Thursday, December 31, 2015

Ending with Grace




December 31

Daily Bible Reading: Malachi 1 - 4

Verse of the Day: Malachi 4:6 – “And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.”

What a difference we find at the close of the Old Testament, and of the New Testament. 

The Old Testament closes with the pronouncement of a curse, while the New Testament ends with the grace of Jesus. As we end this past year tonight, consider – are you entering the New Year looking back on a life that was filled with regrets? Are you entering the New Year seeking to find and hold on to the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ? As we pass from this old year into the new, may we seek to follow the Lord and be used by Him in His plan. Take time tonight to prepare for a new start, with a clean heart, in a right relationship with the One who gave all, that we might gain all.

Prayer: Lord, we bow humbly before you today, cleanse us, ready us, and use us in the New Year. Amen.




Wednesday, December 30, 2015

The Coming Kingdom




December 30

Daily Bible Reading: Zechariah 13 – 14

Verse of the Day: Zechariah 14:9 – “And the Lord shall be king over all the earth: in that day shall there be one Lord, and his name one.”

As we are approaching the beginning of a New Year, we need to pause today and consider our reading. It is a reference to the coming Kingdom of our Lord and Savior. God will be the King over all the Earth. 

As this year is coming to a close, spend some time considering where you were victorious in Christ this past year, and where you were defeated. How did you serve your Lord, and how did you betray Him. How did you display God before those in your circle of the world, and how did you deny Him before this circle. Then, ask His forgiveness, and seek His Spirit to direct and guide you this coming year.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, I have failed You and I have lived for You. Forgive my failings and help me have more success in living for You. Amen.





Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Selling out Jesus




December 29

Daily Bible Reading: Zechariah 10 – 12

Verse of the Day: Zechariah 11:12 – “And I said unto them, If ye think good, give me my price; and if not, forbear. So they weighed for my price thirty pieces of silver.”

This Old Testament prophet carries a number of prophecies that describe the Messiah – Jesus. In today’s reading, we come across the verse that predicts that Judas would sell Jesus out for thirty pieces of silver (read Matthew 27:9). In just a couple of verses later we see the continuation of what took place when Judas’ money was used to buy the Potter’s field.

The price of selling out Jesus. Sometimes today we are guilty of selling our Jesus. We are quick to accept a momentary, temporal item in return for betraying our Savior. Ponder today over anything that you have allowed to replace Jesus as the center of your life. And then, return Jesus to the rightful place in your life.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, I come before You now, confessing that I have “sold You out” for things that are not eternal. Thank You for forgiving me today. Amen. 




Monday, December 28, 2015

Fickle People




December 28

Daily Bible Reading: Zechariah 7 – 9

Verse of the Day: Zechariah 9:9 – “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass.”

From our reading today, we see a passage of Scripture that is applied to Jesus in the New Testament. It is on the day of what we term His Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem. This takes place on the Sunday before His crucifixion. On this day (we call it Palm Sunday), the crowds rejoiced and shouted their acceptance of Him. Just days later these same folks shouted – “Crucify Him! Crucify Him!”

We need to be careful in our walk that we do not do as they did. On Sunday proclaim Him Lord, and later deny who He is.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, we are a fickle group of people. We worship You and then deny You. We shout your praises one minute and grumble about our circumstances the next. Help us to daily worship You – every day! Amen.





Sunday, December 27, 2015

Not by Might or Strength





December 27

Daily Bible Reading: Zechariah 4 – 6

Verse of the Day: Zechariah 4:6 – “Then he answered and spake unto me, saying, This is the word of the Lord unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the Lord of hosts.”

Often we venture into the day and our tasks being confident on how well we can handle things ourselves. Then we hit the obstacle that challenges our thought processes, and our advancement.

We need to start every day recognizing that we can accomplish exactly what God wants us to – through the power of the Holy Spirit. Whatever God has designed for us to accomplish can be accomplished by His Spirit.

Today, as you set out into the world, remember these words – “Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the Lord of hosts.”

Prayer: Lord of Hosts, we come before you today seeking to accomplish Your plan for us. Make it happen, not by our strength, but by Your Spirit. Amen.




Saturday, December 26, 2015

Change of Garments





December 26

Daily Bible Reading: Zechariah 1 – 3

Verse of the Day: Zechariah 3:3 – 4 – “Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments, and stood before the angel. And he answered and spake unto those that stood before him, saying, Take away the filthy garments from him. And unto him he said, Behold, I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee, and I will clothe thee with change of raiment.”

The name of Zechariah means “Yahweh remembers.” Israel would be blessed because Yahweh remembers the covenant that He made with them. It is a highly Messianic book. The Messiah is displayed in both of His advents – the Servant and the King, as Man and God.

The Priest, Joshua, is being prepared to serve in the Temple that was being rebuilt. But, in his own power, he was not clean. The Lord would remove his sin stains, and clothe him with purity. A picture of what Christ has done for us.

Prayer: Father, we thank you for the exchange of our filthy rags for Christ’s glory. Amen.




Friday, December 25, 2015

Immanuel



December 25

Daily Bible Reading: Haggai 1 – 2

Verse of the Day: Haggai 2:9 – “The glory of this latter house shall be greater than of the former, saith the Lord of hosts: and in this place will I give peace, saith the Lord of hosts.”

Merry Christmas. God promises through Haggai that there will come a future time when God will give peace. As we look around the world today, even in the midst of our celebrating, many are suffering turmoil and distress.

We celebrate the birth of Jesus on this day, not really knowing what day was His birthday, even in the midst of suffering and distress. Why celebrate? Because as Isaiah wrote about, the “Prince of Peace,” He did come. Matthew calling upon Isaiah’s prophecy reminds us that “Immanuel” – God with us – came. With us through the heartaches, the grief, the loneliness, the bad days and the good. Always here, always with us, always near and living in us.

Prayer: Father, as we celebrate this glorious day, let us focus on Immanuel, the Prince of Peace, our Redeemer. Jesus. Amen.


Thursday, December 24, 2015

Sing, Shout, and Praise Him




December 24

Daily Bible Reading: Zephaniah 1 – 3

Verse of the Day: Zephaniah 3:14 – “Sing, O daughter of Zion; shout, O Israel; be glad and rejoice with all the heart, O daughter of Jerusalem.”

Christmas Eve. We excitedly make all of our last minute preparations for the big day of Celebration tomorrow. Stockings hung – check. Presents wrapped – check. Tree decorated – check. All in order – check. I will not be able to sleep with all this excitement.

The verse today speaks of major excitement. It is referring to the day that the Redeemer will regather, redeem, and restore fully all those who are His. He will be in the midst of His own, and they can’t help but sing, shout, and praise Him.

Zephaniah starts his book with idolatry, wrath, and judgment – but closes it with worship, rejoicing, and blessing.

Prayer: Father, as we prepare to celebrate and remember Your Son tomorrow, help us focus on that which is most important – He is here with us now. Amen.




Wednesday, December 23, 2015

The Greatest Gift




December 23

Daily Bible Reading: Habakkuk 1 – 3

Verse of the Day: Habakkuk 2:4 – “Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him: but the just shall live by his faith.”

The latter part of this verse is shared again in three places in the New Testament. We find it in Romans 1:17; Galatians 3:11; and Hebrews 10:38. Four times this phrase is repeated in the Bible. I would say that God is wanting us to notice it.

We can see from this passage that there are those who have been declared righteous before God. They have this declaration made by receiving the free gift of God, salvation made possible by the vicarious sacrifice of Jesus on the Cross. In two days we will be giving and receiving gifts – Christmas gifts. As we do, let us not forget the greatest giver of the greatest gift – God. As you unwrap each present, pause and thank God for the Gift He has provided – eternal life through His Son, Jesus.

Prayer: Gracious Giver of Life, thank You for making this available to me. I thank You that I have received this life. Amen.




Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Known by God




December 22

Daily Bible Reading: Nahum 1 – 3

Verse of the Day: Nahum 1:7 – “The Lord is good, a strong hold in the day of trouble; and he knoweth them that trust in him.”

As I read this verse, I first saw the promise of God’s goodness. Then I saw the promise of His protection through trouble. But what really caught my attention is the last phrase – “he knoweth them that trust in him.”

God – the creator of this vast universe. God the omnipotent, omniscience, omnipresent Being. God – outside of time and space, bigger than His creation, superior over all things. God, this vat infinite Being knows me. Me, a small speck on this big, blue ball hurtling through space in this vast universe. Me, someone who is not known by many of the billions of people on this planet. Me, important only in my own mind. But, because I have trusted Jesus Christ as my Savior, God knows me – and everything about me. Trust Him today – He knows you.

Prayer: God, what a glorious thought as we approach Christmas – You know me, and love me. Thank You. Amen.




Monday, December 21, 2015

Let out the Light




December 21

Daily Bible Reading: Micah 6 – 7

Verse of the Day: Micah 6:8 – “He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?”

We are entering the Winter Solstice. Where I live the daylight hours are shorter than the night ones. As we approach Christmas Day, we are reminded that the darkness of night seems so large compared to the light around us in life. Yet, Jesus came into the world to bring Light – Life – and Loving mercy. When the Light appears, darkness cannot exist anymore.

Could it be that the reason the world around us seems so dark and dreary is that we have not been the reflectors of the Light that we should be? Consider whether you are just in ALL of your dealings. Think about how much mercy you really show to those around you. Moreover, can you honestly say that you walk in humility with God? Today, be the Light-reflector that God has called us to be.

Prayer: Father, let Your light shine through me to light up my darkened world. Amen.




Sunday, December 20, 2015

Bethlehem: Birthplace of the Son




December 20

Daily Bible Reading: Micah 4 – 5

Verse of the Day: Micah 5:2 – “But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.”

Micah chapters 4 and 5 written over 700 years before the birth of Christ gives us a clear prophecy pointing to Jesus as the Messiah. With over 300 (some say over 400) prophecies in the Old Testament on the Messiah, it boggles the mind with the odds against any one person fulfilling them. The probability that Jesus of Nazareth could have fulfilled even eight such prophecies would be only 1 in 1017. That is 1 in 100, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000. That would be as if a blindfolded man was able to pick out on his first attempt a marked coin in a pile 2 feet high covering the state of Texas. Yet, He fulfilled all of the Old Testament prophecies.

Prayer: Jesus as we come to celebrate your birth, let us come without doubts that You are truly the Holy Son of God. Amen.




Saturday, December 19, 2015

Exposed!




December 19

Daily Bible Reading: Micah 1 - 3

Verse of the Day: Micah 1:2 – “Hear, all ye people; hearken, O earth, and all that therein is: and let the Lord God be witness against you, the Lord from his holy temple.”

The book of Micah can be divided into three sections – the first of which exposes the sins of the people of Judah. In the passage we read today, Micah calls the whole earth to witness God’s judgment upon Judah. He lists the causes of God’s upcoming judgment – the people were devising plans that were immoral and grossly unfair. They were greedy wanting what others had, and did not mind using cruel methods of extracting what they wanted. 

Because of this, God was forewarning Judah of His upcoming judgment on them. The judgment would encompass all the people (leaders and followers alike). Yet, as we will see in the next devotions, God will restore, and teach them what is required to live mercy.

Prayer: God, we come today, examining our hearts for these condemnations. Purify us, O Lord. Amen.




Friday, December 18, 2015

Salvation = Jesus




December 18

Daily Bible Reading: Jonah 1 - 4

Verse of the Day: Jonah 2:9 – “But I will sacrifice unto thee with the voice of thanksgiving; I will pay that that I have vowed. Salvation is of the Lord.”

This time next week we will be celebrating Christmas. Excitement and joy for most will be at a fever pitch. And the remembrance of the fact that God left the eternal now to step into our finite day to day will pass many right by. Although we do not know the day, we know the fact that God became man and lived with us.

Jesus – a name that literally means Jehovah is salvation was born to Mary in Bethlehem. Because we are in a broken world, with a brokenness of relation with God, it was necessary for God to become the means of salvation for man. As we count down the days, why not count the ways that Jesus is your salvation.

Prayer: Gracious Father, thank You that Your Son stepped into our world and made it possible to be with You. Amen.





Thursday, December 17, 2015

Promise and Provision





December 17

Daily Bible Reading: Obadiah

Verse of the Day: Obadiah 1:21 – “And saviours shall come up on mount Zion to judge the mount of Esau; and the kingdom shall be the Lord's.”

This is the shortest book in the Old Testament – only 21 verse in length. Written in 840 BC, it carries one of the strongest messages of judgment upon a nation. The nation of Edom. Yet, the last verse is a blessed reminder to Israel that they will find restoration in their land. The prophet is reminding the people of the faithfulness of God to keep His promises, and that His justice will ultimately prevail.

This short book, in this Christmas season gives us an encouraging reminder that God will ultimately prevail. If you are facing discouragement, disappointment, or dilemma be assured that God is just and will provide the ultimate release from these struggles.

Prayer: Most Holy and gracious God, thank you for this promise and provision for the struggles that are faced, even in this time of celebration. Amen.








Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Famine of the Word






December 16

Daily Bible Reading: Amos 7 - 9

Verse of the Day: Amos 8:11 – “Behold, the days come, saith the Lord God, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord”

In the midst of his five visions of judgment coming upon the northern kingdom of Israel, Amos makes this declaration from God that the kingdom would suffer not only physical depravation, but a spiritual depravation also. They would suffer a lack of true words from God. There would false prophets, but a true voice would be lacking. It was because they had heard His warnings and rejected them.

Today, are we facing the same fearful message from God? In the Christmas season, is God a central focus – or do we seek to satisfy our physical needs only.

Prayer: Eternal and glorious God, we are facing the celebration of your Son’s entrance into our world. Help us keep our focus on You and Him. May we center our thoughts on Your Word – living and written. Amen.



Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Seek good...



December 15

Daily Bible Reading: Amos 4 - 6

Verse of the Day: Amos 5:14 – “Seek good, and not evil, that ye may live: and so the Lord, the God of hosts, shall be with you, as ye have spoken.”

In this section of Amos, God is pleading with Israel to return to Him. He tells them to seek good to live. He is not speaking of doing good deeds to get into heaven. As Jesus said in Matthew 19:17, “And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God….”

If we want eternal life in Christ, we must seek Him and receive Him into our lives. During this advent season, there could be no better gift to receive than forgiveness through Christ. Repent and ask Him into your life today.

Prayer: God, my life is broken, I know it is because of my sin. I believe Christ came to live, die, and rise again to rescue me from my sin. Forgive me as I turn from my selfish ways and put my trust in You. I take Jesus as my Lord today and will follow Him. Amen.









Monday, December 14, 2015

Walking together



December 14

Daily Bible Reading: Amos 1 - 3

Verse of the Day: Amos 3:3 – “Can two walk together, except they be agreed?”

Amos, a sheepbreeder from Tekoa, was used by God to write this small book of warning about the judgment of sin that was coming. Some speculate that he was also a fig-picker. Not exactly one that we would think of having a grand education, wealth, or status. Yet, He was chosen and used by God.

God here asks a question. Can two people go in the same direction if they are not in agreement? He says in this that for a person to be in harmony with Him, we must be in agreement with Him.

This Christmas season, take time to connect with Him, make Him the center of your thoughts, your plans, and your festivities.

Prayer: Lord, today help me make my choices, my thoughts, my life in agreement with you. May we walk together in Jesus’ name. Amen.









Sunday, December 13, 2015

Decisions of Multitudes



December 13

Daily Bible Reading: Joel 1 - 3

Verse of the Day: Joel 3:14 – “Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision: for the day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision.”

As I look around at the shoppers hurrying to find just the perfect gift for that special person in this Christmas season, this verse in our reading today brings me back to a somber thought. I wonder how many of these people have made the right decision for their future. Are they ready to meet Jesus – not the baby in the manger, but the righteous Judge of all the earth?

This causes me to be convicted about my witness to those I am around. Do I seek to share the good news? Do I really care about their decision? What can I do to make a difference in their decision?

Prayer: God, today as I ponder over those who are around me, give me insight and confidence to share Jesus – the reason for the season today. May I go boldly in His name, Amen.






Saturday, December 12, 2015

NO FEAR





December 12

Daily Bible Reading: Hosea 12 - 14

Verse of the Day: Hosea 13:14a – “I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death: O death, I will be thy plagues; O grave, I will be thy destruction…”

We find the basis for Paul’s statement in 1 Corinthians 15 that Christ defeated death and the grave. Hosea records God’s promise that when we respond to His plea for us to return, God will restore us from our rebellion. A believer does not need fear death. A sweet saint I knew would always say, “Don’t worry about me, I know where I am going.” In the midst of her draining disease, she held a confidence in the One who promised her life in the fullness. She knew that if she did not see healing in this life, she would see full restoration when she stood before Him one day.

Do you have that same confidence? That assurance that God has conquered death, Hell, and the grave?

Prayer: Victorious God, thank you for your assurances today of your victory over that which we fear the most – death. Amen.







Friday, December 11, 2015

Called out of Egypt





December 11


Daily Bible Reading: Hosea 9 - 11

Verse of the Day: Hosea 11:1 – “When Israel was a child, then I loved him, and called my son out of Egypt.”

In this passage today, we see a double meaning in what God is saying through the prophet. First, He is referring back to how He brought the nation out of servitude in Egypt in the Exodus. There is a second meaning in this statement. It is a future statement concerning the coming Messiah. This verse looks back and forward at the same time.

Jesus was taken into Egypt shortly after His birth for safety from those seeking His life (Matthew 2:15). However, He was brought back to Israel in God’s plan and purpose to grow up and suffer for our sins. 

We can be so thankful that Jesus came, and went to the Cross for our sins – so that we can be pure before God.

Prayer: Gracious God, we thank you today that You did call your Son out of Egypt for our forgiveness and salvation. Amen.








Thursday, December 10, 2015

Reaping the Whirlwind



December 10


Daily Bible Reading: Hosea 5 -8

Verse of the Day: Hosea 8:7a – “For they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind:”

Sometimes we face some very heavy troubles. Troubles can come because of we live in a sinful world. Sometimes they come because of what others have chosen as their lifestyle. Sometimes they come as trials and temptations. And, sometimes they come because of our own choices. We choose to disobey God, and then when the consequences happen, we wonder why they are so hard.

As Charles Stanley says, in the law of sowing and reaping we always reap what we sow, later than we sow, in greater abundance than what we sowed. In this passage, we see God declaring that the disobedient sowed the wind – they reaped the whirlwind. Repentance will bring us forgiveness, but sometimes we must go through the chastening to be made clean.

Prayer: Father, forgive me of my sins. Cleanse me and use me in your service. Amen.







Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Responsible for living


December 9

Daily Bible Reading: Hosea 1 - 4

Verse of the Day: Hosea 4: 1 – “Hear the word of the Lord, ye children of Israel: for the Lord hath a controversy with the inhabitants of the land, because there is no truth, nor mercy, nor knowledge of God in the land.”

Todays’ reading is a warning from God to the nation of Israel about their idolatry. In this book, we find a strange relationship between Hosea and Gomer his wife. This is an example for the message that God is calling out to His people. The full message of this book is the redeeming love of God. He lists the indictment against Israel, but demonstrates His unceasing love for His people, and the ultimate restoration of those who are His.

Taking this message to heart today, we can see that God still holds us responsible for our living according to His ways, but He is a great, loving Father who will restore us to fellowship if we respond as He leads.

Prayer: Heavenly, loving Father, we have sinned – restore us in your grace through your Son, Jesus. Amen.



Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Lighting the Way



December 8

Daily Bible Reading: Daniel 11 - 12

Verse of the Day: Daniel 12:3 – “And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever.”

At this season of Advent, we celebrate the entrance of Jesus into time and space, the Virgin Birth of our Redeemer. We are bought out of our sin and placed into the family of God by Jesus. His entrance into the world came about miraculously in order that we can have a sinless sacrifice to meet the Holy demands of a just and righteous God.

Daniel in our passage today records the prophecy that our verse is found. And in this verse, we are encouraged to share the message of a Savior with as many people as we can – to show as many as possible how to be right with God. They will have a bright future, and we will be lights to show the way.

Prayer: Glorious Father, help me to be a shining light for those I come in contact with today.





Monday, December 7, 2015

Seventy Seven to the end



December 7

Daily Bible Reading: Daniel 9 - 10

Verse of the Day: Daniel 9:24 – “Seventy weeks are decreed upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most holy.”

The better translation of the first part of this is “Seventy sevens.” The scholars agree that the “Seventy sevens” are years – 490 to be exact.

I wish we had time to dissect all the truth that God has revealed in this passage – I encourage you to find a reliable Study Bible and see the remarkable way that God explains the time to the Messiah and then to the end of time.

God has left us a road map to follow – to know Him, come to Him, and to see His faithful purpose and plan for man. Trust Him and follow Him every day. He is there for you.

Prayer: Father, I seek to follow You as You lead, guide me in Your way. I will look to You for guidance and protection as I go. Amen. 

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Uncoded Code



December 6

Daily Bible Reading: Daniel 7 - 8

Verse of the Day: Daniel 8:1 – “In the third year of the reign of king Belshazzar a vision appeared unto me, even unto me, Daniel, after that which appeared unto me at the first.”

The Hebrew word châzôn, a common word for a dream or vision comes from the root meaning “to see.” The ancients often recognized dreams and visions as message from the “gods.” The Hebrews understood them to be from the One true God. Daniel receives such a vision with many coded symbols that took the Angel Gabriel to interpret and untangle.

In Proverbs we are reminded that revelation from God is a primary essential for any society. Without God’s law as He revealed to us in the Scriptures the very fabric of society would crumble.

Prayer: God of all vision, we need to see and hold to Your revelation for us as individuals and for society. What You have delivered to us is made clear in the person of Your Son. As we look at Your Word (Scripture and Jesus) may we walk in Your way. Amen.



Saturday, December 5, 2015

Surviving the test



December 5

Daily Bible Reading: Daniel 5 - 6

Verse of the Day: Daniel 6:4 – “Then the presidents and the satraps sought to find occasion against Daniel as touching the kingdom; but they could find no occasion nor fault, forasmuch as he was faithful, neither was there any error or fault found in him.”

Can this be said of me? You? Basically, we are faced with two major challenges in life – prosperity or adversity. Which one is the hardest? Prosperity.

It seems that when we become prosperous in life subtle temptations sneak in. In adversity, the main thing is survival. In prosperity it is whether we will maintain our integrity. 

The rulers in Babylon could not find anything that they could use against Daniel – he had maintained his integrity through all the advancements and prosperity. He had an excellent attitude, privately pure, trustworthy in all things, and a consistent walk with God. Can this be said of me? You?

Prayer: I want to be a true person of God, humble in full integrity. Make it so, God. Amen.



Friday, December 4, 2015

Importance



December 4

Daily Bible Reading: Daniel 3 - 4

Verse of the Day: Daniel 4:37 – “Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and extol and honor the King of heaven; for all his works are truth, and his ways justice; and those that walk in pride he is able to abase.”

Sometimes we can get very smitten with our own importance. But, before we do, we need to stop and look back at the pit of sin that Jesus Christ lifted us from. Better yet, don’t just think about it – confess it. We are all undeserving of the grace of God.

A friend of mine often said that when we think too highly of ourselves we need to get a bucket of water. Place the bucket of water on the ground. Roll up our right sleeve and then plunge our arm into the bucket of water. Hold it there for at least a minute. Then, we are to pull our arm out.

Now, stop and see how much of a hole we left in the water. That is the measure of our importance.

Prayer: Father, I seek to remain humble before You in my life each day. Amen.



Thursday, December 3, 2015

Wisdom



December 3

Daily Bible Reading: Daniel 1 - 2

Verse of the Day: Daniel 1:17 – “Now as for these four youths, God gave them knowledge and skill in all learning and wisdom: and Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams.”

Daniel arrives in Babylon as a teenager and lives a long life used by God in a pagan culture. His writings give us insight into his own life, and the prophecies of history and the future. Seeing that the prophecies of the world’s kingdoms have come true, we can be assured that Daniel’s prophecies of the Messiah and the end times will also come true.

God gives wisdom to a person who makes right decisions, godly reactions to the circumstances of life, and the application of Scriptural principles in their life. Daniel shows us the way and the by-product of putting God first.

Prayer: God of the past, present, and future, give us insight into Your truth as we spend time studying the life of Daniel over the next few days. Open our hearts and our minds to take away the instructions that are given in this book. Guide our study, Amen.



Wednesday, December 2, 2015

God is Here! God is Here!



December 2

Daily Bible Reading: Ezekiel 47 - 48

Verse of the Day: Ezekiel 48:35 – “It shall be eighteen thousand reeds round about: and the name of the city from that day shall be, Jehovah is there.”

Wow! Did you catch the last phrase? I pray that you didn’t slide over it. “and the name of the city from that day shall be, Jehovah is there.” In the times of the Scriptures, names held great significance. The name represented someone or something. The name included the characteristics and promises about the person or place. Consider Jesus, it means Savior. Or the title Immanuel, it means God with us.

Here Jerusalem will be designated as Jehovah is here. That means that the presence of the Covenant-keeping God was located in that city. God in all His glory is in His Temple, land, and people. What a way to end this magnificent book of prophecy.

Prayer: Glorious God, we look forward to the day when all the earth will shout that You are here. You are present with Your people and we can praise and worship You here. Amen.



Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Honesty



December 1

Daily Bible Reading: Ezekiel 45 - 46

Verse of the Day: Ezekiel 45:10 – “Ye shall have just balances, and a just ephah, and a just bath. The ephah and the bath shall be of one measure, that the bath may contain the tenth part of a homer, and the ephah the tenth part of a homer: the measure thereof shall be after the homer.”

God tells the people that they are to use accurate measurements. He sets the standard of the ephah (estimated to be about a bushel) and the bath (roughly 6 to 9 gallons) to be that of one-tenth of a homer (approximately 11 bushels). God called for an end to dishonesty and deceit.

We can rejoice that there will come a day when all the schemes and dishonest connections will cease. I am looking forward to that day.

Prayer: Lord of all, we so look forward to the day of Your reign. Dishonesty, hatred, fear, unloving relationships, and so much more will come to an end. I pray for a change of heart in men today to prepare for that day. Amen.


Monday, November 30, 2015

Honor and Glory



November 30

Daily Bible Reading: Ezekiel 43 – 44

Verse of the Day: Ezekiel 43:2 – “And, behold, the glory of the God of Israel came from the way of the east: and his voice was like the sound of many waters; and the earth shined with his glory.”

The Hebrew word kâbôd used twice in this verse is used to describe the weight or worthiness of something. It can be used to describe negatively something – such as the sever sin of Sodom – but usually is used to depict greatness and honor. God’s way of displaying His honor was in a form of a cloud. The appropriate response was to reverence God by bowing before Him – as we see Ezekiel do in 43:3 – “and I fell upon my face.”

Do we truly reverence God today? Do we show Him true honor, or do we too often seek to be “buddy-buddy” with Him?

Prayer: Majestic and Marvelous Creator, I am so sorry for the times I have taken Your Presence and Honor so lightly. I come bowed before You today in humble reverence. Amen.







Sunday, November 29, 2015

Precise plans



November 29

Daily Bible Reading: Ezekiel 41 – 42

Verse of the Day: Ezekiel 42:15 – “Now when he had made an end of measuring the inner house, he brought me forth by the way of the gate whose prospect is toward the east, and measured it round about.”

God’s Plans are sure. We might face hopelessness and helplessness today, but we can be assured that His purposes and plans are set. Israel in Babylon may felt that all hope was lost, yet the future that God had prepared was so settled that it could be measured. Ezekiel’s vision is so vivid that it includes measurements. Why? Because God wanted them (and us) to understand that He is in control.

Today, as you consider what you are facing, be assured that God is in control. He is sure, He is precise, and He is definite. Trust Him. Tell Him that you do.

Prayer: God who is in Control of my life and circumstances, I come to tell You that I trust You, and no matter what, I know that You will fulfill Your plans for me. Amen.






Saturday, November 28, 2015

God's Future Temple



November 28

Daily Bible Reading: Ezekiel 40

Verse of the Day: Ezekiel 40:2 – “In the visions of God brought he me into the land of Israel, and set me down upon a very high mountain, whereon was as it were the frame of a city on the south.”

In chapters 40 – 43 of this book, God gives Ezekiel a vision of the restored Temple. This was a great source of hope to those in Babylon; they had heard that the Temple had been destroyed in 586 B.C. However, this vision was to be one of a more glorious Temple than has ever been. Not more glorious because of gold or other physical trappings – but because the presence of the Living God would be there in the midst of His people.

This Temple is yet to come, but we can look forward to it because God has kept all His promises in the past, and we can trust Him to do the same in the future. See you at this glorious Temple.

Prayer: God, I look forward to the day that I am in Your Presence. Amen.







Friday, November 27, 2015

GOD WINS!



November 27

Daily Bible Reading: Ezekiel 38 – 39

Verse of the Day: Ezekiel 38:2 – “Son of man, set thy face toward Gog, of the land of Magog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal, and prophesy against him,”

These chapters deal with an interesting prophecy that only meets “end-times” understanding. An assembled group of Israel’s enemies join forces and seek to annihilate the nation. This shows us two things – first Israel will be restored (could be the 1948 accord), and that Satan’s desire to destroy the people of God continues. In chapter 38 we read of Gog and his allies attacking Israel. She is out-numbered and out-manned, except for one important factor – God is on their side. Chapter 39 speaks to the destruction of the armies of Gog being destroyed by God, the burial of Gog and the triumphant festival of Israel being fully restored. 

If you haven’t picked this up yet, no matter what happens – GOD WINS.

Prayer: In the unrest of today, Father, help me to rest in Your Promises. Amen.







Thursday, November 26, 2015


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Dry Bones and God's Promises



November 26

Daily Bible Reading: Ezekiel 36 – 37

Verse of the Day: Ezekiel 37:3 – “And he said unto me, Son of man, can these bones live? And I answered, O Lord Jehovah, thou knowest.”

A valley of dry bones becomes the stage for this vision that God gives to the prophet Ezekiel. Scattered. Brittle. Unorganized. Disconnected. Bleached. Unusable.

God will lead Ezekiel to witness as He causes the bones to come together, regain flesh, and be restored to life. Imagine, this mess of bones becomes a mighty army under the Words of God. This picture shows that God will keep His promise to re-gather, restore and revive His people. God’s promises are true and faithful, even when all looks impossible in this day.

Today, muse over the impossibilities in your life – and trust the promises of God to restore and revive those He has re-gathered.

Prayer: God of Ezekiel, I trust You to keep Your promises even when I cannot see how. You are beyond my thoughts. Amen.







Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Yield not to temptation, for yielding is sin



November 25

Daily Bible Reading: Ezekiel 34 – 35

Verse of the Day: Ezekiel 34:16 – “I will seek that which was lost, and will bring back that which was driven away, and will bind up that which was broken, and will strengthen that which was sick: but the fat and the strong I will destroy; I will feed them in justice.”

Manipulation. It is a temptation that challenges leaders. It doesn’t matter how large or small your position, it lurks in the background calling with a sirens song of follow. 

Many times we hold positions of authority that gives us the right to claim certain honors. We may be in position to be able to demand the right to be listened to. But, as a true follower of Christ, we must resist that siren song at all costs. As the old song says, “Yield not to temptation, for yielding is sin.”

Prayer: Lord and Master, I may find myself in the position to demand my rights today, to show forth my authority, to display my strength – hold my mouth and thoughts so that I may only walk as You have for me. Amen.







Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Altered States



November 24

Daily Bible Reading: Ezekiel 32 – 33

Verse of the Day: Ezekiel 33:31 – “And they come unto thee as the people cometh, and they sit before thee as my people, and they hear thy words, but do them not; for with their mouth they show much love, but their heart goeth after their gain.”

We live in a day and time when people in general seek to alter their theology instead of altering their lives. We seek to change the basis of our beliefs so that in turn we can justify our way of living. By reading the Bible through the lens of our society and culture instead of viewing our society and culture through the lens of the Bible, we can mostly eliminate any feelings of guilt or remorse over our actions.

God has given us the purpose, plan, and parameters of life in His Word. We should seek to adjust our lives and our society to follow His design, rather than seeking to design His plan around our desires and destinations.

Prayer: Father, guide me to walk as You have deemed, not as I demand. Amen.







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