March 3

Leviticus 27:14-Numbers 1:54; Mark 11:1-26; Psalm 46:1-11; Proverbs 10:23

In Mark 11, Jesus teaches us a powerful lesson of faith. In fact, it is THE lesson of faith. He sees an unproductive fruit tree. Jesus speaks to the tree and commands it to cease growing and producing. Once Jesus spoke, He kept moving. The next morning, as they walked by the tree the Disciples  noticed a startling thing, the tree was dried up at the roots.

The Disciples were astonished. Peter, trying to draw Jesus’ attention to the dead tree, realizes that the dead tree does not move Jesus. Jesus merely responds, “Have Faith in God.” In the actual Greek, it says, “Have the faith of God.” In other words operate the way God does.

How does God operate? It’s so simple: God speaks and expects it to occur! How about you? Do you expect everything you say to happen? This is why Jesus did not need to look at the tree to verify that it was dead. He knew that whatever He spoke had to come to pass. Your words have creative power. Rather than complain about your situation, speak the Word over your situation. It must obey. It may not happen immediately, but it will happen.

Create a new reality in your life by choosing quality words to speak daily. You future depends on it.

Tomorrow’s Reading: Numbers 2:1-3:51; Mark 11:27-12:17; Psalm 47:1-9; Proverbs 10:24-25

March 2

Leviticus 25:47-27:13; Mark 10:32-52; Psalm 45:1-17; Proverbs 10:22

Jesus’ disciples were a part of making history. They saw Jesus’ determination to establish a Kingdom. However, they mistakenly thought Jesus was coming to establish an earthly kingdom. They knew that if Jesus was sitting on the throne, He would need assistants.

So, James and John thought they would get the inside track and put their request in for one of those prime seats in His new government. They had their eyes opened. Jesus informed them that their request came at a high price. They had to drink from a bitter cup of suffering and be baptized in suffering before they would be qualified to sit in one of those seats.

I don’t know about you, but that would have made me think twice about those seats. Not James and John! They pushed forward and said we are ready! Jesus finally tells them that God could only give what they requested. Yet, they would still suffer!!

You see, these disciples had their eyes on the prize without counting the real cost. The real cost to be great in Jesus’ eyes is not titles, positions and prestige! Greatness in Jesus’ eyes is our willingness to pay the price to serve someone else. Have you ever noticed that helping people is not easy? Have you ever noticed that trying to move someone from one level to another takes real work? Most will become discouraged and walk away. But, this is what it takes to be great!

Today, commit your life to serving Jesus by helping others! It will not always be easy or fun but it will make you great in Jesus’ eyes!!! After all, “For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:45)

Tomorrow’s Reading: Leviticus 27:14-Numbers 1:54; Mark 11:1-26; Psalm 46:1-11; Proverbs 10:23

March 1

Leviticus 24:1-25:46; Mark 10:13-31; Psalm 44:9-26; Proverbs 10:20-21

Every 50 years, Israel observed a Jubilee. It was a time when people cancelled debts, reclaimed property, repatriated families and everyone received a fresh start! Most people only experienced one Jubilee in their lifetime. It was a joyous time of true freedom. (When Jesus came, he ushered in a new time of Jubilee for us. We do not need to wait 50 years. The moment we accept Jesus as our Savior, our Jubilee begins and never ends!)

In the middle of God giving instructions to Israel how they are to honor this Jubilee, he says, “Show your fear of God by not taking advantage of each other. I am the Lord your God.” (Leviticus 25:17)

When we have power to do good for someone, do we do it? When we have the ability to help someone, do we do it? When we have the apparent upper hand, do we take advantage of it? How we treat others does clearly show what we think of God. You see, we were made in God’s image and in God’s likeness. So, every person bears a resemblance to God! How we treat each other will either show we honor God or not. Too often we separate our relationship with God from how we treat one another. However, they are linked in God’s eyes.

How we treat people, even those who mistreat us, is a reflection of our respect for God! Let’s commit to do good to others– even those with whom we do not agree. Let’s use the power and influence that God has given us to help and bless people not take advantage of them.

Tomorrow’s Reading: Leviticus 25:47-27:13; Mark 10:32-52; Psalm 45:1-17; Proverbs 10:22

February 28

Leviticus 22:17-23:44; Mark 9:30-10:12; Psalm 44:1-8; Proverbs 10:19

Humans are prone to forget. As time passes, especially when things are going well, we tend to forget the things that are most important. Throughout the Old Testament, God constantly reminds His people to guard against this selective amnesia.

He gave Israel a series of remembrances they were to observe so they would not forget and teach the next generation the mighty wonders of God. Why is it, when things are going well we forget about all  God has done for us? When we forget, we neglect to tell the next generation about the goodness of God.

You can see all around a generation that has never heard about the miraculous wonders of God. When our youth are robbed of this knowledge, they think they can make it on their own. We know better but we haven’t shared it with those who need to know it. Set up reminders and traditions so that you can retell all that God has done to bring you this far. Then commit to share that information with the next generation.

When this happens, then we can say, “O God, we have heard it with our own ears— our ancestors have told us of all you did in their day, in days long ago” (Psalm 44:1).

Tomorrow’s Reading: Leviticus 24:1-25:46; Mark 10:13-31; Psalm 44:9-26; Proverbs 10:20-21

February 27

Leviticus 20:22-22:16; Mark 9:1-29; Psalm 43:1-5; Proverbs 10:18

As God gives Moses instructions about the Priesthood and how they were to comport themselves, God is very specific about the types of behaviors they are to engage in. He is clear about the people they should marry. He is clear about how they should manage their health and children. All of this was based on the Holiness of God. Those who would represent Him must be like He is.

“…You must consider them holy because I, the Lord, am holy, and I make you holy.” (Leviticus 21:8)

The biggest challenge that the priests faced was their inability to keep all these rules perfectly. In the same way that Aaron’s sons died because they mishandled the sacrifices, each priest lived under the threat of death because of a misstep!

When Jesus came on the scene, He gave us a new reality. We no longer need to live under the threat of death because of our mistakes. God is holy and He cannot abide ungodliness anywhere around Him. So, in order for us to be in His family, God had to find a way to handle all our sins and mistakes without changing His nature. So Jesus shed His blood to make us right with God (holy)!

Now, as Believers, we don’t live under the threat of death from mistakes! We live under the blessings and love of God. In fact, the more we get to know God, the more we are consumed by His love. It drives out all fear!! “And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect. So we will not be afraid on the day of judgment, but we can face him with confidence because we live like Jesus here in this world.” (1 John 4:17)

Tomorrow’s Reading: Leviticus 22:17-23:44; Mark 9:30-10:12; Psalm 44:1-8; Proverbs 10:19

February 26

Leviticus 19:1-20:21; Mark 8:11-38; Psalm 42:1-11; Proverbs 10:17

We have often seen holiness described as the personal piety that one shows God by personal behaviors. I remember the old saying, “I don’t smoke and I don’t chew and I don’t hang with those who do!”

In this narrow point of view, holiness was nothing more than freedom from personal vices. But holiness is defined by so much more. In Biblical terms, holiness covers how we treat others, including the down trodden and vulnerable.

Harvesters were required to leave parts of their field untouched so that the poor could get food. The deaf and blind were protected from harassment. Neighbors were protected against being defrauded or robbed. And, everyone was to be treated with respect.

God really raised the bar for what holiness is. It is so easy to make holiness about dress style (no makeup, no pants or jewelry) but it’s so much more. We have to master treating people by God’s loving standard. This is true holiness and shows a respect for God.

It is interesting that when Jesus healed the blind man, his first perception of man was jaded so Jesus had to touch him again. I wonder if we need a second touch from Jesus so that we can see people as God sees them.

Tomorrow’s Reading: Leviticus 20:22-22:16; Mark 9:1-29; Psalm 43:1-5; Proverbs 10:18

February 25

Leviticus 16:29-18:30; Mark 7:24-8:10; Psalm 41:1-13; Proverbs 10:15-16

When Jesus speaks the powerful words, “Ephraphatha” it had transforming power. Every word that Jesus speaks has power. In fact, Luke 1:37 reminds us that, “For with God nothing is ever impossible and no word from God shall be without power or impossible of fulfillment.”

A deaf man approaches Jesus with a desire to be healed. Jesus does some things  very differently from His other healing miracles. Most people coming to receive a healing from Jesus were usually seeking healing for one disorder. This time Jesus heals him of his original disease and any related sickness. With one Word, “Be open!” Jesus opened up stopped ears and repaired his speech deficiency.

Did you know that Jesus can heal your root sickness and any related illness? Jesus cannot and will not be limited. The man only asked for hearing but Jesus would not leave the work undone. When you approach Jesus to heal something in your life, trust Him to handle it all. Expect not just healing but complete wholeness.

Tomorrow’s Reading: Leviticus 19:1-20:21; Mark 8:11-38; Psalm 42:1-11; Proverbs 10:17

February 24

Leviticus 15:1-16:28; Mark 7:1-23; Psalm 40:11-17; Proverbs 10:13-14

All sin is an affront to God! People could not stop sinning on their own so God gave Moses a ritual to atone for the many sins of humanity. Each year, a process of making a sacrifice and smearing the blood on a goat expunged the sins of humanity.

In addition to this annual process, the priests were required to offer sacrifices daily for humanity’s sins. It was continual. But, all that happened in this atonement was dealing with the actions not the heart. Sin is conceived in the heart before it ever becomes an action.

Jesus reminds us of this when He talks about the things that define a person. True transformation does not occur until there is a change on the inside. Jesus helps us deal with the root of our sin—it’s in our heart. We need a change of heart in order to change our actions.

Lord, search our hearts and if you find any hint of sin, we surrender it to you!

Tomorrow’s Reading: Leviticus 16:29-18:30; Mark 7:24-8:10; Psalm 41:1-13; Proverbs 10:15-16

February 23

Leviticus 14:1-57; Mark 6:30-56; Psalm 40:1-10; Proverbs 10:11-12

When Jesus sees a need, He has one response: to meet it! This is such great news to those of us who are in His family. Jesus decided that He and His disciples needed a break from the activity of ministry. So they slipped away for a break.

Word got out that they were traveling and the people followed them. In fact, many people arrived at their destination before they did. When Jesus arrived and saw all the people, even though He was tired physically, His compassion kicked in and He spent time teaching them.

Jesus took time to impart spiritual wisdom to them so that their lives would have purpose. At the close of the day, even though Jesus and the disciples began from a point of fatigue, one more need presented itself. The people needed food! The quick and easy answer from people who were tired was: “Send them away and get food on their own.” Jesus would not allow this. He simply says, “Feed them.”

Jesus did not allow His feelings, or the Disciple’s feelings, to stand in the way of helping those in need. Jesus miraculously took what they had, multiplied it to meet the need. He met the need in such abundance that there was now a surplus.

Jesus wants to do the same thing in your life today!! Why do you keep holding onto your need? Submit it to Him. He loves you enough to teach you how to get out of it and miraculously supply whatever you need. If He can multiply a little boy’s lunch, can’t He handle your situation? Yes, He can! Yes, He will!

Tomorrow’s Reading: Leviticus 15:1-16:28; Mark 7:1-23; Psalm 40:11-17; Proverbs 10:13-14