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Hi Mike,

Firs of all to thank for what you do. Just told God about this blog and how grateful I am. The bite size portions of scripture and especially the graphics does help as I am visual learner!

In response to the Ten Commandments, reading this blog reminds the importance of my devotion to God and to my love for my neighbour! Oh how we need these laws repeated in our homes, schools, church...because I think we have so forgotten and strayed for them. These has help me reflect on those things which are important.

Regarding posture in prayer, I agree with you that our body language does help us shut out distraction and focus our attention God

I am reading the Bible through using The Message. This is the first time I used it and I'm finding that it brings the Bible awake for me in some areas that I didn't really get. I'm enjoying it and I'm still caught up so for me...that is amazing! lol

Thanks for these daily blogs Mike...they are awesome and so informative.

Hello Everyone,

Mike, regarding the Message translation, I agree that it sometimes makes huge leaps particularly in the NT--that's the inherent drawback of that kind of translation. I enjoy the Message sometimes though and find it freshens up "crusty old" passages that I might otherwise mentally "check out" on if I'm not careful. I will be reading along sometimes in the Message sometimes and have moments of "Ohhhh...." For this reason alone, I think it's a worthwhile translation, though I definitely view it as a supplement. I also find it sometimes gets too hip/hokey for my taste. I've noticed that I don't enjoy the psalms in the Message--always prefer the King James there.

Regarding today's reading, this morning I contemplated Jesus' list of woes to the religious leaders--rich stuff to mull over. Jon Courson's commentary asserts that the woes are the opposite of Christ's earlier Beatitudes. I'm not sure if they all lines up THAT precisely, but his comments helped me to flesh out the meaning of this passage in a new way. For that reason, I'm including it below as "food for thought":

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"Following His description of a true spiritual leader, Jesus did something I find intriguing. He ended His last sermon pronouncing eight woes. Bible students, think back. How did Jesus begin His public ministry? By pronouncing eight blessings in the form of the Beatitudes. Watch and see how the eight woes at the end of His preaching ministry correlate perfectly with the eight blessings given at the beginning of His ministry.

Mat 23:13
Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.—Mat_5:3

Although the kingdom of heaven belongs to the poor in spirit, the Pharisees were proud in spirit. "I thank You, God, that I am not as other men," they prayed (see Luk_18:11). Their pride, Jesus said, would not only keep them from entering the kingdom, but would prevent others as well.

*****Mat 23:14
Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.—Mat_5:4

Jesus promised that the mourners will be comforted. The Pharisees, however, manipulated those who mourned. You see, when a man died, the Pharisees would show up on his doorstep telling his widow that if she wanted to honor her husband's memory, she would make a donation to their ministry. Watch out for that, precious people. In this day when there's an abundance of fund-raising, be on guard against those who seek to manipulate rather than to comfort.

*****Mat 23:15

Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.—Mat_5:5

The meek were to inherit the earth. The Pharisees, on the other hand, were trying to convert the earth to their legalistic, hypocritical, religious system. The tragedy is that when a legalist lays his trip on someone else, the convert or proselyte becomes more zealous than the teacher and the end result is damnation.

*****Mat 23:16-22

Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.—Mat_5:6
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness—for integrity, truth, and simplicity. The Pharisees weren't hungering for righteousness. They were playing games with semantics and vocabulary.

In Jesus' day, if one took an oath saying, "I swear by the temple," he could be lying through his teeth, and that would be acceptable. It was only when he said "I swear by the gold in the temple," that he was obligated to tell the truth. Thus, righteousness became a game.

*****Mat 23:23-24

Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.—Mat_5:7
According to Leviticus 11, the largest unclean animal was a camel. The smallest was a gnat. Jesus said the Pharisees picked gnats out of their soup but missed the big camel swimming around. They had all the little details down—even tithing their spice seeds—but missed the big picture of love, faith, mercy and righteousness.

*****Mat 23:25-26

Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.—Mat_5:8

The purity of the true believer enables him to see God. The hypocrisy of the Pharisee blinds him to the things of God.

*****Mat 23:27-28

Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.—Mat_5:9
At the same time the Pharisees claimed to be men of peace, they were secretly plotting the murder of the Prince of Peace.

*****Mat 23:29-35

Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness; sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.—Mat_5:10

Jesus said, "Blessed are the persecuted and woe to the persecutors."
"If they had been alive in our day, we wouldn't have killed the prophets," boasted the Pharisees. But their claim was invalidated by the fact that at that very moment they sought to execute the One of whom the prophets spoke. From Abel to Zechariah—from A to Z—they killed the prophets."

-Jon Courson's Application Commentary

Mike,

Thank you for the time you spend putting this blog together. Reading it is very helpful and fun! I belong to a small group that is doing the study together and it has been a very rewarding experience! I love the format of this study, I just feel wrapped in Lord’s love every day!

When I pray I like to close my eyes and go to the place deep inside where Jesus meets me. I find that if I change my posture it only distracts me from my prayer time.

I am reading the NIV and hope to continue the study next year with a different translation, and I have thought about reading the Message.

Thank you again!

Exodus 19:16-21:21

A few notes:

8 "Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.

Only the making of idols and the Sabbath have long explanations.Why? Are they more important? Perhaps.

Making idols and having other gods besides the Lord denies the one true God. Jealous here in the Hebrew means "not bearing any rival". God shares His Glory with no one, especially idols made up by man glorifying something that does not even exist. If you can't get this right - you are not on solid footing with the one true God who has proven Himself to His people.

Sabbath is important, and especially so when we get to Jeremiah. Why? Because it is a picture of salvation. You are to cease work and toiling that day as a picture of how you need to rest in the Lord and depend on Him. There is nothing one can do to earn salvation except to Trust in the Lord and rest (abide with Him). Think of the week as your life before you were saved. You worked, toiled, and strove for yourself and perhaps to try and impress God. At the point you are saved - (sabbath - or until the end of your earthly life) you submit to the Lord and let Him do the work for Salvation and for your daily walk. More on this later in OT.
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Thou shalt not kill.

The NIV has this right:
Thou shalt not MURDER.
Hebrew is "ratsach"

There are several words for kill in Hebrew. This one means premeditated murder. There are provisions in the law for unintentional killing, execution by governments after due process, and self-defense. War is a trickier issue and will be addressed later.

God will not have an individual man kill another man on purpose - by doing so that person is playing God (who is over life and death), and he has no basis to stand on for a defense.

NOTE: Many people want to say that this is a ban on all killing, and it is just not so.
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Hebrew servant

This description in EX 21:2-6 is the bondservant that Paul writes about in New Testament. It is a picture of how we are to serve our Lord. We commit to our Lord forever out of LOVE.
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In General:

the commandments and the Law were revolutionary in their time. Either their was no unified code of Law or the laws of other countries were simply barbaric. The penalties were so out of line with the crimes to the point of being ridiculous. I imagine the intent was to rule with an iron fist to keep the populace in line and prevent one's in charge from losing their jobs (life) through revolts. Hammurabi's Code is the most close in time and it is not even comparable to the reasonableness of God's Law.

NOTE: The Law was never meant to provide a way to Heaven, but to establish God's standards for perfection. The Law simply points out that we are sinners and incapable of meeting God's standards by following any rules. Which should raise the question: Then How am I to get to Heaven? Enter God's plan and Jesus Christ.

Matthew 23:13-39

Seven times the Lord calls the Pharisees and scribes "Hypocrites".

Hypocrite in Greek is used when referring to an "actor". One who is playing a role. The literal translation here is hypocrite or pretender.

The number seven in the Bible is the number for "completeness". This passage is a complete indictment on the men of the Temple. Priesthood and lawyers.

Lord also calls them "fools" which is never a good thing as in Proverbs a fool is one who rejects God and goes his/her own way.

They are also called "blind" - not being able to see God in their midst or inderstand His Word. They are blind because their backs are turned to the Lord and they are following their own path and looking for their earthly rewards.
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Why so hard on the Pharisees and scribes?

The same reason that God holds pastors to a higher standard in the NT. They are the holders of His Word, and are to proclaim it to the people.

It is one thing to not be able to do it, but to proclaim you are doing it while serving "self" is something that infuriates the Lord. Not only do they lose out, but the people they are supposed to feed lose out.
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Through all the condemnation and Jerusalem is not excused because of their religious leaders - God always leaves room for a remnant. And while they are cut off for a while, they may (and will according to prophecy) be a remnant of Israel that will see the Lord again - when they proclaim - 'Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord." and realize that it is the one they pierced. (Zech 12:10)

test - double posting issues

Mike
May GOD bless you for doing such a great job with the One year Bible blog. Through HIS word I definitely believe GOD will bless all the 9000 members (and more to come!) as we move forward knowing HIM more and more each day.
Regarding how I pray: As usual I used to close my eyes bow my head and fold my hands together before I started to pray. Till one day I had this experience while I was praying. A distinct voice saying “why do you look down and pray, your GOD is above not below”. I didn’t quite understand it first but felt led to listen to what I was hearing and as I continued praying I lifted my face towards the skies, my eyes tightly shut and my hands still clasped together. There was this serenity or peace and then joy that flowed right thru me instantly. I could feel my spirit instantly lifted. It was definitely a different experience that day and since then I pray closing my eyes, my hands clasped together or sometimes my hands lifted up, but definitely lifting my face towards the heavens.

I think it doesn’t matter how we pray, all that matters is our heart is completely connected with GOD when we talk to HIM. Connected means: we let go of who we are, open our heart and mind to receiving HIM and then our prayer becomes fulfilling and satisfying. We need to realize we are poor in spirit.

Christ says in :
Mathew 5:3 Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven

"Poor in spirit" means to be humble. Humility is the realization that all your gifts and blessings come from the grace of God. To have poverty of spirit means to be completely empty and open to the Word of God. When we are an empty cup and devoid of pride, we are humble. Humility brings openness and an inner peace, allowing one to do the will of God. (ref: http://www.jesuschristsavior.net/Beatitudes.html)

Regarding prayer, I think that when I involve more of body in prayer, along with my mind and spirit, that I am more focused and wholehearted. But there is some self-consciousness that I have to overcome pretty much every time I want to involve my whole body. That is my weakness.

this is the first day i have just discovered this site!! I am absolutely thrilled, as this is my fourth year of reading throug the One year Bible (this version) and i had read this mornings readings on Moses and the people and the mountain, And i was FASCINATED that there are 9000 plus others reading with me.GOD is GOOD all the time to me . GOD is great all the time. and thank you Jesus for saving my Soul.

Felicity--so glad you found us! May God bless your heart to seek Him through His word.

Reuben, thanks for sharing your self-consciousness. I feel the same way, especially with regard to public worship. I don't like to be in the limelight, but I love to worship God wholeheartedly in the sanctuary. I look forward to heaven when we can all worship without that monkey of "self-consciousness" on our backs! : )

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