Daily Bible Reading

Share

We’re told all our lives that we need to share. Share your toys. Share your snacks. Share your room. Share the car. Share your office. Share, share, share. We’re told so often as we grow up that we have to share that when we’re all grown our response is often, oh good, I don’t have to share anymore. Sharing is something that we did because we had to not because we wanted to.

I believe that an attitude of generosity is something we could all use a little more of. I don’t necessarily mean in the way of finances, either. Money isn’t necessarily what someone in need actually needs.

The very first church in the Book of Acts grew by leaps and bounds in its first days. Was it because of the stellar preaching? I don’t think so. Many of those who joined up with the apostles had already seen and heard Jesus speak. I’m not sure anyone could teach better than Jesus. Was it because of the incredibly modern and up-to-date facilities? What facilities? They started with 120 people crammed in someone’s upper room. There was no church building to meet in.

Peter has just finished speaking his first message to the new church and here’s how the people responded:

Those who believed what Peter said were baptized and added to the church—about three thousand in all. They joined with the other believers and devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, sharing in the Lord’s Supper and in prayer.

A deep sense of awe came over them all, and the apostles performed many miraculous signs and wonders. And all the believers met together constantly and shared everything they had. They sold their possessions and shared the proceeds with those in need. they worshipped together at the Temple each day, met in homes for the Lord’s Supper, and shared their meals with great joy and generosity—all the while praising God and enjoying the goodwill of all the people. And each day the Lord added to their group those who were being saved.

Acts 2:41-47 (NLT)

Note that they didn’t start all sorts of programs. There was no men’s ministry or women’s ministry or kid’s ministry. There were no outreach programs or missions teams. The church worked and lived together as a community and God did mighty things in their midst. Notice that nothing they did specifically added to their numbers. And each day the Lord added to their group those who were being saved. The church did their thing and God did His thing.

There have been moments in my Christian life when church looked like this description in Acts. We did all sorts of things with other church members. We did life together. We saw the miraculous and we saw our church grow. But that seems to be the exception, not the rule. I long to see my church as well as the Global Church live and grow together—without division and without selfishness.

Whether you attend a small church or a large church, this example in Acts can serve as something to strive for. They started with a modest 120 and grew by three thousand that first day! And from there their generosity grew along with their numbers.

The world is looking for community, what better way to find it than in the church?

Daily Bible reading: Nehemiah 4-6, Acts 2:14-47

Daily Bible Reading

Silent awe

In my attempt to look deeper into today’s reading from Matthew, I stumbled upon a commentary that expresses what I could not. So, instead of reading my ramblings, I’ll let you read it for yourself:

The teachings of that wonderful last day of Christ’s ministry, which have occupied so many of our pages, are closed with this tremendous picture of universal judgment. It is one to be gazed upon with silent awe, rather than to be commented on. There is fear lest, in occupying the mind in the study of the details, and trying to pierce the mystery it partly unfolds, we should forget our own individual share in it. Better to burn in on our hearts the thought, ‘I shall be there,’ than to lose the solemn impression in efforts to unravel the difficulties of the passage. Difficulties there are, as is to be expected in even Christ’s revelation of so unparalleled a scene. Many questions are raised by it which will never be solved till we stand there. Who can tell how much of the parabolic element enters into the description? We, at all events, do not venture to say of one part, ‘This is merely drapery, the sensuous representation of spiritual reality,’ and of another, ‘That is essential truth.’ The curtain is the picture, and before we can separate the elements of it in that fashion, we must have lived through it. Let us try to grasp the main lessons, and not lose the spirit in studying the letter.

MacLaren’s Expositions

Daily Bible reading: Leviticus 7-9, Matthew 25:31-46

Daily Bible Reading

Sound Advice

I have trouble letting go of things. If I know I can get the job done, I’d rather run myself ragged than let someone else do it for me and risk not having it done my way.

Now, I’m not Moses, but Moses was in a similar situation. Israel had escaped Egypt and were now wandering the desert complaining. (Do you ever catch yourself whining even when you’re in the middle of a miraculous situation?) Moses, being the one in communication with God had been set up as a judge of sorts over the entire nation. People would line up for days in order to have him settle a dispute. Then Jethro comes along. Moses’ father-in-law shares some sound advice.

“Now let me give you a word of advice, and may God be with you. You should continue to be the people’s representative before God, bringing him their questions to be decided. You should tell them God’s decisions, teach them God’s laws and instructions, and show them how to conduct their lives. But find some capable, honest men who fear God and hate bribes. Appoint them as judges over groups of one thousand, one hundred, fifty, and ten.”

Exodus 18:19-21 (NLT)

Maybe you’re like me and are the type to take everything on yourself. Or maybe you’re someone who fears God and hates bribes. Either way, you’re needed.

God needs the people who can do it all, but He also needs people who can take a share and do some. Just because you may not be able to lead one thousand doesn’t mean you can’t oversee ten. And just because you oversee ten doesn’t mean you’re any less important than the person looking over all of it.

God didn’t put all these orders in place for the sake of making work for Himself. They’re in place because structure is necessary in order to do a good work. No one person can do it all on their own. Some people are ready to lead large groups, while others are able to lead small. There truly is a place for everyone and, the sooner we are able to find our own place, the better we are all able to grow together.

Daily Bible reading: Exodus 16-18, Matthew 19:16-30

Daily Bible Reading

Effective

I thank my God always when I remember you in my prayers, because I hear of your love and of the faith that you have toward the Lord Jesus and all the saints, and I pray that the sharing of your faith may become effective for the full knowledge of every good thing that is in us for the sake of Christ. For I have derived much joy and comfort from your love, my brother, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed through you.

Philemon 4-7 (ESV)

I have just one quick question for you today: how effective is the sharing of your faith?

Daily Bible reading: Jeremiah 36-37, Philemon 1

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Every Day

I’m not good at talking to people. Socialising is about the last thing on my list of things I enjoy doing. When it comes to sharing the Gospel, I’m usually at a complete loss as where to start.

And I’m quite sure I’m not alone in this struggle.

But I wonder what would happen if we all worked on it? How many people could we reach if we just started talking about Jesus. Not as some far off being we sort of believe in, but as a real person whom we have a real relationship with.

In the book of Acts, the apostles were imprisoned because they spoke of Jesus. When an angel came to let them out, he said:

Go and stand in the temple and speak to the people all the words of this Life.

Acts 5:20 (ESV)

Of course, we know that this Life is Jesus. They weren’t commissioned to speak some of Jesus’ words or just the ones that they liked, but all of his words.

By the end of the chapter, the apostles had been called before the council, beaten and let go, and told not to talk about Jesus. So what did they do?

And every day, in the temple and from house to house, they did not cease teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ.

Acts 5:42 (ESV)

Do you think that maybe we could work on talking about Jesus? And not just about him, but speaking his words. His words of Truth and Life. It’s going to be a challenge for most of us.

But if we don’t speak all the words of this Life, who will?

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Moses and the Prophets

If you’ve paid any attention to the news at all lately, it would seem that the world is going to hell in a hand basket in a hurry. Morals a quickly fading. Beliefs are fragile at best. Direction is lacking and all sense of responsibility has gone out the window.

How are we, the Church, supposed to make these people believe again?

The simple answer, we’re not.

In the book of Luke, Jesus tells the parable of Lazarus and the rich man. Lazarus is a beggar and the rich man is a man of great indulgence. The rich man paid no attention to Lazarus. Both men die and Lazarus is taken up to Abraham’s side while the rich man goes down to the fiery depths. The rich man soon learns that there is no help for him, so he asks for help for his five brothers. Surely, if someone came back from the dead, they would believe.

He [Jesus] said to him, “If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should arise from the dead.”

Luke 16:31 (ESV)

Just as a man in Heaven cannot help a man in Hell, there is nothing you or I can do to force a person to believe. We can and should share the Gospel in a way that is comprehensible by all, but the believing part is out of our hands. It is up to the Holy Spirit to take the seeds we spread and help it to grow.

Once a seed is in the ground there is little one can do aside from watering to help it along. If the ground is good, the seed will take root and grow, but if the ground is bad and does not receive the seed, there is precious little we can do to make a difference.

Daily Bible reading: 1 Samuel 25-26; Luke 16:19-31

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Gift

God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.

Ephesians 2:8-9

The only hand I had in my salvation was to believe. It would be foolish for me to think that I would be able to do something good enough, spectacular enough to actually merit God’s favour.

My salvation is not a reward from God for good behaviour. It is not mine because of who I am. Salvation is a gift because of who God is.

I cannot boast in or take pride in my salvation. How can you boast in something that is available to everyone. It would be like me strutting down the street encouraging everyone to look at me because I get to walk on the side walk. Just like we all have the freedom to walk on the side walk, we all have the freedom to accept God’s incredible gift of salvation.

I cannot boast, but I do have a duty to share my salvation with others. As anyone would pull someone who had been walking on the street onto the side walk, I have the obligation to and the joy of being able to share my gift with others.

This is the joy of salvation.