September 22, 2012 Bible Study

     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. If you have any thoughts or comments regarding these verses or what I have written about them, please post them.

Magrat

Isaiah 39-41:16

     Today’s passage begins with the account of the envoys who came from Babylon to see Hezekiah. It is not clear to me what the point of Isaiah’s message to King Hezekiah was. Was Isaiah telling Hezekiah that he was wrong to show them all of his treasures? Or was he telling Hezekiah not to trust in the friendship of earthly kings because they would eventually betray him? There is one thing I do know, this passage does not reflect well on Hezekiah in my mind because Hezekiah thought that Isaiah’s prophecy was good because the prediction was that death and destruction would come after Hezekiah’s death.
     Here Isaiah has another one of those transitions I do not understand. He is writing about historical events in what is more or less prosaic language, then he enters into a prophetic message that is laid out in more poetic form. The prophecy does not appear to be connected to the event that was just described. Nevertheless this is a powerful message. We know from the Gospel of John that this is a prophecy of the Messiah, but even without that the imagery is powerful. He refers to a voice of one calling out “Make a straight highway…” His description reminds me of the way that modern Interstates are sometimes built. The engineers would build bridges over chasms, cut tunnels through mountains and blast rock out of the sides of hills and mountains so as to run the road where they intended. This imagery takes it beyond that to show that the path the Lord will take will not be obstructed by anything.
     Isaiah goes on to tell us that all of mankind is as nothing compared to God. In the magnificence that is God’s creation we are insignificant. He tells us of the hugeness of the universe. Isaiah uses the grandeur of the universe to express how ridiculous it is for people to think that they can create an image that represents the Creator of that universe. Yet despite all this, Isaiah tells us that God will strengthen those who trust in him.

They that wait upon the Lord will renew their strength;
They will mount up with wings like eagles.

I would include more of the song here, but it is still under copyright.

Barony Wars, Don Po Fences (but where are the tiny bubbles?)

Ephesians 1:1-23

     Today I begin studying Ephesians. This is Paul’s introduction to his letter and like the introduction to most of his letters it is very dense in theological concepts. Praise God that He has chosen to give us His redemption. He forgives our sins through His grace. When we heard the gospel we were included in God’s wonderful grace and given the gift of salvation. God has placed the seal of His Spirit upon us and within us. God has called us to the riches of His inheritance and has placed His power within us. The same power that raised Jesus from the dead. All powers and authorities have been made subject to Jesus and we are authorized to speak on behalf of His name. When I read a passage like this, I am ashamed of the weakness of my faith. We of the Church today should be performing marvelous signs, if only we had the faith to both believe that we could and to know where God intended us to exercise such power. I just realized that my failure is that I do not spend enough time in prayer. I am so glad I have started this blog because it has helped me to discipline myself to study God’s word as I have long known I needed to do. Now perhaps it will help me to discipline myself to spend the time in prayer that I need.

Gandalf

Psalm 66:1-20

     I want to be one who is always shouting praise to God. Help me oh God to call out to those around me, “Come and see what the Lord has done.” I do not often enough tell people what God has done for me. When I confessed my sinfulness and acknowledged that I had no power over it, God forgave my sins and has continued to move in my life to bring glory to His name. He has listened to my prayers.

Barony Wars, the fencers study one another

Proverbs 23:25-28

     Make your parents happy by following the Lord. This proverb tells us that a promiscuous woman delights in leading men to unfaithfulness. But beyond that I have learned that those who wallow in sin often take great pleasure in leading others to do the same.

September 21, 2012 Bible Study

     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. If you have any thoughts or comments regarding these verses or what I have written about them, please post them.

Tabitha checks out the chair

Isaiah 37-38:22

     When King Hezekiah received the report of what the king of Assyria’s agents had said, he immediately sent word to Isaiah asking him to pray for the people. Isaiah replied that God Himself would respond to the blasphemous statement by the king of Assyria’s messengers. The king of Assyria would return home and be killed by the sword. Soon after this King Sennacherib received word that an Ethiopian army was approaching and he left Judah to fight them. Before he left, King Sennacherib sent a letter to Hezekiah stating that God could not protect Jerusalem from his armies. Hezekiah took this letter and spread it out before the altar and prayed for God’s deliverance. Through Isaiah God promises that Assyria will not attack Jerusalem nor lay siege to it. In Isaiah’s prophecy of how God will force King Sennacherib to leave Jerusalem alone is some great imagery of how God controls the behavior of those who choose to defy His will.

“I will put my hook in your nose
and my bit in your mouth.”

The imagery here is of how a man may control an animal that is much larger than himself and force it to go where he desires rather than where it would wish. The implication is not that God needs these devices to control someone more powerful than himself. Rather the implication is that resisting God’s will is futile, we can buck and fight, but in the end (and that end will not be long coming) we will be forced to do as God has decided. More than that, if we fight against that will we will suffer pain in the process of being turned to that path.
     King Sennacherib is promptly forced to return to his capital. About this time, Hezekiah becomes ill and God sends Isaiah to tell Hezekiah that he will not recover. Hezekiah responded to this message by petitioning the Lord for healing. God sends Isaiah another message that He has heard Hezekiah’s prayer and will heal him. Hezekiah responded to being healed with a song of praise.

Barony Wars, more fencing

Galatians 6:1-18

     Paul here tells us that if someone falls into sin, we should humbly and gently lead them back into the path of righteousness. That certainly does not mean haranguing them about the sin. It does mean acknowledging that we also suffer temptations to sins just as bad as any that those we are attempting to correct are committing. It does mean acknowledging that we struggle with sin ourselves. Paul tells us to be careful not to fall prey to the same temptations that we are attempting to guide someone else away from. We should share one another’s burdens. We should not fool ourselves into thinking we are more important than we are.
     Here we come upon an interesting statement by Paul. Just a couple sentences back, he told us that we should bear one another’s burdens, yet now he tells us that each person must bear their own burden. People may argue about what he means, but to me it seems obvious. We should do our best to help others, but we should not feel that others are obligated to help us. To phrase it another way; as Christians we are obligated to help others, others are not obligated to help us.
     If we spend our resources satisfying our sinful nature, we will reap decay and death. If on the other hand we spend our resources doing the will of God we will reap everlasting life and blessings. We should take every opportunity to do good, especially for our fellow believers.
     Finally Paul closes the letter by writing his own words. This suggests that some people had claimed that those who wrote some of his previous letters had put words into his mouth. He points out that those advocating that Gentiles become circumcised do not follow the whole law. Paul says that they are advocating circumcision in order to avoid persecution and in order to boast of those who follow their teachings. He says that he will only boast of the cross. It does not matter whether we have been circumcised or not. What matters is whether we have been transformed by God into a new creation. I pray every day that God continue to transform me into a new creation.

Tabitha and Gandalf play

Psalm 65:1-13

     What a wonderful psalm of praise! God does answer our prayers. I sin time and again, relying on my own strength rather than turning to God. I, once more, dedicate myself to relying on God rather than myself. I know that God will once again forgive me this sin, just as He has my others. In many ways it shames me that I have so much experience with His forgiveness.

Barony Wars, yet more fencing

Proverbs 23:24

     Children give your parents joy by seeking God’s wisdom.

September 20, 2012 Bible Study

     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. If you have any thoughts or comments regarding these verses or what I have written about them, please post them.

Magrat at rest

Isaiah 33:10-36:22

     Isaiah prophecies that Assyria will be consumed by the very fires with which they swallowed up other nations. Those who do not trust in God will be frightened and threatened by this destruction, but those who trust in the Lord and follow His commands will be safe. Isaiah directed this prophecy to the coming Assyrian invasion. He predicts that Assyria will completely destroy the surrounding nations and come up against Jerusalem, but that the kingdom of Judah will be unconquered and Assyria will fall. Jerusalem will stand because its people will turn to the Lord.
     Isaiah goes on to prophecy that God is coming to save His people. When he does, the blind will see, the deaf will hear, the lame will walk and the mute will sing. This is the passage with which Jesus answered the question from John the Baptist’s disciples as to whether He was the one that was to come or if they should look for another. When we turn to the Lord and put our faith in Jesus, all of these things will happen and we will experience joy.
     After these prophecies, the book gives a historical record of the Assyrian invasion during the reign of Hezekiah. When the king of Assyria’s representative was talking to just Hezekiah’s court officials he claimed that the Lord had brought Assyria to destroy the kingdom of Judah. However, when he turned to speak to the people of Jerusalem standing on the walls, he claimed that God would be unable to protect Jerusalem from his armies. One will often see such behavior on the part of people who reject belief in God. They will initially claim that we should see their success as evidence that God is supporting them, but before long they will start bragging that their success is evidence that God is powerless. This always ends badly for those who so brag.

Barony Wars, fencers await their next bout

Galatians 5:13-26

     Paul has been telling us throughout the letter to the Galatians that we have freedom through our faith in Christ, rather than slavery to the Law. Now he tells us not to use that freedom to satisfy our sinful lusts, but instead use our freedom to serve one another in love. If we are guided by the Holy Spirit, as we should be, we will not be doing the evil that our sinful nature desires. If we live the life of our sinful nature, we will not inherit the Kingdom of God. Paul contrasts the fruit of our sinful nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these; with the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. We should strive for the latter and eschew the former. I look at the list of the fruits of the Spirit and I go down the list and think of myself that I am doing OK, until I come to self-control. Then I realize that I fall short. I do not have the self-control that I ought. And once I recognize that, it becomes quite clear to me that I do not exhibit the other fruit to the degree that I should. You cannot truly exhibit one of the fruits of the Spirit without showing them all. Certainly, it is useful to focus on those areas where one struggles the most, but one can only develop the fruit of love to a certain degree if one does not exhibit the fruit of patience. These fruit of the Spirit are not separate things, but rather they are different aspects of a single fruit. We are not like a tree that has “love” growing on one branch and “patience” on another. We are like trees that produce a single type of fruit and if that fruit is the fruit of the Spirit each one that we bear has love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

Gandalf scratches

Psalm 64:1-10

     If our enemies are evil and the enemies of God, then God will protect us from them and destroy them. We do not need to take action against them, God will act for us. If we believe that we must take action against our enemies, we should consider if perhaps we are the ones being evil. Elsewhere in the Bible, Paul writes that as much as it is within our power we should be at peace with everyone. God Himself will bring ruin on those who plot evil against the godly.

Barony Wars, more fencing

Proverbs 23:23

     Today’s proverb fits well with the passage from Galatians about the fruit of the Spirit, because the things mentioned in the proverb go together in much the same way that the fruit of the Spirit form a single whole. Truth, wisdom, discipline and good judgement are all parts of a single whole. You do not truly have one of them if you do not have all of them.

Se[tember 19, 2012 Bible Study

     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. If you have any thoughts or comments regarding these verses or what I have written about them, please post them.

Gandalf rests

Isaiah 30:12-33:9

     Today’s passage tells us that calamity will fall suddenly upon those who ignore what the Lord says. Only by turning to the Lord can we be saved from the coming calamity, but too many will turn to human agents for salvation. Many today see the coming calamity, but, instead of turning to God, they rely on politicians, or gold, or some other hedge against what they see is coming. Isaiah says that God will direct us like a voice from right behind us telling us, “Turn right here. Turn left there.” If we listen to that voice and follow its directions, we will destroy all of the idols we have relied on and God will bless us.
     God is bringing a day of judgement on the nations of this earth. He will come with a judgement that will consume those who oppress the poor. But those who serve Him will sing for joy. On the other hand those who rely on human help to survive the coming judgement will fall along with those on whom they rely. God has sent a righteous King so that those who wish to see the Truth may do so and those willing to hear it, will do so. This is a truth to remember. God has promised us that those willing to see will be able to see the Truth and those willing to hear will be able to hear the Truth. As I attempt to witness to those around me, I need to remember that not everyone is willing to hear the Truth of God’s Word. I, also, need to remember to pray for the Spirit to move upon myself to give me the correct words and upon those who are listening so that they might actually respond to those words. I will never convince anyone to come to the Lord, only God’s Holy Spirit can accomplish that task.

Barony Wars, Fencing

Galatians 5:1-12

     Paul tells the Galatians that getting circumcised has no spiritual benefit. That if one wishes to gain any spiritual benefit from the ritual of circumcision one must follow every one of the regulations in the law of Moses. No one can do that. Everyone will fall short in one way or another. If we attempt to obtain righteousness through following the law, we are rejecting God’s grace. What is valuable to bring us God’s salvation is faith in Him expressed through love. Paul tells us that teaches that following a particular set of rules is necessary for salvation is confusing people as to what salvation is and will be judged by God. This is not to be confused with “cheap” grace, Paul is not contradicting James, who said that if we have faith it will show in our actions. Paul and James are in agreement that our actions will not save us. They are also in agreement that our faith will result in actions.

Magrat, Gandalf and Tabitha

Psalm 63:1-11

     I strive to follow the psalmist’s example and search for God with my whole being. I have seen those who soak up God’s word like dry, parched ground soaks up water. I want to be like that. All too often, I let it roll off of me like rain on rocks. I do not want to be like that. I want to soak it up so that spiritual nourishment can spring forth from my soul. I will trust in God and praise Him. I strive to pray whenever I lie awake at night.

Barony Wars, more fencing

Proverbs 23:22

     Make time for your parents. No matter what you think, there is wisdom to be learned from them. One can learn many valuable lessons just by spending time with them. I need to make greater effort to spend time with my mother and my mother-in-law.

September 18, 2012 Bible Study

     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. If you have any thoughts or comments regarding these verses or what I have written about them, please post them.

Tabitha

Isaiah 28:14-30:11

     Today’s passage starts with a message that applies in many ways. It applies to political leaders and religious leaders. All too often the leaders, rather than follow the path laid out by God, attempt to compromise with the enemies of those they lead. I will address the ways in which I see religious leaders do this. Those who oppose the Church often call Christians stupid for one reason or another. All too often the leaders of the Church attempt to be seen as smart by those opponents of the Church by abandoning those doctrines which are criticized by those enemies. They think that by doing so they will be seen as enlightened by the “intellectuals” who are “too smart” to accept God’s wisdom. But God has laid a Foundation Stone and He measures everything against that. Those leaders who attempt to build a structure that does not line up with that Foundation Stone will see their structure swept away. In the other hand, those leaders who build in line with the Foundation which God has laid, will discover that the structure they build will stand firm against whatever assaults come at it. God will measure our organizations with the measuring line of justice and the plumb line of righteousness. Anything that does not measure up to those standards will be destroyed.
     Isaiah uses a metaphor here that carries a message to me that perhaps is not the one intended. Isaiah discusses how a farmer uses different methods to thresh different grains. He points out that some grains are more fragile than others, so a farmer will use less forceful means to thresh the more fragile grains. In the same way, some people can be led to seek God’s righteousness by less stressful means than others. Those people are likely to be crushed by the more vigorous threshing that some people need to be brought to seek God. So, God will adjust the method He uses to separate us from our sins depending on our ability to withstand crushing blows and the need for more forceful blows to separate us from our sinfulness. I am unhappy with the way that explanation of the metaphor came out, but I cannot think how to phrase it better.
     Isaiah goes on to make a strange prophecy. He says that God is going to bring judgement against Jerusalem for the evil that its people do, but at the last moment those whom He has raised up to attack Jerusalem will be driven away. Isaiah goes on to say that too many people say that they serve the Lord and honor Him with their words, but their actions are far from those that God commands. God will bring judgement against such people. Those who pervert justice and plot evil will be killed and disappear from among God’s people.

Barony Wars, Fencers Engage

Galatians 3:23-4:31

     Paul tells us that God gave us the Law in a manner similar to putting a guardian in charge of minor children. Now that Christ has come we have been released from being under the guardianship of the Law and are freed to serve God as his adopted children. The divisions among us have been erased and we are the heirs to God’s promise to Abraham. He goes on to tell us that before we came to know Christ we were slaves to those things which we worshiped. Now that we have been freed, why would we accept being enslaved to the same sorts of things again? We do not gain righteousness with God by following prescribed rituals and rules.
     Paul goes on and gives us a guideline that will help us avoid false teachers. He tells us that false teachers will try to convince us that we should not listen to any teachers other than themselves. We should be zealous to do good, but not only when there are Church leaders around to impress. We are the children of God’s promise, we should not live as slaves to rules and regulations. I just had a new insight into how what Paul is talking about applies. If a Church body finds itself constantly having to clarify and reword its guidelines because people are taking advantage of “loopholes” in the wording of those guidelines, that Church body has fallen into legalism and has failed to inspire those within it to follow God’s path of righteousness. The guidelines have become the standard against which people are measured rather than God.

Gandalf scratches

Psalm 62:1-12

     In the face of opposition and attack we should wait for God to rise to our defense. He will do so. He will provide us with a refuge against those who wish to destroy us. We should not count on any human defense, neither the common man, nor the powerful. When they are weighed on the scales against God, they weight as less than a puff of air. I will wait for the Lord to move.

Barony Wars, Fencers watch the bouts

Proverbs 23:19-21

     Today’s proverb tells us not to get caught up with those who spend all of their resources on pleasure. We need to learn to delay gratification so that we can gather resources so as to serve the Lord by helping those in need.

September 17, 2012 Bible Study

     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. If you have any thoughts or comments regarding these verses or what I have written about them, please post them.

Tabitha, Gandalf and Magrat

Isaiah 25-28:13

     Isaiah declares that he will praise the Lord because God will make strong nations declare His victory and ruthless nations fear Him. God will provide a fortress to protect the poor and weak from the storms of this world. God has laid out a feast for those who turn to Him. Isaiah tells us that God will remove the shadow of death which hangs over the earth. With Jesus’ resurrection, He has indeed done this. God will wipe away all tears. The way is not steep and rough for those who trust in God for their righteousness. God will smooth out the path before them. Isaiah makes a claim that I aim to make my own. He says that he seeks God earnestly in the morning. I am striving to do this. I have found that doing so makes it easier to do what is right all day long.
     In this passage, Isaiah tells us that God’s kindness to the wicked does not cause them to do good. Instead they continue to do wrong, even when God gives them good things. It is only by God punishing the wicked that some of them will turn from their wicked ways to following God. God spells out his plans for us line by line, but do we listen? All too often we do not follow God’s plans for us and complain because He does not show us the big picture. Yet when He does show us the big picture we respond, “How can I get from here to there?” I need to be satisfied by following God’s plans for me one step at a time.

Barony Wars, Fencer awaits an opponent

Galatians 3:10-22

     Paul points out that if we depend upon following the law for our righteousness, we must never break even one point of the law. But, as he has shown elsewhere, everyone has failed to keep the law to one degree or another. Paul further shows that salvation cannot come from the Law because God made the promise to Abraham long before He gave the Law to Moses. The Law, being given many years later, cannot be the prerequisite for the promise. Rather than receiving righteousness through the Law, we receive God’s promised freedom through belief in Jesus. Ultimately, none of us can boast of our righteousness because what righteousness we have is a gift from God. So, even to the extent that I live a good life, this is no credit to me since it is a result of the power of the Holy Spirit within me. When I do good things this is not because I am better than others, it is merely the result of God’s gift to me. A gift that others can receive in equal measure.

Tabitha the mighty hunter

Psalm 61:1-8

     I, like the psalmist, will cry to the Lord for help. He will hear me and provide me a safe refuge. God will watch over me with His unfailing love and faithfulness. I will sing God’s praise as I shelter under His wings.

Barony Wars, fencers engage

Proverbs 23:17-18

     Today’s proverb tells us not to envy sinners. They may have things that we would like and they may appear to be living a wonderful life. But we should continue to fear the Lord and remember that things are not always as they appear. If we continue to live our lives in fear of the Lord, we will not be disappointed. Every so often I will observe people who seem to be living a life that is to be desired without following God. Yet, in every case where I have gotten to know those people well I have discovered that either they are struggling with problems I never face or there is an emptiness to it all that I am unwilling to accept.

September 16, 2012 Bible Study

     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. If you have any thoughts or comments regarding these verses or what I have written about them, please post them.

Tabitha and Gandalf play

Isaiah 22-24:23

     This passage really says a lot to me about today, but I do not know where to start talking about the message I see. The first bit I see is Isaiah writing about how in times of trouble, the leaders of the people slipped away and left the people leaderless. The remaining people made no effort to step up and lead the people to deal with their tribulation, they, also, attempted to slip away and leave the problems behind. Isaiah tells us that those who tried to slip away from the troubles failed to do so.
     Second, Isaiah writes about how in times of trouble, the people relied on human agency. They turned to the weapons and supplies they had stored up. They did this instead of what they should have done, which was turn to God and call on Him for help. Isaiah is not saying that we should not make plans for times of trouble or store up resources for times of hardship. He is saying that we should rely on God rather than believing that the plans and stores we have laid up will carry us through. In times of trouble, first we should cry out to God for help, then implement our plans to deal with the trouble. We should be willing to help others with the supplies we have laid aside, trusting God to supply our needs when our preparations fall short.
     The final bit that is part of one coherent message (I see how it all ties together, but cannot quite verbalize that link) is about those who instead of seeking to help those in need choose to spend their resources on their own pleasure in a fatalistic understanding that soon it will all be over. I know so many people who spend their resources on their own pleasure in the belief that there is no long term accountability for their actions.
     The next piece of this passage that speaks to me this morning is a prophecy against Tyre. Tyre was the center of a trading empire. Ships from Tyre sailed throughout the Mediterranean and beyond trading goods far and wide and bringing the wealth back to Tyre. The people of Tyre relied on their wealth and their importance to the wealth of others for their safety. Isaiah tells them that their wealth will not protect them from the coming judgement, neither will their importance to the wealth of others. So far in Isaiah, he has told us that God’s judgement will come against both the military powers and the economic powers of the earth. Neither military power, nor economic power will protect a people from God’s judgement on their sin. The U.S. is both an economic and a military power, but neither will protect its people from God’s judgement for their sins. Only by turning to God and following His commands can we obtain protection from His judgement. I must stop spending my resources on my pleasure and instead spend them to help those in greater need than myself.

Barony Wars, Fencers engage

Galatians 2:17-3:9

     There is a lot to be gotten from this passage and I find it difficult to put what Paul is saying here into my own words. I hope that anyone who is following my devotions reads this passage for themselves. One message that I get from this passage is a reminder of something God taught me years ago. I was struggling with sin. I felt called to be involved in God’s work, but felt like I would be being a hypocrite to do so before I overcame the sin in my life. The realization came to me that while I might not be able to stop doing the things I knew I should not be doing, that did not meant that I could not do the things I knew I should be doing. I followed that leading and soon discovered that I was no longer doing the things I should not be doing that I was powerless on my own to stop. I believe that is a significant part of Paul’s message to the Galatians here. Follow God, believe in Christ. Understand that only through the saving blood of Christ can our sins be overcome. We are all sinners and none of us have any claim of being better than any others. We will not overcome the sin in our lives through strength of character. We will only overcome the sin in our lives through the intervention of the Holy Spirit. Do not worry about following the Law, but instead trust in our faith in Jesus. Do those things that the Spirit calls you to do and do not worry about trying to overcome those sins that plague you. The Spirit will provide you deliverance from those sins in God’s time and then you will know that you have nothing to boast of in overcoming those sins. I did not overcome those sins I spoke of earlier, the Holy Spirit removed them from me when I gave up my struggle against them and did what the Spirit was calling me to. I turned those sins over to God and admitted that I was powerless to stop committing them. I have other sins in my life that I am powerless to stop committing. I am asking God to take them from me.

Gandalf relaxes

Psalm 60:1-12

     The psalmist writes that the people have been struck by God’s judgement and are reeling from the effects. But God has provided us with a rallying point. If we rely on Him and turn to Him for victory, we will be strengthened and find security. When we seek to overcome through human intervention we will fail. Only by seeking God’s help and joining the battle on His side will we find victory. The question is not; “Is God on our side?” The question is; “Are we on God’s side?” In all too many conflicts the answer to the second question is “No” for everyone involved in the conflict.

Barony Wars, fencers engage

Proverbs 23:15-16

     This proverb speaks of the joy a parent will have when their child follows the path of wisdom. But this should also apply to any of us when those we have been placed in positions to mentor demonstrate wisdom. We should always be pleased when those whom we have provided guidance to show that they have learned wisdom, even when we are not the source of that wisdom. Of course, it also means that we should strive to demonstrate through our words and actions to those who have been our parents and teachers that we have acquired wisdom.

September 15, 2012 Bible Study

     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. If you have any thoughts or comments regarding these verses or what I have written about them, please post them.

Barony Wars, Taranach relaxes

Isaiah 19-21:17

     I read today’s passage and think about what is going on in the world. Isaiah prophesied against Egypt. He said that Egyptian would fight against Egyptian. Did that not just happen this summer? He says that God will hand Egypt over to “a hard, cruel master.” I could certainly envision Egypt’s current President as filling that role. Isaiah further prophesies that the Nile will fail to rise and flood the fields. The Nile has stopped rising to flood the fields since the Aswan Dam was built. The rest of the prophecy does not fit what we have so far seen, but it gives me cause for hope. The passage says that the people of Egypt will turn to the Lord. I believe that when Isaiah made this prophecy he was referring to a time in his future that is now long past. However, I am not sure that this prophecy does not also refer to what we see happening today. Perhaps the violence and strife we see in Egypt today will lead many of the people of Egypt to turn to the Lord. I pray for that outcome.

Barony Wars, Fencer awaits opponent

Galatians 2:1-16

     Paul continues discussing the beginning of his ministry. He talks about going to the Jerusalem Council. He tells us that he wanted to see if what he was teaching was consistent with what those who had walked with Jesus in His earthly ministry taught. Paul reports that the apostles in Jerusalem agreed with his understanding that Gentiles did not need to become Jews and follow Jewish Law in order to become Christians. Paul continues to tell us that later when Peter came to Antioch, he confronted him over hypocrisy. When Peter first arrived in Antioch he ate with the Gentiles. However, when a delegation came from James, Peter began separating himself from the Gentiles and other Jewish Christians began following his lead. Paul confronted Peter about this. He pointed out to Peter that we are not justified by adherence to the Law, but only by faith in Jesus Christ.

Barony Wars, Fencing

Psalm 59:1-17

     In yet another psalm the psalmist calls on the Lord for deliverance from his enemies. He says that his enemies have contempt for the Lord. However, he asks the Lord not to kill them because soon forget such lessons. Instead he asks God to bring them low and let them live as living examples of the result of defying God. I have an additional reason that I ask God to allow my enemies to live. If they die, they will have lost their opportunity to turn to the Lord. I look at what happened in Libya and Egypt. The destruction and death of those who committed these acts would be in the best interests of the U.S., but I pray for their salvation. I pray that somehow they would come to know the Lord. I know the power of the Lord and I will sing His praises morning, noon and night.

Barony Wars, Fencers await opponents

Proverbs 23:13-14

     Today’s proverb tells parents that they should, at times, use physical discipline on their children. Spanking a child will not lead to the child’s death. On the contrary, spanking the child may well save the child’s life (by teaching them to avoid behaviors which carry a high risk of death).

September 14, 2012 Bible Study

     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. If you have any thoughts or comments regarding these verses or what I have written about them, please post them.

Barony Wars, Po Fences

Isaiah 15-18:7

     The prophet Isaiah prophecies that within three years of when he wrote this the land of Moab would be desolate, destroyed by a conquering army. Isaiah does not explicitly say, “This is why God is going to destroy Moab.” However, he talks about Moabs pride, arrogance and rage. He, also, tells us that the pagan gods they worship will not be able to save them. Those nations which rise up in arrogance and rage and which do not recognize the sovereignty of God will face destruction. But it is not “nations” which need to recognize the sovereignty of God. It is individual people who need to do so. Isaiah goes on from discussing the destruction of Moab to talking about the same fate falling on Syria and the Northern Kingdom. Isaiah tells us this will happen because the people turned from God. He, also, tells us that in the midst of this destruction at last a remnant will turn back to God. When the people turn to God, the enemies will die in the space of a night. Today’s passage ends with Isaiah’s prophecy regarding the fall of the military power that existed in Ethiopia in that day. He tells us that they will be brought low and then they will bring offerings to God. I take from this that those who rest their hope of safety in human efforts will face tragedy and sorrow. Our only hope for safety is trusting in God alone.

Barony Wars, waiting to fence

Galatians 1:1-24

     Paul begins his letter to the Galatians by stating that he was appointed an apostle by God directly, not by any Church body or human delegation. He then prays for God’s grace and peace for his audience and praises God. He then goes on to question why they are accepting teachings which add to the Gospel things that are contradictory to the Gospel. He then goes on to explain how the message he taught came to him directly from God. Paul tells us that he was not taught by any of the apostles who preceded him. He explains that he received it by revelation. However, he goes on to point out that he spent time with Peter and James, the brother of Jesus, and that what he taught by revelation was consistent with what they taught through time spent with Jesus before His crucifixion. Paul did not teach something he received by revelation that superseded the teachings of those who had known Christ while He walked on this earth. Paul received by revelation a message that was consistent with the message taught by those who had walked with Jesus in His ministry on this earth.
      I find this to be an important point. It represents the way to judge those who claim to be teaching what Jesus taught. Are their teachings consistent with what we find in Scripture? Or do they claim to have some authority source which supersedes that of the Bible? If they base their teaching on some source (whether a person or a document) that has sufficient authority to, in their minds, contradict the Bible, they are not teaching the Gospel. This is different from people who have an understanding of one part of the Bible which seems to contradict another part. In this latter case, we should seek the Spirit’s assistance in resolving this apparent conflict of God’s teachings.

Barony Wars, Po fencing

Psalm 58:1-11

     The psalmist cries out against those who rule over others with injustice and against judges who use their position to advance themselves at the expense of justice. He tells us that God will sweep them aside and destroy them. When that happens the godly will rejoice in the knowledge of God’s sovereignty.

Barony Wars, Po fences

Proverbs 23:12

     Today’s proverb tells us that we should dedicate ourselves to learning. There is always more to be learned and we should always desire to learn.

September 13, 2012 Bible Study

     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. If you have any thoughts or comments regarding these verses or what I have written about them, please post them.

Barony Wars, watching the fencing

Isaiah 12-14:32

     Today’s passage begins by telling us that in the day of salvation we will sing praises to the Lord. Isaiah perceived the day of salvation to be that day still to come when Cyrus, king of the Persians, allowed the Jews to begin rebuilding Jerusalem. However, I believe that the day of salvation refers to something more than that. In addition to the time of Cyrus, it refers to the time after someone has accepted Christ as their Savior. I am certainly going to sing the following;

“God has come to save me.
I will trust in him and not be afraid.
The Lord God is my strength and my song;
he has given me victory.”

I will sing to the Lord and tell the nations what He has done. Or, at least, I will strive to have the courage to do so.
     After discussing the day of salvation, Isaiah issues a prophecy concerning the fall of Babylon. Isaiah gives this prophecy about the fall of Babylon while Assyria is still the dominant power in the area. He then follows the prophecy against Babylon with a short prophecy about the fall of both Assyria and Philistia.
     Within the prophecy about the fall of Babylon are some images and prophecies, that, like those about the day of salvation, apply beyond the time for which Isaiah foresaw them.
“I, the Lord, will punish the world for its evil
and the wicked for their sin.
I will crush the arrogance of the proud
and humble the pride of the mighty.”

The day of the Lord’s judgement is coming when He will display His anger against those who oppress the innocent and powerless. The Bible is clear that both God’s mercy and His judgement will be displayed. There is an urgency to telling our friends and neighbors about God’s wondrous saving mercy, because His day of judgement will not be long withheld.

Barony Wars, watching the fencing

2 Corinthians 13:1-14

     Paul concludes his second (third?) letter to the Corinthians by warning them that he will deal with those who continue in sin when he next visits them. Paul tells them that God’s power will be shown through his own weakness, just as it was displayed through the weakness of Christ’s crucifixion. Paul tells us to examine ourselves to see if our faith is genuine. We must not do what is wrong, but instead we should stand for the truth and do what is right. Like Paul we should strive to strengthen those around us and be willing to appear weak so that others may appear strong.

Barony Wars, photographing fencing

Psalm 57:1-11

     Cry out to God for mercy and hide beneath the shadow of His wings. God’s love and faithfulness are unfailing and He will shelter those who call on Him. Let us sing His praises among the nations.

Barony Wars, watching fencing

Proverbs 23:9-11

     Today’s first proverb instructs us not to waste our time trying to convince the foolish, as they will not listen to wise advice. The second proverb warns against cheating our neighbors and taking advantage of the fatherless, because God Himself will take up their case.

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