Daily Bible Reading

The great pursuit

Psalm 23 is one of my favourite passages in the entire Bible. I attribute this to my mother. While she was pregnant with me, she took up a project to cross stitch the entire chapter. She completed it in the hospital right before I was born. It’s now framed and hangs on the wall in my bedroom and is one of the last things I see before I go to bed every night.

Psalm 23

There is so much packed into these six verses. I can barely begin to scratch the surface, but I want to give you a little bit from each verse.

The Lord is my shepherd;
I have everything I need.

Psalm 23:1 (NLT)

If we follow Jesus like sheep do a shepherd, our needs will be fulfilled. God isn’t a magic genie to see to our needs and whims when we feel like rubbing the lamp. He is there to lead us and guide us. It’s under His guidance that our needs our met.

He lets me rest in green meadows;
He leads me beside peaceful streams.

Psalm 23:2 (NLT)

Turmoil and stress don’t have to be a part of our daily lives. Like being under God’s guidance allows for our needs to be met, if we follow His lead, we will be drawn to rest and peace.

He renews my strength.
He guides me along right paths,
bringing honor to his name.

Psalm 23:3 (NLT)

Strength is required to walk God’s path. There is nothing that says walking with God will be easy, but He does give us the strength to do it. And, if we’re not bringing honour to His name, we’re probably not on His path.

Even when I walk
through the dark valley of death,
I will not be afraid,
for you are close beside me.
Your rod and your staff
protect and comfort me.

Psalm 23:4 (NLT)

When, not if. We will go through dark times. That’s pretty much a guarantee. But even in those times, God has promised that He will be with us—guiding us, protecting us, comforting us.

You prepare a feast for me
in the presence of my enemies.
You welcome me as a guest,
anointing my head with oil.
My cup overflows with blessings.

Psalm 23:5 (NLT)

Our enemies will not suddenly decide to leave us alone because we decide to put our trust in God. We will still have enemies. They may still surround us. Yet God is there, providing for us in the middle of the battleground. And there, we can even find blessings!

Surely your goodness and unfailing love
will pursue me.
all the days of my life,
And I will live in the house of the Lord forever.

Psalm 23:6 (NLT)

We make a grave mistake when we believe we have to chase after God’s love. His love comes after us. His love is there in peaceful rest. His love is there in the dark valley of death. His love is there in the presence of our enemies. His love is there in His house.

It’s time to stop chasing after God’s love. If we’d only just slow down for a moment, it will catch up to us and overtake us. In His love, we will find peace, rest, strength, guidance, provision, anointing, blessing, and goodness.

We don’t have to pursue God’s love because He is always pursuing us.

Daily Bible reading: Psalm 22-24, Acts 20:1-16

Daily Bible Reading

Never fail

Sometimes I like to look up words that I hear a lot. In the church, we often hear that God will neither fail nor forsake us. But what the heck does forsake really mean? It’s almost Shakespearean in nature.

FORSAKE: to quit or leave entirely; to desert; to abandon; to depart from; to renounce; to reject; to leave; to withdraw from.

As Moses’ time as leader over Israel is coming to a close, God is giving him a few parting words for Israel and for Joshua—the man who would take Moses’ place.

Be strong and courageous! Do no be afraid of them! The Lord your God will go ahead of you. He will never fail you nor forsake you.

Deuteronomy 31:6 (NLT)

All through the Bible, God tells His people that He will never leave us. He will never abandon us. He will never depart from us. He will never renounce us. He will never reject us. He will never quit us.

So why do we have churches full of people who feel far from God? God is incapable of breaking His Word. He can’t leave us. Could it be that we are the ones who have pulled away from Him?

Draw close to God, and God will draw close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, you hypocrites.

James 4:8 (NLT)

As soon as we turn toward sin, we turn away from God. In order to feel close to God, all we must do it turn to Him. How difficult we have made such a simple thing! There is no great secret to being close to God. Our relationship with Him works the same as our relationship with others—we have to pursue someone in order to have a relationship with them. If we aren’t pursuing God, how can we ever expect to feel close to Him?

Take courage, though! Be strong! God has already gone ahead of us. He may be just out of our line of sight, but it is never, ever too late to catch up. If we make it a priority to pursue Him, He is faithful. He will never fail us.

Daily Bible reading: Deuteronomy 31-32, Luke 1:1-23

Daily Bible Reading

He’s out of his mind

Does anyone in your family think you nuts? A little bit off? Maybe they wonder why you do the things you do. They don’t understand your faith. Don’t worry, you’re not alone.

Even Jesus’ family thought he was nuts.

When his family heard what was happening, they tried to take him away. “He’s out of his mind,” they said.

Mark 3:21 (NLT)

It could very well be that those closest to us, are the furthest from understanding.

Jesus knew what he was all about. He knew what his mission was an the apostles with him, knew Jesus and trusted in him.

But Jesus’ family, the people who should have been the most understanding, thought he was crazy. When the miracles were so numerous that the crowds surrounding him got so large, Jesus and his disciples were unable to find a place to sleep or even eat, Jesus’ family tried to put a stop to it.

They didn’t see the Son of God, they saw the man who forgot to eat. They didn’t see the miracles, they saw the crowds closing in. They didn’t see salvation, they saw a man pulled in every direction.

The point is this: if we wait until everyone around us fully understands what God has called us to do, we’ll never do it. Read your Bible—rarely, if ever, does God’s way make sense to everyone else and sometimes not even to the person doing it.

This isn’t a message to shun your family and break all ties, but it is a word to you to know the One who has called you. This is why Paul said to Timothy, for I know the one in whom I trust. We don’t have to know the what and the why if we know the Who.

Daily Bible reading: Number 1-2, Mark 3:1-21

Daily Bible Reading

Begin Again

I’m a couple of days late starting this again. I’ll catch up though, I promise. I don’t want to miss out on the very beginning. It’s the best place to start, after all.

In 2016, I based the majority of my study from the English Standard Version. Why ESV? I wanted to use a Bible that I hadn’t previously marked up with highlights, underlining, and notes. If you’re like me, your eyes are always drawn to the highlights and you tend to miss everything in between. I didn’t want to miss anything and I happened to have a beautiful ESV that was begging to be marked up. Now it is.

This year, I’ve pulled out a New Living Translation. Yes, I know it’s not even close to being the most accurate. It’s even borderline paraphrase, but it’s not marked up and it’s also a worship study and devotional Bible. The CVC worship team aims to write more music this year. What better way to get in a place to write the songs of Heaven than to study from a place of worship?

All that being said, let’s get into today’s reading.

This is the history of Noah and his family. Noah was a righteous man, the only blameless man living on earth at the time. He consistently followed God’s will and enjoyed a close relationship with him.

Genesis 6:9 (NLT)

Do you ever feel as though you’re not as close to God as you’d like to be? I do. Then, do you wonder why?

There are many reasons as to why we can’t seem to get close to God. Making Him a priority is certainly at the top of that list. Life can get in the way and spending time with someone you can’t see may begin to seem silly when there are so many others vying for your attention.

But what if the problem isn’t the time we spend with Him, but how we’re spend our time in general? Are we doing what we’re supposed to be doing? I’m not necessarily talking about work and family relationships. If you have a family, you should most certainly be making them a priority. What about everything else, though? Are you doing what God put you on earth to be doing? Are you in His will? Do you even know what His will for your life is?

Noah enjoyed a close relationship with God because he consistently followed God’s will.

How much closer would we be to God if we simply followed His will?

Daily Bible reading: Genesis 6-8, Matthew 3