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

Let’s go

Now whenever the cloud lifted from the Tabernacle and moved, the people of Israel would set out on their journey, following it. But if the cloud stayed, they would stay until it moved again.

Exodus 40:36-37 (NLT)

How good are you at following directions? Me, I don’t like being told what to do. Even if it’s something I know I can or should do, as soon as someone tells me I have to, I go into shut down mode.

For as much trouble as Israel got into, the one thing they seemed to manage to get the hang of was following God. Literally. While they may have broken down on occasion and complained or worshipped a golden calf, when God moved, they moved. When God stayed, they stayed.

It’s such a simple concept, but one that can be so, so difficult to grasp. Sometimes we get bored and want to move on, but God says we’re not ready yet. Other times, we’re comfortable and want to stay, but God says it’s time to go.

I wonder how much more God would be able to use me if I stopped acting like a spoiled brat, pushing one way or pulling another, and learned to follow His directives a little better?

Daily Bible reading: Exodus 39-40, Matthew 24:1-22

Daily Bible Reading

Signs

The Lord went ahead of them. He guided them during the day with a pillar of cloud, and he provided light at night with a pillar of fire. This allowed them to travel by day or by night. And the Lord did not remove the pillar of cloud or pillar of fire from its place in front of the people.

Exodus 13:21-22 (NLT)

I’m going to be organised today and pull this one apart point by point. There is so much in these two verses we can learn from:

  1. The Lord went ahead of them. Not beside or behind. Ahead. God was in the lead. Israel followed. God isn’t on a leash to be taken out for a walk when we feel He needs to come out to play. He’s not there for us to drag along as a reluctant participant. He’s there to lead. We’re here to follow.
  2. This allowed them to travel by day or by night. We often make the incorrect assumption that God will only call us to move when conditions are optimal. I wouldn’t call travelling at night the best time to travel—especially not how the Israelites were doing it with young and old, wagons and flocks. Can you imaging trying to move not only a million plus people, but all the animals and goods that went with them? The optimal time to move is when God says so.
  3. If you don’t see a sign, maybe you should stay where you are. Now, this isn’t taken directly from this passage, but it speaks from it nonetheless. If you know that God has led you to a certain place and suddenly the sign disappears, maybe it’s time to stick it out where you are for a while. Don’t immediately rush out looking for the next sign. Perhaps God needs you to grow and learn for a season rather than move on to the next one right away.

Daily Bible reading: Exodus 13-15, Matthew 19:1-15

Daily Bible Reading

Leave

Some of the best trips I’ve been on have been those where I don’t know the final destination. How can you go somewhere if you don’t know where you’re going? Simple, you trust the one you’re following.

My first trip to Peru was over eight years ago. All I knew was that I had to book my flight to Lima. Everything after that would be taken care of. My arrival in Lima wasn’t the end of the line, though. From there, I ended up in Iquitos, and from there, Santa Clotilde – a small village on the Rio Napo (a tributary of the Amazon River) that took over two days by boat to get to.

That trip changed my life. Had I refused to go anywhere without knowing my final destination, I would never have experienced those first sights, sounds, and smells of Iquitos that I came to love instantly. I would never have met the wonderful pastors at Iglesia Ciudad de Dios in Iquitos. I never would have had the challenge and joy of decorating a wedding cake on a boat on a river in the middle of the jungle so that many couples could experience the joy and blessing of a church wedding. If I’d stopped in Lima, I wouldn’t have gone back four more times in the several years that followed.

Then the Lord told Abram, “Leave your country, your relatives, and your father’s house, and go to the land that I will show you.”

Genesis 12:1 (NLT)

God simply told Abram to leave. Go. Pick up everything. Get a move on, then I’ll let you know where you’re supposed to be. Without obeying the first part of the command, Abram never would have experienced the latter.

“I will cause you to become the father of a great nation. I will bless you and make you famous, and I will make you a blessing to others. I will bless those who bless you and curse those who curse you. All the families of the earth will be blessed through you.”

Genesis 12:2-3 (NLT)

Maybe it’s time to stop waiting to find out your final destination and just start moving. God will give you direction even if He may not offer much more at first. He’s just looking for the first step.

So why not leave?

Daily Bible reading: Genesis 12-14, Matthew 5:1-26

Uncategorized

Moved

Are you often moved? Moved to change your mind? Moved by the humility of others? Are you easily moved to forgive? When you’ve been greatly wronged, what does it take to move you?

Manasseh, unlike his father Hezekiah, did evil in the sight of God. His father reigned over Judah and the land knew prosperity and economic growth. 2 Chronicles 32:30 says that Hezekiah prospered in all his works. One would think that, if the father prospered, the son would wish to emulate those actions.But Manasseh wanted things his own way.

He rebuilt the high places and altars to Baal and Asherah. He built altars in the temple. He sacrificed his sons as burnt offerings. If you’re God, are you going to forgive this guy?

Down the road, Manasseh gets captured by the very people that God turned away during Hezekiah’s reign. This must have been the bottom for him.

And when he was in distress, he entreated the favor of the Lord his God and humbled himself greatly before the God of his fathers.

2 Chronicles 33:12 (ESV)

What strikes me here is that, even though Manasseh had been worshipping the foreign gods, he still recognised the Lord has his God. God was still a personal God to him.

He prayed to him, and God was moved by his entreaty and heard his plea and brought him again to Jerusalem into his kingdom. Then Manasseh knew that the Lord was God.

2 Chronicles 33:13 (ESV)

There is nothing, nothing that God won’t forgive when you humble yourself and recognise him as God. Here is a man who spurned him father’s faithfulness, worshipped foreign gods, defaced the temple, burned his own sons and God still had mercy on him.

God is moved when we humble ourselves and know that He is God.

Daily Bible reading: 2 Chronicles 32-33; John 18:24-40

Uncategorized

Void

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.

Genesis 1:1-2 (ESV)

Even in the void, God is there. In the darkness when nothing else seems to exist, God is there. The Amplified Bible says, “The Spirit of God was moving (hovering, brooding) over the  face of the waters.”

No matter how dark or empty or void life may seem to be, God can still move. God does still move. His Spirit is always moving over, in, and through creation. That is how it has always been. Before anything else existed, God’s Spirit was moving, hovering over the deep. That is how it will always be.