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Daily Bible Podcast Day 273 – Zechariah 7-9, Luke 13

July 31, 2013 in Podcasts

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Scripture:
“Then he told this parable: ‘A man had a fig tree growing in his vineyard, and he went to look for fruit on it but did not find any. So he said to the man who took care of the vineyard, “For three years now I’ve been coming to look for fruit on this fig tree and haven’t found any. Cut it down! Why should it use up the soil?”

“Sir,” the man replied, “leave it alone for one more year, and I’ll dig around it and fertilize it. If it bears fruit next year, fine! If not, then cut it down.”’”

Observation:
I actually did some research to help me understand this one. Since this parable follows Jesus talking about repentance, that is the symbolic “fruit” that God (the vineyard owner) is looking for. God’s patience is running out for Israel (or us) to repent. Jesus (the caretaker) entreats the owner for more time.

Application:
God’s patience will not last forever for those he would like to see come to repentance. This means that we do not have forever to encourage those who we’d like to see become part of God’s family to do so.

Prayer:
Father, thank You for Your patience. It is within Your right to destroy us all for our sin, but not only did You send Your son as an atoning sacrifice, You patiently wait for us to accept Him. Give me a renewed sense of urgency about reaching the lost and encouraging them to repent, before their time runs out.

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Daily Bible Podcast Day 272 – Zechariah 4-6, Luke 12

July 30, 2013 in Podcasts

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Scripture:
“‘I tell you, whoever publicly acknowledges me before others, the Son of Man will also acknowledge before the angels of God. But whoever disowns me before others will be disowned before the angels of God. And everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven.'” ~Luke 12:8-10

Observation:
I’m not sure how blasphemy against the Holy Spirit would work, but it is interesting that even those who speak against Jesus can be forgiven as long, it seems, as they don’t disown Him before others.

Application:
I would say that I usually am willing to “own up” to Jesus, though there are times I might be a little reserved about doing so, depending on the conversation. I occasionally hold back in order to not cause offense. I suspect that this is sometimes okay to do and other times not. However, I do not and will not explicitly disown Him.

Prayer:
Give the wisdom, Jesus, to know when and how to acknowledge You. As You Yourself said, You can be divisive, but help me to know when and how others need to hear from You. Help me to care less about the reaction and more about putting out the message. I don’t want the only time that I acknowledge You to be in church.

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Daily Bible Podcast Day 271 – Zechariah 1-3, Luke 11

July 29, 2013 in Podcasts

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Scripture:
“‘So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.

‘Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!'” ~Luke 11:9-13

Observation:
Jesus tells us that we simply need ask for God’s gifts and they will be given, in the same way that earthly fathers give their own children good gifts. The previous verses allude to the idea that we should be asking audaciously, like one who asks to borrow something from a neighbor in the middle of the night.

Application:
Do I ask for God’s Spirit, blessing, and hand in my life? Am I persistent and audacious in my asking?

Prayer:
Father, many times this year I have asked for Your Spirit in my life. I’ve asked for healing, I’ve asked for guidance, I’ve asked for help. I will keep asking and trusting that You will do as You will in Your own time. So be it.

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Daily Bible Podcast Day 270 – Haggai 1-2, Psalm 129, Luke 10

July 28, 2013 in Podcasts

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Scripture:
“He told them, ‘The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.'” ~Luke 10:2

Observation:
Jesus has sent seventy-two of his disciples around to various towns to heal the sick and proclaim the kingdom of God. He is telling them that there are many to repent, but too few to spread the message.

Application:
I should be praying for harvest workers and, in my role as a leader in the church, finding ways for people to engage in harvest work. There are indeed many who need to come to repentance.

Prayer:
Father, make me effective in Your harvest and help me to encourage others to harvest as well. Work in the hearts of others that Your “storehouses” might be full of those who have come to repentance in this town. Work out anything that limits my effectiveness and help me to always point to You.

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Daily Bible Podcast Day 269 – Ezra 4, Psalm 113, 127, Luke 9

July 27, 2013 in Podcasts

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Scripture:
“Unless the Lord builds the house,
the builders labor in vain.
Unless the Lord watches over the city,
the guards stand watch in vain.
In vain you rise early
and stay up late,
toiling for food to eat—
for he grants sleep to those he loves.” ~Psalm 127:1-2

Observation:
The Psalm is telling us that God is in charge and that nothing we do ultimately stands against His wishes.

Application:
I spend a lot of time planning my future. There are things right now that I am worried about. Ultimately, though, what will happen is in God’s hands. It doesn’t mean that I shouldn’t plan or work, just that I should worry and obsess about what I have little control over.

Prayer:
Father, You know my desires for my family’s future. I pray that You will bring my plans in line with Yours. Make Your will clear to me and help me to follow it. Give me a heart of peace about the future, and help me remember that worry can’t add a single day to my life.

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Daily Bible Podcast Day 268 – Ezra 2-3, Luke 8

July 26, 2013 in Podcasts

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Scripture:
“‘No one lights a lamp and hides it in a clay jar or puts it under a bed. Instead, they put it on a stand, so that those who come in can see the light. For there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open. Therefore consider carefully how you listen. Whoever has will be given more; whoever does not have, even what they think they have will be taken from them.'” ~Luke 8:16-18

Observation:
The parable prior to this one is about God’s word and how different people recieve and respond to it. Those who bear fruit act as lights to show the hidden truths of God to those who would hear. The fruit of the productive will increase.

Application:
How do I listen to God’s word? I’ve been trying this year to listen better and I’m unquestionably listening more. I know I’m letting my light shine, but am I shining enough? How can I shine more? Are the places that I’m serving God lampstands or clay jars?

Prayer:
Father, I don’t want to hide the light that you’ve put in me. Help me to discern whether the places I’m trying to serve You are “lampstands” or “clay jars”. Help me take an active leadership role in transforming them more into lampstands. Help me and others to get outside the walls of the church (which may be a de facto clay jar), since that is where those in darkness are most likely to see our light, and help us to shine a light that is attractive to those we meet.

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Daily Bible Podcast Day 267 – Ezra 1, Psalm 84-85, Luke 7

July 25, 2013 in Podcasts

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Scripture:
“When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, ‘If this man were a prophet, he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is—that she is a sinner.’

Jesus answered him, ‘Simon, I have something to tell you.’

‘Tell me, teacher,’ he said.

‘Two people owed money to a certain moneylender. One owed him five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he forgave the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?’

Simon replied, ‘I suppose the one who had the bigger debt forgiven.’

‘You have judged correctly,’ Jesus said.” ~Luke 7:40-43

Observation:
You can almost sense the tension between Jesus and Simon here. First, Jesus reads his mind, which I imagine would have been unsettling to him. Then He confronts him with a parable. He is direct in dealing with Simon. I wonder at Simon’s motive for inviting Jesus to dinner in the first place. Also, Jesus does know this woman’s sins. They simply aren’t going to stop Him from forgiving her. In fact, of her many sins, she seems to be less guilty of the one Simon seems to be the most guilty of. Pride.

Application:
In my pride I must never forget that my sins are many as well. God doesn’t place sinners in a hierarchy of sinfulness for salvation purposes. I was just as guilty as anyone else. I owe Christ a greatly for my having been forgiven.

Prayer:
Jesus, thank You that, even though my sins put me in the exact same eternal position as this woman, You loved enough to sacrifice Yourself to save me. May I never forget that I owe You a great debt of love and gratitude. Help me to be a workman worthy of Your great Name.

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Daily Bible Podcast Day 266 – Daniel 11-12, Luke 6

July 24, 2013 in Podcasts

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Scripture:
“One of those days Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God. When morning came, he called his disciples to him and chose twelve of them, whom he also designated apostles: Simon (whom he named Peter), his brother Andrew, James, John, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James son of Alphaeus, Simon who was called the Zealot, Judas son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor.” ~Luke 6:12-16

Observation:
Before making a major staffing decision, Jesus spends the entire(?) night praying. Of the twelve He chose, eleven would ultimately prove faithful and one would betray Him. However, since prophecy required a betrayal, it can’t really be said that Jesus made a mistake with Judas Iscariot.

Application:
While most of my decisions aren’t nearly as important as picking the dozen men who will literally help save the world, I don’t do as good a job of praying for guidance as Jesus. God has guidance to give, I just often forget to ask for it.

Prayer:
Father, in my pride and assurance that I can make my own decisions I often forget to come to You for guidance. I can point to decisions that I didn’t make prayerfully that turned out both well and not so well. Help me to seek Your guidance. I know there are any number of things that I could do and still be in Your will, but help me make the decisions that fit Your plan for me the best.

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Daily Bible Podcast Day 265 – Daniel 9-10, Psalm 123, Luke 5

July 23, 2013 in Podcasts

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Scripture:
“Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. ‘I am willing,’ he said. ‘Be clean!’ And immediately the leprosy left him.

Then Jesus ordered him, ‘Don’t tell anyone, but go, show yourself to the priest and offer the sacrifices that Moses commanded for your cleansing, as a testimony to them.’

Yet the news about him spread all the more, so that crowds of people came to hear him and to be healed of their sicknesses. But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.” ~Luke 5:13-16

Observation:
Several times Jesus is reported as telling people he has healed not to tell anyone. Jesus had to know that His fame would spread, so I wonder why He says this, unless to prevent being overwhelmed. In the very next section though, he heals in full view of everyone, including the Pharisees and teachers of the law. He is also mentioned as going off alone to pray, often when the crowds seem to want Him the most.

Application:
Like Jesus in many cases, I should not seek the credit for any good I do. I can let my good works be seen by men, but if help is done in private, leave it up to others to report or not. I also must seek solitude and times of quiet renewal.

Prayer:
Father, help me to do more and more good works and not desire any credit for them. May I always point to You as the source of any good deeds. Help me to seek quiet and solitude when needed and work first to be sure that my relationship is right with You, even above doing good works.

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Daily Bible Podcast Day 264 – Daniel 7-8, Psalm 137, Luke 4

July 22, 2013 in Podcasts

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Scripture:
“The devil led him up to a high place and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. And he said to him, ‘I will give you all their authority and splendor; it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to. If you worship me, it will all be yours.’

Jesus answered, ‘It is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.’'”

Observation:
In order for this to be a temptation for Jesus, Satan has to be telling the truth. Otherwise, were he lying, Jesus would know that and just not be tempted. This means that Satan had been given authority over the kingdoms of the world.

Application:
Does Satan still have power over the “kingdoms” of the earth? I suspect that he does given the evil that is done by these “kingdoms”. None of these kingdoms are worth my worship and, in fact, Jesus reminds us to “worship the Lord your God and serve Him only.

Prayer:
Father, You are the only one worth serving and worshiping. No nation on earth is worthy of my praise or loyalty compared to You. Guide me to treat all Your children the same, no matter what “kingdom” they come under the dominion of. Help me to not put any earthly thing before my worship of and obedience to You.

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