Wednesday, February 13
Psalm 119:97-120 Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. (v.105)
The Bible is a lamp that shines in the dark places and keeps us from stumbling. The lies of the ruler of this Dark Age cannot stand up to the light of Scripture. The world says, “Self-worth equals your performance plus other peoples’ opinions of you,” the word of God says, “You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:26). The world says, “Seeing is believing,” the word of God says, “We live by faith, not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7).
In my Bible, I went through Psalm 119 and highlighted the word “word,” then I went back to see what “the word” would do. The word of God will revive you (v.25), strengthen you (v.28), bring you hope (v.43), comfort you (v.50), and shows God’s mercy (v.58). Finish this list and see what the word can do in your life.
The Bible is the word of God. I am what it says I am; I can do what it says I can do; and I can have what it says I can have. It’s God’s word.
Isaiah 59:15b-21; 2 Timothy 1:15—2:13; Mark 10:1-16
Thursday, February 14
2 Timothy 2:14-26 Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth. (v.15)
My mother always told me, “Davey, fish is brain food.” I never liked fish. However, a steady diet of the word of God is health to the mind. If we are what we eat, then our soul is what it is fed, and it is fed through our minds. Your soul is your mind, your will, and your emotions.
A healthy soul is transformed by the renewing of the mind and then you are able to test and approve what God’s will is for you (Romans 12:2). The word of truth is the gospel of your salvation (Ephesians 1:13), and the word of truth needs to be kept in the mouth (Psalm 119:43), ready to be correctly handled by the worker who labors for Christ.
Isaiah 60:1-17; Psalms 83, 146, 147; Mark 10:17-31
Friday, February 15
2 Timothy 3:1-17 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness. (v.16)
So what part of “all” don’t you understand? That was the question I asked myself a few years ago. I heard people say, “You can’t take the Bible literally,” or “There are so many contradictions in Scripture,” or “The Bible has been copied over and over and over.”
I decided to agree with this Scripture passage from 2 Timothy and take the Bible as the word of God. I read the Bible as the “inerrant” word of God, that, in the original copies of each manuscript written by each Bible book’s respective author, there was nothing mistaken or tinged with error (Hayford’s Bible Handbook). Now when I find what seems like a contradiction in Scripture, I study to find out where I am wrong.
Isaiah 61:1-9; Psalm 88; Mark 10:32-45
Saturday, February 16
Mark 10:46-52 “Go,” said Jesus, “your faith has healed you.” Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus along the road. (v.52)
Bartimaeus, the name means “son of uncleanness,” was blind. Jesus was sent to heal blindness in Israel—both physical and spiritual. The healing of a man born blind was a messianic sign. “Son of David” is a messianic title, and Jesus acknowledged it by not silencing Bartimaeus.
To further stimulate Bartimaeus’ faith, Jesus asks, “What do you want me to do for you?” Bartimaeus releases his faith with the words, “Lord that I might receive my sight.” With the words of Jesus, “Go, your faith has healed you,” Bartimaeus immediately receives his sight and follows Jesus along the road.
If you want to know where to go in life—what to do next—the answer to a tough decision. Jesus asks, “What do you want me to do for you?” Dare to ask Jesus for your miracle, release your faith, speak your word to the Lord. Then go and follow him.
Isaiah 61:10—62:5; Psalms 87, 90; 2 Timothy 4:1-8
Sunday, February 17
Isaiah 62:6-12 They will be called “The Holy People” and “The People Redeemed by the Lord”. And Jerusalem will be known as “The Desirable Place” and “The City No Longer Forsaken.” (v.12 NLT)
As I’m writing this, we are in “March Madness” season. For those who don’t know, this is the month where the best teams in college basketball duke it out for the NCAA title. It’s a crazy, exciting time, but one thing everyone hopes for is an “underdog” team that beats the bigger schools. This so-called “Cinderella Team” is exhilarating to watch because they have been losing for so long that they are thrilled with their unexpected championship.
Isaiah foretold Christ’s birth, but he also didn’t sugar-coat the dark days that would proceed it. The Jewish people spent centuries on the losing side: conquered by Babylon, then Alexander, then Rome. But in the end, these “underdogs” would be “The People Redeemed by the Lord” and “No Longer Forsaken.” Out of all history, they would give birth to the Greatest Star Player of all Time—Jesus Christ. Now that is what I call a “Cinderella Team”!
Psalms 66, 67; 1 John 2:3-11; John 8:12-19
Monday, February 18
1 Timothy 1:1-17 This is a trustworthy saying, and everyone should accept it: “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners”—and I am the worst of them all. (v.15)
Recently, I was in the library enjoying the lovely silence…until someone’s cell phone started ringing. Instantly, I began to look around—as did the people near me. Clearly, everyone thought this was a rude and even illegal thing, since cellphones were banned in this section of the library. But it got worse, because the inconsiderate ingrate kept letting their phone ring.
Finally, I’d had enough and decided to move. I reached down to collect my purse—and found out that it was my phone that was ringing. The rude, inconsiderate ingrate was me!
Though I had no idea I was doing anything wrong, I was the one at fault. Paul was the same way—he didn’t even know he needed saving until Christ met him on the road to Damascus. Big or small, knowingly or unknowingly, we are all sinners who have been redeemed by the grace of our loving God. It’s good to remember that—even if it takes an illegally ringing cellphone to remind me!
Isaiah 63:1-6; Psalm 89:1-18; Mark 11:1-11
Tuesday, February 19
Mark 11:12-26 “I tell you, you can pray for anything, and if you believe that you’ve received it, it will be yours. But when you are praying, first forgive anyone you are holding a grudge against, so that your Father in heaven will forgive your sins, too.” (vv.24-25)
Several recent blogs feature people writing “letters to my younger self.” If I were to write a letter to myself at twenty-something, I’d urge her to read further in Mark than Mark 11:24. While it is important to pray and believe to receive, it’s just as important to forgive anyone you are holding a grudge against. They go together.
In my younger days, I elevated unforgiveness to an art form. I nurtured my grudges, thinking that it was weakness to forgive those who didn’t deserve it. It took time and grace to realize that clinging to this unforgiveness could actually block my prayers. Unforgiveness ended up hurting me far more than it hurt them.
If I could tell my younger self anything, it would be to take verse 25 to heart. Let go of grudges, however well-founded. Forgive lavishly and often. Allowing God to forgive their sins allows Him to forgive mine. Because, truthfully, I really don’t deserve forgiveness either.
Isaiah 63:7-14; Psalms 97, 99, 100; 1 Timothy 1:18—2:8