Friday, February 08, 2008

Three Days: Day 37,38,39/90

I've been out of internet contact for the last three days, but have a few minutes today to post the last three days of readings - hope you are still following along....

WED:
Day 37/90: Deut 21-25, Proverbs 25-28, Acts 16-18
Out on the farm for a couple days of being still before God and listening to His voice – I’m thankful for good friends who let me stay here and an awesome wife who allows me to take two days to work ahead on my sermon planning. She’s such a stud…

Key points from today’s reading:

  • This section of Deuteronomy makes me extra thankful today for the sacrifice of Jesus on our behalf, thankful that we live on this side of the incarnation and don’t have to keep all of these laws. I am sad, however, that we don’t obey Deuteronomy 24:5 that tells a newly married man to take a year away from work and war in order to bring happiness to the wife he’s married….awesome.
  • The Proverbs continue to hammer on a few key themes repeatedly – there are some rare jewels that are unrelated to these themes, but as we look for repetition in these passages, you have to notice: (1) the tongue is all kinds of problems for the foolish, (2) we need to listen well to those with wisdom when they rebuke us, (3) justice and care for the poor are very important to God, (4) the sluggard (read: slacker) makes an appearance in every generation and always finds himself without.
  • Proverbs of the day for me: Proverbs 27:21: we will be tested by praise. Very challenging that God tests us with the praise we receive to see what we will do with it – receive it humbly or boast in it.
  • So much that we could talk about in these chapters from Acts, but I’m especially impacted by the Bereans’ desire to search out the Scripture and test what they were being taught. I also love that Paul was willing to go anywhere (from a Jewish synagogue to an Athenian marketplace) to share the good news that God had sent His Christ.
  • Who doesn’t love the story of Paul & Silas in the Philippian jail? Just a great reminder that God is working through all our circumstances to bring glory to His name.

THUR:
Day 38/90: Deut 26-30, Proverbs 29-31, Acts 19-21

I had a hard time waking up this morning without any early morning meetings or kids bouncing on my chest – funny how your body gets into such a routine. I have, however, had some great time to be still before the Lord & listen – amazing how little I actually do this during the week.

Key points from today’s reading:

  • The Lord desires us to remember our deliverance (just like He desired the Israelites to remember their deliverance from Egypt) through our giving and sacrifices and our ceremonial observances (communion & baptism).
  • Obviously, God cares about our heart, not just our external obedience (Deut 26:16). I am convicted that sometimes I do the right things for the wrong reasons and need to have a heart change where obeying God’s ways will be the desire of my heart.
  • The blessings and curses of God for obedience or disobedience reminds us of the justice of God, which is sometimes hard to remember in this world where the wicked seem to prosper and the righteous suffer, but ultimately, those are the exceptions, not the rule – here is the rule: God blesses those who follow Him, but opposes those who ignore Him.
  • Powerful finish to the book of Proverbs – again reminded of God’s heart for the poor and needy – especially challenged by 29:7 that says the righteous care for the poor and 31:8 that challenges the king to speak up for the poor and needy.
  • I am reminded how blessed I am when reading through Proverbs 31 that I have a wife of noble character who fears God and walks closely with Him. She is not perfect, but she is a joy and blessing to me every day of my life. I rejoice in the great gift that God has given me in Barie.
  • I’m moved by the words of Paul to the elders at Ephesus before he left them for the last time and the love they obviously had for each other. I see this kind of fellowship among our elders, and it is a sweet thing.
  • I am sometimes saddened by the lack of adventure that I tend to see in current Christianity, especially after seeing the adventure and excitement of the early church in Acts. Those early believers were doing crazy things for the Kingdom of God, and yet, today, our faith movement seems so tame, so institutionalized. How do we get beyond that?

FRI:
Day 39/90: Deut 31-34, Ecclesiastes 1-6, Acts 22-24
Key Points from Reading:

  • Every new leader who takes on great responsibility needs to hear the words of Moses to Joshua as he succeeds Moses as leader of the nation: “be strong and courageous for the Lord will never leave you or forsake you.” Fear and anxiety can cripple a new leader, so putting on courage and trusting God’s leadership are very important.
  • “There is no go besides me” – Deuteronomy 32:39 – this is surely an amazing statement in the polytheistic culture of the ancient world. God is telling them the truth – don’t give your life to any other god, because they are not real & will not deliver you – a timely message to every generation.
  • Awesome tribute to Moses – even though he did not get to enter the promised land, he was the major figure in all of early Jewish faith – leading the people of God out of captivity, walking humbly with the Lord, and recording all that God told him to record. That all pastoral leaders would lead like Moses – know God intimately (face-to-face) and humbly submitting to the Lord’s direction.
  • I connect with the book of Ecclesiastes on so many levels because I share some of the cynicism that Solomon has about life. He describes most pursuits in life as meaningless, a “chasing after the win” – meaning that we go after it and when we think we have it, we realize that it slipped right through our hands. I especially connect with his view that enjoying our work and the good things in life is a great gift from God. I also am challenged by 4:4 where he says that all our achievements only flow from envy of our neighbors – I need to soak on that for a while.
  • Ecclesiastes 5:1-7 has been a life-passage for me for many years – that I should stand in awe of God and keep my words at a minimum when I approach Him – for a preacher, that can be very difficult, but so important.
  • I encouraged by Paul’s boldness with his testimony and his faith in Jesus Christ in all circumstances in front of all leaders – true courage & faith.

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