May 13


I Corinthians 1-3

We are starting a new book in the Church Stream! We are reading from the Easy-to-Read Version this week. | @7StreamsMethod | @serenatravis | #7Streams

Commentary by Dr. Drake Travis

God, thank you for caring for us enough to walk us through such matters as we read about today. Church and Christian Fellowship is the best place on earth to find support and comfort, safety, strength, discipleship, and teaching. You certainly love your bride; the church. And we are grateful – because it is us you love. Amen.

Paul wrote this letter from Ephesus to the Corinthian church after he had left the first time. Corinth was along a busy trade route. It was a cultural and wealthy city of influence. Paul was spurred to write the Believers in Corinth because leaders from there had come to visit him in Ephesus as they were in duress and vexed with how to handle troubles, sin, misconduct, plus relational and doctrinal matters back in Corinth. [btw, Olympic trials were held here before Paul arrived and shortly after he had left.] There was an Aphrodite Temple above town. It had been closed by the New Testament era but there were residual effects from it in Corinth, Paul ended up addressing this issue also. It became an influential church and Paul was fervent to see them “aright their ship”. For within a century there would be a population of 3/4Million people in the area, so now was the time to set the church straight.

1 – Paul encourages them that they are holy because they belong to Christ Jesus. The Greek culture had a goal of attaining a perfect body and a perfected mind. [E.g. the muscle-bound statues, the ‘thinker’, etc.] We can still view this art today. This was a Grecian’s grid of value. and Paul wanted them to know that their value was that they belonged to Christ. This was news!

Churches here (as elsewhere) had not built central meeting places. That happened a couple of centuries after Rome had committed to stop harassing and executing Christians. Churches met in homes, halls, fields, caves and were therefore almost never “all together” as a unified group. The tendency was to become competitive. They were following different factions they had created. Paul reminded them that they were all following Christ, together, so stop bickering. And it was vital that they understand the Cross. Greeks didn’t like it because they felt, “why follow a man who surrendered himself to die? I don’t want to die. I’ll follow Apollos! He’s alive…”
[or we’ll follow Peter or Paul or Aquila].  And then there were the Jews who were taught for 1400 years that a lamb was to be sacrificed, not a human. That was too much like Molech or the pagans in Rome. yuck!  As you see, Paul needed to explain the Cross to them….[and to us!] And because of this Cross, Jesus is your strength, your mind, your justification, your freedom.
2 – It was important that their confidence switch from being rooted in human thinking (mind worship) to confidence in Christ.  THIS is the root of true wisdom.  The Greek mind and language structure was a rather brilliant system – it still affects the way we think and talk even today.  But it is the wisdom of God, found in Christ Jesus, that we access through His Holy Spirit that leads to true wisdom that transforms us and the world.  This is the wisdom that Paul mentors us into finding and living by.  God has such marvels and wonders to share with us and bring us to, but we won’t find this life in Him via a human path or cranial activity. We will find it by surrendering to Him, His wisdom, His Spirit.
3 – Paul takes the time to tell them that the teachers that pass through their live are God’s Servants – not Their Masters.  Follow Christ, let the teachers guide you, and the arguing and comparing would simply cease – as it needed to!  The Greeks (and Corinth is a city in Greece) were very immersed in learning and growing and perfecting and building. There are structures from centuries before Christ that are still matters to marvel over today.  Paul, amid this thinking, asserts to them that THEY are a temple, Christ is at work on this temple. They must bring Christ into all their thinking and building and activity and hobbies and obsessions. Christ would then therefore be their “obsession”. <– We’re saying what Paul is implying though he doesn’t word it this way.  Paul simply wants Corinthians to latch on to a totally higher way of thinking, and wisdom and operating that supersedes anything they have ever known before.  Christ owns you and has so much to bless you with. Let Him.

The Thread Through the Streams

:You will all follow a higher wisdom, what God has laid out, or you will end up killing what you think it is you love.

In Exodus, God laid out the plan; the “Decalogue” and numerous subsequent laws. Each persons impulses and passions were not to rule the day. God’s Law was the law. What happens in the world, in villages, in families where God’s law is not followed? Eventually murder rules and worse.

-In II Samuel David is feeling the affects of not following God’s 6,7,8, & 10th Commandments. He repented and was restored, yes. But it ends up terrorizing and killing his children however.
-In Psalms, the Sons of Korah are at a crossroads many times. They are so down-hearted. Thankfully they choose to look up to God, and His higher wisdom, and to be encouraged and not let their feelings override their faith.
-Jeremiah is urging them to follow God’s laws and wisdom. But they follow their own vices and darkness – what they think they love.  And it’s going to kill them, their towns, and Temple too.
-Hosea tells them that they are living wrong (teaching their children wrong too), Your idols, your judges – it’s all poison and you will lose everything and be destroyed for turning against God.

-Jesus, in Mark, asserts definitively that He must die (so that you/us/we can live.  This is higher wisdom – the plan that God laid out. This must be loved more than our own lives or we won’t find life ever.  Our life is found in Jesus’ death. [born once/die twice – born twice/die once]

-The Corinthian Church will follow Paul’s higher wisdom and the Corinthian Church will turn from their selfishness or there is going to be no Christian testimony in this city or this region. Their love for Greek culture and argument and body and mind will be surrendered to Christian codes for living or this church is going to devour itself.

May 12


Mark 8:27-9:50

We are in the Christ Stream today and reading from the Easy-to-Read Version this week. | @7StreamsMethod | @serenatravis | #7Streams

Commentary by Dr. Drake Travis

Jesus, the wild and varied road of discipleship with you is as exciting as ever. Thank you for including us as your disciples. Heaven is worth it, and so is each moment with you.

Mark 8:27ff – They are walking north from Galilee to Caesarea Phillippi (21 miles straight, rather longer than that on foot). The discussion that ensues needs to happen: “who is Jesus?” The disciples start quoting this guy and that guy and this guy… This was a trademark of Jewish scholarship. Jesus wanted to know what they thought.  Jesus asks us the same question today. And we need to answer it.  Our eternity rests upon our answer of this question. Peter and Jesus’ interaction here and in the next story are wedded truths that must both be accepted: Jesus is the Savior and he must be crucified as a sacrifice for us. Learning this –> IS discipleship. It’s not an easy truth to ingest. Peter’s attempt to correct Jesus gets a swift and stinging rebuttal.  We are to follow Jesus whole-heartedly, single-mindedly, boldly. Getting “on page” with Him is the issue. We are not to try to mold Jesus to fit our agenda and worldview. He shapes ours.

9 – The disciples would witness the coming of the Power of God – Pentecost is what they being assured of in the opening statement of ch. 9.

-The Transfiguration is a vital lesson in the revelation of paradise, eschatology (end times study), and Resurrection theology. The Israelites had a notion of heaven and the next world but it is an under-developed segment of theology for them. Most of what we believe about heaven/paradise/the next world we learn from Jesus’ teaching.  So here are three of the disciples that realize that Jesus has instant access to other worlds. That the prophets are not dead. They see Elijah – who had “died” 700 years ago, and Moses – who died 1300 years ago. What?! You’re alive? You’re here?!  Those who work for God and follow His Son do not die.  It’s quite a grand testimony, certainly worth telling to the world (when the time is right)!

Upon returning, there is another showdown centered around another demon-possession victim. Matthew and Luke tell of this same story in a much abbreviated 6-verse version. Mark tells it in full. The lynch-pin is that the 9 disciples who didn’t witness the Transfiguration gave it a go to free the youngster from Demons while Jesus was away. They did not succeed. Jesus’ reply to this development was tongue-in-cheek curt response to motivate them to move up to His level. Jesus wants them to be able to expel demons from people. We all hope the reaction was that they insist Jesus teach THEM how to cleanse the demon-possessed and not wither into insecurity because it sounds like Jesus might have insulted them.  Following Jesus in not for the faint of heart, btw.
Next, Jesus tells of his crucifixion again.  He did so five times between this session in Galilee and the arrival in Jerusalem. [Mark tells us of four of them]. Talk of his Passion during what we call Easter week wasn’t mentioned much prior to this. But Jesus wanted them to be certain of what was coming. However they are still not ‘getting it’ yet.’
-The next verse tale is proof that the gravity of what was coming at Calvary wasn’t sinking in at this point –> They are arguing about who’s the greatest, [as if Cassius Clay was among them as one of the disciples). Jesus teaching about serving and having a child-like heart is perfect timing again.  It’s still shaking up the leadership world today. Awesome.
-The word of Jesus and His powerful Name is spreading as someone other than them is ministering in Jesus’ name. The disciples aren’t sure what to make of this. “Jesus” wasn’t going to be a small club of 12 much longer so they best get accustomed to this.
-The final teaching is so needed today. We are to be inspiring and raising up and mentoring eachother.  An alarming amount of people today make a living from selling, promoting, and doing things that harm people and leads them into dark and unhealthy things. Jesus asserts that there is a horrid price tag for leading people astray.  The part about maiming one’self [if that’s what it takes to stop sinning] is too much to take: the issue is clearly this: SIN is NOT one of your OPTIONS.  Dietrick Bonhoffer explains this better than anyone if you care to look up his commentary on these verses. It is vital and beyond that no one is led astray from our example. We are to affect people in the opposite manner.

May 11


Hosea 9:10-10:15

We are in the Exile Stream reading from the Easy-to-Read Version this week. | @7StreamsMethod | @serenatravis | #7Streams

Commentary by Dr. Drake Travis

Lord, let this sorry tale of the northern Kingdom only remind us that you do not play games with the disobedient. Let it remind and urge us to follow you, follow you today, and to follow you fully. Amen.

9 – Israel’s love for God has rotted. It started out as affection that was pure but it has become like garbage gone bad “late in the day”.  Israel has loved rotten things … now they have gone totally rotten themselves.  God needs to discard them.           Their future needs to be cut off because a rotten present (that Israel is committed to) signifies a rotten future.

         Nothing signals that there’s a future like a baby arriving. Well God is going to end this and Israel is going to have no more babies.  What does survive, God will “take” those babies.  It’s too disturbing to describe what the Assyrian soldiers did to Israel’s helpless babies during the seige. And you don’t want to know.  Email my husband, if you really need to know as this era was his major in college. Believe me, it’s bad.  Well, Israel had killed its own faith and done so deliberately and it won’t be long now until Assyria kills every Israelite baby they can find. Too rough? Is God being too mean? Willful sin takes things in a far worse direction than the deliberate sinner ever dreamed he would be taken in his worst nightmare.  They would become a homeless nation.  And historically, these tribes of the north were scattered into the “compost heap” of history.

10 – Israel has erred greatly in that they used their wealth and fertile land and blessing to, do what?!, to make idols!  Their aimlessness is turned lunacy.  We’ve heard the phrase, “wherever, you go, there you are.” With Israel, wherever they go in their minds and hearts and sinfulness, “they aren’t there either. When someone isn’t thinking clearly, we declare, “they’re not all there.”  This is Israel completely.   They have a king, but they don’t – not really, they make promises that they don’t keep (so what were they promising?), their judges merely poison everything, they worship a calf – it gets stolen, they make pacts with other countries – with those that hate them and then invade, their altars of worship will turn into piles of weeds … so what are they worshiping? The nation is crazy.
Israel has been sinning and sinning so horribly, so constantly, and for so long.  All these centuries they could have been planting good things that grew into great things.  But Israel planted evil and lies and false hope (in their sinful commitments).   Btw, the man “Shalman” mentioned in Hosea 10:14 was an Assyrian King, His full name was Shall-man-EASE-err.  Whoever completes the conquest of Israel, Israel is going to be fully destroyed.  It’s basically over for them.