Saturday, January 31, 2009

Day 31: Leviticus 4 - 6

When anyone sins unintentionally... (Leviticus 4:2)

When Leviticus uses the phrase sins unintentionally, it might be better rendered as wanders away into sin, or does wrong. The real difference between the sin offering and the guilt offering was that the sin offering was for more general sins, while the guilt offering included restitution for harming or injuring another person.

Whether between persons, or between humanity and God, these laws are for maintaining relationship and restoring that relationship once it has been broken.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Day 30: Leviticus 1 - 3

Add salt to all your offerings. (Leviticus 2:13)

The inclusion of salt in the grain offering was probably linked to the idea of it preserving quality. In the absence of their Egyptian Frigidaires, the traveling Israelites preserved their food supplies with salt. Salt in the grain offering signified the lasting nature of the covenant between Israel and its God.
What significance does this have for us today? Or should we just clip these verses out of the Bible as irrelevant?

Leviticus Briefing

As it's name implies, Leviticus deals with rules and regulations for the Levitical priesthood, in which the writer(s)' primary concern is holiness. In Leviticus, holiness is ascribed to God, and to people. Regarding God, Levitical holiness has to do with his otherness - his difference from you and me and the rest of creation. Regarding people, Levitical holiness has to do with our obedience to God's commands.

Either way, Leviticus speaks to Israel's interest in holiness.

Leviticus is where we lose some people. Some, understandably, have a little trouble getting through the detailed (and sometimes repetitive) information. Consider Leviticus a guidebook for experiencing God's presence (holiness is required), and for how to be readmitted into God's presence once we've messed up.

Keep reading. It's worth it!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Day 29: Exodus 37 - 40

Here in the final chapters of Exodus, we reach the one-year anniversary of the people leaving Egypt. It took them three months to arrive at Sinai, and nine months to construct the tabernacle and all its furnishings. Now time is basically going to stand still as God explores the regulations, sacrifices and festivals with the Israelite people.

It was back in Exodus 19 that we arrived at Sinai, and we'll be here through all of Leviticus and well into Numbers. Not until Numbers 10 will the people pack up camp and leave the mountain.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

February Reading Links

The February reading links are posted in the left lower column, right below the January links. In about a week I'll delete the January links, so if you've got any catching up to do, this would be a great time.

If you get behind, my best advice is still to forget about any days you missed until you've got some free time. For now, just jump back in on today's reading, and join the conversation. Remember, the idea is not so much to finish in one year, but to develop the habit of reading every day... and to read with understanding.

Day 28: Exodus 34 - 36

Keep up the comments! See you soon. Our conference is over at noon, and we're going to try to cram the 3-hour drive into 5 or 6, if possible.

Top left is a picture of our speaker Jim Lyon. Jim pastors one of our movement's most dynamic churches and brought us a spectacular teaching. He is also the speaker on our American radio broadcast Christians Broadcasting Hope.

Below is a shot of our worship leaders from the Salem church.

So, what have you gotten out of chapters 34 - 36?

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Day 27: Exodus 31 - 33

Pastor Tim and Janelle are enjoying the Oregon coast while at the Ministers and Spouses Retreat in Newport.

I invite you ro go back and read some of the comments from the past several days. I think there were some questions asked that never got answered. Let's hear your two cents worth.

365 Forum posts should resume on Thursday, but for now, go ahead and make your comments and ask your questions.
NOTE: I did not snap this picture; it's from the Internet. In fact, the rain was so thick an hour ago I couldn't even see the lighthouse. The rain has stopped, the clouds are settled in thick, the wind is howling, and the coast is abslutely beautiful... rain or shine, smile or whine.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Day 26: Exodus 28 - 30

Whenever Aaron enters the Holy Place, he will bear the names of the sons of Israel over his heart on the breastpiece of decision as a continuing memorial before the Lord. (Exodus 28:29)

This is a good lesson for any pastor, any Trustee, any Reaching Servant, any Sunday School teacher, any ministry volunteer, any parent, any sibling, any boss, any employee, and anyone else I've left out.

On Aaron's breastpiece he had twelve stones each engraved with the name of one of the tribes of Israel. On his shoulders he had two stones, each one engraved with six tribes.

On those days when he might not have felt like fulfilling his duties before God, he would be reminded by the stones on his chest and shoulders that in neglecting these things he was not only affecting himself, but neglecting his responsibilities to God's people. And when he entered the Holy Place, the stones would remind him that he was there not only for himself, but as a representative of thousands.

Maybe I don't represent thousands when I enter the Holy Place of God's presence, but I do represent you, and I sense that very deeply.

So let me ask, whose names are written on your chest and shoulders when you go before the Lord in prayer?

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Day 25: Exodus 25 - 27

Have them make this sanctuary and I will dwell among them. (Exodus 25:8)

Tabernacle - verb - to dwell

Have them make this sanctuary and I will tabernacle among them.

Tabernacle can of course also be a noun and refers to several different things, such as the traveling tent considered the house of God in the time of Moses.

It also refers to the small huts made by the Jewish people during the Festival of Tabernacles [Booths]. During this seven days, the Jewish people built and lived in small makeshift shelters to connect with their ancestors who traveled through the wilderness in search of their promised land.

The root word of tabernacle is also where we get the word tavern. In this usage, it would refer not so much to a bar, but more to an inn, where travelers could dwell on a temporary basis.

Psalm 90:1 turns the thought around from God dwelling with us, to God being our dwelling place: Lord, you have been our dwelling place throughout all generations.

Ezekiel 37:27 reads: My dwelling place will be with them; I will be their God and they will be my people.

The bottom line is that God wants to be close to us, to live in us, and for us to live in him.

I personally think the most glorious development of this thought has to be that found in Revelation 21:3. What a blessed promise! We will live with God, and God will live with us for all eternity.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Day 24: Exodus 22 - 24

If you see the donkey of someone who hates you fallen down under its load, do not leave it there; be sure you help him with it. (Exodus 23:5)

Here continues the explication of the Ten Commandments. Whether these words were spoken by Moses, or (as most critical biblical scholars suggest) were expansions of a later time, they give us a picture of a nation's developing legal interpretation.

It has been said that all of these laws stem from the very first: You shall have no other gods before me. (Exodus 20:3) Jesus spoke that first commandment like this: Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. (Mark 12:30) It can all be summed up: Love God; love people.

Only a life filled with the love of Christ could live up to Exodus 23:5, as printed above. Don't just shower with kindness those who can benefit you, those who will pay it back; love your enemies, too.

In Exodus 24:8, Moses claims the people for God by sprinking them with blood: This is the blood of the covenant... 1250 years later, Jesus would make that same claim regarding his own blood: This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many. (Mark 14:24)

Were there any laws that particularly caught your attention?

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Day 23: Exodus 19 - 21

Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine... (Exodus 19:5)

That's pretty much the way most translations I've read state that verse, but (especially if you're reading from the daily Bible Gateway links on this blog) maybe you've seen the variant reading: ...out of all nations you will be my treasured possession, for the whole earth is mine.

Is God saying, I've chosen you because I love you the best.? Or is God saying, I've chosen you because I'm going to use my relationship with you to express my love to the nations.?

Although most translations use the word although, the word for seems to fit best with the context of all Scripture.

How do you read it?

Day 22: Exodus 16 - 18

The work is too heavy for you; you cannot handle it alone. (Exodus 18:18)

T minus 3 days and counting until the Installation Service on Sunday afternoon. I am convicted that it is more than coincidence this caught my attention in today's reading. Moses might not know it, but he's riding a runaway train toward burnout in his attempt to care for the people who followed him out of Egypt. They are depending on him; he knows it, and he's feeling the weight of that responsibility.

Thank God for his father-in-law Jethro, who can look at the situation objectively and give Moses some good counsel. We all need a Jethro in our lives. Please forgive me for the posted image.

From the very beginning, God never intended for us to go it alone. The Lord God said, "It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him." (Genesis 2:18)

[Choosing capable people who can help you fulfill your mission] will make your load lighter, because they will share it with you . . . and [everyone] will go home satisfied. (Exodus 18:22,23)

We will turn this responsibility over to them and will give our attention to prayer and the ministry of the word. (Acts 6:3,4)

From Adam and Eve, to Moses and Jethro, to the Apostles and their newly appointed deacons, God has never intended us to shoulder the burden in solitary confinement. That's why he places us in a church family.

Day 21: Exodus 13 - 15

The Israelites were dressed for fighting when they left the land of Egypt. (Exodus 13:18 – NCV)

This verse sounds like the Hebrews marched out of Egypt with their shoulders back and their chests puffed out - a conquering army, but the truth is in the context. The previous verse reads: When Pharaoh let the people go, God did not lead them on the road through the Philistine country, though that was shorter. For God said, “If they face war, they might change their minds and return to Egypt.” (Exodus 13:17)

The people were dressed for battle, but they were still thinking like slaves. They looked the part of conquerors, but inside they just weren't ready to fight.

It takes more to be a soldier than wearing the uniform. Maybe the Hebrews were feeling a little too cocky, their pockets jingling with their neighbors’ gold, and leaving behind the Egyptians reeling from God’s one-two plague punch. Maybe they were itching for a fight they weren't ready for. Were their egos writing checks their bodies couldn’t cash? Either way, God knew that if they tasted battle too soon, they would lose heart, turn tail and run back to Egypt.

Sometimes God sends us running into the battle; and other times God knows the better part of valor is in living to fight another day.

To be sure, the battles will come. Ephesians 6:10-18 tells us how to dress.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Day 20: Exodus 10 - 12

Many other people went up with them. (Exodus 12:38)

When we think of the exodus, we think of an entire nation of Israelites crossing the Red Sea. The truth is that the group might not have been quite as pure pedigreed as we take for granted. In fact, this is not the last time other people groups will be assimilated into Israel.

This gives rise to a simple observation: When God's people walk in freedom, there's no telling how many others will be delivered as a result.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Day 19: Exodus 7 - 9

I have raised you up for this very purpose. (Exodus 9:16)

Did you notice how the magicians matched Moses miracle for miracle at the beginning? (Okay, I know Aaron's rod/snake ate their snakes.) One thing I'd never thought of before was that even though the magicians could unleash some pretty amazing stuff, once it was out of the box, they couldn't put it back in. Pharaoh pleaded with Moses: Pray to the Lord to take the frogs away from me.

With the gnext plague (gnats), the magicians tried but couldn't produce. Then with the flies is where things get really interesting. God made a distinction between the Egyptians and the Israelites. From that point on, the plagues were specifically aimed at Pharaoh and his people.

Here's our highlighted verse in its entirety, with God speaking to Pharaoh: But I have raised you up for this very purpose, that I might show you my power and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.

Do you remember the words of Mordecai to his niece Esther? Who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this? (Esther 4:14)

The further my walk takes me, the more I realize the importance of submitting my will to God. Esther and Pharaoh were both raised up by God to save the Jews and to bring him glory in the process. Esther submitted; Pharaoh did not. How would his story be different if he had?

Your thoughts?

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Day 18: Exodus 4 - 6

You have not rescued your people at all. (Exodus 5:22)

Okay, let's recap some of what we've been talking about over the past few days. On Day 14 Jacob was singing, Gloom, despair and agony on me. On Day 15, he exclaimed: My son Joseph is still alive! On Day 16, Joseph told his brothers: What you intended for evil, God intended for good. Leave Genesis behind and open Exodus. Day 17: The Israelites groaned in their slavery and cried out to God. And today, with things apparently taking a turn for the worse, Moses accuses God: You have not rescued your people at all.

If we've learned anything at all, even if we were completely unfamiliar with this storyline, we should probably know that the fat lady hasn't sung yet. Sometimes God's plan may require things to get worse before they get better.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Day 17: Exodus 1 - 3

The Israelites groaned in their slavery and cried out, and their cry for help because of their slavery went up to God. (Exodus 2:23)

Over the next 40 years, but especially in the next 12 months the Israelites would be playing the blame game (Exodus 5:21, 15:24, 16:3, and 17:3). Why has all this happened to us? We'd be better off in Egypt.

Funny, you didn't think so when you cried out to God for deliverance! Now God is in the process of delivering you from your Egyptian oppressors, and securing for you the land of promise in Canaan, and all you can do is gripe? Thou shalt not whine!

I could almost laugh if I wasn't guilty of the same thing. How many times has God answered my prayer, but because I didn't recognize his hand or approve his methods I acted like a little whiny baby?

I'm aware this conversation isn't all that different from the one we were having about Jacob and his family going into Egypt at the close of Genesis. Now we're experiencing the same dynamic as they travel out of Egypt at the beginning of Exodus. When we see something repeated in Scripture, it's a good idea to pay very close attention, because it's apparently something God feels strongly about, and thinks we need to know.

In fact, we'll be talking about a related matter tomorrow.

Exodus Briefing

We've read Genesis, which means beginning, and now we're ready for Exodus. It's no secret that a synonym for exodus is exit. This is the story of Israel's exit (stage right) from Egypt. However, Exodus is also a Genesis of sorts. The exodus is where the nation of Israel begins. When Israel looks back over its history, the most pivotal event is their escape from Egypt. It's Moses and the plagues and the Red Sea crossing and Sinai and the wilderness, all culminating at the Plains of Moab across the Jordan from Jericho, waiting on Joshua's command to cross the river and claim the land of promise.

As we read, try and keep in mind that Israeli exile in Babylon, turning over and over in his mind the exodus from Egypt, wondering when God will facilitate a similar exodus from Persia... thinking about Joshua and the Israelites claiming the land, and wondering when he'll get the same opportunity to reclaim the land.

Also, ask the questions: Why did the early church see in the exodus an illustration of our release from sin through Jesus Christ? What promise am I waiting to claim? What can I learn from Moses and the nation of Israel that will aid me in my wilderness journey toward claiming my promised land?

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Day 16: Genesis 47 - 50

Joseph reduced the people to servitude. (Genesis 47:21)

There are lots of things we could focus on in these final four chapters of Genesis. I enjoy the picture of Jacob the deceiver becoming Jacob the honored patriarch, looking back over his years and worshiping as he leans on his staff (47:31). There is an interesting connection between Jacob receiving his father's blessing over his older brother, and then Jacob blessing his younger grandson over his older brother (48). Then, of course, is one of the most pivotal verses of Genesis: You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good. (50:20)

When Joseph comes to mind, do you think of his coat of many colors? ...his dreams? ...his rising to second in command over all of Egypt? Do you think of him saving the people of Egypt? ...or enslaving them?

This is perhaps a fitting place to leave Genesis and begin reading the most important chapter in Israel's history, the story of Exodus.

Day 15: Genesis 43 - 46

My son Joseph is still alive! (Genesis 45:28)

The Gloom, Despair and Agony on Me of Chapters 37 and 42 becomes the Hallelujah Chorus of Chapter 46. Could it be the very event that is causing you pain today will be the catalyst for rejoicing in days to come?

Whether we have a good day or a bad day often boils down not to circumstances, but to perspective.

How's yours?

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Day 14: Genesis 40 - 42

Everything is against me! (Genesis 42:36)

Ever had one of those days? And yet not all was at it seemed to Jacob. What appeared to him to be misfortune, (Gloom, despair and agony on me...) was actually the providential hand of God.

Changes the meaning of, Ever had one of those days?, doesn't it?

Have you ever had one of those days when God was working in your behalf, but you couldn't see it?

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Day 13: Genesis 37-39

Consider some of the people we've met in our reading so far: Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Reuben and Judah. One of the things that gives the biblical account its credibility is the realness of its characters. We see them with all their failings intact, seldom if ever edited out. Abraham passed off his wife as his sister to save his own neck. Ditto for Isaac. People watched out for Jacob the deceiver. Reuben slept with his father's concubine. Judah slept with his daughter-in-law. You might say, But he thought she was a prostitute. Oh, right - that makes it all okay. (Can you say sarcasm?) Or as they say on Monty Python: Oh, yes; very nice!

Enter Joseph. Once we get past his early years, in which he was a spoiled daddy's boy tattletale, he emerges larger than life, with no character flaws whatsoever. The only other similar character I can think of is Daniel... and maybe his three friends. Even Jesus got tired, and occasionally said some things we would think of as a little harsh. But not Joseph. Not Daniel.


Monday, January 12, 2009

Day 12: Genesis 34-36

There is some interesting foreshadowing in today's reading.

While Israel was living in that region, Reuben went in and slept with his father's concubine Bilhah, and Israel heard of it. (Genesis 35:22)

One of Jacob's sons behaved inappropriately with his father's concubine (noticed how deftly I skirted speaking of the specifics?), and Israel heard of it. Hmmm. I wonder how he heard of it. The Bible doesn't really say, but it's interesting to speculate. Could there have been a tattletale in the family? Hmmm.

And on the darker side...

Esau's son Eliphaz also had a concubine named Timna, who bore him Amalek. (Genesis 36:12)

If this name (Amalek) doesn't ring a bell, just pay attention. I would suggest you make a note to yourself every time the name Amalek, or the tribal name Amalekites comes up in the story of Israel, and then remember that this can all be traced back to Esau's enmity with Jacob.

Question: Could God have blessed Jacob without Rebekah's interference? How might the outcome of that story been different if Rebekah had patiently waited on God's plan to unfold, rather than take matters into her own hands?

Could there be a lesson there for us? Hmmm...

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Day 11: Genesis 31-33

Esau ran to meet Jacob and embraced him; he threw his arms around his neck and kissed him. (Genesis 33:4)

What drama! Twenty years after cheating Esau out of his blessing, Jacob returns home. How will he be received by the brother who swore to kill him?

In reading this solitary chapter, one might be tempted to say, Happy ending! But this is not the end of the story. Esau settled his extended family in the hill country of Mt. Seir, in the vicinity of the Dead's Sea's southern tip, on the opposite side from Israel. Read more about future encounters with Edom (Esau was also called Edom and that is the name of his descended kingdom) in Deuteronomy 2, Numbers 20 and 2 Chronicles 20.

Have you ever tried to mend fences with someone who was angry with you?

Friday, January 9, 2009

Day 10: Genesis 28-30

Then Jacob made a vow, saying, "If God will be with me and will watch over me on this journey I am taking and will give me food to eat and clothes to wear so that I return safely to my father's house, then the LORD will be my God." (Genesis 28:20, 21)

This passage gives us a glimpse into one of Jacob's most basic theological building blocks - his belief in God. Jacob, his father Isaac, and his grandfather Abraham were not monotheistic - that is they did not believe in the existence of only one God. They were henotheistic. Henotheism is the belief that one god is superior among a range of other lesser gods. It can also mean choosing to worship only one god, even though one still believes in the existence of other gods.

Some might say the first commandment betrays the same belief during the time of Moses. You shall have no other gods before me. (Exodus 20:3) What about during the time of Joshua? As for me and my household, we will serve the Lord. (Joshua 24:15) Jacob traveled to Haran in approximately 1700-1650 B.C. The nation of Israel's repeated flirtations with the gods of its neighbors wouldn't stop until its Babylonian exile, between 587 and 536 B.C., over a thousand years later.

Hey, You Said...

Every once in awhile as you're reading 365 Forum, scroll back to some older posts and check out the comments. This is especially important for those who've already made comments or asked questions. You might post a comment on Monday that elicits a response on Friday, after you're long gone, having moved on to other things.

Day 9: Genesis 25-27

These chapters bring to the forefront a recurring theme in Genesis. God repeatedly chooses the younger son over his older brother.

We find this with Cain and Abel, Ishmael and Isaac, Esau and Jacob, and will soon see the same thing with Joseph and his brothers, and even Joseph's sons Manasseh and Ephraim. One day, long down the road, David will be chosen as king over all the other sons of Jesse.

What other recurring themes do you see? Think... now that wouldn't be fair to give you a hint.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Day 8: Genesis 22-24

He reached out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. But the angel of the Lord called out to him . . . Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram. (Genesis 22:10, 13)

The account of Abraham's near sacrifice of his son is dear to Christians, Jews and Muslims... only in most Muslim accounts it is Ishmael that Abraham takes to the mountain, not Isaac.

Do you notice the parallel between Abraham's willingness to sacrifice his only son borne to him by Sarah, and God's willingness to sacrifice his only begotten Son?

With his hand grasping the knife, do you think Abraham breathed a sigh of relief when he was restrained from killing Isaac and the ram was provided to take his place? Do you think a person of Jewish tradition, in reading the cricifixion account of God's Son (if that person could put aside his prejudice long enough to imagine that Jesus might have been God's Son) would have noticed the parallel? As the Son was readied for sacrifice, what would be that reader's expectation? Perhaps as the hammer arced through the air to connect with the nail and pierce Christ's hands and feet, would the Jewish reader expect God to make a substitution? A perfect lamb in place of his Son?

But no substitution was made. Christ was the substitution.

Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain. (Revelation 5:12)

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Day 7: Genesis 19-21

Okay, two quick assignments:

Do you think this is a like father like son kind of thing? Or for that matter, how would you account for Abraham making the same mistake twice?

Okay, just in case that wasn't confusing enough for you, read Genesis 19:4-9, followed by Judges 19:22-25. These are rough stories, but then again the Bible is not G-rated.
Do you think it's odd that these accounts so closely parallel one another?

What are your thoughts?

Monday, January 5, 2009

Day 6: Genesis 16-18

In Chapter 18 three visitors make a call on Abraham on their way to Sodom. They are referred to as men (18:2, 16, 25; 19:5), angels (19:1 and 15), and at least one is addressed as the Lord (18:1, 3, 10, 13, 14, 17, 19, 20, 22, 26, 27, 30, 31, 32 and 33). Are they angels or men? ...or God?

Also, forgive me for skipping ahead to Chapter 19, but of the three, since only two scout out Sodom, where'd the third person (referred to as the Lord) go?

What do you think?

The Sin of the Amorites

In Genesis 15 God warns Abram that his descendants will be enslaved in a foreign land for a time. Verse 16 reads: In the fourth generation your descendants will come back here, for the sin of the Amorites has not yet reached its full measure.

What was going on in Canaan during the 400 years Abraham's descendants were in Egypt? And what would have become of them if they had remained in Canaan? Is it possible the wickedness that was growing in the Amorites, but had not yet reached its full measure, would have infected the twelve tribes of Jacob, too?

As bad as the Egyptian enslavement might have been, we don't know but that something even worse might have befallen them if they had remained in Canaan.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Day 5: Genesis 13-15

Direct your comments about Day 5 (Genesis 13-15) here.

By now you should be aware of the links in the lower left column, which take you straight to today's reading. But Bible Gateway is good for more than just reading.

Janelle asked about Noah, and wondered if her recollection of his neighbors scoffing at him might be in another scriptural reference. This is a great example to help us access more of Bible Gateway's great features.

Follow the link to today's reading. In the upper left column is a link for Keyword Search. Type in Noah, and Bible Gateway will list 56 references from Genesis to 2 Peter that include the name Noah. Not all of these are Noah of the ark fame. Thirty-eight are from Genesis 5-10 dealing with the ark and a listing of Noah's descendants.

If you're thinking of a verse, and you can't remember where it's found, but you're pretty sure it has the word pineapple in it. Go to the Keyword Search, type in the word pineapple, and it comes back No results. Okay we need to try something else. Could it be apple instead? Type in apple and this time it will come back with 10 verses.

I've spent lots of money on concordances in the past, ones in print and ones for the computer. And here Bible Gateway gives us one for free. I hope you stick with us, but Bible Gateway also has its own through the Bible reading plan. If that's not good enough for you, check out

Sort of a Night Deposit for Comments

It seems some of our participants were confused when I didn't post anything on Friday. And then when I posted Saturday about Sunday's reading, people got downright apoplectic. Well, not everyone reacted that way, but I don't want to draw attention to individuals... CRAIG!

From now on, even though I'm not going to promise to write every day, I'll at least have a place (starting Monday - Day 5) where you can plant your questions and comments. Each days depository title will contain the day (i.e., Day 5) and the daily reading (i.e., Genesis 13-15). Just because I don't have any comments doesn't mean you shouldn't have a place to make yours.

Remember, there are 2 main rules regarding comments: 1) Don't be anonymous, and 2) don't be mean. And you can leave your comment on any post, not just new ones. I get an email telling me you've commented and where you've commented. I'll find it, and give it a yea or nay.

So far things are going pretty good. The ball's in your court.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Day 4: Genesis 10-12

This is adapted from one of my 2008 posts on The Masked Evangel.

Some authorities say Genesis 12:3 is the pivotal verse of the Old Testament. That may be, but it's a verse in Chapter 11 that catches my attention: Terah took his son Abram, his grandson Lot son of Haran, and his daughter-in-law Sarai, the wife of his son Abram, and together they set out from Ur of the Chaldeans to go to Canaan. But when they came to Haran, they settled there. (Genesis 11:31).

Terah wanted to take his family to Canaan. It was a long journey (see map with Haran labeled Charan). ...when they reached the city of Haran, they settled there. I have two observations about that sentence.
  1. I can't get past the word settled. How often do we have a God-given goal in mind, yet stop half-way, settling for something less than God intended? Is that what happened to Terah? Or...

  2. ...sometimes the journey to where God is leading us takes more than just one generation. Sometimes we are blessed to take our families all the way; sometimes our kids or even our grandkids will finish the journey we began.

So, any thoughts on your reading?

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Check This Out!

Thanks to a wonderful suggestion from Ray Gouthier, 365 Forum now features Daily Reading Links on the lower left hand column. Simply click on the day's reading, and Bible Gateway will spring open, with the passage you're looking for.

If you're new to the blog world, you may not know about RSS feeds. RSS (Really Simple Syndication - yes, that's really what it stands for) is a tool that compiles all the blogs you read in one place. Let me try to explain.

If you're using Internet Explorer (like me), there should be a small icon (like the picture to the right) on the toolbar to the upper right of the screen. From my blog, click on that icon, which will open up 365 Forum's RSS feed. At the top of the page, there will be a cream colored box containing some text. At the bottom of that box will be a link that says: Subscribe to this feed. Clicking on that link will open another window. Click on Subscribe and you're all set.

Once you've subscribed, rather than typing the URL ( everytime to get to the blog, just click on the yellow favorites star at the extreme left end of the toolbar. That gives you three choices: Favorites, Feeds and History. Selecting Feeds will open a list of all the blogs you're subscribed to. If one has new content, it will be in bold print. In that case, just click on it and read the RSS feed.

One of the gifts of a committed theologian is the ability to take something simple, and make it sound really complicated. If I've done that, I'm sorry. Even if you're not computer savvy, it's only confusing right at first. After you've done it a couple times, it's very simple, very easy.

Ready, Set, Go!

Hey, should we promise a dollar to the first person to read through the Bible this year, starting at Genesis 1:1 and reading all the way to Revelation 22:21?...


Addendum to the Earlier Rule

A few days ago, in my post How Do I Do This? I offered some steps to a more fulfilling Bible reading experience. Those steps can basically be boiled down to this:

Pick a Time and Place
Pray Again
Let It Soak In

If you want to read the full post, you can find it here.

I goofed! I left out something really important. Without the final step, there's really no good reason to even get started.

So after you've gotten settled into your time and place, after you've prayed for illumination, after you've read the day's text, after you've prayed again for God to help you get it, and after you've let it soak in real good, do what it says.

If you don't put it into practice... then you're never going to get it.