July 2 Bible reading

2 07 2020

July 2 Psalm 79 Acts 21:27-40; 22:1-21 2 Kings 4:38-44; 5; 6:1-23

 

Please read the suggested passages, prayerfully consider them, and the questions below. My comments here may be helpful after those moments. The suggested daily reading is for the purpose of reading through the whole Bible within a year.
Reading the Bible is helpful in taking next steps to follow Jesus. It may not be easy and yet it can be rewarding. Digging into Scripture alongside people you know is a life-giving way to pursue answers together. We discover the love that God has for us has been expressed through Jesus.
• What’s the plain simple truth of the verses you read?
• Based on today’s reading, what is one thing God is saying to you?
• What should you do about that truth?

 

July 2 Psalm 79 Acts 21:27-40; 22:1-21 2 Kings 4:38-44; 5; 6:1-23

Psalm 79

The Israelites had been living as though God didn’t exist. A broken relationship was not what God wanted. God was faithful to His agreement with them, allowing the pain of consequences, and it brought the desired result. Asaph sings about their change of heart. God wants a healthy relationship with us. It will bring about our ultimate good. Through the stories found in the Psalms, we can learn more about who God is. Today we can pray about the truth found here. Today we can sing about the truth found here. This is a faithful spiritual practice that people have found helpful for centuries.

Acts 21:27-40; 22:1-21

In Jerusalem, a mob is trying to kill Paul. He defends his faith by first explaining that he was educated in their school and had believed just as they did (and came to the conclusion that the Jesus-followers should be put to death). Paul knew the Scriptures as well as anyone. When he revealed that Jesus sent him to serve the Gentiles they rioted. They could not handle the thought that Jesus was indeed the Messiah and that Yahweh had decided to include the Gentiles in their faith. Their ethnic pride had mixed with their sinful nature. They did not have a wholehearted spiritual devotion to the Creator. They were not searching the Scriptures for the evidence of Jesus as their Messiah. The result was tragic.

2 Kings 4:38-44; 5; 6:1-23

Elisha saw enviable miracles with food. Like Jesus, he fed many with the ingredients for a few. Naaman, an army commander, brought silver, gold, and clothing for Elisha, in hopes to be healed from his leprosy. Elisha brought healing to him but rejected the offerings. Gehazi, a servant of Elisha, got greedy and took payment. As a consequence of his sin, Gehazi was struck with leprosy. Is there at least one lesson here? We should value God’s Word more than material possessions.

 





July 1 Bible reading

1 07 2020

July 1 Psalm 78:56-72 Acts 21:1-26 2 Kings 3; 4:1-37

Please read the suggested passages, prayerfully consider them, and the questions below. My comments here may be helpful after those moments. The suggested daily reading is for the purpose of reading through the whole Bible within a year.
Reading the Bible is helpful in taking next steps to follow Jesus. It may not be easy and yet it can be rewarding. Digging into Scripture alongside people you know is a life-giving way to pursue answers together. We discover the love that God has for us has been expressed through Jesus.
• What’s the plain simple truth of the verses you read?
• Based on today’s reading, what is one thing God is saying to you?
• What should you do about that truth?

 

July 1 Psalm 78:56-72 Acts 21:1-26 2 Kings 3; 4:1-37

Psalm 78:56-72

God had been more patient with the Israelites than any human was capable of being. God was faithful, patient, kind, long-suffering, gracious, and forgiving. God called them to change. Because of the repeated unfaithfulness and sin of Israel, God left their place of worship. In His grace, God chose David, a shepherd, to care for the Israelites who kept true hearts. God will not ignore spiritual infidelity any more than natural infidelity. God calls for our wholehearted devotion.

Acts 21:1-26

There are times when God prepares us for difficulties ahead. Despite warnings of danger, Paul is obedient to the call of the Holy Spirit to Jerusalem. There he reports his activities and the progress of the church abroad. In an attempt to convince Jewish believers that he has not rejected the law of Moses, Paul makes a public announcement at the Temple of the completion of a vow for four men according to custom. There Paul was arrested. God had a plan for a greater purpose. God led Paul through difficult times. Paul is now supremely happy with Jesus in eternal life.

2 Kings 3; 4:1-37

Elisha predicts that God would bring water to dry land and give the kings of Israel and Judah victory over the Moabites. They see this come to pass in a supernatural way. Elisha brings miracle provision to the financial needs of a widow. A child provided, as a promise of God suddenly dies, but the prophet Elisha brings the child back from the dead. Repeatedly we see God doing the supernatural for people. God’s generous love is on display even in times of great difficulty.





June 30 Bible reading

30 06 2020

June 30 Psalm 78:40-55 Acts 20 2 Kings 1; 2

 

Please read the suggested passages, prayerfully consider them, and the questions below. My comments here may be helpful after those moments. The suggested daily reading is for the purpose of reading through the whole Bible within a year.
Reading the Bible is helpful in taking next steps to follow Jesus. It may not be easy and yet it can be rewarding. Digging into Scripture alongside people you know is a life-giving way to pursue answers together. We discover the love that God has for us has been expressed through Jesus.
• What’s the plain simple truth of the verses you read?
• Based on today’s reading, what is one thing God is saying to you?
• What should you do about that truth?

 

June 30 Psalm 78:40-55 Acts 20 2 Kings 1; 2

Psalm 78:40-55

How sad it is when people forget about the amazing things God has done to make their life possible. We should think through the miracles God has already done for us. We have been given life. We have been offered love through Jesus. We can be forgiven of sin. We can discover a personal purpose for life from the redemptive plan revealed in God’s Kingdom. We can participate in something bigger than ourselves. Using the Psalmic worship practices, we can sing about these miracles. We can pray about these miracles. We can continue a conversation with God based upon this established foundation. Peace is a result.

Acts 20

Paul brought back to life a young man who had fallen to his death. Paul was headed to Jerusalem and had been prepared by the Holy Spirit for jail and suffering, at the hands of leaders rejecting the Good News. Paul reminded the Christian leaders of their central message of salvation by faith in Jesus through repentance of sin and turning to God. He charged them to be faithful to “feed and shepherd God’s flock” referring to their responsibility to care for, pray over, preach/teach, bring guidance, and correction to the disciples they were raising up. He reminded them of Jesus’ call to be givers, as a model of ministry. Today’s Christian churches must follow the same practices.

2 Kings 1; 2

The prophet Elijah continued to call the kings of Israel to worship Yahweh. He also called punishment on them when they refused. We see God as a God of mercy and truth. At the end of his life on earth, Elijah is taken to Heaven in a chariot of fire. His disciple Elisha receives a double portion of his God-given abilities. Our God was increasing the ability of the next generation for the challenges of the new day. Is that same God alive and active today? Yes.

 





June 29 Bible reading

29 06 2020

June 29 Proverbs 15:31-33; 16:1-7 Acts 19:14-41 1 Kings 22

 

Please read the suggested passages, prayerfully consider them, and the questions below. My comments here may be helpful after those moments. The suggested daily reading is for the purpose of reading through the whole Bible within a year.
Reading the Bible is helpful in taking next steps to follow Jesus. It may not be easy and yet it can be rewarding. Digging into Scripture alongside people you know is a life-giving way to pursue answers together. We discover the love that God has for us has been expressed through Jesus.
• What’s the plain simple truth of the verses you read?
• Based on today’s reading, what is one thing God is saying to you?
• What should you do about that truth?

 

June 29 Proverbs 15:31-33; 16:1-7 Acts 19:14-41 1 Kings 22

 

Proverbs 15:31-33; 16:1-7 If we will approach God with humility, we will become more teachable and as a result, we will grow in wisdom. This helps us receive and respond to constructive criticism and correction in a productive way. God cares about our motives. Living in a relationship with God every day will help shape our character for a healthy life.

]Acts 19:14-41 In the multicultural city of Ephesus, Jews were revered as exorcists due to the popular belief, that only they were able to properly pronounce the name of the living God, and that exorcism relied on the correct pronunciation of the incantation. The sons of a priest learned a hard lesson when they tried to use the name of Jesus in an exorcism despite not believing in Jesus. Our God will not be used for personal gain. Our God has a clear understanding of who has a relationship with Jesus and who does not. This incident led many to faith in Jesus.

1 Kings 22 God did not allow the evil king Ahab to escape punishment. Jehoshaphat did some good making peace and yet he did not remove the pagan shrines. The cycle of idolatry continued. Our God makes covenant promises with grace available. In response, God is looking for wholehearted devotion.

 

 





June 28 Bible reading

28 06 2020

June 28 Psalm 78:32-39 Acts 18:9-28; 19:1-13 1 Kings 20; 21

 

Please read the suggested passages, prayerfully consider them, and the questions below. My comments here may be helpful after those moments. The suggested daily reading is for the purpose of reading through the whole Bible within a year.
Reading the Bible is helpful in taking next steps to follow Jesus. It may not be easy and yet it can be rewarding. Digging into Scripture alongside people you know is a life-giving way to pursue answers together. We discover the love that God has for us has been expressed through Jesus.
• What’s the plain simple truth of the verses you read?
• Based on today’s reading, what is one thing God is saying to you?
• What should you do about that truth?

 

June 28 Psalm 78:32-39 Acts 18:9-28; 19:1-13 1 Kings 20; 21

Psalm 78:32-39 Despite God’s miraculous provision the Israelites kept sinning against Him. Only when God brought severe punishment did they take Him seriously. Many times, He held His anger back. God remembered that they were human, with a short lifespan, and forgave them when they repented. We should understand that God’s mercy does not mean that our mistakes have no effect on Him.

Acts 18:9-28; 19:1-13 God speaks to Paul, in a dream, directing him to be brave in teaching the Good News. Paul obeys God and sees great results in Corinth for 18 months. His ministry partners Priscilla and Aquilla led the gifted Christian teacher Apollos in a growing understanding of the baptism of the Holy Spirit. This was an important subject to the leaders of the Christian church. Paul’s outreach combined persuasive public discussions with people who were just hearing about Jesus for the first time, with teaching believers, with prayer and miracles.

1 Kings 20; 21 We must not think that God is blind to what is happening on earth. The one true living God aware of the heart and actions of all people. God has thoughts and feelings about every life and about every choice. God is faithful, patient, kind, forgiving, slow to anger, forgiving, and long-suffering. Yet there will be a day and time when God will call into account every single person. We read here that God brings punishment on rulers, who led people into idolatry. There will be consequences for that kind of influence.

 

 





June 27 Bible reading

27 06 2020

June 27 Psalm 78:17-31 Acts 17:22-34; 18:1-8 1 Kings 18:16-46; 19

Please read the suggested passages, prayerfully consider them, and the questions below. My comments here may be helpful after those moments. The suggested daily reading is for the purpose of reading through the whole Bible within a year.
Reading the Bible is helpful in taking next steps to follow Jesus. It may not be easy and yet it can be rewarding. Digging into Scripture alongside people you know is a life-giving way to pursue answers together. We discover the love that God has for us has been expressed through Jesus.
• What’s the plain simple truth of the verses you read?
• Based on today’s reading, what is one thing God is saying to you?
• What should you do about that truth?

 

June 27 Psalm 78:17-31 Acts 17:22-34; 18:1-8 1 Kings 18:16-46; 19

 

Psalm 78:17-31 God is patient, slow to anger, forgiving, and long-suffering. Yet He grew tired of Israel’s demands and their lack of trust in Him. People were insistent that God needed to take action. Yet they did not fully believe that he would. You can make fun of the people found in the stories of Scripture, but stop and think about it. Doesn’t this sound like human nature?

Acts 17:22-34; 18:1-8 In Athens, Paul walks around the city to learn about the people who lived there. He noticed the evidence of many forms of spiritual worship. He affirms the spiritual desire and awareness of their culture. Paul calls their attention to Jesus and explains the salvation available. In Athens and Corinth, a wide variety of people came to faith in Jesus following Paul’s teaching. His presentation of the Good News includes the truth of God’s design and purpose: that people of all nations, every ethnicity, live together in peace.

1 Kings 18:16-46; 19 The prophet Elijah confronted the evil king Ahab and his queen Jezebel. This included a public call for people to choose if they would worship Yahweh or their idol Baal. Elijah provided an opportunity for Baal and Yahweh to prove their power. The people present saw the power of Yahweh and chose to worship Him. The prophet runs for his life from the enraged king and queen. God calls the prophet out of hiding, to anoint new kings. God has a purpose for every day.

 





June 26 Bible reading

26 06 2020

June 26 Psalm 78:9-16 Acts 17:1-21 1 Kings 16:8-34; 17; 18:1-15

Please read the suggested passages, prayerfully consider them, and the questions below. My comments here may be helpful after those moments. The suggested daily reading is for the purpose of reading through the whole Bible within a year.
Reading the Bible is helpful in taking next steps to follow Jesus. It may not be easy and yet it can be rewarding. Digging into Scripture alongside people you know is a life-giving way to pursue answers together. We discover the love that God has for us has been expressed through Jesus.
• What’s the plain simple truth of the verses you read?
• Based on today’s reading, what is one thing God is saying to you?
• What should you do about that truth?

June 26 Psalm 78:9-16 Acts 17:1-21 1 Kings 16:8-34; 17; 18:1-15

Psalm 78:9-16 The Psalms have been used as a prayer book and songbook. For centuries people used them to learn about God and to remember what they have learned. God has made covenant promises. God calls for wholehearted devotion in response to this covenant. The song of Psalm 78 helps us learn from the people of Ephraim. When we forget about the miracles God has already done we are prone to walking away from our agreement with Him.

Acts 17:1-21 Paul’s practice was spending the first three weekends in a new city at their synagogue. He would reveal the proofs of Jesus’ Messianic identity, as found in the prophecies of Scripture. In this way, many Jews and God-fearing Gentiles came to faith. This public discourse also brought much resistance. Our ability to discuss the identity of Jesus is of utmost importance. We must respond to our life-changing interaction with Jesus by a growing understanding of who Jesus is (as seen in the Scriptures). We should work at developing our ability to communicate the truth. Each of us should be learning how to articulate the truth about Jesus.

1 Kings 16:8-34; 17; 18:1-15 Let’s think about these stories through the lens of a couple of questions: What are the results of loving God first and foremost? What are the results of living “me first”? Through the decades of their idolatry, the Hebrew people saw the interaction between their prophets and kings. Most often the kings led them deeper and deeper into sin. Most often the prophets called them back to a loving relationship with God. Over and over they found pain and death when they walked away from God, only to again find restoration in a relationship with God. Our God provided for the needs of the prophet Elijah. He called on God and saw a boy raised from the dead.





June 25 Bible reading

25 06 2020

June 25 Proverbs 15:21-30 Acts 16:16-40 1 Kings 14:21-31; 15; 16:1-7

Please read the suggested passages, prayerfully consider them, and the questions below. My comments here may be helpful after those moments. The suggested daily reading is for the purpose of reading through the whole Bible within a year.
Reading the Bible is helpful in taking next steps to follow Jesus. It may not be easy and yet it can be rewarding. Digging into Scripture alongside people you know is a life-giving way to pursue answers together. We discover the love that God has for us has been expressed through Jesus.
• What’s the plain simple truth of the verses you read?
• Based on today’s reading, what is one thing God is saying to you?
• What should you do about that truth?

June 25 Proverbs 15:21-30 Acts 16:16-40 1 Kings 14:21-31; 15; 16:1-7

June 25  Proverbs 15:21-30  Acts 16:16-40  1 Kings 14:21-31; 15; 16:1-7

Proverbs 15:21-30 When a person, who loves God, speaks from the heart it should be something they have carefully considered. This is an important truth that does not come naturally to most people. It’s possible to be enthusiastic and wrong. Let us carefully consider with wisdom the things that we should say to the people whom God has put in our lives. “The Lord hears the prayer of the righteous.” Do we need more motivation than this to live out a wholehearted devotion to God? The prayer you send up will be heard by the One True God. The resulting happiness “makes for good health”.

Acts 16:16-40 Jailed for their Christian activities, Paul and Silas are praying and singing when God uses an earthquake to free them. Paul and Silas had been praying and singing as Psalms 96:1-2 suggests, by choosing, “each day” to praise a God who saves. They were putting into practice what is found in Ephesians 5:18-20, “singing psalms” etc. to each other. God hears them and does the supernatural. The response of Paul and Silas brings about the salvation of the warden and his household. This story is an essential ingredient of the start of the church in Philippi. In this story, we find an essential truth that many today are missing. How we respond when things don’t go our way matters.

1 Kings 14:21-31; 15; 16:1-7 Having seen idolatry in Jerusalem, Asa leads a religious reform bringing people back to the worship of the one true living God. Through these decades the Hebrew people constantly fought against each other in a civil way. They worshiped other gods and saw their behavior punished as God had predicted. God gave them a choice between loving Him and self-destruction. God showed them love and was looking for love in return. It is much the same today. How should we respond?





Woke Church

24 06 2020

Woke Church by Rev Dr. Eric Mason gives us on-time helpful communication.

There are specific points in his book that I have not found elsewhere. My recommendation is that Americans who call themselves “Christian” read this and prayerfully consider the implications, regardless of if they think could ever be “woke” or ever be part of a “church”. The following are a few of my thoughts in agreement and summaries to help us.

We all have problems in this world. In every challenge, we face there are opportunities for us to find a life of peace and fulfillment. This should include an awareness of who God is and what God is doing. It should also include a deeper awareness of the nature of the pain and suffering experienced by our neighbors.

The Good News of Jesus offers us grace and calls us to love God and care for our neighbors in the same way we take care of ourselves. God is alive, aware, able, and active. So we should be aware of the contrast between our broken world and the implications of God’s truth, willing to acknowledge where we are today, accountable for it and active in solutions.

The Good News of Jesus includes a living God who is at work, “making right what is wrong in the world”. “More than half of the books in the Old Testament speak of (‘righteous’) justice as an attribute of God and a responsibility of His people.” This is linked to God’s desire that all people experience His peace as a “universal flourishing, wholeness, and delight”.

Jesus has changed my life. As I take the next steps in following Jesus I have found this to be true: “As incarnational missionaries, our mission flows from the mission of the gospel of practicing peace. As the church, we are called to be peace practitioners”. I am “supposed to be opening up my life so God can give me common ground with people who are not like me”.

The love of Jesus motivates me to walk away from selfishness toward compassion for others. This should include learning about the life challenges of my neighbors. In this way, I have learned about the brokenness other people are experiencing. Some may be similar to my own. Some of their pain may be unique from my own. The love of Jesus motivates me (should motivate anyone who calls themselves a Christian) to learn about their pain so that I can best be a part of the solution.

This should include lament (entering into the experience of brokenness and being honest about it). “When the realities of a fallen world hit us, we need room to worship the Lord in honest expressions of unedited grief.” Rev Dr. Mason and Soong-Chan Rah have done helpful work that all current American Christians should read on this subject. Here Eric Mason gives us specific points to consider worthy of lament. They include the facts (among others) that the “Black Church Had to Be Created, Evangelicals’ Dismissal of the Black Church, That Justice Is Not Seen as a Primary Doctrine, and That the Church Didn’t Create and Lead the Black Lives Matter Movement”. What timely communication for us to consider!

“When Christians spend time arguing about what’s going on in the public square and not engaging it, we miss redemptive opportunities.” Here we read specific suggestions relevant to each of us.

Further, Rev Dr. Mason’s call for “prophetic preaching” and how he defines it are a right-on-time must-read for young Jesus-followers yearning for something better and for mature believers who now have an opportunity to speak! It “is the act of the covenant community of Jesus boldly calling all people through the gospel and Word of God back to what it looks like to reflect God’s intention for all things.” It “reflects God’s heart,” with the “big picture” and carries “street-level impact”. We should be “biblically soaked and culturally informed”. We must be “centered on Jesus, clear on the issues, providing visionary hope, and offer clear statements of action”.

Our world can be better. We must think beyond our personal limitations, considering what positive change may be possible as we work together, following God’s guidance, and take action in God’s grace and peace. This should include specific “big picture” church training, activities, and partnerships. All of this should be done with a clear picture, “seeing through the lens of the end”. “We need to have a biblical worldview on all that is happening today, with an eye always on our glorious future.”





June 24 Bible reading

24 06 2020

June 24  Psalm 78:1-8  Acts 16:1-15  1 Kings 12:25-33; 13; 14:1-20

Please read the suggested passages, prayerfully consider them, and the questions below. My comments here may be helpful after those moments. The suggested daily reading is for the purpose of reading through the whole Bible within a year.

Reading the Bible is helpful in taking next steps to follow Jesus. It may not be easy and yet it can be rewarding. Digging into Scripture alongside people you know is a life-giving way to pursue answers together. We discover the love that God has for us has been expressed through Jesus.

  • What’s the plain simple truth of the verses you read?
  • Based on today’s reading, what is one thing God is saying to you?
  • What should you do about that truth?

June 24  Psalm 78:1-8  Acts 16:1-15  1 Kings 12:25-33; 13; 14:1-20

Psalm 78:1-8

Psalm 78 encourages us to tell the next generation about the amazing things God has done. They should hear about the miracles we have seen and that have been told to us by previous generations and we should unpack for them the supernatural works of God found in Scripture. Here Asaph calls us to teach the younger generation the truths that we have learned through this. The goal is so that young people would learn to put their hope in God.

Acts 16:1-15

Paul begins to mentor Timothy. Despite having rejected circumcision as a requirement for believers, Paul has Timothy circumcised in hopes of less resistance from Jews they would attempt to reach for Christ. In choosing where they would minister Paul followed both the direction and prohibition of the Holy Spirit. There is no decision to complex for us to seek God’s wisdom.

1 Kings 12:25-33; 13; 14:1-20

The new king Jeroboam leads the ten tribes of Israel away from the worship of Yahweh into idolatry. As promised, God brings punishment to this unfaithfulness with events marked in the history of Israel. When civil and spiritual leaders walk away from wholehearted devotion to God, the people suffer as a result. Such leaders will experience the consequences. Prophets will speak the truth. History will prove that God was always aware of what was going on, and active. God’s story is one of seeking a loving relationship with His people. God proves His faithfulness and the people repeatedly prove to be unfaithful. We should learn from this more about the nature of God and the tendencies of humanity.