Saturday, January 20, 2018

Saturday, January 20th: Exodus 1-3; Mark 12:1-27 ~ Tammy

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is Exodus 1-3; Mark 12:1-27

I love the story of Moses, and how God shines through every part of it.

God orchestrated Pharaoh’s daughter finding Moses and raising him in the palace so he would be familiar with the royal household and how things worked.

God gave Miriam the courage to speak up to the princess and the wisdom to offer her and Moses’ mother to nurse him, giving him the opportunity to have the Jewish faith impressed upon him at an early age.

God chose Moses right from the beginning, preparing him for the leadership role He had planned.

But He didn’t choose Moses because he was overwhelmingly qualified! Indeed, he murdered a man, fled for forty years, and gave God all kinds of excuses as to why he couldn’t lead the people.

But God chose him, and God strengthened him, and God turned him into one of the greatest leaders Israel had ever known.

All glory be to God!

Tomorrow is catch up day!
Monday's Bible In a Year PassageExodus 4-6, Mark 12:28-44

Friday, January 19, 2018

Friday, January 19th: Genesis 49-50; Mark 11

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is Genesis 49-50; Mark 11

“But Joseph replied, “Don’t be afraid of me. Am I God, that I can punish you? You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people. No, don’t be afraid. I will continue to take care of you and your children.” So he reassured them by speaking kindly to them.” - Genesis‬ ‭50:19-21

Joseph’s brothers had caused such terrible things to happen in Joseph’s life. From a human perspective, it would have been very understandable for him to punish them with the power he now had, out of revenge or anger. But Joseph knew that that was not what God wanted. God had used his position for the good, and Joseph knew he needed to forgive his brothers because that’s what God would want him to do.

How many times in my life have I not forgiven someone over something way smaller than getting sold by my family and thrown in prison for years? We need to forgive other people who have wronged us, and not have anger against them. It doesn’t mean it’s okay what they did, it just means we won’t hold it against them anymore. God has forgiven us, so we need to forgive others.

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year PassageExodus 1-3; Mark 12:1-27

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Thursday, January 18th: Genesis 46-48, Mark 10: 23-52 ~ Nathan

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is Genesis 46-48, Mark 10: 23-52

Genesis 46:29
Joseph had his chariot made ready and went to Goshen to meet his father Israel. As soon as Joseph appeared before him, he threw his arms around his father and wept for a long time.

What an emotional and exhilarating moment this must have been. After all that Joseph had been through, the ups and downs, after his brothers sold him, to finally meet his father again and see all of his family. Truly God was with him throughout this journey.

How many times do we feel down about how things are going? Is our story over, will it end on a bad note? If we have Jesus in our lives, and trust in Him daily, it will end even better then Joseph's story ended!

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage: Genesis 49-50, Mark 11

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Wednesday, January 17th: Genesis 43-45, Mark 10:1-22 ~ Tammy

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is Genesis 43-45, Mark 10:1-22

17 As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. “Good teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
18 “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone. 19 You know the commandments: ‘You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, you shall not defraud, honor your father and mother.’[d]”
20 “Teacher,” he declared, “all these I have kept since I was a boy.”
21 Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
22 At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth.

There are many things we can take from this passage, but one thing hit me that hasn't before.

The question was "what must I do to inherit eternal life?"
The answer is - we can never do enough.  Never.  We cannot do a thing to gain eternal life. 

Jesus did it all.  He lived a perfect life, He died in our place, He conquered death and sin by rising again. 

We did nothing.  We are spiritually dead in our sins.  We cannot resurrect ourselves.

But thanks be to God, He can.  And when He awakens our hearts, then we come to Him in repentance, we determine to be His followers, and we rely on His power to change us from that day until eternity.

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage:  Genesis 46-48, Mark 10: 23-52

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Tuesday, January 16th: Genesis 40-42, Mark 9:33-50 ~ Danae

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is Genesis 40-42, Mark 9:33-50

This is one of those passages that screams at me, “you say you’re a Christian, now how is that changing you?”

Pastor Ron’s message on Sunday just really sinks in together with this passage & really makes me think:
I am a Christian but where’s my heart at?
- Are my actions in line with my heart?
- Do I just do the right thing because that’s what I’m to do (possibly even just to have others think more highly of me)?
- Do I do the right thing all the while having negative thoughts toward the person or situation?
- OR Do I follow Christ with everything in me & is my heart’s desire to genuinely obey his teachings?
- Am I genuine or am I just acting it out?

Mark 9:35
…”if anyone wants to be first, he must be the very last, & the servant of all”

- I need to look to serve; get rid of my pride & humble myself
- I need Love – it’s not good enough to just sit in the director’s chair or just hand out money from the comfort of your home – I need to look for ways to help others; get involved, get my hands dirty

Mark 9:41
“I tell you the truth, anyone who gives you a cup of water in my name because you belong to Christ will certainly not lose his reward.”

- The least is the greatest
- Only when my heart is truly humbled before God & I genuinely serve him, will I find true value in my faith

Mark 9:50
“Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can you make it salty again? Have salt in yourselves & be at peace with each other”

- I need to make a difference in this world
- If I’m just “going through the motions” of acting Christian, it won’t carry me
- I need to intently seek God, make him the lover of my soul, so that I can be shaped from the inside out
- At that point, my actions will hold true value

The more time I spend seeking God, the more my heart will align with his & my actions will become completely genuine.

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage: Genesis 43-45, Mark 10:1-22

Monday, January 15, 2018

Monday, January 15: Genesis 37-39, Mark 9:1-32 ~by Pamela

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is Genesis 37-39, Mark 9:1-32

What an encouragement it is to read about the shortcomings and trials of Bible "heroes":

Joseph tormented his brothers by flaunting his coat and bragging incessantly about his dreams.
Judah, (Jesus' lineage), advocated to sell his brother as a slave for financial gain...
then helped concoct an elaborate lie about Joseph's death to send his father into depression...
and held back his youngest son after he promised his daughter in law.
Then Judah slept with a "prostitute" (which may have been a common practice since Tamar knew exactly where to be) and ended up getting his daughter in law pregnant.
Tamar, one of the few women mentioned in Jesus' family tree, seduced her father in law when he didn't follow through on his promise to give her his youngest son in marriage.
Joseph fled from Potiphar's wife but ended up in jail.
The disciples could not cast of spirits, didn't comprehend the magnitude of Jesus' ministry, and were afraid to ask about things they didn't understand.

These people were instrumental key figures in the Bible and yet they were so far from perfect. They were boastful, selfish, liars, promiscuous, deceivers, suffered adversity, fearful, naive, and sometimes, unbelieving.

Yet, God chooses to use these people in ways that have had lessons that endure. We can see how God can use the unqualified. We can understand that God does not require perfection but can work with us just as we are.

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year PassageGenesis 40-42, Mark 9:33-50

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Saturday, January 13th: Genesis 34-36; Mark 8 ~ Tammy

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is Genesis 34-36; Mark 8

I've appreciated Ray Vander Laan's cultural explanations of the Bible.  The feeding of the five thousand and four thousand is no exception.

I found a summary here....

The lesson is taught at the Decapolis (Ten Cities), founded by the Greeks. They considered the pig sacred, and practiced the fertility cult of Baal.
In Rabinnic tradition, this is where Joshua drove the seven nations out of the Promised Land (Joshua 3:10; Acts 13:9). And yet Jesus ministered both the Jews and to the seven nations.
Mark 6:39-43 takes place in Capernaum. Jesus fed the people with 5 loves and 2 fish. The disciples picked up 12 baskets of leftover bread and fish — meaning that Jesus was the bread of life to the 12 tribes.
In Mark 7:31, 8:6-8 Jesus fed 4,000 at the Decapolis, and 7 baskets were leftover — showing that Jesus is the bread of life even to the seven nations driven from the Promised Land.
Jesus is the bread of life, for everyone!

Tomorrow: Catch up day
Monday's Bible In a Year PassageGenesis 37-39, Mark 9:1-32

Friday, January 12, 2018

Friday, January 12th: Genesis 31-33; Mark 7 ~ Emma

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is Genesis 31-33; Mark 7

“It’s not what goes into your body that defiles you; you are defiled by what comes from your heart.”
 - Mark‬ ‭7:15‬

This is one of the many places in the bible where Jesus says He wants our hearts. He doesn’t want our rules and religion, He just wants us to know and love Him, and from that love others. He wants a change in our hearts, not in the way we eat, or the number of steps we take on the Sabbath. He wants us to offer ourselves completely to Him, so we can be changed by Him, act like Him, and love like Him. So we need to focus on having a heart for God, rather than counting every single good deed we do. Because from a good, Jesus-loving heart, comes good, Jesus-honouring deeds.

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year PassageGenesis 34-36; Mark 8

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Thursday, January 11th: Genesis 28-30, Mark 6: 30-56 ~ Nathan

Today's reading reminded me that the people we read about in the Bible were human just as we are, they made mistakes but in the end stayed faithful to God.

Issac, Jacob's father, called for and blessed Jacob (ch 28 vs 1), Jacob had just cheated his brother into getting the blessing for himself. Issac knew this and sent Jacob away, for safety.

Jacob then goes to live with his uncle Laban, and ends up sleeping with both of Labans daughters as well as their servants, and has children with all of them.

These incidents make these men look bad. We also may or may not have done these same things ourselves, or done something similar. Either way, we are sinners, just as Issac and Jacob were, and need forgiveness. I am thankful that God doesn't give up on me after I sin, and that I can come to Him for forgiveness. Issac and Jacob went on to do great things for God.

Only God can truly forgive our sin, He wants us to come to Him for forgiveness and a fresh start.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Wednesday, January 10th: Genesis 25-27, Mark 6:1-29 ~ Tammy

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is Genesis 25-27, Mark 6:1-29

The story of how Herodias finally got her wish to have John killed is a disturbing one.

There are so many lessons learned here but the biggest two are that sin begets sin, and one moment has far reaching consequences.

Herodias and Herod's sinful relationship led to her harbouring a grudge against John who was willing to call a spade a spade, which led to murderous rage and the death of John the Baptist.

Herod's decision to get drunk caused him to rashly promise his step-daughter anything she wanted, his pride wouldn't allow him to back down to her request despite the fact that he knew John was a righteous and holy man, and he murdered an innocent man.

In one moment.  One rash command, one weak moment, one horrendous choice and a man's life was ended.  That choice could not be undone, no matter how much Herod regretted it.

One lie tends to follow another.  Unbridled anger turns into harsh words that cannot be taken back.  Sin follows sin, and the only way to stop it is repentance.  Thankfully there is forgiveness, there is grace, when we turn away from our sin and turn to God.

But even though there is forgiveness, we can't undo sin and we can't undo it's consequences.

We need to take sin seriously. We need to fight it.  We need to root it out of our lives. We cannot be complacent.  We cannot take it lightly.  We cannot trivialize it.  We need to destroy it.

We can't do it.  Not on our own. But He has the strength, He has the power, and He has promised to complete His work in us to perfection at the day of Christ Jesus - all glory and thanks be to Him!

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year PassageGenesis 28-30, Mark 6:30-56