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March 24, 2018 Numbers 35,36; Acts 21

“There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.” Luke 10:42 (NLT) The heart of this ministry is to inspire a love for God’s Word and encourage the discipline of daily Bible reading and SOAP journaling. These are a few of our SOAP notes from today’s reading. We encourage you to read and journal on your own first, then join us in conversation about what God revealed to YOU today. Click HERE to go directly to the daily reading if you wish.

Printable reading plan: Discover One Thing Reading Plan

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Biblical practices that confuse | Marisa Hartman

S~ Zelophehad’s daughters—Mahlah, Tirzah, Hoglah, Milkah and Noah—married their cousins on their father’s side.They married within the clans of the descendants of Manasseh son of Joseph, and their inheritance remained in their father’s tribe and clan. Numbers 36:11-12 (NIV)

O~ The tribe was worried about losing their ancestral lands and assets if/when the girls married. The heads of the clan came to Moses to seek a solution.

A~ The phrase that jumps out to me here is, “married their cousins on their father’s side.” To me, that sounds so very wrong. What I’ve learned upon studying is that it was permissible by God in this time period due to fewer people and therefore fewer choices. Leviticus lists a bunch of couplings that are NOT allowed, but marrying a cousin isn’t one. At face value, this practice is difficult for a modern person to understand. A Google search turned up this reasoning:

“The restriction on marrying near relatives changed as the world aged. In the beginning, the world was created in perfect condition. “Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good” (Genesis 1:31). There were no genetic defects to plague mankind at this time. Hence, Adam married Eve even though she was created from a rib taken from the side of Adam (Genesis 2:21-24). However, Adam and Eve sinned which opened the door for death and decay (Genesis 2:17; Romans 5:12). The decay did not come immediately, but gradually. Adam and Eve’s children married each other (Genesis 5:1-4). After all, there were no other humans. Eve was the mother of all living (Genesis 3:20). And Paul points out that all of mankind come from one blood. “And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings” (Acts 17:26).

As time progresses, we find Abram married to his half-sister (Genesis 20:11-12). Jacob married two sisters (Genesis 29:21-28). But by the time the Law was given to Moses on Mount Sinai, detailed restrictions were placed on sexual relations between near of kin.” –(http://lavistachurchofchrist.org/LVanswers/2004/2004-09-25b.htm)

Sometimes it’s difficult to understand the Bible, the Old Testament especially, with our modern sensibilities. The more of the Bible that is studied the better picture of how God’s plan for the world and our lives comes together. When things seem “wrong” in the Bible it’s often because I haven’t taken the time to figure out why it was happening.

P~ Lord, thank you for allowing us to see Your whole picture for history and time. Help us to trust that Your plan is better than our understanding. Give us the reminder to study before we jump to conclusions. Your heart is for us and for that, I am so grateful. Every part of your plan is meant for those who love you. My heart is Yours and I am honored to be able to study Your word. Amen

Tell your story | guest post

S~ “Brothers and esteemed fathers,” Paul said, “listen to me as I offer my defense.” Acts 22:1(NLT)

O~ Paul has just been rescued by some of the Roman army in Jerusalem.  A mob was beating Paul so badly and forcefully that the soldiers had to put him on their shoulders to get him out safely!

They led Paul up some stairs to the fortress when Paul asked to speak to the crowd that was just beating him up!  Paul started telling his whole story to the crowd that wanted to kill him.

A~ Our story is our story!  God has woven Himself all through my life and other people may find hope in Him through my story.

P~ Father, I Love you!  Help me write my story, to gather my words so they make sense…..if I have 30 seconds to share or an hour.  May You bring life through my messes, ups and downs.  And may I have wisdom to know when to share it?  Thank You!

True Love Yields | Tara Wiley

S~ Then Paul answered, “Why are you weeping and breaking my heart? I am ready not only to be bound, but also to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.” Acts 21:13 (NIV)

O~ Convinced of God’s plan, knowing it would lead to pain, Paul persisted in his journey to Jerusalem. All along the way, people tried to dissuade him. They were not rebellious people. They were listening closely to the Spirit of God! Yet, these devout friends were causing untold grief for Paul.

A~ When someone I love has gone before God in concerted prayer, studying Scripture, asking for wise counsel… and the end result is a choice that pains me, can I still support them? I do not want to cause my dearest friends and family to have broken hearts. I do not want to make their obedience more difficult by my response.

P~ Sometimes love yields, Lord. Sometimes love means putting my own desires aside to support Your work in the one I love. When I have to sacrifice my own desire, whether to keep someone near, or to keep them from danger, or to satisfy my own agenda, help me do so cheerfully, out of love. Show me confirmation of your calling in their lives so I can have peace in their decisions. Even if I cannot fully understand, I can still surrender them to You and trust You to work out Your way and Your plan in Your time. Help me do it, Lord. Help me love sacrificially, not selfishly. In this way, I can love them the way You love me.

Our team would love the privilege of praying for you! Please share how we can lift you in prayer at prayer@DiscoverOneThing.com

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