Daily Bible Reading: The Most Important Conversation

1 Thessalonians 2:4 “But as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, even so we speak, not as pleasing men, but God who tests our hearts.”

DBR1I tend to think that I obey God most of the time. I try not to do the things that are wrong, and even though I often fall short, I also try to do the things that are right, with the help of the Holy Spirit living in me. But one thing I don’t do as often as I should, which He commands, and which is most important in the lives of those I know, is share His Word. Is it really possible that for over five years I can live near and talk to someone who is lost, and never share the amazing gift God has given me and offered them? And I really do believe that I care about their salvation! How many people do I see—talk to—every day who never hear God’s Word from me? How many conversations do I have where God’s name is never mentioned?

It can be very easy—too easy—to makes excuses or give reasons why we aren’t sharing His Word. Many times I feel I don’t have the time…someone else will do it…now is not the time…they don’t and won’t care what I have to say—or worse, they will steer clear of me from that moment on. And how awkward would that be! Rather, I should be thinking how awkward it would be one day if they could see me after death and wonder, “Why did you never mention this to me!?”

This month’s reading offers many verses that can apply to spreading God’s Word. James 1:22 tells us to be “doers, not hearers only.” In chapter 4, James warns that if we know good and do not do it, it is sin (v. 17). Acts tells of Stephen, who so adamantly spread the Word that he was stoned for it. And Saul, who had one of the greatest turn-arounds in the Bible, sharing God’s Word amid persecution even after witnessing the stoning of Stephen.

If we want to see a very vivid example of how God views the disobedience of not sharing His Word as He commands, we can look at the ever-popular story of Jonah. From childhood, we’ve known him to be the guy with the big fish. And we know it has something to do with a little place called Ninevah. But the book of Jonah, which we’ll read this month, is an amazingly relevant story of someone who was commanded to share God’s word and disobeyed. He literally ran in the other direction. And why? After fasting and repenting (3:5)after spending three days in the belly of a fish—Jonah went to Ninevah to do what he was supposed to do in the first place. And how did they respond? Stoning Jonah? Chasing him out of town? Laughing in his face? No! They tore their clothes in sorrow and repented! Great! But, wait. Jonah’s reaction is the one that should surprise us the most. Or maybe it convicts us even more. In chapter 4, immediately after Ninevah’s repentance, Jonah is angry and displeased. Why? Because he didn’t believe that it should be that easy for a sinful place like Ninevah to be saved from God’s wrath.

Regardless of the reasons we often fail to share God’s Word, we need to ask His forgiveness for our sin in this area, pray that He will begin working on our hearts and provide us with opportunities, then help us to know the words to say when we tell others about His love. Rather than running from His command to spread the Word, we should be seeking out DBR2opportunities to share the gift He has given us.

By Lisa Grimenstein

Suggested Reading for October

OCT 1 Prov 26-27
OCT 2 Obadiah
OCT 3 Acts 1-2
OCT 4 Heb 5-7
OCT 5 Num 29-32
OCT 6 2 Chr 11-15
OCT 7 Ps 117-118
OCT 8 Prov 28
OCT 9 Jonah
OCT 10 Acts 3-4
OCT 11 Heb 8-10
OCT 12 Num 33-36
OCT 13 2 Chr 16-20
OCT 14 Ps 119
OCT 15 Prov 29-30
OCT 16 Micah
OCT 17 Acts 5-6
OCT 18 Heb 11-13
OCT 19 Deut 1-3
OCT 20 2 Chr 21-24
OCT 21 Ps 120-121
OCT 22 Prov 31
OCT 23 Nahum
OCT 24 Acts 7-8
OCT 25 James 1-3
OCT 26 Deut 4-6
OCT 27 2 Chr 25-28
OCT 28 Ps 122-124
OCT 29 Eccl 1-2
OCT 30 Habakkuk
OCT 31 Acts 9-10

This year’s Bible reading plan was borrowed from BibleReading.com. (To correspond with the 2009 year, we have included actual dates for your referral. You may choose to use the above site, instead.)

Daily Bible Reading: No Small Thing

Matthew 5:18 “…until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished.”

stw1It is easy to get caught up in the small stuff. Many days, it seems everything is a big thing. And consequently, we spend much valuable time worrying, complaining, and arguing about “stuff.” God’s word is full of scriptures about worry. One verse in Proverbs tell us not to boast about tomorrow, because we don’t know what that day will bring (27:1). I think this can relate to Matthew 6:34, where Jesus says, “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

He also tells us in Matthew 6:25: “…do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes?” Jesus must have been talking directly to women! I’ll admit that I’m one who “worries”—thinks about!—what I’m going to wear way too often. We become so preoccupied with our diets that we focus on ourselves and what we want from our bodies more than what God wants.

This month’s Daily Bible Reading is filled with “small stuff.” However, many times, it’s the disregard of the “small stuff” that God commanded of His people that results in severe consequences. From famine and plague resulting from David’s pride to Moses’ very “minor” disobedience keeping him from entering the promised land, the reading this month reminds us of the penalty of sin. I hope we will allow ourselves to rest in the assurance that God’s forgiveness covers all we do to sin against Him, when we come to Him with a repentant heart and ask for His forgiveness. And that is no small thing!

– Lisa Grimenstein

Suggested Reading for September

dailybiblereading1SEP 1 1 Chr 15-19
SEP 2 Ps 102-104
SEP 3 Prov 20-21
SEP 4 Hosea 8-14
SEP 5 John 10-12
SEP 6 2 Tim 3-4
SEP 7 Num 13-16
SEP 8 1 Chr 20-24
SEP 9 Ps 105-107
SEP 10 Prov 22
SEP 11 Joel
SEP 12 John 13-15
SEP 13 Titus
SEP 14 Num 17-20
SEP 15 1 Chr 25-29
SEP 16 Ps 108-110
SEP 17 Prov 23-24
SEP 18 Amos 1-4
SEP 19 John 16-18
SEP 20 Philemon
SEP 21 Num 21-24
SEP 22 2 Chr 1-5
SEP 23 Ps 111-113
SEP 24 Prov 25
SEP 25 Amos 5-9
SEP 26 John 19-21
SEP 27 Heb 1-4
SEP 28 Num 25-28
SEP 29 2 Chr 6-10
SEP 30 Ps 114-116

This year’s Bible reading plan was borrowed from BibleReading.com. (To correspond with the 2009 year, we have included actual dates for your referral. You may choose to use the above site, instead.)

Our Bridegroom

“A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies.” (Proverbs 31:10)

This month’s theme is “Pierce my heart for marriage,” and it’s remarkable how much of our reading for this month is related to it.

extra9Luke 23–24 focuses on Jesus’ death and resurrection. Many times in Scripture, Jesus is referred to as our Bridegroom (Matthew 9:15). As we see at the end of Luke, He made the ultimate sacrifice to show His love for us––He gave His life for us. He commands all husbands to sacrificially love their wives, just as He loved the church (Ephesians 5:25).
Just “as a bridegroom rejoices over his bride, so will [our] God rejoice[s] over [us]” (Isaiah 62:5). How awesome to have Someone Who loves us so much and rejoices over us!

However, we do not always respond to God with such appreciation for this sacrificial love. The book of Hosea compares Israel’s love for God to that of a harlot, as Israel is constantly unfaithful to Him, never valuing what He has done for her. And yet, God does not ultimately abandon Israel, regardless of her desire for other loves.

In this month’s reading of the gospel of John, we encounter several occasions when Jesus dealt with weddings and marriages. In John 2, He performs His first miracle, changing water into wine at a wedding feast. In chapter 4, He speaks to a Samaritan woman at a well––not acceptable for a Jewish man to do––confronting her about her sinful behavior regarding men and marriage. Whether in marriage or not, we are commanded in God’s Word to be sexually pure (1 Thessalonians 4:3, 7), avoiding sexual immorality.

Proverbs not only addresses women and wives, but it also gives wisdom that, while pertaining to all relationships, applies to marriages entirely. It tells us that a wise woman builds up her house (Proverbs 14:1). Proverbs 15:1 gives wisdom from which every person could profit: “A soft answer turns away wrath, But a harsh word stirs up anger.” It is often easy to use harsh words toward our spouses, stirring up anger and resentment. These harsh words often result from impatience and keeping track of past wrongs, which Scripture tells us is not a characteristic of godly love (1 Corinthians 13).

As women and wives, we have the power––and responsibility––to control the environment in our homes. And it is a big responsibility. Our attitudes can affect those of our husbands and children. Proverbs 17:1 tells us: “Better is a dry morsel with quietness, Than a house full of feasting with strife.” As wealthy as we may be, or as many things as we may have, it is only strife if the home does not put God first.

As many wonderful books as there are available on marriage, there is one we should go to first in order to find out what makes a godly, successful marriage––God’s Word. The Bible is filled with His commands for marriage, and His example of sacrificial love. Whether we are married or not, we only have to go so far as to His Word to discover what makes a wife who is pleasing to God.

By Lisa Grimenstein

dbr11Suggested Reading for August

AUG 1 Luke 23-24
AUG 2 1 Thes 4-5
AUG 3 Lev 22-24
AUG 4 2 Kings 21-25
AUG 5 Ps 90-92
AUG 6 Prov 14-15
AUG 7 Ezek 43-48
AUG 8 John 1-2
AUG 9 2 Thes
AUG 10 Lev 25-27
AUG 11 1 Chr 1-4
AUG 12 Ps 93-95
AUG 13 Prov 16
AUG 14 Dan 1-6
AUG 15 John 3-4
AUG 16 1 Tim 1-3
AUG 17 Num 1-4
AUG 18 1 Chr 5-9
AUG 19 Ps 96-98
AUG 20 Prov 17-18
AUG 21 Dan 7-12
AUG 22 John 5-6
AUG 23 1 Tim 4-6
AUG 24 Num 5-8
AUG 25 1 Chr 10-14
AUG 26 Ps 99-101
AUG 27 Prov 19
AUG 28 Hosea 1-7
AUG 29 John 7-9
AUG 30 2 Tim 1-2
AUG 31 Num 9-12

This year’s Bible reading plan was borrowed from BibleReading.com. (To correspond with the 2009 year, we have included actual dates for your referral. You may choose to use the above site, instead.)

The Beginning of Knowledge

dbr2Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. (Colossians 3:2)

This month’s theme is centered around our college edition of Pierce My Heart. Naturally, when we think of college, we think of higher learning. But it’s important for us to think of the greatest learning we could focus on––God’s Word.

Not only is our reading for this month filled with Proverbs and scripture about the importance of learning God’s Word and keeping it in our hearts (Deuteronomy 11:18), but it also includes everything important we would ever need to know. The information given in the Bible is eternal information––not just something we memorize when cramming for a test, only to forget it as we walk out the door afterward. In school, I was the Queen of Cram. I could look at something and have it memorized quickly. But how much did I retain from that short-term memorization?

Psalm 77:12 tells us that David meditated on God’s works. We’re also told in Psalm 1:2 and Joshua 1:8 to meditate on His Word day and night (emphasis mine). That’s not just reading. That’s not just short-term memorization. That’s keeping it in our hearts and minds for good.

Colossians 1:9–11 says that we should pray for God to fill us “with the knowledge of His will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding.” This is the wisdom and understanding we should ultimately be striving to attain.

Of course, Proverbs is overflowing with scripture on the importance of knowledge and godly wisdom. We are told that “the fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding (9:10) and that wise men store up knowledge (10:14). As crazy as it sounds, Proverbs also tells us that a wise person loves correction (discipline) in 12:1: “Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but he who hates correction is stupid.” Pretty blunt, huh?

We’ve talked before about the importance of actual Bible study, and not just Bible reading. There are many times, especially in the busyness of school, when we feel we only have time to catch a chapter or two of Scripture here or there, but we need to remember that God’s Word is the most important Book we could ever study (Deuteronomy 4:10), and in this case, cramming is not going to cut it.

“Hear my words so that [you] may learn to revere me as long as [you] live.” (Deuteronomy 4:10)

dbr1By Lisa Grimenstein

Suggested Reading for July

JULY 1 Ps 75-77
JULY 2 Prov 7
JULY 3 Ezek 13-18
JULY 4 Luke 15-16
JULY 5 Phil 3-4
JULY 6 Lev 10-12
JULY 7 2 Kings 1-5
JULY 8 Ps 78-80
JULY 9 Prov 8-9
JULY 10 Ezek 19-24
JULY 11 Luke 17-18
JULY 12 Col 1-2
JULY 13 Lev 13-15
JULY 14 2 Kings 6-10
JULY 15 Ps 81-83
JULY 16 Prov 10
JULY 17 Ezek 25-30
JULY 18 Luke 19-20
JULY 19 Col 3-4
JULY 20 Lev 16-18
JULY 21 2 Kings 11-15
JULY 22 Ps 84-86
JULY 23 Prov 11-12
JULY 24 Ezek 31-36
JULY 25 Luke 21-22
JULY 26 1 Thes 1-3
JULY 27 Lev 19-21
JULY 28 2 Kings 16-20
JULY 29 Ps 87-89
JULY 30 Prov 13
JULY 31 Ezek 37-42

This year’s Bible reading plan was borrowed from BibleReading.com. (To correspond with the 2009 year, we have included actual dates for your referral. You may choose to use the above site, instead.)

Our Main Work

dbr1“And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment, that you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ, being filled with the fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.” (Philippians 1:9–11)

Our reading this month is filled with verses on the subject of work. In Proverbs, we are told to work (12:11), and are warned against laziness (6:6–11). We are told in Galatians to focus on our own works and not to compare ourselves, and what we do, with others (6:4). However, the one theme I see all throughout Scripture is that of working for salvation.

In Exodus and especially Leviticus, there are many chapters dedicated to offerings. The Israelites were given specific instructions on how and what to offer to God for forgiveness of sin, in times of distress, and as thanksgiving. It was a lot of work! The details are so specific that I’m sure it was overwhelming––not to mention how often they had to perform these sacrifices. They were constantly working.

And then things changed. Someone came Who did all the work for us, in advance. He came and gave us freedom from the constant work for our forgiveness. Christ came and died for our sin and became the ultimate, final sacrifice for us. This doesn’t mean that we can or should just sit idly by and do nothing with our lives (Luke 9:23), but it does mean that the constant work for our salvation has been done for us. In this way, no one can take credit for the work that has been done except God Himself. “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Ephesians 2:8–10, emphasis mine). And once we’re saved, it’s still not us doing the work for His kingdom! He is working in us! “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us” (Ephesians 3:20, emphasis mine). “For it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose” (Philippians 2:13).

dbr2God reminds us in Galatians that we are no longer slaves, but sons (4:7). Slaves have to work for their master’s approval. But we are sons and daughters. Children do not work for their Father; He has an inheritance for them. Once we are saved, we are free in Christ. “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery” (Galatians 5:1). However, this freedom does not excuse us to do whatever we want. If we are children of God, His Spirit lives in us (1 Corinthians 3:16); if His Spirit lives in us, then our lives should be reflecting that (Romans 8:9). This freedom He gives allows us to rest in the assurance of our salvation (Hebrews 10:22).

This month, as we’re focusing our theme on careers and work, let’s not forget our main work, which is brought about in us by the Holy Spirit, and is to be for God’s glory.

By Lisa Grimenstein

Suggested Reading for June

JUNE 1 Ex 33-36
JUNE 2 1 Kings 1-4
JUNE 3 Ps 63-65
JUNE 4 Prov 1
JUNE 5 Jer 47-52
JUNE 6 Luke 7-8
extra2JUNE 7 Gal 4-6
JUNE 8 Ex 37-40
JUNE 9 1 Kings 5-9
JUNE 10 Ps 66-68
JUNE 11 Prov 2-3
JUNE 12 Lamentations
JUNE 13 Luke 9-10
JUNE 14 Eph 1-3
JUNE 15 Lev 1-3
JUNE 16 1 Kings 10-13
JUNE 17 Ps 69-71
JUNE 18 Prov 4
JUNE 19 Ezek 1-6
JUNE 20 Luke 11-12
JUNE 21 Eph 4-6
JUNE 22 Lev 4-6
JUNE 23 1 Kings 14-18
JUNE 24 Ps 72-74
JUNE 25 Prov 5-6
JUNE 26 Ezek 7-12
JUNE 27 Luke 13-14
JUNE 28 Phil 1-2
JUNE 29 Lev 7-9
JUNE 30 1 Kings 19-22

This year’s Bible reading plan was borrowed from BibleReading.com.  (To correspond with the 2009 year, we have included actual dates for your referral. You may choose to use the above site, instead.)

To Serve Like Him

dbr2“Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.” 1 Peter 4:10

There is no greater example of a true servant than Jesus Christ Himself. And all through His word, He provides us with examples of what servanthood is and those who demonstrated it. He calls us to be servants to others; however, we are to first and foremost serve Him and serve to please Him (Galatians 1:10). And although we are commanded to serve, He reminds us in Galatians 2:16 that we are justified by faith, not by the many works we may do for Him or others. In this month’s reading, we’ll encounter many servants, each exhibiting servanthood in a unique way.

Jeremiah was a prophet and an earnest servant of God. The book of Jeremiah reveals his inner struggle to continue steadfastly in servicing God by being obedient to Him, even in hardship. The prophet Jeremiah was assigned the unenviable task of confronting others of their sin (Jer. 26). And as a servant of God, he obeyed, even when threatened with death and faced with imprisonment (ch. 37).

In the gospel of Luke, we encounter another obedient servant––John the Baptist. His service was to prepare the way for Christ. He was a great example of what a servant should be, taking no credit for what he was doing, and pointing all attention and glory to God. In chapter 5, Jesus begins calling the twelve apostles, who dropped everything they were doing in order to serve Him. How often can we say that we do the same?

Jesus served others His entire life, but most significantly, He served us in His death. Even though He struggled with this requirement God had placed on Him (Mark 14:36), He is obedient to God, even to death on the cross. Although we can never repay Him or be the true servant He was, He has instructed us on how we should serve. Sometimes our service may require suffering (2 Cor. 11:22–33). Second Corinthians 9:7 tells us to be cheerful givers, which I think also applies to serving. We should do it with a cheerful heart, not begrudgingly or selfishly. We are to serve because that’s what is commanded of us, not comparing ourselves with others and how obedient they are or in what ways they serve (2 Cor. 10:12, 17).

In all the serving we do, we are commanded in Exodus to ultimately serve no other God but the Lord our God (23:25). In everything we do, it is to be to His glory. It can become easy to serve other things and people, even serving service itself! But we must remain focused on our ultimate purpose in serving––in obedience to God, to reflect the Holy Spirit, and to glorify Him.

Suggested Reading for May

dbr1MAY 1 Jer 22-26
MAY 2 Mark 13-14
MAY 3 2 Cor 4-5
MAY 4 Ex 17-20
MAY 5 2 Sam 5-9
MAY 6 Ps 51-53
MAY 7 Job 35-36
MAY 8 Jer 27-31
MAY 9 Mark 15-16
MAY 10 2 Cor 6-8
MAY 11 Ex 21-24
MAY 12 2 Sam 10-14
MAY 13 Ps 54-56
MAY 14 Job 37-38
MAY 15 Jer 32-36
MAY 16 Luke 1-2
MAY 17 2 Cor 9-10
MAY 18 Ex 25-28
MAY 19 2 Sam 15-19
MAY 20 Ps 57-59
MAY 21 Job 39-40
MAY 22 Jer 37-41
MAY 23 Luke 3-4
MAY 24 2 Cor 11-13
MAY 25 Ex 29-32
MAY 26 2 Sam 20-24
MAY 27 Ps 60-62
MAY 28 Job 41-42
MAY 29 Jer 42-46
MAY 30 Luke 5-6
MAY 31 Gal 1-3

By Lisa Grimenstein

This year’s Bible reading plan was borrowed from Bible-Reading.com.  To correspond with the 2009 year, we have included actual dates for your referral. You may choose to use the above site, instead.

Lord of All Creation

dbr2Romans 1:20: “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen…”

This month, our daily study will be packed Scripture demonstrating and confirming God’s sovereignty over His creation. It is easy to forget that we are such a small part of His creation, and yet He knows everything about us and cares as much for each individual as He does another. Luke 12:7: “Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.”

Psalms is overflowing with praise and acknowledgement that God is Lord over all creation. Not only that, but this book contains many songs that use nature and creation when glorifying Him. “Your love, O LORD, reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness to the skies. Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains, your justice like the great deep” (Ps. 36:5–6). While many of the Psalms remind us of what a small, temporary part of creation we are (Ps. 37:20), it also reminds us of how important we are to God (Ps. 37:7), telling us to wait patiently on Him to carry out His sovereign will for us. Psalm 46 encourages us that we don’t need to fear, even in troubling times (vs. 1–3). “How awesome is the LORD Most High, the great King over all the earth! . . . for the kings of the earth belong to God” (Ps. 47:2, 9b). There is a bigger picture, and God already knows it all!

This month’s Old Testament reading is abundant in men who acknowledged God as Lord over their lives––sometimes in the midst of the most difficult trials and pain. Job was such a man of integrity, refusing to curse God, even in the middle of unbearable pain and torment, and very unsupportive friends. It amazes me that even though we know from the first few verses of Job that he is being used by God as an incredible example to Satan, Job himself does not know it! And still he remains faithful to God! Job 27:3–6: “as long as I have life within me, the breath of God in my nostrils, my lips will not speak wickedness, and my tongue will utter no deceit. I will never admit you are in the right; till I die, I will not deny my integrity. I will maintain my righteousness and never let go of it; my conscience will not reproach me as long as I live.”

Jeremiah is another Old Testament character who is forced to rely on God’s authority amid trials. “But blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in him. He will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit” (Jer. 27:3–6).

dbr3One of our more well-known Bible characters, David, enters our reading this month––a man after God’s own heart. From fighting a giant (1 Sam. 17) to running for his life from a jealous king, he continually relied on God and inquired of the Lord. Not only that, but he gives God the glory, instead of trying to take it for himself. 1 Samuel 17:46: “ ‘…and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel.’”

Moses was a man who also chose to follow God’s will for his life, giving up his place in the Egyptian palace to wander and lead a group of people through the wilderness. Not only that, but he was up against someone who had no regard for the God of Israel––Pharaoh. But even though Pharaoh did not consider God’s power and authority “Pharaoh said, ‘Who is the LORD, that I should obey him and let Israel go? I do not know the LORD and I will not let Israel go’” (Ex. 5:2), God was still sovereign––even over Pharaoh’s own heart! It is mentioned numerous times in Exodus that God hardened Pharaoh’s heart (Ex. 7:3–4; 10:1, 20, 27; 11:10). He is sovereign even over those who disobey Him and show Him no regard. God’s purpose? “That [He] might show [us His] power and that [His] name might be proclaimed in all the earth” (Ex. 9:16).

Of course, the New Testament is also filled with God’s sovereignty, often demonstrated by His Son. Mark writes of many miracles that Jesus performed, all showing His power and authority. Paul tells us in Corinthians that we have access to this incredible power through the Holy Spirit. “Therefore I tell you that no one who is speaking by the Spirit of God says, ‘Jesus be cursed,’ and no one can say, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ except by the Holy Spirit” (1 Cor. 12:3). It is awesome to consider that even though we are not walking around on earth with Jesus, we could not be any closer to Him, as believers, because of His gift of the Holy Spirit living in us.

As you read through this month’s study, I encourage you to meditate on God’s sovereignty over His creation. He is ultimately in control of everything, and nothing can surprise Him or catch Him off-guard. He is able to make all things work for good (Romans 8:28), and He has a plan for all of it, and for all of us. Pray that His plan for you will be revealed in your life and that you will be open to it.

By Lisa Grimenstein

Suggested Reading for April

dbr1APR 1 Ps 36-38
APR 2 Job 25-26
APR 3 Jer 1-6
APR 4 Mark 5-6
APR 5 1 Cor 11-12
APR 6 Ex 1-4
APR 7 1 Sam 16-20
APR 8 Ps 39-41
APR 9 Job 27-28
APR 10 Jer 7-11
APR 11 Mark 7-8
APR 12 1 Cor 13-14
APR 13 Ex 5-8
APR 14 1 Sam 21-25
APR 15 Ps 42-44
APR 16 Job 29-30
APR 17 Jer 12-16
APR 18 Mark 9-10
APR 19 1 Cor 15-16
APR 20 Ex 9-12
APR 21 1 Sam 26-31
APR 22 Ps 45-47
APR 23 Job 31-32
APR 24 Jer 17-21
APR 25 Mark 11-12
APR 26 2 Cor 1-3
APR 27 Ex 13-16
APR 28 2 Sam 1-4
APR 29 Ps 48-50
APR 30 Job 33-34

This year’s Bible reading plan was borrowed from BibleReading.com.  (To correspond with the 2009 year, we have included actual dates for your referral. You may choose to use the above site, instead.)

Our Full Potential

dbr1So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. . . . For I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved. 1 Corinthians 10:31, 33

Our theme for March, “Pierce my heart to live up to Your potential for me,” is quite a big challenge. One that we could not accomplish on our own. However, it’s important for us to realize and remember that without God’s Spirit living in us, and without our allowing Him to work in our lives, we can never reach the full potential He has for our lives.

This month’s reading takes us on a journey alongside many people––some, like Jesus, who allowed God to be in control of His life, and others, like Saul, who although starting with seemingly great potential, decided he was better off doing it on his own. In Matthew, we’ll finish the book by reading of Jesus’ ultimate plan for His life––to die for us and be raised again. Isaiah prophesies of Jesus’ plan: “Therefore I will give him a portion among the great, and he will divide the spoils with the strong, because he poured out his life unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors. For he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors” (53:12). We’ll begin Mark by reading of Jesus’ calling of twelve men whose lives would have had little potential to do great things, had it not been for Jesus’ power.

As we read, we will encounter Ruth, a girl who, although being raised in an ungodly, immoral country, fulfilled God’s potential in her life by choosing Him and His ways, placing in her future lineage the great king David, and later Christ Himself. As we conclude Genesis, we read of Joseph’s unlikely potential amid slavery and imprisonment. We watch as he continued to be faithful to God, resulting in the great potential he had for saving his country and family and becoming second in command only to Pharaoh.

We, too, can live up to the potential God has for our lives if we allow His Spirit to work in us and through us. In doing this, we, like Ruth, choose to allow Him to guide us through our lives. While writing the church at Corinth, Paul says, “Therefore, as it is written: ‘Let him who boasts boast in the Lord’” (1 Cor. 1:31). He reminds them, and us, that whatever we do, we are to do knowing that it is God Who works in us. God has called us and chosen us for a reason: “but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God” (1 Cor. 1:24). As we go about our lives, let us remember that we ourselves “are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in [us]” (1 Cor. 3:16).

By Lisa Grimenstein

Suggested March Reading

dbr2MAR 1 1 Cor 1-2
MAR 2 Gen 32-35
MAR 3 Judg 17-21
MAR 4 Ps 24-26
MAR 5 Job 17-18
MAR 6 Isa 45-50
MAR 7 Matt 23-25
MAR 8 1 Cor 3-4
MAR 9 Gen 36-39
MAR 10 Ruth
MAR 11 Ps 27-29
MAR 12 Job 19-20
MAR 13 Isa 51-55
MAR 14 Matt 26-28
MAR 15 1 Cor 5-6
MAR 16 Gen 40-43
MAR 17 1 Sam 1-5
MAR 18 Ps 30-32
MAR 19 Job 21-22
MAR 20 Isa 56-61
MAR 21 Mark 1-2
MAR 22 1 Cor 7-8
MAR 23 Gen 44-47
MAR 24 1 Sam 6-10
MAR 25 Ps 33-35
MAR 26 Job 23-24
MAR 27 Isa 62-66
MAR 28 Mark 3-4
MAR 29 1 Cor 9-10
MAR 30 Gen 48-50
MAR 31 1 Sam 11-15

Love Never Fails

dbr2The theme of love is one of the easiest to find examples of in Scripture. This month’s reading shows us several examples of the love Jesus taught.

In Romans and Isaiah, we are told of Israel’s rejection of God, but of God’s unwavering love for them. As many times as they disobey and turn their backs on Him, He continues to love them and desire a relationship with them. Although we may not commit the same sins as many Israelites committed, we daily disobey God, rejecting His promises for us; yet He continues to love us and desires our love and obedience toward Him.

An amazing example of obedience to God, even amid excruciating trials and pain, is Job. I am astounded by his faith in God’s love for him, even as he sits on the ground, scraping sores on his body and mourning the loss of his children. I only recently comprehended just how faithful He was, and how sure of God’s love he was. Although we are aware from chapter 1 of the unseen battle between God and Satan, Job is not. I think it would be easier to endure Job’s trials and pain if I knew that I was God’s wonderfully loved proof to Satan that there were obedient people on earth. However, Job remains faithful and refuses to curse God—even when encouraged to do so by his wife and friends—without ever knowing that God is confidently using him to prove a point to Satan. What amazing faith!

One of God’s most central commands, following the command to love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength, is to love our neighbor as ourselves. Jesus states this to his critics in Matthew 22:37, and Paul reminds the church of this important commandment in Romans 13:9. Paul gives us several examples of this kind of love, in Romans 14:19: “Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification,” and in Romans 15:1-2: “We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves. Each of us should please his neighbor for his good, to build him up.” It is often a hard thing to love our neighbors—friends, acquaintances, family, even our enemies—the way God commands; however, He makes it clear how important this law is. As we read this month, let’s focus on the many illustrations of love and ask God to help us love others in the way He desires.

By Lisa Grimenstein

Suggested February Reading

dbr1FEB 1 Rom 9-10
FEB 2 Gen 16-19
FEB 3 Josh 21-24
FEB 4 Ps 12-14
FEB 5 Job 9-10
FEB 6 Isa 23-28
FEB 7 Matt 11-13
FEB 8 Rom 11-12
FEB 9 Gen 20-23
FEB 10 Judg 1-6
FEB 11 Ps 15-17
FEB 12 Job 11-12
FEB 13 Isa 29-33
FEB 14 Matt 14-16
FEB 15 Rom 13-14
FEB 16 Gen 24-27
FEB 17 Judg 7-11
FEB 18 Ps 18-20
FEB 19 Job 13-14
FEB 20 Isa 34-39
FEB 21 Matt 17-19
FEB 22 Rom 15-16
FEB 23 Gen 28-31
FEB 24 Judg 12-16
FEB 25 Ps 21-23
FEB 26 Job 15-16
FEB 27 Isa 40-44
FEB 28 Matt 20-22

Resolving to Read

Welcome to the new year! It’s a time of relaxation, renewal, and…resolutions. I’m sure you’ve been working on your list of habits to break, or establish, in your everyday life. Although I love the freshness of the new year, it can also bring on a challenging endeavor: to actually accomplish all of these new resolutions. While you may include exercising more, eating healthier, or getting better grades on this year’s To-Do list, I want to challenge you to not overlook one of the most important habits of all––spending time in God’s word. And while this may be a chore at first, I hope that it will soon become the one resolution you actually look forward to (unless you happen to love running and giving up sweets!). For those of you who have already been committed to reading your Bible daily, then begin the year by resolving to continue, even when life is busy and other things seem more important. And congratulations on already accomplishing the most difficult part of many resolutions, which is to start!

This year, Pierce My Heart is including a link to the Bible reading plan for the year so that you can glance ahead more easily than before. We’ll start with two very relevant topics for this time of year––the newness of Creation and life of man in Genesis, and the introduction of a new way to salvation beginning with the birth of Jesus Christ in Matthew.

Like most resolutions, made any time of year, you may have a difficult time reading your Bible daily. While I want to encourage you to find a time and place that works best for your schedule, and to stick with it, I also do not want you to be discouraged when you miss a day or two––or five. Read to catch up, or just start up on whichever day it is. As with many resolutions, there is no harm in re-resolving if and when you fall out of habit.

This year, while we struggle to stay on top of the many resolutions we may make, let’s resolve to keep one in the forefront of our hearts and minds––spending time daily with God.

The Plan

This year’s Bible reading plan was borrowed from Bible-Reading.com. To correspond with the 2009 year, we have included actual dates for your referral. You can print the list below to keep in your Bible, or you may choose to use the above site, so that you can read from your favorite Bible version online.

JAN 4 Rom 1-2
JAN 5 Gen 1-3
JAN 6 Josh 1-5
JAN 7 Ps 1-2
JAN 8 Job 1-2
JAN 9 Isa 1-6
JAN 10 Matt 1-2
JAN 11 Rom 3-4
JAN 12 Gen 4-7
JAN 13 Josh 6-10
JAN 14 Ps 3-5
JAN 15 Job 3-4
JAN 16 Isa 7-11
JAN 17 Matt 3-4
JAN 18 Rom 5-6
JAN 19 Gen 8-11
JAN 20 Josh 11-15
JAN 21 Ps 6-8
JAN 22 Job 5-6
JAN 23 Isa 12-17
JAN 24 Matt 5-7
JAN 25 Rom 7-8
JAN 26 Gen 12-15
JAN 27 Josh 16-20
JAN 28 Ps 9-11
JAN 29 Job 7-8
JAN 30 Isa 18-22
JAN 31 Matt 8-10

By Lisa Grimenstein