Daily Scripture readings for February, set #15:
A few months ago I went to Poland to play music on a missions trip with my friend Elizabeth Hunnicutt. She’s a great writer and vocalist, and she LOVES Isaiah… meaning, she’s written at least 3 tunes straight out of that book. This one is based on Isaiah 41:10. “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” The combination of music and Scripture is always so moving to me.
“A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls” (Prov 25:28). Goold paraphrase: Letting your emotions/desires run the show leaves you vulnerable.
“But they were urgent, demanding with loud cries that he should be crucified” (Luke 23:23). Why the urgency? Why the demanding and the loud cries? Christ brings out passionate responses, either in love or hatred.
“By this the Holy Spirit indicates that the way into the holy places is not yet opened as long as the first section is still standing, which is symbolic for the present age” (Heb 9:8). Implicit in this verse is the acknowledgement that, with Jesus, something happened with regard to “age” – a changing of the guard, an inauguration of a Kingdom. He did not merely pay the ransom for sin or defeat death, but ushered in a new era.
Daily Scripture readings for February, set #16:
Why does God forgive us? For whose sake does he blot out our transgression? “I, I am he who blots out your transgressions for my own sake, and I will not remember your sins” (Isa 43:25).
The first half of Proverbs 16 is verse after verse of unflattering description for fools, and defines a fool this way: “The sluggard is wiser in his own eyes than seven men who can answer sensibly” (vs 16). Lesson: Thinking that I am wise might actually be a sign that I am indeed a fool.
“But turning to them Jesus said, ‘Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children'” (Luke 23:28). Think of how disheartening this must have sounded to those that believed Jesus to be a military Messiah, freeing Israel from the political oppression of Rome. It is truly remarkable, then, that the early Christians continued believing Jesus to be the TRUE Messiah. He must have done something REALLY incredible, more compelling than leading a successful rebellion. For example, rising from the dead.
“For if the blood of goats and bulls, and the sprinkling of defiled persons with the ashes of a heifer, sanctify for the purification of the flesh, how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works TO SERVE THE LIVING GOD” (Heb 9:13-14). I put that last part in all caps because it’s not where my mind expects the logic of these verses to go. The “Sunday school” ending would probably swap out the all caps part for a phrase like, “so that we can all go to heaven” or something. The purpose of purification: serving God.