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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.

Am I Really Saved?


Daily Bible Reading – Romans 5-8

Today’s Key Passage – Romans 8:28-39

 

Have you ever worried about whether or not you are really saved?  Have you ever thought that the gift of salvation might not be available for you?  For all of us, it is easy to be deceived by our pasts.  It is easy to fall into the trap of believing we are not good enough.  It is easy to believe we have not done enough to be saved.  It is easy to believe that we are not worthy of this gift.  How foolish are these thoughts?  How foolish we can be when we start to believe the lies.  How foolish we can be when we allow doubt to creep into our minds.  You hear this so often that it has almost become a cliché, but God loves us.  Think about His sacrifice for us.  He gave up His only Son to die for us, and He did this when we were still sinners!

I often think about the love I have for my daughter.  I would not give her up for anything in the world, but that is exactly what God did for us.  That level of love for us is almost beyond human comprehension.  Since we know this to be true, do we not also know that because His love for us is so great, nothing can EVER separate us from that love.  We are eternally bonded to God though our Lord Jesus Christ.  If God gave up His only Son for us, how much more will He surely give us?  Everything we need WILL be provided for us by our Father in Heaven.  Our salvation is not a “maybe” thing or a “sometimes” thing.  It is a definite gift to each of us who live in Christ Jesus.  He is interceding for us.  He is our advocate against Satan.  He gives us the power to live a Christ-like life today, and gives us the gift of eternal life.

When I was a kid, all of the neighborhood kids would come together to play football.  We would always choose teams, and there was always one kid that everyone wanted on their team because he was the best player.  You knew that if he were on your team, you would win the game.  Through Christ Jesus, we are now on God’s team.  He is our best player, and He is always by our side.  Through Him, we know we will always win.  We can never fail.  We can never be separated from Him.  His love for us guarantees our salvation.  Rejoice today!  Do not fear.  Do not worry about “if” you are saved.  YOU ARE!  God is the faithful parent that never lies and always does exactly what He says.  He will not let us down.  He can be trusted absolutely.  Accept His gift, and share the truth of His gift with others.  Any time doubt starts to creep in, focus on His gift and His love for YOU.  You were predetermined by God to be one of His chosen children.  Praise Him today for His 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.

Correcting Other Christians


Daily Bible Reading – Job 41, 42; 2 Corinthians 1, 2

Today’s Key Passage – 2 Corinthians 2:1-11

 

Living a Christian life does not happen in a vacuum.  We know from the Bible that God intends for us to live together in community with other Christians.  This fellowship not only helps us grow as followers of Jesus Christ, it also helps us reach others.  Unfortunately, in doing this we are sometimes faced with circumstances where one of the other believers we are “doing life with” starts to stray from the path.

The idea of having to confront another believer terrifies me.  Like most people, I do not really like confrontation, and I try to avoid it whenever possible.  For a long time, I believed that when I saw another Christian sinning I should not say anything.  After all, I figured it was not my job to confront him, and I was afraid that I would come off as judgmental, but there is a fundamental difference in judging someone and correcting them in love.  This revelation came to me when another believer confronted me for something I was doing.  At first, I was angry at being “called out”, but I soon came to realize that this man was coming to me out of his love for me.  He saw an error I was making, and cared enough about me to bring it to my attention.  Matthew 18:15 says, “If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over.”  When Paul had to correct the Corinthians in today’s key passage, he did it out of love.  Even though he had “great distress and anguish of heart“, he knew that if he truly loved them and cared about them he had to correct them.

In his book, Who You Are When No One’s Looking, Pastor Bill Hybels discusses the “tough love” required to be a follower of Christ.  He lays out a four-point plan to dealing with confrontation.  Step one is clarifying the issue to really understand the problem.  Step two is cleansing your spirit to ensure we do not feel critical, angry, or judgmental before we confront someone.  In Matthew 7:3, Jesus says, “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?”.  Cleansing the spirit allows us to avoid pointing out the speck in our brother’s eye if we have a plank in our own eye.  Step three is carefully selecting the time and place to talk with the believer.  Step four, probably the most important, is to pray to God for help.

By following these points, we can ensure that when we are forced to confront another believer, we do it correctly.  Obviously, the easiest thing to do it is to say nothing at all, but as we know, the easy thing is very rarely the right thing.  If you really love others more than yourself, sometimes it is necessary to correct another Christian.  When this time comes, remember to do it in 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.

The Judgmental Christian


Daily Bible Reading – Job 34; 1 Corinthians 4-6

Today’s Key Passage – 1 Corinthians 4

 

How many times have you heard Christians described as judgmental?  How many times have you felt judged by other believers?  How many times have you judged another?  Being judgmental is really easy to do.  It is easy to look at others situations and start to judge them, even if that is not necessarily our intention.  It is also easy to judge ourselves.  Being judgmental, however, is not our job.  Our role as followers of Christ is to lift others up, not drag them down by judging them.  People tend to look down at others who have less wealth, less education, or less talent.  In addition, people tend to look down on others who do not do as much to serve the church, who do not give as much to the church, or who do not help the needy.  While all of this may be easy to do, it is also all sin.  Looking down on others for any reason is sin in God’s eyes.  He is the only just and right judge.  He is the only one who is perfect enough to judge other people.  Do not get me wrong, as followers of Christ it is our duty to confront another Christian if they are committing sin and refuse to repent, but even in those situations, we are to confront them with love and condemn their actions instead of their person.  When we start to condemn them as people, we cross over from being a helpful brother or sister in Christ to being judgmental and to sinning ourselves.

Paul says it best when he says, “Then you will not be puffed up in being a follower of one of us over against the other. For who makes you different from anyone else? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not?” (4:7)  The next time the urge comes to judge another person, just remember that everything you have – all of your wealth, power, education, talents, treasures, qualities, and characteristics – were given to you by God.  You did not earn them.  God gave them to you by His grace.  When we think of things in this way, it becomes much less tempting to judge others.

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.

Extra Credit


Daily Bible Reading – Esther 1, 2; Psalm 150; Luke 17

Today’s Key Passage – Luke 17:1-10

 

When she was in the third grade, my daughter would receive a list of words at the beginning of each week to study in preparation for a spelling test on Friday.  On the list of words, her teacher would provide two “extra credit” words, which were much more difficult than the other words on the list.  If spelled correctly on the test, these two words could take the place of other words that may have been misspelled.  Because of their importance, my daughter would always spend a bit more time studying those two words just in case she made any mistakes with the other words.

Many times, we can wrongly believe that when we live obediently to God’s Word we are doing “extra credit” work.  We might feel that a few good deeds can make up for any sinfulness we may cling to in our hearts.  In today’s key passage, Jesus dispels this myth.  He tells His disciples to be careful not to cause anyone else to sin (17:1-2), to correct wrongdoers, and to forgive others who repent. (17:3-4)  The disciples realized they could never be obedient to these commands in their own strength and asked Jesus to increase their faith (17:5), but Jesus told them that even a small amount of faith was sufficient for them to obey. (17:6)  He then went on to tell them a parable about a servant who worked for his master not to receive praise, but because it was his duty. (17:7-10)

As followers of Christ, we are His servants.  When we act in accordance to His will, we should not do so in order to garner praise or to try to build up “extra credit” in Heaven.  We should live according to His commands because it is our duty.  Instead of feeling prideful for the deeds we complete in His name, we can all feel blessed to be given the opportunity to serve Him and others, and we can obey His Word because of our great love for 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.

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

Questions about Jesus


Daily Bible Reading – Ezra 1; Psalms 84-85; Luke 7

Today’s Key Passage – Luke 7:18-35

 

John the Baptist knew what his role was in this life.  He knew that he was to prepare the way for God’s chosen one – the Messiah.  He had heard all of the stories about Jesus, and he knew that Jesus must have been sent by God.  The only problem was that he was not sure if Jesus was just another prophet or the Anointed One of God, so he sent two of his disciples to Jesus to ask him. (7:18-20)  Jesus response to John’s disciples tells us a lot about Him.  He could have been upset about being questioned.  He could have been angry that John felt the need to ask questions about Him instead of simply believing blindly.  This, of course, was not Jesus’ response.  Jesus told John’s disciples to report back to John all the things He had done. (7:22)  Jesus healed the sick, gave sight to the blind, and raised the dead, among other miraculous deeds.  He wanted John the Baptist to decide for himself if Jesus was the Messiah based on the evidence at hand.  Then, as further evidence that Jesus was not upset about being questioned, He spoke to the crowd about John the Baptist’s greatness among men. (7:28)

Most of us, whether we are followers of Christ or not, have had questions about Jesus.  They might be questions we have already answered, or they might be lingering thoughts that appear from time to time.  Is Jesus really the Messiah?  Does He really know me?  Did He really die for my sins?  Does He really see me as perfect and beautiful?  Does He really love me?  If you have ever felt guilty for asking yourself these questions about Jesus, today’s key passage will be a real blessing for you.  See, Jesus does not get angry about being questioned.  Having questions about Him does not mean there is something wrong with your faith or that you are not a “good Christian”.  Just like John, Jesus invites us to examine the evidence about Him and decide for ourselves that He is who He says He is.  The more we learn about Him through reading God’s Word and spending time with Him in prayer, the fewer questions we will have about Him.  Then, as we answer our questions about Him, we will grow to trust Him and love Him with all our hearts, souls, minds, and strength.

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

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

A Reason for Hope


Daily Bible Reading – Lamentations 3-5; Revelation 15

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

 

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

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

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

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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.

Eating the Little Scroll


Daily Bible Reading – Ezekiel 25-28; Revelation 10

Today’s Key Passage – Revelation 10:1-11

 

In today’s key passage, the prophecy of God’s final judgment continues through the apostle John.  A mighty angel comes down from Heaven carrying a little scroll. (Vss. 1-2)  While we are not told exactly what the scroll contained because John was told not to provide details (Vs. 4), we do know that it had to do with God’s judgment on unbelievers. (Vss. 6-7)  John was told to take the scroll from the angel (Vs. 8), and when he did, the angel told John to eat it. (Vs. 9)  When he did, just as the angel predicted, the scroll tasted as sweet as honey in John’s mouth, but quickly soured his stomach. (Vs. 10)

When we first read passages like these in the book of Revelation, we might feel a little confused.  We may not immediately understand what the passage means to us today or how we can apply it to our lives.  Fortunately, the more we study God’s Word and prayerfully consider His passages, God tends to provide us with understanding and show us an application.  When we read about God’s final judgments against this world, as followers of Christ the words are as sweet as honey.  We long for Christ’s victorious return and we long for the new earth.  Unfortunately, there is another side to that coin.  While we rejoice in what the end times will mean for us as believers, our stomachs quickly sour as we think about the fate of unbelievers.  There are so many people in this world that will be lost, and that simple fact hurts our hearts and makes us feel ill.  This sickening feeling is what drives us to continue to spread the Gospel each day, and to keep trying to reach the lost.  As God changes our hearts, we begin to grieve for the things that grieve Him, and nothing grieves Him more than the thought of a lost soul.

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.

Jesus’ Prayer for Us


Daily Bible Reading – Jeremiah 18-20; Psalm 93; John 17

Today’s Key Passage – John 17:5-26

 

When was the last time someone prayed for you?  Was it a prayer spoken in the privacy of someone else’s heart that you found out about after the fact, or was it another believer praying over you in person?  If you have ever experienced this, you know it can be a very moving moment in our faith.  We know that, “the prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.” (James 5:16)  We also know that, “if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of Him.” (1 John 5:14-15)  These two Biblical truths are what make prayer from another person so powerful, and they are also what make today’s key passage so important.

In the seventeenth chapter of John, Jesus prays an extended prayer for all of His disciples.  He prays not only for the disciples who were listening to Him at the time, He also prays for all of us who are following Him today.  In His prayer, He asks God for many things on our behalf.  He prays that we will all be unified as one body of Christ (Vs. 11), protected from the evil one (Vs. 15), and sanctified by the truth of God’s Word. (Vs. 17)  Perhaps my favorite part of Jesus’ prayer is when He asks God to allow each of us to live with Him so we can see His glory. (Vs. 24)

So why did Jesus pray this prayer for us and why is it recorded in the Bible?  Jesus had an intimate relationship with the Father, and did not need to pray this prayer aloud for His own benefit or to make sure God heard Him.  He did it for one reason and one reason only – so that we all might have the full measure of Jesus’ joy in our lives. (Vs. 13)  Experience the joy that comes from knowing that Jesus Christ prayed this prayer for YOU, and that He continues to intercede on YOUR behalf today before God.  Since no man has ever been more righteous than Jesus, no prayer has ever been more powerful or more effective.

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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