Daily Bible Reading

Harmony

It doesn’t take a musical genius to know when an instrument is out of tune or someone in the orchestra hits a wrong note. It’s obvious. It stands out. It’s not right. But when it all works together—every instrument in tune, in harmony—it’s a beautiful thing.

HARMONY: the just adaptation of parts to each other, in any system or composition of things, intended to form a connected whole; concord; agreement

That same basic principle of harmony works in our relationship with God. The Holy Spirit works in us to be sure that we remain in harmony with God.

And the Holy Spirit helps us in our distress. For we don’t even know what we should pray for, nor how we should pray. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words. And the Father who knows all hearts knows that the Spirit is saying, for the Spirit pleads for us believers in harmony with God’s own will.

Romans 8:26-27 (NLT)

We can have a relationship with God and go our own way. Later on in Romans 8, Paul talks about how nothing can separate us from God’s love. We can accept salvation, accept God’s love, and go about our business. But why would we want to? Why would we want to live a life in discord with our Heavenly Father? Just like an out-of-tune orchestra, our lives, without the guidance of the Holy Spirit, will always be off. Something won’t be quite right.

But when we take advantage of the Helper God has sent us, that’s when the music happens.

And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.

Romans 8:28 (NLT)

On its own, this verse is often taken to mean that, as Christians, everything will always be great! Anyone who has been a Christian for more than five minutes can tell you that’s simply not true. Just because God works for our good doesn’t mean that it will always feel good. There is a reason that this verse follows a verse about being in harmony with God’s will. God works for our good. Meaning that God works things out for our good according to His will, not ours.

Is it always easy? No. Does it always feel good? No. Is there still a divine plan for our lives? Of course!

For God knew is people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son, so that his Son would be the firstborn with many brothers and sisters. And having chosen them, he called them to come to him. And he gave them right standing with himself, and he promised them his glory.

Romans 8:29-30 (NLT)

When we get our spirit in harmony with God’s Spirit, we put ourselves in a place to be used greatly by Him. We put ourselves in the centre of His will and His love.

Why would you want to play solo when you can harmonize with the entire orchestra?

Daily Bible reading: Psalm 82-84, Romans 8:19-39

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Daily Bible Reading

Lead

How often do you ask to be lead rather than to lead? Who really wants to follow when you can be a leader?

How often do you ask what you should be doing? Who really wants to be told what to do when you can tell someone else what to do?

Lead me in the right path, O Lord,
or my enemies will conquer me.
Tell me clearly what to do,
and show me which way to turn.

Psalm 5:8 (NLT)

Life isn’t all about being the one in charge. Sometimes—and even more often than we think—it should be about asking for direction and instruction. It’s about letting someone else be in charge. God’s guidance isn’t there to stifle us. He doesn’t want to lead us like a dog on a leash.

But let all who take refuge in you rejoice;
let them sing joyful praises forever.
Protect them,
so all who love your name may be filled with joy.
For you bless the godly, O Lord,
surrounding them with your shield of love.

Psalm 5:11-12 (NLT)

We don’t have to listen to God’s directions and instructions, we get to. When we put ourselves into God’s plan, not only is it His will that all things work together for our good (Romans 8:28), but He surrounds us with His shield of love. We can take refuge in Him. He will protect us.

Submitting to God is not a trial. It’s a joy. A privilege.

I will lie down in peace and sleep,
for you alone, O Lord, will keep me safe.

Psalm 4:8 (NLT)

Submitting to God leads to joy. It leads to peace. It leads to love. Who else can you follow that will lead you to all of that?

Daily Bible reading: Psalm 4-6, Acts 16:16-40

Daily Bible Reading

He controls my destiny

So he will do for me all he has planned. He controls my destiny.

Job 23:14 (NLT)

For those who are in Christ and have surrendered themselves to the will of God, this is a comforting statement. For those who may see God as a big bully in the sky, this can be a frightening thought. Since I’m not one to see this as a scary idea, let’s pursue the comfort in this verse a little more.

We know that we are created in God’s image. He didn’t create the world, fill it with animals, populate it with humans, and then walk away from it all to see what would happen. God is very interested in what happens—especially with us,

“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”

Jeremiah 29:11 (NLT)

Many are tempted to and even do lose hope when things don’t go the way they expected. They forget that God has a good plan for them and give in to the lies the enemy would have them believe that God cares nothing for them. That God wants to punish them. Nothing could be further from the truth!

And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.

Romans 8:28 (NLT)

The good things that God has planned for us come when we are walking in His will, not our own will. Will it all be easy? No. Will it all seem good when it’s happening? Probably not. But is the end goal worth it? Yes! A thousand times, yes!

Who do you think has the better plan, you with your limited knowledge and experience? Or God, with His infinite knowledge—the one who knew the end at the beginning?

So I will let Him to do for me all he has planned. He controls my destiny. Thank God for that!

Daily Bible reading: Job 23-25, Acts 10:24-48 

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Firstborn

There are some that believe we are all predestined for a certain purpose and eternal end. That we have no choice in the matter. No matter what we do, nothing will change what God has laid out for us whether it be good or bad.

I cannot bring myself to agree with this idea.

The idea of predestination could be derived from Romans 8:29 where it states that, “those he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son…” It makes sense. Almost.

Think about it.

Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written every one of them,
the days that were formed for me,
when as yet there were none of them

Psalm 139:16 (ESV)

God foreknew all of us. Every last human being on earth. He formed us in our mother’s wombs.

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.

Romans 8:28-30 (ESV)

God predestined the entire population of planet earth to be conformed to the likeness of His Son. He called us. He justified us. He glorified us.

So why aren’t we all living the happy, wonderful Christian life?

Because in giving us a destiny, God also gave us free will. You can make plans for someone. Good plans. But that doesn’t mean that the person you’ve made plans for will follow them. If we have no choice in the matter, there’s no point in the matter.

I take great comfort in the knowledge that God loves me enough to have set out good things for me. A hope and a good future. I was skillfully made for a purpose. God thinks about me. Good thoughts. Many thoughts. He has a plan for my life.

Is this plan just going to happen on it’s own? Does any plan just happen on it’s own? No! In order for plans to be carried out, you need to know what they are. The best way to learn the plan is to get to know the planner.

Daily Bible reading: Psalm 82-84; Romans 8:19-39

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Well

You shall walk in all the way that the Lord your God has commanded you, that you may live and that it may go well with you, and that you may live long in the land that you shall possess.

Deuteronomy 5:33 (ESV)

Why should we obey God? Because it will go well with us. Good enough reason, don’t you think?

But this is the Old Testament! There is always the debate of Old Testament promises versus New Testament promises. One thing doesn’t change – God. If God said back in the time of Moses that things will go well for us if we obey Him, why should it be any different now?

But in case you need a New Testament reference for proof:

We know that in everything God works for the good of those who love him. They are the people he called, because that was his plan.

Romans 8:28 (NCV)

It’s pretty cool if you read on in Romans. We, like the Israelites are God’s chosen people. God has a plan for us – just like He did for Israel. If we follow that plan, like Israel, things will go well for us. So long as we are under God’s banner, He has promised things will go well for us.

Will it always be easy? No, of course not! Can we trust that God is still in control? Yes, of course!

Daily Bible reading: Deuteronomy 5-7, Mark 12:1-27

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Follow.

When the men brought their boats to the shore, they left everything and followed Jesus.

Luke 5:11 (NCV)

FOLLOW (Webster’s American Dictionary of the English Language, 1828):

  • to go after or behind
  • to pursue; to chase
  • to imitate; to copy
  • to embrace; to adopt and maintain
  • to obey; to observe
  • to pursue as an object of desire; to endeavour to obtain
  • to adhere to; to side with
  • to be led or guided by

Am I really a follower? Or do I say that I am because it sounds better than saying I’m just a fan?

Do I pursue and chase after Jesus?

Do I obey Him?

Do I allow myself to be led and guided by Him?

Like the men in the Gospels, have I dropped everything just because He asked me to?

We know that in everything God works for the good of those who love him. They are the people he called, because that was his plan.

Romans 8:28 (NCV)

Do I act as though I am a part of God’s plan? Or do I try to fit God into my plan?

God has amazing plans for me, but I will never see those plans come to full fruition until I am willing to drop everything and follow Him. All of those secrets and surprises He has waiting will remain hidden until I get myself into the place Jesus has called me to be.