Daily Bible Reading

October 21

October 21

Jesus’ Teachings on Forgiveness — Jesus teaches on forgiveness & heals 10 lepers.

Today’s Readings:
Reading 1: Luke 17
Reading 2: Proverbs 24:16
Reading 3: Psalm 50:22-23

Jesus teaches on forgiveness, setting a higher standard than any human can reach without God’s help. Clearly the intention is to show us we NEED God’s help!
That is why Jesus goes on to teach about faith, and the signs of the coming of the Kingdom. We need God to come to us if we are to live as He commands. Only in Him can we fulfill our calling.
Have a great day!
Mark.

October 20

October 20

Jesus’ Stories about Riches & Wisdom — The unjust steward, the rich man, & Lazarus.

Today’s Readings:

Reading 1: Luke 16

Reading 2: 1 Corinthians 4:1-5

Reading 3: Deuteronomy 15:7-11

Jesus has a surprising amount to say about money, for a man who likely never had any income and certainly had no savings.

But unlike an impoverished person today, Jesus is not obsessed with money. It’s as though He understands that money is an idol for so many of us, obstructing our view of God and our path to salvation.

Jews had known from the earliest decades of their nation that God was on the side of the poor (and that they should join Him in caring for those who had less). But by the time of Jesus the powerful were the rich, and they had all kinds of schemes to hold on to their money rather than share it with those in need. Does that sound like today? Then maybe what Jesus says in that setting applies to you and me too?!

Don’t allow money (or the lack of it) to takes your eyes away from Jesus. Focus wholeheartedly on Him, and all other needs will step into their rightful places.

Have a great day!

Mark.

October 19

October 19

Jesus’ Seeking of the Lost — Seeking for people like seeking for sheep, coins, & a prodigal son.

Today’s Readings:

Reading 1: Luke 15

Reading 2: Jeremiah 50:6

Reading 3: Psalm 119:174-176

Luke 15 is one of my favorite chapters in the entire Bible. The emotion and significance of these stories are hard to match anywhere else.

God loves us, and longs for us, and wants us to be restored to relationship with Him!

And Jesus’ hearers would have been well aware of the parallels in their history speaking of lost sheep returning to their shepherd.

Wherever you are, God longs for you to return to Him.

Let’s enjoy another reunion today!

Have a great day!

Mark.

October 18

October 18

Jesus’ Teachings at a Sabbath Meal: The Parable of the Supper, pride, & humility.

Today’s Readings:

Reading 1: Luke 14

Reading 2: Proverbs 11:2

Reading 3: Proverbs 25:6-7

God measures in different ways than we do!

Today’s readings show that God doesn’t value climbing the social ladder, or gathering a group of like-minded friends to be our inner circle. Instead God values being humble, and loving as He loves – even the lost and the least. Helping the hurting is always permissible, even if it offends religious traditions. We will be amazed when we see the full extent of God’s love, the guest list for His heavenly banquet. Disciples pay a price in this world’s eyes, but the reward is well worth it!

Have a great day!

Mark.

October 17

October 17

Jesus’ Teachings on Israel — Parable of the Fig Tree (i.e. Israel) & healing a crippled woman.

Today’s Readings:

Reading 1: Luke 13:6-35

Reading 2: Mark 11:12-14

Reading 3: Hosea 9:10

As Jesus’ first earthly life moves toward its conclusion, we see more clearly the contrast between God’s intent for humanity (to live in loving relationship with Him) and religion’s fruitless parody of God’s plan.

The fig tree is a symbol of Israel – such potential, wasted by self-willed disobedience. In Hosea 9, the reference to Baal-Peor comes from Numbers 25 where Israel willfully turned away from God. The story of the fig tree in Luke 13 shows us God’s assessment of Israel at this moment in their history. Jesus has been publicly visible as the Messiah for three years, but there is no fruit of faith in the nation’s leaders. The gardener (who some consider to represent Jesus) says “let me dig around and fertilize, and we’ll see what another year brings.” We know the result of that – the nation did not bear fruit, but the extra year brought the crucifixion, the resurrection, and the birth of the Church through the coming of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost. There was fruit, but the fruit was rejected by Israel’s religious leaders, and the nation was destroyed again (by the Romans).

The stakes are getting higher for Jesus’ hearers, and Jesus knows it. He sounds increasingly determined to speak the truth clearly, and to face the inevitable show-down when the authorities will not hear Him. There are many parallels for us in our society, and we would do well to remember the example of Jesus. As the authorities found His obedience to God distasteful, He continued to obey fully. When they rejected Him, He submitted to their (inferior) authority. When they killed Him, God won the victory.

Jesus is victorious forever, and today, if you are in Him, the same is true of you (whatever you face).

Have a great day!

Mark.

October 16

October 16

Jesus’ Stories about Money — Dividing the inheritance & people’s stress about money.

Today’s Readings:

Reading 1: Luke 12

Reading 2: 1 Timothy 6:5-19

Reading 3: Philippians 4:10-19

Following Jesus should be simple, but often the cares and distractions of this world complicate our discipleship. Today Jesus teaches us that this is un-necessary. It is interesting how much Jesus has to say about money; unlike the unpopular televangelists who used people to make money, Jesus intends to use money (or at least teaching about it) to help people!

There are many powerful truths in today’s main reading. I recommend you read the chapter slowly a couple of times, and take special note of any statements that rub you the wrong way or stand out to you. Those are likely the areas where God is speaking to you through His Word!

God’s purpose in speaking to you and me is to help us be the kind of people Paul wants Timothy to be – kind, generous, trusting God, and so on! And when we trust God to supply all we need, and generously share what He gives us with others, especially those who pour themselves out for our benefit, we find our priorities changing to be more godly, just as Paul commanded the Philippians.

Have a great day!

Mark.

October 14

October 14

Jesus’ Teachings on Prayer — The Lord’s Prayer, the persistent friend, & God the Father.

Today’s Readings:

Reading 1: Luke 11:1-13

Reading 2: Matthew 6:5-14

Reading 3: John 15:5-8

Three classic passages on prayer today: the persistent friend teaches us that God wants us to come to Him with our needs, the Lord’s prayer teaches us to come to God as our loving Father, and the analogy of the vine teaches us that our fruitfulness comes from asking ANYTHING and the answers bring glory to God!

So again we see that this One Story is all about humanity being reunited with divinity in Jesus; God wants us to be in a love-filled friendship with Him so much that He is willing to do all that it takes to make that possible. How could you and I not accept God’s gift on those terms?!

Have a great day!

Mark.

October 13

October 13

Jesus’ Ministry as the Good Shepherd — Jesus the Good Shepherd & His sheep.

Today’s Readings:

Reading 1: John 10

Reading 2: Ezekiel 34

Reading 3: Isaiah 40:9-11

Jesus continues to teach Israel about His calling and mission, while simultaneously exposing and condemning the pride and other sins of the religious leaders. In using the illustration of the shepherd, Jesus is not simply drawing an object lesson from a well-known role in the society of the time. He is also linking the description to prophecies from hundreds of years before.

As we have seen in previous weeks, Jesus fulfills prophecy again and again, proving His miraculous ministry and supernatural calling.

Even today, Jesus combines the past and the present to lead us into our future. As you look back, trace his working in your life (whether you saw it or not at the time). Then consider what God is doing in your life today, and the promises He has given you for the future. These three together are your foundation for faith, and faith does not disappoint – it is the substance of things hoped for!

Have a great day!

Mark.

October 12

October 12

Jesus’ Ministry in Jerusalem — Healing a blind man, the tragedy at Siloam, & spiritual blindness.

Today’s Readings:

Reading 1: John 9

Reading 2: Luke 13:1-5

Reading 3: 2 Corinthians 4:1-6

As we trace God’s One Story through the life of Jesus, there are so many powerful principles that stand out. This is because Jesus came to reveal God the Father as well as to shine light on human sinfulness before fully rescuing us from our helplessness.

Astoundingly there are still those who will not see that light, while others are hungry for it. The man born blind had a formidable handicap – without sight he could not work, and there was no state welfare system to take care of him. Begging was his only option, but that was hindered by the prevailing theology that it was his fault he was blind – that he had sinned (or maybe his parents) and this blindness was God’s judgment. Thus he was a marked man, and who wants to give money to someone God is judging?

Then Jesus comes along, and his disciples ask whose fault caused the blindness. Jesus replies, in a God-revealing way: “We must quickly carry out the tasks assigned us by the one who sent us. The night is coming, and then no one can work. But while I am here in the world, I am the light of the world.”

There’s that “I AM” again! And he heals the man. So we see (literally) that God does not want us blind – He wants us to see His love even though we are all blinded by sin. Blindness is for healing, not judging.

So God does not work by judging and condemning now that Jesus is here; that was the way to keep sin under control until Jesus arrived. Now the full picture is visible (to those who will see). God gives us a way to be healed and forgiven – through repentance. Today’s passages show us that repentance is a change of direction, and a transformation of vision, that humbly accepts God’s undeserved grace without trying to earn it by our own efforts.

Have a great day!

Mark.

October 11

October 11

Jesus’ Ministry in Jerusalem — The woman caught in adultery & Jesus claims to be the “I AM”.

Today’s Readings:

Reading 1: John 8

Reading 2: John 3:16-21

Reading 3: Exodus 3:13-15

When Moses asked God His name in Exodus 3, the answer was universally applicable: “I AM.”

And God intends Moses to use “I AM” as God’s proper name; just as we might say (if asked who are you?) “I am Name” so God says to Moses “I am I AM”

Moving into the gospels, and bringing this knowledge with us, it is powerful to read how many times Jesus says “I am…” At the time, He was perhaps the only one who recognized the significance of what He was saying, but the gospel writers recorded it so that all believers could later grasp the significance.

To the religious leaders, the statement “Before Abraham was, I AM” was blasphemy – a man calling himself God. But of course we know with hindsight that they were missing the very reason Jesus was saying this – He IS God! The Messiah is both God and man – and so incapable of blasphemy.

What is even more revolutionary is that God (in Jesus) reveals Himself to be non-condemning of sin, honoring of authority, totally devoted to truth, and absolutely committed to the freedom of all of us who are slaves to sin.

Today, rejoice that there is a human being who lived a perfect life, who came to make God tangible to us, and who willingly substituted for us in punishment so we can be united with Him in life and love.

Have a great day!

Mark.