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.

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Monday, September 14 – Read for today: Psalm 9

In spite of . . .

     In verse 13 David says, “consider my affliction at the hands of those who hate me.”  David is not living in an idyllic world with no difficulties and no struggles.  He has enemies.  He has problems.  In spite of the difficulties and such he begins this Psalm by saying, I will thank Yahweh with all my heart; I will declare all Your wonderful works. I will rejoice and boast about You; I will sing about Your name, Most High.” (vvs 1-2)

     How is David able to keep that kind of attitude in the midst of difficulties?  The answer to that question is found in the remainder of the Psalm.  There he points out that the Lord “causes his enemies to retreat, stumble & perish (v3); uphold his cause (v4); rebukes the nations and destroys the wicked (v5); brings the enemy to eternal ruin (v6); sits enthroned forever (v7); judges the world with righteousness (v8); and has not abandoned those who seek Him (v10).

     Because he remembers Who God is, and what He does, David is able to praise the Lord in spite of his difficulties.  The key to singing in the rain?  Remember Who your God is and how much He loves you.

Questions for thought:

Do you ever “praise the Lord in the storm”?  Are you able to praise Him in spite of your circumstances?  What does one’s ability to praise God in spite of difficulties say about his love for and faith in the Lord?

Is your praise dependent on God’s current, visible blessings?

What can someone do to remind themselves of the Lord’s goodness and blessings?

For further study:

Read Lamentations 3:22-23.  What do these verses tell us?

Read Joshua 4:20-24.  What might you do to help you in a similar way?

Tuesday, September 15 – Read for today: Psalm 10

Different Values

     The psalmist gives us a biblical picture of the wicked.  He says, The wicked persecutes the poor.The wicked boasts of his heart’s desire.The wicked blesses the greedy and renounces the Lord.The wicked is proud and does not seek God; God is in none of his thoughts.The wicked are always prospering; he sneers at his enemies.The wicked thinks he will never suffer adversity.The wicked’s mouth is full of cursing, deceit, and oppression; under his tongue is trouble and sin.The wicked murders the innocent secretly; he secretly fixes his eyes on the helpless.The wicked sets snares to catch the poor.The wicked says, God has forgotten; He hides His face; He will never see.

     We tend to think of wicked folks as those who abuse children, beat their wives, etc.  That is not the way the Lord describes them.  Sadly, the Lord’s description fits many our children, and perhaps some us look up to and emulate today.  How many of the above descriptions fit many of our “stars” and successful business people, or politicians today?  How many of them fit those entering the working world?  He says, “God has forgotten, He hides His face; he will never see?  His mouth is full of cursing, deceit and oppression”.

        We are to hold different standards than the world.  We are to live differently than the world.  We have different values.

Questions for thought:

Would any of the Psalmist’s description apply to you?

How does one begin to measure himself by the world’s standards?

For further study:

Read Luke 6:26.  How does this verse apply here?

How does one avoid this?  Can the world appreciate godly men as well?

Wednesday, September 16 – Read for today: Psalm 14

The Fool

     This passage describes us all.  “They’re corrupt.  They have abominable works.  There is none who does good.”  If we were honest, we would all have to admit these descriptions apply to us.  We all have times when we do not live to the standards we know we should, and standards that we often apply to others.  As the Bible says, “For all have sinned and comer short of the glory of God.”

     A fool however, takes things to a whole different level.

  1. THE FOOL IS UNRIGHTEOUS. The fool hates what is holy, righteous, and good, and he loves evil. (Proverbs 14:9)
  2. The Fool is unwise.  Proverbs 17:16.  Though he may act like he is seeking wisdom, he really has no heart for it (like many teaching and graduating from universities today).
  3. The fool is unrealistic.  (Proverbs 17:24).  His ship is always, “About to come in”.
  4. The fool is undisciplined (Proverbs 29:11; 12:23; 15:2).  He can’t control his resources, temper or tongue.
  5. The fool is unreliable (Proverbs 26:6; 10:18; 19:1).  He’s unreliable in his word, or his work.  You can’t believe what he says, and will not fulfill his obligations.
  6. The fool is unteachable (Proverbs 15:5; 17:10).  You can show him and show him and show him, and he refuses to learn.

     Because of his nature, and continuing hardening heart, the fool finally reaches the point where he claims, “There is no God.”  When going through difficulties, persecution, and pain, if one is honest, he might admit he may have questions about God, as John the Baptist had about Jesus (Matthew 11:1-19).  The fool, however, takes it to a whole different level.  He doesn’t question, his heart has become so hard, and he is so ate up with sin, he claims in his heart, “There is no God.”  Why?  Because he doesn’t want to have to give an account to anyone for his actions and choices.

Only a fool, will say in his heart, “There is no God”.

Questions for thought:

Have you ever had doubts or questions about God?  How did you address your questions?

What is the difference between having questions and stating with certainty, “There is no God?”

Do you know anyone that the descriptions above would apply to?  How does someone help a person like that?  Can they be helped?

For further study:

Read Jeremiah 32:26-27?  What do these verses tell us about God’s ability?

Thursday, September 17 – Read for today: Psalm 16

A Life of Hope in the Living Savior

     We have some beautiful thoughts in this Psalm. In verses 1-3 we have a petition to God for deliverance. “Preserve me, O God….” Speaks to all believers as we rely on Him for everything and He is glad to help us as any father desires to help His children.  We are utterly alone if not joined to God but life is a delight as God’s children as we are honored to serve Him even in difficult times.  Verses 4 explains the idolatry of unbelievers and the sorrow that accompanies it.  God has made us to worship Him alone and any idol in our lives will bring only emptiness and defeat. David declares that he will not participate in this folly and dishonor the LORD with his life.  What is our resolve?  If we truly belong to God through His Son Jesus Christ, does He always have first place in our lives?  Do we honor Him in all decisions and give true praise to Him?

     Verses 5-8 speak of the joys of the believer’s relationship with God.  The inheritance we have in God is more than can be calculated.  We are so blessed as God’s children and He is the one who maintains our position in Him.  We can grieve the Lord by our actions and disappoint Him but our relationship with Him remains the same because of His promises.  He is always there to give us counsel and will never let us down.  He therefore gives us great confidence for living each day.  Is this the testimony of your life before the world?  The world needs to see this so they will desire the relationship with God that we have. Finally we see in verses 9-11 the confidence of the resurrection life we have in Christ.  This Psalm is quoted in Acts 2:25-25, 31 as well as in Acts 13:35-37 by Peter and Paul.  The resurrection of Christ is seen in “Nor will you allow your Holy One to see corruption.” (verse 10). Christ was resurrected and did not decay in the ground and neither will we as His children. We also will be resurrected to new life in Him.  He truly leads us in the path of life for eternity and fills us with joy that we can experience in no other way.  Do you have this relationship with Christ today?  Repent from your sin if you do not know Him and find forgiveness and joy unspeakable.

Thoughts to consider:

Romans 4:18 –What would have happened to Abraham if he had not believed God in faith?

Romans 8:24-How does hope join with trust in the life of a believer for a wonderful end?

For further study:

Romans 15:4-What part does Scripture have in our spiritual growth?  How does the Bible in our lives each day give us true hope for living?

I Peter 3:15-How do you think hope in God displayed before the world is used to bring people to salvation?

 Friday, September 18 – Read for today: Psalm 19

How do you know?

     How do you know there is a God and if there is, how do you know the One we serve and worship is the right One?  This chapter gives us two reasons I know there is a god and that we serve the “right” the one and only God.  1. I know there is a God because of creation.  Verse 1, “The heavens declare the glories of God!”  Has a truer statement ever been said?

     Can you imagine what the earth would be like without the moon there to impact our orbit, and go give us our tides?  Can you imagine the devastation our planet would suffer if we didn’t have Jupiter in our solar system to vacuum up all of the largest, stray comets and such that could potentially impact the earth?     If we were any closer to the sun we would cook, and if we were any further we would freeze.  The earth is tilted perfectly to give us seasons.  The stars record for us “Virgo” the virgin; the mother of Christ.  We have Pisces, the fish, the symbol Christians used to recognize one another in the early days of the underground movement.  You have Leo the Lion, the symbol of the king and also of the nation of Israel.  We could continue, but you get the point.  They are all there.     We have two options.  Either, all of this made itself, or there is a Creator.  The Bible records in Genesis 1:14-16, Then God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky to separate the day from the night. They will serve as signs for festivals and for days and years. They will be lights in the expanse of the sky to provide light on the earth.” And it was so. God made the two great lights—the greater light to have dominion over the day and the lesser light to have dominion over the night—as well as the stars.

     Romans 1:20 says, For His invisible attributes, that is, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen since the creation of the world, being understood through what He has made. As a result, people are without excuse.  2. I know we serve the right, the One and Only God, because of His Word.  This passage says, in verse 7, “The Law of the Lord is perfect, restoring the soul.”  Within God’s word we find everything we need to know about who God is and who we are. It tells us about the devastating effects of our sins and the perfect sacrifice of our Savior. It tells us all we need to know about eternity and about how we can come to be in fellowship with God. It is complete.  What other writing can that be said about?

     The NIV says that the testimony of the Lord is “Trustworthy.” We can rely upon it. When all around us there are conflicting messages as to what truth is, God’s word does not change, it is sure, it is trustworthy.

       The idea here is that for those who are truly looking for answers, who are coming to scripture with an open mind, God will reveal Himself in such a way through His word that it will make them wise. And of course, as Psalm 111:10 says, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” The word of God is a sure and true witness, it will inculcate within the open minded reader a fear for God, which is where wisdom begins.

     There is nothing else that can claim that.  The heavens and the scriptures testify to the existence of God.  I have no doubt.

Questions for thought:

Do you know the Lord?  Do you have a relationship with Him?

For further study:

Read Job 12:7.  What does this verse tell us about a witness to God?  Do you see it?

Read Jeremiah 29:13.  What does this verse tell us about finding God?

Monday, September 21 – Read for today: Psalm 21

The right perspective

     We live in a day, in a time, when humility is largely gone from the actions and vocabulary of many.  In times of victory, our victors often go beyond a simple celebration, to wanting the crowd’s endorsement of their prowess, talent, and superiority.  Following a victory, shouts of “Who’s da man?”, or “Who’s number 1?” can often be heard.

     David is a man, who as a boy, single-handedly and in defense of his livelihood and his father’s flocks, defeated both a lion and a bear (1 Samuel 17:34-36), and yet he claimed no special ability or talent because of his victories.  He said, “The Lord who rescued me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will rescue me from the hand of this Philistine.”  He recognized where his strength and victory came from.  If he were to have mounted their heads on a wall, he would have said, “Look what the Lord helped me do.”

     When a young youth, 12 – 14 years of age, He defeated one of the largest and fiercest warriors to have ever trod our earth.  Goliath was a giant of a man, standing, depending on which cubit you use, and somewhere between 8 1/2 and 10 feet tall.  He wore 150 lbs. of armor, and carried a spear whose tip weighed as much as the shot puts our Olympic athletes struggle to throw.  When he went to fight him, what did he say, “this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, for he has defied the armies of the living God.” 37 Then David said, “The Lord who rescued me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will rescue me from the hand of this Philistine.”

     David knew Who would have to fight if he was going to win this battle.  Even after his victory, and even after having success as a military leader for years, and even after becoming king, what does he say?  Look again at our passage for today.  Lord, the king finds joy in Your strength.  How greatly he rejoices in Your victory  His glory is great through Your victory; You confer majesty and splendor on him.”

     David gives all of the honor and glory to the Lord.  He knows Who has given him the ability he has and Who has blessed him.  Through it all he keeps a right perspective.”

Questions for thought:

What do you think when you see Tim Tebow, or Albert Pujols, or someone similar kneeling on an athletic field, or pointing toward heaven after they make a good play or after a victory?Do you usually give glory to God after you succeed at something or get recognized for a good job?  How can someone testify to the source of her strength, or his ability, in an honest way, without fanfare?

For further study:

Read Acts 7:55-58.  What was the crowd’s response to Stephen’s testimony?  Why?  In our society, do you see things possibly heading the same way?

Read Psalm 29:11; and Isaiah 40:29.  According to these verses, where does all glory belong?

Tuesday, September 22 – Read for today: 1 Chronicles 1

Passing the torch

     Adam, Seth, Enosh, . . . The beginnings.  Have you ever walked through a cemetery and examined the headstones?  I’ve walked through Arlington National Cemetery several times.  I’ve walked through the cemetery that’s part of Confederate Memorial Park, behind the old Confederate senior home that was there.  We’ve walked through one of the country’s oldest cemeteries in Boston.  Some I’ve been very moved by.  Others, simply learning.

     All of those buried in those places, like those listed in our reading for today, had plans.  They had hopes and dreams.  Some were a drag on the world, hurting and injuring those around them, or simply taking what others had worked for.  Some made little impact on the world.  They lived.  They died, and that was about it.  Some contributed to the world and to society.  The world was a better place because they had been here.  They encouraged folks.  They helped those in need.  They pointed out the good in situations and defended those unable to defend themselves.

     All of us are links in a chain.  We benefit, or suffer, because of the actions and decisions of those who have gone before us.  We also leave for those who follow.  Some of us will leave encouragement for those who follow.  Some of us will leave a model, an example, of what a faithful husband/wife, diligent parent, and supportive child looks like.  Others, not so much.

     Regardless, if the Lord delays until then, all of us will be forced to pass the torch to someone else.

Questions for thought:

What torch are you passing to the next generation?

Will those who follow be better off because you were here?

What can you do to help those follow?

For further study:

Read Philippians 4:8-9.  Could you leave a similar inscription on your headstone?

Wednesday, September 23 – Read for today: 1 Chronicles 2


     This chapter, and verse 3 especially, is a reminder of a torrid event which is recorded in Genesis 38.  That chapter records how Judah had three sons.  The first was wicked in the Lord’s sight, as we are reminded here, and the Lord killed him.

     The second was to father a child with his brother’s widow.  According to the law and traditions of the time, that was one of his responsibilities to his brother.  He, however, refused to give his deceased brother an heir, perhaps hoping to get a greater portion of the inheritance himself.   The Lord, seeing his refusal, got ticked at him and killed him as well.

   Judah, afraid his youngest son would also die, refused to have him father a child for his brother.  The 1st brother’s widow, Tamar, disguised herself, slept with her father-in-law, and ended up having a son by him.

     What a twisted, profane, and disgusting situation.  What did the Lord do in this situation?  He made Judah and Tamar’s child an ancestor of Jesus (Matthew 1:3).

     We see here a stark contrast.  One man was killed because he was evil in the Lord’s sight.  His younger brother killed because he too did what was displeasing to the Lord.  Then a woman, who did not come from the “people of God” doing what was right in the Lord’s eyes and being rewarded for her righteousness and desire to do what was right, by being able to list as one of her descendants, “The Son of God!”

It is not hearers of the Word, who please God.  It is the doers.What a contrast.

Questions for thought:

If you did not know the outcome beforehand, what would you have thought God’s reaction to Tamar’s actions would have been?

How does this confirm what was written in Isaiah 55:8-9?

How might this affect the way we look at and judge others?

For further study:

Read Romans 2:12-16.  How is this passage confirmed by our reading for today?

How does the passage above give added weight to the warning of James 1:22?

 Thursday, September 24 – Read for today: Psalms 43

Anchor for the Soul

     How do we weather the storms of life?  How do we handle the enemies that confront us sometimes on a daily basis? Is the stress of the world getting us down? The cry of this Psalms is to lean hard on the Lord. When we know that we are His children there is confidence and joy that runs through our lives like a mighty river of hope.  The pressure of the enemy is oppressive yet at the same time a platform to see our Lord work in us.  It is when the heat is pressing us it is then when we see God work.  This in turn builds our confidence and prepares us for future trials. I believe when we trust our Lord like this the world around us sees us more than we realize.  It becomes an opportunity for a testimony to display our relationship with our Lord before the world.

       When God encourages us we begin to naturally overflow with praise and this brings glory and satisfaction to His heart. We must remember that we were created to worship our Lord and will never be fulfilled unless we are doing this in a consistent way.  So we must look at every event and trial in our lives as a door way to display our love and appreciation of Him.  No enemy or problem should over cast our relationship with Him but enhance a picture of our special relationship.  Can we then look at trials differently now in a positive light?  Can we lift up our Lord in difficult times?  If we can this will honor our Lord in a wonderful way!

Thoughts to consider:

Job 11:18-Why do you think hope brings security to our lives?

Psalms 91:5-What instant troubles can you think of that God can take care of in our lives? What does fear do to our lives?

For further study:

Psalms 112:7-How important is it to have a life of steadiness even in stressful times?

Proverbs 3:24-What does true rest mean in your life? What do you consider the fruit of true rest?

Friday, September 25 – Read for today: Psalm 44

Nothing new under the sun

     On April 16th, Italian police arrested 15 Muslim migrants, accused of throwing 12 Christians overboard, leading to their deaths.

     NAIROBI, Kenya — Somali militants burst into a university in eastern Kenya and killed nearly 150 students in the worst terrorist attack since the 1998 bombing of the United States Embassy here, laying bare the nation’s continuing vulnerability after years of battling Islamist extremism.

     A small group of militants, most likely between four and 10, roved from dorm to dorm, separating Christian from Muslim students and killing the Christians, the authorities said. Students described being awakened before dawn by the sound of gunfire and fleeing for their lives as masked attackers closed in.Officials said that by the time Kenyan commandos cornered and killed the attackers on an upper floor, 147 people lay dead. (April 2, 2015).

     “Christians and followers of other religions in China suffered the worst abuses in a decade last year as part of a state-sponsored crackdown on dissent, according to a Christian human rights group.     The organization China Aid said the persecution of religious practitioners and human rights advocates in China increased by more than 150 percent last year.  According to its annual report released on Tuesday, 17,884 individuals were persecuted for their religious beliefs. Authorities detained nearly 3,000 dissidents and sentenced 1,274 people, compared to just 12 in 2013.” (April 27, 2015; Daniel Wiser).

     According to Open Doors, 322 Christians are killed, 214 churches are destroyed and properties damaged, and 772 forms of other violence are done against Christians every month.  There is, however, nothing new under the sun.  In verse 22 of our passage for today we read, “Because of You we are slain all day long; we are counted as sheep to be slaughtered.”

     God’s people, Godly people, always suffer.  There are times, looking at the innocent suffering, when we all wonder and ask, “Lord, where are You?  Why are you allowing this to happen?”

     In Matthew 5:10-12 we read, “Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”

     The good news, no, the great news is, this is not the end of the story.  The days of suffering and persecution will come an end, and we will all be reunited in a place where there is no more suffering.  That, my friend, is something new and something to look forward to.

Questions for thought:

What do you do in response to the persecution you see around the world?

Do you ever step in to help those around you being persecuted and ridiculed for their faith?

For further study:

     Standing Strong Through The Storm is the curriculum that Open Doors uses to help Christians stand strong in the face of persecution. There are six theological and biblical lessons from this curriculum:

  1. Sometimes you need to build yourself a cell  Be still, and know that I am God—Psalms 46:10 One Chinese church leader, who spent 23 years in prison, once said this to Christians who did not face persecution: “I was pushed into a cell, but you have to push yourself into one. You have no time to know God. You need to build yourself a cell, so you can do for yourself what persecution did for me—simplify your life and know God.”

           It is vital that we spend time with God, to grow in Him, so we are prepared to stand strong in the face of persecution.

  1. God keeps secrets,  “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts—Isaiah 55:8-9There have been countless stories of persecuted Christians who have died without seeing the fruits of their labor. However, God know all that has been and all that is to come. Our labor is not in vain, it is in His hands.
  2. Weakness is a direct path to power that is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong—2 Corinthians 12:10 An Egyptian Christian reflected on the way he was treated when he converted to Christ: “In great suffering you discover a different Jesus than you do in normal life… Pain and suffering bring up to the surface all the weak points of your personality. In my weakest state, I had an incredible realization that Jesus loved me even right then.”  True empowerment does not come from human means, but through Christ alone. It often takes being at our weakest point to realize this.
  3. Overcoming is greater than deliverance. Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. —Romans 12:21 Persecuted Christians, no matter what country they are from, do not ask us to pray that persecution would end, but rather ask us to pray that they stand strong through the persecution. They do not wish to be delivered from the persecution, but rather ask us to pray that they would be able to overcome the trials that they are facing in a way that is honoring to God.
  4. Extreme hurt requires extreme forgiveness:  And Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” And they cast lots to divide his garments—Luke 23:34A Christian widow from Iran said: “I only had hatred in my heart for my enemies who had murdered my husband. But one day a miracle happened. God taught me how I could love my enemies… I had been praying for this, even though on the deepest level I didn’t want it to happen. Gradually, through a process of ups and downs, God answered this prayer.”  The only way we can get through extreme hurt is by forgiving people as Christ did.
  5. Prayer is the ultimate fellowship Remember those in prison as if you were their fellow prisoners, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering—Hebrews 13:3 Many persecuted Christians often feel isolated and alone, since they are unable to fellowship with other believers. However, prayers from Christians half a world away have brought the same amount of encouragement that fellowship would have for these persecuted Christians. Prayer is vital—not only as a direct line to God, but as a way to encourage our persecuted brothers and sisters around the world.

  1 Corinthians 12:26 tells us that we are one body—when one member suffers, we all suffer. When one member is lifted up, we all rejoice. Persecuted Christians and Christians in the free world are not two separate entities, but rather are one body. The persecuted church needs the free church to support them and most importantly to lift them up in prayer. The church in the free world learns lessons from the persecuted who have stood strong in the face of persecution. Christ is the head of the body and uses the church (both free and persecuted) in unique and powerful ways.

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