Daily Bible Reading follows along with the passages discussed in the current teaching series. If you're jumping into the middle of a series or just prefer to read here instead of receiving a daily email, we hope this page is helpful to you.
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.)
All have sinned.
But now God has shown us a way to be made right with him without keeping the requirements of the law, as was promised in the writings of Moses and the prophets long ago. We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. And this is true for everyone who believes, no matter who we are.
For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Yet God, in his grace, freely makes us right in his sight. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins. For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood.
Did you notice Paul’s words here? Everyone has sinned, and we all fall short of God’s glorious standard.
It’s a tough pill to swallow at times—our mentors, those we look up to, our parents, everyone we know (including ourselves!) don’t even come close to God. He’s perfect in every way, and through Jesus, he freed us from the penalty of our sin.
We put our heroes on pedestals, but we all fall short of God’s glorious standards—none of us come close to what God requires, except Jesus. Where have you been guilty of holding someone in the place only reserved for Jesus? Who have you withheld grace from in the past, or in the present? Spend time thanking Jesus for his sacrificial love today, for yourself and others.
Only One is good.
Someone came to Jesus with this question: “Teacher, what good deed must I do to have eternal life?”
“Why ask me about what is good?” Jesus replied. “There is only One who is good. But to answer your question—if you want to receive eternal life, keep the commandments.”
“Which ones?” the man asked.
And Jesus replied: “‘You must not murder. You must not commit adultery. You must not steal. You must not testify falsely. Honor your father and mother. Love your neighbor as yourself.’”
“I’ve obeyed all these commandments,” the young man replied. “What else must I do?”
Jesus told him, “If you want to be perfect, go and sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
But when the young man heard this, he went away sad, for he had many possessions.
The rich man walked away sad because Jesus confronted him about the biggest thing keeping him from following: he relied on himself. Wealth in and of itself is not evil, but Jesus knows the strong grip it can grab around our hearts.
Where have you relied on yourself and what you could acquire to replace the security of God’s presence and direction? How have your successes, possessions, and desire for security kept you from placing your trust in Jesus?
Ask God for forgiveness and for the courage to let go of your kingdom and grab ahold of his.
Everything is possible.
Then Jesus said to his disciples, “I tell you the truth, it is very hard for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. I’ll say it again—it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God!”
The disciples were astounded. “Then who in the world can be saved?” they asked.
Jesus looked at them intently and said, “Humanly speaking, it is impossible. But with God everything is possible.”
If Jesus came to us while we were helpless, while we were all sinners, and only he is good—our only real hope and promise of a fulfilling future comes from him. He didn’t save us so that we could keep this grace to ourselves. He saved us so that we could do even greater things for his kingdom.
What feels impossible to you right now? Where have you lost hope in something or someone that can only be made possible through God?
By faith alone.
For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by openly declaring your faith that you are saved. As the Scriptures tell us, “Anyone who trusts in him will never be disgraced.” Jew and Gentile are the same in this respect. They have the same Lord, who gives generously to all who call on him. For, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
The law, our works, doing the right thing—these things were never supposed to save us. God’s plan all along was to save and rescue us through Jesus Christ.
As you head into the weekend, ask yourself: who is currently “trapped” by the Law? Who is striving to earn God’s favor by doing good works, and needs to hear about God’s unending grace? Consider inviting them to join you for Easter, and pray and plan for an opportunity to do so.
Who would you suffer for?
Around midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening. Suddenly, there was a massive earthquake, and the prison was shaken to its foundations. All the doors immediately flew open, and the chains of every prisoner fell off! The jailer woke up to see the prison doors wide open. He assumed the prisoners had escaped, so he drew his sword to kill himself. But Paul shouted to him, “Stop! Don’t kill yourself! We are all here!”
The jailer called for lights and ran to the dungeon and fell down trembling before Paul and Silas. Then he brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”
They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved, along with everyone in your household.” And they shared the word of the Lord with him and with all who lived in his household. Even at that hour of the night, the jailer cared for them and washed their wounds. Then he and everyone in his household were immediately baptized. He brought them into his house and set a meal before them, and he and his entire household rejoiced because they all believed in God.
All around the world this week, Christians in every country will be focusing on Jesus road to the cross, his death, and his resurrection three days later. Many of our brothers and sisters in Christ share similar situations to Paul and Silas—suffering for their faith, persecuted for believing in Jesus.
What stands out to you about this passage and the exchange between Paul, Silas, and the jailer? Paul and Silas could have used the opportunity to break free from prison, but instead, they saw a chance to share the gospel with the jailer. They believed in the message of Jesus so much they passed up an opportunity to go free.
Think about the people you pass by every day on your way to something else. Are you missing those God might be putting in front of you, who need to hear his loving words? Ask God for an opportunity like Paul’s, and for a heart struck by grace and urgency to share the good news with everyone he places on your path.
Reliance is the only way forward.
We put our hope in the Lord.
He is our help and our shield.
In him our hearts rejoice,
for we trust in his holy name.
Let your unfailing love surround us,
Lord, for our hope is in you alone.”
Wherever you feel you’re lacking—surrender it to God, and trust in him alone. Let this Psalm guide you in your prayer today, and reframe the words to be a personal plea to God:
I put my hope in you, Lord.
You are my help and my shield.
In you, my heart rejoices.
For I trust in your holy name.
Let your unfailing love surround me, Lord.
For my hope is in you alone.
Success by surrender.
Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross, and follow me. If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it. And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul?
The way of Jesus could be seen as upside down. While the world begs for us to only love ourselves, Jesus invites us to deny ourselves and follow him.
Jesus said it this way: if you give up your life for his sake, you’ll save it. What are you holding onto that’s keeping you from denying yourself and trusting him? Is there anything you need to let go?
Spend time today asking Jesus to make it clear what strongholds stand in the way of your surrender, and write down what you will let go of to follow him.
Jesus set us free.
1 Peter 2:21-25
For God called you to do good, even if it means suffering, just as Christ suffered. He is your example, and you must follow in his steps.
He never sinned, nor ever deceived anyone. He did not retaliate when he was insulted, nor threaten revenge when he suffered. He left his case in the hands of God, who always judges fairly.
He personally carried our sins in his body on the cross so that we can be dead to sin and live for what is right. By his wounds you are healed.
Once you were like sheep who wandered away. But now you have turned to your Shepherd, the Guardian of your souls.
If we’re truly going to know the weight of our sin, we must spend time reflecting on the reality of the cross, and how Jesus’ death set us free to live hope-filled, for this life and the next.
What has Jesus set you free from? Thank him today, and ask him to guide you in knowing how you can use all that he’s healed you from to help set others free as well.
Jesus knew that his mission was now finished, and to fulfill Scripture he said, “I am thirsty.” A jar of sour wine was sitting there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put it on a hyssop branch, and held it up to his lips. When Jesus had tasted it, he said, “It is finished!” Then he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.
Spend time today reflecting on the details of the cross, and thanking Jesus for his sacrifice.
Download our Good Friday prayer experience guide for scriptures to pray through and themes to think about.
The Northwest campus will be open this afternoon and evening from 4 to 7 p.m. if you need a quiet space to contemplate the cross, take communion, and ready your heart for Easter.
So Christ has truly set us free. Now make sure that you stay free, and don’t get tied up again in slavery to the law.
When the apostle Paul wrote this letter to the Galatian church, he reminded them that not only did Christ set them free from the eternal punishment of their sins, but that they were free to live each day in that freedom, no longer chained up by the things that once held them down.
What has God set you free from? Addiction, bitterness, shame, guilt, anxiety, fear, worry, anger, jealousy? Write it down, and ask God to help you stay free. Thank him for how far he’s brought you.
Remember: it’s about progress, not perfection. Stay free.
The cross has the final word.
You were dead because of your sins and because your sinful nature was not yet cut away. Then God made you alive with Christ, for he forgave all our sins. He canceled the record of the charges against us and took it away by nailing it to the cross. In this way, he disarmed the spiritual rulers and authorities. He shamed them publicly by his victory over them on the cross.
Through the power of the cross, Jesus was victorious when everyone else expected defeat. The apostle Paul emphasizes it here in this passage: when you were stuck in your old life, you were incapable of responding to God on your own. But God—God made you alive!
Where are you expecting defeat right now? Through Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross, all of your sins are forgiven. Your slate is wiped clean, and the cross—not defeat—has the final word over your life.
If you find yourself slipping back into your old ways today, remember this truth, and ask God to help you live in it.
Clothed with compassion.
Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony. And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful.
Before your feet hit the floor and you begin your day, ask: would others describe my words and actions as tenderhearted, kind, humble, gentle, and patient? Do I forgive others easily, or am I easily offended? Am I clothed in compassion?
If the answer is no to any of those things, confess it to God this morning. Ask for his help as you continue to become more like Christ, and share with your group this week where you’ve messed this up in the past so that they can hold you accountable.
(Not in a group yet? We can help with that!)
Truth in action.
1 John 3:16-18
We know what real love is because Jesus gave up his life for us. So we also ought to give up our lives for our brothers and sisters. If someone has enough money to live well and sees a brother or sister in need but shows no compassion—how can God’s love be in that person?
Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions.
As you go throughout your day, look for ways you can practically show love to the people around you.
If you see a need you can meet, meet it. If you see a person in need of encouragement, encourage them. Don’t wait or second-guess yourself—listen and act on it, and see what God does.
1 John 3:23-24
And this is his commandment: We must believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and love one another, just as he commanded us. Those who obey God’s commandments remain in fellowship with him, and he with them. And we know he lives in us because the Spirit he gave lives in us.
Sometimes we can trick ourselves into believing that we have to know all the answers to talk to someone about God or share about Jesus with someone. We don’t! We have everything we need because as followers of Jesus, we have the Holy Spirit who lives in us.
Consider this today as opportunities come up to share your faith with someone who doesn’t believe what you do. We're starting a new series this weekend all about relationships, and this might be a perfect opportunity to invite someone in your life to church—someone who could use a little encouragement and hope.
Be bold because the Spirit he gave lives in us!