Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Tuesday, February 21: Numbers 1-2; Mark 3:1-19 ~ Jody

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is: Numbers 1-2; Mark 3:1-19

Scripture: "He looked around at them angrily and was deeply saddened by their hard hearts." Mark 3:5

Observation: This verse stuck out to me how Jesus loves each of us so very much. Even his critics! At the time of this verse, they were just waiting to judge him and punish him because of their hardened hearts, hoping to take a beautiful, loving thing and use it against him. And even though this angered Jesus - he was also deeply saddened as well. Not for himself and how they didn't believe him. But for their sake, because of their hardened hearts. 

Application: How often am I a critic? Not trusting Jesus in an area of my life. Where are the pieces of my life where I've hardened my heart, completely missing the miracles that Jesus is performing right in front of my eyes?! And how often is He performing a miracle and instead I am criticizing it because it doesn't look like I think it should?

Prayer: Holy Spirit, move in my heart. Loosen the grips my human nature has on my heart and mind that I might truly see and know Jesus more. Your miracles, Your love and Your Holy Anger so that I can repent and move closer to righteousness in You. 

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year PassageNumbers 3-4; Mark 2:20-35

Monday, February 20, 2017

Monday, February 20th: Leviticus 26-27; Mark 2 ~ Kezia

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is Leviticus 26-27; Mark 2

Nowadays, news travels fast. Texts, emails, snapchats, and Instagram pictures can be sent or uploaded in just a few seconds. Political news and celebrity gossip are never kept a secret very long, and once something is out, everyone instantly knows.

It wasn't always like this though. In Jesus' time, news was spread through word of mouth. Instead of newspaper headlines and twitter updates, people were telling about Jesus by talking about him. Some people in particular heard of Jesus and his ability to do miracles, and had faith he could heal a paralytic.

"Since they could not get him to Jesus because of the crowd, they made an opening in the roof above Jesus and, after digging through it, lowered the mat the paralyzed man was lying on. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, "Son, your sins are forgiven." Mark 2:4-5

Can you imagine? Maybe never even seeing Jesus before, but having so much faith in His ability to heal that you lower a paralytic from the roof a building to beat the crowds to get him closer to Jesus? There was no photo or video proof of Jesus' powers, yet their faith was so strong in Jesus.

My prayer is that I grow to always have a faith like this. A faith where I don't need proof to know that God is real and He is powerful. A faith where God is never questioned or challenged and doubts never cross through my mind.

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year PassageNumbers 1-2; Mark 3:1:19

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Sunday, February 19th: Leviticus 25; Mark 1:23-45

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is Leviticus 25; Mark 1:23-45

Scripture: Leviticus 25:20-21 But you might ask, "What will we eat during the seventh year, since we are not allowed to plant or harvest crops that year?" Be assured that I will send my blessing for you in the sixth year, so the land will produce a crop large enough for three years.

Observation: God knew that His people would question His instructions. We should not question God, but we do anyway. God knew the Israelites' hearts and knew they would need reassurance, so He gave it to them.

Application: The Lord provides!

Prayer: God, help us today not to question what You are doing in our lives, and help us to trust that You will provide and work things out for our good. Amen.

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year PassageLeviticus 26-27; Mark 2

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Saturday, February 18th: Leviticus 23-24; Mark 1:1-22 ~ Tammy

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is Leviticus 23-24; Mark 1:1-22

God's timing is always perfect.

It was no coincidence that Jesus was born during Pax Romana - a long period of relative peacefulness throughout the Roman empire.  In order to maintain their sprawling empire, the Romans built an extensive system of roads making it easier to communicate, and for their troops to travel.  This also meant that news about Jesus' life, death, and resurrection would be able to spread quickly throughout the vast empire.

John the Baptist prepared the way for Jesus. In Rome, important officials were always preceded by an announcer.  This is why the book of Mark, which was written to Roman Christians, begins with John the Baptist - the herald of Jesus Christ.

John preached in order to prepare people to accept Jesus as God's Son, challenging them to confess their sin individually.  People who don't know Jesus nowadays, also need to be prepared to meet Him.  They need to admit that they need forgiveness before they can accept it.  And, of course, their hearts need to be softened.  We need to pray for the unbelievers around us, that God would soften their hearts, and prepare the way for Jesus.

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year PassageLeviticus 25; Mark 1:23-45

Friday, February 17, 2017

Friday, February 17th: Leviticus 21-22; Matthew 28 ~ Tammy

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is Leviticus 21-22; Matthew 28

In our NT passage today, Matthew tells of the discovery of Jesus' resurrection in such a way that makes it hard to discount its truth.

In NT times, women were not allowed to testify at legal trials.  If the disciples wanted to make up a story about Jesus' resurrection, there is no way they would have women be the first to discover His missing body.

The importance of the resurrection to the Christian faith cannot be overstated.

Jesus promised He would rise from the dead - and He did.  He keeps His promises.

He is the ruler of God's eternal kingdom and has the power to defeat death.

We can be certain of our own resurrection.  Death is not the end for us!

That same power is at work within every believer.  It was responsible for bringing our spiritually dead selves back to life, and gives us the ability to obey Him even as we continue to live in our sin-filled world.

Good news indeed!

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage:  Leviticus 23-24; Mark 1:1-22

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Thursday, February 16th: Leviticus 19-20; Matthew 27:51-66 ~ Deena

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is Leviticus 19-20; Matthew 27:51-66

The Pharisees and religious leaders were fearful of Jesus rising from the dead so they did all they could humanly possible do, to stop that from happening. Placing Him in a tomb, securing it with a big stone, and having guards stand by it. If Jesus would rise from the dead then everything they had accused Him of would be false. They were scared!
We can't force people to believe in Jesus, but we can show them by how we live our lives that He is Lord!

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage:  Leviticus 21-22; Matthew 28

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Wednesday, February 15th: Leviticus 17-18, Matthew 27: 27-50 ~ Nathan

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is Leviticus 17-18, Matthew 27: 27-50

Leviticus 18: 3-5
You must not do as they do in Egypt, where you used to live, and you must not do as they do in the land of Canaan, where I am bringing you. Do not follow their practices. [4] You must obey my laws and be careful to follow my decrees. I am the Lord your God. [5] Keep my decrees and laws, for the person who obeys them will live by them. I am the Lord.

These verses tell the Israelites how to live, but can also be a guide for us. We are not to live as those unsaved around us, but must follow the Lord.

Often we get caught up and live like those around us who aren't saved, and make the same lifestyle choices. This is a reminder for us to live differently, and make lifestyle choices that God would want us to.

Matthew 27: 30-31
They spit on him, and took the staff and struck him on the head again and again. [31] After they had mocked him, they took off the robe and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him away to crucify him.

We've all heard this story many times, but can learn something new from it by reading it again. I am reminded here of the personal pain and humiliation that Jesus went through, for me. He loves me so much that He was willing to go through this all so that I would hopefully give myself to Him. A debt I could never repay. A reminder to do my best for Him all the time, and commit myself to Him.

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage: Leviticus 19-20; Matthew 27:51-66

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Tuesday, February 14, 2017: Leviticus 15-16; Matthew 27:1-26 ~ Jody

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is: Leviticus 15-16; Matthew 27:1-26

Whenever I read the story of Jesus' crucifixion, I have never understood how the crowd of people called for Barabbas to be released. I've always assumed the push of human nature to protect itself - like avoiding a "notorious prisoner" being released back into society would prevail. I just chalked it up to God setting things up to happen according to His plan for Jesus to die for us. Which, of course was His plan, however the choices of the people were also evident. I noticed two things when reading this today:
  1. "So when they had gathered, Pilate said to them, “Whom do you want me to release for you: Barabbas, or Jesus who is called Christ?” 18 For he knew that it was out of envy that they had delivered him up." Matthew 27:17-18 What a powerful statement! Pilate knew that they had no criminal grounds for bringing Jesus before him, but it was pure envy. This statement sat heavy with me as I think about the damaging power that envy can have over us. It can remove all logic and create hurtful emotions and irrational actions. Even Pilate could see that.
  2. "Now the chief priests and the elders persuaded the crowd to ask for Barabbas and destroy Jesus" Matthew 27:20 This verse stuck out for me regarding the power that people in authority have - especially leaders in the church. A reminder of how important it is to pray for our leaders and always recognize God as our ultimate leader!
This whole reading gives me the chills as we see the power of a crowd following their sinful nature. A mass of people coming from a place of envy and blind following of their leaders. Oh, that we remember to always go back to the Author and Perfecter of our faith to ensure our actions align with HIM rather than our own selfish sin-nature!

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year PassageLeviticus 17-18; Matthew 27:27-50

Monday, February 13, 2017

Monday, February 13th: Leviticus 14; Matthew 26:51-75 ~ Tammy

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is Leviticus 14; Matthew 26:51-75

In our NT passage Jesus makes it very clear that He is laying down His life of His own accord.

He chose to become the sacrifice for our sin. He knew what was coming.

He knew His closest friends would betray and desert Him, and what pain that would bring. We can all relate to a certain degree, but how many of us have been abandoned by our closest loved ones in the hour we need them most, in a literally life and death situation?

He knew He would be mocked, completely unjustly. Again, we can relate to a certain degree, but never has a man so utterly powerful and supreme been mocked by those so unworthy.

He knew He would be beaten, that He would experience physical pain and torture few people have to experience, and that He would die alone, with the weight of the world's sin on His shoulders.

He knew that sin would cause Him to feel forsaken by God.

He knew He didn't deserve it.

He knew we fully deserved it.

And He chose to do it in our place, so we wouldn't have to, in order to restore us to right relationship with God.

Amazing love, how can it be, that thou my God shouldst die for me! (Charles Wesley)

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year PassageLeviticus 15-16; Matthew 27:1-26

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Sunday, February 12th: Leviticus 13; Matthew 26:26-50

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is Leviticus 13; Matthew 26:26-50

"He went on a little farther and bowed His face to the ground, praying, "My Father! If it is possible, let this cup of suffering be taken from me. Yet I want Your will to be done, not mine." - Matthew 26:39

Jesus prayed that He wouldn't have to endure the suffering, but said that His Father's wishes be granted above His own.

This is the kind of attitude we should have when we have to face trials of this world. We can pray that God would take them away, but overall, we need to be satisfied with doing His will above our own.

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year PassageLeviticus 14; Matthew 26:51-75