Tag Archives: Bible Reading

Psalm 41

The idea of these little devotionals is simple. I want to approach scripture with the understanding that God is speaking. I’m reading through the Bible and listening for God to ask me questions. I expect these questions to be fairly open-ended and plan to carry them in my mind throughout the day. I’ll share these questions with you in the hope that you find them challenging and helpful.

The book of Psalms is commonly thought of as a collection of the worship music of the Israelites. They were meant to be sung. These are worship songs that God appreciated enough to make sure they were preserved for us. Let’s see if we can find out why…

Psalm 41:1-13
Blessed is the one who considers the poor![a]

    In the day of trouble the Lord delivers him;
the Lord protects him and keeps him alive;
    he is called blessed in the land;
    you do not give him up to the will of his enemies.
The Lord sustains him on his sickbed;
    in his illness you restore him to full health.[b]

As for me, I said, “O Lord, be gracious to me;
    heal me,[c] for I have sinned against you!”
My enemies say of me in malice,
    “When will he die, and his name perish?”
And when one comes to see me, he utters empty words,
    while his heart gathers iniquity;
    when he goes out, he tells it abroad.
All who hate me whisper together about me;
    they imagine the worst for me.[d]

They say, “A deadly thing is poured out[e] on him;
    he will not rise again from where he lies.”
Even my close friend in whom I trusted,
    who ate my bread, has lifted his heel against me.
10 But you, O Lord, be gracious to me,
    and raise me up, that I may repay them!

11 By this I know that you delight in me:
    my enemy will not shout in triumph over me.
12 But you have upheld me because of my integrity,
    and set me in your presence forever.

13 Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel,
    from everlasting to everlasting!
Amen and Amen.

From this passage I hear God asking me:
Be honest. Don’t you think this psalm is a little self-centered?
Did you notice how much the writer speaks about himself?
Shouldn’t your worship be focused on me?
Do you think I am offended by this?
So, why do you think I liked it well enough to preserve it?
Now let me ask you this:
Do you ever feel this way?
Are you ever burdened by people talking trash about you?
Have you ever felt betrayed by a friend?
Aren’t you ever mad at me?
Go ahead and tell me about it. I can take it.
I am not offended when you bring your true self to me.
I am offended when you don’t.
Or, worse, when you take your true self elsewhere.
What do you think worship is?
Come to me first, with everything you are, no matter what.


Is God asking you anything more, or anything different?
I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.

Psalm 40

The idea of these little devotionals is simple. I want to approach scripture with the understanding that God is speaking. I’m reading through the Bible and listening for God to ask me questions. I expect these questions to be fairly open-ended and plan to carry them in my mind throughout the day. I’ll share these questions with you in the hope that you find them challenging and helpful.

The book of Psalms is commonly thought of as a collection of the worship music of the Israelites. They were meant to be sung. These are worship songs that God appreciated enough to make sure they were preserved for us. Let’s see if we can find out why…

Psalm 40:1-17
I waited patiently for the Lord;
    he inclined to me and heard my cry.
He drew me up from the pit of destruction,
    out of the miry bog,
and set my feet upon a rock,
    making my steps secure.
He put a new song in my mouth,
    a song of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear,
    and put their trust in the Lord.

Blessed is the man who makes
    the Lord his trust,
who does not turn to the proud,
    to those who go astray after a lie!
You have multiplied, O Lord my God,
    your wondrous deeds and your thoughts toward us;
    none can compare with you!
I will proclaim and tell of them,
    yet they are more than can be told.

In sacrifice and offering you have not delighted,
    but you have given me an open ear.[a]
Burnt offering and sin offering
    you have not required.
Then I said, “Behold, I have come;
    in the scroll of the book it is written of me:
I delight to do your will, O my God;
    your law is within my heart.”

I have told the glad news of deliverance[b]
    in the great congregation;
behold, I have not restrained my lips,
    as you know, O Lord.
10 I have not hidden your deliverance within my heart;
    I have spoken of your faithfulness and your salvation;
I have not concealed your steadfast love and your faithfulness
    from the great congregation.

11 As for you, O Lord, you will not restrain
    your mercy from me;
your steadfast love and your faithfulness will
    ever preserve me!
12 For evils have encompassed me
    beyond number;
my iniquities have overtaken me,
    and I cannot see;
they are more than the hairs of my head;
    my heart fails me.

13 Be pleased, O Lord, to deliver me!
    O Lord, make haste to help me!
14 Let those be put to shame and disappointed altogether
    who seek to snatch away my life;
let those be turned back and brought to dishonor
    who delight in my hurt!
15 Let those be appalled because of their shame
    who say to me, “Aha, Aha!”

16 But may all who seek you
    rejoice and be glad in you;
may those who love your salvation
    say continually, “Great is the Lord!”
17 As for me, I am poor and needy,
    but the Lord takes thought for me.
You are my help and my deliverer;
    do not delay, O my God!

From this passage I hear God asking me:
Do you “love your salvation”?
What do you mean by that?
Do you “say continually, ‘Great is the Lord!'”?
I don’t mean a lot of the time, I mean continually.
When life is good?
When life is bad?
When you don’t get your way?
When your responsibilities to others dominate your time?
When you recognize that so much of your life is already over?
When tragedy strikes?
Do your words proclaim my greatness?
Do your actions say that I am great?
Does your attitude through it all say, “Great is the Lord!”?
Do your friends see my greatness in you?
How about your enemies?


Is God asking you anything more, or anything different?
I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.

Psalm 39:1-13

The idea of these little devotionals is simple. I want to approach scripture with the understanding that God is speaking. I’m reading through the Bible and listening for God to ask me questions. I expect these questions to be fairly open-ended and plan to carry them in my mind throughout the day. I’ll share these questions with you in the hope that you find them challenging and helpful.

The book of Psalms is commonly thought of as a collection of the worship music of the Israelites. They were meant to be sung. These are worship songs that God appreciated enough to make sure they were preserved for us. Let’s see if we can find out why…

Psalm 39:1-13
I said, “I will guard my ways,
    that I may not sin with my tongue;
I will guard my mouth with a muzzle,
    so long as the wicked are in my presence.”
I was mute and silent;
    I held my peace to no avail,
and my distress grew worse.
    My heart became hot within me.
As I mused, the fire burned;
    then I spoke with my tongue:

“O Lord, make me know my end
    and what is the measure of my days;
    let me know how fleeting I am!
Behold, you have made my days a few handbreadths,
    and my lifetime is as nothing before you.
Surely all mankind stands as a mere breath! Selah
    Surely a man goes about as a shadow!
Surely for nothing[a] they are in turmoil;
    man heaps up wealth and does not know who will gather!

“And now, O Lord, for what do I wait?
    My hope is in you.
Deliver me from all my transgressions.
    Do not make me the scorn of the fool!
I am mute; I do not open my mouth,
    for it is you who have done it.
10 Remove your stroke from me;
    I am spent by the hostility of your hand.
11 When you discipline a man
    with rebukes for sin,
you consume like a moth what is dear to him;
    surely all mankind is a mere breath! Selah

12 “Hear my prayer, O Lord,
    and give ear to my cry;
    hold not your peace at my tears!
For I am a sojourner with you,
    a guest, like all my fathers.
13 Look away from me, that I may smile again,
    before I depart and am no more!”

From this passage I hear God asking me:
Why do you think I made sure this psalm was not forgotten?
What does this psalm tell you about me?
What does it tell you about you?
What does it tell you about your sin?
Can you control the sin in your life with a “muzzle”? (vs. 1,2)
What does this psalm tell you about life?
Will that knowledge make a difference in the way you live it today?


Is God asking you anything more, or anything different?
I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.

Psalm 38:1-22

The idea of these little devotionals is simple. I want to approach scripture with the understanding that God is speaking. I’m reading through the Bible and listening for God to ask me questions. I expect these questions to be fairly open-ended and plan to carry them in my mind throughout the day. I’ll share these questions with you in the hope that you find them challenging and helpful.

The book of Psalms is commonly thought of as a collection of the worship music of the Israelites. They were meant to be sung. These are worship songs that God appreciated enough to make sure they were preserved for us. Let’s see if we can find out why…

Psalm 38:1-22
O Lord, rebuke me not in your anger,
    nor discipline me in your wrath!
For your arrows have sunk into me,
    and your hand has come down on me.

There is no soundness in my flesh
    because of your indignation;
there is no health in my bones
    because of my sin.
For my iniquities have gone over my head;
    like a heavy burden, they are too heavy for me.

My wounds stink and fester
    because of my foolishness,
I am utterly bowed down and prostrate;
    all the day I go about mourning.
For my sides are filled with burning,
    and there is no soundness in my flesh.
I am feeble and crushed;
    I groan because of the tumult of my heart.

O Lord, all my longing is before you;
    my sighing is not hidden from you.
10 My heart throbs; my strength fails me,
    and the light of my eyes—it also has gone from me.
11 My friends and companions stand aloof from my plague,
    and my nearest kin stand far off.

12 Those who seek my life lay their snares;
    those who seek my hurt speak of ruin
    and meditate treachery all day long.

13 But I am like a deaf man; I do not hear,
    like a mute man who does not open his mouth.
14 I have become like a man who does not hear,
    and in whose mouth are no rebukes.

15 But for you, O Lord, do I wait;
    it is you, O Lord my God, who will answer.
16 For I said, “Only let them not rejoice over me,
    who boast against me when my foot slips!”

17 For I am ready to fall,
    and my pain is ever before me.
18 I confess my iniquity;
    I am sorry for my sin.
19 But my foes are vigorous, they are mighty,
    and many are those who hate me wrongfully.
20 Those who render me evil for good
    accuse me because I follow after good.

21 Do not forsake me, O Lord!
    O my God, be not far from me!
22 Make haste to help me,
    O Lord, my salvation!

From this passage I hear God asking me:
Do you ever feel this way about your sin?
If not, why not?
Is it because you think your sin isn’t really all that bad?
I suggest you think again.
I also suggest you roll verse 15 around in your mind and heart all day today.
Does that verse sound like faith, or frustration?
Could it be both?
Don’t you ever experience both simultaneously?
Can you wait on me?
Will you?


Is God asking you anything more, or anything different?
I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.

How do you read the Bible?

https://salemnet.vo.llnwd.net/media/cms/CW/faith/39891-HolyBible-Bible-read-ThinkstockPhotos-585291064.1200w.tn.jpgHow do you read the Bible?

Are you following a plan to read the whole thing in one year? That’s a real commitment and I applaud you for it. This kind of reading can be valuable in helping you see the overarching flow of scripture.

Do you follow a devotional guide of some kind, where someone chooses a few verses and applies it to your daily life? This, too, has merit. This is probably especially valuable if you are new to reading the Bible. Having someone guide you to certain passages and then asking you to think about them and what they mean can be very helpful.

Or maybe you dig deep into the text. You study it. You read commentaries to learn the historical context, search the original languages to pull out every nuance of every word. This is valuable and will help you really know the scriptures.

I don’t know, maybe you never open the book. Maybe you read it at church, off the screen, and that’s about it. I suppose that’s better than nothing.

There are many different ways to approach the Bible, and almost all have something to offer.

Sometimes, though, I’m afraid we forget one important thing about the Bible. There is something that makes it truly unique. It really is different from any other book you will ever read.

It is not primarily a history book, although it contains some important historical information.

It is not primarily a science book, although it tells us of a reasonable world where scientific inquiry is possible.

It’s not primarily a book of comfort, advice and wisdom, although men and women throughout the ages have found and continue to find all three within its pages.

What it is, is God’s story. You read it to get to know God. I don’t mean to get to know things about Him. You read it to get to know Him. He is a person who desires a relationship with you.

You read it to hear God speak.

“…the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” –Hebrews 4:12

Because he is God, and not just some guy, he has authority. He’s not just teaching you information you need to know. What he says to you is intended to change you. To challenge you. To mold you.

You don’t come to his word just to learn facts. You come to submit to his lordship.

This is the idea behind “God Questions.”

I invite you to join me in my daily (Monday through Friday) readings. I’ve recently taken a couple months away from the blog but I’ve been doing these for a couple years now, and I plan to start posting them again on Monday, October 2. I’d love it if you would then post what God is asking you in the comments. If you’re more of a night person, I actually post here on the blog the night before and share them on social media early the next morning.

Whatever works.

Lloyd

 

 

Luke 24:36-53

The idea of these little devotionals is simple. I want to approach scripture with the understanding that God is speaking. I’m reading through the Bible and listening for God to ask me questions. I expect these questions to be fairly open-ended and plan to carry them in my mind throughout the day. I’ll share these questions with you in the hope that you find them challenging and helpful.

Luke 24:36-53
36 As they were talking about these things, Jesus himself stood among them, and said to them, “Peace to you!” 37 But they were startled and frightened and thought they saw a spirit. 38 And he said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? 39 See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me, and see. For a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.” 40 And when he had said this, he showed them his hands and his feet. 41 And while they still disbelieved for joy and were marveling, he said to them, “Have you anything here to eat?” 42 They gave him a piece of broiled fish,[a] 43 and he took it and ate before them.

44 Then he said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” 45 Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, 46 and said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, 47 and that repentance for[b] the forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. 48 You are witnesses of these things. 49 And behold, I am sending the promise of my Father upon you. But stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.”

50 And he led them out as far as Bethany, and lifting up his hands he blessed them. 51 While he blessed them, he parted from them and was carried up into heaven. 52 And they worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy, 53 and were continually in the temple blessing God.

From this passage I hear God asking me:
It’s amazing, isn’t it?
Did you notice this line:
Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures…”? (v. 45)
Once again, they knew the scriptures but had misunderstood them.
The scriptures are true, but your understanding is limited.
Be careful not to close your mind and heart to me.
Now that you’ve finished the gospel of Luke, consider this:
Why do you think Jesus came to earth?
I know he accomplished many different things, but can you narrow it down to a main purpose?

How you answer this determines how you follow him…
Is he, because of his words, your teacher?
Is he, because of how he lived, your example?
Is he, because of his forgiveness, your ticket to heaven?
Or, because of who he is and what he did, is he your Lord?
Yes, he can and should be all of the above, but his death and resurrection proves he is Lord, with or without you.
Isn’t it best to let it be with you?


Is God asking you anything more, or anything different?
I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.


Luke 24:13-35

The idea of these little devotionals is simple. I want to approach scripture with the understanding that God is speaking. I’m reading through the Bible and listening for God to ask me questions. I expect these questions to be fairly open-ended and plan to carry them in my mind throughout the day. I’ll share these questions with you in the hope that you find them challenging and helpful.

Luke 24:13-35
13 That very day two of them were going to a village named Emmaus, about seven miles[a] from Jerusalem, 14 and they were talking with each other about all these things that had happened. 15 While they were talking and discussing together, Jesus himself drew near and went with them. 16 But their eyes were kept from recognizing him. 17 And he said to them, “What is this conversation that you are holding with each other as you walk?” And they stood still, looking sad. 18 Then one of them, named Cleopas, answered him, “Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?” 19 And he said to them, “What things?” And they said to him, “Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, a man who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, 20 and how our chief priests and rulers delivered him up to be condemned to death, and crucified him. 21 But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since these things happened. 22 Moreover, some women of our company amazed us. They were at the tomb early in the morning, 23 and when they did not find his body, they came back saying that they had even seen a vision of angels, who said that he was alive. 24 Some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but him they did not see.” 25 And he said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! 26 Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?” 27 And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.

28 So they drew near to the village to which they were going. He acted as if he were going farther, 29 but they urged him strongly, saying, “Stay with us, for it is toward evening and the day is now far spent.” So he went in to stay with them. 30 When he was at table with them, he took the bread and blessed and broke it and gave it to them. 31 And their eyes were opened, and they recognized him. And he vanished from their sight. 32 They said to each other, “Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the Scriptures?” 33 And they rose that same hour and returned to Jerusalem. And they found the eleven and those who were with them gathered together, 34 saying, “The Lord has risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!” 35 Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he was known to them in the breaking of the bread.

From this passage I hear God asking me:
It seems like these guys wanted to believe, doesn’t it?
“…we had hoped that he was the one…” (v. 21)
What do you think was holding them  back?
None of this made sense to them. It didn’t fit with what they thought they knew about scripture, or with what they had experienced in life.
Wouldn’t you have had the same problem?
But, can you imagine the Bible teaching they received?
Jesus showed them that it did fit. It fit with scripture they misunderstood, and though they had never experienced a dead person living again, there he was teaching them.
Do you believe?
Is anything holding you back?
Would you be open to someone teaching you how you’ve been wrong about scripture? Why, or why not?
What if it were Jesus, and you didn’t know it?
How would you find out?
One more thing: Do you get the impression Jesus was having some fun with these poor guys?


Is God asking you anything more, or anything different?
I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.


Luke 24:1-12

The idea of these little devotionals is simple. I want to approach scripture with the understanding that God is speaking. I’m reading through the Bible and listening for God to ask me questions. I expect these questions to be fairly open-ended and plan to carry them in my mind throughout the day. I’ll share these questions with you in the hope that you find them challenging and helpful.

Luke 24:1-12
But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they went to the tomb, taking the spices they had prepared. And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they went in they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were perplexed about this, behold, two men stood by them in dazzling apparel. And as they were frightened and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them, “Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen. Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men and be crucified and on the third day rise.” And they remembered his words, and returning from the tomb they told all these things to the eleven and to all the rest. 10 Now it was Mary Magdalene and Joanna and Mary the mother of James and the other women with them who told these things to the apostles, 11 but these words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them. 12 But Peter rose and ran to the tomb; stooping and looking in, he saw the linen cloths by themselves; and he went home marveling at what had happened.

From this passage I hear God asking me:
Why did the apostles not believe the women?
I mean, this is what Jesus told them was going to happen, right?
But seriously, would you have believed the story those women told?
But then, why did Peter go to the tomb?
Would you have gone with Peter to look?
One more question:
Think about what drives you; where you look for happiness, joy, satisfaction, and contentment…
Do you ever “seek the living among the dead”?
Why do you do that?


Is God asking you anything more, or anything different?
I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.


Luke 23:50-56

The idea of these little devotionals is simple. I want to approach scripture with the understanding that God is speaking. I’m reading through the Bible and listening for God to ask me questions. I expect these questions to be fairly open-ended and plan to carry them in my mind throughout the day. I’ll share these questions with you in the hope that you find them challenging and helpful.

Luke 23:50-56
50 Now there was a man named Joseph, from the Jewish town of Arimathea. He was a member of the council, a good and righteous man, 51 who had not consented to their decision and action; and he was looking for the kingdom of God. 52 This man went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. 53 Then he took it down and wrapped it in a linen shroud and laid him in a tomb cut in stone, where no one had ever yet been laid. 54 It was the day of Preparation, and the Sabbath was beginning.[a] 55 The women who had come with him from Galilee followed and saw the tomb and how his body was laid. 56 Then they returned and prepared spices and ointments.

On the Sabbath they rested according to the commandment.

From this passage I hear God asking me:
Have you thought about Joseph’s situation?
Do you think he was a popular man on the council?
Was he the only one who was “looking for the kingdom of God”?
Do you think he was criticized for this?
Why weren’t they all looking for the kingdom of God?
When there’s only one person on a team doing what the team is supposed to be doing, is he appreciated by the rest of the team?
Is he appreciated by the coach?
Whose appreciation is more important?
Simple, right?
Then why is it so hard to be like Joseph?


Is God asking you anything more, or anything different?
I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.


Luke 23:44-49

The idea of these little devotionals is simple. I want to approach scripture with the understanding that God is speaking. I’m reading through the Bible and listening for God to ask me questions. I expect these questions to be fairly open-ended and plan to carry them in my mind throughout the day. I’ll share these questions with you in the hope that you find them challenging and helpful.

Luke 23:44-49
44 It was now about the sixth hour,[e] and there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour,[f] 45 while the sun’s light failed. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two. 46 Then Jesus, calling out with a loud voice, said, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!” And having said this he breathed his last. 47 Now when the centurion saw what had taken place, he praised God, saying, “Certainly this man was innocent!” 48 And all the crowds that had assembled for this spectacle, when they saw what had taken place, returned home beating their breasts. 49 And all his acquaintances and the women who had followed him from Galilee stood at a distance watching these things.

From this passage I hear God asking me:
No questions today.
Just pause for a few minutes to t
ake in the scene…
…notice the time.
…notice the sky.
…notice the temple.
Take in the people…
…picture the centurion.
…watch the crowd.
see his followers.
Look at Jesus…
…see his face.
…hear his voice.
…see me on that cross.

Now, look inward.
…see your own heart.
…see my image.
…see your sin.

You are why I did this.


Is God asking you anything more, or anything different?
I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.