~ Click on this link for today's readings ~
2 Chronicles 24:1-25:28 ~ Romans 12:1-21
Psalm 22:19-31 ~ Proverbs 20:8-10
Old Testament - Today in Second Chronicles 24 verse 1 we read - "Joash was seven years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem forty years." This is quite a young age to be crowned king! (yep, that's Joash on the right in the image below - the priest presenting him to the people is on the left)
Did you notice in today's readings that Joash followed God in his early years, when Jehoiada the priest was alive (verses 1-16), and then turned to evil and idolatry after Jehoiada's death (verses 17-27)? One of the saddest parts was Joash's murder of Jehoiada's grandson Zechariah in verse 20. (Note that the text says son, but scholars believe Jehoiada's son was Berekiah, and Zechariah was Berekiah's son - Biblical genealogies sometimes skip a generation.) Jesus Himself references the atrocity of this murder when facing His own murderers in Matthew 23:35! This quote of Jesus' comes just after delivering his seven woes in Matthew 23: "And so upon you will come all the righteous blood that has been shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah son of Berekiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar."
New Testament - Wow! Could Romans chapter 12 be one of the most powerful chapters in the Bible?? I love this chapter... Please take a moment to re-read this chapter if you can. Verses 1 through 3 have been so powerful for me personally since the early days of my Christian walk - "Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will." I really don't know what commentary I could add to these words of Paul's. I love the thought of our bodies being living sacrifices to God. (There is of course the old joke that the only problem with a living sacrifice is that it tends to crawl off the altar... :) And the warning to not conform any longer to the pattern of this world is so so so true.... and we all know it. But I find myself still falling prey to the pattern of this world. Its temptations do not cease. But! We can be transformed by the renewing of our minds to test and approve what God's will is. Through a loving and growing relationship with Jesus, we can overcome the temptations and the death this world will offer us all too frequently. In view of God's mercy, will you offer your body today as God as a living sacrifice?
Bible.org's commentary on today's readings in Romans titled "The Road to Renewal" is at this link and "Thinking Straight about Spiritual Gifts" is at this link and "What is this Thing Called Love" is at this link.
Psalms - What's one good reason to go to church at all? Check out Psalm 22 verse 22 - "Then I will declare the wonder of your name to my brothers and sisters. I will praise you among all your people." Praising God with other brothers and sisters through worship, tithing, learning, serving and being in community in church is a great reason to go to church! To declare the wonder of God's name! To praise God among all his people. Wow... yes... this is church!
Proverbs - Proverbs 20 verse 10 is convicting - "The LORD despises double standards of every kind." I am afraid that I often do have double standards in the way I live my own life. I am afraid perhaps we all do to a degree. We hold ourselves to one standard when we are at church and among our friends and maybe even typing on this blog... :) But, then, late at night or early in the morning or during the day perhaps we let this standard - this Christian standard - simply go. We become judgmental. We gossip. We complain. We lust. We give in to our old addictions. We fall prey to a double standard. Please don't ever forget that God calls us to the highest standard! And he sent us his Son Jesus to set us free from the bondage of sin from the bondage of double standards. Through faith in Jesus we are gifted with the Holy Spirit living within our very bodies, which is an amazing blessing to consider! God gives us everything that we need to live a life of high moral standards. Will we pray unceasingly to let our double standards go? Will we leave the double standards behind once and for all? Will we stop living our lives with two faces?
Comments from you - What verses or insights stand out to you in today's readings? Please post up by clicking on the "Comments" link below!