Bible in One Year

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March 24 Day 83

God Wants to Amaze You

‘The Eagle has landed,’ said Neil Armstrong. President Nixon, watching the events on television, described it as ‘one of the greatest moments of our time’. The Pope greeted the news by exclaiming, ‘Glory to God in the highest and peace on earth to men of good will!’

At 3:56 am on 20 July 1969, Neil Armstrong stepped off the ladder from the Eagle and onto the moon’s surface. ‘That’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind,’ he said, as he became the first man to walk on the moon.

Due to the recent invention of television, this remarkable event was the first of such historic significance to be seen so widely and known so immediately. The whole world watched with awe and amazement.

James Irwin, another astronaut who walked on the moon, said, ‘Jesus walking on the earth is more important than man walking on the moon.’ When people saw what Jesus did, their response was awe and amazement: ‘Everyone was amazed… They were filled with awe’ (Luke 5:26).

March 23 Day 82

Your Hotline to God

In October 1962, there was a standoff between President Kennedy of the United States and Premier Khrushchev of the Soviet Union over planting missiles in Cuba. The Cuban Missile Crisis was probably the closest we have ever been to World War III, but it was averted because communication was established.

In the days before mobile phones and contemporary ways of instant messaging, it was decided to put one red telephone on the desk of the President of the United States, and another on the desk of the Premier of Soviet Russia. The communication link was called the ‘hotline’. If at any time there was a danger of misunderstanding they could simply lift up the phone and communicate.

Communication is vital to all relationships. Setting aside time to build and nurture communication is essential. Jesus has given you a ‘hotline’ to God, but it is not just for emergency use – it is to be used all the time.

March 22 Day 81

Always Be Generous

Generosity is a beautiful characteristic in people. We love and admire generosity. My mother used to urge us as children, ‘Always be generous.’

How do you think of God? Do you think of him as a little bit mean or tight-fisted? Or do you think of him as extraordinarily generous?

God’s generosity is seen in the natural world. For example, there are over 25,000 varieties of orchids. The orchid is just one of 270,000 species of flowers. God does not do things by halves. In our galaxy there are over 100 billion stars like our sun. Our galaxy is one of over 100 billion galaxies. It is thought that for every grain of sand there are a million stars. In a throwaway line in Genesis, the writer tells us, ‘He also made the stars’ (Genesis 1:16).

God is extraordinarily, extravagantly generous. David speaks of God’s ‘… river of delights’ (Psalm 36:8b). He ‘gives generously to all’ (James 1:5). If God is so generous to us, we also should ‘always be generous’.

March 21 Day 80

How to Resist Temptation

The Sirens were three mysterious women who, according to Homer’s Odyssey, lived on an island. Whenever a ship passed by, they would stand on the cliffs and sing. Their beautiful song would tempt sailors closer and closer, until eventually they were shipwrecked on the rocks below.

Odysseus was curious to hear the Sirens’ song, but was well aware of the dangers. He ordered his men to tie him to the mast as they approached the island and then to plug their own ears with beeswax. When Odysseus heard the Siren call he demanded to be untied, but his shipmates bound him tighter, releasing him only when then the danger had passed.

The story explores the powerful pull we all feel at times to flirt with choices that we know are bad, and even destructive. No one can go through life without being tempted. Temptation is not sin; Jesus was ‘without sin’, yet even he was ‘tempted in every way, just as we are’ (Hebrews 4:15).

March 20 Day 79

God is Good - All the Time

Of all the prisons Pippa and I have visited around the world, this was the worst. It is in Lusaka, Zambia. The prison was built in 1950 for 250 men. Today it holds over 1,300. The cells, which were built to hold 50, are now home to over 150 men. They are locked in these cells from eight o’clock at night until eight o’clock in the morning. There isn’t enough room for all of them to lie down at the same time. They have to take it in turns. The stench and the heat in those cells must be almost unbearable. If the prisoners do not have AIDS or tuberculosis when they enter the prison, they are likely to become infected soon after.

The cells surround a courtyard, which is at the centre of the prison. We held a service there. Maybe because there was nothing else to do, virtually every one of the inmates attended. The service was led by a man who had been awaiting trial for four years. He was a Christian pastor who was accused of some minor offence (for which the penalty in England would probably have been a small fine, had he been convicted). Though he may well have been innocent, this man had been languishing in a prison for four years, unconvicted, without trial, not knowing when he would be released – if ever.

I will never forget his opening words as he began to lead the service: ‘God is good – all the time.’ Here was a man who had absolute confidence in the goodness of God, not because of his circumstances but in spite of them. He knew and had experienced the goodness of God in the midst of great suffering. As a result, even though he found himself in the appalling conditions of this prison, he followed Jesus’ example and ‘went around doing good’ (Acts 10:38).

As John Wesley said, ‘Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can.’

March 19 Day 78

How to Develop Intimacy with God

The life and ministry of the American pastor, John Wimber, has had a great influence on my own life, our church and many other churches around the world.

He said, ‘The ability to hear what God is saying, to see what God is doing, and to move in the realm of the miraculous comes as an individual develops the same intimacy with and dependence upon the Father [as Jesus had].’ How did Jesus do what he did? The answer is found in his relationship with the Father. How will we do the “greater things than these” which Jesus promised (John 14:12)? By discovering the same relationship of intimacy, simplicity and obedience.

God loves you with an intimacy that surpasses all your dreams. He wants you to have a close, personal relationship with him of intimacy, simplicity and obedience. This is an extraordinary honour and privilege. Moses, David and, of course, Jesus had an intimate relationship with God. But how do you develop intimacy with God?

March 18 Day 77


The world is looking for a saviour. The Canadian musician, Lights, expresses this in the lyrics of her song, ‘Saviour’:

‘The night is deafening,
When the silence is listening,
And I’m down on my knees,
And I know that something is missing

Sooner than later, I’ll need a saviour,
I’ll need a saviour...

‘Lecrae’ (Moore), is a rapper, entrepreneur, record-producer and actor. He speaks for many of us when he says, ‘I’m not a Christian because I’m strong and have it all together. I’m a Christian because I’m weak and admit I need a saviour.’

The amazing truth of Christianity is that in Jesus you do have a saviour. How should you respond to this extraordinary good news?

March 17 Day 76

If the Grass Looks Greener, It's Probably Astro Turf

A campaign by one online agency offered a dating service for married men and women who wanted to have an affair. The agency is by no means alone in this market. What was different was that they executed an extensive advertising campaign specifically on massive billboards next to motorways with the slogan, ‘The grass is always greener.’

Essentially, they were making money feeding on people’s weaknesses and helping them to be unfaithful. This may seem attractive, but the reality is that it can ruin the lives of the individuals involved, as well as the lives of their partners, their families and their children.

Jesus puts faithfulness alongside justice and mercy (Matthew 23:23). Faithfulness is a fruit of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22). Mother Teresa said, ‘I do not pray for success. I ask for faithfulness.’

God’s faithfulness towards us gives us an example to follow in our own relationships. Faithfulness is something we should strive for in marriage, friendships and in our relationship with God.

March 16 Day 75

What God Has in Store for You

Sam, aged twenty-three, was a militant atheist. He associated himself with the teachings of fervent opponents of faith and religion. One evening, he went online and discovered that Alpha was about to start within easy access of his home. He turned up to our church thinking, ‘I’m going to take down a few irrational Christians here.’

But his encounter with the teachings and person of Jesus Christ was not what he expected.

On his questionnaire at the end of the course, he wrote, ‘I found the draw of Jesus irresistible and have gone from [being] someone with no faith to someone with an immense hope. To live in a state of non-truth to living in truth is, to me, the difference between being bound to complete freedom.’

Three months later, he was baptised. He told me, ‘I’m free of my previous life. I was a slave to a lot of things. I was a slave to society, a slave to my peers... But now I’m free to live my life. I’m excited to see what God’s got in store for me.’ Salvation means freedom. Sam had an experience of how Jesus Christ sets us free.

March 15 Day 74

You Have the Favour of God

In my first year at university, aged eighteen, I read the entire New Testament in a week – from Matthew to Revelation – and became convinced, ‘it is true’. But I was reluctant to follow Jesus, as I thought my life would be very dull and that I would have to give up all enjoyment. In fact, it was the exact opposite. I found something even better than happiness.

We all want to live happy lives. ‘Happiness,’ wrote Aristotle, ‘is the meaning and purpose of life, the whole aim and end of human existence.’ But there is something even better, greater and deeper than happiness. Happiness is dependent on what happens – our circumstances. Joy is far deeper and is not so dependent on our outward circumstances. It is a blessing from God. Joy was the characteristic of an encounter with Jesus even in his mother’s womb (Luke 1:44).

Today’s New Testament passage uses a Greek word that we translate ‘blessed’. It means to be the privileged recipient of God’s favour, and to be fortunate and happy because of it. The Amplified Bible describes it as being ‘happy, to be envied, and spiritually prosperous – with life-joy and satisfaction in God’s favour and salvation, regardless of their outward conditions’ (Matthew 5:3, AMP).