The Psalmist shared his experience with prayer to God. “Come and hear, all you who fear God, and I will tell what he has done for my soul. I cried to him with my mouth, and high praise was on my tongue. If I had cherished iniquity in my heart, the Lord would not have listened. But truly God has listened; he has attended to the voice of my prayer. Blessed be God, because he has not rejected my prayer or removed his steadfast love from me!” (Psalms 66:16-20) We can read words from James where he also talks about the power of prayer. “Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” (James 5:16) James includes a warning to keep our motives right. “You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.” (James 4:3) And greatest of all, Jesus explains to us how our Heavenly Father will respond to our requests. “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?” (Matthew 7:7-11)
Today’s reading: Psalms 66-68
God allowed Solomon to build the temple that his father David was not able to build. “Now it was in the heart of David my father to build a house for the name of the LORD, the God of Israel. But the LORD said to David my father, ‘Whereas it was in your heart to build a house for my name, you did well that it was in your heart. Nevertheless, you shall not build the house, but your son who shall be born to you shall build the house for my name.’” (1 Kings 8:17-19) We are told many of the details of this build. It took tens of thousands of men seven years to complete the temple. Only the best materials were used to build it. I am sure it was an amazing sight to see. This temple was described as the house that Solomon built for God. As marvelous as this house may have been, we have been promised an opportunity for one even better. “For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.” (2 Corinthians 5:1)
Today’s reading: 1 Kings 5-9
God gave Moses very specific instructions on building the tabernacle and everything related to it. Moses shared those instructions with the Israelites and they completed the work. “According to all that the LORD had commanded Moses, so the people of Israel had done all the work. And Moses saw all the work, and behold, they had done it; as the LORD had commanded, so had they done it. Then Moses blessed them.” (Exodus 39:42-43) These verses tell us they did ALL the work as it was commanded and they were blessed. They knew the importance of following every detail of this project and not leaving out or changing anything. God has given us the Bible as an instruction manual for our life. He wants us to follow every detail of His Word to live a life serving Him.
Today’s reading: Exodus 37-40
When Jesus was asked which was the greatest commandment, He gave the answer and also gave the second greatest commandment. “And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12:30-31) For Him to share with them the next commandment as well must mean that it is important for us all to follow. And who is my neighbor? That same question was asked to Jesus by a lawyer. Jesus told him the story we all know of the Good Samaritan. At the end of the story, Jesus used a question back to the lawyer. “Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?” He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” And Jesus said to him, “You go, and do likewise.” (Luke 10:36-37) To follow Jesus command, we also should be willing to “go, and do likewise.”
Today’s reading: Luke 9-10
In his letter to the Galatians, Paul wrote to them about equality of all people when it comes to our Savior. “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Galatians 3:28) In the verse just prior to that statement he reminded them what it takes to get in Christ. “For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.” (Galatians 3:27) Just like Paul told the Galatians, we can put on Christ and have a new life in Him. “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.” (Romans 6:3)
Today’s reading: Galatians 1-3
Even though they were God’s chosen people, at times the Jews were extremely disobedient to Him. During one of these periods of disobedience, the Rechabites were used as an attempt of a wake up call to the Jews. They were told to order the Rechabites to drink wine. Of course God knew how these people would respond. “We have obeyed the voice of Jonadab the son of Rechab, our father, in all that he commanded us, to drink no wine all our days, ourselves, our wives, our sons, or our daughters, and not to build houses to dwell in. We have no vineyard or field or seed, but we have lived in tents and have obeyed and done all that Jonadab our father commanded us.” (Jeremiah 35:8-10) The obedience to their father by the descendants of Rechab is compared to the lack of obedience of the Jews to their Heavenly Father in an attempt to shame them to change. “I have sent to you all my servants the prophets, sending them persistently, saying, ‘Turn now every one of you from his evil way, and amend your deeds, and do not go after other gods to serve them, and then you shall dwell in the land that I gave to you and your fathers.’ But you did not incline your ear or listen to me. The sons of Jonadab the son of Rechab have kept the command that their father gave them, but this people has not obeyed me.” (Jeremiah 35:15-16) God wants everyone to obey Him and He gives us plenty of opportunity, but the desire to follow Him must come from our own hearts. “The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9)
Today’s reading: Jeremiah 32-36
We know how Solomon was given great knowledge and wisdom from God. He shares with us where knowledge starts. “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” (Proverbs 1:7) The fear he is talking about here does not mean to be scared, but to give God the reverence and honor that He deserves. If we have this kind of attitude toward our Heavenly Father, the love for Him will show in our desire to learn more of His word and serve Him with all our our being. Job shared a similar statement, adding to it understanding. “And unto man he said, Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding.” (Job 28:28) In Psalms we have another similar statement with an extra piece of information. “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; all those who practice it have a good understanding. His praise endures forever!” (Psalms 111:10) As this verse says, if we love Him and follow His word completely, we will praise Him without end.
Today’s reading: Proverbs 1
So often in Psalms we read words credited to David that show a humble heart. “Praise is due to you, O God, in Zion, and to you shall vows be performed.” (Psalms 65:1) David made his share of mistakes, but he knew where to find the only hope of forgiveness. “When iniquities prevail against me, you atone for our transgressions.” (Psalms 65:3) The atonement is available to us, but it requires our turning away from that sin. “Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord;” (Acts 3:19) That cleansing power continues if we live our life by His pattern. “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.” (1 John 1:7)
Today’s reading: Psalms 63-65
After Solomon had been made king, God appeared to him in an dream and said “Ask what I shall give you.” (3:5) Solomon did not ask for selfish things like riches or a long life. “Give your servant therefore an understanding mind to govern your people, that I may discern between good and evil, for who is able to govern this your great people?” (1 Kings 3:9) Solomon’s request pleased God so much that He gave Solomon what he had asked for and more. “behold, I now do according to your word. Behold, I give you a wise and discerning mind, so that none like you has been before you and none like you shall arise after you. I give you also what you have not asked, both riches and honor, so that no other king shall compare with you, all your days.” (1 Kings 3:12-13) Solomon’s selfless attitude at this point in his life is an example to us of how to please our Heavenly Father in requests to Him.
Today’s reading: 1 Kings 1-4
Moses shared with the people words from God to build His tabernacle. “Take from among you a contribution to the LORD. Whoever is of a generous heart, let him bring the LORD’s contribution: gold, silver, and bronze;” (Exodus 35:5) And the list of things for them to bring continues on in the next few verses. Their contributions were to be done with “a generous heart” and it seems like that is just what they had. “And they received from Moses all the contribution that the people of Israel had brought for doing the work on the sanctuary. They still kept bringing him freewill offerings every morning, so that all the craftsmen who were doing every sort of task on the sanctuary came, each from the task that he was doing, and said to Moses, “The people bring much more than enough for doing the work that the LORD has commanded us to do.” So Moses gave command, and word was proclaimed throughout the camp, “Let no man or woman do anything more for the contribution for the sanctuary.” So the people were restrained from bringing, for the material they had was sufficient to do all the work, and more.” (Exodus 36:3-7) Just like with the Israelites, God wants us to cheerfully give back to Him a portion of what He has blessed us with. “Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” (2 Corinthians 9:7)
Today’s reading: Exodus 33-36