April 1 – Freedom. This is something that we often take for granted. Look at countries around the world and see how many freedoms are present for a majority of people. We have freedom, yet we are supposed to give up that freedom to become “a bondservant to everyone” as Paul states. Are you willing to be a slave in order to spread God’s Word? Are you willing to give up worldly possessions to move to a foreign land as God calls?
April 2 – Moses was raised in Pharaoh’s home with Egyptian beliefs and customs, yet he stayed true to his Hebrew roots. Notice in verse 2:12 that Moses verified that nobody was around before he killed the Egyptian who was beating a Hebrew. Moses didn’t see anyone, but God saw, of course. If nobody was around to witness it, how did the Hebrew in verse 2:14 know that Moses had killed the Egyptian? We can’t know that, but we can know that God’s Will was moving in the life of Moses as he ran to Midian.
April 3 – In verse 17:28 have you ever wondered why Eliab reacted as he did to David’s question? Do you believe that it was jealousy? It seems like it may have been more of a guilty conscience. David had asked why this “uncircumcised Philistine” was allowed to mock the armies of the living God. That sounds like a valid question until you realize that his brothers are in that army. Although they are not mentioned later, how do you believe the brothers felt pride when their youngest brother went against this giant and came out victorious?
April 4 – Have you ever prayed for God’s guidance and the wisdom to recognize His Will in your life? I certainly hope that you answer a solid YES to that question. It certainly sounds like that is David’s request in verse 39:4. In yesterday’s reading, David killed Goliath with only a sling and a stone. Now three to five decades have passed and David is asking God to reveal His Will. Yes, even David was susceptible to human failings.
April 5 – Commitment is something that seems to be fading away in members of today’s society. Job 27:4 says “My lips shall not speak untruth, nor shall my tongue utter deceit.” Is this a commitment that we have made in our lives? The hope is that most readers will answer a solid YES to that question. If so, how well have we done in keeping that commitment? Once again, most would probably answer honestly with “not as well as I would hope.” Now for a deep question – we have made commitments to God and have not kept them. Does that mean that we are doomed to the fate of the faithless? Not at all. As long as we have accepted the death of Jesus on the cross as our sacrifice, He forgives again and again.
April 6 – Do we see false prophets in the limelight today? That is a question that you can’t answer for anyone else. Those who know the Word of God can compare any statements made by the preachers of today with the scriptures and discern the accuracy. Regardless of how people choose to bend God’s Word to say what they want, sin is still sin and wrong is still wrong. Reading God’s Word in its entirety allows the Christian to separate the sheep from wolves.
April 7 – Put yourself in the imaginary position of a law-abiding Jew in today’s society. You have studied the laws all of your life so you have them memorized. The laws of your state and government that fill volumes in many libraries are floating around in your brain. When the speed limit is 35, you do not drive one mile over that. When the sign says “Stop,” you are sure to come to a complete stop. When the light is turning yellow, you slow down instead of speeding up to try to make it through. Have we hit on any laws that you do not completely obey? By understanding who Jesus is and accepting Him, you have forgiveness.
April 8 – Let’s consider something similar – the practice of Holy Communion. There are specific traditions and methods in the practice of taking communion and we have become quite stiff in practicing these traditions. Do those traditions allow “one [who] goes hungry while another gets drunk” or “humiliate those who are poor?” Following God’s Word and His commandments should be more important to us than the way things have always been done.
April 9 – Have you ever wondered about God’s ability to provide? As we have seen, Moses also had these worries. God provides the solution through his brother Aaron because Moses was “of deficient and impeded speech.” If you will give your deficiencies over to God, He will use them to allow you to follow His Will. Are you deficient in speech? Maybe you can sing beautifully. Are you an introvert with a fear of standing in front of others. Maybe you have a God-given gift of writing. Pray for the ability to recognize God’s provisions in your life.
April 10 – How many times have you heard the phrase “little white lie?” Would you consider that to be what David told to the priest in verse 21:2? We who study scripture know that sin is sin and a lie is a lie. There are no degrees and no such thing as a little sin. David lied to the priest but the priest broke the commandment (Leviticus 24:9) that the shewbread is to be for Aaron and his sons. Did the priest really break the commandment? Do some research and discuss the lineage of David.
April 11 – When was your last trip to the beach? You may be fortunate enough to live close enough to make it a day trip or planning for an entire week may be required. When you go to the ocean God guarantees breakers and rolling waves. That is the nature that God has set in place. Have you considered the exhibition of God’s power in these waves crashing onto the beach? Try to have a conversation with someone there on the beach. Even the enhanced volume of a bullhorn is basically squelched. How can those who deny God’s existence consider such a thing?
April 12 – Have you often found yourself longing for the times when “the almighty was yet with me and my children were about me?” Job was in a serious trial of loss, but this statement could be made by those who have grown older and maybe even lost children of their own. Regardless of what has happened in life, we have the same God and the same source of strength Who will guide us through any tribulations we may encounter. Praise God and know that you are never alone in this world as long as you have Him.
April 13 – As you read Jeremiah 15:1, did you pick out an applicable point? Read it again. Read it with others. Did you see it? “Though Moses and Samuel stood before me … Send them out of my sight and let them go!” Do you see it now? There was approximately 400 years between Moses and Samuel. This is not a brief time period of God’s patience. Fast forward to today and consider our single intercessor – Jesus. God has been patient with mankind for over 2,000 years. Do you believe that He may be ready to say “My mind could not be turned with favor toward this people?”
April 14 – How would you answer the question “why do the scribes say that it is necessary for Elijah to come first?” (Malachi 4) Jesus replied that Elijah has already come and the people did to Him whatever they desired. Reading Malachi 4:5 you will see that it seems to prophesy of Jesus and the rapture together in a single verse. Jesus walked the earth, in today’s reading, to become the source for a reconciliation produced by repentance so that God will not “come and strike the land with a curse.”
April 15 – Excuse this “testimony time,” but I recently attended a Pentecostal Holiness church for a Gospel singing. In closing with a prayer and witness time, there was a woman who seemed to be speaking in total gibberish (to me, with a Free Will Baptist background). After she stopped, the pastor proclaimed what she said in plain English. During the ride home, I realized that this was done completely and correctly according to the scriptures. Regardless of your own beliefs about speaking in tongues, this practice is a major part of the beliefs of our Christian brothers and sisters.
April 16 – What should we learn from Pharaoh’s hardened heart? Can we read and understand God’s Word to retain a heart open to His guidance and Love? Scripture has many things to teach us if we will only be open to them.
April 17 – The statement “Respect for God” triggers a bit of a twinge based on world events during the year of 2016. Which events, specifically? Pick one – gay marriage, LGBT rights, transgender restrooms. Yes, the first two of those have been around for years, but something that has become a hot button issue in 2016 is the “right” of someone to identify as a specific sex. All of these are an abomination in God’s eyes and I shudder when thinking of what will be next!
April 18 – It is, among many other things, this watch care that gives us reason to clap our hands and shout praises to God. The best part of this “God thing” is that He promises us peace. Think of the worst “storm” that you have weathered in your life. This may involve a physical storm or financial uncertainty, maybe even periods of depression. Now think about the most peaceful place that you could be. You may be thinking of the mountains or the beach. You may even consider the snowy plains of Alaska to be peaceful. God leads us through the storms of life into those peaceful times. Be thankful and praise Him.
April 19 – Some may believe that the sudden appearance (and disappearance) of this man indicate that he was later inserted into the account by an editor. I would disagree. This is God’s Word and all of it has a purpose in our lives. We can’t dismiss or remove a piece of it just because we don’t understand that purpose at a particular point in our lives. Do you disagree with me? That is fine, read Revelation 22:18 and decide for yourself.
April 20 – Prophecy is the subject of this day of study all year long. In Jeremiah 19, do you see this as prophecy of God’s judgment on the Israelites and others during scriptural times? Do you see this as a prophecy against our world today? I believe that it can apply in both areas. Remember, God sees all things of all times. Whereas we generally have less than a century here on earth God is, was and always will be. He sent Jesus as the final sacrifice in order for us to accept Him and be saved from the final astonishment, horror and hissing.
April 21 – The point of the last paragraph is that the widow gave all and trusted God to provide for her needs. In the presented story, the same situation applies. We know that God will provide, but it is our checkbook that truly proves that belief. I am sure that you have heard sermons stating that you can tell someone’s true focus by examining the checkbook and calendar. The widows “checkbook” indicated that she was willing to trust God for her provisions. Discuss your own beliefs on tithing.
April 22 – Chapter 16 brings out an important topic for discussion – Christian outreach. How involved is your church in reaching out to others in the community? Helping those who are willing to go into foreign lands with the Gospel? Now, let’s suppose that your church or other groups that you know are heavily involved in outreach. How much prayer and financial support do you personally contribute? Verse 16:2 says “let each one of you [personally] put aside something and save it up.” Two more specifications – on the first day of the week and in proportion to what you are given. You should give regularly and freely.
April 23 – As indicated, we can easily look around and observe the beliefs of those who are against God being acted upon. How many of God’s people do you notice disobeying God’s Word? In the case of chapter 16, we see that the whole congregation of Israel murmured against God (through their complaints against Moses and Aaron). Are Christians today holding to beliefs that are clearly against God’s Word and His commandments?
April 24 – Did you notice, while reading verse 1:10, how the Amalekite justified his slaying of Saul? Do you realize, as David did, how the Amalekite seems to exalt himself? David illustrated his beliefs of God’s Word and His anointed as he ran from Saul but did not kill him when many opportunities arose. David illustrated his trust in God by not interfering with God’s position to give life and take it away (Job 1:21). How does this fit with world governments’ “war on terror?”
April 25 – Did you notice something a bit odd about verse 48? Read the end again, especially verses 12 and 13. Do you see what is being asked of God? Number the towers, consider the palaces and citadels. It certainly seems to indicate that the “Sons of Korah” (see the heading of this chapter) are telling God that He should look at what they have done, what they have accomplished. Do we tend to do the same? We say to God “look at what I have done for you” instead of asking Him to work His Will through our lives.
April 26 – Did the definition of sin change with the death of Jesus on the cross? Has God changed from the Old to New Testament times? I don’t argue scripture because you are entitled to believe whatever you want and are not wrong as long as there is no direct contradiction of God’s Word. I believe that God changed from an Old Testament God of vengeance to a New Testament God of love illustrated by the gift of His Son. Does that belief contradict any scriptural statements about God?
April 27 – This study session began with the purpose of staying on a positive track, then I read verse 22:21 and could not resist comparing it to the past few decades in America. “I spoke to you in your prosperity, but you said, I will not listen!” America was once the strongest and most prosperous nation in the world, yet the latest years seem to have resulted in a desire to accept and wallow in the sins of the surrounding nations. Along with the weakening of our faith, we have seen a country that is more divided and much weaker in standing up for what is right. God may have been evicted from schools, courtrooms and the lives of many, but He has not left us.
April 28 – Read Mark 13 again, and maybe even one more time. Do you agree that the words being said can be interpreted literally? Do you believe that they mean exactly what is said? These are the words of Jesus, and He often taught in parables. If you pay attention to the parables, they will be missing specific pointed details such as “Peter James John and Andrew” or “a certain generation.” Of course, you are free to read this any way you desire. Those who put themselves in a position to predict the date of Jesus’ return obviously do not believe “that day or that hour not a single person knows.”
April 29 – I have heard that some letters containing Paul’s writing are hard to follow. Do you agree? If you agree with this, why are they hard to follow? Could it be that we are just not in the frame of mind to receive and process God’s Message? Could it be that we are not yet ready for the meat that Paul provides? Hebrews is believed to have been written by Paul. In Hebrews 5:12 we find the references to milk for the young in Christ and the meat of God’s Word for those who are mature in the faith.
April 30 – Earlier in today’s reading, we see that Moses carried God’s staff with him. Do you need more proof that this was the symbol of God’s work through Moses? That was in the final verses of chapter 17. The Israelites would win the battle with the Amalekites as long as the staff was held high. It did not matter if Moses had human assistance holding the staff high, when it was lowered the Israelites began to lose the battle. Just as God was with them, He is with us as long as we believe and accept.