The Past Two Years

A couple years ago Bryan asked me to join him on this blog. I am woefully underqualified to keep up with someone like Bryan in anything other than disc golf (I will defeat him on the disc golf course any day of the week), but I was flattered to be given such an invitation. In June of 2011 I launched headlong in to a series of posts culled from the notes I had taken during my year-long Bible reading plan, which at that time I had recently completed and was starting again. Reviewing and posting my notes was a very enjoyable thing to do a and a cool way to read through the plan a second time. I got about halfway through the readings before my post regularity started to dwindle, and then, right around when Bryan began his haitus from his regular posting, I also just kinda stopped posting.

Inspired by Bryan’s return to blogging I too and going to pick it up again, finishing out the final 1.5 months of readings. Given the whole “year-long” aspect of the reading plan, I should have finished the posts in May of 2012, and my new goal is to be done by the end of May 2013. So I’m just turning the year-long reading plan into a two-year-long plan. No big deal.

A quick review on the reading plan and the posts:
1) There are 25 readings per month, which gives time for a few “missed days” in the calendar schedule.
2) There are 4 different sections of the Bible represented in each reading (OT Narrative, OT prophecy, NT gospel, NT epistle). This creates some really cool cross-text relationships and opportunities to connect dots within the Bible as a whole.
3) I took notes on all the readings during my first year through the plan, and these posts are my way to share those notes.
4) The act of posting my notes on a blog is an invitation for discussion and feedback on the readings. Let’s talk about it! Finish these last couple months of readings with me and sound off as you go!

And so, I’m am picking things up midway through the April reading sets…

Daily Scripture readings for April, set #17:

- Ezekiel, chapters 42-44
Job 15:17-35
John 11:45-57
1 John 4:7-21

“It had a wall around it, 500 cubits long and 500 cubits broad, to make a separation between the holy and the common” (Ez 42:20). Separating good from bad (or holy from common) is not a politically correct action, but here is the Lord including such a separation in his holy temple anyway.

“Let him not trust in emptiness, deceiving himself, for emptiness will be his payment” (Job 15:31). Note that the deception behind trusting in emptiness is a SELF deception.

John 11 contains one of the most compelling descriptions of God’s sovereignty and human accountability that I’ve found in scripture: “He did not say this of his own accord, but being high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the nation” (vs 52). This verse refers to Caiaphas’ declaration that one man would die sacrificially for the sake of the people, but he CLEARLY did not intend the double meaning of Jesus’ substitutionary atonement and the political ploy of having Christ executed in order to facilitate continued Jewish influence under Roman rule. So Caiaphas speaks with BOTH his heart’s wicked intentions and the Lord’s righteous intentions, with BOTH meanings bound up in the same sentence. Amazing.

“If anyone says, ‘I love God,’ and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother” (1Jn 4:20-21). This verse always reminds me to search my heart and take every thought captive, especially the thoughts I have toward those that seem to be my “enemies.”

Daily Scripture readings for April, set #18:

- Ezekiel, chapters 45-47
Job 16
John 12:1-11
1 John 5:1-5

“You shall do the same on the seventh day of the month for anyone who has sinned through error or ignorance; so you shall make atonement for the temple” (Ez 45:20). Apparently ignorance is not an excuse for sin in Ezekiel-era Israel. A sin committed unknowingly was still a sin.

“Even now, my witness is in heaven, and he who testifies for me is on high” (Job 16:19). This verse comes on the heels of verses 11-18, where Job credits God for all of his afflictions. So Job knows that God is sovereign over his pain, and yet still views God as his advocate/witness/testifier.

“The poor you always have with you, but you do not always have me” (John 12:8). This is a commonly misunderstood verse. Jesus is not trying to make some sort of existential declaration that poor people will always exist. Rather, he is stating that the opportunity to help the poor is something that we as Christians will have on a regular basis. We can always help the poor. We are not short on situations where the poor need our assistance. We should approach each day knowing that there will be poor people who need our aid.

“For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome” (1Jn 5:3). Loving God means keeping his commandments, but we must also see the commandments as not simply an obligation.

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