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Showing posts from January, 2021

bible reading feb 1-2

Bible reading for February 1--2 Feb 1 -- Esther 9-10 and Romans 4 Feb 2 -- Job 1 and Romans 5 The weather forecast is predicting a snow and ice storm for our region. Since we often loose power during those times I am getting the next Bible reading post out early. Enjoy! "For Mordecai the Jew was second in rank to King Ahasuerus, and he was great among the Jews and popular with the multitude of his brothers, for he sought the welfare of his people and spoke peace to all his people." (Esther 10:3) GOD UNSEEN, BEHIND THE SCENES . The book of Esther tells us about the historical events behind the Jewish feast of Purim. At the end not only are the Jews spared, but Mordecai, like Joseph in Egypt many generations earlier, is exalted to the second highest position in the empire. The book reveals God's providence not by miraculous power but by the seemingly coincidental. He is behind the scenes, as it were. Things that might be described as chance or random are actually incidents

bible reading jan 29-31

Bible reading for weekend January 29--31 Jan 29 -- Esther 6 and Romans 1 Jan 30 -- Esther 7 and Romans 2 Jan 31 -- Esther 8 and Romans 3 Here is the PDF copy of our reading schedule .  THE PRIDE OF MAN . I'm not sure if this is the earliest version of, "Give a man enough rope and he'll hang himself," but the image fits. The gallows that Haman built were certainly big enough! The Bible teaches that evil plans and conspiracies will ultimately rebound against those who make them: "Whoever digs a pit will fall into it, and a stone will come back on him who starts it rolling" (Prov 26:27). At the root of this is pride: "When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with the humble is wisdom" (Prov 11:2). Some years before this event, the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar was humbled before God, and he confessed, "Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and extol and honor the King of heaven, for all his works are right and his ways are just; and those who walk in

bible reading jan 27-28

Bible reading for January 27--28 Jan 27 -- Esther 4 and Acts 27 Jan 28 -- Esther 5 and Acts 28 "For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father's house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?" (Esther 4:14) FOR SUCH A TIME AS THIS. The Bible reveals God to be the Lord of time, and times. He creates order in the passing of time (Genesis 1). The sun, moon, and stars serve as lights and markers: "...for signs and for seasons, and for days and years" (Gen 1:14). The word "time" in Scripture may refer merely to the passing of time, but often the sense is that of an appointed time, or the right time, designating a point or season of significance or opportunity. In Israel's history, the men of Issachar knew that it was the right time to come to King David's aid, for they "had understanding of the times, to know what

bible reading jan 25-26

Bible reading for January 25--26 Jan 25 -- Esther 2 and Acts 25 Jan 26 -- Esther 3 and Acts 26 "In the first month, which is the month of Nisan, in the twelfth year of King Ahasuerus, they cast Pur (that is, they cast lots) before Haman day after day; and they cast it month after month till the twelfth month, which is the month of Adar." (Esther 3:7)  READING ESTHER. Reading the book of Esther is to be immersed into a different culture and a distant time in history. This book precedes the events of Ezra and Nehemiah (5th century BC) and most Jews are still living in the Babylonian culture, now under Persian rule. We read of the decadence of imperial life, the abuse of power, the subjugation of women, much drinking, intrigue, and passionate hatred. In the midst of this we see a warm family relationship comprised of Mordecai, an older Jewish man of integrity, who cares for his orphaned younger cousin, Hadassah, whose Persian name is Esther (meaning "star"). These two

bible reading jan 22-24

Bible reading for weekend January 22--24 Jan 22 -- Nehemiah 12 and Acts 22 Jan 23 -- Nehemiah 13 and Acts 23 Jan 24 -- Esther 1 and Acts 24 "And they offered great sacrifices that day and rejoiced, for God had made them rejoice with great joy; the women and children also rejoiced. And the joy of Jerusalem was heard far away." (Nehemiah 12:43)  CELEBRATING THE COMPLETED WORK (ch 12). Here we find another list of names (vv 1-26). The Bible is interested in names, genealogies, numbers, and geography because this is real history and is part of the archives of Israel the nation. We must remember that the Bible was written for us, but not to us. This also reminds us that God is interested in individuals and their place in his unfolding plan. King David is remembered by name (vv 24, 36, 45-46). Several times Nehemiah prays, "Remember me, O Lord..." (5:19; 13:14, 22, 31). The story of history is being written, and the most important place where our names should be recorded

bible reading jan 20--21

  Bible reading for January 20--21 Jan 20 -- Nehemiah 10 and Acts 20 Jan 21 -- Nehemiah 11 and Acts 21 "Because of all this we make a firm covenant in writing; on the sealed document are the names of our princes, our Levites, and our priests."  (Nehemiah 9:38) THE BEAUTY OF COVENANT (ch 10). We had a very interesting discussion in our young adult Bible study recently about why most couples today prefer to live together rather than get married, and how do we make a case for God's design in marriage. We spoke of the security, stability, sacrificial love, intimacy, maturity, and faithfulness which are possible through covenant marriage. Covenant is one of the most beautiful words in the Bible ! A covenant is a solemn mutual agreement between people or between God and people. It was to be permanent, and was considered more serious than a contract or temporary commitment. When in relation to the Lord the human role had more to do with submission to God, and a pledge of faithf

bible reading jan 18-19

Bible reading for January 18--19 Jan 18 -- Nehemiah 8 and Acts 18 Jan 19 -- Nehemiah 9 and Acts 19 "And Nehemiah, who was the governor, and Ezra the priest and scribe, and the Levites who taught the people said to all the people, 'This day is holy to the LORD your God; do not mourn or weep.' For all the people wept as they heard the words of the Law. Then he said to them, 'Go your way. Eat the fat and drink sweet wine and send portions to anyone who has nothing ready, for this day is holy to our Lord. And do not be grieved, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.'" (Nehemiah 8:9-10) THE POWER OF THE WORD. God's word was read publicly (in this occasion, likely Deuteronomy) and the people were greatly affected (chapter 8). First it is conviction and sorrow for their failure to walk in God's ways. But then they are called to rejoice, because the Lord is working in their hearts. Worship and more confession follow in chapter 9. One major lesson to take a

bible reading weekend jan 15-17

Bible reading for weekend January 15-17 Jan 15 -- Nehemiah 5 and Acts 15 Jan 16 -- Nehemiah 6 and Acts 16 Jan 17 -- Nehemiah 7 and Acts 17 "...they perceived that this work had been accomplished with the help of our God." (Nehemiah 6:16)  THE WORK OF GOD. With the Lord, a lot can happen in a short time! We see this in both our OT and NT readings this weekend. In Nehemiah, the Jews complete the wall  around Jerusalem in 52 days.  In Acts, we read that churches have been planted in Samaria, Syria, Asia Minor (Turkey), and now Europe (Greece), within two decades after Christ's resurrection. History records that other apostles were spreading the gospel, for example, Thomas going east towards Parthia and India. But it's God's use of the Apostle Paul and his cohorts that reveals the remarkable move of God toward the heart of the Roman empire.  In both Nehemiah and Acts we see that this work continues despite opposition from without and conflicts from within.  CONFLICTS

bible reading jan 13-14

Bible reading for January 13-14 Jan 13 -- Nehemiah 3 and Acts 13 Jan 14 -- Nehemiah 4 and Acts 14 ================    "So we built the wall. And all the wall was joined together to half its height, for the people had a mind to work." (Nehemiah 4:6)  LABOR (ch 3).   Principle: the work is divided, and everyone has a part.  Observe the many people involved in this wall-building project. What stands out to you?  What's unusual or unexpected about these people? Here is a diverse group of volunteers placed in various locations, united in their work to benefit the whole. "Diversity" has become a politically-charged word in our culture, but Christians must agree that in God's creation, and among his redeemed people, there is great diversity. Membership in the body of Christ transcends race, gender, class, ethnicity, education, age, party, wealth, and rank. There is one major difference, however, in how the Bible views diversity: the biblical concept of diversity f

bible reading jan 11-12

Bible reading for January 11-12  Jan 11 -- Nehemiah 1 and Acts 11 Jan 12 -- Nehemiah 2 and Acts 12 ================    "Why should not my face be sad, when the city, the place of my fathers' graves, lies in ruins, and its gates have been destroyed by fire?" (Nehemiah 2:3) REBUILDING THE WALLS. We begin a new book, Nehemiah, about a man who leads the third wave of Jews returning from Babylon to their homeland in the fifth century B.C. A few years previously Ezra made the same trip, and worked on restoring national worship. Nehemiah will focus on rebuilding the wall around Jerusalem for the city's security and dignity. But the central concern for both Ezra and Nehemiah was the rebuilding of God's people. In the first two chapters we observe Nehemiah's prayer (and his heart) for his kinsmen back in their homeland. He embraces his people's failures as his own, and since he is a man of high position in the Persian empire, he asks for success in helping his fel

Bible reading for weekend January 8-10

Jan 8 -- Ezra 8 and Acts 8 Jan 9 -- Ezra 9 and Acts 9 Jan 10 -- Ezra 10 and Acts 10 ================    "Then Ezra withdrew from before the house of God and went to the chamber of Jehohanan the son of Eliashib, where he spent the night, neither eating bread nor drinking water, for he was mourning over the faithlessness of the exiles." (Ezra 10:6)  RETURNING HOME. In chapter 8 we read the names of the Jews who made the long journey back to Jerusalem along with Ezra. God provides a company of Levites, needed to lead worship at the rebuilt temple. God also provides gold and silver, and a safe journey. They had fasted and prayed, and the Lord's hand was upon them (8:18, 31). But in chapter 9 and 10 we discover that things are not well in Judea. The persistent problem of religious compromise had again taken hold in the nation, and the leaders were foremost in this offense (9:2). God has willed that his people marry others who are consecrated to the Lord (2 Cor 6:14-16). Child

bible reading jan 6-7

Bible reading for January 6-7  Jan 6 -- Ezra 6 and Acts 6 Jan 7 -- Ezra 7 and Acts 7 ================    "For Ezra had set his heart to study the Law of the LORD, and to do it and to teach his statutes and rules in Israel." (Ezra 7:10)  EZRA. The Persian emperor Darius decrees and supports the work of rebuilding the temple in Jerusalem (chapter 6). The prophets Haggai and Zechariah (we'll read their words when we get to the Minor Prophets) encourage God's people during this time. Chapters one to six are related to the first return under the leadership of Zerubbabel in 536 BC. Ezra, priest and scribe, arrives in the second wave of returning exiles in 458 BC (chapter 7). Nehemiah will be in the third group in 445 BC.  See my chart above.  THE LORD IS ACTIVE in the rebuilding of the nation. Note how he "stirs up the spirit" or "turns the heart" of people. And three times we are told that the "hand of the Lord" was upon Ezra (7:6, 9, 28). C