Tag Archives: The Message

B90X2016 Dia Dos- The Message

B90X2016 is now the seventh year CRBC has ventured through the entire Bible in 90 days.  It is not easy, I won’t sugar-coat the challenge.  It takes discipline like one has never had before.  But you know what?  It is only 90 days.  Anyone can alter their lifestyle and schedule for a ‘no more noble task’.  The additional depth of love for God’s word is unsurpassed.  The grasp of events, context, and understanding is like no other.

I have read three different versions of the Bible through the years.  The Complete Jewish Bible was a good one.  The author inserted Hebrew words in place of our English which brought additional insight.

We did the Chronological Bible one year.  Again that one provided context in the order of events which occur historically.  Since the typical English versions like the NIV are not in chronological order, it can be confusing trying to fit Job, some of the Psalms, and the prophets in their proper place historically.

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This year, I have chosen “The Message” by Eugene Peterson.   It reads like a story, which makes it so much more easily understandable and one can stick to it more attentively.  One of the problems with reading the Bible all the way through is the desire to want more information.  Many, many Christians have not read all of the Bible, so to do so they encounter information, names, and places they have never heard of.  There is a desire to want to look at maps, read footnotes or study notes at the bottom of the page, or try and pronounce a name.

While these things are all noble, they are pitfalls to accomplishing the reading.  The fruit of reading through the Bible in 90 days is not that one comprehends and understands everything they have read.  au contraire.  The goal is to read it all.  The Message allows one to read without distractions.  There are no verse numbers, there are no maps, there are no footnotes, there are no study notes.  It is just text.  It is just the story.

I love reading the Bible in big chunks like this for another reason- inevitably, I learn something new or have a greater understanding of something.  This task is akin to driving on the same road every day.  Even though you know where every pothole is, where to look, where to turn,  and what to look for, if you pay attention differently by looking at buildings and landscape differently, you can see and know new things.  The same with reading the Bible year after year.  There is something new on every page.  When one reads with the eyes of their heart, something new comes along.

The goal to B90X2016 – read the Bible.  You can do it.  It really isn’ that hard.

B90X Leviticus Explained

leviticus redrawnOne of the stubbornly enduring habits of the human race is to insist on domesticating God. We are determined to tame him. We figure out ways to harness God to our projects. We try to reduce God to a size that conveniently fits our plans and ambitions and tastes.

But our Scriptures are even more stubborn in telling us that we can’t do it. God cannot be fit into our plans, we must fit into his.  We can’t use God– God is not a tool or appliance or credit card.

“Holy” is the word that sets God apart and above our attempts to enlist him in our wish-fulfillment fantasies or our utopian schemes for making our mark in the world. Holy means that God is alive on God’s terms, alive in a way that exceeds our experience and imagination.  Holy refers to the life burning with an intense purity that transforms everything it touches into itself.

Because the core of all living is God, and God is a holy God, we require much teaching and long training for living in response to God as he is and not as we want him to be.  The book of Leviticus is a narrative pause in the story of our ancestors as they are on their way, saved out of Egypt, to settle in the land of Canaan.  It is a kind of extended time-out of instruction, a detailed and meticulous preparation for living ‘holy’ in a culture that doesn’t have the faintest idea what “holy” is. The moment these people enter Canaan they will be picking their way through a lethal minefield of gods and goddesses that are designed to appeal to our god-fantasies: “Give us what we want when we want it on our own terms.”  What these god-fantasies in fact do is cripple or kill us.  Leviticus is a start at the “much teaching and long training” that continues to be adapted and reworked in every country and culture where God is forming a saved people to live as he created them to live– holy as God is holy.

The first thing that strikes us as we read Leviticus in this light is that this holy God is actually present with us and virtually every detail of our lives is affected by the presence of this holy God; nothing in us, our relationships, or environment is left out. The second thing is that God provides a way (sacrifices and feasts and Sabbaths) to bring everything in and about us into his holy presence, transformed in the fiery blaze of the holy. It is an awesome thing to come into his presence, and we, like ancient Israel, stand in his presence at every moment (Psalm 139). Our Lord is not dwelling in a tent or house in our neighborhood. But he makes his habitation in us and among us as believers and says, “I am holy, you be holy” (1 Peter 1:16, citing Leviticus 11:44-45; 19:2; 20:7).

Once we realize this, the seemingly endless details and instructions of Leviticus become sign posts of good news to us: God cares that much about the details of our lives, willing everything in and about us into transformation that St. Paul later commended:

So her’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life– your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking around life– and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you in the best thing you can do for him.  Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking.  Instead, fix your attention on God.  You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you (Romans 12:1-2).

The above is the introduction to Leviticus in the Message Bible.  How often have I ridiculed and made jokes of the book.  Too many to count.  Instead it is one of Father’s most important bits of instruction on how to live life and He leaves no stone unturned.  Blessings as you plow through.