November 26 “What do you crave?”

What do you crave? Is it the pure milk of the Word?

What do you crave? Is it the pure milk of the Word?

If you were to honestly answer that question, what would you say? Is it Christ and His Word or … something else?

Today’s Readings:
Ezekiel 43 & 44
Psalm 134.1-3
Proverbs 29.7
1 Peter 2.1-25

 

Ezekiel 43 & 44:

Our sin & His mercy

Chapter 4.1-5, Afterward he brought me to the gate, the gate that faces toward the east. 2 And behold, the glory of the God of Israel came from the way of the east. His voice was like the sound of many waters; and the earth shone with His glory. 3 It was like the appearance of the vision which I saw—like the vision which I saw when I came to destroy the city. The visions were like the vision which I saw by the River Chebar; and I fell on my face. 4 And the glory of the LORD came into the temple by way of the gate which faces toward the east. 5 The Spirit lifted me up and brought me into the inner court; and behold, the glory of the LORD filled the temple.

Matthew Henry had this to say about this chapter, “After Ezekiel had surveyed the temple of God, he had a vision of the glory of God and it caused him to fall on his face. When Christ crucified, and the things freely given to us by God, through Him, are shown to us by the Holy Ghost, they make us ashamed for our sins. This frame of mind prepares us for fuller discoveries of the mysteries of redeeming love …”

Genuine conversion causes us to see our sin for what it really is—an offense against a Holy God. Only then can we fully understand the love and grace and mercy of God. When we see ourselves in comparison to Him and His holiness and seek to please Him through His empowering grace, He will take us yet deeper into His truths. Continue reading

November 19 “Your pastor: authority or not?”

Pastor bibleHow do you view your pastor? Do you see him as someone to be obeyed or just respected? Could he be someone God uses to watch out for your soul?

Today’s Readings:
Ezekiel 29 & 30
Psalm 129.5-8
Proverbs 28.27
Hebrews 13.1-25

 

Ezekiel 29 & 30:

The pride of self-achievement

Chapter 29.3-5:

3 Speak, and say, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD.

“ Behold, I am against you,
O Pharaoh king of Egypt,
O great monster who lies in the midst of his rivers,
Who has said, ‘My River is my own;
I have made it for myself.’
4 But I will put hooks in your jaws,
And cause the fish of your rivers to stick to your scales;
I will bring you up out of the midst of your rivers,
And all the fish in your rivers will stick to your scales.
5 I will leave you in the wilderness,
You and all the fish of your rivers;
You shall fall on the open field;
You shall not be picked up or gathered.
I have given you as food
To the beasts of the field
And to the birds of the heavens.

Pharaoh Hophrah is called “O great monster who lies in the midst of his rivers”—probably meaning a crocodile. Pharaoh saw himself as some great monster crocodile who owned and ruled the Nile. Military and political success and power can lead one to believe he has achieved it all by his own cunning and strength.

Success in other areas of life can do the same to us. But when we fail to acknowledge the sovereignty of God we may find that God allows us to lose the thing of which we are so proud. Psalm 75.7 says, “But God is the Judge. He puts down one, and exalts another,” lest we think anything we have or accomplish is because of us apart from Him. Continue reading

November 2 “Living it & God’s amazing patience”

Photo courtesy of Kira Rosemond

Photo courtesy of Kira Rosemond

All of God’s Word is valuable for teaching us to live a God-honoring life, but today’s New Testament reading contains a great synopsis. And what about God’s patience? I wonder how many times we have gotten upset with God for allowing something when He had been patiently waiting and warning.

Today’s Readings:
Jeremiah 51 & 52
Psalm 119.129-136
Proverbs 28.7-8
Titus 2.1-15

 

Jeremiah 51 & 52:

God’s remarkable patience

God’s patience truly is remarkable. When we read a story compressed into a few verses or a chapter or two of Scripture it’s easy to lose sight of the time frame. Chapter 52 begins:

“Zedekiah was twenty-one years old when he became king, and he reigned eleven years in Jerusalem … He also did evil in the sight of the Lord” (vv. 1-2). Verses 4 & 5, “Now it came to pass in the ninth year of his reign … that Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon and all his army came against Jerusalem and encamped against it; and they built a siege wall against it all around. So the city was besieged until the eleventh year of King Zedekiah.” Continue reading

October 29 “Instead of asking ‘Why me?'”

why me conceptAre you asking the question, “Why me?” What should you be asking instead?

Today’s Readings:
Jeremiah 43 & 44
Psalm 119.97-104
Proverbs 28.3
2 Timothy 2.1-26

 

Jeremiah 43 & 44:

Sinning against ourselves

Chapter 44.7, “Now therefore, thus says the LORD, the God of hosts, the God of Israel. ‘Why do you commit this great evil against yourselves …’”

Sin is, first and foremost, against God. Second, it is sin against other people either directly or indirectly. And, ultimately, it is committing evil against ourselves, because sin has consequences! God will allow us to choose to sin, but, as I’ve said before, we do not get to choose the consequences!

 

Psalm 119.97-104:

Why me?

Verse 97, “Oh, how I love Your law! It is my meditation all the day.”

Often, when we choose to sin it is because we are dissatisfied with what God has allowed in our lives. Instead of meditating on God’s law, we meditate on the unfairness of it. “Why me?” is our constant question. Why isn’t God answering my prayer? Why is God allowing “so and so” to get away with something? Why does He seem to be blessing everyone but me? Why? Why? Why? Continue reading

August 9 “When life doesn’t make sense”

confused, questions

There will be times in all of our lives when life doesn’t make sense. It may be because of sickness or some tragedy. It may be the loss of a relationship or watching a child walk away from the Lord. It may be because of someone else’s sin or just our circumstances, but there are times when life is hard and confusing.

Today’s Readings:
Job 9 & 10
Psalm 93.1-5
Proverbs 22.22-23
Romans 9.16-33

Job 9 & 10:

When life doesn’t make sense

In these two chapters Job responds to his friend Bildad. He’s confused because he holds to the same basic belief as his friends—that all troubles come as a direct result of one’s own sin. So, while he knows he’s not sinless, he struggles to understand how he deserves the degree of suffering he’s enduring.

But he holds on to the truths he does understand. In verse 32 speaking of God, he says:

“He is not a man like me that I might answer him, that we might confront each other in court.”

His ways, hand, pointing

He understands that he and God are not equals, that God’s ways are higher than our ways, and His thoughts are far above our thoughts (Is. 55.8-9).

Understanding that truth helped Job and can help us accept things in our lives that we don’t understand. And there will be things this side of heaven which don’t seem fair, things for which God has a higher and a bigger purpose than we know. Continue reading

March 27 “A time to help, a time to get out of the way”

Should believers should always lend or give to anyone who asks?

giving

Today’s Readings:
Deuteronomy 15 & 16
Psalm 37.30-36
Proverbs 12.17-19
Luke 3.1-38

Deuteronomy 15 & 16:

Giving, lending, welfare & the church

Here we see a great picture of God’s attitude toward giving and caring for one another. God commanded the nation of Israel “open your hand wide to him and willingly lend him sufficient for his need (v. 15.8). Then every seven years there was to be a release of debts and a release of servants from their bondage.

One definition of biblical love is “a sacrificial action for the benefit of another and the glory of God.” That’s the kind of love we’re to have for one another—not a love based on feelings, but a love that is active and rooted in our love for God.

Does that mean that believers should always lend or give to anyone who asks?

Continue reading

February 26 “Confident settled trust”

Hebrews 11.6 says without faith it is impossible to please God. But when we’re walking in faith, that confident settled trust in Him, we can have inner peace and joy in the midst of difficulty.

Confident settled trust

Today’s Readings:
Leviticus 21 & 22
Psalm 27.10-14
Proverbs 10.13-16
Mark 5.21-43

Leviticus 21 & 22:

Standards for leaders

In chapter 21 we see the high standard that was set for the priests. God has always required more from those who would lead and teach His people (1 Tim. 3.1-13, Tit. 1.5-9).

Titus 1.5-9:

5 For this reason I left you in Crete, that you should set in order the things that are lacking, and appoint elders in every city as I commanded you— 6 if a man is blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of dissipation or insubordination. 7 For a bishop must be blameless, as a steward of God, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money, 8 but hospitable, a lover of what is good, sober-minded, just, holy, self-controlled, 9 holding fast the faithful word as he has been taught, that he may be able, by sound doctrine, both to exhort and convict those who contradict.

In 21.5 we see commands not to shave their heads or cut their beards or their flesh. These were pagan practices associated with grief. God does not forbid anyone to mourn. In fact, Solomon said, there is a “time to mourn” (Eccl. 3.4) and Paul said we should, “weep with those who weep” (Rom. 12.15). In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus said, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted” (Matt. 5.4). But we are not to mourn as those who are without hope (1 Thess. 4.13). We need to remember that those who die in Christ will be with the Lord and we will be reunited with them one day. Continue reading