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Monday, March 31, 2008

Deuteronomy 16-17:20; Luke 9:7-27; Psalm 72:1-20; Proverbs 12:8-9 (New Living Translation)

Old Testament

1. Chapter 16 once again reviews the three pilgrim festivals, religious feasts which were to be held annually at the central place of worship.

2. Chapter 17 repeats the command that a person who traffics with other gods should be put to death, but specifies..."but never put a person to death on the testimony of only one witness. There must always be two or three witnesses. The witnesses must throw the first stones, and then all the people may join in. In this way, you will purge the evil from among you."

New Testament

3. Even Herod, who had beheaded John the Baptist was perplexed as to the reports about Jesus continued to filter in.

4. Who do we say Jesus is?

- That's what it all boils down to for us. Only one answer will do. Only one answer will open the door to forgiveness and a new life.

5. The meaning of discipleship-

- Life saved or lost

- Let him deny himself...everything rooted in the old life

- Take up his own cross

- Follow Me


6. "Praise the Lord God, the God of Israel, who alone does such wonderful things."


7. " Better to be an ordinary person with a servant than to be self-important but have no food."

See you next post...

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Deuteronomy 13-15:23; Luke 8:40-9:6; Psalm 71:1-24; Proverbs 12:5-7 (New Living Translation)

Old Testament

1. Again and again Moses emphasized the total commitment to God that personal relationship with Him demands.

2. The concept of "clean" and "unclean" in these early books of the Old Testament is primarily ritual in nature. Later the prophets pick up the concept of uncleanliness and apply it to Israel's moral condition.

3. The laws of interpersonal relationships that are emphasized here are compassionate.

New Testament

4. Jesus raises the dead.

- Even death gave way before Jesus.

5. In a flurry of activity, Jesus sent His disciples from house to house and village to village to proclaim the Gospel and to heal.


6. "...you are my rock and my fortress"


7. "The plans of the godly are just; the advice of the wicked is treacherous"

8. "...but the words of the godly save lives"

9. "The wicked die and disappear, but the family of the godly stands firm"

See you next post...

Deuteronomy 11-12:32; Luke 8:22-39; Psalm 70:1-5; Proverbs 12:4 (New Living Translation)

Old testament

1. Chapter 11 states the conclusion "You must love the Lord your God and obey all his requirements, decrees, regulations, and commands."

- Love because you are loved.

- Respond because God has acted for you.

- Lay up God's word in your heart- because God has laid you on His heart.

- Believers are loved, and are to be loving.

- This too is part of the redemption message to humankind. Out of slavery into freedom. Growing through discipline to finally understand, God loves us. God accepts us. God has chosen us. God has chosen us as His own. You and I stand secure, surrounded by the love of God.

2. Many of the ritual elements of Israel's worship are explained by a simple phrase we find repeated in Deuteronomy 12- "Do not worship the Lord your God in the way these pagan peoples worship their gods."

- The worship of God must be as distinct from the worship of pagan idols as God Himself is from dead wood and stone.

3. Corporate worship in Israel was to be focused in the one place on earth where God's presence was established.

- But where is God present today?

- God is present in His people- God has come in the person of the Holy Spirit and has taken up residence in you and me!

New Testament

4. Invitation to trust

- Jesus' actions reinforced the awareness of all around Him of who He is.

5. Jesus again demonstrates His power over nature, miraculously dispersing the storm and bringing a sudden calm to a raging sea.

- The creation obeys its Creator; it knows its God.

6. He freed the possessed.

- Even demons bow down before Jesus; Satan knows Him as Lord of all.


7. "But may all who search for you be filled with joy and gladness in you."


8. "A worthy wife is a crown for her husband, but a disgraceful woman is like cancer in his bones."

Friday, March 28, 2008

Deuteronomy 9-10:22; Luke 8:4-21; Psalm 69:19-36; Proverbs 12:2-3 (New Living Translation)

Old Testament

1. Israel was again promised full possession of the lane. But with the promise came a warning: "After the Lord your God has done this for you, don’t say in your hearts, ‘The Lord has given us this land because we are such good people!’ No, it is because of the wickedness of the other nations that he is pushing them out of your way."

2. Israel was then reminded of its history on unresponsiveness, and warned. Then, in touching words, God showed how deeply He loved this people, even though they had been rebellious. Read Deut. 10:12-22 carefully and you will see God's love in action.

New Testament

3. The parable of the sower

- The parable of the sower teaches that the Good News of Jesus falls like seeds on men's hearts. The seed falls on different kinds of ground.

- Some hear, but quickly are distracted and forget.

- Some hear and delight, but fall away.

- Some let the cares or delights of this world choke out the good seed.

- Warning: There will come a time when seeds of truth which have not been allowed to take root are snatched away.

4. How are we to use the seed and the light? We are to respond to it. Respond brings relationship, and our relationship hinges on whether or not we are willing to accept God's message about Jesus Christ. If we hear and believe, we become members of God's family. If we reject, we stay outside...forever.



5. "The Lord approves of those who are good"

See you next post...

Deuteronomy 7-8:20; Luke 7:36-8:3; Psalm 69:1-18; Proverbs 12:1 (New Living Translation)

Sorry, computer malfunction yesterday. After I finished my typing it was lost. And, frankly I was too tired to do it again. So...

Old Testament

1. Once in the land, Israel was to destroy the pagans and their images, lest they draw God's people away from Him. Every alternative to a life of godliness was to be rejected. Why?...

- "6 For you are a holy people, who belong to the Lord your God. Of all the people on earth, the Lord your God has chosen you to be his own special treasure.
- 7 “The Lord did not set his heart on you and choose you because you were more numerous than other nations, for you were the smallest of all nations!
- 8 Rather, it was simply that the Lord loves you, and he was keeping the oath he had sworn to your ancestors. That is why the Lord rescued you with such a strong hand from your slavery and from the oppressive hand of Pharaoh, king of Egypt.
- 9 Understand, therefore, that the Lord your God is indeed God. He is the faithful God who keeps his covenant for a thousand generations and lavishes his unfailing love on those who love him and obey his commands. "

2. In the eighth chapter God reviewed His discipline of the unresponsive generation.

- Why did God discipline?

- "3 Yes, he humbled you by letting you go hungry and then feeding you with manna, a food previously unknown to you and your ancestors. He did it to teach you that people do not live by bread alone; rather, we live by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.

- 4 For all these forty years your clothes didn’t wear out, and your feet didn’t blister or swell.

- 5 Think about it: Just as a parent disciplines a child, the Lord your God disciplines you for your own good."

3. You see the quote by Jesus while He was being tempted in the wilderness...we do not live by red alone, BUT by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord!

New Testament

4. Jesus anointed by a sinful woman

- Tradition tells us that this is Mary Magdalene.

- What is the lesson? The one who will not accept forgiveness will never learn to love.

5. People rejected Jesus for three reasons- (1) This isn't what they expected from God, (2) Jesus didn't play by their rules, and (3) They felt they had no need of forgiveness.



6. "To learn, you must love discipline; it is stupid to hate correction"

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Deuteronomy 5-6:25; Luke 7:11-35; Psalm 68:19-35; Proverbs 11:29-31 (New Living Translation)

Old Testament

1. In Deuteronomy 4, Moses explained God's deliverance of this generation's parents from Egypt.

2. In chapter 5 we a new and striking emphasis. Moses moved from history to Israel's now. He insisted that God sought relationship "not with our fathers" with with whom the Law covenant was made, "but with us, with all of us who are alive here today."

3. The nature of the relationship with God

- Love is personal (5:1-3). The relationship is between "us, who are...alive here," and Yahweh (God)

- Love is urgent (5:4-14). The urgency of the relationship is emphasized in the first 4 of the Ten Commandments, all of which are repeated here from Exodus 20. God wants our eyes fixed on Him. As any lover, God is unwilling to share our affections with competitors. God will not share with other gods- whether they be idols of the ancient world or the financial success of the modern.

- Love is demonstrated (5:15) Love that make us feel that we "belong" must be demonstrated. How clearly God had demonstrated to this generation His personal and practical involvement with them. Christ is the ultimate demonstration of God's love for us. But each of us can find many other special ways in which God has acted in our lives to show His love.

- Love is expressive (5:16-20) Here we see God's willingness to communicate His expectations.

- Love is unselfish (5:21-33) This is the last element of real love. It is expressed in these verses. God enters into relationship with us and speaks to us.We are not pawns in some cosmic game. We are not His playthings. No, God's love for us is unselfish. He honestly has our best interests at heart.

4. Chapter 6 deals with the communication of relationship

- We give God priority (6:1-9) The reality of God's love can only be communicated by those who give Him priority. The central command here is,"Love the Lord your God with all your heart." All flows from this, for such a love leads to a unique lifestyle. First the lover of God responds to Him. Second, we share that which has taken root in our lives with people who are close to us. Third, the context in which the reality of God is shared is that of daily life and activity. God's words are the touchstone which guide our lives. And we refer to them to explain our actions, our attitudes and all our ways.

- We assume God's presence (6:10-19)

- We rely on God's provision (6:20-25)

- How thrilling to be freed by His love to love others!

New Testament

5. Jesus raises a widow's son.

- The lesson for us is that no matter how spiritually dead we may have been, Jesus is capable of awakening us to new life. First comes faith. And the we too hear Jesus' words: Arise!

6. John's disciples had seem miracles foretold in the Old Testament. The ministry of Jesus focused on people. Jesus came to reach out to people, to heal, to save, to bring hope. To care.



7. "The seeds of good deeds become a tree of life"

8. "If the righteous are rewarded here on earth, what will happen to wicked sinners? "

See you next post...

Monday, March 24, 2008

Deuteronomy 2-3:29; Luke 6:12-38; Psalm 67:1-7; Proverbs 11:27 (New Living Translation)

Old Testament

1. Remembering victories (2:14-3:20)

- In this review of history Moses honestly examined Israel's failures and time of discipline. There are more verses about the victories than the defeats. It was in the victories that the clearest evidence of God's love and presence was found.

- He is present all the time. But how we enjoy Him when the good days come!

2. Moses' sin (3:21-29)

- In most of this passage Moses speaks of "you," setting himself apart from the people that he led.

- But Moses too had failed.

- Go back to Numbers 20...Moses shouted at the people and struck the rocks for the water to flow. He did not trust enough to honor Him as holy. He also announced that, "We bring you water." taking some of the credit for himself and Aaron.

- A person who expects to lead other to trust God enough to obey Him must himself trust enough to obey- completely.

- Here we see how much punishment hurt Moses. He yearned to see all that God would do for His people.

- Moses, after much pleading, was allowed to climb a height across the Jordan River and look out at the land.

- God would appoint another leader who would lead the people across the Jordan.

- How good to know that you and I are not the only ones who carry out what God intends for His people. Even when we are set aside, as Moses was, God's work will not be hindered or destroyed.

- This is only a problem if we let our egos get in the way.

New Testament

3. Jesus, after a night of prayer, selected 12 men to be His special disciples; men who had chosen to follow Him.

- These men had few qualifications. They certainly weren't sin-free.

- What's the lesson?

- It is important that we take our place as sinners at the feet of Jesus, accept His forgiveness, and rise to follow Him.

4. The Beatitudes

- Jesus' Beatitudes pierce to the heart of human values, and force us to ask the basic questions we find so easy to ignore. What is life about for me? What moves me? What determines my choices? What makes me happy or sad? Am I controlled by my needs? Am I controlled by a desire for wealth? Am I controlled by the need to be liked and admired?

- Jesus said, "What sorrow awaits you ..."

- You might better be hungry, poor, weeping, and hated. For then you might turn from these empty things to Me, to find out what life is really about.

- Jesus, the Lifegiver knows the meaning of life. And He tells us plainly.

- Jesus tells us that the meaning of life for the believer is found in LOVE.

- People, not things, are central in the new life that Jesus calls us to live.

- Giving, not getting, is what life is about.

- We are to live a life of initiating love.

5. The beatitudes present in both Matthew and Luke are:

- The poor (Matthew has "poor in spirit"). The text says that theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

- Mourners (Luke has "those who are weeping"). The text says that they will be comforted (Luke has "will laugh").

- The hungry (Matthew has "hunger and thirst after righteousness"). The text says that they will be filled (Luke has "be satisfied").

- Those persecuted for seeking righteousness (rather than righteousness, Luke has "followers of the Son of Man). The text says that theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

- The beatitudes only present in Matthew are:

- The meek. The text says that they will "inherit the earth".

- The merciful. The text says that they will "obtain mercy".

- The pure of heart . The text says that they will "see God".

- The peacemakers. The text says that they will be called "the children of God".



6. "If you search for good, you will find favor"

7. "...but if you search for evil, it will find you"

See you next post...

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Numbers 36:1-13; Deuteronomy 1:1-46; Luke 5:29-6:11; Psalm 66:1-20; Proverbs 11:24-26 (New Living Translation)

It's Resurrection Sunday...The Lord is risen, we are redeemed!

Old Testament

1. Rules made about women who inherit property.

- Thus ends the Book of Numbers. We begin a new book, Deuteronomy.

2. Deuteronomy

- One of the most significant of the Old Testament.

- Often quoted by Jesus. This book is the source of all Jesus' quotes when He was tempted by Satan in the wilderness.

- "Deutero-nomy" means "second law." However, this is not just a re-hashing of the Law given at Sinai, but also a commentary on the Law's deeper meanings. As we read Deuteronomy we sense the deep love that underlies God's gift of Law- and the love for God that is necessary if any person is to be obedient to Him.

3. First we have lessons in relationships

4. God's promises are sure (1:6-8)

- He speaks of His promises not as something that He will do, but as something He has already done. We can apply this in our own lives. When we find God's promises in the Bible, we can claim them with confidence.

5. Be fearless and fair (1:9-18)

- When the burden of leadership was too great for Moses to carry alone, he appointed wise and respected men. in the community to share his ministry.

- Moses laid down basic principles which apply in any leadership role.

- Leaders are not to be influenced by fear of what others think, or by the position held by any man or woman. Each person is to be valued alike; each is to be heard.

- God's will is to be the ultimate consideration in how the leader leads and what he does, for God is the ultimate Judge.

6. Face reality (1:19-25)

- Here Moses explained something of his motives. He wanted to simply point to the land, and say,"Go!" But the people wanted to send spies ahead to bring back a report. Moses did not stop to ask God. He simply liked the idea and acted on it.

- Moses two warning are warnings for us today: "do not be afraid" and "do not be discouraged."

7. Fear is an enemy of faith (1:26-46)

- The problem with Israel was that despite all the evidence of God's care, they still would not trust Him.

- The lesson for us? The memory of God's work in our lives is to quiet our fears, and restore our trust.

New Testament

8. Jesus as Lord

- Jesus had demonstrated clearly who He is. How did those around Him respond?

- Many hesitated.

- Others criticized.

- Some hated.


9. "You have tested us, O God; you have purified us like silver. "

10. " You captured us in your net and laid the burden of slavery on our backs."

11. "If I had not confessed the sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened. But God did listen! He paid attention to my prayer."


12. "The generous will prosper; those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed."

See you next post...

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Numbers 33:40-35:34; Luke 5:12-28; Psalm 65:1-13; Proverbs 11:23 (New Living Translation)

Old Testament

1. The boundaries of the Promised Land.

- Division of the land.

2. Chapter 35 of Numbers establishes a very important feature in Israel's legal justice system.

- The Old Testament system of justice relied more on restitution than on imprisonment. A person who was responsible for another's loss was to reimburse the value of the property destroyed.

- Murder and homicide were special cases with a distinct code to govern how they were to be judged.

- Justice in Israel was a community responsibility, as there were no police. Therefore the one with primary responsibility to execute a murderer was the one in the community most affected by that crime; a member of the murdered person's family. He, in this way, was not a murderer himself, but an executioner appointed by the Law to purify the holy community.

- At the same time this passage makes a distinction between intentional, hostile killing (murder) and what we would call accidental homicide.

- There were cities of refuge scattered throughout the land where a person committing accidental homicide could flee an overzealous relative whose motives might involve revenge, even if the death was accidental.

- They were required to stay here until the high priest who had heard the case died. By then the anger of the avenger might have died, and the accidental killer would receive the full protection of the law. Should he then be attacked by a family avenger, the avenger himself would be put to death.

New Testament

3. Not all who saw Jesus responded as Simon Peter and his friends. So Jesus moved on, to continue to show that His authority extended to healing the inner man as well as the outer.

4. Jesus heals the leper

- The leper recognizes Jesus' power, but was uncertain of His love. Hence the form of the statement, "if you are willing...." Jesus answered the implied doubt fully. He said, "I am willing." And then as Jesus spoke the healing word our Lord reached out and touched the hand of the leper. Remember that in those days, as well as now, lepers were untouchable. But Jesus touched him.

- Jesus' touch was not needed to heal the leprosy, but it was necessary to meet this man's deep, inner need for love. The touching of the leper healed his heart.

5. Jesus heals a paralyzed man

- Jesus once again speaks to the external (get up and walk) and internal (your sins are forgiven) needs of this man.

6. Jesus calls Levi (Matthew), a tax collector.


7. "even the hard pathways overflow with abundance..."


8. "The godly can look forward to a reward, while the wicked can expect only judgment."

See you next post...

Friday, March 21, 2008

Numbers 32-33:39; Luke 4:31-5:11; Psalm 64:1-10; Proverbs 11:22 (New Living Translation)

Old Testament

1. The Transjordan Tribes

- Two of the Israelite tribes, who had very large herds and flocks, noted that the lands east of Jordan were suitable for livestock. So they requested permission to settle in those lands, which had been taken in battle.

- Permission was granted on the condition that the men fit for war go with their brothers to battle for the Promised Land, which lay beyond the Jordan River.

- This is a tremendous demonstration of their faith. They were willing to build cities for their families and flocks, and then leave them unprotected as they traveled across the river to fight. God would take care of their families while they were away. They would do their duties, and trust Him!

2. Remembering Israel's journey.

- 40 years of wandering around the wilderness.

- Aaron dies.

New Testament

3. Luke now tells a series of stories. He shows us Jesus, casting out evil spirits. And he shows us Jesus, reaching out to heal and to strengthen the sick.

- Surely the One who personally overcame temptation, and who used His power to bring health and wholeness to the sick of His day, will heal our hearts and give us the power to live new, and better lives.

4. The first disciples

- What can we to learn from Peter's story here?

- We who are sinners need not fear God. He forgives us and transforms us as well. What Jesus told Peter is something He says to each of us who come to Him acknowledging our sin: from now on, life will be different.

- Peter and his companions left everything there on the beach- including the great catch of fish- and followed Jesus. All that had been important to them before was now willingly set aside. In the fulfillment found in relationship with Jesus Christ, all of life was becoming new.


5. "Yes, the human heart and mind are cunning."


6. "A beautiful woman who lacks discretion is like a gold ring in a pig’s snout."

See you next post...

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Numbers 30-31:54; Luke 4:1-30; Psalm 63:1-11; Proverbs 11:20-21 (New Living Translation)

Old Testament

1. Laws concerning a husband and wife, and father and daughter. Under what circumstances does a woman's vow "hold water."

2. God commands the people to destroy the Midianites, as revenge.

- After this Moses will die and join his ancestors.

- They choose an army, kill all the males (including Balaam) and take the plundered prize back home.

- Moses is furious. This is not quite what they were told to do. He reminds them of the plague and sends them back. This time they are to leave only the virginal girls alive.

3. Division of the plunder

- First it is divided in half. Half to the army, half to the people.

- The army is to give 1/500th to the Lord.

- The people are to give 1/50th to the Lord.

- The army makes an additional atonement "gift," as they had lost no men during the battles.

New Testament

4. The temptation of Jesus.

5. The first temptation focused on Jesus' physical nature. Christ, after fasting for 40 days, was hungry. In response to the temptaion, Jesus recalled,"People (Men) do not live by bread alone." Christ had been led into the wilderness by the Spirit. He had been led to fast. Now He would not let His physical needs or urges dominate: Jesus would choose instead to continue to do the will of God.

- The physical is one area of temptation for many of us. Some are ruled by gluttony. Others are firmly in the grip of sexual appetites.

- We all have physical needs. And it is right to satisfy them. But we are more than our bodies. We are more than our sensations. Life for us is far more than the satisfaction of bodily urges and needs.

- Jesus' victory offers us hope.

6. The second temptation

- Jesus' response to this second temptation, "You must worship the Lord your God and serve only him."

-First ,we have to realize that authority over all the kingdoms of this world is Jesus' destiny. But the pathway to the crown led Jesus by way of the Cross.

- Suffering preceeded glory. Knowing this, Jesus turned His back on the "good," and chose to live by God's will.

- We all know that the cross brought a greater good. God had our greater good in mind as He directed Jesus toward the scourgings and the thorny crown; toward the brutal pain of nails driven into yielding flesh.

- Are you confronted by a "good thing" that attracts you? We are to follow Jesus' example. Determine to do the right thing, determining that in every situation you will worship God, and Him only will you serve!

7. The third temptation

- This one is more subtle. What the passage implies is the question, "Why not settle it?" at least it does to me.

- It says...God won't let His Son come to harm. Prove to yourself the relationship You claim, once and for all.

- Relationship with God must always rest on faith, and on confidence in God's trustworthiness.

- Look back at the stories of the Israelites. How many times did they test God's limits?

- How about our own lives? Do we trust God?

8. Jesus is rejected at Nazareth

- Jesus' neighbors are confronted with a decision they did not wish to make, and a claim they did not wish to hear.

- When we see Jesus, when we come to recognize Him as the Son of God, we must reject either ourselves- or Him.

- We may choose ourselves and surrender to every temptation we feel. But if we do we will never experience the new life Jesus came to bring.

- Or, we may choose Jesus. And so choose to respond to temptations the way Jesus did. We must take our stand on the Word of God, determine to practice that Word, and do it in all confidence that Jesus, the Son of God, will bring us the victories for which we yearn.


9. "Your unfailing love is better than life itself..."


10. "The Lord detests people with crooked hearts, but he delights in those with integrity."

See you next post...

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Numbers 28:16-29:40; Luke 3:23-38; Psalm 62:1-12; Proverbs 11:18-19 (New Living Translation)

Old Testament

1. Passover and other Festivals

- Why is this stuff important. Remember that God is building a culture, a people from nothing. The offerings are not so that God remembers, but so that the people remember.

- This is also important because it is the last time Moses will give the people these instructions. And, he really loves them and wants them to succeed and come into all the promises that God has given.

New Testament

2. Lineage (genealogy) of Jesus.

- Most people dislike reading the genealogies, but they are usually there for a purpose.

- This text about Jesus' family trace Him back to Adam, who "was the son of God."

- And isn't that who we are all descended from? No matter who our earthly parents are / were? Our Heavenly Father is God.


3. There is so much in what David has to say to us today...

- "...my victory comes from Him"

- "He alone is my rock and my salvation"

- "Let all that I am wait quietly before God"

- "...for my hope is in Him"

- "My victory and honor come from God alone."

- "He is my refuge, a rock where no enemy can reach me."

- "...the powerful are not what they appear to be."

- "If your wealth increases, don’t make it the center of your life."

- "Surely you repay all people according to what they have done."


4. "Evil people get rich for the moment, but the reward of the godly will last."

See you next post...

Monday, March 17, 2008

Numbers 26:1-51; Luke 2:36-52; Psalm 60:1-12; Proverbs 11:15 (New Living Translation)

Old Testament

1. After the plague God asks for another census to be taken. This gives us a chance to review several of the "stories."

2. From Reuben's clan we have Dathan and Abiram. Remember they joined forces with Korah in a rebellion against Moses. Korah was swallowed up by the earth and 250 others were devoured in flames.

3. From Judah's clan we have Onan. Remember the "sin of Onan." According to the text, after God had killed Onan's older brother Er, Judah asked Onan to have sex with Tamar, Er's former wife, so that the offspring could be declared Er's heir. Onan didn't seem to object to the sex itself, but seed upon the ground, so that there wouldn't be any offspring he couldn't claim as his own; the passage goes on to state that for this act, a displeased Yahweh (God) killed him.
The text emphasises the social and legal situation, with Judah explaining what Onan must do and why; the plain reading of the text is that Onan was killed because he refused to follow instructions. Onan's role in the story is thus as the brother abusing his obligations by agreeing to sexual involvement with his dead brother's wife, but refusing to allow her to become pregnant as a result. But we know that the story of Tamar and Judah goes beyond these incidents.

4. There are now over 600,000 Israelites to make an army. A far cry from the small group of individuals who joined Joseph in Egypt.

New Testament

5. Anna, another prophet(ess) speaks expectantly of Jesus, and His coming to "rescue" Jerusalem. What do we learn about Anna

-- She was an aged Jewish prophetess who prophesied about Jesus at the Temple of Jerusalem.

-- She was a daughter of Phanuel.

-- She was a member of the tribe of Asher.

-- She was widowed after seven years of marriage (her husband is not named).

--She was a devout Jew who regularly practiced prayer and fasting.

6. We next really see Jesus when He is talking to the teacher at the Temple at the age of 12. He amazed the teachers of the Law by His understanding.

- But the most striking note is that afterward, Jesus "went down to Nazareth with [His parents] and was obedient to them."

- Though the Son of God and far beyond His parents understanding even as a Child, Jesus fulfilled the commandment that ordained, "Honor your mother and father."


7. "With God’s help we will do mighty things"


8. "...it’s safer not to guarantee another person’s debt."

See you next post...

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Numbers 24-25:18; Luke 2:1-35; Psalm 59:1-17; Proverbs 11:14 (New Living Translation)

Old Testament

1. Balaam blesses Israel.

- "Blessed is everyone who blesses you, O Israel, and cursed is everyone who curses you.”

- "Alas, who can survive unless God has willed it?"

2. Moab seduces Israel

- Some of the Israelite men have sexual relations with Moabite women.

- They also joined in worship to another god, Baal. God commands that these men be killed.

- 24,000 more people are lost in the plague.

- Eleazar makes atonement for the Israelites. This earns him and his descendants permanent priesthood.

- God demands that the Midianites be destroyed. Remember the Midianites from the story of Joseph.

New Testament

3. The census causes Joseph to take his family to Bethlehem.

- Mary gives birth to Jesus.

- The angel of the Lord appears to shepherds.

- At 8 days of age Jesus is circumcised.

4. Jesus is presented at the Temple.

- Simeon blesses them and make a prophecy about Jesus' future.


5. "You are my strength"

6. "For you have been my refuge"


7. "Without wise leadership, a nation falls"

See you next post...

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Numbers 22:21-23:30; Luke 1:57-80; Psalm 58:1-11; Proverbs 11:12-13 (New Living Translation)

Old Testament

1. Balaam mounts his donkey to meet Balak. An angel stands in their way. The donkey "recognizes" this and avoids the angel. Balaam reacts by beating the donkey.

- Finally the donkey speaks to him to explain. Finally the angel speaks to him. As is a speaking donkey is not enough of a miracle.

2. They set up several altars, but ultimately Balaam blesses Israel, because God has blessed them, and he cannot curse them.

New Testament

3. The birth of John the Baptist.

- Zechariah can now speak, and he prophesies..."And you, my little son, will be called the prophet of the Most High, because you will prepare the way for the Lord."

- John grows up and lives in the wilderness until his public ministry begins.


4. "You plot injustice in your hearts"

5. "...surely there is a God who judges justly here on earth."


6. "... a sensible person keeps quiet."

7. "A gossip goes around telling secrets, but those who are trustworthy can keep a confidence."

See you next post...

Friday, March 14, 2008

Numbers 21-22:20; Luke 1:26-56; Psalm 57:1-11; Proverbs 11:9-11 (New Living Translation)

Old Testament

1. Victory over the Canaanite. Remember Canaan, that's where we are going.

- The people mad a vow to God to completely destroy the city if God helped them.

2. Don't worry, it didn't last long. The people are complaining again...no food, no water, Moses, etc.

- God sends poisonous snakes, the people are bitten, and many die. The people, of course turn to Moses to intercede for them. He does. Then God commands him to make a bronze snake to heal the people.

3. The people have several more victories. Balak, who is the son of the Moabite king (Zippor), sends for Balaam to curse the people.

- God visits Balaam and tells him not to curse the people, they are blessed. Balaam sends them home, but they return at a later time to make a second request. This time God says to go with them, "but do only what I tell you to do."

-This can't be good...

New Testament

5. The angel Gabriel returns, and this time foretells the birth of Jesus. this visit of course is to Mary, who is engaged to Joseph.

- He fills her in on Elizabeth's pregnancy and blessing.

- Mary's reply has to be the most perfect answer ever..."I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have said about me come true."

- I am the Lord's servant. No question, no back-talk, no explanations about why she couldn't do this. Just, "I am the Lord's servant."

6. Mary visits Elizabeth. Elizabeth's baby responds to the sound of Mary's voice. Or is he responding to the presence of the Lord...the One he is to pave the way for?

- Mary's song of praise.


7. "My heart is confident in you, O God."


8. "Upright citizens are good for a city and make it prosper, but the talk of the wicked tears it apart."

See you next post...

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Numbers 19-20:29; Luke 1:1-25; Psalm 56:1-13; Proverbs 11:8 (New Living Translation)

Old Testament

1. The waters of purification.

2. The waters of Meribah

- The people are once again complaining. They are thirsty. "If only we had died..."

- Moses and Aaron speak to God, and He instructs them to SPEAK to the rock, and water will pour out.

- Moses is so angry with the people he strikes the rock twice.

- For this, they will not enter the Promised Land.

- Why? The purpose of speaking to the rock was to clearly demonstrate that it was God's glory that produced the miracle. Moses put a little too much of himself into the mix. Moses obeyed God...sort of. But God takes this as a lack of trust. And, Moses and Aaron are punished.

3. The people arrive at Kadesh, but the king of Edom will not let them pass. They try to negotiate, but can't make any progress. So, they are forced to go around.

4. Miriam has already died. Now Aaron dies.

- His son Eleazar takes on his father's responsibilities.

New Testament

5. We pass another landmark. We have finished Mark and begin Luke.

6. The Birth of John the Baptist Foretold

- Zechariah, Jewish priest is taking his turn in the Temple.

- His union with Elizabeth has not been blessed with children. They are old.

- The angel Gabriel appears to him. He starts the same way all angelic counters seem to start, "Don’t be afraid..." He tells him about his future son, whom he will name John.

- So what does Zechariah do, he doesn't beleive him. His punishment is that he will not be able to speak until his son is born. Don't you think you'd beleive an angel?

- His wife Elizabeth conceives.


7. "...when I am afraid, I will put my trust in you."

8. "I trust in God, so why should I be afraid? What can mere mortals do to me?"


9."The godly are rescued from trouble."

See you next post...

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Numbers 16:41-18:32; Mark 16:1-20; Psalm 55:1-23; Proverbs 11:7 (New Living Translation)

Old Testament

1. It's almost unbelievable, "But the very next morning the whole community of Israel began muttering again against Moses and Aaron.."

- Didn't God just kill a bunch of complainers, just a few verses ago?

- Didn't God just about drown them in quail...followed by a plague?

- How can they be so amazingly ungrateful? Perhaps tehy just chafe ubder the thought of rules. it's amazing more of them didn't perish during slavery. Why is their attitude toward God so much more bitter and disruptive than against their captors? Whay aren't they happy with their freedom?

Anyway, God tell Moses and Aaron to get away so He can destroy them, instantly. But they fall on their faces, and pray, and make an atonement for the people. This is partially succesful. They are able to halt the plague, which has by now killed an additional 14,700 people.

-This is in addition to the people lost during Korah's rebellion.

2. The budding of Aaron's staff.

- The people are complaining again. I know that's a surprise...

- Moses and God give an unmistakable sign, of an unnatural wonder to end the complaints.

- Aaron's staff sprouts buds...and almonds.

- What's important about this rod? In the culture of the Israelites, the rod would be a natural symbol of authority, as the tool used by the shepherd to correct and guide his flock.

- Moses' rod is, in fact, cited in Exodus 4:2 as carried by him while he tended his sheep; and later becomes his symbol of authority over the Israelites.

- Remember, the rods of both Moses and Aaron were endowed with miraculous power during the Plagues of Egypt; God commanded Moses to raise his rod over the Red Sea when it was to be parted and in prayer over Israel in battle; Moses brings forth water from a stone using his rod.

- Aaron's rod, however, is mentioned twice as exhibiting miraculous power on its own, when not being held by Aaron. In Exodus 7, God sends Moses and Aaron to Pharaoh once more, instructing Aaron that when Pharaoh demands to see a miracle, he is to "cast down his rod" and it will become a serpent. When he does so, Pharaoh's sorcerers similarly cast down their own rods which also become serpents, but Aaron's rod/serpent swallows them all. "Pharaoh's heart is stubborn" and he chooses to ignore this bit of symbolic warning, and so the Plagues of Egypt ensue.

- In order to "stop the complaints" of the Israelites, God commands that each of the Twelve Tribes provide a rod; and only that of the tribe chosen to become priests will miraculously sprout overnight. Aaron provides his rod to represent the tribe of Levi, and "it put forth buds, produced blossoms, and bore ripe almonds," as evidence of the exclusive right to the priesthood of the tribe of Levi.

- In commemoration of this decision it was commanded that the rod be put again "before the testimony."

- According to tradition, the rod of Aaron bore sweet almonds on one side and bitter on the other; if the Israelites followed the Lord, the sweet almonds would be ripe and edible, but if they were to forsake the path of the Lord, the bitter almonds would predominate.

- The main point is that a rod was preserved in the Tabernacle as a relic of the institution of the Aaronic priesthood.

3. Duies of the Levites and priests outlined again.

- Support for the Levites and the priests. "You priests will receive no allotment of land or share of property among the people of Israel. I am your share and your allotment."

New Testament

4. The Resurrection

- The women come to the tomb with spices to anoint Christ's body for burial. Remember that because of the time of His death, there was no time to do this. So the body was place in linen and put into the tomb supplied by Joseph of Aremethea. They could deal with the "nicities" of burial at a more appropriate time.

- Instead they see an angel. and, as all angel messages seem to start out, he says, "Don't be afraid."

- Jesus has risen, as He said He would

- He plans to meet them in Galilee.

- The first person Jesus sees and speakes with is Mary Magdalene. The scripture makes a point of telling us that He had freed her from seven demons. She goes to tell the guys, but no one belives her.

- He meets 2 more of His followers, but no one belives them either.

- Later He appears to the disciples, who are in hiding.

- He leaves them with simple instruction...Go...

- So when asked earlier today what Easter means to me, my answer is transformation. Jesus came on a mission. You know the old cliche..."to heal the sin-sick heart, to set the captive free." Jesus came to redeem us, to re-unite us with God, to pay for our sins.

- But He came to transform our hearts and our lives.

- Seriously, look at the disciples. The spent "quality time" with Jesus and they still didn't get it. They were hiding out from the Jews.

- When He returned to them they were transformed from mere misguided, everyday average "Joes", into saints. And they went out and they taught. And their words and examples are still teaching us today!

5. Ascension

-"When the Lord Jesus had finished talking with them, he was taken up into heaven and sat down in the place of honor at God’s right hand."


6. "...the real danger is wickedness within the city."


7. "When the wicked die, their hopes die with them, for they rely on their own feeble strength."

See you next post...

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Numbers 15:17-16:40; Mark 15:1-47; Psalm 54:1-7; Proverbs 11:5-6 (New Living Translation)

Old Testament

1. Contributions to the Lord from the first fruits.

2. Unintentional and intentional sin

3. Penalty for breaking the Sabbath...stoning. That may seem too much, but these guys just are determined not to change, and not take God seriously.

4. Tassels to remember to keep the commandments.

5. Korah leads a rebellion with 250 other leaders. Well, that didn't work out so well. Korah and all of his belongings were swallowed alive by the earth.

- The rest of the leaders were destroyed by fire. And their metal pans were used as yet another reminder to the people.

- Once again the sin of pride!

New Testament

6. Jesus' trial before Pilate.

7. Barabbas is released.

8. The soldiers mock Jesus.

9. Simon of Cyrene is "commissioned" to help Jesus with His cross.

10. Jesus is crucified. It is a Roman centurion who recognizes Jesus as the Son of God.


11."But God is my helper. The Lord keeps me alive!"


12. "The godly are directed by honesty..."

See you next post...

Monday, March 10, 2008

Numbers 14-15:16; Mark 14:53-72; Psalm 53:1-6; Proverbs 11:4 (New Living Translation)

Old Testament

1. The People rebel

- The generation that had stood at the entrance of Canaan threw away the promised Land.

- Stunned by the choice Israel is making, Moses and Aaron, "fell face down on the ground before the whole community of Israel" and Caleb and Joshua tore their clothing (an action indicating great depth of feeling). They spoke for moving forward, and coucelled against rebelling against the Lord. And what response do they get from the crowd? "But the whole community began to talk about stoning Joshua and Caleb."

-Then God appears. The LOrd visibly intervenes. Their action alone justified their total destruction. But Moses prayed and appealed to God's grace, and the people were pardoned. But they do not escape unscathed..."Then the Lord said, “I will pardon them as you have requested. But as surely as I live, and as surely as the earth is filled with the Lord’s glory, not one of these people will ever enter that land. They have all seen my glorious presence and the miraculous signs I performed both in Egypt and in the wilderness, but again and again they have tested me by refusing to listen to my voice. They will never even see the land I swore to give their ancestors. None of those who have treated me with contempt will ever see it."

- Only Caleb and Joshua were exempted, because they had responded to God with trust. The rest would be led out again into the wilderness, to wander there for 38 years.

- So a journey that should have taken 40 days will now take 40 years.

- Moses tells the people God's judgement and they mourned greatly. And, the next morning they jump up- and mount an attack on the land they had been unwilling to approach. But this was after God had expressly commanded them to turn back to the wilderness! Doesn't this sound like something you would go through with your children? Only a lot more is at stake here.

- They were defeated and pursued.

- The people had once again demonstrated that they simply would not listen to God or respond to Him. Over and over the failure of Israel to be obedient led them into disaster. Yet they refused to be responsible.

- The lesson here is for all of us. and it is a lesson that still has to be learned...over and over again. Until it is learned, the people (we) would know only tragic consequences of disobedience with each wrong choice.

- One generation had lost its opportunity to know rest, to enter the Promised Land, but their children would make a different choice. So, Numbers 15 begins with ..."When you finally settle in the land I am giving you..."

New Testament

2. Jesus on trial before Annas, the high priest.

- Annas was the high priest emeritus, and was the father-in-law of the current high priest, Caiaphas. He is still referred to as high priest because of the influence he has.

3. Jesus on trial before Caiaphas

- We have false testimony given against jesus, but they can't seem to get their stories right.

- Finally the high priest asked Jesus bluntly,"Are you the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed One?" Jesus answered,"I am."

- To the leaders this was blasphemy. Jesus had claimed to be God Himself! And the punishment for blasphemy was death.

- This had been more of a hearing than a real trial. So Jesus had not been condemned, yet. But, many of these men would subsequently act as judges when the trial started.

4. Peter denies Jesus.

- Christ had not only predicted, but had anticipated Peter's betrayal. Unfortunately, Peter had not. "And he broke down and wept." Christ knows us and our hearts better than we know ourselves.


5. "Only fools say in their hearts,“There is no God.”


6. "Riches won’t help on the day of judgment,but right living can save you from death."

- Wow, nothing I can add to that...

See you next post...

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Numbers 11:24-13:33; Mark 14:22-52; Psalm 52:1-9; Proverbs 11:1-3 (New Living Translation)

Old Testament

1.When Israel moved away from Sinai after having been camped so long three incidents happened that were truly "example" for Israel. Each incident involved the rejection of God and each was an occasion of immediate judgement.

- As God's people they had to respond to Him with trusting obedience. Any failure to respond led to tragic consequences.

2.Rejection of God's guidance.

- It only took 3 days of traveling in the desert for the Israelites to revert to a pattern they had established before their arrival at Sinai. Forgetting all that God had done for them, they let discomfort dominated their thinking...and control their actions. They complained about their hardship in "the hearing of the Lord."

- In their complaining they rejected His wisdom, and ignored the supernatural provision of the fiery-cloud pillar that directed their every move.

- God immediately acted-in judgement. Fire destroyed some of the outlying parts of the camp. In a panic, the people turned to Moses, who prayed, and the fire was controlled.

3. Rejection of God's provision.

- Shortly after this the people begin to complain about their diet, and were ready to trade their freedom for the meat and vegetables they had in Egypt.

- Had they forgotten they had been slaves?

- The manna that God provided was despised.

- Moses, now gets angry with the people as well. God responded to Moses' need by distributing the leadership responsibility and gift to 70 of the elders.

- God responded to the people. God responded by bringing a great flock of quail. But when the people began to eat, a great plague struck the camp. Thousands of the murmurers dies. The people who had rejected God and His provision bore the dreadful consequences of their choice. "So that place was called Kibroth-hattaavah (which means “graves of gluttony.”

4. Rejection of God's appointed.

- This time Miriam and Aaron, Moses sister and brother, resented the special role Moses was given by God. So they challenge Moses' authority.

- God responded angrily, pointing out the special relationship He Himself had chosen to have with Moses.

- In judgement, Miriam is struck with leprosy, and put out of the camp for seven days. Afterward she is healed in answer to Moses' prayer. Everyone was forced to wait for Miriam for those seven days.

- What's the real sin here?- PRIDE.

5. Whay is God doing this, and what's the point?

- The people, Israel, are about to make some very important decisions about their relation ship with God. These lesons are to teach them about taking responsibilty for their actions and decisions

6. Twelve scouts explore Canaan.

- When they arrive at the borders of Palestine, Moses sent 12 men out in pairs to spy the land. They were to evaluate the strength of the peoples, their numbers, and whether the land was rich or poor.

- Only two, Caleb and Joshua, encouraged the people to trust God.

- They needed to learn that God's presence, rather than their circumstances should be given priority.

New Testament

7. The Passover meal

8. Peter's denial predicted

9. Gethsemane

10. Jesus arrested


11. "I will always trust in God’s unfailing love."


12. "Pride leads to disgrace"

- Look back at the story of Miriam.

13. "...but with humility comes wisdom."

14. "Honesty guides good people"

See you next post...

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Friday, March 7, 2008

Numbers 8-9:23; Mark 13:14-37; Psalm 50:1-23; Proverbs 10:29-30 (New Living Translation)

Old Testament

1. Purification of the Levites.

- The Levites are set apart for God's use. Isn't that what we are supposed to be doing, too?

2. The Second Passover

-It's been a year since the Israelites have left Egypt. The rules are set for the celebration of the Passover. When and how to celebrate it.

- Failure to celebrate it appropriately calls for separation from the community.

- And, Moses consults God for answers. Here again, isn't that what we are supposed to do. Listen to God, wait for an answer. Granted, Moses had a direct line...

3. The fiery cloud.

- The Israelites moved and rested with God, and at God's command. They were led by God. If He stopped, they stopped. If He moved, they moved.

New Testament

4. Jesus warned of the terrible trgedies which will be part of human experience while He is away. Finally there will come events foretold in the Book of Daniel and by other Old Testament prophets. As the end nears there will be "greater anguish in those days than at any time since God created the world. And it will never be so great again."

5. That day will close when "everyone will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds with great power and glory."

6. So, what are we supposed to do in the meantime?

- Jesus gives His followers this warning: "Be on guard! Be alert!" No one knows when the Lord will come, so each of us must be alert and about his assigned task.

- And what must we be alert for? Jesus is warning us to be alert for the very things that crept into the religion of Israel and sapped it of its vitality do not slip into the practice of our faith!

- How good it is to know that, until Jesus does return, you and I can worship Him, with others, in Spirit and in truth.


7. "Make thankfulness your sacrifice to God,
and keep the vows you made to the Most High.
Then call on me when you are in trouble,
and I will rescue you,
and you will give me glory.”

- Remember the purpose of all these sacrifices and rules was to keep a constant reminder before these people that they needed to serve God above all else. God did not need their sacrifices, and He doesn't need ours.

- What God wants from us is worship and thanksgiving...from our hearts. David, who is credited with writing the Psalms, was said to be a man after God's own heart. I think what he (David) is trying to get us to see is that the core of what God wants is worship and love...not just meaningless sacrifices. But think about this in human terms. How many times have you gotten a gift for a loved one? Just because it was time to do it, a birthday, or an anniversary. The recipient knows wether this gift is from love or from duty.

8. "...While you did all this, I remained silent,
and you thought I didn’t care.
But now I will rebuke you,
listing all my charges against you.
Repent, all of you who forget me,
or I will tear you apart,
and no one will help you."

- And for the wicked...judgement is coming.

9. "But giving thanks is a sacrifice that truly honors me.
If you keep to my path,
I will reveal to you the salvation of God.”


10. "The way of the Lord is a stronghold to those with integrity,
but it destroys the wicked."

- Keep your integrity!!!

See you next post...

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Numbers 6-7:89; Mark 12:38-13:13; Psalm 49:1-20; Proverbs 10:27-28 (New Living Translation)

Old Testament

1. Nazarite vow..."either men or women,...setting themselves apart to the Lord in a special way." This vow required the man or woman to:

- Abstain from wine, wine vinegar, grapes, raisins, and according to some - alcohol and vinegar from alcohol

- Refrain from cutting the hair on one's head

- Avoid corpses and graves, even those of family members, and any structure which contains such

- The most "famous" Nazarite in the bible was Samson.

2. Blessing the people

- "May the Lord bless you and protect (keep) you.
May the Lord smile on you and be gracious to you .
May the Lord show you his favor (bless you)
and give you his peace.

- This should sound familiar...sounds like benediction at the end of Sunday morning service.

3. The Tabernacle is set up, anointed and set apart.

4. The furnishings, altar and utensils are also anointed and set apart. This section lists the dedication offerings brought by the leaders of each tribe of Israel at the time the altar was anointed.

5. Then...

- "Whenever Moses went into the Tabernacle to speak with the Lord, he heard the voice speaking to him from between the two cherubim above the Ark’s (of the Covenant)cover—the place of atonement—that rests on the Ark of the Covenant. The Lord spoke to him from there." The direct and unmistakeable voice of God...wow!

New Testament

6. Warnings about false teachers.

7. The widow's offering.

- We have all heard this verse used and much more often misused to get people to "dig deep and give (to me)." Especially by those TV evangelists.

- "For they gave a tiny part of their surplus, but she, poor as she is, has given everything she had to live on."

- This is not just about money to your favorite televangelist. At least, I don't think so. This goes back to the discussion about our hearts. This woman beleived so strongly in the message she was receiving and in the promise of God's blesings that she gave from her heart. And, she gave her heart...to God.

- Back at the beginning of this we talked about tithing. Tithe where you are fed, where you are spiritually nutured. And don't give just to get the numners in or for credit on your account with God. We give to God's house so that others can be nurtured. But our gift ultimately is to God.

8. Beware of false prophets...people claiming to be the Messiah.

- Remember Jim Jones ( of Jonestown) and David Koresh (Waco) and Move organization.

9. A few of the disciples want to know when this will happen. "What sign will show us that these things are about to be fulfilled?"

- They are still looking for the inside track.

- As usual Jesus doesn't give them a specific answer. History will continue in it's usual fashin. we will continue to hate, harm and kill each other.

- But our job, our goal in all this is to endure.

- "...But the one who endures to the end will be saved." If you hold on, if you stick with Jesus, you won't be sorry, you'll be saved.


10. "But as for me, God will redeem my life."

11. "So don’t be dismayed when the wicked grow rich and their homes become ever more splendid. For when they die, they take nothing with them. Their wealth will not follow them into the grave."

12. We will all die, our bodies fade away...but what will happen to you after?


13. "The hopes of the godly result in happiness, but the expectations of the wicked come to nothing"

- I beleive this speaks to our eternal happiness.

See you next post...

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Numbers 4-5:31; Mark 12:18-37; Psalm 48:1-14; Proverbs 10:26 (New Living Translation)

Old Testament

1. The duties of the Kohanites, Gershonites, Merarites.

- Moving the Tabernacle. Keep Holy thigs holy, keep the sacred things sacred.

- Don't touch the holy things if that's not your job. You will be put to death. (this comes up later in the OlD Testament)

- Ministry of work. Not for priestly duties, but to do the heavy lifting for God. Shouldn't more of us be doing this? Everyone wants to be in charge. Wants to be up front and acknowledged. Who is left to do the grunt work?

- This thought may apply more to the New Testament for us, but are we spending too much time and effort wearing the cross, and not so much on bearing the Cross?

2. Unclean things banned from the camp.

3. Protecting marital faithfulness.

- "The husband will be innocent of any guilt in this matter, but his wife will be held accountable for her sin."

- Doesn't say anything about the man being unfaithful???? We will have to wait and see if this gets addressed.

New Testament

4. The Sadducees approach Jesus. The scripture clearly says that hese religious leaders did not beleive in resurrection. Strange that they would ask about what happens after the resurrection.

- Jesus' answer is that our earthly concepts of marriage and intimacy will change, be washed away with our "old selves". That all of these pleasures will be shared with God.

5. Sadducees- definition- Sadducees rejected oral Torah (first 5 books of bible), and created new interpretations based on a literal understanding of verses. In their personal lives this often meant an excessively stringent lifestyle from a Jewish perspective. An example of this differing approach is the interpretation of, "an eye for an eye". The Jewish understanding for centuries was that the value of an eye was to be sought by the perpetrator rather than actually removing his eye too. In the Sadducees' view the law was to be taken literally, contrary to that traditional interpretation. From the point of view of the Pharisees, the Sadducees wished to change the Jewish understanding of the Torah.

6. The most important commandments...

- Jesus replied, “The most important commandment is this: ‘Listen, O Israel! The Lord our God is the one and only Lord. And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.’ The second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ No other commandment is greater than these.”

- Only two commandments to worry about. Love God with all your heart. Love your neighbors as yourself. You know, if we could embody these two rules and nothing else, all the other commandments, and in fact, all of life would fall into place.

- Unfortunately, we are not whole-hearted. Jesus came to heal the broken-hearted and to set the captive free. We are not whole-hearted and we are not free.

- Our hearts are divided. We try to serve too many gods. Money, our ego, our career, our children. Don't you know people who would at least say that they would sacrifice anything and everything for any one of these things. Well, if we think we can make such a huge sacrifice to get ahead in our workplace, why can't we use that same single-mindedness to get to God?

- And love your neighbor as yourself? What would happen if you just thought of this phrase every time you were about to open your mouth to make a smart remark about someone? Or to speak about someone else in a not-so-flattering way? Or to gossip? Or just think before you said anything..."What if someone else were saying this about me? How would it make me feel when I found out?"

- Feeling convicted yet?

- Our hearts are broken, and we are not free. That's what Jesus came for, and why He should be living in our hearts all the time.

7. The people like Jesus' teaching. That's a problem for the Pharisees, the Saducees and as we talked about yesterday, the Herodians.


8. "O God, we meditate on your unfailing love.." Even the Old Testament tells us we should meditate on things.


9. "Lazy people irritate their employers..."

See you next post...

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Numbers 2-3:51; Mark 11:27-12:17; Psalm 47:1-9; Proverbs 10:24-25 (New Living Translation)

Old testament

1. How to set up camp...around the Tabernacle.

2. How to organize the march.

3. Geneology of Aaron and Moses. Remember that Aaron had lsot 2 of his sons.

- The tribe of Levi will attend to the furnishings of the Tabernacle.

- The trobe of Levi will stand in for the firstborn of the Israelites who belong to God. They are consecrated by His destruction of the firstborn of the Egyptians.

- The Levite number 22,000. The real firstborn males of the Israelites number 22,273.

- The extra are redeemed with a set price of silver to be paid to the Tabernacle.

New Testament

4. Mark has already established a theme with his first two stories. How can it be that Israel's faith, rooted in God's Old Testament revelation, had become futile and empty? What was it that had distorted in practice the beauty of the faith God Himself had revealed?

5. Empty authority.

- The chief priests and religious teachers had never commissioned or recognized Jesus, So they liked to think that He spoke without any real religious authority. This despite the fact that Jesus did speak as a Man with authority, unlike their official leaders. Jesus question to them showed how empty their "authority" was. The obvious answer, to anyone who has spiritual authority is that John's baptism derived ultimately from God. So anyone who exercises authority must refer to God and God's will in making his decisions.

6. Misuse of authority. (Parable of the evil farmers)

- Jesus told the parable of the person who prepared the land and planted a vineyard. The leaders realize that Jesus has spoken this parable against them, and became even more determined to arrest Him. They had not used their authority as God's agenst to serve Him at all! They had misused their authority, seeking only their own benefit. Their fathers had been willing to kill God's servants, the prophets, and now this generation was eager to kill His only Son!

7. Hipocrisy.

- The Pharisees and Herodians came to try to trap Jesus. The Herodians were a political party that beleived in accommodation with the Romans. To them Jesus seemed a dangerous revolutionary. Both these groups, usually opposed to each other, feared Jesus and hated Him passionately. His answer to their trap: Let Caesar have his things, but give God your heart.

- There it is again...give God your heart!



8. "The fears of the wicked will be fulfilled; the hopes of the godly will be granted."

9. "When the storms of life come, the wicked are whirled away, but the godly have a lasting foundation." A lasting foundation!

See you next post...

Monday, March 3, 2008

Leviticus 27:14-34; Numbers 1:1-54; Mark 11:1-26; Psalm 46:1-11; Proverbs 10:23 (New Living Translation)

Old Testament

1. Valuations and redemptions of property

2."You may not dedicate a firstborn animal to the Lord, for the firstborn of your cattle, sheep, and goats already belong to him."

3. "...anything specially set apart for the Lord—whether a person, an animal, or family property—must never be sold or bought back. Anything devoted in this way has been set apart as holy, and it belongs to the Lord."

- Are you set apart for the Lord?

4. Another landmark...we end Leviticus, and begin Numbers.

5. Numbers

- This book may be divided into three parts:

-- The numbering of the people (census) at Sinai, and preparations for resuming their march (1-10:10). The sixth chapter gives an account of the vow of a Nazirite.
-- An account of the journey from Sinai to Moab, the sending out of the spies and the report they brought back, and the murmurings (eight times) of the people at the hardships by the way (10:11-21:20).
-- The transactions in the plain of Moab before crossing the Jordan River (21:21-36).

6. The period comprehended in the history extends from the second month of the second year after the Exodus to the beginning of the eleventh month of the fortieth year, in all about thirty-eight years and ten months; a dreary period of wanderings. They were fewer in number at the end of their wanderings than when they left the land of Egypt.

7. Levites separated for duty to the Tabernacle of the Covenent.

New Testament

8. Jesus enters Jerusalem as a hero.

9. The next morning Jesus curses a fig tree. A tree which appears to be full of life, but is bearing no fruit.

- What Jesus is trying to say here, I think , is that we must fully embrace our life our mission, not just put on the garment or appearance of being holy. This is what the Pharisees have been doing. They have been so busy dressing up and following the rituals that they have lost the "heart" of God, the spirit of the lawa given to them. The pure simplicity of giving yourself... your heart, to God. It's not meant to be complicated. We make it that way.

10. The second trip to Jerusalem jesus clears the Temple, which is now is full of traders and money-changers. Why is Jesus doingthis? What's the crime? well, the crime is that the authorities were pronouncing animals and sacrifices as unclean only to sell the people replacements,...to make money. The "old" money was being exchanged, at a premium, for "temple" money which would be more pleasing to God.

- The Temple is obviously made for worship, and it's been turned into a storefront. The priests are angered by this and plot to kill Jesus...He's being such a pain!

11. "I tell you, you can pray for anything, and if you believe that you’ve received it, it will be yours. But when you are praying, first forgive anyone you are holding a grudge against, so that your Father in heaven will forgive your sins, too.”

- There are two parts to this...They never seem to mention that on TV.

- God will give you what you ask. In His own way. In His own time. But...we have work to do. Forgive any and all grudges...Feeling convicted yet?


12. "God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble."

13. "Be still, and know that I am God!"

- Sometimes I can't think of anything to add to David's words...


14. "Doing wrong is fun for a fool..."

See you next post...

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Leviticus 25:47-27:13; Mark 10:32-52; Psalm 45:1-17; Proverbs 10:22 (New Living Translation)

Sorry, have been out of town...but, back to work

Old Tesatament

1. The right of redemption..."the right to be bought back, even after they have been purchased."

2. The year of Jubilee

- The year of Jubilee in both the Jewish and Christian traditions is a time of joy, the year of remission or universal pardon.

- In Mosaic law, each fiftieth year was to be celebrated as a jubilee year, and that at this season every household should recover its absent members, the land return to its former owners, the Hebrew slaves be set free, and debts be remitted.

- The Jubilee year was announced by a blast on an instrument made from a ram's horn, during that year's Yom Kippur. The biblical rules concerning Sabbatical years are still observed by many religious Jews in the State of Israel, but the regulations for the Jubilee year have not been observed for many centuries.

3. Blessings for obedience.

What does obedience look like?

- Do not make idols.

- Keep my Sabbath.

- Follow my decrees and obey my commands.

What do you get?

- Great harvest and prosperity.

- Peace.

4. Punishment for disobedience

What do you get for disobedience?

- Trouble

- Disease

- War and terror

- Disaster

- Death, destruction and scattering of the remaining population.

5. But God is eternally looking out for our good. He expects us to see the error of our ways. He doesn't force us. Remember He gave us free will..."then at last their stubborn hearts will be humbled, and they will pay for their sins. Here again, we see that it is our heart...our heart that God wants.

- “But despite all this, I will not utterly reject or despise them while they are in exile in the land of their enemies. I will not cancel my covenant with them by wiping them out, for I am the Lord their God. For their sakes I will remember..."

- Do you see the beginning of these verses? DESPITE ALL THIS...Wow! Despite all this, He will remember.

- Not every tiny thing we've ever done wrong. Not that we stumbled down the wrong path. Not that we forgot to say thank you. Not that we forgot to say our prayers last night.

- He will remember that He made a covenant with us. He will remember that despite all this, He loves us and wants us back.

- Do we offer this same kind of loving grace to the people around us? To our family members? Our not-so-easy-to-get-along-with co-workers? Or would that be you?

New Testament

6. Jesus had shown His followers several keys to living as a disciple. Now in a series of incidents that Mark linked together, Christ warned against the pathways that may cause distraction. Jesus' disciples, today as then must be careful not to fall into these religious traps. Legalism, humanism, authoritarianism.

7. Legalism (Mark 10:1-6)

- The Pharisees are again trying to discredit Jesus.

- The question:"Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?" This is a trap. If Jesus said no, He would seem to speak against the Law of Moses. If He said yes, He would contradict His own words about permanent relationship.

- Jesus' response showed a totally different perspective on the Law than was held by the Pharisees. The Pharisees held that the Law was "the" standard of perfection. They beleived that God had given that perfect standard to mark out the way of salvation. And the also beleived that they, by their zealous effort to keep the Law, would win His approval.

- Jesus had a different perspective. He explained,"It was because your hearts were hard that Moses wrote you this law." Look back to Creation, Jesus taught, and you will see God's intention. Marriage is to be a lifelong commitment.

- The reference to hard hearts is a reference to sin. It was only because sin warped and distorted this most intimate of relationships that Moses permitted divorce. God was willing to lower His standards, to provide imperfect human beings with a way to escsape destructive marriage.

- It is not conformity to the letter of the law, but intent, that God judges.

8. Humanism (Mark 10:17-34)

- First, Jesus corrects the rich young man- "only God is truly good." The error is that we seek goodness in human motives and actions, without realizing that only God is good.

- Next, Jesus speaks of a great lack. Jesus tell him to sell everything he owned. The young man's face fell. What happened here? This young man has the best of everything that we strive for- at least by human standards. But the first commandment says, "You shall have no other gods before Me."

- Jesus' instruction to sell all was a vivid demonstration that this lovely young man, so sensitive in his dealings with others, actually did have another god before God. When the Son of God commanded him to sell his possessions, he made a choice- money.

- The disicples once again misunderstand. If the wealthy find it difficult, who then can be saved?

- No matter how kind and considerate the humanist may be, mere human goodness can never win entrance to God's kingdom. But, "All things are possible with God."

9. Authoritarianism

- The third danger is desire for the wrong kind of authority within the beleiving community. We again have the story of James and John trying to get special places next to Jesus.

- Jesus uses a metaphor here, and I think what He is trying to say to us is that to follow Him, it will take complete dedication to God's will, and the suffering that this will entail.

- There is no hierarchy. No kings, lords or rulers as in the earthly sense.

- There is no hierarchy in the church, the body of Christ. The greatest shall be the lowest: the one who dedicates himself not to be served by those to whom he gives orders, but to give service that they might become all that God wants them to be.

10. The blind see.

- A blind man was given his sight, and was told, "Your faith has healed you."

- It is the same with us. Jesus gives us the spiritual sight to see the emptiness in legalism, the futility of mere humanism, and the error of hierarchialism.

- What is it that truly can heal the disciple and lead him along the pathway to power?

- Jesus answers us in His words to the blind who can now see. "Go, you faith has healed you." And as with Bartimaeus, "immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus along the road."



11. "The blessing of the Lord makes a person rich..."

See you next post...