The Journey continues. Are you in?

Hey I haven’t posted here, but my wife and I are keeping up with our daily readings. I hope you are, too!

Here are today’s readings:

EXODUS 10:1-12:13
MATTHEW 20:1-28
PSALM 25:1-15
PROVERBS 6:6-11

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Route 66 – January 5

Salt and LightAre you keeping up? Don’t let yourself get too far behind. If you do, just jump back in. Your enemy does NOT want you to stick to this…but it’s SO worth it.

Today’s readings are:

GENESIS 11:1-13:4
MATTHEW 5:1-26
PSALM 5:1-12
PROVERBS 1:24-28

In Genesis, we have the story of the tower of Babel. It’s short, so here it is:

Now the whole world had one language and a common speech. As people moved eastward, they found a plain in Shinar and settled there.

They said to each other, “Come, let’s make bricks and bake them thoroughly.” They used brick instead of stone, and tar for mortar. Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves; otherwise we will be scattered over the face of the whole earth.”

But the Lord came down to see the city and the tower the people were building. The Lord said, “If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them. Come, let us go down and confuse their language so they will not understand each other.”

So the Lord scattered them from there over all the earth, and they stopped building the city. That is why it was called Babel—because there the Lord confused the language of the whole world. From there the Lord scattered them over the face of the whole earth.

On the surface, it might be confusing why God would not want them to be able to do anything if unified. But, it’s interesting they used man-made materials (bricks and tar) rather than natural (God-made) materials. Does this tell us something about their hearts and their motivation. They were trying to make a city and a name for themselves.

I think it’s important to note that we are able to do anything if we are unified. This is a message for the church today! But, not to make a name for ourselves, but always for the glory of God and the building of His kingdom.

In Matthew today, we have one of Jesus’ most famous sermons, the sermon on the mount. “The Sermon on the Mount is probably the best-known part of the teaching of Jesus, though arguably it is the least understood, and certainly it is the least obeyed” says author John Stott.

There’s also a good reminder for us as Christians in today’s reading. We are to be the salt and light of the earth. If we lose our “flavor”, what good are we? Let’s be salt and light today.

Peace,

e

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Route 66 – January 4

Noah-Ark-at-AraratHere’s today’s reading list:

GENESIS 8:1-10:32
MATTHEW 4:12-25
PSALM 4:1-8
PROVERBS 1:20-23

I am amazed by the story of Noah. It’s so hard to take it in. How bittersweet it must have felt for Noah to realize that God honored him above all others and saved only he and his family to restart mankind.

In Matthew, Jesus just had the encounter with satan in the wilderness and now is preparing to begin his ministry on earth.

Today’s Psalm is actually a song written by David. I sure wish I had the chord chart!

Keep reading along. We’re going through the entire Bible in a year!

Peace,

e

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Route 66 – January 3

Here is the reading list for today:

GENESIS 5:1-7:24
MATTHEW 3:7-4:11
PSALM 3:1-8
PROVERBS 1:10-19

Today’s reading in Genesis might seem dry. However, it establishes a very important heritage – from Adam to Noah. This is important historical data that helps prove the validity of the scripture.

Here’s a great 10 minute video by Lee Strobel concerning the validity of the scripture (you’ll learn a lot by this debate):

Matthew’s reading introduces John the Baptist. Can you imagine being alive back then and seeing John baptize Jesus?

By the way – Proverbs are full of tidbits and treasures of wisdom. I love reading through Proverbs each day.

Keep up with the reading – we’re going to read the entire Bible in a year!

Peace,

e

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Route 66 – January 2

Here’s the reading list for today:

GENESIS 3:1-4:26
MATTHEW 2:13-3:6
PSALM 2:1-2:12
PROVERBS 1:7-1:9

Well, here it is. Genesis 3. The fall of mankind. I cringe each time I hear Eve’s response:

“The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’”

Did you see it? God never said anything about “touching” the fruit. Already she is twisting what God said. And, she falls for the serpent’s deceit.

Also – some folks (usually men) like to point out that it was Eve that first took the fruit. Well, I would like to point out that Adam was standing right there next to her when she did. He didn’t say a word. He’s just as guilty as her:

“She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.”

Buckle in – we’re just getting started. Are you with us? We’re reading the entire Bible in a year.

Peace,

e

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Route 66 – January 1

Creation daysHere’s the reading list for today:

GENESIS 1:1-2:25
MATTHEW 1:1-2:12
PSALM 1:1-1:6
PROVERBS 1:1-1:6

The thing always blows my mind when I read Genesis 1 is the power and majesty of our God! When you stop to think about all the incredible detail and amazing vastness and unbelievable tenuity of what God did – all in 6 days?! Boom. Mind blown.

And, in Matthew 1 – I love the fact that Joseph was a kind man and even though his wife-to-be was suddenly pregnant, and she was telling him some unbelievable story about how she got pregnant, he did not wish to disgrace her. But, an angel came in a dream and explained everything. He had trust in God to accept the potential risk of reputation to stay with God’s plan. And look how he was blessed. Can you imagine raising a child you knew was the son of God? Boom. There it goes again. Mind blown.

Hope you’re reading the Bible in a year along with us! You won’t regret it.

Peace,

e

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The Journey Begins (but this time with friends)

Route_66

I’m thrilled that our church (First Christian Church of Seminole) is taking a journey together. We’re going to travel the original Route 66 – that is the 66 books of the Bible together. Beginning January 1, 2013, we’re all going to read through the Bible in a year using a One Year Bible reading plan.

I believe this is one of the most important things we can do as individuals and as churches. It’s also one of the most difficult things to do, too. Our enemy does not want us to each get into the habit of daily Bible reading. He will stop at nothing to distract us, discourage us, or dissuade us from reading God’s Word every day.

But, when we do… LOOK OUT! It will change your Christian walk. Putting a little effort into reading the Bible every day will change your life. And, it only takes about 15-20 minutes a day. Talk about ROI (return on investment)!

So – put away those excuses, cast aside your fears, buckle in and join us as we read through the Bible in year – TOGETHER!

Here’s a link for the reading plan, should you want to join us: CLICK HERE

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Déjà vu – 1 Samuel 19

Is it just me or didn’t we just read this?

Here’s a section from chapter 18:

10 The next day an evil spirit from God came forcefully on Saul. He was prophesying in his house, while David was playing the lyre, as he usually did. Saul had a spear in his hand 11 and he hurled it, saying to himself, “I’ll pin David to the wall.” But David eluded him twice.

Here’s a section from chapter 19:

9 But an evil spirit from the Lord came on Saul as he was sitting in his house with his spear in his hand. While David was playing the lyre, 10 Saul tried to pin him to the wall with his spear, but David eluded him as Saul drove the spear into the wall. That night David made good his escape.

As any intelligent man would, David finally learns the king’s palace is not the safest place for him to hang out.

How sad for Saul that even his own children have fallen in love with the one he has come to despise and wants to kill. How sad for Saul that his own children aid his enemy. How sad that God has left Saul. He must be the loneliest king on record.

I love the next part – where Saul finds out where David is hiding and sends men to get him. They come near to where David is with Samuel, and God gets all over them and they all get the spirit of prophesy and go back to tell Saul. Twice more, Saul sends more men with the same result.

Finally, Saul figures he’s going to have to do this himself. But, the same thing happens to him.

22 Finally, he himself left for Ramah and went to the great cistern at Seku. And he asked, “Where are Samuel and David?” “Over in Naioth at Ramah,” they said. 23 So Saul went to Naioth at Ramah. But the Spirit of God came even on him, and he walked along prophesying until he came to Naioth. 24 He stripped off his garments, and he too prophesied in Samuel’s presence. He lay naked all that day and all that night. This is why people say, “Is Saul also among the prophets?”

God is in control, Saul. When will you learn? Are you so blind? God’s will is going to be accomplished, and there’s nothing you can do to stop it.

How many times do I forget this? Is there anything I can do to change the outcome? Better to keep my eyes on Him and enjoy the ride.

peace,

e

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David’s Drama Begins… 1 Samuel 18

I think it’s interesting about how Jonathan “became one spirit” with David. One translation says “their souls were knitted together.” We aren’t told what exactly drew him to David, but it’s easy to see that David was admired by many because of his deeds. It says elsewhere that he is a handsome young man. And his impressive victory with a giant was enough to impress anybody. But, something about how Jonathan’s dad, Saul, was speaking to David really clinches the deal for Jonathan and they become kindred spirits. I wonder what kind of father Saul was to Jonathan. Saul seems very self-serving, so I wonder if Jonathan ever received such words of praise from his father. Perhaps this is one of the things that drew Jonathan to David.

This chapter begins the growing suspicion of Saul towards David. Saul starts to fear for his throne, although David clearly gives no indication that is what he’s after. As a matter of fact, David’s humility is clearly demonstrated by his remarks in verse 18:

“But David said to Saul, ‘Who am I, and what is my family or my clan in Israel, that I should become the king’s son-in-law?'”

Anyone interested in the throne would surely have seen that to marry a king’s daughter was the next logical step. Saul seems to miss this particular nuance, however, and his paranoid suspicions continue.

It’s interesting to note that although David was promised Saul’s daughter Merab in marriage, on the day she was to be given to David, she was instead given to Adriel. This was an act of great injustice, and accordingly this marriage was cursed by God, and the children from the marriage, were cut off by God (see 2 Samuel 21:8,9).

The other interesting thing I see is the method Saul was using to get rid of David. He was apparently thinking that by giving him a wife would distract him and he’d be more likely to be killed in battle. And, he kept sending him to battles that must have been seemingly impossible to win. Finally, Saul told David to bring him back 100 Philly foreskins! An odd request, for sure. But, for David to kill 100 of the enemy? Well, God blessed and he returned to the king with 100 Philly tubesteaks. (sorry)

Anyway, do you notice that the same tactics Saul used with David are later what David will use against Uriah? Never noticed that before.

The bottom line for me in all this is to keep my eyes on the Lord. Seeking His will, and only His will, is the only thing that’s going to keep me from making a mess out of things. Things are starting to fly apart in David’s world, but David seems to not be distracted. He is humble, not self-seeking, and is concerned about obeying the Lord. Therefore, the Lord blesses everything he does – even if the odds are stacked against him.

Lord, I want to keep my eyes on you only. Help me to serve you, not myself, today.

peace,

e

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Got Giants? – 1 Samuel 17

Goliath never stood a chance.

I mean, what 9 foot tall, heavily armored, highly skilled warrior stands a chance against a teen-ager in a robe with a sling-shot and the power of God almighty?

David is relentless in his faith. Despite the fact that his father has no confidence in him and keeps him home to tend the sheep, only to take some bread to his older brothers who are fighting on the front line…

Despite the fact that his older brothers mock him and tell him to go home and tend the sheep when he does show up…

Despite the fact that the king himself tells him he’s just a boy and that he could never fight the giant…

Despite the fact that the nine foot giant laughs and mocks him when he approaches with sticks and stones…

David has confidence in the Lord. He trusts that God would not allow this Philly giant to mock God or His chosen people. He remembers how God helped him slay the bear and the lion by hand when they tried to take his sheep.

And he knows that God will protect him now. So he runs (not walks) to the battle line and with a single, smooth stone takes down this enemy – with only one thought on his mind: glorifying God! Look what he says:

“You come to me with sword, spear, and javelin, but I come to you in the name of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies—the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. 46 Today the Lord will conquer you, and I will kill you and cut off your head. And then I will give the dead bodies of your men to the birds and wild animals, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel! 47 And everyone assembled here will know that the Lord rescues his people, but not with sword and spear. This is the Lord’s battle, and he will give you to us!”

Now he has the king’s attention. Now, his brothers and his father have a new respect. Now, the entire nation of Israel know who he is – not that he was seeking that, but he was seeking to glorify God. As a result, he is now honored because he saved his people.

What giants do you face? There are things I struggle with that seem like giants. They mock me when I let my guard down. They seem insurmountable when I think of how “I” am going to solve them. But, if I realize who I am and who has my back, there is no need to hesitate or worry. I can run to the battle line and deal with them. Not only will the giants be slain, but as I battle the giants in the name of God, I will be blessed and honored.

Good things to meditate on today…

peace,

e

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