April 30


Exodus 15-18

We are in the World Stream trudging through the desert with the Israelites. We are using The Living Bible this week.

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Commentary by Dr. Drake Travis

Lord God of Heaven, you rescue in the mightiest of ways. Each salvation you grant is a rescue. The drama of this rescue is marvelous. May we too remain enamored with your power to save and let that spur us [also] to not be a complainer. Let us keep our eye and mind on your wonderful deeds and provision for us.  Amen.

15 – the song had to be overwhelming.  2Million singing immediately after being saved in the most fantastic way imaginable was over the top.  We’ve seen a congregation burst into cheering after a baptism or salvation announcement or a miraculous breakthrough. But here is 2Million singing, exultant after 600,000 soldiers in pursuit are stopped right behind them. God is marvelous indeed. The next three days was spent walking in the wilderness and water was not to be found. It’s easy to ridicule them as forgetful whiners, but take it easy on’em. A few hours without water in the wilderness will make one frantic. A full day or two will make one delirious. There is a nation of them and it’s been three days now! The water is bitter and God needed them to drink it for there was a remedial element in the water that God needed them to ingest to heal the intestinal problem that over 80% of all Egyptiank residences had. If they were not in a panic of thirst they would have not drunk it at all.  This set of incidences had them follow through with “taking their medicine”.

16 – The journey is in full and the Red Sea behind them is well out of sight. The manna begins and everyone has all that they need and the supply is going to last for 40 years. No one starved in the desert – not one. The food they had was good, nutritious, and sweet to eat. The Lord used this food issue to keep the Sabbath matter before them. On the sixth day each week, God sent double supply so they would not be sent out to gather on the seventh. They were to keep and remember the Sabbath. Those who hoarded, thinking God might stop feeding them, had rot and odor in their places. They wanted more food; meat, so God sent quail.  He sent quail here and again about a year later.  We’ll read that in the coming chapter later in Exodus.  God did not send manna on the seventh day. The people finally caught on to this pattern.
17 – The two great events of this chapter are water coming from the rock and the initial battle against Amalek.  The water situation is not a perplexing matter to the locals even today. The porous rocks of this area become infused with water during the infrequent flashfloods. Shepherds then tap on rocks and are able to determine whether there is water inside it. Moses had done this during his shepherding years here [Exodus 2]. It must have been simpler for Moses to do this for bleating sheep than for quizzical and cantankerous people. The army of Amalek shows up and this calls the nation of Israel to battle. The progress toward victory happens when Moses held up his staff and Aaron and Hur supported him.  And the opposite happened when Moses did not uphold his staff. This is symbolic for us today that we need to be upholding our leaders in His Kingdom that God has brought forth. Prayer and support is needed in this area. Complaining is not!
18 – It was a rich and warm reunion when Moses met up with Jethro his father-in-law. They brought his wife and two sons to him as well. Word of the Exodus and the miracles in Egypt had reached Jethro (as it did everyone else for hundreds of miles).  Soon Jethro noticed Moses expending entires days – day after day – settling disputes like a judge before the people. Moses felt it was his duty to do so. Jethro knew better and could see that it was taking Moses to exhaustion. Jethro advised him to set up a delegation of assistants to handle these judgments and disputes. This spread the work to thousands of others who were honest, willing and able.  This landmark chapter has affected the discipline of administration and management the world over.

April 29


Romans 10-12

We are in the Church Stream today reading with the International Standard Version this week.

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Lord, the issue today is salvation. We are grateful that you are mighty to save. Amen.

10 – Paul is continuing on the same thread of salvation and his longing for the Jews to understand the greater picture; that the salvation they have been hoping and “working” for for 1400 years and more is now here … and they are fighting it tooth and nail!  The middle of chapter 10 spells it out. We believe in our heart, and confess with our mouth and therein salvation is granted. This is what Abraham did and was counted righteous for. And Abraham (whom they revere) was “saved” 600 years before the Law was given to follow. This is proof positive that salvation comes by faith.  It’s strange, but this is all so obvious to the “old guard” within Judaism that it is staring them in the face – thus they can’t see it.  Paul’s quoting of Isaiah, and Moses, and David in Psalms, and the Prophet Joel is proof positive that what was going on now is what God has been planning for salvation to become and that be accessible to all nations. –> and It’s happening now – but the old school Jewish leadership is disturbed by it and vehemently against it.

11 –  Despite the Jews’ open rejection of the salvation that is now found in Jesus, God still loves his Chosen Ones. Granted, the Jewish rejection of Jesus was not universal. The original believers and converts were mostly Jews. The growing young church was majority Jewish is culture and its overtone.  It was the Jewish leadership that had rancor for the Christians, and their proselytes turned agitators were the ones who brought the most harassment to the burgeoning Church. But in this chapter [11], Paul talks of salvation for all the Jews.  The interplay of the Jewish and Gentile relationship has a tone of sibling rivalry as Paul describes it. The symbolism and illustrations of yeast and bread and the affect each has upon the other and the tree metaphor of the trunk and the branch gives such clarity to what Paul is so impassioned about. He REALLY wants these spiritual concepts to be understood. Paul closes by exclaiming the wonders of God’s processes by working out our salvation in a myriad of ways. It’s a marvelous and endless topic, isn’t it?
12 – This is a banner chapter about our life that is dedicated to God and transformed for living unto God and honoring Him with our service. This life is filled with grace and gifts and productive activity that blesses, spreads cheer, and love, and hope, and serves others so to spread that love.  The finale~ is exhortation that is vital for dealing with tension, deviance and deviant people. It is a paragraph that is unique to Christianity.  Interesting that the pagans and the other religions of the world refer to Christians as “the nice ones”, the “happy ones”, the “ones who share”.  My husband and I have been in over 70 countries and we’ve seen this first hand.  It is a marvel how Christians are everywhere and spreading Good News, even to those who currently despise Jesus and His followers.  And it is this ministry in the Holy Spirit that is resulting in millions of new Christians coming into the Kingdom of God each week!

The week walked us through much Preparation for Big Changes

~Moses relayed the plans for Passover, for leaving Egypt so to institute a new faith and how it would be lived.

~David is now king – this is a big change: he “farewells” Saul/Jonathan, though he is in Hebron, he names Jerusalem the new capitol and national worship will be instituted there. Worship will be done according to what David says – vibrant and energetic.

~In Psalms DAvid prays for deliverance [35] and then revels in his relationship with God. What better way to prepare for deliverance than to pray for deliverance?
~Isaiah is basically telling us to prepare for a whole new world and Jeremiah is told to prepare to follow the Call of God.
~in Hosea, we all wish he had something more pleasant to say but he, because of Israel’s behavior, he is saying, “you better prepare yourselves to be destroyed – the way you are carrying on…”
~Mark teaches, “here comes Jesus, prepare yourselves to be blessed.”
~Paul in Romans 10-12 is saying, “prepare to be saved. Jews first then Gentiles.  Wait, no Gentiles are more readily receiving him, so Gentiles more for now, then Jews will follow in because of envy.  Oh well, all of you are going to be saved!”

April 28


Mark 5:1-6:44

We are in the Christ Stream learning more about Jesus’ earthly ministry as we read from the International Standard Version this week.

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Commentary by Dr. Drake Travis

Jesus, you expel what is wicked, you raise up deceased children, you feed hungry, YOU are everything that is needed. Thank you for being everything that we need too. And help us to share the great news about you.  Amen.
My Heavens! There’s so much to learn from Jesus – so many ways to be like Jesus – so many reasons to do like Jesus.

5 – The reading today begins with the most eerie and grotesque of settings. This is demon possession at its worst that can be witnessed in the Bible.  The ultimate point is to demonstrate for us that Christ in us enables even us to remedy these horrid problems. Jesus does this openly because he wants us to exercise this gift globally. He cleanses this man of countless demons and does so in front of the disciples. THIS is teaching, and Jesus does so perfectly.  His style is very straightforward, remedial (it seeks a solution, not a fancy show), and transformational.  The man was a wild-wolf and worse. And when Jesus is finished the man is following Jesus, grateful to him, and he is an evangelist.  What a marvel.

Jesus next does a double deed of healing a 12-year old girl and a woman who was ill with internal bleeding for 12 years. Mathew, Mark and Luke all tell the sequencing of this story identically. He’s called to heal the young girl, he is intercepted by the older girl (heals her), then he proceeds to go and heal/raise up the young girl to life again. The most endearing thing that anyone can give as a gift and a blessing is to give a family their young child back. The deepest pain a heart can pilgrimage through is the death of their child. How do YOU think this family felt about Jesus come sunset on this day – the day that they got their daughter back.  The whole world would feel exactly the same way about Jesus provided they could just meet Him.
6 – His visit to Nazareth had several reasons.  The Bible records him passing through here about a year prior. One thing that can be noted is that prophets do not exactly receive a hero’s welcome in their hometowns.  (Shepherding types do, but not prophetic types). If they people do this to Jesus, they’ll do this to anyone. Do not be surprised. A prophet is supposed to have an itinerant/mobile life anyway.  Also the protracted list of Jesus’ family of origin is listed. It’s an intriguing thought that Jesus was the eldest son of a family of at least nine.  He had five brothers, at least two sisters, more likely about four sisters. Some branches of Christendom like to tell themselves that Mary was the “Virgin Mary” forever.  That Song/Solomon 4:12 is about Mary – a “fountain sealed”. Well, read Mark 6:3 and realize that Joseph and Mary parented a fruitful family.
~When he sent out the 12 disciples, he told them to go empty-handed basically. With no back-up (meaning no backpack too!) this would make them determined to connect with people. The gospel requires connection or it is not spread.
~John the Baptist was Jesus’ cousin and Herod had him killed.  Herod set it up so that it looked like he was trapped and needed to kill John do that he could continue feigning that he was a man of is word. Yea right. Herod worked it like a politician. How does this sit with Jesus? Now we do not find Jesus suspending his ministry and starting a “prophets’ rights” coalition. No. Nothing distracts Him from His ministry. But notice how Jesus later treats Herod one or two dozen months later in Jerusalem: Luke 23:9.  Jesus won’t say a word to him. Yer’pretty bad off when God won’t even talk to you!
~The reading ends today with a display of Jesus’ mastery over the matter of food; specifically the quantity of food. Jesus effortless feeds 5,000 men.  There were wives. There were children. He probably fed 25,000 total that day. Only the men are numbered in the process because a ready count of able-bodied men was always noted for these are biblical times and an enemy could arrive at any time and a census of the men needed to be known. The others were significant too but that is just the reality of the day: number the men.