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

Daily Bible Reading

To boldly go

… to boldly go where no man has gone before.

You’ve probably heard that phrase more than a few times. It’s the mission of the starship Enterprise.

Space: the final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise. Its five-year mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before.

The Church has a similar mission—only it’s a life-long one, not just five years.

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

Mark 16:15 (NLT)

Did you know that this instruction from Jesus doesn’t apply only pastors? It applies to Christians. Period. But a lot of us tend to look at this as a job not an opportunity. The more we see taking the Gospel to the world as work, the less we’re apt to do it. So how did the early church manage to grow so much so quickly?

“And now, O Lord, hear their threats, and give your servants great boldness in their preaching. Send your healing power; may miraculous signs and wonders be done through the name of your holy servant Jesus.”

After this prayer, the building where they were meeting shook, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit. And they preached God’s message with boldness.

Acts 4:29-31 (NLT)

The church prayed and—amazingly enough—God answered their prayers!

They didn’t pray for their leaders to be bold, they prayed for boldness for themselves. Every member of the church received the power of the Holy Spirit to preach the Good News boldly. We don’t have to share the Gospel, we get to. And we don’t have to do it on our own power. If your desire is to see more people brought into the Kingdom of God, God is not going to withhold the power of His Spirit to help you do so.

Jesus told us to bring the Gospel to the world, but he also promised the Helper.

It’s time that the Church—the whole Church, every member of the Church—pray for boldness to preach the Good News. Now is not the time to sit back and reevaluate our message so that we don’t risk offending certain groups of people. Now is the time for us to pray for the power of the Holy Spirit to fall on us all so that we boldly go forth and preach God’s message.

Daily Bible reading: Nehemiah 12-13, Acts 4:23-37

Daily Bible Reading

If you build it…

Many of us can quote the whispered line from Field of Dreams, if you build it, he will come. Nehemiah was kind of the Ray Kinsella of his time. God was the voice whispering to him to build it. Build what? The wall surrounding Jerusalem.

Nehemiah, however, wasn’t an Iowa corn farmer. He was the king’s cup bearer in Persia. He’d never even been to Jerusalem. Yet, when he heard of the disrepair the city had fallen to, God’s vision weighed so heavily on his heart that he had to go. He prayed for strength and courage to approach the king. No only did the king allow him to go, but Nehemiah left with letters which would allow him to pass through other lands on his way and also gave him access to the king’s resources.

Nehemiah showed up in a strange city full of distant relatives and somehow managed to get everyone working together to rebuild the wall. How’s that for a family reunion? From the lowest of the low to the city leaders, with God’s vision set before them, they all worked together.

There are those who would say that the God of the Old Testament is not the same as the God of the New Testament.

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

Hebrews 13:8 (NLT)

God doesn’t change. The God that stirred Nehemiah, a lowly servant, to rebuild Jerusalem is the same God who is still stirring within men and women today. He is planting vision in those daring enough to see beyond themselves and today.

Christians who did most for the present world were those who thought most of the next.

C.S. Lewis.

There are those who build for the sake of building. They want the glory that comes with a grand structure. And there are those who build for the sake of the Kingdom of God. They want the glory to go to the One who alone can fill the structure.

It is time that the Church allow herself to be stirred. Time for those who are willing to be led by the Spirit of God to build the Kingdom of God. It is time that we strive to become the Church that Christ will return for.

It’s time to sneak a peek at tomorrow’s reading:

‘In the last days,’ God says,
‘I will pour out my Spirit upon all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy.
Your young men will see visions,
and your old men will dream dreams.
In those days I will pour out my Spirit
Even on my servants—men and women alike—
and they will prophesy.

Acts 2:17-18 (NLT)

Are you ready to think less of this world and more of the next? If you build it…

Daily Bible reading: Nehemiah 1-3, Acts 2:1-13

Daily Bible Reading

What is truth?

Once upon a time, there was truth. And there were lies. A great wall stood between the two and that wall could not be broken down and it could not be scaled. No one questioned the existence of the wall because it had always been there.

But one day, someone decided to build another wall. Then another. These new walls were great, but not as great as the original wall. Soon more and more walls were being built and so many walls of every shape and size existed that the original wall was almost completely obscured.

When a very wise man claimed that he was Truth, some believed him. Others did not. Truth had set out to destroy all the other walls. Those who did not believe in the Truth liked their other walls better than the original wall and they set out to destroy Truth. They brought him to a powerful man who asked, “What is truth?”

The Truth had said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.”

The powerful man could find no fault in the Truth and sent him away. Those who did not believe in Truth eventually won their battle against him and put him to death. But they didn’t realise that Truth had already planned for this outcome.

When Truth died, the Spirit of truth came. And the Spirit of truth did not rest on just one person, but all those who believed in Truth. That Spirit of truth guided the believers into all truth. Their eyes were opened to see beyond all the other walls and the original wall became clear.

To this day, new walls are being built. The original wall still exists, but for those who do not have the Spirit of truth, it cannot be seen. The land is filled with walls and people on every side. Only the true believers still know which side is Truth.

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

Daily Bible Reading

Powerful

Who doesn’t want power of some sort? Power indicates might, strength, resources. Power produces change. It is forceful. It is something to be reckoned with. Some want political power. Others military. Some intellectual and others physical. Power comes in many forms and from many sources.

Do you want power just for the sake of having it? Do you want it for your own selfish reasons? Or do you want power for the greater good?

And David became more and more powerful, because the Lord Almighty was with him.

1 Chronicles 11:9 (NLT)

Only one reason was given for David’s show of great strength—because the Lord Almighty was with him. When God was for Israel, they were strong and victorious. When God was against Israel, they were weak and defenseless.

If God is for us, who can ever be against us?

Romans 8:31b (NLT)

When our power comes from the Creator, nothing can stand against us. Like David, we can become more and more powerful for all the right reasons. There is no selfishness in the power that comes from God. It is for your good and it is for the greater good. It is the power to overcome darkness. The power to shine the Light of the World. The power over sin and death. And the power that comes from God is a result of sacrifice.

Who then will condemn us? No one—for Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us, and he is sitting in the place of honor at God’s right hand, pleading for us.

…despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.

Romans 8:35, 37 (NLT)

Overwhelming victory. That sounds like power to me. But the glory then, is not ours, but the Lord’s. As we discussed earlier, everything in the Bible points back to Jesus. The power that we receive through the Holy Spirit does, too. And that should encourage us since it is our job to point the world to Jesus. What better way to do so than to have his great power show through us?

Daily Bible reading: 1 Chronicles 11-13, John 9:1-25

 

Daily Bible Reading

The Light that leads to Life

The more I read my Bible, the more I understand how pastors are always saying that everything in the Word points to Jesus—both Old and New Testaments. I’ve written much about John 1 and Genesis 1 and the many, many links between the two. Today, we’re going to expand that thought even further.

Jesus said to the people, “I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t be stumbling through the darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.”

John 8:12 (NLT)

When God first said, “Let there be light!”, it wasn’t the sun that appeared in the sky. It was Jesus who went forth from heaven to join the Spirit that had been hovering over the surface of the deep. Jesus truly was, is, and will forever be the light of the world. And that Light leads to Life.

Your word is a lamp for my feet
and a light for my path.

Psalm 119:105 (NLT)

Your word. Jesus is the Word. A light for my path. Jesus is the Light.

The path is circular; when we accept Jesus into our lives, he fills us—the Spirit fills us. Jesus is light and he is life and he is truth. The light—Jesus—within us illuminates our path and that path leads to life—Jesus.

Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.”

John 14:6 (NLT)

Jesus is the path. He is the lamp that lights the path and he is the life that the path leads to.

There is so much more to this than what I can type in just a few paragraphs. Read it for yourself. One verse will lead to another which will lead to another. And they will all lead you to Jesus.

Daily Bible reading: 1 Chronicles 3-5, John 8:1-20

Daily Bible Reading

Flow

What comes to mind when you think of the word flow? Rivers? Running water? Traffic? To go with it?

No matter what came to mind first, I bet movement was involved. The word itself implies perpetual motion.

FLOW: to proceed, to issue; to abound, to have in abundance; to issue, as rays or beams of light; free expression or communication of generous feelings and sentiments.

Did you know that the Holy Spirit flows? The Spirit wasn’t given to Christians to hoard and hold on to. The Spirit was given to fill us and to flow out of us.

“If you are thirsty, come to me! If you believe in me, come and drink! For scripture declares that rivers of living water will flow out from within.” (When he said “living water”, he was speaking of the Spirit, who would be given to everyone believing in him. But the Spirit had not yet been given, because Jesus had not yet entered into his glory.)

John 7:37b-39 (NLT)

What the Spirit pours into us is meant to flow out of us. When it flows out of us, we are then refilled with fresh water. The process is supposed to be continual—this isn’t like filling a pitcher, pouring it out and filling it again. It’s like a river. Always moving. New and water always being added from the source. Nothing stagnant. Forever fresh and refreshing.

When God puts something into you, don’t hold on to it, pour it out. Share it. By sharing it, you are pouring the Spirit into others, increasing your flow as well as theirs—another wonderful product of the saints gathering together on a regular basis with purpose. We can all contribute to the flow of the Holy Spirit in our own lives as well as the lives of those around us.

Don’t hold back! Let it flow!

Daily Bible reading: 1 Chronicles 1-2, John 7:32-53