A Cure for Depression


Daily Bible Reading – Judges 8; Psalm 42; 1 Corinthians 15

Today’s Key Passage – Psalm 42

Today’s key passage is Psalm 42, which is written by the sons of Korah.  As a refresher, Korah was a Levite who led a mutiny against Moses because he was jealous of Moses and wanted the power that came from the priesthood.  Because God was with Moses, He opened up the earth beneath Korah’s feet and he was buried alive.  (For the complete story, read Numbers 16).  The sons of Korah (his descendants) remained faithful to God and served in the temple, and eventually they were appointed by David to serve as leaders of the choir.  In Psalm 42, the psalmist was feeling depressed.  He was a long way from Jerusalem and was unable to worship at the temple.  He explains his feelings best by saying that his “tears have been my food day and night“.  (42:3)  Though he was feeling depressed and alone, he knew that his only hope to feel better was in God.  He says, “Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.” (42:11)

Depression affects millions of people in the world every day, and it is a very serious ailment.  It can be caused by a variety of things, including a person’s present circumstances.  Sometimes when people feel depressed, they turn to things they think will help but that actually only serve to harm them – things like drugs, alcohol, or sex.  Even if we are not clinically depressed, we all still face ailments and hard times that will make our present conditions seem bleak at best.  Like the psalmist, our hope in these times of depression is in God.  God alone can give us the strength to keep going.  God alone can help us move forward even when our current circumstances seem overwhelming.  God alone can bring us peace and joy.  We can find this help from God through prayer, and we can find it in His Word.  As I was preparing to write about this Psalm today, I thought about some of the passages in the Bible I can turn to during the darkest of hours.  I thought about the passages that I can read regardless of the situation that can help lift my spirit.  Of course, these can be found in many places in the Bible, and different people will find different things to be uplifting, but I decided to make a brief list of some places to turn when feeling depressed:

Psalm 23

Psalm 27

Psalm 56

Psalm 91

Psalm 121

Isaiah 41:10

John 3:16

Romans 8:38-39

Galatians 2:20

Hebrews 13:5-6

In our times of greatest sorrow and depression, we can choose to turn to things that might dull the pain briefly, or we can choose to turn to God.  We can seek Him in His Word and cry out for Him to save us from our ailments.  We can find solace in the countless illustrations He has provided for us in the Bible, and we can find joy in knowing that our present conditions will be a distant memory when we are in Paradise with Him.  When you are feeling down, turn to God.  Turn to His promises for you, and let His power and His grace bring you strength.

During your Bible reading today, what “key passages” stood out to you?  Leave a comment below to share what God is showing you about His Word today.

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Needing Assurances


Daily Bible Reading – Judges 6,7; Psalm 52; 1 Corinthians 14

Today’s Key Passage – Judges 6:11-40

In today’s key passage, we read the story of Gideon, a simple farmer who was called by God to free the Israelites from the oppression of Midian.  One day, while Gideon was threshing wheat, an angel of the Lord appeared to him and told him that he was going to save Israel from the Midianites.  Gideon, being a farmer from a relatively weak clan, had serious doubts that he would be able to save Israel, but the Lord insisted that he was the right person for the job.  Despite God’s confidence in him, he still needed assurances from God and asked for a sign.  Gideon asked God to wait for him while he secured an offering to set before the Lord.  When Gideon returned with the offering, the angel touched the tip of his staff to the meat and the unleavened bread, and fire immediately flared from the rock it was sitting on and consumed the offering.  Gideon asked God for a sign, and God delivered!

Now, you would think that after seeing this miracle, Gideon would be satisfied that he really was the right man for the job of saving Israel.  However, once again, Gideon needed more assurances from God, and he asked for another sign.   In fact, three times Gideon asked God for assurances, and all three times God answered him in a big way.  Gideon would eventually believe what God was telling him, and he would eventually go to battle against the Midianites.  He would ultimately win the battle without ever lifting a sword against the Midianites and he would free the Israelites (for a time), but not before God did something truly amazing.  See, God knew that Gideon was still afraid.  He knew that Gideon was worried about this battle.  He was worried about whether he would be good enough to win and whether his people would be good enough to win.  God, however, knew that He was good enough to win any battle, so He made a little point to Gideon.  Gideon was ready to attack with 32,000 men, but God told him that he had too many soldiers.  God reduced the number of soldiers Gideon had to take into battle from 32,000 to 300, yet the 300 were still more than enough to triumph over the Midianites.

Reading this story today, I thought a lot about all of the people who need assurances in our present age.  There are so many who question whether God exists and need assurances of His existence.  There are others who feel so lost in the world and need assurances of His presence.  Some feel like they have heard a calling from God to action, but need assurances that the calling is legitimate, while others, though they have been saved and have accepted Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior, still need assurances that they will really get to spend eternity with Him in Heaven.  From time to time, all of us, no matter what our circumstances, still need assurances.  Fortunately, God’s assurances are all around us.  We find His assurances in the beauty and scope of His creation.  We find His assurances in the countless illustrations we find in His Word.  We find His assurances in the small voice we hear while we commune with God through prayer.  God’s assurances are literally everywhere.  Like Gideon, though, we each must decide for ourselves what we will choose to do with these assurances.  Will we accept God’s promises for us and have the faith and trust we need to move forward in our walk with Him, or will we continue to ask for even more assurances from Him as we make excuses to stand still.  My prayer today is that each of you reading this, regardless what you are walking through in your life will find the assurances you need from Him.  His assurances are there waiting for you.  All you have to do is look for them and hold onto them as you step out in faith.

During your Bible reading today, what “key passages” stood out to you?  Leave a comment below to share what God is showing you about His Word today.

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Crying Out to God


Daily Bible Reading – Judges 4,5; Psalms 39,41; 1 Corinthians 13

Today’s Key Passage – Judges 4:1-16

Right before Joshua died around 1390 B.C., the Israelites promised him that they would never turn away from God.  It took less than fifteen years for the Israelites to break that promise.  At the time of our key passage today, the Israelites were living in Canaan, but they had turned away from God.  Because they had sinned against God and turned from Him, “the LORD sold them into the hands of Jabin, a king of Canaan, who reigned in Hazor.” (Judges 4:2)  The commander of Jabin’s army was a man named Sisera, who had a large army with 900 iron chariots.  (Iron chariots were the most feared weapons of the day.)  For twenty years, Sisera ruled over the Israelites with an iron fist and “cruelly oppressed” them.  Finally, after twenty years, the Israelites “cried to the Lord for help” (4:3)  At that time, Deborah was leading the Israelites and she coordinated an attack on Sisera.  The Lord was with Deborah, so the Israelites prevailed against Sisera and he was killed.  Sounds like a happy ending for the Israelites, right?  Well, as we will find out in later chapters, their story of despair is really just beginning, but that is a story for another day.  For today, I would like to focus on one aspect of this story – why did it take the Israelites twenty years to cry out to God?

Notice that in our key passage, when the Israelites “did evil in the eyes of the Lord” (4:1), he allowed Jabin to rule them, but as soon as they cried out to Him, He immediately rectified the situation and brought them peace.  Of course, the easiest remedy would have been to never turn from God in the first place, but knowing that they did you have to wonder what would have happened if they would have cried out to God sooner.  Would God have saved them immediately if they had cried out to Him after only one year of Sisera’s rule?  I have to believe that He would have, but sadly, the Israelites did not take their problems to God right away.  They tried to solve their problems without God’s help, and only cried out to Him when things got really bad.

It is easy for us to look back and wonder why it took so long for them to cry out to God, but the truth is that many times we can all fall into the same trap as the Israelites.  How often do we try to handle our own problems and wait until things get really bad before we cry out to God?  We waste so much time and energy trying to deal with things ourselves, when God really wants us to bring everything to Him first.  He does not want us to wait until things go sour to get Him involved; He wants to be involved in every aspect of our lives.  God wants to be consulted on everything we do, and He wants to be a part of our decision making process in all things.  In reality, we should be crying out to God every single day, not just when things are bad.  Every single day we should surrender ourselves to His will.  We should let Him lead us, as we simply follow His guidance.  When we cry out to Him in prayer when times are good and press into Him daily, we are less likely to create our own desperate situations.  Please do not misunderstand what I am saying – I am not suggesting that when we cry out to God He will immediately solve all of our earthly problems and fix all of our mistakes.  Crying out to God is not some magic wand we can wave to get our will.  However, when we cry out to God, we can be assured of one thing – He will bring us peace.  He will bring us the peace that comes in knowing that regardless what our present circumstances are here in this temporary home, our eternal circumstances in our permanent home are secure.  When we cling to Him daily, we will never lose perspective on what is truly important.  Our troubles here in this world are just a moment in time, but our eternal life with God lasts forever.  In today’s reading, we also read Psalm 39.  In it, we read in verse 5, “You have made my days a mere handbreadth; the span of my years is as nothing before you. Each man’s life is but a breath.”  Cry out to God today and focus on the eternal.  Focus on what really matters, and let God take care of the rest.

During your Bible reading today, what “key passages” stood out to you?  Leave a comment below to share what God is showing you about His Word today.

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Your Part in the Body of Christ


Daily Bible Reading – Judges 1-3; 1 Corinthians 12

Today’s Key Passage – 1 Corinthians 12:12-31

The worship team at our church is awesome.  There are people on that team who could easily be professional singers and would likely be very successful.  Sometimes when I am listening to them sing, I wish I had their ability.  I wish I was able to sing the way they do, but sadly, I would be lucky to string two notes together in tune because singing is simply a gift that God did not give to me.  Before I feel too bad about my lack of singing ability, though, I stop and think about Paul’s words in our key passage for today.

The church in Corinth had a few problems that Paul was trying to sort out in his letter.  One of these issues was how some people were thinking of and using spiritual gifts.  At the time, some people were in the church were contending that spiritual gifts were representative of how religious a person was in the eyes of God.  Basically, a person with a particular gift (for example, the gift of speaking in tongues) believed that he or she was more spiritual than a person who did not have this gift.  In effect, the believers in Corinth were ranking their own spirituality based on the gifts they had received from God.  Obviously, this is a misuse of gifts and not at all what God intended.  Spiritual gifts are gifts from God designed to help the church function more effectively, and should never be used to divide the church.  In our key passage today, Paul likens spiritual gifts to different parts of the body.  He states that the foot has its particular purpose and the hand has its particular purpose, but each part is essential to the overall health of the body.  No one part is greater than any other part, and no part of the body is greater than the whole body.  The church functions the same way.

For those of us who have been saved, we are all parts of the body of Christ.  When we received the Holy Spirit and He began to dwell inside of us, we were given certain gifts from God to help us during our walk with Christ.  Some people are given the gift of singing while others were not.  Some people are great preachers and some are not.  Some are given the gift of prophecy, and some are not.  God divides His gifts in His own way and by His own design, and no one with one particular gift can claim to be any greater than a person without that gift.  No matter which gifts you have been given from God, there are a couple of important things that we need to keep in mind.  First and foremost, you HAVE been given gifts, even if you have not yet figured out what those gifts are.  Each of us has individual talents and strengths that can be used to further God’s kingdom.  Our job is to figure out what those gifts are, and then use them to God’s glory.  Do not spend time wishing you had been given other gifts.  Instead, use the gifts you have been given to reach your full potential for Christ.  Just as the overall health of the body is dependent on the health of its individual parts, the overall health of the body of Christ is dependent on the health of each one of us.  Once you have determined your part in the body of Christ, make sure you are putting it to good use.  Finally, always remember that as the body of Christ, we all share in each other’s times of joy and times of sorrow.  Paul says, “If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.” (v. 26)  Whatever your part in the body of Christ might be, do not allow yourself to be jealous of those who are honored or to ignore those who suffer.  We are all part of the same Body.  We can choose to build each other up, or tear each other down.  Find out what your part is in the body of Christ, do your part as well as you can, and choose to build up other believers around you.  When each of us decides to use the gifts God has provided us for the glory of God and not for our own personal glory, the body of Christ grows stronger and stronger.

During your Bible reading today, what “key passages” stood out to you?  Leave a comment below to share what God is showing you about His Word today.

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Taking Communion for Granted


Daily Bible Reading – Joshua 23,24; Psalm 44; 1 Corinthians 11

Today’s Key Passage – 1 Corinthians 11:23-32

Have you ever noticed how easy it is to take certain things for granted?  When you turn on a faucet, you take for granted that water will come out.  When you press the power button on your computer, you take for granted that it will turn on.  The church in Corinth was taking something else for granted – Communion.  In the early church of the day, the Communion ritual was a bit more involved than it is today.  The church members would come together for a celebratory feast before taking communion.  Paul heard reports that some of the Corinthians were using this time to indulge in excessive food and drink, while others were not getting anything to eat at all.  They were still taking Communion, but their hearts were not in the right place.  They were more concerned with getting a good meal then they were with honoring Christ.

When I was a kid, the church that I attended with my parents took Communion all the time.  For a while, I even think we took Communion every week.  Now, keep in mind that at that point in my life, I was not saved.  I went to church every week because that is simply what my family did every Sunday, not because I had a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.  In fact, I did not even really know what that meant, but I always enjoyed taking Communion.  The bad news is that I enjoyed Communion for all the wrong reasons.  First of all, to take Communion we all went up to the altar, which I viewed as a nice break in the service and a chance to get up off the hard wooden pews in which we sat.  Secondly, I viewed Communion as a little snack in the middle of service, which I enjoyed.  Of course it did not help that the church used actual wine for Communion, so as a child of twelve or thirteen I felt like I was getting away with something by getting to drink a little bit of wine.  In all the times that I took Communion as a child, I cannot remember ever really stopping to think about what it meant.  The first time I took Communion after I was saved as an adult, I remember thinking back to those days as a child and feeling sick at how I had treated Communion.  Like the Corinthians, I was not respecting the body and blood of Christ.  I was not respecting the sacrifice Jesus made for me.

You may be reading this judging my actions as a child, which is fine with me because I realize now how much I deserved to be judged at the time.  The fact is, though, for many people today it can be pretty easy to take Communion for granted.  It can be easy to get used to taking Communion in your church and not really take the time to make sure you are going into the Lord’s Supper with the right frame of mind.  In today’s key passage, Paul says, “Whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. A man ought to examine himself before he eats of the bread and drinks of the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without recognizing the body of the Lord eats and drinks judgment on himself.”  The next time you take Communion, I challenge you to really think about today’s key passage.  Before Communion even begins, search yourself for any hidden sin you may have in your life and take it to the Lord in prayer and ask for forgiveness.  Before taking the bread, remember the words of Jesus when He said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.”  Christ gave His body for YOU, and taking the bread is a way to remember His sacrifice.  Before you drink from the cup, remember the words of Jesus when He said, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.”  Jesus shed His blood to create a way for YOU to come to God.  As the ultimate sacrifice, He perfectly fulfilled the Old Testament law and created a way for us to be saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ.  When we focus on the sacrifice of Christ, we can ensure we have the right heart when taking Communion, and we can avoid ever taking it for granted.

During your Bible reading today, what “key passages” stood out to you?  Leave a comment below to share what God is showing you about His Word today.

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Assuming the Worst


Daily Bible Reading – Joshua 21,22; Psalm 47; 1 Corinthians 10

Today’s Key Passage – Joshua 22:10-34

Is the glass half full or half empty?  Do you look for the best in people or the worst?  Do you imagine the best-case scenario, or the worst-case scenario?  Do you assume the best, or do you assume the worst?  In life, there are two types of people: optimists and pessimists.  When optimists look at a situation, they always assume the best.  When pessimists look at a situation, they always assume the worst.  In today’s key passage, we see two examples of assuming the worst.

Before entering the Promised Land, the Reubenites, the Gadites, and the half-tribe of Manasseh were all given land on the East side of the Jordan River.  Upon giving these two and a half tribes of Israel their land early, they had to promise to help the rest of Israel take over the promised land on the West side of the Jordan, which they did.  After all of the fighting was over on the West side of the Jordan, these two and a half tribes went back to their land on the East side.  On their way back, they decided to build for themselves an altar near the Jordan.  When the other tribes of Israel heard about this, they immediately assumed the worst.  They assumed that the Reubenites, the Gadites, and the half-tribe of Manasseh had decided to turn away from God, so they assembled an army to go to war against their brothers.  When they met up with the two and a half tribes, before going to war with them they asked them why they would turn from the Lord in this way.  At that point, Reuben, Gad, and the half-tribe of Manasseh explained their actions.  They explained that they did not build the altar to offer sacrifices.  They insisted that they instead built the altar as a monument of their solidarity with the tribes on the Western sided of the Jordan.  They were worried that in generations to come, future Israelites on the West side of the Jordan would not recognize the tribes on the East side of the Jordan as brothers.  They assumed the worst-case scenario for the future, and based on that they tried to take action now to prevent that worst case from happening.

Like the tribes of Israel, we can all choose to life our lives assuming the best or assuming the worst.  We can worry, fret, and imagine all of the worst possible things that could happen, or we can have faith, trust in God, and imagine the best possible things that could happen.  It is important to remember that when we assume the worst, we are living in the flesh.  When we assume the worst, we are questioning God’s goodness and we are questioning whether He will take care of us.  When we assume the best, on the other hand, we are living in the spirit.  We are putting all of our faith and trust in God to do what He has said he will do, and to be who He said He is.  We can spend our lives always assuming the worst and having a negative outlook, but what will that bring us other than worry, strife, and misery?  God is looking for us to step out in faith.  He is looking for us to trust Him.  He is looking for us to assume the best.

During your Bible reading today, what “key passages” stood out to you?  Leave a comment below to share what God is showing you about His Word today.

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Running the Race


Daily Bible Reading – Joshua 18-20; 1 Corinthians 9

Today’s Key Passage – 1 Corinthians 9:24-27

Imagine that God appeared to you tomorrow and told you that in one year He wants you to run a marathon.  Imagine also that God is not just asking you to just run in the marathon, but He actually wants you to win.  After you get over the shock and awe of being in the presence of God, what would you do about His challenge?  (Before you dismiss the question as being ridiculous, I will remind you that God once spoke to a man using the voice of a donkey, so while I admit my scenario is improbable it is certainly not impossible for the all-powerful Creator of the universe.)  The way I see it, given this scenario, you would have three choices.  You could either not even bother entering the marathon at all, do nothing for the next year and then enter the marathon with no training, or spend the next year preparing trying to do everything you can to win that race.  Today’s key passage is all about option number three.

In today’s key passage, Paul is speaking to church in Corinth and says, “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.” (1 Corinthians 9:24-27)  In this verse, Paul is not just talking about an actual race – he is talking about life.  If we approach marriage, church, work, school, friendship, or following Christ with a casual attitude, we are destined to fail.  We must approach these areas of life with an attitude toward winning.  We must approach these areas of life determined to put everything we have into them, and run.

The best way to try to win the race of life is through preparation.  We can prepare ourselves through prayer, reading Scripture, and getting to know God better.  Just like the marathoner preparing a year out, we must diligently train in these areas to prepare for the race of life.  We can never get lazy.  We can never get casual.  We have to work.  We need to develop our desire to win in all of the different areas of our lives, be it in our marriage or in our walk with Christ.  As Paul points out, we must be focused and not be “like a man running aimlessly”.  We must practice self-control and figuratively “beat our bodies and make them our slaves”.  We must never lose sight of the reason that we strive to win in all that we do – the prize.  When we keep our focus on the right thing – Jesus Christ – we can prepare ourselves to win in life, and we can prepare ourselves for our eternal reward.  When given the choice in all of the areas of your life, do not choose to sit on the sidelines and not participate.  Do not choose to casually try.  Choose to put everything you have into every relationship, and choose to “run in such a way as to get the prize”.

During your Bible reading today, what “key passages” stood out to you?  Leave a comment below to share what God is showing you about His Word today.

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May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you today.

Dangerous Knowledge


Daily Bible Reading – Joshua 15-17; 1 Corinthians 8

Today’s Key Passage – 1 Corinthians 8:1-3

I heard a piece of tongue-in-cheek marital advice the other day, and it went something like this: “When you are wrong, confess it to your spouse immediately.  When you are right, do not say a word.”  I thought about that advice today as I read Paul’s remarks to the church in Corinth.  In our key passage today, Paul says, “We know that we all possess knowledge. Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up. The man who thinks he knows something does not yet know as he ought to know. But the man who loves God is known by God.” (1 Corinthians 8:1-3)  Paul is giving the Corinthians similar advice to the humorous marital advice above – no one likes a no-it-all.  Do not get me wrong here; we all know that knowledge is a good thing.  The more we learn about a particular topic, the better off we are, at least up to a point.  What Paul is talking about is what I like to refer to as dangerous knowledge.

So, what makes knowledge dangerous?  In our key passage, Paul says that knowledge “puffs up”.  When you hear that term, what kind of a person do you picture?  I picture a proud man – a man who thinks he knows it all.  I picture a man who believes he is right almost 100% of the time, and is not afraid to tell you about it.  I picture a man who believes being right is more important than being compassionate and loving.  In the interest of honesty, I have to admit at this point that I have struggled with this issue (as the people closest to me can attest).  I have felt this compulsive need to be right for as long as I can remember, and there are still times when I am acting in the flesh when this comes out of me.  It is something that God continues to work on in me, and I know that eventually He will rid me of it completely.  See, the issue here is really an issue of pride, and this pride is what makes knowledge dangerous.  When you get to the point where being right is more important than compassion, you have entered dangerous territory.  When you resist any kind of correction, you have entered dangerous territory.  When you have intolerance for opposing views, you have entered dangerous territory.  Dangerous knowledge can be toxic, both to yourself and to the people around you.  If left unchecked, this dangerous knowledge can lead to a condition where you stop putting your faith in God to provide for your needs.  When you wrongly believe that YOU can control your own destiny, you have definitely entered into VERY dangerous territory.

With all of that being said, what is the answer?  How can we ensure that our knowledge does not turn into dangerous knowledge?  The first step comes in understanding the sovereignty of God.  When you realize that He is control of everything and that He is the only one who is always right, you can start to escape the snare of dangerous knowledge and pride.  The second step is putting our focus on the life and sacrifice of Jesus Christ.  Compared to Jesus, who among us can claim to be perfect?  Who among us can claim to be right?  Christ came to this earth and lived a perfect life, and then died on a cross because of our sinfulness.  When we begin to exalt Him instead of ourselves, we can begin to get out of the danger zone.  Finally, the last step is love.  When we realize that God loves us unconditionally regardless of what we do, we can in turn begin to love others in this same way.  When you love another person unconditionally, you will want to build them up with that love instead of “puffing up” yourself.  At that point, being right loses all importance.

The next time you feel the overwhelming need to be right; I hope you will remember today’s key passage.  I hope that, like me, you will stop and remind yourself of Paul’s words.  Aside from that, if all else fails – when you are right, do not say a word.

During your Bible reading today, what “key passages” stood out to you?  Leave a comment below to share what God is showing you about His Word today.

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May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you today.

Keeping Promises


Daily Bible Reading – Joshua 12-14; 1 Corinthians 7

Today’s Key Passage – Joshua 14:6-15

Have you ever noticed that in today’s world when someone keeps a promise it is a pretty big deal?  You read stories in newspapers, magazines, or on the Internet about a person keeping a promise, and it is written as if keeping the promise was an amazing thing.  In our society today, the fact is that most people do not expect others to keep their promises.  Politicians make promises to get elected that they do not intend to actually keep.  People promise they will show up for an event and then cancel at the last minute or fail to show up at all.  Couples make a promise in marriage and then quickly divorce at the first sign of trouble.  It seems that in our present age, most people do not take promises very seriously.  Because of this, most of us have learned through experience to guard our hearts to a certain degree.  There are times when we all almost expect someone else to fail us.  There are times when we expect others not to keep their promises.  The sad thing is that this distrust for humans sometimes spills over onto God.  Since we expect others not to keep their promises, it is easy for us to expect God not to keep His promises either.  The Bible, however, provides us with plenty of evidence that God keeps His promises, and today’s key passage is a great example.

When the Israelites were first led out of Egypt, Moses sent spies into the Promised Land to gauge the strength of the opposing forces.  Of the twelve spies that were sent, only two of them had a favorable report – Joshua and Caleb.  While all of the other spies believed that the forces were too strong to oppose, Joshua and Caleb believed that God would be with them and would help them conquer the land.  (To read more about this event in a related post entitled When Fear Overshadows FaithCLICK HERE)  Of course, we all know that at the time the Israelites chose not to listen to Joshua and Caleb and spent the next 40 years wandering around the desert.  Because of his faith in God, however, God made a promise to Caleb.  In Numbers 14:24, God said, “But because my servant Caleb has a different spirit and follows me wholeheartedly, I will bring him into the land he went to, and his descendants will inherit it.”  Now we fast-forward to a time 45 years later, after the Israelites conquered the promised land and were getting ready to divide the land amongst themselves.   In today’s key passage, we find out that the promise God made 45 years earlier was fulfilled.  In Joshua 14:13-14, we read, “Then Joshua blessed Caleb son of Jephunneh and gave him Hebron as his inheritance. So Hebron has belonged to Caleb son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite ever since, because he followed the LORD, the God of Israel, wholeheartedly.”  Obviously, God does not put a time limit on His promises.

God is completely faithful to us, and He keeps all of His promises.  Even if you have been hurt by others, God will never hurt you or forsake you.  Even if others have lied to you, God will never lie to you.  God made us many promises in the Bible, including the gift of salvation, and we can trust that His word is good.  One of those promises is in Ephesians 1:11-14 where we read, “In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, in order that we, who were the first to hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory. And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.”  Believe in God’s promises for you, and never doubt that He will be faithful to His word.

During your Bible reading today, what “key passages” stood out to you?  Leave a comment below to share what God is showing you about His Word today.

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May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you today.

Victory Takes Time


Daily Bible Reading – Joshua 9-11; 1 Corinthians 6

Today’s Key Passage – Joshua 11:16-23

Today we read Joshua chapters 9, 10, and 11.  For the last couple of weeks, it seems that all of our readings have been leading up to these three chapters.  In these chapters, Joshua outlines all the rest of the battles that the Israelites won to take over the Promised Land.  We knew this was coming.  Moses talked about it.  Joshua talked about it.  While we read Deuteronomy, we knew that the entire time the Israelites were perched right on the edge of the Promised Land.  Then we got into Joshua, and in the last couple of days, we have seen key victories in Jericho and Ai.  Now, in these three chapters, the pace really picks up.  In a single reading, we get to see the Israelites take over the rest of Canaan.  Our key passage today provides us with a nice summary of the battles, and throughout the reading we are constantly reminded of one important point – every victory that the Israelites experienced was because God was on their side.  In addition, there is another important point that is not really spelled out in the text.  While it seems like the battles were won quickly and that the Israelites conquered the entire land over the course of a couple of days, a little research reveals that this is not the case.  Even though it only takes a couple of pages for Joshua to tell us about all of the victories the Israelites were given in the Promised Land, these victories that seem to come so quickly actually took about seven years or so.  You see, sometimes victory takes time.

Do you ever feel like you are not progressing in Christ fast enough?  Do you ever wonder why you are not further along?  Do you ever wonder why you still struggle with certain things?  When we first give our lives to Christ, sometimes we think “the change” will happen for us instantaneously.  We wrongly believe that we will wake up the next day and we will never sin again.  We think that we will never have another evil thought or desire.  Then when we stumble – when we do have an evil thought or desire or when we do sin – we feel discouraged.  We wonder why we are not past all of this.  We want a complete victory over sin.  We want a complete victory over temptation.  We want to find ourselves living in the spirit 100% of the time and never slipping back into living in the flesh.  Basically, we want the quick fix.  We want the immediate victory.  We must realize, however, that victory is a process, and it takes time.  Never underestimate the changes God has made in you, and never discount those changes just because you are not perfect.  Sometimes we think of our walk with Christ as a journey with a finish line.  We believe that at some point, we will finally “get there” and we will no longer have to struggle with anything.  The fact is, though, there is no finish line – at least not here on earth.  While we are living here in our temporary home, we will constantly be evolving.  God will continually make changes in us and make us better.  Do not rush God and do not allow yourself to get discouraged.  Instead, praise God for the victories He has given you, pray expectantly for the victories He will hand you in the future, and always remember that complete victory takes time.

During your Bible reading today, what “key passages” stood out to you?  Leave a comment below to share what God is showing you about His Word today.

To become a fan of The Daily Bible Plan’s Facebook Page, CLICK HERE.

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If you like this post, please SHARE it with others to spread the Word of God.

May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you today.

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