Genesis 13:5-15:21; Matthew 5:27-48; Psalm 6:1-10; Proverbs 1:29-33
The grass is not always greener on the other side!! Lot learned this the hard way! Abram’s men and Lot’s servants were not getting along. They needed to separate. Abram graciously let Lot choose which land he wanted. Lot, after seeing how green and plush the land of Jordan looked, chose the best for himself.
Abram stayed where he was in the land of Canaan. Even though it appeared that Abram had been taken advantage of, the opposite was true. Abram ended up being in the land that flourished and Lot ended up in a place called Sodom! You see the truth here is that when there is a blessing on you, it really does not matter where you are. The blessing will manifest where you are.
Most people would have criticized Abram because as the elder person, he should have chosen first. He deferred to Lot and seemingly got the “short end of the stick.” In actuality, when you defer to others and esteem others more than yourself, you position yourself for God to bless you even more. Isn’t that what Jesus was teaching in Matthew 5? We should demonstrate our love to neighbors and enemies because we cannot lose. People may feel because you let them have their way that they have gotten the best of you but they can’t. The green grass that they chose may end up being Sodom.
Years ago, I noticed a patch of grass in our yard was greener than all the rest of the grass. Week after week, it grew greener and greener than the rest of the lawn. After weeks of wondering, I went to examine why. You know what I found? We had a problem with our septic system! Everything that looks green may not be better!
Tomorrow’s Reading: Genesis 16:1-18:15; Matthew 6:1-24; Psalm 7:1-17; Proverbs 2:1-5
Genesis 8:1-10:32; Matthew 4:12-25; Psalm 4:1-8; Proverbs 1:20-23
How do you know when it’s time to make your next move? Noah had been in the ark for more than 150 days. He saw that the rain stopped so he sent out a raven and a dove to “test” if it was time to leave the ark. Days and weeks passed and he tried to “discern” when to leave the ark.
Noah opened up the window and removed the covering of the ark in an attempt to see if it was okay to get out of the boat. With all of his “testing”, “discerning”, and “looking”, Noah did not leave the ark until one significant thing happened: God told him to. After all, who was the One who told Noah to enter the ark in the first place? It was God! So, shouldn’t God have the right to tell Noah when it’s time to get off of it?
Noah could have saved himself a lot of time and energy if he had just trusted that the same God who led him to enter the ark would also tell him when to exit. Often we try to help God out because we think maybe He forgot about us in all of His busyness. As we make our feeble efforts to help God, it only adds to our frustrations. I suspect Noah thought things like: “When can I get off this ark?” “The dove didn’t come back surely I can go now.” “I can see that the land is almost dry it has to be time to leave.”
When we give our lives to God and truly trust Him to lead us and guide us, we have to even remain at peace when it feels like we are staying in the ark too long. If we get ahead of God, it can cause real troubles for us. Trying to help God out usually complicates things. Let’s practice trusting God’s leading today. Just sit back and enjoy the experience until God says it’s time to make the next move. This will alleviate your frustration and cause you great peace because God knows when we should make our next move.
Tomorrow’s Reading: Genesis 11:1-13:4; Matthew 5:1-26; Psalm 5:1-12; Proverbs 1:24-28
Genesis 5:1-7:24; Matthew 3:7-4:11; Psalm 3:1-8; Proverbs 1:10-19
What does it mean to be favored by God? Noah and his family lived in perilous times. There was immorality and blatant defiance against the will of God. People had become so accustomed to sin that “everything they thought or imagined was consistently and totally evil.” Now that’s a sad state of affairs. It was so bad that the Bible says that God was “sorry He had ever made them.” (Genesis 6:5-6)
In the middle of this evil living, God took notice of Noah and his family. God evaluated Noah and his family and saw they had something different than the rest. “Noah found favor with the Lord.” Favor can be defined as supernatural advantage. Favor (or Grace) occurs when doors open for you and not for others. Scripture never says that Noah was perfect. But, he did have a covenant with God. When God could not count on others to live for Him, God could count on Noah.
Can God trust you to be faithful when others are faithless? Can God trust you to share His love with those who do not know him? Can God trust you to live for Him even when it’s not popular? Can God trust you to place Him first in your life? If so, then you should expect supernatural advantage to follow you wherever you go. That favor will provide for you. It will protect you. It will preserve your purpose. It will accelerate the answers to your prayers. That’s why David said, “I cried out to the Lord and he answered me from His holy mountain.” (Psalm 3:4)
You don’t have to wonder IF God will favor you. Time and time again He proves that favor is given to those who will obey Him. Let this year be one of accelerated favor because God sees your consistent obedience. His favor will cause you to rise to the top when others are sinking.
Tomorrow’s Reading: Genesis 8:1-10:32; Matthew 4:12-25; Psalm 4:1-8; Proverbs 1:20-23
Genesis 3:1-4:26; Matthew 2:13-3:6; Psalm 2:1-12; Proverbs 1:7-9
Sin can have devastating effects on our lives. Sin is anything that displeases God. Where we end up after sin is always worse than when we began. All sin begins with a temptation! We are tempted to listen to someone else’s voice above God’s voice. We are tempted to follow a path different from the path God has laid out for us. We are tempted to think that we know more than God.
The good news today is that sin will not have the final word! Even though Adam and Eve sinned against God, their sin was not the end of the story. God put in place a plan to bring all of us back to Him. Jesus is the way back to God! If you are struggling with sin in an area of your life, you do not have to fight it alone. You have Jesus who is willing to help you get out of it.
Ask for Jesus’ help! Surrender your life to Him. Receive His forgiveness and strength to keep moving forward. Jesus knows how to lead you out of sin! You may have to do it moment by moment or day by day. It’s okay. Because as long as you are pursuing a relationship with Jesus, you will move further and further away from sin until you are free. “So, if the Son sets you free, you are truly free!” (John 8:36) This is true wisdom. Act on it today and receive God’s amazing grace!
Tomorrow’s Reading: Genesis 5:1-7:24; Matthew 3:7-4:11; Psalm 3:1-8; Proverbs 1:10-19
Genesis 1-2:25; Matthew 1:1-2:12; Psalm 1:1-6; Proverbs 1:1-6
Today is all about beginnings. While beginnings are new to us, they are not new to God. Look at the precision with which He constructs the world. Each day, He accomplished another aspect of His creation. Can you hear Him speaking, “Let there be Light?” He started His creation with intentionality. The same is even true with our lives. Would God put so much care into designing the world without putting the same amount of care into our lives? Of course not!
As you start out in this New Year, be as intentional as God. Let your words create the reality that you want to see. Design your life day by day. Review each day with a sense of how the next one can be better. And, when tomorrow comes, make it better by accomplishing exactly what God tells you. He knows how to make all things good!
Each day you enjoy on earth is a good day because God created it. Prepare to be amazed by God’s goodness and overwhelmed by His love. He gave you this new year to give you an opportunity to experience more of Him.
Tomorrow’s Reading: Genesis 3:1-4:26; Matthew 2:13-3:6; Psalm 2:1-12; Proverbs 1:7-9
2 Chronicles 8:11-10:19; Romans 8:9-25; Psalm 18:16-36; Proverbs 19:26
Solomon had a vast kingdom with more wealth than anyone on earth. He received gold and silver from every king on earth. His wealth and opulence was world-renowned. As high as Solomon rose, his story ends like all the other kings: “When he died, he was buried in the City of David, named for his father.” (2 Chronicles 9:31)
You see, no matter how many things we possess or how much money we have, it will all pass to someone else upon our death. As wise and wealthy as Solomon was, it could not grant him eternal life. Immediately following Solomon’s reign, the kingdom was torn in two and never again was unified. The Bible never states who received all of Solomon’s wealth. But, he could not take it with him.
Our lives have to be worth more than the things we possess. Solomon’s own reflections on his life are recorded in the book of Ecclesiastes. It is a dismal look at life because things cannot satisfy the greatest need we have. Build your life upon more than possessions. Build you life on eternal purpose so that when you are promoted to heaven, your legacy will shine brightly.
Tomorrow’s Reading: 2 Chronicles 11:1-13:22; Romans 8:26-39; Psalm 18:37-50; Proverbs 19:27-29
Joshua 24:1-33; Luke 21:1-28; Psalm 89:38-52; Proverbs 13:20-23
Joshua’s days are numbered and he is giving his parting words to Israel. He calls on them to make a choice whom they will serve. It is important to note that by making a choice to serve God, we are also making a choice to reject idols and false gods.
In our age, we would never knowingly serve an idol. However, if we are not careful, we will allow idols into our lives and they will threaten our obedience to God. As Joshua spoke to Israel, he told them to “destroy the idols among you, and turn your hearts to the Lord, the God of Israel.” (Joshua 24:23)
Are there things, activities, or people who threaten your relationship with God? Are there idols that you should destroy so you do not jeopardize your walk with God? When the Bible talks of God being jealous, it does not mean that He is consumed with jealousy as in a competition. God is saying that He wanted nothing to come between you and Him.
Start today by renouncing any idol and accept the lordship of Jesus in that area.
Tomorrow’s Reading: Judges 1:1-2:9; Luke 21:29-22:13; Psalm 90:1-91:16; Proverbs 13:24-25
Joshua 13:1-14:15; Luke 18:1-17; Psalm 85:1-13; Proverbs 13:7-8
God has said, “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ says the Lord. ‘They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope'” (Jeremiah 29:11). God has plans for you! Good plans for you! God has a strategic plan for your life that will cause you to smile!!
When we try to create our own plan, we fall very short of God’s real plan. He is the only one who has the power to bring to pass His big plan for our lives. As you read the story of Israel and the dividing of the land, it becomes very clear that God had already thought out who would get what and when. He knew who was where and who needed to be moved out of the way so that His people could take possession of their inheritance.
No one was left out. Everyone received their portion to be a perpetual blessing to their family. So you think that God has only done this for Israel? Certainly not! God knows exactly what He has in store for you and your family. He has blessings with your name on them. They are reserved and set aside just for you. All God wants you to do is trust Him enough to execute His plans for your life. In the end, you will see the wisdom of His plan and you will most certainly enjoy the blessings of the plan. You have an inheritance that is waiting for you. Will you claim it today?
Tomorrow’s Reading: Joshua 15:1-63; Luke 18:18-43; Psalm 86:1-17; Proverbs 13:9-10