Monthly Archives: June 2012

1 Kings 5,6,7; Acts 7:44-60

In the Old Testament, we return to the story of King Solomon and the building of the temple. Solomon started on this mammoth project, making deals with other kings for materials, and organizing a huge forded labor force. It amazes me what people could accomplish in ancient history, without the technology we have today. The temple was amazing.

Unlike the commands for the Tabernacle, or the Ark of the Covenant, or Noah’s Ark for that matter, there are no specific requirements for this temple. Personally, it seemed like this temple was more important to the people than it was to God. When God speaks to Solomon about it, he dismisses it right off and instead emphasizes the importance of obedience to God’s decrees, regulations and commands. The promise for the throne to continue in David’s lineage was actually dependent on it. It was one of those promises of God that starts with “If…”.

11 The word of the Lord came to Solomon: 12 “As for this temple you are building, if you follow my decrees, carry out my regulations and keep all my commands and obey them, I will fulfill through you the promise I gave to David your father. 13 And I will live among the Israelites and will not abandon my people Israel.” (1 Kings 6:11-13)

Solomon completes the construction in seven years, but then takes thirteen years building his palace, which was four times bigger that the Temple! (And in Ecclesiastes we read how all of this extravagance gave only fleeting pleasure…)

Fast forward to the New Testament, and we hear what Stephen has to say about this Temple as he addresses the crowd:

46 “David found favor with God and asked for the privilege of building a permanent Temple for the God of Jacob.[j] 47 But it was Solomon who actually built it. 48 However, the Most High doesn’t live in temples made by human hands. As the prophet says,

49 ‘Heaven is my throne,
and the earth is my footstool.
Could you build me a temple as good as that?’
asks the Lord.
‘Could you build me such a resting place?
50 Didn’t my hands make both heaven and earth? (Acts 7:46-50)

This Temple became a stumbling block to the Jews.  By having something concrete to focus on they missed the whole point of having God present with them all the time. Stephen continues:

51 “You stubborn people! You are heathen[l] at heart and deaf to the truth. Must you forever resist the Holy Spirit? That’s what your ancestors did, and so do you! 52 Name one prophet your ancestors didn’t persecute! They even killed the ones who predicted the coming of the Righteous One—the Messiah whom you betrayed and murdered. 53 You deliberately disobeyed God’s law, even though you received it from the hands of angels…

57 Then they put their hands over their ears and began shouting. They rushed at him 58 and dragged him out of the city and began to stone him.” (Acts 7:51-53,57-58)

Lord, temples can’t contain you. You are omnipresent. My relationship with you is more important than elaborate buildings, riches, or anything I can see, feel, or touch. I crave your presence. I want to hear the truth. I want to trust you. Come stay with me.

suegraff

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Song of Solomon 7,8,9; Acts 7:23-43

Scripture:

“When he was forty years old, it came into his heart to visit his brothers, the children of Israel.24 And seeing one of them being wronged, he defended the oppressed man and avenged him by striking down the Egyptian.25 He supposed that his brothers would understand that God was giving them salvation by his hand, but they did not understand.26 And on the following day he appeared to them as they were quarreling and tried to reconcile them, saying, ‘Men, you are brothers. Why do you wrong each other?’27 But the man who was wronging his neighbor thrust him aside, saying, ‘Who made you a ruler and a judge over us?28 Do you want to kill me as you killed the Egyptian yesterday?’29 At this retort Moses fled and became an exile in the land of Midian, where he became the father of two sons.

Observation:

We find ourselves in the middle of Stephen’s defense before the Jewish Ruling Council. He is summarizing the entire history of the Jewish Nation. He is speaking off the cuff so to speak and knows with quite detail what the major events of this history are. This is a fairly long chapter in the Book of Acts. I copied this section, but read the entire section assigned for today. This is only part of the grand defense that Stephen mounts. He didn’t study hard before giving this talk, it just rolled off his tongue as he rehearsed Israel’s history. What a faith and what a memory!

Application:

Several years ago I was speaking to a group of leaders and mentioned the story of the dry bones in Ezekiel 37. As we talked it dawned on me that half of these leaders had never read or heard this story. I was caught off guard. A leader, a Christ-follower should be familiar with the great stories of the Bible at least. I think this story of Stephen is one of them. Ezekiel and the Valley of the Dry Bones is another one we should know. If you are keeping up daily with 66books then you will know the stories or you already know them because you’ve read the Bible through already. I believe God rewards those that are faithful in Bible reading & prayer. Those that do are firmer in their faith. They deal better with the trials of life and are a blessing to more. What about you? How many of the stories do you know? Should you know more?

Prayer:

Father God, thank you for your Word and the stories contained in it. I pray that these stories will change our lives and that they will be opportunities we can use to share the truth of the gospel with other. I pray these things in Jesus Name, Amen.

dmbaldwin

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Song of Solomon 4, Song of Solomon 5, Acts 7:22-43

Please read at www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Song%204,5;%20Acts%207:22-43&version=NKJV

Song of Solomon 4            Behold, you are fair, my love! … You have ravished my heart, My sister, my spouse… How fair is your love, …How much better than wine is your love … A fountain of gardens, A well of living waters,

            The Song of Solomon tells of the intimate love God has for His people and their love in response. In the Old Testament, Israel was set apart for God. After the second covenant of Jesus’ Blood, God’s covenant of love is for His Church, the Body of Christ, which contains all followers of the Lord Jesus Christ. (1)   

              Lord God, so often You have shown me immeasurable love within my soul. No one can penetrate my innermost being except You! (Psalm 51:6 ) In this world of fleeting emotions and harmful controllers, You Lord Jesus are the One True Love. You heal me, correct & teach me, protect and bind me to Yourself by Your Word and Your Holy Spirit. You never leave or forsake me because You dwell within me. I will praise You for You are my salvation! (2)

Song of Solomon 5              I have come to my garden, my sister, my spouse; I have gathered my myrrh with my spice… His mouth is most sweet, Yes, he is altogether lovely. This is my beloved, And this is my friend,

            Intimacy with God is for all who trust the Lord God Almighty because of Jesus’ blood covenant. The marriage is consummated by the Lamb of God. Heaven is our paradise home. (6)

              Lord God, You provide all that is needed to live with You in sweet unity. When we seek Your face and righteousness, You reveal Yourself ever more clearly and closely. Your love for me compels me to love and trust You more deeply. The love You give in Spirit and Truth transforms me to be what You desire. Father, I am grateful that You will complete the work You began in me because I want to see Your glory here and in heaven! (3)  (4)

Acts 7:22-43             When forty years had passed, and the Angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire in a bush … the voice of the Lord came to him,  saying, …I have heard their groaning and have come down to deliver them.” … He brought them out, after he had shown wonders and signs in the land of Egypt, and in the Red Sea, and in the wilderness forty years.”

Yet “… our fathers would not obey, but rejected. And in their hearts they turned back to Egypt… offered sacrifices to the idol, and rejoiced in the works of their own hands. Then God turned and gave them up … ‘And I will carry you away beyond Babylon.’

              The Lord Jesus Christ, the Angel of the Lord, brought His people out of slavery, releasing them from evil gods and evil rulers in Egypt. Yet the people rejected God’s mighty cleansing love. Instead they sought idols and “rejoiced in the works of their own hands.” So God brought them what they wanted, bondage again.

             The people wanted painful patterns of sin rather than pure love and freedom for Joy in God. How can this be? How filled with self-hatred is that? This is a daily reality today. Hell is a viable choice. To choose captivity now and for eternity, or to flee self-rule and idolatry in exchange for worship of the One Who is worthy, the Creator and Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.

               The Song of  Solomon displays paradise heaven and sweet communion with God. Acts 7 shows the choice of bondage to sin, separation from God and a bent towards hell. This only magnifies the clarity of daily choices – for heaven or hell? To live with and for God or against God? To live as a lover or as a hater of God?  

              It’s not about me and my pleasures and pleasing me, it’s only about the Lord God Almighty and what brings Him pleasure and glory! God’s goal is to love each person actively, to magnify His Name for the salvation of souls, and for each person’s personal relationship with God based upon the Lord Jesus Christ’s atonement. 

              Which shall it be my dear soul, my heart, my mind, my emotions? Choose this moment Who You shall serve. Choose again, and again. Don’t forget Who drew You in His loving kindness. Who changed You into His image and made You His bride.  Choose to live abiding in the intimacy of God’s Holy Word and Spirit! Rejoice in all things, for the Lord God goes before you for His Good purposes alone! Don’t cause yourself harm, but life everlasting! (5) 

Bible insights –

1          John 15, Revelation 7:9, Romans 9:25

2          Deuteronomy 31:8, Hebrews 13:5, Ephesians 1:13, 1 John 4:4, John 15:1-11, Psalm 50:23, Psalm 118:21, John 7:38, John 4:10-11

3          John 17,  Ephesians 1, Philippians 1:6, 1 Corinthians 9:24

4          Proverbs 18:24, Exodus 33:11, John 3:29, John 15:13-15,  James 2:23, James 4:4, Matthew 12:50, Mark 3:35, Mark 10:29, Hosea 3:1, Revelation 21:2,9, Revelation 22:17, Matthew 25:1-13, Matthew 25:31-46

5          2 Cor 5:17, James 4:4, Psalm 36:7, Jeremiah 31:3, Romans 12:1-2, Philippians 4:4, Exodus 3:2, Romans 8:28

6          John 1:29, 36 ; Revelation 5:6, Revelation 5:12, Revelation 13:8

Crystal (PsalmThirty4) 

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Songs of Songs 1-3, Acts 6

Pleasing is the fragrance of your perfumes. Your name is like perfume poured out. No wonder the maidens love you. Song of Songs 1:3 

All who were sitting in the Sanhedrin looked intently at Stephen and they saw that his face was like the face of an angel. Acts 6:15

 Recently a new acquaintance described me as a very positive person. I thought to myself, if you could read my mind, you would see many negative ugly thoughts.

Stephen a wise man filled with the Holy Spirit performed many miracles. When confronted by his detractors they described him as having the face of an angel. Isn’t that what we hope others will see in us?

Maybe my new friend caught a glimpse of the Holy Spirit in me. How could she know that wasn’t the natural me unless I shared that information with her. Stephen testified to what he knew despite the danger to his life.

What do I stand to lose in such a transaction? Would I lose face? If I don’t speak the truth in love as to what I know won’t I lose the Holy Spirit’s face?

Jesus’ name is wonderful, like perfume to his beloved, who rejoice and delight in his presence. Who wouldn’t want to live a fragrant beloved life?

I have to share more.

yicareggie

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Proverbs 30, 31; Acts 5:22-42

I didn’t know the Bible very well at all. I thought of the Old Testament one way, the New Testament another–and the God in each completely different. But reading through it, it’s one God, one beautiful story.

“I therefore decided to give attention to the holy scriptures and to find out what they were like. And this is what met me: something neither open to the proud nor laid bare to mere children; a text lowly to the beginner but, on further reading, of mountainous difficulty and enveloped in mysteries.” Saint Augustine Confessions.

I’m in Proverbs, and Jesus is there too.

Who but God goes up to heaven and comes back down?
Who holds the wind in his fists?
Who wraps up the oceans in his cloak?
Who has created the whole wide world?
What is his name—and his son’s name?
Tell me if you know! Proverbs 30:4 NLT

A former contributor here once said: If he came not to abolish but to fulfill, both sides of my Bible can attest to his character! (Thanks, Christian!)

Every word of God proves true.
He is a shield to all who come to him for protection. Proverbs 30:5

In today’s reading, speaking out and speaking up stood out to me. By telling his name in Proverbs, these words that are true, to speaking up for those who can’t speak for themselves …

Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves;
ensure justice for those being crushed.
Yes, speak up for the poor and helpless,
and see that they get justice. Proverbs 31:8-9

to an unquenchable desire and unstoppable mission to make his name known …

29 But Peter and the apostles replied, “We must obey God rather than any human authority. 30 The God of our ancestors raised Jesus from the dead after you killed him by hanging him on a cross. 31 Then God put him in the place of honor at his right hand as Prince and Savior. He did this so the people of Israel would repent of their sins and be forgiven. 32 We are witnesses of these things and so is the Holy Spirit, who is given by God to those who obey him.” Acts 5:29-32.

I love how the religious expert expressed:

38 “So my advice is, leave these men alone. Let them go. If they are planning and doing these things merely on their own, it will soon be overthrown. 39 But if it is from God, you will not be able to overthrow them. You may even find yourselves fighting against God!” Acts 5:38-39, 42:

42 And every day, in the Temple and from house to house, they continued to teach and preach this message: “Jesus is the Messiah.”

From first page to last page, enveloped in mysteries–yet the Bible was composed in such a way that as beginners mature, its meaning grows with them, Saint Augustine Confessions.

Courtney (66books365)

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