September 16 Bible reading

16 09 2021

September 16  Psalm 107:33-43  Galatians 2:11-21; 3:1-9  Isaiah 38; 39; 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 the 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?

September 16  Psalm 107:33-43  Galatians 2:11-21; 3:1-9  Isaiah 38; 39; 40

Psalm 107:33-43

Our God brings refreshing, good health, and productivity out of situations that seem impossible. People with wisdom will recognize God at work in these stories and learn from it. Today we can look to God in this same way. Where people choose rebellious darkness God allows destruction. Where people choose the faithful love of God there is peace and healthy living. As we grow in wisdom we are able to see the faithful love of God at work throughout the events of our history. We should “take all this to heart”.

Galatians 2:11-21; 3:1-9

When Peter visited Paul (and the Antioch church, a primarily Gentile, thriving, influential church) a fear of criticism from Jewish believers caused Peter to withdraw from eating with the Gentile believers. Prioritizing the opinion of influential people, ethnic pride, and a wrong-headed church culture, brought about Peter’s mistake. Paul’s correction of Peter clarifies an essential teaching of Jesus’ Good News: we can be made right with God by faith in Jesus, not obeying the Old Testament law. We receive new spiritual life in our relationship with Jesus. This is not determined by our heritage of ancestry, ethnicity, race, or our own good deeds (they had people trying to get into heaven by being good people without a personal relationship with God). Instead, we read here that we should be drawn into a new focus on the spiritual life from Jesus Christ! Now my old life is gone. Now I have new life in Jesus. Now this salvation is available, by faith, to people of all nations.

Isaiah 38; 39; 40

Among the lessons learned from King Hezekiah, we should grow in our faith that God can change the worst circumstances of our lives. Looking to God for guidance is life-giving. Even when God says things that we may not want to hear there is truth that will prove to be what is best. We should learn humility from King Hezekiah’s prayer in Isaiah 38:16-17. There’s wisdom in considering the brevity of human life, as seen in 40:6-11. We should take comfort from the truth that God’s faithful love will last forever. With great care, God will always be leading us. God has wisdom and strength beyond anyone else. Considering God’s generous nature can bring you strength, Isaiah 40:25-31. As we trust God we will find new strength.





September 15 Bible reading

15 09 2021

September 15  Psalm 107:23-32  Galatians 2:1-10  Isaiah 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 the 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?

September 15  Psalm 107:23-32  Galatians 2:1-10  Isaiah 36; 37

Psalm 107:23-32

Psalm 107 calls people to worship the God who made their lives possible, the God of faithful supernatural love. Those who worked out on the sea found themselves in need of rescue. The Holy Spirit spoke to me through verses 7 and 30 with direction for our move to Baltimore. This is the reason we want to be a safe place for people to find and follow Jesus. Our God still responds to people calling for help, out of distress. Let us praise God for His powerful endless love.

Galatians 2:1-10

People, who ere deliberately twisting the truth, were actively working for influence in the churches. Paul writes to help bring grace, peace, and clarity. Pointing to Jesus as most important, Paul defends their faith. This includes a description of unity among certain church leaders. Paul refutes false teaching. He includes a description of his own submission to spiritual authority. The leaders of the church had identified people who were pretending to be Jesus followers. Peter, James, and John recognized Paul’s ministry, approved of the content of his teaching, and encouraged more ministry to the poor. Peter and James focused on the Jerusalem church, which was primarily Jewish believers. Paul focused on cities that were primarily Gentiles. Their missions were equal and unified. This included a missional approach to helping the poor. It is crucial for us to recognize this interaction now as people are trying to cut out Paul’s teaching from Scripture.

Isaiah 36; 37

The Assyrian kings had committed war crimes. God had been watching their evil actions of violence. Sennacherib, the evil king of Assyria, laid siege to Jerusalem and with arrogant defiance mocked the Israelites’ trust in Yahweh. Israel’s king Hezekiah turned to the prophet Isaiah, asking for God’s help. Our God had observed this evil king and rescued His people with specific miracles. We see that God’s response proved a sovereign control over the Assyrian military, including 185,000 soldiers who would no longer terrorize the region.





September 14 Bible reading

14 09 2021

September 14  Psalm 107:10-22  Galatians 1  Isaiah 33; 34; 35

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 the 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?

September 14  Psalm 107:10-22  Galatians 1  Isaiah 33; 34; 35

Psalm 107:10-22

In retrospect, Psalm 107 calls people to praise the God of love. Learning from the constant work of redemption throughout their history, the Israelites would sing this prayer. Over and over, God proved His love to be way beyond the norm. With jaw-dropping miracles, God took action for His people. Psalm 107 refers to these specific stories and calls us to praise God.

Galatians 1

Personal interaction with Jesus Christ was life-changing for Paul. His identity and purpose were reshaped. This relationship was now foundational and most important for him. Responding to the opposition and false accusation, Paul did not point to his own heritage in ancestry, ethnicity, education, accomplishments, or economic standing as most important. Paul points to Jesus. False teachers mentioned in Acts 15:1 had been following the apostles’ church planting travels. They sought selfish gain by earning recognition. They taught a mixture of Jesus’ teaching and Jewish customs added to Moses’ teaching. This resulted in the twisted idea that salvation came by faith and works, and that we are “perfected” by good works. Paul writes to teach our freedom by faith in Jesus and to refute this perversion. Have you considered the book “Travelling Light” by Eugene Peterson (about Galatians)?

Isaiah 33; 34; 35

A respect for God, a constant awareness of, a reverence for God will be life-giving enriching strength to you, if you choose it. Then you will see God (as seen in Isaiah 33:5-6). Isaiah communicates God’s response to people of all nations. We clearly see God as alive, aware, able, and active. God has plans. God gives us a free will and will hold us accountable for our choices. God had observed the Assyrians respecting no one else, destroying, and betraying. God in heaven will be the source of ultimate salvation and forgiveness. “Let people from the whole world listen!” God is in control. God will bring restoration according to His own will. Then there will be a complete joy.





September 13 Bible reading

13 09 2021

September 13  Proverbs 22:17-27  2 Corinthians 13  Isaiah 30:19-33; 31; 32

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 the 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?

September 13  Proverbs 22:17-27  2 Corinthians 13  Isaiah 30:19-33; 31; 32

Proverbs 22:17-27

What have you learned from God? What principles of truth have you gleaned from God inspired sources? We should treasure these words of wisdom. We should be ready to apply them. Learning from Proverbs is beneficial. For best results, we should memorize them and recite them as we apply them. This practice will help us trust God. God will ruin those who bring ruin to the poor.

2 Corinthians 13

Paul closes his letter to the Corinthian believers with a passionate appeal to a life devoted to Jesus. Directly informed by his own personal relationship with Jesus, Paul encourages each person to examine their own relationship with Jesus. For many, their faith in Jesus had its early formation shaped by Paul’s service of teaching. Over time they have allowed this influence to become frayed. Paul calls them to grow in taking the next steps of following Jesus. This includes their growing love, joyful encouragement, relationships, and enjoying God’s presence. Paul prepares the Corinthian church for his upcoming 3rd visit. He wants to help them mature and grow stronger. Paul asks that they examine their own hearts, adhering to the words of Jesus and receiving help by recognizing spiritual authority. Encouraging each other, they can grow and experience joy. “Then the God of love and peace will be with you.”

Isaiah 30:19-33; 31; 32

While preparing to move to Baltimore, God spoke to me through a prophet who quoted Isaiah 30:21, predicting that God would guide me in this journey. This has certainly been proven true. Isaiah predicts God’s restoration of a repentant people. And yet people who look to evil natural rulers as their provider will be sorry that they did so. In contrast, people who look for truth in God, and listen for His voice, will see peace and hear a calm in their homes.





September 12 Bible reading

12 09 2021

September 12  Psalm 107:1-9  2 Corinthians 12:11-21  Isaiah 29; 30:1-18

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 the 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?

September 12  Psalm 107:1-9  2 Corinthians 12:11-21  Isaiah 29; 30:1-18

Psalm 107:1-9

God’s love for people is constant, outlasting the challenges we face and even our failures. It is supernatural in faithfulness compared with the fickle nature of human love. Have you received the redemption of Jesus? Talk about it! The love of our God brings a supernatural refreshing. It provides what we need. Tell someone. We should thank God, out loud, for His goodness and unfailing love. God spoke to me through Psalm 107:7 with direction for urban church pioneering. These words reveal the heart of God toward hurting people and His plans for cities. We can learn from what God has done in the past.

2 Corinthians 12:11-21

Paul has done all that he can to strengthen the Corinthian believers. Out of genuine concern, he has voluntarily served them in several ways. Rumors and false accusations about Paul swirl in Corinth. Paul doesn’t give up. Paul calls believers to a life of devotion to Jesus. Paul defends himself and his team from false accusations made against them by deceitful teachers, trying to lure the Corinthian believers away from a life-changing focus on Jesus. There is a motive to help the Corinthian believers and strengthen their faith. There is also a concern about giving up their old habits of sexual sin. Wholeheartedly following Jesus brings peace and joy. New spiritual life in Jesus brings freedom, a new sense of identity and belonging.

Isaiah 29; 30:1-18

God speaks through the prophet His own lament for the ways that His people have drifted from a personal relationship with Him into repeating their acts of spiritual worship without passion. Their hearts were no longer in it. Their spiritual perception became clouded. They were making serious plans without asking for God’s direction. They no longer wanted to hear God’s truth from the prophet. People who do not recognize God as Creator (and the implications of this truth) will one day recognize their foolishness. For a time, God will wait for people to return to Him, so that He can show His love and compassion. People who respond to God as their Source of Life (humble people) will be filled with joy from the Lord.





September 11 Bible reading

11 09 2021

September 11  Psalm 106:40-48  2 Corinthians 12:1-10  Isaiah 27; 28

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 the 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?

September 11  Psalm 106:40-48  2 Corinthians 12:1-10  Isaiah 27; 28

Psalm 106:40-48

Let’s remember that this Psalm is recounting the specific repeated choice of particular people to walk away from the love God made available. This rejection carried consequences. With the goal of restoration in mind, God allowed them to be taken over by other nations. The spiritual idolatry of the Israelites brought an angry response from God. When they cried out to God, He remembered His covenant agreement with them and, by His unfailing love, He pulled back the punishment. Our God is a God of mercy and justice. It is a personal relationship. If we cannot control ourselves, we will eventually give control of our lives to forces that are not trustworthy. Let us love God with wholehearted devotion instead.

2 Corinthians 12:1-10

Paul refers to an indescribable vision that he had, of heaven. Hearing from God was not something Paul would brag about. Instead, He pointed to the power of God seen in the fact that anything good could come despite his human weakness. By God’s Word, Paul learned to see spiritual strength in natural weakness. He was happy to see that difficulty in this life was leading him to the strength found in relying on God. That is an eternal perspective.

Isaiah 27; 28

The Day of the Lord will bring fulfillment of God’s mercy and justice. God will watch over His people. Isaiah describes an apocalyptic scene of God’s final judgment and restoration of His people to the loving peace of worship. The people are called to make peace with God. We see that it is foolish to walk away from God. Drunkenness obscures their ability to hear from God. The leaders if Israel had been given to alcoholism. Their judgment was impaired. They tried to cheat death by bargaining with God. Through Isaiah, God predicts a Savior who would set things right in a call for repentance. They are called to listen and to watch for the coming Messiah, a “precious cornerstone”. If they will believe, they will not need to be shaken. God’s Son would bring a peace that is supernatural.





September 10 Bible reading

10 09 2021

September 10  Psalm 106:32-39  2 Corinthians 11:16-33  Isaiah 24; 25; 26

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 the 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?

September 10  Psalm 106:32-39  2 Corinthians 11:16-33  Isaiah 24; 25; 26

Psalm 106:32-39

Here we read that the people of Israel did not stay on the path of wholehearted devotion to God. The Israelites failed to obey God completely. This allowed a temptation, to cheat on God, that they could not resist. Our God had created them, rescued them, and provided for them. And yet they had an affair with idol worship. This idolatry included the human sacrifice of their own children. They “polluted the land with murder”. They did not return faithful love to their Creator and Redeemer. They felt the results of this decision. We must learn from this serious warning.

2 Corinthians 11:16-33

Paul is writing to protect the Corinthian believers from false teachers who seek to deceive them, turning their loyalty, for pay, to teach their own version of spiritual truth (that was self-serving). Paul recounts the ways that he has proven his pure motives and focus on Jesus, despite being persecuted for this faith. Many times he was beaten, imprisoned, and had to endure dangerous opposition. In an effort to help them, Paul is showing that his good intentions have been proven over years of faithful service. Paul carried great concern for the people of these churches. It was a daily responsibility to him.

Isaiah 24; 25; 26

God created the “good earth”. God reveals to Isaiah the ways in which people have twisted God’s words and rejected God’s commitment of love. Isaiah, the prophet, shares the heart break of God at the needed punishment for sin. This includes the negative results seen in our natural environment. The good earth suffers. The One True Living God will bring judgment on the evil spiritual and natural rulers of our earth. They will yet see a final punishment. Our praiseworthy God will be refuge to the poor and distressed. Isaiah sees that a final feast will be available to people of all nations, in their worship of God. We should worship our trustworthy God. Morning and night, our hearts highest desire should be to glorify the name of God. People will sing these words of Isaiah. We will praise You alone, oh God!





September 9 Bible reading

9 09 2021

September 9  Proverbs 22:7-16  2 Corinthians 11:1-15  Isaiah 20; 21; 22; 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 the 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?

September 9  Proverbs 22:7-16  2 Corinthians 11:1-15  Isaiah 20; 21; 22; 23

Proverbs 22:7-16

God brings happiness and fulfillment to those who are generous to people who are poor. Many Bible verses refer to God’s thoughts about our attitude and actions toward those living in poverty. We do not see a directive for us to pass judgment on their character prior to determining whether or not we will be generous. God’s love compels us to look for ways to meet the needs of others. We should take note of the influence that “purity of heart and gracious speech” brings. Another truth from this section is that when we choose debt we are giving up a measure of our freedom. We are then giving someone else more influence in our lives.

2 Corinthians 11:1-15

Paul is concerned that the Corinthians believers might become deceived by false teachers. They had interacted with people claiming to be Christian teachers who were not teaching the truth, that the apostles had received from Jesus and faithfully taught abroad. We must also be careful to focus on the pure teaching of Jesus as seen in Scripture. We should develop our ability to distinguish this from false teaching. We read about the contrast between the genuine selfless motives Paul had proven through years of his actions and the selfish motives of these false teachers. This should be an important lesson for us.

Isaiah 20; 21; 22; 23

Repeatedly through the decades, the Israelites walked away from the loving relationship God made available. People in Jerusalem feasted when God was calling them to turn from their mistakes. In dramatic fashion, God predicted punishment for this. God is aware of what they are thinking and feeling. God reveals His response to the motives, actions, and words of the Jews, Arabs, Africans, and other people groups from the region. God replaced a specific corrupt palace official. God is aware. 22:15-25 is a powerful image to be learned from. Self-centered pride will see God’s consequences. Those who are humble and repentant will find God to be merciful and gracious. Our God is a God of mercy and justice.





September 8 Bible reading

8 09 2021

September 8  Psalm 106:16-31  2 Corinthians 10  Isaiah 17; 18; 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 the 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?

September 8  Psalm 106:16-31  2 Corinthians 10  Isaiah 17; 18; 19

Psalm 106:16-31

The lessons learned from specific people are unpacked for us in Psalm 106, Hebrews 3, and Numbers 25. They complained about life. They walked away from the love commitment God had made to them. This group of people traded in the glorious God, who had miraculously provided for them and rescued them, for the worship of pleasure (in sexual sin) and gods made by their own hands. We learn from Phinehas, who chose to believe that God would do what He said. Let’s not be distracted from worship by our carnal nature.

2 Corinthians 10

Paul writes about the value of an eternal perspective. We can come to understand what will last forever. This will helps us resist pride and many other mistakes. It will help us avoid distractions and building frustrations. Eternal perspective based on God’s value system will lead to grace and peace. Facing opposition from people trying to dissuade the Corinthian believers, Paul speaks of spiritual influence that comes from God. This quality of leadership is one of interdependence and healthy relationships. It is not one of lording over people through intimidation or manipulation. Sadly many of today’s leadership books carry a mixture of this sort. Paul’s focus on Jesus led to a resolve to help others remove any obstacle they face to following Jesus. Here we read that they hoped the faith of the Corinthians would grow “so that this message of Jesus will ever be reaching more people”. It’s a rich chapter of leadership principles.

Isaiah 17; 18; 19

Through the prophet, Isaiah God reiterates the current state of Israel’s affairs. They have brought on themselves the consequence of turning away from their Creator, in favor of idols that they made to worship. God calls them to return to His love. God predicts a peaceful relationship with the Ethiopians and Egyptians. God informed the Egyptians that their plans and strength would not be superior to His own will. They will worship God and receive blessings from their Creator, who love them. This is the heart of God toward people from all nations, and quite clearly this includes the people of Africa. An honest look at Scripture must include that truth. Isaiah predicts that God would make Himself known to the people of Africa. This includes a blessing from God!





September 7 Bible reading

7 09 2021

September 7  Psalm 106:1-15  2 Corinthians 9:6-15  Isaiah 14; 15; 16

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 the 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?

September 7  Psalm 106:1-15  2 Corinthians 9:6-15  Isaiah 14; 15; 16

Psalm 106:1-15

Today let us thank God for the way that He has faithfully loved us. We find strength and joy when we remember the specifics of how God has provided for us. Giving thanks to God for being faithful to us, even after we failed Him, brings us peace, perspective, and fulfillment. Let’s stop right now and thank God for the things He has done.

2 Corinthians 9:6-15

When we choose to give money to those in need, out of a cheerful heart, God is pleased. God is our provider. We cannot give more than He has already given to us. Let us give out of a thankful heart. God cares for people in need. This is seen throughout Scripture. It’s a part of who God is. Learning more about this should cause us to want to get involved with helping others.

Isaiah 14; 15; 16

Through the prophet Isaiah, God predicts a restoration that the Israelites could hope for (upon their return to Him). We see that God does not enjoy bringing punishment on the Moabites. God is yearning for restoration. God loves people who do not yet love Him. In this way God’s love is transcendent. God’s love is superior to the love we find in human nature. This should bring us to consider what God is like, and respond with worship.