Chronological Bible Reading Plan

Welcome to the First Baptist Lake Monroe and River of Life’s  Chronological Bible Reading Plan.  Over the next several years, the members of these sister churches will be reading through their Bibles together in a chronological way, following the events of the Bible in the order in which they occurred rather than in the order in which they were recorded.  In addition the pastor and adult Bible study teachers will be teaching from the same passages we read each week.  At times, additional passages from the Psalms will be provided along with the chronological reading portion.

I hope that you will prayerfully consider making a commitment to reading through the Bible with us. As you approach each days’ passage and questions let me encourage you to:

Pray – Pray before you read. Ask God to make the scripture real to you and show you how it applies to your life.
Read – Read the scripture passage(s).
Ask – Ask yourself, “in what I just read is there a lesson to learn, a truth to embrace, an example to follow, a sin to avoid, a mistake to dodge, a change to make or a promise to claim?”
Meditate – Think about what you have read. We are to be doers of the word and not hearers only (James 1:22).

Remember God’s promise and condition in Jeremiah 29:13.  And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.

If you miss a lesson and would like it emailed to you, send me an email at rolwebperson@yahoo.com

Want a link to read the Scriptures? http://www.biblegateway.com/

Monday, February 22 – Read for today: 2 Samuel 22

Toward or Away from the Lord?

In verses 2-4 we read, “The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my deliverer, my God, my mountain where I seek refuge. My shield, the horn of my salvation, my stronghold, my refuge, and my Savior, You save me from violence. I called to the Lord, who is worthy of praise, and I was saved from my enemies.”

This chapter contains David’s song of praise, also recorded in Psalm 18. It was probably composed shortly after the battle on Mount Gilboa, where King Saul fell, and marked the fulfillment of the promise to be made king that David had received when he was anointed by Samuel. David gives us a beautiful list of metaphors that describe his God. Over and over again he uses word pictures for God that are connected to military terms. David is telling us that God is the rock of refuge, where we are secure from all hostile attacks.

A large rock provides a place of shade and rest in a hot, desert wilderness. As a young shepherd boy, David probably sat many times in the shadow of just such a rock, leaning his back against it to rest. As believers we always have this rock at our back. God is our shade from the heat of day and a place of refreshment. David would also write in the Psalms that the rock was a place of sweetness, there was honey in the rock. Sweetness and life are found together in the Rock even when the world offers only bitterness and death. The Lord is all Sweetness and Life to the believer.

The Hoover Dam, built on the Colorado River in the Black Canyon, was completed in 1936. It was both the world’s largest hydroelectric power generating station and the world’s largest concrete structure. The Hoover Dam is an arch-gravity dam, designed so that the more pressure applied against it, the more it is wedged into the solid rock, and thus the stronger it becomes. That is a good illustration of how our own walk with God should work. If our lives are really built on the Rock, then the more pressure exerted against us, the more our lives will be wedged firmly into Jesus our Rock, and the stronger we will stand.

Questions for thought:

Do difficulties tend to drive you closer to, or further from the Lord?

Which should it do?

Why do you think it is that some folks get further from the Lord during hard times?

For further study:

Read Psalm 78:35; Genesis 49:24; Deuteronomy 32:15; & Isaiah 30:29 (There are many similar verses).  What do these verses have in common?  Why do you think the Lord might choose this name for Himself?

Read Psalm 118:22; Matthew 21:42; 1 Peter 2:7 (And others).  Do you believe it’s a coincidence that Jesus was called this?

Tuesday, February 23 – Read for today: Psalm 57

Ready and steady

In the English standard version verse 7 reads, “My heart is steadfast, O God, my heart is steadfast!”  Steadfast.  Steady.  Continually trusting and obeying.  That’s how the tortoise won the race.

We all know folks who are hot and cold Christians.  They are on fire one day and care nothing for the Lord, His church or His people the next.  Then somewhere down the road they get convicted, or get into trouble, and then they are hot for the Lord again.

It sure is difficult to witness to folks when all they have seen or experienced are hot and cold Christians.  They see them witnessing one day and inviting everyone they see to church and then a week later they’re living and talking like the Devil.

What the Lord seeks is folks, who though they may have troubles and struggles, even though they may have occasions when they wonder what the Lord is doing; continue to trust, continue to obey, and continue to walk with Him.It is the steady, obedient Christian that makes the greatest impact.

Questions for thought:

How would you describe your walk?  Are you hot and cold?

We all have valleys and peak times in our Christian life.  How do these times impact your testimony?

For further study:

Read James 1:12.  What does the Bible promise for those who walk steadfastly with the Lord?

Read Titus 2:2.  What is the biblical mark of older, mature Christian men to be?

Wednesday, February 24 – Read for today: Psalm 95

Why Worship?

The second half of this Psalm is a warning.  The Lord warns us not to harden our hearts.  What does it mean to have a hard heart?  How do we get a hard heart?

Anyone’s heart can harden, even faithful Christians’. In fact, in Mark 8:17–19 we see Jesus’ own disciples suffering from this problem. The disciples were concerned with their meager bread supply, and it was clear that each of them had forgotten how Jesus had just fed thousands with only a few loaves. Questioning them as to the hardness of their hearts, Christ spells out for us the characteristics of this spiritual heart condition as an inability to see, understand, hear, and remember. Regarding this last criterion, too often we forget how God has blessed us and what He has done for us. Similar to the disciples in this instance or the Israelites wandering in the wilderness, when a new calamity arises in our lives, our hearts often fill with fear and concern. Sadly, this simply reveals to God the little faith we have in His promise to take care of us.

Sin causes our hearts to get hard, especially continual and unrepentant sin. Scripture makes it clear that if we relentlessly continue to engage in sin, there will come a time when God will give us over to our “debased mind” and let us have it our way. The apostle Paul writes about God’s wrath of abandonment in his letter to the Romans where we see that godless and wicked “men who suppress the truth” are eventually given over to the sinful desires of their hardened hearts (Romans 1:18–24).     Pride will also cause our hearts to harden. The “pride of your heart has deceived you . . . you who say to yourself, ‘who can bring me down to the ground’ . . . I will bring you down declares the LORD” (Obadiah 3). Also, the root of Pharaoh’s hard-heartedness was his pride and arrogance. Even in the face of tremendous proofs and witnessing God’s powerful hand at work, Pharaoh’s hardened heart caused him to deny the sovereignty of the one, true God. And when King Nebuchadnezzar’s “heart became arrogant and hardened with pride, he was deposed from his royal throne and stripped of his glory . . . until he acknowledged that the Most High God is sovereign over the kingdoms of men and sets over them anyone He wishes” (Daniel 5:20–21).

There are consequences to allowing our hearts to become hard as verses 9 & 10 make plain.  So what is the remedy?  I believe part of the answer to that question is given in the beginning of this psalm when we are told to worship.     Worship reminds us of the Lord’s position (above all else).  It reminds us of His permanence (like a Rock).  It reminds us of His vastness and power (the mountains are in His hand).  It reminds us of our position (people in his flock, under His care).

We worship together and alone.  Worship brings glory to God and helps protect us.

Questions for thought:

Notice some of the different ways we are told to worship in this psalm.  We are told to shout, kneel and bow down.  How many of those do you incorporate in your worship?

How many of these would you find in a “worship service” at your church?

Is worship important to you?  Is it part of your daily walk?

For further study:

Read Proverbs 4:23.  What warning do you find in this verse?  How might worship help you with that?

Read Proverbs 14:12 & 16:25.  How might worship help us avoid making this mistake?

  1. Thursday, February 25 – Read for today: Psalm 97

    When we realize Who’s in Control.

After over 200 episodes of “MythBusters,” host Adam Savage says there’s one scientific fact that completely blows his mind. In a video published by Business Insider, Savage said architect Buckminster Fuller would travel around the world giving lectures about the world. “He had a really unique way of looking at it,” he explained. “He would hold up a 30-inch diameter metal sphere and he’d say, ‘Imagine this is the earth…We look out the window at the ocean and it looks like it’s really deep…but how much water is it if the earth was as big as this sphere?’”After allowing the audience time to think about the question, Savage said he would breath heavily on the sphere to create condensation.

He would then say that the “condensation of his breath is equivalent of the depth of the deepest ocean on earth on this sphere.” (As quoted by Jason Howerton, in The Blaze, on October 15, 2013.  The blaze.com).

That is an interesting fact to have stuck in your head.  If only folks could get the first line of this psalm, equally engraved in their minds.  Verse 1 begins, “The Lord reigns!”  What does that mean?     The English-language word “reign” originated from a Latin word, regnare, which meant to rule, and regnum, which meant a kingdom. The word “sovereign,” meaning sole reign, is based upon the same word i.e. to reign over one’s own kingdom.

God is the ruler of the whole earth (and much beyond!)  There is nothing beyond His control.  There is nothing beyond His authority.  There is nothing beyond His reach.  There is nothing He cannot handle.

What are Christians’ response to be?  According to verse 1, we are to rejoice.  How and why would we do that?  I mean, we still have difficulties, struggles, and spiritual attacks.

While that is true, we know that “Greater is He that is in me than he that is in the world (1 John 4:4).  I know that He is using these things for my good (Romans 8:28), and that these things will pass (Isaiah 14:3-4).

When we remember Who’s in control, Who reigns, we can rejoice because we know that the difficulties in this life will pass.

Questions for thought:

Do you ever think about the Lord being in control of everything?  How does that make you feel when blessings come your way?  How does that make you feel when difficulties come your way?  How does that make you feel when your plans do not work out like you planned?

For further study:

Read John 16:33.  How did Jesus attempt to comfort His followers?

Read James 1:2-4.  What did James say about difficulties?  Is that how you respond?

Friday, February 26- Read for today: Psalm 98

God’s instructions about singing

My favorite song is How Great Thou Art.  I love that song.  I love to praise the Lord; to think about His power, and His might, and His love, and His greatness.  To think that a God like that knows me, and loves me, and cares about me, and wants to spend time with me is beyond my imagination or comprehension.  How great He is!

My second favorite song is He Reigns, by the Newsboys (what a great name.  Newsboys, people sent with news to share).  I love that song about God’s children rejoicing and singing about our Lord reigning, regardless of where we are.

I enjoy the older hymns, and enjoy some newer songs.  Both can move me and help me worship.  The first verse of this passage, however, tells us to sing a new song.  Sing a new song.  What does that even mean?  Why?  Why would we want to do that?

Songs are something which often touches or comes from the heart.  At the same time, we can easily fall into a habit of singing songs without thinking about what we’re singing.  They can become habit, routine, or roque.  Sometimes we need to express what we mean, what we feel and think through the words.

Valentine cards didn’t catch on very quickly in France.  The reason?  The earlier cards had verses already written in them (like in the US) and French folks thought that was cheating.  They felt they were quite capable of writing their own verses that came from their own minds and their own hearts.  When card makers discovered what the problem was, they soon began making cards with no words on them, so folks could write their own verses, and the rest, as they say, is history.

Sometimes, we need to think through what we would like to sing, to thank, to praise the Lord for ourselves.  Sometimes we need a new song, to cause us to think through what we are singing and make our praise and our song come from our hearts once again.

Questions for thought:

Have you ever written a song to the Lord?

Have you ever praised Him, without the help or the prompting of others?  How does your impromptu praise compare to what often passes for worship?

For further study:

Read Psalm 100:1-2.  Do you obey this command?

Read Psalm 147:1.

Monday, March 1 – Read for today: Psalms 99

Never Have to Second Guess

      What peace and confidence we have in our fair and holy God.  We never have to second guess our God but can always be assured that He will do the right thing.  This is untrue in the world that we live in with so many people about us who are just untrustworthy and bent on their selfish ways.  Therefore we can never really rest when other people are involved because people are flawed and bad choices are made.  But when we think of our Lord we can sleep peacefully at night knowing He is in control and will always do what is perfectly right.  Do we really reverence Him in His holiness and spotless character?  Do we lift Him up as the righteous God that He is?  Does the world around us see our love and respect for Him?  God will bring justice to this world and the people in it in His way and in His time.  We read of prophets who became impatience waiting on God to act and judge the world but God will not be pushed to act before He is ready.  All will see in time His fairness and justice in dealing with everybody in this world.  We as believers should be so glad that we will not have to see justice for our sins but rather mercy and grace.  We deserve justice but “for God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son” is the answer for our lost condition. Let us praise Him as the psalmist here declares. Verse 5 tells us to exalt the Lord and bow low before His feet”.

      Verse 6 tells us of Moses, Samuel and Aaron who called upon God and He answered them and instructed them.  They could trust Him completely and never had to second guess Him because He is faithful!  God is faithful in helping His children and He is also faithful in disciplining them as well.  He is always fair with His discipline and we can see His love shining through because we are His children.  So let us be faithful in bringing Him our worship to Him each day.  He deserves our whole hearts in serving Him so let us remember Him and His goodness to us.  He is a holy God and is pure in all His ways.

Thoughts to consider:

Psalms 22:23-Lets be mindful of our responsibility to exalt our God as our King and Rock of our salvation.

Deuteronomy 7:9-Consider God’s faithfulness through all the generations of those who love Him.  Do we truly love Him as we should?

For further study:

I Kings 8:56-Think your way through the Bible stories you know and remember His faithfulness by keeping His Word!

Psalms 89:1-What responsibility do we take in seeing that God’s faithfulness is recognized and passed on to the next generation?  What do our children and grandchildren see in you and me?  Is Christ visible to them?  Do they see God’s holiness in our obedience?

Tuesday, March 2 – Read for today: 2 Samuel 24 & 1 Chronicles 21 

WHO DOES WHAT?

     Have you ever puzzled over statements in the Bible that seem to contradict each other? For example, 1 Chronicles 21:1 states that the one who “moved David to number Israel” was Satan, but 2 Samuel 24:1 says it was the Lord. How do we explain this? We know that God never tempts anyone to sin (James 1:13).

     The answer lies in the way the Old Testament writers expressed the ways of God. They sometimes ascribed to God what He merely allowed, knowing that He permits us to make wrong choices and then uses the tragic results to accomplish His good purposes.  For instance, Judas betrayed Jesus at the request of the leaders of Israel and at the prompting of the Devil, but Who’s plan did it fulfill?  The Lord’s!  Joseph’s brothers meant him harm when they sold him into slavery, but the Lord was working behind the scenes for good, (Genesis 50:20).  The Devil persecuted Christians in the first century (and still does today) but that persecution brought about the spreading of Christianity throughout the Roman empire, so what the Devil meant for evil, the Lord meant for good.     In 2 Samuel 24:1, we read that God “moved David” to take a census of Israel. This is clearly a case when God allowed Satan to influence David, for it was an attempt to assess Israel’s military strength. This reflected the same sin of pride and self-reliance that was prevalent in the nation. As a result, God judged the people and their king.

     So what was the good purpose God accomplished by allowing Satan to influence David? Although many Israelites died, the nation itself was spared and purified. The Lord punished the guilty but also showed His mercy.  “God’s ways may be beyond our understanding, but we can always trust Him to do what is right.”—Herbert Vander Lugt

Questions for thought:

Have you ever seen something you thought was bad (and it may have been) be used for, or turn out good?

Who was using whom?

For further study:

Read 1 Peter 1:6-7.  Have you seen this to be true?

Read the promises of II Corinthians 4:8–10, 17–18.

Wednesday, March 3 – Read for today: 1 Chronicles 22

You can be anything You want to be!  Is that biblical?

     For centuries of human history, sons/children were often expected to follow in their parents’ footsteps.  Your dad was a blacksmith, then you will learn the trade from him and be one yourself.  Your dad was a farmer, then learn from him and use his land etc. and become a farmer yourself.       Then came the advent of education and more opportunities arose, and the possibilities seem endless.  We have, to some extent, replaced these expectations with opportunities.  For a century or more, the question has now become, “What are your going to do when you grow up?” ; with the hint/suggestion that there is no limit on the possibilities.  Parents often tell their children that if they apply themselves they can do anything.  There are a couple of problems with this reasoning.  First, that’s simply not true.

     Growing up, I wanted to go into the military.  I read about military life.  I had aspirations of being the first 5 star general in the Marine Corp. Alas, due to heart issues I had since birth, the military wouldn’t even let me in.  Complaining to my pediatric heart doctor about the situation one day, this 5 foot and very little else doctor said he had dreams of becoming a pro basketball player.  Life sometimes gets in the way of some dreams, but this leads us to the second issue.  Sometimes the Lord allows these issues because He has other plans.

      In the passage before us today, David wanted to build the Lord a temple.  Is that a good thing?  You bet.  Did he approach the idea with the right heart and attitude?  Yep.  What did the Lord say?  God said, “It’s not for you to do David.  Too much water under the bridge.  I want your son to build the temple for me.”  David wanted to do something good for the Lord and the Lord’s name, but the Lord said, “That’s not for you to do.”

      Sadly, there are some Christians today, who never ask the Lord what He wants them to do or where He wants them to work, or how He wants them to serve.  They do whatever they want and then just ask the Lord to bless what they’ve already decided to do.  Your child may be talented and gifted, etc., but do you want her to do whatever she sets her heart on, or do you want her to do what the Lord has called and equipped her to do?

     The church often suffers because of a lack of help; Christians not stepping up and doing what the Lord has called and equipped them to do.  The church also suffers when people decide they want to do something the Lord has neither called nor equipped them to do.  How many Christians have been turned off by Bible study, or have no desire learn more about the Bible, because as children they sat through Sunday School classes taught by people who were not given the gift of teaching, but were talked into filling a spot by the nominating committee.

       We are given a promise in Proverbs 3:6.  There David’s son Solomon, doing what the Lord called and equipped him to do, wrote, In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. In other words, you set your heart on loving, obeying, and following the Lord, then He will tell you what to do.  Don’t decide before hand and then just ask Him to bless you.

     “You can be whatever you want to be”, falls right up there with, “the Lord helps those who help themselves”.  It might sound good, but it’s not biblical.

Questions for thought:

Which do you more frequently do, ask the Lord what He wants you to do and then head that way, or decide what you want to do and then ask the Lord to bless what you’ve decided?  How’s that normally work out?  Which do you think is more biblical?

In 1 Thessalonians 5:17 we are told to “pray without ceasing”.  Might we be told to do this because we are supposed to be checking in and asking for the Lord’s instructions more frequently?

For further study:

Read Ephesians 4:11, & 1 Corinthians 12:4-11.  What do these verses say about a person doing whatever he wants?

Read John 15:4-5.  What do these verses say about remaining in the Lord’s will and accomplishing things that last?

Thursday, March 4 – Read for today: Psalm 30

When you need some good news

      I was in the Future Farmers of America for four years, 9th through 12th grades.  The year I graduated I was so excited, (some you may remember those days and for others it may too far in the past to remember anymore).  Part of the excitement was being able go to the FFA state convention in Orlando and receive my State Farmer Degree.

     I had made reservations at the hotel the convention was held in.  I had packed my car.  This was a big day!  I was so excited about being able to stay down in Orlando with my friends.  Imagine my surprise and disappointment when I got down there (in the middle of the afternoon, mind you) and discovered that they had overbooked.  They didn’t have a room for me.  Oh, they had me set up in a room at a hotel down the road, but not in the one where I had the reservation and where the convention was being held.

     To say that I was ticked and disappointed would be an understatement.  I’ve not done business with them since and have no intention of ever doing business with that chain again.  I had an insurance company my parents and I had always done business with for auto and home, who stuck me during Hurricane Andrew.  I’ve not done business with them since.  I can hold a grudge.

     Can you imagine how things would be if the Lord held grudges like that, if He was unwilling to forgive or let go.  I don’t know about you, but I’ve disappointed and disobeyed Him many times.  The good news is, for those who confess those sins, He lets them go.  Verse 5 says, “His anger lasts only a moment”.  He doesn’t hold grudges.  He doesn’t hang on to the past saying He’s going to make you pay.  The good news does end there either.

     In verse 5 we also read, “His favor lasts a lifetime”.  Oh, the joy of having the Lord’s hand and favor on you for a lifetime, to know that He’s guiding and directing your every step.  That truly is good news.     The key to the turn around is found in verse 11. ”You turned my lament into dancing; You removed my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness.”  The key to the turn around? The change in David’s heart and attitude.  When the Lord caused pain and punishment to come to David as a consequence of his sins, David repented in sackcloth.  He didn’t harden his heart.  He didn’t make excuses.  He said, “Yes.  It’s me.  I did it.  Lord forgive me.”  Punishment and consequences still followed, but so did the Lord’s favor.

     This is why we continue to read in verse 5, “Weeping may spend the night,but there is joy in the morning.”

Questions for thought:

How do you respond when difficulties come your way?  They are often part of life, but sometimes the Lord allows them in order to draw our attention to sin in our lives.  Do you often check for that option?

When the Lord points out an area of disobedience in your life, are you more likely to stiffen up and refuse to deal with it, or do you quickly repent?

For further study:

Read Proverbs 28:13.  How does this verse compare our options?

Read Psalm 103:9.  What promise are we given here?

Friday, March 5 – Read for today: Psalms 108

The Confident Life of the Believer

     The Christian as a believer has a beautiful quality of life that the troubles of this world cannot overcome.  Before the sun is up the child of God can call upon His God with worship and praise and begin the day on the right foot.  Verse 4 tells us that God’s mercy is above the heavens.  We need to contemplate how little we have within ourselves and how much God has for us. We deserve judgment yet His mercy and grace is offered to us; let us praise His holy name for His abounding love toward us daily. Also His truth is without measure that we learn from and this establishes our life each moment that we live.  How thankful we should be to have a copy of God’s truth in our hands to feed upon.  Do we lift our Lord up in our lives each day? Do the people around us in our lives see and know how precious God is to us? Do we lift Him up even in hard times?  We need to remember His sovereignty over every situation and all peoples in this world.  Nothing escapes His eyes and plans and we can rest in this knowledge.

     When we are in God’s family He will discipline us from time to time; He will chasten us in order to teach us and to help us grow and this same one wants to bless us.  What a marvelous God who will not let us go but works in us to grow us into what He wants us to be.  The roads we take through life have meaning and we can trust God to be there for us.  Verse 12 tells us that the help of man is useless so let’s not lean upon on man for the answers and encouragement. “Through God we will do valiantly” so we can proceed with courage and confident hope into the future. Our God is already there and will give us victory over our enemies. How are you living out each day?  If you have this kind of confidence in God it will show and others will ask where they can find it. Let’s try to be this light to others as we share Christ with them.

Thoughts to Consider:

Psalms 28:5-Consider how blessed we are to have a righteous God to lead us. What if He were not? Everything would change.

Psalms 34:8-We must step out on faith to see God’s abilities like Peter stepping out of the boat. We must taste and that God is a faithful refuge.

For further study:

Matthew 19:17- God is holy and even though we are far from perfect He calls us to be holy and obedient in our lives.  How can this be achieved in our lives?

I Samuel 17-How do you think David was so confident and strong in the presence of Goliath. We all have Goliaths in our lives.  What can we learn from David about dependence upon God?

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