Below are brief commentaries on each daily Bible reading passage, to take you CHRONOLOGICALLY through the whole Bible in one year. Plus links so you can read through the whole Bible in one year - in about 20 minutes per day (previously on our Facebook page). More info at http://static.esvmedia.org/assets/pdfs/rp.chronological.pdf -&- https://www.esv.org/resources/reading-plans -&- www.ligonier.org/blog/bible-reading-plans/ -&- www.crossway.org/articles/series/esvorg-reading-plans/ - there are apps, reading plans, email links, listening opportunities and much more!
TO USE - use "find" function to enter each day's date using 3-letter abbreviation for month.

01 JAN 1
BEGINNING - Today we begin at the beginning as we begin to read through the entire BIble chronologically in one year, in about 15 minutes a day. The Bible opens with these profound words: "In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth."
God is eternal. He has the power of self-existence in and of Himself. He has always existed. No one created Him, but He created all things outside of Himself. His existence is self-evident, from the things that have been made. The Bible simply assumes His existence, as it affirms God as creator, which explains our existence.
"So God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion.”
God's divine design for mankind includes creating us to live in relationship to Him and with responsibility to Him, to represent Him in His creation. Mankind's rebellion against God explains evil in the world and our inherent need to be forgiven and reconciled with the Creator.
And in Genesis 3:15 God gives the promise of an offspring of the woman who would come and make everything right. It's the proto-evangelium, the first gospel. The rest of the Bible is the fulfillment of that promise, as God works throughout history to redeem His people through His Son. Put all your trust in Him today!
Genesis 1-3 www.esv.org/Genesis+1-3
more helpful info: http://creation.com/genesis-verse-by-verse -- www.Creation.com -- www.AnswersInGenesis.com -- www.IsGenesisHistory.com -- www.ICR.org

02 JAN 2
FLOOD - After God's promise of an offspring in Genesis 3:15, Adam and Eve were anxious for its fulfillment. But neither their son Cain (who killed his brother Abel) nor Seth turned out to be the promised one.
Adam lived for 930 years, and most likely knew Lamech, who was the father of Noah. Genesis 5:29 records, he "called his name Noah, saying, “Out of the ground that the LORD has cursed, this one shall bring us relief from our work and from the painful toil of our hands.” Noah was not the promised Messiah, but God had a unique purpose for his life.
The world had become greatly corrupt, and God determined to wipe out life and start over. He commanded Noah to build an ark to survive a great worldwide flood. Despite persecution, Genesis 6:22 says "Noah did this; he did all that God commanded him. Then the LORD said to Noah, “Go into the ark, you and all your household, for I have seen that you are righteous before me in this generation."
God arranged for Noah's family and the animals to enter the ark, and the Lord shut the door. The waters of the flood covered the earth, as God blotted out the corrupt life of the earth. But Noah and his family were saved - a picture of salvation found only in the "ark" of Christ.
The great worldwide flood explains much of the puzzling physical features of the earth, and many scientists have affirmed the narrative of Genesis without compromising the authority and integrity of the Bible.
You can be confident in God's written-down record of the history of mankind, and God's redemption of His people.
Genesis 4-7 www.esv.org/Genesis+4-7
more helpful info: http://creation.com/genesis-verse-by-verse
or www.Creation.com or www.AnswersInGenesis.com or www.IsGenesisHistory.com or www.ICR.org

03 JAN 3
LIFEBLOOD - How valuable to God is the LIFE of a human being? We are His image-bearers, representing Him in His creation. The Bible begins and ends with LIFE, and God's creative and redemptive providence for mankind. LIFE is what God created, and for human beings made in his image, it lasts forever. And He promised the Way to eternal spiritual life with Him and through Him and in Him, by Jesus. Without Jesus, those who choose the way of rebellion will exist for eternity in spiritual death.
God shows the value of life in Genesis 9, which also underscores one of the Biblical parameters for limited civil government - to punish evildoers. After God saved Noah and his family from the worldwide flood of judgment, He repeated His charge given to Adam, saying, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth" and said "and for your lifeblood I will require a reckoning: “Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed, for God made man in His own image."
"And you, be fruitful and multiply, increase greatly on the earth and multiply in it.” LIFE is the heart of your personal identity, both physical life and spiritual life. This makes life priority #1 in terms of political issues too, because life underlines every other reality of your daily existence.
All this comes into dramatic focus each January as the nation observes National Sanctity of Human Life Sunday and various pro-life rallies and conferences. If someone wanting to serve in governent doesn't know when life begins (conception) and ends (natural death) according to God's divine design, and that all lives equally matter, how can they responsibly enact or uphold legislation to guide your life? Make sure you know where candidates and party platforms stand on the issue of LIFE - and vote accordingly, according to God's values. Godly values will vote for those who defend life and against those who destroy life.
Make this a priority as you pray for our nation. You represent the Creator in all things, and He expects you to follow His moral justification, written down in His Word. If His spiritual life lives through you, then you will shine His light - to help stop today's dark culture of death and moral decay. Do so today, by His power within!
Genesis 8-11 www.esv.org/Genesis+8-11
more helpful info: http://creation.com/genesis-verse-by-verse
or www.Creation.com or www.AnswersInGenesis.com or www.IsGenesisHistory.com or www.ICR.org

04 JAN 4
THE PATIENCE OF JOB - this book chronicles the severe suffering of a righteous man, captured in a remarkable narrative describing the man Job in the patriarchal age (about the time of Abraham). 1:21 - "And Job said, 'Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked shall I return. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.' In all this Job did not sin or charge God with wrong."
We interpret Job as does James 5:10-11, commenting on people of the Old Testament: "Behold we consider those blessed who remained steadfast. You have heard of the steadfastness of Job, and you have seen the purpose of the Lord, how the Lord is compassionate and merciful." The narrative of Job presents him as a good man, and God as righteous, sovereign, wise, glorious. At the beginning and end of the book we see Job in submission to God in spite of suffering. But the candor of the middle reveals Job's frustration because his suffering seems unjust. But there is no hint of God being evil or capricious or impotent, even though He clearly allows Satan to afflict Job.
The message is perserverance - which is what you will also need in a life of faith - because you can trust in God to fulfill His purposes, no matter what. That's what James echoes in his call to patience amidst suffering. That's faith - acknowledging God as divine, holy, and sovereign - and your life as in complete dependence upon Him, as you trust and obey.
Job 1-5 www.esv.org/Job+1-5

05 JAN 5
ARBITER - the book of Job appears in the "wisdom" literature section of the Bible. Job plumbs the depths of themes associated with human suffering and divine sovereignty. God has chosen Job for the blessing of being a suffering servant through whom His grace will be shown. Satan, the adversary, accuses Job of serving God simply to receive material blessings.Satan is a liar. But Job experiences crushing trials and spiritually wrestles with God.
In today's reading Job replies to the faulty diagnosis of his "friends" Eliphaz and Bildad, who in their limited knowledge and understanding suppose that Job's sins were great and therefore his suffering was great. We are clued to the drama in the council of heaven. Job's spirit reaches a low point in chapter 9 as he nearly becomes fatalistic, waffling between hope and despair. He wishes for an arbiter, someone to mediate between Him and God.
YOU too know that God is all-powerful and all-knowing and all-holy, and that He has provided a Savior. Like Job, persevere in whatever trials you find yourself, as you trust and obey God, for in His time He will work all these things together for good, for those who love God and are called according to His purpose.
Job 6-9 www.esv.org/Job+6-9

06 JAN 6
THOUGH HE SLAY ME - Job continues his lament to God, an eloquent complaint of his misery. His "friend" Zophar reckons Job deserves even worse. Job knows they are wrong.
"You whitewash with lies" and speak deceitfully as if for God, but you cannot deceive Him. Job defends God's holiness and sovereignty, and declares, "Though He slay me, I will hope in Him."
If you have a friend in need of consolation in trials, keep your words few. Better they know you care than hear what you think you know about their situation. Only God knows.
And perhaps you have certainly suffered - but probably not nearly as much as Job. What a lesson for us, to not give up on God even if all else seems to fail us. Trust and obey Him, for in due time He promises all will made whole. Because Jesus!
Job 10-13 www.esv.org/Job+10-13

07 JAN 7
RENEWAL - Since you have background to the story, you know God is not angry or punishing Job. In chapter 14 Job suggests he might as well die. In his misery, Job still anticipates eternal comfort after earthly discomfort.
"If a man dies, shall he live again? All the days of my service I would wait, till my renewal should come." Renewal is related to the term for sprout again. This is a foreshadowing of resurrection.
Job's "friend" Eliphaz uses Job's sarcastic words against him, which gives Job no comfort at all. Then in chapter 16 he perhaps says more than he realizes: "Even now, behold, my witness is in heaven, and He who testifies for me is on high." Eliphaz earlier dismissed this concept, but Job siezes on it now as death seems more near and perhaps dear, not only to end his agony, but to understand from God "what's it all about."
Perhaps in your discomfort or despair you have similar longings. Trust and obey. God not only rules from heaven, but He knows and cares all about what you are going through. In His time He will make all well with you. And one day you will know how and why, and Who.
Job 14-16 www.esv.org/Job+14-16

8 JAN 8
REDEEMER - Job continues to suffer, not only from his physical afflictions and mental anguish - but also from the malpractice of his visitors, Bildad and Zophar. In chapter 19 Job utters these immortal words: "Oh that my words were written! Oh that they were inscribed in a book! O that with an iron pen and lead they were engraved in the rock forever. For I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last He will stand upon the earth."
The Holy Spirit has preserved his words, so that YOU can learn from them. Job expected someone to serve as his vindicator, An arbiter who would avenge or redeem his life and his name, before God the righteous judge. This heavenly redeemer would also stand on the earth. This seems to be a powerful foreshadowing of the promised Messiah.
Job also repeats his hope of resurrection: "And after my skin has been thus destroyed, yet in my flesh I shall see God, whom I shall see for myself, and my eyes shall behold." Thanks be to God, for we have not only His complete written revelation of this Redeemer, but if you are a believer in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, you also have His eternal spiritual life, and you await only the final resurrection to be set free from all earthly bonds and behold the face of God's Redeemer. Trust and obey, and rejoice in Him today!
Job 17-20 www.esv.org/Job+17-20

9 JAN 9
GOD KNOWS - One of the basic arguments in Job is that righteous people prosper and wicked people suffer - from the perspective of Job's counselors. In today's reading, Job points out how wicked people prosper and righteous people suffer, including himself, as he is experiencing.
Eliphaz says Job is more wicked than he realizes. Job is weary. In some chapters he is sure God will let him defend himself, in other chapters not so sure, and in chapter 19 he was very sure. He expects to be vindicated. He trusts in an invisible but sovereign God who knows all and sees all.
"He knows the way that I take; when He has tried me, I shall come out as gold. My foot has held fast to His steps, I have kept His way and have not turned aside. I have not departed from the commandment of His lips, I have treasured the words of His mouth." May this be true of you too! We do not judge the Bible by our experiences; rather, we judge our experiences by the Bible. Trust and obey the Lord!
Job 21-23 www.esv.org/Job+21-23

10 JAN 10
FEAR OF THE LORD - Job continues his defense, with eloquent rhetoric about the great glory and sovereign power of Almighty God. "He will complete what He appoints for me" and "I am terrified at His presence."
Job rightly displays worship and proper fear of God, the reverence due Him and being appropriately afraid of His holy power, which is the true meaning of "awesome." He rehearses the wickedness of those who rebel against God's character and commands. Bildad protests and says man is a maggot, a worm.
But Job says, no excuses! No matter what man is and does, God alone is awesome and mighty and holy and righteous. And God says to mankind, "Behold the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom, and to turn away from evil is understanding."
The fear of the Lord is expressed by obedience to Him and His written-down Word. And God's truth is absolute - true for all peoples in all times and in all places - and true for you, because God is truth. Worship Him, bow down before Him, and trust Him - as He completes what is appointed for you.
Job 24-28 www.esv.org/Job+24-28

11 JAN 11
JOB'S FINAL DEFENSE - Today's reading captures the cry of Job's heart as he laments his loss of the friendship and blessing of God. He rehearses all the sins he has not committed, and laments the great loss of his reputation as well as his physical health and family. "I put on righteousness and it clothed me, my justice was like a robe and a turban." Now he seems to have no reward for righteousness. His justice and kindness to others is not returned to him in his distress. Even hoodlums look down on him.
But Job insists on his innocence. The accusations against him are false. He calls upon divine vindication. "I would give Him an account of all my steps" to Him who numbers them. He is not exactly being self-righteous. In his sufferings, he doesn't see why God would unjustly punish him for sins he had not committed. Job anticipates answering God in a personal interview, and renews his call for vindication.
What are you thinking about the day you will stand before God in judgment? We have the entire Bible before us. The verdict is clear (Romans 3): "There is no one righteous, not even one" and "by works of the law no one will be justified in His sight" and the only hope is to be "justified by His grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus." No matter how innocent you think you are, don't be deceived that you can somehow pay for sin through suffering. Only the suffering of Christ pays for sin. Put all your trust in Him, now and forever.
Job 29-31 www.esv.org/Job+29-31

12 JAN 12
ELIHU'S REBUKE - Elihu was angry. No doubt about that. He thought Job justified himself rather than God. He thought Job's friends gave no real answer, but only declared Job to be wrong. His anger burned and then his words rebuked them.
He focuses on suffering as a redemptive discipline, with a divine purpose. No one is without sin, and therefore God denies justice to no one. "Of a truth, God will not do wickedly, and the Almighty will not pervert justice." and "For His eyes are on the ways of a man and He sees all His steps." and "For God has no need to consider a man further, that he should go before God in judgment."
Without God's grace, man's existence would cease instantly. WE must never forget, God is grace, and we are dependent upon Him. And, He has given us a mediator, who not only mediates but vindicates, because HE pays the price we owe. Put all your trust in Him alone.
Job 32-34 www.esv.org/Job+32-34

13 JAN 13
GOD IS GREAT - In today's reading, Elihu continues his reply to Job. He criticizes Job who "multiplies words without knowledge," complaining to God as though he could control Him, and has missed the greatness of God in the midst of his suffering.
"Because of the multitude of oppressions, people cry out; they call for help because of the arm of the might. But none says, "where is God my Maker, who gives songs in the night, who teaches us more than the beasts of the earth and makes us wiser than the birds of the heavens?"
Elihu extols the greatness of God's mercy, justice, goodness, and power. God is almighty and holy. He has a good purpose for suffering and discipline. God orders the complexity of nature "to accomplish all that He commands them." Behold, "God is great." and in Him we put our trust, "great in power, justice and abundant righteousness He will not violate. Therefore men fear Him He does not regard any who are wise in their own conceit."
Job 35-37 www.esv.org/Job+35-37

14 JAN 14
THE LORD ANSWERED JOB - now Job's friends and counselors are silent. God Himself speaks, out of the whirlwind: "who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge? I will question you, and you make it known to Me." Job and his friends haven't really known what they've been talking about. But God addresses only Job. He has focused on his suffering, not really considering the true nature of God and His purposes in the lives of mankind.
God rehearses for Him the awesome majesty of His power, in creating and sustaining the world, which reflects His goodness and power. "Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell Me, if you have any understanding. Who determined its measurements? Surely you know! Or who stretched the line upon it On what were its bases sunk, or who laid its cornerstone, when the morning stars sang together and all the sons of God shouted for joy."
When in our suffering we presume to judge God, to tell Him His business, we must consider that we are mere created things, dust of the earth, and be humbled before Him and give Him due worship. Repent now of your own anger against God, when doubt gives way to judging Him. Be thankful that He is merciful and slow to anger and gracious, and put all your trust in His Savior, who alone can vindicate you, by His own sacrifice for your sins.
Job 38-39 www.esv.org/Job+38-39

15 JAN 15
REPENTANCE - "shall a faultfinder contend with the Almighty?" God asks Job, as He continues to answer him with eloquent descriptions of His sovereign power as Creator and Sustainer of the universe and all the world around Job.
He repents, "I have uttered what I did not understand, things too wonderful for me, which I did not know. I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you; therefore I despise myself, and repent in dust and ashes."
Job's friends are reprimanded and offer sacrifices, and Job prays that they would not be dealt with according to their folly, for they have not spoken of God aright. Then the Lord restored all of Job's fortunes, "twice as much as he had before."
Someone has well written: "Job has come to understand that God on His throne is sovereign, and rewards those who belong to Him despite times of pressure and pain. The reader learns that Job has suffered, not because he was one of the worst of men, but because he was one of the best, and that his ordeal glorified his God." May we too trust and obey the Lord today.
Job 40-42 www.esv.org/Job+40-42
---By the way, the most obvious explanation of "behemoth" and "leviathan" are dinosaurs. For good rebuttals of evolutionary suggestions, and resources of scientific creationism, check out www.creation.com & www.isgenesishistory.com & www.icr.org & www.answersingenesis.org & http://creation.com/genesis-verse-by-verse
Job 40-42 www.esv.org/Job+40-42

16 JAN 16
CALLING - God's covenant with Abraham is foundational to the salvation of all who trust in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. And Abraham is called "father of faith" because believing what GOD says is the heart of faith - faith which responds with the whole being, heart and mind and will. Do YOU have saving faith - believing all that God says about being saved by believing in Jesus only? God calls you to put all your trust in Him today!
Here's the background: The LORD said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father's house to the land that I will show you. And I will make of you a great nation”... "So Abram went, as the LORD had told him"... "And he believed the LORD, and He counted it to him as righteousness."
The apostle Paul makes a startling declaration in Galatians 3. He shifts the focus of the promise made to Abraham away from the "people" to the "person" - and specifically to the person of Christ. Galatians 3:14 says the blessings of Abraham come to the Gentiles so that we might receive the promised Spirit through faith. v16 says the promises were made to Abraham and to his offspring, not referring to many but to one, who is Christ. v26 for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God through faith. v29 and if you are Christ's then you are Abraham's offspring, heirs according to promise.
What an incredible blessing God has given - the Christ of Christmas IS the blessing, and that is the great good news of the gospel that comes to us in Christmas - Christ has come and saved us, and He is coming again to make everything new!
Genesis 12-15 www.esv.org/Genesis+12-15

17 JAN 17
PROMISE - And God said to Abraham, “Behold, My covenant is with you, and you shall be the father of a multitude of nations. No longer shall your name be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham, for I have made you the father of a multitude of nations... And I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your offspring after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant."
Amazing! Theologian RC Sproul notes that the word offspring is a collective noun, which can refer to an individual or a group. Christ is THE offspring, the ultimate fulfillment of the the promises and prophecies. And if you are in Christ, Christ is in you, and then you are likewise an offspring of Abraham. This is how the promise comes to bless all the nations, because people from every tribe and tongue and nation will trust in Christ and be in union with Him with everyone else who is in Christ.
So if you are in Christ, you too are a child of faith, a child of the promise, yours the same way as Abraham, by grace through faith, believing what God says and acting accordingly - putting all your trust in The Promised One, the Lord Jesus Christ. As v7 says, know then it is those of faith who are the sons of Abraham the man of faith.
Galatians 3:16,26-29, etc shows how all this was perfectly fulfilled in Jesus Christ - who brings YOU into God's everlasting covenant, as a child of faith. Trust Him to keep all His promises to you!
Genesis 16-18 www.esv.org/Genesis+16-18

18 JAN 18
SODOMY - "we are about to destroy this place, because the outcry against its people has become great before the LORD, and the LORD has sent us to destroy it.” So Lot went out and said to his sons-in-law, who were to marry his daughters, “Up! Get out of this place, for the LORD is about to destroy the city.” But he seemed to his sons-in-law to be jesting.
- Today's society likewise does not take seriously God's commands about the sacredness of human sexuality. But you don't decide what is right or wrong. God does.
These three chapters record several times and ways people defied God's divine design - and the heavy price they paid. Sin will never win. Trust and obey the God of truth, and of grace, as Jesus Christ came to set people free from the darkness and bondage of sin. Receive Him as Savior & Lord, and live out His new life through yours, by His power within...
Genesis 19-21 www.esv.org/Genesis+19-21

19 JAN 19
PROViSION - In the New Testament, Abraham is called the "father of faith." He believed God's promises to him, to make Him a great nation through Isaac, his only son. Then God did the unthinkable. He asked Abraham to sacrifice Isaac. It was a test. Hebrews 11:17-19 explains: "By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises was in the act of offering up his only son, of whom it was said, “Through Isaac shall your offspring be named.” He considered that God was able even to raise him from the dead, from which, figuratively speaking, he did receive him back." Abraham said God would provide the sacrifice, and He did. First, a ram to take Isaac's place. Then, God's own only Son, come in the flesh as Jesus Christ, who died on the cross and then raised from the dead to give new life to all who put their trust in Him.
So Abraham called the name of that place, “The LORD will provide”; as it is said to this day, “On the mount of the LORD it shall be provided.” - Abraham's faith, his trust in action, pictures the gracious provision of a Savior who died in our place. And who died in the same place, that is the mountain where the Temple was built, where the sacrifices pointed to atonement through God's Messiah. But Christ's sacrifice of Himself paid for all sin once for for all. Have you believed, and received this gift?
And that ram was not the only provision God made thousands of years ago, to keep His promises - He also provided Rebekah as Isaac's wife, whom he loved. In this way the human side of the geneaology of the Christ continued until its fulfillment. And you, as a believer in Christ today, now partake in that promised blessing. God fulfilled His promise to bless all nations through Abraham and Isaac, and the promised offspring was Christ Himself (Galatians 3:6-9,14,16,26-29). "And if you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's offspring, heirs according to promise." Hallelujah! The everlasting lovingkindess of the Lord never fails - He keeps His promises, and He provides salvation.
Genesis 22-24 www.esv.org/Genesis+22-24

20 JAN 20
NATIONS & PROMISE - God renews His covenant promise to Abraham, to Isaac, to Jacob, and his descendants - fulfilled finally in Christ, who makes all peoples united in faith to the one true God. Here's the back story from Genesis, as Isaac & Rebekah had twin sons: And the LORD said to her,“Two nations are in your womb, and two peoples from within you shall be divided; the one shall be stronger than the other, the older shall serve the younger.” The younger son was born with his hand clutching the heel of the older, and the name Jacob means "supplanter" for he was to receive the blessing. Esau was a rough and ready uncivilized man of the outdoors, who cared not for God or His promises, and sold his birthright to Jacob for a bowl of lentil stew. Jacob spun his name to be "deceitful" but perhaps he learned this from his parents, who seem less than honest in all their dealings. Still, God's plan and purpose prevail, and God blessed them in order to fulfill His promise through their lineage. Romans 9 helps us understand God's sovereign election to accomplish His will - not because anyone deserves anything, but because God shows mercy and grace. If you are a believer today, it is all because of Him, nothing you have done, no good thing about you, but only God's grace, which you receive by faith, the gift of God. Rejoice in your salvation, rejoice in your Savior, and trust & obey Him today!
Genesis 25-26 www.esv.org/Genesis+25-26

21 JAN 21
BLESSING - Isaac was old and near death, and he wanted to bless his sons. Because he was blind, Jacob tricked him into giving him Esau's blessing of the oldest child. In fear for his life, Esau wanted to kill him. Isaac then sent Jacob to Rebekah's relations, where he was to take a wife, and fulfill the blessing of Abraham that was passed on to him. On the way, Jacob had a dream which confirmed the Lord's promise through his offspring.
“I am the LORD, the God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac. The land on which you lie I will give to you and to your offspring. Your offspring shall be like the dust of the earth, and you shall spread abroad to the west and to the east and to the north and to the south, and in you and your offspring shall all the families of the earth be blessed. Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land. For I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.”
God's grace would not be grace if it was deserved. Then, Jacob, the dreamer and schemer, met his match with his uncle Laban. He had to marry Leah in order to get Rachel. Whether Laban intended it or not, Jacob was forced to honor the birthright of the older child. Jacob's life would know much discord and hardship. Yet God blessed. Leah had children, but Rachel was barren.
How was God going to fulfill His promise of offspring? The fascinating narrative continues - as God's lovingkindness never ends - in the fulness of time THE offspring, Jesus, was born, to live a perfect life, die a perfect death of sacrifice for sins, and rise to new resurrection life - to provide salvation & reconcilation & God's promises to all who put their trust in Him!
Genesis 27-29 www.esv.org/Genesis+27-29

22 JAN 22
POSTERITY - and prosperity is the narrative of today's reading, along with mankind's reproductive decisions fueled by fallen human nature. Yet God divinely and sovereignly superintends His purposes. God kept his promise to Jacob, and gave a child through Rachel, and he was named Joseph. Then Jacob wanted to leave. He made a deal with Laban, so that he could increase his flocks and wealth.
But God prospered Jacob anyway, in spite of his scheming, for God's own purposes. Jacob then fled from Laban, not knowing that Rachel had stolen Laban's idols. Rachel feigned illness and her father did not find the stolen goods. After angry discussion, Jacob and Laban made a non-aggression covenant, to be honored by their descendants, saying, "God is witness between you and me."
Laban's deception compounded with Jacob's deception and both men paid the consequences of greed and trickery. Amazing that God was at work behind the scenes, to fulfill His promise to Abraham, to bring forth the promised offspring. Thank God for His long-suffering love for sinful mankind in working salvation. Giving us mercy by not giving us what we deserve, and giving us grace by giving us what we do not deserve. Unmerited favor, salvation through our Savior, by grace through faith. Trust & obey Him, in all things!
Genesis 30-31 www.esv.org/Genesis+30-31

23 JAN 23
WRESTLING WITH GOD - The schemes and dreams of Jacob caught up with him. He feared for his life. He had presumed upon God's promises and God's grace, but still must pay the consequences of his selfishness and sins.
"And Jacob said, “O God of my father Abraham and God of my father Isaac... I am not worthy of the least of all the deeds of steadfast love and all the faithfulness that You have shown... Please deliver me from the hand of Esau, for I fear him... But You said, ‘I will surely do you good, and make your offspring as the sand of the sea, which cannot be numbered for multitude.’” Fearfully on his way to meet Esau, the brother he had wronged, Jacob wrestled with God. Literally.
The angel of the Lord appeared in human form, called a "theophany." He dislocated Jacob's hip. He would be crippled for life, a constant reminder of dependence upon divine grace. God also changed his name to Israel, which means "he strives with God." But he refused to tell Jacob His name, for God is sovereign and not subject to man's whims or commands, but He reveals Himself and works out His providence in our lives according to His own purpose and grace. What about YOU? do you repent of your sins and receive God's grace, so that He changes you?
The Bible says God's people do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but in spiritual warfare, with spiritual weapons against spiritual foes. Trust in the truth of God's Word and the power of the Holy Spirit to stand firm against every temptation. Because Christians bear the name and authority of Christ Jesus Himself, who has overcome sin and death and the world and the flesh and the devil. Trust and obey Him today!
Genesis 32-34 www.esv.org/Genesis+32-34

24 JAN 24
JACOB & JOSEPH - Through Jacob, now called Israel, God renewed His promise to his grandfather Abraham, that from him would come a great nation and a great company of nations and kings, And Jacob came to live in the land of Canaan, where his father and grandfather had sojourned, the land that God promised them. And his next-to-youngest son Joseph began to have dreams, in which he was exalted before his brothers. They hated him for this, and also because Jacob loved him more than them. They sold him into slavery, and made up a story that he had been killed by wild animals. And Joseph was sold into slavery in Egypt.
All this prefigures fulfillment of God's promises by the coming Christ, and there are many parallels in Scripture that we will explore in coming readings. For now, it should be clear that what happens to God's people often involves the consequences of their own mistakes, and yet God clearly directs events to fulfill His own purposes. Israel means "he strives with God" and changing his name from Jacob to Israel affected not only the man but also his descendants, among whom is Jesus Himself - and all those in Jesus by grace through faith. YOU too can trust Him for your own life. Make His will your will, by trusting and obeying Him.
Genesis 35-37 www.esv.org/Genesis+35-37

25 JAN 25
SUCCESS - Today's reading includes another account of the birth of twins. One of them was Perez, who is in the line of the Messiah. Then the narrative returns to Joseph. He has been sold into slavery in Egypt, in the house of Potiphar, captain of the guard of Pharoah. His wife tries to seduce Joseph.
Falsely accused, he is thrown into prison, where it is learned that he can interpret dreams. This was a supernatural God-given ability, along with his political and leadership skills (prefigured in his dream in Canaan).
"The LORD was with Joseph, and...caused all that he did to succeed in his hands. So Joseph found favor" - God's plan for His people included the success of Joseph, who had been sold into slavery in Egypt.
God's plan for you might also involve TRIALS as well as triumphs. Either way - trust & obey Him & His word today. Joseph is also a foreshadowing of Moses as leader of God's people, and of Daniel, who likewise rises to political power while in captivity. All of these figures show how God's divine wisdom confounds worldly wisdom. And all of them foreshadow the Messiah, who is the incarnate wisdom of God. He will rule the world, after rising from the dead. Indeed, all of the Old Testament narratives point to the coming Christ.
As they looked forward to His coming, we look back on history and see God's hand - but we also look forward to His coming again, and the end of the end and fulfillment of all things.
Genesis 38-40 www.esv.org/Genesis+38-40

26 JAN 26
SECOND IN COMMAND - Interesting how the dreams of Joseph as a boy come to fruition in God's providence for His people. God raised up Joseph out of prison in Egypt by interpreting Pharaoh's troubling dreams. Joseph displayed exemplary leadership skills, and Pharaoh placed him second in command over the nation, saying to his servants, "Can we find a man like this, in whom is the Spirit of God?" Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Since God has shown you all this, there is none so discerning and wise as you are. You shall be over my house, and all my people shall order themselves as you command. Only as regards the throne will I be greater than you.”
But it was no dream - God was at work, preserving His people. The seven years of famine predicted in the dream extended to Canaan and was "severe over all the earth." Joseph's brothers came to Egypt seeking food, unaware that Joseph was there. He recognize them but they did not recognize him (he was now over 40 years old, used an interpreter, and appeared to them as a high Egyptian official." Joseph accused them of being spies, and insisted they bring their youngest brother Benjamin to Egypt. They were in distress and told one another it was because of a reckoning for the blood of Joseph, whom they had sold into slavery (but not knowing what had happened to him). Joseph worked out a plan to force them to bring Benjamin. God was working out a plan in His providence for the chosen line of the Messiah. But they still did not know it was Joseph.
Perhaps you are in distress because of poor decisions made in your past. When you believe in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, all your sins are forgiven, past, present, future. You can trust God's providence in your life - as you walk in His ways, trusting and obeying His Word.
Genesis 41-42 www.esv.org/Genesis+41-42

27 JAN 27
NOT YOU, BUT GOD - Joseph's brothers returned to Canaan and convinced Jacob to let Benjamin go with them to Egypt. Joseph treats them kindly, especially Benjamin. But when they departed, Joseph arranged for his own silver cup to be discovered in Benjamin's sack of grain, which would mean he would be enslaved in Egypt - meaning the brothers had lost both of the sons of Rachel, the most-loved of Jacob. This releases a great confession by the brothers, who fear losing Benjamin would cause Jacob to die of grief. Joseph could bear it no longer, and revealed his true identity, and the brothers were "dismayed at his presence." Indeed. But Joseph understands.
In his dramatic revelation of himself to his brothers, who sold him into slavery, Joseph said "God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant on earth, and to keep alive for you many survivors. So it was not you who sent me here, but God. He has made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house and ruler over all the land of Egypt. Hurry and go up to my father (Jacob) and say to him, ‘Thus says your son Joseph, God has made me lord of all Egypt. Come down to me; do not tarry." Joseph insists they bring all his father's household to Egypt, where they can survive the next five years of famine. Pharaoh was pleased with this family reunion, and pledged to give "the best of the land of Egypt" to Joseph's family.
God works in mysterious ways. And so He revealed His plan to save His remnant, the people from whom Messiah will come. And we will see this word and this picture many more times in Scripture before the fulfillment by the Lord Jesus Christ. Meantime, trust in the Lord, obey His word - for He is at work in the mysterious events of your life, to work out His plans.
Genesis 43-45 www.esv.org/Genesis+43-45

28 JAN 28
SOJOURNERS - Because of the famine, and because of Joseph, Jacob went to the land of Egypt, with his entire household. God spoke to him at Beersheba to affirm His covenant, "I will make you into a great nation." Joseph arranged for them to settle in Goshen, the best land for their flocks and herds, with the permission of Pharaoh. In 47:10, a remarkable thing occurs when Jacob, the guest, the wealthy shepherd, blesses the king of Egypt. Then the narrative explains how the Egyptian people entered servitude to Pharaoh under Joseph's policies, in exchange for food in the ongoing famine.
But 47:27 says "Thus Israel settled in the land of Egypt, in the land of Goshen. And they gained possessions in it, and were fruitful and multiplied greatly. Still, as 47:9 says, Jacob regarded himself, like his fathers Isaac and Abraham, as sojourning on the earth. Hebrews 11:10 affirms that they were looking for a heavenly promise, not earthly.
And what of YOU ? Regardless of your earthly blessings or achievements, are you also laying up treasures in heaven? Seeking the heavenly land and city? That is your inheritance in Christ, and so you trust and obey as you sojourn here, awaiting His promises in heaven. Do so today!
Genesis 46-47 www.esv.org/Genesis+46/

29 JAN 29
GOD MEANT IT FOR GOOD - Israel (Jacob) had moved his entire family to Egypt, where Joseph cared for them. And Israel knew that the end of his life was near (he lived 147 years). He repeated to Joseph the covenant that God had made with him (which affirmed the covenant with Isaac and Abraham before him), and he blessed Joseph's two sons along with all his other sons, in poetic language describing their futures.
Then Israel died, and Joseph made preparation to bury Him in Canaan, as promised, in the field which Abraham had purchased. Then Joseph's brothers were concerned for their futures, afraid that Joseph would take revenge upon them for their sin and wickedness to him so many years before. They said "Please forgive the transgression of your brothers and their sin, because they did evil to you. And now, please forgive the transgression of the servants of the God of your father.”
They asked Joseph's forgiveness, and submitted to him. And Joseph wept, saying to them, "Do not fear, for am I in the place of God? As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people are alive." He comforted them and spoke kindly to them, demonstrating the long-suffering lovingkindness of God toward undeserving sinners.
The mighty hand of God worked His purposes, not only in the physical lives of this family, but in their hearts and minds. Even in what others mean as evil to you, and in any affliction, God works out His divine purpose, for greater good. Echoes of Romans 8:28. YOU too can trust Him with your life and all your being no matter what is happening. Let go of your anger and bitterness. Receive His blessing - then pass it on.
Genesis 48-50 www.esv.org/Genesis+48-50

30 JAN 30
PRINCE OF EGYPT - God's extraordinary providence for His people continues through the generations. The people of Israel thrived in Egypt. but "there arose a new king over Egypt, who did not know Joseph." He oppressed the people of Israel, enslaving them, and forbidding their male children to live. God miraculously raised up a deliverer, Moses. As a baby he was adopted by the daughter of Pharoah, and was raised in the palace as a prince of Egypt. But he knew he was a Hebrew, and killed an Egyptian mistreating a Hebrew. He had to flee Egypt, and became a shepherd in Midian. God prepared Him in a far away wilderness. Then God called him, through the miracle of the bush which did not burn up. God said to Moses, "Come, I will send you to Pharaoh that you may bring my people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt." And "Say this to the people of Israel, I AM has sent me to you. The LORD, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob, has sent me to you." Then God said He would strike the Egyptians with signs and wonders, and that the Hebrews would plunder their wealth. The plan is in motion, and God's providence in Moses' life would take a new course. In the same way, YOU can trust God for His providence in your life, to fulfill His purposes. If He has brought you into a wilderness, He is preparing you to serve Him. Trust and obey Him today!
Exodus 1-3 www.esv.org/Exodus+1-3

31 JAN 31
THE LORD - As God sent Moses on a divine mission, He revealed Himself as "I AM" - Jehovah, LORD in all caps in your Bible. That's the personal name of God, I AM WHO I AM - from all eternity past to all eternity future. This is the God who made covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Now He says to His people "‘I am the LORD, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will deliver you from slavery to them, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great acts of judgment. I will take you to be my people, and I will be your God, and you shall know that I am the LORD your God." God will keep His promises to YOU too - trust & obey Him today, as He works out all His plans for you!
Exodus 4-6 www.esv.org/Exodus+4-6

01 FEB 1
TRUST & OBEY - God had preserved His people in Egypt, but in His perfect timing they would be set free from slavery. To do this, God had raised up Moses. "The Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD, when I stretch out my hand against Egypt and bring out the people of Israel from among them.”
Moses and Aaron did just as the LORD commanded them. God brought a series of plagues upon Egypt to turn the heart of Pharoah to let the Israelites go. The plagues showed the impotence of Egypt's false gods and their limited demonic power. Yet God showed mercy, because He was revealing His character to all the nations, so that His name would be reknown, as He works out His plan to redeem His people.
It's all a foreshadowing of redemption through the Messiah. And God has a plan for your life too - if you will TRUST Him and obey Him, you too will be set free to fulfill His purposes for your life. Do so today!
Exodus 7-9 www.esv.org/Exodus+7-9

02 FEB 2
PASS OVER - Pharoah's heart was hardened and he did not let the Lord's people go. One more plague was ordained: the death of the firstborn, in judgment upon Egypt and its false gods. But all who applied the blood of the lamb to the doorpost of their house would be spared this destruction. God told the Israelites: "And when your children say to you, ‘What do you mean by this service?’ you shall say, ‘It is the sacrifice of the LORD's Passover, for He passed over the houses of the people of Israel in Egypt, when He struck the Egyptians but spared our houses.’” And the people bowed their heads and worshiped. When the plague struck, the Egyptians urgently sent the Israelites out of the land. Their exodus occurred 430 years to the day when they came.
WE too 'observe' the Passover, as Christians believing in the Lord Jesus Christ - for He is its ultimate fulfillment, as the Lamb of God became our Paschal Lamb to pay the penalty for sin with His blood. And if the blood of Jesus is applied to you, then you are saved, set free from the yoke of slavery to sin, all by the work of the Holy Spirit. Receive God's salvation in Jesus Christ - and live for Him, by His power within you!
Exodus 10-12 www.esv.org/Exodus+10-12

03 FEB 3
DELIVERANCE - the miraculous deliverance of the Israelites from Egypt, through the plagues and through the Red Sea, resulted in this new song, in Exodus 15:1-3 - Then Moses and the people of Israel sang this song to the LORD, saying, “I will sing to the LORD, for He has triumphed gloriously; the horse and his rider He has thrown into the sea. The LORD is my strength and my song, and He has become my salvation; this is my God, and I will praise Him, my father's God, and I will exalt Him. The LORD is a man of war; the LORD is his name."
In the same way, God will deliver YOU from slavery to sin and death, through the new and greater Moses, who is the Messiah, Jesus Christ, the Son of God - if you will trust and obey Him and His word - receiving new life from the only Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, our Deliverer and our Life!
Exodus 13-15 www.esv.org/Exodus+13-15

04 FEB 4
LEADERS - the principles of the Bible gave guidance to our Founding Fathers - and should guide your life too. Our reading for today notes the incessant grumbling of the Israelites after God released them from slavery in Egypt. Their constant grievances were too much for Moses, and God provides him with advice from Jethro, the priest of Midian. "You shall warn them about the statutes and the laws, and make them know the way in which they must walk and what they must do. Moreover, look for able men from all the people, men who fear God, who are trustworthy and hate a bribe, and place such men over the people... If you do this, God will direct you, you will be able to endure, and all this people also will go to their place in peace.”
PRAY as you ask God for obedience to His word even in the leaders we elect, at every level of government. Especially as you participate in our election process, starting with "precinct caucuses" to select people from the local level to represent God's principles in our government. Pray that God's Word would guide them and that they would be obedient to them.
The principles of the Bible gave guidance to our Founding Fathers - and should guide your life today too. Repent. Pray for our leaders, and our nation. Trust God's Word, and obey it, by the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit. Pray that changed lives, transformed by Jesus The Truth, would begin with you, here and now and spread throughout the land.
Exodus 16-18 www.esv.org/Exodus+16-18

05 FEB 5
KINGDOM - After God's miraculous deliverance, He called the Israelites before Him in Sinai and told them - I AM your God, and you shall be like Me. That's the point of the Ten Commandments - to reveal God's righteous character, and our need for a Savior, in order to become like Him, as God requires. Our passage says God spoke to Moses, saying, “Thus you shall say to the house of Jacob, and tell the people of Israel: You yourselves have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles' wings and brought you to Myself.
"Now therefore, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, you shall be My treasured possession among all peoples, for all the earth is Mine; and you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. These are the words that you shall speak to the people of Israel.”
The first four commandments pertain to our vertical relationship with God, and the next six commandments pertain to our horizontal relationship with other people. They tell us what God is like, and how He wants His people to be like Him.
All these things are ultimately fulfilled by and in Jesus Christ, who perfectly kept God's commands, so is the perfect sacrifice for sin. And if you are in union with Christ by grace through faith, His commandments even become our promises! In Christ, you will not take the name of God in vain, you will honor your father and mother, you will not bear false witness - and all the rest. By Christ's power within. Worship God today, your Savior and Lord, your life!
Exodus 19-21 www.esv.org/Exodus+19-21

06 FEB 6
GLORY - God confirms His covenant with His people at Sinai. Moses sacrifices to the Lord and sanctifies the people with the blood of the covenant, which was thrown upon them with the words, "behold the blood of the covenant that the LORD has made with you in accordance with all these words." The blood pictured cleansing from sin, as well as the ultimate death penalty for breaking the covenant. All this was fulfilled in the Lord Jesus Christ Himself, in His life and ministry as the sacrifice for sin, through His own shed blood, as witnessed in His words at the Last Supper, which echo and fulfill these words of Moses.
Then Moses experiences the glory of the Lord on the mountain. "Then Moses went up on the mountain, and the cloud covered the mountain. The glory of the LORD dwelt on Mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it six days. And on the seventh day He called to Moses out of the midst of the cloud. Now the appearance of the glory of the LORD was like a devouring fire on the top of the mountain in the sight of the people of Israel. Moses entered the cloud and went up on the mountain. And Moses was on the mountain forty days and forty nights."
This manifestation of the glory of God prefigures that of Christ as He revealed the glory of God through His own earthly ministry. God's glory affirms His promises to His people. He acts in real history with real people, prefiguring the fulfillment of His covenant, through the person of His Son, Jesus Christ - who reveals God in both His character and His glory, and in His mighty deeds of salvation. Rejoice in Him! Put all your trust in Him, and obey Him in all things, by His grace and power.
Exodus 22-24 www.esv.org/Exodus+22-24

07 FEB 7
TABERNACLE - in the wilderness, God commanded the Israelites to build a portable temple, the Tabernacle, which housed the Ark of the Covenant. He said, "let them make Me a sanctuary, that I may dwell in their midst. Exactly as I show you concerning the pattern of the tabernacle, and of all its furniture, so you shall make it."
All this reflects His holy character. And represents His holy presence - and His acceptance of a holy sacrifice for the remission of sin. These are shadows which prefigure the reality of the fullness of Christ, who fulfills all these things in His own person. God incarnate. As the Son of God, Jesus came as the Lamb of God to take away the sin of the world, "tabernacling" with us as He revealed the shekinah glory of God.
Believe in Christ alone for salvation, not your works, but His work on the cross, and rejoice in His salvation today, as you live for Him!
Exodus 25-27 www.esv.org/Exodus+25-27

08 FEB 8
DWELL - God established the Tabernacle as a "tent of meeting" where the priests would minister before Him and He would be known by the people, among whom He dwelt. His holy presence was there in their presence.
He said, "It shall be a regular burnt offering throughout your generations at the entrance of the tent of meeting before the LORD, where I will meet with you, to speak to you there. There I will meet with the people of Israel, and it shall be sanctified by My glory. I will consecrate the tent of meeting and the altar. Aaron also and his sons I will consecrate to serve Me as priests. I will dwell among the people of Israel and will be their God. And they shall know that I am the LORD their God, who brought them out of the land of Egypt that I might dwell among them. I am the LORD their God."
Jesus Christ Himself is the perfect fulfillment of all these pictures of God's relationship with His people. God the Son came in human form, in the flesh, to dwell with His people, in order to save them by His own perfect life and death and resurrection. And as the gospel of John says, to reveal God's shekinah glory as He "tabernacled" with us. Through Jesus (God the Son), by God the Holy Spirit, God Himself now dwells WITHIN His people.
The New Testament teaches that all who believe in Him are His holy temple, in their own bodies individually, and corporately as the Body of Christ, as we dwell in union with Christ, Christ in us and us in Christ. Truly, Emmanuel, God with us. Rejoice in Him today, as you trust and obey, and as we look forward to the ultimate eternal fulfillment in the new heavens and new earth.
Exodus 28-29 www.esv.org/Exodus+28-29

09 FEB 9
GOLDEN IDOL - Even after seeing God's glory on Sinai, receiving the Ten Commandments, experiencing His miraculous deliverance, still the people hardened their hearts against the Lord.
The next day Moses said to the people, “You have sinned a great sin. And now I will go up to the LORD; perhaps I can make atonement for your sin.” So Moses returned to the LORD and said, “Alas, this people has sinned a great sin. They have made for themselves gods of gold. But now, if you will forgive their sin—but if not, please blot me out of your book that you have written.” But the LORD said to Moses, “Whoever has sinned against me, I will blot out of my book. But now go, lead the people to the place about which I have spoken to you; behold, my angel shall go before you. Nevertheless, in the day when I visit, I will visit their sin upon them.”
Then the LORD sent a plague on the people, because they made the calf, the one that Aaron made. What's YOUR golden idol? That you have set up in place of the one true God? GET RID of them, and worship God alone. You will do so if your name is written in His book of life (see also Ps 69:28, Dan 12:1, Luke 10:20, Phil 4:3, Rev 20:12 and many other passages) - because you are trusting Jesus for His atonement for sin. Trust and obey Him today in all things!
Exodus 30-32 www.esv.org/Exodus+30-32

10 FEB 10
WORSHIP - God is merciful. The stiff-necked rebellious Israelites were grumbling and disobedient. Yet God renewed His covenant with them. Moses took two tablets of stone again to Sinai. Then -
The LORD descended in the cloud and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the LORD. The LORD passed before him and proclaimed, “The LORD, the LORD, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children's children, to the third and the fourth generation.” And Moses quickly bowed his head toward the earth and worshiped.
Let US too bow down and worship the Holy One! He reveals Himself through His commandments and His holy Scriptures, showing us His character, and His desire that His people be holy, like Him. The more you learn about God and His perfect eternal character, the more you see how you woefully fall short, and the more marvelous His grace becomes to you, day by day.
Because all who God brings into union with Christ, those who receive Him as Lord & Savior, God is conforming to the image of Christ, to be like Him, as we trust and obey day by day, moment by moment. Do so today!
Exodus 33-35 www.esv.org/Exodus+33-35

11 FEB 11
SKILL - The LORD instructed through Moses - “every craftsman in whom the LORD has put skill and intelligence to know how to do any work in the construction of the sanctuary shall work in accordance with all that the LORD has commanded.” - So the people built the Tabernacle according to God's design and purpose, to reflect His character and His glory.
Do you know that God has given YOU specific skills for HIS work today? All who are regenerated by the Holy Spirit to put their trust in Jesus Christ as Lord & Savior, and so are brought into union with Him, are also giving spiritual gifts by the Holy Spirit. These spiritual gifts are for the building up of the body of Christ, as each part does its part, so that the Body grows up into the Lord (see Romans 12, 1 Corinthians 12, Ephesians 4, 1 Peter 4).
As you draw near to the Lord through reading His Word and in prayer, the Holy Spirit will transform your thinking, so that your life can bear witness to God's purpose for you - for Him. Trust & obey Him today, and glorify His name as you live out His life through you by His power within!
Exodus 36-38 www.esv.org/Exodus+36-38

12 FEB 12
FILLED & FULFILLED - The Israelites constructed the tabernacle and all its furnishings and the priestly accoutrements according to God's instructions. Then it was consecrated. "Then the cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle. And Moses was not able to enter the tent of meeting because the cloud settled on it, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle.
Throughout all their journeys, whenever the cloud was taken up from over the tabernacle, the people of Israel would set out. But if the cloud was not taken up, then they did not set out till the day that it was taken up. For the cloud of the LORD was on the tabernacle by day, and fire was in it by night, in the sight of all the house of Israel throughout all their journeys."
When Jesus came in the flesh, Scripture says He "tabernacled" with us and revealed God's "glory" - allusions to the fore-shadowing of the Old Testament fulfilled in the New. Jesus Himself is the High Priest who perfectly fulfills every priestly function and meaning. But most of all, it is through Jesus that believers are indwelt by God, through the Holy Spirit - the presence of God within us. Rejoice in the marvelous pictures of the Old Testament, but even more, rejoice in the realities of the New - in Jesus himself!
Exodus 39-40 www.esv.org/Exodus+39-40

13 FEB 13
OFFERINGS - as our chronological reading of the Old Testament continues, we enter the book of Leviticus. The LORD then describes through Moses, the various sacrifices to be offered in the Tabernacle.
In this way the people are reminded how they fall short of God's holiness, in their thoughts, words and deeds. Sin is constant, and must be paid for. The sacrifices picture the ultimate sacrifice of God's own Son, who made ONE payment for sin for all time, for all who will receive Him as Lord & Savior.
Rejoice in God's holiness, and His provision to make you holy - through the perfect sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Trust and obey Him today, by His power within!
Leviticus 1-4 www.esv.org/Leviticus+1-4

14 FEB 14
LOVE & SIN ? - What's love got to do with sin? God's prescription for sin in Leviticus includes the what, when and how of offerings made to atone for sins of commission (doing) and omission (not doing), knowingly or unknowingly.
Leviticus 5:17 “If anyone sins, doing any of the things that by the LORD's commandments ought not to be done, though he did not know it, then realizes his guilt, he shall bear his iniquity." God also provided for sinners to present offerings according to their economic ability. All these prescriptions underscore the holiness of God and the need of mankind to make atonement for sin.
These offerings look forward to the perfect sin offering, that God Himself would make. Because of His eternal divine love. Self-sacrificing love. Jesus Christ is the perfect once-for-all atonement for sin. By receiving His offering, as made in your stead, you receive not only God's forgiveness but also the righteousness of Christ. (2 Corinthians 5:21). But no mere picture of atonement can replace the reality of what Christ has done (Hebrews 10:1-18).
Believe and receive Jesus Christ as Lord & Savior - trust and obey! And rejoice in His perfect salvation from sin, and His giving you the Holy Spirit for the power to say no to sin in your daily life.
Leviticus 5-7 www.esv.org/Leviticus+5-7

15 FEB 15
FIRE - God ordained Aaron and his sons as priests, and prescribed the form of worship for His people. "And Moses and Aaron went into the tent of meeting, and when they came out they blessed the people, and the glory of the LORD appeared to all the people. And fire came out from before the LORD and consumed the burnt offering and the pieces of fat on the altar, and when all the people saw it, they shouted and fell on their faces."
But then two of Aaron's sons wanted to improvise. They offered "strange fire" or unauthorized procedures before the LORD - and they perished by fire.
GOD is perfectly holy, and the "creative worship" of sinful people will never replace His call to be worshiped "in Spirit and in truth" - meaning, the guidance of the indwelling Holy Spirit, which is always in accord with God's written-down revelation of truth, the Bible. Trust and obey, in all things, by His power within.
Leviticus 8-10 www.esv.org/Leviticus+8-10

16 FEB 16
BE HOLY - "For I am the LORD who brought you up out of the land of Egypt to be your God. You shall therefore be holy, for I am holy.” Your character should become like God's character. The Levitical laws of the Old Covenant detail the ways in which the Israelites would defile themselves before their holy God. These laws also preserved their good physical health. It involved their entire lives, as lived before the presence of the one holy Lord God, their maker, judge, redeemer.
What about New Covenant believers today? The Old Covenant law was instituted as a "schoolmaster" to point us to Christ, and show us our inescapable need for a Savior. Mankind is unable to perfectly keep God's law. However, Jesus Christ perfectly fulfilled every jot and tittle of the Law. His perfection paid the penalty for sin. And His righteousness becomes the legal standing before God of everyone who receives Him as Lord & Savior.
So now, in Christ, the Lord God's words "you shall be holy" are fulfilled, as a promise as well as command, and become our eternal promise in Christ, as we become more & more like Him - as we trust & obey, day by day, by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Leviticus 11-13 www.esv.org/Leviticus+11-13

17 FEB 17
SEPARATE - The Levitical laws were focused on keeping the Tabernacle from being defiled, as explained in Lev.15:31 “Thus you shall keep the people of Israel separate from their uncleanness, lest they die in their uncleanness by defiling My tabernacle that is in their midst.”
The root meaning of "holy" is separate, or set apart, as good from evil. God is perfectly holy, completely separated from every shade of sin or evil of any kind. God is pure, good, and unchanging, and His presence was represented in the Tabernacle, in their very midst.
This command to be "separate" was also an object lesson, preparing the people for the coming Messiah, who would be their perfect sacrifice for sin. And in the New Testament, Jesus healed people who were regarded as ritually unclean - and He himself fulfilled all of God's requirements as the perfect sacrifice, which is even more plain in tomorrow's reading. Thank God for your Savior today!
Leviticus 14-15 www.esv.org/Leviticus+14-15

18 FEB 18
SIN - the Leviticus lists aim to help people avoid sin and to worship God. Sin is defined as anything which does not conform to the holy character of God. His commands aren't just rules for rule's sake. Rather, they reflect His holy and perfect character.
Today's reading presents concepts of "atonement" and "scapegoat" - setting the stage for the coming Savior who takes our sin upon Himself. Atonement can be understood as "at-one-ment" or making payment for sin to secure reconciliation. The scapegoat is pictured as taking the sins of the people upon itself - which is what Jesus did for those who put their trust in Him for salvation.
Today's passage includes sexual sins, which particularly defile people, as sins against the body created for God's purposes. Especially homosexual behavior, because of God's divine design of male and female, created in God's own image. God's chosen people were to be like God, not the pagan peoples they displaced. God says: "So keep my charge never to practice any of these abominable customs that were practiced before you, and never to make yourselves unclean by them: I am the LORD your God.”
In God's grace, believers in Christ are not only set free from the penalty of sin, but also the power of sin - by the indwelling Holy Spirit. In Christ, we have the moral ability to say no to sin, which will be a lifelong spiritual and physical battle, as we are conformed to the image of Christ, by trusting and obeying, by His power and grace. Only in heaven will we be free from the presence of sin, to the everlasting praise and glory of our God and Savior! Trust and obey Him today!
Leviticus 16-18 www.esv.org/Leviticus+16-18

19 FEB 19
SANCTIFY - means to set apart to "make holy" or devoted to God. In today's passage, God continues reiterating His positive and negative commands - do this, do not do this - to show His people holiness in every aspect of their lives - that which will conform to His character.
He says, “Consecrate yourselves, therefore, and be holy, for I am the LORD your God. Keep My statutes and do them; I am the LORD who sanctifies you."
If you are a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, you have been sanctified (set apart) by Christ's perfect sacrifice, and you are being sanctified (being made holy), in your life experience, by the Holy Spirit who indwells you - all by His grace! As you trust and obey Him, He makes you more and more like Jesus, which is the point of our life's work. Thank God today for His gracious work in your life!
Leviticus 19-21 www.esv.org/Leviticus+19-21

20 FEB 20
PROFANE - God's commandments reflect His character, and prevent His people from profaning His name, which means to treat as unholy. Today's reading talks about the offerings and the festivals, and how they relate to the Sabbath, the seventh day on which God rested from His works of creation. These practices separated the Israelites from all other peoples of the earth, so that they reflected the holiness of the name of the one true God. He says, “So you shall keep my commandments and do them: I am the LORD. And you shall not profane My holy name, that I may be sanctified among the people of Israel. I am the LORD who sanctifies you, who brought you out of the land of Egypt to be your God: I am the LORD.”
When LORD is in all capital letters, it signifies the personal name of God, YHWH or Jehovah, "I AM WHO I AM." Praise God that Jesus Christ, the Son of God come in human form, perfectly kept all the commandments of God. As our Savior, He transfers His righteousness to all who put their trust in Him. As our Lord, we trust and obey Him, living in His name and by His power within us. All this fulfills the promises about the Christ, and about us His people, keeping His commands, as we trust and obey.
Leviticus 22-23 www.esv.org/Leviticus+22-23

21 FEB 21
SIGNS & SINS - Today's reading continues to explain some signs of the covenant that God made with His people through Moses. It gives examples of situations and how to apply God's Law to horizontal relationships between people, as well as vertically between the people and God.
Note an emphasis on both individual and corporate sin and responsibility. Each person is responsible before God for his own relationship to Him, to love and obey Him. Also the community is responsible to not tolerate sin against God which defiles the people and the land. The first five books of the Bible form an important groundwork for the American covenant, as Biblical principles inform our founding documents and laws.
Thank God for His historic relationship with people - and from what you can learn for your own life and relationship with Him - thanking God for salvation through Jesus Christ, who perfectly kept God's commands, and who pays for your sins, and gives you the power to please God!
Leviticus 24-25 www.esv.org/Leviticus+24-25

22 FEB 22
REMEMBER - God warns His people to remember their covenant with Him, and to obey His ways, with dire consequences for their disobedience, which He spells out. Yet God shall keep His covenant. The land shall have its Sabbath rest, even if it means deporting the people for their sins.
And, "I will not spurn them, neither will I abhor them so as to destroy them utterly and break My covenant with them, for I am the LORD their God. But I will for their sake remember the covenant with their forefathers, whom I brought out of the land of Egypt in the sight of the nations, that I might be their God: I am the LORD.”
Thank God today that HE keeps His covenant. His love is everlasting. And all is fulfilled in His Christ, who perfectly keeps His Word, and pours out His blessings on us His people. If you have put your trust in Christ Jesus alone for salvation, you too are a recipient of His covenant blessings, as you trust and obey. Worship Him today!
Leviticus 26-27 www.esv.org/Leviticus+26-27

23 FEB 23
NUMBERS - in today's reading, Moses takes a census of the people. Long before, God had promised innumerable offspring of Abraham. And now the Israelites were preparing for war, on their way to possessing the land promised to Abraham's descendants. This passage also describes how the tribes were arranged, with the Tabernacle, the place of worship, in the centermost protected position.
How about you? What's at the center of your life? First, your relationship with God through Jesus Christ. Then, your worship of Him in church in fellowship with other believers? Consider what God would count and consider - as He takes a census of your life today...
Numbers 1-2 www.esv.org/Numbers+1-2

24 FEB 24
HOLINESS - God is holy, set apart, sanctified, perfectly pure. God's holiness was physically dangerous to the Israelites. His presence in the tabernacle required priests. They would protect the sanctuary from intrusion by the people, and they would transport the tabernacle during their travels, as well as minister the offerings and sacrifices.
Our own worship of God also must recognize His holiness, both of God Himself and of His written Word, which reveals His character and works and will. Note that the New Testament reveals that because of Christ's fulfillment of promise and prophecy, all who believe in Him as Lord & Savior are considered priests - with direct access to God through Jesus Christ.
But God also gives grace-gifts of the Holy Spirit, God's presence within His people. The Holy Spirit equips His people to minister to one another, including elders and deacons to lead and serve, and also pastors and teachers to equip the saints -all the people with all the gifts doing all the service - to do the work of ministry, so that the whole body grows up to become more and more like Christ.
Rejoice in God's grace to you! Worship Him as you serve Him today!
Numbers 3-4 www.esv.org/Numbers+3-4

25 FEB 25
BLESSING - Midst the instructions to the people and the priests regarding sacrifices for sins, God also gives them His priestly blessing. The LORD spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to Aaron and his sons, saying, Thus you shall bless the people of Israel: you shall say to them, 'The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make His face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD lift up His countenance upon you and give you peace.' So shall they put my name upon the people of Israel, and I will bless them.”
This blessing extends both God's presence and His peace to His people. His "shalom" peace means complete well-being. His presence will 'keep' them, protecting and guarding, as He pro-actively watches over them. Rejoice in God's grace in your life today - His presence, His peace, His power - via the indwelling Holy Spirit, as you trust & obey Him in all things!
Numbers 5-6 www.esv.org/Numbers+5-6

26 FEB 26
DEDICATION - Numbers 7 describes how each of the twelve tribes of Israel supported the Tabernacle on an equal basis, led by Judah. Moses entered the Tent of Meeting to receive God's communication for the people. God spoke from between the two cherubim on the Ark of the Covenant.
Praise God, that as He fulfilled His covenant promises, He spoke in person - as God the Son became a human being, to reveal God in person, in His words and deeds, and to offer Himself as the ultimate efficacious sacrifice for sins, once for all. Jesus fulfilled all the pictures and shadows that Moses represented, as God Himself fulfilled His covenant to redeem His people. Rejoice in His grace, extending even to you today in Christ!
Numbers 7 www.esv.org/Numbers+7

27 FEB 27
GUIDANCE - God's presence with the Israelites manifested itself in cloud by day and fire by night. Numbers 9:15 says, "On the day that the tabernacle was set up, the cloud covered the tabernacle, the tent of the testimony. And at evening it was over the tabernacle like the appearance of fire until morning. So it was always: the cloud covered it by day and the appearance of fire by night.
"And whenever the cloud lifted from over the tent, after that the people of Israel set out, and in the place where the cloud settled down, there the people of Israel camped. At the command of the LORD the people of Israel set out, and at the command of the LORD they camped. As long as the cloud rested over the tabernacle, they remained in camp." In this way God conveyed His guidance in a physical manifestation.
In the New Covenant, His guidance and presence comes in the person of Jesus Christ, God incarnate. God said, "This is My beloved Son, listen to Him!" And He wrote it down, in the Bible. Do you listen to His Word? Some people pray for "guidance" - which God already gives, in what He has written for all peoples in all times in all places. Pray for obedience. And trust & obey Him, by His power within!
Numbers 8-10 www.esv.org/Numbers+8-10

28 FEB 28
SPIES - Moses sent 12 spies into the Promised Land. They reported, “We came to the land to which you sent us. It flows with milk and honey, and this is its fruit. However, the people who dwell in the land are strong, and the cities are fortified and very large. And besides, we saw the descendants of Anak there. The Amalekites dwell in the land of the Negeb. The Hittites, the Jebusites, and the Amorites dwell in the hill country. And the Canaanites dwell by the sea, and along the Jordan.”
But Joshua and Caleb disagreed, saying “Let us go up at once and occupy it, for we are well able to overcome it.” But the other ten said, “We are not able to go up against the people, for they are stronger than we are - we seemed to ourselves like grasshoppers, and so we seemed to them.”
So how are YOU like the Israelites? They were complaining about their situation, and God blessed them with food. Then He showed them His promised land. Still they rebelled and resisted and disobeyed. Afraid of things (fearful, yes) that God had already told them would be conquered. Step out in faith, trust & obey, and you WILL receive His promises!
Numbers 11-13 www.esv.org/Numbers+11-13

01 MAR 1
EXCEPT - The Israelites grumbled and rebelled against God by following the pessimistic report of the ten spies, sent on reconnaissance to Canaan. Moses intervened in prayer. Then the LORD said, “I have pardoned, according to your word. But truly, as I live, and as all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the LORD, none of the men who have seen my glory and my signs that I did in Egypt and in the wilderness, and yet have put me to the test these ten times and have not obeyed my voice, shall see the land that I swore to give to their fathers. And none of those who despised me shall see it... except Caleb the son of Jephunneh and Joshua the son of Nun." Of the ten spies, only two, Caleb and Joshua, trusted God's promises.
What about us? When we fail to trust and obey God, we can receive His forgiveness - but we will have to live with the natural consequences of disobedience. Even then, God is faithful and will give you grace to see you through the trials on this earth. And all will be erased and made new in the heavenly Promised Land. Trust and obey!
Numbers 14-15 www.esv.org/Numbers+14-15

01 MAR 1
NUMBER YOUR DAYS - As Moses contemplated the transient nature of the passing days of life - and the eternal nature of God our Creator and Redeemer - he made it into a prayer. Psalm 90 is the inspiration for the hymn "O God our help in ages past, our hope for years to come." Verse 12 says, "so teach us to number our days, that we may get a heart of wisdom." This isn't just about keeping a calendar. It's because time passes and there are things you want to get done or need to get done.
There's a purpose, and you don't know how much time you have. Moses said in verse 10 "the years of our life are 70 or even by reason of strength 80, yet their span is but toil and trouble, they are soon gone and fly away." Moses was 80 years old when he wrote this at the time of the Exodus. He was probably very surprised to live to 120, and to still be healthy and leading Israel at the time of his death. He ends his psalm with verse 17, "let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us, and establish the work of our hands." That's the result of getting a heart of wisdom, so that your life, the work of your hands, lines up with God's purposes.
Living for Jesus, not yourself. Nothing you do will last if it is not in response to God's written-down commands. Ponder the passing of your days, and consider what purpose God has for YOU as His representative on the earth, as an ambassador for Christ.
Psalm 90 www.esv.org/Psalm+90

02 MAR 2
MUTINY - Among the Israelites were malcontents, even among the Levites who were responsible for the Tabernacle. Korah and company festered a rebellion against Moses and Aaron. It was based on half-truth (like all heretics and cults).
They said, “You have gone too far! For all in the congregation are holy, every one of them, and the LORD is among them. Why then do you exalt yourselves above the assembly of the LORD?” They resented the priestly responsibilities, but they had gone too far in exalting themselves. God's organization of His people included designated duties. God demonstrated His authority by consuming the rebellious people, sending them and their possessions alive into the depths of the earth. Even this didn't convince the grumblers.
Consider your own grumbling against those who serve in the church today. The LORD is Lord - serve Him with humility, according to His gracious gifts of the Holy Spirit, remembering that we have a great High Priest, even Jesus, who shows us what is true worship and service. Trust & obey Him today!
Numbers 16-17 www.esv.org/Numbers+16-17

03 MAR 3
ROCK - The Israelites grumbled about water in the wilderness. God had provided water from a rock back in Exodus and does so again. And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, “Take the staff, and assemble the congregation, you and Aaron your brother, and tell the rock before their eyes to yield its water."
Then Moses addressed the assembly, "and struck the rock with his staff twice, and water came out abundantly." But God said speak, not strike. Uh oh. Christ was spiritually present (1 Cor 10:3-4) - and Moses as spiritual leader was not careful with God's commands, and appears to have been angry with God.
The consequences? Moses was not allowed to enter the Promised Land. "These are the waters of Meribah, where the people of Israel quarreled with the LORD, and through them He showed himself holy." Be careful to trust and obey God today, by His power within.
As 1 Corinthians 10:13 says, "no temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and He will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation He will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it." The written Word of God provides the truth to overcome the lies of the temptations of the world, the flesh, and the devil. And it is the Spirit of God who enables and empowers YOU to obey God's Word, and live it out. Trust and obey today!
Numbers 18-20 www.esv.org/Numbers+18-20

04 MAR 4
LIFTED UP - The Israelites continue their wayward ways and grumble against God and Moses. Their punishment was "fiery serpents" and the antidote was trust & obey God's Word. The LORD said to Moses, “Make a fiery serpent and set it on a pole, and everyone who is bitten, when he sees it, shall live.” By King Hezekiah's time the people had made a serpent an idol. The bronze or copper color suggests blood atonement.
John 3:14-16 references this episode as a foreshadowing of Messiah being lifted up on the cross to make atonement for sins once-for-all. Trust in Jesus alone - and you will be saved from the penalty of sin and the power of sin today - and from the presence of sin in eternity to come!
Numbers 21-22 www.esv.org/Numbers+21-22

05 MAR 5
PROMISE - Today's readings in the book of Numbers show God's irrevocable promises. One particularly striking incident is also mentioned in the letter of 2 Peter, in its warning about false prophets, who "have followed the way of Balaam, the son of Beor, who loved gain from wrongdoing, but was rebuked for his own transgression: a speechless donkey spoke with human voice and restrained the prophet's madness."
There is great irony in this divine intervention, as God spoke through a brute beast to stop the wickedness of false prophecy. Yet God can deliver His truth even through the through the mouth of an unrighteous prophet - and even his donkey. He says, "God is not man, that He should lie, or a son of man, that He should change his mind. Has He said, and will He not do it? Or has He spoken, and will He not fulfill it?"
As the people end their 40 years of wanderings and prepare to possess the Promised Land, God renews His faithful promises, even pointing to the rise of the house of King David, with all eventually fulfilled in his descendant, the Messiah Jesus. YOU can trust the Lord to deliver on all His promises - for you too!
Numbers 23-25 www.esv.org/Numbers+23-25

06 MAR 6
SUCCESSOR - God told Moses to conduct a census of the people, to prepare for war. Moses would see the Promised Land, but not enter it - because of his prior disobedience. Moses asked the LORD to appoint a successor, so "that the congregation of the LORD may not be as sheep that have no shepherd.” God chose Joshua, one of the faithful spies, "a man in whom is the Spirit of God." Moses and Eleazar the priest commissioned Joshua as the LORD directed.
Who is the shepherd in your life? Who guides you in God's Word? Pray for that shepherd, to be led of the Lord, to be obedient to God's Word, and to be filled with the Holy Spirit. As Hebrews 13:17 says, "for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you." And follow the LORD, who is the Great Shepherd of the sheep. Trust and obey Him today!
Numbers 26-27 www.esv.org/Numbers+26-27

07 MAR 7
SACRIFICES & VOWS - In today's reading, God underscores the importance of the sacrificial system, which recognizes the sinfulness of the people in contra-distinction to the holiness of God, who is also the Savior, their Deliverer.
This also affirms God's promises, that He will bring His people Israel into the promised land and provide for all their needs. He also outlines the special feast days they are to observe - all of which point to ultimate fulfillment in Messiah.
Keeping vows before the Lord is also a very serious matter. Be careful of "making deals" with God that you cannot keep. Trust HIM and His protection and provision - and His purpose for your life. He reveals the principles of His will through His written-down Word, and you live it out by the power of the Holy Spirit.
You are transformed by God's truth and His power as you trust and obey Him - who gave His life to pay for your sins and give you new life. Trust and obey Him today, by His amazing grace, as you live for Him.
Numbers 28-30 www.esv.org/Numbers+28-30

08 MAR 8
SIN WILL OUT - "be sure your sin will find you out" - a classic phrase but perhaps unfamiliar context. The tribes of Reuben and Gad asked to receive land as inheritance outside Canaan, on the eastern side of the Jordan River.
Moses is shocked, because it seems they have outdone their fathers in provoking God to anger by rejecting HIS plans for the Promised Land. They agree to help subdue all the enemies before settling in the trans-Jordan. Moses says, "But if you will not do so, behold, you have sinned against the LORD, and be sure your sin will find you out." The phrase means you will suffer for your sin, because the Sovereign God knows all things. Not even as punishment, but simply as the consequences of disobeying His written will.
Today's reading contains some perhaps troubling passages, about Israel destroying their enemies. But it is an object lesson about the essential perversion of sin against the holiness of God. The Lord teaches His people about wickedness and provides all we need to root it out of our lives. And if we don't, we will suffer consequences of our sinful thoughts, words, and deeds.
A good STUDY BIBLE will help you make sense of Old Testament history. The links below will also lead you to two great examples, the (English Standard Version) ESV Study Bible and the Ligonier Reformation Study Bible.
Numbers 31-32 www.esv.org/Numbers+31-32

09 MAR 9
INHERITANCE - In today's reading, God rehearses His deliverance out of Egypt and their destination in the Promised Land. And the LORD said, "When you pass over the Jordan into the land of Canaan, then you shall drive out all the inhabitants of the land from before you and destroy all their figured stones and destroy all their metal images and demolish all their high places. And you shall take possession of the land and settle in it, for I have given the land to you to possess it. You shall inherit the land by lot according to your clans."
The people are reminded of God's plans so that they will be obedient. Because the LORD also says, "But if you do not drive out the inhabitants of the land from before you, then those of them whom you let remain shall be as barbs in your eyes and thorns in your sides, and they shall trouble you in the land where you dwell. And I will do to you as I thought to do to them.”
How do you think the Israelites will respond? Their expulsion of their enemies is a picture of getting rid of sin, which cannot stand in the sight of our most Holy God.
How do YOU respond to God's promises, which will surely come to pass, as you trust and obey Him? He tells you to remove sin from your life - not by your own strength, but by the power of the Holy Spirit within you, who indwells all who trust in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Trust and obey Him today!
Numbers 33-34 www.esv.org/Numbers+33-34

10 MAR 10
INSTRUCTIONS - as the book of Numbers closes, the Israelites are in the plains of Moab by the Jordan River near Jericho. Moses reminds them of the LORD's commandments, specifically regarding the Levites and cities of refuge. He also affirms that each tribe's inheritance shall remain intact, including through marriage of those tribes whose male patriarch had already died. This ensures the promise made to Abraham that the land of Canaan would be Israel's everlasting possession - a theme that will recur in the next book of Deuteronomy.
Jesus fulfills these promises, and Hebrews 11 says Abraham died in faith, and "acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. If they had been thinking of that land from which they had gone out, they would have had opportunity to return. But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared for them a city."
And Hebrews 12:22 goes on to point to the new heavens and earth, "the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering, and to the assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God the judge of all and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant." All pointing to the future and ultimate fulfillment of God's promises to His people. Trust God to keep His promises for YOU - through Jesus!
Numbers 35-36 www.esv.org/Numbers+35-36

11 MAR 11
REMEMBER - Our daily Bible reading continues with the book of Deuteronomy. You may have heard this word, from the Greek translation, means "second law" because recorded in this book are Moses' reminders to the people of the commandments given to them by the LORD.
In Hebrew the word relates to "debarim" or literally, "the words" - referring to the spoken words of Moses before his death and before the people go in to possess the promised land. This is not new revelation but a rehearsing of what God has said and done, and a reminder that He keeps His promises, and they must be careful to keep their promises to trust and obey Him.
So YOU too need reminders of God's promises, His provision, His protection, and His purpose for YOUR life, so that YOU too will trust and obey Him in all things - by His power within.!
Deuteronomy 1-2 www.esv.org/Deuteronomy+1-2

12 MAR 12
LISTEN - Moses reminds the Israelites of God's faithfulness in battle against His enemies, and so strengthens their resolve, saying, "You shall not fear them, for it is the LORD your God who fights for you." He reminds them that God's faithfulness extends from God's holiness, His character, as expressed in His commandments. "You shall not add to the word that I command you, nor take from it, that you may keep the commandments of the LORD your God that I command you."
Why? Because the LORD is real and true and not an idol but the one true living God. "For what great nation is there that has a god so near to it as the LORD our God is to us, whenever we call upon Him? And what great nation is there, that has statutes and rules so righteous as all this law that I set before you today?" Such truth must be acted upon, and lived out.
"Only take care, and keep your soul diligently, lest you forget the things that your eyes have seen, and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life. Make them known to your children and your children's children."
And so God reminds YOU today, to trust and obey Him, and to teach others to do the same. For believers in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, this is all through the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit. Every day.
Deuteronomy 3-4 www.esv.org/Deuteronomy+3-4

13 MAR 13
GREATEST - very important reading today! = The greatness of God extends to His people, who shall become like Him, by loving Him with your whole being, heart and mind and will. He says through Moses, “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise."
This greatest of the commandments summarizes them. The first half of the "Ten Commandments" relate to your relationship with God, and the rest to your relationship with other people = all reflecting who the LORD is, and therefore how His people should be like Him in all their ways.
Jesus quoted this passage, underscoring how our relationship to God is a matter of our whole being, heart and mind and will. All that you are loving and trusting and obeying all that God is, and living it out.
Thank God that in Christ all His commands become promises, as He enables you to obey Him. All by the power of the Holy Spirit within who regenerates you in repentance and faith, and empowers your obedience. Trust, obey, love, live.
Deuteronomy 5-7 www.esv.org/Deuteronomy+5-7

14 MAR 14
REMEMBER & FORGET - so says Moses as he rehearses the wilderness history of the Israelites. His message to them illustrates the faithfulness of God and their stubborn rebellious hearts. Their sojourn in the wilderness, after being set free from slavery, was a test, as well as intermittent punishment for their disobedience. Yet God provided. Learning these lessons will serve them well in the promised land - which is also a test, as Moses said, "that He might make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD."
Jesus quoted these words in His 40 days of temptation in the wilderness. The truth of God's Word overcomes the lies of the world, the flesh, and the devil. You can trust God to provide for YOU, in order to fulfill His purposes, whether you experience want or plenty - trust & obey Him and His Word...day by day.
Deuteronomy 8-10 www.esv.org/Deuteronomy+8-10

15 MAR 15
HEARTS - How can the Israelites possess the promised land if their hearts are rebellious against God? Their history includes failure, fear, pride, and disobedience. But, “You shall therefore love the LORD your God and keep His charge, His statutes, His rules, and His commandments always," exhorts Moses, "that you may be strong, and live long in the land that the LORD swore to your fathers to give to them and to their offspring, a land flowing with milk and honey."
The LORD God Himself has protected and provided for them. "See, I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse: the blessing, if you obey the commandments of the LORD your God, which I command you today, and the curse, if you do not obey the commandments of the LORD your God, but turn aside from the way that I am commanding you today, to go after other gods that you have not known."
What are the idols tempting YOU today? Turn and love and obey the LORD with your whole heart! He is the way out of every temptation!
Deuteronomy 11-13 www.esv.org/Deuteronomy+11-13

16 MAR 16
PASSOVER - When the Israelites possessed the Promised Land, they were to remember to observe the Passover feast - which the LORD established when He rescued His people from slavery in Egypt.
"And you shall offer the Passover sacrifice to the LORD your God, from the flock or the herd, at the place that the LORD will choose, to make His name dwell there. You shall eat no leavened bread with it. Seven days you shall eat it with unleavened bread, the bread of affliction—for you came out of the land of Egypt in haste—that all the days of your life you may remember the day when you came out of the land of Egypt."
Jesus was crucified during the Passover celebration, and fulfilled the Passover with the sacrifice of Himself as the Passover Lamb (1 Cor 5:7-8). Our observance of the Lord's Supper celebrates Christ paying the penalty for sin, and removing the power of sin in the believer's life today, and we look forward to His eradicating the presence of sin from our lives in eternity to come. As we draw closer to Passion Week and Easter, take time to meditate on Christ's sacrifice.
Rejoice in God's provision for His people! And thank Him for your salvation - being set free from slavery to sin!
Deuteronomy 14-16 www.esv.org/Deuteronomy+14-16

17 MAR 17
PROPHET - God provides details and examples for applying His law principles to His called-out society in the promised land. This includes provision for prophets, to speak forth His truth to the people.
Moses fills this role for a time, but God says through him, "The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your brothers—it is to him you shall listen." The prophet speaks God's words, and His words always come true - that's how you can know a true prophet from false. Over time, as the people looked for Messiah, they also expected a final prophet, like Moses, as God had promised.
The New Testament presents Jesus Christ as fulfilling this role - speaking God's words and doing God's works, bringing the people out of the slavery of sin into sonship with the Father. All the promises of God find their "yes" in Christ (2 Cor 1:20). God says about Jesus, "this is My beloved Son - listen to Him!" (Matt 17:1-5). So too for you: listen, trust, and obey HIM!
Deuteronomy 17-20 www.esv.org/Deuteronomy+17-20

18 MAR 18
CURSED - Moses continues his speech, which applies God's "ten commandments" to specific life situations, with examples aimed at helping the Israelites understand how to live holy lives and experience God's blessings. Moses considers the sanctity of human life, relationships to one another, sexual morality, and much more - related to the 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th commandments.
Of interest to us today is Deuteronomy 21:23 "a hanged man is cursed by God" - because of its connections to John 19:31, Galatians 3:13, Acts 5:30, etc. In the Old Testament, crucifixion was not in immediate view since that form of execution came much later, in Roman times. The prohibition related to displaying the corpse of an enemy or criminal.
Jesus Christ was completely innocent of ANY sin, yet He died a criminal's death - in YOUR place! He not only took the penalty of sin you deserve but also the curse you deserve. Thus the Pharisees wanted to remove Jesus' body from the cross ("tree") before nightfall, so that their holy feast would not be defiled. The Old Testament prefigures all that God would fulfill through Christ in the New Testament. Thank God, not only for His Word of truth, but also that Jesus paid YOUR price so that you are set completely free!
Deuteronomy 21-23 www.esv.org/Deuteronomy+21-23

19 MAR 19
BLESSINGS - Moses continues providing examples of case law for applying God's principles to Israelite life. He also prepares them for a dramatic pronouncement for the people to choose either God's blessings or curses.
Blessing comes from obeying God's Word - and the same is true for you today too. The consequences of disobedience are not worth it. The list of curses and blessings provides a sample of what the Law requires. It also shows you how impossible it is for you to perfectly obey God's Law.
In the New Testament, we learn how Christ has perfectly obeyed, paid the penalty for our sin, taken the curses upon Himself, and gives His righteousness and blessing to all who will receive Him as Savior and Lord. Christ fulfills ALL of the Old Testament demands for holiness. Will you humble yourself to admit your utter unworthiness? And receive HIS righteousness? This is eternal blessing! -
Deuteronomy 24-27 www.esv.org/Deuteronomy+24-27

20 MAR 20
SECRET THINGS - Moses rehearses the blessings and curses and renews the covenant between God and His people. Then he makes a profound statement: "The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law."
You may wish you understood ALL of God's Word, which is difficult enough to keep all the theologians busy for the rest of history, yet simple enough for children to comprehend - believing unto salvation in Christ.
Be diligent in your study of God's Word, being careful to DO all that you understand, not by your own ability, but through the ministry of the Holy Spirit - both in enabling you to grasp the meaning and equipping you to live it out. It's not about knowing, it's about growing, up into Christ. By His grace, for His glory!
Deuteronomy 28-29 www.esv.org/Deuteronomy+28-29

21 MAR 21
HEARTS - If the Israelites will allow God's Words to enter their hearts and minds and wills, it will transform their thinking and their living. Beliefs drive behavior. And this will restore God's blessings. They need to have circumcised hearts, a word picture for inscribing His Word upon their hearts, so that they will genuinely seek God's will, according to His covenant with them.
This looks forward to God's promises of a new heart and His Spirit, and His enabling them for obedience to His word. These verses are quoted by Paul in Romans 10, showing how God's message of faith comes through the Scriptures. If you have trusted Christ, it is because God's Word has entered your soul through a new heart regenerated by the Holy Spirit - to bring you to faith. So now you are able to hear, to trust, and to obey. Thank the Lord, trust Him, & obey Him - by His power within!
Deuteronomy 30-31 www.esv.org/Deuteronomy+30-31

22 MAR 22
FAITHFULNESS - Joshua has been announced as the man who will lead the Israelites into the Promised Land. Then comes the "Song of Moses" before he blesses the people and dies. This song highlights God's faithfulness and the fickleness of the people. It stands as Moses' witness against their future rebellions. Where do you see yourself, in regard to your trusting and obeying of the LORD?
The Apostle Paul quotes from Deuteronomy 32:21, in Romans 10:19, as he shows how the faith of Gentiles will be a remedy for the unbelief of Israel regarding Jesus Christ the Messiah. Moses proclaims “The Rock, His work is perfect, for all His ways are justice. A God of faithfulness and without iniquity, just and upright is He." Trust & obey the Lord Jesus Christ today, as He sustains and directs you in His paths, for His purposes!
Deuteronomy 32-34 www.esv.org/Deuteronomy+32-34
and
22 MAR 22
REFUGE - draw near to God with the hauntingly beautiful Psalm 91, written in the midst of warfare. This passage gives great comfort to Christians. But it speaks of trusting, not testing. And we are not to test the Lord, as Satan tried to twist this passage in Christ's temptation in Matthew 4 and Luke 4 (acknowledging how it speaks of Messiah to come).
Presumption is not faith. We cannot force God to do anything, and certainly should not profane His Word in such a way. Rather, in every circumstance, we are to trust and obey the Lord, who is diligent to work out His plan and purpose as we are obedient to Him. This Christians do by the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit. Trust and obey the Lord today!
"He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say to the LORD, “My refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust.”
"For He will deliver you from the snare of the fowler
and from the deadly pestilence.
He will cover you with His pinions,
and under His wings you will find refuge;
His faithfulness is a shield and buckler.
You will not fear the terror of the night,
nor the arrow that flies by day,
nor the pestilence that stalks in darkness,
nor the destruction that wastes at noonday.
"A thousand may fall at your side,
ten thousand at your right hand,
but it will not come near you.
You will only look with your eyes
and see the recompense of the wicked.
"Because you have made the LORD your dwelling place—
the Most High, who is my refuge—
no evil shall be allowed to befall you,
no plague come near your tent.
"For He will command his angels concerning you
to guard you in all your ways.
On their hands they will bear you up,
lest you strike your foot against a stone.
You will tread on the lion and the adder;
the young lion and the serpent you will trample underfoot.
“Because he holds fast to Me in love, I will deliver him;
I will protect him, because he knows My name.
When he calls to Me, I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble;
I will rescue him and honor him.
With long life I will satisfy him
and show him My salvation.”
Psalm 91 www.esv.org/Psalm+91

23 MAR 23
"I WILL NOT LEAVE YOU" - at the death of Moses, leadership of the Israelites passes to the faithful and Spirit-filled Joshua. His name means "Jehovah Saves" or "Jehovah is salvation" (same as the name Jesus in the New Testament).
God affirms Joshua with words which encourage all who trust the Lord to do His will: "I will not leave you or forsake you. Be strong and courageous." Why? Because God shows the way.
"...being careful to do according to all the Law...(which) shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”
This success means, not personal worldly pursuits, but success in accomplishing the tasks God has set for you. According to His Word and His ways. And by His power within you. Be strong. Be courageous. Trust Him. And obey Him. In all things! By His power within!
Joshua 1-4 www.esv.org/Joshua+1-4

24 MAR 24
ALL FALL DOWN - The Bible provides rich details of the remarkable destruction of Jericho by the Israelites - the first major city to fall as they possess their promised land under the leadership of Joshua. God's visible presence was with them, in the Ark of the Covenant, as the people marched around the city seven days. This was likely an intentional allusion to Creation week, to draw the people's attention to God's unlimited power and His providential purpose.
The LORD reminds the people that He is their sovereign God. Their success will be by His divine will, as they trust and obey Him. Of course the ancient city falls, and of course the sinful people disobey, and pay a heavy price. Nonetheless, God affirms His promise of His presence and their success in accomplishing His plans for His people. YOU too can trust Him as you obey Him, and expect His success.
Joshua 5-8 www.esv.org/Joshua+5-8

25 MAR 25
COUNSEL - as the Israelites continued to conquer the land, they got cocky. "They did not ask counsel from the LORD." They trusted their own intuition instead of inquiring of the LORD. And they got outsmarted. Still, over time, God works through the situation for the good of His people.
A lesson for us: do not presume to "know" what to do, or believe the first thing that enters your mind. God says "test the spirits" and do not think that what you automatically think by default is true or what God wants.
He has written down His principles in the Bible, and promises to guide His people according to His truth. He always guides according to His eternal principles and unchanging Word of truth, written down for all people in all places and all times to know.
WE must read His Word, pray for obedience, for discernment, and then to step out in faith to do the LORD's will, not our own. In His time and in His way. According to His Word. And by His power. Trust & obey today!
Joshua 9-11 www.esv.org/Joshua+9-11

26 MAR 26
POSSESS - Joshua leads the Israelites to possess the land that God had promised to Abraham, and to them as his descendants. But they must dis-possess the pagan peoples living there, by occupying the territory with Israelites who fear God. Problem is, some tribes fail to drive out idol-worshipers, who cause ongoing problems. If you fail to root out sin, you will be enslaved to it. As the great puritan theologian John Owen said, "be killing sin or it will be killing you."
Disobedience has consequences. Does disobedience to God cause problems in your life too? Need guidance? Read God's Word, understand His principles, and obey them, by His power within you. He keeps His promises. Pray for obedience, to do His commands by the Holy Spirit's power! Trust & obey!
Joshua 12-15 www.esv.org/Joshua+12-15

27 MAR 27
MIDWAY - In the middle of the book and the middle of the timeframe of the Israelites occupying of the promised land, the land lays subdued in front of them, and God has established Shiloh as the center of religious activity. But Joshua asks the people, "How long will you put off going in to take possession of the land?" The Israelites are complacent, and do not root out every vestige of anti-God pagan activity.
How like so many Christians today - content with their own contentment while idly ignoring God's commissioning and commands. Noticing the increase of wickedness in their midst but doing nothing about it.
God has given clear instructions. His light must replace the darkness of the world - and YOU are His instrument. To shine His light to all around. In every aspect of human life, believers are the personal representatives of God. New creations, His ambassadors, with an essential message. Trust & obey the Lord alone!
Joshua 16-18 www.esv.org/Joshua+16-18

28 MAR 28
PROMISES COME TO PASS - "Thus the LORD gave to Israel all the land that He swore to give to their fathers. And they took possession of it, and they settled there. And the LORD gave them rest on every side just as He had sworn to their fathers. Not one of all their enemies had withstood them, for the LORD had given all their enemies into their hands. Not one word of all the good promises that the LORD had made to the house of Israel had failed; all came to pass."
Joshua had allotted the tribes their portion of the promised land, and charged the people to go in and possess the land and dispossess the pagans and occupy, according to God's commandments.
How are YOU doing in your life? Bringing God's light of truth into the darkness of the world around you? God remains faithful, and asks you to trust and obey Him, stepping out in faith and speaking up for Him. In every aspect of life. By His power within. To so today!
Joshua 19-21 www.esv.org/Joshua+19-21

29 MAR 29
CHOOSE THIS DAY - whom you will serve. The LORD, the one true living God, or the counterfeit gods of the pagans? So Joshua challenged the Israelites, at the end of his life. Highlighting God's faithfulness and mighty power on their behalf, Joshua charges the people to trust and obey the Lord. Not to go halfway, but to truly FEAR Him, giving Him all due devotion and reverence due His awe-ful holiness.
The people promised "We also will serve the LORD, for He is our God.” But Joshua knew their hearts. He wrote down all the words, renewed God's covenant, and set up a monument to remind them (and their descendants) of their solemn promise made to God.
What, besides putting God's Word into your mind each day, reminds YOU of your obedience to the God who saves you? What will remind those around you? And those who come after you? Leave a legacy of obedience and faith, beginning today.
Joshua 22-24 www.esv.org/Joshua+22-24

30 MAR 30
ANOTHER GENERATION - arose which did not personally know the LORD of the works He had done for Israel. With the passing of Joshua, the people slacked off on their main mission - to trust & obey the LORD.
And they paid a heavy price. God would raise up judges to guide them, but they would disobey. The consequences of their disobedience were just what God had previously warned them about. And it only takes one generation to move a nation away from God's ways.
What about YOU? Take care to model and instruct the next generation in the ways of the LORD. This means helping with VBS and Sunday School and AWANA and other outreach opportunities in your church and community. It especially means leading your own family in the nurture and admonition of the LORD.
Make sure YOU are trusting and obeying Him in all your ways, and teaching others to follow likewise, especially your own children and family. And others God has providentially placed in your lives. God gives both the want to and the how to, by His Word and by His Spirit. Trust and obey!
Judges 1-2 www.esv.org/Judges+1-2

31 MAR 31
TRAINING - "Now these are the nations that the LORD left, to test Israel by them," says Judges 3, to show "whether Israel would obey the commandments of the LORD." But the people disobeyed and served false gods. And they experienced the crippling consequences. But, "when the people of Israel cried out to the LORD, He raised up a deliverer."
Again and again, God raised up "judges" who brought the people back to the LORD. Does God work like this in your life? A roller-coaster of grace? Look for His grace in the midst of your disobedience. As you pay the consequences of your sins, He will not abandon you. Resolve to get off the roller coaster of sin-confess-sin-repeat. REPENT, turn from your sins, RESIST by His power within, and produce His fruit as you grow in His grace. Return to Him today in repentance and faith - and you will sing a song of joy and victory, just as His followers of old...
Judges 3-5 www.esv.org/Judges+3-5

01 APR 1
GIDEON'S TEST - The Israelites disobeyed yet again, and God raised up the peoples of the east to discipline His own people. They called out to the LORD, and He also raised up Gideon, an unlikely hero. God gave Him several confirmations of His plan and power and how His purpose would be fulfilled by Gideon's obedience.
Yet he still tested God. And he wasn't fooling. However, the LORD was VERY GRACIOUS. We should not presume to follow Gideon's example of testing God, by "putting out fleeces" which was a foolish procedure of unbelief.
Gideon's story shows us the folly of presuming upon the Lord. Faith is believing God, who He is and what He says, and acting according to His Word. As new covenant believers, you can trust & obey - by His power within you!
Judges 6-7 www.esv.org/Judges+6-7

02 APR 2
GIDEON'S FAILURE - Though God gave victory through Gideon, the man showed himself to be more interested in his own rule than God's rule. His talk did not match his walk - and it was his actions that tell the true tale of his flawed character. Remember the signs of this before, when Gideon tested the Lord and did not readily trust and obey. Was Gideon pretending, or did he deceive himself?
His son Abimilech followed suit, a sordid tale of God's people abandoning His righteous ways. This all leads to Jotham uttering a curse from Mt Gerizim, where Moses had warned about the curses to come if they the people of God disobeyed God, and had proclaimed the blessings that would follow from trusting and obeying God's Word and ways. How will YOU respond today?
Judges 8-9 www.esv.org/Judges+8-9

03 APR 3
SHIBBOLETH - If you have trouble pronouncing this word, you're not alone. The Ephraimites also could not, and that's how the Israelite followers of Jephthah could tell the difference between these people groups. The word has come to mean for us how "insiders" can tell who's really an "outsider."
But this episode shows how the disobedience of the Israelites was causing internal strife so that they turned on themselves rather than true outside enemies.
What a lesson for Christians today. True, there can be wolves arising among the sheep and we must be discerning and diligent. But we must be careful not to harm the sheep while we sort out the wolves, whether inside or outside the flock. Let us be gracious to others who name the name of Christ, even as we are careful to worship Him in spirit and in truth. God is the final judge, and He will separate the wheat from the tares. Trust and obey the Lord, according to His written-down Word, by the power of His indwelling Spirit.
Judges 10-12 www.esv.org/Judges+10-12

04 APR 4
SAMSON - A familiar name...with both heroic and tragic overtones. Samson judged Israel for 20 years, but was far from exemplary. God's written record of his history shows that Samson broke many of God's commandments, and his own Nazirite vow. Yet in the midst of Samson's unfaithfulness, God did mighty things on behalf of His people.
Sadly, the people were also unfaithful. Samson is not a model to emulate, but an example to eschew and avoid, learning by his many mistakes.
What a lesson for us! To not unduly exalt our leaders (both inside the church and outside in government, culture, industry, etc), and not to follow them into disobedience, but to hold them accountable to God's standards. Thanks be to God for His grace! Confess your sins. Repent of your sins, turning away from them and renouncing them. Believers in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior can trust and obey Him today, by His power within you.
Judges 13-15 www.esv.org/Judges+13-15

05 APR 5
DELILAH - it's another famous name many people recognize from the Bible. Samson's weakness for this female temptress robbed him of his great strength. Her treachery resulted in his capture by the Philistines, the enemies of the Israelites.
Samson called upon God, and even if his motives were more about personal revenge than the righteousness of God, in his death Samson destroyed more enemies than in his life.
Far from being an excuse for us to expect God to work through our flaws, his life urges us to follow God's ways, to trust and obey Him, in order to experience true success in life and to accomplish God's purposes. God's will WILL be done, but how much better to be in concert with Him rather than in dissonance. Trust & obey the LORD today!
Judges 16-18 www.esv.org/Judges+16-18

06 APR 6
OUTRAGE - Today's reading tracks difficult terrain. The story purposely parallels the Genesis account of Sodom and Gomorrah, as things amidst God's people had again become as bad as back then. The sins of homosexuality and immorality had gripped the "worthless fellows" of Gibeah, who were men of the tribe of Benjamin. Then atrocity followed atrocity - which forced the Israelites to face the wickedness and sin in the land. Then, violent action resulted in thousands of deaths. Why? "In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes."
Israel did not honor God as king. Woe be to the nation who abandons God as their ruler, and ignores His eternal commandments, given for the good of the people. Woe to the people and the persons who do likewise. How about YOU - do you follow the ways of the world, or of the Word of God? Trust & obey Him, turn from sin, and be saved from trouble. By His grace and His power.
Judges 19-21 www.esv.org/Judges+19-21

07 APR 7
MY GOD - The amazing story of the book of Ruth provides a powerful picture of the Messiah, Jesus Christ, who willingly and in genuine love, gives Himself to save others. Ruth lived at the time of the judges of Israel. She was the widow of a man whose parents emigrated from Israel to Moab. Though a Moabite widow, she returns to Israel with her mother-in-law Naomi, with the endearing words often spoken at weddings: "your people shall be my people, and your God shall be my God."
In God's providence, Ruth marries Boaz, the "kinsman-redeemer" who provides a picture of Christ and the church as His bride. Ruth becomes the ancestor of King David, and of King Jesus. All in the providence of God for the promised redemption of His people.
If you are a follower of Jesus, rejoice today in God's providence in YOUR life, bringing you into the world in the right time and place to fulfill His purpose for you - first to become a believer in Jesus, and then to tell others about Him and His eternal love for them. Do so today!
Ruth 1-4 www.esv.org/Ruth+1-4

08 APR 8
HERE I AM - The LORD answered Hannah's prayer and Samuel was born, and given to the LORD to serve at the tent of meeting. Hannah sang, “My heart exults in the Lord, because I rejoice in His salvation."
It was not only the people of Israel who disobeyed God. The sons of Eli the priest were "worthless men. They did not know the Lord" and they scorned the sacrifices. Eli rebuked them, saying "If someone sins against a man, God will mediate for him, but if someone sins against the Lord, who can intercede for him?” They would not listen. Then God spoke through a prophet: "I will raise up for Myself a faithful priest, who shall do according to what is in My heart and in My mind. And I will build him a sure house, and he shall go in and out before My anointed forever."
And God called Samuel, "and the LORD was with him and let none of his words fall to the ground. And all Israel from Dan to Beersheba knew that Samuel was established as a prophet of the LORD. And the LORD appeared again at Shiloh, for the LORD revealed himself to Samuel at Shiloh by the word of the LORD."
YOU too can trust God to keep His word, all His promises, as you trust & obey Him!1 Samuel 1-3 www.esv.org/1+Samuel+1-3

09 APR 9
BE LIKE THE NATIONS ? - Samuel was not only a prophet, but also the judge of Israel. The disobedience of the Israelites resulted in their defeat by the Philistines, who also captured the Ark of the Covenant. Near the end of Samuel's life, the people demanded a king. "The people refused to obey the voice of Samuel.
And they said, “No! But there shall be a king over us, that we also may be like all the nations, and that our king may judge us and go out before us and fight our battles.” They did not want God as their king, because they wanted to "be like all the nations." Though God had warned "you shall be holy because I am holy" they rejected God's way and chose the world's way.
They got what they wanted, and paid a terrible price. A warning for us today! Trust & obey God alone!
1 Samuel 4-8 www.esv.org/1+Samuel+4-8

10 APR 10
KING - The day before Saul came, the LORD had revealed to Samuel: “Tomorrow about this time I will send to you a man from the land of Benjamin, and you shall anoint him to be prince over my people Israel. He shall save my people from the hand of the Philistines. For I have seen my people, because their cry has come to me.”
When Samuel saw Saul, the LORD told him, “Here is the man of whom I spoke to you! He it is who shall restrain my people.” Samuel anointed Saul and then gathered all the people together. And Samuel said to all the people, “Do you see him whom the LORD has chosen? There is none like him among all the people.” And all the people shouted, “Long live the king!”
Then Samuel told the people the rights and duties of the kingship, and he wrote them in a book and laid it up before the LORD. The people demanded a king, and they shall have him, for good or ill. Unfortunately, they will get just what they wanted. What about YOU? What have you demanded of the Lord? Rather, trust and obey Him, and His perfect plan for you.
1 Samuel 9-12 www.esv.org/1+Samuel+9-12

11 APR 11
LOSER ? - Saul won battles over the Philistines. But he lost his kingdom. He could not conquer himself. He disobeyed the prophet Samuel - and God. He could not conquer himself. He disobeyed the prophet Samuel - and God. He relied on circumstances and rituals and self-importance, instead of trusting and obeying God's Word. Impatient, he couldn't wait for Samuel, and offered a sacrifice himself.
As soon as he finished, Samuel came, with haunting words: “You have done foolishly. You have not kept the command of the LORD your God, with which He commanded you. For then the LORD would have established your kingdom over Israel forever. But now your kingdom shall not continue. The LORD has sought out a man after his own heart, and the LORD has commanded him to be prince over his people, because you have not kept what the LORD commanded you.”
What about YOU today? God's Word gives you the principles you need to make decisions and do His will. And the Holy Spirit to empower you to keep His commands. Pray for obedience, then trust and obey the LORD in every way.
1 Samuel 13-14 www.esv.org/1+Samuel+13-14

12 APR 12
REJECTED - SELECTED - King Saul must have been a slow learner. Again, he disobeyed. And Samuel said, “Has the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to listen than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of divination, and presumption is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the LORD, he has also rejected you from being king.”
Then God sent Samuel to anoint a new king, and he reviewed the sons of Jesse. The Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” God selected David, the youngest and least likely from man's perspective. And David entered the service of Saul to await God's timing.
How are YOU doing, awaiting God's timing in your life? He is preparing you, if only you will listen and learn. Trust and obey, as God works out His perfect plan in His perfect time.
1 Samuel 15-17 www.esv.org/1+Samuel+15-17

13 APR 13
SAUL vs DAVID - in this corner: the young warrior David challenged the giant Goliath with "I come to you in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the LORD will deliver you into my hand."
His victory resulted in the friendship of King Saul's son Jonathan with David, and David's success in battle wherever Saul sent him. David married his daughter Michal. But the king became jealous and tried to kill David. He had to flee, leaving his wife and friends, trusting in God's plan and protection and providence.
What about you? Your journey may entail many ups and downs before everything is ready for the fullness of God's plan for your life. Your battles today are preparing you for what is yet to come. Trust and obey Him day by day. Like David, make the LORD Himself your goal, leaving the rest to Him, in His time, as you trust, and obey...
1 Samuel 18-20 www.esv.org/1+Samuel+18-20
and
13 APR 13
REFUGE - as David continues to fight in King Saul's army, he also plays music to soothe Saul's troubled spirit. David even marries Saul's daughter, and befriends his son Jonathan. Yet he must escape to save his life - resulting in several psalms, including Psalm 11 and Psalm 59.
Psalm 11 relates directly to 1Samuel 18-20: "The LORD Is in His Holy Temple - To the choirmaster. Of David. In the LORD I take refuge; how can you say to my soul, “Flee like a bird to your mountain, for behold, the wicked bend the bow; they have fitted their arrow to the string to shoot in the dark at the upright in heart; if the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?” The LORD is in His holy temple; the LORD's throne is in heaven; His eyes see, His eyelids test the children of man. The LORD tests the righteous, but His soul hates the wicked and the one who loves violence. Let him rain coals on the wicked; fire and sulfur and a scorching wind shall be the portion of their cup. For the LORD is righteous; He loves righteous deeds; the upright shall behold His face."
Likewise, Psalm 59 speaks to this period in David's life. It is specifically linked to 1Samuel 19:11 when David escapes through a window. Like David, as the Lord saves you even from harrowing or everyday or even unknown trials, you can trust the Lord for His providence in your life.
Psalm 11 www.esv.org/Psalm+11/ -&-
Psalm 59 www.esv.org/Psalm+59

14 APR 14
WILDERNESS WANDERINGS - in various ways, God prepared David to be king, including through many trials and tribulations. Anointed by God, rejected by King Saul, accompanied by rebels, David was now a fugitive. But God instructed him to keep defeating the Philistines. Still, Saul "sought him every day."
On one occasion, David had opportunity to kill King Saul in a cave near Engedi. But David spared his life, saying "The LORD forbid that I should do this thing to my lord, the LORD's anointed, to put out my hand against him, seeing his is the LORD's anointed." Saul said, "you are more righteous than I, for you have repaid me good, whereas I have repaid you evil." David's heart sought after God, not after his own desires.
What about YOU? How easily we rationalize and justify our behavior, to get what we want - forgetting that if you are a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, God's ANOINTED ONE lives within you. The impact is so that you will do His will rather than yield to the desires of the world, the flesh, and the devil. Trust and obey Him today, in all things, by His power within you!
1 Samuel 21-24 www.esv.org/1+Samuel+21-24

15 APR 15
REFUGE - Psalm 34 says "Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!" David wrote several psalms during his time of trouble with Saul, recorded in 1 Samuel 21-31. In Psalm 34 he writes, "I sought the LORD, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears." God delivered David in a remarkable escape, which required quick creative thinking, also celebrated in this Psalm. "The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit."
No matter your circumstances, YOU too can take refuge in the Lord, and depend upon Him. Learn to trust & obey Him today - by His power within you! Then you will be strengthened for whatever lies ahead in your path of faithful obedience...
Make time to read all of today's passages:
Psalm 7 www.esv.org/Psalm+7 "O LORD my God, in You do I take refuge, save me"...
Psalm 27 www.esv.org/Psalm+27 "The LORD is my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear?"...
Psalm 31 www.esv.org/Psalm+31 "In You, O LORD, do I take refuge; let me never be put to shame"...
Psalm 34 www.esv.org/Psalm+34 "O taste and see"...
Psalm 52 www.esv.org/Psalm+52 "The steadfast love of the LORD endures"...

16 APR 16
AFRAID ? - though He had been anointed King, young David had good reason to be afraid. He was on the run from King Saul, and under siege by enemy Philistines. Several Psalms relate to these harrowing episodes in his life. He sang, "When I am afraid, I put my trust in You. What can flesh do to me? You have kept count of my tossings; put my tears in Your bottle. Are they not in Your book? This I know, that God is for me."
As you read about David's life in the Bible, you can clearly see God's hand, despite his doubts and disobedience, that he was "a man after God's own heart." - so YOU too can trust in the Lord, as He works out His perfect plans for your life, regardless of the fears you face. Take courage from David's testimony. Trust God's Word, and obey Him, by His power within you, and all will be well... in His time.
Make time to read all of today's passages:
Psalm 56 www.esv.org/Psalm+56 - trust
Psalm 120 www.esv.org/Psalm+120 - deliver
Psalm 140 www.esv.org/Psalm+140 - preserve
Psalm 141 www.esv.org/Psalm+141 - hear
Psalm 142 www.esv.org/Psalm+142 - refuge

17 APR 17
BLESSED - but more trials for David. After the death of the prophet Samuel who had anointed him King of Israel, David was still on the run from King Saul. And he had another opportunity to kill Saul. But David said, “As the LORD lives, the LORD will strike him, or his day will come to die, or he will go down into battle and perish. The LORD forbid that I should put out my hand against the LORD's anointed.”
Even with the violence of the times, David has regard for the principles of God. Not trusting Saul, he goes to live with the Philistines. But with this deceptive cover, he raids against old enemies of Israel. In this way, David was being prepared as King - for when the time was right.
This speaks to your life - to put to death sin in your life, while you are waiting for God to fulfill His purposes for you. Be intentional about being holy (by the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit, and according to God's written Word), and you will be even more prepared for what God has planned for your future. Trust and obey Him today!
1 Samuel 25-27 www.esv.org/1+Samuel+25-27

18 APR 18
THIRST - A Psalm of David, when he was in the wilderness of Judah. "O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek You; my soul thirsts for You; my flesh faints for You, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water. So I have looked upon You in the sanctuary, beholding Your power and glory. Because Your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise You. So I will bless You as long as I live; in Your name I will lift up my hands."
In addition to Psalm 63 (excerpt above) David wrote many psalms during his wilderness wanderings, waiting for God to perfect His plan to make David king of Israel. For thousands of years, David's psalms have given words to the longings of countless hearts. Make them YOUR prayer too. Today's reading includes
Psalm 17 www.esv.org/Psalm+17 - deliver
Psalm 35 www.esv.org/Psalm+35 - salvation
Psalm 54 www.esv.org/Psalm+54 - vindicate
Psalm 63 www.esv.org/Psalm+63 - satisfied

19 APR 19
AMBIGUOUS ? - David is still on the run from Saul, who is nearing the end of his life. David and his men have been living with the Philistines, while carrying out clandestine raids on enemies of Israel. Now the Philistines might be getting wise to him. And David said to Achish, “But what have I done? What have you found in your servant from the day I entered your service until now, that I may not go and fight against the enemies of my lord the king?” Did he mean the king of the Philistines, or was he obliquely referring to King Saul? In any case, a sea-change was taking place. Saul would soon be dead, and David would experience profound changes. And God was fulfilling His plans - that is not ambiguous!
In today's companion reading, Psalm 18, David sings exultantly to the Lord, rich with personally appropriate metaphor: "I love You, O LORD, my strength. The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. I call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised, and I am saved from my enemies."
You too can rely on God to work out His purpose for you, in His way and time. Trust & obey Him today!
1 Samuel 28-31 www.esv.org/1+Samuel+28-31
Psalm 18 www.esv.org/Psalm+18

20 APR 20
HELP ! - "My Help Comes from the LORD." How does this psalm capture the cry of your heart? Sung by pilgrims ascending to worship at Jerusalem, this psalm reflects the journey of life, trusting and obeying the Lord, with confidence in His constant care for you. Thank Him for His grace today!
A Song of Ascents. "I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth. He will not let your foot be moved; He who keeps you will not slumber. Behold, He who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. The LORD is your keeper; the LORD is your shade on your right hand. The sun shall not strike you by day, nor the moon by night. The LORD will keep you from all evil; He will keep your life. The LORD will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forevermore."
Make time through the day to read all of today's inspirational and soul-strengthening passages:
Psalm 121 www.esv.org/Psalm+121 - help
Psalm 123 www.esv.org/Psalm+123 - look
Psalm 124 www.esv.org/Psalm+124 - name
Psalm 125 www.esv.org/Psalm+125 - peace
Psalm 128 www.esv.org/Psalm+128 - fruit
Psalm 129 www.esv.org/Psalm+129 - bless
Psalm 130 www.esv.org/Psalm+130 - wait

21 APR 21
FALLEN & RISING - The death of Saul opened the way for David to be acknowledged King of Israel. But not until the house of Saul was depleted - a long and bloody affair. David mourned the loss of God's anointed King Saul - and his son Jonathan, a warrior that David loved as a brother. Yet more bloodshed would be the cost... “Your glory, O Israel, is slain on your high places! How the mighty have fallen! How the mighty have fallen in the midst of the battle!”
Likewise in your life, you will see the consequences of sin, even that which has been removed from your life. God forgives sin of the repentant believer in Christ, because of the blood of the Lamb, but the consequences may be felt for generations in the lives of those affected. And those who reject what God has ordained will pay a great price. Be careful to trust and obey God's Word, by His power within.
2 Samuel 1-4 www.esv.org/2+Samuel+1-4

22 APR 22
THE FOOL - Psalm 14 declares, "The fool says in his heart, 'There is no God.' The LORD looks down from heaven on the children of man, to see if there are any who understand, who seek after God. They have all turned aside; together they have become corrupt; there is none who does good, not even one." The New Testament echoes this passage (in Romans 3) - but adds GOOD NEWS: those who believe in God's salvation through Jesus Christ "are justified by His grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by His blood, to be received by faith." Don't be a fool. Put all your faith in Jesus - and be made right with God. Trust and obey Him alone.
Make time to read all of today's passages:
Psalm 6 www.esv.org/Psalm+6 - deliver
Psalm 8 www.esv.org/Psalm+8 - majestic
Psalm 9 www.esv.org/Psalm+9 - deeds
Psalm 10 www.esv.org/Psalm+10 - seek
Psalm 14 www.esv.org/Psalm+14 - none
Psalm 16 www.esv.org/Psalm+16 - refuge
Psalm 19 www.esv.org/Psalm+19 - perfect
Psalm 21 www.esv.org/Psalm+21 - strength

23 APR 23
GENEAOLOGY - These chapters trace the generations from Adam and Abraham, and a geneaology of David. They also help substantiate Jesus Christ as a descendant of David. The careful record-keeping of Israel also records the unfaithfulness which pervades its history. This is further evidence of the God-breathed nature of the Bible, since it records truth, the good, the bad, and the ugly. Yet God is faithful and keeps His promise of the Messiah, the Promised Offspring for the redemption of His people.
The genealogy of Jesus Christ is recorded in Matthew 1 and Luke 3, and trace Him back to David and Abraham and Adam. You too trace back through Noah to Adam, from whom you have inherited sin and death. But if you are born again in Jesus, you will inherit forgiveness and eternal life.
You can trust Him wholly. Have you put all your faith in Jesus Christ? If so, you become His spiritual child, and inherit His eternal spiritual life, which begin the moment you believe in Him as Savior and Lord! Trust and obey Him. Tell others this good news today!
1 Chronicles 1-2 www.esv.org/1+Chronicles+1-2

24 APR 24
REFUGE - Send Out Your Light and Your Truth - Make Psalm 43 your prayer today: "Vindicate me, O God, and defend my cause against an ungodly people, from the deceitful and unjust man deliver me! For you are the God in whom I take refuge; why have You rejected me? Why do I go about mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?
"Send out Your light and Your truth; let them lead me; let them bring me to Your holy hill and to Your dwelling!
Then I will go to the altar of God, to God my exceeding joy, and I will praise You with the lyre, O God, my God.
Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise Him, my salvation and my God."
Make time today for each of these readings:
Psalm 43-45 www.esv.org/Psalm+43-45 - refuge
Psalm 49 www.esv.org/Psalm+49 - fear
Psalm 84-85 www.esv.org/Psalm+84-85 - revive
Psalm 87 www.esv.org/Psalm+87 - glorious

25 APR 25
HOUSE OF DAVID - Today's reading highlights descendants of David, and of the tribes of Judah, Simeon, Reuben, Gad, and the half-tribe of Manesseh. It chronicles the time from David to the time of the exile after the destruction of Jerusalem in 586 BC.
And it points to God's promise that the "house of David" would endure eternally, to establish God's kingdom, through the Messiah. As you read these names, think of how our sovereign God worked through ordinary people and human history, to accomplish His sovereign purposes, and glorify His name.
He kept His promises, in amazing ways. Christ Himself is the fulfillment of these promises to David, and his descendants, which include all who become children of God through repentance and faith in Jesus Christ, believing and receiving Him as Lord and Savior. Living stones who are being built up into a spiritual house, the dwelling place of God by the Holy Spirit. Hallelujah!
God keeps His promises! You can trust Him today with your own life too, every detail, every moment...
1 Chronicles 3-5 www.esv.org/1+Chronicles+3-5

26 APR 26
STRENGTH - As we embark on life's journey, it seems that unbelievers often have an easier time than those who believe in God and His ways. Wisdom sees that the end result differs from the path itself, and takes heart in God's truth, both now and forever. Doubt gives way to trust. In many ways, Psalm 73 is a companion to Psalm 49 (from Wednesday's readings). The psalmist writes:
"Nevertheless, I am continually with You;
You hold my right hand. You guide me with Your counsel, and afterward You will receive me to glory. Whom have I in heaven but You? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides You. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
For behold, those who are far from You shall perish; You put an end to everyone who is unfaithful to You. But for me it is good to be near God; I have made the Lord GOD my refuge, that I may tell of all Your works."
Psalm 77 continues this theme, of seeking the Lord in the day of trouble. And Psalm 78 proclaims the faithfulness of God to all generations, as it recounts the unfaithfulness of the people, and God's mercy and grace.
And all this points to the Lord Jesus Christ, pictured in the Old Testament and proclaimed in the New as the fulfillment of all of God's promises. Trust and obey Him today, knowing that He never fails...
Today's readings include:
Psalm 73 www.esv.org/Psalm+73 - strength
Psalm 77 www.esv.org/Psalm+77 - trouble
Psalm 78 www.esv.org/Psalm+78 - testimony

27 APR 27
LEVI - famous for jeans, famous among the Jews. In 1 Chronicles 6, we learn more about the tribe of Levi, which was responsible to minister as priests for the Israelites, serving God at the temple. Today's reading sets up the background for the later Levites who would serve in the restored temple after the Babylonian captivity.
Not only the Levites, but also the priests descended from Aaron, and the temple servants appointed by King David. Remember, the Levites did not inherit real estate in the Promised Land. They did not possess property, but were supported by the people through their worship of God throughout the land.
This chapter helps understand the importance God places on worship of Himself, and the arrangements made at every level to assure His worship throughout the land. His holy Word extends from His holy character, as He instructs His people, who are to be like Him, how He is to be approached in awe and reverence and humility. Worship Him today, as you trust and obey Him in all things, according to His Word and by His power within you.
1 Chronicles 6 www.esv.org/1+Chronicles+6

28 APR 28
IF ONLY - Sin is deceitful. Do you experience remorse when you abandon God and do not listen and disobey His word? Remorse is merely sorrowful feelings. Repentance is a complete turnaround - coming back to God, obeying His word, abandoning your sin. That's the grace that God gives through believing in Jesus Christ and being indwelt by the Holy Spirit.
Psalm 81 expresses the lament of confessing sins...and the blessing of being restored to obedience through repentance.
"I am the LORD your God, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt. Open your mouth wide, and I will fill it. But My people did not listen to My voice; Israel would not submit to Me. So I gave them over to their stubborn hearts, to follow their own counsels. Oh, that My people would listen to Me,
that Israel would walk in My ways!"
Psalm 88 expresses the cry of a soul full of troubles, lifting prayer to the Lord, the God of salvation. And Psalm 92-93 worship God for His great works and His great reign over all things - steadfast and faithful and majestic, so that our hearts and minds and wills all thrill to worship Him. Do so today!
Psalm 81 www.esv.org/Psalm+81 - Listen
Psalm 88 www.esv.org/Psalm+88 - Cry Out
Psalm 92-93 www.esv.org/Psalm+92-93 - Reign

29 APR 29
THE KING IS DEAD - LONG LIVE THE KING - Saul and his sons died in battle against the Philistines, who occupied the territory when the army and the people ran away. The chronicler says, "Saul died for his breach of faith. He broke faith with the Lord in that he did not keep the command of the Lord, and also consulted a medium, seeking guidance. He did not seek guidance from the Lord. Therefore the Lord put him to death and turned the kingdom over to David the son of Jesse."
Saul failed his duties as king, to obey God's Word. And in God's divine judgment, the kingdom would be turned over to "a man after His own heart" who sought the Lord. David was the ancestor and the prototype for the promised shepherd-king, the Messiah, who would come to fulfill God's promises and lead His people in righteousness.
How about YOU? Earthly kings will always fail us. Have you put all your faith in Christ Jesus the Lord? Turn to God's word and pray for obedience, by His power within you, to trust and obey Him in all things.
1 Chronicles 7-10 www.esv.org/1+Chronicles+7-10

30 APR 30
COMPASSION - You've heard many people claim they want "justice" - but what would that mean? It would paying for your own sins. We really want "mercy" (not getting what we deserve) - and thankfully this is what God gives through Jesus Christ, who paid the penalty for sins. The Old Testament psalmist David looked forward to God's gracious redemption:
"He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is His steadfast love toward those who fear Him; as far as the east is from the west, so far does He remove our transgressions from us. As a father shows compassion to his children, so the LORD shows compassion to those who fear him. For He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust."
Our Creator becomes our Redeemer. Thanks be to God for His amazing grace through our Lord Jesus Christ. Trust what He says, and live it out, as you obey Him today, by His power within!
Today's readings include:
Psalm 102 www.esv.org/Psalm+102 - distress
Psalm 103 www.esv.org/Psalm+103 - bless
Psalm 104 www.esv.org/Psalm+104 - great

01 MAY 1
KING DAVID - the saga of David's exile continues... Then all the tribes of Israel came to David at Hebron and said, “Behold, we are your bone and flesh. In times past, when Saul was king over us, it was you who led out and brought in Israel. And the LORD said to you, ‘You shall be shepherd of my people Israel, and you shall be prince over Israel.’” So all the elders of Israel came to the king at Hebron, and King David made a covenant with them at Hebron before the LORD, and they anointed David king over Israel... And the king and his men went to Jerusalem. And David became greater and greater, for the LORD, the God of hosts, was with him."
God works out His providential plan and purpose in His own time. In the same way, the people were taught to wait for God's promised Messiah - and WE are taught to wait for God's providence in our lives, as He is faithful to fulfill His promises. Trust and obey Him today in all things!
1 Chronicles 11-12 www.esv.org/1+Chronicles+11-12
2 Samuel 5:1-10 www.esv.org/2+Samuel+5:1-10

02 MAY 2
UNITY - the psalmist David wrote Psalm 133 as a "song of ascents" to be sung by pilgrims as they ascended the mountains on the way up to Jerusalem. They went to the holy city and seat of government and the site of national worship.
Such unity would describe believers as they worshiped the one true God together. Sadlly, David's own sons would not dwell in unity, and this blessed picture will be shattered in years to come - by the disobedience of the very people who claim to worship God.
But by God's grace, the Lord Jesus Christ fulfills these Old Testament prophecies, and all peoples from every nation and language are made one in Christ. Are you among those "in union with Christ"? Come to Him in repentance and faith today. And live in communion with all the other believers around you, by God's grace and power. Trust & obey!
"Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity! It is like the precious oil on the head, running down on the beard, on the beard of Aaron, running down on the collar of his robes! It is like the dew of Hermon, which falls on the mountains of Zion! For there the LORD has commanded the blessing, life forevermore."
Psalm 133 www.esv.org/Psalm+133

03 MAY 3
FAITHFUL - Psalm 106 remembers God's faithfulness in Israel's history during the time of Moses and the Judges, when the people did not want to forget their idols. Turn to the One True God in trust and obedience, and He will again deliver His people! Likewise Psalm 107 calls for God's people to offer thanksgiving in their distress, praying for His faithful loving-kindness to restore all those who call upon His name. Excerpts:
Psalm 106 - "Praise the LORD! Oh give thanks to the LORD, for He is good, for His steadfast love endures forever!
Save us, O LORD our God, and gather us from among the nations, that we may give thanks to Your holy name
and glory in Your praise.
Blessed be the LORD, the God of Israel, from everlasting to everlasting!
And let all the people say, “Amen!” Praise the LORD!"
Psalm 107 - "Oh give thanks to the LORD, for He is good,
for His steadfast love endures forever!
Let the redeemed of the LORD say so, whom He has redeemed from trouble and gathered in from the lands,
from the east and from the west, from the north and from the south.
"Whoever is wise, let Him attend to these things;
let them consider the steadfast love of the LORD."
Today's readings:
Psalm 106 & 107 www.esv.org/Psalm+106-107

04 MAY 4
WHOSE SAKE? - Scripture records, "And David knew that the Lord had established him king over Israel, and that He had exalted his kingdom for the sake of His people Israel." We must never forget that "God does all things for His own glory." His purposes will stand. He lifts up and puts down in order to accomplish His plans. David, as "a man after God's own heart" knew this - that God was responsible for his kingship, for the sake of God's people. Yet David would be personally blessed as he trusts and obeys the Lord.
How is it with YOUR life? Do you think its all about you?? Or does God have good purposes in mind for others, that also involve you? Trust and obey God in all things, and leave the results to Him. Work to advance His kingdom and His righteousness, and be good stewards of (and enjoy) the blessings that come as you serve the Lord - fulfilling His purposes first and foremost through your life. Trust and obey, and do all things for His sake!
2 Samuel 5:11-6:23 www.esv.org/2+Samuel+5 -&-
1 Chronicles 13 www.esv.org/1+Chronicles+13-16

05 MAY 5
judgment. As you read today's passages, the whole counsel of our Holy God causes us thank Him for His salvation, to worship Him, to trust and obey Him, for His amazing grace through our Lord Jesus Christ...
Psalm 1 www.esv.org/Psalm+1 - way of the righteous...
Psalm 2 www.esv.org/Psalm+2 - reign of God's anointed...
Psalm 15 www.esv.org/Psalm+15 - walk blamelessly...
Psalm 22 www.esv.org/Psalm+22 - a Messianic psalm...
Psalm 23 www.esv.org/Psalm+23 -The Lord my shepherd...
Psalm 24 www.esv.org/Psalm+24 - the King of Glory...
Psalm 47 www.esv.org/Psalm+47 - King over all the earth...
Psalm 68 www.esv.org/Psalm+68 - awesome is God...

06 MAY 6
WORSHIP !! - so, you don't "feel" like worshiping God? He has a remedy. Read the psalms to put yourself into a frame of mind for worship. You will see Him as He is and you as you are - and all that He gives you in spite of who you are. WORSHIP the LORD today and always!
Psalm 96 "Oh sing to the LORD a new song; sing to the LORD, all the earth! Sing to the LORD, bless His name; tell of His salvation from day to day. Declare His glory among the nations, His marvelous works among all the peoples!
"For great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised;
He is to be feared above all gods. For all the gods of the peoples are worthless idols, but the LORD made the heavens. Splendor and majesty are before Him; strength and beauty are in His sanctuary."
Make some time throughout today to read and meditate on these psalms. Pray them into your life...
Psalm 89 www.esv.org/Psalm+89/ steadfast love...
Psalm 96 www.esv.org/Psalm+96/ splendor of holiness...
Psalm 100 www.esv.org/Psalm+100/ endures forever...
Psalm 101 www.esv.org/Psalm+101/ walk with integrity...
Psalm 105 www.esv.org/Psalm+105/ His wonderful works...
Psalm 132 www.esv.org/Psalm+132/ the Mighty One...

07 MAY 7
COVENANT - Concerned about the future? God has it all worked out. Scripture records that when David the King subdued the enemies of Israel, he decided to build a temple to honor God. But God had an amazing response. God said, No. I will build YOU a house. "I will cause your offspring after you, who shall come from your body, and I will establish His kingdom. He shall build a house for My name, and I will establish the throne of His kingdom forever."
David's son Solomon built the temple, but God was actually looking ahead to Jesus Christ, descended from David, who fulfills ALL the Old Testament promises. And by "house" He meant a ruling dynasty of offspring, (which is also fulfilled by all believers who are said to be in "union with Christ" and reigning with Him). As a descendant according to the flesh, Jesus also inherited King David's mission as God's representative on earth.
But Jesus does more, what only the Son of God can do: pay for sin by His own death, and come back to life to give eternal life to all who put their trust in Him for salvation. From every tribe and nation. Making them one body, a living temple, in which God dwells by His eternal Spirit. Share this good news about Jesus today, with someone around you!
2 Samuel 7 www.esv.org/2+Samuel+7
1 Chronicles 17 www.esv.org/1+Chronicles+17

08 MAY 8
TEACH ME - As King, David continued to depend upon God's Word for guidance and strength to trust and obey Him, in order to accomplish God's will. He writes in Psalm 25: "To You, O LORD, I lift up my soul. O my God, in You I trust; let me not be put to shame; let not my enemies exult over me. Indeed, none who wait for You shall be put to shame; they shall be ashamed who are wantonly treacherous.
Make me to know Your ways, O LORD; teach me Your paths. Lead me in Your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for You I wait all the day long.
Remember Your mercy, O LORD, and Your steadfast love,
for they have been from of old. Remember not the sins of my youth or my transgressions; according to Your steadfast love remember me, for the sake of Your goodness, O LORD!
Good and upright is the LORD; therefore He instructs sinners in the way. He leads the humble in what is right, and teaches the humble His way. All the paths of the LORD are steadfast love and faithfulness, for those who keep His covenant and His testimonies."
Do you want God to direct your paths? Then attend your heart and mind and will to His way, recorded in His written Word, as you trust and obey, by His power within you...
Today's reading includes
Psalm 25 www.esv.org/Psalm+25 - paths
Psalm 29 www.esv.org/Psalm+29 - glory
Psalm 33 www.esv.org/Psalm+33 - steadfast
Psalm 36 www.esv.org/Psalm+36 - precious
Psalm 39 www.esv.org/Psalm+39 - my days

09 MAY 9
KINDNESS - Before their deaths, David had promised Jonathan and King Saul that he would not wipe out their descendants. When David discovered that a son of Jonathan still lived, he arranged to care for him, Mephibosheth, who was crippled in both feet. And David said to him, “Do not fear, for I will show you kindness for the sake of your father Jonathan, and I will restore to you all the land of Saul your father, and you shall eat at my table always.” The proceeds from Saul's estate were paid to Mephibosheth through Saul's steward Ziba.
This episode illustrates God's faithfulness to His covenant with His people, even as His servant David was faithful to the covenant he made with Jonathan. Trust in all God's provision for YOU - all is fulfilled in the Lord Jesus Christ, as God pours out His grace for you!
2 Samuel 8-9 www.esv.org/2+Samuel+8-9
1 Chronicles 18 www.esv.org/1+Chronicles+18

10 MAY 10
NOT ONE - the psalmist King David wrote in Psalm 50 - "The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, doing abominable iniquity; there is none who does good. God looks down from heaven on the children of man to see if there are any who understand, who seek after God. They have all fallen away; together they have become corrupt; there is none who does good, not even one. Have those who work evil no knowledge, who eat up My people as they eat bread, and do not call upon God?
There they are, in great terror, where there is no terror!
For God scatters the bones of him who encamps against you; you put them to shame, for God has rejected them.
Oh, that salvation for Israel would come out of Zion!
When God restores the fortunes of His people, let Jacob rejoice, let Israel be glad."
The apostle Paul quoted this Psalm in his letter to the Romans, which focuses on the GOOD NEWS, that God IS, and He has provided salvation, for all who will believe and put their trust in Jesus Christ alone. As you witness about Him to others, realize no one is "good enough" to be saved, but ALL are lost apart from the grace of God in Christ. We trust not in our good works, which are of no help at all. We trust only in the work of Christ, in His crucifixion and resurrection, to give us new spiritual life. Help others come to Jesus to simply receive His gift of salvation, by grace through faith!
Today's reading includes:
Psalm 50 www.esv.org/Psalm+50 - judge
Psalm 53 www.esv.org/Psalm+53 - no one
Psalm 60 www.esv.org/Psalm+60 - foes
Psalm 75 www.esv.org/Psalm+75 - equity

11 MAY 11
TRUST - "in the name of the LORD our God" - was often prayed by David, as when his armies faced the Ammonites and Syrians on two fronts. "Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God." He will save with His own strong right hand. YOU too can put all your trust in Him, every day.
Psalm 20 says "May the LORD answer you in the day of trouble! May the name of the God of Jacob protect you!
May He send you help from the sanctuary and give you support from Zion!
May He remember all your offerings and regard with favor your burnt sacrifices! Selah
May He grant you your heart's desire and fulfill all your plans! May we shout for joy over your salvation, and in the name of our God set up our banners!
May the LORD fulfill all your petitions!
Now I know that the LORD saves His anointed; He will answer him from his holy heaven with the saving might of His right hand.
Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God. They collapse and fall, but we rise and stand upright.
O LORD, save the king! May He answer us when we call."
Today's reading includes:
Psalm 20 www.esv.org/Psalm+20 - trust
2 Samuel 10 www.esv.org/2+Samuel+10 - defeat
1 Chronicles 19 www.esv.org/1+Chronicles+19 - disgrace

12 MAY 12
BLESSED TO BLESS - What a life-changing realization: you are blessed to bless the nations. God's blessings aren't for you to hoard, they are to be passed along, sharing with all people. Like a river, not a reservoir. Rejoice as you have opportunity to bless others - through your church and area missions, but more importantly, through your own life - your time, talents, treasures. All are from God and for God, for His purposes.
Prayers for blessing the nations are fulfilled in the Lord Jesus Christ Himself, as God's grace brings people from every tribe and tongue and nation into His kingdom of the redeemed. Are you among them? It is all by God's grace. Rejoice in Him today, trust and obey - and share the good news about Jesus with those around you...
Psalm 67: "May God be gracious to us and bless us
and make his face to shine upon us, Selah. That Your way may be known on earth, Your saving power among all nations. Let the peoples praise you, O God; let all the peoples praise You! Let the nations be glad and sing for joy, for You judge the peoples with equity and guide the nations upon earth. Selah. Let the peoples praise You, O God; let all the peoples praise You! The earth has yielded its increase; God, our God, shall bless us. God shall bless us; let all the ends of the earth fear Him!"
Psalm 67 www.esv.org/Psalm+67 - bless
Psalm 65 www.esv.org/Psalm+65 - salvation
Psalm 66 www.esv.org/Psalm+66 - awesome
Psalm 69 www.esv.org/Psalm+69 - save
Psalm 70 www.esv.org/Psalm+70 - haste

13 MAY 13
BATHSHEBA - so sad. It's a tragically familiar story. How King David, who already had everything, and should have been busy overseeing God's kingdom, allowed himself to be tempted and fall into sin with another man's wife. Then when Bathsheba was with child, he tried to arrange her husband to take leave from the war to be with her, so everyone would think the child was his.
But Uriah the Hittite was too honorable, and would not allow himself a comfort that was denied his men in battle. Then David resorted to posting brave and honorable Uriah in battle where he would be killed. And David brought Bathsheba into his own house.
"But the thing David had done displeased the Lord" and he paid a heavy price - the death of the child, the shame of scandal, and great loss.
Take time to read the whole story at the link below - and take care to be obedient to God's word in YOUR own life, by the power of His indwelling Holy Spirit...
Today's reading includes:
2 Samuel 11-12 www.esv.org/2+Samuel+11-12
1 Chronicles 20 www.esv.org/1+Chronicles+20

14 MAY 14
STIFF NECK ? - King David learned many of his life lessons the hard way. Including when he committed adultery. Take time to read the Psalms below, and learn your own life lessons through David's pain - and how to receive God's forgiveness.
The LORD promises in Psalm 32: "I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with My eye upon you. Be not like a horse or a mule, without understanding, which must be curbed with bit and bridle, or it will not stay near you. Many are the sorrows of the wicked, but steadfast love surrounds the one who trusts in the LORD."
Likewise Psalm 51 chronicles David's confession and repentance and restoration, giving us a model to follow. Psalm 86 recounts the steadfast love and forgiveness of God. He gives the power and grace to truly repent, to turn away from sin, turning to Jesus, to trust God's Word and to obey Him. Do so today - and know His forgiveness and new life in Christ - and live it out, by His power within. Today's reading includes
Psalm 32 www.esv.org/Psalm+32 - forgiven
Psalm 51 www.esv.org/Psalm+51 - confession
Psalm 86 www.esv.org/Psalm+86 - merciful
Psalm 122 www.esv.org/Psalm+122 - thanks

15 MAY 15
CONTAGIOUS - King David was forgiven of his sin with Bathsheba, but had to suffer terrible consequences. David's son Amnon commited incest with his half-sister Tamar. This led her brother Absalom to take revenge, and eventually to incite rebellion against his father, David, because of his moral weakness. How tragic, that the "man after God's own heart" would allow matters of the heart to cause him to fall into grievous sin, leading his own children into terrible sin and tragic consequences.
Perhaps you have already seen the results of sin and sinful decisions in your own life. From following the lies of the world, the flesh, and the devil. Instead of following the truth of God's written-down Word.
Take care and guard your own heart - stay in God's word and walk in His ways, by His power of the Holy Spirit within. Trust & obey Him today!
2 Samuel 13-15 www.esv.org/2+Samuel+13-15

16 MAY 16
STRENGTH - the psalms of David capture the expression of many a heart in times of trial as well as of triumph. The psalms are wonderful aids to worship of our sovereign Lord and Savior. Make these words from Psalm 28 your prayer today...
"Blessed be the LORD! For He has heard the voice of my pleas for mercy. The LORD is my strength and my shield; in Him my heart trusts, and I am helped; my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to Him. The LORD is the strength of His people; He is the saving refuge of His anointed. Oh, save Your people and bless Your heritage! Be their shepherd and carry them forever."
Take time for today's reading, and pray them into your life:
Psalm 3-4 www.esv.org/Psalm+3-4 - answer me
Psalm 12-13 www.esv.org/Psalm+12-13 - how long
Psalm 28 www.esv.org/Psalm+28 - shepherd & shield
Psalm 55 www.esv.org/Psalm+55 - cast your burden

17 MAY 17
GRIEF - King David's son Absalom rebelled against him and intended to wrest away the kingdom, due to David's moral weakness. A battle ensued. 2Samuel 18 reports, And behold, the Cushite came, and the Cushite said, “Good news for my lord the king! For the LORD has delivered you this day from the hand of all who rose up against you.”
The king said to the Cushite, “Is it well with the young man Absalom?” And the Cushite answered, “May the enemies of my lord the king and all who rise up against you for evil be like that young man.” And the king was deeply moved and went up to the chamber over the gate and wept. And as he went, he said, “O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! Would I had died instead of you, O Absalom, my son, my son!”
David expresses deep anguish at the death of Absalom, even though his son had done great harm to David and to the kingdom. David had lost his son's loyalty, love - and now his life. This is all part of the consequences of David's sin with Bathsheba, and David is overcome with grief.
Let this be a lesson for us - trust & obey the Lord, and things will go well with you. If not, turn to Him in repentance, and receive His forgiveness and strength to go on, in obedience and trust.
2 Samuel 16-18 www.esv.org/2+Samuel+16-18

18 MAY 18
REFUGE - King David was often In great distress. He often poured out his soul to God as he wrote many psalms. They can be the echo of your own heart midst your own difficult circumstances...
Listen to Psalm 62 - "For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from Him. He only is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be shaken. On God rests my salvation and my glory; my mighty rock, my refuge is God. Trust in Him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us."
Words of comfort and strength for David - and for YOU. Put all your hope in the Lord, and make Him your refuge, as you wait for Him - even in your mistakes, to accomplish His good purposes in your life, in His time and way. Make time for today's readings throughout the day:
Psalm 26 www.esv.org/Psalm+26 - blessing
Psalm 40 www.esv.org/Psalm+40 - deliverer
Psalm 58 www.esv.org/Psalm+58 - judge
Psalm 61 www.esv.org/Psalm+61 - rock
Psalm 62 www.esv.org/Psalm+62 - wait
Psalm 64 www.esv.org/Psalm+64 - hide

19 MAY 19
INAPPROPRIATE - David's grief seems to cloud his judgment. As he mourned the loss of his son Absalom, his general Joab came to rebuke him. Absalom's rebellion could have cost the lives of not only David, but his entire household, including servants. Now David seems to have regard only for his personal loss, rather than the people he is responsible for - let alone the entire nation. But David wisely regains his composure and takes his place as king, to bring healing to his household and his nation.
A lesson for us is that often the trials in our lives have greater effect on those who observe us or go through them with us. Many trials are not "for" you as much as for others, to see God's hand of grace in your response (see also 2 Corinthians 1:3-7).
Be careful to keep the Lord first in your heart & mind & will. Honor Him and His purposes for the greater picture, rather than being consumed about yourself. Open your eyes to see as God sees, and your heart to respond as God does, today, by His grace and power within you.
2 Samuel 19-21 www.esv.org/2+Samuel+19-21

20 MAY 20
AS A DEER - The grief and trials of David led him to pen some beautiful psalms that have helped believers for thousands of years to find words for their own thoughts and prayers. Include these reflections in your own prayers, as you pursue God today.
In Psalm 42, David says, "As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God? My tears have been my food day and night, while they say to me all the day long, “Where is your God?”
These things I remember, as I pour out my soul: how I would go with the throng and lead them in procession to the house of God with glad shouts and songs of praise, a multitude keeping festival. Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise Him, my salvation and my God."
May these words resound in your own heart and mind today, as you make time with the LORD in His Word:
Psalm 5 www.esv.org/Psalm+5 - righteousness
Psalm 38 www.esv.org/Psalm+38 - my salvation
Psalm 41 www.esv.org/Psalm+41 - be gracious
Psalm 42 www.esv.org/Psalm+42 - as a deer

21 MAY 21
DELIVERER - The final four chapters of 2 Samuel form an epilogue for the book, and recount episodes that are not chronological. David's psalm of praise in chapter 22 was his personal response to God, but it was made into a hymn of praise in Psalm 18 (and other Psalms have striking similarities). David extols God as his Savior and Deliverer, invoking cosmic themes to rejoice in his personal deliverance.
YOU can worship God through these excerpts today: “The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold and my refuge, my savior; you save me from violence.
...For you are my lamp, O LORD, and my God lightens my darkness. For by You I can run against a troop, and by my God I can leap over a wall. This God—His way is perfect; the word of the LORD proves true; He is a shield for all those who take refuge in Him.
...“The LORD lives, and blessed be my rock, and exalted be my God, the rock of my salvation,
...“For this I will praise you, O LORD, among the nations, and sing praises to Your name. Great salvation He brings to His king, and shows steadfast love to His anointed, to David and his offspring forever.”
In Christ, you are included in the promised offspring of blessing. Rejoice in God your Savior today, as you trust and obey Him in all things, by His power within.
2 Samuel 22-23 www.esv.org/2+Samuel+22-23
Psalm 57 www.esv.org/Psalm+57 - glory

22 MAY 22
PRAISE - as you read today's psalms, it is easy to see why they have been used in worship for thousands of years. Use these words to worship the LORD today:
Psalm 95 - "Oh come, let us sing to the LORD;
let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation!
Let us come into His presence with thanksgiving;
let us make a joyful noise to Him with songs of praise!
For the LORD is a great God,
and a great King above all gods."
Psalm 97 - "The LORD reigns, let the earth rejoice!
The heavens proclaim His righteousness,
and all the peoples see His glory.
All worshipers of images are put to shame,
who make their boast in worthless idols;
worship Him, all you gods!"
Psalm 98 - "Oh sing to the LORD a new song,
for He has done marvelous things!
Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the earth;
break forth into joyous song and sing praises!
Sing praises to the LORD with the lyre,
with the lyre and the sound of melody!"
Psalm 99 - "The LORD reigns; let the peoples tremble!
He sits enthroned upon the cherubim; let the earth quake!
The LORD is great in Zion; He is exalted over all the peoples. Let them praise Your great and awesome name! Holy is He! Exalt the LORD our God, and worship at His holy mountain; for the LORD our God is holy!"
Psalm 95 www.esv.org/Psalm+95;97-99

23 MAY 23
CONSEQUENCES - David continued to pay a heavy price for his sins. In today's reading, King David decided to make a census of the people, (at the behest of Satan according to 1 Chronicles 21:1, which can happen within the sovereignty of God, who is not the author of evil but can use it for His purposes).
God was displeased with David's attitude and actions, and a famine claimed many lives. David was convicted of his pride, repented of his sin, and built an altar to the Lord, And he arranged for Solomon to build a temple to the Lord.
David wrote Psalm 30 in commemoration. An excerpt says: "Sing praises to the LORD, O you His saints, and give thanks to His holy name. For His anger is but for a moment, and His favor is for a lifetime. Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning."
How about YOU? Turn to the Lord and repent of your sin. Receive His forgiveness through Jesus Christ, and walk in His ways in trust and obedience, by the power of the Holy Spirit. This is a spiritual discipline to do every day!
Today's reading includes:
2 Samuel 24 www.esv.org/2+Samuel+24
1 Chronicles 21-22 www.esv.org/1+Chronicles+21-22
Psalm 30 www.esv.org/Psalm+30

24 MAY 24
ASSURANCE - Can you be sure of all God's promises? Of course! He promises! God will accomplish all His plans. His redemption is sure; He never fails, and His word provides ample evidence.
Psalm 108 - steadfast assurance of God's protection - "I will give thanks to You, O Lord, among the peoples; I will sing praises to You among the nations. For Your steadfast love is great above the heavens; Your faithfulness reaches to the clouds."
Psalm 109 - (applied to Judas Iscariot) - "When he is tried, let him come forth guilty; let his prayer be counted as sin! May his days be few; may another take his office!"
Psalm 110 - David points to the prophetic fulfillment of God's promise of Messiah in this psalm, also quoted by Jesus, pointing to His resurrection and God's ultimate triumph (as in 1 Corinthians 15) - "The Lord says to my Lord: 'Sit at My right hand, until I make Your enemies Your footstool.” This passage is quoted more than any other in the New Testament.
Trust the Lord and obey Him, as you wait for the outworking of His perfect plan for you, and ultimate eternal triumph in heaven!
Psalm 108 www.esv.org/Psalm+108
Psalm 109 www.esv.org/Psalm+109
Psalm 110 www.esv.org/Psalm+110

25 MAY 25
ORGANIZED - God told King David that his son Solomon would build the temple of the LORD. So David began making preparations for the project. And, David makes Solomon the King over Israel. Then he completes unfinished business - arranging for the service of the temple, organizing the Levites, the priests, and the musicians.
v1-2 "When David was old and full of days, he made Solomon his son king over Israel. David assembled all the leaders of Israel and the priests and the Levites." David himself would not build the temple, but as King he made the arrangements to make sure it would happen.
What about YOU? What is YOUR unfinished business? That which you know God wants you to do, while you still have time? Make sure it His will, that it lines up with His written-down revelation in the Bible. And trust and obey Him to make it all happen, for your good and His glory.
1 Chronicles 23-25 www.esv.org/1+Chronicles+23-25

26 MAY 26
ABOVE ALL - As David the 'king emeritus' arranged for the building of the temple, which would be completed by His son Solomon who he had made the King, David continued public and private worship of Almighty God, including the writing of several psalms. David exults,
"I give You thanks, O LORD, with my whole heart... and give thanks to Your name for Your steadfast love and Your faithfulness, for You have exalted above all things Your name and Your word."
Psalm 138 magnifies the faithfulness of God, as He upholds His name and His word - David adds, "The LORD will fulfill His purpose for me; Your steadfast love, O LORD, endures forever."
And you? Worship Him. Trust in God, and His purpose for your life, to glorify His name through you. Believe what His has written down for you in the Bible. Step out in faith, and live it out, by His power within you.
Trust & obey Him today! Today's reading includes
Psalm 131 www.esv.org/Psalm+131 - confidence...
Psalm 138 www.esv.org/Psalm+138 - fulfillment...
Psalm 139 www.esv.org/Psalm+139 - divine attributes...
Psalm 143 www.esv.org/Psalm+143 - thirst for God...
Psalm 144 www.esv.org/Psalm+144 - rock & fortress...
Psalm 145 www.esv.org/Psalm+145 - glorious majesty...

27 MAY 27
HOUSE & LINEAGE - As David readies the building of the temple, he charges Israel to keep God's commandments. To his son Solomon, now the King who will build the temple, David says, “know the God of your father and serve Him with a whole heart and with a willing mind, for the LORD searches all hearts and understands every plan and thought. If you seek Him, He will be found by you, but if you forsake Him, He will cast you off forever. Be careful now, for the LORD has chosen you to build a house for the sanctuary; be strong and do it.”
David's reflection in Psalm 127 echoes these sentiments - the LORD builds a house, meaning both timber and stone, and the physical lineage, the people established by His name. And unless the LORD builds the house, those labor in vain, who build it...
How are YOU building your life and legacy? By obeying God's commands, and fulfilling His purposes? If instead you pursue your own personal interests, how can you expect God's blessing on you, or those who come after you? Make God's plan your priority in life. Trust & obey!
Today's reading includes
Psalm 127 www.esv.org/Psalm+127
1 Chronicles 26-29

28 MAY 28
FOUNDATION - "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all those who practice it have a good understanding. His praise endures forever!" - Ps 111. The mighty works of God's reflect His eternal righteous character. You can trust Him, as you obey Him, and expect His blessing, as He glorifies His name through you.
Today's reading includes: "The righteous will not be moved, his heart is firm, trusting in the LORD" - Ps 112.
"From the rising of the sun to its setting, the name of the LORD is to be praised" - Ps 113.
"Tremble, O earth, at the presence of the LORD" - Ps 114.
"You who fear the LORD, trust in the LORD! He is their help and their shield" - Ps 115.
"I will lift up the cup of salvation and call on the name of the LORD, I will pay my vows to the LORD, in the presence of all His people" - Ps 116.
"Praise the LORD, all nations! Extol Him, all peoples! For great is His steadfast love toward us, and the faithfulness of the LORD endures forever. Praise the LORD!" - Ps 117.
"It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in princes" - Ps 118 (the middle verse of the Bible).
Take time throughout the day to meditate in His Word.
Psalm 111 www.esv.org/Psalm+111 - deliverance
Psalm 112 www.esv.org/Psalm+112 - righteousness
Psalm 113 www.esv.org/Psalm+113 - exalt the Lord
Psalm 114 www.esv.org/Psalm+114 - God's presence
Psalm 115 www.esv.org/Psalm+115 - bless the Lord
Psalm 116 www.esv.org/Psalm+116 - love the Lord
Psalm 117 www.esv.org/Psalm+117 - endurance
Psalm 118 www.esv.org/Psalm+118 - steadfastness

30 MAY 30
LAMP TO MY FEET - The longest psalm and longest chapter in the Bible is Psalm 119. An acrostic of 22 stanzas of eight verses each, each one begins with a letter of the Hebrew alphabet. It was an aid for learning the Hebrew alphabet as well as reciting the perfections of God's written words. The psalm is an ode to the Word of God, interchanging the terms law, testimonies, precepts, statutes, commandments, rules, and word.
Today's reading begins with "blessed are those who walk in the law of the LORD, who keep His testimonies, and seek Him with their whole heart." It ends with "In Your steadfast love give me life, that I may keep the testimonies of Your mouth."
As you read the first half of this psalm, PRAY the words of Scripture into your own life, to worship God, and develop a reverence and DAILY dependence upon God's Word, and your obedience to it, by the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit.
Psalm 119 www.esv.org/Psalm+119:1-88

31 MAY 31
WISDOM - When Solomon became king, God appeared to him. Solomon prayed, "Give me now wisdom and knowledge to go out and come in before this people, for who can govern this people of Yours, which is so great?” God answered Solomon,
“Because this was in your heart, and you have not asked for possessions, wealth, honor, or the life of those who hate you, and have not even asked for long life, but have asked for wisdom and knowledge for yourself that you may govern My people over whom I have made you king, wisdom and knowledge are granted to you. I will also give you riches, possessions, and honor, such as none of the kings had who were before you, and none after you shall have the like.”
Like Solomon, do you pursue wisdom? - Do so through God's Word of truth, the Bible - and you will be blessed. Read it, learn it, and live it. Trust & obey, by His power within!
Today's reading includes
1 Kings 3-4 www.esv.org/1+Kings+3-4 - wisdom
2 Chronicles 1 www.esv.org/2+Chronicles+1 - worship
Psalm 72 www.esv.org/Psalm+72 - Messiah's fulfillment

01 JUN 1
FOREVER - Psalm 119 celebrates God's Word, as an acrostic. In this section, we consider some highlights from the second half of this incredible psalm. PRAY these words into your own life, as you trust and obey God, according to His holy Word...
"Forever, O LORD, Your word is firmly fixed in the heavens. Your faithfulness endures to all generations"
"How sweet are Your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth! Through Your precepts I get understanding; therefore I hate every false way."
"Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path."
"Your testimonies are wonderful; therefore my soul keeps them. The unfolding of Your words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple."
"With my whole heart I cry; answer me, O LORD! I will keep Your statutes. I call to You; save me, that I may observe Your testimonies."
"Consider how I love Your precepts! Give me life according to Your steadfast love. The sum of Your word is truth, and every one of Your righteous rules endures forever."
"I hope for Your salvation, O LORD, and I do Your commandments. My soul keeps Your testimonies; I love them exceedingly. I keep Your precepts and testimonies, for all my ways are before You."
May these things be true of you, by the ministry of the Holy Spirit within you, as you trust and obey...
Psalm 119:89-176 www.esv.org/Psalm+119:89-176

02 JUN 2
SONG OF SONGS - the "Song of Solomon" is heralded as a superlative song held in great esteem by those who treasure God's Word. It expresses the deep relationships between a maiden and the shepherd who loves her - as fulfilling as the love of a king.
Their love epitomizes God's divine design in creating mankind as male and female, one man and one woman joined for one life together. This song has also been interpreted as a model for Christian marriage, after the example of Christ's love for His church.
But this song also reflects the greater love of God, our Creator and Redeemer. As you read this song, consider God's ever-faithful love for His children, as expressed in Christ's self-giving sacrifice to pay for sins. Respond to God in love, and live out His love in all your relations to the people around you.
"Set me as a seal upon Your heart, as a seal upon Your arm, for love is strong as death, jealousy is fierce as the grave. Its flashes are flashes of fire, the very flame of the LORD. Many waters cannot quench love, neither can floods drown it. If a man offered for love all the wealth of his house, he would be utterly despised."
Consider Christ's everlasting self-giving love for you, as He loved you to His death, and to your eternal life. Put all your trust in Him, love Him with all your heart and mind and will. And receiving Jesus Christ as Lord & Savior, live out His new eternal spiritual life through yours, by His power within.
Song of Songs 1-8 www.esv.org/Song+of+Solomon+1-8

03 JUN 3
WISDOM - It's been said that if you want to be wise, read a chapter a day in the book of Proverbs (31 of them, one for each day of the month). If you want to be holy, read the Psalms. King Solomon, called the wisest of men, also learned from his mistakes.
He set forth the foundation of wisdom like this: "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction." And "if you search for it like hidden treasures, then you will understand the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God. For the LORD gives wisdom, from His mouth come knowledge and understanding."
Reverence and awe of Almighty God is the only appropriate way to approach Him and His word of truth, and to reach an understanding of His character and how we can be like Him, through His working of the Holy Spirit within His people. God Himself, as Creator, Ruler, Judge and Redeemer, is the foundation of that must be known. Trust what He says because of who He is, and live it out in worshipful obedience - and your life will make more sense too! Pray the truths of the book of Proverbs into your life today...
Proverbs 1-3 www.esv.org/Proverbs+1-3

04 JUN 4
WALK IN WISDOM - "The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom, and whatever you get, get insight."
-"When you walk, your step will not be hampered, and if you run, you will not stumble."
-"Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life."
-"For a man's ways are before the eyes of the LORD, and he ponders all his paths."
-"Go to the ant, O sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise."
-"My son, keep your father's commandment, and forsake not your mother's teaching. Bind them on your heart always; tie them around your neck. When you walk, they will lead you; when you lie down, they will watch over you; and when you awake, they will talk with you. For the commandment is a lamp and the teaching a light, and the reproofs of discipline are the way of life,"
Meditate on God's written-down words of divine wisdom for daily living. Trust Him & obey Him, walking in His ways by His power within!
Proverbs 4-6 www.esv.org/Proverbs+4-6

5 JUN 5
TEMPTATION - The BIble shows how the TRUTH of God's Word will protect you from the LIES of the world, the flesh, and the devil. Trust & obey the LORD today! Here are some excerpts from today's reading:
-"My son, keep My words and treasure up My commandments with you; keep My commandments and live; keep My teaching as the apple of your eye; bind them on your fingers; write them on the tablet of your heart."
-"Take my instruction instead of silver, and knowledge rather than choice gold, for wisdom is better than jewels, and all that you may desire cannot compare with her."
-"The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight. For by Me your days will be multiplied, and years will be added to your life. If you are wise, you are wise for yourself; if you scoff, you alone will bear it."
Meditate on Scripture today, and pray it into your life, that you will daily, moment-by-moment, trust what God says and live it out by His power within you!
Proverbs 7-9 www.esv.org/Proverbs+7-9

6 JUN 6
BLESSING - more wisdom from God's Word for today:
-"The memory of the righteous is a blessing, but the name of the wicked will rot."
-"Whoever walks in integrity walks securely, but he who makes his ways crooked will be found out."
-"Whoever winks the eye causes trouble, and a babbling fool will come to ruin."
-"When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with the humble is wisdom."
-"Riches do not profit in the day of wrath, but righteousness delivers from death."
-"Whoever belittles his neighbor lacks sense, but a man of understanding remains silent."
-"Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety."
-"Like a gold ring in a pig's snout is a beautiful woman without discretion."
-"One gives freely, yet grows all the richer; another withholds what he should give, and only suffers want."
-"The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, and whoever captures souls is wise."
-"Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid."
-"Whoever works his land will have plenty of bread, but he who follows worthless pursuits lacks sense."
-"The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man listens to advice."
-"The vexation of a fool is known at once, but the prudent ignores an insult."
Proverbs 10-12 www.esv.org/Proverbs+10-12

7 JUN 7
HUMILITY BEFORE HONOR - excerpts from today's wisdom:
-"A wise son hears his father's instruction, but a scoffer does not listen to rebuke."
-"Righteousness guards him whose way is blameless,
but sin overthrows the wicked."
-"In everything the prudent acts with knowledge,
but a fool flaunts his folly."
-"Whoever spares the rod hates his son,
but he who loves him is diligent to discipline him."
-"Whoever walks in uprightness fears the LORD,
but he who is devious in his ways despises Him."
-"Where there are no oxen, the manger is clean,
but abundant crops come by the strength of the ox."
-"There is a way that seems right to a man,
but its end is the way to death."
-"One who is wise is cautious and turns away from evil,
but a fool is reckless and careless."
-"Whoever despises his neighbor is a sinner,
but blessed is he who is generous to the poor."
-"In all toil there is profit, but mere talk tends only to poverty."
-"In the fear of the LORD one has strong confidence,
and his children will have a refuge."
-"A tranquil heart gives life to the flesh,
but envy makes the bones rot."
-"Righteousness exalts a nation,
but sin is a reproach to any people."
-"A soft answer turns away wrath,
but a harsh word stirs up anger."
"The eyes of the LORD are in every place,
keeping watch on the evil and the good."
-"The way of the wicked is an abomination to the LORD,
but He loves him who pursues righteousness."
-"Better is a little with the fear of the LORD
than great treasure and trouble with it."
-"Without counsel plans fail,
but with many advisers they succeed."
-"The heart of the righteous ponders how to answer,
but the mouth of the wicked pours out evil things."
-"Whoever ignores instruction despises himself,
but he who listens to reproof gains intelligence."
-"The fear of the LORD is instruction in wisdom,
and humility comes before honor."
Proverbs 13-15 www.esv.org/Proverbs+13-15

8 JUN 8
PLANS - excerpts from the wisdom of God's Word:
-"The plans of the heart belong to man, but the answer of the tongue is from the LORD.
-"All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes, but the LORD weighs the spirit.
-"Commit your work to the LORD, and your plans will be established.
-"The LORD has made everything for its purpose, even the wicked for the day of trouble.
-"Everyone who is arrogant in heart is an abomination to the LORD; be assured, he will not go unpunished.
-"The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps.
-"How much better to get wisdom than gold! To get understanding is to be chosen rather than silver.
-"Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.
-"There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death.
-"Whoever is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city.
-"The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the LORD.
-"Better is a dry morsel with quiet than a house full of feasting with strife.
-"A servant who deals wisely will rule over a son who acts shamefully and will share the inheritance as one of the brothers.
-"The crucible is for silver, and the furnace is for gold, and the LORD tests hearts.
-"Whoever mocks the poor insults his Maker; he who is glad at calamity will not go unpunished.
-"Grandchildren are the crown of the aged, and the glory of children is their fathers.
-"A rebuke goes deeper into a man of understanding than a hundred blows into a fool.
-"Let a man meet a she-bear robbed of her cubs rather than a fool in his folly.
-"If anyone returns evil for good, evil will not depart from his house.
-"The beginning of strife is like letting out water, so quit before the quarrel breaks out.
-"He who justifies the wicked and he who condemns the righteous are both alike an abomination to the LORD.
-"A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.
-"One who lacks sense gives a pledge and puts up security in the presence of his neighbor.
-"A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.
-"The discerning sets his face toward wisdom, but the eyes of a fool are on the ends of the earth.
-"Even a fool who keeps silent is considered wise; when he closes his lips, he is deemed intelligent.
-"Whoever isolates himself seeks his own desire; he breaks out against all sound judgment.
-"A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion.
-"The name of the LORD is a strong tower; the righteous man runs into it and is safe.
-"Before destruction a man's heart is haughty, but humility comes before honor.
-"If one gives an answer before he hears, it is his folly and shame.
-"A man's spirit will endure sickness, but a crushed spirit who can bear?
-"The one who states his case first seems right, until the other comes and examines him.
-"A brother offended is more unyielding than a strong city, and quarreling is like the bars of a castle.
-"He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the LORD.
-"A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother."
Proverbs 16-18 www.esv.org/Proverbs+16-18

09 JUN 9
BETTER - today's wisdom excerpts from Proverbs 19-21...
-"Better is a poor person who walks in his integrity than one who is crooked in speech and is a fool.
-"Desire without knowledge is not good, and whoever makes haste with his feet misses his way.
-"When a man's folly brings his way to ruin, his heart rages against the LORD.
-"Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense.
-"A foolish son is ruin to his father, and a wife's quarreling is a continual dripping of rain.
-"Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the LORD, and he will repay him for his deed.
-"Listen to advice and accept instruction, that you may gain wisdom in the future.
-"Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the LORD that will stand.
-"Wine is a mocker, strong drink a brawler, and whoever is led astray by it is not wise.
-"The purpose in a man's heart is like deep water, but a man of understanding will draw it out.
-"Many a man proclaims his own steadfast love, but a faithful man who can find?
-"Even a child makes himself known by his acts, by whether his conduct is pure and upright.
-"The hearing ear and the seeing eye, the LORD has made them both.
-"Plans are established by counsel; by wise guidance wage war.
-"Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, but the LORD weighs the heart.
-"Whoever closes his ear to the cry of the poor will himself call out and not be answered.
-"Precious treasure and oil are in a wise man's dwelling, but a foolish man devours it.
-"A wicked man puts on a bold face, but the upright gives thought to his ways.
-"No wisdom, no understanding, no counsel can avail against the LORD.
-"The horse is made ready for the day of battle, but the victory belongs to the LORD."
Proverbs 19-21 www.esv.org/Proverbs+19-21

10 JUN 10
TRAINING - today's wisdom excerpts from Proverbs 22-24...
-"A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, and favor is better than silver or gold.
-"The rich and the poor meet together; the LORD is the maker of them all.
-"The prudent sees danger and hides himself, but the simple go on and suffer for it.
-"Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.
-"The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower is the slave of the lender.
-"Whoever has a bountiful eye will be blessed, for he shares his bread with the poor.
-"Folly is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline drives it far from him.
-"Do not toil to acquire wealth; be discerning enough to desist.
-"Let not your heart envy sinners, but continue in the fear of the LORD all the day.
-"Rescue those who are being taken away to death; hold back those who are stumbling to the slaughter.
-"If you say, “Behold, we did not know this,” does not he who weighs the heart perceive it? Does not he who keeps watch over your soul know it, and will he not repay man according to his work?
-"I passed by the field of a sluggard, by the vineyard of a man lacking sense, and behold, it was all overgrown with thorns;
the ground was covered with nettles, and its stone wall was broken down. Then I saw and considered it; I looked and received instruction. A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest, and poverty will come upon you like a robber, and want like an armed man."
Proverbs 22-24 www.esv.org/Proverbs+22-24

- whole Bible in 1 year chronologically ~15 minutes a day - http://static.esvmedia.org/assets/pdfs/rp.chronological.pdf (7-day) - click to read~listen~email~app www.esv.org/resources/reading-plans/ & www.ligonier.org/blog/bible-reading-plans/ - www.RiversideChurchIowa.com

11 JUN 11
PREPARATIONS - King Solomon spent seven years building the temple at Jerusalem, to glorify God. But God had told his father David that He, the Lord, would build him a holy house. Since the coming of the Christ (his descendant and ultimate fulfiller of the promises), God's temple is a living temple, as He dwells in the lives of His people, the followers of the Lord Jesus Christ, through the regeneration and indwelling of the Holy Spirit. How are YOU building your life to glorify God? Consider excerpts from 1 Kings 5-6 (echoed in 2 Chronicles 2-3):
...And Solomon sent word to Hiram, “You know that David my father could not build a house for the name of the LORD his God because of the warfare with which his enemies surrounded him, until the LORD put them under the soles of his feet. But now the LORD my God has given me rest on every side. There is neither adversary nor misfortune. And so I intend to build a house for the name of the LORD my God, as the LORD said to David my father, ‘Your son, whom I will set on your throne in your place, shall build the house for my name.’
...In the four hundred and eightieth year after the people of Israel came out of the land of Egypt, in the fourth year of Solomon's reign over Israel, in the month of Ziv, which is the second month, he began to build the house of the LORD...
...Now the word of the LORD came to Solomon, “Concerning this house that you are building, if you will walk in my statutes and obey my rules and keep all my commandments and walk in them, then I will establish my word with you, which I spoke to David your father. And I will dwell among the children of Israel and will not forsake my people Israel.”
As you trust & obey Him, Christ alone as Savior & Lord, you can be confident that HE will build your life as a temple for the Holy Spirit, as He dwells within you...
1 Kings 5-6 www.esv.org/1+Kings+5-6
2 Chronicles 2-3 www.esv.org/2+Chronicles+2-3

12 JUN 12
PERSONAL ((BUILDING)) - As the narrative of building the temple continues, the Bible records that King Solomon spent much more time and energy completing his OWN personal house than he did the Lord's temple. This is so in keeping with Solomon's reign - as long as He obeyed God's Word, he was a wise and effective ruler, and representative of God on earth. But his personal pursuits point to his prideful selfish heart, which became the undoing of his reign, and the kingdom.
How about YOU - do you focus on building your own kingdom, or God's kingdom? God gives us time, treasure, and talents for HIS purposes above all. Trust & obey Him today, that your life will be built on the solid rock of Christ alone!
1 Kings 7 www.esv.org/1+Kings+7 -&-
2 Chronicles 4 www.esv.org/2+Chronicles+4

13 JUN 13
ARK OF GOD - The spiritually moving ceremony at the inauguration of the temple includes the presence of God when the Ark of the Covenant is moved into the temple. It also features moving, eloquent prayers by King Solomon, and this benediction:
Now as Solomon finished offering all this prayer and plea to the LORD, he arose from before the altar of the LORD, where he had knelt with hands outstretched toward heaven. And he stood and blessed all the assembly of Israel with a loud voice, saying, “Blessed be the LORD who has given rest to His people Israel, according to all that He promised. Not one word has failed of all His good promise, which He spoke by Moses His servant. The LORD our God be with us, as He was with our fathers. May He not leave us or forsake us, that He may incline our hearts to Him, to walk in all His ways and to keep His commandments, His statutes, and His rules, which He commanded our fathers.
"Let these words of mine, with which I have pleaded before the LORD, be near to the LORD our God day and night, and may He maintain the cause of His servant and the cause of His people Israel, as each day requires, that all the peoples of the earth may know that the LORD is God; there is no other. Let your heart therefore be wholly true to the LORD our God, walking in His statutes and keeping His commandments, as at this day.”
If only Solomon had trusted and obeyed in the same way that he prayed! What about YOU? Do your prayers match your walk? Remember, God cannot be contained in an Ark or a Temple, but He lives within all who believe in Jesus as Lord and Savior. Trust and obey Him today - in the the power of the Holy Spirit.
1 Kings 8 www.esv.org/1+Kings+8 -&-
2 Chronicles 5 www.esv.org/2+Chronicles+5

14 JUN 14
DEDICATION - Solomon's prayers at the dedication of the temple point to the importance of the spiritual meaning of the temple, rather than its physical construction. His prayers ask God to "listen from heaven, Your dwelling place" which affirm God's transcendence, being apart from and greater than His creation, but also His immanence. so that we can draw near to Him, know, worship, and obey Him. Solomon desires that the temple be the center of national prayer, a purpose echoed by Jesus in the New Testament.
This section includes the oft-quoted 2 Chronicles 7:14, where the LORD says, "if My people who are called by My name humble themselves, and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land."
Scripture records how this happened throughout the history of Israel - and points to YOUR response before Almighty God = repenting of your sins, and depending upon Him, as you trust and obey, working to fulfill HIS purposes. Pray this way today! But not just words. Be sure to TURN AWAY from your sins, by His power within you.
2 Chronicles 6-7 www.esv.org/2+Chronicles+6-7 -&-
Psalm 136 www.esv.org/Psalm+136

15 JUN 15
WORSHIP - this psalm is a "song of ascents" used by worshipers ascending the holy hill to the temple of God in Jerusalem. "Come, bless the LORD, all you servants of the LORD, who stand by night in the house of the LORD! Lift up your hands to the holy place and bless the LORD! May the LORD bless you from Zion, He who made heaven and earth!
Psalms 146-150 likewise focus on the praises of God. The final song of this book says, "Praise the LORD! Praise God in his sanctuary; praise Him in His mighty heavens! Praise Him for His mighty deeds; praise Him according to His excellent greatness! Praise Him with trumpet sound; praise Him with lute and harp! Praise Him with tambourine and dance; praise Him with strings and pipe! Praise Him with sounding cymbals; praise Him with loud clashing cymbals! Let everything that has breath praise the LORD! Praise the LORD!"
Believers gather together to praise the Lord in corporate worship. Make sure this is part of your weekly activity. But make sure your private daily worship also includes such praise and adoration - as exhorted in Psalm 146 "Praise the LORD! Praise the LORD, O my soul! I will praise the LORD as long as I live; I will sing praises to my God while I have my being. Put not your trust in princes... Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the LORD his God,"
Psalm 134 www.esv.org/Psalm+134/ -&-
Psalm 146-150 www.esv.org/Psalm+146-150

16 JUN 16
THE LORD APPEARS - God appeared to King Solomon at the beginning of his reign, and now near its end, the LORD appears again, with solemn warning. Solomon and future kings must remain faithful to God's Word, or else disaster will fall upon the people and the temple will fall into rubble. God specifically warns against idolatry - the very thing Solomon becomes guilty of committing. Replacing the Sovereign LORD with mere man-made objects.
What about YOU ??? Doing great things for God, building great temples, cannot take the place of personal worship and obedience of God's commands. Put your focus on God Himself, not on yourself and your pursuits - so that God's purposes will stand in your life and legacy. Trust & obey Him today, by His indwelling power!
1 Kings 9 www.esv.org/1+Kings+9 -&-
2 Chronicles 8 www.esv.org/2+Chronicles+8

17 JUN 17
GLORY - Solomon's temple beautifully pointed to the glory of God. But it also pointed to the collapse of the Davidic kings, due to sin and idolatry. Would that Solomon, the man who prayed to God for wisdom, would heed his own words: "Do you see a man who is wise in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him." Like a dog that returns to his vomit is a fool who repeats his folly.
Have YOU been foolish? Trusting in your own worldly wisdom instead of God's Word of truth? Turn to His Word for true wisdom, in repentance and faith, heeding His truth by changing your ways, by His power within.
Proverbs 25-26 www.esv.org/Proverbs+25-26

18 JUN 18
CONTRASTS - The proverbs for today compare and contrast common things with a view toward the blessings of prudence and obedience, contrasted with the consequences of foolishness and disobedience. Consider this one: "He who is often reproved, yet stiffens his neck, will suddenly be broken beyond healing."
How many times do you think you can "get away" with your disobedience of God's Word? - before the consequences come, and you will live with your foolishness the rest of your days? Think again. Repent, turn from your disobedience and sin and selfish ways. Trust & obey today - by the Lord's power within you!
Proverbs 27-29 www.esv.org/Proverbs+27-29

19 JUN 19
VANITY ? - King Solomon, reputed to be the wisest man who ever lived, and who at the beginning of his reign asked God for wisdom, learned much through the experience of mistakes. Much of this wisdom can be found in his book of Ecclesiastes. Consider these...
-"What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done, there is nothing new under the sun."
-"Is there a thing of which it is said, 'See this is new.'? It has been already in the ages before us."
-"There is no remembrance of former things, nor will there be any remembrance of later things yet to be among those who come after."
-"I have seen everything that is done under the sun, and behold, all is vanity and a striving after wind."
One of our own wise philosophers said, "those who will not learn from history are condemned to repeat its mistakes." This is one important reason why God wrote the Bible - so WE can learn. 1 Corinthians 10:11 says "now these things happened to them as an example, but they were written down for our instruction."
What are YOU learning today from God's Word, and your own experience? Turn from disobedience. Trust and obey Him today, by His power within you!
Ecclesiastes 1-6 www.esv.org/Ecclesiastes+1-6

20 JUN 20
BETTER ? - King Solomon has waxed eloquent about the "vanity" of living life without the "fear of God" being most prominent in your purpose for living. Here he observes "the day of death is better than the day of birth" - as he points to the truth that someone's death makes you think more deeply about life than does that person's day of birth. As verse 2 says, for death "is the end of all mankind, and the living will lay it to heart."
TODAY, take time to consider YOUR life and your purpose and what it will all mean at your death. If you live "in the fear of the Lord" then your life has meaning which will spur others on to fear Him too.
Solomon closes this book in chapter 12 verses 13-14 - "The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil." Thank God for new life in Christ! Trust & obey Him every day in every way!
Ecclesiastes 7-12 www.esv.org/Ecclesiastes+7-12

21 JUN 21
QUEEN OF SHEBA - She traveled north to see whether the glowing reports about King Solomon were true. Indeed! His wisdom and wealth were dazzling. But she said "Blessed be the LORD your God, who has delighted in you."
Jesus refers to her when He indicts the unbelief of the Israelites of His own day. And unfortunately, Solomon then gloried in earthly delights rather than in the fear of the LORD. He turned and followed false idols. Enemies rose up in his squandering, but God was faithful to His promise: "Yet to his son I will give one tribe, that David my servant may always have a lamp before Me in Jerusalem, the city where I have chosen to put My name... And if you will listen and walk in My ways, I will be with you..."
JESUS, the greater Son of David, becomes the fulfillment of these promises, and the indwelling Holy Spirit our enabler to trust and obey the Lord. Do so today!
1 Kings 10-11 www.esv.org/1+Kings+10-11/ -&-
2 Chronicles 9 www.esv.org/2+Chronicles+9

22 JUN 22
WONDER WOMAN & WISDOM - Proverbs 30 echoes several Old Testament passages, including Job, which acknowledge how God cannot be known merely by observing His creation. God is not merely an object for our curiosity. He is the Creator Himself, infinite and personal and beyond comprehension, yet He reveals Himself and can be personally known, even as He knows all about you. Every detail...
- Proverbs 31 presents "wonder woman" in an acrostic poem, so that the first word in each verse begins with the letters of the Hebrew alphabet, as an aid to memorization. The proverb features descriptions of an ideal woman - character traits for you to pray into your own life, or into the women in your life.
Fittingly, this proverb ends with the exhortation found throughout the book: "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom." Words to the wise...
Proverbs 30-31 www.esv.org/Proverbs+30-31

23 JUN 23
DIVIDED - King Solomon died and his son Rehoboam reigned in his place. This resulted in a divided kingdom, Judah on the south and the others in the northern kingdom, called Israel. The hearts of the people were also divided, and they followed the abominations of the pagan nations. Under Jeroboam's rule, Israel followed false gods and worshiped idols. Likewise, Judah also "did what was evil in the sight of the LORD, and warred with Israel, and was humiliated by the king of Egypt.
You may remember the words of Moses and Joshua, before the people entered the promised land, warning of the consequences of disobedience. YOU too may choose your sin, but you cannot choose the consequences which will follow. Be careful to walk in God's ways, by the power of His indwelling Holy Spirit. Trust and obey today - and share the good news about new life in Christ!
1 Kings 12-14 www.esv.org/1+Kings+12-14

24 JUN 24
BLESSINGS OF OBEDIENCE - Today's curious reading reveals how King Rehoboam, a son of Solomon, went up to Shechem and was crowned king of Israel. But he foolishly disregarded the wise counsel of his elders and instead listened to his peers, the young men.
Banished to the southern kingdom of Judah, in God's providence, he did many positive things regarding obedience to the LORD, and restored much of the damage caused by Jeroboam and his sons. King Rehoboam's rule of the southern kingdom of Judah brings to life the blessings of repentance and obedience to God's Word, and the consequences of disobedience. Yet the king himself "did evil, for he did not set his heart to seek the LORD."
He and his nation paid the price, with years of strife.
How are YOU responding to God's instruction for your life? Trust and obey Him today, and experience the blessings of knowing Him and living for Him...by His power within you...
2 Chronicles 10-12 www.esv.org/2+Chronicles+10-12

25 JUN 25
NOT FORSAKEN - the kings of Judah who followed David (and Solomon) are measured as to whether or not they followed the Lord as David did. Abijah is an example of a bad king, and Asa an example of a good king. They may do some good things and some bad things, but they all fall far short of God's ideal. They and their people pay the consequences of disobedience, getting what they ask for. But reliance on the Lord translates into wisdom and wise ruling and wise living.
How are YOU doing in this regard? Trusting the Lord, obeying Him, and living out His principles - by His power within you? That's the way to know His blessing, which is to truly know Him and love Him in heart and mind and will. Do so today!
1 Kings 15:1-24 www.esv.org/1+Kings+15:1-24 -&-
2 Chronicles 13-16 www.esv.org/2+Chronicles+13-16

26 JUN 26
EVIL vs Good KINGS - "He did what was evil in the sight of the LORD and walked in the way of his father, and in his sin which he made Israel to sin." This verse describes many of the Israelite kings, as the people suffered the consequences of disobedience.
In contrast, in the southern kingdom of Judah, King Jehoshaphat walked in the ways of David. "He did not seek the Baals, but sought the God of his father and walked in His commandments, and not according to the practices of Israel. Therefore the LORD established the kingdom in his hand. And all Judah brought tribute to Jehoshaphat, and he had great riches and honor. His heart was courageous in the ways of the LORD. And furthermore, he took the high places and the Asherim out of Judah."
Righteous living may not bring you earthly blessings, but it will help preserve you from the troubles of sin. Trust and obey God's words and ways today, by the power of Christ within you!
2 Chronicles 17 www.esv.org/2+Chronicles+17 -&-
1 Kings 15:25-16:34 www.esv.org/1+Kings+15:25-16:34

27 JUN 27
ELIJAH - often considered the greatest of the Old Testament prophets, his name means "Yahweh is God." Elijah performs many miracles, and confronts the evil King Ahab and Jezebel, who blatantly disobey the Lord. God uses Elijah to demonstrate how the pagan idols are impotent and merely demonic fictions of the depraved minds of sinful people. God alone is the one true and living God. He answers by fire on Mt Carmel as Elijah challenges the prophets of the false god Baal.
How about YOU - are you putting any trust of any kind in any sort of idols? Repent, and rid them from your life, as you trust in God alone. Are you downcast, as Elijah was after his great victory? Remember the seeming "silence" of God can also speak. God spoke not in the wind nor the earthquake nor the fire to Elijah, but in a low whisper as "the still small voice" - but He speaks dramatically to you through His written down Word. Trust & obey Him today!
1 Kings 17-19 www.esv.org/1+Kings+17-19

28 JUN 28
DEPRESSED? - in his dismally deep depression, Elijah learns that he is not the only remaining prophet of God after all. The LORD had reserved 7,000 who had not bowed the knee to the false god Baal. God also arranges for Elisha to serve as a prophet. In today's reading, we also see the wickedness of King Ahab and Queen Jezebel, and the deserved doom in consequence of spurning God's Word. They refused to listen to God's prophets, who not only fore-tell God's will, but also forth-tell His word of truth...
What about YOU today? Are you scheming for ways to fulfill your own personal pursuits? Or does God's purpose take priority in your life? Consider His plan and the peace that accompanies worshipful obedience - in contrast to the pain and consequences of disobedience. Trust & obey - and listen to God's messengers who tell forth His truth, through His written-down Word of truth.
1 Kings 20-21 www.esv.org/1+Kings+20-21

29 JUN 29
RANDOM ? - King Ahab of Israel made allegiance with the southern kingdom of Judah, but he had designs on getting more territory for himself. The "prophets" around him spoke falsely to encourage him. But Micaiah said, "the LORD has put a lying spirit in the mouth of all these your prophets; the LORD has declared disaster for you." Ahab disguised himself for the battle, "but a certain man drew his bow at random and struck the king of Israel between the scale armor and the breastplate."
Random? There is no escaping the consequences of your sins. Don't be like the idolatrous people you're reading about. REPENT, turn from your sins, walk in the grace and light and power the Lord gives to all those who trust only in Him.
1 Kings 22 www.esv.org/1+Kings+22/ -&-
2 Chronicles 18 www.esv.org/2+Chronicles+18

30 JUN 30
JEHOSHAPHAT - (there's no record of him jumping! but) This king of the southern kingdom of Judah displays a mixture of good and bad traits, and mostly good as recorded in the book of 2 Chronicles. He established a system of courts based on the Law of Moses. He received prophetic rebuke for his alliance with the northern kingdom. But he exhibits exemplary dependence on the LORD when faced with serious military threat. He led the people in following the pattern of Solomon in calling for prayer and fasting. He prayed, “O LORD, God of our fathers, are You not God in heaven? You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations. In Your hand are power and might, so that none is able to withstand You... We are powerless against this great horde that is coming against us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon You."
How about YOU...? God's Word gives you direction, and hope, and strength. When threats assail your life or your faith, put all your trust in the Lord, obey His Word, and live by His power within you, trusting Him alone in all things.
2 Chronicles 19-23 www.esv.org/2+Chronicles+19-23

01 JUL 1
HAVE FAITH - The message of the prophet Obadiah concerns the sovereign justice of God which strengthens the weakened faith of His troubled people. Trials, persecutions, even defeats, can never overcome God's eternal care for His beloved people. Troubled circumstances are never greater than God's power and purpose, in His own time. God's righteousness will always conquer the will of evil men, as He works out His plan.
Similarly, Psalm 82 echoes a call for leaders to work the righteousness of God, without succumbing to evil.
Psalm 83 provides a model for prayer. It is not flesh-and-blood enemies which must be destroyed - the real battle is spiritual warfare, so we call upon God to vanquish spiritual forces of evil, that ALL "may know that You alone, whose name is the LORD, are the Most High over all the earth."
Trust and obey Him today as you step out in faith, by His strength, according to His Word!
Obadiah 1 www.esv.org/Obadiah -&-
Psalm 82-83 www.esv.org/Psalm+82-83

02 JUL 2
ELIJAH - is one of only two people in the Old Testament who did not die, but were taken up directly into heaven (the other is Enoch). Elijah, often considered the greatest of the Old Testament prophets, was taken to heaven in a whirlwind, with chariots and horses of fire.
He was succeeded as prophet by Elisha, who asked for "a double portion of your spirit upon me." Elisha put on the cloak of Elijah, and took up his ministry of the Word of God. One of his first notable miracles was the increase of the widow's cooking oil. He also raised a child from the dead.
These miracles glorify God, and they also foreshadow the coming of Messiah, Jesus, who fulfills all the Old Testament promises and shadows.Raising the child was a picture of the work of the Holy Spirit in bringing new birth to all who believe in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.
Are YOU a child of God, reborn from above by the Holy Spirit? John 1:12-13 and John 3:3 make it clear - you must be born again. Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved. Trust and obey only Him!
2 Kings 1-4 www.esv.org/2+Kings+1-4

03 JUL 3
THOSE WITH US - Elisha the prophet did many miracles, including the healing of Naaman the leprous Syrian commander... the floating axehead... and more, including this one: When the servant of the man of God rose early in the morning and went out, behold, an army with horses and chariots was all around the city. And the servant said, “Alas, my master! What shall we do?” Elisha said, “Do not be afraid, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.”
Then Elisha prayed and said, “O Lord, please open his eyes that he may see.” So the Lord opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw, and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. The army of the Lord of Hosts!
What about YOU? How's your spiritual sight? "Greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world." When you put all your trust in the Lord Jesus Christ by grace through faith, you are in union with Christ. So you can walk in His ways. And you can always trust in His protection and providence, to fulfill His purposes for you. Do so today...
2 Kings 5-8 www.esv.org/2+Kings+5-8

04 JUL 4
JUDGMENT ? ((ON AMERICA?)) - Judgment on Ahab & Jezebel was carried out by Jehu, anointed as king over Israel by Elisha the prophet. Not only did he destroy the wicked Ahab and Jezebel and their relatives, he also destroyed the prophets of the false god Baal.
Scripture says, "Thus Jehu wiped out Baal from Israel. But Jehu did not turn aside from the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, which he made Israel to sin—that is, the golden calves that were in Bethel and in Dan. And the Lord said to Jehu, “Because you have done well in carrying out what is right in my eyes, and have done to the house of Ahab according to all that was in my heart, your sons of the fourth generation shall sit on the throne of Israel.” But Jehu was not careful to walk in the law of the Lord, the God of Israel, with all his heart. He did not turn from the sins of Jeroboam, which he made Israel to sin."
In the same way, there is sin in OUR own land - sin by people who are called by God's name. And God calls YOU to repentance, to not just confess your sins but to turn away from them and turn to Him for forgiveness. Ffor He gives the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit so that you can walk in His ways according to His written-down Word. Do so today, and every day! And pray for our nation.
2 Kings 9-11 www.esv.org/2+Kings+9-11

05 JUL 5
ARROWS & RESURRECTION - as we consider repentance in our lives, and our dependence upon Almighty God...
Today's reading covers the reign of King Jehoash (Joash) in Judah, who made improvements to the temple and fought battles against Syria. Before Elisha died, he laid his hands over the king's hands, who then shot an arrow, to symbolize victory over the Syrians. Later, a soldier died and was thrown into Elisha's tomb, and as soon as he touched Elisha's bones, he was revived and lived.
This points to the enduring truth of God's Word, as delivered by the prophets, since the rebellious nation was soon to be thrown into exile to Assyria - but God was not finished with them. The readings also highlight events in the northern kingdom of Israel - including the compassion of the Lord for His people.
YOU may experience the consequences of sin in your life, but keep trusting and obeying the Lord for Him to fulfill His good purposes for you...
2 Kings 12-13 www.esv.org/2+Kings+12-13/ -&-
2 Chronicles 24 www.esv.org/2+Chronicles+24

06 JUL 6
FOR YOUR SINS - The descendants of the rebellious people continued the strife between the northern and southern nations of the divided kingdom. Amaziah came to power in Judah, and largely followed the Lord, but not like David, and he did not remove the idolatrous high places.
Here is an excerpt: "And as soon as the royal power was firmly in his hand, he struck down his servants who had struck down the king his father. But he did not put to death the children of the murderers, according to what is written in the Book of the Law of Moses, where the LORD commanded, “Fathers shall not be put to death because of their children, nor shall children be put to death because of their fathers. But each one shall die for his own sin.”
This is a principle of redemption - important to YOU. You are responsible for your own sins, not those of others. God is just and righteous. But you are sinful and unable to atone for your own sins. That's why God sent the Savior!
Put your trust in Him today - and your sins will be wiped out...
2 Kings 14 www.esv.org/2+Kings+14 -&-
2 Chronicles 25 www.esv.org/2+Chronicles+25

07 JUL 7
TICKED OFF - this fascinating narrative presents God's call to Jonah and his rebellion against it. What will happen to Nineveh, that evil city, the enemy of God's people? What will happen to Jonah, the disobedient one? He runs the opposite direction.
But God directs the wind and waves, and Jonah goes overboard into the belly of a great fish. There he repents and prays, "But I with the voice of thanksgiving will sacrifice to you; what I have vowed I will pay. Salvation belongs to the Lord!”
He goes to Nineveh, that great pagan city, and just barely mutters what God commanded him to preach. The people repent and turn to God. End of story? Nope, Jonah is ticked off.
How are YOU like Jonah, not wanting to share good news with "bad people"? Repent, proclaim, and trust God for His work of grace in any heart around you. After all, He saved you...
Jonah 1-4 www.esv.org/Jonah+1-4

08 JUL 8
KING UZZIAH - Today's reading covers several kings, but let's focus on King Uzziah (Azariah) of Judah. "And he did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, according to all that his father Amaziah had done. He set himself to seek God in the days of Zechariah, who instructed him in the fear of God, and as long as he sought the Lord, God made him prosper."
He was an accomplished leader, until he turned from God's ways. "But when he was strong, he grew proud, to his destruction. For he was unfaithful to the LORD his God and entered the temple of the LORD to burn incense on the altar of incense.
But Azariah the priest went in after him, with eighty priests of the LORD who were men of valor, and they withstood King Uzziah and said to him, “It is not for you, Uzziah, to burn incense to the LORD, but for the priests, the sons of Aaron, who are consecrated to burn incense. Go out of the sanctuary, for you have done wrong, and it will bring you no honor from the LORD God.”
Then Uzziah was angry. Now he had a censer in his hand to burn incense, and when he became angry with the priests, leprosy broke out on his forehead in the presence of the priests in the house of the LORD, by the altar of incense." His leprosy never left. His spiritual presumption cost him dearly.
What about YOU? How are you presuming upon the grace of God in your life? Trust and obey all that God is, as revealed in His written Word of truth.
2 Kings 15 www.esv.org/2+Kings+15 -&-
2 Chronicles 26 www.esv.org/2+Chronicles+26

09 JUL 9
ISAIAH - "The vision of Isaiah the son of Amoz, which he saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah"...
"Ah, sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, offspring of evildoers, children who deal corruptly! They have forsaken the LORD, they have despised the Holy One of Israel, they are utterly estranged"...
“Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool"...
All the blessings prophesied by Isaiah become reality about 700 years later, in Messiah, as the Lord Jesus Christ fulfills the promises and redeems His people. Let us learn from the mistakes of the past, and repent and turn to the Lord, and trust and obey Him today in every way...
Isaiah 1-4 www.esv.org/Isaiah+1-4

10 JUL 10
HOLY HOLY HOLY - In the year King Uzziah died (740 BC), God gave Isaiah a vision in the temple, a "theophany." He saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of His robe filled the temple. The title Lord means sovereign ruler, the One who rules over heaven and earth and all the universe, exalted above all things.
Around Him were six-winged glowing angelic creatures called seraphim, which means burning ones. They cover their faces as their glory only reflects the glory of God.
They called out one to another, "Holy, Holy, Holy is the LORD of Hosts; the whole earth is full of His glory." LORD is the unspeakable name of God, Yahweh. LORD of Hosts is His title as divine commander of all heavenly beings.
The trifold repetition of "holy" is the strongest form of superlative emphasis, which intensifies the ultimate meaning of the word. God is holy, He is holier, and He is the holiest of all. God cannot be equaled nor can He be exaggerated. He is the only perfect being, pure, without moral blemish of any kind. He is sovereign not only over all the world, but all the cosmos, because He is Creator. The word holy means separated, a cut above, set apart, above and beyond.
King Uzziah ruled for more than 50 years, but in his pride he corrupted the temple and contracted leprosy. As a leper for the rest of his life, he was cut off from the temple. Sin separated him from God. The vision of God given to Isaiah was in this very temple, making a powerful statement about holiness as the absence of sin and evil. Isaiah's response was "woe is me, I am lost, I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips."
The closer this great prophet and preacher of truth and righteousness got to God, the more He was aware of sin, his own and his people's. And God sent him a message via the seraphim who took a burning coal from the altar and touched Isaiah's mouth and said, "your guilt is taken away, and your sin is atoned for." Only a holy God can make you clean and pure and atone for your sin. The altar symbolizes purification by fire, blood, and Spirit.
All this is fulfilled in the Lord Jesus Christ, who accomplished the redemption arranged by the Father, which is applied to believers by the Holy Spirit. Our response should be the same as Isaiah's - humble repentance and faith, believing and receiving, then living out God's salvation in Christ, by the power of the Holy Spirit - going to show and tell the good news. God gave Isaiah a message of atonement for the rest of the book, including Isaiah 57:15: "Thus says the One who is high and lifted up, who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: I have seen his ways but I will heal him, creating the fruit of the lips."
In repentance and faith Isaiah received God's atonement, which led to the transformation he experienced in verse 7 as He responded with "here am I, send me" - and God gave him a ministry of proclaiming God's amazing grace which makes you holy, to be indwelt with His Holy Spirit and to one day live forever in His holy presence.
What is your response to the holiness of God? Trust and obey Him today!
Isaiah 5-8 www.esv.org/Isaiah+5-8

11 JUL 11
AMOS THE ATTORNEY ? - The prophet Amos functions as the messenger of God's lawsuit against Israel. Why? Because of their unfaithfulness to His covenant with them, including their idolatry, social injustice, and violence, resulting from their false religion. "Seek the LORD and live" is a powerful message. He calls the people to repentance in light of the impending judgment upon their land through foreign nations.
Is there a lesson in this for us in America today? God says to you, "repent of your sins!" Ask God to bring healing to you, your family, your church, your community, your nation, your world. And live out His truth, as written down in Scripture, by His power within you - to show and tell His good news of hope through the Lord & Savior Jesus Christ, who saves!
Amos 1-5 www.esv.org/Amos+1-5

12 JUL 12
AMOS & THE ALTAR - God's people refused to heed His warnings, which came as famine, thirst, plagues and defeats. God's judgment points to His ultimate faithfulness, as the Lord disciplines those He loves. In chapter 9, the prophet Amos has a vision from the LORD by the altar, which pronounces doom on those who will not repent. Then God promises restoration - which will find ultimate fulfillment in the new heavens and new earth.
WE TOO look forward to those promises. And the troubles we now endure cause us to renew our hope in the faithfulness of our God, who keeps His promises. So we trust and obey, day by day...as we look forward to His fulfillment, in His time...
Amos 6-9 www.esv.org/Amos+6-9

13 JUL 13
RIGHTEOUS REIGN - King Jotham "did what was right in the eyes of the LORD"... but "the people still followed corrupt practices." And "Jotham became mighty, because he ordered his ways before the LORD his God."
About this same time, Isaiah 9-12 records prophecies of the righteous reign of the coming Messiah: "For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon His shoulder, and His name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and of peace there will be no end." How can this be? "The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this."
Not only that, but Isaiah 11 also prophesies the coming of the Holy Spirit, with the coming of the promised Christ, "the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him." And 12:2 declare, "Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust and will not be afraid, for the LORD GOD is my strength and my song, and He has become my salvation."
May this indeed be your testimony, as you draw from the well of salvation - in the Lord Jesus Christ alone.
2 Chronicles 27 www.esv.org/2+Chronicles+27/ -&-
Isaiah 9-12 www.esv.org/Isaiah+9-12

14 JUL 14
MICAH's MOMENT - as a contemporary of Isaiah, the preaching of the prophet Micah helped bring King Hezekiah to repentance. Both Israel (northern kingdom) and Judah (southern kingdom) were rebelling against God, especially by the greedy rich exploiting the poor and middle class, but also through idolatry, sorcery, and other deceits. God disciplined the nations through Assyria (~722 BC).
Micah called for repentance and foretold judgment - but also foresaw future blessing and restoration. God is faithful and merciful to His covenant people - and promises to raise up a Ruler out of Bethlehem from the House of David - the Messianic promise fulfilled by Jesus Christ - who delivers all God's promises to His people. As YOU repent of your sins today, rejoice in God's salvation, as you trust & obey the Lord, by His power within...
Micah 1-7 www.esv.org/Micah+1-7

15 JUL 15
AHAZ & ABOMINATIONS - "Ahaz was twenty years old when he began to reign, and he reigned sixteen years in Jerusalem. And he did not do what was right in the eyes of the LORD, as his father David had done, but he walked in the ways of the kings of Israel. He even made metal images for the Baals, and he made offerings in the Valley of the Son of Hinnom and burned his sons as an offering, according to the abominations of the nations whom the LORD drove out before the people of Israel. And he sacrificed and made offerings on the high places and on the hills and under every green tree.
"Therefore the LORD his God gave him into the hand of the king of Syria, who defeated him and took captive a great number of his people." The king of Israel also defeated him. But even all this was not enough to bring him to repentance. In the time of his distress he became yet more faithless to the LORD—this same King Ahaz. For he sacrificed to the gods of Damascus that had defeated him and said, 'Because the gods of the kings of Syria helped them, I will sacrifice to them that they may help me.'
"But they were the ruin of him and of all Israel. And Ahaz gathered together the vessels of the house of God and cut in pieces the vessels of the house of God, and he shut up the doors of the house of the LORD, and he made himself altars in every corner of Jerusalem. In every city of Judah he made high places to make offerings to other gods, provoking to anger the LORD, the God of his fathers."
What about YOU ?? When the Lord disciplines you because of your sin, do you turn from the sin toward Him, or turn to even more sin in your distress? Rather, repent, trust and obey Him today - by His grace and power within, through our Lord & Savior Jesus Christ!
2 Chronicles 28 www.esv.org/2+Chronicles+28/ -&-
2 Kings 16-17 www.esv.org/2+Kings+16-17

16 JUL 16
DAY OF THE LORD - As Isaiah continues his prophecies and oracles, in chapters 13-17 he focuses on Babylon, Assyria, Philistia, Moab, and Damascus. The "day of the Lord" is a double-edged sword. It brings judgment on the godless. And it brings salvation to the godly. This plays out historically in the lives of the people of Israel and Judah - and points to the coming ultimate fulfillment by Messiah.
What about YOU today? Are you troubled by the shaking of the nations of the earth? Even if you, like those in Isaiah's day, are caught up personally, like those taken into exile, how will you respond? God's Word counsels you - trust the Lord, obey His word, live by the power of His Holy Spirit within you, as He works out His perfect purpose for His world. If you are "in Christ" nothing can separate you from His everlasting love. Believe it - and live it out today!
Isaiah 13-17 www.esv.org/Isaiah+13-17

17 JUL 17
VALLEY OF VISION - Isaiah continues his prophecies against Ethiopia, Egypt, Babylon, Edom, Arabia, and Jerusalem. Through him, God declares Himself the sovereign of the universe. The purposes of the LORD will not be thwarted, no matter what the nations design to do. Even God's people, aligning themselves with foreign nations, with unreliable and selfish leaders, will see His judgment against their rebellion. In the midst of this, the proverb "Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die" cannot disregard God's ultimate purposes. He will fulfill His plans - and He plans to call His people back to repentance and restoration.
So too for YOU - turn from your sins, receive His forgiveness and comfort, as you trust & obey Him in all things today, by His power within...
Isaiah 18-22 www.esv.org/Isaiah+18-22

18 JUL 18
APOCALYPSE - At the end of earthly history, the prophet foresees judgment on the rebellious and blessing for those who are saved, as God's kingdom is established and Christ consummates His messianic mission. Vivid visions announce God's fulfillment of His plans and purpose.
Midst all this, passages like Isaiah 26:3-4 provide great comfort and strength: "You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You. Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD GOD is an everlasting rock." Isaiah 25:8 "He will swallow up death forever; and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from all faces... Behold, this is our GOD... the LORD; we have waited for Him, let us be glad and rejoice in His salvation."
Believers need not fear, for even in His judgment against the nations, God will be your strength forever. Trust Him today!
Isaiah 23-27 www.esv.org/Isaiah+23-27

19 JUL 19
HEZEKIAH - not a book of the Bible, but one of the kings of Judah. Scripture says, "And he did what was right in the eyes of the LORD, according to all that David his father had done. He removed the high places and broke the pillars and cut down the Asherah. And he broke in pieces the bronze serpent that Moses had made, for until those days the people of Israel had made offerings to it (it was called Nehushtan).
"He trusted in the LORD, the God of Israel, so that there was none like him among all the kings of Judah after him, nor among those who were before him. For he held fast to the LORD. He did not depart from following Him, but kept the commandments that the LORD commanded Moses. And the LORD was with him; wherever he went out, he prospered."
The Bible records in great detail how Hezekiah led the people in worship of the one true God, according to the words of the Scriptures. Should not YOU do likewise? Read God's Word, and be careful to trust Him and obey Him - all in the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit.
2 Kings 18:1-8 www.esv.org/2+Kings+18+1-8
2 Chronicles 29-31 www.esv.org/2+Chronicles+29-31/
Psalm 48 www.esv.org/Psalm+48

20 JUL 20
SYNCRETISM & SIN - that's the message of the prophet Hosea, about 750 years before Christ. Syncretism means mixing idolatry with pure worship of God. This was rampant in the northern kingdom of Israel. God forces the issue in the minds of the people as His prophet Hosea is married to a prostitute. This vivid image calls Israel to repentance from their own unfaithful relationship to God, with their adulterous idolatries. Midst the clear guilt of the people comes God's promise of restoration: "I will have mercy on 'No Mercy', and I will say to 'Not My People' that you are My people, and he shall say, You are my God."
These promises are fulfilled in Christ, as explained in Romans 9:23-26 and 1 Peter 2:9,10. If YOU are in Christ by grace through faith, these promises have been fulfilled for you too. Rejoice in God's mercy, and resolve to walk in faithfulness to Him, putting away sin, by His power and grace within you.
Hosea 1-7 www.esv.org/Hosea+1-7

21 JUL 21
RETURN - Hosea's call for repentance includes promises of God's restoration of His wayward people. Today's reading includes vivid word pictures, including "You have plowed iniquity; you have reaped injustice; you have eaten the fruit of lies, because you have trusted in your own way." Rather, you should "sow for yourselves righteousness; reap steadfast love; break up your fallow ground, for it is time to seek the LORD, that He may come and rain righteousness upon you."
God lovingly yet forthrightly calls His people to renew their covenant relationship with Him, because His lovingkindness never fails. The book concludes, "Whoever is wise, let him understand these things; whoever is discerning, let him know them; for the ways of the LORD are right, and the upright walk in them, but transgressors stumble in them."
How about YOU? Today, walk in the ways of the Lord, according to His word, and by His power of the Holy Spirit within you.
Hosea 8-14 www.esv.org/Hosea+8-1

22 JUL 22
MERCY - God continues to speak through the prophet Isaiah, to announce judgment - and salvation. "Therefore thus says the Lord GOD, 'Behold I am the one who has laid as a foundation in Zion, a stone, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone, of a sure foundation" - fulfilled in Jesus the Christ.
"This people draw near with their mouth and honor Me with their lips, while their hearts are far from Me" - quoted by Jesus. "For thus said the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel, 'In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength" and "the LORD waits to be gracious to you, and therefore He exalts Himself to show mercy to you. For the LORD is a God of justice; blessed are all who wait for Him."
Rejoice that God is righteous, and evil will be routed, and His holiness shall prevail, and all who put their trust in Him shall be blessed. Thanks be to Him for His amazing grace in Christ Jesus. Trust and obey Him today!
Isaiah 28-30 www.esv.org/Isaiah+28-30

23 JUL 23
STABILITY OF YOUR TIMES - in tumultuous times we look for stability. That's the great promise Isaiah 33 talks about. "O LORD, be gracious to us; we wait for You. Be our arm every morning, our salvation in the time of trouble." (v3) and "The LORD is exalted, for He dwells on high; He will fill Zion with justice and righteousness, and He will be the stability of your times, abundance of salvation, wisdom, and knowledge; the fear of the LORD is Zion's treasure." (vv5-6).
Also note v22: "For the LORD is our judge; the LORD is our lawgiver; the LORD is our kingl He will save us" - this was the inspiration to our founding fathers for our three branches of government: judicial, legislative, and executive.
As you work within our political system to go through the hard work of nominating candidates and selecting people to serve in government, may this guide your efforts and may this be YOUR prayer: that God would raise up men and women to serve and to advise, who live by the timeless truths of the Bible. AND that God's people would repent of our sins, and ask the Sovereign Lord to heal our land. May it begin with YOU.
Isaiah 31-34 www.esv.org/Isaiah+31-34

24 JUL 24
PROMISES - Isaiah's prophecies continue to focus on future blessings for God's people, which will come through Messiah. At His first coming, Jesus Christ fulfilled these promises of spiritual and physical healing - which will be ultimately be fulfilled at His second coming, as God's people then will receive resurrection bodies along with the fullness of all God's promises (all of which find their "yes" in Christ - 2 Cor 1:20).
Today's chapters include Isaiah 35, from about 735BC, and Isaiah 36, from about 701BC (when Sennacherib threatened Jerusalem). "Strengthen the weak hands, and make firm the feeble knees. Say to those who have an anxious heart, “Be strong; fear not! Behold, your God will come with vengeance, with the recompense of God. He will come and save you.” Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped; then shall the lame man leap like a deer, and the tongue of the mute sing for joy. For waters break forth in the wilderness, and streams in the desert"...
and "And a highway shall be there, and it shall be called the Way of Holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it... And the ransomed of the Lord shall return and come to Zion with singing; everlasting joy shall be upon their heads; they shall obtain gladness and joy, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away."
Rejoice in God's redemption through the Lord Jesus Christ, as you trust and obey Him today, by His power within.
Isaiah 35-36 www.esv.org/Isaiah+35-36

25 JUL 25
SET YOUR HOUSE IN ORDER - King Hezekiah was delivered from the hand of the king of Assyria, as God defended Jerusalem (He is the great one, Who is to be feared, and Who is lauded in Psalm 76). Then Hezekiah became sick and received bad news. Isaiah the prophet told him his death was imminent. But God was gracious and granted him an additional 15 years, in which to gain a male heir.
But Hezekiah was foolish and showed off all his treasures to representatives of the King of Babylon. Then Isaiah gave him more bad news: Judah would be taken captive by the Babylonians. Hezekiah thought only of himself, saying "there will be peace and security in my days."
Are YOU thinking only of yourself, rather than your posterity? Trust and obey the Lord, and leave a legacy of faith, not only for your own family, but for the next generations, to point them to trust and obey the Lord...
Isaiah 37-39 www.esv.org/Isaiah+37-39 -&-
Psalm 76 www.esv.org/Psalm+76

26 JUL 26
RESTORATION - Midst the bad news about the impending Babylonian captivity, Isaiah also prophesies good news. "Comfort, comfort, My people... A voice cries, in the wilderness prepare the way of the LORD... Behold the Lord GOD comes with might... He will tend His flock like a shepherd..." first written to encourage the exiles in their return to the land - in God's timetable this was all perfectly fulfilled with the coming of Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ.
Today's reading also includes the beloved words, "they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles." But there's more: "Fear not, for I am with you, be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand."
And more about Messiah: "I will give as a covenant for the people, a light for the nations, to open the eyes that are blind, to bring out the prisoners from the darkness." Again, fulfilled by Messiah. "I, I am the LORD, and besides Me there is no savior"... "I, I am He who blots out your transgressions for My own sake."
Powerful pictures of redemption - from Isaiah's day to Messiah's day and beyond - as all who trust in Jesus Christ receive His redemption, with the promise of ultimate restoration to come. Rejoice today, as you trust and obey the Lord of salvation!
Isaiah 40-43 www.esv.org/Isaiah+40-43

27 JUL 27
SOVEREIGN - In today's reading, Isaiah powerfully proclaims the uniqueness of the LORD, the only Creator, the only Redeemer, the one and only God. Here is the promise of the Holy Spirit, forgiveness of sins, redemption and restoration for God's people. Here also is the promise of Cyrus, named more than a century before he appeared.
God alone is sovereign over all the universe and over all human history. You can TRUST Him to fulfill His promises. "There is no other god besides Me, a righteous God and a Savior" - "declaring the end from the beginning" - "I will accomplish all My purpose." - "Thus says the LORD, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel, I am the LORD your God, who leads you in the way you should go." Trust and obey Him today - all that He is, with all that you are!
Isaiah 44-48 www.esv.org/Isaiah+44-48

28 JUL 28
STRENGTH - Today's reading features passages with a recurring theme, as expressed in Psalm 46 like this:
"God is our refuge and strength,
a very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way,
though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam,
though the mountains tremble at its swelling. Selah
There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
the holy habitation of the Most High.
God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved;
God will help her when morning dawns.
The nations rage, the kingdoms totter;
He utters his voice, the earth melts.
The LORD of hosts is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress. Selah
Come, behold the works of the LORD,
how He has brought desolations on the earth.
He makes wars cease to the end of the earth;
He breaks the bow and shatters the spear;
He burns the chariots with fire.
“Be still, and know that I am God.
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth!”
The LORD of hosts is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress. Selah"
Put all your trust in Him, in every situation...
Psalm 46 www.esv.org/Psalm+46/ -&-
2 Kings 18-19 www.esv.org/2+Kings+18-19/ -&-
Psalm 80 www.esv.org/Psalm+80/ -&-
Psalm 135 www.esv.org/Psalm+135

29 JUL 29
SERVANT OF THE LORD - Isaiah's prophecies now speak of the "servant of the Lord" - "a light for the nations, that My salvation may reach to the end of the earth." Through many familiar and powerful word pictures, the restoration of Israel points to the ultimate fulfillment in Messiah, who is presented as the "suffering servant" in Isaiah 53. A puzzle in the Old Testament, Jesus provides the perfect fulfillment in the New Testament, as He personally becomes the sacrifice for sin, accomplishing perfect redemption.
"How beautiful" - the words of peace and good news! Trust and obey the Lord as you live out and share this good news about the Savior today.
Isiaiah 49-53 www.esv.org/Isaiah+49-53

30 JUL 30
RENEWAL - in today's reading, God renews His covenant with His people. He does so in poignant and powerful passages - which call you to trust in the LORD and rejoice in His everlasting love and purpose - for all who will have faith in Him. Repent and believe, and receive His promises today.
"Seek the LORD while He may be found, call upon Him while He is near; let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts, let him return to the LORD, that He may have compassion on him, for He will abundantly pardon."
- for "My word that goes out from My mouth shall not return to Me empty; but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it." Trust and obey Him today - as you walk in His ways, by His power within!
Isaiah 54-58 www.esv.org/Isaiah+54-58

31 JUL 31
JUDGMENT & REDEMPTION - Isaiah continues his prophecies that point out the rebellion of the people contrasted with the faithfulness of God. "Behold, the LORD's hand is not shortened, that it cannot save, or His ear dull, that it cannot hear. But your iniquities have made a separation, between you and your God, and your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He does not hear." Isaiah goes on to describe their sins. But do not despair, REPENT and trust in Him.
"Then His own arm brought Him salvation." With righteousness as a breastplate, salvation as a helmet, garments of vengeance and zeal , "a Redeemer will come to Zion, to those in Jacob who will turn from transgression," declares the LORD.
Then beautiful expressions of the blessing of salvation, (even echoes in the book of Revelation) and fulfillment by Messiah - as in chapter 61 phrases quoted by Jesus and about Him: "The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon Me, because the LORD has anointed Me to bring good news to the poor; He has sent Me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound, to proclaim the year of the LORD's favor, and the day of vengeance of our God."
Are you despair of your sins? Repent, turn from them and turn to the Lord - trusting in His salvation, paying for your sins. Are you doubting His faithfulness? See how He keeps His promises and His lovingkindness endures forever. Trust & obey Him today - and share this good news with those around you!
Isaiah 59-63 www.esv.org/Isaiah+59-63

01 AUG 1
NEW HEAVENS & EARTH - the prophet Isaiah closes out his prophecies with more of God's pronouncements about judgment and salvation and the glory of the LORD. In chapter 65 the LORD says, "For behold I create new heavens and a new earth, and the former things shall not be remembered or come to mind. But be glad and rejoice forever in that which I create."
This promise is wonderfully echoed in 2 Peter 3:13 and Revelation 21.1 and elsewhere. And God's people look forward to His making all things new, culminating His great salvation and blessing His redeemed people forever.
Rejoice in His precious promises as you serve Him, while waiting for His fulfillment, in His time and His way. Trust and obey today - and tell others His good news!
Isaiah 64-66 www.esv.org/Isaiah+64-66

02 AUG 2
IDOLATRY - Hezekiah was a relatively good but flawed king, and God added years to his life, and peace to the land. But his son Manasseh "did what was evil in the sight of the LORD" - including rebuilding high places to worship idols, Baal, Asherah. He desecrated the temple. He burned his son as an offering and sank into the occult - "to do more evil than the nations had done whom the LORD destroyed before the people of Israel."
His son Amon became king of Judah in his place, and he followed the ways of Manasseh and "abandoned the LORD" and was killed by his own servants. Then the people of the land made his son Josiah king, a glimmer of hope against the judgment that was to come.
Is YOUR life a roller-coaster of selfish disobedience? God calls you to confess (acknowledge) your sin and repent (turn away from it) - and He gives you the power of the Holy Spirit to walk in His ways. Trust and obey Him today - and share the good news of hope!
2 Kings 20-21 www.esv.org/2+Kings+20-21

03 AUG 3
PERSPECTIVE - Today's reading provides a different perspective on the transition from King Hezekiah to King Manasseh, because real history is complicated. God saved Hezekiah from Sennacherib, King of Assyria. But Hezekiah failed the test regarding the envoys from Babylon.
2 Kings reports the evil of Manasseh and his loss of Jerusalem. His was the longest reign of any King of Judah, 55 years. And 2 Chronicles focuses on his repentance, humility and prayer. God heard his entreaty, and restored him, and he restored the altar and sacrifices to the LORD.
How about YOU? Do you know that the LORD is GOD? Have you returned to Him in repentance and faith, trusting in Him alone for salvation? You, like Hezekiah, Manasseh and Amon, have done great evil in the sight of the LORD, but He is the God of great grace. He is gracious and provides the way of salvation, through Jesus Christ the Lord and Savior. Trust and obey Him today!
2 Chronicles 32-33 www.esv.org/2+Chronicles+32-33

04 AUG 4
RETRIBUTION - Nahum 1:7 says, "The LORD is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; He knows those who take refuge in Him." Comforting words to those who trust and obey Him. "Know" is a personal intimate knowing of those who put their trust in Almighty God.
But verse 8 speaks disturbing words to those who deny and disobey Him: "But with an overflowing flood He will make a complete end of the adversaries, and will pursue His enemies into darkness. What do you plot against the LORD?"
Indeed, God's prophesied judgment through Nahum, against Nineveh and Assyria came to pass. Though God had used these nations to judge His disobedient people, God judges all evil. And we too can be sure that His final judgment against evil will also come to pass. God will redeem His people. Take refuge in Him, as you trust and obey the Lord Jesus Christ who has come to save all who believe. "Take refuge in Him!"
Nahum 1-3 www.esv.org/Nahum+1-3

05 AUG 5
JOSIAH - "was eight years old when he began to reign, and he reigned thirty-one years in Jerusalem... And he did what was right in the eyes of the LORD and walked in all the way of David his father, and he did not turn aside to the right or to the left." This happened because the Hilkiah the priest "found the book of the Law of the LORD given through Moses."
Josiah went to the temple and gathered all the people "and read in their hearing all the words of the Book of the Covenant." And the king "made a covenant before the LORD to walk after the LORD and to keep His commandments with all his heart and all his soul." And all the people joined in the covenant. And Josiah removed all the idolatrous abominations and the occult, and restored the Passover. "There was no king like him, who turned to the LORD with all his heart and with all his soul and with all his might, according to the Law of Moses, nor did any arise after him."
How about YOU? Have you repented of your sin and turned to the LORD with your whole being, mind and heart and will? That's what it means to "believe" - your whole being trusting wholly in the Lord Jesus. Do so today, and walk in the ways of the LORD, by His indwelling power within you!
2 Kings 22-23 www.esv.org/2+Kings+22-23/ -&-
2 Chronicles 34-35 www.esv.org/2+Chronicles+34-35

06 AUG 6
RESTORATION - the prophet Zephaniah declares a familiar refrain - "the Day of the LORD" judgment on those who are disobedient to the LORD, both the people of Judah and the nations He uses to discipline His people. But God does not forget His covenant.
And the prophet joyfully proclaims, "Rejoice and exult with all your heart... the LORD has taken away the judgments against you; He has cleared away your enemies. The King of Israel, the LORD, is in your midst, you shall never again fear evil... He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you by His love, He will exult over you."
Beautiful words, ultimately fulfilled by the Lord Jesus Christ Himself, as the Savior of His people, from every nation and language. If YOU are included in the company of the redeemed, trust and obey Him today, by His power within you. Rejoice and proclaim His grace to all those around you!
Zephaniah 1-3 www.esv.org/Zephaniah+1-3

07 AUG 7
JEREMIAH "the weeping prophet" - Jeremiah was called to his ministry (about 626 BC) during the reign of Josiah. This good king returned the land of Judah to the worship of the LORD because of the discovery of the Book of the Law of the LORD (likely in 621 BC).
Jeremiah's ministry had much to say in the turbulent political times. Listen to God's call on him: "Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations" and "whatever I command you, you shall speak. Do not be afraid, for I am with you to deliver you" and "Behold I have put My words in your mouth. See, I have set you this day over nations and over kingdoms" and "I will declare My judgments against them, for all their evil in forsaking Me."
The words of prophets are often difficult to hear, for they shake our complacency with sin in our lives and our nation. Their ancient words still ring true today. For even today, God calls His people to repent and turn from sin and trust and obey only Him. Do so today - and be confident of what the LORD will do, to fulfill all of His purposes, in His time!
Jeremiah 1-3 www.esv.org/Jeremiah+1-3

08 AUG 8
HARDER THAN ROCK - even so are the faces of the unrepentant, says the Lord... The prophet Jeremiah continues his lament against Judah, since the people prefer their sin rather than God's ways. They are unwilling to repent, and so Babylon will bring God's judgment upon them.
Listen: Though they say, “As the LORD lives, ”yet they swear falsely. O LORD, do not Your eyes look for truth? You have struck them down, but they felt no anguish; You have consumed them, but they refused to take correction. They have made their faces harder than rock; they have refused to repent.
...Therefore a lion from the forest shall strike them down; a wolf from the desert shall devastate them. A leopard is watching their cities; everyone who goes out of them shall be torn in pieces, because their transgressions are many, their apostasies are great.
Has God likewise convicted YOU of your sins? Repent. Turn from sin and turn to God, embrace His forgiveness and His spiritual power to say no to sin and yes to His word and ways.
Jeremiah 4-6 www.esv.org/Jeremiah+4-6

09 AUG 9
DELIGHT - Jeremiah continues his indictment against the people of Judah who are rebelling against the LORD, who says, "when I spoke to you persistently you did not listen" but rather you "stiffened your neck and did worse than your fathers." God warns about impending judgment, against those who say "Peace, peace, when there is no peace."
Thus says the LORD, "Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the LORD who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the LORD."
Our ordinary human ideas of success and greatness lead to sin. And judgment is coming. But God has given us His Word and shown us His ways - trust and obey Him, putting all your faith in His Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, living for Him and by His power.
Jeremiah 7-9 www.esv.org/Jeremiah+7-9

10 AUG 10
BROKEN - Jeremiah continues his prophesying: Thus says the LORD: “Learn not the way of the nations, nor be dismayed at the signs of the heavens because the nations are dismayed at them, for the customs of the peoples are vanity."... Thus shall you say to them: “The gods who did not make the heavens and the earth shall perish from the earth and from under the heavens.” It is HE who made the earth by His power, who established the world by His wisdom, and by His understanding stretched out the heavens."...
"They have turned back to the iniquities of their forefathers, who refused to hear My words. They have gone after other gods to serve them. The house of Israel and the house of Judah have broken My covenant that I made with their fathers. Therefore, thus says the LORD, Behold, I am bringing disaster upon them that they cannot escape. Though they cry to me, I will not listen to them."...
Yet, Jeremiah holds out hope... "Hear and give ear; be not proud, for the LORD has spoken. Give glory to the LORD your God before He brings darkness, before your feet stumble on the twilight mountains, and while you look for light He turns it into gloom and makes it deep darkness. But if you will not listen, my soul will weep in secret for your pride; my eyes will weep bitterly and run down with tears, because the LORD's flock has been taken captive."
And so the "weeping prophet" wept, because the people would not listen to God. What about people today? What about YOU?? Listen, repent, trust & obey - and know God's blessings!
Jeremiah 10-13 www.esv.org/Jeremiah+10-13

11 AUG 11
LYING PROPHETS - Jeremiah warned about God's judgment, but false prophets spoke soothing lies. "And the LORD said to me: 'The prophets are prophesying lies in My name. I did not send them, nor did I command them or speak to them. They are prophesying to you a lying vision, worthless divination, and the deceit of their own minds."
In contrast, Jeremiah said, "Your words were found, and I ate them, and Your words became to me a joy and the delight of my heart, for I am called by Your name, O LORD, God of hosts." Their leaders were false hopes. “Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength, whose heart turns away from the LORD. He is like a shrub in the desert, and shall not see any good come... “Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose trust is the LORD. He is like a tree planted by water, for it does not cease to bear fruit.”
And why do YOU need God's Word as your guide? "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?" That's why God promised new hearts and a new Spirit - fulfilled in the Lord Jesus Christ... Trust & obey only Him today!
Jeremiah 14-17 www.esv.org/Jeremiah+14-17

12 AUG 12
POTTER & CLAY - The word that came to the prophet Jeremiah from the LORD: “Arise, and go down to the potter's house, and there I will let you hear my words.” So I went down to the potter's house, and there he was working at his wheel. And the vessel he was making of clay was spoiled in the potter's hand, and he reworked it into another vessel, as it seemed good to the potter to do.
Then the word of the LORD came to me: “O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter has done? declares the LORD. Behold, like the clay in the potter's hand, so are you in My hand, O house of Israel. If at any time I declare concerning a nation or a kingdom, that I will pluck up and break down and destroy it, and if that nation, concerning which I have spoken, turns from its evil, I will relent of the disaster that I intended to do to it.
"And if at any time I declare concerning a nation or a kingdom that I will build and plant it, and if it does evil in my sight, not listening to My voice, then I will relent of the good that I had intended to do to it. Now, therefore, say to the men of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem: ‘Thus says the LORD, Behold, I am shaping disaster against you and devising a plan against you. Return, every one from his evil way, and amend your ways and your deeds.’"
If the people do not repent, they will pay the consequences of their rebellion. History shows the sad result of their disobedience. And what about YOU ? Repent, trust, obey. Be like clay in the LORD's hands, and be shaped according to His Word of truth, that you become a worthy vessel to glorify Him. Trust Him and obey Him, by His power within!
Jeremiah 18-22 www.esv.org/Jeremiah+18-22

13 AUG 13
RIGHTEOUS BRANCH - Therefore thus says the LORD, the God of Israel, concerning the shepherds who care for My people: “You have scattered My flock and have driven them away, and you have not attended to them. Behold, I will attend to you for your evil deeds, declares the LORD.
"Then I will gather the remnant of My flock out of all the countries where I have driven them, and I will bring them back to their fold, and they shall be fruitful and multiply. I will set shepherds over them who will care for them, and they shall fear no more, nor be dismayed, neither shall any be missing, declares the LORD.
“Behold, the days are coming, declares the LORD, when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, and He shall reign as king and deal wisely, and shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. In his days Judah will be saved, and Israel will dwell securely. And this is the name by which He will be called: ‘The LORD is our righteousness.’
All the promises of God are fulfilled in Christ (2 Cor 1:20-22) and "He is the source of your life in Christ Jesus, whom God made our wisdom and our righteousness and sanctification and redemption." (1 Cor 1:30). As you put your trust in Jesus Christ, these promises are fulfilled for YOU in union with Him. Trust and obey Him today!
Jeremiah 23-25 www.esv.org/Jeremiah+23-25

14 AUG 14
PLANS ? - the people of the promised land went into exile to Babylon for their rebellion against the LORD. And Jeremiah wrote a letter with words giving encouragement to God's people even today. In it is one of the "most favorite" of all Scriptures - "for I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare, to give you a future and a hope....and you will find Me when you seek Me with all your heart."
God wanted His people to do their very best to make a new life in a strange land, to bloom where they were planted, and to be His witnesses, as they trust and obey Him. As for where they were, "In its welfare you will find your welfare." So for YOU today - seek the good of the community in which YOU are planted, and then you will find your best future, trusting and serving the LORD there...
Here's the full text from Jeremiah 29: “Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, to all the exiles whom I have sent into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: Build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat their produce. Take wives and have sons and daughters; take wives for your sons, and give your daughters in marriage, that they may bear sons and daughters; multiply there, and do not decrease. But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the LORD on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare. For thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: Do not let your prophets and your diviners who are among you deceive you, and do not listen to the dreams that they dream, for it is a lie that they are prophesying to you in my name; I did not send them, declares the LORD.
“For thus says the LORD: When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will visit you, and I will fulfill to you My promise and bring you back to this place. For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will hear you. You will seek Me and find Me, when you seek Me with all your heart. I will be found by you, declares the LORD, and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you, declares the LORD, and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile."
Jeremiah 26-29 www.esv.org/Jeremiah+26-29

15 AUG 15
NEW HEARTS - “Behold, the days are coming, declares the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, declares the LORD.
"For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the LORD: I will put My law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be My people. And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for they shall all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the LORD. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.”
Words spoken to the exiled people by Jeremiah (and Ezekiel), echoing words delivered by Moses, and ultimately fulfilled by Messiah. The Lord Jesus Christ redeems His people from their sins through His own death and resurrection, and gives them new spiritual life as they become the dwelling place of God by His Holy Spirit - as they put all their trust in Him. Rejoice, as you trust and obey the Lord of the covenant today, by His power within you!
Jeremiah 30-31 www.esv.org/Jeremiah+30-31

16 AUG 16
I WILL FULFILL - as God continues to reiterate His new covenant, the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah: “Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh. Is anything too hard for Me?"... “And they shall be My people, and I will be their God. I will give them one heart and one way, that they may fear Me forever, for their own good and the good of their children after them.
"I will make with them an everlasting covenant, that I will not turn away from doing good to them. And I will put the fear of Me in their hearts, that they may not turn from Me. I will rejoice in doing them good, and I will plant them in this land in faithfulness, with all My heart and all my soul. For thus says the LORD: Just as I have brought all this great disaster upon this people, so I will bring upon them all the good that I promise them."...
"I will cleanse them from all the guilt of their sin against Me, and I will forgive all the guilt of their sin and rebellion against Me."... "In those days and at that time I will cause a righteous Branch to spring up for David, and He shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. In those days Judah will be saved, and Jerusalem will dwell securely. And this is the name by which it will be called: ‘The LORD is our righteousness.’"
Rejoice for God's faithfulness - He has accomplished His promised redemption in Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ. And we, His redeemed, regenerated and indwelt by the Holy Spirit, experience His new spiritual life living through us, as we await the fullness of His promises, while we trust and obey...
Jeremiahl 32-34 www.esv.org/Jeremiah+32-34

14 AUG 14
PLANS ? - the people of the promised land went into exile to Babylon for their rebellion against the LORD. And Jeremiah wrote a letter with words giving encouragement to God's people even today. In it is one of the "most favorite" of all Scriptures - "for I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare, to give you a future and a hope....and you will find Me when you seek Me with all your heart."
God wanted His people to do their very best to make a new life in a strange land, to bloom where they were planted, and to be His witnesses, as they trust and obey Him. As for where they were, "In its welfare you will find your welfare." So for YOU today - seek the good of the community in which YOU are planted, and then you will find your best future, trusting and serving the LORD there...
Here's the full text from Jeremiah 29: “Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, to all the exiles whom I have sent into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: Build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat their produce. Take wives and have sons and daughters; take wives for your sons, and give your daughters in marriage, that they may bear sons and daughters; multiply there, and do not decrease. But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the LORD on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare. For thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: Do not let your prophets and your diviners who are among you deceive you, and do not listen to the dreams that they dream, for it is a lie that they are prophesying to you in my name; I did not send them, declares the LORD.
“For thus says the LORD: When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will visit you, and I will fulfill to you My promise and bring you back to this place. For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will hear you. You will seek Me and find Me, when you seek Me with all your heart. I will be found by you, declares the LORD, and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you, declares the LORD, and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile."
Jeremiah 26-29 www.esv.org/Jeremiah+26-29

15 AUG 15
NEW COVENANT - “Behold, the days are coming, declares the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, declares the LORD.
"For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the LORD: I will put My law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be My people. And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for they shall all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the LORD. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.”
Words spoken to the exiled people by Jeremiah (and Ezekiel), echoing words delivered by Moses, and ultimately fulfilled by Messiah. The Lord Jesus Christ redeems His people from their sins through His own death and resurrection, and gives them new spiritual life as they become the dwelling place of God by His Holy Spirit - as they put all their trust in Him. Rejoice, as you trust and obey the Lord of the covenant today, by His power within you!
Jeremiah 30-31 www.esv.org/Jeremiah+30-31

16 AUG 16
I WILL FULFILL - as God continues to reiterate His new covenant, the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah: “Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh. Is anything too hard for Me?"... “And they shall be My people, and I will be their God. I will give them one heart and one way, that they may fear Me forever, for their own good and the good of their children after them.
"I will make with them an everlasting covenant, that I will not turn away from doing good to them. And I will put the fear of Me in their hearts, that they may not turn from Me. I will rejoice in doing them good, and I will plant them in this land in faithfulness, with all My heart and all my soul. For thus says the LORD: Just as I have brought all this great disaster upon this people, so I will bring upon them all the good that I promise them."...
"I will cleanse them from all the guilt of their sin against Me, and I will forgive all the guilt of their sin and rebellion against Me."... "In those days and at that time I will cause a righteous Branch to spring up for David, and He shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. In those days Judah will be saved, and Jerusalem will dwell securely. And this is the name by which it will be called: ‘The LORD is our righteousness.’"
Rejoice for God's faithfulness - He has accomplished His promised redemption in Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ. And we, His redeemed, regenerated and indwelt by the Holy Spirit, experience His new spiritual life living through us, as we await the fullness of His promises, while we trust and obey...
Ezekiel 32-34 www.esv.org/Jeremiah+32-34

17 AUG 17
PRISON - the prophet Jeremiah continued his warnings, regarding the disaster coming upon Judah and the king and the people, for their disobedience. But the king, Jehoiakim, burned the scroll with Jeremiah's words from the LORD. Likewise when Zedekiah became king, "neither he nor his servants nor the people of the land listened to the words of the LORD that he spoke through Jeremiah the prophet."
The Babylonians and Egyptians were vying for Judah, and Jeremiah prophesied the Chaldeans would capture Jerusalem. So Jeremiah was falsely accused, beaten and thrown into prison. But the king came in secret, asking, "Is there any word from the LORD?"
And he took Jeremiah out of the dungeon and held him in the court of the guard. But things were going to get worse for Judah. Getting the prophet out of earshot didn't change God's Word.
How about YOU? God repeats His commands throughout Scripture, and we somehow think we can ignore them, or we rationalize they don't somehow pertain to our situation. But God's word is truth, true for all people in all places and all times. We must listen and trust and obey, or suffer the consequences of our disobedience. Pray about what you will do today...
Jeremiah 35-37 www.esv.org/Jeremiah+35-37

18 AUG 18
MUDDY - as the prophet Jeremiah continues proclaiming God's Word, the king and leaders still would not listen. They threw him into the cistern and he sank into the mud. King Zedekiah called for him, and Jeremiah assured him that God would protect him, his family, Jerusalem and Judah if he would surrender. If not, "your feet are stuck in the mud."
Zedekiah feared men rather than God, and paid a heavy price in the fall of Jerusalem. But, in God's provision and protection, Jeremiah was allowed to remain.
What about YOU? God's words sound counter-intuitive to the message of the world, the flesh, and the devil. Do you choose lies or truth? Believe what God says, trust Him and obey, and He will clear up the mud, for you too.
Jeremiah 38-40 www.esv.org/Jeremiah+38-40
Psalm 74 www.esv.org/Psalm+74
Psalm 79 www.esv.org/Psalm+79

19 AUG 19
FALLEN - today's reading gives another perspective on the fall of Jerusalem to Babylon. Previously ruled by Egypt, the people of Judah were now under Nebuchadnezzer king of Babylon. Then king Jehoiakim rebelled, but the LORD sent bands of Chaldeans, and Syrians and Moabites and Ammonites against Judah, "to destroy it, according to the word of the LORD that He spoke by His servants the prophets, for the sins of Manasseh" because his great wickedness and rebellion against the LORD.
Zedekiah followed suit, and then Judah and Jerusalem fell to the armies of Nebuchadnezzar and the people were taken into exile. But as the book of Kings ends, God gives a glimmer of hope as the next king of Babylon grants favor to the king of Judah - pointing to the eventual return of the exiles, as God had promised.
This also points to the ultimate fulfillment of prophecy by Messiah, realized in the Lord Jesus Christ and extended even to all who believe in Him. Including you, if you have put your trust in Jesus Christ as Lord & Savior, trusting and obeying Him by His power within. You can trust Him for salvation!
2 Kings 24-25 www.esv.org/2+Kings+24-25
2 Chronicles 36 www.esv.org/2+Chronicles+36

20 AUG 20
EVEN THOUGH - the haunting words of Habakkuk dispel fears of the future even in the midst of personal and national turmoil. This prophet ministered God's Word during the reign of king Jehoiakim. Morally and spiritually, Judah was sinking. And the Babylonians were on the move. Was God's judgment coming?
"The righteous shall live by faith" said Habakkuk (taken up by Paul in Romans 1:17). Salvation comes from the LORD, through complete dependence upon Him, and fulfilled in Christ. And this perspective of faith fuels our hope today, as Habakkuk's words echo through the centuries:
"Though the fig tree should not blossom,
nor fruit be on the vines,
the produce of the olive fail
and the fields yield no food,
the flock be cut off from the fold
and there be no herd in the stalls,
yet I will rejoice in the LORD;
I will take joy in the God of my salvation.
GOD, the Lord, is my strength;
He makes my feet like the deer's;
He makes me tread on my high places."
Make these words your prayer, as you trust and obey the LORD today!
Habakkuk 1-3 www.esv.org/Habakkuk+1-3

21 AUG 21
DISOBEDIENCE - when Judah fell to Babylon, some who were left in the land sought to escape to Egypt. They said to Jeremiah the prophet, “Let our plea for mercy come before you, and pray to the LORD your God for us, for all this remnant—because we are left with but a few, as your eyes see us—that the LORD your God may show us the way we should go, and the thing that we should do.”
Jeremiah the prophet said to them, “I have heard you. Behold, I will pray to the LORD your God according to your request, and whatever the LORD answers you I will tell you. I will keep nothing back from you.” Then they said to Jeremiah, “May the LORD be a true and faithful witness against us if we do not act according to all the word with which the LORD your God sends you to us. Whether it is good or bad, we will obey the voice of the LORD our God to whom we are sending you, that it may be well with us when we obey the voice of the LORD our God.”
But they didn't mean it. They refused to listen to God, and instead took Jeremiah to Egypt with them, where they encountered further disobedience and disaster - the consequences of their sins. How like US they were - wanting God to confirm our plans, and willfully disobeying Him. Repent, trust, obey, and you will know His peace and power in your life.
Jeremiah 41-45 www.esv.org/Jeremiah+41-45

22 AUG 22
JUDGMENT - the Southern Kingdom of Judah and Jerusalem not only earned God's judgment, so did the surrounding nations. In today's reading, Egypt, Philistia, Moab all hear from Jeremiah about the impending consequences of their disobedience of God. Yet God reminds of His everlasting lovingkindness.
About His own redeemed people He says, “But fear not, O Jacob my servant, nor be dismayed, O Israel, for behold, I will save you from far away, and your offspring from the land of their captivity. Jacob shall return and have quiet and ease, and none shall make him afraid. Fear not, O Jacob my servant, declares the LORD, for I am with you. I will make a full end of all the nations to which I have driven you, but of you I will not make a full end. I will discipline you in just measure, and I will by no means leave you unpunished.”
Thank the LORD that our God is JUST as well as merciful. Evil will be repaid. And He does this with the blood of His own Son. Have you put your trust in the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins? Thank Him, trust Him, obey Him today!
Jeremiah 46-48 www.esv.org/Jeremiah+46-48

23 AUG 23
CONSEQUENCES - the prophet Jeremiah continues pronouncing coming judgment against the nations as consequences of disobedience of God. Ammon, Edom (Esau), Damascus (Aram), Kedar, Hazor, Elam, and Babylon will all experience God's righteous judgment. And, Babylon will serve God's purposes in bringing judgment against the surrounding nations. And He will restore some tribes, cities, and nations, as He sees fit, for His own purposes.
Babylon dominates the rest of the book of Jeremiah. Great as this nation is, it too will be conquered. The Medes and Persians are coming. And God's people will return to their homeland. All this seems impossible to the exiles. But God promises, and God's people believe Him.
Perhaps His promises seem impossible to YOU today too. But witness all that He has accomplished in history, and learn. And trust and obey. He will work it all out in His own time. Even for you.
Jeremiah 49-50 www.esv.org/Jeremiah+49-50

24 AUG 24
UTTER DESTRUCTION - Jeremiah concludes his book with dramatic predictions of the utter destruction of Babylon. Even though God is using them to discipline His own people, the nation of Babylon will also be judged for their disobedience of God. And God's people will be re-gathered for God's blessing.
The book closes with recounting the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple, with the people going into exile. Through all this, God's promise of a lasting kingdom for David means Messiah will come - to personally fulfill God's plan and purpose for His people. Which was fulfilled through the life and ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Seeing God at work in history confirms for us today how WE can also trust Him. He does keep His promises! Trust and obey Him in all things.
Jeremiah 51-52 www.esv.org/Jeremiah+51-52

25 AUG 25
NEW EVERY MORNING - midst the destruction of Jerusalem, the prophet Jeremiah brings his sorrow and anguish to the Lord, expressing distress during great trouble and asking for the Lord's deliverance. Some favorite verses appear in chapter 3: "Remember my affliction and my wanderings, the wormwood and the gall! My soul continually remembers it and is bowed down within me. But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.
“The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in Him.” The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the soul who seeks Him. It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord."
In YOUR distress, seek the LORD and ask for His deliverance - then trust and obey as He works out His purpose. In His time, with His grace...
Lamentations 1:1 - 3:36 www.esv.org/Lamentations+1-3

26 AUG 26
SOVEREIGNTY OF GOD - the prophets had long warned of a "day of the LORD" against Israel and Judah for their disobedience. Now they were conquered, taken to Babylon in exile. Jeremiah weeps for God's people. Yet he recognizes God as sovereign over ALL the nations. All nations will be disciplined. And God's people will be restored. But in the midst of the trial, the people are called to repentance and faith.
"Who has spoken and it came to pass, unless the Lord has commanded it? Is it not from the mouth of the Most High that good and bad come? Why should a living man complain, a man, about the punishment of his sins? Let us test and examine our ways, and return to the LORD! Let us lift up our hearts and hands to God in heaven: 'We have transgressed and rebelled, and you have not forgiven.'
But the good news comes: God will forgive. God's everlasting lovingkindness will preserve His people, who come to Him in repentance and faith, trusting in His salvation through the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and obeying His Word. May this be true of YOU today, no matter the trials you endure, for God is at work, and will accomplish His purposes...
Lamentations 3:37 - 5:22 www.esv.org/Lamentations+3:37-5:22 -

27 AUG 27
GLORY OF THE LORD - Ezekiel, a priest, was called by God as a prophet during the Babylonian exile. He recounts the vision God gave him, and "the appearance of the likeness of the glory" and the "the likeness of a throne, in appearance like sapphire; and seated above the likeness of a throne was a likeness with a human appearance" which had the appearance of gleaming metal and fire, and brightness all around Him, like the appearance of a rainbow. Not the LORD Himself, but the appearance of the glory of the LORD.
"And when I saw it, I fell on my face , and I heard the voice of one speaking." Then the Spirit of God entered into Ezekiel and God called him "to the people of Israel, to nations of rebels, who have rebelled against Me." Then God showed him a scroll and commanded him to eat of it (sweet as honey), and to "speak with My words to them."
What a lesson for us too... the glory of the majesty of the Sovereign LORD over all creation, and how unthinkable our rebellion against Him, and the sweetness of His words of truth... and of His grace which He extends to those who come to Him in repentance and faith... may this be true of YOU today...
Ezekiel 1-4 www.esv.org/Ezekiel+1-4

28 AUG 28
SIGHT OF THE NATIONS - God said through the prophet Ezekiel: “Thus says the Lord GOD: This is Jerusalem. I have set her in the center of the nations, with countries all around her. And she has rebelled against My rules by doing wickedness more than the nations, and against My statutes more than the countries all around her; for they have rejected My rules and have not walked in My statutes.
"Therefore thus says the Lord GOD: Because you are more turbulent than the nations that are all around you, and have not walked in My statutes or obeyed My rules, and have not even acted according to the rules of the nations that are all around you, therefore thus says the Lord GOD: Behold, I, even I, am against you. And I will execute judgments in your midst in the sight of the nations. And because of all your abominations I will do with you what I have never yet done, and the like of which I will never do again."
What a lesson for believers today. God has set His Spirit within us, to know and to do His commandments. And yet too often the people called by His name look as much or more like the world around them, rather than shining forth God's truth and grace. May we repent, trust and obey, that we, who bear the name of Christ, might be "in the sight of the nations" a living testament to the one true Living God. Do so today...
Ezekiel 5-8 www.esv.org/Ezekiel+5-8

29 AUG 29
SANCTUARY - Ezekiel continues to prophesy about the abominable rebellion of the peoples, and God's coming judgment. Yet hope glimmers in chapter 11. The exiles are separated from the temple, but God Himself will be their sanctuary. And He will bless His remnant.
"I will give them one heart, and a new spirit I will put within them. I will remove the heart of stone from their flesh and give them a heart of flesh, that they may walk in My statutes and keep My rules and obey them. And they shall be My people, and I will be their God. But as for those whose heart goes after their detestable things and their abominations, I will bring their deeds upon their own heads, declares the Lord GOD.”
See God's grace - HE will do this, as opposed to what the people do for themselves, bringing upon their own selves the consequences of disobedience. Rather, in the ultimate fulfillment of God's promise, in union with Christ, we believers become His living temple, in whom He dwells personally by His Holy Spirit. Rejoice, trust and obey Him today, and share the good news about Jesus!
Ezekiel 9-12 www.esv.org/Ezekiel+9-12

30 AUG 30
USELESS VINE - The LORD speaks through Ezekiel against the false prophets, and against the people for believing in them, and against prophets for being deceived by deceitful people who worship idols.
But the presence of some righteous people will not prevent the coming judgment. And God likens Israel to a "useless vine" not fit even to make a peg, but only to be burned. For Israel is God's chosen people, not because of any righteousness or value in themselves, but solely because of His grace.
And so it is with YOU, if you are a believer in the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, it is because God saved you, not because you somehow deserved it. Grace is undeserved, yet God showers it upon undeserving people who put all their trust in Him. Rejoice, trust Him, obey Him, and tell others about Him today!
Ezekiel 13-15 www.esv.org/Ezekiel+13-15/

31 AUG 31
FAITHLESS & FAITHFUL - God speaks through the prophet Ezekiel a familiar refrain: comparing Jerusalem to a faithless lover. From lowly origins to grandiose heights, then being unfaithful to God who raised her up, and making alliances with neighboring powers instead of remaining faithful to God alone.
Yet the Lord affirms His faithfulness, and an everlasting New Covenant in which He will atone for her sin. "I will establish My covenant with you, and you shall know that I am the LORD, that you may remember and be confounded, and never open your mouth again because of your shame, when I atone for you for all that you have done, declares the Lord GOD.”
Do you see God's everlasting grace? - how He has atoned for YOU? and promises that your past (nor future) sins shall not define your future! Jesus fulfills this New Covenant, and in union with Him by grace through faith, you receive all His blessings. Rejoice in His amazing salvation as you trust & obey Him today. Living out His new life in you, by His power.
Ezekiel 16-17 www.esv.org/Ezekiel+16-17

01 SEP 1
TURN & LIVE - God spoke through Ezekiel - “Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways, declares the Lord GOD. Repent and turn from all your transgressions, lest iniquity be your ruin. Cast away from you all the transgressions that you have committed, and make yourselves a new heart and a new spirit!
"Why will you die, O house of Israel? For I have no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Lord GOD; so turn, and live.”
True faith is not only intellectual, or emotional, or volitional, but all of these together - the whole person putting all their trust in the LORD. And God makes it clear throughout Ezekiel that this new heart and spirit come from Him, not human effort. Your repentance and faith is an evidence of God's regeneration by the Holy Spirit, who brings you to repentance and faith, receiving His grace. Giving you a new heart, something only God can do. Turn from sin, and trust in Him, and live for Him - all by His Spirit within!
Ezekiel 18-19 www.esv.org/Ezekiel+18-19

02 SEP 2
REBELLION & RESTORATION - The LORD continues to speak, about a year later, through the prophet Ezekiel, regarding the sins of the people and the coming consequences. God had warned them as He rescued them from slavery in Egypt, but they would not obey His commandments. So too in the Promised Land the people chose pagan idols. Now they are exiles in Babylon because of it, and Jerusalem and the temple will soon be destroyed.
Yet God's faithfulness shines through these dark clouds. A sword will come because of their rebellion, yet there will also be restoration. The people will return from wilderness exile and again serve God in the promised land. "You shall loathe yourselves for all the evils that you have committed. And you shall know that I am the LORD, when I deal with you for My name's sake, not according to your evil ways, nor according to your corrupt deeds, O house of Israel, declares the LORD GOD."
What of YOUR sins? Surely you have suffered consequences. But have you also received redemption? - by putting all your trust in the Lord Jesus Christ, the Promised One from God, who paid for your sins and who gives the Holy Spirit so that you trust and obey the LORD who saves you... Do so today, as God works out His restoration for you!
Ezekiel 20-21 www.esv.org/Ezekiel+20-21

03 SEP 3
BUILD UP THE WALL & STAND IN THE BREACH - the prophet Ezekiel continues God's lament of judgment against His people: "declare to her all her abominations. You shall say, Thus says the Lord GOD: You have become guilty by the blood that you have shed, and defiled by the idols that you have made, and you have brought your days near, the appointed time of your years has come. Therefore I have made you a reproach to the nations, and a mockery to all the countries. Those who are near and those who are far from you will mock you; your name is defiled; you are full of tumult." The incriminating evidence against them mounts and magnifies their wickedness.
"You shall be consumed by your own doing in the sight of the nations, and you shall know that I am the LORD." God's Word showed them a clear path of righteousness but they refused it. "And I sought for a man among them who should build up the wall and stand in the breach before Me for the land, that I should not destroy it, but I found none. Therefore I have poured out my indignation upon them. I have consumed them with the fire of My wrath. I have returned their way upon their heads, declares the Lord GOD.”
Rejoice that "the man" God sought has come, none other than His own Son, the Righteous One, who has made atonement. Put all your trust in HIM, the Lord Jesus Christ, and know that the LORD is God, and He alone saves. Trust and obey Him today.
Ezekiel 22-23 www.esv.org/Ezekiel+22-23

04 SEP 4
COOKING POT PARABLE - Hundreds of miles away from Jerusalem, the prophet Ezekiel is in Babylon. But Almighty God reveals to him what is happening - the siege and destruction of Jerusalem and the temple. The "bloody city" of rebellion and wickedness is pictured like the cooking pot, corrupted with corrosion - the innocent blood crying out to be avenged.
"I am the LORD, I have spoken, it shall come to pass; I will do it; according to your ways and your deeds you will be judged, declares the Lord GOD." And then Ezekiel's wife dies, "the delight of your eyes" - symbolic of the loss of Jerusalem. And Ezekiel will be released from being mute when a fugitive comes to report the destruction, "so you will be a sign to them, and they will know that I am the LORD."
What a lesson for US today, to know that a just and holy JUDGMENT is coming, according to our deeds. Only those whose sins are covered by the blood of Messiah will escape, for God is holy and righteous and greatly to be worshiped. Trust and obey the Lord Jesus Christ today!
Ezekiel 24-27 www.esv.org/Ezekiel+24-27

05 SEP 5
PRIDE & WEALTH - the prophet Ezekiel now speaks God's Word against Tyre and Egypt, two neighboring nations with economic and military might against Babylon. They too shall be humbled. But God renews His promise to Israel. For God is sovereign over all nations. Many Bible commentators see the lament over the king of Tyre as a picture of the fall of Satan, who "became puffed up with conceit and fell into condemnation" (1 Tim 3:6).
In any case, these prophecies against the nation contain considerable metaphor and it can be difficult to trace actual historical fulfillment. The message about pride is clear: "your heart has become proud in your wealth—therefore thus says the Lord GOD: Because you make your heart like the heart of a god, therefore, behold, I will bring foreigners upon you, the most ruthless of the nations; and they shall draw their swords against the beauty of your wisdom and defile your splendor."
After all this, why do God's people still not repent, trust, and obey? What about you?
Ezekiel 28-31 www.esv.org/Ezekiel+28-31

06 SEP 6
SHEPHERD & SHEEP - the prophet Ezekiel closes his lament over Egypt with the graphic picture of the rebellious nations gathered together in Sheol. The demise of Jerusalem is also certain, as is God's punishment, using the sword of Babylon.
Then He turns attention to the deficiencies of the leaders of Israel, as unfaithful shepherds of God's flock. They have failed the welfare of the people, seeking gain for themselves instead. They ignore God's covenant, and His sheep are scattered. But God promises HE will right the wrongs, and HE Himself will be their Shepherd.
These themes are echoed in John 10 by Jesus, the Good Shepherd, who is both God come in the flesh, and the promised Messiah from the line of David, the shepherd-king. God makes a New Covenant of peace, with showers of blessing. "And they shall know that I am the LORD their God with them, and that they, the house of Israel, are My people, declares the Lord GOD. And you are My sheep, human sheep of My pasture, and I am your God, declares the Lord GOD.”
Good news - God will save His people, just as He promises. Put your trust in Him, as a sheep to the Good Shepherd - follow Him, trust and obey Him, and rejoice in His peace and grace!
Ezekiel 32-34 www.esv.org/Ezekiel+32-34

07 SEP 7
HOLY SPIRIT - the prophet Ezekiel announces God's coming covenant of peace with His people, and the judgment coming on nations surrounding Israel. And the coming New Covenant: "I will vindicate the holiness of My great name, which has been profaned among the nations, and which you have profaned among them. And the nations will know that I am the LORD...I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses... And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put My Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules."
This promise of the Holy Spirit is fulfilled in regeneration which will lead to resurrection. The Lord Jesus sent the Holy Spirit after His resurrection and ascension - fulfilling the promise of spiritual life, which comes by the regeneration of the Holy Spirit.
Likewise, chapter 37 and the vision of the valley of dry bones finds ultimate fulfillment in resurrection, again with the promise: "And I will put My Spirit within you, and you shall live." Not only that but "My servant David shall be king over them, and they shall all have one shepherd. They shall walk in My rules... I will make a covenant of peace with them. It shall be an everlasting covenant. My dwelling place shall be with them, and I will be their God, and they shall be My people" which will ultimately be fulfilled in the new heavens and earth, as echoed in Revelation 21.
This covenant is arranged by the Father, accomplished by the Son, and applied by the Holy Spirit to believers. If YOU are trusting Christ alone for salvation, you are included in the prayer of Hebrews 13:20 - "Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, equip you with everything good that you may do His will, working in us that which is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen!" Trust and obey Jesus, by His power within you!
Ezekiel 35-37 www.esv.org/Ezekiel+35-37

08 SEP 8
GOG & MAGOG - God now speaks through the prophet Ezekiel to describe the destruction of the foes of Israel - their enemies that God uses to purge them because of their rebellious disobedience of His Word, and who will themselves be overthrown by the LORD: Gog, of the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal (tribes in central and eastern Anatolia (now in Turkey) - who enigmatically represent the final enemies to be vanquished (see also Rev 20:8).
There is much speculation about who and when, as Ezekiel presents this in symbolic and apocalyptic language, showing the sure destruction of all powers arrayed against God's people. The historical details may seem somewhat obscure, as is any future fulfillment, but God reveals great theological truth: "So I will show My greatness and My holiness and make Myself known in the eyes of many nations." Then the LORD will restore Israel, returning them from exile, "and I will not hide My face anymore from them, when I pour out My spirit upon the house of Israel, declares the Lord GOD."
Though God brings affliction upon His disobedient people, He does not abandon them. He is their salvation. Hope shines through their trial. Keep this in mind as YOU go through trials in these days - that God promises better days, which will seem all the brighter, having persevered through the dark times. Trust and obey Him today, no matter what!
Ezekiel 38-39 www.esv.org/Ezekiel+38-39

09 SEP 9
TEMPLE VISION- God's promise of peace and His supreme glory among the nations is now followed by a vision of a new temple. It is similar to chapters 8-11 in which the prophet Ezekiel is given God's perspective on the abominations of the people before His destruction.
Ezekiel is in Babylon, but through "visions of God" he is taken on a tour of a new temple on a mountain in Israel, to which God's glory will return. Various interpretations include an actual future city, or a symbolic representation, with the temple standing for God's presence with His people, fulfilled by the Holy Spirit in the New Covenant with the coming of Christ.
The description includes both the outer and inner temple chambers. It is reminiscient of Psalm 48:12 "walk about Zion, go around her, number her towers, consider well her ramparts, go through her citadels, that you may tell the next generation that this is God, our God forever and ever. He will guide us forever."
We may not have every answer we desire regarding the more difficult portions of God's Word, but we trust Him just the same. We don't require details to be sure that He will fulfill His promises, even in ways we don't anticipate. As we await His future for us, and new heavens and earth, we trust and obey!
Ezekiel 40-41 www.esv.org/Ezekiel+40-41

10 SEP 10
GLORY OF THE LORD - earlier the prophet Ezekiel had seen a vision of the glory of the Lord leaving Jerusalem, and now he has this vision: "Then he led me to the gate, the gate facing east. And behold, the glory of the God of Israel was coming from the east. And the sound of His coming was like the sound of many waters, and the earth shone with His glory. And the vision I saw was just like the vision that I had seen when He came to destroy the city, and just like the vision that I had seen by the Chebar canal.
"And I fell on my face. As the glory of the LORD entered the temple by the gate facing east, the Spirit lifted me up and brought me into the inner court; and behold, the glory of the LORD filled the temple." Then a voice from the temple says "Son of man, this is the place of My throne and the place of the soles of My feet, where I will dwell in the midst of the people of Israel forever. And the house of Israel shall no more defile My holy name, neither they, nor their kings...and I will dwell in their midst forever."
Such majesty of vision and language and concept rises worship within your soul. God keeps His promises. His Holy Spirit regenerates and indwells and empowers believers today, as living temples of God. Worship Him. Trust and obey. Put all your confidence in Him. Even when things seem obscure, He will fulfill all His purpose in His time...
Ezekiel 42-43 www.esv.org/Ezekiel+42-43

11 SEP 11
EZEKIEL'S VISION - scholars point to Ezekiel 40-48 as among the most difficult to understand of all passages in the Bible. As we consider the prophet Ezekiel's vision of the temple, here are the main possibilities:
Some understand this as a physical future temple to be fulfilled during the "millennium" mentioned in Revelation 20. Others consider this a powerful metaphor of God's presence with His people, the congregation of God's redeemed people, composed of both Jews & Gentiles, as fulfilled in the New Covenant with the coming of Christ and the indwelling Holy Spirit. Others understand this as pointing to the new heavens and new earth in Revelation 21, Isa 66:17, 2 Pet 3:13, etc, and symbolic of the great blessings God has promised His people.
Of course both physical and figurative aspects could be the reality. We should allow mystery as we consider how God may fulfill these visions, since many Old Testament passages are regarded as fulfilled in the New Testament in surprising and wonderful ways (as Hebrews 13:10-15 relates to today's passage).
Regardless, such passages bring us to our knees in worship of a sovereign God who loves sinful people and provides their redemption and promises a blessed future with Him. In the midst of today's trials, rejoice! And trust and obey as you await His tomorrow - which He promises will be beyond all we could ask or imagine. Hallelujah!
Ezekiel 44-45 www.esv.org/Ezekiel+44-45

12 SEP 12
THE LORD IS THERE - so ends the enigmatic book of Ezekiel. With all its cryptic visions, we can grasp this main point - God will fulfill His promise to dwell with His people. Human history began with God walking in the garden with His created ones, and the book of Revelation ends likewise in a garden in the great city of the New Jerusalem. God keeps His promises.
Ezekiel describes the allotments of the land to the tribes of Israel. And the trickle of water from the temple which waters the entire land, seen elsewhere in the Old Testament and culminating in Revelation 22 with its vision of the new heavens and new earth, in the eternal presence of the Lord God, in personal fellowship with the risen, reigning Lord Jesus Christ.
Difficult as Ezekiel is to understand, we take comfort in the final message: "the LORD is there" - with His people. And in the end, that is what will mean the most. To be with Him. Rejoice, trust & obey Him, as you await the ultimate fulfillment of all His precious promises!
Ezekiel 46-48 www.esv.org/Ezekiel+46-48

13 SEP 13
DAY OF THE LORD - Joel echoes other Old Testament prophets by proclaiming that God will come in judgment against His own people, in response to their rebellious disobedience. But He will also bring judgment against the enemies of His people, and bring blessing and restoration to His own. Those who repent, turning to the Lord with their whole being, heart, mind and will, will receive His gracious mercy.
New Testament allusions to Joel include Mark 13:24, Luke 21:25, Rev 6:9, Rev 9:2. In Acts 2:16-21 the apostle Peter proclaims the fulfillment of Joel 2:28-32. The apostle Paul notes how Joel 2:32 is fulfilled as salvation is offered to all peoples, Jew and Gentile - "everyone who calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved."
As we await God's final fulfillment, we can trust Him completely, for even though dark times are coming for those in rebellion against Him, those who repent and trust and obey will certainly receive His covenant-keeping lovingkindness, just as He promises. Believers are safe in Christ, our Savior. Rejoice, as you trust and obey Him in all things!
Joel 1-3 www.esv.org/Joel+1-3

14 SEP 14
DANIEL, DREAMS & GOD - Daniel and his companions are taken from Jerusalem into exile to the king's court in Babylon. But God is in control, over their lives as well as the nation of Israel. The young men find favor with their overseers, because God gave them "learning and skill in all literature and wisdom, and Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams." Daniel prayed:
“Blessed be the name of God forever and ever, to whom belong wisdom and might. He changes times and seasons; He removes kings and sets up kings; He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding; He reveals deep and hidden things; He knows what is in the darkness, and the light dwells with Him. To you, O God of my fathers, I give thanks and praise."
God gave Daniel the interpretation of the king's dream, regarding the succeeding kingdoms, and also the kingdom that would not end (Christ's). King Nebuchadnezzar honored the LORD as "king of kings" and honored Daniel with the highest governmental responsibility. God also intervened for his friends, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, who were sentenced to the fiery furnace for refusing to worship the golden image of the king. The blazing fire was so hot it killed those who thrust them in. But the king saw all three men walking in the midst of the fire, plus a fourth "like a son of the gods."
Because of God's miraculous preservation, the king made a proclamation: "Blessed be your God, for their is no other god able to rescue in this way." Never forget, God is sovereign over all nations, all peoples, and all circumstances. Trust and obey Him, as He works out His purposes, even through the twists and turns of YOUR life today.
Daniel 1-3 www.esv.org/Daniel+1-3

15 SEP 15
DANIEL, LIONS, & GOD - the theme of God's sovereignty continues in today's reading. King Nebuchadnezzar glorified God, then had a second dream, and God gave Daniel the interpretation. The King would be humbled from his pride, and lose his sanity. Yet he would regain his throne and again acknowledge God alone as the sovereign King of Kings (though he does not proclaim Him as the "only" God).
In chapter 5, King Belshazzar sees the handwriting on the wall, and God gives Daniel the interpretation: "Mene: God has numbered the days of your kingdom and brought it to an end. Tekel: you have been weighed in the balance and found wanting. Perees: your kingdom is divided and given to the Medes and the Persians." That very night the king was killed, and Darius the Mede took the throne. Daniel was exalted to high responsibility, and his enemies set a trap. He was arrested for praying to the LORD God, and thrown into a den of lions.
Miraculously, He remained unharmed. "Then King Darius wrote to all the peoples, nations, and languages that dwell in all the earth: “Peace be multiplied to you. I make a decree, that in all my royal dominion people are to tremble and fear before the God of Daniel, for He is the living God, enduring forever; His kingdom shall never be destroyed, and His dominion shall be to the end. He delivers and rescues; He works signs and wonders in heaven and on earth, He who has saved Daniel from the power of the lions.”
The destruction of Jerusalem and the captivity of the Israelites was used by God to extend the message about the One True God to ever more and more people. This same God, the one and only true and living God, reigns today and forever. Does He reign in your life? Do you trust Him with all that you are?
Daniel 4-6 www.esv.org/Daniel+4-6

16 SEP 16
ANCIENT OF DAYS - the prophet Daniel's vision in chapter 7 shows how kings of the earth will come and go, but God's everlasting kingdom shall have no end. In contrast to the "beasts" which represent human kingdoms (Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, Rome), the "son of man" is Jesus the Messiah (God the Son who came to earth in human form as Lord and Savior, was crucified, resurrected to life, and ascended into Heaven).
Then He returns to heaven on the clouds "and to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him; His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and His kingdom one that shall not be destroyed." God was comforting His faithful people midst their own persecution, but many interpreters also see fulfillment in "the last times" and parallels with passages from Revelation. There is much speculation and varied interpretations of these chapters.
Daniel 8 seems to foretell the reign of Antiochus Epiphanes hundreds of years later (175-164 BC), who fancied himself as the manifestation of Zeus, and outlawed worship of God and the ceremonies in Jerusalem and Judah. Many interpreters also understand him to point to the "Antichrist" of the "last times."
Daniel 9 features a powerful prayer of repentance. There are three major views about the "seventy weeks" (seventy sevens). This could refer to the time of Antiochus Epiphanes, or it could be meant figuratively, or the passage could refer to events at the time of Christ. Scholars apply 490 years to various timeframes. Again there is much speculation regarding its correlation to the "last times."
Regardless, God's people put their hope in the Lord, not in a calendar nor in their interpretations. God has set all the times, and we trust in Him. The words of Daniel echo "O my God, incline Your ear and hear. For we do not present our pleas because of our righteousness but because of Your mercy. O Lord, hear: O Lord, forgive, O Lord pay attention and act" because Your people are called by Your name. Amen!
Daniel 7-9 www.esv.org/Daniel+7-9

17 SEP 17
PROMISES - Daniel's prophecies (from ~605-537 BC in the time of Cyrus) during the Babylonian captivity, prepared God's people for future trials and persecutions. Notably, actions by Antiochus Epiphanes from 175-164 BC, as part of the fulfillment pointing to Alexander the Great and the Greek and Roman empires. The final chapters of Daniel point with remarkable accuracy to this time of Antiochus IV. Concurrently, Daniel speaks of the eternal kingdom of Christ which will supercede all earthly kingdoms and establish God's promised peace and righteousness. Various interpreters focus this on either the first coming of Christ and the destruction of Jerusalem in AD70 and the subsequent worldwide growth of Christianity, or perhaps at His second coming, with various suggested timelines of "great tribulation" and "millennium" - although certainty is difficult with prophetic and apocalyptic language pointing far into the future from Daniel's time.
What is clear: God will triumph over all His foes, His promises will be kept, and He will reign over all peoples and all things, forever. We can be confident, as we trust and obey, that God will preserve His repentant faithful followers, and fulfill all of His promises. Rejoice!
Daniel 10-12 www.esv.org/Daniel+10-12

18 SEP 18
RETURN - God had prophesied about Cyrus 150 years earlier, and now he makes a proclamation, recorded in Ezra 1: "In the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, the LORD stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, so that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom and also put it in writing:
“Thus says Cyrus king of Persia: The LORD, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth, and He has charged me to build Him a house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Whoever is among you of all His people, may his God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem, which is in Judah, and rebuild the house of the Lord, the God of Israel—He is the God who is in Jerusalem." Cyrus even returns stolen goods, and empowers the funding of this great project.
Note well, this is God's goal, to build the temple. And He calls ALL of His people, through the written words of the great leader of the great empire. The exile of God's people is accomplished, and their exodus to their promised land will accomplish His purpose there. First, they rebuilt the altar and began offering sacrifices to the LORD. Then they held a great celebration, "and they sang responsively, praising and giving thanks to the LORD, "for He is good, for His steadfast love endures forever toward Israel."
Be assured, He will fulfill His purpose for YOU too. In His perfect time and in His perfect ways. Trust & obey!
Ezra 1-3 www.esv.org/Ezra+1-3

19 SEP 19
ADVERSARIES - work on the temple was opposed by the people who lived in the land, that is, who had moved in during the exile, and who combined worship of pagan gods along with the God of Israel. But the official authorization for rebuilding the temple was only for the true worshipers of the one true God (a principle of religious separation still true in the new covenant age, as in 2 Cor 6:14-7:1).
The opposition continued during the reigns of Cyrus, Darius, Xerxes (Ahasuerus) and Artaxerxes. Today's reading contains letters written to and from the kings. God had to intervene in these affairs, and through His prophets, in order to resume the work of rebuilding. Eventually the temple is completed, with joyful celebration.
The companion reading in Psalm 137 is a psalm from the exiles at Babylon, expressing their lament at their misfortune (brought upon themselves by their own disobedience of God's commands).
A lesson for us: God's people may have to suffer under the authority of human rulers, but God is sovereign, and His commands supercede human authority. We must do what God commands, and we must not do what God commands not to do. Acts 5:29 - We must obey God rather than men. In your trials too, trust and obey.
Ezra 4-6 www.esv.org/Ezra+4-6/ -&-
Psalm 137 www.esv.org/Psalm+137

20 SEP 20
LORD OF HOSTS & HAGGAI - God spoke through the prophet Haggai during the time of rebuilding the temple after the Babylonian exile. God calls the remnant of His people to repent and rebuild. Focusing on the LORD would change their priorities toward their obedience to the words of the LORD. The prophet also pointed to the ultimate fulfillment of God's coming glory, peace and prosperity, to be ushered in by Messiah.
"I will shake the nations, so that the treasures of all nations shall come in, and I will fill this house with glory, says the LORD of Hosts. The silver is mine and the gold is mine. The latter glory of this house shall be greater than the former. And in this place I will give peace, declares the LORD of Hosts."
These promises extend to New Covenant believers today, since we are the temple of God, indwelt by the Holy Spirit, and WE look forward to God fulfilling His promises and the glory of Christ as King of Kings. Live for Him today and always!
Haggai 1-2 www.esv.org/Haggai+1-2

21 SEP 21
RETURN TO THE LORD - the prophet Zechariah was a contemporary of Haggai. He prophesied about the welfare and future of Jerusalem during the time of Ezra, and the rebuilding of the temple "not by might nor by power but by My Spirit, says the LORD of hosts."
His visions tend to "telescope" both the near future and far future, in "snapshot" form. It is difficult to be sure about the timeframe of many of them. Many are fulfilled by Messiah, making Zechariah often quoted in the New Testament.
We can take comfort in God's promises, such as, "I will dwell in your midst" because His Anointed One has triumphed. Jesus has come to save us, and lived and died for sins, and He lives and reigns over all things. Trust and obey Him today!
Zechariah 1-7 www.esv.org/Zechariah+1-7

22 SEP 22
COMING KING - Zechariah's prophecies are widely quoted in the New Testament. Among them: the King riding into Jerusalem, 9:9,10 see Matt 21:1-11. Betrayal of Christ, and His death, 13:7 see Matt 26:31-35, Mark 14:27-31, Luke 22:31-34. The "Branch" combining offices of Priest and King, 3:8, 6:12 see Heb 4:14, 7:24, 9:11 and Heb 1:8, Matt 22:41-46.
God dwelling midst His people, 2:5,10 see John 1:14. Feast of Tabernacles, 14:16-20, see Rev 21:1-3. God's covenant renewal, 8:12 see Matt 26:28, 1 Cor 11:25, Rev 21:1-22:5. Every nation and tongue, 8:23, see Rev 5:9. God is with you, 8:23 see 1 Cor 14:24,25.
Triumphal entry, 9:9, see Matt 21:1-11, John 12:12-16. Ruling to the ends of the earth, 9:10, see Matt 12:28, Phil 2:9-11, Rev 19:11-16. Blood of My covenant, 9:11, see Ex 24:8 and Matt 26:28.
Rejection of the Shepherd, 11:1-3,4-17 see Acts 4:24-28, John 10:11-18. Thirty pieces of silver, 11:12-13 see Matt 26:14-16, 27:1-10. Jerusalem a heavy stone, 12:3 see Heb 12:22-24. Look on Him whom they pierced, 10:10 see John 1:14, 6:40, 19:37. A fountain opened, 13:1 see John 7:37-39. The suffering Shepherd, 13:7-9 see Matt 26:31-35, Mark 14:27-31, Luke 22:31-34, 2 Cor 1:5. Living waters, 14:8 see John 4:10-14, 7:37-39, Rev 22:1.
Christ gives His victory to His people, 1 John 5:4 and 1 Cor 15:24-28. "And on that day the LORD will be king over all the earth. On that day the LORD will be one and His name one." Hallelujah and Amen, and even so come quickly, Lord Jesus! Trust and obey Him today!
Zechariah 8-14 www.esv.org/Zechariah+8-14

23 SEP 23
FOR SUCH A TIME AS THIS - a beautiful young exile, the orphaned Jewish maiden Esther, found favor with King Xerxes, who made her his queen. Her inspiring story marks the Jewish celebration of Purim (generally celebrated in March).
Purim refers to the casting of lots, done by Haman, an adversary of the Jewish people. Haman was an Amalekite, ancient enemies of Israel. He sought to destroy the Jewish people, especially Mordecai, of the house of Benjamin (probably related to King Saul) who refused to bow down to him. When Haman succeeded in passing laws to destroy the Jews,
Mordecai sought help from Esther, who had not divulged she was a Jew. "Do not think to yourself that in the king's palace you will escape any more than all the other Jews. For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise from another place, but you and your father's house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this."
Esther gathered courage, saying "if I perish, I perish." Even the queen could not approach the king without permission. God's favor was with her and Xerxes (Ahasuerus) agreed to come to her dinner, with his official Haman. Filled with pride and jealousy and self-confidence in his diabolical plans, Haman builds a gallows for Mordecai.
The narrative of Esther, told in a masterful way, reminds God's people of His constant presence and care, as well as YOUR need to trust and obey Him always, even in difficult circumstances. Do so today!
Esther 1-5 www.esv.org/Esther+1-5

24 SEP 24
THE CASTING OF LOTS - Today's reading finishes the compelling story of Esther. The night before the feast, King Xerxes could not sleep, and so the chronicles were read, about how Mordecai had saved his life. The king asks Haman what should be done to the man whom the king delights to honor? Haman thinks it's him. So imagine how difficult it was for him to parade and honor Mordecai, as the king commanded. He must have thought he still would soon have the final word.
But at the feast, Queen Esther reveals Haman's evil plot to destroy the Jews. The king takes appropriate action. Haman and his family make use of the gallows he had prepared for someone else. Mordecai, Esther and the Jewish people are saved, and the Feast of Purim lives on today.
Read the passage for the exciting conclusion of the story. And thank God that He keeps His promises - even to you. YOU too can trust and obey Him every day in every way, as He works together all things for the good of His called-out and redeemed people.
Esther 6-10 www.esv.org/Esther+6-10

25 SEP 25
REPENTANCE - The timeframe between the first and last parts of the book of Ezra basically jumps over a period in the reigns of Cyrus, Darius, Xerxes (Ahasuerus) and Artaxerxes (and also the books of Haggai and Zechariah and Esther). In the last half of the book, God is again at work, and Ezra the scribe went from Babylon to Jerusalem, "for the good hand of his God was upon him.
For Ezra had set his heart to study the Law of the LORD, and to do it and to teach his statutes and rules in Israel." And Ezra was sent "with the silver and gold that the king and his counselors have freely offered to the God of Israel, whose dwelling is in Jerusalem."
Several people also returned from exile, including Levites to serve as ministers in the house of God. The people confessed their sins to God in a great assembly. They renewed their covenant with God and His laws, and separated themselves from the pagan peoples of the land. "O LORD the God of Israel, You are just, for we are left a remnant that has escaped, as it is today. Behold, we are before You in our guilt, for none can stand before You because of this."
Praise God for His forgiveness of sins, because of the sacrifice of His Christ, by whom YOUR sins are also forgiven. Trust and obey Him today!
Ezra 7-10 www.esv.org/Ezra+7-10

26 SEP 26
NEHEMIAH'S PRAYER - the books of Ezra and Nehemiah are complementary accounts about rebuilding the temple and Jerusalem after the Babylonian exile of the Jewish people. Nehemiah focuses on the defensive walls, and God's gathering of His covenant people "Israel."
Nehemiah prays a stirring prayer (below), confessing the sins of the people and asking God to gather His people and return them to their land. In today's reading, he is sent to Judah and encounters opposition as he begins rebuilding the walls, which continues with a trowel in one hand and a sword in the other.
A lesson for us: trust and obey. Knowing God's word undergirds understanding His will. Expend the effort for success. Expect difficulties. Step out in faith to do God's Work, for He not only provides but protects, so that His purposes are fulfilled.
Nehemiah 1-5 www.esv.org/Nehemiah+1-5

Nehemiah 1:4-11 = Nehemiah's Prayer
As soon as I heard these words I sat down and wept and mourned for days, and I continued fasting and praying before the God of heaven. And I said, “O LORD God of heaven, the great and awesome God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love Him and keep His commandments, let Your ear be attentive and Your eyes open, to hear the prayer of Your servant that I now pray before you day and night for the people of Israel Your servants, confessing the sins of the people of Israel, which we have sinned against You. Even I and my father's house have sinned. We have acted very corruptly against You and have not kept the commandments, the statutes, and the rules that You commanded Your servant Moses. Remember the word that You commanded Your servant Moses, saying, ‘If you are unfaithful, I will scatter you among the peoples, but if you return to Me and keep My commandments and do them, though your outcasts are in the uttermost parts of heaven, from there I will gather them and bring them to the place that I have chosen, to make My name dwell there.’ They are Your servants and Your people, whom You have redeemed by Your great power and by Your strong hand. O Lord, let Your ear be attentive to the prayer of Your servant, and to the prayer of Your servants who delight to fear Your name, and give success to Your servant today, and grant him mercy in the sight of this man.”

27 SEP 27
STRENGTH - during the work, Nehemiah was harassed by Sanballat and Tobiah and Gershem and other enemies, who sought to stop the building of Jerusalem's walls. They sought to harm him, scare him, and cast him in negative tones. Nehemiah saw through their schemes. He prayed, "But now, O God, strengthen my hands."
He knew he was called by God to do this great work, and would not be deterred by mere human adversaries. When the wall was finished "all our enemies heard of it, all the nations around us were afraid and fell greatly in their own esteem, for they perceived that this work had been accomplished with the help of our God."
What about YOUR calling? God has equipped you and appointed you to live for Him and to speak for Him as His envoy, to proclaim His excellencies and His grace of forgiveness of sins and new life through Jesus Christ. Keep your divine appointments today. Trust in God to overcome any adversaries. Obey Him to speak boldly to others to turn to the Lord in repentance and faith, for He is full of grace.
Nehemiah 6-7 www.esv.org/Nehemiah+6-7

28 SEP 28
BOOK OF THE LAW - All the people attended the ceremony when Ezra the scribe read from the Book of God's Law. " And he read from it facing the square before the Water Gate from early morning until midday, in the presence of the men and the women and those who could understand. And the ears of all the people were attentive to the Book of the Law...
And Ezra opened the book in the sight of all the people, for he was above all the people, and as he opened it all the people stood. And Ezra blessed the LORD, the great God, and all the people answered, “Amen, Amen,” lifting up their hands. And they bowed their heads and worshiped the LORD with their faces to the ground. Also...the Levites, helped the people to understand the Law, while the people remained in their places. They read from the book, from the Law of God, clearly, and they gave the sense, so that the people understood the reading." The people went on to confess their sins, and to make covenant with God, to walk in His ways and do His commandments.
Thank God for His preservation of Holy Scripture and for learned scholars who devote their lives to its study. And thank Him for the ministry of the indwelling Holy Spirit who enables believers to understand, and empowers us to obey. May God indeed so bless US in our hearing and our heeding of His holy Word!!
Nehemiah 8-10 www.esv.org/Nehemiah+8-10

29 SEP 29
THE WALL - Nehemiah lists for posterity the names of numerous people involved with the rebuilding of Jerusalem. This was a testament to their careful scholarship, which also preserved the text of the Bible. In today's reading, the people dedicate the city wall, with all the people, the priests, the Levites, and the singers participating.
"And they offered great sacrifices that day and rejoiced, for God had made them rejoice with great joy; the women and children also rejoiced. And the joy of Jerusalem was heard far away. On that day men were appointed over the storerooms, the contributions, the firstfruits, and the tithes, to gather into them the portions required by the Law."
Nehemiah made many other reforms to restore the worship of God at the temple and in the great city. He closes his book with this poignant prayer: "Remember me, O my God, for good."
Also, Psalm 126 exalts the Lord for restoring the fortunes of Zion. Trusting God, "those who sow in tears shall reap with shouts of joy." This psalm is also the inspiration for the worship hymn "bringing in the sheaves." Trust and obey Him today - and rejoice in "the great things He has done."
Nehemiah 11-13 www.esv.org/Nehemiah+11-13
Psalm 126 www.esv.org/Psalm+126

30 SEP 30
ROBBING GOD ? - The prophet Malachi ministered about the time as Ezra and Nehemiah. He underscores the theme of "covenant" and draws attention to how God's people have broken covenant with Him and His laws. Remember, the people also questioned God's covenant loving-kindness. They had not yet seen the promised Messianic age, and instead had been taken into exile.
They had now returned, but the meager yields of their devastated land tempted them to stop tithing and offering what God commanded. God said this was stealing from Him, since all that you are and have belong to Him.
For us today too, our trials and discouragement are no excuse for disobedience to God's commands. Rather, we must persevere, trust, and obey. Malachi inspires faith and trust in God's promises.
"For you who fear My name, the sun of righteousness shall rise with healing in its wings. You shall go out leaping like calves from the stall." And God promises "I will send you Elijah the prophet" before the great and awesome day of the LORD comes. "And he will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children and the hearts of the children to their fathers." This last promise of the Old Testament, leads to the "400 silent years" when no prophetic word was heard from God, until the coming of John the baptizer in the spirit and power of Elijah to announce the Savior, the Messiah, the birth of Jesus Christ.
Trust and obey Him today! He keeps His promises!
Malachi 1-4 www.esv.org/Malachi+1-4

01 OCT 1
MESSIAH - the Old Testament chronicles the promised Savior, and the New Testament records the fulfillment of His coming and ministry. Our chronological reading of the Old Testament is now complete, and we turn our attention to the New Testament, which picks up about 400 years after the last prophet, Malachi.
"The things that have been accomplished among us" is the subject of Luke's gospel, namely, the gospel ministry of the Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ. This "eyewitness, orderly account" is based on the words of the apostles. He begins with the birth of John the baptizer, the forerunner of Messiah, whom Christ later identifies as the "Elijah" who was to come before Him.
And the apostle John opens his gospel with the pre-incarnate glory of Christ, as the eternal "Word" of God, the second person of the Trinity, who became flesh and dwelt among us, as God promised. John presents Christ as the personification of "reason" and "logic" as He is the Creator of all things, and the explainer of existence.
These accounts should bring us to our knees in worship of God's awesome holiness, amazing grace, and everlasting covenant-keeping loving-kindness - shown to us in the written Word and in the Living Word, the person of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Put all your trust in Him today!
Luke 1 www.esv.org/Luke+1
John 1:1-14 www.esv.org/John+1

02 OCT 2
IN THOSE DAYS - these familiar words recount the birth of Christ as recorded in the gospel of Luke. Matthew begins his account with the genealogy of Jesus, going back only to Abraham (Luke goes back to Adam).
Women are not normally included, but he lists five. This reminds us how God often chooses the unlikely and unexpected to accomplish His purposes. Indeed, much about the birth and life and ministry of Jesus Christ also surprised His contemporaries, but gives glory to our awesome God, the author of our salvation.
The birth of Jesus by Mary, who was a virgin, points to the miraculous and divine origin of our Savior, as prophesied. Lauded by angels and worshiped by shepherds, the Savior is given the name "Jesus" which in Hebrew means "Jehovah saves." Praise God for His salvation, put your trust in Him - and like the shepherds, go out and SHARE THIS GOOD NEWS with everyone around you today!
Luke 2:1-38 www.esv.org/Luke+2:1-38
Matthew 1 www.esv.org/Matthew+1

03 OCT 3
WISDOM - Today's reading recounts the "wise men from the east" who came to worship "He who has been born King of the Jews." They followed His star and came to Jerusalem. The wise men of King Herod pointed to the Scripture Micah 5:2, which prophesied that from Bethlehem "shall come a ruler who will shepherd My people Israel." But none of them troubled themselves to accompany the wisemen on their search for the Messiah, who "rejoiced exceedingly with great joy."
Then, God led them to avoid Herod on their way home, as He led Mary & Joseph and Jesus to flee to Egypt, because Herod sought to kill Him. God continued to protect them, eventually returning them to Nazareth.
When Jesus was twelve, He was at the temple, according to the custom of the people, before the age of manhood in Jewish culture. "And all who heard Him were amazed at His understanding and His answers." Wise beyond His years, and a foreshadowing of His future. "And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man." As He grew up, fully human, He provides us an example to grow in God's Word.
Read it daily, read it broadly, read it deeply, read it personally - to increase in true wisdom, according to God's eternal truth, and YOU will also increase in favor with God and man, as you trust and obey the LORD.
Matthew 2 www.esv.org/Matthew+2 -&-
Luke 2:39-52 www.esv.org/Luke+2:39-52

04 OCT 4
BAPTISM - as the New Testament unfolds, John the Baptizer comes as the forerunner of the Messiah, calling people to repentance from their sins, illustrated by water baptism, which pictures the washing away of sins by the coming Christ. John says "After me comes He who is mightier than I, for He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit."
Jesus Himself is baptized by John, not because He needed to repent, but because He submitted to all of God's requirements for His people Israel, in order to fulfill all righteousness and be the perfect sacrifice for sin. Those who received John's baptism underwent a "baptism of preparation" and those who subsequently believed in Jesus as Savior and Lord later were baptized by the Spirit at the moment of regeneration, and then in a "baptism of profession" of faith, were baptized in water as a picture of their new spiritual life in Christ.
Note also the baptism of Jesus involves all three persons of the one Triune God. Jesus, the incarnate Son, is in the water, the Holy Spirit visibly comes upon Him from above. And the Father's voice speaks from heaven, "this is My beloved Son in whom I am well pleased." This cannot be "modes" of one God but rather must be the three co-equal and co-eternal persons of the one Godhead seen in action simultaneously.
And this triune action happens in every aspect of salvation of which God is the architect, as the Father arranges it, the Son accomplishes it, and the Spirit applies it to all who are born again. Rejoice today in the fullness of God's salvation for you!
Matthew 3 www.esv.org/Matthew+3 -&
Mark 1 www.esv.org/Mark+1 -&-
Luke 3 www.esv.org/Luke+3

05 OCT 5
TEMPTATION - John the baptizer points to Jesus as "the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world." After His baptism, Jesus is led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by Satan. This parallels the experience of Israel and Moses in the wilderness. But Jesus, who in His humanity knows the fullest depth of temptation, does not succumb to the tempter, finding strength in God's Word of truth.
(Note how 1 Corinthians 10:1-14 references this and says every temptation that befalls us is common to all people, but God provides the way out of every temptation. This way is based on the truth of His Word (written down to instruct us) and the power of the Holy Spirit, by which we trust and obey the Lord).
Jesus then begins His public ministry as Messiah. He proclaims in His hometown synagogue "Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing" as He makes it clear He is the personification of the Old Testament promises about the Christ. And He chooses His first disciples and does His first miracles, demonstrating His authority to preach and to teach and to call the people to personal repentance and personal faith in Him.
Make it your prayer today to believe all that is written about Jesus, to trust completely in Him as Savior and Lord, and to be His obedient follower - escaping temptation by His Word and His power within you - a disciple who is a learner and a doer of all He commands, as you trust and obey.
Matthew 4 www.esv.org/Matthew+4
Luke 4-5 www.esv.org/Luke+4-5
John 1:15-51 www.esv.org/John+1:15-51

06 OCT 6
BELIEVE - the reading schedule we're following is arranged to give a generally chronological account of the Bible. As we engage the Gospels, note that each author, carried along by the Holy Spirit, presents a personalized perspective on Jesus and His ministry. They wrote to different audiences for different purposes. They wrote thematically, not necessarily chronologically.
Taken together, the gospel accounts give us a remarkably cohesive account of the greatest life ever lived. The singular person of Jesus Christ reveals the heart of God and the redemption of His people. Think how the impact of the words of the gospels speak to you - the same as to the original hearers: YOU too must be born again, from above, by the Holy Spirit. YOU too must put all your trust and hope and faith in Jesus Christ alone, not in your own good works. YOU too are dead in sin before Jesus gives you life, condemned already because you do not believe in Him.
But by the grace of God, Jesus saves! Put all your trust in Him, then live out His new life through you, by the power of the Holy Spirit who gives you His new life.
John 2-4 www.esv.org/John+2-4

07 OCT 7
HEALING - the Lord Jesus Christ, the second person of the one true triune God come in the flesh, continues to demonstrate His divine mission with unparalleled power and authority. He proclaims, "that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins" -then He said to the paralytic- "I say to you, rise, pick up your bed, and go home."
The man immediately did so, and "they were all amazed and glorified God, saying "We never saw anything like this!" Jesus not only heals the sick, but forgives their sins, curing their real problem, which is spiritual, not physical. He even ate meals with "many tax collectors and sinners" and says, "I come not to call the righteous, but sinners." He comes with new wine, the true teaching of God's Word. He is "Lord even of the Sabbath." Creator, Judge, Lord, Redeemer, Savior.
Is He LORD of your life? Have you put all your trust in Him alone for salvation, believing and receiving Him as Lord and Savior? Then obey Him, His words, lived out by His power within.
Mark 2 www.esv.org/Mark+2

08 OCT 8
LIFE IN HIM - the Lord Jesus Christ demonstrates not just His divine power in healing and teaching, but His divine authority. His power is not in ability alone, but in authority and right. He heals a man on the Sabbath, because HE is Lord of the Sabbath, and He is on a divine mission from God. The Jews understood this clearly, and sought to kill Him - because He was not only breaking the Sabbath, "but He was even calling God His own Father, making Himself equal with God."
To underscore this, Jesus says "For as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so also the Son gives life to whom He will"... so that "all may honor the Son, just as they honor the Father. Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him." This strikes to the heart of Jewish unbelief. They claimed to honor God, but failed to honor Him whom God sent. Jesus says "You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about ME, yet you refuse to come to Me that you may have life."
He shows them their faulty belief system: claiming to believe God, to believe Moses, but failing to believe in Jesus, the one God and Moses proclaimed, and that Jesus now demonstrates by word and deed to BE The One promised by God - Messiah, the Christ.
Hear Him, and believe in Him, and receive His life, in His name.
John 5 www.esv.org/John+5

09 OCT 9
AUTHORITY - Jesus, Lord of the Sabbath and Lord over all creation, continues to perform miracles of healing, even on the Sabbath. And unclean spirits would come out, declaring "You are the Son of God." Jesus appointed His inner circle, the twelve apostles, to send them out with His authority to preach and to cast out demons. His family thought He was crazy. Some of the people thought Jesus cast out demons by the power of Beelzebub, the prince of demons.
This sin refuses to recognize Jesus Christ as the Son of God, and regards him only as someone using demonic powers to perform signs and miracles. Even this sin can be forgiven, through repentance and faith - by receiving Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. But rejecting the work of the Holy Spirit and refusing to believe in Jesus as Lord and Savior can not be forgiven, because such a one refuses the very one-and-only person and means of forgiveness.
Theologians note that if you are worried you may have committed this "unforgivable sin" it is an indication that you have not done so. Do not dwell on sin, but TRUST completely in Jesus alone, who paid for all sins, and you have His life in His name - forgiven of all sins past, present, and future. He paid the penalty for sin and He gives you the power to resist sin, and one day you will be with Him without any presence of sin. Today, receive Him, and rejoice in all that He is and all that He does, including overcoming all sin in your life!
Matthew 12:1-21 www.esv.org/Matthew+12:1-21 -&-
Mark 3 www.esvBIBLE.org/Mark+3 -&-
Luke 6 www.esv.org/Luke+6

10 OCT 10
BLESSED - In His famous "sermon on the mount" Jesus Christ teaches His disciples kingdom truths... to know and to do God's blessings... because "you are the salt of the earth... you are the light of the world... let your light shine... so they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven." Today's reading contains many favorite Scripture passages - the Beatitudes, the "Lords Prayer," the Golden Rule and much more.
Jesus said not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord' will enter the kingdom of heaven... everyone who hears these words of Mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock."
Are His words to the wise sufficient? He is the only way of salvation, put all your trust in Him. Hear HIM and do His words, by His power within. Trust and obey Him today!
Matthew 5-7 www.esv.org/Matthew+5-7

11 OCT 11
CENTURION - as God had prophesied, even the Gentiles came to believe in Jesus as the promised Christ. In Capernaum, a Roman centurion appealed to Jesus to heal his servant who was paralyzed, suffering terribly. Jesus agreed to come. But the man protested, saying, "Lord, I am not worthy to have You come under my roof, but only say the word, and my servant will be healed."
The centurion understood authority, and had faith in the divine authority of Jesus. The Lord marveled, saying, "Truly, I tell you, with no one in Israel have I found such faith." This Gentile exceeded the faith of those to whom Messiah had been promised. And to the centurion Jesus said, "Go, let it be done for you as you have believed." And the servant was healed at that very moment.
How about YOU? Do you believe what God says? That Jesus is the Christ, the divine Son of God? Does He have divine authority and divine power? Both the right and the ability to act in history, as God come in the flesh, now living and reigning from on high? Has He indeed promised to do as His children ask, according to His will? Then ask, seek, knock - and He will answer you too!
Matthew 8:1-13 www.esv.org/Matthew+8:1-13 -&-
Luke 7 www.esv.org/Luke+7

12 OCT 12
WORK & REST - John the baptizer was now in prison, and sent his disciples to inquire of Jesus whether He was indeed the Christ. Jesus replied, "Go and tell John what you hear and see: the blind receive their sight and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up, and the poor have good news preached to them."
All this was prophesied of Messiah, and was being fulfilled by Jesus. Then Jesus affirmed the ministry of John, saying, "he is Elijah who is to come" referring to the last prophecy of Malachi at the end of the Old Testament. Messiah has come, doing God's divine work as promised. Then Jesus promises rest to those who put their trust in Him: "Come to Me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light."
Jesus spoke the Good News of the gospel: your religious labors will never save you - only Jesus, whose name means "Jehovah saves" can save you! Put all your trust in Him!
Matthew 11 www.esv.org/Matthew+11

13 OCT 13
PRAY !!! - Now Jesus was praying in a certain place, and when He finished, one of His disciples said to Him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.” And He said to them, “When you pray, say: “Father, hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Give us each day our daily bread, and forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive everyone who is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation.”
Luke's passage differs slightly from Matthew's account, which was part of a sermon or teaching. Obviously, as the master teacher, Jesus taught many truths over and over, so it is reasonable to expect slightly different wording. Both passages underscore the faithful explanation about prayer: We pray TO the Father, THRU the Son, IN the Spirit. Humbly acknowledging God, not only as Creator and Judge but as "Abba" Father. This was a departure from traditional Jewish addresses of God in prayer. Though reigning in heaven, God is also personally knowable and approachable, because Christ has opened the way to His throne of grace, for God's adopted children to address Him as Father (see John 1:11-12).
As regenerated believers, we humbly receive God's forgiveness through Christ, and pass it along to our fellow fallen ones. And depending completely on the LORD for all that we need, physically and spiritually. Being doers and not hearers only of God's Word in Scripture. Trust and obey, by His power through the indwelling Holy Spirit, to glorify Christ our Lord in your life today!
Luke 11 www.esv.org/Luke+11 -&-
Matthew 12:22-50 www.esv.org/Matthew+12:22-50

14 OCT 14
THE SOWER & THE SEED - In one of the most well-known of Jesus' teachings, a sower went out to sow the Word of God. Seed sown along the path and devoured by birds is like the person who does not understand what he hears. Seed sown in rocky ground and scorched by the sun is the one who hears the Word with joy but has no root and soon falls away in persecution. Seed sown among thorns is like the one who lets the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the Word so that he proves unfruitful. But seed sown on good soil is the one who understands the Word, and bears fruit, 30- or 60- or 100-fold. Only these are regenerated believers.
Echoes of John 15. If no root in Christ, then no fruit of Christ. Only the seed which grows to bear fruit can be considered to have saving faith, being rooted in Christ and so producing the fruit of Christ, by the power of the Holy Spirit. So it is in your life too. If you only say you believe, but your life does not bear the fruit of Christ, how can you be truly saved? If root, then fruit. Turn to Him in repentance and faith, and trust and obey Him today. You will bear His fruit. It's His promise!
Matthew 13 www.esv.org/Matthew+13 -&-
Luke 8 www.esv.org/Luke+8

15 OCT 15
HEALING GRACE - Today's reading records some of the healing ministry of the Messiah. Jesus heals Peter's mother-in-law, many people oppressed by demons, and many who were sick. This fulfilled what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah: “He took our illnesses and bore our diseases.”
Jesus shows His divine power over both the physical world and the spiritual world, and keeping the promise of the Messiah to set His people free. One of the demonized men was extremely violent (the one from whom a "legion" of spirits fled into a herd of pigs) yet he became the first Gentile missionary to the Greek-speaking region of Decapolis. Then we read the account of the healing of the daughter of Jairus, interrupted by the healing of the woman who had a discharge of blood for 12 years "and who had suffered much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had and was no better but rather grew worse." She expressed faith in merely touching Jesus, and "power had gone out from Him" for her healing. During this distraction, the little girl died. But Jesus said "Do not fear, only believe" and taking her by the hand, raised her from the dead.
A dramatic demonstration of divine power - and a foreshadowing of what was to come. Not only could Messiah give physical and spiritual life, but eternal life, demonstrated by His own resurrection from the dead and ascension into heaven. Put all your trust in all that Jesus is!
Matthew 8:14-34 www.esv.org/Matthew+8:14-34 -&-
Mark 4-5 www.esv.org/Mark+4-5

16 OCT 16
PERSECUTION - in today's reading, the Lord Jesus sends out His disciples with His amazing message of the Kingdom. He also equips them to withstand persecution, as they are "sheep in the midst of wolves." He promises the ministry of the Holy Spirit speaking through them. He taught, "He who endures to the end will be saved." and “A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master. It is enough for the disciple to be like his teacher, and the servant like his master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign those of his household."
Jesus' disciples can expect trouble for bearing His name and His message in the world. The good news? FEAR NOT, says Jesus. Even the hairs of your head are numbered. And, "everyone who acknowledges Me before men, I also will acknowledge before My Father who is in heaven."
Trust and obey Him alone - spread the good news about Jesus today, no matter what!
Matthew 9-10 www.esv.org/Matthew+9-10

17 OCT 17
FOOD FOR 5,000 - What's the biggest crowd you've ever eaten with? This remarkable miracle could have involved 15,000 people, counting men, women and children. But only twelve disciples. And one Jesus. With five loaves and two fish, He feeds the multitude. And 12 baskets left over - a poignant personal reminder for each disciple.
The drama reminded the people of Moses feeding the people in the wilderness with manna from heaven. Except Jesus Himself is the true Bread of Heaven, who gives ETERNAL life to all who put their trust in Him.
In today's passage, Jesus also walks on water, and heals the sick. King Herod was perplexed by these things, thinking that Jesus was John the Baptist raised from the dead. But a greater than John is here - Jesus is the divine Son of God, the promised Messiah. Put all your trust in all that He is, and live for Him today, by His eternal spiritual life within you!
Matthew 14 www.esv.org/Matthew+14/ -&-
Mark 6 www.esv.org/Mark+6/ -&-
Luke 9:1-17 www.esv.org/Luke+9:1-17

18 OCT 18
BREAD OF LIFE - After the miracle of the feeding of 5,000, Jesus said, "Do not work for food that perishes, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you." Spiritual food is not physical, but eternal. Spiritual hunger is satisfied by faith, not food.
Jesus is pictured as "the new Moses" in the Gospels, as He expounds God's Law, and leads God's people on a new Exodus of deliverance from sin, and administering the circumcision of the heart as He fulfills the New Covenant promises.
And yet here, Jesus also explains how He's not like Moses, through whom God fed the multitude. Jesus doesn't merely represent God. Jesus IS God, come in the flesh, to bring spiritual life - the "bread of God" who gives life to the world. He doesn't just feed them spiritual bread, He IS the bread. Believing in Jesus is the only way to receive His spiritual life. I
n verse 35 Jesus declared, “I AM the bread of life; whoever comes to Me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in Me shall never thirst." He goes on to say, "this is the will of Him who sent Me, that I should lose nothing of all that He has given me, but raise it up on the last day. For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in Him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”
Are you trusting only in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior? -- to receive His eternal spiritual life! Then, by His power within you, gladly share this GOOD NEWS with the spiritually starving people around you! God can multiply YOUR words of faith - and one by one, reach more than 5,000 people!
John 6 www.esv.org/John+6

19 OCT 19
TRADITIONS - the Lord Jesus often encountered the legalism of the Pharisees and other religious people of His day. In today's reading, some are offended that He and His disciples didn't follow precise rituals regarding washing hands. But Jesus pointed out how they gave greater importance to their man-made traditions than to God's commandments.
Unwashed hands do not defile a person in God's eyes - "but what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person. For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander. These are what defile a person." Your tongue gives others a taste of what's in your heart. Not words only, but deeds, and attitudes. The fruit of Christ can only come from new hearts given by Jesus, by the Holy Spirit as God promised, the fulfillment of His new covenant.
Think about YOUR own life. Do you place greater importance on going through certain religious motions, than on trusting and obeying what God's Word says? He gives the Holy Spirit to empower you to become more like Jesus. Trust and obey Him today!
Matthew 15 www.esv.org/Matthew+15 -&-
Mark 7 www.esv.org/Mark+7

20 OCT 20
YOU ARE THE CHRIST - the Son of the Living God. So said Peter when asked by Jesus "Who do YOU say that I am?" Then Jesus said, "Blessed are you, Simon bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is heaven." Jesus emphasized His own identity as Son of God by emphasizing Peter's identity as son of Jonah.
The pagan idea "son of god" was vastly different than what God had revealed through history with the Israelites. Jesus as Son of the Living God is the anointed king, chosen by God, even as Israel itself was God's chosen people. Understanding Jesus as the Son of the Living God comes only from God. And God Himself coming in human form is possible only if the one Godhead is a trinity.
Then Peter reveals his human frailty as he rebukes Jesus for talking about His death and resurrection. "Get behind Me, Satan; for you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but the things of man." The reason the Son of God came to earth was to work redemption for His people. The path to glory must first endure suffering.
So it is for YOU... understand and follow God's divine revelation in Scripture about Jesus, and you too must deny yourself, and take up your cross (identifying with Christ in His suffering and death) and follow Him - to His kingdom glory. For what will it profit a man to gain the whole world and lose his own soul? Trust in Christ alone! Trust and obey. He IS the Son of God.
Matthew 16 www.esv.org/Matthew+16 -&-
Mark 8 www.esv.org/Mark+8 -&-
Luke 9:18-27 www.esv.org/Luke+9:18-27

21 OCT 21
TRANSFIGURATION - the confession of Jesus as "the Christ, the Son of the Living God" is now demonstrated with dramatic clarity. Jesus took Peter, James, John to a high mountain where "He was transfigured" before them, so that His face shone like the sun, His clothes became white as light. Moses, the great Old Testament lawgiver, and Elijah, the great Old Testament prophet, appear with Him.
Then the voice of God spoke from heaven, "This is My beloved Son, with Whom I am well pleased, listen to Him." Confirmation of the confession! And because both Moses and Elijah, the law and the prophets (representing all of the Old Testament), pointed to Christ, who has now come, the Son of God must be listened to! Because He reveals the Father and must be honored the same as the Father, because He has come to do the will of the Father.
What about YOU? do you listen to the Lord Jesus Christ as your authority, through His written-down Word? Do you do as He says, as written in His Word? He gives you both the want to and the how to, through the Holy Spirit of God. Trust and obey Him today!
Matthew 17 www.esv.org/Matthew+17 -&-
Mark 9 www.esv.org/Mark+9 -&-
Luke 9:28-62 www.esv.org/Luke+9:28-62

22 OCT 22
LITTLE SHEEP - Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven." He is speaking about a child-like attitude, one that trusts and obeys the LORD, puts all their faith in Jesus and is born again from above by the Spirit.
Later Jesus said, "What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go in search of the one that went astray? And if he finds it, truly, I say to you, he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine that never went astray. So it is not the will of my Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish." Jesus presents His tender care for the little ones, greatly valuing each human life.
We should follow suit - few things are more important than bringing new life into the world, and introducing them to personal faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Pray for the children around you - and share the good news with them! Volunteer for Sunday School, AWANA, Ignite & Salt youth groups, The Bridge, FCA, the Linn Grove Bike Park, and other various ministries to students and children. Support them and pray for them. And develop opportunities for you to tell children and adults the Good News about Jesus...
Matthew 18 www.esv.org/Matthew+18

23 OCT 23
AUTHORITY - Jesus Christ made many dramatic proclamations about Himself and His ministry - declaring Himself to be the Son of God, the promised Messiah. In today's reading, He proclaims, "If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. Whoever believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, 'out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.' Now this He said about the Holy Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive."
Jesus also said "I AM the light of the world. Whoever follows Me will not walk in darkness but will have the light of life." And He declared, "If you abide in My word you are truly My disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." Then He said, "Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM."
These statements shocked and enraged the religious leaders, because He clearly and unequivocally was claiming to be equal with God. "I AM" is the personal name of God, which no righteous Jew would dare speak. Yet Jesus freely and boldly does, because as He said, "When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He, and that I do nothing on My own authority, but speak just as the Father taught Me. And He who sent Me is with Me. He has not left Me alone, for I always do the things that are pleasing to Him."
What a testimony! Only he who has the Son has life! Put all your trust in Jesus today - and be set free!
John 7-8 www.esv.org/John+7-8

24 OCT 24
GOOD SHEPHERD - Christ Jesus again declares His divinity by a divine sign. He heals a man born blind. But the spiritual blindness of the Pharisees prevented them from recognizing Jesus for who He is. In John 10, Jesus says, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved." Salvation through Jesus alone is guaranteed. His name Jesus means "Jehovah saves." There is no other way.
Then Jesus says, "I AM the Good Shepherd" and I AM is the expression of the essence of God, Jehovah. Jesus continues, "I came that My sheep may have life, and have it abundantly. I know my own and they know Me, and I lay down My life for the sheep." This beautiful picture draws heavily from several Old Testament passages which present the Lord Himself as the good shepherd of His people.
And this comforts YOU if you are trusting in Jesus. It's not a process or a principle, it's a person. Jesus alone saves, and He WILL save you! Trust and obey your Good Shepherd today!
John 9:1-10:21 www.esv.org/John+9-10:21

25 OCT 25
WHO IS MY NEIGHBOR ? - And behold, a lawyer stood up to put Him to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” He said to him, “What is written in the Law? How do you read it?” And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” And He said to him, “You have answered correctly; do this, and you will live.”
But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” The lawyer asks a technical question and Jesus gives a scandalous answer. His story showed how the priest and the Levite, who should know the Law, both failed to fulfill it. Instead, a despised Samaritan truly did love "his neighbor" as himself, by showing him mercy. This poignant story punctures religious veneer and shows us who is our neighbor. As Jesus said, “You go, and do likewise.” He will give you plenty of opportunities, even today!
In today's reading in John, Jesus is challenged, "if You are the Christ, tell us plainly." His response: "I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in My Father's name bear witness about Me, but you do not believe because you are not part of My flock. My sheep hear My voice and I know them, and they follow Me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father's hand. I and the Father are one."
Put your trust in Jesus, for He alone can give you eternal life, which begins the moment of your rebirth as you believe in Jesus Christ as Lord & Savior. Tell others the good news about Jesus!
Luke 10-11 www.esv.org/Luke+10-11/ -&-
John 10:22-42 www.esv.org/John+10:22-42

26 OCT 26
DO NOT BE ANXIOUS - the Lord Jesus gives four reasons: 1) life itself is more important than worldly goods; 2) God promises to care for His own; 3) Anxiety actually accomplishes nothing; 4) earthly things are perishable, but heirs of His kingdom receive what is imperishable, along with His peace! Trust and obey, and rest in His care.
"And He said to His disciples, “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat, nor about your body, what you will put on. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds! And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? If then you are not able to do as small a thing as that, why are you anxious about the rest?
"Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass, which is alive in the field today, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith! And do not seek what you are to eat and what you are to drink, nor be worried. For all the nations of the world seek after these things, and your Father knows that you need them. Instead, seek His kingdom, and these things will be added to you.
“Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom. Sell your possessions, and give to the needy. Provide yourselves with moneybags that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also."
Earthly riches will not last for eternity, and are their own reward here and now. Instead, trust the Lord for all your needs, and obey Him, using your riches for His kingdom - which lasts forever.
Luke 12-13 www.esv.org/Luke+12-13

27 OCT 27
COST OF DISCIPLESHIP - the Lord Jesus Christ must come first in your life, above all others and above all else in your life. In today's reading, He counsels the people about following Him: You must love Him most, and love others less, even your own family and your own life (the word translated 'hate' actually means "love less" and shows the stark contrast).
"Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple" - affirming that you love your own life less than being His follower. Count the cost, Jesus says - just as you would sit down and carefully calculate the cost of a building project. "Renounce all that you have" - in favor of being a disciple of Jesus.
This affirms the great teaching: to love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind and will - your whole being, putting Him first, and trusting wholly in Him. Do so today - and follow Him in obedience, by the power of His Spirit within you. As John the baptizer said, "I must decrease and He must increase." Live for Him, moment by moment, and for your whole life.
Luke 14-15 www.esv.org/Luke+14-15

28 OCT 28
TWO MASTERS ? - Who is your master today? Jesus said, "No servant can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other." But before you think you know what that means, consider the context:
“One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much. If then you have not been faithful in the unrighteous wealth, who will entrust to you the true riches? And if you have not been faithful in that which is another's, who will give you that which is your own? No servant can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.”
Hmm... Jesus had a lot to say about money (more than about heaven and hell), and our role as "servants of God" actually involves being "stewards of what is God's" which is "all things" and which are to be used for His purposes, not yours. As you prayerfully consider today's reading, you may need to repent, and recommit yourself to managing what is God's, according to His ways and will, as written down in Scripture.
Luke 16-17:10 www.esv.org/Luke+16-17:1-10

29 OCT 29
NEVER DIE ? - Lazarus had died, and his sister Martha came in grief to Jesus. He said "I AM the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in Me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in Me shall never die"? Then He asked her, "Do you believe this?” Her reply, "Yes, Lord: I believe that You are the Christ, the Son of God, who is coming into the world." This is a powerful confession of faith. There is life after physical death.
"Die" refers to eternal spiritual death in separation from God's grace. But only those who believe in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior will live eternally with Him in the new heaven and earth, and "never die" eternal spiritual death, but instead will have eternal spiritual life, which is what Jesus refers to as "shall never die." That's the promise of resurrection, guaranteed for all who believe in Him, because Christ raised from the dead and lives and reigns today. As you read this stirring account of the raising of Lazarus, consider how it prefigures the raising of Christ (which plays out over the next few days), and what it means for your own resurrection one day.
"Do you believe this?" is the question Jesus asks YOU today. Trust in Him alone, all of you believing in all of Him. Then live out His life through yours, as you await your resurrection, by His power within.
John 11 www.esv.org/John+11

30 OCT 30
SELF-RIGHTEOUS ? - the Lord Jesus also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and treated others with contempt: “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector." Pharisees were looked up to as scrupulous keepers of God's law, and tax collectors were looked down upon because they cooperated with the Romans and profited by often overcharging people.
"The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’" He checked off his to-do list and felt satisfied that He was righteous before God.
"But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’" He recognized the needy state of his soul, that only God could heal.
Jesus says, "I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”
Which one are YOU? Are you thinking you're pretty much as good or better than the people around you, so you stand a pretty good chance of going to heaven when you die? Jesus said, you must be born again from above by the Holy Spirit. You must trust in Jesus alone, in HIS righteousness, not yours. Saving faith is trusting in all that Jesus is with all that you are - heart, mind, will, your whole being. And then living it out, by the power of the Holy Spirit that Jesus gives to everyone who believes in Him.
Luke 17:11-18:14 www.esv.org/Luke+17:11-18:14

31 OCT 31
EYE OF A NEEDLE - a young man with great possessions asked Jesus, "what good deed must I do to have eternal life?" He claimed to have kept all the commandments Jesus named. Then Jesus said to him, "if you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me."
When the young man heard this he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions. (This was his great stumbling block). And Jesus said to His disciples, "truly I say to you, only with difficulty will a rich person enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God."
This astonished them, so they wondered who then can be saved (since they thought wealth to be evidence of God's approval). But Jesus looked at them and said, "With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible." To be saved, you must abandon all hope in yourself, and trust wholly in Christ alone.
The powerful word-picture Jesus uses would have been comical to His hearers. Just as it is impossible for a camel to thread a needle, so it is impossible to be saved by your own merits. But giving up all that you claim as merit, in order to cast yourself completely on the grace of God, results not only in eternal reward, but earthly as well - "a hundredfold now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and in the age to come, eternal life." Thank you, Lord Jesus, for your amazing grace!
Matthew 19 www.esv.org/Matthew+19 -&-
-&- Mark 10 www.esv.org/Mark+10 -

01 NOV 1
LAST FIRST - Christ Jesus said the kingdom of heaven is like a man who hired laborers for his vineyard. They went to work early in the morning for a denarius a day. Four more times during the day he sent new workers into his harvest. At the end of the day, he paid the workers, last hired first. They all received one denarius, as did everyone else. Those hired first grumbled because they had worked longer and harder but did not receive more pay.
"Friend, I am doing you no wrong. Did you not agree with me for a denarius? Take what belongs to you and go. I choose to give to this last worker as I gave to you. Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or do you begrudge my generosity?" So the last will be first and the first last.
What do you think? Unfair? Why is this like the kingdom of heaven? Because we ALL are completely dependent upon GRACE, not works. If you are re-born in Christ, you deserve no more than anyone else re-born in Christ. It is ALL of God's grace, His favor given to the undeserving. Our heavenly reward depends not on you and your service, which would be earned, but all upon God's grace, which is His freely given gift. Rejoice in His mercy and grace, as you trust and obey - and look forward to His promised heavenly reward!
Matthew 20-21 www.esv.org/Matthew+20-21

2 NOV 2
WEE LITTLE MAN - Zacchaeus was the very rich chief tax collector who climbed a sycamore tree to see the famous preacher Jesus coming through Jericho. "Zacchaeus you come down from there, for I'm going to your house today" as the song says. The people grumbled about this.
Zacchaeus was little in size, but he was a big sinner. Then when he believed in Jesus Christ, he repented bigly too. "Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor. And if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I restore it fourfold." Jesus said to him, "Today salvation has come to this house. For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save the lost."
Ever meet someone who says they have "always believed" in Jesus? Not likely, in terms of true saving faith. Jesus said "you must be born again." Those in Scripture who were born again, believing and receiving Jesus as Lord and Savior, are first changed inside by the Holy Spirit, and then they are changed outside by the Holy Spirit, as Jesus transforms your life. We don't always know the moment of regeneration in salvation, but we know we've been changed. We know that we once were lost, but now we are saved, by the One who came to seek and to the save the lost.
As Zacchaeus gives testimony of Jesus Christ, his remarkable outward actions gave evidence to the inward change of regeneration that God had wrought in his heart. True of you? Fruit follows faith. Trust and obey - bear the fruit of repentance and faith, by His power within!
Luke 18:15-19:48 www.esv.org/Luke+18:15-19:48

3 NOV 3
HOSANNA - "save us now!" cried the people as Christ Jesus entered Jerusalem, riding on a donkey. The scene fulfills the prophecy in Zechariah 9. The people took palm branches and met Him, shouting, "Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel." Hosanna means "save us now!" and is a cry fitting for a conquering king. Palm branches were a national symbol, and the people were clearly lauding Jesus as Messiah, even laying their cloaks on the road to honor Him.
Many of them were expecting Him to throw off the yokes of their oppressors, the Romans, as their conquering king. They had seen or heard about His raising of Lazarus from the grave.
But the religious leaders feared that a popular uprising would mar the holy festival of Passover. Unbelief blinded their eyes as to who Jesus is and why He had come. But their next actions unfolded the next phase of the divine plan of redemption.
If you believe in Jesus, rejoice in His coming, the cross, and all that follows - for through these things He gives His promised life for you. Worship Him as Savior, Lord, King - trust and obey Him today!
John 12 www.esv.org/John+12 -&-
Mark 11 www.esv.org/Mark+11

4 NOV 4
TAXES & CAESAR - The religious leaders tried to trap Jesus with a trick question: "Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?" They meant lawful as in accordance with God's laws, not the Roman laws.
Remember, the various parties of the Jews were not merely religious, they each had a political slant too. Jews hated the fact that they had to pay a poll tax, because it reminded them of their submission to Rome. If Jesus simply said to pay the tax, everyone would have been upset. If He said don't pay the tax, He could be accused of treason, since it was the law of the land.
Jesus' answer startles everyone. The real issue is not tax but authority. God has authority over all things. Jesus asked them to bring him a coin for the tax. He said, "whose likeness and inscription is this?" They said, "Caesar's." Then He said to them, "Therefore render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's."
The Bible reveals that God is sovereign over all things and every human authority. And it makes it clear that CHRISTIANS ARE NOT TO SURRENDER TO CAESAR. (As Peter would later say, "We must obey God rather than men"). We must not obey human commands to do what God forbids, or that forbid what God commands.
God's Word rules over all, the governors as well as the governed. Our rights come from the Creator. And God ordained government to protect these rights, with powers granted by the people, in accord with God's divine design. The unique three branches of government of the United States of America find their inspiration in Isaiah 33:22, "The LORD is our judge; the LORD is our lawgiver; the LORD is our King, He will save us."
Do not put your trust in human government, even though Christians pay their taxes. In America, we are the government. And we have the right and responsibility to work with the system to ensure taxes are fair. Our trust, and accountability, is ultimately in God Himself, the ruler over all things. Trust and obey Him in all things!
Matthew 22 www.esv.org/Matthew+22 -&-
Mark 12 esv.org/Mark+12

5 NOV 5
WOE TO YOU - take note, you religious people. Jesus declared His most stern warnings to the most religious of His hearers. Matthew records: Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples, “The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses' seat, so do and observe whatever they tell you, but not the works they do. For they preach, but do not practice. They tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on people's shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to move them with their finger. They do all their deeds to be seen by others."
Note carefully, they were the teachers of Israel and Jesus did not quarrel with their message. But their methods were another matter. They were hypocrites - following an outward form of piety but denying it in their hearts. They had added layers of tradition, as a form of protection, so as to not trangress the Law. But they ended up observing the traditions instead of the Law.
They should be following God's ways, not their own: "for you have one instructor, the Christ. The greatest among you shall be your servant. Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted." They followed their traditions to exacting detail, but "neglected the weightier matters of the Law: justice and mercy and faithfulness. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others. You blind guides, straining out a gnat and swallowing a camel." This one had to get great horse laughs from His audience. It made the point.
Then His message turned more serious. "Truly I say to you, all these things shall come upon this generation." This somber note will be taken up again, for judgment was pronounced on the generation which rejected the Christ, which would result in the destruction of the temple and Jerusalem in AD70.
Follow not religious hypocrites who do not walk their talk, but follow the Christ, who personifies God's character. Trust and obey by the Spirit's power to become more and more like Him.
Matthew 23 www.esv.org/Matthew+23 -&-
Luke 20-21 www.esv.org/Luke+20-21

6 NOV 6
SIGNS OF THE TIMES - the Lord Jesus Christ fulfills the Old Testament roles of Prophet, Priest, and King. In today's reading, Jesus predicts three things: destruction of the temple in Jerusalem, coming persecutions, and the coming of the Son of Man. This chapter and corresponding passages Luke 21 and Matthew 24 (called "the Olivet discourse") are the subjects of much fervent speculation regarding the last times. If only it were as simple as we wish. Some teachers claim their charts have it all figured out. But if you poll 10 pastors they could have 12 opinions.
Matthew 23:36 sets the stage, with Jesus declaring "Truly, I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation" - those hearing him - referring to verse 35 "so that on you may come all the righteous blood shed on earth" - which are the prophets who spoke God's words in times past, and how the people of Jesus' own day showed themselves to be "sons of those who murdered the prophets" and who will suffer the consequences.
Then in Mark 13 (and Luke 17 and 21 and Matt 24), the disciples specifically ask Jesus about His statements concerning the destruction of the temple. In verse 30 He says, "Truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place."
The temple was destroyed in AD 70. Some Bible teachers try to make "this generation" something other than the people who heard Jesus' words and those to whom He was speaking and those He was speaking about. The phrase in the gospels always refers to the people who lived at the time of Jesus. To understand it otherwise raises serious questions about the credibility of Jesus as a prophet and as divine. However, the Olivet Discourse passages also speak of events seeming to occur after AD 70, which we will look at when we read Matthew 24 tomorrow.
Today's takeaway: the words of Jesus and the words of the Bible are without error and you can stake your life on their authenticity and authority. The coming of Messiah signaled the end of the Old Testament age and all its practices. God's destruction of Jerusalem and the temple occurs after Jesus ascends to reign in heaven, and He is the only mediator between God and mankind.
The kingdom age involves the ongoing gospel proclamation to every tribe and tongue and nation, from which an innumerable multitude will embrace Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. This is the age in which we live - in which we are commissioned to obey our Lord to be busy "to make disciples," as we await His return and the consummation of God's redemptive history.
You may not understand every nuance of eschatology and the timing of various events, and you are not supposed to, since Jesus said "concerning that day or that hour, no one knows." And as Mark 13 says, be on your guard, do not be anxious, do not be led astray, and keep awake. We can be confident about the future, because God will keep His promises, in His time, and to fulfill His purposes. Trust and obey Him today!
Mark 13 www.esv.org/Mark+13

7 NOV 7
COMING AGAIN - Jesus answered His disciples' questions about the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem (which happened in 70 AD), but as we saw yesterday, many questions remain about the Olivet Discourse, found in Matthew 24, Mark 13, and Luke 17 and 21. If it is difficult for scholars today to agree on interpretation of these passages, then we ordinary mortals should take heart (some self-promoting media figures notwithstanding).
But surely Jesus' words would have brought into the disciples' minds the powerful imagery of Daniel 7:13–14. The Son of Man comes on the clouds to receive His kingdom from the Ancient of Days, also in accord with His divine authority in Matthew 28:18-20 and Philippians 2:9-11. Many scholars point out the connection with the Old Testament apocalyptic language of "coming on the clouds" with God's divine judgment, including the destruction of Jerusalem in AD70, after the ascension of Jesus and within "this generation" to which He prophecies in the Olivet Discourse.
This helps to resolve some prickly issues with the text, and allows the second half of Matthew 24 to address Christ's final return and the final judgment (Acts 1:6-11; Rev20-22, 1Thess 4:13-18, 1Cor 15:20-28,50-57 etc).
Still, Luke records these comments in a different order. And in Matthew, verses 34-35 declare, "Truly I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away." Scholars debate how this relates to the destruction of Jerusalem, and to the "coming" addressed in the Olivet Discourse (see yesterday's comments).
Verses 1-35 speak of "days" and from verse 36 on He speaks of "that day." In any case, eschatology is a very complex subject, our understanding is necessarily incomplete, and fulfillment of prophecy in Scripture often seems surprising - and shows God's infinite wisdom and our finite understanding.
What is clear: Jesus is coming again, and all God's promises will be completely fulfilled, to the letter - and to His everlasting glory. Don't despair if you don't quite understand prophecy - no one knows it all, and good people differ. There are different understandings for good reasons. We walk by faith, not by sight, as we patiently and earnestly await His appearing. Be ready! Meantime, we are to be obedient to "make disciples." Trust and obey Him today!
Matthew 24 www.esv.org/Matthew+24

8 NOV 8
JUDGMENT - The first coming of the Son of Man was for redemption, and His second coming will be for judgment. As a shepherd separates his flock, on His right will be those who love Jesus (sheep) and on His left those who do not (goats). Those who love Him also obey Him. This is not doing good works to be saved, but doing good works because you are saved, serving the Lord who purchased you with His blood and adopted you as members of His own family.
The good works in this chapter are not for poor people in general, but primarily caring for needy Christians. Scripture often points to this as a mark of saving faith (behold how they love one another!). Believers are one in Christ, and our love for the Savior overflows as love for one another, as we are united in Him. We know His voice and we follow Him, and we trust and obey Him. When one part of the body suffers, all suffer, and so we come the aid of those in need.
Today, goats intermingle with sheep, and even we may not tell them apart. The goats certainly do not recognize the sheep. But God's judgment will result in eternal reward for the righteous, those who follow Christ, and eternal punishment for those who reject Him and do not obey Him. Simple acts of service to other believers demonstrate Christ's love flowing through us - putting the needs of others before our own. Loving God with all our heart and mind and will, and our neighbor as ourselves.
If you resist giving your time, talents, treasures to mercy ministries through your church, perhaps you should question your salvation. Do you know the Shepherd's voice? Do you follow Him? Trust and obey Him today.
Matthew 25 www.esv.org/Matthew+25

9 NOV 9
THE PLOT THICKENS - Passover, Lord's Supper, Gethsemane, Betrayal, Arrest, Denial - things begin moving very quickly in God's plan of redemption. The Passover was a memorial meal, which commemorated God's deliverance of His people from Egypt. As the new Moses, leading His people in a new Exodus and deliverance from sin, Jesus transforms the Passover into "the Lord's Supper" with Himself as the focus of redemption.
Matthew records it like this: Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is My body.” And He took a cup, and when He had given thanks He gave it to them, saying, “Drink of it, all of you, for this is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. I tell you I will not drink again of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father's kingdom.”
The elements of bread and wine represent Christ's body and blood, in which He is spiritually present in union with His redeemed people. The focus is not on individuals but the corporate body of believers, one in Christ. The communion service also visibly pictures the proclamation of God's Word and the good news of the gospel. "My blood of the covenant" hearkens to Exodus 24:28 and the Mosaic sacrifice, and also to Jeremiah 31:31-34 and the promised "new covenant" which is now fulfill in Jesus Himself. (See also Luke 22:17-20, 1 Cor 11:23-25).
The Lords Supper also looks forward to the marriage feast of the Lamb (Rev 19). As you consider Christ's sacrifice for you, rejoice in His new life flowing through you - and look forward to the complete fulfillment of all His promises. Meantime, trust and obey!
Matthew 26 www.esv.org/Matthew+26/ -&-
Mark 14 www.esv.org/Mark+14

10 NOV 10
GREATEST ? - Incredibly, after the Lord's Supper (and Christ Jesus washing their feet), Luke records how a dispute also arose among the disciples, as to which of them was to be regarded as the greatest. And Jesus said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them, and those in authority over them are called benefactors. But not so with you. Rather, let the greatest among you become as the youngest, and the leader as one who serves. For who is the greater, one who reclines at table or one who serves? Is it not the one who reclines at table? But I am among you as the one who serves."
John records how before this, Jesus had demonstrated this to them - by taking the role of the lowest servant and washing their feet, before the meal. He said, "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another." This love for fellow believers surpasses the love we are to have for all mankind. Because fellow believers are "united in Christ" and members of His body. And we are to bear His fruit, which is love - desiring what is best for the other person. This is more than an object lesson, for Jesus gave His very life to teach us what love is. And we love, because He first loved us. Trust & obey Him today!
Luke 22 www.esv.org/Luke+22 -&-
John 13 www.esv.org/John+13

11 NOV 11
HOLY SPIRIT - today's reading covers "the Upper Room discourse" and "The Lord's Prayer" prayed by Jesus, with a focus on the promise of the Holy Spirit.
Jesus tells His disciples "let not your hearts be troubled" even though He is going away. That is good because He will send His Holy Spirit to be in them, which is better than having Jesus alongside them.
The Holy Spirit will convict of sin, convince of righteousness and judgment, and convert dead sinners into living saints, born again with the new life of Christ. The Holy Spirit will empower them to keep His commandments, in fulfillment of God's promise through Ezekiel that He will not only give His people new hearts, but also put His Spirit within them.
The sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit will also make them one in Christ, in union with the Savior and one another. Thus they will surely bear the fruit of the Spirit, expressed in love, as they keep the commands of Jesus to trust and obey Him. "Take heart, for I have overcome the world." All this plus the joy of the Lord, His new life, and His power and presence. "I made known to them Your name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which You have loved Me may be in them, and I in them."
Rejoice as you read today's passage, and thank the Lord for His saving grace, His enabling grace, and His indwelling grace, to trust and obey!
John 14-17 www.esv.org/John+14-17

12 NOV 12
ARREST & TRIAL - As Jesus had told His disciples, His hour had come. His prayer in Gethsemane is interrupted by soldiers come to arrest Him. After appearing before the High Priest and Sanhedrin in a midnight mockery of a trial, complete with false witnesses, Christ is taken to Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor who had authority to put Him to death, as requested by the Jewish authorities. Jesus fulfills Isaiah's prophecies, silent as a sheep before its shearers. He had already proclaimed His Messianic message of deliverance. Now all was in God's hands to complete the sacrifice for sin. The King of Kings appears before the human king. He gives them their choice, Barabbas (whose name means "son of the father") or Jesus, who is The Son of The Father. They demand of Jesus, "crucify Him." And so to avoid a riot, Pilate reluctantly carries out the demands of the people, who say "His blood be on us." Then Jesus is scourged, stripped, mocked "Hail King of the Jews" and led away to be crucified. Yet in all this, God's definite plan and foreknowledge (Acts 2:23) is being carried out. All for YOUR salvation, if you put all your trust in Him who paid for sin. Put your faith in Him, and trust and obey Him who gave His life so that you can live His life thru you!
Matthew 27 www.esv.org/Matthew+27 -&-
Mark 15 www.esv.org/Mark+15

13 NOV 13
IT IS FINISHED - Crucifixion is an agonizing death of suffocation, and victims can last for days. But Jesus Christ was bearing the sins of mankind, in His own body on the tree - and suffering the wrath of God against sin - paying the price you deserve.
Two criminals were also crucified with Jesus. One railed at Him, saying, Are You not the Christ? Save Yourself, and us!" but the other said "remember me when You come into Your kingdom." Jesus said to him, "Today you will be with Me in paradise."
These two represent the required either-or response to the sacrifice of Jesus. Do you believe that He died for you and your sins? Or do you reject Him as Lord and Savior? He is the one and only Way to the Father and to heaven.
Then darkness covered the whole land. About 3 pm the curtain of the temple was torn in two. Then Jesus, calling out with a loud voice, said, "Father into Your hands I commit My spirit." John records Him also saying, "It is finished." Then He bowed His head and gave up His spirit. Of His own accord, He loved His own sheep, and gave up His life for them. Then He was pierced in His side to prove His death. Then He was buried in a tomb which was sealed and guarded by soldiers who would pay with their lives should anything happen.
All these things fulfill Old Testament prophecies - the most important being His purchase of salvation for all who believe in Him as the Christ, Savior and Lord. Do you believe? Do you put all your trust in Christ alone? Tell Him so, and live for Him, by His power within you...
Luke 23 www.esv.org/Luke+23 -&-
John 18-19 www.esv.org/John+18-19

14 NOV 14
NEW LIFE - The squad of Roman soldiers guarding the tomb could not stop what would happen next. Early Sunday morning there was a great earthquake, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and rolled back the stone and sat on it, and his appearance was like white lightning. The guards were terrified.
The angel said to the women who had come to tomb, "Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here, for He has risen." The guards reported to the chief priests and they concocted a story about stealing the body of Jesus, and bribed the guards to keep quiet.
Meantime Jesus appeared to some disciples, and instructed them to go to Galilee, just as the angel had also said. In due time the disciples went there and worshiped Him. And Jesus came and said to them, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age."
The sacrifice of Jesus on the cross promises forgiveness of sins, and the resurrection of Jesus from the dead promises eternal life, which begins the moment you trust in Him as Lord and Savior. His great commission gives you a new purpose for your life: to go in His authority and make disciples of Jesus.
And the indwelling Holy Spirit is your new power, to be His follower, and to make disciples who make disciples. It's all about future followers of Jesus, growing His kingdom, as you trust and obey, all for His eternal glory. Hallelujah!
Matthew 28 www.esv.org/Matthew+28 -&-
Mark 16 www.esv.org/Mark+16

15 NOV 15
OPENED MINDS - After His resurrection, Christ Jesus appeared to two of His disciples on the road to Emmaus. In their conversation, He said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into His glory?” And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, Jesus interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself."
Later, these two were telling the other disciples what had happened, and Jesus appeared in their midst. Not a spirit - but in His glorified body. Jesus said to them, “These are My words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, and said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance for the forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in His name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. And behold, I am sending the promise of my Father upon you. But stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.”
The Holy Spirit opened their minds to the Old Testament scriptures, and superintended their writing of the New Testament scriptures. As John says, "these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in His name." It's the Holy Spirit who enables you to believe the good news - and to tell others about Jesus too. Trust and obey Him today!
Luke 24 www.esv.org/Luke+24 -&-
John 20-21 www.esv.org/John+20-21

16 NOV 16
MAKE DISCIPLES - The book of Acts supplements the gospel of Luke, as it describes the obedient and empowered actions of the apostles after being filled with the Holy Spirit to make disciples. Before His ascension, the disciples asked Jesus, "will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?"
He said, "It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by His own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria and to the end of the earth."
The book then describes how this took place, phase by phase. The 120 disciples gathered and the Holy Spirit proclaimed the gospel through them. As Peter preached, the people were cut to the heart and said, "what shall we do?" And Peter said to them, repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you too will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit."
Some 3,000 believed, and the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved. And Peter said, "repent therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that He may send the Christ appointed for you, Jesus, whom heaven must receive until the time for restoring all the things about which God spoke by the mouth of the holy prophets long ago."
That's the abbreviated story that has now unfolded nearly 2,000 years. Jesus will consummate His plan and while we wait we are to make disciples, growing His kingdom of followers. If you are His follower, that's your mission - by the power of the Holy Spirit. Trust and obey today!
Acts 1-3 www.esv.org/Acts+1-3

17 NOV 17
WE MUST - as the book of Acts unfolds, the promised filling of the Holy Spirit continues to bear fruit as the disciples set about obeying the Lord's commission to make disciples. By word and deed they affirm the reality of the redemption and resurrection of the Lord Jesus, proclaiming: "There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other Name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved." and "we cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard." and "We must obey God rather than men."
The result? God moving mightily. "And the word of God continued to increase, and the number of disciples multiplied greatly." Today's reading continues the outworking of God's plan, as the disciples trust and obey - just what God asks YOU to do. If you are a believer in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, then you have been born again from above by the Holy Spirit, regenerated to new eternal spiritual life. Your mission is the same as the disciples and your power is the same - all according to God's plan, by His Spirit. How is He changing your world, and the people around you? Trust and obey Him today, in the Spirit's power...
Acts 4-6 www.esv.org/Acts+4-6

18 NOV 18
STONED - Stephen was stoned. The first Christian martyr. The word martyr in Greek actually means witness but it has come to take on the meaning of losing one's life for one's witness of Christ. Stephen was the first to die for Christ. He was full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom and a man of good repute, chosen as one of the first deacons of the church, a word which means servant.
But Stephen was also an evangelist, full of grace and power, doing great wonders and signs among the people. "The word of God continued to increase, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests became obedient to the faith." But false witnesses rose up against Stephen, and they brought him to trial. He gave a Spirit-filled impassioned speech, recounting the history of God's redemption of His people, culminating with the coming again of the Lord Jesus Christ - whom the people had put to death. Then they were enraged and put Stephen to death too. Jesus had foretold such persecution.
As YOU bear witness about Christ, you too will experience persecution and tribulation. Trust the Lord for whatever happens, as He builds His church and works out His plan. Trust and obey, by His power within!
Acts 7-8 www.esv.org/Acts+7-8

19 NOV 19
BETTER CALL SAUL ? - One of those responsible for the stoning of Stephen was a young man named Saul. He became an ambitious persecutor of the church, "ravaging" and going from house to house to arrest them, to be put to death.
This persecution resulted in the scattering of the church - which Jesus had told them to do - unto Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and the ends of the earth. Saul followed the trade route from Jerusalem to Damascus, along the way looking for anyone belonging to "the Way" of faith, that he might arrest them. But Jesus arrested him. With a bright light and a great voice, Sau'ls life was forever changed. "He is a chosen instrument of mine to carry My name before the Gentiles and kings and the children of Israel. For I will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of My name."
Saul might seem like an unlikely convert. A Pharisee, he was highly regarded as a leading student of the great teacher Gamaliel. Scholars regard Saul (later called Paul) as one of the greatest-ever intellectuals of all time, and God used him to write much of the New Testament and plant many churches.
Even today, God uses people (not always the best and brightest) and raises up people who may surprise many - but God's purposes are beyond what we could ask or think - and it is all done by the power of the Holy Spirit in ordinary people who trust and obey the Lord. Praise Him, as YOU trust and obey Him - for He may have great things in mind for you too...by His power within.
Acts 9-10 www.esv.org/Acts+9-10

20 NOV 20
REPENTANCE & LIFE - The dispersal of the disciples bore much fruit. Peter's experience at Joppa and Caesarea showed everyone that indeed God was pouring out His grace on all people - even Gentiles were putting their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
Peter explained his vision to the church in Jerusalem, saying "what God has made clean, do not call common." He recounted how at the house of Cornelius, as he was speaking "a message by which you may be saved" the Holy Spirit fell on the Gentiles just as on the disciples on the Day of Pentecost. The Bible makes it clear that the baptism of the Holy Spirit occurs simultaneously with the regeneration of the Holy Spirit. Acts 11 is a good example: "baptized by the Holy Spirit... the same gift He gave to us when we believed in the Lord Jesus." The new birth results in faith, the gift of God, by grace, through the indwelling Holy Spirit, as promised by Jesus.
Peter reports about the Gentiles, "As I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell on them just as on us at the beginning. And I remembered the word of the Lord, how He said, ‘John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’ If then God gave the same gift to them as He gave to us when we believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could stand in God's way?” When they heard these things they fell silent. And they glorified God, saying, “Then to the Gentiles also God has granted repentance that leads to life.” If YOU have also believed, rejoice in God's amazing grace poured out for you and promised by Him for those in every people group! Share the good news with others today!
Acts records how the disciples were scattered far and wide, even to Phoenicia, Cyprus, and Antioch. There Barnabas and Saul were teaching "a great many people" and there "the disciples were first called Christians." Back in Jerusalem, James the brother of John was killed by Herod. Peter was arrested, bound for death, but miraculously loosed from prison - in answer to earnest prayer by the church. A reminder for US to keep praying for our brothers and sisters undergoing persecution around the world. And then Herod, puffed up with pride as though he were a god, was struck down by an angel of the Lord and he was eaten by worms. "But the word of the Lord increased and multiplied." The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church. God's kingdom will overcome all earthly kingdoms. Take heart, Jesus said, for I have overcome the world. Trust and obey!
Acts 11-12 www.esv.org/Acts+11-12

21 NOV 21
PAUL & BARNABAS - were among the prophets and teachers in the church at Antioch, who were set apart by the Holy Spirit for the work of planting churches. The church fasted, prayed, laid their hands on them, and sent them off. It was on Cyprus where the book of Acts begins to refer to the apostle no longer by his Jewish name Saul but by his Roman name Paul, for he was a Roman citizen. In those days a Roman name on your passport was an important asset. More significantly, the writer of Acts begins to refer to "Paul and his companions" and Barnabas, the older man and mentor, allows Paul to take on the leadership role.
And the Holy Spirit uses Paul's impressive intellect and expansive knowledge of Scriptures as he weaves together powerful preaching about Jesus Christ as the fulfillment of God's promises. When the apostle Paul came to faith in Christ, Jesus told him he was appointed to be His witness (Acts 9 & 26). Blinded by this vision, Jesus sent a messenger to him to regain his sight - "and to be filled with the Holy Spirit." As Jesus promised, Paul became a powerful presenter of the gospel. In Acts 13, we see Paul, "filled with the Holy Spirit" and the religious leaders "filled with jealousy. This led to Paul's calling as "missionary to the Gentiles" - who received the word of God gladly, as "the word of the Lord was spreading throughout the whole region."
Verse 52 says "And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit." As we have seen, the baptism of the Holy Spirit occurs at regeneration, when you first believe, as a one-time occurence. The filling of the Holy Spirit occurs as God enables followers of Christ to proclaim the good news with boldness and joy and power - a primary purpose of His presence in the life of believers.
The book of Acts records how both Jews and Gentiles responded with faith, "rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord, and as many as were appointed to eternal life believed." You can be confident in sharing the Word of the Lord, because God is drawing His lost sheep to His shepherd, and His Word will accomplish His purpose and people will be saved, all in God's time - because it is the work, not of your persuasive tongue, but of the Holy Spirit, who regenerates dead sinners to life. Even so, Paul and Barnabas strengthened the disciples, "encouraging them to continue in the faith, and saying that through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God." Take heart - trust and obey - and God will work through you, for YOU too are called as His witness, wherever you are.
Acts 13-14 www.esv.org/Acts+13-14

22 NOV 22
JAMES & JESUS - the James who wrote the epistle that bears his name was the brother of Jesus (Galatians 1:19) who was a leader in the Jerusalem church (Acts 15). The other James, the brother of John, was killed earlier (Acts 12:2). Tradition says he had knees like camels, from his hours in prayer. His epistle was written when the disciples were dispersed from Jerusalem and the church began growing all around the Roman Empire, perhaps ~44 AD. His writing bears a distinct Old Testament flavor, as it focuses on the "Lord Jesus Christ" and emphasizes active faith which evidences itself in works, along with the role of afflictions in the life of a disciple.
As you read this practical letter, pray God's message through James into your own life, asking for obedience to God's Word by the power of the Holy Spirit, as you trust and obey. Be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For faith without works is dead. And the wisdom from above is pure, peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. All Christlike qualities! Humble yourself, then, before the Lord, as you trust and obey Him, by His power within you.
There is no contradiction between the message of James and the message of Paul, as some detractors would like to imagine. Faith is the root of faith and works are the fruit of faith. No root, no fruit. Salvation is by grace through faith, and works are the logical evidence of new life in Christ. Being born again from above by the Holy Spirit regenerates a person dead in sins to make them alive in Christ, with new spiritual life, indwelt by the Holy Spirit, so that the fruit of the Spirit will be displayed in their lives, which will illustrate by living example all that God has promised in His Word of truth - transforming the lives of all who trust and obey the Lord Jesus Christ, through repentance and faith, by the grace of God applied by the Holy Spirit.
Put God's word into practice in your own life, and so prove to be a follower of Christ, born again to bring Him glory as you trust and obey.
James 1-5 www.esv.org/James+1-5

23 NOV 23
SEPARATE WAYS ? - The Gentiles coming into the church raised controversy, whether they should be circumcised and observe Jewish law. Paul and Barnabas were appointed to get answers at a council of leaders in Jerusalem. For "we believe we will be saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, just as they will" without observing the Law. One church, one Lord, one faith, one baptism. Then Paul and Barnabas decided to visit the churches they had planted. A sharp dispute arose, and Paul took Silas while Barnabas took John Mark - and their work was multiplied with two mission teams instead of one.
Paul circumcised Timothy, not because it was required, but because it opened doors for the gospel amongst the Jews who knew his father was a Greek. Then Paul, Silas and Luke, the author of Acts, traveled on. "One who heard us was a woman named Lydia, from the city of Thyatira, a seller of purple goods, who was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to pay attention to what was said by Paul." She believed and was baptized.
Then Paul and Silas were thrown into jail at Philippi - where the jailer was converted after the earthquake. "What must I do to be saved?" he asked. "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household." Indeed, his whole household also believed and were baptized. This passage is used by those who favor paedo-baptism (infant baptism) over creedo-baptism (believers' baptism) but there is no actual evidence that infants were involved, but rather that every person in the household believed and so then were baptized as evidence of their faith.
The apostle Paul also made good use of his Roman citizenship to be released from jail and the city. "So the churches were strengthened in the faith, and they increased in numbers daily." Is this happening in your town and church? Pray that you and all those in your church will trust and obey, to be witnesses of the Lord Jesus.
Acts 15-16 www.esv.org/Acts+15-16

24 NOV 24
FAITH ALONE - While the question of circumcision for Gentile believers was being resolved at the council in Jerusalem (Acts 15), there were many other agitators who continued to argue that the Jewish ritual was required for salvation. The apostle Paul wrote the letter to the Galatians to silence them. And it speaks to anyone today who thinks that "works" must accompany faith in order to be saved. Scripture makes it crystal clear: "we know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ."
The apostle is adamant: "Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?" Christ bore the curse of the law in His flesh on the cross, as He paid the penalty for sin. In union with Him, by grace through faith, you have put on His righteousness. This is applied by the Holy Spirit in regeneration at the moment you believe.
And you are an heir with Christ, according to the promise to Abraham - because Christ is the promised seed, and believers become in union with Him by grace through faith, not works. If YOU are a believer today, rejoice in God's grace to you in Christ. GIVE THANKS to God above! You did nothing to deserve His grace, nor anything to receive it, only trusting that what He says is true - for you, as you put all your faith in Him.
Galatians 1-3 www.esv.org/Galatians+1-3

25 NOV 25
SET FREE - Having established that salvation is by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone, the apostle admonishes the Galatians: "for freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery."
Instead, having been born again by the Holy Spirit, receiving Christ by grace through faith, now bear the fruit of the Spirit - the character of Christ: "love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control." If we live by the Spirit (and we do, we have eternal spiritual life in Jesus because of the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit), then let us also keep in step with the Spirit (let us live our daily lives by His enabling power within).
We are brought to spiritual life by the Holy Spirit through regeneration to faith, and we live by faith, moment by moment, by the power of Christ within us. That's how we live out the gospel, being set free from sin and empowered to live for Christ. All by God's grace, through faith. The apostle exults, "Far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world." As a new creation in Christ, trust in Him alone, and live out His word, by His power within you.
Galatians 4-6 www.esv.org/Galatians+4-6

26 NOV 26
UNKNOWN GOD - While in Athens, the apostle Paul used his observations about the culture to bridge conversation with the people. "Men of Athens, I perceive that in every way you are very religious. For as I passed along and observed the objects of your worship, I found also an altar with this inscription: ‘To the unknown god.’ What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you. The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, nor is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything. And He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God...
Being then God's offspring, we ought not to think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by the art and imagination of man. The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now He commands all people everywhere to repent, because He has fixed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom He has appointed; and of this He has given assurance to all by raising Him from the dead.”
Speaking of the resurrection caused some to mock him. Others said they would listen again. And some believed. YOU can speak to the culture around you, by noting how God is missing in their lives, though He is what they seek. You have good news to share - Jesus saves! Trust and obey Him today!
Acts 17-18 www.esv.org/Acts+17-18:18

27 NOV 27
DAY OF THE LORD - The Old Testament expression "day of the Lord" takes on new meaning in the New Testament - because of the incarnation of the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the divine second person of the one triune God. In today's reading, the apostle connects God the Son and God the Father as the divine source of blessing, poured out through the Holy Spirit (for example, 1 Thess 1:3-5, 2 Thess 2:13-14). The day of the Lord is connected with judgment, when the Lord Jesus Christ returns, the dead in Christ will be raised and those alive at His coming will likewise be raised to glorified life. As we await that glorious day, we do not grow weary in doing good. The apostle says, "To this end we always pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of His calling and may fulfill every resolve for good and every work of faith by His power, so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in Him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ." What a blessing - to pray into your own life, as you trust and obey the Lord, awaiting His glorious return!
1 Thessalonians 1-5 www.esv.org/1+Thessalonians+1-5 -&- 2 Thessalonians 1-3 www.esv.org/2+Thessalonians+1-3

28 NOV 28
RIOT & REASON - The church continued to grow as word about Jesus spread. In today's reading, you will encounter Apollos, a believer who only knew the baptism of John. Likewise Paul found some disciples at Ephesus who were baptized into John's baptism - and explained to them this was a baptism of repentance, a preparation for believing in Jesus, who was to come after John. Hearing this, they were baptized into Jesus, and gave evidence of the Holy Spirit by speaking in tongues and prophesying, telling forth the good news (as what happened in Acts 2 at Pentecost). Paul spent three months teaching in the synagogue, but when the people spoke evil of The Way there, he took his teaching ministry to the hall of Tyrannus, where he reasoned every day for two years - so that "all the residents of Asia heard the word of the Lord, both Jews and Greeks." But people turning to Christ turned away from idols, and the craftsmen of Ephesus stirred up the crowds - and only the polished words of the politician quelled the uproar from becoming a riot. "So the word of the Lord continued to increase and prevail mightily." In our own day as well, people do not wish to hear the truth about Jesus and judgment, but prefer their own opinions. We do well to show them reason from God's Word - pointing them to salvation in Christ alone, trusting in the Holy Spirit to open hearts and minds and wills to His truth. This is our mission, regardless of our reception. Trust and obey!
Acts 18:19-19:41 www.esv.org/Acts+18:19-19:41

29 NOV 29
ILLUMINATION - The apostle Paul writes to the Corinthian church, to straighten out some divisions in the body of believers there. He underscores the ministry of the Holy Spirit in "illuminating" the believer's understanding of God and His Word. This is not "revelation" of new information, but "illumination" is imparting understanding of what God has written and revealed in the Scriptures.
"Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God. And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual. The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned." This is why unbelievers may have considerable knowledge of the Bible and theology, but do not comprehend it in the spiritual sense. This is the ministry of the Holy Spirit, to born-again believers, regenerated by the Holly Spirit. He enables us to receive His instruction through God's Word - which is true for all people in all places and all times, but can only be lived out by the power of the Holy Spirit within.
Thank God today for the ministry of the Holy Spirit, who regenerates you to faith in Christ, enables you to understand His Word, and empowers you to live it out - all to His everlasting glory!
1 Corinthians 1-4 www.esv.org/1+Corinthians+1-4

30 NOV 30
YOU WERE & YOU ARE - the apostle now turns his attention to troubling moral and ethical problems in the church - including incest, immorality, and lawsuits. A common denominator:
"do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God."
This is God's grace - you WERE dead in sins, but having believed in Jesus, you now ARE alive in His grace - washed, sanctified, justified. TRANSFORMED. By the Holy Spirit. Every believer is made new, and enabled to obey God's commands, and be conformed to His image, as you trust and obey His Word. You're not stuck with your sinful past. Put off the old man and put on the new man - walk in life and grace - by His power within you!
1 Corinthians 5-8 www.esv.org/1+Corinthians+5-8

01 DEC 1
A WAY OF ESCAPE - This is one of the most important passages for your Christian life: "Now these things happened to them as an example, but they were written down for our instruction, on whom the end of the ages has come. Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall. No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and He will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation He will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it."
The apostle is talking about the experiences of the Israelites in the wilderness, as a warning against our disobedience of God, with an emphasis on sins of immorality. God wrote the Old Testament to instruct believers, His born-again adopted children, about trusting and obeying the Lord. Because believers are "in union with Christ."
And with the coming of Christ, and His regenerating new life, believers have the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit to first understand God's Word of truth, with all its examples and wisdom and instruction - and then to obey it, to live it out. Believers have the power to say NO to temptation - through Christ our Lord. Trust and obey Him today!
1 Corinthians 9-11 www.esv.org/1+Corinthians+9-11

02 DEC 2
STRIVE TO EXCEL - All believers receive gifts from the Holy Spirit, but not every one has exactly the same gifts. But all believers are to bear exactly the same fruit of the Spirit. Gifts are great, but Paul says "I will show you a still more excellent way" - the way of love, the fruit of the Spirit. Using your gifts to glorify Christ and build up the Body of Christ must be done with LOVE, the fruit of the Spirit. That's because the gifts and the fruit are not about you, but about Him - and about the unity of the Body, all the members. Not for personal edification but for the good and koinonia of the Body. "Earnestly desire the spiritual gifts," especially the forth-telling of God's Word, for that edifies the Body. Verse 12 is key, "since you are eager for manifestations of the Spirit, strive to excel in building up the church."
Nowhere are we commanded to seek ecstatic experiences of the Spirit; rather we are commanded to excel - to strive to excel - in building up the whole Body of Christ. v3 says "for their upbuilding and encouragement and consolation." Regardless of your gifts, use them as God intends, according to His explicit instructions in the Bible, and by His power, as serving Him, as you serve one another, in love - to glorify Christ and to "strive to excel to build up the Church."
1 Corinthians 12-14 www.esv.org/1+Corinthians+12-14

03 DEC 3
NEW LIFE - the resurrection of Christ is an essential doctrine of Christianity - the fulfillment of God's promise for new life in Christ: "Mystery and Victory - I tell you this, brothers: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality. When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.”
“O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain." That's why you can trust and obey Him today - as He works out His plan and purpose, in His time. This brief life is only the precursor to unimaginable glory. And all His promises will come to pass, in His providence, to His everlasting praise!
1 Corinthians 15-16 www.esv.org/1+Corinthians+15-16

04 DEC 4
BEING TRANSFORMED - the second letter to the Corinithians contains some lofty rhetoric which raises praises to our saving Lord - and His gracious saving and sanctifying ministry to us, in us, and through us, through the power of the Holy Spirit. Consider these:
"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God."
"For all the promises of God find their Yes in Him. That is why it is through Him that we utter our Amen to God for His glory. And it is God who establishes us with you in Christ, and has anointed us, and who has also put His seal on us and given us His Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee."
"Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit."
"For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus' sake. For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ."
"So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal."
Pray these truths into your heart and mind and will, as the Lord transforms you as you trust and obey, by His power within...
2 Corinthians 1-4 www.esv.org/2+Corinthians+1-4

05 DEC 5
ARE YOU NEW ? - Jesus makes everything new. When you put your trust in Him, He gives you a new relationship with God through new life in Christ, and a new purpose for your life, as His representative - as highlighted in these excerpts from today's reading.
-"if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to Himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation...we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us...be reconciled to God."
-"For we are the temple of the living God."
-"But as you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in all earnestness, and in our love for you—see that you excel in this act of grace also."
-"For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich."
-"The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work."
-"Thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift!"
All this, through the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit - by whom you trust and obey - and live out Christ's new life through you!
2 Corinthians 5-9 www.esv.org/2+Corinthians+5-9

06 DEC 6
WARFARE - today's reading explores various aspects of spiritual warfare. "For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ," Even the apostle Paul needed divine help for his daily life. "A thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong."
This principle applies to all believers, who are indwelt by the Holy Spirit. It is by His power that you overcome temptation and sin. The apostle is concerned that the Corinthians believers are not walking in His power. "I fear that when I come again my God may humble me before you, and I may have to mourn over many of those who sinned earlier and have not repented of the impurity, sexual immorality, and sensuality that they have practiced." But he is hopeful, and encouraging. "Finally, brothers, rejoice. Aim for restoration, comfort one another, agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you." All this by the power of the Holy Spirit, as you trust and obey, moment by moment.
2 Corinthians 10-13 www.esv.org/2+Corinthians+10-13

07 DEC 7
BELIEVES - "For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, 'The righteous shall live by faith'.”
This key passage of the letter to the Romans establishes the means of salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. This happens through the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit, who also empowers the believer to live a life of faith in obedience to God's Word. The apostle Paul probably wrote this letter when he was in Greece (Acts 20:1-3). The Reformers regarded Romans as a key to understanding the Scriptures. It outlines the great themes of the New Testament and fulfillment of the Old Testament - in the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God who paid the penalty for sin on the cross and rose to eternal life.
Today's reading establishes the need of salvation of all mankind, Gentiles and Jews alike. All are guilty of sin and unable to achieve salvation by works. Only the work of Jesus Christ brings grace and peace with God, through faith - trusting only in Christ. How about YOU? Put all your trust in Christ alone, and live for Him by the power of His new life within you.
Acts 20:1-3 www.esv.org/Acts+20:1-3 -&-
Romans 1-3 www.esv.org/Romans+1-3 -

08 DEC 8
DEATH TO LIFE - Having convicted all mankind guilty under sin, the apostle now shows how we "are justified by His grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, to be received by faith." Today's reading highlights new life in union with Christ. For "just as sin came into the world through one man (Adam) and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned"...so "grace reigns through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." In union with Him, in His death, burial and resurrection, we too are "dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus." For you were "slaves to sin," but "now you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God" so "the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life." For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
And what of YOU? Do you still think you are good enough to save yourself? As Martin Luther well said, "what is it about your own miserable works and doings that you think could please God more than the sacrifice of His own Son?" Or will you believe what God says, and throw yourself entirely on His mercy, and trust Christ alone to save you? And to give you His new life? That's the life of faith, from the moment of regeneration to your own resurrection, trusting and obeying what God says about Christ.
Romans 4-7 www.esv.org/Romans+4-7

09 DEC 9
BY HIS SPIRIT - today's reading encompasses some of the most powerful passages in all of Scripture. Romans 8 expounds on our union with Christ, by grace through faith, and the life-transforming power of the Holy Spirit from start to finish of our Christian life. First, read today's passage all through without pausing, to get the big picture. The scope of God's grace will take your breath away and draw you to your knees in joyful thanks and praise to His sovereign holiness and mercy. Then read it again, pausing to praise, and ponder.
Then pray, passage by passage, for God to make these promises powerful in your heart and mind and will - to live them out by His Spirit within you. No condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus! Setting your mind on the Spirit. Life and peace! Power to say no to sin! Beloved adopted children of God! Fellow heirs with Christ! Fellow sufferers with Christ! Awaiting final redemption! Praying in the Spirit! Being conformed to Christ! Inseparable from His lovingkindness! More than conquerors! Chosen children of promise! Confessing Jesus is Lord! Believing in His resurrection! Calling on His name and being saved! For "faith comes by hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ."
What then shall we say to these things? Thanks be to God - who gives us life, and His life transforming power, as we trust and obey. Amen!
Romans 8-10 www.esv.org/Romans+8-10

10 DEC 10
LIVING SACRIFICES - Today's reading in Romans continues yesterdays song of praise. Gentile believers are grafted in to God's vine. For God has consigned all to disobedience, that He may have mercy on all. "Oh the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and how inscrutable His ways! For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be glory forever. Amen!"
And how shall we respond to all these holy mercies? Be living sacrifices, wholly given over to God. Be transformed by the renewal of your mind - according to God's truth - by which you will know and do His will. Live out His grace in love toward one another, putting off everything connected with darkness and putting on everything connected with His light.
"Put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires." And we do all this by the power of the Holy Spirit within, as we trust and obey all the Lord has written in His Word.
Romans 11-13 www.esv.org/Romans+11-13

11 DEC 11
DOXOLOGY - "Now to Him who is able to strengthen you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery that was kept secret for long ages but has now been disclosed and through the prophetic writings has been made known to all nations, according to the command of the eternal God, to bring about the obedience of faith—to the only wise God be glory forevermore through Jesus Christ! Amen." The closing passage of the letter to the Romans echoes the opening verses (especially Rom 1:5) which also point to "the obedience of faith."
The proclamation of the gospel of Jesus Christ is both an invitation to believe and a command to believe. Obedience is the proper response to God's great good news about Jesus Christ our Lord. Obedience also flows from that response of faith. And bringing about "the obedience of faith" for the sake of His name among all the nations is the purpose of proclaiming the Gospel, as Paul says in 1:6 "including you who are called to belong to Jesus Christ" - and this includes YOU today who believe in Him, by grace through faith. Glory be to HIS Name now and forever! & in you & thru you!
Romans 14-16 www.esv.org/Romans+14-16

12 DEC 12
TESTIFY - The apostle reminds the Ephesian elders of his mission: “You yourselves know how I lived among you the whole time from the first day that I set foot in Asia, serving the Lord with all humility and with tears and with trials that happened to me through the plots of the Jews; how I did not shrink from declaring to you anything that was profitable, and teaching you in public and from house to house, testifying both to Jews and to Greeks of repentance toward God and of faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. And now, behold, I am going to Jerusalem, constrained by the Spirit, not knowing what will happen to me there, except that the Holy Spirit testifies to me in every city that imprisonment and afflictions await me. But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God." The rest of today's reading chronicles Paul going to Jerusalem and being arrested. Ponder God's providence through the proclamation of the gospel. Be prepared yourself to share the good news - especially in this Christmas season. Not everyone will hear gladly. Be prepared to share in suffering for Christ, as He promised. His grace will be sufficient, as He promises. Trust and obey, having faith in God's plan and purpose - and His power in you and through you, as you are His faithful witness!
Acts 20:4 - 23:35 www.esv.org/Acts+20-23

13 DEC 13
CONVERSION - as God had promised, He gave the apostle Paul many opportunities to share his personal testimony, even before high officials and kings. He recounts his incredible conversion - turning away from persecuting believers in Christ to becoming a powerful spokesman in promotion of the gospel. Christ appointed him "to open their eyes, so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in Me'."
Paul endured much persecution for the sake of the gospel and proclaiming "the Christ must suffer and that, by being the first to rise from the dead, He would proclaim light both to our people and to the Gentiles.” Speaking these true and rational words before the governor Festus and King Agrippa, they deflected his arguments. Paul asked, "King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know that you believe.” If he said no, he would risk angering the Jews. If he said yes, Paul would ask him to then believe the gospel proclaimed in the prophets. And God planned for Paul to deliver the good news to the emperor of Rome.
YOU may never speak to governors, kings, emperors - but every person you share the gospel with is one more which could be added to the kingdom, plus those to whom they witness, as the Holy Spirit works faith in those who hear. Pray for your divine appointments, trust and obey, and be bold to speak the good news about Jesus today!
Acts 24-26 www.esv.org/Acts+24-26|

14 DEC 14
BOLDNESS - the apostle Paul certainly led an exciting life - if you count imprisonment, shipwreck, hunger, snakebite, treachery, and deprivations of all kinds. The closing chapters of Acts recount his voyage to Rome to appear before Caesar due to his arrest in Jerusalem. Throughout this adventure, Paul had many opportunities to share the Gospel. And with his arrival in Rome, he spoke to the Jews, as well as to Gentiles in the two years that he stayed there. This was likely from 60-62 AD.
Eventually he was set free and ministered perhaps as far west as Spain. He was imprisoned again about AD 67 by Nero and executed as a martyr for Christ. His ministry in Acts is summarized as "proclaiming the kingdom of God and teaching about the Lord Jesus Christ with all boldness."
You may never experience the persecutions inflicted on Paul, but you can speak as boldly and clearly. May this be true of YOU as well, as God works out His providence in your life to share the Good News about Jesus with everyone around you!
Acts 27-28 www.esv.org/Acts+27-28

15 DEC 15
PHILOSOPHY - The Christian church at Colossae was established while Paul spent three years at Ephesus, and the letter to the church was likely written about AD 62 when Paul was first imprisoned in Rome.
The issue challenging the Colossian church involved a mixture of pagan and Jewish beliefs. The "philosophy" appealing to the Colossians related not to rational arguments but to occult practices and traditions. In response, Paul presents the supremacy of Christ, the believer's union with Christ (and His death and resurrection), and their spiritual growth in becoming more like Him through the work of the Spirit. Demonic forces, however real, need not be appeased nor overcome through human religious means, since Christ Himself has vanquished all foes in the spiritual realm.
In union with Christ, the believer's standing with God is secure, so all the more reason to live it out in practice - trusting and obeying by His spiritual power within. May this also be true of you, by His grace and power!
Colossians 1-4 www.esv.org/Colossians+1-4
Philemon 1 www.esv.org/Philemon
ps - the little letter to Philemon was penned by Paul to one of the leaders at the church at Colossae, so in many ways it is a companion letter to the Colossians. It captures a very personal glimpse into the apostle Paul as well as realities in first century life. The runaway slave Onesimus turned up in Rome and encountered Paul, who writes to Philemon, a leader in the church at Colossae. Paul implores him to set Onesimus free and receive him as a brother in Christ. "If he has wronged you at all, or owes you anything, charge that to my account." That's leverage, since Philemon owes Paul his own self, that is, his new life in Christ. Beyond this, may Paul's words be true of YOU: "I thank my God always when I remember you in my prayers, because I hear of your love and of the faith that you have toward the Lord Jesus and all the saints, and I pray that the sharing of your faith may become effective for the full knowledge of every good thing that is in us for the sake of Christ. For I have derived much joy and comfort from your love, my brother, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed through you."
Colossians 1-4 www.esv.org/Colossians+1-4/
-&- Philemon www.esv.org/Philemon

16 DEC 16
MYSTERY - the apostle Paul most likely wrote the letter to the Ephesians when he was imprisoned in Rome AD 60-62. It was circulated to several churches in the region. His main focus is the "mystery" of the church of Jesus Christ.
Here's an excerpt from chapter 3: "This mystery is that the Gentiles are fellow heirs (with the Jews), members of the same Body (of Christ), and partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel."
Indeed, our union with Christ is a great mystery. By grace through faith, not only are believers united 'to' Christ, but united 'in' Christ. Together in Him.
"Of this gospel I was made a minister according to the gift of God's grace, which was given me by the working of his power. To me, though I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, and to bring to light for everyone what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God, who created all things."
This lofty language sets up this profound statement: "so that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places." Through the church - what seems to us an imperfect tentative alliance of saved souls struggling to see sanctification in this life - "through the church" - that Jesus prayed would know unity and project unity - "through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known" - whose wisdom is past finding out, beyond what mere mankind can imagine or think, at work in us both to will and to work for His good pleasure.
Indeed, Paul says, "This was according to the eternal purpose that He has realized in Christ Jesus our Lord, in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through our faith in Him. So I ask you not to lose heart..." Encouraging, emphatic, exalting words which strengthen YOU and spur you on to trust and obey Him - today!
Ephesians 1-6 www.esv.org/Ephesians+1-6

17 DEC 17
SERVANTS - while imprisoned in Rome, the apostle Paul writes to the first church he established in Europe, at Philippi (Acts 16). The immediate occasion is to thank them for their remembrance of him and their partnership in the gospel. His theme is joyful servanthood, in spite of sufferings.
He uses himself as an example along with his companions who were familiar to the Philippians. This encourages the church to keep on keeping on in the Gospel, emulating Christ, who as God becoming man humbled Himself to work salvation and resurrection. And to emulate Christ by the power of Christ within them. And to be "straining forward to what lies ahead" and to "press on toward the goal of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus" because "I can do all things through Him who strengthens me" and "God will supply every need of yours according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus."
He who was humbled to save us and exalted to lift up His people with Him forever. That's why YOU can trust and obey Him today!
Philippians 1-4 www.esv.org/Philippians+1-4

18 DEC 18
FAITHFULNESS - the apostle Paul writes to Timothy to encourage him in the leadership of a growing church. This letter emphasizes salvation by grace and the substitutionary atonement of Christ, with warnings against those who teach false doctrine and affirms the role of the Scriptures as the measure of all teaching. "Charge certain persons not to teach any different doctrine, nor to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies, which promote speculations rather than the stewardship from God that is by faith. The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. Certain persons, by swerving from these, have wandered away into vain discussion, desiring to be teachers of the law, without understanding either what they are saying or the things about which they make confident assertions."
How we need to listen to this today! And Scripture is the means by which we test every voice and every spirit. "Command and teach these things. Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity. Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation, to teaching."
It closes with a powerful doxology, "keep the commandment unstained and free from reproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, which He will display at the proper time—He who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone has immortality, who dwells in unapproachable light, whom no one has ever seen or can see. To Him be honor and eternal dominion. Amen." Encouragement and exhortation for you too today!
1 Timothy 1-6 www.esv.org/1+Timothy+1-6

19 DEC 19
HE SAVED US - the apostle Paul writes to Titus in a similar way as to Timothy, instructing him in sound doctrine and church organization. He also powerfully presents the effect of salvation: "For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession who are zealous for good works. Declare these things; exhort and rebuke with all authority. Let no one disregard you."
We are saved by grace through faith, apart from works. But works follow faith, and must be the fruit and evidence of faith. "But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, He saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to His own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by His grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.
"The saying is trustworthy, and I want you to insist on these things, so that those who have believed in God may be careful to devote themselves to good works. These things are excellent and profitable for people."
God saves us, by the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit, who also empowers us to trust and obey, living a life bearing evidence of being reborn and transformed by God's grace. Your good works are the expected fruit that comes from your roots of faith in Christ Jesus. That's good news to share with others today!
Titus 1-3 www.esv.org/Titus+1-3

20 DEC 20
PERSEVERE - the intrepid apostle Peter understood trials and tribulations. He experienced plenty as a disciple of Jesus Christ, and even more as an apostle, planting churches. His first letter encourages believers to remember they are "born again" to eternal spiritual life, and to focus on the imperishable inheritance laid up for them in heaven.
Trials will only prove our faith as genuine, as fire tests gold. Because of the greatness of the grace we have been given, and the highness of the calling as a holy priesthood, with the commission to proclaim the excellencies of the Savior, we are exhorted to live holy lives, to always be ready to give an answer and make a defense for the reason for the hope that is in you. If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you.
Humble yourself therefore under the mighty hand of God.
Resist the adversary, the devil, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. To Him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen.
Through all these trials, believers will persevere, because you are elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in the sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and for sprinkling with his blood. Your salvation is sure because you are in union with Christ. And His grace and peace will be multiplied to you, as you trust and obey, day by day.
1 Peter 1-5 www.esv.org/1+Peter+1-5

21 DEC 21
SUPREMACY - It is impossible to overstate the significance of Jesus Christ coming in the flesh. We celebrate it especially at Christmas but the impact is intrinsic to every day, from the first to the last, as God fulfills His eternal purpose, which climaxes in Easter and points to His final future coming.
As Hebrews says, "Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days He has spoken to us by His Son, Whom He appointed the heir of all things, through Whom also He created the world. He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of His nature, and He upholds the universe by the word of His power. After making purification for sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become as much superior to angels as the name He has inherited is more excellent than theirs."
So begins the letter to the Hebrews, celebrating the supremacy of Christ over all things. He is greater than angels, the bringers of God's message, Moses, the giver of the Law, and Aaron, the chief of the priesthood. Jesus is the founder of our salvation, who saves and sanctifies us, and sympathizes with us in our temptations.
"Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in every time of need" from the Lord Jesus Christ, "the source of eternal salvation to all who obey Him" - may this be true of you, as you put your trust totally in Him, and live out His eternal grace. Amen!
Hebrews 1-6 www.esv.org/Hebrews+1-6

22 DEC 22
GREAT HIGH PRIEST - In the supremacy of Christ, His is a superior covenant, a superior tabernacle, and a superior sacrifice. This is the mystery and miracle and majesty of the incarnation: God became a man in order to save His people.
"He is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them." Because He redeems us by His own blood, "He is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance."
Because "He has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him."
For this reason, "and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near."
If you belong to Christ, you will faithfully gather with His people, to worship Him, to be strengthened from His Word, and to encourage one another. And you will bear witness to Him in works and words, sharing the Good News with everyone around you, by His power within you!
Hebrews 7-10 www.esv.org/Hebrews+7-10

23 DEC 23
FAITH - Faith is putting your trust in something trustworthy. You do this all the time. Christian faith is not blind faith, but eyes-wide-open faith, engaging with mind & heart & will, believing in what God has revealed as true, and acting accordingly. Your whole being putting all your trust only in God and what He says is true. Choosing to believe because of the evidence.
Believers have faith that our Creator came to the Cradle in order to go to the Cross and win the Crown of life, so that you can become a New Creation in Christ.
The letter to the Hebrews puts it this way: "Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. For by it the people of old received their commendation. By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible."
The hall of fame of faith gives us plenty of examples to understand it. In particular, how we trust the Lord to fulfill promises that we do not see in this life, but are guaranteed for eternity. The premier example is the Lord Jesus Christ Himself, "the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God."
We are likewise called to trust and obey, like Christ, regardless of earthly trials we endure here as we await heavenly promises. Make this doxology your prayer: "Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, equip you with everything good that you may do His will, working in us that which is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen." By faith, live out what God works in you, as you trust and obey!
Hebrews 11-13 www.esv.org/Hebrews+11-13

24 DEC 24
THE APPEARING OF OUR SAVIOR - the apostle Paul's second letter to Timothy puts Christmas in context - the testimony about our Lord: "Who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of His own purpose and grace, which He gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began, and which now has been manifested through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel."
Timothy's faith was nurtured by his grandmother and mother, and matured under instruction by Paul. He says "do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth" and "by the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, guard the good deposit entrusted to you."
God has not only given us new life in Christ, but also given us Good News to share, and the Holy Spirit to empower us - so you can trust Him, obey Him, and let His transforming grace overflow from your life to those around you. Especially at Christmas - trust in Christ, and point others to Christ!
2 Timothy 1-4 www.esv.org/2+Timothy+1-4

25 DEC 25
ALL THINGS - our daily chronological reading through the Bible brings us to 2 Peter and Jude today. Make some time to meditate on these passages today. These letters also provide context for Christmas, as they magnify the Lord & Savior Jesus Christ, through whom we have received salvation, and by whom grace and peace are multiplied in the knowledge of him. These letters are also practical, as they warn against false teachings, and exhort holy living, according to the truth revealed in God's Word.
Peter makes a remarkable proclamation about Christ: "His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us to His own glory and excellence, by which He has granted to us His precious and very great promises." He then writes a remarkable list of expectations, empowered by the Holy Spirit: "so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire.
"For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love."
Our justification in Christ is monergistic, that is, God saves us. He is the one who works our salvation. But the sanctification portion of salvation is synergistic, that is, you participate in the process of God making you holy, more like Christ, by the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit. That's you "working out" salvation.
And this is how you experience salvation on earth, as you are getting ready for eternity with Him. Peter says, "For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins.
"Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall. For in this way there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ."
It's a practical and urgent exhortation to live out His expectations - empowered by His Holy Spirit indwelling all who believe. Likewise Jude warns against false teaching and teachers, and exhorts, "but you beloved, build yourselves up in your most holy faith; pray in the Holy Spirit; keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life."
Jude closes with a dramatic doxology: "Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of His glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen." Indeed! Trust and obey Him today, as you share the Good News with all around!
2 Peter 1-3 www.esv.org/2+Peter+1-3 -&-
Jude www.esv.org/Jude

26 DEC 26
DIVINE LOVE IN THE FLESH - more context for Christmas! John the apostle was an eyewitness of Jesus Christ. His first letter underscores the reality of the humanity of Jesus. His was no illusion of humanness, but the real deal, "which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked at and have touched with our hands."
Those who deny His humanity are false teachers, anti-Christs. "And so now many anti-Christs have come," says John. Do not be deceived. The anti-Christs deny the Father and that the Son come in the flesh. Hold fast to the truth, and emulate those who walk in the light, who obey His commands, to love one another, and love not the things of the world.
For "greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world." And greater is the testimony of God: "that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life."
This makes it all so clear, the way of salvation, trusting in Christ alone. More than that, it makes it all so immediate: "I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know you have eternal life." That you may KNOW today right now. This assurance of salvation comes by the testimony of the Holy Spirit written in the hearts and minds of all who believe what God says and put their trust in His Word - and have faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Jesus was born once for all so that you can be born again and become a new creation in Him.
"Little children, keep yourselves from idols." Only Jesus saves. Do not be deceived by false spirits, but trust in what God says in His written Word - and live it out, by His power within you!
1 John 1-5 www.esv.org/1+John+1-5

27 DEC 27
CHRISTOLOGY - is the branch of theology concerned with the nature and person of Jesus Christ as revealed in the Scriptures. As the first letter of John dealt with the coming of Christ in the flesh, we see echoes of this important doctrine in the second letter of John, which contains an excellent summary of themes in John's gospel as well. Jesus is fully human and fully divine, God Himself come in the flesh.
"And this is love, that we walk according to His commandments; this is the commandment, just as you have heard from the beginning, so that you should walk in it. For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not confess the coming of Jesus Christ in the flesh. Such a one is the deceiver and the anti-Christ." Many such deceivers had come and even today Christians must guard carefully the teaching of Scripture on the full humanity and full deity of Jesus Christ.
The third letter of John focuses on the hospitality that should be shown to traveling missionaries who proclaim the true Gospel of Jesus Christ. Both letters open with touching personal comments and close with "Though I have much to write to you, I would rather not use paper and ink. Instead I hope to come to you and talk face to face, so that our joy may be complete."
This is the koinonia or sharing of fellowship that believers experience together - one reason that true followers of Christ will be found gathered together with other believers, worshiping and growing together in grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus as they study the Scriptures - then living it out, fulfilling His commands, by His Spirit within. Go thou and do likewise today!
MORE on Christology = www.ChristologyStatement.com  2 John www.esv.org/2+John -&- 3 John www.esv.org/3+John

28 DEC 28
DISCLOSURE - As we celebrate Advent and Christmas we look forward to the coming of Christ. His first coming culminated in the first century AD. Yet as believers in the 21st century, we still await the promised final fulfillment of the final coming of Christ, which is also talked about in the final book of the New Testament.
In the "revelation of Jesus Christ" given to John "your brother and partner in the tribulation and the kingdom and the patient endurance that are in Jesus"... God revealed "to His servants the things that must soon take place." The resurrection of Jesus inaugurated the "last days" spoken by Old Testament prophets, as God commences the consummation of His redemptive plan.
If you find Revelation confusing, you are not alone. Theologians describe four major views as to when the things described take place, ranging from the past to the present to the future, or some combination. Many aspects of each view present appropriate and valid interpretations, so discussions require much humility. Also, applications can be made to the first century when Revelation was written, as well as to the concluding episodes of human history yet to come - and to every timeframe inbetween.
Christians throughout church history have profited from the book of Revelation, and will until God fulfills all things. Because persecution will continue, and Christ will conquer all.
The first five chapters set the stage, with the resurrected Jesus Christ as "the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of kings on earth. To Him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by His blood and made us a kingdom, priests to His God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.
"Behold, He is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see Him, even those who pierced Him, and all tribes of the earth will wail on account of Him. Even so. Amen. “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.” Even so, come quickly, Lord Jesus!
Revelation 1-5 www.esv.org/Revelation+1-5/

29 DEC 29
CYCLES - The Greek word for "apocalypse," meaning disclosure, entitles the book of Revelation, which presents a series of symbolic visual imagery. As the Revelation unfolds, chapters 6-11 relate the cycles of seven seals and seven angels.
Each cycle ends by describing some aspect of the coming of Christ. Many scholars suggest each cycle shows the same spiritual war from a different perspective. These dramatic pictures help Christians understand history as being God-centered, not man-centered, as God redeems His people by His own Son, through His life, death, resurrection and ascension.
"After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!”
And all the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying, “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever! Amen.” And after the seventh angel blew his trumpet, there were loud voices in heaven, saying “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever.”
This is the essential message of Revelation: Jesus reigns and shall reign, and in that we rejoice and say "even so, come quickly, Lord Jesus!" as we share His Good News!
Revelation 6-11 www.esv.org/Revelation+6-11

30 DEC 30
WAR IN HEAVEN - chapters 12-18 of Revelation reveal great spiritual forces warring against God and His purpose on earth. The dragon, the beast, the false prophet portray a counterfeit trinity which seeks to lead the world astray. The harlot is a counterfeit bride, in contrast with the pure bride of Christ.
And the Lord God rules over all history and all the universe. And His chosen Savior, the Son of God, will accomplish redemption. His redeemed ones, the saints, must remain true and pure as the bride of the Redeemer, while enduring tribulation.
The counterfeit trinity (echoed from Daniel 7:1-8) seeks to lead the world astray. But Christ is the divine warrior who fulfills the Old Testament imagery of the conqueror. Satan the imitator and perverter cannot overcome the Creator King. All these visions foreshadow the final consummation of the victorious Christ, the champion of the church and the Lord of creation and the King of the universe.
God wins! and so all who are in Christ share in His eternal triumph! Rejoice as you trust and obey Him today.
Revelation 12-18 www.esv.org/Revelation+12-18

31 DEC 31
JESUS REIGNS - the final chapters of Revelation describe the final battle and victory of Christ against evil, the vindication of His true Church as the bride of Christ, the last Judgment, the new Jerusalem and new heaven and earth, and eternal inheritance by God's redeemed people as God's light and glory and presence and peace fills all things as an echo of His perfect creation. The defeat of the counterfeit trinity by the True Trinity consummates the history of the redemption of God's people, resulting in true worship of the true living God forever.
As you read these chapters, realize that life-long scholars of Scripture disagree on many possible interpretations, not only of the Revelation, but also of the relevant Old Testament passages which speak with similar apocalyptic imagery. It really is difficult and complicated. Rather than being frustrated for not precisely understanding every passage and nuance of prophetic Scripture, let us be humble and worshipful as we recognize the timeless truths: Jesus defeats evil forever, Jesus reigns, now and forever, and Jesus protects and preserves all who put their trust in Him as Lord and Savior.
As we believers persevere even now, in whatever tribulation comes our way, the book of Revelation encourages and strengthens us to trust and obey, in worshipful submission to the Lord of the universe. Maranatha, even so, come quickly, Lord Jesus!
Revelation 19-22 www.esv.org/Revelation+19-22

whole Bible in 1 year chronologically ~20 minutes a day - http://static.esvmedia.org/assets/pdfs/rp.chronological.pdf (7-day) - click to read~listen~email~app https://www.esv.org/resources/reading-plans -&-
www.ligonier.org/blog/bible-reading-plans/ -&-
www.crossway.org/articles/series/esvorg-reading-plans/ -
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