March 5

Numbers 4:1-5:31; Mark 12:18-37; Psalm 48:1-14; Proverbs 10:26

 

God is Holy! As you read through all these passages about the Tabernacle and how careful people had to be around the sacred objects, it re-enforces the Holiness of God. You see, God’s Holiness cannot allow any impurity around it.

Many people will read the Old Testament and not understand how a loving God can have such strict rules and extreme punishments. God can neither deny His holiness nor His love! He is both. All these Old Testament rules were put in place to protect the priests and people from crossing His holiness and incurring His wrath. Remember this was NOT the way God wanted it. He desired for us to be as He is: holy. But, through Adam and Eve, sin entered humanity and made us impure. We could no longer enjoy that close fellowship with God in our sinful state.

All through the Old Testament, God came as close to us as He could, through still small voices, pillars of cloud and fire, prophets, and angels. He even set up his Tabernacle in the center of the tribes. But, God could get no closer in the Old Testament because it would violate His Holiness and the Israelites would die!

Thank God for Jesus! Jesus was God’s way to get us back to Him. If someone died to satisfy (pay the price for) our sins, then we would be in right standing with God (Righteous), then we could be back in fellowship with God. No one was qualified because they needed to be a perfect sacrifice. So, God sent His only Son, who was tempted just like we are yet He never sinned. When He died on that cross, He paid all of our sin debts (past, present and future) so we can enjoy close fellowship with God every moment of every day.

Praise God today for Jesus and the fact that we can have a real relationship with our Heavenly Father! Oh, how He loves us!

Tomorrow’s Reading: Numbers 6:1-7:89; Mark 12:38-13:13; Psalm 49:1-20; Proverbs 10:27-28

March 4

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

God is orderly in everything He does. Once the Tabernacle was erected for all the Israelites to see, He told each tribe on what side they were to camp. They were to proudly display their family banner. On each side of the Tabernacle there were 3 families. Over 600,000 people were around the Tabernacle.

When God signaled that it was time to move, they had to disassemble every part of the Tabernacle and prepare it for travel. Then all 600,000 people had to pack and follow. When they arrived at their new location, they had to unpack and get settled again in the same positions around the Tabernacle.

You can imagine how much work this was. But, the Israelites did not see it as work. Because as long as they were in the vicinity of the Tabernacle, which represented God’s presence, they knew they were safe. They knew nothing could harm them or overtake them as long as the presence of God was in their midst (the center of their camp).

How about you? Do you have that confidence? You should! The God of all Gods, the King of All Kings, the Lord of all Lords (Jesus) lives within you!! It may seem like “work” to read through the Bible or dedicate time to pray every day but this is what keeps God at the center of our lives! And, this is where we gain our hope for the future. Acknowledge Him as the center of your life and be secure that nothing can shake you because “the hopes of the godly will be granted” and “when the storms of life come, …the godly have a lasting foundation.”

Tomorrow’s Reading: Numbers 4:1-5:31; Mark 12:18-37; Psalm 48:1-14; Proverbs 10:26

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