January 7

January 7.

Enoch — Enoch’s faith in God & message to the world

Today’s Readings:
Reading 1: Genesis 5:18-24
Reading 2: Hebrews 11:5-6
Reading 3: Jude 14-19

Today’s readings are shorter, and focus on Enoch. Enoch’s life, in contrast, was much longer than lives today, yet he is listed as having great faith.

He is known for being taken from the earth by God, but less well known for his prophecy recorded in Jude.

Enoch said “Listen! The Lord is coming with countless thousands of his holy ones to execute judgment on the people of the world. He will convict every person of all the ungodly things they have done and for all the insults that ungodly sinners have spoken against him.”

So today, with Enoch as our example, let’s examine our words and deeds; ensuring they are rooted in God’s love, and in His Word.

Have a great day!

Mark.

Reading Plan Introduction and Instructions

January 6

January 6.

Cain & Abel — Abel’s faith & sacrifice vs. Cain’s jealousy & hatred.

Today’s Readings:
Reading 1: Genesis 4
Reading 2: Hebrews 11:4
Reading 3: 1 John 3:10-16

After the sorrow of the Fall yesterday, we move on to see the first consequences of sin. These accounts are simplified so we must not read too much into the detail, but there are important lessons to learn if we will be sensitive to the significance of what is written. This is also where Readings 2 and 3 can help us. Today they are short but important.

Cain grows up to be a gardener and brings “some of his crops” as a “gift to the Lord”, while Abel grows up to be a shepherd and brings “the best portions of the firstborn lambs from his flock” as his offering. Abel has prioritized God (with the firstborn) while Cain has not. Also Abel’s gift reflects an understanding that the knowledge of good and evil leads to death (Genesis 2:17) so he brings an offering which involves the death of the lamb as a substitute (that is an important precursor of how  Jesus will describe His own life and ministry). Cain, by contrast, does not acknowledge that principle.

The account does not tell us how, or why, God accepts one gift and rejects the other. But, lest we see God as fickle and moody, we are told how God reaches out to Cain saying: “You will be accepted if you do what is right, but if you refuse to do what is right, then watch out! Sin is crouching at the door, eager to control you. But you must subdue it and be its master.”

Clearly Cain does not heed this advice, but continues to live by his own sinful values. Sin will always make us feel threatened by those God accepts, and unless it is mastered it will lead to more sin.

The last verse of today’s Reading 3 reads: “We know what real love is because Jesus gave up his life for us.” (1 John 3:16).

It is only in Jesus that we can live to please God, and only in Jesus is sin subdued. That is our inheritance today if we will receive it. Left to our own motives, we sin, and allow sin to multiply. In Jesus the story changes, and we change too!

Have a great day!

Mark.

Reading Plan Introduction and Instructions

January 5

January 5

The Fall — Eve’s deception, Adam’s sin, & mankind’s curse.
Today’s Readings:
Reading 1:  Genesis 3
Reading 2:  2 Corinthians 11:2-3
Reading 3:  Romans 5:12-21

After the great truths of the first three days of our readings, today we come to the saddest day – the day when satan deceived Eve, and Adam failed to stand up for right, leading to the consequence of the Fall, and the curse on mankind.

As you read today, recognize this:

1) that satan will deceive if he can, because he hates the close relationship with God that humans are created to enjoy.

2) we are designed to guard one another against such deception, and the sin that results, but often we fail to make right choices and stand for truth.

3) we are incapable of following God’s instructions in our own strength.

BUT GOD (don’t you love that phrase?!) has provided a solution: through the obedience of Jesus the disobedience of Adam is undone. The first perfect man  disobeyed God, the second perfect man did not. We are all children of the first, but we can all become heirs of the second. A pastor friend summed this up succinctly: “the stairway to heaven is but only a step of faith.”

Let’s renew that step each day, and encourage others to do the same. Sin, and all its consequences, do not have to rule us. Jesus has opened the way that God had to close in Genesis 3. As Paul says in Romans 5: “God’s law was given so that all people could see how sinful they were. But as people sinned more and more, God’s wonderful grace became more abundant. So just as sin ruled over all people and brought them to death, now God’s wonderful grace rules instead, giving us right standing with God and resulting in eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

Have a great day!
Mark.

Reading Plan Introduction and Instructions

January 4

January 4

The Garden — God’s plan for marriage.
Today’s Readings:
Reading 1: Genesis 2
Reading 2: Matthew 19:3-6
Reading 3: Ephesians 5:28-33

Today, the eternal plan we saw on Day One, which became a creative plan on Day 2, now becomes a detailed plan and shows us God’s plan for marriage.

Genesis 2 gives more detail than Genesis 1 on the creation of humanity. It is not contradictory to the previous chapter; it simply explains the process which chapter 1 announced. Notice that both chapters state clearly that God makes us male and female, and chapter two defines how male and female are complementary. Some have tried to say this chapter makes men superior to women by primogenesis (being created first) and because the woman is described as a “helper” but that is clearly contradicted by God saying this state is “not good” in stark contrast to everything He created being described as “good.” Others have sought to make men and women equal in all respects, but this chapter also rules that out, showing that we complement one another, and thus are different in form and function from each other.

The two words describing the woman (ezer kenegdo in Hebrew) are translated “help-meet” or “helper fit for him” but these translations overlook that almost every other use of ezer in the Old Testament refers to God or to military allies. The meaning of helper is one who is brought in to rescue or save. The word kenegdo means equal, qualifying the helper as being equivalent to the one helped, rather than superior! So if you have a wife, God has blessed you with a strong helper who fits your need perfectly. If you are a wife, you have been given by God to your husband in order to help him with strong, complementary giftings. Males and females are clearly different, but there are no weak women or dominant men in this chapter of scripture (before the Fall)!

Incidentally, whilst God loves every human, it is not possible to change the meaning of Genesis to accommodate recently popular redefinitions of marriage. God’s plan is stated clearly: one man and one woman become one marriage. There is no room for divorce, polygamy, serial sexual relationships, homosexual relationships, or any other variant in this statement of God’s design.

And there is an eternal significance to marriage – Paul describes it in his letter to the Ephesians. The uniting of a man and a woman in marriage is an illustration of the uniting of Jesus and the Church in eternity. One Savior, one Church, forever united in God’s plan. We look forward to that day!

Have a great day!
Mark.

Reading Plan Introduction and Instructions

January 3

January 3

The Creation — God creates the universe.
Today’s Readings:
Reading 1: Genesis 1
Reading 2: Hebrews 11:1-3
Reading 3: Hebrews 1:10-12

From God’s eternal plan comes God’s creative plan. That is the way God works!

Today we read how God created everything. That is a solid truth for us to stand upon as we face a new year.

God speaks and creates – the two are synonymous, so as God speaks through His Word today, expect Him to create His plan in you.

How is God’s creative power at work in you today?

Have a great day!

Mark.

Reading Plan Introduction and Instructions

January 2

January 2

Eternity Past — God’s eternal plan from before time began.

Today’s Readings:
Reading 1: Genesis 1:1-5
Reading 2: John 1:1-18
Reading 3: Colossians 1:15-19

Today we begin with the best foundation for a New Year – God has an eternal plan for the universe, the earth, and for all mankind!

As you read, allow the majesty of these truths to fill your heart. God is light, and shines light into darkness (whether in our lives or in the world). Jesus is first over everything – God and man. God’s eternal plan includes you and me becoming His children, That is His desire for all humanity.

Have a great day!
Mark.

Reading Plan Introduction and Instructions

January 1

Welcome to our daily Bible readings!

Our reading plan takes us through all the major stories of the whole Bible, helping us to connect them into One Story – God’s Story.

The plan starts tomorrow and each day has three readings.

Reading One is the main reading, and the other two give background and application.

The three readings plus time to reflect should take you between 20 and 30 minutes each day.

If you are short of time on any day we recommend you focus on Reading One.

We recommend you keep notes as you read, which will become a daily journal of what you learn; you can use a notebook or a note app such as One Note, or Evernote on your computer or mobile device.

Start by reading the readings (each link will take you to the appropriate place in the YouVersion online Bible. We use the New Living Translation but you can change the translation to another in YouVersion if you prefer). As you read from the Bible, make notes of any verses that speak to you, and any response or action that you will make. Finally read the notes we provide to see if these prompt any further response from you, such as re-reading a section, or adding to your notes.

For today we will read a familiar passage about the power of God’s Word: Hebrews 4:9-13

Every seven days or so we insert a reflection day, with no new readings, which gives you time to review or catch up. 

The structure of readings in this plan come from the One Story Plan at OwnIt365.

To finish up for today, let’s briefly set out Mark Virkler’s four keys to hearing God’s voice, and listen to God, asking the question “What do you want to say to me at the start of this year?”

  1. Quieten myself (Psalm 46:10)
  2. Focus on Father God (John 5:19 and 12:49)
  3. Tune to spontaneous, flowing thoughts (John 7:38)
  4. Write down what you hear (Habakkuk 2:2)

So take your journal, start by quietening yourself (find a favorite spot where you can take some time with God) and follow the steps to listen to God and write down what He says. And tomorrow we will start at the beginning of God’s story!

December 31

December 31

Selah!

So you completed the One Story reading plan! well done!

I hope you have seen the beautiful thread of grace and truth that runs through the whole library of scripture. And I trust you have come to experience God more fully as a result.

My prayer for you as you reflect on the past year, and look forward to the one ahead, is that you would grow more like Jesus, more in love with the Father, and more full of the Holy Spirit, until His Kingdom comes and we are all united with Him.

Please let me know how the daily readings have influenced your relationship with God (and others).

God Bless You!

Have a great day, and see you next year!

Mark.

December 30

December 30

Revelation & Eternity Future — Jesus Christ’s Kingdom will last forever & ever & ever & ever…
Today’s Readings:
Reading 1: Revelation 22
Reading 2: Isaiah 9:6-7
Reading 3: Ephesians 1:1-14

The final chapter of Revelation shows us how wonderful eternity will be, and Jesus gives His closing words – I am coming soon.

His government will never end (as we read from Isaiah just a few days ago) and we will be the beneficiaries.

Paul’s letter to the Christians in Ephesus sums everything up for us: This letter is from Paul, chosen by the will of God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus.I am writing to God’s holy people in Ephesus, who are faithful followers of Christ Jesus. May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace. All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ. Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure. So we praise God for the glorious grace he has poured out on us who belong to his dear Son. He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins. He has showered his kindness on us, along with all wisdom and understanding. God has now revealed to us his mysterious plan regarding Christ, a plan to fulfill his own good pleasure. And this is the plan: At the right time he will bring everything together under the authority of Christ—everything in heaven and on earth. Furthermore, because we are united with Christ, we have received an inheritance from God, for he chose us in advance, and he makes everything work out according to his plan. God’s purpose was that we Jews who were the first to trust in Christ would bring praise and glory to God. And now you Gentiles have also heard the truth, the Good News that God saves you. And when you believed in Christ, he identified you as his own by giving you the Holy Spirit, whom he promised long ago. The Spirit is God’s guarantee that he will give us the inheritance he promised and that he has purchased us to be his own people. He did this so we would praise and glorify him.

Have a great day and a Happy New Year!

Mark.

December 29

December 29

Revelation & the Renovated Universe — There will be a new heavens, earth, & Jerusalem
Today’s Readings:
Reading 1: Revelation 21
Reading 2: Isaiah 65:17-25
Reading 3: 2 Peter 3

After the final clean-up yesterday, we have two days to celebrate the promise of everything made new. Just as we are preparing to celebrate a New Year, so God is preparing to celebrate a new heaven and a new earth. The old will pass away and He will make everything new.

Jesus is the beginning (as we saw on January 1st this year) and the end (as we are seeing now). The whole Bible is One Story: His-story.

The new Jerusalem is a picture of God’s dwelling with mankind. No need for a Temple or any special place to go to find God. God will be everywhere and so there is no need for any light, nor is there any day or night. And, in a human touch surely designed to encourage John who was imprisoned by water on the Island of Patmos, there is no sea!

It is impossible for us to imagine what this new earth is like, because it will be different from all that we know. It is as if we are currently living in an acorn, and God is going to grow a vast oak. We can look forward to so much!

Have a great day!

Mark.