January 31

Daily Bible Reading: Psalm 119; Proverbs 31

Psalm 119:18, “Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law.”

There is one thing that I hope everyone will get from the daily reading of this devotional book. My prayer is that everyone will be challenged to fall deeper in love with the Scriptures. The Bible is God’s love letter to all of us. As you read the Scriptures, I hope that they come alive to you because they are living. The Scriptures are often called “The Living Word of God” because that is what they are. The book of Hebrews tells us that they are “quick” which means alive and “powerful”. Do you know any other book on earth that is like that? No! We take the Word of God so flippantly. We just run in and read a little here and there but never seem to systematically study it. Some of the sweetest times in my life have been centered on the reading of God’s Word. I have been reading and been convicted to tears. I have been reading and been brought to tears at the events that I am reading on the pages. There have been times that I have shouted for joy. I love to be reading along and all of a sudden a thought will come to me that is related to the passage or verse that I am reading. I take a pen and notebook and write out quickly what has come to my heart and mind. Then I go on reading. That is how this book is being written. It is coming one day at a time.
How do you approach the reading of God’s Word? Do you just sit down and pick something to read? Maybe you just open the Bible and start reading wherever it opens. This is not how God intends for us to read His Word. We must start out prayerfully reading. Our verse today tells us that we need to do just that. We need to pray before we start. This will allow us to confess and forsake any known sin in our lives and then we can have open communication between us and God. By starting out this way, the Holy Spirit can speak to us from the Word of God.
Have you ever thought that sometimes God allows us to be sick or hurt so that we will be still enough that we take time to pray and read His Word? He does. Psalm 119:71, “It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes.” Sometimes we just need to pull off the highway of life and take time to be alone with God and His Word. How about it friend, will you?

January 30

Daily Bible Reading; Exodus 38, 39, 40; Psalm 30, 60, 90, 120, 150; Proverbs 30

“According to all that the LORD commanded Moses, so the children of Israel made all the work. And Moses did look upon all the work, and, behold, they had done it as the LORD had commanded, even so had they done it: and Moses blessed them.” Exodus 39:42-43

When I was growing up on the farm of my Uncle and Aunt, I often experienced having to do things over and over until they were done correctly. I must have a thick head as it took me several times to get them done correctly. One area I struggled in the most was to drive in a straight line. I mean, I drove tractors, trucks and cars starting at the age of eight years old so I had ample experience. However, I still could not drive in a straight line. My uncle could almost close his eyes and drive in a straight line. It made me sick. Not only did I struggle with driving in a straight line but I also struggled with when to engage the implement behind me and when to disengage the same implement. I remember one year that I was allowed to drive the breaking plow behind the tractor. I drove an International 560, tricycle type tractor which has a very narrow front end. There are no shock absorbers on tractors like there are on most motor vehicles. Needless to say I had a rough ride. This was made worse when my uncle surveyed my work and was absolutely mortified at the sight of my finished product. You see the plow was engaged at one length and disengaged at another length. It was horrible. He was so upset that I was sent out to plow the ends of the rows so that it would beat my brains out and I would learn a valuable lesson. I was never allowed to plow again. I always wanted to, but was never allowed to again. Such is life. There have been times that I have mowed the yard all over again. I have cleaned out the stalls in the barn again. Anything you can do on a farm, I have probably done all over again. The sad truth is that in our Christian life, many of us look to God as I did my Uncle. We keep repeating the same things over and over again. We never seem to learn the lessons. God forbid! You see, if something is worth doing, it is worth doing correctly. Oh, how many times have I heard that old phrase? So many people today who name the name of Christ are completely satisfied to half do half the things that need to be done. This equates to 25% of a job. This is not acceptable in the Christian life. If you consistently perform at this level you will one day be sorry for it. Imagine standing at the throne of God one day and giving account for only accomplishing 25%. Wow! This is a sobering thought to me and I hope to you. So today I must ask myself, “Have you given your all to Jesus?”

January 29

Daily Bible Reading: Exodus 35, 36, 37; Psalm 29, 59, 89, 149; Proverbs 29

“Six days shall work be done, but on the seventh day there shall be to you an holy day, a sabbath of rest to the LORD: whosoever doeth work therein shall be put to death.” Exodus 35:2

How many times have you heard someone lament, “I am so busy”? It is the theme of our day. We don’t take the time to rest like we need. When we are running like a chicken with its head removed, we are wearing ourselves out. In this day and age, we need to get back to what men and women of old knew. They understood “early to bed and early to rise…” The problem is, that we have so many things screaming and yelling for our time and attention, which equates to energy.
Have you ever thought that it might be a plan of the Devil to keep you running around until you are exhausted? He knows that if we are tired, we will be irritable and our ability to make wise decisions will be diminished. Daniel 7:25, “And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time.” So, based upon Scripture, a lifestyle of running ourselves ragged gives place to the Devil. He loves this.
We need to be getting proper rest each day along with spending time in prayer and Bible study. If we do this consistently, day in and day out, we will find ourselves to be more effective. We need to be finding our rest in the Lord. This is easier said than done. It should not be that way.
May we all find our rest in the Lord today and every day.

January 28

Daily Bible Reading: Exodus 32, 33, 34; Psalm 28, 58, 88, 118, 148; Proverbs 28

“Yet now, if thou wilt forgive their sin–; and if not, blot me, I pray thee, out of thy book which thou hast written.” Exodus 32:32

Moses was a great leader in Israel. I cannot imagine the load he carried knowing he was God’s man to lead the nation of Israel. What an awesome privilege. We would do well today to learn from the example of Moses.
However, Moses was not perfect. I am glad that Moses was not perfect. I find hope in the fact that if God can use Moses then He can use me too. The New Testament says that God has “chosen the foolish this of the world to confound the wise;” I Corinthians 1:27. I now know my purpose in life. Just kidding.
I love the commitment of Moses in this verse. I don’t know if I could do what Moses did here in this verse. The dash represents a grammatical pause. I can feel the emotion and passion of this man of God when he says, “…if thou wilt forgive their sin-”. I hear his heart breaking for them. Moses is a great leader who loves the people he is leading.
So many people in leadership today are there for all the wrong reasons. Some are motivated by greed, money, power, prestige and _________. You fill in the blank. Moses, on the other hand was motivated by a desire God placed in his heart. Back in Egypt, Moses was misunderstood when he slew the Egyptian. He did not understand why the Israelites did not see that he was God’s man to lead them out to the Promised Land. Yet, this was in fact his calling by God to do that very thing.
So, dear friend what is your calling? What is your passion? Is there anything at all?

January 27

Daily Bible Reading: Exodus 29, 30, 31; Psalm 27, 57, 87, 117, 147; Proverbs 27

“And I will sanctify the tabernacle of the congregation, and the altar: I will sanctify also both Aaron and his sons, to minister to me in the priest’s office.” Exodus 29:44

There seems to be something taboo about sanctification. People seem to run from the concept of sanctification. It seems to have some negative connotation. This should not be so. Sanctification is something that every child of God should embrace. I know people who have automobiles that only see the light on clear, sunny summer days. These automobiles are set apart for such days. You know the automobiles I am talking about. They are special and sometimes vintage automobiles. They are sometimes an investment, but more often they are for pleasure.
Have you ever thought about yourself like one of those special automobiles? You are. With the Holy Spirit filling you, you are a powerful possession of God the Father. Just like a special automobile that is reserved for special purpose. We are created to worship and fellowship with God.
God wants to set each of us apart for Himself, but it is up to us to submit to that. To be sanctified is to be separated from sin to God. We seem to be so in love with sin that we no longer care about being sanctified, or set apart for God. This is a shame and a black eye on the Christian community. One thing lost people know about Christians is that, “We don’t spit and we don’t chew and we don’t run with those that do.” We need to get back to old fashioned, sanctified Christianity. How about it Christian?

January 26

Daily Bible Reading: Exodus 26, 27, 28; Psalm 26, 56, 86, 116, 146; Proverbs 26

“And thou shalt hang up the vail under the taches, that thou mayest bring in thither within the vail the ark of the testimony: and the vail shall divide unto you between the holy place and the most holy.” Exodus 26:33

I remember a few years ago a friend who is a co-worker invited us to go to the University of Illinois for a gospel concert. He and his wife along with my wife and me and our son drove to Peoria, IL from Indianapolis. The trip was such fun. We stopped and ate dinner at a popular fast food restaurant. We arrived early due to the difference in our time and their time. We enjoyed spending time with my friend’s wife while he walked up to see someone he knew. It seemed like a long time before he returned but he finally did come back.
When we arrived at the front door my friend gave each of us a ticket. We now had access to the stadium because someone had given us a ticket. We were “within the veil” so to speak. I remember the excitement all four of us had knowing we were inside the stadium with free tickets.
We browsed all the places to eat and buy souvenirs on the way to our seats. We showed our ticket stubs to an usher who led us to the floor of the arena and seated us four rows back from the stage.
I remember our son fell asleep during the concert. This was the music that settled him and allowed him to fall asleep at night. The chance of a lifetime to see in person the ones he loved to hear sing and he is out cold, sound asleep.
At the intermission my friend got up and went across the arena and disappeared with his wife. He shortly resurfaced in front of us beckoning us to follow him and we did.
He led us across the floor to one of the tunnels that lead off the floor. As we tried to go through he passed and we were stopped by security. That was the world’s longest moment waiting for him to realize that we were no longer behind him and for him to return. He showed his credentials and we were allowed to pass. We walked down long halls going deeper into the arena. We stopped at a large double door for a moment but then went inside. Sitting there at a table with my friend’s wife was the “Queen of Southern Gospel Music”, none other than the late Vestal Goodman. Our dreams had come true! We had traveled a couple hundred miles, been given tickets to the show by Vestal’s son Rick Goodman and were allowed access to meet Vestal Goodman in person. I nearly had a Baptist-Pentecostal fit.
Even better than this, we have access to God because of the finished work of Jesus on the cross. Even better than the priests going into the Holy of Holies, we have access directly to God through Jesus.

January 25

Daily Bible Reading: Exodus 23, 24, 25; Psalm 25, 55, 85, 115, 145; Proverbs 25

“And Moses came and told the people all the words of the LORD, and all the judgments: and all the people answered with one voice, and said, All the words which the LORD hath said will we do.” Exodus 24:3

What an awesome privilege Moses had. He was able to have close, intimate fellowship with the creator of the universe. Better yet, he was able to be in the presence of God and live.
I think we forget about how truly holy God is. The sad reality is that even a lot of God’s children do not care about His holiness. We have access to God through the finished work of Jesus on the cross. This is the only way that unholy man can approach God, who is holiness.
Moses was able to go into God’s presence. While he was in God’s presence, he was given “the law” or as we call it, The Ten Commandments. There is tremendous benefit from being in God’s presence. This is a privilege we need to daily exercise. What a joy we can have in God’s presence in prayer and Bible study.
Try it, you might like it.

January 24

Daily Bible Reading: Exodus 20, 21, 22; Psalm 24, 54, 84, 114, 144; Proverbs 24

“And if the servant shall plainly say, I love my master, my wife, and my children; I will not go out free: Then his master shall bring him unto the judges; he shall also bring him to the door, or unto the door post; and his master shall bore his ear through with an aul; and he shall serve him for ever.” Exodus 21:5-6

I have come to appreciate the scene depicted in our verses today. My pastor was preaching through the book of Hebrews some time back. While dealing with Hebrews 10:1-10, he referred to Psalm 40:6 and Isaiah 50:5-6. It was tremendous and I hope I have it on CD.
When I was reading today’s Scripture verses, I was reminded of this teaching. Indulge me for a few minutes as I give my thoughts.
I was thinking about commitment. I thought about the commitment of the master. He is committed to care for the servant. The master would have to meet every need that his servant would have. No problem.
How about the commitment of the servant? He is giving up the rest of his life to be committed to his master. There will be no more “doing things my way”. He will submit to the will of his master. Even his family is affected. This gives a whole new light on the concept of total commitment.
So, to whom or what are you committed? Have you ever committed your heart to Jesus in salvation? If so, how about your commitment to Jesus in service?
Most Christians are saved and that is good enough for them. What an awesome privilege they miss by not being committed enough to serve the Lord. How about hearing “well done, thou good and faithful servant”. I know I want to hear that when I get home.

January 23

Daily Bible Reading: Exodus 17, 18, 19; Psalm 23, 52, 82, 113, 143; Proverbs 23

“But Moses’ hands were heavy; and they took a stone, and put it under him, and he sat thereon; and Aaron and Hur stayed up his hands, the one on the one side, and the other on the other side; and his hands were steady until the going down of the sun.” Exodus 17:12

I love this passage of Scripture. I remember being asked to preach at the church we attended years ago. I was thrilled! My text was from yesterday’s devotional verse. My topic and title was simply, “Go Forward”. To this day, many years later, it is one of my top five favorite messages from God.
The personal illustration that I used and still use is the reason it is one of my favorites. I called our pastor to the front and asked him to stand in front of the communion table. I exhorted myself and others of his role as pastor and leader. Then, I called two men from the congregation to take our pastor by the hand; one man on each side, and hold up his hands while I read this portion of Scripture. In my mind’s eye, I can still see them standing there like it was happening again, right now, tears and all.
You and I should be involved in this same kind of ministry as Aaron and Hur. We need men, women, boys and girls who will make themselves available for this ministry. What an encouragement to your pastor and church. In know I need people to be “prayer warriors” on my behalf and I am certain they do also.
There is a group, “Three Bridges”, who perform a song titled, “Dear Captain”. It is a great song about praying for our President. I don’t know how really Biblical all the words are, but I am humbled to tears every time I listen to it.
Friend, we must hold up the hands of others in prayer and beseech them to do the same for us.

January 22

Daily Bible Reading: Exodus 14, 15, 16; Psalm 22, 52, 82, 112, 142; Proverbs 22

“And Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will shew to you to day: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen to day, ye shall see them again no more for ever.” Exodus 14:13

This year, reading through this passage of Scripture, God spoke to my heart about it like never before. Oh, don’t get me wrong, I was deeply convicted about doing things in my own strength (Exodus 14:13 “stand still and see the salvation of the LORD…”). I think we all have to guard against this. We, who are in the ministry, especially full-time, are prone to this. God forgive us and help us.
We have to continue to advance in our Christian walk. Notice in verse 13, to “stand still and see the salvation of the LORD”. Then in verse 15, we are charged to “go forward”. You see the Lord had work to do between those two statements. He taught trust in verse 13, with the advancing army behind them. Standing still was the last thing the Israelites wanted to do. Yet, they obeyed. Because of their obedience in standing still, they were “saved” or delivered. What a picture of someone being saved. In verse 15, it tells us to “go forward”. We must be growing in our walk with God. We need to conform to the image of Christ. We must be more like Him; act like Him, think like Him, love like Him and so on. As we grow, what is important to God will become important to us.
Notice the last two phrases of verse 13, “…for the Egyptians whom ye have seen to day, ye shall see them again no more for ever.” As I was reading this again, I was moved to tears. How many “Egyptians” have been in my life and I was just too busy trying to cross the “Red Sea”. The sad reality is that I may “see them no more for ever”. God forbid!
May we “go forward”, witnessing and leaving rocks piled as a memorial to God’s greatness.