February 20

Leviticus 9:7-10:20; Mark 4:26-5:20; Psalm 37:30-40; Proverbs 10:6-7

How do you handle the storms that arise in your life? Oh, storms will most certainly come because they are a part of the human experience! How we respond will determine how long the storm lasts and what its effects will be.

Jesus and His Disciples were on a boat in the middle of a physical storm. That’s probably one of the worst places to be. But there were two different responses to the same storm. The boat was rocking and reeling from the wind and the waves. The boat was filling with water.  The Disciples, in panic, began to do everything they could to salvage the boat. Furiously they were running around bailing out water, and trimming the sails. They needed more help!

Then someone noticed that Jesus was missing so they went looking for Him. They found him in the back of the boat. Jesus wasn’t praying. Jesus wasn’t bailing out water. Jesus was sleeping! The Disciples chastised Him and questioned if He really cared.

Jesus awoke and spoke to the wind, waves and rain! They obeyed His command! You see, the Disciple’s missed an important point. Before they got into the boat, Jesus had already said that they were going over to the other side! Once Jesus spoke it, there was no other option available. Anything contrary to those words could not win!

What storm is raging in your life? Jesus has already spoken blessings and promises over your life. You speak to those storms and command them to cease because they cannot stop you from getting to the place where God has promised you! As a child of God, you have the same power to speak and things happen! Try it!

Tomorrow’s Reading: Leviticus 11:1-12:8; Mark 5:21-43; Psalm 38:1-22; Proverbs 10:8-9

February 19

Leviticus 7:28-9:6; Mark 3:31-4:25; Psalm 37:12-29; Proverbs 10:5

God has always called a group of people to consecrate themselves for His service. To consecrate means to be set aside for God’s purposes. Initially, it was Aaron and his sons. Later, it was the tribe of Levi.

They were given the awesome responsibility of ministering before the Lord. The process of setting a priest apart involved sacrifices and anointing with oil. These were prerequisites for one’s service to the Lord.

When Jesus came and offered the grace of God, there was never again a need for animal sacrifices. Yet, He still needed priests who would serve Him. He still ordains those priests for His service. No animals are needed for the sacrifice. Jesus requires that all of us who are brought into His family become a royal priesthood. The only blood we need is Jesus’ blood. The only sacrifice is our lives.

The oil that is used to anoint us is the Holy Spirit. He empowers us to serve God fully and effectively. Because of Jesus’ life, we have access to God without intermediaries. We can go to Him just like Aaron and his sons did. When you pray you have the same authority that the priest had. God hears your prayers and makes things happen because of you.

Tomorrow’s Reading: Leviticus 9:7-10:20; Mark 4:26-5:20; Psalm 37:30-40; Proverbs 10:6-7

February 18

Leviticus 6:1-7:27; Mark 3:7-30; Psalm 37:1-11; Proverbs 10:3-4

The first call that Jesus offers us is a call to accompany Him. When He choose His first Disciples, He expected that as He performed His early ministry, they would be near Him to learn from His example. Our first task is not to “do” but to “be”.

How often do we put “doing” over “being”? We try to earn a position with God but we never realize that God cares less about our doing but more about our being. God knows that if we will be with Jesus, the doing will happen automatically. However, if we only focus on doing, we will miss the challenge to really change who we are!

As God’s children and siblings to Jesus, we cannot forget that our rightful place is to be with Jesus! Think about how you spend your day. Are you spending time with Jesus? Are you intentionally trying to be with Him in everything you do? Are you inviting Him into your daily affairs? Your day will be more effective and your prayer time will be more meaningful when you focus on being with Jesus more than doing things for Him.

Tomorrow’s Reading: Leviticus 7:28-9:6; Mark 3:31-4:25; Psalm 37:12-29; Proverbs 10:5

February 17

Leviticus 4:1-5:19; Mark 2:13-3:6; Psalm 36:1-12; Proverbs 10:1-2

Sin arises in our lives when there is no fear of God. Most people assume that we can fall into sin! That somehow, sin sneaks up on us and ensnares us. But, sin does not work like that. Sin is a persistent temptation to walk away from God’s way and do things our way. Sin suggests pathways to disobey God and circumvent His plans!

Sin starts as a whisper in our ear but it ends up screaming at us. Sin can wear us down if we continue to let it speak to us– tempting us to act against God’s ways! Left unchecked, sin will invade our whole existence and cause us to do things that bring shame on us, our families and God.

In the Old Testament, they brought all types of offerings to satisfy their sin debt. But, it never lasted more than a day. The very next day, new sacrifices had to be offered for their sins. This was perpetual.

What gives us the strength to say “no” to sin and “yes” to God? His unfailing love!! That seems so strange! It’s not God’s judgment that causes us to walk away from our sin, it is God’s love!!! Why? Because love is who God is! When we are exposed to His love, it changes everything.

If you are dealing with a persistent sin problem and you really want to be free, get a good mental image of God wrapping His arms around you and telling you, like only a loving Father can, “I love you.” God’s love will drive out all temptations. We find our freedom from sin in the Love of God as shown by Jesus.

Tomorrow’s Reading: Leviticus 6:1-7:27; Mark 3:7-30; Psalm 37:1-11; Proverbs 10:3-4

February 16

Leviticus 1:1-3:17; Mark 1:29-2:12; Psalm 35:17-28; Proverbs 9:13-18

What kind of offerings does God accept? With all of the precision that God used for the Tabernacle, the Book of Leviticus opens with God giving instructions on the sacrifices that people were to bring and how they were to be prepared.

There were different types of offerings for different types of things. In all cases, when an offering was brought to the priest to present to God, it had to be without defects! In other words, it count not have any deficiencies, blemishes, or imperfections. This animal had to be taken from a person’s herd.

Imagine the diligence with which a person had to go through their flock to find the perfect animal– to examine it with care to ensure that it met God’s standards. I wonder if we take that same approach to our offerings today.

Do you think about what you are going to give? Do you give something that is precious, choice and special; or, do you give something left over just to say you gave. The offerings that Israel brought were an expression of their heart! Think about this the next time you bring an offering to God: Does it represent your best? It really does make a difference.

Tomorrow’s Reading: Leviticus 4:1-5:19; Mark 2:13-3:6; Psalm 36:1-12; Proverbs 10:1-2

February 15

Exodus 39:1-40:38; Mark 1:1-28; Psalm 35:1-16; Proverbs 9:11-12

“Just as the Lord had commanded.” These are such comforting words! God loves us enough that He will show us the way– even give us great detail about what needs to be done and how it should be done. We do not have to grope in the darkness trying to figure it all out by ourselves. God will show us and tell us what He wants us to do and it is the roadmap to our success.

They are also convicting words. As much as God loves us and shows us the way, can we honestly say that we have been doing what He told us to do? What percentage of what God has shared with you are you completing? We all know its not 100% because we are human; but, is it above 50%? Is it less than 10%?

This is no trivial question! Our willingness to do what God commands is the key to unlocking and releasing the Blessing that He has already put on our lives. Are there areas where you are not seeing the success that you know God promised? Are there persistent roadblocks hindering you from getting to that goal (even though it seems so near)? Are there deficiencies in your family, health, friendships, career, business or finances that you have prayed about? Your key to breakthrough is in your obedience to God and His Word.

Search your heart and honestly answer that question: “Am I doing what God told ME to do?” Then repent (stop being disobedient) and start fulfilling what God has told you to do. It sounds simple but this is the “cross” we bear: to remove anything that keeps us from obeying Jesus. “Oh God, let it be said of us, as Your children, that we did what You told us to do!”

Tomorrow’s Reading: Leviticus 1:1-3:17; Mark 1:29-2:12; Psalm 35:17-28; Proverbs 9:13-18

February 14

Exodus 37:1-38:31; Matthew 28:1-20; Psalm 34:11-22; Proverbs 9:9-10

How do you approach the tasks that God has given you? Reluctantly by dragging your feet as you do it? Enthusiastically by doing it with great excitement? Or, Excellently by giving it the best you have to offer.

As we read about Bezalel and his artistry, we see a person who is engaged in his assignment. With an eye towards excellence, he crafts every piece of the Tabernacle and its utensils. From the gold, bronze, Acacia wood, and fabrics, he does his job with precision and excellence.

Everyday for decades, his craftsmanship would be used by the priests to honor God. This was his spiritual legacy! We are reading about it thousands of years later. I wonder what his spiritual legacy would have been if the items he created did not stand the test of time or fell apart in the priest’s hands? Serving in excellence causes us to leave a spiritual legacy that cannot be erased.

Bezalel was a master craftsman but his only claim to fame, as it were, was what he did for the Tabernacle. His spiritual legacy far outweighed his professional legacy.

What is your spiritual legacy going to be? Will it be one of excellence in completing your purpose? What will be said or written about how you did what God gave you to do? Commit to leaving a lasting spiritual legacy.

Tomorrow’s Reading: Exodus 39:1-40:38; Mark 1:1-28; Psalm 35:1-16; Proverbs 9:11-12

February 13

Exodus 35:10-36:38; Matthew 27:32-66; Psalm 34:1-10; Proverbs 9:7-8

What can God do with a willing heart? Anything! The building of the Tabernacle was a massive undertaking– especially for former slaves. When God designed the Tabernacle, He designed it so that only He would be able to supply the material. God spared no expense.

How were they able to get all of the building materials and finishing materials? The leaders explained the need and the Bible says that the people willingly brought what they had to help. They were not only able to give but willing to give.

What happens when one’s willingness matches their ability? Supernatural provision takes place. Often people will say, “If I had more, I could do more.” Yet they discount what they currently have. Prompted by God, the Israelites brought what they had so that the Tabernacle would be completed.

The people brought so much willingly that Moses had to tell them to strop bringing provisions because they had more than enough. Giving like this is enabled when people have been good stewards of their resources and have a willing heart.

Let’s pray that when God speaks to us to give that we are both willing and able.

Tomorrow’s Reading: Exodus 37:1-38:31; Matthew 28:1-20; Psalm 34:11-22; Proverbs 9:9-10

February 12

Exodus 34:1-35:9; Matthew 27:15-31; Psalm 33:12-22; Proverbs 9:1-6

Moses had such a special relationship with God. He would have serious conversations with God to the point that God would listen to his opinion. Moses had received the law but he knew he needed more than that.

Moses’ prayer was for God to “travel with them”. Wherever they were going, Moses wanted God to lead the way. God consents to do that and He promises to drive out all of Israel’s enemies too. They are going to enjoy God’s presence, power and provision.

One thing God will not tolerate is a divided heart of loyalty. God is willing to open up His good treasure of blessings to us but only if we are exclusively His. God says that He is jealous for us. Many people have misinterpreted this statement.  It simply means that God is passionate about being in relationship with us. God doesn’t want anyone or anything to come between His relationship with His creation.

If there is any area where God is not premier, surrender it today so you can enjoy the fullness of God’s presence.

Tomorrow’s Reading: Exodus 35:10-36:38; Matthew 27:32-66; Psalm 34:1-10; Proverbs 9:7-8

February 11

Exodus 32:1-33:23; Matthew 26:69-27:14; Psalm 33:1-11; Proverbs 8:33-36

Moses took too long to come back and the people returned to their old ways. Even after all they had experienced from the Hand of God, Moses’ absence caused them to question God’s involvement in their lives. So, what did they do? They returned to what they knew.

They took the gold that God had provided for them as they fled from Egypt and molded a gold calf. Why a calf? It was the god of the Egyptians. Have you ever noticed how we are prone to return to the old idols we were exposed to when it appears that God is taking a long time to respond?

The Israelites, with the consent of Aaron, took the blessings of God and converted them into an idol. Is there an area in your life where you have taken God’s blessing and made it an idol? It could be a relationship, a job, a car, house, or money. God blessed you with it and rather than being thankful to the Giver, you begin to worship the gift! Search your heart today to see if there are idols that you have erected.

If so, renounce them and submit to the Powerful Name of Jesus. Just because you can’t see God working doesn’t mean that He isn’t.

Tomorrow’s Reading: Exodus 34:1-35:9; Matthew 27:15-31; Psalm 33:12-22; Proverbs 9:1-6