The Bible passage selected for meditation, prayer, and reflection for this week, the week of February 2-8, 2014, is Matthew 14:22-32. Jesus, after sending the
disciples ahead of Him, walked on water to reach the boat His disciples were in. Peter takes the first steps, quite literally, to putting his complete trust in the
Lord. As you meditate on, pray over, and reflect on Matthew 14:22-32, consider what we can learn from Peter.
Immediately he made the disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds. And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, but the boat by this time was a long way from the land, beaten by the waves, for the wind was against them. And in the fourth watch of the night he came to them, walking on the sea. But when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, “It is a ghost!” and they cried out in fear. But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.”
And Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” He said,“Come.”So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me.” Jesus immediately reached out his hand andtook hold of him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased. Matthew 12:22-32 (ESV)
Jesus had recently been informed that John the Baptist had been executed and was attempting to find some privacy before He was surrounded by crowds. At the beginning of this passage, He finally gets some time to spend with His Father. Was He grieving at the loss of John, the last of the Old Testament prophets? Fearful of His upcoming trials? Seeking wisdom for events to come? We do not know, but we should follow Jesus' example of always making time to spend with our Father in prayer.
When Jesus approached the boat, Peter was willing to put his complete faith in Him and walk out onto the water to meet Him. It was a significant step, however Peter quickly became overwhelmed by the realness of the situation and started to sink, crying out for the Lord to save him. Are you like Peter, willing to trust and then overwhelmed? Follow Peter's example and cry out to the Lord for help.
The Bible passage selected for meditation, prayer, and reflection for this week, the week of January 26-February 1, 2014, is Genesis 17:9-14. This week’s passage is part of the Abrahamic Covenant. Take time to meditate on, pray over, and reflect on Genesis 17:9-14, and the importance of the Abrahamic Covenant.
And God said to Abraham, “As for you, you shall keep my covenant, you and your offspring after you throughout their generations. This is my covenant, which you shall keep, between me and you and your offspring after you: Every male among you shall be circumcised. You shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskins, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and you. He who is eight days old among you shall be circumcised. Every male throughout your generations, whether born in your house or bought with your money from any foreigner who is not of your offspring, both he who is born in your house and he who is bought with your money, shall surely be circumcised. So shall my covenant be in your flesh an everlasting covenant. Any uncircumcised male who is not circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin shall be cut off from his people; he has broken my covenant.” (Genesis 17:9-14, ESV)
It had been nearly 25 years since God first called Abram to leave his family and travel to unknown lands. God had promised him that he would be the father of nations. Abram assumed it would be through Ishmael, who was born 13 years earlier. Now God informs that he would have another son, Isaac, and it would be through him that God's covenant with Abram would be fulfilled.
Now God is telling Abram, renamed to Abraham, that circumcision was to be a sign of the covenant, as the rainbow is a symbol of the covenant between Noah and God. Historically, circumcision was not a new concept. It was traditionally performed in relation to marriage, to symbolize that the groom was coming under the protection of the new family, or to symbolize becoming an adult. Here, God is using circumcision as an acknowledgment of the a person's faith and trust in the Lord. Circumcision became a contested topic between Jews and Gentiles during the foundation of the early Christian church. The book of Romans deals with this struggle. Circumcision was used to mark those in a covenant with the Lord. What action marks you as a follower of the Lord?
The Bible passage selected for meditation, prayer, and reflection for this week, the week of January 19-25, 2014, is Job 8:11-15.Job is a difficult book to read, it is depressing, Job can come across as winy, his friends are not very helpful and at times seem more like enemies, the arguments go in circles and are repetitive, its long, and the writing is such that it leads to more confusion than answers.As you meditate on, pray over, and reflect on Job 8:11-15, also consider the lessons the book as a whole offers.
Can papyrus grow where there is no marsh?
Can reeds flourish where there is no water?
While yet in flower and not cut down,
they wither before any other plant.
Such are the paths of all who forget God;
the hope of the godless shall perish.
His confidence is severed,
and his trust is a spider's web.
He leans against his house, but it does not stand;
he lays hold of it, but it does not endure.
(Job 8:11-15, ESV)
The writing in Job is very descriptive and often examples are used, examples which were easily understood then, but not as much now.Here, Bilad is describing the without trust and faith in the Lord, you are helpless.Papyrus and reeds need certain environments to grow strong, just as we need the Lord in order to grow strong.
As a whole, the book of Job asks a question that we are still asking today “Why do bad things happen to good people” and/or “Why do good things happen to bad people?”In a way, the book of Job answers these questions, but the answers can be difficult to distinguish and even harder to accept.In asking either of these questions, we are, perhaps unknowingly, expressing our very human view of the world.We see the then and now.God sees all. He sees where we have been, where we are presently, what our future holds on earth, and what our eternal life holds.As Bildad argues in 8:3, God is just.God dispenses the final justice.In our limited view, we are unable to see the final outcome, God's justice.Additionally, our view of good and bad is limited by our knowledge, making us even less worthy to judge.So, why do bad things happen to good people?Because it is part of God's plan.For what, we do not know, but, as Job learns, we are not always to understand and have a clear picture as to why God does what He does.Thankfully, we can take comfort in the fact that suffering is not arbitrary; God has a plan.
The Bible passage selected for meditation, prayer, and reflection for this week, the week of January 12-18, 2014, is Genesis 9:8-17. This week’s passage is the also known as the Noahic Covenant. Following the flood that destroys all of mankind, except Noah and his family, God promises that He will never again destroy the earth through a flood. Take some time this week to meditate on, pray over, and reflect on Genesis 9:8-17.
Then God said to Noah and to his sons with him, “Behold, I establish my covenant with you and your offspring after you, and with every living creature that is with you, the birds, the livestock, and every beast of the earth with you, as many as came out of the ark; it is for every beast of the earth. I establish my covenant with you, that never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of the flood, and never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth.” And God said, “This is the sign of the covenant that I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all future generations: I have set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth. When I bring clouds over the earth and the bow is seen in the clouds, I will remember my covenant that is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh. And the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh. When the bow is in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth.” God said to Noah, “This is the sign of the covenant that I have established between me and all flesh that is on the earth.”
Rainbows are truly a sight to behold. No matter where you are, people always seem to stop and stare, especially at the elusive double rainbow. Today, you will see many people whip out their phones to snap a picture. Why? To share it with friends and family who were not there to witness the event. Thousands of years later, we are still amazed by their beauty.
Rainbows are a symbol of the covenant that God made with Moses, to never again destroy the earth with a flood. It is a reminder to us of God's power and a reminder of the past. When remembering the past we should not simply remember the flood and God's promise but also the reason for the flood. The corruption and immorality of the society that led to God sending the flood. When seeing a rainbow, marvel at its beauty, praise the Lord for His covenant, and consider your actions. Are they pleasing to Him?
The Bible passage selected for meditation, prayer, and reflection for this week, the week of January 5-11, 2014, is Isaiah 9:6. This week’s passage is one of the most well-known prophecies about the birth of our Lord and Savior. Take some time this week to meditate on, pray over, and reflect on Isaiah 9:6.
“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”(Isaiah 9:6, ESV)
How often have your heard or read this passage? It is a beautiful passage; eloquent yet full of meaning. Have you over looked that meaning? The four names given for the coming Savior are not superfluous. When Isaiah spoke these words, the tribes of Israel were divided into two nations, Judah and Israel, and were at war with each other over how the Assyrian threat should be handled. It was a time of turmoil, when leaders had turned away from following the Lord, relying instead on their own wisdom, their own strength, and their own power. This passage was, and still is, one of hope, for peace will come to entire world. All will recognize and acknowledge the power of the Lord, who will rule for eternity. This week, consider why Isaiah spoke the names that he did.
The Bible passage selected for meditation, prayer, and reflection for this week, the week of December 29, 2013 – January 4, 2014, is Joshua 1:6-9. Happy New Year from all of us at The Forgiveness Foundation Christian Ministries! As we enter this New Year, we encourage you to examine your relationship with the Lord. Do you spend time with Him every day? Do you read and study His word? Take some time this week to meditate on, pray over, and reflect on Joshua 1:6-9.
Be strong and courageous, for you shall cause this people to inherit the land that I swore to their fathers to give them. Only be strong and very courageous, being careful to do according to all the law that Moses my servant commanded you. Do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may have good success wherever you go. This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:6-9, ESV)
What a loaded passage! Moses had just died, leaving Joshua to lead the people out of the desert and into the Promised Land. God was admonishing Joshua to continue to follow Him and not stray from His direction, which would lead Joshua to success in whatever he set out to do. In order to not stray from the Lord’s directions, Joshua first must seek it! God’s direction is found through the study of His word. For Joshua, that meant studying the Book of Law, the Torah, the Laws of Moses. So long as he studied daily, “day and night,” and followed what was written, he had nothing to fear, for the Lord was with him.
God told Joshua to be strong and courageous. Through reliance on Him, Joshua had nothing to fear. While written over 2000 years ago, the same message applies to us. When we rely on God, we have nothing to fear. It can be hard, especially when you are used to relying upon yourself. Through daily study of God’s word, you can see His awesome power. Why restrict yourself to your own limitations, when you have the possibilities of moving mountains with the help of God?