Read Through the Bible – Weeks 32 and 33

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Life’s been a bit crazy in the last few weeks….

I guess that a man doesn’t realize how much his wife does to support and to care for him until she decides to go away for ten days. I spent time at a coaching conference while my wife was away, and came home with a 3-hour homework assignment and a small pile of books to read. And, of course, ministry continues.  First Communion classes have started and our Catechism program is underway. We’re getting ready to celebrate Harvest Home this weekend with an Oktoberfest – and with a special Sunday that’s devoted to focusing our attention upon how God’s using us and the ministry of our congregation to do His work in a quickly-changing world. And, quite honestly, it’s all pretty overwhelming….

You could probably be writing something very similar, right? There are times when we find ourselves burning the candle at both ends and trying to light it in the middle. We all have times when we realize that there’s just not enough of us to around. And it’s hard for us – because we don’t always like to admit it. I often joke about the fact that I once asked God for an extra day each week – and He responded, in great mercy, by saying, “No!”

And yet, as we travel through the book of Proverbs, we find encouragement.

Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established.” (Proverbs 16:3)

The heart of man plans his ways, but the Lord establishes his steps.” (Proverbs 16:9)

How is God helping to establish your plans? How is God leading you and guiding you in your life right now? Are you trying to do it all by yourself? Are you struggling because you can’t figure-out how to find the time to do all of the things that you think God wants you to do? Perhaps, it’s time to step back and commit your work to the Lord? Maybe, it’s time to step back and admit that you don’t really know the exact path forward, and ask God to guide you and strengthen you?

We all face overwhelming times when we’re not sure about the future and when we are even less sure about how to get there. Why not take some time to pray about that today – knowing that God has a wonderful plan for your life and that God will open doors that will lead you in the direction that He wants you to move?

Here are two weeks of readings:

Week 31

Sunday – 2 Thessalonians, Monday – Leviticus 25-27, Tuesday – 1 Chronicles 1-4, Wednesday – Psalms 93-95, Thursday – Proverbs 16, Friday – Daniel 1-6, Saturday – John 3-4

Week 32

Sunday – 1 Timothy 1-3, Monday – Numbers 1-4, Tuesday – 1 Chronicles 5-9, Wednesday – Psalms 96-98, Thursday – Proverbs 17-18, Friday – Daniel 7-12, Saturday – John 5-6

 

Read Through the Bible – Week 20

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Welcome back to “Read Through the Bible.” I hope that you’ve been able to continue your journey through the Bible as we’ve been traveling through the busy season of vacations and shifting gears. Remember: If you miss some of the readings – or even if you’ve set your Bible aside for a week (or two) during your vacation – it’s easy to get back on track. Just start reading the Bible again, today. And remember, it only takes 21 days of setting aside a time for daily devotion to re-establish a strong, faith-building routine.

This week, we’re going to encounter an incredible psalm!

The Psalmist describes his soul being found in the midst of lions and talks about the fact that he’s lying down in the midst of fiery beasts. The Psalmist writes about being found in the midst of people “whose teeth are spears and arrows” and “whose tongues are as sharp as swords.”

And yet, the Psalmist proclaims: “God will save me and will put to shame him who tries to trample upon me. God will send out His steadfast love and His faithfulness!” And, in the midst of all of that, there’s a precious truth that we dare not miss! The Psalmist tells us “God will fulfill His purpose for me.” (Psalm 57:2)

Have you ever thought about God’s purpose for you? How is God working in your life as you’re devoting many hours, each week, to your job? If you have a child or if you’ve been blessed with a number of children, how is God working in your life as a parent? Perhaps, you’re fulfilling God’s purpose for your life as you care for another person that you love and cherish? Perhaps, you volunteer your time to support a worthy cause? As you send financial gifts to support the mission of your church or another important organization, you are fulfilling God’s purpose for your life in another way – because, after all, time is money – right? Money is something that someone else gives you for a part of your life that you can never get back.

God created us to fulfill a special purpose! God created us to leave fingerprints on the world and to transform our world into a better place. It’s a holy calling! It’s a noble and worthy cause!

Have you ever thought about the fact that we can experience life in a deeper way when we pray, when we read God’s Word, and when we ask God to show us the reason that He’s made us?

Here are this week’s readings:

Sunday: 2 Corinthians 9-10 – Monday: Exodus 25-28 – Tuesday: 2 Samuel 15-19 – Wednesday: Psalms 57-59 – Thursday: Job 39-40 – Friday: Jeremiah 37-41 – Saturday: Luke 3-4

Blessings!

 

Read Through the Bible – Week 19

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In just a few more weeks, we will have read half of the Bible!

The Bible is filled with incredible variety! We’ve read stories about people like Abraham and Sarah, Jacob and Job, Joshua and Ruth, Jeremiah and Jesus. We’ve read some peace-filled psalms that remind us of God’s love, and we’ve read stories of bloody battles and human tragedies. We’ve read two of the Gospels – Matthew and Mark – and are beginning our journey through Luke in the coming week. I hope that you’ve found this approach to reading through the Bible helpful in your journey of faith, and hope that you’ll continue to journey with us in the coming weeks!

The opening of Luke’s Gospel is both abrupt and pointed. An angel of the Lord speaks to Zechariah and proclaims the birth of the fiery preacher named John the Baptizer. The angel Gabriel announces the birth of Jesus and Mary responds by singing what has come to be called “The Magnificat” – a song that declares that, when the Reign of God breaks into the world, the mighty will be humbled, the exalted will be brought low, the hungry will be filled with the food that they crave, and the rich will be sent away empty. And then, we read a story of the birth of Jesus that many of us heard in childhood. And it’s a story of shepherds and angels, a baby lying in a manger, a mother who quietly watches everything happen while pondering it in her heart, and a nearly-unmentioned father who quickly fades into the Biblical background and disappears.

This week, I’d like to encourage you to think about how you’ve come to know God. Did you learn about God by going to church, or did your parents teach you what you know? Did you learn about God as a child, or did you start learning about God later in life? Did you experience a time when you felt that you had been touched by God in a special way, or has your journey of faith unfolded in a more quiet way? How is your journey of faith similar to the journeys of other people that you know, and how is it different?

And now, shift gears and think about this….

How has your journey through nearly half of the Bible changed the way that you think about God? Have you been surprised by anything you’ve read? Has your understanding of God changed as you’ve encountered the God who leads His people to safe, still waters while remaining a God who strikes-down the first-born of Egypt without mercy? Where does Jesus fit into the picture? What does it mean to be a follower of Jesus today? How is your life being shaped by what you’re reading – as you read about a God of power and authority who creates long lists of rules; and who, yet, continues to forgive us when we break those very same rules for the sake of Christ?

Here are the coming week’s readings:

Sunday: 2 Corinthians 6-8 – Monday: Exodus 21-24 – Tuesday: 2 Samuel 10-14 – Wednesday: Psalms 54-56 – Thursday: Job 37-38 – Friday: Jeremiah 32-36 – Saturday: Luke 1-2

Blessings!

 

“How good, Lord, to be here!”

 

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There’s something incredibly awesome when you realize that you’re standing in the presence of the Lord!

You can know that God’s filling you with His presence every time you take a breath.You can know that God’s listening to every word that you say. You can know that God’s coming down out of Heaven to feed you, and nourish you, and forgive you, and strengthen you for what’s coming next. And, as we listen to this week’s message, “How good, Lord, to be here!” , we are reminded that the “gift” of that kind of relationship with God is one of the most precious gifts that we can ever offer to a child – to a grandchild – or to a friend.

I don’t know what kind of challenges, or difficulties, or tragedies you – or the people that you love – are going to face in life. I do know that you love your kids and your grand-kids with all your  heart, and that you probably have friends that you’d walk across a hot bed of coals to help. But, I also know (and this is hard for us to admit) that there are going to be times in life when we’re not going to be able to be where we want to be.

I’ll be sharing a part of my own story in this message – a story about the night when my best friend died in a fiery automobile crash while I watched in horror. I’ll talk about the night when I stood outside of a church and beat on the doors until my hands bled. And I’ll tell you about why is was no “accident” that things unfolded that way on a horrible night.

There’s something incredibly awesome when you realize that you are standing in the presence of the Lord! And, there’s something just as incredible about having the chance to sow life-giving seeds that will sprout as God waters them, and that will grow and flourish and bloom in the lives of people that we love.

Blessings!