Friday, March 31, 2017

Friday, March 31st: Judges 11-12; Luke 6:1-26 ~ Tammy

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is Judges 11-12; Luke 6:1-26

The story of Jephthah and his rash vow is an interesting one. Some people believe that Jephthah fulfilled his vow and killed his daughter as a sacrifice, while others believe he simply dedicated her to a life of service.  After reading up on some of the arguments for and against both positions (this article and this one), I'm inclined to think he did the former.

Though God used Jephthah to accomplish His purposes, the Old Testament never refers to him as a godly man. In fact, if he was a godly man he would've known about God's provisions for rash vows and he would have made the necessary sacrifices to get out of his foolish vow.  God also uses anyone He wishes, godly or ungodly, to accomplish His plans. He is mentioned in Hebrews 11, but just like Samson who slept with a prostitue and David who was an adulterer and murderer, he was still a sinner in need of a saviour. As abhorrent as the idea of child sacrifice is, it seems likely that that is indeed what occurred.

No matter what happened, it is a reminder that we are all guilty of making sinful choices - whether they are planned or impulsive - and we are all in desperate need of the saving grace Jesus came to provide.

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage:  Judges 13-15; Luke 6:27-49

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Thursday, March 30th: Judges 9-10; Luke 5:17-39 ~ Deena

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is Judges 9-10; Luke 5:17-39

Luke 5:17-26 tells how Jesus healed the body and the soul of a paralyzed man. Following that miraculous event, Levi answered Jesus’ call to follow Him and then invited his fellow tax collectors and friends to a banquet in honor of the Lord (vv.27-29). When some people accused Jesus of associating with undesirables (v.30), He reminded them that healthy people don’t need a doctor—adding, “I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance” (v.32).
To everyone who feels like a “throwaway” headed for the landfill of life, Jesus opens His arms of love and offers a fresh beginning. That’s why He came! (Our Daily Bread, Sept, 2014)

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage:  Judges 11-12; Luke 6:1-26

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Wednesday, March 29th: Judges 7-8, Luke 5:1-16 ~ Nathan

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is: Judges 7-8; Luke 5:1-16

Today's Old Testament story is a familiar one, the story of Gideon and how he defeated the Midianites.

This story is about how God reduced Gideon's army to pretty much nothing, and still defeated a foe that was thought to be unbeatable. This is another of many miracles that God did for the Israelites.

Judges 8:23
But Gideon told them, “I will not rule over you, nor will my son rule over you. The Lord will rule over you.”

Gideon was the piece God used in this story, he could have taken credit and received praise, but was wise to know and say that it was God who did everything.

Do I give credit where credit is due, to God? Or do I just take compliments myself and not say a word about the One who deserves credit for any success I may have?

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage: Judges 9-10; Luke 5:17-39

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Tuesday, March 29th: Judges 4-6; Luke 4:31-44 ~ Jody

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is: Judges 4-6, Luke 4:31-44

“Please, Lord, how can I save Israel? Behold, my clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father's house.” 16 And the Lord said to him, “But I will be with you, and you shall strike the Midianites as one man.” 17 And he said to him, “If now I have found favor in your eyes, then show me a sign that it is you who speak with me. 18 Please do not depart from here until I come to you and bring out my present and set it before you.” And he said, “I will stay till you return.” Judges 6:15-18

Gideon had it right. We need to humble ourselves before God and realize that we are nothing without Him. Yet another reminder that God looks for our hearts to be willing and for ears to hear. Gideon's pursuit of God to give him signs was not a lack of faith, but a desire for confirmation that he was indeed hearing God's direction correctly. He is going back to what the Israelites had forgotten - asking God for direction and then heeding it!

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year PassageJudges 7-8; Luke 5:1-16

Monday, March 27, 2017

Monday, March 28th: Judges 1-3; Luke 4:1-30 ~ Tammy

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is Judges 1-3; Luke 4:1-30

It's so sad how quickly the Israelites forgot about God.  They didn't drive out the Canaanites completely, as God had commanded.  Instead, they lived among them, intermarried with them, and were ultimately led astray by them - exactly what God had warned them against. Yet, over and over again, He gave them another chance, He raised up a judge to rescue them, He extended grace.

Eventually, the Israelites would become so disobedient that God would reject them as His people, and His grace would be extended to the Gentiles.  This is what our NT passage points to....
25 But in truth, I tell you, there were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah, when the heavens were shut up three years and six months, and a great famine came over all the land, 26 and Elijah was sent to none of them but only to Zarephath, in the land of Sidon, to a woman who was a widow. 27 And there were many lepers[a] in Israel in the time of the prophet Elisha, and none of them was cleansed, but only Naaman the Syrian.” 28 When they heard these things, all in the synagogue were filled with wrath.

We, Gentile Christians, were not a part of Israel, God's covenant people.  And our salvation came about, in part, because His people rejected God's grace.  This must make us exceedingly humble.  God's grace reaches beyond Abraham's children, it reaches people in the midst of the worst of sins, it resurrects those who are spiritually dead. It is amazing grace indeed!

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage:  Judges 4-6; Luke 4:31-44

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Sunday, March 26th: Joshua 22-24; Luke 3 ~ Emma

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is Joshua 22-24; Luke 3

"Deep in your hearts you know that every promise of the LORD your God had come true. Not a single one has failed!" - Joshua 23:14

I often have to remind myself of all the promises that God has kept. "I will never leave you", "I love you", "I have a plan for you". These are all true and they never stop being true. Even when we forget about them or when we doubt, they are still true, and God is still good. 

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year PassageJudges 1-3; Luke 4:1-30

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Saturday, March 25th: Joshua 19-21; Luke 2:25-52 ~ Tammy

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is Joshua 19-21; Luke 2:25-52

Joshua 21:45 Not one word of all the good promises that the Lord had made to the house of Israel had failed; all came to pass.

Simply put - God keeps His promises.  Always.

Unfortunately, He's also the only One that can be counted on to always keep all of His promises.  We don't.  We should, and we try, but inevitably we fail someone - sometimes it's within our control, and sometimes it's not in our control - but the result is the same nonetheless.

We cannot put our trust 100% in anyone other than God.  Yes, your spouse should be faithful. Yes, your best friend should be trustworthy.  Yes, your sister and your brother should keep their word.  But the reality is, that we are all human, and we will all fail those we love at some point.

Obviously, this is not an excuse for us not to attempt to be faithful!  In fact, it's a good reminder to us to be more purposeful about keeping our promises to our loved ones.

But above all, it's a reassurance that though others may fail you, God never will.

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage:  Joshua 22-24; Luke 3

Friday, March 24, 2017

Friday, March 24th: Joshua 16-18; Luke 2:1-24 ~ Tammy

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is Joshua 16-18; Luke 2:1-24

For many years Luke 2:1-20 was a passage that the Gr 5/6's from our church memorized and recited at the Sunday School Christmas program.  And, of course, it's one that long-time believers have heard many, many times during the Christmas season.

The tendency, when we read/hear the same passage so many times, can be to become a bit immune to it, and for it to lose it's effect.  It can be refreshing to be purposeful about trying to read it as though hearing about it for the very first time.

What an amazing event this was!  I can only imagine how the shepherds must have felt when the angels appeared and spoke to them, sharing the good news and telling them how to find baby Jesus. Fearful, awe-filled, worshipful, incredulous, the list could go on and on!

May we never lose the wonder of the gospel message!

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year PassageJoshua 19-21; Luke 2:25-52

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Thursday, March 23rd: Joshua 13-15; Luke 1:57-80 ~ Tammy

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is Joshua 13-15; Luke 1:57-80

I love all of Zechariah's prophecy, but this section specifically caught my attention....
And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High;
    for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways,
77 to give knowledge of salvation to his people
    in the forgiveness of their sins,
78 because of the tender mercy of our God,
    whereby the sunrise shall visit us from on high
79 to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death,
    to guide our feet into the way of peace.”

What an amazing priviledge it was for John to prepare the way for the Messiah, and for Zechariah and Elizabeth to raise their son for that purpose.

We are all called to be John the Baptist! We are all called to preach the gospel, to prepare the way for people to meet Jesus, to spread the news of His coming.  John didn't live to see Jesus' death or resurrection, but he is with Him right now in paradise, rejoicing in His Saviour.

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage:  Joshua 16-18; Luke 2:1-24

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Wednesday, March 22nd: Joshua 10 - 12, Luke 1:39-56 ~ Nathan

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is: Joshua 10-12, Luke 1:39-56

It's interesting all the miracles that God did for the Israelites, as He helped them establish a homeland.

Joshua 10:11
As they fled before Israel on the road down from Beth Horon to Azekah, the Lord hurled large hailstones down on them, and more of them died from the hail than were killed by the swords of the Israelites.

Unreal storm of stones that must have been, there would have been no escape.

Joshua 10:13
So the sun stood still, and the moon stopped, till the nation avenged itself on its enemies, as it is written in the Book of Jashar. The sun stopped in the middle of the sky and delayed going down about a full day.

Time stopped! The Israelites needed some extra time and God helped them out. This miracle that God did stands out to me, because of how extraordinary it would have been.

Joshua 11:20
For it was the Lord himself who hardened their hearts to wage war against Israel, so that he might destroy them totally, exterminating them without mercy, as the Lord had commanded Moses.

God hardened the peoples hearts, so they wouldn't consider trying to make peace with the Israelites, and therefore would fight and lose to the Israelites.

These are just a small portion of the miracles that God did for the Israelites, and they show His awesome power. I hope they strengthen my faith and yours, in our all powerful Saviour!

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage: Joshua 13-15; Luke 1:57-80

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Tuesday, March 21: Joshua 7-9; Luke 1:21-38 ~ Jody

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is: Joshua 7-9, Luke 1:21-38

The Old Testament reading had so many truths in it for me today!
  1. Even if we hide our sin, it can have massive consequences. And those consequences have the potential to be far-reaching beyond our own life! 
    1. "All" Achan did was hide some plunder that he kept from Babylon. He even hid it so well, buried some under his tent even. No one would ever know, yet it resulted in 36 warriors killed and "The Israelites were paralyzed with fear at this turn of events, and their courage melted away." Joshua 7:5.
  2. God can take our sin and not only turn it to good - but leverage it to bring about His glory! 
    1. "When our main army attacks, the men of Ai will come out to fight as they did before, and we will run away from them. We will let them chase us until we have drawn them away from the town. For they will say, ‘The Israelites are running away from us as they did before.’ Then, while we are running from them, you will jump up from your ambush and take possession of the town, for the Lord your God will give it to you. Set the town on fire, as the Lord has commanded. You have your orders.” Joshua 8:5-8
    2. God used the very fact that the men of Ai defeated the Israelites once to bolster their confidence and leave their town unprotected. He used this to His own benefit as a means to defeat the men of Ai. 
  3. God still pours His blessings on us even when we don't deserve it.
    1. 27 Only the livestock and the treasures of the town were not destroyed, for the Israelites kept these as plunder for themselves, as the Lord had commanded Joshua." Joshua 8:27
    2. Achan's unauthorized holding of plunder from Babylon was sinful disobedience earlier in this reading, yet God still chose to allow them to keep plunder from the town of Ai. He still chooses to pour undeserved blessings on us!!
  4. Humans are sinful and we keep repeating our sin - we NEED Jesus! 
    1. "14 So the Israelites examined their food, but they did not consult the Lord. 15 Then Joshua made a peace treaty with them and guaranteed their safety, and the leaders of the community ratified their agreement with a binding oath."Joshua 9:14-15. AGAIN, the Israelites depend on their own knowledge and abilities and make a decision without consulting God. Even still to this day - us sinful humans rely on our own investigation, knowledge, abilities etc even though we know that God is our best ally in wise decision making! 

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year PassageJoshua 10-12, Luke 1:39-56

Monday, March 20, 2017

Monday, March 20th: Joshua 4-6, Luke 1:1-20 ~ Kezia

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is Joshua 4-6, Luke 1:1-20

"Have seven priests carry trumpets of rams' horns in front of the ark. On the seventh day, march around the city seven times, with the priests blowing trumpets." Joshua 6:4

It really stuck out to me how many times the number seven was referenced in just this one verse. In the Bible, God often uses the number seven as a number to represent completion. For example, God completed all of creation in a total of seven days. In this story in Joshua, completion is very much emphasized.

For years and years and years, God was leading His people to the Promised Land, a land "flowing with milk and honey". This land was highly talked about and referenced often. With the help of God, Joshua lead everyone across the river, to enter into the Promised Land. God's promise had finally been completed!

Although the Israelites doubted God so many times along the way, God stayed true to what He said.  God always keeps his promises, he did in Bible times, and he does in 2017 as well.

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage: Joshua 7-9, Luke 1:21-38

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Sunday, March 19th: Joshua 1-3; Mark 16 ~ Emma

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is Joshua 1-3; Mark 16

Old Testament:

'They answered Joshua, "We will do whatever you command us, and we will go wherever you send us. We will obey you just as we obeyed Moses. And may the LORD your God be with you as He was with Moses. Anyone who revels against your orders and does not obey your words and everything you command us will be out to death. So be strong and courageous!"'
- Joshua 1:16-18

This is the kind of trust and loyalty we should have with our leaders, knowing that God is leading us through them. And if we are the leaders, we should work hard for the Lord and make ourselves worthy of receiving this trust and loyalty.

New Testament:

'On the way they were asking each other, "Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance to the tomb?" But as they arrived, they looked up and saw that the stone, which was very large, had already been rolled inside.'
- Mark 16:3-4

We need to stop worrying about the troubles we see, and start trusting the One who sees it all. He has a plan for our lives, and we need to focus on the end goal (eternity with God) rather than the troubles we are facing now. 

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year PassageJoshua 4-6; Luke 1:1-20

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Saturday, March 18th: Deuteronomy 32-34; Mark 15:26-47 ~ Tammy

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is Deuteronomy 32-34; Mark 15:26-47

Deuteronomy 33:26-27
“There is none like God, O Jeshurun,
    who rides through the heavens to your help,
    through the skies in his majesty.
27 The eternal God is your dwelling place,
    and underneath are the everlasting arms.

I love the beauty and promise in these words.  Our God can ride through the heavens He created.  Our God is eternal.  Our God is our dwelling place.  Our God is our helper.  Our God is always waiting with open arms.  Our God!

I love how He was gracious to Moses - that even though Moses was not allowed to enter the Promised Land due to his sin, God allowed him to see it before he died.  And God himself buried his faithful servant.

Moses was Israel's most revered prophet.  But he was a picture of the Great Prophet still to come.  I think it incredibly fitting that in today's passages we read both of Moses' death, and the death of Jesus, the fulfillment of the promise.

The loss of their beloved leader must have been a time of intense mourning for the Israelites.
The loss of Jesus was a near crushing blow to His disciples, who did not understand Jesus' predictions about His death and resurrection.
We speak a lot about Good Friday and Easter Sunday, but Saturday doesn't have a name.  Saturday was a desolate day, a hopeless day.
In some ways, we live in Saturday.  But the difference for us is, we know that Sunday is coming!  That ultimate victory is not ours in its perfection quite yet, but we know it's coming, and we can live in light of that hope.

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage:  Joshua 1-3; Mark 16

Friday, March 17, 2017

Friday, March 17th: Deuteronomy 30-31; Mark 15:1-25 ~ Tammy

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is Deuteronomy 30-31; Mark 15:1-25

Deuteronomy 31: 6 Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.”
There are multiple commands in the Bible for us to not fear.  And many times there is an accompanying reason for the command - because God is with us.

No matter what our circumstances, God is with us.
No matter how strong or weak our faith is, God is with us.

He is sovereign.  He is in control.  Always.

I found this list of 33 verses about fear and anxiety to remind us that God is in control.

The author reminds us that....
His words are “life” words, soothing to our soul, calming to our spirits, giving power to our days.  
It’s not always easy, and it often comes down to a choice: 
  • Choosing not to allow fear and anxiety to control your life. 
  • Choosing to guard your heart. 
  • Choosing to focus your mind on what is truth in the midst of uncertain times.
We might still feel afraid, but we can believe that God is with us. We may not be in control, but we can trust the One who is. We may not know the future, but we can know the God who does.

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year PassageDeuteronomy 32-34; Mark 15:26-47

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Thursday, March 16th: Deuteronomy 28-29; Mark 14:54-72 ~ Deena

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is Deuteronomy 28-29; Mark 14:54-72

“These people said things against you. Do you have something to say about their charges? Are they telling the truth?” 61 But Jesus said nothing to answer him.
The high priest asked Jesus another question: “Are you the Messiah, the Son of the blessed God?”
62 Jesus answered, “Yes, I am the Son of God.

When the high priest asked Jesus about the accusations against Him being true or not, Jesus said nothing. But when asked if He is the Son of God, Jesus answered. It's ok to be quiet and keep our mouths shut at times, but when asked if we belong to God, it is never ok to not speak up!

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage:  Deuteronomy 30-31; Mark 15:1-25

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Wednesday, March 15th: Deuteronomy 25-27; Mark 14:27-53 ~ Tammy

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is Deuteronomy 25-27; Mark 14:27-53

Deuteronomy 25: 17 “Remember what Amalek did to you on the way as you came out of Egypt, 18 how he attacked you on the way when you were faint and weary, and cut off your tail, those who were lagging behind you, and he did not fear God. 19 Therefore when the Lord your God has given you rest from all your enemies around you, in the land that the Lord your God is giving you for an inheritance to possess, you shall blot out the memory of Amalek from under heaven; you shall not forget.

The Amalekites, for absolutely no reason, had previously acted with cruelty towards the Israelites, and had had a complete and utter disregard for God.  God commanded the Israelites to destroy them (just and honest weights were just discussed previously in this passage), not as personal revenge (for that generation was gone), but for God's glory.  God had been patient in delaying this punishment until now, allowing lots of time for the Amalekites to repent, but they did not.

So, were the Israelites obedient?

We will read later in 1 Samuel 15 that Saul was ordered to carry this out, but he failed to do so completely, and that was the at which God rejected him as king.

Later, David destroyed many of them, and in Hezekiah's time the Simeonites took care of the rest (1 Chronicles 4:43) because God's judgment will always be fulfilled as He intends.

Are we obedient?

God's plans will always come to pass, whether we are obedient or not.  But when we are obedient, we get the blessing of being used by Him and get to experience the closeness of relationship that comes with living in obedience.

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year PassageDeuteronomy 28-29; Mark 14:54-72

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Tuesday, March 14th: Deuteronomy 22-24; Mark 14:1-26 ~ Jody

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is: Deuteronomy 22-24; Mark 14:1-26

"21 For the Son of Man[d] must die, as the Scriptures declared long ago. But how terrible it will be for the one who betrays him. It would be far better for that man if he had never been born!” Mark 14: 21

Even at the Last Supper, just before his final days, Jesus' was thinking of what Judas would have to live with. He had made peace with what was to come for Himself and He knew the price that Judas was going to pay for betraying him! This is a paramount revelation of sin - Jesus hurts for us as He knows the consequences that will come because of the sin we allow/choose in our lives.

And because of our loving Father's desire to protect us from eternal consequences of our sin, He sent His son. Father God, help me to not take my sin lightly. Press on my spirit to repent and allow the eternal consequences of my sin be left at the foot of the cross. Amen.

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year PassageDeuteronomy 25-27; Mark 14:27-53

Monday, March 13, 2017

Monday, March 13th: Deuteronomy 19-21; Mark 13:21-37 ~ Tammy

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is Deuteronomy 19-21; Mark 13:21-37

Deuteronomy 20: 1 “When you go out to war against your enemies, and see horses and chariots and an army larger than your own, you shall not be afraid of them, for the Lord your God is with you, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt
We may not be fighting a war, but at varying times in our lives we will face overwhelming opposition.  But the promise of God's presence was not just for the Israelites.  He promises the same thing to His people (us!) today.

Not only is He with us, but ultimately He has conquered every meaningful battle, and we can rest secure in that.

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage:  Deuteronomy 22-24; Mark 14:1-26

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Sunday, March 12th: Deuteronomy 16-18; Mark 13:1-20 ~ Emma

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is Deuteronomy 16-18; Mark 13:1-20

Old Testament:

Passover was set in place to remind the Israelites of when God freed them from Egypt. So we, too, should remember the things God has done for us and praise Him for it. 

New Testament:

"And everyone will hate you because you are my followers. But the one who endures to the end will be saved." - Mark 13:13

We know this hate very well. It's always a struggle to share our faith with non-believers, in fear of what they might say or do to us. But even so, we need to continue to share our faith. We need to "endure to the end" so we can be saved. 

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year PassageDeuteronomy 19-21; Mark 13:21-37

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Saturday, March 11th: Deuteronomy 13-15; Mark 12:28-44 ~ Tammy

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is Deuteronomy 13-15; Mark 12:28-44

In Deuteronomy 13 I was reminded that we need to be vigilant to ensure that no inside or outside influence entices us away from the truth of God's Word and our commitment to following Him.

Mark 12:28 And one of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, asked him, “Which commandment is the most important of all?” 29 Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.30 And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”

Love God.
Love each other.

Simple words, but not always so simple to put into practice.

Not to mention that we need to define love the way God defines it, not the way the world defines us.

To the world, love often means tolerance (so long as you're only tolerant of the things of which society thinks you should be tolerant) and allowing everyone to choose their own version of truth and pursue their own happiness.

The Bible defines love much differently.

How will you love?
Who will you love?

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year PassageDeuteronomy 16-18; Mark 13:1-20

Friday, March 10, 2017

Friday, March 10th: Deuteronomy 10-12; Mark 12:1-27 ~ Tammy

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is Deuteronomy 10-12; Mark 12:1-27

Deuteronomy 10:14 Behold, to the Lord your God belong heaven and the heaven of heavens, the earth with all that is in it. 15 Yet the Lord set his heart in love on your fathers and chose their offspring after them, you above all peoples, as you are this day.
This is something that I need to be more mindful of.  How many times do our prayers consist of requests?

We want God to bless, to heal, to protect. to guide, to calm - all good things and all things we should continue to pray for.  But how much time do I spend praising God for who He is instead of what He can do for me?

How much time do I spend acknowledging His love for me despite my unworthiness?

He is worthy!  Praise His name!

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage:  Deuteronomy 13-15; Mark 12:28-44

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Thursday, March 9th: Deuteronomy 7-9; Mark 11:19-33 ~ Deena

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is Deuteronomy 7-9; Mark 11:19-33

A passage from today's NT reading talked about the withered fig tree. The fig tree is a picture of Israel, where it takes up space but doesn't produce fruit. A withered tree is usually chopped down. Why does God keep me around? As a Christian, am I bearing fruit or am I like a withered fig tree?
In verse 20 it says that the tree was withered to it's roots. When we stop bearing fruit the problem always begins with the roots. Further down in verse 25 Jesus reminds us that we must have FAITH and FORGIVENESS when we pray so that your Father in heaven will also forgive your sins.

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year PassageDeuteronomy 10-12; Mark 12:1-27

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Wednesday, March 8th: Deuteronomy 4-6, Mark 11:1-18 ~ Nathan

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is: Deuteronomy 4-6, Mark 11:1-18

A couple verses that stood out to me as I read today's passage,

Deuteronomy 4:9
Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them fade from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them.

Important lesson for the Israelites, to not forget all they had seen or to let them be forgotten by fading from their hearts. Important lesson for me too, do I remember things God has done for me in the past? Or do I just look forward and forget all He has done for me?

Deuteronomy 5:32
So be careful to do what the Lord your God has commanded you; do not turn aside to the right or to the left

Here we see the importance of staying focused on God and not turning to side distractions that will pull us away from God. A good reminder to stay focused on Him and what He says in the bible, and not get caught up in small details that can distract us from Him.

Mark 11:9
Those who went ahead and those who followed shouted, “Hosanna!”
“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord !”

A popular chorus sung in church. These words were shouted at Jesus, praising Him. A short while later there didn't seem to be anyone around who would praise Him, as He was mistreated and later killed, for you and me. I want to be consistent in my love and praise for Him, and pray for strength to do this, not turning from Him ever.

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year PassageDeuteronomy 7-9; Mark 11:19-33

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Tuesday, March 7: Deuteronomy 1-3; Mark 10:32-52 ~ Jody

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is: Deuteronomy 1-3, Mark 10:32-52

As I was reading through the Old Testament chapters today I was reminded how important it is to walk in close relationship with God. Listen for His instruction and obey!

‘You have now reached the hill country of the Amorites that the Lord our God is giving us. 21 Look! He has placed the land in front of you. Go and occupy it as the Lord, the God of your ancestors, has promised you. Don’t be afraid! Don’t be discouraged!’ Deuteronomy 1:20-21

Instead of pushing boldly ahead, confident in his directions from God that he shared in these verses, Moses listened to the people and sent in scouts to check the land out first. Of course, we read that they come back afraid of what they've seen, knowing that they cannot over take these people.

‘The Lord must hate us. That’s why he has brought us here from Egypt—to hand us over to the Amorites to be slaughtered. 28 Where can we go? Our brothers have demoralized us with their report. They tell us, “The people of the land are taller and more powerful than we are, and their towns are large, with walls rising high into the sky! We even saw giants there—the descendants of Anak!”’ Deuteronomy 1: 27-28

And God knew this - He knew that they could only overcome them with His power and I wonder if that's why He wanted them to just move forward in faith and occupy the land. He knew that if they saw what they were up against, they would fall back in fear and lose faith.

How often do we hesitate in our obedience to God because we need to "research" or "plan" or "study" or whatever else we think we need to do to equip ourselves instead of walking forward confidently, relying on God's strength. This reinforces for me the importance of living a life in close relationship with Him. So I trust that I am hearing His voice of when to move, when to study, when to wait etc. The only way I can do this is through an intimate relationship with Him!

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year PassageDeuteronomy 4-6, Mark 11:1-18

Monday, March 6, 2017

Monday, March 6th: Numbers 35-36; Mark 10:1-31 ~ Kezia

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is Numbers 35-36; Mark 10:1-31

Our life here on earth so very short. Although it might seem as though minutes are passing as hours, and the week is dragging on forever, this earthly life is so small in the big picture. 

If you take a long rope that extends forever and ever, and you tie a small knot at the very beginning of this rope, that is your whole entire life on earth. Just the length of that small knot. The rest of the rope is either everlasting life with God in heaven, or death in hell. Human life usually lasts around 80 years, yet all those years only account for less than an inch on your everlasting rope of life. The choice of where we want to go for the rest of the time on our rope is ours to make. 

Sometimes it may feel as though being a Christian is hard, unfair, and not as fun, and we often let ourselves believe it's not worth it. Let's remember why we live differently and stand out from the crowd. 

29 “Yes,” Jesus replied, “and I assure you that everyone who has given up house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or property, for my sake and for the Good News, 30 will receive now in return a hundred times as many houses, brothers, sisters, mothers, children, and property—along with persecution. And in the world to come that person will have eternal life.31

Jesus reminds us that when we suffer even the hardest of days here on earth, we will be given so much more in heaven. Why would we want temporary riches on earth when can have everlasting riches in heaven?

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage: Deuteronomy 1-3; Mark 10:32-52

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Sunday, March 5th: Numbers 32-34; Mark 9:30-50 ~ Emma

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is Numbers 32-34; Mark 9:30-50

"If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It's better to enter eternal life with only one hand than to go into the unquenchable fires of hell with two hands." - Mark 9:43

If there is an area or person or thing in my life that is causing me to sin, I need to cut it out of my life. I might love it, but if it pulls me away from Jesus then it is not good and I need to get rid of it.

God, help me to get rid of whatever is keeping me from having a fully devoted relationship with you. Amen. 

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year PassageNumbers 35-36; Mark 10:1-31

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Saturday, March 4th: Numbers 29-31; Mark 9:1-29 ~ Tammy

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is Numbers 29-31; Mark 9:1-29

I believe, help my unbelief!

Summary of thoughts, and quotes are from this sermon......

I am a lifelong believer in Jesus Christ.

I am also a lifelong unbeliever.

When I think of my sins, I'm not sure He will forgive me. When I feel the power of old habits, I wonder if He can free me from them. When assuring others they can become new creatures in Christ, I often doubt that I can be re-made in His Image.

I think most of us are in the same boat.

It's hard to have faith that is unwavering. There are many forces at work to undermine our faith.  Satan doesn't want us to believe.  The world doesn't want us to believe.  Even our own flesh (the imperfect part of us, not yet sanctified) doesn't want us to believe.

All true for the father in this story.  Plus a few more roadblocks.  His son was extremely sick, and had been extremely sick for a very long time.  His own prayers for his son's healing had failed, and even the disciples hadn't been able to heal him.  He had reason to doubt.

Even the little faith the man had was given him by God (just as all faith is - we cannot believe on our own).  Jesus knew his faith was small, and He called him out on it.  And yet He still loves those who suffer with un-belief, or weak belief, or half-belief. And He wants to encourage that faith, and show us that it is well founded.

Jesus took this man's small faith, and He uses it.

He will do the same for you and me.  When we confess the smallness of our faith and ask Him for help, He will honour that request!  

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year PassageNumbers 32-34; Mark 9:30-50

Friday, March 3, 2017

Friday, March 3rd: Numbers 26-28; Mark 8 ~ Tammy

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is Numbers 26-28; Mark 8

This has been a bad posting week for me!  Once again, I forgot about my day to post, and then I left for hockey provincials....  Anyway, here it is finally.

I didn't get very far into our Numbers passage before I came to a verse that made me stop and investigate a bit more thoroughly.  And what I found was an amazing picture of redemption, forgiveness, and grace.

Numbers 26:9-11 9 The sons of Eliab: Nemuel, Dathan, and Abiram. These are the Dathan and Abiram,chosen from the congregation, who contended against Moses and Aaron in the company of Korah, when they contended against the Lord 10 and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed them up together with Korah, when that company died, when the fire devoured 250 men, and they became a warning. 11 But the sons of Korah did not die.

I thought the sons of Korah died.  Didn't the Bible say their entire households were swallowed up by the earth?  Not quite. Going back to Numbers 16 we find......

27 So they got away from the dwelling of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram. And Dathan and Abiram came out and stood at the door of their tents, together with their wives, their sons, and their little ones...... 32 And the earth opened its mouth and swallowed them up, with their households and all the people who belonged to Korah and all their goods.
Notice that verse 27 specifically talks about the wives and children of Dathan and Abiram, but does not say the same about Korah.  The ESV talks about the "people who belonged to Korah", while the NASB says the "men" who belonged to Korah.

And our passage today confirms it again - the sons of Korah did not die.

Why not?

We don't know for sure.  Perhaps Korah's adults sons were faithful to God, and did not support their father's rebellion - this would be in line with other passages that speak on God not holding the sins of the fathers against the sons. Or perhaps God showed unmerited grace to these sons.  We don't know for sure.

But what we do know is that it is is a beautiful picture of redemption, grace and forgiveness.  The sons of Korah received their positions back, and more!  Further in the biblical narrative, we see the sons of Korah given greater responsibility by King David, and they also become poets, writing several of the Psalms.

I found a commentary that pointed out this detail I had never connected to this before.......
Every so often these psalms of Korah’s sons take an autobiographical turn that leaves me breathless with wonder at the profound gratitude rising from the image itself. I discovered one of these treasures just recently. I was reflecting on Psalm 46, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way…”

A strong metaphor…for anyone except the sons of Korah. For them, the earth actually once had given way. The earth moved so decisively that it swallowed up their entire disaffected family. In writing Psalm 46, might they have been living in the memory of their familial rescue? In some dramatic fashion that remains veiled in this family’s history, God had been their refuge and strength on a day when the earth really did open up. So now, when I hear the Sons of Korah say there is no cause to fear—even in the midst of unprecedented human trauma—I listen with different ears.

And from now on, so will I!

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year PassageNumbers 29-31; Mark 9:1-29

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Thursday, March 2th: Numbers 23-25; Mark 7:14-37 ~ Deena

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is Numbers 23-25; Mark 7:14-37

Mark 7:24 He entered a house and wanted no one to know it, but He could not be hidden.

Are you living completely for Jesus? Is the love of Christ so obvious in your life that those who know you realize  that you are a follower of the One who "could not be hidden"? If so, the world will readily see that you are on God's side. Your influence cannot be hidden. (Henry G. Bosch)

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year PassageNumbers 26-28; Mark 8

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Wednesday, March 1st: Numbers 20-22, Mark 7:1-13 ~ Tammy

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is Numbers 20-22, Mark 7:1-13

Totally I forgot I was going to do today's post for Nathan - oops!

In our OT passage today we see Moses react in anger towards the Israelites constant complaining (quite understandably it seems to me!), and in the process he disobeys God, forfeiting the privilege of entering the Promised Land.

Perhaps this punishment seems extreme to us.  I know I have often thought so.  Why was this punishment so severe?

This site says.....
What did Moses do that warranted such a severe penalty from the Lord? First, Moses disobeyed a direct command from God. God had commanded Moses to speak to the rock. Instead, Moses struck the rock with his staff. Second, Moses took the credit for bringing forth the water. Notice how in verse 10 Moses says, "Must we [referring to Moses and Aaron] bring you water out of this rock?" Moses took credit for the miracle himself, instead of attributing it to God. Third, Moses committed this sin in front of all the Israelites. Such a public example of direct disobedience could not go unpunished. Fourth, it seems that God had intended to present a type of Christ in this circumstance. The water-giving rock is used as a symbol of Christ in 1 Corinthians 10:4. The rock was struck once in Exodus 17:6, just like Christ was crucified once (Hebrews 7:27). Moses’ speaking to the rock in Numbers 20 was to be a picture of prayer; instead, Moses angrily struck the rock, in effect, crucifying Christ again. His punishment for disobedience, pride, and the misrepresentation of Christ’s sacrifice was that he was barred from entering the Promised Land (Numbers 20:12).

Maybe not such a small deal after all.

But truthfully?  God doesn't need to prove Himself to me. My initial thought that it was a severe and unjust penalty shows my sinful nature.  First of all, to even think that anything God does is unjust or severe is sinful.  Secondly, it shows how easy it is, from this side of history and the cross, to presume upon God's mercy.  The instant we begin to think we somehow deserve mercy, is the moment we realize we do not understand the huge chasm that exists between God's holiness and our sinfulness.

We deserve instant death for only one of our sins. Every moment we continue to breathe is a moment God extends mercy to us.

God showed mercy to Moses.  He didn't kill him on the spot, He most certainly didn't banish Him from heaven for all eternity. Instead, He barred him from entering the Promised Land - an act that was both just and merciful.

May we daily (sometimes hourly!) be reminded to be purposefully mindful of (and thankful for!) God's mercy and grace.

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage:  Numbers 23-25; Mark 7:14-37