Category Archives: Daily Devotional

Monday through Friday with People of Faith: Day 180/260: Daniel

Read Daniel 2

The Kingdom That Shall Stand Forever

The power of the Babylonians was unmatched in their day. The king, Nebuchadnezzar, had a dream that troubled him, and no man seemed to be able to interpret the dream for him. Angry with their incompetence, Nebuchadnezzar put to death many of the wise men, and sought to execute Daniel and his companions as well. Daniel, however, stepped up and told the king the meaning of his dream.

Nebuchadnezzar dreamed of a great image with a head of fine gold, a chest and arms of silver, belly and thighs of bronze, legs of iron and feet of iron mixed with clay. The image was then destroyed by a stone, and that stone because a great mountain.

Daniel explained to the king that the head of gold is Babylon; the power that Nebuchadnezzar enjoyed was given to him by God. Another kingdom would come after Babylon, inferior to Babylon, then another, and another.

We can now look back through history and identify these kingdoms that followed Babylon. The chest and arms of silver represented the Medo-Persian Empire, in power from 539-330 BC. The belly and thighs of bronze prefigured the Greeks, in power from 330-63 BC, initially led by Alexander the Great. The legs of iron and feet of iron mixed with clay represented the Roman Empire.

Daniel explains that during the days of that fourth kingdom, that is the Roman Empire, another kingdom would arise. “And in the days of these kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed; and the kingdom shall not be left to other people; it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever” (Daniel 2:44).

We are now many years removed from the Roman Empire, but that kingdom that God set up, prophesied by Daniel, still exists. Jesus, who lived during the time of the Caesars, told His disciples that upon their confession of Him as the Son of God, He would build His church, “and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:13ff). In that same passage, Jesus equated the church to the kingdom.

Are you in God’s kingdom, the church? It is the only kingdom that will stand forever.

Monday through Friday with People of Faith: Day 179/260: Daniel

Read Daniel 1

What Do You Purpose In Your Heart?

The Babylonian captivity was predicted by Jeremiah, and Daniel was one of the young men who was carried away at the beginning of the captivity. He was among the youths “in whom there was no blemish, but good-looking, gifted in all wisdom, possessing knowledge and quick to understand, who had ability to serve in the king’s palace, and whom they might teach the language and literature of the Chaldeans” (Daniel 1:4).

There was something different about Daniel, though. The Scriptures state that this young man “purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s delicacies, nor with the wine which he drank” (Daniel 1:8). He requested an exemption from the customary diet of the eunuchs.

The chief of the eunuchs was leery about the request, as it could endanger his own life if the young men who ate differently became unhealthy because of their diet. Daniel issued a ten-day challenge and told the chief of the eunuchs that if their appearance was worse than the others, “as you see fit, so deal with your servants” (Daniel 1:13).

Daniel was not just trying to be difficult. He was well-liked by the man in charge, as the Scriptures say, “Now God had brought Daniel into the favor and goodwill of the chief of the eunuchs” (Daniel 1:9). The young man likely did as he was told without complaint, and thus the chief of the eunuchs was more willing to listen to his request.

As children of God, should we not try to get along with those around us, and with those over us? If we behave in a reasonable manner as employees, would our employers not deal more reasonably with us? If a situation arises at work that might cause us to compromise our Christian walk, and we have behaved properly in the past, our employers are more likely to listen to our concerns than if we were always difficult and always complaining.

Daniel was well-liked because his heart was in the right place. He “purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself.” Do we do the same? Are we so committed to the Lord that we make a conscious decision that no matter what, we will not stray from His command?

Consider your goals, your dreams, and your desires. What do you purpose in your heart?

Monday through Friday with People of Faith: Day 178/260: Obadiah

Read Obadiah

Stand By Or Stand Up?

Many have heard the saying, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing,” which is often misattributed to an Irish statesman and philosopher. While we may not know the origin of the quote, the idea is quite correct. If you don’t stand up and say something about injustice, who will? In fact, does your silence not make you complicit in the wickedness?

In Obadiah’s prophecy, God condemns Edom for standing by and doing nothing to help Jacob when trouble came. “For violence against your brother Jacob, shame shall cover you, and you shall be cut off forever. In the day that you stood on the other side—in the day that strangers carried captive his forces, when foreigners entered his gates and cast lots for Jerusalem—even you were as one of them” (Obadiah 10-11).

Refusing to act on the behalf of those in need is the same as actively oppressing them. If you have the means and opportunity, you should do what you can to assist a person in need. The apostle Paul wrote, “Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith” (Galatians 6:10).

Not only did Edom stand by and watch, but they were also happy at what they witnessed. “But you should not have gazed on the day of your brother in the day of his captivity; nor should you have rejoiced over the children of Judah in the day of their destruction; nor should you have spoken proudly in the day of distress” (Obadiah 12).

Why would someone find joy in another person’s suffering? Think about the bullies in school. Why were they bullies? Most of the time, they were trying to feel better about themselves, and they thought the only way to do that was to tear someone else down. God shows us the real way to happiness: through helping others. Again it is the apostle Paul, who applied a principle taught by the Lord to the action of helping the less fortunate. “I have shown you in every way, by laboring like this, that you must support the weak. And remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He said, ‘It is ore blessed to give than to receive’” (Acts 20:35).

Don’t stand by while others are oppressed. Stand up and help.

Monday through Friday with People of Faith: Day 177/260: Habakkuk

Read Habakkuk 2

“The Just Shall Live By Faith”

God said through the prophet Habakkuk, “Behold the proud, his soul is not upright in him; but the just shall live by faith” (Habakkuk 2:4). In this truth, God presents a contrast between the one who proudly chooses his own path without regard to divine guidance and the humble one who submits to the will of the Almighty.

Three times in the New Testament the last part of that verse is quoted: “The just shall live by faith” (Romans 1:17; Galatians 3:11; Hebrews 10:38). What exactly does this mean? Does it mean as long as you believe, you can live however you wish? Certainly not, but that seems to be the way a lot of folks interpret it! When you look carefully, this statement answers three questions: who, what, and how?

Who? “The just.” What does it mean to be just? The original Hebrew word is most often translated “righteous.” Thus, “the just” is one who is righteous, who conforms his life and mind to what God has revealed.

What shall “the just” do? He “shall live.” Living is more than just breathing. Living encompasses everything you do every day. It includes going to work or school, family time, recreation, and worship. Any activity in which you are involved, that is a part of living.

“The just shall live…” How? “By faith.” If a person is righteous, it is because they have learned God’s Word and strive to obey it. It is more than simply believing in God. Rather, the decisions you make every day are influenced by that belief! You make just or righteous decisions because of faith.

The next time you are faced with a moral decision, remember the words of Habakkuk: “The just shall live by faith.” Allow your decision to be influenced by the faith that was once for all delivered and live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present age. Don’t go along with the crowd; don’t be like the proud man whose soul is not upright. Do what God commands because your faith demands such.

Monday through Friday with People of Faith: Day 176/260: Habakkuk

Read Habakkuk 1

“Why, God?”

Murder. Abortion. Gun violence. Child abuse. Have you ever looked at the evil all around you and wondered why God allows such to take place? Why does He not take action to save those who are persecuted and prevent the wicked from prospering? The prophet Habakkuk asked these questions during his lifetime.

Habakkuk was not blinded to the sin of his own people. He recognized that there was in Judah “iniquity,” “trouble,” “plundering,” “violence,” “strife,” and “contention” (Habakkuk 1:3). He was not the first of the prophets to decry the iniquity of the people of God. Read Hosea 4:2 and Micah 6:12-13 for other examples of such. Habakkuk questions the Lord about all the sin that is going unchecked, and then God answers.

“Look among the nations and watch—be utterly astounded! For I will work a work in your days which you would not believe, though it were told you. For indeed I am raising up the Chaldeans, a bitter and hasty nation which marches through the breadth of the earth, to possess dwelling places that are not theirs” (Habakkuk 1:5-6). God will use Babylon, a nation more wicked than Judah, to punish His people.

This creates a similar question in the prophet’s mind: “Why do You look on those who deal treacherously, and hold Your tongue when the wicked devours a person more righteous than he?” (Habakkuk 1:13).

It was not that Babylon was more righteous—they weren’t. Rather, it was that Judah had fallen so far from God’s Word that they needed to be set right. A remnant needed to be preserved for God’s eternal purpose to be fulfilled in the church.

When we struggle in life, even at the hand of an enemy, let us take a step back and reexamine ourselves and our spiritual situation. Be sure that we are doing all we can to live faithfully and set a proper example for others. Further, let us be certain to respond to such struggles in a Christ-like manner, looking for opportunities to use those difficulties to spread the gospel and shine the light of Christ in our lives.

Monday through Friday with People of Faith: Day 175/260: Jeremiah

Read Jeremiah 17

Who Do You Trust?

The Scriptures issue grave warnings against trusting untrustworthy things. The apostle Paul tells Timothy, “Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy” (1 Timothy 6:17).

What makes earthly riches “uncertain”? Jesus answers in the Sermon on the Mount: “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal” (Matthew 6:19). Earthly treasures are temporary. They can be destroyed or stolen. Heavenly treasures, though, cannot be taken away from a faithful person.

Jeremiah warns not against trusting in temporary treasures, but against anything that is not rooted in God Himself. “Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength, whose heart departs from the Lord” (Jeremiah 17:5). When a person begins to trust in his own abilities and fails to recognize from whom those abilities come, he is sure to stumble!

The prophet presents a contrast between trusting man and trusting God. He who feels secure in the flesh is “cursed” (17:5), while the man who trusts in God and puts his hope in God is “blessed” (17:7).

The man who relies on his own strength is “like a shrub in the desert…the parched places in the wilderness, in a salt land which is not inhabited” (17:6). There is no prospect for improvement in that man. But the man who is confident in the Lord “shall be like a tree planted by the waters, which spreads out its roots by the river…its leaf will be green, and will not be anxious in the year of drought, nor will cease from yielding fruit” (17:8). Nothing can stop the growth of the man whose source of life and energy is the Almighty!

Notice also that the man who trusts in the flesh “shall not see when good comes” (17:6). The one who has a lot of money just wants more money. There is never any peace or contentment with what he already possesses; he simply looks for more. By contrast, the one who trusts in God “will not fear when heat comes” (17:8). There is a calmness of the heart in knowing that God is your provider and protector.

Who do you trust?

Monday through Friday with People of Faith: Day 174/260: Jeremiah

Read Jeremiah 1

We Must Destroy To Build

Jeremiah is often called “the weeping prophet.” He saw good things happening in Judah, and he witnessed terrible deeds as well. He is the author of the book that bears his name as well as Lamentations.

The first chapter of Jeremiah deals with the call of the man to the prophetic office. There are many wonderful truths that can be gleaned from these nineteen verses.

First, notice the foreknowledge of God. He said to Jeremiah, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; before you were born I sanctified you; I ordained you a prophet to the nations” (Jeremiah 1:5). This does not mean the man had no choice in the matter; he could have refused God’s call, but with great consequence. Yet, God knew the type of man Jeremiah would be, and He knew that the prophet would obey the calling.

In fact, Jeremiah offered an excuse as to why he should not be God’s chosen instrument to take the prophecy to the nation. “Ah, Lord God! Behold, I cannot speak, for I am a youth” (Jeremiah 1:6). Does God accept excuses? Age does not matter to God. All persons of an accountable age are responsible for their behavior toward the Almighty. God immediately dispelled any notion that Jeremiah’s youth exempted him from service.

God encouraged His servant, “Do not be afraid of their faces, for I am with you to deliver you” (Jeremiah 1:8). God promised Jeremiah that if he would prepare himself for divine service, he would be safe and protected. “‘They will fight against you, but they shall not prevail against you. For I am with you,’ says the Lord, ‘to deliver you’” (Jeremiah 1:19).

This is a promise still made to obedient children of God today. In issuing the Great Commission in Matthew 28:20, Jesus said, “And lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” The Hebrews writer reminded his friends of this promise, writing, “For He Himself has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you’” (Hebrews 13:5).

One more truth we can learn from the first chapter of Jeremiah is the necessity of tearing down the evil in order to rebuild what is good. “Behold, I have put My words in your mouth. See, I have this day set you over the nations and over the kingdoms, to root out and to pull down, to destroy and to throw down, to build and to plant” (Jeremiah 1:9-10). What do you need to destroy and throw down in your life so that you can build and plant?

Monday through Friday with People of Faith: Day 173/260: Josiah

Read 2 Chronicles 34

Do Not Turn Aside to the Right Hand or to the Left

Josiah was just a young boy—eight years old!—when he became king. The inspired record tells us that at age 16, “while he was still young, he began to seek the God of his father David” (2 Chronicles 34:3). As he learned the truth, he tore down the objects of idolatry—“the high places, the wooden images, the carved images, and the molded images….the altars of the Baals…and the incense altars” (2 Chronicles 34:3-4). Why did he do all of this?

The Scriptures are clear as to the motivation of the young king: “And he did what was right in the sight of the Lord, and walked in the ways of his father David; he did not turn aside to the right hand or to the left” (2 Chronicles 34:2). The young king desired to be right with God and did not want anything to get in the way of that relationship.

How many times do we allow the things of this world get in the way of our love for God? How often do we demote God to a lesser place in our hearts because of selfish desires? How often do we justify disobedience as “no big deal”? It’s “no big deal” if we miss the worship services every once in a while. It’s “no big deal” if we drink a little, cuss a little, cheat a little. As long as our heart is right, it’s “no big deal.”

But that’s just the thing: if our heart is right, we will see that it is a big deal to disobey! Do you not realize what God did for you? Do you not realize the great price that was paid for your disobedience? His grace is great and His mercy is mighty, and because of that, willful rebellion against His Word is a very big deal!

There will be some who call those who adhere to the revealed Word “legalists.” Nothing could be farther from the truth. Legalists are those who emphasize obedience separate and apart from faith, who trust in their actions rather than the grace of God. But if you believe in His grace, in His promises, and in His warnings, you will stress obedience as a part of faith! Josiah stressed obedience and following the Word, refusing to “turn aside to the right hand or to the left,” because he believed what God had said.

Are you obeying God? You may respond, “He knows my heart.” That is true, and if you are living against His will, that should terrify you. Follow the example of Josiah and the people of faith in Scriptures who “did what was right in the sight of the Lord.”

Monday through Friday with People of Faith: Day 172/260: Zephaniah

Read Zephaniah 3

The Power Of Hope

Zephaniah pleads with the people of Judah, “Seek the Lord, all you meek of the earth, who have upheld His justice. Seek righteousness, seek humility. It may be that you will be hidden in the day of the Lord’s anger” (Zephaniah 2:3). In these words there is the implication that the day of grace has passed; there is no hope for God’s wrath to be abated, but rather the only hope that remains is that some may escape.

There is a certain type of people that will be saved in the end: those who are meek, just, righteous, and humble. Those who are strong-willed refuse to bend to God’s precepts. Those who are cruel and unfair are often selfish, looking for ways to get ahead at the expense of their neighbors. Those who are wicked do not care what God has commanded. And those who are proud will seek to be justified in their own works. Yet, no man can save himself. Only God can save, and God will only save those who submit and bend their wills to His will. Indeed, God declares that He “will take away from your midst those who rejoice in your pride, and you shall no longer by haughty in My holy mountain” (Zephaniah 3:11).

When we arrive at the end of Zephaniah’s prophecy, we read of God’s personal interest and investment in redemption. Notice the personal pronouns used: “‘I will gather those who sorrow over the appointed assembly, who are among you, to whom its reproach is a burden. Behold, at that time I will deal with all who afflict you; I will save the lame, and gather those who were driven out; I will appoint them for praise and fame in every land where they were put to shame. At that time I will bring you back, even at the time I gather you; for I will give you fame and praise among all the peoples of the earth, when I return your captives before your eyes,’ says the Lord” (Zephaniah 3:18-20).

The work of the redemption of man is the work of the Lord. He has the power to do it. He sets the parameters to which one must submit. We cannot decide for ourselves that we will be saved in any particular way; it is only His way that is acceptable, and only His way that leads to salvation.

Monday through Friday with People of Faith: Day 171/260: Nahum

Read Nahum 1-3

Laid Waste

The prophet Jonah predicted the destruction of Nineveh within forty days, but at their repentance, God relented. Approximately 100 years later, Nahum was called to proclaim “the burden against Nineveh” (Nahum 1:1). Nahum decried the savagery of their military and the commercial greed of the capital city of Assyria.

Few could have fathomed the fall of Assyria while they were in power. The same could be said about the rule of the Babylonians, the Medo-Persians, the Greeks, and the Romans. These empires were mighty, but as all earthly kingdoms do, they eventually fell.

Nahum’s prophecy shows the utter destruction of Nineveh. He writes, “She is empty, desolate, and waste! The heart melts, and the knees shake; much pain is in every side, and all their faces are drained of color” (Nahum 2:10). He further writes, “It shall come to pass that all who look upon you will flee from you, and say, ‘Nineveh is laid waste! Who will bemoan her?’ Where shall I seek comforters for you?” (Nahum 3:7).

There is but one kingdom that will never fall, but it is not an earthly kingdom. This kingdom was established nearly 2000 years ago during the days of the Roman empire; it was prophesied by Daniel and built by Jesus. It is the only kingdom “which shall never be destroyed” and “shall stand forever” (Daniel 2:44).

Our allegiance must be pledged to that spiritual kingdom. Our love for country must never exceed our love for God. We have a greater citizenship than our American citizenship, and we desperately need to understand that fact. “For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself” (Philippians 3:20-21).

May we all work together to increase the citizenship of heaven, and realize the importance of that task. Whatever happens in our country ultimately matters little if we are not striving to get to heaven and take as many others with us as possible!