October 11 Bible reading

11 10 2020

October 11  Proverbs 24:23-34  1 Thessalonians 4  Jeremiah 23:9-30; 24; 25:1-14

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?

October 11  Proverbs 24:23-34  1 Thessalonians 4  Jeremiah 23:9-30; 24; 25:1-14

Proverbs 24:23-34

Corruption of justice is wrong. It brings horrible results. Honesty in decisions of justice brings benefits. Proverbs points out the value of honesty and hard work. This lifestyle will bring value to you, your family, and your community. In contrast, the more people live without honesty and hard work the more damage will be done to their community. Anyone who thinks of themselves as a Jesus follower should take this into careful consideration. Does my life reflect this truth?

1 Thessalonians 4

Here we read about people who identified themselves as followers of Jesus Christ. They kept a priority on living their lives in ways that would please God. They viewed their bodies as designed for God’s purpose, not selfishness. This principle brought guidance to issues of sexual expression. Out of a personal relationship with Jesus comes new life and confident hope. This brings inspiration and a new ability to choose a lifestyle of living for God, our Creator & Redeemer instead of living to please ourselves first. When we want to please God more than anything else we can live a “holy” life, focused on God, avoiding sexual sin. Out of “agape” love for God and others we grow in self-control. All of this springs from a belief that Jesus will return to earth. Christians should encourage each other with conversation about the return of Jesus. This should include the expectation of a day when we will be living alongside those who once passed away. What wonderful days are ahead! This great hope before us should inform every single day.

Jeremiah 23:9-30; 24; 25:1-14

God is heartbroken at the work of false prophets. God says, “They’re making it up. They haven’t been in my presence. They didn’t care to listen to Me.” Through the prophet Jeremiah, God spoke to the people of Judah about the way that He would punish the unrepentant and restore the repentant. We read a clear distinction between true prophets and false prophets. A true prophet is spending time in the presence of God, listening to the voice of God, and with great care and obedience speaking the word God instructed them to deliver. Again God calls people to a relationship of wholehearted devotion. God predicts the captivity of seventy years. It will serve as a punishment of evil actions, rejection of God, and further proof that God is sovereign.





October 10 Bible reading

10 10 2020

October 10  Psalm 119:9-16  1 Thessalonians 2:17-20; 3  Jeremiah 21; 22; 23:1-8

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?

October 10  Psalm 119:9-16  1 Thessalonians 2:17-20; 3  Jeremiah 21; 22; 23:1-8

Psalm 119:9-16

How can we live by the guidance of God? Is a pure life possible? God has spoken to humanity. This truth is helpful. When we search out the guidance of God, we will find fresh purpose, energy, and direction. We will be better equipped to break bad habits. Carefully considering the meaning of Scripture in an effort to apply what God has said, to our lives, is the way to go. This includes the memorization of Scripture. In this way, our personal relationship with God becomes more meaningful and we grow by using the Word of God.

1 Thessalonians 2:17-20; 3

Paul, Timothy, and their ministry team express love and compassion for the church in Thessalonians. They encouraged believers to strengthen their faith in preparation for difficult days ahead. They encouraged the Thessalonians so that they might stand strong in faith through it all. In the same way, they prayed for the believers to have a growing love for each other. They also shared a reminder that Jesus will return. They were building a joyful confident hope in Jesus. Paul, Timothy, and their ministry team lived with an awareness that people will live forever. This truth informed their value system. God loves people more than temporary things. We should too.

Jeremiah 21; 22; 23:1-8

The people of Jerusalem had turned away from God in favor of the worship of other gods. They had treated the Temple of God like a “lucky rabbit’s foot”, believing that it would still protect them from judgment. God said, “No, I will punish you for your sinfulness”. The church building is not protection for the unrepentant sinner. In contrast, God blessed King Josiah, in part, because he gave justice and help to the poor and needy. Josiah’s actions were seen as a sign of his relationship with God. We read about God’s value system (mercy and justice) in Jeremiah 21:11-13, 22:3, 22:15-19. God is a Good Shepherd who recognizes bad shepherds (Jeremiah 23:2) and will replace them with new shepherds to care for His people. God is still doing this today. In the middle of punishing evil rulers of Judah (descendants of David) God renews His promise to bring the Messiah from their family.





October 9 Bible reading

9 10 2020

October 9  Psalm 119:1-8  1 Thessalonians 1; 2:1-16  Jeremiah 18; 19; 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?

October 9  Psalm 119:1-8  1 Thessalonians 1; 2:1-16  Jeremiah 18; 19; 20

Psalm 119:1-8

God loves humanity. God gives life. God is creative. God has design and desire. God has spoken to us. We should be searching out the guidance of God. We can choose to listen and learn from what God has said. We will then benefit from God’s Word and love it. Psalm 119 is focused on this relationship with God’s Word. This is a Hebrew acrostic poem of 22 stanzas, one for each successive letter of their alphabet. Each of the 8 verses within each stanza begins with the Hebrew letter named in its heading. This is one way that you can think through what you are learning about God’s love and then summarize it in a meaningful way. God’s love is available and beneficial.

1 Thessalonians 1; 2:1-16

Years ago, I heard stories from someone who visited the current churches of Thessaloniki, Greece. The people of today were described in ways that are similar to what we read here. Paul writes to the Thessalonians shortly after his first visit, seen in Acts 17. He commends their faithful love in action from the hope they found in Jesus. Their relationship with Jesus brought life change and inspired their expectant hope for His return. Thinking about what we read here, I believe that you see characteristics that the Thessalonians, Paul, and his team share in common. They are focused on Jesus Christ. Love is their motivation for faithful hard work. Their hope is found in Jesus. This hope endures. They put into practice a priority on pleasing God more than pleasing other people.

Jeremiah 18; 19; 20

Through Jeremiah, our Creator God speaks to His relationship with us as the relationship between a potter and clay. The people of Judah had stubbornly rejected God in favor of living however they wanted to. They ignored Jeremiah’s words. They gossiped about him. They were plotting to kill him. Through the prophet, Jeremiah God spoke a warning of punishment for their rebellion. In the face of rejection and opposition, Jeremiah believes God is with him. Jeremiah sings his faith in God’s rescue along the lines of Psalm 34:6. At the same time, there are ways in which Jeremiah is lamenting his suffering at the hands of other people. This is similar to Paul’s experience seen in 1 Corinthians 4:9-13.





October 8 Bible reading

8 10 2020

October 8  Psalm 118:17-29  Colossians 4:2-18  Jeremiah 16; 17

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?

October 8  Psalm 118:17-29  Colossians 4:2-18  Jeremiah 16; 17

Psalm 118:17-29

God’s faithful love endures forever. It doesn’t get exhausted. Receiving the love of God builds faith and presses out fear. You can find more on this in my October 6th post about the beginning of the chapter. The singer draws strength from his relationship with God. He’s singing in the public worship service a thanksgiving for answered prayer. We should open up opportunities for this practice. Our relationship with God should include this practice. And then requests of God are made in this context. In Mark 12:10-11, we hear Jesus quoting Psalm 118:22-24 as the Jewish religious leaders were rejecting Him. This was predicted by the prophet in Isaiah 8:14 and observed by eye-witness accounts as it happened, see 1 Peter 2:7-8. We see that God’s purpose will bring joy to those who receive Jesus. That is why they can sing, “this is the day the Lord has made, I will rejoice.” Psalm 118:26 is referenced by the shouts of people receiving Jesus, in John 12:13.

Colossians 4:2-18

Colossians 4:2, 5-6 are words to live by. Prayer should include dialogue with God (out of thoughtful consideration). Prayer works best when we give wholehearted devotion. Prayer is consistently uplifting when it includes thanksgiving. We should be alert spiritually, discerning public narratives, looking for God’s will, watching for the Holy Spirit at work, and focused on God. We should be careful to exercise wisdom in how we live and talk. We should make the most of every opportunity. Receiving the love of God inspires this kind of life. Following Jesus instead of our cravings. This is the way to live.

Jeremiah 16; 17

In a time and place where people have refused to listen to God (but instead are following their own desires), we hear God predicting punishment. For generations, God’s people had rejected His love and guidance. This is the reason God allows punishment. And yet God promises to bring a repentant faithful remnant back to the Promised Land. People who derive their confident hope from trusting in God will be blessed. What a description in Jeremiah 17:7-8, like trees! In contrast, people who live by bad motives will be judged by God. There are people who trust other humans instead of God. Sadly, they will find negative results in that decision. It is possible to be deceived. How do you know if you are? We can find clarity in the truth of God’s Word, and the counsel of mature believers. God knows our hearts better than anyone else. A weekly day of rest from our ordinary work is helpful for a God-focus.





October 7 Bible reading

7 10 2020

October 7  Proverbs 24:15-22  Colossians 3; 4:1  Jeremiah 14; 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?

October 7  Proverbs 24:15-22  Colossians 3; 4:1  Jeremiah 14; 15

Proverbs 24:15-22

People who find their strength in God will get back up when they are knocked down. God’s faithful love helps us bounce back from failure. We must not be distracted by what is going on with people who are choosing to do wrong. Let’s focus on God. Let your focus be simple. Love God with your “heart and soul”. Share God’s love with others. Let God’s love shape your identity, value, and purpose. Then, do what God has put in front of you.

Colossians 3; 4:1

Paul writes about how our life can change when we receive new spiritual life from Jesus. We can now think about the “realities of heaven” more than the things of earth. We should value the more. With this in mind, we must walk away from sin and toward Jesus who is making us new. In this new life, how we identify our identity (re: gender, race, status, etc.) is not what matters most. Jesus is what matters most. Colossians 3:12-16 has an amazing description of Jesus’ characteristics. We can grow in the same characteristics as we get to know Jesus. This helps us understand what following Jesus looks like. In response to Jesus, we sing to create an avenue whereby grace can be poured into our hearts. We sing because of grace God poured on us. Paul instructs us to relate to the people in our lives out of constant awareness of God. What does this passage mean in our practical everyday lives? Serve Jesus in everything you do, in every way that you do it, and in every reason that you do it.

Jeremiah 14; 15

Jeremiah is in a dialogue with God about current events. He sees God’s justice on lying prophets and people who were rejecting God. As a result, Jeremiah is weeping and praying on behalf of the people. It is an example of intercessory prayer and the work each Christian leader should take up. If you are not praying for the people you serve, you will drift into harmful behavior. After watching many generations of Israelites rejecting Him, worshipping other gods, and doing countless evil things, God declares judgment. False prophets would not be spared punishment. Jeremiah asked God to be rescued from people attacking him for speaking the truth. God answered him and encouraged him to be faithful in his ministry. God tells Jeremiah to not be influenced by the people and leaders, who had walked away.





October 6 Bible reading

6 10 2020

October 6  Psalm 118:1-16 Colossians 2:6-23  Jeremiah 11:18-23; 12; 13

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?

October 6  Psalm 118:1-16 Colossians 2:6-23  Jeremiah 11:18-23; 12; 13

Psalm 118:1-16

The faithful love of God is without end. His love never fails. It never runs out. The people of Israel would repeatedly sing about God’s faithful love. Let us give thanks to the Lord who is overflowing with love. On my worst days, I cried out to God. The Lord heard me and answered me. That is why I trust God more than I trust people. As we receive this love, thanking God, it will bring growth to our faith. This process will also press fear out from us. This is another way that we draw spiritual strength from our relationship with God.

Colossians 2:6-23

Paul writes of strength, peace, and gratitude coming from daily choosing to follow Jesus. In Colossians 2:6-7 Paul writes about drawing strength from this relationship with Jesus. The two analogies of being “rooted” like a tree and “grounded” like the foundation of a house, are echoes of Ephesians 3:17. The people of this early church found spiritual strength from their relationship with Jesus. A personal relationship with Jesus will bring spiritual freedom from a compulsion to continue self-destructive behaviors. Paul refutes the teaching they were facing from bad moralistic pseudo leaders. These “wanna-be” spiritual gurus were pious and yet self-centered. They were bringing condemnation and legalism. This bad teaching was not connected to Jesus and therefore did not bring help in real life change. Here we read about the Good News of Jesus. In all of its simplicity, this truth is transformational. My suggestion would be to read Colossians 2:12-15. Think about what it means to you. Thank God for it.

Jeremiah 11:18-23; 12; 13

In response to Jeremiah sharing God’s Word, people started plotting to kill Jeremiah. They were met with punishment as God protected Jeremiah. The hypocrisy of religious people causes Jeremiah to ask God questions. God answered as a just judge. Jeremiah spoke truth to powerful people, calling them to repentance….using rotten underwear as an object lesson. Wow. God speaks truth in creative ways.





October 5 Bible reading

5 10 2020

October 5  Psalm 117  Colossians 1:24-29; 2:1-5  Jeremiah 9:17-26; 10; 11:1-17

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?

October 5  Psalm 117  Colossians 1:24-29; 2:1-5  Jeremiah 9:17-26; 10; 11:1-17

Psalm 117

God has been faithful in love. God’s character is consistent. God’s unfailing love has been shown to the whole earth. A day will come when people from every nation, of every ethnicity, will praise our God. They will do so because “He loves us with unfailing love; the Lord’s faithfulness endures forever.” This has always been included in God’s plan of redemption, see Romans 15:5-13. This brings peace and harmony for people across a variety of cultural lines. God is faithful in love. Think about that. What does that mean to you? Today let’s speak of God’s love in this same way.

Colossians 1:24-29; 2:1-5

Paul wrote about who Jesus Christ is and what Jesus Christ has done, in the previous passage of Colossians 1:1-23. With selfless love, Jesus Christ made redemption possible for us. Jesus Christ is the King above all kings. One day everyone will recognize this truth. God unveiled His plan, long in the works, of salvation. This personal relationship with God was made available to anyone who would receive Jesus. In this way, we can enjoy an uninterrupted conversation with God. Paul writes to the Colossians about his passion for them. Despite not having met them in person Paul prays for their unity. He cares deeply about their understanding of the Good News of Jesus. Paul has been imprisoned due to his leadership among Christians. Paul sees purpose and responsibility in his suffering. Paul is focused on Jesus. Paul carries a responsibility to steward the Good News of Jesus.

Jeremiah 9:17-26; 10; 11:1-17

Through Jeremiah God says that the one boast of His people should be that they know Him as the God who shows unfailing love. We must speak out about the way that we have found God to be faithful in love. We should tell others about the way that we have come to know God. Our loving God should be recognized as Creator. Jeremiah reflects a healthy humility and understanding of our place in a relationship with God. The Israelites are called to remember the covenant God made with them and to live by it.





October 4 Bible reading

4 10 2020

October 4  Psalm 116:12-19  Colossians 1:1-23  Jeremiah 7:30-34; 8; 9:1-16

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 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?

October 4  Psalm 116:12-19  Colossians 1:1-23  Jeremiah 7:30-34; 8; 9:1-16

Psalm 116:12-19

How can I thank God for all He has done? Psalm 116:12-14 is an amazing refrain. We cannot give more to God than He has already given to us. In appreciation for our salvation, we can live out of a “Thank You”. This includes a lifestyle of wholehearted devotion. “God, thank You! God, I am with You heart and soul. God, I love You. God, I will live for You with the best of my energy.” Psalm 116:16-19 provide this kind of passionate cry of gratitude. We can make promises to God and keep them with the help of our spiritual community. In the middle of this passage, we find Psalm 116:15 and a discovery that God “cares deeply when His loved ones die”. Are we reading a song for a memorial service? Are they reflecting on what they have learned about God, during a time of grieving the loss of a loved one?

Colossians 1:1-23

Here we read the guidance for people who are following Jesus. They are faithful. They are known for showing love to people who are across cultural lines. This love of theirs came from a confident hope that Jesus Christ prepares a place in Heaven. It is a love from the Holy Spirit. Paul writes to the church in Colosse, just 100 miles from Ephesus. We don’t know if he had ever visited. This church started in the home of Philemon about the same time that the Ephesian church started. Paul writes to refute false teaching about the person and work of Jesus. “Grace and peace, agape love for all people, faith, and confident hope”. This is a list of values that are of great importance. They are phrases commonly used to describe thriving local churches. The Colossians show a supernatural love for others, as a result of receiving the Good News of Jesus. Paul & Timothy are praying that God would give the Colossians spiritual wisdom, understanding, endurance, joy, patience, and an ability to recognize the guidance of God. Jesus is our redemption, ransom, visible image of God who existed before human time, the head of the church body and the peacemaker. Jesus is the one who brought us (who were once far from God) into the presence of God. We must continue to “believe this truth and stand firmly in it”. Just like the Colossians, we should read this passage and let its truth shape our perspective. It brings us to the reality of who Jesus is.

Jeremiah 7:30-34; 8; 9:1-16

God speaks through Jeremiah, revealing what He has been thinking and feeling while watching the self-destructive path His people have been on. Jeremiah is overwhelmed by grief in hearing God’s reaction to their sin. Many times over, God explains that this punishment on the people is the direct consequences of their abandonment of Him and His Word.





October 3 Bible reading

3 10 2020

October 3  Proverbs 24:5-14  Philippians 4:2-23  Jeremiah 6; 7:1-29

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?

October 3  Proverbs 24:5-14  Philippians 4:2-23  Jeremiah 6; 7:1-29

Proverbs 24:5-14

Finding wisdom is good for you. It is better than physical strength. Proverbs warns us to be careful about who we get advice from. We should seek counsel from multiple qualified advisors. We are compelled to rescue people headed to their death. Ignorance is not an acceptable excuse with God. We read about this in Proverbs 24:11-12. It connects well with the instruction Jesus gave Paul that is described in Acts 26:14-18 (and explained in Romans 2:1-8). Today we can share the purpose of bringing people to Jesus Christ for their own rescue. Please read these passages and consider what this means to you. Each of us carries a spiritual purpose every day. One day we will give an account for how we carried the spiritual blessing of Jesus.

Philippians 4:2-23

Paul calls the Philippians to enjoy a state of happiness from their relationship with God. Looking toward the return of Jesus he calms anxiety and induces prayer with thanksgiving. Peace comes from choosing joy in this way. This peace can bring a protection to what we are thinking and how we are feeling. We must choose to focus our thoughts on what is “true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and worthy of praise”. The God of peace is with us. From this Paul learned to live at peace in any situation. This is why he could write, “I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength”. From His glorious riches God will provide for all the needs of those who choose Courageous Generosity. Today our response to this should include the motivation for us to be in a consistent conversation with God. Let’s abandon any fixation on our worries. Let’s bring our requests to God. Let’s thank God for all He has done. Then God will bring peace as a guiding influence in our lives. Let’s focus on good things as we follow Jesus. God will take care of us.

Jeremiah 6; 7:1-29

After seeing generations of His people reject Him and worship other gods, our Creator God has grown tired of holding back His anger. Through many prophets (and now Jeremiah) God has called for repentance and warned of punishment. In their rebellion, the Israelites are proud of their Temple, treating God with superstition. They believed that the Temple would keep them from God’s judgment. God debunks this myth, with words Jesus quoted, referring to it as a “den of thieves”. This is aimed at their rejection of a relationship with God in favor of bad religion. God loves people. God calls people to repentance because He knows what is best for them. Love is always in God’s motivation.





October 2 Bible reading

2 10 2020

October 2  Psalm 116:1-11  Philippians 3; 4:1  Jeremiah 4:10-31; 5

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?

October 2  Psalm 116:1-11  Philippians 3; 4:1  Jeremiah 4:10-31; 5

Psalm 116:1-11

God is listening to what we are saying to Him. And so, let us be in conversation with God. Let our souls be at rest because God has been good to us. In this honest relationship with God, we can express our thoughts and feelings. Fearing for his life, the songwriter called on God for rescue in Psalm 116. Through real-life experience, he learned that God listened to his cries. In Psalm 116 the songwriter calms himself with the memory of God’s rescue of him in the past. This is a way to draw strength from your relationship with God at a time when you are facing a challenge.

Philippians 3; 4:1

In my life, there is nothing more valuable than knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. I rely on what Jesus has done to make my salvation possible. I must not rely on any good deed I have done as a basis for my relationship with God. It is a mistake to think only about this life here on earth. Everything about our life should be informed by the truth that Jesus will return in victory. Passionately Paul writes of the essential nature of relying on faith in Jesus as our means of salvation and not our own righteous deeds. He refutes the false teacher and their manipulation of God’s Word. They were trying to gain influence by teaching that circumcision and obedience to Jewish customs were essential to salvation. Having obeyed each of these laws, Paul writes that faith in Christ has brought salvation. His obedience to these laws did not bring about his salvation. Paul writes that he will daily pursue personal spiritual growth and obedience to God, as long as he lives.

Jeremiah 4:10-31; 5

Through the prophet Jeremiah, God calls His people to a change of heart so that they may be saved. Jeremiah weeps for the people and the pain resulting from their walking away from God. Jeremiah mourns the unrepentant state of his people. God sends Jeremiah looking for even just one honest person. God is searching for people with an honest heart toward Him. Yet Jeremiah sees the people refusing to repent of their sin and rejecting the God who created it all. They became ignorant of God’s ways. They forgot just how good it had been to be in a relationship with God. The people preferred their spiritual leaders, who were corrupt, instead of God. How foolish is it to walk away from the God who controls the ocean?!? This is tragic. It is described here as heart-wrenching.