Saturday, April 7, 2012

Blasphemy Against the Holy Spirit

    Today’s Reading:
  • Mark 3:7 - 30
  • Psalm 37:1 - 11
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Mark 3:7 - 30
Jesus continued on with healing and teaching.  The word spread so quickly that Jesus feared the crowds would literally crush him in an attempt to get to him.  It's funny, because when I thought of Jesus going around healing people, I'd think of crowds, but also of serenity.  I pictured people kneeling before his feet, or grabbing to the bottom of his robe as he walked.  I never quite pictured crowds so very overwhelming that they would crush him to death in an effort to just touch him.

Verse 3:21 caught me off guard.  It tells of how the family of Jesus tried to go bring Jesus home, saying that he was crazy and out of his mind.  Now, surely Mary and Joseph wouldn't have commissioned that, after all they were approached and told about Jesus, and he was conceived immaculately.  So I just wonder who in his family would go to gather Jesus and bring him home to gather his wits.

There was more thing that stuck out to me in this reading.  These are verses 3:28-30.  We are told here that all sins and all blasphemy can be forgiven, but that those who blasphemy against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven.  It then goes on to say that Jesus told them that because they said that he was possessed by an evil spirit.  So my next question is, what is blasphemy against the Holy Spirit?  Is it attributing acts we know to be of God to Satan instead?  Is there more than one way to blasphemy against the Holy Spirit?  I guess I better be on the lookout for this throughout my reading, since Jesus says that it is simply unforgivable to blasphemy the Holy Spirit.

Psalm 37:1 - 11
Here we are told quite a few little tidbits of wisdom.  Commit everything we do to the Lord and trust in Him to help us.  At the same time, we are told to "be still" and wait patiently for the Lord to act (37:7).  And in the meantime, don't concern ourselves with how the wicked are prospering.

This is all a lot easier said than done, right?  So, if things are going awry in your own life, and you're trusting in the Lord to make it right, you still need to be patient.  Maybe there are people are around you, doing you wrong and doing you harm.  You're supposed to not concern yourself with them at all.  Not only that, be still as you do it, for the Lord will come to your aide.  I truly believe the Lord will pull me out of any situation I am in   But it's hard for humans in general to be patient and wait for the Lord to act for them, and on top of that to ignore those who are doing wrong.  That's quite a handful for us to aspire to!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Forbidden Fat and Other Permanent Laws

Today's Reading:
  • Leviticus 6:1 - 7:27
  • Proverbs 10:3 - 4
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Leviticus 6:1 - 7:27
Today's reading brings back the same questions I already had.  The first of those is the fact that things made with yeast are not suitable for offerings, yet breads/cakes/wafers/etc made without yeast are considered holy for sacrifices.  So what makes yeast unholy? I keep seeing this over and over again so i have to wonder.

My second question revisits the topic of not eating fat from animals.  We see this again starting with verse 7:22.  It says never to eat fat from any animal that can be sacrificed to the Lord.  I don't think that means simply not to eat the fat from an animal that is being sacrificed, because in verse 7:24 it says that fat from animals that have been found dead must not be eaten either.  I wouldn't worry so much about this, except that verse 3:17 says that this is a permanent law to be passed from generation to generation.  Once again I am led to wonder, what things are cancelled out by the new covenant?  If something says that it is a "permanent law" for all generations to come, does that mean that it affects us under the new covenant?

I've got a lot of studying to go.  Hopefully by the time I get through the bible for the first time I will have a better understanding of what is "cancelled" out by the new covenant and what is not.

Proverbs 10:3 - 4
The first of these two verses reassures us that the Lord will not let godly people go hungry.  The second tells us that lazy people will be poor, and hard workers will be rich.  Obviously there are many hard working people who are "poor", but I think this verse has application outside of money.  The life of someone who works hard, regardless of the money coming in, will be richer than that of the lazy person.  How satisfied can the lazy person be with his or her life?  There is a special fulfillment to working hard.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Requirements of the Sabbath

    Today’s Reading:
  • Mark 2:14 - 3:6
  • Psalm 36:1 - 12
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Mark 2:14 - 3:6
Jesus once again healed on the Sabbath, which sent those plotting to kill him in an uproar.  Verse 2:27, a verse spoken by Jesus, particularly caught my attention:
"The Sabbath was made to meet the needs of people, and not people to meet the requirements of the Sabbath."
 This really spoke to me because I have been pondering the rules of the Sabbath, and what I should and should not do on the day of the week that I celebrate the Sabbath on.  While I do know that I shouldn't do "ordinary" work, I can also now see that the Sabbath is a day for us.  It is a day for us to relax, to honor and reflect upon the Lord, to nourish our souls and our bodies.  It's not some complicated day where I must be careful of everything I do and do not do.  I think I just need to make sure that me and my family are honoring the Lord, and that I am resting and rejuvenating my soul and my body, and that I am nourishing my family and any others who need help as best I can. 

Psalm 36:1 - 12
This Psalm of David talks of how wicked people have no fear of God.  They are conceited and cannot see how wicked they are.  Some even lie awake at night hatching sinful plots.  But the Lord loves those who are faithful and who honor, serve and fear him.  I will end this post with my favorite quote from this Psalm -- Verse 36:9 :
For you are the fountain of life, the light by which we see.
Truly, I am seeing life out of new eyes with each passing day of study.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Unintentional Sin Still Counts

Today's Reading:
  • Leviticus 4:1 - 5:19
  • Proverbs 10:1 - 2
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Leviticus 4:1 - 5:19
These two chapters from Leviticus deal with atonement for unintentional sin.  While all the instructions for the sacrificial animals no longer apply to us, these chapters still provide an important message: even unintentional sin counts.  "Ignorance is bliss" simply does not apply here.  Throughout these two chapters we are told time and time again that if you did not realized you sinned, you unintentionally sinned, or you accidentally sinned -- you are still guilty. 

The Lord is more than willing to forgive us, but He does say that when we realized we have sinned we must gain forgiveness for those sins.  I guess I better keep on reading right through the bible so that I can identify those sins in my life that are unintentional or done out of ignorance and address those areas in my life.

Proverbs 10:1 - 2
This really was a short reading in Proverbs.  The first verse tells us that wise children bring joy to their parents while foolish ones bring grief.  We are also told that tainted wealth won't last, but living in a godly manner can save your life.

Those proverbs are pretty self explanatory.  I'm excited because this Proverb marks the beginning of the Proverbs of Solomon.  It's always nice to dive into a new section or theme within the bible.  And who better to teach us words of wisdom than Solomon?

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

The Ministry of Jesus According to Mark; Let the Lord Fight Your Battles

    Today’s Reading:
  • Mark 1:29 - 2:12
  • Psalm 35:17 - 28
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Mark 1:29 - 2:12
Mark wastes no time into getting into the ministry of Jesus.  We are told that Jesus went around healing the sick and casting out demons.  At one point he was taken to Simon's mother-in-law and there Jesus cast the sickness right out of her, and then she got up and prepared them all a meal.  That's pretty awesome.

I guess Jesus was trying to keep who he was on the down low.  I suppose once he claimed to be the Son of God, the arrest and crucifixion would inevitably have to occur.  I like he didn't allow the demons to speak at all, since they knew who he was (1:34).

Jesus tried to keep the word from spreading about his ability to heal, I guess because the crowds followed him so badly that he couldn't even enter towns.  He had to do all his preaching on the countryside (1:45).  At one point we are told that four men literally dug a hole in the roof over where Jesus was standing to lower a paralyzed man down to be healed (2:4).

The ministry of Jesus was so amazing.  I am enjoying that I get to see new sides of his ministry through the different gospels.  I can't wait to continue on further.

Psalm 35:17 - 28
David is still suffering at the tongues and lies of those around him.  He is being testified against, lied against and ridiculed.  It is sad to read the suffering of David, but at least through these Psalms we an see that we are not the only ones to ever have suffered.  Yet the Lord will step in and fight our battles for us, when we are ready to let Him do so instead of trusting to our own devices. 

Monday, April 2, 2012

Permanent Laws; A Woman Named Folly

Today's Reading:
  • Leviticus 1:1 - 3:17
  • Proverbs 9:13 - 18
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Leviticus 1:1 - 3:17
I am ashamedly squeamish.  Apparently so much so that I shiver a little when I read the instructions on exactly how the animal is to be killed and taken apart for sacrifice, and which pieces are to go in which place.  I wonder if I'll be over that before the end of the book of Leviticus.

I find it interesting that offerings with yeast and honey are explicitly forbidden for offerings to the Lord (3:12 is but one example).  I have seen this (or at least the yeast part of it) many times over throughout the Old Testament.  I wonder what it is in particular about yeast that makes it unholy?

The very last verse of today's reading (3:17) completely caught me off guard:
"You must never eat any fat or blood.  This is a permanent law for you, and it must be observed from generation to generation, wherever you live."
Okay, so I am really perplexed about this verse right now.  What is covered under this permanent law?  Because the verse is after many verses pertaining to the sacrifice of animals, verses which depicted removing the internal fat to burn for offerings, I am going to make the assumption that we are talking about internal fats, and not fats that are by products of stuff like milk, fruits or vegetables.
Okay, so internal fats -- for the most part I don't like to eat any kinds of fat around the meat.  But what about meats such as a bacon?  Those types of cuts are marbled with fat throughout.  So are we not supposed to eat bacon?  Does this law still apply to us?  It says "permanent" and sometimes I get so confused what is cancelled out by the NT and what is not.

Proverbs 9:13 - 18
Proverbs tells of a woman named Folly.  She talks foolishness and ignorance and calls to others to join her.  We are told, however, that the dead wait there for those she ensnares.

These were such a short 5 verses and a complete subject change.  I think it's the first reference I've seen to "folly" so far.  Yes, there are many references to foolishness, I just thought that this was interesting because it was different.  I look forward to reading more.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Come be a Fisher of Men

    Today’s Reading:
  • Mark 1:1 - 28
  • Psalm 35:1 - 16
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Mark 1:1 - 28
The opening of Mark jumps right into the life of Jesus.  It begins with the brief introduction of John the Baptist, followed by the baptism of Jesus Christ and gives a brief mention to the temptation of Christ in the wilderness for 40 days.

We then meet Simon, Andrew, James and John as they drop all to become fisher of men, instead of fishermen.  Immediately after that we jump into a story where Jesus was teaching at a synagogue in Capernaum.  There we are told he was confronted by an evil spirit inside a man.  Jesus drew the evil spirit and everyone was amazed by this man called Jesus, who taught with authority.  This apparently was something new for the people, they weren't used to teachers who could speak out evil spirits and taught the word of God with such authority.

I immediately like how Mark is setup.  In Matthew, we are given the very important details -- the holy conception of Jesus and his early teachings and life.  We are then introduced to the idea that he is actually the son of God.  But in Mark, I immediately see the hints that this man, Jesus of Nazareth, is indeed the Messiah.  I can't wait to keep studying this book!

Psalm 35:1 - 16
Here David tells of how people he has grieved and prayed for -- his family, his friends, as well as everyone else -- have viciously turned against him.  He talks of how people are testifying falsely against him, spreading lies and deceit.  He is at the end of his rope, and is calling to the Lord to vindicate him.

 It's so depressing to think that people can be so malicious as to spread lies against people.  I know there are people who love to gossip.  And of course it's hard not to want to hear (and spread) the latest news against people.  That is bad enough and truly hurts people.  But who are these people who make up these lies, who agree to testify against someone out of spite?  It's a sad state that some people live in. 

It's discouraging knowing that the world has more than its fair share of these types of people.  But at least the Lord has our backs.  As long as we are righteous and not the ones doing the evil, the Lord is there for us.  We are told time and time again how the Lord is there for us.  So thank you Lord for being there for me!