January 7

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“Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be” (Matthew 6:21 NLT).

From: January 7, 2019

WHERE IS YOUR HEART TODAY?

When Christ was asked to name the greatest commandment, He didn’t hesitate. He answered, “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” (Mark 12:31).
 
So, how can we check our hearts to know whether we are loving God with all? Jesus taught that one way to get a spiritual heart check-up is to consider where your treasure is. Because wherever your treasure is, that’s where your heart is. So, the question becomes not “where is my heart?” But “where is my treasure?”
 
Like the “precious” corrupted the heart of the character “Gollum” in Tolkien’s “The Hobbit,” so treasuring worldly, temporal things affects the human heart. Yet, making Jesus Christ our treasure, our hearts are sanctified and our treasure is laid up in heaven.
 
So, how are you doing? Where is your heart today? Hint: It’s what you’re thinking about most and treasuring most today.
 
PRAYER: Lord, our hearts are so easily corrupted by the things of this world. We always want more. We are never satisfied. Yet, we would be satisfied with more of You. Give us the wisdom and strength to focus on You as our great treasure and our great reward, forsaking that which distracts or entangles us from fully following You. In Jesus name, Amen.

“On that very day Abraham took his son, Ishmael, and every male in his household, including those born there and those he had bought. Then he circumcised them, cutting off their foreskins, just as God had told him” (Genesis 17:23 NLT).

From: January 7, 2018

When my children were young and took too long to obey, I would say to them, “Slow obedience is no obedience.” Certainly, Abraham could not be accused of this. He was quick to obey God, as the Scripture says, “On that very day…” When Abraham believed, he obeyed. There was no disconnect between his faith and his obedience. Not only was he quick to obey, he obeyed fully. As the Scripture also says, “Just as God had told him.”
 
It is good to teach our children to obey us just as Abraham obeyed the Lord. Three attributes of obedience should be taught. In teaching, you might ask, “Johnny, how do you obey?” And his learned response should be, “Immediately, sweetly and completely.” This is good training for our children, but also good instruction for how we should obey the Lord.

“Is anything too hard for the LORD?” (Genesis 18:14 NKVJ).

From: January 7, 2017

The three men that visited Abraham were from the “LORD” (All caps means the name “Yahweh” is being translated). The two silent ones were angels (Gen. 19:1), and the third was a physical manifestation of the LORD, possibly the preincarnate Christ. Abraham invited them to stay for a meal and they accepted. While they were eating, the One who spoke as the LORD asked where Abraham’s wife Sarah was. Abraham replied that she was in the tent. He then told Abraham that He would return “according to the time of life” (i.e. “nine months”), and “behold,” Sarah would have a son. Sarah, who was listening (i.e. “eavesdropping”) within the tent, laughed to herself and doubted that an old woman like her could ever conceive. The LORD, who hears even when we laugh to ourselves, heard Sarah and asked Abraham why she laughed and doubted Him. He asked, “Is anything to hard for the LORD?”

The question is obviously rhetorical. Nothing is too hard for our God! But this story, with the personal visitation, the shared meal, the announcement of a coming son, and the questioning of Sarah’s lack of faith… this intimate and relational story teaches us that nothing is too small for our God either!

Lift everything up to the LORD today. The hard things and the small things too. He cares for you.

‘The Lord said, “I will surely return to you about this time next year, and Sarah your wife shall have a son.”’ (Genesis 18:10 ESV)

From: January 7, 2016

The Lord’s visitation to make a birth announcement concerning Abraham’s wife, Sarah, began a pattern of such divine announcements in the lineage of Christ. Isaac, the child of laughter and of promise, was clearly a miraculous birth. God opened the womb of a woman “advanced in years,” one in whom the “way of women had ceased to be.” This birth announcement was a foreshadowing of the announcement Gabriel made to Joseph and Mary. For in a similar fashion, God chose the young virgin Mary, and caused her to be with child, also visiting Joseph to call him to accept her and to name the boy child, “Jesus,” adopting him as his own. The birth of Isaac points to the birth of Jesus. In fact, the whole Old Testament points to Christ’s coming.

“Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10 NKJV)

From: January 7, 2015

That which is called the “Lord’s Prayer” might rightly be called the Lord’s teaching prayer or model prayer, for He gives it to us to teach us how to pray. Even the order of the prayer should be considered as we learn to pray. Notice He teaches us to begin with God’s Name and holiness, then moves to request God’s will to take place above our own requests. We tend always to rush to our daily worries, bringing our laundry lists to God before recognizing Him in worship and asking for His will before ours. We see prayer as getting what we want from God, rather than God getting His will with us. Who should be changed by coming into God’s throne room? Do we inform God of needs we have of which He is unaware? No. He knows our deepest needs before we do. Jesus teaches us to pray in order to seek God’s face before seeking His hand. Having seen His face, we may even find our deepest needs already met there. Have you learned to pray to get with God, to see His face, to hear His voice, to be the one who is changed? Have you learned to pray “Thy” Kingdom come prayers, instead of “my” kingdom come ones?

“When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to him and said, ‘I am El-Shaddai—”God Almighty.” Serve me faithfully and live a blameless life'” (Genesis 17:1)

From: January 7, 2014

The Bible is a book for us, but not really about us. It is a book about God. The Lord chooses to reveal Himself to Abram. With every turn of the page, the Bible records more about the Person and Character of God. Here, He identifies Himself as “El Shaddai-God Almighty,” the Omnipotent One. What does it mean to you that God is All-Powerful? What do you face today that requires His strength?

“Pray then like this: ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name'” (Matthew 6:9)

From: January 7, 2013

What we have called the Lord’s Prayer would better be called His model prayer, for this prayer was given to teach His disciples how to pray. They had heard prayers at home, in the synagogue and in the temple, but they had never heard anyone pray like Jesus, so they begged, “Lord, teach us how to pray.” And so, He did. Starting with the most radical idea of all, that we might pray to God, calling Him “Father.” Jesus makes it possible for us to have a relationship with God as Abba, Father. Have you prayed to Him today?