Healthy Snacks For The Soul

Day 40

Genesis 24:1-9 “Effective Evangelism – 1”

We see a beautiful picture of evangelism as Abraham sends his servant to find a wife for his son. Abraham symbolizes the Father, Isaac – the Son, and the servant – Spirit filled servants of God. This man proved himself to be faithful in responsibilities. Abraham not only told him where to go, but where not to go in this mission. He was not to compromise the object of the mission or the methods for the purpose of success. The servant loaded up with much wealth to “demonstrate” the benefits of committing to the son in marriage. If he was not successful, he was released to return home but warned not to take his son back to that place. Today, as servants of God, we are to be tested, equipped to demonstrate the wealth of God’s kingdom, and unwilling to vary from our Lord’s directives.

Matthew 8:5-13 “The Source of Authority?”

Jesus was begged by a centurion to heal his servant. He quickly asserted willingness to go and heal him, but the centurion objected saying he was not worthy for Jesus to enter his home. The faith of the centurion was not in who he was, but in who Jesus was: “For I also am a man UNDER authority, with soldiers under me; and I say to this one, ‘Go!’ And he goes, to another, ‘Come!’ And he comes, and to my slave, ‘Do this!’ And he does it.” (9) Note the centurion understood that authority over things, comes from being under authority. Today, many of us rebel and reject authority, seeing ourselves as judges of authority, rather than those who honor authority.. Yet, we are clearly instructed in Scripture to respect authority in the home, community, government and church. Many have little or no authority in their lives, because they are unwilling to come under God designed and defined authority. May God give us wisdom to see the importance of coming under authority.

Day 39

Genesis 23 “Great Loss & Moving On”

Abraham had lived in the promise land for about 62 years without owning any land. At the death of His wife, he purchased a field and a cave for her burial. Ephron, the owner of the land, wanted to give it to him, but Abraham insisted on paying a fair price. The only land Abraham would own in this promised land would be a burial ground for his precious wife. Twice he refers to burying his dead “out of my sight.” As much as he loved his wife, he needed to move on with his life. Great loss can become an idol anchoring us in our past and preventing us from moving on in what God has for us. May God grant us wisdom and courage to bury our dead OUT OF OUR SIGHT so we can move on in all He has remaining for us.

Matthew 8:1-4 “God Is Able & Willing!”

Jesus was followed by great crowds because of His teaching. “And a leper came to Him and bowed down before Him, and said, ‘Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean.’” (2b) Many believe Jesus has the power to heal, but are not confident He is WILLING to heal.They know they are not worthy so their faith fails not knowing God’s God’s loving nature. Jesus healed the man being moved by compassion and not for the promotion of His ministry. When we understand the nature of God, our faith is strengthened and we are healed. May God give us revelation to know He is willing to heal, not because we are worthy, but because of Who He is! Our God is full of love, compassion and mercy.

Day 38

Genesis 22:9-24 “Hard Tests, High Purposes”

In this test of Abraham’s obedience to offer Isaac as a burnt offering, we see many parallels to our Heavenly Father offering His Son on our behalf. Isaac was the only begotten son whom he loved. For three days Isaac was dead in Abraham’s heart. Isaac carried the wood upon which he was to be sacrificed. Isaac was at the place of God’s designation. At the time of Isaac’s “resurrection” the birth of his future bride is announced. We must ask God to open our spiritual eyes to see what great things He is accomplishing through our most severe trials. This great parallel to the crucifixion of Christ shows God’s predetermined plan, incredible love for lost humanity and His sovereignty over all our trials.

Matthew 7:24-29 “Build on the Rock!”

This parable of wise and foolish men points out an essential element to our faith so we stand when facing the storms of life. The critical distinction is in the foundation, the wise man building on a rock and the foolish building on sand. The rock represents all who hear Christ’s words and ACTS on them. The sand represents those who hear Christ’s words but do NOT act on them. Hearing or reading a good message is useless unless we apply God’s word in it. All of us face storms, but where we are after the storm is directly related to what we have done with what we have heard.

Day 37

Genesis 22:4-8 “Trusting in Contradiction”

This act of obedience to God directly conflicts with the promises Abraham received from God. Abraham had to lay Isaac on the altar of burnt offering and trust God in what seemed like a direct contradiction to His promise. Here he separated from those who accompanied him and went to the place of God’s designation alone with God and the son of His promise. To those with him, he said, “…I and the lad will go over there; and we will worship and return to you.” (5b) This is an incredible statement of faith! Why? Because Abraham was about to slay his son and offer him as a burnt offering. Yet, he believed God would raise him from the dead. Obeying God requires we cling to His promises regardless of what appears to contradict them. We may be tested to see if we love God more than His promises and gifts to us.

Matthew 7:21-23 “Deception of Religion”

“Not everyone who says to Me. ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter.” (21) Modern Christianity often dumbs down the cost of our faith. Here Jesus challenges those who think that by clinging to religious traditions and forms they can enter God’s kingdom. Yet, entrance is not to those who are religious, but to those who follow Christ in a manner that is life transforming. We are known by our fruit and not our disciplines or religious practices. Fruit is what comes forth naturally because of who and what we are rooted in. Let us abide in Christ bearing good fruit.

Day 36

Genesis 22:1-3 “God or His Blessings?”

Abraham overcame many fears, grew in faith and knowledge of God, but here faced his greatest test. God speaks to him, “…’Take now your son, your ONLY son, whom you LOVE, Isaac, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering…” (2b). Having released Ismael, Abraham placed all his hope and love in Isaac. Now God asked him to give Isaac, whom he loved, back to Him in a worship offering. God had dealt with his fears, but now was putting his love for Him to the tests. Now God would see if he loved Him or His blessings more. Abraham did not delay, but rose early and made preparations for the journey to obey the Lord. One reason Abraham defeated every fear, was because of His love and trust relationship with God Who was progressively revealed through various trials. When we love God more than His blessings, we will stand victorious to every challenge of our faith.

Matthew 7:15-20 “Beware of False Prophets!”

“Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits…” (15-16a) This warning challenges us to take responsibility for our own security against deceptive and destructive influences. People of influence, in ministry, may appear harmless and even entertaining. Yet, when you examine the fruit of their lives, their true nature is quite different. They are those who take advantage of others for their own benefit, as ravenous wolves. Fruit, does not necessarily show up in their teaching or ministry, but is revealed in the character emerging in life’s flow and trials. The fruit of our lives depends upon the roots of our lives. Do these influencers serve out of their connection with Christ or out of their own selfish nature. May God give us the wisdom to look beyond charisma to the character as a measure of who people are and be protected from what is false.

Day 35

Genesis 21:22-34 “Blessing Our Enemies?”

Previously, Abraham confessed to Abimelech the fear behind his lie and prayed for him. Now Abimelech expresses fear of Abraham and asks him to swear by God that he will not deal falsely with him or his offspring. At this point Abraham has the courage to complain of injustice regarding a well he had dug which Abimelech’s servants seized. Then Abraham blessed Abimelech with sheep and oxen. “Abraham planted a tamarisk tree at Beersheba, and there he called on the name of the LORD, the everlasting God.” (33) When we pray for and bless our enemies, we are able to live in peace as we call and lean upon our Everlasting God.

Matthew 7:13-14 “What Path Are We On?”

“Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.” (13-14) Christianity is not a religion of ease, but we receive grace to enter and live in the narrow path leading to life. Many today promote the grace of God as a means to life granting a broad path of entrance and walk of ease. However, Jesus declared He is the only entrance and living in obedience to Him is the only path to life. Grace does not grant us liberty to live as we wish, but the power to live as we should. Jesus stated our righteousness must exceed the outward observance of laws and become a righteousness engraved on our hearts. Let’s not follow the crowds or trends, but embrace the path of life pursuing and following fully our Lord Jesus Christ.

Day 34

Genesis 21:9-21 “Let It Go!”

“Now Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, whom she had borne to Abraham, mocking.” (9) This provoked Sarah to ask Abraham to get rid of Hagar and her son. But this distressed him for Ishmael was his son and he was now attached to him. God spoke to Abraham to heed his wife promising to protect and provide for Ishmael, but it would be through Isaac God’s promise would come. When what is produced by the flesh observes the celebration of what comes by the promise through the Spirit, in jealousy there is mocking. What is God’s solution? Get rid of the flesh [Ishmael] and the flesh producer [Hagar the Egyptian] (Galatians 4:30). Though we have developed attachments to what is born of the flesh, we must let it go to enjoy what is born of the Spirit. The pain of loss is soon be replaced by the joy of what is produced from the promise by the Spirit. Interestingly, Hagar gets a wife for her son from Egypt.

Matthew 7:7-12 “Love Without Fear”

Jesus encourages us to be aggressive in pursuing what comes from our Heavenly Father. If earthly sinful fathers give what is good and beneficial to their children, how much more will our perfect and all powerful heavenly Father give to us what is good when we ask. “In everything, THEREFORE, treat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the Law and the Prophets.” (12) The “Therefore” here points back to the faith we have in our heavenly Father. Understanding His incredible love and generosity to us, we are safe in extending His love and kindness to others. No fear can derail us for we rest in our heavenly Father’s love and power.

Day 33

Genesis 21:8 “Celebrating ‘Little’ Things!”

Abraham obeyed God’s word regarding circumcision at eight days of age exactly as He had commanded. Not only was there great joy at his birth, but Abraham celebrated Isaac’s progress by giving a great feast “…on the day that he was weaned.” (8b). God had promised Abraham greatness and a great nation 25 years before (12:2), but Abraham and Sarah did not wait until the fulfillment of the prophecy to celebrate. We need to be careful not to despise the day of “small thing” (Zechariah 4:10) but engage in joyful recognition of God’s works. When we rejoice in “small things,” God is released in our lives to do great things.

Matthew 7:6 “Valuing God’s Gems”

“Do not give what is holy to dogs, and do not throw your pearls before swine, or they will trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.” (6) In the excitement of God revealing to us precious truths, we often blurt them out to those who have no appreciation for them. Jesus is sharing wonderful insights here, but instructs His disciples not to waste their time trying to give them to those who do not value them. In fact, by so doing, the truth is trampled and hostility is stirred and there is no benefit to anyone. May God grant us wisdom in sharing His jewels so He is glorified and others are strengthened.

Day 32

Genesis 21:1-7 “God’s Timing Is Best”

“Then the LORD took note of Sarah as He had said and the LORD did for Sarah as He had promised.” (1) God always comes through with His promises. They may appear delayed, but are in His perfect time for our perfect benefit and testimony to His power. Not only did this birth bring joy, but laughter, especially in regards to the miraculous nature of Isaac’s birth. “Sarah said, ‘Who would have said to Abraham that Sarah would nurse children? Yet I have borne him a son in his old age.’” (6) God’s timing is so much better than ours. Let us not fear, but trust God to bring about His promises in His time for our benefit and His glory!

Matthew 7:1-6 “Effectively Serving Others”

“Do not judge so that you will not be judged. For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by the standard of measure, it will be measured to you.” (1-2) Jesus gives attention to this sinful human tendency to be critical of the flaws in others while, at the same time, overlooking greater flaws within ourselves. When we are judgmental, it is symptomatic of our failure to address our own problems. We sometimes see parents highly critical of the behavior of children and failure of their parents, while worse behavior exists in their own. When we seek God to deal with our own issues, we are far more compassionate in ministering to the issues of others. May God give us the wisdom to focus on ourselves in a way that enables us to effectively serve and help others.

Day 31

Genesis 20 “Lies Rooted in Fear”

This second time Abraham and Sarah lied about their relationship, it was rooted in a deep seated fear rooted in a wrong perceptions. “Abraham said, ‘Because I thought,…’” (11) Like Abraham, our lies are often tied to fears created by misperception. It is interesting God deals with Abraham by speaking to Abimelech. God uses the one Abraham perceived as ungodly to correct his perception of Himself. God calls Abraham, who lied, a prophet whom Abimelech needed to intercede for him. In Abraham’s confession he admits this fear, but also justifies his lie by saying it was partly true. Yet, when Abraham prayed, God healed Abimelech’s household. God is able to use the ungodly who appear as enemies, to expose our hidden fears and correct our perceptions of Him.

Matthew 6:25-34 “Adjusting Priorities to Beat Worry”

Jesus exposes the foolishness of worrying about provisions by pointing out the Heavenly Father’s care for the birds, creation, and our greater value to Him as His children. He also points out worry adds nothing. “But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith!” (30) Fear of insufficient provision is rooted in a wrong perception of God our Father. Consequently, we should adjust our priorities to seek God’s rule and righteousness above all these less important matters knowing He cares for us. We should not add unnecessary stress to our day, but look beyond temporal needs to secure eternal needs from our Heavenly Father.

Day 30

Genesis 19 “Influence by Intercession”

Although Lot recognized the two angels as special visitors, they did not concede to stay with him without begging. Lot had no influence over the corrupt community he lived in, his family or his future sons-in-laws. When warned to flee to the mountains for safety, Lot negotiated with them to settle in a small city. They fled from Sodom and Gomorrah and God rained fire and brimstone on these wicked cities. “But his wife, from behind him, looked back, and she became a pillar of salt.” (26) Regardless of his personal convictions, Lot was unable to prevent his wife from becoming attached to this wicked place, but “…God remembered Abraham, and sent Lot out of the midst of the overthrow,…” (29b). His daughters were so corrupt they were convinced the only way to continue their line was through incest. We must remember who God remembered when He rescued Lot!

Matthew 6:19-24 “Investing In Eternity!”

In God’s kingdom security does not come through our savings or earthly investments, but through investments in heaven. “But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal;” (20) In fact, in the model prayer given by Jesus, He asserts we are to ask for one days supply only! If we invest in heaven then our hearts will be focused on heaven. Our heart follows our investments. In fact, He warns us further that incorrect use and attitudes about finances cloud our perceptions and darken our souls. “No one can serve two masters;…” (24a) Let us escape the grip of worldly views of finances and security by investing our earthly resources into the cause of God’s kingdom and eternity [heaven]. There they are not subject to thievery, stock market crashes, political changes or any other earthly influences. Only by investing in heaven are we truly secure and able to keep our hearts in the right place.

Day 29

Genesis 18:1-15 “Interceding for the Unworthy”

Abraham yielded the choice of land to Lot and Lot ended up in great trouble. After Abraham rescued him and his family, Lot still chose to dwell among wicked influences placing him and his family in danger of God’s judgment. Lot’s children mingled with the wicked and he lost all influence for good over them and the city. Yet, Abraham pleaded before God for the entire city. Regardless of the persistence of people’s selfishness or how ungrateful they are to our service, we must persist in intercession before our God on their behalf. This Abraham exemplifies. Let us take our place as intercessors for the unworthy because we also have and do receive from God what we did not and do not deserve.

Matthew 6:16-18 “Motivation & Reward”

“Whenever you fast, do not put on a gloomy face as the hypocrites do, for they neglect their appearance so that they will be noticed by men when they are fasting. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full.” (16) The spiritual discipline of fasting, or going without food, was and is an important part of believers lives. However, not only is the practice, but our motives in the practice are critical. If we are moved to be noticed by men, this will be our only reward. But when our motive is free of this concern and we do this in secret being noticed by God only, we will be rewarded by Him. There is no greater reward than being noticed by God and Him responding to our cries. May God give us wisdom to be concerned for His approval!

Day 28

Genesis 17:23-27 “Obeying God Promptly”

When God spoke to Abraham to circumcise all the males of his household, he obeyed Him completely and quickly. Abraham “…circumcised the flesh of their foreskin in the very same day, as God had said to him.” (23b). It had been 24 years since his entrance into Canaan and there was no natural evidence of God’s promises to encourage him. However, Abraham did not take 24 hours to obey God completely. Circumcision of the heart is also a very painful, but is essential for a healthy future. Let us be quick to obey the Lord upon hearing His voice knowing the certainty of God’s promise and the greatness of His love.

Matthew 6:9-15 “The Order of Prayer”

This prayer was an outline to guide us into an effective prayer life. Note it begins with our relationship with God as Father and His limitless nature [in heaven]. The first petition is concerned with the honor God’s name or Who He is. Then, and only then, we are in a position to bring our petitions and needs to God [practical and spiritual]. The first reflection on this prayer is, ”For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions.” (14-15). Prayer is powerless without God being central and forgiveness being a primary characteristic of our lives.

Day 27

Genesis 17:15-22 “Let it Go & Laugh”

Here God instructs Abraham to no longer refer to his wife as Sarai, but as Sarah [princess]. Her old name was attached to barrenness but her new name would reflect her blessedness and fruitfulness. Abraham was so overwhelmed by this miraculous promise that he fell down laughing. But another issue arose here: “And Abraham said to God, ‘Oh that Ishmael might live before You!’” (18). Like Abraham, we often get attached to what has been produced in the flesh, but God calls us to let it go and trust in His promise by His Spirit. We must let go of what is produced by flesh in order to move forward into our miracle. The son of promise was named Isaac [he laughs]. Let us long for the fruitfulness God promises by the miraculous power of the Spirit in His timing.

Matthew 6:5-8 “Are We Prayer Hypocrites?”

Jesus warns His disciples not to follow the patterns found in many religious leaders: “…for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on the street corners SO THAT they may be seen by men…” (5b). Some people pray to be seen by men rather than to God alone. We are not to be motivated by a desire to be recognized by men, but a desire to be rewarded by God. Second, we are not heard by because of the quantity of words. God is not ignorant of our needs or in need of more information. In fact, “…your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.” (8b). Prayer is simply the means of asking putting us humbly before God as a loving Father Who abundantly supplies for all we lack. Prayer is a form of praise confessing our need and God’s abundance as our source. Let’s not be hypocrites!

Day 26

Genesis 17:9-14 “Circumcision Proceeds Promise”

God called Abraham to His covenant of circumcision. This was the cutting away of the flesh of the foreskin of every male living among them. The removal of the flesh on the reproductive organ of males is a symbol of God’s call to fully rely upon Him and not on the efforts of the flesh, especially in regards to His promises. It addresses Abraham’s failure in the last chapter resulting in the birth of Ishmael who was antagonistic to the promised son Isaac. We must always remember, it is “…’Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ says the LORD of hosts.” (Zechariah 4:6b). Today God circumcises our hearts for the same reason.

Matthew 6:1-4 “Aim to Please God”

“Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven.” (1) This warning Jesus first illustrates in the area of giving to the poor. We are NOT to be motivated by the desire to be seen by others or that recognition is the extent of our reward. While many are content with this, we, guard our hearts giving in secret before God, because His rewards are far better. Good deeds done before men may produce praise from men, but God’s approval and rewards are far better. Let us raise our sights above the applause of men and aim to please our Father in heaven.

Day 25

Genesis 17:1-8 “Be Blameless, Really?”

“Now when Abram was ninety-nine years old, the LORD appeared to Abram and said to him, ‘I am God Almighty; Walk before Me, and be blameless.” (1) Years after Abram’s failed attempt to bring God’s promise by the flesh, God appears bringing correction and encouragement. First, He declares to Abram who He is: “…’I am God Almighty;…” (1b). Many teach we are to believe in ourselves and that our destiny is rooted in who we are. Yet here, we see God’s promises do not depend on our identity or efforts, but on who God is in limitless power. From knowing who God is and walking in His presence, we obtain the ability to be blameless. May God give us the grace to look past our abilities and failures to see who He is in greatness and holiness. From knowing this, we are able to rise above ourselves, be blameless and be blessed with fulfillment of His promises.

Matthew 5:38-48 “Don’t Be Distracted by Injustice”

“You have heard that it was said, ‘AN EYE FOR AN EYE, AND A TOOTH FOR A TOOTH.’ But I say to you,…” (38-39a) Jesus points to the justice demanded by the law, but calls us to not get entangled in this issue, but persist in loving others. “But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven;…” (44-45a) It is easy for us to get distracted and bogged down in the issues of justice, but an effective testimony of our heavenly Father is seen in our persistence in love regardless of what we suffer. Let us not get bogged down in the issues of politics, but persist in loving people promoting our heavenly Father’s kingdom!

Day 24

Genesis 16 “Flesh Versus Spirit”

Ten years has passed since Abram arrived in Canaan. He stands on God’s promise while the natural realm contradicts it. Sarai offers her Egyptian maid Hagar as a means to acquiring a son. “…’And Abram listened to the voice of Sarai.’” (2b) When Abram went to Egypt due to famine, he picked up someone who would be a long term problem to the promised son and the entire world. Instead of standing on God’s promise, Abram sought to bring about the promise by the efforts of the flesh. This man, “He will be a wild donkey of a man, His hand will be against everyone, And everyone’s hand will be against him; And he will live to the east of all his brothers.” (12). What is produced in the flesh is an enemy of what is produced by the Spirit. and lives “outside” God’s promises. We must be careful not to turn to this ungodly world less we pick up something that becomes a long term problem to the promised fruit of the Spirit.

Matthew 5:33-37 “A Simple Yes or No”

Another example of Jesus’ desire to see a greater righteousness than what is produced by legalism, is the need to guard our words. The failure to keep one’s word is a stumbling block to an effective testimony of many. Swearing to keep our word does not increase our power to do so. We do not own heaven, earth or the city of God. We, therefore, should not make outrageous commitments but keep them simple and straight forward. “But let your statement be, ‘Yes, yes’ or ‘No, no’; anything beyond these is of evil.” (37). May God give us wisdom to exercise cautious wisdom in giving our word to anyone, lest we undermine our testimony of Christ.

Day 23

Genesis 15 “Revived in Worship”

“…Do not fear, Abram, I am a shield to you; Your reward shall be very great.” (1b) God confronts fear in Abram hidden by his risking his life to save Lots and refusing a material offer from the king of Sodom. He was brave in warfare, but discouraged by the delay in God’s promises. God adjusted his perspective in a vision. When Abram confessed his uncertainty, God requested a worship offering. Note Abram had to contend with the birds of prey to protect the offering. Our enemy often goes after our offering, for in our obedient worship hope is restored. When Abram fell into a deep dark sleep, he became unconscious to this world’s realities and contradictions, and awakened to God’s reality, promise and explanation for the delay. Let us worship God according to His word and lift our eyes from this world’s realities and enter God’s reality receiving hope, encouragement and understanding.

Matthew 5:21-32 “Greater Righteousness”

The first example of righteousness exceeding the Pharisees is the issue of murder. While the law defines the outward expression of murder, God’s grace takes us to the heart and motive of murder which is anger. When we address this internal issue, the external issues of anger, like our words, are addressed. Consequently, we must give our attention to the heart by the grace of our Lord Jesus keeping it free from the prison of unforgiveness and bitterness. The same is true in the issue of adultery and divorce. God is not concerned only with the physical act of adultery and divorce, but with the heart that can enslave us there. We must guard our eyes to protect our hearts. We can rise above legalism by the grace of God available in Jesus!

Day 22

Genesis 14 “Serving God Most High”

Lot chose what looked like the best land for himself. Yet, he did not see the danger in his selfish choice. He did not see the coming war, growing wickedness or losses coming by simply moving there. When Abram heard Lot was taken captive, he did not say “he gets what he deserved,” but assembled friends and risked his life to save his nephew who chose selfishly and unwisely. After returning from victory, Abram received a blessing from a priest increasing his understanding of God. He gave a tithe to Melchizedek, but refused the offer of the king of Sodom not wanting to hinder his testimony. Are we, like Abram, willing to lay our lives down to see undeserving people saved from their own bad choices? Are we willing to bless God’s servants, reject the offers of the wicked and trust fully in God Most High?

Matthew 5:17-20 “Purpose of Jesus’ Coming”

“Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill.” (17) Jesus did not come because of the weakness of the law, but because of the weakness of sinful man to keep the law. He came to empower us, not only to fulfill the law, but the very righteousness of it. Those who think grace is given simply so we can continue in sin have missed this critical purpose of Christ’s coming. We must encourage each other knowing that the same Spirit that raised Christ from the dead, can raise us from a life of sin to live in the righteousness God intends for all humanity (Romans 8:11).

Day 21

Genesis 13 “Father Knows Best!”

Abram returned to the altar and began to call on God again. Here another challenge to his faith journey arose. Conflict between his and Lot’s herdsman arose due to limited land and the Canaanite and Perizzites living there. “So Abram said to Lot, ‘Please let there be no strife between you and me,…’” (8a) Instead of reacting in fear and asserting his call, Abram yielded first choice to Lot. At the altar, Abram gained strength to trust God to defend His promises. Lot chose for himself what seemed like the best, but failed to see the dangers there. Then God exhorted Abram, “…’Now lifts up your eyes…’” (14b). Then God affirmed all he could see would belong to him and his descendants. He also promised Abram that his seed would be as the dust of the earth. We can trust that God, our Father, knows what is best for us!

Matthew 5:13-16 “Being Salt & Light”

At the conclusion of the beatitudes, Jesus’ disciples were likely challenged by what seemed to be outrageous. Yet, we are not like this world, but stand in stark contrast to it. Christianity is to be salt, making the world we live in tolerable and light exposing darkness and lies so man can turn to God for hope and life. Consequently, we have something to offer, but if we blend with our world and its ways, we have no value to it! “Let you light shine before men in such a way that they will see your good works, and Glorify your Father who is in heaven.” (16)

Day 20

Genesis 12:10-20 “Facing Our Fears”

Now there was a famine in the land; so Abram went down to Egypt to sojourn there, for the famine was severe in the land.” (10) Up to this point, Abram moved because his faith in God’s word. This move to Egypt, however, was not prompted by God’s word but by fear of circumstances. Consequently, this led to another fear and bad decision involving his wife in a lie to protect himself. But God intervened striking Pharaoh for taking Sarai and had his men drive Abram back to Canaan. Decisions of fear domino into other bad decisions. Thanks be to God in His great mercy He brings us back to where we went Wrong and gives us opportunity to start over. May God have mercy on our fears and bring us back to the place of His call and calling on His great Name.

Matthew 5:11-12 “Seeing Beyond Suffering”

It is an amazing thing that we can consider persecution and insults a blessing. Not because we are special, but because we represent our Lord. Attacks rooted in our personal weaknesses do not honor God, but those rooted in a desire to live out our faith in Christ, will reap great reward. Culture today demands we defend ourselves and attack those who attack us. But when we are attacked because of our faith and representation of Christ, it is testimony we are on track. Why? Because, historically speaking, this is how people treated the great prophets of old. When we are similarly attacked, we can rejoice in that we are in great company. May God give us the grace to see beyond our present suffering to our eternal reward.

Day 19

Genesis 12:4-9 “Pillars of Faith”

“So Abram went forth as the LORD had spoken to him;…” (4a) Abram’s faith is evidenced in his obedience. When he arrived in Canaan, the natural evidenced was stacked against God’s promises; Abram had no son and others occupied the place of promise. His faith walk began with challenges, but “The LORD appeared to Abram and said, ‘To your descendants I will give this land.’…” (7a). In spite of these contradictions, Abram stood on these pillars of faith: God’s presence, God’s promise and God’s guidance in prayer rooted in God’s call. It is good to reflect on God’s call, promises and visitations to strengthen our faith when faced with contradictions or challenges to what God has said to us!

Matthew 5:10 “Rewarded for Right”

“Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (10) Many who suffer from bad choices or reputations, say they are being persecuted. However, they are, in fact, suffering consequences of their own bad behaviors. We must not confuse persecution with prosecution. When we suffer from doing right, there is great reward. We enjoy the rule of God in our lives and are not manipulated by the external opposition of those who prefer and love darkness. The reward of God’s heavenly rule in our lives far out-weighs anything we lose as consequence of doing right. May God give us courage and strength to walk in righteousness standing strong against the tides of evil in this world.

Day 18

Genesis 12:1-3 “Take This Whole World!”

The call of God to Abram is radical demanding separation from everything Abram held valuable in the natural realm: his homeland, his family and closest relationships. And yet, he was to step out to a land God had not yet shown to him. This is why we call it a faith journey. On the other side, we see the wonderful promises of God. He will make Abram a great nation, great name, bless him and make him a blessing to all nations. While forgiveness and mercy are free based on the work of Christ, our walk with God is not without cost. To follow Him we must be willing to separate from all influences other than God Himself. However, when we see the rewards of so doing, it is more than worth all we give up. “Take this whole world, but give me Jesus!”

Matthew 5:9 “Do We Value Peace?”

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.” (9) Peacemakers are not highly valued in our culture. We applaud people who speak their mind regardless of the damage done to others. Yet, it is characteristic of God’s children to be lovers and promoters of peace. While violence characterizes a society in decline (Note Genesis 4 & 6), the pursuit of peace is characteristic of all who follow Jesus. Those who barge into conflict without concern for consequence are not reflecting the nature of Christ, but their own sinful and selfish bent. While Jesus did not shy from truth, He did not unnecessarily enter conflict. May we cherish and pursue God’s peace.

Day 17

Genesis 11:10-32 “The Journey of Faith!”

Here we learn of the lineage of Shem leading to the brith of Terah and his sons Abram, Nahor and Haran. Haran died before his father Terah, so when they left for Canaan, Terah took Haran’s son Lot. However, they settled in Haran [likely named after Terah’s son who died] and lived their until Terah died. Based on the call and promises of God they began their journey, yet Abram’s wife was barren, they became stalled in Haran, and then Abram’s father died. In this dark place Abram resumed his journey and kept moving forward in God’s call and promises. We must not allow contrary circumstances to interfere with our walk of faith. What we see is not what will be!

Matthew 5:8 “Seeing Clearly, A Heart Condition”

“Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God.” (8) Our faith journey is linked to our heart’s perspective. A divided impure heart creates a cloudy perspective leading to hesitation from doubt and discouragement. When our hearts are pure and free of the clutter and noise of this world, we SEE God in every step even in the midst of contradictions! So, in fact, it is not the distractions of life or its various obstacles preventing us from walking in the fulness of God’s desire for us, but it is our perspective which is linked to our heat’s condition. Our heart greatly determines what we see especially in the midst of adversity to God’s call and promises. O Lord, keep our hearts pure and fixed on You our loving Savior.

Day 16

Genesis 11:1-9 “Come, Let Us…”

The progress of human culture and accomplishment emerged from unity of language and purpose. Note these phrases: “…’Come, let us make bricks…’”; “…’Come, let us build for ourselves a city,…’”; “…’let us make for ourselves a name, otherwise we will be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth.’” (3-4). This progressive culture sought provision, identity and security entirely separate and independent from God. When God saw their accomplishments He could also see their end and devised a plan to unite heaven to divide earth and slow their departure from Him. “Come, let Us go down and confuse their language, so that they will not understand one another’s speech.” (7) Come, let us maintain a healthy view of our dependence on God for provision, identity and security.

Matthew 5:7 “Don’t Dam Up Mercy”

“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.” (7) When we show mercy to others, we reflect God’s nature toward us. When we do not show mercy, we demonstrate ingratitude for God’s mercy toward us. There is no greater poison to happiness than unforgiveness and bitterness. Beyond this, unwillingness to show mercy builds a dam to the flow of God’s mercy in our own lives. Let us be quick to forgive extending mercy in a way that keeps the free flow of God’s mercy in our own lives. God loves to apply mercy to all areas of our lives. If we are lacking God’s mercy, we might want to check and see if we have damed it up.

Day 15

Genesis 10 “Greatness Does Not Equal Godliness”

In these record of Noah’s descendants we see greatness among the line of Ham. Of Nimrod it says, “He was a mighty hunter before the LORD; therefore it is said, ‘Like Nimrod a mighty hunter before the LORD.’” (9). Then we learn of the advancement of his kingdom into what became a thorn in the side of God’s people and a hub of wickedness. Greatness in humanity does not necessarily equate with godliness in culture and often leads to the opposite. As we see today, technological advancement and human achievement often lead to a further decline in societal morals. As the church of Jesus Christ, and those desiring to see the promotion of God’s kingdom, we must not fall into the trap of thinking these are in any way linked to human greatness or ingenuity.

Matthew 5:6 “What Really Satisfies?”

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.” (6) God puts before His people all that is needed to strengthen them in what is truly good and right. If we have an appetite for righteousness, God promises we will not walk away hungry or thirsty. We generally eat what our appetite leads us to. The question we need to ask ourselves is, “Are we truly hungry or thirsty for righteousness?” If we are, we will turn to God’s Word, prayer and corporate worship for meals that satisfy. Hollywood, TV, social media and other forms of entertainment will definitely fall behind the spiritual disciplines that fill our hearts with righteousness. Our priorities and daily choices reveal where our appetites really are. God give us a great appetite for Your righteousness so we will live a satisfied lives.

Day 14

Genesis 9:20-29 “Covering or Exposing Shame”

Noah became drunk and removed his clothes in his tent and his son Ham observed this. Ham then exposed his father’s shame to his brothers, but they covered their father’s nakedness refusing to look at him. When Noah awoke from the wine, he prophesied over his sons. He spoke a curse over the descendants of Ham and blessings over his brothers seed. Those who gloat and expose the shame of other’s sin, expose their own heritage to ongoing humiliation. God takes no joy in exposing humanity’s sin, but seeks to redeem and restore. While we are called to rebuke brothers in sin, exposure is a last resort after rebukes have been rejected. May we take no joy in the shame of others but seek to cover them with the grace of God.

Matthew 5:5 “The Greatness of Meekness”

“Blessed are the gentle, for they shall inherit the earth.” (5) Today many believe we must contend vigorously for all we can get. From the time we are children, we fight for attention, recognition and acquisition for ourselves. Yet, when we come into the kingdom, we rest in the quiet confidence of God’s sovereign rule over all. It is not those who fight, but those who are meek and gentle of heart who will inherit the earth. This kingdom principle is seen in Abraham’s surrender of choice to his nephew lot in Genesis 13. May God give us the wisdom to embrace meekness in a culture that is aggressive and self-centered.

Day 13

Genesis 9:1-19 “God Is Good!”

Upon departure from the Ark, God blessed Noah and his sons in these ways. First, they were called to be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth. Also, their food supply was expanded to the include the animal kingdom. Because violence was a primary characteristic on earth provoking God to judgment, the death penalty was instituted to restrain men: “Whoever sheds man’s blood, By man his blood shall be shed, For in the image of God He made man.” (6). Man is clearly distinguished from all creation as the only created being reflecting God’s image. Finally, God makes a covenant with man not to destroy all flesh with a flood giving the sign of the rainbow. In spite of the sin that contaminates humanity, God blesses them, calling for fruitfulness, provision and protection. God is good in spite of our sin.

Matthew 5:4 “The Blessing of Mourning?”

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” (4) To mourn is not considered a good thing. Mourning is an overwhelming sadness often a consequence of significant loss or severe disappointment, especially with oneself. How could this be blessing? Quite simply, mourning cannot be appeased by anyone or anything other than God Himself. All people will face mourning at various phases in their lives. When we turn to God in our grief or depression, we can experience His amazing grace. How do I know this? I know this, not only by God’s written word, but I know my own personal experience. Come to God and receive from Him the comfort that cannot be earned or manufactured.

Day 12

Genesis 8 “Wait for Marching Orders”

God remembered Noah when the world was destroyed. After the ark rested on the mountains of Ararat and the water decreased steadily. Then Noah opened the window he made and sent out birds to see if the earth was dried up. He sent out a dove but it returned because the water still covered the earth. When the dove did not return, Noah removed the ark’s covering and saw the earth was dried up. Yet Noah waited almost two more months and did not leave until this: “Then the LORD spoke to Noah, saying, ’Go out of the ark,…’” (15-16a). “So Noah went out,…” (18a) Noah did not rely on signs or even his own perception, but waited for the word of the Lord. He then built an altar to God presenting costly worship. In this context, Noah received a promise from the Lord. Let us be patient to wait on God for our ‘Marching Orders!’

Matthew 5:3 “The Blessing of Poverty”

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Being aware of our poverty of spirit, positions us to receive God’s wealth through God’s rule in our lives. Only when we see the utter uselessness of our own efforts, abilities and talents, are we able to move into the great wealth of God’s rule in our lives. We must acknowledge the powerlessness of human effort and ability to tap into God’s grace. It is a wonderful thing to come to the ‘end of our rope,’ because at that moment we are now able to receive from the Lord. God’s help, however, can only come to us through God’s kingdom. That is, when we surrender to God’s rule and directives for every moment of our lives, then we become blessed in our poverty of spirit.

Day 11

Matthew 5:1-2 “Are We Disciples?”

Jesus drew great crowds by the demonstration of God’s kingdom in miracles and healings. “When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on the mountain; and after he sat down, the disciples came to him.” (1) Jesus showed compassion to crowds, but taught disciples. The crowds were attracted to Christ because of what He did for them, but disciples followed Him to the mountain to be taught by Him. Are we willing to set aside the time and effort to listen to Jesus or are we simply attracted to what He does for us? Are we just one of the crowd, or are we among those who follow Jesus to hear and obey His instruction? The eternal benefits of being Jesus’ disciple, far outweigh the temporal miracles that often draw us to Him.

Genesis 7 “At the End of the Day!”

“Then the LORD said to Noah, ‘Enter the ark, you and all your household, for you alone I have seen to be righteous before Me in this time.’” (1) People often say, ‘At the end of the day,…’ to erase distracting information clouding the truth of reality. At the end of the day, God’s perception of us is what’s really important. As Noah walk with God, he built an ark when their was no rain. All the ridicule and mockery of the years faded in significance to his obedience to every detail. “Noah did according to all that the LORD had commanded him.” (5) As a result of Noah’s obedience, the same waters that destroyed life on the entire earth, lifted him above the earth. May God give us wisdom to obey Him even when contrary to ‘common sense’ and popular opinion. Like Noah, we can know the place of safety along with all whom we influence.

Day 10

Matthew 4:18-25 “Following for Transformation”

This beginning of discipleship is illuminating. Jesus invited Peter and Andrew to follow Him with a promise: “And he said to them, ‘Follow Me, and I WILL MAKE YOU (italics mine) fishers of man.’” (19). When Jesus invites us to follow Him, it is so He can make us. We are not called to make something of ourselves or called to be promoted, but to submit to Him for transformation. They were to be ‘fishers of man.’ Followers of Christ are concerned for the eternal well being of others. Yes, they would witness His presence, power and purpose, but not for their fascination, it was for their transformation. This does not diminish the need for, or importance of, miracles. They were a critical part of Jesus’ ministry, but we must never forget why we are called to follow Him.

Genesis 6 “Walk With God!”

Society went down hill as the godly line mingled with the ungodly. In fact, violence was a chief characteristic of this drift. Even God gave up on man. “Then the LORD said, ‘My Spirit shall not strive with man forever, because he also is flesh;…” (3a) Flesh, speaks of mere humanity under the power of sin. “But Noah found favor in the eyes of the LORD.” (8) Only in God can we find what is necessary to walk victorious over sin. “…Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his time; Noah walked with God.” (9b) We cannot walk free of sin, satan and this evil world’s influence, unless we walk with God. Noah thus obeyed God’s word and was saved from judgment.

Day 9

Matthew 4:12-17 “We Need The Great Light”

At the time of John’s imprisonment, Jesus left Nazareth and settled in Capernaum by the sea. What looked like a mere move for safety was, in fact, to fulfill Biblical prophecy (14-16). Regarding the tribes of Zebulun and Naphtali it was said, “‘THE PEOPLE WHO WERE IN DARKNESS SAW A GREAT LIGHT, AND THOSE WHO WERE SITTING IN THE LAND AND SHADOW OF DEATH, UPON THEM LIGHT DAWNED.’” (16). The key to a better society is not political or economic, but spiritual. What we need in our country is to have the great light dawn on us calling us to repent for God’s rule [kingdom] is at hand. Until we walk in the Light of Christ and turn to God and let Him rule over us, there will be no significant change in our society. Lord, open our eyes so we might see?

Genesis 5 “Walk With God!”

“When Adam had lived one hundred and thirty years, he became the father of a son in his own likeness, according to his image, and named him Seth.” (3) Adam’s line, through Seth, is contrasted to Cain’s. Seth’s line followed in the image of Adam who was in the image of God. These men began to call on God during the time of Enosh, Seth’s son (4:26). Hundreds of years later, Enoch, who ‘Walked with God,’ did not die for God took him (24). Interestingly, Adam was still alive when Enoch [six generations later] was born and he would have been able to speak with Adam of the time before sin. This line concludes with the record of the birth of Noah and his three sons. By this man, the human race would be saved from extinction. Let us be among those who walk with God, have a long term positive influence and do right.

Day 8

Mathew 3:4:1- 11 “It Is Written…”

Before Jesus began public ministry, he first faced private temptations. God spoke audibly of Who Jesus was at His baptism. Yet, when the devil’s challenged His identity, He did not appeal to this experience, but to God’s written word. Jesus refused to use God’s power for personal provision, protection or promotion. In each temptation, He appealed to the written word of God. Like Jesus, we overcome temptation by relying on Scripture. The devil was unsuccessful in derailing Jesus by urging the misuse His power or shortcut His process. May we have the grace and wisdom to seek God’s word and rely upon Him fully when faced with temptation.

Genesis 4:16ff “Outside God’s Presence”

“Then Cain went out from the presence of the LORD,…” (16a) In spite of God’s mercy offered to Cain, he chose to leave and settle outside God’s presence. Cain and his descendants had some great advances: Built a great city, farming, music and inventions. Sadly, they also advanced in violence and arrogance while justifying it all. In contrast to this, the line of Seth produced a generation who called on God. Today, we ask why God allows horrible acts of violence such as seen in the recent shooting death of 17 young people. The violence and evil of our society will not be stopped by any law, but can be addressed by the restoration of God’s presence in our society. God’s presence will cause men to call on God again.

Day 7

Mathew 3:13-17 “Submission & Power”

If John’s baptism was a baptism of repentance, why would Jesus need to be baptized being free of sin? Jesus needed to demonstrate both His agreement with John’s message and His obedience to the Father’s will. When Jesus came up from water baptism John witnessed, “…and behold, the heavens were opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove and lighting on Him, and behold, a voice out of the heavens said, ‘This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.’” (16a-127). The success of Jesus’ ministry is related to His submission to God and the empowering of the Holy Spirit. Let us follow the pattern given us by the sinless Son of God.

Genesis 4:1-15 “A Legacy of Violence”

This first record of worship offerings provides many lessons on this subject. Occupation was not the issue, for both brought the fruit of their labors. However, in contrast to Cain, Abel brought the first and the best reflecting his faith and heart toward God. Cain’s anger over God’s rejection of his offering reveals his lack of faith and disrespect for God. Rather than repenting at God’s word, he silenced the contrast seen in Abel and killed him. When confronted by God, Cain lied and sought to justify himself. When given consequences by God for his actions, he complained his punishment was too much putting him in danger. Yet, God promised him protection. The mercy of God with Cain is overwhelming, but Cain’s blame shifting and ingratitude made it impossible to enjoy. Let us be quick to confess and be grateful for God’s mercy, lest we leave a legacy leading others to violence.

Day 6

Matthew 3:11-12 “Mercy & Power in Jesus”

“As for me, I baptize you with water for repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, and I am not fit to remove His sandals; He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.” (11) John saw Jesus so far superior to him, that the lowest servant position was too high for him. He was not only unqualified to wash Jesus’ feet, but he was not qualified to remove His sandals for this. Why? Not only did Jesus come to bring mercy, but He came to ‘…baptize us with the Holy Spirit and fire.’ We rejoice in forgiveness of sin, but we also rejoice in receiving the power of His Spirit to live as God designed us. Like John, let us look up to Christ in His greatness so we may receive from Him both mercy and power to live as we were created to live.

Genesis 3:8-24 “God Seeks All Who Hide”

The presence of sin in Adam and Eve’s lives caused them to hide from God’s presence in the trees of the garden [God’s gift to them]. Yet, God sought them out, not to condemn them, but to restore them from the eternal consequences of their sin. Each sought to shift blame for their sin. Sin always causes us to hide from God’s presence avoiding taking responsibility it. However, our only hope is in turning to, and calling upon our Creator and Redeemer. They sought to cover their shame, but only God could make adequate covering for them. Let’s turn to God having faith in His Son to receive mercy so we will not remain in our shame and sinful condition. “He who conceals his transgressions will not prosper, But he who confesses and forks them will find compassion.” (Proverbs 28:13)

Day 5

Matthew 3:1-10 “When God Rules in Us”

John’s message was to the point: “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (2). This call to repent clearly shows humanity is off track and needs to turn back to God. We cannot realize God’s gracious rule [kingdom] and its benefits in our lives unless we forsake our own ways, thoughts and self governing. Outward symbols of faith, like water baptism, are insufficient to open our hearts to God’s rule. Regardless of our religious activity, without evidence [fruit] of God’s rule in our character, priorities and choices, our religion is worthless and will suffer the wrath of God. The lost world we live in is in need of a demonstration of God’s kingdom and not a mere invitation to our religious events.

Genesis 3:1-7 “Recognize Satan’s Strategy”

Satan is a master deceiver and uses similar tactics today as seen here. First, by a created being he attacked God’s nature, distorted His word, exaggerated the demands of His word and minimized the consequences of man’s disobedience. Through this strategy, he caused the woman to be deceived and see falsely: “When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to make one wise, shoe took…” (6a). When we question God’s goodness and sin is attractive and beneficial to us, we have succumbed to satan’s deceptive tactics.

Day 4

Genesis 2:4-25 “While We Were Sleeping”

This chapter gives a detailed account of man’s creation. We see man as the center of creation and God providing for him. After naming the animals, Adam is faced with his own lack of companionship. “So the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept; then He took one of his ribs and closed up the flesh at that place. The LORD God fashioned into a woman the rib which He had taken from the man, and brought her to the man. (21-22). Twice it says Adam was sleeping. Distinctions between the man and woman were God’s creative design intending to benefit each other. The woman did not exist when man was created and the man was asleep when God fashioned the woman. We can enjoy the benefits of the distinctions without fully understanding them. Remember men, God created woman ‘while we were sleeping.’

Matthew 2:13-23 “Receiving Divine Direction”

Joseph is commanded by an angel in a dream to take Jesus to Egypt because Herod is searching to destroy him. His obedience is immediate leaving before sunrise. Sadly, Herod had all the children in Bethlehem two years of age and under slaughtered. Joseph had another dream in Egypt and God directed him to return after Herod’s death. Yet, because Herod’s son reigned in his father’s place, Joseph went to Nazareth. All this occurred fulfilling the prophecies of Scripture regarding the Messiah. Interestingly, God did not choose educated or wealthy parents to raise His Son, but choose those who would be faithful to listen and heed His voice an His word. As we face troubling times, it is so important we are led by God.

Day 3

Genesis 2:1-3 “Sabbath, A Day of Rest”

“…God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made.” (2-3) In the account of creation, God gives us an example and a pattern to follow. Six days we work and on the seventh we rest. This principle is established before sin and the law. We live in a culture that disrespects both God and His word. God ‘sanctified’ [made holy] the seventh day, that is, He set it apart as a special benefit for man whose creation is detailed later. When we ignore the Sabbath principle, we do so to our own peril. Honoring the Sabbath, and the Lord of the Sabbath, is an act of faith bringing great blessings with it. In a work driven culture, let us cling to God and His word setting aside a day to rest and reflect on our creator.

Matthew 2:1-12 “Motivated by Worship or Worry?”

When Jesus was born, wise men from the east sought Him out to ‘worship’ Him. When Herod the king heard this, he also began to seek for Jesus but was motivated by worry [fear rooted in insecurity]. Herod feared the loss of his position and was moved by political ambition while pretending to worship Him. The magi found Jesus, worshiped Him, and gave gifts facilitating a journey for safety and insuring His future. But Herod, being threatened by the prophetic word, sought for Jesus to kill Him and insure His own political future. Because of this ‘worry’, he killed many innocent children and brought great sorrow to the land. However, the worship of the wise men led to Jesus safety, aided the fulfillment of prophecy, and kept Him alive for the benefit of all humanity. What is our motive in pursuing Christ? Are we insecure about our positions of power, or are we moved by love to worship Him?

Day 2

Genesis 1:6-31 “God’s Design, Perfect & Good”

In connection with creation, six times it says, “…and God saw that it was good.” Each day we see more details of God’s creative activity. In this we see man distinguished from all proceeding him. “Then God said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule…” (26a). The creation of man is unique in nature and assignment. Because of sin, the image of God in humanity is shattered, he ceases to worship the Creator, and is now subject to death. We will not know happiness until we return to God through faith in Jesus and then we are on track with a process leading to God’s perception: “God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good….” (31a). God’s ways and thought are both perfect and good.

Matthew 1:18-25 “Perspective & Obedience”

Joseph, Mary’s fiancé’, found out she was pregnant and wanted to put her away secretly so as not to shame her. Joseph’s perception was in error because he was seeing solely from the natural realm. A supernatural revelation was needed to reveal the reality of her conception, the prophetic origins of the moment, and the future good this child would bring to all humanity. Then, “…Joseph awoke from his sleep and did as the angel of the Lord commanded him, and took Mary as his wife,…” (24). Often what appears to us like a tragedy and potentially shameful event, God is at work in the supernatural realm to establish His prophetic intent leading to the benefit of many. Joseph was able to move on in obedience to God because he had received a revelation of what God was doing. May God open our eyes to see His activity in life’s events, so we can move forward in confident obedience to His directives.

Day 1

Genesis 1:1-5 “In the Beginning God…”

Most of us today start with ourselves and seek to live productive healthy and happy lives. However, if we are to effectively accomplish these, we must start with our Creator and not with ourselves [creation]. Being designed by God, we will not realize our intended purposes without an understanding of Who God is, what He has done for us, and what He has said to us. Only in this context are we able to move into our divine destiny. Our designer and maker knows far better than we how we are to function. Let us return to Him in total surrender as the designer and creator so we can live productive, fruitful and fulfilling lives.

Matthew 1:1-17 “Hold Fast!”

“The record of the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah,…” (1a) As the Old Testament begins with God, the New Testament begins with Jesus. His lineage is traced from Abraham all the way to Joseph. There is nothing arbitrary about His birth or its timing. There were fourteen generations from Abraham to David, from David to the Babylonian exile and from the exile to the Messiah. God is in control and the birth of His Son Jesus was not arbitrary or an afterthought. This aspect of God’s nature gives us an assurance when life seems arbitrary and chaotic. Let us hold fast in faith to our God Who is sovereign over all His creation, time and life’s events.