2April2012 @ @ RandyP comments: index:BIBLEREADPLAN1 April2 Two pictures I gather from todays reading: the picture of how easy it is to run awhoring after other gods, and how fearful it often was to have been in the presence of Jesus as He performed His many miracles. As meek and humble as we try to present Him today, the testimonies recorded of that time for us are dotted with the uncomfortable reactions individual and collective of people. The revealor of their thoughts, lives and souls in the balance, miracles never seen before nor after, an immediacy and sharpness to the reality and prophetical fulfillment happening before their eyes. Face to face, His reality versus our vain imagination and approximation, not a person in attendence could be said to be wholely devoted to Him; we all have easily corrupted and/or whored to a false god of one type or another intending to or not.
3April2012 @ @ RandyP comments: index:BIBLEREADPLAN1 April3 Who do people say that I am? Who do you say that I am? The line of questioning reverberates still today. No doubt the disciples had had their ears close to the street; as did Herods advisors. What the masses think is of importance especially to a civil leader. What the individual thinks is important man of God. One man seeks to influence from the top mass down, the other from the bottom soul up. One man uses influence and propaganda. Jesus commanded his diciples at that time not to tell others that He was Christ, leaving that till the end of His work and to the conviction of the Holy Spirit. His work is now complete and our conviction is to go tell others.
10April2012 @ @ RandyP comments: index:BIBLEREADPLAN1 April10 In todays reading Israel has foolishly lost possession of the Ark to the dreaded adversary Philistine. No doubt they had deemed the effort right in their own eyes, but this was of their own construct and not of God's. We should know that we too often do what we think is right but is actually a flagrant misuse of God's power/blessings. This is contrasted with the Lord's exhortation to be watchful and prepared for His coming and to clear your name with an adversary before he brings you before the judge. How embarrassing if He had returned at this low point in Israel's preparations.
10April2012 @ @ RandyP comments: index:BIBLEREADPLAN1 April10 The story of Eli is a peculiar one. I am sure there are a great many good things in His ninety some years Eli accomplished for which he'd rather be remembered. Instead he is largely remembered for the mis-deeds done by two of his sons (and for proceeding Samuel). The two-sided coin is: 1) that he was ineffective in dealing with those two sons 2) that they were extremely dishonoring and self opportunistic to their dad's revered national position and rebellious and sinful to God's. The saga ends losing the Ark to the Philistines; one of the biggest embarrassments ever recorded in the odd history of Israel. By what else should he be known? To those whom much is given, much is expected.
14April2012 @ @ RandyP comments: index:BIBLEREADPLAN1 April14 Todays readings touch on the difficulties we often find in the scriptures when we don't pursue possible answers further and more honestly. The Spirit has meant these as points to challenge our current understanding and foster growth in the search for a more complete understanding. Critics intend for these to be bus stop points to drop gospel passengers off back into reality at. Much is to be revealed about the heart of man and his true intentions at these points. How simple minded can it be to think that the Word of the Almighty God was just going to be obvious and simple and smooth as a babies skin when man's rigid heart is not.
15April2012 @ @ RandyP comments: index:BIBLEREADPLAN1 April15 The interplay today of the passages brings up the question of what if... What if Saul had had a repentant heart? Perhaps he could have ended in a better spot, maybe loosing his reign but, saving his family this great trouble. Saul shows sign of trying to be religious but certainly not repentant. David on the other hand did just as badly at times but remained repentant. Notice too how God's anointing didn't bring David immediately to the throne. Instead God sought a lengthy process and testing using Saul as a grinding stone as opposed to the near immediate accession to the throne previously by Saul.
16April2012 @ @ RandyP comments: index:BIBLEREADPLAN1 April16 King Saul and the Prodigal Son. At some point you'd figure that Saul would realize the error of his way and come back to God. Maybe he squandered his throne but, what is that in terms of family and friendships and renewed spiritual growth in the Lord; eternity. What a joyous day that would have been. Sadly, not everyone comes back home and rarely is evil rational. Both he and his family paid dearly as a consequence. Surely there is more to Saul's story than we know or else God would have not allowed an evil spirit to continue to torment him. Often God gives men completely over to the desire of their heart. Saul may have commingled gods and religions but, we are not told directly. Once God withdraws His Spirit though what spirit is their left to take over? Especially for kings of a holy nation!
17April2012 @ @ RandyP comments: index:BIBLEREADPLAN1 April17 Saul spared by David compared to the unjust steward. David was said to be a man after God's own heart. He actively sought God's peace and forgiveness personally, He extended like peace/forgiveness to others; even aggressors like Saul. Saul is delivered into David's hands today. Saul was once God's anointed; David is now. David looks to Saul as still having an anointing despite his irrational tyrants. He seeks Saul's peace rather than an end to his life. All stewards of God's kingdom, having received the peace/forgiveness/annointing of their God, are wise to do the same.
18April2012 @ @ RandyP comments: index:BIBLEREADPLAN1 April18 There are several characters for us to watch in today's OT/NT interplay. We have Nabal, a self destructive angered rich man and Abigail the wife that must make up for and be punished by his deficits. We have Saul, a self destructive angered rich king and David who shows uncommon mercy and respect to Saul even though it means exile. We have the rich man who callously ignored the beggar Lazarus in this life. Is the common thread then riches? No the common thread is their considerations of themselves. They thought themselves rich but, did anyone else? There are people in each of our lives that mean us well just as there are people in our lives that feel as if they possess us. There is often a vast gulf between reality and our considerations.
18April2012 @ @ RandyP comments: index:BIBLEREADPLAN1 April18 There are even more characters at play here; two are most noticeable by their complete absence. Present are General Abner loyal to the death if need be and young Abishai seeking to prove his loyalty likewise; Abraham called upon to quench the tormented thirst and warn the living. So much reasoning and rational and intent and allegiance and duty from all sides. But where is Israel? Where is the rich man's brethren? Far and distant no doubt, doing whatever served themselves best. Why aren't either present, watching, reasoning, deducting, observing the signs? Where is the intellect, the connectedness, the engagement, the desire for God and the goodness of all mankind? Far and distant no doubt. So will they soon see? Will they become alert? Become persuaded? Will they do what is right? Perhaps not. Will you?
19April2012 @ @ RandyP comments: index:BIBLEREADPLAN1 April19 Such a sorted mess we find all men in in today's passages. Men chasing, men running, men making poor alliances, men being flushed out, men preparing for war, men abusing children, men not able to forgive, men taking advantage of the forgiving, men finding it even harder forgive counting the times, men being instructed that to have more faith that they have to think much less of themselves, men receiving deliverance from leprosy without displaying gratitude. Did I miss anything? And yet the Father loves these men having subjected them to this vanity in hope (kjv@Romans:8:20). And yet Jesus loved the Father and these men enough to willingly die for their sins. And yet for many of us this all works out perfectly in the end. God be praised!
21April2012 @ @ RandyP comments: index:BIBLEREADPLAN1 April21 A bloody civil war and the faith of a little child. It is too natural for us as bible reading audiences to read the scriptures with a sanitized expectation. We often think of walking with God as being calm and peaceful and prosperous without any of the unpleasantness described in any of these passages. In our own lives we rarely consider that it sometimes takes 25 or more years for a promise/anointing to be fulfilled, that sometimes we will be left to our own answers, our own consequences, that tough decisions would have to be made, alliances and confederacies kept, blood spilled. Further yet, once the promise is fulfilled we do not consider that there wouldn't be more of the same to sift through. People call out to God and God speedily avenges but, perhaps not as we would have imagined. People presume themselves righteous but, are abased. In the end two people are left standing today, a publican that shamefully confesses that he is a sinner and a child with that enviable child like faith that just believes; believes in a God of mercy, believes in a God of a sovereign plan and reason, believes that even in the midst of this vanity God has for him a hope: Christ Jesus. There and there only does the Lord coming find our faith.
23April2012 @ @ RandyP comments: Caught an odd movie last night based on Pieter Bruegel's famous Flemish painting circa 155? a.d. "Procession to Calvary". The Rutger Hauer character had spoken about how much goes on right before mankind's eyes that remains unnoticed, that their attentions are always diverted to the inconsequential. He sought to build this masterpiece in similar fashion, interconnected much like a spider's web, drawing inward, left and right, life and death towards Jesus' central procession. The Father looks down from the deck of His wind mill on a steep jagged rock high above in the upper center. The crowds attention below however is drawn toward the Simeon character instead of the Christ. The children are playing nearby unawares, amorous lovers are loving, royalty posing regally, and the town merchants are walking right by unconcerned on their way to market. The occupying Roman soldiers are for this era Spanish. All in all, Christ's Passion is barely even a curiosity. It was surreal being able to step visually into this picture. First glance at this painting and you wouldn't even know that it was about Christ. Would the painting be much different if painted in our day I wonder?
27April2012 @ @ RandyP comments: index:IBLEREADPLAN1 April27 Exile - David's and Israel's. Today's reading perhaps shows us that the road ahead is not always smooth and non-threatening as we'd expect. Many nowadays suggest that we would need just to muster up more faith, to find and claim a promise and believe it into existence, muster up the faith to move mountains. The texts read today both suggest rather patience.
30April2012 @ @ RandyP comments: index:BIBLEREADPLAN1 April30 Just leaders and loyal followers. He that ruleth over men must be just kjv@2Samuel:23:3. We see the loyalty of David's valiant men. We see the loyalty of the temple guards on Mt. Olive. We see the loyalty of the Disciples. We see the loyalty of Jesus to the Father. Men are ruled by loyalty just as much as by free will if not more so. Today we see 70 thousand additional die because of a wrong decision made by David and likewise we see the chief priests follow through on a decision that will destroy and disperse Israel for the next 2000 years. We see the temporary shock and despair of the Son's loyal few as they scatter. We see the loyal Son ask of the Father concerning a cup that can not be turned away from, a two sided cup containing the constant unjust rule of mankind and the constant just rule of a merciful God. Which rule do you think will win out? Which rule would you be loyal to? The loyal Son must drink of that cup. He is comforted by the Father with a brief re-acquittance from and Angel.
30April2012 @ @ RandyP comments: index:BIBLEREADPLAN1 April30 Just leaders and loyal followers (Part2). So many today criticize the notion of a "just" God. How could justice and compassion meet together? Ask yourself this: There are those who have been loyal to God even to the giving of their own lives (including His own Son), there are those who have been everything but loyal throughout their lives, the loyal have done most of what God has commanded them or at the very least tried, to whom then shall He have the most compassion? Would He be "unjust" in doing so?
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