Wednesday, November 30, 2016

The Way of Balaam

November 30

Daily Bible Reading: 2 Peter 2

Verse of the Day: 2 Peter 2:15 – “forsaking the right way, they went astray, having followed the way of Balaam the son of Beor, who loved the hire of wrong-doing;”

Balaam. An interesting prophet in the Old Testament. After being told over and over again that he would not be allowed to curse the people of Israel, Balaam seemed dead-set on disobeying God.

Peter warned against “the way of Balaam,” Jude against “the error of Balaam” and John against “the doctrine of Balaam” (II Peter 2:15; Jude 11; Revelation 2:14). God evidently considers these warnings necessary and appropriate for Christians even today. The way of Balaam” was a readiness to prostitute his high spiritual gifts and privileges for “The wages of unrighteousness” (II Peter 2:14), being willing to preach something contrary to God’s Word for personal gain.

Prayer: Father, my I by the power of Your Spirit never sell myself and the gift You have given me for the wages of man. May I be true to Your Word no matter the consequences. 

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

A Challenge for My Life

November 29

Daily Bible Reading: 2 Peter 1

Verse of the Day: 2 Peter 1:5 – 11 – “Yea, and for this very cause adding on your part all diligence, in your faith supply virtue; and in your virtue knowledge; and in your knowledge self-control; and in your self-control patience; and in your patience godliness; and in your godliness brotherly kindness; and in your brotherly kindness love. For if these things are yours and abound, they make you to be not idle nor unfruitful unto the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For he that lacketh these things is blind, seeing only what is near, having forgotten the cleansing from his old sins. Wherefore, brethren, give the more diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never stumble: for thus shall be richly supplied unto you the entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.”

Prayer: Today as I read only Your Word, Father, may it challenge me to apply the truth in this passage in my life today. May I accept this as a goal in my life. I want to be more like Christ in my daily walk and in my inner being. 

Monday, November 28, 2016

Pray for Your Spiritual Leader

November 28

Daily Bible Reading: 1 Peter 5

Verse of the Day: 1 Peter 5:1 – 4 – “he elders therefore among you I exhort, who am a fellow-elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, who am also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed: Tend the flock of God which is among you, exercising the oversight, not of constraint, but willingly, according to the will of God; nor yet for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; neither as lording it over the charge allotted to you, but making yourselves ensamples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd shall be manifested, ye shall receive the crown of glory that fadeth not away.”

Today, the verses speak to Pastors and Spiritual Leaders. We need to heed God’s challenge and warning. Also, we can be blessed in a great way.

If you are not a Pastor or Spiritual Leader, your task is to pray for your leaders. They hold a great responsibility before God, and to those are given much, much is required.

Prayer: Jesus, we pause today to pray for Your leaders in the church. Put a hedge of protection around them, and bless them today.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Judgment at the Door of the Church

November 27

Daily Bible Reading: 1 Peter 4

Verse of the Day: 1 Peter 4:17 – 18 – “For the time is come for judgment to begin at the house of God: and if it begin first at us, what shall be the end of them that obey not the gospel of God? And if the righteous is scarcely saved, where shall the ungodly and sinner appear?”

Too often we lay the blame for the way that things are happening in our country to those who are pagans. We seek God’s judgment upon those who don’t want anything to do with God.

The problem is, the problems in our land are not necessarily because of the pagans, after all, pagans can only do what pagans do. The problem lies at the door of the church. We as believers are not doing what the gospel deems we should be doing. And, if this is so, the above verse should cause us to repent and return to the way of the Cross.

Prayer: Most Gracious God, we admit our sin. We come before You in humble contrition and seek Your mercy and grace. Forgive us, restore us, raise up Your Standard in our land.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Eyes, Ears, or Face of God

November 26

Daily Bible Reading: 1 Peter 3

Verse of the Day: 1 Peter 3:12 – “For the eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous,
And his ears unto their supplication:
But the face of the Lord is upon them that do evil.”

Interesting thoughts expressed in today’s verse. Eyes, ears, and mouth are attributed to God as He observes the world around us – and us.

This says the “eyes” of God are upon the righteous. The term used here can be a metaphor for the eyes of the mind, the faculty of knowing someone. He knows who are righteous. His “ears” is a term that can denote the faculty of perceiving with the mind, the faculty of understanding and knowing. God knows our deepest thoughts and desires in our prayers. Finally, the “face” of the Lord is a term that is used in expressions which denote to regard the person in one's judgment and treatment of men. He stands in judgment of those who are evil.

Prayer: Father, I seek your eyes, ears, and not Your face upon me today and forever.

Friday, November 25, 2016

What a list of blessings

November 25

Daily Bible Reading: 1 Peter 2

Verse of the Day: 1 Peter 2:9 – 10 – “But ye are an elect race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, that ye may show forth the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvellous light: who in time past were no people, but now are the people of God: who had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.”

Peter here lists six descriptions of believers in Jesus Christ. (1) He calls us an elect race, the Greek word means chosen. We have been chosen by God. (2) We are described as a kingly priesthood. A priest was one who stood represented God to man. (3) We are a saintly multitude (a holy nation). (4) Preserved by God (literal of the Greek “for God’s own possession). (5) The great population that are for God (the people of God). And, (6) those who have experienced mercy. 

If that doesn’t brighten your day, I’m not sure what will.

Prayer: Father, thank You for what we are and have in You through Your Son Jesus. We have such a blessing and destiny because of Him.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

I am Holy

November 24

Daily Bible Reading: 1 Peter 1

Verse of the Day: 1 Peter 1:16 – “because it is written, Ye shall be holy; for I am holy.” 

The Greek word for holy, αγιοι, means a most holy thing, a saint. It appears well over 220 times in the New Testament. Paul frequently calls believers saints. Peter starts his letter off with this admonition.

When we see this word “because” we need to look back to see what it connects to. In this case, it is verses 13 – 15. Peter under the Spirit’s influence is challenging us to be obedient and live as God would have us live. And he tells us it is because God has told us to do this (Lev. 11:44f; 19:2; 20:7.) Since God is working to conform us into the likeness of His Son (Romans 8:29), He expects us to be obedient and to be what He is changing us into.

Prayer: Father, You are Holy. You are working on me and changing me. It is Your desire that I become like the image of Your Son. I will give myself over to You. I will submit to Your shaping and redefining me. I will give You full reign over my being. Make me like Jesus. Make me worthy of the title Saint. Amen.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Earnest Prayer

November 23

Daily Bible Reading: James 5

Verse of the Day: James 5:16 – 18 – “Confess therefore your sins one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The supplication of a righteous man availeth much in its working. Elijah was a man of like passions with us, and he prayed fervently that it might not rain; and it rained not on the earth for three years and six months. And he prayed again; and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit.

How often do we put the heroes of the faith upon pedestals and feel that they are closer to God because they are so much more righteous than we are. Moses, David, Elijah, Paul, they were all remarkable men, however, they were exactly that – men. This verse reminds us of the power of the prayers of Elijah, but it first establishes that he was just like we are. 

So, what made the difference? His earnest (fervent) approach to prayer. Do we earnestly bring our petitions to God?

Prayer: Father, today I bring to You my earnest prayer for­­­____________________. Amen.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Exalted by God

November 22

Daily Bible Reading: James 4

Verse of the Day: James 4:10 – “Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall exalt you.”

The Greek word translated as humble in this verse means to make oneself low before others. The voice of this word is that one is doing this to themselves. God, through James, is telling us that we need to make the decision and act on it to hold our view of ourselves as being subservient to those around us. 

When we do this, God will exalt us. The word in the Greek means to raise to the very summit of opulence and prosperity, to raise to dignity, honor, and happiness. I don’t know about you, but I would love to have this done to me. 

What we can learn form this is that if we try to make ourselves appear important, it won’t last. But, if we abase ourselves, God will honor us, and that will last for eternity.

Prayer. Spirit of the Father, come into my life, I give You full control over my body, soul, and spirit. I seek to humble myself in Your sight.

Monday, November 21, 2016

True Godly Wisdom

November 21

Daily Bible Reading: James 3

Verse of the Day: James 3:10 – “But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without variance, without hypocrisy.”

In this chapter, James presents some warnings about how we misuse our tongues. He challenges us to consider how that we praise God one moment and then curse or call down doom on those around us. We speak good of God, and speak badly of our fellow men.

He calls us to consider that nature does not display this type of behavior. What is good is good, and what is bad is bad. There is no room for a mixture. In our verse today, James convicts us that true wisdom has these eight values in it. If, and this is a strong line of understanding, the wisdom you are living by does not line with these eight attributes, then it is not from God. Perhaps we need to pause and consider what we are looking at to guide our lives.

Prayer: Open my eyes that I might see the truth around me, O Spirit of Truth. Amen.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Pick and Choose?

November 20

Daily Bible Reading: James 2

Verse of the Day: James 2:10 – “ For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is become guilty of all.”

The Pharisees of Jesus day were guilty of selective obedience. They would pick and choose which parts of the law they would obey. They were strict on keeping the Sabbath or tithing, yet ignore or excuse away other parts. Unfortunately today, we are often guilty of this same thing. We condemn sin in others and excuse away sin in our lives.

God does not allow for “selective obedience.” Sin is sin is sin. The whole law has to be accepted, and any violation of any part of it means we have broken it. The Law is not a list of individual items it is a complete whole. This is why we cannot work our way, or earn our way into heaven. Having this bent to sin, I am guilty of breaking the Law of God. That is why we need the sacrifice of Jesus to make us right with God.

Prayer: Jesus, thank You for dying for me. Thank You for providing the way for me to be reconnected with the Father. Thank You!

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Four D's

November 19

Daily Bible Reading: James 1

Verse of the Day: James 1:13 – 15 – “ Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God; for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempteth no man: but each man is tempted, when he is drawn away by his own lust, and enticed. Then the lust, when it hath conceived, beareth sin: and the sin, when it is fullgrown, bringeth forth death.”

Notice four downward “D’s” in this passage. This is the path that leads us to a dangerous development. First is Desire. This is found in the phrase “his own lust.” The temptations come into our lives because of our sinful nature. Following this understanding, the next step down is Deception. We are shown this in the word “enticed.” This word pictures being caught by a baited trap. What is the bait? Our lust. Lust is a strong desire for what is forbidden. The third D is Disobedience (conceived sin). Our desires lead us to deception and this bring us to disobey God, and it ends in death, or horrible consequences.

Prayer: Spirit, keep me aware and wary of my desires. Let me only desire what God wants.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Good Sacrifice

November 18

Daily Bible Reading: Hebrews 13

Verse of the Day: Hebrews 13:15 – “Through him then let us offer up a sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of lips which make confession to his name.”

The Old Testament animal sacrifices have been done away with by the once-for-all sacrifice of our Savior, Jesus Christ. Yet, as New Testament believers we are still challenged to bring sacrifices to God. This time the sacrifices are praise and our lives (Romans 12:1,2). God wants living sacrifices that proclaim praise and worship. 

The word sacrifice carries with it the meaning of giving up something highly valued for the sake of something else considered to have a greater value or claim. So, our sacrifice is giving up ourselves (which we highly value) to proclaim praise and worship of Jesus. Today, see how often you can give Him praise in your circumstances and activities.

Prayer: Jesus, I give all praise to You today. I seek to see You in all events in my life today. You are worthy of all my honor and admiration. Thank You for all You have done.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

The Mediator

November 17

Daily Bible Reading: Hebrews 12

Verse of the Day: Hebrews 12:24 – “and to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling that speaketh better than that of Abel.”

The Greek word used here for mediator is μεσιτη and means one who intervenes between two, either in order to make or restore peace and friendship, or form a compact, or for ratifying a covenant. The writer of this letter describes Moses as the mediator of the first (or Old) Covenant. He acted as a liaison between God and the Israelites.

In similar fashion, the writer pictures Jesus as our mediator, or liaison between God and man. He established this by His death. He then sent out the Disciples to spread the good news. Now we find that He is sitting at the right hand of God interceding for us daily (Heb. 7:25). What a better, more apt mediator we have in Jesus.

Prayer: Jesus, I thank You that today You stand at the right hand of the Father interceding on my behalf. You purchased this right through Your death and resurrection. I am Yours. Amen.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Some Rewards are Better Than Others

November 16

Daily Bible Reading: Hebrews 11:20 –40 

Verse of the Day: Hebrews 11:36 – 38 – “and others had trial of mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment: they were stoned, they were sawn asunder, they were tempted, they were slain with the sword: they went about in sheepskins, in goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, ill-treated (of whom the world was not worthy), wandering in deserts and mountains and caves, and the holes of the earth.”

In the first half of this chapter God lists those whose stories encourage and excite us. They were blessed physically as well as spiritually. In our passage today we see a shift in what those who had faith received. In this life, not always will we be rewarded, however, as this chapter ends it says – “And these all, having had witness borne to them through their faith, received not the promise, God having provided some better thing concerning us, that apart from us they should not be made perfect.”

Prayer: Father, may I be strong to receive Your reward, perfection in a much better world. 

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

God is Not Ashamed

November 15

Daily Bible Reading: Hebrews 11:1 –19 

Verse of the Day: Hebrews 11:16 – “But now they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed of them, to be called their God; for he hath prepared for them a city.”

As I was reading our passage for today, I came across an interesting statement. That is the last part of our reading today – “wherefore God is not ashamed of them, to be called their God.”

In this chapter of those who are in the Hall of the Faithful, because of their strong faith and belief in their God, God was proud of them. He was proud to be called their God.

I got to thinking, is God proud of me? Is He not ashamed to be called my God? Have I been faithful? Have I been obedient? Have I maintained my part of the relationship? Do I sometimes seem ashamed to admit God is my God?

Prayer: God, it is my desire to please You. I know I must have faith to please You – increase my faith. Draw me close to You. Amen.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Irratating Encouragement

November 14

Daily Bible Reading: Hebrews 10:24 –39 

Verse of the Day: Hebrews 10:24 – 25 – “and let us consider one another to provoke unto love and good works; not forsaking our own assembling together, as the custom of some is, but exhorting one another; and so much the more, as ye see the day drawing nigh.”

Interesting concept in this verse. Notice the word “provoke." παροξυσμον is the Greek word used here. Some translate it as to stimulate, encourage, etc. It is the same word that we get our English word paroxysm from. That word means any sudden, violent outburst; a fit of violent action or emotion. The Greek carries the idea of an irritation.

The writer of this passage was trying to show us how important it is for us to help one another – even if we are irritating or highly emotional. Our time together shaping and developing each other is of prime importance. So, even if we create an irritation in our encouragement – do it.

Prayer: Father, help us to see how important our relationship to You and each other is. Amen.

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