4/25/19 One Year Bible Recap

Judges 4: 1—5: 31

We are going to get really good at seeing these sin cycles.  Pay attention because God is teaching us something here.  Sin cycles are not sequestered only to the Israelites in the OT.  Ehud dies, and the Israelites do evil in the sight of the Lord.  "Doing evil in the sight of the Lord" is an all-encompassing phrase for immoral idol worship.  Israel finds themselves being ruled by a Canaanite king so they cry out to the Lord.  The Lord sent Deborah.  Deborah gets the instructions from the Lord and calls Barak.  Now, I am sure he is a great warrior but we cannot skip over the fact that he said he would obey the Lord, but only if Deborah would go with him.  And as any good woman would say, she responds with, "I'll go but you should know that I will get all the credit."  I love how the Lord gives them victory by using someone related to the Israelites through Moses.  No display of force, well except for a tent peg.  No fanfare and ceremony.  He needs a nap, God directs Sisera to Jael and bam! Tent peg to the ear.  God rescued them from the Canaanite king that oppressed them because of their sin.  This experience for Deborah and Barak caused them to praise the Lord.  I love how they recounted the victory and also threw shade at Sisera by exclaiming his mother was waiting at the window for him to come home assuming it was taking so long because of that plunder!  No, ma'am, his new earring makes it hard to move.  God saved Israel, and there was peace for 40 years.

 

Luke 22: 35-53

The prayer in the garden is heartbreaking.  We see Jesus' humanity and we see how He is God.  He asks The Father if there is another way.  But because He never sinned there is no question of Him not being obedient.  This shows as humans we can absolutely cry out to the Lord to change things on our behalf.  But He is in so much distress because He, as God knows that God the Father is about to judge the sin of the world and the judgment will be poured out on Him.  He is in distress because He knows how bad sin is, and how God will not ignore sin, but judge it.  And He knows that for the first time ever He will be separated from God.  There is no way for me to explain the mystery of how all this happened, but we can sit and see that the Savior of the world knows what's about to happen to Him will be excruciating for Him. 

 

Psalm 94

I love the idea of "if God is deaf why did he give us ears?" If God is blind why did He give us eyes?"  We are made in His image so obviously, He can see and hear.  His creation reveals His character to us.  So, if we have ears to hear and eyes to see, so does God.  He is not some amorphic energy that swims around the heavens.  He sees us and He listens to us. 

 

Proverbs 14: 3-4

You have no idea how many times my prideful words have come back to bite me.  But God has this amazing ability to teach me how to put a filter on those words, it just takes time.  I think just like the barn has to get a little dirty to house the oxen that help you harvest, I have to get a little banged up to produce more wise words instead of prideful ones.

 

4/24/19 One Year Bible Recap

Judges 2: 10—3: 31

One generation, thats it, thats all God got out of them.  We will roll through these next pages of the book of Judges and see a cycle emerge.  1. Israel worships false gods.  2.  God allows them to be captured and ruled by foreign kings.  3.  Israel cries out to the Lord for rescue.  4.  God sends a judge to rescue them.  5. Judge dies.  6. Rinse and Repeat.  Look for this as we move on.  Also, you are going to meet some really colorful characters.  Ehud for example— the knife wielding lefty.  If you have never believed that God can literally use anyone to carry out His plans, you will believe that as you read the book of Judges.  

Generally, New Testament believers will fall into two camps as we try to learn from these OT historical lessons.  The first is camp is Camp Self-Righteousness.  These campers sit around the camp fire and say things like, “I can’t believe those dumb Israelites did not follow Gods rules!  I would have had no problem following them!” All while congratulating themselves on being such good Christians.  The second camp is Camp Rules Are Dumb.  These campers sit around the camp fire and say really snappy things like, “God never wanted rules, don’t be a legalist man, do what moves your soul, God is not about rule following.  Jesus came to set you free!”  The problem with both these camps is they miss the point of the stories.  God is the hero of the OT stories.  We read them to learn about His character and how He works. God saves His people who are stuck in the sin cycle of the book of Judges.  He knows their hearts are drenched in sin.  He knows He will save them from oppression only to have to save them again.  He is teaching us that rules don’t save, He does.  He is teaching us that following Him and His rules keeps us living in the freedom He promised us.  That seems weird to type, but yes, God’s rules (not religion, not tradition) lead us to freedom.  The point He is proving to us is that we cannot follow the rules and when left to our own devices we will not worship Him.  We need something beyond the rules, and beyond our own hearts to help us.  (Spoiler alert= Belief in Jesus seals us with The Helper—aka. the Holy Spirit.) 


Luke 22: 14-34

What was the meaning of Passover?  It was a festival the Israelites celebrated to commemorate the way God “Passed Over” their houses in Egypt during the plague of the death of the first born.  During the plague, the blood of a perfect lamb was smeared over the door posts to identify them as God’s own people, and save them from death.  Luke in his gospel has to explain this to gentiles who would not necessarily know the significance.  And Jesus, the perfect Lamb who is about to be slain will spill His blood to save all believers in Him from death.  As we remember from our OT reading, blood is required when setting up a covenant.  Jesus’ blood will institute a New Covenant.  

The word “sift” in verse 31 sends shivers down my spine.  Anyone geared like Peter has to be sifted to learn about how much they are trusting in their own ability.  I had to be sifted.  I will still get sifted in the future.  On this side of the most significant sifting I have had to date I can say with confidence I am better for the sifting.  I am more aware of who I am and how much I really want to follow all those rules and save myself.  There is pain when sinful self dies, but there is strength that comes after repentance.  


Psalm 92 and 93

The first psalm reminds us that the wicked are like grass, quick to rise up and quick to die.  But the godly will remain like the cedars of Lebanon.  Being godly takes time to grown.  Tree’s don’t grown over night.  Beware of the “get godly quick” schemes.  Time + Jesus = godly.  

Psalm 93 predicts what the earth will be like when Jesus comes back to rule the Millennial kingdom. 


Proverbs 14: 1-2

I have been both the wise woman and the foolish woman.  I have never be more convinced that our job as woman is to care for the people in our home.  And all the feminist gasped!  Especially my mother! Don’t get me wrong.  If you know me at all you will know that I will never be compared to June Cleaver.  But I have discovered that as I follow Jesus, He has shown me how to be the woman who builds up her home in my own Sarah Griffith kind of way. 

4/23/19 One Year Bible Recap

Judges 1:1—2:9

Boy oh boy!  We are rocking and rolling now!  We start the book of Judges today.  This historical book was probably written by Samuel, but for safety’s sake we are going to say Samuel and company.  The fact is that the book spans from the death of Joshua to the appointment of Saul.  We can totally dip into a 20,000 word discussion on dating the events but in the end we will end up with this, Judges talks about the time period between the death of Joshua and the appointment of Saul.  So lets not waste time on unimportant dates and jump in to the story.  

Ok, look at it this way, the first verse gives us the timeframe of what this book is covering.  Then we kind of have a prologue of what has happened so far.  Then we move into how the tribes laid claim to the land that was theirs.  Or more specifically how they didn’t because in section 27-34 “failed” is a key word. 

Chapter two is where the narrative picks up with new information.  Remember at the end of Joshua when he says, “As for me and my house we will serve the Lord?”  And all the Israelites say, “Yeah! Us too!” And then Joshua says, “Guys, you don’t even know yourselves!  You are so sinful you CAN’T follow the Lord!”  Well, the Lord calls them out here and proves that to be true.  He tells them that by making the people slaves, aka. making covenants with them, they have failed to keep their end of the bargain.  WE as the Church  have the benefit of hindsight and can say that in this moment the Israelites should have said, “You are right!  We can’t follow these rules!  Please Lord what is plan B!  Give us a savior who can save us from ourselves!” In the following chapters of Judges we will see that they did not call out for a Savior.  We will see a theme emerge.  “In those days Israel had no king; all the people did whatever seemed right in their own eyes,” will be the command of the day.  We will read about how a loving God uses discipline and hardship to point people back to Himself.  


Luke 21: 29—22: 13

The generation that sees the signs described in verses 21: 8-28 will not die before Jesus will come back.  They will know just like they can count on the growth stages of a fruit tree that the end is coming.  We as the church have seen some bad things but worse is to come.  

Jesus is preparing for His death.  The important thing to remember is none of this chaotic or catching Him off guard.  He is in control from Satan entering Judus to using an inn keepers room to have Passover. 


Psalm 90-91

Psalms 90-92 are all related.  The occasion for Moses writing them has to be during the desert wanderings.  Verses 11-12 in Psalm 91 are the very words Satan uses to tempt Jesus.  Just goes to show you that the Word of God can be used in the wrong way.  We have to know it for ourselves so we are not lead astray.  You cannot do what is right in your eyes, you have to do what is right in God’s eyes.


Proverbs 13: 24-25

My friend Brittany said the most profound thing one time.  One of her kids was acting a fool and she said, “I am going to spank you because you need to learn that sin hurts.”  This statement spoke volumes to me.  1. We don’t discipline because we are angry and annoyed with our kids.  2. We HAVE to teach our kids that sin hurts us, and they can’t let sin rule them.  Now, I will confess to you the my disciple, before knowing the Lord was more military style.  I wanted my kids to have a healthy fear of me so they would do what I said.  However, my heart broke as new believer when I realized that fear is a terrible motivator and my kids were scared of me.  So I am not saying we discipline out of our anger to make our kids scared of us.  I am saying that we put this proverb into practice.  Teaching your child to be disciplined and not ruled by sin is the greatest gift you can give them.  God disciplines us. We are going to learn how He uses pain and hardships to draw us to Him in the book of Judges.  If you are too afraid to make your kid cry and to teach them how to lead disciplined lives you will turn out kids who are ruled by sin and self desire, whiney, angry, lazy, wicked people.  What God says is law, if we rub up against His rules we get hurt.  It is the same principle he wants us to put in play for our kids if we love them.  



 

 Tyndale House Publishers. Holy Bible: New Living Translation. Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 2013. Print.

4/22/19 One Year Bible Recap

Joshua 24: 1-33

We come across one of the most quoted OT verses today.  “But as for me and my family, we will serve the Lord.”  These are some of Joshua’s last words to the Israelites. In Joshua’s context it means that they are going to uphold the covenant with God.  They are going to follow the 10 commandments and worship God at the Tabernacle.  But because we are not in the promised land and we do not have a Tabernacle with a sacrificial system what does that mean for us?  When you see this quoted on a Hobby Lobby sign why does it ring true and make us want to buy it and hang it in our houses?  I think it is because it rings true in our soul.  We really want to follow the Lord.  We know that our family will be better for following the Lord. But, will you allow me to climb on my soap box for a second… The universal truth that still applies from this verse is that following the Lord means you look different from the world around you.  Remember the Israelites were supposed to reflect God to the nations around them who served fake gods.  WE, as the church are supposed to reflect God to the people around us.  Just like the Israelites we are supposed to look different from the world around us.  That is what this verse is communicating.  Joshua says, “You can go back and serve the fake Gods like everyone else, or you can choose to be God’s chosen people.” God asks people who follow Him to look different from the world around them.  I’m not talking about dressing different (get away from me with woman should always were skirts, I’ll cut you), and I am not talking about behaving better.  I am talking about a soul level relationship with your Savior that changes every aspect of your life from your finances to how you allocate your time. That is what following the Lord means.  What Joshua is saying is, “As for me and my house, we are going to do things vastly different from the culture around us, we are going to stick with God even if it means we have to say no to stuff we want to do, because we know who God is, we have seen Him rescue us, we have seen Him fight for us, we know He is the real deal, you do you boo, but we are following Him, and even if my kids want to sleep in and not go to temple (or for us, church), I’m hauling them out of bed and we are going.” Someone should put that on a sign! LOL 


Luke 21: 1-28

Man, I tell you what, you can be anything no-a-day’s except a christian.  You can have any kind of truth in your life except absolute truth.  Jesus tells us to expect this as history spins on.  He prepares us so we will not panic and so we know what is coming.  The fact is that there is an end to this sin soaked earth.  Jesus will fulfill the promises made in OT.  He will comeback and create a new heaven and a new earth.  It is not a mystery, He tells us the plan.  We have read this teaching in the first two gospels and now here in Luke.  Things will get really bad, christians will be persecuted and there will be never before seen natural events.  But these are all the precursor to the end.  The birth pangs, remember? So don’t be surprised that you can be anything but christian, Jesus tells us to expect that.  Our job is to not sleep on the job here…all these things give us urgency to tell people who God is and how He loves them.  Do you see how the further we move away from God as a culture the more chaotic things are getting.  Jesus told us this would happen.  This is the same reason why Joshua said, “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” 


Psalm 89: 38-52

The conclusion of this psalm is that God has cast off his anointed king.  This just stuck me because God is really in charge of all of this.  He puts people in power and takes them out of power all to move His story along.  We can rest in the fact that God can use the worst rulers for the best things. This psalmist is proclaiming his dependence on the Lord, and sounds like he is preaching to himself to remind himself of who God is.  


Proverbs 13: 20-23

Who you hang out with is a sure fire prediction of who you will become.  Hang with losers, you will be a loser.  Hang with righteous people and you will be spurred on to righteousness.  

4/20/19 One Year Bible Recap

Joshua 21: 1—22: 20

The feeling in the nation of Israel is one of obedience to the Lord, for now.  They allocate the Levite towns and pastures.  You get the sense that now that they have, for the most part won their land they are looking forward to resting and building their towns.  Joshua tells the tribes from East of the Jordan to go on home, they don’t need them anymore.  He tells them to share their plunder with their relatives.  But, because the Israelites like to keep us readers on our toes the men of Reuben, Gad and the half tribe of Manasseh build what looks like an impressive altar.  We all know from our study that God did not sanction this and it looks like these tribes have rebelled against God. The people gather and march themselves right up to this altar and throw their hands in the air and say, “Don’t you remember when we rebelled and followed Baal?  Let us remind you!  PLAGUE! DEATH! WRATH OF GOD!”  Ok, ok, it does not say they confronted them like that, that is how it would go down if I was in the delegation sent to ask the tribes what was up.  I love the nations enthusiasm to knock out rebellion.  Spoiler Alert:  Tomorrow we will read their response, I can promise you I will not be writing tomorrow because it is the Super Bowl of the Church world tomorrow.  The Eastern tribes will declare that they are not rebelling, but when you read their response tomorrow look for signs of lack of obedience and trust in God.  


Luke 20: 1-26

“Instead, they were amazed by his answers and they became silent.”  This is what happens when our plotting sin nature comes in contact with the Truth of God.  The teachers felt convicted about the story He told, and instead of submitting and repenting they tried to trap Him.  But His Words leave them silent.  That is the good thing about Absolute Truth, you cannot argue against it.  

This stone that they rejected, that has become the cornerstone, rose from the grave on Easter Day thousands of years ago.  The leaders at the time thought they had silenced Him, but you can never silence the TRUTH!  We are still proclaiming this victory thousands of years later! Go tell someone today the truth of what God has done!  


Psalms 89: 1-13

“I will sing of the Lords unfailing love forever! Young and old will hear of your faithfulness. Your unfailing love will last forever. Your faithfulness is as enduring as the heavens.”  That is the perfect verse to remember.  We sing because of HIS faithfulness. 


Proverbs 13: 15-16

Don’t be a fool! Have a plan!   

4/19/19 One Year Bible Recap

Joshua 19: 1—20: 9

The tribe of Dan represents what happens when the Israelites lacked faith.  It is says they had trouble  taking possession of their land so they attacked the town of Laish.  They settled for 1 town instead of the 17 towns listed for them.  In contrast we see Joshua and his family humble accept the allotment given to them.  Joshua takes it and build his life there.  It is important to see that the Lord was faithful on His side.  He would have gone ahead of them so they could conquer every last square inch, but the Israelites did not have the faith it required to do it.  They settled for good enough, instead of following the Lord to claim what He had promised them.  

As some of you know we have a precious young woman living with us, named Laycie.  Guys, I have gotten to watch this young woman go from settling for “good enough” to taking God’s hand and believing that He has promised her abundant life.  I have watched God persuade her to put His principles in play in her life and stop being ruled by doing what feels good.  And because she is believing God, He is moving her forward toward those promises.  It is the most tangible miracle I have ever seen.  God does that when we choose Him.  And now we are moving toward launching her from our house into her own promised land of sorts.  I cry as I write this because I will miss her so dearly, but I rejoice because I want her to get to trust God for it just like Joshua did.


Luke 19: 28-48

The time has come for Jesus to declare to the watching world that He is the Messiah.  The donkey is the sign of the Messiah promised all the way back in Zechariah.  The people and Pharisees know this is the sign, they just don’t know if they should believe it.  Jesus weeps for them because He knows this is exactly what is going on in their hearts.  He is sorrowful because God the Father has communicated so clearly to them through the profits what the Messiah will be like and how He will come, and they are missing it because they have set up their own religion that they like better. 

We see how even the sacrificial system has been monetized and the Temple used for commerce.  Remember how the Israelites are supposed to represent God to the surrounding world?  Well, they have totally messed that up.  That is why Jesus corrects them by chasing them all out.  Luke records this because He is writing to gentiles and wants them to know that the monetized sacrificial system and they temple commerce was not what God had prescribed.  It was supposed to be a visual aid to teach that you needed a blood sacrifice to atone for your sin.  If you could go buy an animal, present it and call it done you had no personal identification with it.  It was just a religious activity.  

Today is Good Friday.  As  writer I would love it if the Passion Narrative started today in our reading, but it does not.  In light of what happened on Good Friday 2000 years ago it is hard to read that the citizens of Jerusalem welcomed him today in our reading, knowing they crucified him a week later.  Pastor Doug said a few weeks ago at church that people who actually lived through Good Friday, would not have called it Good Friday.  It is only called that today because we know that the crucifixion of Jesus paid our sin debt.  More on that as we move through the story and this weekend towards Easter. 


Psalm 88: 1-18

Bible Knowledge Commentary said that this might be the saddest Psalm in the psalter.  You think of Job when you hear the prayer of this guy named Heman.  


Proverbs 13: 12-14

Sydney and I were talking on the way to school this yesterday about how much we lament having to get critiqued by people.  Her with her singing and me with my writing.  Opening yourself up to criticism is the worst.  So when I read this proverb this morning I laughed at how God is beckoning us to do it anyway because it will cause us to succeed.  PS. I screen shot this and sent it to Syd and got an “ok” emoji back.  I thought that was a good sign that we are both willing to at least listen to God on this. 

4/18/19 One Year Bible Recap

Joshua 16: 1—18: 28

Oh man.  This is not going well.  They have some victories and push the borders out in some places, but do you feel how tired and uninspired they are? I feel like in my own life when I start saying things like, “This is not enough for me!” or “They have more than me!” my eyes have lost their focus on the Lord.  Things of this earth come into sharp relief, the Lord fades.  The Josephites are the example of the heart change in the Israelites.  The things around them all point to the fact that they are just stuck with not enough land and not enough power.  Unlike Caleb, they do not feel strong, therefore they cannot do what they need to do to get their land. What did they forget? That the Lord had already promised them this Land.  They just had to trust Him and take it.  Joshua is like, “Guys!  Iron chariots don’t matter, YOU HAVE THE LORD OF ANGEL ARMIES! JUST DO IT!!!!!!!!!

Seven tribes have all but given up and decided to just remain nomads.  Joshua is beside himself.  “How long are you going to wait????” Are you like me?  Do you stand flabbergasted at the Israelites and then have that nagging feeling you might be just like them?  I do.  I start to think to myself, what promises has God made to me that I am not believing Him for?  Do God and the angels stand around yelling from heaven, “JUST DO IT!!!” (That is extra-biblical information and probably not true. I hope!)

Luke 19: 1-27

Zacchaeus is the opposite of the rich ruler we read about yesterday.  The rich ruler knew God would save him because he was wealthy and followed the 10 commandments.  But God would not because the key to salvation is knowing you need to be saved.  Zacchaeus knows that Jesus is something special.  He demonstrates for us “childlike faith” by running ahead and climbing a tree just to get a glimpse of Jesus.  Zacchaeus, in the presence of Jesus does not boast of his wealth or goodness, he admits his wrong doing and repents.  This is evidence of the change of heart.  

When that salvation comes, what do we do with it?  The parable that Jesus tells is a story to teach us what to do with what we are given.  Our reward comes when Jesus comes back.  Whatever resources Jesus gives us are to be used to build the kingdom of God.  This is not just money He is talking about.  Time, material goods, knowledge, and opportunity are all resources that could be given to us.  Use them well.  

Psalm 87: 1-7

Jerusalem is a blessing to all the earth.  Us Texans like to think that God loves TX the best, but actually Jerusalem is His favorite.  The crucifixion and resurrection happen there.  The gospel is spread from there.  In the future Jesus will rule from there.  Ultimately all life flows from there.  It looks to be occupied right now by enemies of God, but wait, more is to come in the future. God is faithful remember. 

Proverbs 13: 11

There is no telling how many multi level marketing, quick money schemes have gotten my attention.  The thought of getting all the reward but putting in NONE OF THE WORK appeals to me.  But guess what I have learned.  The only way to get money and keep it is to work hard, and watch it grow over time.  Denying yourself, saving money and using it the way God wants us to separates the “Zacchaeus’” from “the rich self-righteous rulers.”  

4/17/19 One Year Bible Recap

Joshua 15: 1-63

In keeping with his proclamation in the last section, Caleb goes in trusting God, and takes his land!  I’m not sure about his motivation tactics of offering his daughter as a reward, but it seems to be rewarded by the Lord because she secures flowing water for her and her new hubby.  Wonder what the girls that live in my house would have to say about being offered up as brides? 

Now here is the fun thing about the OT.  We have just read in Deuteronomy how the blessings and curses will work.  If the Israelites follow God’s orders they will be blessed.  If they fall into idolatry they will be cursed.  God has proven His faithfulness in the acquisition of the Land.  When you read the following Historical books of the bible, you have to keep this in mind because it will keep all the puzzle pieces in place!  So then, when you read, “But the tribe of Judah could not drive out the Jebusites, who lived in the city of Jerusalem,” your next thought should be, “Why, on earth not?”  God is faithful and has proven to them that if they engage an enemy in faith, God will cause them to be terrified, and God will be their strength to drive them out.  Remember, they crippled the horses to prove that God is stronger than any army.  So what happened here?  Knowing the principles God set in motion in Deuteronomy for this time in history, Judah dropped the ball.  They did not follow God’s commands.  Therefore they were not victorious.  

All the verses saying “This border is here and that border is there,” make my eyes glaze over. My brain is visual so I found this to help me see what these sections are communicating.

divisionofthepromisedland.jpg

Luke 18: 18-43

Look what Jesus does here!  I am freaking out!  He leads this wealthy ruler to the truth.  He starts with clarifying what is good.  Jesus says only God is truly good.  Jesus is identifying Himself as God here.  That is why He is actually a “good’ teacher, because He is God. Then Jesus leads him through his wrong thinking.  Jesus says to follow the commandments.  The rich ruler says that he has done that.  Jesus ninja reverse psychologies him by saying essentially, “Oh, you have done that and you still feel like something is preventing you from entering the Kingdom? Well, that is because there is still one thing to check of your list!”  The rich ruler is high five-ing himself on the inside saying, “Oh dang!  I am about to get it! That one last box to check!”  Jesus says give all your wealth away.  The ruler is crushed because that is the one thing he was holding on to for actual salvation.  He is thinking, “Wait, isn’t my wealth proof that I have earned God’s favor?”  Then Jesus says, “Follow me.” Jesus is everything this rich ruler actually needs to enter the Kingdom.  This guy calls Him the Good Teacher.  He was so close to fulfilling that nagging feeling of missing the mark.  Following the commandments, giving our wealth away are external examples of trusting that Jesus really is all we need.  



Psalm 86

I am writing a blog post about this Psalm this week so I will refrain from recapping it here.  You can check it out on the Weekly Blog.



Proverbs 13: 9-10

Listen, so we can all remain friends I am just going to leave the comment from Bible Knowledge Commentary right here……

13:10. Pride (zāḏôn, from zîḏ, “to boil”; cf. 11:2) means an unyielding arrogance. Such an inflated, know-it-all view of oneself leads to quarreling, in contrast with a humble, wise spirit that makes one willing to learn and take advice.*


*Buzzell, Sid S. “Proverbs.” The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures. Ed. J. F. Walvoord and R. B. Zuck. Vol. 1. Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1985. 933. Print.

4/16/19 One Year Bible Recap

Joshua 13: 1—14:15

The Lord is urging Joshua to continue to conquer the Land.  There is a danger here of them getting “enough” land to call it good and start making excuses to stop taking the Land the Lord has given them.  He tells them, “Get it all! I am driving them out, I am giving it to, be sure to do just as I have commanded.”  Rich Bruce, a professor of ours at bible school said, “The Israelites only ever occupied the Land that they believed God for.”  Meaning, when they started following their own ideas their boarders would shrink.  When they did not do just as the Lord commanded they left vibrant nations that practiced Idol worship in tact.  Essentially, they were setting up their own traps.  These people would lead them astray. 

I’m not sure how motivating it is to tell someone “You are growing old and much land remains to be conquered.” But I will leave the motivating words to God.  I also love how Caleb shows up, maybe to encourage Joshua and says, “Hey man, I’m still as strong as I was when we first saw this land, give it to me because I am about to set up shop here.  

I’m slightly confused by the ending sentence of ‘And the land had rest from war,” because I feel like God just told them, “Hey, you still have Land to claim that I have given you.”  It just makes me nervous for them because I feel like maybe they are just satisfied with part of the Promised Land, instead of following God and getting the whole thing?  We shall see in the coming chapters.  God will teach us, that we know for sure! 


Luke 18: 1-17

In the story of the annoying widow, I was reminded of Moses saying he asked God so many time to relent and allow him to enter the Promised Land, God finally said, “Enough, don’t bring that up again!”  This annoying praying, asking over and over is the kind of dependence that serves our prayer life well.  When our first response is to beg God again like an annoying toddler, we are showing childlike faith.  If He says, “Enough, don’t bring that up again,” you know you have done the most you can do! 

God saves the people who ask for saving.  You have to start there.  Saying, “I am hopeless, helpless and need a savior,” is what causes the heavens to rejoice.  “I have done this, and that, my insta looks perfect, I have nice car, I named it and claimed and have wealth, trust me you want me in heaven,” sets praises off in hell because your pride, just like Satan’s pride, is what you are claiming for salvation.  I am going to tell you that if you could earn salvation, I would have done it.  But God in His mercy, saw that in me and held out His hand and said, “Give me that burden Sarah, you can’t carry it but I can.” Before I could take His hand I had to get to the same point as that tax collector did. “O God, be merciful to me, for I am a sinner!” Guess what happened?  Begging for salvation did not heap more shame, guilt and pain on my shoulders.  Jesus lifted it off and said, “Ok, girl, now we can get to living!” 


Psalm 85

Verse 11 jumped off the page today, probably because its spring and I have been thinking about how Jesus left the tomb after that awful Friday crucifixion.  “Truth springs up from the earth, and righteousness smiled sown from heaven.”  It just made me think of how Jesus is called the Truth and He “sprung up from the earth,” and because of that the righteousness of Heaven smiles down on us who believe in Him.  This psalm is a song of repentance and would have been sung when the Israelites needed God to restore and bless their obedience.  The universal truth here is that righteousness definitely only comes from heaven, not from us. 


Proverbs 13: 7-8

Pretending to be rich or poor is not the issue.  The issue it this pretending keeps you from being spiritually rich.  Rich people can buy their way out of a crisis, but sometimes that keeps them from relying on God.  

4/15/19 One Year Bible Recap

Joshua 11: 1—12: 24

We get to read in this account of the Holy War for the Promised Land that the kings know that God is powerful and saved Israel from Egypt, but instead of repenting and falling on their knees before the Holy God they join forces in protest.  Once they decided to do that God locked them into their choices (hardened their hearts) and they were destroyed.  Sin = death.  I don’t love that the horses had to be “crippled” in this conquest so I had to do a little digging.  I found out that the reason for this is because the pagan nations used horse in their idol worship.  The people also believed that who ever had the most chariots and horses were the strongest.  God could not let that wrong thinking stand.  Whoever has God on their side is the strongest.  Also, they did not break the horse legs rendering them helpless.  They injured their hamstrings so they could not pull the chariots thus exposing their wrong thinking about who is strong enough to save.  


Luke 17: 11-37

Remember how we discovered at the beginning of the book of Luke that Luke is writing to Gentiles to prove that salvation from God is for everyone?  Well, we are reminded of that theme in the story Luke chose to include here.  10 lepers are saved from leprosy but only the non-Jew comes back to worship Jesus.  This is a story to show that Israel is rejecting Jesus.  The following story about the Kingdom tells us the same thing.  The Pharisee’s asked, “When will the Kingdom of God come?”  Jesus says, and I am paraphrasing, “DUDE!  It is standing right in front of you and you are rejecting it!” He then starts to teach about His second coming.  The world will spin on to that day just like the people of Noah’s time and the people of Sodom did.  The people of Noah’s time paid no heed to the guy building a giant ark.  The people of Sodom kept right on sinning even though they saw Lot leave.  

In my non-professional opinion (I am not a theologian but I play one on this blog), I don’t think the last few verses are talking about the rapture.  I think it is talking about the judgement people on earth will receive when Christ comes back.  Remember sin = death.  The reason I don’t think this is talking about the rapture is the following verses talk about that vulture circling.  Whenever Jesus talks about that vulture He is describing the end times. (If you are unfamiliar with the term “rapture” don’t worry!  We are going get to it in no time.  Don’t google it because you will get a bunch of wack-a-do info about it.  Let God teach you from His word, all in His good timing.) 


Psalm 84

A beautiful song about longing to be in God’s presence in His house of worship.  The Israelites had His presence in their Tabernacle and later in the Temple.  Christians have His presence in our very hearts.  He is as close as whisper. 


Proverbs 13: 5-6 

Bible Knowledge Commentary said of this Proverb, “Fearing the Lord involves hating what God hates. Since He hates falsehood (12:22), so do the righteous.”*  God does this miraculous work in us.  When we start to walk with Him, we start to hate what He hates.  Isn’t that the epitome of a friendship?  You and your best friend will start to act alike, look alike and like and dislike the same things.  The mother in me has to ask, “Who is your best friend?” 



 

 *Buzzell, Sid S. “Proverbs.” The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures. Ed. J. F. Walvoord and R. B. Zuck. Vol. 1. Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1985. 933. Print.

4/13/19 One Year Bible Recap

Joshua 7: 16—9: 2

Sin = death.  What we read today is not God being overly harsh.  God judges sin.  God clearly communicated with Israel and begged them to follow His commands completely, or they would be cursed.  Because of the kind of death Achan and his family suffered we know that all of them were involved and they did not take them just for plunder but because they supplanted God in some way.  The nation of Israel obeys God’s command that if someone in the camp is caught in disobedience they should be stoned.  Remember a little leaven, leavens the whole lump. This is the result of sin.  There is no way around it.  Sin = death.  That is why they towns people are destroyed as well.  They were not like Rahab in the sense that Rahab heard about what God had done and believed God.  The towns that get destroyed heard about God and rejected Him.  

While the Israelites go on a pilgrimage, the surrounding kings combine forces.  See, they heard about what God had done and instead of doing the right thing, they bolster their forces to show their rejection of their Creator. 


Luke 16: 1-18

I think I read my favorite quote from Bible Knowledge Commentary this morning.  It said that the parable of the dishonest rascal was a “good message from a bad example.”  This could be the title of my memoir.  Although Jesus is not teaching the disciples to be dishonest, He is teaching them to be shrewd with their resource to reach as many people with the Good News as possible.  They cannot love money and popularity like the Pharisees.  God has to be your master because if you try to serve both you will love the master that meets the wants of your flesh simply because it is easier. 

The Pharisees had gotten good at creating loop holes in the Law that allowed them to still look like they were following the Law, but actually just get what they wanted.  They could justify these loop holes.  The example Jesus uses is the their proficiency to use the divorce decree to suit them.  They justified it before the men and women of the world.  The caution here is that you either follow the Law to the T or you don’t.  You will not stand before God and say, “Yes I know you said this, but it was really hard to follow that so we wrote in this loop hole, and every human thought it was great.” The Law was to expose the sinfulness in us and make us dependent on God.  You cannot use it how you want to, ask Achan.  


Psalm 82

Judges appointed by God will be judged.  These “gods” where to represent God’s character.  Asaph is seeing corruption and asking God to clean house. 


Proverbs 13: 2-3

“Opening your mouth can ruin everything.” Can I get an AMEN??  Talk less, smile more.*


*Hamilton reference for Sydney.  

4/12/19 One Year Bible Recap

Joshua 5: 1—7:15

So, they crossed the Jordan and charged forward and conquered all the land they can see.  That is what we expect to read, but that is not how God works.  Bible Knowledge Commentary said that God prescribed consecration before conquest.  They had some business to, um, eh, attend to?  People ask, why circumcision.  Well, the best answer is that the nations they were entering used their, um, private parts, to sin against God.  They participated in sexual worship of their fake gods, adultery and debauched sexual practices.  The Israelites would have the sign of God’s covenant with Abraham to remind them to only use their, um, private parts as God intended.  They also needed to celebrate the Passover as God requested, and they ate of the blessed crops God promised.  Now I am not sure about you but I would definitely want to strike while the nations are all fearful of Israel.  I would be impatient and would not want to do the things I know the Lord asked me to do because in my human mind they seem unnecessary.  But God needed to give them time to rest, learn to trust him and see His promises come true.  When they were ready for battle, obedience to God won them the victory, not their strength.  

But then we see that very foreboding BUT at the beginning of chapter 7.  They suffered a defeat.  God has to teach Joshua to remember that defeat is because of disobedience.  God has already given them this land, if they fail to conquer it is because of them not God.  That is why He says, GET UP!  Search out the disobedience.  


Luke 15: 1-32

Self-righteous people will forever want to exclude sinners from their parties.  This is because self-righteous people have to lord it over and stand aloof from people they deem sinners in order to be better and there for, more worthy than anyone else.  I have a flare for self-righteousness and wrote about it over on the weekly blog, you can check that out <here>. The problem with self-righteousness is it completely goes against everything Jesus stands for.  That is why He uses three different parables here to counter that kind of thinking.  

  1. One sinner saved is more celebrated that 99 self righteous pharisee’s standing around claiming to be God’s favorites.  God brings the lost sheep and celebrates him with His neighbors. 

  2. God rejoices when one sinner repents.  That one sinner is celebrated because they know their need for God.

  3. A father will spread a feast for a son (sinner) that returns with a humble heart after having gone off and come to the end of his own self-righteous thinking.  That father never asked for slavery from the son (Pharisee’s) that stayed with him.  Everything already belonged to that son, he could have just enjoyed the relationship instead of trying to earn favor and prove himself worthy.  


Psalm 81

This psalm was written to be sung at a festival.  Most likely,  the festival of Tabernacles. This joyful song was a history lesson, a call to worship, and a warning all rolled up into one song. 


Proverbs 13: 1

I literally have gastric upset right now because I am opening myself up to correction.  I will be sending out an email to ask for feedback about my writing.  You would think my body is preparing for war.  This is my sin nature that wants to be a mocker and not a wise person rising up to refuse to listen.  My fear of rejection is palpable. God says that pursing wisdom is what leads to good life, so I am going to do it.  Fear of rejection leaves me stuck.  I don’t want to remain a stuck mocker, I want to be wise. So I am going to do it. (At some point soon, when I can work myself up to it, and when the stars are aligned and I have prayed and fasted for a long time.  LOL.  I am a crazy person, wait for your email!) 

4/11/19 One Year Bible Recap

Joshua 3: 1—4: 24

“Since you have never traveled this way before, they [the Levitical priests carrying the ark] will guide you.” This line jumped off the page for me today.  This whole section is faith test for Israel.  Remember this book is the recording of them entering the land and finding out if God will be faithful.  So, they stand on the banks of the Jordan and ask in their hearts, as they hold their children, “God promised He would get us into the promised land, will He do it?”  Their history with God tells them He is powerful enough, but will He do it?  God answers YES from the stopping of the water, to the dryness of the river bed, to the fact that He holds the water off long enough for them to get some stones to build a memorial.  GOD IS FAITHFUL.  It jumped off the page to me because I am standing at my own Jordan River bank.  Not to be overly dramatic (except we all know I am exactly overly dramatic),  but I am embarking on making this writing thing a real thing.  I am pursuing the things people who write have to pursue, and having to put myself out there in a way that has me questioning in my heart, “God are you faithful?  God will you do what you have promised?”  I am so encouraged to read stories like this because even if I don’t know what is ahead I know God is faithful.  And since I have never traveled this way before I can just follow His leading.  


Luke 14: 7-35

Good gracious there is nothing worse than finding a good spot at a party, only to be pushed out by people cooler than you.  I can feel my cheeks redden and my pulse rise when I think about it.  That is pride rising up to claim the best spot.  Jesus tells us to let it go.  Be in the background until the host brings you forward.  More important than that be aware of your need for an invitation from Jesus because those who don’t think they need that invite will end up left out of the party.  

To the crowd He says to really understand what it means to follow him.  Don’t get caught up in the church camp high and end up giving an excuse to not follow him.  He wants real followers not people who were just caught up in the hype. 


Psalm 80

This Psalm is a great illustration of what happened in Israel when they turned away from the Lord.  They had to remember what He did for them, and beg Him to turn them around.  They knew He was powerful enough to do it, but would He?  (Spoiler Alert: Yes, He did, every time they cried out to Him) 


Proverbs 12: 27-28

I think this proverb today is pretty self explanatory.  

4/10/19 One Year Bible Recap

Deuteronomy 34: 1—Joshua 2: 24

Well, we get to attend Moses funeral today.  His last moments on earth are spent with God, and then God takes care of his earthly body.  No one knows where it is because we are created to worship and have a knack for worshiping the wrong thing.  If we knew where his body was it would become an idol.  We would devote ourselves to it and not to the Lord.  

Guys, we just finished the Pentateuch!  What in the world?!? Look at us go!  We started the first book in the history section of the OT.  Joshua is written for the purpose of recording the fulfillment of the Mosaic Promises.  These promises were given to Abraham, and we just traced those promises through the Pentateuch.  Going from second in command to first must have scared Joshua a bit, because God tells him three times to be strong and courageous.  We find out from Rehab that God’s objective in rescuing the Israelites from Egypt has been accomplished.  The watching world was well aware of God’s Power and Glory, they know He is Lord!  She says, “I know  the Lord has given you this land…..” And then she says, “No wonder our hearts have melted in fear,” after telling them she has heard the story of Red Sea.  The spies return to Joshua and tell him of God’s fulfilled promise of making the people in the Land fear them.  It was true!  They know God is with them!  They have learned that God is Faithful!!!


Luke 13: 22—14: 6

As Easter approaches for us, let’s really tune into what is going on.  Knowing we can’t get the timeline exactly right, I just want to remember that this stuff is going on a few weeks or so before the crucifixion—which in our time is around right now.  Never one to be dramatic (except I am exactly always dramatic), I want to slow down and really feel my way though the next few days of Luke’s gospel.  

The ultimate FOMO is described here today.  People who think they have made it through the gate to God’s Kingdom will realize they have missed it by a mile.  The narrow gate is faith in Jesus.  Believing what Jesus says, and being counted as righteous.  There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth in this FOMO because people will have worked themselves to death to prove to God they are worthy only to realize they never had it in them to earn their way there.  Jesus is the only gate.  

The pharisees want to hurry the timeline up and get rid of him.  Don’t think they are trying to save him here.  They just want this chaos to end.  Jesus tells us that Jerusalem (Israel) will reject Him.  It brings Him sorrow because He just wanted to come and gather them under His salvation. They won’t call Him Messiah until He comes back to rule in the Millennial Kingdom.  (This is not a kingdom of millennials, this is what happens in the end times, which we will get to in Revelation, so don’t worry if you have not seen that word before.)


Psalm 79

This Psalm reminded me of what is going on around Jerusalem today.  There always seems to be bloodshed and war.  Israel is mocked and threatened.  They have been devoured, they don’t even have possession of their temple.  Geeze, I’m leaning into the end times today, but when Jesus does come back they will be restored.  They will not be mocked and their enemies will not be able to say, “Where is your God” Everyone will know Jesus is Lord. 


Proverbs 12: 26

Having a high schooler in my house makes this proverb really carry some weight.  If having friend is just about volume and not substance we will lose our kids to the world.  But teaching them to discern between friends that will good advice vs. friends that will lead them astray is our number one jobs as parents.  And as you are processing that with the kids, I promise God will let you know what friends you need to stop getting advice from.  

4/9/19 One Year Bible Recap

Deuteronomy 33: 1-29

Pastor Doug always reminds us that when you are in the OT, the best way to understand what is going on is to look for how God is the hero in any story.  The OT is teaching us who God is and how He works.  I remembered this today as I was reading through the blessings and thinking what do I take away from this?  Then it was right there at the end of todays reading—“There is no one like the God of Israel.  He rides across the heavens to help you, across the skies in majestic splendor.  The eternal God is your refuge and his everlasting arms are under you.  He drives out the enemy before you; he cries out, “Destroy them!” So Israel will live in safety, prosperous Jacob in security, in a land of grain and new wine while the heavens drop down dew.  How blessed you are, O Israel!  Who else is like you, a people saved by the Lord?  He is your protecting shield and your triumphant sword! Your enemies will cringe before you and you will stomp on their backs!” We have to understand that the context of this is God being with Israel as they claim the land that He promised them.  But there is something for us (the church) to learn as well.  We understand God’s character a little more.  We can see that He loves them and is with them and will protect them, despite their rebellion.  That is good news to me because that means he loves me based on His character and not mine.  


Luke 13: 1-21

I am cracking up because Pastor Doug taught on this principle this weekend.  The reason I am cracking up is because I have now mentioned Pastor Doug twice in this post and have officially become a Doug Groupie.  Anyway check out the sermon from this weekend HERE.  To sum up it is crazy that the leaders of the time were torqued out over healing happening on the Sabbath.  It is the proof to show they had elevated the Law over God.  The poor Israelites.  They went from not following the Law and worshipping idols, to forgetting God and worshipping the Law.  

Usually when you see the word yeast being used it is to describe the permeability of sin or bad teaching.  Here I think it is talking about how the pharisee’s cannot stop the Kingdom of God by saying Jesus should not heal on the Sabbath.  Get out of here with that nonsense Pharisees!  


Psalm 78: 65—72

The ending of Psalm 78 speaks of the Lord’s character just like our passage in Deuteronomy.  He woke up and rescued Israel because of who He is not because of how perfect they were.  Yesterdays section showed us that they rebelled.  Again, it just drives home the point that God is the Hero.  He swoops in and saves us, even though we rebel.  


Proverbs 12: 25

This proverb proves that anxiety (worry) leads to depression.  Every worry, if not taken captive, piles up until you feel a palpable weight on you.  That weight makes it hard to keep moving.  The freedom that Jesus has given me by asking me to cast my burdens on Him helps me totally identify with the God that swoops in to save despite my rebellion.  For sure the best way to encourage a person who is weighed down is an encouraging word.  PRO TIP: To avoid being throat punched, do not tell someone who struggles with anxiety they need to believe in God more or they are not believing enough.  All our passages today prove that God moves based on His character and not our perfection.  Belief is belief and over coming anxiety is a process. 

4/8/19 One Year Bible Recap

I feel the need to explain to you, just like you feel the need to explain yourself to me when I see you in public.  By that I mean, I did not write a post yesterday and I am not going to feel guilty about it.  I did read my bible reading for the day but just did not have time to post a recap. Sunday is a little tough around here because our church is mobile right now, and all the moving parts take a lot out of my family (specifically Jesse).  See, I feel the need to explain.  Just like when you faithful readers miss a bible recap, you think I am judging you when I see.  Which I am not!  More likely I am judging what you are wearing, not that you did not read a recap because I am a sinner in need of a Savior.  But you feel that need to say, “I didn’t read today, I am going to get to it.”  Hear this from my heart: I really don’t care if you read the Recap but I do care that you are reading the bible.  If you pick up your bible everyday and read it—YOU HAVE DONE THE GREATEST THING YOU CAN DO ON EARTH!  Lets all just get square with being thrilled that everyone is trying to read their bible everyday.  You will not feel guilt for not reading a post and I will not feel guilt for not posting.  Look how sanctified we are becoming! My counselor is going to be so proud of me!  Anyway, stop messing around and lets get to it!


Deuteronomy 32: 28-52

We read the end of Moses song today.  Anytime God compares you with Sodom and Gomorrah you are not doing well.  The words, “God will not be mocked” come to mind.  He did not promise them blessings in this covenant just to be pushed aside by fake gods.  “These instructions are not empty words—they are your life!”  I just love that phrase.  Remember we are talking about a blessed life verses a cursed life on earth. It’s that old idea of “Are you going to do this the easy way or the hard way.”  Unfortunately Moses song shows us they are going to pick the hard way.  

God is completely justified for not letting Moses into the promised land.  He was supposed to be a holy leader and he did not follow the Lord.  In my human limited thinking I just can’t get over this today.  I hate that he was not allowed in.  I don’t like that he lead this rebellious people and yet because of one mistake he is not let in, but they are!  What?!?!  We know from our previous readings that Moses took this before the Lord so often that God said, “Enough! Don’t bring it up again!”  But as I sat here contemplating God’s reasons and His justness, I had a thought(maybe from the Lord?).  Moses went home to be with God, that must have been a greater blessing than living in the promised land.  I am purely speculating here but I wonder if Moses joined his ancestors and realized that the promised land has nothing on Heaven.  (At this point in the story it is called paradise or Abraham’s bosom.)


Luke 12: 35-59

Jesus is teaching against the behavior of the Pharisees.  He says in order to please God they should have been waiting expectantly.  They should have taught the people to wait expectantly too.  They have the entire Revelation of God in their possession(the Old Testament).  Because they were given much, much was expected of them.  (Kind of like Moses was given much because he got to see God, and much was expected from Moses) 

Man I get fired up when Jesus talks about coming to set fire to the world!  He means this two ways.  One He is talking about completely burning up the Pharisees teaching and turning it all on its head.  The Israelites put much store in their family lineage and Jesus says he is coming to break all that up.  He is not coming to keep the status quo, He is going to burn this mother down!!  See I get fired up.  On the other side of Jesus terrible baptism of suffering(His crucifixion), is reunification with God for us because Jesus takes our sin debt on for us.  Second, He is teaching that they are thinking wrong if they think He has come to run out the Roman rulers and bring peace to the world.  He has to suffer first.  

Jesus tells them, look around you!  You can notice weather patterns.  If you can do that you can see what is going on.  The Israelites should see that all the things that Jesus is doing has been predicted in the OT!! He tells them that God is going to drag them into court for their sins,  they better make good with Him (by believing Jesus is who He says He is) or they will remain prisoners.  


Psalm 78: 56-64

This Psalm validates the song of Moses. Asaph laments how his ancestors tested God and rebelled against Him. 


Proverbs 12: 24 

Our professor, Butch Bennet, always said that the Proverbs were the instruction for horizontal living.  Get your head out of the gutter, what Butch meant was that they were principles for relating to other people on earth.  God never asks us to work for salvation, but He does give us this principle for living on earth.  Laziness always ends in bondage of some kind. Nowadays it looks like gigantic amounts of debt because we might be too lazy to work for what we want to buy.  Debt makes you a slave to the lender.  

4/6/19 One Year Bible Recap

It is the most beautiful rainy Saturday.  All the kids sports have been canceled.  I already did all the barn chores, and Jesse picked up Chick Fil A for lunch.  I am living my best life.  Because it so beautifully cloudy and rainy I will most likely be binging Little House on the Prairie before I watch the Red Raiders play in the Final Four!!!  So before I am lost in a fog of Amazon Prime TV, lets devote some time to studying God’s Word.  

Deuteronomy 29: 1–30: 20

Moses finished giving them the terms of the covenant and moves into trying to convince them to follow the terms.  He tells them just do this and you will be fine!  The Israelites have a problem though, and God wants to be sure they understand their problems.  It is a stubborn heart.  They can’t do anything about it.  But God can.  

God tells the people through Moses his plans for the future.  They will not follow these decrees and God will be so angry with them that they will be set aside and banished to the ends of the earth. In the future God will give them a new heart.  (Translated also, circumcision of the heart.) And they will have new zeal for the God because of this heart and God will delight in them.  Now listen, this is a little future truth bomb lobbed into the middle of this conversation.  Just tuck it away because the questions you have will be answered later in the story of the Bible. At this point Moses says, “Now listen!”  These laws are not impossible to live by, even with a stubborn heart.  They have the choice to live and thrive or be removed for the earth and die. Lets also remember that we are not talking heaven or hell based on obedience to the Law.  The Law does not make them justified before the Lord.  The Law sets them apart from the nations and reflects God’s character.  If they follow the Law God will bless them above all nations. Following the Law was their response to God saving them.


Luke 11: 37–12: 7

Jewish customs jumped off the page this morning.  Then as I read through the sorrows predicted by Jesus I actually felt sorry for them.  Maybe because my pride leads me to the same sorrow sometimes.  These Pharisees are so convinced that they are the ones who possess salvation and favor of God because of their adherence to the Law and lineage.  But don’t forget that they have a problem.  All the way back in Deuteronomy God told them about their stubborn heart.  Their hearts are so stubbornly holding on to their own made up traditions that they are missing the opportunity God is giving them in Jesus.  They feel completely justified because of their Jewish traditions.  Remember, the Law does not save it was a response to salvation. I imagine them dying and stand before the Lord saying, “I did my ritual washing before every meal!”  And God says, “Yeah, and the one I sent to fix your stubborn heart was crucified by you and your followers.” Lest I get prideful though, I have done the same thing.  I have ignored Jesus and presented my own offering.  It just will not hold up folks.  When you stand before God, you have to be able to say, “I’m with Jesus!” Anything else is just your stubborn heart presenting itself.  

The hypocrisy the the Pharisees are teaching is like yeast.  It just spreads and grows.  But Jesus says not worry about because soon it will all be exposed.  He also has to encourage the people to not be afraid of the Pharisees, but to fear God only.  (Respect him, honor Him)  He is the one who knows every hair on our head.  


Psalm 78: 1–31

I am so struck by the idea of Asaph writing these songs on purpose so they could sing them and remember what God has done.  They could memorize them and recall them when they were tempted by their circumstances to forget who He is.  


Proverbs 12: 19–20

Lies do not stay hidden.  They will be exposed, its just how God works.  He hates hypocrites.  A heart that is set on evil is not peaceful.  I think we have all felt this and been aware of people who are plotting.  The people who are bringing peace to situations also bring the joy.  

4/5/19 One Year Bible Recap

Deuteronomy 28: 1-68

I lead a Biblical Foundations Bible study and this week our topic included Deuteronomy 28.  Ginger, my friend who is in the study pointed out to me that the “curses” section is so much longer than the “blessings” section.  This really struck me since the “blessings” are what we prefer to be meditating on and not the curses.  It was one of those, “I wonder why God did it that way?”  I have been around the Word long enough to know God has a purpose behind the words He uses but there is also purpose behind the length, placement and emphasis.  NOT in a weird “we have to count the verses and whatever that number is becomes the prediction of the end of the world.”  DO NOT go there.  But in a traditional understanding narrative way, just like back in high school english.  Then I read this section again this morning and was so overwhelmed by the detail God goes into in the curses section.  I meditated on how bad life has to be for a woman to have a baby and keep it secret so she can eat it.  YUK! That does not even compute.  The only thought that came to mind is God is doing His level best to convince the Israelites that the grass is not greener on the pagan side of worship.  When I dug deeper I found this in the Bible Knowledge Commentary: (spoiler alert!)

The curses section (vv. 15–68) is about four times longer than the blessings section (vv. 1–14). This may have been in keeping with the style of the ancient Near Eastern treaties which generally included more curses than blessings. More likely, however, the greater length of the curse section was meant to foreshadow Israel’s eventual failure under the covenant.

Deere, Jack S. “Deuteronomy.” The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures. Ed. J. F. Walvoord and R. B. Zuck. Vol. 1. Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1985. 311. Print.

Because we are on this side of history we know something went wrong with Israel because they are not “set high above all the nations of the world.”  It looks like the in depth description of the curses is like the foreboding music starting to play in the movie Jaws.  Something is about to go down.  All God wants is for them to worship Him with “joy and enthusiasm  for the abundant benefits you have received.” 


Luke 11: 14-36

Verse 34 and 35 stuck fear into my heart when I was a new believer.  I thought to myself, “What if I think I am believing in Jesus and I have the light, but actually I am following satan.”  Seriously it kept me up a night.  But Jesus in His love for me lead me to clarity.  Verse 14-33 clarify what the light vs. what is the darkness. 

Darkness is worshiping anything but Jesus.  This is how simple the spiritual world is.  You are either with Jesus or you are with satan.  You don’t have to wear a smokey eye, black clothes and read the occult to be a satan follower.  The people in this story have put their faith in their own understanding, just like satan did when he fell from Heaven.  They are acting like satan. And what is worse for them is they are seeing Jesus’ miracles, and still rejecting Him.  Jesus says, “…but you refuse to repent.” The story of the evil spirit that leaves the house, comes back to find it in order only to go get more evil sprits, speaks to that.  

“But even more blessed are those who hear the Word of God and put it into practice,” is Jesus response to the woman who blesses His mother. Faith in the word of God is what brings the light.  The examples Jesus uses are the queen of Sheba and the Nineveites.  They heard the Word of God and repented and followed Him.  That is the light that cannot be hidden under a basket.  

So I can take a deep breath and relax because when Jesus tells me to “Make sure that the light you think you have is not actually darkness,” the context of these verses tells me I can make sure I have the light by hearing (reading) God’s word and put it into practice.  

The sign of Jonah is a really cool reference to Jesus being in the ground just like Jonah was buried in the big fish. (I am pretty sure it was megalodon, working on getting proof.) 


Psalm 77

In our circumstances that make us feel like God has forgotten us, the cry of our heart should be, “And I said, ‘This is my fate; the Most High has turned his hand against me.’ But then I recall all you have done, O Lord; I remember your wonderful deeds of long ago.” 

Proverbs 12: 18

If I could have the liberty to change that comma after remarks to “and then she has to remember God, and who she is in light of Jesus in her life, and use….”  The proverb would then read: 

Sarah’s proverbs 12: 18

Sarah makes cutting remarks, and then has to remember God, and who she is in light of Jesus in her life, and use the words of the wise to bring healing.  

It is a good thing that I am not God and do not write scripture.  

4/4/19 One Year Bible Recap

Deuteronomy 26: 1—27: 26

These rituals are for remembrance after they have settled and conquered the Land.  God has already warned them once that they may have the tendency to get fat and happy in the Land and forget who brought them there.  So these rituals are a visual aid to cause them to remember.  

Focus in on Verses 26: 16-19.  They are the conclusion for the previous section and they set the tone for the upcoming topics.  God is meticulously teaching them that if they follow Him, He will make them holy and bless them.  However, they will be cursed if they do any of the things listed here.  I also love that the Lord is fully aware of our sinful nature that will forget Him, so He has Moses tell them, “Write everything I am telling you down on rocks.”  These remembrance stones would be in a place that everyone would pass by them so they would not forget.  I am getting nervous though because there is a lot of teaching against sin going on, and a lot of “if you do this I will do this.”  It is nail biting anticipation to see if they do what He says.  I think a good question to marinade on is, “Would I remember and follow all his decree’s?”  And see, when I ask myself that immediately I have like 12 things I have already done today flash before my eyes that prove I could not keep the Commandments.  (The car pool line is not for sissy’s)


Luke 10: 38—11: 13

I am not qualified to write about this Mary and Martha section because this story is a burr under my saddle pad.  People, who have tried to help me, have said to me, “Don’t be a Martha!  Just relax and be a Mary and don’t get all upset about the food, and if there will be enough, and if it will be good, and if people will get sick from food borne illness.” But I will go to my grave saying that this verse is not telling women to do less and worry less.  Mary is not just chillin’.  She is clinging to the teaching of Jesus.  She is engaged and worshiping and digging deep to understand what Jesus is saying.  Martha is trying to impress Jesus, and His company with her hostessing.  Your context clues are “big dinner” and “Lord don’t you think it is unfair….”  She is looking earn favor from her service.  She is looking for blessing from the Lord for her service.  She is looking to point out her sisters short comings to further herself.  Mary knows that Jesus can feed 5000 people with a few bits of bread and a few fish.  I believe if Jesus bent down to Mary and said, “Hey can you get up and make a meal for us?”  She would have done it.  You would have seen her jump up and bustle around and she would be concerned that there was enough, and if it was cooked all the way through.  The difference is she would not be doing it to impress she would be doing it out of love for Jesus.  I can absolutely identify with both these women.  In fact, I literally was having a conversation with my friend Lauren yesterday and could hear myself beckoning her to agree with me that this thing I was talking about was unfair.  Because she is wise she reminded me of something one of our professors at Bible School said, “You are the foot bridge for the gospel, nothing more, you are meant to be walked over, you will get muddy, but you are just a foot bridge.” (Rich Bruce)  When Martha rears her head in me, I have to go back to the feet of Jesus.  This blurb is literally double the size of the actual scripture so clearly I have some feelings about it.  “There is only one thing worth being concerned about.  Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.” 

I love that Jesus says our prayer life should be like a neighbor banging on the door until they get us to answer.  I wonder if God was like, “Oh, Son! Don’t tell them that!  I will not have a moments peace!”  Just kidding, God is not like that.  Prayer shows our dependance on Him so he wants us to bang on the door until we get an answer.  


Psalms 76

“Human defiance only enhances your glory, for you use it as a weapon.” This verse made me think of what God did in Egypt with the plagues.  Every time Pharaoh defied Him, the plagues got more glorious and point to a glorious God!


Proverbs 12: 15-17

I had a small fender bender last summer.  4 cars involved.  Car 1 hit car 2, car 2 swung around and hit me and another car.  The last car involved did not see what had happened.  He assumed it was my fault.  This man opened his car door and started a cacophony of swear words and yelling.  Now, as most of you know I am proficient in this language but in this moment proof of the Holy Spirit in me was that I did not engage.  I was wise and stayed calm when insulted.  I calmly called 911 and said, “There has been a car wreck on 66, and there is fool here going nuts on all of us.” 

4/3/19 One Year Bible Recap

Deuteronomy 23: 1—25: 19

Well geeze, I am not even sure how to start today.  When you sit down at 6 am and the first thing you read is, “If a man’s testicles are crushed,” you start to really understand that God has a sense of humor.  (Not that its funny to crush testicles but sitting down and that is the first thing you read.) I told my friend Ashley this morning, “I was good with that first part, I thought, oh yeah, I can deal with that, but then God threw in nocturnal emissions and emasculation and I was at a loss.”  But I am past reacting like a middle schooler so lets get serious.  

I feel like a broken record but lets remember that these orders for the Israelites were meant to make them unique among the nations around them.  They were God’s holy people and were supposed to handle things differently.  So when you read, “No Israelite, whether man or woman, may become a temple prostitute,” you need to assume that the Israelites will see that going on around them and feel compelled to create that kind of immoral worship.  Also this instruction on divorce is the same one the Pharisee’s try to trap Jesus with.  The marriage to a close relative is to protect the uniqueness (holiness) of Israel.  It was also a protection for woman because in this culture a woman with no sons if very vulnerable.  This kind of marriage is called levirate marriage and is the theme behind the story of Ruth.  They better adhere to it because no one wants to be known as “the family of the man whose sandal was pulled off!” That is the ultimate burn.  


Luke 10: 13—37

It is important to stay square on the fact that if people accept what you say about Jesus it is because of Jesus and if they reject what you say about Jesus it is because of Jesus.  Lest we marvel at feeling accepted or lament feeling rejected.  We have to remember it is not about us.  The disciples are pumped because the evil spirits obey them but Jesus corrects them by saying don’t worship because of that!  Worship because it is proof that you have put your faith in the right thing and are going to heaven.  

Look at that cheek on that expert of religious law.  I read it like this: “aaaannnndddd, who exactly is my neighbor????” The story that follows is multifaceted just like all of Jesus’ parables.  He is teaching that a neighbor is anyone one that we come across who is need no matter their background.  But also that Jesus is despised, like the Samaritan,  even though He is the one coming to save and care for the world.  It is a brilliant story.  I can absolutely own that I have been convicted in my heart of times that I have passed by someone and not shown mercy.  It is not a “Am I going to heaven or hell?” issue, it is a “am I responding to what Jesus has done for me” issue.  Remember God saves us, we respond by loving Him.  Loving Him includes doing what He asks of us.  


Psalm 75: 1-10

I was reminded of Jesus praying in the Gospels before He goes to the cross.  He says something to the effect of “Let this cup pass from me.”  But He is obedient to the point of death and drinks the cup of God’s wrath for all mankind.  This psalm describes the cup of God’s wrath.  Our faith in Jesus saves us from “draining it to the dregs.” Praise Jesus!!


Proverbs 12: 12-14 

I can remember being such a liar that I would get tripped up by my own stories and have to stop and remember what I had told what person.  Praise God that life with Him steers us to be honest.  Words cannot trap you when you are honest.