Day 182 Bible Reading Plan

God completes the work.

And yet we can strive, can’t we? When we try to complete the work of God in our own strength, though, it backfires big time. God completes the work as we humble ourselves and surrender to His Lordship.

We are starting a new book today – the book of Philippians!

Paul wrote this letter to the church at Philippi from jail. He wrote to thank the church for their help provided to him while in prison and to remind them to be united.

Paul is thanking the believers for their prayers and partnership. He endured a lot of opposition but the believers at the church of Philippi were faithful partners with Paul. Paul begins with an encouragement to the church at Philippi of who would complete the work began in them.

Scripture of the Day: Philippians 1:6

“And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.”

We can get caught up in good works even after we have received grace, can’t we?

Now God completing the work in us does not mean we don’t still work out our salvation with fear and trembling as Paul says in the very next chapter in Philippians 2:12:

“Therefore, my dear friends, just as you have always obeyed, so now, not only in my presence but even more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.”

But there is an awareness that we cannot accomplish this salvation. Anything good in us is from Christ alone. There is a dependency on Christ.

As it says in Isaiah 26:12 (NLT): “Lord, you will grant us peace; all we have accomplished is really from you.”

God Completes the Work as we Obey.

This takes the pressure off in one regard, but also is such a good reminder that we are not to take the glory – and we need to be abiding in a relationship with Jesus in order to bear this fruit. And part of this working out our salvation is to endure suffering in this life. And to endure it well for the sake of Christ.

As it says in Phil. 1:29, “For it has been granted to you on Christ’s behalf not only to believe in him, but also to suffer for him.”

Paul taught them how to endure, stating that even being imprisoned served to advance the Gospel in v. 12-20:

“Now I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that what has happened to me has actually advanced the gospel, 13 so that it has become known throughout the whole imperial guard, and to everyone else, that my imprisonment is because I am in Christ. 14 Most of the brothers have gained confidence in the Lord from my imprisonment and dare even more to speak the word[d] fearlessly.

15 To be sure, some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry, but others out of good will. 16 These preach out of love, knowing that I am appointed for the defense of the gospel; 17 the others proclaim Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely, thinking that they will cause me trouble in my imprisonment. 18 What does it matter? Only that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is proclaimed, and in this I rejoice. Yes, and I will continue to rejoice 19 because I know this will lead to my salvation[e] through your prayers and help from the Spirit of Jesus Christ. 20 My eager expectation and hope is that I will not be ashamed about anything, but that now as always, with all courage, Christ will be highly honored in my body, whether by life or by death.”

Paul did not care about himself – just God’s glory and that the Gospel continued to be preached.

Is this how we live our lives?

It can be so hard not to get caught up in the worries of this life. And concern over what others think of us. Paul did not go there – he had many people who were against him, but he said as long as the Gospel was preached, that was all that mattered. Sweet surrender and such an example of standing for in Christ.

As it says in Philippians 1:27,

“Just one thing: As citizens of heaven, live your life worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or am absent, I will hear about you that you are standing firm in one spirit, in one accord, contending together for the faith of the gospel.”

Paul learned a secret – this life is not about us, but about Christ. If we live this life just for self, we miss it. But if we live for God, we gain eternity and live worthy lives here on earth.

Philippians 1:21: “For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.”

God Completes the Work as We Humble Ourselves

Friends, in Phil. 2 Paul shares one of the main keys to living this life.

Be humble. This means we don’t get easily offended – or how about not offended at all? Consider others as better than ourselves.

Phil 2:1-16

“If, then, there is any encouragement in Christ, if any consolation of love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, 2 make my joy complete by thinking the same way, having the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. 3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility consider others as more important than yourselves. 4 Everyone should look not to his own interests, but rather to the interests of others.

God Completes the Work as We Have the Mind of Christ

“5Adopt the same attitude as that of Christ Jesus, 6 who, existing in the form of God, did not consider equality with God as something to be exploited. 7 Instead he emptied himself by assuming the form of a servant, taking on the likeness of humanity. And when he had come as a man, 8 he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death— even to death on a cross. 9 For this reason God highly exalted him and gave him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow—in heaven and on earth and under the earth—11 and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

God Completes the Work to Do His Will

12 “Therefore, my dear friends, just as you have always obeyed, so now, not only in my presence but even more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. 13 For it is God who is working in you both to will and to work according to his good purpose. 14 Do everything without grumbling and arguing, 15 so that you may be blameless and pure, children of God who are faultless in a crooked and perverted generation, among whom you shine like stars in the world, 16 by holding firm to the word of life.”

We all fall short, but humility is not denigrating ourselves. Humility is acknowledging our shortcomings but not staying there. It means we repent and turn away from godless behavior. It means we have more concern for the person offending us than in being offended.

Humility is not something we can achieve

It is something Christ can work in us.

Be humble or be humbled.

I think it was C.S. Lewis who said, “Humiliity is not thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less.”


“The Greek word translated “humility” in Colossians 3:12 and elsewhere literally means “lowliness of mind,” so we see that humility is a heart attitude, not merely an outward demeanor. One may put on an outward show of humility but still have a heart full of pride and arrogance. Jesus said that those who are “poor in spirit” would have the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 5:3).

Being poor in spirit means that only those who admit to an absolute bankruptcy of spiritual worth will inherit eternal life. Therefore, humility is a prerequisite for the Christian.”

“Jesus was not ashamed to humble Himself as a servant (John 13:1-16), even to death on the cross (Philippians 2:8). In His humility, He was always obedient to the Father and so should the humble Christian be willing to put aside all selfishness and submit in obedience to God and His Word. True humility produces godliness, contentment, and security.”


  • Be humble or be humbled.
  • Good works are not our salvation. Christ is.
  • God completes the work in us as we surrender to is Lordship.

7-Fold One-Year Bible Reading Plan

Day #182: Philippians 1-2

Scripture of the Day: Philippians 1:6


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Day 181 Bible Reading Plan

Be On Your Guard

Be On Guard

Do we live and give in this life as if Jesus is coming again soon? It’s easy to get side-tracked by worries and dramas of this life. But in today’s reading, Luke invites us to remember to be on guard and to make up our mind now how we will live out our faith.

Be On Guard with How We Give

On Sunday mornings how we respond to an invitation to give is very revealing. Jesus noticed the wealthy people, but He drew attention to the widow. She did not give from her abundance, but from her lack and she gave all she had.

What was her secret? Surely she needed that money, but she was not afraid.

The Value of a Gift is Not It’s Amount

Notes from the Blue Letter Bible said that “two mites is 1% of a denarii-1% of a day’s wage. She gave two mites, not just one. The widow might have kept one coin for herself, and who would blame her if she did? Giving one meant giving half of all her money. But in giving two mites, her giving has a certain recklessness about it.”

“Jesus praised this woman and said she gave more than all of them. How is that possible? In God’s eyes, the value of a gift is not determined by the amount. God does not need our money—but we need to give. It is our privilege to give to Him. A gift’s value is determined by the spirit in which it is given. God loves the cheerful giver. The value of a gift is determined by what it cost the giver; this is what made the widow’s gift so valuable. David refused to give God that which cost me nothing (2 Samuel 24:24).” (Blut-Letter Bible Notes).

Scripture of the Day: Luke 21: 10-18 (CSB)

10 Then he told them, “Nation will be raised up against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. 11 There will be violent earthquakes, and famines and plagues in various places, and there will be terrifying sights and great signs from heaven. 12 But before all these things, they will lay their hands on you and persecute you. They will hand you over to the synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors because of my name. 13 This will give you an opportunity to bear witness. v 16 You will even be betrayed by parents, brothers, relatives, and friends. They will kill some of you. 17 You will be hated by everyone because of my name, 18 but not a hair of your head will be lost. 19 By your endurance, gain your lives.”

Be On Guard With How We Live

We live in a time where we don’t know what words to share, don’t we? These verses appear right after Jesus’ disciples ask when the end of the world will come. Persecution will come. And in the face of that persecution, God will provide what we need so we have an apt word.

Be On Guard With How We Speak

13 “This will give you an opportunity to bear witness.”

Do we see persecution as an opportunity? Or a burden? Self is a burden. But being Kingdom-minded helps us to not worry about insults and to respond in humility. Do we see the times we live in now as an opportunity?

14 “Therefore make up your minds not to prepare your defense ahead of time, 15 for I will give you such words and a wisdom that none of your adversaries will be able to resist or contradict.”

Make up your minds ahead of time. Right now. We can decide how we will respond. And we don’t have to get caught up in the drama or in what people say. The Holy Spirit will give us the words.

Be on Guard With How We Think

Friends, as we read about the end times, what emotions do you feel? Sometimes we can feel like the end times are so far away, it is hard to keep watch for it. But Luke challenges and reminds us to keep watch in Luke 21:34-36

34 “Be on your guard, so that your minds are not dulled from carousing, drunkenness, and worries of life, or that day will come on you unexpectedly 35 like a trap. For it will come on all who live on the face of the whole earth. 36 But be alert at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are going to take place and to stand before the Son of Man.”

Make Up Your Mind

Don’t let your minds be dulled by entertainment, friends. Recently I heard how video games and viewing porn wrecked a marriage. We can forget that we are on mission here, friends. Do not get involved in civilian matters! How we live matters!

We need to be on guard. When we are not on guard, we can get seduced to wickedness and be of no use to God.

I wonder if this is what happened to the chief priests and scribes. They were no longer on guard. They just got comfortable and accustomed to following a religion rather than following God. It can happen to anyone of us.

Luke 22:2 says, “The chief priests and the scribes were looking for a way to put him to death, because they were afraid of the people.”

Be On Guard Against the Fear of Man

The leaders in the church were looking to kill Jesus – and why? Because of the fear of man.

After Jesus reveals the disciples’ need to be prepared for the end times and then Jesus revealed the betrayal during the Passover meal with His disciples, Luke ushers us into the betrayal of Jesus, and the denial of Jesus by Peter.

Friends, before this happened Jesus told them to pray that they might not fall into temptation. In conclusion, may we stay on guard and make up our minds now who we will serve, Amen? Right now we have an opportunity to witness. And Jesus is coming again soon. Will we be ready?

7-Fold One-Year Bible Reading Plan

Day #181:Luke 21-22

Scripture of the Day: Luke 21: 13-15


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Day 180 Bible Reading Plan

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Hate What God Hates

Hate What God Hates

Hate is not a word I like to use often, but when hate is against evil or when it is God speaking, we need to listen. God has spoken to His people clearly so we can understand His standards. God hates sin and as we read from Proverbs 6 today we will see some sins spelled out as well as counsel from Solomon.

An Invitation from Sin

We live in a culture that invites and incites us to sin. Overcoming sin starts from within. Sin desires to master us, but we must master it. Our flesh is prone to wander but we can choose to walk in the Spirit.

Hate What God Hates So You Will Be Free!

We have to be under the Lordship of Jesus Christ to be able to please God. May we hate what He hates and love what He loves and live our lives free from the enslavement of sin!

A Wise guy

Solomon has some good advice for us today about practical financial matters and dealing with some character problems in others and ourselves.

This Proverb is divided into five parts of counsel for:

  • Financial entanglements
  • Against laziness
  • The malicious man
  • What the LORD hates
  • Warnings against adultery.

Counsel for financial entanglements

According to the Easy English Bible commentary, “In this poem, Solomon compares our mistakes to a hunter’s trap. When a hunter works, he may build traps. He hides his traps so that animals will not see them. He hopes that the animals will fall into his traps. Then he can kill and eat the animals. In our lives, our mistakes can be like traps. Perhaps we want to do the right thing. Perhaps our plans are good. But our best plans could fail. Then, like a trap, our plans can destroy us.”

In verses 1-2 we see counsel for when we get in trouble. One important facet of life is all about how we deal with troubles and problems. We will all face problems how we handle them can define us and impact the rest of our lives. Sometimes WE are the ones to cause the problems and sometimes we aren’t.

Our choices can become like traps.

Solomon reminds us that there is a way out and it is through humility.

As it says in Proverbs 3(b); “Go, humble yourself, and plead with your neighbor.” When we admit our mistake, we can repent and correct our behavior. We all do wrong things against God. This behavior is also like a trap. We cannot free ourselves. But God can and following wise counsel leads the way. Paul wrote, ‘When I want to do good things, evil thoughts attract me. My spirit loves God’s law. But my body fights against my mind. I am like someone in prison. This is because evil behavior controls my body.’ (Romans 7:21-23)

Hate What God Hates to Free Yourself.

But there is an answer to this problem. God can free us. If we ask God, then he will forgive us. And he will help us to control our behavior. He will teach discipline to us. Paul continued, ‘Thank you, God. God frees me through Jesus Christ.’ (Romans 7:25)

Counsel Against Laziness

Proverbs 6:6-8, “Go to the ant, you slacker! Observe its ways and become wise. Without leader, administrator, or ruler, it prepares its provisions in summer; it gathers its food during harvest.”

I have used these verses with my children – they are such a vivid reminder that we need to be diligent, self-motivated and have initiative.

Parents, you know the struggle to get kids to do chores sometimes. There is a mentality – almost an offense, it seems, that they would even be asked. Debunk this mentality, friends. Deal with this rebellion. Even if it means conflict arises, we have to train our children to be under authority. We all serve and need to help with chores.

Raising our children to be served will not serve them.

Laziness happens when we are not self-disciplined and like our comfort too much.

Solomon provides Counsel about the malicious man

“A worthless person, a wicked man goes around speaking dishonestly, winking his eyes, signaling with his feet, and gesturing with his fingers. He always plots evil with perversity in his heart; he stirs up trouble. Therefore calamity will strike him suddenly; he will be shattered instantly, beyond recovery.” (Proverbs 6:13-15)

You know sometimes it can feel like judgment does not happen quickly to wicked people, as verse 15 said, “suddenly”. But the longer you live you realize that God’s patience and longsuffering is in hoping they will repent. And he will assuredly judge.

Scripture of the Day: Proverbs 6:16-19

“There are six things the Lord hates—no, seven things he detests: 17 haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that kill the innocent, 18 a heart that plots evil, feet that race to do wrong, 19 a false witness who pours out lies, a person who sows discord in a family.”

Counsel about what the LORD hates

Solomon uses this phrase, “6 things the LORD hates – 7 things he detests to stress that while there are six things the Lord hates and finds abominable, the seventh one is especially so.”

  • Pride
  • People who lie
  • Murderers
  • Plotting evil
  • People who are quick to do evil – they are not resisting sin but living a sinful lifestyle.
  • False witnesses – pouring out lies
  • Someone who sows discord – causes conflict in a family. God wants his people to live in unity. Discord arises from selfish ambition, jealousy, offenses.

Hate What God Hates So We Will Be Blessed.

God hates these things because they hurt His people and create confusion for people, making it hard for people to be healed emotionally and to find God. He hates these and all sins because of what it does – it separates us from God, and for what it is – a violation of His commandments.

Hate what God Hates Because Sin Destroys Us

According to, “The seven things God hates are a catalog of sins summed up in Proverbs 6:16–19. While these aren’t the only sins that should be avoided, they do sum up most of the wicked things condemned by God. The seven things God hates are the sins that deal with the deep heart motives of the individual. The writer of Proverbs points the finger straight at our hearts and our sinful thought processes.”

Matthew Henry offers a thoughtful commentary on these verses:

6:12-19 “If the slothful are to be condemned, who do nothing, much more those that do all the ill they can. Observe how such a man is described. He says and does everything artfully, and with design. His ruin shall come without warning, and without relief. Here is a list of things hateful to God. Those sins are in a special manner provoking to God, which are hurtful to the comfort of human life. These things which God hates, we must hate in ourselves; it is nothing to hate them in others. Let us shun all such practices, and watch and pray against them; and avoid, with marked disapproval, all who are guilty of them, whatever may be their rank.”

Counsel for the adulterer:

Reading from Proverbs 6:32-33, “The one who commits adultery lacks sense; whoever does so destroys himself. 33 He will get a beating and dishonor, and his disgrace will never be removed.”

Adultery and marital faithfulness cause intense pain. It is ironic that Satan bills it as pleasurable. It destroys those who participate.


  • We live in a culture that invites and incites us to sin. Overcoming sin starts from within.
  • Sin desires to master us, but we must master it.
  • All of the counsel in Proverbs 6 points to the waywardness of our flesh. But we can choose to walk in the Spirit.
  • James 4:7 reminds us of how we can resist sin: “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”
  • We have to be under the Lordship of Jesus Christ to be able to please God.
  • May we hate what He hates and love what He loves and live our lives free from the enslavement of sin!

7-Fold One-Year Bible Reading Plan

Day #180: Proverbs 6

Scripture of the Day: Proverbs 6:16-19


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Day 179 Bible Reading Plans

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Hope doesn't just happen.

Hope Doesn’t Just Happen.

It is chosen and formed through life’s hard places as we cling to God’s promises and presence. Hope doesn’t just happen because God wants a relationship with us where we seek Him and find peace. Hope in anything in this world is temporary. 

Don’t doubt God’s goodness or existence when life is hard.

God would not bring you to something if He could not bring you through it. He has purposes that extend much further than our comfort. He is good in all He does. And He will use that hard place for your good and His glory.

Don’t crave someone else’s blessings.

Sometimes in the in-between it is hard. While we wait for deliverance and restoration, we can be tempted to crave what others have and give in to jealousy. Change your focus.

Don’t look for the blessing.

Look for Jesus. He is our blessing. Someone else’s portion will not satisfy. God’s presence in the midst of hard enables us to walk through it all. Hope doesn’t just happen because God made us to be people of a greater hope—a hope that is formed in all of life as we look to Jesus.

The Psalmist speaks to us today in Psalms 71-73, reminding us about where our hope and trust should be placed.

Psalm 71:1 the Psalmist professes where his trust is: “Lord, I seek refuge in you; let me never be disgraced.”

Other translations say the word trust or protection for the word refuge. As we continue to read this Psalm, the Psalmist is saying his trust is in God and has been his whole life. He continues to look to God for justice, rescue, deliverance and salvation. His hope and confidence are in God – not in this world or in outcomes:

Psalm 71:5, “For you are my hope, Lord God, my confidence from my youth.”

Hope in God.

Friends, we have to hold onto this hope we have in God. Many things in this world will try to pull us away.

Suffering and hardship will test our faith. Will we trust in God even then?

Scripture of the Day: Psalm 71:20-21

20 You have allowed me to suffer much hardship, but you will restore me to life again and lift me up from the depths of the earth. 21 You will restore me to even greater honor and comfort me once again.”

Does the fact that God allows pain cause you to doubt Him or His goodness? The CSB translation says “you caused me to experience many troubles and misfortunes”.

God’s goodness is not based upon our blessing.

I was talking with a friend who said a family member became atheist because she had a family member that died. Friends, we need to have our expectations in the right place. Here are just a few:

  • We live in a world that is under the curse. Adam and Eve introduced us to no man’s land – a fallen world.
  • We have a consequence of death – 100% death rate – because of their choosing sin over God’s provision.
  • And . . . we have been warned. We will have troubles in this world:

John 16:33 (NIV)  “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

Hope Doesn’t Just Happen . . . God is our Hope.

We are not alone. We have God with us. Do you believe that today, friends? I know life is hard. I know that thing you are going through right now might just feel too hard. But please don’t believe the lies of the enemy that God does not care or that He is not there. And verse 21 is a sweet reward for those who choose to trust in God:

“You will restore me to even greater honor and comfort me once again.”

Remember the story of Job? He was more blessed than before when God restored him. And friends, so am I. God has brought me through horrific trials to a place of restoration.

Hope in God’s promises and that He will use us for His glory.

Don’t just hope for deliverance. Hope that God will use anything we go through down here to make us like Him and to bring Himself glory. Nothing we go through down here is in vain. This world is a red hot mess, but God can still choose to bless and heal and restore us.

Psalm 72 was written for or by Solomon – a prayer for the king.

Hope in God’s plan—not yours.

Psalm 73 is such a sweet reminder that we need to be content with God’s provision for us and not be jealous when others or the wicked prosper.

This Psalm is in 3 parts.

  1. The Psalmist lamented about the wicked. His comparison bred discontent and he began to doubt God’s goodness.
  2. The Psalmist was wondering if it is worth it to be righteous. His focus shifted to self. Self-pity blinded him and led to depression.
  3. The Psalmist shifted his focus back to God starting in v. 15.

Psalm 73:1-3 reveal the root sin that can tempt us all – envy or coveting:

“God is indeed good to Israel, to the pure in heart. 2 But as for me, my feet almost slipped; my steps nearly went astray. 3 For I envied the arrogant; I saw the prosperity of the wicked.”

Friends, do you doubt God’s goodness when you look at your lot? Do you wonder why others don’t suffer as you do?

Change your focus.

David went from describing the mockery and sin of the wicked to a shift that starts in v. 15

“If I had decided to say these things aloud, I would have betrayed your people. 16 When I tried to understand all this, it seemed hopeless 17 until I entered God’s sanctuary. Then I understood their destiny.”

Entering God’s presence is the difference. Reading God’s word opens our minds up to truth.

Let’s read Psalm 73:21-28

“When I became embittered and my innermost being was wounded, 22 I was stupid and didn’t understand; I was an unthinking animal toward you. 23 Yet I am always with you; you hold my right hand. 24 You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will take me up in glory. 25 Who do I have in heaven but you? And I desire nothing on earth but you. 26 My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart, my portion forever. 27 Those far from you will certainly perish; you destroy all who are unfaithful to you. 28 But as for me, God’s presence is my good. I have made the Lord God my refuge, so I can tell about all you do.”

Hope doesn’t just happen – it is formed in His presence.

When we let go of bitterness and trust God’s will and provision for our life, we discover that He is our portion and His presence is our blessing.

7-Fold One-Year Bible Reading Plan

Day 179: Psalms 71-73

Scripture of the Day: Psalm 71:20-21


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Day 178 Bible Reading Plans

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Bow Now or Later

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Bow Now or Later

We will all bow before God. He is LORD over all and the One perfect Judge we will be accountable to. Bow now or later.

Judgment is coming . . . ready or not. Will you be ready? Will you help others be ready? No one likes the judgment word, right? But judgment is on our heads if we don’t warn people. May God give us wisdom to reach this generation so they can hear. Friends, let’s live what we say we believe and bring many with us! We will all know Jesus is LORD in the end. Bow now or later.

Ezekiel wrote of the judgments of God coming. So we need to warn people, as well. For everyone will know God is the LORD . . . better to know now rather than later. for every knee will bow now or later.

Ezekiel shared laments, prophesies and judgments against nations.

This is from the Easy English Bible commentary:

“In the ancient world, all the nations had different gods. People often thought that their gods were only powerful in their own nations. Really, their gods had no power. The LORD is the only real God. He created heaven and earth. So, he is the judge of every nation. And he told Ezekiel to declare his judgement against the nations that were near Judah.”

The Judgment of Ammon – Ezekiel 25:1-7

Sin: God punished Ammon because in about 600 *BC, Ammon joined Babylon to fight against Judah (2 Kings 24:2) and the Ammonites rejoiced in Judah’s defeat.

Judgment: The *Lord would send the *Babylonians to destroy Ammon. It would not exist as a country again. This happened in the year 582 *BC. This was about 5 years after the *Babylonians had destroyed Jerusalem. The *Babylonians would either kill the *Ammonites or they would take them away as *exiles. People from the east would come and they would live in the country. What the *Lord says will happen. This shows that *Israel’s God is the only real God.

The Judgment of Moab – Ezekiel 25:8-11

Sin: This was the sin of Moab. They said that Israel was like all the other nations. In effect, they said that Israel’s God was like any other god. And the Moabites laughed when the Babylonians defeated Judah (Jeremiah 48:27). Because of these insults, the Lord would allow Moab’s enemies to destroy it.

Judgment: The *Babylonians attacked Moab in the year 583 *BC. They killed the *Moabites or they took them away into *exile. People came from the east and they lived in the country. From that time, the nation called Moab did not exist. By this punishment, people will know that the *Lord is the only real God.

The Judgment of Edom – Ezekiel 25:12-14

Sin: The roots of Edom’s sin emanate from the strife between Jacob and Esau. Isaac had two sons, Esau and Jacob. Esau was the ancestor of Edom. Jacob was the ancestor of Israel. There had always been trouble between Edom and Israel. Edom (also called Seir) wanted to possess Israel and Judah (Ezekiel 35:10). Edom had attacked Israel often.

Judgment: The Babylonians attacked Edom and they destroyed much of Edom. But it remained as a nation. Then in the year 126 *BC, John Hyrcanus led *Israel in the defeat of Edom. Since that attack, Edom has not existed.

The Judgement of Philistia – Ezekiel 25:15-17

Sin: Philistines were constant enemies of God’s people.

Judgment: The *Babylonians may have destroyed Philistia. Philistia has not existed as a nation since that time.

The Judgement of Tyre and Sidon – Ezekiel 26:1-28:24

Sin: Babylonians destroyed Jerusalem in the 11th year of the exile – April 587 to March 586 BC. Tyre celebrated the destruction of Jerusalem.

Judgment: Nebuchadnezzar decimated Tyre.

Nebuchadnezzar besieged Tyre from 585–572 BC. Alexander the Great conquered Tyre in 322 BC, completely destroying the city. The Persian king Artaxerxes conquered Sidon. In short, God’s prophesied judgment came to pass. Later, both cities became prosperous provinces of Rome.


“Jesus mentions Tyre and Sidon in Luke 10:13–14 (see also Matthew 11:20–24), comparing them to several cities in which He had performed miracles. These cities of Israel had been blessed with Jesus’ presence, preaching, and power, yet they had not repented. Jesus pronounces woes on them, stating that Tyre and Sidon, given the same opportunity, would have turned from their wickedness and been saved: “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago, sitting in sackcloth and ashes. But it will be more bearable for Tyre and Sidon at the judgment than for you. Jesus used the pagan cities of Tyre and Sidon to highlight the way God’s chosen people refused Him.”

Evil Will Be Judged

In Ezekiel 28, 11-4, there is a comparison between Satan and the King of Tyre.

“Satan (the devil) had been in Eden, the Garden of God. The first chapters of Genesis describe the Garden called Eden. It was not possible that a king of Tyre could have been there. In the garden, there were Adam, Eve, and the snake, which was Satan.

Ezekiel thought about the king of Tyre. In that man, there was an evil power. That power caused the king to be an enemy of God. Ezekiel saw the work of Satan (the devil) in the king. Because Satan was proud, God punished him. And God would punish the king of Tyre because he was proud, too.

The king of Tyre also did evil things. So, God would punish him and his people. The city called Tyre would burn with fire. And, after its final punishment, nobody would ever rebuild it.”

Scripture of the Day: Ezekiel 28:25-26

25 “This is what the Sovereign Lord says: The people of Israel will again live in their own land, the land I gave my servant Jacob. For I will gather them from the distant lands where I have scattered them. I will reveal to the nations of the world my holiness among my people. 26 They will live safely in Israel and build homes and plant vineyards. And when I punish the neighboring nations that treated them with contempt, they will know that I am the Lord their God.”

There’s that phrase again. “they will know that I am the Lord their God.” Right now we need to be sharing God’s word with people so they can know, but many will not believe. Better to know Him now than later.

The phrase, “they will know that I am the LORD” appears 32 times in 4 different translations of the Bible. And the phrase, “you will know that I am the LORD” appears 38 times. Then I did a search on the phrase, “know that I am the LORD” because there were different nations God spoke this phrase to, and that was 86 times.

Most of these were in the book of Ezekiel.

10 – Exodus

1 – Deuteronomy

1 – 1 Kings

2 – Isaiah

1 – Joel

71 – Ezekiel

Punishment of Egypt – Ezekiel 29:1-32:32

“Ezekiel’s next prophecy was against Egypt. Judah trusted Egypt to provide protection against the Babylonian army. But Egypt had disappointed Judah. God would punish Egypt. But the punishment would not be permanent. However, it would last for 40 years. Never again would Egypt be a great nation. Egypt would become a weak kingdom. It would not rule other nations. Israel would learn that it must never depend on Egypt again for help. They would remember their *sin. They had trusted Egypt instead of the Lord. But Israel will know that the Lord is God.” (Easy English Bible Commentary).


  • We will all know that God is LORD. Better to know now than later.
  • Every knee will bow. Better to bow now.
  • God is the perfect Judge full of grace. His judgment is sure. May we live in such a way that people around us can come to know God now.

7-Fold One-Year Bible Reading Plan

Day #178: Ezekiel 25-30

Scripture of the Day: Ezekiel 28:25-26


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Why Are You Here?

Why Are You Here?

Have you ever been bummed out and you just don’t know why? A sudden mindset shift that has left you confused and dazed? Elijah understands and we are invited in today’s reading to a front-row seat to what happens when we take our eyes off of the fear of the LORD and place it on fear, instead. We are led astray when we take our eyes off the Way.

I woke up in the middle of the night last night and decided to finish a chapter of a book I am writing then went back to bed. When I woke back up this morning and opened my bible reading plan, the Scripture of the day was the verse I was focusing on in the wee hours last night. I love it when God does that.

There is so much ground to cover today as we finish the book of 1 Kings.

While Judah’s King Asa ruled over Judah for 41 years, and did what was good and right in the eyes of the Lord his God” (2 Chronicles 14:2), we have a bunch of drama in the Kings of Israel.

Remember, Israel was divided into two separate Kingdoms at this point.

Israel’s King Baasha son of Ahijah did what was evil in the LORD’s sight.

Then Israel’s King Elah son Baasha lasted two years. His servant Zimri conspired against him and struck Elah down.

And Israel’s King Zimri lasted 7 days.

Let’s not forget Israel’s King Omri who also did what was evil in the LORD’s sight and reigned 6 years.

And then the most wicked king of all took the throne: Israel’s King Ahab ruled for 22 years.

So, why all this wickedness? And why all of this death? Bassha was killed, then Elah, then Zimri were killed.

I don’t know about you, but being a king is not such a desired status.

Scripture tells us the cause of all of this:

1 Kings 16: 7, 12-13

” But through the prophet Jehu son of Hanani the word of the Lord also had come against Baasha and against his house because of all the evil he had done in the Lord’s sight. His actions angered the Lord, and Baasha’s house became like the house of Jeroboam, because he had struck it down. 12 So Zimri destroyed the entire house of Baasha, according to the word of the Lord he had spoken against Baasha through the prophet Jehu. 13 This happened because of all the sins of Baasha and those of his son Elah, which they committed and caused Israel to commit, angering the Lord God of Israel with their worthless idols.”

And again in 1 Kings 16:19, speaking of Zimri, “He died 19 because of the sin he committed by doing what was evil in the Lord’s sight and by walking in the ways of Jeroboam and the sin he caused Israel to commit.”

Then speaking of Omri in 1 Kings 16:25-26, “25 Omri did what was evil in the Lord’s sight; he did more evil than all who were before him. 26 He walked in all the ways of Jeroboam son of Nebat in every respect and continued in his sins that he caused Israel to commit, angering the Lord God of Israel with their worthless idols.”

God loves us too much to let us worship worthless idols. Such false worship angered God because it led His people astray and because He had commanded that they worship Him alone. The God Who made us wants to have fellowship with His people. Remember the Israelites said they did not want God as their king. They wanted a human king. Well, the human kings led them astray.

Why Are We Here? Evil leaders.

King Ahab did more evil than any before him, as it says in 1 Kings 16:30-33

“30 But Ahab son of Omri did what was evil in the Lord’s sight more than all who were before him. 31 Then, as if following the sin of Jeroboam son of Nebat were not enough, he married Jezebel, the daughter of Ethbaal king of the Sidonians, and then proceeded to serve Baal and bow in worship to him. 32 He set up an altar for Baal in the temple of Baal that he had built in Samaria. 33 Ahab also made an Asherah pole. Ahab did more to anger the Lord God of Israel than all the kings of Israel who were before him.”

Enter Elijah into the picture and things get exciting

“Now Elijah the Tishbite, from the Gilead settlers, said to Ahab, “As the Lord God of Israel lives, in whose presence I stand, there will be no dew or rain during these years except by my command! 2 Then the word of the Lord came to him: 3 “Leave here, turn eastward, and hide at the Wadi Cherith where it enters the Jordan. 4 You are to drink from the wadi. I have commanded the ravens to provide for you there.”

  • Elijah said he stands in God’s presence.
  • What a bold proclamation.
  • God kept Elijah safe and fed him with ravens.
  • Then God sent him to stay with a widow who fed him.

And then comes one of my favorite passages in Scripture that I was writing about in the wee hours of this morning

Scripture of the Day: 1 Kings 18:21  (NLT)

21 “Then Elijah stood in front of them and said, “How much longer will you waver, hobbling between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him! But if Baal is God, then follow him!” But the people were completely silent.”

We find our center when God is at the center of our lives.

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Partial obedience isn't obedience

Partial Obedience Isn’t Obedience.

Obedience in part is not obedience at all. May God help us to recognize the rebellion in our heart so we can do His will.

Back in the book of Leviticus today and in Leviticus 9, the priestly ministry is inaugurated. Aaron offered a sin offering and a burnt offering for himself before he did it for the people. His sins needed to be atoned for in the sin offering before he could offer a burnt offering and before he could offer the sacrifices of the people.

This makes me think today of the importance of leaders being right with God. When leaders fall, it greatly hurts the people of God.

Expectations of Leaders.

James 3:1 reminds us that there is more expected of those who lead.

“My brothers and sisters, not many of you should become teachers, because we know that we teachers will be judged more strictly.”

Leaders need to have their house in order and direct the affairs of their household according to God’s word. In another words, no hypocrisy, no hidden sins.

Leviticus 10 reveals the consequences of servants in the house of God who grow too casual in their work for the LORD.

Obedience is Doing God’s Work His Way.

Partial obedience isn’t obedience. Aaron’s sons, Nadab and Abihu, forgot their place and thought that they could set the standard for how they served God and serve God their way.

Leviticus 10:1-4

“Aaron’s sons Nadab and Abihu each took his own firepan, put fire in it, placed incense on it, and presented unauthorized fire before the Lord, which he had not commanded them to do. 2 Then fire came from the Lord and consumed them, and they died before the Lord. 3 Moses said to Aaron, ‘This is what the Lord has spoken: I will demonstrate my holiness to those who are near me, and I will reveal my glory before all the people.’ And Aaron remained silent.”

It’s easy when you work for the church to forget that you are really working for God. You are accountable to God for how you serve. Don’t think of serving at the church as just a job, but an awesome privilege.

Obedience of God Over Man.

Sometimes drama in the church caused by people’s sin—jealousy and opinions and offenses—can distract you from what matters most—God’s glory. It is worth the fight to be right before God before you serve Him and His people.

Resist the enemy and he will flee from us.

Simply, don’t forget your place. It is an honor to serve God—on staff or as a volunteer. And when we die to self and our ways and seek to humbly serve, it is beautiful.

But when we don’t . . . the example of Nadab and Abihu speaks the same truth into our culture. From the Easy English Bible Commentary:

“Nadab and Abihu were the oldest of Aaron’s 4 sons. Their names are in 1 Chronicles 6:3. A *censer was a flat pan that carried fire. What they did was not legal. It was wrong, for several possible reasons.

  • They should have put fire into the censers from the altar, Leviticus 16:12. But perhaps they did not take their fire from the altar.
  • Perhaps they tried to enter the most holy place. Only the chief priest could do this. He could only do it once a year on the Day of Atonement, Leviticus chapter 16.
  • Perhaps they decided to do this in order to oppose Moses and Aaron. Perhaps Nadab and Abihu thought that they themselves should be the chief priests.
  • Perhaps Nadab and Abihu had drunk too much wine. So the LORD gave Aaron another rule in verse 9.

We can perhaps understand better the reasons for their deaths because some other people died in a similar manner (Numbers chapter 16). Those people decided, on purpose, to oppose the LORD (Numbers 16:11). Moses warned them severely about their actions. But they still decided to approach the meeting tent, with fire in their censers that God would not accept. Fire came from the LORD and it killed 250 men (Numbers 16:35).

Partial Obedience is Dangerous.

It is very dangerous to oppose God’s work on purpose. Moses had carefully warned Nadab and Abihu that they must obey God completely (Leviticus 8:35). But for some reason, they chose to do something that God did not permit. What they did opposed God’s work at the *meeting tent. That is why their punishment was so severe.”

In the commentary, it says

“Those who served as priests before the Lord were required to serve Him honorably. If they did not, the consequence was death. In the case of Aaron’s sons, they dishonored the Lord by disobeying His command to only use fire from the brazen altar in the tabernacle (see Leviticus 16:12). The “unauthorized fire” they offered was taken from another source.”

Recognize the Rebellion in Partial Obedience.

Aaron might have seen some of these tendencies in his boys, I am not sure. I have seen this tendency in some of my kids.

One of the things I have worked on with one of my children in particular is the very thing we see in this passage. I ask the child to not do something and he does it anyway. Or I ask him to do it a certain way and he does it his way.

This is rebellion. There is a prideful presumption when we think we can go about doing God’s work our way. And when a child presumes to do things his way, he or she is not under authority.

We need to teach our children to be under authority so they will be blessed. Today we see an anti-parent movement. An anti-establishment and anti-authority. This can happen when there is an abuse of power, but God has authority in place for our protection.

But it is striking to me that these boys should have known better. Their Dad was a priest. But sometimes the PK’s grow too familiar with serving ini the house of God.

Partial Obedience is Nothing New.

Partial obedience isn’t obedience, but Nadab and Abihu were not the only sons of a priest to dishonor God and do things their way.

Hophni and were the two sons of Eli who in the first book of Samuel describes them as the officiating priests at the sanctuary of Shiloh at the time of Hannah. In the biblical narrative, Hophni and Phinehas are criticized for engaging in illicit behavior, such as appropriating the best portion of sacrifices for themselves, and having sexual relations with the sanctuary’s serving women.

Learning by Example is Easier Than Learning By Disobedience.

These judgments serve as examples to those who are wise enough to receive it. We need to humble ourselves and watch ourselves. Be accountable – if we are serving in the church. I would also say that this standard is for everyone. We now have the resident Holy Spirit within us. We are all temples where God dwells within. We need to deal with sin radically or we will suffer consequences. God is still holy.

2 Timothy 3:1-5 (NIV)

“3 But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. 2 People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, 4 treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.”

Being a Leader is an Awesome Privilege and Duty.

There were times as I served on staff at church that I thought my children, when they were little, would become too familiar with the church setting that they would forget it was not a place they could run wild. There were expectations in the house of God.

Now our expectations don’t compare with the expectations we see here in Leviticus.

Scripture of the Day: Leviticus 11:44-45

“44 For I am the Lord your God. You must consecrate yourselves and be holy, because I am holy. So do not defile yourselves with any of these small animals that scurry along the ground. 45 For I, the Lord, am the one who brought you up from the land of Egypt, that I might be your God. Therefore, you must be holy because I am holy.”

God’s requirements have not changed.

He fulfilled the Law on our behalf but He still expects His people to be Holy. Leviticus 10:10-11 is a reminder to us:

10 You must distinguish between the holy and the common, and the clean and the unclean, 11 and teach the Israelites all the statutes that the Lord has given to them through Moses.”

How about us? Is there anything in our life that is unholy? Do we wink at sin or compromise?

Titus 1:7-14 English Standard Version (ESV)

7 For an overseer,[a] as God’s steward, must be above reproach. He must not be arrogant or quick-tempered or a drunkard or violent or greedy for gain, 8 but hospitable, a lover of good, self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined. 9 He must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound[b] doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it.

10 For there are many who are insubordinate, empty talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision party.[c] 11 They must be silenced, since they are upsetting whole families by teaching for shameful gain what they ought not to teach. 12 One of the Cretans,[d] a prophet of their own, said, “Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons.”[e] 13 This testimony is true. Therefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith, 14 not devoting themselves to Jewish myths and the commands of people who turn away from the truth.


Be holy as I am Holy. 1 Peter 1:15-16 (NIV) “But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; 16 for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.”

Obedience in part is not obedience at all. May God help us to recognize the rebellion in our heart so we can do His will.

7-Fold One-Year Bible Reading Plan

Day #176: Leviticus 9-12

Scripture of the Day: Leviticus 11:44-45


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Live what you believe

Live What You Believe.

What the world needs now is authentic Christians who are Christians not just by name, but by deed. God’s word is more than a list of “to do’s”. Live out what you say you believe. Don’t be worldly but be godly. Be ready by being in God’s word and being accountable. Our relationships are affected by how faithfully we walk with God. We help our world not by being popular, but by being faithful.

Bible Reading Plan: Ephesians 4-6

In Ephesians 4:7-16, the Apostle Paul is making an appeal to the church at Ephesus and to the church in general for unity and maturity in the body of Christ so the church can grow and fulfill its God-given purpose.

He describes the gifts that have been given to God’s people, the purpose of those gifts, and then challenges them to rise up and be who God made them to be.

The church has many gifts that have been given to it—the gift of salvation, the gift of people, the gifts of the Holy Spirit—but how the church uses these gifts will determine whether or not the church successfully represents Christ to a fallen world.

Live Out What You Have Been Given

The purpose of the gifts and grace from Jesus is to save people and serve God in the church so God’s people and God’s kingdom would grow. But disunity within the church threatens the church’s ability to accomplish the work given to them by Christ.

If God’s people misunderstand the purpose of God’s gifts and calling, a divided church will not accomplish God’s will. Paul sought to teach the church how to be unified in order to accomplish God’s will.

Live Your True Identity

Paul wrote this letter to God’s people to help them understand the gifts of God and their identity in Christ, so they could accomplish God’s will and represent God well to a lost world by being built up, mature and unified through the Holy Spirit.

Live Worthy Lives

First, Paul urges us from the prison he writes from to live worthy lives for Christ.

“Therefore I, the prisoner in the Lord, urge you to walk worthy of the calling you have received, 2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, 3 making every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to one hope at your calling— 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all.”

Why walk worthy?

Christ died for us. We don’t take advantage of this grace. We are witnesses of Christ’s transformative power and the Holy Spirit lives within not so we will be worldly, but godly.

Notice Paul says that we have already received a calling. How we live out that calling matters. We need to walk in that calling in a manner that glorified God.

How do we walk worthy?

“With all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, 3 making every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.”


What stops us from being humble? Obviously pride and a preoccupation with  self. But something fuels that pride. An offense. We get offended by other people’s treatment of us or perhaps what they have said about us.


This requires care and thoughtfulness. Putting the other person before us.


This means we don’t box people in and define them by their weakness, but seek to give them the same grace we were given.

God’s people need to forgive and let go of shunning and excluding others. We need to be radically different.


We seek to unite, not divide. Sometimes people can feel a sense of belonging by getting people “on their side”. They gossip to get others to hold their view. This does not unite. People are imperfect and will make mistakes, but when we love one another through them while sharing truth with grace and love (as it says in Ephesians 4:15), they can grow and we do, too.

Life is Full of Problems

The church at Ephesus had problems. The culture had problems. Rife with political issues and racism, Paul was crying out for them to be unified.

Sound familiar?

And into this mess, God gives the church gifts of godly servants to help mature and grow the church to be a healthy, equipped united witness for God. God also gives the gift of salvation.

Live Differently

But we need to think and live differently than the world surrounding us does. We will not be popular for this, but we were not called to popularity, but to faithfulness.

Scripture of the Day: Ephesians 4:17-19

17 “With the Lord’s authority I say this: Live no longer as the Gentiles do, for they are hopelessly confused. 18 Their minds are full of darkness; they wander far from the life God gives because they have closed their minds and hardened their hearts against him. 19 They have no sense of shame. They live for lustful pleasure and eagerly practice every kind of impurity.”

Don’t live like the gentiles do. We are not supposed to be like the world—We live by a different paradigm. We don’t exalt self but seek to serve.

Our culture today thinks it can be “shameless” just by saying so. But shame does not disappear so easily.

Continuing on in 4:20 to the end of chapter 4, Paul lays out basic guidelines of what a Christian should look like – not as a to-do list of good works, but as expectations and an encouragement to live out the grace we were so graciously given.

We have to come out of the world’s way of thinking:

20 But that is not how you came to know Christ, 21 assuming you heard about him and were taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus, 22 to take off your former way of life, the old self that is corrupted by deceitful desires, 23 to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, 24 and to put on the new self, the one created according to God’s likeness in righteousness and purity of the truth.

25 Therefore, putting away lying, speak the truth, each one to his neighbor, because we are members of one another. 26 Be angry and do not sin. Don’t let the sun go down on your anger, 27 and don’t give the devil an opportunity. 28 Let the thief no longer steal. Instead, he is to do honest work with his own hands, so that he has something to share with anyone in need.

29 No foul language should come from your mouth, but only what is good for building up someone in need, so that it gives grace to those who hear. 30 And don’t grieve God’s Holy Spirit. You were sealed by him for the day of redemption. 31 Let all bitterness, anger and wrath, shouting and slander be removed from you, along with all malice. 32 And be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving one another, just as God also forgave you in Christ.

Did you catch all of the to do’s?


  • Lie
  • Be angry
  • Sin
  • Steal
  • Curse
  • Be bitter
  • Shout
  • Slander


  • Renewed in Your mind and Spirit
  • Kind
  • Compassionate


  • Put on the new self/Put off the old
  • Forgive one another

Pay Attention!

Simply put, Ephesians 5:15-17 sums it up well:

“15 Pay careful attention, then, to how you walk—not as unwise people but as wise— 16 making the most of the time, because the days are evil. 17 So don’t be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.”

Pay careful attention, friends. How we live and walk in the LORD matters.

Ephesians 5-6 discuss how to treat our spouses and children and parents. Our relationships are affected by how faithfully we walk with God.

And so how do we do all this? We need the armor of God. Friends, we are in a war. A spiritual battle every day of our lives. But the one who called us is faithful

Armor up!

We put on the armor of God by getting into His word.

Ephesians 6:10-13

“10 Finally, be strengthened by the Lord and by his vast strength. 11 Put on the full armor of God so that you can stand against the schemes of the devil. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this darkness, against evil, spiritual forces in the heavens. 13 For this reason take up the full armor of God, so that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and having prepared everything, to take your stand. “


  • Live out what you say you believe.
  • Don’t fit into this world, but reach the world with godliness.
  • Be ready by being in God’s word and being accountable.
  • Our relationships are affected by how faithfully we walk with God.
  • God’s word is more than a list of to do’s.
  • We were not called to popularity, but to faithfulness.

7-Fold One-Year Bible Reading Plan

Day #175: Ephesians 4-6 

Scripture of the Day: Ephesians 4:17-19


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Day 174 Bible Reading Plan

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Questions to our questions

Questions to Our Questions

People will ask us questions when we seek to live like Jesus. Conviction can cause them to examine us rather than themselves. But we don’t have to take it personally. Questions can spark more questions and an answer led by the Spirit can bring healing and open eyes. When we expect questions and rise above man’s opinion, clinging to God’s word, we can see God’s purposes and do His will on earth. And sometimes we need to ask ourselves questions, too.

Questions Others Ask Us.

Questions others ask us can make us react with offense or cause us to examine ourselves. The Pharisees, Scribes and Saduccees loved to ask Jesus questions to stump Him. Jesus just asked them questions in return.

Today in book of Luke, 18-20.

There is so much happening in these verses. Jesus taught with parables, he spoke to a rich young ruler, predicted His death, healed a blind man, visited Zacchaeus, Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem and we see the authority of Jesus questioned. Let’s tackles some of this.

Jesus told stories to draw us in.

Jesus wanted to engage with us. Stories engage us to be a part of the story. Jesus is sharing parables to help us identify with the characters in thee story and Luke reveals the purpose of those parables before sharing them:

Luke 18:1, “Now he told them a parable on the need for them to pray always and not give up.”

The parable of the persistent widow reminds us of the importance of perseverance in crying out and seeking God.

Luke 18:7 “Will not God grant justice to his elect who cry out to him day and night? Will he delay helping them?”

Then the next parable in Luke 18 is about people who are self-righteous. We see this purpose of the parable in verse 9:

“He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous and looked down on everyone else.”

Those who boast about their own righteousness forfeit the grace that has been given to them. It is only God’s grace that is operating within us that helps us to do anything good.

A Question of our Motives

We are not justified by good deeds or our own “righteousness”, but by God’s. When we question our motives, we help ourselves to have a pure heart.

Sometimes We Don’t Understand the Question.

Also in Luke 18:31-33 Jesus predicts His death and suffering, but verse 34 says they just did not get it:

“34 They understood none of these things. The meaning of the saying was hidden from them, and they did not grasp what was said.”

Do you ever experience this, where you do not understand or when others cannot understand what you are saying? We need the Holy Spirit to illumine God’s word for us. We are dependent upon God to open our eyes to understand.

The Answers to Questions Can Sometimes Be Hidden

Ellicott’s commentary on Bible Hub had this to say:

“This saying was hid from them.—The verb so rendered occurs here only in the New Testament. Its precise meaning is “covered” or “veiled,” rather than hidden. Some such thought of dimmed perception was in St. Paul’s mind when he said of the unbelieving Jews that, as they heard the Law and the Prophets, “the veil was upon their hearts” (2Corinthians 3:15).”

Another commentary said the disciples were ignorant, but I daresay that we all are. We are desperate for God to open our eyes. Speaking of opening our eyes, I love how the blind man was pressured by the people around him not to cry out to Jesus, but he did it, anyway.

Questions Can Open Our Eyes.

“35 As he approached Jericho, a blind man was sitting by the road begging. 36 Hearing a crowd passing by, he inquired what was happening. 37 “Jesus of Nazareth is passing by,” they told him. 38 So he called out, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” 39 Then those in front told him to keep quiet,[j] but he kept crying out all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” 40 Jesus stopped and commanded that he be brought to him. When he came closer, he asked him, 41 “What do you want me to do for you?” “Lord,” he said, “I want to see.” 42 “Receive your sight.” Jesus told him. “Your faith has saved you.” 43 Instantly he could see, and he began to follow him, glorifying God. All the people, when they saw it, gave praise to God.”

Like the blind man, we see when we rise above man’s opinion and cling to God’s word. We see when we cry out to God.

Questions Can Invite Us to Know God.

In Luke 19:7, in the story of Jesus and Zacchaeus we see another beautiful lesson from Jesus tucked in this story. Reading from verse 5 -9:

5 “When Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, hurry and come down because today it is necessary for me to stay at your house.” 6 So he quickly came down and welcomed him joyfully. 7 All who saw it began to complain, “He’s gone to stay with a sinful man.” 8 But Zacchaeus stood there and said to the Lord, “Look, I’ll give half of my possessions to the poor, Lord. And if I have extorted anything from anyone, I’ll pay back four times as much.” 9 “Today salvation has come to this house,” Jesus told him, “because he too is a son of Abraham. 10 For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save the lost.”

People will complain when we seek to do the will of God. We need to be like Jesus and seek to please God, not man. Jesus did not cave to peer pressure from man. He did not try to keep up appearances.

Scripture of the Day: Luke 19:26 (NLT)

“‘Yes,’ the king replied, ‘and to those who use well what they are given, even more will be given. But from those who do nothing, even what little they have will be taken away.'”

  • What we are given by God we will be accountable for.
  • Those who do not want to be accountable to God still will be.

In Luke 20, Jesus is asked by what authority He was doing miracles. I cannot imagine asking such a question. But these are the types of questions we are asked today, too.

Jesus often answered with a question.

“One day as he was teaching the people in the temple and proclaiming the good news, the chief priests and the scribes, with the elders, came 2 and said to him, “Tell us, by what authority are you doing these things? Who is it who gave you this authority?”

3 He answered them, “I will also ask you a question. Tell me, 4 was the baptism of John from heaven or of human origin?” 5 They discussed it among themselves: “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will say, ‘Why didn’t you believe him?’ 6 But if we say, ‘Of human origin,’ all the people will stone us, because they are convinced that John was a prophet.” 7 So they answered that they did not know its origin. 8 And Jesus said to them, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things.”

When I was teaching on a large FB platform (33 MM), someone asked me who I was to be teaching? “Who are you?” the person asked. A child of God was my answer.

You see, we who can see and understand the Gospel are called. We go by Christ’s authority.

We will be asked questions today by people like the Pharisees and scribes who just want to undermine us. May we answer like Jesus did.

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Day 173 Bible Reading Plan

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Get wisdom

Get Wisdom.

Your life depends on it!

Having wisdom is more than just some do’s and don’ts or just obtaining it. Rightly applied, it helps us to exercise good judgment and to live a godly life. We have to live it out and apply it to our lives or we don’t have it at all. Get wisdom, friends. And then live your life guided by it. When we “get it” and understand our purpose in this life, we don’t waste this life.

Solomon has some lessons for us from Proverbs 4-5.

Proverbs 4:1-8 CSB says:

“Listen, sons, to a father’s discipline, and pay attention so that you may gain understanding, 2 for I am giving you good instruction. Don’t abandon my teaching. 3 When I was a son with my father, tender and precious to my mother, 4 he taught me and said, “Your heart must hold on to my words. Keep my commands and live. 5 Get wisdom, get understanding; don’t forget or turn away from the words from my mouth. 6 Don’t abandon wisdom, and she will watch over you; love her, and she will guard you. 7 Wisdom is supreme—so get wisdom. And whatever else you get, get understanding. 8 Cherish her, and she will exalt you; if you embrace her, she will honor you.”

Get Wisdom So You Can Give It.

These opening verses remind us of the importance of dads teaching their children. Our kids need us to impart wisdom to them and to show them what matters most in this life.

Solomon, who knew that what he needed most from God was wisdom to lead God’s people, as we saw last week, he did not apply that wisdom to his life well.

Solomon shared some do’s and don’ts, but without wisdom, it is a to do or not to do list.

Get Wisdom So You Can Live It.

Wisdom gives us understanding. Having understanding is having insight or good judgment. When we “get it” and understand our purpose in this life, we don’t waste this life. Wisdom can guide us if we apply it to our lives. At the end of his life Solomon realized that the purpose of our lives is to fear God.

We see this in Ecclesiastes 12:1

“Remember also your Creator in the days of your youth, before the evil days come and the years draw near of which you will say, “I have no pleasure in them”

And in Ecclesiastes 12:9-13

9 “Besides being wise, the Preacher also taught the people knowledge, weighing and studying and arranging many proverbs with great care. 10 The Preacher sought to find words of delight, and uprightly he wrote words of truth.

11 The words of the wise are like goads, and like nails firmly fixed are the collected sayings; they are given by one Shepherd. 12 My son, beware of anything beyond these. Of making many books there is no end, and much study is a weariness of the flesh.

13 The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. 14 For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil.”

Get Understanding.

This life is all about God, not us. Solomon understood in the end. This personification of wisdom is a way for us to grasp the effect of wisdom on our lives. We see in Proverbs 4 that wisdom:

  • Watches over us and guards us (v. 5)
  • Exalts us and honors us (v. 8)
  • Gives us favor and beauty (v. 9)
  • Protects our steps so we don’t stumble (v. 12)

Scripture of the Day: Proverbs 4:5-7

5 “Get wisdom; develop good judgment. Don’t forget my words or turn away from them. 6 Don’t turn your back on wisdom, for she will protect you. Love her, and she will guard you. 7 Getting wisdom is the wisest thing you can do! And whatever else you do, develop good judgment.”

The definition of judgment is the ability to make considered decisions or come to sensible conclusions. Solomon encourages us to get wisdom, but to also apply it to our lives so we will make sound decisions. Ask God for wisdom when you are not sure which decision to make. And ask Him for wisdom in relationships. Ask Him for wisdom in raising your children.

Guard Your Heart and Mind

One of my favorite verses is Proverbs 4:23, “Guard your heart above all else, for it is the source of life.”

Proverbs 4:23 (GNT) has a wonderful translation of this verse that brings to home how to apply guarding our heart:

23 “Be careful how you think; your life is shaped by your thoughts.”

Be careful how we think. If we ask for wisdom as it says in James 1:5, wisdom will help us in all of the decisions we have to make in this world:

“If anyone of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God who gives generously to all without finding fault.”

In Proverbs 5, we see Solomon is warning against the seductive woman.

Get Wisdom to Protect Yourself

11 At the end of your life, you will lament when your physical body has been consumed,12 and you will say, “How I hated discipline, and how my heart despised correction. 13 I didn’t obey my teachers or listen closely to my instructors. 14 I am on the verge of complete ruin before the entire community.”

And then later Solomon shares just how destructive it is to live for our flesh and the distractions of this world:

20 Why, my son, would you lose yourself with a forbidden woman or embrace a wayward woman? 21 For a man’s ways are before the Lord’s eyes, and he considers all his paths. 22 A wicked man’s iniquities will trap him; he will become tangled in the ropes of his own sin. 23 He will die because there is no discipline, and be lost because of his great stupidity.”

How about you, friends? Do you have wisdom? Have you asked God for it? And are you applying it to your life so you exercise good judgment?

Live for one, friends. Submit your lives to God and walk in wisdom.

7-Fold One-Year Bible Reading Plan Day #173: Proverbs 4-5

Scripture of the Day: Proverbs 4:5-7


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