Matthew 5:1-26 One of the scriptures that always comes to my remembrance when I pray is, "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father which is in heaven" (Matt. 5:16.) We are exhorted in the Scriptures to challenge one another to love and good works (Heb. 10:24).
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Proverbs 1:20-23 In ancient times most cities were walled cities. Jerusalem, for example, had twelve gates and high, thick walls. These walls were created to keep the enemies of the city from entering and destroying the city. Proverbs 16:32 says, "He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city." Proverbs 25:28 says, "Whoever has no rule over his own spirit is like a city broken down, without walls."
Matthew 3:7-4:11 We describe people as worldly when they are consumed with their own lusts. First John 2:16 tells us what these three lusts are: the lust of the eyes (greedy longings in our minds), the lust of the flesh (seeking sensual pleasure in obsessive, indulgent ways) and the pride of life (trusting in our own selves and our resources more than we trust in God). This verse says that these lusts are not of the Father, but they are of the world. Jesus, however, through His victory over temptation and through His death, burial and resurrection from the dead, has overcome the world. In this story of the temptation of Jesus we see Satan tempting Jesus as he tempted Eve in the areas of the three beautiful desires—to enjoy God, to glorify God and to worship God. Satan thought he would also succeed in seducing Jesus. He forgot one very important fact: Jesus was the Word of God made flesh. The Word is the offensive sword of the Spirit against Satan, and Jesus wielded this sword effectively against the enemy. We can do the same.
Genesis 3:1-4:26 There are only three ways the enemy can tempt us. When God created Adam and Eve, they had three beautiful desires: the desire to worship God in all of His holiness, the desire to enjoy God and all of His creation, and the desire to glorify God or make His presence manifest on earth to all of creation. All the desires in the souls of Adam and Eve were directed toward God, and only God could satisfy those desires. These desires were perverted after the Fall into three lustful areas in our souls: The desire to worship God was perverted into the lust of the eyes (greedy longings in our minds); the desire to enjoy God was perverted into the lust of the flesh (seeking to satisfy our five senses through overindulgence); and the desire to glorify God was perverted into the pride of life (trusting in our own resources and ourselves more than we trust in God). These are the three buttons Satan always tries to push in us because he knows we will always have these weaknesses in our souls.
Psalm 1:1-6 The psalmist reverses the natural way we learn to walk. A baby first learns to sit up and then gradually pulls himself up to the standing position. Finally, when he feels steady on his feet, he ventures to take the first step. God has not called us to a natural way of walking. He has called us to a supernatural walk. We walk in His ways, we stand in His righteousness, and we sit in His presence.
Malachi 3:1-4:6 I trust you have been blessed by reading through the Bible with me this year. I pray your first New Year's resolution will be to read the Bible through next year and every year until you go to be with the Lord. Perhaps you would like to write devotionals of your own as you read through the Bible in this next year. I plan to write devotionals on those passages that I did not cover this year.
Revelation 21:1-27 As we draw near to the end of our yearly readings, this passage in Revelation should cause our hearts to leap. If you know your name is written in the Lamb's Book of Life, you can look forward to living in the New Jerusalem. The description of this holy city is mind boggling, but I believe every word of it. Yes, we will walk streets of gold, and there will be gates made of pearl. There will be no need of the sun or the moon because the light will emanate from the glory of God.
Psalm 148:1-14 From the time our three sons were very young until this day I prayed this prayer for them: "Father, I pray our sons will have the same excellent spirit Daniel had. Daniel was filled with Your Spirit, and Your Spirit is excellent."
Zechariah 12:1-13:9 This scripture in Zechariah is a powerful prophecy of when the veil of the Jewish people will be dropped and Israel will be saved in a day. Zechariah prophesies, "And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his first born" (Zech. 12:10, KJV).
Psalm 146:1-10 We are fast approaching the new year, and soon we will hear the age-old phrase, "Happy New Year!" Everyone wants a happy New Year. The Greek word for happy also means "blessed." In fact, the Beatitudes in some modern translations say, "Happy is the man who-.-.-.-" instead of "Blessed is the man who-.-.-.-" Let's think a moment about the word Beatitudes. When we break this word down, we see it means the attitude of our being. This psalm states the attitude we should have daily as we live on earth. Listen to the words of David: "While I live I will praise the Lord, I will sing praises to my God while I have my being" (v. 2).
Psalm 145:1-21 I remember as a child praying this blessing before every meal: "God is great! God is good! Let us thank Him for our food! Amen." This psalm expresses the greatness of God. David says, "Every day will I bless You, and I will praise Your name forever and ever. Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised; and His greatness is unsearchable" (vv. 2-3).
Psalm 144:1-15 One of my favorite Christmas hymns is "Joy to the World." True joy can only come from Jesus, and on this Christmas morning we are more aware than ever of this fact. All over the world people are celebrating the birth of Jesus, and their joy is not based upon their circumstances. Their joy is based on the fact Jesus has come to touch their circumstances and every area of their lives.
Psalm 143:1-12 In this psalm David said, "I spread out my hands to You; my soul longs for You like a thirsty land" (v. 6). Recently we have gone through a severe drought where I live. As I looked on our land, I saw cracks in the earth, and they seemed to be crying out, "Fill me, fill me." The earth was cracked because there was no moisture to spare it from the burning rays of the sunshine. David was going through a dry time, and the land of his soul felt parched, dry and cracked for lack of the rain of God's Spirit.
Zechariah 4:1-5:11 We sing a song in our church based on this scripture. This song is saying it is not by our own might or strength that we do God's will. It is by the might and power of the Spirit that we are able to do anything for the Lord on this earth. The Holy Spirit is the might and power of God. The Holy Spirit manifests God's works and wonders on this earth, and these wonders and works reveal God's might and power. We can only see the wind by watching the trees rustle their leaves and sway to and fro. God's Spirit manifests God's power and might throughout the earth and also through our own lives. We are vessels of the Lord created to contain His Spirit. We have to remember, however, we are not to keep this treasure to ourselves. We are to manifest God's glory (His might, light and power) to others by allowing the Holy Spirit to rustle us, to stir us up and to pour the oil of His anointing from these earthen vessels to all those we encounter throughout the day.
Psalm 141:1-10 In this psalm David prays a prayer we all need to pray. He prays, "Let my prayer be set before You as incense, the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice. Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips" (vv. 2-3).
Zechariah 1:1-21 As we come nearer to the celebration of Jesus' birth, our thoughts go back to that still, quiet night in Bethlehem when the shepherds were startled by a heavenly host that sang, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth, peace, good will to men." I had the opportunity to stay in a kibbutz in Bethlehem that overlooked the shepherds' fields. As I sat quietly on the balcony I could hear in the distance the tinkling of the bells on the shepherds' staffs as the shepherds led their sheep to a place of rest for the evening. It was a star-filled night very much like the one when heaven came down and glory filled our hearts.
Psalm 139:1-24 This psalm declares clearly how much God is thinking about us. We have an expression in the Christian community we use when we are concerned about someone. We say, "You have really been on my heart." We are on God's heart every day of our lives. Listen quietly and You can hear Him say, "Today, My child, you are on My heart, and I am praying for you." This psalm says, "How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they would be more in number than the sand: when I awake, I am still with You" (vv. 17-18).
Psalm 138:1-8 Through the years I have used this scripture many times as different situations and relationships became a concern to me. It is so comforting to know that the Lord knows everything that concerns us. He knows every person that we are concerned about. It is so exciting to realize that He not only knows all my concerns, but His plan is to perfect everything that concerns me. Listen to these comforting words again "Though I walk in the midst of trouble, thou wilt revive me: thou shalt stretch forth thine hand against the wrath of mine enemies, and thy right hand shall save me. The Lord will perfect that which concerneth me: thy mercy, O Lord, endureth for ever: forsake not the works of thine own hands" (vv. 7-8, KJV).
Habakkuk 1:1-3:19 The Bible tells us that without a vision the people will perish. It is so important to have a vision or several visions throughout our lifetime. God calls us to be visionaries. He created the imagination to be used for His glory. Satan, however, ever since the Fall seeks to use our imaginations for his dirty work. Satan has the power to plant images in our minds that will tempt us to sin. We see this clearly when so many today are involved in pornography. When we set our eyes on anything that is not holy, good, pure, virtuous and lovely, those images we receive will be played over and over again in our minds. The spiritual battlefield is our minds and we must use the mighty weapons of God (His Word, the blood of Jesus, prayer and the name of Jesus) to pull down those vain imaginations that Satan would use to destroy us. God desires our minds to be stayed upon Him, and when they are, we will have perfect peace. The visions and images God wants us to have are of Him and His plans for our lives.
Psalm 135:1-21 When we praise the Lord with singing, it is pleasant to Him, and He will make our days pleasant if we will sing throughout every day. David spent most of his days singing songs of praise. He was a psalmist. We do not have to be an expert as David with his song writing, but we can sing in the Spirit and sing some of David's psalms all the day long. In fact, this is the way to stay filled with the Spirit. Paul exhorts us in Ephesians to sing spiritual songs, psalms and hymns and to always make melody in our hearts. He shares that this is the secret to staying filled with the Spirit. It is hard to fulfill the lusts of our own carnal nature when we are constantly making melody in our hearts unto the Lord.