April 22


Romans 7-9

We are in the Church Stream today reading from the Good News Translation.

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Commentary by Dr. Drake Travis

7 – Why is there The Law? Whether nonChristian religions want to admit it or not, something is wrong.  It is not a perfect world and there is especially something wrong with us. The deficit created between what we are are and what we ought to be is not caused by diet, lack of inner essence-ness, poor wifi with our mobile device. And more/enough money isn’t going to take our sin away. The world descended into sin since Genesis 3 occurred and a Savior is needed. We violated God’s Law and only a solution from God will remedy the matter. Without Law humanity remains oblivious that a Savior is needed and that there is a vast gap between where we are spiritually and where we ought to be.   God doesn’t want our reaction to a Savior to be, “Savior? I don’t need a Savior. That merely proves human oblivion.  We are helpless to save ourselves and God’s Law proves this to us.

Paul uses an illustration of marriage for us to help start the realization process. The fact of Law and what it reveals about us proves that we as humans come up short regardless. Our nature is divided. What we know, what we wish we did, and what we do, fails to line up again and again. We embody the conflict. We live the conflict. The conflict lives in us. Except for Jesus, and haleluia, we have Jesus…provided we let Jesus have us.
8 – In Jesus, we have Life abundant, full and free, in the Holy Spirit. Condemnation is overwith.  This Holy Spirit lives in us.  The Holy Spirit enables us to do and be and become all that God designed us for in this life. Our obligation now is not to an exhausting Law but to the Holy Spirit – to remain in Him and yielded to Him; to be listening to His promptings and not selfishness anymore. And Jesus, through the Holy Spirit in us, allows this to happen in us. What we truly crave in our soul is for Christ to reign in our lives and all that is explained in this chapter allows this to happen. The suffering that creation is under is universal suffering, but this hope in Christ carries us through to attach to the ultimate freedom that is coming. The Spirit is praying for us. We need never be in dismay or defeated for God can be trusted.  We have Christ. We will always have Christ. Christ Himself will not allow something to come between us. We are never separated from Him. Romans 8 is magnificent and has given comfort to Believers in the most bleak of settings for 19+ centuries.
9 – Paul, not one to duck from issues, brings up the pain he has over the fact that many of the Jewish people, for whom the promises of God were first granted, are not in the Covenant – and it is their rejecting God [not the vice versa] that is the problem. God did not reject the Jews so to discard them. God used the occasion of their smugness to Him and the New Covenant in Christ’s blood to open the invitation to the nations of the whole world. This all hinges on God’s mercy and grace. Remember that every false religion errs in the realm of grace. They mess it up. They do not understand it. This chapter is an exposition of another factor of God’s grace. He has opened the Kingdom of Himself to more people who do not deserve it.  He is just good.  That is the issue here.  It was foretold that the Kingdom of heaven and access to it would be opened to all people’s and not just “a door held open” for one race of people for all time.

The motif that came forward day after day this week was, “God is Sovereign. Will we accept this and trust Him?”

Pharaoh’s heart was hard as stone in the first 5 plagues.  God made sure Pharaoh remained so plagues 6ff. – so that all 10 plagues could be executed to testify to the world for all time.  God’s sovereignty is the only explanation for this.   David is going through a cauldron of events and stresses that could have shook His faith and had him question his destiny. He knew God enough to trust Him through it all.  Psalms this week was an alpine journey through frantic cries, through turbulence, thanksgiving, trust, and forgiveness. Trust in His Sovereignty is what sustains David – AGAIN. Isaiah prophesies of astounding things that are going to happen in Israel in the future. It is talk like this that will sustain Israel as they are going to walk through some painful things brought on by their rebellion. Understanding sovereignty is what helps us rise to see the big picture.  We see sovereignty in Hosea’s words, “I will abandon my people until they have suffered enough for their sins, and come looking for me …” God isn’t mean. He is sovereign and only He knows what is going to work.  We see God’s sovereignty in Jesus showing Lordship over the Sabbath, and demons, and illness and nature.  Paul describes a part of God’s sovereignty in His opening Himself to the world and the world to Him when, by default, Israel (especially leadership) rejects God.  This is enough different ways God has shown His graciousness and sovereignty for us to realize that His sovereignty will prove true in our lives as well.  For nothing can separate us from the love of God. Amen.

April 21


Mark 2:23-4:41

We are in the Christ Stream reading from the Good News Translation this week.

7streamsmethod.com | @7StreamsMethod | @serenatravis.com | #7Streams

Commentary by Dr. Drake Travis

Lord Jesus, you are Lord over the Sabbath, over nature, over diseases and Lord over the Law.  May you be The Lord in our lives too.  Amen.

The Sabbath Laws were so detailed and extreme that they were stifling for people. The trend went to these ends after the Babylon Captivity.  The leadership in Israel had been so wretched from ca. 920 – 722 A.D. that they figured that swinging to the other extreme of feigned obedience would be proper.  On the Sabbath no one could walk more than a few minutes. Food had to be prepared the day before and eaten cold. Even today there are some of this same brand of faith who will not flush their toilets on the Sabbath because pushing the handle down that painful one inch constitutes work (this is true!). Yes, Jesus used the occasion to highlight the sillyness of manmade rules.  He was also addressing the leaderships penchant for majoring on the minor and minoring on the major.  And for what it’s worth, it was Jesus’ teaching and His life lessons about the Sabbath that put the Sanhedrin, Pharisees and Scribes over the edge and their reaction steeled their resolve to eventually crucify him.

3 – Imagine these jokers being so cold that a man getting his hand healed [on THEIR wrong day!] angers them. What a sorry bunch.  He is healing and cleansing people of evil spirits and a stampede to Galilee had erupted from even neighboring lands. It be difficult to film such a scene for it requires tens of thousands of people to film it accurately so we’ve not really seen this scene duplicated for what it really was.  The crowds could have easily exceeded 100,000.  The biggest of sporting or music events worldwide rarely reach this size. Jesus is creating a rage of this size in a country outpost!  He tells the demons that he is expelling to keep quiet for he was trying to delay the people rising up to make him King/Messiah of Israel.  He was able to delay it until Palm Sunday a couple years later.
Next Jesus is calling the 12 Disciples. This is also in Mt. 10:2ff, Lk 6:12ff, and Acts 1:13. The order of these vary per list but it’s the same men – that’s a discussion for another day.
Jesus is being accused of having an evil spirit by the teachers of the Law. They were angry that there was so much attention shifting away from them and going to Jesus. It was jeopardizing their income. Jesus warned that calling his work to be of the Devil was a dangerous deed that would not be forgiven. We need to hear this today. Too much of this happens now anytime someone has a ministry style that seems “out there” to us. I’ve heard people call a minister a demon or some such label. Take it easy, that puts US in dangerous territory. We don’t know and need to watch our words here.
Jesus responding that whoever obeys him is His family; his mother and brothers. Some branches of Christendom bristle at Jesus saying this for Jesus’ mother is so revered in some churches. But Jesus said what He said.  We need to make sure WE are in Jesus family through obeying Him and leave complex theologizing alone.
4 – The Parable of he Sower is a clear memo to us.  We are to be fruitful soil. We are not to be paper thin characters, or distracted by thorny concerns, or lacking substance like rocky soil. We are called to be rich in Him – like nutrients; growing and helping others grow. And we are to be productive. We are to draw others to God like a lamp in the dark. Too many hide their faith. Today people all over the world are being told to put their Crosses away. NEVER. Broadcast the Faith in Our Jesus that saves. Our faith is a growing enterprise. It engulfs more of humanity than any creed or business or movement ever has. It was small once – 12 guys; rather ruffian in nature, and billions have joined since. We can learn from the mustard seed, can we not?  We’ve been living it for near 2000 years.  And one last lesson about nature – when he orders a storm to be calmed: He has control over nature.

April 20


Hosea 5:1-6:10

We are in the Exile Stream today reading from the Good News Translation.

7streamsmethod.com | @7StreamsMethod | @serenatravis | #7Streams

Commentary by Dr. Drake Travis

Lord, we find ourselves in a world today that is increasingly ungodly; ungodly just like the people we hear people Hosea addressing.  Teach us how to reach out to a population that is encouraged to go bad.  Let us be Light in the darkness and live effectively to see people come to you.  Amen.

5 – The people of Israel; the northern kingdom are intent on doing wrong all of them top to bottom Priests, the king, the population and I mean ALL the people are in sin.  The leaders are particularly culpable for leading the nation into idolatrous rebellion and God is going to punish the whole lot of them. They’re so ill-bent on doing wrong God talks that He doesn’t even want them to come and worship in the state they are in.  They are in such a bad way they are unable to repent.  This is bad; really bad. God has had enough of these people.  God is also disturbed how Israel and Judah have turned on one another. God is about to abandon them and let them suffer for awhile.  Maybe they will “listen” to the suffering and repent ….?

6 – The people are utterly dark and seem to have no idea how far they have fallen, nor how idolatrous they are, nor how disobedient they are.  They have been aggressively idolatrous for about two centuries and they think that acting religious and making sacrifices is going to cover for all the wretchedness and murder and their national commitment to stay this way; phony, double-minded and sinful.  Think of this: these people are more interested in managing [and feeding] their sin than finding their God and walking with him.  It’s astonishing.