January 22nd – “Learn It, Live It” [Bible reading: Gen. 44:1-45:28; Mat. 14:13-36; Ps 18:37-50; Prov 4:11-13]
“I have taught you in the way of wisdom; I have led you in right paths. When you walk, your steps will not be hindered, and when you run, you will not stumble. Take firm hold of instruction, do not let go; keep her, for she is your life.” – Proverbs 4:11-14
God teaches us, and gives us His wisdom. When we adhere to it – live by it, we walk in such a way so as not to stumble. It reminds me of Isaiah 40:31 where we are admonished to “wait” on the Lord and we will see similar results. Perhaps “waiting” on God and “holding fast to His wisdom” are the same?
God has given us Jesus, but He has also give us His Word (John 1 states that Jesus is His Word). This is ‘wisdom’ and I must be a man that not only loves Jesus and His Word, I better be a man who also behaves differently… and ACTS like I love Jesus and His Word. In other words, I can’t be all ‘talk’ and no ‘walk’. In John 14:24 Jesus declares, “He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine but the Father’s who sent Me.” We’re also admonished in 1 John 5:2, “By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and keep His commandments.”
“Father, I tire of stumbling in my walk with You, and of doubting, losing my temper, and just being selfish. Forgive me and help me live according to all I’ve learned. I don’t want just a bunch of head-knowledge. I love You deeply and want to live like it 100% of the time.” – Michael
January 23rd – “You Presume Too Much” [Bible reading: Gen. 46:1-47:31; Mat. 15:1-28; Ps 19:1-14; Prov 4:14-19]
“Keep back Your servant also from presumptuous sins; Let them not have dominion over me. Then I shall be blameless, and I shall be innocent of great transgression.” – Psalm 19:13
“Presumptuous” is an adjective that means ‘failing to observe the limits of what is permitted or appropriate‘. Numbers 15:30-31 states that if a person commits a sin “presumptuously” that they’d be ‘cut off‘ from their people. In other words, it was a BIG deal!
After walking with the Lord for a while, I find that I have much greater knowledge about what I should and should not ‘do’. This comes with maturity in Him. However, this also means that I can’t get away with sin and plead ‘ignorance’. I’m accountable for what I know. Truly, ‘to whom much is given, much is required’ (Luke 12:48).
“Father, along with the writer of this psalm, I ask that You keep me from sin that I know You want me to avoid. I need Your conviction and Your strength to turn from evil like I know I should. Thank You. I do love You.” – Michael
January 24th – “Single Track” [Bible reading: Gen. 48:1-49:33; Mat. 15:29-16:12; Ps 20:1-9; Prov 4:20-27]
“Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life. Put away from you a deceitful mouth, and put perverse lips far from you. Let your eyes look straight ahead, and your eyelids look right before you.” – Proverbs 4:23-25
To “keep” something means to make sure it doesn’t get away and that it’s safe from attack. The “heart” was always thought to mean “who you are“, the “true you that directs all your thoughts and emotions“. We are being warned here to not allow ourselves to be distracted by sin, and that we should always watch our mouths… our words can show where we really are with the Lord (Luke 6:45).
I must constantly be “on guard“, watching what I say, and where I am “gazing“. There are many distractions in this life, but my main goal is to be the man God has called me to be. From this, I must not deter!
“Father, may my mouth – the words I speak – be pleasing to You. Keep my eyes on You and things that are holy. Forgive my wandering heart and eyes. It is You and You alone I wish to look upon and follow. I love You. “ – Michael
January 25th – “Thou Shalt Not Sweat It” [Bible reading: Gen. 50:1-26; Ex. 1:1-2:10; Mat. 16:13-17:9; Ps 21:1-13; Prov 5:1-6]
“But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive.” – Genesis 50:20
God had miraculously transformed the disgustingness of man’s evil and sinful behavior into a diamond of Divine blessing. He still does this! He can take what the devil means for harm and turn it totally around for His glory!
When I am going through a tough season and feel alone and forgotten and “sinned against”… like Joseph must have felt many times during certain seasons of his life… I can take hope in the fact that God causes “all things to work together for good…” (Romans 8:28).
“Father, help me to always trust that You are in control. Why should I fear or be anxious about ANYTHING, when You are God, You are in control, and You are on the throne? I love You, and today I put my trust in You, my King. – Michael
January 26th – “Ready On The Fly” [Bible reading: Ex. 2:11-3:22; Mat. 17:10-27; Ps 22:1-18; Prov 5:7-14]
“However, this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.” – Matthew 17:21
The context: Jesus has cast out a demon, something His disciples failed to do. It’s a hardcore ministry. Notice, He didn’t stop everything He was doing and pray and call a fast… He simply cast out the demon. This means that He must have lived a life where prayer and fasting were prevalent.
Prayer and Fasting should be in my regular routine of life. I never know when God is going to ask me to be involved in hardcore ministry. The truth is, I can keep myself ready on the fly by practicing these disciplines regularly.
“Father, forgive me for only crying out to You when I’m in dire-straits. Successful ministry will flow as I walk with You in intimacy on a consistent and regular basis. Empower me for whatever You call me to do today. Thanks for being the love of my life.” – Michael
January 27th – “Ssssssspeech Problems?” [Bible reading: Ex. 4:1-5:21; Mat. 18:1-20; Ps 22:19-31; Prov 5:15-21]
“Then Moses said to the Lord, ‘O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither before nor since You have spoken to Your servant; but I am slow of speech and slow of tongue.’ So the Lord said to him, ‘Who has made man’s mouth? Or who makes the mute, the deaf, the seeing, or the blind? Have not I, the Lord? Now therefore go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what to say’.” – Exodus 4:10-12
Moses pointed out his own flaws and all the reasons why he couldn’t obey God and do what God had called him to do. These were only excuses, as if God were dependent upon Moses anyway. God answers and reminded Moses of Who He is and what He would do.
God can do a lot… with a little. When He chooses to use us, it is an act of His grace. He doesn’t have to use us. But being a tool in the Master’s hand is a privilege and an honor. Often I fear doing what the Lord asks… especially public speaking… thinking my sssslur or stupid sense of humor will distract from what God wants to accomplish. But I must always remember that God equips who He calls!
“Father, thank You for all my flaws. May I never shy away from what You call me to do. It’s not by my own power anyway, but Your Spirit (Zech. 4:6). I love You so very much!” – Michael
January 28th – “Feeling Sheepish” [Bible reading: Ex. 5:22-7:25; Mat. 18:21-19:12; 23:1-6; Prov 5:22-23]
“The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want.” – Psalm 23:1
God was often referred to as a Shepherd in the Old Testament (Psalm 74:1; Isaiah 40:11; Ezekiel 34:11-16). When Jesus said, “I Am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd gives His life for His sheep in John 10:11, He not only was declaring Himself to be “God”, but He was also showing the depth of His love for those following Him.
Just as shepherds were known for their meticulous care for their sheep, even their willingness to make the ultimate sacrifice for them (1 Samuel 17:34-35), so too was Jesus. What then am I truly in “want” of? Anything I think I “need” suffers in comparison to God laying down His life for me that I might obtain relationship with Him and eternal life.
“Father, thank You for Jesus. Thank You for loving me enough to lay Your life down that I might live! Thank You for shepherding, leading, feeding, and protecting me. May I follow You today and rest in Your presence.” – Michael