Chronological Bible Reading – January 28 – God’s Timing is Greater

Today’s Reading: Genesis 40-41

We see throughout Joseph’s life a common thread of faithfulness, but we also see over and over the phrase, “the Lord was with him.”  As we discussed yesterday, it would not appear to be the case based on the circumstances we see in his life.  But today we’ll see God’s plan play out according to God’s timing. Continue reading

Chronological Bible Reading – January 27 – A Pattern of Faithfulness

Today’s Reading: Genesis 37-39

As we read about the life of Joseph, we are going to see the common pattern of faithfulness in his life.  Through all the injustice and betrayal, Joseph remains true.  He approaches justice/faithfulness differently than most.  For many people, faithfulness is connected to life, job, and other circumstances.  For some, as long as life is “good” their faithfulness is strong.  For others, it is only when life is tough that they acknowledge God.  In Joseph’s life, we see faithfulness regardless of life circumstances. Continue reading

Chronological Bible Reading – January 19 – “Is anything too difficult?”

Today’s Reading: Genesis 16-18

Is anything too difficult for the Lord? – Genesis 18:14 (NASB)

Within the church today, most people would agree that nothing is too difficult for the Lord.  However, our actions and choices do not always reflect a genuine belief of this truth.  We find ourselves becoming self-reliant when we take matters into our own hands.  Abraham did the same thing, and he is considered the father of our faith.  He wasn’t willing to be patient when it came to God fulfilling the promise that he would have a son.  I can’t say I blame him. Continue reading

Chronological Bible Reading – January 16 – A Holy “Cup Check”

Today’s Reading: Job 38-42

All the “friendly” advice is over.  All of Job’s pleas and questions have ended.  It is now God’s time to speak into this situation.  God confronts Job with a lengthy list of questions intended to remind Job how small he really is in light of his Creator.

Now, gird up your loins like a man,
And I will ask you, and you instruct Me!
Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?
Tell Me, if you have understanding…
Job 38:3-4 (NASB)

I once heard Matt Chandler explain the phrase, “gird up your loins” as God telling Job, “Put your cup on and let’s do this!”  I still smile a bit even as I write that phrase.  I don’t want to minimize what is happening here with humor, but as you read God’s questions and challenge to Job it becomes almost amusingly clear that there is no answer that Job can give.  God is making His point very clear.  At one point there is even a bit of holy sarcasm that comes from God,

Where is the way to the dwelling of light?
And darkness, where is its place,
That you may take it to its territory
And that you may discern the paths to its home?
You know, for you were born then,
And the number of your days is great!
Job 38:19-21 (NASB)

God exposes Job’s folly through this lengthy series of questions.  His intent is to remind Job of the reality of who he has been questioning throughout this ordeal.  God’s questions are intended to lead Job to acknowledge who God is and repent.

Honestly, aren’t we all guilty of Job’s sin at points in our lives where we question God? We face difficulties or trials and suddenly we are struck with memory loss.  How arrogant and conceited it is to think that our circumstances are such that they serve as the final proof that God “dropped the ball.”  He must not care.  Thousands of years of testimony of His faithfulness are out the window because my life is tough.

Not just in our times of trial, but also when it comes to our daily lives, we can be guilty of Job’s folly.  By tackling our day on our own in our wisdom and abilities, we are basically saying we don’t need God.  Just as Job sought to reason through in his wisdom without seeking the One who possesses all answers and holds all control, we can ignore the all-knowing Creator of all things.

God help us see Your reality through the fog of our circumstances.  The reality that declares Your sovereignty, love, grace, mercy, and all other holy attributes is available to us through faith in Jesus Christ.  We, as Your children have a loving Father who knows right where we are.  When the fog becomes so thick that we question you, shine the light of Your truth so brightly that the fog lifts and we say with Job,

I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear;
But now my eye sees You;
Therefore I retract,
And I repent in dust and ashes.
Job 42:5-6 (NASB)

Rest in Jesus,

Andy

Chronological Bible Reading – January 5 – Job’s Unwavering Commitment

Today’s Reading: Job 1-3

There is debate about where the story of Job falls in the chronology of Scripture.  However, the plan that I use places Job early in Genesis. Therefore, today begins several days in the book of Job.

Today’s reading is painful. Job 1:1 tells of the man named Job, describing him as blameless, upright, fearing God and turning away from evil. Based on the continued description of Job, he is an extremely wealthy man.

Job 1 tells us that Satan appeared before God after roaming around on the earth.  God points out Job’s faithfulness and Satan declares the only reason Job is faithful is because of the rich blessing and circumstances in his life.  Satan challenges God and predicts the moment these things are removed, Job’s faithfulness will leave with them. Continue reading

Chronological Bible Reading – January 2 – Noah’s Faithfulness

Genesis 6:22 – Thus Noah did; according to all that God had commanded him, so he did. (NASB)

God gives Noah instructions for building the ark and he obeys.  We know that Noah was a righteous man who walked with God (see Gen. 6:9), but based on the environment and the fact that Noah lived in a land-locked region in which it had never rained, his faithfulness to the command of God to build a boat is almost unbelievable.  Not just the fact that he built an ark in a dry and arid land, but add to this the fact many scholars believe it took Noah over 100 years to complete the project.  There must have been moments when Noah questioned his own sanity, but we have no record of these moments.  All we get is, “Thus Noah did…”

Noah is a prime example of “a long obedience in the same direction.” This phrase became familiar to me after reading Eugene Peterson’s book with this phrase as its title.  The fulfillment of God’s promise took over 100 years, and yet Noah was faithful. Talk about delayed gratification! We give up if the web page doesn’t load in 0.5 seconds.  We have been programmed by our culture and our environment to desire immediate results.  The idea of faithfully walking with God in light of a promise that will be fulfilled 100 years from now seems preposterous to our short-sighted minds. Because of this, a long obedience in the same direction is something we must go to war to cultivate.  We must strive while keeping our eyes on the promise we have from God.

In light of this, here is my prayer for us today:

O God, I want to be found faithful like Noah.  Protect me from distraction and the vain pursuits of this world and its temporary, microwave satisfactions.  Teach me the value of a long obedience in the same direction that will result in Your fame flowing from my life in an ever-increasing measure.

 

Rest in Jesus,

Andy

New Year, New Beginnings with Christ

New Years Day brings hope for so many. No matter how bad 2011 may have been, most people look at January 1, 2012 as an opportunity for fresh starts and new beginnings. The reality is that no matter what the date on the calendar says, each of us has an opportunity for a fresh start every day…in fact, no matter how well we feel our life is going, we NEED a fresh start each day.

Lamentations 3:22-24 – The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. “The LORD is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.”

You see, our hope for a new year and a better tomorrow doesn’t come from a resolution to eat better, or even to become more consistent in a spritiual discipline like prayer or bible reading. All of these things can be beneficial, but ultimately we all need a fresh dose of the mercy and grace of God, and Lamentations tells us that this mercy and love is freely given to us and will never come to an end.

So, as you begin 2012, don’t attempt to find hope in making yourself a better person by trying harder. The only way your 2012 will be better is with more Jesus. Enjoy the fresh and new love and mercy that God has for you this morning and recognize “The Lord is my portion, therefore I will hope in Him”! When this happens, there is no limit to what God can do in and through your life in 2012.

Rest in Jesus!