Re:Verse passage – Mark 1:1-8 (day three)
“… preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins…”
The Pharisees didn’t listen to John, so they weren’t going to listen to Jesus. Pharoah didn’t listen to the nine plagues, so he wasn’t ultimately going to listen to the tenth. The family of the rich man in Jesus’s parable of Lazarus hadn’t listened to the prophets, so they wouldn’t listen to a resurrected Lazarus. Do you see a pattern here? God has designed reality in such a way that the now can prepare you for the next. You can refuse to accept the now, or you can turn and face it and let God’s Spirit teach you and form you. Is today inviting you to get ready for tomorrow? Probably.
Re:Verse passage – Philippians 2:19-30 (day seven)
“But you know of his proven worth, that he served with me in the furtherance of the gospel like a child serving his father.” vs 22
The relationship of Paul and Timothy is one of my favorite dynamics in the New Testament. Take a look through the latter parts of Acts and the letters to Timothy and you will see the progression of Timothy’s training. It began in such a way where Timothy was a young man in whom Paul saw potential, so he brought him on his team and invested in Him. Then we see Paul challenging Timothy, though young in his faith, to be a leader. He eventually becomes one of Paul’s most trusted companions. Paul saw potential, invested, cultivated, and sent him out!
We all have had those people in our lives who have helped shape our faith journey. They saw the potential in us and invested. They cultivated our theology and then sent us out to do the same for others. This is the model of discipleship!
Have you experienced this? Who has been a Paul to you? Who has been your Timothy? These are questions that we should ask and answer often!
Sin whispers to the wicked, deep within their hearts. Psalm 36:1
The Holy Spirit speaks. His role is to whisper (loudly) the words of God deep within our hearts. Fullness happens when we listen. And His words, like seeds, buried deep into the human heart bear fruit.
The spiritual battle that rages in the human heart is a war of words. After all Jesus said, “From out of the heart the mouth speaks.” The Psalmist would agree. (Psalm 36:1)
While sin can no longer condemn, it still whispers bullets in this spiritual battle. Lies and half-truths hurling like 9mm slugs. But as children of God, the Spirit offers us a new voice, defensive measures and counter attacks.
Hearing His voice is our superpower. And eventually His words turn battlefields into orchards.
Re:Verse passage – Daniel 12:1-13 (day three)
“Go your way, Daniel.”
How do you respond to a wrenching vision of the advance of a culture-shattering sweep of geopolitical occurrences that will involve the suffering of untold billions of souls and usher in the climactic end of history as we know it? You respond by…going about your business? That’s not the same thing as acting as if coming events don’t matter. To the contrary, the nature of such a vision has everything to do with how one lives now. There are two ways of life from which to choose. One way involves believing that you are at the mercy of world-historical events. That way of life requires you to take or be taken, rule or be ruled, kill or be killed. The other involves understanding that someone other than you clothes the lilies, feeds the sparrows, and cares for you.
Re:Verse passage – Exodus 20:16 (day six)
“You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.”
There is a reason the ninth commandment is you shall not bear false witness against your neighbor, rather than you shall not lie. The former makes a clear connection between the truths (or lies) we speak and our neighbor. False witness is never spoken in a vacuum, but always lands on someone, always leading to a disconnected relationship or community.
God’s plan for his people was a community that knew and trusted each other. He had no desire for a fractured, disconnected people rising out of closed-door gossip, or back-alley grievances. When you boil it down, I think God is saying, “Stop talking ABOUT your neighbor; talk TO your neighbor.”
So, the next time you have a grievance against someone don’t rush to gripe about them to someone else, or pass judgment too quickly, rather go to them, and as much as it is up to you, seek to make things right.
Re:Verse reading— 1 Samuel 20:1-17, 30-42 (day one)
“Then David said to Jonathan, ‘Who will tell me if your father answers harshly?’ ” v 10
When you need information, to whom do you turn? Google? The Weather Channel? Your Mom? Recently, I’ve seen a new pattern. “Facebook friends, does anyone know a good _____ that you can recommend?”
When David needed insider information, the only person He could turn to was his friend, Jonathan. (Was the King’s rage a function of his mental/spiritual instability? Was it something David have done? Was he charged with a crime? ) Only Jonathan could learn the truth and only Jonathan would risk communicating with a wanted man.
Jesus is our Jonathan. Our Friend. Our Messenger from Heaven. The One Person who will communicate with us the truth about the King’s attitude toward us.
“No one has seen God at any time; the only begotten God who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him.”–John 1:18
Re:Verse reading–1 Samuel 18:1-16, 19:1-10 (day seven)
Then Saul became very angry, for this saying displeased him; and he said, “They have ascribed to David ten thousands, but to me they have ascribed thousands. Now what more can he have but the kingdom?” Saul looked at David with suspicion from that day on. 1 Samuel 18:8-9
Why did Saul look at David with suspicion? Nothing had changed in their relationship, but now there were singing ladies who foreshadowed a future Saul didn’t like. Saul began to realize David was treated like a king by both the people and God. Saul saw the truth, and it was ugly. The future was David’s to assume by the power of God, and instead of accepting what lay ahead Saul decided to fight. He would fight David, he would fight God, and he would fight Truth.
Fighting the truth of God was Saul’s big mistake. It’s understandable though that Saul pushed back. We do the same. Whenever the truth of God’s Word infringes on our perceived rights or our deep wants or cultural values we do whatever it takes to squelch the truth. Like Saul, the longer we challenge the truth the more chaotic our heart gets, and we will only find peace when we realize submitting to God’s truth is the greatest act of our lives even when we have to lose something dear to our hearts.
So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” John 8:31-32
RE Verse reading–Jeremiah 1 (day seven) “Before you were born. . . I appointed you a prophet to the nations.”–v 5.
The meaning depends on how you say it. Tell the TRUTH. TELL the truth. Both are commandments. The second was God’s emphasis with Jeremiah.
Apart from this clear call, Jeremiah probably would have stayed silent. Easy choice in a “politically correct” age. Some messages tolerated. Some not. People were (are) tired of hearing it. Old news.
So, the Lord removed the option. No longer a choice. Now, a matter of obedience. Speak up, God told this young believer. Don’t be timid! Don’t let them disregard you! Speak my word!
It is a similar call to the one Christ gave the church. “Go into all the world and make disciples. Baptizing them. Teaching them all that I have commanded you.”–Matthew 28:19-20. Silence is not an option. He commands us. TELL the truth! Even when the world doesn’t want to hear it.
Re: Verse reading–Esther 4:4-17; 7:1-6 (day six)
“For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” Mordecai, Esther 4:14
A health-wealth gospel exalts the potential and immediate blessings from God over God himself; it treasures treasure (health/wealth) rather than Jesus. Literally, health and wealth become the measure of one’s faith. It is a far cry from the Gospel of the Scriptures, and certainly wasn’t a Gospel Mordecai subscribed to.
Consider Mordecai’s faith in the face of possible annihilation. Although, he pressures Esther to act, he is confident God will preserve a remnant of his people even if she chooses not too. His faith in the promises of God extend far beyond his own comfort (health-wealth) and self-preservation. Mordecai was a rock! He had confidence in God to fulfill His covenant promises even though he might die. When you face adversity do you have that kind of faith? Your answer will determine what kind of Gospel you subscribe to.
Re:Verse reading–Mark 15:16-20, 24-40; Mark 16:1-8 day five)
As believers, the Empty Tomb is the pivotal picture of our faith, hope, and life. But, before it was empty, it was occupied. The scripture tells us in all four of the gospel accounts, that Jesus’ body was placed in the tomb. The details are given: Who, What, When, Where, and Why. What we know for certain is that Jesus was dead, and that His body was placed in the tomb. The occupied tomb communicated undeniable hopelessness to His followers.
I wonder if they were thinking somehow Jesus could escape death. Maybe at the last possible second, God would send an angel or another miracle would spare His life. There was no angel’s rescue that day. There was no life saving miracle. There was just darkness and despair. Jesus was killed. The tomb was sealed. The guard was posted to stand watch. The disciples were hiding in confusion, devastation, and fear. And the Savior lies lifeless in a tomb.
How did His followers process what has just happened? They must have had a thousand painful questions. “How could He be the long awaited King if He was just killed?” “Is there something we could have done to stop it?” “If they tortured and slaughtered Him like that, what will they do to us?” On Friday they watched, waited, and worried.