Daily Bible Reading

Praise the Lord!

 

As a worship leader, I’ve heard many people over the years tell me that worship just isn’t their thing. It’s frustrating to look out over a congregation and see people on their phones, with coffee cups in their hands, or whispering to their neighbours—that’s if they’re in the worship service at all! But here’s the thing: God hasn’t called us to do only those things that we enjoy. He hasn’t called us to do only the things that we are comfortable doing. He’s called us to do quite the opposite.

Any man or woman on this earth who is bored and turned off by worship is not ready for heaven.

~ A.W. Tozer

I often wonder what people believe Heaven will be like. There are many who are likely under the grave misconception that it will be an eternity of frivolous, self-indulgent pursuits. So what then, would it mean to join with the angels to sing holy, holy, holy is the Lord? Does Heaven have a service schedule? Is there a small segment of each day that is set aside for praise and worship? No. There is no service schedule. Because the service never stops. Heaven is one big, long praise and worship service. Heaven is not for our pleasure. It is for God’s.

So how do we prepare for Heaven? We praise.

Let every created thing give praise to the Lord,
for he issued his command and they came into being.
He established them forever and forever.
His orders will never be revoked.

Psalm 148:5-6 (NLT)

Let everything that lives sing praises to the Lord!

Praise the Lord!

Psalm 150:6 (NLT)

We are all a part of everything that lives. The longest book in the Bible is a book full of songs. The last words in that book are Praise the Lord! Do you think, perhaps, that this could and should be an important part of our lives?

While our mortal selves may not enjoy the act of praise and worship, our spirit longs for it.

Your heart’s desire, even if you haven’t realized it, is to live every moment in the wonder of worship.

David Jeremiah

Praise is not something to do when we feel like it. It is something we do so long as we are breathing. If your spirit needs to remind your body, so be it. But don’t fool yourself into believing that praise isn’t your thing. It is your thing. It’s your only thing. It’s the one thing you were created to do.

Praise the Lord, I tell myself;
with my whole heart, I will praise his holy name.
Praise the Lord, I tell myself,
and never forget the good things he does for me.

Psalm 103:1-2 (NLT)

Daily Bible reading: Psalm 148-150, 1 Corinthians 11:16-34

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Daily Bible Reading

Speak without a sound

Inside, the people were all shouting, some one thing and some another. Everything was in confusion. In fact, most of them didn’t even know why they were there.

Acts 19:32 (NLT)

There are a lot of people in a lot of places making a lot of noise. Like this crowd in Ephesus, they found a cause and joined the fray without even knowing why they were there. It all sounds too familiar. How much noise are we surrounded by? How many people are shouting to make their voice heard over the rest? How much of it really matters?

The heavens tell of the glory of God.
The skies display his marvellous craftsmanship.
Day after day they continue to speak;
night after night they make him known.
They speak without a sound or a word;
their voice is silent in the skies;
yet their message has gone out to all the earth,
and their words to all the world.

Psalm 19:1-4a (NLT)

Isn’t in incredible that the crowd at Ephesus had to shout to be heard and most of them didn’t even know why they were shouting! Yet the heavens are silent in their declaration and their message can be heard across the entire world.

Think about your message today. Consider the volume of your words and actions. Are you adding to the noise or are you making a silent declaration?

Daily Bible reading: Psalm 19-21, Acts 19:21-41

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

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

The choice

You make thousands of choices every day. Whether big or small, every choice has a consequence. If I choose to hit the snooze button one more time, the consequence it that I will have to rush to get ready to leave the house. If I choose to skip breakfast, the consequence is that my stomach will be growling long before lunch. If I choose to push through a yellow light, the consequences could be dire for myself or others. Every choice we make has the potential to alter the direction of our lives.

But there is one choice that Someone has already offered us a decision for.

Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, that you and your descendants might live!

Deuteronomy 30:19 (NLT)

Oh, that you would choose life! When given the choice between blessings and curses, I don’t know why anyone would ever opt for the latter. It should be an easy decision to make. Yet there are those who believe there is a third choice—that neither the blessings or the curses really exist and that they are exempt from the truth of these words and therefore no choice must me made at all.

Let none of those who hear the warnings of this curse consider themselves immune, thinking, “I am safe, even though I am walking in my own stubborn way.” This would lead to utter ruin!

Deuteronomy 29:19 (NLT)

Yes, I know that theses are Old Covenant verses—that God was speaking to Israel, but Jesus backs up the same idea.

Jesus told them, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.”

John 14:6 (NLT)

There is one way. Life or death. Once you have heard the Gospel, even not making a choice is really making a choice. The concept is not difficult and the message is simple.

This command I am giving you today is not too difficult for you to understand or perform. It is not up in heaven, so distant that you must ask, “Who will go to heaven and bring it down so we can hear and obey it?” It is not beyond the sea, so far away that you must ask, “Who will cross the sea to bring it to us so we can hear and obey it?” The message is very close at hand; it is on your lips and in your heart so that you can obey it.

Deuteronomy 30:11-14 (NLT)

If you have not already made the choice, oh, that you would choose life! You don’t have to understand it all to accept it. I doubt that anyone ever has. Make the choice for life and then you can spend the rest of yours seeking after the heart of God, discovering the blessings that wait for you there.

Daily Bible reading: Deuteronomy 29-30, Mark 16

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