Genesis 9:1-6

The idea of these little devotionals is simple. I want to approach scripture with the understanding that God is speaking. I’m reading through the Bible and listening for God to ask me questions. I expect these questions to be fairly open-ended and plan to carry them in my mind throughout the day. I’ll share these questions with you in the hope that you find them challenging and helpful.

Genesis 9:1-6
And God blessed Noah and his sons and said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth. The fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the earth and upon every bird of the heavens, upon everything that creeps on the ground and all the fish of the sea. Into your hand they are delivered. Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you. And as I gave you the green plants, I give you everything. But you shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood. And for your lifeblood I will require a reckoning: from every beast I will require it and from man. From his fellow man I will require a reckoning for the life of man.

“Whoever sheds the blood of man,
    by man shall his blood be shed,
for God made man in his own image.

From this passage I hear God asking me:
You say you’re “pro-life.”
What does that really mean to you?
What do you think it means to Me?

My Picks for 10-28-2015

Just some stuff I found helpful, challenging, interesting, or amusing…

Before Galaxies Stood Forth, He Knew You
-Jim Essian

“But before all that, God knew you. He chose you before the foundation of the world.

And I promise you, our response to that was never to be mere morality or religious observance. When Jesus spoke the galaxies into existence he wasn’t saying, “I hope this compels my people to vote Republican and not drink beer.” The only right response is worship and wonder.”


Debunking 4 Myths About Religious Freedom
-Russell Moore

“Religious liberty doesn’t fuel culture wars. It protects fundamental freedoms from culture war casualties, regardless of which side is winning at the moment. That’s why religious freedom is important, and why debunking its cynics is so urgent. …Here are four popular myths about religious liberty I commonly encounter.”


If Beatles Songs Were Written In Elizabethan Times
anachronistic beatlesFor example:
“The lady doteth upon thee, verily, verily, verily.”
“She loves you, yeah, yeah, yeah.”

 

Genesis 8:1-22

The idea of these little devotionals is simple. I want to approach scripture with the understanding that God is speaking. I’m reading through the Bible and listening for God to ask me questions. I expect these questions to be fairly open-ended and plan to carry them in my mind throughout the day. I’ll share these questions with you in the hope that you find them challenging and helpful.

Genesis 8:1-22
But God remembered Noah and all the beasts and all the livestock that were with him in the ark. And God made a wind blow over the earth, and the waters subsided. The fountains of the deep and the windows of the heavens were closed, the rain from the heavens was restrained, and the waters receded from the earth continually. At the end of 150 days the waters had abated, and in the seventh month, on the seventeenth day of the month, the ark came to rest on the mountains of Ararat. And the waters continued to abate until the tenth month; in the tenth month, on the first day of the month, the tops of the mountains were seen.

At the end of forty days Noah opened the window of the ark that he had made and sent forth a raven. It went to and fro until the waters were dried up from the earth. Then he sent forth a dove from him, to see if the waters had subsided from the face of the ground. But the dove found no place to set her foot, and she returned to him to the ark, for the waters were still on the face of the whole earth. So he put out his hand and took her and brought her into the ark with him. 10 He waited another seven days, and again he sent forth the dove out of the ark. 11 And the dove came back to him in the evening, and behold, in her mouth was a freshly plucked olive leaf. So Noah knew that the waters had subsided from the earth. 12 Then he waited another seven days and sent forth the dove, and she did not return to him anymore.

13 In the six hundred and first year, in the first month, the first day of the month, the waters were dried from off the earth. And Noah removed the covering of the ark and looked, and behold, the face of the ground was dry. 14 In the second month, on the twenty-seventh day of the month, the earth had dried out. 15 Then God said to Noah, 16 “Go out from the ark, you and your wife, and your sons and your sons’ wives with you. 17 Bring out with you every living thing that is with you of all flesh—birds and animals and every creeping thing that creeps on the earth—that they may swarm on the earth, and be fruitful and multiply on the earth.” 18 So Noah went out, and his sons and his wife and his sons’ wives with him. 19 Every beast, every creeping thing, and every bird, everything that moves on the earth, went out by families from the ark.

20 Then Noah built an altar to the Lord and took some of every clean animal and some of every clean bird and offered burnt offerings on the altar. 21 And when the Lord smelled the pleasing aroma, the Lord said in his heart, “I will never again curse[a] the ground because of man, for the intention of man’s heart is evil from his youth. Neither will I ever again strike down every living creature as I have done. 22 While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, shall not cease.”

From this passage I hear God asking me:
Have you noticed that I’m not really in a hurry?
Why are you?

 

My Picks for 10-27-2015

Just some stuff I found helpful, challenging, interesting, or amusing…

Oprah and the trouble with our DIY spirituality – Joel Miller
oprah diy spirituality
“…Stephen Mansfield identifies and describes four pillars of Oprah’s take on faith and spirituality. Nos. 2 and 3? “Opposing religions can be casually blended” and “Religions can be redefined at will.”

Not only does this approach disregard what various religions and traditions say about themselves, it elevates the individual over them, who now arbitrates for himself what’s true, what’s good, what’s beneficial, and so on.”


From another point of view…

In Defense of Oprah’s Belief Series – Jes Kast-Keat

“If one watches Belief and is looking for creeds and confessions to adequately defend the Christian faith, then you will be disappointed. Yet, if one watches with a generous heart to the spirit of lived religion, one might be encouraged to find the words of Jesus — “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind” — being lived out in authentic ways.”


Wisdom from Seth…

“No one clicked on it, no one liked it…” -Seth Godin

“…you can architect content and sites and commerce to get a click. But you might also choose to merely make a difference.”


We Cannot Be Silent – book review by Tim Challies
(Click on the image for Amazon purchase info.)

“We Cannot Be Silent is Mohler’s attempt to speak truth into this moment of crisis. He does so with boldness and conviction. He looks first at the cultural shifts that preceded and birthed this revolution. Then he shows what the Bible says about sex, gender, and sexuality. He lays out the current and future challenges to the church. He concludes with brief answers to thirty challenging questions: The biblical authors did not have the category of orientation, so aren’t they talking about something different than we are? Is homosexual sin worse than other sins? Are people born gay? Should a Christian attend a same-sex wedding ceremony? Can a person with same-sex attraction change his or her orientation? If so, how?”


I-V-vi-IV
Ever wonder why all those pop songs sound kinda the same? Well, it’s pretty simple; They all use the same 4 Chords!
(Warning: I wish there wasn’t, but there’s an f-bomb toward the end.)

 

Take the Next Step

Jesus loved to tell stories. He said and did things that were controversial. Things He said caused debate among the people and the religious leaders of the time and, in fact, are still being discussed today. And not just in church.

If you read the gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke & John), the books that tell the story of His life, you’ll find that Jesus very rarely gave a straight-up answer to a question. His teachings were never bullet point lectures.

“6 Steps to a Better You.”

“5 Ways to Get the Most Out of Life.”

“7 Amazing Life Hacks – Your jaw will drop at number 5!”

No, “click-bait” wasn’t His style. Not exactly.

The religious leaders of the time would often try to stump Jesus with a trick question designed to tie Him up in knots. Whenever they would do that He would pause, look them in the eye, and say something like, “Have I ever told you the one about the son who squandered his inheritance?” And everyone would sort of roll their eyes and try to track with Him.

He would tell this open-ended story with His own question at the end, like a riddle.

I wonder why he did that.

His disciples wondered, too, and one day they asked Him…

Matthew 13:10-13
10 Then the disciples came and said to him, “Why do you speak to them in parables?” 11 And he answered them, “To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given. 12 For to the one who has, more will be given, and he will have an abundance, but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. 13 This is why I speak to them in parables…

Even their question about His teaching style was answered with a sort of riddle!

When I read these verses I get the feeling that Jesus is saying that there are certain answers discovered only by taking the next step. Sometimes you don’t really understand until you go on the journey. You may want to have all your questions resolved ahead of time but that’s just not going to happen.

Here’s an example: Parenting.

You can read every book and go to every class about being a good parent but until you actually get in the game you don’t know a thing. True? You have your first child and before too long you realize that you’re just making it up as you go along. But you learn. As new parents you can double-team the child. There are 2 of you and one of them so you figure out how to parent in that situation. And about the time you sort of get into a pattern and feel like you’re getting a handle on this parenting thing, the 2nd child comes along and you have to shift to a man-to-man defense. It’s 1 on 1 and it requires some different types of strategies. But you learn it as you go. I’m not sure what happens when that 3rd and 4th child comes along. I suppose you have to shift to some sort of zone defense, but we never got to that point. What I’m saying is that the book learning, advance planning, and parenting classes are all good things, but the truth is that you don’t really learn parenting until you become parents.

DSC_0898There are just some answers in life that aren’t discovered until we take the next step.

I believe this is profoundly true of the Christian life.

You and I may be in completely different places on our journey with Jesus, but I can pretty much guarantee that, anyplace along the path, the only way we get closer to Him, the only way we grow in our discipleship, is by taking the next step. By obediently putting into practice the things we’ve already learned. These things may not make absolute sense ahead of time, and we may still have questions, but it’s when we take that next step of faith that we get answers…

…answers that we would otherwise never learn.

Lloyd

PS – I recently went on little hike in the woods with my grandson Asher. That’s when the photo was taken.

 

Genesis 7:1-24

The idea of these little devotionals is simple. I want to approach scripture with the understanding that God is speaking. I’m reading through the Bible and listening for God to ask me questions. I expect these questions to be fairly open-ended and plan to carry them in my mind throughout the day. I’ll share these questions with you in the hope that you find them challenging and helpful.

Genesis 7:1-24
Then the Lord said to Noah, “Go into the ark, you and all your household, for I have seen that you are righteous before me in this generation. Take with you seven pairs of all clean animals,[a] the male and his mate, and a pair of the animals that are not clean, the male and his mate, and seven pairs[b] of the birds of the heavens also, male and female, to keep their offspring alive on the face of all the earth. For in seven days I will send rain on the earth forty days and forty nights, and every living thing[c] that I have made I will blot out from the face of the ground.” And Noah did all that the Lord had commanded him.

Noah was six hundred years old when the flood of waters came upon the earth. And Noah and his sons and his wife and his sons’ wives with him went into the ark to escape the waters of the flood. Of clean animals, and of animals that are not clean, and of birds, and of everything that creeps on the ground, two and two, male and female, went into the ark with Noah, as God had commanded Noah. 10 And after seven days the waters of the flood came upon the earth.

11 In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, on the seventeenth day of the month, on that day all the fountains of the great deep burst forth, and the windows of the heavens were opened. 12 And rain fell upon the earth forty days and forty nights. 13 On the very same day Noah and his sons, Shem and Ham and Japheth, and Noah’s wife and the three wives of his sons with them entered the ark, 14 they and every beast, according to its kind, and all the livestock according to their kinds, and every creeping thing that creeps on the earth, according to its kind, and every bird, according to its kind, every winged creature. 15 They went into the ark with Noah, two and two of all flesh in which there was the breath of life. 16 And those that entered, male and female of all flesh, went in as God had commanded him. And the Lord shut him in.

17 The flood continued forty days on the earth. The waters increased and bore up the ark, and it rose high above the earth. 18 The waters prevailed and increased greatly on the earth, and the ark floated on the face of the waters. 19 And the waters prevailed so mightily on the earth that all the high mountains under the whole heaven were covered. 20 The waters prevailed above the mountains, covering them fifteen cubits[d] deep. 21 And all flesh died that moved on the earth, birds, livestock, beasts, all swarming creatures that swarm on the earth, and all mankind. 22 Everything on the dry land in whose nostrils was the breath of life died. 23 He blotted out every living thing that was on the face of the ground, man and animals and creeping things and birds of the heavens. They were blotted out from the earth. Only Noah was left, and those who were with him in the ark. 24 And the waters prevailed on the earth 150 days.

From this passage I hear God asking me:
I really did this. Noah really did this.
Would you?
Just think about this today.

 

My Picks for 10/26/2015

Just some stuff I found helpful, challenging, interesting, or amusing…

Why Corporate Worship Is Good for the Soul
David Santistevan
Hibernate“What happened to the idea that corporate worship is an individual responsibility? You are the church. Your heart needs to be felt. Your voice needs to be heard. It’s not just about being entertained or getting ‘filled up.’ We come because we’re a part of the family and we have a voice. …So let’s lay down the complaining. Let’s stop hating each other. Let’s stop looking for something new to criticize. Let’s take responsibility and go to church for more than making sure it lines up with your preferences.”


Amazing…

Largest-Ever Image of Space
“Space is big, but it’s never been quite this big. This composite image taken by astronomers at Germany’s Ruhr-Universität Bochum is, they claim, the largest image of space to date. It shows a long swathe of the Milky Way, photographed piece by piece over a period of five years from the university’s observatory in the Chilean desert.”


For all my under-appreciated bass playing friends…

The Neuroscience of Bass: New Study Explains Why Bass Instruments Are Fundamental to Music
Fender Marcus Miller Jazz Bass with authentic Marcus Miller signature under the pickguard. Serial no. Q074671 Made in Japan Features: - Natural - Maple fingerboard - 3 pick guards: original 3-ply black, white and chrome - Two-band active EQ - Badass® Bass II™ bridge More information: http://www.fender.com/en-NL/series/artist/marcus-miller-jazz-bass-maple-fingerboard-natural-3-ply-black-pickguard
“It seems the importance of rhythm players, though overlooked in much popular appreciation of music, cannot be overstated.”


Let’s close with a little Bizzaro
(click the image for a full size version)

http://bizarro.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/Bizarro-10-25-15-WEB.jpg

 

Genesis 6:9-22

The idea of these little devotionals is simple. I want to approach scripture with the understanding that God is speaking. I’m reading through the Bible and listening for God to ask me questions. I expect these questions to be fairly open-ended and plan to carry them in my mind throughout the day. I’ll share these questions with you in the hope that you find them challenging and helpful.

Genesis 6:9-22
These are the generations of Noah. Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his generation. Noah walked with God. 10 And Noah had three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth.

11 Now the earth was corrupt in God’s sight, and the earth was filled with violence. 12 And God saw the earth, and behold, it was corrupt, for all flesh had corrupted their way on the earth. 13 And God said to Noah, “I have determined to make an end of all flesh,[a] for the earth is filled with violence through them. Behold, I will destroy them with the earth. 14 Make yourself an ark of gopher wood.[b] Make rooms in the ark, and cover it inside and out with pitch. 15 This is how you are to make it: the length of the ark 300 cubits,[c] its breadth 50 cubits, and its height 30 cubits. 16 Make a roof[d] for the ark, and finish it to a cubit above, and set the door of the ark in its side. Make it with lower, second, and third decks. 17 For behold, I will bring a flood of waters upon the earth to destroy all flesh in which is the breath of life under heaven. Everything that is on the earth shall die. 18 But I will establish my covenant with you, and you shall come into the ark, you, your sons, your wife, and your sons’ wives with you. 19 And of every living thing of all flesh, you shall bring two of every sort into the ark to keep them alive with you. They shall be male and female. 20 Of the birds according to their kinds, and of the animals according to their kinds, of every creeping thing of the ground, according to its kind, two of every sort shall come in to you to keep them alive. 21 Also take with you every sort of food that is eaten, and store it up. It shall serve as food for you and for them.” 22 Noah did this; he did all that God commanded him.

From this passage I hear God asking me:
1. How do you like Me now?
2. Do you remember who I AM? Does this remind you?
3. Would you have built the boat?
4. Would you have been on the boat?
5. Are you on the “boat”?

 

God Has Done Something

god-space_1 copy“God has spoken and acted in Jesus Christ.
He has said something. He has done something.

This means that Christianity is not just pious talk.
It is neither a collection of religious ideas nor a catalogue of rules.
It is a ‘gospel’ (i.e. good news) –
in the apostle Paul’s words ‘the gospel of God…
regarding his Son…Jesus Christ our Lord.’

It is not primarily an invitation for us to do anything;
it is supremely a declaration of what God has done in Christ
for human beings like ourselves.”

– John Stott, Basic Christianity