OYB 2009: 12 January

Filed in ReligionTags: Christianity, Devotions, One Year Bible

Today´s Reading:

Genesis 26:17-27:46 ◊ Matthew 9:1-17 ◊ Psalm 10:16-18 ◊ Proverbs 3:9-10

God's Promises - Psalms/Proverbs:

9 Honor the LORD with your wealth,
with the firstfruits of all your crops;

10 then your barns will be filled to overflowing,
and your vats will brim over with new wine.

Proverbs 3:9-10 (NIV)

When we honor God with our firstfruits, He promises to provide abundantly to us.

One Year Bible Blog

The One Year Bible Blog´s comments for today.

OYB 2009: 11 January

Filed in ReligionTags: Christianity, Devotions, One Year Bible

Today´s Reading:

Genesis 24:52-26:16 ◊ Matthew 8:18-34 ◊ Psalm 10:1-15 ◊ Proverbs 3:7-8

God's Promises - Psalms/Proverbs:

7 Do not be wise in your own eyes;
fear the LORD and shun evil.

8 This will bring health to your body
and nourishment to your bones.

Proverbs 3:7-8 (NIV)

Continuing on yesterday's theme from Proverbs 3, today we read verses 7 and 8, which promise that humility, shunning evil and fear of the Lord will bring health.

One Year Bible Blog

The One Year Bible Blog´s comments for today.

OYB 2009: 10 January

Filed in ReligionTags: Christianity, Devotions, One Year Bible

Today´s Reading:

Genesis 23:1-24:51 ◊ Matthew 8:1-17 ◊ Psalm 9:13-20 ◊ Proverbs 3:1-6

God's Promises - Psalms/Proverbs:

But the needy will not always be forgotten,
nor the hope of the afflicted ever perish.

Psalm 9:18 (NIV)

God promises to meet our needs, and never to abandon us without hope when we are afflicted - what comforting promises in times of need!

1 My son, do not forget my teaching,
but keep my commands in your heart,

2 for they will prolong your life many years
and bring you prosperity.

3 Let love and faithfulness never leave you;
bind them around your neck,
write them on the tablet of your heart.

4 Then you will win favor and a good name
in the sight of God and man.

5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;

6 in all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make your paths straight.

Proverbs 3:1-6 (NIV)

Proverbs 3 includes three distinct promises. First, keeping God's commands in our hearts will bring us long life and prosperity. Second, keeping love and faithfulness in our hearts will bring us favor from and a good name with God. Third, trust in and acknowledge God in everything, and he will guide and direct us.

God is certainly neither subtle nor vague in His expectations for us. He desires for us to desire to humble our self-centeredness and pride, and to replace them with God's Law and a desire to be obedient to God's Law. I find it interesting that love and faithfulness are referenced directly here: love and faithfulness being the the fundamentals the New Covenant, as established by Christ through the fulfillment of God's Law.

One Year Bible Blog

The One Year Bible Blog´s comments for today.

OYB 2009: 09 January

Filed in ReligionTags: Christianity, Devotions, One Year Bible

Today´s Reading:

Genesis 20:1-22:24 ◊ Matthew 7:15-29 ◊ Psalm 9:1-12 ◊ Proverbs 2:16-22

God's Promises - OT:

15 The angel of the LORD called to Abraham from heaven a second time 16 and said, "I swear by myself, declares the LORD, that because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, 17 I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies, 18 and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me."

Genesis 22:15-18 (NIV)

Abraham demonstrates his faith and obedience in this test, that must have been his most difficult; and in return, God re-affirms His promise to Abraham.

One Year Bible Blog

The One Year Bible Blog´s comments for today.

OYB 2009: 08 January

Filed in ReligionTags: Christianity, Devotions, One Year Bible

Today´s Reading:

Genesis 18:16-19:38 ◊ Matthew 6:25-7:14 ◊ Psalm 8:1-9 ◊ Proverbs 2:6-15

God's Promises - NT:

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

Matthew 6:33 (NIV)

7 "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.

Matthew 7:7-8 (NIV)

God promises that He will provide all "these things" - what to eat, what to drink, what to wear - if we will only place our trust in Him, and seek His kingdome and His righteousness. The ironic reality is that even when we choose the contrary, in all of our worrying and working we can never provide for ourselves as well as God provides for us, if we only let Him.

One Year Bible Blog

The One Year Bible Blog´s comments for today.

OYB 2009: 07 January

Filed in ReligionTags: Christianity, Devotions, One Year Bible

Today´s Reading:

Genesis 16:1-18:15 ◊ Matthew 6:1-24 ◊ Psalm 7:1-17 ◊ Proverbs 2:1-5

God's Promises - OT:

9 Then the angel of the LORD told her, "Go back to your mistress and submit to her." 10 The angel added, "I will so increase your descendants that they will be too numerous to count."

11 The angel of the LORD also said to her:
"You are now with child
and you will have a son.
You shall name him Ishmael,
for the LORD has heard of your misery.

12 He will be a wild donkey of a man;
his hand will be against everyone
and everyone's hand against him,
and he will live in hostility
toward all his brothers."

Genesis 16:9-12 (NIV)

Here God is promising to produce a great nation also through Hagar's son, Ishmael, just as He would produce a great nation through Abraham's and Sarah's future son, Isaac. Unfortunately, God also prophesied the enmity between the two nations - enmity that very likely is a direct result of Abraham's act of unfaithfulness (in sleeping with Hagar rather than waiting on God to fulfill His promise) and Sarah's act of pride and jealousy (in mistreating the pregnant Hagar).

I find the choice of phrase used by the angel of the Lord to be quite interesting; he commanded Hagar to submit to Sarah, while Hagar was pregnant with Ishmael, from whom would come Islam - a religion predicated upon submission.

One Year Bible Blog

The One Year Bible Blog´s comments for today.

OYB 2009: 06 January

Filed in ReligionTags: Christianity, Devotions, One Year Bible

Today´s reading:

Genesis 13:5-15:21 ◊ Matthew 5:1-26 ◊ Psalm 6:1-10 ◊ Proverbs 1:29-33

God's Promises - OT:

14 The LORD said to Abram after Lot had parted from him, "Lift up your eyes from where you are and look north and south, east and west. 15 All the land that you see I will give to you and your offspring forever. 16 I will make your offspring like the dust of the earth, so that if anyone could count the dust, then your offspring could be counted. 17 Go, walk through the length and breadth of the land, for I am giving it to you."

Genesis 13:14-17 (NIV)

4 Then the word of the LORD came to him: "This man will not be your heir, but a son coming from your own body will be your heir." 5 He took him outside and said, "Look up at the heavens and count the stars—if indeed you can count them." Then he said to him, "So shall your offspring be."

Genesis 15:4-5 (NIV)

One Year Bible Blog

The One Year Bible Blog´s comments for today.

OYB 2009: 05 January

Filed in ReligionTags: Christianity, Devotions, One Year Bible

Today´s reading:

Genesis 11:1-13:4 ◊ Matthew 5:1-26 ◊ Psalm 5:1-12 ◊ Proverbs 1:24-28

God's Promises - OT:

2 "I will make you into a great nation
and I will bless you;
I will make your name great,
and you will be a blessing.

3 I will bless those who bless you,
and whoever curses you I will curse;
and all peoples on earth
will be blessed through you."

Genesis 12:2-3 (NIV)

Next to God's promise of a Messiah in Genesis 3:15, this promise to Abraham is perhaps the second most important in all of Scripture. Here God promises to propogate a great nation - Israel - through Abram; but more importantly, God promises that not just His chosen people, but all the peoples of the world, would be blessed through Abram. The Messiah came through the line of Abram, and came first to redeem Israel; however, even from the beginning, it was God's plan that the Messiah would come to save the whole world.

God's Promises - NT:

3 Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
5 Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the earth.
6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled.
7 Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
8 Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they will see God.
9 Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called sons of God.
10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Matthew 5:3-10 (NIV)

The Beatitudes offer great hope to anyone, in any circumstance, that God will meet our needs so long as our hearts are turned toward him.

One Year Bible Blog

The One Year Bible Blog´s comments for today, which asks:

Based on our Psalm 5 reading today, what do you do in the morning to set your mind and heart on God? Is it prayer, reading the Bible, reading other devotions?

Well, as I am trying to re-establish as a habit, my intent is that my OYB reading and study will provide that morning time with God. With a newborn still not sleeping through the night, and having to leave early in the morning for work, it is difficult - but very much worth the effort.

OYB 2009: 04 January

Filed in ReligionTags: Christianity, Devotions, One Year Bible

Today´s reading:

Genesis 8:1-10:32 ◊ Matthew 4:12-25 ◊ Psalm 4:1-8 ◊ Proverbs 1:20-23

God's Promises - OT:

21 The LORD smelled the pleasing aroma and said in his heart: "Never again will I curse the ground because of man, even though every inclination of his heart is evil from childhood. And never again will I destroy all living creatures, as I have done.

22 "As long as the earth endures,
seedtime and harvest,
cold and heat,
summer and winter,
day and night
will never cease."

Genesis 8:21-22 (NIV)

It is reassuring to know that God has promised that the continuity of seasons and time will endure as long as the earth does. While there are times in our lives during which we wish time could stand still, there are also those times during which we take comfort in knowing that "this too shall pass", and that what we are going through is only temporary.

I must admit, though, that I don't entirely understand the first part of the promise: that God will never again curse the ground because of man. On the one hand, I don't know if this promise bounds the consequences handed down to Adam after the fall, though it certainly doesn't nullify them - as man still must toil to produce crops from the ground. At the very least, this promise should disprove subsequent claims - be they biblical or more modern - that God has "cursed" the ground due to sin or sinfulness of man. Certainly drought and famine are part of our world; however, they are caused not by God but rather are a symptom of the fallen world in which we live.

8 Then God said to Noah and to his sons with him: 9 "I now establish my covenant with you and with your descendants after you 10 and with every living creature that was with you—the birds, the livestock and all the wild animals, all those that came out of the ark with you—every living creature on earth. 11 I establish my covenant with you: Never again will all life be cut off by the waters of a flood; never again will there be a flood to destroy the earth."

12 And God said, "This is the sign of the covenant I am making between me and you and every living creature with you, a covenant for all generations to come: 13 I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth. 14 Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds, 15 I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind. Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life. 16 Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth."

17 So God said to Noah, "This is the sign of the covenant I have established between me and all life on the earth."

Genesis 9:8-17 (NIV)

This covenant between God and all life on the earth is one of the most well-known covenants in all of Scripture. The rainbow is a sign visible still today that God has promised never again to destroy all life on earth via flood.

God's Promises - NT:

"Come, follow me," Jesus said, "and I will make you fishers of men."

Matthew 4:19 (NIV)

Jesus makes this promise specifically to Simon Peter and Andrew, but its application can be generalized: God has given each of us specific skills and abilities, has placed each of us in specific circumstances in life, and intends for us a specific plan and purpose for our lives to use those skills, abilities, and circumstances for His glory.

One Year Bible Blog

The One Year Bible Blog´s comments for today, which asks:

We read about Jesus calling Peter and Andrew in the Gospel of Matthew today. Do you think Jesus still calls people today? Can you share with everyone in the Comments section below a time in your life when felt that you were called by Jesus? Maybe it was a time when you were called to follow Jesus for the first time or maybe it was a call to love or serve others in a new way for you? Do you think that Jesus is calling you to something new in your life now in 2009? Do you know what Jesus is calling you to do? Will you do it?

God absolutely still calls people today - a fact to which I can attest personally. I have recognized a call to the mission field from as early as 12 or 13 years old. Since then, God has provided me opportunities to realize that calling via short-term mission work, though I look forward to the day when I can fulfill that calling full-time. In the meantime, I remain patient, knowing that God has also called me to be a husband and father, and has placed me in the circumstances (location, career, etc.) in which I find myself.

I am thankful that I have a family with whom I can share this eventual calling. I also find it fascinating that my grandfather, after he was saved, wanted to become a missionary. He never got to do so, and I believe that, if he had a calling to mission work from God, that his calling was passed on. I pray that the call on my life may also pass on to my children, as well; but I know that, whatever God's calling on their lives will be, He will be glorified.

OYB 2009: 03 January

Filed in ReligionTags: Christianity, Devotions, One Year Bible

Today´s reading:

Genesis 5:1-7:24 ◊ Matthew 3:7-4:11 ◊ Psalm 3:1-8 ◊ Proverbs 1:10-19

One Year Bible Blog

The One Year Bible Blog´s comments for today, which asks:

Are you memorizing Scripture on a regular basis? Are you bringing Scripture to mind when faced with temptation or sadness or whatever ails you? I would love to know which verses you have found useful in your life? Do you have advice on how to best go about memorizing Scripture? Will you join me in my plan to memorize more Scripture verses in 2009? Also, what verses or insights stand out to you in today's readings?

I have always stressed the importance of memorizing Scripture. My first year through the One Year Bible, each day I highlighted a notable Scripture, many of which I memorized. Many years in Bible Bowl, I memorized the text, which consisted of about 40 chapters of a book (or several books) of the Bible.

That said, as I mentioned yesterday, I believe that it is not the memorization that is key, but rather an attitude or desire to have the Word ingrained in one's heart and mind. The desire and act of memorizing Scripture is but fruit borne from that attitude/desire - important fruit, to be sure; but merely fruit, nevertheless. It is the attitude of delight in God's Law that leads us to meditate upon it, yields a desire to know God's Word so deeply as to memorize it, facilitates its memorization, and enables us to bring His Word to mind and to apply it in resisting temptation and mastering the sin that crouches at the door.

Likewise with the temptation of Christ, the part of the story that is sometimes overlooked is that between Christ's baptism and temptation is a period of fasting. Undoubtedly, during the 40 days and nights this fast, Jesus immersed Himself in prayer and meditation. I have heard some say that this forty-day fast left Jesus in a weakened physical state, and therefore more susceptible to temptation. However, I would counter that this forty-day fast left Jesus in a heightened spiritual state, and therefore better prepared to resist temptation.