Exodus 25 – How to Build the Ark of the Covenant

If anyone ever tells you that the Bible is outdated and has no application for modern life, just point them to Exodus 25 through 29. You’ll find these chapters immediately relevant whenever you have to build a furnished replica of the tabernacle and outfit the priests to offer sacrifices in it. All sarcasm aside, though, you may come away from these chapters wondering not only what they have to do with your life, but also what they even describe. They don’t have any helpful illustrations, and they’ve been translated for us English speakers from a several-thousand-years-old instance of a foreign language, so don’t be surprised if they’re less clear than Ikea instructions.

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Acts 16 – Sometimes the Best Place to Be Is Jail

We’ve got a few different events that we could conceivably talk about from today’s chapter of Acts. Timothy makes his first appearance, the high-class fabric merchant Lydia becomes a Christian, Paul exorcises a spirit of divination and gets in trouble for it, and Paul and Silas go to and get out of jail. I could dig into any one of these events, and there’s a good chance I’ll hit more than one. But before I do, I want to hit an event so subtle you might easily miss it: the introduction of Luke.

Matthew 19 – Quit Quitting and Get Forgiven

Just as I promised, the Pharisees kick off this chapter by putting Jesus to the test on the topic of divorce right after he’s healed a bunch of people. Some other stuff also happens in the chapter, namely Jesus embracing children as his disciples consider them a nuisance, and the rich young ruler. But we know Jesus is cool with the kids, and we already looked at the rich young ruler when he showed up in Luke 18, so today it’s Jesus on divorce.

I’ve Got All My Sisters With Me – Matthew 12:46-50, Day 4

Welcome back, people who read Chocolate Book. We continue to catch up on this week’s posts, camping out in the final verses of Matthew 12 for the Triad study. I read them again, and they haven’t changed; they are still about spiritual family. The Triad study suggests that on Day Four, we read them from the perspective of Jesus’ disciples, presumably to get a new view and new insights. Perhaps we’ll touch on that, but in order to get the post started, I want to talk about a thought that occurred to me as I was asking myself how the disciples might view Jesus’ words.

Slow-Burn Siblings – Matthew 12:46-50, Day 3

Welcome back to the last five verses of Matthew 12, in which Jesus may or may not dunk on his own family. The Triad study workbook suggested that on day one we read the passage with its context, which we did, and for day two it suggested we read the passage from the perspective of its first-century Jewish listeners, which we did not, because we are a rebel who doesn’t play by the rules. For day three, it recommends we read it from the perspective of Jesus’ family themselves. And we’ve got a post to write, so why not?

Haggai 1 – Not Your Temple

Between our recent excursions into Ezra and Nehemiah and our present entry into Haggai, the theme of the moment must be rebuilding projects. Haggai, a short book that is mostly narrative, opens with God calling his people to rebuild the temple. Despite their initial reticence, Haggai’s prophetic message moves them to begin work.

Philippians 2 – Somewhere Between Making Excuses and Masochism

The first eight verses of Philippians 2 loom large in my high school memories. I loved the passage, memorizing the third and fourth verses, committing to its ethic of unselfishness–or at least advocating for it. I knew my attempts to live up to Jesus Christ’s standard of sacrificial giving would inevitably fall short, but I made his example my goal anyway. Eighteen years of adult experience have opened my eyes to how hard it can be to give yourself to others, and part of me wants to remark on my high-school self’s idealistic naiveté. But I gotta give the kid credit: at least he tried. I’ve had periods in my adult life, like years, where I did as much living for self as I could hide.