2018 Day 322 – 1 Peter 4-5

It is easy to have an ego that causes us to want to handle everything ourselves, but James and Peter both urge us to be humble unto God.  “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.” (James 4:10)   “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:6-7)  Humbling ourselves before God means we acknowledge His power and our deep and constant need for His love and help.  Jesus encourages us to make that humble plea to Him.  “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)

Today’s reading: 1 Peter 4-5

 

2018 Day 321 – Zechariah 1-7

God has always been forced to deal with stubbornness from His people and the Bible makes it clear that this angers Him  “But they refused to pay attention and turned a stubborn shoulder and stopped their ears that they might not hear. They made their hearts diamond-hard lest they should hear the law and the words that the LORD of hosts had sent by his Spirit through the former prophets. Therefore great anger came from the LORD of hosts.” (Zechariah 7:11-12)  Paul tells us to be cautious about letting our stubborn attitudes keep us from repenting.  “But do you suppose this, O man, when you pass judgment on those who practice such things and do the same yourself, that you will escape the judgment of God?  Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance? But because of your stubbornness and unrepentant heart you are storing up wrath for yourself in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God,” (Romans 2:3-5)

Today’s reading: Zechariah 1-7

 

2018 Day 320 – Ecclesiastes 7-8

Being corrected for doing wrong is normally not something we enjoy.  Solomon knew that the long term good was worth the pain of proper discipline.  “It is better for a man to hear the rebuke of the wise than to hear the song of fools.” (Ecclesiastes 7:5)  He mentions discipline many times in Proverbs as well.  “Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.” (Proverbs 12:1)  “Discipline your son, and he will give you rest; he will give delight to your heart.” (Proverbs 29:17)  The Hebrew writer encourages us to appreciate God’s discipline.  “And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons? ‘My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him. For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.’” (Hebrews 12:5-6)  Like Solomon, he also urges us to look past the short term pain.  “For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.” (Hebrews 12:11)

Today’s reading: Ecclesiastes 7-8

 

2018 Day 319 – Psalms 131-133

The Psalmist knew how much better it is to be unified rather than divided.  “Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity!” (Psalm 133:1)  Paul encouraged the Ephesians to keep unity by the way they acted.  “I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” (Ephesians 4:1-3)  He continued on giving them the 7 ‘ones’ that would unify then and that will unify us today.  “There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.” (Ephesians 4:4-6)

Today’s reading: Psalms 131-133

 

2018 Day 318 – Ezra 1-5

As they were rebuilding the temple, the people got emotional.  “And they sang responsively, praising and giving thanks to the LORD, ‘For he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever toward Israel.’ And all the people shouted with a great shout when they praised the LORD, because the foundation of the house of the LORD was laid.”  They knew that the goodness of God has no limit and no end.  “For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.” (Psalm 100:5)  We also have opportunity to receive that goodness.  “The LORD is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him.” (Lamentations 3:25)

Today’s reading: Ezra 1-5

 

2018 Day 317 – Deuteronomy 13-15

Part of God’s command to the Israelite people was how they would handle those who were less fortunate.  “For there will never cease to be poor in the land. Therefore I command you, ‘You shall open wide your hand to your brother, to the needy and to the poor, in your land.’” (Deuteronomy 15:11)  We can read some Proverbs that also let us know God’s feeling toward those who share their blessings.  “Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the LORD, and he will repay him for his deed.” (Proverbs 19:17)  “He who has a generous eye will be blessed, For he gives of his bread to the poor.” (Proverbs 22:9)  According to Jesus, any help given to those in need is help given to our Savior himself.  “Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” (Matthew 25:37-40)

Today’s reading: Deuteronomy 13-15

 

2018 Day 316 – Acts 15-16

Paul and Barnabas did a lot of work together, but their relationship was not without issue.  “And there arose a sharp disagreement, so that they separated from each other. Barnabas took Mark with him and sailed away to Cyprus, but Paul chose Silas and departed, having been commended by the brothers to the grace of the Lord.” (Acts 15:39-40)  Notice they did not let their disagreement stop them from doing good.  They both continued to do God’s work and actually turned what would have been one trip into two.

Today’s reading: Acts 15-16

 

2018 Day 315 – 1 Peter 1-3

We all have things that give us joy, but James has an idea of joyous occasions that might seem odd.  “My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.” (James 1:2-3)  Peter also talks about our faith being tried and how great that can be for us.  “In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” (1 Peter 1:6-7)  James gives us encouragement of what lies ahead if we do stay faithful thru the trials of this life.  “Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.” (James 1:12)

Today’s reading: 1 Peter 1-3

 

2018 Day 314 – Haggai 1-2

God spoke thru the prophet Haggai giving the people something they needed to do.  “Now, therefore, thus says the LORD of hosts: Consider your ways.” (Haggai 1:5)  Again in verse 7 we see repeated “consider your ways”.  Like was commanded to them, sometimes we need to do a self-examination and consider our ways, making sure they are in accordance with God’s Word.  James reminds us to compare our lives to God’s Word, and be willing to make changes when we are not living in accordance with that Word.  “But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deluding your own selves. For if any one is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a mirror: for he beholdeth himself, and goeth away, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. But he that looketh into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and so continueth, being not a hearer that forgetteth but a doer that worketh, this man shall be blessed in his doing.” (James 1:22-25)

Today’s reading: Haggai 1-2

2018 Day 313 – Ecclesiastes 5-6

God gave Solomon wealth that He said was greater than any other king would ever have.  Even with all that he possessed, Solomon still knew there was truth in that saying ‘money cannot buy happiness.’  “He who loves money will not be satisfied with money, nor he who loves wealth with his income; this also is vanity.” (Ecclesiastes 5:10)  Paul also gave warning that it’s not money but the love of that money that can cause a person big problems.  “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.” (1 Timothy 6:10)

Today’s reading: Ecclesiastes 5-6