cccdailybiblereading

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

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Happy New Year!

To read the New Testament with us in 2014, join us over at http://www.christcommunitychurchonline.com/w/p/index.php/blog/

This is the final post on this blog!

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Bible Reading Day 366

Good morning!

Here is the final reading in our 2013 reading plan.

Revelation 22 is a triumphant conclusion to the account of God’s purpose for humanity, and His victory achieved by Jesus dying in our place and rising from the dead.

The conclusion of John’s description of the seventh and final “last thing” is that God and man are reunited, with fruitfulness and refreshing at the heart of their relationship.

The angel who reveals all this to John (who speaks as from Jesus) tells John this will all happen soon. Nobody knows when, nor are the details of how specified, but the WHAT is certain: Jesus wins, and we will be with Him.

Thank you for completing our year together reading the New Testament sequentially. I am looking forward to 2014 and our NT+ Plan.

From today, all the emails for subscribers to the Bible Reading blog will come from our CCC blog page and my email address. Let me know if you have any questions or problems.

Happy New Year!

Bible Reading Day 365

NOTE: From January 1, 2014, this blog will be hosted at http://www.christcommunitychurchonline.com/w/p/index.php/blog/ and updates at this URL will cease.

Please update your bookmarks and subscriptions.

Day 365: December 31 (Revelation 21)

Good morning!

For the last day of the year, we have a reading which begins with the seventh, and final, “last thing” – the eternal state which continues forever after the judgment of sin and evil is complete.

The seventh “last thing” is John’s vision of the perfect future – the new heaven and new earth, in which there is a new Jerusalem; not a physical city but a bride for Jesus, namely the Church Universal.

The new city has no Temple – for God and the Lamb are its temple, and no sun or moon – for God and the Lamb are its light.

Clearly this description is more metaphorical than literal, but it concludes the foundational theme of this whole book – that Jesus is victorious and overcomes evil. Our heritage as believers is certain. None of us knows the timetable, but we can all be sure of the outcome!

I hope your New Year celebrations are full of joy and hope – we have one more reading in this series tomorrow, and then we move on to the NT+ Plan for 2014.

To sign up for the NT+ plan on YouVersion click this link (on Jan 1st).
To learn more about the NT+ plan click here (the NT+ Plan is the third on the page – scroll down to view).
To download the OWNit365 app for your smartphone (including the NT+ plan) click here.
Have a great day!
Mark.

Bible Reading Day 364

NOTE: From January 1, 2014, this blog will be hosted at http://www.christcommunitychurchonline.com/w/p/index.php/blog/ and updates at this URL will cease. Please update your bookmarks and subscriptions.

Day 364: December 30 (Revelation 20)

Good morning!

We are nearing the glorious conclusion of the Book of Revelation, and the conclusion of 2013. We have two more chapters after today (so we will be reading on January 1st).

Next year we will be using the NT+ Plan from OWNIt365.com. More details on that tomorrow. These daily emails will continue. The format will be slightly changed for the new plan, but I will let you know more on that before we finish the year!

Today we see several “last things” in quick succession. There are seven in total (that will be no surprise after all the other sevens in Revelation). The first two, The Second Coming of Jesus and the battle at the end of the ages, were in Chapter 19 yesterday. Today the next four things are described, and the last “last thing” is saved for Chapter 21 tomorrow.

The four “last things” we see today are: #3 – satan is bound for 1000 years, #4 – Jesus reigns for the millenium with the martyrs, #5 – satan is unleashed and destroyed at the end of the 1000 years, and #6 – the great white throne judgment takes place.

In every case, judgment is set against the backdrop of blessing because Jesus is victorious. Ultimately, everything is thrown into the lake of fire apart from those who are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life, namely all who have trusted Jesus for salvation.

So today, we can rejoice that one day all that opposes God will be removed, and all that causes us to struggle in this world will go with it. Our future is bright, and we will see just how bright tomorrow.

Until then – have a great day!
Mark.

Bible Reading Day 363

Day 363: December 29 (Revelation 19)

Good morning, Happy Sunday!

The End Is Nigh! (No – not an apocalyptic banner, but a statement about this year’s daily readings: you have almost completed a year in the New Testament, well done!)

Today we read about the worship and rejoicing in heaven as the judgments reach their conclusion and the fulfilment of God’s plan draws near. Had you ever thought that heaven is saddened by the evil in the world? More than any human sadness, since heaven’s armies know how far humanity has fallen! Well that will soon come to an end.

The second part of the chapter reveals Jesus riding out to conquer on a white horse, symbolizing pure power and authority. The victory over satan and his armies is complete.

Reason indeed for all of heaven to rejoice. Let’s join in the celebration as we wait patiently for these things to take place!

Have a great day!
Mark.

Bible Reading Day 362

Day 362: December 28 (Revelation 18)

Good morning!

After seeing Babylon, the political and religious power system, judged in Chapter 17, today we see the commercial system judged in the same way. Chapter 18 begins with the same pronouncements of judgment, and goes on to describe how merchants and traders also mourn the loss of the world system. There can be as much evil in trade as in politics, as much sin in possessions as in depravity!

The good news is that all this evil comes to an end rapidly when the angel of God throws down the boulder of judgment, and declares an end to the bloodshed of the righteous.

Whatever challenges we face as believers, God’s purpose is fulfilled and His victory will be complete.

Have a great day!
Mark.

Bible Reading Day 360

Day 360: December 26 (Revelation 16)

Good morning!

Just one more week of this year’s readings! Well done for sticking with it this far!

Today we reach the seven bowl judgments – the final judgment series in the book. Each judgment is similar to those poured out on Egypt under Moses, but the reach of these judgements is worldwide.

God is bringing an end to sin and evil. According to Jesus, those who are ready for His return are blessed!

As in all the judgments, the emphasis is on God’s victory. His purpose is to destroy all that has gone wrong with humanity, leaving His people free to love fully. That is our heritage!

Have a great day!
Mark.

Bible Reading Day 359

Day 359: Christmas Day, December 25 (Revelation 15)

Good morning, Merry Christmas!

As we celebrate the coming of Jesus in human form, carried by a virgin teenager, and born in humble circumstances, we also read about the prelude to the final judgments when Jesus will return as the victorious Lord of All.

We see seven angels (the number of perfection), holding seven bowls. We hear the song of heaven, reflecting the Song of Moses, singing the praises of the Lamb. Then we see the fulfilment of God’s action in the incarnation: the Temple in heaven stands open wide. The way will be open for anyone who loves God to come in. But before that, comes the seven bowls of God’s wrath – judgment on all evil and sin. Until this is poured out no-one can enter the Temple.

So today, as we celebrate the birth of Jesus with family and friends, let’s also talk about the coming return of Jesus to complete the clean-up of unrighteousness. He will come soon, and we are to anticipate His return.

May the Prince of Peace be born afresh in your hearts today.

Have a great day!
Mark.

Bible Reading Day 358

Day 358: December 24 (Revelation 14)

Good morning!

I wonder if you have noticed the difference it makes to consider the second coming of Jesus during the month before we celebrate the first coming of Jesus? This is how the Church has traditionally celebrated Advent – it is the season to look forward as well as back. Tomorrow we celebrate the coming of God as a baby, about two thousand years ago, to save us from our sins. In Revelation we have been learning about the coming again of Jesus, in victory, to abolish sin completely.

After seeing things from satan’s perspective for the last two days, we turn again to God’s perspective today. We see the Lamb preparing to judge the earth. We see him enthroned, surrounded by faithful followers (144,000 is 12×12,000 which symbolizes completion (12) and multitude (1000). 12×12 implies completion from every tribe and for every apostle. In other words 144,000 symbolizes a multitude from everywhere – a completion of God’s redemptive plan.

Then three angels announce judgment, concluding with the observation (repeated in Revelation): “Here is the perseverance of the saints who keep the commandments of God and their faith in Jesus.” or in the New Living Translation: “This means that God’s holy people must endure persecution patiently, obeying his commands and maintaining their faith in Jesus.” This observation comes with a promise: “Blessed are those who die in the Lord from now on. Yes, says the Spirit, they are blessed indeed, for they will rest from their hard work; for their good deeds follow them!”

The Lamb is then seen as the reaper – gathering in the whole earth for judgment.

Today we celebrate the coming judgment – as the Lamb on the Throne brings an end to all evil. Tomorrow we celebrate the coming of Jesus as one of us.

Have a great day!
Mark.

Bible Reading Day 357

Day 357: December 23 (Revelation 13)

Good morning!

After the failure of satan to devour the woman (representing Israel) and her child (Jesus), we see a change of strategy in a third parenthesis to the judgments. Two beasts target the saints, and the rest of the world. Clearly these represent satan’s system and power base, opposing everything that God has created and seeking to destroy all that God loves.

The wording of John’s record shows God’s victory, even in this chapter with all its defeat for the saints and victory for satan. Phrases such as “he was allowed” and “he was given permission” appear repeatedly. Neither of the beasts has any power other than what they are allowed as part of God’s redemptive plan.

This does not mean the saints do not suffer (in fact verse 10 tells us clearly we will), but their suffering has a purpose, and God will be victorious.

The chapter ends with the famous reference to the mark of the beast and the number of the beast – 666. In some manuscripts this is rendered 616. While the full meaning will only be evident when we join Jesus in heaven, it is generally accepted that one level of interpretation identifies Emperor Nero (who was persecuting Christians at the time Revelation was written). Another level refers to the power of money (Roman money was stamped with an image – the mark – of the Emperor). Christians and Jews refusing to use Roman money on the grounds that it was idolatry to handle an image representing the emperor as God, were thus unable to buy and sell as described in this chapter.

For us today, the lesson of this chapter is that we will face persecution and suffering because satan is still the god of this world for the time being, and the world system is under his control. BUT all this is permitted under God’s plan of redemption, and the end of it is coming soon.

Just as we are about to celebrate the coming of Jesus as a baby, so we will also soon celebrate the second coming of Jesus as victorious and almighty King. Let’s look ahead with hope, trust, and joy!

Have a great day!
Mark.