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Daily Bible Podcast Day 061 – Numbers 30-31, Mark 9

December 31, 2012 in Podcasts

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Scripture:
“‘If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them if a large millstone were hung around their neck and they were thrown into the sea.'” ~Mark 9:42

Observation:
Jesus has a strong warning for anyone who would cause others to stumble. He uses the words “little ones” also implying that causing children to stumble is particularly bad.

Application:
I have three of my own children, I have done youth ministry in the past, and I am a high school teacher by profession. I have and have had responsibility for “little ones”. It makes me nervous that I may have done or said things, even well-intentioned, that might cause my children or students to stumble. Any Christ-follower who would teach others carries a heavy responsibility.

Prayer:
Holy Spirit, guard my heart and protect my speech so that I won’t cause anyone who listens to me to stumble. I want what I say and do to help others to move closer to You, not be tripped up.

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Daily Bible Podcast Day 060 – Numbers 28-29, Mark 8

December 30, 2012 in Podcasts

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Scripture:
“Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: ‘Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it. What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels.’” ~Mark 8:34-38

Observation:
Jesus is really challenging at times. This is one of them. He requires that anyone who wants to follow Him be willing to give up their earthly life in exchange for an eternal one. Losing one’s life can take many forms, from giving up desires of the flesh to actually being willing to die in a place where being a disciple could get you killed.

Application:
What kind of “death” am I supposed to die? Certainly I should be willing to give up my own wants and subjugate them to Jesus’ desires. I don’t know what all of the consequences of that might be, and that makes it hard to do.

Prayer:
Holy Spirit, help me to give up what I want and be willing to do what the Son wants. It’s really difficult to die to myself. I need Your help or it will never happen. Help me be willing.

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Daily Bible Podcast Day 059 – Numbers 24-27, 1 Corinthians 13

December 29, 2012 in Podcasts

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Scripture:
” For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.” ~ 1 Corinthians 13:9-12

Observation:
What we know and understand now is only a part of what we will understand when we are made complete. The comparison is made to thinking like a child. Compared to the understanding we will have someday, our current reasoning is childlike.

Application:
On a superficial level, there are things I am curious about, like the timeframe of the Genesis creation account. Is it six literal days or millions of years or somehow both? I wonder about what the universe is like. More importantly, there are often things that I don’t understand about God, man, suffering, and the nature of the human experience. This passage tells us that our knowledge and love will be made complete one day. For now, it is important not to assume that human understanding or logic is necessarily capable of grasping every topic, even if I think I have a good idea about something.

Prayer:
Father, help me to be humble while my reasoning is still “childish”. I want to always be moving toward greater understanding of You and Your creation, but I know I will never attain complete knowledge until You and I are face-to-face. Allow me to know You better and better and see what little I am capable of seeing in this life.

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Daily Bible Podcast Day 058 – Numbers 21-23, Mark 6-7

December 28, 2012 in Podcasts

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Scripture:
“So the Pharisees and teachers of the law asked Jesus, ‘Why don’t your disciples live according to the tradition of the elders instead of eating their food with defiled hands?’

He replied, ‘Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; as it is written:

‘These people honor me with their lips,
but their hearts are far from me.
They worship me in vain;
their teachings are merely human rules.’

You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to human traditions.'” ~Mark 7:5-8

Observation:
Jesus is calling out the Pharisees for living according to human rules instead of God’s commands. The church, I think, is notorious for this. Too often our churches elevate human traditions far above the commands of God.

Application:
I don’t ever want to do this. Part of why I wanted to do this Bible project was so that I could better know what God’s commands are. Even though I don’t think I’m particularly a “slave” to tradition, I don’t want to have any habits that have been handed down that have either no purpose or a purpose that run counter to God’s. At the same time, I worry that I might throw away too many traditions for no good reason. Some traditions actually follow God’s commands.

Prayer:
Father, Your church and Your followers have many traditions. Some are useful and follow Your commands while others are not or do not. Help me and my church family to know which traditions are worth keeping and which should be thrown out because they are keeping us from following Your plan.

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Daily Bible Podcast Day 057 – Numbers 19-20, Psalm 28, Mark 5

December 27, 2012 in Podcasts

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Scripture:
“Hear my cry for mercy
as I call to you for help,
as I lift up my hands
toward your Most Holy Place.” ~Psalm 28:2

Observation:
David lifts his hands to the Lord as a cry for mercy. I think of it kind of like when my young sons want my help so they raise their hands for daddy to pick them up.

Application:
Sometimes in worship I am reluctant to raise my hands. Perhaps thinking of it as a way of asking for mercy will help me overcome my reluctance.

Prayer:
Father, help me overcome any reluctance I feel in worship. I need your mercy as much as David and I pray to be lifted up by You.

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Daily Bible Podcast Day 056 – Numbers 17-18, Psalm 29, Mark 4

December 26, 2012 in Podcasts

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Scripture:
“‘The farmer sows the word. Some people are like seed along the path, where the word is sown. As soon as they hear it, Satan comes and takes away the word that was sown in them. Others, like seed sown on rocky places, hear the word and at once receive it with joy. But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. Still others, like seed sown among thorns, hear the word; but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful. Others, like seed sown on good soil, hear the word, accept it, and produce a crop—some thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times what was sown.’” ~Mark 4:14-20

Observation:
Jesus is explaining a parable he told the crowd about seeds that were sown on different soils.

Application:
I don’t think that I’m like seed sown on either the path or in rocky places. I worry that too often I am like seed sown among thorns and that my own desires and worries prevent me from bearing fruit. I suspect that I’m also sometimes like seed sown in good soil, but I don’t think that’s me often enough.

Prayer:
Holy Spirit, keep working in my heart so that I can be a seed sown in good soil. Don’t let worry or my own desires choke out the crop You want from me.

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Daily Bible Podcast Day 055 – Numbers 14-16 and Mark 3

December 25, 2012 in Podcasts

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Scripture:
~Numbers 14-16

Observation:
I usually pick a few verses to focus on, but the thing that struck me in this reading was the sheer hard-headedness of the Israelites shown in these 3 chapters. Despite having seen amazing signs and wonders, they still grumble and doubt and rebel. God speaks directly to Moses and they know he does. Still they defy Moses and God.

Application:
I wonder if this is why God doesn’t choose to speak directly to us as He did to Moses. It doesn’t seem to have worked for them. I would like to think that I am not as hard-headed as they were, but I suspect I often am. It’s not like I don’t know what the Bible says or what God would have me do, yet I often do something else.

Prayer:
Father, let the grumbling and rebellion of the Israelites serve as a warning against my own tendencies that way. Even if You don’t speak audibly to me, make clear the direction You’d have me go through Your word and the promptings of the Holy Spirit.

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Daily Bible Podcast Day 054 – Numbers 12-13, Psalm 90, Mark 2

December 24, 2012 in Podcasts

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Scripture:
“When the teachers of the law who were Pharisees saw him eating with the sinners and tax collectors, they asked his disciples: ‘Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?’

On hearing this, Jesus said to them, ‘It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.’” ~Mark 2:16-17

Observation:
Whenever I see Jesus use the word, I wonder if Jesus is saying “righteous” sarcastically. It is pretty clear throughout the Gospels that Jesus has little respect for the “righteousness” of the Pharisees. In other spots Jesus makes it clear that the “righteousness” of the Pharisees isn’t righteous at all.

Application:
One of the temptations of the Christian life is in passing judgment on those “less righteous” than me. The Pharisees were all about this and I need to not be like them. Also, the fact that Jesus has called me is good news. While it means I’m “sick” it also means that Jesus has redemption for me.

Prayer:
Father, thank You that even though I am sick in your eyes, You still sent Jesus to call and redeem me. Please hold me back from judgment against those less righteous than I am and encourage me through the Holy Spirit to make Your call known to them as well.

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Daily Bible Podcast Day 053 – Numbers 10-11, Psalm 27, Mark 1

December 23, 2012 in Podcasts

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Scripture:
“‘See that you don’t tell this to anyone. But go, show yourself to the priest and offer the sacrifices that Moses commanded for your cleansing, as a testimony to them.’ Instead he went out and began to talk freely, spreading the news. As a result, Jesus could no longer enter a town openly but stayed outside in lonely places. Yet the people still came to him from everywhere.” ~Mark 1:44-45

Observation:
If anybody deserves to be famous, it’s Jesus. And yet, he very often makes a point of telling people he’s healed not to tell anyone else. Usually they don’t listen and tell everyone anyway. The result is that Jesus is unable to move freely and must stay out of the towns. All the same, people still come looking for him. It seems that this makes His mission more difficult and solitude (which he often seeks) more scarce.

Application:
I’ll obviously never have a following anything close to Jesus, no matter what I do. If Jesus isn’t a self-promoter, then neither should I be, even in my small circles of influence.

Prayer:
Father, I don’t want be a self-promoter, even if my accomplishments are your will. Help me to promote only You and Your son Jesus. May any boasting be only in You.

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Daily Bible Podcast Day 052 – Numbers 8-9, Acts 28

December 22, 2012 in Podcasts

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Scripture:
“‘Go to this people and say,
“You will be ever hearing but never understanding;
you will be ever seeing but never perceiving.”
For this people’s heart has become calloused;
they hardly hear with their ears,
and they have closed their eyes.
Otherwise they might see with their eyes,
hear with their ears,
understand with their hearts
and turn, and I would heal them.’” ~Acts 28:26-27

Observation:
Paul is speaking about Jews who do not believe that Jesus is the Messiah, even when presented with evidence. Their hearts are calloused and so they are not receptive to the message of life. This reminds of Pharaoh’s heart being hardened so that he wouldn’t relent despite hardship on himself and his people.

Application:
Sometimes I worry that my heart could become calloused and that I wouldn’t turn toward life in the times that I need to. It seems that this could be particularly tough because how would I even know if my heart was calloused? I suppose being able to reflect on the condition of my heart means it isn’t, but I still never want it to become that way.

Prayer:
Holy Spirit, please do not let my heart become calloused. I always want to be turned toward Life. I never want to be in a situation where I should be turning away from sin, but am unwilling to do so.

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