Esther 8:1-10:3 ~ 1 Corinthians 12:27-13:13 ~ Psalm 37:1-11 ~ Proverbs 21:23-24
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Old Testament - We wrap up the book of Esther today! Job begins tomorrow! Okay, somehow I forgot that the book of Esther ended with the Jewish holiday of Purim being instituted. A good FAQ from a Jewish website about Purim is at this link. In doing a google image search on Purim I quickly realized that folks dress up for this celebratory Jewish holiday! Below is a modern day Purim mask:
There is also a device called the Purim "gragger", which is a noisemaker. When the Purim story is read aloud from the book of Esther everyone boos and shakes their graggers whenever Haman's name is mentioned! (I'm not kidding - it sounds like fun to me! :) More on Purim graggers, including how you can make your own, is online here. Below is a picture of a gragger, and below that is a picture of a woman shaking a gragger at the sound of Haman's name being read during Purim!
New Testament - Today in First Corinthians chapter 13 we will read verses that you have likely heard many times at many weddings. It is the “Love” chapter of the Bible. This chapter goes way beyond just romantic or marital love – it gets at how we live our very lives each and every moment in relationship to all of creation. In verses 1 through 3 we read: “If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.” How do these verses speak to you? Do you notice the juxtaposition of the concept of love and the concept of nothingness? Do you see that without love there is nothing? Do you believe that if we live our lives without love, we are nothing? Even if we have amazing spiritual gifts. Even if we have faith that can move mountains. Even if we give away all of our possessions to the poor. If we do not have love, we are nothing. We gain nothing. We give nothing. Do you see how important love is in our lives? Do you see that we must live each and every day from a starting point of love? Why do you suppose Paul spends this entire chapter telling us about the importance of love? Do you think that God is love and wants us to be love as well? I love (pun intended :) how this chapter ends: “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” Amen and amen.
Bible.org's commentary on today's readings in First Corinthians titled "What Is This Thing Called Love?" is at this link and "But The Greatest of All These..." is at this link. (this second commentary link focuses in on "agape" love and is phenomenal - please read!)
Psalms - Today we read Psalm 37, which is most definitely a Wisdom Psalm! It's like we are reading Proverbs! I love verse 5: "Commit everything you do to the LORD. Trust him, and he will help you." Do you commit everything you do to God? EVERYTHING? Your waking life? Your sleeping life? Your job? Your relationships? Your family? Your finances? Your time? If so, do you trust that God will help you in everything you do in your life? Do you believe what verse 4 teaches? "Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you your heart's desires." I love that thought - take delight in God. Do you take delight in God each and every day? Do you believe that he will give you your heart’s desires? And for Psalm 37 verse 6 we have this lovely image below to meditate upon:
Proverbs - Proverbs 21 verse 23 today teaches us: "If you keep your mouth shut, you will stay out of trouble." This Proverb is so wise that I will say no more! :)
Worship God: As we're reading one of the Love chapters of the Bible today, Rebecca St. James and Chris Tomlin's "Expressions of Your Love" seems appropriate! I love the lines in this song: "Jesus make me an expression of You. Expressions of your glory. Expressions of your heart. Expressions of your love!"
Please join us in memorizing and meditating on a verse of Scripture this week: "And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love." 1 Corinthians 13:13 (NIV)
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!
What I’ve learned after my “Esther” melt-down (see August 18th) is this: God is in control no matter who is on the throne. God is in control even when “His” people, the Jew or Christian fail to acknowledge Him and act like His people. (The Book of Esther is a secular book whose main characters, thou Jewish, are secular.) God can take any situation and use it for His glory even when the participants do not know they are being used to bring about God’s purpose.
Because God’s Word is “incorruptible” (You have been born anew, not from perishable but from imperishable seed, through the living and enduring word of God. (1 Peter 1:23 NET.)), even when used wrongly by those who call themselves His people, the integrity of His Word can still take root in a heart that holds “Good Soil,” and give root to a 30, 40, and yes even a 100 fold harvest (Matthew 13:8).
I Corinthians 12:27-13:13
The church at Corinth had been operating fully in the gifts of the Spirit, they had wonderful teachers in the body that they fought over. They used the gifts of the Spirit as a point of pride and warred over which one was the best proving they were immature Believers. The kind you can see on any schoolyard during lunch or after school. In the schoolyard you can hear “My daddy is bigger than your daddy,” or “My mommies prettier than yours,” but in the church at Corinth you heard, “ …"I am with Paul," or "I am with Apollos," or "I am with Cephas," or "I am with Christ." (1 Corinthians 1:12 NET.)
Paul is essentially telling the church they are 1) not acting in love which is a fruit of the Sprit and not a gift of the Sprit. Fruit and Gifts are two different things fruit is a by-product of seed, soil and the interaction of the environment (air, rain and fertilizer). Remember we are the branches of the Vine, Jesus Christ, and we produce fruit by being attached to that Vine.
We can operate either out of the works of the flesh, or the Fruit of the Spirit, we have a choice. However as Paul points out, Love, a fruit, is the better way. We are to operate in the gift or gifts God gives us through the Holy Spirit, they don’t belong to us and we cannot manufacture them.
Now the works of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity, depravity, idolatry, sorcery, hostilities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish rivalries, dissensions, factions, envying, murder, drunkenness, carousing, and similar things. I am warning you, as I had warned you before: Those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God! But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Now those who belong to Christ have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also behave in accordance with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, being jealous of one another. (Galatians 5:19-26 NET.)
Love desires to benefit others at the expense of self; lust desires to benefit self at the expense of others. Mature people always look out for others no matter how old, young and no matter the size. While babies, immature people, are only out for self, “What can I get out of this?”
7 Be still in the presence of the LORD,
and wait patiently for him to act.
Don't worry about evil people who prosper
or fret about their wicked schemes.
8 Stop your anger!
Turn from your rage!
Do not envy others--
it only leads to harm.
Ah, “Don’t worry about evil people.” We humans worry about everything, we grumble when we see people doing wrong, we grumble when we do something wrong and get caught, “Why didn’t they catch Janie speeding,” or “They saw that yellow Toyota speeding why didn’t they stop him/her why did they have to stop me?”
The rage, the envy we exhibit against all those wrong doers does nothing to them but it absolutely kills us. We do it because we think God is not looking out for us or that He is senile and forgotten about us. We may even think that God is out to get us because we are always being caught when we do something wrong then we think wrongly that others do not. What we need to do is stop doing the things we know that are wrong especially when we do what is wrong because the well renowned “They” and “Mr. and Ms Somebody” gets away with it.
Those who know better, do wrong, and are caught should rejoice at being caught because the punishment for that one infraction will be less severe than the punishment for a multitude of wrongdoing. We reap what we sow, that is a universal law; sow a lot of wrongdoing, you will get a great harvest, and remember: the crop harvested looks nothing like the seed sown, and it’s bigger.
Do not be deceived. God will not be made a fool. For a person will reap what he sows, (Galatians 6:7 NET.)
23If you keep your mouth shut, you will stay out of trouble.
I love it when scripture defines scripture,
The evil person is ensnared by the transgression of his speech, but the righteous person escapes out of trouble. (Proverbs 12:13 NET.)
If someone thinks he is religious yet does not bridle his tongue, and so deceives his heart, his religion is futile. (James 1:26 NET.)
Posted by: Ramona | August 19, 2009 at 07:52 PM