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.

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.

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 in Massachusetts summed this up succinctly, and in a way that is relevant to Pastor Phillip’s sermon on Sunday: “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 the consequences of sin 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.

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 to 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.

 

 

 

January 2

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.

How does God’s creative power work in you and me today?

Have a great day!

Mark.

January 1

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

Welcome to another year of daily Bible readings! A New Year and a fresh start. 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.

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. Every Sunday is a day off which gives you time to review or catch up. We recommend you keep a daily journal of what you learn; you can use a notebook or a note app such as Notes, One Note, or Evernote on your computer or mobile device.

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!

Have a great day!
Mark.

There are plenty of resources to help you on this journey. In addition to these daily emails there are an Experience Guide and a “Let’s Talk” Guide on the OwnIt365 website (scroll down to “Guides”).