Monday, April 30, 2012

April 30, Day 121 - Acts 4

Click here to go to Acts 4

13 The members of the council were amazed when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, for they could see that they were ordinary men with no special training in the Scriptures. They also recognized them as men who had been with Jesus.

I might disagree that they didn't have special training, after all they spent 3 1/2 years learning from Jesus. Though as we talked about several times while reading the Gospels they never seemed to "get it."  But thankfully Jesus left them (and us) the Holy Spirit to bring the things Jesus' taught them back to their memory and help them understand what He meant. 

I love the fact that after the encounter with the religious leaders they went back together and prayed for courage to continue speaking God's truth.  And God responded:
31 After this prayer, the meeting place shook, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit. Then they preached the word of God with boldness.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

April 29, Day 120 - Proverbs 10

Click here to read Proverbs 10

This chapter contains proverbs that contrast righteous living versus unrighteous living. Many verses deal with the words and their importance. One of my favorite is verse 19:

Too much talk leads to sin.
    Be sensible and keep your mouth shut.
The Voice says it this way:
 The more you talk, the more likely you will cross the line and say the wrong thing; but if you are wise you'll speak less and with restraint.
On yes, I need to restrain my mouth sometimes!

Friday, April 27, 2012

April 28, Day 119 - Psalm 40

Click here to go to Psalm 40

Another prayer where the author is crying out for help. Even though at time he feels like God isn't listening (v1) he soon acknowledges that it is God that lifts him up from the dark place, the pit and sits him on a warm rock. There is so much comfort when your toasty warm.

The author also speaks to the fact that God didn't want sacrifices and offerings but He wants us to listen. Isn't that true today?  It's so easy to "do things for God" rather than to listen to Him.

The Voice Bible translate verses 16 and 17 in a way that really makes sense to me:
But may all who look for You discover true joy and happiness in You. May those who cherish how You save them always say, "O Eternal One, You are great and are first in our hearts.
Meanwhile, I am empty and need so much, but I know the Lord is thinking of me. You are my help; only You can save me, my True God. Please hurry.

Lately, I've felt that, "empty and need so much" but God does think of me and He is my help and the only one that can save me!
God is Good!

April 27 - Day 118 - Acts 3

Click here to access Acts 3

In chapter 3 we read the familiar story of Peter and John going to the temple and seeing the cripple.  The crippled man is hoping to get money, what he gets is so much more. The ability to walk.  Peter takes the time to point the people to the source of the miracle.  He's very quick to shift the focus from him and John and place it on God. He also uses it as a time to reinforce who Jesus is.

Now grant it, I haven't had the opportunity to say to someone "In the name of Jesus the Nazarene, rise up and walk." But have I take the opportunity to share who Jesus is to those around me that might not know.  Sadly, I don't think so.  But this passage is a good reminder of the importance.

The man's response what not to say "wait a minute! I'm going to have to get a job and stop living on welfare!" No, his response was to jump up and down and praise God for the miracle.  Another good reminder. Never forget to praise God for what He's doing.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

April 26, Day 117 - Acts 2

Click here to access Acts 2

The birth of the church and Peter's first sermon. It was a very successful sermon in that 3,000 responded. What an amazing day that must have been for everyone in Jerusalem.  First for those in the upper room and then for the people visiting Jerusalem suddenly hearing their language. 

I find it interesting that the skeptics thought they were drunk.  Like being drunk would suddenly allow someone to speak in another language, if that worked, wow.

Our church's goal is that we'll see 12 new people come to the Lord this year. So far we have four, it's been exciting.  Our pastor is very committed to evangelizing the lost.  

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

April 25, Day 116 - Acts 1

Click here to go to Acts 1

In Acts 1 we read Jesus' final words to the disciples and then His ascension. Even after all the disciples witness they didn't completely understand. Their hope was Jesus would now set up His kingdom, yet He tells them that is in His Father's hands.

The Voice put His response this way:
Jesus: The Father, on His own authority, has determined the ages and epochs of history, but you have not been given this knowledge. Here's the knowledge you need: you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on  you. And you will be My witnesses, first here in Jerusalem, then beyond to Judea and Samaria, and finally to the farthest places on earth.
 Jesus had already taught them so much about the Holy Spirit and His role in their life. He would be a teacher, a guide, and here the promise of power to be Christ's witnesses. 

How is the Holy Spirit showing Himself to you these days?  
I think His role as teacher in my life has been so important. 

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

April 24, Day 115 - Luke 24

Click here to go to Luke 24

Then the men asked, “Why are you looking among the dead for someone who is alive? 6 He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead! (5b-6)

What glorious words!  How many times do I look for God and His work in the wrong places? 

Now that I've read all four gospels I really like the way Luke told the Lord's story.  Though, I find it a little interesting that Luke wrote both Luke and Acts which were both written to Theophilus, and he tells the ascension in both books.  

I'm looking forward to reading Acts and the birth of the church.


Monday, April 23, 2012

April 23, Day 114 - Luke 23

Click here to go to Luke 23

39 One of the criminals hanging beside him scoffed, “So you’re the Messiah, are you? Prove it by saving yourself—and us, too, while you’re at it!”

40 But the other criminal protested, “Don’t you fear God even when you have been sentenced to die? 41 We deserve to die for our crimes, but this man hasn’t done anything wrong.” 42 Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your Kingdom.”

43 And Jesus replied, “I assure you, today you will be with me in paradise.”

The first deathbed confession. Yet, it is a reminder that no matter how bad someone is, God will forgive. His love knows no boundaries.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

April 22, Day 113 - Psalm 39

Click here to go to Psalm 39

Today my copy of The Voice Bible came!  I really excited  to check out Proverbs and some of the Old Testament stories that are sometimes hard to understand.  I'll let you know.

But for today we're looking at Psalm 39.  It's a tough Psalm, borderline depressing, yet there is a lot of hope in this Psalm.  It reminds us it's okay to be "down" from time to time.  For even though the overtone of this passage is somewhat down, in verse 7 the author proclaims:
And so, Lord, where do I put my hope?
    My only hope is in you.

So even when we are struggling we can remember that we always have hope in our Lord.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

April 21, Day 112 - Proverbs 9

Click here to go to Proverbs 9

Fear of the Lord is the foundation of wisdom.
Knowledge of the Holy One results in good judgment.
This chapter contrast the wise and the foolish.  I so love the above verse, (10), it's just unfortunate that the word "Fear" has such a negative connotation in our world today.  Today we think of fear as something scary, that's not what it means here.  I went through and looked at the different version they have and here are some of the different translations of this verse.  I think I like the New Century Version the best. 

The reverent and worshipful fear of the Lord is the beginning (the chief and choice part) of Wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight and understanding. (Amp)

Respect and obey the Lord!
    This is the beginning
    of wisdom.[a]
To have understanding,
    you must know the Holy God. (Contemporary English Version)
To be wise you must first have reverence for the Lord. If you know the Holy One, you have understanding. (Good News Translation)

"Wisdom begins with respect for the Lord,
       and understanding begins with knowing the Holy One. (New Century Version)

Thursday, April 19, 2012

April 20, day 111 - Luke 22 Forgive me if the link doesn't work. I had to leave my laptop at work and my Mac isn't working right so here I am on my iPad. We are now looking at the story of Jesus' last hours for the final time. I noticed that Jesus twice spoke to the disciples about not falling into temptation and the importance of prayer. Likewise, for us as well, we need to pray, have that fellowship with our Lord. I also noticed about the angel coming to minister to Jesus, I'm not sure the other gospels mention it. Sorry this is short tonight. Blessings!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

April 19, Day 110 - Luke 21

Click here to go to Luke 21

The part of this passage that jumped out to me today was verses 14 and 15:
14 So don’t worry in advance about how to answer the charges against you, 15 for I will give you the right words and such wisdom that none of your opponents will be able to reply or refute you!
One of my greatest fears is I won't "stand the test" but here Jesus promises that when the time comes He will give me the right words.

I have to trust that.

April 18, Day 109 - Luke 20

Click here to go to Luke 20

I'm second guessing reading all the gospels together, because it's been too easy to think "I've read this story before there's nothing  new." But each gospel writer gives us a slightly different flavor in their recording of the story.  But today, I'm struggling...

I do like the fact that tin the story of the wicked farmers (vv. 9-19) the religious leaders finally "got it." Jesus was referring to them in this story.

Last year I read the Old Testament in chronological order, based on the NKJV Chronological Study Bible by Thomas Nelson.  Over and over I read how Israel failed to live for God and how they turned their backs on Him and served the gods of the people around them. How it must have broken God's heart.  But then the Holy Spirit reminds me, how many times have I turned my back on God and served the gods of this world.  Too many times.  But just like He did for His people Israel, He does for us today.  All we have to do is confess and He forgives.  Such a glorious God we serve, He never gives up on us.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

April 17, Day 108 - Luke 19

Click here to go to Luke 19
I love the story of Zacchaeus!  He’s a man that was hated by society because he was a tax collector.  He may have been “looked down” on because of his height, but he desperately wanted to see Jesus.  I love how the rejects of society are the very people that Jesus reached out to.  It reminds me that no one is outside of Jesus’ love.

Monday, April 16, 2012

April 16, Day 107 - Luke 18

Click here to go to Luke 18

This is such a rich chapter. I love the widow and the judge as a reminder that we should never give up on our prayers.

I also like the rich man.  It is so easy to trust in money and let it control our lives, yet in light of eternity today's riches mean so little. But the beauty is that with God all things are possible.

Have a blessed day!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

April 15, Day 106 - Psalm 37

Click here to go to Psalm 37

Commit your path to the Eternal One; let Him direct you. Put your confidence in Him, and He will follow through with you. (Verse 5 The Voice)

Through my whole life (young and old), I have never witnessed God forsaking those who do right, nor have I seen their children begging for crumbs, Because they are always giving and sharing; truly, their children are joyful blessing. (verse 25, 26)

I love the book of Psalms, there are so much encouragement in them.  Once in our Adult Bible Fellowship (aka Sunday School) Pastor asked if you were on a deserted island and could have only one book of the Bible which book would you choose.  Without hesitation I said Psalms, you have the entire story of the Bible rolled into one book. I love it.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

April 14, Day 105 - Psalm 33

Click here to go to Psalm 33

This is such a beautiful Psalm.  I also read it from my copy of The Voice of Psalms.  I'll share some of the verses.

1) Release your heart's joy in sweet music to the Eternal One. When the upright passionately sing glory-filled songs to Him, everything is in its right place.
2) Worship the Eternal One with your instruments, strings offerings their praise; write awe-filled songs to Him on the 10-stringed harp.
3) Sing to the Eternal a new song; play each the best way you can, and don't be afraid to be bold with your joyful feelings.
4) For the word of the Eternal One is perfect and true; His actions are always faithful and right...
8) Let all people stand in awe of the Eternal One; let every man, woman, and child live in wonder of Him.
9) For He spoke, and all things came into being. A single command from His lips, and all creation obeyed and stood it ground...
18) Listen, the eye of the Eternal One is upon those who live in awe of Him, those who hope in His steadfast love,
19) That He may save them from the darkness of the grave and be kept alive during the lean seasons.
20) We live with hope in the Eternal One. We wait for him, for He is our Divine Help and Impenetrable Shield.
21) Our hearts erupt with joy in Him because we trust His holy name.
22) O Eternal One, drench us with your endless love, even now as we wait for You.

As of 4/12/12 The bonded leather was the same price as the imitation leather $43.99 Amazon only shows a hard cover (25.32)  and paperback version (43.64) 
549039: The Voice Complete Bible, Bonded leather, black The Voice Complete Bible, Bonded leather, black
By Thomas Nelson

The Voice is a faithful dynamic equivalent translation that reads like a story with all the truth and wisdom of God’s Word.Through compelling narratives, poetry, and teaching, The Voice invites readers to enter into the whole story of God with their heart, soul, and mind, enabling them to hear God speaking and to experience His presence in their lives. Through a collaboration of more than 120 biblical scholars, pastors, writers, musicians, poets, and artists, The Voice recaptures the passion, grit, humor, and beauty that is often lost in the translation process. The result is a retelling of the story of the Bible in a form as fluid as modern literary works, yet remaining painstakingly true to the original manuscripts.

Features include:
  • Italicized information added to help contemporary readers understand what the original readers would have known intuitively
  • In-text commentary notes include cultural, historical, theological, or devotional thoughts
  • Screenplay format, ideal for public readings and group studies
  • Book introductions

Friday, April 13, 2012

April 13, Day 104 - Luke 17

Click here to read Luke 17

One of the things I've enjoyed by reading just one chapter a day is not rushing through passages.  Again, I feel like I'm reading a section for the first time in verses 7 - 10:
7 “When a servant comes in from plowing or taking care of sheep, does his master say, ‘Come in and eat with me’? 8 No, he says, ‘Prepare my meal, put on your apron, and serve me while I eat. Then you can eat later.’ 9 And does the master thank the servant for doing what he was told to do? Of course not. 10 In the same way, when you obey me you should say, ‘We are unworthy servants who have simply done our duty.’”
Reading this at first seemed a little harsh, yet when I went to my Life Application Bible, the footnote is really well done for these verses where they basically say:

Obeying God is our duty and we should regard it as a privilege.... Remember, obedience is not something extra we do; it is our duty. Jesus is not suggesting that our service is meaningless or useless, nor is He advocating doing away with rewards. He  is attacking unwarranted self-esteem and spiritual pride. 

Very appropriate and a necessary reminder in our lives.

I love this story of ten lepers where only one of the ten comes back to say thank you.

Happy Friday the 13th have a blessed day!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

April 12, Day 103 - Luke 16

Click here to go to Luke 16

Here we have two tough parables. I'm not sure I completely understand either of them completely. But the one thing I do understand is in verse 13:
“No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.”

I think the word 'money' could be substituted for many things that we often try to serve while trying to serve God at the same time.  He wants us all.

I look forward to your thoughts on this chapter.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

April 11, Day 102 - Luke 15

Click here to go to Luke 15

One of the best chapters about God's love for us. We have the story of the lost sheep, the lost coin and the greatest stories of love, the Prodigal Son.  I love the imagery of the story and right now needed the reminder of this chapter in my life.  The Lord is Good!

April 10, Day 101 - Luke 14

Click here to go to Luke 14

Counting the Cost - in verses 25 - 33 Jesus gives His audience some hard words.  In verse 27 He tells the "And if you do not carry your own cross and follow me, you cannot be my disciple." In that day they all knew what it meant to carry their cross. The cross was the symbol of a painful death at the hand of the Romans.  A criminal was forced to carry his cross to the place where he would die.  Jesus is asking us to carry our crosses to the place where we die to our old self, our old habits, our old sins. Having just finished Easter I have a vivid picture of Jesus being beaten and forced to carry His cross. Yet he could not and Simon of Cyrene carried it for Him.  He died that day on the cross and He rose again three days later.

In thinking about this I thought of  a YouTube video I saw a few years ago, thanks to my friend Nona I found it.  Enjoy who our Jesus is!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

April 9, Day 100 - Luke 13

Click here to go to Luke 13

31 At that time some Pharisees said to him, “Get away from here if you want to live! Herod Antipas wants to kill you!”

32 Jesus replied, “Go tell that fox that I will keep on casting out demons and healing people today and tomorrow; and the third day I will accomplish my purpose. 33 Yes, today, tomorrow, and the next day I must proceed on my way. For it wouldn’t do for a prophet of God to be killed except in Jerusalem!

Jesus was never afraid to speak His mind.  He is being warned that Herod Antipas wanted to kill him, yet He didn't run away He stated what He would planned to do. 

The confidence of Christ we can have as well. If we know God the way Jesus knows God we could live with that kind of conviction and determination in the face of threats.  Each day, getting to know the God who loved us so much that He gave His son as the ultimate sacrifice. Today in churches everywhere we celebrated that sacrifice. What a glorious day!

Blessings my friends.

April 8, Day 99 - Proverbs 8

Click here to go to Proverbs 8

Verse 10 - 14
Choose my instruction rather than silver,
    and knowledge rather than pure gold.

For wisdom is far more valuable than rubies.
    Nothing you desire can compare with it.

“I, Wisdom, live together with good judgment.
    I know where to discover knowledge and discernment.

All who fear the Lord will hate evil.
    Therefore, I hate pride and arrogance,
    corruption and perverse speech.

Common sense and success belong to me.
    Insight and strength are mine.

How our world needs to see God's wisdom rather than riches.  

Today many churches around the world celebrate Easter. As our Orthodox brothers and sisters will celebrate Easter next Sunday.  But as we reflect on the glorious resurrection I wanted to share another youtube video.  One of my favorite bands, Petra did this song almost 30 years ago.  Someone put the music to scenes from the Passion of the Christ.  It is very moving.  I probably should have used it on Friday... 

Saturday, April 7, 2012

April 7, Day 98 - Psalm 32

Click here to read Psalm 32

What a great Psalm to read the day before Easter!!!

Oh, what joy for those
    whose disobedience is forgiven,
    whose sin is put out of sight!

Yes, what joy for those
    whose record the Lord has cleared of guilt,
    whose lives are lived in complete honesty!

The Psalm goes on to remind us of what happens when we carry around our sins.

And the Psalmist concludes with this:
So rejoice in the Lord and be glad, all you who obey him!
    Shout for joy, all you whose hearts are pure!

Friday, April 6, 2012

April 6, Day 97 - Luke 12

Click here to go to Luke 12

The thing that jumped out to me at this point in my life were verses 25 - 28:
25 Can all your worries add a single moment to your life? 26 And if worry can’t accomplish a little thing like that, what’s the use of worrying over bigger things?
27 “Look at the lilies and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. 28 And if God cares so wonderfully for flowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith?

I need to take things one day at a time and trust God to take of things.

How about your guys?

And in honor of Good Friday a song that I love it, I'll admit... may not be the most theologically sound words, but the ultimate message is there. Jesus Christ was crucified on a Friday but Sunday came and He rose victorious!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

April 5, Day 96 - Luke 11

Click here to go to Luke 11

One of my other blogs is a Christian Book Review site and one of the books I'm reading is More Beauty, Less Beast: Transforming your Inner Orge by Debora Coty.  She used the acronym PRAY in relationship to the Lord's Prayer as a way to take us through a focused prayer process.  I've been using it while I'm on the demon machine AKA the elliptical machine.

P stands for Praise, praising God for how He is and what He's done Father, may your name be kept holy 
R stands for Raise, raising your requests to Him Give us each day the food we need,
A stands for Admit, confessing your sins and forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us
Y stands for Yield, admitting we need God's help for everything! And don’t let us yield to temptation.

I really liked the way she tied it all together.

There is also the ACTS "model" of prayer:

Blessings all!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

April 4, Day 95 - Luke 10

Click here to go to Luke 10

Oh wow!  What a rich chapter! I know I've read this chapter before but verses 21 - 23 never jumped at me before: At that same time Jesus was filled with the joy of the Holy Spirit.

Can you imagine?  Jesus filled with the Joy of the Holy Spirit. Not sure why I like the visual, but I think too often I think of Jesus as being serious and here when I read "filled with the joy of the Holy Spirit" I imagine someone bubbling with joy.  OK, so maybe I'm just weird.

The story of the Good Samaritan is such a great reminder of how we need to act toward those around us.  Here in SoCal we have some may scam artist that just want a handout it's really hard to discern who needs help and who doesn't.  In this parable it is obvious this man was injured and in need of help.  I have gotten to the point where if someone ask for money for food I'll offer to buy them food, but I won't just give them cash.

Sorry if I'm babbling thoughts are a little scattered.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

April 3, Day 94 - Luke 9

Click here to read Luke 9

Chapter 9 is such an interesting chapter to me. First you have Jesus sending out His disciples where they preach the Good News and heal people but just a week or so later. (We don't have an exact timeline here but we know it was longer than a week. v 28)  A man brings his demon possessed son to the disciples and they can't help.  Of course, the disciples aren't all that different than I am.  How often have I seen God do tremendous things to later doubt Him on something so similar.  What does that say about the human nature? That we tend to forget too quickly the power of God.

There's some other really good stuff in this chapter, but I love reading what you guys share.

Monday, April 2, 2012

April 2, Day Day 93 - Luke 8

Click here to go to Luke 8

OK, something I've never noticed before is verse 3: Joanna, the wife of Chuza, Herod’s business manager; Susanna; and many others who were contributing from their own resources to support Jesus and his disciples.

Looking at the different commentaries available on there is uncertainty whether Joanna was a widow or if her husband, Chuza, was the current business manager of Herod.  Interesting to think that Herod had someone that close to him that was a possible believer if Jesus.  

I love the fact that Luke made a point to mention the women involved in Jesus' ministry.  A reminder that God does want to use women.  

I also love the fact that Jesus calls those who obey His words family (19-21): 
Then Jesus’ mother and brothers came to see him, but they couldn’t get to him because of the crowd. Someone told Jesus, “Your mother and your brothers are outside, and they want to see you.”
Jesus replied, “My mother and my brothers are all those who hear God’s word and obey it.”

This chapter is rich with life lessons and reminders of God's power. What portion speaks to your heart today?

Sunday, April 1, 2012

April 1, Day 92 - Psalm 30

Click here to go to Psalm 30

This Psalm is labeled: A Psalm of David. A song for the dedication of the temple.

I love verses 11 & 12 especially this weekend as we said good bye (or rather "see you later") to a dear friend and God honoring man.  Our friend, Ray, had been a part of the sheriff's department for over 40 years.  He touched a lot of lives. He lived life with no regrets.  Today in the service our Pastor used the life that Ray lived to challenge all in attendance, including close to 100 sheriff's deputies and explorers (kids 14-20 who think they want a future in the sheriff's department) to live life with no regrets. To live life with the peace, joy, and love that Ray lived.  And there's only one way to do that, ask Jesus to be your Lord and Savior.  He had an "altar" call, though he didn't have them come down front he asked them to raise their hands.  No eyes closed either.  Probably 20 people raised their hands and said, "Yes, I want this Jesus that Ray knew."

Even though the pain is still very real and very deep for not only the family but for many of us who knew him, there is rejoicing. Rejoicing that he's with his  Lord, rejoicing that even in death he's making an impact on lives.