5/20/19 One Year Bible Recap

I Samuel 24: 1—25: 44 (Sunday) and 26: 1—28: 25 (today)

In chapter 24 David gives us an example of what it looks like when you don’t do what is right in your own eyes, but you honor the Lord.  David shows us that he knows he is king but also knows that God puts authorities in place, and it is our job to submit to them.  He will make David the official king when David has been trained.  We as humans are asking for trouble when we take a position, we think God has given us, by stepping over the bodies of the one God had anointed to occupy that position until we are ready.  Ask me how I know.  If you think God has given you something, the best way to honor God is to wait until He officially gives it to you.  If He gave you the desire, He will carry it out too. 

Nabal has apparently never read Proverbs.  (That is a joke, because proverbs had not been written yet.) But if he had, maybe he would have made and attempt to curb that bad temper.  Abigail shows us that you must follow your husband, but you must not follow him into sin.  She shows some significant bravery here.  Knowing how ill-tempered he is, she serves David anyway.  She is the example of how to serve the Lord despite leadership that does not honor him.  She accepts the blame when she does have to, and honors David.  What strikes me is that this woman had the influence over the situation to encourage or stop a war.  She chose to stop a war.  Nabal reaps what he sowed and dies of a heart attack.  I don’t love that David takes her to add to his wife collection.  Mostly because God does not ordain multiple wives.  It was always supposed to be one man and one woman.  But I can get behind the fact that she is supported and protected by David because of her character.  (ps.  Multiple wife situations are never celebrated in the bible.  They always illustrate strife in the home life.  Much like when a married person today brings another person into the relationship by way of an affair, porn or lust.)

In today’s reading David denies his desire again and allows Saul to live even though it would have been so easy to kill him.  God even put Saul into a deep sleep!  This is a faith test though.  God does not want a king on the throne who will do what is right in his own eyes.  This process is teaching David to wait patiently.  He is so patient that he actually settles in the Philistine territory and works for the king to expand his land.  It will be very interesting to see what will happen when they go to war with Israel.  What side will David be on? 

Good call Saul strikes again.  This time he goes to a medium.  Everyone in the room is so shocked by the fact that this woman actually produced a spirit that we can assume all she ever has done before is drum up some evil spirits only too happy to put on show that will distract people from who God really is.  They all are instantly aware that God in his mercy has allowed Saul one more conversation with Samuel.  This is just what Saul needed because from now on he is resigned to the fact that the kingdom does not belong to him. 

John 10: 22-42 (Sunday) and 11: 1-54 (today)

If you are close to my age maybe you are like me and every time you see the word Hanukkah you immediately see Adam Sandler singing “Hanukkah is….the festival of lights.  Instead of one day of presets we have 8 crazy nights….”  I realize this is not the most spiritual of thoughts, but these are the memories I have to deal with.  Memorize scripture?  Oh, I am sorry Lord, my synapses are taken up by the entire Hanukkah song.  But I digress.

How much more plainly can Jesus say he is the Messiah? They call him blasphemous for saying He is claiming to be God.  It is a whole circular argument kind of situation!  He is not saying that all the prophets were gods like the pantheon of Greco-Roman gods, He is saying they all said they were “of God” meaning they were sent by God. Jesus can’t win with them because they are not his sheep.  Jesus says if you want to do the work of God, simply believe in what Jesus is doing right before your eyes.  That is good news for his sheep! 

My favorite part of the Lazarus story is that Martha says, “The smell will be terrible!”  I love that Jesus waited enough time to leave no doubt that Lazarus was actually dead, not just mostly dead.  Here is the really good news.  Those who believe in Jesus, when their bodies on earth die, we can consider them only sleeping because this ain’t the end for us folks.  There is so much more than just life and death on earth.  The Pharisee’s can’t get over themselves long enough to realize Jesus just raised someone from the dead!  Their kingdom is crumbling and instead of calling for the Savior they are calling for a quick fix to sure up their house of cards. 

Psalms 116 and 117

Make a note of what stands out to you in the Psalms because I am so far over my word count for the day! 

Proverbs 15: 20-23

Read the Proverbs so you don’t end up like Nabal!!! 

5/18/19 One Year Bible Recap

1 Samuel 22: 1—23: 29

I love how David forms this little following that can best be described as a Hippy Nation.  These Hippies can be categorized as in trouble, in debt and discontented.  If you were expecting God to surround David with a bunch of perfect holy warriors, you will be sadly disappointed.  Isn’t this good news though?  In God’s economy, cast offs got to be around the real king.  He takes them on a journey to grow them into His followers.  Meanwhile, back in the human economy Good Call Saul decides it is a good call to kill all of the Priests of Nob.  Also, it really feels like I am using my college degree today because I have Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Economics.  Obviously, I am super qualified to talk about economies. 

Remember, David has already been anointed as king.  If God wanted to, he could strike down Saul and use a magic carpet to escort David onto the throne.  But as we learned from the Israelites God is so much more concerned with journey that teaches dependence on HIM.  This is the journey David and the hippies are on.  They are literally in hiding dependent on God to warn them when Saul is close.   And guess what?  The journey looks different, but this is the same journey He has us on. 

John 10: 1-21

Jesus is the shepherd at the gate.  When you enter the gate, you are in his care.  He would lay down his life to care for you.  (In fact, he did lay down his life.)  It is popular today to say that God is all love, and everyone goes to heaven.  But if you believe that the Bible is the actual Word of God, then that idea is proven wrong by His Word. 

Here is a lesson on this from our farm.  We have to make sure the fencing is secure and that there is only one way into the goat pen.  If we don’t there will be coyotes, bobcats and wild dogs just waiting to get in to get our goats.  If there are a million ways in there, there is no way to protect the goats.  Having one way in and making sure the fence is secure is how we love them and keep them safe.  But also having one way in shows the goats exactly where to go when they need safety.  They don’t have to guess what pen theirs is, they know it by the one-way in.  If we made them have to guess every day, they would invariably end up in trouble. 

Notice the “one gate” at the back of the pen. Ignore the chickens, I have no control over them.

Do you see what I mean?  Having one way in is God’s protection over us and his mercy for us.  WE DON’T HAVE TO GUESS WHICH GATE LEADS TO HEAVEN, JESUS IS IT!!! 

Psalm 115

In this Psalm the Psalmist declares that those who make idols will become just as lifeless as the carved image.  Oh, how I wish this was only true for the Israelites, but it’s not.  You become just like whatever you worship. 

Proverbs 15: 18-19

Have you ever had a lazy day where you just don’t do the jobs (laundry, dishes, and chores)?  And then when you are forced to actually get up to make dinner or something you are impeded by the pile of dishes, the people crying for clean clothes and the animals howling that they need food?  Laziness will always catch up with you. 

5/17/19 One Year Bible Recap

1 Samuel 20: 1—21:15

When you love someone as you love yourself you figure out how to keep your dad from killing him.  That is just good manners!  I love the line “And may the Lord make us keep our promises to each other, for he has witnessed them.”  The men making these vows have eyes wide open to the fact that as sinners they have trouble following through.

God’s ordinances for the Tabernacle do not trump God caring for his people.  David would have died if it was not ordained by God for him to be sustained by the bread. Also, we have not heard a lot about the Ark since the Dagon story so it’s good to know someone is taking care of it. 

We are going to follow David through his own dessert wanderings.  God is going to grow him up and teach him how to follow him no matter what.  David lives a rough life for someone who is God’s king, I mean he even has to act insane!  But the suffering and lessons he learns are the fodder for some of the most beautiful songs.  Isn’t that how God works?  Beauty from ashes, every time.

John 9: 1-41

I about jumped out of my chair reading this story to proclaim YES JESUS!!!  We read about a man blind from the womb (we born are spiritually blind).  He meets Jesus and has to act on the words Jesus says to him. (We have to act on faith to the words Jesus says to us.)  His belief in Jesus restores his vison! (Our belief in Jesus restores our spiritual blindness) Because he has seen Jesus, he believes and is saved.  (When we see Jesus for who he really is we are saved!)

Also, Jesus uses this blind beggar to teach the fancy pants Pharisees.  Their pride is bolstering their blindness.  They want to complicate it and make salvation hard to reach, but it’s not.  The blind beggar says, “I know this:  I was blind and now I can see!”  This should have been a giant red flag for the well-versed fancy pants!  In the scriptures (they so studiously place their faith in) Isaiah 35: 5 says, “Then the eyes of the blind will be opened, And the ears of the deaf will be unstopped.”[1]  Isaiah is describing the signs the Messiah will perform.  Pride is keeping them spiritually blind, where the beggar was humble and in need of saving.  A Pharisee is lurking in all of us.  That feeling that tells us, this is too easy.  It must be more complicated.  I beg you, be like the beggar!  Just say, “I was blind and now I can see!”

Psalms 113 and 114

These psalms were sung before the feast at the Jewish festivals.  They remined the people of God’s glory and how He saves!

Proverbs 15: 15-17

The girls in this house are going to roll their eyes at this…..

Despondent means loss of hope or courage.  (I had to look that up) So when you are despondent you will focus on the bad stuff that happens all day.  (“I am so tired, they were such jerks, life is awful, I hate everyone,” would be examples of this that I just totally came up with out of nowhere not because I may or may not have heard them this morning.) Happy means feeling or showing pleasure or contentment.  When you have a heart that is focused on pleasure and contentment all you see all day long is how this life is a literal feast all the time!!!  It is definitely a discipline to practice contentment.  But this motivational poster is so right!

Check it out:

[1] New American Standard Bible: 1995 Update. La Habra, CA: The Lockman Foundation, 1995. Print.

5/16/19 One Year Bible Recap

I Samuel 18: 5—19: 24

Good Call Saul.  Yesterday we saw Jonathan submit to God’s choice to make David king.  He even took off his robe and put it on David.  Saul however hears this song the people are singing and is enraged that David is stealing his thunder.  Have you ever been in that situation where some young hip cool cat comes in and steals your glory?  You have two choices in that moment.  1.  You can be like Jonathan.  2. You can be like Saul.  Here is a hint if you are having trouble deciding which way to go.  Jealousy will turn you into a broody, grumpy jerk who tries to kill people.  Jealousy eats you from the inside out.  It robs you of joy.  Saul becomes so murderous that God has to give him a time out.  He lays naked on the ground and this prevents him from hunting David down. Also, jealousy must cloud your judgement because I can think of no other reason to ask someone for 100 foreskins as a bridal price.  EEWWWW!

Also, did you catch what Michal had in the house?  That’s right and idol!  So just remember even though they knew the rules to follow, they treated them more like guidelines instead of nonnegotiable.  Thank God that salvation comes from Him and not from our following the rules! 

John 8: 31-59

“Everyone who sins, is a slave to sin.”  We are slaves to sin and we don’t even know it.  When we sin (do something that is offensive to the Perfect God in Heaven) we are acting like Satan the father of lies.  He fell from heaven because he was prideful and wanted God’s Glory.  Satan tempted man to sin in the garden by lying to Eve.  He is responsible for the fall of man.  We are responsible for acting like him instead of acting like Jesus.  Saying to the crowd that they are not acting like Abraham’s children is like the biggest burn Jesus could have laid down.  They have put their faith in their lineage.  But Jesus tells them if you really were children of Abraham you would know me and know God sent me.  They are so tied up and enslaved to their sin that they can’t even see clearly.  Only by putting our faith in Jesus do we finally see that we have been enslaved.  Don’t feel like you are slave you say?  Well try for one day in your own power to uphold the 10 commandments.  You will quickly realize that you are a slave to your sin nature, your flesh and your desires.  Jesus can set you free from that!  You just have to believe in Jesus. 

Psalm 112

This is a song that can be sung when you need to remember the blessings you will receive by behaving in a godly way.  It is an acrostic poem just like the one yesterday.

Proverbs 15: 12-14

Pastor Doug always says that hurt people hurt people and saved people save people.  That popped into my mind when I read that a glad heart makes a happy face; a broken heart crushes the spirit.  A broken heart can be one that is ruled by jealousy and pride.  If that is your boss you will crush the spirits around you because that is the only way you can hold on to your jealousy and pride.  Don’t do it!  Be free to make happy faces all around you!

I have a secret and I have a favor to ask……

I want to prepare you that this post contains some really exciting information and some jobs for you to do. 

I know it is May and I just posted about how hard May is so the last thing I want to do is add to your to do list, BUT if you are reading this you are officially part of the OG Sarah Griffith Blog Club, and with that comes responsibilities. (LOL, I’m joking) Last week I sent out a letter letting you know that you are an OG and my mother texted me and said, “What does OG stand for?” So, in case you are wondering the same thing, OG means Original Gangster.  Now I know we are none of us Gangsters, but it is what the young people use to say, “Hey! You were here from the start.”  And you my friend have been here from the start. 

Here is the exciting news, my OG’s.  I have this book idea.  This book has been banging around in my head for a few months.  I am not a writer and needed some training.  So, I signed up for this online “school” for writers called Hope Writers.  I have been working through the “classes” for a few months.  I am at the point where I want to get this book out there into the world.  At the advice of the Hope Writers Coordinators, (and my friend Lauren Shaibely) I signed up for the She Speaks Writing Conference put on by Proverbs 31 Ministries and Lysa Terkeurst.  At this conference I applied to get a slot to do a book proposal, and I received a slot.  So, this means I will do a book proposal for three to five different book publishers, editors or agents.  So, if you need me, I will be breathing into a paper bag from now until July 24. 

Do you want to know what my book idea is?  I will tell you because I cannot keep anything a secret.  A few years ago, when we were at bible school one of the required classes was Romans.  When I was sitting in that class, listening to my Professor Scot Keen divide the book, I realized I had lived out the book of Romans in real time in my life.  I had gone from being totally lost and sinful, to God totally interrupting my life and saving me, to trying to live out my new salvation through sanctification.  The biggest gift God gave me was saving me from me trying to save myself.  My working title is “But then God, How God Saves and the Story of How He Saved Me.”  It will be part commentary on the book of Romans and part memoir.  Not a boring commentary though, a fun Sarah Griffith Blog kind of commentary.  Hopefully funny enough to be interesting but not so funny that it’s the first thing Jesus has to address with me when we meet face to face.  I would love this book to get into the hands of woman who are trying to save themselves by being perfect, trying hard and hoping that they are doing enough to “make it to heaven.”  That is a crushing way to live and I hope this book would set them straight and teach them that God does the saving, we just have to believe it. 

The title came to me a few weeks ago as I was driving home from church. It is offcially on the fridge so I can remember to prayf

Lest we get our hopes too high, please be advised that the likelihood of me getting a book deal the first conference out of the gate is so very small.  But OG’s, I am trying to be faithful to this idea that has been banging around in my head and doing the small steps to move toward publishing.  The first was that survey I sent out getting your feedback.  I have this incredible fear of feedback.  But as my mentors tell me, and basically all of Proverbs, correction is the best way to become wise.  Knowing what you like and don’t like helps me become a better writer.  Next is a big ask…….

I have never felt more like a used car salesman, but here goes.  Email lists.  Email lists are what publishers look at to see if you have people who actually read your writing.  In the publishers eyes, if a person has given you their email, then they will probably buy your book.  Gone are the days of books being put in book stores to be sold.  It is all online, and to get published you have to bring your own people to the party.  Now this is exactly the kind of trap that I could get lost in.  I could get obsessed with numbers and make my whole life about getting emails from people.  But I am really trying to honor God and my family by not getting lost in that hole.  Hope Writers has challenged me to ask for emails from people I know.  If I have approached you in the hall at church and haltingly asked for your email or sent you a text that sounded way too well thought out to actually be from me, this was me trying to rise to the challenge.  However, it causes me too much acid reflux so I just want to go with this:  If you are reading this and have not joined my email list, could you join my email list?  If you are reading this and have already joined my email list could you please ask a friend that you think would enjoy my blog to join my email list? It would mean so much to me.  Also, if you are reading a blog someday and you find it particularly funny or helpful could you share it on your social media?  If you do, I’ll be your best friend! J/K but I will be really grateful. 

Please notice also that we have a new website, again.  Our resident Techy, Jonathan, has returned my blog to WordPress, and it was no small task.  I had these grand ideas of having a website that included up to date info on the Farm and Sojourn House.  OG’s, ain’t nobody got time for that!  I only have enough time to write.  So, I asked Jonathan to move it back to WordPress and now it is just the blog.  If you are a WordPress follower and wondered where I went, well now you know, and please see my above “ask” about email lists. 

The smart writing people I am learning from say never to promise something you don’t actually have ready to go, but you know what? I do what I want.  You can hold me accountable to this.  Jonathan is going to help me get some free downloads up on the website.  I have written a bible study for the book of Ruth.  I am happy to get it on the website for you to download for free in return for your help with this email list thing.  I just need the people in this house to be done with school, so I have two minutes together to format it.  Also, sweet Jonathan is a newlywed, so I can’t demand all of his attention anymore.  Bless him. 

I will for sure keep you posted about the upcoming conference.  Even as I type that out I am in awe of the doors that have opened for me.  Life with Jesus truly is never dull or boring.  He has me in that spot where I know I cannot pull this off without Him doing the moving.  I really don’t have the words to express how fun, exciting and terrifying this is.  All I know is at the end of the day I am so thankful for writing.  It has helped me learn so much.  I am also thankful to the point of tears right now that ya’ll have cared enough to read my writing.  Some of you have even made it through the posts that were 7000 words.  Bless you.  You should know that lesson #1 in Hope Writers was learning to be concise. HaHaHaHa, I’m working on it.  My friend Jeff refers to my blog posts as manuscripts, prophetic? Hopefully!  And to go even further, when you have called or texted and said, “Sarah I so relate, thank you for writing about that, it reminded me who the Jesus is,” well friends I have no words.  It is truly the most treasured thing that comes out of this.  I love you all. 

Look at this fancy email list sign up right here at the end of the page!! How convenient! 😜😜

5/15/19 One Year Bible Recap

True confessions: In my grogginess this morning I read the April 15th and was so confused as to why there was a guy name Joshua preparing for battle.  It took me a good 10 minutes to realize my error.  It is fully May, getting to the school finish line is adding years to my life.  Teachers, bless you, I cannot imagine what you are going through right now.  I am praying for you. 

1 Samuel 17:1—18: 4

This story is an example of faith for us.  It is not to convince you that you are strong enough to slay giants.  If I see one more t-shirt that says, “I slay giants,” I am going to lose it.  NO! You don’t slay giants, but you know who does?  GOD!  He alone has the power to do it.  When we act on faith and the promises, he makes us we can accomplish the fullness of those promises.  He already promised them victory over the Philistines.  The army of Saul is sitting there not believing God’s promise, so God uses David to kill the Goliath.  You can access the power of God when you are acting on faith and promises he makes.  In your own strength you can do nothing—Happy Wednesday.   

Another example of faith is Jonathan.  God knits their souls together in friendship.  Jonathan is the heir to Saul’s throne, but he submits to God’s choice of David as king.  That is faith right there.  He could have mustered up enough support to claim the throne, but he chooses to act on faith and God promises.  God will empower him to live it out. 

John 8: 21-30

“Is he going to kill himself?”  LOL!  I would love it if the word included, “And Jesus smacked his forehead and said ‘UUGGGHHH!’” But Jesus doesn’t, he just continues to teach them.  If we are being honest though, they are not far from the truth.  He does lay down his life, just not in the suicide way.  He is obedient to the Father to the point of death.

Psalm 111

This is an acrostic poem.  That means that after the intro, each line begins with a letter of the Hebrew Alphabet.  Why does this matter?  Because it means that this was a song written to be easily remembered.  They could recall this like we do with nursery rhymes.  When they forgot who God was and started thinking they could slay giants in their own power they could sing this poem and remember who God is. 

Proverbs 15: 11

I was having a conversation with my cousin just this morning about how hard it is to understand that God has control over death and destruction as well as humans.  The point is he knows it all.  He is not shocked or derailed.  He just keeps spinning this thing down to carry out his ultimate plan of redemption. 

5/14/19 One Year Bible Recap

I Samuel 15: 1—16: 23

God decides to deliver judgement and is going to Saul to carry it out.  However, remember we talked about if you are going to be God’s judgement rod you must follow his orders.  Saul and his men spared everything that appealed to them.  Good Call Saul strikes again.  My favorite verse might be when Samuel says, “Oh you did everything God said?  What is all this noise?  Oh yeah! It’s the animals you were supposed to kill!!!” (I am paraphrasing) We also have my most favorite word in the bible.  “Obedience is better that sacrifice, and SUBMISSION is better than offering the fat of rams.”  Knowing my personality, you may be shocked that submission is my favorite word.  But this is the sweet spot the Lord wants us in.  Being in full submission to the Lord is the greatest offering we can make.  Saul admits he was in submission to the people around him instead of the Lord.  Well friends, that could be the name of my memoir.  “Doing what people want me to do instead of what God wants me to:  A story of a stressed-out woman always trying to please everyone but God.”  It’s a working title. 

The problem with not submitting to the Lord is it leaves us open to do what we think is right and judge what we think is ok.  But God tells us in verse 7 why that is a bad idea.  After Samuel looks over Jesse’s sons and is impressed by Eliab, God says, “People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”  This is what gets us into trouble.  Saul thought that keeping the plunder made sense and the from the outward appearance it did.  However what God saw in Saul’s heart was a disobedience to His Command.  What Samuel was impressed with Eliab does not mean a lick to God.  David’s heart was the one God could use. 

David is the new king.  We get to follow this story through God grooming him to be king.  It starts with David being the only one that can calm Good Call Saul down. 

John 8: 1-20

I don’t think our two passages have ever been more in line than today.  God judging the heart is the theme of the first story.  It looked right on paper for this woman to be stoned to death, but Jesus is judging the hearts of everyone there.  And when the Pharisee’s are shocked at Jesus claims, he tells them they are missing the mark because they are judging by human standards.

Psalm 110

This Psalm of David is glimpse into the communication between Jesus and God the Father.  In some prophetic way David received this message and recorded it for us.

Proverbs 15: 8-10

As to drive the point home even further, the Lord detests the sacrifice of the wicked.  Uprightness and godliness are the sacrifice he wants from us. 

5/13/19 One Year Bible Recap

Guys! Something momentous has happened in a small way in my house.  I have actually set up a real writing space.  Which means I have now for real invested actual money in my “writing.”  Don’t be alarmed, I will not let it go to my head.  I will not show up to events wearing an ascot, smoking a pipe and carrying a brief case.  This is simply a small way to be obedient to what I think God is calling me to.  I could be wrong and it may end up piled high with clothes that need to be folded so let’s just all stay flexible.  This space is in my bedroom.  I can close my door and come in here and write.  My bookshelves need book ends because the books just kept sliding off, so it’s a work in progress.  Here is a picture of my space, then lets jump into the reading!

I Samuel 14: 1-52

Yesterday we had the example of what can happen to you when you let fear be your boss.  Saul chickened out, let the circumstances around him become more real than God and listened to fear.  Fear said don’t wait for that crazy old coot, just do the sacrifices yourself.  There are consequences when we so into fear instead of the Lord.  Saul lost the kingship that day.  God was already in the process of giving it to someone else.  Today we see Jonathan jump up and trust the Lord.  Jonathan knows he can trust the Lord because the Lord promises him victory. He acts on his faith instead of fear.  

The whole fasting thing and then trying to battle is exactly what the Lord promised them with a human king.  We do not read that the Lord asked Saul to have the men fast, so we assume this is some sort of idea Saul had.  Also, up to this point God has always provided food for his people, yet the king they wanted denied them food.  Jonathan unknowingly goes against the king’s orders.  The king hears silence from the Lord and instead of looking inward at his sin, ya know, like making your army suffer hunger to the point that they eat animals without preparing them properly, he assumes someone else has sinned.  And then we see the stickiness and confusion of having a human king.  He says the Lord has said one thing and uses the Lord’s name to vow to carry out judgement, then we see the people say a totally different thing.  So how are they to know who is right.  In a perfect world they would remember that they are supposed to go to the Levitical Priesthood for answers from the Lord, but don’t hold your breath on that one.  We see God move the story alone despite their confusion.  Jonathan does not die; he is hailed a hero.  But God also uses Saul to grow the Army of Israel.  It is just another example of how God does not need perfect people to carry out His perfect plan. 

John 7: 31-53

I absolutely love the frustration the leading priest experience when their guards they sent to arrest Jesus come back claiming he is the Messiah!  They actually think the crowd who believes him are foolish, without understanding.  They are lost in the details.  Instead of investigating in an honest way, they trust their own judgement alone and call for his death.  Jesus knows this and is trying to tell them that time is running out for them to come to him and that he is the one that can quench the thirst. 

The earliest manuscripts that we can read don’t have verses 7: 53-8:11. We are going to read the story that is in these verses tomorrow.  This is not something to lose our minds over.  Here is what we can acknowledge.  1. This is not in the earliest manuscripts so was probably a story verbally told in addition to the gospel of John.  The early church fathers thought it dynamic and powerful and included it.  2.  We will not build our entire theology around this one set of verses.  3.  God’s word is fully protected by the Lord, it cannot contradict itself, or contain mistakes. 

Psalm 109: 1-31

This Psalmist is teaching us what to do with our righteous indignation. This is what we do when we see unrighteousness in the world that we can’t actually fix; we pray.   We ask God to fix it.  Notice please that I said, “righteous indignation” not “self-righteous indignation.”  You may not call these curses down on someone who cuts you off or offends you personally. 

Proverbs 15: 5-7

Here we go with “correction leads to wisdom” again.  Gosh it is so hard.  I want to say also, that as a parent it is hard to correct.  But we have to do it, so we don’t raise fools with no good advice to give.

5/11/19 One Year Bible Recap

I Samuel 10: 1—11: 15

Don’t forget that any prophet or person with message from God will have to be legitimized by near and far prophecy.  The near prophecy that Samuel gives Good Call Saul is that very specific things will happen on his journey home.  The far prediction is that he will become king.

Bible Nerd Moment:  I am so sorry but I totally lost my “ish” this morning when I read that God gave Saul a new heart.  This is a very specific phrase referred to in the prophets and the NT as something that only happens when Jesus comes back for the second time.  It is jarring when you believe something to only be possible during one time, then you see it happen here in the OT.  When something like this happens, I have a process I go through to try and understand.  First, God’s word never contradicts itself, and every word is inspired and protected by God.  This means that this is not a mistake in the text.  Every word is from the Lord and perfect.  My point being: the answer to a question I have about the bible is never God must have misspoken or didn’t mean to say that.  Second, I pray and ask God to help me understand what the passage is saying.  Third, I look at other legitimate translations.  My go to translations are the New Living Translation (NLT), the New International Translation (NIV), New American Standard Bible (NASB) and the English Standard Translation (ESV).  Taking in all these different phrasings of the same text will help me get the essence of the actual text.  I hate to be a Hebrew snob, but their language is so much more descriptive than plan old English.  In reading these different translations of the same verse I got the sense that God did not give Saul a new heart in the same way He will eventually give everyone new hearts in the future times, but he gave Saul a new desire in his heart.  I will give you the verses and you can decide for yourself. 

NLT 10: 9 As Saul turned and started to leave, God gave him a new heart, and all Samuel’s signs were fulfilled that day.[1]

NIV 10: 9 As Saul turned to leave Samuel, God changed Saul’s heart, and all these signs were fulfilled that day.[2]

NASB 10: 9 Then it happened when he turned his back to leave Samuel, God changed his heart; and all those signs came about on that day.[3]

ESV 10:9 When he turned his back to leave Samuel, God gave him another heart. And all these signs came to pass that day.[4]

Bless Saul’s heart, because even though God gave him new desires the thought of standing in front of the nation and being their king scared him enough that he went and hid in the luggage.  Good call Saul.  But remember God has given him new desires.  When Saul hears of what has happened to the distant city, God moves in him and Saul becomes angry.  I would wager that before His interaction with God, news of a distant town being captured would not have stirred anything in Saul. 

I have already used all my word allotment for the day, but it’s Saturday and the house is quite for now, so I am going to keep going.  Lucky you my dear reader!

John 6: 43-71

As if to prove my point from our previous discussion we get to read that the people following Jesus don’t like what he says and don’t want to have anything to do with eating his flesh and drinking his blood.  But we have understanding of this from our study of the OT.  What was the Tabernacle and sacrificial system?  An elaborate visual aid that taught the people of Israel (and the surrounding nations) that death and blood was required to atone for sin.  The people in this story put their own understanding and their own desires above Jesus teaching.  I can’t help but see that what God did to Saul is exactly what Jesus is talking about here.  Without God drawing us in, left to our own human effort, we see Jesus as a crazy man who wants us to eat his flesh and drink his blood like some horrible version of being a vampire.  God does something to us, just like he did to Saul, that makes us have to decide if we are going to believe Jesus or desert Jesus.  You will either listen to the Father and come to Jesus or you will desert Jesus.  I love Simon Peter’s words.  “Lord, to who would we go? You have the words of eternal life.” (Don’t bother at-ing me about Calvinism or whatever.  I am not trying to solve this mystery; I just know that God has to flip some sort of switch in us to get us to even listen to Jesus.)

Psalm 107: 1-43

“Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good!  His faith love endures forever.”  When we practice thankfulness, we get tuned into how good God really is to us.  (Both the young woman who live here just rolled their eyes because I have been telling both their grumpy butts that they need to practice thankfulness.) 

Proverbs 15: 1-3

To be the person that can bring the emotions of an escalated situation down is someone who possesses the fruit of the Spirit (peace, joy, love, patience, gentleness and self-control.)  I got to witness this a few weeks ago.  I was saying something that raised the emotions of the room because of my harshness (shocking, I know).  A woman that exudes God’s gentleness followed up my words with words of gentleness and peace and you could literally feel the emotions in the room drop back to chill.  That is godliness that should be celebrated in our lives. 

[1] Tyndale House Publishers. Holy Bible: New Living Translation. Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 2013. Print.

[2] The New International Version. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2011. Print.

[3] New American Standard Bible: 1995 Update. La Habra, CA: The Lockman Foundation, 1995. Print.

[4] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016. Print.

5/10/19 One Year Bible Recap

I Samuel 8: 1—9: 27

It’s totally ok for Israel to ask for a king.  God told them that they would have a leader like that.  The problem is the timing.  The kingdom that God would institute in his own good timing would be a Kingdom, like the kind that happens after the cross, when Jesus comes back for the second time.  The Israelites were not interested in waiting, so God tells them a human king will only disappoint them.  But ever teaching them, he allows their plan to go forward. 

You have to know that every time I read about Saul I am immediately transported back to Judges class at NTBI (now Ethnos 360 BI) in 2015.  Our teacher, Rich Bruce, called Saul, “Good Call Saul,” meaning that he did not always make good choices.  I have never had a teacher that made narrative come alive like Rich did.  I guess that is why it sticks!  The following stories are going to illuminate for us what it looks like when people reject God and put our faith in a kingdom or government order.  Israel wants to be like the nations around them.  What a slap in the face to God.  He specifically said that as his chosen people they should reflect him to the nations around him.  If they had reflected him to the nations around them they would have reaped such great rewards. 

John 6: 22-42

This section today is freedom for those of us who really tried to earn our way to heaven.  “Jesus told them, ‘This is the only work God wants from you: Believe in the one he has sent.’”  That is what you can do to please God.  You are free from “being good,” and beating yourself up when you do something wrong.  God is not impressed with your “being good.”  He celebrates when you do his will which is seeing his son and believing him, so you have eternal life.  The Law had one job, to show the Israelites that they were sinners in need of a Savior.  Studying the OT for us has one job, to show us that humanity cannot follow the rules that reflect God, we are just sinners in need of a Savior. 

Psalm 106

What a beautiful repentance Psalm.  Think about the fact that the Psalmist wrote a song of repentance to be sung by the people so they would learn from the mistakes of their ancestors.  Songs are a gift that make things easy for us to remember.  This song reminds us of God’s faithfulness and forgiveness despite Israel’s faithlessness and rebellion. 

Proverb 14: 34-35

There are so many things I want to say but I will just go with this:  You reap what you sow.  This is true for nations, kings and people.  You cannot escape this universal principle set up by God from the beginning.


5/9/19 One Year Bible Recap

I Samuel 5: 1—7: 17

What a great story today!  God is in the business of setting people free of their fake idol worship.  It is up to them to acknowledge Him as God.  The Dagon worshippers take the Ark and set it before their fake god, and God’s like, “Hahahah, LOL, watch this.” The breaking of Dagon by God is followed up by a plague.  These people have even heard about what God did in Egypt and say, “Don’t be stubborn like Pharaoh!” They used the cows as a divining tool.  This was to prove to themselves that God was working.  Without God leading them, those new mama cows would have stood there mooing for their babies. But God, ever loving and wanting people to know Him, uses these cows to show them that they have been under His judgement.  Now unfortunately they love their headless, handless, sculpture more, so they exchange the Truth for their fake god. 

We see the Israelites receive the Ark back pretty well.  The know enough to know that only people from Levi can handle it.  However, they can’t help themselves and they look in the box.  Have they never seen Indian Jones and the Lost Ark? Probably not! 

I love the speech Samuel gives at the start of his ministry as prophet!  “If you want to return to the Lord with all your hearts, get rid of your foreign gods and your images of Ashtoreth.  Turn your hearts to the Lord and obey him alone; then he will rescue you from the Philistines.”  The heart of this command is a universal truth of the Bible.  An absolute truth that never changes.  If you want a relationship with the Lord you have to set down what you love more than him and obey him alone.  The way we obey him today is by believing in Jesus. 

John 6: 1—21

The miracle of the feeding of the 5,000 is the only sign recorded in all four Gospels (besides Jesus’ resurrection).[1]  The people are so convinced that he is about to take over that Jesus knows they are about to force him to be king.  They are right to think this.  God does save his people from oppression.  Just like with Egypt and just like with the Philistines.  However, Jesus is setting up a kingdom that will be eternal.  This is not God saving them from another bad ruler.  This is God saving them from the source of all of our trouble: SIN.  The cross has to happen, and people have to be given the opportunity to put their faith in the cross before the eternal kingdom is set up. 

Psalm 106: 13—31

Keep reading, we will talk about it when we finish it.

Proverb 14: 32—33

I was in a fender bender last August.  I got out of my car to see if the guy who hit me was ok, only to be met with a lunatic that was losing his mind.  Out of control does not begin to describe it.  He was so mad the police had to detain him.  Come to find out, it was not his car, he did not have insurance, and he had a warrant out for his arrest.  So yeah, he was crushed because this was a disaster for him. 

[1] Blum, Edwin A. “John.” The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures. Ed. J. F. Walvoord and R. B. Zuck. Vol. 2. Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1985. 293. Print.


5/8/19 One Year Bible Recap

I Samuel 2: 22—4: 22

In the Levitical Priesthood of Israel, if you knew a priest was sinning and you did nothing to stop it you were just as much to blame as them.  We see in this passage that Eli placed more value on his son’s than he did on the Lord.  Eli had turned his son’s into idols and let them do what they wanted to do.  By the time he was made aware of it, God had already locked them into their decisions and judgement was pending.  I think the take away for us is to know, we can make idols out of anything, even our kids.

God will honor those who honor Him.  The call of Samuel shows us that even when Samuel was scared to death, he still honored God by giving Eli the message.  And from that point on God confirmed Samuel as his prophet.  Remember anyone God sends He will also validate by near and far predictions coming true. 

And we see the Israelites acting on their syncretism of their Covenant with God and the Canaanite belief system.  Even the Philistines say, “they are bringing their gods into camp!”  No Philistines they are not bringing their gods, they are abusing the fact that they have enjoyed the presence of THE ONE AND ONLY GOD.  God will not be used as talisman.  To show He is the power and not the Ark, He allows it to be captured.  I fully believe this is why we have not found the Ark, if we did, we would worship it instead of God.  And because God only honors those who honor Him, his presence leaves the Israelites.  Now, He is still God, they are still His chosen people, but they will not enjoy the benefits of that Covenant now. 

John 5: 24-47

Alrighty, stick with me here.  This is really important.  This section opens with Jesus saying that “believing” in Him will result in eternal life.  In the next paragraph He says those who do “good” will rise to eternal life.  The good He is referring to is not good deeds or philanthropic pursuits.  The good He is talking about is listening and believing in Him.  To prove His point further He says that they search the scriptures, (the OT commands and principles looking for how to please God), and they miss the fact that the Scriptures point to Him.  As we read through the book of Judges don’t you see how people, even with the revelation of God’s commands straight from His mouth are incapable of doing good deeds?  The only good thing we can do is believe in Jesus.  Without Jesus we are just an idol worshipper looking for the next cool idol.  I don’t mean to be harsh, but I don’t want you to miss eternal life with Jesus because you think doing good deeds will get you there.  You get to put your faith in the actual God in of the Universe, not yourself!  Isn’t that such good news????

Psalm 106: 1-12

We will talk about this when we finish it.

Proverbs 14: 30-31

I have never understood a Proverb more clearly than this.  I can attest to the fact that jealousy is like cancer.  It will sap the life right out of you.  I will forever be thankful for the peace that comes with walking with Jesus.  To be able to lay the jealousy down and choose peace is a gift from Him.