Worship God


Daily Bible Reading – Ezekiel 42-44; Revelation 22

Today’s Key Passage – Revelation 22:8-9

 

In 2011, my wife and I started watching a new television show called Buried Treasure.   In it, two brothers travel across the country helping people find unknown treasures and antiques that they have in their homes.  We enjoyed watching it because many of the people on the show have a legitimate need for the money they will get from selling their possessions.  Whether it is a family that needs to pay medical bills or a father wanting to provide for his adult children, people’s financial circumstances can be changed in an instant when something of value is found in their homes.  Unfortunately, there was a downside to this show.  We saw several occasions where treasures were found that could really help a family pay their bills, but the owners refused to sell because of an emotional attachment to the items.  In some cases, the attachment people had to their possessions seemed dangerously close to idolatry.

I thought about this show today as I read our key passage.  Near the end of his book of Revelation, the apostle John is reflecting on all of the things he has been shown by the angel of the Lord.  He had witnessed miraculous things firsthand, and must have felt overwhelmed when he fell down at the feet of the angel to worship him. (22:8)  Immediately, the angel corrected him and told him that he was simply a fellow servant and that John should only worship God. (22:9)

So often in this life, we can be tempted to worship something or someone other than God.  Sometimes it is a possession that we really like.  Other times it is a person that we place on a pedestal, such as a public figure, a pastor, or even a spouse.  While most of us are aware that worshiping money or possessions is a sin, we can sometimes forget this when it comes to people.  There is a fine line between respect or admiration and idolatry.  It is important that we keep in mind that every person on this earth, regardless of position, is simply a fellow servant of God (whether the person recognizes it or not).  I pray that today we will all ask ourselves what or whom we are worshiping, and I hope we will all resign to only worship God.

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.

Measuring Up


Daily Bible Reading – Ezekiel 40, 41; Psalm 128; Revelation 21

Today’s Key Passage – Exekiel 40:28-37; Revelation 21:15-17

 

In today’s Bible reading, we are bombarded with measurements.  First, we see extensive measurements for God’s blueprint for the new temple given to the prophet Ezekiel.  Then, we see the measurements for the New Jerusalem in the book of Revelation.  What struck me as I read these words was the shear perfection of it all.  In the blueprints for the new temple, the measurements for all of the gates, alcoves, walls, and porticos were exactly the same. (Ezekiel 40:28-37)  In the New Jerusalem, the measurements are all multiples of 12, corresponding to the twelve tribes in Israel and the twelve disciples of Christ. (Revelation 21:15-17)  In both cases, God is going to dwell in these places, and they will both be absolutely perfect.

As I was thinking about the perfection of God’s dwelling places today, I was reminded of how badly each of us measure up to His Holy standard.  We are all far from perfect.  Fortunately, we do not need to find perfection on our own.  When we put our faith and trust in Christ and accept Him as our Lord and Savior, God’s Holy Spirit comes and lives in our hearts.  When our perfect God comes to live in us, He makes His new home absolutely perfect.  He forgives us of all of our past, present, and future sins, and washes us clean of all unrighteousness.  In His eyes, we become as perfect as the measurements in our reading today.  Let us all praise Him today for the perfection He has given us, and for allowing us to measure up to His standards not by our own deeds, but through the perfect sacrifice of His Son.

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.

Satan’s Defeat


Daily Bible Reading – Ezekiel 38, 39; Psalm 145; Revelation 20

Today’s Key Passage – Revelation 20:1-10

 

In September 2011, some friends and I went to the theater to see the movie Rise of the Planet of the Apes.  We walked into the movie with great anticipation, but I must admit that all of us left a little disappointed.  We were hoping to watch a dramatic, drawn-out battle in the movie, but what we found instead was about an hour and forty minutes of building followed by about 15 minutes of actual battle, which left us unsatisfied.

Those looking for a long, drawn-out battle will not find it in Revelation 20 either.  Though the entire book of Revelation (and really the entire Bible) builds toward a battle between the forces of good and evil, the actual event is quite short.  In fact, Satan’s ultimate defeat – the event we have waited for since his first appearance in Genesis – is dealt with in a single sentence.  When I thought about this today, I concluded that I believe God did this on purpose.  I believe God wanted John to only spend one sentence on Satan’s final destruction as a way of demonstrating His power.  There is no doubt that Satan is powerful.  There is no doubt that he attacks us and that his attacks can be quite strong sometimes.  The wonderful truth, though, is that as powerful as Satan may be, he is no match for God.  Our Lord Jesus is so powerful, in fact, that He can dispense with Satan in a single blow, and can throw him into the lake of burning sulfur to be “tormented day and night for ever and ever”. (20:10)  While this battle will be short, it will not leave any one of us unsatisfied, because Satan’s defeat will mark the end of all evil and sin.  What a glorious day that will be indeed.

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.

Damaging Reputations


Daily Bible Reading – Ezekiel 36, 37; Psalm 110; Revelation 19

Today’s Key Passage – Ezekiel 36:16-32

 

When the news broke about Tiger Woods’ marital infidelity in late 2009, it rocked the golf world.  In the wake of the scandal, Mr. Woods lost many things, including his wife and several lucrative corporate endorsements.  Companies who had long looked to Mr. Woods as a spokesman began distancing themselves from him, because they were afraid that having their names associated with him would damage their reputations.

Large companies are not the only ones worried about their reputations.  In fact, as we read in today’s key passage, God is also jealous for His name.  In speaking through the prophet Ezekiel, God told the people of Israel that He wanted to protect his reputation.  He was angry with them because they “profaned” His name among the nations. (36:21)  When surrounding nations saw the sinfulness and exile of God’s people, it did more than just damage their own reputations – it also damaged God’s reputation among unbelievers.

Sadly, the same thing happens today when we, as followers of Christ, live in disobedience to Him.  When we act sinfully, we do more than just damage our own reputations among unbelievers – we also give them further reason to deny the faith.  Each of us is called to protect God’s reputation through our actions.  We are called not to “profane” His name, but to glorify it, and when we pattern our lives after Jesus Christ, we can do just that.

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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Blowing our Trumpets


Daily Bible Reading – Ezekiel 33-35; Revelation 18

Today’s Key Passage – Ezekiel 33:1-9

Imagine you saw a blind man standing in the middle of the street, while a bus approaches at 60 miles per hour.  What would you do?  Would you call out to him?  Would you warn him about the bus?  Would you do anything to try to save him, or would you simply stand there and watch the disaster unfold?

In today’s key passage, we find a variation of this theme in the story of the watchman.  A watchman’s job at that time in history was to blow the trumpet to warn others about impending disasters.  If the watchman failed to do his job, many people would die that could have been saved.  God made Ezekiel a watchman for the nation of Israel. (33:7)  Ezekiel was called to warn others of God’s impending judgment.  As long as Ezekiel “blew his trumpet” he would not be held accountable for whether or not others heeded his warning, but if he failed to warn others, their blood would be on his hands. (33:8-9)

So many people today are spiritually blind.  They are standing in the street right now, completely unaware that the bus of God’s judgment is speeding toward them.  Each of us has the power to warn them about this impending disaster, but the question is whether we are willing to “blow our trumpets”.  So many times, we wrongly believe that telling other people about God’s saving grace and the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ is optional.  The fact is, just as the watchman was accountable for blowing his trumpet, we are accountable for sharing the Good News.  Do not allow fear or trepidation to keep you from fulfilling your mission from God. Let us all agree to blow our trumpets. Let us all agree to try to save the blind.

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.

Acting Without Hesitation


Daily Bible Reading – Daniel 3, 4; Psalm 81; Revelation 17

Today’s Key Passage – Daniel 3

Yesterday, people throughout this country remembered the victims as well as the heroes who emerged from the tragic events of September 11, 2001.  As we look back at that fateful day, we think about the first responders – the men and women who risked life and limb to save others.  While these first responders all had different backgrounds and personalities, they all shared one very important trait – they all acted without hesitation.

In today’s key passage, we find the story of another group of men who acted without hesitation.  Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego faced a dilemma.  They were called in front of King Nebuchadnezzar because they refused to comply with his decree that everyone in Babylonia worship a golden idol. (Vss. 13-14)  Nebuchadnezzar gave the three men a choice – they could bow down to this manmade idol as directed by the king, or they could choose to maintain their loyalty to the Most High God and face execution by being thrown into a blazing furnace. (Vs. 15)  Without hesitation, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego chose obedience to God. They knew God could save them from the fiery furnace (which He did), but even if He chose not to save them they were determined not to worship anything other than the Lord. (Vss. 17-18)

We may wonder how they were able to answer without hesitation when their very lives were on the line, but the answer is quite simple.  Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego made up their minds beforehand that they would be obedient to God no matter what happened.  With this conviction already firmly implanted in their minds, they had nothing to think about when the life or death situation with Nebuchadnezzar arose.  Each of us face a different kind of life or death situation every day – the temptation to sin and to turn away from God.  In those times, our natural minds can try to rationalize our sin or convince us that our actions might not be that bad.  Like the men from our story today, when we make up our minds beforehand that we will obey God’s Word no matter what; we will not have anything left to think about.  When we decide on our obedience before temptation strikes, we will be able to act without hesitation.  Let us all make up our minds today to live in complete obedience to God, by pre-determining to do what He has called us to do.

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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Giving God the Glory


Daily Bible Reading – Daniel 1, 2; Revelation 16

Today’s Key Passage – Daniel 2:24-49

 

After the fall of Jerusalem, many of the wisest men were taken back to Babylon to serve the king.  Daniel was one of these men.  When King Nebuchadnezzar had a disturbing dream (Vs. 1), he called together some of his astrologers and asked them to tell him about his dream and interpret it (Vs. 5).  When none of these false prophets were able to do as the king asked (Vss. 10-11), Nebuchadnezzar ordered the execution of all the wise men in Babylon, including Daniel and his friends. (Vs. 12)  Fortunately, God spoke to Daniel and told him about Nebuchadnezzar’s dream (Vs. 19), so he went to the king to spare his life and the lives of his friends. (Vs. 24)  Before talking to Nebuchadnezzar about his dream, Daniel took time to give God credit by saying, “No wise man, enchanter, magician or diviner can explain to the king the mystery he has asked about, but there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries.” (Vss. 27-28)  This step proved to be vitally important, because after Daniel successfully interpreted Nebuchadnezzar’s dream, he honored God and said, “Surely your God is the God of gods and the Lord of kings and a revealer of mysteries”. (Vs. 47)

When other people offer us praise for what we have done, we can choose to take all the credit or we can give the glory to God.  When we selfishly take the credit for God’s work, we rob Him of the glory He rightly deserves, but when we give the glory to God, we gain a wonderful opportunity.  When we give God the glory, we are able to be His witness on this earth, and we are able to tell someone who might be far from God all about His awesome power and love.  The next time you find yourself in that position, choose to give the glory to the One who made you and who allows you to do every good thing you do.  Give the glory to God, and then use the opportunity to tell others the Good News.

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.

A Reason for Hope


Daily Bible Reading – Lamentations 3-5; Revelation 15

Today’s Key Passage – Lamentations 3:19-40

 

The prophet Jeremiah is often referred to as the “weeping prophet”, and in his book of Lamentations, he mourns over the captivity of his people and the destruction of Jerusalem.  He is filled with sorrow over the horrible things he has seen and experienced, and the agony of his circumstances fills the pages of this book.  In the midst of this, however, we find a ray of hope that almost sneaks up on us as we are reading this book.  Jeremiah says that even when he remembers his afflictions and his “soul is downcast”, he calls something to mind that gives him hope. (Vss. 19-21)  In his times of greatest sorrow, he clings to the fact that, “Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” (Vss. 22-23)

Most of us have probably heard these verses before, but since they are often quoted alone, it is easy for us to forget the true context in which they were written.  Jeremiah did not write these words in the midst of happiness and joy.  He wrote them at his lowest point.  It is easy for us to marvel at the faithfulness of God when everything is going well.  When we can still relish his faithfulness in the face of sorrow, we know we have truly put our trust in the Lord.  Whenever we find ourselves facing difficult circumstances, or when we are far from God because of our own sins, we can find hope in His character, which is marked by compassion (Vs. 22), faithfulness (Vs. 23), goodness (Vs. 25), and salvation (Vs. 26).  Then, when we find that hope, we can echo the words of Jeremiah and say, “The LORD is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.” (Vs. 24)

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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When the Enemy Falls


Daily Bible Reading – Lamentations 1, 2; Obadiah; Revelation 14

Today’s Key Passage – Obadiah 1:8-16

 

A few years ago, before I was saved, I had a troublesome client at work.  Most of our conversations involved him complaining about my company and berating me personally, which culminated in a meeting in which I was forced to endure him yelling and cursing at me at the top of his lungs for about an hour.  Despite all of this, he continued to do business with us up until the day he called to tell me that his company was going out of business, due in large part to his management.  While I am not proud to admit it now, at the time, I remember feeling a sense of joy and relief at his misfortune.  I was happy that I would not have to deal with him anymore, but more than that I was glad that he had fallen so far.  As I read today’s key passage today, I thought about him for the first time in years, and I was reminded of my sinfulness.

The prophet Obadiah was speaking out against the people of Edom.  He condemned the Edomites for gloating, saying, “You should not look down on your brother in the day of his misfortune, nor rejoice over the people of Judah in the day of their destruction, nor boast so much in the day of their trouble.” (Vs. 12)  When people are cruel to us, it is easy to give in to the temptation of feeling pleasure when they experience misfortune.  While it is easy to extend grace to a friend who is suffering, the true test of our character is how we react when our enemy falls.  Proverbs 24:17 reminds us, “Do not gloat when your enemy falls; when he stumbles, do not let your heart rejoice”.  Even if we think he or she deserves punishment, we must never be happy about someone else’s suffering, because God alone is the judge.

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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Seeking God’s Will


Daily Bible Reading – Jeremiah 42-44; Psalm 48; Revelation 13

Today’s Key Passage – Jeremiah 42:1-43:7

 

The Babylonians had conquered the kingdom of Judah and Jerusalem was destroyed.  Many of the inhabitants had been taken into exile, and very few remained in the land.  Those that remained came to Jeremiah and wanted him to ask God what He wanted them to do next. (Vss. 1-2)  They wanted to seek God’s will, and they promised to obey God and do whatever He told them to do. (Vs. 6)  Jeremiah prayed to God and sought His will as requested, and ten days later, he had God’s answer. (Vs. 7)  Jeremiah told the people that God wanted them to stay where they were. (Vs. 10)  God did not want the people to go to Egypt to try to escape the Babylonians, and promised to protect them only if they chose not to go. (Vss. 11-17)  Of course, God already knew that the people would not listen to Him.  He knew that they were a rebellious people who had already planned to go to Egypt and merely wanted God to go along with their plan. (Vss. 18-22)  As expected, the people disobeyed God and forgot their promise to do whatever He told them to do, and they went to Egypt despite God’s warnings. (Vss. 43:4-7)

As followers of Christ, we all want to know what God’s will is for our lives.  We pray to Him seeking His will, and we promise to obey Him and do whatever He tells us to do next.  However, seeking God’s will is not enough…we have to be willing to follow through.  How often does God tell us His will, but it seems too big for us?  How often do we convince ourselves that we must not have heard from God because His instructions seemed too difficult?  How often do we hear God’s words but rationalize that it must have been someone else’s voice because if we obeyed we might be uncomfortable?  My prayer for each of us today is that we gain the wisdom to discern God’s voice, and the courage to act on His will.  I pray that His will be done on earth, as it is in Heaven.

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.

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