Starting off 2018 like Joshua

The book of Joshua begins with the Lord preparing a leader to replace Moses.  Two times in the first chapter God tells Joshua to be strong and courageous (vs. 6, 9) and a third time He tells him to be strong and very courageous (v. 7).  In between those admonitions He speaks to Joshua the words recorded in verse 8, “This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.”

These words were spoken to Joshua for his encouragement and they were preserved by our Heavenly Father for our encouragement as well.  The goal of this blog is to help us as we strive daily to follow all of God’s Word.  Each day’s post will include a scripture reading for the day and a few encouraging words.  Read each day’s scripture and you will have read the entire Bible by the end of 2018

The first reading for the year is Matthew chapters 1 and 2.  Starting off the reading is rather tedious going thru all those names.  But as you read down to verse 21 of chapter 1, the angel tells Joseph “She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”  Here is the beginning of our hope of salvation if we will follow the path set before us in His inspired word.

Today’s reading: Matthew 1-2

2018 Day 352 – Deuteronomy 29-31

God sent His words to the people thru Moses.  “These are the words of the covenant that the LORD commanded Moses to make with the people of Israel in the land of Moab, besides the covenant that he had made with them at Horeb.” (Deuteronomy 29:1)  He told them that anything they needed to know He would share with them, but some things only God knows.  “The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.” (Deuteronomy 29:29)  He also let them know that His Word was readily available to them if they would just put forth the effort.  “For this commandment that I command you today is not too hard for you, neither is it far off. It is not in heaven, that you should say, ‘Who will ascend to heaven for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?’ Neither is it beyond the sea, that you should say, ‘Who will go over the sea for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?’ But the word is very near you. It is in your mouth and in your heart, so that you can do it.” (Deuteronomy 30:11-14)  The old law was abolished with our Savior’s sacrifice and His New Covenant is close to us today if we will just put forth the effort to study it.  “For Moses writes about the righteousness that is based on the law, that the person who does the commandments shall live by them. But the righteousness based on faith says, “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’” (that is, to bring Christ down) “or ‘Who will descend into the abyss?’” (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim);” (Romans 10:5-8)

Today’s reading: Deuteronomy 29-31

2018 Day 351 – Acts 25-26

We have all heard the saying, “Almost only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades.”  We read of one who “almost” decided to become a Christian.  “Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian.” (Acts 26:28)  Almost a Christian will not get us to heaven.  Being a Christian takes every bit of our being.  “If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.” (Colossians 3:1-4)

Today’s reading: Acts 25-26

2018 Day 350 – 2 John

In this short letter, John speaks of what it means to love.  “And now I ask you, dear lady—not as though I were writing you a new commandment, but the one we have had from the beginning—that we love one another. And this is love, that we walk according to his commandments; this is the commandment, just as you have heard from the beginning, so that you should walk in it.” (2 John 1:5-6)  Jesus also spoke of how loving Him was more than just something we say.  “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” (John 14:15)  He also spoke of what will happen when judgement comes if we have not done God’s Will in this life.  “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’” (Matthew 7:21-23)

Today’s reading: 2 John

 

2018 Day 349 – Revelation 7-11

In parts of the revelation that was shown to John, God was being praised.  “After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, ‘Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!’” (Revelation 7:9-10)  We know from other passages who is being referred to here as the Lamb.  “The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, ‘Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!'” (John 1:29)  We also have other passages that specify this author of our salvation.  “This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone. And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:11-12)

Today’s reading: Revelation 7-11

 

2018 Day 348 – Song of Solomon 3-4

Solomon gave description of one that he felt was perfect.  “You are altogether beautiful, my love; there is no flaw in you.” (Song of Solomon 4:7)  Love can filter our opinion of someone to see them in the best light.  One of his proverbs talks about the ability of love to help us tolerate more.  “Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all offenses.” (Proverbs 10:12)  Peter make a similar statement about love.  “Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.” (1 Peter 4:8)  The covering of sins that Peter refers to here means that with love we can tolerate the mistakes of others, but the only forgiveness of sin comes thru Christ.  James explains how our love for lost souls can truly “cover a multitude of sins.”  “My brothers, if anyone among you wanders from the truth and someone brings him back, let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from his wandering will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.” (James 5:19-20)

Today’s reading: Song of Solomon 3-4

 

2018 Day 347 – Psalms 143-145

David spoke of the temporary nature of our life on this earth.  “Man is like a breath; his days are like a passing shadow.” (Psalms 144:4)  Job made similar comparisons and also shared the viewpoint of a man who suffered much in his life.  “My days are swifter than a runner; they flee away; they see no good.” (Job 9:25)  “Man who is born of a woman is few of days and full of trouble. He comes out like a flower and withers; he flees like a shadow and continues not.” (Job 14:1-2)  Paul encouraged the Corinthians, and us as well, to look past these current temporary sufferings and focus our energy on preparing our soul for an eternal life with our God.  “So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.” (2 Corinthians 4:16-18)

Today’s reading: Psalms 143-145

 

2018 Day 346 – Nehemiah 10-13

Nehemiah was working to straighten out some wrongs that the people had been doing.  One of these wrongs was who they were marrying.  “Shall we then listen to you and do all this great evil and act treacherously against our God by marrying foreign women?” (Nehemiah 13:27)  God had given strict commands about who they could marry and why.  “You shall not intermarry with them, giving your daughters to their sons or taking their daughters for your sons, for they would turn away your sons from following me, to serve other gods. Then the anger of the LORD would be kindled against you, and he would destroy you quickly.” (Deuteronomy 7:3-4)  God’s reason for not marrying people from other nations had nothing to do with the way they looked or the color of their skin.  His reason had to do with the negative influence that this spouse would have on His people serving Him.  Paul reminds us that this negative influence can come from any type of relationship if we are not careful.  “Do not be deceived: ‘Bad company ruins good morals.’” (1 Corinthians 15:33)

Today’s reading: Nehemiah 5-9

 

2018 Day 345 – Deuteronomy 26-28

As they were given the Promised Land, God also gave the people commands of what he expected of them.  “And it shall come to pass, if thou shalt hearken diligently unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe and to do all his commandments which I command thee this day, that the LORD thy God will set thee on high above all nations of the earth: And all these blessings shall come on thee, and overtake thee, if thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God.” (Deuteronomy 28:1-2)  Like the Israelites, we will be judged based on our response to His Word.  “He will render to each one according to his works: to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life; but for those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury.” (Romans 2:6-8)

Today’s reading: Deuteronomy 26-28

 

2018 Day 344 – Acts 23-24

Is your conscience always the best guide?  Paul said he had always followed his.  “And looking intently at the council, Paul said, ‘Brothers, I have lived my life before God in all good conscience up to this day.’” (Acts 23:1)  Paul also said he did things contrary to God’s will.  “I myself was convinced that I ought to do many things in opposing the name of Jesus of Nazareth.” (Acts 26:9)  So how do we make sure that our conscience is not leading us on a wrong path?  There is one source that we are told we need to use in its entirety.  “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17)

Today’s reading: Acts 23-24

 

2018 Day 343 – 1 John 4-5

John tells us that knowing God requires love.  “Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.” (1 John 4:8)  That love for God must include loving others as well.  “If anyone says, ‘I love God,’ and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen.” (1 John 4:20)  True love is not just words that we speak, but must include action as well.  “For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome.” (1 John 5:3)

Today’s reading: 1 John 4-5