Reading the Bible in Three Years

Exodus 2 (February 21)

                                                                    Good Hearing

            “...their cry for help rose up to God.”

            Life is hard, no doubt about it.  The problems of this life sometimes reach the realm of the unbelievable.  All of us have experienced on occasion, what it seems to be an insurmountable degree of pain; we have been in dark tunnels with no end in sight; we have almost drown in a sea of sorrows, but we have survived by the grace of God.

            What shall we do then, when the water is up to our necks?  To whom shall we go when “Mr. Pain” is knocking on our door?  The answer is Jesus.  The problem is that we can’t fix most of our problems.  We need to call on God, better yet; we need to cry to God for help.

            The people of Israel were in slavery in a foreign land.  This “double trouble” proved to be too much for them.  Nevertheless they learned to do the right thing:  They elevated their prayers to “El Shaddai”, the only one able and available to save them.

            A few years ago the movie “Ghostbusters” became extremely popular and the song “Who you gonna’ call” based on this movie, reached the top of the charts.  They trusted in a group of ghost “killers”, but you and I must depend only on God.

            Who are you going to call?

            “God heard their groaning...”

            Jesus hears our prayers and he feels our pain.  He knows your circumstances and he will answer in His time and according to his sovereign pleasure.  Do not despair, keep trusting and waiting in the Lord, for he is good and he will bless us in due time.  Call on God, my brethren, call only on God. 

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Exodus 1 (February 20)

                                                                    Flowers of the Field

            “...so that the land was filled with them.”

            On one occasion, a little child decided to conduct the following “scientific” experiment:  He filled a glass of water all the way to the brim and proceeded to run as fast as he could through the garden in the back of the house.  His objective was to calm his father’s thirst in the most efficient and quick way possible.

            However, as he was running, all the water was dispersed through the garden and when he gave the empty glass to his father, he expected the worst.  He knew he had failed miserably; now his father would be angry and...

            “Thank you my son!”  The father exclaimed with a bright smile across his face.  “You watered the new flowers I planted yesterday!”

            In the same manner, we must water this dry and thirsty world with God’s living water: The Gospel of salvation.  Only as we patiently and methodically, plant and water the “seed” of faith in the hearts of many, the earth will be populated with God’s children that love and worship the Father. 

            Egypt was literally inundated with the chosen people of God.  The people of Israel multiplied in spite of slavery, taxes and the threat of extinction.  Not even the mighty Pharaoh was able to detain the overwhelming growth of the Israelites!

            What can stop the church of Jesus Christ today?  Can the devil and hell prevail against us?  Certainly not! (Matthew 16:18). The Living Water is yearning to flow out of our hearts (John 7:38), into the desert of this world.  Let our lives be an oasis of hope.  Let us plant the seed of the Gospel, but let us do it...one heart at a time.            

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Genesis 49 (February 18)

                                                                          The Lion of Judah

            “The scepter shall not depart from Judah...”

            The story of Judah is very interesting to say the least.  He was one of the twelve sons of Jacob (or Israel) and he, along with his brothers, sold Joseph as a slave to the Midianites.

            Later on, Judah separated himself from his family, and was involved in a few incidents, including having a sexual affair with a “prostitute,” which turned out to be his daughter in-law Tamar.

            As you can appreciate, Judah was not a saint in his younger years.  Nevertheless he reappears later on the biblical account, as he and his brothers go down to Egypt searching for food.  This time Judah was a new man, a changed man.

            It was Judah, the one who offered himself to remain as a prisoner, until Benjamin was brought back to Egypt.  It was also Judah, the man who remembered (with sincere sadness and repentance) how they had betrayed Joseph and how much grief they had brought to their father.

            This was perhaps the main reason why the tribe of Judah became so prominent.  God rewarded Judah’s repentance, with the promise of a perpetual kingdom.

            Judah’s story reminds us about our own life.  We were sinners, but one day we repented and Jesus came into our hearts to reign as King.  Jesus was born from the tribe of Judah, and he was the fulfillment of this prophecy. He too was betrayed and sold out by his brothers. He died as king in Jerusalem, and he is our eternal King.                                      

            Glory to the Lion of Judah!

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Genesis 50 (February 19)

                                                                    The Voice of the Heart

            “But Joseph said to them...”

            There have been times in my life when revenge has taken roots in my heart. As a teacher, I have desired to pour out my entire wrath upon my offending pupils. I despise being disrespected in any way and revenge seems like the only way out of this situation.

            Jacob, the father of Joseph died.  This was Joseph’s opportunity to get rid once and for all, of his evil brothers.  The brothers, saddened by their father’s death and afraid of Joseph’s “revenge,” came asking for forgiveness.

            And what did Joseph do?  He didn’t avenge all the “lost years” of his youth. He didn’t make them pay for all the time he had been away from his beloved father, or for all the years he had to spend in prison for a crime he didn’t commit. He spoke to their hearts; he wept with them; and he renewed his pledge to preserve their lives.

            The only way our words will reach someone else’s heart, is if we speak from our hearts.  This is the kind of communication that God practices.  In fact, we could say that the Bible, the Word of God, is a revelation of God’s heart.

            Heart to heart communication is what God expects from his children.  How is your heart today?  Is it pure, holy, and sensitive to God’s voice?  It is important that we communicate from our hearts, but it is also extremely vital to guard our hearts “for out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks.” (Matthew 12:34).

            Let us begin to practice the art of transparent and sincere conversation.  We must speak from the heart to each other and in our daily prayers to God.  To speak in any other way is hypocrisy and we are not hypocrites.  Are we?

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Genesis 48 (February 17)

                                                                     Chosen

            “...shall be mine...”

            In this declaration, Jacob mirrors the decree and desire of God to choose a people for himself.  God planned since eternity to rescue us from sin and death and make us his own.

            Even before the creation of the universe, God elected those who would be saved.  He saw the wickedness of his creatures and in his heart he decreed the salvation of the elect.  Perhaps he said:

            “They shall be mine.”

            Are you a chosen one?  Do you have Christ in your heart, or better yet, is Christ the Lord of your life?

            Manasseh and Ephraim were born in Egypt, but Jacob adopted them as sons.  As such they enjoyed all the family benefits including the benedictions and the inheritance. In fact, they took the place of Levi and Reuben among the twelve tribes of Israel, even though they were not his sons.

            You and I were born in sin and thus separated from God.  Where would we be, were it not for the incomprehensible love of God?  We deserve the fire of hell, but God in his mercy, chose us to be with Him forever.

            If you are a Christian today, remember that you did not choose God; (John 15:16) he chose you, and he saved you.  One day when we reach the blessed shore of heaven, we shall hear the most beautiful words ever spoken.  Jesus will say to us:

            “Come with me, for you are mine!”    

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