Reflections on My Daily Bible Reading April 29, 2010

Today’s Readings: Job 35-36

In place of Elihu, substitute the name of your best friend. Imagine that you have just had the worst day of your life. It is worse than any episode of the current hit 24. You have lost your wife and your kids and now a dreaded disease has invaded your body! And your best friend comes to you and begins to ask you “twenty questions.”

“Does this kind of thing make any sense? …See those clouds towering above you? If you sin, what difference could that make to God? No matter how much you sin, will it matter to Him? Even if you’re good, what would God get out of that? Do you think he’s dependent on your accomplishments? … So why would he notice you just because you say you’re tired of waiting to be heard, or waiting for him to get good and angry and something about the world’s problems?” (The Message)

And all you wanted was a little empathy. You wanted your friend to “walk a mile in your moccasins.” But instead, here he is lecturing you. Have you ever had a day like that? He uttered many truths about God’s attributes and about your frailties. But where is his love and compassion. He tells you, “But now you are being punished like the wicked; you are getting justice (36:17 – NCV). Would he be willing to carry your cross on his back as Simon did on that long slow death march called, in later years the Via Dolorosa, the “way of suffering,” for Jesus?

Thanks for reading with me, dear friend and I trust that you have had a blessed day!

–Randy Sexton

Reflections on My Daily Bible Reading April 28, 2010

Today’s Readings: Psalm 51-53

Today’s reading contains what the ESV Study Bible says is “probably the best known of the ‘Penitential Psalms.” Here David calls to mind his sin with Bathsheba and calls on God for His mercy. After taking “ownership” in his sin, he seeks restoration and renewal asking for God’s intervention in his life to create a CLEAN HEART and to renew a RIGHT SPIRIT within him. I love this verse and how David expresses his need to God. So often we fail to take ownership in our failings and attempt to blame them on others. Help me Lord, to humble myself in your presence this day and to make every minute count! Help me to fully realize that, when I sin, I sin against you and I affect my relationship with you.

David also has provided us a psalm that “enables the faithful to develop confidence in God’s care and protection.” In spite of the boasting of evil men, their potting of destruction, their working of deceit, their love of evil and lying and words that devour, we CAN MAKE GOD OUR REFURGE. We can be assured of His steadfast love forever and ever. Lord, help me to wait for YOU to vindicate your name by protecting those who trust in You. Help me to remember that it is not my job to take vengeance but it is yours! Help me to be patient and not grow weary in doing good!

David’s response to the atheist is, “You are a fool!” But recognizing that many have fallen away and are corrupt, he acknowledges God’s power to protect his people and to restore their fortunes. Praise God for His providential care for His children!

Thanks for reading with me, dear friend and I trust that you have had a blessed day!

–Randy Sexton

Reflections on My Daily Bible Reading April 27, 2010

Today’s Readings: 2nd Samuel 5-9

For the past several months I have been following the 52 Week Bible Reading Plan (Copyright 1995-2009 Michael Coley which you can obtain at http://www.Bible-Reading.com). Today is Tuesday of the 18th week of 2010 so, if you have been keeping up with that schedule, our reading today is in 2nd Samuel 5-9.

For a man to become king of a great nation at the age of 30 was no extraordinary event, but it is clear from today’s reading that even greater things are yet to come because the God of Hosts was with THIS king! If WE will follow God’s leading, great things will come to us. David forges a covenant relationship with the people that he has been given charge to lead. We would do well to follow his example as we attempt to lead.

After ruling for seven years in Hebron, David secretly enters Jerusalem, a heavily fortified city under the control of the Jebusites, through its water system (1st Chronicles 11:6), opens the gates of the city and takes control of it. From Jerusalem, he will rule over the kingdom for the next thirty-three years. “And David knew that the Lord established him king over Israel, and that He exalted his kingdom for the sake of the people of Israel” (5:12). The accounting of this process will occupy the remainder of 2nd Samuel.

The Lord is with David in battles against the Philistines, against Moab, against Zobah, and gave him victory wherever he went (8:6). David recognizes the Lord’s assistance and compares it to a “bursting flood” (5:20). The Lord will assist us in our battles if we will seek his wise counsel. While the ark of God is being transported from Baale-judah to Jerusalem, it almost falls from the cart on which it is being carried. When Uzzah puts his hands on it to steady it, he is struck dead. God expects us to do His work in His way! When He commands that the ark be carried by the Levites using poles placed through rings on the side of the ark (see Exodus 25:14-15; Numbers 4:15; 7:9; Deuteronomy 10:8; 31:9, 25, cf. Joshua 3:15), that is how he expects it to be done! May we never forget that. The consequences are eternal.

It is sad that David’s wife Michal does not share in his spiritual joy described here as the ark is set in its place inside the tent that David had pitched for it (6:16-19). In fact, her sarcastic comments make clear her contempt toward David’s divinely appointed role as king. It is sad to see husband and wife who do not share common spiritual goals and ideals!

It was admirable for David to want to build God a house but God had other plans. It was God’s plan that David’s son, Solomon, build him a house. God reveals parts of that plan to David as He details the “Davidic Covenant” and the messianic promises. The lesson in this for me is that what I THINK God wants of me is not always what God truly has in store for me. May I always have the courage that David had to pray, “And now O Lord God, you are God, and your words are true, and you have promised this good thing to your servant. Now therefore may it please you to bless the house of your servant, so that it may continue forever before you.”

Truly God HAS blessed the house of THIS servant in that I was able to baptize my son Ryan into Christ and see him begin his journey of faith two weeks ago!

Thanks for reading with me, dear friend and have a blessed day!

–Randy Sexton

Reflections on My Daily Bible Reading April 26, 2010

Reflections on My Daily Bible Reading April 26, 2010

Today’s Readings: 1st Samuel 16-20

 

After a long absence, I return this morning to putting on paper, the reflections from my daily Bible readings. I trust that you, dear reader, have continued to read your Bible consistently, if not daily, through what life has thrown at you. For the past several months I have been following the 52 Week Bible Reading Plan (Copyright 1995-2009 Michael Coley which you can obtain at http://www.Bible-Reading.com).

Today’s reading recounts David being anointed king while continuing to serve Saul as armor-bearer, until the time appointed by God for him to take over the kingship of Israel. He also is called into service, during this time, to play the lyre to help calm the trouble spirit that comes upon Saul from time to time. Eventually, of course, the love that Saul has for David (16:21) turns to jealousy and envy, and as the story unfolds, Saul makes many attempts on the life of young David forcing him to flee for his life continually.

David demonstrates his great courage and faith in standing against Goliath, the enemy of God. We see the development of the friendship and special bond between Jonathan, Saul’s son, and David. We see David’s romantic relationship with Saul’s two daughters, Jonathan’s sisters, Merab and Michal.

These five chapters contain many wonderful stories that remind us of the assurance that we can place in God who does not go back on his promises, like man does. We also see how rewarding our friendships can be when they are based upon the bond of mutual appreciation and respect and both parties respect God’s law. We see demonstrated also the lengths to which a man will go, when motivated by the wrong spirit, to achieve his own purposes against the purposes of God.

Thanks for reading with me, dear friend.

–Randy Sexton

Reflections – December 11, 2009

We have added a new resource to the website to assist you in instilling daily bible reading as a regular part of your day. We have been following the ESV Study Bible Daily Bible Reading Plan, since we began this “column” on our blog. We pray that you will continue to read and reflect, even when we do not make a post. We have attempted to provide opportunity for you to post your comments and reflections, as you read, and we encourage you again to do that.

Have a blessed day dear reader!

–Randy Sexton

Reflections – December 5, 2009

Dear Reader,

Life got hectic and I am running behind again on my readings, so am just now posting the readings for today. Please post your reflections and thoughts.

Today’s Readings: Psalm 124; Job 11; Isaiah 30:18-32:20; 1 John 3:4-24

If you are following along with this feature on A Christian’s Voice, please let me know. It does take a great deal of time to make posts and I find it rewarding, but I also honestly reflect from time to time on why I am doing it. As you know, if you have read the Mission Statement and Dedication pages, My goal is to minister to others with the words that I write here. If this column or this website/blog is not accomplishing that mission, then I need to make some changes.

–Randy Sexton

Reflections – December 4, 2009

If it had not been the Lord who was on our side, then our foe would have swallowed us alive, the flood would have swept us away, and over us would have gone the raging waters! Our help is in the name of the Lord, who made heaven and earth! I will praise Him and continue to look for His guidance today and every day!

I empathize with Job, as I read today’s second reading. Job continues the words of reply to Bildad, as he compares his status before God. As Job describes it, it does indeed at times seem that we are pitted against God. Job uses language that likens his situation to a trial, with no arbiter to hear his case impartially, before God. His friends were of little help, in this regard, and he declares his frustration again by declaring, “I loathe my life.” Realizing this to be his situation, he pleads his own case again before God. Lord, help me when I become frustrated like Job, with the trials of my life, to continue to remember that Your care has preserved my spirit; that I am fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14); and like Job and Jeremiah, you knew me and had a plan for me even before I was born (Jeremiah 1:5)!

Today’s Readings: Psalm 124; Job 9-10; Isaiah 29:1-30:17; 1 John 2:18-3:3

The Lord speaks to me today, through His prophet Isaiah, to remind me of the consequences of becoming indifferent to His message. As I have said before in this blog, how blessed I am to live at a time in history when I see the whole picture of God’s plan to reform the moral order of the world. There is certainly more to be written in the history of man before the existing world order is burned up and dissolved (2 Peter 3:10) and the Lord returns to inflict vengeance on those who do not Know God (2 Thessalonians 1:5-10), but today I “stand in awe of the God of Israel” (Isaiah 29:23).

Today’s last reading speaks more about what will happen in “the last hour.” Those will increase who deny that Jesus is the Christ and who deny the Father. The defense against their influence is to abide in Christ, living with confidence that when He returns we will be like Him and we will see Him as He is! Lord, help me to live every day with this scene of Your second coming fresh in my mind! Amen. Come, Lord Jesus (Revelation 22:20)!

Have a blessed day, dear reader!

–Randy Sexton

Reflections – December 3, 2009

To You I lift up my eyes, O you who are enthroned in the heavens! I begin this new day, Lord praising Your magnificence and your power! My eyes look to You Lord my God, and I thank You for the mercy You have upon me! Though I suffer contempt and scorn from those who do not love you, I will honor You with my lips and my heart and all my being!

Today’s Readings: Psalm 123; Job 8; Isaiah 28; 1John 2:7-17

In today’s reading from Job, we have Bildad’s strong rebuke. He refers to his friends answer to Eliphaz and his complaints to God as “”a great wind.” Tough love,” as we sometimes term it, does call for us to sternly rebuke those we love at times (1 Timothy 5:20; James 4:11-12; 5:19-20) but speaking evil of a brother and judging a brother when we do not have all the facts is condemned by God. Most of what Bildad says is true and, in another situation, we would priase him for his strong defence of God. In this situation, however, what he says is not helpful to his hearer because it does not deal with the root of his friend’s pain. I can be guilty of the same, when I encounter those who are hurting and those who are struggling to find their way. Lord, help me to seek your wisdom in such situations, to rightly handle your word (2 Timothy 2:15) to bring healing and timely intervention to such circumstances!

In today’s third reading, the prophet sends forth more of his warning. In today’s reading against his own people. The prophet begins by referring to Israel’s “proud crown” that is steadily moving toward becoming “the fading flower of its glorious beauty.” That crown will soon be “trodden underfoot.” Isaiah’s clear message was rejected by many of the people so God will soon speak to them through a “foreign tongue.” Though they prided themselves in the alliance with Egypt for protection from Assyria , Isaiah warns Jerusalem’s leaders that their trust has been misplaced. He likens it to sleeping in a bed that is too short and covering with a blanket that is too narrow. As I read this message of warning, I am see in my own life areas of application. Sometimes I pride myself in alliances I have made to protect me from the evil one. I pride myself in all of the good things that I am doing to be an influence in the lives of young people, and at that very moment Satan is diligently looking for ways to bring me down. I pride myself in my concern that my boys receive “discipline and instruction of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4) and at that very moment Satan presents temptations to draw me away from spending time with them and from communicating with them in a kind and loving way. But I am also encouraged by the message of hope in Isaiah’s message as he talks about the sure foundation in Zion that annuls these alliances. If I take action after receiving this warning, I can replace “sheer terror” (28:19) with the “honor” that is reserved for believers to “not be put to shame (1 Peter 2:2-8).” He indeed is wonderful in counsel and excellent in wisdom!

Today’s final reading presents John’s challenge to live out Christ’s message and thereby bring light into a world of darkness. The challenge is: Do not love the world! The message is: You have overcome the evil one and will maintain that status as long as the word of God abides in you! What a wonderful message of hope has been delivered to me and entrusted to me to take to the rest of the world! Lord help me to be faithful in that stewardship!

Have a blessed day, dear reader!

–Randy Sexton

Reflections – December 2, 2009

I AM glad when they say to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord!” I AM glad to give thanks to the name of Lord! I pray for the peace of all of God’s people! I pray especially that those whom I love will be secure! For my brothers and companions’ sake, I AM saying, “Peace within you!”

Today’s Readings: Psalm 122; Job 6-7; Isaiah 26-27; 1 John 1:1-2:6

How can Job speak that way to God? I cannot begin to know all that he felt. I have not even come to close to what he is suffering in his life as the story unfolds in today’s second reading. In Job’s first address to God, he admits to not restraining his mouth, to speaking in the anguish of his spirit, to complaining in the bitterness of his soul. Job is known for his patience. We sometimes define patience as “endurance without complaint.” So how can that be? He charges God with making him “the mark” of His burden(7:20).

“Job will declare outright that God has wronged him (Job 19:6-7). At the same time, Job is certain that his ‘enemy’ is actually his advocate and will vindicate him… Astonishingly, the Lord does not take Job to task over his words, instead calling them ‘right’ (42:7). The book as a whole ilustrates that a full understanding of God’s reasons for events is not a prerequisite for faithfulness amid terrible suffering. Further, Job’s deep perplexity and questioning are not a provocation to God. ” (ESV Study Bible, p. 870)

Today’s third reading describes the final and complete victory that God will achieve for His people. It is described in physical terms as a strong city with walls and bulwarks, and in spiritual terms, as a place where God’s people are kept in perfect peace. Powerful word pictures are used by the prophet to describe a confidence and reliance upon God! (“desire of our soul,” “yearns for you in the night,” earnestly seeks you,” “your name alone we bring to remembrance, and “you have increased the nation”). Lord thank you for the promise to keep me in perfect peace because my mind is stayed on you and I trust in you! Help me Lord, as I evaluate and contemplate and plan my future days, to wait for you and to seek the path of your judgements.

In today’s final reading, John emphasizes the personal nature of his eyewitness testimony to the life that Jesus lived and the life that He brings to those who follow Him. The fellowship between those with a common faith is also a predominant theme. As a human creature, made as piece of pottery out of the earth by the hand of the Potter, I know that I am not able to live a life totally devoid of sin. But I am reminded by John that I have the assurance of always being able to seek God’s forgiveness and cleansing, when I confess my sins to Him, while living a life of walking in the light!

Have a blessed day, dear reader!

–Randy Sexton

Reflections – December 1, 2009

I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my salvation come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth. A key word in this psalm, “keep,” reminds me that the Lord guards, watches over and attends carefully over my life, as His child. How truly awesome He is!

Today’s Readings:Psalm 121; Job 4-5; Isaiah 25; John 21

You know how you feel when you have spent a couple of hours working on a document on your computer that you were sure that you saved …

Well, you guessed it. That’s what happened to this column today. I was working on it this morning when I received a call from a recruiter. After ending the phone conversation, I saved the work I had been doing on my Reflections and began researching a prospective employer. The day filled with other things, I lost the laptop to my wife (it is hers after all). It is now after 11:00 P.M and I discover that 95% of what I had written this morning was not saved. So I will pillow my head now and things will be better tomorrow…

Have a peaceful night and a great day tomorrow. Post your comments as you read, if you are so inclined.

–Randy Sexton