Daily Bible Reading

Surrounded

I live in a valley. Well, I guess I live halfway up a valley. My house overlooks the valley, but I can still look up at the mountains above me. Today’s reading made me think of my valley.

Just as the mountains surround and protect Jerusalem,
So the Lord surrounds and protects
his people, both now and forever.

Psalm 125:2 (NLT)

There aren’t many ways in and out of my valley. Really only one main highway. The city below is surrounded on all sides by mountains. Rock. Immovable. Firm. Unrelenting. Since the founding of the city, the mountains have not moved. They have not changed. They will not move. They will not change.

So it is with God. Like a city in the mountain valley is surrounded and protected, so we are surrounded and protected by God who is even more immovable and firm than the rock.

Should you ever feel as though you are surrounded by something other than God and His protection, like Elisha prayed for his servant, pray that your eyes would be opened.

Then Elisha prayed, “O Lord, open his eyes and let him see!” The Lord opened his servant’s eyes, and when he looked up, he saw that the hillside around Elisha was filled with horses and chariots of fire.

2 Kings 6:17 (NLT)

We may be surrounded by those who would wish us harm, but they are surrounded by an unshakable, immovable, relentless God who surrounds His own and protects us forever.

Daily Bible reading: Psalm 124-127, 1 Corinthians 7:1-24

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Daily Bible Reading

Speak out!

There are two ways of learning things: you can learn the hard way and figure it out on your own, or you can seek out an answer or advice from someone who already knows. The concept is not new. It’s existed literally since the beginning of time.

We seek out those who have learned the hard lessons or who have gleaned those lessons from others. It’s how we, as humans have gathered our wealth of knowledge. Each generation (should) learn from the previous. It’s all dependent on the previous generation sharing their knowledge and the current generation listening and understanding what is being passed to them.

In high school, I was a smart kid. I learned quickly. I graduated with the highest honours possible. Nearly straight A’s. A’s in everything but Math 11. I distinctly remember one day in class where I just couldn’t grasp a concept, so I asked the teacher for help. He told me I’d have to come after class if I wanted help. Not possible. Where most student’s days ended at 2:15, I had another class after that. I explained that to the teacher. He shrugged. I asked if he could help me in class (as far as I could tell, he wasn’t doing anything else, and wasn’t it his job as a teacher to teach me?). He looked at the problem and told me I should know how to do that already. Well, I don’t, which is why I’m asking for help. He said I should have learned that the year before. Obviously, I didn’t. I’d have to come to after school help. I couldn’t (I liked band class way better than math anyway). I never did fully understand the concept and my grade reflected it.

That teacher had knowledge that, had he been willing to share it with me, would have helped me to maintain my straight A status. He could have helped, yet he withheld that information. Now, that’s just high school math and, contrary to what every teacher ever told me, I never needed algebra in the “real world”—not even in the fifteen years I worked in finance and insurance. But what about the knowledge we, as Christians, have? What do we know that could help others? Has God done great things for us? Has He come to our aid when we’ve called on Him? Has He loved us? Has He rescued us?

Give thanks to the Lord for he is good!
His faithful love endures forever.
Has the Lord redeemed you? Then speak out!
Tell others he has saved you from your enemies.

Psalm 107:1-2 (NLT)

If one of the the only ways people can learn is from others, what are we showing or teaching them? Are we silent and withholding like my math teacher or are we vocal and willing to share about the great things God has done in our lives?

Those who are wise will take all this to heart
they will see in our history the faithful love of the Lord.

Psalm 107:43 (NLT)

The only way something will show up in history is if it’s recorded—whether we write it down or pass it down orally. The only way history will show the faithful love of the Lord is if we keep talking about it. History doesn’t record silence. It records difference-makers.

Has the Lord redeemed you? Then speak out!

Daily Bible reading: Psalm 107-108, Romans 12:21-33 

Daily Bible Reading

Disappointed?

It’s a horrible thing to say, but disappointment is pretty much a part of life. I’m not sure anyone can get through life without someone letting them down, expectations not being met, or hopes fading. To think about it very long can become a disappointment in itself.

As the Scriptures tell us, “Anyone who believe in him will not be disappointed.”

Romans 10:11 (NLT)

Paul’s message to the Romans takes those thoughts of being let down and gives hope to the discouraged. Anyone who believes in him will not be disappointed. That’s not to say that life will become a bed of roses, but rather that God Himself will not be a let down to us. He will not disappoint those who truly believe and trust in Him.

Salvation comes from trusting in Christ—which is the message we preach—is already within easy reach. In fact, the Scriptures say, “The message is close at hand; it is on you lips and in you heart.”

Romans 10:8 (NLT)

Salvation, a relationship with God though Jesus, is not some vague, unattainable idea. It is here and now and it is for everyone—not just a select few.

For “Anyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

Romans 10:13 (NLT)

And if what God said was true thousands of years ago, it still stands true today.

No, I will not break my covenant;
I will not take back a single word I said.

Psalm 89:34 (NLT)

Faithfulness is your very character.

Psalm 89:8b (NLT)

For someone whose very character is faithfulness, it would be pretty difficult to be a disappointment. Even if life has let you down, God will not. He cannot. It is not in His nature to do so.

Your unfailing love will last forever.
Your faithfulness is as unending as the heavens.

Psalm 89:2 (NLT)

If disappointment has you down, take some time to focus on God’s unfailing love and unending faithfulness, the gift of salvation He has so freely given us. He is close. He is never far. Never failing. Never disappointing.

Daily Bible reading: Psalm 88-89, Romans 10

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

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