Happy Leap Day

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Happy Leap Day! The Bible Challenge plan is a 365-day plan, so there is no designated reading for today. Use today to catch up on readings you may be behind on, or use it to meditate further on what you have already read. Yesterday’s devotional is reposted below. May God bless your meditations on His Word!

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Day 59

Leviticus 22:17-23:44; Mark 9:30-10:12; Psalm 44:1-8; Proverbs 10:19

Without Defect or Blemish

We are already two months into this project of trying to read the Bible in a year. How is it going so far? Are you finding the readings too much, or is it exciting to know that you are “eating this elephant one bite at a time”?

The Lord asked Moses to speak to Aaron and his sons and all the Israelites, giving them the instructions for offering a sacrificial gift to the Lord. The only stipulation God gives to these gifts is that they be “without defect or blemish.” They should be free from any malformation, and then they will be considered acceptable. In other words, they should be perfect – therein lies their worth. If the animal sacrificed is maimed or injured in anyway, it has less value.

As I read through today’s lessons, it occurred to me that possibly you might think of this reading time as a gift to the Lord – a desire to draw closer to Him through His Word. Bringing to our Lord the gift of our time in reading the Bible means that we are not scanning the readings hastily or lightly but are taking time to focus in on what He might be speaking to us. This may mean reading the same passage a couple of times to really “get it.” Or it might mean bringing it up in a Bible Study class for further discussion.

Jesus offered Himself on the cross as the Perfect Lamb, without spot or blemish, on our behalf. Can we not offer ourselves as best we can? Keep on reading; He loves you so much!

The Rev. Phyllis Bartle
St. Jude’s
Orange City, FL

Mocker or Wise Man

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Day 44

Exodus 35:10‐36:38; Matthew 27:32‐66; Psalm 34:1‐10; Proverbs 9:7‐8

Mocker or Wise Man

"Do not rebuke mockers or they will hate you;
    rebuke the wise and they will love you." - Proverbs 9:8

Unfortunately, here is a verse from Proverbs that stings. It is so very easy to throw a retort at someone who criticizes. A mocker is not good at receiving criticism, seeing it as a threat to be rebuffed. A wise person accepts criticism as constructive advice offered by others whose experience would be helpful.

So, are you a mocker or a wise person? You can tell by the way you respond to criticism.  Are you quick to respond with a caustic retort, especially when you feel rebuked by the criticism? This verse from Proverbs tells us we should listen to what is being said. We need to learn from our critics. Proverbs tells us that “this is the path to wisdom.”

Wisdom comes from knowing God. Through wisdom given to us by the Father, we gain insight into living. Knowing God is not just gathering the facts about Him. Knowing God is to stand in awe of Him and have a personal relationship with Him. So we have to ask ourselves whether or not we really want to be wise. If we do, then it’s time to enter a true relationship with the One who loves us--even if His correction stings.

The Rev. Ed Bartle
Mt Dora, FL

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