Friday, April 4, 2008


59. Numbers 21:4-9

It surprises me how often in our culture you can find references to biblical stories or people. Here in Numbers 21 there is another. After the Israelites have left Egypt they go through many difficult times and often grumble against Moses and God. They often wish they could go back to Egypt and become slaves again. During one of these times of grumbling, God sent venomous snakes among them. The passage says that the snakes bit them and many of them died. Nice right? So the people did what all of us do when we realize that we are wrong, they begged God to help them. Moses prayed on their behalf and here is what happened:
8 The LORD said to Moses, "Make a snake and put it up on a pole; anyone who is bitten can look at it and live." 9 So Moses made a bronze snake and put it up on a pole. Then when anyone was bitten by a snake and looked at the bronze snake, he lived.
This symbol of the bronze snake on a pole has been adopted by medical professionals to indicate that hospitals and medical clinics are places where you can get healing. The symbol is called a Caduceus. When you see it, remember that its origin is in the Old Testament and that true spiritual healing is found in another symbol we often see today, the cross.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

consider myself

Matthew 23

Seven woes. Seven rebukes. Seven not so friendly responses to the religious leaders of Jesus day. It is easy to read through Matthew 23 and think, "Yeah, Jesus you tell them! You no good religious teachers!" But then I start to think about who are the religious teachers today. Umm, me? I wonder how many of these warnings could be applied to me or others today? Is there a parallel?

Overall theme of the chapter:
5"Everything they do is done for men to see:

Application: All leaders must check motives for the things they do.

Warning #1
13"Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the kingdom of heaven in men's faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to.

Questions: Do I ever decide who should receive God's grace? Do I ever pass over someone because they don't appear to offer as much to the kingdom as someone else?

Warning #2
15"Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son of hell as you are.

Question: Jesus said that when a student is fully trained he will be like his teacher. Based on my faith and purity should anyone become like me?

Warning #3
16"Woe to you, blind guides! You say, 'If anyone swears by the temple, it means nothing; but if anyone swears by the gold of the temple, he is bound by his oath.' 17You blind fools! Which is greater: the gold, or the temple that makes the gold sacred?

Question: Do I place the correct emphasis on spiritual things over material things? Do I get confused in thinking my preaching or singing or teaching is what makes a difference to people or is it the power of God and His word?

Warning #4
23"Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cummin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former. 24You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel.

Question: Could I be feeling good about turbo tax red flagging what I gave to the church last year, but forget to love people and show mercy when I should?

Warning #5
25"Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. 26Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean.

Question: Does my inside present well in God's eyes or am I just putting on a show for everyone else?

Warning #6
27"Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of dead men's bones and everything unclean. 28In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.

Question: It is not a question of whether I am a hypocrite or not; the question is in what areas am I a hypocrite?

Warning #7
29"Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You build tombs for the prophets and decorate the graves of the righteous. 30And you say, 'If we had lived in the days of our forefathers, we would not have taken part with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.'

Question: Do I make myself out to be more than what I am?

My prayer is that God would help me to be humble and walk with Him everyday. May I be closer each day, more devoted each morning, more grateful each night.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

fly away

58. Psalm 55

I am working on getting caught up on my reading so I will try to post a few comments from wherever I am reading at the time.

Today I was reading Psalm 55 from the readings of the week of March 9th. This Psalm is a prayer of David. It is one of many laments that David writes as his soul searches for help from God. The first few verses describe the depths of David's fear and anguish at the presence of his enemies. These verses are followed by verses 6-8 which are great:
6 I said, "Oh, that I had the wings of a dove!
I would fly away and be at rest-

7 I would flee far away
and stay in the desert;

8 I would hurry to my place of shelter,
far from the tempest and storm."

I have felt this way before. I have never been chased by enemies or felt the fear of death lurking around every corner, but I have had stuff up on me to the point that I wished that I could just fly away and forget all that was below me. The great theologian Lenny Kravitz said it this way:
I wish that I could fly
Into the sky
So very high
Just like a dragonfly

I'd fly above the trees
Over the seas in all degrees
To anywhere I please

Oh I want to get away
I want to fly away
Yeah yeah yeah

I believe that it is a natural human reaction to adversity to want to escape from trouble. It is good to see that even David had times when he wished he could just fly away and be free from the trials of this life. Unfortunately we do not have the ability to take off and be free from life. We try to in various ways, but inevitably we must come back down and those problems are still there. I do think that we all need a little down time, a few hours a week or month where we can relax and put our problems out of our mind for awhile. But never with the intent to escape from them, but rather to clear our minds so that we can come back and face those problems with a better, clearer perspective. For me it is golf. For some it is a book or some other activity. And always with the desire to face life and with God's help overcome all of those things which make us want to escape.

Thanks King David. (and Lenny)

Tuesday, April 1, 2008


I don't think anyone is reading this blog lately because I have been so long in posting, but I am working on getting caught up. I have had a lot of life stuff going on lately so that's my excuse. Look for an update tomorrow.