November 27 Bible reading

27 11 2020

November 27  Psalm 135:1-12  2 Peter 1  Daniel 2:24-29; 3:1-12

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?

November 27  Psalm 135:1-12  2 Peter 1  Daniel 2:24-29; 3:1-12

Psalm 135:1-12

Here we read words that people were singing about their personal experiences with God as well as what they had learned about God over their collective history. Let us learn from them. Let us praise God. Let us praise Yahweh our Creator and Redeemer. With music let us sing about the goodness of God. Creator of our natural world. Let us praise Yahweh above anything else. God is in control. Directing the course of nations, God is sovereign. The God above all other gods. Yahweh is all-powerful.  It is our reasonable response to lift up the name of our God.

2 Peter 1

People who identify as Jesus followers are invited by Peter to grow in their understanding of our God. Let us recognize all that God has already provided for us. In the Scripture, let us discover the promises God has made to us. Let us respond to these promises with faith. 2 Peter 1:5-8 lists proactive steps of spiritual growth where we access the help God has provided and put it to use. We do not live out of our own strength, but instead, the strength of God fuels our efforts. Learning about God brings us to value growth in the strength of our character. This includes self-control, patience, and sacrificial, respectful, faithful love for others. As we grow in this way, our love of Jesus Christ will become more helpful to others. Such spiritual growth happens as we spend more time in the Scripture. Peter writes as one of the eyewitnesses who saw Jesus and heard the voice of God from Heaven identify Jesus as Messiah. Peter writes that this experience gave him more confidence in the prophecy of Scripture.

Daniel 2:24-29; 3:1-12

God wanted King Nebuchadnezzar to discover what was going on inside his own heart. God revealed to Daniel the secret dream of the king, its interpretation, and what was in the king’s heart. God revealed that He had given the king a reign of great influence that would be more powerful than the four kingdoms that would follow it. Instead of choosing to worship God, the source of his power, Nebuchadnezzar had a statue of himself built and demanded that people worship it. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego refused to bow to this statue of the king who had given them great influence. They had grown in their strength of character.





November 26 thoughts

26 11 2020

Rebecca and I are thankful for each of you today. We are sending our heartfelt prayers. Particularly for those who, like us, have lost a loved one this year. May you find grace today. We are taking time to remember lessons learned and happy memories from those who are no longer with us. Making a list of what we are thankful for has become a helpful practice for us. 





November 26 Bible reading

26 11 2020

November 26  Psalm 134  1 Peter 5  Daniel 1; 2:1-23

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?

November 26  Psalm 134  1 Peter 5  Daniel 1; 2:1-23

Psalm 134

Here is a simple memorable song for everyone who worships the One True Living God. Here is a song for people who faithfully serve at the place of worship. Let us all praise God. Yahweh our Creator and Redeemer is worthy of the best of our energy and our highest praise. As fully devoted followers of Jesus, we can pray with focus and worship with every ounce of our being. Here we find blessing from God. There are benefits for people who serve God’s purpose regardless of the size of the gathering. Focus on God brings us into a greater awareness of God’s presence.

1 Peter 5

A local church is a group of people who are focused on following Jesus and organized for this purpose. “Elders” serve such a group by providing oversight. The motive of an elder must be to serve God, with humility, as they care for people and lead by example. As an elder, Peter brings specific counsel to elders in their service of God’s people. We should respect the elders of the church. Followers of Jesus should bring their cares to God. They should stand together in faith despite any attack from the enemy. Jesus followers are called to serve each other in humility, knowing that God blesses such a lifestyle. We can stand strong in our faith, resisting our enemy. Any suffering in this natural life will be temporary. Our God will ultimately rescue and restore. The victory found in Jesus will last forever.

Daniel 1; 2:1-23

King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon sacked Jerusalem and took away the best it had to offer. This included Daniel and friends gifted with unusual ability for learning languages and various areas of study. The king found them superior to the best that Babylon had to offer. Disturbed by a dream, the king wanted a prophet who could reveal the dream and its interpretation. They prayed and God revealed to Daniel what the dream was and how to interpret it. Daniel points to God as the source of wisdom. God is all-knowing. There is nothing too complicated for God. We must invite God into everything we are facing.





November 25 Bible reading

25 11 2020

November 25  Psalm 133  1 Peter 4  Ezekiel 47; 48

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?

November 25  Psalm 133  1 Peter 4  Ezekiel 47; 48

Psalm 133

When we receive the love of God, we are changed for the better. We want to share this love with others. We become peacemakers. We place a high value on the shalom peace of God where each member of a community should be shown love and respect. We are motivated to work toward a mutually beneficial community. Our living God brings blessing to people who relate to each other in this way. Making a relationship with God your priority causes unity to become a high value. Such unity brings blessing. Are we lacking blessing? It’s possible we should be doing more to pursue peaceful unity. Every day each of us has opportunities to choose the pursuit of unity. What will we do?

1 Peter 4

Receiving loving forgiveness and new spiritual life through Jesus Christ should motivate us to become followers of Jesus. This includes putting on the same attitude Jesus displayed. Peter saw this with his own eyes. Jesus was in pursuit of Father God’s will. Jesus was not a me-first selfish person. Following this example will cause us to show loving respect for others. As Jesus followers, we leave behind pleasing ourselves as the top priority. We may lose relationships with some people for this reason. Because we expect the return of Jesus to this world, we will be focused and diligent in our prayer. We will love each other, sharing forgiveness, and hospitality. We believe that regardless of any challenge we face, God will not fail us. As we walk through any suffering, we will focus on the love of Jesus available to us here and now. It will certainly be ultimately fulfilling in our future Heaven.

Ezekiel 47; 48

God sends a magnificent vision to the people of Israel who have suffered twenty-five years of self-inflicted captivity. God has Ezekiel record a vision of the city where God will live among His people. From its Temple flows a river of supernatural life and healing. This river would bring life to places where only death had been possible. There will be a place for every person. God is life-giving in every season. Similar to the vision of John, in Revelation 22, we have a future hope of a glorious place where God will be glorified and relationship with Him can be enjoyed. God makes it clear that this would not be a return to the way it was before. This is a vision of a future glory.





November 24 Bible reading

24 11 2020

November 24  Proverbs 28:18-28  1 Peter 3  Ezekiel 45; 46

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?

November 24  Proverbs 28:18-28  1 Peter 3  Ezekiel 45; 46

Proverbs 28:18-28

We can receive the love of God and live out of gratitude. Healthy relationships with God and others bring great benefits. As a result, we experience peace. All of this will bring new motivation to work hard and live our days with purpose and wisdom. Because we have been changed by God’s love we will be responsive to the needs of people who are poor. Chasing money, with unhealthy motives, does not lead to peaceful stability in a community. Relying on God brings peaceful strength. Turning a blind eye to the poor will bring consequences.

1 Peter 3

Peter is following the leading of the Holy Spirit, as he writes. Here we read about a Christian value system of loving respect in marriage relationships of equal partnership. Here and in Ephesians 5:21, we read that Peter and Paul were teaching with consistency. We read instructions for fully devoted followers of Jesus to treat each other with love and respect. We must be kind and humble in all relationships. If a husband doesn’t want his prayer to be hindered, he must treat his wife with honor as an equal partner in their faith walk. A God-honoring wife should show respect for her husband. We should all be peacemakers. Self-control and the pursuit of what is right are characteristics of Christians whose prayer draws a response from God. As a follower of Jesus, we should be ready to explain what we believe about Jesus in a gentle and respectful way. With careful thought, each one of us should develop what we might say given the opportunity about Jesus as our Lord and Savior. Re-read 1 Peter 3:15-16 and consider what you should do about it this week.

Ezekiel 45; 46

Twenty-five years into a captivity that they brought on themselves, God sends Ezekiel to the people with an inspirational vision. He speaks of a restoration of a place of meeting and God’s love forever among them. He sees forgiveness made available. He speaks of celebrations and rest returned. Conflict removed. A call to mercy and justice. There would be land available for everyone. God shows Ezekiel the sacrifices, feasts, and festivals in the place of worship at Temple. Everyone who earned money and produced a harvest was invited to give resources toward the worship activities. Offerings were brought to God daily, weekly, and seasonally. God required honesty from His leaders as they served the people.





November 23 Bible reading

23 11 2020

November 23  Psalm 132  1 Peter 2:4-25  Ezekiel 43; 44

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?

November 23  Psalm 132  1 Peter 2:4-25  Ezekiel 43; 44

Psalm 132

We need a time and place of meeting with God. David made a priority of this. This Psalm is not written by David. It is written by people who recognized this value in David’s life. This place of meeting God was a secure, life-giving, transformational benefit to people who went there for personal time with God and for people who gathered in groups to worship God and receive instruction. As people returned to celebrate the faithfulness of God, they would sing about the specific ways in which God had lived among them and brought miracles of blessing. The Temple in Jerusalem had been a place of worship and a place they could find the manifest presence of God. The Israelites would come to this house of God and recall the lessons learned from King David about a personal relationship with God. God blessed it.

1 Peter 2:4-25

Jesus is the point of reference from which we build our lives and by which we evaluate our health. Jesus Christ is the starting point of our faith, our model example, and the One who sets things in motion for us. As followers of Jesus, we are brought into the Kingdom of God. Jesus is our Cornerstone. We are living stones in this New Temple, a place of worship and communion with God. Jesus endures being rejected by people whom He loves. As we receive the leadership of Jesus we also receive inexhaustible blessing from God. This should motivate us to live honorable lives. 1 Peter 2:22-25 should be a passage we reflect on at least monthly to consider exactly what this means. Out of a constant awareness of (and reverence for) God we live in honorable relationships with others: family, co-workers, neighbors, and authority figures. We do this by imitating Jesus who walked with humility and endured suffering with a focus on the victory that God would bring.

Ezekiel 43; 44

Twenty-five years into captivity, God brings Ezekiel a magnificent vision of an inspiring future and a new place of worship, to share with the people. It is a clear vision of a majestic and secure place of meeting with God. It speaks to the fulfillment of God’s work of redemption. In a vision of His glory returning to the Temple, God reveals to Ezekiel His desire for a close personal relationship with His people. God calls them to repent of their idol worship and selfishness. Ezekiel sees a time and place for the glorious presence of the One True Living God. It includes a place of meeting for God and His people. There will be peace forever uninterrupted. It is a place of absolute holiness. A place for wholehearted devotion to God, our Creator, and Redeemer. This vision included a place whose measurements made it clear to the Israelites that God was not calling them to go back to the “good old days”. Instead, God was calling them to a new and glorious future. Our Lord is looking for fully devoted followers. We see this in the words of God spoken to Ezekiel. This included the dedication God was looking for in princes and priests.





November 22 Bible reading

22 11 2020

November 22  Psalm 131  1 Peter 1; 2:1-3  Ezekiel 41; 42

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?

November 22  Psalm 131  1 Peter 1; 2:1-3  Ezekiel 41; 42

Psalm 131

My hope is not in who I am or what I can accomplish. My hope is in the Lord. Growing in an eternal perspective will help us draw strength from our relationship with God. When we learn about who God is, it lessens the dynamic effect that this natural world, with its discouraging experiences and challenging circumstances, will have on us. Drawing closer to God will cause us to be moved by God’s love more than anything else. We will learn helpful self-control and humility from this relationship with God. Such benefits! What is having the most significant effect on you?

1 Peter 1; 2:1-3

We are able to receive the salvation of our eternal spiritual souls because of the benevolence of God. The supernatural power of God was seen by eyewitnesses in the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. Just like Paul, Peter is writing about redemption (salvation now) and restoration (salvation ultimate). Peter was an eyewitness to the way that Jesus walked through suffering, with a focus on the glory of eternal life. Jesus desired the future in Heaven of an unbroken relationship with all who would receive His love. God protects us here and now for that day to come. Jesus Christ kept a focus on this future day to come. This is how the genuine faith of Jesus remained strong through times of suffering. We are now invited to follow His example of faith through suffering. Bringing ourselves daily to thankfulness to God for our salvation, we are made stronger. Through Jesus, we rely on God and live with a new focus. Choosing to keep our faith actively focused on Jesus through the challenges of this life will bring rewards. Now we show sincere love to each other that is supernatural. Through this relationship with God, we are given the ability to think clearly, exercise helpful self-control, and look forward to the love of God and victory in Jesus. God’s love will last forever. The challenges we face today are temporary.

Ezekiel 41; 42

Through the prophet Ezekiel, God had warned the people of Israel of the specific destruction that would come if they continued to reject His love in favor of their selfishness and violence. They had rejected God in favor of their own pursuits. Now they were experiencing the consequences. Jerusalem has fallen and the Israelites have been taken captive. Twenty-five years into this, God brings Ezekiel a magnificent vision of an inspiring future and a new place of worship, to share with the people. It is a clear vision of a majestic and secure place of meeting with God. It speaks to the fulfillment of God’s work of redemption. It is a view of a better future and a completed restoration after they had suffered the worst destruction of their history. God gives Ezekiel a vision of a new place of worship, a Temple far bigger than they had seen and bigger than what was known at the time of Jesus. We must connect this to the prediction of Jesus, seen in John 4:1-42. In  Heaven, we will worship in the City of our God in spirit and in truth.





November 21 Bible reading

21 11 2020

November 21  Psalm 130  James 5  Ezekiel 40

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?

November 21  Psalm 130  James 5  Ezekiel 40

Psalm 130

Deeply discouraged and yet I will look to God, in hopeful expectation of His faithful love4. Under stress, in pain, and yet desperately holding out hope that God will provide, Psalm 130 sings an encouragement to choose faith in Yahweh God. Spiritual cleansing and forgiveness for our mistakes, we have received from God. Mercy and grace have been extended to us, as an invitation to walk in a respectful relationship with God. O that we would learn about who God is, through this! The love of God has never failed us.

James 5

 

We expect the triumphant return of Jesus to this world. A desire for this will help our daily life. It motivates us to live with a healthy respect for God and other people. God is aware of those who harm others while pursuing their own financial gain. Our God will judge those who use other people to get ahead and get money. In contrast, Job showed his faith in God by praying for others, even on his own worst days. Our God responds to the faith that is shown by prayer. We confess our wrong, seeking forgiveness and restoration. We bring to God our requests for others. This prayer has great power as it is working. We should help each other course correct when we drift from the truth. Followers of Jesus are called to patient endurance while waiting for the return of Jesus Christ. Conversation with God must be our daily priority.

Ezekiel 40

Through the prophet Ezekiel, God had warned the people of Israel of the specific destruction that would come if they continued to reject His love in favor of their selfishness and violence. They had rejected God in favor of their own pursuits. Now they were experiencing the consequences. Jerusalem has fallen and the Israelites have been taken captive. Twenty-five years into this, God brings Ezekiel a magnificent vision of an inspiring future and a new place of worship, to share with the people. On our worst days, God has hope and a future waiting for us. If we will respond to God we can be encouraged. (For future study, it’s important to note the spiritual significance of the Temple’s gateways, courtyards, and places of sacrifice.)





November 20 Bible reading

20 11 2020

November 20  Proverbs 28:7-17  James 4  Ezekiel 38; 39

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?

November 20  Proverbs 28:7-17  James 4  Ezekiel 38; 39

At a level rarely seen, King Solomon had resources and influence available to him. He writes wisdom drawn from his relationship with God. One of the most effective and successful wealth managers of all time speaks to the foolishness of some rich people and the discernment of some people who are poor.

Proverbs 28:13 & 1 John 1: 6-9 make it clear that we will not benefit from keeping our sin a secret, pretending that we are in a healthy relationship with God. If we will confess our sin, God will be faithful to forgive us. The sacrifice of Jesus has made this possible. Our reasonable response is to live out of passionate gratitude.

James 4

We should love God more than we love pleasure. The humility that comes from this brings peace and freedom. Let us abandon a me-first lifestyle. This will take us away from jealous arguments, gossip, and self-righteous judgment of others. We draw strength from our relationship with God, as we humble ourselves, confessing our wrong, and asking for forgiveness and help. We turn away from our wrong and move toward a close personal relationship with God. We become fully devoted followers of Christ, in community. We choose to resist our spiritual enemy. We receive grace from God and respond by freely giving it away to others. In this way, we can avoid sins of commission and omission. God gives us the ability to live in a healthy relationship with Him and others. We can choose to receive this gift.

Ezekiel 38; 39

Through the prophet Ezekiel, God predicts specific ways in which He will show sovereign control over powerful military nations. The fulfillment of these predictions served as further evidence of God’s identity. We should recognize this today. Through Ezekiel, God reveals His desire that all people come to recognize Him as sovereign Lord. Whether they turn to Him in faith or not, God will be glorified. For those who would repent, God will bring about restoration and will remove shame. God will usher in a time of uninterrupted relationship with Him. Love will abound for all who worship our God. This plan for God’s redemption includes people from every nation and culture.





November 19 Bible reading

19 11 2020

November 19  Psalm 129  James 3  Ezekiel 36; 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?

November 19  Psalm 129  James 3  Ezekiel 36; 37

Psalm 129

This Psalm says, “All my life I have been harassed by backstabbers, and yet I am not defeated. God is good. God has given me freedom from them.” When we live out of gratitude to God, we can be healthy and happy regardless of backstabbing. Even if we are attacked, we can experience peace and sing, “the Lord is good”. Our God is a source of love and healing. Our God brings freedom.

James 3

Are you salty? Have you ever heard that question? “Salty” can be used to describe a person who is agitated, angry, or upset. If we are saying things that are salty, our inner spiritual life is not as healthy and strong as it should be. A focus on God should cause us to speak blessing and not cursing. Feeding our spirits the loving truth of God will cause us to speak with grace. It also provides the self-control needed to speak without clenching our teeth. Have I received the grace of God? Am I changed for the better by a relationship with Jesus? One way to find out is by asking the people in my life if I am growing in the ability to be careful with what I say. Do I bring encouragement or harm? Even if I must bring an adjustment to someone else, do I bring it in a way that is loving, encouraging, equipping, and life-giving? Following Jesus should bring humble wisdom, gentleness, and peace-loving out of us. Wisdom from God brings humility.

Ezekiel 36; 37

Murder and the worship of anything (as more valuable than God) is pollution in our homeland. That is how God sees it. Through Ezekiel God speaks a warning that He would punish people who refused to turn from their violence, murder, and worship of idols. Our Creator offers us a complete change of heart in this new life as Jesus followers. Through this change, God will give us the ability to live in new ways, healthy, and full of life. Our God will bring life where we see signs of death, in our homes and communities. Where we cannot see hope, our God brings hope. God will speak life and bring about the restoration that seems impossible. God brought about an end to the civil war between Israel and Judah. God brought lasting peace between people in conflict. This same God offers us a covenant agreement of peace whereby we can see lasting change in our lives.