Category Archives: Bible Reading

Faith, Hope & Love

faith

 

“We continually remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Here we find three words that we do not always like paired with words that we love to put on plaques and trinkets and name our daughters…

Work, labor, and endurance.   Faith, love, and hope.

Three words that seem more masculine.  Three words that seem more feminine. (I have shopped for a little bit of Brighton jewelry in my day and I have never seen any of their stuff have the words “work, labor or endurance” on them, but lots of “faith, love and hope.”  With that said, I have seen “work, labor, and endurance” on some inspirational posters in weight rooms and locker rooms!)

I think Paul is letting us know that the second set of words… the set that you see all over Hobby Lobby… are not passive.  They are not frilly.  They are not cute and don’t exist to simply make life a little more cuddly.  These are foundation words.  These are the dig-deep and have them at the-core-of-all-that-we-do words.  Faith, love, and hope are active.  They are powerful.  They are the reason we do what we do.

Faith, love and hope are the foundries where things like work, labor, and endurance are made.  In fact, without faith, love and hope; work, labor and endurance become the adult equivalence of the silliness of children playing make believe… lots of energy is spent but nothing that lasts is accomplished.

1 Corinthians 13:11 “When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me.”

1Corinthians 13:13 “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”

Give your life to the best and highest things… faith, love and hope.  Then your work, labor and endurance will truly matter.

Brandon Clark

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Your King Is Coming

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Mat 20:29-21:22

Matthew 21:5    “Say to Daughter Zion,

‘See, your king comes to you,

gentle and riding on a donkey,

and on a colt, the foal of a donkey.’ ”

 

The Jews of Jesus’ day had been hearing about a coming messiah for generations. Gathered around the dinner table, at the synagogue, in casual conversation, they discussed when, who, and how he would arrive. There were many schools of thought, but the prevailing opinion was that he would be a great warrior-king in the tradition of David and that he would lead an army of God’s chosen people to take back what the Roman Empire had stolen and would restore Israel to her rightful position in the world. They were looking for a military leader, a charismatic insurrectionist, a Moses to lead the captive Israel out and into the promised land. Instead, they got Jesus.

 

This scene in Matthew’s gospel illustrates perfectly the disconnect between the expectations and the reality of messiah’s arrival. Jesus had made a name for himself as a prophet, a healer, a revolutionary of sorts, and they had begun to call him King of the Jews (much to the chagrin of both the religious and political authorities). So, as king, when Jesus makes his triumphal entry in what will undoubtedly be his capital city, he obviously sits astride a mighty war horse worthy of any Caesar in Rome’s storied history, right? Not quite. In fact, not at all. Instead of a war horse, Jesus makes his triumphal entry on a donkey. Not only that, but a baby donkey at that. Kind of underwhelming, right? Doesn’t exactly strike fear into the heart of the empire nor inspire confidence in the coming war. And that’s the point.

 

In this one act, perhaps more vividly than any other, Jesus demonstrates that he will be nothing like the messiah most of the Jews were expecting. They wanted him to wage war; instead, Jesus came to bring peace. They wanted him to restore Israel to her rightful place as God’s special people; instead, Jesus came to extend that invitation to every man, woman, and child on planet earth. They wanted retribution and revenge for the wrongs done to them; instead, Jesus came with forgiveness, healing, and restoration for all. They imagined him arriving in Jerusalem atop Bucephalus; instead, Jesus rode in on Eyeore.

 

Many of the Jews of Jesus’ time simply missed it. They were so focused on how they imagined the Christ that they missed the actual Christ. They were so hung up on restoring their own position and status in the world that they forgot they were called to be a light to the world. They were so consumed by thoughts of revenge and retribution that they failed to see the offering of forgiveness right in front of them. May we not make the same mistake.

Nat Turney

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February 12th Bible Reading

easywayExodus 34:1-35:9, Matthew 27:15-31, Psalm 33:12-22, Proverbs 9:1-6

Pilate found nothing deserving of death in Jesus. He wanted to let him go. Pilate’s wife wanted Pilate to let him go. Pilate was the Roman governor ruling occupied Jerusalem, and he did not want trouble in his territory. The most powerful of those he ruled brought Jesus to him wanting the death sentence. He was in a sticky situation, so he decided to use Jesus’ popularity with the people against the Pharisees. He had a custom of releasing one prisoner at the people’s request during the Feast. It had only been around a week before that shouts had filled the city as Jesus came in riding on a donkey. A spontaneous parade took place as people laid down their clothes and palm branches so that even the donkey’s feet would not have to touch the dirty street. The people had loved him. The Pharisee’s were using made up charges against Jesus and obviously were motivated out of jealousy. Pilate’s plan was brilliant. He could let Jesus go and it would not be his decision and therefore stir up trouble for himself with those who hated his rule already. All he had to do was use the custom he had done so many times and let the people of the city free Jesus. If they gave him that parade, they would certainly choose to set him free.

People can be so fickle. The Pharisees “persuaded” the crowd to ask for Barabbas. This crowd had to have at least some of the people who welcomed him as their king just a few days before. The answer was not what was expected. They asked for the wrong man. This stunned Pilate and he asked one question too many. “What shall I do with Jesus?” At that point he lost control. Some of those same people who had welcomed Jesus were now crying out for Jesus to be killed in the most painful way they could think of.

The easy way out rarely is.

Brandon Clark
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February 11th Bible Reading

Worship_PraiseExodus 32:1-33:23, Matthew 26:69-27:14, Psalm 33:1-11, Proverbs 8:33-36

There is a little glimpse in Exodus 33:10 of how the people of God actually did it right. Exodus 32 was a bit of a low point. The Israelites quickly turned to false gods while waiting for Moses to meet with God on the mountain. They whined and complained to Aaron. Aaron, being a weak leader, gave into the desires of the people and made them a golden calf. It was not a pretty scene. Especially in light of all of the miracles that God had so recently performed. (That is why it is just not true when people say that if God would just do…this or that then they would serve him forever. External things don’t motivate us. Relationships are internal.) Back to Exodus 33:10. Here Moses is meeting with God and the people worshipped “each at the entrance to his tent.” They worshipped at home. Their honor of God had found its way into the homes of the people of Israel. There is a time for getting everyone together and worshipping, but worship should also find its way into our homes. Let’s find time to worship today, even at home.

Brandon Clark

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February 10th Bible Reading

pattternExodus 30:11-31:18, Matthew 26:47-68, Psalms 32:1-11, Proverbs 8:27-32

Every time I read anything connected to the Tabernacle in the wilderness I still cannot get over how everything that God instructed Moses to “make all things according to the pattern showed to you on the mountain (Ex 5:-40) ” speaks of Jesus and the redemption plan. It you look at Hebrews 8:1-5 you will see that the church today is still centered on the “True Tabernacle” that the Lord (not man) erected in heavenly places. Space will not allow explaining every detail about how the Tabernacle speaks of Jesus and the redemption plan of God but I will bring out some points.

As you read ahead you will learn how the Tabernacle itself was constructed, and in Ex.36:20 there were 48 boards of “acacia wood” in the Tabernacle overlaid with gold. These boards were to support the Tabernacle and they are a symbol of men covered with God’s Glory. We are now the Temple of our God and we have this treasure in earthen vessels so that the excellence is of Him and not of us.

When you look at Ex. 31:2 we see a man named Bezalel who was the “Master Craftsman” of the Tabernacle. The Scripture says he was given the Spirit of Wisdom and Understanding; He was a type of the Holy Spirit in that the Holy Spirit has been given the assignment to build all of the attributes of our Lord into our lives. The Holy Spirit is our Master Craftsman. We are credited in our spiritual bank account these attributes, but we must cooperate with the Holy Spirit in obedience. We must not let the world conform us but be transformed by the renewing of our mind (Romans12:2) to see ourselves the way God sees us IN CHRIST.

Larry Lane (2010)

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February 9th Bible Reading

wisdom1Exodus 29:1-30:10, Matthew 26:14-46, Psalm 31:19-24, Proverbs 8:14-2

We look at all creation and should be in awe. It is amazing to see how everything works so beautifully together. But even before all of this was created, God first created wisdom. This passage in Proverbs is a continuation of “Wisdom’s” autobiography that began yesterday. Solomon becomes the ghostwriter for Wisdom itself. Today we got to read the bulk of Wisdom’s story. It reads a little like a personal ad might read. If Wisdom was on eHarmony, this passage is what would be there. It lists Wisdom’s personal attributes, likes, accomplishments and brief personal history. The point is Wisdom wants to be found (“those who seek me find me”). Wisdom wants you to know its attributes and recognize it when you see it. Wisdom wants to be a part of your life. In the truest sense of the word, Wisdom is our soulmate. (Soul being defined as our mind, will and emotions.) When we make wisdom part of our lives, our soul gets the guidance that we need and it leads us to the life that God has created for us and that we so long to live. Pursue wisdom. You won’t regret it.

Brandon Clark

Ex 29:1-30:10, Mat 26:14-46, Psalm 31:19-24, Prov 8:14-26

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February 8th Bible Reading

coin flipExodus 28:1-43, Matthew 25:31-26:13, Psalm 31:9-18, Proverbs 8:12-13

There is so much depth of meaning in looking at the high priest’s garment. The Urim and Thummim were objects that were used in making decisions by the High Priest. The traditional view of the translation of Urim and Thummim is “Light and Truth.” They were used like casting lots or flipping a quarter in making a decision. The big difference is that the Urim and Thummim were guided by God. The text says that “Aaron will always bear the means of making decisions for the Israelites over his heart before the Lord.” God has always wanted to lead us from within. Not through an external set of rules that would force us in a direction, but through an internal desire to love and follow him. God has placed his Spirit within us to be our guide. God has given us the truth to be hidden in our hearts. In our reading, we have not made it to the book of Acts yet but when we get there we will see a similar decision making style taking place in the first chapter. The disciples remember that the scriptures foretold that someone would take Judas’s place. They proposed two different men for the job and then they cast lots. The lot fell to a man named Matthias (who we never hear of again, although I am sure that he had a great ministry impact). Shortly after that, the Holy Spirit is poured out and they never cast lots again. They are always led by the Spirit. Even in Exodus, God was showing that it was more about the heart than it was about the Urim and Thummim.

Brandon Clark
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