9/17/19 One Year Bible Recap

Isaiah 25: 1—28:13

Chapters 25-27 are telling us about the ultimate regathering, judging and salvation of God’s Chosen People.  These are the people who are righteous by faith, the remnant God promised to keep.  Through these people all the promises that God made to Abraham will be fulfilled in the end.

Chapter 28 start the “woes” section of Isaiah.  I was so struck by the response by the priests and prophets.  These were the thinkers of the day.  Think of them as Instagram Influencers.  What they thought and said was what people followed.  For them to say, “Who does the Lord think we are to speak to us like this,” is shocking.  But what is even more shocking is the fact that this kind of attitude is what we Christians are met with every day. 

This is not a coincidence.  Guys! The same sin nature and powered-by-Satan-thinking is alive and well today.  Our influencers are different and are saying different things, but the attitude is exactly same.  People think that God is for the simple minded.  That if you are not capable of higher thinking you turn to God.  Can you imagine the Creator of Heaven and Earth and everything we see sitting in His Holy Throne Room surrounded by angels hearing that?  And this is not the first time He is hearing it because we are reading about the same sentiment in Isaiah.  The fact that He has not flicked earth out of its orbit and let us burn up in the sun is proof that He has a plan and knows we are desperate sinners. 

Galatians 3: 10-22

This section is proof that we have to understand the OT and how it relates to the NT or we will get crossways and start following Jesus to freedom but end up in bondage because we succumb to false teaching.  Paul is teaching the Galatians (and us) that the Law cannot make you right with God.  Think about it this way.  If you could follow the 10 Commandments perfectly why in the world did God send Jesus to die on the cross for our sins.  I mean that doesn’t make any sense.  If you or I could follow the 10 Commandments, then God would hold us accountable for them, right?  I don’t know about you, but I could confess right now, at 6: 50 am, that I have already broken 2 Commandments just today, and that is not counting what I did yesterday during carpool because the traffic in Rockwall brings out my sin nature.  And the 10 Commandments are just the preamble to the full Law.  We are breaking parts of the Law we don’t even know about.  But God never instituted the Law to be followed for salvation. 

The Law was to teach the Israelites and the watching world about sin, and how to atone for it to a Holy God.  As an Israelite you would wake up in the morning and you would set out with your best can-do attitude to keep the Law.  By the end of day your failures would be obvious.  You would go to the priest at the tabernacle and offer a living animal sacrifice for the failures (sin) of that day.  You would lay your hand on the animal and pray for God to accept the animal’s blood for yours because you are fully aware that you are a sinner in need of a substitutional savior.  And because you go on to live another day you know God loves you and knows you need atonement.  And over and over and over.  Sin=death and having a substitute to pay your sin debt for your death would be drilled into your mind.  Never, ever, was keeping the Law a way to get saved.  It was an elaborate visual aid that points us to Jesus’ death, the ultimate substitutional death.   

Psalm 61: 1-8

Proverbs 23: 17-18

9/16/19 One Year Bible Recap

Isaiah 22: 1—24: 23

Chapters 22 and 23 of today’s reading are still predictions about the coming judgement of God from Assyria.  There are near and far predictions mixed in just like in the previous chapters so people would be in awe and know that Lord is faithful.  Chapter 24 is talking about the final judgement of the earth.  Chapters 13-23 have given so many near and far prophecies that the people of Isaiah’s time would watch come true that they should have taking Chapter 24 to the bank as Gospel Truth, but, that’s right, you guessed, it they don’t.  If they can be besieged by the Assyrian army(2 Kings 18), starving to death(Isaiah 22: 11-13), and still not turn to God but say to themselves, “Well we are all going to die tomorrow so LET’S PARTY!” then I am guessing they weren’t really keeping track of all the prophecies coming true. 

Here is a clue for you as we journey on through the books of prophecy.  If the words start talking about the Earths destruction, you know we have moved into the end times prophecy.  In Matthew 24, Jesus tells us what the final days will be like.  You start to see the similarities between the words used.  And we have to let the bible define itself or else we start to get pretty crossways with it. 

Galatians 2:17—3: 9

So, what is going on here is that some false teachers have come into the Galatian congregation and “corrected” the teaching about Jesus.  Remember the good ol’ Pharisee’s?  The ones who did not like how Jesus was coming for their lunch?  Well here they go again.  But because everyone loves Jesus so much, they have changed tactics.  They are all like, “Yes, yes, Jesus was cool, but to be really cool you have to love Jesus and follow the Law of Moses.”  And this confuses things to the point that Paul has to correct it.  Think of it this way:

You have fallen into a hole and you cannot get out.  No matter how hard you work you cannot get out.  You are exhausted and sore.  You finally cry out, “Lord, get me out of this hole!”  The Lord miraculously saves you from the hole and sets you on solid ground.  You say, “Lord! Thank You!”  And then you turn around and jump right back in the hole to try to get out all over again. 

The Law is the hole, it has one purpose: To show you that you are a sinner who needs a savior.  Remember, when God gave them the Law at Mount Sini, He had already saved them, and called them his chosen people.  The Law was to teach them about who God is and who they are.  They never once could keep the Law perfectly and had to cry out to God to atone for their sin.  So, don’t make this mistake that the Galatians have made.  Postmodern thinkers may not have the Law of Moses to follow but we jump back in the hole just the same.  We try to be perfect, work hard and save ourselves.  All the while God is looking at us going, “I already saved you from that you foolish person.” 

Psalm 60: 1-2

Proverbs 23: 15-16

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Duck Drama

Alright, so we have a lot of duck drama going on around here.  I will fully own that the problem started with me.  As many of you know, our OG duck, Downton, had a sister that got eaten by the dinosaur that lives in our pond.  I wanted Downton to have a real duck family of her own so when Tractor Supply started selling ducks this spring, Syd and I ran down there and bought 8 ducklings.  Yes, 8.  EIGHT.  As someone who champions making each moment count, I can say in that moment I failed miserably.  Who buys 8 ducklings?  How did someone who has a bachelor’s degree in Agricultural and Applied Economics make this decision?  Do you know what happens to 8 ducklings?  They turn into 8 enormous ducks, that’s what.  Especially on this farm because everyone enjoys an all you can eat buffet.

Despite this failure, things were ok for a while.  We built a bigger pen to hold them all.  Downton adopted them and let them follow her around.  We had many days of saying things like, “aww, there goes the little duck family.”  They did great for a while.

Until the hormones hit…….

And we figured out that we had 9 big ducks total.

7 males, and 2 females.

And to our horror we witnessed the first duck nonconsensual mass breeding. 

And then we witness duck racism.

Now we have major Duck Drama.


Educational Pause:

Did you know that ducks’ sinuses are in the backs of their head?  Well they are.  Male ducks grab the backs of the female’s heads when breeding.  If a female is bred to often all this biting the back of her head irritates her sinuses and she gets something called foamy eye.  This is discharge from her irritated sinuses.  Gross right?  I agree.  But our female mallard, not Downton, got foamy eye because we have 7 males who are single and ready to mingle. 

YUK!

One Sunday morning I went out to feed the animals before leaving for church and the mallard female had foamy eye.  I could ignore the drama no longer.  At this point there is a Pekin and Mallard that have claimed the two females respectively.  So, I rounded up all the other males and threw them into the dog kennel to keep them from harassing the females. #metoomovement

Ok, so now I have to tell you about Skinny.  Skinny is neither Mallard nor Pekin.  He is, well we don’t really know.  But the Mallards and the Pekins are unified in only two things—Bred the females and Skinny must die. 

I could pull so many biblical principles out of this situation.  First and for most being there is something in us that just inherently hates what is different.  It’s us at our most animal like.  But these ducks don’t have the benefit of a Savior that empowers them to overcome their prejudices.  They don’t have the Word of God that tells them all nations, all races, all tongues will be unified in heaven.  Because they don’t possess this knowledge, they act out on this animal instinct by grabbing Skinny by the back of the head jumping on him and bludgeoning them with their bills.  Seriously folks it’s the slowest and worst way to die.  Terrorists could learn something from these ducks.  Don’t worry, we have saved Skinny so many times.

My dad was right when he said this farm is a petting zoo and not a real farm because I can’t bear to have anyone on this property suffering.  I am dealing with 3 different duck groups who cannot coexist.  I have the couples: Downton and her new husband Big Pekin and the Mallard female and mallard male that paired off.  I have the bachelors: the four males, 2 Pekin and 2 Mallards.  And I have Skinny: the duck without a place to lay his head. 

The couples are in the duck coup.  They are the only ones who are trying to do life in a good way, so they get the best house.  Hey, you don’t get the promised land if you don’t follow the 10 Commandments.  The bachelors are in the dog kennel.  Problem: the dog kennel does not have roof, so a bobcat already picked off one of the bachelors.  I feel terrible but I really am trying to do the best I can.  So, if you are counting, we are down from 9 to 8 ducks, total.  After that death I moved the bachelors into the chickens’ outside scratching pen.  The chickens are flabbergasted at this, but I asked them to have a better attitude.  They ignored me and pooped in my garage.  Whatever.  And Skinny?  He moved into Jesse’s shop.  He lives under the 1971 Mustang making him the coolest duck by far.  However, the bachelors, unless they are locked in the goat pen, would still bludgeon him to death if given the chance. 

While trying to feed everyone on Friday morning before taking everyone to school I had a breakdown.  I just can’t keep this up anymore.  I’m constantly worried that someone is loose and Skinny is getting bludgeoned to death.  I cannot be party to anymore nonconsensual mass breeding of my sweet girl ducks.  Everyone got loose on Friday and I was having to employ Parkour to catch them and get them back where they belong.  I am 40 and recovering from a stomach bug, I can’t do this.  So, it has come to this….

The extraneous males are going to be processed.  If you don’t know what “processed” means I’ll explain it.  Processing means they are going to live on a beautiful farm that is full of duck food and exquisite ponds.  On this farm there are no problems and all ducks get along.  On this farm the weather is always perfect and they are happy all the time. No one is trying to kill anyone.

This is the only way I can protect my females and not spend every waking minute of my day managing duck drama.  This is by no means some sort of feminist move, I promise.  I don’t hate males.  And I fully own that this is my fault.  In that moment at Tractor Supply I should have paused and reconsidered buying 8 ducklings. #failedmiddlemarchmoment But now we have all been rolled over by the circle of life.  Peace will be restored and before too long we will get to enjoy some delicious Duck la orange.  (I am sorry to all my friends who are vegetarians.)

9/14/19 One Year Bible Recap

Isaiah 15: 1—18:7

Today we read through the prophecy concerning Moab, Damascus, and Ethiopia.  Again, there are near and far prophecy mixed in together.  Our professor, Butch Bennett at bible school said that this book is like looking at a mountain range.  When you look at a mountain range you see some mountains that are closer to you and some that our farther away.  This is how near and far prophecy is mixed together in this book.  It is beautiful.  In an effort to not write 10,000 words on each section of this book, I will say this: when you are reading this look for clues as to what kind of prophecy (near or far) you are reading about.  But then think about how amazing this would be in real time.  The faithful few that would have listened to Isaiah would have watched these near predictions be fulfilled and their hope in the future would be secure. 

Galatians 1: 1-24

A new book today!  Galatians was written in 48 AD to the believers in Galatia.  Paul wrote this letter to correct false teaching and defend his apostleship.  I had such a burden settle over me for Paul this morning.  We know this guy pretty well by now.  He has been beaten, chased out of towns, stoned to death, has some sort of thorn in his flesh, living paycheck to paycheck so to speak, and when he finally has a moment to sit and rest what does he have to do?  Write letters to churches he has planted to correct them and defend himself.  I can just imagine Paul smacking his head when a messenger comes to report that the Galatians are “turning away from God so soon.”  That proves his apostleship to me more than anything else.  He HAS to have the Spirit in him to be able to keep this up and not just wash his hands of them all.  And lucky for the Galatians he does, because they are at risk of missing salvation all together because they are believing the wrong thing.  This book is also called “mini-romans” because its focus is the same as the book of Romans—Justification by faith alone.  This book was also the battle cry of the Protestant Reformation.  It is small but mighty. 

Did anyone else *gulp* when they read, “Obviously, I’m not trying to win the approval of people, but of God.  If pleasing people were my goal, I would not be Christ’s servant.”  This is a daily struggle for me.  This is what God had to weed out of my make up for the last two years.  My faith, my actions, my joy cannot be driven by winning the approval of people.  It HAS to be anchored in my Beautiful Savior.  I have to be driven by the fact that Jesus gave me the approval I so desperately seek from people.  I ALREADY AM APROVED.  JESUS ALREADY APROVED ME.  And so I fight to remember this every day, and you should too!

Psalm 58: 1-11

Proverbs 23: 12

9/13/19 OYBR–TGIF Edition

Isaiah 12: 1—14: 32

Do you ever look around at all the killing and oppression of the weak and wonder, “Will they ever have to pay for what they have done?  Or do evil people just get away with everything?”  I think it is so important for people who have been victims to know that God will judge the wicked for what they have done.  I was just reminded this morning while reading Isaiah that our God will call all those evils that were done against you to mind when He judges the wicked.  That is why He says that vengeance belongs to Him.  It is not for us to punish the wicked, the Lord will do it and He will do it perfectly. 

There is a section break here in the book of Isaiah.  We read the final verses about the ultimate regathering of Israel and then we turn to the topic of judgement of the nations that are wicked.  God has used their desire to oppress Israel to exact discipline on Israel but ultimately, they will be judged for oppressing God’s people.  Remember God promised Abraham that whoever curses him will be curse.  God will fulfill that promise.  Chapters 13 and 14 are mixed with near and far predictions to validate this message.  Some of the judgement would happen soon and some would happen in “The Day of The Lord,” aka—the end times.  The faithful few in Isaiah’s time would have read this and then watched the prophecies unfold before them.  They would have KNOWN this was all true because they would have watched the near predictions get checked off one by one.  God’s word is true, of that we can be sure.   

2 Corinthians 13: 1-14

I was struck by the end of this letter today.  Paul tells them to test their faith.  I see that as asking them, “Is this the faith you really want?”  Do you really want Jesus?  Because if you do you have to start lining up what you are believing with what He says is true.  This is the human conundrum isn’t it?  We say we want Jesus but then end up putting our faith in things that sound good to us.  If you want genuine faith you have to fight yourself for it.  Your flesh will always want what the fly-by-night-salesman offer—quick fix, glory, power, health, comfort.  That is not what Jesus is offering you.  When you choose Jesus you are promised eternal security, adoption into God’s family, power to overcome sin, suffering and fruit of the Spirit—peace, joy, patience, gentleness and self-control.  Paul tells them (and us) to test themselves, find out if this is the faith you want.  Because if you choose Jesus you get all of Him.  You don’t get to pick and choose what you want.

Psalm 57: 1-11

Proverbs 23: 9-11

9/12/19

Isaiah 10: 1—11: 16

Everything is under God’s control, even the Assyrian Army who denies God’s existence and see’s the God of Israel as just one in the pantheon of gods to be overcome.  God uses them to bring about the discipline promised in Deuteronomy.  But our God is not just Perfect Judge, He is also Perfect Love.  These two characteristics are displayed side by side because God is all His attributes all the time.  He is disciplining Israel and Judah now for sin, but in the end, he will call them back just like He called them out of Egypt because that is what He promised to do.  He will punish Assyria because that is what He promised to do.  The coming reign of Christ is the hope we find in this section. That reign with be a perfect one where lion and lamb lay together in perfect harmony because the world will know Jesus is King.  We all look forward to this.

2 Corinthians 12: 11-21

Sarcasm is my love language.  And I love that Paul employed the higher power of sarcasm in this section of the letter.  “The only thing I failed to do is become a financial burden to you, Oooooooohhhhhh, I am soooooooo sorry, Plleeeaassse forgive me.”  Someone please make a meme of this for me!  I will use it every single day of my life.  The truth nugget in here for me is that this is what we as church people are capable of doing to our leaders.  Instead of being sensitive to the burden they carry we make things harder for them by being skeptical.  If the Corinthians were able to do this to Paul, we are just as fallible.  When our congregations are categorized by what I like to call the fruit of the flesh—quarreling, jealousy, anger, selfishness, slander, gossip, arrogance and disorderly behavior—it makes sense we would turn on our leaders too, right?  This kind of behavior renders us useless as a church.  So, stop it.  Stop making things harder for leadership.  You see something needs to be done at your church, get off your duff and do it.  You want to attend a bible study at 9: 15 on Thursday mornings and your church doesn’t have one?  Don’t whine about how the leadership is not fulfilling your needs, ask the leadership if you can start one yourself.  The leadership is under enough burden just trying to keep us all going in the right direction, let’s be part of the solution not something they have to stop everything for and deal with. 

Psalm 56: 1-13

Proverbs 23: 6-8

9/11/19 One Year Bible Recap–Stomach Bug Edition

A stomach bug from the pits of hell is raging at my house.  I succumb to it on Monday and I don’t mean to be overdramatic, but I was begging Jesus to take me home in the wee hours of the morning.  We are now it that fun game of “Who Goes Down Next?”  Brock and Jesse are the last ones standing……make your bets.  Sorry I missed yesterday’s post; I was asleep all day.  In fact, when I picked up my Bible this morning, I was shocked to find out it was Wednesday!

Isaiah 8:1—9:21

Let’s remember this book is our color commentary for what was going on during the rule of Uzziah.  The kingdom’s have split.  Israel turned away from God completely and Judah had a hand in God’s hat and a hand in the world.  The first part of the reading today is the prediction of Israel being wiped out by Assyria.  God always authenticates his message by giving near and far predictions.  The near prediction is the name of the baby Isaiah will have and that before that baby can say mama or dada the war will start.  He writes the name down in front of witnesses.  Check out what the babies name means:

The name Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz, the longest personal name in the Bible, means “quick to the plunder, swift to the spoil.” Soldiers would shout these words to their comrades as they defeated and plundered their foes. Isaiah’s listeners, remembering his prophecy of the fall of the Aram-Israel alliance (7:4–17), would have understood the significance of his son’s name as they continued to listen to his prediction of impending doom for Aram and Israel.[1]

So that’s clear then.  Yikes!

Then Isaiah turns to Judah and tells them they will not escape the flood, but they will not be fully defeated.  He also tells them to fear the Lord and not their circumstances.  Because here is the truly beautiful thing, in the midst of the judgement for their sin, Our Loving God also promises the Deliverer that will save us all.  9: 6-7 is about Jesus.  And this is good news because even after they are disciplined to the point of total destruction, 9: 8-21 tell us how God’s chosen people still reject him.  This proves to us that humans, need to be saved from sin.  There is no hope for us without a Savior. 

2 Corinthians 12: 1-10*Sarah’s favorite verse of all-time alert*

Imagine baby Christian Sarah; newly saved at the ripe ol’ age of 33, still struggling with being an overachieving perfectionist, reading Paul’s words seeking the key to becoming a perfect super Christian with all the powers of Christ flowing through her; stumbling upon these verses.  Paul has been caught up to the third heaven and yet only wants to boast about his weakness?  Paul who just got done telling us in the previous verses about all the beatings wants to just boast in his weakness.  Paul who was stoned, got back up and walked back into town to preach another day wants to boast in his weakness?  My mind spun, “Wait, are we allowed as Christians to admit we have weaknesses?”  Is it possible that after 33 years of convincing everyone in the world that I am perfect and have no flaws, I can actually admit that I am weak?  That I need a Savior?  That left to my own devices I am a stressed-out mess trying to achieve some unreachable goal I have made for myself.  Are you telling me Jesus, that the way you work in me is through my weakness?  Are you telling me that your power is displayed through my weakness?  And so, I can stop trying to be perfect and let You, who really is perfect, work though me?  That it’s on You to be Perfect and on me to boast of my weakness?

And that my friends was the day that the chains of perfectionism and being an overachiever to earn my approval from Jesus and the world started to fall off.  Now, some 7 years later I still have to battle this, but I am winning ground every day.  Because I am weak, and when I know I am weak then I am strong.  That is what Jesus does friends, He shines through the weakness. 

Psalm 55: 1-23

Proverbs 23: 4-5


[1] Martin, John A. “Isaiah.” The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures. Ed. J. F. Walvoord and R. B. Zuck. Vol. 1. Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1985. 1049. Print.

9/9/19 OYBR–What Happens When the Lord Brings A Lawsuit Against You?

Remember what I said last week about a new format?  Yeah, forget all that.  Chalk it up to the fact that I had finally reached the point we all do when trying to stay in God’s Word everyday:  I wanted to give up.  But you all have encouraged me.  I got so many messages and notes telling me to keep going that you guys lifted me up when I wanted to quit.  And I thank you from the bottom of my heart.  I’m not crying, you’re crying, STOP IT, and let’s get to work for the love of God! 

Isaiah 3:1-5:30

We started this little gem yesterday.  Isaiah is known as the “mini bible” because it has 66 chapters just like the bible has 66 books.  Cool, right?  It was written during the reign of the following kings: Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah.  So what that means is Isaiah is giving us more commentary on what was going on during 2 Kings 14: 21—20:20.  Remember the bible is one story.  The book of Isaiah is like a flash back in a narrative to let us have more information on where Israel was and where they are going in the future.  Tuck in folks, because chapters 1-39 of this book is going to cover what the Bible Knowledge Commentary calls the “Retribution of God.”  All of the ways that Israel has failed to follow the Mosaic Law are going to be highlighted.  In today’s reading specifically, Isaiah writes this as if God is bringing a lawsuit against Israel.  It is a terrible and beautiful account of how the Lord will deal with the sin of Israel and how He will also be their comfort.  Whenever you read things like, “the Lord will finally cleanse,” or “they will finally be a holy people,” Isaiah is talking about the cleansing that will happen for Israel during the Tribulation.  The people that live through this final cleansing will be holy.  Until then they are having to live through Exile which is their discipline for not abiding by the Mosaic Covenant.  But the Lord will come back to cleanse them because He promised that He would. 

2 Corinthians 11: 1-15

Paul is continuing to defend himself from the false teachers that have come in and undermined his authority.  You can tell by the arguments he is making what was said about him.  The false teachers are telling the Corinthians that Paul and company have robbed them of their offering and used it for themselves.  Also, accused Paul of being a wimp only capable of writing strong letters but in person he is weak.  Whoa!  What I love about reading through this is how Paul defends himself.  I can definitely learn something here and I am sure you can too.  Paul points to the authenticity of his life as proof that he is following Christ.  Shoot!  He even says that Satan can be disguise himself to look like Christ, but on the inside, he is still Satan.  And that is the point, right?  We can’t fake being like Christ or we are no better than Satan.  We have to be like Paul and really follow Jesus and let Him transform us by the renewing of our minds.  We have to be close to Jesus and do what He tells us to do.  That closeness to Christ prevents you from being proud and boasting in your own work.  And side note to myself: staying in God’s Word every day is how you are transformed.

Psalm 53: 1-6

Proverbs 22: 28-29 

9/7/19 Sex Is Not A Weapon

We cannot weaponize sex in our marriages.  I get that you feel that it is the only way to get what you want, or to make him feel as bad as he makes you feel.  Learn from our friend here who was tired and did not want to get up to let her lover in.  That physical distance she put between them resulted in an emotional distance.  The emotional distance freaked her out and caused her to get up and go find him.  I can’t speak for the men in this situation, but women?  When you withhold the physical side of your relationship from your husband because you don’t feel emotionally connected to him, that emotional distance will become a greater chasm between you.  Why?  Because men and women are created differently.  Men need the physical act of love to feel connected to us and women need the emotional love to feel connected.  In marriages that have weaponized sex a horrible cycle starts.  Woman feels emotionally distant from her husband and closes her “herb garden” to him.  Then husband feels physically distinct, so he closes off the emotional closeness to her.  And there it is, the exact place that Paul talks about in 1 Corinthians, the place that Satan can get a foothold in our marriages.  Listen don’t shoot the messenger here, but ladies if you want that emotional connection with your husband, consider offering yourself to him physically. 

Also, these lovers show us how to stay interested in each other.  I don’t know about you, but I do get freaked out sometimes as a see my body turn into a 40-year-old body.  This critical voice takes over and tells me, “You are not pretty, you are not beautiful, you are chubby and old.”  But look at what the lovers in this song do!  They study each other and praise each other.  They marvel in the beauty that is before them, not wishing for something else.  This takes work because everything in our culture says we have to whip it into shape to be desirable, but God in this song says that is not true.  You can delight in what you have been given in your spouse.  But also, they show us to not get lazy and stop trying to be pleasing for the other person.  I mean as Americans we are not dipping ourselves in myrrh and perfume because we have this beautiful thing called deodorant, but you get the point.  Don’t give up. 

Song of songs 5:1—8:14

2 Corinthians 9: 1-15

Psalm 51: 1-19

Proverbs 22: 24-25

9/6/19 OYBR–You Just Said What About My Thighs????

Holy moly, tuck in.  Did you know this was in the bible?  Well of course it is!  God made marriage and sex.  He created it to be a beautiful thing between married people.  Of course, He would have Solomon record the point and purpose of sex because He knew in our broken and sinful state, we would take this beautiful thing and make it cheap and disgusting.  The distortion that goes on surrounding our bodies and sex distracts us from what it was meant to be.  But this beautiful love song teaches us that a man and a woman can delight in sex, inside the confines of marriage.  It teaches us to take care of ourselves so that our lover can admire and “drink” in our bodies.  It teaches us to take time and study our lover and revel in what has been shared with us.  It also teaches us that we should not awaken this beautiful passion until the right time. i.e. marriage. 

When you experience sex outside of marriage you are actually stealing a part of the person you are having sex with.  That part is meant only to be shared with your marriage partner.  When we have sex before marriage, we bring so much baggage into the marriage.  If I could say anything to young women about sex it’s this, “It’s not worth what you are giving up.  Only a man who will commit himself to you in marriage is worthy of that gift.  There is not a day that goes by that I do not wish I was free of the sexual baggage I have.” 

The good news is, if you are like me and gave that piece of you away too soon, God is in the business of making all things new.  The goal is to have the kind of healthy sexual relationship these two lovers have.  It takes work.  It is not all rose pedals and champagne.  But God made us for this.  Our flesh only has one response to sex: MORE!  But Godly sex (yes that’s right I said Godly sex) enlists the Spirit to balance out desire and the beauty that is intended for this union.  Believers, we are empowered to be restored to the beauty that this song portrays. 

Just so we are all on the same page.  The structure of this song is as follows:

  • Courtship (1:1-3:5)
  • Wedding and wedding night (3:6-5:1)
  • First fight, reconciliation and desire for a mature marriage (5:2-8:4)
  • Conclusion (8:5-7)
  • How they fell in love (8:8-14)

I hate to split this beautiful song up like that but between all the sexy talk and “your breasts are like fawns,” I am afraid we will forget where we are in the story. 

There is lots of discussion about this song actually being allegory for God and how He loves Israel, and Christ and how He loves the church.  I get the similarities but because this song does not tell us that it is an allegory, I think we should take it at face value for being God’s record of what married life should be like. 

Song of Songs 1:1—4:16

2 Corinthians 8: 16-24

Psalm 50: 1-23

Proverbs 22: 22-23

9/5/19 Bible Reading Recap–Stop Chasing Air and Get to Work.

“That’s the whole story.  Here now is my final conclusion: Fear God and obey his commands, for this is everyone’s duty.”  After running down all the things that he thought would make life meaningful, Solomon’s conclusion is to fear God.  Solomon says everything else is as meaningless as chasing air.  And what is funny is this is the same thing that Paul is encouraging the Corinthian church to do.  He tells them, stop wasting time chasing after air by worrying about your gifts and following false teaching.  Finish the good work you started by giving freely to those churches who are in need. 

GUYS!  We just read two men in the bible tell us to not get distracted by chasing after air and focus on obeying God.  I don’t know about you, but I have been lost in the weeds for a few weeks.  I am tearful as I sit here and write to you that I have been chasing air and forgotten what God commanded me to do.  But I am so thankful that God does not let us flounder around for long before he says, “Alright sister, lets walk out of that desert and get back to work.”  I am so thankful.  In the OT God used Solomon.  The Corinthians had Paul.  I have my counselor and my best friend Kelly to remind me of what God started in me, and that I need to finish it.  I pray if you find the yourself in the weeds that you will stop chasing air and fall at Jesus’ feet and say, “You have given me so much, I want to obey your commands.”  Praying for you friend. 

Ecclesiastes 10: 1—12: 14

2 Corinthians 8: 1-15

Psalm 49: 1-20

Proverbs 22: 20-21

9/4/19 One Year Bible Recap–New Format!

Guys, I’m just being honest.  I am bored to tears with these One Year Bible Recaps.  And I suspect if I am bored to tears with them then they are not too much fun to read on your end.  So, because I like to shake things up, I am re-formatting the recaps.  I am going to write about one moment, or topic that stands out to me in the daily reading.  This will allow me to free up some more time to write that other thing we have been talking so much about, (the-book-that-must-not-be-named-because-it-is-so-overwhelming) and hopefully give you, the reader, one good truth nugget to take for your day.  Everybody cool with that?  I don’t care, that is what we are doing or so help me I will turn this car around and cancel Christmas. 

Sorrow=refining.  I think as humans we run from sorrow.  We want to insulate ourselves from feeling bad.  However, Solomon AND Paul tell us today that sorrow has a specific purpose.  It is to refine us.  Refining means that we become more like Jesus and less like our sin nature.  Someone who avoids sorrow at all cost will end up feeding the flesh and become less and less like Christ.  It starts with that dumb saying, “Do what makes you happy.”  Well you know what makes me happy?  Smoking a pack a day, lots of wine and about 4000 calories in the form of pasta dishes.  Also, not repenting of my sin, holding grudges and yelling at everyone makes me really happy.  But if I indulge in what makes me happy, I am going to be in a pretty sorry state and so will you.  But if we do things like accept the way God does things, find a time and a way to do what is right, and accept correction from a trusted teacher we might find ourselves feeling sorrow.  BUT it’s the kind of sorrow that leads us away from sin and brings us closer to God.  Get it?  Sorrow is so worth the closeness to Jesus it brings. 

Ecclesiastes 7: 1—9:18

2 Corinthians 7: 8-16

Psalm 48: 1-14

Proverbs 22: 17-19