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 200 – Psalms 84-86

Merriam-Webster dictionary defines the word beatitude as “a state of utmost bliss”.  When we hear “beatitudes” we normally think of Jesus’ words in Matthew chapter 5, but there are other beatitudes found in God’s word.  Psalms chapter 84 has a few of these.

“Blessed are those who dwell in your house, ever singing your praise! Selah” (Psalms 84:4)  The primary purpose of worship to our Heavenly Father is to glorify Him, but in doing so we are uplifted by honoring the One from who all blessings flow.

“Blessed are those whose strength is in you, in whose heart are the highways to Zion.” (Psalms 84:5)  If we daily look to Him for our strength and focus our path toward Him, nothing can stop us.

“O LORD of hosts, blessed is the one who trusts in you!” (Psalms 84:12)  Having a strong faith in Him promises blessings beyond measure, no matter what the devil may throw at us.

Today’s reading: Psalms 84-86


2018 Day 199 – 2 Kings 11-15

Jehoash became king at an age when kids today would be in second grade.  “Jehoash was seven years old when he began to reign.” (2 Kings 11:21)  No matter who is in power as a king, president, or any other position in government, they are there only because God allowed it.  “He changes times and seasons; he removes kings and sets up kings; he gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding;” (Daniel 2:21)  “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.” (Romans 13:1)  God allowed Jehoash to be king, but He also put someone in his life to be a mentor.  “And Jehoash did what was right in the eyes of the LORD all his days, because Jehoiada the priest instructed him.” (2 Kings 12:2)  We can all think of a person or persons in our life who have been mentors like Jehoiada.  Thank God for His providence in putting these Christian examples in our lives.

Today’s reading: 2 Kings 11-15


2018 Day 198 – Leviticus 16-18

Blood keeps our bodies living and it can also keep our souls as well.  Under the old law God gave power to the blood of animal sacrifices.  “For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul.” (Leviticus 17:11)  The power of animal sacrifice was just temporary and could not come close to the power of the one Sacrifice that was for us all.  “For if the blood of goats and bulls, and the sprinkling of defiled persons with the ashes of a heifer, sanctify for the purification of the flesh, how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God.” (Hebrews 9:13)  There was nothing on this earth that was perfect enough to be that sacrifice, only the perfect Son of God had that power.  “Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:” (1 Peter 1:18-19)  “Thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift!” (2 Corinthians 9:15)

Today’s reading: Leviticus 16-18


2018 Day 197 – Luke 21-22

At times we may have good intentions and sincere motives, but our actions do not follow.  Jesus warned Peter that this could happen.  “Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” (Matthew 26:41)  Before Jesus made this statement, Peter was adamant that he would not deny the Christ.  “Peter said to him, ‘Lord, I am ready to go with you both to prison and to death.”’ (Luke 22:33)  When the pressure came, Peter caved in and did what he promised not to do.  “And the Lord turned and looked at Peter. And Peter remembered the saying of the Lord, how he had said to him, “Before the rooster crows today, you will deny me three times.” And he went out and wept bitterly.” (Luke 22:61)  Strength to withstand pressure of temptation can come from daily prayer to our Heavenly Father like the prayer Paul made on behalf of the Ephesians.  “For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, that ye may be strengthened with power through his Spirit in the inward man;” (Ephesians 3:14-16)

Today’s reading: Luke 21-22


2018 Day 196 – Colossians 1-2

We know that Jesus died and was raised from the dead to give each of us the opportunity for salvation from our sin.  “For I delivered unto you first of all that which also I received: that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; and that he was buried; and that he hath been raised on the third day according to the scriptures;” (1 Corinthians 15:3-4)  In Paul’s letter to the Christians in Colossae he reminds them when they had been joined with Christ.  “having been buried with him in baptism, wherein ye were also raised with him through faith in the working of God, who raised him from the dead.” (Colossians 2:12)  Paul also explained this in his letter to the Romans.  “Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?  We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.  For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his.” (Romans 6:3-5)  Walking in that “newness of life” is one of the great blessings of being a Christian.  We can know that our sins of the past have been washed away and forgotten.  “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” (2 Corinthians 5:17)  As a new creation we also have responsibilities to live our new life following His Word and not go back to being that old sinful man.

Today’s reading: Colossians 1-2

2018 Day 195 – Ezekiel 25-30

Throughout the Bible we see proof that there is only one God.  The phrase “I am the Lord” occurs 84 times in the book of Ezekiel.  Many of those times include something that God says He is doing so people will know that He is the one God.  “and I will execute judgments upon Moab. Then they will know that I am the LORD.” (Ezekiel 25:11)  “Thus I will execute judgments on Egypt. Then they will know that I am the LORD.” (Ezekiel 30:19)  In Paul’s letter to the Ephesians he speaks of the One who is in control of everything.  “one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.” (Ephesians 4:6)  In prayer to our Heavenly Father, Jesus speaks of the source of eternal life in Heaven with Him.  “And this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.” (John 17:3)

Today’s reading: Ezekiel 25-30


2018 Day 194 – Proverbs 10

Solomon had great wisdom from God, but he did not always follow what he knew to be right.  He tells us where following instruction will put us.  “Whoever heeds instruction is on the path to life, but he who rejects reproof leads others astray.” (Proverbs 10:17)  None of us want to be one of those he is talking about who lead others astray.  We can all look back and see people who have been influences in our lives, both good and bad.  The Hebrew writer tells us to focus on those positive influences and try to follow their way.  “Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith.” (Hebrews 13:7)  Paul told us thru his writing to the Corinthians to follow his example because he was following the greatest example that ever walked this earth.  “Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.” (1 Corinthians 11:1)

Today’s reading: Proverbs 10


2018 Day 193 – Psalms 81-83

It is hard to imagine how anyone could hate the Creator and Sustainer of this earth, but the Psalmist describes people that do.  “The haters of the Lord would pretend submission to Him, But their fate would endure forever.” (Psalms 81:15)  Jesus told us that someone who had that feeling towards His Father had the same feeling toward the Son.  “Whoever hates me hates my Father also.” (John 15:23)  He also told us why a person would hate something so good.  “For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed.” (John 3:20)  He continued on and told us what we need to do so that we do not show hate toward our God and Savior.  “But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.” (John 3:21)

Today’s reading: Psalms 81-83


2018 Day 192 – 2 Kings 6-10

The king of Syria sent a great army at night to surround the city of Dothan and attempt kill Elisha.  When Elisha’s servant woke up and saw that they were surrounded by this army, he was scared and asked Elisha what they were going to do.  Elisha’s response was one that we can use in our lives when we are troubled.  “He said, ‘Do not be afraid, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.”’ (2 Kings 6:16)  Elisha then prayed for God to allow the servant to see what He had provided for their protection.  The servant saw the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. (vs. 17)  God showed him these horses and chariots that were protecting them from the horses and chariots of the Syrian army.  Our Heavenly Father knows exactly what we need and provides a solution that perfectly meets that need just like he did here with Elisha.  “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?  He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?” (Romans 8:31-32)

Today’s reading: 2 Kings 6-10


2018 Day 191 – Leviticus 13-15

God gave very specific instructions on how to handle a leprous person.  Those detailed instructions are recorded in this section of Leviticus.  Leprosy is a terrible disease and back then it was usually fatal, but Jesus was able to heal an infected person by just touching him or her.  “And a leper came to him, imploring him, and kneeling said to him, “If you will, you can make me clean.”  Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand and touched him and said to him, “I will; be clean.”  And immediately the leprosy left him, and he was made clean.” (Mark 1:40-42)  God provided a method for cleansing a leprous person then and He provides for us today a method for cleansing a sinful person.  “Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son:  In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:” (Colossians 1:13-14)

Today’s reading: Leviticus 13-15