Ezra 4:24-6:22 ~ 1 Corinthians 3:5-23 ~ Psalm 29:1-11 ~ Proverbs 20:26-27
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Old Testament - We have great readings today in Ezra about the completion of the second Temple! Note that this second Temple, which was completed on March 12, 516 B.C., is the same Temple that existed during Jesus' ministry. This second Temple was then destroyed by Roman armies in 70 A.D. This second Temple was a lot smaller than the first Temple built by Solomon. And less ornate. And the big thing of course was that this second Temple did not have the Ark of the Covenant nor the tablets of the Law, as these were believed to have been destroyed when Nebuchadnezzar burned Jerusalem in 586 B.C. Nonetheless, the completion of the second Temple was a great cause of celebration for the Israelites who had returned from exile! Below is a model of this second Temple:
New Testament - This may be a somewhat of a controversial reflection here, but I'd like to put it out for discussion. Please feel free to let me know your thoughts in the Comments section of the blog below. Today's readings in First Corinthians made me think about all of our various Christian church denominations that we have in our world today. In our readings today, some followed Paul. Some followed Apollos. Some followed Peter. And in our churches today, some follow Calvin. Some follow Wesley. Some follow Knox. And so on. And I guess I just wonder would the church today look any differently today if we simply all followed Jesus? I don't mean to knock denominations here per se. I myself go to a church affiliated with a denomination. I just pray that each of us could look beyond our denominations and look fully toward Jesus. And that we come to realize that no matter what our denominations, we are brothers and sisters through faith in our Lord Jesus. We inherit eternal life through God's grace and our faith in Jesus. We all - no matter our denomination - are "the church" through our faith in Jesus as Lord and Savior. As Paul teaches us in First Corinthians 3:21-23 - "So don’t boast about following a particular human leader. For everything belongs to you—whether Paul or Apollos or Peter, or the world, or life and death, or the present and the future. Everything belongs to you, and you belong to Christ, and Christ belongs to God."
Psalms - Psalm 29 today is a beautiful hymn of praise to God the Creator! Verses 3 and 4 are awesome - "The voice of the LORD echoes above the sea. The God of glory thunders. The voice of the LORD is powerful; the voice of the LORD is full of majesty." And verse 2 is something for each of us to joyfully obey - "Give honor to the LORD for the glory of his name. Worship the LORD in the splendor of his holiness." Amen!
Proverbs: Proverbs 20:27 today is a powerful teaching: "The Lord’s light penetrates the human spirit, exposing every hidden motive." I love this thought! God's Light penetrates our human spirits, exposing our hidden motives. And this is a very good thing! I believe that most all of us have some "blind spots" in our lives. Blind spots meaning we have sins or issues or motives or bad habits that we don't even know we have! We're blind to them. And God's light - His Light of the world, Jesus - can expose these hidden things to us! I think sometimes this can happen via solitary prayer or worship. However, I think this can also often happen through brothers and sisters in Christ who we ask to point out any blind spots to us. Have you ever asked anyone in your life to point out a blind spot? Was this painful? Was it ultimately helpful to you? Do you think you have any blind spots in your life today? Will you ask someone who knows you well if you have any blind spots?
Worship God: Psalm 29 today reminded me of Chris Tomlin's song "Indescribable." Here's a great live version of this song sung by Avalon:
Do you know our Indescribable God? Click here for His description!
Please join us in memorizing and meditating on a verse of Scripture today: "Don't you know that you yourselves are God's temple and that God's Spirit lives in you?" 1 Corinthians 3:16 NIV
Prayer Point: Pray in thanksgiving that if you are in a saving relationship with Jesus Christ that you yourself are God's temple. Pray in thanksgiving that God's Spirit lives within you! Pray that you will not grieve the Spirit through any sort of abuse or neglect of your body, God's temple.
Comments from You & Questions of the Day: What verses or insights stand out to you in today's readings? Please post up by clicking on the "Comments" link below!