The King

Thursday, November 18, 2021

Today’s Reading: Matthew 2:1-7

After Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of King Herod, wise men from the east arrived unexpectedly in Jerusalem, saying, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we saw His star in the east and have come to worship Him.”

Matthew 2:1-2

Reflection: Jesus’ presence is powerful. His Kingship has great influence. Even as an infant, He causes quite a commotion in the ancient world. While knowledge of Him causes wise men, astronomers from the East, to travel a great distance to meet and worship Jesus, it also causes great concern for the people of Jerusalem and their King, who become deeply disturbed about His arrival. Well before Jesus performs signs and wonders, declares His authority, and reveals His relationship with the Almighty God, His mere presence impacts the world.

The knowledge of Jesus’ Kingship today divides people, just as it did at His birth. Upon hearing about Jesus, some go to great lengths to draw near to Him. They offer Him all that they have. Like the wise men, they desire to worship Him. Others are deeply disturbed at the understanding of who He is. They do not like the thought of relinquishing the authority they have over their own lives. They do not want to give power to Him, and would rather rebel against it.

How do we respond to the Kingship of Jesus? Knowledge of Him demands from us a decision on whether or not to honor His power and position. Those who choose to reject His rule become enemies of Him and lose the chance to dwell with Him in His Kingdom. But those who seek to worship Him can come even from far off and find true purpose and delight in under His Rule.

Prayer: King Jesus, thank You for Your perfect rule and unmatched sovereignty. Thank You for Your good kingship, and the assurance of safety and joy in surrender to Your reign. I am in need of nothing because I dwell with You. I pause before and worship You Lord. I give You praise today. In Your holy and precious Name I pray, AMEN.

Bible-in-a-Year Reading Plan (credit: Biblestudytools.com): Matthew 2; Exodus 22:1-23:33; Proverbs 10

Deserving of Worship

Wednesday, November 17, 2021

Today’s Reading: Exodus 20:1-6

“Do not have other gods before me.”

Exodus 20:3

Reflection: The LORD teaches us to worship Him alone. In a relationship with God, there is no benefit engaging with other entities that distract our attention from Him. Just as He commanded this of the Israelites on Mt. Sinai, He speaks to us now. But we in our sin will often create gods for ourselves, welcoming distractions from God by finding amusement in objects of our own design.

If we are not careful, we begin to worship these created gods. They are gods we like because they have been created by our own hands. They are given the throne room of our heart and allowed to dictate our choices, our struggles, our dreams, our lifestyle, our time. Before we know it, we have abandoned God for our created gods, and we have subjected ourselves to serve these soulless masters that are calloused against our needs. These gods are unable to help us because they are simply extensions of ourselves. But the True and Living God, just as He did for the Israelites in Egypt, desires to set us free from bondage. He longs to show faithfulness and love to generations after generations of His people who show Him love in return.

Why should we worship God? Why should we obey His commands? We should worship God because He is our salvation. His deliverance of the Israelites foreshadowed a far greater work that He would accomplish through Jesus. This work would be for us. God’s complete deliverance frees us from the chains by which we, in our sin and rebellion, enslave ourselves. We are freed here and now when we trust in God and His salvation, and when we choose to follow His ways.

Because the LORD, the True and Living God, sets us free, He is deserving of our worship and praise.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, You are holy. You are the True and Living God. Thank You for Your Salvation, and for imparting to me Your ways which are right and just. By Your goodness and grace, Lord, turn me away from those things that seek to take my attention away from You. Help me to glorify You and You alone, for You are the only One deserving of my praise and worship. In Jesus’ Name I pray, AMEN.

Bible-in-a-Year Reading Plan (credit: Biblestudytools.com): Matthew 1; Exodus 20:1-21:36; Proverbs 9

Wisdom

Tuesday, November 16, 2021

Today’s Reading: Proverbs 8:1-11

“Accept my instruction instead of silver, and knowledge rather than pure gold.”

Proverbs 8:10

Reflection: God seeks to give us His wisdom, which is likened here to a virtuous woman who cries out to all humanity. She calls from the city square, the most public of places, speaking plainly and powerfully. Her message is not confined to only certain people. She wants all to hear her words of truth and life.

Her message is noble, declaring what is right and true. It is not tainted or perverted by wickedness, but is pure. Not only can her message be heard by all people, it can also be understood by all people. Her message is simple and pertinent to all today.

What is this message? It is an appeal to believe and accept the God of the universe. It is the directive that the Son of God gave before He paved the way to His Father by His death on the Cross. This message declares our need for God Who gives wisdom. It is by Him that we act in prudence and knowledge, and by Him that we can give sound counsel and have genuine understanding. By God’s wisdom, we facilitate justice and exhibit true righteousness. The Wisdom of God governs our perspective and our action. True wisdom always begins with God.

Prayer: LORD, thank You for guiding me by Your wisdom. Thank You for being so generous to provide it to me. Today, I need Your wisdom more than ever before. As I seek after You, please grant me Your counsel and Your understanding, that I would operate out of Your heart’s desire. In Jesus’ Name I pray, AMEN.

Bible-in-a-Year Reading Plan (credit: Biblestudytools.com): Hebrews 13; Exodus 18:1-19:25; Proverbs 8

Enduring in Faith

Monday, November 15, 2021

Today’s Reading: Hebrews 12:1-3

Therefore since we also have such a large cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us lay aside every weight and the sin that so easily ensnares us, and run with endurance the race that lies before us

Hebrews 12:1

Reflection: Just as a professional athlete endures intense training to perfect their skill, we as Christians are also called to pursue after the things of God with this mindset. In order that we are well-trained to run the race of faith, God calls us to do the following in order to strengthen and train us in our faith.

First, we are called to remember the cloud of witnesses that have gone before us, men and women who have testified to the great things God has done. Their endurance reminds us of the hope of joy and triumph that awaits us with God. Second, we are called to lay aside the things which weigh us down. Honing in on our spiritual strength involves letting go of our sin and relinquishing the habits, mindsets, or distractions which keep us from strengthening our faith in God. Lastly and most importantly, we must keep our eyes on Jesus. He is the source of and reason behind our faith, as well as the perfecter and refiner of our faith. Because of the endurance with which He finished His work on the Cross, we have been given the ability to endure in faith for His Namesake.

Through the endurance of Jesus, we are able to endure the race of faith that lies before us. We are called and we are capable because of what God has done. Therefore, run the race of faith, and keep your eyes on Jesus!

Prayer: Father, thank You for Your faithfulness to grow me in faith in You. Thank You for drawing near to me through Your Son Jesus. I pray that You would please strengthen me, Father, that I would experience the complete joy and that is found in Your Presence. In Jesus’ Name I pray, AMEN.

Bible-in-a-Year Reading Plan (credit: Biblestudytools.com): Hebrews 12; Exodus 16:1-17:16; Proverbs 7:6-27

Sunday Message: The Motivation for Ministry

November 14, 2021

Today’s Reading: Acts 20:17-38

Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. 

Acts 20:28

Sermon Main Idea: THE CHURCH’S MOTIVATION IS NOT WHAT WE CAN GET, BUT WHAT GOD HAS ALREADY GIVEN.

Text Notes:

  • GOD GAVE PAUL A RACE TO RUN. (V.17-27)
  • GOD GAVE THE EPHESIANS A CHURCH TO SHEPHERD. (V.28-35)
  • PAUL CONTINUES TO RUN HIS RACE. (V36-38)

Prayer: LORD God, thank You for continuing to further Your Kingdom, and for the privilege of being able to partake in the work You set before us Your people. Please align us with Your will, LORD. Help us to increasingly trust in You. Help us to live our lives for the sake of Your Glory and Your Church. In Jesus’ Name I pray, AMEN.

Bible-in-a-Year Reading Plan (credit: Bible, studytools.com): Hebrews 11:23-40; Exodus 15; Proverbs 6:1-7:5

Choosing Salvation

Saturday, November 13, 2021

Today’s Reading: Exodus 12:12-14

“The blood on the houses where you are staying will be a distinguishing mark for you; when I see the blood, I will pass over you. No plague will be among you to destroy [you] when I strike the land of Egypt.” 

Exodus 12:13

Reflection: We can choose to be saved by the blood of the Lamb. The LORD directs us in the way to salvation and freedom. Just as God rescued the Israelite people out of Egypt, God also rescues us. In the story of Passover, God delivered the Israelites, directing them to mark their doorposts with the blood of a sacrificed lamb as a sign to Him. When God Himself passed through Egypt, He spared the firstborn only in those houses which were marked with the blood. The firstborn of a household was guaranteed safety only if their family had acted in faith in the LORD.

The Passover story foreshadows the perfect work that Jesus did on the Cross. In our need for salvation from sin and death, God through Jesus offered His own shed blood. Those who respond to His plan in faith are saved from bondage. Moreover, they are set free to follow Him to His Kingdom, a place promised to all who are willing to be led by Him.

What should we do with Jesus’ blood which has been poured out for us? Because of God’s grace, we have the opportunity to mark our lives with it as a sign of our belief in God’s saving plan. Because of Jesus’ sacrifice, we can trust God to free us for a journey of faith with with Him and a destination that awaits for His kingdom people. We choose to be saved by the blood of the Lamb.

Prayer: Father, Thank You for the perfect sacrifice that Your Son Jesus made for me. I praise You that You did the work that I could not do. Help me to choose daily to follow You into life everlasting. In Jesus’ Name I pray, AMEN.

Bible-in-a-Year Reading Plan (credit: Biblestudytools.com): Hebrews 10:19-39; Exodus 11:1-12:51; Proverbs 4

He Takes Our Sin Away

Friday, November 12, 2021

Today’s Reading: Hebrews 10:1-5

For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins. 

Hebrews 10:4

Reflection: Jesus takes away our sin. According to the Law God gave to His people, sacrifices needed to be made to atone for the people’s sins. Every time a person sinned, they would have to atone for it in order to restore their relationship with God. The problem was that even though this sin was atoned for, or covered, through sacrifices, it would always be revealed once again, separating the people from God. It never went away.

And so, by sacrifice after sacrifice, people would be reminded of their sin, their need to atone for it, their need to rid themselves of it in order to be near to God. The Law which required sacrifice to atone for sins showed the burden of sin, and the need for a perfect sacrifice to remove sin once and for all. It also showed the people that there was nothing they could do to rid themselves of sin.

This was the very rason Jesus died on the Cross: to take away our sin. He offered Himself as the perfect sacrifice to remove the sin that came between God and people. While sacrifices made according to the Law covered up sin, Jesus’ sacrifice completely eradicated it! To this day, we have never been able to rid ourselves of sin. In our own attempts to do better next time or right our own wrongs, we only temporarily cover up the ugliness of sin which remains with us. This is why we are in need of Jesus. He has already done the work to cleanse us of our sin so that we can be near to God. Have we allowed Him to take our sins away?

Prayer: Heavenly Father, You saw my need for someone to take away my sin and You knew my need for You. Thank You for Your Son Jesus. Thank You for His sacrifice which allows me to come into Your Presence. I pray that You help me to show others the joy of being free from sin through Him. In His Precious Name I pray, AMEN.

Bible-in-a-Year Reading Plan (credit: Biblestudytools.com):Hebrews 9:23-10:18; Exodus 9:1-10:29; Proverbs 3

God’s Precious Wisdom

Thursday, November 11, 2021

Today’s Reading: Proverbs 2:1-10

For the Lord gives wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding. 

Proverbs 2:6

Reflection: The wisdom we need comes from the LORD. King Solomon – the writer of the Book of Proverbs who was blessed with great wisdom – is quick to credit his wisdom and knowledge to God. He tells his son that the way to acquire God’s wisdom is by seeking after it, receiving it, storing it up, listening for it, and allowing it to direct his heart.

In the same way, God desires for us to receive His Wisdom. He longs for us to store up His wisdom and allow it to inform, transform, and direct us. He longs to give us this heavenly treasure which has the ability to change our lives completely. It is God’s pleasure to have us truly understand His righteousness, justice, and integrity. It is His delight to delight us by His knowledge.

We have the great privilege of seeking after God’s wisdom like the treasure it is. There is no wisdom but the wisdom of God. Without it stored up within us, we go about our lives empty, void of direction. In our quest for wisdom, the LORD grants us all we need to learn from Him, directing us on His right paths and guarding us from lies which drown out His truth. God does not withhold His wisdom from us when we diligently seek after Him. He willingly gives it by His Word.

Prayer: LORD, Your Word is a treasure, more precious than silver or gold. Thank You for granting me Your Wisdom as I earnestly seek after it. Thank You for granting me understanding of You by Your Word. Please, LORD, enrich me by Your wisdom, that I would walk the path of righteousness You are calling me to follow. In Jesus’ Precious Name I pray, AMEN.

Bible-in-a-Year Reading Plan (credit: Biblestudytools.com):Hebrews 9:1-22; Exodus 6:28-8:32; Proverbs 2

Blessed Name

Wednesday, November 10, 2021

Today’s Reading: Exodus 6:1-8

“I will take you as My people, and I will be your God. You will know that I am Yahweh your God, who delivered you from the forced labor of the Egyptians.”

Exodus 6:7

Reflection: During a time of great oppression at the hands of the Egyptians, the Israelites begin to know God in a more personal way. He initiates a closer relationship with the people by telling them His Name. By revealing His Name, God suddenly becomes more than just Someone the Israelites can describe. He tells them His unique identity.

God’s name is YHWH, which in Hebrew means “I AM.” He is the Ever-Existent One, Who always was, is, and will be. He is Eternal, and so are His promises. YHWH reveals to Moses not only His Name, but also His resolve to fulfill the covenant He made with Abraham generations ago. He will free the Israelites from Pharoah, but more importantly, He will give to the people the land of Canaan, which He had promised. In accomplishing all of this, YHWH assures the Israelites of His ongoing relationship with them. They are His people and He is their God.

The Great I Am transcends time. Even now, He is very active in the lives of His people. Followers of Him today bear witness to His constant blessings and mighty works. God remembers His promises and He remembers us. But do we remember our God? At times when the manifestation of sin burdens us so much that it becomes unbearable, we can easily forget Him. Like the Hebrew people, we can be so overwhelmed by what’s around us that we forget to seek the Savior. If you find yourself here today, find respite and encouragement in this blessed truth: YHWH is Eternal and so is His faithfulness. He reaches out to redeem us and overpowers the burden of our sin. We can rest in the knowledge of Him.

Prayer: Eternal God, thank You for always remembering me. Thank You for Your eternal presence. As I am reminded of Who You are, deliver me from the burden of sin around and within me, that I would be freed to rest at Your feet in true peace. In Jesus’ Precious Name I pray, AMEN.

Bible-in-a-Year Reading Plan (credit: Biblestudytools.com):Hebrews 8; Exodus 5:1-6:27; Proverbs 1

The High Priest

Tuesday, November 9, 2021

Today’s Reading: Hebrews 7:22-28

For this is the kind of High Priest we need: holy, innocent, undefiled, separated from sinners, and exalted above the heavens.

Hebrews 7:26

Reflection: Jesus is our Eternal High Priest. Under the Law of Moses, priests held the position of mediator between God and His people. Part of a priest’s duty was to draw people nearer to God by offering sacrifices to atone for their sins. But because priests were also people, they were required to atone for their own sin before atoning for the sin of the people. Because they were imperfect, so were the means by which they could draw near to God.

The Law showed us our need for a perfect High Priest. Jesus is the Priest that we have always needed, who atoned for our sins by sacrificing Himself as the perfect offering. He has bridged the gap between us sinful people and our Holy God.

Moreover, Jesus’ Priesthood as well as His Sacrifice are everlasting, because He is still alive and well! Even now, He remains our connection to God the Father, always speaking to Him on our behalf, and protecting us from the attacks of the Enemy. Jesus is unlike any other priest that ever lived: holy, pure, sinless, and eternal. We will always be able to draw near to Our Heavenly Father because of Who He is and what He has done.

Prayer: Eternal God, Your ways are higher than my ways. Your work is everlasting. Thank You for the assurance of nearness to You through Your Beloved Son. Thank You for Jesus, my High Priest. Keep me reminded of my constant need for You, my LORD. In Jesus’ Precious Name I pray, AMEN.

Bible-in-a-Year Reading Plan (credit: Biblestudytools.com):Hebrews 7; Exodus 3:1-4:31; Psalm 41