Wednesday, October 9
Psalm 119:145-176 See how I love your precepts; preserve my life, Lord, in accordance with your love.” (v.159)
Preserving ourselves…we have made it a billion-dollar industry in our attempt to prevent the inevitable. Who likes change anyway? I, myself, stroll down the health and beauty aisle in the grocery store. It does become a little comical to me as those “energy words” jump out at me. You name it. Any given “age-buster” product claims to plump, shrink, fade, tighten, cover, shield, strengthen, and prevent. I once saw an Internet ad offering to preserve your body by Cryonic Suspension for $60,000 or $40 a month for life. More surprising is the number of people who have actually signed up for this deal! When you do not know the Savior, there is great fear of change—and greater fear of death.
The truth is this: “Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are renewed day by day” (2 Corinthians 4:16). It is only through the word of God and His saving grace that we are being preserved and transformed into His likeness. God’s preservation is not for the moment but forever.
2 Kings 22:14—23:3; 1 Corinthians 11:23-34; Matthew 9:9-17
Thursday, October 10
Matthew 9:18-26 He said, “Go away. The girl is not dead but asleep.” But they laughed at him. (v.24)
Jesus does the impossible, bringing life out of death. Can you see the scene? Musicians and mourners were hired to play and lament in the mourning ceremony for this girl. Loads of money was spent. A lot of food was prepared. People traveled far to be there. A big crowd gathered. When Jesus proclaimed, “The girl is not dead but asleep,” there was only unbelief and mocking laughter.
Our enemy is a smooth operator—especially in a crowd. Have you ever been in a crowd and felt the temptation to be lured away from God’s will? I have. Have you ever been tempted to believe that God does not work incredible works today? The Devil cheers when he can neutralize our bold witness in a crowd. He enjoys slowly unraveling our faith with seeds of unbelief.
The crowd did laugh at Jesus. They did not know Jesus like we do. Even though our faith might waiver in a crowd Jesus, will not be swayed. No matter how the culture, our friends, or even the church may pressure us, we need to put our complete trust in Jesus and his ways.
Lord Jesus, we give our loyalty to you. Keep us from falling into the unbelief of this world.
2 Kings 23:4-25; Psalms 131, 132, 133; 1 Corinthians 12:1-11
Friday, October 11
Matthew 9:27-34 Then he touched their eyes and said, “According to your faith let it be done to you.” (v.29a)
The two blind men in this passage could not see Jesus or see his miracles, but they had been listening to Jesus and they followed him down the road. Jesus restored their sight because of their faith in him.
Years ago, I volunteered to be a part of a group that read to blind children. Because they could not see the pages of our book, we would enhance the stories using their other four senses. If we came to a part in the book that said, “Then Mrs. McGregor baked a delicious apple pie,” we would cut up apple slices and pass them around the room. The children sat amazingly still. Story hour was their favorite time of day. Sure, their eyes were off in different directions, but their other senses were attentive, and they hung on every word. I learned a great deal about listing and hearing during my time of volunteering.
Paul wrote, “Faith comes by hearing” (Romans 10:17). The blind men’s faith came by listening and hanging on Jesus’ every word. If we want to have faith, we must find the time to listen to Jesus. May it be that we, too, find it important to hang on his every word.
2 Kings 23:36—24:17; Psalms 140, 142; 2 Corinthians 12:12-26
Saturday, October 12
Matthew 9:35—10:4 Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” (v.37)
At times when I am at a football game or walking through a crowded place, I wonder what Jesus would think if he were there. Could he see into the hearts of people as he passed by? Sometimes my heart is heavy wondering how many souls around me could call Jesus their Savior. How many would know about Jesus or care? In this passage, I think Jesus’ heart was heavy. He makes an unusual plea to his disciples when he asks them to pray for workers. He asks for prayer because praying will open the way for God to plant, in the hearts of men and women, the desire to serve Him.
In the past I thought this call for workers was only a call to overseas missions. But now I see this plea differently. It is a plea for all of us to get to work. I believe the work is to keep our eyes open, see the harvest, and to find ways to gather in the hearts of those around us. Crowds now are a reminder to me. I say an earnest, yet quick, prayer: “God send people to touch the lives of those in the crowds and to help me do my part in the harvest for souls. There is much work to be done.”
Jeremiah 35:1-19; Psalms 137, 144; 1 Corinthians 12:27—13:3
Sunday, October 13
Psalm 146 The Lord opens the eyes of the blind. The Lord lifts up those who are weighed down. (v.8 NLT)
In the great 1986 comedy movie Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, a high schooler skips school for a day. His reason: “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”
Thirty plus years later, Ferris’ words ring truer than ever. Life does move fast—frighteningly so. If you don’t stop and look around, you miss so much of God’s creation. The writer of Psalm 146 asks the Lord to open blind eyes and lift burdens. In other words, help us not to speed through life blindly, but take time to enjoy the strange, beautiful, and sometimes wacky adventures the Lord sends our way.
While Our Father isn’t advocating skipping school (at least not often), He does want us to occasionally open our blind eyes, breathe deeply, and take a “Day Off” to enjoy His wonderful world—and maybe to dance on a parade float singing “Danke Schoen.”
Jeremiah 36:1-10; Psalm 147; Acts 14:8-18; Luke 7:36-50
Monday, October 14
Psalm 3 I cried out to the Lord, and he answered me from his holy mountain. (v.4)
This week I got into big trouble. With the best intentions (always a red flag), I created a mess entirely of my own making, which I was also entirely unable to fix. I won’t go into the embarrassing details but suffice to say I spent a lot of time crying out to the Lord for help. And He, through His unbelievable grace, rescued me.
When David wrote the song we call Psalm 3, he was also running from a mess entirely of his own making. His son Absalom had usurped the throne in response to David’s terrible handling of a family crime (see 2 Samuel 13 for details). King David knew that his family, his people, and the Lord had every right to kick him to the curb. Yet he cried out to God for help, and God answered him by restoring David to the throne.
Some people get angry when God doesn’t grant their requests, but I’m more astonished that He grants any of them. Neither David nor I deserved mercy, but Christ graciously extended it. Thank You, Lord!
Jeremiah 36:11-26; Psalms 1, 2; 1 Corinthians 13:1-13; Matthew 10:5-15
Tuesday, October 15
Jeremiah 36:27—37:2 So Jeremiah took another scroll and dictated again to his secretary, Baruch. He wrote everything that had been on the scroll King Jehoiakim burned in the fire. Only this time he added much more! (v.32)
There is a wonderful website called the “Wayback Machine.” This site, in a nod to the excellent Mr. Peabody cartoons, has archived websites since 2001. It “crawls” the Internet, takes screenshots of websites, and saves them for posterity. That’s it. But that is enough. Recently a newscaster deleted a series of derogatory blogs, and thought they were gone forever. But the “Wayback Machine” had saved a copy of the pages and she had to admit the truth of what she’d written.
God has his own version of the “Wayback Machine.” Despicable King Jeremiah thought he was scot-free when he burned Jeremiah’s prophecy, but God just re-dictated it and re-sent it to the king. He even added to it!
If you believe the Lord has forgotten your past wounds, fear not. He has a “Wayback Machine” far more powerful than anything man-made. He remembers you, and He will enact justice. Count on it!
Psalm 5, 6; 1 Corinthians 14:1-12; Matthew 10:16-23