Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Day 60 - Mark 1

Here we are on the 60th day of the year already! And we're starting our third gospel. When I did a class on the gospels one of the things about Mark is the fast pace of his gospel. He didn't waste time or words on telling what Jesus did. 

 Click here to go to Mark 1:1

Where to begin? In the first chapter of Mark we meet John the Baptist, Jesus is baptized, he calls Simon Peter and Andrew (and it looks like James and John), heals LOTS of people, casts out lots of demons and gets to the point where He can't go into cities without being bombarded by people. But the one thing that I really like is in verse 35 Before daybreak the next morning, Jesus got up and went out to an isolated place to pray. The Son of God took time to be alone so he could pray.  Hmm... probably a good idea for me a mere human to take time to be alone to pray.

Lots of good stuff in these verses. What did you enjoy?

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Day 59 - Matthew 28

Click here to access Matthew 28

The glorious resurrection! 
It is also here that Jesus gives the disciples and the rest of us the Great Commission. Jesus also tells us that we've been given all authority over heaven and earth.  

Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations,t baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. 20 Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
I love the promise that He will be with me always, even to the end of the age.  God is good!
Next we'll start reading Mark. 

Monday, February 27, 2012

Day 58 - Matthew 27

Click here to access Matthew 27

Jesus goes before Pilate who doesn't want to crucify Jesus, he see the religious leaders for who they are.  However, Pilate preferred to please the people than to do what was right. What followed is a violent beating and what had to be an incredibly painful death. And why did He do this?  For us. Something that is still difficult to comprehend, yet there it is. My favorite part of this passage is when Matthew tells of how the curtain in the temple was torn from the top to the bottom.  Allowing access to the Holy place of God! I've heard it said that the flip side to it is God's Spirit no longer lived in one place but it was now out.  I'm not sure how I feel about that, I think God always available to His people.  

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Day 57 - Matthew 26

Click here to go to Matthew 26:1

Chapter 26 starts out by Jesus plainly telling the disciples He is to be crucified and ends with Peter's denial. We also see Jesus heart wrenching prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane. Jesus' prayers remind us that He was human and didn't want to go through the pain, agony, and death, yet He also says, "Not my well, but Yours be done."  How often have we prayed that?  For me, probably not often enough. Yet through God's Holy Spirit we have the power to do God's Will over our own.

Chapter 26 has so much good things in it and life lessons. Which one is speaking to you today?

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Day 56 - Matthew 25

Click here to go to Matthew 25:1

The Kingdom of Heaven is like...  
Chapter 25 is another rich chapter, I'm not sure whether the Parable of the Three Servants or The Final Judgement is my favorite. They both have potent lessons to be learned, lessons that come with promise when we walk in the truth God wants us.

What is speaking to you today?

Friday, February 24, 2012

Day 55 - Matthew 24

Click here to go to Matthew 24:1

As I read this chapter I couldn't help but think about what is happening in our world today. It can be a little scary at times (or maybe it's just me) but I have to hold on to the fact that heaven and earth will pass away but Jesus' words will stand forever! What a GLORIOUS promise!?!

As the Lord leads be sure to lift up the others who are participating in reading the Word this year.  I realize there are only 4 of us that are regularly commenting, but from the stats others are visiting the blog. God's Word doesn't return void.


Thursday, February 23, 2012

Day 54 - Matthew 23

Click here to access Matthew 23

“What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites!

This is such a strong chapter! The warnings Jesus gives the teachers of the law and the Pharisees. I think this is a warning to us as well, because sadly I think we too can become modern day Pharisees if we're not careful.  I think I particularly struggle with this being  a member of a 'holiness' church. We tend to almost subconsciously set up rules to gauge our holiness.  God see the heart and knows our intentions.  

Even though Jesus had strong words for the teachers and Pharisees the last line is so sweet, Blessings on the one who comes in the name of the LORD!

I want that to be me!

As a side note I would like to ask a question of those of you who've been reading along with me. Through the book of John interspersed were readings from Psalms and Proverbs. The original plan I was using you read Monday through Friday and Saturday and Sunday were catch up days. But their original plan January 1 was a Friday. For Matthew we've been reading straight through and I have planned some passages from Psalms and Proverbs before we start Mark.  My question is: Would you prefer to read straight through a book like we are doing for Matthew or read the NT book Monday through Friday and have selections from Psalms and Proverbs for the weekend?  Either is fine with me, but I wanted to get your input.
Blessings dear friends!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Day 53 - Matthew 22

Click here to access Matthew 22

This is a powerful chapter beginning with Jesus parable of The Great Feast. I'm so glad the King invited the good and the bad!

I love how Jesus handles the Pharisees and Sadducees. Oh the wisdom of His words, sometimes I wonder if I could have be that wise. Probably not THAT wise, but Jesus did leave the Holy Spirit to lead, teach, and guide us.

The Greatest Commandment - 37You must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’38 This is the first and greatest commandment.39 A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.

There have been some many sermons and devotions based on this passage, I know I could never totally do justice to it, but one of the things I like about this verse is the idea that with every aspect, our heart our spiritual life, our mind, we're to think use our mind and just be mindless followers.

Share what you enjoyed from chapter 22, so much good stuff.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Day 52 - Matthew 21

Click here to access Matthew 21

In this chapter we begin Holy Week with Jesus' entry into Jerusalem and then He goes to the Temple and clears out the money changers. It must have been something to see. But what does this incident tell us?  He is driving out the corruption from Temple. Now each of us is the Temple of God, I think it would be safe to assume that Jesus wants to clear the corruption from our lives.  At least that's what I'm hearing today. What about you?

Monday, February 20, 2012

Day 51 - Matthew 20

Click here to access Matthew 20

The parable of the vineyard workers is one of those that hits me between the eyes every time I read it. Working in hire education you sometimes see inequalities, such as a person in department A gets paid more for what appears to be less work and knowledge than person in department B (ME). Yet as the vineyard owner told the   first hired workers did you not agree to this wage? So I'm again reminded...

I can't imagine the reaction of the other disciples as the mother of James and John ask that her sons sit at the left and right hand of Jesus. Scripture says they were indignant, but Jesus quickly points out that key in His kingdom is to be the servant of all. Even Jesus points out that He came to serve. My Pastor is doing a series called Soul Shift and the focus is being holy as Jesus was holy. Jesus' attitude toward being a servant to all is a great example.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Day 50 - Matthew 19

Click here to access Matthew 19

I loved what Lane wrote yesterday about children.  It is so true and we're told to be like children. In today's chapter children are brought up again. This time talking about Jesus blessing them. Think about the picture, Jesus hugging the children loving them and He wants us to be like children. I don't know if you've seen these pictures but here's one of them and a link to the rest:

I also like the reminder of the young rich ruler and the importance not to trust in our riches, but be willing to give it all away. It's so easy to trust in the things we see like the paycheck or the trust fund.  But God wants us to trust Him alone.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Day 49 - Matthew 18

Click here to access Matthew 18

I love the story of the Parable of the Lost Sheep. And how the Shepherd leaves the 99 and goes and searches for the one. Such a great reminder that our God is an individual God who loves each of us.

I work at a Christian University and about 10 years ago we hired in a new director who was the first boss I had that practiced and expected his employees to follow Matthew 18 in dealing with others. Not always easy but I do believe it is the way God wants us to handle conflict. (Much more Godly than backstabbing and gossip!)

Again, Matthew gives us lots of good things to think about in this passage. Is there a something that you would like to share?

Friday, February 17, 2012

Day 48 - Matthew 17

Click here to access Matthew 17

The transfiguration story is one of my favorites. I've always wondered how did James, John, and Peter knew that it was Moses and Elijah that appeared with Jesus? It's not like they had picture books of them! I've always wondered too, if Moses really died on the mountain. I know scripture records that he died, but didn't the saints of old go to  Paradise? Anyway, it has no basis on my salvation, but it's one of the many questions I look forward to asking when I get to heaven.

But I do love the last story in this chapter of how the fish supplied the tax money. Just a reminder that God has a sense of humor and will supply our needs in creative ways.

Do you a story of how God has supplied a need in a creative way?

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Day 47 - Matthew 16

Click here to access Matthew 16

So many life lessons in this chapter. The first one being to be careful about expecting signs. The Pharisees wanted to see a sign to prove that Jesus was who He said. We shouldn't expect God to jump through hoops to show us He's God. Now there are times when God does give us signs to help but we can't expect or demand it. (vv. 1 - 4)

The second lesson I see is in verses 5-12. I see it as a reminder to us of the importance of verify what our pastors and other preachers teach. We need to be reading and studying the Word of God and not just blindly follow.

There's other stuff here as well. But I love hearing what you guys have to say.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Day 46 - Matthew 15

Click here to access Matthew 15

This chapter also gives us the opportunity to examine our hearts. The Pharisee's liked to look good and maintain their traditions, but yet their hearts were far from God. This past week my Pastor preached on this very idea.  Basically, do we "play" Christian, but fail to have a real relationship with Jesus?

But I love the story of the Gentile woman who refuses to settle. Even though Jesus is sent to the Jews, she believes He can help her as well.  Again, faith in action bringing healing.

What do you hear from the Holy Spirit today?

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Day 45 - Matthew 14

Click here to access Matthew 14

Two great stories in this chapter, the feeding of the 5,000 and Jesus walking on the water.  I love Peter, he speaks without thinking and jumps in without looking. Actually the jumping in without looking was the good thing, as long as he kept his eyes on Jesus he was good to go. But Peter, like us, started looking at the circumstances and down he went.  Thankfully Jesus didn't just walk on by and leave Peter to drown, but He rescued him, just like He rescues us when we call for help.  Thank God for that!

Happy Valentine's Day and remember that there is a God who loves you!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Day 44 - Matthew 13

Click here to go to Matthew 13

I always love the parable Sower sowing the seeds on the different types of soil. Anytime I hear the parable I ask myself what type of soil am I at this stage of my life?  Too often, I don't like where I'm at, even right now I feel like I'm the soil that's full of thorny vines,  and as good as the scripture is too often I let the garbage of life steal my joy.

The ending of this chapter talks of how Jesus travels to His home town where He isn't able to do many miracles because of their unbelief.  Such a contrast from earlier chapters where people asked that only Jesus speak out a word or if they could touch the hem of His garment and be healed.

This passage has several parables, which one is your favorite and why?

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Day 43 - Matthew 12

Click here to go to Matthew 12

Again Jesus is criticized by the religious leaders over the Sabbath.  He was criticized for allowing the disciples to harvest grain for food. They also watched Him carefully hoping to accuse Him for healing on the Sabbath. But Jesus quickly pointed out how the beloved King David violated the Law by eating the sacred loaves as well as pointing to the fact that any of them would rescue their sheep if it was in danger, even on the Sabbath.

I've always been in what is considered a "holiness" church. I believe firmly that God calls us to live a holy life and we are to strive to be holy as He is holy. But what I've seen and experienced is the danger of becoming a Pharisee. Just as the Pharisees of Jesus' day were quick to point out who the disciples were breaking the Law, people in my church and myself have been too quick to point out others "mistakes." I hope I never believe I should stop striving to be holy like God is holy, I want to always remember it was by grace I was saved, not by my works before (or after).

There's a lot more in this passage, what is the Holy Spirit speaking to your heart?

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Day 42 - Matthew 11

Click here to go to Matthew 11

Matthew 11 is another challenging passage for me. Jesus speaks of John the Baptist and his importance to bring forth the kingdom of heaven. He also points out the fact that so many of the towns He visited and did miracles in failed to really believe who he was.  Once again I'm reminded to examine myself and ask am I'm failing to see what God is doing and failing to truly believe?

The chapter ends with one of the most encouraging passages when I'm struggling and am over  whelmed. Here is the way it reads in "The Voice New Testament"
Come to Me, all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Put My yoke upon your shoulders - it might appear heavy at first, but it is perfectly fitted to your curves. Learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble of heart. When you are yoked to Me,  your weary souls will find rest. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light. (28-30)

The Voice New Testament was published by Thomas Nelson utilizing both professional scholars, pastors, writers, musicians, poets and other artist. The goal is to create the finest Bible products to help believers experienced the joy and wonder of God's revelation.  The italic type indicates words not directly tied to the dynamic translation of the original language. These words bring out the nuance of the original, assist in completing ideas, and often provide readers with information that would have been obvious to the original audience. These additions are meant to help the modern reader better understand the text without having to stop and read footnotes or a study guide. (From the Preface of The Voice)

I wouldn't necessarily use this translation for deep Bible study, but I do enjoy it for devotional reading. And now that I have a new copy of it, I'll read the chapters from there as well.

I've been thoroughly enjoying the comments and I've been learning lots from you all!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Day 41 - Matthew 10

Click here to access Matthew 10

This is a very challenging chapter. The reminder of our need to remain faithful and not deny Christ. The consequences of denying Him are so great.  Likewise the idea of not valuing our human life too much, because the truth is even though we could be killed by our faith no one can kill our soul.

But as Jesus is talking about losing our lives, he also reminds us of the sparrow and the fact that we are more valuable to Him than a sparrow. What a glorious promise! Yet, He never says we'll be spared death of our body.

This is a chapter I probably need to read several times to fully digest everything it has to say to me.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Day 40 - Matthew 9

Click here to access Matthew 9

More miracles of Jesus because of people's faith. The woman with the "issue of blood" (I think that's the way the King James worded it) is one of my favorite stories. She took such a gamble even being in public, but she believed if she could just touch His garment that would be good enough to heal her.  The same for the synagogue leader who's daughter had died. Such amazing faith, and it is good to be reminded of how Jesus responded to faith.

The one troubling thing in this passage is the first miracle. Where Jesus tells the cripple "Your sins are forgiven." I've heard too many preachers say things along the lines of "Well, you must have unconfessed sin in your life otherwise you wouldn't have this sickness or that." I don't think that was Jesus purpose here. He wanted to show everyone that He was indeed the Son of God and had the power to forgive sins. Not that our sins keep us sick.  Any thoughts on this or other parts of the passage?

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Day 39 - Matthew 8

Click here to access Matthew 8

In chapter 8 we see several miracles, the healing of the leper, the servant of the Roman soldier, Peter's mother-in-law, the casting out of demons of two men and many others.

Another miracle mentioned in chapter 8 is the calming of the storm. Which only one other miracle, casting the demons out of the men and into the pigs happened after the calming of the storm. We tend to shake our heads at the disciples who have seen all that they have and yet they say, Who is this man?” they asked. “Even the winds and waves obey him!” (verse 27). Yet, am I much better? How often am I surprised when God works in a miraculous way?? Sometimes I feel as dense as the disciples appear to be. Yet, just like the disciples Jesus loves me and is patient with me and has given me the Holy Spirit to teach me and guide me into all truth.

There are several things in this chapter I found interesting, what about you?  Which miracle speaks to your heart?


Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Day 38 - Matthew 7

Click here to access Matthew 7

OK, I realize I say this 4 or 5 times a week, but it's true. This is just another amazing chapter, packed with promises and commands on how we should live our lives.

First Jesus reminds us to be careful in how we judge, because we will be judged the same way we judge others.  That was a good swift kick in the pants for me today. I'm struggling with an individual that quite honestly I don't trust, I don't trust her motives. Yet, the passage doesn't say don't judge the people you trust, but it's okay to judge the ones you don't trust. No, it says  “Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. For you will be treated as you treat others.t The standard you use in judging is the standard by which you will be judged. (verse 1 &2)

What's even more convicting is in verse 3-5, basically I need to get the log out of my eye before I start trying to stab the speck out of the other person's eye.

There's the promise of answered prayers if we keep seeking. Of course, there's a lot of debate to be made regarding what answered prayers look like. Sometimes God answers, but we don't like the answers so we pretend we didn't hear anything. (Or is that just me?)

Then Jesus reminds us of the importance of building on a good foundation.

What about you? What do you see in this chapter that excites you or convicts you?


Monday, February 6, 2012

Day 37 - Matthew 6

Click here to access Matthew 6 "View in Bible Reader" to see the entire chapter

Jesus reminds the disciples (and us) that we don't need to make a big deal about what we do, God sees and knows and that's all that matters.

Jesus gives us an example of prayer, I like the NLT translation of it:
Our Father in heaven, may your name be kept holy. May your Kingdom come soon.
May your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.
Give us today the food we need, and forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who sin against us. And don’t let us yield to temptation, but rescue us from the evil one.

 I know I've said this several times before (but when talking about scripture I think it's okay) one of my favorite verses is verse 33: Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.

There is so much in this chapter, what is God saying to you through this chapter?


Sunday, February 5, 2012

Day 36 - Matthew 5

Click here to access Matthew 5:1 "View in Bible Reader" to see the whole chapter

The Sermon on the Mount.

What is your favorite Beatitudes?
Mine has always been "Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth." (I was raised with the King James).  Though I like the way the New Living Translation...God blesses...

There's a lot more in this chapter. I think the part that jumped out at me this time reading this passage is verses 43 - 47:
43 “You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.44 But I say, love your enemies!t Pray for those who persecute you!45 In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike.46 If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much.47 If you are kind only to your friends,t how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that.

Not that I'm facing that much in the way of persecution, but there are people I'm just not crazy about or who make me uncomfortable for different reasons, but God wants me to pray for those people. 

I'm looking forward to hearing what your favorite Beatitude is as well as the things that speak to you from this chapter.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Day 35 - Matthew 4

Click here to access Matthew 4:1 Click the "View in Reader Button" to see the entire chapter

The temptations of Jesus, John the Baptist arrested, the calling of 2 sets of brothers.

Matthew quickly recaps what happened in what might have been 5 or 6 weeks.  We do know Jesus spent 40 days fasting then he traveled through different cities.

Something I hadn't noticed before is Matthew on references at this point the calling of Simon Peter, Andrew, James and John. We know that the Sermon on the Mount is next so I wonder if there were only the 4 or if we look at the other gospels we'll see that all 12 were actually there for this sermon.

Another thing that I find interesting is if indeed these were the first 4 disciples three of them end up being in what is commonly referred to as Jesus' inner circle. I wonder why Andrew if he was called at the same time doesn't seem to have the same closest with Jesus as his brother, James and John. Not that the answer really has any bearing on my salvation.

The temptations of Jesus have always been a source of encouragement to Christians. Knowing that our Savior had to face temptations and that He does relate with us. And like Him we can overcome (but only with HIM!)


Friday, February 3, 2012

Day 34 - Matthew 3

Click here for today's reading

In Matthew 3 we meet John the Baptist, the cousin of Jesus. Can you imagine what he must have looked like, dressed in clothes woven from camel's hair and a leather belt. Eating locust and wild honey and I bet he was healthy!  

People came to see him and listen to his message and apparently many responded. Like Jesus, John was not afraid to speak his mind to the religious leaders.

I love the interaction between Jesus and John. John does not feel he is even worthy to carry Jesus' sandals, yet he obeys Jesus and baptizes Him. We have no idea if Jesus and John grew up together or knew each other as kids. We know Mary visited Elizabeth during their pregnancies but we don't know if they were ever together again. Elizabeth and Zechariah were both old when John was born and it is assumed probably died when he was young. Yet we really don't know for sure.

Your thoughts from this passage.  Thank you again for those who feel comfortable to share. I've been blessed by your thoughts and insights.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Day 33 - Matthew 2

Click here to read today's passage
(Remember to click on the 'View in Bible Reader' to see the entire chapter)

In chapter 2 we see the visit of the Magi, which our pastor talked about how they were probably more like "astrologist" and not necessarily God fearing. Which this was the first time I had heard anything like that. Do any of you have any thoughts on the Wise Men? 

A couple of weeks ago a lady in our Sunday School class shared about this website that talks about the star that the Magi followed.  It's:

I also find it interesting that Joseph probably had the most visits from an angel than anyone else.  Not sure if it was because he was special or a little slow in "getting it" so God had to send an angel.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Day 32 - Matthew 1

Click here for today's reading
To see the entire chapter click the "View in Reader" button

We're beginning the second month. My prayer is that you are gaining new understanding from God's Word and that the Holy Spirit is speaking to your hearts.

Matthew chapter one is mailing the genealogy of Jesus.  One of the things I love about the chapter is the fact that new non-Jewish WOMEN are mentioned in the genealogy of Jesus, the Messiah. I think it reminds us that although the Jews were God's chosen people, we were always part of His plan. There is a passage in Genesis where God tells Abraham that all people will be touched through him. (Sorry I don't remember the exact chapter and verse).