Wednesday, November 13
Psalm 119:97-120 Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path. (v.105)
For the most part the “word” was what had been spoken to the prophets…maybe even as narrow as to the specific laws. I read this verse in a broader context. I think of the word as what is written in the entire Bible. I don’t read the Bible as often and as much as I should. But, when I do, I am always encouraged with the relevance and application that comes from the stories and information. Scripture becomes the lamp and light for my path. Study of the written word, along with prayer, helps me to discern the path.
As a reminder, reading, studying the word, and prayer need to be followed by a time to be quiet and to listen. Reading gives us the information and framework. Prayer relays or offers our specific questions and gives us the opportunity to communicate to God. The listening and quiet time gives Him the opportunity to communicate with us. Study, pray, then listen.
Nehemiah 7:7b—8:3, 5-18; Revelation 18:21-24; Matthew 15:29-39
Thursday, November 14
Matthew 16:1-12 Then they understood that he was telling them to guard against the yeast used in bread, but against the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees. (v.12)
I chose this verse as a follow-up to yesterday’s writing. How often I hear people say, “and God said” only to find that He did not say that, or it is nowhere to be found in Scripture. How do we know what is true and what is not? We are all surrounded with people thoughts, not biblical thoughts. We are engulfed by false teaching—man’s inclinations or interpretations.
How can we guard against false teaching? Read the Bible. Not only does it provide the guidance we need, but it clarifies the truth from the fiction. More reading has increased my steadfastness through knowledge and confidence about what to do and how to do it. If you are not feeling comfortable about your circumstances, start reading Scripture. You will be surprised (but shouldn’t be) that problems start to disappear or will become viewed with a different perspective. I repeat an old saying: “Pray last, get nowhere fast.” More often now I say, “Read little, understand little.”
1 Chronicles 10:1-14; Psalms 23, 27, 83; Revelation 19:1-10
Friday, November 15
Revelation 19:11-16 Coming out of his mouth is sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. “He will rule them with an iron scepter.” He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty. (v.15)
We live in a world of injustice. We question why bad things happen to good people. I don’t think of it as happening to good people or bad people. Bad things happen. We live in a fallen world. You and I are all sinners. I do admit that I want justice now. I want inequities resolved right away.
This verse reminds me that God does delivers justice, but, in His timeframe, not mine. I am not to be impatient. He is in control and, in due time, those who have delivered injustice will confront Him. He is gracious and He provides mercy—and when He comes again, He will deliver justice. In the meantime, go about your business serving Him and doing what He has commanded. God is merciful, but He is also just. Just in his timeframe, not ours.
1 Chronicles 11:1-25; Psalm 88; Matthew 16:13-20
Saturday, November 16
1 Chronicles 13:1-14 The Lord’s anger burned against Uzzah, and he struck him down because he had put his hand on the ark. So he died there before God. (v.10)
As with other writings this week, and with the concept of sin in the Garden of Eden, we are reminded about the consequences of disobedience. Uzzah was reminded about touching the ark—as Eve was reminded about not eating from the forbidden tree. While I am aware that our Lord is merciful and gracious, He is also just. Often, we lack awareness of God becoming angry. I, in particular, don’t like to think about the justice side of disobedience. Sin separates us from God, and we need to keep in mind that sin can also come with consequences. We want justice, but not for our own actions.
Fearing the Lord is not necessarily a bad place to be. Fear can be the awareness of God’s power and might. Fear can be the reminder to do the right thing. We know God demonstrates mercy and grace, but we need to be reminded that if we are truly walking with Him and for His purposes, we should not be engaging in disobedience.
Go and serve the Lord with gladness of heart and with pure intentions. He is merciful, but he is also just.
Psalms 87, 90; Revelation 20:1-6; Matthew 16:21-28
Sunday, November 17
Acts 28:14b-23 From morning till evening he expounded to them, testifying to the kingdom of God and trying to convince them about Jesus both from the Law of Moses and from the Prophets. And some were convinced by what he said, but others disbelieved. (vv.23b-24 ESV)
Have you ever tried to speak to someone about Jesus? It can be very challenging, especially if it is someone you are close with; I know it is for me. I would recommend you inquire of the Lord first, as David did in today’s reading (1 Chronicles 14:10). Then he trusted and obeyed (v.16a) and the Lord went before him in battle and the Philistines were defeated and the fame of David went out into all the lands. I suspect it was similar for Paul as he experienced the obstacles to God’s grace: the world, the flesh, and the devil. It took me a long time to learn that before you talk with someone about Jesus, talk to Jesus about that someone. Let the Holy Spirit go before you and do the battle; it’s his job not ours, anyway.
Our job is to pass on the Good News. Every week at our Tuesday Evening Healing Service, inevitably, someone has some good news to share regarding what Jesus is doing in their life or the life of someone they know. It’s very encouraging to everyone and we can all praise God as the psalmist did in today’s readings.
1 Chronicles 14:1-17; Psalms 66, 67; Luke 16:1-13
Monday, November 18
Revelation 20:7-15 This is the second death, the lake of fire. And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire. (vv.14b-15)
Could the second death be spiritual death, the antithesis of living forever? The first death we experience is physical death. The batting average is 1000. No one has beat it yet and no one ever will. Then, if your name is not in the Book of Life, you will be thrown into the lake of fire. It’s hard for me to grasp a lake of fire, but it is not where I would want to be. I’d rather be assured, and I am, my name is written in the book. Born twice; die once. Born once; die twice. Dying twice is physical and spiritual death. Dying once is only physical death; spiritually you live forever in the kingdom, praising the King. Jesus even said in John 3:3, “you must be born again…to enter the kingdom of God.” If you are not absolutely sure, ask someone for help. If no one else can or will help, I will. Your only obligation is to receive.
1 Chronicles 15:1-29; Psalm 89:1-18; Matthew 17:1-13
Tuesday, November 19
Matthew 17:14-21 He said to them, “Because of your little faith. For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.” (v.20)
Oh to have faith. What is faith anyway? Scripture tells us: “The fundamental fact of existence is that this trust in God, this faith, is the firm foundation under everything that makes life worth living. It’s our handle on what we can’t see” (Hebrews 1:1 The Message). So, to have faith is to trust in God, be sure of what you hope for, and certain of what you cannot see.
How do you trust someone you cannot see? That’s called faith. God has revealed Himself in His Word. If you want to increase your faith, read the Bible, try little things first, and let yourself grow. Ask the Holy Spirit for help. Associate with other believers. It’s the only book that will tell you someone died for you so you might live.
1 Chronicles16:7-36; Psalms 97, 99, 100; Revelation 21:1-8