Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Tuesday, January 31st: Exodus 25-26, Matthew 20:17-34 ~ Jody

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is Exodus 25-26, Matthew 20:17-34

The contrast between the two requests in our New Testament reading today were interesting. I've heard both stories before but never realized that they came one after another like this. In both examples, people bring their desires to Jesus but only one gets their prayers answered in the way they were hoping.

What grace and love Jesus shows the woman with the two sons! She came to him with a worldly, selfish request to have her sons placed in positions of power for eternity. Instead of chastising her and sending her away with a lecture, He simply says, "You will drink my cup, but to sit at my right hand and at my left is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared by my Father.” Matthew 20:23. 

After that when the disciples become indignant at her request (like so many of us can!) Jesus again shows pure love and grace by basically saying to them, the nature of this world is to gain power and rule it over others. It makes sense that she thinks the Kingdom of God would work in the same way. However, he continues His teaching: "26 It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant,[a] 27 and whoever would be first among you must be your slave,[b]28 even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

And then, He goes and shows us exactly what that looks like in the next paragraph!! When so many people moving in and out of the gates of the city would be passing by the blind men at the gates because of their unworthiness, Jesus stops, listen and heals them. And as soon as they receive their sight - they follow him.

I can't help but see the greater teaching of the positioning of our hearts when we go to God. When we pray, are we praying like the mother, looking for security or comfort through an earth-focused lens? Or are we praying like the blind men, for eyes to see so that we might follow Jesus more clearly?

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year PassageExodus 27-28, Matthew 21:1-22

Monday, January 30, 2017

Monday, January 30th: Exodus 23-24; Matthew 20:1-16 ~ Tammy

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is Exodus 23-24; Matthew 20:1-16

I totally forgot today was my Monday to post!

Every year that I read through the Bible, I notice new things that I hadn't before.  This passage in one such example.

Exodus 23:20-21 “Behold, I send an angel before you to guard you on the way and to bring you to the place that I have prepared.  Pay careful attention to him and obey his voice; do not rebel against him, for he will not pardon your transgression, for my name is in him."

According to the commentaries and sermons I read on this, the angel is most likely the pre-incarnate Jesus. According to the verses above, the Israelites were to obey Him, He is able to forgive sins, and God's name is in him.

Not only was the Presence of God promised to go with them, but the Lord would also go ahead of them.  He would prepare the way, He would fight their battles.  They were simply to obey God.

It's interesting that in this case, God actually explains to them the reason why He would not deliver them of the Canaanites all at once - wild animals would take over and the land would become desolate.  It was actually in their best interest for the conquest to be slow instead of quick, no matter how much they would have liked to have a speedy victory.

There are some important lessons for us in this passage.

God never calls us to fight an enemy on our own.  He will go with us, He will go before us - we need to obey, and walk in the victory that He has already won.

Sometimes those victories will be delayed, but we must trust God and His perfect timing. This sermon said it well...
Whatever difficulties we find ourselves in, we must realize that God has His reasons for not immediately delivering us out of them. Perhaps the greater grace and kindness is to allow us to remain in those circumstances a little longer, lest we be delivered and find ourselves in a worse situation! Sometimes even the most faithful of Christians remain in times of trial for a duration that can leave them wondering if God has forgotten them altogether. Sometimes, deliverance never comes at all. But it is never because God does not care or desire what is best for us. We do not always know the ramifications of God delivering us too quickly, but He does. God, in His infinite wisdom, knows the consequences of every action He might possibly take and loves us too much to ever rush His own perfect timing.

Our NT portion reminds us that salvation is about God's grace.  None of us deserve eternal life, but salvation is not dependent on timing.  Those that are saved at the eleventh hour will receive eternal life just as those who believe from a young age.  Their rewards in heaven will be different, but their salvation and entrance into heaven will not.

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year PassageExodus 25-26; Matthew 20:17-34

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Sunday, January 29th: Exodus 21-22; Matthew 19 ~ Tammy

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is Exodus 21-22; Matthew 19

Sorry for the delay in this post.  Due to exams and whatnot, I'm doing it in Emma's place.

Our OT portion reminds us that actions have consequences.  The saying "You are free to choose, but you are not free from the consequences of your choice" is biblical, and something we need to consider before we act.  Even though there is forgiveness for sin, that forgiven almost never negates the consequences.

In our NT passage we are reminded of the sanctity of marriage.  The marriage covenant is one that is entered into far too lightly in our society today.  It is incredibly sad how many marriages are collapsing, even among those claiming to be believers.  The consequences of choosing divorce are many, and affect so many different people.  God's design for marriage truly is for our benefit, and we need to do all we can to fight for our marriages.  This is also a huge reminder for me to pray for the marriages of our our friends, family, and church leadership.

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year PassageExodus 23-24; Matthew 20:1-16

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Saturday, January 28th: Exodus 19-20; Matthew 18:21-35 ~ Tammy

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is Exodus 19-20; Matthew 18:21-35

In our OT passage it is extremely clear that God is holy and we are not - and that should instill some fear in us.  It is amazing to me that God was willing to extend grace to us, by becoming One with us!

We are also given the Ten Commandments, which all of us are guilty of breaking.  I am so thankful for God's forgiveness of my sin.  Which should, as our NT passage reminds us, cause me to extend forgiveness to those who wrong me.

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year PassageExodus 21-22; Matthew 19

Friday, January 27, 2017

Friday, January 27th: Exodus 16-18, Matthew 18:1-20 ~ Nathan

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is Exodus 16-18, Matthew 18:1-20

How often do I complain and feel like I'm getting short changed? Am I really, or do I have things pretty good?

In today's reading we see again how the Israelites complained, and yet we (who have read this story and know the ending) are disgusted with their complaints and can't see how they don't see how good they have it.

Exodus 16:2
In the desert the whole community grumbled against Moses and Aaron.

Exodus 17:3
But the people were thirsty for water there, and they grumbled against Moses. They said, “Why did you bring us up out of Egypt to make us and our children and livestock die of thirst?”

They just left slavery and are now on their way to the promised land, more importantly God has already shown them many miracles which confirm that He is with them.

I don't know how each part of my day, month, or year will end, this story is a good reminder for me to not complain and have faith in the One who has done so much for me, our own story isn't over yet!

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage: Exodus 19-20; Matthew 18:21-35

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Thursday, January 26th: Exodus 14-15; Matthew 17 - Deena

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is Exodus 14-15; Matthew 17

One of the topics in the NT reading today was about having faith. Webster defines faith as complete trust, unquestioning belief.

I want to share a personal story about my faith. About 6 years ago our son Baret was really sick. It came out of no where. No prior medical conditions, nothing. So sick that the doctors told us he was going to die. IF he were to live they told us he would have no quality of life. Devastating time for us. There came a time when a couple of people told me that they had told Baret that if he sees Jesus he should go. This was very hard for me. I felt like I had surrendered my child to God, but to be honest I was more like, say hi to Jesus and you'll see Him again in 80'years. This was a very difficult time in my walk with God. I still had faith in Him, but I wanted it my way. God is good, He gave me time, and eventually I was able to fully surrender my child to God, not knowing if he was going to live or die, but knowing that God was in control. My faith was tested then and has continued to be at different times, but God is always there and loves us more then we could ever imagine!

(And for those of you who don't know our story, Baret is alive and doing very well. God granted us a miracle)

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year PassageExodus 16-18; Matthew 18:1-20

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Wednesday, January 25th: Exodus 12-13; Matthew 16 ~ Tammy

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is Exodus 12-13; Matthew 16

I want to focus on our Matthew passage where he relates the story of Jesus taking them to Caesara Philippi.

This is another one of the Bible passages that take on a whole new meaning when you understand the historical context.  I'm going to quote from this article which is based on lessons by Ray Vanderlaan (it's a bit lengthy, but fascinating and worth the read).....

Jesus and his disciples went on to the villages around Caesarea Philippi. (Mark 8:27)

For the casual reader with no geographical context, this sounds no different than “Jesus took the disciples down the road to the neighboring village”. However, having just come from Bethsaida, this means that Jesus decided to take his disciples on a 32+ mile round trip to Caesarea Philippi, the only recorded trip Jesus took to that region or anywhere remotely like it...

This city, which sits at the foot of Mount Hermon, butts up against a large cliff, referred to as the ‘Rock of the Gods’, in reference to the many shrines built against it. Shrines to Caesar, Pan and another god (possibly the fertility goddess Nemesis) were all built up against this cliff. In the center of the Rock of the Gods is a huge cave, from which a stream flowed (after 19th century earthquakes, the stream began flowing out from the rock beneath the mouth of the cave). This cave was called the “Gates of Hades”, because it was believed that Baal would enter and leave the underworld through places where water came out of it.

In first century Israel, Caesarea Philippi would be an equivalent of Las Vegas – Sin City – but much worse than the modern city in the American West. In the open-air Pan Shrine, next to the cave mouth, there was a large niche, in which a statue of Pan (a half-goat, half-human creature) stood, with a large erect phallus, worshiped for its fertility properties. Surrounding him in the wall were many smaller niches, in which were statues of his attending nymphs. On the shrine in front of these niches, worshipers of Pan would congregate and partake in bizarre sexual rites, including copulation with goats – worshiped for their relationship to Pan.

And so, one day, Jesus took his twelve disciples, most likely all of whom were in their teens or early twenties, and said “we’re going to Caesarea Philippi” (if he even told them where they were going).

he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?”

They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”

“But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”

Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” (Matthew 16:13-16)

Now, we don’t know for sure where they were standing in the Caesarea Philippi region, but Jesus’ next statement gives us an idea that they may have been standing within sight of the Rock of the Gods.

Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven. And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. (Matthew 16:17-18)

Jesus continues his short lesson, ‘calling’ (the Greek literally meaning shouting at the top of his voice) to the crowd and his disciples.

Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it. What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul? If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels.” (Mark 8:34-38)

This begs a few questions: What crowd did He call to him? Could it have been the Pan worshipers? Any crowd from this region would NOT have been religiously Jewish. Was the last statement aimed at his disciples, who might have been embarrassed at the spectacle Jesus was creating?

The Catholic tradition has taken Jesus’ pronouncement in Matthew 16:18 to mean that Jesus was declaring that the church was to be built on the authority of Peter and the other disciples. It is true that they led the early church, so this would be a possible interpretation.

The Protestant tradition has taken Jesus declaration here to say that His church was to be built upon the confession recognizing Him as the Messiah and the Son of the living God. This is a valid interpretation, as well, and is a practice supported by other scriptures.

Ray VanderLaan and other Hebrew contextual scholars suggest a third interpretation which may be just as – if not more – powerful as the others, based on the context. Why would Jesus choose this place, the filthiest (morally) place within walking distance of his earthly region of ministry?

Might it be possible that he took his talmidim [disciples] to the most degenerate place possible to say to them “THIS is where I want you to build my church. I want you to go out into the repugnantly degenerate places, where God is not even known. I want you to go out to places that make Caesarea Philippi look tame, and THAT is where I want you to build my church.” Because that is exactly what they did. They went to places in Asia Minor and the ends of the earth, where “gods” were worshiped in unspeakably awful manners and where Christians would be persecuted in horrific manner, and they gave their lives doing EXACTLY what they were told to do by their Rabbi.

I don’t know about you, but when I hear the story of Caesarea Philippi and understand it in its context, it comes to life in ways it never had before.

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year PassageExodus 14-15; Matthew 17

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Tuesday, January 24: Exodus 9-11; Matthew 15:21-39 ~ Jody

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is: Exodus 9-11; Matthew 15:21-39

The last paragraph of the OT Testament reading spoke to my heart today. "Israel's Wilderness Detour".

17 When Pharaoh finally let the people go, God did not lead them along the main road that runs through Philistine territory, even though that was the shortest route to the Promised Land. God said, “If the people are faced with a battle, they might change their minds and return to Egypt.” 18 So God led them in a roundabout way through the wilderness toward the Red Sea.[f] Thus the Israelites left Egypt like an army ready for battle.[g]

We've just finished reading about how long and difficult it has been for the Israelites to get released from Egypt. I can imagine going into each plague they thought "Ok, now Pharaoh will HAVE to let us go!" and then nope, not yet. So finally, after the 10th plague they are released. It would be at this time in my own life struggles that I would feel like it's time for easy street. I deserve a smooth path now after all I've endured to get free of this bondage. But how often God has other plans that we don't see and understand!

As we read in verse 18 above, God led them in a roundabout way. BUT, not to be mean, or spiteful - or even to teach them a lesson. He knew that maybe the roundabout way was a longer journey, but that it would actually be the easier journey for them. Their heavenly Father chose the path that would enable them the highest chance of successful freedom! He knew how weak their minds were and that if they had to battle the Philistines, there was a high likelihood of them turning back to Egypt and picking the lesser of two evils.

Father God, help me to persevere in difficult times. When it feels like wave after wave of struggle, give me full and complete trust that You see what is ahead on each road and like any loving Father, will always direct me to what is best for me. Thank you for the "Wilderness Detours" in my life that have turned out to be the most glorious adventure of dependance on you. Amen.

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year PassageExodus 12-13; Matthew 16

Monday, January 23, 2017

Monday, January 23: Exodus 7-8, Matthew 15:1-20 by Pamela

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is Exodus 7-8, Matthew 15:1-20

(Kezia is getting ready for exams so I'm doing her post today for her.)

What does it take to get our attention?

In Exodus 7:3 it says:

But I will make Pharaoh’s heart stubborn so I can multiply my miraculous signs and wonders in the land of Egypt

God used the plagues to display His power. He hardened Pharaoh's heart. He brought on the plagues. He was in control the whole time and EVERYONE became aware of His power.

Sometimes we need that too....to be reminded that God is in control. He is in control of unfortunate circumstances. He is in control of the outcome. He knows exactly how it will all play out. Through blood, frogs, gnats, flies, and more....God is in control. He can use difficult situations to bring people to a place where they are without doubt that God's power is infinite.

In the NT readings, this verse stood out for me:
19 For from the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, all sexual immorality, theft, lying, and slander. 20 These are what defile you. Eating with unwashed hands will never defile you.”

It's interesting to note that evil thoughts come in same sentence as murder. Sin is sin. Sin is what separates us from God. Without repentance, we cannot be clean from our sin. From our thoughts come actions and where are thoughts are evil, our actions follow. May we strive for clean thoughts and actions that honour God.

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year PassageExodus 9-11; Matthew 15:21-39

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Sunday, January 22nd: Exodus 4-6; Matthew 22-36 ~ Emma

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is Exodus 4-6; Matthew 14:22-36

I found there was a lot of questioning and disbelief in God in the passages read today.

Moses kept asking God "why me?" And he kept saying how he wasn't capable of doing what God asked him to do. Yet God provided what Moses needed, and gave him the abilities to do what he was asked to do.

We need to stop asking "why me?" when God asks us to do something, and trust that He will provide the resources and abilities we need in order to do what He has asked us to do.

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year PassageExodus 7-8; 15:1-20

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Saturday, January 21st: Exodus 1-3, Matthew 14:1-21 ~ Tammy

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is Exodus 1-3; Matthew 14:1-21

“Then the Lord said, "I have surely seen the affliction of my people who are in Egypt and have heard their cry because of their taskmasters. I know their sufferings, and I have come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land to a good and broad land, a land flowing with milk and honey, to the place of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites.”
‭‭Exodus‬ ‭3:7-8‬ ‭ESV‬‬

This passage is specifically speaking about the Israelites and delivering them from Egypt, but to me it also seems to be speaking prophetically about all of humanity. God has seen our suffering (both just and unjust), and He has come down to deliver us. God Himself came down to earth in order to deliver His suffering people from our sin and restore us to right relationship with Him and with each other.

Unfortunately, that deliverance is not fully complete in this earthly lifetime, and doesn't mean that everything will go well for us as believers. This is evident in John's life with his imprisonment for courageously speaking the truth, and ultimately his death. But his physical death ushered him into the presence of God, and the eternal and perfect fulfillment of our deliverance by the Bread of Life.

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage:  Exodus 4-6; Matthew 14:22-36

Friday, January 20, 2017

Friday, January 20th: Genesis 49-50; Matthew 13:31-58 ~ Tammy

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is Genesis 49-50; Matthew 13:31-58

15 When Joseph's brothers saw that their father was dead, they said, “It may be that Joseph will hate us and pay us back for all the evil that we did to him.” 16 So they sent a message to Joseph, saying, “Your father gave this command before he died: 17 ‘Say to Joseph, “Please forgive the transgression of your brothers and their sin, because they did evil to you.”’ And now, please forgive the transgression of the servants of the God of your father.” Joseph wept when they spoke to him. 18 His brothers also came and fell down before him and said, “Behold, we are your servants.” 19 But Joseph said to them, “Do not fear, for am I in the place of God? 20 As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today. 21 So do not fear; I will provide for you and your little ones.” Thus he comforted them and spoke kindly to them.

Joseph's brothers had not been able to accept the fact that Joseph had genuinely forgiven them.  They thought Joseph was just acting for the sake of their father, and now that he was dead, they would face his wrath.  There were so very mistaken!

How often do we do the same thing?

We do something wrong, and we can't forgive ourselves, and can't believe that God would forgive us.  It's like we someone believe we're the one person that sinned so badly, it's unforgivable.

The truth is, that attitude is a slap in the face to Jesus' sacrificial death on the cross.  Forgiveness did not come easy.  Indeed, it came at an unimaginable cost!  But it was enough.  It was enough to forgive the most heinous act we can think of - when brought to the foot of the cross.  The issue isn't the sin. The issue is repentance - bringing it to the Saviour.  If we do that, it is enough.  It is always enough.

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year PassageExodus 1-3; Matthew 14:1-21

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Thursday, January 19th: Genesis 46-48; Matthew 13:1-30

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is: Genesis 46-48; Matthew 13:1-30

As I read today's NT passage I am sitting in my living room, watching the sunrise, surrounded by fields! The Parable of the Sower seems fitting. We watch year round as the farmers prepare their fields, plant them, nurture them, and harvest. Just as the farmers take great care of their fields to yield the best crop, let's try to be like the seed that was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it. He indeed bears fruit (v23).

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage:  Genesis 49-50; Matthew 13:31-58

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Wednesday, January 18th: Genesis 43-45, Matthew 12: 24-50 ~ Nathan

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is Genesis 43-45, Matthew 12: 24-50

Today's Old Testament reading is the ending of a famous story. At the beginning of this story we read how Joseph saw a vision from God about how this would end, and today we read the portion about how Joseph is reunited with his brothers and father. At the end of our reading today, Joseph's father says in chapter 45:28

And Israel said, “I’m convinced! My son Joseph is still alive. I will go and see him before I die .”

What a great ending to what must of been years of heartache.

Joseph could have ignored his brothers and treated them harshly, for they had treated him harshly years previous by throwing him into a well, but the years of being apart, and love for his brothers and family, made Joseph want to do right. More importantly, Joseph's love for God and desire to please God made him want to do right.

Can I overlook or put aside past wrongs done to me, and do right to others in return?

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage: Genesis 46-48; Matthew 13:1-30

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Tuesday, January 17: Genesis 41-42; Matthew 12:1-23 ~ Jody

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is: Genesis 41-42, Matthew 12:1-23

This is my favourite part of the story of Joseph!! God's plan for him coming to fruition. God's perfect plan coming together in Joseph's life and ultimately all of Egypt - and the world!!

When I was reading this today it humbled me to think about how often I focus just on my own circumstances, my own plans and me, me me. When God has so many balls in motion to ensure His plan is achieved. Just like He was working on the cupbearer, the prison guards, Pharaoh and even Potiphar early on. None of it was about Joseph - it was about God's bigger plan!

Father God, give me eyes to see beyond myself. Unravel my selfish nature and help me see you in every step and every breath. Forgive my short-sightedness and give me hunger to move closer to You every day. Amen

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year PassageGenesis 43-45; Matthew 12:24-50

Monday, January 16, 2017

Monday, January 16th: Genesis 39-40; Matthew 11 ~ Tammy

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is Genesis 39-40; Matthew 11

I've always loved the story of Joseph.  Despite his youthful foolishness (telling your brothers about the dream you had where you were their ruler is probably not the best idea), he is one of the few biblical characters who lived his life with consistent integrity.

But what a life it was!

First he was the favored son, then he thought he would be murdered by his brothers.
He realized he would escape death, but only to be sold into slavery.
He worked hard and ended up with a great position for a slave, only to be falsely accused and thrown in prison.
He worked hard in prison and ended up with some seniority there, but just when he thought he might have a hope of getting out through the testimony of the cupbearer, he realized he was forgotten again.

This went on for years! Injustice and betrayal, over and over again.  And yet, Joseph's faith never wavered.  And God remained faithful to him.  During everything, God was with him.  And it was enough.

In our NT passage, the story of John the Baptist always reminds me of a Ray Vanderlaan explanation I heard once which is fascinating (from his Follow the Rabbi lectures).  John was wondering whether Jesus was truly the Messiah, and if he was, why was John still in prison, and could Jesus maybe do something about that sometime soon.  Jesus replied to John's question in the form of a remez.  Generally, a remez is a way of quoting a bible passage (or in this case a combination of multiple messianic prophecies) in such a way that the point you're trying to make is in the portion you leave unquoted.  In this case, Jesus quotes from numerous passages in Isaiah and Psalms which prophecy that the Messiah would make the blind see, the lame walk, lepers clean, deaf healed, and the prisoners set free.  Except Jesus did not quote the portion about the release of the prisoners.  Essentially, he was telling John that even though Jesus was indeed the Messiah, John would not be released as he anticipated and would die in prison, but that he should not let this be a stumbling block to his faith.

A reminder for us that just because we worship and follow Jesus as our Messiah, that doesn't mean all our problems in this world will be set right.  Jesus does promise justice, but He promises it eternally.  We must continue to remain faithful, no matter our circumstances - like Joseph and like John.

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year PassageGenesis 41-42; Matthew 12:1-23

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Sunday, January 15th: Genesis 36-38, Matthew 10: 21-42 ~ Nathan

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is Genesis 36-38, Matthew 10: 21-42

I've read and heard this story of Joseph many times, and what stood out to me today was the story from his brothers' point of view. How often haven't I complained or been frustrated with someone who's had an easier time with something, than me? Joseph's brothers didn't like him very much because he was favored by their father, and they wanted to get rid of him once and for all.

When Joseph told his brothers about his dreams, things got worse,

Genesis 37: 20
“Come now, let’s kill him and throw him into one of these cisterns and say that a ferocious animal devoured him. Then we’ll see what comes of his dreams"

Joseph's brothers didn't know the end of the story and how things would eventually turn out - Joseph would actually help them survive later on.

How often don't I judge someone on one action? Or on one period in their lives? God has forgiven me, and He can do anything. I don't want to judge someone on a past mistake, but want to rather give them another chance, just like God does when He forgives me.

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage: Genesis 39-40; Matthew 11

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Saturday, January 14th: Genesis 33-35; Matthew 10:1-20 ~ Tammy

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is Genesis 33-35; Matthew 10:1-20

In our OT we see a partial reconciliation between the brothers, but clearly Jacob doesn't quite trust Esau's forgiveness and was still afraid of him, because even though he said he would follow him to Seir, instead Jacob settled near Succoth - which turned out to have disastrous consequences.

Jacob also demonstrated severely lacking parenting skills with the way he handled not only the situation with Dinah, but also his sons retaliation, and later, Rueben's act of complete disrespect (which possibly stemmed from the way Jacob mishandled the prior situation).

Thankfully God does not give up on us!

In our NT passage we see Jesus instructing His disciples to live and minister in such a way as to demonstrate that God's gift of grace is free! But He also warns that even when we live out that message of grace, there will always be those that reject it, sometimes violently.  But our job is to share the gospel, no matter people's response.

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year PassageGenesis 36-38, Matthew 10: 21-42

Friday, January 13, 2017

Friday, January 13th: Genesis 31-32; Matthew 9:18-38 ~ Tammy

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is Genesis 31-32; Matthew 9:18-38 

Sometimes I find reading the account in Genesis frustrating.  It's like these people never learn!  Lying, betrayal, pride, women bartering over their shared husband, an entire family sneaking away, thoughtless words, the list goes on and on.

But this week I had the thought, possibly for the first time...... if my life was summarized in a couple pages of the Bible, and some of my worst thoughts and actions were written down for everyone to see, would I come across any better?  Likely not. Sure, the list of sins would be different, but there would be sin aplenty to choose from.

I am a sinner.  You are a sinner.  Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob were all sinners.  Sarah, Rebekah, Rachel, and Leah were all sinners.  The list goes on and on, and includes every single human that ever lived.

Except Jesus.

He lived a perfect, sinless life so that He could redeem us - a sinful people with no hope of redeeming ourselves, no hope of restoring our broken relationship with God (and with each other!).  And, as we see in our NT passage today, He began that restorative work during His short 3 year ministry on earth. He healed the sick, gave sight to the blind, speech to the mute, and life to the dead.  At least, temporarily.  For now.

But with His death and resurrection He demonstrated His utter power over the sin that infects us all, and His victory over death that will, instead of being the end that we sometimes falsely perceive it to be, usher us into the beginning of an eternity more spectacular then we can even imagine.  Where we will be eternally healed of every illness, see with perfect vision, speak with redeemed speech, and where we live and never die.

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year PassageGenesis 33-35; Matthew 10:1-20

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Thursday, January 12th: Genesis 29-30; Matthew 9:1-17

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is Bible In a Year PassageGenesis 29-30; Matthew 9:1-17

In the NT portion of the reading today, a part that stuck out to me was when Jesus said, "Healthy people don't need a doctor - sick people do." (v 12). Jesus reaches out to everyone! He asked Matthew, a tax collector, to be his disciple. He doesn't just reach out to "healthy" people. This is a reminder to me to look around at the people in my life. It's easier to be friends and reach out to the "healthy" (the people who think like us and act like us), but Jesus came for everyone. Jesus calls us to love everyone, even the ones who are difficult to love.

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage: Genesis 31-32; Matthew 9:18-38

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Wednesday, January 11th: Genesis 27-28; Matthew 8:18-34

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is Genesis 27-28; Matthew 8:18-34

I realized that I forgot to introduce myself in my first post, so.....

Hi! My name is Emma, and I am 15 years old. I've followed along with a "bible in a year" plan for 3 years, and am now reading a chapter a day, and posting once a week on this blog (using this bible in a year plan).

Matthew 8:23-27 is one of my favourite stories.

The disciples were very experienced sailors, and knew that the storm was very dangerous. Their knowledge in the sea is what stopped them from trusting in Jesus, even though they had seen Him perform many miracles already.

Sometimes the things we think we know most about are the things stopping us from trusting in Jesus. We think we know every outcome, and think there is no possible way out. But we need to put aside our human pride and trust the One who holds the whole world in His hands.

Even when the waves are crashing around us, and the storm looks dangerous, we know we can trust in Him, because God is in control

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year PassageGenesis 29-30; Matthew 9:1-17

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Tuesday, January 10th: Genesis 25-26; Matthew 8:1-17 ~ Jody

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is Genesis 25-26; Matthew 8:1-17

Oh the sins of the father passed through the generations! I had never realized that Isaac also lied that Rebekah was his sister just as his father Abraham had lied about Sarah! Isn't it interesting how we don't realize the generational impact of our choices. And that both Abraham and Isaac thought they were doing the right thing when they made that same choice. A couple of take aways for me from this:
1: Pray about everything. Every. Thing. God's hand is in it all!
2: Talk to our kids about bad choices we've made so that they will not fall into the same traps we have fallen into in our sin.
3: Pray to break generational sin within our families to get healing from the patterns.

In both cases of Abraham and Isaac's lies, God's plan ultimately prevailed. A reminder that no matter how badly we sin and mess up, God's sovereignty will always accomplish what He needs to accomplish!

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year PassageGenesis 27-28; Matthew 8:18-34

Monday, January 9, 2017

Monday, January 9th: Genesis 23-24; Mathew 7 ~ Kezia

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is: Genesis 23-24, Matthew 7

Hello! I'm Kezia and I'm 17 (almost 18!!) years old. I decided to read the bible in a year this year because of a mission trip to Mexico I went on this past summer. I grew a lot in my relationship with God on the trip and it made me really interested in reading more of His word.

In the Old Testament readings for today I found it was shown very clearly the power of prayer. Abraham's servant prayed specifically for a wife for Isaac and he had a long list of must haves that this wife needed to have (verse 14). God heard his prayer and answered his prayer before he had even finished praying. The first girl Abraham's servant interacted with was the girl he was looking for. I love knowing that God is always listening to our prayers.

The first part of New Testiment reading really stuck out to me, "Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?" (verse 3) It's very easy to get caught up in judging others when we need to remember that we ourselves are not perfect. There will never be an end to finding imperfections in others and we will run ourselves dry if we continue to judge. The only true Judge is Jesus, he is and will be the only perfect person, the only one who has authority to judge.

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage: Genesis 25-26, Mathew 8:1-17

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Sunday, January 8th: Genesis 20-22; Matthew 6:19-34 ~ Emma

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is Genesis 20-22, Matthew 6:1934

What stood out to me in today's reading, in both the Old and New Testament, was God's promises.

In the New Testament reading, God promise to take care of us. We don't have to worry about anything, because "if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, He will certainly care for you." (v. 30)

In the Old Testament reading, we see that God follows through with what He promises. Genesis 21:1-2 tells of Isaac being born to Abraham and Sarah. In 21:18, God promises that He will make a great nation from Ishmael, and in vs 20, Ishmael is already "a skillful archer". In chapter 22, God told Abraham to sacrifice his only son, even though He had promised to make a great nation out of Abraham. Abraham trusted God and did what He asked him to do. God saved Isaac after seeing that Abraham feared God, another step to when He fulfills His promise later through giving Isaac descendants.

The Lord keeps His promises. We only need to trust in Him.

"Yahweh-Yireh (which means "the Lord will provide.")....On the mountain of the Lord it will be provided." - Genesis 22:14

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year PassageGenesis 23-24, Matthew 7

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Saturday, January 7th: Genesis 20-22; Matthew 6:19-34 ~ Tammy

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is Genesis 18-19; Matthew 6:1-18

Our NT passage reminds us that motive is important.

Giving to the needy, praying, and fasting should not be done with greedy or self centered motives, but should flow from a right relationship with God and a life that overflows with gratitude and trust in our loving Father.

A reminder to examine our hearts and our motives, not just our actions, words, and thoughts.

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year PassageGenesis 20-22; Matthew 6:19-34

Friday, January 6, 2017

Friday, January 6th: Genesis 16-17; Matthew 5:27-48 ~ Tammy

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is Genesis 16-17; Matthew 5:27-48

In our Genesis passage we are reminded that sin is serious and that it's consequences can be long lasting and affect many more people than just ourselves.

Sarai sinned by not trusting God to fulfill His promise and presuming to know a better way and timing, offering Hagar to Abram as a surrogate in order to force God's hand.

Abram also sinned in this.  He also doubted God's promise, he listened to his wife's ungodly advice because he failed to test it against God's Word, he didn't pray or ask God for wisdom, and obviously, he slept with another woman that was not his wife (or took a second wife - but either way, not God's plan and therefore, sin).

And the consequences were huge!  Hagar was forced into becoming Abram's mistress/concubine/wife.  There was pride, jealousy, misery, and injustice throughout the entire situation between Sarai, Hagar, Abram, Ishmael, and later, Isaac.

Isaac is the ancestral father or the Israelites, and Ishmael is the ancestral father to all Arabic people - two nations that are at war with each other from that point on until today.  Talk about far reaching consequences!!

Forgiveness does not cancel out consequences, and we would be well served to remember that before giving in to the temptations we face today.

Our NT passage discusses a few of those temptations/sins - lust, divorce, oaths, and revenge.  But the portion that stood out to me is that believers are to love their enemies.  Perhaps there is nothing that differentiates unbelievers from believers as much as this!  Obviously, this is something that we can only do through the power of Christ that lives within us.  Who do you need to love today?

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year PassageGenesis 18-19; Matthew 6:1-18

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Thursday, January 5th: Genesis 13-15; Matthew 5:1-26 ~ Deena

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is Genesis 13-15; Matthew 5:1-26

I am new to blogging and to be honest a little intimidated by this. It's out of my comfort zone but I agreed to try it because I see the great benefits of it. My blogs will only be on the New Testament portion of the daily readings.

For those who don't know me I am married almost 20 years and have three boys. I work at a preschool. Like all parents we are busy running around with our kids!

Today's reading starts with the Beatitudes.

Verse 6 is one that stands out to me: "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied."

When we really search after God and seek to do His will we are more content in life, even if our situation may not be well.

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage: Genesis 16-17; Matthew 5:27-48

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Wednesday, January 4th: Genesis 10 - 12, Matthew 4 ~ Nathan

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is Genesis 10-12, Matthew 4

I've found the readings this year from Genesis have been filled with many more miracles and interesting points that we just read over and aren't able to cover. I've found the readings to be interesting and it makes me wonder what I've all passed over and missed so far?

Genesis 11:8-9
8 So the Lord scattered them from there over all the earth, and they stopped building the city. [9] That is why it was called Babel because there the Lord confused the language of the whole world. From there the Lord scattered them over the face of the whole earth.

The people were getting too confident and therefore tried to build a tower to reach heaven, which God stopped. What a simple way to stop progress, changing the way the people could communicate! Would work today as well, even though we have modern technology that would help us understand each other, we would still be at a loss if we had to all of a sudden work with someone from a totally different background and way of thinking.

Would be very frustrating and makes me think that maybe I need to take time more for others and listen, and try to be more understanding.

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage: Genesis 13-15; Matthew 5:1-26

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Tuesday, January 3rd: Genesis 7-9, Matthew 3 ~ Jody

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is Genesis 7-9, Matthew 3

God gave Noah 7 days to get all of the animals and his family into the Ark. Being a farm girl, I've had to sort animals before, trying to get them all into the same pen, in a barn that was designed for animal flow. I can't even imagine what kind of holding system had to be in place in the "loading zone" to get all of those animals into the ark (and keep them from eating each other). That must have been exhausting and seemingly impossible! The best things happen when it's impossible for us and God's Holy Power is the only thing that can fulfill what God is asking us to do!

In Matthew, I always love how God describes John the Baptist. He sounds like a wild, passionate man who is so clear of his calling that nothing else matters. His un-orthodox ways of that time must have been shocking!! Calling out the Pharisees so overtly and announcing the coming Messiah must have caused such a stir.

Matthew 3: 9-10 "Don’t just say to each other, ‘We’re safe, for we are descendants of Abraham.’ That means nothing, for I tell you, God can create children of Abraham from these very stones. 10 Even now the ax of God’s judgment is poised, ready to sever the roots of the trees. Yes, every tree that does not produce good fruit will be chopped down and thrown into the fire."

A reminder for this Mennonite girl that has grown up in Sunday School and church to never sit back on my ancestry of believers, but to always press further into my walk to produce good fruit.

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year PassageGenesis 10-12, Matthew 4

Monday, January 2, 2017

Monday, January 2nd: Genesis 4-6, Matthew 2 ~ Tammy

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is Genesis 4-6, Matthew 2

I find the genealogy of Adam to Noah fascinating and once more, it brings up more questions than answers.
How did they age? Obviously their 100 must have looked a lot different than someone now being 100. Noah fathered his sons after he was 500.  500!!
How long did they wait to get married?
How old was Abel when he was murdered by his brother?
How long did Eve live?
How close together did all these relatives live?
Did Adam tell them all about the Garden of Eden and what he had learned from their failure to trust God?

There are going to be so many fascinating stories to hear when we get to heaven!

In the NT, we see the utter callousness of King Herod as he orders the deaths of all males under the age of two in the Bethlehem area. I cannot even imagine the horror and sorrow of that city and the all the many families affected by this man's evil decree!

So thankful that God will ultimately bring justice to every situation.

And also thankful for His mercy in granting me the forgiveness I don't deserve any more than Herod would've had he repented. His grace truly is amazing.

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage: Genesis 7-9, Matthew 3

Sunday, January 1, 2017

January 1st: Genesis 1-3, Matthew 1 ~ Tammy

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is Genesis 1-3, Matthew 1

I always find it fitting that the first day of the new year begins in Genesis.  Even though the description of creation already gives us plenty to imagine, it also leaves us with a lot of questions.

What did the Garden of Eden look like exactly?  Was it like a tropical rainforest?  The lush vegetation of BC?  Was there a waterfall and how big was it?

How long did Adam live without Eve?
How long did it take Adam to name all the animals?

How much like heaven was the Garden of Eden?

So many questions we'd love the answers to.  But what we do know is that it was good, and after the creation of the man and the woman it was very good.  Not only does this elevate humanity above the rest of creation, but it celebrates the relationship between husband and wife, the way it was intended to be.  A reminder to be thankful for my husband and to continue to be purposeful about investing in our relationship.

Switching to the NT passage, the book of Matthew is written to establish Jesus as King of the Jews which is why this genealogy traces the ancestry of Joseph, as kingship was passed from father to son.
It's also fitting that we're reading about the birth of Jesus just after celebrating it during the Christmas season.  So thankful that the King chose to leave the glory of heaven to be our Saviour!

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage: Genesis 4-6, Matthew 2


Today is January 1st and the New Year has begun! I am so excited to begin our 8th year at The Bible in a Year - and Beyond and am thrilled that we have a few new people joining our group!

This year we have decided to follow a a plan that includes readings from both the Old and New Testaments every day.  One benefit of this plan is that you can read only the NT portion if time is an issue for you, or if this is the first time you're participating in a program like this and it seems overwhelming to start.  Remember, perfection is not required here!  If you get behind and you can manage to catch up, that's great.  But if the thought of catching up is overwhelming, then simply skip the days you missed and start again where we're at.  Whatever you do, just don't quit!

Our new posters are Deena, Emma and Kezia - welcome to our group! Jody is also joining us again after a couple year's hiatus. And our returning posters from last year are Nathan and myself. I'm still working on getting a few other people to join us, and will keep you posted if that pans out.  I am so excited to learn together with all of you this year!

Anyone else who has decided to participate with us by reading the same plan as us, and reading the blog because you need the accountability but don't necessarily have the time to do posts - we welcome you too!! If this describes you - PLEASE comment on this post below and let us know that you have agreed to follow along with us. We can't help hold you accountable if we don't know you're doing this!

Also, everyone (posters and followers) PLEASE comment at least somewhat regularly on the daily posts. This helps keep you accountable and helps you to feel part of the group (especially followers), and is a huge encouragement to the posters who have taken the time to post their thoughts. Comments do not have to be in depth. They can simply say "Great post", "Chapter x verse x jumped out at me", "very convicting", etc. It doesn't take long but increases what you're going to get out of this blog substantially. The more you put in to this, the more you will get out of it. And I really want you to feel involved in this group, even if you're not posting - so please comment!  Consider this an online small group Bible study.

Posters - here are the "instructions" for the posts (see the first post of the year for an example if any of these instructions don't make sense).

Please put the date, Bible reference and your name in the title of your post.
Example:  Friday, January 1st: Genesis 1-3, Matthew 1 ~ Tammy

Please include today's reference at the top of your posts and tomorrow's reference at the bottom of your posts. Please add the links to Biblegateway's corresponding Bible passages. (Everything other than the reference and it's link will automatically show up when you go to write your post).
Example: Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is Genesis 1-3, Matthew 1

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage passage: Genesis 4-6; Matthew 2

Please put the following labels on your post - the book(s) of the Bible the readings were from, and "Your Name's Posts".
Example: Genesis, Matthew, Tammy's Posts

The type of post you do on the day's readings is totally up to you. You can use a SOAP format (Scripture, Observation, Application, Prayer), you can do a devotional in a different format, you can ask questions about a portion you didn't understand, you can summarize the passage, you can talk about a portion of scripture that stood out to you, you can reference commentaries or sermons you felt made good points about the passage, the choice is yours!  You may choose to post about both OT and NT portions, or only the OT, or only the NT.   It also can be as short or as long as you like (although we kinda like shorter!).  Sometimes there is more to say about a certain passage than others, and that's ok.  There really are no specific expectations.

Also - please write your post the previous day/evening (or numerous days earlier - whatever works for your schedule!) and then postdate it to sometime during the middle of the night so that it's ready to go for those of us (not me!) who are early risers and like to do their devotions at 6am!  The postdating feature is very handy, particularly when we've gone away on holidays and I've prepared the posts in advance and just scheduled them for the correct dates.  When writing your post, if you check the right sidebar there will be an option to select "Set date and time".  So, January 1st's post would be set for January 1st at 1am, or something similar.  Obviously sometimes things come up and you are unable to post until later in the day, and that's fine, but it's great if the goal is to post before morning. 

If for some reason you are unable to post on your assigned day, either trade with someone or email me and I will do your post for you. The goal is to have a post up every single day, but I realize that life happens, so please just let me know if you cannot post after all (earlier is better, but better late than never). If you need to change how often you're posting for whatever reason (having a baby, busier than usual, extended holiday etc), just let me know!

For those of you who are new or re-joining (Emma, Deena, Kezia, Jody) - if you don't mind, on your first post could you just do a very short introduction of yourself and maybe what made you decide to join the blog? Thanks!

Thank you all for participating in this blog - I am so excited to see what God will do in our spiritual lives this year as we make this journey together!