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Gleaning in the Right Field


Daily Bible Reading – Ruth 1,2; Psalms 53,61; 2 Corinthians 5

Today’s Key Passage – Ruth 2:1-23

Today we began the story of Ruth.  In chapter 1, we read that Ruth was a widow living in Moab with her mother-in-law Naomi.  When Naomi decided to leave Moab and return to Bethlehem, Ruth decided to go with her and care for her even though she was not obligated to do so.  During this time in history, being a widow typically meant living a life of poverty and neglect, and this was true of Naomi and Ruth.  In chapter 2, we learn that since they did not have much money, Ruth decided to find a field in which to glean.  (By Israelite law, when it was time to harvest wheat and barley, landowners were not permitted to harvest the edges of their fields.  In addition, during the harvest anything that fell to the ground was to be left there.  Poor people could then come along and pick up the leftover wheat and barley, which was called gleaning.)  Ruth found a field belonging to Boaz and began to glean there.  She worked hard all day to gather as much as possible to feed herself and Naomi, and Boaz (the landowner) noticed her.  He told Ruth to stay in his field and glean as much as she wanted.  In addition, he told his men to leave some of the prime harvest for her to pick up.  At the end of the day, Ruth had gleaned an ephah of barley (which was about 30 to 50 pounds) which she took back to share with Naomi.

There are many lessons to be learned from the story of Ruth.  We can learn about her character as she lived a life of obedience to God.  We can learn about her positioning herself in a place to receive God’s blessings.  We can also learn a valuable lesson about gleaning.  We may think that gleaning is an unimportant thing of the past that does not apply to us today, but in reality, each of us “gleans” every single day of our lives.  We “glean” from different places as we feed our minds and our spirits with material.  Whether we realize it or not, we are going to “pick up” things all the time, either from what we see, hear, or read.  It is important that, like Ruth, we find the right field in which to glean, and the best field we can find is the Word of God.  In this field, we can gather the spiritual nourishment we need to survive.  Gleaning in God’s Word may not always be the easiest choice, and sometimes it may take work on our part, but once we have found this good “field”, we should stay there and glean as much as we want.  As we search God’s Word, we will be rewarded for our work as He leaves all sorts of “prime harvest” for us to pick up to feed our souls.  It is not enough, though, for us to simply get our fill of God’s harvest.  We must take our “gleanings” and share them with others, just as Ruth shared her gleanings with Naomi.  Take a look today at where you are spending your time.  From what fields are you gleaning?  From what fields are your spouse and children gleaning?  The field of God’s Word is available and waiting for you to come along and start picking up a harvest.

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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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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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.

Principles of Discipline


Daily Bible Reading – Deuteronomy 25-27; Galatians 5

Today’s Key Passage – Deuteronomy 25:1-3

Today’s key passage may appear at first to be a bit controversial.  In it, Moses tells the Israelites that when two men have a dispute they should go to the court to have the judges decide the dispute.  If one of the men is found guilty and deserves to be beaten, the judge should flog him in his presence, but it should not exceed forty lashes.  Now for most of us, the idea of flogging someone seems detestable.  When I think of flogging, my immediate reaction is to think of Christ on the day of His crucifixion, and it places an image in my mind that makes my stomach turn.  For that reason, when I first read this passage today I immediately dismissed it as a topic to write about.  However, as is often the case, this passage kept coming back to me.  I kept thinking about it and the imagery of the words would not leave my mind, so I decided to really study the passage again.  As I did, I kept three things in mind.  First, I remembered that this was written for a civilization that was much different then ours.  At the time, public floggings were commonplace and were the accepted method of punishment for a crime.  Secondly, I remembered that God never changes.  The God who told Moses to write these words in the Bible is the same God that we still worship today.  He has never changed and will never change.  Finally, I remembered that everything in the Bible has a purpose and everything teaches us a lesson.  What lesson could I find in these words that would apply to us today? Applying those three criteria to the reading, I found that the passage took on a new meaning for me.  Instead of focusing on the brutality of the method, I instead saw that the underlying principles of discipline in these words is absolutely sound.

Before you think I am condoning flogging another person, let me explain what I am talking about.  Most of us at one time or another are in a position to discipline another person.  Whether it involves disciplining our children, an employee, or another believer we may be called to provide a level of discipline at some point in our lives.  In today’s key passage, I believe we can learn three important principles of discipline that we can apply to all of these situations that may arise.  First, we learn that before any discipline takes place, we must first determine whether a person is guilty.  Did the person really do what we think he did, or is there a misunderstanding?  Everyone deserves a fair “trial” before any type of discipline is enforced.

Assuming we find that the person is indeed guilty, the second principle we learn is that the discipline needs to be immediate.  Once we have determined that a punishment is necessary, we cannot put it off – we must act now.  Imagine the following scenario: Imagine that you explicitly tell your son that he cannot eat a cookie right now because he will spoil his dinner, but your son goes behind your back and eats a cookie anyway.  When you find out about this, you decide to discipline him by not letting him watch TV for the night.  Now imagine that instead of imposing this punishment immediately, you do not say anything now, but two weeks later, you tell your son that he cannot watch TV because of the cookie he ate two weeks ago.  That would not make a lot of sense would it?  Discipline needs to take place immediately.

The third principle of discipline is that the punishment should fit the crime.  Using our illustration above, while taking away TV privileges for a night might seem like a reasonable punishment, taking away TV privileges for two years might be a little bit of overkill.  If we over-discipline, we run the risk of degrading the other person, which should never be our intention.  Discipline should be used to correct another person, not to destroy them emotionally.  Even though we have the power to discipline, we should never go overboard or become unrestrained, as that type of discipline does more harm than good.  When we react in a reasonable way and punish accordingly, we can provide the necessary correction without causing long-term damage to the relationship.

Whether you are a parent, a boss, or another type of leader, disciplining others is a responsibility that should not be taken lightly.  In most cases, the act of disciplining others will not exactly be pleasant, but if we adhere to the three principles of discipline we learn in today’s key passage, we can achieve the intended results without causing any undue damage.

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 Importance of Scripture


Daily Bible Reading – Deuteronomy 16-18; Psalm 38; Galatians 2

Today’s Key Passage – Deuteronomy 17:14-20

Before entering the Promised Land, Moses took some time to speak to the Israelites and his addresses are chronicled in the book of Deuteronomy.  In today’s reading, Moses spoke to his people about the Passover, the Feast of Weeks, the Feast of Tabernacles, appointing judges, and worshiping other gods.  In addition, in our key passage today he spoke to them about appointing a king.  God did not really want the Israelites to appoint a king because they already had a king – God.  However, God knew that eventually the Israelites were going to want to have a king because all of the other nations had one, so He decided to provide them with some guidelines they should follow in appointing that king.  In His list of guidelines, he tells the Israelites to make sure the king was a person chosen by God.  The king should be another Israelite (as opposed to someone from a foreign land).  Moreover, the king should not be allowed to build up a large army, should not amass great wealth, and should not take many wives as these things would lead him away from God.  (We will find out later in the book of 1 Kings that Israel did not exactly follow this advice and it ultimately led to massive problems, but that is a topic for another day).  Then God gives the Israelites one more command regarding their king.  He says that the king should, “write for himself on a scroll a copy of this law, taken from that of the priests, who are Levites. It is to be with him, and he is to read it all the days of his life”.

Of course, in today’s terms God is telling the king to get a Bible and read it every day.  Why is this important?  Why did God want the king to read the Bible every day?  God answers this question by saying that he should read the Bible daily, “so that he may learn to revere the LORD his God and follow carefully all the words of this law and these decrees and not consider himself better than his brothers and turn from the law to the right or to the left.”  It was important to God that the king of His people read the Bible daily.  He wanted the king to learn about Him and to follow Him.  He wanted the king to humble himself before his God.  He wanted to build a relationship with the king.  Does it not stand to reason that if we asked God, he would tell us the very same thing today?

The fact is that God wants us to read the Bible daily.  His Word is the absolute best way to get to know Him.  It is the best way to learn to follow Him.  In 2 Timothy 3:16-17, Paul tells us that, “all Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”  Sadly, so many Christians have trouble getting into God’s Word on a daily basis.  When I was first saved, I knew that I should read the Bible every day, but I hardly ever did anything about it.  I made excuses not to read the Bible – I would think, “I am too busy”, “I have too much going on at work today”, or “I am traveling this week” and I would justify my choices to myself.  Fortunately, God made me realize that my thinking was flawed.  I was trying to give Him whatever time I had left over from all of my other activities, instead of putting Him first.  When I finally made a conscious effort to start reading the Bible on a daily basis, a new world opened up to me.  I felt myself getting closer and closer to God.  I began to feel His presence with me and I started to “hear” his voice guiding me in my life.  It was one of the best decisions I have ever made, and I hope it is one you will make too.  If you are already reading the Bible daily, keep going.  Keep pressing closer and closer to God.  If you are having trouble reading His Word on a daily basis, make it a priority even if that means you need to wake up earlier or go to bed later.  If you are waiting until you can find the time to read the Bible, it will never happen.  You have to make the time.  Whether you follow along with our daily reading plan or you find a different one that will work better for you, get into God’s word daily.  I promise you will love the results.

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.

Overcoming Obstacles


Daily Bible Reading – Deuteronomy 10-12; Mark 16

Today’s Key Passage – Mark 16:1-8

On the Sunday following Jesus’ death on the cross, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome made their way toward the tomb where Christ was buried.  They carried with them spices to anoint Jesus’ body, which was a sign of love and respect at the time.  The knew where they were going, because they had watched Joseph of Arimathea take Jesus’ body to this particular tomb on the night of His death.  They saw Joseph place Jesus body in the tomb cut out of rock and they watched as he rolled a large stone against the entrance of the tomb.  From Matthew’s account of the Gospel (27:62-66), we know that Pilate placed guards at the tomb and sealed it to prevent anyone from trying to steal the body in an attempt to “fake” the resurrection.  As the women walked toward the tomb, they thought about the obstacles that were in their way.  They talked amongst themselves about the heavy stone that was blocking the opening of the tomb and they wondered how they were going to get inside to anoint Jesus’ body.  They may have also wondered how they were going to get past the guards, as they would likely keep the women from tampering with the body.  Looking back now to that walk toward the tomb, we might wonder what they thought they were going to accomplish by going there.  All of the signs pointed to them not even being able to see Jesus’ body because there were too many obstacles in the way, but the women went anyway.  They knew the obstacles that stood in their way, but they still took the journey and walked closer and closer to Jesus because they loved Him so much.  When they arrived at the tomb, they found that the obstacles they had worried about were no longer an issue.  The stone had been rolled away, and the guards were so afraid that they “shook and became like dead men”. (Matthew 28:4)  That is when the women heard the good news for the first time – Jesus is alive!

There are many times in our lives when the obstacles in front of us might seem insurmountable.  We may be tempted to think that we cannot go on; that we cannot possibly achieve our goals and we might as well just turn around and quit.  The women walking toward the tomb that day could have felt like that.  They might have been tempted to turn around and go home, but instead they kept on walking toward their Savior.  When life’s obstacles seem too great for us to deal with, that is what we must do as well.  Instead of quitting, we must keep walking toward Jesus.  We must step out in faith because of our love for Jesus, and leave everything else to God.  We must trust Him to help us along the way to overcome whatever obstacles life throws at us.  The women did not know how their journey was going to turn out, but they knew that the one thing they could control was what they chose to do that morning, so they chose to keep walking toward Jesus.  We do not know how our journey is going to turn out either, but we can keep walking toward Him, and trust that when we come to our expected obstacle we will find that God has already overcome it.


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.

Peter Denies Jesus


Daily Bible Reading – Deuteronomy 5,6; Psalm 43; Mark 14

Today’s Key Passage – Mark 14:27-31

Picture this: You are living in the time of Jesus and you are one of His twelve disciples.  You have been following Jesus for some time now and you can honestly say that you love this man like you have never loved another person on earth.  You have seen Him heal the blind.  You have seen Him feed thousands with very little food.  You have seen Him raise the dead.  You have no doubt that this man is the long-awaited Messiah – the Savior of your people.  One night, you sit down to have a nice quiet dinner with Jesus and the rest of the disciples, but the dinner takes a strange turn.  All of a sudden, Jesus says that one of the twelve men sitting at the table with Him is going to betray Him.  He then goes on to say that all of the twelve men will fall away from Him.  What would you say to this?  This man is your friend.  He is also your God.  You would do anything for Him.  I would imagine that most of us would respond the same way Peter responded to Jesus.  Peter said, “Even if all fall away, I will not.”  It sounds like a reasonable argument – one that most of us would make in that same situation, but Jesus responds to Peter and says, “today—yes, tonight—before the rooster crows twice you yourself will disown me three times.”  This had to be hard to hear.  It had to be even harder to believe.  It is no wonder that the next verse in the Bible says the following, “But Peter insisted emphatically, ‘Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you.’ And all the others said the same.”  The disciples, and Peter in particular, insisted emphatically that they would never disown Jesus.  Sadly, most of us already know what happens next in the story.  Only a few hours later, Judas led a group of soldiers out to arrest Jesus and in Mark 14:50 we read, “Then everyone deserted him and fled”.  After fleeing, Peter followed Jesus and the soldiers to the courtyard of the high priest.  There he was questioned by a young girl about whether or not he knew Jesus, and just as predicted Peter disowned Jesus three times.

Most of us who follow Christ would insist emphatically that we would never disown Jesus.  On Sunday morning in church, we would easily insist emphatically.  At home in prayer, we would easily insist emphatically.  When things are going well, we would easily insist emphatically.  Our true love for Jesus is revealed, however, not in the good times, but in the bad.  When tragedy strikes, would we be so quick to insist?  When it seems like our prayers have not been answered, can we still insist?  When we face persecution or mocking because of our faith, will we still insist?  When we are tempted to sin, do we still insist?  Just like the disciples, anyone can say they will follow Jesus during good times, but the test of a true believer comes during times of trial.  I have heard it said that when you squeeze grapes, you get to see grape juice, and when you squeeze a Christian you get to see what kind of faith he really has.  What will come out when you are squeezed by life?

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.

Gleaning in the Right Field


Daily Bible Reading – Ruth 1,2; Psalms 53,61; 2 Corinthians 5

Today’s Key Passage – Ruth 2:1-23

Today we began the story of Ruth.  In chapter 1, we read that Ruth was a widow living in Moab with her mother-in-law Naomi.  When Naomi decided to leave Moab and return to Bethlehem, Ruth decided to go with her and care for her even though she was not obligated to do so.  During this time in history, being a widow typically meant living a life of poverty and neglect, and this was true of Naomi and Ruth.  In chapter 2, we learn that since they did not have much money, Ruth decided to find a field in which to glean.  (By Israelite law, when it was time to harvest wheat and barley, landowners were not permitted to harvest the edges of their fields.  In addition, during the harvest anything that fell to the ground was to be left there.  Poor people could then come along and pick up the leftover wheat and barley, which was called gleaning.)  Ruth found a field belonging to Boaz and began to glean there.  She worked hard all day to gather as much as possible to feed herself and Naomi, and Boaz (the landowner) noticed her.  He told Ruth to stay in his field and glean as much as she wanted.  In addition, he told his men to leave some of the prime harvest for her to pick up.  At the end of the day, Ruth had gleaned an ephah of barley (which was about 30 to 50 pounds) which she took back to share with Naomi.

There are many lessons to be learned from the story of Ruth.  We can learn about her character as she lived a life of obedience to God.  We can learn about her positioning herself in a place to receive God’s blessings.  We can also learn a valuable lesson about gleaning.  We may think that gleaning is an unimportant thing of the past that does not apply to us today, but in reality, each of us “gleans” every single day of our lives.  We “glean” from different places as we feed our minds and our spirits with material.  Whether we realize it or not, we are going to “pick up” things all the time, either from what we see, hear, or read.  It is important that, like Ruth, we find the right field in which to glean, and the best field we can find is the Word of God.  In this field, we can gather the spiritual nourishment we need to survive.  Gleaning in God’s Word may not always be the easiest choice, and sometimes it may take work on our part, but once we have found this good “field”, we should stay there and glean as much as we want.  As we search God’s Word, we will be rewarded for our work as He leaves all sorts of “prime harvest” for us to pick up to feed our souls.  It is not enough, though, for us to simply get our fill of God’s harvest.  We must take our “gleanings” and share them with others, just as Ruth shared her gleanings with Naomi.  Take a look today at where you are spending your time.  From what fields are you gleaning?  From what fields are your spouse and children gleaning?  The field of God’s Word is available and waiting for you to come along and start picking up a harvest.

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.

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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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.

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