Category Archives: Daily Devotional

Read the New Testament in a year, one chapter a day, five days a week

Day 142/260: Read Matthew 17

We must never neglect the power of God as we do His work. That was the apostles’ problem in their failure to cast out the demon. They forgot to include God, even though they were working for Him! “However, this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.”

One commentary says, “Prayerlessness and powerlessness go hand-in-hand.” What a powerful statement! When we dismiss God’s part in His work, we are sure to fail!

Who do you know that needs the gospel? We all have friends and family members who do not live as they should; perhaps they are rebelliously living against God, or they may be very devout but in a false religion. Are we looking for opportunities to teach them “the way of God more accurately” (Acts 18:26)? Are we praying for those opportunities?

The apostle Paul asked the Ephesians to pray for him. “Praying…for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make know the mystery of the gospel…that in it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak” (Ephesians 6:18-20). If an evangelist as successful and influential as Paul saw the need for prayer in sharing the gospel, in doing the Lord’s work, shouldn’t we depend on it even more?

The power of prayer must be recognized by every faithful worker in the Lord.

Memory (Copy into a notebook 5-10 times)

Matthew 16:26. “For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?”

Pray

Pray for opportunities to do God’s work among your friends, family members, and neighbors.

Read the New Testament in a year, one chapter a day, five days a week

Day 141/260: Read Matthew 16

In Matthew 13:33, Jesus taught a parable and compared the kingdom of heaven to leaven. In that instance, the leaven was seen as a good thing, as the positive influence the child of God exerts on the wicked world all around him.

Conversely, leaven can also be a bad thing. In this chapter, Jesus warns, “Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” Though the apostles did not fully understand the Master’s saying at first, they finally figured out that He was talking about “the doctrine of the Pharisees and Sadducees.”

We must be cautious that we do not fall into the trap of letting “just a little” false teaching to creep into the church. Once it starts, it is very difficult to get rid of it. Once the leaven goes into the dough, it will affect the entire batch.

If the leaven is a positive thing, such as in the parable of Matthew 13, then there is no problem. But if the leaven is a negative thing, whether it be false teaching or a poor attitude, the church will face great difficulty.

Little sin grows into bigger sin; a little false teaching grows into bigger false teaching. The influence of the church will be hindered if the truth is compromised.

Memory (Read aloud 5-10 times)

Matthew 16:26. “For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?”

Pray

Pray for the purity of the doctrine being taught in your local congregation, comparing everything to the inspired Word. Pray for the preacher laboring in your area.

Read the New Testament in a year, one chapter a day, five days a week

Day 140/260: Read Matthew 15

Racism is ugly. The hatred that spurs on bigotry has no roots in Christian character whatsoever. Yet, it has been a problem for millennia—not only in America, but across the globe.

The apostles, all Jewish men, were bigots against the Gentiles for many years. Sure, they were a product of their times, but they were still wrong. Anyone who was not a Jew was considered a “dog.” How dare a woman from Canaan approach the Jewish Messiah with a request for help!

This woman requested a miracle from the Lord, but he allowed the disciples to answer for Him at first. “Send her away!” He played along with their bigotry for a moment, hoping to teach them a lesson. He said He was sent to Israel, and that it would not be fair to take Israel’s blessings and give it to a lesser race.

She wisely replied that she was only a little dog, a puppy if you will, and what she requested was simply a crumb that fell from the table.

The Lord commended her faith and granted her request. “And her daughter was healed from that very hour.” Sadly, the apostles’ racist attitude was not healed for many years after.

Can we learn from this lesson? Can we do better toward those who are different from us?

Memory (Recite to a friend without looking)

Matthew 12:36. “But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment.”

Pray

Pray for a loving heart toward the downtrodden and oppressed.

Read the New Testament in a year, one chapter a day, five days a week

Day 139/260: Read Matthew 14

Don’t take your eyes off Jesus, or you might start to sink! That’s what happened to Peter. Jesus sent His disciples away in the boat, and after praying He went to join them—but not in a boat! Jesus walked on the water in the middle of a great storm, and when the disciples saw Him they thought He was a ghost.

He said, “Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid.” Brash Peter challenged Jesus’ assertion. He basically said to the Lord, “Prove it!” Jesus commanded Peter to walk on the water. And Peter did…until he took his eyes off the Master.

“And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus. But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, ‘Lord, save me!’”

We live in troubled times; the storms of life are all around us and they are often “boisterous.” If we focus on the Lord, we can get through these times with His help. When we take our eyes off Jesus, we are sure to sink. Hopefully, when we recognize that we are not strong enough on our own, we will turn to the Lord for help. He is there. He wants to help us.

Later in life, the one who started to sink wrote, “Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you” (1 Peter 5:6-7).

Memory (Fill in the blanks)

Matthew 12:36. “But I say to you that for every idle word men may __________, they will give account of it in the day of __________.”

Pray

Pray for God’s help in whatever struggles you face today.

Read the New Testament in a year, one chapter a day, five days a week

Day 138/260: Read Matthew 13

In one of His shortest parables, Jesus reveals a great truth about the influence of the church on the society around her. “The kingdom of heaven is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal till it was all leavened.”

When the church is behaving properly and is faithfully obedient to all the Lord commands, society will benefit. The leavening agent (yeast) is a very small part of cooking, but has an enormous impact on the end product. Likewise, the church may be small, but her influence is powerful in the world.

What happens when the church is silenced, either by force or by choice? The home crumbles. Governing authorities become more and more corrupt. Children are raised with little or no moral compass. Society is worse without the Lord’s church.

Christians must stand up against the evils of this world. The Bible is clear that God’s standards and the world’s standards are not the same. The prophet declared, “Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!” (Isaiah 5:20).

The church must “contend earnestly for the faith” (Jude 3) and “have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them” (Ephesians 5:11). Influence the world for good.

Memory (Fill in the blanks)

Matthew 12:36. “But I say to you that for every __________ word men may speak, they will give __________ of it in the day of judgment.”

Pray

Pray for wisdom in opposing those thing the Lord opposes.

Read the New Testament in a year, one chapter a day, five days a week

Day 137/260: Read Matthew 12

Are you with Jesus? Think carefully before answering that question. What does it mean to be with Jesus? He says, “Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and every city or house divided against itself will not stand.”

We cannot apologize for the truth, nor can we compromise it. Everything Jesus said is the standard by which we will be judged (John 12:48), not just the parts we like or the statements we agree with. We may live a mostly good, moral life, but if we do not fully submit to Him, we are not with Him. What does He say? “He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters abroad.”

Think about the church with which you worship. Is it gathering people to Christ, or to a doctrine that is not revealed in the Scripture? Or perhaps to a partial truth? There are some good things being taught in every denomination, but denominations lack “the whole counsel of God.” They may be adding to the revealed Word, or they may be ignoring parts of it. Neither practice is acceptable.

Do you believe that Jesus is the Son of God? Have you confessed that belief before men? Have you repented of your sins? Have you been immersed to have your sins washed away? Does the church you attend teach those things as necessary? Or is it scattering abroad?

Memory (Copy into a notebook 5-10 times)

Matthew 12:36. “But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment.”

Pray

Pray for God’s continual guidance as you search the Scriptures for the truth.

Read the New Testament in a year, one chapter a day, five days a week

Day 136/260: Read Matthew 11

Do the toils of life ever get you down? Jesus said, “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Life can be difficult, but we can enjoy peace and hope and rest in Christ. He gives comfort and strength to get us through our struggles.

Notice, however, that it is not rest in this life that Jesus promises. Indeed, those who serve God will find themselves working harder than ever before. The promised rest is “for your souls.” It is an eternal rest from our labors. Work here, and rest forevermore.

There are too many on this side of eternity that want to be Christians in name only – that is, they don’t actually want to live like Christ lived. They want all the blessings and benefits that come with being a child of God, but do not want to put forth any effort in strengthening His kingdom, His church.

Jesus promises rest to those who work. Those who do not work cannot have any expectation of rest founded in the Scriptures. We must serve the Lord daily and sacrificially.

“Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 15:58). If you expect rest then, you must work now.

Memory (Read aloud 5-10 times)

Matthew 12:36. “But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment.”

Pray

Pray for opportunities to do the work of the Lord.

Read the New Testament in a year, one chapter a day, five days a week

Day 135/260: Read Matthew 10

Context is vitally important when studying the Scriptures. When considering the context of a passage, you must ask, “Who is being addressed?” God was talking to Noah when he said to build an ark. That command does not apply to us. Likewise, Jesus said some things to His apostles that do not apply to us today.

The Lord said to the apostles, “But when they deliver you up, do not worry about how or what you should speak. For it will be given to you in that hour what you should speak; for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you.” The apostles were inspired to say what they said.

That does not apply to us. We must be diligent in our study to be sure that what we say lines up with the revealed will of God. He is not going to whisper in our ear and tell us what to say. We must prepare ourselves to tell the good news by feasting on the Word.

Paul told Timothy, “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17). If God still spoke directly to man today, there would be no need for the inspired Word; there would be no need to study at all.

Remember context, and prepare yourself to teach others.

Memory (Recite to a friend without looking)

Matthew 10:39. He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it.

Pray

Pray for wisdom and discernment when studying the Word.

Read the New Testament in a year, one chapter a day, five days a week

Day 134/260: Read Matthew 9

Don’t you just love talking about yourself? When you tell stories about things that happened in your life, you load those stories up with details, don’t you? And you always make sure to include details that make you look especially good.

That’s not how Matthew went about it. When Matthew wrote his account of the gospel, his focus was on Jesus, not on himself. Consider the incident related in this chapter of Matthew’s call to follow the Lord. Now read Luke’s account of the same incident in Luke 5:27-31. Keep in mind that “Matthew” and “Levi” are the same person. Do you notice any differences?

Based on Matthew’s account, what happened when Jesus said, “Follow Me”? Matthew says that “he arose and followed Him.” Pretty straight-forward, isn’t it? But Luke adds one other detail, saying that the tax collector “left all.” He made a great personal sacrifice in his decision to follow Jesus, but Matthew didn’t want to brag on himself.

Look at Matthew’s account again. Whose house did they eat in? He doesn’t reveal that information, does he? But Luke does! “Then Levi gave Him a great feast in his own house” (Luke 5:29). Matthew did not mention that it was his house; he humbly left himself out, wanting the focus to be on Jesus.

Where is the focus of our story? Let’s give Jesus the position He deserves—front and center. Put Him in the spotlight, and let us stand in the shadows. It’s not about us. It’s about Him.

Memory (Fill in the blanks)

Matthew 10:39. He who finds his life will ____________ it, and he who loses his life for My sake will ____________ it.

Pray

Pray for humility when spreading the gospel.

Read the New Testament in a year, one chapter a day, five days a week

Day 133/260: Read Matthew 8

Living the Christian life is not an easy task. Following Jesus does not guarantee wealth or safety. A scribe came to the Master and said he would follow wherever Jesus went, but Jesus warned, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.” You will face difficult situations in this world if you follow Jesus.

One of the Lord’s disciples said that he would not be free to follow Jesus until after his father had passed away. “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.” Jesus rebuked the man’s procrastination. Following Jesus is an urgent matter and may require us to sacrifice personal matters. “Follow Me, and let the dead bury their own dead.” Again, living the Christian life is not an easy task.

Matthew relates the incident on the tempestuous sea. The disciples were freaking out, but the Savior was asleep. They frantically woke Him, saying, “Lord, save us! We are perishing!”

Sometimes it may feel like we are perishing, crushed under a load of worry and care in this life. Stress pushes us to what we think is our breaking point. But Jesus says, “Why are you fearful, O you of little faith?”

Jesus is able to calm whatever storm you are facing. You will face difficulties every day, but Jesus is right by your side. Focus on Him. Focus on the faith. Be at peace knowing that you have a powerful friend named Jesus.

Memory (Fill in the blanks)

Matthew 10:39. He who ____________ his life will lose it, and he who ____________ his life for My sake will find it.

Pray

Pray for peace in your life’s situations, focusing on Christ.