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Instructions for Christian Marriage


Daily Bible Reading – Ephesians 5,6; Psalm 119:1-80

Today’s Key Passage – Ephesians 5:22-33

Submitting to another person is often a misunderstood concept.  In the past, some people have taken today’s key passage out of context or misused it, causing the idea of submission to take on a negative connotation.  There is no denying that Paul indeed said that wives should submit to their husbands as the head of the household. (5:22-23)  However, the part of this passage that is often forgotten about is the instructions Paul gives to husbands.  Marriage is a two way street.  Both parties have to submit to each other in different ways to make a marriage work and to keep both people happy.  Taking one of these instructions out of context while dismissing the other causes more harm than good.  For example, if a wife submits to her husband, but the husband is not loving his wife as he loves himself and is not putting her first above all of his needs, the marriage is going to have problems.  Likewise, if the husband is putting his wife first in everything he does and truly loving her every single day but the wife is not allowing him to be the spiritual head of the household, the marriage is going to have problems.  Paul is telling us that both of these things should happen in a happy marriage.  Men should take on the responsibility of being the spiritual leader in the home.  Husbands should be helping their wives in their walk with Christ, and wives should allow their husbands to take on this role and to follow him.  Husbands should also love and serve their wives above everything else.  Just as Jesus washed the feet of the disciples in an act of service to them, so should the husband serve the wife.  If both people in the marriage relationship are submitting to one another in these ways, then the idea of submission is not negative at all.  Submitting to one another is simply an act of love.

Think back over the times of strife in your marriage.  If you are anything like me, most arguments and moments of division can be traced back to either the husband or the wife or both failing to submit to the other person.  For the wives who are reading this, allow your husbands to lead and submit to them.  For the husbands who are reading this, remember that you have died to yourself and you now live for your wife.  Put her needs first in everything that you do.  Make her the center of your universe and serve her as you would serve the Lord.  You must take on the responsibility of being the spiritual leader in the home and ensuring that your household is serving Christ and living for Him.  To both husbands and wives, remember that submission is not a bad thing.  Submit to each other in a loving environment and watch as your marriage gets stronger as the two of you walk together with Jesus Christ.

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.

Separating the Sheep from the Goats


Daily Bible Reading – Matthew 23-25

Today’s Key Passage – Matthew 25:31-46

 

What would you do if Jesus showed up at your door today?  What if He rang your doorbell, and told you that He was hungry and thirsty?  What if He said He needed some clothes to wear or a place to stay?  Would you invite Him in?  As followers of Christ, this should be a pretty easy “Yes” for most of us.  If our Lord and Savior Himself came to us asking for help, most of us would go out of our way to help Him in any way that we can, but helping Jesus is the easy part.  This is no different than being nice to people who are nice to us.  The Bible tells us, though, that we should not just love our friends but our enemies also.  That is the harder part and the more important part.  Just as we should love our enemies, we must help those in need.  We know, Biblically speaking, that Jesus is not going to show up at our door because the next time He comes it will be in glory for the final judgment.  This parable tells us that how we react to needy people in general is how we would act towards Jesus Himself.  Are we inviting them in?  Are we giving them food, drink, and clothing?  Are we taking care of those in need?

Some people debate over what Jesus meant in this story when He said, “these brothers and sisters of mine”.  Some people argue Jesus was referring to Jewish people.  Others think He was talking about Christians in general.  Still others think He was talking about all people everywhere who are in need.  I think the argument of whom he was talking about is not nearly as important as what he was telling us to do.  What if we just assumed He meant all people everywhere who are in need?  What if we decided today to treat every person we encountered on a daily basis as if he were Jesus Christ Himself?  How much differently would we start to live?  What kind of changes would happen in our world if we began viewing every person we met in this way?  Would we not become more generous?  Would we not become more loving?  Would we not become more like Jesus Himself through our actions, which is the whole point of Christianity?  Today, let us all vow to treat everyone we encounter as if he were Jesus, and see what happens.  I promise we will all like 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.

Living in Community


Daily Bible Reading – Nehemiah 9, 10; Acts 2

Today’s Key Passage – Acts 2:42-47

 

Just as the Gospels provide us with a description of Jesus’ life and ministry, the book of Acts provides us with a description of the early days of the church and the first Christians.  The first Christians (even before they were called Christians) lived together in community, sharing everything they had with one another.  These early followers of Christ focused on four things – the apostles’ teaching, fellowship with one another, the breaking of bread together, and prayer. (2:42)  They lived a life modeled after the life of Jesus, and because they did, people were drawn to them and they “added to their number daily those who were being saved” (2:47).

How are you at living together in community?  Are you modeling the life of Jesus and the early Christians by focusing on the same four key things?  Sometimes it is hard to look past all of the temporal obligations we have on a daily basis such as work commitments, bills, and school assignments to focus on the eternal things that truly matter.  God did not design people to live on their own – He designed us to live in community with each other and to “do life together”.  One of the best things my wife and I ever did together was find a church where we could live life with other believers – not just one day a week but every day.  By living in community with other believers, we can stay focused on what really matters in life – the life-saving message of Jesus Christ and working for the kingdom of God.  Instead of living a life of solitude, when we live together in community with other believers, others will be drawn to us.  More importantly, when we live together in community with other believers, others will be drawn to a personal relationship with Christ.

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.

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.

Our Protective Father


Daily Bible Reading – 2 Kings 25; 2 Chronicles 36; Jeremiah 40, 41; Revelation 12

Today’s Key Passage – Revelation 12

When I was a child, I always felt safe when I was with my Dad.  No matter what happened, I knew he would protect me and would never let anything bad happen to me.  Our key passage today provides us with the same picture of our Heavenly Father.  The apostle John describes a woman who is getting ready to give birth to a child, the Messiah (Vs. 2), and a dragon, Satan, waiting to devour the child as soon as He is born (Vs. 4).  Fortunately, God intervenes and saves the child (Vs. 5), to Satan’s dismay.  The enemy tries to attack the woman, but God prepared a place for her in the desert (Vs. 6), gave her wings (Vs. 14), and saved her from a flood (Vs. 16).

As followers of Christ, we are all going to face attacks from the enemy.  The good news is that just as God protected the woman, He will protect us.  Our loving Father provides us with everything we need to thwart Satan’s attacks.  He prepares a place for us in His heart and His home, He gives us wings and allows us to escape the enemy through His Word, and He saves us from eternal destruction.  God is our protective Father, and He will never allow Satan to harm our secure salvation.  Praise Him today for His protection, and rest in His loving embrace.

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.

Equals in Christ


Daily Bible Reading – Isaiah 6,7; 2 Chronicles 26,27; Philemon

Today’s Key Passage – Philemon 8-21

 

In today’s reading, we find the book of Philemon.  This short book is a personal letter written by the apostle Paul to a man named Philemon.  Philemon was a Greek landowner who was a member of the church in Colosse.  Paul was writing to Philemon about a man named Onesimus, who was a slave of Philemon that ran away and fled to Rome.  God led Onesimus to Paul, and Paul converted Onesimus to Christianity.  After his conversion, Paul convinced Onesimus to return to Philemon to reconcile, and Paul wrote this letter to try to persuade Philemon.  In the early Roman Empire, slavery was common and a landowner had a legal right to kill a runaway slave.  Paul, however, wanted Philemon to put aside his legal rights and focus instead on something much more important than what the law said.  Paul wanted Philemon to accept Onesimus back into his life.  More importantly, Paul wanted Philemon to accept Onesimus not as a slave, but as his brother in Christ.  He said, “So if you consider me a partner, welcome him as you would welcome me.” (Vs. 17)  Paul wanted Philemon to realize that despite their differences in social status, wealth, and background, he and Onesimus were members of the same family.  They were both saved by God, and they were both equals in Christ.

I think many Christians today forget about this fact.  They focus on the differences between themselves and other members of the church.  They get caught up in things like denomination, race, social status, or wealth.  These differences divide the church and hurt its overall mission in the world.  The fact of the matter is that we are all part of the same church.  Regardless of any other status given to us by the world, we are all part of the family of God.  We are all saved by His grace.  We are all equals in Christ.  Do you know anyone you have a hard time getting along with?  Do you know a person whose personality conflicts with yours?  Do you know someone who has wronged you or slighted you in some way and you are still holding a bit of a grudge?  If so, put aside these differences.  Instead of focusing on what that person has done or said, and instead of focusing on the past, focus on one simple truth.  If that person has a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, then he or she is your brother or sister in Christ.  In the eyes of God, we are all individuals but we are also all equals.  He loves each of us exactly the same.  As we work to become more like Christ, let us all remember the book of Philemon.  Let us all put aside our differences.  Let us all remember that we are equals in Christ.

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 Role Models


Daily Bible Reading – Amos 7-9; Psalm 104; Titus 2

Today’s Key Passage – Titus 2:1-8

 

How do you learn what it means to be a good parent?  How do you learn to become a good husband or a good wife?  For many things in life, we need instruction to actually learn how to do things, and we can get that instruction from a variety of places.  We can read books or magazine articles for tips and advice on different topics.  We can study historical figures to learn how they completed the tasks we are trying to learn.  One of the best ways to learn, however, is through seeing our desired results lived out in the lives of role models.  When we have strong, Godly people in our lives we can watch them to learn new behaviors.  Some of us are very fortunate in this area.  Some of us grew up in Christian homes surrounded by role models.  As I was growing up, I learned about being a good parent by watching what my own parents did in raising me.  I also learned what it meant to be a good husband by watching how my father treated my mother on a daily basis.  I continue to learn more and more about becoming a better parent and husband by the people I have surrounded myself with in my life today.  My circle of friends who are following Christ continue to influence me and effect my behavior in a variety of ways.  They do this not by telling me how to be a good parent or a good husband, but by actually living these behaviors out in their own lives.

In today’s key passage, Paul speaks to Titus about the importance of role models.  Paul knows that the young men in the church can learn a lot about life simply by watching the older men in action.  Likewise, the young women in the church can take their cues from the older women.  As Titus teaches the older people in the church with sound doctrine, these people can then in turn show the younger people in the church how to live through their everyday actions.  For example, Paul says that the older women, “can train the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.” (Vss. 4-5)  In addition, Paul reminds Titus of the importance of a strong pastor who can be an example to all of the people in the church.  He says, “In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us.” (Vss. 7-8)

Would you like to become a better husband to your wife?  If so, surround yourself with Godly men who treat their wives well.  Do you want to learn to become a better parent?  If so, spend some time with other believers and watch how they behave around their own children.  Few things in life are more important than having strong role models.  As you seek to improve in different areas of your life, ask yourself who your role models are in that area.  Then as you learn more, ask yourself who you can be a role model to in the church.  When we have strong role models, we can all improve and can all learn to live more Godly lives.

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.

Spiritual Family


Daily Bible Reading – 2 Kings 10; 2 Chronicles 22,23; 1 Timothy 5

Today’s Key Passage – 1 Timothy 5:1-8

If you are a follower of Christ, one of the easiest ways to demonstrate your love for Jesus is in how you treat other people.  For most of us, though, we treat people differently depending on how well we know them.  For example, we treat immediate family differently than we treat distant family, and we treat friends differently than we treat acquaintances.  Perhaps the most striking differences occur between the groups furthest apart, so today I would like to look at the differences in how we treat immediate family versus acquaintances.  To begin with, when we see immediate family we will likely greet them warmly, whereas we might not extend the same type of greeting to an acquaintance.  With members of our immediate family, we will stand by them through thick and thin, but we may not do the same for an acquaintance.  For family members we are probably more inclined to forgive than we are for acquaintances.  There are many more ways in which we treat these groups differently, but the last one I will mention in is in terms of salvation.  We are far more likely to talk to our family members about Jesus than we are to talk with an acquaintance about Him.

In today’s key passage, Paul is writing to Timothy and gives him some advice that really made me stop and think.  Paul is talking about the body of Christ and the family of believers each of us are surrounded by in our lives.  What if instead of treating people differently based on how well we knew them, we treated everyone as if they were immediate family members?  What if we treated older men with the same level of respect we would show our fathers?  What if we treated older women with the same level of love we would show our mothers?  What if we cared for and protected younger people as if they were our sisters and our brothers?  How much better would we treat people as a whole if we treated them the same way we would treat our immediate family?  My prayer today is that as each of us go about our lives, we try to treat others the same way we would treat family members.  Forgive others the way you would forgive family.  Love others the way you would love family.  Care for others the way you would care for family.  When we treat others as family, recognizing that we are all children of the most high God, we will do a much better job in demonstrating the love of Christ to others, which is well worth the effort.

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.


Leading by Example


Daily Bible Reading – 2 Kings 8,9; 2 Chronicles 21; 1 Timothy 4

Today’s Key Passage – 1 Timothy 4:11-16

 

First and Second Timothy are Paul’s letters to a young preacher named Timothy who Paul sent to lead the church in Ephesus.  Paul had a great deal of love and respect for Timothy, and he wanted Timothy to be successful and to remain faithful.  Paul knew, however, that Timothy’s young age might be a problem for some of the members of the Ephesian church.  Some of the believers might take issue with someone so young preaching to them.  In today’s key passage, Paul encouraged Timothy by telling him not to let anyone look down on him because he was young.  He then went on to give Timothy a piece of advice that still echoes with everyone in any kind of church leadership today.  Paul told Timothy to lead by example.  Specifically, Paul wanted Timothy to set an example for the believers in Ephesus in five areas:

In Speech – What we say and how we say it tells others a lot about us.  How are we talking to others?  What kind of things are we talking about?  Our speech is a direct reflection of our hearts.

In Life – How are we living our lives?  What are we doing?  When others look at us, what do they see?  Good or bad, how we live our lives is our witness for God.

In Love – What do our relationships look like?  Do we treat others with love and respect?  How do we act toward our spouses, our children, and our friends?  When the love of Christ is in our hearts, that love will be shown toward others.

In Faith – Obviously, our faith is important, and we demonstrate our faith to others on a daily basis.  Do we exhibit worry or doubt about trying times, or do we remain calm and focused knowing that God will prevail?  Your faith is your testimony to God’s work in your life, and should be unwavering.

In Purity – As followers of Christ, we are called to be pure.  We are called to stay away from sinful things and temptations.  Our level of purity effects all of the other four areas listed above and will be demonstrated in each.  Remain pure, and watch your speech, life, love, and faith improve.

Leaders in a church environment come from many different backgrounds and serve in many different areas.  Leaders can be pastors, deacons, or elders, but they can also be individual believers who simply have influence with others.  By the simplest definition, if anyone else is watching you and taking their cues from you, then you are a leader.  If that is the case, lead by example.  If you are not a leader today but strive to be one day, then begin the process of leading by example now.  All of us can honor God and demonstrate our love for Jesus Christ when we set an example for others in speech, in life, in love, in faith, and in purity.

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.

Praying for Others


Daily Bible Reading – 1 Kings 16; 2 Chronicles 15,16; Colossians 1

Today’s Key Passage – Colossians 1:9-14

 

As followers of Christ, we all understand the power of prayer.  Prayer is a powerful thing, and it is one way that we can connect with God on a personal level.  For most new Christians, prayer typically begins with asking God for the things that they need in their own lives.  As we mature in our faith, we will usually find that more and more often we will be praying not just for ourselves but for other people.  In fact, we will likely spend more time praying for others than for ourselves.  This change in our prayers happens because as we grow in Christ and get to know Him better, we get more and more of His heart for other people.  As our love grows for others, we will want to spend more time praying for them.  If you have never spent a lot of time praying for others, though, this can seem like a daunting task.  What should we pray for?  What should we ask?  In today’s key passage, we can find the answers to these questions.  Paul is praying for the church in Colosse.  Keep in mind that Paul had never actually met the Colossians, but that did not stop him from praying for these brothers and sisters in Christ.  His prayer can be used as a model for us as we pray for others, because he prays for the things that all believers need in their lives.  Today we will look at Paul’s requests for the Colossians:

He prays they will know God’s will – (Vs. 9)

He prays they will gain spiritual wisdom – (Vs. 9)

He prays they will live a life worthy of God and pleasing to Him – (Vs. 10)

He prays they will bear fruit for God – (Vs. 10)

He prays they will grow in their knowledge of God – (Vs. 10)

He prays they will be strengthened with God’s power – (Vs. 11)

He prays they will have great endurance and patience – (Vs. 11)

He prays they will have joy – (Vs. 11)

He prays they will give thanks to God – (Vs. 12)

As we review this list of prayer requests, we can quickly see the beauty of Paul’s prayer for these people whom he had never even met.  When you think about your own life, are these not the things you would ask for yourself?  These nine requests represent the most basic of needs for any follower of Christ, so it is appropriate that these would be the things we would ask God not only for ourselves but for others as well.  I encourage you to spend time in prayer asking God for these nine things, and I encourage you to spend time praying for others.  Pray for your friends in need.  Pray for the people you know who do not know Christ.  Pray for your pastors and church administrators.  Pray for missionaries who are spreading the Gospel in far-away places.  For people you know and people you do not, pray for these nine things, and praise God for His willingness to answer our prayers and for His never-ending faithfulness.

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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