14 April 2007

Today's Reading April 14

This (late) morning's reading is from First Samuel, chapters 15 and 16.

Saul is commanded to utterly destroy the Amalekites, disobeys, is warned that his kingly line will fail. David is anointed as the next king.

There's some things here we feel uncomfortable with. I certainly do. I grew up in the Mennonite church, a denomination that prizes non-violence, peace, non-resistance almost as much, unfortunately, as the Bible. Yet that is not necessarily what the Bible record reveals. Saul is here commanded to wipe out the Amalekites UTTERLY. Men, women, children, babies, sheep, goats, oxen, town. Utterly. That's not the image of an eternally smiling God, affably overlooking the most egregious sin, that we see preached in many pulpits and believed in by the majority of our neighbors.
We will not always understand the commandments of the Lord. We're not required to do so. What is required is to obey them, simply because they're His commandments. (Not suggestions, by the way). For,

1 Samuel 15:22 And Samuel said, Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams. (see also Mark 12:33)

Saul disobeyed. Not only did it cost him his kingdom, but ultimately his life, the lives of his sons. And it left a mess that we still deal with today, the heathens that live in bondage to the lie of Islam that pollutes the Middle East (and, probably, your town as well).
All from disobedience more than 3000 years ago.

This afternoon's reading is from the Gospel of Luke, chapter 14, verses 25 through 35.
A series of stark warnings, such as
33 So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple

Scripture is full of warnings that we must seek Him ''with all your heart'', ''seek ye FIRST the Kingdom of God'', ''You shall love the LORD your God with ALL your heart, soul, mind, and strength'', and many others. No place here for fence straddlers, for the 'yes and no' doubleminded. Dedication. Commitment. Jesus had it. So must we.
One of the great curses of the modern church is the desire to have one foot in Heaven and one foot in the cares of the world. That's not what He teaches.

13 April 2007

Today's Reading April 13

Good morning, and Happy Friday the 13th.
This morning's reading, from the Old Testament, is First Samuel, chapters 13 and 14.
Saul is disobedient to the Lord's command, and fights against the nation's enemies. We see here an indication of Philistine ''gun control''. The Hebrews generally had no weapons such as swords and spears. Tyrants, and those who would like to be, almost always try to remove the ability to overthrow them. Some things never change.
This evening's reading, from the New Testament, is from the Gospel of Luke, chapter 14, verses 1 through 24. The parable of the feast.

12 April 2007

Today's Reading April 12

Good morning!
This morning's reading, from the Old Testament, is First Samuel, Chapters 10, 11, and 12.
Saul is anointed as king, goes to war against the Ammonites and kills many, and is crowned as king. Samuel, now very old, speaks to the people.
This evening's reading, from the New Testament, is the Gospel of Luke, chapter 13, verses 22 through 35.

11 April 2007

Today's Reading April 11

This morning's reading, from the Old Testament
First Samuel, chapters 7, 8, and 9
This is the point at which the Israelites come to Samuel, and say,

''... now make us a king to judge us like all the nations.''

In other words, ''we want to be like those around us''. Sound familiar? It should. We have the same problem today. People want to be like everybody else. But that's not what the people of God are supposed to be, then or now.
This evening's reading, from the New Testament, comes from the Gospel of Luke, chapter 13, verses 1 through 21. Jesus is continuing to heal, to proclaim the Kingdom of God, and to issue a warning that He expects his people to be fruitful. It's not a suggestion. We treat it like one, but it's not.

10 April 2007

Today's Reading April 10

Good morning. It is 4:55AM here. The sun is not yet visible, but I know it's going to happen. The same for all the promises that God has made: they're not yet see, but I know they're coming. He promised, after all.
This morning's reading, from the Old Testament, continues in the book of First Samuel, chapters 4, 5, and 6. This recounts battles between the Israelites and their enemies, the loss of those battles, the seizure of the Ark of the Covenant, and the eventual return thereof.
This evening's reading continues in the Gospel of Luke, chapter 12, verses 35 through 59. This includes a passage that is rarely preached these days - we don't like the message, it seems.

51 Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division:
52 For from henceforth there shall be five in one house divided, three against two, and two against three.
53 The father shall be divided against the son, and the son against the father; the mother against the daughter, and the daughter against the mother; the mother in law against her daughter in law, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.

Micah 7:6

09 April 2007

Today's Reading April 9

Good morning. I hope that your Easter was as wonderful as ours.
This morning's reading, from the Old Testament, begins the Book of First Samuel, chapters 1, 2, and 3. As we saw often in the Judges, the People of God had a continual preference to go astray (sound familiar?) and suffered the consequences. Now we start down the path to a King. I love Hannah's prayer in Chapter 2, it reminds me of Mary's prayer.
This afternoon's reading, from the New Testament, is taken from the Gospel of Luke, chapter 12, verses 1 through 34.

08 April 2007

Today's Reading April 8 Easter Sunday

He is risen! He is risen indeed!
This is the reminder of the reality of our risen Lord, passed down to us through the centuries. He is alive! The tomb is empty! We have the victory. Death no longer has power over us.
He is risen! These are as important as any words ever spoken.
This morning's portion in our through-the-Bible-in-a-year journey is the book of Ruth.
If I ever get the opportunity to write some serious Bible commentary, I would like to begin with Ruth. This was a woman, a Moabitess, one of ''those'' people. You know, the ones who everyone knew were evil, not our kind of folks, one of those who is just no good and the Almighty hates them, and they have no portion of Him. And her life was full of loss and tragedy. Loss of a husband, a brother-in-law, a father-in-law. And yet, she saw something that caused her to trust in the Lord and to love her widowed and destitute mother-in-law. The passage from Ruth, chapter 1, verses 16 and 17, is one of those great poetic moments that Scripture is rich in. It was part of the text when my wife and I were married.

16 And Ruth said, Entreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God:
17 Where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried: the LORD do so to me, and more also, if ought but death part thee and me.

That's a declaration of determination and faith.
And the Lord heard her, and rewarded that faith.
Ruth, the Moabitess, had quite an adventure. And become an ancestor of David the King, and Jesus the Christ, our Lord.

This evening's portion, from the New Testament, continues in the Gospel of Luke, chapter 11, verses 29 through 54.