May 20



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I Corinthians 4-6

We are in the Church Stream today hearing the Apostle Paul instruct the church at Corinth. We are using the Common English Bible this week.

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The Thread through the Streams

Looking over the terrain of the scriptures, we can almost feel it in our soul when God shows the vision to the 70 elders in Exodus. The Covenant is laid forth, they gather to dine and they see the dazzling blue above as if God opened a window from heaven and let them see in. “Watch this” <–they heard it back then and they saw. It was a spectacular gift of God.

-In II Samuel there is a rebellion getting some scary momentum. Will Ahithophel get away with this? No. Watch this. Will the army of Absalom snuff out King David? No. They are going down today. God will do them in – this rebellion will die in the forest, watch this.
-In Psalm 50:15, I can almost hear the question being asked of God and his reply, ” cry out to me, I’ll deliver you from trouble – watch this!”
-In Jeremiah they are justifying themselves thinking they will never be punished. “oh yea? watch this as the harvest doesn’t come in, mounted horsemen bent on obliterating you ride. You won’t want to watch this, but you will!”
-Hosea in ch. 11 especially muses at how frustrating this all is for God to call down punishment on His beloved children. Can they see it? God wants to show them compassion if they would watch for Him instead of looking for ways to err into sin.
-Right before Jesus enters Jerusalem for the last time, there’s a “watch this!” as Jesus heals Bartimaeus of blindness. And think that the deed itself says the same thing to the blind man. Guess what?! He can watch Jesus now! Amazing.
-In Corinth there is a fellow engaging is a dark sin that leads to death / not just an ecclesistical inconvenience. He is arrogant about it. Paul almost retorts in his spirit to that man, “you think you are going to get away with this? Keep this up? Stay in the church? avoid evil and love your sin and not encounter grave punishment? Watch this as you get handed over to Satan himself.
Let’s everyday be watching for what God is going to do – it’s terribly marvelous.

May 19



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Mark 10-11

We are in the Christ Stream today reading about Palm Sunday and more. We are using the Common English Bible this week.

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Commentary by Dr. Drake Travis

Dear Lord Jesus, thank you for sharing your endless wisdom, your mind, your life and your eternal home with us.  Amen

1 – In case anyone is wondering: Jesus is in the final days – week or two at the most – of His life/ministry before He is crucified. It is the Springtime. If we put our calendar transparently right on top of the local calendar of the era and region we would be calling the month April. If you are into calendars, the Julian and the Gregorian and (it’s a laborious study so we will simply mention it here) The year is 29 A.D.
-Fascinating little study about the dates. But, on to Jesus’ march to Jerusalem. He has just come far south. He is still east of the Jordan and getting mashed in by a crowd again, He is teaching and some Pharisees are there. They ask him if divorce is permitted by law.  It’s always amusing when someone asks a question and they are not really on a quest to get their question answered. These Pharisees are tramps! They were the type to divorce and give out easy divorces for … a wife burning the food, for casually stating “she isn’t attractive to me anymore”. They treated women below dogs. And so over the years, most of these clowns had turned their wives into skittish, cowering ladies who lived with little value in their own minds so their own husbands were not drawn to them anymore. They don’t care that the Law forbids divorce. They are just trying to set up a situation where Jesus seems pitted against Moses. Makes one shake their head to watch these guys get “owned” or exposed like crooks in broad daylight. I like to say that Jesus tied them in a knot and left them baking in the sun. OK, that’s not very nice 🙁
Next we see Jesus blessing little children, and the disciples rebuke this. For them, children are a segue to nothing. They can’t be added to the “vital contacts” list. Jesus, always ready to create a teachable moment, does so and portrays “the child” as the ones who access God far more readily for they come to God for love. They come purely. No finesse, no secondary or hidden agenda. No attempt to deceive or be dubious. They just come to Jesus because they want HIM. Adults rarely do that, though children always do. And we better learn something here.

~Then there comes a rich young ruler; he has wealth, youth, time, and power. He wants to add Jesus’ wisdom to his arsenal AND have eternal life. Jesus basically says to him, that Jesus is to be the number one priority in his life. We’ve met people who glance over Jesus’ statement here and declare they can never follow Jesus. This is paper-thin scholarship. Just a few verses later

Jesus tells his disciples that ALL things are possible with God. Jesus asserts that those who serve Him wholeheartedly will be rewarded accordingly and they can “take that to the bank”.
-He tells of his Passion again – remember Jesus does this five times during this season of His ministry –  James and Johns’ little “I’m #1” squabble is turned into a teaching lesson for service. Interesting that Christians lead the world in service because of this passage right here!
-in the blind Bartimaeus story, notice that when Jesus calls to him, he throws off his mantle. This mantle was a cloak that was sanctioned by the government meaning he was ‘cleared’ to beg. BarT- throwing it away as soon as he hears Jesus’ voice means he KNOWS he will be healed. Do we come to Jesus’ with that confidence?!
11 – The triumphal entry is the event that is commemorated each Palm Sunday the world over. ‘Pretty bold of him to go straight to the Temple and bash all the bookkeepers and kaBoom the bazaar that had developed into an eternal fundraiser. To charge people for praying was disgusting and Jesus’ made is statement didn’t He.??  The fig tree incident can be analyzed for a lifetime, I’ll just pick one facet and say this, “we need to be producing something for God’s sake. Jesus is hungry and wants a fig. Are we going to be coming to God empty handed forever? Come on! He tells us to be full of faith and quick to forgive. Let’s do what we are told here.
-It ends today with the Temple leaders coming to him again with a question that is just a ploy to ensnarl Him. Again, their “question” is no quest. Jesus throws it right back at them and they fall dumbfoundedly silent.  This whole interchange is actually taught in law schools today for it’s brilliance and quick reply that exposes what is really going on.
-Looking over the two chapters today, let’s not come to Jesus with our “educated agenda”, let’s come like Bartimaeus and the children with our needs before us and excitement to be with Him.

May 18



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Hosea 11-12

We are in the Exile Stream and reading from the Common English Bible.

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Commentary by Dr. Drake Travis

Dear Lord,

We know that You are compassionate to those who follow after You. We want to follow You. Help us to stay on the straight and narrow and to not be distracted by the temptations of this world. May Your compassion flow through us to reach more for Your Kingdom. Amen.

Just to pause for some review, Hosea was sent as the final prophet to the North; to Israel.  They split from the south because they were tired of the taxes and of being told by the new young leaders [in the south] that taxes would only go up; way up. To secure the division, the north (Israel) had set up the the golden calf as their national symbol and had immersed themselves in Baal worship. This deliberate paganism was a 200 year run from ca. 920 BC to 720 BC.  During these two centuries God sent Elijah, Elisha, Jonah, Amos and finally Hosea.  All tried to get the northern Kingdom to repent of its idol worship. It was as feckless of results as trying to get dogs to stop digging through garbage or to keep pigs out of mud. ?How to get these people to stop their transgressions? We read Hosea 11 and 12 today and will finish Hosea next week.

11 – begins that God called his son out of Egypt. This is a theme; a motif in the long process of redemption.  Moses was called out of Egypt, the Israelites were called/delivered out of Egypt, Jesus was called out of Egypt as a toddler when the angel told Joseph/Mary to return to Israel now since Herod was gone.  The phrase “Leaving Egypt” can virtually mean to depart from slavery and come into freedom. God had called Israel out of slavery and … they dove back into it around 920 B.C. and told themselves that they were doing this to symbolize their independence. It’s quite the “whirling dervish” mentality and it wasn’t taking them where they might have thought it would.

God has cared for them for so long; from the start! and all they do is run away. They are a frustration to God.  And since they think it’s their right to dabble in spiritual slavery, they will return to slavery. Assyria will swarm in and when the swords flash all over over their country it won’t be some display or Memorial Day exposition.  Swords will flash for their death! Horror of horrors. God really doesn’t want to see this happen to Israel, his chosen people. But what is God to do when Israel has chosen wrong? The two mentioned cities of Admah and Zeboiim were sister cities of Sodom/Gomorrah, mentioned in Gen. 10:19. They had joined in S Gs’ sin.  They were burned into oblivion too in Genesis along with the other ungodly populations. Again, God doesn’t want to treat Israel this way but what choice is Israel’s behavior offering to God when they had joined in such diabolical behavior? Their satanic behavior must be addressed. Does God love them? He never stopped loving them. This is pain for the divine one who would so prefer to save them.  However their life of lies cannot go on.

12 – Ephraim, in Israel (remember Absalom and his army perishing in the forests of Ephraim a few days ago?) Ephraim was a cultural center in Israel.  Let’s put it this way, they put the “cult” in cultural. At any rate, Ephraim is doing deals with Egypt and Assyria (both menacing countries on either side of them) and they are thinking that they are going to triangulate a clever deal and thereby keep punishment at bay. It is as if they think that some tricky chess playing or maneuvering is going to keep them out of trouble. They were being like Jacob; Israel their forefather who was constantly conjuring something v.s. dealing with matters in a forthright manner. God had dynamically met Jacob at Bethel [Gen. 28] – now that area is “sin-central”, they are ungodly in every way.  God has worked so long to establish His people in Israel but they seem to prefer to return to lostness.  They will, – and blood is going to be spilt.

Don’t you wish things had gone differently? Yeah. God does too.