Bible in One Year

Subscribe to daily emails from Nicky & Pippa

March 28 Day 87

In the Day of Trouble

Ajay Gohill was brought up as a Hindu and worked for the family business in a newsagent in North London. At the age of twenty-one he contracted erythrodermic psoriasis, a chronic skin disease. His weight dropped from 11.5 stone (73kg) to 7.5 stone (47.6kg). The disease was all over his body from head to toe. He lost all his friends. His wife and son left him. He wanted to die.

As Ajay lay dying in hospital he cried out to God. He looked in his locker and found a Bible there. He opened it at Psalm 38 – the psalm for today. Each and every verse seemed relevant to him. He prayed for God to heal him. He fell into a deep sleep. By the next morning he was totally healed. His skin was new like a baby’s and his life was turned around. He was reunited with his son. I interviewed him in one of the services at HTB. He said, ‘Every day I live for Jesus.’

Life is not all plain sailing. We will all face troubles. Whatever you are facing today, God is able to rescue you. In the passages for today we see examples of troubles – traps, tests and temptations – and how to handle them.

March 27 Day 86

Ten Top Tips for God's Messengers

Billy Graham is still alive but he has already spoken his last words as a messenger of God to the world. These are the words that he will speak at his own funeral! He will speak to the people via a recorded message, reminding them that there is life beyond the grave and calling everyone who hears to put their faith in Jesus.

Ever since God called him to be his messenger in 1934, at sixteen years of age, he has been a faithful messenger of the gospel. He has spoken to over 200 million people in person about Jesus. He has been a friend and trusted adviser to ten American presidents. His lifetime audience, including radio and television broadcasts, has topped 2.2 billion. He has been determined to make the most of every opportunity, including his own funeral, to pass on God’s message to the world.

My messenger’ is the way John the Baptist is described by God (Luke 7:27). You too can be God’s messenger. Jesus speaks of ‘the message about the kingdom’ (Matthew 13:19). In the New Testament, ‘the message’ is a synonym for ‘the gospel’ (see Acts 2:41; 4:4; 10:44 and so on). Our task is both to hear this message and to declare it to others (1 John 1:5).

March 26 Day 85

The Fullness of the Blessing

Mother Teresa once gave an interview to Hello! magazine. She was asked the question, ‘Is it only the affluent who give?’

She replied, ‘No, even the poorest of the poor give. The other day a very poor beggar came up to me and said, “Everyone gives to you and I also want to give you twenty paisa” – which is about two pence. I thought to myself, what do I do? If I take it he won’t have anything to eat, but if I don’t take it I would hurt him so much. So I took, and he was so happy because he had given to Mother Teresa of Calcutta to help the poor. Giving cleans the heart and helps you get closer to God. You get so much back in return.’

Generosity is not just a nice character trait that people have. It is right at the heart of what our faith is all about. C.S. Lewis defined Christianity as ‘a kind of giving’. God has poured out his generosity to you in Jesus (John 3:16), and you are called to respond in faith and generosity to others. Each of the passages today is about blessings and curses. The key to the fullness of the blessing is generosity – ‘the righteous give generously’ (Psalm 37:21).

March 25 Day 84

Seven Titles of Jesus

Prince Charles has many titles. He is the Heir Apparent to the Crown, His Royal Highness, The Prince of Wales, Knight of the Garter, Duke of Cornwall, Colonel in Chief of the Royal Regiment of Wales, Duke of Rothesay, Knight of the Thistle, Rear Admiral, Grand Master of the Order of Bath, Earl of Chester, Earl of Carrick, Baron of Renfrew, Lord of the Isles and Prince and Great Steward of Scotland.

Titles are attached to people by virtue of rank, office or attainment. In the Bible, Jesus is given far more titles than a royal prince. In fact, there are well over a hundred titles ascribed to Jesus.

The whole Bible revolves around Jesus (John 5:39). Seven titles of Jesus emerge from the passages for today and each reveal something distinct about Jesus. They help you to see what it means to put Jesus in the centre of your life.

March 24 Day 83

Awe and Amazement

‘The Eagle has landed.’ 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 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. It was a glimpse of what the people who saw Jesus must have felt.

Another astronaut who walked on the moon, James Irwin, said, ‘Jesus walking on the earth is more important than man walking on the moon.’ When people saw what Jesus did the 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 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 100,000 million stars like our sun. Our galaxy is one of over 100,000 million 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).

John Wesley once 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?