Daily Bible Reading follows along with the passages discussed in the current teaching series. Use the "Subscribe" button below to start receiving Daily Bible Reading by email, or visit the archive to see past series.
If you’re part of a group, write down what God is saying to you through his word and share in your weekly discussion. You’ll get the most out of this if you read the verse several times throughout the day, and write down what stands out to you along the way.
(Not in a group yet? We can help you with that. Sign up for a group at your campus here.)
Day 1: Fresh wind from God.
Bring me back from gray exile, put a fresh wind in my sails!
We have become old, dry bones—all hope is gone. Our nation is finished.
Has there ever been a time when you’ve felt burned out? Tired? Lacked motivation? Maybe you have even felt this way about the church.
We've all pursued after something thinking it would help define who we are—maybe a promotion or a new job or something else—and it just wasn't as fulfilling as we thought it would be.
When we chase after things that we think will give us our identity and consistently come up empty, we can feel that all hope is gone. We need fresh wind and a fresh understanding of who God is.
Be encouraged! God says to Ezekiel "Look! I am going to put breath into you and make you live again!" (Ezekiel 37:4-5). The same promise exists for you too. Today, ask God to put new breath in you—he is the only one who can truly fill you up, and when we depend on him completely, he will!
Day 2: God's word is for you, today.
This letter is from Paul, chosen by the will of God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus. I am writing to God’s holy people in Ephesus, who are faithful followers of Christ Jesus. May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace.
Ephesians gives us a good indication of what the rest of the bible is about. It is a concise, yet comprehensive, summary of what God is offering to us through Jesus and its implications for our lives.
Ephesians reminds us that God’s message and his purpose (what we call the gospel) is rooted in and flourished in impressive and intimidating places and under the same life circumstances within the First Century that we deal with today—things like marriage, conflict, work, families, prostitution and more.
The bible is relevant to us today. Whatever you're going through today, God's word is eternal, true, trustworthy and applies to you. Ask God to reveal his message and his purpose to you as you read the bible this week.
Day 3: God chose you!
Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure.
Many of us try to find our identity in what we do, how we look, what we earn, what people think of us or more. And we’re finding that it’s not enough. Maybe you find your identity in being a parent or in what you do for a living or in how many friends/follows/likes you get on social media.
Paul wants us to know that our identity can be shaped and informed by something much more substantial and eternal. Remember today that God chose you. Before he even made the world, God had you in mind. He already knew you and loved you. All you have to do is choose to receive and choose to find your identity in Jesus.
Day 4: Your identity in Jesus.
2 Peter 3:9
The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent.
The idea that God is angry, hates certain people, and relishes the idea of people going to hell is just not true.
One of the biggest hang-ups for many people is how Jesus can be the only way. In a world of endless menus, options, and customizations, we don’t like to be told there’s only one way. It seems like cosmic arrogance.
Yet, it’s the exact opposite! Jesus is the way, not because God is prideful and narrow-minded, but because Jesus humbled himself. Jesus is the only one who made the necessary sacrifice on our behalf so that we could be set apart as faultless in God’s eyes. All we have to do is listen, receive, believe, hope.
Choose to receive. Choose to find identity in Jesus.
Day 5: Live from, not for, your identity.
And when you believed in Christ, he identified you as his own by giving you the Holy Spirit, whom he promised long ago. The Spirit is God’s guarantee that he will give us the inheritance he promised and that he has purchased us to be his own people.
From an early age, we start asking the question, “Who am I?”. We usually define our identity by describing something we’re good at or by what people say about us. In other words, most of the time, our identity is defined by what we do.
God wants you to really know:
- why you’re here
- what you’re living for
- how you impact others
The Father chooses you.
The Son redeems you.
The Holy Spirit seals you.
In Jesus, we can start living from our identity instead of for it.
Day 1: Fresh wind.
Bring me back from gray exile, put a fresh wind in my sails!
It’s easy to see what David was feeling as he cries out to God in this passage—he’s waiting to be rejuvenated and renewed. His tank was empty.
You’ve been there, too, and maybe you’re there today—overwhelmed, burned out, or not even sure what’s wrong. Whatever it is, you know that you need fresh wind in your sails to get you out of the state you’re currently in.
The only way to get the real kind of peace that can sustain you in any circumstance is to run to Jesus. So whatever you’re facing today, bring it to him, and let him rejuvenate and renew you.
Day 2: Encourage others.
Once you were dead because of your disobedience and your many sins. You used to live in sin, just like the rest of the world, obeying the devil—the commander of the powers in the unseen world. He is the spirit at work in the hearts of those who refuse to obey God. All of us used to live that way, following the passionate desires and inclinations of our sinful nature. By our very nature we were subject to God’s anger, just like everyone else.
Some of us are sleepwalking through life, and when we’re spiritually coasting, that usually means we’re losing ground. We have an enemy, and our enemy does not coast.
Sin often causes us to be unresponsive to God—it’s not so much of an action as it is a condition. Are you in danger of being unresponsive to God in an area of your life? Pride? Bitterness? Lust? Deceit? Confess it to God, and remember that he is the one at work in your heart.
Day 3: But God!
But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!) For he raised us from the dead along with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus. So God can point to us in all future ages as examples of the incredible wealth of his grace and kindness toward us, as shown in all he has done for us who are united with Christ Jesus.
But God! Let the force of these words hit you for a minute. No matter what you’re up against, what struggle you’re facing, what lies you’re believing, BUT GOD.
He’s rich in mercy and he loves us, even when we are dead in sin. In God’s eyes, we are already seated with Christ at the place of honor, and this should give us a lot of confidence. We did nothing to earn his love, and in him, we are complete.
Day 4: Saved by grace.
God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.
Christianity isn’t about becoming righteous enough to be accepted by God; it’s about accepting Christ’s righteousness as your own.
If you’ve been pushing, striving, or trying to earn God’s grace in any way—remember this: God is your Savior. Have you received this?
Day 5: God's masterpiece.
For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.
Today, everywhere you go, remember this: every person you see was made in the image of God (including you!). Jesus gave up his life so that we could be free, and this informs everything about us.
If you see someone today who needs to be reminded of this truth, don’t be shy about sharing it. Remind them that they are God’s masterpiece, made in the image of the living God.
Day 1: This is God's plan.
And this is God’s plan: Both Gentiles and Jews who believe the Good News share equally in the riches inherited by God’s children. Both are part of the same body, and both enjoy the promise of blessings because they belong to Christ Jesus. By God’s grace and mighty power, I have been given the privilege of serving him by spreading this Good News.
God’s plan was always to bring people together through Jesus. No matter our age, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, or ability—everyone has a seat at the table in the Kingdom of God.
Where same breeds bias, different breeds empathy. Who in your life sees the world differently from you? What has that taught you about God? Thank God today for him or her, and reach out to them today to let them know how thankful you are for their friendship and for the ways they’ve taught you something you wouldn’t know without them.
PS: If no one comes to mind, this might be a time to be reflective about why this is true for you. Are you surrounded with people who think, act, and look just like you? What can you do this week to widen your circle and open your doors to people who are different from you?
Day 2: Creator of everything, on heaven and on earth.
When I think of all of this, I fall to my knees and pray to the father, the Creator of everything in heaven and on earth.
It takes something supernatural for us to see other people and everything as something or someone created in the image of God, and the apostle Paul knew this. Which is why the very thought of it brought him to his knees.
Today, ask God for his perspective of everyone you come into contact with. Ask him to give you patience and humility as you build your empathy for others, and for him to widen your perspective of the world he created.
Day 3: How wide, how long, how high, and how deep.
I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.
When we understand how big God’s love is, it is then that we can really live out God’s call to love everyone. Sit today with the bigness of God’s love. How does this truth change you? What does God want you to do to extend this love to others?
Think of one way you can practically show someone who wouldn’t be expecting it God’s love this week, and then find a way to do it.
Day 4: Jesus is entirely different from us.
This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin. So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.
Jesus is entirely different from us, yet he calls us his sons and daughters. He was without sin, yet loves us with an unfailing and unending love.
Receive his mercy for you and for others this morning. Is there someone you need to forgive? Or someone you need to ask forgiveness from? Ask God for his grace to help you where you need it most.
Day 5: A new command: Love one another.
Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. Glory to him in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever! Amen.
"So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.”
When we come together and love people who are different than us, with a genuine love and affection, with unity in the midst of diversity, we put the world on notice to say: this is truly what the love of God is like. Because of our love for each other, the world will know who Jesus is.
Today, love others with this kind of love: a love that doesn’t make sense without the power of Christ.
Day 1: The good life.
With the Lord’s authority I say this: Live no longer as the Gentiles do, for they are hopelessly confused. Their minds are full of darkness; they wander far from the life God gives because they have closed their minds and hardened their hearts against him. They have no sense of shame. They live for lustful pleasure and eagerly practice every kind of impurity.
The pervasive way of the culture in Ephesus was similar to our culture today: far removed from the full, abundant life that God desires for everyone to experience.
Sin is not inconsequential! It affects the quality of our lives.
Today, ask God to help you walk away from sin, and walk toward the good life that God created you to live.
Day 2: Bridges between old and new.
But that isn’t what you learned about Christ. Since you have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from him, throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy.
Our sinful nature draws us to cross the bridge back to our old self. Going back and forth over this bridge leaves us with a tired, discouraged, angry or fragile faith.
Today, ask God to help you identify the bridges that keep bringing you back to your former way of life, your sinful nature. It could be something you’re listening to, watching, doing or not doing. Then pray and ask the Spirit of God to renew your thoughts and attitudes, to put on your new nature.
Day 3: Burning bridges.
The story of what happened spread quickly all through Ephesus, to Jews and Greeks alike. A solemn fear descended on the city, and the name of the Lord Jesus was greatly honored. Many who became believers confessed their sinful practices. A number of them who had been practicing sorcery brought their incantation books and burned them at a public bonfire. The value of the books was several million dollars. So the message about the Lord spread widely and had a powerful effect.
When faced with the truth of their sin, the believers in Ephesus held a bonfire, burning the bridges that kept leading them back to their former way of life, their sinful nature. The cost of the bonfire was great, but the cost of continuing in their sin would have been greater.
Fight to burn the bridges that are leading you back to your old way of life. Then ask God to burn any bridges still standing to the ground. Holding your own bonfire of bridges that lead to your former way of life might be costly, but will pale in comparison to freedom in Christ and honoring him!
Day 4: Keep on asking.
“Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.”
Do whatever you can to burn the bridges that lead back to your former way of life by praying persistently for God to change you from within and doing what only he can do. he’s not reluctant to answer that prayer—he’s already promised you he would do it!
Whatever you’re struggling with, he’s promised you that he’s working on it. Whatever you’re dealing with, he’s already promised that it won’t always be that way.
Day 5: God burns bridges, too.
Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes.
Some bridges lead back to your old way of life that you can’t burn. There are some bridges that you can't burn: Ways of thinking. Attitudes and dispositions of the heart. A lustful heart. An ungrateful heart. A negative heart.
Some bridges can only be burned down by God himself. Ask him today to supernaturally change your mind and your heart.
Day 1: Imitate God.
Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are his dear children.
When little children imitate their parents, they aren’t being fake or insincere. They imitate because they love their parents and want to be like them. On the other hand, adults often use imitation for mixed reasons, including flattery or to earn approval.
As followers of Jesus, we are God’s beloved children—he has a favorable disposition toward you because of Jesus. He wants us to look to him like little kids look up to their parents. But unlike human parents, he is the perfect father and example of how to walk in love.
How does knowing you’re God’s child transform your motivations from trying to earn his favor to simply responding to his love for you? If you haven’t experienced this transformation, reflect on and ask God to show you what might be keeping you from experiencing the freedom his love offers.
Day 2: Filled with Jesus love.
Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us and offered himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God.
The way we treat others is often based on how well or how badly they’ve treated us, and vice versa. As followers of Jesus, Paul tells us to love people differently. Instead of the merit-based system we’re used to, we are to love people sacrificially like Jesus loved us, whether they deserve it or not – because God first loved us when we didn’t deserve it. Ultimately, our acts of love are for Jesus, even if they seem like they are wasted on the person we are pouring them out on.
If you loved others the way Jesus loves you, how would your relationships and interactions with others change? Loving this way is easier said than done! How can you lean into Jesus for the strength needed to continue to love those people when it feels like wasted time and energy?
Day 3: No place for Sexual Immorality and Greed.
Let there be no sexual immorality, impurity, or greed among you. Such sins have no place among God’s people.
Our culture says sex is just another appetite to be satisfied as needed, like hunger. But God places boundaries around sex because he created it to be much more than just an urge to be fulfilled by anyone at any time. He created the “guardrail” of marriage for sex to protect people from being hurt by its misuse. Another cultural norm is to be greedy, or taking something God meant for good and idolizing it. Paul warns believers against sexual immorality and greed, knowing we will be hurt when we take God’s gifts out of the context he created them for.
You may have trusted Jesus as your savior, but does your life reflect this in the areas of sex and greed? As you reflect on this question and its implications, remember there is a difference between struggling with sin and embracing it. In your walk with Jesus, are you struggling, or even stumbling, toward him?
Day 4: Unclear things.
So be careful how you live. Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise. Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days. Don’t act thoughtlessly, but understand what the Lord wants you to do. Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit…
The future is unknown to each of us, and we are often tempted to make decisions about the future based on our feelings. We don’t always know what to do – and it can be scary. For every unclear situation we face, Paul writes that we are to use wisdom, which can be defined as the ability to think clearly about unclear things.
When you think about the future, do you make decisions based on fear or some other emotion? If so, how can you stop reacting out of fear or emotion by developing wisdom instead? In what ways can be filled with the Holy Spirit and depend on him to guide you through unclear situations?
Day 5: The soundtrack of your life.
Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, and making music to the Lord in your hearts. And give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Despite our different temperamental differences and theological emphases, as followers of Jesus, we all need help in our walk with God. On our own, our internal voice often does not point us to wisdom. That internal voice, or “soundtrack,” we have running in the back of our minds impacts our daily lives, so coming together for weekend services is an opportunity to be refilled with a word from God, be encouraged, and sing praises to God together. This helps sets the soundtrack of our lives to a life-giving tune.
Life is very busy, and the demands can feel so strong that it is easy to minimize the value of church attendance or to focus on differences we have with one another. What excuses do you provide yourself to avoid participating with other believers in a worship setting? In what ways can you place greater value on participating with the church for the sake of your life’s “soundtrack”?
Day 1: Unseen war, hidden enemy.
A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.
1 Peter 5:8
Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.
Paul writes that believers are in the middle of a war we cannot see, against an enemy who hides very well.
The Bible describes Satan as a hunter or a lion, seeking someone to devour. Like the hunter or lion, he doesn’t want you to see him before he strikes, knowing you’ll be prepared to defend yourself if you know he is stalking you.
Though we are under constant attack from Satan, we often forget or simply do not believe this truth because it can seem like an old, outdated notion only the super-spiritual believe. Yet, the effects of these attacks can be observed in the overwhelming struggles and defeats we face at different times of life.
Today, know you have a real enemy who wants to destroy you. Ask God to help you stay alert so that you can watch out for the devil’s schemes in your own life.
Day 2: What are you wearing?
Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil.
If you were preparing to go on a beach vacation, you’d definitely pack a swimsuit and sandals. If you were going on a ski trip, you’d pack the opposite--warm clothing, jackets, and boots. Where you are going and what you plan to do or what you know you’ll encounter there determines how you prepare and pack for the journey.
The Bible describes our relationship with Jesus as a walk. In this walk, we will encounter many different things, both good and bad. In fact, Paul promises all followers of Jesus that we will encounter spiritual battles along our walk with Christ. If how you dress for the day indicates what you expect to encounter, what does your spiritual wardrobe indicate about what you’re prepared for? Today, ask God to help you put on his full armor so that you are prepared for battle.
Day 3: Stand firm, and gear up.
Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness. For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared.
In the middle of this spiritual battle, there is good news! God has not left believers without protection and defense. Paul writes that believers are to put on the armor of God to resist the enemy and stand firm in the middle of an attack.
This spiritual equipment protects our hearts and minds powerfully against attack: The belt of truth is the word of God, which fortifies us against lies. The body armor is God’s righteousness in us through Jesus. Because our righteousness is in Jesus, he covers our weaknesses. And wearing the shoes of peace indicates we are at peace and ready to go where he leads.
Armor is only useful when put on before a fight occurs. Ask God to help you become proactive about putting on these pieces of God’s armor daily, before an attack.
Day 4: God's armor.
Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness. For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared. In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
Paul continues to describe more pieces of armor God has given to believers in their battle against the enemy: Faith is a shield, protecting us from the enemy’s attacks. Faith can be built up and made stronger through linking together with other believers. Salvation is our helmet. We must protect our thought life by reminding ourselves of our salvation. The sword of the Spirit is the word of God—we can use it to defend ourselves from temptations like Jesus did when he was tempted. Finally, prayer is in our arsenal because God hears our prayers and answers them!
Of all the pieces of armor God gives us (belt of truth, body armor of God’s righteousness, shoes of peace, shield of faith, helmet of salvation, sword of the Spirit, and prayer), which do you need to utilize more? Today, ask God to show you some specific ways that you can link shields with another follower of Jesus so that you can encourage each other in your faith.
Day 5: Stay alert.
Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.
Paul wraps up writing about the armor of God by reminding believers to stay alert to Satan’s plots and be persistent in prayer for one another. When we connect with other believers meaningfully, faith is strengthened and encouraged. When we confess our secret sins to one another, those sins often lose their power over us. There is strength, healing, and freedom in confession and prayer!
Don’t let the enemy convince you that you can live your faith alone, or that you are too smart, talented, or popular to fail. While we should never think less of ourselves than God thinks of us, we shouldn’t overestimate our ability to endure spiritual battles in our own strength. We need the support of other Christians and to put on the armor of God daily to succeed!