and the lives of others.

See you next post...

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Leviticus 15-16:28; Mark 7:1-23; Psalm 40:11-17; Proverbs 10:13-14 (New Living Translation)

Old Testament

1. Bodily discharges (Yuck)

- Stay away from the man with the discharge. Sounds like perfectly reasonable advice;)

- Semen, sex and menstrual periods.

- For menstrual periods, women were ceremonially unclean while they were menstruating and for 7 days after. Then they had to make a sacrifice. Was this after each period?

- Later in the New Testament we have all read or heard the story of the woman with the "issue of blood." Basically she had been bleeding for 12 years. she was therefore never clean enough to go into the temple to worship. That is why she sought healing.

2. The Day of Atonement

- Atonement-definition- reparation for an offense or injury; the reconciliation of God and humankind through the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ.

- Day of Atonement- definition- also Yom Kippur; a Jewish holiday observed with fasting and prayer in accordance with the rites described in Leviticus

3. Aaron is given instruction regarding entering the Most Holy place, purification of himself, his family, the people. Purification of the altar. Confessing over and passing sin on to the scapegoat.

4. Scapegoat- definition- a goat upon whose head are symbolically placed the sins of the people after which he is sent into the wilderness in the biblical ceremony for Yom Kippur; one that bears the blame for others.

5. Purification of himself and the people to make them right with the Lord.

New Testament

Amazingly, Jesus is teaching about inner purity today. I think it's amazing that the readings link together so well most days...

6. The Pharisees think they have found an opening or weakness in Jesus' teaching because His disciples don't follow the age-old traditions. Jesus' answer of course is that it is not outward appearances, but the heart that defiles us! Man-made traditions will not bring us closer to God.

7. It is the heart!

- "And then he added, “It is what comes from inside that defiles you. For from within, out of a person’s heart, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, wickedness, deceit, lustful desires, envy, slander, pride, and foolishness. All these vile things come from within; they are what defile you.”

- We sin in our hearts first!

8. This brings up two questions / issues for me?

- Are we really any different than the Pharisees?

- What really matters to God?

- Institutional and authoritarian religions push their own agenda, which is about your relationship with the religious system, or building, or a specific group of people.

- Your relationship, says "religion" is a legal religious entity based on law. It's these laws, rules and regulations they try to tell us are the same as God's laws. Is this any different than the argument being put forth by the Pharisees?

- But if we carefully look at the New Testament we see a dramatically dufferent picture.

- We see a personal relationship with God given to us by the boundless riches of His grace! An intimate relationship with God not mediated by power structures or authoritarian dogma...but mediated solely by Jesus-God-in-the-Flesh!

- What matters to God, according to the bible, is your relationship with God, based on His amazing grace.

- As Jesus is trying to tell the Pharisees and His disciple, submitting to prohibitions may make us feel and look holy and righteous- voluntary piety and ritualistic posturing. This may make a favorable impression on the world, to humans.

- Is this what Jesus died for?

- Have we gone back to a life of bondage to religion?

- If we are alive in Christ- why not live?

- Are we not free in Christ?

- Being, not doing is what matters to God. Performing tasks does not dictate our value to God.

- God loves us based on our being...Who we are in Christ...What God does in us...That is what matters.


9. "You are my helper and my savior"


10. "Wise people treasure knowledge"

See you next post...

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Leviticus 14:1-57; Mark 6:30-56; Psalm 40:1-10; Proverbs 10:11-12 (New Living Translation)

Old Testament

1. Skin diseases and how to get clean.

2. Accommodations made for the poor.

3. Mold in houses upon entering Canaan. How to make the house clean and pure, or destroy it.

4. All these offerings were made to pay for sins and be made clean.

- But forgiveness was not really won through the ritual itself. That is the rituals were not meant to be sufficient in and of themselves. Those individuals who chose, and and continue to choose, to dishonor God by refusing to live the just and merciful life the Lord commanded had no real recourse to sacrifice. The Israelites failed to understand this, as we shall see the story continue to unfold.

- The message of sacrifice was never that one could sin whenever we please, and then come to God for easy remedy. Sacrifice was for those whose hearts were already turned to the Lord.

New Testament

5. Jesus feeds the 5,000

- Crowds followed Jesus out into a wilderness place. Out of compassion He taught them until late in the day. Then, realizing the people must be hungry, Jesus fed some 5,000 men, plus uncounted women and children, from five small loaves and two fish. Jesus' miracle combined the power and compassion of God, and reminded readers that this One truly is the Son of God. Surely we cannot only beleive in Jesus; in total faith we can commit ourselves to Him as God's only begotten Son.

6. Jesus walks on water

- Jesus sent His disciples ahead by boat so He might have time alone to pray. When the wind came up later that night, Jesus went to join His followers, walking on the water. When the disciples saw His figure amid the waves, they cried out in fear, thinking He was a ghost.

- Jesus moved toward them, speaking reassuringly. When He reached them, He clombed over the side into the boat, and the winds died down.

- Then Mark gave us stunning information: "They were totally amazed, for they still didn’t understand the significance of the miracle of the loaves. Their hearts were too hard to take it in."

- Even Jesus' disciples, who had witnessed every miracle and heard every teaching, did not fully realize who Jesus is!

- We shouldn't be surprised that the crowds who heard Him and witnessed a few of His miracles esitated to commit themselves to Jesus. We shouldn't really be surprised that the religious leaders were skeptical. Even those closest to Jesus did not fully grasp who this Person they had commited themselves to truly is!

- With this story Mark focuses our attention on the heart.

- The heart in Hebrew culture is the sum total of the personality, the essence of the individual. The sripture clearly says that the heart of man was tragically warped during the Fall (remember Adam and Eve).

- Sin has darkened human understanding, twisted human motives, crippled human will, distoted human emotions. Even the disciples of Jesus, who had been so close to Him, were crippled by darkened and hardened hearts.

- It is not enough for Jesus to show Himself to be the Son of God. Somehoe Jesus must deal with deadened, hardened human hearts.


7. "He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out of the mud and the mire.
He set my feet on solid ground and steadied me as I walked along."

- He lifted me out of the mirey clay and planted my feet on rocks to stay..No higher... Lord lift me up (sound familiar?)

8. "He has given me a new song to sing..." Every day He gives me a new song!


9. "The words of the godly are a life-giving fountain; the words of the wicked conceal violent intentions."

- Do you speak life over other people and into their lives? Do you do this for your children? Are you an encourager? Or do your words speak death and destruction into the lives of other?...


See you next post...

Friday, February 22, 2008

Leviticus 13:1-59; Mark 6:1-29; Psalm 39:1-13; Proverbs 10:10 (New Living Translation)

Old testament

1. Instructions about skin diseases. Telling the difference between clean and unclean.

2. Instructions about contaminated clothing. Clean vs. unclean.

3. What does all this mean to us now?

- These people lived in a much different time than we take for granted now. There were no broad spectrum antibiotics you could take just in case you were getting sick, or because you thought you'd been exposed to something. These rules were made to help keep the community well and uncontaminanted.

- The priests were given the commission and authority to determine what was clean and unclean. And just like physicians today, they had to learn guidelines to follow. Form these very specific instructions they should be able to give the people reasonable answers and determinations on a day to day basis.

- During this period it was the priests that people went to. The lesson is we all need people we can go to. To help us sort things out. To give us support when we are involved in things good for us; and to give us instruction and loving discouragement for things we should not be involved in.

- We were made from the beginning for community.

New Testament

5. Jesus is rejected in Nazareth. The basis of this seems to be that they know Him and His parents. How could this nobody be the Son of God?

- Then Jesus told them, “A prophet is honored everywhere except in his own hometown and among his relatives and his own family.”

- Isn't that the truth? If you have travelled a path different than your birth family, do you have trouble communicating with them? Do they doubt that you can enlighten or educate them about anything? After all "they knew you when." This is what I think Jesus is saying. It's not about the packaging or even the specific messanger, it's about the message. So these people reject the messanger, the message...and ultimately miracles and blessings.

6. Jesus sends out the twelve

- He gave them authority...His to give. Casting out demons and healing the sick.

- He tells them to travel light! Don't take every thing you own. What you need is in your hearts, heads and hands.

- If the inhabitants refuse to listen...move on.

7. Herod hears about Jesus, and is concerned that John the Baptist has risen from the dead to taunt him.

- John condemned Herod for taking his brother's wife as his own. Herod, Herodias and her daughter (also named Herodias)conspired to have John the Baptist beheaded.

8. Like the disciples we are to rescue others, because Christ rescued us...


9. "...My entire lifetime is just a moment to you; at best, each of us is but a breath."

10. " We are merely moving shadows, and all our busy rushing ends in nothing. We heap up wealth, not knowing who will spend it.
And so, Lord, where do I put my hope? My only hope is in you."

- My only hope is in you...

See you next post...

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Leviticus 9:7-10:20; Mark 4:26-5:20; Psalm 37:30-40; Proverbs 10:6-7 (New Living Translation)

Old Testament

1. Moses now passes the "rules" on to Aaron and his sons. Thier family will be the proests for the people, and make the sacrifices on the people's behalf. Aaron and His sons are anointed and purified.

2. Again, the purpose of the sacrifice is to PAY FOR SIN.

3. All is well, Moses and Aaron bless the people, and the glory of the Lord comes in the form of Fire.

- Sounds like Moses has come full circle, isn't that how he met the Lord... a burning bush?

4. The sacrifices are to be made the way the Lord commanded. Not with our own special flair or twist. This leads us to one of those "sticky" situations that people don't like in the Old Testament.

- God destroys people for doing wrong...on the spot. What a concept?

- Aren't we blessed that He doesn't do that now? Remember why?

5. The sins of Nadab and Abihu. Two of Aaron's sons decide to do something special and different for the Lord. In my opinion, in their zeal perhaps to show off, they used the "wrong kind of fire, different than he had commanded." God destroys them by fire for their disobedience. Come on guys, God just gave you the rules.

6. Aaron and his other priestly sons are not allowed to grieve ("leaving your hair uncombed or by tearing your clothes"), but the rest of the Israelites are. The bodies are removed from the camp.

- They are separated, because of their sin. Separated by sin...seems to be a theme.

7. Instructions regarding the priests portion of the sacrifice. Well, the other two sons burn their portion instead of eating it. This I think is about 2 things. Obviously they broke the commands given to them. They didn't learn anything from their brothers error or death. But i think it is also about being wasteful. They have wasted something that Gid has set aside especially for them.

- Do we waste God's gifts and blessings? Are we paralyzed by our earthly fears?

8. Aaron pleads for the life of his sons, and Moses (and presumable the Lord) is satisfied.

New Testament

9. Parable of the growing seed (mustard seed).

- This parable follows the longer parable about the farmer, scattered seeds and "good soil."

- To recap: The word Jesus spoke was like seed scattered by a farmer. When the word took root in "good soil" it produces much fruit. Those who hear Jesus are likened to various soils. Some are like stony ground, on which the seed initially sprouts but cannot grow because there is no place for it to take root. Any trouble or persecution brings rejection of the Word. Others allow concern for the affairs of this lfe to choke out the spiritual. But on those who are "good soil" (responsive to the Word) it produces a rich crop.

- This new parable, I think, means that the kingdom of God grows gradually, like a planted seed. The tiniest seeds, like a mustard seed, can grow into a large garden plant.

10. Jesus doesn't explain the parables to the crowd, but gives further instruction to the disciple when they are alone.

11. Jesus calms the storm.

- This section of Mark demonstrates Jesus' personal authority...

- Asleep at sea, Jesus is awakened by His disciples when the fishing boat is struck by the storm. He rebuked the storm...and suddenly the waters were completely calm! We can also see in our reading that the disciples don't know who He is? Makes you wonder, why are they following Him?

- Jesus has power over nature.

12. In the next stiry in this sequence Jesus casts many demons (Legion)out of a man, sending them into a herd of pigs. Once again, the demons recognize Him for who He is, "Jesus, Son of the Most High God." Jesus tells the man to go home and tell his family. Of course, he goes to tell everyone else. The people are amazed, but ask Jesus to go away and leave them alone. Wow. What blessing might they have received if their eyes had been open?

- Jesus has power over evil spiritual beings and forces.


13. "Put your hope in the Lord."

14. "Look at those who are honest and good, for a wonderful future awaits those who love peace."

- It says a wonderful future, not necessarily here. But here is not what we are working on. We are working towards our bright and wonderful future...our eternal life and peace.


15. "We have happy memories of the godly" Don't we?

See you next post...

No Post Thursday

Sorry, I will be away from my computer.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Leviticus 7:28-9:6; Mark 3:31-4:25; Psalm 37:12-29; Proverbs 10:5 (New Living Translation)

Old Testament

1. Offerings- wave...friendship, burnt, grain, guilt, sin. The priest's share. The Lord's share.

2. The ordination of the priests. The priests are set apart for purity and to worship the Lord.

3. Urim and the Thummim: the sacred breastplate.

- The description of the clothing of the Jewish high priest in the Book of Exodus portrays the Urim and Thummim as being put into the sacred breastplate, worn by the high priest over the Ephod. It seems to have been used for some type of divination- to answer questions.

- There is no description of the form of the Urim and Thummim in the passages. Nevertheless, the passage does describe them as being put into the breastplate, which scholars think implies they were objects put into some sort of pouch within it, and then, while out of view, one (or one side, if the Urim and Thummim was a single object) was chosen by touch and withdrawn or thrown out; since the Urim and Thummim were put inside this pouch, they were presumably small and fairly flat, and were possibly tablets of wood or of bone. Accoding to rabbinical literature, in order for the Urim and Thummim to give an answer, it was first necessary for the individual to stand facing the fully dressed high priest, and ask the question briefly and in a simple way.

- Josephus, a first century Jewish scholar, believed that Urim meant lights, argued that divination by Urim and Thummim involved questions being answered by great rays of light shining out of certain jewels on the breastplate; each jewel was taken to represent different letters, and the sequence of lighting thus would spell out an answer (though there were 22 letters in the Hebrew alphabet, and only 12 jewels on the breastplate.

4. The priests were anointed and set apart? Are you set apart to servethe Lord? Can anyone tell?

5. The Lord says, once again, that all this sacrifice is to pay for your sins!

6. After the sacrifices and doing all the things asked of them, the people get ready...the Lord is coming!

- Are we ready?

New Testament

7. Jesus' comments about His mother and brothers may seem on the surface a rude coment. I think what He is trying to say is the in Christ and in love we are all brothers and sisters and mothers and fathers.

- In the church environment that I grew up in there was always a "Mother" of the church, and several other women whom we addressed as "mother", instead of Mrs. or "sister." These women seemed to have a certain wisdom about them. When my own mother couldn't comfort me or answer a question, there was always someone in my church family that could help me out. This in no way diminished my relationship with my mother, but gave me a much broader and richer experience. Experience which I can now draw on as an adult, and offer to others.

8. The parable of the farmer and the seeds. Refer to this parable discussion in Matthew, from previous posting. But,

- God is the Farmenr in this metaphor.

- The seed is the Word. Not money that you send into the televangelist.

- How fertile is the ground of our hearts for God's word. There is an advesary who seeks to kill and destroy! Are we in that group of people who hear and beleive the word...but fall by the wayside frequently because of life's worries, and business, and duties, and distractions?

- How good is the fruit we bear? I know I have said it before, but we are not here just to get stuff. To collect things, and get bigger SUVs, and get big bank accounts. We are not here just to become monetarily prosperous and get "the good life. We are here to help BRING THE KINGDOM OF GOD! That's what we are here for.

- The purpose of the parables is to teach us what the kingdom of God is like, in simple stories we can understand. Things we can get our minds around.

9. The parable of the lamp. Why buy and expenve lamp if you're going to hide it? Is your light for Christ showing, or do you hide it?


10. Out of wickedness we will die by our own swords.

11. "Day by day the Lord takes care of the innocent, and they will receive an inheritance that lasts forever." This isn't just about money. It's about health and relationships, and so much more than money.

12. "The Lord directs the steps of the godly...Though they stumble, they will never fall, for the Lord holds them by the hand." Listen for the voice of God. He will tell you which way to go. Jesus says in the New Testament reading, those that have ears, let them listen.

- And, think carefully about what you hear. Don't just accept what someone says. Investigate. Read it for yourself. How many times have you watched those men and women on TV and they said something that didn't quite make sense, or didn't sound quite right. Go look it up!

13. "...Yet I have never seen the godly abandoned." You may feel like it at times, but the Lord is always with you.


14. Don't be lazy...

See you next post...

Monday, February 18, 2008

Leviticus 6-7:27; Mark 3:7-30; Psalm 37:1-11; Proverbs 10:3-4 (New Living Translation)

Old Testament

1. More instructions about offerings - guilt, burnt, friendship (also called thanks and promise), peace, grain.

2. The priest's share.

3. The Lord's share.

4. Touching unclean things.

5. Eating fat and blood.

- Please look back to yesterday's discussion. The wonderful and perfect work of Christ on the cross took the place of all these sacrifices. Imagine living in a time and place where everything you did or said required going to the temple and making a sacrifice. And the purpose...so you would not be cut off from your community. Community with people, but more importantly, with God. Jesus did this for us. He is the sacrifice that redeems our relationship with God.

New Testament

6. Once again, the evil spirits recognize Christ for who he is! The Son of God.

7. Jesus choose the twelve apostles (disciples). There are 2 Simons. Simon, called Peter; Simon, the zealot. And, let's not forget about Judas.

8. The religious teachers try to claim that Jesus is working on behalf of Satan, possessed by an evil spirit, and not from God. His answer, "How can Satan cast out Satan?...A kingdom divided by civil war will collapse...And if Satan is divided and fights against himself, how can he stand? He would never survive." He also warns them against blasphemy against the Holy Spirit...an unforgiveable sin.


9. "Trust in the Lord and do good."

10. "Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you your heart’s desires."

11. "Trust him, and he will help you."

12. "Be still in the presence of the Lord, and wait patiently for him to act." Be still...

13. "Stop being angry! Turn from your rage! Do not lose your temper—
it only leads to harm...The lowly will possess the land
and will live in peace and prosperity."

- Not a lot I can add to David's words today, he says it all so well. In today's New Age language this last portion should strike a cord. The mantra for today should be, "I'd rather have peace than this." Get out of your own way, trust the Lord!


14. Work hard...

See you next post...

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Leviticus 4-5:19; Mark 2:13-3:6; Psalm 36:1-12; Proverbs 10:1-2 (New Living Translation)

Old Testament

1. Procedures for sin offering. Sins of the priest, community, individuals. Inadvertant (unkown at the time of the sin)and intentional sins.

2. Procedures for guilt oferings- defiling sacred property of God, breaking God's commandments.

- The lesson here is that sins have to be paid for to be forgiven. We learned back in the story of Adam and Eve that blood and sacrifice were part of getting them back on track with God. Remember, they clothed themselves with fig leaves. When God showed up He clothed them with animal fur...where do you think He got it?

3. However, the real lesson here, especially for us Gentiles, is the need for a blood sacrifice to redeem us, and restore our relationship to God. And, as we will see in the new testament, in case you don't already know...that was Jesus! But we will come to this again later.

4. Yesterday the text alluded to the "salt of the covenent." Salt was mentioned again in church this morning, and I thought everyone may not understand the significance of salt.

- The role of salt in the Bible is relevant to understanding Hebrew society during the Old Testament and New Testament periods. Salt is a necessity of life and was a mineral that was used since ancient times in many cultures as a seasoning, a preservative, a disinfectant, a component of ceremonial offerings, and as a unit of exchange. The Bible contains numerous references to salt. Depending on where and how it is mentioned it is probably being used metaphorically (instead of another term or phrase.) It has been used to signify permanence, loyalty, durability, fidelity, usefulness, value, and purification.

- Old Testament: The Hebrew people harvested salt by pouring sea water into pits and letting the water evaporate until only salt was left. They used the mineral for seasoning and as a preservative. In addition, salt was used to disinfect wounds. Salt also had a significant place in Hebrew worship. Salt was included in the Levitical offerings. In Leviticus 2:13, God commanded that "every oblation of thy meat offering shalt thou season with salt; neither shalt thou suffer the salt of the covenant of thy God to be lacking from thy meat offering: with all thine offerings thou shalt offer salt."

- This is the Old Testament section, but the Salt and Light metaphors in the Sermon on the Mount include a direct reference to salt: "You are the salt of the earth. But if salt loses its taste, with what can it be seasoned? It is no longer good for anything but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot." (Matthew 5:13). Similarly, in Mark 9:49-50, Jesus says that "Everyone will be salted with fire. Salt is good, but if salt becomes insipid, with what will you restore its flavor? Keep salt in yourselves and you will have peace with one another." What is Jesus trying to say to us here? Perhaps Jesus is simply saying that everybody has inherent value. Keep God’s gift of inherent worth inside yourself (cherish God's gift) and you will have peace with one another.

- Jesus calls his disciples (and, perhaps, the crowds listening to the Sermon on the Mount), "the salt of the earth." He may be simply be referring to their role in purifying the world.

- In Roman times, salt was an important item of trade and was even used as money. Roman soldiers received part of their pay in salt. "Salt of the Earth" may, in this context, refer to the listeners' value.

- Enough about salt!

New Testament

5. Jesus calls Levi (Matthew), the tax collector. Jesus has dinner with tax collectors and known sinners. The annoys the Pharisees...Jesus points out to them that it is not well people who need a doctor, but the sick. Wow!

- What's wrong with tax collectors (in the bible)?. Tax collectors are mentioned many times in the Bible. They are generally described as being greedy, and taking more money than they are entitled to.

6. Then we have questions regarding fasting. Jesus' answer to this is that the disciples should not be fasting, but filling themslves while He is with them. They should be loading up on the knowlege (and words) that Jesus can give them. Not piously sitting in a corner waiting for someone or something to come along and enlightenment. The Enlightenment is standing right here in front of them!

7. Then we have the new cloth/old cloth and new wineskin/old wineskin examples. What I think Jesus is trying to say is, how can you take your new, open and enlightened mind and stuff it into an old way of thinking. These are ideas the scribes and Pharisees should have been teaching the people all along. Not just how to make all their appropriate sacrifices, and how to cross all the "t"s and dot all the "i"s to get into the kingdom of God...but how to treat, and especially love others. Not to put themselves first, as the Pharisees did, but to be humble, put others first. Not to fast for show, but to fast for God!

8. More about the law. He uses King David and the holy bread in the temple as a counter argument.

9. Jesus heals on the Sabbath. What was He thinking? He was thinking that we are here to do good always, even on the Sabbath; and to good to all people, even if they aren't members of our church.

10. The Pharisees have had enough. They get with supporters of Herod and plot to kill Jesus. Herod??? They must be desperate. Also remember that the Jews were subject to Roman rule. They could try Jesus all they wanted, but without the input from the Romans, they couldn't kill Him.

- Which Herod? Herod Antipas (20 BC-c. AD 40), tetrarch of Galilee and Peraea, who ordered John the Baptist's death and mocked Jesus.

11. Anyone trying to follow along, who hasn't done this before is probably thinking...this sounds like the last book we did, Matthew.

- These two books are part of what's called the synoptic gospels. This word is from Greek, "syn" (together) and "opsis" (seeing). The synoptic gospels are the first three gospels found in the New Testament- Matthew, Mark, and Luke. These gospels often recount the same stories about Jesus, generally follow the same sequence and use similar wording. These three books are contrasted with the gospel of John. The phrase was coined specifically to deal with analyzing and understanding the similarities and differences between the first three gospels.


12. "Sin whispers to the wicked, deep within their hearts." What is it God is after? Our hearts.

13. "How precious is your unfailing love, O God! All humanity finds shelter
in the shadow of your wings." All humanity.....


14. "Tainted wealth has no lasting value, but right living can save your life." Save you from eternal separation...

Note- back at the beginning of today's reading there was a lot about sacrifice and blood. I tried to say along the way that this is a prelude to the perfect sacrifice that Christ made for us. Christ' sacrifice was required to cover our sins. Covering sin, as it turned was bloody, tedious, cumbersome and oppressive work.

- The crucifixion and death of Christ changed that! Remember what happened at the cross. Remember the sacrifice to end all sacrifices. The sacrifice to cover our sins. Christ came and shed His blood and became a sacrifice. This is why we wade through all that stuff at the beginning. That's why we need to know about sacrifices, and what they're for, and what they mean.

- This is the story of God and His relationship with people. And He sent His Son to restore that relationship!

See you next post...

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Leviticus 1-3:17; Mark 1:29-2:12; Psalm 35:17-28; Proverbs 9:13-18 (New Living Translation)

Old Testament

1. We begin Leviticus today.In Greek this means "law". It is the third book of the Hebrew Bible, of the Old Testament, and of the Torah (five books of Moses).

2. Overview :

- The main points of the book are concerned with legal rules, and priestly ritual.

- The first 16 chapters and the last chapter describe the Priestly Code, detailing ritual cleanliness, sin-offerings, and the Day of Atonement, including Chapter 12 which mandates male circumcision.

- Chapters 17-26 describe the holiness code, including the injunction in chapter 19 to love one's neighbor as oneself.

- Orthodox Jews believe that this entire book is the word of God, dictated by God to Moses on Mount Sinai.

3. Do we (Gentiles, non-Jews)live under the law?

- Most Christians believe that Leviticus is the word of God, but generally do not consider themselves to be bound by all the laws prescribed by the text, due to the implied in some passages of the New Testament, notably the letters of Paul. Most Christians consider 1 Corinthians 10:23-26, in which Paul directs followers to "eat anything sold in the meat market without raising questions of conscience", to exempt them from following the dietary laws set forth in Leviticus.

- The word used for this is antinomianism. This comes from 2 Greek words, "anti" meaning against and "nomos" meaning law.

- When Jesus Christ died on the cross, He fulfilled the Old Testament Law (Romans 10:4; Galatians 3:23-25; Ephesians 2:15). but I beleive it is "unbiblical" (if there is such a word) to think that there is no moral law God expects Christians to obey.

- The Apostle Paul dealt with this issue again in Romans 6:1-2, “What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?” The most frequent attack on the doctrine of salvation by grace alone is that it encourages sin. People may wonder, “If I am saved by grace and all my sins are forgiven, why not sin all I want?” That thinking is not the result of true conversion because true conversion yields a greater desire to obey, not a lesser one. God’s desire—and our desire when we are re-born by His Spirit—is that we strive to not sin, out of gratitude for His grace and forgiveness. God has given us His infinitely gracious gift in salvation through Jesus (John 3:16; Romans 5:8). Our response is to be a life consecrated to Him (Romans 12:1-2) out of love, worship, and gratitude for what He has done for us.

- There is a moral law which God expects us to obey. 1 John 5:3 tells us, “This is love for God: to obey His commands. And His commands are not burdensome.” What is this law God expects us to obey? It is the law of Christ – “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments” (Matthew 22:37-40).

- So, no, we are not under the Old Testament Law. Yes, we are under the law of Christ. The law of Christ is not an extensive list of legal codes. It is a law of love. If we love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength, we will do nothing to displease Him. If we love our neighbors as ourselves, we will do nothing to harm them. Obeying the law of Christ is not a requirement to earn or maintain salvation. The law of Christ is what God expects of a Christian.

- God expects us to live a life of morality, integrity, and love. Jesus Christ freed us from the burdensome commands of the Old Testament Law, but that is not a license to sin, but rather a covenant of grace. We are to strive to overcome sin and cultivate righteousness, depending on the Holy Spirit to help us. The fact that we are graciously freed from the demands of the Old Testament Law should result in us living our lives in obedience to the law of Christ. 1 John 2:3-6 declares, “We know that we have come to know Him if we obey His commands. The man who says, ‘I know Him,’ but does not do what He commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But if anyone obeys His word, God's love is truly made complete in him. This is how we know we are in Him: Whoever claims to live in Him must walk as Jesus did.”

- Sorry, got a little carried away. But, again I think these are important concepts for Christians, and even non-Christians to understand. Anyway, back to the text...

4. Offerings:

- Burnt offerings given as free will. Lambs, goats, birs (trutle doves and pigeons.

- Grain offerings- flour, unleven (no yeast) bread and cakes; salt (of the covenant).

- First fruits.

- Sacrifice, peace offerings.

- Eat no fat or blood.

New Testament

5. Jesus heals Simon's mother-in-law. This brings throngs of people needing to be healed to Him. He healed many and casted out demons. I think the demons were not allowed to speak, because they did recognize Him and would call Him by name. He wanted people then, as now, to beleive based on there faith, not by what they could see with their eyes or touch.

6. He withdraws to pray in isolation.

7. He tells the disciples they must move on...let's stay focused, and get on with the mission..“We must go on to other towns as well, and I will preach to them, too. That is why I came.”

8. He heals the leper. The man with leprosy asks if Jesus is willing to heal him. Remember, lepers are considered by people to be "unclean" and should not be touched. He instructs him to tell no one. First go to be examined by the priests...certified as "clean." Don't forget to take the appropriate sacrifices as dictated by the law. But, of course he didn't do that, and that brought more crowds to Jesus for healing.

9. Jesus heals the paralytic. This story is a true testament to friendship. They could not come through the. They cared so much about their friends healing that they hauled him up to the roof, dismantle the roof of the house so that he can reach the teacher and be healed.

10. Jesus is accused of blasphemy as He tells the man that his sins are forgiven, instead of take up your bed and walk...so He says this too. The crowed is amazed.



11. Folly...the way to death.

See you next post...

Friday, February 15, 2008

Exodus 39-40:38; Mark 1:1-28; Psalm 35:1-16; Proverbs 9:11-12 (New Living Translation)

Old Testament

1. The bible gives a lot of detai about the making of the Ark, Tabernacle, Tent, and clothing the priests.

- For many people this ranks right up there with reading the geneologies. I think we have so many specifics because God is establishing a culture with the children of Israel. And learning the details can lead us to understand the specifics of the will of God. For us Gentiles, these specific items and ornamentaions don't mean a lot. They are not part of our culture. But it's the ideas behind them that should strike a cord with us.

2. Each of the items mentioned has a specific meaning...for instance, pomegranates. Jewish tradition teaches that the pomegranate is a symbol for righteousness, because it is said to have 613 seeds which corresponds with the 613 commandments of the Torah. However, the actual number of seeds varies with individual fruits. The pomegranate is one of the few images which appear on ancient coins of Judea as a holy symbol, and today many Torah scrolls are stored while not in use with a pair of decorative hollow silver "pomegranates " For the same reason, pomegranates are a motif found in Christian religious decoration. They are often woven into the fabric on vestments and liturgical hangings or wrought in metalwork.

3. The work is finished. Moses inspects it, and blesses the people.

4. The tabernacle is set up. And the Glory of the Lord fills it!

5. And the Lord led them---a cloud by day, and a pillar of fire by night.

New Testament

6. We have finished the Gospel of Matthew, and begin the Gospel of Mark today.

7. The Gospel of Mark, is anonympous, but was attributed to Mark, a disciple of Peter.

8. Overview of Mark - It narrates the life of Jesus from John the Baptist to the Ascension. It concentrates particularly on the last week of his life. It very quickly describes Jesus as a heroic man of action, an exorcist, a healer and miracle worker. It calls him the Christ (the Greek translation of Messiah), the Son of Man, and the Son of God.

9. Mark begins with John, the Baptist (or baptizer). John had strange habits camel hair clothes, eating honey and locusts, living and preaching in the wilderness.

10. Interestingly, John is regarded as a preacher and ascetic regarded as a prophet by four religions: Christianity, Islam, Mandaeanism and the Bahá'í Faith.

11. John is the messenger (or forerunner, or precursor) of Jesus' coming.

12. John recognizes Jesus, and states his unworthiness. He baptises Jesus nonetheless.

13. The Holy Spirit escends on Jesus and compels Him to go into the wilderness, where He is tempted by the devil for 40 days. The wild animals and angels took care of Him.

14. John gets arrseted.

15. Jesus calls His first disciples...Simon, and his brother Andrew...the brother James and John. (Remember James and John's mother from Matthew...trying to get them seats next to Jesus.)

16. Jesus casts out evil spirits. Amazingly, the evil spirits recognize jesus as "the Holy One sent from God," but the rest of the audience doesn't know who He is. This is, according to Mark, the beginning of Jesus' fame.


17. “Lord, who can compare with you? Who else rescues the helpless from the strong? Who else protects the helpless and poor from those who rob them?”


18. "Wisdom will multiply your days and add years to your life."

See you next post...

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Exodus 37-38:31; Matthew 28:1-20; Psalm 34:11-22; Proverbs 9:9-10 (New Living Translation)

Old Testament

1. More information about building the Ark, the Mercy seat, the Tent of the meeting.

2. Some thing I have never noticed before, Bezalel is from the tribe of Judah. Remember the tribes? Well, gues who else are members of this tribe? King David for one. And, Jesus is referred to as "the Lion of the Tribe of Judah." Coincidence?

- On a more secular note, remember the lion in the "Chronicles of Narnia", well guess who that is supposed to represent? See, it's all around us, but we don't look, or maybe we just don't see.

3. There are also now 603,550 men over the age of 20 in the nation of Israel. Look back at Genesis. When Jacob and the boys joined Joseph, their total number was 78. See what this "remnant" has become. What a mighty God!

New Testamet

4. I didn't spend a lot of time on the Passion of Christ yesterday, but every time we read it or hear it it should give us pause. Think what an amazing sacrifice Jesus made to bring us back into relationship with God, the Father. He was beaten, scourged, mocked, hung on a cross, and died for us. There is no other gift like this.

5. Jesus did all this of His own free will to redeem us.

6. The angel of the Lord rolled the stone away, asssures the women that Jesus will meet them in Galilee.

7. The women come to visit the tomb, while the men are hiding back in town.

8. The guards are given a large bribe to perpetuate the lie that Jesus' body was stolen by the disciples.

9. The Great Commission- Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

- Let's really look at these verses.

- Jesus has been given all authority, and He bestows it on us. This is our mandate. To take that authority and try to elimnate, tell evryboby the Good News of Jesus Christ, teach all nations to do all the things that Christ commanded. And the best part..."I will never leave you"

- It says to take authority and tell everyone. It doesn't say go out and make little Baptists or Methodists or Pentacostals or Unitarian. I am using these as examples only. There is nothing wrong with being any of these.

- But, but, but...What are the great commandments? There are only two...

- Love God above all else. Put no thing and no person before or above Him.

- Love your neighbor as yourself. Do you? Or maybe you don't think so well of yourself. Well you should work on that. God made us just the way we are...and as they say on TV, "God doesn't make junk." Anyway, Love your neighbor...

10. And, teach these new disciple...

11. "...And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Be absolutely 100% sure of this, He is always with us.

12. And, back to the disciples. They saw Him and still doubted, even though they worshiped. I'm having a little trouble here...maybe someone out there can help me. How do you douby and worship at the same time?


13. "Search for peace, and work to maintain it."

14. "The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed." The Lord is after our hearts, not just our minds...Christ came to redeem the broken-hearted, to recue the sin-sick soul.


15. "Instruct the wise, and they will be even wiser. Teach the righteous, and they will learn even more."

16. "Fear of the Lord is the foundation of wisdom. Knowledge of the Holy One results in good judgment."

- That's what this site is all about. Get some knowlege of the Holy One for yourself...read your bible. Don't just take at face value what people say is in the bible.

Almost forgot, Happy Valentine's Day...

"My children, the three acts of faith, hope, and charity contain all the happiness of man on earth." - John Vianney

See you next post...

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Exodus 35:10-36:38; Matthew 27:32-66; Psalm 34:1-10; Proverbs 9:7-8 (New Living Translation)

Old testament

1. More instructions regarding the Ark of the Testimony and the Tabernacle. And, if you read carefully, it sounds as thogh eveyone contributed either in mateials or deed.

2. God has gifted certain craftsmen with the skills they need to perform their tasks. We will cover it in more detail later in the New Testament, but God gives us all specific skills or gifts. The Lord, I think, is generous in His gifting, but none of us has all gifts and talents at our disposal!

3. If you are interested in reading about spiritual gifts, see 1 Corithians 12 (in the New Teastament). It clearly says that we are given these gifts for the common good. Not our own good or our own knowledge, or so we can show off...but for the common good.

Read the whole chapter, it gives a wonderful illustration using bodily senses.

Examples of spiritual gifts:

- utterance of wisdom

- utterance of knowledge

- faith

- gifts of healing

- working of miracles

- prophecy

- discernment

- tongues

And all of these are activated by one and the same Spirit, who allots to each one individually just as the Spirit chooses! ...as the Spirit chooses!

In plain English, some of us can lead, or preach, or sing, or prophecy, or even
discern...but I don't think there is anyone who can do all of these things exceptionally well. Now, being human, many of us think we can do it all...but we are commanded to do as the Lord has gifted.

3. The people give and give, and it's too much for the craftsmen to use. Moses must restrain the people from bringing things.

- When is the last time you heard that from your church or your favorite TV ministry...stop bringing / giving / sending in money, we have too much?

- This leads me to a random thought about tithing. Tithe in it's purest sense means 1/10th, or 10%. Tithes are to be given, I believe, as thanks to God, for what He has given us. For all He does for us. For all we take for granted. And what do we have that has not come from God?

- I think many people misunderstand tithing and give out of a place of fear. The fear is that God won't keep giving them what they want, won't keep giving what they have asked for, or take something away from them. The fear that people wround them will think less of them.

- Or worse, they confuse it with a membership fee.

- We tithe as thanks, not as obligation or duty. As a covenant with God...not with other men. We strive to help those places and organizations which feed us spiritually. And that is why we go to service, isn't it. To be fed and replenished, so that we can go back out and help feed a hungry world?

- How many of you know people who go to church every Sunday, pay their tithes or dues, and get back to everyday life as soon as the service is over. Sunday worship is just a bump in the road of a very busy life...well, it shouldn't be.

- I am not saying that you should or shouldn't tithe. You should know what it is and understand why you do it. Anyway, back to today's text.

4. Instructions for the Tent of the Meeting.

New testament

5. Simon of Cyrene was the person compelled by the Romans to carry the cross of Jesus as Jesus was taken to his crucifixion at Golgotha.

6. The soldiers give Him gall to drink. Actually some of the other gospels much more clearly say that on arrival at Golgotha, Jesus was offered wine laced with myrrh to lessen the pain, but he refused it.

7. Jesus is crucified...His crime,"King of the Jews"

8. Two theives were crucified also.

9. Look carefully at the passage, verse 43. When the leading priests say, " He trusted God, so let God rescue him now if he wants him! For he said, ‘I am the Son of God.’” ... These are the chief priests talking, the leaders of the people. His crime, in their minds does not seem that He proclaimed that He was King of the Jews...but that He trusted God, and God did not act in a way the priests deemed appropriate.

10. The prayer that Jesus says can be found in Psalm 22:1. We talked about this particular Psalm briefly in January.

11. As Jesus dies, the veil is torn.

- Looking back at Exodus, this is the veil outside "The holiest of holy" place. Here only the high priest can go to offer atonement for the sins of the people. He can only go once a year, and has to waer a bell and rope, so God doesn't carry him away.

12. The soldiers belive that this was the Son of God.

13. Joseph of Arimethea claims the body and puts it in his tomb.

14. The Pharisees obtain a Roman guard so that the disciples don't steal the body to try to fool everyone about the resurrection. Who is the fool?


15. "I will praise the Lord at all times. I will constantly speak his praises." That wouldn't leave a lot of room for what uasually comes out of our mouths. Hmmm....

16. "I will boast only in the Lord"...Only in the Lord, from which comes all my help and hope.

17. "I prayed to the Lord, and he answered me. He freed me from all my fears."

- There's a lyric by Selah, that says, " God will take away all your pain, IF you choose to let them go."


18. "But correct the wise, and they will love you."

- Perhaps we should check our reaction when someone tries to correct us. Or when we do it to others. Is our correction factual? Is it in love?

See you next post...

Tuesday, February 12, 2008


Living a life of faith means never knowing where you are being led. But it does mean loving and knowing the One who is leading. It is literally a life of faith, not of understanding and reason.
Oswald Chambers

Exodus 34-35:9; Matthew 27:15-31; Psalm 33:12-22; Proverbs 9:1-6 (New Living Translation)

Old Testament

1. The tablets have been destroyed by Moses in a fit of anger, now he has to make new ones for the Word of God.

2. Moses pleads once again for the Lord to stay with them.

3. He makes the Mosaic covenent. Remember, we have only had the Abrahamic covenant until now.

4. He repeats Himself about the feasts and the Ten commandments. He tells them not to mix with the other races. Kind of like a parent going over the same ground again.

5. Moses remained on the mountain 40 days. When he returns his face is so radian that he hs to wear a veil when he is around other people. This is the radiance which should be sprining from our hearts. Overflowing with the good news of the whole bible!

6. Keep the sabbath!

New Testament

7. The crowd is given a choice. Release Jesus, called the Messiah or Barrabas, accused of muder. We all know this story, they choose Barabbas...they understand "his kind" better.

8. When asked what to do with jesus, the crowd cries," Crucify Him!"

9. Pilate washes his hands of this whole mess. Does that act exonerate him? Free his conscious...or his soul?

10. The soldiers mock Jesus; he was flogged (scourged) and led off for crucifixion.


11...."the Lord watches over those who fear him, those who rely on his unfailing love." His love is unfailing...and His mercy endures!

12. "We put our hope in the Lord. He is our help and our shield." He is our sheild!


13. Wisdom says, "...learn to use good judgment."

See you next post...

Monday, February 11, 2008

Exodus 32-33:23; Matthew 26:69-27:14; Psalm 33:1-11; Proverbs 8:33-36 (New Living Translation)

Old testament

1. The people get anxious when Moses takes so long to return. They make a golden calf. They are sort of following the rules. They plan to make the appropriate sacrifices that God demanded, but instead will give them to their new, and improved, temporary, fill-in "god." We will see that the Israelites backslide many, many times. And God takes them back. Again and again. Because He is merciful.

But the lesson here is for us as well. What's our little god? What thing do we put in the place of God- money, children, ego?

2. And what does Aaron, the high priset do? He buckles under peer pressure. I am sure none of us have ever done that!

3. God threatens to destroy the people. But Moses reasons with Him and He changes His mind.

4. Talk about anger, Moses really "tips over." He destroys the tablets from God, he burns up the calf, grinds it into powder and makes the people drink it. Then he has the Levites kill anyone not on the Lord's side...3,000 people. Wow!

5. Moses goes back to plead with God for the people. God sends them on their way, but will no longer travel with them. And, He will only speak to Moses. and He relents furthe...He will travel with Moses. Remember God said from the beginning of this adventure that He would be with Him. He is keeping His promise, despite the Israelites actions.

6. Moses asks to see "the glory of God." And God does this, but covers Moses to protect him. To be considered a friend of God...that must have been amazing. Like Abraham...remember?

-The other thing to remind ourselves of here is that the patriarchs are normal every day people. They aren't some type of super-human. They are human, like us. They have emotions and feelings, like us. They make mistakes, just like we do. Look back at Moses life- he was marked for death as an infant, fished out of the Nile by the Pharaoh's daught, killed an Egyptian, fled to Midian, called by God...and He listened.

New Testament

7. Peter denies Christ, as Christ had predicted. With the sound of the cock's crow Peter is convicted.

8. Judas is remorseful, and hangs himself. Anyoune think that fulfilling your mission in life, acting on your "ministry" should end up with you killing yourself.

9. Judas tries to return to 30 pieces of silver. But they don't want ot back. Actually they do, but they can't put it back in the offering because it's "dirty." So they buy a field to bury foreigners in. Does using "dirty" money to do something good make the money clean?...just a thought.

10. Jesus comes before Pilate, but is silent.


11. "Let the godly sing for joy to the Lord; it is fitting for the pure to praise him." Don't forget or lose your joy.


12. Wisdom-- "For whoever finds me finds life and receives favor from the Lord."

See you next post...

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Exodus 30:11-31:18; Matthew 26:47-68; Psalm 32:1-11; Proverbs 8:27-32 (New Living Translation)

Old Testament

1. Moses is to take a census (counting). Each man must pay a ransom for himself to the Lord. This is an atonement for themselves.

2. God gives the recipes for anointing oil, incense.

3. God once again gives ionstruction for keeping the sabbath, a day of complete rest. A time to rest and get re-freshed.

4. Then He gives Moses the two tablets inscribed with the terms of the covenant.

New Testament

5. Jesus asks why the arrest should occur now, instaed of while He was teaching at the temple. My best guess would be that there would have been a riot among the people. Remember, all He was teaching was the truth. The "regular" people understood this much better than the priests. Their concern was with what they would lose, their status in the community. Again, remember that Jesus has already pointed out that all they do is for show!

6. And the disciples deserted Him and fled! Didn't these men just swear allegience? Didn't Peter just say a few verses ago that he would not forsake the Lord under threat of death?

7. Jesus is taken before the Council (Sanhedrin).

8. At first the Coucil can find no witnesses to lie (bear false witness) against Jesus. Then 2 men come to say that He was going to destroy the temple. They missed the metaphor...Jesus is the Temple that would be broken and re-built in three days (resurrection).

9.Jesus is asked once again if He is the Messiah. But he knows that no answer will be correct. Eventually He is accused of blasphemy.


10..."For you are my hiding place; you protect me from trouble." Reminds me of a song lyric..."I'm so glad my soul's got a resting place!"


11. "...for all who follow my ways are joyful."

Have a good sabbath,

See you next post...

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Exodus 29-30:10; Matthew 26:14-46; Psalm 31:19-24; Proverbs 8:14-26 (New Living Translation)

Old Testament

1. The ordination of Aaron and his sons.

2. Animals sacrificed for our sins. Remember Adam and Eve, God sacrificed the first animals to make garments for them after they had sinned. In our new testament lesson we see that Jesus is sacrificed for our sins.

New Testament

3. Judas given 30 pieces of silver to betray Christ. From a previous lesson in Exodus we learned that this is the price of a slave.

4. Lately there has been a school of thought trying to promote the idea that betraying Jesus was Judas ministry. Once again if we turn to the scriptures and read it for ourselves, what Jesus says is..."But how terrible it will be for the one who betrays him. It would be far better for that man if he had never been born!” These two thoughts don't go together. If this were Judas ministry, what he was born to do to help save a broken world, I would expect Jesus to say that He would be rewarded in and by the kingdom for completion of His task. Not that he was better off dead (as some translations say), or to have never been born. Ouch!

5. So, what do you think about this being Judas' ministry, to betray Jesus?

6. Judas persists in playing the game by asking,..."am I the one?" When he knows full well it is him.

7. Jesus celebrates the Passover with the disciples.

8. Jesus predicts Peter's denial. And true to form, hot-headed and impetuaous Peter thinks, feels and says that this is not possible.

9. Jesus prays at Gethsemane

- He takes Peter, James and John

- “My soul is crushed with grief to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.” My soul is crushed...Have you ever been there? If you have, then you want your best friends, your soul mates to watch over you. You want to be surrounded by people who have shared your highs, and aren't afraid to be with you during the low spots.

- “My Father! If it is possible, let this cup of suffering be taken away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.”

- ..."the spirit is willing, but the body is weak!”

- “My Father! If this cup cannot be taken away unless I drink it, your will be done.”

- This is another section of passage that brings up a lot of discussion and debate. Is Jesus sad? Depressed? In anguish? And, if so, why? Isn't He the Son of God? Doesn't He already know what is going to happen?

- I think that Jesus is sad and depressed. I could give all the high-minded reasons. That He is being sacrificed for a race that is not truly repentant. That these people are soooo wicked, will this be enough? Will it do any good? Will it make a difference?

- But that's not what I think is happening here. Jesus is the Son of God, part of the Trinity. The reasons that Jesus came are-

- a) to redeem us and restore God's relationship with us, and ours to Him. He's came here to live among us to remove us from eternal separation and graft us back into the family of God. And...

- b) so that He could have a human experience. How could he possible do this if He can't feel the way we do? If He doesn't know sorrow, joy, loneliness, pity, anger? If Jesus is not truly human (as well as Godly), then His sacrifice means nothing.

- He's frightened and afraid, but even now He teaches us something. He holds on for the Father's reward..."your will be done."


10. "For the Lord protects those who are loyal to him"...be faithful.


11. Wisdom and common sense --> success.

See you next post...

Friday, February 8, 2008

Exodus 28:1-43; Matthew 25:31-26:13; Psalm 31:9-18; Proverbs 8:12-13 (New Living Translation)

Old Testament

1. God gives instruction for the making of the garments His priests and high priest will wear. Outward expressions of inward holiness.

New Testament

2. We will be separated into groups to sit on the right or left side of the throne. It clearly says those on the left will be cast into the eternal fires...to spend some quality time with the devil and his demons. Eternal punishment! This is contrary to what the teachers of the "health and wealth gospel" or "prosperity gospel" would have us believe.

3. ..."I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!" How do we treat people we consider inferior? Lessers?

4. Jesus again warns His disciples about what's about to happen.

5. The woman with the alabater jar

- The disciples response seems inconsistent. They still have not accepted that He won't be with them much longer.

- She does an incredible thing for Jesus and anoints His body for burial.

6. A couple of things strike me here:

- Jesus is about to die, and His closest companions have no idea what's going on. This woman's gift of anointing is something that the disciples could have done for Him, but they didn't.

- But more importantly, I think this is a metaphor... Jesus is after our hearts, not just our intellects. We serve an awesome and mighty God, who, if we allow HIm will do things in and for us that we cannot do for ourselves.

- Don't get me wrong. I'm not saying that this did not happen. What I am saying is that it means so much more than first glance. Like everything else in the bible.


7...."But I am trusting you, O Lord, saying, “You are my God!” My future is in your hands.


8. Wisdom and good judgment

See you nest post...

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Exodus 26-27:21; Matthew 25:1-30; Psalm 31:1-8; Proverbs 8:1-11 (New Living Translation)

Old Testament text

1. Mercy seat

-God gives the measurements and construction materials.

- The Ark and mercy seat were kept inside the Holy of Holies - the Temple's innermost sanctuary, the Sanctum Sanctorum, which was separated from the remainder of the temple by a thick curtain, because the ark and mercy seat were associated with the presence of Yahweh.

- The account also states that two golden statues of cherubim were placed at each end of the mercy seat, facing one another and the mercy seat, with their wings spread in order to enclose the mercy seat. According to the Books of Samuel, these cherubim together formed a seat for Yahweh.

- According to the Biblical directions, the Holy of Holies could only be entered at Yom Kippur, and even then could only be entered by the Jewish High Priest, who was covenanted to do so in order to sprinkle the blood of a sacrificial bull onto the mercy seat, as an atonement for himself and his family, the other priests, the tabernacle, and the people of Israel.

- The directions specify that incense was first burnt in the Holy of Holies so that a cloud rose up and appeared above the mercy seat.

2. The light in the tabernacle is to burn all night. We are to keep our light burning and shining for Christ, day or night. The earth is in a "long, dark" night of suffering, wars (big and little), injustices...what better time to be a servant of God...to help bring "light" to the world? When is it needed more? Always.

New Testament text

3. Parable of the ten bridesmaids...I think there are 2 lessons here.

- As yesterday, always be prepared!

- The second is about giving, even if it is well meaning, when you don't have it to give. This is a clear example of a time when it was okay to say, "No". There just isn't always enough to go around. And, sometimes others need to be responsible for their own themselves and their own actions.

- While the unprepared bridesmaids were out shopping, the bridegroom came, and they missed the big party. The great event.

- For thos who have not done much bible study before...Christ is the Great Bridegroom we are waiting for. Don't get caught unprepared! You'll miss the party!

4. Parable of the giving of the three servants (talents)

- Again, from yesterday's lesson...always be faithful

- You can think of talents netaphorically as gitfs. Or you can think of them in monetary terms. It depends on where you are, where your head is.

-Notice that the servants who did something with their talent, returned 100%. Their effort was whole-hearted. That is how we are to give of our talents. We are to give a whole-hearted response. Many of us have had our hearts wounded or assaulted, and we don't feel we can give anything our whole heart. That's where Jesu comes in. He comes to redeem what was lost. Wether you were physically or mentally abused as a child, left at the altar, abandoned by your friends...Jesus is there to bring us back into the fold.

- We are not to hide (bury) our talents. They are not to be horded. I heard someone say yesterday, "we were not put here to get SUVs, and live by the beach". We all know that.

- The talents we are given are to be used to bring the glory of the Kingdom.

- "Well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities. Let’s celebrate together!"...Isn't this what we long to hear?

- Also notice that Jesus frequently starts many of these stories with..."The Kingdom of heaven is like this..."

- The subjects of the stories we can easily understand with our minds. But it is our heart that Jesus is after.


5. " You are my rock and my fortress. For the honor of your name, lead me out of this danger".

- "You, Lord are my rock...It is for Your glory that You protect me.

- I was created to worship You!


6. Good sense and sound judgement...more important than silver or gold.

See you next post...

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Exodus 23:14-25:40; Matthew 24:29-51; Psalm 30:1-12; Proverbs 7:24-27 (New Living Translation)

Old Testament text

1...."But I will not drive them out in a single year, because the land would become desolate and the wild animals would multiply and threaten you...I will drive them out a little at a time until your population has increased enough to take possession of the land."

God says He will be an enemy of our enemies, and therefore our strong protector and defender. We have but to obey.

More importantly, He says that the enemy will be driven out "little by little" until we become stronger. Have you ever asked God for something that was obviously too "big" for you to handle? We all have. Then, like children, we are hurt when we don't get what we want or think we deserve.

I think that what we often consider setbacks are actually times of preparation and testing. A little more education. A better understanding of the problem...how to work around certain issues.

If we could have everything "our little hearts desired", just for the asking...what would those things mean to us...and what lessons would we learn? I submit they would mean nothing. And nothing is what we would learn. No wisdom would be gained.

There's a quote by Colin Powell which seems to fit...There are no secrets to success. It is the result of hard work, learning and failure"...and I would add faith. It's all a process.

2. After Moses reads the Book of the Covenant the Israelites all responded, "We will do everything the Lord has commanded. We will obey.”...but we know they didn't.

3. God gives plans for offerings for the Tabernacle, the Ark of the Covenant. Specific plans for the "furniture" to be used.

New Testament text

4. "No one knows the day or hour..."

- Always be ready!

- Always be faithful!


5. ..."When I was prosperous, I said, “Nothing can stop me now!” Your favor, O Lord, made me as secure as a mountain. Then you turned away from me, and I was shattered...You have turned my mourning into joyful dancing. You have taken away my clothes of mourning and clothed me with joy, that I might sing praises to you and not be silent".

When we are sad, lonely, depressed, beaten up or down by the world, we are quick to call on the Lord for His help.

But when we are successful and feeling prosperous who do we credit? Sad to say we usually credit ourselves, and not God! But the Lord God is forgiving and merciful. And we if truly repent (turn away) from our sin and selfishness we are forgiven...


6. Don't wander down wayward paths...The path of wisdom. That's where we need to be.

Ash Wednesday

7. Ash Wednesday is a time for repentance and the beginning of Lent. Ashes were used in ancient times, according to the Bible, to express penitence. Dusting oneself with ashes was a way of expressing sorrow for sins and faults. An ancient example of one expressing one's penitence is found in Job 42:3-6. Other examples are found in several other books of the Bible including, Numbers 19:9, 17, Hebrews 9:13, Jonah 3:6, Matthew 11:21, and Luke 10:13.

However...some Christians who do not celebrate Ash Wednesday say that the practice is not consistent with Scripture and is of pagan origin. They usually cite Matthew 6:16–18, where Jesus gave prescriptions for fasting: "And whenever you fast, do not look dismal, like the hypocrites. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that your fasting may be seen not by others but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you."

These groups argue that Jesus warned against fasting to gain favor from other people and that he also warned his followers that they should fast in private, not letting others know they were fasting.

The ashen Cross on the forehead does not represent the fast, but the mortal condition of human existence.

See you next post...

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Exodus 21:22-23:13; Matthew 24:1-28; Psalm 29:1-11; Proverbs 7:6-23 (New Living Translation)

Thoughts on today's readings-

Old testament text

1. 30 peices of silver for a slave gored by a bull. Isn't 30 pieces of silver what Judas was paid for his betrayal of Christ? Hmmm...the price of a slave.

2. Don't favor the poor because they are poor

3. Keep the Sabbath...rest.

New Testament text

4. Coming of the Messiah and false prophets...This phrase alone makes you wonder how people get caught up in cults that isolate themselves. Like David Koresh and Jim Jones. The scripture clearly says..."as the lightning flashes in the east and shines to the west, so it will be when the Son of Man comes." Jesus also warns that even "the chosen" will be deceived! So, reader beware.


5." The Lord gives his people strength. The Lord blesses them with peace."


6. How often do we go willingly to our doom?

See you next post...

Monday, February 4, 2008

Exodus 19:16-21:21; Matthew 23:13-39; Psalm 28:1-9; Proverbs 7:1-5 (New Living Translation)

Old Testament Text

1. The people are asked once again to purify themselves.

2. The giving of the Ten Commandments. These are actually some pretty simple and straightforward rules to live by.

-Honor God above all else. How easy to say, and how difficult to do. We put so many other things ahead of God. Our jobs, our money, ourselves, and even our children.

- Rest, and keep the Sabbath set aside for the Lord.

- Honor your parents.

- Don't covet- things, people, other peoples possessions.

-Don't steal.

- Don't lie.

3. Fair treatment of slaves.

New Testament text

4. Jesus' ongoing discussion with the Pharisees. He calls them hypocrites. Much of what they do is for show. I am moved by the passage about tithing the tiniest portion from herb gardens- but not justice, mercy and faith.

Many Christians today are accused of being hypocrites. I think this ia true because we are frequently blided by our "religious" rules and regulations. And we forget that we are dealing with other frail human beings. People who would benefit from a little love and grace. Perhaps they just aren't as well put together as we think we are. Perhaps they are.

Jesus says the Ten Commandments, all the Mosaic teachings boil down to 2 things

- Love God, above all

- Love your neighbor as yourself.


5. "The Lord is my strength and sheild...I burst out in songs of thanksgiving"


6. Keep wisdom and insight close

Friday, February 1, 2008

Exodus 13:17-15:18; Matthew 21:23-46; Psalm 26:1-12; Proverbs 6:16-19 (New Living Translation)

Didn't post yesterday, too tired. So I'll try to make up for it tonight by doing both nights together...

Old Testament text

1. The final stroke against Egypt was the death of each firstborn.

2. Moses moves the Israelites to a hurried preparation. They were told to ask for gold and jewels from the Egyptians. The Lord would move their masters to give. The Israelites were to pack and prepare for a sudden departure. The bread was not to be mixed with yeast- there would be no time for it to rise. A young, unblemished lamb was to be taken into each household. The family was to eat the lamb, taking care not to break any bones. This ceremony is called the "Passover."

3. This is called the Passover because on the night the lamb was slain, God's death angel would move through Egypt. The firstborn of every family would die.Yet the death angel would pass over homes protected by the blood of the lamb.

4. The full significance of this event waited until the coming of Christ. His death on Calvary took place as the lamb of God.

5. God did not lead the Israelites out by a direct route. They needed time to trust God, time to become organized.

6. It was at the "sea of reeds" that the Isrealites realized that the Egyptians were pursuing them. Pharaoh and the Egytian people recovered quickly. The Pharaoh forgot God. But so had the Israelites. They complained bitterly to Moses. Moses' response is an excellent watchword for us today..."Stand still, and watch God deliver you."

7. The Egytians were destroyed.

New Testament text

8. This section begins with Passover week, a few short days before the Crucifixion. There are merchants in the section of the temple reserved for prayer. The preists were selling "approved" lambs and pigeons. Jesus healed the blind and lame brought to Him. The crowds shouted, "Hosanna." The chief proests and scribes saw theses miracles and their hearts were hardened.

9. On His way back to Jerusalem Jesus appraches a fig tree, as if to pluck some fruit for breakfast. The the foliage is luxuriant, there was no fruit. The fig tree of Israel which appeared to be fruitful, was not. It was to wither away, its fruitlessness exposed.

10. What was wrong with the scribes and Pharisees?

- they were empty of authority

- they were untouched by the evidence of transformed (changed) lives, because they didn't care about people.

- their desire was for personal power

- they acted only to be seen and admired by others

- they preached but they did not practice

See you next post...

Exodus 12:14-13:16; Matthew 20:29-21:22; Psalm 25:16-22; Proverbs 6:12-15 (New Living Translation)