Daily Bible Reading

A way out

Do you can do whatever you want to do. You can say whatever you want to say. You can feel whatever you want to feel. You can be whatever you want to be.

These are all ideas that are being thrust at as all the time. At first glance, they seem great. Yeah, I can do what I want to do! But what about what we are called to do?

Just because a feeling pops up or you want to say something or you want to be something doesn’t meant those are things that you should feel, say, or be. Our sinful, selfish natures will lead us to do things that are completely contrary to God’s will and plan for our lives. While the world would have us cater to ourselves, God would have us fight against those temptations.

But remember that the temptations that come into your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will keep the temptation from becoming so strong that you can’t stand up against it. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you will not give in to it.

1 Corinthians 10:13 (NLT)

You mean I don’t get to do or say what I want? No, you don’t have to do or say what you want. Look at the people who live completely for themselves. Are they truly happy? Are they completely fulfilled? Or are they chasing one temptation after another looking for something they’ll never find as long as they pursue that path?

There is something to be said for restraint and resistance. Paul talks about it in 1 Corinthians and David addressed it in the Psalms.

Take control of what I say, O Lord,
and keep my lips sealed.
Don’t let me lust for evil things;
don’t let me participate in acts of wickedness.
Don’t let me share in the delicacies of those who do evil.

Psalm 141:3-4 (NLT)

Giving up control, even a little, is something we naturally want to fight against. We want things our own way! We all fight to gain control, but what does that truly get us?

We can pursue our own selfish whims or we can pursue God. We cannot do both. But giving up selfish desires isn’t resigning ourselves to a life of passionless boredom. By turning away from the endless pursuit of worldly pleasures, we enable ourselves to walk a path that was laid out for each of us as individuals before we were even born. We don’t have to go on a search to find ourselves. We are found in Christ. He has a plan and a purpose for us.

How precious are your thoughts about me, O God!
They are innumerable!
I can’t even count them;
they outnumber the grains of sand!
And when I wake up in the morning,
you are still with me!

Psalm 139:17-18 (NLT)

We can wander aimlessly through life looking for the next bit of pleasure, never quite being fulfilled, or we can give up that search and find lasting, eternal fulfillment with the One who has already planned our days for us.

You saw me before I was born.
Every day of my life was recorded in your book.
Every moment was laid out
before a single day had passed.

Psalm 139:16 (NLT)

Daily Bible reading: Psalm 139-141, 1 Corinthians 10:1-13

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Daily Bible Reading

Law to love

If, according to Galatians 5:14, the whole law can be summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbours as yourself”, the words law and love should be interchangeable through much of the Old Testament. Jesus came and fulfilled the law with love—great love. So what does that fulfillment look like in light of the law according to Psalm 119?

I meditate on your age-old [love];
O Lord, [it] comfort[s] me.

v. 52

Your [love has] been the music of my life
throughout the years of my pilgrimage.

v. 54

I pondered the direction of my life,
and I turned to follow your [love].

v. 59

Evil people try to drag me into sin.
but I am firmly anchored to your [love].

v. 61

Your [love] is more valuable to me
than millions in gold and silver!

v. 72

Surround me with your tender mercies so I may live;
for your [love] is my delight.

v. 77

Your [love] remains true today,
for everything serves your plan

v. 91

Even perfection has its limits,
but your [love has] no limit.

v. 96

Your [love] make[s] me wiser than my enemies,
for your [love is] my constant guide.

v. 98

Your [love] give[s] me understanding;
no wonder I hate every false way of life.

v. 104

When we look at the law through Jesus and his fulfillment of it, what a difference it makes in our understanding of these verses! It’s not a bunch of rules and regulations that we follow, but love—perfect love at that. Love that gives understanding and wisdom. Love that teaches. Love that is valuable. Love that has no limits. Love that is our delight.

If the psalmist found all of these things in the law that God gave to Israel, how much more should we be able to find in the love that fulfilled the law?

Daily Bible reading: Psalm 119:49-104, 1 Corinthians 4

Daily Bible Reading

The baby and the bathwater

Brothers, listen! In this man Jesus there is forgiveness for your sins. Everyone who believes in him is freed from all guilt and declared right with God—something the Jewish law could never do. Be careful! Don’t let the prophets’ words apply to you. For they said,

‘Look, you mockers,
be amazed and die!
For I am doing something in your own day,
something you wouldn’t believe
even if someone told you about it!

Acts 13:38-41 (NLT)

Obviously the Jewish leaders didn’t take kindly to the fact that they’d been called mockers. It only added to the proof that they were, in fact, the fulfillment of that particular prophecy. They chose to ignore all the signs that pointed to Jesus. They loved the law so much that they failed to see the fulfillment of it.

We’ve already accepted Jesus as Lord, how does this apply to us at all?

I think the prophecy from Habakkuk 1:5 still applies to a lot of people today. Like the Jewish leaders, there are a great many Christians stuck to their traditions rather than to God Himself. Like the leaders in the synagogue, they scoff at change. If everything has been working for the last hundred years, why should it change now? God never changes! 

No, God doesn’t change, but that doesn’t mean that we won’t see things we’ve never seen before. The world had never seen God in the way of Jesus. That was new. The miracles that Jesus performed had never been seen before. Those were new. The men Jesus selected to follow him weren’t great men or local leaders. That was new, too. Yet everything Jesus did still lined up with what God had been saying all along.

There’s that old phrase that says, don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. The Church is often more guilty of this than any other group around. Oh, that’s new. Can’t be from God! And then we go along our merry way the same way we’ve gone along our entire lives. Like the temple leaders in Jesus’ time, we miss out on all God has for us. They missed out on the greatest miracle in the history of the world because they were content with the status quo. They were content with their status, period. To admit that Jesus was the Messiah and that anyone could be forgiven at any time would put them out of a job.

See, I will do a new thing. It will begin happening now. Will you not know about it? I will even make a road in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert.

Isaiah 43:19 (NLT)

So when you hear about God doing something that you’ve never heard of before, check it out. Compare it against His Word. Just because you’ve never seen or experienced it before doesn’t mean it’s not God. Don’t get so stuck in tradition that you miss out on an outpouring of the Holy Spirit.

In the end, the priests went back to the temple and their mundane lives demanding perfect adherence to the Law.

And the believers were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.

Acts 13:52 (NLT)

Daily Bible reading: Job 33-34, Acts 13:24-52

Daily Bible Reading

Fulfilled

When I make a promise, to the best of my ability, I try to keep it. When someone else makes a promise for me, depending on what it is, I try to keep that, too. If a complete stranger says I’m going to do something, I’m not likely to do it—unless I want to or already planned on doing so.

Jesus came to earth and fulfilled every promise made about him—whether he’d met the person who made it or not. Some things just happened the way they’d been foretold centuries before.

So they said, “Let’s not tear it but throw dice to see who gets it.” This fulfilled the Scripture that says, “They divided my clothes among themselves and threw dice for my robe.” So that is what they did.

John 19:24 (NLT)

Others made sure to record fulfilled prophecies so that we would know and recognise what had taken place.

This report is from and eye-witness giving and accurate account; it is presented so that you can also believe.

John 19:35 (NLT)

And yet others, Jesus made sure he fulfilled. Even on the cross after being whipped and beaten and nailed to a tree, Jesus knew there were a few things he still had to do so that things strangers had said about him would come to pass.

Jesus knew that everything was now finished, and to fulfill the Scriptures, he said, “I am thirsty.”

John 19:28 (NLT)

That is the Jesus we know. The Jesus we serve. The Jesus we love. The man who, while hanging on the cross near the point of death, would make a request in order to fulfill words that had been spoken centuries before. All so that we would know who he truly was.

There was no benefit to Jesus in stating his thirst. All he got for it was a taste of vinegar. But what we get is one more prophecy fulfilled amongst hundreds of others that only Jesus could fulfill. We get to see the impossibility of one man fulfilling all those words become possible. Jesus not only fulfilled prophecy in his words and action, he is the fulfillment of promise.

Daily Bible reading: Ezra 1-2, John 19:23-42

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Blessed

That very day the Lord spoke to Moses, “Go up this mountain of the Abarim, Mount Nebo, which is in the land of Moab, opposite Jericho, and view the land of Canaan, which I am giving to the people of Israel for a possession. And die on the mountain which you go up, and be gathered to your people, as Aaron your brother died in Mount Hor and was gathered to his people, because you broke faith with me in the midst of of the people of Israel at the waters of Meribah-kadech, in the wilderness of Zin, and because you did not treat me as holy in the midst of the people of Israel. For you shall see the land before you, but you shall not go there, into the land that I am giving to the people of Israel.

Deuteronomy 32:48-52 (ESV)

Because of unbelief, because Moses failed to believe the truth of God’s word, he was unable to enter the Promised Land. Though he was the one who led Israel from the grip of slavery in Egypt, God did not allow him to see the fulfillment of promise because of unbelief.

And there has not arisen a prophet since in Israel like Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face

Deuteronomy 34:10 (ESV)

For all Moses did, for all he heard, even though he saw the face of God, his unbelief held him back.

Fast forward.

And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord.

Luke 1:45 (ESV)

Mary, unlike Moses, took God at His word. Though she felt herself to be unqualified, she was willing. That’s all it took. Willingness and belief. Because of it, a girl became blessed and a saviour was born.

Daily Bible reading: Deuteronomy 33-34, Luke 1:24-56