Daily Bible Reading

Continually

There are few things in life anyone does continually. We all breathe. That’s a given. Most will work continually until retirement. Some talk continually. Some sleep continually. But all of these things can, and most often do, required breaks of some sort or another. There is one thing, though, that the Bible tells us to do continually.

Pray.

Never stop praying.

1 Thessalonians 5:17 (NLT)

Many in the western church probably couldn’t tell you the last time they started praying let alone the last time they prayed without stopping.

One of the greatest needs of the present day is men and women who will not only start out to pray for things but pray on and on and on until they obtain that which they seek from the Lord.

R.A. Torrey (1956-1928)

We all want to see God move in church on Sunday, but who is really willing to pray on Monday? For most of us, the Great Awakenings of the last century are so far gone (and often forgotten), that we don’t realise how effective prayer can really be. I make a point (though not often enough) to go back and read of the great revivals that brought North America to its knees. You cannot learn about a great move of God without being stirred to see one yourself.

But who is willing to pray for a move of God? Who even knows what that kind of prayer looks like?

True prayer is an approach of the soul by the Spirit of God to the throne of God. It is not the utterance of words, it is not alone the feeling of desires, but it is the advance of the desires to God, the spiritual approach of our nature toward the Lord our God. True prayer is neither a mere mental exercise nor a vocal performance. It is far deeper than that—it is spiritual transaction with the Creator of heaven and earth.

Charles Spurgeon (1834-1892)

Acts 1:14 says that they all met together continually for prayer. Do you think the Holy Spirit would have shown up with tongues of fire if the group hadn’t waited? If they hadn’t been praying while they waited?

It is time that the Church look again toward prayer. Not just programs and growth strategies. I believe those things will come as the result of effective prayer.

The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and wonderful results.

James 5:16b (NLT)

We all have a decision to make regarding prayer. We can go on with our daily lives and offer up a prayer every once in a while when we feel like it or need heavenly help out of a jam—but what’s the point of our faith at all if that’s the case? Or we can pray continually. Continual prayer will require sacrifice on our part, but the reward is great power and wonderful results.

Daily Bible reading: Ezra 9-10, Acts 1

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Daily Bible Reading

Light

The first chapter of the Gospel of John may well be my favourite in all the Bible. I can read it over and over again and still be greatly humbled by those few words.

In the beginning the Word already existed. He was with God, and he was God. He created everything there is. Nothing exists that he didn’t make. Life itself was in him, and this life gives light to everyone. the light shines through the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it.

John 1:1-5 (NLT)

We’ve looked at the parallels between these verses and those in Genesis 1 before, but it never hurts to go back. Both books start with the same three words, in the beginning. The beginning as we know it to be. we know that God is timeless. John said that the Word already existed. So when God created the heavens and the earth, Jesus—the Word—was there. We also know from Genesis 1:2 that the Spirit was there, hovering over the surface of the void.

Then there was light. Not the sun, mind you, but Light. The light shines through the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it. The sun doesn’t appear until verse 14.

Jesus is Light. Jesus is the Word. When God spoke His Word over the void earth, He spoke Jesus. Jesus went out and accomplished all that God spoke. In my head, Jesus is always the man with the well-coiffed hair, white robes, and a lamb draped around his shoulders. But he is so much more than that.

He is the Good Shepherd, but he is also the Word that created the earth. He is the friend of sinners, but he is also the Light that pushes back the darkness. He is the healer, but he is also in the seed that produces after their own kind.

If we only ever see the Jesus of the Gospels, we will never understand the Jesus that existed prior to his short stint on earth. He was there in the beginning. He literally was the Word that went out when God the Father spoke. He created everything there is. Jesus did that. The same Jesus that went to the cross and gave up his life for us is life itself. He is light.

Science lesson: The only reason we see anything at all is because of light. Of course! Our eyes receive signals of light reflecting off surfaces and our brains translate that into objects. What we perceive as colour is certain wavelengths of light. Light is a type of energy.

Now swap out light for Jesus.

I’m not going to explain that any further. Just think about it for a while.

Daily Bible reading: 1 Kings 14-15, John 1:1-28

Daily Bible Reading

The joy of salvation

Lately, we’ve been talking about eternity—the things that last forever. Our spirits last forever. Whether we chose Christ or not, we’re all in this for the long haul. God lasts forever. He’s been around forever, too. Jesus’ words last forever.

Heaven and earth will disappear, but my words will remain forever.

Luke 21:33 (NLT)

There aren’t many things that last forever, but how much of our focus is set on those things rather than the things that will disappear? Have you set your priorities as such that your focus is on the things that you can take with you when you pass from this world, or are you hoarding all you can here, only to have to leave it behind when Jesus comes again?

Watch out! Don’t let me find you living in careless ease and drunkenness, and filled with the worries of this life. Don’t let that day catch you unaware, as in a trap. For that day will come upon everyone living on the earth.

Luke 21:34-35 (NLT)

When I was a kid, my parents were involved in serving at church every Sunday. That meant we had to leave earlier than most. We took one car. When it was time to leave, we all had to be in that car. There were no exceptions. None. Zip. Zilch. Nada. We didn’t have the option of taking another vehicle (none of us kids were old enough to drive). Mom and Dad both had to be at church early, so it wasn’t as though one of them could come later with another vehicle. House rules stated that we go to church on Sunday. Again, no exceptions. Ready or not, we all leave at the same time.

Jesus drives the car (this is not a Jesus take the wheel kind of story). When Jesus pulls up to get us all, He’s only coming once. We can be sitting on the front step all dressed up and waiting for him or we can be rushing through our routine trying to make it out the door, toothbrush in hand. There is no second ride.

We can spend our lives dawdling around thinking we can rush through our preparations when the time comes or we can get ready now.

Indeed, the “right time” is now. Today is the day of salvation.

2 Corinthians 6:2b (NLT)

We can make the temporary things of this world our priority, or we can turn our eyes toward the eternal and make the decision to say:

Restore to me again the joy of your salvation,
and make me willing to obey you.

Psalm 51:12 (NLT)

Daily Bible reading: 2 Samuel 19-20, Luke 21:20-38

Daily Bible Reading

With you always

As a single person who lives alone, I find it difficult (and sometimes even unappealing) to imagine never being alone. But that is exactly what Jesus promised when he appeared to his disciples after being raised from the dead.

And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.

Matthew 28:20b

This statement immediately followed what we now refer to as The Great Commission.

Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given complete authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you.

Matthew 28:18-20a

When we take our roles as disciples of Christ seriously. When we do his work. He is with us always. And not only is he with us, his power is to. That complete authority in heaven and on earth follows us around giving us the power we need to complete the Commission. Always.

Daily Bible reading: Leviticus 20-21, Matthew 28:1-20

Daily Bible Reading

Disappear

Heaven and earth will disappear, but my words will remain forever.

Matthew 24:35 (NLT)

We hear this verse and often think of it in a very vague sense. It sounds nice in a song. It’s great when you’re talking about spreading the Gospel. But what if we look at it literally?

Through this entire passage in Matthew 24, Jesus is talking about the end of time. He speaks of His second coming and all that will take place before He comes back on that glorious day. If we take the thunder, earthquakes, and chaos literally, should we not take this one at face value as well?

It’s a frightening thing to think of heaven and earth being gone, but still encouraging. Jesus goes on to talk about the faithful—that He will come back for them. He urges His followers to be prepared at all times so that, when He comes, we’re ready to go. The heavens will shake and the earth will mourn, but guess what? The Truth will sill remain.

Think about things we deem indestructible. The Titanic comes to mind. Unsinkable. But now, at the bottom of the ocean more than a century later, the ship is still slowly disappearing. The Great Pyramid at Giza. Sure, it’s been there for millennia, but it’s still crumbling. Great nations have come and gone. Massive structures, feats of engineering and ingenuity—gone.

But when all of these are no more, the Truth still stands. Think about how powerful those words are. When nothing else remains, God’s Word does. When the ships sink and buildings crumble, God’s Word doesn’t. When leaders fail and countries fall, God’s Word doesn’t. There is nothing more powerful than the Word of God that you can put your faith and trust in.

What better way to live than to trust in the one thing that will remain forever?

Daily Bible reading: Leviticus 1-3, Matthew 24:23-51

Daily Bible Reading

In the Beginning…

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was empty, a formless mass cloaked in darkness. And the Spirit of God was hovering over its surface. Then God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. And God saw that it was good. Then he separated the light from the darkness. God called the light “day” and the darkness “night.” Together these made up one day.

Genesis 1:1-5 (NLT)

When reading this passage, I always made the assumption that the light that God created on Day One was the sun. It wasn’t. The sun didn’t come into play until Day Four. So if the light wasn’t the sun, what was it?

Jump over to the New Testament.

In the beginning the Word already existed. He was with God, and he was God. He was in the beginning with God. He created everything there is. Nothing exists that he didn’t make. Life itself was in him, and this life gives light to everyone. The light shines through the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it.

John 1:1-5 (NLT)

For those of us raised in church, we knew the story of creation from a very early age. And, if you’re like me, you picture a big God in the sky with a glowing robe and a long, white beard. The Gandalf of the Heavens. But God wasn’t alone.

In the passage from Genesis quoted above, the entire Trinity is present. In the beginning GodAnd the Spirit of God was hoveringLet there be light (Jesus is the Light according to John 1:4)… The Hebrew word used for God is a plural word. Elohim. A plural of majesty indicating God’s greatness, not His number.

Jesus didn’t just appear at His human birth. The Holy Spirit didn’t arrive only at Pentecost. The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit have been present since the very beginning. They are three in one and cannot be separated from each other. They are all and they are in all.

There is no better way to go into a new year than with the revelation that God is in everything and cannot be separated from anything. He is as much a part of you as He always has been. He will never leave you or forsake you. He cannot be extinguished.

Daily Bible reading: Genesis 1-2, Matthew 1

Daily Bible Reading

Learn

What skills have you learned?

That’s a bit of a trick question. What skill do you have that you haven’t learned? There are very few things we do as humans that we don’t have to, at some point in our lives, learn.

I believe that one of the greatest skills we can acquire is also often one of the rarest and most difficult to attain. Obedience.

Many people are under the impression that obedience should come naturally. Once we accept Christ, we should be good to go, right? Hardly.

Even Jesus had to learn to be obedient.

Although he was a son, he learned obedience through what he suffered.

Hebrews 5:8 (ESV)

This is a loaded statement. We know, in the end, what Jesus suffered. Yet he was still obedient. He was not coerced into obedience, but took it upon himself as a man to be discipled, instructed, and directed to do the will of His Father.

It can be argued that Jesus was fully God and therefore, obedience came easily to Him. Do not forget that He was also fully man. Had He learned obedience in theory only, how could we then learn from Him? Someone who has lived in the city all their life could describe for you the Amazon Jungle, but how much more effective would the description be coming from someone who lives there? Yet even more so from someone who has seen both the city and the jungle.

During His life on earth, Jesus saw both the city and the jungle. And, not only did He see them, He experienced them to the fullest so that we could trust His word on both.

And being made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him.

Hebrews 5:9 (ESV)

Daily Bible reading: Jeremiah 49-50, Hebrews 5