Monday, 3/9

Today's Reading: Luke 2:22-35

Today's Meditation:

I can’t completely imagine what was happening emotionally and spiritually between Jesus, Mary and John as Jesus hung on the cross. And yet, I can, just a little. In my own life, I have had to let go of those whom I love very, very much – my friends, cousins, my favorite uncle, and my mother. Death is a reality. Letting go is a reality. In this way, I am just like Jesus, Mary, and John – we are all born into the intimate and painful process of attachment, separation, loss and recovery. From birth, I was attached to my mother’s love. As I grew up, I had to separate from her, and finally, I had to accept the most difficult separation of all: her death. Remembering how she lived tells me that the risen Christ was within her and my dad, giving us Jesus’ love. What happened between Jesus, Mary, and John is happening in my family as well.

Rich Cleveland 

Friday, 3/6

Today's Reading: Isaiah 53:1-12

Today's Meditation:

New Testament writers leave no doubt as to the identity of the suffering servant: at least ten times they apply Isaiah’s four songs directly to Jesus (for example, Matthew 8:17, Luke 22:37, 1 Peter 2:22- 24). In one instance, Philip corrects an Ethiopian official who wonders if the suffering servant refers to an ancient prophet (Acts8:26-35)

Isaiah 53 reads almost like an eyewitness account of Jesus’ last days on earth. The physical description – the Bible contains no other physical description of Jesus – is shocking. The servant “had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him”; he was “like one from whom men hide their faces.” As this chapter foretells, Jesus did not “open his mouth” to answer his accusers at his trial. He left no descendants. He was cut off in the prime of life and, thanks to a gracious friend, was buried in a rich man’s tomb. But that was not the end. After three days he saw “the light of life.”


According to Isaiah, the servant died for a very specific purpose:” He was pierced for our transgressions.” He took on pain for the sake of others, for our sakes. His wounds, an apparent defeat, made possible a great victory. His death sealed a future triumph when all that is wrong on earth will be set right. Significantly, the book of Isaiah does not end with the suffering servant image but goes on to describe that wonderful life in a new heaven and new earth. But the time of travail was a necessary first step, for the savant absorbed in himself the punishment that was due for the evils of the world.

Isaiah 53 forms an underlying foundation for much New Testament theology. In addition, these detailed prophecies, recorded many centuries before Jesus’ birth, offer convincing proof that God is revealing his plan for the ages through the ancient prophets. He has not permanently severed his covenant with the Jews. Rather, out of Jewish roots – King David’s own stock – he will bring forth a new king, a king like no other, to reclaim all the earth.

Who in your life needs to hear about the Messiah, Jesus, prophesied here in Isaiah? 

Thursday, 3/5

Today's Reading: Exodus 13:1-14:31

Today's Meditation:

God’s deliverance through Jesus is foreshadowed in the Old Testament. As God opened the way into his presence through the tearing of the curtain, so God opened a way through the sea by the parting of the waters.

All the way through, we see God’s initiative in delivering his people out of Egypt: ‘The Lord brought you out... Tell your children, “I do this because of what the Lord did for me”... For the Lord brought you out of Egypt with his mighty hand... The Lord brings you into the land... with a mighty hand the Lord brought us out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery’ (13:3–16).

God led his people all the way – although, interestingly, he did not take them the shortest route (v.17). Sometimes, instead of taking us the easy way, God takes us a longer and more difficult way to prepare us for the battles ahead. Even though they were now out of Egypt they were going to have to fight one battle after another. They needed to learn to rely totally on God’s strength and guidance.

He guided them in a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night (v.21); he guided them constantly. This is what we need individually and as the community of the people of God – his constant guidance.


Lord, thank you that you have done the hard part, but you allow us to be part of your kingdom and give us a role to play. Please take my ‘plink... plonk... plink...’ and turn it into something beautiful.


 

Sometimes we get into situations where there seems to be no way out. The Egyptians were behind them and the sea was in front of them, ‘they were exceedingly frightened’ (14:10, AMP). Yet Moses totally trusted in God to deliver them. He said, ‘Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today... The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still’ (14:13–14). I often come back to these verses when I find myself in a situation where I cannot, humanly speaking, see a way out.

Moses had to play his part (‘Raise your staff and stretch out your hand over the sea’ v.16a), God’s part was rather harder; he divided the waters. When we pray, for example, for someone to be filled with the Holy Spirit, God uses us. We have to stretch out our hands and pray. But God fills people with his Spirit – he does the hard part. Nevertheless he involves us in his plans.

God’s part was to bring rescue and salvation: ‘The Lord saved Israel’ (v.30). Our part is to trust in God: ‘the people put their trust in him and in Moses his servant’ (v.31).
God wants us to cooperate with him. This is the way that he has designed his creation – whether it is the natural world (where we plant and God gives the growth) or the kingdom of God (where God brings about his kingdom, yet we have a part to play).
 

Wednesday, 3/4

Today's Reading: Exodus 12:1-51

Today's Meditation:

Jesus says to his disciples, ‘As you know, the Passover is two days away – and the Son of Man will be handed over to be crucified’ (Matthew 26:2). He dies at the moment that ‘it was customary to sacrifice the Passover lamb’ (Mark 14:12). St Paul writes, ‘For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed’ (1 Corinthians 5:7b).

The blood of a lamb protected the people of God under the old covenant at the first Passover (Exodus 12:1–30). You are far better off now under the new covenant. The blood of Jesus (the Lamb of God) cleanses and protects you permanently (Hebrews 9:12–26).

At the first Passover we see how a lamb had to be sacrificed. The lamb had to be ‘without defect’ (Exodus 12:5), pointing forward to the innocent Jesus we read about in today’s New Testament passage. There is great emphasis on ‘the blood’ of the lamb (vv.7,13,22–23). The blood of the lamb without defect was to be shed as a sacrifice (v.27). When John the Baptist saw Jesus he said, ‘Look, the lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!’ (John 1:29). The blood of the lamb gave the people protection from God’s judgment. It was the ‘Passover sacrifice’ (Exodus 12:27). This foreshadowed the sacrifice of Jesus.

It is interesting to note in passing that God’s instruction, ‘Do not break any of the bones’ (v.46) was specifically fulfilled at Jesus’ death. Breaking a person’s legs was a way of speeding up death through crucifixion. They broke the legs of two men crucified with Jesus, ‘but when they came to Jesus and found that he was already dead, they did not break his legs’ (John 19:33).

Where there was blood on the door-frames of a house, it indicated that death had already taken place in the household. Those who obeyed God’s word by putting blood on the door-frames were spared. The blood of Jesus, the Lamb of God, has been shed for you and me. The Passover points forward to how Jesus died as a sacrifice on our behalf.

Niki Gumble

I like Joyce Meyer’s prayer:
Father, I come to you in Jesus’ name and I apply the blood of Jesus to my life, to all that belongs to me, to everything you have given me to steward. I put the blood of Jesus on my mind, my body, my emotions and my will. I put the blood on my family, my co-workers and my friends. Thank you for protecting me with your blood. Amen. 

Tuesday, 3/3

Today's Reading: Psalm 21

Today's Meditation:

You cannot save yourself. Only God can save you. He saved you because of his ‘unfailing love’. Therefore, like David, put your trust in him today (v.7).

This psalm begins with David praising God for his salvation: ‘The king [David] shall joy in your strength, O Lord; and in your salvation how greatly shall he rejoice!’ (v.1, AMP).

In this passage we see some of the many blessings that salvation includes:

  • Answered prayer: ‘You have given him his heart’s desire and have not withheld the request of his lips’ (v.2, AMP).
  • Unending blessings: ‘You send blessings of good things... You set a crown of pure gold on his head... You make him to be blessed and a blessing forever’ (vv.3,6a, AMP).
  • Eternal life: ‘He asked life of you, and you gave it to him – long life forever and evermore’ (v.4, AMP).
  • Victorious living: ‘Through the victories you gave, his glory is great; you have bestowed on him splendor and majesty’ (v.5).
  • Joy and gladness: ‘You make him exceedingly glad with the joy of your presence’ (v.6b, AMP).
Thank you, Lord that salvation comes from you. Thank you for your unfailing love and many blessings. I put my trust in you today.


Monday, 3/2

Today's Reading: Romans 3

Today's Meditation:

To see ourselves as lost sinners is not sufficient. To learn that we are corrupt and depraved by nature and sinful transgressors by practice is the first important lesson. The next is to learn that we are utterly undone and that we can do nothing whatever to help ourselves. To discover that our condition is so desperate that it is entirely beyond human repair is the second step toward salvation—looking at it from the human side. But if man is slow to learn that he is a lost sinner and unfit for the presence of a holy God, he is slower still to recognize that he can do nothing toward his salvation and is unable to work any improvement in himself so as to be fit for God. Yet it is not until we realize that we are “without strength” (Rom 5:6), that we are “impotent” (John 5:3), that it is not by works of righteousness that we do but by His mercy God saves us (Titus 3:5), not until then shall we despair of ourselves and look outside of ourselves to the One who can save us.

The Seven Sayings of the Saviour on the Cross, Arthur W. Pink. 

Friday, 2/27

Today's Meditation:

The first to apologize is the bravest; the first to forgive is the strongest. And the first to forget is the happiest.

Forgiving someone can be difficult. Why do we need to forgive others? How can we forgive a person? The Bible can provide us with answers, inspiration and direction.

Actually, forgiveness is not only about others, but also about our own spiritual growth. Love and forgiveness cannot be separated. If we choose to live out the love of God as the purpose of our life, then forgiving is an option that cannot be avoided.

  1. Because we are sinners we should forgive others. Matthew 6:14-15; Colossians 3:13; Ephesians 4:31-32
  2. Be ready to forgive over and over again. Matthew 18: 21-22
  3. To avoid making others be overwhelmed. 2 Corinthians 2:5-8
  4. Love will lead to forgiving others. 1 Corinthians 13:4 – 6
  5. Priority when it comes to forgiving others. Matthew 5:23-24
  6. Forgive others rather than judge others: Luke 6:37; John 8:7
  7. A remarkable example of forgiveness. Acts 7:59-60
  8. Jesus is our Model. Luke 23:33-34
  9. Jesus’ command to us. Luke 17:3-4
  10. How to treat enemies. Romans 12:20