Friday, October 21, 2011

Exodus 15:26

"He [God] said, 'If you will listen carefully to the voice of the LORD your God and do what is right in his sight, obeying his commands and keeping all his decrees, then I will not make you suffer any of the diseases I sent on the Egyptians; for I am the LORD who heals you.'"
One of the first things God revealed about himself to the people he had just set free from Egypt was, "I am the LORD who heals you." After he had shown himself as the mighty warrior who delivered them, he wanted them to know something else: He heals. God wants to heal you! Do you trust him as your healer? Do you believe he wants you to be healthy? Obedience to God is a key factor in health. The spiritual and the physical are linked. Focus on the spiritual, and the physical often follows.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Proverbs 10:29–30

"The way of the LORD is a stronghold to those with integrity,
        but it destroys the wicked.

      The godly will never be disturbed,
        but the wicked will be removed from the land."


In our world of moral grayness, it's easy to forget that there are really only two ways. There is "the way of the LORD"—i.e., Reality—and there is the way that attempts to go against Reality, which will always meet with failure. When you live according to Reality, life is definitely smoother. When you go against that grain, you will get splinters. Ultimately, there is no gray area. There is only God's way (life) and any other path (death). Remember this when you're tempted, and you'll never be disturbed.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Exodus 15:13

"'With your unfailing love you lead
        the people you have redeemed.
      In your might, you guide them
        to your sacred home.'"
This is what God did for his people when he brought them out of slavery. This is what he always does for us. His unfailing love is what motivates him. He has redeemed us (past tense—done and finished). And in his might—the power that raised Jesus from the dead—he guides us to his sacred home. Remember when Jesus told his disciples that he was going to prepare a place for them in his Father's house? We are on our way home to God!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Exodus 14:26–31

"When all the Israelites had reached the other side, the LORD said to Moses, 'Raise your hand over the sea again. Then the waters will rush back and cover the Egyptians and their chariots and charioteers.' So as the sun began to rise, Moses raised his hand over the sea, and the water rushed back into its usual place. The Egyptians tried to escape, but the LORD swept them into the sea. Then the waters returned and covered all the chariots and charioteers—the entire army of Pharaoh. Of all the Egyptians who had chased the Israelites into the sea, not a single one survived.
       But the people of Israel had walked through the middle of the sea on dry ground, as the water stood up like a wall on both sides. That is how the LORD rescued Israel from the hand of the Egyptians that day. And the Israelites saw the bodies of the Egyptians washed up on the seashore. When the people of Israel saw the mighty power that the LORD had unleashed against the Egyptians, they were filled with awe before him. They put their faith in the LORD and in his servant Moses."
This amazing miracle was all the Lord's doing. The people just had to walk in the way God had prepared for them. He took care of everything else: creating the way in the first place by making the ground dry enough for the Israelites to walk on, then letting the waters rush back at just the right moment to destroy the Egyptians. God always does the bulk of the work. Our job is to walk in the way he has prepared. Do that, and let him take care of the rest.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Exodus 14:21–22

"Then Moses raised his hand over the sea, and the LORD opened up a path through the water with a strong east wind. The wind blew all that night, turning the seabed into dry land. So the people of Israel walked through the middle of the sea on dry ground, with walls of water on each side!"
This event, in which God made a "pathway through the mighty waters—a pathway no one knew was there" (Psalm 77:19), is one of the great historical events that God wants his people to always remember. It is a picture of what God can and does do for his people all the time: making a way where there was no way, so that it would be clear that it is God who is at work. Where in your life do you need God to "make a way where there is no way"? Ask him for that; trust him for that.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Exodus 14:1–4, 9–14

"Then the LORD gave these instructions to Moses: 'Order the Israelites to turn back and camp by Pi-hahiroth between Migdol and the sea. Camp there along the shore, across from Baal-zephon. Then Pharaoh will think, "The Israelites are confused. They are trapped in the wilderness!" And once again I will harden Pharaoh's heart, and he will chase after you. I have planned this in order to display my glory through Pharaoh and his whole army. After this the Egyptians will know that I am the LORD!' So the Israelites camped there as they were told. …

The Egyptians chased after them with all the forces in Pharaoh's army—all his horses and chariots, his charioteers, and his troops. The Egyptians caught up with the people of Israel as they were camped beside the shore near Pi-hahiroth, across from Baal-zephon.

       As Pharaoh approached, the people of Israel looked up and panicked when they saw the Egyptians overtaking them. They cried out to the LORD, and they said to Moses, 'Why did you bring us out here to die in the wilderness? Weren't there enough graves for us in Egypt? What have you done to us? Why did you make us leave Egypt? Didn't we tell you this would happen while we were still in Egypt? We said, "Leave us alone! Let us be slaves to the Egyptians. It's better to be a slave in Egypt than a corpse in the wilderness!'"

       But Moses told the people, 'Don't be afraid. Just stand still and watch the LORD rescue you today. The Egyptians you see today will never be seen again. The LORD himself will fight for you. Just stay calm.'"


God told the people, through Moses, that he would cause Pharaoh to chase after them and that this would be for God's glory. They camped where he told them, but they obviously didn't understand what God said because when they saw the Egyptians coming after them, they panicked. So Moses reiterated the promise that God would deliver them. They just had to stand and watch what God would do. How many times have you doubted his promises because you were looking at your circumstances? Stand still and watch God come through on his promise!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Exodus 13:21–22

"The LORD went ahead of them. He guided them during the day with a pillar of cloud, and he provided light at night with a pillar of fire. This allowed them to travel by day or by night. And the LORD did not remove the pillar of cloud or pillar of fire from its place in front of the people."

God guided his people by day and by night. He led them by something that contrasted with their environment: a pillar of cloud by day, a pillar of fire by night. Do you need God's direction? His guidance may be something you won't see if you're looking at your environment. You need to look to God's Word and allow the Holy Spirit in you to point the way. Those are the two things he'll never remove.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Exodus 13:19

"Moses took the bones of Joseph with him, for Joseph had made the sons of Israel swear to do this. He said, 'God will certainly come to help you. When he does, you must take my bones with you from this place.'"

Here is a glimpse into the nature of faith. We see Joseph's faith that God would help his people. That's the kind of God Joseph had come to know. Joseph had made the "sons of Israel" swear to take his bones with them when that happened. His faith may have been a spiritual anchor during the years of the Israelites' slavery in Egypt. Joseph's faith carried what happened to him in the past into the future, until finally it was fulfilled in history. What anchors of faith keep you going?

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Matthew 21:20–22

"The disciples were amazed when they saw this and asked, 'How did the fig tree wither so quickly?'

       Then Jesus told them, 'I tell you the truth, if you have faith and don't doubt, you can do things like this and much more. You can even say to this mountain, "May you be lifted up and thrown into the sea," and it will happen. You can pray for anything, and if you have faith, you will receive it.' "

Faith without doubts about what is possible can work miracles. Jesus had faith in his authority to make things happen. He has also given us great authority to rule this world if we do so while under his guidance. Our faith in Jesus' authority gives us access to it. We can expect changes in this world through our faith, which leads us to pray according to God's will. What do you need to believe and ask God for in prayer?

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

There Is Wisdom and Goodness in Walking in God's Ways

Read:  Matthew 7:7 - 8:4
Read:  Psalm 1:1-3 then Psalm 37:23, 24
What good things does God promise to those who search for him and walk in his ways?  What kind of person makes the decision to walk through the narrow gate and build on the Rock?  What kind of person are you?  On what path do you walk?  What will be the reward of that path?

Monday, October 3, 2011

Psalm 26:1–3

"Declare me innocent, O LORD,
      for I have acted with integrity;
      I have trusted in the LORD without wavering.
      Put me on trial, LORD, and cross-examine me.
      Test my motives and my heart.
      For I am always aware of your unfailing love,
      and I have lived according to your truth."

Trust and an awareness of God's unfailing love form the basis of right actions. They lead to integrity and a clear conscience. Remember that holiness starts in the heart; it's a result of knowing experientially who God is and what he's like. Don't try to be good; simply steep yourself in God's character. Knowing God should be the goal of any reading of the Bible. Knowing God is what transforms you.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Matthew 20:30–34

"Two blind men were sitting beside the road. When they heard that Jesus was coming that way, they began shouting, 'Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!'
      'Be quiet!' the crowd yelled at them.
      But they only shouted louder, 'Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!'
      When Jesus heard them, he stopped and called, 'What do you want me to do for you?'
      'Lord,' they said, 'we want to see!' Jesus felt sorry for them and touched their eyes. Instantly they could see! Then they followed him."
The two blind men were a nuisance to the crowd, but not to Jesus. These men's recognition of his identity ("Lord, Son of David"), and their faith that he would have mercy on them, arrested Jesus. He stopped and attended to them. He knew they were blind, yet he asked them to articulate what exactly they wanted him to do for them. In your prayers, come to Jesus recognizing who he is, what he can do, and ask him very specifically to meet your particular need.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Matthew 20:24–28

"When the ten other disciples heard what James and John had asked, they were indignant. But Jesus called them together and said, 'You know that the rulers in this world lord it over their people, and officials flaunt their authority over those under them. But among you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must become your slave. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.'"
James and John, through their mother, had asked for special places of honor in God's Kingdom. The other disciples were indignant. Jesus took this as an opportunity to teach them about the radical difference between his ways and the world's. You want status in God's Kingdom? Then become the servant of all. Become as low as a slave. Today, ponder your values. Remember that God's ways are usually the opposite of the world's. Pray about which values you need to discard, and embrace God's values. Then make sure you serve someone today.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Proverbs 10:22

"The blessing of the LORD makes a person rich,
      and he adds no sorrow with it."
Many people believe that being rich will make them happy. Yet there are plenty of rich, unhappy people. They cannot enjoy their wealth because they do not have God's blessing. What we really need is the blessing. It brings wealth and the capacity to enjoy all God's gifts. Isn't that what we really want—not the wealth per se, but the enjoyment? Do not seek wealth for its own sake. Seek blessing from God, and you will enjoy true riches—with no added sorrow.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Psalm 25:11–15

"For the honor of your name, O LORD,
      forgive my many, many sins.
      Who are those who fear the LORD?
      He will show them the path they should choose.
      They will live in prosperity,
      and their children will inherit the land.
      The LORD is a friend to those who fear him.
      He teaches them his covenant.
      My eyes are always on the LORD,
      for he rescues me from the traps of my enemies."

What a life we have when we walk with God! Forgiveness of sins, no matter how many or how bad, is ours. Continual guidance in the way of life. Prosperity. A future for our children. Friendship with God himself. Revelation of his covenant. Rescue from the traps of enemies. Praise God for all you possess in him!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Psalm 25:8–10, 15

"The LORD is good and does what is right;
      he shows the proper path to those who go astray.
      He leads the humble in doing right,
      teaching them his way.
      The LORD leads with unfailing love and faithfulness
      all who keep his covenant and obey his demands. …
My eyes are always on the LORD,
      for he rescues me from the traps of my enemies."


If you need guidance, remember these verses. You need only ask him humbly to guide and lead you. Remember that he wants to! Keep your eyes on God and obey what you are certain he is asking of you, and he will lead you to the next step. He will also rescue you from any traps set for you. You need not walk in fear. Look to God and walk, confident that he's guiding each step.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Matthew 20:8–15

"'That evening he told the foreman to call the workers in and pay them, beginning with the last workers first. When those hired at five o'clock were paid, each received a full day's wage. When those hired first came to get their pay, they assumed they would receive more. But they, too, were paid a day's wage. When they received their pay, they protested to the owner, "Those people worked only one hour, and yet you've paid them just as much as you paid us who worked all day in the scorching heat."

       'He answered one of them, "Friend, I haven't been unfair! Didn't you agree to work all day for the usual wage? Take your money and go. I wanted to pay this last worker the same as you. Is it against the law for me to do what I want with my money? Should you be jealous because I am kind to others?"'"


We all know life is not fair. But grace isn't fair either! Grace gives more than is required or expected. The workers hired first were hired under particular conditions to which they agreed. The workers hired last were given grace. God's ways are not ours, not only because he is sometimes mysterious but because he gives so much more than we ever would. God's grace does not conform to our standards but to his love and authority.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Proverbs 10:19

"Too much talk leads to sin.
      Be sensible and keep your mouth shut."
Are you a talker? If so, you might want to ask God to help you turn off the flow. Too much talk does not help you spiritually. It's too easy to say too much or the wrong thing. It keeps you from listening, which leads to understanding. Remember the quip, "God gave us two ears and one mouth for a reason." Be sensible and keep your mouth shut.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Psalm 25:4–5

"Show me the right path, O LORD;
      point out the road for me to follow.
      Lead me by your truth and teach me,
      for you are the God who saves me.
      All day long I put my hope in you."


Here's a prayer we can pray every day of our lives. Every day, every moment, we need God's direction. Every day, every moment, we need God's truth. We need him to save us from our own sin and the sins of others, from outside harm. Every day, every moment, we put our hope in him, for there is no other good place to put our hope.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Psalm 25:1–3

"O LORD, I give my life to you.
      I trust in you, my God!
      Do not let me be disgraced,
      or let my enemies rejoice in my defeat.
      No one who trusts in you will ever be disgraced,
      but disgrace comes to those who try to deceive others."
One of the reasons it's difficult for us to be open about our faith is a secret fear that we might be disgraced. For instance, what if we say, "I'm trusting God for my financial well-being" and then lose everything? This passage promises that we will never be disgraced for our trust. Believe the promises, and trust! Do it publicly so that God gets the glory.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Matthew 19:27–30

"Then Peter said to him, 'We've given up everything to follow you. What will we get?'
      Jesus replied, 'I assure you that when the world is made new and the Son of Man sits upon his glorious throne, you who have been my followers will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And everyone who has given up houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or property, for my sake, will receive a hundred times as much in return and will inherit eternal life. But many who are the greatest now will be least important then, and those who seem least important now will be the greatest then.'"
Peter asks a natural question. What do we get out of giving up everything to follow Jesus? The answer is, everything: rulership, an extravagant repayment of whatever we gave up, and eternal life! However, we must embrace a new paradigm and new values because God's way is almost entirely the opposite of human ways. In God's economy, you receive only what you give up to him.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Matthew 19:23–26

Then Jesus said to his disciples, 'I tell you the truth, it is very hard for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. I'll say it again—it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God!'

      The disciples were astounded. 'Then who in the world can be saved?' they asked.

      Jesus looked at them intently and said, 'Humanly speaking, it is impossible. But with God everything is possible.'"


Trusting in riches instead of God is so natural to us that we can't break out of it without God's help. It is the default condition of the sinful human heart. Our hearts will trust either in our own abilities and results (wealth) or in God. Our focus will be on either heaven or earth, never both. That is why we must focus on God's good character before we can let go of the world's things and trust God.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Matthew 19:16–17, 21–22

"Someone came to Jesus with this question: 'Teacher, what good deed must I do to have eternal life?'
      'Why ask me about what is good?' Jesus replied. 'There is only One who is good. … If you want to be perfect, go and sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.'
      But when the young man heard this, he went away sad, for he had many possessions."
Jesus focuses on the rich man's use of "good" to get him to focus on God's character. This man wanted to know what he had to do to have eternal life. Jesus goes over the commandments but then gets to the true issue: where the man's heart was. It was with his riches. Jesus tried to turn the rich man's focus to God instead. Only as we trust in God's goodness can we let go of the worldly things in which we trust instead of God. How like the rich man are you?

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

1 Timothy 1:12-17

"I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength to do his work. He considered me trustworthy and appointed me to serve him, even though I used to blaspheme the name of Christ. In my insolence, I persecuted his people. But God had mercy on me because I did it in ignorance and unbelief. Oh, how generous and gracious our Lord was! He filled me with the faith and love that come from Christ Jesus.

"This is a trustworthy saying, and everyone should accept it: 'Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners'—and I am the worst of them all. But God had mercy on me so that Christ Jesus could use me as a prime example of his great patience with even the worst sinners. Then others will realize that they, too, can believe in him and receive eternal life. All honor and glory to God forever and ever! He is the eternal King, the unseen one who never dies; he alone is God. Amen."
Let us never forget this wonderful fact: Jesus came into the world to save sinners. Paul was one of the worst. God had mercy on him so he could be a prime example of the fact that no one is too evil for God to save. We must remember, too, that we have a Savior for all the times we continue to sin. Christ doesn't expect us to be perfect once we come to him. We always need a Savior, and he is always ready and willing to save us. It's a moment by moment process, not a once-done deal

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Exodus 9:13, 15-16

"Then the LORD said to Moses, 'Get up early in the morning and stand before Pharaoh. Tell him, "This is what the LORD, the God of the Hebrews, says: Let my people go, so they can worship me. … By now I could have lifted my hand and struck you and your people with a plague to wipe you off the face of the earth. But I have spared you for a purpose—to show you my power and to spread my fame throughout the earth."'"
Even in the midst of God's judgment against Egypt, there was grace. God's desire in judging is not to destroy but to get people to understand who he is. That is always his goal. As you pray for unbelievers, pray that God would judge their sin in such a way that they will see God for who he is.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Exodus 8:16–19

"So the LORD said to Moses, 'Tell Aaron, "Raise your staff and strike the ground. The dust will turn into swarms of gnats throughout the land of Egypt."' So Moses and Aaron did just as the LORD had commanded them. When Aaron raised his hand and struck the ground with his staff, gnats infested the entire land, covering the Egyptians and their animals. All the dust in the land of Egypt turned into gnats. Pharaoh's magicians tried to do the same thing with their secret arts, but this time they failed. And the gnats covered everyone, people and animals alike.
      'This is the finger of God!' the magicians exclaimed to Pharaoh. But Pharaoh's heart remained hard. He wouldn't listen to them, just as the LORD had predicted."
With the plague of the gnats, Pharaoh's magicians had to admit their limitations. They could not create this miracle nor any of those that followed. Satan's power may be impressive at times, but it is no match for God's. There is always a limit to what Satan can do. Remember that when you're in the midst of a spiritual battle. Also remember Psalm 24:8: "The Lord [is] strong and mighty … invincible in battle."

Friday, September 9, 2011

Proverbs 10:18

"Hiding hatred makes you a liar;
        slandering others makes you a fool."
If you feel hatred, pretending it's not there only compounds the problem by pretending it's not there. So, what should you do? Admit it to yourself and God, and pray for a change of heart. Pray for the other person, too, as Jesus instructed. Don't let your hatred turn to slander, which can easily happen if you don't deal with it. Then you'd be a fool on top of a liar. Living in truth is always God's way.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Matthew 19:13–15

"One day some parents brought their children to Jesus so he could lay his hands on them and pray for them. But the disciples scolded the parents for bothering him.
      But Jesus said, 'Let the children come to me. Don't stop them! For the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to those who are like these children.' And he placed his hands on their heads and blessed them before he left."
The disciples thought Jesus should not be "bothered" by children. But Jesus welcomed the children. He told his disciples that those children provided a picture of what it's like to be in God's Kingdom. Why does the Kingdom belong to those who are like these children? Because being in God's Kingdom means realizing you are in fact God's own child! Jesus revealed God as Father, his Father. Through him, God is our Father too. We are children of God seeking a blessing from Jesus. That is your true identity! That stance is what Jesus blesses.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Exodus 8:1

"Then the LORD said to Moses, 'Go back to Pharaoh and announce to him, "This is what the LORD says: Let my people go, so they can worship me."'"
God's plan was to free his people from their slavery. He wanted not just to free them from something, but free them to do something: worship him. That is the true goal. Remember that God does not merely save you from sin. The point is to save you from sin so that you may have a relationship with him, as creature to Creator. He wants a relationship where he is first and foremost. The point is worship—a response on our part to who he is and what he has done. Is your spiritual life a continual response to God?

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Proverbs 10:17

"People who accept discipline are on the pathway to life,but those who ignore correction will go astray."
How open are you to "course corrections" (i.e., discipline)? Unpleasant as it is to be told we're wrong, to be warned, or to be rebuked, such course corrections are important to heed. Ignoring them could lead you astray. Always remain open to God showing you that you're on the wrong path. It will keep you from taking a wrong turn and suffering the consequences.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Exodus 7:10-13

"So Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and did what the LORD had commanded them. Aaron threw down his staff before Pharaoh and his officials, and it became a serpent! Then Pharaoh called in his own wise men and sorcerers, and these Egyptian magicians did the same thing with their magic. They threw down their staffs, which also became serpents! But then Aaron's staff swallowed up their staffs. Pharaoh's heart, however, remained hard. He still refused to listen, just as the LORD had predicted."
Pharaoh's magicians could do many of the same miracles Moses and Aaron did. Pharaoh could find another explanation and harden his heart. People looking at what you say God is doing in your life may not be impressed. They may come up with other explanations for the supernatural. Persevere anyway, and don't doubt. Remember: Aaron's snake swallowed up the magicians'. The true God always has the last word.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Exodus 7:7

"Moses was eighty years old, and Aaron was eighty-three when they made their demands to Pharaoh."
Moses and Aaron were already old men when God called them to begin the great work God had for them. (Side note: Age was not one of the objections Moses gave to God in Exodus 3:11–13. Perhaps he never got that far before God silenced his excuses by revealing who God is.) It took that long for God to prepare them, apparently. Can we ever use the excuse that we're too old to do what God calls us to do? We need patience to wait, then courage to act when God says it's time.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Exodus 3:7–14

"Then the LORD told [Moses], 'I have certainly seen the oppression of my people in Egypt. I have heard their cries of distress because of their harsh slave drivers. Yes, I am aware of their suffering. So I have come down to rescue them from the power of the Egyptians and lead them out of Egypt into their own fertile and spacious land. It is a land flowing with milk and honey—the land where the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites now live. Look! The cry of the people of Israel has reached me, and I have seen how harshly the Egyptians abuse them. Now go, for I am sending you to Pharaoh. You must lead my people Israel out of Egypt.'
But Moses protested, 'Who am I to appear before Pharaoh? Who am I to lead the people of Israel out of Egypt?'
God answered, 'I will be with you. And this is your sign that I am the one who has sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you will worship God at this very mountain.'
But Moses protested, 'If I go to the people of Israel and tell them, "The God of your ancestors has sent me to you," they will ask me, "What is his name?" Then what should I tell them?'
God replied to Moses, 'I AM WHO I AM. Say this to the people of Israel: I AM has sent me to you.'"
When God called Moses to participate in the great deliverance of his people, God had to "come down." He manifested his presence in the physical world in the form of a burning bush: fire that gives light but does not consume. He gave Moses a picture of "I AM WHO I AM" that Moses was to hold in his mind and heart. God said that he would do the delivering but that it would be through Moses. God does his work in this physical world largely through us. He "comes down" and lives in us, and we do his work as he leads.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Exodus 7:3–5

"'But I will make Pharaoh's heart stubborn so I can multiply my miraculous signs and wonders in the land of Egypt. Even then Pharaoh will refuse to listen to you. So I will bring down my fist on Egypt. Then I will rescue my forces—my people, the Israelites—from the land of Egypt with great acts of judgment. When I raise my powerful hand and bring out the Israelites, the Egyptians will know that I am the LORD.'"


God tells Moses that God himself will be the one behind Pharaoh's hardened heart. Why? So that he can reveal his power and ultimately cause everyone to realize who he is ("the Egyptians will know that I am the LORD"). God is always revealing his character. What he reveals of his character at any particular time aligns with his purposes and his relationship with humans. In this case, he is about to reveal his judgments, his power, and his ability and desire to rescue his special people.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Psalm 24:1

"The earth is the LORD's, and everything in it. The world and all its people belong to him."
Everything belongs to the Lord, not to us humans. We are merely stewards and managers. We own nothing. Since everything is the Lord's, when we need something we can come to him. We don't try to create it or get it on our own; we don't have the resources to do that. We are not the source of anything. This truth should be freeing! Our job is simply to manage well what he's given us and to look to him for all our needs. Life is often simpler than we try to make it, isn't it?

Monday, August 29, 2011

Proverbs 10:16

"The earnings of the godly enhance their lives, but evil people squander their money on sin"
There are two ways to use money: to enhance life or to squander it on illicit pleasures. We should use money not for worthless things that neither last nor satisfy but for building relationships and enhancing life. Are you spending enough money on enriching your life and the lives of others? Are you squandering any of it on things that don't truly satisfy? Audit your spiritual spending habits and find out.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Exodus 5:21–23; 6:1–5

"The foremen said to them, 'May the Lord judge and punish you for making us stink before Pharaoh and his officials. You have put a sword into their hands, an excuse to kill us!'
 Then Moses went back to the LORD and protested, 'Why have you brought all this trouble on your own people, Lord? Why did you send me? Ever since I came to Pharaoh as your spokesman, he has been even more brutal to your people. And you have done nothing to rescue them!' […]
Then the LORD told Moses, 'Now you will see what I will do to Pharaoh. When he feels the force of my strong hand, he will let the people go. In fact, he will force them to leave his land!'
   And God said to Moses, 'I am Yahweh—"the LORD." I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob as El-Shaddai—"God Almighty"—but I did not reveal my name, Yahweh, to them. And I reaffirmed my covenant with them. Under its terms, I promised to give them the land of Canaan, where they were living as foreigners. You can be sure that I have heard the groans of the people of Israel, who are now slaves to the Egyptians. And I am well aware of my covenant with them.'"
Moses did as God told him—and things got worse! God's answer to Moses: "Look at who I am and what I have done, and believe that I will do what I say. I have heard the cries of my people, and I will act—no matter what circumstances look like now." When things look darkest, it's quite possible that God is going to reveal something new about himself. Look for a deeper understanding of exactly who God is when things seem to get worse in your situation.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Exodus 4:12–14, 27–28

"Now the Lord had said to Aaron, 'Go out into the wilderness to meet Moses.'
 So Aaron went and met Moses at the mountain of God, and he embraced him. Moses then told Aaron everything the Lord had commanded him to say. And he told him about the miraculous signs the Lord had commanded him to perform."
Before Moses ever encountered God, God had told Aaron to find Moses. God had prepared the way for Moses. Though he wanted Moses to step up to the plate himself, he planned all along for Aaron to be involved (knowing Moses as well as he did). Always remember that God is working to effect his plans, preparing the way even before we know anything about what he wants us to do. Trust that God is always working.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Exodus 4:12–14, 27–28

"Now the Lord had said to Aaron, 'Go out into the wilderness to meet Moses.' So Aaron went and met Moses at the mountain of God, and he embraced him. Moses then told Aaron everything the Lord had commanded him to say. And he told him about the miraculous signs the Lord had commanded him to perform."
Before Moses ever encountered God, God had told Aaron to find Moses. God had prepared the way for Moses. Though he wanted Moses to step up to the plate himself, he planned all along for Aaron to be involved (knowing Moses as well as he did). Always remember that God is working to effect his plans, preparing the way even before we know anything about what he wants us to do. Trust that God is always working.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Matthew 18:4

"'So anyone who becomes as humble as this little child is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven.'"
We should become like little children in relation to God. Children trust. They know they are dependent. They do not yet know how to jockey for position (as the disciples were doing when they asked who would be the greatest in God's Kingdom.) Little children are imaginative and open to wonder, to new things, to the "impossible." How childlike are you?

Monday, August 22, 2011

Exodus 4:19–21

"Before Moses left Midian, the Lord said to him, 'Return to Egypt, for all those who wanted to kill you have died.'

 So Moses took his wife and sons, put them on a donkey, and headed back to the land of Egypt. In his hand he carried the staff of God.

 And the LORD told Moses, 'When you arrive back in Egypt, go to Pharaoh and perform all the miracles I have empowered you to do. But I will harden his heart so he will refuse to let the people go.'"
God kept appearing to Moses as Moses moved in obedience. God reassured Moses and told him what to expect in the future. No doubt Moses needed such reassurance and guidance. God knows how to motivate and reassure us to do the things he wants us to do. Look for such reassurance and guidance as you need it.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Exodus 4:17–20

"So Moses went back home to Jethro, his father-in-law. 'Please let me return to my relatives in Egypt,' Moses said. 'I don't even know if they are still alive.'

'Go in peace,' Jethro replied.

Before Moses left Midian, the LORD said to him, 'Return to Egypt, for all those who wanted to kill you have died.'

So Moses took his wife and sons, put them on a donkey, and headed back to the land of Egypt. In his hand he carried the staff of God."

Moses' staff was an ordinary object, something he used every day as he tended his sheep. God took this ordinary thing and turned it into an extraordinary tool that would be instrumental in Moses' fulfilling God's plan for his people. What is your "staff"? What do you do or use every day that God can transform by his power into something extraordinary? It could be your home, an ability, an inheritance, even a vehicle. Ask God to show you your "staff" and how he can use it for his great purposes.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Exodus 4:1–4

"But Moses protested again, 'What if they won't believe me or listen to me? What if they say, "The Lord never appeared to you"?'

Then the LORD asked him, 'What is that in your hand?'

'A shepherd's staff,' Moses replied.

'Throw it down on the ground,' the LORD told him. So Moses threw down the staff, and it turned into a snake! Moses jumped back.

Then the LORD told him, 'Reach out and grab its tail.' So Moses reached out and grabbed it, and it turned back into a shepherd's staff in his hand."

Moses doubted his ability to carry out God's plan. He felt he lacked credibility with the people of Israel, whom he was to rescue. (He was right.) So God gave him his credibility booster. Note that Moses ran away from his staff-turned-snake. But when God called him back, he obeyed: he grabbed the tail of the thing he feared, and God protected him. Has God asked you to do something you're afraid of? Take your fear by the tail in faith that God is with you.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Matthew 17:24–27

"On their arrival in Capernaum, the collectors of the Temple tax came to Peter and asked him, 'Doesn't your teacher pay the Temple tax?'
 'Yes, he does,' Peter replied. Then he went into the house.
 But before he had a chance to speak, Jesus asked him, 'What do you think, Peter? Do kings tax their own people or the people they have conquered?'
 'They tax the people they have conquered,' Peter replied.
 'Well, then,' Jesus said, 'the citizens are free! However, we don't want to offend them, so go down to the lake and throw in a line. Open the mouth of the first fish you catch, and you will find a large silver coin. Take it and pay the tax for both of us.'"
Jesus knows we have to live in this world of nitty-gritty, everyday realities such as paying taxes. He wants Peter to see that if one is part of the Kingdom of God, one is free and owes allegiance primarily to that Kingdom. We still must pay taxes, so God provides for that too. He provides through Peter's obedience and Peter's occupation in the world: fishing. Our earthly needs are provided for as we work at our occupations. As we do the work in obedience and with the perspective that we are primarily citizens of God's Kingdom, we experience true freedom.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Exodus 2:23–25; 3:7–8

"Years passed, and the king of Egypt died. But the Israelites continued to groan under their burden of slavery. They cried out for help, and their cry rose up to God. God heard their groaning, and he remembered his covenant promise to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. He looked down on the people of Israel and knew it was time to act. …Then the LORD told him, 'I have certainly seen the oppression of my people in Egypt. I have heard their cries of distress because of their harsh slave drivers. Yes, I am aware of their suffering. So I have come down to rescue them from the power of the Egyptians and lead them out of Egypt into their own fertile and spacious land.'"
God does hear our groans and cries. We see his heart here: he feels deep concern for the welfare of his people. If you are crying out to God about something, know that he hears your cries! He feels deep concern for your welfare. He will act. We want change instantly, but reality does not work that way. We must trust in God, in his concern for us and his plan to save us in his good time.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Proverbs 10:8–9

"The wise are glad to be instructed,
but babbling fools fall flat on their faces.
People with integrity walk safely,
but those who follow crooked paths will slip and fall."
"The wise are glad to be instructed." What is the best way to be instructed? God's Word. Whenever you come to his Word, be open to hearing his instruction. Live according to what he shows you, and you will live with integrity. Your footing will be sure as you go through life, your way clear and straight, not crooked. You'll be unlikely to fall flat on your face. If you need wisdom in any area of your life, seek godly instruction from others as well. Then you will enjoy all the blessings that wisdom brings.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Matthew 17:19–20

"Afterward the disciples asked Jesus privately, 'Why couldn't we cast out that demon?' 'You don't have enough faith,' Jesus told them. 'I tell you the truth, if you had faith even as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mountain, "Move from here to there," and it would move. Nothing would be impossible.'"
The disciples could not cast out the demon because they did not have enough faith. Yet it's not a matter of quantity or size—a mustard-seed-sized faith will do. So what does "enough faith" mean? Perhaps it's what one has faith in that is the key. Jesus had just told them that they couldn't have their own agenda and be true followers. Perhaps the disciples were combining God's way with their way. It doesn't work that way. Faith is being fully sold out to God's agenda. Then nothing is impossible. Miracles can happen because God is the one doing it.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Exodus 2:11–12, 16–17

"Many years later, when Moses had grown up, he went out to visit his own people, the Hebrews, and he saw how hard they were forced to work. During his visit, he saw an Egyptian beating one of his fellow Hebrews. After looking in all directions to make sure no one was watching, Moses killed the Egyptian and hid the body in the sand. …"Now the priest of Midian had seven daughters who came as usual to draw water and fill the water troughs for their father's flocks. But some other shepherds came and chased them away. So Moses jumped up and rescued the girls from the shepherds. Then he drew water for their flocks."
Way before God called Moses to rescue his people from Pharaoh's cruelty, Moses was a rescuer. He tried to rescue his fellow Hebrews. He rescued the girls who drew water. God created him with this bent toward rescuing, and God later used it in a mighty way. "Rescue" was the verb that defined Moses. What verb defines you? What you do naturally is what God will use to accomplish his purposes through you

Tuesday, August 9, 2011


'Forgive us, Lord, as we forgive those who trespass against us,'
Sometimes that prayer, as beautiful as it is, has been written backward, or at the very least, the author has made a huge assumption.  I really think the directions should be more like, 'Dear Lord, please let us forgive each other the way that you forgive us'.'
You see, because the Lord is so much better at this business of forgiveness that we mere mortals could ever hope to be, we're the ones who should be modeling His method, not the other way around.  The Lord forgives us unconditionally.  He doesn't need to sit and think it over, withholding His compassion, His mercy, and His grace.  He doesn't cling to his grudges, like we do, reliving them daily, reminding himself how He was hurt or cheated, or disappointed by someone as frail and flawed as we are.  He forgives and wipes the slate clean.  That is true forgiveness, the pure, ideal spirit of amnesty we must try to extend toward each other.
Everyone in this world is walking around, chewing on something that just won't go down.
It's a rate person who does not carry around some grudge, small or large, some onerous bit that won't go down.  But how many of us find that as we approach middle life and ever later, we are carrying around a load of grudges, like a big bag of rocks, slung over our shoulder.  The wrongs the world has done you - parents, siblings, friends, coworkers, neighbors - oh, so many wrongs that we righteously cling to.  It takes a lot of energy to carry that bag around with you, doesn't it?  It doesn't really make much sense, either. . . .So, why do we do it?  We drag it along, letting it pull us down when we can be lifted up.  When we can follow the Lord's example and forgive - and let go.
From the book 'Home Song' by Thomas Kinkade & Katherine Spencer

Proverbs 10:6

"The godly are showered with blessings."
What a wonderful picture: blessings showering down upon you like a steady, gentle spring rain! How aware are you of these blessings, though? Do you make a habit of noticing the "everyday" blessings that God showers upon everyone, such as sunshine and color and the variety of birds and blooms? What about the marvels of modern inventions that we take for granted? Then there are the personalized "showers of blessings" that are just for you: your health, your family, or something from the Word that speaks right into your situation. Today, grow like grass from the showers of God's blessings.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Matthew 17:1–5

"Six days later Jesus took Peter and the two brothers, James and John, and led them up a high mountain to be alone. As the men watched, Jesus' appearance was transformed so that his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as light. Suddenly, Moses and Elijah appeared and began talking with Jesus. "Peter exclaimed, 'Lord, it's wonderful for us to be here! If you want, I'll make three shelters as memorials—one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.' "But even as he spoke, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, 'This is my dearly loved Son, who brings me great joy. Listen to him.'"
God the Father gave his Son a literal mountaintop experience right before his death. Jesus talked with Moses, giver of the Law, and Elijah, the prophet of prophets, both of whom prefigured Jesus. The Father publicly affirmed Jesus' authority and his own love for his Son. Perhaps it was this experience that strengthened Jesus for what he knew was just ahead: his suffering and death. Jesus himself received the Father's grace; it is the love relationship between Father and Son that Peter, James, and John witnessed. That's the love to which we are also given access.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Matthew 16:21–23

"From then on Jesus began to tell his disciples plainly that it was necessary for him to go to Jerusalem, and that he would suffer many terrible things at the hands of the elders, the leading priests, and the teachers of religious law. He would be killed, but on the third day he would be raised from the dead.
But Peter took him aside and began to reprimand him for saying such things. 'Heaven forbid, Lord,' he said. 'This will never happen to you!'
 Jesus turned to Peter and said, 'Get away from me, Satan! You are a dangerous trap to me. You are seeing things merely from a human point of view, not from God's.'"
If we don't have God's perspective, we are operating not from some neutral human perspective but from Satan's. Peter did not want what Jesus was saying to be true. But desire had nothing to do with it. Reality is what it is, and if we oppose it, we're on the side of anti-reality—Satan—untruth. There is no neutral ground. God is true; he is Reality. If we're not with him, we're siding with Satan. Seek God's perspective in all things! It's the only reality there is

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Exodus 2:5–9

"Soon Pharaoh's daughter came down to bathe in the river, and her attendants walked along the riverbank. When the princess saw the basket among the reeds, she sent her maid to get it for her. When the princess opened it, she saw the baby. The little boy was crying, and she felt sorry for him. 'This must be one of the Hebrew children,' she said.

 "Then the baby's sister approached the princess. 'Should I go and find one of the Hebrew women to nurse the baby for you?' she asked.

 "'Yes, do!' the princess replied. So the girl went and called the baby's mother.

"'Take this baby and nurse him for me,' the princess told the baby's mother. 'I will pay you for your help.' So the woman took her baby home and nursed him."
Moses' parents acted in great faith and courage. They put baby Moses in a basket in the river and had to trust God for the outcome. Moses' sister, too, showed great courage and faith by stepping out at the right time to speak to the princess. Moses' parents surrendered their child to God, and the outcome was that they were able to care for their child openly. The mother even got paid for nurturing her son! Great things come from the surrender of faith.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Exodus 1:15–17, 20–21

"Then Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, gave this order to the Hebrew midwives, Shiphrah and Puah: 'When you help the Hebrew women as they give birth, watch as they deliver. If the baby is a boy, kill him; if it is a girl, let her live.' But because the midwives feared God, they refused to obey the king's orders. They allowed the boys to live, too. … So God was good to the midwives, and the Israelites continued to multiply, growing more and more powerful. And because the midwives feared God, he gave them families of their own."
The Hebrew midwives had their priorities straight: They feared God more than they feared the king. Perhaps at the risk of their own lives, they disobeyed the king because they knew God's rule took priority. And God blessed them. God always blesses when we put him first.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Exodus 1:8–10

"Eventually, a new king came to power in Egypt who knew nothing about Joseph or what he had done. He said to his people, 'Look, the people of Israel now outnumber us and are stronger than we are. We must make a plan to keep them from growing even more. If we don't, and if war breaks out, they will join our enemies and fight against us. Then they will escape from the country.'"
Oppression of others is always born of fear. Here we see the Pharaoh's fear that the Israelites would turn on him. Because he believed they were not on his side, he feared what would happen if war broke out. He imagined the worst and acted as if it surely would happen. Then he used his power to prevent what he feared from occurring. He tried to control the outcome. How many of your wrong actions toward others are motivated by fear? Ask God to open your eyes. Then give him your fears to heal.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Genesis 50:15, 19–21

 "But now that their father was dead, Joseph's brothers became fearful. 'Now Joseph will show his anger and pay us back for all the wrong we did to him,' they said. . . .
"But Joseph replied, 'Don't be afraid of me. Am I God, that I can punish you? You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people. No, don't be afraid. I will continue to take care of you and your children.' So he reassured them by speaking kindly to them."
Joseph's brothers had guilty consciences for years, even after being reunited with Joseph. The relationship was not restored because they did not truly receive Joseph's forgiveness. Perhaps it wasn't until this point that Joseph did forgive them. But Joseph now had God's big-picture perspective, and he saw God's hand even in the evil his brothers had done to him. Can you trust God to use for good even the evil things you may have suffered at the hands of others? Are you willing to return good for evil, as Joseph did? You can do so only if you have God's perspective.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Genesis 49:8–10

"'Judah, your brothers will praise you.  You will grasp your enemies by the neck.All your relatives will bow before you.  Judah, my son, is a young lionthat has finished eating its prey.  Like a lion he crouches and lies down;like a lioness—who dares to rouse him?  The scepter will not depart from Judah,nor the ruler's staff from his descendants,  until the coming of the one to whom it belongs,the one whom all nations will honor.'"
How remarkable that, so early in Israel's history, Jacob would predict (in this blessing on his son Judah) the coming of Jesus, the Messiah, whom all nations will obey! God did not choose Jacob's firstborn son as the Savior's ancestor. He chose the fourth son of Leah, the wife Jacob did not love. Leah was more honored than Rachel, in the long run. What does it mean to you to know that God has everything planned from the beginning, and that in his eternal plan he makes up for what we don't experience on earth?

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Matthew 15:22–28

"A Gentile woman who lived there came to him, pleading, 'Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David! For my daughter is possessed by a demon that torments her severely.'
But Jesus gave her no reply, not even a word. Then his disciples urged him to send her away. 'Tell her to go away,' they said. 'She is bothering us with all her begging.'
Then Jesus said to the woman, 'I was sent only to help God's lost sheep—the people of Israel.'
But she came and worshiped him, pleading again, 'Lord, help me!'
Jesus responded, 'It isn't right to take food from the children and throw it to the dogs.'
She replied, 'That's true, Lord, but even dogs are allowed to eat the scraps that fall beneath their masters' table.'
'Dear woman,' Jesus said to her, 'your faith is great. Your request is granted.' And her daughter was instantly healed."
This woman was persistent! Her persistence must have been born both of love for her daughter and of faith. She recognized Jesus as God, for she worshiped him. This was faith! Because she believed Jesus was God, she believed he could and would grant her request. His seemingly harsh initial attitude might have been more for his fellow Jews to hear than for her. They needed to know that he gave them priority. They also needed to see that faith is what matters. Through this woman's faith, Jesus was able to perform his healing.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Matthew 15:32–34

"Then Jesus called his disciples and told them, 'I feel sorry for these people. They have been here with me for three days, and they have nothing left to eat. I don't want to send them away hungry, or they will faint along the way.' The disciples replied, 'Where would we get enough food here in the wilderness for such a huge crowd?'

Jesus asked, 'How much bread do you have?'

They replied, 'Seven loaves, and a few small fish.'"


Jesus wanted to feed the crowd. The disciples couldn't see how that was possible. They believed that what they had was not nearly enough. They were looking at their circumstances, logic, and past experience (the food they had would never feed that many). Jesus asked them to entrust to him what little they had. Jesus blows away the criteria of circumstances, logic, and past experiences. He can do miracles with any small thing we are willing to give to him.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Genesis 48:11

"Then Jacob said to Joseph, 'I never thought I would see your face again, but now God has let me see your children, too!'"
How many years had Jacob mourned losing Joseph? Never in his wildest dreams did Jacob think he'd see Joseph, or any grandchildren by him, again. If only he had known what God had in store, he would have lived more peacefully. In what areas have you given up hope? Take heart! Know that God is at work, and he can give you more than you can imagine. Trust that he is preparing something great for you, and trust your losses to him.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Matthew 16:15–19

"Then he asked them, 'But who do you say I am?'

Simon Peter answered, 'You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.'

Jesus replied, 'You are blessed, Simon son of John, because my Father in heaven has revealed this to you. You did not learn this from any human being. Now I say to you that you are Peter (which means 'rock'), and upon this rock I will build my church, and all the powers of hell will not conquer it. And I will give you the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven. Whatever you forbid on earth will be forbidden in heaven, and whatever you permit on earth will be permitted in heaven.'"
Jesus tells Peter and the disciples that it was God the Father who revealed that Jesus is the Messiah and the Son of the living God, as Peter confessed. Jesus wants all the disciples to know that Peter's confession is not merely a human conclusion. It is revelation, an unshakable truth upon which Jesus would build his church. It all starts with a recognition in the spirit of who Jesus is. Any spirituality that does not begin with this revelation of Jesus is not from God. Jesus is the only true foundation—this Jesus, the Messiah and the Son of the living God.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

PRIMAL: A Quest for the Lost Soul of Christianity

Mark Batterson shares with us while touring the catacombs, was brought to realize that the early Christians lived and worshiped differently than we do.  Batterson sought to find out from Scripture what that difference would be. He found that the thing that motivated the early Christians was the great commandment which tells us to love God with all of our hearts, souls, minds, and strength.

How does one do that? What can motivate a single-minded love? How does that love manifest itself in our lives? These are questions that Batterson asked and sought to find answers for.

As one reads the book, it would be possible to state that Batterson was giving us a prescription for how to love God with all that is within us and with all that we are and have. In reality, I believe that Batterson seeks to provoke us to think about how we can love God and glorify Him in loving Him. In other words, this is not a twelve step book to loving God. This is a book that says, "Here is what I have learned about loving God, and how that changed my life. Perhaps it will be an encouragement to you to seek to break out of your ruts and chains and truly love God."

This book is a different sort of book. It is not written in a point, by point systematic theology style. It seems to meander its way through the issue of loving God and manifesting that love. At the same time, that is not necessarily a negative point. Batterson never truly leaves the subject, and the main theme is always before the reader.
This is a great book and if you can pick up a copy of this book; I recommend it.  Mark Batterson is the Best-selling author of In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Waterbrook Multnomah as part of their Blogger Review Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Psalm 20:1–2, 4–5

"In times of trouble, may the answer your cry.
  May the name of the God of Jacob keep you safe from all harm.
May he send you help from his sanctuary
  and strengthen you from Jerusalem. …
May he grant your heart's desires
  and make all your plans succeed.
May we shout for joy when we hear of your victory
  and raise a victory banner in the name of our God.
May the LORD answer all your prayers."
What a great prayer to pray for yourself and for others in your world! For whom can you pray today, that God would respond to their prayers, keep them safe, send help and strength, grant their hearts' desires, and fulfill their plans?

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Genesis 47:15–17

"When the people of Egypt and Canaan ran out of money, all the Egyptians came to Joseph. 'Our money is gone!' they cried. 'But please give us food, or we will die before your very eyes!'
"Joseph replied, 'Since your money is gone, bring me your livestock. I will give you food in exchange for your livestock.' So they brought their livestock to Joseph in exchange for food. In exchange for their horses, flocks of sheep and goats, herds of cattle, and donkeys, Joseph provided them with food for another year."
The people asked for a handout, but Joseph would not do that. There must be an exchange: if not of money, then something else of value. Even when the famine persisted and the people had nothing else to offer but their own bodies, Joseph accepted that, and they became slaves. He treated them fairly and well as slaves, but he still required an exchange. Do not give handouts; when people ask for something they need, require something else in exchange.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Matthew 15:10, 19

"Then Jesus called to the crowd to come and hear. 'Listen,' he said, 'and try to understand. … For from the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, all sexual immorality, theft, lying, and slander.'"
Sin originates in the heart and is manifested in our words and actions. Get your heart right, and right actions and words flow naturally. Trying to simply change or control what we do or say does not work. We will always express what's in our hearts. So if you want something in your life to change, look for the heart matter that is contributing to it. It could be anger; unforgiveness toward others; needing forgiveness from God or others; or believing lies about yourself, God, or life. Ask God to heal the heart issues, and the actions take care of themselves more often than not.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Jeremiah 32:40-42

"And I will make an everlasting covenant with them: I will never stop doing good for them. I will put a desire in their hearts to worship me, and they will never leave me. I will find joy doing good for them and will faithfully and wholeheartedly replant them in this land.
'This is what the LORD says: Just as I have brought all these calamities on them, so I will do all the good I have promised them.'"
God repeatedly says here he will do good for his people. We are in this new covenant of grace, in which God's wrath against our sin was satisfied in Jesus' death on the cross. He is changing our hearts so that we can have the kind of relationship with God described here, where we worship him and cling to him. Now is the time when God is totally free to do all the good things he has ever promised in this passage and in the whole of Scripture. This is your truth today. Live in the light of it.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Matthew 15:3–8

"Jesus replied, 'And why do you, by your traditions, violate the direct commandments of God? For instance, God says, "Honor your father and mother," and "Anyone who speaks disrespectfully of father or mother must be put to death." But you say it is all right for people to say to their parents, "Sorry, I can't help you. For I have vowed to give to God what I would have given to you." In this way, you say they don't need to honor their parents. And so you cancel the word of God for the sake of your own tradition. You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you, for he wrote,
"These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me."'"
Jesus was against religion, insofar as it is man-made. We are to obey God, not make up our own rules, no matter how pious. It may sound spiritual to say, "I'll give this money to God rather than use it to care for my parents," but that is not what God commands. At the bottom of it all, it's a matter of where your heart is. Are you living for the Lord and from the heart? Is your heart close to God? God always looks at the heart. Everything is a heart issue.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Matthew 14:22–25, 28–29

"Immediately after this, Jesus insisted that his disciples get back into the boat and cross to the other side of the lake, while he sent the people home. After sending them home, he went up into the hills by himself to pray. Night fell while he was there alone.
"Meanwhile, the disciples were in trouble far away from land, for a strong wind had risen, and they were fighting heavy waves. About three o'clock in the morning Jesus came toward them, walking on the water. …
"Then Peter called to him, 'Lord, if it's really you, tell me to come to you, walking on the water.'
"'Yes, come,' Jesus said. So Peter went over the side of the boat and walked on the water toward Jesus."
Jesus sent the disciples away—into a storm. For a time, he left them alone to battle the fierce storm without him. While they struggled, Jesus was praying. Then he came to them, walking on water. He calmly walked on the very water that was causing so much trouble and fear for his loved ones. Remember this: When you battle a storm, Jesus is praying for you. Then Jesus comes to you on the choppy waves of your distress. And, if you keep your eyes on Jesus, as Peter did, you too can walk on the waves of your storm.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Proverbs 9:10

"Fear of the LORD is the foundation of wisdom.
 Knowledge of the Holy One results in good judgment."
Wisdom begins with God. It begins when we recognize how great God is, when we acknowledge that he is holy and in control—and we are not. Wisdom begins when we realize that we need God to show us the way because we cannot find it ourselves.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Matthew 14:32–33

"When they climbed back into the boat, the wind stopped. Then the disciples worshiped him. 'You really are the Son of God!' they exclaimed.'"
The disciples worshiped Jesus as the Son of God—and he allowed it, for that is who he is. That is what his miracles revealed; that is why he performed them. He proved that he had control over something only God can control: weather conditions. Today, remember that the Jesus who lives in you is the one who rules the universe. Worship him, the Son of God. Put your full trust in him.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Matthew 14:24–31

"Meanwhile, the disciples were in trouble far away from land, for a strong wind had risen, and they were fighting heavy waves. About three o'clock in the morning Jesus came toward them, walking on the water. When the disciples saw him walking on the water, they were terrified. In their fear, they cried out, 'It's a ghost!'

But Jesus spoke to them at once. 'Don't be afraid,' he said. 'Take courage. I am here!'

Then Peter called to him, 'Lord, if it's really you, tell me to come to you, walking on the water.'

'Yes, come,' Jesus said.

So Peter went over the side of the boat and walked on the water toward Jesus. But when he saw the strong wind and the waves, he was terrified and began to sink. 'Save me, Lord!' he shouted.

Jesus immediately reached out and grabbed him. 'You have so little faith,' Jesus said. 'Why did you doubt me?'"
Peter set up his own test. He could have waited for Jesus to come to the boat. But he concocted a test to prove it really was Jesus walking on the water: Peter, too, would walk on water. He did, and he was fine—until he took his eyes off Jesus and looked at his circumstances. We can do impossible things only if our eyes are on Jesus. When Peter looked at his circumstances, he doubted Jesus. When he looked at Jesus, he conquered his circumstances. Keep your eyes on Jesus!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Matthew 14:13–14, 22–23

"As soon as Jesus heard the news, he left in a boat to a remote area to be alone. But the crowds heard where he was headed and followed on foot from many towns. Jesus saw the huge crowd as he stepped from the boat, and he had compassion on them and healed their sick. … Immediately after this [the feeding of the 5000], Jesus insisted that his disciples get back into the boat and cross to the other side of the lake, while he sent the people home. After sending them home, he went up into the hills by himself to pray. Night fell while he was there alone."
Jesus sometimes needed to get away by himself to pray. It was not easy! People and their needs interposed themselves all too often. In this case, it was the crowd who clamored for healing. Jesus miraculously fed them, then arranged again to be alone to pray. This can encourage us when we, too, cannot always have the prayer time we need. Embrace the interruptions, but persist in finding time to be alone.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

BOOK REVIEW: Seeing the Unseen

If you want to read a book that will challenge you and open your eyes to a closer walk with the Lord, this is the book.
Seeing the Unseen by T. W. Hunt I enjoyed reading because it open my eyes as a Christian what I should be doing in my life. Sure, your faith tells you He's present in the world, but what if you could truly recognize God as being right next to you every moment? What if your faith could deepen beyond what you can see to a richer level of experiencing the invisible hand of God in your relationships, work, and play?
The book is only 102 page of reading but it is very good read and a good reference book if you choose to keep it in your book library. I found myself with paper and pen in hand and find I would like to skim back through the book to for scriptures and reasoning that will disciple me down the right mindset path.
Again, this is a great read and if you can pick up a copy of this book; I recommend it.

BOOK REVIEW: The Final Summit by Andy Andrews

If you were able to travel through time meeting some of the greatest leaders throughout history, what would you hope to learn from them?
David then spends the next 28 years applying The Seven Decisions to his life and business, benefiting himself, his family, and countless other people around him. His success hit a snag at one point, only to rise to even greater heights as he embraces Truman's lesson that "Adversity is preparation for greatness.
The Final Summit by Andy Andrews; David Ponder's world has once again been shaken. His beloved wife, Ellen, suddenly and unexpectedly dies in her sleep, and he's at a complete and total loss without her.
Imagine a theater in heaven filled with some of the greatest figures in the history of the world, people whose brilliant minds, accomplishments and courage transcend time. Joan of Arc, Abraham Lincoln, Winston Churchill, King David and George Washington Carver are a few of Andrews' time Travelers.
Perhaps it is also a clue as to what we all must do to help bring sanity back to our world, our communities and our families.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Genesis 46:1–4

"So Jacob set out for Egypt with all his possessions. And when he came to Beersheba, he offered sacrifices to the God of his father, Isaac. During the night God spoke to him in a vision. 'Jacob! Jacob!' he called.

"'Here I am,' Jacob replied.

"'I am God, the God of your father,' the voice said. 'Do not be afraid to go down to Egypt, for there I will make your family into a great nation. I will go with you down to Egypt, and I will bring you back again. You will die in Egypt, but Joseph will be with you to close your eyes.'"
God again appeared to Jacob. Notice when he did this: after Jacob had worshiped God. Worship opens our hearts to God's messages. If you need to hear a clear word from God today, start by worshiping him. Focus on who he is and how he has acted in history and in your life. He will reveal more of himself as you focus on what he has already revealed.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Genesis 45:17–18

"Pharaoh said to Joseph, 'Tell your brothers, "This is what you must do: Load your pack animals, and hurry back to the land of Canaan. Then get your father and all of your families, and return here to me. I will give you the very best land in Egypt, and you will eat from the best that the land produces."'"
The story of Joseph encompasses such a range of human experience: dysfunctional families, unjust suffering, deception and sorrow and loss and bitterness and impossible situations. At the heart of the story is Joseph's faith in God, and this faith activated God's gracious hand, which supervised the whole chain of events. In the end, everything was restored and great blessing abounded: Joseph's family was reunited and provided for with great abundance, despite the famine all around them. Now, too, God is working his great plan, and as we trust in him he will heal, restore, and provide the best.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Matthew 14:15–21

"That evening the disciples came to him and said, 'This is a remote place, and it's already getting late. Send the crowds away so they can go to the villages and buy food for themselves.'
"But Jesus said, 'That isn't necessary—you feed them.'
"'But we have only five loaves of bread and two fish!' they answered.
"'Bring them here,' he said. Then he told the people to sit down on the grass. Jesus took the five loaves and two fish, looked up toward heaven, and blessed them. Then, breaking the loaves into pieces, he gave the bread to the disciples, who distributed it to the people. They all ate as much as they wanted, and afterward, the disciples picked up twelve baskets of leftovers. About 5,000 men were fed that day, in addition to all the women and children!"
The disciples asked Jesus to send the people away to buy food. Jesus knew that they already had all that was needed to feed the crowd of thousands. He took the little they had and asked God's blessing on it. This is the key: to ask God's blessing on what you already have been given. What do you possess already that, when blessed by God, will "feed" others? Ask God to show you. Bring to God that which he has provided for you and ask his blessing on it. Who knows how many you will feed?

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Proverbs 9:1–6

"Wisdom has built her house;
  she has carved its seven columns.
She has prepared a great banquet,
  mixed the wines, and set the table.
She has sent her servants to invite everyone to come.
  She calls out from the heights overlooking the city.
'Come in with me,' she urges the simple.
  To those who lack good judgment, she says,
'Come, eat my food,
  and drink the wine I have mixed.
Leave your simple ways behind, and begin to live;
  learn to use good judgment."
Wisdom wants to be found. You don't have to do anything but look for it. And you don't have to look far, either. It is readily found. In fact, it's knocking at your door right now. It will give you a "high-altitude" perspective ("She calls out from the heights"), which is what is so often needed. She offers life, enjoyable life. To think that God's ways are not "fun" is to get it backward. To have God's wisdom is to truly live.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Psalm 18:30

"God's way is perfect.
 All the LORD's promises prove true.
 He is a shield for all who look to him for protection."
 God's way is perfect! (Nothing else in life is.) This you can stake your life on. All of his promises prove true. God is a shield to protect you. Trust in his unwavering promises. Claim his promises for your life—today!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Proverbs 8:34–36

"'Joyful are those who listen to me,
  watching for me daily at my gates,
  waiting for me outside my home!
For whoever finds me finds life
  and receives favor from the LORD.
But those who miss me injure themselves.
  All who hate me love death.'"
Notice the word "daily" here. We need wisdom daily. We need God's light daily. Notice, too, that God approves of our desiring and seeking wisdom. He is thrilled when we come to the Word to hear from him. He will open great treasures of wisdom as we search his Word with an open heart, a heart hungry for his wisdom. His Spirit will take the Word and show you how it applies to your life—that's wisdom!

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Psalm 18:28–29

"You light a lamp for me.
The LORD, my God, lights up my darkness.
In your strength I can crush an army;
with my God I can scale any wall."
God is light, there is no darkness at all in him, and his light is what gives us life and strength. Today, invite God to shed his light on whatever is dark in your life. You will find new strength to "scale any wall" that you come up against. Darkness always gives way when the light comes.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Psalm 18:20–23

"The LORD rewarded me for doing right;
he restored me because of my innocence.
For I have kept the ways of the LORD;
I have not turned from my God to follow evil.
I have followed all his regulations;
I have never abandoned his decrees.
I am blameless before God;
I have kept myself from sin."
Here we see the confidence that comes from a clear conscience. David knew his heart was pure before God, and he had confidence that God would keep him safe and rescue him. And God did, as we see from the previous verses. A clear conscience is a wonderful thing. If yours is not clear, there is a quick and sure remedy: confession. After you confess, stand on the promise that you are forgiven because of what Jesus did on the cross. Then, enjoy your clear conscience!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Psalm 18:16–19

"He reached down from heaven and rescued me;
he drew me out of deep waters.
He rescued me from my powerful enemies,
from those who hated me and were too strong for me.
They attacked me at a moment when I was in distress,
but the LORD supported me.
He led me to a place of safety;
he rescued me because he delights in me."
In the world we have enemies, as David did, people who long to trip us up. The way of the world is to attack at our weakest point. Yet God delivers us simply because he cares for us. He delights in us when we trust him and make him our focus. Our trust triggers his power on our behalf. Trust—even when enemies seem to have the upper hand. It's only a matter of time before he reaches down from heaven and rescues you.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Matthew 13:34

"Jesus always used stories and illustrations like these when speaking to the crowds. In fact, he never spoke to them without using such parables."
Jesus spoke to the crowds in stories and illustrations. Why? To get them to think. To engage them emotionally. He told stories because story can often reveal truth with more impact than straight propositions. Remember that! Story is more compelling and engaging then explaining. When you share your faith, when you seek to persuade in any way, use stories. Hone your own story of God's work in your life. Look for stories that illustrate God's ways. Use them to share the Good News … as Jesus did.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Matthew 13:31–33

"Here is another illustration Jesus used: 'The Kingdom of Heaven is like a mustard seed planted in a field. It is the smallest of all seeds, but it becomes the largest of garden plants; it grows into a tree, and birds come and make nests in its branches.'
Jesus also used this illustration: 'The Kingdom of Heaven is like the yeast a woman used in making bread. Even though she put only a little yeast in three measures of flour, it permeated every part of the dough.'"
When God comes in, things start small but end up making a huge impact. When God works, it permeates everything and changes everything. When God comes in, it changes the very nature of something. Yeast is what makes bread what it is. Yeast makes bread rise and become edible. Let God do his full work in and through you; the results will be astounding! But be prepared for him to change you completely. When God comes in, he changes the furniture; it's a complete makeover.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Matthew 13:27–30

"The farmer's workers went to him and said, 'Sir, the field where you planted that good seed is full of weeds! Where did they come from?'
'An enemy has done this!' the farmer exclaimed.
'Should we pull out the weeds?' they asked.
'No,' he replied, 'you'll uproot the wheat if you do. Let both grow together until the harvest. Then I will tell the harvesters to sort out the weeds, tie them into bundles, and burn them, and to put the wheat in the barn.'"
Do you wonder why God allows his people to live and suffer along with the wicked? Here's the answer: because he doesn't want to destroy us (the wheat). It's his compassion that leads to his patience. Now is the time for us to live among the weeds. Yes, they choke us. They make it difficult to be fruitful. But God has a plan, and he knows just how and when to do the sorting. We must allow his patience and compassion to become ours as well.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Proverbs 3:11-12

"My child, don't reject the LORD's discipline,
   and don't be upset when he corrects you.
For the LORD corrects those he loves,
   just as a father corrects a child in whom he delights."
If you're going through a difficult time, it could be the Lord disciplining you. Ask God to show you the lessons in your trials. He wants to grow you into a strong person, a person like Jesus. He will correct your course on that journey, and sometimes that hurts. That's okay! Don't be discouraged. Know that God does everything in your life out of his love for you. Learn the lessons! God won't discipline you when it's no longer necessary.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Psalm 18:1–3

"I love you, LORD;
  you are my strength.
The LORD is my rock, my fortress, and my savior;
  my God is my rock, in whom I find protection.
He is my shield, the power that saves me,
  and my place of safety.
I called on the LORD, who is worthy of praise,
  and he saved me from my enemies."
In uncertain times, what a comfort and strength these verses are! Meditate on the images of God here: rock, fortress, savior, shield, the power that saves you, and place of safety. Call on this God today to rescue you from anything or anyone that oppresses you.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Genesis 35:22b-23

"These are the names of the twelve sons of Jacob: The sons of Leah were Reuben (Jacob's oldest son), Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, and Zebulun.
Jesus came from the tribe of Judah, who was the son not of Rachel, the loved, but of Leah, whom Jacob did not love. Leah had six out of the twelve sons born from Jacob's four wives. God vindicates and has mercy on the less fortunate; it has been so from the beginning.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Matthew 13:18–22

"'Now listen to the explanation of the parable about the farmer planting seeds: The seed that fell on the footpath represents those who hear the message about the Kingdom and don't understand it. Then the evil one comes and snatches away the seed that was planted in their hearts. The seed on the rocky soil represents those who hear the message and immediately receive it with joy. But since they don't have deep roots, they don't last long. They fall away as soon as they have problems or are persecuted for believing God's word. The seed that fell among the thorns represents those who hear God's word, but all too quickly the message is crowded out by the worries of this life and the lure of wealth, so no fruit is produced.'"
Our hearts are the soil that receives God's Word. All through the Bible, it speaks of the importance of the heart. The heart is the gateway to our relationship with God. Do whatever you can to ensure that your heart is fertile soil. This means dwelling on the Word, not letting problems or persecutions or the cares of this world or the lure of wealth deter you from an openness to having God speak to you. Today, ask God to remove any rocks or thorns that would make the soil of your heart inhospitable to his truth.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Matthew 13:14–17

"'This fulfills the prophecy of Isaiah that says,
"When you hear what I say,
  you will not understand.
When you see what I do,
  you will not comprehend.
For the hearts of these people are hardened,
  and their ears cannot hear,
and they have closed their eyes—
  so their eyes cannot see,
and their ears cannot hear,
  and their hearts cannot understand,
and they cannot turn to me
  and let me heal them."
"'But blessed are your eyes, because they see; and your ears, because they hear. I tell you the truth, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see, but they didn't see it. And they longed to hear what you hear, but they didn't hear it.'"
We either harden our hearts toward God or we open them. Hardening leads to becoming spiritually blind and deaf. We can't hear his voice. We can't see what he's doing in our lives or the world. God wants to heal. He has the power to heal, but people don't always want to be healed. Not if it means giving up control. We have to do things God's way to receive what he has for us. He does not do things our way. We must do things his way.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Matthew 13:12–13

"'To those who listen to my teaching, more understanding will be given, and they will have an abundance of knowledge. But for those who are not listening, even what little understanding they have will be taken away from them. That is why I use these parables,
For they look, but they don't really see.
  They hear, but they don't really listen or understand.'"
God's ways are not at all like our ways! To understand them, our hearts have to be open. We have to puzzle out the parables and stories, asking for God to show us the meaning and application. Jesus always tried to draw people in, but he never forces his way. He leaves room for us to respond, to move toward him after he takes the initiative. There is a reward to us when we truly listen and receive: more abundance. That only comes after we've truly listened, truly received.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Genesis 40:8, 12a, 14–16

"And they replied, 'We both had dreams last night, but no one can tell us what they mean.'
"'Interpreting dreams is God's business,' Joseph replied. 'Go ahead and tell me your dreams. . . .
"'This is what the dream means,' Joseph said. … 'And please remember me and do me a favor when things go well for you. Mention me to Pharaoh, so he might let me out of this place. For I was kidnapped from my homeland, the land of the Hebrews, and now I'm here in prison, but I did nothing to deserve it.'"
God was with Joseph, even as he languished in a prison for years. Joseph remained faithful in his trust and witness to God. He always gave the credit to God, not himself, whether he was speaking with a fellow prisoner or the king. This is what God used to deliver him in the end. He apparently never gave up hope, either; he expected to be delivered, or he wouldn't have asked this favor of the other prisoner. Never give up hope that things will get better!

Monday, June 13, 2011

The Corruptible Book Review

Mark Mynheir, author of The Corruptible is an excellent writer. This is the second book of the Ray Quinn mystery and it is captivating. I generally feel if I can read a book in three days of less, it has to be good. Private investigator, Ray Quinn finds himself in cases to keep him financially afloat but there are times when this retired cop and living with a painful disbility has limited options. In the meantime, his sidekick, Crevis is learning the ins and outs to become a cop himself witht he guidance of Ray Quinn in the detective agency. Ray finds himself a new client that is rich and could possibly help him out financially. As the case progresses along, of which Ray thought would be a open and shut case, it turns out to be more mysterious than expected. Without the client telling exactly what is going on except to find a computer disk that Logan Reed downloaded company information on to. Logan Reed is dead, but no disk is found. Ray works with the force to help find the killer of Logan, as well as helping his client find the disk. Ray finds that Logan had many enemies and people of interest are holding back the truth since they are afraid of landing back in jail. In the end, Ray solves the complete mystery of the murder of Logan Reed and recovers the disk. This is really a great read; if you read the first book, The Night Watchman, you will enjoy this one also.

Have a Great Day!
'Friends are angels who lift us to our feet when our wings have trouble remembering how to fly.'

Proverbs 8:10–11

"Choose my instruction rather than silver,
and knowledge rather than pure gold.
For wisdom is far more valuable than rubies.
Nothing you desire can compare with it."
Wisdom is the most valuable thing you can ever acquire. People run after wealth, thinking that will make them happy. True wealth comes when you possess what is truly valuable: wisdom. Seek wisdom from God today, and enjoy the riches it imparts!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Book Review: I Am His

What happens inside your heart when you hear the word father? Some women feel indifference or pain, while others become wistful or sense an aching void. Still others recall their dads with fondness. Whatever your experience with your earthly father, I Am His invites you to know the comfort of dwelling in the arms of a tender, wise, and powerful Abba Father. Through personal stories, creative interaction with Scripture, quiet reflection, and guided responses, the wonder of living as a child of God will come alive and be more accessible to your heart. Do you ever wonder if God really loves you, even though you know you are forgiven, that He saved you and you will live forever with him? In this 8 week Bible Study, Rita J. Platt explains how we can Experience the Comfort of Abba's, our Heavenly Father's love for us. The chapters in this study are: Abba Father; Chosen to Belong; The Father's Love; In His Arms; Under His Wings; Through Abba's Eyes; A Generous Father; and A Daughter's Inheritance.
When going through a difficult time, and at other times, for no apparent reason, I wonder if God really loves me like the Bible says. It sounds really ungrateful, but these feelings happen to so many people. Reading and studying through this book, the author gives scripture after scripture, as well as phrases, sentences, and statements concerning Gods real love for His children. You can feel Rita Platt's heart in this study, in what she is teaching.
This is a great study for those who long to become closer to God. This devotional will give you a loving view of God the Father.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Proverbs 8:6-9

"Listen to me! For I have important things to tell you.
Everything I say is right,
for I speak the truth
and detest every kind of deception.
My advice is wholesome.
There is nothing devious or crooked in it.
My words are plain to anyone with understanding,
clear to those with knowledge."
What characterizes wisdom from God as opposed to mere human wisdom? It is excellent and important, not trivial. It is right and true, having no deception as part of it. It is wholesome and good, with nothing twisted. It is plain and clear, not hidden. When evaluating whether something is truly wise, look for these characteristics. If the ideas pass the test, embrace them as valuable wisdom.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Proverbs 8:1-5

"Listen as Wisdom calls out!
Hear as understanding raises her voice!
On the hilltop along the road,
she takes her stand at the crossroads.
By the gates at the entrance to the town,
on the road leading in, she cries aloud,
'I call to you, to all of you!
I raise my voice to all people.
You simple people, use good judgment.
You foolish people, show some understanding.'"
Wisdom is available to all, for all areas of life. Wisdom calls from the hilltop: We need wisdom to see the big picture, the "aerial view." She cries at the entrance to the city gates: We need wisdom for the everyday matters of life. Wisdom is available, not hidden. Wisdom wants to be heeded! So search for wisdom in everything. You won't need to go far to find it.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Matthew 12:46–50

"As Jesus was speaking to the crowd, his mother and brothers stood outside, asking to speak to him. Someone told Jesus, 'Your mother and your brothers are outside, and they want to speak to you.'
"Jesus asked, 'Who is my mother? Who are my brothers?' Then he pointed to his disciples and said, 'Look, these are my mother and brothers. Anyone who does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother!'"
Jesus knew who had a greater claim on him than his biological family. His spiritual family, consisting of those who do the will of his Father—these are his true family, he said. These are the ones who have a claim on Jesus' attention. That includes you! And, it means we belong to the family of Jesus, which is made up of other believers. They have an important claim on our lives as well. How committed are you to a community of other believers?

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Genesis 39:2, 19-22

"The LORD was with Joseph, so he succeeded in everything he did as he served in the home of his Egyptian master. … Potiphar was furious when he heard his wife's story about how Joseph had treated her. So he took Joseph and threw him into the prison where the king's prisoners were held, and there he remained. But the LORD was with Joseph in the prison and showed him his faithful love. And the LORD made Joseph a favorite with the prison warden. Before long, the warden put Joseph in charge of all the other prisoners and over everything that happened in the prison."
The Lord was with Joseph and gave him great administrative gifts which were noticed and utilized. God caused Joseph to succeed wherever he went, but that did not protect him from the effects of other people's sin. Potiphar's wife tempted him, and when he refused to give in, she lied about what happened and got Joseph punished for something he never did. God is with us, but we do still suffer from living in a sin-ridden world, even when we do what is right. We should expect that and trust God to still be with us and to bless us.