December 15

Micah 1:1-4:13; Revelation 6:1-17; Psalm 134:1-3; Proverbs 30:1-4

God’s word is meant to guide us and comfort us in life. How we receive His Word will largely depend upon where we are in life. Israel was entrusted with recording and sharing God’s Word. That was an easy task so long as they were living up to God’s standard.

The moment that their behavior deviated from God’s path, the same word that used to bring comfort and strength brought conviction. They were not convicted in the areas where they were doing well, they were convicted in the areas where they were not being obedient.

The same is true for each of us. There are certain parts of God’s Word that we receive with joy. But, there are other words that we receive reluctantly or not at all. Those are really the Words that we need to hear! If you find yourself in a place where progress is not being made in your life and you are wondering what your next steps should be, then you should look at those areas where you know your life is not aligned with God’s Word. Get them in alignment with God, and your joy in hearing God’s Word will return.

Tomorrow’s Reading: Micah 5:1-7:20; Revelation 7:1-17; Psalm 135:1-21; Proverbs 30:5-6

December 14

Jonah 1:1-4-11; Revelation 5:1-14; Psalm 133:1-3; Proverbs 29:26-27

God’s forgiveness is not logical and it is not exclusive! He will respond to anyone who calls out for forgiveness.. This may not make sense to us because we like to categorize some “sins” as worse than others. And, usually the worse sins belong to others and not us!

God sent Jonah to tell Nineveh about His impending judgment. Jonah took issue with this assignment and ran in the other direction. While on a ship headed away from Nineveh, the ship is caught in a storm.

When Jonah finally gets to Nineveh, God says that He wants Jonah to not only talk about the judgment but also about God’s forgiveness. Jonah takes issue with God’s kindness to Nineveh. Jonah thinks that God is being unfair to forgive them. God teaches Jonah that the people of Nineveh are His and He cares for them. In fact, God cares for all people. Let’s not be too quick to judge people but let’s freely point everyone to God’s grace and love so that they can enjoy a real relationship with our Heavenly Father.

Tomorrow’s Reading: Micah 1:1-4:13; Revelation 6:1-17; Psalm 134:1-3; Proverbs 30:1-4

December 13

Obadiah 1:1-21; Revelation 4:1-11; Psalm 132:1-18; Proverbs 29:24-25 

If ever we needed a lesson on the importance of treating people properly it is with how Edom treated Israel. Edomites are the descendants of Esau. When Israel was journeying from Egypt to the Promised Land, they needed to pass through the Land of Edom and the Edomites refused.

Israel had to travel all the way around Edom and God took note of this. Then the Edomites opposed Saul’s leadership. They were known to fight against their own brothers and God took note.

When judgment time came, God reminded Edom of all they did to hurt their own people. Edom had never been criticized for worshipping idols or rebelling against God. Their fault was how they treated other people.

God does care how we treat others. It is not about whether we are right or wrong in the situation. It is about honoring other people as though they are God’s child—because they are! Evaluate how you treat others and make certain that you are treating people around you in a God-honoring way.

Tomorrow’s Reading: Jonah 1:1-4-11; Revelation 5:1-14; Psalm 133:1-3; Proverbs 29:26-27

December 12

Amos 7:1-9:15;Revelation 3:7-22; Psalm 131:1-3; Proverbs 29:23 

God never delights in bringing judgment on His people. In fact, imposing punishment on His people means something has gone terribly wrong. But, as a Holy God, sin cannot be left unanswered. Israel had a cycle of obedience and disobedience.

It would only take one cycle of this to see that obedience is the right way to go! Even under the law, there was one thing that would hold back the hand of judgment: repentance. Repenting means, “To turn away from.”

When Israel, or a prophet on behalf of the people, repented, it would stay God’s hand. Or, in the midst of judgment, if one repented, a new day of restoration would begin.

Even though we are under grace, and don’t have to live under the threat of judgment like the Israelites did, we should still possess a heart of obedience to the will of God. This is the surest way to tap into the full measure of God’s blessings for our lives!

Tomorrow’s Reading: Obadiah 1:1-21; Revelation 4:1-11; Psalm 132:1-18; Proverbs 29:24-25 

December 11

Amos 4:1-6:14; Revelation 2:18-3:6; Psalm 130:1-8; Proverbs 29:21-22 

Amos prophesies about the “Day of the Lord”. It is often referred to as a terrible day. It is filled with judgment and pain for the Israelites who disobeyed. On this day, God unloaded the weight of His anger on His rebellious children.

What did it take to get God so angry at His people? In addition to worshipping other gods, which was big, they didn’t value family, they mistreated the most vulnerable in society, their courts were filled with injustice and they had lost their moral center. For all of this, Israel was exiled from their land and taken captive in foreign nations.

Even though we are under grace and not law, God still cares about these same areas in our lives. Are you valuing your family? Are you helping others who are in need? Are you living with the character and integrity of God? Are you standing for that which is right and just?

Because of all that God has done for us, let’s commit to make what matters to Him a priority for us!

Tomorrow’s Reading:  Amos 7:1-9:15; Revelation 3:7-22; Psalm 131:1-3; Proverbs 29:23

December 10

Amos 1:1-3:15; Revelation 2:1-17; Psalm 129:1-8; Proverbs 29:19-20

God honors covenant. Covenant is an agreement between two parties. The entire Bible is based on this concept. We can never understand the depth of God’s love without understanding the importance of covenant.

God’s love for us is guaranteed by His unrelenting commitment to His covenant with humanity. When someone enters a covenant, they agree to certain terms and conditions in exchange for something of value. Once a covenant/contract is established, it is binding on both parties. God has integrity and will never break a covenant.

When God established His covenant with Israel, His expectation was that they would remain faithful to Him and honor each other. In response, God would protect and provide for Israel. God kept His part of the covenant but Israel didn’t. So, because God doesn’t give up on His covenant, He patiently waited for Israel to turn back.

Recognize your covenant with God. Honor Him and love people and watch God do more for you than you could ever imagine!

Tomorrow’s Reading:  Amos 4:1-6:14; Revelation 2:18-3:6: Psalm 130:1-8; Proverbs 29:21-22 

December 9

Joel 1:1-3:21; Revelation 1:1-20; Psalm 128:1-6; Proverbs 29:18

God is no respecter of persons. When He gives out benefits to His children they are available to all of His children. Under the Law, God’s Spirit was an exclusive asset for a few. In Israel, there were select people who had access to God’s Spirit. Notables like Sampson, David, Elijah and Elisha are a couple of examples of those who had access to God’s Spirit.

In the New Covenant, God says that a time is coming when His Spirit will be offered to everyone: Men, women, slaves, and free will receive the infilling of the Holy Spirit.

God knew that if His people were to live up to the standard that He had set, we would need His Spirit living within. If you are trying to live for God without His Spirit, then you are missing the joy of being Spirit filled and Spirit led. God wants to help you live for Him and He wants you to know how exciting your life can be when you are directed daily by His Spirit.

Ask today for God to fill you with His Spirit and He will.

Tomorrow’s Reading: Amos 1:1-3:15; Revelation 2:1-17; Psalm 129:1-8; Proverbs 29:19-20

December 8

Hosea 10:1-14:9; Jude 1:1-25; Psalm 127:1-5; Proverbs 29:15-17

Our hearts play a significant role in our lives. Not the organ that pumps your blood but the very core of your spiritual being which the Bible calls the heart. The heart is the internal compass of our lives and whatever is placed into our hearts will reproduce in our lives.

God’s advice to Israel was to “Plant the good seeds of righteousness, and you will harvest a crop of love. Plow up the hard ground of your hearts, for now is the time to seek the Lord, that he may come and shower righteousness upon you.” (Hosea 10:12)

God wanted Israel to use the law of sowing and reaping to reverse their plight in life. Seed is no good if the ground is unhealthy. Good seed in bad soil will seldom produce as it should. But good seed in good ground will always produce a harvest.

What is the condition of your heart? Have you lived with so much pain that your heart is hardened? Have you endured so many disappointments that your heart is filled with bitterness? Has loss engulfed your heart so that there is an impenetrable wall around it? These types of heart will only reproduce more hurt.

Ask God today to help you with your heart issue and let Him come in and change the stony heart for one of flesh so that when good seed is sown it will produce the maximum harvest in our lives.

Tomorrow’s Reading:  Joel 1:1-3:21; Revelation 1:1-20; Psalm 128:1-6; Proverbs 29:18

December 7

Hosea 6:1-9:17; 3 John 1:1-14; Psalm 126:1-6; Proverbs 29:12-14

There is a spiritual law often referred to as “sowing and reaping” or reciprocity. It states that whatever we do (sow) will come back to us in a greater measure. It is found throughout the Bible. It is a pervasive law that governs all of creation.

We see this law at work in nature. One seed is planted but a crop grows. This same law works spiritually. If we respected this law, we could leverage it to see enhanced results in our lives. God says about Israel, “They have planted the wind and will harvest the whirlwind.” (Hosea 8:7)

Israel saw the negative effects of this law. They sowed iniquity and they reaped great sin and judgment. They sowed rebellion and they reaped waves of invasion and exile. When they sowed acts of obedience, they reaped peace and prosperity.

If you want to see more of something in your life, then sow it and watch it come back to you in a greater measure. This law always works so make it work for you and not against you.

Tomorrow’s Reading: Hosea 10:1-14:9; Jude 1:1-25; Psalm 127:1-5; Proverbs 29:15-17

December 6

Hosea 4:1-5:152 John 1:1-13; Psalm 125:1-5; Proverbs 29:9-11

Faithfulness, kindness and knowledge of God were the 3 areas that Israel had failed. Israel’s deficiencies in these areas led them to all manner of evil. We often look for complicated formulas for success in life when God’s way is very simple: remain faithful to God, be kind to one another and learn as much as you can about God and share it.

The foundation of each of these expectations is that we do our part. Often we want to look at other people and point out their short-comings. We fulfill our commitments based on how others treat us. This is the opposite of what God expects. If no one else is faithful to God, I should be. If no one else is kind, I should be. If no one else is growing, I should be. If no one else is sharing his or her faith, I should be.

This level of personal responsibility for our walk with God removes all excuses and blame. God is looking for each one of us to live our lives faithfully to Him– that means renouncing all other gods or idols and remaining true to Him. Then, God wants us to demonstrate kindness to everyone we meet– even those who do not like us. Lastly, God wants us to know Him and spread His Name so that others will come to know Him.

We all can do this and it will bring great honor to our God!

Tomorrow’s Reading:  Hosea 6:1-9:17; 3 John 1:1-14; Psalm 126:1-6; Proverbs 29:12-14