Through the Bible in one year 2018; 19th February

I’ve noticed reading through the last few days in Leviticus that there is a repeated instruction for the bread offerings to be made without yeast and became curious to know why this was.

Now I do know that bread made without yeast is certainly a lot easier and quicker to make as I make it for my husband who is yeast intolerant. I can prepare a loaf and it be ready to eat in less than an hour but “normal” bread takes quite some time to make as you have to leave it to prove and then knead. Sometimes you have to leave it again to prove some more so this process can take several hours. Sourdough bread is increasingly popular nowadays but this too takes days to make and is quite a tedious and delicate process.

I don’t think this is the reason though why the offerings are made without yeast. Yes it must be much easier and more practical for them especially when they were still in the desert and never knew when they would have to move on.

Can you imagine having just prepared a batch of dough and set it to prove and you have to pack up and move? I expect there would have been a few complaints from those bakers.

No; the real reason is that Yeast is often associated with sin.

Like yeast it grows. It is fed on sweet things (yeast is activated by sugar or honey)

Sin is often tempting and seems appealing to perhaps get what we want quickly or by wrongful means and most of us are naturally drawn to sweet things.

Sin once it is alĺowed grows and festers if not dealt with. We read about the punishments when the Israelites built the Golden calf. It had to be dealt with decisively so that the sin did not continue.

It then spreads and perhaps starts to impact others or becomes bigger. A lie is followed by another lie and it all gets out of hand.

But do you know what kills yeast?

If the temperature is too warm it is killed or doesn’t work. Cooking the bread kills off the yeast which is why when sourdough bread is made you have to set aside some uncooked dough to form the base of the next batch and allow the natural yeast to develop.

Salt also kills yeast. When making bread with yeast you have to be careful not to put too much salt in and to keep it separate from the yeast before all the ingredients are mixed together.

Jesus refers to us being the salt of the earth in Matthew 5 v 13.

It seasons and improves things. Salt is used to help with healing wounds. It has purification qualities but can be painful.

Recovery from the wounds of sin is a painful process but Jesus is our healer and his grace is sufficient.

The readings for Monday are;

Leviticus 9 & 10

Psalm 50

Luke 6

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Through the Bible in one year 2018; 18th February

We read about Jesus temptations in the wilderness at the start of the year and I noticed how Satan tried to put doubt into Jesus as to who he was and distract him from his mission.

I won’t repeat it but can read it again here;

https://suhancock.wordpress.com/2018/01/04/through-the-bible-in-one-year-2018-5th-january/

It is clear when we read Luke’s account that Jesus knew exactly what he was doing and what his purpose was. He goes straight to Isaiah 61 and quotes from there (see the picture above)

At the end of Luke 4 all the crowds are rushing to him as word spreads about the miracles and his teaching, but Jesus remains focused on his mission.

” I must proclaim the good news” and continued to travel and teach wherever he went.

He also gave us this mission in Matthew 28 v19. Go!

What’s your story?

The readings for Sunday are;

Levitcus 7 & 8

Psalm 49

Luke 5

Through the Bible in one year 2018; 17th February

Every valley shall be filled in, every mountain and hill made low. The crooked roads shall become straight, the rough ways smooth (Luke 3 v6)

I took this picture a few years ago when visiting the area in which my Grandparents and ancestors lived. This is actually a relatively straight and flat road in comparison to some as it is further down the Dale and the valley has opened up and levelled out a bit.

To reach my grandparents we had a choice of two routes. One route took us along the valley and roughly followed the path of the river and was also a fairly level route. A much shorter route though took us “over the top” up and over the hills where you would reach the brow of a hill and could see the road ahead of you disappearing into a valley and then winding up the hills the other side. There are no houses in sight, there are snow markers beside the road to mark the route of the road in bad weather and prevent you going off the road and down a steep hill. You would only pass the occasional car coming the other way and there would usually be more sheep on the road than cars.

This route ended its approach to the small town that my grandparents lived in with a steep descent of a zigzag road down to the river and then across a ford to the other side. We could see their house from the top and when as children my parents would have to head home leaving us to enjoy a Holiday we would stand and watch from the bedroom window to see them travel up the other side of the valley. They would park at the top and get out and wave before continuing the 300 mile journey south. (Incidently the road which headed North out of the town was even steeper).

Even now those routes have not changed. There is no way to make the road straighter or less steep or wider as there is either a hill or the river restricting them. Other roads on the long journey have been widened and straightened, made into motorways, making the rest of the journey much easier but those hills create a barrier protecting a stunningly beautiful area from being changed. But life there is hard, its remote and you have to travel quite a way for many of the things us city dwellers take for granted on our doorsteps. Hospitals, supermarkets, schools and that’s if the weather doesn’t create further difficulty.

Currently in our readings we following the Israelites travels out of Egypt through the wilderness to the promised land. A journey which apparently should have only taken about a week but because of their unbelief, complaining and sin will take 40 years.

John the Baptist points the way to Jesus in Luke chapter 3 just as Moses tried to lead the people to follow God. They had a pillar of fire or a cloud of smoke to follow, Moses speaking with God and all the miraculous signs and wonders of the plagues, the parting of the Red Sea and all of Gods provisions for them and still they did not repent and believe and obey.

A straight path was set before them but they would not follow. Let’s try and learn from their mistakes and make way for Jesus to show us the straight path for he has chosen us to be his people.

The readings for Saturday are;

Leviticus 5 & 6

Psalm 48

Luke 4

Through the Bible in one year 2018; 16th February

I’ve been trying to write this daily readings blog each day for over 6 weeks now,  taking chapters from the Old and New Testaments and Psalms each day.

The number of times the readings in the New Testament reflected the readings from the Old Testament or Psalms has amazed me (although I shouldn’t be surprised as it just continues to confirm to me that it is inspired by God)

Anyway today we see in Luke chapter 2 Joseph and Mary taking baby Jesus to the temple to make the required offerings for consecration just as we read  about in Leviticus.  They were known to be quite poor so could only offer the minimum requirement of 2 doves or pigeons.

Yet they were rich in faith and how they must have been encouraged by meeting the elderly Simeon and Anna who spent their days at the temple waiting for the promised Messiah.

They knew the words of the prophets and recognised the fulfilment of those words in the tiny baby before them.

How did they know? Well I think they must have lived verse 10 of todays Psalm

“Be still and know that I am God”.

Perhaps we need to try and do likewise

The readings for Friday are;

Leviticus 3 & 4

Psalm 47

Luke 3

Through the Bible in one year 2018; 15th February

In Exodus 39 & 40 we read about the preparation of the temple. The instructions for positioning everything and how Moses carefully positioned the lampstand in the correct place.

In Luke Zechariah is on duty in the temple and one of his responsibilities is to tend to the lampstand and make sure that it does not go out.

At my home we have had an electrician working to make sure all our lights and electrics are safe. Some lights needed changing, we needed extra lights in some places.

Light is important as we need it to be able to see clearly.

John was sent to be a light showing the way to Jesus. Preparing the way and he was able to recognise the light of God.

The lampstand in the temple was hidden from view but the light of God’s love was revealed in Jesus so that we could see Gods love and let it shine out to those around us.

The readings for Thursday are;

Leviticus 1&2

Psalm 46

Luke 2

Through the Bible in one year 2018; 14th February

I’ve had quite a hectic day today so am not going to write much, but I was thinking earlier that being a Christian can sometimes be a bit like learning to drive a car.

When we first start we need someone guiding us, teaching us the “highway code”, how stay safe and reach our destination.

While in this phase we have “L” plates. It lets other people know that we are learning, we need someone supervising and helping us, other people know they need to be patient with us as we are going to make mistakes but eventually we become competent enough to “pass the test”

Here in the UK now when you pass the driving test you then display “P” plates which stands for probationary driver. You are able to “go it alone” but you are still very inexperienced and are still likely to make mistakes.

When some one is a new Christian hopefully they will have people to help them learn “the highway code”. They need time to learn, will make mistakes, sometimes with disastrous results and crash.

They need help to sort out, recover, sometimes there are penalties to pay but hopefully will “get back into the car” and keep going.

I was thinking that in reality we never take off the “P” plates or even “L” plates. We keep learning, we still make mistakes, we crash or suffer the consequence of someone else’s mistakes.

Of course our “Driving instructor” is Jesus and the Holy Spirit and the Bible is our Highway code.

The readings for Wednesday are;

Exodus 39 – 40

Psalm 45

Luke 1

Through the Bible in one year 2018; 13th February

How lovely to read in Exodus  35 & 36 about the generosity of the people in giving and making things for the temple.  Everyone wanted to be involved and play their part.  If they didn’t have the technical or creative skills required to make or build something then they gave money or materials.

They gave so much that the order had to be given for people to stop giving. I can’t imagine there are many (if any) churches today asking people to stop giving as they have too much.  Most are usually appealing for more, even if they have enough.

It was particularly interesting for me to read about the skilled workers and designers making things from various metals as I spent several hours today with my brother helping him organise his Blacksmith business.  The hours of design and planning that go into making something, the years of training and experience that go into making something which may take days, weeks or months to make and possibly a few trial or practice efforts before the finished item is achieved.

I noticed too in Mark 15 the comments about the women who followed Jesus to take care of his needs.

Behind all the different events we read about in the Bible there are a team of people working hard to serve those around them and those in need.  Cooking, hosting fetching food and water etc..  They have servant hearts.

The small fellowship I attend has been blessed with people coming from several other countries.  One thing in common I have noticed is that they want to give, get involved and do their bit to serve the community and in doing so serve God.  I remember one woman asking for something to do; she was happy to come and clean or whatever needed doing saying that she couldn’t NOT do anything.

Many people don’t see the amount of time and effort some people are putting in to “making church happen” on a Sunday morning or whatever else is happening during the week.  Cleaning, putting out chairs, equipment, practicing the music, preparing activities for the children.  The list is endless.

If you are physically able, why not look to see if you can do something to help even if it is only occasionally to give someone else a break.  If you are not able then look for those that are serving and thank and encourage them.  You will probably find that it is a few people doing most of the work and they will appreciate being appreciated

The readings for Tuesday are;

Exodus 37 & 38

Psalm 44

Mark 15