10/7/19 One Year Bible Recap

Jeremiah 8: 8—9: 26

Can you imagine being in Jeremiah’s position?  Can you imagine God pronouncing judgement on your people, town or nation and you are given the task of telling them that judgement is coming only to be ignored?  And God tells us that this judgement is coming simply because they refuse to acknowledge that He is Lord.  They have no lack of enthusiasm for religious rites.  They circumcise themselves and follow the “law.”  Law is in quotation marks because it is not God’s Law they follow but, a version of it they like and are ok with.  And they do these things to set make themselves feel like they are right with God, all the while ignoring the people God sent to tell them, “Hey, you just have to acknowledge God as God to be right with God, and PS. Judgement is coming—eh, er…bodies scattered across the field likes clumps of manure—might want to put that carved image down and look to God, but whatever.”

Not to Jesus juke you on a Monday morning, but fellow Christ followers, we are in Jeremiah’s position.  “Go into the world and make disciples of every nation, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.  And surely, I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”  We are supposed to go out and tell people about Jesus and that faith in Him is the way to be right with God.  That last line of the Great Commission tells us that there is an end to this age.  And that end is exactly what we have been reading about in the prophets—final judgement, the End Times, when God regathers Israel for the final cleansing.  So yes, we should identify with Jeremiah in this way.  We know the truth and we have to tell people about it.  They will ignore us for the most part, but I don’t want to wish I said more when judgement comes. 

Colossians 3: 1-17

And as if to drive home the point I was trying to make above; Paul tells us our real life is hidden with Christ in God.  That means this life on earth is not the real deal.  Eternity is the real deal.  We have to stop making life on earth the real deal and think about Eternity as our real life.  That frees us up to let go of what does not matter and cling to what does matter.  And Paul says, “Christ is all that matters.”  Paul the “mic drop” apostle does it again.  Go out today and focus on Christ, He will do the rest.  The end. 

Psalm 78: 32-55

Proverbs 24: 27

10/5/19 One Year Bible Recap

Jeremiah 4: 19—6: 15

Ok, I am totally absorbed in the imagery Jeremiah is using.  In chapter 4 he communicates the pain he feels for Judah.  This is the pain of someone who knows the truth and is folding himself inside out to communicate it to a people who just want to ignore God.  It is heartbreaking.  And in Chapter 5 he communicates the reasons the Lord is giving for judgement.  One of my favorites is that He compares his people to lusty stallions neighing for their neighbors’ wives.  This communicates a deep desire to commit sin.  If you have ever been around a stallion who wants a mare, you get it.  There is no holding them back.  They will break through anything in their way, sometimes injuring themselves, to get to her.  In chapter 6 the imagery focuses on the fact that the judgement is for sure coming.  I loved the verse that compares the advice of false prophet to putting a band aide (superficial treatment) over a mortal wound.  As someone who has sought just about every false cure before finding God, I get it.  When you run around treating the symptoms you never actually heal the mortal wound we have: sin. 

Colossians 1: 8—2: 7

Paul finishes relating the mystery that is Jesus Christ in the beginning of the reading today.  He then goes on to tell them that he has communicated to them and to every church the full mystery and he has suffered for it.  But, he is glad of the suffering so he can “present them (and us) perfect in their (and our) relationship with Christ.”  Did you catch that?  He does not want to present perfect super Christians to Christ, he wants to present people perfect in their RELATIONSHIP with Christ.  And how do we have a perfect relationship with Christ?  Well, we have to look like a perfect Christian….  NO, NO, NO!  SLAP MY MOUTH—THAT IS NOT IT!!! If we could be perfect, we would not have the New testament because the OT would have ended with, “And all the Israelites followed the Law perfectly and the surrounding nations saw this and believed in the Lord and followed the Law and became righteous too.”  As we know, the OT does not end like that.  The way to have a perfect relationship with Christ is in 2: 6-7.  “And now, just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to follow Him.  Let your roots grow down into him, let your lives be built on him.  Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness.”  This is brilliant.  Follow him, and when you follow him you will grow deep roots and your life will be built on Him.  It doesn’t say “be perfect,” it says follow Him.  I am so immensely thankful for this truth about our Savior. 

Psalm 77: 1-20

Proverbs 24: 23-25

10/4/19 One Year Bible Recap

Jeremiah 2: 31—4: 18

Jeremiah spends chapters 2-45 relating the prophecies he has been given about the judgement of Judah.  I was so struck today by the fact that it seems God’s people want to do everything BUT worship him.  The picture painted for me today by Jeremiah was the fact that Israel and Judah did not lack enthusiasm for all things spiritual, they just wanted to try everything and make up their own way.  And then it sank into my brain, this character flaw in us humans is still alive and well today.  Proof of the sin nature we carry rears its head when God says, “Follow me,” and we respond with, “Yeah, but I think ___________ is a better option and one I enjoy more. 

Colossians 1: 1-17

I am fully geeked out today over this book.  Paul is the author; Timothy probably wrote it down at Paul’s dictation.  Again, written from a Roman jail cell sometime between 60-62 AD.  He is addressing believers in Colosse, a church plant that is thriving.  But the thing I am geeking out about is this book gives us some church history on how the Gospel of Jesus Christ was getting twisted.  This book addresses the false belief system of Gnosticism. 

The Gnostic’s believed that you had to observe the OT Law.  They believed they had to search for special and deeper meaning in God’s Word and they worshiped angels and mediators they thought would give them this intel into the true meaning of God’s Word.  They were also very exclusive and believed that only a select few had this propensity to receive this special knowledge.  They also believe that Christ was a good teacher and a brilliant healer and profit, but they did not believe that he was the “visible image of the invisible God.” (Col. 1: 15)  If we take what Jeremiah taught us today about our nature to not wanting to do what God says, and the false teaching Paul is addressing in this book we see that it is exactly the same problem!!!  We want to worship God our way.  The Israelites wanted to make up their own gods, the Gnostics wanted to be like God and have special knowledge no one else had, but at the core it is the same—I want my own way. 

Paul addresses this false teaching by driving home the point of Christ’s Deity.  And then he challenges the Colossians to be mature in their faith so they can stand against heresy.  The purpose for this letter is so they will not fall victim to wrong thinking.

In today’s reading he says, “We ask God to give you complete knowledge of his will and to give you spiritual wisdom and understanding.”  This is because all knowledge and wisdom come from God.  If you are turning away from what God says in His Word, you are also giving up knowledge and wisdom.  It’s as simple as that. 

Pro Tip from Coach Sarah: If someone says to you, “Hey, I’ve got some information about God that is not in the bible.  He gave it to me because I have reached a special spiritual level,” RUN AWAY!!!

Psalm 76: 1-12

Proverbs 24: 21-22

10/3/19 One Year Bible Recap

Jeremiah 1: 1—2: 30

There are two kinds of people in the world.  Ones who love timelines and chronology and ones who abhor timelines and chronology.  Jeremiah is the second.  He is our gypsy-like uncle who always smells of patchouli oil and incense.  He moves through life feeling deeply and trying to get others to feel deeply too.  He also cries a lot.  Jeremiahs book is not arranged chronologically it is arranged in a way to paint a picture for us.  And yes, it is very hard for this timeline loving, Enneagram 1 to not check out on this book.  But it is here for our benefit, so we need to dig in.  But I did chuckle at the fact that Bible Knowledge commentary said this:

“The book itself gives evidence of multiple stages of growth. That is, Jeremiah, at different stages of his ministry, collected his prophecies and rearranged them in a definite pattern (cf. 25:13; 30:2; 36:2, 32). Jeremiah could have completed the final form of chapters 1–51 after he was taken hostage to Egypt (cf. 51:64). But what about chapter 52? Jeremiah 52, nearly identical to 2 Kings 24:18–25:30, was written sometime after 561 b.c. when King Jehoiachin was released from prison in Babylon (Jer. 52:31). Apparently this last chapter was appended to Jeremiah’s prophecies by the same writer who compiled the Book of Kings. The chapter was added to show that Jeremiah’s words of judgment had been fulfilled and that Jehoiachin’s release foreshadowed God’s promises of restoration and blessing.[1]

That’s right folks.  An Ancient Enneagram 1 got ahold of this book and with God’s blessing added some chronology for us. 

Jeremiah presents his prophecy in conjunction with the major events going on during his time.  Namely, the exile.  So instead of the feel we got in Isaiah—this happened and then this happened and then this happened.  This book will be arranged like this—This big event happened and here are all the prophecies I have received about that and so on.  Some of you may be jumping for joy since you are not timeline people. 

The Babylonians are going to do what God said they would do in the book of Isaiah.  The purpose of this book is to encourage the nation to turn from idol worship and stick with God and to tell them how to suffer well during Exile. 

I can’t get over the verse in today’s reading that says, “They have abandoned me—the fountain of living water.  And they have dug for themselves cracked cisterns that can hold no water at all!”  We all do this don’t we?  Or am I alone.  I shut my God faucet off and say, “Lord I got this I am going to do it my way and you are going to like it.”  And then I turn to fill my broken-self up with fake water (my grit, my power, my money, my personality, my ability to look like a Christian on the outside) and it leaks out until I feel empty.  My prayer this morning was, “God, I feel poured out, I shut off the fountain of living water, please turn it back on and fill me up with the water that does not leak out.”  I pray that for you today too, my dear reader. 

Philippians 4: 1-23

As Paul ends this letter today, he challenges them, and us, with a few things.  First, he addresses two women who are in a cat fight.  We women are responsible for setting the temperature in our church.  I don’t mean the thermostat, although I fully support the thermostat being under our control, But, what I mean is, we set the tone in our churches.  If we are catty and divided, our church will be catty and divided.  If we are inclusive and at peace with one another the church will follow suit.  That is why Paul takes time in this letter to address these two women. 

But also, he tells us the final thing we need to do to be joyful in any situation.  “For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.”  Before that statement he listed off how his circumstances change.  His conclusion is that no matter what is going on Christ is the reason he can rejoice in it.  It’s that same idea of not turning off the “Living Water fountain.”  The fastest way to shut that fountain off is to start complaining and focusing on everything that is wrong with the world.  That is why Paul has to warn us in this section to stay focused on what is good.  That gives us the room we need to rely on Jesus strength.  Mature believers are not swayed by circumstances, they are joyful because through it all they are relying on Jesus. 

Psalm 75: 1-10

Proverbs 24: 17-20

[1] Dyer, Charles H. “Jeremiah.” The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures. Ed. J. F. Walvoord and R. B. Zuck. Vol. 1. Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1985. 1122–1125. Print.

10/2/19 One Year Bible Recap

Isaiah 66: 1-24

As we finish the book of Isaiah the Lord drives home the point that future restoration is coming, it is not here yet and when he moves it will be so fast that it will be like having a baby the moment after the labor pain starts.  And all God’s women said, “Amen.”  Despite the fact that Lord comes with fire there will still be those of his creation that do not acknowledge him as Lord.  God will purify His creation.  Doesn’t it make you in awe of God when He can in the same moment be as comforting as a mother with her newborn child and also the Judge of the world.  That is our God. 

Philippians 3: 5-21

At the end of yesterday’s reading Paul was warning them about the “those dogs, those people who do evil, those mutilators who say you must be circumcised to be saved.”  He said that those people put their hope in human effort.  Today he goes on to say if anyone can put hope in human effort it’s him.  He has all the training and was part of all the best “God clubs.”  And as he sits in jail, while writing this letter, he confidently says that he counts it all worthless compared with the “infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.”  He goes on to say he counts it as garbage and that he wants no part of the righteousness that comes from following the Law.  Do you see why?  It’s because the righteousness that comes from following the Law is SELF righteousness.  What enables Paul to write about joy from jail is not self-righteousness.  The righteousness that Paul receives from Jesus is what gives him the freedom to let go of Law and the fancy “God clubs,” and live a life faithfulness characterized by Joy.  And Paul invites us to pattern our lives after his example.  I’m in!  I want the life he talks about that includes the power of God, the comfort in suffering and the resurrected life!  How about you? 

Psalm 74: 1-23

Proverbs 24: 15-16

10/1/19 One Year Bible Recap

Isaiah 62: 6—65: 25

“The Lord says, “I was ready to respond, but no one asked for help.  I was ready to be found, but no one was looking for me.  I said, ‘Here I am, here I am!’ to a nation that did not call on my name.”  Can you agree with that statement by the Lord?  Can you recall the previous books of the bible where he saved Israel, refined them, provided for them and then when tested they went somewhere else for help.  Do you find truth about your own walk with the Lord in that statement?  Yeah, me too.  And this is the whole heartbreaking thing about sin and why God had to deal with it for us, it causes us to turn away from the One who can really help us and seek lesser things. 

But He knows all that, has recorded all that for us to learn from, and still is brining redemption for us all because of His Goodness, not ours. 

Philippians 2: 19—3: 4

Rejoicing in the Lord is the safeguard of our faith.  The moment we stop thanking Him and finding joy in Him we are sitting ducks for the Satan.  Rejoicing in the Lord makes Satan go, “Uggh, Gag me with a spoon!”  I want to make him say that whenever he is close to me. 

Rejoicing is how Paul can be sitting in prison but write about joy.  Also look at how having other believers around is what brought Paul earthly comfort.  He was cheered by Timothy being with him.  When we are hurt, we have the tendency to want to pull away from people, especially joyful ones.  Ughh, nothing is worse than walking around with a broken heart and having a joyful bubbly person walk up and say, “HI HOW ARE YOU TODAY!!!!”  In a perfect world I could say, “I have a broken heart and now I want to punch you in the face.”  But that is frowned on, especially at church.  But hiding away alone makes you a sitting duck too.  We have to resist the urge to hide when we are hurting and make ourselves be with other believers.  This is how God will comfort us in suffering. 

Psalm 73: 1-28

Proverbs 24: 13-14

9/30/19 One Year Bible Recap

Isaiah 60: 1—62:5

This book was written to remind Israel that they are God’s chosen people and that He will fulfill the promises He made to them.  In these closing chapters He drives home the point that redemption for them as a nation is still in the future.  This future time will be like nothing we have ever seen.  In their circumstances, ya know—the aggressive army coming to take them to exile—they might be tempted to forget that they are in the middle of the story and God is still at work.  Pastor Doug reminded us at church yesterday that Eternity is all about God.  And these chapters in Isaiah prove that.  When everyone knows that God is God, that is when mourning, suffering, broken heartedness, and pain will end because we will be in His presence and free of the sin that distracts us from Him.  When we see God face to face, rejection of Him won’t be an option.  In ancient Israel and right now, rejection of Him is what causes all the mourning we live with right now. 

Philippians 1: 1—2: 18 (two days for the price of one)

This is a little beauty of a letter.  Do not miss this.  The repeated words in this epistle are, “joy, rejoice and glad.”  The author, Paul, had Timothy record this letter FROM A JAIL CELL.  And the funny thing is scholors are not sure which imprisionment this is.  So this letter may have been written in the 61 AD jail stay or the 62 AD jail stay.  How on earth can someone compose a letter about joy from a jail cell?  The answer is because he has found the key to the successful Christian life.  And yes, a successful Christian life may include a jail cell. 

This letter is to a church that has taken what Paul taught them and ran with it.  This church also includes one of my favorite bible characters Lydia.  We met her in the book of acts.  Anyway, this church is characterized by generosity and their desire to make Christ known.  That is a good thing. 

But Paul does have to address the Judaizes again to this church (1: 17).  This is the group that seems to follow along behind him and muck up his teaching by telling people they have to follow the Law and believe in Christ to be saved.  We learned from Romans and Galatians how dangerous that teaching was.

In Chapter 1 Paul focuses in on what really matters and tells us that the message of God is going forward despite the fact that Paul is in prison.  God uses it all to make Himself known.  What really matters is that we live as citizens of heaven.  This means we live in a way that reflects the Good News we know about Jesus no matter what comes our way, maybe even jail. 

Chapter 2 gives us that key we need to live a joy filled life in the face of the world who seem hell bent on burying Christians.  I encourage you to really read this section over and over and see the way Paul says “do {this} because {this} is true of your standing as a believer in Christ.”  WE CANNOT turn this into a to do list, that would make us Pharisee’s.  But we can start to capture thoughts and make them obedient to Jesus.  So, say for example, you notice yourself complaining about something.  Take that thought in hand and say, “Lord you told me not to complain about anything but instead do everything without complaining.  I repent Lord, change my thinking please.”  Or you can do it my way and scream and yell at everyone, so they are all clear that you are not happy with the current situation, and then be convicted by Jesus that you just acted like Satan on steroids and have to go back and apologize to everyone.  (I’m not trying to bossy, but the first way is the more mature way.)

Psalm 72: 1-20

Proverbs 24: 11-12

9/28/19 One Year Bible Recap

Isaiah 54: 1—57: 14

God’s ways are higher than our ways.  This is very good news.  He solved the problem of sin by sending His son to earth to live as the Suffering Servant and be sacrificial lamb for the wrath that sin incurred.  That wrath was poured out on the Suffering Servant on the cross and then Suffering Servant ascended to Heaven proving the sacrifice was accepted by the Holy God.  This is not how humans solve the problem of sin.  In the reading today we see human solution to the problem of sin.  We make idols and deny God and we just get deeper and deeper into sin debt.  Our reading said today that because of what the Suffering Servant will do, it makes a way for God to redeem His chosen people and spare them from punishment.  I don’t know about you, but all that considered, I can see that God’s ways are higher than mine, and like I said that is Good News for all of us. 

Ephesians 6: 1-24

Side note:  My fellow Americans, please remember that when the bible talks about “slavery” it is not “slavery” as illustrated by the North American Slave Trade.  That kind of slavery in NEVER endorsed by scripture.

The Armor of God.  This is the way to deal with the enemy.  I get sad when I see believers who are obsessed with fighting Satan.  They are so concerned with what Satan is doing that they actually become Devil worshippers because they spend more time thinking about Satan than they do thinking about God.  What a trick of the enemy right?

Paul tells us here to put on God’s armor not our own.  The belt of truth means that your life reflects integrity.  Belts and integrity allow you to move freely in life; you don’t have to worry about your pants falling down or being called a liar, liar pants of fire.The breastplate of righteousness is the idea of walking in the righteousness that comes from being sanctified by walking with Christ.  A breastplate protects your heart and sanctification does the same thing.  Paul tells us over and over to “stand,” shoes of peace allow us to stand on the firm foundation of the Gospel.  Faith makes your life impenetrable to the enemy’s arrows.  The helmet of salvation is the covering for our head because it is the hope of the future restoration that all our thoughts have to be filtered through.  The sword of truth was modeled for us by Christ.  He used truth as His offense when tempted by the devil.  This is why it is a life or death matter for us to know God’s word.  If you don’t know God’s Word, you are lacking your only offensive weapon.  And finally, prayer it the way to access these weapons. 

Psalm 70: 1-5

Proverbs 24: 8

9/27/19 One Year Bible Recap

Isaiah 51: 1—53: 12

The first part of the section today is God asking the faithful remnant to wake up and pay attention.  He is telling them that they will get complacent in the exile and not realize when they have finished drinking from the “cup of wrath.”  Is that just so like us humans to get use to and comfortable with our surroundings and forget that we are actually free? 

Starting at 52: 13 the rest of this section is talking about the Suffering Servant, Jesus.  Specifically, His ministry on Earth.  There are so many predictions in here about His life it’s hard to understand how the Pharisee’s, who prided themselves on their knowledge of scripture, missed lining up that Jesus was the Suffering Servant.  I think this is why God makes such a big deal about idols.  The Pharisee’s worshiped the Law as their God and therefore it became an idol.  When we worship idols and not the Real living God, we become like the idol remember?  As numb as a hunk of wood.  I hope you get time to really sit and read through this section line by line.  It is beautiful and heartbreaking all at the same time.

Ephesians 5: 1-33

Ahhhh, we come to my favorite word in the bible.  SUBMIT.  Why are you laughing?  I am being serious!  Let me explain.

After I got saved and came across this section of Ephesians and saw, “Wives submit to your husbands,” I was sure it was a miss print or screwed up translation.  My 33 years on earth had taught me, “I am woman hear me roar!”  I was sure you could not roar if you submit.  So in my super wise newly saved mind, I set out to find the real meaning of the word used in those verses.  Guess what the real word is, in pretty much every translation, that’s right “submit.”  Now because it is 6: 30 am  and I have to get going because the people in this house are stirring, I’ll say if you want a longer explanation of this verse and the process I had to go through to get to the point where “submit” is my favorite word check out this blog post I wrote about it.  (It is back in the beginning of the blog so it is long! scan through an look for the word SUBMIT and just read that section)

To sum up here let me say, this verse is asking us women to submit to our husbands “as to the Lord.”  It does not say submit to your husbands BECAUSE he IS your Lord—I’m looking at you all 1950’s chauvinist husbands who kept women down!  It says submit to your husband in the same way you have submitted to the Lord.  How did we submit to the Lord?  We chose to surrender ourselves to the Lord.  We chose to put ourselves under the protection of the Lord for salvation.  We chose to follow the Lord’s direction.  And here in this section, God is asking us women, in that same way, CHOOSE to submit to your husband.  And this is the way we ROAR ladies.  God is asking us in our marriages to trust Him and CHOOSE to put ourselves under our husbands.  This is for our benefit.  It is the best way to grow us into mature Godly women, because submitting to our husbands is the hardest thing to do.  And if you know me at all you know that to get to the point where I am saying all this about submission is proof that there is a God. 

Psalms 69: 19-36

Proverbs 24: 7

9/26/19 One Year Bible Recap

Isaiah 48: 12—50:11

We are switching gears again in these chapters.  God has finished up telling us about the woes and how He would use Assyria and Babylon to exact judgement but then those nations would not escape judgement either.  This is what Bible Knowledge Commentary said about the coming chapters:

Chapters 49–57 may be divided into four parts: (1) The Servant, being rejected by His people, will take salvation to the Gentiles (chaps. 49–50). (2) The believing remnant will be exalted (51:1–52:12). (3) The Servant, however, will be abased and then exalted (52:13–53:12). (4) Salvation through the Servant will come to Jews and Gentiles in the Millennium (chaps. 54–57).[1]

So, in chapters 49-50, that we read today, we are actually reading about the mystery Paul was talking about earlier in the week in Ephesians 3.  The fact that Israel rejected their Messiah and so then Jesus offered Salvation to us gentiles was a left turn they did not see coming.  But here it is in black and white predicted by God through Isaiah all those years ago.

In chapter 50 we get to hear from the Beautiful Suffering Servant Himself.  His invitation is “If you are walking in darkness, without a ray of light, trust in the Lord and rely on your God.” 

Ephesians 4: 17-32

Paul is continuing today in his instruction on how the church should walk out their new placement in the body of Christ.  In the previous chapters he exhorted us to live in unity with other church members.  This unity will allow us to grow in our giftings and help mature us.  Today he calls us to live holy lives.  “Holy” simply means set apart. 

To be Holy for the Lord you have to model your life after him, not the people who are denying Him.  Let’s call the people who are denying God, “the world.”  The further the world gets away from God the more sin nature rules life.  The world is only capable of producing fruit of the flesh.

BUT, if you set yourself apart from the world and let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitude then the Holy life is possible.  Verses 25-31 tell us what we have to start saying no to so we can take off the old self and put on the new nature.  You only have the power to say no to your old nature (or the world) when you are letting the Spirit change your mind.  This is not something you can just white knuckle like the Pharisee’s tried to do by following the Law.  They were so busy trying to save themselves by living by the Law, they missed the Savior sent to save them.  This putting on of the new nature (holy life) is what comes with living closely with you Savior. 

Psalms 69: 1-18

Proverbs 24: 5-6

[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. 1103. Print.

9/25/19 One Year Bible Recap

Isaiah 45: 11—48: 11

Never have I realized that part of the point of this book is to challenge them and us to think critically.  Thinking critically means we ask the hard questions of the circumstances going on around us.  God says to them, “Have your idols ever told you what will happen or really saved you from any suffering?”  God, knowing the answer is “no,” lets this question linger.  And what is shocking to me is this momentary pause to think critically is how He finally caused me to soften to Him.  My idols were not carved images of false gods, but they were false gods all the same.  And God brought me to a place where that question lingered in the air, “Have these things ever really made you feel better?”  Of course, the answer is no.  This section of reading today really makes you think about how God really is the Real Deal and has always been there, and how as humans we have to know that we have the tendency to deny Him and make our own gods up out of thin air.   

Ephesians 4: 1-16

Humility and gentleness lead us to a place in our soul where we can be patient and where love abounds making space for other peoples’ faults.  Making this effort leads to being united with other believers because of the Spirit.  And that peace that is manifested by all those things is something we want to cling to.  It is real peace with each other not just tolerance.  This is not “world peace” this is peace in our churches.  And to help us with this lofty goal, the one who came to earth and then ascended up to heaven gives us gifts.  He knows the gifts we need because He experienced life on earth, and He is powerful enough to give the gifts because He ascended to heaven proving He is God.  When exercised through the Spirit these gifts will build the body of believers up.  Pastors and teachers will teach us to not be swayed by false teaching.  We will read about the lives of the Apostles and prophets to become mature.  And the evangelists will keep bringing in new members to the body.  Sounds perfect right?  Well that is because Jesus is behind it all making sure it all fits together perfectly.  But you have to remember, “perfect” meaning “sin free” does not come until Jesus comes back and rules on Earth.  Making the body work perfectly is referring to this beautiful thing Jesus created in the church who are made-up of sinners just doing the best they can.  Jesus uses it all the good and the bad to for the whole body.    

Psalm 68: 19-35

Proverbs 24: 3-4

9/24/19 One Year Bible Recap

Isaiah 43: 14—45: 10

I love God for exposing how dumb idols are.  I also love that we get to see his perfect humor in these verses.  As someone who loves to make people laugh this makes me feel a connection to God is some weird way. 

God points out to us that someone might make an idol, have to hammer it out or chisel it, then take a nap from all their efforts, then get up and bow down to it and beg it to save them.  When you look at it that way it is ridiculous!! But we all do it. 

We can make an idol out of anything we think will save us, other than God.  Anything you bow down and worship in exchange for it saving you.  Don’t get confused here.  Idols are not just things we like or enjoy.  They are things that cross over into the territory of “this will save me.” God is the only one who can save us.  Man, and man-made things do not have the power to save you.  God is the only one strong enough for you to hang your hope on. 

Also, just because this really causes me to be in awe, don’t miss the part in Isaiah where he predicts what will happen in Ezra 1: 1-4.  This book was written some 150 years before the Israelites would return to rebuild Jerusalem.  But what Isaiah records here happens exactly as predicted.  We are not dealing with some fake god; we are dealing with the Real Deal. 

Ephesians 3: 1-21

We have to do a little grammar investigation to understand the portion of the letter Paul has written today.  In the beginning of the reading today he says, “When I think of all this, I , Paul a prisoner of Christ Jesus for the benefit of you Gentiles….”  I did not add that “…..” Paul used a Greek version of “….” there in the original text.  He was about to pray for them, and he stopped mid-sentence to remind them of something.  So, after the “….” he reminds them that this was God’s plan all along.  He knew that the Church would be the body of believers that represent God’s love to the world.  He says that the OT predicted it, but the mystery in its fullness was not revealed until Jesus died on the Cross.  And because we are right with God through Jesus they need not worry about suffering. 

Then he repeats his thought from above, “When I think of all this, I fall to my knees and pray to the father, the Creator of everything in heaven and on earth.”  And he goes on to ask God to strengthen them in their love and grow deep roots in God. 

The “all this” in “When I think of all this,” is the thought process he explains to them in verse 2:11-22.  This was what we read yesterday.  Paul keeps us on our toes grammatically speaking.  Well I guess he actually keeps us on our toes for lots of reasons.

Psalm 68: 1-18

Proverbs 24: 1-2