Water from the Rock

Water from the Rock

Daily Reading

 The entire Israelite community left the Wilderness of Sin, moving from one place to the next according to the Lord’s command. They camped at Rephidim, but there was no water for the people to drink.So the people complained to Moses, “Give us water to drink.”“Why are you complaining to me?” Moses replied to them. “Why are you testing the Lord?”But the people thirsted there for water and grumbled against Moses. They said, “Why did you ever bring us up from Egypt to kill us and our children and our livestock with thirst?”Then Moses cried out to the Lord, “What should I do with these people? In a little while they will stone me!”The Lord answered Moses, “Go on ahead of the people and take some of the elders of Israel with you. Take the staff you struck the Nile with in your hand and go. I am going to stand there in front of you on the rock at Horeb; when you hit the rock, water will come out of it and the people will drink.” Moses did this in the sight of the elders of Israel. He named the place Massah and Meribah because the Israelites complained, and because they tested the Lord, saying, “Is the Lord among us or not?”

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Daily Reflection

God’s provision often comes from the unlikeliest source.

Complaints had reached a feverish pitch. The elders of Israel stared at Moses as mutinous imaginations bubbled to the surface of the minds. Some younger men in the crowd, with their feet,  loosened fist-size rocks with from their earthy bed.  A few of them already wielded stones with white-knuckled grasp. Moses felt their gaze burrowing into his back, and their complaints filled his ears. All Moses could think was, water from a rock? Nevertheless, he trusted Yahweh’s instructions.

After wiping the sweat from his brow, Moses stretched the rod of God to the heavens bringing it down on the rock with an echoing crack. The mob of mad Hebrews winced at the deafening blow. The murmuring slowly halted. In the silent moment, the sound of water grew from a faint trickle to a gushing crescendo of living water. God had given the provision of water from the unlikeliest source. Life-sustaining water flowed from a rock.

In 1 Corinthians 10:4, Paul affirms that the rock “was Christ.” Who would have considered a carpenter born of seeming scandal in Bethlehem, raise a Nazarene, would build a bridge to glory? Can anything good come from Nazareth? Jesus of Nazareth was struck for us. From His suffering, flows living water for all that believe. Some may wonder why God chose this method, but He delights in using the unlikeliest means to accomplish His will. Have you drunk from the Fount, which is Christ?

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Suggested Prayer

Lord, thank you for Christ’s sacrifice. Help me to realize today that my help may come from the unlikeliest source. In Jesus Name, Amen.

 


In the Word TogetherIn the Word Together is a devotional blog series based on the Narrative Lectionary that aims to aid in daily devotions. Unless stated, all posts are written by Kevin W. Bounds.  Necessary attributions are as follows:

Christian Standard Bible – Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Christian Standard Bible®, Copyright © 2017 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Christian Standard Bible® and CSB® are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.

Narrative Lectionary –The Narrative Lectionary (http://www.narrativelectionary.org) is an open-source project created by Profs. Rolf Jacobson and Craig Koester, Luther Seminary, Saint Paul, Minn.

Daily Readings for the Narrative Lectionary – Copyright © 2018 Clergy Stuff

Daily Bread

Daily Bread

Daily Reading

The entire Israelite community departed from Elim and came to the Wilderness of Sin, which is between Elim and Sinai, on the fifteenth day of the second month after they had left the land of Egypt. The entire Israelite community grumbled against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness. The Israelites said to them, “If only we had died by the Lord’s hand in the land of Egypt, when we sat by pots of meat and ate all the bread we wanted. Instead, you brought us into this wilderness to make this whole assembly die of hunger!”

Then the Lord said to Moses, “I am going to rain bread from heaven for you. The people are to go out each day and gather enough for that day. This way I will test them to see whether or not they will follow my instructions. On the sixth day, when they prepare what they bring in, it will be twice as much as they gather on other days.”

So Moses and Aaron said to all the Israelites: “This evening you will know that it was the Lord who brought you out of the land of Egypt,and in the morning you will see the Lord’s glory because he has heard your complaints about him. For who are we that you complain about us?” Moses continued, “The Lord will give you meat to eat this evening and all the bread you want in the morning, for he has heard the complaints that you are raising against him. Who are we? Your complaints are not against us but against the Lord.”

Then Moses told Aaron, “Say to the entire Israelite community, ‘Come before the Lord, for he has heard your complaints.’” 10 As Aaron was speaking to the entire Israelite community, they turned toward the wilderness, and there in a cloud the Lord’s glory appeared.

11 The Lord spoke to Moses, 12 “I have heard the complaints of the Israelites. Tell them: At twilight you will eat meat, and in the morning you will eat bread until you are full. Then you will know that I am the Lord your God.”

13 So at evening quail came and covered the camp. In the morning there was a layer of dew all around the camp. 14 When the layer of dew evaporated, there were fine flakes on the desert surface, as fine as frost on the ground. 15 When the Israelites saw it, they asked one another, “What is it?” because they didn’t know what it was.

Moses told them, “It is the bread the Lord has given you to eat. 16 This is what the Lord has commanded: ‘Gather as much of it as each person needs to eat. You may take two quarts[b] per individual, according to the number of people each of you has in his tent.’”

17 So the Israelites did this. Some gathered a lot, some a little. 18 When they measured it by quarts,[c] the person who gathered a lot had no surplus, and the person who gathered a little had no shortage. Each gathered as much as he needed to eat. 19 Moses said to them, “No one is to let any of it remain until morning.” 20 But they didn’t listen to Moses; some people left part of it until morning, and it bred worms and stank. Therefore Moses was angry with them.

21 They gathered it every morning. Each gathered as much as he needed to eat, but when the sun grew hot, it melted.

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Daily Reflection

God desires daily dependence.

“What is it?” asked every quail-filled Hebrew. Bewildered, in the dawning light, they gazed at the frostlike substance blanketing the desert sands. With slow-reaching hand, some gathered it for closer inspection.  While inhaling the scent of this foreign substance smiles formed on their faces. It was the promised bread of heaven.

“It tastes like honey… and…umm…wafers,” declared one from the camp.

After this Moses and Aaron instructed the people on how to collect and keep heaven’s provision. They were to depend on this regular distribution, except on the Sabbath. God was testing their obedience. Would they come to Him daily for fresh nourishment? Unfortunately, some tried to preserve the manna, but it spoiled filling the camp with a foul smell.

Many people are merely surviving on what God provided yesterday. They are living in the “glory days” of yesteryear. Put the stale bread down. God wants you to encounter His fresh grace and thrive each every day.

Are you living off a previous Sunday sermon? Or are you engaging the Scriptures every day? When is the last time you felt the wind of the Spirit rush over your soul? Has hunger pangs become normal for you? Like the Israelites, God desires your daily dependence.

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Suggested Prayer

Lord, forgive me for attempting to live off of past experiences. Your grace is renewed every day. I need a freshness in my walk with You. In Jesus name, Amen.

 


In the Word TogetherIn the Word Together is a daily devotional blog series based on the Narrative Lectionary that aims to aid parents in leading family devotions. Unless stated, all posts are written by Kevin W. Bounds.  Necessary attributions are as follows:

Christian Standard Bible – Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Christian Standard Bible®, Copyright © 2017 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Christian Standard Bible® and CSB® are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.

Narrative Lectionary –The Narrative Lectionary (http://www.narrativelectionary.org) is an open-source project created by Profs. Rolf Jacobson and Craig Koester, Luther Seminary, Saint Paul, Minn.

Daily Readings for the Narrative Lectionary – Copyright © 2018 Clergy Stuff

3 Reasons to Attend Church (or Rather be the Church)

3 Reasons to Attend Church (or Rather be the Church)

And let us watch out for one another to provoke love and good works,  not neglecting to gather together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging each other, and all the more as you see the day approaching. Hebrews 10:24-25 (CSB)

It may not shock you, but I think people should be in church. But why? I could readily resort to the saying, “The Lord said so.” However, I will give more of an explanation. Although there are many reasons to attend church, I will narrow the focus on three ideas found in Hebrews 10:24-25.

Reason #1 – Accountability to Others

The author of Hebrews states, “And let us watch out for one another to provoke love and good works…”  Accountability is key to living a fruitful Christian life. Without others to hold us culpable, we tend to fall into complacency.  The sad thing is we don’t recognize our worldly drift. We all have blind spots.

A spiritual gathering of the saints will keep us accountable. It aids us in seeing our shortcomings.   For example, has anyone ever pointed out a smudge on your face? It may make you uncomfortable at first, but you’re grateful for your friend pointing it out before it was a greater embarrassment. Church helps us be to stay focused by accountability.

Reason #2 – Encouragement of Fellowship

The biblical writer exhorts us to be “encouraging each other.” We all struggle. Often, our struggles hid under the mask of “I-got it-all-together.” Nevertheless, we grapple to stay afloat. Let’s be real. We all need a pat on the back or a kind word from time to time.

True Christian fellowship inspires and restores. It encourages us to keep pressing forward in faith. It restores a proper perspective of reality. The valleys we walk through are only temporary. Heaven is on the horizon. Genuine fellowship is truly divine!

Reason #3 – Jesus is Coming!

I believe this sums up everything. We should be busy provoking love, doing good deeds, and encouraging others because Christ is coming back. This is the hope we all have in Christ. We need the reminder that one day all wrongs will be right.

Of course, I could think of more reasons to gather together in Jesus’s name (Like the fact, Jesus promised to be in our assemblies.) However, I think these three will suffice for now. Where do you gather with the saints? Leave a reply in the comments below.

 

PS-

Ray, thanks for encouraging email. God bless!  😉

 


The “In the Word Together” (ITWT) blog at www.kevinwbounds.com is a systematic approach to reading and reflecting on the Holy Scriptures in a community.

Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Christian Standard Bible®, Copyright © 2017 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Christian Standard Bible® and CSB® are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.

If you have found this post to be encouraging, please like, comment, and share it. Also, consider subscribing to the blog to have exciting content delivered to your inbox. If nothing else, take few seconds to say, Hello! I like it when people say, Hello.

 

 

Train Your Brain with the Bible

Train Your Brain with the Bible

Daily Reading

9 How can a young man keep his way pure? By keeping your word. 10 I have sought you with all my heart; don’t let me wander from your commands. 11 I have treasured your word in my heart so that I may not sin against you. 12 LORD, may you be blessed; teach me your statutes.13 With my lips I proclaim all the judgments from your mouth. 14 I rejoice in the way revealed by your decrees as much as in all riches. 15 I will meditate on your precepts and think about your ways. 16 I will delight in your statutes; I will not forget your word. Psalm 119:9-16 (CSB)

Daily Reflection

If you train your brain with the Bible, the Spirit will tame your heart.

Be honest. You struggle to do what is right. Me too. We struggle with thinking wrong thoughts, saying the wrong words, and even doing wrong stuff. We’re flawed humans. However, there is hope for us.

In today’s reading, the biblical author provides some valuable insight on how to live a godly life. He writes, “I will meditate on your precepts and think about your ways” (15). This mediation is not that of Eastern religions but means merely to murmur or converse with oneself about the Scriptural precepts. (Yes, speak the word out loud to yourself. Don’t worry, people already think you’re crazy anyway.)

This process of “meditating” on God’s word or reading it out loud to oneself is what the Apostle Paul called “renewing your mind.” (see Romans 12:1-3). This discipline spiritually rewires your thought making process (Paul calls it taking captive every thought to obey Christ. See 2 Corinthians 10:5).  As you are thinking over and over again on the Scriptures, the Holy Spirit cements these things in your heart (i.e., internalization) and changes your behavior.  It has been said, “This Book will keep you from sin or sin will keep you from this Book.” Train your brain with the Bible, and the Spirit of God will tame your heart. Remember, a desire for a pure life should motivate us to memorize God’s Word by meditating on its precepts.

 Suggestion for Prayer

Ask the Lord to develop a hunger for his Word in your hearts and feast on his words. Find a verse or two to memorize this week. (Hint: There are some gems in today’s daily reading.) When you find a verse, comment below and let me know what your memorizing. 

 


The “In the Word Together” (ITWT) blog at www.kevinwbounds.com is a systematic approach to reading and reflecting on the Holy Scriptures in a community. 

Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Christian Standard Bible®, Copyright © 2017 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Christian Standard Bible® and CSB® are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.

If you have found this post to be encouraging, please like, comment, and share it. Also, consider subscribing to the blog to have exciting content delivered to your inbox. If nothing else, take few seconds to say, Hello! I like it when people say, Hello.

 

 

We Must Commit to God’s Word

We Must Commit to God’s Word

Daily Reading

Psalm 119:1-8

 If only my ways were committed to keeping your statutes! Psalm 119:5 (CSB)

 

We must Commit to God’s Word. 

Do you want to live life to its fullest potential? Then we must commit to obeying God’s Word. The Bible is the bedrock of faith and practice.  Often, people read the Bible and their sinful nature zeroes in on the “Thou shalt not’s.” They ignore all the blessings God provides. This is no new trick. Satan – that slithering Serpent – has cast doubt on the validity of the Word of God since the Garden. True happiness and fulfillment come only from obeying God’s commandment.

God’s commands are like guardrails on the road of life. They keep us from veering into danger. The problem is, we often leap over the barriers in disobedience. This will only result in setbacks and sorrow. We must resolve to travel on the right path.

It’s true we cannot keep all the commandments of God. And I am not arguing for a legalism. However, Jesus did say, ” “If you love me, you will keep my commands.” John 14:15 (CSB) Are you committed to God’s Word? Are you struggling? God’s grace is sufficient.

 Suggestion for Prayer

Ask for the empowerment of the Holy Spirit to help obey God’s Word. When you fail, ask for forgiveness and press forward in faith. That’s what grace is for. 

 


The “In the Word Together” (ITWT) blog at www.kevinwbounds.com is a systematic approach to reading and reflecting on the Holy Scriptures in a community. To learn more about its origins click here.  

Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Christian Standard Bible®, Copyright © 2017 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Christian Standard Bible® and CSB® are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.

If you have found this post to be encouraging, please like, comment, and share it. Also, consider subscribing to the blog to have exciting content delivered to your inbox. If nothing else, take few seconds to say, Hello! I like it when people say, Hello.

 

 

Trusting God in New Directions

Trusting God in New Directions

Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding; in all your ways know him, and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6 (CSB)

 

We must trust God to guide us.  

This reflection will be different from the previous posts. I am deviating from the Daily Readings for the Revised Common Lectionary. Why? Because the thought of a new direction for the In the Word Together blog flooded my heart last night. It was to the point that I could not sleep. I was so restless, I gave in grabbed a notepad and began to scribble down my swirling thoughts to make sense of it. (Honestly, it reminded me the time God prompted me to plant a church in 2009.) Could this be God steering me in new paths? It’s possible. Will you help me pray?

What is it this new direction? For now, all I will say is the change would combine things for which I am passionate about. Don’t worry. I will still be posting content daily unless God prohibits. All I desire to do is glorify God with my writing. Please help me pray. If you would comment below to let me know you’re interceding. Or let me know how God is leading you and I will pray for you.

 Suggestion for Prayer

Pray for guidance in our lives.

 


The “In the Word Together” (ITWT) blog series on www.kevinwbounds.com is a systematic approach to reading and reflecting on the Holy Scriptures in a community. To learn more about its origins click here.  ITWT utilizes the structure provided by the Revised Common Lectionary.

Revised Common Lectionary, Copyright © 1992 Consultation on Common Texts, admin Augsburg Fortress. Used by permission.

Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Christian Standard Bible®, Copyright © 2017 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Christian Standard Bible® and CSB® are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.

If you have found this post to be encouraging, please like, comment, and share it. Also, consider subscribing to the blog to have exciting content delivered to your inbox. If nothing else, take few seconds to say, Hello! I like it when people say, Hello.