OYB February 7

Filed in ReligionTags: Christianity, Devotions, One Year Bible

Today´s reading:
OT: Exodus 26, Exodus 27
NT: Matthew 25:1-30
Ps: Psalm 31:1-8
Pr: Proverbs 8:1-11

Today´s notable verse:

Since you are my rock and my fortress, for the sake of your name lead and guide me.

Psalm 31:3 (NIV)

The One Year Bible Blog notes:

Comments from you & Question of the Day - Based on Proverbs 8:10-11 above, Are you seeking God’s instruction in your life above all else? Do you agree with this Proverb that wisdom is far more valuable than riches? Is reading the Bible each day here in 2006 adding to your wisdom? Are you seeking to do more than just read the Bible this year? Are you diving into further study of the Bible? Are you allowing your study of the Bible to transform you? Are you allowing the Bible to change how you think, act, and live? Are you allowing the Bible to give you godly wisdom? Will you accept God’s free gift of Biblical wisdom each and every day of your life?

I remember from a previous study of Proverbs 8 that what strikes me about this chapter is the the presence and inter-changeability of the Holy Spirit for wisdom. This revelation was powerful to me, in that it reinforced the work of the Spirit in our lives; when we have the Spirit, we truly have God's Wisdom directing our lives - when we yield to it! I have in my life this very second all the Widsom of God, in the person of the Holy Spirit. How it must grieve Him when I choose to act in my own understanding rather than rely on the Widsom He wants to impart to me - much less, when I act intentionally contrary to that wisdom.

Wisdom is certainly more valuable than riches; for one, with God's wisdom, we gain a Godly perspective on what is truly valuable, and also how to handle those things of value with which God entrusts us. Without a doubt, the more time I spend in the Word, the more I am transformed. More and more, I am exposed to my own iniquities, and presented with the choice to think, decide, and act according to my sinful nature or according to God's will and wisdom. On that measure, I gain a greater understanding of God's grace, as I all too often yield to my sinful nature, rather than rely on the still, small voice of God's Spirit, who directs my path - if only I choose to let Him.

Millie Claims Her New Home

Filed in PersonalTags: Cats, Pets, Photos

So, Millie decided to come home with me after all. She spent yesterday evening exploring and claiming her new surroundings:

millie 010

Stalking my new home
Photo © Chip Bennett, all rights reserved.

millie 011

I like this corner. I claim it as my new scratching post.
Photo © Chip Bennett, all rights reserved.

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Yes, I know. I am cute.
Photo © Chip Bennett, all rights reserved.

millie 005

Another fine corner. It will prove useful for my back-scratching needs.
Photo © Chip Bennett, all rights reserved.

millie 006

If I am going to pose for you, you must at least have the camera in focus.
Photo © Chip Bennett, all rights reserved.

millie 012

This space is too narrow for me to explore; unacceptable!
Photo © Chip Bennett, all rights reserved.

Loving God Holy

Filed in ReligionTags: Christianity, Devotions, One Year Bible

Loving God Holy has been added to the OYB blogroll. Welcome!

OYB February 6

Filed in ReligionTags: Christianity, Devotions, One Year Bible

Today´s reading:
OT: Exodus 23:14-33, Exodus 24, Exodus 25
NT: Matthew 24:29-51
Ps: Psalm 30
Pr: Proverbs 7:24-27

Today´s notable verse:

No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.

Matthew 24:36 (NIV)

I must admit that I'm a bit perplexed by this verse. If the Son and the Father are one, why doesn't the Son know the day or hour? Is God the Son, in human form, somehow limited in His omniscience? Any thoughts on this verse?

The One Year Bible Blog asks:

Comments from you & Question of the Day - In today and yesterday's readings in Matthew chapter 24 we read about the end times. Do you do much study of the end times? What are some books or resources or websites you could point others to, to study more about the end times? ...How often do you think about the end times? Do you think there should be a healthy balance of time and study when it comes to reflecting on the end times?

I really don't. I cannot control or predict what is to come in the future. I can't change times or events. All I can control is what I do with today. To be sure, we should live with the urgency of Christ's imminent return, so that we are not caught unaware, but are found to be about our Master's business. But what will happen, with respect to "end times", will happen. I am more concerned with the present, and how I handle the time and resources I have today, though with an eternal - rather than temporal - perspective.

OYB February 5

Filed in ReligionTags: Christianity, Devotions, One Year Bible

Today´s reading:
OT: Exodus 21:22-36, Exodus 22, Exodus 23:1-13
NT: Matthew 24:1-28
Ps: Psalm 29
Pr: Proverbs 6:7-23

Today´s notable verse:

And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.

Matthew 24:14 (NIV)

The One Year Bible Blog notes:

Comments from you & Question of the Day - I read an interesting commentary on Psalm 29 verse 2 today - "Give honor to the LORD for the glory of his name. Worship the LORD in the splendor of his holiness." This commentary suggested that possibly "worshiping God in the splendor of his holiness" may have been a call for the ancient worshipers to basically dress up before going to the Temple. To wear the proper white robes or garb for worship. And this made me think about how we dress for church today. I'm wondering if maybe we're getting too casual in the way we dress for church these days? I know in my grandparents' day, you were in a suit / nice dress. Today, it seems like we can go to church in just about whatever we want to wear - jeans, T-shirts, flip-flops, etc. And maybe this is okay? Maybe this is a good thing? Or maybe not? Dennis Prager on his radio show talks about this very topic and says that if we were going to meet with the Queen of England, how would we dress? Obviously, we'd dress nicely. Well, if in church we're going to meet with the King of all creation, how then should we dress? At least as nicely as we'd dress for meeting with the Queen of England? Or no...? Please let me know your thoughts on this topic. Do you dress up for church? Why or why not? Are we getting too casual with what we wear to church these days? Should we maybe learn something from this Psalm and "worship God in the splendor of his holiness"?

Interesting you should mention that; I actually did meet the Queen of England (Manchester, July 2000 - see the Missions section for pictures)! As I remember, I was wearing jeans, a t-shirt, and a windbreaker. More importantly, the Bible consistently talks about God desiring the splendor of His holiness on the inside - the heart - of man. What is external does not make a man clean or unclean (worthy/holy or unworthy/unholy), but what is in his heart. If my appearance is a distraction to me (or to others), or if my attitude is one of laziness or ungratefulness, then the condidtion of my heart is the problem; my appearance is but a symptom. We have to be careful of the other extreme, as well; church attire can all too easily become a matter of pride and favoritism, and can make visitors/unbelievers who think they have to dress "appropriately" unwelcome or unwilling even to walk through the doors.

I also have this nagging thought that I would be awfully arrogant to think that the "splendor of His holiness" could be evidenced in any way by my appearance - as if this or that shirt has more or less of that splendor.

In answer to your question, I dress for church in all manner, depending on the circumstance and the culture of the church. (Remember II Corinthians 9:19-22) I am just as comfortable in shorts and sandals as I am in a suit and tie. My ability to worship God or to receive a word of teaching has nothing to do with how I dress, but everything to do with the condition of my heart.

Heretic Quiz

Filed in ReligionTags: Christianity, Quizzes

Okay, so I do these things from time to time, when one interests me. Here are my results from taking the Heretic Quiz

You scored as Chalcedon compliant.

You are Chalcedon compliant. Congratulations, you're not a heretic. You believe that Jesus is truly God and truly man and like us in every respect, apart from sin. Officially approved in 451.

Chalcedon compliant

75%

Nestorianism

58%

Pelagianism

58%

Apollanarian

58%

Adoptionist

58%

Modalism

58%

Socinianism

50%

Monarchianism

50%

Monophysitism

33%

Gnosticism

25%

Albigensianism

8%

Arianism

8%

Docetism

0%

Donatism

0%

Are you a heretic?
created with QuizFarm.com

Here are the referenced heresies.

OYB February 4

Filed in ReligionTags: Christianity, Devotions, One Year Bible

Today´s reading:
OT: Exodus 19:16-25, Exodus 20, Exodus 21:1-21
NT: Matthew 23:13-39
Ps: Psalm 28
Pr: Proverbs 7:1-5

Today´s notable verse:

The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped. My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to him in song.

Psalm 28:7 (NIV)

The One Year Bible Blog asks:

Comments from you & Question of the Day - Since we've arrived at the Ten Commandments in our readings today, now is an appropriate time to ask - are the Ten Commandments important to you? How? Have they always been important to you? ...Do you think that we should meditate upon the Ten Commandments and our actions? Or is just meditating upon Jesus alone enough?

I've had many discussions and read or heard many commentaries abut the Ten Commandments, the Law, and Christ, and what applies to the christian today. As I wrote yesterday, Jesus said that "Love God" and "Love each other as yourself" summarize, complete, and perfect the Law and the Prophets. The Ten Commandments still apply today, but Christ has called us to a more perfect standard. If we are judging ourselves against the Ten Commandments, then we are looking at the bare minimum - the line between righteousness and sin - rather than the Ultimate Standard: holiness.

If our minds and our hearts are set upon loving God, then we will never even have to question whether or not we are using His name in vain, because we will always be honoring Him with our lips. If we love our neighbor as ourselves, then we will never have to worry whether or not we are coveting that which is his, because we would be considering how we might give up what is ours in order to fulfill his needs. We do not need to worry about bearing false witness against our neighbor, because we strive always to proclaim the truth of Christ.

We do not need to observe specific holy days set apart to God, because every day we wake up, we recognize as a gift from God, and set it apart to Him. We do not need to worry about regulations for indentured servanthood or proper treatment of those indebted to us, because we do not hold out debts against our brothers.

And just as the Ten Commandments and the Law foretold and symbolized the coming Messiah, and were but a pale reflection of the Law He would establish, so also do the Ten Commandments and the Law serve as a reminder of my need for that Messiah. I struggle to keep the imperfect law; how much more in need of a Savior am I, if I am to strive to live up to the Perfect Law!

OYB February 3

Filed in ReligionTags: Christianity, Devotions, One Year Bible

Today´s reading:
OT: Exodus 17:8-15, Exodus 18, Exodus 19:1-15
NT: Matthew 22:34-46, Matthew 23:1-11
Ps: Psalm 27:7-14
Pr: Proverbs 6:27-35

Today´s notable verse:

37 Jesus replied: " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments."

Matthew 22:37-40 (NIV)

Here it is: the summation, completion, and perfection of the Law; the Ultimate Standard to which we are to strive. The Ten Commandments and the rest of the Law were but a shadow of this Perfect Law, pointing us to it and to the One who would fulfill it. The Law says "you shall have no other gods before me," but Love says "I am so consumed by you that nothing else compares or even matters." The Law says, "do not kill," but Love says, "I give my life for you." The Law hopes for the Messiah to whom the Law pointed, but Love came to earth, died, rose to life, ascended to heaven, and sent us his Spirit, through whom we also live and love.

The One Year Bible Blog asks:

Comments from you & Question of the Day - ...are there any "religious things" that we do in our life just for "show"? Just so that others will honor us? I think this is such a fine line and something that we have to monitor all of our lives. Are you monitoring yourself when it comes to your faith to make sure you are not doing anything for "show" or for the wrong reasons? Have there been times in your past where you have done things just for "show" when it comes to your faith?

I've never been one to do anything - with respect to my faith or otherwise - for "show". In a world where perception is reality, I consider myself blessed that God has instilled in me the principle that He judges the heart of man - attitude and intention - and that I am to be guided by my conscience. I do not attend church to "put in an appearance." I abhor the idea of feeling compelled to put money in the offering collection in order to give the appearance of giving. I always try to judge whether my intent in an action is to honor God or to recieve myself the honor due Him from others. I really prefer to be the "guy behind the guy" - a position from which I can truly make a contribution and a difference, without the pressure or temptation of receiving praise for my effort. I try always to take the attitude of humility when I am tempted to despise a lack of recognition for something I've done, choosing instead to look forward to the recognition I hope to receive before the throne. In the end, these seven words are all I hope for: "Well done, my good and faithful servant."

OYB February 2

Filed in ReligionTags: Christianity, Devotions, One Year Bible

Today´s reading:
OT: Exodus 15:19-27, Exodus 16, Exodus 17:1-7
NT: Matthew 22:1-33
Ps: Psalm 27
Pr: Proverbs 6:20-26

Today´s notable verse:

Then they came to Elim, where there were twelve springs and seventy palm trees, and they camped there near the water.

Exodus 15:27 (NIV)

Israel entered Egypt with 12 sons and 70 descendants altogether (Exodus 1:5). Do the twelve springs and seventy palm trees at Elim have any relationship - symbolic or otherwise - with Israel's entourage, or are these two merely coincidental?

For many are invited, but few are chosen.

Matthew 22:14 (NIV)

Then he said to them, "Give to Caesar what is Caesar's, and to God what is God's."

Matthew 22:30 (NIV)

At the resurrection people will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven.

Matthew 22:21 (NIV)

A trio of difficult-to-comprehend teachings from Jesus. The first invokes the debate between free will versus predestination with respect to salvation. I think our discussion of God's hardening of Pharaoh's heart is enlightening, and I think I can draw the same conclusion: God invites everyone to the marriage banquet, but only chooses those who would be chosen. What, though, to make of the man at the banquet without proper attire, who was thrown out?

The second teaching speaks to a question I have had regarding tithing; do I consider my actual income, or only my after-tax income, when deciding what my tithe is? It's really only a theoretical question, because while what I give now is actually between the two, I believe I am being called to give a different amount that would exceed either - and what part of that is a tithe, and what part is an offering matters little compared to the gratitude in my heart to be able to give to God out of that with which He has blessed and to which He has entrusted me.

The third teaching deals with life after the resurrection, and how it will compare to our earthly lives with respect to marriage. Jesus' teaching makes sense here in that, while in marriage the two become one flesh, the two remain two distinct spiritual beings. Of course, being able to make such a statement doesn't imply that I fully grasp its meaning...

I am still confident of this: I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living.

Psalm 27:13 (NIV)

What a beautiful and powerful statement in witness to faith in God's ability to overcome all circumstances!

The One Year Bible Blog asks:

Comments from you & Question of the Day - Based on God's words about the Sabbath in our Exodus readings today, do you take a Sabbath? What do you do - or not do - on the Sabbath? Does it bless the other 6 days of your week? How long have you been in the habit of taking a Sabbath? Is it hard to get in the habit? Any other "tricks of the trade" you can share with all of us about taking a Sabbath?

For one, my employer knows that, for me, work and Sunday are mutually exclusive. My employment does not even exist in my mind on Sundays. Beyond that, I am unsure - being that I am single, saying that Sunday is a "family day" has little meaning. My normal church service is Saturday night, though I do still attend one of the Sunday morning services occasionally (especially weekends that I work one service with the pre-schoolers). I'm curious to see what everyone else has to say on the matter.

Sinner on the End of the Spear

Filed in Religion, ReviewsTags: Christianity, Movies

I went to see End Of The Spear Sunday night. I intend to post a review of the movie, but first I have to get something off of my chest. It is not often that I feel compelled to call fellow Christians on the carpet, but in this case, I must.

The supposed "controversy" - generated by my fellow Christians, no less - regarding actor Chad Allen being a gay rights activist disturbs me to no end. The same people who are beating the anti-Allen drum are at the same time complaining that the actor is getting more publicity than the story itself; I wonder why?

I am absolutely disgusted that anyone would be so hypocritical as to speak ill of a movie telling such a compelling and God-honoring story because one of the lead actors is homosexual. You know, it's a good thing for tax-collector Matthew, prostitute Mary Magdalene, murderer-aldulterer David, and countless others that Jesus took a different view of sinners than we, in our own self-righteousness, do. What was that Jesus said to us, about a speck, and a plank? Sin is sin. ALL men have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God. God sees all sin equally, yet God loves all sinners equally. How utterly hypocritical of us Christians to make this an issue. Let him who is without sin cast the first stone. If we intend only to see movies starring those without sin, we're going to be waiting a VERY long time...

What a fantastic story - and the story itself exemplifies the gospel. How sad it is that Christians would actively work against this story being told. Who cares if whats-his-name is homosexual, or even a gay-rights activist? He doesn't stand up in the middle of the movie and say, "hey, this is a great story and all, but about that gay marriage thing..." If you can't sit through the movie without being distracted by the sexual preference of the lead actor, then it is your own heart you need to examine before you question the motives of the movie's producers.

Thankfully, I'm not the only one who feels this way...

UPDATE:

Fellow One Year Bible blogger Dwayne's World and Christian Carnival blogger Allthings2all have great posts on the issue, as well.