Exodus 21:14-17
How seriously does God view willfully taking another life?  Even if the murderer is pleading to God before His altar, he is to be put to death. 

When God said, "Honor your father and mother,” He was serious about the way children treated their parents, wasn't He?  Death was the penalty for hitting or cursing your parents!

Luke 24:45
"Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures."  

Just as He has to open my eyes to see Him for who He is (Luke 24:31, Matthew 16:17), so too, God has to open my mind for me to understand Him and His Word.  If I come to the Bible as I would any other book thinking I can understand this on my own, I make a grave error.  Isaiah 55:8 says "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD.  For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts."  Paul asks the question in Romans 11:34, "For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor?"  Thankfully God chooses to reveal Himself uniquely to His children. 

Please, Father, open my mind so that I may know You and Your Word; not to just be a hearer of Your Word but a doer.

Job 39:1-30
I was surprised this morning.  Reading and understanding the various conversations between Job, Eliphaz, Bildad, Zophar, and Elihu has always been difficult for me.  In the past, I blamed that on the fact that Hebrew poetry translated into English would inevitably be difficult to comprehend.  However, this morning I was struck by the fact that when God is speaking to Job, I have no difficulty whatsoever in understanding precisely what is said.  Maybe God is already answering my prayer from Luke 24:45.  But I suspect next year when I read Job; I will still struggle with these men's conversations.

Abba, I found it humorous this morning reading Your inquiry of Job.  I often struggle to grasp the meaning of Your Word, but the point of Your questions and comments to Job is easy to understand.  Who could know all those things except the Sovereign Designer and Creator?  Thank You for both the easy and challenging words of Scripture.  May my comprehension of Your Word bring glory to You, and a great benefit to me and those with whom I visit. 

2 Corinthians 9:1-2
"Your zeal has stirred up most of them."

Isn't that human nature?  Have you ever been around someone whose enthusiasm is contagious?  Someone who is so excited about something they can't help talking about it?

In Paul's discussion of the financial gifts given for the church in Jerusalem in 2 Corinthians 8-9, it is evident the Macedonians were serious about helping the poor in Jerusalem.  2 Corinthians 8:3 says they gave more than they could afford.  (Perhaps, like the widow who gave all she had in Luke 21:3-4, for whom Jesus said some contribute out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty.)  Verse 4 tells us they begged for the opportunity.  Notice the basis for their enthusiasm and excitement in verse 5, "they gave themselves first to the Lord."  Now in chapter 9, Paul tells the church in Achaia it is their passion that has stirred the Macedonians to give as they have. 

I have a friend whose passion, excitement and enthusiasm for the Lord stirs me.  It is obvious he, too, gives himself to the Lord.  The evidence is not just in helping the saints financially, but by encouraging and always reminding about Jesus.  Any conversations will quickly turn to the Kingdom of God.

Loving Father, thank You for many friends who have first given themselves to You.  They are a great encouragement in my walk of faith.  May I be that for others.