Daily Bible Reading

The great pursuit

Psalm 23 is one of my favourite passages in the entire Bible. I attribute this to my mother. While she was pregnant with me, she took up a project to cross stitch the entire chapter. She completed it in the hospital right before I was born. It’s now framed and hangs on the wall in my bedroom and is one of the last things I see before I go to bed every night.

Psalm 23

There is so much packed into these six verses. I can barely begin to scratch the surface, but I want to give you a little bit from each verse.

The Lord is my shepherd;
I have everything I need.

Psalm 23:1 (NLT)

If we follow Jesus like sheep do a shepherd, our needs will be fulfilled. God isn’t a magic genie to see to our needs and whims when we feel like rubbing the lamp. He is there to lead us and guide us. It’s under His guidance that our needs our met.

He lets me rest in green meadows;
He leads me beside peaceful streams.

Psalm 23:2 (NLT)

Turmoil and stress don’t have to be a part of our daily lives. Like being under God’s guidance allows for our needs to be met, if we follow His lead, we will be drawn to rest and peace.

He renews my strength.
He guides me along right paths,
bringing honor to his name.

Psalm 23:3 (NLT)

Strength is required to walk God’s path. There is nothing that says walking with God will be easy, but He does give us the strength to do it. And, if we’re not bringing honour to His name, we’re probably not on His path.

Even when I walk
through the dark valley of death,
I will not be afraid,
for you are close beside me.
Your rod and your staff
protect and comfort me.

Psalm 23:4 (NLT)

When, not if. We will go through dark times. That’s pretty much a guarantee. But even in those times, God has promised that He will be with us—guiding us, protecting us, comforting us.

You prepare a feast for me
in the presence of my enemies.
You welcome me as a guest,
anointing my head with oil.
My cup overflows with blessings.

Psalm 23:5 (NLT)

Our enemies will not suddenly decide to leave us alone because we decide to put our trust in God. We will still have enemies. They may still surround us. Yet God is there, providing for us in the middle of the battleground. And there, we can even find blessings!

Surely your goodness and unfailing love
will pursue me.
all the days of my life,
And I will live in the house of the Lord forever.

Psalm 23:6 (NLT)

We make a grave mistake when we believe we have to chase after God’s love. His love comes after us. His love is there in peaceful rest. His love is there in the dark valley of death. His love is there in the presence of our enemies. His love is there in His house.

It’s time to stop chasing after God’s love. If we’d only just slow down for a moment, it will catch up to us and overtake us. In His love, we will find peace, rest, strength, guidance, provision, anointing, blessing, and goodness.

We don’t have to pursue God’s love because He is always pursuing us.

Daily Bible reading: Psalm 22-24, Acts 20:1-16

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Be Still

Even when I seemingly have nothing to do, I have trouble being still. I almost always have something in my hands to keep me busy and productive. When reading my Bible, I often fiddle with my pens and pencils. I’m rarely still.

Be still, and know that I am God.
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth!”

Psalm 46:10 (ESV)

In all of our overwhelming activity, not only do we forget to be still, we find it difficult to do so. And, in a culture where the idea of God is commonly spurned, we try to prove to others (and maybe even ourselves) His existence.

If you know that God is God, rest in that knowledge. One Bible school teacher said that our biggest fight in faith is the fight not to fight. God doesn’t require that we struggle in our belief, only that we do believe.

Today, I will attempt to be still and know that God is God. To know that, no matter my current circumstance, I am in His hands. He is in control. He is God.

Daily Bible reading: Psalm 44-46; Acts 25

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Peace

It is difficult these days to read the news and imagine peace of any sort. Over two thousand years ago, Jesus predicted this very thing. But he did more than that.

I told you these things so that you can have peace in me. In this world you will have trouble, but be brave! I have defeated the world.

John 16:33 (NCV)

Jesus not only warned of impending trials, he took care of the situation already.

As the Church, we often think that we have to fight back. While we do have to maintain the fight of faith, Jesus already won. Not just the battle, but the entire war. He didn’t say that he will defeat the world. He already has.

So rest in this truth – if you are in Christ and he is in you, you can have peace. Remember that God has already gone ahead and fought your battles for you.

There’s an old song we used to sing in church that went like this:

If I hold my peace
Let the Lord fight my battles
Victory, oh victory shall be mine

What an odd concept that is. Hold your peace and you will win the war. Your peace is Jesus. Hold on to him. He’s already won.

Daily Bible reading: 2 Chronicles 23-25; John 16:16-33