Showing posts from May, 2021


Proverbs 16-18; Romans 12   “Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed.” Proverbs 16:3 “In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps.” Proverbs 16:9 When we begin with our plans we fail, but when we begin with seeking the Lord, we have a guide for his plan. The grace of God is greater than our capacity to miss the purposes of God. We might plan poorly, but God’s mercy and grace will ultimately prevail in our lives if we give ourselves to him. There is confidence in knowing that God is determining our steps and that his ultimate purpose for our lives will prevail. It is in the surrender of our will to God that we find the greatest alignment with God’s will for us. As we present ourselves as living sacrifices to God, we know his good, pleasing and perfect will for us. It’s in surrender rather than bold decision-making that our plans align with God’s purposes. “Lord Jesus, thank you for your example of trust, surrender and obedience to the w

The Root Supports You

Proverbs 13-15; Romans 11 “…You do not support the root, but the root support you…Do not be arrogant, but be afraid. For if God did not spare the natural branches, he will not spare you either.” Romans 11:18, 20, 21 The roots of God’s revelation and salvation history to us as Gentiles are found in God’s covenant with Israel and his revelation to the patriarchs. We have been given a gift of grace in our salvation in Christ. Our lives have been grafted into God’s family tree. Our response must be humility and gratitude for God’s grace and mercy to us. It is God’s kindness and mercy that leads us to repentance, so there is no room for entitlement, arrogance or pride. The purpose of our lives is to bear fruit for God’s glory. Apart from Christ we can do nothing. In Christ, we are supported and nurtured by his grace and love, for fruit-bearing unto his glory. “Thank you Jesus for your love and grace and your invitation to join your family.”

Words of Life

  Proverbs 10-12; Romans 10 “The lips of the righteous know what is fitting…” Proverbs 10:32 “From the fruit of his lips a man is filled with good things. Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.” Proverbs 12:14, 18 Our words have tremendous power both for good and for evil, depending on their use. Appropriate words in each setting require wisdom and discernment. Those who learn to use words for life-giving purposes are rewarded for that work. With wisdom, words can bring healing, restore trust, restore relationships, and restore confidence and hope. Our words reflect the state of our hearts, but require wisdom and self-control to be used, for maximum benefit and effect. The word of our testimony is a weapon in the hand of overcomers who give witness to God’s salvation and work in our lives.   Without hearing God’s word, how can people believe in Him? Words have the capacity to build faith and change someone’s eternal destiny. “Lord Jesus, guide my

Wisdom and the Fear of the Lord

Proverbs 7-9; Romans 9   “To fear the Lord is to hate evil; I hate pride and arrogance, evil behavior and perverse speech.”  Proverbs 8:13 “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.” Proverbs 9:10 Wisdom begins with a relationship with God, where we acknowledge that we aren’t God! The humility to worship and serve our Creator is the first step on the path of wisdom and understanding. To pursue wisdom apart from God is arrogance and ultimately futile. Wisdom is formed in those who fear God as they learn to distinguish good from evil. Wisdom is formed in moral choices and patterns of thinking and speaking as we learn and follow God’s ways. The only way this is possible is through a teachable, humble attitude in our approach to life. “Lord Jesus, teach me wisdom in the inmost place of my life that your life would be expressed in me.”

Wisdom, Humility and Grace

Proverbs 4-6; Romans 8   “Wisdom is supreme; therefore get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding…She will set a garland of grace on your head…guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.” Proverbs 4:7, 9, 23 To place value on what God values in life is wise. Wisdom herself is a prize that costs us many ‘learning opportunities’ and failures. The value of those failures and stumbles is only gathered with reflection and careful processing. The humility to acknowledge errors in judgment and learn from them redeems those experiences and purchases greater wisdom. The more wisdom we acquire, the greater humility we walk in. Without teachability and humility, wisdom will always be beyond our reach. Grace acknowledges unmerited favor, and is the public expression of wisdom and work in our lives. It is in our hearts, composed of our thoughts, our emotions and our will, that those qualities of wisdom, grace and humility grow. Guarding our hearts and these virtues is like g

These will be Life for You

Proverbs 1-3; Romans 7   “My son, preserve sound judgment and discernment, do not let them out of your sight; they will be life for you, an ornament to grace your neck…the Lord will be your confidence.” Proverbs 3:21, 22, 26 Choices in life define us.   What will we do with our life and who will we journey with through life? When we approach every decision with the humility that invites God’s wisdom and counsel into that decision, we make better decisions. Our motive becomes living for God’s glory, rather than our own. Ironically, the result of living this way is that we find peace, happiness, abundance and life – not by pursuing them as an end in themselves, but as the fruit of walking with God. God gives life and confidence. We were made to walk through life with him. “Lord God, you are my life. Thank you for your Spirit’s counsel and sound judgment. Thank you that I have your Word and a Counselor who is always with me.”

Choose Grace and Life

1 Kings 10-11; 2 Chronicles 9; Romans 6   “Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires…rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life…you are not under law, but under grace.” Romans 6:12-14 Following Jesus is not just a matter of knowing the Bible or of studying; it is also surrendering our will and our thoughts to Jesus. Sin desires to rule over us and drive our behavior, even though we have given our lives to Jesus. We give the world, the flesh and the devil authority in our lives when we surrender our thoughts and behavior to sin. The choice of which authority we submit to is ours. The way of Jesus is the way of grace - grace that we receive from Jesus in the forgiveness of our sins, and daily grace to willingly choose to submit to and follow Jesus in all we do. Jesus is our life.   Why would we choose to follow sin and death any longer? “Lord Jesus, thank you for your grace, love and life. I surrender my wi

Reign in Life

    Kings 9; 2 Chronicles 8; Psalms. 136; Romans 5 “For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ.” Romans 5:17 God’s intention for us is not just to reign in heaven, but to reign in life. God has made provision for us to know him through Christ’s gift of righteousness to us. Through the grace of Christ we have right standing and relationship with God Almighty. His Spirit indwells us and gives us the capacity to both live under God’s authority and live in God’s authority. Our submission to Christ and his Word gives us the freedom to resist sin and the influence of the world, the flesh and the devil. We reign in life with Christ. There are few things the enemy wants more, than to keep us ignorant of this truth. In Christ, we are more than conquerors through him who loved us and gave himself for us. “Lord Jes

The Glory of the Lord in Sacrifice

2 Chronicles 6-7; Psalms. 135; Romans 4   “When Solomon finished praying, fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices, and the glory of the Lord filled the temple…When all the Israelites saw the fire coming down and the glory of the Lord above the temple, they knelt on the pavement with their faces to the ground and they worshiped and gave thanks to the Lord…” 2 Chronicles 7:1, 3 It is the glory of the Lord, his very presence, which we were created to know. The awe and fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. When we are face down in surrender and worship, we know who we are and whose we are. The illusion that we are gods and masters of our own destiny, and the illusion that we can live unaccountably for ourselves, vaporizes in the presence of a Holy God. As we offer our lives today as living sacrifices, the fire of God’s presence will both ensure our flesh and reveal God’s glory. It is our lives which are the temple of the living God, our lives wh

The Glory of God in Worship

  1 Kings 8; 2 Chronicles 5; Psalms. 99; Romans 3 “All the Levites who were musicians…stood on the east side of the altar, playing cymbals, harps and lyres. There were accompanied by 120 priests sounding trumpets. The trumpeters and singers joined in unison, as with one voice, to give praise and thanks to the Lord…‘He is good; his love endures forever.’ Then the temple of the Lord was filled with a cloud…for the glory of the Lord filled the temple of God.” 2 Chronicles 5:12-14 Worship is our grateful response to God for his incredible love, goodness and faithfulness to us. The dedication of the temple was a spectacular event of music, instruments, and voices, united in declaring God’s love and goodness. The climax of that worship service (and any other worship service) was the manifest presence of God filling the temple. In the presence of God all worshippers were unable to sing or play, because the weight or glory of God’s presence overwhelmed them. There is no more awe inspiring real


1 Kings 7; 2 Chronicles 4; Psalms. 98; Romans 2 “Sing to the Lord a new song for he has done marvelous things; his right hand and his holy arm have worked salvation for him. The Lord has made his salvation known, and revealed his righteousness to the nations…all the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God…shout for joy before the Lord, the king. Let the sea resound, and everything in it, the world and all who live in it…” Psalm 98:1-3, 6, 7 The invitation to celebrate God’s salvation and gift of righteousness extends to all creation. God’s plan is to recreate and restore all things; all will be made new. God has made his salvation in Christ known all nations. This calls for joy and celebration, new songs and even shouts of praise. We were made for this purpose - to know and celebrate relationship with our Creator the Lord, the King of all the earth and heaven. Even nature is invited into this celebration of God’s saving, restoring power, let us not be spectators in this ce

Faithful Ones, Hate Evil

  1 Kings 6; 2 Chronicles 3; Psalms. 97; Romans 1   “Let those who love the Lord hate evil, for he guards the lives of his faithful ones and delivers them from the hand of the wicked.” Psalm 97:10 God’s Word declares his ways. As we live within those ways we are guarded and delivered from the hand of the wicked. However, when those who love the Lord also embrace evil, we expose ourselves to the world, the lusts of our flesh and the devil, and we suffer the consequences. The primary focus of our spiritual warfare must be on maintaining and investing in unbroken fellowship with God through the Holy Spirit. The angels of God surround God’s faithful ones; however, it is our choices, not God’s choices which determine whether the enemy has access to our lives. To love the Lord is to be faithful to him. “Father God, thank you for your faithfulness to me. I too desire to be faithful to you and hate evil this day.”

Lord of Peace

1 Kings 4-5; 2 Chronicles 2; Psalms. 101; 2 Thessalonians 3 “Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you.” 2 Thessalonians 3:16 “…now the Lord my God has given me rest on every side, and there is no adversary or disaster.” 1 Kings 5:4 It is God who gives peace; peace within and peace around us. Peace is more than the absence of conflict. Peace with God is the fruit of acknowledging his lordship in our lives and accepting his gift of forgiveness for our sin. We are then able to experience his presence and his peace in our lives. Our words become formed from this inner sanctuary of peace; our thoughts are at peace. We become people of peace and at peace. When God blesses our relationships with peace on every side, we can use our resources and strength to bless God and others and live for his glory. God’s people should be known for peace. “Lord Jesus, thank you for peace within and without. You are my Lord.”

Discerning Heart

  1 Kings 3; 2 Chronicles 1; Psalms. 78; 2 Thessalonians 2   “…God said, ‘Ask for whatever you want me to give you’…‘give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong…’” 1 Kings 3:5, 9 Solomon’s response to God’s offer indicated humility. He requested wisdom, the capacity to discern and distinguish right from wrong. However, knowing right from wrong doesn’t mean we will do the right thing, only that we know the difference. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom;…” (Psalm 111:10). To fear God is to worship him and walk in his ways. Solomon’s first act as king was to build an alliance with Egypt through marriage. The gods of Egypt were introduced to Jerusalem. What appeared to be a wise political decision had long lasting spiritual implications. We need both discernment and a heart of worship and obedience. Even the wisest man on earth can make foolish decisions. The fear of the Lord will keep us in a posture of listening obed


1 Kings 2; 1 Chronicles 29; Psalms. 95; 2 Thessalonians 1   “Yours, O Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendor, for everything in heaven and on earth is yours...Wealth and honor come from you; you are the ruler of all things. In your hands are strength and power to exalt and give strength to all.” 1 Chronicles 29:11, 12 There is great humility that comes from this song of thanksgiving at the end of David’s life. He acknowledged again that his authority and his every blessing came from the hand of God. There is no greater set of hands that we want on our lives. Wealth and honor come from God. At the close of his life, David is releasing all that God has blessed his life with to the next generation and to the glory of God. The temple building vision that God gave David was to be his lasting legacy in Israel; a place of worship, constructed at the end of a life of worship. What kind of legacy will I leave behind? “Lord Jesus, all I have comes fro

Our Refuge

  1 Kings 1; 1 Chronicles 28; Psalms. 91; 1 Thessalonians 5   “Adonijah is afraid of King Solomon and is clinging to the horns of the altar.” 1 Kings 1:51 “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.’” Psalm 91:1, 2 David learned to rest on the shadow of the Almighty. His son Adonijah was striving for position and power and found himself clinging to the horns of the altar pleading for his life. For some reason Adonijah never learned to say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God in whom I trust.” Perhaps he trusted in his family name, or his handsome appearance, or his influence over people. In the end, not even religious symbols provided a good refuge for him. He found himself all alone. When we offer our lives to God, we place them on the altar of sacrifice, like living sacrifices, and God’s presence becomes our refuge. “Lord Jesus, you are my re

Gifts in Submission

1 Chronicles 25-27; 1 Thessalonians 4   “…The sons of Asaph were under the supervision of Asaph, who prophesied under the king’s supervision. As for Jeduthun, from his sons: Gedaliah…all, under the supervision of their father Jeduthin, who prophesied, using the harp in thanking and praising the Lord.” 1 Chronicles 25:2, 3 The gifts of the Spirit must function in submission to authority for them to be effective. The sons of Asaph were submitted in their prophesying to their father who was accountable to the king. Where there is no submission to authority, there can be no true authority. The gift of prophesy is powerful for uncovering men’s hearts, for confirming guidance and direction, and for affirming the truths of God’s Word. It must always be focused on strengthening, encouragement and comfort (1 Corinthians 14:3). In submission to authority, this gift and others can develop in a way that honors God and encourages others. “Lord Jesus, may your gifts grow in my life and bless others,

Normal Persecution

  1 Chronicles 22-24; 1 Thessalonians 3   “We sent Timothy…to strengthen and encourage you in your faith, so that no one would be unsettled by these trials. You know quite well that we were destined for them…when we were with you, we kept telling you we would be persecuted. And it turned out that way…” 1 Thessalonians 3:2-4 Opposition to our faith in Christ when we share the gospel of salvation is normal. Paul prepared his new believers with the normal expectation that both he and they would face persecution. Expectation that persecution is normal, changes how we respond to challenges. When we present the gospel as being all about our fulfillment in life and our happiness, we set new believers up for disappointment and a crisis of faith. Paul’s counsel and prayer for these young believers is that their faith would stand firm in persecution, their love would increase for each other, and their hearts would remain strong in the hope of Christ’s return. Faith, hope and love were his theme.


2 Samuel 24; 1 Chronicles 21; Psalms. 30; 1 Thessalonians 2   “Satan rose up against Israel and incited David to take a census of Israel. So David said to Joab…‘Go and count the Israelites’…Joab reported the number of the fighting men to David…This command was also evil in the sight of God…” 1 Chronicles 21:1, 2, 5, 7 Spiritual warfare is focused on Satan getting us ‘off side’ with God and his Word. God hates pride. David’s desire to count his army was motivated by pride, which opened the door to a request which might have looked reasonable to some, but grieved God. God reduced Gideon’s army to 300, because 10,000 would be too many to deliver Israel. God’s blessing and favor on David’s life and leadership was not a license to become independent from God. Seemingly innocent thoughts can have demonic origins. God used Joab to warn David that his scheme was going to bring guilt on Israel. Joab had killed many men, yet he understood that David’s request was wrong. David’s anguish at Joab k

Valiant Fighters

2 Samuel 21-23; 1 Thessalonians 1   “Benaiah son of Jehoiada was a valiant fighter from Kabzeel, who performed great exploits. He struck down two of Moab’s best men. He also went down into a pit on a snowy day and killed a lion…And David put him in charge of his bodyguard.” 2 Samuel 23:20, 23 David’s bodyguard team was composed of men from a variety of ethnic backgrounds who were drawn to the vision and values of David’s kingdom. They were distinguished by their courage in battle and the willingness to risk their lives for the sake of their king.   It’s understandable why Benaiah would face several of Moab’s best men in battle; however, why would he enter a pit on a snowy day to kill a lion?   Did he think about this decision, or did he respond impulsively?   Why did Paul fight wild beasts during his ministry in Ephesus (1 Corinthians 15:32)?   He later wrote, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against authorities, against the powers of this dark

He Won Over the Hearts

2 Samuel 19-20; Psalms. 55; Matthew 28   “And say to Amasa, ‘Are you not my own flesh and blood? are…the commander of my army in place of Joab’…He won over the hearts of all the men of Judah as though they were one man.” 2 Samuel 19:13, 14 David reached out to those who had rebelled against him. Amasa had sided with Absalom and had been named leader of Absalom’s army. With Absalom’s death, David invited Amasa back under his authority. David’s security in God’s call and the establishment of his authority gave him freedom to forgive and extend trust to those who had betrayed him. Even in responding to a rebellion, David walked with humility. It’s in the test that we discover what is really in our hearts. Humility and grace win the hearts of others and carry the day. Authority must be granted for it to be legitimate. David understood the importance of humility, forgiveness and grace in receiving authority. “Lord Jesus, thank you that you have extended mercy, forgiveness and grace to

Walking Before God

  2 Samuel 18; Psalms. 56; Matthew 27   “For you have delivered me from death and my feet from stumbling, that I may walk before God in the light of life.” Psalm 56:13 Our greatest gift in life is the privilege of walking with God, living in the light of his presence. The alternative is walking on a path that leads to destruction, full of stumbling. Our feet are symbolic of the choices we make each day to either walk with God or away from him. When our feet stumble, we lose our balance and become unstable in our ways. God’s grace is offered to us as a gift of life. To choose life is to choose Jesus and his forgiveness. To choose life is to choose the Holy Spirit, and being led by the Spirit, keep in step with the Spirit. God’s path of life requires living in the light, confession of sin and freedom from fear. God’s power, grace and Spirit have delivered those who know Jesus from death and stumbling, so that they can walk with God in the light. “Lord Jesus, I choose to walk in the light

Scriptures Fulfilled

2 Samuel 17; Psalms. 71; Matthew 26 “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will…for all who draw the sword will die by the sword. Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels? But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen in the way?” Matthew 26:39, 52-54 In Christ’s passion there is a surrender to the will of the Father, and a relinquishing of power and violence. Jesus knew he could call on angels, but he chose the will of his Father instead. The fulfillment of prophetic Scripture gives glory to the Father and his eternal Word. Would we be willing to set aside our will and plan for the Father’s? Would we be willing to agree with the Father’s prophetic purposes for our day regardless of the cost? How interested are we that Scriptures are fulfilled? Will we pray according to the will of the Father? “Lord Jesus, you are my example of faith an

Oil in Jars

  2 Samuel 15-16; Psalms. 32; Matthew 25   “Five of them were foolish and five were wise. The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. The wise, however, took oil in Jars along with their lamps. The bridegroom was a long time in coming and they all became drowsy and fell asleep.” Matthew 25:2-5 Living in anticipation of the return of Christ requires strength and endurance. In Christ’s parable, all the virgins became drowsy and fell asleep waiting. Our lamps of first love for Christ cannot burn without the oil of the Holy Spirit.   What is our capacity to be filled, to yield to, and be controlled by the Holy Spirit? The Holy Spirit keeps us alert to the condition of our heart, alert to sin and to the presence of the Lord. Revival and spiritual awakenings require the oil of the Holy Spirit. What is our capacity to know and to respond to the Holy Spirit in our lives? “Lord Jesus, thank you for the Holy spirit. Fill me this day so that I can be awake to your presen

Living in the Light

2 Samuel 13-14; Matthew 24   “Now Amnon had a friend named Jonadab son of Shimeah, David’s brother. Jonadab was a very shrewd man…But Jonadab son of Shimeah, David’s brother, said, ‘My Lord should not think that they killed all the princes; only Amnon is dead. This has been Absalom’s expressed intention ever since the day Amnon raped his sister Tamar.’” 2 Samuel 13:3, 32 Jonadab devised the plan for Amnon to rape his sister Tamar. He later was giving counsel to David regarding the revenge of Absalom on Amnon. His hypocrisy and complicity in the scheme was never revealed in scripture; however, he witnessed the consequences of violence against the innocent. David’s family was full of intrigue. David’s own rape and murder of Bathsheba and Uriah in some way limited his moral authority in his home to discipline his children when they committed the same sins. Unconfessed guilt is cancer of the soul, in a life or in a family. However, the truth and blood of Christ can set us free! “Lord Jesus

Create in Me a Pure Heart

  2 Samuel 11-12; Psalms. 51; Matthew 23   “Surely you desire truth in the inner parts…Create in me a pure heart, O God…a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.” Psalm 51:6, 10, 17 “Everything they do is done for men to see…You clean the outside of the dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. Matthew 23:5, 25 God examines the motives of our heart, the reasons why we do things. Religious behavior is particularly effective in impressing others, while keeping our heart hidden. Jesus requires our hearts to be the first place of worship and surrender to his will. Jesus requires truth and purity in our hearts. Recognizing hypocrisy, and repenting for it, should cause brokenness in our heart, a sacrifice that God accepts. Only God can create a pure heart and it requires open heart surgery. Keeping our old selfish, self-indulgence heart, while professing to worship God, is unacceptable. God desires transformation in our lives beginning in our heart (motives

Wearing Wedding Clothes

2 Samuel 10; 1 Chronicles 20; Psalms. 20; Matthew 22   “‘Go to the street corners and invite to the banquet anyone you find’…when the king came in to see the guests, he noticed a man there who was not wearing wedding clothes…‘how did you get in here without wedding clothes?’…many are invited, but few are chosen.” Matthew 22:9, 11, 12, 14 It was customary in the time this story was told, for the groom to outfit each of his guests with a new suit of wedding clothes as a gift. The man discovered by the king to not be wearing wedding clothes either refused to wear the gifted clothes, or somehow missed that opportunity. Clothes in the stories of the scriptures, often speak of our righteousness before God (Revelation 19:7, 8). The Bible tells us that our righteousness is like filthy rags before God, but his gift of righteousness (or “right standing” before God) in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 2:8, 9) is the heart of the gospel. In mission, many are invited, but few pass the test. Few are chosen,

Produce His Fruit

  2 Samuel 8-9; 1 Chronicles 18-19; Matthew 21   “…the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people who will produce its fruit. He who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces, but he on whom it falls will be crushed.” Matthew 21:43-44 There is no room for entitlement or presumption in the kingdom of God. Jesus requires fruit from every person in his kingdom - fruit that testifies we are growing and that his life is flowing through us like the life-giving sap of a tree. There is a relationship between brokenness and fruit production. It’s in the surrender of our will and the yielding of our way to God’s will and God’s way, that his Spirit fills us and produces fruit in our lives to God’s glory. Any branch that doesn’t bear fruit is cut off and burned, Jesus said in John 15. We must surrender and yield to the life-giving, fruit-producing Spirit of God, or we will not produce fruit and not remain “effective and productive in our knowledge of Christ.” “Lord Jesus,