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, June 21 – Read for today: 2 Chronicles 7

The needed revival

     In verses 13 & 14 we read, “If I close the sky so there is no rain, or if I command the grasshopper to consume the land, or if I send pestilence on My people, and My people who are called by My name humble themselves, pray and seek My face, and turn from their evil ways, then I will hear from heaven, forgive their sin, and heal their land.

     The definition of revive is: “To return to consciousness or life : become active or flourishing again.”

     Often, we spend a great deal of time trying to get unbelievers to act like believers. The result of her efforts? -She was exhausted by her fruitless efforts and created such animosity among the unsaved that they became resistant to the Gospel.

     In reading today’s Scripture, we immediately notice something in the first few words: “If My people, who are called by My name.” That identifies the people who are being addressed.

     Why is this important? It is because we are the ones who need to be revived. The unsaved need to be -vived. I know there is no such word, but I hope you understand my meaning. They need to experience salvation.  Lost people are going to act lost.  They are.  The problem is when believers act like lost people.

     When we pray for the Lord to heal our land, there must be a revival of the people of God. We believers need to fall in humility on our face and cry out to the Lord to forgive us for losing our first love—the love of Christ.

     We must demonstrate our humility by confessing that we have strayed from God’s way and have gone our own willful way by loose living and indifference to the things of God. May God hear our prayers and bring life through faith in Jesus Christ to those who are spiritually dead.

Questions for thought:

Do you need revival?  How do you know?

What “signs” might one look for to indicate a need for revival?

What signs might indicate a need for “viving”?

For further study:

Read Psalm 80:19.  From where does revival come?

Read Isaiah 57:15 Where does the Lord dwell?  How do we encourage this?

Tuesday, June 22 – Read for today: Psalm 136

 7 -11 Music.  Really?

       There is a catch phrase going around the evangelical world amongst those who are critical of contemporary Christian music; they call it “7-11 music” … meaning by that, that the same seven words get repeated 11 times.

     I guess this is supposed to come off as condemningly cute. I guess the repeating of the same little ditty that is a chorus tacked on to many hymns is categorically different. Or, as I’ve answered these critics about contemporary repetition, “You mean like ‘Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord unto me’?”

     Before I lose the hymn-lovers or give the chorus-lovers a false sense of unbridled support, let me say two things …

     First, I’m not against traditional music and hymns. I love the old hymns and still enjoy singing many of them.  But music styles in the evangelical church have changed (Just as they did in the past and people condemned the hymns we now sing, because they were new and many were simply spiritual songs sang to the tunes of songs being sung in bars at the time). And the point is this: What they changed from is neither more right or wrong or better or worse than what they changed to. That tide goes the other direction as well.

     And secondly, neither side can throw at the other such condemnations as “7-11 music” or “silly hymn repetition” and do so from any spiritual high ground. Not without trashing Psalm 136 – our devotional for today. In this divinely inspired song of the Scriptures (which, by the way means it trumps both Isaac Watts and Michael W. Smith equally), the same four words repeat 26 times … if you miss the literary device, the words are “His love endures forever.” [The Hebrew word for steadfast love is difficult to translate. Other translations include lovingkindness, loyal love, faithful love, gracious love, and mercy. I prefer the Jesus Storybook Bible translation: God loves us with a Never Stopping, Never Giving up, Unbreaking, Always and Forever Love.] I am guessing the writer (under inspiration of the Holy Spirit) wanted the main idea of God’s enduring love to be emphasized and remembered! Indeed! It is at the heart of the message about the relationship between God and Israel … and about God and His redeemed and chosen people of all time – that his covenant love (on a promise purchased and sealed with blood) is dependable for all time.

     Among the themes in Psalm 136 which give testimony to God’s enduring love are these: He is the God above all Gods, he is the creator, He is the sustainer. He struck down the Egyptian oppressors of Israel and delivered his people through the Red Sea. God then sustained them through the wilderness while making them victors over powerful kings – giving those lands to his people as an inheritance. And beyond that, God remembers our “low estate” … that we are but flesh and blood, and He sustains his people as they trust in Him.

Wow!  His love endures forever … indeed!

     Before we finish today, let me say one more thing about praise and worship. We are to be people of worship by our praise and adoration of God day in and day out of our lives in our personal relationship with him. But when we come together with others of the faith, we have an opportunity to kick that worship up a notch and do it together in a way you just can’t do it by yourself!

      Don’t fight.  Worship.  We do that so much better when we get our eyes off of each other and get them on the Person we are called to worship.  Don’t you think that what is pleasing to Him is what should really matter?

Questions for thought:

Which style of church music do you prefer?  Can you “worship” in other styles?  Why or why not?

What do you feel is the most important element of worship?

For further study:

Read John 4:23-24.  What kind of worshippers does the Father seek?

What does that mean?  How does one go about doing that?

 Wednesday, June 23 – Read for today: Psalm 134

The Watchmen

     Who are these that serve by day and night in the house of the Lord?  They are the watchmen appointed a place of service in guarding the temple. The temple and the articles within were precious and belonged to the Lord and they were to be watched carefully.  This service was truly an act of praise to God.  They were to be good stewards of these things and fulfill their responsibilities. What have we as believers been made responsible for?  We have our personal lives to guard as the temple of the Holy Spirit and we should be very careful that no defilement enters and that we lift up our Lord in the highest ways.  The Holy Spirit can be grieved by our actions as well as our lack of actions. This temple of the Holy Spirit within us is real and needs to be respected by all the body of Christ. Our God is the creator of heaven and earth and should be worshiped as He deserves. The watchmen served the Lord, day and night and we are never off duty in our obedience and diligence. Many corrupt things are at the doors of our lives that will bring dishonor so let us watch and defend the glory of the Lord by day and night.  Let us worship Him in this service as an example to those who come behind us.

Thoughts to Consider:

I Corinthians 4:2-What trust have you been given?  In what ways have we been found faithful?

I Corinthians 6:20- How can our bodies be used to bring glory to God?

For further study:

Matthew 25-How are talents in this story to be compared to our lives today and how are we responsible before God?

I Timothy 6:20 & I Peter 4:10—What are some things we need to guard against as we seek to serve God today?  What variety in service to God do you see among believers?

Thursday, June 24 – Read for today: Psalm 146

Our God . . .

     Our God is the God of Jacob who maintained his promise of the Messiah through years of sinful humanity. This God who made the heavens and the earth also designed to give his creation as an inheritance to his people, though we have not earned it. This God has remained faithful though we have not. This God is our God not because of anything we have done to earn it, but because he loves us.

     Reading this Psalm is a tremendous lesson in prayer. The attributes assigned to our God here have been the attributes God has had since the beginning of time. God has always upheld the cause of the oppressed, fed the hungry, set prisoners free, given sight to the blind and so on.

     Want proof? Look no further than Jesus. Our Savior literally gave sight to the blind while he was on Earth. He fed the hungry with earthly food while feeding them with everlasting spiritual food. Jesus constantly lifted up those who were bowed down–eating with tax collectors and admonishing those “without sin” to throw the first stone. Our Jesus loved the righteous and frustrated the wicked, forever, by his death on the cross.

     Those same attributes are still present today as Jesus sits at the right hand of the Father, looking after the widows and orphans of this world–both believers and unbelievers–because of his incredible compassion. Our God still loves the righteous and frustrates the wicked as he guides his church to its eventual home in heaven.

Questions for thought:

Which attribute of God do you count on the most?

If you were to describe the Lord, how would you begin?

For further study:

Read Hebrews 13:8.  What does this verse tell you about the Lord’s attributes today?

Friday, June 25 – Read for today: Psalm 147

God is the God for me

     In A Godward Life, author and pastor John Piper offers these thoughts: “Human strength can never impress an omnipotent God, and human bigness can never impress a God of infinite greatness…”

     Psalm 147 is a thrilling statement of hope for people who enjoy God being God: “He determines the number of the stars, he gives to all of them their names” (verse 4 ESV). Now this is more than we can absorb! “Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain it” (Psalm 139:6 ESV).

     The earth, where we live, is a small planet revolving around a star called the sun which has a volume 1.3 times that of the earth. There are stars a million times brighter than the sun. There are about a hundred billion stars in our galaxy, the Milky Way, which is one hundred thousand light years across…. the sun travels about 155 miles per second, and so it would take two hundred million years to make a single revolution on its orbit in the Milky Way….

     The good news for those who enjoy God being God is that He enjoys them. He delights in those who hope in His immeasurable power. It is therefore no literary coincidence that the verses on either side of God’s greatness in Psalm 147:4-5 show Him caring for the weak (verses 3 and 6). He loves to be God for the weak and childlike, who look to Him for all they need.

Questions for thought:

Do you often think of your need for God?

Do you often think of how much He thinks of you?

For further study:

Read Psalm 34:18.  Who, does this verse say the Lord is near?

Read Luke 4:18.  Who did Jesus come to minister to?

Monday, June 28 – Read for today: Proverbs 25

Discipline

     Verse 28 of this passage says, “A man who does not control his temperis like a city whose wall is broken down.”

     In ancient days one of the most important daily jobs was to inspect the city walls and make repairs of any spot that showed any sign of weakness. If the walls were to fail anyone who wanted to do harm or steal could come into the city. There are no defenses left.

     It is important for us to inspect the walls of our self-control daily as well. If our walls are weak or broken than the temptations that were held at bay could over-run us.

     Self-control is being able to exercise a governing influence of your own emotions, desires, and actions. Our self-control is either strengthened or weakened by our emotions and desires. It is strengthened when our desire to lose weight is greater than our desire to eat what we know is not healthy. It is weakened when we allow our emotions to overthrow our ability to think through and use reason to address the situation.

     Self-control is a flexing of the mental muscle; the brain. We need to begin the daily inspection on the inside of the walls of our fortress. We strengthen our walls by keeping our emotions in check, be happy, because we know that depression, sadness, loneliness, and feeling sorry for ourselves leads to a loss of self-control. We also strengthen our wall by remembering our past successes and how we accomplished them, and how the Lord gave us the ability to overcome temptations and defeats. We can also strengthen our wall with anchors. Mentally rehearsing a given situation of weakness to find alternative solutions, or to find ways to avoid the situations which cause us to fall can also strengthen the wall.

     We also have to inspect the outside of the wall. We need to make sure the environment is one that promotes self-control by keeping temptations out of path. Meeting together with others can help strengthen our walls of resistance too. Eating healthy, filling foods when we are hungry instead of skipping meals can help us control ourselves from weak moments.  Spend time reading our Bibles and starting our day that way and in prayer, can help us avoid temptations during the day as well.

     Don’t forget. A person with no self-control is like a city with broken down walls. Fortify your walls daily!

Questions for thought:

Are you a disciplined person?

How do you measure your level of discipline and self-control?

How can one increase their discipline or self-control?

For further study:

Read 1 Corinthians 9:24-27.  What does this passage say about discipline?

Tuesday, June 29- Read for today: Proverbs 27

God’s Warnings and Instructions

    Proverbs 27 is full of information for living in any age.  That is why God’s word is timeless.  Many warnings and instructions are given here and we will look at a few.  I think it is not by any accident that that a warning against pride is given first.  It is a part of the old nature to blow its own horn but that is always a sour note to everyone and especially to God.  Only God should be exalted and not ourselves before Him.  To do so would be following after Satan’s plan to become a god unto ourselves. We can praise others in their endeavors in God’s service but never ourselves and when praising others be sure that God is the one who receives the glory.  A warning is given in verse 6 to beware of deceitfulness of the enemy with all their false ways and promises but the wounds of a true friend are faithful. A true friend will confront you about a problem they see that will hurt us regardless of what pain that may bring. A gentle approach is necessary but the warning needs to be revealed. Verse 12 speaks of distancing ourselves from evil or paying the consequences for our wrong actions.  Staying close to God’s Word is a must to remain pure in our service to Him. We are accepted in the Beloved but we can surely grieve the Holy Spirit by our decisions.  I believe that verse 18 speaks of personal responsibility for what God has placed before us.  If we are faithful stewards, we will enjoy the fruit of our labors for our Lord and if we honor the leadership over us that God has place we will honor our God.  Verse 23 tells us to be aware of what is in our hands and know that present blessing may not be there tomorrow so be prepared for changes. However, our Lord does not forsake us as His children and we need to be confident in His love and provisions.  These Proverbs are so practical for our daily lives because God has given to us.  Let us follow these instructions for a richer fuller life in serving our Lord.

Thoughts to Consider:

Matthew 13:54-Jesus displayed His wisdom and powers before amazed people but we can also see Him as we read the Word of God. Is He real to you?

Isaiah 11:1-4—Consider the wisdom and understanding of our Lord here who would be coming yet already existed!

For further study:

Romans 11:33—Think for the vastness of God’s wisdom and power and how we must accept by faith things we cannot fully understand.

James 3:17—Consider here these 8 descriptions of God’s wisdom. Think of how they can be seen in the Bible.

Wednesday, June 30 – Read for today: Proverbs 26

Types of people

     I have always said that if I could spend twenty minutes with a person and their friends, I can pretty much tell you everything about them.  It really doesn’t take long for a perceptive person to figure others out.  If you will watch, you can tell what people are like by their attitude and relationships with others.

     When I get around a group of people, I watch them.  You can quickly tell that some people are apathetic and lazy, while others are motivated and involved.  You can tell that some are deceptive and sneaky, while others are honest and genuine.  A conversation or two will disclose if a person is a busybody and a talebearer.  It doesn’t take long to figure out if a person is filled with hate and anger or is gentle and loving.

     Solomon was pretty perceptive as well.  I imagine him writing this Proverb while sitting in the youth room of a local church (remember that Proverbs was written primarily to young men).  A couple hundred teenagers are hanging around, and Solomon is sitting back and watching them interact with each other.  In one corner, he sees a group of girls who are huddled, and laughing, and then they all give an evil look towards a couple girls on the other side of the room.  He then looks on another side and sees a group of kids in grunge clothes, and it’s obvious they don’t want anything to do with what is going on at the church.  The youth minister tries to talk to them, but they blow him off.  On the other side is a group of guys, sitting in a circle with the “ladies man” telling stories of his conquests of girls in that group.

     As Solomon watched something like this, he may have begun to write this Proverb. He began to list types of people that will bring ruin to a peer group.  The categories of people listed in this Proverb don’t only exist in youth culture, or in ancient times.  They are everywhere we look.

     First, Solomon warns us about the fool.  Verses 1-12 give characteristics of a fool.  A fool is a person who refuses to hear from God.  They are wise in their own eyes, but reject God.  Solomon also tells of the lazy man (v.12-16), the meddler (v. 17), the joker (v. 18-19), the talebearer or gossip (v. 20-22), the hateful (v. 23-26), the vengeful (v. 27) and the liar (v.28).  Read through this Proverb again, and pay close attention to the characteristics of these people.  Do you know people like these?  Are you a person like these?     The truth be told, we all have the capability to be any of these types of people.

  This Proverb is a good reminder that we need to allow God to transform our character every day.  But we also need to realize that we will tend to drift toward the values of our closest friends.  This Proverb is not only a warning not to be these people, it is also a call for us to be very careful with the people we allow to shape our lives and speak into our purpose.

Questions for thought:

Do you remember those days as a youth? How would you describe yourself?

This passage has a lot to say about fools.  How would you describe a fool?

For further study:

How does Proverbs 18:2 describe a fool?  How about 29:11?

How might Proverbs 14:15 apply to the elections this year?

Thursday, July 1- Read for today: Proverbs 28

Christianity in elections

     Is there a proverb more appropriate to the elections we are facing today?  Let me point out a few requirements of a leader listed in this proverb.

  1. verse 2, with a discerning and knowledgeable person, a land endures.
  2. verse 3, a person who oppresses the poor is like a driving rain who leaves no food.  Let me ask you, what does it mean to oppress the poor?  There are many ways you can oppress someone.  I believe teaching someone to have to depend on others for a living and support is oppression.  Where is the sense of pride that comes in supporting oneself?
  3. verse 4.  Look at those who reject the law and praise the wicked.  My goodness.  Jesus was known as a friend of sinners, but He did not embrace nor condone the sin.  He knows that stuff destroys lives and causes a separation between people and God.
  4. verse 5, let me ask you, “Is it justice for people attempting to point out what Planned Parenthood is doing, i.e., dissecting and selling babies’ body parts, to be charged with a crime, while those actually breaking federal law by doing so, are not?  Is it justice for people who refuse to associate with immoral marriages, to be fined and to lose their livelihood when there are many other farms and bakeries willing to do that stuff?
  5. verse 6.  Integrity, “Steadfast adherence to a strict moral or ethical code”.
  6. verse 7, keeping the law appears important to the Lord.
  7. verse 9, praying God-pleasing prayers appears to have something to do with keeping the law, instead to ignoring it.
  8. verse 12 – Righteousness, “the quality of being morally right or justifiable”. Being morally right is important in a leader.
  9. verse 13 – confession brings mercy, while concealing them does not.  How many of those currently running will admit they have done wrong, and how many do not recall or deny?

     What a different place, country, atmosphere there would be today if more people sought what the Lord wanted and sought His will and used His standards when deciding who to choose as leaders, instead of making prayers decisions themselves.

Questions for thought:

Have you thought much about those running for office?

Who are you supporting?  Why?  Have you judged them biblically?

Have you prayed about current candidates as much as you talked about them?  Which do you think brings a greater impact/result?

For further study:

Read Psalm 133:1 How might this verse apply today?  Do you believe Christians ought to think of it more?

Read Titus 1:7-8.  How does this passage describe a good leader?  How does your candidate stack up?

PLEASE PRAY FOR OUR NATION

Friday, July 2 – Read for today: Proverbs 29

Stick to it

     Winston Churchill said, “Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm. It is so hard to keep a positive attitude in the midst of failure. None of us like to fail. We are judged based upon our performance. We are applauded when we win. We are paid when we are successful in our jobs.”

     How do you view success and failure? Is it based on money? Gold medals? Status? Power?  – Proverbs 29:18 reads, “Where there is no vision, the people perish.”

     God knows the importance of goals. He knows that as human beings we need to have plans and desires to strive to be better people. Sometimes though, it is our failures that make us the people God wants us to be. How we handle failure is more important to God; in fact, how we handle failure may be our success.

     Thomas Edison, the inventor of the light bulb, and an incredibly intelligent man stated, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” We need to understand sometimes when our plans do not work out the way we wanted, it brings us closer to where God wants us.  For years, growing up, I dreamed of bring in the military.  I planned on being the first 5-star general in the Marine Corps.  It’s what I dreamed and prepared for.

       In 12th grade, I had a friend, an army recruiter, take me to Jacksonville for a military physical.  I failed they would not let me in due to heart issues.  On to plan two (which, at the time, was NOT, becoming a minister).

     All of us have expectations and when those are not met we feel weary and disappointed. But God tells us in Galatians 6:9, “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”If we do not give up… the key to success…the answer… Nelson Mandela said, “The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling but in rising every time we fall.”     Do not give up. See what the world deems as failure as your step up to what God has for you next. Rely on Him when you feel weary and know that He will deliver in His time.

Questions for thought:

Have you ever been disappointed on a serious level?  How did you respond?

What does perseverance mean to you?

How does one become motivated to “stick to it”?

For further study:

What does Psalm 27:14 encourage one to do?

Read Romans 12:12.  How does one go about doing this?

Read 1 Thessalonians 1:3.  How might we help others endure and persevere?

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