We think of Abraham as a man of great faith. When he was still known as Abram, God had already promised him great things: “And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.” (Gen 12:2-3) Then just a few verses down we read of Abram deciding to take things into his own hands. He is afraid of what the Egyptians might do to him so he plans to deceive them by saying Sarai is his sister. There was some truth in that statement, (Gen 20:12) but his intentions were to hide the truth and imply she was not his wife. A couple of lessons we can learn from this situation. Even with a little bit of truth mixed in, when the intent is to deceive, it is still a lie. The Bible tells us how God feels about telling lies (Proverbs 6:16-19). Another lesson to learn is that we should always trust God and His plans. No matter how great a man’s plan may seem, it is nothing in comparison to God’s plan. We are told that even “the foolishness of God is wiser than men” (1 Corinthians 1:25)
Today’s reading: Genesis 12-15
Chapters 8 and 9 of the book of Matthew contain several examples of different levels of faith. In one of them a centurion came to Jesus asking for healing of one of his servants. Jesus offered to go to the servant, but the centurion did not feel worthy of Jesus’ presence in his home. He asked Jesus to make the servant well by just speaking. Jesus complimented the centurion’s faith and replied positively. “And Jesus said unto the centurion, Go thy way; and as thou hast believed, so be it done unto thee. And his servant was healed in the selfsame hour.” (Matt 8:13) In another situation, Jesus was asleep on a ship with some of His disciples. When a storm came upon them, they woke Jesus because they were scared that they would die. He was not impressed with the level faith of this group and replied, “Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith?” After He calmed the storm they were extremely impressed with His power. They probably had more faith in Him after this experience. Do you have faith like the centurion or are you like the disciples in the ship and require miraculous proof?
Today’s reading: Matthew 8-10
Twice in Romans chapter 6 Paul rhetorically questions if it is acceptable for us to continue in sin and let grace take care of it. (vs. 1, 15) Both times he answers his own question with “God forbid”. In between those two questions he describes how we are connected with that saving power. “Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?” (Romans 6:3) And once we have made that connection, “we also should walk in newness of life.” (vs. 4) The tie between this new life and Paul’s rhetorical question is found in verse 6, “Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.”
Today’s reading: Romans 5-6
Isaiah chapter 12 contains great words of praise of our Heavenly Father. Verse 2 reads, “Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid: for the LORD JEHOVAH is my strength and my song; he also is become my salvation.” Similar words are found in a song that Moses and the Israelites sang after God had saved them from the Egyptians by the parting of the Red Sea. “The LORD is my strength and song, and he is become my salvation: he is my God, and I will prepare him an habitation; my father’s God, and I will exalt him.” (Exodus 15:2) The words of these two verses are still perfectly fitting for us today, He continues to be our strength, our song and our salvation!
Today’s reading: Isaiah 12-17
Job was having to endure much suffering and needed his friends to be by his side. Instead of them comforting and encouraging him, they did just the opposite. In the previous chapter, Eliphaz had accused Job of being impatient and said that he was getting punished based on the sins that he had committed. At this point in his life Job did not have much left other than his friends. Proverbs 18:24 tells us that “there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.” This is not the kind of friend that Job had in Eliphaz. Job’s words about this friend were pretty strong: “He who withholds kindness from a friend forsakes the fear of the Almighty.” (Job 6:14) The other part to Proverbs 18:24 reminds us that a friendship takes two: “A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly.”
Today’s reading: Job 5-6
Do you ever look at parts of God’s creation and marvel? David did, and he wondered how with the vastness of the universe God could know and care for us all. “When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him?” (Psalm 8:3-4) Jesus told us that God knows everything about us down to the number of hairs on our head. “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.” (Matthew 10:29-31) Even though He does know all of the details of our looks, that is not what is important to Him. “But the LORD said to Samuel, ‘Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart.’” (1 Samuel 16:7)
Today’s reading: Psalms 6-8
In Joshua 11:15 we again read of Joshua following God’s plan completely. “He left nothing undone of all that the LORD had commanded Moses.” Could he have followed most of God’s commands and been ok? Could he have changed around one or two things that he wanted to do differently? What if he thought he had some ideas about how do to things that would be simpler that God’s way? Maybe he learned from what happened when Moses struck the rock instead of speaking to it. (Numbers 20:10-13) God wants full obedience from us today just like he did with Joshua and Moses. Romans 2:6-8
Today’s reading: Joshua 11-15
Noah and his wife, their sons and their wives were the only people left on the earth after the flood. God had destroyed everything on the earth but these eight people and what was in the ark with them. He used water to destroy everything, but left the rainbow as a reminder that he will never destroy the earth with water again. By floating the ark, this same water is also what saved Noah and his family. We can find a comparison to this saving power of water in 1Peter 3:20-21. “Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water. The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ:”
Today’s reading: Genesis 8-11
Do you remember the children’s song about the wise man and the foolish man who built houses and what happened when the rain and floods came? The wise man built his house upon the rock and it stood firm. The foolish man built his house upon the sand and it fell down. The thoughts for that song probably came from Matthew 7:24-27. Those who hear and follow God’s word are compared to the wise man. Those who hear but do not follow His word are compared to the foolish man. No one wants to be compared to a foolish man, do they?
Today’s reading: Matthew 5-7
Everything we have is from God. Just like Abraham, we have nothing to boast about. “For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God.” (Romans 4:2) Since he was not justified by his works, was a strong faith all he needed? James 2:14-26 tells us that our faith must be accompanied by works to back it up. Talking again about Abraham, James 2:22 explains, “You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by his works;” We should live in a way in which our works will show our active faith in the Lord.
Today’s reading: Romans 3-4