OYB 2009: 03 January

Filed in ReligionTags: Christianity, Devotions, One Year Bible

Today´s reading:

Genesis 5:1-7:24 ◊ Matthew 3:7-4:11 ◊ Psalm 3:1-8 ◊ Proverbs 1:10-19

One Year Bible Blog

The One Year Bible Blog´s comments for today, which asks:

Are you memorizing Scripture on a regular basis? Are you bringing Scripture to mind when faced with temptation or sadness or whatever ails you? I would love to know which verses you have found useful in your life? Do you have advice on how to best go about memorizing Scripture? Will you join me in my plan to memorize more Scripture verses in 2009? Also, what verses or insights stand out to you in today's readings?

I have always stressed the importance of memorizing Scripture. My first year through the One Year Bible, each day I highlighted a notable Scripture, many of which I memorized. Many years in Bible Bowl, I memorized the text, which consisted of about 40 chapters of a book (or several books) of the Bible.

That said, as I mentioned yesterday, I believe that it is not the memorization that is key, but rather an attitude or desire to have the Word ingrained in one's heart and mind. The desire and act of memorizing Scripture is but fruit borne from that attitude/desire - important fruit, to be sure; but merely fruit, nevertheless. It is the attitude of delight in God's Law that leads us to meditate upon it, yields a desire to know God's Word so deeply as to memorize it, facilitates its memorization, and enables us to bring His Word to mind and to apply it in resisting temptation and mastering the sin that crouches at the door.

Likewise with the temptation of Christ, the part of the story that is sometimes overlooked is that between Christ's baptism and temptation is a period of fasting. Undoubtedly, during the 40 days and nights this fast, Jesus immersed Himself in prayer and meditation. I have heard some say that this forty-day fast left Jesus in a weakened physical state, and therefore more susceptible to temptation. However, I would counter that this forty-day fast left Jesus in a heightened spiritual state, and therefore better prepared to resist temptation.

OYB 2009: 02 January

Filed in ReligionTags: Christianity, Devotions, One Year Bible

Today´s Reading:

Genesis 3:1-4:26 ◊ Matthew 2:13-3:6 ◊ Psalm 2:1-12 ◊ Proverbs 1:7-9

God's Promises - OT:

And I will put enmity
between you and the woman,
and between your offspring and hers;
he will crush your head,
and you will strike his heel.

Genesis 3:15 (NIV)

God spoke these words to the Serpent (Satan) after Adam and Eve sinned, prompted by the Serpent's deception. With these words, God is foretelling the coming and redeeming work of the Messiah: His promise of man's salvation.

One Year Bible Blog

The One Year Bible Blog´s comments for today, which asks:

What is your reaction to reading about The Fall in Genesis today? Is it painful to read about The Fall after reading about The Creation yesterday? If Satan was able to deceive Adam & Eve back then, do you think he still deceives people today? What is our remedy from the lies and deception Satan might throw our way? Do you believe reading and studying God's Word on a daily basis might be one remedy? What are some other remedies? (prayer, going to church, being in a small community group with others, etc.?) Do you believe Jesus has saved us from The Fall? Also, what verses or insights stand out to you in today's readings?

My reaction to the fall is that it was inevitable, and that I am grateful that God instituted His plan for salvation even from the very beginning. It isn't terribly painful to read about the fall after reading yesterday about the perfection of creation, because, except for man, creation was not made in God's image. Creation even before the Fall was but a glimpse of what eternity will be like. That we now live in a fallen world is merely a further reminder of that for which we hope.

Satan absolutely deceives people still today. The best - and only - remedy was given to us in yesterday's reading: delight in and meditation upon God's Law. All else springs from this foundation. It is not the action of studying God's Word (or anything else, such as prayer, church attendance, relationships, etc.), but rather an attitude of desire to please God and to follow His Law that enables us to master the sin that crouches at the door.

OYB 2009: 01 January

Filed in ReligionTags: Christianity, Devotions, One Year Bible

Today´s Reading:

Genesis 1:1-2:25 ◊ Matthew 1:1-2:12 ◊ Psalm 1:1-6 ◊ Proverbs 1:1-6

God's Promises - OT:

16 And the LORD God commanded the man, "You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; 17 but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die."

Genesis 2:16-17 (NIV)

Not all of God's promises seem pleasing to us. For example, the very first promise made by God introduces man to the concept of morality and the consequences for acting outside of God's established moral law.

God gives man every good and perfect thing to meet his every need, but this man who was created as a physically mature adult came into being also as a spiritually immature infant. In the midst of this perfect setting, God presents man with a choice, in order both to begin his moral training and also to demonstrate that man cannot meet God's moral standard on his own.

Adam does not understand the consequence of violating this first boundary given by God. He believes God to be referring to physical death, while in reality God is referring to spiritual death. This misunderstanding facilitates Adam's later deception.

God's Promises - NT:

20 But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, "Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins."

Matthew 1:20-21 (NIV)

The promise given here is delivered by an angel of the Lord to Joseph, but it is God's promise to man that Jesus was to be the Christ (Messiah: the Anointed One), God come to earth as man (Emmanuel), to save man from sin (Jesus).

God's Promises - Psalms/Proverbs:

1 Blessed is the man
who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked
or stand in the way of sinners
or sit in the seat of mockers.

2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD,
and on his law he meditates day and night.

3 He is like a tree planted by streams of water,
which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither.
Whatever he does prospers.

Psalm 1:1-3 (NIV)

What a beautiful promise to us! When we delight not in sin but in God's law - when we meditate not on the things of the world, but on God's law - God promises that we will be strong, fruitful, healthy, and prosperous in all that we do.

It is as if each one of us is presented with that same choice given to Adam in the garden: delight in God's law, and enjoy the fruits of our fellowship with God and the right to eat from the tree of life; or delight in the world, and suffer the consequences of broken fellowship with God. (The passage goes on further to promise that this latter choice will not prevail, and that those who make the latter choice will suffer for it.)

But even in our fallen state, we still have this promise of strength, fruitfulness, health, and prosperity when we delight in and meditate upon God's Law. Note that these verses do not say "follow God's Law perfectly" (for we are unable to do so), but rather to delight in and meditate on God's Law. God is concerned primarily with our heart: our attitude, our willingness to subject our free will to the desire to be obedient to God.

One Year Bible Blog

The One Year Bible Blog´s comments for today.