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Showing posts from April, 2018

(121) 1 May : Proverbs 13v9 / Acts 15v1-16v10 / Psalm 30v11-12

BEGIN WITH PRAYER
"Lord open my eyes and my heart."

Read slowly so that you take in. And as you do, turn your heart to God, thanking him for the good you discover and praying his will home for you, yor family, your church and the world.
Wisdom to chew on Proverbs 13:9

Understanding to grow in The church has always had to navigate disagreement. Here some Jewish Christians state that Gentiles must be circumcised and keep the law of Moses - implying they are not truly saved without it. This is serious as it could not only keep Gentiles from becoming Christians, but encourage those that do to rely on their own righteousness which could never be suffcient to merit God's favour. Peter's response brings us all relief. People are saved "through grace" and so not required to obey Old Testament law as a system (15v11). Christ has done it all. Neverthless, Christian unity is important. So the council urged Gentiles to abstain from sexual immorality (a key area of sin in …

(120) 30 April : Proverbs 13v7-8 / Acts 13v13-14v28 / Psalm 30v6-10

BEGIN WITH PRAYER
"Lord open my eyes and my heart."

Read slowly so that you take in. And as you do, turn your heart to God, thanking him for the good you discover and praying his will home for you, yor family, your church and the world.
Wisdom to chew on Proverbs 13:7-8

Understanding to grow in Paul and Barnabus' mission continues with mixed response from Jews and Gentiles. Yet, throughout the church continues to grow under the "grace of God" - his free favour dispensed by his Holy Spirit. It's a reminder that a degree of conflict is the norm when Christians share their faith, just as it marked Jesus' ministry in almost every possible way. As you read note the different forms in which opposition came.
Acts 13:13-14:28

Finish this reading by pausing to ask yourself: 1) What’s the main thing it teaches me about God or his purposes in Christ? Then praise him for this. 2) What’s the main thing it teaches me about his will for me or the world? Then pray that hom…

(117) 27 April : Proverbs 13v6 / Acts 11v19-13v12 / Psalm 30v1-5

BEGIN WITH PRAYER
"Lord open my eyes and my heart."

Read slowly so that you take in. And as you do, turn your heart to God, thanking him for the good you discover and praying his will home for you, yor family, your church and the world.
Wisdom to chew on Proverbs 13:6

Understanding to grow in The early Christians clearly saw the sort of events surrounding the apostles as exceptional. Peter himself is suprised (12v11). The point, however, is that nothing can hinder the word of the gospel. It "continued to spread and flourish" despite the opposition of King Herod, religious leaders and a sorcerer (12v24). It should encourage us in a day of increasing opposition that God's word will fulfil the purpose he has for it. Indeed, he may use opposition to spread the gospel just as he used the persecution in Jerusalem to spread the first believers (11v19). As you read note what God does to ensure the gospel multiplies.
Acts 11:19-13:12

Finish this reading by pausing to ask yo…

(116) 26 April : Proverbs 13v5 / Acts 9v32-11v18 / Psalm 29v10-11

BEGIN WITH PRAYER
"Lord open my eyes and my heart."

Read slowly so that you take in. And as you do, turn your heart to God, thanking him for the good you discover and praying his will home for you, yor family, your church and the world.
Wisdom to chew on Proverbs 13:5

Understanding to grow in God works particularly astonishing miracles through the disciples. They are what Paul calls "marks of a true apostle" (2 Cor 12v12), focusing people's attention on his appointed spokesmen so that they might listen to their message. But the centre of this section, and the shock for the first Jewish Christians, who is saved: a Gentile centurion. Much space is given to this to affirm that God's purposes are now universal. Any who repent and believe in Christ are accepted by God and so equal members of his people with all that entails (10v34-36). We should not take our salvation for granted. It is by God's gracious gift that he includes even us, and this should make us re…

(115) 25 April : Proverbs 13v4 / Acts 8v4-9v31 / Psalm 29v3-9

BEGIN WITH PRAYER
"Lord open my eyes and my heart."

Read slowly so that you take in. And as you do, turn your heart to God, thanking him for the good you discover and praying his will home for you, yor family, your church and the world.
Wisdom to chew on Proverbs 13:4

Understanding to grow in Because salvation is by grace all who are willing can receive it. Today's passage details some unexpected conversions: despised Samaritans, a Gentile (non-Jewish) Eunuch (see Deut 23v1) and a murderous Jew. The point is that the gospel is going global. And if such people can receive it, be baptised and receive the promised Holy Spirit, so can you and I. Christ is for everyone. But Simon the sorcerer shows that our response must be sincere. As you read note how each person's inclusion is affirmed.
Acts 8:4-9:31

Finish this reading by pausing to ask yourself: 1) What’s the main thing it teaches me about God or his purposes in Christ? Then praise him for this. 2) What’s the main thing …

(114) 24 April : Proverbs 13v2-3 / Acts 6v8-8v3 / Psalm 29v1-2

BEGIN WITH PRAYER
"Lord open my eyes and my heart."

Read slowly so that you take in. And as you do, turn your heart to God, thanking him for the good you discover and praying his will home for you, yor family, your church and the world.
Wisdom to chew on Proverbs 13:2-3

Understanding to grow in Here we are encouraged to see just how sufficiently the Holy Spirit can equip God's people for bearing witness to Christ, but also the potential cost of doing so. Stephen's message challenges any tendency in us to reject Christ, whilst his example urges us instead to speak boldly of him. As you read note the attitudes he confronts in his hearers.
Acts 6:8-8:3

Finish this reading by pausing to ask yourself: 1) What’s the main thing it teaches me about God or his purposes in Christ? Then praise him for this. 2) What’s the main thing it teaches me about his will for me or the world? Then pray that home.
Devotion to offer up You could read this aloud and perhaps as a springboard to fur…

(113) 23 April : Proverbs 13v1 / Acts 4v32-6v7 / Psalm 28v6-9

BEGIN WITH PRAYER
"Lord open my eyes and my heart."

Read slowly so that you take in. And as you do, turn your heart to God, thanking him for the good you discover and praying his will home for you, yor family, your church and the world.
Wisdom to chew on Proverbs 13:1

Understanding to grow in It is both awe-inspiring and terrifying to consider God is especially present within his church. Here we see his presence moved the believers to the sort of generosity and love that reflect his own character, caused dramatic miracles that marked out the apostles and their message - even freeing them from prison to continue their preaching, and equipped the church with capable leaders so that the apostles could continue their ministry unhindered. Yet the incident with Ananias and Sapphira shows that just as we saw in Leviticus, to sin in close vicinity to this holy God may cause his wrath to break out. The event is not portrayed as normative, but takes place when God is manifesting his pres…

(110) 20 April : Proverbs 12v28 / Acts 3v1-4v31 / Psalm 28v1-5

BEGIN WITH PRAYER
"Lord open my eyes and my heart."

Read slowly so that you take in. And as you do, turn your heart to God, thanking him for the good you discover and praying his will home for you, yor family, your church and the world.
Wisdom to chew on Proverbs 12:28

Understanding to grow in Christ's works of healing continue. But their importance is in how they point to him. Peter uses the opportunity of the healed beggar to poclaim the gospel - and with a boldness in the Spirit that he of all the disciples lacked before Pentecost. Yet although many come to faith the Jewish leaders haven't learnt. They cannot deny the miracle but still seek to hush the disciples up (4v16-17). The prayer of 4v23-31 acknowledges this is futile, just as was the attempt to silence Christ through the cross. What encouragement as hostility to Christianity is on the increase. We will see throughout Acts that nothing can thwart the advance of the gospel. As you read note what is being taught…

(109) 19 April : Proverbs 12v27 / Acts 1v1-2v47 / Psalm 27v11-14

BEGIN WITH PRAYER
"Lord open my eyes and my heart."

Read slowly so that you take in. And as you do, turn your heart to God, thanking him for the good you discover and praying his will home for you, yor family, your church and the world.
Wisdom to chew on Proverbs 12:27

Understanding to grow in What should the church be doing until Christ returns? Bearing witness that God raised him as Lord and King, with all that implies. And we have been given the Spirit to enable this (1v6-8, 9-11, 2v17-21, 2v32-38). Acts is Luke's second book. He begins telling us its theme is what Jesus continued to do and teach having ascended into heaven - work he did by his Holy Spirit, through his apostles, and through those who believed their message (1v1-2). As you read note what we are told the giving of the Holy Spirit signified, and the difference he immediately made.
Acts 1:1-2:47

Finish this reading by pausing to ask yourself: 1) What’s the main thing it teaches me about God or his purposes in…

(108) 18 April : Proverbs 12v26 / Leviticus 26-27 / Psalm 27v7-10

BEGIN WITH PRAYER
"Lord open my eyes and my heart."

Read slowly so that you take in. And as you do, turn your heart to God, thanking him for the good you discover and praying his will home for you, yor family, your church and the world.
Wisdom to chew on Proverbs 12:26

Understanding to grow in Leviticus ends with a reminder of its purpose: It contains God's instructions at Sinai for how Israel should live in covenant with her holy God (26v46). Honouring and obeying him will bring the blessings of a fruitful land, security from enemies and increased numbers. But failing to will mean these things are lost. Yet mercy is present. The punishments will intensify only if Israel refuses to turn from her sin (26v18, 21, 23, 27). And repentance will bring restoration because of God's promises to the Patriachs. These things echo the blessings of creation and the curse of the fall (26v12), and keep us sober as many churches and Christians today persist in refusing to “listen to” Go…

(107) 17 April : Proverbs 12v25 / Leviticus 24v10-25v55 / Psalm 27v1-6

BEGIN WITH PRAYER
"Lord open my eyes and my heart."

Read slowly so that you take in. And as you do, turn your heart to God, thanking him for the good you discover and praying his will home for you, yor family, your church and the world.
Wisdom to chew on Proverbs 12:25

Understanding to grow in We see both the awesomeness and kindness of God here. It is fear of God that is to keep the Israelites from ruthlessness (25v43). This constraining reverence is no doubt instilled through the death penalty for blasphemy. But God's kindness fills the rest of the passage. It is seen in his restraining punishments so that they fit the crimes committed. And it is seen in his protecting the land he had gifted his people. The jubilee laws ensure that property owned by each tribe, clan and family is only ever sold temporarily and so ultimately kept as God had given it. This therefore put a limit on poverty and servitude. As for non-Israelite slaves, we should note that this passage does not …

(106) 16 April : Proverbs 12v24 / Leviticus 23v1-24v9 / Psalm 26v8-12

BEGIN WITH PRAYER
"Lord open my eyes and my heart."

Read slowly so that you take in. And as you do, turn your heart to God, thanking him for the good you discover and praying his will home for you, yor family, your church and the world.
Wisdom to chew on Proverbs 12:24

Understanding to grow in God delights in our joy. He instituted Sabbaths so that Israelites would rest, and festivals so that they would remember him and celebrate all the good he gave. As you read consider the specific things these instructions would have kept Israel remembering, and their equivalents for us now in Christ. Then rejoice in the Lord.
Leviticus 23:1-24:9

Finish this reading by pausing to ask yourself: 1) What’s the main thing it teaches me about God or his purposes in Christ? Then praise him for this. 2) What’s the main thing it teaches me about his will for me or the world? Then pray that home.
Devotion to offer up You could read this aloud and perhaps as a springboard to further prayer. Psalm 26:8-1…

(103) 13 April : Proverbs 12v23 / Leviticus 21-22 / Psalm 26v4-7

BEGIN WITH PRAYER
"Lord open my eyes and my heart."

Read slowly so that you take in. And as you do, turn your heart to God, thanking him for the good you discover and praying his will home for you, yor family, your church and the world.
Wisdom to chew on Proverbs 12:23

Understanding to grow in We have already seen that as those in closest proximity to God, priests are required to be particularly pure. So the laws applying to them are stricter. And respect for the offerings and cleanliness laws is critical. Disrespecting the former “profanes” God’s name by suggesting he is unholy. Ignoring the latter is to treat his requirements “with contempt” (22v9). The whole point to the regulations we’ve been studying is to bring home God’s utter perfection, purity, orderliness and otherness, and so the great privilege and wonder that he would dwell amongst Israel, and the need for Israel herself to be holy. Interestingly, the very elaborate nature of the sacrificial system therefore affirm…

(102) 12 April : Proverbs 12v22 / Leviticus 18-20 / Psalm 26v1-3

BEGIN WITH PRAYER
"Lord open my eyes and my heart."

Read slowly so that you take in. And as you do, turn your heart to God, thanking him for the good you discover and praying his will home for you, yor family, your church and the world.
Wisdom to chew on Proverbs 12:22
Understanding to grow in Every generation faces particular temptations. Although the law condemns all sex outside of marriage, chapters 18 and 20 therefore lists particular practices Israel may have been drawn to because they were common in the nations around them. So these are not laws for Israel back then that simply apply through Christ as general principles. They are things that are detestable to God when done by any peoples (18v24-28, 20v23) and so a challenge to the immorality of our own day. The laws of chapter 19 seem rather a mix. Some keep Israel from the idolatry and occult practices of the surrounding nations. Some add instructions on offerings. Others stress honesty, justice, love and concern towards…

(101) 11 April : Proverbs 12v21 / Leviticus 16-17 / Psalm 25v16-22

BEGIN WITH PRAYER
"Lord open my eyes and my heart."

Read slowly so that you take in. And as you do, turn your heart to God, thanking him for the good you discover and praying his will home for you, yor family, your church and the world.
Wisdom to chew on Proverbs 12:21
Understanding to grow in Chapter 16 details the important "day of atonement" (known as Yom Kippur) in which the nation were purified and forgiven their sin from the previous year. Because of God’s presence over the atonement cover to the ark, this was the only time the High Priest could enter the Most Holy Place, and even then needed incense to conceal the cover. The things of the tabernacle are cleansed from contamination so that the LORD could remain amongst them without destroying them (16v16-20). And the sins of the priests and people were atoned for and so removed. The whole drama showed that none in Israel could truly come close to God as they couldn’t enter the Most Holy Place. Moreover, the year…

(100) 10 April : Proverbs 12v20 / Leviticus 14v33-15v33 / Psalm 25v12-15

BEGIN WITH PRAYER
"Lord open my eyes and my heart."

Read slowly so that you take in. And as you do, turn your heart to God, thanking him for the good you discover and praying his will home for you, yor family, your church and the world.
Wisdom to chew on Proverbs 12:20
Understanding to grow in More regulations on cleanliness. Perhaps those regarding houses hint to how the land itself could be defiled by Israel’s sin. They remind us that our ultimate destiny is a new creation filled with the glory of the Lord. It, as well as his people, will on that day be perfect, clean and fit for his presence. Chapter 15 deals with "discharges" from the sexual organs. They make people particularly unclean, contaminating much they touch. Although this may be because of the link between sex and the transmission of sin to each generation, this does not suggest the discharges themselves are somehow wrong. Rather, they are unfitting or unacceptable in the context of worship. Indeed, it i…

(99) 9 April : Proverbs 12v19 / Leviticus 13v1-14v32 / Psalm 25v8-11

BEGIN WITH PRAYER
"Lord open my eyes and my heart."

Read slowly so that you take in. And as you do, turn your heart to God, thanking him for the good you discover and praying his will home for you, yor family, your church and the world.
Wisdom to chew on Proverbs 12:19
Understanding to grow in Just as there may have been health benefits in the food laws, so there are in the laws about skin diseases and fabrics. Potential infection is contained. Nevertheless, the primary purpose remains keeping what is unclean, and so unacceptable to God, apart from what is holy. The person with a skin disease was to display the signs of mourning (13v45-46), cry “unclean, unclean” and live alone outside the camp. It would have been a terrible existence. However we should remember it was a necessary act of protection for the wider community. And Jesus showed such people were not greater sinners than others in Israel, stressing it was the heart that makes a man unclean (Mk 7v18-20). So these regul…

(96) 6 April : Proverbs 12v18 / Leviticus 11-12 / Psalm 25v4-7

BEGIN WITH PRAYER
"Lord open my eyes and my heart."

Read slowly so that you take in. And as you do, turn your heart to God, thanking him for the good you discover and praying his will home for you, yor family, your church and the world.
Wisdom to chew on Proverbs 12:18
Understanding to grow in The best suggestion about what distinguishes clean animals is that they were those which did not eat dead meat and that were more distinctive to their sphere of creation. This stresses the idea of cleanliness as that of being acceptable and distinctive - a reminder that in worshipping God Israel were to be set-apart from the nations (11v44-45). Indeed, if an Israelite were made unclean from contact with what was unclean, they were considered unfit to worship God. And the fact that the carcass of an unclean animal would make even utensils it touched unclean highlights that Israel's seperation was to be absolute. Now the nations can be included amongst God’s people through Christ, this …

(95) 5 April : Proverbs 12v17 / Leviticus 8v1-10v20 / Psalm 25v1-3

BEGIN WITH PRAYER
"Lord open my eyes and my heart."

Read slowly so that you take in. And as you do, turn your heart to God, thanking him for the good you discover and praying his will home for you, yor family, your church and the world.
Wisdom to chew on Proverbs 12:17
Understanding to grow in Aaron and sons are ordained just "as the LORD commanded." Many of the ideas so far in the book are therefore repeated. Of note is the goal: God appearing (9v23-24). As we've seen, the purpose of the priesthood is to enable God to dwell amongst sinners without destroying them in righteous wrath. The story of Aaron's sons makes the point. When up close to God they presumed to act in a way he hadn't commanded, and the fire of his anger broke out and consumed them. Moses' response clarifies that those who approach God must do so acknowledging the purity and perfection of his holiness. Indeed, one reason sin must be punished is to show onlookers that he is holy and to…

(94) 4 April : Proverbs 12v16 / Leviticus 6v8-7v38 / Psalm 24v7-10

BEGIN WITH PRAYER
"Lord open my eyes and my heart."

Read slowly so that you take in. And as you do, turn your heart to God, thanking him for the good you discover and praying his will home for you, yor family, your church and the world.
Wisdom to chew on Proverbs 12:16
Understanding to grow in This section ends the first chunk of the book that details regulations God gave on the day he commanded offerings be brought (7v37-38). Every detail has significance, but two themes seem dominant. The first is that in being holy offerings should not come in contact with anything or anyone that is "unclean." This explains much of why priests must change clothes, eat in the sanctuary, wash pots etc. It vividly brings home how thoroughly we as God's people are to be set-apart from what is sinful (2 Cor 6v14-18). For in Christ we are sanctified, which is to be set-apart as holy (1 Cor 6v11). Second, we see that priests are fed with a share of the offerings. This principle contin…

(93) 3 April : Proverbs 12v15 / Leviticus 4v1-6v7 / Psalm 24v3-6

BEGIN WITH PRAYER
"Lord open my eyes and my heart."

Read slowly so that you take in. And as you do, turn your heart to God, thanking him for the good you discover and praying his will home for you, yor family, your church and the world.
Wisdom to chew on Proverbs 12:15
Understanding to grow in The majority of our reading deals with "unintentional" sins. Distinguishing them shows they are less serious, yet still warrant punishment and so sacrifice. They still reflect our corrupt instincts. The offerings differ according to staus, reflecting a greater seriousness in those with greater responsibilty (James 3v1). The laying on of hands pictures the transferring of sin to the animal which is then to die as a substitute in the sinner's place. Blood is sprinkled seven times "before the LORD" infront of the sanctuary curtain - where seven is the number of completion. It is pacifying his anger. Blood is also put on horns (jutting corners) of the incense altar and…

(92) 2 April : Proverbs 12v14 / Leviticus 1-3 / Psalm 24v1-2

BEGIN WITH PRAYER
"Lord open my eyes and my heart."

Read slowly so that you take in. And as you do, turn your heart to God, thanking him for the good you discover and praying his will home for you, yor family, your church and the world.
Wisdom to chew on Proverbs 12:14
Understanding to grow in Leviticus gets its name from the tribe of "Levi" who were tasked with caring for the tabernacle and carrying out its work. Moses and his brother Aaron were from this tribe, and so were the priests as they were Aaron's descendents. The book deals mainly with God's instructions for the work of the tabernacle and so follows rightly from Exodus. The detail of the various offerings once again shows how much is needed to deal with sin. Those in these chapters are a voluntary act of devotion to God (eg. 6v12, 16). In coming first they remind us it is hearts of spontaneous love and thankfulness that he delights in over mere adherence to religious regulation. The absence of defec…