Notes from my Bible Study for April 15, 2010

Today’s Reading: Psalm 105, Leviticus 12, Isaiah 11‐12, 2 Corinthians 8‐9

Psalm 105 – 1 Oh give thanks to the Lord; call upon his name;make known his deeds among the peoples!

What has God done for you? Tough question? Well that all depends upon your perspective. If you think it’s tough because you can’t think of what He’s done, you are probably not looking hard enough. In reality, it’s a tough question because to say what God has done for us would take us forever to answer. God has blessed us in more ways than we can imagine. And, He wants us to make His deeds known among our friends, family, strangers, everyone! God wants us to tell others about Him. When prayer is answered we should rejoice — and tell others about it! When we are blessed with health or material things or family or friends, we should rejoice — and tell others about it! God is worth making known among the peoples. This entire Psalm is a song dedicated to the faithfulness of God. Included are some of Israel’s greatest triumphs, which came directly because of the intervention of God.

4 Seek the Lord and his strength; seek his presence continually!

Here lies some of the greatest wisdom in the Bible. There is nothing better than seeking the presence of the Lord. Why is it that we run from His presence so often? Want real lasting joy? Seek Him! Want peace? Seek Him! Want love? Seek Him! May we be seekers of God! There is a common Christmas slogan that says, “Wise men still seek Him.” It’s true. Seek Him!

Leviticus 12 – Leviticus 12 is part of the Levitical law concerning cleanness and uncleanness. This chapter dealt with the purification of a woman after childbirth.

Isaiah 11-12 – These two chapters from Isaiah are two of the most beautiful prophecies of Messiah in all of Scripture. Chapter eleven describes what the Messiah will be like, and the blessing that He will bring. Chapter twelve describes the joy that the people will respond with after Messiah comes. We, who know that Jesus is the Messiah, have been blessed to see the difference that Jesus makes in our lives, our families, our community and our world.

2 Corinthians 8-9 – 18 With him we are sending the brother who is famous among all the churches for his preaching of the gospel.

There is a bit of mystery about who this famous preacher is that is mentioned in 2 Cor. 8:18. I love this verse for several reasons. Number one, it affirms that even in the early church, there was need for gifted communicators to travel from church to church, city to city, to tell others about Christ. I think of this preacher as being an early Billy Graham or D.L. Moody type evangelist. Second, I like it that even though he was famous at the time, we have no idea who he is today. There will come a day when people may forget who Graham and Moody were, but they will not forget Jesus. What was important was not that this man was famous and gifted preacher, but that Jesus was Who he preached. May those of us who have the privilege of teaching, never get in the way of the message. Jesus is worth making known to the world, not us.

I also like it because the man could not have accomplished what he did apart from Titus. We know the name of the servant but not the preacher. How cool is that? Praise God for the Titus like people that support pastors, missionaries and evangelists so that the Gospel may be spread around. We know that the church at Corinth was involved in the supporting Paul and probably this man too. Their financial support made the spread of the Gospel possible.

7 Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.

Paul was asking the Corinthian church to give an offering for the church in Jerusalem. There was a huge need in the Jerusalem church, and Paul knew that the gift from Corinth would be a blessing and an encouragement to those in Jerusalem. I love how Paul asked for money and the attitude with which he wanted the people of Corinth to give. Giving is a privilege to those who are followers of Christ. Our gifts to God should be a part of our worship to Him. We should lovingly give back to God a portion of what He has blessed us with. Paul gives a very tender argument for this. I love that he ends his chapter with these words in verse 15. 15 Thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift! In other words, the gift that the Corinthians can give is a reflection of the inexpressible gift that God has given to us.

Notes from my Bible Study for April 14, 2010

Today’s Reading: Psalm 104, Leviticus 11, Isaiah 9:8‐10:34, 2 Corinthians 6:11‐7:16

Psalm 104 – 33 I will sing to the Lord as long as I live; I will sing praise to my God while I have being.

It’s one thing to say the words of Psalm 104:33, it’s another thing to live those words. Wouldn’t it be great if you could be the type of person that lived out the words of Psalm 104:33? I’d love to be someone who would sing praises to God no matter the situation that I found myself in. Unfortunately too many times I let the discouragements of a day or a week get in the way of my praise to God. It’s easy to be a person who lets circumstances determine my attitude. But, that is as far from being a Spirit filled believer as I can be. If I allow the Spirit to control my life, my life’s circumstances are not what get to dictate my attitude. It’s instead my life’s aim — to please God. So, here’s to trying afresh to sing praise to God no matter the circumstances.

Leviticus 11 – 44a For I am the Lord your God. Consecrate yourselves therefore, and be holy, for I am holy.

I love this verse! Tucked towards the end of the Levitical law concerning clean and unclean animals is God’s admonition to us to be holy because He is holy. God has called us to be a set apart people, a peculiar people, aliens and strangers in this world. Throughout the pages of Scripture, from Old Testament to New Testament is seen the heartbeat of God for His people. We can be holy if we will allow God’s Spirit to rule our lives.

Isaiah 9:8-10:34 – 33 Behold, the Lord God of hosts will lop the boughs with terrifying power; the great in height will be hewn down, and the lofty will be brought low. 34 He will cut down the thickets of the forest with an axe, and Lebanon will fall by the Majestic One.

In this part of Isaiah’s prophecy he shares the word of the Lord concerning the arrogant nations. There is judgement coming to those nations who don’t fear God. While it may look like they are prospering now, God warns of the impending punishment. The Assyrian army was cut down, and God did bring this punishment to a proud and arrogant nation that had mocked Him and His people.

Isaiah’s prophecy was meant for specific nations, but all nations who do not fear the Lord will eventually face His judgment. God deserves to be honored in the land. That happens when the people of God take a stand for Him. When the church honors God, it has an impact on all aspects of society.

2 Corinthians 6:11-7:16 – 14 Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness?

God is passionate that the closest relationships that Christians should have are with other Christians. This doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t have non-Christian friends that are close, but our closest friendship should be with like-minded believers. Why? Because, we become like those we spend time with. If Christ is the most important part of our lives, we should be able to share Him with others. We ought to be in close relationships with people who are going to encourage us in our faith. We should be business partners with people who share our values, whose sense of right and wrong comes from God, not from their gut. Our life partners, our spouses, those we date, etc. should be Christians who share our values.