Wednesday, April 30, 2014

DBRP_May01_2014 Josh20-21 Ps76 Acts26

Today we hear the detailed list of the cities of refuge— the cities set apart for anyone who happened to kill someone accidentally. Following that is a list of the towns that were given to the priests and Levites.

Psalm 76 has a most interesting thesis: Human defiance only enhances God's glory and he uses human defiance as a weapon against the same defiant ones.

And today we hear Paul's defense before King Agrippa. Paul doesn't hesitate to speak convicting ideas to his own judges. Instead of listening, they stand and leave. They admit that Paul is innocent, but quite frankly, it must have been more politically expedient to get rid of Paul by sending him away to Caesar— in accordance with Paul's own request. 

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Tuesday, April 29, 2014

DBRP_Apr30_2014 Josh18-19 Ps75 Acts25

Today we hear the details of land allotment and cities for the remaining 7 tribes with their clans. (Definitely a fun section to read to you!) Last of all, Joshua himself receives a city.

Today's Psalm of Asaph assures us of God's righteous judgement on those who so defiantly raise their fists against Him now.

In today's story in Acts, Festus takes his position as governor and tries Paul. Afterward King Agrippa and is sister come, and the stage is set for Paul to defend himself again.

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Monday, April 28, 2014

DBRP_Apr29_2014 Josh16-17 Ps74 Acts24

Today we hear the details about Mannaseh and Ephraim's allotment of land.

Today I ask: Could this psalm (Psalm 74) really have been written by Asaph?! If so, Asaph was a prophet as he describes events that happened hundreds of years later in the Babylonian conquest. 

Paul's accusers come, and Paul defends himself before the governor. The governor puts off making a decision, and never get's around to making one. He and his Jewish wife listen to Paul for a little entertainment one day. But Felix cut the discussion short when Paul meddled a little too much. Paul stayed there in jail for two long years, and never gave a bribe to Felix. Finally Felix left Paul in prison when he was replaced by Festus.

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Sunday, April 27, 2014

DBRP_Apr28_2014 Josh14-15 Ps73 Acts23b

Today Caleb gets his special portion within Judah's allotment of land, and then we hear the detailed list of Judah's towns and boundaries.

Psalm 73 is one of my favorites because it answers an intellectual dilemma I have often faced: The godless seem to have all the luck and prosperity. Am I wasting my time trying to live for God?

A plot is made to kill Paul. Paul's nephew “just happens” to get wind of it. The Roman commander orders that Paul be taken to the governor in Caesarea.

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Saturday, April 26, 2014

DBRP_Apr27_2014 Josh12-13 Ps72 Acts23a

Today in Joshua we hear an inventory of the kings conquered so far and details about the allotments for the three tribes east of the Jordan.

Psalm 72 was either written by King Solomon— or more likely written about King Solomon. No matter which is the case, this psalm clearly goes beyond Solomon, giving adoration to the King of Kings.

Paul before the council cries out words that divide the council, “Brothers, I am a Pharisee, as were my ancestors! And I am on trial because my hope is in the resurrection of the dead!” Note that no one said, “But who says that Jesus has risen from the dead?!” The leaders could produce no proof that Jesus had not risen from the dead, and this fact also refuted the teaching of their sect, the sect of the Sadducees. So the resurrection of Jesus touched a very raw nerve for them. In the night, Jesus comes personally to encourage Paul.

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Friday, April 25, 2014

DBRP_Apr26_2014 Josh10-11 Ps71 Acts22

God fights for Israel in today's reading, even causing the sun and moon stand still. Basically the whole land is conquered in only two campaigns.

Psalm 71 is a prayer of protection written by an senior citizen, with examples for our prayers that are appropriate for ‘youth’ of all ages.

Paul gives his defense from the top of the stairway leading to the military headquarters. In spite of the miracles, the mob is not impressed. It is the word ‘Gentiles’ that caused the final violent reaction.

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Thursday, April 24, 2014

DBRP_Apr25_2014 Josh8-9 Ps70 Acts21b

The king of Ai trusted in appearances, and was defeated. And the leaders of Israel trusted in appearances and failed to ask God for guidance, leading to a problem that would later cause more pain.

Psalm 70 is a song of remembrance. David reminds us to ask God to remember us in hard circumstances.

And in the last part of Acts 21, people from Asia recognize Paul and start a riot. Paul is arrested and is ready to give his speech to the angry mob.

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Wednesday, April 23, 2014

DBRP_Apr24_2014 Josh6-7 Ps69b Acts21a

If any of you experience repeated problems downloading or listening to an episode, please let me know.

Today we hear the famous story of the fall of Jericho, which at God's command was preceded by the marching around the city for 7 days. The city was devoted to destruction, meaning that this was God's judgement upon them. Right after this amazing victory, Israel learned through a man named Achan that keeping treasures devoted to destruction makes oneself devoted to destruction. 

The continuation of Psalm 69 also has several verses appropriate to Jesus and a verse quoted in Romans 11. This psalm is appropriate for us to pray at times of deepest need.

Paul, Luke, and the other companions arrive in Jerusalem. On the way, Paul has heard the prophecies that he should not go to Jerusalem. He receives advice from James and the others which turns out to be disastrous in the end. Should Paul have followed the advice he was given by prophecy. My opinion is that he did the will of God which had already been revealed to him before those prophecies. In other words, the information in those prophecies that Paul would be arrested and beaten was from God. The interpretation that Paul should not go there was added by people, and Paul was right in not following their advice.

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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

DBRP_Apr23_2014 Josh4-5 Ps69a Acts20b

Joshua leads the people across the Jordan on dry ground, and they set up 12 stones in two places to be memorial reminders for the people of this miracle. All the men are circumcised, and the angel which is the commander of God's army reveals himself to Joshua.

Psalm 69 contains words that were quoted about Jesus (v. 4 and 9). This psalm gives us an inside view of the nature of Jesus’ suffering while on earth in his public ministry.

Today we hear Paul's speech to the Ephesian elders. The Holy Spirit has revealed to him that they will never see him again. He warns them to be faithful in shepherding the people and to watch out for false teaching. In Revelation 2 we find out that they did as Paul commanded, but in their zeal to protect from error, they forgot to be loving.

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Monday, April 21, 2014

DBRP_Apr22_2014 Josh2-3 Ps68b Acts20a

Today Joshua sends out two spies. Rahab, a prostitute who becomes an outstanding example of God's grace, protects them and eventually becomes a full member of Israel. The people of Israel cross the Jordan miraculously on dry ground as Joshua leads following God's instructions.

Psalm 68 thunders forth God's power and majesty!

Paul leaves Ephesus and prepares the churches for his departure. In Troas, Paul preaches all night. Eutychus has trouble staying awake. And we hear only the first part of Paul's speech at Miletus to the elders from the church at Ephesus.

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Sunday, April 20, 2014

DBRP_Apr21_2014 Josh1 Ps68a Acts19b

Today we turn to Joshua, the book named after the man God chose as Moses’ successor. In this book we see the victory of the Chosen People in conquering the Promised Land (chapters 1-12) and then the occupation of the Promised Land (chapters 13-24). Three times In Deuteronomy 31, we find the charge, “Be strong and courageous,” and that command is repeated to Joshua in the beginning of this book.

Psalm 68 is a beautiful song of praise. It starts with the words that Moses spoke whenever the Ark of the Covenant was moved. Some say that this Psalm might have been intended to be sung when the Ark was moved. Paul quotes from v18 and 20 in Eph 4.

Today we hear of how Alexander, the silver-smith shrine-making businessman, incited a riot against Paul. 

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Saturday, April 19, 2014

DBRP_Apr20_2014 Deut32:44-34 Ps67 Acts18:24-19a

I'm back home. I gave away my computer in Indonesia, so am using an old one temporarily. I am woozy with jet lag.
In our reading today, Moses blesses each of the tribes with a prophetic blessing. And then Moses dies and the Lord buries him in an unknown location in Moab.
Today's Psalm has a mission theme. There is a great musical presentation revolving around this Psalm by Michael Thompson, called Shine. And a missionary friend Russ Mitchel wrote a book about it to help inspire mission recruits.
Apollos is introduced in today's reading. And Paul returns to Ephesus and begins to have a miraculous and fruitful ministry there.

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Friday, April 18, 2014

DBRP_Apr19_2014 Deut31-32:43 Ps66 Acts18:1-23

This is the last episode recorded in Jakarta for this trip to Indonesia. My next trip to Indonesia will start around September 1. I shortened this from the announced schedule as the reading took more time than the normal 20 minutes.

In today's reading, Moses shows Israel that the leadership is given to Joshua, and he gives the command that this book be kept near the Arc of the Covenant. Then God gives Moses a long song to teach to the people, to help them remember. In this song, God describes some of the acts in the future as happening in the past tense. This is a feature many prophetic writings.

In Psalm 66, our glorious God deserves glorious praise. Note that this psalm shows the importance of confessing our sins to God.

Today in Acts 18, Paul meets and works with Aquila and Priscilla in Corinth. When put on trial before Gallio, God defends him so that he doesn't even need to speak. Then that night Jesus strengthens him to keep on boldly speaking.

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Thursday, April 17, 2014

DBRP_Apr18_2014  Deut29-­30 Ps65 Acts17

For any of you who experienced trouble downloading or listening to March 20's podcast, the issue is fixed now.

Today in Deuteronomy Moses reviews the covenant and again stresses that the choice is between life and death, and between experiencing blessings or curses.

Psalm 65 is a wonderful song of praise to the Creator, including lovely imagery about God's creation.

In Acts 17, opposition hounds the steps of Paul, Silas and Timothy, first in Thessalonica and then in Berea. The people of Berea are an example for us all, and that's why so many churches are named after their city. Then Paul in Athens debates with the philosophers of his day.

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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

DBRP_Apr17_2014 Deut28 Ps64 Acts16b

Today's chapter of Deuteronomy is one where Moses ratchets up the fear index to the red level. And the scary thing about the threats he uses to motivate the people to obedience is that they later all came true, as we will see in books like Judges and 2 Kings.

Have you ever felt that people are just looking for opportunities to slander you? If so, Psalm 64 is for you!

In Acts today we hear of the Philippian jailer's joy, together with all the members of his household. Paul teaches the city officials a little lesson, but then he and Silas leave the city, as requested, after encouraging the believers one last time.

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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

DBRP_Apr16_2014 Deut27 Ps63 Acts16a 

Today we hear of the ceremony that Moses commanded the people to perform when they entered the promised land. The Levites were to loudly proclaim curses from Mount Ebal over anyone who violates the laws.

Psalm 63 is another beautiful psalm with great imagery, and for anyone living with spiritual dryness, this is another good pattern for you to follow in prayer.

In Acts 16, via the change of pronoun, we hear that Luke now joins with Paul as one of his traveling companions. Also note that the Holy Spirit can also be called the Spirit of Jesus. These are one and the same Spirit of God.

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Monday, April 14, 2014

DBRP_Apr15_2014 Deut25-­26 Ps62 Acts15b 

Today in Deuteronomy, Moses continues with miscellaneous regulations. One repeated in the New Testament is to not muzzle an ox to keep it from eating when it is treading out grain.

Today's psalm is a good pattern to follow in prayer whenever you feel that the whole world is against you.

Today in Acts we hear how Barnabas and Paul with Silas and Judas/Justus deliver the letter from the leaders in Jerusalem. And afterward, Paul and Barnabas had their falling out over the issue of whether to take John Mark along. Silas becomes Paul's ministry partner.

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Sunday, April 13, 2014

DBRP_Apr14_2014 Deut25-26 Ps62 Acts15b

Today we hear some laws for what kind of people could not enter into the congregation of Israel. And we hear laws of cleanliness based on God living with the Israelites. God wanted his people to be kind, fair, and thoughtful of the needs of the poor.

Today's psalm is one that our family remembers the tune to. Because of the imagery, this is a favorite psalm.

Today in Acts we hear of a serious controversy and the meeting in Jerusalem to resolve it. Were followers of Jesus going to become a sect of the Jews, or was it Okay for them to be something different from Judaism?

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Saturday, April 12, 2014

DBRP_Apr13_2014 Deut21­22 Ps60 Acts14 

Today we have an odd collection of regulations: Cleansing the land from unsolved murder, marrying a captive woman after a war, rights of a first-born son when a man has more than one wife, the responsibility of helping neighbors, and various problems concerning adultery.

In Psalm 60, we have an example of a prayer David prayed when the nation of Israel was in distress in time of war. It even says in the scriptural title that this is a psalm that is instructive. I take that to mean that it is a good pattern for us to follow when in great need.

In Acts 14, we hear of the incredible turn of events for Paul and Barnabas. At one moment they are hailed as gods, but after a very short time Paul is stoned. As they tell the believers, "We have to go through many hardships before we enter God's kingdom in heaven."

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Friday, April 11, 2014

DBRP_Apr12_2014 Deut19-20 Ps59 Act13b

Today we hear an example why cities of refuge were needed. And we hear interesting rules concerning war.

Today's psalm is another prayer of David for protection, about the time when he had every reason to feel betrayed.

Today we complete the story of Paul and Barnabas' short but successful ministry in Pisidian Antioch. They were too successful, so were run out of town. This is just the first time that would happen!

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Thursday, April 10, 2014

DBRP_Apr11_2014 Deut17-18 Ps58 Acts13a

Today in Leviticus 18 we hear the very important teaching that all these practices are detestable to the Lord:  “fortune-telling, or use sorcery, or interpret omens, or engage in witchcraft, 11or cast spells, or function as mediums or psychics, or call forth the spirits of the dead.” All those practices are so common in the USA today. But in the same chapter the Lord gives one of the most important prophecies: “The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your fellow Israelites. You must listen to him.” Peter quoted that verse in Acts 3 and Stephen quoted it in Acts 7.

Psalm 58 is a psalm that celebrates that God will indeed give justice to His people, even though many times it seems to us that there is no justice on earth.

Today we hear of Paul and Barnabas' ministry on Cyprus. John Mark basically jumps ship, leaving the ministry and returning to Jerusalem. And Paul begins his message at Antioch, not the one in Syria but the one in Pisidia province.

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Wednesday, April 9, 2014

DBRP_Apr10_2014 Deut15-16 Ps57 Acts12

In today's reading we hear about the release of debts and slaves in the Jubilee Year, and a reminder about 100% participation in three festivals. 
Psalm 57 is beautiful and often quoted. It again is from David's experiences.
In today's reading, we hear how Herodes decides to go after the top apostles, killing James. But Peter escapes. As a result, 16 soldiers die. Then Herodes meets his richly deserved end.

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Tuesday, April 8, 2014

DBRP_Apr09_2014 Deut13-14 Ps56 Acts11

Today's reading includes Moses' warning about being led astray by anyone, including false prophets or even close family members. No one who proposed idolatry was to be allowed to live. Then we hear a repetition of the laws about which animals were to be treated as clean/edible and those unclean/detestable. 
Psalm 56 is another psalm from the experiences of David. This is a good psalm for us to pray when we feel that our lives are out of control and that people are against us.
In Acts 11 we hear how Peter needed to defend what he did in sharing the Gospel with Gentiles. The result was that the church leaders joyfully accepted that God was giving salvation to more than just the Jews. Then we hear how Barnabas visited the predominately Gentile believers in Antioch and then called Saul to join him.

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Monday, April 7, 2014

DBRP_Apr08_2014 Deut11-12 Ps55 Acts10b

In today's reading Moses continues to stress the need for faithfulness to God and all his commands. It is clear that Moses loves the people and is marshaling every argument possible to convince them to keep on obeying God.
Psalm 55 is a psalm written out of the discouragement caused by betrayal. Some parts remind us how Jesus must have felt about Judas' betrayal.
In today's reading, Peter doesn't even get to finish his speech before the Holy Spirit takes control of the Gentile listeners. The new believers were baptized by the astonished Jewish-background believers from Joppa.

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Sunday, April 6, 2014

DBRP_Apr07_2014 Deut9-10 Ps54 Acts10a

In today's reading, Moses continues to hammer on the people not to think that they have been favored by God because they are such good people. Moses gives his first hand account of being in God's presence for 40 days and 40 nights on two occasions, one right after the other. He also again models in his prayer for Israel the way to effectively pray for people— which is to base our prayers on God's character and his promises. 
Psalm 54 is a short cry for help, when David was under severe stress and being attacked.
Today we hear of the wonderful way the Lord called Peter to go to Cornelius' house. In preparation, God gave Peter a vision (repeated three times to leave no doubt whatsoever) to the effect that God was now opening the door to the Gentiles to be cleansed and included as God's people.

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Saturday, April 5, 2014

DBRP_Apr06_2014 Deut7-8 Ps53 Acts9b

Today Moses continues his stern lecture. I note particularly that Moses did all he could to stress to not get proud or to think they they great people based on their own merits. The reading also includes the famous words, “people do not live by bread alone; rather, we live by every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD.”
Psalm 53 is another Psalm that is quoted in the New Testament, and therefore, often quoted in general. This is a tell-it-like-it-is psalm, not a sweet and flowery poem.
Today we complete the story of what happened to Saul after his conversion, and hear the wonderful way God used Peter to heal Aeneas and raise Dorcas from death.

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Friday, April 4, 2014

DBRP_Apr05_2014 Deut5-6 Ps52 Acts9a

Today in Deuteronomy we hear Moses repeating the 10 Commandments and pleading with the people that they remain faithful in obeying all the commands and regulations the Lord gave. The reading ends with an important statement to remember when considering the difference between the old and new covenants: “For we will be counted as righteous when we obey all the commands the LORD our God has given us.’”
Psalm 52 is another psalm from David's experiences. He was betrayed by a man called Doeg, and then that man killed priests who had done nothing wrong. This psalm stands as testimony that God notices such things and will eventually bring just punishment for all injustice.
Today we hear most of the story of Saul's dramatic conversion on the road to Damascus.

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Thursday, April 3, 2014

DBRP_Apr04_2014 Deut4 Ps51 Acts8b

Today we hear Moses expound on the most important command to never worship any other god or idol. He bases this on the Israelite's experience of hearing God's voice and not seeing his form. Moses was realistic and knew that Israel would eventually leave God, and that God would judge them. He gave them this amazing promise: “ from there (where you have been scattered by your enemies) you will search again for the LORD your God. And if you search for him with all your heart and soul, you will find him.”
This is one of the most quoted and most famous psalms. David's sincere and broken-hearted prayer for forgiveness is a pattern for all of us to follow.
Today we hear the fantastic way the Lord led Philip. The Lord wanted a certain Ethiopian high official to be saved. The traditional church in Ethiopia still trace their history to that official. And Philip had the privilege of being miraculously teleported to a new location. He continued from there in preaching the Gospel, all the way to Caesarea, which is where we find him later.

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Wednesday, April 2, 2014

DBRP_Apr03_2014 Deut2-3 Ps50 Acts8a

In today's reading, Moses gives his personal account of how God led the people of Israel in not attacking three nations, but finally led them in attacking two kings. Moses pleaded with God to allow him to cross the Jordan into the promised land, but God refused to let him.

Remember what Moses said yesterday in Deuteronomy? Psalm 50 adds God's perspective about what He wants most from his people.

Today we hear how the believers in Jerusalem were scattered by a wave of persecution following Stephen's martyrdom. Philip (the deacon, not the apostle) is given the wonderful privilege to turn many to the Lord in Samaria. My own thought about why the Holy Spirit was not given when the believers were baptized is because Peter really was given the “keys to the kingdom.” Peter was present when the Jewish people received the Holy Spirit, and when the partly-Jewish despised Samaritans received the Holy Spirit, and when non-Jews received the same gift.

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Tuesday, April 1, 2014

DBRP_Apr02_2014 Deut1 Ps49 Acts7b

Yesterday we heard the conclusion of Numbers, with more about how each clan's allotment of land must stay within that clan even when inherited by daughters.

HC. Mears: “Deuteronomy is a book of remembrance. The name 'Deuteronomy' means “second law,” which indicates that the law is repeated. Moses did this to remind the people what God had done for them and what they were to do to serve Him when they reached the Promised Land. It omits the things that relate to the priests and Levites but includes the things that the people should know. And the happenings in this book would cover only about two months, including the 30 days of mourning for Moses.”

I love this book because it seems to be a transcription of Moses' last sermons to the people. Imagine sitting at the feet of the aged and revered leader and hearing him tell what is most important! I love the way this book frequently records Moses speaking in the first person.

This psalm shares important wisdom which should help us be content with whatever is our situation in this life. Note the parallels with Jesus' teaching.

Today we hear the conclusion of Stephen's speech. He confronted the high council with the indisputable fact that the people of Israel had always refused to follow what God told them and killed the prophets. “They (our ancestors) even killed the ones who predicted the coming of the Righteous One—the Messiah whom you betrayed and murdered.“ Stephen dies as Saul watches.

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