Daily Bible Reading

Lead

How often do you ask to be lead rather than to lead? Who really wants to follow when you can be a leader?

How often do you ask what you should be doing? Who really wants to be told what to do when you can tell someone else what to do?

Lead me in the right path, O Lord,
or my enemies will conquer me.
Tell me clearly what to do,
and show me which way to turn.

Psalm 5:8 (NLT)

Life isn’t all about being the one in charge. Sometimes—and even more often than we think—it should be about asking for direction and instruction. It’s about letting someone else be in charge. God’s guidance isn’t there to stifle us. He doesn’t want to lead us like a dog on a leash.

But let all who take refuge in you rejoice;
let them sing joyful praises forever.
Protect them,
so all who love your name may be filled with joy.
For you bless the godly, O Lord,
surrounding them with your shield of love.

Psalm 5:11-12 (NLT)

We don’t have to listen to God’s directions and instructions, we get to. When we put ourselves into God’s plan, not only is it His will that all things work together for our good (Romans 8:28), but He surrounds us with His shield of love. We can take refuge in Him. He will protect us.

Submitting to God is not a trial. It’s a joy. A privilege.

I will lie down in peace and sleep,
for you alone, O Lord, will keep me safe.

Psalm 4:8 (NLT)

Submitting to God leads to joy. It leads to peace. It leads to love. Who else can you follow that will lead you to all of that?

Daily Bible reading: Psalm 4-6, Acts 16:16-40

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The price of wisdom

How much would you pay for wisdom? 10% of your paycheque? An entire paycheque? What about an entire year’s worth of paydays?

It’s all fine and good if you’re willing to pay for wisdom, but it can’t be bought.

Wisdom is far more valuable than gold and crystal. It cannot be purchased with jewels mounted in fine gold. Coral and valuable rock crystals are worthless in trying to get it. The price of wisdom is far above pearls.

Job 28:17-18 (NLT)

Before we get too far into how much it is worth, what exactly is wisdom anyway and why should we be trying to get our hands on something that is seemingly unattainable?

WISDOM: The right use or exercise of knowledge; the choice of laudable ends, and of the best means to accomplish them. Profitable words or doctrine.

Let’s be clear—wisdom and knowledge are not the same thing. A person can be a walking encyclopedia and still be lacking in wisdom. Having all the knowledge in the world doesn’t mean that a person knows how to use it. In short, wisdom is the proper application of knowledge.

If having knowledge doesn’t mean you’re automatically wise, where does wisdom come from?

And this is what he says to all humanity: ‘The fear of the Lord is true wisdom; to forsake evil is real understanding.’

Job 28:28 (NLT)

Until God enters the picture, all you can ever have is knowledge. What use is knowledge if you don’t know how to use it properly? Wisdom is a byproduct of a healthy relationship with God. It is not something we can purchase or come across by any other means other than to walk with the One from whom wisdom flows.

If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking.

James 1:5 (NLT)

There you have it. Ask God. It’s the only way to attain the otherwise unattainable. The price tag on wisdom is your humility.

Daily Bible reading: Job 26-28, Acts 11

Daily Bible Reading

The golden ticket

I grew up watching the original Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. I still get the golden ticket song stuck in my head:

I’ve got a golden ticket
I’ve got a golden chance to make my way
And with a golden ticket, it’s a golden day

Charlie dances around singing a song and his bedridden grandfather miraculously hops out of bed to join him.

Jesus gave us a golden ticket.

The truth is, you can go directly to the Father and ask him, and he will grant your request because you use my name.

John 16:23b (NLT)

Jesus wouldn’t have told us that we can go directly to God if it were a difficult thing. His name is our golden ticket to access the Father.

On my last mission trip, there were several older people on our team. Apparently grey hair gets you the golden ticket—literally, they got a yellow slip of paper—that allowed them an easier time through the security line. They got to leave their shoes on and only had to go through the metal detector, not the full body scan. They had the closest thing to a free pass the airport could give them. And they (and their aching knees) were happy about it.

You haven’t done this before. Ask using my name, and you will receive, and you will have abundant joy.

John 16:24 (NLT)

Comparing our prayer life to an airport security line may seem trivial, but it can help to see the simplicity of Jesus’ words. Christianity is not complicated. Access to God is not difficult. Jesus gave us the use of his name as our golden ticket to God, all we have to do is use it—without hesitation. Those people in the security line with their yellow card didn’t hesitate to reap the benefits of what they’d been given and neither should we.

So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it.

Hebrews 4:16 (NLT)

Daily Bible reading: 2 Chronicles 23-25, John 16:16-33

Daily Bible Reading

Anything

You can ask for anything in my name, and I will do it, because the work of the Son brings glory to the Father. Yes, Ask anything in my name, and I will do it!

John 14:13-14 (NLT)

This verse almost sounds like Jesus is giving his disciples carte blanche to do whatever they want whenever they want to do it. Many people today look at this verse that way and then end up bitter and disappointed when Jesus didn’t give them the boat they’d been lusting after for months.

While Jesus didn’t place stipulations on what anything means, the next few verses offer a little more clarity.

If you love me, obey my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another counselor, who will never leave you. He is the Holy Spirit who leads into all truth.

John 14:15-17a (NLT)

The anything Jesus talks about in verses 13 and 14 is part of the truth that is revealed to us by the Holy Spirit. Jesus isn’t a genie in a bottle waiting for us to rub the lamp and invite him to perform a few magic tricks. He’s telling his disciples that, as Jesus has been speaking the words of the Father, so we—with the help and guidance of the Holy Spirit—will also be able to speak the words of the Father.

The Spirit leads us in all truth. Jesus is the Truth and the Truth is the way to the Father. We are able to do the greater things Jesus spoke of in verse 12 because we have the full power of the Truth living inside of us. Greater things come when we align ourselves with the Truth. When we are one with the Truth, we can ask anything in Jesus name and he will do it because the words we speak are not our own. They are His.

Daily Bible reading: 2 Chronicles 13-16, John 14 

Daily Bible Reading

Knock three times

When you approach someone’s house, how many times do you knock without receiving an answer before you leave? Once? Twice? Three times?

And He said to them, “Which of you shall have a friend, and go to him at midnight and say to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves; for a friend of mine has come to me on his journey, and I have nothing to set before him’; and he will answer from within and say, ‘Do not trouble me; the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give to you’? I say to you, though he will not rise and give to him because he is his friend, yet because of his persistence he will rise and give him as many as he needs.

Luke 11:5-8 (NLT)

So, in even simpler terms, the friend in the house isn’t going to help you because you’re his friend; he is going to help you because you’ve annoyed him with your persistent knocking and won’t stop until he gives you what you need.

All of this because one of the disciples asked Jesus to teach him to pray.

The only time one-and-done is sufficient when it comes to praying about our needs is if we see an immediate response. When Jesus healed people, He didn’t need to keep petitioning God because, as soon as He prayed, it was done. If you have the faith to see immediate results every time you pray, you need to be in full-time active ministry preaching to the masses. For the rest of us, we may need to be a little more like the man visiting his neighbour.

And so I tell you, keep on asking, and you will be given what you ask for. Keep on looking, and you will find. Keep on knocking and the door will be opened. For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And the door is opened to everyone who knocks.

Luke 11:9-10 (NLT)

I think many have arrived at the conclusion that God doesn’t want to be bothered by our little prayers. But the truth is quite the opposite! Jesus himself told us that, in prayer, we should be like the annoying neighbour and not stop asking until we get what we’ve asked for. Not only is God not bothered by our perseverance in prayer, He welcomes it. He wants to fulfil our needs, but He also wants us to be dependent on Him.

If you don’t get your answer immediately, knock again. Knock twice. Knock three times if you have to. Don’t stop knocking until God opens the door.

Daily Bible reading: Judges 20-21, Luke 11:1-28

Daily Bible Reading

More instructions

If some scary looking guy suddenly appeared in front of me and told me I was going to have a son, I can’t say I’d believe him. That is, if I’d even stuck around long enough to hear what he had to say. But that’s exactly what Manoah and his wife did.

In those days [when Israel did evil in the Lord’s sight] a man name Manoah from the tribe of Dan lived in the town of Zorah. His wife was unable to become pregnant, and they had no children. The angel of the Lord appeared to Manoah’s wife and said, “Even though you have been unable to have children, you will soon become pregnant and give birth to a son.”

Judges 13:2-3 (NLT)

The woman runs to tell her husband about the unexpected visitor. Instead of being livid like I imagine most men would respond now, he prayed and asked that the Lord send the man back to them so that they could receive further instruction.

What amazes me most about this account is that Israel is currently in one of their we’re-going-to-worship-any-god-but-the-one-true-God phases. The chapter starts off saying that the Israelites did evil in the Lord’s sight. So here we have a couple that have more than likely been raised worshipping pagan gods. They haven’t been taught to honour and respect the law. Yet, when an angel comes to them (they assume he’s just a prophet), their response isn’t to question the word from the Lord, but to pray and ask for further instructions. And what does God do? He sends the angel back with more instructions!

What we should take away from the actions of this couple is that it’s okay to ask for clarification. If you believe that you’ve had a word from God, but aren’t 100% on the facts, ask! God is totally okay with us asking questions. In fact, I believe He wants us to ask questions. He didn’t drop us all on the earth with limited knowledge and understanding just to watch us squirm. He created us to have a relationship with him. If one of your friends tells you something that is unclear to you, do you walk away from the conversation in confusion? No, you ask your friend to make things a little more clear so that you can fully understand what they’re saying.

Oh, that the Church would be humble enough to ask! If you’re unsure, if you’re confused, if you don’t feel like you have enough information to act, simply ask for more instructions. I have yet to read an account in the Bible where God refuses to answer the heart that is truly seeking Him.

Daily Bible reading: Judges 12-14, Luke 9:37-62

Daily Bible Reading

What “if”?

It has become acceptable in the church to pray, “God, if it be your will…”

This should be the least acceptable prayer. We know God’s will. He gave us His Word so that we would know His will. We shouldn’t have to add, “if it’s your will” if we’re praying for healing. Jesus took on the cross so that we would be healed. We shouldn’t have to ask, “if you want to” when we need provision. God already said that He will supply all our need according to His riches in glory. Why do we add “if You can”? Is it to give us an out should our prayer not be answered?

What do you mean, ‘if I can’?” Jesus asked. “Anything is possible if a person believes.

Mark 9:23 (NLT)

What is the look on God’s face when He hears “if” prayers? Does He roll His eyes as if to say, not again. Or is He angry with us because He’s already been pretty clear about what He is able to do?

Let’s stop praying “if” prayers. If you have a need, go to the Bible and find out what God says about it so that you can go to Him confidently. And if you still can’t stand before Him confident that He is more than able to accomplish what He says He can, ask for help!

The father instantly cried out, “I do believe, but help me overcome my unbelief!”

Mark 9:24 (NLT)

The question is not if God can do it, but whether or not we believe He can. If you’re not to the point of believing, ask God to help you believe! Start there. And build your faith so that, when you pray, you can go to God and say, “because it is Your will…”

Daily Bible reading: Numbers 28-29, Mark 9:1-29