Daily Encouragement

February 8 – Beauty and the Judgment of the Nations

TODAY’S BIBLE READING CHALLENGE:
Exodus 28:1-43
Matthew 25:31-26:13
Psalm 31:9-18
Proverbs 8:12-13

Exodus 28:1 — In a few days we’ll hear more about Nadab and Abihu, but interestingly God has called unregenerate people throughout the Bible to serve Him. Jesus called Judas (Matthew 10:4) to be His disciple.

Exodus 28:40 — What were the two purposes for the clothing? Glory and beauty. God encourages us to think on lovely things (Philippians 4:8). Answers in Genesis (AiG) has an interesting point – only a Designer can add beauty for the sake of beauty.

Matthew 25:31 — We are two thousand years closer to this date than the disciples were. At the Second Coming, at the start of the Millennium, our King will come in His glory! Jesus is still on the Mount of Olives, telling His disciples about when He returns to the Mount of Olives in glory (Acts 1:11)!

Matthew 25:40 — Is Jesus teaching a works salvation? Here’s what John MacArthur says:

“People who get confused here and somehow miss verse 34 because verse 34 makes it very clear the basis of their entrance into the Kingdom.  It’s extremely clear.  First of all, “Come … here comes number one point … ye blessed of My Father.”  That emphasizes the source of their salvation.  You are blessed of My Father.  You are entering into the Kingdom because My Father has determined to bless you … And then it says, “Come you who are the blessed who belong to My Father, inherit … inherit,” which implies something very important.  You inherit something because you are born into a family, right?  It implies again that they belong to the family of God, to which you belong by faith.  You inherit what is yours because by faith you have become a joint heir with Christ if we can sort of borrow Paul’s thought in Romans 8.”

https://www.gty.org/library/sermons-library/2380/the-judgment-of-the-nations-part-3

Matthew 25:41 — ”Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels.” Hell is real!

Matson Photo Service, Ruins of House of Simon the Leper in Bethany

Psalm 31:18 — Take a second and enjoy the beautiful phrasing of the first phrase: the alliteration and the contrast as the Psalmist calls for silence from the liars.

Proverbs 8:13 — What is your relationship with evil, pride, arrogancy, the evil way, and the froward mouth?

Share how reading through the Bible has been a blessing to you! E-mail us at 2018bible@vcyamerica.org or call and leave a message at 414-885-5370.

Daily Encouragement

February 7 – Tabernacles and Talents

TODAY’S BIBLE READING CHALLENGE:
Exodus 26:1-27:21
Matthew 25:1-30
Psalm 31:1-8

Proverbs 8:1-11

Exodus 26 and 27 are some of the passages that start getting into the “technical details.” Visualizing what the tabernacle looked like with a virtual tour may help to give some understanding to the passage.

The Parable of Wise and Foolish Virgins (unfinished)

Matthew 25:10 — Perhaps you’ve been intrigued by the Bible and have joined us this year. If you know about the Bible but don’t personally know the Lord of the Bible, please call out to Him before the door is shut and it’s too late! Being a good person – is not good enough!

Matthew 25:21, 23, and 26 — God has entrusted talents to His servants. A few years ago, Vic Eliason, who led what became VCY America into broadcast ministry, entered his eternal reward. Vic used the talents that God had given Him, and I am confident he heard the Lord tell him “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.” Will we hear “Well done” or will we hear “Thou wicked and slothful servant”?

Psalm 31:5 — Where have you heard this verse before? Jesus quoted this verse and many other Old Testament passages. While we may struggle with studying the Old Testament, remember that Jesus thought it was valuable and quoted it while on earth.

Proverbs 8:10 — What is better than silver, gold, and rubies? Wisdom! Reject the path of the simple and the fool! Follow wisdom!

Share how reading through the Bible has been a blessing to you! E-mail us at 2018bible@vcyamerica.org or call and leave a message at 414-885-5370.

Daily Encouragement

February 6 – Feasts, Hornets, and Tabernacles

TODAY’S BIBLE READING CHALLENGE:
Exodus 23:14-25:40
Matthew 24:29-51
Psalm 30:1-12
Proverbs 7:24-27

Exodus 23:14 — Keep track of the feasts – these will be the key points of the Hebrew Calendar. Unleavened Bread/Passover (Exodus 23:15), Firstfruits/Pentecost (Exodus 23:16), and Ingathering/Tabernacles (Exodus 23:16).

Exodus 23:20-22 — Who is this Angel that is to be obeyed? His voice is equivalent to God speaking.

Exodus 23:28 — This is the first of three times hornets are mentioned in the Bible (the other two places are Deuteronomy 7:20 & Joshua 24:12). All of these references refer to God driving out the Canaanites. BTW have you heard the Hornet Song?

Exodus 25 — What did the Tabernacle look like? Perhaps something like this?

Matthew 24:34 — What generation shall not pass? Some say the generation that saw Israel become a nation in 1948. Commentaries will give you many options. One hypothesis is that the generation that sees the start of the Olivet Discourse will also see the end of the Olivet Discourse. Jimmy DeYoung concurs with that interpretation.

Psalm 30:5 — The great promise: “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.”

Psalm 30:11-12 — These verses and others from this Psalm inspired the song Sing to the Lord and Be Not Silent.

Proverbs 7:26 — Be careful of the Strange Woman. You may think you can stand, but “many strong men have been slain by her.”

Share how reading through the Bible has been a blessing to you! E-mail us at 2018bible@vcyamerica.org or call and leave a message at 414-885-5370.

Daily Encouragement

February 5 – Torts, Talionis, and More Laws!

TODAY’S BIBLE READING CHALLENGE:
Exodus 21:22-23:13
Matthew 24:1-28
Psalm 29:1-11
Proverbs 7:6-23

Exodus 21:23 — Lex Talionis is the law of retaliation. Rather than encouraging violence, the point is to limit violence by keeping it from escalating. The response must be proportionate to the crime.

Exodus 21:28-29 — Tort law is the law of negligence. For those who know, there is more responsibility.

Exodus 22:22 — While we’re rolling through the “statute law” of the Bible, it is interesting who God is protective of.

Exodus 23:4 — What else does God say about enemies? Proverbs 25:21, Matthew 5:43-44.

Matthew 24 — Welcome to the Olivet Discourse! Instead of listening to me, join Dr. Jimmy DeYoung for an introduction to the Olivet Discourse as recorded at the Taos Prophecy Conference. Or if you like reading, John Walvoord, former president of Dallas Theological Seminary, has his book on the Olivet Discourse available free.

Psalm 29:11 — Go back to verse 1. We have a little chiasm here: the people ascribe to the LORD strength, and then in verse 11, the LORD will give strength unto His people.

Proverbs 7:10 — I’m glad I have a Proverbs 31 woman, not a Proverbs 7 woman! The man seeking a Proverbs 7 woman is as an ox to the slaughter (Proverbs 7:22). The man with a Proverbs 31 woman sits in the gates with the elders (Proverbs 31:23).

Share how reading through the Bible has been a blessing to you! E-mail us at 2018bible@vcyamerica.org or call and leave a message at 414-885-5370.

Daily Encouragement

February 4 – The Ten Commandments

TODAY’S BIBLE READING CHALLENGE:
Exodus 19:16-21:21
Matthew 23:13-39
Psalm 28:1-9
Proverbs 7:1-5

Exodus 20 — We saw the preamble to the Covenant with the Israelites yesterday; today we see the Ten Commandments!  AlMohler.com reports “According to data from the Barna Research Group, 60 percent of Americans can’t name even five of the Ten Commandments. ‘No wonder people break the Ten Commandments all the time. They don’t know what they are,’ said George Barna.”

I’ve taught Sunday School at various churches, and sometimes I will ask the class to show with their fingers which commandment is “Thou Shalt Not Kill.” Sadly, very few in our Bible-preaching churches are fluent in the Old Testament Law. While many dismiss the Old Testament as irrelevant, we saw that Jesus directed the rich young man who wanted salvation right back to the Law! Ray Comfort regularly takes people back to the Law to show that they are sinners in need of a Savior.

So how can you learn the Ten Commandments? You can learn all 10 with your fingers!

Exodus 21 — Welcome to the “statute law” of the Bible. After we finished reading through the 10 Commandments, we are starting into the detailed laws, known as the 613 Commandments. Some liberals say this is a cheap knockoff of Hammurabi’s Code. Many of the 613 Commandments deal with the uncomfortable topic of slavery but not as we are familiar with it being practiced:

For more information on this passage check out Bodie Hodge’s chapter “Doesn’t the Bible Support Slavery?” from Answers in Genesis.

Matthew 23 — Hypocrisy is used 8 times in this chapter. If you have friends who don’t go to church because of the hypocrites, ask them if they ever heard what Jesus said about hypocrites!

Psalm 28:2 — Is your first call to the stockbroker? The therapist? Your friends on Snapchat? Or is your first call in time of trouble to the Lord?

Proverbs 7:4-5 — Which woman do you spend time with? Wisdom or the Strange Woman?

Share how reading through the Bible has been a blessing to you! E-mail us at 2018bible@vcyamerica.org or call and leave a message at 414-885-5370.

Daily Encouragement

February 3 – Joshua, Jethro, Eagles, and Preambles!

TODAY’S BIBLE READING CHALLENGE:
Exodus 17:8-19:15
Matthew 22:34-23:12
Psalm 27:7-14
Proverbs 6:27-35

Exodus 17:9 — This is the first mention of Joshua in the Bible. Joshua means “Jehovah is Salvation,” and when transliterated into Greek, it becomes Jesus.

Exodus 18:11 — Moses’ father-in-law wasn’t a believer but was reached as Moses shared what God had done. One day, the aged believer Jethro had wisdom for Moses (vs. 14, vv. 17-18). DesiringGod.org has an interesting observation on this passage:

Have you ever wondered why God, who gave Moses such detailed verbal instructions about things like the construction of the tabernacle and the keeping of the law, never instructed Moses on how he was to perform his role as judge in Israel? Instead he allowed Moses to struggle under an overbearing workload for a while and finally sends Jethro, Moses’s father-in-law, to be an organizational consultant.

If you’re curious why God may have done this – finish the article!

Exodus 19:4 — Maybe this reminds you of Isaiah 40:31, Psalm 91:4, a popular funeral song, the book or movie about the Ross Perot-organized rescue of Iranian hostages,  or the 1949 rescue of 50,000 Jews from Yemen that involved Alaska Airlines (Code Name: Operation Magic Carpet)! Just a reminder that the Bible has a massive cultural influence, as well as its salvific power!

Exodus 19:5-6 — Israel left Egypt (Exodus 12), walked through the Red Sea (Exodus 14), rejoiced (Exodus 15), murmured (Exodus 16), fought (Exodus 17), organized its leadership (Exodus 18), and is now beginning to express its philosophy of government. Unlike our Preamble to the Constitution that begins with “We the people of the United States … do ordain,” Israel’s begins “We the priests of the holy nation … do covenant.”

Biblical illustrations by Jim Padgett, courtesy of Sweet Publishing, Ft. Worth, TX, and Gospel Light, Ventura, CA.

Matthew 22:40 — Six hundred thirteen Old Testament laws of Moses were summarized in just two: love God and love others. But there are more commands than this in the New Testament! I’ll give you a sneak peak at a project to track all the Old Testament laws, the reiterations of those laws by the Prophets, and the New Testament Commands (843 is my latest count).

Psalm 27:14 — Patch the Pirate has a great chorus based on this verse (the lyrics come from Matthew 7:7 and James 4:2):

Proverbs 6:27-35 — A strong warning to those tempted to violate the Seventh Commandment (Exodus 20:14).

Share how reading through the Bible has been a blessing to you! E-mail us at 2018bible@vcyamerica.org or call and leave a message at 414-885-5370.

Daily Encouragement

February 2 – Don’t Murmur!

TODAY’S BIBLE READING CHALLENGE:
Exodus 15:19-17:7
Matthew 22:1-33
Psalm 27:1-6
Proverbs 6:20-26

Exodus 15:24 — Murmur is used 10 times in this passage, and this passage is the only time murmur is found in Exodus. Murmuring is not open, blatant rebellion; it’s a quiet grumbling – more like half-hearted obedience (or half-hearted disobedience). How do you think God feels about murmuring?

Exodus 16:15 — Manna will be feeding the Israelites from now until Joshua 5:12. It’s mentioned in Nehemiah 9:20 and Psalm 78:24. According to Hebrews 9:4, it was stored in the Ark of the Covenant. Jesus talked about it in John 6:31, John 6:49, and John 6:58. Wonder what it tastes like? Overcome and you can eat of the hidden manna (Revelation 2:17)!

Matthew 22:7 — About 40 years after they slew the Servant (Matthew 12:18), the armies of Titus burned up the city of Jerusalem.

Matthew 22:13 — John Bunyan footnotes this verse in Pilgrim’s Progress (Chapter 36: The Fearful End of Ignorance).

Matthew 22:19 — What did the coin look like? Probably like this:

Matthew 22:29 — Congratulations on being committed to not erring! The way you can avoid erring is by knowing the Scriptures; by the way, reading through the Bible is a great way to know the Scriptures!

Psalm 27:1 — Frances Allitsen’s composition based on Psalm 27:1 (two words off) is beautiful to listen to.

Proverbs 6:24 — Again, we see the Evil/Strange Woman in contrast to the Wise Woman (Prov. 1:20) and the Proverbs 31 Woman.

Share how reading through the Bible has been a blessing to you! E-mail us at 2018bible@vcyamerica.org or call and leave a message at 414-885-5370.

Daily Encouragement

February 1 – Where Was the Exodus?

TODAY’S BIBLE READING CHALLENGE:
Exodus 13:17-15:18
Matthew 21:23-46
Psalm 26:1-12
Proverbs 6:16-19

Exodus 13:19 — Joseph’s 400-year-old bones. Remember reading a few days ago about the promise Joseph forced his family to make (Genesis 50:25-26)?

Exodus 14:12 — Many people would rather live serving the devil than risk death to serve the Lord.

Exodus 14:21 — Where did the Red Sea crossing occur? There are 5 major routes for the Exodus in one study Bible (and that isn’t even an exhaustive map) and many interesting arguments for many different sites and routes.

Many secularists attack the very idea of a Red Sea Crossing, and others attack the timing of the Exodus (but thankfully conservatives defend a biblical date for the Exodus occurring in 1446 BC). Why is there so much confusion about the Exodus? The best explanation is that we’ve done very little research. Despite all of the Bible colleges in the world, there is not even one “Professor of Exodus Studies.” However, there is some great promising work. Associates for Biblical Research (ABR) is a great source; take time to read their articles on Amenhotep II and the Historicity of the Exodus PharaohRecent Research on the Date and Setting of the Exodus, etc.

Exodus 15:1 — Have you praised the Lord when He has delivered you?

Matthew 21:31 — Sadly today, publicans and harlots will go into the kingdom of God before many pastors and deacons. Being religious is not enough. Following Jesus is enough.

Psalm 26:1 — The Psalmist is asking God to defend him because he walked in integrity. If your prayers aren’t being answered, check this Psalm to see if you meet the conditions of integrity. Additionally, Grace To You has collected 15 reasons for unanswered prayer.

Proverbs 6:16-19 — The Seven Deadly Sins – add these to your list of things that God hates. Check through them from time to time to see if you are living a life that God will bless, or one that He will chastise.

Share how reading through the Bible has been a blessing to you! E-mail us at 2018bible@vcyamerica.org or call and leave a message at 414-885-5370.

Daily Encouragement

January 31 – The Battle for the Sons

TODAY’S BIBLE READING CHALLENGE:
Exodus 12:14-13:16
Matthew 20:29-21:22
Psalm 25:16-22
Proverbs 6:12-15

If you read this devotional online at www.biblereadingchallenge.org, you can hover over the references, and the verse will pop up!

Exodus 12:24 — Pharaoh wanted to kill the sons (Exodus 1:22), but he settled to keep the sons (Exodus 10:11). God wanted to teach the sons (Exodus 12:24-27; Exodus 13:8, Exodus 13:14).

Exodus 12:29 — The Pharaoh who killed the sons (Exodus 1:22) lost his own son (Proverbs 26:27).

Exodus 12:41 — 430 years … just as God told Abraham (Genesis 15:13)!

Matthew 20:34 — We noted this earlier, but if you are keeping track of the attributes of God this year, mark His compassion!

Matthew 21:1 — The Messiah would enter through the Eastern Gate. The current Eastern Gate/Golden Gate was built in 520 AD, closed in 810 AD, reopened in 1102, walled up in 1187, rebuilt in 1541, and has stayed sealed since then. However, according to Dr. Jimmy DeYoung, the Eastern Gate at the time of Jesus was in a different location (in line with the current Dome of the Rock).

Here’s a picture of the current Eastern Gate I took from the Mount of Olives

Matthew 21:9 — How did the shouts from the crowd sound in Hebrew? Maybe like this song:

Psalm 25:16-19 — In your journal, make note of these verses for the next time you are afflicted. If you’re afflicted now, pray with the psalmist!

Proverbs 6:15 — The wicked shall not always prosper!

Share how reading through the Bible has been a blessing to you! E-mail us at 2018bible@vcyamerica.org or call and leave a message at 414-885-5370.

Daily Encouragement

January 30 – Miracles and the Passover Lambs

TODAY’S BIBLE READING CHALLENGE:
Exodus 10:1-12:13
Matthew 20:1-28
Psalm 25:1-15
Proverbs 6:6-11

Yesterday we spent a while talking about the New Testament passage. Today we’re going in depth on the Old Testament teaching on the Passover.

Exodus 10:4 — We are finishing up the last three plagues of Egypt. God performed 56 miracles in the Old Testament by one count (definitions vary, so we’re going to go with the Blue Letter Bible’s (BLB) count). Twenty-five of these miracles occur under Moses and Joshua’s ministry (circa 1400 BC), seventeen occur under Elijah and Elisha’s ministry (circa 850 BC), and fourteen occur throughout the rest of the Old Testament. In the New Testament Jesus performs thirty-six, and Peter & Paul are present in eighteen (circa 30 AD). Of the one hundred ten miracles recorded (by BLB’s count) in the Bible – ninety-six miracles occur in three separate, roughly fifty-year-long, windows of interaction, and all are about 700 years apart. Of the roughly 6,000 years of biblical and modern history, 87% of the documented miracles occurred in 2.5% of the time and are associated with the ministries of just seven people. The remaining 13% of miracles occur in 8% of the time (approximately 500 years) between Samson (circa 1075 BC) and Daniel (circa 540 BC). In roughly 90% of the centuries, God has not documented the use of miracles even once to communicate to people. In today’s reading, we are witnessing the first intense series of God’s miraculous workings, which is why the LORD said to tell what He would do to your sons and to your son’s sons (Exodus 10:2).

Exodus 10:11 — Pharaoh was willing to let the men go as long as he could keep their children. I don’t need to make the application for you.

Exodus 12:2 — Only two events have shaken the calendar. The offering of the first Passover lamb re-ordered the months in the calendar. The birth of the last Passover Lamb broke the calendar in half.

Exodus 12:3 — Everyone needs The Lamb. The Lamb had to be without blemish (Exodus 12:5, 1 Peter 1:19). The Lamb had to be killed (Isaiah 53:7, Acts 8:32, Revelation 5:6) by all of Israel (Exodus 12:6, John 11:50, Luke 23:18). The blood of The Lamb became the marker of salvation (Exodus 12:7, Hebrews 9:14, Romans 3:25, Ephesians 1:7, Revelation 7:14, Revelation 12:11), and those who will be saved had to eat the flesh of The Lamb (Exodus 12:8, John 6:54 and 56). Anyone not covered by the blood of The Lamb would die (Exodus 12:13, Revelation 21:27).

While you and I may not meet on this earth, I trust we will meet at the marriage supper of The Lamb (Revelation 19:9)!

Matthew 20:12 — No matter if you’ve been a believer since a child, or you’re in the twilight of your life – we are all equal before the Lamb because it is not by our works that we are saved but by His (Matthew 20:15); it’s because the Lamb was crucified (Matthew 20:19) as a ransom for us (Matthew 20:28) that we can have eternal life!

Psalm 25:1-3, 4 — Our memory song for today is a classic camp song, sung during the Share-A-Thon of Crosstalk Affiliate WDFB 88.1 FM, Danville, KY.

Proverbs 6:6-11 — Wasting time is a sin. Rick Grubbs of Redeeming the Time has made it his mission to help us not waste time (Ephesians 5:17).

By the way – Kudos to BlueLetterBible for holding to the inerrancy of Scripture! This is something to check in commentaries – if they compromise on inerrancy, they have taken the first step toward atheism. We’ll talk about the Fundamentalist-Modernist controversy later.

Share how reading through the Bible has been a blessing to you! E-mail us at 2018bible@vcyamerica.org or call and leave a message at 414-885-5370.