Day 28 – Psalm 63

ps63

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.

My soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food,
    and my mouth will praise you with joyful lips,
when I remember you upon my bed,
    and meditate on you in the watches of the night;
for you have been my help,
    and in the shadow of your wings I will sing for joy.
My soul clings to you;
    your right hand upholds me.

But those who seek to destroy my life
    shall go down into the depths of the earth;
10 they shall be given over to the power of the sword;
    they shall be a portion for jackals.
11 But the king shall rejoice in God;
    all who swear by him shall exult,
    for the mouths of liars will be stopped.

In this psalm, David talks about thirsting after God. He is praying to God and describing to God how he feels about Him. David is a man who had tasted the Lord’s goodness. He had seen God do some incredible things in his lifetime. He knows how good God is. He says that he earnestly seeks God. He is always seeking to know God more and to know God better. David is not satisfied with where he is in his relationship with God. He is always seeking to be closer. He says that his soul thirsts for God. That means that his soul is not satisfied until God is there. He says in verse 2 that he has seen God in the sanctuary and he has seen God do mighty things. David is talking about thirsting for this God whom he has seen. He says that God’s love is better than life, and that is why he is going to praise God. David doesn’t say that he is praising God to impress someone, or to make himself look better. He is praising God because God’s love is better than life itself! In verse 5 he says that his soul will be satisfied as with the richest of foods. David thirsted in his soul for God and he knew that God would more than fill his soul. He says that all throughout the night, he thinks about God. In verse 7 he says that he will sing to God because it is God who is his help. He says that he will cling to God. He will stick with God as close as he can. In verse 11, he says that all who call themselves God’s children will praise Him.

David gives us a great example of praising God because of who God is and what God has done. God is his God. God is his help. God is his refuge. God loves him. God provides for him. All of these are reasons that David says he will praise God. As we desire to live a life of worship, we must experience God’s goodness. David knew what it was like to thirst after God and be satisfied and fulfilled by God. We must know that too. We cannot worship God in the purest way if we do not have an understanding of how marvelous He is. David had learned that. David was a worshiper because he responded to God’s goodness and God’s grace. If we want to live a life of worship like David, we must realize all that God has done for us. We must come to the place where we thirst after Him, knowing that we will not be satisfied until we have Him. God has made Himself available to us, and we can seek Him and search after Him and find Him just as David did. We will never know of God’s goodness and His grace and His satisfying, until we make Him our one and only desire. We must have as our goal a passionate pursuit of God. We must thirst after Him. We must seek Him and continue to seek Him until we find Him. When we make Him our desire, we will always be satisfied. He is more than enough to fill our every need!

  1. Have you ever thirsted after God?
  1. Has God ever moved in your life so much that you are satisfied more than you can stand?
  1. Do you worship God because of who He is and what He has done?

Today, ask God to give you a thirst for Him. Ask to Him to fill your soul with Himself. Sing praises to Him for His goodness to you.

Day 27 – Matthew 28:19-20

mission

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.

Jesus gives His final instructions to His disciples at the end of the book of Matthew. He is about to ascend into Heaven and He is leaving them with a final command. He tells them to go into the whole world and preach the good news about Him. Then, baptize those who believe in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. After this, they are to teach them the things that Jesus has commanded them to do. He then ends by assuring them that He will be with them until the end of the age. As we seek to live a life of worship, our worship must extend upward to God, but it must also draw others to God. God desires our worship, in part so that His name will be made known among the world. Jesus is telling His disciples here that they are to take the message of the gospel to the ends of the earth. They are not to keep it in. Jesus died for the world and He wants us to tell the world about it. As these disciples worship Jesus because of who He is and what He has done, He is asking them to worship Him by going and telling the world what He has done. Jesus wants people to be worshipers of God. When a person accepts Christ into their life, they can become a worshiper. Jesus did not just die for His closest followers. He died for the world.

It is our responsibility to spread the word. Jesus tells us to go and teach others about what He has done. We are to go and tell them and when they accept Jesus’ death in their own lives, they should be baptized as a public symbol of their faith in Jesus. Then they are to be taught the truths of God’s Word. Jesus tells us that He will be with us always, even until the end of this age. We don’t have to worry that we might go out and try to tell someone about Jesus and have to do it in our own strength. Jesus has promised to be with us. It is a simple of act of worship to respond to what Jesus has done for us by telling others about it. We are simply telling someone what Jesus has done for them. We worship God when we are obedient to Jesus in telling others about Him. We should live lives that let people know how God has changed our life. We should spend our energies with His plan in mind. We should make His priority, our priority. It is God’s priority that every person worships Him. It is God’s priority that He be glorified and praised in the life of every person. We can help that to be accomplished when we tell others about Jesus. He died for us, we must tell others.

  1. Do you tell others about what Jesus has done in your life?
  2. Do you worship Jesus by sharing about Him to other people?

Today, look for opportunities to tell others about Jesus. Pray that God will give you the words to say at the right time, so that someone else may become a worshiper of God as well.

Day 26 – Acts 16:16-40

prison

As we were going to the place of prayer, we were met by a slave girl who had a spirit of divination and brought her owners much gain by fortune-telling. 17 She followed Paul and us, crying out, “These men are servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to you the way of salvation.” 18 And this she kept doing for many days. Paul, having become greatly annoyed, turned and said to the spirit, “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.” And it came out that very hour.

19 But when her owners saw that their hope of gain was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace before the rulers. 20 And when they had brought them to the magistrates, they said, “These men are Jews, and they are disturbing our city. 21 They advocate customs that are not lawful for us as Romans to accept or practice.” 22 The crowd joined in attacking them, and the magistrates tore the garments off them and gave orders to beat them with rods. 23 And when they had inflicted many blows upon them, they threw them into prison, ordering the jailer to keep them safely. 24 Having received this order, he put them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks.

The Philippian Jailer Converted

25 About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them, 26 and suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken. And immediately all the doors were opened, and everyone’s bonds were unfastened. 27 When the jailer woke and saw that the prison doors were open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself, supposing that the prisoners had escaped. 28 But Paul cried with a loud voice, “Do not harm yourself, for we are all here.” 29 And the jailer called for lights and rushed in, and trembling with fear he fell down before Paul and Silas. 30 Then he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” 31 And they said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.” 32 And they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house. 33 And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their wounds; and he was baptized at once, he and all his family. 34 Then he brought them up into his house and set food before them. And he rejoiced along with his entire household that he had believed in God.

35 But when it was day, the magistrates sent the police, saying, “Let those men go.” 36 And the jailer reported these words to Paul, saying, “The magistrates have sent to let you go. Therefore come out now and go in peace.” 37 But Paul said to them, “They have beaten us publicly, uncondemned, men who are Roman citizens, and have thrown us into prison; and do they now throw us out secretly? No! Let them come themselves and take us out.” 38 The police reported these words to the magistrates, and they were afraid when they heard that they were Roman citizens. 39 So they came and apologized to them. And they took them out and asked them to leave the city. 40 So they went out of the prison and visited Lydia. And when they had seen the brothers, they encouraged them and departed.

In this story, Paul and Silas enter into Philippi to spread the word about Jesus Christ. They encounter a slave girl who is being used by the devil to lure people away from the one true God. In the name of Jesus, Paul casts the demon out of her. The people who were using her to make money are upset and they have Paul and Silas arrested, beaten severely, and thrown into prison. While they are in prison, they are singing praises to God! Of all places and times to be praising God. God sends an earthquake and the jail doors swing open and the chains fall off of the prisoners. The guard is ready to kill himself since he knows the prisoners would escape, but Paul and Silas tell him that they are all there. The jailer then asks how he too can be saved. He accepts Christ, his family accepts Christ, and they are all baptized that night. The amazing thing about this story is how Paul and Silas responded to being in prison. They did not complain to God. They did not have a pity party. They praised God because they knew that He is always in total control. They were doing the Lord’s work and were beaten and imprisoned for it.

Many times our obedience to God leads us to places that we would rather not go. But we must understand what these men understood. They knew that God is always in control. They knew that nothing slipped past God. They knew that God is always working for a purpose that is larger than what we can see. God looks down the road. God knows what needs to happen. In order for the Philippian jailer and his family to be saved, he needed to hear Paul and Silas in that prison, praising God. It let him know that God was real and that He had changed the lives of these two prisoners. Paul and Silas worshiped God not based on their circumstances. The circumstances stunk! They worshiped and praised God because He is always in control, He is God. They worshiped and praised Him because He is worthy of it. Even when God lets us go down into the deepest darkest prison cell, He is there with us. Paul knew it and Silas knew it. That is why they responded to this situation with praise and worship. God is more concerned with the jailer being saved and his family being saved than with Paul and Silas having to spend some time in prison. God is carrying out His plan for the Universe and we have to trust Him in that. Even when we find ourselves in a dungeon.

  1. Do you praise God regardless of the circumstances?
  1. Have you come to realize that God is working with a bigger plan in mind than we have for ourselves?
  1. How would you respond if you were Paul or Silas?

Today, think about the tough times you have had recently, or are having now. Ask yourself what God might be trying to do in your life through it and in the lives of others around you.

Day 25 – Psalm 1

tree

Blessed is the man
    who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,
nor stands in the way of sinners,
    nor sits in the seat of scoffers;
but his delight is in the law of the Lord,
    and on his law he meditates day and night.

He is like a tree
    planted by streams of water
that yields its fruit in its season,
    and its leaf does not wither.
In all that he does, he prospers.
The wicked are not so,
    but are like chaff that the wind drives away.

Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
    nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous;
for the Lord knows the way of the righteous,
    but the way of the wicked will perish.

This is the first psalm in the Hebrew book of worship. David begins this psalm by speaking of how blessed one type of person is and how the wicked person is the exact opposite. He says that the wise and blessed man is the one who does not live by the advice of the wicked. This is the person who does not follow the advice of the world, or of people who do not know God. The world and the things of the world are quick to offer advice to us, but the blessed man does not follow it. He says that the blessed man is the one who delights in the law of the Lord. This means that the wise worshiper listens to God’s Word for instruction. He follows where God’s Word leads him. The blessed man does not do the things that the sinful world does. He does not stand in the way of the sinners. If we desire to be blessed by God and live a life that is a life of worship, we cannot live as those who do not know God. We cannot follow their advice; we cannot do the things that they do. This does not mean that we are any better than they are; it simply means that we listen to the Lord and follow Him. Not only are we to listen to the law of the Lord, but also we are to meditate on it day and night. This means that we are to learn it and think about it throughout the day. When we live this way, we allow the Word of God to root itself in our mind and in our heart. David says that the person living this way prospers in what he does.

David tells us that the Lord watches over the way of the righteous. God watches over those who are living the way that He wants them to live. As we read yesterday, God can provide for us and He can make sure we do not have enough. In verse 4 he says that the wicked are blown away in the wind. The patterns of this world and the ways of this world will be gone one day. They will not stand up in the judgment. The worshiper, the righteous man, the blessed man is one who listens to the advice from God’s Word. He is the one who does not do as the unbelieving world does. He does not live as though he has never met God. God blesses the life that puts Him first. As we respond to God in worship, we must understand that He knows what is best for us. We must get our advice from God’s Word. We must follow the path that He has set for us in His Word. This psalm that teaches us to worship is the first psalm in this book of praise and worship. It gives us the pattern for a life of worship.

  1. What advice does the world give to you on how to live and be happy?
  1. Do you follow the advice from God’s Word and make that your source to follow?
  1. What ways have you seen God bless you in your life through your obedience to Him?

Today, think about what advice you hear from the world, what is on social media, TV, and in the news. Compare what you hear to what God’s Word teaches.

Day 24 – Haggai 1:2-11

haggai

Thus says the Lord of hosts: “These people say the time has not yet come to rebuild the house of the Lord.”  Then the word of the Lord came by the hand of Haggai the prophet,  “Is it a time for you yourselves to dwell in your paneled houses, while this house lies in ruins?  Now, therefore, thus says the Lord of hosts: Consider your ways.  You have sown much, and harvested little. You eat, but you never have enough; you drink, but you never have your fill. You clothe yourselves, but no one is warm. And he who earns wages does so to put them into a bag with holes.

Thus says the Lord of hosts: “Consider your ways.  Go up to the hills and bring wood and build the house, that I may take pleasure in it and that I may be glorified, says the Lord.  You looked for much, and behold, it came to little. And when you brought it home, I blew it away. Why? declares the Lord of hosts. Because of my house that lies in ruins, while each of you busies himself with his own house.  Therefore the heavens above you have withheld the dew, and the earth has withheld its produce.  And I have called for a drought on the land and the hills, on the grain, the new wine, the oil, on what the ground brings forth, on man and beast, and on all their labors.”

In this message from the prophet Haggai, The Lord rebukes His people for not building His temple. The Israelites had returned from Babylonian captivity and the Lord had instructed them to rebuild His house. While they were in captivity, they promised the Lord that if they could return to their own land, they would build the temple. God allowed them to return in order to build the temple and to begin to worship Him once again. When they arrived back in their land, they began by building their own houses first. God instructed them to build His house, but they began by building their own houses first. In verse 2, we see that the people make the excuse that it isn’t time for the Lord’s house to be built. He had told them to build it. The Lord asks them the question if it is right for them to be living in nice paneled houses while His house waits to be built. The Lord has punished them for their disobedience to Him. He wants His house built. That is His priority. In verses 5 and 6 He tells them to think about what they have done. They have planted a lot of crops, but did not have a big harvest, they eat, but are still hungry, they drink but are still thirsty, they wear clothes but are still cold, and they make money but it seems to disappear. He is teaching them that they have decided to provide for their needs and take care of their priorities before obeying the Lord and because of this, God is not allowing them to prosper in anything that they do. This is an important lesson that God’s children must learn.

His children returned from captivity and thought that if they didn’t build their stuff and get their things in order, they would not survive. What they failed to realize is that if they were not obedient to what God asked them to do and make His things their number one priority, then they would fail at everything they tried to do. They put their plans before God’s plans. God doesn’t change. He still expects His children to obey Him and honor Him. When we live our lives with our own priorities before God’s priorities, we will expect much and get little. God asks us to be fully obedient to Him. He doesn’t want our excuses. He knows what is best for us and He will always provide for His children when they are obedient to Him and do what He asks them to do. This is the God we serve. He is able to provide for us with everything that we need. He asks us to put His priorities first. That He will be honored before we are honored. God has the ability to keep us from being filled with our food and to cause us to somehow lose our money when we do not obey Him. When we put Him first in our lives, He always provides everything that we need. Living the life of worship means making God’s priorities, our priorities.

  1. Are you more concerned with your things than with God’s things?
  1. Do you sometimes make excuses to God to explain your disobedience?
  1. Do you find that you expect much and it turns out to be little? Could this be because of your priorities?

Today, ask God to show you His priorities for your life. Think about the things that are most important to God and make those things your priorities.

Day 23 – Psalm 77

77

I cry aloud to God,
    aloud to God, and he will hear me.
In the day of my trouble I seek the Lord;
    in the night my hand is stretched out without wearying;
    my soul refuses to be comforted.
When I remember God, I moan;
    when I meditate, my spirit faints. Selah

You hold my eyelids open;
    I am so troubled that I cannot speak.
I consider the days of old,
    the years long ago.
I said, “Let me remember my song in the night;
    let me meditate in my heart.”
    Then my spirit made a diligent search:
“Will the Lord spurn forever,
    and never again be favorable?
Has his steadfast love forever ceased?
    Are his promises at an end for all time?
Has God forgotten to be gracious?
    Has he in anger shut up his compassion?” Selah

10 Then I said, “I will appeal to this,
    to the years of the right hand of the Most High.”

11 I will remember the deeds of the Lord;
    yes, I will remember your wonders of old.
12 I will ponder all your work,
    and meditate on your mighty deeds.
13 Your way, O God, is holy.
    What god is great like our God?
14 You are the God who works wonders;
    you have made known your might among the peoples.
15 You with your arm redeemed your people,
    the children of Jacob and Joseph. Selah

16 When the waters saw you, O God,
    when the waters saw you, they were afraid;
    indeed, the deep trembled.
17 The clouds poured out water;
    the skies gave forth thunder;
    your arrows flashed on every side.
18 The crash of your thunder was in the whirlwind;
    your lightnings lighted up the world;
    the earth trembled and shook.
19 Your way was through the sea,
    your path through the great waters;
    yet your footprints were unseen.
20 You led your people like a flock
    by the hand of Moses and Aaron.

In this psalm, the writer reflects on God’s goodness and deeds. He does this in a time when he is down and discouraged. When we are down and discouraged we feel like God has left us. We feel like He does not care about us or our circumstances. It is in these times that we need to remember what He has done in our lives. This is when we have to think about all of His deeds. He says that he cried out to God and he sought the Lord when he was in distress. This is the time when we have to turn our eyes to God. When we find ourselves in trouble and in distress we have to respond the same way that the writer does here. He says that when he was down, he turned his eyes to God. He focused on all that God had done. His focus was taken off of the trouble around him and was put onto the God who is there for him. In verse 14 he says that God is the God who performs miracles and displays His powers to people. This is the God that we serve. In verse 5 he says that he remembered the days gone by when God was there, when God displayed His powers and worked His miracles. It was an amazing change of heart for the writer when he took his eyes off of his troubles and put them on God. When he reminded himself of all that God has done for him.

In our troubling times, when we get down, we have to turn our eyes to God. When we start to feel down, our first reaction is to think of all the bad things in our life and think that we have it worse than anyone else. We then think that things could not get any worse. We begin to think the worst about everything that might happen. What we need to do in these times in focus our eyes on God. We have to remember that He is there, He is faithful, and He loves us. We are quick to forget all that He has done. We forget His miracles, we forget His mighty deeds. When we begin to remember these things, we will begin to see that everything will be okay. We know that God is God and that He is in control and the He is working in our lives. As we live a life of worship, we worship Him for who He is and what He has done. When it is difficult to worship God, remind yourself of all the things that He has done. Worship Him because of them!

  1. How often do you remember the things that God has done in your life?
  1. When you get discouraged, do you keep your eyes focused on the problems, or on God?
  1. What great miracles have you seen God do?

Today, remind yourself that God is always at work in your life. Think about all of the things that He has done.

Day 22 – Psalm 139

139

O Lord, you have searched me and known me!
You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
    you discern my thoughts from afar.
You search out my path and my lying down
    and are acquainted with all my ways.
Even before a word is on my tongue,
    behold, O Lord, you know it altogether.
You hem me in, behind and before,
    and lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
    it is high; I cannot attain it.

Where shall I go from your Spirit?
    Or where shall I flee from your presence?
If I ascend to heaven, you are there!
    If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!
If I take the wings of the morning
    and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
10 even there your hand shall lead me,
    and your right hand shall hold me.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me,
    and the light about me be night,”
12 even the darkness is not dark to you;
    the night is bright as the day,
    for darkness is as light with you.

13 For you formed my inward parts;
    you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
    my soul knows it very well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
    intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
16 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 was none of them.

17 How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!
    How vast is the sum of them!
18 If I would count them, they are more than the sand.
    I awake, and I am still with you.

19 Oh that you would slay the wicked, O God!
    O men of blood, depart from me!
20 They speak against you with malicious intent;
    your enemies take your name in vain.
21 Do I not hate those who hate you, O Lord?
    And do I not loathe those who rise up against you?
22 I hate them with complete hatred;
    I count them my enemies.

23 Search me, O God, and know my heart!
    Try me and know my thoughts!
24 And see if there be any grievous way in me,
    and lead me in the way everlasting!

In this psalm, David says that God is everywhere and He knows everything. It is an amazing psalm that describes God’s power and God’s wisdom. It is encouraging to know that we can never go anywhere where God is not. We can never do anything that God does not see. We are not able to hide from Him or deceive Him. He knows it all and He sees it all. This psalm tells us we are fearfully and wonderfully made. God made each of us individually with a plan and a purpose in mind. It was God who formed each of us. God has made us different than anyone else. Even though we are all different, God knows us each individually. It is a great thought to know that we are special in the eyes of God. He is always watching us, always taking care of us, and always there for us. God created us and He will never leave us. It is awesome to think that this powerful, incredible God allows us to have a personal relationship with Him. Not only does He know us, but He allows us to know Him. He wants us to know Him. He wants us to know what He is like, what He desires for our lives.

In verses 23 and 24, David asks God to search him and try his heart. David knows that God can see into the depths of his heart. God can see everything that is there. He knows it better than David knows it. David desired to live such a life before God where He could ask God to search his heart. He could ask God to test and to try his heart. David could ask God to know his thoughts. How often in our lives do we ask God to search us? Do we live in such a way as to ask God to look into the depths of our heart and see what is in there? God already knows what’s there. He wants us to come to a place where we can ask Him to look in and see for Himself. He wants us to come to the place where we do not try to hide anything from Him. He already knows, He already sees. He will not learn anything new when we ask Him to look. When we can come to a place where we do ask Him to search us, it is the evidence of a life and a heart that wants to live for God. God wants us to be open and honest with Him. There is no point in hiding from Him. As David says in verse 7, “Where can I go from Your Spirit? Where can I flee from Your presence?” God wants His children to be open with Him. To be willing to open our hearts up to Him and ask Him to look in, ask Him to see what’s there, and ask Him to lead us where He would have us go.

  1. Do you ever think about the fact that God always sees you?
  1. Do you realize that God made you with a special purpose in mind and He created you to do something that no one else can do?
  1. Are you able to ask God to search your heart and know your thoughts?

Today, reflect on the fact that God is everywhere you go, that God sees everything, and that God has created you for a reason.

Day 21 – Hebrews 11

hebrews-11-6

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.

By faith Abel offered to God a more acceptable sacrifice than Cain, through which he was commended as righteous, God commending him by accepting his gifts. And through his faith, though he died, he still speaks. By faith Enoch was taken up so that he should not see death, and he was not found, because God had taken him. Now before he was taken he was commended as having pleased God. And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him. By faith Noah, being warned by God concerning events as yet unseen, in reverent fear constructed an ark for the saving of his household. By this he condemned the world and became an heir of the righteousness that comes by faith.

By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he went to live in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, heirs with him of the same promise. 10 For he was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God. 11 By faith Sarah herself received power to conceive, even when she was past the age, since she considered him faithful who had promised. 12 Therefore from one man, and him as good as dead, were born descendants as many as the stars of heaven and as many as the innumerable grains of sand by the seashore.

13 These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. 14 For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. 15 If they had been thinking of that land from which they had gone out, they would have had opportunity to return. 16 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.

17 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, 18 of whom it was said, “Through Isaac shall your offspring be named.” 19 He considered that God was able even to raise him from the dead, from which, figuratively speaking, he did receive him back. 20 By faith Isaac invoked future blessings on Jacob and Esau. 21 By faith Jacob, when dying, blessed each of the sons of Joseph, bowing in worship over the head of his staff. 22 By faith Joseph, at the end of his life, made mention of the exodus of the Israelites and gave directions concerning his bones.

23 By faith Moses, when he was born, was hidden for three months by his parents, because they saw that the child was beautiful, and they were not afraid of the king’s edict. 24 By faith Moses, when he was grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, 25 choosing rather to be mistreated with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. 26 He considered the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking to the reward. 27 By faith he left Egypt, not being afraid of the anger of the king, for he endured as seeing him who is invisible. 28 By faith he kept the Passover and sprinkled the blood, so that the Destroyer of the firstborn might not touch them.

29 By faith the people crossed the Red Sea as on dry land, but the Egyptians, when they attempted to do the same, were drowned. 30 By faith the walls of Jericho fell down after they had been encircled for seven days. 31 By faith Rahab the prostitute did not perish with those who were disobedient, because she had given a friendly welcome to the spies.

32 And what more shall I say? For time would fail me to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets— 33 who through faith conquered kingdoms, enforced justice, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, 34 quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, were made strong out of weakness, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight. 35 Women received back their dead by resurrection. Some were tortured, refusing to accept release, so that they might rise again to a better life. 36 Others suffered mocking and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. 37 They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were killed with the sword. They went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, afflicted, mistreated— 38 of whom the world was not worthy—wandering about in deserts and mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.

39 And all these, though commended through their faith, did not receive what was promised, 40 since God had provided something better for us, that apart from us they should not be made perfect.

This chapter is filled with the stories of those who have come before us. It tells of their faith in God, their trust in God, and how He provided for them. Each of these people came to a place where they had to trust God. God brought them to that place to teach them to trust in Him and to teach them that they could trust in Him. God never asks us to trust Him without coming through for us when we need Him. He may wait and teach us to be patient with Him, but He always shows us His faithfulness. The only way that our faith in God can grow is when we are put in places where we have to trust Him and then we see Him and see His love and faithfulness. When that happens, we learn that we can trust Him and we begin to trust Him more. If we want to grow in our faith in God and in our trusting Him in every situation, we have to begin by trusting Him in everything. Our faith in Him grows when we learn to trust Him and we see that He can be trusted. In verse 1, it says that faith is being certain of what we do not see. Often God will bring us to a place where we cannot see what is up ahead, but He wants us to trust Him and be certain that what is up ahead is something that He can handle. That is trusting in Him.

Verse 6 in this chapter says that it is impossible to please God without faith. It is simple to have faith in something that we can see in front of us. It is difficult to have faith in something that we cannot see. When we trust in God, we are not able to see it in front of us. That’s what trust is all about. God is pleased when we cannot see what is up ahead, but we trust Him anyway. He is able to be trusted, He is capable of being trusted, and He is worthy of our trust. In the end of this chapter, the writer describes those who went through very tough things for their faith in God. Living our life by faith does not always mean that it will be pleasant and fun. It does mean that God will take care of it all. Even if it results in death, God is still in control. This earth is not our home anyway. So if God calls us home, we do not lose anything! These Old Testament heroes of the faith all trusted God that He would do what He promised. He promised them a piece of land. Most of them never lived to see it but they trusted God that He would indeed provide it for them. God has promised us many things, but we have to believe Him in order to trust Him.

  1. Do you trust God?
  1. Are you pleasing God with your faith in Him?
  1. Do you believe that God will do what He says that He will do?

Today, look for ways that you can trust God. Even in the small details of your life, begin by trusting Him with those small things and see what He does.

Day 20 – 1 Peter 2:9-10

royal-priesthood

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.  Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.

In these two incredible verses Peter tells us so much about who we are in Jesus Christ. He says that we are a chosen people. We are chosen by God to be His people! We are a royal priesthood. That means that we belong to the King and that we have access to God at any time. We are a holy nation. That means that we have been set apart by God as a people for Him. We are a people belonging to God. God owns us now. We have been bought by the blood of Christ. Peter then tells us why all of this has happened to us. He says that this was all done so that we might declare the praises of God! This God who has brought us out of the darkness and allowed us into His incredible light! Peter says that there was a time when we were not the people of God, but now we are. He says that there was a time when we had not received the mercy of God, but now we have. How amazing that God has done all of this for us. God has made all of the difference. He has allowed us into His presence as His people. He has done this not so that we could go to Heaven when we die, but that we would declare His praises while we live. God saved us and made us His children so that we would praise Him and glorify Him. That is different than what we usually think of. We are so focused on us and on how things benefit us that we assume God saved us so we could go to Heaven. But His primary purpose in it all was so that we would glorify Him. He is more concerned about Himself being glorified than anything else.

We have defined worship as a response to who God is and what He has done, Peter spells out for us what God has done and he tells us that it was all done so that we would praise God for it. God wants us to praise Him and glorify Him in our lives. He has showered His mercy down on us so that we would glorify Him, so that we would praise Him. God has done so much for us. He wants us to praise Him for it. He wants us to point our eyes and our hearts to Him. He is the one who brought us out of the darkness and into His light! He is more than worthy of all of our praise and all of our heart. The Lord has done great things for us!

  1. Have you ever stopped to think about all that God has done for you?
  1. Do you praise God for what He has done in your life?
  1. Do you look at Jesus’ death as your chance to go to Heaven or as your reason to praise God?

Today, think on the things God has done in your life. Praise the Lord for pouring out His mercy into your life, for calling you to be His child.

Day 19 – Ephesians 5:18-20

truth

And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

In these few verses, Paul instructs us to be filled with Holy Spirit and to praise God. His instruction to be filled with the Spirit is a continual action. That means that we are to continually allow ourselves to be filled with the Holy Spirit. We have to allow Him to have control of our lives so that He can fill us. We have to empty ourselves of us and allow God to fill us with Himself. In the same way that someone who is drunk is controlled by the alcohol, those who are filled with the Spirit of God are controlled by His Spirit. Whatever fills us controls us. If we are filled with ourselves, then we control ourselves. If we are filled with God, then we allow Him to control us. When we are filled by His Spirit and controlled by His Spirit, we are able to sing songs of praise in our hearts. When we are filled with the Spirit of God, we will song songs of praise and joy to God. These songs come from our heart.

God’s desire is for us to allow ourselves to be filled by His Spirit. He wants us to sing songs from our hearts. We often sing songs to Him from our mouths, but He wants our songs of praise to come from our hearts. The heart is the center of who we are. If we are filled with Him, then we will overflow with songs of praise to Him. Those songs will reflect what is going on in our heart. Our songs to Him should always be giving Him thanks for everything that He has given us in Jesus Christ. God has given us so much in Jesus. We have so much to be thankful for. When His Spirit is controlling us, we will realize all that He has given us. It will cause us to sing for joy from our hearts to Him. It will cause us to overflow with thankfulness. The Christian life is a life full of joy. We always have so much to thank Him for and we can praise Him from our hearts when we sing songs of joy and thanksgiving to Him. It doesn’t matter how good or bad we sing with our mouths, we can all sing from our hearts to God for what He has done for us.

  1. Do you empty yourself of you so that God can fill you with Him and have control of your life?
  1. Do you allow Him to fill you on a daily basis?
  1. Do you sing songs of joy from your heart to God’s heart?

Today, allow God to take control of your life. Think about the things that you can thank Him for in your life.