~ Click on this link for today's readings ~
Judges 11:1-12:15 ~ John 1:1-28
Psalm 101:1-8 ~ Proverbs 14:13-14
Old Testament - Today we read about Jephthah and his daughter - and the related vow. It is interesting to note that some Biblical scholars do not think that Jepthah actually killed his daughter, but that she simply died a virgin, as verse 38 says. However... verse 38 also says he kept his vow. Keep in mind that oftentimes the Bible reports "just the facts," which does not necessarily mean the "facts" or actions of what us humans did was pleasing in God's sight. Human sacrifice was not part of God's laws or plans. It is clearly forbidden in Leviticus chapter 20 verses 1-5 and in Leviticus chapter 18:21 - " 'Do not give any of your children to be sacrificed to Molech, for you must not profane the name of your God. I am the LORD."
New Testament - I am so excited that we are starting the Gospel of John today!! I won’t necessarily say that it is my favorite Gospel – because all 4 are amazing. But, I will say that John is different from the other 3. If by chance you felt like reading Luke these past few weeks has gotten repetitive when compared to Matthew and Mark, hang in there! John is different. Beautifully different. John Chapter 15 is definitely one of my favorite chapters in the Bible. I cannot wait to read it again! I actually have a cool personal story to share with you all about John Chapter 15. I’ll do so either in a future email or on the blog when we get to this chapter.
I have a feeling there are probably a few folks who have dropped off the One Year Bible readings over this past few months. I’d like to invite you to jump back in and join us now as we’re beginning John and will soon be starting Ruth. These are 2 great books for you to start back up with us again!
One thing I’ll recommend to everyone, if you have a chance this next week, is to watch the movie “The Gospel of John”. Have you seen it? It is incredibly well done. It was released in theaters on a limited basis a couple of years ago, and I was fortunate enough to have caught it in the theater. It is a 3 hour movie that goes word-for-word through the Gospel of John, based on the Good News Bible translation. Or, perhaps you’ll want to read the Biblical text first and then watch the movie later. Either way. I definitely recommend this film. You can hopefully pick it up at a video rental store. A friend of mine was surprised to have found it at the local supermarket little video rental section recently. The movie's website is at this link.
The Gospel of John
Date: A.D. 85-96
Content: The Gospel of John was written many years after Jesus’ death and resurrection by the apostle John so that those who read it might believe in Christ and thus have life through his name. John begins with a prologue unique to this Gospel where Jesus’ preexistent life with the Father is depicted to show that Jesus was not simply a great man, but God. Miracles of Jesus as well as many of Jesus’ teachings not found elsewhere are then described. A long section in John chapters 14 through 17 describes Jesus’ teaching to his apostles before his death. After Jesus’ death and resurrection, special place is given to Jesus’ appearance to his apostles.
Theme: The Gospel of John more than any other Gospel stresses the deity of Christ and provides us with an interpretation of his life. He is explained in figurative terms as light, truth, love, good shepherd, the door, the resurrection and the life, living water, true bread, and more. The beautiful material found in John chapters 14 through 17 shows the deep love of Jesus for the believer and the peace that comes from faith in Christ. (Above commentary is from Tyndale Publishers “The One Year Bible Companion” pp. 22-23) Great commentary on John by Bob Deffinbaugh at bible.org is at this link: http://bible.org/page.php?page_id=2348
Today in John Chapter 1 verse 14 we read – “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” Do you believe that Jesus is the Word John is referring to? What does this mean to you that the Word became flesh? Do you believe that Jesus was born into this world both fully divine and fully human (yet sinless)? Why would God send Jesus, full of light, grace and truth into the world? Why was this necessary?
Today in John Chapter 1 verses 10 & 11 we read – “He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him.” Do you believe that the world was made through Jesus? Do you believe the world is Jesus’ own? Have you ever gone through periods in your life where you have not recognized Jesus for who he truly is? ( I know that I have) Have you gone through periods of your life where Jesus has come to you and you did not receive him? ( Again, I know that I have) As you read through the Gospel of John this year will you prayerfully read it? Will you ask God to reveal to you through John’s Gospel who Jesus really is? And will you ask God to make Jesus more known to you this year than ever before? Do you believe this is possible – for you to know Jesus more this year than in your prior years? Do you believe the Gospel of John and prayer can help you to truly know Jesus more?
Bible.org's commentary on our readings in John today titled "What Child is This?" is at this link.
Psalms - Psalm 101 is a great Psalm of David today! Great verses, all of them. I like verse 3 - "I will refuse to look at anything vile and vulgar." This seems to be a bit tougher and tougher to adhere to in our modern world where pornography is getting more and more into the mainstream. But, it is such a beautiful and true Psalm of David for us to adhere to! Do you refuse to look at anything vile and vulgar? Do you avoid watching TV shows, reading magazines or papers, or going to see movies where you know you'll end up looking at things vile & vulgar? Don't get me wrong - I'm not saying avoid watching all TV, reading all mags & papers or avoid all movies. I'm just saying that there are some of these forms of media that we know in advance that what they "sell" us will be vile and vulgar. Why would we "buy" that garbage? Refuse to look at it. Don't give it one inch of power over you! (or your kids!)
A portion of verse 2 stood out to me today - "I will lead a life of integrity in my own home." This is powerful. How often do we have integrity outside of our home - but then not display integrity within our own home? Think this is healthy? Should we strive for leading a life of integrity within our own home?
Proverbs - Proverbs chapter 14 verse 13 teaches us today: "Laughter can conceal a heavy heart, but when the laughter ends, the grief remains." This is an interesting look at laughter!
Comments from You & Questions of the Day: Some say laughter is the best medicine... and oftentimes I agree. But, this Proverb tells us that laughter may not always heal a heavy heart... Perhaps something more than laughter is needed when we have a heavy heart? Perhaps - God is needed? Also, what verses or insights stand out to you in today's readings? Please post up by clicking on the "Comments" link below!