Weekly Word Blog - Bill's comments on the coming weekend's scriptures posted each Tuesday

If only you, God, would slay the wicked! - Psalm 139:19

Naming My Enemy

Note that Psalm 139 speaks about the pseudo-religiosity of our enemies. They speak of God with evil intent. (verse 20) When the Devil goes out to recruit fools for his army, he always visits our churches. Conservative Christianity needs to renounce Trumpism.

Epiphany 2
Jesus embraced the enemies of my enemies
Psalm 139
[The people] were baptized by John in the river Jordan, confessing their sins. - Mark 1:5

Between a bath and a drowning

Jesus comes to be baptized by John in the Jordan. His baptism, like ours, is halfway between a bath and a drowning. 

Epiphany 1
Our fascination should be with the simplicity of John
Mark 1:4-11
In the beginning was the Word

An Incarnation Ladder

John challenges our faith: Do you believe that Jesus is God? Has he become the light of your life? Does he live with you in your everyday life?

Christmas 2
How did God turn the lights on?
John 1:1-14
"This child is destined for the falling and the rising of many"- Simeon

Old and Young

God has intruded into our cycle of birth - innocence - rebellion - maturity - midlife - old age - and death. He has given us something eternal. What we see is not a generational division, but a timeless unity.

Christmas 1
Sunday between Christmas & New Year's
Jesus is intergenerational
Luke 2:22-40
God has sent the rich away empty - Mary the mother of Jesus

What Mary Knew

Mary makes a spiritual leap that I think we all should make this Christmas season, especially in the midst of our fears and the growing social unrest of 2020. She says that the Messiah will be born on the wrong side of the tracks.

Advent 4
Today, this is Jesus' neighborhood
Luke 1:46-55
...the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.

Light Misunderstood

At Christmas and the holidays, paradoxes abound. Peace on Earth, is promised. Then Herod slays the innocents. Paradoxes prepare us for God’s built-in ambiguity.

Advent 3
Light falling on Joseph
John 1:5
Every valley shall be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low... - the Prophet Isaiah

The Road Home

As we look through the Bible, most of Jesus’ words were comforting words. He went around healing people – not just their bodies, but also their hearts. When we have been broken by life, Jesus is not there to tells us what we did wrong. He comes to bring us comfort.

Advent 2
When have you needed God's comfort?
Isaiah 40:1-11
"But in those days, after that suffering..." - Jesus talking about the apocalypse

Wishing I was somewhere else

For now, you are the second coming of Christ. If this is the apocalypse, how much more important is it that you be loving, kind, and future-oriented? 

Advent 1
Even as winter approaches, the fig bears fruit
Mark 13:24-37
"...for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me..." - Jesus

The Final Exam

A question on the final exam is: "Are you compassionate?" If you can answer with a resounding YES! Then you pass Jesus’ final exam.

Christ the King Sunday
Pentecost 29
It is easy to tell the difference between sheep and goats
Matthew 25:31-46
"I will punish the people who rest complacently on their dregs"- The Lord speaking through Zephaniah

Underestimating Ourselves and God

There is a day coming when all who have ever lived on this planet will be called to judgement. The test question then we be, have we used the time and position that God has given us to do good and show compassion to our fellow man?

Pentecost 24
Be sure and read Judges 4 all the way to verse 21
Judges 4:1-21
Matthew 25:14-30
"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven" - Jesus

Jesus speaks to our Anxiety

Jesus is saying in his first message, "I am not blessing you for your accomplishments. You are already blessed for being on the path. Blessed are all those who hunger and thirst to become better people. Your heart will be filled with goodness."

Pentecost 23
Matthew 5:1-12
For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted - Jesus

The Duty of Humility

The world has its class system. Jesus says, “don’t bring it home.” We should root out all hierarchy in our personal life.

Pentecost 22
Why do we seek to emulate the proud?
Matthew 23:1-12
The Lord said to Moses, "I have let you see the Promise Land with your eyes, but you shall not cross over there."

From Mount Pisgah’s Lofty Height

Many of us will have tasks where we do the work, but don't get to enjoy the victory.  Moses' story is like that. He did everything God asked him to do, but he didn't get to go into the Promised Land.

Pentecost 21
The vehicle that gets us across the desert is deserted at Mt Pisgah
Deuteronomy 34:1-12
Give to the emperor the things that are the emperor's... - Jesus

Religion and Politics

How do we separate religion and politics? I think Jesus would tell us to do our duty in each sphere. On the religious side of the coin, we worship and study the scriptures so that we might know God’s will for our lives. On the political side of the coin, we vote, become involved in social concerns, etc.

Pentecost 20
Unfortunately, too many people think the US is for Christians only
Matthew 22:15-22
The people [of God] sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to revel. - Exodus 32:6

Love the One You’re With — NOT!

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about what I call, primary relationships. Our relationship with God is one. Other primary relationships include our parents, spouse, siblings, and those we enter into a covenantal relationship with. These are the cables that anchor our lives. 

Pentecost 23
Steven Stills sings, "Love the one you're with."
Exodus 32:1-14
You shall have no other gods before me.

The Secular Part of the 10 Commandments

Before we go hanging Moses' Ten Commandments in our courthouses, we best understand them. God did not tell Moses to go back to Egypt and make the worshipers of Osiris and Nut to obey these new rules. It would be like asking the average American to learn the rules of cricket. The people of the Exodus were the target audience for these laws because they had been baptized into faith at the Red Sea.

Pentecost 18
The goal is to practice all 10 ourselves, and share #6 through #10
Exodus 20:1-17
"By what authority are you doing these things," the religious leaders asked Jesus

Question Authority?

When the coronavirus arrived, the authority of the medical experts, such as those working at the CDC and at the WHO, came into direct confrontation with the authority of the President of the United States. Who had higher status as an authority?

Pentecost 17
Christ was arrested for refusing to bow to certain authorities
Matthew 21:23-32
Everyone complained against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness - Exodus 16:2

Wilderness Lessons

Most of us are detail-oriented. Yet, most soul growth is "big picture" in nature. We need a real awakening to switch lenses, to go from macro to wide-angle.

Pentecost 16
The grasshopper's compound eyes enable him to see all around him
Exodus 16:2-15
Luke 10:25-37

Lift Every Voice

Lift ev'ry voice and sing
'Til earth and heaven ring
Ring with the harmonies of Liberty
Let our rejoicing rise
High as the list'ning skies
Let it resound loud as the rolling sea...

The struggle goes on
Exodus 14:19-31
"For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them" - Jesus

Church vs Cult

In Matthew 18, Jesus talks about the nature of community. Communities are built on mutual trust and respect. It’s okay to question the leader. Group discussion is encouraged. There is total transparency. Your family, your social club, your workplace, and especially your church, should never become a cult.

Pentecost 14
Labor Day
You know your place by the sash you've earned, reverend
Matthew 18

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