January 1st – “Who’s The Teacher?” [Bible reading: Gen. 1:1-2:25; Mat. 1:1-2:12; Ps 1:1-6; Prov 1:1-6]
“Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful; But his delight is in the Law of the Lord, and in His Law he meditates day and night.” – Psalm 1:1-2
The “Law of the Lord” is not just God’s written instructions or a body of legislative material. It’s God’s “teaching” and “instruction”. The man who “delights” and takes joy in God’s instruction is going to end up “blessed”. But the man who seeks counsel elsewhere… will not be blessed.
As I begin another year, I want to be a man that seeks counsel and wisdom from God’s Word more than ever before. I want this to be a year where God speaks to me, and I not only listen… but I love it, and am changed!
“Father, please give me a love for Your Word like never before. I pray I’d grow in wisdom and understanding of Your WOrd in 2017. I want to grow… and mature this year by becoming more like Jesus! I love You, Lord.” – Michael
January 2nd – “Kiss The Son” [Bible reading: Gen. 3:1-4:26; Mat. 2:13-3:26; Ps 2:1-12; Prov 1:7-9]
“Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest He be angry, and you perish in the way, when His wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are those who put their trust in Him.” – Psalm 2:11-12
This is a word of warning to rebellious people to be wise and seek instruction. To ‘kiss’ is to express obedience – the alternative is to perish because of God’s wrath. To ‘kiss’ means something much different in our culture and time.
When I read, “kiss the Son”, my first thought is one of extreme intimacy with Jesus. I think of the woman in Luke 7:38 who wouldn’t stop kissing Jesus’ feet and washing them with her hair. Then I found that “kiss” in the language of the Bible expresses “obedience”. I find this amazing. What if Jesus considers obeying Him and His words the same as an intimate kiss?
“Father, I want to be a man that kisses You daily… walking in intimacy, but also walking in obedience. Forgive me for saying I love You… but not walking in obedience to You and Your Word. You said, “If you love Me, keep My commandments” in John 14:15, and I want to show my love by how I live for You today.” – Michael
January 3rd – “Lead the Way” [Bible reading: Gen. 5:1-7:24; Mat. 3:7-4:11; Ps 3:1-8; Prov 1:10-19]
“Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.” – Matthew 4:1
Just as Israel was led by God into the wilderness for 40 years so God could test them and humble them (Deuteronomy 8:2), so too was Jesus led by the Holy Spirit to be tempted by Satan. Jesus would even quote from Deuteronomy chapter 8 when rebuking Satan.
It seems God works this way. He allows “wilderness” seasons into my life in order to see where I am really at with Him. Will I respond like Jesus… or the Israelites? Deuteronomy 8:5 says that God is chastening us… like any loving Father would. He desires for us to walk in victory – even if that can only happen through great pain and in the fiery trials.
“Father, may I respond to trials in my life just like Jesus did, understanding that You are in control and Your Spriit is always leading the way. I want to be strong in You and humble like You. Thanks for being a loving Daddy to me. I love You.” – Michael
January 4th – “Sin Makes Me Dumb” [Bible reading: Gen. 8:1-10:32; Mat. 4:12-2:25; Ps 4:1-8; Prov 1:20-23]
“Turn at My rebuke; Surely I will pour out My Spirit on you; I will make My words known to you.” – Proverbs 1:23
“Rebuke” in the dictionary means; “A sharp, stern disapproval; reprimand.” By His Spirit, God will at times rebuke us. People don’t always seem to care, however. Oftentimes, when we are rebuked by God’s Spirit, we simply continue in our rebellious ways. But, if we do turn, God promises us the blessing of His Spirit and a deeper understanding of His Word.
Obedience to the voice of the Lord, once again, is the key! I will be bored… and dumb… when I hear or read God’s Word if I am walking in disobedience to His Spirit’s conviction. In other words, when I ignore God’s voice of correction, I become spiritually dumb. Sermons, devotions, etc… become boring and lame because I’ve stopped being able to hear God’s voice.
“Father, forgive me for ignoring You at times. When You love me enough to rebuke me, may I be a man that always turns away from my sin. I want to understand Your Word in a new way, and my sin dulls my understanding. Thank You for Your Spirit, and for correcting me when I go astray. I love You.” – Michael
January 5th – “This Little Light of Mine” [Bible reading: Gen. 11:1-13:4; Mat. 5:1-26; Ps 5:1-12; Prov 1:24-28]
“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in Heaven.” – Matthew 5:16
Jesus is the Light of the world and when He is in us we should allow Him to shine through us. This way, when we do the stuff He is leading us to do, we don’t get the credit or the praise, He does!
I need more of Jesus every day. Before I do anything, I must first ask if it’s something that Jesus would do, would bring Him glory, and where He’d get the praise. When people finish hearing me speak, whether one-on-one, or in a church setting… do they leave with a taste of Michael in their mouths, or a taste of Jesus?
“Father, my tendency is to be a glory-hound. Please forgive me. I want my light to shine, only if that light is You. I love you.” – Michael
January 6th – “My Best Ain’t God’s Best” [Bible reading: Gen. 13:5-15:21; Mat. 5:27-48; Ps 6:1-10; Prov 1:29-33]
“Then Lot chose for himself all the plain of Jordan, and Lot journeyed east. And they separated from each other.” – Genesis 13:11
The context here is that Abram looked out over the land and half of it was awesome, while the other half was not so great. He and his nephew needed to separate ways and Abram was nice enough to give the decision to his nephew, Lot. Lot selfishly chose the best land and went “east”. God then blessed Abram’s land anyway. Other times that people went “east” weren’t always great: Adam and Eve after they sinned in the Garden of Eden went “east, Cain after his judgment went “east”, sinful humanity after the tower of Babel went “east”.
Many times when I make selfish decisions, without even knowing it, I can be running in the direction that really isn’t “best”… I can be heading “east”. The truth is, that God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble. Humility is always honored by the Lord. In God’s economy the first shall be last, and the last first.
“Father, forgive my selfishness. Help me only desire for myself what You desire. Your Kingdom come, Your will be done. I love You.” – Michael
January 7th – “A Strong Defense” [Bible reading: Gen. 16:1-18:15; Mat. 6:1-24; Ps 7:1-17; Prov 2:1-5]
“My defense is of God, Who saves the upright in heart.” – Psalm 7:10
The psalmist has been describing how his persecutors have been attacking him and how he wishes that God would rise up and take them out. He states that his trust is in the Lord ultimately, and that he realizes God will defend him because God is just… and that he, the psalmist, has a good heart.
When I feel life is ‘attacking’ me, whether through hard times, or perhaps a literal satanic attack, I too must trust that God is sovereign and has got my back. My job is to simply trust Him… and maintain an upright heart.
“Father, You alone are my Defense. Help me walk in purity and keep a passionate and upright heart. May I rest in Your sovereignty today… for I know You love me and are always ‘for’ me. I love You.” – Michael