Joy in Support: July 22-31, 2019 (Mon-Wed): Read through 2 Kings, 1 Chronicles, Psalms, Amos, and Philippians

Philippians is a letter littered with joy, and there’s a reason. If you stop and smell the roses in your life and recognize from whom all those blessings originate, you’ll see your reasons for joy. Maybe you’re still grieving from a loss in your family or the loss of a job. Grieving is healthy, and joy is, too. Everything doesn’t have to be going your way to be joyful. In the very beginning of Philippians, Paul gives us a practical thing to do to help us find some joy.

GIVE THANKS TO GOD BECAUSE HE HAS BLESSED YOUR LIFE WITH A SUPPORTIVE BELIEVING FAMILY.

OK, maybe your family is the farthest thing from believing. That’s not the family I’m talking about. The church is to what I’m referring. Then you may say that you don’t have supportive people in your life. Ask yourself why. If you’re connected and active in a Bible-believing church, I find it hard to believe that you would not have supportive believers in your life unless you need to learn some people skills, you’re way off in left field, you distance yourself from people, or it’s a horrible church. Paul said to the Philippians, “I give thanks to my God for every remembrance of you” (Philippians 1:3). You may just need to take a risk and get to know some of your church family. If you don’t meet with the church regularly, that’s most probably all on you.

PAUL WAS THANKFUL

  • for the Philippians because they were very supportive of him and thinking of them brought him joy.always praying with joy for all of you in my every prayer” (Philippians 1:4 CSB).
  • for the Philippians because they were supportive not just by mouth but by money.because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now” (Philippians 1:5 CSB). And you Philippians know that…no church shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving except you alone. …you sent gifts for my need several times. …I have received everything in full, and I have an abundance. I am fully supplied, having received from Epaphroditus what you provided…” (Philippians 4:15-16,18 CSB).
  • to God because He is faithful to finish what He starts.I am sure of this, that He who started a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:6 CSB).
  • for the Philippians because he truly loved them from the bottom of his heart.Indeed, it is right for me to think this way about all of you, because I have you in my heart, and you are all partners with me in grace, both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel. For God is my witness, how deeply I miss all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:7-8 CSB).

Look at your life. God has placed supportive believers around you which is a reason for joy. Sometimes you just need to open your eyes…or go enroll in a people-skills class.

This week you’ll read…

2 Kings 22-25: “Josiah was eight years old when he became king, and he reigned thirty-one years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Jedidah the daughter of Adaiah; she was from Bozkath. He did what was right in the Lord’s sight and walked in all the ways of his ancestor David; he did not turn to the right or the left” (2 Kings 22 in The Christian Standard Bible).

1 Chronicles 22-29: “Then David blessed the Lord in the sight of all the assembly. David said, “May You be blessed, Lord God of our father Israel, from eternity to eternity. Yours, Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the splendor and the majesty, for everything in the heavens and on earth belongs to You. Yours, Lord, is the kingdom, and You are exalted as head over all. Riches and honor come from You, and You are the ruler of everything. Power and might are in Your hand, and it is in Your hand to make great and to give strength to all. Now therefore, our God, we give You thanks and praise Your glorious name” (1 Chronicles 29 in The Christian Standard Bible).

Psalms 96-105: “​My soul, bless the Lord, and all that is within me, bless His holy name. My soul, bless the Lord, and do not forget all His benefits. He forgives all your iniquity; He heals all your diseases. He redeems your life from the Pit; He crowns you with faithful love and compassion. He satisfies you with good things; your youth is renewed like the eagle” (Psalms 103 in The Christian Standard Bible).

Amos 1-9: “Look, the days are coming—this is the declaration of the Lord God—when I will send a famine through the land: not a famine of bread or a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord.” (Amos 8 in The Christian Standard Bible).

Philippians 1-4: “Don’t worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4 in The Christian Standard Bible).

CSB are daily readings linked to The Christian Standard Bible on BibleGateway.com.

MSG are daily readings linked to The Message Bible on BibleGateway.com.

NLT are daily readings linked to The New Living Translation on BibleGateway.com.

PROTECT: July 15-21, 2019 (Mon-Sun): Read through 2 Kings, 1 Chronicles, Psalms, and Mark

Where do you go for protection? Some pull out a gun. Others seek a spouse or parent. Still others invest in cameras and security systems. Others turn to their bank account and investments. Don’t forget about those who run to the government for the fix to all problems great and small. Government receives its authority from God. Money is fleeting. Security systems, weapons, and trusted people can all be blessings to us, but, ultimately, we must run to the One in control of our dangers. God is aware of our calamities and threats. Before our hands grab our guns, our minds must run to the Protector on high. Catastrophe will reveal where your confidence lies. Hard rains will expose your foundation.

Psalm 91 gives us a comforting picture of the one who finds his PROTECTion in the Lord in the midst of difficult times.

  • Seek God’s Presence.
  • See God as your Refuge.
  • Live under His Outstretched wings.
  • Flee to your strong Tower.
  • Be Established in the Lord.
  • Call upon God for help.
  • Trust in God.

Continually seek God’s Presence.

The one who lives under the protection of the Most High dwells in the shadow of the Almighty (Psalm 91:1 CSB). Living under God’s protection and dwelling in His shadow carry the idea of being in His presence. Abiding in His presence is the way to live daily, depending on Him continually and developing a habit of seeking His presence. Go to Him today. God to Him now.

See God as your Refuge.

I will say concerning the Lord, who is my refuge and my fortress, my God in whom I trust (Psalm 91:2 CSB). A refuge is a safe place to run and a safe place to live. Your safe place is in God. Where are you running?

Live under His Outstretched wings.

His huge outstretched arms protect you—under them you’re perfectly safe; His arms fend off all harm (Psalm 91:4 The Message). The picture is of baby birds living under a mama bird’s outstretched wings of protection. We are sheltered in the arms of God. When we run to other things for our protection, we’re leaving our real protection. Run to Him and stay there.

Flee to your strong Tower.

I will say concerning the Lord, who is my refuge and my fortress, my God in whom I trust (Psalm 91:2 CSB). Our God is a fortress for us. He is a strong tower of defense and safety. Why do we run to other places?

Be Established in the Lord.

Because you have made the Lord—my refuge, the Most High—your dwelling place, no harm will come to you…Because he has his heart set on Me, I will deliver him; I will protect him because he knows My name (Psalm 91:9-10,14 CSB). The psalmist refers to people who have been established in the Lord. These are not fly by night Christians. These are people who have become fixated on the Father and reliant on the Redeemer. They live and dwell with God on their minds.

Call upon God for help.

Because he has his heart set on Me, I will deliver him; I will protect him because he knows My name. When he calls out to Me, I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble (Psalm 91:14-15 CSB). If God knows what we need, then why would we need to call upon Him. Coming to a place of calling for help brings us to humility. “God opposes the proud but He gives grace to the humble” (James 4:6 NET Bible).

Trust in God.

I will say concerning the Lord, who is my refuge and my fortress, my God in whom I trust (Psalm 91:2 CSB). The basis for all this is faith. Without faith it is impossible to please God. We are saved by grace through faith and we must live that way afterward. When we start trusting other things or people to deliver us, we’ve just stepped off the bridge into turbulent waters. “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:2 NIV 1984). The One who did that for us is able to be trusted in every season of our lives. Keep your eyes on Him.

This week you’ll read…

2 Kings 15-21: “He [Hezekiah] trusted in the Lord God of Israel; in this regard there was none like him among the kings of Judah either before or after.” (2 Kings 18 in The NET Bible).

1 Chronicles 15-21: “Seek the Lord and His strength; seek His face always” (1 Chronicles 16 in The Christian Standard Bible). What would happen if we followed this one command each day?

Psalms 91-95: “For he will give his angels orders concerning you, to protect you in all your ways. They will support you with their hands so that you will not strike your foot against a stone” (Psalms 91 in The Christian Standard Bible). The devil quoted this to Jesus as he tempted Him to jump off of the temple in Jerusalem. Devil, you were out of your league.

Mark 15-16: “When they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side; they were alarmed. ‘Don’t be alarmed,’ he told them. ‘You are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they put Him. But go, tell His disciples and Peter, “He is going ahead of you to Galilee; you will see Him there just as He told you.”’” (Mark 16 in The Christian Standard Bible).

CSB are daily readings linked to The Christian Standard Bible on BibleGateway.com.

MSG are daily readings linked to The Message Bible on BibleGateway.com.

NLT are daily readings linked to The New Living Translation on BibleGateway.com.

Is Your Jesus Biblical? July 8-14, 2019 (Mon-Sun): Read through 2 Kings, 1 Chronicles, Joel, and Mark

Is your Jesus the biblical Jesus? Could your version of Jesus exist outside of American culture? Is He the Middle Eastern Jesus found in Scripture? Is your Jesus one created from your own ideas, or is He the uncreated One of heaven? We must be careful not to impose unbiblical beliefs upon Jesus. Of course, we’re not infallible in our interpretations of Scripture, yet we must strive for a correct understanding of it and of Jesus. The biblical Jesus is not American, yet He “works” in America but supersedes America. The biblical Jesus is not Chinese, but He “works” in China yet surpasses China. The biblical Jesus “works” worldwide, but He exceeds the world. He’s bigger than a country, higher than a culture, greater than the world. If your version of Jesus would have a hard time transferring to another neighborhood or nation, then your “Jesus” is an imposter. He’s not the real Jesus.

Judas Iscariot was one of Jesus’ closest followers. He was one of the Twelve, yet he had his own ideas of who the Messiah should be. In Mark 14, a woman showed up for supper where Jesus and the Twelve were hanging out. The woman poured an expensive perfume on Jesus’ head, and some of those present griped that the perfume should’ve been sold and the money given to the poor. In an alike passage in John 12, a similar thing happens, and it’s Judas who vocally corrects Jesus. However, John also notes Judas’ thieving motive. He was a corrupt treasurer of the group. It’s at this point in the Mark 14 account that Judas cuts a monetary deal with the Jewish chief priests and then begins looking for an opportunity to betray Jesus, the One who was not fitting into his mold of the Messiah.

We must be careful that our version of Jesus does not betray the real Jesus.

This week you’ll read…

2 Kings 8-14: The Kings and Chronicles books present a challenge to readers—keeping up with the kings of Israel and the kings of Judah and the story switching back and forth. Click the link below to see a helpful chart of the kings and prophets during the kings period.

1 Chronicles 8-14: Starting well is of vital importance, but so is finishing well. The only thing better than each is both. Some of the kings in 1 Chronicles started well but ended pathetically (Solomon). Some started well and ended well such as David and Jehoshaphat. Manasseh started evil but finished good. It may be too late for you to start well, but you can still finish strong. Make that your determination.

Joel 1-3: “Even now—this is the Lord’s declaration—turn to Me with all your heart, with fasting, weeping, and mourning. Tear your hearts, not just your clothes, and return to the Lord your God. For He is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger, abounding in faithful love, and He relents from sending disaster. Who knows? He may turn and relent and leave a blessing behind Him, so you can offer grain and wine to the Lord your God” (Joel 2 in The Christian Standard Bible).

Mark 8-14: “While He was still speaking, Judas, one of the Twelve, suddenly arrived. With him was a mob, with swords and clubs, from the chief priests, the scribes, and the elders. His betrayer had given them a signal. ‘The One I kiss,’ he said, ‘He’s the One; arrest Him and take Him away under guard.’ So when he came, immediately he went up to Jesus and said, ‘Rabbi!’ and kissed Him. Then they took hold of Him and arrested Him” (Mark 14 in The Christian Standard Bible).

MSG are daily readings linked to The Message Bible on BibleGateway.com.

CSB are daily readings linked to The Christian Standard Bible on BibleGateway.com.

NLT are daily readings linked to The New Living Translation on BibleGateway.com.

Paralyzed: July 1-7, 2019 (Mon-Sun): Read through 2 Kings, 1 Chronicles, and Mark

I don’t give much thought to curbs and stairs, but a paralyzed person does. They’re obstacles. A six-inch curb might as well be six feet. A flight of stairs is insurmountable. Paralyzation is a dreaded condition. I had a friend named Stan who was paralyzed from the waist down, and he was a great example of joy and making the most of a tough situation. He was really in a difficult spot, but he had learned to deal with it. However, no matter how well that he had learned to cope with it, he still had two legs which didn’t work. He remembered running, walking, and lifting. I’m sure he could reminisce about the past and see in his mind how they used to function and how it used to be, but, in the present, his legs were practically lifeless.  Surely after his accident, he had gone through a grieving period and maybe still had grief at times. If he’d had had a choice in the matter, he’d have chosen for his legs to be restored to full health and use, but the choice was not up to him.

This is somewhat the situation in Mark 2 of a man who was paralyzed. However, back in Jesus’ day, a paralyzed man was in an even worse situation in that he could not rely upon a government program or insurance to provide any help. He didn’t have a handicap-fitted van or a self-propelled wheelchair. He had to rely completely upon the mercy of others which often led to begging for assistance while lying on a mat at a busy location, and I’ve not even mentioned the even harder and more dependent life of a quadriplegic. This paralyzed man in Mark 2 was in a terrible situation, but he met Jesus. Then Jesus changed everything. Here are four things we can learn in this historical account in Mark 2.

  • The paralyzed man had friends. His friends heard that Jesus was in town, and they brought him to Jesus, even breaking through the roof to get to Him. Are you bringing your friends to Jesus?
  • The paralyzed man had sins. Obviously, the man was paralyzed, but his biggest issue was spiritual. He was a sinner and needed forgiveness from the One who mattered—God. How are you dealing with your sin?
  • The paralyzed man was forgiven. Jesus recognized the faith of the friends and saw the man’s ultimate unmet need, so He forgave the man. This unleashed a firestorm in the Pharisees’ minds as they thought, Only God can forgive sins. Who does this guy think He is?
  • The point: Jesus is the Son of God from heaven. In response to the Pharisees’ unbelief, Jesus did something to prove that He was God and that He had the power to forgive sins. He gave the man a chance to be healed. He told him to get up, pick up his mat, and walk home. The man apparently believed Jesus because he attempted to move his legs, and they moved. Feeling returned, and he got up, took his mat, and walked out. Well, maybe he danced out in front of them all. Now understand that Jesus didn’t heal every paralyzed person on the planet, and He healed this one guy to prove that He was not merely a man. He healed to prove to people that He was the Lord. Is your faith firmly in the Lord?

This week you’ll read…

2 Kings 1-7: “When they arrived at the Jordan, they began cutting down trees. But as one of them was cutting a tree, his ax head fell into the river. ‘Oh, sir!’ he cried. ‘It was a borrowed ax!’ ‘Where did it fall?’ the man of God asked. When he showed him the place, Elisha cut a stick and threw it into the water at that spot. Then the ax head floated to the surface. ‘Grab it,’ Elisha said. And the man reached out and grabbed it” (2 Kings 6 in The New Living Translation).

1 Chronicles 1-7: “Jabez was more honored than his brothers. His mother named him Jabez and said, ‘I gave birth to him in pain.’ Jabez called out to the God of Israel: ‘If only You would bless me, extend my border, let Your hand be with me, and keep me from harm, so that I will not experience pain.’ And God granted his request” (1 Chronicles 4 in The Christian Standard Bible). Jabez’ name means he causes pain. In his birth, he caused pain to his mom, and Jabez didn’t want his life to be characterized by pain. He sought God, and God answered.

Mark 1-7: “‘Why are you thinking these things in your hearts? Which is easier: to say to the paralytic, “Your sins are forgiven,” or to say, “Get up, take your mat, and walk”? But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins’—He told the paralytic—‘I tell you: get up, take your mat, and go home.’ Immediately he got up, took the mat, and went out in front of everyone. As a result, they were all astounded and gave glory to God, saying, ‘We have never seen anything like this!’” (Mark 2 in The Christian Standard Bible).

MSG are daily readings linked to The Message Bible on BibleGateway.com.

CSB are daily readings linked to The Christian Standard Bible on BibleGateway.com.

NLT are daily readings linked to The New Living Translation on BibleGateway.com.