Day 220 Bible Reading Plan

God is our home

God is Our Home

Have you found home, friends? That place where you are totally accepted and loved. It’s secure there. And we are protected. God is our home. He always has been. We can wander from home and forget who we are and where we belong. But He is always a place, a person that we can come back to. Come on in as we learn what that means today.

Bible Reading of the Day: Psalms 90-92

Psalm 90 is attributed to Moses – whether it was written by him or these were words he had shared. I love the NLT translation of the opening verse for our reading today. Psalm 90:1 says, “Lord, through all the generations you have been our home!”

But I like the ESV translation of verse 2 – mind-blowing: “Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you had formed the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God.”

The CSB says, “from eternity to eternity, you are God”. God has no beginning and no end. Our home with Him is secure.

God is Our Home—Adonai, Elohim, and Yahweh

In Psalm 90 there are 3 words for God: Lord, LORD and God. They are 3 different words in the Hebrew Bible.

  • In verse 1, there is Lord, which is translated as Adonai, which means Lord.
  • And in verses 2 and 17, there is the word God. This translates “Elohim”. It is a plural word; it means “the powerful rulers that have authority”.
  • In verse 13, there is LORD, with 4 capital letters. This translates “Yahweh” or “Jehovah”. It means “I am”. This tells us that God is always alive.

God sees us completely. Our iniquities are completely known, and yet He still sets His love on us. And how we live our days matters.

Psalm 90:8 ” You have set our iniquities before you, our secret sins in the light of your presence. 9 For all our days ebb away under your wrath; we end our years like a sigh. 10 Our lives last seventy years or, if we are strong, eighty years. Even the best of them are struggle and sorrow; indeed, they pass quickly and we fly away. 11 Who understands the power of your anger? Your wrath matches the fear that is due you. 12 “Teach us to number our days carefully so that we may develop wisdom in our hearts.”

God is Our Home—Elyon, Shaddai, Yahweh, Elohim

Psalm 91 may have been prayers that Moses spoke, we are not sure who authored this Psalm. But it continues to describe the protection we have with God.

There are 4 names for God in the first 2 verses of this psalm: Most High, Almighty, LORD and God. They are 4 different words in the Hebrew Bible:

  • Most High (Elyon) means that God is more important than anyone else. (Easy English) It suggests a Supreme monarch, one who is elevated above all things. The name signifies God’s majesty, sovereignty, and pre-eminence. (Bible Study Tools)
  • “Almighty (Shaddai) means that God is more powerful than anyone else. the Almighty, is translated from the word Shaddai. Shaddai has many meanings, but as you may imagine, it primarily suggests a mighty, powerful God who is strong beyond our imagination and is more than capable to supply our every need. He is the God who parted the sea and controls all of creation. In His name and in His power, there is no need that cannot be met, and no circumstance he cannot overcome” (biblestudytools.com).

God is Our Home—Our God Knows Us

  • “LORD (Yahweh) means that he will never die. The third name, the LORD, is the personal name for God, revealed to Moses at the burning bush (Exodus 6:2). This personal name for God was considered so sacred in Judaism, that the original pronunciation is uncertain, only that it contained the letters YHWH, (JHVH in Latin).  It has been translated as Yahweh, Jehovah, and more often as the LORD (in all caps).  The significance of this name is that it represents a relatable God who seeks for us to know Him on a deep, personal level.  The God who is the all-powerful, Divine ruler of all things is also the God who knows every hair on our heads, every joy and fear in our hearts, and desires us to know Him as intimately as a friend.  This God who created the universe and all it contains is not just some far-off unknowable being, but a Father, redeemer, and friend” (Bible Study Tools Website).
  • “God (Elohim) means that he decides what will happen. The fourth name, my God, comes from the Hebrew Elohim. This name first appears at the very beginning of the Bible in Genesis 1:1, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” When Elohim occurs in Scripture, it is typically translated as “God.” In Greek, it is translated as Theos, which is where we get our word theology. It means the one who is first, or the creator, and is technically a plural word” (Bible Study Tools Website).

God is Our Home—His Home is Secure

So in Psalm 90, God is our home and in Psalm 91 we see the benefits of dwelling with God as our home. Psalm 91:1, “The one who lives under the protection of the Most High dwells in the shadow of the Almighty.” “Under the shadow of the Almighty” can mean “in the presence of God.” God is always surrounding you. In His presence all good is yours. Understanding this enables you to be at peace, whatever your present circumstances.

Here are some benefits of being home with God – abiding with and in Christ:

Verse 3 – He rescues us

In Verse 4 – He covers us and is faithful to us

In Verse 5 – We will not fear terror of the night

And in Verse 6 – We will not fear the plague or pestilence

Why do we have these benefits? Verse 9 – Because you have made the LORD-my refuge, the Most High—your dwelling place.

Verse 10 – No harm, no plague

In Verse 11 – God will give His angels concerning us – Protection

And in Verse 14 Because he has his heart set on me; I will deliver him; I will protect him because he knows my name.

Scripture of the day: Psalm 91:14-16

14 The Lord says, “I will rescue those who love me. I will protect those who trust in my name. 15 When they call on me, I will answer. I will be with them in trouble. I will rescue and honor them. 16 I will reward them with a long life and give them my salvation.”

Application

  • Are you home, friends?
  • Home with God?
  • God has no beginning and no end. Our home with Him is secure.
  • Those who abide with Him are secure.
  • And when we are in Christ, we number our days aright.

7-Fold One-Year Bible Reading Plan

Day #221: Psalms 90-92

Scripture of the Day: Psalm 91:14-16

Listen: https://www.biblegateway.com/audio/mclean/niv/Ps.90

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Day 220 Bible Reading Plan

The Roots of Unfaithfulness

The Roots of Unfaithfulness

How did you pick your mate, or how will you? You probably will not search for the least faithful person, right? And yet that is exactly what God calls Hosea to do. As another object lesson for Israel of both the behavior of God’s people and also a vivid reminder of what Christ did for us, Hosea is told to marry an unfaithful woman—a prostitute. Just like Gomer, we can be unfaithful to God. Discovering the roots of unfaithfulness can help us to return to our faithful God.

Bible Reading of the Day: Hosea 1-7

Today we are starting a new book of the Bible—the book of Hosea. And whenever we start a new book of the Bible, we dive in to see what we can learn about the book overall.

“Hosea wrote in the middle of the eighth century BC (Before Christ). He gave most of his messages to Israel, the country in the north. But some of the messages were for Judah, the country in the south. The book has many curses and blessings, but there are many more curses than blessings. If we want to understand this book, we need to understand the covenant at Sinai. The curses and blessings of Hosea are connected to this covenant” (Easy English Bible Commentary).

Overview of Today’s Reading

Through the example of Hosea we see both our waywardness and the faithfulness of God that loves us even when we are faithless.

Hosea 1:2, “When the Lord first spoke to Hosea, he said this to him: Go and marry a woman of promiscuity, and have children of promiscuity, for the land is committing blatant acts of promiscuity by abandoning the Lord.”

What amazes me about this chapter is that in the same chapter where the sins of Israel are called out, God still offers hope and gives His people a promise.

God’s Discipline is Kind

Hosea 1:8-10

8 “After Gomer had weaned Lo-ruhamah, she conceived and gave birth to a son. 9 Then the Lord said: Name him Lo-ammi, for you are not my people, and I will not be your God. 10 Yet the number of the Israelites will be like the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured or counted. And in the place where they were told: You are not my people, they will be called: Sons of the living God.”

God disciplines His people because He loves them. When we have a wayward child, it would be unloving to let them continue in sin. God’s discipline is always to redeem. It is not merely punitive. God disciplines us with a desire to bless us.

Hebrews 12:6, “For the LORD disciplines those he loves, and he punishes each one he accepts as his child.”

Deuteronomy 8:5, “So know in your heart that just as a man disciplines his son, so the LORD your God disciplines you.”

Psalm 94:12, “Blessed is the man You discipline, O LORD, and teach from Your law.”

Psalm 119:75, “I know, O LORD, that Your judgments are righteous, and that in faithfulness You have afflicted me.”

Proverbs 3:11, “My son, do not reject the discipline of the LORD, and do not loathe His rebuke.”

Proverbs 3:12, “For the LORD disciplines the one He loves, as a father the son in whom he delights.”

The Roots of Unfaithfulness—The Cause of Our Rebellion

Hosea 2:8 reveals one key reason for Israel’s waywardness. “She does not recognize that it is I who gave her the grain, the new wine, and the fresh oil. I lavished silver and gold on her, which they used for Baal.”

We don’t recognize all that we have is from God. We can take it all for granted.

And the shiny objects in our culture pull us in.

The Roots of Unfaithfulness—The Fruit of Unfaithfulness

We see the fruit of sinful living, the condition of God’s people and the leaders of God’s people in Hosea 4: 1-8:

“Hear the word of the Lord, people of Israel, for the Lord has a case against the inhabitants of the land: There is no truth, no faithful love, and no knowledge of God in the land! 2 Cursing, lying, murder, stealing, and adultery are rampant; one act of bloodshed follows another. 3 For this reason the land mourns, and everyone who lives in it languishes, along with the wild animals and the birds of the sky; even the fish of the sea disappear. 4 But let no one dispute; let no one argue, for my case is against you priests. 5 You will stumble by day; the prophet will also stumble with you by night. And I will destroy your mother.

The Roots of Unfaithfulness—The Cause of our Condition

6 My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I will reject you from serving as my priest. Since you have forgotten the law of your God, I will also forget your sons. 7 The more they multiplied, the more they sinned against me. I will change their honor into disgrace. 8 They feed on the sin of my people; they have an appetite for their iniquity. 9 The same judgment will happen to both people and priests. I will punish them for their ways and repay them for their deeds. 10 They will eat but not be satisfied; they will be promiscuous but not multiply. For they have abandoned their devotion to the Lord. 11 Promiscuity, wine, and new wine take away one’s understanding.”

Hosea 4:6, 10-11 reveal the cause of their destruction. Notice what led to their destruction, which is also the Scripture verse of the day:

Scripture of the Day: Hosea 4:6

“My people are being destroyed because they don’t know me. Since you priests refuse to know me, I refuse to recognize you as my priests. Since you have forgotten the laws of your God, I will forget to bless your children.”

Hosea shows us the way back is repentance. It is not feeling sorry for ourselves, but sorry for our sins. And sin is deceptive. It prevents us from returning to God.

Hosea 5:4, “Their actions do not allow them to return to their God, for a spirit of promiscuity is among them, and they do not know the Lord.”

The Roots of Unfaithfulness Are Healed When We Return To God

Hosea 6:1-3, “Come, let’s return to the Lord. For he has torn us, and he will heal us;

he has wounded us, and he will bind up our wounds. 2 He will revive us after two days, and on the third day he will raise us up so we can live in his presence. 3 Let’s strive to know the Lord. His appearance is as sure as the dawn. He will come to us like the rain, like the spring showers that water the land.”

The Roots of Unfaithfulness Are Healed When We Know God.

Hosea 6:5-7, “This is why I have used the prophets to cut them down; I have killed them with the words from my mouth. My judgment strikes like lightning. 6 For I desire faithful love and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings. 7 But they, like Adam, have violated the covenant; there they have betrayed me.”

Hosea 7:10, “Israel’s arrogance testifies against them, yet they do not return to the Lord their God, and for all this, they do not seek him.”

Hosea 7:13-14, “13 Woe to them, for they fled from me; destruction to them, for they rebelled against me! Though I want to redeem them, they speak lies against me. 14 They do not cry to me from their hearts; rather, they wail on their beds. They slash themselves for grain and new wine; they turn away from me.”

Application

  • God’s discipline is always redemptive.
  • Feel sorry for sin, not self.
  • Don’t let lack of knowledge keep you from God.
  • Our waywardness is healed when we return to God.
  • Faith in our faithful God heals our faithlessness.

7-Fold One-Year Bible Reading Plan

Day #220: Hosea 1-7

Scripture of the Day: Hosea 4:6

Listen: https://www.biblegateway.com/audio/mclean/niv/Hos.1

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Day 219 Bible Reading Plan

Making a Name for Ourselves

Making a Name for Ourselves

Ever feel like a number, friends? Wonder if your life is making a difference? You matter to God. He is crazy about you—so much so, that He knows how many stinkin’ hairs you have on that head of yours. We are more than a number. More than a name. We are named in the book of life. In the genealogies of life, we are making a name for ourselves by how we trust in God.

Bible Reading of the Day: 1 Chronicles 1-5

We start a new book today – the book of 1 Chronicles! So I like to provide a little information about the book whenever we start a new book of the Bible. This is a summary I found in Gotquestions.org:

Overview of Today’s Reading

Both 1 and 2 Chronicles were thought to have been written by Ezra between 450 and 425 B.C. “The Books of 1 & 2 Chronicles cover mostly the same information as 1 & 2 Samuel and 1 & 2 Kings. Perhaps the biggest distinction is that 1 & 2 Chronicles focus more on the priestly aspect of the time period. The Book of 1 Chronicles was written after the exile to help those returning to Israel understand how to worship God. The history focused on the Southern Kingdom, the tribes of Judah, Benjamin, and Levi. These tribes tended to be more faithful to God” (GotQuestions.org).

“Briefly outlined, the Book of 1 Chronicles is as follows: Chapters 1:1-9:23 – Selective Genealogies; Chapters 9:24-12:40 – David’s ascent; Chapters 13:1-20:30 -David’s reign. 1 Chronicles begins with a list of the families of the Israelites. Then it continues with an account of David’s rule over the united kingdom called Israel. 2 Chronicles begins with an account of Solomon’s rule. After Solomon’s death, the kingdom was divided” (Easy English Bible Commentary).

Making a Name for Ourselves—God Knows Us By Name

Don’t miss the significance of the genealogies. First, God’s people are named. They are seen and accounted for. In fact, they make a name for themselves due to how they related to God and to one another. Second, how we live matters. And it will be remembered. How do you want to be remembered, friends?

Romans 14:10-13

“10 Why do you pass judgment on your brother? Or you, why do you despise your brother? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God; 11 for it is written, “As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.” 12 So then each of us will give an account of himself to God. 13 Therefore let us not pass judgment on one another any longer, but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother.”

Making a Name for Ourselves—Named in the Book of Life

Ultimately, we can waste so much of our lives striving and being worried about what people think of us. Or worse, living our lives for this world and for sin. For example, we see some of this in the genealogy. It is like a roll call. Life choices and decisions defined these people. Even so, the words we say define us and will be accounted for.

Matthew 12:36, “But I tell you that men will give an account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken.”

How humbling, right? Let’s check out a few people of significance who were mentioned in the genealogy.

1 Chronicles 2:3-4, “The sons of Judah: Er, Onan and Shelah; these three Bath-shua the Canaanite bore to him. Now Er, Judah’s firstborn, was evil in the sight of the Lord, and he put him to death. 4 His daughter-in-law Tamar also bore him Perez and Zerah. Judah had five sons in all.”

1 Chronicles 2:7, “The son of Carmi: Achan, the troubler of Israel, who broke faith in the matter of the devoted thing.”

The story of Achan is in Joshua 7. He took the things that belonged to God – the plunder of Jericho and his sin led to the death of 36 other soldiers. Our sins impact others. Moreover, our righteous decisions do, too.

Last but not least, my favorite person in the genealogy today is Jabez.

Scripture of the Day:

“9 Jabez was more honorable than his brothers; and his mother called his name Jabez, saying, “Because I bore him in pain.” 10 Jabez called upon the God of Israel, saying, “Oh that you would bless me and enlarge my border, and that your hand might be with me, and that you would keep me from harm so that it might not bring me pain!” And God granted what he asked.”

Although Jabez had a rough beginning – I mean, who likes to be named after pain? A relationship with God defined him.

Making a Name for Ourselves—By Calling out to God

Do you feel like you have no purpose? Therefore other people seem to matter more and seem to have a higher purpose? Jabez was named according to the pain he brought his mother. Translated, Jabez means “he makes sorrowful”. Wow. Thanks for the name, mom. It doesn’t seem like a great start. But the Bible says he was respected more than his brothers. Sometimes our weakness makes us more desperate for a great God to step in and redeem us. And when God redeems, small lives are transformed into large testimonies of God’s grace.

If you want to explore the story of Jabez more, here are some links to articles that I have written about Jabez:

Making a Name for Ourselves—By Trusting in God

Following the example of Jabez is the Hagrites who likewise also trusted in God.

1 Chronicles 5: 18-20

“18 The Reubenites, the Gadites, and the half-tribe of Manasseh had valiant men who carried shield and sword, and drew the bow, expert in war, 44,760, able to go to war. 19 They waged war against the Hagrites, Jetur, Naphish, and Nodab. 20 And when they prevailed over them, the Hagrites and all who were with them were given into their hands, for they cried out to God in the battle, and he granted their urgent plea because they trusted in him.”

Finally, friends, trusting in God changes our present and our future. Ultimately, trusting in God is what defines our lives.

In conclusion, what stock do you come from, friends? In short, is your family line riddled with sin? As a consequence of Christ’s death and resurrection, in Christ, we are part of a new bloodline— a perfect bloodline. Have you been grafted in? Namely, have you accepted the salvation that Jesus offers? Without a doubt we have all sinned and marred our lineage in some way. Nonetheless, God redeems our lives and we can make a difference by how we live our lives for His glory. Although genealogies might seem dry to us, they remind us that we matter to God. In summary, God knows each of His children personally, even down to the number of hairs on our heads (Matthew 10:30). Therefore when we relate to God and cry out to Him just like Jabez did, God will use our lives to make a difference.

Application

  • To summarize, when I look at the genealogies, it is a place of worship to me that God redeemed His people. Sinners and broken people are in the genealogy that leads to Christ. God restores. God’s plans are perfect.
  • Finally, God is faithful to His people and keeps His promises. Above all, we can be sure that His promises to us will be fulfilled as well. He has promised blessings to those who follow Him, who come to Christ in repentance, and who obey His Word.

7-Fold One-Year Bible Reading Plan

Day #219: 1 Chronicles 1-5

Scripture of the Day: 1 Chronicles 4:9-10

Listen: https://www.biblegateway.com/audio/mclean/niv/1Chr.1

Join me live at 8am ET: http://www.facebook.com/deniseduboispass

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Day 218 Bible Reading Plan

God's Purposes Run Deeper

God’s Purposes Run Deeper

The purpose of laws can sometimes be misunderstood. We look on the outside but God looks on the inside. And we look at the rules as something we have to do. God gives us commands with the purpose to bless and protect us. God’s purposes run deeper than our own. Today’s reading offers a couple of examples of this.

Bible Reading of the Day: Numbers 5-8

God is so good, friends, to give us guidelines and commandments. Our flesh strays and we are prone to wander. Here in Numbers today we read about things that might be a bit foreign to us, but there are always things we can learn, right?

Overview of Today’s Reading

In Numbers 5 we read about the isolation that being unclean brings. One commentary I read this morning said that we all are unclean at one time or another. In one breath we can feel sorry for the unclean being banished to isolation. But another view is that God made provision for the unclean while also protecting those who were clean.

During this pandemic, we can assuredly see the damage that germs can do today in our culture, right? But the uncleanness in Numbers had more to do with God’s holiness than just protecting people from germs.

There was also the jealousy ritual in chapter 5 which was an interesting read, right? Here again, we can feel sorry for the woman being accused by her husband, but this jealousy ritual also protected her from her husband and placed her judgment in God’s hands.

In Chapter 6 there are details about the Nazirite vow. Gotquestions.org had this to say about this vow:

“The Nazirite/Nazarite vow is taken by individuals who have voluntarily dedicated themselves to God. The vow is a decision, action, and desire on the part of people whose desire is to yield themselves to God completely. By definition, the Hebrew word nazir, simply means “to be separated or consecrated.” And the Nazirite vow, which appears in Numbers 6:1-21, has five features. It is voluntary, can be done by either men or women, has a specific time frame, has specific requirements and restrictions, and at its conclusion a sacrifice is offered.”

Of course, we know that Samson was one such person who took this vow. And in chapters 7-8 we see the offerings from the leaders and consecration of the Levitical priests.

God’s Purposes Run Deeper—Covering Our Sin

Numbers 5:5-7 is the crux of the matter regarding sin and the reason for all of the rules and commands. Our sin separates us from God and harms others. It destroys us. We need our sins covered. We think God’s rules limit us. But the truth is, they free us. God’s purposes run deeper than our own.

“5 The Lord spoke to Moses: 6 “Tell the Israelites: When a man or woman commits any sin against another, that person acts unfaithfully toward the Lord and is guilty. 7 The person is to confess the sin he has committed. He is to pay full compensation, add a fifth of its value to it, and give it to the individual he has wronged.”

  • Our sin is against God first and foremost. We violate His commands.
  • Our sin hurts others around us, too. There are consequences for sin.
  • Still God provides for us and covers us.

Psalm 51 is such  a beautiful demonstration of the confession we see here in Numbers, as well:

“Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions. 2 Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin! 3 For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me. 4 Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you may be justified in your words and blameless in your judgment.”

Scripture of the Day: Numbers 6:24-26

“May the Lord bless you and protect you. And may the Lord smile on you and be gracious to you. May the Lord show you his favor and give you His peace.”

From olivetree.com “The priestly blessing (Num 6:22-24) is the most familiar passage in Numbers 5-6. The central message of the blessing is stated in the closing Hebrew word, שׁלום (šālôm), translated “peace”. In English, “peace” connotes the absence of war. It can also describe a state of tranquility. These meanings are also in the Hebrew. But the peace of God in the priestly blessing embraces even more aspects of life. It includes good health, security, inner harmony, wellness, material prosperity, and a long life. The broad and rich meaning of “peace” in the priestly blessing reinforces the role of holiness in the life of Israel. It brings about both social and physical health.

What does God’s blessing mean to you, friend?

Application

  • Trust God’s purposes—they lead to His promises.
  • We are blessed to bless others and glorify God.
  • God’s blessing on our lives might look different than what we thought blessing meant.
  • All of us are unclean at some point in our lives but thanks be to God that He has provided for our atonement. We are covered in Christ.

7-Fold One-Year Bible Reading Plan

Day #218: Numbers 5-8

Scripture of the Day: Numbers 6:24-26

Listen: https://www.biblegateway.com/audio/mclean/niv/Num.5

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Day 217 Bible Reading Plan

The True Christian Life

The True Christian Life

Ever feel like the Christian life does not look like you thought it should? We can get caught up in a Christian culture or a worldly culture that pull us away from the true Christian life we are called to. But God’s grace meets us in that place to pull us back to who we are in Christ.

Bible Reading of the Day: 1 Thessalonians 4-5

And Paul is revealing what this calling to sanctification looks like.

Overview of Today’s Reading

Paul reminds the believers that they are called to

  • Purity
  • Holiness
  • Honor
  • To love one another
  • And to fear God, not death
  • To stay awake and be self-controlled

The True Christian Life—How You Should Live

1 Thessalonians 4:1-8, “Additionally then, brothers and sisters, we ask and encourage you in the Lord Jesus, that as you have received instruction from us on how you should live and please God—as you are doing—do this even more. 2 For you know what commands we gave you through the Lord Jesus.

The True Christian Life—To Live in Holiness

3 For this is God’s will, your sanctification: that you keep away from sexual immorality, 4 that each of you knows how to control his own body in holiness and honor, 5 not with lustful passions, like the Gentiles, who don’t know God. 6 This means one must not transgress against and take advantage of a brother or sister in this manner, because the Lord is an avenger of all these offenses, as we also previously told and warned you. 7 For God has not called us to impurity but to live in holiness. 8 Consequently, anyone who rejects this does not reject man, but God, who gives you his Holy Spirit.

The True Christian Life—To Hear and Do God’s Will

9 About brotherly love: You don’t need me to write you because you yourselves are taught by God to love one another. 10 In fact, you are doing this toward all the brothers and sisters in the entire region of Macedonia. But we encourage you, brothers and sisters, to do this even more, 11 to seek to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you, 12 so that you may behave properly in the presence of outsiders and not be dependent on anyone.

Did you catch all of the to do’s? These are not a checklist that we check off and move on – these are a way of life. If we live in this manner, we do not need to fear death. We will be ready when Jesus returns. And more than just being ready, we will lie effective lives and help others to be ready!

We can get caught up in thinking that this life is all about us. This life is all about glorifying God as we cooperate in the sanctification process. When we are saved, that is just the beginning, friends. We then need to live the true Christian life out in this fallen world so others, too, can be saved.

Scripture of the Day: 1 Thessalonians 4:13-14

“13 And now, dear brothers and sisters, we want you to know what will happen to the believers who have died so you will not grieve like people who have no hope. 14 For since we believe that Jesus died and was raised to life again, we also believe that when Jesus returns, God will bring back with him the believers who have died.”

The True Christian Life—Does Not Fear Death

Death is hard. I think we can spend most of our lives thinking it happens to others and we don’t really want to think about it. But thinking about death helps us to live worthy lives. We know we will be accountable and that our days are numbered. And Christians do not need to fear death. We need to fear God—the One Who holds our times in His hands.

Matthew 10:28 ESV, “And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.”

Psalm 23:4 ESV, “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”

Revelation 21:4 ESV, “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”

Hebrews 2:14-15 ESV, “Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery.”

Paul comforts the believers with the imminent return of Christ. Those who have died will be raised to life first, then those of us who are still alive will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the LORD in the air. And these are my favorite words—and so we will always be with the LORD.

God is with us. Because of this we do not fear and we live out the true Christian life because he is with us.

How the church loves one another is another important part of living out the true Christian life.

2 Thessalonians 5:1-18

“About the times and the seasons: Brothers and sisters, you do not need anything to be written to you. 2 For you yourselves know very well that the day of the Lord will come just like a thief in the night. 3 When they say, “Peace and security,” then sudden destruction will come upon them, like labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape. 4 But you, brothers and sisters, are not in the dark, for this day to surprise you like a thief. 5 For you are all children of light and children of the day. We do not belong to the night or the darkness.

6 So then, let us not sleep, like the rest, but let us stay awake and be self-controlled. 7 For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, get drunk at night. 8 But since we belong to the day, let us be self-controlled and put on the armor of faith and love, and a helmet of the hope of salvation. 9 For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, 10 who died for us, so that whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him. 11 Therefore encourage one another and build each other up as you are already doing.

12 Now we ask you, brothers and sisters, to give recognition to those who labor among you and lead you[a] in the Lord and admonish you, 13 and to regard them very highly in love because of their work. Be at peace among yourselves. 14 And we exhort you, brothers and sisters: warn those who are idle,[b] comfort the discouraged, help the weak, be patient with everyone. 15 See to it that no one repays evil for evil to anyone, but always pursue what is good for one another and for all. 16 Rejoice always, 17 pray constantly, 18 give thanks in everything; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

Application

  • Don’t fear death. Fear God.
  • Live the true Christian life out – passionately and with joy so others can be saved.

7-Fold One-Year Bible Reading Plan

Day #217: 1 Thessalonians 4-5

Scripture of the Day: 1 Thessalonians 4:13-14

Listen: https://www.biblegateway.com/audio/mclean/niv/1Thess.4

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Day 216 Bible Reading Plan

There's No Middle Ground

There’s No Middle Ground

Who is your father, friends? Jesus makes it clear that there are two fathers. One is the Heavenly Father and the other is the enemy of our souls. There’s no middle ground.

Bible Reading of the Day: John 7-8

Jesus speaks to the Pharisees and the scribes about where He is from and where they are from. He tries to get them to stop judging by outward appearances.

There’s No Middle Ground—Follow Jesus, Not the World

Jesus’ brothers offer counsel to Jesus at the beginning of our reading today.

“3 So his brothers said to him, “Leave here and go to Judea so that your disciples can see your works that you are doing. 4 For no one does anything in secret while he’s seeking public recognition. If you do these things, show yourself to the world.” 5 (For not even his brothers believed in him.)

6 Jesus told them, “My time has not yet arrived, but your time is always at hand. 7 The world cannot hate you, but it does hate me because I testify about it—that its works are evil. 8 Go up to the festival yourselves. I’m not going up to this festival, because my time has not yet fully come.” 9 After he had said these things, he stayed in Galilee.”

The world will try to get us to do things in a worldly way, but there’s no middle ground. We either are worldly or godly.

There’s No Middle Ground—Walk in the Light or the Darkness

What is popular with the world is not popular with God. Jesus’ brothers were operating in a secular mindset, how Jesus could be famous. Jesus was not seeking fame. He was seeking hearts. He spoke truth and called out their sin. The religious leaders had a problem with that. When we speak truth, friends, we will not be popular in the world, either.

John 8:12 “Jesus spoke to them again: “I am the light of the world. Anyone who follows me will never walk in the darkness but will have the light of life.”

John 8:23, “You are from below,” he told them, “I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world. 24 Therefore I told you that you will die in your sins. For if you do not believe that I am he, you will die in your sins.”

What Jesus said was a slap in the face to the religious leaders who were supposed to teach others about God. But we are either in the light or in the dark. There’s no middle ground.

There’s No Middle Ground—Be in God’s Word

Jesus painted a picture of what it means for the leaders to have Satan as their father and what it means to have God as their Father.

Those whose father is the devil don’t believe in God’s word. Those who believe in the Heavenly Father continue and keep God’s word. Those who have Satan as their father are slaves to sin.

John 8:31-32

31 Then Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you continue in my word, you really are my disciples. 32 You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” 33 “We are descendants of Abraham,” they answered him, “and we have never been enslaved to anyone. How can you say, ‘You will become free’?”

34 Jesus responded, “Truly I tell you, everyone who commits sin is a slave of sin. 35 A slave does not remain in the household forever, but a son does remain forever. 36 So if the Son sets you free, you really will be free. 37 I know you are descendants of Abraham, but you are trying to kill me because my word has no place among you. 38 I speak what I have seen in the presence of the Father; [e] so then, you do what you have heard from your father.”

There’s No Middle Ground—Keep God’s Word

The religious leaders did not appreciate being told that their father was Satan. So they called Jesus a devil.

John 8:48-49, “The Jews responded to him, “Aren’t we right in saying that you’re a Samaritan and have a demon?” 49 “I do not have a demon,” Jesus answered. “On the contrary, I honor my Father and you dishonor me. 50 I do not seek my own glory; there is one who seeks it and judges. 51 Truly I tell you, if anyone keeps my word, he will never see death.”

54 “If I glorify myself,” Jesus answered, “my glory is nothing. My Father—about whom you say, ‘He is our God’—he is the one who glorifies me. 55 You do not know him, but I know him. If I were to say I don’t know him, I would be a liar like you. But I do know him, and I keep his word. 56 Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day; he saw it and was glad.”

If we are in Christ, we will not just say God’s word. We will keep it and live by it. There’s no middle ground. We will either be in His word and live by it or we won’t.

[Most ancient Greek manuscripts do not include John 7:53–8:11.] This is also the case for Mark 16:9-20. Got Questions.org has this to say about these verses:

“The occasional phrase, verse, or section may come under scholastic review and debate, but no important doctrine of Scripture is put in doubt due to these uncertainties. That the manuscripts are the subject of ongoing scholarship does not prove there is something wrong with God’s Word; it is a refining fire—one of the very processes God has ordained to keep His Word pure. A belief in inerrancy underpins a reverent, careful investigation of the text.”

Scripture of the Day:

“16 So Jesus told them, “My message is not my own; it comes from God who sent me. 17 Anyone who wants to do the will of God will know whether my teaching is from God or is merely my own. 18 Those who speak for themselves want glory only for themselves, but a person who seeks to honor the one who sent him speaks truth, not lies.”

Application

  • Who is your father, friends?
  • There are many in the Christian culture who do not continue in God’s word. They don’t keep God’s word, either.
  • How can we claim Christ if we do not obey Him?
  • If the religious leaders were called out back then, we will be called out, too.
  • If God is our Father, we will look like our Father.

7-Fold One-Year Bible Reading Plan

Day #216: John 7-8

Scripture of the Day: John 7:16-18

Listen: https://www.biblegateway.com/audio/mclean/niv/John.7

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Day 215 Bible Reading Plan

Sense and Sensibility

Sense and Sensibility

This is the name of one of my favorite movies to watch with my daughters when they were growing up and we wanted to watch a chick flick. There is one sister who is sensible and wise. Discreet. Then there is the other sister who was not as sensible. She went with her senses and whatever felt good or seemed right. Sense and sensibility might sound similar, but the difference between these two words is the polar opposite. One depends on good sense while the other depends on the senses/our feelings.

Bible Reading of the Day: Proverbs 14-15

Today’s reading takes us on a comparison of the wise and the foolish, the righteous and the unrighteous, and we see the word sensible or senses at least 6 times.

Overview of Today’s Reading

Come to your senses, Solomon is encouraging us. And if we can see the fruit of just following the senses instead of being sensible, we come to understand that being sensible is where we find peace.

Proverbs 14:12, “There is a way that seems right to a person, but its end is the way of death.”

You see the measure we use to determine what is best ought not to be our feelings, our senses, or what seems right to us. Why? Because our hearts are desperately wicked, according to Scripture. That might seem hard for us to accept. And it is hard not to rely on self because our own thoughts seem valid. But when we rely on our own understanding  instead of God’s we can get into trouble and be led astray.

Proverbs 14:8, “The sensible person’s wisdom is to consider his way, but the stupidity of fools deceives them.”

Our  own hearts are deceitful, friends. We have no wisdom on our own. But the good news is that we can get wisdom. We can learn from the sensible and the senseless today.

Proverbs 14:15, “The inexperienced one believes anything but the sensible one watches his steps.”

Now I’m not talking about like when I was a little girl and I was careful not to step on any cracks in the sidewalk. Anyone else do that? Y’all, we have to think for ourselves. Don’t just believe anything. Get wisdom. Fear God. This leads us to be sensible people.

Proverbs 14:18, “The inexperienced inherit foolishness but the sensible are crowned with knowledge.”

The inexperienced are those who have not had experience with wisdom. The fruit is folly. The way of the fool is painful, friends. Separated from God. Be sensible. Get wisdom. Fear God. The sensible one fears God and understands we will and do answer to Him for how we live. And when we fear God, it helps us to live lives that please Him.

Proverbs 14:26-27 describe the fruit of the sensible person who fears God

26 “In the fear of the Lord one has strong confidence and his children have a refuge. 27 The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life, turning people away from the snares of death.”

So how do we get this good sense?

  • We are accountable. And we accept correction.

Proverbs 15:5

“A fool despises his father’s discipline, but a person who accepts correction is sensible.”

  • We are disciplined and we listen to correction – we don’t ignore it.

Proverbs 15:32

“Anyone who ignores discipline despises himself, but whoever listens to correction acquires good sense.”

  • We are humble. We recognize that what seems right isn’t – we cannot determine what is righteous, but god can. And we ask Him.

Proverbs 15:33

“The fear of the Lord is what wisdom teaches, and humility comes before honor.”

Friends, the crowd will try to pull us to folly. But folly will only entertain the senseless for a short while until the consequences start rolling in.

Proverbs 15:21

“Foolishness brings joy to one without sense, but a person with understanding walks a straight path.”

Lasting joy is found in being wise and walking in the fear of the LORD.

Scripture of the Day:

“Fools make fun of guilt, but the godly acknowledge it and seek reconciliation.”

It is when we acknowledge our shame and examine it biblically that we become wise.

Application

  • Don’t ignore conviction.
  • Shame can point us to repentance and wisdom.

7-Fold One-Year Bible Reading Plan

Day #215: Proverbs 14-15

Scripture of the Day: Proverbs 14:9

Listen: https://www.biblegateway.com/audio/mclean/niv/Prov.14

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Day 214 Bible Reading Plan

Can God Be Trusted?

Can God Be Trusted?

We learn today about the process of crying out and what that looks like. There is a battle that we go through to get to the right frame of mind when life is hard. Can God be trusted even when He allows suffering in? Through the Psalmist we watch the struggle to trust even when life hurts.

Bible Reading of the Day: Psalm 87-89

There is a battle going on in the Psalms today. And It is a battle to trust God or not. When hard times hit, will we trust God? Hard times reveal our true character and what we rely on. And due to the hard places, we learn to trust in God alone.

Overview of Today’s Reading

In Psalm 87, there is a tale of two cities. There is Zion, which is the earthly Jerusalem in verses 1-3, and then there is the Heavenly Jerusalem in verses 4-6. Those who are numbered in the book of life were born again. (v. 5-6). And then in Psalm 88 it is a cry of desperation that teaches us to pray to God in the hard and good times. And finally, in Psalm 89 we learn to look to God’s promises when times are hard.

Can God Be Trusted—When We Suffer?

In Psalm 88, The Psalmist begins by describing his plight:

“Lord, God of my salvation,
I cry out before you day and night.
May my prayer reach your presence;
listen to my cry.

For I have had enough troubles,
and my life is near Sheol.
I am counted among those going down to the Pit.
I am like a man without strength,
abandoned among the dead.
I am like the slain lying in the grave,
whom you no longer remember,
and who are cut off from your care.”

Can God Be Trusted—When He Allowed the Suffering?

The Psalmist is consistent in prayer. He is suffering and crying out to God in verses 1-5. Then there is a shift. He shifts to what I would say is blaming God in v. 6-9

“You have put me in the lowest part of the Pit, in the darkest places, in the depths. 7 Your wrath weighs heavily on me; you have overwhelmed me with all your waves. Selah 8 You have distanced my friends from me; you have made me repulsive to them. I am shut in and cannot go out. 9 My eyes are worn out from crying. Lord, I cry out to you all day long; I spread out my hands to you.”

Ultimately, he shifts again to ask God questions in v. 10-11, followed by his decision to continue to cry out to God in verse 13:

“But I call to you for help, Lord; in the morning my prayer meets you.”

It is due to God’s faithfulness that we know anything He allows in He does not waste. Above all, when we seek God’s glory more than our deliverance, we realize that suffering was a gift.

Can God Be Trusted—When the Suffering Remains?

But then he adds a little P.S. in case God did not see his S.O.S. in Psalm 88:13-18

“Lord, why do you reject me? Why do you hide your face from me? 15 From my youth, I have been suffering and near death. I suffer your horrors; I am desperate. 16 Your wrath sweeps over me; your terrors destroy me. 17 They surround me like water all day long; they close in on me from every side. 18 You have distanced loved one and neighbor from me; darkness is my only friend.”

When life hurts, doubting God will only make it hurt more. God cannot be unfaithful. What if the suffering remains? Will we trust God still? When we lean in and seek God in the midst of life, it ends our strife. Oh, the troubles can still surround us, but we are hidden in Jesus.

Scripture of the Day: Psalm 89:15-17

“Happy are those who hear the joyful call to worship, for they will walk in the light of your presence, Lord. 16 They rejoice all day long in your wonderful reputation. They exult in your righteousness. 17 You are their glorious strength. It pleases you to make us strong.”

Application

  • God is trustworthy. And when we are tempted to doubt Him, we can look at His promises and His character for hope.
  • Hard times don’t break us—they make us.

7-Fold One-Year Bible Reading Plan

Day #214: Psalm 87-89

Scripture of the Day: Psalm 89:15-17

Listen: https://www.biblegateway.com/audio/mclean/niv/Ps.87

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Day 213 Bible Reading Plan

God is in Control

God is in Control

The end times can be a scary thing to think about. But No matter what is going on around us or what is to come, God is in complete control of it all. And God wins and triumphs over evil. And the amazing thing is that this great, kind God sees us and considers us precious in His sight.

Bible Reading of the Day: Daniel 7-12

We are reading the second half of the book of Daniel today and we read about some pretty amazing dreams that Daniel had. The visions terrified and overwhelmed Daniel.

Overview of Today’s Reading

In Chapter 7 is Daniel’s vision of the four beasts and the court in Heaven.

Chapters 8-12 contain a vision involving a ram, a goat, and several horns – also referring to future kingdoms and their rulers.

Got Questions.org

Daniel chapter 9 records Daniel’s “seventy weeks” prophecy. God gave Daniel the precise timeline of when the Messiah would come and be cut off. The prophecy also mentions a future ruler who will make a seven-year covenant with Israel and break it after three and a half years, followed shortly thereafter by the great judgment and consummation of all things. Daniel is visited and strengthened by an angel after this great vision, and the angel explains the vision to Daniel in great detail.”

“Daniel’s vision of the four beasts provided a prophetic look at future world events. Looking back from our perspective, we see these events as world history and can easily see the correlation between each beast and a world empire. However, there was more to Daniel’s vision, and some of it is yet future, even for us.”

“Given the fact that the Antichrist emerges from the fourth beast leads us to surmise that, in the end times, there will be a “revival” of the Roman Empire, featuring a coalition of ten world leaders. The Antichrist will take his position of leadership at the expense of three of those leaders, and he will eventually wield global authority. A true tyrant, the Antichrist will demand worship and seek to control all aspects of life (see Revelation 13:16–17).”

“Daniel’s vision of the four beasts warned Israel that there would be a procession of enemies and world rulers holding authority over them; however, they should not lose heart. In the end, God is in control, and the Messiah to come will defeat the kingdoms of this world and establish His throne forever (Daniel 2:44; 7:13–14; Revelation 11:15).”

From the Easy English Bible Commentary

“The first kingdom was the kingdom of Babylon. The kings of Babylon thought that they were like lions and eagles. In the book that Ezekiel the prophet wrote, an eagle means Nebuchadnezzar (Ezekiel 17:7-12).

When Daniel had the dream, this kingdom was nearly finished. Belshazzar was the last king (Daniel 5:30-31). The power of the *kingdom was almost gone, like the animal without its wings.

Somebody made the first animal stand up like a man. They gave it the mind of a man. This reminds us about Nebuchadnezzar (Daniel 4:34-36).

Then the kingdom of the Medes and Persians came. The third kingdom was the kingdom of Greece. It defeated people quickly like the third animal. The fourth kingdom was the kingdom of Rome. The fourth animal had iron teeth. The image in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream had iron legs. Its feet were partly iron and partly clay.

All these kingdoms seemed very powerful, like the animals. It seemed that nobody could defeat them. But God was the judge. He was in control. He only allowed them to be powerful for a certain time.

The kingdom that God gives to Jesus will never end. Nobody can defeat it. The people who are loyal to God will be in Jesus’ kingdom.”

God is in Control—He is the Supreme Judge

As someone who has had my days in court, courthouses still turn my stomach. But there is something about this court in Heaven. Judgement is perfect there. Because God is the perfect Judge. Remember a couple of days ago I shared about the joy in being numbered in the  Book of Life. There are some scary visions, but we who are in Christ have the victory.

God is in Control—He Knows the Future

“11 I continued to watch because I could hear the little horn’s boastful speech. I kept watching until the fourth beast was killed and its body was destroyed by fire. 12 The other three beasts had their authority taken from them, but they were allowed to live a while longer.

13 As my vision continued that night, I saw someone like a son of man coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient One and was led into his presence. 14 He was given authority, honor, and sovereignty over all the nations of the world, so that people of every race and nation and language would obey him. His rule is eternal—it will never end. His kingdom will never be destroyed.

15 I, Daniel, was troubled by all I had seen, and my visions terrified me. 16 So I approached one of those standing beside the throne and asked him what it all meant. He explained it to me like this: 17 “These four huge beasts represent four kingdoms that will arise from the earth. 18 But in the end, the holy people of the Most High will be given the kingdom, and they will rule forever and ever.”

There is good news for us – we don’t have to be terrified of the future. Our God holds the future in His hands. He knows the end.

Scripture of the Day: Daniel 9:22-23

“22 He explained to me, “Daniel, I have come here to give you insight and understanding. 23 The moment you began praying, a command was given. And now I am here to tell you what it was, for you are very precious to God. Listen carefully so that you can understand the meaning of your vision.”

God is in Control—You Are Precious in His Sight

“10 Just then a hand touched me and lifted me, still trembling, to my hands and knees. 11 And the man said to me, “Daniel, you are very precious to God, so listen carefully to what I have to say to you. Stand up, for I have been sent to you.” When he said this to me, I stood up, still trembling.

God is in Control—He Hears Our Every Prayer

12 Then he said, “Don’t be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day you began to pray for understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your request has been heard in heaven. I have come in answer to your prayer.”

From the first prayer, God hears. His timing is not our timing. He views us as precious in His sight and we are in His book of life when we have accepted His free, glorious salvation.

Friends, we need to be in prayer. The end is coming – we don’t know when. But God knows the end.

Those Who Know God Have Nothing To Fear

Daniel 11:31-32

31 “His army will take over the Temple fortress, pollute the sanctuary, put a stop to the daily sacrifices, and set up the sacrilegious object that causes desecration. 32 He will flatter and win over those who have violated the covenant. But the people who know their God will be strong and will resist him.”

Daniel 12:1-2

12 “At that time Michael, the archangel who stands guard over your nation, will arise. Then there will be a time of anguish greater than any since nations first came into existence. But at that time every one of your people whose name is written in the book will be rescued. 2 Many of those whose bodies lie dead and buried will rise up, some to everlasting life and some to shame and everlasting disgrace. 3 Those who are wise will shine as bright as the sky, and those who lead many to righteousness will shine like the stars forever.”

9 But he said, “Go now, Daniel, for what I have said is kept secret and sealed until the time of the end. 10 Many will be purified, cleansed, and refined by these trials. But the wicked will continue in their wickedness, and none of them will understand. Only those who are wise will know what it means.”

Application

  • Our prayers are heard. Don’t stop praying.
  • We are precious in God’s sight. Don’t let anyone take your worth.
  • We don’t have to be terrified of the future. God holds the future in His hands.

7-Fold One-Year Bible Reading Plan

Day #213: Daniel 7-12

Scripture of the Day: Daniel 9:22-23

Listen: https://www.biblegateway.com/audio/mclean/niv/Dan.7

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Day 212 Bible Reading Plan

Don't Live Like a King

Don’t Live Like a King

What influences you in our culture? The kings of old were influenced negatively and influenced others negatively. But there were also righteous kings who chose to influence others for righteousness. We have much to learn from the kings we read about today. What “not” to do, for sure, but also so much can learn about what we need to do, as well. Don’t live like a king—imitate Christ the King.

Overview of Today’s Reading

2 Kings 21 details the reign of  Judah’s King Manasseh and then King Amon. In chapter 22-23 we learn about Judah’s King Josiah’s reign and the reforms he made, along with a couple more Kings in Judah—Jehoahaz and Jehoiakim. In Chapter 24 Jehoiakim’s rebellion and deportations to Babylon happens. And then we end today’s reading with Nebuchadnezzar’s siege of Jerusalem.

Bible Reading of the Day: 2 Kings 21-25

Reading from 2 Kings 21:1-2, “Manasseh was twelve years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem fifty-five years. His mother was Hephzibah. 2 He did what was evil in the Lord’s sight, following the detestable practices of the pagan nations that the Lord had driven from the land ahead of the Israelites.”

Y’all – the king was 12 years old!!! But that does not compare with Josiah who was 8. It was a different time and culture for sure. But notice why God was displeased and what was evil about King Manasseh. He followed the detestable practices of the pagan nation.

Don’t Live Like a King—Don’t follow the culture

I see it more now than ever. I think once you are over 50 years old everything comes together. The culture around us is pervasive with anti-God messages. If we don’t resist these messages, we will be carried away by them.

Don’t Live Like a King—Don’t Serve Idols

Manasseh’s son King Amon wasn’t any better than Dad. In 2 Kings 21:20 it says “He did what was evil in the Lord’s sight, just as his father, Manasseh, had done. 21 He followed the example of his father, worshiping the same idols his father had worshiped. 22 He abandoned the Lord, the God of his ancestors, and he refused to follow the Lord’s ways.”

Kings imitated the culture around them and influenced kings who followed. Don’t live like a King who follows the culture. We can decide to be counter-culture.

Don’t Live Like a King—Be Like King Jesus

We are all imitating someone or something. Influences are all around us. God’s word. The culture. People.

In 1 Corinthians 11:1, Paul said “And you should imitate me, just as I imitate Christ.”

Friends, not only do we need to not imitate the wicked culture around us, but we need to set an example for the believers and for the culture around us.

I used to tell my children when they were little that it was not just the avoidance of evil, but the example of righteousness they needed to set. King Josiah would be a king worth imitating. He imitated King David. 2 Kings 22: 2, “2 He did what was pleasing in the Lord’s sight and followed the example of his ancestor David. He did not turn away from doing what was right.”

Let God’s Word Be The Biggest Influence In Your Life

2 Ki 22:8 “Hilkiah the high priest said to Shaphan the court secretary, “I have found the Book of the Law in the Lord’s Temple!” Then Hilkiah gave the scroll to Shaphan, and he read it. 11 When the king heard what was written in the Book of the Law, he tore his clothes in despair. 12 Then he gave these orders to Hilkiah the priest, Ahikam son of Shaphan, Acbor son of Micaiah, Shaphan the court secretary, and Asaiah the king’s personal adviser: 13 “Go to the Temple and speak to the Lord for me and for the people and for all Judah. Inquire about the words written in this scroll that has been found.”

Josiah then made reforms in accordance with the influence the word of God had on him. You see it is not enough to say we believe. We act according to that belief.

Josiah tore down altars and high places used for idolatry and spiritual adultery and he reinstituted the celebration of the Passover.

Friends, we might feel like our culture is too far gone, but God is asking us if we will be like King Josiah today. Will we influence our culture more than it influences us? Will we imitate Christ?

Scripture of the Day: 2 Kings 23:25

“25 Never before had there been a king like Josiah, who turned to the Lord with all his heart and soul and strength, obeying all the laws of Moses. And there has never been a king like him since.”

After King Josiah, King Jehoiakim became king and then Nebuchadnezzar laid siege of Jerusalem. Such a consequence for turning away from the LORD, friends.

Application

  • Live for an audience of One.
  • Don’t imitate the culture. Imitate Jesus.
  • It is not enough to say we believe. We act according to that belief.

7-Fold One-Year Bible Reading Plan

Day #212: 2 Kings 21-25

Scripture of the Day: 2 Kings 23:25

Listen: https://www.biblegateway.com/audio/mclean/niv/2Kgs.21

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