Daily Bible Reading

Game day

I can’t remember how long it’s been since I last used a football analogy, but in my mind, one can never use them too often.

This weekend, I made a trip out to go see two of my nephews play football. As a part of their fundraising (and to clear out room in storage), the team is selling off old jerseys. Since I didn’t yet have any team apparel, I snagged one of these game-worn shirts. Immediately after putting it on, I noticed some pretty major differences between it and the other jerseys I own. While my fan jerseys are all pretty awesome, they’d be useless if I ever actually wanted to play the game of football. Unlike a game jersey, they have little stretch and absolutely no room for protective padding. It got me thinking about how we, as Christians, wear different shirts and expect results that we are unprepared for.

Now, I can go to Saskatchewan, wear my green and white jersey with a name and number on the back and tell everyone that I play for the Roughriders. But no one is going to believe me. I’m just a fan. It’s obvious. Or I can step out onto the field in my new gold and black jersey and claim I’m a Bear, but it’s quite plain that I’m not. This is how a lot of Christians are. They get saved and become fans of the faith. It’s alright. They follow the rest of the team and wear the team shirt when it suits them, but they’re not team players. They aren’t equipped.

Then we have the armchair quarterbacks. You know, those people who wear the game jersey ballooning out across their shoulders. There’s room for equipment, but it’s not there. They know the playbook and the rulebook and are more than willing to tell everyone else how to play the game, but are again, ill equipped to actually get in there and do it themselves.

We also have those like my nephew, with both the playbook and rulebook memorized, game jersey on—filled out with a full set of pads, early to every practice, in every play, learning every position. This is how we are all supposed to be—eager to get on the field at every opportunity. And, if we’re not playing, we should be coaching—showing those with less experienced how to get things done.

Paul was Timothy’s coach. Paul had been in the game for a while and was raising up the next team to take his place on the so-called field of faith.

All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and make us realize what is wrong in our in our lives. It straightens us out and teaches us to do what is right. It is God’s way of preparing us in every way, fully equipped for every good thing God wants us to do.

2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NLT)

The Word of God contains everything we need to get out there and do what He’s called us to do. And let’s set the record straight—God has not called any of us simply to be fans or armchair quarterbacks. We’ve all be drafted to the team and are expected to do everything we can to help the team grow, become stronger, and win.

Church, get ready. It’s game day.

Daily Bible reading: Jeremiah 25-26. 2 Timothy 3

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Daily Bible Reading

Your name here

As we read the Bible, we should always take into consideration the context in which the verses were written. Who wrote them? Who are they talking to? Are they talking about a specific event or period of time? Is it culturally relevant? There are many variables that can change the way we perceive the Word of God. As Pastor Morris Watson put it in his message Do You Know What You’re Asking For?, not everything in the Bible is meant for us personally. But that’s not to say that we can’t take some of it personally.

There are those who like to take scripture and insert their own name into it. I’m not usually one to make a habit of it, but since today’s portion of scripture already has a name in it, why not try inserting your own name in place of Timothy’s?

But you, (insert your name here), belong to God; so run from all these evil things, and follow what is right and good. Pursue a godly life, along with faith, love,  perseverance, and gentleness. Fight the good fight for what we believe. Hold tightly to the eternal life that God has given you, which you have confessed so well before so many witnesses.

1 Timothy 6:11-12 (NLT)

Paul has been writing to Timothy about avoiding many of the pitfalls the Jewish nation was prone to. We’re pretty much in the same boat as the Jews were at that time. The world pushes against us trying to force us into their way of thinking and holding on to the truth becomes more and more difficult.

So today, if you find your faith being pressured, remember these words. Insert your name here and remember that you belong to God. Follow what is right and good. Pursue a godly life. All of these things that Paul encouraged Timothy to do still apply to us today.

Take these words to heart. Take them personally and then you and I can fight the good fight for what we all believe.

Daily Bible reading: Jeremiah 17-19, 1 Timothy 6

Daily Bible Reading

Fulfilled

When I make a promise, to the best of my ability, I try to keep it. When someone else makes a promise for me, depending on what it is, I try to keep that, too. If a complete stranger says I’m going to do something, I’m not likely to do it—unless I want to or already planned on doing so.

Jesus came to earth and fulfilled every promise made about him—whether he’d met the person who made it or not. Some things just happened the way they’d been foretold centuries before.

So they said, “Let’s not tear it but throw dice to see who gets it.” This fulfilled the Scripture that says, “They divided my clothes among themselves and threw dice for my robe.” So that is what they did.

John 19:24 (NLT)

Others made sure to record fulfilled prophecies so that we would know and recognise what had taken place.

This report is from and eye-witness giving and accurate account; it is presented so that you can also believe.

John 19:35 (NLT)

And yet others, Jesus made sure he fulfilled. Even on the cross after being whipped and beaten and nailed to a tree, Jesus knew there were a few things he still had to do so that things strangers had said about him would come to pass.

Jesus knew that everything was now finished, and to fulfill the Scriptures, he said, “I am thirsty.”

John 19:28 (NLT)

That is the Jesus we know. The Jesus we serve. The Jesus we love. The man who, while hanging on the cross near the point of death, would make a request in order to fulfill words that had been spoken centuries before. All so that we would know who he truly was.

There was no benefit to Jesus in stating his thirst. All he got for it was a taste of vinegar. But what we get is one more prophecy fulfilled amongst hundreds of others that only Jesus could fulfill. We get to see the impossibility of one man fulfilling all those words become possible. Jesus not only fulfilled prophecy in his words and action, he is the fulfillment of promise.

Daily Bible reading: Ezra 1-2, John 19:23-42

Daily Bible Reading

Shake the dust off

And then he told them, “Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone.”

Mark 16:15 (NLT)

This verse is probably as well known to you as John 3:16. We call it the Great Commission. Every Christian is called to bring the Good News to a lost world. But what if the lost world doesn’t want the Good News?

Anyone who believes and is baptized will be saved. But anyone who refuses to believe will be condemned.

Mark 16:16 (NLT)

It sounds a little harsh, doesn’t it? Some churches might even preach that hearing the Good News is good enough. Surely God wouldn’t condemn someone who has heard His Gospel.

Yet that is exactly what this scripture says. Believe and be saved. Refuse and be condemned. It’s a pretty simple, but hard truth to swallow. And, once we come to the realisation that not all who hear the Good News will accept it, how do we, as the ones who present that Gospel deal with the guilt of seeing someone condemned to a life of eternal torment?

We shake the dust off our feet and move on.

If the people of the village won’t receive your message when you enter it, shake off its dust from your feet as you leave. It is a sign that you have abandoned that village to its fate.

Luke 9:5 (NLT)

We can and should hold ourselves responsible to the Great Commission. We should be sharing the Gospel and spreading the Good News to the best of our ability, but we cannot and should not hold ourselves accountable for those who refuse our message. In Luke 8, Jesus addresses the different types of people that will hear the Word. He wouldn’t have talked about the seeds that would never grow if everyone who heard the Good News accepted it with joy.

Let this lesson free you—not from the burden to share the message of salvation—but from the guilt that may come when there are those who refuse your message. If you have prepared yourself and presented Jesus to the very best of your ability, you have fulfilled your Commission. If your message isn’t received, shake the dust from you feet and move on encouraged that you are still doing the work of the Father.

Daily Bible reading: Judges 10-11, Luke 9:1-36

Daily Bible Reading

The Lord Appeared Again

Today was one of those days where I read over a passage of scripture that I’m quite certain I’ve read over and over again and never noticed what I noticed today.

The LORD appeared again to Abraham…

Genesis 18:1a (NLT)

These six words are loaded. First of all being LORD. As in capital L-O-R-D. God. I Am. Yes. God himself appeared to Abraham. Again. Wait. What?!?!

Hands up if you’re one of the many who has a tendency to view God as the invisible God. He Who Shall Not Be Seen.

*hands up*

Apparently God appearing in physical form (this wasn’t just a vision because the Lord ate and travelled in subsequent verses) to Abraham was a regular occurrence. And, if not regular, it happened more than once because, in this verse, it’s happened again.

How cool would that be? Some commentaries say that Abraham was sitting at the entrance of his tent waiting for travellers to pass by, seeking an opportunity to offer hospitality. Others say that, since this is a continuation from the previous chapter, Abraham needed a few days rest following his circumcision. No matter what Abraham’s reason for chilling on his front porch, he recognised the Lord and immediately did everything he could to honour the presence of God. Rest here in the most comfortable place I have to offer. Honey, bake me the best bread you can. Guys, let’s get the best steak on the table ASAP.

I wonder what I would do if God showed up at my door.I’d probably pass out. When I came to, I’d madly try to tidy up my house. I’d root around in the freezer to see if I had anything worth cooking for royalty. I’d be a mess.

But is that how my response should be? Or should I, like Abraham, be able to treat God with more familiarity? Sure, Abraham went to every length to make the Lord comfortable. He honoured God. But he also knew God. It seems possible that Abraham has done this before. And after a good meal and some rest, Abraham was able to speak freely with the Lord and the Lord listened.

I’d like to have the same familiarity with God that Abraham did.

Daily Bible reading: Genesis 18-19, Matthew 6

Daily Bible Reading

Steadfast

Yesterday we looked at the word uttermost. We learned that, if something is done to the uttermost, nothing can be beyond it.

Today, let’s look at the word steadfast. This is another word that we come across often in scripture but not so often in our daily lives. If we don’t understand it completely, we may have a tendency to skip over it and never quite grasp the meaning of its context.

STEAD-FAST, adjective. Fixed in direction; steadily directed: firm in purpose, resolution, faith, attachment: unwavering: firmly established: firmly fixed in place or position.

Are you steadfast in anything. Do you know someone who is?

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end.

Lamentations 3:22 (ESV)

Let’s expand that verse.

The [fixed, firm, steadily directed, resolute, unwavering, established] love of the Lord never ceases.

Not only is Jesus able to save us to the uttermost, but His love is right up there with His ability to make us righteous. Just as salvation from God is unwavering, so are His love and mercy.

lamentations-3-22

Daily Bible reading: Lamentations 3-5, Hebrews 8

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Rejoice

I’ve had people look at me strangely when I’ve discovered something in the Bible I’d never seen or noticed before.

Do you ever have those moments? Where God’s Word truly comes alive and you feel as though God is pulling words of the page for you so that you can see and understand them in a different way?

Israel had this experience. Once they returned to Jerusalem from exile, they took the time to read the Book of the Law in the presence of everyone who was able to understand it. Not only did they read it, but they presented it clearly and with interpretation so that every would understand it. Men, women, and children stood for hours listening to scripture.

What’s your response when you’ve grasped a new revelation from scripture. Do you tell someone? Do you pause to think about it? Or do you do like the people in Jerusalem?

And all the people went their way to eat and drink and to send portions and to make great rejoicing, because they had understood the words that were declared to them.

Nehemiah 8:12 (ESV)

When you understand more than just the literal meaning of the Word, rejoice! When you’ve taken hold of a deeper meaning in scripture, see it for what it is – God personally revealing Himself to you.

These are God’s words. Living words. Active words. And He has given them freely to you.

For the word of God is living an active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of the soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

Hebrews 4:12 (ESV)

Daily Bible reading: Nehemiah 7-8; Acts 3