Daily Reading 4.12.16

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Leviticus 14
v21-22 “if he is poor and cannot afford so much…whichever he can afford” – I love this. God is not only the God of the rich. I kept thinking while I was reading about all that needed to be done to obtain atonement if you had a case of leprosy and it seemed like it would have been very expensive, but grace can be found, even in the law

Leviticus 15
v34 – “I put a case of leprous disease in a house” – how can a house have a disease? v48 “pronounce the house clean,for the disease in healed” – interesting that they then have to make a sacrifice for the uncleanness of the house, they need to make atonement for the house. This seems strange to me. The house is inanimate, why does it need atonement? Did it sin?

Leviticus 16
v21 – on the day of atonement Aaron is to “lay both hands on the head of the live goat and confess over it all the iniquities of the people of Israel” – I wonder what this looks like, is it more the sin of the leadership or is it just representative or does he actually recite the sins of the people? Just curious to how detailed this was

Colossians 2
v.2-3 “…Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” – Christ is where wisdom and knowledge are to be found

v4- “I say this in order that no one may delude you with plausible arguments” – away from Christ, those who argue this way offer wisdom and knowledge outside of Christ, it sounds plausible, it sounds convincing but it is delusional

v.5 – “firmness of your faith in Christ” – in the 1st chapter Paul references similar ideas, Paul wants to ground them, stabilize them in their faith

v.6 – “walk in him” – live out what you believe

v.7 “rooted and built up in him and established in the faith” – again similar idea of steadfastness

v.8 – “See to it that no one takes you captive” – don’t be deluded! don’t be deceived!

v14 – my record of debt has been canceled, it has been nailed to the cross. Selah.

v.23 – asceticism and severity to the body are of no value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh. That is so interesting. Reminds me of what Solomon said in Ecclesiastes 5:10 “He who loves money will not be satisfied with money, nor he who loves wealth with his income; this also is vanity.”

No Distrust

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“No distrust made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised.” (Rom4.20-21)

This is so good. Distrust is at the heart of all unbelief, yet with regard to the promise of having a son, Abraham had no distrust. He did not waver at all but instead grew strong in his faith. I want that. I want a faith that believes God despite my feelings, despite my circumstance. I want to believe and live fully convinced that God is able to do what He has promised.

Think about all of the reasons Abraham had to not believe God, reasons that could have been and probably were a great temptation for him to distrust and disbelieve God. Here are the 2 big temptations from the near context for him not to believe that he would have a son and that he would become the father of many nations :

1. He was old (about 100) and his body was considered as good as dead (v19)

2. Sarah was barren and old (v19)

These are huge factors when trying to conceive a child, and yet these realities did not weaken his faith. He did not distrust God with regard to the promise that they would have a son and Abraham that would be the father of many nations, that’s amazing, that’s convicting.

His old and as good as dead body and her barren womb (which are the two key physical components needed for them to have a son) did not suppress their faith, it increased it! I need faith like like. I want faith like that! If God says something in His word, if He has made a promise, I need to believe against hope, against experience, against feelings, that He will do what He has said He will do. I need to trust God and give Him glory. Great faith gives God great glory! Oh God give me this faith, help my unbelief!

Lessons From Lot – Daily Reading 7.29.2015

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Genesis 19 and the whole Lot situation. I am more like the bad characters in the Lot situation than I would like to admit.

1. The men of the city are struck with blindness and still weary themselves groping for the door. Application: sin is blinding and is also a motivator, often times I find that I work harder at sinning than I do at trying to be godly and righteous. I am too much like these men of Sodom wearying themselves to chase after sin.

2. The city is about to be destroyed and verse 16 says “Lot hesitated”. It appears that Lot was not quick in his obedience, he did not recognize the danger he was in, listen to wisdom and act. Instead he was lead by his affections which were still tied to things destined to perish (they would literally be burned in a day or two). Application: I am just like Lot, I am slow to obey, I hesitate to obey. I need to be quick to repent and to turn and obey. I need to be quick to leave things destined to perish (2 Peter 3:10) and pursue the things which are eternal (Colossians 3:2). I need to remind myself of the clear and present danger of sin and its bewitching nature.

3. Lot seems to be lazy about his escape, again he’s slow to obey and he desires to go somewhere closer to escape. Application: This is how I am, always looking for the minimum I can do and still be “ok”, looking for the escape clause. I need to be quick to obey and obey all the way with a happy heart (I feel like I’ve told my children that a million times and here I see I need to tell it to myself a million times). 1 Corinthians 10:13 ” 13 “No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.” This text says that the way of escape is by enduring through a trial, the way of escape does not avoid the time of testing instead it endures through it.

4. Lot’s sin affected others such as his wife and future sons in-laws. He did not properly lead his wife or protect her. She foolishly looks back and is turned into salt. Had Lot responded properly to the peril they were in and had he led his wife properly and helped her have a proper perspective this would not have happened. With regard to his sons in-laws they think Lot is jesting, to me this seems to imply that they are not used to hearing Lot talk about God and His perfection and His holiness and justice and wrath. As I think about what I would say to someone if I was in that situation, I would be talking to them about the character and nature of God and be urging them to come with me. They think Lot is joking, they think he is acting out of character. Application: my example, my sin, my pattern of life will either be a blessing to those around me (i.e. Abraham) or I will be a bad example and source of difficulty (i.e. Lot). Which am I? My sin affects those around me.

5. Lot is rescued and then is lead into drunkenness and incest with both daughters. Lot did not use the situation which just happened (imagine, he got to watch Sodom and Gomorrah be destroyed, he was actually able to view it and it’s results. This event was so big that they had to go to another city so as not to be destroyed, the surrounding text says that Abraham was able to see the smoke rising up the next day) to fuel obedience. Seemingly Lot was not thankful for the salvation he had just experienced and his actions reveal this otherwise he would have used the opportunity to teach his daughters about God and remind himself of God’s love and provision. Instead of exalting God for His provisions and protection his daughter say “there is not another man on the earth to come into us…” This is crazy. This is the speech of someone blinded by sin and unable to see the goodness and grace and provision of God who just saved them Application: I do the same thing, I take God’s blessings and provisions and protections  and gifts for granted and instead of being grateful and motivating me to praise, worship and obey Him I sin against Him, the One who had been so gracious to me. I must remember what God has done and use it as fuel for happy obedience.

grace and peace

Be like the leper and the centurion – Daily Reading 7.15.15

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Matthew 8:2 “And a leper came to Him and bowed down before Him, and said, “Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean.””

This low on the social status leper understands who Jesus is better than the elite religious leaders do and even better than Jesus’ own disciples at times. It’s no wonder that Jesus responds the way he does

“Jesus stretched out His hand and touched him, saying, “I am willing; be cleansed.” And immediately his leprosy was cleansed.”

Application: When I pray, it’s not a matter of whether God is able but rather if He is willing, if it is His will, therefore I should always remind myself and remember to sincerely pray “if it be Your will”.

Matthew 8:8 “But the centurion said, “Lord, I am not worthy for You to come under my roof, but just say the word, and my servant will be healed.”

Now a centurion, a man who was a Roman officer over 100 men, approaches Jesus and he (a man who has authority and importance, opposite end of social spectrum of the leper) submits himself to a poor jewish teacher and says “I am not worthy”. In terms of social status the reverse would have been perceived to be true. But the Roman officer seems to see who Jesus truly is, this is how I should see Jesus.

Application: I should see Him as able (like the leper did) and I should see Him as vastly more important and worthy than I am (as the centurion did).

Jesus response – “Now when Jesus heard this, He marveled and said to those who were following, “Truly I say to you, I have not found such great faith with anyone in Israel.”

Interesting that these two examples of faith and trust in Jesus come right on the heels of the sermon on the mount. These two are shining examples of how to live out chapters 5-7.

Matthew 8:29 “And they cried out, saying, “What business do we have with each other, Son of God? Have You come here to torment us before the time?””

These demons somehow know that this is not the time for them to be judged. Somehow they understood that their time for torment was going to be coming at a later date. They somehow knew that the 1st appearing of Christ was not going to include judgement, this was too soon to be that time. This is a common response of demons, they are shocked and horrified when they bump into Jesus. Also interesting that demons seem to know good theology, they know that this is not their time for judgement.

Important to remember that Jesus is more powerful than demons. They are scared of him not the other way around, They fear him, he does not fear them.

Romans 6-8 there is an interesting contrast between those who live according to the flesh and those who live according to the Spirit. Those who live according to the flesh “set their mind on the things of the flesh” (8:5-8). But those who are trying to walk in the Spirit cry “Who will set me free from this body of death?” (7:24).

Which am I? How do I view the flesh? Am I setting my mind on the things of the flesh or am I seeking to be set free from the flesh? Am I presenting my members to sin as instruments of unrighteousness or am I presenting my members to God as instruments of righteousness (6:13)?

In Joshua 7 Israel only sends 3,000 men to fight with Ai, and they are defeated. But the defeat is tied to sin in the camp (i.e. Achan) and not the amount of soldiers sent.

In Joshua 8 God tells Joshua to go take Ai because God has given it to him. Israel sends 30,000 mighty men by night to take Ai.

I think there is a lesson here. God was going to give Ai to Israel, he promised that. But Joshua sends 10x’s more men than before. God’s sovereignty does not negate our responsibility. Like John Owen said to Cromwell’s soldiers “Put your trust in God and keep your gun powder dry”

The Sin of Achan and the Brevity of Life – Morning Reading 7.13.2015

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Joshua 7:1″But the sons of Israel acted unfaithfully in regard to the things under the ban, for Achan, the son of Carmi, the son of Zabdi, the son of Zerah, from the tribe of Judah, took some of the things under the ban, therefore the anger of the Lord burned against the sons of Israel.”

Interesting that the text says “the sons of Israel acted unfaithfully” and “the anger of the Lord burned against the sons of Israel”.

Personal Application: My sin affects those around me, maybe not to the same degree as Achan but still it is true and this seems a good example.

“20So Achan answered Joshua and said, “Truly, I have sinned against the Lord, the God of Israel, and this is what I did:
21when I saw among the spoil a beautiful mantle from Shinar and two hundred shekels of silver and a bar of gold fifty shekels in weight, then I coveted them and took them; and behold, they are concealed in the earth inside my tent with the silver underneath it.””

Classic sin process:
1. He Saw
2. He Coveted
3. He took
4. He Hid

The Brevity of Life in Job 7
– allotted months of vanity (v3)
– my days are swifter than a weavers shuttle (v6)
– remember that my life is but breath (v7)
– the eye of him who sees me will behold me no longer, your eyes will be on me but I will not be (v8)
– when a cloud vanishes it is gone so he who goes down to Sheol does not come up (v9)
– I waste away, I will not live forever, leave me alone for my days are but a breath (v16)
– What is man that You magnify him, And that You are concerned about him (v17)

Cambridge Wide Margin ESV in Black Goatskin (Black Letter Text)

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Over the past couple of months I have been testing out a beautiful Bible from Cambridge University Press, it is their Wide Margin ESV. I have used it for every purpose: I have read morning devotions from it, I have studied from it, and taught from it. It has proved to be an excellent Bible for every situation and I believe that it is a great edition for you to consider as well.

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Two black ribbon markers and red under gold gilt. The ribbons on this edition alert you that this is a black letter edition, the red letter edition have red ribbons.

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Classic stamp on the front, this has gone out of practice but I like it on this edition

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Notice the grain of the goatskin and the stitching around the edge

The cover is an edge-lined black goatskin, it feels so soft and supple in your hands. While being flexible it is not floppy, it has a great solid feel to it. You can easily curl one side under the other or you can enjoy it laying perfectly flat on a table or you can have it hug your knees. This Bible is a joy to hold and look at, whether its in your lap, around the kitchen table, or on a pulpit.

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Here is a good shot of the grain and also the flexibility

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With no effort this Bible easily fold under itself

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Very generous margins for a lifetime of notes

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Even a good amount of room in the inside “gutter” for notes

The text block is the exact same block with the same pagination that Cambridge uses in their Pitt minion. I find the font to be crisp, clean and highly readable. They have increased the text size in this edition by a point or so to make it more readable. The only part of this Bible that I would change would be the text size, I think they could have easily made it a little larger without compromising the wide margins. Other than that, I really like this text block and I think that it is one of the most readable fonts out there and I also had no trouble using it from a pulpit. The edition I have is also black letter text, which is my preference. I find that red letter text is very distracting but I am very pleased that Cambridge offers both editions for both preferences.

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Classic Reference (left)  (Wide Margin (Right)

Classic Reference (left)
(Wide Margin (Right)

The paper is very thick and opaque. It has a good heft to it and lays very flat but does not act stiff at all. I find this to be the best paper in any Cambridge edition I have handled before. For instance, in the Clarion edition that I reviewed a while back, the paper was very thin and tended to curl and turn up on its edges. I have encountered no such issue with the paper in this edition, it has laid perfectly flat while I have used it for reading and teaching. Another thing about the paper is the gilt, this edition is red under gold which means that when the text is closed you see gold but when it is open you see red. I love this look and it reminds me of a by-gone era.

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Here you can see the individual signatures and the red under gold gilt

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So much room, very attractive format

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The back of this edition includes blank pages for notes. I absolutely love this feature and I think this attribute along with the wide margins makes this edition a particular treasure. These two features along with its sewn binding and goatskin cover make this Bible a lifelong investment. This Bible has the long term potential to last you a lifetime, with a lifetime of notes and reflections on the word of God.

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Slight overhang to protect gilt

In Conclusion, I love this Bible and I think it is worthy of your consideration. It wonderfully brings together both form and function, it is beautiful and very useful. If you are looking for a Bible that will last a lifetime and will give you room for notes, this is the Bible for you.

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On a personal note, when my father went to heaven in 2008 I received one of his Bibles. In this Bible he made may marginal notes. These notes written in his own handwriting have proven to be treasures to me and my family. This Bible would be a perfect edition to write down your thoughts and reflections for future generations to see and reflect on.

Should you be interested you are able to purchase this Bible at these locations:

Evangelical Bible – http://evangelicalbible.com/shop/index.php?main_page=index&cPath=118_112

Bible Exchange – http://bibleexchange.com/product-category/cambridge/

Daily Reading 2.26.2015

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Psalm 3
Many will say “there is no salvation for him in God” (verse 2 ) but we know that “salvation belongs to the LORD” (verse 8)

“I lay down and slept; I woke again for the LORD sustained me.” Jonathan Edwards said it this way, “There is no reason to be given why you have not dropped into hell since you arose this morning, but that Gods hand has held you up”.

Matthew 3
“Bear fruit in keeping with repentance” – if you are a genuine believer there will be evidence, you will continually bear fruit in your life. A tree does not bear all of its fruit in its first year, nor is does it bear it’s best fruit. Instead as a tree ages the fruit gets bigger and better, the same should be true of all Christians.

All 3 members of the Godhead are present at Jesus baptism. Father speaks from heaven, Spirit descends like a dove, and Jesus is in the water.

Genesis 3
The serpent bypasses the man and goes straight to the woman. At this point Eve should have told the serpent to go talk to Adam or/and Adam should have stepped in and and protected his wife and talked to the serpent.

Satan sprinkles Gods word into his lies. He uses Gods word but twists it just enough to make it damning.

Some clues or hints at male headship: God calls to Adam and questions Adam, God holds Adam primarily responsible, in the dealing out if consequences Adam is reminded that he listened to his wife (not in the sense of counsel and care etc. But instead in terms if leadership, he wasn’t the leader as intended)

Once sin enters relationships are strained. First the relationship with God. Sin creates a huge gap between them and God. Second, because they are now separated from God they begin to separate from one another. They blame others for their wrongs.

The 1st promise of the gospel in 3:15

Romans 3
What advantage has the Jew? They were entrusted with the oracles of God, the word of God. Beig exposed to the word of God is an advantage

All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, there is none who does good not even one.

1 Thessalonians 3
Again Paul reminds them to not be surprised by suffering

Job 3
Job laments the day if his birth

Proverbs 3
” trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make straight your paths”

“honor the LORD with your wealth and with the firstfruits of all your produce, then your barns will be filled with plenty and your vats will be bursting with wine”

Joshua 3
The people of Israel cross the Jordan in a miraculous way

Isaiah 3
How scary – “For behold the LORD God of hosts is taking away his support and supply”

Proud and haughty women shamed

Acts 3
There is great forgiveness where there is repentance. Those who denied the Righteous One and killed the Author of life just weeks ago can have their sin blotted out if they repent.
Once again Peter uses many OT texts to preach Christ and explain what has happened
“God having raised his servant, sent him to you first, to bless you by turning every one of you from your wickedness”

Daily Reading 2.25.2015

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Psalm 2

I am more like the kings of the earth who plot against the LORD and against his Anointed than I would like to admit. I commit sin which God hates. I am like a potters vessel that should be dashed to pieces with a rod of iron. Like the kings of the earth, I must be warned and I must act wise. I should serve the LORD with fear and rejoice with trembling. I must kiss the Son. If I take refuge in the the Son I will be blessed.

Matthew 2

“Where is he who has been born King of the Jews?” That really sticks out today because of what Psalm 2 provoked above. Also interesting that the magi come to Herod and the Chief Priests and Scribes, the very ones who will plot and rage against the LORD and his Anointed One. They didn’t heed the warning of Psalm 2. The magi however serve the LORD and kiss the Son. They have great joy and they fall down and worship Jesus.

It’s pretty amazing that the LORD’S Anointed who will crush the nations with a rod of iron was once a baby who needed to be cared for by Mary and Joseph.

Another interesting connection with Psalm 2, Herod becomes furious when he realizes that he has been tricked by the magi. In his rage he commits mass murder. Imagine how much stronger Gods wrath is which is without sin and rightfully provoked where Herod was not. Herod was doing sin and got mad that his sinful plan was foiled. God is perfect and His perfect holy wrath is provoked every day, every moment. Hard to imagine the great eruption of wrath that is coming. May I heed the warning and hide myself in the Son.

Jesus fulfills so many prophecies at his birth and early life.  Born in Bethlehem. Called out of Egypt. Raised in Nazareth so He could be called a Nazarene. From the line of Judah. Prophecy is being fulfilled left and right. Jesus is the long awaited Messiah.

Genesis 2

“a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife”

Romans 2

“you have no excuse O man…in passing judgement on another you condemn yourself” reminds me of what Jesus said about taking the log out of your own eye before you try and remove the speck from your brothers eye. I better be careful how I judge and live.

“Gods kindness is meant to lead you to repentance.”

“Its not the hearers of the law who are righteous before God but the doers of the law who will be justified”

The conscience either accuses or excuses. What does mine do?

A day is coming when God will judge the secrets of men by Christ Jesus. What are my secrets? How will that judgement go for me?

Seek praise that is from God not man.

1 Thessalonians

Paul suffered and was shamefully treated because of how he boldly declared the gospel. I should expect the same result and not be surprised by it. If I am never treated this way then there may be questions I should ask myself regarding my faithfulness to the gospel.

Like Paul, I have been approved by God and entrusted with the gospel, therefore I must speak not to please man but to please God who tests the heart.

The prophets were killed. Jesus was killed. Paul was persecuted imprisoned and killed. The Thessalonians were persecuted and suffered. I should expect nothing less. And like their suffering, it must be tied to my allegiance to the gospel and the word of God. This also produces a longing for Jesus to come back.

Job 2

Satan is said to have been walking on and around the earth. Prowling around it seems, looking for something or someone.

Satan, like the kings of the earth in Psalm 2, plots a vain thing against the LORD and his anointed. Like Psalm 2, the LORD will laugh. God keeps putting Job under the microscope. Persecution and suffering, under the surveillance of and allowed by God.

“Shall we receive good from God and shall we not receive evil?” In all this Job did not sin with his lips. – wow

His friends could not recognize him – Satan must have really did a number on Job for this to be true. Imagine not being able to even recognize someone because of sores on their body.

“They saw that his suffering was very great”

Proverbs 2

treasure the commands
make ear attentive to wisdom
incline your heart to understanding
call for insight
raise voice for understanding
seek it like silver
search for it as for hidden treasure
then – you will understand the fear of the LORD and
thenyou will find the knowledge of God
for the LORD gives wisdom

Joshua 2

The people of Jericho hearts melted when they heard about the great acts that God had done for Israel, Rahab says ” For the LORD your God, he is God…” – what a great statement from someone who knew so little

Isaiah 2

Beautiful language describing the mountain of the LORD and the house of the LORD, and how lifted and high it is and how everything will flow to it and people will say to one another “Come let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, that He may teach us his ways”

It appears to be a time when the LORD is reigning on the earth but sin still happens because the LORD shall “settle disputes”. There seems to be a partial lift of the curse. I wonder if this text is good support for the millennial reign of Christ on the earth, it appears so.

REMINDER: A day is coming when everything that is high and lifted up will be cast down. Mental note: I do not want to be an exalted thing on that day.

Acts 2

Pentecost – wow

Just finished studying the issue of alcohol myself and here in Acts 2 those who are seeing what is happening and hear these men speaking about God automatically think they are drunk. Alcohol was closely associate with god “talk”. In the temples getting drunk was how you communed with the deities. Not so with Christianity, and Peter quickly corrects the on-lookers.

Peter preaches the first sermon of the church and it is filled with OT texts and points to Jesus as the fulfillment.

The church grows exponentially.