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March 1 – In Job 17, verses 13 to 16 Job makes a statement that seems like true loneliness and depression. If Job says negative things in his depression, where is hope? And if there is hope, who will see it? His friends certainly did not want to give him hope and encouragements, but God was there the entire time giving Job support. Hope was present in Job, yet his friends kept heaping on accusations and “what if” questions. We can know, with or without supportive friends, that God is there during our deepest trials. He provides the support that nobody on earth can.

March 2 – Treasures of darkness, hidden riches of secret places, what would you consider these to be? In the beginning of Isaiah 45, we see that God is saying this to Cyrus. We have become accustomed to relating treasures and riches to material wealth, yet there are treasures that extend well beyond anything that we can hold in our hands or spend at the local grocery store. Think of the life of Solomon, the wisest man in scripture. God offered him anything that he would ask, and he asked for wisdom to be able to guide God’s stubborn people. God gave Solomon wisdom plus wealth, honor and many other things.

March 3 – “Practice what you preach.” I am sure that you heard this many times when growing up, and have probably heard it just as much since. It is likely that the origin of this statement came from Matthew 23:3 since it seems to say exactly that. Who is this derogatory statement aimed at? The Scribes and Pharisees, of course. They are the religious elite who are sitting on Moses’ seat of authority, yet they perform in the same manner as our judges and politicians who seem to consider themselves exempt from the laws that they are in charge of enforcing.

March 4 – Verse 1:18 makes an interesting statement – “the story and message of the cross is sheer absurdity and folly to those who are perishing.” Read it again and think about it before agreeing or disagreeing with it. The importance comes a word that is not included in this verse – permanent. Notice that it does not indicate that the lost are destined to be lost. There is no statement that they can’t be among “us that are being saved.” Jesus died for whosoever, and that includes all of us.

March 5 – Do you believe that Joseph always had a Godly and humble approach to life? If you think so, read Genesis 37 again. He seems to be bragging to his brothers about these dreams. If it was not actually bragging, it was definitely a lack of thought and sensitivity as he told them of the dreams that he would be exalted above them. Yes, that is the human view of Joseph’s actions. Now let’s think along more spiritual lines. Maybe God was using this situation, plus a little youthful pride, to set the stage for the events to occur in Joseph’s life. We see only today, yet God holds our entire lives in His hands.

March 6 – Do you believe that Joseph always had a Godly and humble approach to life? If you think so, read Genesis 37 again. He seems to be bragging to his brothers about these dreams. If it was not actually bragging, it was definitely a lack of thought and sensitivity as he told them of the dreams that he would be exalted above them. Yes, that is the human view of Joseph’s actions. Now let’s think along more spiritual lines. Maybe God was using this situation, plus a little youthful pride, to set the stage for the events to occur in Joseph’s life. We see only today, yet God holds our entire lives in His hands.

March 7 – Let’s consider an important topic – has the world gone so far away from God that its inhabitants are wicked workers of iniquity with malice in their hearts? Looking around at the world events, it could certainly seem that way. Now it is time for a personal awakening – you are not God and do not get to decide when the world has reached that point. Of course, I hope that you already know that. What we can say with confidence is that there will be a day sometime in the future when God will decide that humanity has gone beyond the point of no return. It is at that point that the dead in Christ will arise first and those alive will be raptured with Him. Are you ready?

March 8 – When you hear of someone bargaining or arguing with God, what is your response? If it is like most Christians, you will have a look of concern and pity for the person. How do you feel about Job? He is known to be a patient and God-fearing person, yet he says “God has overthrown me and put me in the wrong.” Yes, Job is making what seem to be accusations against God. In spite of this, the book of Job closes out with God’s blessings upon him. God is big enough to handle our humanity!

March 9 – Here is an applicable question for consideration or discussion – are we supposed to be afraid of the latest fringe group? This may be Al Quaeda, ISIS, Islamic State or other groups much more local to us. These are people who are warring against Christians and the Savior that we believe in. Isaiah 51:7 says “fear not the reproach of men, neither be afraid nor dismayed at their revilings.

March 10 – What is the opposite of human pride? Yes, humility is the opposite of the sin of pride. In Matthew 26:7, “a woman” gets to offer the ultimate form of humility by washing Jesus feet with expensive perfume. Most people in scripture walked from place to place. Their feet would get totally consumed with the sand because of the open sandals that they had to use as a barrier between their feet and the hot sands. Because of this, a slave would wash the feet of guests as they entered the house. A slave? Jesus washed the disciples’ feet, but He is God’s Son. Do you understand the symbolism of foot washing in some of today’s churches?

March 11 – What is your latest act of service in your church or community? We have discussed the function of those in God’s Kingdom and the focus of a garden or vineyard here on earth. What we need to do is look at how we, as individuals, have participated in the growth of God’s Kingdom. No, we don’t have to go to a foreign country or specifically preach God’s Word. The lives that we live, the time that we give, and the intercessory prayers that we offer are all personal indicators of our closeness to God.

March 12 – How many dreams did Joseph have? Count all of the dreams mentioned starting with those that he told to his brothers many years ago. Do you believe that these dreams were given to him by God? Consider the end result of the dreams. His dreams that he told to his brothers and father resulted in his service to Pharaoh. A second set of dreams mentioned in today’s reading resulted in his status as “a man discreet” (verse 41:33) who stores away food to be used during the coming famine.

March 13 – If you pay attention to your surroundings, there will be people who will say that the scriptures are just fiction. They were invented from the mind of an ingenious writer with the skills of David Jeremiah or maybe even Stephen King. In some weird way, they are partially correct. No, God’s Word was not “created” by man, but it was originally transcribed by ingenious writers by God’s leading. It doesn’t matter what others say about God or His Word, we know and accept the Truth.

March 14 – One subject that seems to jump off the page in Psalm 30 is trials and their results. How long did your latest financial or personal trial last? Six months, a year, maybe two years? You may be in the midst of a trial at the moment, but it will end. We are guaranteed that according to verse 30:5 – “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.” You may be thinking “but it doesn’t happen that quickly.” For us, it is not quick or painless, but the solution will come in God’s time frame.

March 15 – Since we mentioned court proceedings today, let’s consider the good things and the harm that can come from a trial. Harm? Remember, it was a Roman trial that resulted in the crucifixion of Jesus. Many courtrooms today will fail to convict a criminal on the basis of bumbled procedures or juror mis-steps. In the end, though, God’s Will triumphs. Jesus was raised from the dead and we, his adopted brothers and sisters, will also be raised to worship God.

March 16 – Since we mentioned court proceedings today, let’s consider the good things and the harm that can come from a trial. Harm? Remember, it was a Roman trial that resulted in the crucifixion of Jesus. Many courtrooms today will fail to convict a criminal on the basis of bumbled procedures or juror mis-steps. In the end, though, God’s Will triumphs. Jesus was raised from the dead and we, his adopted brothers and sisters, will also be raised to worship God.

March 17 – Let’s look at a little more detail about baptism. When you were baptized, did God speak to you and the crowds gathered around? Did a voice sound from the heavens saying “You are my Beloved Son; in You I am well pleased?” Probably not a loud, thundering voice, as I am sure this was. Did you perhaps hear a still, small voice whispering the words to you? Did you feel God’s presence invade your heart, soul and mind? In spite of what others may believe, you know the spiritual experiences that have occurred over your years here on earth.

March 18 – Immorality? In your church? Certainly not, you may be thinking. Let’s consider the acts of immorality specifically mentioned in scripture. Acts such as homosexuality and abortion seem to be a recurring focus in the world as we get closer to the return of Jesus. There are denominations that are ordaining openly homosexual priests and performing gay marriages. Some denominations are considering that a woman’s choice is more important than the life of an unborn baby. Jesus did not divide the apostles into Lutheran, Episcopal, Baptist and others. All were adopted into God’s Holy family to abide by His Word.

March 19 – After a new Pharaoh gains power and abuses those people, God later uses Moses to say “LET MY PEOPLE GO!” Even though Pharaoh had a hardened heart, he did finally let the Jews go after the plagues affected his own family. That will all come later when we read the book of Exodus. Although we can’t see it right away, a life given over to God’s Will produces continual progress toward a perfection that can only be experienced at God’s Throne.

March 20 – In our own free will, God lets us make the wrong decisions and follow the wrong paths. He also stays with us and receives us back after realizing the mistakes that have been made. God was there for the Israelites throughout history, and He is there for us every day also. Think hard about the last error in judgment that you made. I know, for some people, finding a flaw or mistake is a tough thing to do. What did God teach you from that experience? How have you become stronger in your faith?

March 21 – We are called, in the great commission, to go forth and spread the Word of God to the ends of the earth. Regardless of how things seem, we should strive daily to do just that. Remember that Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed because Abraham could not find ten righteous people in the towns. We, as God’s people, are called to ensure that our own towns cannot be called “Sodom and Gomorrah.”

March 22 – Why is Job’s questioning of God about others instead of his own trials? Because of his faith would be my answer. Why is this preserved in God’s Word for us to read and meditate over so many years later? My answer on that is “so that we may be the hands and feet of God in helping those in need and unable to provide for themselves.”

March 23 – But why is a new Heaven needed? I believe that a new heaven and earth are created because heaven and earth are now separated. In this creation, heaven and earth are one, so that we can praise God physically. What opportunities have you been given recently to spread God’s Word? Church visitation team? Casual conversation with a coworker? Opportunities abound as long as we are open to God’s Will.

March 24 – The rock. Sons of thunder. What nickname would Jesus have given to you? As mentioned above, we will probably be quick to blurt out a strong, positive name like Abiel (Hebrew for “God is my father”) or Eleazar (Hebrew, “My God has helped”). Would we be more honest in our assessment? Humility is a trait to be desired, you know. We could choose something more like Ezra, which is Hebrew for “Help.”

March 25 – What do you believe is a habit of yours that could be considered a stumbling block to other Christians? I have heard some people say that they have never been in a bar and never will, while I have heard others say that they go there because that is where there is a great need for the Word of God. Yes, you can retain a Christian attitude and carry that attitude into places that are not truly Christian in nature. In Mark 2:17, Jesus (the Great Physician) says that the well do not need a physician. That is why He “ate with sinners.”

March 26 – Have you noticed the wonderful things that can come from other cultures? Solomon created problems for himself and the people due to a lust for women from other cultures and the gods that came with them. Then we look in Genesis 50 and see that Jacob was embalmed by the Egyptian physicians. The Jews “embalmed” by wrapping the body and including spices and myrrh, yet the Egyptians actually removed blood and organs to inhibit decay. What traditions do you have that were adapted from other cultures?

March 27 – How many details do you know about Jonathan? In chapter 13, we see that he “smote the Philistine garrison at Geba.” Later we see that Jonathan actually went against his father’s wishes as he helps David elude the murderous attempts of Saul. We can carry this even farther and see the love between these two as David honors Mephibosheth, Jonathan’s son. How many times have you done the right thing regardless of whose wishes it goes against?

March 28 – “As a heavy burden [my iniquities] weigh too much for me.” How many times in life have you had this feeling? What was your response to that feeling? Many people will use times of trial as an opportunity to say that God doesn’t care. Others understand His love for everyone and the fact that God brings us through the trials with a much stronger faith, No matter how deep or long a trial may be, God is there for you.

March 29 – Power and presence are two things that the richest of the world seem to have inherited. Do you believe that the continual accusations from Job’s friends could be considered a “power play?” “I have done this and because of it, I am not sick. Since you are sick, you must be lacking in your reverence to God.” What would you think if someone said this to you? Could this be received as a constructive criticism? We can be sure that the friends thought they were in God’s Will while they tried to “straighten out” Job.

March 30 – Is ”backsliding” a term that you are familiar with? We see Israel described in Jeremiah 3:6 as “faithless and backsliding.” We can turn to our favorite Bible dictionary and read many paragraphs, but the main definition is “Condition that results from spiritual apathy or disregard for the things of God.” In a single word – faithless. This definition brings up the belief that we always need to look beyond God’s Word to help us understand its meaning. This passage of Jeremiah seems to stand alone in meaning and understanding.

March 31 – Let’s compare the healing of the Gerasene and what we know about Jewish customs. First, we know that Jesus was from the “seed of Abraham.” Next, we know that the Jews had strict laws regarding animal and diet. One of the forbidden animals was the pig. Does it seem fitting that Jesus would send the demons into a herd of pigs? As an animal grower in this area, what would you be thinking? “Maybe the next target for demons will be my flock of sheep, so we should get Him out of here.” Was this a simple business decision?