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Showing posts from February, 2013

God's Love

Scripture:

1Cor. 13:8 ¶ Love never ends. But as for prophecies, they will come to an end; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will come to an end.
1Cor. 13:9 For we know only in part, and we prophesy only in part;
1Cor. 13:10 but when the complete comes, the partial will come to an end.
1Cor. 13:11 When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became an adult, I put an end to childish ways.
1Cor. 13:12 For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we will see face to face. Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known.
1Cor. 13:13 And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love.

Observation:

The Apostle Paul in his letter to the church in Corinth brings us to this climatic moment in his writings.  He has talked about being a part of the body of Christ and about different gifts within that body but now his language shifts focus.  This entire chapter, …

God's Care

Scripture:

Mark 6:30 ¶ The apostles gathered around Jesus, and told him all that they had done and taught.
Mark 6:31 He said to them, “Come away to a deserted place all by yourselves and rest a while.” For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat.

Mark 6:42 And all ate and were filled;
Mark 6:43 and they took up twelve baskets full of broken pieces and of the fish.
Mark 6:44 Those who had eaten the loaves numbered five thousand men.
Mark 6:45 ¶ Immediately he made his disciples get into the boat and go on ahead to the other side, to Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd.

Mark 6:49 But when they saw him walking on the sea, they thought it was a ghost and cried out;
Mark 6:50 for they all saw him and were terrified. But immediately he spoke to them and said, “Take heart, it is I; do not be afraid.”
Mark 6:51 Then he got into the boat with them and the wind ceased. And they were utterly astounded,
Mark 6:52 for they did not understand about the loaves, but their h…

Fear vs. Belief

Scripture:

Mark 5:36 But overhearing what they said, Jesus said to the leader of the synagogue, “Do not fear, only believe.”

Observation:

Here we have two stories of Jesus' healing power that are folded into one.  A leader from the synagogue comes to Jesus and asks him to come to his home because his little daughter is sick.  Before he can get there a woman steps out of the crowd, reaches out and touches the hem of Jesus' garment because she is in desperate need of healing.  She is healed but it stops Jesus in his tracks.  He knew that power had flown out of him.  He then commends the woman telling her that it was her faith that made her whole.  But in the meantime he has been delayed in getting to the home of the synagogue leader whose little daughter is sick.  At that very moment people from the leaders home show up and tell them not to bother to come.  Jesus didn't make it in time -- the little girl has died. 

It is in this very moment that we are brought into today's…

Don't Be Stingy With God

Scripture:

Num. 18:29 You must present as the LORD’S portion the best and holiest part of everything given to you.’

Observation:

Instructions were being given to the Levites regarding offerings.  The people were to bring a tithe to the priests and from this the priests were to present a tithe to God.  The instructions for the priests were simple in regard to their tithe. They were to give God the best and holiest portion of everything that they were given. 

We read later about the failure of the priests.  Eli's sons were wicked because they wanted the very best of everything for themselves.  They would use a utensil and dig out the best pieces of meat for themselves from the offerings to God.  They were selfish and were punished because they would not give to God.  God's desire for his servants was that they would give to him out of the generosity of their hearts nurtured in a personal relationship with him.


Application:

Have you ever been at the receiving end of donations?  As a m…

God Cannot Be Fooled

Scripture:

Num. 16:1 ¶ Now Korah son of Izhar son of Kohath son of Levi, along with Dathan and Abiram sons of Eliab, and On son of Peleth—descendants of Reuben—took
Num. 16:2 two hundred fifty Israelite men, leaders of the congregation, chosen from the assembly, well-known men, and they confronted Moses.
Num. 16:3 They assembled against Moses and against Aaron, and said to them, “You have gone too far! All the congregation are holy, everyone of them, and the LORD is among them. So why then do you exalt yourselves above the assembly of the LORD?”
Num. 16:4 When Moses heard it, he fell on his face.
Num. 16:5 Then he said to Korah and all his company, “In the morning the LORD will make known who is his, and who is holy, and who will be allowed to approach him; the one whom he will choose he will allow to approach him.
Num. 16:6 Do this: take censers, Korah and all your company,
Num. 16:7 and tomorrow put fire in them, and lay incense on them before the LORD; and the man whom the LORD choos…

Seeing Giants

Scripture:

Num. 13:25 ¶ At the end of forty days they returned from spying out the land.
Num. 13:26 And they came to Moses and Aaron and to all the congregation of the Israelites in the wilderness of Paran, at Kadesh; they brought back word to them and to all the congregation, and showed them the fruit of the land.
Num. 13:27 And they told him, “We came to the land to which you sent us; it flows with milk and honey, and this is its fruit.
Num. 13:28 Yet the people who live in the land are strong, and the towns are fortified and very large; and besides, we saw the descendants of Anak there.
Num. 13:29 The Amalekites live in the land of the Negeb; the Hittites, the Jebusites, and the Amorites live in the hill country; and the Canaanites live by the sea, and along the Jordan.”
Num. 13:30 ¶ But Caleb quieted the people before Moses, and said, “Let us go up at once and occupy it, for we are well able to overcome it.”
Num. 13:31 Then the men who had gone up with him said, “We are not able to…

Do not hide your face from me….

Scripture:

Psa. 27:7      ¶ Hear, O LORD, when I cry aloud,
        be gracious to me and answer me!
Psa. 27:8     “Come,” my heart says, “seek his face!”
        Your face, LORD, do I seek.
Psa. 27:9         Do not hide your face from me.

     ¶ Do not turn your servant away in anger,
        you who have been my help.
    Do not cast me off, do not forsake me,
        O God of my salvation!
Psa. 27:10     If my father and mother forsake me,
        the LORD will take me up.

Observation:

David didn't have a "once in a while" relationship with God; instead he had a relationship in which he reached out in a personal walk on a regular basis.  He didn't sugar-coat the relationship either, but would share from the very heart of his being the struggles that he was facing.  He loved God deeply but he also lived a rather tumultuous life with plenty of enemies and other distractions.  He regularly cried out to God and sought his guidance in his life. 

The very heart of David led him t…

Explaining from Morning Until Evening

Scripture:

Acts 28:16 ¶ When we came into Rome, Paul was allowed to live by himself, with the soldier who was guarding him.
Acts 28:17 ¶ Three days later he called together the local leaders of the Jews. When they had assembled, he said to them, “Brothers, though I had done nothing against our people or the customs of our ancestors, yet I was arrested in Jerusalem and handed over to the Romans.
Acts 28:18 When they had examined me, the Romans wanted to release me, because there was no reason for the death penalty in my case.
Acts 28:19 But when the Jews objected, I was compelled to appeal to the emperor—even though I had no charge to bring against my nation.
Acts 28:20 For this reason therefore I have asked to see you and speak with you, since it is for the sake of the hope of Israel that I am bound with this chain.”
Acts 28:21 They replied, “We have received no letters from Judea about you, and none of the brothers coming here has reported or spoken anything evil about you.
Acts 28:22…

A Centurion Named Julius

A Centurion Named Julius
Acts 27:1 Paul Sails for Rome Chapter 27  When it was decided that we were to sail for Italy, they transferred Paul and some other prisoners to a centurion of the Augustan Cohort, named Julius.
Observation:
Paul is being sent off to Rome and a centurion by the name of Julius is to accompany him.  Throughout this journey we learn a little about the character of this man.  Paul obviously makes an impression on him for throughout the journey Julius works to ensure the safety of Paul.  At times Julius intervenes with all of the soldiers on board and gives them orders to respond to Paul.  This man, a great Roman soldier, is remembered by name in the word of God because of his compassion toward a man in whom he saw a genuine relationship with Christ.
Application:
I'm writing these thoughts today from 30,000 feet in the air.  I'm wondering what it would be like to be traveling as a prisoner, with someone along to watch my every move.  What would my attitude …

The Aaronic Blessing

Scripture:

Num. 6:22 ¶ The LORD spoke to Moses, saying:
Num. 6:23 Speak to Aaron and his sons, saying, Thus you shall bless the Israelites: You shall say to them,
Num. 6:24     The LORD bless you and keep you;
Num. 6:25     the LORD make his face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you;
Num. 6:26     the LORD lift up his countenance upon you, and give you peace.


Observation:

The Lord had given all kinds of instructions for worship and sacrifice to Moses but now we come to this moment where Aaron and his sons are told how to bless the people.  These are God's people and he loves them dearly.  He wants his people to understand that walking with him is not just about sacrifice and right living, but about his blessing upon them.  This blessing follows in the same line as the patriarchal blessings.  Remember when Isaac and Jacob placed their hands on the eldest children and blessed them?  There was great significance in the blessing for it foreshadowed the life of the child who r…

They Couldn't Make Sense of It

Scripture:

Acts 25:23 ¶ So on the next day Agrippa and Bernice came with great pomp, and they entered the audience hall with the military tribunes and the prominent men of the city. Then Festus gave the order and Paul was brought in.
Acts 25:24 And Festus said, “King Agrippa and all here present with us, you see this man about whom the whole Jewish community petitioned me, both in Jerusalem and here, shouting that he ought not to live any longer.
Acts 25:25 But I found that he had done nothing deserving death; and when he appealed to his Imperial Majesty, I decided to send him.
Acts 25:26 But I have nothing definite to write to our sovereign about him. Therefore I have brought him before all of you, and especially before you, King Agrippa, so that, after we have examined him, I may have something to write—
Acts 25:27 for it seems to me unreasonable to send a prisoner without indicating the charges against him.”

Observation:

Paul has been a faithful minister of the gospel of Jesus …

A Leningrad Portion

Image
Scripture:

Lev. 26:23 ¶ If in spite of these punishments you have not turned back to me, but continue hostile to me,
Lev. 26:24 then I too will continue hostile to you: I myself will strike you sevenfold for your sins.
Lev. 26:25 I will bring the sword against you, executing vengeance for the covenant; and if you withdraw within your cities, I will send pestilence among you, and you shall be delivered into enemy hands.
Lev. 26:26 When I break your staff of bread, ten women shall bake your bread in a single oven, and they shall dole out your bread by weight; and though you eat, you shall not be satisfied.

Observation:

God wants his people to be in a right relationship with him.  All that he desires is for their good and yet he knows their hearts and that they are constantly tempted to drift away and not to serve him.  He begins discussing the consequences of their unfaithfulness.  A number of items are listed but the final one comes down to bread.  There is great significance in this for…

We ARE Servants of the Lord

Scripture:

Lev. 25:54 And if they have not been redeemed in any of these ways, they and their children with them shall go free in the jubilee year.
Lev. 25:55 For to me the people of Israel are servants; they are my servants whom I brought out from the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God.

Observation:

Here in Leviticus we discover an entire list of instructions regarding the year of Jubilee.  Every 50th year the children of Israel were to celebrate a special year in which all property went back to its rightful owners.  In the midst of these guidelines comes instruction on servanthood or slavery.  Interestingly if someone found themselves in extremely difficult circumstances they were permitted to sell their labors to another individual.  The amount was determined by the number of years before the year of Jubilee for this determined the length of service.  No one was every to be in permanent service to another person!  Why?  Because everyone and everything belonged to God.  In the year…

The Name of the Lord

Scripture:

Lev. 24:10 ¶ A man whose mother was an Israelite and whose father was an Egyptian came out among the people of Israel; and the Israelite woman’s son and a certain Israelite began fighting in the camp.
Lev. 24:11 The Israelite woman’s son blasphemed the Name in a curse. And they brought him to Moses—now his mother’s name was Shelomith, daughter of Dibri, of the tribe of Dan—
Lev. 24:12 and they put him in custody, until the decision of the LORD should be made clear to them.
Lev. 24:13 ¶ The LORD said to Moses, saying:
Lev. 24:14 Take the blasphemer outside the camp; and let all who were within hearing lay their hands on his head, and let the whole congregation stone him.
Lev. 24:15 And speak to the people of Israel, saying: Anyone who curses God shall bear the sin.
Lev. 24:16 One who blasphemes the name of the LORD shall be put to death; the whole congregation shall stone the blasphemer. Aliens as well as citizens, when they blaspheme the Name, shall be put to death.

Observat…

Real Folks Reacting in Real Ways

Scripture:

Acts 20:7 ¶ On the first day of the week, when we met to break bread, Paul was holding a discussion with them; since he intended to leave the next day, he continued speaking until midnight.
Acts 20:8 There were many lamps in the room upstairs where we were meeting.
Acts 20:9 A young man named Eutychus, who was sitting in the window, began to sink off into a deep sleep while Paul talked still longer. Overcome by sleep, he fell to the ground three floors below and was picked up dead.
Acts 20:10 But Paul went down, and bending over him took him in his arms, and said, “Do not be alarmed, for his life is in him.”
Acts 20:11 Then Paul went upstairs, and after he had broken bread and eaten, he continued to converse with them until dawn; then he left.
Acts 20:12 Meanwhile they had taken the boy away alive and were not a little comforted.

Observation:


I love this story because we catch a glimpse of just how real and ordinary these people were -- including the Apostle Paul.  They ordin…

The Power of the Word of the Lord

Scripture:

Acts 19:11 ¶ God did extraordinary miracles through Paul,
Acts 19:12 so that when the handkerchiefs or aprons that had touched his skin were brought to the sick, their diseases left them, and the evil spirits came out of them.
Acts 19:13 Then some itinerant Jewish exorcists tried to use the name of the Lord Jesus over those who had evil spirits, saying, “I adjure you by the Jesus whom Paul proclaims.”
Acts 19:14 Seven sons of a Jewish high priest named Sceva were doing this.
Acts 19:15 But the evil spirit said to them in reply, “Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are you?”
Acts 19:16 Then the man with the evil spirit leaped on them, mastered them all, and so overpowered them that they fled out of the house naked and wounded.
Acts 19:17 When this became known to all residents of Ephesus, both Jews and Greeks, everyone was awestruck; and the name of the Lord Jesus was praised.
Acts 19:18 Also many of those who became believers confessed and disclosed their practice…

Speak Up for the Lord

Scripture:

Acts 18:9 One night the Lord said to Paul in a vision, “Do not be afraid, but speak and do not be silent;
Acts 18:10 for I am with you, and no one will lay a hand on you to harm you, for there are many in this city who are my people.”
Acts 18:11 He stayed there a year and six months, teaching the word of God among them.


Observation:

Paul's ministry in Corinth was now extending to the Gentiles.  He had begun his ministry by preaching in the synagogue but the Jews didn't want to hear what he had to say.  He had to move on and he knew that there were those who were threatening his very life.  In the midst of this difficulty the Lord came to Paul and spoke to him in a vision.  The Lord encouraged Paul to continue with his ministry for there were many more believers in the city than Paul realized. 

Application:

It is easy to become discouraged about speaking up and presenting the Good News.  Society is making this increasingly more difficult as Christians have been cas…

Using Women of Influence

Scripture:

Acts 17:12 Many of them therefore believed, including not a few Greek women and men of high standing.


Observation:

Paul and Silas had gone off to Berea where they were now sharing the Gospel.  They were all quite amazed at how responsive the people were and how quickly they accepted the good news.  First of all they went to the Jewish synagogue and there the Jews were very receptive of what they were being taught.  They spent time verifying the scriptures and many of them believed in Jesus.  The news about Jesus spilled over into the Greek population.  A number of the Greek women of high standing within the community first began to believe in Jesus and they carried the word home to their husbands, and they too believed. 

Application:

Throughout history we find that women have had a place of influence in spreading the gospel.  Whether it was Mary Magdalene at the Garden Tomb, the Samaritan woman at the well, or these Greek women of high standing within their community, women ha…

Does God Value Boys More than Girls?

Scripture:

Lev. 12:1 ¶ The LORD spoke to Moses, saying:
Lev. 12:2 Speak to the people of Israel, saying: ¶ If a woman conceives and bears a male child, she shall be ceremonially unclean seven days; as at the time of her menstruation, she shall be unclean.
Lev. 12:3 On the eighth day the flesh of his foreskin shall be circumcised.
Lev. 12:4 Her time of blood purification shall be thirty-three days; she shall not touch any holy thing, or come into the sanctuary, until the days of her purification are completed.
Lev. 12:5 If she bears a female child, she shall be unclean two weeks, as in her menstruation; her time of blood purification shall be sixty-six days.
Lev. 12:6 ¶ When the days of her purification are completed, whether for a son or for a daughter, she shall bring to the priest at the entrance of the tent of meeting a lamb in its first year for a burnt offering, and a pigeon or a turtledove for a sin offering.
Lev. 12:7 He shall offer it before the LORD, and make atonement on her …