Sunday, June 25, 2017

Sunday, June 25th: Job 3-4; Acts 7:44-60 ~ Emma

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is Job 3-4; Acts 7:44-60

“Is not your fear of God your confidence, and the integrity of your ways your hope?” - Job‬ ‭4:6

While I think it would've been smarter for Job's friends to just be quiet, not comment on his terrible situation, and just sympathize, this is a good point to remember when we are out of control of a terrible situation. We can hope in God and trust that He will deliver us from whatever we are going through.

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year PassageJob 5-7; Acts 8:1-25

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Saturday, June 24th: Job 1-2; Acts 7:22-43 ~ Tammy

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is Job 1-2; Acts 7:22-43

Job 2:10 “Should we accept only good from God and not adversity?”
As Christians, it is very easy to believe the lie that if we are faithful, God will always reward that faithfulness by blessing us materially and physically in this life.  

Sometimes He does.  But not always.

We are always blessed when we are faithful - spiritually.

But rain fall on the faithful and the wicked. Bad things happen to "good" people (and I put good in quote because none of us are good apart from the Holy Spirit's transformation of our lives).  We live in a fallen world and the effects of sin are all around us.  Sometimes bad things happen to us because of our sin, sometimes bad things happen to us because of someone else's sin, and sometimes bad things happen to us because of existence of sin.  It's just the way life is.

Jesus never promised us an easy life.  Indeed, He and virtually all His disciples died a martyr's death and we should not expect better than they!

But He did promise to be with us, to never leave us or forsake us, and that eventually, eternally, all will be made right.

13 Then they sat on the ground with him seven days and nights, but no one spoke a word to him because they saw that his suffering was very intense.This is the correct response to suffering.  If only Job's friends had stayed silent!  There is often no need to talk - in fact, we often mess things up when we try.  What our friends and family need from us is our presence, our empathy, our love.

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year PassageJob 3-4; Acts 7:44-60

Friday, June 23, 2017

Friday, June 23: Esther 9-10; Acts 7:1-21 ~ Tammy

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is Esther 9-10; Acts 7:1-21

The Book of Esther plays out like a movie.  There is an intense plot - a queen dethroned and exiled, a beauty pageant for the king to choose his next queen, a royal wedding, an assassination plot foiled by the enemy of the king's right hand man, politics, revenge, an evil plot uncovered, hangings, and war.

Today's reading contains the perfect movie ending - the good guys win!

But Esther did not know this was how it would end.  Things could have gone much differently.  The king could have refused to extend the golden sceptre to her and had her killed.  Or, he could have allowed her to live, but not believe her story about Haman.  Or he could have believed it but have been indifferent, allowing Haman to proceed as planned but sparing the queen.  Or, or, or.

But, though the name of God is never uttered in this book, His sovereignty is on clear display from beginning to end.  And the end was never in doubt.  God would never allow His people to be wiped out.  He had promised to always leave a remnant, and He was faithful to that promise.

However, Esther, by doing what was asked of her, by doing the right thing, by showing up "at such a time as this", had the privilege and blessing of participating in God's plan.

What will we do when God asks something difficult of us?

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage:  Job 1-2; Acts 7:22-43

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Thursday, June 22nd: Esther 6-8; Acts 6 ~ Conrad

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is: Esther 6-8; Acts 6

Have you ever thought that you had everything all planned out, and then suddenly something happens and now the train is off the track?  Well welcome to todays reading.  

Reality sets in for Haman when he plans on requesting an execution of Mordecai from the king, but instead Haman finds himself honouring Mordecai in the exact way that he recited as being the best way he saw fit to be honoured by a king.  Not only would this be a humbling experience for Haman, but he also would have realized that this could possibly derail their plan for exterminating all the Jews.     

After the king designates Haman to being the one who is hanged (by his own gallows I might add), Esther tells the king that Mordecai is actually her relative.  With the king having an open ear, Esther also pleads with him to put an end to Haman's evil plan of wiping out the Jews.  The king then authorized Mordecai to put in place a decree ensuring that the Jews would be safe throughout the entire empire.

The Jews are God's chosen people.  They weren't perfect, they weren't always obedient, but God protected them.  God used an unexpected person named Esther; a young, orphaned girl whom He raised up to take on a major role in executing the dramatic turn around of Haman's evil plan.  

Today's reading reminded me that I too could be that unexpected person that God needs to play a major role in.  I'm not perfect, and not always obedient.  But am I willing?  Do I open my heart and mind up for that?  Do I make myself available for God?  Do I pray asking God to show me the role that He wants me to play?  

One last point.....

The verse that stood out to me in the NT reading was Acts 6:10:

"but they could not stand up against his wisdom or the Spirit by whom he spoke."

Stephen was a man full of God's grace and power.  How cool and awesome would it be to have someone use those words to describe our character, because of how visible and active God is in our lives.     

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year PassageEsther 9-10; Acts 7:1-21

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Wednesday, June 21st: Esther 3-5, Acts 5:22-42 ~ Nathan

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is. Esther 3-5; Acts 5:22-42

In our reading from Esther we read about how the kingdom, or society, is closing in on the Jews living there, God's chosen people. Their is a order that goes out that gives the go ahead to kill all the Jews and to plunder their goods.

Esther 3:13
Dispatches were sent by couriers to all the king’s provinces with the order to destroy, kill and annihilate all the Jews —young and old, women and children—on a single day, the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, the month of Adar, and to plunder their goods.

As Christians, we will face pressure to turn from God and join in what society wants. This storey from Esther shows again how important it is to not turn from God when the pressure is great, but to turn to Him, obeying and listening to Him.

Acts 5: 38-39
Therefore, in the present case I advise you: Leave these men alone! Let them go! For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail. [39] But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God.”

What I wise speech, if something is from God it will last, if from humans it will not. To this day the word of God is still preached, just as it was then, therefore it is truly from God and therefore 100% true and trustworthy!

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage: Esther 6-8; Acts 6

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Tuesday, June 20: Esther 1-2; Acts 5:1-21 ~ Jody

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is:Esther 1-2; Acts 5:1-21

“Ananias,” Peter asked, “why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and keep back part of the proceeds of the land? Wasn’t it yours while you possessed it? And after it was sold, wasn’t it at your disposal? Why is it that you planned this thing in your heart? You have not lied to people but to God.” When he heard these words, Ananias dropped dead, and a great fear came on all who heard. “ Acts 5:3-5

God is the same through all time. From the beginning of time through eternity, yet we change based on circumstance, society, culture etc. Right now most of humanity doesn't want to believe or hear that this same God is our God today. The common theme in mainstream culture is that God is loving and kind (which he is!) and nothing ele. But He is also righteous, just and jealous! The story of Ananas and Sapphira illustrate the wrath of God when we are greedy and ungrateful, lying to the Him. Like any Love-Relationship, God wants our love and honesty. 

God’s grace covers us, but our repentance and obedience is required to truly remain in it.

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year PassageEsther 3-5; Acts 5:22-42

Monday, June 19, 2017

Monday, June 19th: Nehemiah 12-13; Acts 4:23-37 ~ Tammy

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is Nehemiah 12-13; Acts 4:23-37

Acts 4:29 And now, Lord, consider their threats, and grant that your servants may speak your word with all boldness,

This is my prayer for me and my family - that no matter the threat, God would give us the courage and strength to speak His word with boldness.

We got to see a bit of that this morning as it was baptism Sunday at church.  So thankful for the young people that were willing to proclaim their faith publicly (including Kezia who contributes to this blog!).  A reminder to pray for them as they continue on their journey of faith.

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage: Esther 1-2; Acts 5:1-21

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Sunday, June 18th: Nehemiah 10-11; Acts 4:1-22 ~ Emma

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is Nehemiah 10-11; Acts 4:1-22

“if we are being examined today concerning a good deed done to a crippled man, by what means this man has been healed, let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead—by him this man is standing before you well.” - Acts‬ ‭4:9-10

This is the kind of courage we should have in our faith. We should not be afraid of anything, but we should only fear God. And if we only fear God, then we will have the courage to stand up for Him like this.

I pray we fear the Lord and have courage in our faith today.

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year PassageNehemiah 12-13; Acts 4:23-37

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Saturday, June 17th: Nehemiah 7-9; Acts 3 ~ Tammy

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is Nehemiah 7-9; Acts 3

2 A man who was lame from birth was being carried there. He was placed each day at the temple gate called Beautiful, so that he could beg from those entering the temple. 3 When he saw Peter and John about to enter the temple, he asked for money. 4 Peter, along with John, looked straight at him and said, “Look at us.” 5 So he turned to them, expecting to get something from them. 6 But Peter said, “I don’t have silver or gold, but what I do have, I give you: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, get up and walk!”

Of course, the first thing I think of every time I read this is the kids song we learned about this passage.  Did anybody else learn it too?

In case you don't know it, here it is :)

This time when I read it, it made me think of something.  The lame man asked for money, and instead received healing.

How often do we ask too little of God?  Or ask for something we don't actually need?  Yes, the man needed money.  But he needed the use of his legs far more than a few coins!  

We, too, need more than material things.
We even need more than physical healing.
Above all we need spiritual healing.  And even after that - continued spiritual growth. 

May we see beyond our immediate needs and dare to ask God for something big, and even better, something with eternal value.

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage: Nehemiah 10-11; Acts 4:1-22

Friday, June 16, 2017

Friday, June 16th: Nehemiah 4-6; Acts 2:22-47 ~ Tammy

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is Nehemiah 4-6; Acts 2:22-47

Our OT passage today is a study on overcoming opposition and continuing to persevere despite social injustice, government corruption, and just general pushback.  

Sometimes we think that if something doesn't come easily it must be God shutting a door and we want to look for an open window somewhere.  God can shut door sometimes of course.  But often we experience resistance and opposition when we are doing the right thing!  Of course Satan is going to attack that.  But He who is within us is greater than he who is in the world.  And with His help we will not be defeated, we will persevere, and we will not give up!

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage: Nehemiah 7-9; Acts 3