Passages to be read: Genesis 47-48; Psalm 25; Galatians 3
He leads the humble in what is right and teaches the humble his way (Psalm 25:9).
Think about the converse of that verse — God does not lead the humble and He does not teach the humble. That’s scary. So we know humility is God-honoring and pride is God-dishonoring but what does it look like? How can we “spot” humility in others and in our own lives? Here’s a list I read several years ago that I found helpful.
- Recognizing and trusting God’s character (Psalm 119:66)
- Seeing yourself as having no right to question or judge an Almighty and Perfect God (Psalm 145:17; Romans 9:19-23)
- Focusing on Christ (Philippians 1:21; Hebrews 12:1-2)
- Biblical praying and a great deal of it (1 Thessalonians 5:17; 1 Timothy 2:1-2)
- Being overwhelmed with God’s undeserved grace and goodness (Psalm 116:12-19)
- Thankfulness and gratitude in general towards others (1 Thess. 5:18)
- Being gentle and patient (Colossians 3:12-14)
- Seeing yourself as no better than others (Romans 12:16; Ephesians 3:8)
- Having an accurate view of your gifts and abilities (Romans 12:3)
- Being a good listener (James 1:19; Philippians 2:3-4)
- Talking about others only if it is good or for their good (Proverbs 11:13)
- Being gladly submissive and obedient to those in authority (Rom. 12:1-2, 13:1-2)
- Preferring others over yourself (Romans 12:10)
- Being thankful for criticism or reproof (Proverbs 9:8, 27:5-6)
- Having a teachable spirit (Proverbs 9:9)
- Seeking always to build up others (Ephesians 4:29)
- Serving (Galatians 5:13)
- A quickness in admitting when you are wrong (Proverbs 29:23)
- A quickness in granting and asking for forgiveness (Colossians 3:12-14)
- Repenting of sin as a way of life (Colossians 3:1-14; 1 Timothy 4:7-9)
- Minimizing others’ sins or shortcomings in comparison to one’s own (Matthew 7:3-4)
- Being genuinely glad for others (Romans 12:15)
- Being honest and open about who you are and the areas in which you need growth (Philippians 3:12-14; Galatians 6:2)
- Possessing close relationships (Acts 20:31-38)
Taken from, From Pride to Humility.
Passages to be read: Genesis 41-42; Mark 16
In Mark 16:7 we read, “But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going before you to Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.” Not much there right? Personally, this verse has stuck out to me for years. Why did the angel specifically say to the women go tell the disciples and Peter? Peter was a disciple.
I remember reading years ago (can’t remember where!) the mention of Peter by the angel to the women (and subsequently, the women to Peter and the disciples) was a word to remind Peter that he is loved and he is included. No doubt Peter would be reeling from his three-time denial of Jesus. The simple statement given to the angels, “go tell his disciples and Peter” was a sort of reinstatement I believe.
Every believer is a modern-day Peter. We’ve all strayed from the truth and you might be inclined to wrongly believe, “I’m out; He’s got no use for me; He couldn’t love me; He’s abandoned me.” Don’t believe those lies. Preach truth to your heart.
Jesus says to every one of His kids, “You’re mine. I’ll not abandon you. I’ll not leave you. You are cherished and treasured. You’re forgiven – now walk in that forgiveness that is yours because of my death and resurrection.”
Passages to be read: Genesis 38-40; Mark 15.
Passages to be read: Genesis 35-37; Psalm 12; Mark 14.
Passages to be read: Genesis 32-34; Psalm 145; Mark 13.
One of the truths I regularly think about is the truth that God is slow to anger. In Psalm 145:8 we read, “The Lord is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.” We are like God in many ways; God is also distinct from us in many ways. One of those ways is His slowness to anger.
David Powlison defined anger as “a whole-personed response towards some perceived injustice that is thrust upon us.” The problem with our anger is the phrase “some perceived injustice.” Our justice-meter is skewed; God’s is not. My anger, and I suspect yours too, is often quick, disproportionate, and self-serving. God’s anger is slow, it serves His personhood and character, and is always proportionate to the offense.
Take a moment and thank God for His slowness to anger to you as one of His kids. Take a moment and thank God that He doesn’t dismiss you but welcomes you and is slow to get angry with you.
Passages to be read: Genesis 30-31; Psalm 11; Mark 12.
Jesus, you tell us in Mark 12:30, “and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.”
A prayer to pray:
Jesus, may I love you with everything that I am. May I embrace you in my deepest convictions and commitments. May I love you supremely more than anything or anyone else. May I fix my affections on you and to be willing to give up everything I hold dear at your command. May I love you w/my emotions. May I love you with my intellect, submitting my thoughts and desires to you. Amen – let it be done.
Passages to be read: Genesis 28-29; Mark 11.
Have you ever pondered the possibility that God does not answer some of our prayers because we are at relational odds with people in our life? In Mark 11:24-25 we read,
Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespass.
Imagine with me for a second: you’re praying and making requests of God and as you’re talking to the Father the Holy Spirit brings certain relational issues you have with an individual to your mind. You pause and think, “hmm, I probably need to go make that right.” Instead, you dismiss it as a distraction to your current requests and proceed in your conversation with the Father, and seek to muster up more spiritual fortitude so as not to be dissuaded from your holy focus.
In reading Mark 11 this morning the Spirit of God prompted me to search my heart and be open and willing to pursue anyone in my life that I may have issues with OR may have issues with me so that my fellowship with the Father goes unhindered and maybe, just maybe, the requests and pleas I make to Him are answered as I approach Him with a posture of faith that’s lived out rightly with those around me (yes, that was a long sentence 😜).
Passages to be read: Genesis 26-27; Mark 10.
You’ve heard the phrase, “like father, like son” or “the apple doesn’t fall from the tree.” Each of those phrases and many others are pointing out the undeniable truth that our lives influence those around us. Abraham’s influence is clearly seen in Isaac and Isaac’s in Rebekah’s. Abraham lied to the Egyptians about Sarai being his wife (Genesis 12:10-20) and years later Abraham’s son, Isaac, lied to the Philistines about Rebekah being his wife (Genesis 26:6-11). Like father, like son.
How we respond and interact with people matters. Our tone and nonverbals when we communicate matter. The places we go and the things we do with the people we choose to do them with matter. The words we choose in conversation matter. Fearing circumstances and people over reverencing Jesus matters.
Father, may I ever be mindful of the truth that my words and actions are always influencing those around me. Give me grace to walk in the Spirit today so that my words and actions are in alignment with your ways and that I would rightly influence those around me. Amen – let it be done.
Passages to be read: Genesis 24-25; Psalm 4; Mark 9.
And He said to them, “This kind cannot be driven out by anything but prayer” (Mark 9:29).
- The disciples attempt to cast out a demon in a young boy but were unable to do it. When the demon-possessed boy is brought to Jesus he is immediately thrown down to the ground in convulsions — this must have been an incredibly scary sight, both for the father, as well as those watching. The father appeals to Jesus asking Him to heal his son. The father replies, “I believe; help my unbelief!” Jesus then rebukes the unclean spirit that had caused the boy to be mute and deaf. The spirit obeys Jesus and then He says, “This kind cannot be driven out by anything but prayer” (Mark 9:29).
- Why does Jesus respond to the disciple’s question, “why could we not cast it out?” My mentor and dear friend, Dr. Chuck Lawless shed some insight as to why Jesus responded the way He did when he defined prayer as “a cry for relationship and a commitment of dependence.” So, how would this apply to the disciples, as well as you and me? Simply put, rather than living out a complete and utter dependence upon the Father for power to heal this boy, I believe what took place is the disciples had grown self-sufficient. We read about in the gospels that the disciples had been given authority to heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, and cast out demons (see Matthew 10:1; Luke 9:1). I believe the disciples had forgotten that their authority to do anything miraculous was a delegated authority; it did not come from their power, ingenuity, insight, etc., but completely and wholly from Jesus.
- It is a sobering reminder that we need to be completely and utterly dependent upon Jesus, specifically, now, the Spirit of God who has been given to us as our Counselor and points you and me to the person and work of Jesus. You and I can find our confidence in our education, past “successes,” ingenuity, human wisdom, our personality, the behavior of our kids and the list goes on and on. We need to be reminded that our posture should continually be 1) a cry for relationship — we need you Jesus, every hour we need you! and 2) a commitment of dependence — help us, Jesus, to not be committed to our own power or wisdom but to yours and yours alone.
Passages to be read: Genesis 21-23; Psalm 107; Mark 8.
In Mark 8:22-26 we read an account of a blind man at Bethsaida. One of the strangest details of this account is Jesus actually spits on the dude’s eyes. Why? Is there a point to this? Surely, there is!
Thomas Schreiner, in his book The King and His Beauty, has this to say about this strange account:
Jesus laid his hands on the blind man and spit on his eyes, asking him what he saw. The man observed people walking, but they looked like trees. In other words, he did not see clearly and distinctly. So Jesus laid his hands on the man again, and this time his sight was completely “restored, and he saw everything clearly” (Mk 8:25). What is the point of this story? It makes no sense to say that Jesus could not heal the person entirely at the first touch, as if he needed to work in two stages to cure the man of blindness. It was a genuine healing, but it is a story with a point, with a lesson for readers. The story symbolizes the spiritual perception and vision of Jesus’ disciples. They were like this blind man, unable to perceive who Jesus was. They needed a touch from Jesus in order to truly understand him. It is no accident, then, that the story that immediately follows is of Jesus asking his disciples at Caesarea Philippi about his identity (Mk 8:27-30). The people’s answers were flawed, seeing him as John the Baptist, Elijah, or one of the prophets (Mk 8:27-28). But Peter and the disciples had received a touch from Jesus. The blindness had been lifted from their eyes, and so Peter rightly confessed that Jesus is the Christ (Mk 8:29).
The two-stage healing of the man, however, still applies to the disciples. They understand that Jesus is the Messiah, but they had no conception about the nature of messiahship. They had no categories for a suffering Messiah. Hence, they needed a second touch from Jesus to perceive clearly what it meant for him to be the Messiah. At the end of the day, they did not truly understand Jesus as Messiah if they did not grasp that he had come to suffer.
Bottom line: the disciples needed to see Jesus clearly, for who He – a suffering Messiah. May you and I see Jesus clearly today.
Father, may the Spirit of God help my heart to increasingly be inclined to see Jesus more and more clearly and then to love Him with all that I am.
Passages to be read: Genesis 19-20; Psalm1; Mark 7.
Genesis 19 is a tough passage – a really tough one. We read in verses 24-25, “Then the Lord rained on Sodom and Gomorrah sulfur and fire from the Lord out of heaven. And he overthrew those cities, and all the valley, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and what grew on the ground.”
We read in Genesis 18:20 the reason for God destroying the city: “The the Lord said, ‘Because the outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is great and their sin is very grave.”
The purpose of this daily devotion is to give you a little word of encouragement, possibly a challenge from time-to-time, a prayer to pray or share some personal reflections that hit home in my heart as I read. For that reason, I will not delve into all of the interpretations and issues in Genesis 19. I will leave you with a quote from a book that was biblically insightful and instructive on the particular sin issue that I believe was taking place in Sodom and Gomorrah.
The Christian life is a call to live life with other men and women; we live in community. We stand together in grace and we also struggle together. Old cravings still pursue us and wait to once again lure us away from Jesus. If “change” means that the homosexual will never hear the voice of homoerotic desire, then maybe change is delusional. But what fornicator, thief, gossip, or liar who has turned to Jesus never expects to hear an invitation back to lusting, stealing, gossiping, or deceiving? In light of this reality, we encourage one another daily to set our hope fully on the Lord Jesus Christ (1 Peter 1:13) and we understand that our current struggles are not the final word! Peter Hubbard, Love Into Light: The Gospel, The Homosexual, And The Church
Passages for 1.5.20: Genesis 16-18; Mark 6.
Remember the exchange Abraham had with God in Genesis 17? Here are several verses to refresh your memory:
And God said to Abraham, “As for Sarai your wife, you shall not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall be her name. I will bless her, and moreover, I will give you a son by her. I will bless her, and she shall become nations; kings of peoples shall come from her.” Then Abraham fell on his face and laughed and said to himself, “Shall a child be born to a man who is a hundred years old? Shall Sarah, who is ninety years old, bear a child?” And Abraham said to God, “Oh that Ishmael might live before you!” God said, “No, but Sarah your wife shall bear you a son, and you shall call his name Isaac. I will establish my covenant with him as an everlasting covenant for his offspring after him. As for Ishmael, I have heard you; behold, I have blessed him and will make him fruitful and multiply him greatly. He shall father twelve princes, and I will make him into a great nation. But I will establish my covenant with Isaac, whom Sarah shall bear to you at this time next year.”
Abraham = 100. Sarah = 90. Yeah, they’re old! And yet, God promises to give them a child, not through Sarah’s servant Hagar but through Sarah. In 17:1, God refers to Himself as “God Almighty” translated from “El Shaddai.” This name of God describes a God who makes things happen by means of His majestic power and might. Can God do what He promised to Abraham and Sarah? Of course! And He did!
Kent Hughes, in his commentary on Genesis, writes this concerning the “why” of God invoking His name of “El Shaddai”:
“I am able to fulfill the awesome hopes that I have set before you of a people and a land. There is no need to let go of the promise because of your old age. There is no need to succumb to passive desperation. There is no need to scale down the promise to match your puny thoughts – no need to resort to fleshly expedience – no need of trying to fulfill the promise in any second-rate way. Everything – all of your life, all your future – lies in this: I am God Almighty!”
Remember, our belief about God determines how we live. God is good, loving, and in control. God has given believers many promises in the Bible and though our circumstances cloud our perception at times, remember, He is for your good, He is loving, and there is nothing in all of the universe that is outside His sovereign control. Nothing.
Father, give me grace (aka help) to trust in your loving, powerful, and good sovereignty today. I believe you are God Almighty! I look to you today! Amen — let it be done!
Passages for 1.5.20: Genesis 12-15; Psalm 148; Mark 5.
In Mark 5:21-43 we read about two healings. The first was a woman with a twelve-year problem with a discharge of blood; she touched Jesus’ garment and was healed immediately. The other miracle was the resurrecting of Jairus’ daughter. In verse 23 Mark tells us that Jairus implored Jesus earnestly. The word implore means to beg someone earnestly or desperately to do something; that’s the posture Jairus had towards Jesus because his daughter was near to the death. He implored Jesus with earnestness and desperation.
Here are a couple truths that struck me as I read this passage this morning:
- Jairus’ desperation for Jesus’ intervention in his daughter’s life should characterize every believer’s life. We should be desperate for Jesus. I confess, much of the time I am not.
- Jairus’ commitment to getting Jesus to heal his sick and eventually dead daughter is the manner in which we should work in bringing friends and family members to meet Jesus; there should be an earnestness; there should be desperation because we know apart from Jesus no one will experience lasting healing of the soul.