I am using One Year Bible Online for my daily Bible study. For today, One Year Bible Online links here. I have found that by writing this daily blog of what I see when I read these scriptures, I get more out of them. I hope that by posting these ruminations others may get some benefit as well. In order to make that possible I read the passages and write my thoughts a day, or more. in advance. If you have any thoughts or comments regarding these verses or what I have written about them, please post them.
These proverbs are useful for analyzing my behavior. When I speak, do people find my words a life-giving fountain, or am I using them to hide violent intentions? Do my actions and words stir up conflict, or do they soothe the offenses that others have taken? If we are not sure that the answer to the first question is the former and to the second question is the latter, let us strive harder to make it so.
It is my goal to speak words of life to everyone I meet on all occasions. Further, it is my goal to help others look past offenses and forgive them. I will strive to make peace between those who are angry with one another.
If we wait patiently for the Lord, He will turn to us and answer our cry. This is such a hard lesson to learn. He has done it for me before. When I waited patiently for Him, He raised me out of despair and set me on solid ground, showing me the path He had for me to follow. Let me live my life so that others will see what He has done for me and put their trust in Him. I have told people about God’s justice, but at times I have been afraid to speak out. Oh Lord, do not let me be afraid to speak any longer, do not allow me to keep your good news hidden in my heart. Compel me to share your faithfulness and saving power with all whom I meet. When I die, let it be said of me at my funeral, “He told everyone of your unfailing love and faithfulness.”
When the apostles returned from the preaching tour Jesus had sent them on Jesus attempted to withdraw to a quiet place to debrief them. However, the crowds saw where they were going and met them when they got there. This passage contains one the most powerful images of those who came to hear Jesus teach. “They were like sheep without a shepherd.” This is a terrible indictment of the leaders of the day, especially the religious leaders. The thing is, it is also true of many people today. When I look at society around me, I see people being preyed upon because no one is acting as a shepherd to protect them from the predators of this world. Rather than being protected by those who shepherd them and lead them to pastures where they can thrive I see them being led by those who prey upon them and have no care for their well-being.
I noticed something about the feeding of the 5,000 that I have never noticed before. I am sure that others have noticed it and commented on, but I have never come across it before. When the disciples asked Jesus to send the crowd away so that those in it could get food, Jesus told them to feed the crowd. The disciples replied that did not have enough money to get food to feed them all. Jesus told them to find out how much food they had. When the disciples returned with their five loaves of bread and two fish, Jesus had them sit the crowd down and shared the food out to the crowd. The point I never noticed is that Jesus asked the disciples to share their food with the crowd even though it was obviously not enough to feed everyone. When they followed His command, not only was there enough for everyone there were twelve basketfuls left over. The point here is that when we are evaluating an action, the first question to ask ourselves is not, “Is it practical?” The first question to ask ourselves is, “What does God want us to do?” This does not mean that we should not consider what is practical, but it means that just because something does not seem practical it is not what God wants us to do. Sometimes we need to step out in faith and trust God to make things work. Five loaves and two fish were clearly not enough to feed over 5,000 people. Yet when they gave them to Jesus, He gave them back and somehow not only was everyone fed, but more was left over than what they started with.
The passage describes the procedure those who have been cleansed of serious skin disease are to follow. It is an acknowledgement that God has shed His grace on them by cleansing them of disease. This is followed by a description of what to do if a house has been contaminated with mildew. The mold/mildew described is known today to present a health risk to those who live in a house so contaminated. The passage describes how to repair such a house so as to eliminate the contamination, including determining that the house is so thoroughly contaminated that it is not repairable.