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Building burned, builder saved. I want a fireproof building.

Good day 🙂  Yesterday I had surprised jury duty and it took all day. I missed reading and blogging. So today I read Psalm 94, 95, Daniel 4, 5, and 1 Corinthians 3-6.

In Daniel I read a letter written by Nebuchadnezzar. He is telling the people how Daniel predicted his future, how he would become like an animal for 7 years until he recognizes that God is the one who rules all things and is the one who has put Nebuchadnezzar in power. After all of these things happen Nebuchadnezzar seems to become a believer in God. He ends the letter, or I think it is the end of the letter anyway, with this in verse 37, “Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, give praise and honor and glory to the King of heaven. Everything he does is right and fair, and he is able to make proud people humble.”

Nebuchadnezzar’s son, Belshazzar, comes into power and he does not honor God. He sees a hand writing on a wall and, calls Daniel to tell him what the writing says. Daniel says his kingdom will be divided and given to the Medes and the Persians. That night he was killed and King Darius of the Medes became the new king.

Some interesting stuff is in 4:8 we are told that Nebuchadnezzar called Daniel Belteshazzar to honor his god. I see, too, that Nebuchadnezzar named his son Belshazzar, which looks similar to Belteshazzar. But maybe these are totally different names like Glen and Glenda. Or maybe they are really similar like spelling Brian like that or like this: Bryan. Anyway, it is just interesting to me. I notice Nebuchadnezzar’s wife tells her king son about Daniel, explaining how the king gave him a new Babylonian name. When he meets Daniel he actually calls him Daniel. And why didn’t he know about Daniel already? Anyway, this stuff doesn’t really matter but I find it interesting.

I wanted to mention I read Psalm 94 today and 1 Corinthians 3. They were both on the schedule to be read yesterday, so the same day! The reason I mention this is because Paul quotes Psalm 94:11 in 1 Corinthians 3:20! How cool is that!!! The verse says, Psalm 94:11, “The LORD knows what people think. He knows their thoughts are just a puff of wind.” 

I also wanted to mention some things I read from Paul today. He says in 1 Corinthians 3:11-15 that the foundation is Jesus and people can build on that foundation. Verse 12 says, “But if people build on that foundation, using gold, silver, jewels, wood, grass, or straw,….” He says their work will be tested with fire, and will be burned up. However, there are some that will build on their foundations and when the fire comes their building will remain standing. This next verse is an interesting and important part of this. Verse 15 says, “But if the building is burned up, the builder will suffer loss. The builder will be saved, but it will be as one who escaped from a fire.” This tells me that some who do not build a life that is pleasing to God, but still have the foundation of Jesus will be saved but will suffer loss. He doesn’t list items that would withstand the fire though. However, he does talk about it later. In 4:4 he says, “I know of no wrong I have done, but this does not make me right before the Lord. The Lord is the One who judges me.” So Paul is saying he hasn’t done anything wrong, but living a good life is not what makes him right before God. And in 6:11, I believe he explains what does make someone right before God, he says, “….You were made holy, and you were made right with God in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.” So having Jesus as a foundation means eternal life and we are right with God. How we build on it does not determine if we are saved or not, but will determine whether we survive the testing fire and if we end up suffering loss or not. I believe Paul is talking about two different things here. 1. Salvation through Jesus, which makes us right with God, and his promise to give us eternal life. 2. Living a pleasing life, God likes this but it does not make us right with him. How we live when we have Jesus as a foundation will be tested with fire, it may burn and it may survive. If it burns we will suffer loss. What kind of loss? I don’t know and I don’t want to know. A life that stands that test of fire is the kind of life I want to live. One that pleases God and one that God can use. Paul says in 4:5, talking about when judgment comes, that Jesus “…will bring to light things that are now hidden in darkness, and he will make known the secret purposes of people’s hearts. Then God will praise each one of them. ”

So our motives for doing things will be part of the building materials that are tested with the fire. Wow.

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Invited but not clothed properly, does this equal holy but not living a holy life?

Happy Tuesday 🙂 Today I read 1 Corinthians 1, 2, Psalm 93, and Daniel 3.

In Daniel I read about Daniel’s buddies being thrown into the furnace because they would not worship the statue that Nebuchadnezzar put up. When they are questioned about this they tell Nebuchadnezzar that they will only worship the one true God, that they will be protected from the flames, and even if they do die in the fire they would rather die honoring God than to bow down to a false God. It is pretty cool because Nebuchadnezzar made the flames 7 times hotter and when the guards threw Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah (Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego) into the furnace they were killed by the flames. I guess that’s not pretty cool, but it is amazing how hot the furnace was. Anyway, Nebuchadnezzar sees four people walking around in the flames. He recognizes right away that the God of these three men has not let them be burned in the fire. He calls them out and praises God. He announces that no one can say anything against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.

In Corninthians I had one verse pop out at me. It is 1 Cor. 1:30, it says, “ Because of God you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God. In Christ we are put right with God, and have been made holy, and have been set free from sin.” For some reason this made me think about the story that Jesus taught where the invited folks didn’t come to a wedding party so they went out on the streets and invited anyone they could find. Then one man who came to the party wasn’t wearing the right clothing and the king, who was throwing the party, asked him why he wasn’t wearing wedding clothes. The man didn’t answer. The story ends like this in Matthew 22:13-14, “So the king told some servants, ‘Tie this man’s hands and feet. Throw him out into the darkness, where people will cry and grind their teeth with pain.’ 14 “Yes, many are invited, but only a few are chosen.”” I’ve wondered about this story before and we know this man was thrown out after being invited because he wasn’t wearing the clothes that were appropriate for where he was. In the verse in 1 Corinthians it says in Christ we have been made holy. Like the guy invited to the wedding, we are holy. But he wasn’t wearing the right clothes, and I am thinking perhaps we can be holy and at the same time behave as if we are not. Like being at the party with the wrong clothes on. Yikes. I don’t believe this affects our salvation because we are saved by faith and faith alone. Meaning if we believe that Jesus, God in person, lived and died as a substitute for us, then we are saved. But there are consequences to our sin that must be dealt with. God forgives our sin, Jesus died with the weight of our sin on us, and we are made clean and saved from eternal death. But what about sins that we haven’t fessed up to, or taking God’s grace for granted, or living a life entirely for ourselves, and the list goes on? We can do all of those things and be saved but I believe we are still accountable. In Matthew we are told we will be accountable for every careless word that we have said.  In Proverbs we are told that whoever obeys the commands protects themselves but the careless will die. And in Jeremiah we just read how God punishes people for the evil that they do, giving them the full punishment they deserve. 

If anyone has any other thoughts I’d like to hear them 🙂

God reveals the dream to Daniel.

Hello!!! Today I read Acts 18, Psalm 92, Proverbs 19, and Daniel 2. I’ve just about caught up except I haven’t read the book of James yet and I see that was on the schedule at the beginning of October. It feels good to be on schedule again…well, almost 🙂

I didn’t blog about the ending of Jeremiah so I will say a little today. The last chapters are about how Babylon will be punished and then some facts about how Jerusalem was actually captured. The chapter about Jerusalem and the information there can also be read in 2 Kings 25. Something I also noticed about the book of Jeremiah is that it is out of order and jumps around in time quite a bit. Not sure why, and it makes it a bit confusing, but that is what I noticed.

In Acts I read about Paul going to Corinth. It says the people there did not receive him well and said evil things. But during the night God said to Paul to stay there and continue to talk to them because, verse 10, “….many of my people are in this city.”  Paul stayed for 18 months.

I noticed at the beginning of the chapter, talking about Aquila and Priscilla, they had lived Italy and moved to Corinth because Claudius, the emperor of Rome at that time, commanded the Jews to leave Rome. The footnote in my bible says that Claudius ruled from AD 41-54. This is just a passing statement but a huge statement. The Jews were forced to leave Rome. Wow. Maybe I should know this already.

Over in Daniel, I read about Daniel praying to know Nebuchadnezzar’s dream and God did reveal the dream and what the dream meant to him. I like how he gives God the credit and does not brag that he knows it all. He tells the king in 2:30, “God also told this secret to me, not because I have greater wisdom than any other living person, but so that you may know what it means. In that way you will understand what went through your mind.”

Something else that is interesting to me in the book of Daniel is all the Jewish captives have been given new Babylonian names, or at least some of them have. I am guessing they have renamed everyone. Anyway, Daniel’s new name is Belteshazzar and his three buddies’: Hananiah’s new name is Shadrach, Mishael’s is Meshach, and Azariah’s is Abednego. What is interesting to me is that we all know Daniel as Daniel, his Hebrew name. But the other three we know as their Babylonian names. Why is this?

 

Blown away by these dudes and how stupid they are…

Good morning, today I read 1 Thessalonians 1-3 and a lot in Jeremiah, 42-50.

I noticed in 1 Thessalonians that Timothy was sent to them as he was sent to the people in Philippi. I hadn’t noticed that before.

In Jeremiah, the people left in Judah are afraid now because their governor had just been killed by Ishmael, a man from the Ammonites. The people are afraid of Babylon because this governor had been appointed by Nebuchadnezzar. So they are running off to Egypt but they stop on the way to talk to Jeremiah. They ask Jeremiah to ask the LORD for them where they should go. They say they will listen and do whatever God tells them through Jeremiah. Ten days later Jeremiah hears a word from the LORD and he tells Jeremiah to tell the people to go back to Judah. If they go back to Judah everything will be fine, but if they continue on to Egypt then they will die. Jeremiah tells them and their response is, Jeremiah 43:2, “…They said to Jeremiah, “You are lying! The LORD our God did not send you to say, ‘You must not go to Egypt to live there.'” So they went anyway and they took Jeremiah with them! I imagine they took him by force, and maybe God warned Jeremiah this would happen, but it doesn’t say. Once in Egypt Jeremiah hears from the LORD how Babylon will come and overtake Egypt. So bizarre how they said they would listen and then they thought Jeremiah was lying. The rest of the chapters were to specific countries, cities, and even one tribe. Saying how they will be destroyed, some to return again and some never to return. Chapter 50 is addressed to Babylon and it’s fate is not good. God will punish them and destroy them. It continues in the next chapter too, so more on that tomorrow.

LORD, I am amazed at these people when I read what they say then what they end up believing and doing. It makes me wonder how often I do this myself. I would like to think that I ask you and listen to you and do what you say, but I am thinking I am probably just like these dumb folks that just talked to Jeremiah. Please forgive me when I don’t ask you for direction and when I don’t follow when I know what your answer is. Help me to hear you clearly and give me the strength to do things your way. I know your way is always the best, I just need to put you first. Thank you Lord Jesus, Amen.

Paul encourages the Philippian believers.

Good morning, today I read Philippians 1-4, Acts 17, and Jeremiah 39-41.

In Jeremiah I read about how the Babylonians captured Jerusalem. I read how Jeremiah was given a choice to go with the Babylonians or stay in Judah with the appointed governor Gedaliah. Jeremiah chose to stay with the governor who told the people to work their land and serve the Babylonians. He said he would speak for them as their governor and everything would go well for them. The people did this and all was going as planned until a guy named Ishmael killed Gedaliah. Ishmael was an Ammonite sent from the king of the Ammonites at that time. I’m not sure why the Ammonites wanted this governor dead…it’s like they went up against the Babylonians really.

In Philippians I read how Paul is encouraging the Philippian believers to grow more and more in their faith so they can understand what is good and bad and choose the good. He says in things that they do not agree on that God will make the truth clear to them. He talks about how the evil people around them, the enemies of Jesus, will be destroyed. He says these evil people do whatever their bodies want and are proud of their shameful acts. This sounds like it could be written today huh. It says they only think about earthly things. Paul contrasts how our homeland is in heaven. He doesn’t say so we should be thinking of the things of heaven, but I am pretty sure he is getting that point across. And we know that we are told to think about what God allows in heaven, and to do those things on earth, many times throughout scripture.

At the end of Philippians Paul is signing off and he is mentioning folks that are sending their greetings also. He mentions God’s people from the palace of Caesar. Interesting. I notice we never hear about Paul actually going in front of Caesar, we only hear that he was given his own rented house, but kept under guard or something like that. Anyway, he apparently knows people, or helped them to become believers, that work at Caesar’s palace.

Paul’s behavior explained… I think.

Hello, today I read Acts 16 and Psalms 87-89.

In Acts, this is the part where Paul takes Timothy and circumcises him. The reason he does this is to please Timothy’s mother, who was Jewish, and her people. So I have wondered this before, and I mentioned it in this blog before, but why did Paul circumcise Timothy when he is preaching that circumcision wasn’t necessary anymore? It says he did this to please Timothy’s mother and her people, so Paul did this to please the Jewish folks who believe it is necessary. I also have a new question about this whole scenario. If Timothy’s mother is Jewish then why wasn’t Timothy circumcised when he was a baby? There has to be more to the story than we know. We are told his father was Greek, sooooo maybe they were living where his father was from so they didn’t circumcise babies? Maybe his mother wanted it to happen but it didn’t. So how come now that Timothy is…..well, I don’t know how old he is, but I am guessing he has to be either an older teenager or a young adult. But anyway, he is now being circumcised to please his mother and her people? And Paul does this circumcision? Hmmm. I just wonder about it since Paul wrote his letter to the Galatians and his point in the letter was, Galatians 6:15, “It is not important if a man is circumcised or uncircumcised. The important thing is being the new people God has made.” But that letter was to non-Jewish believers.

But I may have my answer in 1 Corinthians. Paul says he makes himself a slave to all people to win as many as he can. 9:20 says, “To the Jews I became like a Jew to win the Jews. I myself am not ruled by the law. But to those who are ruled by the law I became like a person who is ruled by the law. I did this to wind those who are ruled by the law.”

So that really explains it I think anyway!

Grace

Hello, today I read Galatians 1, 2, Psalm 83, 84, and Jeremiah 32.

Galatians is a letter to the believers that live in Galatia. It is written by Paul and the believers with him. In Acts I just read about how the Jewish believers were having fits about the non-Jewish believers, saying they must be circumcised and follow the laws of Moses. I also read how the apostles got together and wrote a letter explaining how the law was a heavy burden no one could follow and how everyone is saved by grace because of the sacrifice of Jesus. So this letter to the Galatians makes me think this may be one of the letters. It is just more detailed than Acts mentions. The letter is saying the same things, in 2:3-4 it says, “Titus was with me, but he was not forced to be circumcised, even though he was a Greek. We talked about this problem because some false believers had come into our group secretly. They came in like spies to overturn the freedom we have in Christ Jesus. They wanted to make us slaves.” And then about the law too, verse 2:16 says, “Yet we know that a person is made right with God not by following the law, but by trusting in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus, that we might be made right with God because we trusted in Christ. It is not because we followed the law, because no one can be made right with God by following the law.” So if this is not one of the letters mentioned in Acts it just shows me that the understanding that Jesus freed us from all of those laws was a difficult concept to accept for the Jewish folks. I suppose this is still the case today. 

LORD, thank you for freeing me from the laws. I choose to live a life that is pleasing to you, but I am thankful that I don’t have to offer an animal to do it. I know my words, thoughts, and actions are what I need to offer to you every second of my life.

Blessings beyond comprehension :)

Hello, today I read Jeremiah 26-31 and Psalms 81 and 82.

In Jeremiah, he is telling the people to change their hearts and lives but the priests and prophets want to kill him. Jeremiah says if they do what God wants then God will change his mind and not punish them as he has said is going to happen. The priests send officers to take Jeremiah away but the officers believe what Jeremiah is saying is from God, so they don’t take him. Then the elders mention how Micah said the same things Jeremiah is saying now and the king at that time changed his ways and God changed his mind and didn’t bring on disaster. Uriah was another prophet that came to warn, but he was killed and the warnings took place. A few times in the reading today Nebuchadnezzar

A few times in the reading today Nebuchadnezzar was mentioned again as being a servant that God was going to use to capture the people of Judah, but it also said the wild animals would even obey him. Wow, that is so interesting.

Another thing that caught my eye was in chapter 27, it says that the nations who put themselves under the control of Babylon will stay in their own countries and farm their own land. If they weren’t taken captive they were supposed to place themselves under the control of Babylon. Interesting. Remember the figs, the rotten ones and the good ones? The rotten figs are mentioned again as the ones who stayed in Jerusalem and did not go with their relatives to Babylon. So I am wondering if they stayed and didn’t put themselves under the control of Babylon? Because I just read how if they did put themselves under their control that they would be staying in their own countries and farming their own land, but some who stayed are called rotten figs….Hmmm. Yep, the rotten figs must be revolting against the captivity and the surrender to Babylon.

Jeremiah sends a letter to those who are captive and living in Babylon. This letter is in chapter 29, verses 2-23. It is an encouraging letter telling the people that God will restore them after 70 years. In this letter are some well-known verses. One being 29:11(NIV), “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” and verse 13(NIV), “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” This is pretty cool to see the content around these verses. God’s promises to his people that he will restore them and he will be there for them when they return to him.

Some other things I thought were pretty neat include some stuff from chapter 30. God tells Jeremiah to write a book of everything he has told him. I am pretty sure I am reading that book right now. This chapter continues talking about how God will restore Israel and how it is all part of God’s plan. Verse 11(NCV) says, “”I am with you and will save you,” says the Lord“I will completely destroy all those nations where I scattered you, but I will not completely destroy you. I will punish you fairly, but I will still punish you.”” This all being God’s plan is mentioned in verse 24. 

Chapter 31 is Israel moaning to God and recognizing how stupid they have been. Verse 19 says, “LORD, after I wandered away from you, I changed my heart and life. After I understood, I beat my breast with sorrow. I was ashamed and disgraced, because I suffered for the foolish thing I did when I was younger.” God talks about the new agreement, which is so totally awesome to read here in Jeremiah! He says the time is coming when the new agreement will be put in place. Verse 33 says, ““This is the agreement I will make with the people of Israel at that time,” says the Lord:  “I will put my teachings in their minds and write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people.” Verse 34 says he will not remember their sins anymore. Well, we know the rest of the new agreement! Because it applies to us, the non-Israelite folks, too! Remember Peter said all people are the same to God, the Jew and the non-Jew? And we know that Jesus came and he started the new agreement. We believe he died for us and through him, we have eternal life and our sins can be forgiven. We have the gift of the Holy Spirit which helps us to understand and to know the mind of God. 🙂

And in Psalm 81 I read the heart of God again, it is a Psalm of Asaph. I wish I knew the timeline of his writing but God’s heart and hopes for us are always the same so I guess the timeline really doesn’t matter. Anyway, verse 13 says, “I wish my people would listen to me; I wish Israel would live my way.” See! God has a plan, he has a hopeful future for all of us, we just need to listen to him and do things his way. How do we hear him and know how to do things his way? Well, he gave us a helper, the Holy Spirit, who helps us understand. We receive the Holy Spirit when we believe what Jesus did for us, this begins our relationship with him who is fully God and fully man. And, reading the words he has given us, recognizing how these examples are here for us to learn from, and then thinking before we speak and act. And, this relationship with God is open communication, we can ask God directly what we are supposed to do and what we are to say at any given time.

We don’t have to do anything for our salvation except believe. But living a life that is pleasing to God should be a priority for any believer. That is what I think anyway. And from what I read over and over again a life that is pleasing to God is one that he enjoys blessing beyond comprehension!!!

“Saved by the grace of the Lord Jesus.” ~Peter

Good morning 🙂 Today I read Acts 15, Psalms 79, 80, and Jeremiah 25. Yep, I am still behind, but I am going to keep plugging along 🙂

In Jeremiah, I am continuing to read about how Babylon is going to come and make the people of Judah slaves. This is God’s plan and he is using king Nebuchadnezzar to fulfill it. A timeline is given in verse 11, it says they will be slaves of the king of Babylon for 70 years. Then after that God will punish the king of Babylon and his entire nation for their evil. So interesting how God is using Babylon and then punishing Babylon later. Maybe because they don’t recognize God’s sovereignty and that he is always in control when they think they are, and that they have conquered the people of Israel on their own merit.

In Acts, I read about how the apostles have been shown that salvation is to be offered to all people, not only the Jews. First, Paul is told that he is to preach to non-Jewish people, and then Peter is told that all people are the same to God. Now I am reading that the Jewish people are starting to say that the non-Jewish folks should be circumcised as well as follow the laws of Moses. So the apostles and the elders of the churches gather together to talk about what was happening. They talk about how the Holy Spirit was given to the non-Jewish people just like it was given to them. Verse 11 says, “But we believe that we and they too will be saved by the grace of the Lord Jesus.”  They say the heavy load of the laws of Moses was given to their ancestors, and they could not carry the load, so why now put this heavy load on the non-Jewish believers? They came to the conclusion that they will write a letter saying some things they should follow, such as, verse 29, “Stay away from any food that has been offered to idols, eating any animals that have been strangled, and blood, and any kind of sexual sin.” I wonder if they wrote this letter just to satisfy the Jews that were having a fit about the new believers? Hmmm.

 

Good figs and rotten figs…

Hello, Today I read Acts 14, Psalm 76-78, and Jeremiah 23-24.

In Jeremiah, we are continuing to read how the people are going to be captured. God is talking about how the prophets are not speaking words from him but their own words. It says they did not stand in the meeting of the angels. I wonder what that means exactly??? But God goes on and says in 23:22, “But if they had stood in the meeting of the angels, they would have told my message to my people. They would have turned the people from their evil ways and from doing evil.” God says he will destroy these false prophets. Another interesting thing in Jeremiah today is in chapter 24. God talks about good figs and bad figs. He shows Jeremiah two baskets, one of

Another interesting thing in Jeremiah today is in chapter 24. God talks about good figs and bad figs. He shows Jeremiah two baskets, one of good figs and one of rotten figs. It doesn’t say it was a vision, so I guess they were real baskets. God says the people who are captured and taken to Babylon are like the good figs. 24:8-9 talks about the rotten figs. It says, ““‘But the bad figs are too rotten to eat.’ So this is what the Lord says: ‘Zedekiah king of Judah, his officers, and all the people from Jerusalem who are left alive, even those who live in Egypt, will be like those rotten figs. I will make those people hated as an evil people by all the kingdoms of the earth. People will make fun of them and tell jokes about them and point fingers at them and curse them everywhere I scatter them.” This is so interesting because we see this today. We see the Israelites, or Jewish people, pointed at, joked about, and hated. Verse 10 is God continuing to talk about these rotten fig people, he says he will send war, hunger, and disease against them until they have all been killed. So I wonder if this process hasn’t been completed yet because we see the hate for the Jews nowadays across the globe?

In Psalms I read a few chapters, a few verses popped out at me. One was 76:10, it says, “People will praise you for your anger against evil. Those who live through your anger are stopped from doing more evil.” And in 78, there is a summary of how God provided for his people while they were in the desert. Verse 32 says they kept sinning and didn’t believe even with the miracles. It says that God ended their days without meaning, but he held back his anger many times because, and verse 39, this is the second one that popped out at me, “He remembered they were only human, like a wind that blows and does not come back.” Interesting…how sad to live a life without meaning.  I want a meaningful life, one that is meaningful to God anyway. And, I wonder about this last part because I am a human, but since I believe all God has done through Jesus, I am now a child of God and I know that my life will continue, unlike a wind that stops blowing. So did these old testament folks just live their earthly lives and then they were gone? We know that Moses and Elijah popped in with Jesus on the mountaintop that one time and Jesus said God is the God of the living, not of the dead, and that Abraham was alive too. So it is the evil, rotten fig, old testament people who God says are like a wind that stops blowing? Ones that wouldn’t believe the God who was providing for them miraculously? Anyway, it is interesting to think about and read about. And I know there is an eternal place of torment talked about for those who have not believed, but interesting that it is not mentioned here.