Daily Encouragement

January 7 – Is the Trinity hidden in Genesis 18?

January 7

Genesis 16:1-18:15
Matthew 6:1-24
Psalm 7:1-17
Proverbs 2:1-5

Genesis 18:2

Although we’re a week into Genesis, if you’re looking to see the overall structure of the book – Thru The Bible with J. Vernon McGee has been making available notes & outlines on each book (including Genesis) for many years. If you wondered if Genesis 18:2 was a reference to the Trinity – that would be a great opportunity to check some commentaries. While commentaries are by no means inspired, much less infallible (and some are written by people who deny the inspiration of the Bible – which never really made sense to me – why would you spend your life studying a book you don’t believe in?) checking multiple commentaries is helpful to see what arguments are made for and against an idea (especially when they cross-reference other Scripture – as Gill did pointing to John 5:37 as his argument why it is not the Trinity).

Matthew 6:21 is quite convicting – where are you laying up treasure?

Psalm 7:11 is one of the earliest references we have seen yet this year to the specific doctrine of the Wrath of God. (We’ve seen God’s wrath exemplified in Genesis, but a focus on it as a teaching). When we get to Romans 3:25 we can discuss the difference between propitiation and expiation.

Finally, in Proverbs 2 – do you think Solomon believes understanding the fear of the LORD as a casual endeavor?

(By the way – links are not endorsements, but resources that I’ve found helpful. There’s only one book that I’ll endorse 100% without reservation, and that’s the book we’re reading thru this year!)

Share how reading thru 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 6 – Melchizedek and Perfection

 January 6
Genesis 13:5-15:21
Matthew 5:27-48
Psalm 6:1-10
Proverbs 1:29-33

Melchizedek. Genesis cap 14 v 18. Borcht

Genesis 14:18 – The next time we see Melchizedek is a thousand years later in Psalm 110. David is telling of a conversation between the LORD and David’s Lord. This reference seemed confusing for the next thousand years until it was explained in Hebrews 7:17.

Matthew 5:48 – after reading thru today’s passage and ending up with verse 48 – do you feel imperfect? Join the club (Romans 3:23), but if you have the time do a word study on “be perfect.”

Psalm 6:9 – looking for another Bible study topic? Research God hearing your prayers.

Proverbs 1:32 – remember these two individuals we met a few days earlier?

Share how reading thru 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 5 – Ur & Abram

January 5
Genesis 11:1-13:4
Matthew 5:1-26
Psalm 5:1-12
Proverbs 1:24-28

We’re back in a genealogy after the tower of Babel, the Adams Synchronological Chart of World History is again a great resource to visualize the genealogies.

But Genesis 11:27 is not something to skip. We’re introduced to Abram, born in 2166 BC. And here’s a great chart to overview his life. And if you have been to the Oriental Institute in Chicago you will see a collection of artifacts from Ur from the time of Abram. If you go there, you’d notice Ur was culturally significant, and to researchers, was the largest city in the world at the time of Abram. God told him to leave Ur (Genesis 12:1 uses the past perfect to refer to God’s communication to Abram, but interestingly the New Testament clarifies when God spoke to Abram in Acts 7:2-4).

Author’s Photograph from Oriental Institute

Matthew 5:14-16 – Earl Martin has a gift for helping believers memorize Scripture:

Matthew 5:23 – we’ll get to the Ten Commandments later, but Jesus is telling people there’s more to keeping the Ten Commandments than just the bare minimum… in fact you had to not just match the Pharisees – you had to exceed them!

Psalm 5:1-2 – And a bonus song from Earl Martin – watch this memory verse song and you will be hiding God’s Word in your heart.


Proverbs 1:28 – it appears to contradict Proverbs 8:17. The key to understanding this seeming contradiction? Isaiah 55:6.

Share how reading thru 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 4 – Archaeology & Erech

January 4
Genesis 8:1-10:32
Matthew 4:12-25
Psalm 4:1-8
Proverbs 1:20-23

About the One Year Bible Reading Plan: Some have asked why we’re bouncing around from Genesis to Matthew to Psalms to Proverbs. Many people start reading the Bible “straight thru” and while we’re enjoying the dramatic histories of Genesis, by the time they end up in the levitical teachings and genealogies (the ‘less exciting’ parts of the Bible) – many people get fatigued and quit. I heard a gentleman say that every January he tries to read thru the Bible, but he’s read Genesis more than any other book of the Bible. This way you get a mix of the genres (types of writings): Old Testament (law, history, prophets), New Testament (gospels, Epistles), Psalms (praise and prayer requests), Proverbs (wisdom literature). As the year progresses we’ll point out some of the genres and things to look for (especially in Psalms and Proverbs – Hebrew poetry is quite different from English poetry!)

Genesis 10:10 is an interesting verse that is referenced in the Special Collections Room at the Cleveland Public Library. I noticed an ancient artifact with a letter above it, and the Librarians were gracious enough to send over a scan of the original letter from the archaeologist. The archaeologist states that this artifact is from the city cited in Genesis 10:10.

Peace Treaty Cone Image

Matthew 4:17 is the first mention of the Kingdom of Heaven, a phrase found only in Matthew’s gospel.

Psalm 4:3 is a great promise: “the Lord will hear when I call unto him.”

Psalm 4:8 – We can sleep because of safety in Him!

In Proverbs 1:22 – take note of the three people who reject wisdom, we’ll meet them quite regularly.

By the way, in Proverbs we’ll see a few themes emphasized repeatedly. Les Ollila has provided some helpful definitions:

The FEAR of God is Practicing the Conscious Awareness of His Presence.

WISDOM is seeing life from God’s Perspective.

KNOWLEDGE is getting Truth into Me.

UNDERSTANDING is applying that Truth in every scenario of life.

Les Ollila

Share how reading thru 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 3 – How to Map Genealogies

January 3
Genesis 5:1-7:24
Matthew 3:7-4:11
Psalm 3:1-8
Proverbs 1:10-19

Genesis 5 – we’re in another genealogy! The Adams Synchronological Chart of World History is a great way to see how the genealogies line up (as well as all of world history). You can do the math yourself, or use the chart to notice something interesting about when Methusaleh died. Also, if you haven’t been to the Ark Encounter yet – that is it an incredible experience to comprehend what “three hundred cubits” really means!

Ark Encounter, Williamstown, Kentucky. Author’s Photo

In Matthew 3 we meet John the Baptist – whom Jesus would call the greatest prophet, yet John said of his cousin Jesus, his “shoes I am not worthy to bear.” We see Jesus tempted by Satan in Matthew 4 – how did he defeat Satan? By quoting Scripture! There’s a great blessing in Scripture!

Psalm 3 tells us a great promise to keep, and Proverbs 1:10 gives a great warning to heed. Is it just me or does it sound like there were youth gangs causing trouble back in Solomon’s day?

As we go thru this year – it will mean more to you if you take notes on your journey. Grab a notebook, and pick something to track as we read thru the Bible. If this is your first time journaling thru the Bible, I’d start tracking the attributes of your God. God is telling you who He is through His word – don’t forget what He is telling you – write it down! As has been said, “The faintest stroke of pen is better than the strongest memory.” You’ll be glad you did when at the end of this year, you have a biography of your Father that you have written, and have obtained from the best source in the world!

Three days in – you’re making a great start to the year!

Share how reading thru 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 2 – Fall and a Promise

January 2
Genesis 3:1-4:26
Matthew 2:13-3:6
Psalm 2:1-12
Proverbs 1:7-9

Day 2 – we’re glad you’re continuing on the challenge!

Some observations that many people skip over when they start in Genesis:

Genesis 3 – No sooner are we into paradise but we’re already into the fall – sin comes into the world and it just keeps spreading. But – we have a Promise. Genesis 3:15 is the Protoevangelium – the first reference to the Gospel, and is referenced in Romans 16:20.

Satan used the serpent to make Eve think her boss wanted to make her life miserable (Genesis 3:5). Today we have tale bearers and gossips in churches and Christian workplaces who just like the serpent are used by Satan poison people intentionally like Absalom (2 Samuel 15:2-6), or unintentionally like the co-worker who grumbles about the boss. I’ve worked in several settings – Christian and secular – and have encountered people intentionally and unintentionally trying to poison me to make me think that the boss wanted to make my life miserable, and I needed to trust them instead of the boss. We’ll even see people lying to children telling them that the governor/president/king did/will do something to poison them against their political authority. Be on the lookout for serpents in your workplace!

Where was Adam when Eve sinned? Most people think Eve was having a private conversation with the serpent while Adam was working the back 40 acres, but Genesis 3:6 says Adam was “with her.” As Edmund Burke said, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” Or perhaps when good men do nothing, they are not good?

Genesis 3:24

Dexter Penwell shares with us this on Genesis 4:2:

Abel was a keeper of sheep. At that time, they were not allowed to eat meat. Therefore, there were only 2 things that the sheep would be used for. One is for skins to clothe themselves. However, it would not be worth keeping sheep every day just to kill one or 2 every few months for making clothing. That then means that the main reason for keeping sheep had to be as a way to have animals for sacrifices. (That also means that although the Bible does not specifically state that they knew that they were to use sheep for sacrifices, they had to know, or there would not be a real reason to keep sheep all the time.

Dexter Penwell

Speaking of the Gospel, Matthew 2 talks about the seed, coming out of Egypt, who will be called a Nazarene.

Psalm 2 is great comfort when you think you are oppressed – imagine all the kings of the earth ready to attack! But “He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh!” Amen!

Earl Martin has a great memory verse song to go along with Proverbs 1:7:

And if you have parents, Proverbs 1:8 is a great verse to pay attention to.

Share how reading thru 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 1 – Welcome to the Challenge!

January 1
Genesis 1:1-2:25
Matthew 1:1-2:12
Psalm 1:1-6
Proverbs 1:1-6

Welcome to the 2021 Bible Reading Challenge! We’re glad you’re joining with us in 2021 to read thru the Bible. The first day of year is a new day – we can move past the failures of the past and start the year right – and what better place to start the year than in God’s Word as we begin 2021!

Genesis 1:1 talks about where the world began. If you’ve been to the Creation Museum, you’ve seen an incredible exhibit on the amazing work of God. If you were in the planetarium and saw the Created Cosmos presentation, you saw how amazingly immense the universe is – and yet the universe is so insignificant to God He just says he “created the heaven.”

Genesis 1:3 – If you’re wondering how you can have light before the sun – ICR’s Defender Study Bible notes:

The existence of visible light prior to the establishment of the sun, moon and stars (Genesis 1:16) emphasizes the fact that light (energy) is more fundamental than light givers. God could just as easily (perhaps more easily) have created waves of light energy as He could construct material bodies in which processes function which generate light energy. The first is direct (since God is light!), the second indirect. For the creation of such light generators, see note on Genesis 1:14.


Need to remember the days of creation? Patch is here to help!

Matthew 1 – Congrats on making it thru your first set of genealogies! While many skim thru the genealogies – there’s some interesting names you can catch – 1:3 – Tamar, 1:5 – Ruth,  1:6 – Uriah; these three people would not be found in an elitist pedigree (each brings up a embarassing story), but God in His mercy allowed them to be part of the family tree of His Son!

Psalm 1 – Here’s an outline of the chapter – notice the parallelism of the contrast:

By the way – did you catch the blessing God has for you in Psalm 1? If you delight in His law – God has a blessing for you! (And if you want to memorize Psalm 1 – Patch the Pirate has a great song to help you!)

And if you need wisdom, Proverbs 1 reminds you that’s what this book is about.

Welcome to the Bible Reading Challenge – I’m excited to travel with you!


Share how reading thru 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

December 31 – The Curse of the Old Testament, No Curse in the New Testament!

December 31
Malachi 3:1-4:6
Revelation 22:1-21
Psalm 150:1-6
Proverbs 31:25-31

Malachi 3:1 – A messenger who shall prepare the way of the LORD? Not preparing the way of a mere prophet, but the way of Yahweh Elohim, the LORD God! When the messenger arrives, behold “He shall come!” This is the same promise that Isaiah 40:3 shares, and was fulfilled by John the Baptist (Matthew 3:3, Mark 1:2-3, Matthew 11:10, John 1:23).

Malachi 3:5 – Who will He judge? Interesting that its similar to Revelation 21:8 and Revelation 22:15.

Malachi 3:11 – Why was Israel beset with famine? As a judgment for sin (Deuteronomy 28:3-4). Malachi reminds us of the lesson from Elijah in 1 Kings 17:13, if you will trust God with your resources (that came from Him), He will provide all that you need!

Malachi 3:14 – Ever get depressed and wonder what benefit there is to serving God? Demas did (2 Timothy 4:10). It’s ok to be depressed, but don’t let Satan change your beliefs – true, serving the Lord is not the highest dollar return on your time, but are you laying up treasure here or in heaven? (Matthew 6:19-21).

Malachi 4:2 – “Hail the heav’n-born Prince of Peace! / Hail the Son of Righteousness! / Light and life to all He brings / Ris’n with healing in His wings!”


Malachi 4:5-6 – Elijah would come – John denied that he was Elijah (John 1:21), but Luke clarifies that he would come “in the spirit and power of Elijah” (Luke 1:17). Jesus Himself confirmed that John was the very messenger (Matthew 11:10) – “this is he.” And the Old Testament ends warning us that without repentance is “a curse.” (Malachi 4:6).

The Tree of Life”… A print from the Phillip Medhurst Collection of Bible illustrations in the possession of Revd. Philip De Vere at St. George’s Court, Kidderminster, England.

Revelation 22:3 – The Old Testament ends with a curse – but the New Testament ends declaring “there shall be no more curse!”

Revelation 22:10 – Notice four promises of the unsealed prophecy:

  1. Reward (Revelation 22:12) – 2 Corinthians 5:10 tells us that we will give an account of ourselves to God, and He will reward us (1 Corinthians 3:14-15).
  2. Reception (Revelation 22:14) – Jesus went to prepare a place for us (John 14:2-3), and He gave us power to become Sons of God (John 1:12) so we have the right to enter into the gates!
  3. Restrictions (Revelation 22:15) – Not everyone is going to heaven. Sin keeps you from heaven – even just one sin (James 2:10)!
  4. Return (Revelation 22:7, Revelation 22:12, Revelation 22:20) – Jesus is coming!

Yes – the Wonderful word of the King is that Jesus is coming again!


Revelation 22:16 – Only Jesus can be the root and the offspring – the Father of David (Luke 3:38) and His Son (Luke 3:23)! He is the Alpha and the Omega (Revelation 22:13).

Revelation 22:17 – The final invitation of the Bible is to you to Come. Take of the water of life freely! Where is the water of life / living water found? Jesus told the woman at the well that He gives living water (John 4:10). If you haven’t come to Jesus yet – come to Jesus before Jesus comes again!

Psalm 150:6 – As we end this year of 2018 – I don’t know if you’ve been as blessed reading Revelation 22 as I have – I’m glad we came to Psalm 150 – Praise God from whom all blessings flow!


Proverbs 31:30 – Beauty pageants focus on the wrong aspects of womanhood. Praise is for those who fear the LORD!

Daily Encouragement

December 30 – Any ol’ Thing or Only My Best?

December 30
Malachi 1:1-2:17
Revelation 21:1-27
Psalm 149:1-9
Proverbs 31:10-24 

Welcome to the last book of the Old Testament – Malachi! We’re just one day away from the end of the year – thank you for joining with us this year!

Malachi 1:2 – Stop and appreciate the first phrase of this declaration. “I have loved you!” God loves Israel, and God loves us!!

Malachi 1:13 – Have we ever thought going to church was “weariness”? Have we brought our best gifts to the LORD or have we brought our leftovers? As the satirical Patch the Pirate song reminds us, sometimes we say, “Any old thing will do for you


Our attitude should be, “Only my best will do for you!”

Malachi 1:14 – What does the LORD say about vows? Ecclesiastes 5:4-6 warns us that ”
Better is it that thou shouldest not vow.”

Malachi 2:7-8 – We see a strong warning for religious leaders. While we’re in the New Testament, we have similar warnings (James 3:1 – leaders will receive greater punishment, Luke 12:47 – shall be beaten with many stripes, Matthew 23:13 – problem with the scribes and Pharisees, 1 Corinthians 11:29 – “damnation to himself”).

Malachi 2:13 – Why won’t God receive our offerings? Peter tells us that if I am not “giving honour unto [my] wife” – my prayers will be hindered (1 Peter 3:7). Malachi elaborates on God’s hatred of divorce (putting away – Malachi 2:16). Jesus Himself reiterated this as well (Matthew 19:8). As we saw earlier, God’s treatment of us depends on how we treat our wives.

Revelation 21:4 No more night, no more pain. No more tears, no more crying again!


Revelation 21:7 – Not all are God’s children, only those who overcome? Who are the overcomers? Those who believe (Revelation 21:8).

Revelation 21:12-14 – Notice how God is uniting Israel (Revelation 21:12) and the Church (Revelation 21:14) for eternity in the eternal New Jerusalem!

Apocalypse 42. A new heaven and new earth. Revelation 21 v 29.
Petrus van der Borcht. . Phillip Medhurst Collection

Revelation 21:23 – Yes in the New Jerusalem, there is “No need of moon or stars by night, or sun to shine by day;”


Revelation 21:27 – God can’t let any sin into His heaven, and you must have an RSVP to enter. If you don’t know for sure that your name is in the Book of Life, make sure of that today! We saw yesterday what happens to those whose names are not found in the book (Revelation 20:15).

Psalm 149:5 – Yes it’s ok to sing alone and aloud! Praise ye the LORD!

Proverbs 31:10 – The Sunrise Ruby, a 25.59-carat Burmese ruby sold at Sotheby’s in May 2015 for $25 million. I’m so thankful for my wife!

Proverbs 31:11 – We read earlier about the condemnation of men who cheat on their wives, and here we see praise for the woman who is safely trusted in by her husband. Jesus’ first miracle was at a wedding in Cana (John 2), He loves Christian marriages!

Daily Encouragement

December 29 – Zechariah prophesied what the Angel said in Acts?

December 29
Zechariah 14:1-21
Revelation 20:1-15
Psalm 148:1-14
Proverbs 31:8-9 

Zechariah 14:3 – Some think that the prophetic events were fulfilled in AD 70, but in AD 70 half the city wasn’t delivered by the LORD. According to Josephus, those who weren’t killed were enslaved (thanks to StackExchange for a great discussion). No, there’s coming a time when Jerusalem will again be under attack, and the LORD will defend them!

Zechariah 14:4 – Who will return to the mount of Olives? Acts 1:11-12 recounts the angels telling the disciples who were standing at the Mount of Olives , that Jesus who rose from the Mount, would return to the Mount!

Author’s Photo of the Mount of Olives

Zechariah 14:9 – In Mark 1:14 – Jesus began His ministry preaching the gospel of the Kingdom. But not until He returns again will the King reign on earth! And when the KIng reigns – there will be no more war (Zechariah 14:11).

Zechariah 14:12 – Calvary Chapel Jonesboro notes the similarities between this verse and a Neutron Bomb.

When this bomb blows the release of the neutrons are lethal to humans and any other animal life around it.  If you are within the radius of a neutron bomb you will be killed almost instantly.  If you are within the blast radius what will happen to you is eerily similar to what Zechariah describes in chapter 14 of his prophecy.  Any kind of flesh is destroyed by a kind of melting process as all the atoms are destroyed within it.  Thus Zechariah’s description of something that rots flesh, eyes, and the tongue are often compared to what happens at the detonation of a neutron bomb.


Zechariah 14:21 – No more the Canaanite in the house of the LORD? Hermenutics/StackExchange says:

The reason there will no longer be a Canaanite in the house of the Lord is: if he be of a Canaanite heart, then his refusal to come will see him destroyed by the plagues and panic and drought of the day of the Lord. If, however, his Canaanite heart were converted and he come to Jerusalem to worship the Lord and to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles, then he would no longer be of a Canaanite heart, i.e. not a Canaanite.


Revelation 20:4 – Many people hold to amillenialism – the view that there is not a literal ‘thousand year reign’ of Christ. However, six times in this one chapter we see recorded exactly one thousand years. And as we look around, it’s hard to argue that Satan is bound today. BibleStudyTools has a great chart of the attributes of the Millennium.

Revelation 20:8 – Notice that even though the Millennium is populated by faithful Jews and Gentiles, their offspring – even with Satan bound – will not all be faithful. God will allow Satan one last attempt to organize before the last judgment.

Revelation 20:10 – Hell is not forever. It will be cast into the lake of fire (Revelation 20:14). God didn’t make the lake of fire to burn man in – it was made for the devil (Revelation 20:10). But if your name is not found written in the book of life (Revelation 20:15), you’ll be cast into the lake of fire.

We don’t know what the lake of fire will look like – but on earth we can see “lava lakes” that burn eerily.
These are the Lava fountains in the Halemaʻumaʻu lava lake, Kīlauea

Psalm 148:8 – Just like in Jonah, the stormy wind fulfills His Word! Why can’t we?

Psalm 148:14 – Let’s bring Glory to His Name!


Proverbs 31:8-9 – Today, there are poor and needy unborn children that are appointed to destruction. Let’s open our mouth for them!