Part of the Plan

Thursday, December 9, 2021

Today’s Reading: Numbers 4:46-49

At the Lord’s command they were registered under the direction of Moses, each one according to his work and transportation duty, and his assignment was as the Lord commanded Moses.

Numbers 4:49

Reflection: Each one of God’s people is called to contribute to His work in a specific way. In the task of transporting the Tabernacle, God through Moses assigns to each registered man of the Levite tribe specific duties to complete. No one person is more important than the other. Each has their own responsibility to carry out, and each is dependent on the others to carry out the one overarching objective of transporting the Tabernacle.

God still chooses to work with His people in this way. He uses each one of us uniquely to accomplish His Kingdom work. More importantly, He desires for us to do His work as a united people, with each of us expressing and accomplishing different aspects of His ministry by His power and leading. There is an intricate plan that God has designed and is executing through His people as we work together for His glory. While God did not create us with uniformity in mind, He did create us with unity in mind. As we are united under the leading and purpose of Jesus Christ, our works then become part of God’s overarching work.

Trouble and discord can be caused when we assign our own tasks for ourselves, or exalt or diminish certain roles above others. In God’s community, everyone has a significant purpose and place. There is beauty in the way God works through His people. While He does not need us, He does want to use us. What a wonder it is that He uses us to contribute to His perfect work!

Prayer: LORD, thank You for allowing me to be a part of Your ministry and Your family. Thank You for giving me a place to belong and a purpose to carry out for Your Namesake. I pray that You help me to understand more clearly the calling You have upon my life, and that You would grant me the faith to complete every task You set before me for Your Glory. In Jesus’ Precious Name I pray, AMEN.

Bible-in-a-Year Reading Plan (credit: Biblestudytools.com): Matthew 17; Numbers 3-4; Ecclesiastes 3:16-4:16

The Messiah

Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Today’s Reading: Matthew 16:13-17

“But you,” He asked them, “Who do you say that I am?”

Matthew 16:15

Reflection: Who is Jesus? While the world may try to answer this question, only those who draw near to Jesus receive the blessing of knowing Him in His fullness. When Jesus asks His disciples who others say that He is, the disciples reply that He is thought to be like other great men in history: John the Baptist, who implored repentance of the Jewish people; Elijah, who performed great miracles; or Jeremiah, who proclaimed God’s prophesies.

While these answers spoke of the high acclaim with which the multitudes regarded Jesus, they still fell short of Jesus’ true and complete identity. Only Peter, by revelation of God the Father, answers correctly. He is the Messiah, the Son of the Living God. Declaring Jesus as the Messiah showed that Peter understood Jesus as God’s promised Savior of His people. To declare Jesus as the Son of the Living God showed that Peter understood Jesus to be God Himself.

Why does it matter what we believe about Jesus? While an answer to the question seems like a judgment of Jesus, it really is a judgment upon ourselves. This is because what we believe about Jesus affects the rest of our lives. Understanding Him to be the Messiah, the Son of the Living God, transforms our understanding of our world, reveals the truth about our need for Him, and guides our journey with Him into eternity. Believing Jesus to be anything less than Who He professed Himself to be leaves us with only our own feeble abilities to navigate through eternity without Him.

The Son of the Living God has revealed Himself to us, desiring for us to be transformed by this truth. Who do you say that Jesus is? Life is far more meaningful when we draw near to Him and get to know Him in His fullness.

Prayer: Loving God, thank You that by Your grace You sent Your Beloved Son to draw near to me. Thank You for a life of meaning, purpose, and fulfillment that You grant me when I choose to be near to You. I pray that the Truth You’ve revealed to me about Jesus would guide my life today and everyday. In His Precious Name I pray, AMEN.

Bible-in-a-Year Reading Plan (credit: Biblestudytools.com): Matthew 16; Numbers 1-2; Ecclesiastes 3:1-15

Eternal Perspective

Tuesday, December 7, 2021

Today’s Reading: Ecclesiastes 1:1-11

What does a man gain for all his efforts he labors at under the sun?

Ecclesiastes 1:3

Reflection: A life lived without an eternal perspective is futile. There is nothing in this world we can work for that brings lasting happiness or satisfaction. Even in all of his wealth, King Solomon, the writer of Ecclesiastes, understood the limits of satisfaction that the world was able to provide.

Groundbreaking discoveries, life-changing events, important decisions made regarding this world quickly become buried and forgotten underneath the span of time. Our investments and efforts in things of the world do not last. This is why working to earn the world’s pleasures is futile. Life without God, a life which begins and ends on earth, can bring no satisfaction. On the other hand, life with God is an eternal life, which brings eternal, lasting blessings. When living with God, our lives on earth are a small portion of our eternal existence with God. Living life with God is not only eternal, but is also fulfilling. It gives us a perpetual calling to do work for God that lasts forever beneath the LORD’s authority. It allows us to experience a life of purpose that God desires for us.

Are you living your life with God, or are going through life without Him? There is nothing on earth we can earn that is greater than what we can receive from God and keep for eternity. To escape a life of futility, choose to live life with God.

Prayer: Lord God, I thank You for blessing me with eternal life through You. Thank You for granting me a life of purpose by Your unmatched love and grace. Help me to live today and each day with Your eternal perspective in mind. I love You, Lord. In Jesus’ Name I pray, AMEN.

Bible-in-a-Year Reading Plan (credit: Biblestudytools.com): Matthew 15:1-20; Leviticus 24-25; Ecclesiastes 1:1-11

Abundant Blessings

Monday, December 6, 2021

Today’s Reading: Leviticus 22:23

“When you reap the harvest of your land, you are not to reap all the way to the edge of your field or gather the gleanings of your harvest. Leave them for the poor and the foreign resident; I am the Lord your God.” 

Leviticus 23:22

Reflection: God provides us blessings in abundance. What He freely gives to us is not meant for only us. Instead, His generosity reflects His heart for all those in need. God disperses His blessings to all people, and directs some to participate in this dispersal. In His command to the Israelites, God instructs them to leave the outermost edges of the field unharvested for the poor and the foreigner. God calls His people to give out of the plentiful harvest they have received from Him. While the Israelites tend the soil, plant the seed, and nurture the crop, it is God Who brings forth growth. Therefore, He has the authority over where His blessings go. Where He sees the need for His blessings, He makes them available. Out of His goodness, He reserves a portion to each of His beloved.

God’s blessings culminate in the gift of salvation He gave through His Son Jesus, Who met our great need to be saved from sin and died on the Cross to pay the debt our sin incurred. For those of us who want to be rescued from sin, God has reserved Jesus as our portion. For those of us who already possess Jesus for ourselves, we are called to share this gift out of the abundance we have so generously been given.

God blesses in abundance. How are we yielding to the ways He wants us to share His blessings with others?

Prayer: Loving God, You are so faithful. You continue to bless me richly by Your love and grace. Thank You for all that You have done and continue to do in my life. In light of all I have received from Your Mighty Hand, how are You calling me to be a blessing to others? Please lead me in the ways You desire for me to share all that You have so freely given. In Jesus’ Name I pray, AMEN.

Bible-in-a-Year Reading Plan (credit: Biblestudytools.com): Matthew 14:22-36; Leviticus 22-23; Proverbs 31

Sunday Message: Preparation Plan

December 5th, 2021

Today’s Reading: Luke 3:1-6, 15-17

“…as it is written in the book of the words of the prophet Isaiah: A voice of one crying out in the wilderness: “Prepare the way for the Lord; make His paths straight!

Luke 3:4

MAIN IDEA: PREPARE the way. Get OUT of the way. Let GOD have His way.

Text Notes:

  • John is PREPARED by God’s Word. (v.2)
  • John PREACHES preparation from God’s Word. (v.3-6)
  • John GETS OUT of God’s way. (v.15-17)

Prayer: Creator God, we thank You that You are in control of all things, and that You have also given us a way to be ready to know You each day. Please help us to prepare the way for You to reign in our hearts, and help us to get out of Your way so that You may have Your way in our lives. For Your ways are higher than our ways. Your thoughts are higher than our thoughts. You are God, and we are Your people. We love You, Lord. In the precious Name of Christ Jesus we pray, AMEN.

Bible-in-a-Year Reading Plan (credit: Bible, studytools.com): Matthew 14:1-21; Leviticus 20-21; Proverbs 30

Perfect Judgment

Saturday, December 4, 2021

Today’s Reading: Proverbs 29:14

A king who judges the poor with fairness- his throne will be established forever.

Proverbs 29:14

Reflection: No one but God is able to judge with absolute fairness. Rulers of the past, present, and future have and will always be flawed in their judgement upon others due to their own imperfections, limits, and sin. But God, Who has created each individual, has the unique ability to judge impartially, according to complete knowledge of truth.

There are many instances in the Bible where God chastises rulers and leaders for their mistreatment of the poor. But here, God’s wisdom advises that all situations regarding the poor and rich alike should be judged based on truth alone. Partiality should never be shown towards one party or another. Judgment regarding any situation should always be made according to truth.

God, through Jesus Christ, judges with perfect truth. Proof of His track record is shown through His lasting reign as Heavenly King. The reign of even the most righteous kings of earth have fallen vastly short of Jesus’ divine rule. Knowledge of His righteous judgment encourages us to not only examine ourselves according to His truth, but to also seek His truth in situations which call for judgment. Because Jesus is the only one able to judge in perfect fairness according to truth, our only hope in doing the same lies within our willingness to rely on Him and His ability.

How often have we turned a blind eye to truth to justify people? This is not how God judges. Kings and kingdoms of the earth pass away and leave behind them the wounds of unrighteous judgment when they neglect to seek God’s perfect and righteous judgment. But The Everlasting King judges impartially by truth alone, and stands the test of time.

Prayer: Lord, You are the Righteous King. You rule with perfection and judge in complete fairness by Your Truth. I am helpless to discern anything without Your Divine Counsel. Please transform me by the Truth of Your Son Jesus, that I might not only live in righteousness, but also judge in fairness by Your example. In Jesus’ Name I pray, AMEN.

Bible-in-a-Year Reading Plan (credit: Biblestudytools.com): Matthew 13:24-58; Leviticus 19; Proverbs 29

How to Worship

Friday, December 3, 2021

Today’s Reading: Leviticus 17:1-5

The Lord spoke to Moses: “Speak to Aaron, his sons, and all the Israelites and tell them: This is what the Lord has commanded.”

Leviticus 17:1-2

Reflection: God is interested in the details of how we worship and honor Him. His expectation of us to listen and obey His instruction can be seen in what He commands the Israelites. God specifies to Moses that the Israelites are to offer sacrifices to Him only from His Holy Tabernacle. All offerings made elsewhere are considered idol worship, and result in banishment from His community.

Why was God so strict with the Israelites about how and where they offered sacrifices to Him? One concern was that sacrifices made in the open country were usually to pagans gods of the region. God did not want any aspect of worship unto Him to resemble the worship practices of the surrounding nations. Following God requires requires more than simply declaring our belief in Him and doing good in the world. It also involves surrendering to the way that He instructs us by His Word and His Spirit, and results in our looking much different from the world around us.

How do we approach God in our worship of Him? Sometimes, even in our earnest efforts to please God, our conduct as His people runs contrary to His specific instruction. If we are not careful to listen and obey His Word and Spirit, we risk claiming faith in God while neglecting to set ourselves apart for Him. We risk looking just like the world around us, nulling God’s intent to show the blessing that results from surrender to Him.

Are we seeking God’s instruction on how to worship and honor Him with our lives? In His Word and by His Spirit, His direction is available to all of us.

Prayer: Holy God, thank You for Your instruction. Thank You for guiding me by Your Way and Your Truth. I would be lost without You. As I seek direction from You by Your Holy Word, I pray that You would help me to grow my faith and trust in the ways You are guiding me, and that You would also grant me the courage to follow You wherever lead. In Jesus’ Name I pray, AMEN.

Bible-in-a-Year Reading Plan (credit: Biblestudytools.com): Matthew 13:1-23; Leviticus 17-18; Proverbs 28

Conquered

Thursday, December 2, 2021

Today’s Reading: Matthew 12:43-45

Then it says, ‘I’ll go back to my house that I came from.’ And when it arrives, it finds [the house] vacant, swept, and put in order. 

Matthew 12:44

Reflection: God’s reign within us keeps us in His safety. After healing a demon-possessed man in the presence of both the multitudes and the Pharisees, Jesus warns that those who are spiritually empty are also spiritually vulnerable to danger. Before experiencing the presence of Jesus, the possessed man is left helpless against the demons that roam the earth. But in Jesus’ presence, the man is saved from enduring a life of misery.

By healing the demon-possessed man, Jesus reveals His power against evil and His authority as God. He also shows us how surrendering to His power results in freedom and true healing. Countless manifestations of evil in the world today are evidence of spiritual warfare going on all around us. God upholds good and satan wields evil. What we may not realize is that this warfare continues on not for the cause of conquering regions of the world, but for the cause of claiming human hearts.

Who are we being conquered by: God or satan? Neutral territory never remains neutral for long. Today, Jesus brings attention to the helplessness that we experience without Him, and the misery that we experience without His presence. He also proves that He has power and authority which is greater than evil, and can lay claim over us if we are willing. It is not enough to be emptied of evil. Our hearts must be filled with Jesus.

Prayer: Almighty God, Your power and authority is unmatched. Thank You for abiding within me. Thank You for the assurance of safety and peace with You. I pray that You would remain with me, Lord, that I would experience true freedom and fullness of life with You into eternity. In Jesus’ Name I pray, AMEN.

Bible-in-a-Year Reading Plan (credit: Biblestudytools.com): Matthew 12:22-50; Leviticus 15-16; Proverbs 27

The King’s Greatness

Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Today’s Reading: Proverbs 25:3-7

Don’t brag about yourself before the king, and don’t stand in the place of the great; for it is better for him to say to you, “Come up here!” than to demote you in plain view of a noble.

Proverbs 25:6-7

Reflection: It is foolish to brag about our own greatness in the presence of someone who is far greater than ourselves. In his proverbs, King Solomon shares tips for proper self-conduct in the presence of a king. He warns that when we exalt ourselves in a king’s presence, we risk being shamed in front of many witnesses. But if we remain humble, we allow others to exalt us.

In the presence of the Eternal King, the same concept applies. Keeping in mind the span and height of His sovereignty, how much more should we, in God’s presence, act in humility before Him? This speaks to the degree of humility by which we are called to conduct ourselves as God’s people. Also, we must consider this: how often do we find ourselves in the King’s Presence? Because God’s Presence is with us always, we are called to be humble always. When we remain humble in the everlasting Presence of God, we not only allow Him to exalt us as His own, but more importantly, we allow Him to remain exalted as the rightful King of our lives.

We are blessed when we trade in our own need to be great for surrender to God’s greatness. But sometimes, this principle is difficult to apply in daily living. Even in pure eagerness and sense of accomplishment, we can mistakenly claim for ourselves or others the good things that God has actually done through us, His creation. While He does empower us to do good works for His purpose, The LORD is responsible for far more wondrous deeds than we could even fathom accomplishing on our own. There is peace and rest that is found in understanding God’s greatness that is far above ours. We must always remember to be humble in the Presence of our King.

Prayer: God, my Eternal King, You are truly great. You are exalted high above the heavens and the earth. No one compares to You. Thank You for doing great things. Please Lord, move me and direct me to do Your good work, for there is nothing that I can do that honors You more than surrendering to Your Will. In Jesus’ Name I pray, AMEN.

Bible-in-a-Year Reading Plan (credit: Biblestudytools.com): Matthew 11:20-30; Leviticus 13; Proverbs 25

Simple Trust

Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Today’s Reading: Leviticus 11:42-47

“For I am the Lord your God, so you must consecrate yourselves and be holy because I am holy. You must not defile yourselves by any swarming creature that crawls on the ground.”

Leviticus 11:44

Reflection: God’s authority is not meant to be limited to only certain areas of our lives. Rather, His authority is meant to uniquely speak into every area of it. We always benefit from allowing God’s Word to be the last Word. An example of this is in God’s decree over what He permits the Israelites to eat. Identifying for them what was and was not kosher not only put restrictions on available food resources for the people, but also drastically limited fellowship opportunities with others who did not worship God.

Why does God give limits? God wants to set His people apart from the rest of the world through their day-to-day lifestyle. From the beginning of His relationship with the Israelites, God desired for all people to view them as different. Meals, hygiene, social interactions, and worship were all held to a higher standard. It is interesting that long before science revealed specific animals as being prone to carrying disease and parasites (i.e. pork, vermin, and shellfish), God had already put in place regulations to preserve His people. In setting His people apart, He presented to the world visual demonstration of the difference He could make in the life of every person who followed Him. Still today, the commands God gives to His people, when observed, not only preserve His people, but also show others the benefits of following Him.

We may not always understand the reasoning behind God’s decrees, but we can trust that He accounts for far more than we could ever imagine. God welcomes our seeking to understand more about Him. Still, there are times when the limits of our understanding leave us with no explanation, but only the opportunity to simply trust what He has declared in His Holy Word. The more we allow God to speak into every corner of our lives, the more we are blessed by His counsel and wisdom.

Prayer: Lord God, Your ways are higher than my ways and Your thoughts are higher than my thoughts. Thank You for protecting me and guiding me by Your commands. Thank You for blessing me by them. In my nearness to You, Lord, grant me Your wisdom to understand Your ways. And when I cannot understand, please grant me the faith to trust completely in Your leading. In Jesus’ Name I pray, AMEN.

Bible-in-a-Year Reading Plan (credit: Biblestudytools.com): Matthew 11:1-19; Leviticus 11-12; Proverbs 24