A daily encouragement to read the Bible with others from Christ Community Church, Conway.

Month: November, 2013

Bible Reading Day 334

Day 334: November 30 (2 Peter 1)

Good morning!

In his second letter, Peter reminds us of the faith we share, and the gift of God in Jesus. As an eye-witness to the life, death, and resurrection, Peter wants his readers to be sure of the basics of their faith, and the great power of God that they reveal.

God has given us all that we need for a godly life through our relationship with Him. And that life comes with great promises from God. Peter encourages us to grow in responding to God’s promises.

The second half of the chapter gives us unique insight into Peter’s own relationship with Jesus, and thus his love and concern for his readers (including us). Peter’s transformation started with seeing the works of God, and hearing His voice (when Jesus was transfigured on the mountain). This experience of God’s words and works led Peter to treasure the records of God’s Word, activity, and purpose – the books of Scripture.

As we read today, let’s allow the words of scripture to cause our love for God, our experience of His works, and our responsiveness to His words, to increase.

Have a great day!


Bible Reading Day 333

Day 333: November 29 (1 Peter 5)

Good morning!

Peter concludes his first letter with advice for elders and young men, followed by a warning to us all about the devil’s tactics, and a final encouragement about the promise of God’s kindness.

Elders are to serve by example, humbly strengthening the flock in their care.

Young men are to accept the authority of the elders, and all are to serve each other in humility.

The devil has no understanding of humble servanthood. Through suffering, satan threatens us, and seeks to pick off those he can. But we have a faith that can stand firm if we choose to resist the devil’s scare tactics.

That means that we can stand firm in God’s grace, trusting God’s (often hidden) purposes to win through and bring us to a glorious conclusion.

Have a great day!

Bible Reading – Thanksgiving Day (Day 332)

Day 332: November 28 (1 Peter 4)

Good morning – Happy Thanksgiving!

Today, as we give thanks for God’s blessing in our lives, Peter has encouragement and a challenge for us.

He encourages us that our willingness to suffer for Jesus shows us that we are done with sin – that doesn’t mean we will not sin again, but it means we have beaten the source of sin – “me first.” To be willing to suffer to follow Jesus puts Jesus first; a key step in overcoming sin’s grip on my life.

The challenge Peter gives us is to use the gifts God has given us to serve others. So today, as we review our lives and give thanks, let’s ask God how we can direct those blessings to serve His plan and purpose. Many of us will be using today as an opportunity to “cheerfully share your home with those who need a meal or a place to stay” – maybe God will show you one more lonely person who can be invited to join you today?

Even if such an endeavor causes you to be insulted or to suffer in some other way, Peter reminds us to “keep on doing what is right, and trust your lives to the God who created you, for he will never fail you.”

Have a great day!

Bible Reading Day 331

Day 331: November 27 (1 Peter 3)

Good morning!

In chapter 3, Peter continues to teach us about authority from God’s perspective. Wives and husbands are both to relate to each other in ways which are godly, rather than following the customs of their society (whether the Roman Empire or 21st Century America).

All followers of Jesus are to treat each other in ways which show the love of God at work. Verses 8 through 12 give examples of such behavior, with the scriptural explanation of God’s perspective.

The developing theme in this letter is that God’s priorities are different from the world’s, and there is a reality in God which is not visible to this world. Just as it seemed that Jesus was defeated by crucifixion, yet that was His point of victory, so we can experience victory in God even if we suffer in this world.

We have a great hope, and a great future!

Have a great day!

Bible Reading Day 330

Day 330: November 26 (1 Peter 2)

Good morning!

Peter’s first letter to believers is relatively short, but full of powerful content. Today, he describes the spiritual temple that God is building. You and I are living stones in that building, and Jesus is the living cornerstone of that building. We are built together as God intends, with Jesus as the foundation. But for anyone who does not accept Jesus, the same cornerstone becomes a stumbling block.

Peter then goes on to teach us about authority. His view is not popular today, but he shows why it is correct: God is the source of all authority, and His example is Jesus, who patiently endured mistreatment by authority.

As you read today, ask God to give you a deeper understanding of His heart, and how that contrasts with the values of the world.

Have a great day!

Bible Reading Day 329

Day 329: November 25 (1 Peter 1)

Good morning!

Peter’s first letter is addressed to Christians who are away from home – living as foreigners in the provinces of Asia Minor. This means that he addresses issues that many face today – separation from loved ones, living in a place where you are not fully welcome, maybe wishing you could be somewhere else!

Into this context, Peter assures them that God is in control, and that they have a sure hope of salvation and eternal life. When this life gets dificult, it can be beneficial to look forward in hope, and to look back with faith.

There are practical instructions and words of great comfort in this chapter; which ones speak loudly to you today?

Have a great day!

Bible Reading Day 328

Day 328: November 24 (James 5)

Good morning!

In Chapter 5, James has powerful challenges for us all.

Firstly we are all rich in comparison to the vast majority in this world, and so our motives must be filled with generosity and compassion rather than greed or hoarding.

Secondly, if we are waiting for God’s relief in our sufferings, we have examples in scripture that prohibit us grumbling or complaining, even if our deliverance has not yet come.

Thirdly, we have a powerful tool in prayer yet most of us do not use it as we could.

And finally, if someone wanders away from truth (i.e. God), we can bring them back!

So which of these challenges is most alive for you today? Which is closest to your heart, and which is hardest for you?

Have a great day!

Bible Reading Day 327

Day 327: November 23 (James 4)

Good evening; apologies for another 5pm rather than 5am email!

We are in James 4 today, and James is getting really personal with each of us! All of us at some time have known the consequences of getting into selfishness and jealousy: the results are not pretty. But James nails why this is true: we love the world, and ourselves, and in the process make ourselves enemies of God. The answer is simple, but unwelcome to my selfish heart – humble ourselves before God, resist the devil, and see him flee.

Sideline – if you or I have been resisting the devil unsuccessfully, it’s because there’s a step to take BEFORE resisting the devil that we’ve missed.

James follows this blunt but essential warning with two more: don’t judge others, and don’t boast in your own plans.

So, as you read today (and this chapter is worth reading twice or three times), see what God underlines for you, and humbly accept His Word to you, putting it into action.

Have a great day!

Bible Reading Day 326

Day 326: November 22 (James 3)

Good morning!

Chapter 3 of James’ letter contains several famous verses, and the majority of the chapter is focused on the power of the tongue. We are all weak, and prone to cause harm with our words, but God is able to make us fruitful nevertheless.

The second part of the chapter is also focused on fruit -the fruit that comes from living a godly life in humility and wisdom. The corollary of this is that the opposite (boasting and lying) also bear fruit – in disorder and all kinds of evil.

James finishes with these words: But the wisdom from above is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and good deeds. It shows no favoritism and is always sincere. And those who are peacemakers will plant seeds of peace and reap a harvest of righteousness.

Lord, please make it so in our lives, by your grace! Amen.

Have a great day!

Bible Reading Day 325

Day 325: November 21 (James 2)

Good morning!

After a waterfall of wisdom nuggets in Chapter 1, James moves to focus on two important topics today: don’t show favoritism, and DO show your faith through your works.

As you reflect on his instructions today, consider this – that the two are related. Our actions show our hearts better than our words. If we fall into the temptation to treat some people with more honor than others, based on outward appearances or benefit to ourselves, our actions show that there is something adrift with our faith. And if we talk a good talk, it is only of value if we also walk a good walk!

So today I encourage you to let your faith in Jesus burn brightly, and catch your actions on fire in radical obedience to His example!

Have a great day!