Category Archives: Tuesday–Following God’s Way

My Delight is the Lord, December 27

Ask a Sixth Grader

December 27, Tuesday: Following God’s Way

Scripture Reading: Psalm 102

An education principle has been dubbed by some as “the 6th grader” principle. The idea is that if a 4th grader is struggling with a subject in school, they may be more willing to seek out and be helped by a 6th grader than by their teacher. The slightly older, fellow student is one with whom they can relate. There’s a connection with one who’s done what I’m now trying to do and succeeded, rather than with the “expert.” Maybe this is part of the reason why there are so many Psalms like 102 where the writer relates their own struggles, frustrations, and hurts as they seek to serve God. This as opposed to pronouncements of truth to address the issue. The circumstances may not be the same, but here is someone who has been down a similar path and their faith not only survived, but grew in the process. If they made it, I know I can too.

Questions to Ponder:

  • What are the expectations for God expressed in v. 2?
  • Note the contrast between man and God (vv. 11-12)
  • Why is learning Bible history important? (v. 18)
  • Did God intend the creation to last forever? (vv. 25-26)

My Delight is the Lord, December 20

Not Limited

December 20, Tuesday: Following God’s Way

Scripture Reading: 2 Timothy 2:1-13

Several of the New Testament books penned by Paul were written as he was incarcerated. His movements were restricted, he was physically confined, his opportunities to preach were seriously curtailed. Though this was all true, he exclaimed, “But the word of God is not bound!” (v. 9). The message of God’s salvation is not restricted by human limitations. Though Paul played a key and leading role in the gospel’s spread, he was hardly the only one who preached. Though his talents and personal traits contributed greatly to the word’s relentless spread, it’s power was not in this–or any other–man. God’s purpose is for man to participate directly in the gospel’s dissemination (Matt. 28:19-20). But neither it, nor He, is limited by us.

Questions to Ponder:

  • What was Timothy to do with what he heard? (v. 2)
  • What three metaphors does Paul use here for Christian service? (vv. 4-6)
  • How is Jesus identified in v. 8?
  • What is Paul’s warning in v. 16?

My Delight is the Lord, December 13

Effective Prayer

December 13, Tuesday: Following God’s Way

Scripture Reading: 1 Timothy 2:1-15

What are the ingredients for an effective prayer life? The answer to that question is not simple, and this is not an effort at a comprehensive answer. But Paul’s encouragement for men in every place to pray (v. 8) is more than just his way of saying “do it!” He also identifies some of the necessary ingredients for good praying. For one, he says that holy hands are to be lifted in prayer. The emphasis here is not on posture, but on sanctification. He’s talking primarily about prayer as an outgrowth of holy living. Another is the absence of anger and quarreling. It’s entirely possible that my own attitude about other people is the biggest obstacle to better prayers and praying. So, if I’m genuinely concerned to improve my praying, I should give attention to, among other things, a holy life and loosing the anger and quarreling.

Questions to Ponder:

  • For what should we pray in regards to ruling authorities? (v. 2)
  • How our living “a quiet life…” in v. 2 relate to God’s desire in v. 4?
  • How is Jesus qualified to be “mediator”? (vv. 5-6)
  • What is the basis of the male/female arrangement in the church? (vv. 11-14)

My Delight is the Lord, December 6

Spiritual DNA

December 6, Tuesday: Following God’s Way

Scripture Reading: 2 Timothy 1:3-14

Everything you are as a human being is derived from your biological parents’ DNA; the color of your hair, your height, body type, shape of your nose, etc. It’s true that every individual is unique, but at the same time, there’s nothing original (biologically speaking) about you. It also happens that God would have our spiritual DNA to follow the same path. Timothy’s faith didn’t originate with him, it started with his mother and grandmother. Ideally, God would have faith to pass from generation to generation (Eph. 6:4). While the transfer of biological DNA happens without our conscious thought, spiritual DNA does not and can not. Though it doesn’t always happen this way, God wants parents to influence faith in their children just as surely as they do eye color. 

Questions to Ponder:

  • What did Timothy need to do with the gift of God in him? (v. 6)
  • What is the nature of the spirit given us by God? (v. 7)
  • Because of what did God save us? (v. 9)
  • What is meant by “sound” words? (v. 13)

My Delight is the Lord, November 29

Yes, Obey

November 29, Tuesday: Following God’s Way

Scripture Reading: Titus 3:1-11

Obedience is a frequently visited subject in religious discussion. Its vital importance cannot be denied (Heb. 5:8-9; Jn. 14:15). But neither should it be elevated to an “end-all-be-all” status either. It appears here in Titus as something about which followers of Jesus should be reminded (v. 1). Actually it’s one in a list of reminders. The others are submission to rulers, readiness for good work, speaking evil of no one, avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy to all people (vv. 1-2).  Emphasis on one Bible subject ought never to be allowed to overshadow the emphasis on all of what God would have us to know and do. So, yes, obey; but also just as diligently submit, do good works, speak no evil, and so on.

Questions to Ponder:

  • Why should we be gentle and courteous to all people? (v. 3)
  • In what way did God’s goodness and loving kindness appear? (v. 4)
  • What is not the basis of our salvation? (v. 5)
  • What is the basis of our justification? (v. 7)

My Delight is the Lord, November 22

Pray Always

November 22, Tuesday: Following God’s Way

Scripture Reading: Luke 18:1-8

Jesus wants His disciples to pray always and not lose heart in doing so. That’s the explicit statement of v. 1. But why might a person lose heart with regard to prayer? Is it not because the anticipated response fails to materialize? This parable shows two things. One is that persistence in prayer is vitally important. The poor widow and her constant petitions are our example. The other is that we’re not appealing to an unrighteous, uncaring judge (as was the widow). Our petitions are coming to righteous God who could not care for or love us any more than He does. So pray, Jesus says, and do so always. Though God may not respond in the way or at the time we want, don’t get discouraged and quit praying. Remember, His interest is only, and always, for our good.

Questions to Ponder:

  • What was the character of this judge? (v. 2)
  • What recourse did this widow have? (v. 3)
  • Why did the judge relent to the widow’s request? (v. 5)
  • What does Jesus mean by “faith”? (v. 8)

My Delight is the Lord, November 15

Jesus’ Battles

November 15, Tuesday: Following God’s Way

Scripture Reading: Luke 18:9-14

Jesus fought battles on two fronts. One was to help people get past themselves, their own prejudices and selfish pride, to give themselves over in full submission to God. The other was against entrenched, misguided, and misdirected religion. Here, for instance, Jesus addresses the second of these in the form of ones who “trusted in themselves that they were righteous and treated others with contempt” (v. 9). Before we brush aside the brunt of what Jesus says because, “I’m not a Pharisee,” we would be better served to allow His stinging words to settle in. Is my trust in what I do, have done, and don’t do? Is my attitude toward ones who don’t do as I do, contemptuous? Pharisees may no longer be around, but their attitudes and disposition are alive and well. 

Questions to Ponder:

  • Why did Jesus choose these two characters for His parable? (v. 10)
  • How does one trust in himself? (vv. 11-12)
  • Was the Pharisee “right” in what he said of himself? (vv. 11-12)
  • On what basis did the tax collector approach God? (v. 13)

My Delight is the Lord, November 8

Dangerous Threats

November 8, Tuesday: Following God’s Way

Scripture Reading: Colossians 2:6-15

We are quite interested in identifying all threats to our well-being. We want to know if there are health threats (illnesses, epidemics, etc.), financial threats (interest rate increases, unnecessary fees, etc.), and safety threats (weather, driving hazards, etc.). Paul addresses spiritual threats. He identifies them as any influences that would take us “captive” other than Christ (v. 6). He specifies philosophy, empty deceit, human tradition, and elemental spirits of the world (v. 8). We may wrestle to know what all of these are exactly, but all we need to know is that anything that takes Christ from center stage and as the foundation of our faith and life, is a threat. We must always–and only–walk in him and be rooted and built up in him (vv. 6-7). That alone safeguards us from all spiritual threats.

Questions to Ponder:

  • What makes Jesus superior to all other influences? (v. 9)
  • What is the circumcision under discussion in v. 11?
  • How is this circumcision is carried out? (v. 12)
  • What is the record of debt that stood against us? (v. 14)

My Delight is the Lord, November 1

First Necessary Step

November 1, Tuesday: Following God’s Way

Scripture Reading: Matthew 16:24-28

It is one thing to decide that you like and agree with an idea, it’s something else completely to then make decisions and take actions consistent with that idea. Following Jesus is an excellent idea. Countless people agree. Here’s the rub; few are willing to take even the first necessary action to be able to do that–deny self. The very first challenge to following Jesus, and in most cases the biggest one, is me. Am I willing to deny self? Am I willing to “lose” my life (v. 25; Matt. 10:39)? Do I see following Jesus as something that would be good for the life I want to live or am I completely surrendering my life to be lived for Him. Following Jesus isn’t self-improving, self-advancing, or self-promoting. It is self-denial.

Questions to Ponder:

  • What does it mean to “save” or “lose” ones’ life? (v. 25)
  • What can one do so that their soul will not be forfeited? (v. 27)
  • According to what will each person be repaid? (v. 27)
  • What time frame does Jesus place on the arrival of His kingdom? (v. 28)

My Delight is the Lord, October 25

Restore Us, O God

October 25, Tuesday: Following God’s Way

Scripture Reading: Psalm 80

It’s not unusual for God’s children to want God to do what we know He is capable of doing. We know His power, wisdom, knowledge, and mercy are all limitless. We can relate to the cry, “stir up your might and come to save us!” (v. 2). This Psalm goes on three times to repeat the appeal, “Restore us, O God of hosts; let your face shine, that we may be saved!” (vv. 3, 7, 19). Will He? That remains to be seen. While the Psalm is correct to recognize that only through God can salvation come, it also bears out a flaw; not God’s but ours. And its not really our mistake, but it’s a deficiency of being human. Our expectation of God’s action is based on our limited understanding. There is nothing wrong with what this Psalm says and what we want from God, as a matter of fact it is right. All the while, though, we must remember that just because we want it, and know only God can give it, doesn’t mean He must do it.

Questions to Ponder:

  • Who is Joseph? (v. 1)
  • With what is God angry? (v. 4)
  • What is the food and drink mentioned in v. 5?
  • Israel is described as what in v. 8?