February 5th – “Give It Up” [Bible reading: Ex 21:1-22:23:13; Mat. 24:1-28; Ps 29:1-11; Prov 7:6-23]
“Give unto the Lord, O you mighty ones, Give unto the Lord glory and strength. Give unto the Lord the glory due His name; Worship the Lord in the beauty of Holiness.” – Psalm 29″1-2
To “give” something to someone, in this context, is to acknowledge that they have that attribute. So this is like saying, “God, You are glorious! You have all the strength that is needed for whatever I’m going through!” ‘Beauty‘ can mean ‘adornment‘, such as how a king or queen might dress. The ‘mighty ones‘ are admonished to worship Him because He is clothed in “holiness”. The ‘mighty ones‘ can refer to those who are rulers here on earth; kings, queens, presidents, or anyone who is in authority.
Oftentimes, I can see myself as a ‘mighty one‘… the guy who is ‘large and in charge’. But is that the way it’s supposed to be? No. This entire Psalm talks of God’s awesome power and sovereignty. He alone deserves praise and admiration. Why? Because He is All-Powerful and “Holy” (perfect). I am not, and thus, I’m really not all that mighty. Do I live my life as though I truly believe this to be true? If not, Why?
“Father, I put my trust in You and do not wish to doubt or be anxious today. You “will bless Your people with peace” (Psalm 29:11) bcause of Who You are . You are awesome! I give You the glory that You’re due, because ultimately, You are the mighty One… and I am not. I love You.” – Michael
February 6th – “In-Joy Life” [Bible reading: Ex 23:14-25:40; Mat 24:29-51; Ps 30:1-12; Prov 7:24-27]
“For His anger is but for a moment, His favor is for life; Weeping may endure for a night, But joy comes in the morning.” – Psalm 30:5
David writes this, but it’s important to know the context of when he wrote it. Most believe that it was during the time that he had put up the tabernacle to house the ark of the covenant. However, because the ark had been captured during a battle with some bad guys (I Samuel 6, 7) he had to go and retrieve it. He knew the ark was where the presence of God was, and so he took 30,000 guys and went and got it and put it on a cart to carry it home. The cart was driven by a guy named Uzzah, while a man named Ahio led the way. Uzzah means ‘strong’ and Ahio means ‘friendly’ in the Hebrew language. When they came to Nachon’s threshing floor they hit a bump. (The ‘threshing floor’ was the place where wheat and chaff were separated). As they hit the bump, Uzzah reached out to balance the ark and was immediately stricken dead. (2 Samuel 6:7). Upset and sad, David stashed the ark for a time in the house of Obed-edom. Three months later, when he heard that Obed-edom’s house was being completely blessed, David realized that he needed to go and get it. This time, however, David retrieved the ark as Scripture required. He had it carried on the backs of priests (1 Chronicles 15:15) and every six steps the whole company stopped and they built an altar and offered sacrifice. This must have taken forever, but it was as David did what God had commanded him to do… in the way that God had commanded it… he was able to return the presence of God back to the tabernacle.
Many times Christians say they want more of God. They want “His presence”. We sing so many songs about this and hear sermons about it quite often in the church-world. We even try to ‘make it happen’ in our own strength at times. It’s like they did in David’s time, we’ll think it can be ushered in by putting the right people in the right places. We put ‘Mr. Friendly’ out at the front and let ‘Mr. Strong’ keep things in control. Or we think we can bring in God’s presence on a cart. What was a cart anyway? It was just two-big wheels and a bunch of boards. So, we form our boards and have lots of meetings where we plan and formulate stuff… and we bring in the ‘big wheels’ to be our special ‘guest artist’ or ‘speaker’… THEN we KNOW God will show up! And we usher it in… or so we think. That’s usually where we hit the bump at the ‘threshing floor’… the place where God wants to separate the real from the fake. When God isn’t pleased… and it’s all just dead, we wonder what happened.
We must realize what David finally realized: We don’t need the boards, the big-wheels, the right people with the right skill-sets… we need to get back to the Bible and what God has asked of us. We need to stop every six steps (six is the number of man, the number of the flesh – therefore, we need to stop every time we feel our flesh well up, and be “altared” as we offer the sacrifice of praise, confess our sins, and express our dependency upon the Lord).
God’s anger was felt, and seen by all, when He struck Uzzah. David was heartbroken. But when he got back to the Word, the Lord showed that there can be a new day dawning for all of us, where joy is unspeakable and full of His glory! We simply need to get back to what God has asked of us.
“Father, I know my sin separates me from You and is upsetting to You. I truly want to enjoy Your presence in my day-to-day life! Forgive me, Lord… and help me walk in the joy You long for me to live in. I love You.“ – Michael
February 7th – “America’s Got Talent” [Bible reading: Ex 26:-27:21; Mat 25:1-30; Ps 31:1-8; Prov 8:1-11 ]
“And to one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one, to each according to his own ability; and immediately he went on a journey.” – Matthew 25:15
The guy giving away the talents is like Jesus, and like the guy went away on a long journey and was delayed quite a while in returning, so too, Jesus has gone to sit at the right hand of the Father. However, He will return one day, and when He does there will be an accounting of how we used the talents He gave to us. In the Greek a ‘talent’ was a coin whose value equaled 6,000 days, or about 20 years, of wages! They were incredibly valuable things.
Today, when I hear ‘talent’ I think of something much different; I imagine the ‘gifts’, ‘abilities’, and specific qualities that make each person unique and special. One might have the talent of ‘speaking’, another the talent of ‘building’, or another the talent of ‘a sense of humor’. Some have been given much, others have been given little. I see some people in the body of Christ and I think, ‘Wow… that person is a 5-talent person! They can sing, play the guitar, communicate to others in a way that everyone understands, they’re good-looking… man, are they blessed!’ Other folks, I might think, “Wow… they are a 1-talent person. They can’t do a lot of stuff, but just one little thing.” Regardless of how many talents you and I have been given, we must be those that are faithful to use it(them) for the glory of God and for the furthering of His Kingdom.
“Father, I thank You for the talent You’ve given me. I may only be a one, or two-talent guy, but I desire to invest what You’ve given for Your Kingdom. Help me to remember that I should never bury anything you’ve given. I love You.“ – Michael
February 8th – “Worship That’s Not A Waste” [Bible reading: Ex 28:1-43; Mat 25:31-26:13; Ps 31:9-18; Prov 8:12-13]
“Assuredly, I say to you, wherever this gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be told as a memorial to her.” – Matthew 26:13
We know that this woman’s name was Mary (John 12:3) and that she anointed Jesus’ head and feet with very costly perfume. When attacked for wasting such an expensive oil, Jesus defended her and rebuked Judas and the other disciples. He praised Mary for her act of love. Nothing given to Jesus in love is ever wasted. Her act of love didn’t just bring joy to Jesus, and a beautiful smell to the house, but it also became an incredible blessing to the entire world all throughout history.
We read this story today and we’re encouraged to radically love and give our very best to Jesus. We’re reminded that Jesus is quick to defend His own. We’re convicted that we should never be those who hold something back in our worship and adoration of the Lord.
“Father, I believe You are awesome. May I hold nothing back in my love and devotion to You. May I have the heart of this woman that poured her love out on You in such a memorable and loving way. I love You.“ – Michael
February 9th – “Hand Me Downs” [Bible reading: Ex 29:1-30; Mat 26:14-46; Ps 31:19-24; Prov 8:14-26]
“And the holy garments of Aaron shall be his sons’ after him, to be anointed in them and to be consecrated in them.” – Exodus 29:29
Aaron was the high priest, and his clothes were to be passed on to his sons. In much the same way, my character will be passed on to my children as well. If I want Conor to be a man who prays passionately, then I must be a man who prays passionately. If I want Kolten to be a man who loves his wife sacrificially, then I must be a man who loves his mom sacrificially. If I desire for Caleb to be a man who loves God’s Word, then I must love God’s Word. If I want Michaela to be a woman who walks in purity, then I must be a daddy who walks in purity. If I want Merci to walk in obedience, I must be a son to my Father in heaven that walks in obedience. If I want my kids to be lovers of people, then I must live out a life that practically shows love towards other people because the garments I wear, for better or worse, will be passed on to the next generation. Sure, my kids will have to make their own choices in life, but perhaps the most important thing I can do to help them make the wisest choices that they possibly can is to cultivate my own walk with Jesus. When I am an authentic, radical lover of God it will be passed on from generation to generation.
“Father, I say along with the psalmist in Psalm 17:15, “I will see Your face in righteousness; I shall be satisfied when I awake in Your likeness.” I desperately want to be like You. I also want my children to be like You… to love You passionately… and to trust You completely. Help me to set the example for them. I want the garments I pass on to be holy, that You might be glorified. I love You.“ – Michael
February 10th – “Why Am I Here?” [Bible reading: Ex 30:11-31:18; Mat 26:47-68; Ps 32:1-11; Prov 8:27-32]
“When He prepared the heavens, I was there, When He drew a circle on the face of the deep,… Then I was beside Him as a master craftsman;” – Proverbs 8:27-30
Wisdom is speaking here of it being present at the creation with the Lord, but we know that Jesus was there too. Genesis 1:26 declares, “Let us make man in our image”, so Jesus was not simply a Spectator, He was the Architect. Ephesians 3:9 states, “and to make all see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the ages has been hidden in God who created all things through Jesus Christ;“. The Bible also declares that Jesus was not only there at creation, but that all things were created for His pleasure (Revelation 4:11).
Many times I can begin to wonder what my purpose in life is. I’ve asked the question on many occasions, “God, why am I here?” The answer is found in that verse in Revelation. I’m here to bring pleasure to my Lord. My life, my speech, my attitude, and my character should be a constant source of joy for Jesus.
“Father, do I bring you pleasure? Please forgive me when I live in such a way as to bring myself pleasure. Remind me that thats not what I was created for. I want to be a son that You delight in today. Refresh me in Your Holy Spirit, renew me in my passion, and revive me in my walk with You. I love You.“ – Michael
February 11th – “Hanging Out With Judas” [Bible reading: Ex 32:1-33:23; Mat 26:69-27:14; Ps 33:1-11; Prov 8:33-36]
“Then Judas, His betrayer, seeing that He had been condemned, was remorseful and brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, saying, ‘I have sinned by betraying innocent blood.'” – Matthew 27:3-4
Judas, after realizing what an evil thing he had done, felt horrible about it. So much so that he tried to return the money that he had taken as a bribe to betray Jesus. After the chief priests wouldn’t at first take the money back, Judas threw it on the floor and ran out into the night to hang himself. In the previous chapter (Matthew 26) we read how Peter denied knowing Jesus three times. Matthew goes into great detail describing each of the three encounters Peter had, each time adamantly denying Jesus. Both of these men had walked with Christ for over three years. Both of these men did wrong by Him.
However, here their stories become much different. One man runs off and weeps, later to be ‘reinstated’ by Jesus, totally forgiven, and then sent out to a lifetime of ministry. The other man runs off into the dark and commits suicide. What if Judas, as he was tying the rope around his neck had reconsidered? What if he had removed that rope and instead run to Golgotha and fallen at the foot of the Cross, looked up at Jesus and cried out, “Jesus, I’m so sorry! Please forgive me!” Do you think Jesus would have forgiven him? I do.
When I let Jesus down, I can chose to do one of two things: I can weep and find forgiveness in the arms of Christ, or I can allow my guilt and shame to drive me further away from Him. This is the difference between “conviction” and “condemnation”. “Conviction drives me to repentance and holiness. “Condemnation” drives me to depression and wanting to kill myself. Jesus convicts, Satan condemns. Jesus came to bring “life and life more abundantly, while Satan has come to steal, kill, and destroy” (John 10:10).
“Father, I know I blow it constantly. Thank You for Your Holy Spirit and for conviction. You have this beautiful way of lovingly driving me back to You. Thank You for forgiving me again and agian, I do so very much love You.“ – Michael