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

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

The Law of Love

Do you ever read through the Old Testament and wonder at all the laws, rules, and regulations? Those people had a lot to live up to. And then we think, man, am I glad we don’t have to live like that. But do you every wonder why the Israelites had to live up to such high standards?

Let’s take out all the sacrifices—we know that Jesus came and was the sacrifice to end all sacrifices. What about everything else? Why did God give so many instructions on how to live life?

You’ll note that much of it was practical—don’t do your business among the tents, go away from everyone, dig a hole, and bury it. Makes sense. This kept disease from spreading. The same goes for people with skin rashes and mildew in homes. They were quarantined until considered clean and then there was a process for reintroduction back into society.

God not only set Israel apart to be holy, but He called them apart to be clean—in the literal sense. Canaan, after all, was a land filled with people who had defiled themselves in all manner of ways. Not only were they dirty, they were diseased.

God even gave instructions regarding the crops—Israel wouldn’t be allowed to eat the fruit of the trees they planted until the fifth year. There are several reasons for this, the first being that a new tree will not produce good fruit in its first years. If it is cut back and pruned early on, it will be more productive later. Second, God was deserving of the first fruits—the reason why the fruit of the fourth year belonged to Him. By year five, if the Israelites had followed God’s commands, the fruit would be plentiful and sweet.

God doesn’t give us rules to watch us squirm under the weight of them. He gave the law out of love. All the instructions He gave to Israel were for their own good. For their health. For their prosperity. For their pleasure.

We can have more freedom and be more fruitful within the boundaries God has given to us than we can outside of His love.

Daily Bible reading: Leviticus 18-19, Matthew 27:32-66

Daily Bible Reading

Learn

What skills have you learned?

That’s a bit of a trick question. What skill do you have that you haven’t learned? There are very few things we do as humans that we don’t have to, at some point in our lives, learn.

I believe that one of the greatest skills we can acquire is also often one of the rarest and most difficult to attain. Obedience.

Many people are under the impression that obedience should come naturally. Once we accept Christ, we should be good to go, right? Hardly.

Even Jesus had to learn to be obedient.

Although he was a son, he learned obedience through what he suffered.

Hebrews 5:8 (ESV)

This is a loaded statement. We know, in the end, what Jesus suffered. Yet he was still obedient. He was not coerced into obedience, but took it upon himself as a man to be discipled, instructed, and directed to do the will of His Father.

It can be argued that Jesus was fully God and therefore, obedience came easily to Him. Do not forget that He was also fully man. Had He learned obedience in theory only, how could we then learn from Him? Someone who has lived in the city all their life could describe for you the Amazon Jungle, but how much more effective would the description be coming from someone who lives there? Yet even more so from someone who has seen both the city and the jungle.

During His life on earth, Jesus saw both the city and the jungle. And, not only did He see them, He experienced them to the fullest so that we could trust His word on both.

And being made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him.

Hebrews 5:9 (ESV)

Daily Bible reading: Jeremiah 49-50, Hebrews 5

Daily Bible Reading

Buy Truth

Once upon a time, I worked for an insurance and investment firm. Every day I would enter transactions for investors and hope that those investments would pay dividends. The best way for an investment to earn money is not to sell it. The financial market often corrects itself over a period of time. Those who buy and sell, buy and sell (like impatient drivers changing lanes all the time when traffic backs up) don’t really end up ahead of the game, but rather frustrated that they didn’t end up further along than they’d hoped. Those who stuck it out and stayed in their original lane often end up in a more beneficial situation.

How then, does this same theory apply to our lives as Christians?

Buy truth, and do not sell it;
buy wisdom, instruction, and understanding.

Proverbs 23:23 (ESV)

Truth pays. It is beneficial to have it. It is beneficial to get more of it. The fact that we are being told to purchase it means that we should value it. Buy investing and continuing to add to our initial investment in truth, we stand to gain.

By wisdom a house is built,
and by understanding it is established;
by knowledge the rooms are filled
with all precious and pleasant riches.
A wise man is full of strength,
and a man of knowledge enhances his might,
for by wise guidance you can wage your war,
and in abundance of counselors there is victory.

Proverbs 24:3-6 (ESV)

When you invest in truth, you can count on success. It’s that simple. Put weight in gaining knowledge and understanding and the by-product is victory.

Daily Bible reading: Proverbs 23-24, 2 Corinthians 5