Journey Through Scripture – March

img_0228We got started on this Journey beginning January 1st. If you have missed some along the way, do not fret about it. Nobody is perfect and there is a good chance all of us might well fall behind before the year is over. Just work on catching up. It isn’t too late for that. Or, just pick up where we are now and go back at the first of the year and start reading from the beginning and this time next year you will have read all the Bible.

In January we completed Genesis. In February we finished Exodus, Leviticus and from the New Testament, we completed Matthew. As March begins we will continue with Numbers and Mark. We will finish both before the end of the month we will have finished Exodus, Leviticus and begin in Numbers on the Old Testament side of things. In the New Testament will finish Matthew and started on Mark.

Below are readings for March:

  • Mar 1: Numbers 20-22; Mark 7:1-13
  • Mar 2: Numbers 23-25; Mark 7:14-37
  • Mar 3: Numbers 26-28; Mark 8
  • Mar 4: Numbers 29-31; Mark 9:1-29
  • Mar 5: Numbers 32-34; Mark 9:30-50
  • Mar 6: Numbers 35-36; Mark 10:1-31
  • Mar 7: Deuteronomy 1-3; Mark 10:32-52
  • Mar 8: Deuteronomy 4-6; Mark 11:1-18
  • Mar 9: Deuteronomy 7-9; Mark 11:19-33
  • Mar 10: Deuteronomy10-12; Mark 12:1-27
  • Mar 11: Deuteronomy 13-15; Mark 12:28-44
  • Mar 12: Deuteronomy 16-18; Mark 13:1-20
  • Mar 13: Deuteronomy 19-21; Mark 13:21-37
  • Mar 14: Deuteronomy 22-24; Mark 14:1-26
  • Mar 15: Deuteronomy 25-27; Mark 14:27-53
  • Mar 16: Deuteronomy 28-29; Mark 14:54-72
  • Mar 17: Deuteronomy 30-31; Mark 15:1-25
  • Mar 18: Deuteronomy 32-34; Mark 15:26-47
  • Mar 19: Joshua 1-3; Mark 16
  • Mar 20: Joshua 4-6; Luke 1:1-20
  • Mar 21: Joshua 7-9; Luke 1:21-38
  • Mar 22: Joshua 10-12; Luke 1:39-56
  • Mar 23: Joshua 13-15; Luke 1:57-80
  • Mar 24: Joshua 16-18; Luke 2:1-24
  • Mar 25: Joshua 19-21; Luke 2:25-52
  • Mar 26: Joshua 22-24; Luke 3
  • Mar 27: Judges 1-3; Luke 4:1-30
  • Mar 28: Judges 4-6; Luke 4:31-44
  • Mar 29: Judges 7-8; Luke 5:1-16
  • Mar 30: Judges 9-10; Luke 5:17-39
  • Mar 31: Judges 11-12; Luke 6:1-26

Good reading. I hope you enjoy. And as I have so far this year, I will continue to write my daily post from at least part of one of the daily passages.

With Joy and Thankfulness,
Keith

They Said He Was Crazy!

Today’s Journey Through Scripture Readings:
Numbers 3-4; Mark 3:20-35

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20 Jesus entered a house. A crowd gathered again so that it was impossible for him and his followers even to eat. 21 When his family heard what was happening, they came to take control of him. They were saying, “He’s out of his mind!”

22 The legal experts came down from Jerusalem. Over and over they charged, “He’s possessed by Beelzebul. He throws out demons with the authority of the ruler of demons.”

23 When Jesus called them together he spoke to them in a parable: “How can Satan throw Satan out? 24  A kingdom involved in civil war will collapse. 25  And a house torn apart by divisions will collapse. 26  If Satan rebels against himself and is divided, then he can’t endure. He’s done for. 27  No one gets into the house of a strong person and steals anything without first tying up the strong person. Only then can the house be burglarized. 28  I assure you that human beings will be forgiven for everything, for all sins and insults of every kind. 29  But whoever insults the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven. That person is guilty of a sin with consequences that last forever.” 30 He said this because the legal experts were saying, “He’s possessed by an evil spirit.”

31 His mother and brothers arrived. They stood outside and sent word to him, calling for him. 32 A crowd was seated around him, and those sent to him said, “Look, your mother, brothers, and sisters are outside looking for you.”

33 He replied, “Who is my mother? Who are my brothers?” 34 Looking around at those seated around him in a circle, he said, “Look, here are my mother and my brothers. 35  Whoever does God’s will is my brother, sister, and mother”  (Mark 3:20-35, Common English Bible).

“He is out of his mind!”

“He’s possessed by Beelzebul.”

“He’s possessed by an evil spirit.”

They said it three different ways. “Jesus is crazy.”

His family pulled no punches. They came right out and said it. “He’s lost his mind.” As for the other two accusations, saying he was possessed is Biblical era speak saying exactly the same thing, Jesus is crazy.

Even still, behavior we don’t understand or can’t explain, we tend to put the “crazy” tag on it. I personally do not understand how any sane, rational person can play with snakes or jump out of a perfectly good airplane. I just don’t get it. That behavior is just plain crazy to me.

Those accusing Jesus that day are metaphorically accusing him of playing with snakes or jumping out of perfectly good airplanes. The whole idea of someone like Jesus being able to heal people was as foreign to them as an airplane would have been.

Sure, physicians like Luke tried to help people but they certainly were not always successful. They probably were not as successful as a physician today.

I take a diabetes medication that is made from either Gila Monster saliva or Gila Monster venom (A Gila Monster is a venomous lizard native to the Southwestern United States and Northeastern Mexico). I am not sure which or if there is even a difference. It has often made me wonder, who was it that decided to inject a person with Gila Monster saliva/venom and see what it does to their blood sugar? That is crazy! Even more, what person is crazy enough to let them?

People saw what Jesus was doing. They saw how he changed people’s lives by healing them. Further, he wasn’t a part-time success. Jesus was always successful. He didn’t need saliva/venom from an animal. People knew that if he touched them or even if they could manage to touch him, they would find healing. They stretched out to try to reach him. They begged him for healing. And he healed people.

For his trouble the Pharisees, the Sadducees, the legal experts and even his own family said he was crazy. But, Jesus’ results spoke for themselves and the people who kept coming to him knew it. It wasn’t crazy at all. Jesus’ touch brought them results.

People, at least some people thought Jesus was crazy just as I think people who play with snakes or jump out of airplanes or inject themselves with Gila Monster venom/saliva are all crazy (yes, sometimes I see myself as crazy but hey, I have more fun than normal people). But, the thing is, while all the rest of us may be crazy, Jesus was and is far from it. Jesus loves people and Jesus will reach out and touch our lives, if we will only allow it.

Jesus can make all the difference in the world. We just need to believe.

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

With Joy and Thankfulness,
Keith

Copyright 2018, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

…And the Crowds Followed

Today’s Journey Through Scripture Readings
Num 1-2; Mark 3:1-19

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Jesus left with his disciples and went to the lake. A large crowd followed him because they had heard what he was doing. They were from Galilee, Judea, Jerusalem, Idumea, beyond the Jordan, and the area surrounding Tyre and Sidon. Jesus told his disciples to get a small boat ready for him so the crowd wouldn’t crush him. 10 He had healed so many people that everyone who was sick pushed forward so that they could touch him. 11 Whenever the evil spirits saw him, they fell down at his feet and shouted, “You are God’s Son!” 12 But he strictly ordered them not to reveal who he was (Mark 3:7-12, Common English Bible).

Have you ever noticed that when something happens, that hasn’t happened before, the crowds show up? As a United Methodist pastor, I am subject to appointment by my bishop. I currently live south of Houston. My home base, where I plan to live is about three hours north of Houston. Recently the local Little League team not only went to the Little League World Series, they were the United States champions. And, when they came home, the crowds showed up. Everyone wanted to be a part of something that had not happened before and while I hope it isn’t the case, it may never happen again.

As anyone who is a baseball fan knows, last year, the Houston Astros, for the first time in the team’s 55 year history, they won it all. When the city threw the team a victory parade, the crowd was huge.

Probably the biggest crowd I have been part of was the Texas Sesquicentennial (so you don’t have to go look it up, 150th-anniversary celebration) at the San Jacinto Battleground 17 miles southeast of downtown Houston. It happened on April 21, 1986. Personal cars couldn’t be brought to the site. People were brought in by buses. There were lots and lots of buses. There was an estimated crowd of over 100,000 people there. It took Cindy, our oldest son Wayne, and I more than three hours to get home, a distance that isn’t more than 10 miles. Based on the number of people trying to get on those buses, I don’t doubt there were 100,000 people out there.

When something unusual is happening, it also doesn’t take long for word to spread. For those in Israel, word of Jesus spread quickly. It was something new. Here is this guy from Nazareth who could seem to do just about anything. He turned water into wine (not in this story), he got pigs to run off a cliff, he would bring the dead back to life, he forgave without question, he healed the sick and cast out demons. I admit it, I would go to see that. Even more, I would take all my friends who needed healing with me. The logic would probably be, “Hey, what is it going to hurt. it probably wouldn’t make things worse.”

What would be surprising is these people, people who needed healing, crowded in close to Jesus in an effort to reach out and touch him because if only they could touch him they would be healed.

It seems to me that even today, we should all be part of the crowd, reaching out to Jesus, so we too could find healing. After all, don’t all of us need healing in some way?

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

With Joy and Thankfulness,
Keith

Copyright 2018, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved

 

If You Are Hungry, Eat Something

Today’s Journey Through Scripture Readings:
Leviticus 26-27; Mark 2

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23 Jesus went through the wheat fields on the Sabbath. As the disciples made their way, they were picking the heads of wheat. 24 The Pharisees said to Jesus, “Look! Why are they breaking the Sabbath law?”

25 He said to them, “Haven’t you ever read what David did when he was in need, when he and those with him were hungry? 26  During the time when Abiathar was high priest, David went into God’s house and ate the bread of the presence, which only the priests were allowed to eat. He also gave bread to those who were with him.” 27 Then he said, “The Sabbath was created for humans; humans weren’t created for the Sabbath. 28  This is why the Human One is Lord even over the Sabbath” (Mark 2:23-28, Common English Bible).

I ran across something a little while ago that said, If you aren’t hungry enough to eat an apple, you aren’t hungry. I don’t think that is true. There are even some people to whom I would say, “No, you don’t need an apple” for various reasons. There are people with allergies to apples. There are also people who just plain don’t like eating apples. I fall into that category. Ever since I had my upper front two teeth removed, I don’t like to eat an apple or corn on the cob. There is nothing with either of the two. But, since my two upper front teel were knocked out when I was a senior in high school and had crowns put it, eating them hasn’t been comfortable. When those two crowns were removed late last year as well as three bottom teeth the crown had worn to nothing, I have had to start wearing partials. They are always coming loose when I bite down on something hard. They are not fun to wear.

In today’s lesson, the Pharisees are chewing on Jesus, up one side and down the other. Why? The disciples, on the Sabbath, working wasn’t allowed and gathering food could prove problematic.

The disciples were hungry so, they pulled off the heads of the wheat and ate them. That set the Pharisees off. There wasn’t a law against it, dad would have been like, help yourself to what is in there. He would probably question the Pharisees before they really made a scene.

But, the thought occurred to me, sometimes we hunger for what is not food. Instead, we had them sitting in a room several of use took over the babysitting dues to $100 other activities and then we prayed for no rain anytime soon. All were enamored in that small pieces of grain and how much they were wanting to sing. Jesus and the disciples just needed something to eat. Many transfers happen in this world and I don’t pretend to know what they are all about. What if, the psalmist told us the 12 had to continue on the spot. No food for them!!!

No, what if this message is about being hungry for the Gospel message. We are all called to be in a relationship with God and others around us. All too often people spend their time looking for meaning, fulfillment, and joy. Every time we come before God, we prepare ourselves a little more so we might be ready to for the return.

We wait for the Lord. As we wait, may we all study, and pray that when He arrives, we might find we are at least somewhat hungry for the Word of God.

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

With Joy and Thankfulness,
Keith

Copyright 2018, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved

 

 

Were the Disciples Married?

Today’s Journey Through Scripture Readings:
Leviticus 25; Mark 1:23-45

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29 After leaving the synagogue, Jesus, James, and John went home with Simon and Andrew. 30 Simon’s mother-in-law was in bed, sick with a fever, and they told Jesus about her at once. 31 He went to her, took her by the hand, and raised her up. The fever left her, and she served them (Mark 1:29-31, Common English Bible).

I have just spent the weekend in Boerne, Texas, where my mother and some of our other family members live. We were there for my niece’s wedding. I had the privilege of officiating the ceremony. So, maybe I have wedding on the brain right now. It was a great time and got to catch up with some family I haven’t seen in quite a long time.

When I sat down last night and started reading the lessons for today, deciding which lesson I would use for writing today’s post, my mind went back some 26-28 years ago to a conversation that took place at a church Bible study.

I was serving as pastor at Elwood United Methodist Church outside of Madisonville and Midway Texas. That congregation had a long-running Wednesday night Bible study. I forget how long the study and run or how many times they had worked their way through the Bible. It had been several times. Each week we would read two chapters a paragraph or so at a time, discussing what we had read as we moved through the text.

One night, as part of our discussion, Bill asked a simple question. He was looking at me for an answer but would gladly have taken it from anyone in the room. He asked, “Were the disciples married?”

I told him that I knew some of the disciples were young and may not have married as yet. But, others, like Matthew, were older and perhaps were married. I didn’t really know, I told him, I didn’t think it was something anyone would probably know, a fact lost to history.

We left Bible study that night and I thought it was the end of the subject. How could anyone really know the answer?

The next Wednesday came around and we were all back in Bible Study. We had our opening prayer and then Roscoe said, “Before we begin our lesson for the night in earnest I would like to reopen a topic we discussed last week.” I thought to myself, what were we talking about that he would like to open again?

Roscoe then said, “Turn in your Bibles to Mark 1:29-31.” I quickly read the Scripture in question. When I finished, I still had no idea what we were looking at or why. Back in those days, I didn’t know the Bible as well as I do today but I am still not sure I would have picked up on what Roscoe was talking about. When everyone had a chance to finish reading he said, “Last week we asked if the disciples were married. No one knew the answer. The answer is right here.  “Simon’s mother-in-law was in bed, sick with a fever, and they told Jesus about her at once.”

As Roscoe looked around the room, he must have thought his fellow classmates were all pretty dense. Not one of us still picked up on what Roscoe was trying to say. Roscoe, then a bit exasperated said, “If Simon had a mother-in-law he would also have a wife. If, then, he had a wife, the disciples were obviously allowed to be married.”

Obviously, that idea and logic, while sound, was not something I would have picked up. I am not even sure that with a sounder Biblical education by now, that I would have picked up on it today.

That, and today’s lesson, which always these days, reminds me of that conversation. It also reminds me, don’t shut the door on what the Bible has to say. Most anytime we read Scripture, we miss some things. Hopefully, we don’t let the search of Scriptures deviate us from trying to learn and discover new things in the Scriptures.

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

With Joy and Thankfulness,
Keith

Copyright 2018, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved

 

Immediately

Today’s Journey Through Scripture Readings:
February 18: Leviticus 23-24; Mark 1:1-22

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16 As Jesus passed along the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the sea—for they were fishermen. 17 And Jesus said to them, “Follow me and I will make you fish for people.” 18 And immediately they left their nets and followed him. 19 As he went a little farther, he saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John, who were in their boat mending the nets. 20 Immediately he called them; and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men, and followed him (Mark 1:16-20, New Revised Standard Version).

We finished Matthew yesterday. We have also completed Genesis and Exodus. We will finish Leviticus on Tuesday. Four out of sixty-six, there is progress but still a long way to go. In February the task seems monumental but anything worth doing is going to be challenging. Stick with it and by the time we enter 2019, you will be able to say you have journeyed through Scripture. If you haven’t been part, there is no time like the present to start. You can spend some time doing extra reading now or by February 17, 2019 you can say the same.

As we begin reading Mark, I thought we would begin by talking about a recurring theme. Mark loves the word “immediately.” It starts in chapter 1 and if you were to continue reading from the New Revised Standard, you would read the word again and again. We won’t continue reading from New Revised Standard here. Other Biblical versions like the Christian Standard Bible, English Standard Version, New American Standard among others, all use the word immediately. Other translations use words like “at once,” “right away,” and “at once.” The Common English Bible, the translation I used most often, the translation you most often will see here says, “right away.” I think it all means about the same thing.  We will go back to the Common English Bible tomorrow.

Mark skips over things like the story of Jesus’ birth. Like the other Gospels, there isn’t much about Jesus’ childhood. He begins his version of the story with John the Baptist, the Baptism of Jesus, temptation in the wilderness, a short explanation of Jesus’ ministry, (that contains the phrase, “Now is the time”) and then the calling of the disciples. There was  even more in our reading for tomorrow, Journey Through Scripture reading for tomorrow will come to an end. Chapter 1 is packed full.

Mark does pack chapter 1 full. He seems in a big hurry to tell this important story. It is the story Mark feels is so important, he is immediately going to get to it. It is so important he is going to ignore what he doesn’t think is important so he can get on with the story.

Why does Mark seem to be in such a hurry to tell his story? I believe Mark wants to make sure everyone hears the story as soon as possible. To make sure that people know the hope that rests in Jesus Christ, Mark wants to move and move quickly. Mark wants to share with everyone he possibly can, the Good News of Jesus Christ.

While I don’t believe that it warrants ignoring the stories of Matthew and Luke 1 and 2 as well as John 1, Mark does show us the importance of sharing the Good News with the people in the world around us. It was important to Mark. It should be to us as well.

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

With Joy and Thankfulness,
Keith

Copyright 2018, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved

Lo I Am with You

Today’s Journey Through Scripture Readings
Leviticus 21-22; Matthew 28

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16 Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus told them to go. 17 When they saw him, they worshipped him, but some doubted. 18 Jesus came near and spoke to them, “I’ve received all authority in heaven and on earth. 19  Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20  teaching them to obey everything that I’ve commanded you. Look, I myself will be with you every day until the end of this present age” (Matthew 28:16-20, Common English Bible).

For those of us who are over the age of about 40 (as well as others because of their church affiliation) and grew up in the Church, there is a pretty good chance we grew up with the King James Bible and whatever Scripture we may have memorized, there is a pretty good chance you memorized it in the Elizabethan English of the King James Version.

When we read the 23rd Psalm many of us, even if we are reading from a different version of the Bible, what we read in our mind is “…Yea tho I walk through the shadow of death I will fear no evil for Thou art with me…”

Every year on Christmas Eve, I read the Christmas story from Luke 2 during worship. I have a couple of reasons for doing that. First, I always use my great-grandmother’s Bible. My paternal grandmother gave it to me when I went into the ministry. I always use large print Bibles when I read from the pulpit and that is the only large print King James I have. There is also some sentimental value to using it. The other reason I read from King James is, when it comes to the Christmas story, King James is what most of us what to hear at Christmas time.

There is another verse (probably many more) that a lot of us memorized in a  children’s Sunday school class. It is part of today’s lesson. It is the last sentence of the last verse. You can go back up and re-read it from Common English if you would like. But the King James Version says, “…and, lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

The story is told about a young man named Lo who lived in China who was a convert to the faith. One day he was reading a Bible with the missionary beside him who first told him about Jesus. He read that last sentence of Matthew’s Gospel and then started pulling the shirt sleeve of the missionary. “Look, look, he said, Jesus is speaking to me, “Lo, I am with you always!”

We might laugh at the simple faith. And, I would say there is a good chance the story is more legend or even parable than truth. Still, that simple faith shouts truth to anyone who reads it because Lo (the man), Jesus is with you always.

It seems to me, we all could take out the word “lo” from our reading and substitute our own name. Then it might read, “Hannah, I am with you always.” Another might see, “Bob, I am with you always.” Whether our name is Fred or Sheila or Keith or Cindy or any other names we could think of, we all trust by faith that Jesus is with us always. Really, read that verse one more time, and substitute your name for the word “Lo.” Praise God we know, God is with us.

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

With Joy and Thankfulness,
Keith

Copyright 2018, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved