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

February 22

Leviticus 13:1-59; Mark 6:1-29; Psalm 39:1-13; Proverbs 10:10

Clean and unclean! The Old Testament priest was charged with determining who was fit to be among the assembly and who, because of impurities, had to be banished. No matter what the disease and its progress, the Old Testament priest was never told to heal any of the diseases, or even pray for healing. He was just supposed to identify them and render judgment.

Thank God that there is another priesthood. Jesus came as our Great High Priest and He has more than just power to identify and pass judgment. God gave us a High Priest who can heal all our sicknesses and forgive all our sins (Psalm 103:3).

And, Jesus feels the pain we feel and sympathizes with us in our pain. “This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin” (Hebrews 4:15).

When you approach your Great High Priest, expect Him to answer you not just commiserate with you. If there is sickness, believe Him as your healer. If there are problems, expect Him to solve them. He can turn your situation around if you bring it to Him. You will leave with divine power and not just a diagnosis.

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

February 21

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

Today, we have an interesting contrast. In our Leviticus reading, we see all the things that make a person unclean. When a person was unclean they were temporarily cut off from the faith community until a sacrifice was made on their behalf.

There were so many things that made a person unclean. From the food they ate to things that they touched to even after childbirth. This Old Testament system was so regimented that one had to constantly be on guard about whether or not they were disqualified.

In our New Testament reading, we see a woman who is considered unclean by the same set of legal standards. She has had a bleeding condition for 12 years and has not grown better. She heard that Jesus was passing by. She had a crucial decision to make: Do I allow the law to stop me from getting my healing from Jesus? Thankfully, she answered in faith: “No!”

She pressed her way to Jesus and touched the hem of his garment and she was instantly and permanently healed. Are you bound in a legal prison that keeps you focused on your failings and shortcomings? If so, let me introduce you to Jesus! He loves you: Just the way you are and He wants to meet with you and perform the miraculous!

Tomorrow’s Reading: Leviticus 13:1-59; Mark 6:1-29; Psalm 39:1-13; Proverbs 10:10

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 rocked and reeled 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 bailed water out of the boat, and trimmed 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