Friday, June 30, 2017

Friday, June 30th: Job 17-19; Acts 10:1-23 ~ Tammy

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is Job 17-19; Acts 10:1-23

Job 19:But I know that my Redeemer lives,
and at the end he will stand on the dust.
26 Even after my skin has been destroyed,
yet I will see God in my flesh.
27 I will see him myself;
my eyes will look at him, and not as a stranger.
My heart longs within me.

I love this verse.

Despite his horrible circumstances,
despite his less than helpful friends,
despite his pain,
despite his wife who wanted him to curse God and die,
despite the bad theology being dispersed by his friends,
despite his despair,
despite not even having a hint of an answer to his desperate "WHY GOD?"
despite everything.......

Job trusted in God's faithfulness,
he trusted in God's promise of redemption, even though he didn't fully understand it,
he trusted in the resurrection,
he trusted that he would be in the presence of God one day
he loved God

When life gets hard (and we know that it will!), I want to have that hope, that trust.

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year PassageJob 20-21; Acts 10:24-48

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Thursday, June 29th: Job 14-16, Acts 9: 22-43 ~ by Pamela

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is Job 14-16; Acts 9:22-43

It's grad week. Our middle child graduated from high school on Monday and the school where I teach is having their Grade 8 farewell tomorrow. This class of grade 8s was my very first class of Grade 1 friends when I began my teaching career. It's bittersweet to see these important chapters close and new ones begin.

This verse stood out for me as I reflect on grad week:
Job 15: 31-33
31 Let him not deceive himself by trusting what is worthless,
    for he will get nothing in return.
32 Before his time he will wither,
    and his branches will not flourish.
33 He will be like a vine stripped of its unripe grapes,
    like an olive tree shedding its blossoms.

Job 14-16; Acts 9:22-43
Job 14-16; Acts 9:22-43
Job 14-16; Acts 9:22-43
Job 14-16; Acts 9:22-43

In these new stages that graduates face in the coming months and years, how vitally important it will be for them to put their trust into something of value. They will need to discern what is truth in a world full of half truths. They will need to stand up for what is right in a world believing that what is right is relative and can change at any time. They will need to evaluate the eternal value and the 'here and now" cost of following Christ.

This verse reminds us that it is easy to deceive ourselves by putting our trust into the wrong things. Money. Power. Social Circles. Technology. Popularity. Health. All of these are fleeting and yet too often we do put a high value on these fleeting things. Then one day we realize that all of these things don't really matter. All of these things will eventually become like the branches (dead) and the vine (potential not reached) in this verse.

However, as we read in the NT:
Acts 9:31
Then the church throughout Judea, Galilee and Samaria enjoyed a time of peace and was strengthened. Living in the fear of the Lord and encouraged by the Holy Spirit, it increased in numbers.

When we do put our faith in what is lasting, God can-and will-use it for His glory. This is unending and far-reaching and a perfect reminder for Graduates ....and all of us.

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year PassageJob 17-19; Acts 10:1-23

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Wednesday, June 28th: Job 11-13, Acts 9: 1-21 ~ Nathan

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is: Job 11-13; Acts 9:1-21

Job 12:4
“I have become a laughingstock to my friends, though I called on God and he answered — a mere laughingstock, though righteous and blameless!

Job's "friends" looked down on him, they laughed at him and all the grief he was going through, but Job stayed the course and lived for God. Do we worry about how we are perceived by others? Do we let it effect how we live and the choices we make? Job stayed the course and trusted in God, he was most concerned this relationship, instead of his relationships with his "friends".

Acts 9:15-16
But the Lord said to Ananias, “Go! This man is my chosen instrument to proclaim my name to the Gentiles and their kings and to the people of Israel. [16] I will show him how much he must suffer for my name.”

Ananias was hesitant to get involved with Saul at first, he knew all the horrible things Saul had done to those who belonged to the Way (Christians). Ananias listened to the Lord though, and did as he was told.

What a huge moment for Christianity! Saul (Paul) would go on to lead many to Christ. Ananias played a small but crucial role, with God's help. Can we play a small role in helping someone come to know Christ?

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage: Job 14-16; Acts 9:22-43

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Tuesday, June 27: Job 8-10; Acts 8:26-40 ~ Jody

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is: Job 8-10, Acts 8:26-40

I have never noticed the fore-shadowing of Jesus in Job before. Job goes on a long explanation (all of Chapter 9) of God's power and authority. He knows that God is almighty and he is only a sinful human. He tells Bildad that even if he were blameless and clean, he would not be worthy to approach God. And then he says in Acts 9:32-35:

“He is not a mere mortal like me that I might answer him,
    that we might confront each other in court.
33 If only there were someone to mediate between us,
    someone to bring us together,
34 someone to remove God’s rod from me,
    so that his terror would frighten me no more.
35 Then I would speak up without fear of him,
    but as it now stands with me, I cannot."

(highlighting mine)

We forget how Holy and Almighty God is and take the role of Jesus for granted in our lives today. Job had it right - we need to remember God's power and that he sent Jesus for us to have that mediator, someone to bridge the gap between our sin and God. For the purpose of a love-relationship with God that would not be possible if Jesus were not there cleansing us of our sin so we can approach the Holy of Holy's.

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year PassageJob 11-13; Acts 9:1-21

Monday, June 26, 2017

Monday, June 26th: Job 5-7; Acts 8:1-25 ~ Kezia

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is Job 5-7; Acts 8:1-25

In the New Testament reading, it talks about how something good came out of something bad. The church was being prosecuted forcing everyone to scatter, but wherever they got scattered, they preached the gospel and people were saved.

"Those who had been scattered preached the word wherever they went." Acts 8:4

When in difficult situations do we drag ourselves down and ask why such a thing would happen? Or do we use it as an advantage, and make something good out of it?

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage: Job 8-10; Acts 8:26-40

Sunday, June 25, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, June 24, 2017

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

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

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

Sometimes He does.  But not always.

We are always blessed when we are faithful - spiritually.

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, June 23, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, June 22, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

One last point.....

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, June 19, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, June 18, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, June 17, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, June 16, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Thursday, June 15th: Nehemiah 1-3, Acts 2:1-21 ~ Tammy

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is Nehemiah 1-3; Acts 2:1-21

I was struck by two things in our Nehemiah passage.

First, was that Nehemiah was obviously a man of integrity.  He had clearly lived in such a way that when he was distressed, his concerns were not only taken seriously, but every request was granted even above what he had asked for, by the king.

Second, was that Nehemiah didn't even think of going before the king or making any requests until he had first gone before God.   He prayed, he fasted, he repented, he glorified God.  He brought his need before the One whom he knew was sovereign, before he went to the king who would be used by Him for His glory.

Do we live with such integrity?
Do we recognize who is sovereign and do we go to Him first?

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage:  Nehemiah 4-6; Acts 2:22-47

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Wednesday, June 14th: Ezra 9-10, Acts 1 ~ Nathan

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is Ezra 9-10; Acts 1

In our reading from Ezra today, we read about how the Israelites inter married with foreign women, which was against what God wanted. Both chapters in today's old testament reading talk about this, Ezra gets on his knees and talks about how good God has been to the Israelites,

Ezra 9:8
“But now, for a brief moment, the Lord our God has been gracious in leaving us a remnant and giving us a firm place in his sanctuary, and so our God gives light to our eyes and little relief in our bondage

God was good to the Israelites, and they fell back and continued to sin. God is good to us, even through we continue to sin. Do we see our sin - and ask for forgiveness, then try our best to not repeat our sins?


Interesting that in Ezra 10: 18-44, the bible lists all who sinned in this way. Not often we read a list of names of those guilty.


Acts 1:9
After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight.

What an amazing sight this must have been! Jesus physically left, but we know that He will return one day. He completed what He came to do.

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage: Nehemiah 1-3; Acts 2:1-21

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Tuesday, June 13: Ezra 6-8; John 21 ~ Jody

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is: Ezra 6-8; John 21

Jesus Reinstates Peter
15 When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?”
“Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.”
16 Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”
He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.”
17 The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”
Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.”

I read the following in the Bible Commentary found here and thought it a great description of what's going on here between Jesus and Peter:

John Montgomery Boice (source of the "title" above) has a superb, practical introduction to this concluding section of John's Gospel… 
If each of us knew how sinful we really are, we would not be so shocked or subdued by our failures. But most of us do not know the depths of our own depravity. So we are shocked, particularly by a fall into serious moral sin or by our surprising ability to deny Jesus Christ. When we sin in such ways, it is a tactic of the devil to argue that, having sinned, we have forfeited our chance for a successful and happy Christian life and that we might as well go on sinning. Like most of the devil’s statements this is untrue. Though we sin, we have nevertheless not forfeited our chances for a full Christian life, nor dare we go on sinning. Instead, the Christian way is that of repentance and restoration. This is the point of the story of Peter’s restoration by Jesus in John 21. Peter had failed the Lord in his hour of apparent need. He had abandoned him and had compounded his cowardice by a threefold denial that he had ever known him. Yet Jesus loved Peter, and Peter knew that he loved Jesus.

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage:Ezra 9-10; Acts 1

Monday, June 12, 2017

Monday, June 12th: Ezra 3-5; John 20 ~ Kezia

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is Ezra 3-5; John 20

"Finally the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed." John 20:8

"Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe it." John 20:25

"Then Jesus told him, "Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed."" John 20:29

Sometimes it's easy to focus too much on physical proof. The cameras caught a picture of your vehicle running through a red light, proof you committed a crime. Your loved one surprises you by doing your least favourite chore, proof they love you. You earn a certificate when you graduate, proof you completed the course.

Jesus explains how much more valuable it is to have a faith that you don't even need physical proof to believe.

God doesn't just work in physical ways. Yes, Jesus did preform many miracles, but a lot of the work God does can't be seen. God gave us five different senses, and He can reveal Himself not just through sights, but other ways too. The phrase "a change of heart" is not meant literally, but rather as a symbol of God working through you.

So why then do we rely on God to "show himself" to us, in order for us to believe? Why should our loving, caring, and amazing Creator have to prove Himself?

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage: Ezra 6-8; John 21

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Sunday, June 11th: Ezra 1-2; John 19:23-42 ~ Emma

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is Ezra 1-2; John 19:23-42

What a wonderful gift we received from God, His only Son.

This is the story on which our faith is built. This is the story that reminds us that God is faithful. This is the story that gives us hope. The amount of torture Jesus went through for us is unimaginable. And to think He would've done that for me, even if I was the only person on earth. He is truly an all-powerful, all-loving, all-forgiving, beautiful God.

Thank you, God, for your unfathomable love and sacrifice. Help us to never forget all that You have done for us.

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year PassageEzra 3-5; John 20

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Saturday, June 10th: 2 Chronicles 34-36; John 19:1-22

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is 2 Chronicles 34-36; John 19:1-22

2 Chronicles 34: 3 In the eighth year of his reign, while he was still a youth, Josiah began to seek the God of his ancestor David, and in the twelfth year he began to cleanse Judah and Jerusalem of the high places, the Asherah poles, the carved images, and the cast images.

These verses are a great reminder that we are never too young to be passionate about following God, or effective in how we live our lives.

2 Chronicles 34:19 When the king heard the words of the law, he tore his clothes. 20 Then he commanded Hilkiah, Ahikam son of Shaphan, Abdon son of Micah, the court secretary Shaphan, and the king’s servant Asaiah, 21 “Go and inquire of the Lordfor me and for those remaining in Israel and Judah, concerning the words of the book that was found. For great is the Lord’s wrath that is poured out on usbecause our ancestors have not kept the word of the Lord in order to do everything written in this book.”

Do we take God's Word this seriously?  We have access to every single thing God wanted revealed to us.  How often do we neglect even reading it, never mind following it!

2 Chronicles 34:33 So Josiah removed everything that was detestable from all the lands belonging to the Israelites, and he required all who were present in Israel to serve the Lordtheir God. Throughout his reign they did not turn aside from following the Lord, the God of their ancestors.

Unfortunately, as we see from this passage, you cannot legislate a change of heart.  The people followed God as long as it was the law of the land, and as long as their King followed God - but clearly it wasn't a heart transformation for them, as it was for Josiah.  We need God to replace our heart of stone with a heart of flesh.