index:BIBLEREADPLAN1 May1 Power and the transition of power. Today David dies, Solomon has to makes some bloody decisions in transition, and the mob mentality takes over against Jesus. We build ourselves into this pristine intellectual cocoon where others in power can be judged but not ourselves. It is them, it is power that corrupts, it is greed, it is gritty human ugliness. That is the simplistic way of seeing it. It is our sinful nature rather that puts kings over us, that gives them the power they hold, that necessitates alliance and confederation and collusion and blood. It is our collective nature that turns against as a mob, acts out violently and unconsciously and insanely. Justice, truth, reasoning, ration; where do these things go to so suddenly when innocent blood hits the infested waters? This is the reality outside the cocoon; the less than pristine world beyond our intellectual imaginations and vanity. It is proven daily though we neglect to consider it within our world, within each other, within ourselves.
index:BIBLEREADPLAN1 May2 The understanding to discern and the understanding to placate. Today, Solomon prayed for and received the discernment to properly judge people and peoples affairs. Today, Pilate and Herod had not this gift, they had a peculiar discernment to placate an angry mob. But, at what cost are these judgments made? The cost of justice. The ideal is for justice to be blind however that is a near impossibility. The eyes may at times be blind but the ears are not deaf. It may be blind, but, that doesn't mean that it has to be spineless. We observe the dynamics of a cruel mob, we see the courts that are supposed to protect us from such, and in that we should see the resemblance of justice. Man's judgment is not just all the time but it is all the time reprobate.
index:BIBLEREADPLAN1 May3 The building of the temple and the signal of it's end. kjv@1Kings:6:11-12 and kjv@Luke:23:27-30 frame today's readings, how it wasn't so much about a temple of a nation as it was the temple of the people's hearts. Much had transpired between there and here and we see that the people for so much of the time had it wrong. Having every good intention and the reality of what we actually do are two different things. The temple, whether of the heart or of the nation is the place where the presence of God dwells among us. If we don't allow Him to dwell of what use is such a temple? Jesus replies "cry for yourselves".
index:BIBLEREADPLAN1 May4 Our Lord dies today; special reflection should be made of that. What most onlookers don't understand is why. "Why did Jesus die?" "I know that it is for my sins, but, I really haven't sinned enough for Him to have to die". I contend that none of us allow ourselves to understand sin, what it is, what it does, how opposed to any amount of it God really is. We limit it down to obvious grotesque actions (murder, adultery, etc...) forced upon others. A reading of Jesus' gospel words reveal sin at the level of thoughts and intents and imaginations and beliefs. The Old Testament readings reveal it at a level of idolatry and a constant reverting back into a spiritual compromise and unconsciousness. Even as believers we barely comprehend sin and therefore misunderstand what a reading like today's means for us. Just what Jesus really did for us in totality may not fully be known until we stand face to face with Him on Judgment Day. Then we know for sure the meaning of His love.
index:BIBLEREADPLAN1 May4 One temple is dedicated another readied to be torn down. The veil hanging atop the Temple wall is torn amidst signifying the beginner of the end. Within 35 years secular history will record it's total destruction just as Jesus foretold. All of the dedication for the first Temple that we read today has been failed upon by the Jews (not only once but twice/continuously) yet fulfilled or succeeded by one man, Jesus. One must ask what the Temple was supposed to mean "the dwelling place of God's name", the measuring stick of man, the schoolmaster of the earlier Mosaic law, the bullhorn to the nations. It has been all of that, but, not because of our own inherent goodness.
index:BIBLEREADPLAN1 May5 The testimony following Solomon and the testimony following Jesus. If not for a promise made to David, Solomon's reign would have ended long before his death; that is where all of his wisdom got him. To follow is the testimony of a divided nation and a house divided cannot stand; Israel does not ever reunite or regain it's splendor. He is acknowledged for building the Temple, but, even much of that was provided for and secured by David. How wise was he then really. We then see the opposite, we see the beginning of a body of believers, of the faithful that will become the bride of the risen Christ. Jesus was not only wise he was obedient to the Father. He was not only raised to the Father's right hand side he also raised those who would repent and confess His Holy name. Where He is lifted up he gathers others unto Himself, he inclines their hearts unto the Father. Quiet a contrast between the two.
index:BIBLEREADINGPLAN1 May6 Two calves, one resurrected Christ. Our calling by Christ is simple, to preach repentance and the remission of sins to all the nations, beginning with Jerusalem. The calling by the peoples is to make their own burden lighter. For this burden they will willingly consent to evil kings, to false idols, to injustice and oppression and divisions amongst their own. They most want to do what is right in their own eyes but, this leads them to the corrupted civil mechanisms that they suffer under so. They are easily swayed in this direction just as sheep. They accuse us as being the same but we at least have the proof of liberation, evidences of the workings of our Lord Jesus Christ.
index:BIBLEREADPLAN1 May7 The righteousness of man verses the righteousness of God. The sorted history of the kings of divided Israel/Judah from the Temple onward gives us a quick contextual handle from which to understand the radical nature of kjv@John:1. The first century Jews that would read this passage will reject the claims of the Light, of the preexistent triune nature, of the incarnation, and authority of Jesus of Nazareth. The history of Israel itself is shown to be not all that shiny and brilliant given the covenant and the Law and the promised land and the Temple. John describes our universal condition as being darkness in need of light, they counter that the Torah and the Traditions are the God given light, John concludes that the Torah and Traditions speak of one singular Messiah that is the Light. John describes Jesus as the Word, they would counter that the final word is their interpretations of both written and oral traditional teachings of the Jewish religion. What were are left to answer is the question who is right? Is righteousness an exclusive hand me down tradition and birth right or a singular preexistent person of the Godhead?
index:BIBLEREADPLAN1 May8 Prophets and prophets. We are surrounded with prophets in today's reading. Two groups of fifty hidden away for protection against Jezebel, another one being fed by ravens by a dried up brook, another one in the wilderness eating locust. In the other corner there are the lavished 450 of Baal foolishly agreeing to a miracle showdown of deities. Two of these prophets listed still stand out and are remembered by name yet today, Elijah and John The Baptist. Now I understand that as Christians the age of prophets for now has diminished being that the revelation is complete in Jesus, but, where are the non-christian prophets of modernity? We are warned of false prophets that they would be many were we not? Are some within our own ranks? Are there many? Are we beholden to their cause to such an extent that we don't see them for who/what they actually are? So when our son's and daughters begin again to prophecy what will they be prophetic about? Our corrupted commingling hearts? "Repent for the Kingdom is at hand" still rings true.
index:BIBLEREADPLAN1 May10 God and gods. The brutal and ugly post-temple history of the nations of Israel/Judah continues. The thing that seems to come most easily to these people is the ease of finding themselves another god. Other gods are easy because you simply have to believe "in" them. The difficulty is when you actually have to believe that god, that this god said this or commands that or wills the other. Since these other gods are imaginary and created by men they don't insist on anything other than what the flesh insists upon. God's are constructed to meet the needs of their worshipers. Jehovah is a different God. He is not a God to be believed "in" He is the God to be believed. He is not the God who serves what we insist upon, He is the God who insists that we serve, that we serve Him in a suitable way with regenerated heart having been transformed and separated by the birth and presence of His Spirit within.
index:BIBLEREADPLAN1 May12 I perceive thou art a prophet. We see reading today the uncommonness of prophets. While many claim to be prophets, not anyone can call prove themselves a prophet, true prophets do and say extraordinary and miraculous things that only men of God can do. Not one thing said or done can fail. Elisha almost fails today, it takes extreme effort to resurrect the young man, but it happens. We also see that true prophets are recognized by people beyond their own religion. We also see how various men misconstrue their obligations to prophets, prescribing means and methods that they have no business prescribing. And then we see the Great Prophet Jesus accurately predict the soon radical shift of spiritual worship to come, the worship of the born again in truth and Spirit. Shall that be misconstrued as well?
index:BIBLEREADPLAN1 May13 Spreading the word without and within. This morning my thoughts of this reading are on how God spreads His seed and waters it without and within. Foreigners no doubt observe His strength yet are emboldened against Him/us. They carry the seeds of His choosing like thorns in their socks to far distant reaches. Their zeal against is used as masterfully by Him as our zeal for. We are often poor envoys of His seed. We mistakenly reduce our field of vision to our own limited abilities and resources, we fail to step out to spread His word for fear of our meager grasp of who He is and what He is doing. Critics do the same. One might ask how the spread of the Gospel will ever reach the remote Islands of the Pacific? They are limiting God's power down to man's feeble abilities. You might be asking how are you going to reach that stubborn friend of yours? What have we learned today?
index:BIBLEREADPLAN1 May14 The way the Bible teaches us. The thought occurred from today's reading that the way that the Bible teaches us is one more proof that the Bible is divinely inspired. It is not written as a instruction manual or textbook. Much of it is a narrative. We not only receive a lesson, we see people's varied reactions to it. Often times we even see a response to the reaction. Three primary teachings with a myriad of underlying layers available for us to sink our teeth into, each developing the flavor of the next. Put into the context of the meals surrounding that we have a full banquet feast of spiritual education all housed within a small compact space that we can carry under our arm anywhere we go; even hand off to another person to feed upon, better yet feed together!
index:BIBLEREADPLAN1 May15 Teachable moments. A sad day today when Israel is made captive and Judah has taken a sharp turn in the same direction. Jesus uses the occasion of the crowds hunger as a teachable moment to Phillip. God has not given up on Israel, Israel has not for a long time listened to God during such moments, now they will have to. Phillip will miss the mark, Andrew will as well, neither really knows yet what the Lord is getting at, but they will soon learn and remember. Judah is now at one of those moments given what has just happened to Israel. And will they miss the mark? Will we? How will we respond?
index:BIBLEREADPLAN1 May19 More more more! How much is enough? Today we the impossibility of the Lord's situation. Judah is closed down and the Temple is burnt to the ground even after a recent revival. Mercy after mercy, deliverance after deliverance, enough is just enough. The crowd surrounding Jesus is seeking more miracles saying if He was Christ he'd be doing more. What kind of miracles, how many, what number, how many are enough and of the correct type to believe? How many bail outs? How many I told you not to do thats? This is the truth about human logic... it is never enough, the heart and it's slave intellect will always justify itself in seeking more... then more. Of what?
index:BIBLEREADINGPLAN1 May19 More more more! How much is enough? Today we the impossibility of the Lord's situation. Judah is closed down and the Temple is burnt to the ground even after a recent revival. Mercy after mercy, deliverance after deliverance, enough is just enough. The crowd surrounding Jesus is seeking more miracles saying if He was Christ he'd be doing more. What kind of miracles, how many, what number, how many are enough and of the correct type to believe? How many bail outs? How many I told you not to do thats? This is the truth about human logic... it is never enough, the heart and it's slave intellect will always justify itself in seeking more... then more. Of what?
index:BIBLEREADPLAN1 May22 The Gospel as witnessed to those in Abraham's Bosom. Jesus delivers His gospel today in very clear concise terms - lift Him up and then you'll know. This passage in John is alongside a continuing passage in 1Chronicles listing many historical names and families in the course of Israel. We theorize that up until the death and resurrection these souls were being watched over in Abraham's Bosom awaiting the witness of the triumphant Lord Jesus Christ. All souls in the New Heaven must believe on Him that He is the promised Son of God and Messiah including these patriarchs. So how did the Lord witness to them? Were they watching as He walked the earth? Were the three day's spent with them literal days as they were on this side? How many did not believe? Am I thinking this through correctly?
This morning I spent my devotional outside for the first time this spring. It is finally warm enough! I was praying about the seed of God's word spreading to a mental list I had of acquaintances. Later, when I was contemplating what I had just finished reading, I was looking back into the eastern sun and noticed all the cotton from the neighborhood cottonwood trees blowing in the breeze, a lot, much more than I had ever noticed due to the angle of the sun. I realized that there is so much going on around us that we are barely ever aware of. Once shown a glimpse, we stand in awe. And like the wind the our spirit knows not where it came nor where it goes, likely which seeds will take hold.
index:BIBLEREADPLAN1 May26 Father and Son. We read today of a promise made to David by God. We read of a Shepherd whose voice is known by his sheep, who would give his life for his sheep. If a son whose throne will be established forever, was this throne Solomons? Certainly not. Who was it the He would be a father unto and a son unto him? A throne forever? Jesus claimed to be that Son, that His throne would be established forever not only for the Hebrew fold but for the fold of gentile believers to follow. Any other shepherd would be a thief.
Given the reading today of the resurrection of Lazarus, I feel it most important not to dwell on what could have been done by God but, what will be done God. Limiting God to our own perceptions and remedies is like unto making a lesser god in our own image, best left to those who really don't know Him.
index:BIBLEREADPLAN1 May The heart of man, the faithfulness of God. This month we have seen the dividing of a nation, a series of bad kings, a series of captivities and losses. We have seen crowds of people gathering around Jesus supposing to know well but, knowing very little at all. Foreign gods are gods because they reflect our nature. Kings are kings because they reflect our nature. Temples are temples because they reflect our nature. We look at all these things and wonder as to why it all is so corrupt? Jesus is Jesus because He reflects God's nature; a nature we are confused by, discomforted by, challenged by. It is a nature unlike our own; a nature described as faithful, to the creator first and to the faithfulness the creator has toward His better intents for creation.
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