Thursday, September 30, 2010

Psalms 1 - 10

At the pace we have been going it would take a year to get through just the Psalms, so I am going to read 4 pages of Psalms each day (In my ESV journaling Bible), which should take about 20 blog entries. Enjoy!

1:1-2 - I love that the Book of Psalms starts out with this passage. Blessed are those who make sure they stay away from evil things that are in opposition to God...blessed are those who spend time reflecting on God's truth and writing it on their hearts. There's a simple plan to live you life by!

2:6-7 and 12 - This is actually a prophetic Psalm about Jesus (See: Hebrew Chapter 1). God says, "You are my Son whom I have begotten." If God, Jesus and Spirit are One, how can the Son be "begotten"? In my mind the "begotten" happens when God places Himself into human form. Jesus became man, but remained God. There are too many NT scriptures that declare that Jesus and God are one (Hebrews 1 says that Jesus is the exact imprint of God - the SAME!). Blessed are those who dwell in Jesus.

3:3-4 - Good verses to remember when you are feeling attacked and defenseless. God is our shield and our protector...He lifts up our head from shame...He hears our cries and answers them. We know that it is going to be "okay."

4:7-8 - God will give you more joy than earthly success and riches ever could! That is so true, yet somehow I allow myself to forget that from time to time. I also love verse about lying down at night with peace in our hearts because we know God is with us. There are times when I am kept awake at night struggling with doubt and turmoil and fear...and the only thing that can bring peace to that chaos is finally clinging to the hope that comes from God.

5:4-6 - Be sure you never forget the full nature of who God is...He hates wickedness, conceit and violence...these are things that are opposite His nature and will bring His wrath.

6:4 - I love the raw emotions spilled out as David throws himself on the mercy of God. He knows that there is nothing he can do to save himself...he knows he is not worthy of deliverance, but he throws himself on the mercy of God's ever present love.

7:14-16 - David gives a great description on the creation and consequences of evil in the human life. As men seek to create evil, that evil gives birth to lies and vileness. These things take on a character of their own and become instruments of their creator's downfall. Men who give birth to evil will eventually see it come back to destroy them.

8:3-4 - Look around at the magnitude and the beauty of creation! Take time to see the fingerprints of God in the sky and on the earth (even here in Houston). How is it that the creator of all of this actually cares about me? How is it that you know me God? It is a sign of Your incredible love...thank you Lord.

9:7,9,12 and 18 - Look at the heart of God described in these verses: He is a ruler of justice. He is always concerned with the oppressed and afflicted. He is the one and only hope for the poor. As His followers...created in His image - should we not feel the same way?

10:1 - The psalmist is brutally honest here: God why does it seem like you are so far away when things are going terribly and people are being oppressed? The Psalm continues on like this for some time, but look to the end of the chapter...

10:17-18 - Even when it seems like God is far, the psalmist puts his trust in the fact that God is actually near. We must do the same. We know that God's heart is for the hurting and the oppressed and they will receive their justice.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Job Chapters 40 - 42

40:2 - God comes out guns-a-blazin' and immediately puts Job in his place. He says, "Shall a whiner who can only focus on what is wrong stand before God and accuse Him?" Seems like God doesn't have much time for people who only look for the faults in everything and seek a way to pass on the blame. (v.7) He wants Job to put on his big boy pants and take what's coming like a man. I think we can learn a lot from this interaction. In times of struggle and turmoil, we need to face what comes with strength and not just look to blame somebody. We need to be able to see our own faults and look tot he wisdom of God for answers...not just look for excuses and scapegoats.

40:15-18 and Chapter 41 - I always love these passages, because they seem to be clear descriptions of dinosaurs to me. If you take the biblical creation account literally instead of symbolically (Which I do)...then dinosaurs and man would have coexisted. God is talking to Job as if these creatures are running around the earth.

42:3 and 6 - Job understands pretty quickly that he has overstepped his bounds. He says, "Okay God, I'm sorry...I started speaking about things that I had no understanding of." So Job in the midst of the suffering and turmoil of his life repents before God. Another good lesson for current day Christians. When it comes to making bold statements about theological "absolutes," we need to be careful, because in the end, I think there are going to be a lot of things that we just didn't really understand fully.

42:8-9 - Eliphaz and Bildad are confronted and rebuked by God. In fact, God asks Job to pray to Him on their behalf so that they will be shown mercy for speaking without understanding. Amazing that the two most vehement, judgemental people who thought they knew exactly what God wanted were the two that were the most absolutely wrong! This should be a word of caution to Christians who like to point out the flaws in other peoples' lives. Also notice that Elihu was left out of the accusation...I guess this means he was right in his assessment of the situation (The young guy figured it out!).

42:11 - Finally some people in Job's life show up and actually bring comfort to him. And this verse very boldly states that it was God who brought the disaster upon Job's life (As we already know from reading the least he allows Satan to bring the disaster). And God never really explains the situation to Job. He doesn't tell him why these things happens...he never really tells Job anything. Job sends the entire book questioning why this is happening to him and God answers him with a series of questions...were you there when I made everything; can you control leviathan; do you open the floodgates of heaven to bring rain; etc. All Job needed to understand was that God was in control...and that's all we need to understand too.

42:14 - I find it really interesting that the only children who are mentioned by name in this book are Job's three youngest daughters. This is not common in Jewish scripture, so that tells us that these women were very important to Job. Most scholars guess this means that they brought him much joy in his life. Jemimah means "new day." Job gave her this name because of the radiant beauty of the new day. Keziah means cassia, which was an ingredient used in very fragrant perfumes. Her name also denotes in the beautiful fragrance of perfume. Keren-happuch means horn of stibium, which was a plant used to make eyeshadow...and as you can guess it was also a name that represented great beauty. Needless to say, Job thought very highly of his daughters and let them know about it. I believe it is a father's sacred duty to give his daughters confidence by speaking love into their lives...Job does a great job of this!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Job Chapters 31 - 37

31:1-3 - As part of his case, which he hopes will prove that he has not intentionally done anything to bring calamity on his life, Job states that he has even made a covenant with God to protect his eyes from lust. This should be something that every man does. Job implies that the only things lust brings to a man are unrighteousness and disaster. I would agree.

31:13-15 - Job wonders how people could belittle people of "lower" status or ignore their requests. What is it that makes one man think he is better than another? Are we not all formed by God in the image of God? Are we not at the most basic of levels...equals? Job feels that all people should be treated with decency and respect...all people whether they are believers or not are the children of God.

31:24-28 - Those who love wealth and serve it have been disloyal to their creator. They reject the one and only God who alone is worthy of worship.Loving wealth is greed...greed is idolatry - it is really that simple.

32:8-9 - It is not the age of a person that makes him/her wise, it is the Spirit of God within that person. Wisdom comes from understanding your own foolishness and relinquishing control of your life to the Spirit of God. Elihu, the youngest man present, rebukes his elders.

32:17-19 - I would be interested to hear what people think about this passage, because it is a little confusing for me. Elihu believes his is speaking out of conviction from the Spirit of God and the things he is saying are definitely true, but he still does not fully understand the situation that Job is in. So the questions is - is this section correct...or is Elihu misguided like the other friends?

33:27-28 - This is a great passage about the merciful nature of God. A sinful person that does not deserve redemption is offered mercy and saved from the pit...from this point forward their life is always looking to the light. This should be a picture of our lives. As Christians we were undeservedly forgiven of our sins and that should drive us to constantly seek the path of godliness.

34:11-12 - Even Elihu has a very simplistic understanding of God's justice. Yes, God repays evil, but not always on our time table and not always in the earthly realm. Yet the fact of the matter is that God does not ever pervert justice...He cannot, He is the definition of justice! So I think we can all assume that if something seems unfair and unjust in the world...there is justice yet to come. Things will be made right in the end.

37:23-24 - Elihu closes his statements with simple truth - he speaks about the character of God. God is great in power, great in justice and great in His righteousness. May I never forget this truth.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Job Chapters 25 - 30

Sorry about the long has been a crazy month!

25:4-6 - These verses serve to show how incredible God's love for us is. Who can b right before God? Compared to God, the moon and stars are nothing...they are dim and much less significant is man? With all our flaws and our failure to reflect the image of God that was created in us, we are so far beneath the creator it is impossible to fathom...yet God's love for us in never ceasing. It is easy to love those who are like you and deserving of love, but God offers His sacrificial love to those who are beneath Him and deserving of death.

26:14 - Job speaks of the power of God and then says those things are just at the fringe of what He can do. Mankind hears but a whisper of the incredible deeds of God...understands little of what He does...those who are weak cannot understand what true power is...cannot understand the power of God.

27:8 - There is absolutely no hope for the godless...Job understands this and will not turn away from God. He doesn't understand why he is going through the trials that are before him, but he knows it is insanity to turn away from God.

27:20 - There have been nights where I laid awake and experienced this feeling of overwhelming terror...there have been times in my life where I could only be saved from drowning in sorrow by putting my trust in God.

28:1-13 - Man has explanations for every aspect of's inventiveness and creativity discovers much and explains away the miraculous, but these roads do not lead to wisdom...

28:28 - Wisdom comes only from fearing God...true understanding is shown only when we turn away from evil and towards God.

29:12-17 - Job lists off a bunch of attributes that I believe should be a major part of every Christians life. Christians should be...
- a help to the poor
- parents to the fatherless
- protectors of widows
- the eyes for the blind
- the feet for the crippled
- defenders of those who cannot defend themselves
Are these the attributes that define my life? Do they define yours?