Contemplative Bible Reading

Some thoughts about Bible verses

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Missing the Whole Point

April 23rd, 2017 · No Comments

1 Timothy 1:6 (New Living Translation)

But some people have missed this whole point. They have turned away from these things and spend their time in meaningless discussions.

What was the point? See yesterday’s post. Today…people have turned away from love and put all their energies into meaningless discussions. “Let’s try to figure out what year Job lived. I don’t think you really know that, and that ignorance denies your faith in God, so…”

Really? Do you have a lot of time? Because you will need a lot of time to discuss all the things I don’t know. A few lifetimes worth of time, as there are A LOT OF THINGS I don’t know.

Is that a good use of time? I doubt it.

Let’s reset. Stop. Breathe. Look around the room. See all those people? They are all loved by God. What is my feeling towards them? Ah, something worthwhile that I can spend my time. God, help me to keep on point.

→ No CommentsTags: 1 Timothy · New Testament

The Purpose of Paul’s Instruction

April 22nd, 2017 · No Comments

1 Timothy 1:5 (New Living Translation)

The purpose of my instruction is that all believers would be filled with love that comes from a pure heart, a clear conscience, and genuine faith.

Paul writes a letter of encouragement and instruction to Timothy. The purpose of the letter is simple, well, maybe not simple, but Paul attempts to articulate it in a simple, understandable manner:

Love from the heart, the mind, and faith that Jesus of Nazareth was the Son of God anointed to take away the sins of the world. Paul writes it in fewer words.

Still, great words for everyone, everywhere in every time.

→ No CommentsTags: 1 Timothy · New Testament

The Visible Image

April 16th, 2017 · No Comments

Colossians 1:15a (New Living Translation)

Christ is the visible image of the invisible God.

This is the first line of what many believe is one of the oldest Christian songs. What an opening line.

This is one of those “No duh” statements that I overlook, often. The creator God has not been seen, as we understand sight, except for a very few persons on short occasions. Jesus of Nazareth came to earth so that mankind could see a visible image of the invisible creator God.

Not many people who lived in the time and place of this Jesus understood and appreciated the event. “If I had been there, why I would have…” No. Probably not. I wouldn’t have appreciated it either.

Hence, a song writer, a poet, one of hose art-sy type folks wrote this. Who was Jesus the Christ? Let me start by saying…

God, thank you for passing the words of the song writer down to me many centuries later.

→ No CommentsTags: Colossians · New Testament

Pull Out Their Hair

April 15th, 2017 · No Comments

Nehemiah 13:23-25 (New Living Translation)

23 About the same time I realized that some of the men of Judah had married women from Ashdod, Ammon, and Moab. 24 Furthermore, half their children spoke the language of Ashdod or of some other people and could not speak the language of Judah at all. 25 So I confronted them and called down curses on them. I beat some of them and pulled out their hair. I made them swear in the name of God that they would not let their children intermarry with the pagan people of the land.

I suppose this falls under #toughlove (tough love for those of us who still try to communicate in English).

Some of the men of Judah are doing the same thing that caused the great captivity in Babylon. They had promised on several occasions over several generations to stop this. Yet, here we go again.

The response of Nehemiah? He beat them. He pulled out their hair. Note, he didn’t pull out his own hair in frustration. He pulled out their hair in anger.

That had to hurt. That was extreme. That is the best example of righteous indignation I can find recently.

→ No CommentsTags: Nehemiah · Old Testament

The Gift

April 9th, 2017 · No Comments

Mark 2:28 (New Living Translation)

So the Son of Man is Lord, even over the Sabbath!

Jesus said this about Himself. Most of those listening weren’t happy to hear it. It was blasphemy! This was not a joke. These people were learned and serious, and they came to the correct conclusion given what they knew.

Let’s back up a few steps and consider this.

The Sabbath was (and I believe still is) God’s gift to man. The Sabbath—a time of rest—granted relief from the toils and suffering of life. It lifted the burden of this world from the shoulders of each of us.

Now let’s consider Jesus the one anointed to take away the sins of the world. Jesus is a gift from God that grants relief from the toils and suffering of this sinful life. Jesus lifts the burdens of this world from the shoulders of each of us.

Now let’s toss in some big words: Jesus is the personification of the Sabbath. Jesus is the embodiment of the Sabbath. Jesus is the gift from God that eases our suffering. Jesus is the foremost gift, the supreme gift, the lord of the gifts. Jesus is lord of the Sabbath.

Thank you God.

→ No CommentsTags: Mark · New Testament

The Other Way Around

April 8th, 2017 · No Comments

Mark 2:27 (New Living Translation)

Then Jesus said to them, “The Sabbath was made to meet the needs of people, and not people to meet the requirements of the Sabbath.

The Sabbath is a gift from God (note, I didn’t write WAS a gift from God). God granted man rest one-seventh of the time. God made man; God knows man can only function in a healthy manner six-sevenths of the time. God asked that we rest our resources (land, animals, persons in our employ, etc.) one-seventh of the time.

The Sabbath is not a chore from God.

We tend to do this. We take something with an original purpose and one little dotting-of-the-i and crossing-of-the-t at a time we change it the other way around. The Sabbath had become a chore. There was long list of things that could not be done on the Sabbath. Hence, people worked extra hard on the day before the Sabbath to be able to get through the Sabbath. People worked extra hard on the day after the Sabbath for the same reason. Sigh. We turned a gift into a chore. Rest became extra work.

This was all done with the best of intentions by the best people. Sigh.

God, help me to understand the original intent. Help me to understand what you want for me. Help me to accept Your gift and not work on my own to make it MY thing. Help me to accept You as God…and me as me.

→ No CommentsTags: Mark · New Testament

Light and Good and Right and True

April 2nd, 2017 · No Comments

Ephesians 5:8-9 (New Living Translation)

8 For once you were full of darkness, but now you have light from the Lord. So live as people of light! 9 For this light within you produces only what is good and right and true.

One of the gifts of God to us is often called “light.” Some would say this is the Holy Spirit. I won’t argue with that.

Forget the past. Now, we have this gift from God. And—here is one of the good parts—that gift produces ONLY WHAT IS good and right and true. The ability to do what is good and right and true is in me.

What do I have to do? GET OUT OF THE WAY! Let the good and right and true come out. What is that so hard? God, help me with my unbelief.

→ No CommentsTags: Ephesians · New Testament

Heart and Mind

April 1st, 2017 · No Comments

Ephesians 1:18 (New Living Translation)

I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the confident hope he has given to those he called—his holy people who are his rich and glorious inheritance.

One of the discussions Christians have is whether Christianity is about what is in the heart, what we feel, versus what is in the mind, what we understand. This is the classic either-or argument.

Versus like the above refute the either-or argument and show that Christianity is a both-and situation—both feel and understanding. The writer wants our hearts to be flooded so that our minds will understand.

“How does that work?” my only answer is, “well.”

The heart and the mind, at least the way we or I understand them, work together all the time. That is the way God made us. That is how God approaches us. Let us stop fighting God’s creation and accept it—a little more each day.

→ No CommentsTags: Ephesians · New Testament

Like Fools

March 26th, 2017 · No Comments

Ephesians 5:15 ) New Living Translation

So be careful how you live. Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise.

This is pretty straightforward. How should I live? Like the wise, not like the fools. And the preceding verses tell me that God has given me everything I need to live like the wise.

So why do I… Well, better left unwritten the frequent folly in my life.

God, please help me in my unbelief.

→ No CommentsTags: Ephesians · New Testament

All Wisdom and Understanding

March 25th, 2017 · No Comments

Ephesians 1:8 (New Living Translation)

He (God) has showered his kindness on us, along with all wisdom and understanding.

God didn’t give me some wisdom or some understanding. Perhaps I am taking this too literally, but it seems to indicate that God has given me, and plenty of other folks, A L L wisdom and understanding.

Whoa! That’s pretty cool (how’s that for understanding the English language? Huh?).

There are several ways to take this little blog post. One is, “I’m okay with God giving ME all this wisdom and understanding. It’s too bad He didn’t give some of it to a few people I know!”

Sorry, He gave it all to them as well. Oh, uh, well, uh, perhaps I should extend some of those showers of kindness (also in the verse above) to others. My receipt of W&U isn’t unique.

Another way to take this is, “Thank you God for giving all these other folks the W&U. I can now turn to all of them for help when I need it.”

Another take is, “God, thank you for the blessings. Help me in my unbelief.”

→ No CommentsTags: Ephesians · New Testament