Monthly Archives: February 2015

The Joy of God’s Presence, February 28

February 28, Saturday: Inspiration, Motivation, Encouragement

Scripture Reading— Proverbs 31:10-31

Women are mysterious to men. Cultures and societies have attempted to subjugate them. They, like other classes of people, have had at times to fight long and strenuous battles to gain equitable treatment among their male counterparts. To the surprise of many, it is the Bible that has done more to elevate women to their rightful place than any “women’s rights” movements. Though Scripture does teach the principle of male spiritual leadership, it also extols the virtues, industry, courage, honor, and worthiness of women. Any people at any time and in any place would be well served to be informed by Scripture about women’s God-given place and purpose.

Questions to Ponder:

  • What is the value of an excellent wife? (v. 10)
  • With what does she dress herself? (v. 17)
  • Does this woman contribute to the family income?
  • What woman is worthy of praise? (v. 30)

The Joy of God’s Presence, February 27

February 27, Friday: Bible Story (2)

Scripture Reading— Genesis 42:1-38; 45:1-28

The last time Joseph’s brothers had seen him was when in anger and resentment they sold him as a slave to a group of traveling foreigners. Now, they did not know him until he identified himself. They bowed before the one who held their lives in his hand. It’s all the same people, but the circumstances have dramatically changed. As Joseph had feared what his brothers might do, the fear was now theirs. We have but little control when it comes to the changes in life’s state of affairs, but we do have control over how we treat people and our response to our treatment. Sometimes we’re in a position of advantage, other times it’s disadvantage. The question is whether our greatest concern will be for our circumstance—either to exploit the advantage or escape the disadvantage—or the people involved. People trump circumstances.

Questions to Ponder:

  • Whom did Jacob not sent to Egypt for grain and why? (42:4)
  • Of what did Joseph accuse his brothers? (42:9)
  • What did the brothers find in their grain sacks when they returned home? (42:35)
  • How did Joseph understand all the events that led to current situation? (45:5)

The Joy of God’s Presence, February 26

February 26, Thursday: Great Truths

Scripture Reading— Romans 4:1-25

Abraham’s obedient faith is legendary (see Heb. 11:8-19). But nothing he ever did put God at obligation to him. The response of God to Abraham was not to give “wages” (Rom. 4:4). Instead the Divine response was to count it as righteousness. Why? Because he trusted God. He believed that what God said was so. He acted, in obedience, with the utmost confidence in God’s promises. So then, we too, may be also blessed as we “believe in him who raised from the dead Jesus our Lord.”

Questions to Ponder:

  • Whose faith is counted as righteousness? (v. 5)
  • The promise to Abraham that he would be “heir of the world” came through what? (v. 13)
  • Upon what must the promise of salvation rest? (v. 16)
  • Of what was Abraham fully convinced? (v. 21)

The Joy of God’s Presence, February 25

February 25, Wednesday: Discipleship

Scripture Reading— Luke 10:25-37

An unnamed lawyer prompted one of Jesus’ most famous teachings, the parable of the Good Samaritan. The man wished to “justify himself.” He had been, according to Jesus, correct in knowing that loving God and your neighbor as yourself was necessary to “inherit eternal life.” Perhaps the man understood quite well his own failure to do what he already knew he should do. And thus, his follow up question, “Who is my neighbor?”. Following this startling and incisive parable, the man understood that the demonstration of mercy characterized a true neighbor. Again, Jesus insisted on the obligation to “do”. Theoretical faith fails. Having the right answers is insufficient. Faith only becomes real when knowing meets doing.

Questions to Ponder:

  • What was the purpose of the lawyer’s question? (v. 25)
  • Jesus, on another occasion, gave this same answer to a question. What was that question? (see Matt. 22:36-37)
  • Why was this parable so startling?
  • Who is my neighbor that I should love as myself?

The Joy of God’s Presence, February 24

February 24, Tuesday: Bible Story (1)

Scripture Reading— Genesis 40:1-41:57

Sometimes we hear remarkable, unexpected happenings described as “a God thing.” I’m not here to pass judgment on such assessments, but I do hope such thinking doesn’t prompt people to inactivity. You know, God’s going to do what He’s going to do, so what I do doesn’t matter. Not true. Joseph didn’t give up in prison and say, What’s the use? He continued to do his best and do right and be used by God when and where he could. Yes, it’s true that his getting out of prison and ascending to the second-most-powerful position in the mightiest nation on earth all in the same day was definitely “a God thing.” But it happened to a man presently and actively in God’s service. You can’t count on “a God thing” fixing your problems, but you can serve God. Who knows what will happen from there.

Questions to Ponder:

  • To whom do interpretations belong? (40:8)
  • What was Joseph’s request of the cup bearer (40:14)
  • How much time passed before Joseph interpreted Pharaoh’s dream? (41:1)
  • For what purpose did God place Joseph in his powerful position?

The Joy of God’s Presence, February 23

February 23, Monday: Jesus

Scripture Reading—John 1:19-51

“You can lead a horse to water, …” You know how the rest of it goes. John’s ministry is a graphic illustration of how some people “get it” and other just seem incapable. He spent his time pointing people to Jesus. For some the result was very satisfactory, “and they followed Jesus” (Jn. 1:37). Then there were those who readily recognized John as someone quite special—they even asked if he were the Christ—but his attempts to draw their attention to Jesus instead of himself were fruitless. My first inclination may be to criticize these spiritual dullards, but really it should be to ask, Is there anything I’m not yet “getting” as I should?

Questions to Ponder:

  • What three possible persons did John’s questioners think he might be? (v. 25)
  • How did John identify Jesus to his own disciples? (v. 29)
  • How was John told that he would able to identify the Christ? (v. 33)
  • To what Old Testament event does Jesus tie His presence? (v. 51)

The Joy of God’s Presence, February 22

February 22, Sunday: God

Scripture Reading—Deuteronomy 6:1-25

TMITITKTMITTMIT; That is, “the most important thing is to keep the most important thing the most important thing.” So, that means the trick is figuring out what is most important. Really, there’s no trick to it. Jesus says it’s the fact that the Lord alone is God and He is to be loved with all of one’s heart, soul, mind, and strength (see Mark 12:28-30). Who’s going to argue with Jesus? Of all the things one may know and all the obligations incumbent upon a person, none excels this. Oh, and get this, what is God’s grand scheme for disseminating this grandest of truths/commands? It’s not some ingenious marketing plan, not through some complex organization, not even by a miraculous communication. It is parents teaching their children—the most important way to spread the most important thing. That’s the way to keep TMITTMIT.

Questions to Ponder:

  • What is the historical setting of Deuteronomy?
  • Where are these words to be kept? (v. 6)
  • What must the people of God not do? (v. 12)
  • What will be if we are careful to do all God’s commandments? (v. 25)

The Joy of God’s Presence, February 21

February 21, Saturday: Inspiration, Motivation, Encouragement

Scripture Reading— Psalm 23

Familiar may be fine, but it can also be fatal. Familiarity can ruin relationships, destroy impetus, squelch wonder, and dampen excitement. Why don’t you feel the same today when you sit behind the wheel of your car as you did when you first got it? Do you remember falling in love with that special someone? What happened to that excitement level of being with them or receiving a text of phone call from them? Familiarity can turn the thrilling and breathtaking into the mundane and normal. So, here it is, Psalm 23 is among the very most familiar Scriptures in all of the Bible. How do you feel about it?

Questions to Ponder:

  • What does it mean for the Lord to be my Shepherd?
  • What are “green pastures” and “still waters” to me?
  • Of what use is God’s rod and staff?
  • How are goodness and mercy important to my life?

The Joy of God’s Presence, February 20

February 20, Friday: Bible Story (2)

Scripture Reading— Genesis 39:1-23

Right is right and it’s always right. That’s not a real popular sentiment these days. But that itself touches one of the great realities about truth—it doesn’t depend on popularity or people’s willingness to accept it, it is right, regardless. Joseph understood this well. A sexual liaison with Potiphar’s wife was not right. It mattered not how pretty or persistent she was. It matter not if anyone else knew or not. It mattered not if they could “get away with it.” It mattered not if most people thought it would have been OK. It mattered not if Joseph could have further advanced his place by it. It mattered not how much she, or he, wanted it. It was not right. Even if every other influence had been pointing to fulfilling this woman’s wish, Joseph knew it was “great wickedness and sin against God” (Gen. 39:9). That’s all that matters.

Questions to Ponder:

  • Think about Joseph’s situation (v. 1) and the comments of v. 2. How can this be possible?
  • What did the Lord do for Joseph’s sake? (v. 5)
  • What measures to Joseph have to take to escape Potiphar’s wife? (v. 12)
  • What did God show to Joseph according to v. 21? What did that entail, and what did it not entail?

The Joy of God’s Presence, February 19

February 19, Thursday: Great Truths

Scripture Reading— Colossians 1:15-21

One size fits all? Really? It doesn’t does it? A job that is everyone’s responsibility never gets done. The cure-all answer doesn’t cure anything. A retailer who thinks everyone is his customer is destined to fail. With good reason we are suspicious of blanket statements and pat answers. Though this may be true, it isn’t in every case, particularly with Jesus. No grander, glorious, or beautiful words are found in Scripture than these that extol Jesus as God’s image, creator, eternal, authority, etc. But notice this, who He is and what He’s done involves “all things” (used 5 times) and “everything.” No thing and no one is unconnected with Jesus.

Questions to Ponder:

  • What does the fact that Jesus is the image of the invisible God suggest? (v. 15)
  • What role does Jesus currently play with creation? (v. 17)
  • What dwells in Christ? (v. 19)
  • What is able to be accomplished in Jesus? (v. 20)