More information about the year-long, 2-A-DAY reading plan, including the readings schedule, can be found on the 2-A-DAY page.
Reflections on Exodus 25
By Jessica Kendal
Our God is In the Details
In Exodus 25 the Lord lays out, in great detail, instructions for building His Holy Place among His people. While I wondered, initially, what blue and purple thread would mean to a believer in Jesus Christ—He’s torn the curtain now, after all—I think part of the beauty in these details is God showing us how to worship Him. Here are just a few things to pull from this chapter:
1. Praise God that we can worship through cheerful giving and contribution to His works and His “house”! (vs. 2)
2. Praise God that He is the Holy of Holies, and he alone sits on the mercy seat! (vs. 22)
3. Praise God that He is our Bread of Life, and that He commands us in love to come before him regularly! (vs. 30)
4. Praise God that He is our Lampstand, the Light of the World, piercing the darkness! (vs. 37)
5. And lastly, Praise God that He knows us so well that He gives reminders to follow His instructions—may we not be tempted to adjust or embellish what He has said! (vs. 40)
Lord, we thank you today that You are still our God of details today. Please help us worship and trust You more with the details of our lives, give to you cheerfully, and follow Your Word exactly! In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen!
Reflection on Matthew 5
By Art & Jeannie Shenk
Matt 5:43 - 48 contains a snapshot of a brief but penetrating Q&A session conducted by Jesus with his disciples:
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you… For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”
What is the conclusion on how we are to live with others? We are to love and pray for others even our enemies or those who give us a hard time.
And “We MUST BE PERFECT, as our heavenly Father is perfect” in doing this. How can we possibly achieve this manner of living with others especially since the rest of Matthew 5 includes an avalanche of other holy standards for living?
I find Charles Spurgeon’s perspective on “perfect living” helpful taken from A Call to Holy Living.
The regenerate never rebel against any precept, saying, “This, is too pure;” on the contrary, our new-born nature is enamoured of its holiness, and we cry, “Thy word is very pure, therefore thy servant loveth it. O that my ways were directed to keep thy statutes.
Let’s live in the good of Spurgeon’s prayer for us: “My desire, this morning, is to insist upon the precepts which tend to holiness, and I pray the Holy Spirit to excite desires after a high degree of purity in all believing hearts.”
Reflection on Exodus 24 and Matthew 4
By Rhoda Dixon
I Need His Words Most.
Then he took the Book of the Covenant and read it in the hearing of the people. And they said, “All that the Lord has spoken we will do, and we will be obedient.” —Exodus 24:7
The words of God and the covenant would set the people of Israel apart as unto to the Lord. These words would direct every area of their lives, as ones who belonged to God, and they were to speak of who He is to each generation.
But he answered, “It is written, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” —Matthew 4:4
More than what is temporal, what I need most are God’s very words, and the One who is the Living Word. For only His words bring hope to my days, light to my circumstances, and eternal life. His words remind me of His faithfulness throughout time and all He has done for His people; they speak of His gospel and eternal kingdom.
In Exodus 24, God in His mercy had come near to the people, and they were to obey Him. And then in Matthew 4, God the Son had come near, with the call to follow Him.
Dear Lord, as Your people, we thank You for coming near to us, and for all You have spoken. Your words are truth, salvation and life. All that we are belongs to You, and we will obey You, and we will follow You.
WEDNESDAY, JULY 23 | Exodus 23 and Matthew 3
Reflection on Exodus 23
By Eryk Zimmerman
“Little by little I will drive them out from before you, until you have increased and possess the land.” (Exodus 23:30)
Little by little, more and more, Christ is transforming our souls. His work is patient, because we are slow to understand and every area of life must conform to the Way. Every rebellious part of ourselves will be conquered by the renewing of our minds in our knowledge of Him. And then at last, there is only our love for Jesus.
We can also be corrupted little by little. It’s not a great crime that tempts us, but by committing many petty crimes our consciences are seared. It’s not one heroic test that we are called to endure. It’s the many small things that we have to bear patiently until our will is strong and our minds are peaceful.
“I will drive them out”. Thank You, Jesus! Only Your goodness and love can purge our sins and heal our wounded souls. It is Your strength that makes us strong, and the life You give is everlasting.
Reflections on Exodus 22 and Matthew 2
By Tim Harvey
I have to admit I’ve often wished for the same kind of clear, unmistakable divine guidance like that Joseph experienced four times (four times!) during the events described in Matthew 1 and 2, and the divine guidance given to the magi through the star and their dream about avoiding Herod on the return trip.
Wouldn’t it be so much easier to follow God’s will if the occasional angel would appear in a dream and give me some specific instructions? Or how about the Old Testament Israelites – seems to me like they had it easy in some respects, too. Sure, there were a lot of laws to keep up with (as Exodus 22 illustrates), and a pretty complicated system of sacrifices, but as long as you were diligent and kept up with all those things, you were sure to experience God’s blessing, right? Just check off all the things on your Daily Laws Checklist and God would be happy. Just wait for an angel to appear and follow his instructions. Why can’t things be like that for us today?
When I think about it more closely I realize my desire for more “direct” divine guidance surfaces when I forget the rest of the story that is beginning in Matthew 2. l wish for a Righteousness Checklist (which the Old Testament law was never intended to be) that I could keep on my own and thereby take some credit for my own salvation – forgetting the far better and more perfect plan that God set in place through Christ. I want God to tell me what to do in a specific and unmistakable way because I’m afraid I’ll somehow “miss” His will and purpose for my life – and yet His plan carried on despite the wrath of Herod and its horrible results. How could He not be sovereign over my mistakes and missteps and even my sins? And I want an amazing experience of God’s unmistakable presence because I am prone to doubt He is really with me and cares for me – and yet His very name is “God With Us” and He came specifically so that my sins could be paid for and I could be adopted into His family. How could I ask for a better reminder of His love?
My prayer: Lord, help me to remember how deeply you love and care for me. Your promises are enough for me. Your Word and your Spirit and your people supply all the wisdom and guidance I need. Help me to rest in that truth more and more every day.
Reflections on Matthew 1
By Jose Troche
As I meditate on the first chapter of Matthew, I am blown away by its content and the cosmic repercussions of its announcement. It starts by compressing millennia of history that covers virtually the entire Old Testament from Genesis 12 and forward, and ends by describing the supernatural conception and birth of the very Son of God.
These are the opening words of Matthew: “The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.” The first page of the New Testament makes it crystal clear who is the main character of the divine plot: Jesus, the Christ, whose lineage is unwound in the following verses (1:1-17).
The way I wrestle, trying to comprehend with my limited mind this most amazing genealogy, is by imagining myself reading to my kids the Big Picture Story Bible. We start almost at its beginning reading about God promising Abraham to make of him a great nation and in him blessing all the families of the earth.
Years went by and Abraham was still without a son. However, God remained faithful to his promise and miraculously brought forward the birth of his son Isaac. Then we read about Isaac’s son, Jacob, who in turn had twelve sons, including Judah. As we rapidly flip the pages, the promise of God is fulfilled generation after generation.
Then we read about David and God promising to raise up out of him a son whose kingdom will be forever (2 Samuel 7:12-13). But, because of the disobedience of his descendants, the kingdom is divided and people are scattered and deported. And yet God remains true to his word. He starts bringing his people back together. But, they are still waiting for the eternal King who will be a blessing to all nations.
After the perplexing silence of the intertestamental period, God speaks again, moving his plan forward, as he remains immutable in his faithfulness. And now the birth of Jesus takes place (1:18). Although, we can trace back his origins, there is something that absolutely separates him from the rest of the human race: his genetic makeup is divine! Everyone is born of the union of a man with a women, but not Jesus. No human male participated in his conception. That which was conceived in Mary was from the Holy Spirit (1:20).
The glorious and majestic God took human form and was born in the likeness of men, getting near his people like never before. He is marvelously indeed “God with us”! (1:23) and he was called Jesus (from the Hebrew name Yeshua, which means “Yahweh saves”1), for he will save his people from their sins (1:21). Jesus is the ultimate fulfillment of God’s promises to Abraham and David. In this son of Abraham all the nations are blessed as they are offered salvation from their sins. And after conquering sin, Jesus, the son of David, has been crown as King forever. Alleluia!
1ESV Study Bible
Share this on:
July 14 2014 at 10:53 am 1 Comments
FRIDAY, JULY 18 | Exodus 20 and Galatians 6
Reflection on Exodus 20
By Art & Jeannie Shenk
The context of Exodus 20 is Moses coming down from Mount Sinai after receiving the Ten Commandments from God. The reaction of the people is revealing:
“Now when all the people saw the thunder and the flashes of lightning and the sound of the trumpet and the mountain smoking, the people were afraid and trembled, and they stood far off 19 and said to Moses, “You speak to us, and we will listen; but do not let God speak to us, lest we die.” 20 Moses said to the people, “Do not fear, for God has come to test you, that the fear of him may be before you, that you may not sin.” (Exodus 20:18-20)
Scripture refers to fearing God at least 300 times. Why?
“The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life, to turn one away from the snares of death”
William Eisenhower, Ph.D., PCUSA pastor and adjunct professor Fuller Theological Seminary suggests,
“Unfortunately, many of us presume that the world is the ultimate threat and that God’s function is to offset it. How different this is from the biblical position that God is far scarier than the world… When we assume that the world is the ultimate threat, we give it unwarranted power, for in truth, the world’s threats are temporary.”
Jesus warns, “I tell you, my friends, do not fear those who kill the body, and after that have nothing more that they can do. But I will warn you whom to fear: fear him who, after he has killed, has authority to cast into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him!” (Luke 12:4-5)
Application: Consider, “Does my life show a reverential fear and awe for a Holy God? If so, how? If not, what can I do today to begin to cultivate the “fear of the Lord as a fountain of life”?
Reflections on Galatians 6
By Jessica Kendal
We know that the concept of “sowing” occurs frequently in the Bible. In the parable of the sower (found in Matthew, Mark, and Luke), we learn about paying attention to where seed is sown. In Psalm 126, God’s people are encouraged that even if they are weeping as they sow, they will reap with tears of joy. And in Galatians, the Lord gives us both a warning and encouragement—choose to plant what is good, and don’t give up in doing so!
Did you know that the meanings of the word “mock” include “to ridicule, challenge, or defy?” The world we live in—and our own sinful natures—love to encourage us that we can reap without sowing, or sow “to our flesh” and yet still reap the blessings of God. One author commented that sowing to the flesh and expecting the Spirit is like planting seeds for cockleburs (spiny and poisonous), but expecting roses to grow. It’s crazy!
The Lord also knows how much we struggle with a desire for immediate gratification. Don’t grow weary in doing good, dear ones, for “in due season” we will reap…IF we don’t give up. Just like Josh preached from the Word on Sunday, the “beautiful thing” of living for God, against the culture and even without immediate results, is sowing to the Glory of God. It might not be in your timing, but the Lord’s season of reaping is always the right one. He alone knows when to harvest what He’s been growing in you. Trust Him, and don’t give up!
Are there any areas of your life where you are “sowing” to your flesh, instead of to the Lord?
How can you persevere in doing good for Him and His people today?
THURSDAY, JULY 17 | Exodus 19 and Galantians 5
By Rhoda Dixon
Met by the Living God: with His presence and word
In Exodus 19, the people of Israel are now at Mt. Sinai and the living God, in His majesty and power, is speaking to Moses, directing him in what he is to communicate to the people. In the next chapter, God will give forth the Ten Commandments, but in our text today, the people are being prepared, and the greatness of God’s presence is on display. Yet, we see in the text that just as evident as our God’s great presence, is His gracious promise:
“…while Moses went up to God. The Lord called to him out of the mountain, saying, “Thus you shall say to the house of Jacob, and tell the people of Israel: You yourselves have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself. Now therefore, if you will indeed obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my treasured possession among all peoples, for all the earth is mine; and you shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. These are the words that you shall speak to the people of Israel.” (Exodus 19:3-6)
As a treasured possession of God, the people are being called to respond to all God has done by obeying God’s voice and keeping His covenant.
Led by the Living God: by His Holy Spirit
Here, in our text in Galatians 5, as the Galatian church knows freedom in Christ, there is a call to walk by the Spirit, and to keep in step with Him. Indeed Paul’s words here are both a mark of the people of God, and they are also a daily desire of God’s people:
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” (Galatians 5:22-23)
A few application recommendations for the days ahead:
• We can meditate on God’s faithfulness as a covenant-keeping God
• As God’s people we are called to walk in His ways and display the fruit of His Spirit. But we do not need to be condemned when we recognize areas for growth, but we can be encouraged that God would place His Spirit in us, and that in His kindness He would work through us and enable us to be a reflection of Him. We can then ask for His help and leading to help us to grow.
• We can pray and ask the Holy Spirit to lead us in our actions, and that how we respond in our hearts and the decisions we make would be marked by His ways.
• We can encourage others this week in how we see the fruit of the Spirit at work in their lives.
WEDNESDAY, JULY 16 | Exodus 18 and Galatians 4
Reflections on Galatians 4
By Jessica Kendal
There are very few “heart pains” in the world as intense as watching a child—or anyone—you love making choices that are wrong and leading to their own pain and suffering. In Galatians 4, Paul says he is in anguish as he continues his pleading argument to the church to turn away from justification by the law, and back to Christ alone. Knowing that they are children of God’s promise, and reminding them of how blessed they were upon learning the Gospel, why then would they turn to the law? How could false teachers, who wanted to imprison them in rules and regulations, convince them so easily away from the freedom of grace?
But isn’t that most of us, in some form, today? We so often long for the “proof” of our justification and crave the control we think we have when we are successfully following rules, or the acceptance of being part of the “super-Christian” clique, just like the Galatians. Matthew Henry describes this so well:
“Yet as Abraham turned aside to Hagar, so it is possible a believer may turn aside in some things to the covenant of works, when through unbelief and neglect of the promise he acts according to the law, in his own strength; or in a way of violence, not of love, towards the brethren. Yet it is not his way, not his spirit to do so; hence he is never at rest, till he returns to his dependence on Christ again. Let us rest our souls on the Scriptures, and by a gospel hope and cheerful obedience, show that our conversation and treasure are indeed in heaven.” (From Matthew Henry’s Commentary on Galatians 4)
The Lord longs for us to be free in Him to do good works, not doing good works to be free in Him! Lord, please search our hearts today and find those anxious thoughts, those ways that we are striving to measure up or look good to You or others, and free our hearts from that slavery. We can’t do it without Your grace.
Now, Lord, I would be Yours alone
And live so all might see
The strength to follow Your commands
Could never come from me
Oh Father, use my ransomed life
In any way You choose
And let my song forever be
My only boast is You
Hallelujah! All I have is Christ
Hallelujah! Jesus is my life
(All I Have is Christ, by Jordan Kauflin)
TUESDAY, JULY 15 | Exodus 17and Galatians 3
Reflection on Exodus 17
By Eryk Zimmerman
The people have complained about the lack of water, and God commands Moses to take up his staff.
This is the staff that made a way for Israel across the Red Sea; it gave them a path in the sea and saved them, and the same staff gave them water in the desert. A dry place in the water and a spring of water from a stone - God can do anything!
Moses carries the staff now, not to punish the people for their anger, but rather to bless them, by striking the rock to bring out streams of water.
And the rock was Christ (1 Corinthians 10:4). The rock that was struck by the law of Moses, because of our disobedience. See the heart that we have pierced, the heart that loves us in return! The heart of Jesus is an infinite supply of patience and kindness.
All who drank in the desert had to drink again, and the rich man in hell was tormented with thirst. But for all who know Jesus there is a river of the water of life, flowing from the throne of God and the Lamb.
MONDAY, JULY 14 | Exodus 16 and Galatians 2
Reflection on Exodus 16
By William Li
This chapter is a humbling reminder that nations and individuals often forget the blessing of the Lord. The title of the chapter is ‘Bread from Heaven’, where God leads his people through the wilderness of Sin and tests them through blessings instead of hardships.
Israelite Congregation: “Would that we had died by the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the meat pots and ate bread to the full, for you have brought us out into the wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger.” (Ex 16:3)
God: “Behold, I am about to rain bread from heaven for you, and the people shall go out and gather a day’s portion every day, that I may test them, whether they will walk in my law or not.” (Ex 16:4)
God gave the people meat and bread untill they were full. They had quail in the evening and bread from Heaven in the morning. God commanded them to not to leave any of it over till the morning and not to gather more on the Sabbath. But the people did not listen and left part of it till morning when it bred worms and stank. They did not honor the Sabbath even though the Lord provided twice as much as they normally gather on the sixth day. As Christians living in a prosperous county, often our tests will come in the form of prosperity instead of scarcity. When the Lord blesses us, we must honor Him in a way that truly shows our appreciation through a redeemed life lived in accordance with his commands.
Share this on:
July 7 2014 at 10:38 am 0 Comments
We’re excited to share a reflection we received from Art & Jeannie Shenk on the 2-a-Day readings for July 4. As fellow believers let’s help each other dwell on the Word of God.
“I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”
I love Paul’s passionate appeal to us to be “living sacrifices”:
I invite you to join me TODAY by devoting yourself to being transformed (present tense). It starts by renewing your mind, engaging by faith to consider and apply the words of spirit and life found in God’s word to everything you do. Why? One reason is by doing this, we will push back against the temptations and enticements of the world to live for self rather than God. And why should we do this? To test and prove that God’s will is in fact the only way to live that is good and acceptable and perfect and in the end will be far better than anything the world has to offer for God’s glory and our best good.
“I think the best answer is to see the connection between verses 1 and 2. My suggestion is that verse 2 is the realistic explanation of the more symbolic verse 1. Verse 1 talks about sacrifices and worship. Verse 2 talks about your mind being renewed and doing the will of God….use your renewed mind to prove what is the will of God, what is good, acceptable and perfect.” -John Piper
Have you ever thought about what it would be like to be Moses being told by God to bring plague after plague, a total of 10 plagues on Egypt before Pharaoh finally gave in to set the Israelites free? Moses must have felt some compassion toward those being afflicted but must have been sobered by Pharoah’s hard heart, obstinacy and pride in the face of the severity of God’s judgment over and over again. Lesson learned? As Charles Spurgeon puts it, “God would stamp the early history of Israel with the deep impression of his Godhead. His overthrow of the proud Egyptian king should let Israel know in the very beginning how great a God had chosen her to be his own peculiar portion.”
What God did was designed to set Israel free, yes, but more importantly to magnify his name for generations:
“Then the LORD said to Moses, ‘Go in to Pharaoh, for I have hardened his heart and the heart of his servants, that I may show these signs of mine among them, and that you may tell in the hearing of your son and of your grandson how I have dealt harshly with the Egyptians and what signs I have done among them, that you may know that I am the LORD.’” (Exodus 10: 1-2)
Mathew Henry says of this passage:
“The ten plagues of Egypt must be inflicted, that they may be recorded for the generations to come as undeniable proofs, (1) of God’s overruling power in the kingdom of nature, his dominion over all the creatures, and his authority to use them either as servants to his justice or sufferers by it, according to the counsel of his will. (2) Of God’s victorious power over the kingdom of Satan, to restrain the malice and chastise the insolence of his and his church’s enemies. These plagues are standing monuments of the greatness of God, the happiness of the church, and the sinfulness of sin, and standing monitors to the children of men in all ages not to provoke the Lord to jealousy nor to strive with their Maker.”
Prayer: Father, thanks for the reminder that you are the undeniable ruler of the universe as demonstrated so severely to the hard-hearted Pharaoh of Egypt. Thanks that out of the kind intention of your will, you have chosen us to be servants to your justice rather than suffers of your wrath. Work in us TODAY to be soft-hearted not hard-hearted toward you and be led by the Spirit to demonstrate to others that we believe in you and submit to your ways as our Lord and Savior. Also, help us to have compassion on those whose hearts are yet to be soft toward you so in your timing, they may know that you are the Lord.
Share this on:
June 11 2014 at 6:49 am 0 Comments
Here’s a reflection on the June 6 reading in our 2-A-DAY Bible Reading plan:
Genesis 40 ends with Joseph being forgotten by Pharaoh’s cupbearer whom he helped in prison. But we learn in the next chapter that God had an awesome purpose for his delay in rescuing Joseph.
Where are you in your own story? Maybe you feel forgotten by friends. Maybe you have literally been forgotten or passed over or ignored at work or some other setting. Joseph’s story is a reminder that God’s children are not ultimately defined by the neglect, forgetfulness or sin of others—being known and loved by God is all that truly matters.
This ties into the reading in Mark 8 where Jesus tells us to deny ourselves and take up our cross and follow him (Mark 8:34). Even if following and serving Jesus feels like losing your life, it’s actually the only way to save it. There’s no point in gaining the whole world if you forfeit eternal life. It’s better to lose your life for Jesus then have so called “life” apart from him. It’s better to be forgotten by man in a prison cell and remembered by the Almighty than to be free and far from the only One who can give us real life and freedom.
Share this on:
April 4 2014 at 7:44 am 0 Comments
A 2-A-Day Bible Reading reflection from Dave Wilcox:
What’s the key to a great song? It’s the hook, right? It’s that line that gets stuck on repeat in your brain.
Go ahead and try to not sing along in your mind:
We will, we will rock you
I can’t get no satisfaction
Let’s see how our songwriter did in Psalm 67.
May God be gracious to us and bless us
and make his face to shine upon us…
Not a bad start! I could put that on repeat in my prayer life. More of verse 1…
that your way may be known on the earth
your saving power among all nations.
OK. That’s a slightly different angle.
And now the chorus…
Let the peoples praise you O God;
Let all the peoples praise you!
So what’s the hook?
The song starts off talking about grace and blessings from God. But then it gets stuck on the idea that those blessings are not only for us but also for God’s glory in the eyes of every nation on earth. The line that the songwriter wants us to repeat over and over as we “hum its tune,” is that God is to be feared and praised by joyful people in every nation.
So go ahead and ask God for grace and blessing. But also repeatedly ask God to fulfill the intended effect of that blessing: showing the whole world his saving power and creating worshippers in every nation.
Share this on:
March 21 2014 at 1:52 pm 0 Comments
A 2-A-Day Bible Reading reflection from Dave Wilcox:
He is the hunted, and his time has run out. The clank of soldier armor and a muffled commander’s orders reverberate into the cave. Hoping to disappear behind the sound of dripping water, he crouches in silence.
But the Psalmist’s soul is not silent.
“My heart is steadfast, O God.
My heart is steadfast.
I will sing and make melody!
Awake, my glory!
Awake, O harp and lyre!
I will awake the dawn!”
What makes a heart steadfast in the face of his enemy and possible death? The steadfastness of God.
“God will send out his steadfast love and faithfulness!”
“[God’s] steadfast love is great to the heavens, [his] faithfulness to the clouds.”
Father, convince us of your steadfast love and your faithfulness, so that, in the midst of darkness, uncertainty, and even death, we can have this same heart of praise:
“Be exalted, O God, above the heavens! Let your glory be over all the earth!”
Jump into the 2-A-Day reading plan anytime! Just download the schedule and follow along.
Share this on: