OYB April 6

Filed in ReligionTags: Christianity, Devotions, One Year Bible

Today´s reading:
OT: Deuteronomy 29, Deuteronomy 30
NT: Luke 11:37-54, Luke 12:1-7
Ps: Psalm 78:1-31
Pr: Proverbs 12:19-20

Today´s notable verse:

I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more.

Luke 12:4 (NIV)

This is the fearlessness of the Christian: to understand and to think from an eternal perspective, and thus to know that our eternal life is secure in Christ, and nothing can come against us other than in our fleeting, temporal life on earth. Even if I am impoverished and afflicted to the extent of Job, I know that my eternal life, health, and prosperity can never be touched. Even if my life in the flesh is taken from me, I have not lost, but have gained my eternal reward.

The One Year Bible Blog notes:

Jesus' teachings in Luke chapter 12 verses 2 through 3 are also important for us to meditate upon in our lives today - "The time is coming when everything will be revealed; all that is secret will be made public. Whatever you have said in the dark will be heard in the light, and what you have whispered behind closed doors will be shouted from the housetops for all to hear!" I once heard a pastor say during a sermon - "nobody sins in a vacuum. Meaning, nobody sins and it does not affect others. When we sin - even when we are "alone" - it affects our community in ways we do not full realize." I think this is so true. When we sin - even what we have done or said in the "dark" - we hurt not only ourselves, but others. And Jesus and God, who are pure Light, have heard and know what we do in the dark. We cannot hide it from them. Better to confess it to God, repent, and be cleansed by the Light. Then, go, and sin in the dark no more.

Amen.

OYB April 5

Filed in ReligionTags: Christianity, Devotions, One Year Bible

Today´s reading:
OT: Deuteronomy 28
NT: Luke 11:14-36
Ps: Psalm 77
Pr: Proverbs 12:18

Today´s notable verse:

Reckless words pierce like a sword,
but the tongue of the wise brings healing.

Proverbs 12:18 (NIV)

Wow... I pray that my words bring healing more often than they pierce like a sword. It is sad that what God intends to bring healing, we twist into an instrument of piercing. How much more so when we Christians - the very ones called to bring healing - contribute to the pain from which others need to be healed!

The One Year Bible Blog asks:

As you are reading through the One Year Bible this year, are you remembering God’s miracles of long ago? Are you meditating on all of his mighty works and considering his mighty deeds? Are you being transformed by this process? And will you now go forth and help others in your life remember and meditate on God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit’s miracles of long ago?

I must admit, I'm still working through God's amazing work in my life today to have much time to devote to his "miracles of long ago" - though, undoubtedly, I should. Studying Genesis this year in BSF and seeing God's miraculous workings - and then going through the rest of the Pentateuch, and seeing even more of God's mighty works - has really helped center more of my meditation with that perspective.

OYB April 4

Filed in ReligionTags: Christianity, Devotions, One Year Bible

Today´s reading:
OT: Deuteronomy 26, Deuteronomy 27
NT: Luke 10:38-42, Luke 11:1-13
Ps: Psalm 76
Pr: Proverbs 12:15-17

Today´s notable verse:

A fool shows his annoyance at once,
but a prudent man overlooks an insult.

Proverbs 12:16 (NIV)

I think the prudence of overlooking an insult rather than making known our annoyance of that insult benefits us both externally, with respect to our reputation, and also internally, since vocalizing our annoyance acts to cement a root of bitterness or unforgiveness for that insult. To overlook an insult demonstrates humility, since we recognize that we ourselves have likewise insulted others, and it demonstrates our obedience to God's command to love those who persecute us and our recognition of God's sovereignity and rightful place to avenge.

The One Year Bible Blog asks:

Today in Luke chapter 10 we read about Jesus visiting Mary & Martha and Martha becoming upset with Mary for sitting at Jesus' feet and not helping her work in the kitchen. To which Jesus says to Martha in verses 41 & 42 - "But the Lord said to her, "My dear Martha, you are so upset over all these details! There is really only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it--and I won't take it away from her." What do you think is the one thing worth being concerned about Jesus is referring to? Is this really the only one thing you are concerned about in your life today? Or are you possibly being distracted by other "details"?

It appears to me that Mary's one concern was her desire for closeness and intimacy with the Messiah, to have relationship and fellowship with Him, and to listen to His words. I think my perspective in this regard has improved as I have grown older and matured in my walk, but certainly, I still get detracted at times by the "details" - whether "spiritual" details of my calling, service, church life and activities, etc. or else "worldly" details about my job and finances and everything else. However, the more time I spend in the Word, the more I am reminded of this primary concern of my relationship and intimacy with my Savior.

OYB April 3

Filed in ReligionTags: Christianity, Devotions, One Year Bible

Today´s reading:
OT: Deuteronomy 23, Deuteronomy 24, Deuteronomy 25
NT: Luke 10:13-37
Ps: Psalm 75
Pr: Proverbs 12:12-14

Today´s notable verses:

7 However, if a man does not want to marry his brother's wife, she shall go to the elders at the town gate and say, "My husband's brother refuses to carry on his brother's name in Israel. He will not fulfill the duty of a brother-in-law to me." 8 Then the elders of his town shall summon him and talk to him. If he persists in saying, "I do not want to marry her," 9 his brother's widow shall go up to him in the presence of the elders, take off one of his sandals, spit in his face and say, "This is what is done to the man who will not build up his brother's family line." 10 That man's line shall be known in Israel as The Family of the Unsandaled.

Deuteronomy 25:7-10 (NIV)

Nothing profoudly spiritual to note here; this regulation just struck my curiosity. "The Family of the Unsandaled"... interesting.

18 He replied, "I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. 19 I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you. 20 However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven."

Luke 10:18-20 (NIV)

Certainly, Jesus has given us authority; but our response is to be one not of pride, but of humility. We are to be astonished not because the things over which we have been given authority submit to that authority, but because of the grace and mercy God has shown us.

An evil man is trapped by his sinful talk,
but a righteous man escapes trouble.

Proverbs 12:13 (NIV)

Honesty truly is the best policy! Lies always catch up to us eventually. Conversely, acting and speaking with integrity will always result in our favor.

The One Year Bible Blog asks:

What a great opening line – Jesus, full of joy through the Holy Spirit! In your life today - are you full of joy through the Holy Spirit? Do you want to be? I read a great commentary from Tyndale’s One Year Bible companion on this verse with this wonderful Q & A - “What was Jesus’ relationship to the Holy Spirit? Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit, baptized by the Holy Spirit, anointed by the Holy Spirit, guided by the Holy Spirit, empowered by the Holy Spirit, and filled with the Holy Spirit. He lives in union with the Holy Spirit, and was dependent upon the Holy Spirit.” What is your relationship with the Holy Spirit today? Are you dependent upon the Holy Spirit in your life?

I would not have survived the past several months without an intimate relationship with, ministry of, and counsel from the Holy Spirit. It really is that simple. It is such a wonderful, liberating, comforting realization truly to know what it means to be sustained and empowered beyond one's own ability to cope, withstand, or endure hardship - and it is likewise an incredibly humbling understanding.

Fun With Electricity

Filed in PersonalTags: Missouri, Saint Louis

While today saw more deadly storms raging across the Saint Louis area, sparks were flying inside my apartment.

I noticed this morning that my lights and power were flickering. The problem seemed to get worse toward the late afternoon, when a power spike fried three of my surge protectors and took out the GFI outlet in my bathroom. Inside the breaker panel, I found sparking and arcing going on at the common line - an indicator of a short somewhere.

I tried isolating the short by systematically turning off each breaker in turn, but could not find a specific culprit. So, right now, I've got all the breakers off, except the essentials: the breaker with the refrigerator, and one with the bedroom outlet with my alarm clock. (The laptop is running on battery power right now.)

Worse yet, nobody was answering the emergency maintenance line for the apartment complex. I'm pretty sure I've mitigated any risk of an electrical fire tonight, and hopefully someone can get over first thing tomorrow to find out the problem.

OYB April 2

Filed in ReligionTags: Christianity, Devotions, One Year Bible

Today´s reading:
OT: Deuteronomy 21, Deuteronomy 22
NT: Luke 9:51-62, Luke 10:1-12
Ps: Psalm 74
Pr: Proverbs 12:11

Today´s notable verse:

1 If you see your brother's ox or sheep straying, do not ignore it but be sure to take it back to him. 2 If the brother does not live near you or if you do not know who he is, take it home with you and keep it until he comes looking for it. Then give it back to him. 3 Do the same if you find your brother's donkey or his cloak or anything he loses. Do not ignore it.

Deuteronomy 22:1-3 (NIV)

Reading these verses, I am reminded of the words of James:

Anyone then who knows the good he ought to do, and doesn't do it, sins.

James 4:17 (NIV)

We are called to holiness - to perfect, Christ-like love of God and man. We are told here very clearly that passive willingness not to do something in love is just as sinful as acting willfully contrary to love. We must seek out and be observant of the needs around us, and we must act upon them when we see them. Ignorance and apathy are entirely contradictory to Christ-like love.

The One Year Bible Blog notes:

Deuteronomy chapter 22 has various rules & regs, including sexual purity. It makes sense that there needed to be rules & regs for 1 million+ Israelites wandering in the desert for 40 years - and for them as they are now about to enter the Promised Land. Essentially, these rules & regs kept the peace. But, hopefully more than that, they kept the Israelites minds & hearts focused on God and not on sin.

Similar sentiment to what I was discussing earlier, though I focused in one one particular regulation from the passage. What I am loving about reading the books of OT law is how clearly they foreshadow the more perfect Law of Christ. When we take the time to look past the "dos and don'ts" and see the underlying principles, we realize that those principles - specifically, love and holiness - lead us to a place of understanding in which the decisions represented by the OT Law are no longer even salient. We become so focused on knowing what it means to love one another, to love God, and to pursue His holiness that the rules and regulations codified in the OT Law would become meaningless. In other words, when I act in love in the pursuit of holiness, I will never need to concern myself with choosing between acts that are sinful or not. If I truly act in love toward my neighbor, I never risk sinning against him. If my entire being is focused on presenting my life as a sacrifice to God and my every thought captivated by becoming conformed into the likeness of God, then I never fear sinning against Him.

It is a lofty goal, to be sure; but, it is one to which each of us is called.

13Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 3:13-14 (NIV)

Remember, the pursuit of holiness is not a destination but a journey. Press on!

My New Friday Night Stress Reliever

Filed in Personal, SportsTags: Volleyball

Can't think of a better way to end the week for the next eight weeks: Co-Ed Sand Volleyball. Our low-rec team, Bananas, lost all six games we played last night; but I guarantee we had more fun than anyone else!

On that note, happy Daylight Savings Time-change night!

Weekend Catblogging: Grooming

Filed in PersonalTags: Cats, Pets, Photos

It must be the weather; I'm just finding the need more and more to attend to my grooming needs:

millie 002_grooming

Here's a good spot to lick... right... here.
Photo © Chip Bennett, all rights reserved.

OYB April 1

Filed in ReligionTags: Christianity, Devotions, One Year Bible

Today´s reading:
OT: Deuteronomy 18, Deuteronomy 19, Deuteronomy 20
NT: Luke 9:28-50
Ps: Psalm 73
Pr: Proverbs 12:10

Today´s notable verses:

My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart
and my portion forever.

Psalm 73:26 (NIV)

Reading truths such as this one, and knowing them, is one thing - but living and walking out these truths cements our belief, and the experiences that bear out these truths become the building blocks of an ever-deepening faith.

A righteous man cares for the needs of his animal...

Proverbs 12:10a (NIV)

That one's for you, Kelly! 😉

The One Year Bible Blog asks:

I read an interesting commentary that said Peter was suggesting that 3 shelters be made because Peter thought at that time that the faith was built on these 3 pillars: The Law (Moses), the Prophets (Elijah), and Jesus. Whereas, Peter later understood that through the New Covenant our faith is now built on Jesus, "a chosen and precious cornerstone" (1 Peter 2:6).

Interesting: I had never thought of the Transfiguration in this symbolic manner; but, it makes sense!

OYB March 31

Filed in ReligionTags: Christianity, Devotions, One Year Bible

Today´s reading:
OT: Deuteronomy 16, Deuteronomy 17
NT: Luke 9:7-27
Ps: Psalm 72
Pr: Proverbs 12:8-9

Today´s notable verse:

Do not pervert justice or show partiality. Do not accept a bribe, for a bribe blinds the eyes of the wise and twists the words of the righteous.

Deuteronomy 16:19 (NIV)

No commentary today; just catching up from yesterday with the One Year Bible Blog.