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Daily Bible Podcast Day 030 – Exodus 25-27, Acts 6

November 30, 2012 in Podcasts

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Scripture:
“In those days when the number of disciples was increasing, the Hellenistic Jews among them complained against the Hebraic Jews because their widows were being overlooked in the daily distribution of food. So the Twelve gathered all the disciples together and said, ‘It would not be right for us to neglect the ministry of the word of God in order to wait on tables. Brothers and sisters, choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will turn this responsibility over to them and will give our attention to prayer and the ministry of the word.’” ~Acts 6:1-4

Observation:
The Hellenistic Jews were Jews who had adopted Greek culture. They would not likely have been looked upon favorable by the Hebraic Jews. That’s likely why their widows were being overlooked. The Twelve agree that this is a problem, but instead of dealing with it themselves, they come up with a plan to delegate it. They believe it to be a waste of their time, since they best serve the body elsewhere. Also, by delegating, they give an opportunity for others to serve and take on responsibility.

Application:
I’ve never really thought of delegation as being a spiritual issue before, but the writer of Acts clearly thinks this episode is important enough to include. The Twelve make the point that, even though this ministry is important, they are best suited for other tasks. I wonder what important tasks, both in and out of my ministry life I should stop doing and seek to delegate instead. I will be on the lookout for ways that I can give other responsibility while freeing myself to do what I should be doing.

Prayer:
Holy Spirit, confirm for me where I am most effective and let me discern when a certain task is something I should hand off. I want to leverage my gifts for maximum effect in Your Kingdom.

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Daily Bible Podcast Day 029 – Exodus 23-24, Psalm 14, Acts 5

November 29, 2012 in Podcasts

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Scripture:
“Then Peter said, ‘Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land? Didn’t it belong to you before it was sold? And after it was sold, wasn’t the money at your disposal? What made you think of doing such a thing? You have not lied just to human beings but to God.’” ~Acts 5:3-4

Observation:
Peter makes it pretty clear that Ananias and Sapphira are free to bring whatever offering they choose. It’s their land and money to do with as they please. They choose to lie to the apostles and the result is death.

Application:
Whatever I choose to give, I should give it honestly. While I’m obviously not likely to be struck dead for pretending to give more than actual, this story makes it clear how God feels about using deceit to try and impress others with the sacrifice of your gift.

Prayer:
God, whatever I give I want to give joyfully and honestly. Not to impress others with my gift, but to please you and to keep my grip on “my” stuff loose.

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Daily Bible Podcast Day 028 – Exodus 21-22, Psalm 12, Acts 4

November 28, 2012 in Podcasts

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Scripture:
“Then they called them in again and commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John replied, ‘Which is right in God’s eyes: to listen to you, or to him? You be the judges! As for us, we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.'” ~Acts 4:18-20

Observation:
The rulers and elders that Peter and John are in front have the literal power to have them put to death. But they’re fearless.

Application:
I’m not always fearless. Even when I know the “God thing” to say, I often hold back. I’m not sure what to do about that except continue to pray for bravery.

Prayer:
Father, I want to be fearless in doing and saying what I should. Give me the Holy Spirit in the moments I need it the way you gave it to Peter and John.

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Daily Bible Podcast Day 027 – Exodus 17-20, Acts 3

November 27, 2012 in Podcasts

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Scripture:
“So Joshua fought the Amalekites as Moses had ordered, and Moses, Aaron and Hur went to the top of the hill. As long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning, but whenever he lowered his hands, the Amalekites were winning. When Moses’ hands grew tired, they took a stone and put it under him and he sat on it. Aaron and Hur held his hands up—one on one side, one on the other—so that his hands remained steady till sunset. So Joshua overcame the Amalekite army with the sword.” ~Exodus 17:10-13

Observation:
There’s a lot going on here. Coincidentally(?), we talked about this exact passage in small group last night. God wants to show that Moses is not doing anything by his own power, which is why he needs help to even hold his arms up. God is also Setting up Joshua to eventually be the leader of Israel.

Application:
God could ask you and I to do something we aren’t capable of. That old saying, “God won’t give you more than you can handle?” Wrong. God gave Moses more than he could accomplish. But, with God’s power and the support of others, the job got done.

Prayer:
God, you bring glory to Yourself by giving “impossible” tasks to weak people. That way, we aren’t confused who gets the credit for the “impossible” victory. I don’t want for the only things I accomplish in this life to be those I could have done on my own. I’m asking to be part of a group of your people doing great things in Your power.

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Daily Bible Podcast Day 026 – Exodus 14-16, Acts 2

November 26, 2012 in Podcasts

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Scripture:
“All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them. Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard their own language being spoken. Utterly amazed, they asked: ‘Aren’t all these who are speaking Galileans? Then how is it that each of us hears them in our native language?'” ~ Acts 2:4-8

Observation:
I’ve been around the church long enough to know that there is division over “speaking in tongues.” The “tongues” in this passage clearly refer to languages, since the passage specifically state that foreigners heard the apostles in their own languages. In this passage, “tongues” were useful in communicating the message to foreigners.

Application:
I have never spoken in “tongues.” I’ve never been given the supernatural ability to talk to people in a language I don’t know, but I’ve also had few chances to speak to people who speak a different native language. I have heard from people I absolutely trust about situations where Christians were given the ability to communicate in a language they did not know.  I believe that God gives this ability when He chooses to communicate between people of different languages.

Prayer:
God, give me your words in whatever language is needed in the moment. If English, then English.  If Spanish, then Spanish. If Croatian, then Croatian. Whatever you want my words to be, let them be.  Whatever my words are, I want them to be from You.

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Daily Bible Podcast Day 025 – Exodus 12-13, Psalm 21, Acts 1

November 25, 2012 in Podcasts

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Scripture:
“Then they prayed, ‘Lord, you know everyone’s heart. Show us which of these two you have chosen to take over this apostolic ministry, which Judas left to go where he belongs.’ Then they cast lots, and the lot fell to Matthias; so he was added to the eleven apostles.” ~ Acts 1:24-26

Observation:
The disciples prayed for God to show them the right choice and then they rolled the dice. They didn’t just gamble, though. They didn’t pick two random men, they picked men who’d been faithful and followed Jesus from the beginning. It could even have been that either man would have done just fine. They chose what they felt were two good options and let God control the outcome.

Application:
When I’m faced with an important decision, I might do well to narrow my options down to what, in my best judgment, are my best options. Then, pray for God to show me which of the two is best. The key would be to be certain that my desire is for what is best for God’s Kingdom, not my own. If our prayers are for God’s purposes, we are assured in scripture that God will fulfill them.

Prayer:
Father, help me to choose wise courses. I often have several choices I can make, please show me the one that will best accomplish Your desires. I will do my best to listen and honor Your choice.

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Daily Bible Podcast Day 024 – Exodus 9-11, Luke 24

November 24, 2012 in Podcasts

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Scripture:
“‘He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: ‘The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’ Then they remembered his words.” ~Luke 24:5-8

Observation:
Arriving at the tomb, the women are expecting to finishing preparing Jesus’ body for burial. Instead, they find an empty tomb and get a reminder from some angels. Part of what’s interesting here is that the angels remind the women what Jesus had previously told them. They’d forgotten. They spent most of their lives with Jesus for several years, and they didn’t remember.

Application:
Sometimes I forget Jesus’ words too. I can’t be too hard on the women. I think this is one of the great things about this Bible reading project; it reminds me of Jesus’ words. Words that I’ve heard before but seem to forget in the moment.

Prayer:
God, use Your book to remind me of the things I need to be reminded of. As I’m faithful in this discipline, please let Jesus’ words stay with me when I need them.

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Daily Bible Podcast Day 023 – Exodus 6-8, Luke 23

November 23, 2012 in Podcasts

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Scripture:
“But Moses said to the Lord, ‘If the Israelites will not listen to me, why would Pharaoh listen to me, since I speak with faltering lips?’” ~Exodus 6:12

Observation:
Moses, despite having been chosen directly by God, is insecure. He fears he will be ineffective because he’s not eloquent enough to square off against Pharaoh. The notes in my study Bible suggest Moses is just making excuses.

Application:
I almost didn’t do this podcast. I don’t like the sound of my speaking voice and I was afraid that others might not like it either. Am I smart enough or eloquent enough to handle everything that God might want me to do in my life? No. If I were a genius or exceptionally gifted, people might look at any good deeds I do and attribute them to me. God prefers to use weak people; that way He gets the credit. I decided to do this podcast anyway and let God’s purposes be fulfilled. Whatever they are.

Prayer:
God, use me to do something I could never do alone. Do something that when people look at me they say, “only God could have done that.” Just help me to be faithful in what you have for me to accomplish.

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Daily Bible Podcast Day 022 – Exodus 3-5, Luke 22

November 22, 2012 in Podcasts

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Scripture:
“A dispute also arose among them as to which of them was considered to be greatest. Jesus said to them, ‘The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those who exercise authority over them call themselves Benefactors. But you are not to be like that. Instead, the greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the one who rules like the one who serves.'” ~ Luke 22:24-26

Observation:
Jesus is telling his followers not to exercise authority the way the rulers of the Gentiles do. Anyone who wants to be great in God Kingdom should serve others. I wonder if Jesus would caution us today against things like running for office.

Application:
I have roles in my life where I am certainly tempted to use my authority to boss others around to follow my agenda. Jesus would say I need to serve those people, but my own mind says that would undermine me. I need to better serve my wife and friends as well.

Prayer:
God, show me the opportunities to serve others and give me the courage to follow through. Let me remember that even if serving might undermine some earthly authority that I have, I shouldn’t be worried about my clout, but Yours.

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Daily Bible Podcast Day 021 – Exodus 1-2, Psalm 88, Luke 21

November 21, 2012 in Podcasts

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Scripture:
“As Jesus looked up, he saw the rich putting their gifts into the temple treasury. He also saw a poor widow put in two very small copper coins. ‘Truly I tell you,” he said, “this poor widow has put in more than all the others. All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.’”

Observation:
I have a pastor friend who has a couple of the coins that Jesus is referring to. They’re small, and about what a laborer then would earn in six minutes. Jesus makes the point that those who give even when poor have given more. He doesn’t say that the gifts are the rich are worthless, just that they are worth less in His eyes than what the widow gave. Jesus sees the gift in terms of the heart of the giver, not the monetary value.

Application:
It’s hard for me when the Bible brings up money. I often find myself saying things like, “when we’re making more money, then we’ll have more to give to the church and other worthy causes.” While my gifts aren’t worthless to God, I need to examine if my heart is right. Am I holding back because I’m worried about making sure we get our “fair share?”

Prayer:
Father, help me loosen my grip on “my” money a little. You make it pretty clear that money is a big heart issue. I struggle with this a lot, but help me to open up my heart a little more each day. I want to give gifts that you’ll find generous.

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