Contemplative Bible Reading

Some thoughts about Bible verses

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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

A Bad Day for the Arameans

March 19th, 2017 · No Comments

1 Kings 20:28-30 (New Living Translation)

28 Then the man of God went to the king of Israel and said, “This is what the Lord says: The Arameans have said, ‘The Lord is a god of the hills and not of the plains.’ So I will defeat this vast army for you. Then you will know that I am the Lord.”

29 The two armies camped opposite each other for seven days, and on the seventh day the battle began. The Israelites killed 100,000 Aramean foot soldiers in one day. 30 The rest fled into the town of Aphek, but the wall fell on them and killed another 27,000. Ben-hadad fled into the town and hid in a secret room.

The Arameans poked fun at Jehovah God. “He is powerful in the hills, but we can whip Him on the plains.” 127,000 Arameans died in battle in one day. That is one of the worst days in the history of mankind. It is difficult to imagine such today with the horribly powerful weapons we have.

We live in the age of grace. God doesn’t wipe out 127,000 of us in a day for telling stupid jokes about Him or just plain trying to pretend He doesn’t exist. We are blessed beyond belief. I am blessed beyond belief. God, please help me remember that everyday. Every hour. Every breathe I take.

→ No CommentsTags: 1 Kings · Old Testament

For Surely He is a God!

March 18th, 2017 · No Comments

1 Kings 18:27 (New Living Translation)

About noontime Elijah began mocking them. “You’ll have to shout louder,” he scoffed, “for surely he is a god! Perhaps he is daydreaming, or is relieving himself. Or maybe he is away on a trip, or is asleep and needs to be wakened!”

Not quite.

Note how Elijah describes the false god Baal. Baal perhaps is sitting on the toilet daydreaming or fell asleep and need a wake up call. Hmm. Some god. People talked about gods that way in the day of Elijah. Sometimes people talk about gods in that way today.

The gods are basically human, like us. On top of that, or under that, the gods are pretty crummy humans—in the bathroom or napping on the couch. Not much of a god. Not much to get excited about.

God’s people didn’t talk about Him that way. The nations around God’s people didn’t talk about Him that way, either. How do we consider God today? How do I consider God?

→ No CommentsTags: 1 Kings · Old Testament

Kindness, Wisdom, Understanding

March 12th, 2017 · No Comments

Ephesians 1:3, 8 (New Living Translation)

3 All praise to God…8 He has showered his kindness on us, along with all wisdom and understanding.

I find these three gifts astonishing. What else do I need to live in Christ Jesus? God didn’t just give me these things, He S H O W E R E D me with them. He poured a 55-gallon drum full of these things on my head just to be sure I caught a little of them.

These are in me. This verse tells me so. Now, if I could manage each day to get out of the way and let them flow from the bottomless well in which they dwell.

I know, I understand, I am kind in my use of these two. Please God, let me each day live with what you have given me and spread Your blessings to everyone and everything.

→ No CommentsTags: Ephesians · New Testament

Knowing the Wonder of God

March 11th, 2017 · No Comments

1 Corinthians 2:12 (New Living Translation)

And we have received God’s Spirit (not the world’s spirit), so we can know the wonderful things God has freely given us.

Here is one of the reasons God gives us His Spirit: so we can know the wonderful things he has given us. In a sense, the gift of the Holy Spirit is a meta-gift, i.e., a gift about a gift. That gift helps us to notice all the other gifts. That sort of goes around in a circle or something like that.

Lesson for me (a believer who sometimes struggles to believe): Not noticing God’s gifts today? Push the world’s spirit out of the way and let God’s Spirit take over.

Please God, help me with my unbelief.

→ No CommentsTags: 1 Corinthians · New Testament

Beyond Our Imagination

March 5th, 2017 · No Comments

1 Corinthians 2:9 (New Living Translation)

That is what the Scriptures mean when they say,
“No eye has seen, no ear has heard,
and no mind has imagined
what God has prepared
for those who love him.”

The writer here quotes from the prophet Isaiah. God and His blessings are beyond our imagination. I remember some line from the first Star Wars movie where Han Solo says something like, “I can imagine a lot.” I, too, can imagine a lot. Still, I’m neither that smart or that imaginative.

Oh, the wonder of what God has in store for me. Oh, the blessings of what God gives me this and every day. God, help me to open my heart and notice the blessings of each day.

→ No CommentsTags: 1 Corinthians · New Testament

Heartless—The Fall of Man

March 4th, 2017 · No Comments

Romans 1:28-32 (New Living Translation)

28 Since they thought it foolish to acknowledge God, he abandoned them to their foolish thinking and let them do things that should never be done. 29 Their lives became full of every kind of wickedness, sin, greed, hate, envy, murder, quarreling, deception, malicious behavior, and gossip. 30 They are backstabbers, haters of God, insolent, proud, and boastful. They invent new ways of sinning, and they disobey their parents. 31 They refuse to understand, break their promises, are heartless, and have no mercy. 32 They know God’s justice requires that those who do these things deserve to die, yet they do them anyway. Worse yet, they encourage others to do them, too.

Oh mankind, what is wrong with us? Why did we walk away from God? These verses paint a horrible picture. It is not so much that we rejected God and went our own way. It is that, in so doing, we have turned on one another and done cruel things to on another.

What strikes me in reading these verses this time is at the end of verse 31: We are heartless; we show no mercy to one another.

This is enlightened? This is modern? Educated? Free from the shackles of religion? Again, what is wrong with us?

God, please help me to stay near to you, love my fellow man, and show mercy as You show mercy to me.

→ No CommentsTags: New Testament · Romans

Nothing is Ever Useless

February 26th, 2017 · No Comments

1 Corinthians 15:58 (New Living Translation)

So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and immovable. Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless.

But all I did in the name for the Lord was…

  • sit in a pew
  • pray before eating
  • put a quarter in the collection plate
  • let someone else go first in traffic
  • tip the server more than 10%
  • think about a scripture I read
  • post a Bible verse on Facebook, Twitter, etc.

hmmm, I guess I could go on with the list. Per the verse above, none of these are useless, i.e., they are of good use for someone, somewhere, sometime.

→ No CommentsTags: 1 Corinthians · New Testament

For Believers and for Unbelievers

February 25th, 2017 · No Comments

1 Corinthians 14:22 (New Living Translation)

So you see that speaking in tongues is a sign, not for believers, but for unbelievers. Prophecy, however, is for the benefit of believers, not unbelievers.

There are some things that are good for believers and unbelievers. There are some things that are bad for both groups.It appears that there are some things that are good for one group and not bad for the other group, but not good for them.

Have I confused everything yet?

I read this verse to mean that believers and unbelievers are two different groups of people. Not everything is a good use of time for persons in the different groups. Sometimes we forget this. God, help me to remember this and grant me the knowledge to know the difference.

→ No CommentsTags: 1 Corinthians · New Testament