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

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