Matthew 3; Mark 1:1-11; Luke 3; John 1:15-34
“The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, ‘Here is the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!’” John 1:29
Malachi 3:1 and Isaiah 40 prophecy about John the Baptist. When a king would come into town, some would come before him to prepare the path by smoothing out the road. John prepared the people for the coming of Jesus Christ by calling them to repent of their sins and be baptized. It was right for Jesus to stand with this movement of God by being baptized. We see His baptism being approved by God. He wasn’t baptized because He was sinful. He is the perfect Savior, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!
Luke 3 points out tangible ways the people needed to change upon repenting of sin. What needs to change in your life?
Psalm 106; John 1:1-14
“The Word became flesh and dwelt among us. We observed his glory, the glory as the one and only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.” John 1:14
Today we start with Psalm 106 to see a summary of the history of Israel. Notice Israel’s struggle with disobedience and obedience and their longing for salvation. John 4:1-14 reveals to us that Jesus is the answer to their cry for salvation. One of the central themes of the Old Testament is God’s presence with His people. Now, this theme comes to a full realization in the life of Jesus Christ. Jesus came and dwelt among us. This literally means that He came and “pitched a tent” among us. He comes and abides, dwells, and tabernacles among us.
Spend a few moments in prayer reflecting on what it means to you that Jesus dwells with you.
“Now the Lord of Armies says this: “Think carefully about your ways.” Haggai 1:7
In today’s reading Haggai gives four brief sermons that confront God’s people. At the neglect of God’s temple, Israel had become focused on themselves. Haggai’s message was “Get to Work!” Alongside that message we continue to be reminded of the importance of the presence of God, the pursuit of holiness, and the need for God-guided leadership. It’s easy for us to get distracted from building up the Lord’s house, which is the church. How often do we get focused on ourselves and our needs at the neglect of the needs of others?
How can you sacrifice your time and resources to build up you brothers and sisters in the Church?
“I continued watching in the night visions, and suddenly one like a son of man was coming with the clouds of heaven… He was given dominion, and glory, and a kingdom; so that those of every people, nation, and language should serve him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will not be destroyed.” Daniel 7:13a-14
Today’s reading reveals several visions. One vision has four beasts, each representing four stages of history. Each of these represent four different earthly time periods. Each of these time periods has and ending. Daniel 7:13-14 reveals the eternal kingdom of the Messiah, Jesus Christ. Jesus’ use of the title, ‘Son of Man,’ likely comes from this passage.
Re-read Daniel 7:13-14 and praise the Son of Man, Jesus, whose kingdom is everlasting!
“But you his successor, Belshazzar, have not humbled your heart, even though you knew all this.” Daniel 5:22
Each of the three stories in today’s reading presents a crisis caused by a prideful king. Take note that God is the hero of the story. He is in control. First, Nebuchadnezzar was prideful and did not repent of his sins so he was turned into an animal. Second, Belshazzar saw the writing on the wall and did not humble his heart. Third, prideful Darius allowed his advisors to convince him to build the statue of himself and require people to worship him alone. In the end Nebuchadnezzar and Darius repent of their pride and give praise to the one true God!
Repent of the pride in your life today.
Take note of how God used Daniel, who was humble, in these stories. How might God want to use you today?
“If the God we serve exists, then he can rescue us from the furnace of blazing fire, and he can rescue us from the power of you, the king. But even if he does not rescue us, we want you as king to know that we will not serve your gods or worship the gold statue you set up.” Daniel 3:17-18
Today’s reading focuses our attention on faithfulness. First, we see the faithfulness of Daniel and his friends as they remained faithful to God’s laws in a foreign land. Second, we see the faithfulness of God in how He provides (Daniel 1:17) and in the interpretation of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream. Third, we see that God was faithful to Daniel, Shadrach, Meshack, and Abednego in the fiery furnace. God delivers those who are faithful to Him!
Ask the Lord to give you strength to remain faithful to Him when pressured to abandon His Ways.
“And I, behold, I make you this day a fortified city, an iron pillar, and bronze walls, against the whole land, against kings of Judah, its officials, its priests, and the people of the land. They will fight against you, but they shall not prevail against you, for I am with you, declares the Lord, to deliver you.” Jeremiah 1:18-19
I can think of several times where I was asked to do something that was over my head. The task was something I had not previously experienced or accomplished. The task was going to take a lot of work and would effect many people. If you’ve been in a similar situation you probably felt afraid, overwhelmed, and most certainly unworthy. This is how Jeremiah felt. He was appointed by God to be a prophet to the nations (Jer. 1:5). Jeremiah expresses his overwhelming, unworthiness, and fear by saying he is only a youth and cannot speak. The Lord touches Jeremiah’s mouth to insert His words.
God has appointed you to something and, whatever it is, He will provide what you need.
The thing we need most is the presence of God. God revealed to Jeremiah that the task wouldn’t be easy but God promised He would be with Him. God would deliver Him. Though it would be difficult the enemy would not prevail. The thing that God has appointed you to do may not be easy. Obedience to Him may bring suffering from Satan or the world. But, God promises to be with you and deliver you!
What has God appointed you to do that has you feeling afraid, overwhelmed, or unworthy? How can you be more open to His call? How can you be more open to His presence in your life?