Sep 1 – How do we not “get it?” As mentioned, we have the scriptures that we can refer to anytime, anywhere. Most people have a phone and/or tablet that can have the scriptures installed on them. Did you notice the wording of that? “We can refer to” the scriptures anytime that we choose. The hard part is being disciplined enough to fill the slow periods of every day with God’s Word.
Sep 2 – Did Jesus possess a timid personality? To answer this question, in your own mind at least, you can look at the continual struggle to get the disciples to understand His purpose on earth. For an individual example, look at the way that He handled the ten lepers (Luke 17:11-19). After only one returned in praise and thanksgiving, Jesus did not launch into a “fire and brimstone” sermon about how the other nine should have returned. As a matter of fact, other than throwing out the sellers in the temple, I can’t find any other example of Jesus not taking a timid approach.
Sep 3 – Think back on your own desires and hoe God may have handled those wants. You should consider wants, stuff that is not necessary for life, but advertising and human nature both say that it is required. Did God allow you to acquire some of these wants? How did it turn out? Through our free will, God allows us to make decisions and pursue paths in life. Decisions made through prayer and pursuing of God’s Will work out. What do you think of the others?
Sep 4 – Do you recall reading of the High Priests of the temple? Did you ever wonder why people were appointed to be High Priest at a specific time? Good, that is a quest for enhancement of your scriptural knowledge. To quench that thirst for knowledge, read chapters 23 and 24 again. The Levites (sons of Aaron) were in charge of the priestly duties in the temple. They were also chosen by lot to go into the Holy of Holies to sacrifice to God once per year.
Sep 5 – Lean on God in times of trouble. Is it easy to let go of the problem and leave it on the altar? We have all had troubles that we just could not overcome. Think back on the final solution to your worst tribulation. How did you handle it? Maybe you kept it to yourself, constantly worried about it, and kept trying to solve the problem. It likely affected other areas of life like sleep and your job. Trusting God can take the worry out of the solution.
Sep 6 – All of the chapters of Proverbs contain many bits of wisdom, we could spend a year studying each one. You can even turn to this book for guidance on choosing friends. You are advised not to befriend someone who is known to give in to anger and wrath. By staying away from this type of person, you have avoided those same traits. This same advice can be applied to those involved in alcohol, drugs and other mind altering substances.
Sep 7 – Look around you at those in current society. Do we have preachers who claim to be led by God to give an “end of the world” message? Do we have others preaching a message of prosperity given to God’s people? How do you know who to believe? That answer is simple – does the message line up with scripture and God’s love? To filter out Truth, the message should also fit completely in the context surrounding the specific scripture.
Sep 8 – You have a few verses in scripture where you read a statement such as “He (Jesus) was troubled.” Imagine, a worldly event that can be troubling to the Son of God, what could be so bad? Was Jesus troubled by the fact that He would meet an agonizing death? We can be certain that was not the case. I believe that, in this instance, He was troubled because He knew that Judas would choose to end his life instead of dealing with the guilt of what he had done.
Sep 9 – The writing for today is highly dated. The above reference is to the depth of depravity in our world as of 2015. Now we are in the “Year of our Lord” 2016. With the worldwide political movements toward “acceptance of every thought and idea,” we are infringing on morality and individual rights. It would seem that we have gone well beyond last year’s writing to the point of forcing unnatural human affection on those who disagree.
Sep 10 – Take another look at verse 15:32. Does it seem unfair that a man who was gathering sticks on the Sabbath would lose his life? Although it is not specified, this man was apparently an Israelite who was transgressing God’s law of keeping the Sabbath holy. The Lord said to Moses, “The man shall surely be put to death.” Old Testament law versus New Testament grace, I sure am glad that we have Jesus as our sacrifice.
Sep 11 – In chapter 29, we read that the people rejoiced because they had given to the Lord willingly and with a whole and blameless heart. When an offering is taken up at your church, do you give willingly and freely? God has provided so well for you through the years that you consider it a joy to return to Him what is His already. That should be the way that things work. In that case, the coffers would be full and you would never hear another sermon on tithing because God’s people would be living the sermon.
Sep 12 – If you are ready for a point with the potential to bring up much discussion, talk about Melchizedek. First, where else is Melchizedek mentioned? Discuss some details about the Old Testament Melchizedek. Now bring the discussion into the New Testament. We read that Jesus is “priest forever, after the manner and order of Melchizedek.” Is this a reference to Melchizedek mentioned in Genesis? Is this a reference to the prophetic model of a priest?
Sep 13 – We gave a verse in chapter 23 that all parents should strive to fulfill “My son, give me your heart and let your eyes observe and delight in my ways.” Our children have free will to make their own decisions in life, so we can only guide them for so long. The second part of this verse is the extremely hard part to live up to – being a Christian example that our child can follow. Although Jesus is the true example, we should try harder every day to be like Him.
Sep 14 – In these early chapters, we see a recurrence of “I will send fire.” In the New Testament, fire is a symbol of cleansing and purification. Is God speaking of purifying the people of Gaza, Tyre, Edom and other unholy cities? Initially, I would have to say No to that question. In the long run, they will get tired of the self-inflicted tribulations and repent of their sins. At that point, these fires are cleansing the people. Will the 21st-century world have this same chance?
Sep 15 – Have you realized that Jesus’ disciples expected His return to be during their lifetimes? As a matter of fact, Jesus said something in Mark 9 – “There are some standing here who will in no way taste death before they see the kingdom of God.” How would you understand this verse? Without the scriptures to refer to and the fact that Jesus swore Peter, James and John to secrecy about the transfiguration, I am sure that the disciples were justified in this belief.
Sep 16 – If someone in your church is discovered to have gone against the basic beliefs of the congregation and the denomination, how is it handled? According to verse 1:13, we are to “rebuke them sharply.” There are other religions that exact a much stricter ritual of punishment, while some churches and denominations are willing to change what they believe and their application of God’s Word to suit the people. Where do you stand on the current church issues?
Sep 17 – You will often hear the words said, “We serve a never changing God. He is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow.” I would agree as long as you don’t apply that to too many “yesterdays.” The God in today’s reading is displaying a temperament of wrath instead of grace. He wants to destroy the entire Israelite congregation (16:21), yet Moses and Aaron are in the position of intercessors for the people. Do we still see a God of grace since he ultimately did not destroy them? That would be up to you to decide.
Sep 18 – Put yourself in the position of the priests. You have been traveling around with a portable tabernacle which houses the ark of God. Now, after so many years, you get to march with the ark one final time so that it can rest in this glorious temple designed by God. Imagine the emotions that they felt. If you have ever attended a service where the Spirit was moving among the people, I hope that we all have, that would be a somewhat similar feeling.
Sep 19 – Verses 113:7-8 have a true promise for God’s people – The Lord raises the poor out of the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap “that He may seat them with princes.” Did you enjoy your luncheon yesterday with the Prince of England? No, that is not the type of prince referred to, as you know because you read the rest of verse 8. We are to be seated with “the princes of His people.” We will be seated at the table with Holy princes, what a joyous experience!
Sep 20 – Have you experienced a chipped or broken tooth? A sprained ankle? A shoulder popped out of joint? If so, according to verse 25:19, that is similar to the experience of putting confidence and expectation in an unfaithful man. Do you recall being let down by a friend or relative who promised to do something and then did not follow through? Unfortunately, broken promises and commitments seem to be anticipated in today’s society.
Sep 21 – Verse 6:4 casts woe upon those who “lie upon beds of ivory and stretch themselves upon their couches.” What classification of person in today’s world would you assign this description to? My mind goes to those who seem to care more about money than peoples’ well-being. This also applies often to corporations and their board members. Does this mean that you should give to every person on every street corner? I would suggest verifying the validity of the request before giving to a cause. Give to causes which are committed to people that you care about.
Sep 22 – How many people did Jesus appear to after His resurrection? If you say “five,” you need to look beyond the book of John. If you say “500” then you are looking at other scriptures, but He appeared to 500 at one time. If you answer with “we really don’t know,” I believe this to be the most accurate answer. You could understand Acts 1:3 to imply that Jesus appeared to others that are not specifically mentioned in scripture.
Sep 23 – This book of scripture is centered around slavery. This is not slavery as we understand it or as our history books have described it. This is probably an indentured servant situation. If someone back then owed a debt that they could not repay, they would sign on as servant until it was paid back. This is the reason that Paul was able to commit to paying back all of Onesimus’ debt. With all of the things that Paul had done for Philemon, do you think that debt was ever called in?
Sep 24 – “Unclean! Unclean!” Can you imagine being required to shout this everywhere you went? As an unclean person, people would cross over to the other side of the street to avoid being near you. The only people with whom you could associate are other unclean people. This is the life of the leper in scriptural times. Did you realize that apparently someone could bring perpetual uncleanness upon himself? Read verse 19:20 to see if it seems that way to you.
Sep 25 – Imagine this headline in the Jerusalem Gazette – “Glory of the Lord fills House of God.” Okay, so that is quite far-fetched, and there were no paparazzi trying to get “the money shot.” Back into the scriptures now. The priests could not enter the house because of the Glory of the Lord. There are many places in scripture where we are told that if God is in our hearts, there is no room for Satan. These were God’s priests who could not come in to experience His Shekinah glory.
Sep 26 – Does God have power over nature? Without flipping any pages in your Bible, can you name five passages that illustrate Jesus’ power? I, also, will take that challenge – feeding of the thousands, calming of the sea, walking on water, healing of people and the transfiguration. Can you name the scriptures for these or your named references? That is definitely my shortfall. We are called to store away scripture in our hearts, I hope memorization of chapter and verse is an exemption from that call.
Sep 27 – Do you believe that trials help to refine your Christian spirit and beliefs? This sure is a hard thing to grasp while in the midst of a lengthy series of problems. As the troubles wane away, you tend to realize what you have learned from the situation and the positives are even easier to recognize and gain from as the years progress. Now it is time for deep reflection – if God gave an option of something negative affecting you or others, which would you choose? David had this option, read 2 Samuel 24 to see what he chose.
Sep 28 – This Old Testament scripture casts judgment on all nations – “As you have done, it shall be done to you.” Does this worry you, considering the state of most nations in our world today? Unless you know Jesus as savior, you should worry. For those who have Christ in their hearts, you will be raptured before the really bad stuff happens. You mean it will get worse? Yes, I know that is a bit hard to understand. Think about those, many years ago, whose worst worry was chewing gum in school.
Sep 29 – How many years of instruction have you had in Sunday school, church sermons and personal study? Do you understand Jesus’ message? God’s purpose for our lives here on earth can be summarized with the great commission – “Go then and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, Teaching them to observe everything that I have commanded you.”
Sep 30 – Do you realize the power that God has placed in your hands by “putting everything in subjection to man?” You have the power to clean up or destroy the beauty of His creation. You have the power to save a species from going extinct or to ignore the killing of the last few members of a species. With the power of having subjection over everything comes the responsibility for proper care of everything. How do you believe that mankind has handled that responsibility?