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Twenty-six men and One woman have

been executed in United States in 2014.

Scripture

Daily Bible Reading for August 14, 2014, with Commentary: Proverbs 17-18

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Context: Proverbs contains advice for a multitude of situations.  Sometimes the advice is direct and easy to pick out.  Other times, the advice is indirect.  We have to look beyond the words written on the page, and fit the passage to our life.  None of us are perfect.  We have all, at one point or another, played the part of the fool, relying on ourselves and the world instead of on Christ.  We have all done the opposite of what is written in Proverbs.  When reading, identify both the good and the bad in yourself.  Be happy for your right choices.  Seek forgiveness for your bad choices and make amends.  Work to adjust your attitude and reaction to situations that lead to you being foolish instead of wise.

 

Daily Bible Reading for August 13, 2014, with Commentary: Psalm 96-98

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Context: None of the psalms we read today have credited authors.  All three psalms are psalms of joyful praise. Psalm 96 envisions the day that Christ will reign over the world.  Psalm 97 is similar to our Christmas song “Joy to the World!”  It speaks of Christ’s second coming.  Psalm 98 talks of singing a new song, as did Psalm 96.  It is a song we will sing when Christ comes again.

 

Daily Bible Reading for August 12, 2014, with Commentary: 1 Chronicles 5-9

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Context: Chapter 5 continues with the genealogy started in chapter 1.  Don’t worry!  This whole book is not genealogy!  In the first several chapters, the genealogy provides the history of Israel.  It tells from where the Israelites came, who their ancestors were, and how they came to be settled on the land they now occupy.  Remember when this book was written - as the Israelites returned from exile.  They would have had doubts and fears.  Had God abandoned them?  No!  God had played a part in their lives since Adam and He would continue to be a part of their lives. 

 

World History: Although possibly boring and tedious to read, the genealogy presented in the first nine chapters of 1 Chronicles is also our genealogy.  We all came from Adam.  As children of God, this is our history.

 

Daily Bible Reading for August 11, 2014, with Commentary: Numbers 1-4

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Author: Moses

Date: One year after arriving at Mt. Sinai

 

Context: Moses is instructed to conduct a census.  Although to us, reading this may be boring, it is included in the Bible because it was important to the Lord.  To the Israelites, each name had meaning.  The census provided a two-fold purpose.  First, it counted the Israelites.  Second, it let each Israelite know from where they came, their family history.  In chapter 2, the arrangement of the camp is described.  At the center of the camp is the tabernacle.  God should always be at the center of our lives.  The details given as to how the camp was to be arranged shows that God pays attention to the smallest details.  Each part, each person has a place in the larger picture.  The Levite tribe was not included in the original census as they are set apart.  They care for and maintain the Tabernacle.  Chapter 3 contains a census of the Levites.  Chapter 4 examines the specific jobs of members of the Levite tribe.  Every man had his job and when it came time to set up camp and the Tabernacle, every man knew his job and performed his job.  What may seem like a huge undertaking (imagine moving several million people!) likely took less time than it may take many of us to set up a family campsite.  The Israelites were able to be so efficient because of the attention God paid to the details.  Even today, God pays attention to the details of our lives and assigns us specific jobs.  Are you listening?

 

World History: The Israelites remained at Mt. Sinai for one year, receiving the Law from God, and constructing the Tabernacle before continuing on with their journey to the Promised Land.

 

The Bible passage for mediation, prayer, and reflection for the week of August 10-16, 2014, is Psalm 96:10-13.  This week’s passage is one of joy and praise to the Lord.  It is a song anticipating when Christ will rule.

 

Say among the nations, “The Lord reigns!
    Yes, the world is established; it shall never be moved;
    he will judge the peoples with equity.”

Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice;
    let the sea roar, and all that fills it;
    let the field exult, and everything in it!
Then shall all the trees of the forest sing for joy
    before the Lord, for he comes,
    for he comes to judge the earth.
He will judge the world in righteousness,
    and the peoples in his faithfulness.

(Psalm 96:10-13, ESV)

 

 

What a day it will be when Christ returns! All of His children will sing praises for His return!  All of His creation will rejoice!  What a day it will be!  Are you ready?  Psalms of praise and joy, anticipating the return of Christ, give us encouragement during our times of trials.  When we are discouraged in the present, we can look to our future, eternity with Christ!  What a day that will be!  As you meditate on, pray over, and reflect upon this weeks verse, rejoice in your salvation in Christ!  Are you ready for His return?

Daily Bible Reading for August 10, 2014, with Commentary: 1 Timothy 1-3

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Author: Paul, an Apostle

Date: AD 62

 

Context: Although addressed to Timothy, this letter was expected to be shared with the entire church at Ephesus.  Paul began his letter by addressing Timothy as his true son.  This lent credence to Timothy’s words, as well as provided encouragement for Timothy.  Paul announces why Timothy is in Ephesus: there are false teachers and leaders in the church poisoning the true message, love and salvation through faith.  Paul offers his personal testimony as an example of the extent of the salvation of Christ.  Paul actively worked to persecute Christians, yet now he is saved and working to promote the Gospel of Christ.  Over the next two chapters, Paul provides instructions on worship and requirements for leadership within the church.  Paul’s description of woman has caused numerous debates. Paul is not writing a fashion guide for women, rather his advice should be taken in context of our own society. Paul’s goal was for the church to establish an orderly worship, just as God has established an orderly universe, not to exclude woman.  In controversial and confusing passages such as this, we must also look and consider Paul’s other references to woman in his writings.

 

World History: Paul established the Ephesian church during his second missionary journey and also visited for an extended period of time during his third missionary journey.  Paul wrote this letter to Timothy after leaving Timothy with the Ephesians to confront the false teachers in Ephesus.  The city of Ephesus was a major trading city and seaport within the Roman Empire.  The city was also known as a center for the learning and practicing of magical arts.

Daily Bible Reading for August 9, 2014, with Commentary: John 3-4

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Context: Not all Pharisees called for Jesus’ death.  In chapter 3, we are introduced to Nicodemus, who sought out Jesus.  Nicodemus recognized Jesus’ authority came from God.  Jesus talks of being born again, a common term used today among believers.  To Nicodemus the concept was foreign.  How can someone be born again?  Jesus explained that He did not mean literally, but spiritually.  The first half of chapter 3 is an explanation of salvation by Jesus!  Read these words carefully and treasure them.  John the Baptist teaches all believers and important lesson: it is not a matter of becoming great in the eyes of the world, but continually serving Christ.  Jesus’ conversation with the Samaritan women at the well, is similar to His conversation with Nicodemus.  It is also the only time outside of His trial, that Jesus directly acknowledges Himself as the Messiah.  When the disciples returned to Jesus, they found Him conversing with the woman and were able to recognize the spiritual significance of the situation.  Jesus ministry in Samaria was based on His teachings, whereas the next town visited wanted to see miracles.  They wanted proof before they believed.  Jesus challenged the man who came begging for His help to show proof of faith.  The man’s son was dying (not to be confused with the dying slave in other Gospels).  Jesus was his last and final hope.  Jesus healed his son, but required him to show his faith by leaving without having physical proof that his son would be healed.

 

World History: Jews avoided Samaria when traveling, preferring to take a longer route to avoid the city.  Tension between the two began when Samaritans settled the area while the Israelites were held captive by Babylon.  When the remnant of Israel returned, they clashed with the Samaritans.  Tensions continued to increase between the Israelites and Samaritans until Roman Emperor Claudius intervened to settle the violently growing dispute, several years after Christ’s death and resurrection.

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