2018 Day 218 – John 3-4

Nicodemus was confused and questioned Jesus on what he meant by the phrase “be born again”.  “Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” (John 3:5)  Paul explained this concept of a new life in his letter to the Colossians (2:12-13) and also 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. We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. For one who has died has been set free from sin.” (Romans 6:3-7)

Today’s reading: John 3-4

2018 Day 217 – 1 Thessalonians 4-5

Paul told the Thessalonians to rejoice all the time.  “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” (1 Thessalonians 5:16)  He told the Philippians something to doubly rejoice in.  “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice.” (Philippians 4:4)  Jesus told us a reason to rejoice.  “Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” (Matthew 5:12)  Part of being a Christian is sharing with others in rejoicing, but also sharing in grief.  “Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep.” (Romans 12:15)  But no matter what happens, if we put our trust in the Lord, we can rejoice.  “For our heart shall rejoice in him, because we have trusted in his holy name.” (Psalms 33:21)

Today’s reading: 1 Thessalonians 4-5

 

2018 Day 216 – Ezekiel 43-48

God gave the assignments of land for each tribe and at the end He gave a name for the city.  “The circumference of the city shall be 18,000 cubits. And the name of the city from that time on shall be, ‘The LORD Is There.’”  This did not mean they would be able to see Him, but that He would be with them like He was with Joshua.  “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9)  No matter how weak we get, we have a source of strength that never fades.  “My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” (Psalms 73:26)  Our Savior also promised to be with us at all times.  “And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20)  No matter what this life may throw at us, we will always have our Savior and Heavenly Father to lean on for strength.

Today’s reading: Ezekiel 43-48

 

2018 Day 215 – Proverbs 14-15

Sometimes we think we have it all figured out, but if our plan does not follow God’s plan we will be lost.  “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death.” (Proverbs 14:12)  Even the most intelligent person on this earth does not compare to our Heavenly Father’s great knowledge.  “For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.” (1 Corinthians 1:25)  “For the wisdom of this world is folly with God. For it is written, ‘He catches the wise in their craftiness,’ and again, ‘The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise, that they are futile.’” (1 Corinthians 3:19-20)  “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8-9)  The key to getting the knowledge we need is to go to right source.  “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD, and turn away from evil.” (Proverbs 3:5-7)

Today’s reading: Proverbs 14-15

 

2018 Day 214 – Psalms 90-92

God never promised His followers a life on this earth free of trouble.  But as the Psalmist said, He is the one we can look to for strength at all times.  “I will say to the LORD, ‘My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.’” (Psalms 91:2)  Our Heavenly Father knows that we will sometimes struggle with making the right decisions.  He knows that this life will sometimes wear us down.  But He is never weak.  He is always there for us with the right answers.  “Have you not known? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:28-31)  As Paul told the Christians in Philippi, we just need to bring everything to God and He will take care of it.  “do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7)

Today’s reading: Psalms 90-92

 

2018 Day 213 – 2 Kings 21-25

A lost copy of the law was found and read to King Josiah.  From the king’s reaction they must not have been following the commands of the law.  “When the king heard the words of the Book of the Law, he tore his clothes. And the king commanded Hilkiah the priest, and Ahikam the son of Shaphan, and Achbor the son of Micaiah, and Shaphan the secretary, and Asaiah the king’s servant, saying, ‘Go, inquire of the LORD for me, and for the people, and for all Judah, concerning the words of this book that has been found. For great is the wrath of the LORD that is kindled against us, because our fathers have not obeyed the words of this book, to do according to all that is written concerning us.’” (2 Kings 22:11-13)  It is hard to follow something that you do not know about.  The Sadducees had the same problem when questioning Jesus about the resurrection.  “Jesus said to them, ‘Is this not the reason you are wrong, because you know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God?'” (Mark 12:24)  God has preserved His word to be our guide to living.  “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)  The people of Berea were an example to us of how to know what God’s word says.  “Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.” (Acts 17:11)

Today’s reading: 2 Kings 21-25

 

2018 Day 212 – Leviticus 22-24

Under the old law punishments could be very severe.  “Whoever takes a human life shall surely be put to death. Whoever takes an animal’s life shall make it good, life for life. If anyone injures his neighbor, as he has done it shall be done to him, fracture for fracture, eye for eye, tooth for tooth; whatever injury he has given a person shall be given to him.  Whoever kills an animal shall make it good, and whoever kills a person shall be put to death.  You shall have the same rule for the sojourner and for the native, for I am the LORD your God.” (Leviticus 24:17-22)  These were laws to be enforced by those in power, but some people had tried to use them as excuses to carry out retaliation for themselves.  In His sermon on the mount, Jesus refutes the idea of retaliation.  “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if anyone would sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well.  And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles.” (Matthew 5:38-41)  As Christians this is the law that we are to follow today.  No matter how bad we may want to get revenge on someone, God tells us to do good toward that enemy and leave the revenging to Him.  “Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.”  Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” (Romans 12:19)

Today’s reading: Leviticus 22-24

 

2018 Day 211 – John 1-2

Without any form of light it is difficult for us to do anything good.  God’s word contains many comparisons between evil and darkness.  “The way of the wicked is like deep darkness; they do not know over what they stumble.” (Proverbs 4:19)  We read of Jesus being called the light that fight off darkness.  “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” (John 1:5)  If we follow His perfect example in the way we live our life, we will stay out of that darkness.  “Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”’ (John 8:12)

Today’s reading: John 1-2

 

2018 Day 210 – 1 Thessalonians 1-3

In Paul’s first letter to the Thessalonians he complimented them for being magnificent Christian examples to others.  “And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you received the word in much affliction, with the joy of the Holy Spirit, so that you became an example to all the believers in Macedonia and in Achaia.  For not only has the word of the Lord sounded forth from you in Macedonia and Achaia, but your faith in God has gone forth everywhere, so that we need not say anything.” (1 Thessalonians 1:6-8)  No matter what we say, our actions will speak louder than our words.  Jesus told us to be that Christian light to others, but not to glorify ourselves.  “In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16)

Today’s reading: 1 Thessalonians 1-3

2018 Day 209 – Ezekiel 37-42

Several times in this section of scripture we see the phrase “know that I am the LORD”.  (Ezekiel 37:6, 37:13, 38:23, 39:6, 39:7, 39:22, 39:28)  God showed His power so that all people would know that He was the one in control.  He does not use miraculous ways today to show us that He is Lord, but the more we study His word the better we will know Him and His power.  The apostle John told us the key for our knowing God.  “Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.  He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.” (1 John 4:7-8)  This is the same key that Jesus said would show that we were followers of His.  “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” (John 13:35)

Today’s reading: Ezekiel 37-42