Sunday, January 31, 2016

An important question to consider

January 31

Daily Bible Reading: Matthew 21:1 – 22 

Verse of the Day: Matthew 21:6 – “And the disciples went, and did even as Jesus appointed them,”

In this account by Matthew of what we term the Triumphal Entry of Jesus, we find this simple statement. They went and did as he appointed them. Simple. Concise. To the point. 

As I have pondered on this statement, I asked myself – could this be said of me? As I walk through life today, do I do as He has appointed me to do? Am I one that could be labeled faithful and true?

Today, pause and ask yourself that same question. What would you answer honestly?

As I mused over this, I realized that, no, I do not do this all the time. I fail often. However, I am reminded that I have a God who forgives and restores. 

Prayer: Forgiving and gracious Father, today I ask You to forgive and restore me. May I seek You each and every day to do as You have appointed me to do. May I be a pleasant follower of You in all areas. Amen.

Saturday, January 30, 2016


January 30

Daily Bible Reading: Matthew 20:17 – 34 

Verse of the Day: Matthew 20:18 – 19 – “Behold, we go up to Jerusalem; and the Son of man shall be delivered unto the chief priests and scribes; and they shall condemn him to death, and shall deliver him unto the Gentiles to mock, and to scourge, and to crucify: and the third day he shall be raised up.”

Today, Jesus tells His disciples for the third time (16:21; 17:9. 22, 23) about His anticipated arrest and death. This is the first time that He reveals to them the method by which He would die – crucifixion.

They should not have been taken by surprise at His death, burial, and resurrection. He spelt it out plainly. Yet, they are as human as we are. God in His Word has told us of His power and might, yet we are so surprised when He answers our prayers. Before we are too hard on the disciples, consider this – we have the rest of the story and still are taken by surprise at His promises.

Prayer: Jesus, I am sorry that I so often pray and then are surprised that You answer. I need to have my faith strengthened to believe You.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Rewards to be gained

January 29

Daily Bible Reading: Matthew 20:1 – 16 

Verse of the Day: Matthew 20:16 – “So the last shall be first, and the first last.”

In our reading today we hear Jesus tell a parable about the Kingdom of Heaven. He often uses parables to take visible world to teach about the invisible.

In this parable, the worker’s with the contract (the first one’s selected) are the nation of Israel. They have the covenants and promises. The latter workers are those whom God has brought in – namely the Gentiles.

Jesus wants us to see that all who believe and obey Go will receive the same rewards and promises. The Church did not replace Israel, and the Church will not receive anything that Israel will not receive in the coming Kingdom Age.

Spend some time today meditating upon the glorious and marvelous riches that are promised to those who are God’s children.

Prayer: Gracious King, as Your child I come today in grateful adoration for the promises that You have made for all who believe. Amen.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Who can be saved?

January 28

Daily Bible Reading: Matthew 19:16 – 30

Verse of the Day: Matthew 19:25 – 26 – “And when the disciples heard it, they were astonished exceedingly, saying, Who then can be saved? And Jesus looking upon them said to them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.”

In this last part of chapter 19, we read the story of the rich, young ruler. The disciples were shocked by Jesus’ response to this man. Many today would have gone out of their way to accommodate him. Jesus told it straight and to the point.

One thing that I have always noticed in this passage is the question here and the answer of Jesus. Who can be saved? When we look at people around us, do we try to decide who can and who won’t be saved? Jesus reminds us that salvation is entirely in the hands of God. Man can’t save himself, and others can’t make the choice. God is author of salvation, the provider of salvation, and the keeper of the saved.

Prayer: Father, I thank You that salvation is all from You and that I can rest in that assurance for all eternity. Amen. 

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Know the answer - know the Bible!

January 27

Daily Bible Reading: Matthew 19:1 – 15

Verse of the Day: Matthew 19:5 – 6 – “and said, For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife; and the two shall become one flesh? So that they are no more two, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.”

Jesus is questioned on the importance of marriage by a group of Pharisees. They are seeking to entrap Him and create division among His followers. Jesus, as was His custom responded with a quotation from the book of Genesis (2:24). 

Whenever we are confronted with challenges of what we should do or believe, let us always return to the source – the Bible. Whatever God desires for our best can be found in His Word. That is why it is important for us to read and heed this precious book.

How much time are you spending acquiring the truth and wisdom available to you from God?

Prayer: Father, open my eyes and mind.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Forgive and forget

January 26

Daily Bible Reading: Matthew 18:21 – 35

Verse of the Day: Matthew 18:35 – “So shall also my heavenly Father do unto you, if ye forgive not every one his brother from your hearts.”

Have you ever really stopped to think about how much God has forgiven you? I don’t mean a surface check, but a deep down, gut level realization of what God has done in forgiving you?

His forgiveness cost Jesus His life. He died for us physically and spiritually to restore us to the Father. In celebration of the magnitude of what God has done, we should be the first to forgive others. Forgive and forget an action that a spouse, friend, or neighbor has done against you. In comparison, what they have done in minuscule to what God has forgiven us.

Today, if you harbor ill feelings or refusal to forgive someone, compare with God’s forgiveness – and let it go. Forgive and forget.

Prayer: Jesus, thank You for taking my sin and my shame. Thank You for making me right with the Father. Help me to forgive others. 

Monday, January 25, 2016

Great as a Child

January 25

Daily Bible Reading: Matthew 18:1 – 20

Verse of the Day: Matthew 18:1 – “In that hour came the disciples unto Jesus, saying, Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”

Greatness. We live in a world that seeks greatness. We are challenged and coerced to seek that mysterious, elusive entity called greatness. Exactly what is greatness? You will find that different cultures define it differently. Even in our country, we have varying degrees of what people call greatness.

Jesus, in this passage defines it in Matthew 18:4. Purity, innocence, humility, and trust like a child. When a father holds out his arms and says “Jump!” A child trusts and does just that.

Are we willing to surrender to Jesus and become like a little child? If not, we will never know or achieve the true measure of greatness in the kingdom of God.

Today, when the Father says “Jump!’ Do it1

Prayer: Heavenly Father, I seek today to be Your child, to live like Your child, to talk like Your child, to trust like Your child. I surrender my will to Yours, and seek to obey. Amen.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

The rest of the story

January 24

Daily Bible Reading: Matthew 17

Verse of the Day: Matthew 17:3 – “And behold, there appeared unto them Moses and Elijah talking with him.”

The Mount of Transfiguration account. Jesus takes His inner circle of disciples up on a high mountain. While they are there, Jesus “peels back” his humanity, and they get a glimpse of His majesty and glory. What an awesome privilege that must have been.

While He was transfigured into His Glory before them, Moses and Elijah appear on the scene and talk with Him. These two are representatives of the Law (Moses) and the Prophets (Elijah). 

Jesus instructs them to remain silent about what they had witnessed until after the Son of Man had risen from the dead (Matthew 17:9). 

The disciples missed the reference to His rising from the dead. The Law and Prophets looked forward to the Messiah, we look back to the Messiah.

Prayer: Jesus, grant us the vision of Your Glory. May we have eyes to see You. Amen.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

A pebble or a boulder

January 23

Daily Bible Reading: Matthew 16

Verse of the Day: Matthew 16:18 – “And I also say unto thee, that thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.”

In Aramaic (the language Jesus spoke) the words for Peter and rock are same. We lose the wordplay in English. The Greek word for Peter is Pétros (a pebble), and the word for rock is pétra (a cliff or boulder). Some misinterpret this verse to mean that Jesus was going to build His church upon Peter, but the wordplay shows that He will build His church upon Peter’s proclamation – “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.” (Matthew 16:16)

The people of God will be joined in Christ’s Church because they believe and accept that Jesus is God. The Church is not man’s design or making – it is the divine structure that Jesus Himself has established for His followers.

Prayer: Jesus, help me to see the truth of the importance of Your Church. This assembly that You created is based upon the pétra that Peter displayed that evening with Jesus. May I be a pétros of this great design. Amen.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Great Faith

January 22

Daily Bible Reading: Matthew 15:21 – 39

Verse of the Day: Matthew 15:28 – “Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith: be it done unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was healed from that hour.”

Jesus continues to heal multitudes of people in our passages today. Of all the ones that could have been discussed, Matthew tells of a Gentile (non-Jewish) woman from Canaan and her daughter. After some back and forth discussion with Jesus, He heals her daughter.

Some think Jesus cruel for not just healing the girl, but rather debated with the mother. But, understand that the miracles that Jesus performed where also teaching moments. He sought to show that this Gentile woman had great faith in who He was. He was pointing to the fact that all of us need to have faith. Our salvation is based upon Grace that comes through Faith. How great is your faith today?

Prayer: Jesus, I come to You in faith today. Help the areas of unbelief that struggle in my being. Allow me to only believe. Each day I seek to trust You fully. Grant my request. Amen.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

O be careful little mouth

January 21

Daily Bible Reading: Matthew 15:1 – 20

Verse of the Day: Matthew 15:18 – “But the things which proceed out of the mouth come forth out of the heart; and they defile the man.”

A children’s song goes like this: 

“O be careful little mouth what you say, O be careful little mouth what you say. There's a Father up above, And He's looking down in love. So, be careful little mouth what you say.”

Jesus warns us that the words that we speak come from the depths of our heart. If our heart is clean – we will speak words of praise. If our hearts are defiled – our words will display this.

We need to see that the root issue is not our talk, but the depth and depravity of our hearts. Only One is capable of cleansing a heart. Only One is able to make what is defiled presentable again. Jesus. Come to Him today and ask Him to clean Your heart and full being.

Prayer: Jesus, clean me. Take the dirt and evil from within me and clean it into what will praise and honor You. May others see You through me and the words that I speak today. I trust You as able to do this. Amen.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016


January 20

Daily Bible Reading: Matthew 14:22 – 36

Verse of the Day: Matthew 14:27 – “But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid.”

It was a dark and stormy night. 

How many books have I read that start this way. Yet, as you read today’s passages, you mind will see the picture of a small fishing boat on the sea of Galilee engulfed by a vicious storm. Seasoned fishermen are frightened for their lives. Yet, they are exactly where Jesus told them to be.

But, what I have learned from this passage is that when I am in the midst of a “vicious storm” in my life if I will stop and look and listen I will find Jesus coming to me through the winds, rain, and storm. He will always show up right on time in just the right way. If you are facing a storm today, stop, look, and listen. He is there.

Prayer: Great Encourager, Jesus, I am looking for you in the midst of the storm. You promise to be there. You bring cheer and courage when most needed. Come, Lord Jesus. 

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Jesus is Enough!

January 19

Daily Bible Reading: Matthew 14:1 – 21

Verse of the Day: Matthew 14:20 – “And they all ate, and were filled: and they took up that which remained over of the broken pieces, twelve baskets full.”

In this particular miracle, we can lose sight of an important concept given here. What is that you say? It is the fact that Jesus is enough!

We find the disciples and Jesus teaching 5,000 men plus women and children (some say this may have been as many as 20,000 people). When it comes time to eat, where would they ever find supplies enough to feed this crowd? Jesus knew – the need could and would be filled by Him.

Notice, he provide food for all these people, they ate until they were full, and there was still a large supply left over. Jesus is enough. Got it? JESUS IS ENOUGH.

Prayer: Jesus, there are times when I am not sure that You can fill the needs that I have. My lack of faith is the reason that I often worry and lack to see You provide what I need. I need to trust You more. Amen.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Blind eyes

January 18

Daily Bible Reading: Matthew 13:33 – 58

Verse of the Day: Matthew 13:57 – 58 – “And they were offended in him. But Jesus said unto them, A prophet is not without honor, save in his own country, and in his own house. And he did not many mighty works there because of their unbelief.”

This is the second time that Jesus has gone into His hometown. Because of their familiarity with Him they refused to recognize Who He really is. They may have admitted that He was a Rabbi, but knowing His lack of training may have rejected Him as one. They definitely rejected Him as God.

And, in turn they took offense that He would present Himself in this way. Their unbelief blinded their eyes to who He is. Many take offense at Him today, and their eyes are blinded to who He is. They reject the One who could be their answer and hope.

Prayer: Father, open my eyes to see all that Jesus is. He is God, the very God who can offer the solution to every issue. The One who can direct and guide my life. I want to see Jesus. Amen.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Communication Tips

January 17

Daily Bible Reading: Matthew 13:1 – 32

Verse of the Day: Matthew 13:3 – “And he spake to them many things in parables, saying, Behold, the sower went forth to sow;”

I love to study Jesus and His methodologies of teaching. He is THE Master Teacher. He knew exactly how to communicate. We live in a word that communicates by digital format in many instances. Still there are many times that we communicate in a face-to-face interaction.

Jesus might give us the following advice in our communications – make it clear. Make it simple. Emphasize the essentials. Minimize the non-essentials. Don’t communicate to try to impress others. Be content to leave some things unsaid.

How does my communications stand up to this review? How does yours? Consider this, Jesus’ teachings and words still are communicating to millions, shouldn’t we learn from this.

Prayer: I come to You, the Word to learn from You how to communicate the message to others around me. Amen.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

The Unpardonable Sin

January 16

Daily Bible Reading: Matthew 12:22 – 50

Verse of the Day: Matthew 12:31 – 32 – “Therefore I say unto you, Every sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men; but the blasphemy against the Spirit shall not be forgiven. And whosoever shall speak a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him; but whosoever shall speak against the Holy Spirit, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, nor in that which is to come.”

The unpardonable sin. Some worry over if they had committed it. 

Jesus teaches that the stubborn refusal to heed the Holy Spirit’s convicting urgings and accept the forgiveness that Jesus offers is the unpardonable sin. In other words, if one dies without accepting the free gift that Christ offers through the Holy Spirit, there is no second chance.

While you are alive (and if you are reading this, you are), do not delay. Receive the free gift of Salvation today. You may not have another chance.

Prayer: Jesus, I accept Your gift now. Amen.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Lord of the Sabbath

January 15

Daily Bible Reading: Matthew 12:1 – 21

Verse of the Day: Matthew 12:8 – “ For the Son of man is lord of the sabbath.”

In today’s readings (vv. 18 – 21) Matthew quotes Isaiah 42:1 – 4. Jesus had just had some run-ins with the Pharisees – first in a field over the disciples plucking grain and eating it on the Sabbath, then in the Synagogue over His healing a man with a shriveled hand on the Sabbath.

The Pharisees and Sadducees had developed an intricate system of what was considered work and what was allowed on the Sabbath day. This placed a great burden upon the average Israelite of that day. Jesus here is teaching that He is the Lord of the Sabbath. He is the One who created the Sabbath – and it was created for people’s good.

When we place rules and regulations, when we put manmade laws, when we refuse to help and minister to others, we are not following the lead of our Lord. Be an imitator of Christ today.

Prayer: Jesus, I seek to imitate You in all.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Walk, work, weaken

January 14

Daily Bible Reading: Matthew 11

Verse of the Day: Matthew 11:28 – 30 – “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

Leadership often is associated with a tough, hard, bullish, rugged, demanding persona – Jesus is gentle. He is meek.

When we understand that meek is not weak, but strength under control, we can see that He is the kind of person we want to lead us. He is not legalistic in His demands. He invites us to “yoke” up with Him. Instead of increasing our stress and anxiety – He will make it lighter. He will walk, work, and weaken the things we are struggling with. Give them to God – and then let go. He’s got it.

Prayer: Gentle and Meek Savior, I come today under a load of care and concern. I release them into Your hands, I take Your yoke, and I will walk and work with You as You weaken the load. I praise You – Amen.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Submit, stand, speak

January 13

Daily Bible Reading: Matthew 10:24 - 42

Verse of the Day: Matthew 10:39 – “He that findeth his life shall lose it; and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.”

In our passages today, Jesus was reminding His disciples that persecutions were coming – and we know that they did. He reminded them to fear God and not man, He challenged them to confess Him before men. In doing this, He said that division would come.

Today, we often think that plurality and unity at any cost is the right way. Jesus said that submitting to Him, standing on His truth, and speaking the truth in love is the only acceptable way. Sometimes this will cause division.

We need to learn to look at the eternal and not the immediate. Will temporal division provide eternal reward? Will temporal unity cause the loss of eternal rewards? We must choose the eternal over the temporal.

Prayer: Eternal God of Creation, I seek to submit, stand, and speak in the basis of Your love. Give me courage to follow through. Amen.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Snakes or Doves?

January 12

Daily Bible Reading: Matthew 10:1 - 23

Verse of the Day: Matthew 10:16 – “Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.”

Suspicion or discernment? There is a fine line between these two aspects in our lives. God expects us to be discerning, alert, and perceptive as we move through the world. He does not want us to be suspicious of everyone we come in contact with.

Suspicion can be defined as having or showing a cautious distrust of someone or something. Discernment can be defined as the ability to see and understand people, things, or situations clearly and intelligently.

We need to use discernment. We will face hatred and possibly violence from others, but we are to be pure and innocent in our interactions.

Prayer: God of all wisdom, grant me the ability to discern who, when and where I should be at all times in my walk with You. Give me a heart of love for others around me. 

Monday, January 11, 2016

Workers needed.

January 11

Daily Bible Reading: Matthew 9:18 - 38

Verse of the Day: Matthew 9:37 – “Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest indeed is plenteous, but the laborers are few.”

Sad words. The question is whether that is still true today? Consider that for a moment. Pause and contemplate Jesus’ statement.

OK. What did you decide? Is there still a harvest that needs to be reaped? With over 7 billion souls alive on earth, I would say that there definitely is. So, are there enough workers to bring in this harvest?

I believe that that is the sad part of this statement. Many could be reached for God, but there is not enough people seeking to reach them. I must stop and seriously look into my heart and life. Am I doing all that I can? Am I a serious and fruitful worker for my Lord?

Prayer: Father, today as I ponder this truth, I am ashamed to say that I am not doing all that I could to reach others with the Good News of the Gospel. I have discovered the hope for the world, and I shamefully hoard it up. May I reach out today and be Your worker. 

Sunday, January 10, 2016

All in

January 10

Daily Bible Reading: Matthew 9:1 - 17

Verse of the Day: Matthew 9:9 – “And as Jesus passed by from thence, he saw a man, called Matthew, sitting at the place of toll: and he saith unto him, Follow me. And he arose, and followed him.”

Jesus never begged His disciples to follow Him. He simply presented the offer – and they accepted. He offers us the same. Will we follow Him?

When He called them to follow Him, it was understood that they would leave everything behind. It was an all or nothing proposition. It is still the same today. Are you all in with Jesus? Or, do you pick and choose when you will follow? The problem is, it doesn’t work that way. Follow or stay. Let Him change you or remain in your sin. You choose. Choose right.

Prayer: Jesus, today I choose You. I will surrender my thoughts, words, and life to You. Take it and change it for Your service and plans. I will seek to daily lay down my choices and pick up Your directions and Cross. I want to be all in. I want to see what You can do through me in this world. Use me. Amen.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

The greater miracle

January 9

Daily Bible Reading: Matthew 8

Verse of the Day: Matthew 8:1 – 2 – “And when he was come down from the mountain, great multitudes followed him. And behold, there came to him a leper and worshipped him, saying, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean.”

In chapters 8 – 10 we see the power of the King displayed in numerous miracles. We get a ringside seat to witness His miracles of healing, power over nature, and restoration of life. 

As in His day, many focused only upon the miracle that was performed and miss the teaching that He gave with them. Because of His power over sickness, nature and death, He had the authority to forgive sin and restore a person to the right relationship with God the Father.

As you read these chapters, don’t lose sight of the greater underlying miracle – the gift of eternal life.

Prayer: Jesus, I am so easily caught up in the glamour and wonder of the miracle to the loss of the greater miracle – I am God’s child. 

Friday, January 8, 2016

Ask seek knock

January 8

Daily Bible Reading: Matthew 7

Verse of the Day: Matthew 7:7 – 8 – “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: for every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.”

Ask, seek, knock. Receive, find, open. Sounds simple enough. If we ask , seek, knock, we find receive, find, open.

As we muse over this section today, and as we ponder the depth of what Jesus is saying in our verses, I believe we can see that prayer is not complex, complicated, or beyond us. It is actually very simple. Prayer is simply talking to God as we would with others around us.

With a personal relationship with Him, we come as children to a Father with our requests. We come and seek His will for the desires of our heart, and then as a child trusts that their Dad can meet those needs, God will meet our needs.

Prayer: Father, as Your child I bring my needs to You today. I trust Your answer. Amen.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

The Model Prayer

January 7

Daily Bible Reading: Matthew 6

Verse of the Day: Matthew 6:9 – “After this manner therefore pray ye. Our Father who art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.”

We refer to this as the Lord’s Prayer. Technically this should be called the Model Prayer. It is the model He gave His disciples on how to pray.

He builds it around 6 requests. The first three ask for the Kingdom of God to come (vv. 9,10) and the last three ask for God to meet our daily needs (vv.11 – 13).

The model starts with our acknowledgment of God as our Father, we must have a personal relationship with Him through Jesus Christ. Then, an imperative statement is used – “May Your Name be hallowed.”

Begin in praise, bring your requests, and end in praise. What a great pattern for our time of prayer each day. Today, mark out time to do this pattern in your prayer.

Prayer: Glorious Father, I praise You that You do meet my needs each day. I praise Your Holy Name. I acknowledge Your greatness.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

You have heard, but

January 6

Daily Bible Reading: Matthew 5:27 – 48

Verse of the Day: Matthew 5:43 – “Ye have heard that it was said, Thou shalt love thy neighbor, and hate thine enemy: but I say unto you, love your enemies, and pray for them that persecute you;”

You have heard, but I say – a series of statements that Jesus gives in the Sermon on the Mount. The One who wrote the Scriptures now makes some serious points about them.

“You have heard” refers to the various teachings of the Rabbis rather than Moses. Jewish is questioning the scholars, not the Old Testament text. He is getting to the heart of the Scriptures – the spirit of the Laws, while many previous Rabbis had worked on what they thought the letter of the Laws had taught.

The Law will help us to live right and provide and protect us, but, we find too quickly that we cannot live by it. We need Jesus to live it through us.

Prayer: Jesus, I submit my life to You. Control my life, live the perfect life through me, I can’t do it. My life is in You. Amen.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Happy and Fortunate

January 5

Daily Bible Reading: Matthew 5:1 – 26

Verse of the Day: Matthew 5:1 – 3 – “And seeing the multitudes, he went up into the mountain: and when he had sat down, his disciples came unto him: and he opened his mouth and taught them, saying, Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

Blessed – the word makários in the Greek means happy or fortunate. It used about 50 times in the New Testament to describe the kind of happiness that comes from having God’s favor.

In the Beatitudes, Jesus uses it nine times. I get the feeling that He is trying to teach us something. We can have true happiness by living in the favor of God, and He outlines different elements of life that will produce this.

Take some time today to review the Beatitudes (and the Sermon on the Mount) to re-discover how to have Divine Favor and inner happiness.

Prayer: Father, I desire to have this inner happiness that only comes from You. Amen. 

Monday, January 4, 2016


January 4

Daily Bible Reading: Matthew 4

Verse of the Day: Matthew 4:16 – “Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil.”

Right after His submission to the Father in baptism, Jesus was faced with the temptations of Satan. Great spiritual victories are often followed by testing. The word used here peirázō in the Greek means ‘to try or make proof of.” It carries the negative context of “to entice, solicit or provoke to sin.”

The Holy Spirit led Jesus into this temptation. Why? Many believe it was to show us that He was incapable of sin. Some believe it was to instruct us on how to defeat temptation in our lives. Jesus responded to each of the schemes of the tempter by quoting Scripture from Deuteronomy. We can have victory over the temptations in our lives today by memorizing and applying God’s Word when needed. Satan hates it when we stand upon the Word of God – so – make him mad and stand today.

Prayer: Jesus, guard my heart through Your Word today. Help me defeat Satan. Amen.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Glorify Christ

January 3

Daily Bible Reading: Matthew 3

Verse of the Day: Matthew 3:16 – 17 – “And Jesus when he was baptized, went up straightway from the water: and lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove, and coming upon him; and lo, a voice out of the heavens, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”

We find here the reference to all Persons of the Godhead. Jesus, the Son has submitted in voluntary humility to the Father, the Father has declared His endorsement and delight in His Son, and the Spirit desires to glorify Christ.

Today, as we go through our day, let us make it our desire and determination to give glory to Jesus in all that we think, say, and do. Let us seek to show those around us that we have been with God today, and He is pleased to work through us.

Prayer: Father, guard and guide my thoughts and mouth today. Allow me to show forth Jesus to any and all I can today. It is my heart’s cry to follow Him. I thank You for Your direction in my life today. Amen.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

The Virgin Birth

January 2

Daily Bible Reading: Matthew 2

Verse of the Day: Matthew 2:6 – “And thou Bethlehem, land of Judah, Art in no wise least among the princes of Judah: For out of thee shall come forth a governor, Who shall be shepherd of my people Israel.”

Matthew 1 and 2 cover the birth of Jesus and the events that happen over the next couple of years. Of the four Gospel accounts (or as they can be understood as redemptive biographies), only Matthew and Luke cover the Virgin Birth of Jesus. This is such a vital part of understanding who Jesus is.

The Old Testament says to believe something only upon the word of 2 or 3 witnesses. We see this attested to by Matthew, Mark, and later by Paul in Galatians. The purpose of each writer of the Gospels also plays into this – Matthew pictures Jesus as a King, Mark as a servant, Luke as a man, and John as God. Matthew and Luke tell us important information for a King and a man.

Prayer: Jesus, as I look at your life, may it move me to follow and surrender wholly to You each day. I fully surrender all. Amen.

Friday, January 1, 2016

God With Us - עִמָּנוּאֵל

January 1

Daily Bible Reading: Matthew 1

Verse of the Day: Matthew 1:23 – “Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, And they shall call his name Immanuel; which is, being interpreted, God with us.”

Immanuel. God with us. What a great and auspicious beginning for the New Year. To start this year with God in reading His Word – the reminder that God is with us in the person of Jesus Christ.

The prophet Isaiah predicted this in his writings. In the Old Testament we find this in Isaiah 7:14. This is a Greek transliteration of the Hebrew word – עִמָּנוּאֵל – that is why Matthew gives the interpretation to his readers.

What a wonderful thought, God is with us, every day, in every place, and in the days to come. No matter what happens in this year, we can rest assured that God (Jesus) is with us every step of the way.

Prayer: Immanuel, I am so excited to take this journey with You through Your Word this year. Bless my reading and application. Amen.

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