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

Will, not can.

CAN: to be possible

WILL: divine determination

Lately, I’ve found my faith being stirred. Whether it’s because of what I experienced on the mission field or conversations with old friends, God is stirring something me and, I believe in the Church as a whole. We, as in the majority of the Western Church, have grown complacent and lazy. Not everyone, but enough that the world has largely forgotten about us. We’ve lost our power. We’ve lost our influence. We’ve lost our drive. We’ve lost our determination.

We’ve lost the difference between can and will.

Before Jesus finished his earthly ministry, he left the disciples with a lot of helpful information. They obviously made great use of it because the Church is still around today. Let’s look at a couple of these tidbits:

I live by the power of the living Father who sent me; in the same way, those who partake of me will live because of me.

John 6:57 (NLT)

I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father.

John 14:12 (NLT)

Let’s set the record straight here. Jesus didn’t say that we can live by the power of the living Father, he said that we will.

Jesus didn’t tell us that we can do the same works [he has] done, he said that we will.

The more I read what Jesus says I will do, the less can becomes an option. Can implies maybe it will happen or maybe it won’t. Will indicates that there is no doubt about it, this is going to happen. Period.

Jesus commanded sickness and death to go. There was no wishy washy little prayer begging God to do something. There was no doubt about Jesus’ own ability or the ability of the Father who sent him. There was no maybe. Jesus never asked the question, “Can I do this?”

It’s time that we stop thinking we can do something and start knowing that we will do something. Even greater works.

Daily Bible reading: 2 Kings 20-22, John 6:45-71

Daily Bible Reading

I am willing

A man with leprosy came and knelt in front of Jesus, begging to be healed. “If you are willing, you can heal me and make me clean,” he said. Moved with compassion, Jesus reached out and touched him. I am willing, he said. Be healed!

Mark 1:40-41 (NLT)

I am not a people person. There are days when, if I know I will have to be around more people than normal for an extended period of time, I’ll lock myself away to be alone. I don’t take kindly to interruptions on those days.

Yet Jesus, no matter what day it was—if a close relative or friend died, if he’d already been surrounded by people for days, if he’d been preaching for hours—never turned anyone away. Not only did he not turn anyone away, he willingly healed them.

I am constantly in awe of Jesus’ compassion. It knows no end. We can go to him with anything at any time and he is willing.

He is willing.

Daily Bible reading: Leviticus 24-25, Mark 1: 23-45

Daily Bible Reading

Begin Again

I’m a couple of days late starting this again. I’ll catch up though, I promise. I don’t want to miss out on the very beginning. It’s the best place to start, after all.

In 2016, I based the majority of my study from the English Standard Version. Why ESV? I wanted to use a Bible that I hadn’t previously marked up with highlights, underlining, and notes. If you’re like me, your eyes are always drawn to the highlights and you tend to miss everything in between. I didn’t want to miss anything and I happened to have a beautiful ESV that was begging to be marked up. Now it is.

This year, I’ve pulled out a New Living Translation. Yes, I know it’s not even close to being the most accurate. It’s even borderline paraphrase, but it’s not marked up and it’s also a worship study and devotional Bible. The CVC worship team aims to write more music this year. What better way to get in a place to write the songs of Heaven than to study from a place of worship?

All that being said, let’s get into today’s reading.

This is the history of Noah and his family. Noah was a righteous man, the only blameless man living on earth at the time. He consistently followed God’s will and enjoyed a close relationship with him.

Genesis 6:9 (NLT)

Do you ever feel as though you’re not as close to God as you’d like to be? I do. Then, do you wonder why?

There are many reasons as to why we can’t seem to get close to God. Making Him a priority is certainly at the top of that list. Life can get in the way and spending time with someone you can’t see may begin to seem silly when there are so many others vying for your attention.

But what if the problem isn’t the time we spend with Him, but how we’re spend our time in general? Are we doing what we’re supposed to be doing? I’m not necessarily talking about work and family relationships. If you have a family, you should most certainly be making them a priority. What about everything else, though? Are you doing what God put you on earth to be doing? Are you in His will? Do you even know what His will for your life is?

Noah enjoyed a close relationship with God because he consistently followed God’s will.

How much closer would we be to God if we simply followed His will?

Daily Bible reading: Genesis 6-8, Matthew 3

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Purpose

Most days, I go through life as though I have no real purpose. I get through each day. I work. I watch the baseball or football game. I read a book. I go to bed. I get up and do it all over again and again. What did I accomplish aside from appeasing a few clients and my insatiable appetite for the CFL?

I will cry out to God Most High,
to God who fulfils his purpose for me.

Psalm 57:2 (ESV)

Not only does God have a purpose and a plan for me beyond work and my favourite sports teams, He wants to fulfil it. And He will. If I allow Him to. If I act as though I have a purpose. His purpose.

Daily Bible reading: Psalm 56-58; Acts 28:1-15

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Whole and Willing

And you, Solomon my son, know the God of your father and serve him with a whole heart and with a willing mind, for the Lord searches all hearts and understands every plan and thought. If you seek him, he will be found by you, but if you forsake him, he will cast you off forever.

1 Chronicles 28:9 (ESV)

As one of his last acts as king of Israel, David urges his son to follow in his father’s footsteps. God knew David’s heart and David’s heart was in the right place.

I often have to take a look at my own heart. When I wake up Sunday mornings, more often than not, I’m looking forward to an afternoon nap more than I am to the church service that comes first. Where is my heart?

When I stand on the stage, am I giving God my whole heart or just a part of it? Am I serving with a willing mind or is it wandering, trying to make it through the service?

Church aside, where are my heart and mind through the week? Does God have my whole heart all the time? With a willing mind, do I read His Word and pay attention to His teachings?

I take no small amount of encouragement in the second part of this verse, “If you seek him, he will be found by you.” God doesn’t play games with our hearts or minds. He is always faithful and sure. He will not leave us or forsake us even if we don’t approach Him wholeheartedly or completely willingly. He meets us where we are so long as we take that step. Jeremiah 29:14 says, “I will be found by you, declares the Lord.”

When I think of us searching for God, I think of playing hide and seek with a kid. We’re the one seeking and God is the kid hiding in plain sight, breathing heavy, talking the whole time, impossible to miss.

God wants us to find Him. And, when we know that God wants to be found, it makes it easier to search for him with all of our hearts and with a willing mind.

Daily Bible reading: 1 Chronicles 28-29; John 11:47-57

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Perfect

Do not be shaped by this world, instead be changed within by a new way of thinking. Then you will be able to decide what God wants for you; you will know what is good and pleasing to him and what is perfect.

Romans 12:2 (NCV)

I will never know God’s will or perfect plan for my life as long as I allow myself to be shaped by the world. If my thoughts, ideals, and beliefs come into like with the world around me, they cannot come into line with God’s.

If I am not hearing God’s voice, it is not because He has stopped speaking or has moved away, it is because I have clouded my mind with things that don’t belong there and no longer recognise the one voice that should never fade.

When I set my mind on godly things, on His new way of thinking, I open myself up to His will and His purpose. It is only then that I will know what is good and pleasing to Him. What is perfect.