Saturday, April 21, 2012

Five Ways To Get Your Daily Dose of Everyday Bible Blog

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Christian Dogs

    Today’s Reading:
  • Mark 7:24 - 8:10
  • Psalm 41:1 - 13
Read Bible Passages Online

Mark 7:24 - 8:10
I have always thought that I had every reason to be entitled to be a Christian.  No one could deny me that, no one could take it away from me, no one could say that I didn't belong.  While I've always thought that way, and until I started this bible study I didn't understand the significance of this.

Throughout the Old Testament, our faith was one that belonged solely to the Jewish people.  God became the Lord of the Abraham and all of his descendents.  I didn't really realize the significance of being a Christian of a non-Jewish line until I started reading the New Testament, where non-Jew Gentiles were referred to as dogs.

In chapter 7 a woman came to Jesus and asked her to cast an evil spirit out of her daughter.  Jesus replied with a question that, although it sounded harsh, I believe was instead meant to test her.  He said in verse 27:
First I should feed the children -- my own family, the Jews.  It isn't right to take food from the children and throw it to the dogs.
In verse 28 the woman replied:
That's true, Lord, but even the dogs under the table are allowed to eat the scraps from the children's plates.
To which Jesus replied in verse 29:
Good answer!  Now go home, for the demon has left your daughter.
What I get from this story is that the lines between the Jews and Gentiles began to blur as soon as Jesus entered the picture.  Sure, he tested the woman here, but only to see if she had faith in the Lord.  I know there will be more verses throughout the New Testament that I've yet to read where Jesus will affirm that we are all God's people, as long as we believe in Him and live to please the Lord.

I thank the Lord that He is here for all of us who believe in Him and receive the salvation of Jesus Christ.  I thank the Lord that being a Christian is not an exclusive club that requires a birthright to enter.  It is here, waiting, for all of us.  Thank you Lord!

Psalm 41:1 - 13 
This Psalm of David tells us that the Lord rescues those who are kind to the Lord.  That the Lord protects them, keeps them alive, gives them prosperity, rescues them from enemies, nurses them when they are sick and restores them to health.

I don't know about you, but those are all things I would love to have out of life.  Protection from the Lord, long life, prosperity and health are great promises in return for being kind to the poor.  But I know it's hard to let go of money in your pocket, let alone the hold that money has over your life.

My post yesterday talks about how money takes a hold on our lives and can come between us and the Lord.  While I'm not going to rehash that again today, I just want to point out that there is true blessing in helping others, in honoring the works of the Lord with what wealth we have.  I have posted about tithing and charity and I also remember writing about a parable in Matthew where we are told about servants to whom the Lord entrusted with a sum of money.  Those that multiplied it were given more, while the third was not.

I think by the time I'm done with this two year project I could probably write a book on the topic from all the mentions the Word of God gives us about money.  But the bottom line is, use your money to spread the blessings of the Lord unto others and you will be blessed in return. 

Friday, April 20, 2012

The Worst Sexual Sins; Wealth vs. Salvation

Today's Reading:
  • Leviticus 16:29 - 18:30
  • Proverbs 10:15 - 16
Read Bible Passages Online

Leviticus 16:29 - 18:30
Chapter 18 of Leviticus contains a list of detestable sexual sins.  We are told that the Lord is going to vomit the people from the land being given to the Israelites, for those people have done all of those detestable things.  Furthermore, we should never do these things for they are detestable and will defile us.  Here is a summarized list of the sexual acts that are forbidden and the verses in Chapter 18 associated with them:
  1. Sexual relations with any close relatives. (6)
  2. Sexual relations with your mother or father's wives. (7-8)
  3. Sexual relations with your sister, half-sister or step-sister (9, 11).
  4. Sexual relations with your granddaughter, or your step-granddaughter (10, 17).
  5. Sexual relations with your aunt. (13,14)
  6. Sexual relations with your sister-in-law, unless it's your wife's sister and your wife is no longer living. (16,18)
  7. Sexual relations with your daughter-in-law. (15)
  8. Sexual relations with a woman and her daughter. (17)
  9. Sexual relations with your neighbor's wife. (20)
  10. Sexual relations with a woman who is on her period (19)
  11. Homosexuality (22)
  12. Bestiality (23)
I find it odd that having sex with one's daughter isn't listed out.  Of course we have verse 6 that says no close relatives, so that would be covered.  We also have verse 17, which says not to have sex with both a woman and her daughter.  So in most cases that would rule out one's own daughter, unless the wife had died.  We are told not to have sexual relations with our mother, but it doesn't say anything about a woman and her father.  All but one of these verses seemed to be directed to men, however.  The exception was verse 23 that specifically said women should not offer themselves to animals.

The one on this list that stuck out to me the most was #10 -- having sexual relations with a woman on her period (verse 19).  I know quite a few people who have no problem at all having sex while a woman is on her period -- both women and men.  And I wouldn't think to compare that to homosexuality, bestiality or incest.  In my earlier studies I thought not having sex while menstruating was an issue of being unclean, but I see now that it is more than that.  Oh the things we learn when we really sit down to study the bible! 

Proverbs 10:15 - 16
These two proverbs teach of wealth and poverty.  I want to comment on both of these verses, so I will quote them here:
15 The wealth of the rich is their fortress; the poverty of the poor is their destruction.
16 The earnings of the godly enhance their lives, but evil people squander their money on sin.
I don't think it's wrong to be comfortable or even wealthy, as long as (1) it doesn't come between you and the Lord -- it does not become a god to you; and (2) that money is used to enrich your life in a godly way and to be a blessing onto others.  If you use your riches to spend on sinful things, or to squander away, or to hurt people with or hold over their heads, or to make the lives of others difficult then you'd be using it for the wrong purposes.

Likewise, I think it would be hard to have money and not feel secure in yourself and your abilities to take care of yourself.  That's the point where maybe you begin to think that you don't need the Lord to look after you -- you can take care of yourself just fine. And perhaps you neglect to acknowledge where your blessings came from.  It's so easy to say "I" did this instead of sharing the glory with the Lord who paved the way, no matter how hard you worked.  And I think that the Lord blesses those who work really hard, but we can't forget who made us how we are made, and that without Him our lives would have turned out significantly differently, and perhaps we wouldn't have half the blessings that came our way throughout our lives. 

Finally, we can't forget that when we die we will have nothing.  We can't take our riches, our security blanket with us.  We can't protect ourselves there.  We will be naked before the Lord and will be judged accordingly -- there will be nothing to tell us apart based on wealth or status while we lived on Earth.  In Matthew 19:29-30, Jesus warns us:
And everyone who has given up houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or property, for my sake, will receive a hundred times as much in return and will inherit eternal life.  But many who are the greatest now will be the least important then, and those who seem least important now will be the greatest then.
 These are stern warnings indeed.  Now we know that the Lord often blesses those who are faithful with riches -- think of Abraham, Isaac and Joseph to name a few.  So I truly don't believe that you can't have both wealth and salvation.  We just have to be careful not to let our wealth become us, and to always evaluate our hearts and actions.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

The Thirteen Things That Defile You

    Today’s Reading:
  • Mark 7:1 - 23
  • Psalm 40:11 - 17
Read Bible Passages Online

Mark 7:1 - 23
Jesus says that it is not what goes into our bodies that makes defiles us (I assume this is part of where we learn that the new covenant makes those things that are unclean clean) but rather the things that come from inside us.  Jesus then gave us a list of thirteen things that defile us in verses 21 and 22:
  1. Evil Thoughts
  2. Sexual Immorality
  3. Theft
  4. Murder
  5. Adultery
  6. Greed
  7. Wickedness
  8. Deceit
  9. Lustful Desires
  10. Envy
  11. Slander
  12. Pride
  13. Foolishness
I have a long way to go before finishing the bible, but I have a feeling that this list sums up all the ways you can sin.  It gives me a good list to evaluate my life, actions and  words against.  I think I will be returning to this concise list quite often as I attempt to change my life and my actions to be more suitable to the Lord.

Psalm 40:11 - 17
David is once again pleading for the Lord's rescue.  I really love the last verse of this Psalm, and so I will close with Psalm 40:17:
As for me, since I am poor and needy, let the Lord keep me in his thoughts.  You are my helper and my savior.  O my God, do not delay.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

What the Bible Says About Semen and Menstrual Blood

Today's Reading:
  • Leviticus 15:1 - 16:28
  • Proverbs 10:13 - 14
Read Bible Passages Online

Leviticus 15:1 - 16:28
Today I got to read all about bodily discharges.  The first type of bodily discharge was undisclosed -- it just says any type of discharge that is under the man.  I suppose that could mean many things, the first of which comes to mind would be discharge from an STD, or perhaps discharge from diarrhea or similar sickness.

It was not referring to semen, because that was the next part of the reading.  We are told that a man must bathe and would remain unclean until the next evening anytime he had an emission of semen.  Likewise, when a couple has sex they must bathe and then remain unclean until the next evening.  I noticed that no sacrifices were required for this, but I guess they simply weren't fit to be before the Lord right after they had intercourse.

Finally the conversation switches to menstrual blood.  I knew that a woman was considered unclean during her period, but what I did not know is that she remained unclean for 7 days after the bleeding stopped, and then she must bring offerings to be purified once again.  I really can't imagine having to go through that -- no one can touch you, no one can sit in a chair you sat in, and in my case I would only be clean for about 10 days per every 28.  I am very thankful that is not something I have to deal with today!   

Proverbs 10:13 - 14 
Today we are told more about the wise and the foolish.  We are told the wise have understanding and treasure knowledge, but the foolish invite disaster and those without sense get beaten with rods.  I guess a person who lacks sense would get into a lot of trouble.  I have a child who lacks quite a bit of common sense, and she does get into trouble more often than the others.  So then how does one gain sense?  I would guess it would be the same way one would gain wisdom - learning from those who are wise and reading the Word of God.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Who is This Man who Walks on Water and Feeds Thousands on Scraps of Food?

    Today’s Reading:
  • Mark 6:30 - 56
  • Psalm 40:1 -10
Read Bible Passages Online

Mark 6:30 - 56
Here again the miracle of feeding 5,000 men plus their families with five loaves of bread and two fish is recounted.  That miracle is just as awe-inspiring as the first time I read about it in the book of Matthew.

Then we are told the story of how Jesus walked on water to the disciples' boat as it was struggling in the storm.  We are told that the disciples were first terrified because they thought it was a ghost on the water, but then after seeing it was Jesus, they were utterly amazed.

The reading then says that the disciples were amazed because they still didn't understand the significance of Jesus feeding the 5,000 and that their hearts were too hard to take it in.  That is still somewhat astounding to me -- after all, these men had given up their lives to follow Jesus.  But I guess that they, like everyone else, simply thought of Jesus as being a prophet.  Jesus was not yet ready to reveal to them who he actually was and I would assume that they were not yet ready to know.  Who is this man who walks on water and feeds thousands on scraps of food?

Psalm 40:1 -10
In the first part of this Psalm David has been lifted out of the pit of despair.  It is good to know that the anger of the Lord is terrible, but it lasts less than the turn of a page in the bible.  I am so thankful that the Lord is there for all of us, for anyone us who want it.  Thank you Lord!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Subscribe to Everyday Bible Blog on Your Kindle Device

I was just able to add my blog as a subscription service at  Isn't that neat?! I wanted to make it a free blog, but Amazon won't let you set the price at all, it sets it for you.  Therefore the price is 99 cents per month and the blog is sent automatically to your kindle each day.  Any proceeds will go to upkeep of the domain name for this blog. 

Choosing Our Words Wisely

Today's Reading:
  • Leviticus 14:1 - 57
  • Proverbs 10:11 - 12
Read Bible Passages Online

Leviticus 14:1 - 57
This chapter in Leviticus gives instructions for the ceremonial purification process for people with skin diseases and houses with mildew.  All I can say is that I am thankful for the new covenant in that these ceremonies and quarantines no longer apply to us.

I will say that I love how there is always a designation of a different offering for those who cannot afford what is initially called for.  This goes to show that God the Lord is understanding of our situations and never asks for more than we can give.  For that I am truly thankful. 

Proverbs 10:11 - 12
The first of these proverbs tell us that the words of the godly are like life giving fountains.  The opposite of that is that the words of the wicked conceal violent intentions. I should endeavor to take to heart the words of those who are godly.  This also makes me think about the words I say to others.  Are these words filled with love, with good intentions, and with the spirit of the Lord?  Or do I intend to cause pain with the words I speak to another?  Of course I say things that are intended to hurt another -- usually a person who is very close to me.  I will continue to try to control the words that come out of my mouth by asking myself if they are wicked or godly.

The second verse today says that hatred creates quarrels and love makes up for all offenses.  I think part of this verse ties in closely with what I just wrote.  If I am spewing hatred, if I am trying to hurt another, then I am certainly creating and/or fueling a quarrel.  Instead I need to step back and realize that I love this person whom I am quarreling with (after all, I can't recall quarreling with anyone who is not close to me) and using that love to tone down my emotions and control those things which come out of my mouth.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Jesus is Mocked in His Hometown

    Today’s Reading:
  • Mark 6:1 - 29
  • Psalm 39:1 -13
Read Bible Passages Online

Mark 6:1 - 29
Jesus , who had to distance himself from crushing crowds, returned home to preach and perform miracles in his hometown of Nazareth.  Once there, however, no one would listen to him.  Jesus then said that a prophet is honored everywhere except in his own hometown.

I guess that is very true, and the application goes far beyond prophecy.  It seems that the closer you are to a person, the harder it is to objectively listen to anything they say.  Think of anytime you give a close loved one advice and they completely shrug it off, only to later to take that piece of advice from a different source and to be truly amazed by the results and thankful to the person who gave the advice to them.  It's enough to make you want to shake some sense into that person for sure!

As a byproduct of people disbelieving Jesus in his hometown, we are told that he was able to perform only a couple minor miracles amongst them.  This verse struck out to me because it doesn't matter if the person performing the miracles has all the faith in the world -- or if that person is Jesus Christ himself -- none of it matters if the person doesn't have any belief.

The reading ended with the death of John the Baptist recounted again.  I guess all those proverbs I've been reading about a woman's temptation leading to the door of death are shown to be quite true here.  We are told that Herod was actually protecting John the Baptist, even though John was speaking out against Herod's marriage.  It doesn't say what kind of dance Herodia's daughter performed for him that day, but I would assume it was quite the seductive dance for Herod to offer her anything she asked, up to half his kingdom.  Instead she asked for the death of John the Baptist.  It really is such a shame that pure seduction caused the death of John the Baptist. 

Psalm 39:1 -13
This is a Psalm of David's suffering due to having sinned against the Lord.  This one was a bit different than the others like it in that David asks for the Lord to leave him alone.  There are two profound verses that stuck out to me in this Psalm.  The first is verse 10:
But please stop striking me!  I am exhausted from the blows from your hand.
The second is the last verse of the Psalm, verse 13:
Leave me alone so I can smile again before I am gone and exist no more.
God pours blessings upon those who are faithful to him, but the reverse of that is also true.  David must have been going through such tribulation to actually ask that the Lord leave him alone.  In everything I have read up until this point, David has requested the Lord's presence through all he was going through, even though he knew he was being punished.  But in this case David actually asked that the Lord leave him alone.

I pray that the Lord never corrects me so terribly that I pray for Him to leave me alone.  That to me is such a terrible prayer.  I can't imagine the agony David would be in to pray for such a thing.  The Lord gives, and the Lord takes away.  I aim to please the Lord in all that I do and hope that I never fall into such desperation that I wish the Lord to simply leave me alone.