Tuesday, January 22, 2008

McCheyne Reading Plan: Still Catching Up

Disclaimer: In posting these thoughts, questions, and ramblings I feel it wise to give a disclaimer. There are many people that are far more knowledgeable and gifted in expositing the Word of God than I. These thoughts are not intended to be in-depth analysis of the text. They are thoughts. They are questions. They are ramblings. It will be a display of what God is teaching me through His Word. In depth study will be done at a different time. It is also good to know the author's goal. 1) To be accountable in reading through Scripture. 2) To share these thoughts with others. Possibly for someone else's edification; possibly for my own. 3) To glorify God through His Word. 4) To spur one another on in taking up Scripture and reading! So without further ado, here are today's readings:

Matthew 16:

I wonder if they had the "red sky at night sailors delight, red sky in the morning sailors take warning" saying back in Jesus' day? I'm not certain that they would have had "sailors" so I doubt it. But nonetheless, I've always found this verse kind of neat because I've heard sayings about a red sky at night and in the morning.

What is the sign of Jonah?

I love these little narrative interjections. "The disciples forgot to bring bread". Certainly it serves as a fitting transition and teachable moment, but it does a wonderful job of showing the disciples humanity and Jesus' patience with them.

The disciples continue to view things extremely literally. We should be cautious of doing the like.

In what way should we warn people as Jesus did to beware of the teachings of the Pharisees and Sadducees? Who are these groups in our day?

I wonder if Jesus' question, "Who do people say that the Son of Man is", would have sounded weird. Is he referring to himself or the "Son of Man" spoken of in the Scriptures? Is this the same as asking "Who do people say that I am" or is it asking "How do people describe the Son of Man spoken of in Scripture? I prefer the latter. I believe Jesus is saying, "How do people interpret the OT Son of Man". They then respond by the common beliefs in the day. (Jeremiah actually seems strange in this context). Then Jesus says, but who do you say that I am. Again the stress would not be on who do you...but rather who do you say that I am. I could be wrong though. He could be contrasting the "peoples" reception of Jesus with that of the disciples.

Peter replies that Jesus is the Christ the son of the Living God, and apparently knowledge of this only came because God revealed it to Him.

This verse (18-19) has been the subject of much debate. Is the rock Peter or faith? What are meant by the gates of hell? (Since when are gates active, so that the rock must withstand it?) What are the keys? What authority is given? Is it given to Peter? Is it given to His successors? Is it given to all those people of faith? It is not the place here to answer these questions.

It has always seemed strange to me that Jesus is so passionate about the disciples not telling people that he is the Christ. I know that we are not to conceal him now. It's painfully ironic that when Jesus urged people to conceal Him they could not do so. When Jesus commands us to spread His fame to the nations we eagerly desire to obey his first instruction to tell no one. Lord, help us to be faithful in proclaiming you in your fullness.

It is so funny that Peter rebukes Jesus. After he makes this amazing confession, we know that he knew who Jesus was. What boldness to rebuke God. But I wonder, how many times have I done the same? Am I not doing as Peter did whenever I question His wise counsel? Am I not rebuking God when I whine at his sovereign actions? And Peter's problem is ours--thinking of the things of man instead of the things of God.

After Jesus tells of His suffering He urges us to follow Him in this. As I look over this text I am forced to wonder whether or not I have "lost my life" for Jesus' sake. Can I be said to be a doulos?

Why is it that sometimes it sounds like works play a very important role? Why is it that we will be repaid for "what we have done"?

I've never understood how verse 28 is fulfilled? I think it is speaking of either Jesus' death, resurrection, or ascension.

Acts 16:

"A Jewish woman who was a believer"...does this mean believer in Christ? It seems from here and other places in Scripture that Timothy's mom was a follower of Jesus.

Why did Paul circumcise Timothy because of the Jews but not Titus?

We are still seeing churches increase daily. Lord, bring this movement to us!

"Forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the work in Asia." Many questions arise from this. How do you know when the Holy Spirit is forbidding you? Why did He forbid them to "speak the Word"? Did he have a specific place for them to go? We should always be waiting for the Spirit's urging to know where to preach the gospel and apparently where not to.

Again Paul begins his ministry at a religious place. Synagogues, places of prayer, etc. seem to be where he preached the gospel first in a city.

The Lord opened her heart...unless He had certainly Lydia would not have believed. Lord, open hearts in our community, and help us hear the cries of them when you bid us to proclaim the gospel.

Why do we see households baptized when one believes?

Divination is probably a reality. It's not as if people are faking (though many probably are). It's just that they are demonized.

I find this story funny about Paul being annoyed. I wonder why it was so annoying. Why did he wait so long to cast it out? Why only after annoyance?

Certainly Paul's experience of affliction here in Philippi will serve a great purpose later in comforting them when they are afflicted.

Even after beatings and imprisonment the joy of the Lord (and perhaps even the desperation of the situation) draws Paul and Silas to sing hymns. Nonetheless these were clothed in Scripture and probably many Psalms. The guards listen and were certainly influenced.

Again we see "believe, and you will be saved "and your household". But the next verse says the word was spoken to them and your household. "He rejoiced along with his entire household that he had believed in God". Let us rejoice in our salvation Lord.

This seems really stubborn of Paul. Is he being stubborn or does he see a greater purpose of God in this. Certainly Paul is not infallible. I think sometimes we read Acts and everything Paul did and assume that everyone of his actions is right.

Genesis 18:

Is this three the Trinity? I am a little confused by this dialogue. How did Abraham know it was the Lord?

A new term for menopause..."the way of women has ceased to be with her". I like reading some of the euphemisms in the Bible.

I wonder what this dialogue between laughing Sarah then embarrassed and fearful Sarah was like. What was God's response in this. Is he a little angry at her unbelief? Understanding and almost laughing Himself?

This chapter for some reason seems really strange to me. God is walking to Sodom to see if its as bad from this angle as it is from heaven.

Now, verse 22 really confuses me. The men leave, Abraham stays before the LORD? Are these men incarnations of God or not (there is a theological word for this, but for the life of me I can not think of it)?

We see the display of God's righteousness in sparing Sodom if one righteous man is found. He is doing this through all of history and the book of Revelation even as he pours out his bowls of wrath and offers more and more time for repentance (all the while knowing that many will never repent, yet still showing mercy and offering grace to display his mighty justice).

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