Saturday, March 24, 2012

Fare Thee Well, For Now

For three years, we have been walking through the Bible together. We've been through the New Testament twice and the Old Testament once. This year, I decided to take on the whole Bible in one year. Eight weeks ago, my son was born. As a new dad, I have been trying to figure out my new responsibilities and what they will look like in my life. While I have had to sacrifice some things in my life, I have continued to make writing this blog and walking through the Bible with you a priority. However, this priority has to come after my personal time with God and taking care of my family. So, it is with pride as a new father and lament for the loss of this time together, I have to put this blog on hold for a while. I pray that you will continue to read the Bible every day. You can find the reading schedule we've been following at oneyearbibleonline.com.

As I said, I'm putting the blog on hold. This means I plan to return when my responsibilities give me time to walk with you each day once again.

God bless you in your journey. Keep your eyes on Him first.

 

 

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Who Do You Think You Are?

Numbers 30-31 Luke 4:1-30 Psalm 63 Proverbs 11:20-21

The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God…”

“The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” – Luke 4:3,18-19 TNIV

So very often we think that the thing right in front of us is the temptation. Therefore, we reason, if we steer clear of that thing, we won’t be tempted. Usually, life is not that simple. When the devil tempted Jesus, the true temptation was not to make bread for Himself. After all, He is the Son of God. Wouldn’t God give Jesus manna just as He did the people of Israel if Jesus asked? The true temptation was to question His identity.

The devil knew exactly who Jesus was. But if He could get Jesus to doubt His identity while here on earth and start living to prove His identity, He would no longer be living by God’s law to love God more than anything and to love others. Jesus does not fall into the trap of proving His identity, but goes to church (the synagogue) and reads a prophecy that tells everyone exactly who He is and what His mission is about.

The devil knows what Jesus has done for us and He realizes just how far God is willing to go to repair the relationship with each person alive. Not just a chosen church, but whoever is willing to come to Him and ask for the spiritual healing He offers freely. The devil wants us to doubt our identity as God’s rescued people so he can destroy our hope, and drag us down with him in the end. So when you’re tempted to doubt yourself in God’s eyes, remember Jesus and His mission. Remember the truth that God came to our rescue before we even knew we needed it.

Lord Jesus, thank You for taking our identities as slaves to sin and rebels against God and giving us new identities as children of God. Thank You for loving us so much You would give Your life for us. Help us to remember these truths when we are being tempted to doubt it. Amen.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Just a Little More

Numbers 28:16-29:40 Luke 2:23-38 Psalm 62 Proverbs 11:18-19

Truly my soul finds rest in God;
my salvation comes from him.
Truly he is my rock and my salvation;
he is my fortress, I will never be shaken. - Psalm 62:1-2 TNIV

What would you do with just a little bit more money? Often just a little bit more feels like a ray of sunlight promising a better future is just ahead. I could afford that vacation this summer I've been thinking won't happen. I could pay down the mortgage on the house faster. I could breathe easier knowing that I will have a better future because of a little more today. But David tells us God is the best resource for our future. While all this stuff on earth feels important for our survival, it can disappear in the blink of an eye. This is not to say that we Christians should not plan ahead and do the best we can with our finances. It means that when we've lost everything in this world, we have God and the inheritance He's promised in the next.

Father God, thank You for all the things we have that make our life on earth more comfortable and stable. Teach us to be good managers of what You've given us. Still, we want to trust You completely with our futures. Amen.

 

Sunday, March 18, 2012

A Change of Heart

Numbers 26:52-28:15 Luke 2:1-35 Psalm 61 Proverbs 11:16-17

I long to dwell in your tent forever
and take refuge in the shelter of your wings.
For you, God, have heard my vows;
you have given me the heritage of those who fear your name. - Psalm 61:4-5 TNIV

People of all occupations and classes came to hear John the Baptizer preach. There was something about his message that stang and captivated them at the same time. The common question among these people? What should we do? John gave them specific answers based on common behavior that was contrary to God's heart in their occupations. These answers come easily to the person who genuinely wants to be in God's presence forever. Think about it: How has God's love changed your behavior? Would this change be the same if it wasn't motivated by God's love? Love for God in our hearts leads to a change in our behavior, whether we meant to change or not.

Father God, we want Your love to change our hearts today. Take the desires to love ourselves and change them to desires to love You and the people around us. We want to be people who desire to be in Your presence forever. Amen.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

To Thine Own Self...

Numbers 26:1-51 Luke 2:36-52 Psalm 60 Proverbs 11:15

“Why were you searching for me?” he asked. “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?” - Luke 2:49 TNIV

It is clear Jesus is certain of His identity from an early age. Even at twelve He considered Himself the Son of God. What has happened during these first eleven years to help Him find this identity? Was He turning His water into Kool-Aid? Feeding the neighborhood kids with His sack lunch? Or did it come by faith and a real relationship?

Relationships, like many other things are built with a foundation or structure t hat isn't visible in everyday life. But when put to the test, their real substance shows up. These foundations and structures don't just happen by chance. They require time, planning and effort. Like Jesus, the only way we will find our true identity is through a real relationship with God the Father.

Father God, we want to have a relationship that makes for a solid foundation in living this life and knowing our true identity. We have taken time today to build some of this relationship. Now we ask that You continue to meet with us, to help us build this foundation and to teach us more about ourselves. Amen.

Friday, March 16, 2012

A Light in a Dark Place

Numbers 24-25 Luke 2:1-35 Psalm 59 Proverbs 11:14

This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. – Luke 2:34-35 TNIV

It was the middle of the night when I found myself needing to retrieve something from the other side of the house. Not wanting to wake myself or others any more than I had to, I decided to make the trip without turning on lights. Willing my eyes to see to no effect, I waved my hands back and forth in front of my like a blind man’s cane. As always, my shin seems to find that chair that my hand discovers an instant after my shin. Really, this would be easier and much more practical if I simply turned on a light and got the job done.

Sometimes our hearts are like this room. It is full of stuff that isn’t easily seen. Many times, we want to keep it that way. You know, those things we don’t want anyone to find out about. Our true thoughts and motivations, our selfishness and greed. Jesus came to turn on the light in the hearts and minds of the people of Israel, and every heart and mind since. The light reveals our heart condition. For some, this will help us find our way to the other side, to live with God forever. For others, this will lead to running away to find darkness so the true heart condition might not be revealed. To have one’s heart revealed is never comfortable, but it is the cure for what ails us.

Lord Jesus, shine Your light on our hearts today. Reveal our true thoughts and motivations. We know some of these are not pretty, and we’ve been trying to hide them for years. Now we want our hearts to be cleaned up. Shine Your light, clean our hearts, and take us home with You forever. Amen.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

God's Messenger

Numbers 22:21-22:30 Luke 1:57-80 Psalm 58 Proverbs11:12-13

And you, my child, will be called a prophet of the Most High;
for you will go on before the Lord to prepare the way for him,
to give his people the knowledge of salvation
through the forgiveness of their sins,
because of the tender mercy of our God. - Luke 1:76-78 TNIV

From the beginning, John the Baptizer's mission was to tell people about God's rescue plan and to introduce them to Jesus. His life work was to bring hope and new life to people who thought they had lost it--or never had it. Today we are given this same mission. We may not have visions or special revelations from God, but we do have the plan to save us God put in the Bible for us. We can share this good news with those who feel they are lost without hope, and introduce them to Jesus, the one who came to rescue them.

Lord Jesus, accept us as Your spokespeople on Earth. Use us to spread the good news of Your rescue plan. Let it spread like a viral video, touching the hearts of those who want to find You, but feel they have already been rejected. Amen.