Monthly Archives: May 2013

Getting Even


Daily Bible Reading – Proverbs 16-18; Romans 12

Today’s Key Passage – Romans 12:17-21

 

We have all heard the saying, “Don’t get mad, get even”.  I am not sure who came up with this catchy little slogan or where it began, but I know I have seen it and heard it all of my life.  I have seen it on bumper stickers and t-shirts.  I have heard it in movies and television shows.  I have even seen books written entirely for the purpose of educating readers on the best ways to get even with others.  It seems our world really likes this saying, and our world really likes the concept of getting even.  Revenge is a recurring theme in many areas of our society, and followers of Christ are not immune from its draw.  No matter how hard we try to live a Godly life, most of us will be faced with the temptation from time to time to get even with another person.  Our key passage today focuses on how we should react in those situations.

In Paul’s letter to the Romans, he gives them advice for how to react when the temptation for revenge arises.  He begins by telling the Romans not to repay evil for evil. (Vs. 17)  In addition, he tells them that if possible they should try to live at peace with everyone. (Vs. 18)  He reminds the Romans that vengeance should be left to God and God alone. (Vs. 19)  Finally, he quotes Proverbs 25:21-22 which says, “If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat; if he is thirsty, give him water to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head, and the LORD will reward you.”

When someone wrongs us, our first reaction may be to get even.  When we feel this temptation, we must immediately acknowledge that we are living in the flesh and not in the Spirit.  To overcome our temptation to get even, we must remind ourselves of three things.  First, we must remind ourselves of our true calling.  We are called not to seek revenge, but to love and forgive other people, including the people who have wronged us the most.  Secondly, we must remind ourselves that God forgave us of our sins even though we did not deserve to be forgiven.  Finally, we must remind ourselves that the person we want to get even with is a human being created by the same God that created us.  The simple truth is that God loves your enemy as much as He loves you.  When we remind ourselves of these three things, we can resist the urge to seek revenge.  At that point, we can forget the world’s standard of “don’t get mad, get even” and replace it instead with love.

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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In the Heat of the Moment


Daily Bible Reading – Proverbs 13-15; Romans 11

Today’s Key Passage – Proverbs 15:1-4

 

In the heat of the moment.  Most of us know these six words fairly well.  Unless you live in a bubble without any relationships or opportunities to communicate with others, you probably have an “in the heat of the moment” experience in your past.  The fact is that all of us have relationships of one form or another and all of us communicate with other people on a daily basis.  With all of this communication going on, the chances are good that at some point, you will find yourself disagreeing with another person, and the chances are also good that you will find yourself in a full-blown argument.  Relationships can be made or broken in the heat of the moment, because what we say or do at the most intense moment of a disagreement will often define the outcome.  Friendships have been lost in the heat of the moment.  Marriages have ended in the heat of the moment.  Children have been forever scarred in the heat of the moment.  Since the heat of the moment is so important to our overall relational health, it is important that we take proactive steps to keep from saying the wrong things in those moments.  In today’s key passage, Solomon provides us with practical advice to avoid saying the wrong thing in the heat of the moment.

Speak Gently – “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” (Vs. 1) – The quickest way to find yourself in the heat of the moment is to raise your voice.  Raising your voice or speaking angry words only serve to escalate an already bad situation.  The next time you find yourself in a disagreement or argument, choose to speak gently and softly.  Do not raise your voice under any circumstances.  This advice alone will help calm most arguments.

Speak Thoughtfully – “The tongue of the wise commends knowledge, but the mouth of the fool gushes folly.” (Vs. 2) – Avoid the temptation to speak without really thinking.  Most of the time, we end up saying the wrong things in the heat of the moment because we are not stopping to think before we speak.  When you raise your voice, your speed of speech increases adding to the possibility that you will say something without thinking.  As you speak gently and softly, you will find that you have more time to think about the words you are going to use.

Speak Healthfully and Truthfully – “The tongue that brings healing is a tree of life, but a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit.” (Vs. 4) – When we speak to others in a loving, compassionate way, it is less likely we will find ourselves in the heat of the moment.  We can choose to build others up with our words or we can choose to break them down.  We can choose to speak the truth or we can choose to lie.  Speak truthfully in love to find our way through difficult conversations.

Perhaps the most important advice to avoid an “in the heat of the moment” experience is to remember your audience.  We should always keep in mind that, “The eyes of the LORD are everywhere, keeping watch on the wicked and the good.” (Vs. 3)  When we remember that God is watching, we will be less likely to escalate a situation in the heat of the moment.

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.

 

Greatest Fear vs. Greatest Desire


Daily Bible Reading – Proverbs 10-12; Romans 10

Today’s Key Passage – Proverbs 10:24

 

Many people likely remember the television show Fear Factor from a few years ago.  In the show, contestants competed with one another by facing fears in order to win a prize.  Over the course of the series, many different fears were tested.  People who were afraid of snakes were forced to be surrounded by them.  People who were afraid of heights were forced to walk a tightrope between two buildings.  People who were afraid of bugs were forced to eat them.  If you have never seen the show, it may sound dreadful.  The show was fairly popular for years, however, because almost everyone has a fear of something.  Today’s key passage has something to say about fears.  In it, we read, “What the wicked dreads will overtake him; what the righteous desire will be granted.” (Vs. 24)  On the surface, this verse seems pretty straightforward, but as I thought more about it, I realized that there is one thing in this world that can fit both sides of this Proverb.  There is one thing that the wicked dread and the righteous desire.  There is one thing that can be both the greatest fear of one person and the greatest desire of another.  What is this one thing?  Death.

The wicked fear death.  People who do not know God fear death.  People who do not have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ fear death.  For these people, death represents the ultimate end of their lives.  To an unbeliever, death is something to be feared because there is nothing to look forward to after it.  Sadly for the unbeliever, the first part of this Proverb is undeniably true because even though they dread death, it will ultimately overtake them.  There is no getting out of it.  Every wicked person on this earth is going to die at some point.  Every wicked person on this earth will have his or her greatest fear realized.

On the other hand, followers of Christ know that they do not need to fear death.  In fact, while the process of death itself is not the greatest desire of a follower of Christ, we do understand that death is the pathway to our ultimate desire, which is eternal life with Christ.  Fortunately for us, we know that we have been saved from death and we know that when we die we will be resurrected and will spend eternity in His presence.  For the follower of Christ, our greatest desire will always be realized.  We will always receive salvation.

If you were to be offered the choice of either realizing your greatest fear or your greatest desire, only a fool would choose to realize their greatest fear.  The fact is, God offers each of us that exact choice.  He offers each of us the choice of receiving His free gift of salvation through His Son Jesus Christ, or rejecting it.  He offers each of us the choice of having either our greatest fear or our greatest desire realized.  If you have already made the choice to accept God’s mercy and grace, you can look forward to receiving your greatest desire.  If you have not yet made this choice, there is still time.  You can make the decision today to accept His free gift.  You can make the decision today to have your greatest desire realized.

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.

Rebuking a Mocker


Daily Bible Reading – Proverbs 7-9; Romans 9

Today’s Key Passage – Proverbs 9:7-12

 

The Christian walk includes many things.  As we live our lives for Christ, we will put Him first, build relationships, love our neighbors, honor our spouses, and reach out to the lost.  Sometimes the Christian walk also includes correcting other Christians when they are mired in sinful behavior.  In Matthew 18:15-20 Jesus provided instruction for us in the event that a fellow believer is sinning.  Today’s key passage, however, discusses a related yet altogether different topic – rebuking a mocker.  While rebuking another follower of Christ may sometimes be necessary during our walk, rebuking a person so wrapped up in their own wickedness that they cannot see the truth is ill advised and dangerous.  In our passage we read, “Whoever corrects a mocker invites insult; whoever rebukes a wicked man incurs abuse. Do not rebuke a mocker or he will hate you; rebuke a wise man and he will love you.” (Vss. 7-8)  I believe we can learn two important lessons from today’s passage.

The first thing we can learn from our passage is how our own reaction to criticism defines our character.  When another believer comes to us in love with a rebuke or a criticism, how do we react to it?  Do we react with insults and defensiveness or do we react in love and understanding?  In verse 9 we read, “Instruct a wise man and he will be wiser still; teach a righteous man and he will add to his learning.”  As followers of Christ, we should all be constantly seeking wisdom.  We should constantly be striving to know God better and to get closer to Him.  Sometimes the only way we can add to our learning is through the rebuke from another believer.  When we are faced with this prospect, how we react will demonstrate to us exactly where our hearts are in relation to God.  Instead of reacting like a mocker, when we react like a wise man we can strengthen our love for God as well as our love for the person correcting us.

The second lesson in today’s passage lies in recognizing the differences in others when we are the ones with a rebuke.  Once again, if we are dealing with a wise man, we know that he will welcome our rebuke because he wants to gain wisdom, and we know that he will love us for it.  Therefore, when dealing with a wise man we should offer our rebuke in love.  If we are dealing with a fool, however, we should not even bother to offer our rebuke.  Just as a venomous snake will bite you if you attempt to pet it, a mocker will violently lash out at you at the first sign of criticism for two reasons.  First, the mocker’s pride will cause him not to even consider that what you are saying may be the truth and will hate you and your message.  Secondly, the enemy ultimately controls a mocker.  Jesus defined this for us when He was speaking to a group of people who were unwilling to listen to His rebuke.  In John 8:42-47 He said, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and now am here…Because you are unable to hear what I say. You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desire…He who belongs to God hears what God says. The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God.”  In addition, Jesus provided us further advice when dealing with a mocker in Matthew 7:6 when he said, “Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and then turn and tear you to pieces.”

When dealing with criticism, whether you are the one giving the criticism or receiving it, always keep this Proverb in your heart and remember, “If you are wise, your wisdom will reward you; if you are a mocker, you alone will suffer.”

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.

Purity in Marriage


Daily Bible Reading – Proverbs 4-6; Romans 8

Today’s Key Passage – Proverbs 5

 

A couple of years ago my wife and I went to Destin, Florida and spent a few days at the beach.  Every now and then, as the sun got hot, we would wander out into the beautiful waters of the Emerald Coast to cool off.  Though we would go straight out from our spot on the beach, there were a few times when I would look back at our belongings and realize that we had drifted from our original position.  We never would have known we had drifted if not for our belongings sitting on the beach serving as our anchor point.  In today’s society, it seems we have “drifted” from God’s idea of purity in marriage.  In our world, we are bombarded on a daily basis with adulterous themes from movies and television shows, reports of infidelity by athletes, movie stars, and politicians, and the proliferation of Internet pornography.  To the casual observer, it might seem as if the world accepts and condones sexual immorality and adultery.  Fortunately, we have God’s Word as an anchor point to show us just how far we have drifted from His idea.  In today’s key passage, Solomon discusses the topic of adultery.

Most people are fully aware that adultery is explicitly spelled out as a sin in the Ten Commandments, yet it continues to be a problem in our society just as it was in Solomon’s day.  Even some self-professed “Christians” are committing adultery at an alarming rate as more and more people find ways to rationalize their sinful behavior.  They wrongly believe that God might condone their behavior or give them a “free pass” if they spend one hour a week sitting in church and the rest of the time cheating on their spouses.  God, however, makes it perfectly clear throughout the Bible that adultery is the complete opposite of His plan for our marriages.  In today’s passage, Solomon warns that, “the lips of an adulteress drip honey, and her speech is smoother than oil; but in the end she is bitter as gall, sharp as a double-edged sword. Her feet go down to death; her steps lead straight to the grave.” (Vss. 3-5)  In addition, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ said, “I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” (Matthew 5:28)  For the modern Christian, adultery means a lot more than just infidelity.  What some people fail to realize is that the wandering eye, flirting, and pornography are just as damaging to the marriage relationship as cheating, and are therefore completely against God’s will for us.

So, what is God’s ideal for marriage?  To answer that, let us first remember that God is the one who designed marriage in the first place.  Marriage was not an idea that began through any government – it came directly from God.  He designed marriage as a covenantal relationship between a man and woman, and expects it to be kept pure and holy.  The simple truth is that your spouse is a divine gift from God and should be treated as such.  Instead of looking for other ways to fulfill some desire based on the illusion of greener pastures, God wants us to find pleasure and happiness in the relationship He gave us.  Solomon reminds us to, “drink water from your own cistern, running water from your own well.” (Vs. 15)  Purity in marriage is vital in building a healthy and lasting relationship.  Regardless what the world might believe, there is no substitute for complete and total purity when it comes to your spouse.  It is up to each of us as followers of Christ to guarantee our spouses this level of purity, as we always remember that, “a man’s ways are in full view of the LORD” (Vs. 21)  Do not settle for anything less than God’s absolute best for your marriage.

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.

Five Principles for Receiving God’s Blessings


Daily Bible Reading – Proverbs 1-3; Romans 7

Today’s Key Passage – Proverbs 3:1-10

 

The first few chapters of Proverbs contain Solomon’s fatherly advice to young people, but when I read them, I can clearly hear our Heavenly Father’s advice to all of His children.  Today’s key passage is a good example of this.  I believe that most people want to lead happy and fulfilled lives.  We want to receive God’s blessings in our lives, but sometimes we do not do our part in this process.  In the first ten verses of Proverbs 3, God provides us with five distinct principles that we can follow to prepare ourselves for receiving His blessings.  Now please do not misunderstand what I am saying here – these five principles do not guarantee His blessings in this life.  In a perfect world, following these five principles would always lead to the blessings defined in the text here and now, but as you know, we live in a less-than-perfect world.  In our world, wisdom usually leads to blessings but this is not always the case.  Sometimes the sin of this world gets in the way, and sometimes God’s blessings are delayed until Jesus returns to call us to eternal life.  Whether in this world or the next, however, we can be sure that following His principles will ultimately lead to blessings.  With that in mind, let us look at the five principles from today’s passage:

Obedience – “do not forget my teaching, but keep my commands in your heart” (Vs. 1) – In order to practice obedience to God’s Word, we must first know what God’s Word says.  As we read the Bible and learn more about God, we can begin to keep His commands in our hearts, and can eventually get better and better at obeying Him.  As a result, His commands will, “prolong your life many years and bring you prosperity.” (Vs. 2)

Integrity – “Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart.” (Vs. 3) – Relationships are more important than anything else in this life.  Relationships with God and with other people are key to our existence.  When you act in love and faithfulness, you build your integrity and positively impact all of your relationships.  As a result, “you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man.” (Vs. 4)

Trust – “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding” (Vs. 5) – God wants us to lean on Him in everything we do instead of leaning on ourselves.  When you trust God with all of your heart, you will learn to lean on Him in good times and bad.  As a result, “he will make your paths straight.” (Vs. 6)

Discernment – “Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD and shun evil.” (Vs. 7) – Most of us know the difference between right and wrong.  God’s Word and the Holy Spirit convict us of sinfulness in our lives and show us the things we should avoid.  As we turn from evil and toward God, “this will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones.” (Vs. 8)

Giving – “Honor the LORD with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops” (Vs. 9) – When we give God the “firstfruits of our crops”, we are giving Him our best in terms of our time, money, and talent.  We honor Him when we have a generous heart and give God the best that we have to offer.  As a result, “your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine.”

When we follow God’s principles in life, we can prepare ourselves to receive all of His blessings.  He loves us more than we can possibly imagine and He wants nothing more than to give us happiness and fulfillment in this life, but we have to do our part.  Praise Him for his goodness and for His grace today, and thank Him for all of your blessings already received, and the ones yet to come.

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.

Choosing Between Two Masters


Daily Bible Reading – 1 Kings 10,11; 2 Chronicles 9, Romans 6

Today’s Key Passage – Romans 6:15-23

 

I read a story today from John Kenneth Galbraith’s autobiography, A Life in Our Times, about the devotion of his family’s housekeeper Emily Gloria Wilson.  On one particular afternoon, Mr. Galbraith told Ms. Wilson to hold all of his calls while he took a nap.  During his nap, President Lyndon Johnson called and asked to speak to Mr. Galbraith.  Ms. Wilson explained to the President that Mr. Galbraith was sleeping and asked not to be disturbed, but the President insisted that she wake him.  To this, she responded, “No, Mr. President.  I work for him, not you.”  Ms. Wilson had a choice in who her master was going to be.  She could choose to work for Mr. Galbraith or she could choose to work for the President, but she knew that she could not do both at the same time.  She had to make a choice, and once she did there was nothing that would get her to change her direction.

In today’s key passage, the Apostle Paul talks about choosing your master.  See, all of us have a master whether we know it or not.  Each of us has a choice to make in life – we can either be a slave to sin or we can be a slave to righteousness.  We can choose to make God our master or we can choose to make sin our master.  Moreover, while we are free to make our own choice between these two masters, we are not free to change the consequences of our choice.  If we choose sin as our master, the only possible outcome is death, and if we choose God as our master, the only possible outcome is eternal life in Christ Jesus.  (Vs. 23)  Before we were saved, sin was our master.  We were enslaved by the guilt and condemnation of our sinful thoughts, words, and actions.  When we chose to follow Christ and “wholeheartedly obey” Him (Vs. 17), we were freed from the chains of slavery to sin and became enslaved by righteousness.

Many people like to believe that there is a third option here.  They do not like the idea of being a slave to sin, but they also do not like the idea of being a slave to God.  These are the same people who claim there is no God, or believe they can get to Heaven with their works, or think that Jesus was a “good man” but not the Son of God.  They like to believe that there is a middle ground between these two options – a place where they can sometimes choose God and other times choose sin.  The simple fact, however, is that we only have two choices.  There is no middle ground and there is no way to be neutral about this topic.  We must choose to serve either God or sin.  Just like Ms. Wilson, we must realize that we cannot choose to serve both masters.  My question for each of you today is a simple one – who is your master going to be?  Will you choose God, or will you choose sin?

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.

How Suffering Produces Hope


Daily Bible Reading – 1 Kings 9; 2 Chronicles 8; Psalm 136; Romans 5

Today’s Key Passage – Romans 5:1-11

 

I wish I were better at golf.  I have played since I was a child, but despite my efforts, I have never been very good.  For the most part, I can play without embarrassing myself too badly or slowing down play for everyone behind me, but I am certainly never going to win any tournaments.  The problem with my golf game is really a matter of commitment.  I do not spend nearly enough time practicing to ever be very good.  I am sure that if I got some lessons and spent countless hours practicing the different elements of the game, I could probably improve dramatically.  Who knows, with enough time and practice, I might even become quite good.  The problem is that I simply do not want to expend that much time and energy on the sport, even though I know that the only way to ever get better is with extensive practice.  In this regard, most things in life work a lot like golf.  In most matters, if we want to improve we need to practice.  If I want to be a better golfer, I need to golf more.  If I want to be a better cook, I need to cook more.  This concept is also true with character.  If I want to become more patient, I need to endure times when my patience is tested.  If I want to worry less, I need to endure times when I am tempted to worry.  If I want to have more faith, I need to endure times when my faith is tested.

This concept is carried over in today’s key passage as Paul explains how suffering produces hope.  He says, “we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.” (Vs. 3-4)  Most people do not like to suffer, but as Paul explains, we can actually rejoice in our suffering not because we like pain, but because we know that God is using our suffering to produce hope.  Imagine if you will a flow chart that begins with suffering.  The suffering that we face in terms of life’s difficulties or attacks from the enemy produces perseverance in much the same way that practicing golf makes you a better golfer.  The more we suffer, the more perseverance we build.  This perseverance strengthens our character by building our trust and our faith in God, because the more we suffer, the more we must lean on God’s strength to get through difficult times.  As our faith and trust in God builds, our hope will also build as we gain greater and greater confidence in our future.  In this way, though it might sound counterintuitive, suffering produces hope.

The next time you face suffering, think of it in these terms.  Instead of wondering why God is allowing you to suffer, thank Him for giving you the opportunity to build your perseverance, character, and hope.  Thank Him for helping you grow and mature.  Thank Him for loving you enough to give you hope.

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.

God’s Promises to Us


Daily Bible Reading – 2 Chronicles 6,7; Psalm 135; Romans 4

Today’s Key Passage – 2 Chronicles 7:11-22

 

When the temple was finally completed and the Ark of the Covenant was moved into place, Solomon dedicated the temple to God.  He went to the Lord in prayer and asked Him repeatedly to hear the prayers of the Israelites.  He asked God to hear their prayers now, as well as in the future.  Through good times and bad, through times of obedience and times of sin, Solomon’s request was that God would always hear their prayers.  In today’s key passage, God provides an answer to Solomon’s prayer of dedication.  The Bible says, “When Solomon had finished the temple of the LORD and the royal palace, and had succeeded in carrying out all he had in mind to do in the temple of the LORD and in his own palace, the LORD appeared to him at night”. (Vs. 11-12)  While the Bible does not specify how much time had passed between Solomon’s prayer and God’s response, it reasonably could have been months or perhaps even years given that Solomon needed to finish the palace.  While we are not sure of the exact timeframe here, it is important to note that regardless of how much time had elapsed, Solomon had to wait for God’s answer.  Fortunately for Solomon, the wait was well worth it because God told him, “I have heard your prayer”. (Vs. 12)

There are two specific parts of Gods response to Solomon that I would like to focus on today.  First, God said, “if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” (Vs. 14)  While originally God was speaking about the Israelites, it is clear that He is talking about His people, who are called by His name.  As Christians, we are His people, who are called by His Son’s name.  In Gods own words here, He is promising that if we humble ourselves and seek His face and turn from our wicked ways, He will always hear our prayer.  We do not have to wonder if He hears us, because the answer is always yes!  Secondly, God said, “Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayers offered in this place. I have chosen and consecrated this temple so that my Name may be there forever. My eyes and my heart will always be there.” (Vs. 14-15)  Originally, God was talking about the physical temple that Solomon built.  Today, however, because of the sacrifice made by Jesus Christ, each one of us can approach God through His Son and the “temple” of God is each one of us.  In 1 Corinthians 3:16, we read, “Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you?” Moreover, in 1 Corinthians 6:19 we read, “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own”.  Because our bodies are God’s temples, we can rest knowing that His eyes and heart will always be with us.

In today’s key passage, God reveals to us two important truths that we must always hold in our hearts.  God will always hear our prayers, and God’s eyes and heart will always be with us.  With promises like that from the Creator of the universe Himself, what can possibly stand against us?  What can we possibly have to worry about in this life?  What can we possibly fear?  Think about these truths today.  Think about what they mean to your life.  Think about how these truths put everything else into the proper perspective.  Finally, praise God for these truths.  Praise Him for His promises, and praise Him for his saving grace.

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.

The Proper Order


Daily Bible Reading – 1 Kings 8; 2 Chronicles 5; Psalm 99; Romans 3

Today’s Key Passage – 2 Chronicles 5:4-14

 

There are many times in life when things must be done in the proper order.  For example, you cannot eat a scrambled egg without first cracking the egg, you cannot read a book before it is written, and you cannot move into a house before it is built.  Trying to do any one of these things out of order will result in failure.  There is another time when maintaining the proper order is important, and that is in our interactions with God.  Whether in a corporate setting like a church service or an individual setting like prayer, it is important that before we go to God with all of our needs we spend some time praising Him and thanking Him first.  Solomon understood the importance of maintaining this proper order when worshiping God.

For almost 500 years, (since the exodus from Egypt) the Ark of the Covenant was largely kept in a movable tent.  The ark contained the two stone tablets given to Moses with the Ten Commandments, and it was the embodiment of God’s presence on earth.  In today’s key passage, we read that after all of this time the ark was finally moved into a more permanent structure – the temple built by Solomon.  After seven years of construction, the temple was finally ready, so the priests and the Levites brought the ark inside.  It was a time of great celebration for all of Israel, and it was a time for worshiping God.  Once the ark was in its new home, Solomon would offer a prayer of dedication to God, and would ask Him for a great many things for his people.  He would ask God to fulfill many of their needs for years to come.  Before he began asking God for anything, though, Solomon knew that they should spend some time thanking God, so, “accompanied by trumpets, cymbals and other instruments, they raised their voices in praise to the LORD.” (Vs. 13)

It can be easy to fall into the habit of going to God in prayer only when we have a need.  We go to Him and ask for protection, safety, wisdom, or relief without first taking the time to really thank and praise Him.  Do not get me wrong, God wants us to go to Him with all of our needs and desires, but He wants us to come to Him with the right heart.  When we spend time with God thanking him for his perfect goodness and praising His name for all of the blessings He has given each of us, we can prepare our hearts and our minds before coming to Him with our needs.  Remember that God is not a genie in a bottle waiting only to grant us our wishes; He is the creator of the universe who loves us so completely that He gave His only Son to die for our sins.  Instead of just approaching Him with needs, spend some time thanking and praising Him.  You will be amazed at the results as you begin to grow even closer to Him.

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.

To follow me on Twitter for inspirational tweets, click the follow button –

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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