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God promises there will be JOY IN THE MORNING. I am not a morning person per se; I have had to become a morning person for most of my jobs. I go to bed around 11:00pm to midnight. I like to go to sleep with the Word in my heart, but I know it is good to start out your day that way also. The thing I would like to do is set aside a special time of at least 30 min. 3 times per day (praying on the rooftops as some did in Biblical days).

Mike, in regard to your/our pide issue, that is why the Word tells us to judge ourselves that we won't be judged. Introspecting & having checks in our spirits/conviction is what partly keeps us obedient & on the Narrow Path.

I've always been a morning person---bedtime at about 9pm. I find so much peace and beauty in the quiet of the early morning at 4 or 4:30. I can think, feel and absorb...my mind soars to God unemcumbered by the cares of the previous day. And the morning is fresh!

This is when I do my bible reading and my reflection ending with St. Francis' prayer "Lord make me an instrument of your peace..."

I like the line, Mike.
...the law is not the focus----Christ is!!! Lots of times, people are stuck with the law and are unable to go beyond it. Christ and His human-ness is what we should be focusing on in our lives.

The beatitudes indeed speak directly to our hearts. I like most----

"You're blessed when you found you lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you."

Having lost my husband (my best friend) years ago, and living in a foreign land at the time with a 2-year old baby----it certainly was the worst of times and the best of times but I found myself wrapped in faith and walking with God every step of the way. My daughter and I could not have survived through those difficult times if not for the gift of faith and genuine friendships. His constant love made all things possible!!!

MIke--I am a morning person. Even when I want to sleep in my body’s alarm clock begins ringing at 5am.

I do my reading time is in the morning. I have a second read through the bible program that I usually use first. Then I read a chapter in Proverb, and finaly a come to the BLOG.

What I post, whether A.M or P.M, usually comes out of my Devotion/quit time. When I read the Word in the morning, there seems to always be a verse, a passage or passages that dwell in my mind all day, which I then mediate on. I am a journaler and what I journal usually winds up here, or at least part of my thoughts get posted here.

Grace and peace,

Genesis 11-13:4

The whole earth had a common language and a common vocabulary. When the people moved eastward, they found a plain in Shinar and settled there. Then they said to one another, "Come, let's make bricks and bake them thoroughly." (They had brick instead of stone and tar instead of mortar.) Then they said, "Come, let's build ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the heavens so that we may make a name for ourselves. Otherwise we will be scattered across the face of the entire earth."
(Genesis 11:1-4 NET.)

Mike’s words about building a name for oneself has really hit home and has caused me to think about broken relationships held up to the light of the story of the tower of Babel. Could shattered relationships really be the product of trying to build a name for oneself? Are our us-four-and-no-more groups really be about lifting up ourselves to get a name? Did God come down and scatter the relationships because we were going in a direction we were not suppose to be going, up and not out?

On January 1st my first post began with a quote from the Book of Ecclesiastes,

Wisdom or money can get you almost anything, but it's important to know that only wisdom can save your life. Notice the way God does things; then fall into line. Don't fight the ways of God, for who can straighten out what he has made crooked?
Enjoy prosperity while you can. But when hard times strike, realize that both come from God. That way you will realize that nothing is certain in this life. (Ecclesiastes 7:12-14)

My focus was on the statement, Notice the way God does things; then fall into line. Funny how what comes out of our mouths, in this case, what is typed out on the keyboard, comes back to hold us accountable, ouch!

Grace and peace,

Now when Job’s three friends heard of all this adversity that had come upon him, each one came from his own place—Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite. FOR THEY HAD MADE AN APPOINTMENT TOGETHER TO COME AND MOURN WITH HIM, AND TO COMFORT HIM.
So they sat down with him on the ground seven days and seven nights, and no one spoke a word to him, for they saw that his grief was very great.

After this Job opened his mouth and cursed the day of his birth.
And Job spoke, and said:
“May the day perish on which I was born, And the night in which it was said, ‘A male child is conceived.’
May that day be darkness; May God above not seek it, Nor the light shine upon it.

My flesh is caked with worms and dust, My skin is cracked and breaks out afresh.
“My days are swifter than a weaver’s shuttle, And are spent without hope.
Oh, remember that my life is a breath! My eye will never again see good.

If I am condemned, Why then do I labor in vain?
If I wash myself with snow water, And cleanse my hands with soap,
Yet You will plunge me into the pit, And my own clothes will abhor me.
“For He is not a man, as I am, That I may answer Him, And that we should go to court together.
Nor is there any mediator between us, Who may lay his hand on us both.
Let Him take His rod away from me, And do not let dread of Him terrify me.
Then I would speak and not fear Him, But it is not so with me.

“My soul loathes my life; I will give free course to my complaint, I will speak in the bitterness of my soul.
I will say to God, ‘Do not condemn me; Show me why You contend with me.

“I am one mocked by his friends, Who called on God, and He answered him, The just and blameless who is ridiculed.

My daily reading is chronological. Historically, some Bible scholars say that Job lived around the time of the history of Genesis.

My summary of the above verses is this: God, for His own glory and our ultimate benefit, allows the devil to bring suffering into our lives. We do not like it, and—like Job—we may not always understand it.

REGARDING BEING A COUNSELOR TO OTHERS: May we speak the truth in love—but keep our mouths quiet until it is necessary to speak.

I CANNOT ADD ANYTHING BETTER than what the Lord Jesus said through James:

James 1 (NKJV)
So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath;
for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God.

James 5 (NKJV)
Do not grumble against one another, brethren, lest you be condemned. Behold, the Judge is standing at the door!
My brethren, take the prophets, who spoke in the name of the Lord, as an example of suffering and patience.
Indeed we count them blessed who endure. You have heard of the perseverance of Job and seen the end intended by the Lord—that the Lord is very compassionate and merciful.
But above all, my brethren, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or with any other oath. But let your “Yes” be “Yes,” and your “No,” “No,” lest you fall into judgment.

Also note Job 9 – NEED FOR MEDIATOR
Job wished there was a mediator between him and God—a mediator who was a man.
“For He is not a man, as I am, That I may answer Him, And that we should go to court together.
Nor is there any mediator between us, Who may lay his hand on us both.
Let Him take His rod away from me, And do not let dread of Him terrify me.
Then I would speak and not fear Him, But it is not so with me.

WE DO HAVE THE MEDIATOR! We do not have to fear life or fear God. I meet people all of the time who do not have a personal relationship with Jesus who are not sure if there is a God. If there is a God, many are afraid of Him because they judge Him by all of the tragedies in the world. They are afraid.


“Oh what needless pain we bear. All because we do not carry everything to God in prayer”.


What am I doing during my devotional time to set my mind and heart on God? At the suggestion of a Bible Study leader and dear friend, I light a candle. That represents God's presence to me and helps me to keep focus.

Mike --
i'm a nightowl so i love the fact that you post the next day's reading late at night. i'll read it just before bed. for the morning, my devotional life is centered in the daily office, which is similar to the above readings, (ot, psalm, gospel, letter) but in the context of a worship liturgy. if you'd like more info check out http://www.missionstclare.com/english/index.html or http://www.saint-luke.org/


rev slick

Just read a commentary that observed that when God called Abram to the Canaan - it was a very indirect route - though it led him by life-sustaining rivers. We may take longer routes, but as long as we stay by God's word, - even if the route is longer, we'll be OK.
Then, also - Abram got there - then there was famine! Abram then used his intelligence and went to Egypt for a time - but then returned to where he knew God wanted him to be. Hmmmmm - see more application. God's word is always true!

Matthew 5:17-18 have special meaning for me since 3 years ago I came out of a legalistic and abusive religious organization where the 'law' was everything - to the exclusion of the grace and love of god. That is one reason why this Bible study is a wonderful experience for me. And I very much appreciate your commentary on the ceremonial, civil, and moral aspects of the law. There are VERY MANY people out there who have had experiences like mine who need to hear this. For many reasons they will not take part in this study and that is sad. You can say they are 'snake-bit' and need much prayer to recover from the bondage of legalism. From time to time as the Spirit of God leads, I will share the comments here with those of them who will hear it.

> what do you do in the morning to set your mind and heart on God?

I'm not as consistent as I'd like to be, but I often start by chatting and singing to God. I usually go straight to the shower in a rather sleepy state and start singing something worshipful. Then as I start to come round that usually develops into a thankful dialogue with Jesus.

Some mornings I go for a run first. When I started running again a few years ago, I asked Holy Spirit to be my running partner. There's many times I slow down my pace enough to chat with Him or to worship, and there's many times on my run I hear from Him or experience visions.

But I (try to) always sit down for half an hour or so after my shower with a cup of hot tea and my Bible in a quiet and peaceful household (the kids are still sleeping). I ask God to lead me in those times. Sometimes I'm led to pray, sometimes I'm led to my Bible, sometimes I scribble furiously as I tune in to God's words for me for the day.

The thing I really want to do is establish an awareness of God's presence for the whole day. I don't always do so well, but I'm improving.

I'm trying to fit the One Year Bible plan into additional time that adds to, rather than replaces, my exisitng time with God (I wrote a little more about that at http://www.madetopraisehim.com/item/318). It's been fairly easy during the holidays but I think when I get back to work next week I'll need to make an appointment in my diary each day, perhaps on many occasions it will be last thing before I go to bed.


In the mornings I read a different scripture and try to reflect on it during the day. I also subscribed to Klove's daily devotional scriptures. It's amazing how often it comes into use at work.

Manual link until Trackbacks are working:

"Jesus summarized the Old Testament Law - in all its forms: the Ten Commandments, Mosaic Law, Prophets, etc. - as “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your mind, and all your strength” and “Love your neighbor as yourself.” In fact, I would go so far as to say that Christ perfected the Law in these two commands. After all, what was Old Testament Law, but an imperfect and imcomplete code by which to fulfill these two commands? As Christ points out in the Sermon on the Mount, fulfillment of His Ultimate Command - Love - goes much beyond the Law than any human could ever possibly fulfill on his own, as Jesus implied when He said, “For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.” The Pharisees followed the Law in the utmost legalistic sense; yet Jesus indicates here that without faith in the One to whom the Law pointed, true righteousness could not be attained."

CB - trackbacks appear work fine. It's just the autodetection that's broken. I sent an email to Mike about what I believe to be the cause of the problem.

I see you're using WordPress 2.0. So am I. From the "Write Post" page, there should be an expandable area where you can manually paste in the trackback URL.

Mark H. said: "When I started running again a few years ago, I asked Holy Spirit to be my running partner. There's many times I slow down my pace enough to chat with Him or to worship, and there's many times on my run I hear from Him or experience visions."

I know how precious this experience/relationship is...when jogging I talk to Him & hear from Him also. I really miss it now because when I get off work, it is too dark to go jog. Those are very special times between He & I & I especially miss jogging with Him & talking to Him also.

I truly know how you feel...He is a very loving jogging partner to jog with!

I've really enjoyed reading everyones posts today. I don't always have time to reply, but I thought today I would comment on how important posts are. This is our fellowship. Because we are doing this bible study online it would be very impersonal if no one ever responded.

Jan, I like your thoughts on running, I'm a runner too and find it to be a very spiritual time to connect with God in addition to praying at a certain times. Mornings are a good time to pray for me to start out the day. I read through this study whenever I have a chance. I works swings so mornings are usually best for reading too.

Ramona, thanks for that verse in Ecclesiastics 7:12-14 It remindes us that both prosperity and hard times are from God. Very important point to remember.

I always enjoy Vance's post. He sounds very scholarly. Vance do you have a degree in theology?
I heard that Laura is a Theology student. I just want to say it's been nice to meet you all online. I'm a different Laura. I'm the west coast Laura. God bless you all, I'm looking forward to this one year study and getting to know more about you all and reading all your thoughts. Blessings.... Laura

Laura, I couldn't agree more that it is wonderful to read everyone's comments! Last year it was just Ramona, Vance and I posting regularly - thank you to everyone for joining us in commenting! And thanks Ramona and Vance for continuing your faithful posting / commenting into 2006! -Mike

Hey Mike,

I am really enjoying the blog. Last year I tried to read the whole bible through and I think I only got to April. I definatly need more disipline in my life as I am a night person as well.

I have found that listening to the Bible on podcast has been a fresh new way for me to take in scripture daily.

Again...thanks for the blog.

Enjoy reading all your thoughts on the daily reading. Mike commenting
on being a night owl has been true of me for many, many years. I really didn't want to pay to much attention to Psa. 5:3 as I am not a morning person at all. But I do think it is something to strive for.

My biggest problem(s) are:

1. Getting to bed AND ASLEEP at a decent hour.
Sometime when I HAVE to get up early I have thought it would make it easier to get to sleep early - Not so!

2. When I do get up staying awake is a huge thing!
When I do get up early, unless I'm moving (an I'm not a jogger) I will more than likely doze off.

I do love the quietness of early morning there seems to be nothing like it AND I do think there is enough scripture to atleast support praying in the morning.

So do pray for a miracle or some practical steps to get me up and out of bed earlier and without falling back to sleep.

Great comments - look forward to a year of getting to know you all.

What caught my eye today was the phrase "and he called upon the name of the LORD". I wonder how did that differed from Abraham's 'normal' worship practice?

I see that there are two Lauras, so I've added my IM tag. And, "hello" to the other one.

Why in Genesis 11:11 did "...Shem lived another 500 years ..." when in Genesis 6:3 it says, "...In the future, they will live no more than 120 years."?

Sean, the "120 years" does not refer to lifespan, but rather to the length of time until the coming flood. God was saying that His Spirit would contend with man(kind) only for another 120 years before unleashing his wrath upon the depraved earth.

This website has really been a blessing for me. (and probably others too!) I have learned so much about the Bible and it has only been 5 days!
I consider myself a "toddler" Christian being that only 3 years ago I came to Christ. By reading the Bible daily and the everyones' comments, I really feel that I finally getting a grasp and understanding God's word. Thanks guys!

Again this morning the words that I read earlier in the day came back to my mind as I rode the train to work.

Mike—looking at the Map you inserted in today’s comments I couldn’t help but observe that Haran, where Abram and the gang hung-out for ten years until dad died, seems like a spike in the journey that lead away from Canaan. It is like a spike on an EKG reading heralding a warning of danger to come.

I’ve often wondered each time I’ve read through this story what would have happened if Haran had never been a stopping point in this journey. If Abram had arrived in Canaan, the land God would promise to his descendents, but not him, would they have had enough grain/hay and what ever else grows, to stave off the effects of the famine? If Abram had trusted God, in spite of the famine, so that God would prove to him that He would meet all their needs, how would the rest of the story turn out.

Abram seemed to be conflicted by two fears pulling inside of him like a perverted game of tug-of-war. Unable or unwilling to trust God in the midst of the famine, fear of starving to death drove him to a country that presented him with another fear, fear of death from the hands of Pharaoh. One fear drove him smack into the other. Fear is a rough taskmaster and allowing it to drive one’s decisions and choices oft times leads to bad choices and regrets.

Fear drove Abram to “pimp” his wife to feed himself and his household. He offered up his wife as a sacrifice to save his own life. Can today’s families find themselves doing the same thing? Are we offering up our husbands, wives, children on the alter of a idolatrous god of fear? We may even find ourselves pimping the gospel, offering up half-truth, like Abram, about our situations to avoid or stave off the death of our finances, the death of relationships, family and friends while we construct an alter of justification for doing our deeds: comprise and sin. Finally, if Abram hadn’t gone down to Egypt, would we be reading about Hagar, Sari’s Egyptian hand maiden and the boy Ishmael in the chapters to come, and, the fall-out from that relationship, would we still be reaping the effects today?

I wonder about these things because I think about the consequences of my actions and or inactions of following God whole-heartedly. Thank God that He redeems, restores and reconciles us back to Him. Yet walking in His perfect will is so much easier than walking in His Permissive will. All unnecessary bumps are removed when we obey.

re: "I did not come to abolish the law of Moses or the writings of the prophets. No, I came to fulfill them."

IDEA: When we are driving and the light turns red, we stop (hopefully!). We have fulfilled the law, but we have not done away with it!

Mike: Thanks for a fresh new one year Bible reading. You put alot of work and the Spirit into it.Thanks for pointing out that the moral law still applies (it was NOT nailed to the cross as some claim.)
The Message was unique-thanks!
Ramona: Continue to post.

I use the Divine Hours by Phyllis Tickle. It's a Daily Office (fixed-hour prayer) guide available in hard-cover print and online at Explore Faith (http://explorefaith.org ) We do them at meals as a family when possible. (My 4 and 2 year olds both know the Lord's Prayer.) We're finding it to be a simple way to abide in Jesus throughout the day.

"There he built an altar and worshipped the Lord." Worship is an interesting concept. What does it really mean to "worship?" For Abram, he built an altar. It would seem to me that he offered a sacrifice on that altar. It also seems to me that killing an animal and placing it on the altar really meant to take something that you derive your life's sustenance from (cow - milk and/or meat). For people sacrificing their animals, they are really saying to God, I trust you to take care of me, because I am giving to you something that I acually need to live on. Therefore, to sacrifice something - to worship - is to lay one's very existence on God's lap. It is to say, "I depend upon You." Therefore, worship is really telling God you depend upon Him - trust.

I think this theme is established here in Genesis and continues all throughout the entire Bible.

It's why idolatry is so bad. It's the exact opposite of trusting God. It's actually trusting in oneself - making oneself God.

I just love reading through the Bible. And, even though I just found out about this blog 2 days ago, I love it too.

Thanks for everyone's comments.

The thoughts on praying in the morning has inspired me. I tend to rush around in the mornings to get to work and I'm up late studying the Word. I Honestly don't begin really praying with God until I'm on my way to work. My goal is to set aside 5 morning minutes for one on one prayer with no distractions. I strongly believe this prayer time will set my day and just maybe I can slowly become more of a morning person.

Thank you for the thought to light a candel during devotions. Since I am a visual person, I will implement this practice. By looking at the candle, I will "visually" see the presence of the Lord.

where were the beatitudes

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