So I wrote previously about my reading from days 1 – 5 and I want to express once again that I am SO excited to DO this THIS year! I know I’m only 9 days in but I’ve already highlighted and re-read so much that I believe God is speaking to me through His word in a new way, it’s been a HUGE blessing to my every day.
Here are some other things that I’ve pulled out of the readings over the last 4 days that I want to share:
Sodom and Gomorrah:
Sodom & Gomorrah are the current day Las Vegas & Hollywood in my opinion. These are two places that promote and encourage the hiding of sin, help to work & cover up sin, and blatantly advertise these actions. According to the Bible, Sodom and Gomorrah were deliberately disobeying God’s law and then flaunting it in His face. I read Genesis 18-20 in The Message translation again and it brought this story to new light. Enjoy!
Genesis 18:20 – 19:29 – The Message
20-21 God continued, “The cries of the victims in Sodom and Gomorrah are deafening; the sin of those cities is immense. I’m going down to see for myself, see if what they’re doing is as bad as it sounds. Then I’ll know.”
22 The men set out for Sodom, but Abraham stood in God’s path, blocking his way.
23-25 Abraham confronted him, “Are you serious? Are you planning on getting rid of the good people right along with the bad? What if there are fifty decent people left in the city; will you lump the good with the bad and get rid of the lot? Wouldn’t you spare the city for the sake of those fifty innocents? I can’t believe you’d do that, kill off the good and the bad alike as if there were no difference between them. Doesn’t the Judge of all the Earth judge with justice?”
26 God said, “If I find fifty decent people in the city of Sodom, I’ll spare the place just for them.”
27-28 Abraham came back, “Do I, a mere mortal made from a handful of dirt, dare open my mouth again to my Master? What if the fifty fall short by five—would you destroy the city because of those missing five?”
He said, “I won’t destroy it if there are forty-five.”
29 Abraham spoke up again, “What if you only find forty?”
“Neither will I destroy it if for forty.”
30 He said, “Master, don’t be irritated with me, but what if only thirty are found?”
“No, I won’t do it if I find thirty.”
31 He pushed on, “I know I’m trying your patience, Master, but how about for twenty?”
“I won’t destroy it for twenty.”
32 He wouldn’t quit, “Don’t get angry, Master—this is the last time. What if you only come up with ten?”
“For the sake of only ten, I won’t destroy the city.”
33 When God finished talking with Abraham, he left. And Abraham went home.
1-2 The two angels arrived at Sodom in the evening. Lot was sitting at the city gate. He saw them and got up to welcome them, bowing before them and said, “Please, my friends, come to my house and stay the night. Wash up. You can rise early and be on your way refreshed.”
They said, “No, we’ll sleep in the street.”
3 But he insisted, wouldn’t take no for an answer; and they relented and went home with him. Lot fixed a hot meal for them and they ate.
4-5 Before they went to bed men from all over the city of Sodom, young and old, descended on the house from all sides and boxed them in. They yelled to Lot, “Where are the men who are staying with you for the night? Bring them out so we can have our sport with them!”
6-8 Lot went out, barring the door behind him, and said, “Brothers, please, don’t be vile! Look, I have two daughters, virgins; let me bring them out; you can take your pleasure with them, but don’t touch these men—they’re my guests.”
9 They said, “Get lost! You drop in from nowhere and now you’re going to tell us how to run our lives. We’ll treat you worse than them!” And they charged past Lot to break down the door.
10-11 But the two men reached out and pulled Lot inside the house, locking the door. Then they struck blind the men who were trying to break down the door, both leaders and followers, leaving them groping in the dark.
12-13 The two men said to Lot, “Do you have any other family here? Sons, daughters—anybody in the city? Get them out of here, and now! We’re going to destroy this place. The outcries of victims here to God are deafening; we’ve been sent to blast this place into oblivion.”
14 Lot went out and warned the fiancés of his daughters, “Evacuate this place; God is about to destroy this city!” But his daughters’ would-be husbands treated it as a joke.
15 At break of day, the angels pushed Lot to get going, “Hurry. Get your wife and two daughters out of here before it’s too late and you’re caught in the punishment of the city.”
16-17 Lot was dragging his feet. The men grabbed Lot’s arm, and the arms of his wife and daughters—God was so merciful to them!—and dragged them to safety outside the city. When they had them outside, Lot was told, “Now run for your life! Don’t look back! Don’t stop anywhere on the plain—run for the hills or you’ll be swept away.”
18-20 But Lot protested, “No, masters, you can’t mean it! I know that you’ve taken a liking to me and have done me an immense favor in saving my life, but I can’t run for the mountains—who knows what terrible thing might happen to me in the mountains and leave me for dead. Look over there—that town is close enough to get to. It’s a small town, hardly anything to it. Let me escape there and save my life—it’s a mere wide place in the road.”
21-22 “All right, Lot. If you insist. I’ll let you have your way. And I won’t stamp out the town you’ve spotted. But hurry up. Run for it! I can’t do anything until you get there.” That’s why the town was called Zoar, that is, Smalltown.
23 The sun was high in the sky when Lot arrived at Zoar.
24-25 Then God rained brimstone and fire down on Sodom and Gomorrah— a river of lava from God out of the sky!—and destroyed these cities and the entire plain and everyone who lived in the cities and everything that grew from the ground.
26 But Lot’s wife looked back and turned into a pillar of salt.
27-28 Abraham got up early the next morning and went to the place he had so recently stood with God. He looked out over Sodom and Gomorrah, surveying the whole plain. All he could see was smoke belching from the Earth, like smoke from a furnace.
29 And that’s the story: When God destroyed the Cities of the Plain, he was mindful of Abraham and first got Lot out of there before he blasted those cities off the face of the Earth.
How Blessed are We!!!
So in Matthew i read and re-read the fifth chapter I think 20 times over the last few days and I will continue to re-read it until I understand just how blessed we are (which could be until the day I die!). I hope you are reminded as well. Remember this came soon after Jesus’ testing in Matthew 4, where God allowed Satan to test Jesus in three ways. If you’ve never read it, do it now!
The title of the fifth chapter of Matthew is “You’re Blessed”. I don’t think I can sum it up any better than that. Oh yeah and then He challenges us on the end of that to be Salt and Light, so here you go, enjoy!
Matthew 5: 3- 16 – The Message
3“You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule.
4“You’re blessed when you feel you’ve lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you.
5“You’re blessed when you’re content with just who you are—no more, no less. That’s the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can’t be bought.
6“You’re blessed when you’ve worked up a good appetite for God. He’s food and drink in the best meal you’ll ever eat.
7“You’re blessed when you care. At the moment of being ‘care-full,’ you find yourselves cared for.
8“You’re blessed when you get your inside world—your mind and heart—put right. Then you can see God in the outside world.
9“You’re blessed when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight. That’s when you discover who you really are, and your place in God’s family.
10“You’re blessed when your commitment to God provokes persecution. The persecution drives you even deeper into God’s kingdom.
11-12“Not only that—count yourselves blessed every time people put you down or throw you out or speak lies about you to discredit me. What it means is that the truth is too close for comfort and they are uncomfortable. You can be glad when that happens—give a cheer, even!—for though they don’t like it, I do! And all heaven applauds. And know that you are in good company. My prophets and witnesses have always gotten into this kind of trouble.
Salt and Light
13“Let me tell you why you are here. You’re here to be salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavors of this earth. If you lose your saltiness, how will people taste godliness? You’ve lost your usefulness and will end up in the garbage.
14-16“Here’s another way to put it: You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand. Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven.
I totally forgot to share this with you in my last post (Days 1 – 5) so I’ll share it now:
Proverbs! I LOVE this book. Not only is it short and easy to read but it is chalked full of USEFUL information! In the intro to Proverbs in The Message translation it says, “Many people this that what’s written in the Bible has mostly to do with getting people to heaven – getting right with God, saving their eternal souls. It does have to do with that, of course, but not mostly. It is equally concerned with living on the earth – living well, living in robust sanity. In our Scriptures, heaven is not the primary concern, to which earth is a tag-along after-thought. “On earth as it is in heaven” is Jesus’ prayer. “Wisdom: is the biblical term for this on-earth-as-it-is-in-heaven everyday living. Wisdom is the art of living skillfully in whatever actual conditions we find ourselves. It has virtually nothing to do with information as such, with knowledge as such. A college degree is no certification of wisdom – nor is it primarily concerned with keeping us our of moral mud puddles, although it does have a profound moral effect on us. Wisdom has to do with becoming skillful in honoring our parents and raising our children, handling our money and conducting our sexual lives, getting to work and exercising leadership, using words well and treating friends kindly, eating and drinking healthily, cultivating emotions withing ourselves and attitudes towards others that make for peace….Proverbs concentrates on these concerns more than another other book in the Bible… Proverbs distills it all into riveting images and aphorisms that keep us connected in holy obedience to the ordinary.” – I could have quoted the entire intro…so good!
Proverbs 1:1 – 7 – The Message
A Manual for Living
1-6 These are the wise sayings of Solomon,
David’s son, Israel’s king—
Written down so we’ll know how to live well and right,
to understand what life means and where it’s going;
A manual for living,
for learning what’s right and just and fair;
To teach the inexperienced the ropes
and give our young people a grasp on reality.
There’s something here also for seasoned men and women,
still a thing or two for the experienced to learn—
Fresh wisdom to probe and penetrate,
the rhymes and reasons of wise men and women.
Start with God
7 Start with God—the first step in learning is bowing down to God;
only fools thumb their noses at such wisdom and learning.