Hello Fellow Skillet Book Clubbers!
Josh Sturm here providing this week's commentary on the readings from the One Year Bible. I really enjoyed the chapters this week because I can relate to a lot of the stories and topics that were covered. I pulled a few of the verses that stood out to me from both the Old Testament and New Testament readings. Below each verse, I will add a commentary of something that I learned or wanted to share with Yinz. (that's Pittsburgher talk for "Y'all" (which is Texas slang for "all of you guys")). See, we are learning new things already! Here we go:
Ezra 2:68 When they arrived at the Temple of the LORD in Jerusalem, some of the family leaders made voluntary
offerings toward the rebuilding of God’s Temple on its original site, and each leader gave as much as he could. The total of their gifts came to 61,000 gold coins, 6,250 pounds of silver, and 100 robes for the priests.
Good leaders always lead by example. This verse says that they gave "as much as they could". There are many times that I hear a message at church that impacts my life in priceless ways, but when it comes time for the offering I treat it like a cheap date. We've all pulled out our wallet or purse and flipped right past that $20 bill to get to something more comfortable like a $1 or $5. "that outta cover it" I say to myself trying to convince the voice in my head that God will stretch it. In truth I do believe that he can stretch our offerings, but I also know that when He's called me to give more than I am comfortable with, He always pours out blessing on me and my family. Point is: Don't give out of obligation or guilt, but listen to the Holy Spirit and give out of obedience. He will always reward you in ways you never imagined. Proverbs 21:3 The LORD is more pleased when we do what is right and just than when we offer him sacrifices.
Ezra 3:7 Then the people hired masons and carpenters and bought cedar logs from the people of Tyre and Sidon, paying them with food, wine, and olive oil. 12 But many of the older priests, Levites, and other leaders who had seen the first Temple wept aloud when they saw the new Temple’s foundation. The others, however, were shouting for joy.
Construction is one of my passions because I love the process of building things. Often, we look at a finished skyscraper and wonder how they ever built such an amazing structure. As I was learning how to build a house, I realized the deep secret of this dizzying question: One day at a time. Seems obvious and simple right? Every building is built one brick at a time, one 2x4, one nail, one screw, etc. It's the slow process of doing one thing at a time that eventually becomes that skyscraper people are marveling over. The same can be true for a #1 Hit Single. People listen to it and praise the songwriter for his ability to be so creative and inspring. Most times, it starts off as a very rough vocal melody, lyric or guitar line. As the process unfolds, the song starts to develop. Sometimes very quickly and other times with lots and lots of work.
If you are working on something and don't feel like you will ever see the final product in front of your eyes, be patient. Take whatever it is that you are working on one step at a time and don't get burdened by looking too far ahead. When you hit a wall, ask the Lord for the next step of the process and wait upon Him until He gives it to you. I hope you know by now I'm not just talking about building and songs. This can relate to just about any area of our lives, so take a deep breath, relax and know that God will give you the wisdom to finish whatever it is that He has started in you. Psalm 27:14 Wait patiently for the LORD. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the LORD.
1 Corinthians 1:21 Since God in his wisdom saw to it that the world would never know him through human wisdom, he has used our foolish preaching to save those who believe.
...My message and my preaching were very plain. Rather than using clever and persuasive speeches, I relied only on the power of the Holy Spirit.5 I did this so you would trust not in human wisdom but in the power of God.
1 Corinthians 2:11 No one can know a person’s thoughts except that person’s own spirit, and no one can know God’s thoughts except God’s own Spirit.12 And we have received God’s Spirit (not the world’s spirit), so we can know the wonderful things God has freely given us.13 When we tell you these things, we do not use words that come from human wisdom. Instead, we speak words given to us by the Spirit, using the Spirit’s words to explain spiritual truths.14 But people who aren’t spiritual can’t receive these truths from God’s Spirit. It all sounds foolish to them and they can’t understand it, for only those who are spiritual can understand what the Spirit means.
1 Corinthians 3:7 It’s not important who does the planting, or who does the watering. What’s important is that God makes the seed grow.8 The one who plants and the one who waters work together with the same purpose. And both will be rewarded for their own hard work.9 For we are both God’s workers. And you are God’s field. You are God’s building. 20 “The LORD knows the thoughts of the wise; he knows they are worthless.”21 So don’t boast about following a particular human leader.
I like these verses because I've learned something recently about myself and how I receive teaching from others. I've been to many churches over the last 10 years and heard many different styles of teaching. While I do have a preference to the kind of preaching that I like the best, I've had to learn to not shut off when someone speaks differently. I have the privilege of sitting under an amazing teacher at our church here in PIttsburgh, but what happens on the the Sunday that our Bishop is out of town? I'm tempted to say in my mind that I'm not going to receive the same way I would if he was teaching, but that's not true. Sometimes we shut down because someone is speaking different or singing our favorite worship song different than we like. I believe this is good for us because if we rely too heavily on clever speech or perfect musicianship, then we way miss what the Lord is wanting to speak to us through this other person. it shows us that we are looking to a man or woman to be who only God can be.
Proverbs 21:2 People may be right in their own eyes, but the LORD examines their heart.
This is one of my favorite verses because it's true! ha, ha. Of course it is. If we are willing to humble ourselves, be transparent and not let our hearts deceive us, then I believe we can save a lot of time and trouble. We can be really good at convincing ourselves that our motives are pure and right, but often times God will reveal something in us that exposes bad intentions. It's crazy because at the time we truly and honestly felt that what we were doing was the right thing. God has an amazing way of gently correcting us and showing us any areas that may have impure motives. One example from my life was pursuing a music career. I said many times that I wanted to play music for God and take His message around the world. Once I hit a few obstacles and didn't get what I wanted, it caused me to be frustrated and depressed. The Lord wanted to show me that even though I said I wanted to do it for Him, there were a lot of areas that I wanted for myself that I hadn't given Him control of. This was a difficult season, but when I found this verse it helped me to learn that even though I think I am doing good, I should always take it to the Lord and see what He says.
1 Corinthians 5:4 You must call a meeting of the church.t I will be present with you in spirit, and so will the power of our Lord Jesus.
I want to end with this verse because I've heard people say there is no such thing as "being there in Spirit". Here it is in 1 Corinthians where Paul not only says that he'll be there in Spirit, BUT the power of the Lord Jesus will be too! This is awesome because in the Skillet Book Club we can't all be in the same place at the same time, but as we read the Bible together and share our hearts, we can be together in Spirit with the power of our Lord, Jesus Christ.
Love you guys, Blessings,