2018 Day 182 – Philippians 1-2

In his letter to the Christians at Philippi, Paul gave some very tough orders.  “Do all things without grumbling or disputing,” (Philippians 2:14)  He continued on telling them why they were to do this.  “that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain.” (Philippians 2:15-16)  Paul’s words here are just as fitting for us today.  As Christians we also should shine as lights in this world that is filled with so much darkness.

Today’s reading: Philippians 1-2

2018 Day 181 – Ezekiel 13-18

We know that God is love. (1 John 4:8)  Love does not mean He does not care what we do or how we act.  “For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.” (Hebrews 12:6)  The Israelites seemed to think God was not a just god because He had expectations of them.  “Yet you say, ‘The way of the Lord is not just.’ Hear now, O house of Israel: Is my way not just? Is it not your ways that are not just?  When a righteous person turns away from his righteousness and does injustice, he shall die for it; for the injustice that he has done he shall die.  Again, when a wicked person turns away from the wickedness he has committed and does what is just and right, he shall save his life.  Because he considered and turned away from all the transgressions that he had committed, he shall surely live; he shall not die.  Yet the house of Israel says, ‘The way of the Lord is not just.’ O house of Israel, are my ways not just? Is it not your ways that are not just?” (Ezekiel 18:25-29)  Our God is a just god and He wants us all to be saved, but just like with the Israelite people we have to do our part.  “For I have no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Lord GOD; so turn, and live.” (Ezekiel 18:32)

Today’s reading: Ezekiel 13-18

 

2018 Day 180 – Proverbs 7

Our actions are guided by what is on our mind.  Daily study and focus on God’s Word is the best guide for a Christian life.  “My son, keep my words and treasure up my commandments with you; keep my commandments and live; keep my teaching as the apple of your eye; bind them on your fingers; write them on the tablet of your heart.” (Proverbs 7:1-3)  Prioritizing spiritual thoughts over material thoughts will keep us on the path to an eternal home with our Heavenly Father.  “For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.” (Romans 8:6)

Today’s reading: Proverbs 7

 

2018 Day 179 – Psalms 75-77

As Christians we are not promised a life without suffering, but we are promised to be rewarded for being His disciples.  “For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” (Romans 8:18)  The writer of Psalm 77 also reminds us that the greatness of God and His blessings toward us outweigh any of that suffering of this life.  “And I said, “This is my anguish; But I will remember the years of the right hand of the Most High.”  I will remember the works of the Lord; Surely I will remember Your wonders of old.  I will also meditate on all Your work, And talk of Your deeds.  Your way, O God, is in the sanctuary; Who is so great a God as our God?  You are the God who does wonders; You have declared Your strength among the peoples.  You have with Your arm redeemed Your people, The sons of Jacob and Joseph.” (Psalms 77:10-15)  In his letter to the people of Colosse, Paul gives us the best advice on how to keep from letting this world drag us down.  “Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.” (Colossians 3:2)

Today’s reading: Psalms 75-77

2018 Day 178 – 1 Kings 19-22

Elijah received a threatening message from Jezebel.  He was afraid and asked God to let him die.  Letting him die was not in God’s plan.  An angel was sent to take care of Elijah and get him going again.  Later Elijah was trying to hide in a cave and God asked him what he was doing.  “He said, ‘I have been very jealous for the LORD, the God of hosts. For the people of Israel have forsaken your covenant, thrown down your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword, and I, even I only, am left, and they seek my life, to take it away.”’ (1 Kings 19:10)  At times we may feel like Elijah did and think we are alone in following God.  We may want to give up, but God has work for us to do like He did for Elijah.  “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:10)

Today’s reading: 1 Kings 19-22

 

2018 Day 177 – Leviticus 7-9

God’s commands for His people came thru Moses.  “And Moses said to the congregation, “This is the thing that the LORD has commanded to be done.” (Leviticus 8:5)  Why would the people want to do “the thing” that God had commanded?  Jesus tells us what that motivation should be for us.  “Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.” (John 14:21)  As Paul was closing out his first letter to the people at Corinth he gave them a similar recommendation.  “Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong.  Let all that you do be done in love.” (1 Corinthians 16:13-14)  In the great chapter of love, 1 Corinthians 13, Paul goes even further and says that anything we do is without value if it is not done with that proper motivation.  “If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.” (1 Corinthians 13:3)

Today’s reading: Leviticus 7-9

 

2018 Day 176 – Luke 15-16

Three of Jesus’ parables are recorded in Luke chapter 15.  All three are about the importance of a single lost soul being saved and the rejoicing that comes with it.  “Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.” (Luke 15:7)  Our Heavenly Father wants everyone to be saved and gives us all opportunity for salvation from our sins.  “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9)

Today’s ready: Luke 15-16

 

2018 Day 175 – Ephesians 1-6

Salvation is a gift from God.  “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.  For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:8-10)  If someone offers you a gift, you could reject that gift.  But more than likely you will accept it.  In order to receive the gift, you have to make some effort.  This is similar to salvation.  We could reject it, but to accept it we must have a working faith.  “What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him?  If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that?  So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.  But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.  You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder!  Do you want to be shown, you foolish person, that faith apart from works is useless?  Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up his son Isaac on the altar?  You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by his works; and the Scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”—and he was called a friend of God.  You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone.  And in the same way was not also Rahab the prostitute justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way?  For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead.” (James 2:14-26)

Today’s reading: Ephesians 1-6

 

2018 Day 174 – Ezekiel 7-12

Throughout the Bible we see God taking care of His people.  Often there were tough times, but those who had faith and followed Him were rewarded for their faith.  Ezekiel was given a message to share with the people and part of it was to encourage those in Babylonian captivity.  “Therefore say, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD: I will gather you from the peoples and assemble you out of the countries where you have been scattered, and I will give you the land of Israel.’  And when they come there, they will remove from it all its detestable things and all its abominations.  And I will give them one heart, and a new spirit I will put within them. I will remove the heart of stone from their flesh and give them a heart of flesh, that they may walk in my statutes and keep my rules and obey them. And they shall be my people, and I will be their God.” (Ezekiel 11:17-20)  His promise to them was that they would be His people.  He has also promised us that we can be children of His.  “for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith.” (Galatians 3:26)

Today’s reading: Ezekiel 7-12

 

2018 Day 173 – Proverbs 5-6

Hate is a strong word, yet we are told there are things that God hates.  “There are six things that the LORD hates, seven that are an abomination to him:  haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil, a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows discord among brothers.” (Proverbs 6:16-19)  He hates the first six and the last one, sows discord among brothers, He despises even more.  How can we counteract these things that our Heavenly Father hates?  Have lots of fruit in our life.  “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” (Gal 5:22-23)

Today’s reading: Proverbs 5-6