Wednesday, October 16
Psalm 119:1-24 Even princes sit and speak against me, but I will meditate on your decrees. Your laws please me; they give me wise advice. (vv.23-24)
One thing the Healing Ministry taught me is the importance of “boundaries.” So many problems in our lives, souls, and spirits are caused by other people breaking through our proper and sacred boundaries.
Psalm 119 shows an example of this. “Princes” are speaking against me. Maybe they are saying I should keep giving to others when my own tank is running low, or listen to a drama-queen friend who never listens to me, or put my own needs behind the needs of everyone else because “it’s the Christian thing to do.” These not only lead to burnout, they are unbiblical.
God doesn’t want us to listen to these gadflies; He wants us to meditate on His laws and take their wise advice. The Lord’s word is full of ways to protect our God-given boundaries. Listen to His word, not to the discouraging “princes.”
Jeremiah 37:3-21; 1 Corinthians 14:13-25; Matthew 10:24-33
Thursday, October 17
Matthew 10:34-42 “If you love your father or mother more than you love me, you are not worthy of being mine.” (v.37a)
One afternoon, a beautiful young woman walked into the Healing Ministry for prayer. She had recently graduated from college and told me that she’d finally admitted her love for Jesus to her family. I didn’t think this sounded like a problem until she tearfully told me her family was Muslim. When she confessed her newfound faith, they turned their backs on her. She no longer had a family.
I was able to remind her that Jesus warned his disciples (and, through their writings, also warned us) that they might lose our earthly friends and family when they followed him. We prayed together that she would find a church home that would be her new family. It cheered her greatly.
It costs us to take up the cross, and sometimes it costs us everything—including the affection of those we love. But it is a price well worth paying.
Jeremiah 38:1-13; Psalm 18:1-20; 1 Corinthians 14:26-33a, 37-40
Friday, October 18
Psalm 17 By the power of your hand, O Lord, destroy those who look to this world for their reward. But satisfy the hunger of your treasured ones. May their children have plenty, leaving an inheritance for their descendants. (v.14)
In the 1920’s, a young animator created a popular cartoon character named “Oswald the Lucky Rabbit.” The young man thought this character would bring him fame and fortune—until a change at the studio left him without a job and without his famous character. He was robbed of his successful future by “those who look to this world for their reward.”
On the long, sad train ride home, the discouraged young animator began to doodle around with another cartoon character—a little mouse with a big attitude. He didn’t give up hope. And that’s how Walt Disney’s greatest character, Mickey Mouse, was born.
In Psalm 17, young David had also been robbed of his future—his anointed kingship—by Saul, but he looked to the Lord for support. He didn’t give up hope. And that’s how his dynasty was born.
Jeremiah 38:14-28; Psalm 16; 1 Corinthians 15:1-11; Matthew 11:1-6
Saturday, October 19
2 Kings 25:8-12, 22-26 On August 14 of that year, which was the nineteenth year of King Nebuchadnezzar’s reign, Nebuzaradan, the captain of the guard and an official of the Babylonian king, arrived in Jerusalem. He burned down the Temple of the Lord, the royal palace, and all the houses of Jerusalem. He destroyed all the important buildings in the city.(vv.8-9)
This passage tells of one of the most devastating events of the ancient world—the destruction of Jerusalem in 586 BC. Solomon’s magnificent temple, which had been a center of worship for over 400 years, was obliterated along with the rest of the city. Much of the population was dragged away to slavery in Babylon.
This was destruction on a massive scale—think 9/11, except that it happened to every building in New York. Nothing was left of this glorious city. Yet even this was part of God’s plan for His people.
During the Exile in Babylon, the history of the Jews was written down for the first time—words that can be read today in the Old Testament. Daniel surviving the lion’s den and his three friends being protected in the fiery furnace—these miracles happened during the Exile. What had begun in disaster eventually ended in freedom and a renewed sense of purpose for the Lord’s people.
When you face tough times, remember that Christ hasn’t abandoned you. Facing hardships might just be the beginning of a tremendous future!
Psalms 20, 21; 1 Corinthians 15:12-29; Matthew 11:7-15
Sunday, October 20
Jeremiah 29:1, 4-14 I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.” (v.14 NIV)
It’s been said, “You can’t go home again,” meaning, if you do, you might not find yourself welcome any more, or things would have changed beyond recognition. But all the Israelites who were exiled to Babylon could think about was going home. God, in His mercy, would make that possible, after their time of punishment and discipline. I left home to go to college when I was 18 and, many years later, moved back to my home town. It truly was very different, and after living there for another 13 years, realized it would never be home again, and moved away. Truly, heaven is our only real home, for Christians. Thank God, Jesus made that homecoming possible!
Psalms 148, 149, 150; Acts 16:6-15; Luke 10:1-12, 17-20
Monday, October 21
1 Corinthians 15:30-41 What you sow does not come to life unless it dies. (v.36b)
I don’t even have to sow a seed to kill a plant. I confess: I’m a serial killer of potted plants, and no one should ever give them to me. Recently, a friend gave me herbs rooting in a glass of water, a clay pot, and a bag of soil to plant them in. I left the herbs in the windowsill (figured they need sunlight). Then forgot about them. They died and dried. So, I threw the herbs in a spaghetti sauce and it was delicious.
Fortunately, when God “plants us in the ground” (we die), He then “harvests” us as resurrected people, filled with new life far more glorious than any potted flower. Thanks be to God!
Jeremiah 44:1-14; Psalm 25; Matthew 11:16-24
Tuesday, October 22
Matthew 11:25-30 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (v.28)
I have a chronic illness that causes pain and fatigue, so I am always tired. It doesn’t matter how much sleep I get. But this is one of my favorite Bible verses, because Jesus is not so much talking about physical rest, but rest for our souls—inner peace, that unexplainable sense that everything will be all right and that God is with us.
No matter how much we might rest our bodies—even take a vacation!—if we don’t have rest in our souls, we will feel “weary and burdened.” This verse helps me to remember to “Let go, and let God.”
Lamentations 1:1-12; Psalms 26, 28; l Corinthians 15:41-50