Scripture reading for November 3rd: Ezekiel 25-27; Psalm 85; John 9
Key Scriptures: John 9:1-5 “As He passed by, He saw a man blind from birth. And His disciples asked Him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him. We must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day; night is coming when no one can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.””
A common misconception in Jesus’ day was that if a person was sick or had deformities that it was the result of sin. Either they sinned or their parents sinned and the deformity was a result. Jesus spoke plainly to this misunderstanding. It was not the result of sin in the person or in the parents lives, but that God might display His works of healing and restoration in his life. Jesus came to destroy the works of the devil and He stated that He and His disciples must be about the Father’s work as long as it was day. Jesus is the Light of the world. Light overcomes darkness.
Psalm 85:6-7 “Will you not revive us again, that Your people may rejoice in You. Show us Your steadfast love, O Lord, and grant us Your salvation.”
Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for showing us Your steadfast love through Your mercy and compassion on the blind and feeble. Empower me to work in Your light while it is still day. A day of wrath is coming when no more work can be done.
Ezekiel 25:17 “I will execute vengeance on them (the Philistines) with wrathful rebukes. Then they will know that I am the Lord, when I lay My vengeance upon them.”
Scripture reading for May 17th: Job 8-11
Key Scriptures: Job 9:1-4 “Then Job replied, “Indeed, I know that this is true. But how can a mortal be righteous before God? Though one wished to dispute with Him, he could not answer Him one time out of a thousand. His wisdom is profound, His power is vast. Who has resisted Him and come out unscathed?””
Bildad, one of Job’s friends, told him that because of his suffering and loss of health and wealth that he must be harboring wickedness. But though Job knew of no sin he could confess he knew he needed God’s mercy. He began to question how any man could be righteous in God’s sight. He knew that God was far superior in wisdom and power and that this question must be answered by God Himself.
Thankful for God’s righteousness: But God has provided righteousness to all who believe on His Son Jesus Christ! “And God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Corinthians 5:21)
January 3rd reading: Genesis 3-5
I remember in my early childhood taking my dad’s pocketknife from the stand by his favorite chair and carving pictures on the bedroom door. It was great fun and my sister liked the pictures too. Dad and Mom were out doing chores on the farm and it was dark outside. I knew they would come in soon and slid Dad’s chair in front of the door to try and hide the “sin”. I didn’t understand it but they caught on right away when they came in the house! I initially tried to blame my younger sister for being the instigator, but was found out! I was rightfully afraid of punishment and soon reaped what I had so unwisely sown. (That was before the days when spanking was termed abuse!)
As we read this section of Scripture, we are introduced to the “serpent” who was “more crafty” than any of the other animals that God had made. This “serpent” talked to the woman Eve. His words twisted what God had told Adam and Eve. Eve was taken in by this “craft” and ate the forbidden fruit. She gave it to her husband who ate as well. They suddenly became aware of their nakedness and hid, covering themselves. Rather than being clothed with God’s Glory, their guilt now clothed them with a fig leaf!
God called out to those made in His image, knowing what they had done. When they emerged from hiding, God asked them how they knew that they were naked and if they had eaten from the forbidden tree. God used these questions to help them confess their guilt. No one likes to confess or admit guilt! Sin not only brings guilt and shame, but it also causes fear of punishment.
Today, do a quick survey of your life. Ask the Holy Spirit if there are things you are doing that you need to take responsibility for. Confess them to the Lord and ask for forgiveness and cleansing. It’s the only way I know to get rid of sin and its consequence, death! “I ate it.”
The man said, “The woman you put here with me–she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.” Genesis 3:12 “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” 1st John 1:9
Scripture reading for August 3rd: Isaiah 58-62
Sin is man’s terrible predicament. Sin separates us from God so that He turns His face from us and will not listen to our prayers. (Isaiah 59:2) Man is totally depraved and every part of him is tainted with the ravaging effects of this horrible malady. We tend to think that we have just a little problem and that we are not so bad, especially when compared to others who are worse! Comparing ourselves with ourselves is a worthless pursuit!
Isaiah describes man’s total separation from God. His hands are and fingers are stained with the guilt of innocent blood. His lips have spoken lies and evil. His feet have carried him down crooked paths leading to murder and violence. Man walks in total darkness and gropes along like a blind man. He growls like a bear and moans like a dove because of his predicament. There is no deliverance and his sins testify against him. Man even acknowledges his rebellion against the Lord, lies, oppression and revolt but is helpless to change or deliver himself! (Isaiah 59:3-14)
Paul the Apostle summarized this predicament in Romans 3:23; “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Not a single man is free from sin and it’s separating effects. All who have ever been born of woman, except for one, have this malady called sin. The final effect of sin is death. Death separates us from God for eternity.
Isaiah also records God’s feelings about man’s predicament. “The Lord looked and was displeased that there was no justice. He saw that there was no one, He was appalled that there was no one to intervene; so His own arm worked salvation for Him and His own righteousness sustained Him.” (Isaiah 59:15b-16) God undertook to help man by His own “Arm”. This “Arm” would use His own righteousness to sustain Him while He purchased salvation for man from the sentence of eternal separation from God! Isaiah concludes this chapter with the Redeemer coming to Zion to deliver all who will repent of their sins!
“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23) Jesus Christ is God’s “Arm” and He alone can deliver us from our predicament. Those who repent of their sins and turn to Jesus will find the gift of eternal life!
In this podcast Pastor John continues his summary of the book of Leviticus.
In this podcast Pastor John begins his summary of the book of Leviticus.
Scripture Reading for February 19: Numbers 31-33
As our last two adopted children were growing up, I had them write scriptures as a discipline for doing wrong. This helped them in several ways. They needed to learn to write English and it helped with that. They needed to learn the Word of God and build their faith. It helped with that. After writing the verse, they needed to explain what it meant to them. Some of the things they did were normal childish things, but some were willful. They obeyed to a point, but always looked for a way to get around true obedience by twisting our instructions or taking it out of context. One of the scriptures that we used was this simple warning found in Numbers 32:23: “you can be sure your sin will find you out.” They wrote this verse dozens of times!
In our reading today, the context for this verse was a warning given by Moses to the tribes of Reuben and Gad and the half-tribe of Manasseh. These tribes petitioned Moses to be able to stay on the east side of the Jordan River and not enter the promised land with the rest of the tribes. They were lured by the lush pastures and the potential to make money with their large flocks and herds of sheep and cattle. They were going to have a great life without their rightful inheritance promised by God. They were satisfied with what they could see–why take a chance on what they might get? They promised to fight and help their brothers take their inheritance, however. So Moses warned them against failing to fulfill their promise to fight. It would be a sin that would find them out!
We have lots of people today like these tribes of Israel. They experience the blessings of God’s deliverance from sin and see the miraculous daily supply of God. They agree that a full inheritance is fine for others, but they are satisfied with what they can have right now. They want the easy life and are not sure that what God promises is worth the chance or the effort. They choose to go part way with God’s people, but want what they can see themselves, not what is promised!
The end of these tribes proves God’s Word is true again! (1 Chronicles 5:24-26) They were later unfaithful to God and prostituted themselves to other gods. God gave them over to their enemies and they went into captivity! They were faithful for a time, but in the end going just part way was not enough! They sinned against God and their sin found them out! God tried to warn them. In his love, he tried to help. But we often don’t learn from the warnings and have to be ‘found out”! Don’t let this happen to you! Take time today to be honest with God!
Scripture reading for January27: Exodus 21-24
Is there any such thing as a “harmless sin”? We sometimes laugh when our young children defiantly disobey. When our adopted daughters were first released from the orphanage to come with us, they were so cute! Both my wife and I and the girls had a short time of mutual admiration. But on one of our first outings, we were waiting to cross the street and cars were speeding by. One of them (name withheld to protect the innocent!) stuck her foot out towards the street and looked up mischievously to see what we might do! Mary and I had a good laugh but realized that we had a job ahead of us and had a late start!
Sin entered mankind through Eve’s deception by the serpent and through the disobedience of Adam. God’s commands aren’t suggestions. What He says will happen and He has the authority and power to bring it to pass. Sin has consequences. We can choose to sin, but we get the consequences for free! The law that God gave Moses on the mountain included Exodus 21-24. These were practical explanations of the ten commands that helped work out how these laws would play out in the community of Israel. A holy God lived in their midst. He demanded that the people He lived with would be holy too! (1st Peter 1:15-16)
Some of the laws and their that struck me as I read this passage remind me of the “deadliness” of sin! In Exodus 21:15 and 17, the penalty for attacking father or mother or even cursing them was death. If a man owned a bull that was known to gore others and he did not restrain this animal and a person was killed, the bull and the owner would die! (Exodus 21:28-29) A sorceress must be put to death! (Exodus 22:18) Anyone having sexual relations with an animal must die! (Exodus 22:19) Another law in Exodus 22:22-23 was shocking to me; I had never remembered reading that one who takes advantage of an orphan or a widow would die if that orphan or widow cried out to the Lord! God gets angry when we mess with those who are hurting! He is compassionate and protective! (Exodus 22:26-27)
God is compassionate and loves us enough to confront sin. He knows it’s deadly–it cost Him the life of His Firstborn Son! We need to be serious when it comes to sin. In our children, it is not just funny. It will be deadly if not properly addressed. As parents, we need to love our children enough to discipline them and teach them that sin is nothing to mess with. May the Lord continue to love us enough to discipline us so that sin is not our downfall!
“Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good that we might share in His holiness.” Hebrews 12:10