Sunday, July 31, 2016

Sunday, July 31st: Isaiah 51-53 ~ Jay

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is: Isaiah 51-53

A couple of thoughts that jumped out at me from today's passages:

1) To me it is great comfort that no matter what happens in the world around us...war, earthquakes, floods, etc....Salvation is an eternal promise and God's righteousness will never go away.  What a promise and a comfort!
Lift up your eyes to the heavens, look at the earth beneath;
the heavens will vanish like smoke, the earth will wear out like a garment
    and its inhabitants die like flies. But my salvation will last forever,
    my righteousness will never fail.
2) Our God has strength and power beyond our comprehension.  In verses 12-16 of chapter 51, God's people were in fear of oppression by their enemies.  God reminds them of just how powerful He is and men (enemies) are like blades of grass. This drew a vivid picture for me relative to any struggles I might face and the need for me to be in constant prayer / communication with God.

12 “I, even I, am he who comforts you. Who are you that you fear mere mortals,
    human beings who are but grass,
13 that you forget the Lord your Maker,
    who stretches out the heavens
    and who lays the foundations of the earth,
that you live in constant terror every day
    because of the wrath of the oppressor,
    who is bent on destruction

3)    In Isaiah 53 verses 3-6 stood out to me.  It describes how rejected Jesus would be when he came to earth...yet despite the rejection of man He still would go to the cross and bare our sins.  What we deserved he would bare for us, in spite of the fact that we would want nothing to do with Him.  This is obviously a fulfilled prophesy in the New Testament.  The thing that stood out to me was that Jesus was fully aware of the rejection He would face and what was going to happen to him, well in advance of coming to earth and taking the form of a man...yet He was still willing to do this for us. How often do I take time to sit back and thank God for his willingness to go through this for me...knowing full well it was coming and would be utterly painful for him.  Thank you Lord for your willingness to be rejected, suffer and die on my behalf...a fate that I fully deserved.


Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage: Isaiah54-56

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Saturday, July 30th: Isaiah 48-50 ~ Tammy

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is Isaiah 48-50

A few passages stood out to me today.

Isaiah 48:8b-9  For I know so well what traitors you are. You have been rebels from birth. Yet for my own sake and for the honor of my name, I will hold back my anger and not wipe you out.

We, just like the Israelites, are deeply sinful people.  Sinful from birth!  Knowing our wickedness, why would God show us mercy?  It's certainly not because we deserve it. After all, that's the very definition of mercy - deliverance from the judgment we deserve.  Why is He merciful?  For His sake.  To glorify and honour His name.

This should be a humbling thought for us.  We are not the center of the universe.  Indeed, our salvation isn't even really about us.  It's about God!  Everything He does brings honour and glory to His name, and furthers His eternal purposes. Thankfully, we are the beneficiaries of His mercy and grace.  Do we recognize this?  Or do we think we're doing God a favour by accepting Him as our Saviour?

Isaiah 50:4-11 describes Jesus as the obedient servant, even through the suffering He knows is coming - beatings, the hair of his beard being ripped from his face, being mocked, being spit on, being falsely accused, being betrayed, and ultimately being crucified.  He knows this is coming and yet.....

Isaiah 50:7  Because the Sovereign Lord helps me, I will not be disgraced. Therefore, I have set my face like a stone, determined to do his will. And I know that I will not be put to shame.

Jesus was perfect, and yet was betrayed in such horrific fashion.
We are sinful and wicked, and yet very likely none of us will endure what Jesus chose to endure.

How we react in times of difficulty?  Will we act like Jesus - will we set our face like a stone, determined to do His will, no matter the cost?

We can, when we walk in His strength, not our own.

When something is right, we need to stand for it! When we a right purpose that glorifies God, we need to see it through.  If God is for us, who can be against us?


Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage: Isaiah 51-53

Friday, July 29, 2016

Friday July 29th: Isaiah 45-47 ~ Conrad

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is: Isaiah 45-47

"I will go before you and will level the mountains; I will break down gates of bronze and cut through bars of iron."  Isaiah 45:2

As I was reading this verse it reminded of times when our kids would want me to go first to something.  First to the garage.  First downstairs.  First upstairs when the lights were off.  First from the back lane having to go between ours and the neighbours garage to the back door of our house (this one was actually just the other day).  The point is, our kids have a faith in me to go first and to "take on" whatever danger or resistance may be in our way.

We have our Heavenly Father who will do the same for us; except His abilities are endless.  He will clear and pave the road for us.  He will break down city gates.  Smash padlocks, kick down barred entrances.  He will be our GPS for "geo caching" treasures.  All we have to do is place our faith in Him like our children do in us.

In chapter 46 Isaiah challenges us to go back to the basics.  "Remember the former things, those of long ago; I am God and there is no other; I am God and there is none like me." (vs 9)

We need to remember who God is and what God has done for us.  On the church camping weekend a few weeks back, someone was asking me how Pamela was able to go back to school when the kids were young.  As I told the story of all the miraculous things that God had done to pave the way for this to happen, it reminded me of how God did level our mountains, how He broke down the gates, and cut through the bars.  It was definitely not because of our abilities, but God alone!  

When we give God the glory it's not bragging to say how God got us to where we are today.  It's praising Him to others, and it will also encourage others to place their trust in Him too.  I think we need to do a better job at telling others of all the miracles taking place in our lives and how God has brought us through those tough times.

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year PassageIsaiah 48-50

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Thursday July 28: Isaiah 42-44 ~ Cameron

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is Isaiah 42-44

The first section of chapter 42 is foretelling of the coming Saviour. However, I think a few of the points can be applied to our lives and how we interact with the world.

"He will not shout or cry out, or raise his voice in the streets." vs 2
Angry rhetoric is being spewed everywhere. Politicians, media, and general public have traded discussion and debate for ranting and raving, resulting in society becoming more polarized in spite of all the progress that has been made. Adding our voice to an angry mob does not help.

"In faithfulness he will bring forth justice" vs 3
Justice is not for us to dole out. But we can have faith that Justice will be brought forth by a Righteous Judge. In the meantime we should not falter or be discouraged, but remain faithful to the Teachings of salvation, that bring hope to the nations.

We are not placed on earth to mete out justice on God's behalf. He doesn't need us. But people should be able to see the hope for salvation that is in us. And when they ask us about it, we will be "prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect." 1 Peter 3:15 ESV

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage: Isaiah 45-47

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Wednesday, July 27th: Isaiah 38:9-22, 2 Kings 20:12-19, Isaiah 39:1-8, 2 Kings 20:20-21, 2 Chronicles 32:32-33, Isaiah 40-41 ~ Nathan

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is Isaiah 38:9-22, 2 Kings 20:12-19, Isaiah 39:1-8, 2 Kings 20:20-21, 2 Chronicles 32:32-33, Isaiah 40-41

King Hezekiah had been very sick and thought he would die, he was a little down because of this.

Isaiah 38:12
Like a shepherd’s tent my house has been pulled down and taken from me. Like a weaver I have rolled up my life, and he has cut me off from the loom; day and night you made an end of me.

But King Hezekiah remained positive, and God healed him.

Isaiah 38:17
Surely it was for my benefit that I suffered such anguish. In your love you kept me from the pit of destruction; you have put all my sins behind your back.

King Hezekiah kept the right attitude throughout and continued to praise the Lord, even through a difficult time. How often do we go through difficult times, and do we continue to praise the Lord?

I went through a difficult time, and continue to in a small way, a month ago when I had sunstroke. Afterwards the only symptom I had was that I forgot names easily, especially ones I don't use very often. During the recovery I wanted to get back to normal so eagerly, that when I couldn't remember a name of someone immediately, it bothered me. I could remember details about this person but I couldn't remember their name.

I didn't just leave it with God and not let myself get worried about it. I should have just continued to praise Him for all the good He's done for me, and continues to do, and not worried. 

We went through a short, but difficult time, and God has healed me a lot, and I'm thankful!

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage: Isaiah 42-44

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Tuesday, July 26th: 2 Kings 19:20-37, 2 Chronicles 32:20-23, Isaiah 37:21-38, 2 Kings 20:1-11, 2 Chronicles 32:24-31, Isaiah 38:1-8 ~ Danae

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is 2 Kings 19:20-37, 2 Chronicles 32:20-23, Isaiah 37:21-38, 2 Kings 20:1-11, 2 Chronicles 32:24-31, Isaiah 38:1-8

In our passages today, I was drawn to the verses speaking of Hezekiah’s illness, prayer & healing.

2 Kings 20:1-6
In those days Hezekiah became ill and was at the point of death. The prophet Isaiah son of Amoz went to him and said, “This is what the Lord says: Put your house in order, because you are going to die; you will not recover.”
2 Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the Lord, 3 “Remember, Lord, how I have walked before you faithfully and with wholehearted devotion and have done what is good in your eyes.” And Hezekiah wept bitterly.
4 Before Isaiah had left the middle court, the word of the Lord came to him: 5 “Go back and tell Hezekiah, the ruler of my people, ‘This is what the Lord, the God of your father David, says: I have heard your prayer and seen your tears; I will heal you. On the third day from now you will go up to the temple of the Lord. 6 I will add fifteen years to your life. And I will deliver you and this city from the hand of the king of Assyria. I will defend this city for my sake and for the sake of my servant David.’”

After reading it, I thought, what a great example of the power of prayer.  However, in doing a little digging on the topic, I came up with an interesting perspective (

First of all, a little side note:   God does choose to heal Hezekiah, but shortly after that Hezekiah forgets God’s goodness & that his successes are all due to God’s greatness, not his own & pride sets in.  It's important for us to remember what God does in our lives & not become arrogant & proud.  Hezekiah could have taken this opportunity to give the credit to God & spread the news of the true God in heaven.  But what does he do instead?  He exalts himself & becomes proud.  (“But Hezekiah’s heart was proud & he did not respond to the kindness shown him; therefore the Lord’s wrath was on him & on Judah & Jerusalem – 2 Chronicles 32:25)

Anyway, here’s what I found so interesting (go with me here, but to get it we have to switch gears for a moment). This is what sermon central says...

I want us to look at the worst person that ever lived that is recorded in the Bible other than the devil. The worst human being to ever live. Who could this be? Well, let’s look at Jeremiah 15. This is Manasseh. Worse than Hitler and Osama bin Laden together… Notice how God was upset with Manasseh. Jeremiah 15:1-(read PP)…

This was a terrible man. Manasseh was the worst king Israel ever had. He ruled 55 years, the longest of any king of God’s people from 696 to 641 BC. He not only encouraged evil but discouraged good. The faithful few that were left were objects of his bitter hatred. Manasseh tried to find success by lowering the standards and uniting with the world. When the church begins to act like the world, dresses like the world, has the same music as the world, the same standards of the world, we are going backwards like Hezekiah’s sundial. It is time for the church to hold a high standard, the standard of Jesus Christ and His salvation. 
So we must ask a vital question: Why did God allow Manasseh to be the king? Why did He even want him to be the king? Why did He allow such a wicked man to ever even be born? God makes mistakes, doesn’t He? A lot of mistakes. Or, did He? 

Come to 2 Kings 21:1 look carefully at this verse. Manasseh was twelve years old when he became king. How old? 12. And he reigned in Jerusalem 55 years. What if Hezekiah had submitted to Gods will and said, I’ll go ahead and die. I’m not going to moan over this. I’ll get my house in order. OK God, I am ready and confident that some day I will live again forever in your kingdom! Hezekiah was Manasseh’s daddy. Manasseh would never have been born. The reason he was born was because Hezekiah refused to submit to God’s will. It is a lesson here…

Do we dare, ever, to pray for our own will to be done? Is it ever appropriate for us to pray for our will to be done? Well, yes, it is. Did Jesus ever do that? Oh, yes He did. How did He pray? He said, "Father, if possible, I don’t want to drink this cup. But, if not, go ahead and give it to me. I will drink it." "Father, I don’t want this cancer. I don’t want this problem. But if You don’t remove it, it’s okay. I’ll submit to it. That’s the position of strength. That’s the position where we need to be.

What a challenge, to trust God, to pray, ask & even beg & then submit no matter the answer.

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage:  Isaiah 38:9-22, 2 Kings 20:12-19, Isaiah 39:1-8, 2 Kings 20:20-21, 2 Chronicles 32:32-33, Isaiah 40-41

Monday, July 25, 2016

Monday, July 25th: 2 Kings 18:13-18, 2 Chronicles 32:1-8, Isaiah 36:1-3, 2 Kings 18:19-37, Isaiah 36:4-22, 2 Kings 19:1-19, 2 Chronicles 32:9-19, Isaiah 37:1-20 ~ Tammy

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is 2 Kings 18:13-18, 2 Chronicles 32:1-8, Isaiah 36:1-3, 2 Kings 18:19-37, Isaiah 36:4-22, 2 Kings 19:1-19, 2 Chronicles 32:9-19, Isaiah 37:1-20

Near the beginning of today's passage we see King Hezekiah responding to the imminent threat of an Assyrian attack.  He did everything that was in his power to do in order to prepare for the attack and deal with the situation, but he did not put his trust in himself or his men, he trusted God for the outcome.

This is a great example to us of how we should deal with difficulties in our lives.  We should do what we can, but we should do so trusting in God, not our own ability, to see us through.

When the Assyrian king delivered his blasphemous speech in attempt to instill fear into the people of Judah by ridiculing them and their God, Hezekiah immediately turned to God, recognizing Him as his true source of strength, and imploring God to act in order for His glory to be displayed, and that He would be known as the One true God.

Are we concerned with the honour of God's name?  As His representatives on earth, are we glorifying His name or our own?  Are we representing Him well, or are we misrepresenting Him?  Is our goal to glorify Him as Lord or to achieve worldly success and comfort?

May we look to God for our source of strength, and live our lives to glorify Him and Him alone.

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage2 Kings 19:20-37, 2 Chronicles 32:20-23, Isaiah 37:21-38, 2 Kings 20:1-11, 2 Chronicles 32:24-31, Isaiah 38:1-8

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Sunday, July 24th - Micah 5 - 7 - Kelora

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is Micah 5 - 7

After reading these passages one of the verses that stood out for me was Micah 6:8 “He has showed you, O man, what is good.  And what does the Lord require of you?  To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humby with your God.”  This verse made me think about whether I show mercy to those who I feel wrong me.  God is shows us mercy and forgiveness and this verse was a good reminder that I need to do the same.  These verse is a good reminder to myself that I need to practice these areas in my life.  

One other verse that stood out for me is Micah 7:7.  “But as for me, I watch in hope for the Lord, I wait for God my Savior; my God will hear me.”   The confidence Micah showed in his faith with this verse made me realize that I need to have the same faith in God that He always hears us when we call on him.

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage2 Kings 18:13-18, 2 Chronicles 32:1-8, Isaiah 36:1-3, 2 Kings 18:19-37, Isaiah 36:4-22, 2 Kings 19:1-19, 2 Chronicles 32:9-19, Isaiah 37:1-20

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Saturday, July 23rd: Micah 2-4 ~ Tammy

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is Micah 2-4

As I read Micah's description of Israel and her corruption it seemed like he was talking about our society today.

You don't have to look far to find people committing injustice of all kinds - plotting evil (2:1); fraud, coveting, violence (2:2); stealing, dishonesty (2:8); hating good, loving evil (3:1-2); despising justice, distorting what is right (3:9); murder and corruption (3:10); taking bribes (3:11).

I read a commentary on Micah by Ray Stedman and found out that the name Micah means "Who is like God".

Micah was on a search for Godlikeness, and he was not successful in finding it in Israel, just as he would be hard pressed to find it in Canada and America today.

And he most certainly didn't find it in their leadership.  (I don't think I even need to make the comparable comment about our leadership today.)

Micah makes it clear to the Israelites, to us, that if we are in a position of authority, we are accountable to God.  It makes no difference if we are the leader of a country or the parents of children or the leader of a school group - we are representing God in that office, no matter how large or small it may be.

Are you representing God, or misrepresenting Him in your area of leadership?

Is the way you life your life Godlike?

Would Micah find the answer to his question in your life? In mine?

Thanks be to God that He stands ready to forgive the sins of any and all who repent!

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage: Micah 5-7

Friday, July 22, 2016

Friday, July 22: Isaiah 32-35 by Pamela

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is Isaiah 32-35

I found this commentary helpful: (emphasis in bold is mine)

Isaiah frankly confronted Jerusalem’s leaders for flirting with an Egyptian alliance (cf. 28.14-22). The prophet then chided the leaders of the day for not hastening to the LORD’s invitation for deliverance from Assyria (chs 29-30). In chs 32-35 Isaiah presented the LORD as the true King of His people. Isaiah hoped to convince Judah that while Ahaz had led them to trust in any but God (cf. ch 7ff.), only as they relied upon the LORD, their true King (chs 32-33), and resisted an alliance with a nation that would soon be destroyed (ch 34), would they enjoy righteousness and justice in the land (ch 35).
Isaiah elicited Judah’s trust in the LORD by presenting His regal plan (chs 32-33):
  1. A Messianic figure would arrive, who will reign in righteousness (32.1-8). Isaiah predicted the edifying results of Messiah’s reign: “Then the eyes of those who see will not be closed, and the ears of those who hear will listen. The reckless mind will gain knowledge, and the stammering tongue will speak clearly and fluently (vv. 3-4). 
  2. His reign would accord with the pouring out of the Spirit, when humiliation will be exchanged for quiet confidence (32.9-20)
  3. Judah (and everyone!) was helpless without Messiah’s help (33.1-16). It may be that Isaiah’s words here were prompted by Sennacherib’s initial invasion toward Jerusalem, when Hezekiah gave the Assyrian king all the silver in the LORD’s temple (cf. 2 Kgs 18.13-18). In that time of great distress Isaiah could have prayed in earnest: “LORD, be gracious to us! We wait for You. Be our strength every morning, and our salvation in time of trouble. The peoples flee at the thunderous noise; the nations scatter when You rise in Your majesty” (33.2-3). Now the LORD would indeed rise up and exalt Himself over the Assyrian king. The people dwelling in Jerusalem were thus exhorted to reform their lives in righteousness that they may dwell there and not be destroyed by the LORD—even if they escaped Sennacherib’s advance! (vv. 14-16)
  4. Messiah would one day rule over a city characterized by peace (33.17-24). The people of the city would not wander because the LORD would be Judge, lawgiver, King, and savior (v. 22)
Isaiah prophesied that Messiah’s coming would be consistent with judgment on the nations, and Edom (ch 34). The prophet called out: “The LORD is angry with all the nations—furious with all their armies. He will set them apart for destruction, giving them over to slaughter…All the heavenly bodies will dissolve. The skies will roll up like a scroll, and their stars will all wither as leaves wither on the vine, and foliage on the fig tree” (vv. 2, 4). Edom would be set apart as a representative target of God’s wrath, “for its hostility against Zion” (v. 8; cf. Gen 25; Num 20). The Spirit of God would gather wild animals in the place where Edomites once appoint their king (vv. 8-17). However, the ransomed of the LORD would return to Zion (ch 35). Isaiah prophesied that gladness, joy, splendor, strength, sight, singing, and rain come upon that which was parched, mute, blind, weak, destroyed, weeping, and mourning—because “God’s retribution is coming; He will save you” (v. 4).
Isaiah’s sermon to the people of Jerusalem—perhaps surrounded by the Assyrian king—provided the initial setting for multiple Messianic prophecies, a springboard for the storyline of Scripture. Many in Jesus’ day, however, misunderstood some of the specifics of Isaiah’s oracles. They wondered if Jesus was in fact the Messiah, because while He had accomplished some of the things Isaiah prophesied, Israel was still subject to Roman rule; wouldn’t Messiah execute judgment on the nations, as well as heal the blind, mute, and lame?  This was the question on the mind of John the Baptist, the prisoner. Matthew records that early in Jesus’ ministry, John had already been imprisoned for confronting Herod (cf. Mt 4.12; 14.1-12). Thus, while the Gentiles in the northern region of Galilee were enjoying the inauguration of Messiah’s rule—as evidenced by the fact that the blind were made to see, the lame were made to walk, those with skin disease were healed, the deaf were able to hear, the dead were raised, and the poor were told the good news—the great John the Baptist was held captive by Israel’s enemy. “Isn’t the Messiah to come with blessing, and vengeance?” he thought. John’s paradigm, like that of many in his day, was highly influenced by Isaiah’s prophecy: “Say to the faint-hearted: ‘Be strong; do not fear! Here is your God; vengeance is coming. God’s retribution is coming; He will save you.’ Then the eyes of the blind will be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped. Then the lame will leap like a deer, and the tongue of the mute will sing for joy…” (Is 35.4-6a). When John thus sent messengers to Jesus to ask if He was in fact the Messiah, Jesus spoke not only of the miraculous blessings that He had bestowed on the needy, but also affirmed John’s place in the redemptive-historical plan of God. By emphasizing that John was in fact the forerunner, Jesus affirmed that He was in fact the Messiah.
On the whole, it may be best to understand Messiah’s first coming as the fulfillment of some of Isaiah’s prophecies (i.e., great blessings), the rest of which will be accomplished in the second (i.e., overthrow of those who oppose the people of God; cf. Rev 18ff). If this is true, then we stand in the already-not-yet phase of history, enjoying the knowledge of Messiah, the presence of the Spirit, the community of the church, and the mission of kingdom expansion, while yet awaiting the time when Jesus will return as the King of kings and Lord of lords (cf. Rev 19.11-16). 

We, like Judah, long for a quick and easy fix of all problems and easy answers to our prayers. We want our prayers to be answered instantly and in the precise way we desire. We want fast justice and revenge and punishment on things and people that we feel are unfair. Just as the Israelites (and even John!) doubted the Messiah because His vision for redemption was not earthly but in Heaven we also tend to doubt and take things into our own hands when things don't go quite as we expect them to.

Yesterday, we were doing errands in the part of the city where we bid on our first house. We drove past it and it brought up many old memories. Conrad and I were a few months away from being married in 1996 and a house popped up on the market and it was priced at $19 900. (Unbelievable in today's market!) It was a tiny house, just one bedroom and just around 600 square feet. It would have essentially been just like an apartment (like the one we had planned on living in for the first years of our marriage) and yet by buying this house instead we would be home owners and our mortgage would likely be less than what our rent payment would be. We prayed about the house and decided that if our offer (as is) was accepted then we would buy the house. We submitted an offer for $18, 500 (Hard to believe!) and when the bank appraisal came back, the house was appraised at $18, 000. Our agent at the time just expected that we would throw in another $500 and then just buy it anyway. However, we decided to walk away. To us, the bank appraisal coming back lower was just our sign that God didn't want us to buy that house. Our agent kept pushing us to buy it because it was so much better than renting because this would be an investment and building for our future. We walked away. We relied on God even though it would have been very easy to go and do our own thing. That house was for sale for a LONG time. I would drive past it occasionally (Conrad worked in the area) and sometimes second guessed our decision to walk away especially when a few months later we decided to move to a new apartment and ended up paying almost twice as much as what our mortgage payment would have been and we didn't even have a yard.

Unlike Judah, we didn't even have to wait very long to learn that God had a different plan in mind for us. About two months after our wedding, it became very clear why we didn't get to buy that house. I was pregnant. If we had bought that house we would have been stuck in a tiny house (that was difficult to sell!) with a baby on the way (and 2 more within a few years). We were so thankful that we had not gone along with our own plan to buy that house regardless of what obstacles were in our way. God led us to another house about a year after we had put in the offer to buy the little house and this house was more than we could have imagined and allowed us to use it as a stepping stone for the house we now have. It always seems to work out when we trust God....funny how that works :) It may not always be what we expect. It may not always be in our timing. It may not even make sense on this side of Heaven. We just need to trust in the One who has it all worked out.

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage: Micah 2-4

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Thursday, July 21st: Isaiah 29-31 ~ Jeannine Funk

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is Isaiah 29-31

The Lord says: “These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.Their worship of me is based on merely human rules they have been taught." (Isaiah 29:13)

Do we merely go through the motions and follow the "rules" or do we truly give God our love and devotion?  We must worship God with complete honesty and sincerity or our faith with become a religion of routine.

Woe to those who go down to Egypt for help,
    who rely on horses,
who trust in the multitude of their chariots
    and in the great strength of their horsemen,
but do not look to the Holy One of Israel,
    or seek help from the Lord.
Yet he too is wise and can bring disaster;
    he does not take back his words.
He will rise up against that wicked nation,
    against those who help evildoers.
But the Egyptians are mere mortals and not God;
    their horses are flesh and not spirit.
When the Lord stretches out his hand,
    those who help will stumble,
    those who are helped will fall;
    all will perish together.
(Isaiah 31:1-3)

How often don't we look to the wrong place for protection and help rather than going to the one who can actually protect us?  That's what the people of Judah were doing.  They were trusting in humans and looking for protection from Egypt and by doing this they were violating God's stipulation in Deuteronomy 17:16 to "not to go back that way again".  It is good to seek help when we have problems but we should never bypass God or his previous directions to us.

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage: Isaiah 32-35

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Wednesday, July 20th: Isaiah 23-27 ~ Emma

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is Isaiah 23-27

Scripture: Trust in the LORD always, for the LORD GOD is the eternal Rock. - Isaiah 26:4

Observation: A rock is solid, strong, and not easily broken. So if the eternal Rock (God) is all those things x100000, then why would we put our trust in anything else?

Application: Instead of saying "I hope God will give me strength", say "I know God will give me strength". Trust in the eternal Rock, and He will give you strength and endurance.

Prayer: Lord, we put our trust in You. Show us the path You want us to follow. We know You will give us strength, and we thank You for that. Amen.

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage: Isaiah 29-31

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Tuesday, July 19th: Isaiah 18-22 ~ Danae

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is Isaiah 18-22

And you looked in that day to the weapons in the Palace of the Forest; you saw that the City of David had many breaches in its defenses; you stored up water in the Lower Pool.  You counted the buildings in Jerusalem & tore down houses to strengthen the wall. You built a reservoir between the two walls for the water of the Old Pool, but you did not look to the One who made it, or have regard for the One who planned it long ago. 
Isaiah 22:8-11

The leaders of Judah did all that they could to prepare for war, but did not do the one thing they should. They got weapons, checked the walls & stored up water, but all their work was pointless because they never asked God for help. Each of the steps they took were important & even wise, but they should have started by asking God to guide their work.

In Isaiah 20:2 we read:
At that time the Lord spoke through Isaiah son of Amoz. He said to him, “Take off the sackcloth from your body & the sandals from your feet.” And he did so, going around stripped & barefoot.

Here God asks of Isaiah something that you really wouldn't expect (& really hope he doesn't ask of you 😝). Anyway, the point being that we may have ideas of how & in what order things should take place, but we really don’t know or understand what God is trying to teach us or others in the process. God may ask us to do things or take steps in the process that we don't understand, but we must obey God in complete faith. 

We need to seek God first. He will either give us peace & confidence to move in the direction that we planned (or expected) for it to go or he will direct us down another path because he wants to teach us (or someone else) something along the way.

As hard as it is to let go of our own ideas & plans; when we do, we have the opportunity to see God at work & his glory lifted up.

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage:  Isaiah 23-27

Monday, July 18, 2016

Monday, July 18: Psalm 146-150 by Pamela

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is Psalm 146-150

Scripture: "Praise the Lord" "Praise to God" "Praise Him"

Observation: In these few chapters, these phrases occur over 37 times. They command our attention and demand notice.

Application: It's not always easy to give praise in all circumstances. While it's true that we have so much to be thankful for and we have so much hope for the future the day to day struggles can bring us down. We may even forget just how deserving God is of our praise and forget just how much we fall short of God's perfection. We put our trust in "princes" verse 3 or in people that don't always have our best interest in mind. We put value into fleeting things and search for control over things we will never have control over. Our focus is not always on Heaven but on things that will eventually fade away. When those things do fade away, we can still praise God for He is worthy of our praise in all circumstances.

Kezia and Kaden just returned from a youth mission trip to Mexico. While they were there they heard a story of a family who watched the father of the family become brutally murdered right in front of them. How can that be worthy of praise? However, through his death, the entire family has been brought into a relationship with Christ and they all acknowledge that without his death, they would not have come to Christ. Praise Him!

Instead of being consumed with the stresses of every day life, we need to focus on the Creator of the universe. If He  can create the sun and the moon and the stars and all the creatures and all the weather and all the vegetation and all the landforms and all the people surely we can trust Him to get us through anything life throws at us. He is worthy of our praise.

Psalm 150: 6 Let everything that has breath praise the Lord!
Praise the Lord!

Prayer: Oh Heavenly Father, Let everything we do and say be in Praise to You for all you have created, for all you have done, and for all that is to come. We constantly need to be reminded that You deserve our praise and that we are so undeserving of Your gift of salvation. Thank you for not giving up on us no matter what we do and no matter how much we forget that You are so worthy of our praise. Give us a desire to praise you in all circumstances and trust you fully. Amen.

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage: Isaiah 18-22

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Sunday, July 17th:Psalm 130,132,134-136~ Jay

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is: Psalm 130,132,134-136

There were several key thoughts that jumped out at me as I read through today’s passages.

1)      The passage that speaks about the fact that God does not keep a record of sins, but if he did….. who would stand.  Lord, if you kept a record of our sins, who O Lord, could ever survive? But you offer forgiveness, that we might learn to fear you. Psalm 130:3-4
To me this hits home the reality that no person could stand before God with any confidence that they are blameless.  How often do we hear people rationalize that God wouldn’t send me to hell because generally I’m a good person.  No one can stand on their own merits and it is only through his sacrifice and our confession of sins / acceptance of that sacrifice that we confidence of eternal life.

2)      The second part of the above verse stood out to me as well.  As people who are forgiven…this should lead us to fear Him.  How often do we think of that?  Are we robotic in the sense that when we sin we confess and ask for His forgiveness or do we come in humbleness with a true respect for what the consequences could be eternally if we are not forgiven?

3)      In Psalm 135:6-10 it states:   The Lord does whatever pleases him throughout all heaven and earth, and on the seas and in their depths. He causes the clouds to rise over the whole earth.
    He sends the lightning with the rain and releases the wind from his storehouses.

He destroyed the firstborn in each Egyptian home, both people and animals.
He performed miraculous signs and wonders in Egypt against Pharaoh and all his people.
10 He struck down great nations and slaughtered mighty kings—
How often do we hear people talk about “Mother Nature” during a lightning storm and how powerful she is….I wonder if God is amused by the simple thinking of people or hurt by the way the pinnacle of His creation (man), created with the ability to reason and discern, attributes evidence of His power to imaginary beings.  Witnessing a couple of powerful storms over the past number of weeks, this should serve to remind us of the awesome power that our God has.  The next time I see and feel a powerful storm, I have challenged myself to think of these verses and remember that this display of power and might witnessed during the storm is from the same God that caused the firstborn in Egypt to die and brought His people of slavery.  How awesome is He. 

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage:

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Saturday, July 16th: Psalm 120, 121, 123, 125, 128, 129 ~ Tammy

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is Psalm 120, 121, 123, 125, 128, 129

I love Psalm 121 and it's one of the first chapters I memorized when I started scripture memory a couple years ago (a practice I should really re-start!).  

This psalm expresses utmost hope and confidence in God's protection - day and night!  (It's a good Psalm to read over your children if they are having trouble sleeping at night).  Our God is so powerful - not only did He make the hills, He made the entire heavens and earth!  We should never trust a lesser power than our all powerful Creator.  

But He is not only powerful.  He is also compassionate towards us, watching over us day and night.  He is always aware of everything going on in our lives.  He knows when we are anxious or afraid.  He knows when we are angry or upset.  He knows when we are tired or overwhelmed.  He knows exactly what we need all the time.  And He is the only Source that can provide the answer for what we need. He is our source of peace, strength, comfort, and hope.  So often we forget to turn to Him in those moments, at least not right away.  May we learn to turn to Him first and foremost, declaring "My help comes from the Lord!"

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year PassagePsalm 130, 132, 134-136

Friday, July 15, 2016

Friday July 15th: Psalms 119 ~ Conrad

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is: Psalm 119

Sorry for the late posting.......

Well, if I wanted to write out all the verses that stood out to me I could have copied and pasted almost the entire Psalm, but I won't do that.

"You have laid down precepts  that are to be fully obeyed."  Psalm 119:4

God has given us laws for our benefit that need to be followed.  In verse 9 the question is asked "How can a young man keep his way pure?"  The following verses answer the question:

Seeking Him (vs 10), keeping His Word hidden in our hearts (vs 11), allowing ourselves to be taught (vs 12), recounting the laws (vs 13), rejoicing in following the laws (vs 14), meditating (vs 15), and not neglecting the laws (vs 16).

In full, verse 11 reads, "I have hidden your Word in my heart that I may not sin against you."  Taking this verse and the other 6 listed above, it is evident that it is only by the power of the Word of God that we can refrain from sinning.  We will not be able to do this on our own strength.  And, this is an everyday routine.  We need to act out these verses on a daily basis.  

"It was good for me to be afflicted so that I might learn your decrees." Psalm 119:71

Nothing seems to make us more receptive to God than a little adversity.  Adversity is not something I find enjoyable, but it is in the difficult times that we can look back after and see how much we have matured.

"Your Word, O Lord, is eternal; it stands firm in the Heavens."  Psalm 119:89

Eternal........something that is hard for me to fully comprehend, especially because we live in a "throw away" society.  Our lives are short, perishable food even shorter.  Even rocks and land are eroded away, but this verse promises the permanence of God's Word!

The second part of this verse tells us that God's Word is sanding firm in Heaven.  It is reassuring to know that His Word stands firm and does not change or move.  It is much harder and more frustrating trying to hit a moving target as opposed to one staying in the same spot.      

"I have kept my feet from every evil path so that I might obey your word." (vs 101)

Sounds simple, but very important.

"Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path." (vs 105)

This verse gives us believers confidence in knowing exactly what God expects from us.  It is wonderful to know that God has given us this book for direction on our paths.

"Great peace have those who love your law, and nothing can make them stumble." (vs 165)

To me that sounds pretty awesome.
This psalm is a good read and instills confidence in the Bible that we use as our guide for our daily walk.

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage: Psalm 120, 121, 123, 125, 128, 129

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Thursday July 14: Psalms 115-118 ~ Cameron

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is Psalms 115-118

"Our God is in the heavens; He does whatever He pleases" - Psalm 115:2

Sovereignty is not a concept people focus on in this day and age. There was a time when a sovereign ruler had the right to do what they willed. How much more so the Creator of the universe? We don't like the idea of being subjects, without rights to existence.

We are not owed any explanation. We are not owed our next breath. Like a pile of blocks built by a child. If the child wishes to knock the pile over the blocks are not consulted. How much more so the Alpha and Omega, the Ancient of Days. There is no demand He must answer; no summons He must heed.

We serve a Sovereign God! And that should bring us to further awe and reverence for the Almighty, and His Grace and Mercy that is bestowed upon us.

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage: Psalms 119

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Wednesday, July 13th: Psalm 106, 107, 111-113 ~ Nathan

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is Psalm 106, 107, 111-113

In Psalm 106 the writer gives a brief history of how the Israelites sinned against God, by forgetting about Him, and how God saved them to make His power known...

Psalm 106: 8: Yet he saved them for his name’s sake, to make his mighty power known.

The writer goes on to sum up this chapter in verses 43-46 by acknowledging that it was God who saved them, because of His love for them...

Psalm 106: 43-46: Many times he delivered them, but they were bent on rebellion and they wasted away in their sin. [44] Yet he took note of their distress when he heard their cry; [45] for their sake he remembered his covenant and out of his great love he relented. [46] He caused all who held them captive to show them mercy.

What amazing love shown by God, and He still has and shows this love today, to us. How many times do I sin, or commit the same sin over and over? And He still forgives when I go to Him sincerely, wanting to do better next time.

At the end of chapter 107 the writer talks about how God turned a prosperous land into waste, because of the wickedness of the people that lived there. He then made the land prosperous again and brought a new people to live there who were appreciative of this. But these people also saw disaster and their numbers also went down. Finally we see what this is all about...

Psalm 107:41 But he lifted the needy out of their affliction and increased their families like flocks.

Am I in need of the Lord? Do I rely on Him or try to do things on my own? I want to do this for Him because I love Him, and not hoping for personal gain.

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage: Psalm 115-118

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Tuesday, July 12th: Psalm 100, 102, 104, 105 ~ Danae

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is Psalm 100, 102, 104, 105

Praise the Lord, O my soul.  O Lord my God, you are very great; you are clothed with splendour & majesty. 
Psalm 104:1

I don't spend enough time reflecting on the greatness of our God.  I love reading the kind of verses that are in Psalm 104 that really show the extent of God's majesty.

He set the earth on its foundations; it can never be moved. (Vs 5)

Not only did he create the world, but no one or nothing has the power or authority to destroy it, apart from him.

The moon marks off the seasons, & the sun knows when to go down. (Vs 19)

God controls it all; the seasons, the day & night. Nothing happens apart from his control.

The lions roar for their prey & seek their food from God. (Vs 21)

The lion is so mighty & majestic, but even he relies on God for its basic necessities. 

May my meditation be pleasing to him, as I rejoice in the Lord. (Vs 34)

The more time we take to stop & consider his majesty all around us, to marvel at his creation & stand in awe of his power & might, the more we will truly rejoice in the greatness of our God. 

Give thanks to the Lord, call on his name; make known among the nations what he has done. 
Psalm 105:1

Psalm 105 goes on to remind us to, also, take time to reflect at what he has done in our lives. The more we reflect on his work in us & his faithfulness to us, the more encouraged we are to keep living close to him.

For the Lord is good & his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations. 
Psalm 100:5

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage:  Psalm 106, 107, 111-113

Monday, July 11, 2016

Monday, July 11th: Psalm 87, 95, 96, 98, 99 ~ Tammy

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is Psalm 87, 95, 96, 98, 99

So, today's passage was suppose to be Psalms 95-99.  However, I made a typo the other day and we accidentally read Psalm 97 instead of Psalm 87.  So, today we'll read Psalm 87 instead of 97 and it will all work out. :)

Psalm 99:6-8
Moses and Aaron were among his priests; Samuel also called on his name. They cried to the Lord for help, and he answered them. He spoke to Israel from the pillar of cloud, and they followed the laws and decrees he gave them. O Lord our God, you answered them. You were a forgiving God to them, but you punished them when they went wrong.

When I read this passage, I was curious as to why Moses, Aaron, and Samuel were specifically mentioned.  Why those three?

I found a commentary that explained it this way......
The three holy men here mentioned all stood in his courts, and saw his holiness, each one after his own order. Moses saw the Lord in flaming fire revealing each perfect law, Aaron full often watched the sacred fire devour the sin-offering, and Samuel witnessed the judgment of the Lord on Eli's house, because of the error of his way. These each one stood in the gap when the wrath of God broke forth, because his holiness had been insulted; and acting as intercessors, they screened the nation from the great and terrible God, who otherwise would in a dreadful manner have executed judgment in Jacob. Let these men, or such as these, lead us in our worship, and let us approach the Lord at the mercy-seat as they did, for he is as accessible to us as to them. They made it their life's business to call upon him in prayer, and by so doing brought down innumerable blessings upon themselves and others. Does not the Lord call us also to come up into the mount with Moses, and to enter the most holy place with Aaron? Do we not hear him call us by our name as he did Samuel? And do we not answer, "Speak, Lord, for thy servant heareth"?
They called upon the Lord, and he answered them. Not in vain were their prayers; but being a holy God he was true to his promises, and hearkened to them from off the mercy- seat. Here is reason for praise, for answers to the petitions of some are proofs of God's readiness to hear others. These three men asked large things, they pleaded for a whole nation, and they stayed great plagues and turned away fiery wrath; who would not exercise himself in adoring so great and merciful a God? If he were unholy he would be false to his word and refuse his people's cries; this, then, is recorded for our joy and for his glory, that holy men of old were not suffered to pray in vain.
Do we make it our life's business to call upon Him in prayer?
Do we even recognize how incredible it is that we have direct access to God through Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit?
Do we hear Him when He calls our name?
Are we willing to do whatever He asks of us?
Do we trust God to keep His promises?
Do we ask for large things?  Miraculous things?  Things only possible through supernatural power?
Do we plead for our nation?

We have been given unparalleled access to God Himself, the most powerful being in the entire universe.  May we boldly approach the throne!

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year PassagePsalm 100, 102, 104, 105

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Sunday, July 10th - Psalm 67, 71, 91-94 - Kelora

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is Psalm 67, 71, 91-94

I really enjoy reading the Psalms.  So many verses remind me of the choruses we sing in church.  

There is a re-occurring theme in Psalm 71.  This Chapter references that even when we grow old we can still serve God and share the Good News with others about what God has done for us.  The older generation will have many life experiences to share and can tell us what God has done throughout their lives.  

Psalm 91:2 is a wonderful verse.  How reassuring to know that God is our refuge in times of trouble.  How often I try to solve my problems myself but this verse is a good reminder to rely and trust on God always.  

Finally I will refer to Psalm 92.  This chapter’s theme is to be thankful and faithful every day.  I like verse 12 where it says “The righteous will flourish like a palm tree, they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon.”  I discovered that palm trees are known for their long life and that cedars of Lebanon grew to 120 in height and up to 30 feet in circumference making them solid, strong and immovable.  What a great analogy.  Learning about these types of trees and how they refer to Christians really takes on a new meaning and makes me want to strive in my faith to be like a palm tree and a cedar of Lebanon.

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage:  Psalm 95 - 99

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Saturday, July 9th: Psalm 1-2, 10, 33, 66 ~ Tammy

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is Psalm 1-2, 10, 33, 66

Psalm 1 is one of my favourites, and is the first chapter of the Bible (well, other than Psalm 23) that I memorized in its entirety.  It clearly contrasts the differences between the faithful and the wicked. Reading it makes me resolve again not to follow the advice of the wicked, or stand around with sinners, or join in with mockers.  Instead, I want to live my life in such a way that it is noticeably different from those around me.  If we live what we say we believe, our lives should be visibly different.  Is mine?  Is yours?

Psalm 10 expands on the idea that the wicked have mistaken God's patience for His approval or indifference.  Not so!  The wicked will be held to account, justice will prevail, God's patience will come to an end - and then it will be too late to change.

The same principle holds true for believers as well.  Today is the day we must do whatever it is we've been putting off until tomorrow. We are not promised tomorrow.  We must put things right today.

Psalm 33:3 always jumps out at me.
Sing a new song of praise to him; play skillfully on the harp, and sing with joy.

My piano teacher referenced that verse numerous times.  Why?  Notice the word skillfully.  God does not entrust us with talents just for us to let them lie dormant, or to be poor stewards of our gifts.  We are not just to randomly and lazily use the talents He's given us.  We are to develop them.  We are to play skillfully.  For His glory though, not our own.

Psalm 66:2
Tell the world how glorious he is.

Well, that's pretty basic, pretty blunt, pretty direct.  Tell the world.  When's the last time I've told someone... anyone (!) how glorious God is?

Some toe stepping was going on for me in today's passage.  What about you?

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year PassagePsalm 67, 71, 91-94

Friday, July 8, 2016

Friday, July 8: July 8: Psalms 47-49, 84, 85, 97 by Pamela

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is: Psalms 47-49, 84, 85, 97

A few things stood out from today's reading:

48:4-6 For behold, the kings assembled;
    they came on together.
As soon as they saw it, they were astounded;
    they were in panic; they took to flight.
Trembling took hold of them there,
    anguish as of a woman in labor.

One would imagine that it would take A LOT to impress a KINGS. Not that I know any kings personally ;) but I would imagine that kings have riches, power and authority, and most things of earthly importance. However, this verse says that the assembled kings were "astounded" and "they were in panic". No amount of riches, power and authority, or anything else is worth anything compared to God. Everything pales in comparison and one day everyone -even those with all their earthly power- will also tremble at their unworthiness in the face of Christ.

48: 13b- 14 that you may tell the next generation
14     that this is God,
our God forever and ever.
    He will guide us forever.

I know each generation complains about the previous one thinking about how "bad" things are with "young people these days". I worry about my kids and my grandkids growing up in such a sinful world where Christianity is increasingly under attack. I worry about them facing a world where there are no wrong behaviours and "if it feels good then do it" attitudes abounding everywhere. I worry about the normalcy they will grow up in where God's specific plans for each gender (male and female) as complimentary partners are dismissed and instead individuals are replaced as non-gender  (even removing gender from driver's licenses?!) and celebrated as progressive and trailblazing. Noisy movements to support abortion and euthanasia are in the forefront of many news stories and pop culture normalizes it. Our kids are immersed in this reality. It's scary. However, we can take comfort that God is the beginning and the end. We can teach the next generation that God is our guide and that He is eternal. He does not change even when the society we live in does change.

10 49: 10-12 For he sees that even the wise die;
    the fool and the stupid alike must perish
    and leave their wealth to others.
11 Their graves are their homes forever,[c]
    their dwelling places to all generations,
    though they called lands by their own names.
12 Man in his pomp will not remain;
    he is like the beasts that perish.

We all die. Rich people die. Poor people die. Old people die. Even sometimes young people die. All the money and power does't stop the inevitable. Our earthly possessions, everything we've worked for, can't stop our deaths from happening. We become as worthless as a dead animal even despite all we've managed to accumulate on earth. It is sometimes hard to not get caught up in building up treasures because we do like our stuff but let us not let it get in the way of lasting treasures like building the kingdom of God and sharing last gifts of love and time with others.

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year PassagePsalm 1-2, 10, 33, 66