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Showing posts from January, 2018

TAKE UP THE CHALLENGE

Jesus taught that all scripture testifies about him so that in him we might have life (John 5v39-40). King David taught that it is only by living according to God's word that we're kept on the right path (Psalm 119v9). What then could be better than reading the entire Bible? Click the menu to read about the program, choose a month or Bible book - or just work through the blog posts day by day.

(32) 1 February : Proverbs 10v29 / Genesis 40-41 / Psalm 10v4-12

BEGIN WITH PRAYER "Lord open my eyes and my heart."

Read slowly so that you take in. And as you do, turn your heart to God, thanking him for the good you discover and praying his will home for you, your family, your church and the world. 
Wisdom to chew on Proverbs 10:29
Understanding to grow in Throughout Joseph is exempliary, bearing witness to God throughout. And God's perfect timing and wise purposes in Jospeh's hardships is revealed as he is brought to the most prominent postion possible in the known world of his day! This is how ably God can fulfil his purposes. Abraham was Joseph's great-grandad. So just three generations after God promised the ancient Abraham that he would bless the world through offspring by his barren wife, God has his descendent doing just that in Egypt. As we despair over the decline of our own culture and church, let's remember that Jesus reigns on high, and if he so choose he can establish people to whatever position he chooses. Bu…

(31) 31 January : Proverbs 10v27-28 / Genesis 38-39 / Psalm 10v1-3

BEGIN WITH PRAYER "Lord open my eyes and my heart."

Read slowly so that you take in. And as you do, turn your heart to God, thanking him for the good you discover and praying his will home for you, your family, your church and the world. 
Wisdom to chew on Proverbs 10:27-28
Understanding to grow in The story of Judah and his daughter-in-law must be understood in the context of offspring being critically important to the fulfilment of God's promise of a great nation to Abraham. Judah lead the conspiracy against Joseph and his sin is all the more evident here. By contrast Joseph's qualities shine out as the LORD is seen to bless those of Israel even when alone in a foreign land. Just as that would have encouraged Israelite captives later in the nation's history, so it should encourage us wherever our workplace is. But we see too that faithfulness to the LORD can also lead to false accusation and loss of position. As you read note Joseph's qualities and how they ar…

(30) 30 January : Proverbs 10v26 / Genesis 36-37 / Psalm 9v15-20

BEGIN WITH PRAYER "Lord open my eyes and my heart."

Read slowly so that you take in. And as you do, turn your heart to God, thanking him for the good you discover and praying his will home for you, your family, your church and the world. 
Wisdom to chew on Proverbs 10:26
Understanding to grow in The list of Esau's descendents is important, proving God's faithfulness to his promises as he promised Abraham kings and nations (plural), not just Israel. But the focus of the rest of the book on Joseph's life shows descent through Jacob and his family is paramount. Yet, as the nation that would come from them, the family is pretty disfunctional, being marked by favouritism, pride, jeleousy and hatred. It causes us to reflect on the state of our own biological and church families - determining to be set apart from such attitudes like Reuben and ultimately Christ. As your read note the challenges to your own character. Genesis 36-37
Finish this reading by pausing to ask yours…

(29) 29 January : Proverbs 10v25 / Genesis 34-35 / Psalm 9v11-14

BEGIN WITH PRAYER "Lord open my eyes and my heart."

Read slowly so that you take in. And as you do, turn your heart to God, thanking him for the good you discover and praying his will home for you, your family, your church and the world. 
Wisdom to chew on Proverbs 10:25
Understanding to grow in The distinctiveness and very existence of Jacob's family come under threat here. Yet God again protects them (35v1, 5) and reiterates his promise (35v11-13). Strikingly, the mother of the nation of Israel is buried at the very place it's Messiah would be born (35v19). And it is he who urges both shrewdness and innocence in our interactions with the world (Matt 10v16) - both of which are lacking in chapter 34. As you read note how Jacob starts to lead his family in the ways of the LORD. Genesis 34-35
Finish this reading by pausing to ask yourself: 1) What’s the main thing it teaches me about God or his purposes in Christ? Then praise him for this. 2) What’s the main thing it teach…

(26) 26 January : Proverbs 10v24 / Genesis 32-33 / Psalm 9v7-10

BEGIN WITH PRAYER "Lord open my eyes and my heart."

Read slowly so that you take in. And as you do, turn your heart to God, thanking him for the good you discover and praying his will home for you, your family, your church and the world.
Wisdom to chew on Proverbs 10:24
Understanding to grow in God continues to surprise in how he ensure's Jacob's protection - here by turning Esau's heart towards him. The three peace agreements Jacob establishes with Abimelech, Laban and now Esau show what a right response of rulers and nations to Christ and his people should be (see 12v3, Ps 2). And Jacob's wrestling with God is a picture not only of what the LORD has done in his life, but of what he will do in the history of the nation of Israel birthed through him. It is so often through struggle and suffering that God brings rebellious people into submission to him (Jam 1v2-4). As you read note the qualities Jacob is now seen to display. Genesis 32-33
Finish this reading by pa…

(25) 25 January : Proverbs 10v23 / Genesis 30v25-31v55 / Psalm 9v3-6

BEGIN WITH PRAYER "Lord open my eyes and my heart."

Read slowly so that you take in. And as you do, turn your heart to God, thanking him for the good you discover and praying his will home for you, your family, your church and the world.
Wisdom to chew on Proverbs 10:23
Understanding to grow in It's understandable to wonder why the details of this passage are included. And it's a reminder that not all the actions of God's people are to be taken as a good example. However, we see again how God uses the sinful and deceptive actions of human beings to further his purposes - here in blessing Jacob with wealth that will support the nation being born through his sons. We also see God protecting his chosen family by urging Jacob to return home and warning Laban when he started to become a threat (31v3, 13, 24, 29). As his protection of Christ's family later shows (Matt 2v13), nothing and no-one can stand against his purposes. As you read note the ways God continues to …

(24) 24 January : Proverbs 10v22 / Genesis 28v10-30v24 / Psalm 9v1-2

BEGIN WITH PRAYER "Lord open my eyes and my heart."

Read slowly so that you take in. And as you do, turn your heart to God, thanking him for the good you discover and praying his will home for you, your family, your church and the world.
Wisdom to chew on Proverbs 10:22
Understanding to grow in From Beersheba in the south, Jacob heads north to visit his uncle Laban in Harran (located in in what is now Turkey). When sleeping in the centre of what would later become Israel he receives his dream of angels ascending and descending from heaven. It highlights the special place of the promised land in God’s purposes. It is there God will one day reside in his temple, and there that heaven will be directly accessed through Jacob’s greatest descendent, as Jesus himself points out (Jn 1v51). It is significant then that we immediately learn about the parentage of those who would become the twelve tribes of Israel. Even the start of Abraham’s great nation came about through deception and r…

(23) 23 January : Proverbs 10v20-21 / Genesis 27v1-28v9 / Psalm 8v3-9

BEGIN WITH PRAYER "Lord open my eyes and my heart."
Read slowly so that you take in. And as you do, turn your heart to God, thanking him for the good you discover and praying his will home for you, your family, your church and the world.
Wisdom to chew on Proverbs 10:20-21
Understanding to grow in God can work through even the most dysfunctional families! Isaac gives such a significant blessing only because he knows God promised his father that Isaac’s descendants would become a great nation who will inherit Canaan and be blessed (12v1-7). But God uses the persistent lying of Jacob and his mother to ensure that this blessing comes through the one he had already chosen (see 25v23). Likewise he works out his purposes in Christ as he sees fit. And what encouragement! Even our bad decisions may be used by him for good. Nothing is wasted. As you read consider what lessons there are here for how God’s people relate to him and to one-another. Genesis 27v1-28v9
Finish this reading by pa…

(22) 22 January : Proverbs 10v19 / Genesis 25-26 / Psalm 8v1-2

BEGIN WITH PRAYER "Lord open my eyes and my heart."
Read slowly so that you take in. And as you do, turn your heart to God, thanking him for the good you discover and praying his will home for you, your family, your church and the world.
Wisdom to chew on Proverbs 10:19
Understanding to grow in The point in today’s passage is that after Abraham’s death God continues to be for his descendants. He blesses them in fulfilment of his promise to Abraham despite the fact that, like Abraham, they too are far from worthy. It gives great reassurance that no matter how many generations pass he will keep his promises to us in Christ. As you read note the different ways God reaffirms that he is fulfilling his promises, and then count the many blessings you continue to have because of Jesus. Genesis 25-26
Finish this reading by pausing to ask yourself: 1) What’s the main thing it teaches me about God or his purposes in Christ? Then praise him for this. 2) What’s the main thing it teaches me a…

(19) 19 January : Proverbs 10v18 / Genesis 24 / Psalm 7v14-17

BEGIN WITH PRAYER "Lord open my eyes and my heart."
Read slowly so that you take in. And as you do, turn your heart to God, thanking him for the good you discover and praying his will home for you, your family, your church and the world.
Wisdom to chew on Proverbs 10:18
Understanding to grow in This is a love story. But it is more. Abraham is concerned that his son doesn’t marry one of the peoples God promised him his descendants would replace (see 15v18-21). The reason is the same for why the Christian should marry those who “belong to the Lord” (1 Cor 7v39) – a concern not to be drawn away from him and be united in raising children to trust in his promises. And the text wants us to see God's blessing in providing a wife for Isaac not just of beauty, but of wisdom, purity and submissiveness. Yet as you read, note the example of Abraham’s servant on what it is to walk with the Lord in prayer and praise. Genesis 24
Finish this reading by pausing to ask yourself: 1) What’s the…

(18) 18 January : Proverbs 10v17 / Genesis 22-23 / Psalm 7v10-13

BEGIN WITH PRAYER "Lord open my eyes and my heart."

Read slowly so that you take in. And as you do, turn your heart to God, thanking him for the good you discover and praying his will home for you, your family, your church and the world.
Wisdom to chew on Proverbs 10:17
Understanding to grow in The high-point of Abraham’s faith. He so trusts God to give him descendants through Isaac, that he assumes that if he sacrifices him in obedience to God, God will raise Isaac from the dead (Heb 11v19). The event rightly shocks us. But it brings home the wonder that God would do for us what he didn’t actually require of Abraham. How much we should be prepared to offer our bodies to him as living sacrifices (Rom 12v1-2). All Abraham owns of the land he has been promised by the end of chapter 23 is Sarah’s grave. The lesson throughout is that he must keep trusting. As you read, note the qualities of Abraham’s faith on display.
Genesis 22-23
Finish this reading by pausing to ask yourself: 1) …

(17) 17 January : Proverbs 10v16 / Genesis 19v30-21v34 / Psalm 7v6-9

BEGIN WITH PRAYER "Lord open my eyes and my heart." Read slowly so that you take in. And as you do, turn your heart to God, thanking him for the good you discover and praying his will home for you, your family, your church and the world.
Wisdom to chew on Proverbs 10:16
Understanding to grow in Themes we’ve already come across are repeated: the subsequent sin of those God rescues, Abraham’s deception when lacking faith, and God’s care of Hagar and son. Yet God fulfils his promises, giving Abraham a son and being with him in all he does. As you read consider how this encourages you to trust God for the long term. Genesis 19v30-21v34
Finish this reading by pausing to ask yourself: 1) What’s the main thing it teaches me about God or his purposes in Christ? Then praise him for this. 2) What’s the main thing it teaches me about his will for me or the world? Then pray that home.
Devotion to offer up You could read this aloud and perhaps as a springboard to further prayer. Psalm 7v6-9
·Fo…

(16) 16 January : Proverbs 10v15 / Genesis 18v1-19v29 / Psalm 7v1-5

BEGIN WITH PRAYER "Lord open my eyes and my heart." Read slowly so that you take in. And as you do, turn your heart to God, thanking him for the good you discover and praying his will home for you, your family, your church and the world.
Wisdom to chew on Proverbs 10:15
Understanding to grow in Some appalling events, but so many significant details. As you read note how hospitality is a mark of the godly character, and consider what it involves. Such hospitality is a model for us towards others, but also patterns how we too should readily welcome God who in turn welcomes us to the intimacy of table-fellowship with him through Christ. Note too, God’s determination to be just and only punish those who warrant it, whilst showing mercy to Lot and his family despite Lot’s evident sin. It too is a pattern of the gospel by which God grabs hold of us (19v16) in salvation. We must remember that in Christ he could re-visit this world with destruction at any time. And we too must therefor…

(15) 15 January : Proverbs 10v13-14 / Genesis 16-17 / Psalm 6v6-10

BEGIN WITH PRAYER "Lord open my eyes and my heart." Read slowly so that you take in. And as you do, turn your heart to God, thanking him for the good you discover and praying his will home for you, your family, your church and the world.
Wisdom to chew on Proverbs 10:13-14
Understanding to grow in We need not excuse Abram and Sarai for their treatment of Hagar. We have seen they are works in progress. What is striking however, is God’s personal care of Hagar – an encouragement to all who suffer unjustly. It was the same care that attracted rejected women to Jesus (Lk 7v36-50, John 4v1-26). Chapter 17 brings us back to the idea of "covenant." God's promises to Abraham are formalised, but require circumcision by his descendents if they are to share in them. As you read, note how God’s promises are developed here. Genesis 16-17
Finish this reading by pausing to ask yourself: 1) What’s the main thing it teaches me ps about God or his purposes in Christ? Then praise him…

(12) 12 January : Proverbs 10v12 / Genesis 13-15 / Psalm 6v1-5

BEGIN WITH PRAYER "Lord open my eyes and my heart." Read slowly so that you take in. And as you do, turn your heart to God, thanking him for the good you discover and praying his will home for you, your family, your church and the world.
Wisdom to chew on Proverbs 10:12
Understanding to grow in Here Abram shows a degree of faith in God’s promise. Trusting him to give the land he is able to be generous to Lot, and trusting he will give him descendants he knows he will be safe in battle. Yet still his faith wavers as he then assumes his servant will have to be his heir. But whether Abram is strong or wavering, God’s blessing of him continues. Moreover, Christ is foreshadowed: first, in Melchizedek as priest-king of Salem (which will become Jeru-salem), through whom Abram is blessed and to whom he gives his service (14v18-20, cf. Heb 7); second, in Abram’s justification as he is credited with righteousness (the status of perfectly having done right) on account of his faith in God’…

(11) 11 January : Proverbs 10v11 / Genesis 11-12 / Psalm 5v8-12

BEGIN WITH PRAYER "Lord open my eyes and my heart." Read slowly so that you take in. And as you do, turn your heart to God, thanking him for the good you discover and praying his will home for you, your family, your church and the world.
Wisdom to chew on Proverbs 10:11
Understanding to grow in Rather than “fill” the earth, humanity gather in one place - Babel. And rather than honour God they seek to make a name for themselves. What we learn here is that our many languages are therefore God’s kind restraint on the evil we might do together. But he does more than restrain. Choosing Abram out from humanity he promises to somehow bless the whole world through his offspring who will be given the land of Canaan (now Israel). We’re learning that this is the line through which the serpent-crusher will come – looking us ultimately to the Lord Jesus (see Gal 3v16). More than that, by promising Abram a “great name” and continuing to bless him in Egypt despite his deception and lack of fa…

(10) 10 January : Proverbs 10v9-10 / Genesis 8v15-10v32 / Psalm 5v1-7

BEGIN WITH PRAYER "Lord open my eyes and my heart." Read slowly so that you take in. And as you do, turn your heart to God, thanking him for the good you discover and praying his will home for you, your family, your church and the world.
Wisdom to chew on Proverbs 10:9-10
Understanding to grow in The idea of "covenant" will come up again and again. It is a solemn and binding agreement between God and human beings in which promises are given with certain stipulations if they are to be enjoyed. Here the promise is of life on earth as long as one does not kill a human being. In this context, God re-commissions Noah and family to fill and subdue the earth just as he did Adam and Eve. It’s as if he’s starting again. And as the reader looks for the serpent-crusher, it is easy to wonder whether he might be one of this crowd. But the lesson is that the problem of sin is internal. Noah recognizes it remains and so offers a burnt offering on leaving the ark (8v20). And his subs…

(9) 9 January : Proverbs 10v8 / Genesis 5v1-8v14 / Psalm 4v6-8

BEGIN WITH PRAYER "Lord open my eyes and my heart." Read slowly so that you take in. And as you do, turn your heart to God, thanking him for the good you discover and praying his will home for you, your family, your church and the world.
Wisdom to chew on Proverbs 10:8
Understanding to grow in Peter writes that Noah’s salvation through water pictures ours through faith in Christ expressed in baptism (1 Pet 3v21). And today’s chapters stress that individual and therefore corporate death have always been “the wages of sin” (Rom 6v23) – which is transmitted to each new generation. The hugely long lifespans are therefore intended literally. The point seems to be that the everlasting life Adam and Eve began to enjoy has been lost, meaning a continual reduction of lifespan from the 930 years of Adam (see also 11v10-32) to the seventy or eighty we now enjoy (Ps 90v10). As you read note how God’s grace as well as his judgment are on display. Genesis 5v1-8v17
Finish this reading by pausi…

(8) 8 January : Proverbs 10v7 / Genesis 3-4 / Psalm 4v1-5

BEGIN WITH PRAYER "Lord open my eyes and my heart." Read slowly so that you take in. And as you do, turn your heart to God, thanking him for the good you discover and praying his will home for you, your family, your church and the world.
Wisdom to chew on Proverbs 10:7
Understanding to grow in Here we see that humanity’s rebellion against God is the source of all that we struggle within the world today and that Jesus came to deliver us from. And it is here that he is first prophesied: One of the woman’s offspring will crush the serpent (representing Satan) whilst bring struck by him as Jesus was on the cross (3v15). The lack of any mention of Adam even hints that this serpent-crusher may have no human father. As you read note the various consequences of sin. Genesis 3-4
Finish this reading by pausing to ask yourself: 1) What’s the main thing it teaches me about God or his purposes in Christ? Then praise him for this. 2) What’s the main thing it teaches me about his will for me o…

(5) 5 January : Proverbs 10v6 / Genesis 1-2 / Psalm 3v4-8

BEGIN WITH PRAYER "Lord open my eyes and my heart." Read slowly so that you take in. And as you do, turn your heart to God, thanking him for the good you discover and praying his will home for you, your family, your church and the world.
Wisdom to chew on Proverbs 10:6
Understanding to grow in The books from Genesis to Deuteronomy are known as the Pentateuch. Jesus affirms the view in his day that they were authored by Moses. So although later editing is apparent, their content primarily comes from him - around 1500 BC. Christians differ on how factual or figurative the opening chapters are intended to be. But what they agree on is that God is introduced as our Creator King, who has commanded creation into its current form and commissioned human beings to rule over it. As you read note the different things fulfilling this role is to involve.
Genesis 1-2
Finish this reading by pausing to ask yourself: 1) What’s the main thing it teaches me about God or his purposes in Christ? The…

(4) 4 January : Proverbs 10v4-5 / Proverbs 7-9 / Psalm 3v1-3

BEGIN WITH PRAYER "Lord open my eyes and my heart." Read slowly so that you take in. And as you do, turn your heart to God, thanking him for the good you discover and praying his will home for you, your family, your church and the world.
Wisdom to chew on Proverbs 10:3-4
Understanding to grow in Wisdom here is portrayed as a woman to be embraced, contrasting the adulteress. As you read note what response we are being encouraged to have towards Christ as the supreme personification of wisdom. Proverbs 7-9
Finish this reading by pausing to ask yourself: 1) What’s the main thing it teaches me about God or his purposes in Christ? Then praise him for this. 2) What’s the main thing it teaches me about his will for me or the world? Then pray that home.
Devotion to offer up You could read this aloud as a springboard to further prayer. Psalm 3v1-3
·For introductions to the various Bible books click here.
·To consult Matthew Henry’s concise commentary click here.

(3) 3 January : Proverbs 10v3 / Proverbs 5-6 / Psalm 2v7-12

BEGIN WITH PRAYER "Lord open my eyes and my heart."
Read slowly so that you take in. And as you do, turn your heart to God, thanking him for the good you discover and praying his will home for you, your family, your church and the world.
Wisdom to chew on Proverbs 10:2
Understanding to grow in We must remember Solomon is writing to his son. As you read consider what equivalent dangers you face, whether male or female? Proverbs 5-6
Finish this reading by pausing to ask yourself: 1) What’s the main thing it teaches me about God or his purposes in Christ? Then praisehim for this. 2) What’s the main thing it teaches me about his will for me or the world? Then praythat home.
Devotion to offer up You could read this aloud as a springboard to further prayer. Psalm 2:7-12
·For introductions to the various Bible books click here.
·To consult Matthew Henry’s concise commentary click here.

(2) 2 January : Proverbs 10v2 / Proverbs 3-4 / Psalm 2v1-6

BEGIN WITH PRAYER "Lord open my eyes and my heart."
Read slowly so that you take in. And as you do, turn your heart to God, thanking him for the good you discover and praying his will home for you, your family, your church and the world.
Wisdom to chew on
Proverbs 10:2
Understanding to grow in Solomon continues to commend wisdom. As you read note the benefits wisdom gives, and that following Christ therefore gives. Proverbs 3-4
Finish this reading by pausing to ask yourself: 1) What’s the main thing it teaches me about God or his purposes in Christ? Then praise him for this. 2) What’s the main thing it teaches me about his will for me or the world? Then pray that home.
Devotion to offer up You could read this aloud as a springboard to further prayer. Psalm 2:1-6
·For introductions to the various Bible books click here.
·To consult Matthew Henry’s concise commentary click here.