Daily: A Year in the Word of God

If you’re the kind of person who doesn’t do so well reading off a screen, I’m going to make things easy for you. Everything I’ve been working on this year is now available in printed book format. Not only does Daily:A Year in the Word of God contain a devotional to go along with your daily Bible reading, but it’s set up like a journal so you can record your own thoughts and ideas.

Each volume contains four weeks worth of devotionals. Volumes 1 and 2 are available now with 3 on the way soon. Click on the image below to get to Amazon.com and order your copy now!

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Confidence

Let’s keep going with some word study. Confidence is a word we use with a certain amount of regularity, but do we use it with it’s full meaning behind it?

CON’FIDENCE, noun. A trusting, or reliance; an assurance of mind or firm belief in the integrity, stability or veracity of another, or in the truth and reality of a fact.

In how many situations do you have an assurance of mind? How often does that apply to the stability of another? How often does this really apply to you and your confidence in your salvation?

Therefore do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward.

Hebrews 10:35 (ESV)

This confidence that is being referred to is in the promise of the covenant Jesus made for and with us. It is complete trust that, in any and every situation, our covenant with Jesus stands firm and that we will receive what has been promised to us. But it may not be easy.

For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised.

Hebrews 10:36 (ESV)

Be encouraged, though.

But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and preserve their souls.

Hebrews 10:39 (ESV)

Daily Bible reading: Ezekiel 7-9, Hebrews 10:24-39

Sufficient

Here’s another big word for you that, the more you say it or think about it, the weirder it gets. But what does it really mean? When Paul speaks in 2 Corinthians 12 about God’s grace being sufficient is it just barely enough to scrape by or is it enough for us to live a victorious life?

SUFFICIENT:

Enough; equal to the end proposed; adequate to wants, competent.

Qualified; competent; possessing adequate talents or accomplishments.

Fit; able; of competent power or ability.

Thinking about sufficiency in that context, let’s take a look at Paul’s words.

…But he also said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you [My lovingkindness and My mercy are more than enough – always available – regardless of the situation]; for [My] power is being perfected [and is complete and shows itself most effectively] in [your] weakness.” Therefore, I will all the more gladly boast in my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ [may completely enfold me and] may swell in me.

2 Corinthians 12:9 (AMP)

More than enough. Always available. That is what sufficiency is with God. Never running out. Having enough to complete the work that was started. When you look at grace that way, no one, no one, is beyond saving. There is nothing you have ever said or done that is beyond what God is able to cover with His grace.

Daily Bible reading: Song of Solomon 1-3, 2 Corinthians 12

Firstborn

There are some that believe we are all predestined for a certain purpose and eternal end. That we have no choice in the matter. No matter what we do, nothing will change what God has laid out for us whether it be good or bad.

I cannot bring myself to agree with this idea.

The idea of predestination could be derived from Romans 8:29 where it states that, “those he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son…” It makes sense. Almost.

Think about it.

Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written every one of them,
the days that were formed for me,
when as yet there were none of them

Psalm 139:16 (ESV)

God foreknew all of us. Every last human being on earth. He formed us in our mother’s wombs.

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.

Romans 8:28-30 (ESV)

God predestined the entire population of planet earth to be conformed to the likeness of His Son. He called us. He justified us. He glorified us.

So why aren’t we all living the happy, wonderful Christian life?

Because in giving us a destiny, God also gave us free will. You can make plans for someone. Good plans. But that doesn’t mean that the person you’ve made plans for will follow them. If we have no choice in the matter, there’s no point in the matter.

I take great comfort in the knowledge that God loves me enough to have set out good things for me. A hope and a good future. I was skillfully made for a purpose. God thinks about me. Good thoughts. Many thoughts. He has a plan for my life.

Is this plan just going to happen on it’s own? Does any plan just happen on it’s own? No! In order for plans to be carried out, you need to know what they are. The best way to learn the plan is to get to know the planner.

Daily Bible reading: Psalm 82-84; Romans 8:19-39

Free

It seems, more and more, that our culture is moving away from the feeling of shame. No one should ever have to feel bad for anything they’ve said or done.

While I agree that we should not be going around pointing fingers at each other, there is a reason and even a benefit to shame. There are reasons why some win and some lose.

Let’s first look at what shame really is.

SHAME: a painful sensation excited by a consciousness of guilt, or of having done something which injures reputation; or by of that which nature or modesty prompts us to conceal.

In other words, shame is something you should feel when you’ve done something wrong. Even Christians have somehow taken this twisted world view expressing that we shouldn’t feel bad.

Like pain is an indicator that something is wrong with us physically, shame is an indicator that something is wrong spiritually. If we do things that we know are contrary to the life of Christ that we’ve been brought into, we should feel a measure of guilt and shame. What we should not feel, though, is condemned.

There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.

Romans 8:1-2 (ESV)

If you’ve sinned, you’re guilty. There’s no reason to hide from that fact, but the truth that we can run toward is this – that God does not condemn us when we come to Him in repentance.

For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the spirit… But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through is Spirit who dwells in you.

Romans 8:3-4, 9-11 (ESV)

Though sin leads to death, those who are in Christ have been set free from it. What better reason is there to run from the bondage of sin than to run towards the freedom life?

Daily Bible reading: Psalm 79-81; Romans 8:1-18

The next generation

I was talking with my mother the other day of someone we know to have been raised in a Christian home. His wife was also raised in a Christian home. Somehow, though, the faith was not established in either of them and they soon walked away from all faith. When he was later diagnosed with cancer, rather than returning to the faith of his childhood, he turned to spirit healers and other forms of faith.

What happened?

If you read through Psalm 78 (long though it may be), you’ll find account after account of similar actions. We’ve read it already this year in previous books of the Old Testament. Israel follows God. Israel turns from God. Everything goes wrong. Israel turns back to God. It’s a never-ending circle of advance and retreat.

Asaph, the writer of this Psalm begins with a bit of a reminder before going into the history of Israel.

Give ear, O my people, to my teaching;
incline your ears to the words of my mouth!
I will open my mouth in a parable;
I will utter dark sayings from old.
things that we have heard and known,
that our fathers have told us.
We will not hide them from their children,
but tell to the coming generation
the glorious deeds of the Lord, and his might,
and the wonders that he has done.

He established a testimony in Jacob
and appointed law in Israel,
which he commanded our fathers
to teach to their children,
that the next generation might know them,
the children yet unborn,
and arise and tell them to their children,
so that they should set their hope in God
and not forget the works of God,
but keep his commandments;
and that they should not be like their fathers,
a stubborn and rebellious generation,
a generation whose heart was not steadfast.
whose spirit was not faithful to God.

Psalm 78:1-8 (ESV)

What would happen in a single generation if mothers and especially fathers, would teach their children to set their hope in God? If today’s children were taught to love and honour God and each other?

Asaph saw his fathers’ folly and urged the present generation not to make the same mistake. What if we did likewise? How much could we change the world for the next generation?

Daily Bible reading: Psalm 78; Romans 7

Grace

What is grace? To some, it is the Get Our of Jail Free card because, after all, God will always forgive me, right? It would mean that we can do anything and, as long as we ask forgiveness, we’re good. But if you’re never truly repentant, can there ever be true forgiveness?

What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it?

Romans 6:1-2 (ESV)

The doctrine of grace is this: we are born into sin because of Adam’s sinfulness in the Garden. Because of that sin, we are ever separated from God and can never be reconciled with Him. Grace is what we have been offered through Jesus’ blood as a way to come to God. One of my Bible school teachers put it this way:

Faith is our grip on God.
Grace is God’s grip on us.

Grace is not an excuse to sin, but rather an excuse to stay away from sin. We can either be alive in Christ and dead to sin or alive in sin and dead to Christ. We cannot be both alive to sin and alive in Christ. If Christ, the light of the world, be in us, darkness cannot also dwell there.

In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

John 1:4-5 (ESV)

Daily Bible reading: Psalm 75-77; Romans 6