Ezra 10:1-44 ~ 1 Corinthians 6:1-20 ~ Psalm 31:9-18 ~ Proverbs 21:3
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Old Testament - Powerful readings in Ezra chapter 10 today, as we read about people publicly confessing their sin! An image is below for verses 10 through 12 - "Then Ezra the priest stood and said to them: "You have sinned, for you have married pagan women. Now we are even more deeply under condemnation than we were before. Confess your sin to the LORD, the God of your ancestors, and do what he demands. Separate yourselves from the people of the land and from these pagan women." Then the whole assembly raised their voices and answered, "Yes, you are right; we must do as you say!"
New Testament - Today in 1 Corinthians 6:18-20 we will read: "Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside their body, but you who sins sexually sins against your own body. Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body." These are powerful verses. And verses that seem to fly in the face of much of what we are sold in today's culture. Reflect on these verses. Do you believe that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit? Do you believe that you are not your own? Do you realize that you were bought at a price by Jesus on the cross? If you see sexual immorality heading your way, do you flee from it? Will you flee from it? What are the consequences if you do not flee from sexual immorality? Do you believe that sexual immorality is a sin you commit against your very own body? (self-abuse, if you will – though, I strongly believe others around you suffer from this sin against your own body as well. Nobody sins in a vacuum. It affects everyone we interact with. It affects everyone in our community. Think that sin is a selfish act?) Do you realize that when you sin sexually, you are sinning against a temple in which the Holy Spirit dwells? Will you flee from sexual immorality? Please - literally - flee from it.
Psalms - Have you ever felt like Psalm 31 verse 10.... "I am dying from grief; my years are shortened by sadness. Misery has drained my strength; I am wasting away from within." Do you believe that God can rescue you from this? Will you pray to God to save you from this? Earlier this year I read C.S. Lewis' book A Grief Observed. Has anyone read this? It is a very short book. But, wow, it is a powerful short book! It is a memoir C.S. Lewis wrote after the death of his wife and it is so incredibly thoughtful and moving as C.S. Lewis works through his grief and his questions for and about God. This verse kind of reminds me of this book.... though not really... it seems like C.S. Lewis didn't quite get as down as the level of this verse. Anyhow - great book I think for any Christian who has lost a loved one. Let me know reviews in the Comments section below if you've read A Grief Observed, or know others who have? Has it been consoling for you during a time of loss?
Proverbs - Proverbs 21 verse 3 is powerful today - "The LORD is more pleased when we do what is just and right than when we give him sacrifices." Have you ever had a stage in your life where you got this Proverb backwards? Have you ever been so focused on "giving sacrifices" to God that you forgot to simply do what is just and right? This reminds me of the Pharisees in Jesus' day. They were focused on their religious duties - on giving proper sacrifices to God on the proper days and times. But in the meantime they forgot to simply do what was just and right to those around them. And Jesus called them out on it. And if we're not careful, Jesus can call us out on it too. Which is good. A rebuke can be good to bring us back into a loving relationship with God and other people. Today in your life, are you more focused on simply doing what is just and right before God and people, or are you perhaps more focused these days on "giving sacrifices" to God? Which do you think is more pleasing to God? Perhaps this painting of "The Good Samaritan" by the English Victorian painter George Frederic Watts from the year 1852 is helpful for us to reflect upon, along with this Proverb:
YouTube: Today's Proverb and this painting above reminded me of Casting Crowns song "If We are the Body." Here's a great live version of this song:
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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!