Day 321 Bible Reading Plan – “The Lie of Tolerance”

The Lie of Tolerance

The Lie of Tolerance—Tolerance or Acceptance?

Acceptance is a beautiful thing—but what about tolerance? How do we handle unbiblical standards in the church today? The word tolerance is used a lot today, but what are we tolerating? And what are we not tolerating? The lie of tolerance is revealed in its fruit.

Paul reveals the need to address issues in the church. He did not back down from issues due to political correctness. If we do not uphold a biblical standard, we do not have one. In the end, friends, tolerate differences, but not sin. Accept people as Christ accepted us, but don’t accept what God’s word does not condone.

Guard the influences in your life. Live what you defend. Stumbling blocks have to be addressed or we will trip over them ourselves. And our tolerance of sin does not equate to God’s acceptance.

The Lie of Tolerance—Under Whose Authority?

In the world we understand that the Bible is not their authority. Our expectations for the world cannot be the same as in the church. But in the church, we need to have the Bible as our authority. Even seemingly good things – church tradition, admired leaders – do not trump the paramount importance of God’s word leading us and setting the standard for how we are to live.

The church is to be the light of the world, not an extension of it. If the church is not aligning itself with God’s word, it will be a puppet of the devil and fall away.

In the end, we will not be held accountable by the world on popularity or how we fit in. that will not last the sands of time. But we will be held accountable by God—the One Who gets the final say and sets the standard. Period.

People come and go and worldly influences will try to penetrate our lives and our churches. What should be our response? I don’t have authority over God’s word. But His word has authority over all of creation. And every knee will bow before Him.

Bible Reading: Acts 15-16

Acts 15:1-5

“Some men came down from Judea and began to teach the brothers, “Unless you are circumcised according to the custom prescribed by Moses, you cannot be saved.” 2 After Paul and Barnabas had engaged them in serious argument and debate, Paul and Barnabas and some others were appointed to go up to the apostles and elders in Jerusalem about this issue. 3 When they had been sent on their way by the church, they passed through both Phoenicia and Samaria, describing in detail the conversion of the Gentiles, and they brought great joy to all the brothers and sisters.

4 When they arrived at Jerusalem, they were welcomed by the church, the apostles, and the elders, and they reported all that God had done with them. 5 But some of the believers who belonged to the party of the Pharisees stood up and said, “It is necessary to circumcise them and to command them to keep the law of Moses.”

The Lie of Tolerance—Influencers

So How Do We Deal with Unbiblical Standards? Paul and Barnabas did not shy back from the ungodly influence that invaded their church and differed from God’s standard. Stumbling blocks have to be addressed or we will trip over them. And sometimes those stumbling blocks to a Biblical foundation are within the church itself. Paul and Barnabas addressed unbiblical influencers in debate and then set to task propagating the truth.

Influencers. Guard the influences in your life. Like a mantra, I shared with my kids the necessity and importance of this.

1 Corinthians 15:33, “Do not be deceived: “Bad company ruins good morals.”

The Lie of Tolerance—Religion

These men who came down from Judea in Acts 15 to stir the pot must have thought they were “in the know”. They thought they could impose religious hoops for people to jump through to be saved. But even when something sounds good to our religious flesh, if it is not backed up by God’s word, it is filthy rags as it says in

Isaiah 64:6

“We are all infected and impure with sin. When we display our righteous deeds, they are nothing but filthy rags. Like autumn leaves, we wither and fall, and our sins sweep us away like the wind.”

The Lie of Tolerance—Pride

We cannot win people to the Kingdom of God with pride. Our attitude should be like Christ, as in Philippians 2:5-7

“5 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus: 6 Who, existing in the form of God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, 7 but emptied Himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in human likeness.”

Christ humbled Himself! So should we! Self-righteousness is a plague when we think we have the truth in and of ourselves. No one is good, no not one. Christ alone is. And we were grafted in and included. We belong. May we always remember our humble stance as we seek to help others see. How is it that we see? God’s mercy and grace and incredible kindness.

The Lie of Tolerance—Debate

Debate. We have to be willing to have conversations. Sometimes hard ones. But how we communicate is crucial. And we have to live what we defend. Otherwise, the world is confused. We are not to be like the world and our weapons should be used to redeem and help people see, not to tear them down.

In can be uncomfortable to have a different opinion. But we need to fear God more than man. And we must prove faithful. Let’s love people while we help to dissolve the unbiblical narrative they have subscribed to. Let’s lovingly point them to God’s truth and humbly admit that we are flawed, ourselves.

Paul and Barnabas’ defense of the truth brought genuine joy in those who listened. They did not respond to shaming or intolerance by caving to the world. They stood firm and shared the truth and gave hope and joy as they clarified the muddy waters.

What does your church say? Does it acknowledge your need to be saved? Does it add or subtract from God’s standards? How about us? Do we have extra rules that we impose?

The Lie of Tolerance—Reaching the Intolerant World

The world preaches tolerance but is intolerant of Christian standards and beliefs. They feel that Christians are intolerant perhaps because they think differently and uphold a standard that is polar opposite of the world. Christians should not tolerate worldliness. But how we encounter worldliness will bear fruit in our lives and those who watch us.

Likewise, what we tolerate affects the faithfulness of our walk with God. We can tolerate sin in our lives, as well, not wanting to seem judgmental. But God never tolerates sin.

And our tolerance of sin does not equate to God’s acceptance.

On the world stage, we should not expect the world to have biblical standards. But that does not mean we should be silent on God’s way for man. But we will need to be wise. The world does not speak “Christianese”.

The Lie of Tolerance—Be Wise About the Battle

Be wise about the battle, friends. The Holy Spirit will reveal who has ears to hear and who doesn’t. Speak truth with grace and let God take care of the results. But speak when He says to speak and pray when He says to pray.

The fruit of our lives and our church will be obvious. Paul’s ministry bore fruit, not religion or rules – as he shared the truth.

And salvation rang in the lives of many. In Lydia, in a fortune teller, and in a jailer. One was a wealthy woman who likely did not see her need. Another was a tool of Satan who was set free. And The jailer had just secured Paul’s punishment but had a radical transformation as Paul lived out the message He spoke with humility.

Scripture of the Day: Acts 16:34

“34 He brought them into his house, set a meal before them, and rejoiced because he had come to believe in God with his entire household.”

Friends, what we tolerate could keep someone from seeing Jesus. Boldly live out God’s word in such a compelling way like Paul did, that no one stumbles on their way to meet Jesus.

Application

  • What are you tolerating in your life?
  • Examine your tolerances through a Biblical lens and ask God for the Biblical standard in your life.
  • In the end, friends, tolerate differences, but not sin.

𝗝𝗼𝗶𝗻 𝗺𝗲 𝗳𝗼𝗿 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗕𝗶𝗯𝗹𝗲 𝗥𝗲𝗮𝗱𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗣𝗹𝗮𝗻 𝗮𝘁 12 𝗽𝗺 𝗘𝗧.

Day #321: Acts 15-16

𝒱𝑒𝓇𝓈𝑒 𝑜𝒻 𝓉𝒽𝑒 𝒟𝒶𝓎: Acts 16:34

“He brought them into his house, set a meal before them, and rejoiced because he had come to believe in God with his entire household.”

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Day 319-320 Bible Reading Plan – Weekend Digest

Where is your hope placed?

Where is Your Hope Placed?

What are you hoping in? Where is your hope placed? Or better yet—Who? Misplaced hope can lead to devastating lives. But when hope is in the right place, we are never disappointed and can have peace, joy, and hope in all circumstances.

Bible Reading: Psalms 129-131 and Ecclesiastes 7-8

Where is your hope placed friends? I am sure you have thought about this before. I know in our culture it is easy for people to say I hope I will meet my husband . . . or I hope this will be my outcome. We can say we hope in Jesus, but we can sometimes hope that things will go ok, don’t we? Uh . . . I just hope we will have a break.

I know sometimes in my life hope looked like achieving something or a status . . . or just peace. But true hope is not that at all. So we are going to look at the Psalmist here today about where our hope is placed.

In Psalm 130, the Psalmist is awaiting redemption.

Psalm 130:1-8

“Out of the depths I call to you, Lord! 2 Lord, listen to my voice; let your ears be attentive to my cry for help. 3 Lord, if you kept an account of iniquities, Lord, who could stand? 4 But with you there is forgiveness, so that you may be revered.

5 I wait for the Lord; I wait and put my hope in his word. 6 I wait for the Lord more than watchmen for the morning—more than watchmen for the morning.

7 Israel, put your hope in the Lord. For there is faithful love with the Lord, and with him is redemption in abundance. 8 And he will redeem Israel from all its iniquities.”

Where is your hope placed—in God’s Word and Faithful Love

The Psalmist chose first to put his hope in God’s word and faithful love, but then he is asking Israel to do the same.

This hope is not something that is temporary. It is something we know we can count on. It is not just a desire. Cross my fingers . . . I really hope this turns out. No hope is something that is firm and secure.

Where is Your Hope Placed—What keeps us from hoping?

Fear can. Doubt. We don’t trust God. My song, “Layers” came from this place of wanting to hope but struggling to trust God when life seemed hopeless and God allowed a lot of suffering in my life and I did not understand why that level of suffering. We feel disillusioned and discouraged and hope just feels like, man I can’t be let down one more time. And I wanna put my hope in God, but God allowed these circumstances in my life.

These are real questions that if we are honest, we need to deal with them, right?

As we are thinking about this hope, we need to think about the obstacles to hope because there are so many things that stand in our way that want to keep us from hoping in God.

Where is Your Hope Placed—Patience.

The meaning of the word hope is to wait in a certain outcome. So if we are going to be willing to hope that means we are going to have to be willing to be patient.

Hope is choosing to believe either in a person or a God or an outcome and we are content to hope or trust no matter what goes on around us. That takes faith, right? Hope is closely tied to faith.

But patience is something that I think really plays into this. We don’t like to wait.

The Psalmist hoped in God, in His Word, and in His faithful love. The Psalmist hoped in God more than the watchman for the morning.

Think about the job of a watchman. I personally would not want that job. What are they doing? In pitch dark They are staying awake. I could picture a lot of coffee for this girl if that were my job. But you are staying awake and constantly on the alert watching. Can you imagine how much the watchman longs for the sun and the light.

The Psalmist is giving us this analogy. First he chooses to hope in God more than the watchman.

Anyone can wait a little bit. Christmas time is such an example of this. I think of my kids around Christmas time when it was hard for them to wait for the presents and one of my kids finally confessed that he would always take a peek at the gifts by slightly unwrapping the gift then rewrapping it. Some of the joy was lost on Christmas day because he already knew what he was getting.

Hope does not see it yet . . . but it chooses to trust in God and wait.

Where Your Hope is Placed—Why Hope in God?

Psalm 130:7 God is faithful. There is nothing else we can put our hope in. We don’t even know for sure who our next President is. We cannot put our hope in our elected leaders. We can’t put our hope in people . . . they are fallible. Or in circumstances . . . nothing. We don’t even know for sure what a day may bring.

Even though I have had a pretty tough year with Melanoma, COVID, etc., my God is still always faithful. Even though I am struggling with asthma, I have also been very blessed. And my God is always good and faithful.

Psalm 130:4 God forgives us. This is great hope. And this forgiveness last forever.

Psalm 130:7 God loves us. His love is faithful. Sometimes we put our hope in people who don’t really love us. I know that sounds harsh but sometimes in this world people just want what they want and they use people. But God loves us. So much. Hard times don’t mean that He does not love us or whether he is good. He is there with us. We just have to shift our focus from hoping for a perfect life to hoping in a good God.

Psalm 130:7 God redeems us. With Him is redemption in abundance. Overflowing. Redemption costs greatly. Sin destroys us and we need someone to redeem us. Redemption costs our Savior His life. He is our hope. What a secure place that is.

Where Your Hope is Placed—Pursue God, Not Happiness

Ecclesiastes 7-8

“It is better to go to a house of mourning than to go to a house of feasting, since that is the end of all mankind, and the living should take it to heart. 3 Grief is better than laughter, for when a face is sad, a heart may be glad.”

Now isn’t that interesting? A lot of times we pursue happiness. Our hope is that we will be happy. Why would Solomon say it is better to have mourning or grief . . . then you can be happy?

Sometimes when we don’t go through hard times we can take things for granted and we hope in futile things that keep us bummed all the time because they never pan out? But there is something about when you have been through pain in your life, then you see things from a different perspective and see all of the blessings in this life.

The beauty of hoping in God is that you can have an election go awry . . you can have a global pandemic . . . you can get COVID yourself and be hospitalized . . . overcome cancer and betrayal and all kinds of suffering and still have hope. Our hope is not in avoiding COVID, but inthe One Who controls everything. Then we have peace.

Where Your Hope is Placed—Where Hope is Found

Ecclesiastes 7:8

“The end of a matter is better than its beginning; a patient spirit is better than a proud spirit.”

To hope is to wait is to be trust in a certain outcome. We know God has a certain outcome . . . we need to trust Him with that outcome. Hoping is not holding tightly onto things and demanding things from God. It is a hope that God will use all that happens to us will bring Him glory. Hope is not for the American Dream . . . and I want this and I want that . . . and then I will trust in you, God. A true hope is that we will love God through it all and trust the hope He has for us.

Ecclesiastes 7:10

“Don’t say, “Why were the former days better than these?” since it is not wise of you to ask this.”

Easy times don’t require faith or hope, do they? But when we wait on God in both times – when we are blessed, are we going to hope in God then, or hope in the blessing? And when times are hard, this is where real hope is. Real hope is not when everything is good. It is found when it isn’t.

And it is when we choose to say, “I worship You, God”. I can’t do this, but You are where my hope is placed, that we have hope this world can never take away.

Scripture of the Day: Psalm 130:5-6

“I wait for the Lord; I wait and put my hope in his word. I wait for the Lord more than watchmen for the morning—more than watchmen for the morning.”

Application

  • Think about your hope and take inventory – ask yourself if you are hoping in God or things.
  • Go with God, your living hope!

𝗝𝗼𝗶𝗻 𝗺𝗲 𝗳𝗼𝗿 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗕𝗶𝗯𝗹𝗲 𝗥𝗲𝗮𝗱𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗣𝗹𝗮𝗻 𝗮𝘁 12 𝗽𝗺 𝗘𝗧.

“Where is Your Hope Placed?”

Day #319-320: Psalms 129-131 & Ecclesiastes 7-8

𝒱𝑒𝓇𝓈𝑒 𝑜𝒻 𝓉𝒽𝑒 𝒟𝒶𝓎: Psalm 129:3

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Day 318 Bible Reading Plan

God remembers

God Remembers

God remembers. He never forgets, yet He was willing to cover our sins. Sometimes when it seems like the world is going crazy, God remembers. God sees us. God still has a plan. There is coming a time when God is coming to judge the Shepherds and His people, but then is judgment leads us to is redemption. What a good God!

Bible Reading of the Day: Zechariah 10-14

Pastors have a hard job, y’all. The sheep are harassed and helpful and sheep bite. Pastors have a hard job. But they are going to be held accountable. Do shepherds the status their sheep? This is a hard task because sometimes sheep lie and make it difficult.

But when pastors/shepherds are really diligent to know how their sheep are doing, and to feed the sheep, they are doing God’s work. But the sheep are responsible to follow.

Sometimes pastors can get stuck in the weeds. They can worry about being liturgical or political (church politics, y’all), while the people fall away.

In researching this morning about the book of Zechariah, I found that the Hebrew word ‘zechariah’ (or ‘zachariah’) means ‘God remembers’. He sees. He is not going to let His people be forsaken. Even though His own people forsook Him. And the Day of the LORD is coming when every wrong will be righted. Everything will be restored.

Today’s reading opens up with God calling to account false shepherds who are misleading his people. God is going to judge both the shepherds and the people.

God Remembers—Judgment is coming

Zechariah 11-14

“7 So I shepherded the flock intended for slaughter, the oppressed of the flock.[b] I took two staffs, calling one Favor and the other Union, and I shepherded the flock. 8 In one month I got rid of three shepherds. I became impatient with them, and they also detested me. 9 Then I said, “I will no longer shepherd you. Let what is dying die, and let what is perishing perish; let the rest devour each other’s flesh.” 10 Next I took my staff called Favor and cut it in two, annulling the covenant I had made with all the peoples.”

When we rebel against God, it is like hating God. Rebellion is like the sin of witchcraft. Despite this judgment from God, God never punishes without the goal of redemption and restoration. He does not desire that any should perish (2 Peter 3:9).

We need to remember God’s character when we see discipline and punishment. God is good. We want to give ourselves a second chance, but God’s discipline is always to help wake us up from our sin. We need to understand the heart of God.

But God has to judge sin, lest man never turn away from it. There is a standard that God has set because He loves us and if we do not correct sin, we are enabling it. God is righteous in his judgment. Even when it seems cruel to us, we are viewing it from a human point-of-view.

God Remembers—Our sin will be dealt with

Man is wicked. He defaults to sin and rebellion against a Holy God. And God loves His people enough to deal with sin. Parents also need to love their children enough to set clear standards and require accountability.

As a parent, I will tell you it is hard to deal with sin in the camp and in the soul of our children. Sometimes they rebel and get angry with you. Sometimes they try to blame you. But if you keep your heart set on God’s will and way, you don’t have to be manipulated by children. We need to lead them to the right way and ultimately trust God to deal with their sin if they will not listen to us.

But look at what our Savior was willing to do on our behalf and again I think of an analogy of parents who give so much for their children and the children are often not aware of the worth of what their parents do.

Just as the Shepherds were accountable to God, we are also accountable to God.

But look at what our Savior was willing to do on our behalf. We are often not aware of what Christ’s sacrifice on our behalf is worth.

God Remembers—What is our Savior worth?

Zechariah 11:12-13 describes an allusion to Christ and the betrayal by Judas.

referencing 30 silver coins. (Matthew 27:3) Although this passage in Zechariah is about Zechariah requesting his wages, this is also a Messianic prophecy, which found its fulfillment in Jesus Christ.

“12 Then I said to them, “If it seems right to you, give me my wages; but if not, keep them.” So they weighed my wages, thirty pieces of silver.

13 “Throw it to the potter,” the Lord said to me—this magnificent price I was valued by them. So I took the thirty pieces of silver and threw it into the house of the Lord, to the potter.”

Think about how ludicrous it is that the death of God would cost 30 pieces of silver. We can approach God with a self-centered philosophy and fail to see how good He has been to us.

God Remembers—Messianic Prophesies

According to GotQuestions.org,

“Earlier, Zechariah had been commanded to watch a flock of sheep doomed to slaughter (Zechariah 11:4). He obeyed, using two shepherd’s staffs that he named Favor and Union (verse 7). Within a month, Zechariah fired the three shepherds working under him (verse 8). Then Zechariah abandoned the flock and broke his staff named Favor. Observers realized these actions were “the word of the LORD” (verse 11). The Lord would remove His favor from His people, allowing them to be harried by their enemies (verse 6).”

“A seeming difficulty is the fact that Matthew attributes the prophecy to Jeremiah, not Zechariah. The explanation is two-fold. First, Jeremiah also bought a field at the Lord’s command (Jeremiah 32:6-9). Second, the Hebrew Bible was divided into three sections: the Law, the Writings, and the Prophets. The Prophets began with Jeremiah, and it was common for people to refer to the whole section (which included Zechariah) as “the book of Jeremiah.””

Zechariah’s prophecy had a dual fulfillment: one in the prophet’s contemporary context, and one in the more distant future. The Jewish people of Zechariah’s day would be judged, as seen in the breaking of Favor, and the specific details regarding 30 pieces of silver and a potter’s field found a future fulfillment in the betrayal of Jesus Christ by Judas Iscariot.

God Remembers—And Redeems

Another instance of a Messianic prophesy is found in Zechariah 12:10

“And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and supplication. They will look on me, the one they have pierced, and they will mourn for him as one mourns for an only child, and grieve bitterly for him as one grieves for a firstborn son.”

It took the sacrifice of Christ for people to realize that their sin cost. And to realize that their God loved them so much that He would pay for and cover their sins completely.

A righteous God has to punish but He took the punishment – our punishment upon Himself. If we will look at the cross afresh and look and realize what God did on our behalf, God can help us to live a right way if we are aware of the cost of our sin. God remembers us . . . do we remember Him?

Scripture of the Day: Zechariah 13:1-2

“On that day a fountain will be opened for the house of David and for the residents of Jerusalem, to wash away sin and impurity. 2 “On that day”—this is the declaration of the Lord of Armies—“I will remove the names of the idols from the land, and they will no longer be remembered. I will banish the prophets and the unclean spirit from the land.”

Friends, this makes me think of the hymn, “There is a fountain filled with blood.”

Another prophecy from our reading today references the day of the LORD.

Zechariah 14:4 says, “On that day his feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, east of Jerusalem, and the Mount of Olives will be split in two from east to west, forming a great valley, with half of the Mount moving north and half moving south.” “That day” is a reference to the Day of the Lord, and the One who stands on the mountain is the Lord Himself. This passage predicts the second coming of Christ..

Application

  • Friends, will you be ready?
  • We need to prepare our hearts, get rid of idols, and make sure our Shepherds are helping us to see the truth.
  • And we need to shepherd those in our sphere of influence, without fear of man.

𝗝𝗼𝗶𝗻 𝗺𝗲 𝗳𝗼𝗿 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗕𝗶𝗯𝗹𝗲 𝗥𝗲𝗮𝗱𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗣𝗹𝗮𝗻 𝗮𝘁 12 𝗽𝗺 𝗘𝗧.

“God Remembers”

Day #318: Zechariah 10-14

𝒱𝑒𝓇𝓈𝑒 𝑜𝒻 𝓉𝒽𝑒 𝒟𝒶𝓎: Zechariah 13:1-2

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Day 317 Bible Reading Plan

The Hand of God

The Hand of God

The hand of God can be for us or against us. The favor of God is not something that can be manipulated. God knows our hearts. And when we seek God, are diligent to study and apply His word, God works in our circumstances with His loving, gracious hand to bring about his perfect will in our lives.

Bible Reading of the Day: Ezra 6-10

Ezra 6:22

“And they held the Feast of Unleavened Bread for seven days with joy, because the Lord had made them happy, and had turned the heart of the king of Assyria toward them to encourage them in the work of the house of God, the God of Israel.”

Ezra 7:6b

“6 So this Ezra went up from Babylon, and he was a scribe skilled in the Law of Moses, which the Lord God of Israel had given; and the king granted him all [a]he requested because the hand of the Lord his God was upon him.”

Ezra 7:9-10

“For on the first day of the first month he began to go up from Babylon; and on the first of the fifth month he came to Jerusalem, because the good hand of his God was upon him. 10 For Ezra had firmly resolved to study the Law of the Lord and to practice it, and to teach His statutes and ordinances in Israel.”

The phrase, “The hand of the LORD was upon us”, or variants of this phrase appear in today’s reading appears six times.

Ezra 7:6, 7:9, 7:28, 8:18, 8:22, 8:31

Sometimes we can feel like God does not see us – as if our way is hidden from Him.

We read about God’s hand being with others and wonder why we struggle so.

But let’s see what the people did that helped the hand of God to be for them instead of against them.

The Hand of God—Being diligent in God’s word.

Ezra 7:6

“Ezra was skilled in the Law of Moses.”

The Hand of God—Studying and applying God’s word.

Ezra 7:9-10

“For on the first day of the first month he began to go up from Babylon; and on the first of the fifth month he came to Jerusalem, because the good hand of his God was upon him. 10 For Ezra had firmly resolved to study the Law of the Lord and to practice it, and to teach His statutes and ordinances in Israel.”

Scripture of the Day: Ezra 7:27-28

“Blessed be the Lord, the God of our fathers, who has put such a thing as this in the king’s heart, to glorify the house of the Lord which is in Jerusalem, 28 and has extended favor to me before the king and his counselors and before all the king’s mighty officials. So I was strengthened according to the hand of the Lord my God that was upon me, and I gathered leading men from Israel to go up with me.”

What will God do when we apply His word to our life? He will be for us. He will put his hand upon us!

The Hand of God—God Provides

Ezra 8:18

“18 And as the good hand of our God was upon us, they brought us a man of insight from the sons of Mahli, the son of Levi, the son of Israel, namely Sherebiah, and his sons and brothers, eighteen men; 19 and Hashabiah and Jeshaiah of the sons of Merari, with his brothers and their sons, twenty men; 20 and 220 of the temple servants, whom David and the officials had provided for the service of the Levites, all of them designated by name.”

The Hand of God—God Protects

Ezra 8:22

“22 For I was ashamed to request from the king troops and horsemen to [l]protect us from the enemy on the way, because we had said to the king, “The hand of our God is favorably disposed to all who seek Him, but His power and His anger are against all those who abandon Him.” 23 So we fasted and sought our God concerning this matter, and He listened to our pleading.”

And I also want to add here that encountering troubles does not mean that God’s hand is against us. God is with us in our struggles. His hand strengthens us. The words, gracious hand mean good hand, and hand is a reference to His power. God is able, friends. Even when our circumstances seem impossible.

The Hand of God—In Hard Times

When bad things happen to others, we don’t need to assume that they did anything wrong. And God is able to trump hard circumstances with His grace and grace. He moved in the heart of three kings from our reading in Ezra today. He can do the same in our kings, Presidents, and leaders today.

My recent COVID challenges have been difficult, but my reliance needs to be on God, not just on medicine. God is able to use medicine and doctors, too. But my hope is in Him and His gracious hand! And sometimes we need to ask God to reveal to us when His hand has been for us and we just did not recognize it.

Application

  • When we trust God, we know that nothing is wasted in His hands.
  • Choose this day blessing or curse.
  • The hand of God is largely dependent upon our actions.
  • God is good all the time. If we believe that, then we trust His hand at all times.

𝗝𝗼𝗶𝗻 𝗺𝗲 𝗳𝗼𝗿 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗕𝗶𝗯𝗹𝗲 𝗥𝗲𝗮𝗱𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗣𝗹𝗮𝗻 𝗮𝘁 12 𝗽𝗺 𝗘𝗧.

Day #317: Ezra 6-10—The Hand of God

𝒱𝑒𝓇𝓈𝑒 𝑜𝒻 𝓉𝒽𝑒 𝒟𝒶𝓎: Ezra 7:27-28

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Day 315-316 Bible Reading Plan

Not the frozen chosen

Not the Frozen Chosen

Ever feel stagnant in your walk with God? God’s people are not the frozen chosen. Lost your spiritual vitality? Let’s get some back today! When we realize what lengths our Savior went to in order for us to be chosen, we should be the most passionate people on earth! They need to be spirit-filled, vibrant representatives for the LORD Jesus Christ!

Bible Reading of the Day: 1 Peter 1:3 and Deuteronomy 19-21

1 Peter 1: 1-2

“To those chosen, living as exiles dispersed abroad in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, chosen 2 according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, to be obedient and to be sprinkled with the blood of Jesus Christ. May grace and peace be multiplied to you.”

Not the Frozen Chosen—Chosen by God

Friends, we are chosen by God. According to the foreknowledge of God. And the Holy Spirit is completing the work that Christ began. And this work that God has accomplished should translate to obedience, with grace and peace being the fruit of that salvation.

Sometimes we can encounter Christians who are grumpy, gossipers and negative people. We might also encounter people who claim to be Christians who are like frozen objects when it comes to worshiping God. We joke about it and call them the frozen chosen or we say some people are just private about their faith, but let’s be honest.

If someone died for you, would you be passionate about thanking that person? And in this case, the salvation is for eternity!

If you are needing to be pumped up in your faith today, let’s look at some of the benefits:

Not the Frozen Chosen – Born into a living hope that never fades.

Our salvation cannot be taken away!

“3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Because of his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead 4 and into an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you.”

Not the Frozen Chosen—We are being guarded. Protected. Secure.

1 Peter 1:5

“5 You are being guarded by God’s power through faith for a salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.”

What ought to be our response to so great a salvation?

Not being the frozen chosen. We need to be faithful.

Not the Frozen Chosen—Be like Christ, not the world.

We are to set our hope on God, to be obedient and holy. Not to be worldly, but other-worldly.

1 Peter 1:13-16

“13 Therefore, with your minds ready for action, be sober-minded and set your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 14 As obedient children, do not be conformed to the desires of your former ignorance. 15 But as the one who called you is holy, you also are to be holy in all your conduct; 16 for it is written, Be holy, because I am holy.”

Not the Frozen Chosen—Conduct Yourself in a Holy Manner.

1 Peter 1:17a-19

“…Conduct yourselves in reverence during your time living as strangers. 18 For you know that you were redeemed from your empty way of life inherited from your ancestors, not with perishable things like silver or gold, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of an unblemished and spotless lamb.”

Not the Frozen Chosen—We are to be sincere and pure.

1 Peter 1:22-23

“22 Since you have purified yourselves by your obedience to the truth, so that you show sincere brotherly love for each other, from a pure heart love one another constantly, 23 because you have been born again—not of perishable seed but of imperishable—through the living and enduring word of God.”

Not the Frozen Chosen—Get rid of malice

1 Peter 2:1

“Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all slander.”

Scripture of the Day: 1 Peter 2:9-10

“9 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his possession, so that you may proclaim the praises of the one who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.”

This verse is so key in us understanding our identity in Christ. This is who we are. We should jump for joy that we get to belong to Christ! That we get to serve Him! We can get lost in the world system. But remembering who and whose we are helps us to live worthy lives and to stay on mission.

Not the Frozen Chosen—Do Good.

2 Peter 2:11-15

“11 Dear friends, I urge you as strangers and exiles to abstain from sinful desires that wage war against the soul. 12 Conduct yourselves honorably among the Gentiles, so that when they slander you as evildoers, they will observe your good works and will glorify God on the day he visits.

13 Submit to every human authority because of the Lord, whether to the emperor[q] as the supreme authority 14 or to governors as those sent out by him to punish those who do what is evil and to praise those who do what is good. 15 For it is God’s will that you silence the ignorance of foolish people by doing good. 17 17 Honor everyone. Love the brothers and sisters. Fear God. Honor the emperor.”

Living differently than the world – counter-cultural – is hard. But how much we need to. The world wants to see faithful people.

Not the Frozen Chosen—Be kind.

1 Peter 3:7-9

“7 Husbands, in the same way, live with your wives in an understanding way, as with a weaker partner, showing them honor as coheirs of the grace of life, so that your prayers will not be hindered.

8 Finally, all of you be like-minded and sympathetic, love one another, and be compassionate and humble, 9 not paying back evil for evil or insult for insult but, on the contrary, giving a blessing, since you were called for this, so that you may inherit a blessing.”

Not the Frozen Chosen—Christ Fulfilled the Law!

When we live in this world like Christ told us to, the world can come to know God. In the reading from Deuteronomy 19-21, I was struck by how the laws shared by Moses were an attempt to try and contain sin. Rules in place to govern to help people be righteous. They just couldn’t do it.

We needed to know the Law, because it revealed our inability to follow it and our need of a Savior. And there need to be consequences for when we stray. God still provided shelter for those who sinned. We needed guidelines. And we needed to know how we should live.

Sins were dealt with. This is one of the problems we have today. Sins are dismissed and we compromise when we just go through the motions and succumb to the world. We were not chosen for that, friends.

Application

  • May we not be easily offended and forgive one another.
  • May we live in a way that please God.
  • And may we not be the frozen chosen, but fully alive in Christ, radically living out what has been revealed to us!

𝗝𝗼𝗶𝗻 𝗺𝗲 𝗳𝗼𝗿 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗕𝗶𝗯𝗹𝗲 𝗥𝗲𝗮𝗱𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗣𝗹𝗮𝗻 𝗮𝘁 12 𝗽𝗺 𝗘𝗧.

Day #315-316: 1 Peter 1-3 and Deuteronomy 19-21—Not the Frozen Chosen

𝒱𝑒𝓇𝓈𝑒 𝑜𝒻 𝓉𝒽𝑒 𝒟𝒶𝓎: 1 Peter 2:9-10

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