May 7

1 Samuel 1:1-2:21; John 5:1-23; Psalm 105:37-45; Proverbs 14:28-29

What is pressing you in your life? Are there things that you have become frustrated about and wish they could change? The key to handling these things is not complaining about them. So often we use natural means to solve our issues while neglecting the supernatural power that God has made available to us.

Whatever you are facing can be conquered! How? Through prayer. Hannah had a pressing deficiency. She was barren and had a desire to have a child. Her husband was good to her but she judged her life by what she did not have. So, she did the most powerful thing. She prayed about it. She was so fervent in her prayer that the priest thought she was drunk!

Nevertheless, Hannah had confidence in God! She trusted God to answer her prayer. And, God did answer! She received a child that she had prayed for.

So, how’s your prayer life? What benefit or answer are you missing because you have not had the courage to pray?

We used to sing this song as I grew up: “What a friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear! What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer! O what peace we often forfeit,O what needless pain we bear, all because we do not carry everything to God in prayer.

Tomorrow’s Reading: 1 Samuel 2:22-4:22; John 5:24-47; Psalm 106:1-12; Proverbs 14:30-31

May 6

Ruth 2:1-4:22; John 4:43-54; Psalm 105:16-36; Proverbs 14:26-27

We often hear, “actions have consequences.” Usually it is said in a negative context where there is punishment coming because of something we did. However, the opposite is also true. Good actions have good consequences (or rewards).

Ruth was a selfless lady who had every reason to leave her mother-in-law and return to her family, find a new husband and raise a new family. Yet, because of her loyalty to Naomi, she remained with her and left her native land. As a foreigner, she was very vulnerable but her good actions positioned her for good rewards.

Her sacrifice caused her to leave family, security, children, and comfort. There is no way possible that God will ever let someone give up something for which He will not recompense him or her! When Ruth went out to work, she started to receive the favor of God. She received the food she needed. She then found the man she wanted. He married her and gave her the child she wanted. The interesting aspect to this whole story is that this selfless woman, Ruth, is in the bloodline of King David and King Jesus!

God will give you opportunities to show selflessness as it relates to someone else. When you do this you should know that God sees and He will honor it. It is the very nature of God to be selfless. Don’t run from sacrifice! Your answered prayers are right on the other side of your selfless acts.

Tomorrow’s Reading: 1 Samuel 1:1-2:21; John 5:1-23; Psalm 105:37-45; Proverbs 14:28-29

May 5

Judges 21:1-Ruth 1:22; John 4:4-42; Psalm 105:1-15; Proverbs 14:25

Do you allow the circumstances that you face to define who you are? Do you allow the faults that you have or the failings you’ve experienced in life dictate who you are? If so, you are very much like Naomi. She was a woman who endured a rough life. Her husband moved her to a new city and they built a seemingly great life. They had 2 sons who found themselves wives. All was going well.

Then, Naomi’s husband dies. Ten years later, both of her sons die. In Middle Eastern culture, the men were one’s connection to security and identity. With her two daughters-in-law, she decided to return home. One daughter-in-law turns back to go be with her family and start over. The other daughter-in-law, Ruth, makes a resolute commitment to never leave Naomi. Once Naomi and Ruth arrive back home, they are met with great joy and affection.

Naomi tells these happy people not to call her Naomi which means “sweet” but call her Mara, which means bitter. Naomi wanted people to refer to her based on what life had thrown at her. But, she was so much more than her past. God made Naomi so much more than her circumstances. As you go through life, you will face times when things do not go well. You will face challenging times that may cause you to revise the pathway that you take to your destiny (notice I did not say that your destiny has changed just the pathway).

Don’t change your name! God’s purpose and plan for your life has not changed. Your future is still bright. Your dreams are still attainable. Your life still has meaning and purpose. You have to believe this: you are more than your circumstances!

Tomorrow’s Reading: Ruth 2:1-4:22; John 4:43-54; Psalm 105:16-36; Proverbs 14:26-27

 

May 4

Judges 19:1-20:48; John 3:22-4:3; Psalm 104:24-35; Proverbs 14:22-24

Israel continues her slide into mayhem as people continue to do what is right in their own eyes. You can’t help but be disturbed by what you read today. It is offensive on so many levels yet it is what happens when we make the rules for our lives instead of God. On our best day, we cannot adequately manage the affairs of our lives. We need God’s guidance.

God’s guidance is like a navigation system. If you have ever gone to an unfamiliar city and had to rely upon the navigation system to get you around, you respond differently to it than in cities where you are somewhat familiar. In an unfamiliar place, you hang on every word of the navigation. Even when your mind wants to question if the voice is directing you properly, you keep listening. In an area where you have some familiarity, you will second guess the navigation and even go another way.

We have to see our lives as unchartered territory where only God knows the best route. Allow Him to direct us so that we don’t waste time being lost or sliding into defiant sin. When people do what is right in their own eyes, they are playing to the lowest common denominator. Over time, the bar keeps lowering until every institution (family, church, community, business, government, etc.) are all operating against the will of God. What awaits these people is destruction.

Choose today to let God lead you and set the spiritual and moral compass for your life. You may not fully understand God’s ways but they are always right and the best for us!

Tomorrow’s Reading: Judges 21:1-Ruth 1:22; John 4:4-42; Psalm 105:1-15; Proverbs 14:25

May 3

Judges 17:1-18:31; John 3:1-21; Psalm 104:1-23; Proverbs 14:20-21

When there is no leadership in a person’s life, he or she will make things up along the way and do whatever seems acceptable. In other words, when we have not submitted ourselves to God’s authority, we will make our own rules and live by them (and change them when they no longer suit us).

Micah stole his mother’s money. In response to her money being stolen, she pronounces a curse on the robber. Micah hears this and becomes afraid. He returns the money and confesses his crime. Out of appreciation, she takes some of the returned silver and makes an idol to her son! It gets worse; Micah takes the idol and makes a shrine (sacred place to worship the idol). Then he makes priestly garments and appoints one of his sons as priest. Adding insult to injury, a young Levite (priest) passes by and agrees to be his personal priest at this new shrine.

Now that they have the “son stealing silver god”, they feel secure that they have a god watching over them. The whole tribe of Dan adopts this perversion as they seek to possess their Promised Land. Do you see how error is spread? One person makes up their own rules and others begin to follow, before too long, we think those made-up rules override the Sovereign God’s Truth! Because God knows human behavior, He knows that we will always look right in our own eyes.

Let’s commit today to do those things that are pleasing (right) in God’s eyes and not our own. When we do this, we will never get off track or lead others astray with us.

Tomorrow’s Reading: Judges 19:1-20:48; John 3:22-4:3; Psalm 104:24-35; Proverbs 14:22-24

May 2

Judges 15:1-16:31; John 2:1-25; Psalm 103:1-22; Proverbs 14:17-19

As powerful as Samson was when He was led by the Spirit of God, he was equally as reckless without that power. Repeatedly, God worked through Samson and following those times of great victory, Samson would do unwise things.

Against his parent’s admonition, he married someone who did not serve his God. Even when the relationship was not working, he still fought to stay with her. Then he marries Delilah. After she has tricked him one time you would think he would have had enough and walked away. Yet, he stayed and the end result was that his unwise decisions caused him to lose everything.

Though we are spiritual beings, there is a natural side to us that also has to be managed. We need the Spirit of God to lead us but we also need wisdom to practically manage our lives. There are some things the Spirit of God will not do because God gave us wisdom to manage them. You can’t give God your first tenth and then recklessly spend without a budget. You can’t pray for health and then fill your body with poison. There is a spiritual and natural side to us and we have to respect both.

Commit today that as the Spirit of God leads you, you will exercise wisdom to govern the natural areas of your life. In this regard, you will never fail or fall!

Tomorrow’s Reading: Judges 17:1-18:31; John 3:1-21; Psalm 104:1-23; Proverbs 14:20-21

May 1

Judges 13:1-14:20; John 1:29-51; Psalm 102:1-28; Proverbs 14:15-16

You can never overlook the power of God’s Spirit at work in your life. Whenever the Spirit comes into your life, He brings the supernatural power of God. Samson was a special child because he was the answer to his parent’s prayers. They had to commit to a Nazarite lifestyle for him. They were willing to do whatever was necessary because they so desperately wanted a child.

What set Samson apart from all the other Judges of Israel was that Samson was full of the Spirit of God. As a young boy, Samson grew deeper and deeper in the Holy Spirit. His consecration as a Nazarite qualified him to receive the Spirit’s help and power. The same was true for Jesus.

When Jesus was baptized, the Holy Spirit descended upon Him. The Holy Spirit is God’s seal upon His people. The Spirit empowers us to live for God. The Spirit empowers us to walk in miracles, signs and wonders. The Holy Spirit enlivens our prayers and causes change to happen. Samson needed the Holy Spirit. Jesus needed the Holy Spirit. The early Apostles needed the Holy Spirit. And, you and I need the Spirit of God to lead us and guide us each and every day.

Ask the Holy Spirit to enter your life and fill you to overflowing. Ask Him to direct you every moment of every day! Your very life depends on it.

Tomorrow’s Reading: Judges 15:1-16:31; John 2:1-25; Psalm 103:1-22; Proverbs 14:17-19

April 30

Judges 11:1-12:15; John 1:1-28; Psalm 101:1-8; Proverbs 14:13-14

Have you ever been rejected? It is never a good feeling. It is even worse when you are rejected by your family. Jephthah felt this. His father was a renowned man but his mother was a prostitute. He was discredited and his half-brothers exiled him once he became a man.

He went to a place called Tob. In the Hebrew, Tob means good. Jephthah went to a good land but what did he do? He hung out with worthless people. You see, rejection can eat away at your esteem in such a way that you will only find comfort around others of low self-worth.

Jephthah’s behavior was only a cover for a mighty warrior that lived within. How many mighty men and women of valor are languishing in squalor because no one believed in them? In the face of rejection, Jephthah choose a lesser path. Don’t let the rejection of others cause you to undervalue who you are in God’s eyes. As Jephthah proved, he could be a great leader if he only believed in himself. God always believes in us.

Tomorrow’s Reading: Judges 13:1-14:20; John 1:29-51; Psalm 102:1-28; Proverbs 14:15-16

April 29

Judges 9:22-10:18; Luke 24:13-53; Psalm 100:1-5; Proverbs 14:11-12

When you are fighting for right, it might not be easy or comfortable but it is necessary. Gaal had seen the atrocities of Abimelech. He arose to speak out against his brutality and illegitimate rule over Israel. Having taken a stand, he had a choice, do I shrink back or keep standing firm on what I believe.

Always remember that when you take a stand for right, it will be challenged. Zebul overhead Gaal boasting and informed Abimelech of his attempt to de-throne him. Abimelech assembled his army to destroy Gaal. Gaal saw Abimelech’s army approaching but Zebul tried to convince him that what he had seen was not real. Be careful when so-called friends try to get you to redefine what you clearly see.

Though it was not Gaal’s hand that slayed Abimelech, Gaal’s stand for what was right is what brought about Abimelech’s demise. In a culture where everything goes, God is looking for people who will stand for right. Though it is not popular, it is required of the people of God to stand for right even in a wrong world. Take courage from Gaal that you can stand for what is right even when it’s difficult. God will back you up!

Tomorrow’s Reading: Judges 11:1-12:15; John 1:1-28; Psalm 101:1-8; Proverbs 14:13-14

April 28

Judges 8:18-9:21; Luke 23:44-24:12; Psalm 99:1-9; Proverbs 14:9-10
There is something called muscle memory. It is the automatic reflex to do something out of habit or conditioning. Humans suffer from this condition. Throughout the Book of Judges, we see this repeatedly. Gideon had just died and his sons were given the honor of leading Israel.

One of Gideon’s other sons, from his concubine, tried to usurp the other brothers. He led a coup against the 70 brothers and killed all of them, except one. What an act of disrespect to the memory and legacy of Gideon. Their quick descent into lawlessness came as a result of their turning away from the God who delivered them.

Before his death, Gideon took the gold from the Ishmaelite’s and made an ephod. It was an item worn by the priest as He served before the Lord. The Israelites started worshipping the Ephod and not the God for whom it was made. They moved from the Ephod to worshipping foreign gods. Why? Because they could! Plain and simple!

There are many things that we can do, but it does not mean that we should. Are your actions today faithful to the God who has done so much for you? Are you living your life maintaining the honor of your God? Are you, by your actions, telling God that you reject His help?

Israel learned that even though they rejected God, they soon had to return to Him and ask for help. Why not stay connected to God so that He is always near and moving on your behalf? That’s the best way to live!

Tomorrow’s Reading: 
Judges 9:22-10:18; Luke 24:13-53; Psalm 100:1-5; Proverbs 14:11-12