Daily Bible Reading

Get out of the way!

I’ve been to a lot of church services. I grew up in the day when we went to church twice on Sundays, once on Wednesdays, and attended extra services when a guest speaker was in town. We had youth group on Fridays and maybe even a mid-week Bible study. When I say I grew up at church, I mean that I actually spent the majority of my time at the church. Not much has changed.

In all of those church services, I saw a lot of ministry lines, altar calls, hands go up for prayer. But I rarely saw a pastor or speaker interrupt his or her sermon to do so. They weren’t wrong, but in recent studies and conversations, I’ve begun to wonder if they were always right.

While they were at Lystra, Paul and Barnabas came upon a man with crippled feet. He had been that way from birth, so he had never walked. He was listening as Paul preached, and Paul noticed him and realized he had faith to be healed. So Paul called to him in a loud voice, “Stand up!” And the man jumped to his feet and started walking.

Acts 14:8-10 (NLT)

As far as I can tell, this is the first the crippled man had heard the Good News.  It was Paul and Barnabas’ first trip to the area and they were bringing a new message to the people there. Churches and training centres hadn’t been set up yet. The apostles were setting up the groundwork for future ministry.

Then this crippled man shows up. He hears a message of miracles and salvation and his faith is stirred. What do we do now?

In some churches, he’d be required to spend several weeks in studies on faith and healing before someone may or may not lay hands on him.

In other churches, he’d be told that healing isn’t for today, God made him crippled for a reason.

Yet in other churches, he might have to wait for the end of the message for a call to the altar to be offered and hope that someone could help him to the front before the altar closes to new arrivals.

But what did Paul do? The moment he recognized that this man had faith, he stopped what he was doing and called out to him to stand. He didn’t pause to teach on how healing works. He didn’t have to explain what faith is. He didn’t fall to his knees to petition God with pleading groans so the man could be set free from his affliction. In fact, I haven’t found anywhere in the Gospels where this was the case.

Miracles happened when faith was present and the men of God acted on their recognition of it. Long, flowery prayers not needed. Explanations unnecessary. A simple command was all that was required to activate the faith that was already there.

If God says He’ll do something, it’s up to us to believe and proclaim that He will do it. And when the gift of faith shows up, get out of the way! Shut up and let God show off. This message we preach is not about us. It’s about the God who came to give us abundant life. What we have to say is far less important than what God came to do.

Start looking for faith and then practice acting on it immediately. It may require retraining our minds and our spirits to respond in a different way, but if the result is seeing the crippled walk, the blind seeing, and the sick healed, it’s worth it. Isn’t it?

Daily Bible reading: Job 35-37, Acts 14

Daily Bible Reading

By the hand

But Peter said, “I don’t have any money for you. But I’ll give you what I have. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, get up and walk!”

Then Peter took the lame man by the right hand and helped him up. And as he did, the man’s feet and anklebones were healed and strengthened.

Acts 3:6-7 (NLT)

How many times have you heard of people praying, yet receiving nothing? How many times have you prayed and received nothing? Some people will keep on praying while others just give up. If God didn’t answer them the first time, why would He answer at all?

But what if all that was missing was a helping hand? What if all your prayer needed was a little extra boost from a friend or someone who cared enough to help you out?

Notice that, in this passage, the man wasn’t healed the instant Peter told him to get up and walk. Nor did the man get up on his own. Peter lifted him up and then strength came to his limbs.

Maybe you’re the one who needs the extra hand or maybe you’re the one who can give the extra hand. Either way, we shouldn’t let a little seemingly unanswered prayer stop us from receiving the things God has promised to us. A little extra help may be required to see it through. Don’t stop praying. Look to the next step. Maybe God is waiting on you to ask for a hand. Maybe God is leading you to lend a hand. Our own pride and selfishness could very well be the things that are preventing us from seeing more miracles.

Let’s not pull each other down, let’s lift each other up so we can all begin to walk, leap and praise God.

Daily Bible reading: Nehemiah 7-8, Acts 3

Daily Bible Reading

Do not get a few

When you pray for a miracle, do you you expect just enough to get by? Or do you expect God to throw open the floodgates and bless you beyond anything you can think or imagine? How do you prepare yourself to receive your miracle?

I’m sure that we’ve all heard the story of the widow’s oil. Elisha had offered to help this woman so that she does not have to sell her two children as slaves to her creditors. All she has is a jar of oil. Elisha tells her to collect empty vessels. He could have told her to gather all she had in her own home, but he goes further than that.

The he said, “Go, borrow vessels at large for yourself from all your neighbors, even empty vessels; do not get a few.”

2 Kings 4:3 (NASB)

He sends this woman and her sons all around the neighbourhood to prepare for a big miracle. Do not get a few. The miracle the widow received was directly related to her preparation for it. Had she only gathered a few vessels, I wonder if she even would have received her miracle since she would have been in disobedience to the word from the Lord.

When you pray for a miracle based on a promise from God’s Word, prepare yourself for the complete and total fulfillment of that promise. When Jesus says he will heal you, prepare for complete—not partial—healing. When the Word says that God will supply for all your needs, prepare for all, not a little.

I think that, many times, we miss out on our miracles because we don’t want to bother God with the big things. We just ask Him for a little hoping that we won’t annoy Him with our request. But He doesn’t want to perform little miracles. As we read through the Word, we see over and over and over again that God is a God of great big miracles. Stop preparing for the minute and get ready for the monumental.

Daily Bible reading: 2 Kings 4-5, John 4:1-30

Daily Bible Reading

A promise kept

I’ve often heard that God can do whatever He wants. He can do anything. There is nothing He cannot do. I will never dispute the omnipotence of God. There is no one or nothing more able than He. But there are a few things that God truly is incapable of.

God cannot lie. It is not in His nature to do so. If He is Truth, there can be no falsehood in Him at all. God cannot hate. Again, if He is Love, there is room for nothing else. So, if God has made a promise, He is unable to break it. It must come to pass.

Israel, as much as they seemed to love wandering in the wilderness or being enslaved by other nations, had a promise from God. They would have their own land. Good land. Prosperous land. And, nearly a half century after they left their bondage in Egypt, they got their land. Every tribe had received their inheritance. They were able to drive their enemies from the land and finally live in peace.

Could they have done this on their own? Most certainly not! They were a fickle nation—impatient with a tendency to be easily swayed away from God even though they were a massive living, breathing, eating, walking miracle. Could God have just pulled them out of Egypt and plopped them in the Promised Land? Probably. But would they have been able to enjoy the land? Would they have had peace within their borders? Would they have learned to trust God?

If you give a kid everything they want without making them work for any of it, what do you get? A spoiled brat! Like Veruca Salt wanting the golden egg now, a kid who has never has to work for a reward isn’t good for much of anything. They’re a bad egg.

But teach a kid to work for reward and they have the opportunity to become successful, valuable members in society. Perhaps this is the same principle God was using in leading Israel from Egypt. Had they made it to Canaan in the two weeks it should have taken them, I doubt they would have been able to take the land. The scouts Moses sent ahead were proof of that.

Instead, it took an entire generation to retrain a nation for victory. God had to wait until the unbelief died off and only the faithful remained. It took 40 years of training and teaching for Israel to finally be ready to take hold of their Promise.

So when it seems as though you’re being led through the wilderness, perhaps it is God trying to train and teach you to take the promise. God doesn’t need a nation of spoiled brats, He needs an army of strong servants.

All of the good promises that the Lord had given Israel came true.

Joshua 21:45 (NLT)

Daily Bible reading: Joshua 21-22, Luke 6:1-26

Daily Bible Reading

The day the manna stopped

No manna appeared on the day they first ate from the crops of the land, and it was never seen again. So from that time on the Israelites ate from the crops of Canaan.

Joshua 5:12 (NLT)

I wonder if Israel was disappointed or excited when they realised they would no longer be feasting on manna every day? Remember, they had whined to Moses back in the wilderness and God sent them birds—so many birds they got sick of them. How strange a thing it would be to be nourished by the same miraculous thing for 39 years 11 months and then have it stop, never to return.

Did this mean that God would no longer provide for Israel? Of course not!

PROVIDE: to procure beforehand; to get, collect or make ready for future use; to prepare.

Remember way back when Moses send scouts into Canaan to check out the land? They came back with a report that it was a prosperous land flowing with milk and honey. It was a good land, well-able to sustain Israel.

When Israel finally crossed the Jordan River, God’s provision didn’t stop, it merely changed. The manna was necessary to keep His people alive while they wandered in the wilderness waiting for the doubters to die. But now, in the Promised Land, there was abundant supply. They ate from the fruit of the land.

Just because provision doesn’t literally fall from the sky doesn’t mean it’s not there. Sometimes provision looks like work. God gave Israel, the land, but they were still going to have to fight for it. They were still going to have to tend to it. They were still going to have to harvest the fruit from it.

Take a look at your life. Have you been believing God for something? Have you seen your answer? Look again. It may look more like work than a miracle, but it doesn’t mean that God’s hand isn’t in it.

Daily Bible reading: Joshua 4-6, Luke 2:1-24

Daily Bible Reading

Filter

Do you read through a different filter every time you pick up your Bible? If you’re going through a personal situation, do different verses stand out? If you know someone who may be off track, do you read through a filter that would appropriate certain scriptures for that person? Do you watch media and then read into nearly everything? Today, I’m guilty of the last one.

If you live in North America—or just about anywhere in the world with access to media—and are not a hermit, you’re news feeds are probably full of things like #MuslimBan or #StopPresidentBannon. This is what I was faced with as soon as I turned on my computer this morning. I saw angry posts from friends who are very obviously not Trump supporters and I saw sad posts from friends who have ties to Muslim majority countries.

Then I sat down to read my Bible. Now, I probably should have sat down with my Bible first, but that’s not how things went today. Everything I read went through a certain filter. With angry rants in my head with a few grains of truth sprinkled in, I read this:

As Jesus and the disciples left the city of Jericho, a huge crowd followed behind. Two blind men were sitting beside the road. When they heard that Jesus was coming that way, they began shouting, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!” The crowd told them to be quiet, but they only shouted louder, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!”

Jesus stopped in the road and called, “What do you want me to do for you?”

“Lord,” they said, “we want to see!” Jesus felt sorry for them and touched their eyes. Instantly they could see! Then they followed him.

Matthew 20:29-34 (NLT)

So what did I see in this passage after it went through today’s filter?

I saw two men who were truly in need. They sought Jesus, but the noisy crowds around Jesus tried to shut them down. The well-meaning people—many of whom had seen Jesus perform miracle after miracle—tried to shut these men up.

The blind men could have easily given up and resigned themselves to lives of blind begging. But they didn’t. They shouted louder. They let their voices be heard beyond the noise.

Today, how much noise is between you and Jesus? Who or what is the noisy crowd trying to drown you out and prevent you from receiving your miracle? These are distractions and we, too often, get caught up in them. We end up joining the noisy crowd rather than making our voices heard above it. We allow ourselves to get caught up in the masses and forget that we were on a mission to receive a miracle.

Today, don’t let the crowd drown out your voice. If you need Jesus, cry out. If you are truly seeking Him, no crowd will be able to overcome the sound of your plea.

Daily Bible reading: Exodus 22-24, Matthew 20:17-34