Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Wednesday, January 31st: Exodus 28-30, Galatians 3 ~ Tammy

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is Exodus 28-30, Galatians 3

2 I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by believing what you heard? 3 Are you so foolish? After beginning by means of the Spirit, are you now trying to finish by means of the flesh?[a] 4 Have you experienced[b] so much in vain—if it really was in vain? 5 So again I ask, does God give you his Spirit and work miracles among you by the works of the law, or by your believing what you heard?6 So also Abraham “believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.”[c]
This reminds me of the series Pastor Ron has been speaking on about living in the Spirit in covenant relationship with God - not by a checklist morality code (the law) or with a "me-first" attitude (fleshly desire, and completely misinterpreting our freedom in Christ).

28 There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
A great reminder that we are all of equal worth in God's eyes.  This doesn't mean that we're not different from each other, but that our worth is equal and that God's love and salvation is offered to all.

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year PassageExodus 31-33, Galations 4

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

January 30: Exodus 25-27, Galatians 2 ~ Danae

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is Exodus 25-27, Galatians 2

I have been crucified with Christ & I no longer live, but Christ lives on me – vs 20

I no longer live

The Message bible continues to say-
“The life you see me living is not “mine,” but it is lived by faith in the Son of God, who loved me & gave himself for me.”

When we give our lives to Christ, we give up ourselves. It should no longer be “all about me.”

How entitled do I live my life?
-I want this, I don’t want that, Why do I have to go through this?, Why me?

Am I looking to live in whatever way pleases me most & makes me the most comfortable or am I allowing Christ to live in me however he chooses?

Do I have enough faith in him to give up “me”?

Lord, help me to recognize that my life is not my own & allow you to live in & through me. You loved me enough to die for me, now help me to faithfully follow you wherever you lead.

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage:  Exodus 28-30, Galatians 3

Monday, January 29, 2018

Monday, January 29: Exodus 22-24, Galatians 1 ~by Pamela

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is Exodus 22-24, Galatians 1

Scripture: Galatians 1:6-7

I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ.

Observation: We cannot add or take away from God's word.

Application: I think distortion of the Bible is one of the biggest reasons people see the church as hypocritical. It devalues our message when we are at odds with each other as believers. Some things in the Bible are difficult to read. Sin is as bad as the Bible says it is even if society doesn't. Truth is truth. God loves, wants us, and desires the best for us. We fall short. We can't pick and choose what we want to believe as truth in God's word. How we live our lives draws others to God or pushes others away from God.

Prayer: Dear Lord, just as the Galatians needed to be reminded by Paul that we are not to turn from Christ, we too turn away from God's message to suit our own wants and desires. Help us to seek the truth and know the truth so that we might not be responsible for allow ourselves to stray and leading others down the wrong path. Lord, guide us, one step at a time, towards your plan for each of us. Amen.

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year PassageExodus 25-27, Galatians 2

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Saturday, January 27th: Exodus 19-21, Mark 16 ~ Tammy

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is Exodus 19-21, Mark 16

Our NT passage that describes the women finding the empty tomb is an excellent example of the integrity, accuracy, and truthfulness of the Bible.  In those days, women were not even allowed to testify in court.  If someone was making up a story about the resurrection, they would never have women as the first ones to make the discovery and witness the event!  And if someone was trying to write the events in a way to best convince the reader, instead of being concerned about historical accuracy, they would have lied and changed the story so that the men were the first to find Jesus.

There are many ways we can know that the Biblical account is accurate, and this is one of them!

Tomorrow: Catch Up Day!
Monday's Bible In a Year Passage:  Exodus 22-24, Galatians 1

Friday, January 26, 2018

Friday, January 26: Exodus 16-18; Mark 15 ~ Emma

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is Exodus 16-18; Mark 15

“The people passing by shouted abuse, shaking their heads in mockery. “Ha! Look at you now!” they yelled at him. “You said you were going to destroy the Temple and rebuild it in three days. Well then, save yourself and come down from the cross!”” - Mark‬ ‭15:29-30‬

Every time I read this part of the scripture, I get so angry at these people for ridiculing Jesus. And I always think, if I was Jesus, I would’ve wanted to prove myself to these people and show them just how powerful I was, and cast fire down from Heaven on them, or something. But that’s part of what makes the gospel as great as it is. I would imagine the human part of Jesus would’ve been tempted to do something like I said. But the God part of Jesus knew this was all part of His Father’s plan, and without dying, He wouldn’t be able to save these people if they were to one day ask for forgiveness. To think, Jesus died for all sinners, including those mockers. And those mockers, to be completely honest, have been us at different stages of our lives. How wonderful of a God we serve that He would still want us after mocking Him like that. I am so thankful for His love and forgiveness.

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year PassageExodus 19-21; Mark 16

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Thursday, January 25th: Exodus 13-15, Mark 14: 32-72 ~ Nathan

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is Exodus 13-15, Mark 14: 32-72

Exodus 14: 13-14
Moses answered the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. [14] The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.”

God told the Israelites to not worry or fear, He would help them

Exodus 14: 21-22
Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and all that night the Lord drove the sea back with a strong east wind and turned it into dry land. The waters were divided, [22] and the Israelites went through the sea on dry ground, with a wall of water on their right and on their left.

The Israelites had seen many miracles already, and how God was helping them. Would their faith be strong enough to not worry and just trust?

Exodus 14: 31
And when the Israelites saw the mighty hand of the Lord displayed against the Egyptians, the people feared the Lord and put their trust in him and in Moses his servant.

This is an amazing miracle, God helped the Israelites escape death and also proved to them again that He was with them and would help. But as the Israelites moved on in their journey they forgot how God had helped them in the past and were more concerned with their present problem of thirst.

Exodus 15:24
So the people grumbled against Moses, saying, “What are we to drink ?”

Do we forget all that God has done for us already? He has died for us and given us the opportunity to be saved. As we face issues that come up that change our plans, and can bring us down, we need to remember the big picture - how God has loved us and cared for us and promises to keep doing this for us.

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage: Exodus 16-18, Mark 15

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Wednesday, January 24th: Exodus 10-12, Mark 14:1-31 ~ Tammy

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is Exodus 10-12, Mark 14:1-31

3 While he was in Bethany, reclining at the table in the home of Simon the Leper, a woman came with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, made of pure nard. She broke the jar and poured the perfume on his head.

4 Some of those present were saying indignantly to one another, “Why this waste of perfume? 5 It could have been sold for more than a year’s wages[a] and the money given to the poor.” And they rebuked her harshly.

6 “Leave her alone,” said Jesus. “Why are you bothering her? She has done a beautiful thing to me. 7 The poor you will always have with you,[b] and you can help them any time you want. But you will not always have me. 8 She did what she could. She poured perfume on my body beforehand to prepare for my burial.9 Truly I tell you, wherever the gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.”

One thing that stood out to me in this passage was the difference between a good choice and a better choice.

Obviously, giving money to the poor is a good choice.

But, just because something is a good choice, doesn't mean it's the best choice or even the right choice.

Motive plays a huge factor in what the best choice is as well.  Pridefully giving money to the poor may appear good on the outside, but it's a sin on the inside.

This woman honoured Jesus with her heart and her actions.  And that was the best choice.

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage:  Exodus 13-15, Mark 14:32-72

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Tuesday, January 23: Exodus 7-9, Mark 13 ~ Danae

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is Exodus 7-9, Mark 13

Mark 13:5-6
Jesus said to them: “Watch out that no one deceives you. Many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am he,’ & will deceive many.”

Mark 13:22-23
For false Christs & false prophets will appear & perform signs & miracles to deceive the elect – if that were possible. So be on your guard; I have told you everything ahead of time.

I have read these verses (& others similar) many times & find them scary.  If the deception will come from within; how do we guard ourselves against it?

However, when I read vs 22 today, those words “if that were possible” really stuck out to me. After reading it again, I realized that it didn’t say that they (the false prophets) did deceive only that they came to deceive.

We have hope!  “If that were possible,” & Jesus goes on to say, “I have told you everything ahead of time.”
God has given us what we need in order to recognize truth and/or false teaching through his word & continual access to him through prayer.

Now, there will definitely be many that will be deceived.  I believe this will largely happen if we take our focus off of God & his will & turn it to our own wills & selfish desires. When we start making the bible “work for us” & reading it through our own eyes (in order to justify ourselves) instead of through God’s eyes, we have lost our focus.

We need to read God’s word, searching for true understanding from him.

Mark 13:33
Be on guard! Be alert! You do not know when that time will come

We don’t know when we will be confronted with false teaching (in many ways we already are when we hear of churches accepting gay lifestyles & teachings that seem to just appease the crowd rather than to “step on toes” bringing forth truth) but we need to be prepared.  Search the bible & grow in faith now, so that we will be ready & can recognize it.

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage: Exodus 10-12, Mark 14:1-31

Monday, January 22, 2018

Monday, January 22: Exodus 4-6, Mark 12:28-44 Kaden

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is: Exodus 4-6, Mark 12:28-44

I have always questioned why God said, while talking about Pharaoh to Moses, "but I will harden his heart, so that he will not let the people go." but after reading and rereading I have come to the realization that since in chapter 4 when God hardens Pharaoh's heart, he makes his promise of deliverance in chapter 6 and told Moses that the stone heart of pharaoh will drive the Israelites with a strong hand, and thus making an easier escape from Egypt.

When Jesus answered answered the scribe that the second most important commandment is, "love you neighbour as yourself" we can find it very hard in our society to fulfill this as we tend to be very judgemental, but as we look upon everyone else in our lives we need to remember the only true judge is God, and since we need to love others as ourselves, we can only look upon others as we would look at ourselves.

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

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Saturday, January 20th: Exodus 1-3; Mark 12:1-27 ~ Tammy

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is Exodus 1-3; Mark 12:1-27

I love the story of Moses, and how God shines through every part of it.

God orchestrated Pharaoh’s daughter finding Moses and raising him in the palace so he would be familiar with the royal household and how things worked.

God gave Miriam the courage to speak up to the princess and the wisdom to offer her and Moses’ mother to nurse him, giving him the opportunity to have the Jewish faith impressed upon him at an early age.

God chose Moses right from the beginning, preparing him for the leadership role He had planned.

But He didn’t choose Moses because he was overwhelmingly qualified! Indeed, he murdered a man, fled for forty years, and gave God all kinds of excuses as to why he couldn’t lead the people.

But God chose him, and God strengthened him, and God turned him into one of the greatest leaders Israel had ever known.

All glory be to God!

Tomorrow is catch up day!
Monday's Bible In a Year PassageExodus 4-6, Mark 12:28-44

Friday, January 19, 2018

Friday, January 19th: Genesis 49-50; Mark 11

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is Genesis 49-50; Mark 11

“But Joseph replied, “Don’t be afraid of me. Am I God, that I can punish you? You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people. No, don’t be afraid. I will continue to take care of you and your children.” So he reassured them by speaking kindly to them.” - Genesis‬ ‭50:19-21

Joseph’s brothers had caused such terrible things to happen in Joseph’s life. From a human perspective, it would have been very understandable for him to punish them with the power he now had, out of revenge or anger. But Joseph knew that that was not what God wanted. God had used his position for the good, and Joseph knew he needed to forgive his brothers because that’s what God would want him to do.

How many times in my life have I not forgiven someone over something way smaller than getting sold by my family and thrown in prison for years? We need to forgive other people who have wronged us, and not have anger against them. It doesn’t mean it’s okay what they did, it just means we won’t hold it against them anymore. God has forgiven us, so we need to forgive others.

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year PassageExodus 1-3; Mark 12:1-27

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Thursday, January 18th: Genesis 46-48, Mark 10: 23-52 ~ Nathan

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is Genesis 46-48, Mark 10: 23-52

Genesis 46:29
Joseph had his chariot made ready and went to Goshen to meet his father Israel. As soon as Joseph appeared before him, he threw his arms around his father and wept for a long time.

What an emotional and exhilarating moment this must have been. After all that Joseph had been through, the ups and downs, after his brothers sold him, to finally meet his father again and see all of his family. Truly God was with him throughout this journey.

How many times do we feel down about how things are going? Is our story over, will it end on a bad note? If we have Jesus in our lives, and trust in Him daily, it will end even better then Joseph's story ended!

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage: Genesis 49-50, Mark 11

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Wednesday, January 17th: Genesis 43-45, Mark 10:1-22 ~ Tammy

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is Genesis 43-45, Mark 10:1-22

17 As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. “Good teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
18 “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone. 19 You know the commandments: ‘You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, you shall not defraud, honor your father and mother.’[d]”
20 “Teacher,” he declared, “all these I have kept since I was a boy.”
21 Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
22 At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth.

There are many things we can take from this passage, but one thing hit me that hasn't before.

The question was "what must I do to inherit eternal life?"
The answer is - we can never do enough.  Never.  We cannot do a thing to gain eternal life. 

Jesus did it all.  He lived a perfect life, He died in our place, He conquered death and sin by rising again. 

We did nothing.  We are spiritually dead in our sins.  We cannot resurrect ourselves.

But thanks be to God, He can.  And when He awakens our hearts, then we come to Him in repentance, we determine to be His followers, and we rely on His power to change us from that day until eternity.

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage:  Genesis 46-48, Mark 10: 23-52

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Tuesday, January 16th: Genesis 40-42, Mark 9:33-50 ~ Danae

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is Genesis 40-42, Mark 9:33-50

This is one of those passages that screams at me, “you say you’re a Christian, now how is that changing you?”

Pastor Ron’s message on Sunday just really sinks in together with this passage & really makes me think:
I am a Christian but where’s my heart at?
- Are my actions in line with my heart?
- Do I just do the right thing because that’s what I’m to do (possibly even just to have others think more highly of me)?
- Do I do the right thing all the while having negative thoughts toward the person or situation?
- OR Do I follow Christ with everything in me & is my heart’s desire to genuinely obey his teachings?
- Am I genuine or am I just acting it out?

Mark 9:35
…”if anyone wants to be first, he must be the very last, & the servant of all”

- I need to look to serve; get rid of my pride & humble myself
- I need Love – it’s not good enough to just sit in the director’s chair or just hand out money from the comfort of your home – I need to look for ways to help others; get involved, get my hands dirty

Mark 9:41
“I tell you the truth, anyone who gives you a cup of water in my name because you belong to Christ will certainly not lose his reward.”

- The least is the greatest
- Only when my heart is truly humbled before God & I genuinely serve him, will I find true value in my faith

Mark 9:50
“Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can you make it salty again? Have salt in yourselves & be at peace with each other”

- I need to make a difference in this world
- If I’m just “going through the motions” of acting Christian, it won’t carry me
- I need to intently seek God, make him the lover of my soul, so that I can be shaped from the inside out
- At that point, my actions will hold true value

The more time I spend seeking God, the more my heart will align with his & my actions will become completely genuine.

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage: Genesis 43-45, Mark 10:1-22

Monday, January 15, 2018

Monday, January 15: Genesis 37-39, Mark 9:1-32 ~by Pamela

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is Genesis 37-39, Mark 9:1-32

What an encouragement it is to read about the shortcomings and trials of Bible "heroes":

Joseph tormented his brothers by flaunting his coat and bragging incessantly about his dreams.
Judah, (Jesus' lineage), advocated to sell his brother as a slave for financial gain...
then helped concoct an elaborate lie about Joseph's death to send his father into depression...
and held back his youngest son after he promised his daughter in law.
Then Judah slept with a "prostitute" (which may have been a common practice since Tamar knew exactly where to be) and ended up getting his daughter in law pregnant.
Tamar, one of the few women mentioned in Jesus' family tree, seduced her father in law when he didn't follow through on his promise to give her his youngest son in marriage.
Joseph fled from Potiphar's wife but ended up in jail.
The disciples could not cast of spirits, didn't comprehend the magnitude of Jesus' ministry, and were afraid to ask about things they didn't understand.

These people were instrumental key figures in the Bible and yet they were so far from perfect. They were boastful, selfish, liars, promiscuous, deceivers, suffered adversity, fearful, naive, and sometimes, unbelieving.

Yet, God chooses to use these people in ways that have had lessons that endure. We can see how God can use the unqualified. We can understand that God does not require perfection but can work with us just as we are.

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year PassageGenesis 40-42, Mark 9:33-50

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Saturday, January 13th: Genesis 34-36; Mark 8 ~ Tammy

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is Genesis 34-36; Mark 8

I've appreciated Ray Vander Laan's cultural explanations of the Bible.  The feeding of the five thousand and four thousand is no exception.

I found a summary here....

The lesson is taught at the Decapolis (Ten Cities), founded by the Greeks. They considered the pig sacred, and practiced the fertility cult of Baal.
In Rabinnic tradition, this is where Joshua drove the seven nations out of the Promised Land (Joshua 3:10; Acts 13:9). And yet Jesus ministered both the Jews and to the seven nations.
Mark 6:39-43 takes place in Capernaum. Jesus fed the people with 5 loves and 2 fish. The disciples picked up 12 baskets of leftover bread and fish — meaning that Jesus was the bread of life to the 12 tribes.
In Mark 7:31, 8:6-8 Jesus fed 4,000 at the Decapolis, and 7 baskets were leftover — showing that Jesus is the bread of life even to the seven nations driven from the Promised Land.
Jesus is the bread of life, for everyone!

Tomorrow: Catch up day
Monday's Bible In a Year PassageGenesis 37-39, Mark 9:1-32

Friday, January 12, 2018

Friday, January 12th: Genesis 31-33; Mark 7 ~ Emma

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is Genesis 31-33; Mark 7

“It’s not what goes into your body that defiles you; you are defiled by what comes from your heart.”
 - Mark‬ ‭7:15‬

This is one of the many places in the bible where Jesus says He wants our hearts. He doesn’t want our rules and religion, He just wants us to know and love Him, and from that love others. He wants a change in our hearts, not in the way we eat, or the number of steps we take on the Sabbath. He wants us to offer ourselves completely to Him, so we can be changed by Him, act like Him, and love like Him. So we need to focus on having a heart for God, rather than counting every single good deed we do. Because from a good, Jesus-loving heart, comes good, Jesus-honouring deeds.

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year PassageGenesis 34-36; Mark 8

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Thursday, January 11th: Genesis 28-30, Mark 6: 30-56 ~ Nathan

Today's reading reminded me that the people we read about in the Bible were human just as we are, they made mistakes but in the end stayed faithful to God.

Issac, Jacob's father, called for and blessed Jacob (ch 28 vs 1), Jacob had just cheated his brother into getting the blessing for himself. Issac knew this and sent Jacob away, for safety.

Jacob then goes to live with his uncle Laban, and ends up sleeping with both of Labans daughters as well as their servants, and has children with all of them.

These incidents make these men look bad. We also may or may not have done these same things ourselves, or done something similar. Either way, we are sinners, just as Issac and Jacob were, and need forgiveness. I am thankful that God doesn't give up on me after I sin, and that I can come to Him for forgiveness. Issac and Jacob went on to do great things for God.

Only God can truly forgive our sin, He wants us to come to Him for forgiveness and a fresh start.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Wednesday, January 10th: Genesis 25-27, Mark 6:1-29 ~ Tammy

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is Genesis 25-27, Mark 6:1-29

The story of how Herodias finally got her wish to have John killed is a disturbing one.

There are so many lessons learned here but the biggest two are that sin begets sin, and one moment has far reaching consequences.

Herodias and Herod's sinful relationship led to her harbouring a grudge against John who was willing to call a spade a spade, which led to murderous rage and the death of John the Baptist.

Herod's decision to get drunk caused him to rashly promise his step-daughter anything she wanted, his pride wouldn't allow him to back down to her request despite the fact that he knew John was a righteous and holy man, and he murdered an innocent man.

In one moment.  One rash command, one weak moment, one horrendous choice and a man's life was ended.  That choice could not be undone, no matter how much Herod regretted it.

One lie tends to follow another.  Unbridled anger turns into harsh words that cannot be taken back.  Sin follows sin, and the only way to stop it is repentance.  Thankfully there is forgiveness, there is grace, when we turn away from our sin and turn to God.

But even though there is forgiveness, we can't undo sin and we can't undo it's consequences.

We need to take sin seriously. We need to fight it.  We need to root it out of our lives. We cannot be complacent.  We cannot take it lightly.  We cannot trivialize it.  We need to destroy it.

We can't do it.  Not on our own. But He has the strength, He has the power, and He has promised to complete His work in us to perfection at the day of Christ Jesus - all glory and thanks be to Him!

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year PassageGenesis 28-30, Mark 6:30-56

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Tuesday, January 9: Genesis 22-24, Mark 5:21-43 ~ Danae

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is Genesis 22-24, Mark 5:21-43

Mark 5:28
Because she thought, “If I can just touch his clothes, I will be healed”

Here is a lady who has suffered for years. She is in an impossible situation & had tried everything. Then comes along a man named Jesus who people say heals. A man she’s never heard of before but after learning of him, knows she needs to see him.

She seeks Jesus out, fully believing in His power.  How do we know this?
“At once Jesus realized that power had gone out from him. He turned around in the crowd & asked, ‘Who touched my clothes?’ ‘You see the people crowding around you,’ his disciples answered, ‘and yet you can ask, who touched me?’ (vs 30-31)
If she hadn’t believed fully, she would have experienced no more than all those crowding him.

Jesus doesn’t get angry with her for coming to him; he embraced her.
“Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace & be freed from your suffering” (vs 34)

How does this apply to us?
>Jesus was her last resort (however she probably at that point had just learned of the Healer)
>>Why so often is Jesus our last resort? Why don’t we seek him first? Why do we think we need to do it on our own?

>an impossible situation that he cured with no effort (he wasn’t purposely demonstrating his power, it just flowed from him)
>>he can handle the small, the big & everything in between; he can handle anything we face

>Jesus loved her for her faith, for seeking him
>>Jesus wants us to come to him. He is waiting for us to trust him so fully that we continually seek him & only him, knowing that there is no better way

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage: Genesis 25-27, Mark 6:1-29

Monday, January 8, 2018

Monday, January 8th: Genesis 19-21, Mark 5:1-20 ~ Kaden

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is Genesis 19-21, Mark 5:1-20

Genesis 21:12-13 says “Be not displeased because of the boy and because of your slave woman. Whatever Sarah says to you, do as she tells you, for through Isaac shall your offspring be named. 13 And I will make a nation of the son of the slave woman also, because he is your offspring.”

When I read this, it reminded me of God's unconditional love. Verse 13 says, "And I will make a nation of the son of the slave woman also, because he is your offspring." Here God tells Abraham that even though he made the mistake of sleeping with the slave women, God wants to keep his promise that he made with Abraham and make a nation of his offspring. This shows that no matter what we do, God will always keep his promises that he has made with us.

Mark 5:16-19 "and those who had seen it described to them what had happened to the demon-possessed man and to the pigs. 17 And they began to beg Jesus[d] to depart from their region...'Go home to your friends and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.'"

Here Jesus performs the miracle of casting away demons from a man. There are two perceptions to this passage, 1) From the possessed man's point of view, and 2) the by stander's point of view. For the man, he experienced the miracle that Jesus displayed, and was full of joy after he was no longer possessed by the unclean spirits, and was now able to see his friends and family. There was also the view of the bystanders, they saw Jesus rid the spirits and cast them into the nearby pigs, they were all struck with fear and then cast Jesus out of their land. The two views represent our relationships with God, either we dive into his word and live out his truths, or we walk away from what he tells us to do, and we no longer know who he is and we become the bystanders scared of the life God wants us to live.

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year PassageGenesis 22-24 Mark 5:21-43

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Saturday, January 6th: Genesis 16-18; Mark 4:21-41 ~ Tammy

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is Genesis 16-18; Mark 4:21-41

35 That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side.” 36 Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him. 37 A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. 38 Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?”

39 He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.

40 He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?”

41 They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!”

I'm with the disciples on this one!  I would've been afraid during that storm (and there were seasoned fishermen in this group who knew when it was time to be afraid of a storm, so I can only imagine how bad it was!).  And I would also have been terrified in the face of the utterly awesome power of Jesus taking that storm from crazy intense to completely calm, with three words.

Even when I try to imagine it, it's almost incomprehensible!

And THAT power, lives in us.

Reminds me of the Jeremy Camp song "Same Power".....

"Same Power"
I can see
Waters raging at my feet
I can feel
The breath of those surrounding me
I can hear
The sound of nations rising up
We will not be overtaken
We will not be overcome

I can walk
Down this dark and painful road
I can face
Every fear of the unknown
I can hear
All God's children singing out
We will not be overtaken
We will not be overcome

The same power that rose Jesus from the grave
The same power that commands the dead to wake
Lives in us, lives in us
The same power that moves mountains when He speaks
The same power that can calm a raging sea
Lives in us, lives in us
He lives in us, lives in us

We have hope
That His promises are true
In His strength
There is nothing we can’t do
Yes, we know
There are greater things in store
We will not be overtaken
We will not be overcome

The same power that rose Jesus from the grave
The same power that commands the dead to wake
Lives in us, lives in us
The same power that moves mountains when He speaks
The same power that can calm a raging sea
Lives in us, lives in us
He lives in us, lives in us

Greater is He that is living in me
He's conquered our enemy
No power of darkness
No weapon prevails
We stand here in victory

The same power that rose Jesus from the grave
The same power that commands the dead to wake
Lives in us, lives in us
The same power that moves mountains when He speaks
The same power that can calm a raging sea
Lives in us, lives in us
He lives in us, lives in us

God, he lives in us

Tomorrow: Catch Up Day!
This week's passages......
January 1st: Genesis 1-3, Mark 1:1-28
January 2nd: Genesis 4-6 Mark 1:29-45
January 3rd: Genesis 7-9, Mark 2
January 4th: Genesis 10-12, Mark 3
January 5th: Genesis 13-15, Mark 4:1-20
January 6th: Genesis 16-18; Mark 4:21-41

Monday's Bible In a Year PassageGenesis 19-21, Mark 5:1-20

Friday, January 5, 2018

Friday, January 5th: Genesis 13-15; Mark 4:1-20 ~ Emma

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is Genesis 13-15; Mark 4:1-20

“The seed that fell among the thorns represents others who hear God’s word, but all too quickly the message is crowded out by the worries of this life, the lure of wealth, and the desire for other things, so no fruit is produced.” - Mark‬ ‭4:18-19‬

I find that for myself (as well as many other believers) that this is sometimes the outcome of what we learn at church. It’s very easy to just say “well I’ve heard this before so I’m just gonna tune out”, or think about other things during church like worrying about an upcoming exam or work deadline, or what you will make for supper, or who’s driving who where after church. It’s so easy to make yourself believe you’re doing “all the right things” and then even question God why you don’t see any results in your spiritual life. We need to start not only hearing the message at church, but actually pay attention to it, and apply it to our lives. And we need to start not only whispering the words to the worship songs under our breath, but actually sing to the Lord for how great He is. Let’s stop being the seed that fell among the thorns, and start being the seed that, under the Farmer’s care, produces bountiful crops.

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year PassageGenesis 16-18; Mark 4:21-41

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Thursday, January 4th: Genesis 10-12, Mark 3 ~ Tammy

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is Genesis 10-12, Mark 3

In our NT passage today we see Jesus choosing his disciples.

Ray Vander Laan has some interesting thoughts on this cultural significance.....

Like other rabbis of his day, Jesus had disciples called talmidim, devout followers who were probably in their mid-teens.

Gifted students approached a rabbi and asked, "May I follow you?" in effect, saying, "Do I have what it takes to be like you?" The rabbi either accepted the student as a talmid or sent him away to pursue a trade. Jesus broke this pattern when he chose his own talmidim. As he asked his disciples to follow him, they knew without a doubt that their rabbi believed in them.

A talmid followed the rabbi everywhere, often without knowing or asking where he was going. He rarely left his rabbi's side for fear that he would miss a teachable moment. And he watched the rabbi's every move, noting how he acted and thought about a variety of situations.

Talmidim trusted their rabbi completely. They worked passionately to incorporate the rabbi's actions and words into their lives. The disciples' deepest desire was to follow their rabbi so closely that they would start to think and act like him.

Jesus' twelve disciples ultimately succeeded in becoming like their rabbi: Their missionary efforts changed the world, and most of them gave their lives in the process....

Today, most of Jesus' followers lack the passion of the talmidim. We think of discipleship as learning theological knowledge rather than devoting our lives to the Rabbi.

All too often, God's people miss opportunities to experience God's power.... We are just too busy with our own schedules and goals. Or we are too afraid to leave our security behind.

But as we look at Jesus' talmidim, we are challenged to radical discipleship, following the Rabbi wherever he leads, no matter how scared we may feel, and no matter what he asks us to leave behind.

Jesus truly believes his disciples can become like him, even when we feel tired, fallen, or incapable. The first twelve disciples were ordinary people, but with God's power, they transformed the world.

Our world still needs transformation. It is filled with superficiality and selfishness, and people yearn for something real. They aren't impressed by hypocrites, but rather take notice when someone puts everything on the line for their God.

If Christians are willing to demonstrate radical discipleship, the people around us may just want to meet our Rabbi for themselves.

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year PassageGenesis 13-15, Mark 4:1-20

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Wednesday, January 3rd: Genesis 7-9, Mark 2 ~ Tammy

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is Genesis 7-9, Mark 2

Mark 2:1-5 When Jesus returned to Capernaum several days later, the news spread quickly that he was back home. 2 Soon the house where he was staying was so packed with visitors that there was no more room, even outside the door. While he was preaching God’s word to them, 3 four men arrived carrying a paralyzed man on a mat. 4 They couldn’t bring him to Jesus because of the crowd, so they dug a hole through the roof above his head. Then they lowered the man on his mat, right down in front of Jesus. 5 Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the paralyzed man, “My child, your sins are forgiven.”

Every time I read this story I am impressed with the quality of faith in this man's friends.

If this man had had other friends, this situation could've unfolded a lot differently.

They couldn't bring him to Jesus because of the crowd, so they waited outside, hoping to see Jesus later.
They couldn't bring him to Jesus because of the crowd, so they decided to wait until the next day.
They couldn't bring him to Jesus because of the crowd, so they went home.

But that's not what happened.
They couldn't bring him to Jesus because of the crowd, so they dug a hole through the roof about his head. Then they lowered the man on his mat, right down in front of Jesus.

They literally dug a hole through the roof.  That is determination!  That is being willing to risk some social fall out (there must have been some serious debris falling on people's heads as they interrupted the gathering).  That is being willing to pay the price (I'm sure they helped fix the roof!).

That is faith.

Sometimes faith seems to be seen as us somehow doing God a favour.  He asks us to accept him, and eventually we give in.  No!  We are the ones who are undeserving.  We are the ones that should be doing everything in our power to search for the treasure of salvation.

Dr Rayburn says.....
We will see how often in Mark as in the other Gospels this matter of striving after salvation is emphasized. Jesus himself makes a great point of it. In one sermon he said, “Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to.” These men tried the door and found it blocked but still were not deterred. In another place Jesus said, “The kingdom of heaven is forcefully advancing and forceful men lay hold of it.” And how often in the events of his life and in his parables does the Lord emphasize this matter of making every effort and devoting all one’s powers to obtain God’s salvation. Blind beggars cry out until the crowd, thoroughly annoyed, yells at them to shut up, which they refuse to do until Jesus takes notice of them and their plight. Others come from a great distance to have Jesus touch them. The kingdom of heaven, he says on one occasion is like a man who sold everything he had to buy a field because he knew that treasure was buried there.
And, on the other hand, how often in the Lord’s teaching and in his encounters with people, the one who fails to find salvation is somewhat interested, somewhat committed, but not enough. Think of the rich young ruler who wanted to be saved but didn’t want to have to part with his first love – money – in order to be saved. There was the man who came to the wedding feast but wasn’t sufficiently concerned to be properly dressed. There were the five virgins who went out to meet the Lord at midnight but took no precautions to ensure that they would have sufficient oil for their lamps. They were too cavalier, too unconcerned; they didn’t care enough about the salvation of God.
From the beginning of the Bible to the end salvation is obtained by those who permit nothing to stand in their way and is missed by those who, however seemingly interested, at last seek it with only half heartedly. True faith, saving faith climbs steep steps and digs through roofs until Jesus has been found and has bestowed his grace. If the Scripture tells us that faith in Christ is necessary then we will pray for true faith, we will resolutely set ourselves to believing in Jesus about everything and then knowing our weakness, conscious of it, we will over and over again pray to the Lord, “Lord I believe; help my unbelief.” If the Scripture says that true and living faith in Jesus, the kind of faith that saves the soul must produce love, obedience, service, and prayer, then we will not rest until all those things are faithfully, honestly, and increasingly represented in our lives. If the Scripture says that if we shrink back we will not receive what is promised, then we must continue to follow hard after the Lord and take care our commitment to him does not flag. This is the way it is with the person who obtains the forgiveness of his or her sins and entrance into eternal life. He bends every effort, she brooks no obstacles, he is daunted by no opposition because he knows, she knows that compared to this nothing else matters.
Nothing else matters!

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year PassageGenesis 10-12, Mark 3

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Tuesday, January 2: Genesis 1-3, Mark 1:29-45 ~ Danae

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is Genesis 4-6, Mark 1:29-45

I'm doing the New Testament portion of the reading plan this year & so my posts will be based on that portion.

Mark 1:40-41-
A man with a skin disease came to Jesus. He fell to his knees & begged Jesus, "You can heal me if you will."  Jesus felt sorry for the man, so he reached out his hand & touched him & said, "I will. Be healed!"

Jesus shows love & compassion first!

A man with leprosy would have been outcast. He probably would have had very limited contact with others & likely no physical contact in a long time. I can imagine he would have felt very lonely but more than that I believe each person longs for physical touch. Some maybe wouldn't agree with that as they may not be "huggers" but I think deep down each person needs to physically feel loved.  Just a touch, a hand on the shoulder or a hug can be huge to a person all alone.

Jesus, before saying anything, reached out & touched him. He showed his love & concern first.  The healing came but he showed his love while the man was still unclean.

God doesn’t wait for us to be “clean,” or perfect to love us. He loves us first and he waits for us.

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage: Genesis 7-9, Mark 2

Monday, January 1, 2018

Monday, January 1: Genesis 1-3, Mark 1:1-28 ~ by Pamela

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is Genesis 1-3, Mark 1:1-28

As we begin a new year, it seems fitting to start at the beginning. 

The Bible begins:

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters...

and then God created light and the light was good.
and then God created sky and it was good.
and then God created the land and it was good.
and then God created the plants, trees, and fruit and it was good.
and then God created the sun and the moon and the stars and it was good.
and then God created the birds and the fish and it was good.
and then God created the animals and it was good.
and then God created people and that was VERY good.

That was the beginning and here we are at the beginning of a new year....a clean slate...a chance to begin new habits, new changes, new adventures.

God created this new year and it is good.
God created the sun and the moon to rise and set on the days and the weeks and it is good.
God created the upcoming seasons and it is good.
God created the place where we live for a purpose and it is good.
God created all the people we will interact with, they were created in God's image and they are good. 

However, as we continue to read today's text, things didn't stay good. Even though everything in the world at that time was perfect, bad choices were made and humanity became separated from God. When we begin a new year, it can seem like we have a brand new opportunity to begin anew. However, as 2018 unfolds, it likely won't always stay good either even though God created it that way. The choices we make could have disastrous consequences. When we stand at the end of this newyear, what choices will be be proud of and which choices will we regret? We will likely have some of each during 2018.
Our New Testament reading offers hope for those regretful decisions:
15 ...Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. 15 “The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!”
We have a way "out" of our bad choices. We can repent and believe. We have hope in the God who created the universe, who created us (knowing how we would wander), and called it all good.

Happy New Year! 

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year PassageGenesis 4-6 Mark 1:29-45


Click here for the NT Focus plan.

Today is January 1st and the New Year has begun! I am so excited to begin our 9th year at The Bible in a Year and Beyond - welcome to everyone that is joining us this year!

This year we have decided to follow a a plan that includes readings from both the Old and New Testaments every day, it is a 6 Day a Week plan which leaves one day for catching up, and is somewhat chronological where possible. 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.  I, personally, am going to be exclusively studying the NT portion, but reading it several times from different versions - (see NT Focus Plan link above, or in sidebar) Either way - this is another option for you if you'd like.  Use this reading plan however it makes sense for you.

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 returning posters are Nathan, Emma, Pamela, and myself.  Danae is back after a short break, and Pamela's son Kaden is joining us for the first time! 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: Monday, January 1st: Genesis 1-3, Mark 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, Mark 1:1-28

My thoughts on today's blog...

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage passage: Genesis 4-6; Mark 1:29-45

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, Mark, 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 (Danae, Kaden) - 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!