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Showing posts from March, 2021

bible reading mar 31--apr 1

Bible reading for weekend March 31 -- April 1 Mar 31 -- Proverbs 18 and Colossians 1 Apr 1 -- Proverbs 19 and Colossians 2 "Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits." (Proverbs 18:21) THE POWER OF LANGUAGE. One of the most remarkable gifts that God gave us in creation was the gift of communication. With our thoughts and mouths we can communicate not only concrete realities but also abstract ideas.  This is part of the image of God in man, since our God communicates (and creates) by spoken language. Truth itself is spoken reality. The tongue is an amazing organ, or tool, for both good and evil (Jas 3:1-10). An important part of wisdom is knowing when to speak and when to be silent, to whom to speak, and what to say and how to say it (Jas 1:19-20). Wisdom is not merely a matter of being silent, because some things really need to be said (see Psalms 32:3; 39:1-2). Words can bring death, but words are needed to bring life, as well.

bible reading mar 29-30

Bible reading for weekend March 29 -- 30 Mar 29 -- Proverbs 16 and Philippians 3 Mar 30 -- Proverbs 17 and Philippians 4 "The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps." (Proverbs 16:9) MAKING PLANS. We all make plans, and that's a necessary part of life. In the early section of Proverbs 16 I noticed the repetition of the theme, plans of the heart (vv 1, 9). Eric Lane, in his commentary on Proverbs (Christian Focus Publ., 2000), entitles this section (16:1-9), "Living Under the All-Sovereign God." We make our plans, but always with the awareness of God's sovereignty. Our words, and the response to them, are used or over-ruled as the Lord sees fit (v 1). "Man proposes, but God disposes" is a phrase from Thomas a Kempis, who wrote, "For the resolutions of the just depend rather on the grace of God than on their own wisdom; and in Him they always put their trust, whatever they take in hand. For man proposes, but God disposes

bible reading mar 26-28

Bible reading for weekend March 26 -- 28 Mar 26 -- Proverbs 13 and Ephesians 6   Mar 27 -- Proverbs 14 and Philippians 1 Mar 28 -- Proverbs 15 and Philippians 2 "Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life." (Proverbs 13:12) HOPE DEFERRED (ch 13). What do we do with our desires in life? Do we merely seek to fulfill them, or should we deny them? Proverbs addresses what the wise person does to manage, and ultimately fulfill, his desires in life. Solomon is writing on the theme of wealth, along with the related topics of being teachable and preserving good speech (vv 1-10). Look at this one portion (vv 11-20) which repeats the phrase "a desire fulfilled" toward beginning and end. What do we learn from the proverbs recorded between those statements?   We do not deny all of our desires, because life from God includes fulfillment of good desires (v 12, 19). Fulfillment of desires (especially wealth) comes incrementally, and we should not

bible reading mar 24-25

Bible reading for March 24 -- 25 Mar 24 -- Proverbs 11 and Ephesians 4 Mar 25 -- Proverbs 12 and Ephesians 5 "A false balance is an abomination to the LORD, but a just weight is his delight." (Proverbs 11:1) WEIGHTY MATTERS (ch 11).   We've heard it. We've said it. "It's only a little lie." "They'll never miss it." "No one will ever know if we cut a few corners." But Jesus said, "One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much" (Luke 16:10).  The first proverb in this chapter contrasts a false balance with a just weight. Many merchants in that day would have a second set of weights, shaved or cored to remove perhaps only few grams worth of weight. But the intent to cheat, even only by a little bit, was present. God's attitude toward that minor slight is expressed in the strongest of terms in both parts of the proverb -- abomination on

bible reading mar 22-23

Bible reading for March 22 -- 23 Mar 22 -- Proverbs 9 and Ephesians 2 Mar 23 -- Proverbs 10 and Ephesians 3 "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight." (Proverbs 9:10) TWO INVITATIONS (ch 9). The invitations from Lady Wisdom (ch 8) and the Woman Folly (ch 7) are again proclaimed. We hear these voices almost every day, and we must make, and keep making, the right choice. The two invitations are similar regarding what is promised, but the final results are so different. One is true, the other is a lie. One leads to life, the other to death. Those seeking wisdom from God must be humble, willing to receive correction. Someone once said, "There are two types of pain in this life; that of discipline, which lasts a short while, and that of regret, which can last a lifetime." To know God -- to bow before his will and his ways -- this is the fear of the Lord which leads to wisdom.  This chapter concludes the introduction

bible reading mar 19-21

Bible reading for weekend March 19 -- 21 Mar 19 -- Proverbs 6 and Galatians 5 Mar 20 -- Proverbs 7 and Galatians 6 Mar 21 -- Proverbs 8 and Ephesians 1 "Blessed is the one who listens to me, watching daily at my gates, waiting beside my doors. For whoever finds me finds life and obtains favor from the LORD, but he who fails to find me injures himself; all who hate me love death." (Proverbs 8:34-36) BAD CHOICES (ch 6). Here's a question I have often faced: when should we rescue people from their foolish decisions? For example, when should we bail out our children, or our friends, from the consequences of their bad choices? This requires wisdom. Chapter six begins with a warning about being surety, or co-signing on a loan, for someone who will likely leave you with the burden of debt (6:1-5). This will result in personal loss, while releasing the other person from responsibility. Labor and laziness (vv 6-11) will be a recurring theme in Proverbs, too. Though indolence is a

bible reading mar 17-18

Bible reading for March 17 -- 18 Mar 17 -- Proverbs 4 and Galatians 3 Mar 18 -- Proverbs 5 and Galatians 4 "When I was a son with my father, tender, the only one in the sight of my mother, he taught me and said to me, 'Let your heart hold fast my words; keep my commandments, and live.'" (Proverbs 4:3-4)  GET WISDOM (ch 4). Four sections follow, each introduced directly to "my son" or "sons" (4:1, 10, 20; 5:1). Some scholars suggest Proverbs was written as a training manual for Solomon's sons, as future princes needing to learn about righteous leadership. Be that as it may, Proverbs is applicable for all the sons and daughters of the eternal King, our Lord Jesus. One thing highlighted in these chapters is the inter-generational, mentoring relationship between parents and children (cf Deut 6:4-9; Eph 6:4). God created the family, along with the church, to be the primary conduit of passing truth on to succeeding generations (Mal 2:14-16). As you

bible reading mar 15-16

Bible reading for March 15 -- 16 Mar 15 -- Proverbs 2 and Galatians 1 Mar 16 -- Proverbs 3 and Galatians 2 "Let the wise hear and increase in learning, and the one who understands obtain guidance, to understand a proverb and a saying, the words of the wise and their riddles." (Proverbs 1:5-6)  SAYINGS AND RIDDLES. One of the joys of parenting for me was spending time with children building Legos or working on a jigsaw puzzle. It takes time, with frequent looks at the directions (or picture on the box), and a measure of trial and error. It's best accomplished as a group project: "I'm looking for a piece this shape and color. Anybody see it?" Life is like this, presenting us with many puzzling and seemingly unrelated pieces. Behind the book of Proverbs is the assumption that the Lord created all things, great and small, in his infinite wisdom. The universe is intricate and inter-related, and care is needed in navigating its complexity. The moral life can be c

bible reading mar 12-14

  Bible reading for weekend March 12 -- 14 Mar 12 -- Job 41 and 2 Corinthians 11 Mar 13 -- Job 42 and 2 Corinthians 12 Mar 14 -- Proverbs 1 and 2 Corinthians 13 "Now therefore take seven bulls and seven rams and go to my servant Job and offer up a burnt offering for yourselves. And my servant Job shall pray for you, for I will accept his prayer not to deal with you according to your folly. For you have not spoken of me what is right, as my servant Job has." (Job 42:8) THE END OF THE MATTER (ch 41-42) . God has spoken, and Job is humbled. God restores Job's life with double blessings. Job's prayer will result in God's forgiveness for the three friends. His possessions are returned two-fold, but the same number of children (seven boys, three girls) are given as before, but not doubled. Some think, and I would agree, that this is because Job's children from earlier, unlike the livestock, were not lost, in the sense of forever. They would be restored at the resurr

bible reading mar 10-11

Bible reading for March 10 -- 11 Mar 10 -- Job 39 and 2 Corinthians 9 Mar 11 -- Job 40 and 2 Corinthians 10 "Shall a faultfinder contend with the Almighty? He who argues with God, let him answer it." (Job 40:2) MORE LESSONS FROM NATURE (ch 39-40). God speaks of the mountain goat, the wild donkey, the ostrich, the horse, and the hawk, in order to demonstrate the limitation of human knowledge and power. Each of these creatures -- a creature like Job -- has greater strength, skill, and speed than Job. We are not as wise and capable as we often think.  ON BEHEMOTH AND LEVIATHAN (ch 41-42). There are many opinions about whether these are real creatures to be found in nature, being described with hyperbole, or if these are references to mythological creatures symbolizing death and Satan. Some have suggested these are remnants of dinosaur species. See Constable's comments on the various interpretations . And here's Christopher Ash's interpretation . The over-riding poi

bible reading mar 8-9

Bible reading for weekend March 8 -- 9 Mar 8 -- Job 37 and 2 Corinthians 7 Mar 9 -- Job 38 and 2 Corinthians 8 "Do you know the ordinances of the heavens? Can you establish their rule on the earth?" (Job 38:33) ELIHU FINISHES (ch 37) . Elihu finishes his speech, and in these last two verses he speaks of several of God's attributes: "The Almighty -- we cannot find him; he is great in power; justice and abundant righteousness he will not violate. Therefore men fear him; he does not regard any who are wise in their own conceit" (vv 23-24). God is omnipotent and great in power; he is infinite and inscrutable, that is, beyond our full comprehension; and he is completely righteous, with an impeccable standard of justice. Again, Job and his friends have only been considering a limited view of God, specifically his temporal judgments in human affairs. Elihu's conclusion is that our knowledge of God -- and our lack of knowledge about him -- should lead us to humble o

bible reading mar 5-7

Bible reading for weekend March 5 -- 7 Mar 5 -- Job 34 and 2 Corinthians 4 Mar 6 -- Job 35 and 2 Corinthians 5 Mar 7 -- Job 36 and 2 Corinthians 6 "Behold, God is great, and we know him not; the number of his years is unsearchable. For he draws up the drops of water; they distill his mist in rain, which the skies pour down and drop on mankind abundantly." (Job 36:26-28)  GOD WILL BE JUSTIFIED (ch 34)  Elihu continues his speech.  God will not act unjustly. In the end his will and his actions will be seen as true and just. "Let God be true though every one were a liar, as it is written, 'That you may be justified in your words, and prevail when you are judged'" (Rom 3:4). Some have used the argument that the existence of evil in the world negates the existence of God by showing either his lack of power or his lack of goodness. Evil has not been destroyed, so God must not exist. But the important word "yet" must be inserted. Evil has not yet been de

bible reading mar 3-4

Bible reading for March 3 -- 4 Mar 3 -- Job 32 and 2 Corinthians 2 Mar 4 -- Job 33 and 2 Corinthians 3 "'He has redeemed my soul from going down into the pit, and my life shall look upon the light.' Behold, God does all these things, twice, three times, with a man, to bring back his soul from the pit, that he may be lighted with the light of life."  (Job 33:28-30) A YOUNGSTER SPEAKS UP (ch 32). Sometimes during a big debate or argument -- whether on a personal level, say, between marriage partners, or on a national scale between political parties -- we begin to realize that both sides in the debate are wrong. In today's chapter we are introduced to a new character in the drama, a young man named Elihu. He brings a different perspective, and speaks with passion. Age, experience, position, and reputation do not in themselves produce wisdom -- sometimes students know more than their teachers (Ps 119:99). We don't know much about Elihu, but he is not included in