Daily Scripture readings for April, set #25:
“Fear not, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart to understand and humbled yourself before your God, your words have been heard, and I have come because of your words. The prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me twenty-one days, but Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I was left there with the kings of Persia” (Dan 10:12-14). If we are to define “spiritual warfare” as conflict in the spiritual realm that is largely off the radar of the human realm, then this text is one of the more interesting accounts I’ve ever found. Situation summary: Daniel begins “praying” (humbling himself and setting his heart to understand), an angel is immediately sent to “answer” him, the angel is delayed in some sort of battle with the “prince of the kingdom of Persia,” another more senior-ranking angel (Michael) comes to aid the first angel, and the message eventually gets to Daniel. That is fascinating to me.
“Agree with God, and be at peace; thereby good will come to you” (Job 22:21). I think I understand Eliphaz’s argument correctly. He is basically saying that Job’s suffering means that Job has sinned, and if he would just stop sinning then clear and visible blessings would come to him instead of his very clear and visible suffering. If this is indeed what Eliphaz is implying then Eliphaz has probably been hanging out with prosperity gospel preachers, because that is classic health and wealth logic.
“By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (Jn 13:35). This is one of my favorite verses. It’s just so straight-forward and so compelling. Ever wonder how you might go about declaring to “all people” that you are a disciple of Jesus? Answer: John 13:35.
“And have mercy on those who doubt” (Jude, vs 22). Why? Why should we have mercy on those who doubt? Is it maybe because we too once doubted, and even still sometimes doubt? Is it because if not for the Spirit’s work in opening our eyes we would all STILL doubt? Yes. Have mercy on those who doubt.
Daily Scripture readings for May, set #1:
“And the Lord said, ‘Call his name Not My People, for you are not my people, and I am not your God.’ Yet the number of the children of Israel shall be like the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured or numbered. And in the place where it was said to them, ‘You are not my people,’ it shall be said to them, ‘Children of the living God.'” (Hos 1:9-10). The people of Israel had sinned enough to deserve verse 9. Verse 10, then, is the definition of mercy. Along these lines, consider verse 23 of chapter 2: “And I will have mercy on No Mercy, and I will say to Not My People, ‘You are my people’; and he shall say, ‘You are my God.'”
“I would lay my case before him and fill my mouth with arguments. I would know what he would answer me and understand what he would say to me” (Job 23:4-5). This is my attempt at a paraphrase of what Job is saying here: “I wish God and I could just sit down and talk this out. I’d present to him my way of seeing things and I know that he’d agree with me. My way of looking at this situation is definitely the best way and I don’t think God would be able to change my mind on that.” It’s… well… pretty arrogant. PERHAPS Job didn’t deserve the suffering that he went through, but he definitely deserves the verbal rebuke that he gets at the end of the book.
“Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority, but the Father who dwells in me does his works. Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or else believe on account of the works themselves” (Jn 14:9-11). This is some SERIOUS doctrine of the Trinity right here.
“The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show to his servants the things that must soon take place. He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John, who bore witness to the word of God and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, even to all that he saw” (Rev 1:1-2). So then, the book of Revelation is God’s Word, via an angel, and recorded by John. That’s pretty straight forward. Unfortunately, it’s uncomfortably similar to what Joseph Smith claimed. What do we do with that similarity?