Daily Bible Reading

Be that hero!

Who’s your hero? Are you into super heros? Maybe Superman or Iron Man or Captain America. Maybe it’s the quarterback from your favourite football team or that awesome guitar player from your favourite band. Maybe it’s the writer of those books you can never seem to put down or even the character in those books. Whoever it is, you probably have a hero of some sort.

But what is a hero really?

HERO: A man or woman of distinguished valor, intrepidity or enterprise in danger; a great illustrious or extraordinary person.

In all of our admiring of great athletes, musicians, super heroes, and artists, do we take the time to admire another kind of extraordinary person?

The godly people in the land
are my true heros!
I take pleasure in them.

Psalm 16:3 (NLT)

These are the people who are truly deserving of our admiration. I can honestly say that I’ve got a few of these heros in my life.

The woman in Mexico who works two jobs to feed a bunch of kids that aren’t even hers. The young woman in Zambia who left her comfortable life behind to teach. The family who moved to Michigan to befriend a Muslim community. The single mom who’s teaching her boys to love, serve, and fear the Lord. The pastor who works on his day off just to be sure the job gets done.

These people are true heroes. They are each great and extraordinary in their own way. And they are all godly people. It is these kinds of people who are worthy of our praise and admiration. These are the people we should seek to emulate.

Let’s face it, you’re not and orphan from Krypton. You’re never going to make a flying suit and save the world. And I doubt you’ve never spent the better part of a century entombed in ice after being a guinea pig in a secret government science project. But you can do little things every day that make you a hero in the eyes of someone. In the words of Larry Boy, be that hero!

Daily Bible reading: Psalm 13-16, Acts 18

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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

Gone Ahead

Do you ever wonder how much preparation God has done on your behalf? If you’re like me, probably not at all. But what if He has. What if, like with Israel, God has gone ahead of you and prepared something great? What if there is one person, like John the Baptist, cousin of Jesus, who has set out before you and made a way where there was no way? What if we really believed that God is for us?

“I know the Lord has given you this land,” [Rahab] told them. “We are all afraid of you. Everyone is living in terror for we have heard how the Lord made a dry path for you through the Red Sea when you left Egypt…”

Joshua 2:9-10a (NLT)

I tend to forget just how much preparation went into Israel’s settlement in the Promised Land. For 40 years, rumours of their exploits went through the nations, and like any good story, it probably got embellished along the way. By the time these stories reached Jericho, it was no wonder the inhabitants were living in terror.

Israel was a huge nation who had left Egypt and crossed a sea on dry land. They’d been led in the wilderness for a full generation by a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. They’d been fed with manna that arrived like the dew every morning. They drank sweet water from a rock. They defeated every enemy the Lord set them up against.

While these stories were working fear into the hearts of their enemies, they were building strength and courage in Israel.

I command you—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.

Joshua 1:9 (NLT)

This is why, in the previous verse, Israel is reminded to meditated on God’s Word. To study it day and night so that they would be able to obey it and remember it and with it, have success.

The same stands true for us today. God has gone ahead of us—whether we’re aware of it or not. The closer we keep His Word to us, the stronger we’ll be. The more courageous we will be. The more confident we will be in the God who has made plans for good and not disaster, to give you a future and a hope (Jeremiah 29:11).

The enemy before us is already terrified. They’ve already lost the battle. If we go in confident in the One who sent us and His Word for us, we can’t lose.

Daily Bible reading: Joshua 1-3, Luke 1:57-80

Daily Bible Reading

Honour

Who doesn’t want to be honoured? You may think of being honoured as perhaps being presented an award of merit at a special ceremony. Or receiving a medal for acts of bravery. What about simply being treated with respect?

R-E-S-P-E-C-T. We all want some. So how do we get it?

The fear of the Lord is instruction in wisdom,
and humility comes before honor.

Proverbs 15:33 (ESV)

Back to this fear of the Lord thing again? Yes.

In Bible school, we spent over two weeks on an in-depth study on honour. It all came back to our approach to God.

When we know our place in reference to God, we not only have a greater understanding of Him, we have a greater understanding of who we are. When God is put in the correct place in our lives, having ourselves in the right place is a beneficial byproduct.

Whoever gives thought to the word will discover good,
and blessed is he who trusts in the Lord.

Proverbs 16:20 (ESV)

These seemingly unrelated phrases are not lumped together just to fill a page. Over and over again through the Proverbs are verses about trusting in and relying on God with good things to follow.

If you want honour and respect, you have to be able to properly give honour and respect. Honour God. Respect God. Put God in His place and then you will be in a position for Him to put you in your place. Humble yourself and you won’t have to look for honour, it will find you.

Daily Bible reading: Proverbs 15-16; 2 Corinthians 1

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Fear

As a kid, I often heard that I should fear the Lord. It was a difficult concept to reconcile. Wasn’t God my Father? Loving and kind? Why should I be afraid of Him?

Then I learned to differentiate the fear of God from being afraid of God. Fear of God is a holy reverence. Honour. Respect.

OK. I know the difference now. But how do I do that?

Come, O children, listen to me;
I will teach you the fear of the Lord.
What man is there who desires life
and love many days, that he may see good?
Keep your tongue from evil
and your lips from speaking deceit.
Turn away from evil and do good;
seek peace and pursue it.

Psalm 34:11-14 (ESV)

Of all people to speak on the fear of the Lord, I trust David.

We try to make things so complicated when it comes to fearing God, but this breaks it down into simple actions: watch what you say, turn away from bad things and toward good and peaceful things. Really, how hard is that?

Fearing God is not just knowing Him, it is pursuing Him. David, above all, knew what that looked like. He is forever known as the man who chased after God’s heart. That’s what the fear of God is – pursing an intimate knowledge of Him. And when we know Him, we will be more like Him.

Daily Bible reading: Psalm 34-35; Acts 22

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Only Fear

Are you afraid of God or do you fear God? Is there a difference?

As kids, many of us were afraid of the dark. Afraid of the monsters under the bed. Afraid of spiders (and maybe still are).

As kids, many of us feared our parents. Feared our teachers.

How do we differentiate the two? And how do we teach fear with out teaching fear?

I often go back to Noah Webster’s 1828 Dictionary for reference. He was a man of God and, as often as possible, used scripture to back up his definitions.

FEAR: A painful emotion or passion excited by an expectation of evil, or the apprehension of impending danger.

This is what it means when the lights go out, when the bed squeaks, when you walk through the unseen web.

FEAR is the passion of our nature which excites us to provide for our security, on the approach of evil.

In scripture, fear is used to express a filial or a slavish passion. In good men, the fear of God is a holy awe or reverence of God and his laws, which springs from a just view and real love of the divine character, leading the subjects of it to hate and shun every thing that can offend such a holy being, and inclining them to aim at perfect obedience. This is filial fear.

This is what it means to have a healthy respect of and reverence for those in authority over us.

Only fear the Lord and serve him faithfully with all your heart. For consider what great things he has done for you.

1 Samuel 12:24 (ESV)

Samuel, after anointing Saul as king over Israel, admonishes the people to cease from turning against God. He’s not telling them to be afraid, to run away cowering from the Lord. God chose them, after all, and led them out of slavery into a good and fruitful land. Why should they be afraid of a God who has only shown them grace and mercy?

Samuel encourages Israel to fear the Lord as a matter of honour and respect.

If you will fear the Lord and serve him and obey his voice and not revel against the commandment of the Lord, and if both you and the king who reigns over you will follow the Lord your God, it will be well.

1 Samuel 12:14 (ESV)

A promise follows the command to fear the Lord. Honour God. Respect him. Be faithful in service to him, and it will be well.

Daily Bible reading: 1 Samuel 10-12; Luke 13:22-35