Day 234: How To Be A Good Friend

The Daily Word: Tuesday, August 22nd, 2017
Job 4:1-7:21
1 Corinthians 14:18-40
Psalm 37:30-40
Proverbs 21:27
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Commentary from Pastor Michael White:  

But who can withhold himself from speaking? – Job 4:2

Job’s friends just couldn’t keep quiet. They couldn’t do it! Job’s entire life was turned upside down in an instant. He lost everything he owned, and everyone he loved. So they started trying to explain Job’s suffering. They incorrectly assumed Job deserved everything that had happened to him.

But Job’s friends were wrong. Job didn’t deserve anything. It was Satan – not God – who brought on Job’s suffering; and quiet strength – not a lecture on righteousness – was what Job really needed. Job didn’t need lectures; he needed love. A good friend speaks life and encouragement in times of need, not judgment.

Do you know someone going through a tough time? Quietly bear the burden with them. Don’t try to “fix” what’s wrong; don’t even try to explain it! That is God’s work, not yours.

Prayer:

Father, help me to be a good friend! Whenever someone around me is going through a tough time, help me to respond in love, and not judgment. Help me to quietly bear the burden of their pain with them, with no questions asked!

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© Michael D. White, 2017. All rights reserved.

Day 233: Job’s Response

The Daily Word: Monday, August 21st, 2017
Job 1:1-3:26
1 Corinthians 14:1-17
Psalm 37:12-29
Proverbs 21:25-26
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Commentary from Pastor Michael White:  

Then Job arose, tore his robe, and shaved his head; and he fell to the ground and worshiped. And he said: “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return there. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” In all this Job did not sin nor charge God with wrong. – Job 1:20-22

How do you respond to calamity? Job had everything taken from him in an instant. All his flocks and herds – his material possessions – were stolen. All his children were dead from a freak accident. In a few moments, everything he loved went up in smoke. But how did Job respond? Did he get angry at God? Did he use his calamity as evidence that God didn’t love him? Or as an excuse to rebel?

Job’s response to calamity was worship. He refused to sin by cursing God. Instead, he blessed God (v 21). He refused to erroneously attribute his suffering – which was Satan’s work, not God’s – to the hand of God (v 22). He protected his heart, and met God in worship. And in the end, God would reward him for that response:

And the Lord restored Job’s losses when he prayed for his friends. Indeed the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before. – Job 42:10

Prayer:

Father, help me to maintain an attitude of worship – no matter what! My love for You does not depend on circumstance, but on covenant; and I will love you until the very end.

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© Michael D. White, 2017. All rights reserved.

Day 232: Delight Yourself in the Lord

The Daily Word: Sunday, August 20th, 2017
Esther 8:1-10:3
1 Corinthians 12:27-13:13
Psalm 37:1-11
Proverbs 21:23-24
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Commentary from Pastor Michael White:  

Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart. – Ps 37:4-5

What does it mean to “delight yourself” in the Lord? To “delight” in something means to take exquisite pleasure in that thing.[1] To delight in someone means to take exquisite pleasure in that person. To delight in the Lord, then, means to take exquisite pleasure in fellowship with Jesus Christ: to enjoy His presence more than anyone else’s!

This passage should never be interpreted to mean we can ask for whatever we want, and as long as we delight in God for a moment He will provide it. This passage is telling us that if we make a decision to love God above all else – to delight in Hjm for life– He will give us our desire. He will give us what we crave most: more of Him!

When you delight yourself in the Lord, His desires become your desires; and when His desires truly become yours, God will give you the desires of your heart!

Prayer:

Father, I want to desire what You desire for me! Shape and mold my desires to fit the contours of Your heart. I want nothing outside of your will, in Jesus’ name!

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© Michael D. White, 2017. All rights reserved.


[1] Hebrew anag (Strong’s #6026)

 

Day 231: Uniqueness & Unity

The Daily Word: Saturday, August 19th, 2017
Esther 4:1-7:10
1 Corinthians 12:1-26
Psalm 36:1-12
Proverbs 21:21-22
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Commentary from Pastor Michael White:  

If the whole body were an eye, where would be the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where would be the smelling?  But now God has set the members, each one of them, in the body just as He pleased. – 1 Cor 12:17-18

Being united doesn’t mean we are the same. Jesus desires for His body to be united (see John 17:21), but He doesn’t desire us to lose our individuality as we do life together. The body is composed of many different parts, and each has a purpose. In the same way, God’s kingdom is made up of many different believers, and each has an irreplaceable function and role.

God made you you on purpose! You were put on this earth to do something no one else can do, to say things no one else can say, and to reach people for Jesus who no one else can reach! You don’t have to wish you had someone else’s ministry or influence. God gave you exactly what He needs you to have!

Prayer:

Father, thank You for making me unique! Help me to find the balance in staying unique but also united with the body of Christ around me. Thank You for blessing me with a position in Your body, in Jesus’ name!

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© Michael D. White, 2017. All rights reserved.

Day 230: Drama-Free Church

The Daily Word: Friday, August 18th, 2017
Esther 1:1-3:15
1 Corinthians 11:17-34
Psalm 35:17-28
Proverbs 21:19-20
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Commentary from Pastor Michael White:  

Now in giving these instructions I do not praise you, since you come together not for the better but for the worse. For first of all, when you come together as a church, I hear that there are divisions among you, and in part I believe it. – 1 Cor 11:17-18

There was drama in the church at Corinth! Paul wrote to the early church, expressing his disgust at the way they spent time together. After all, they were Christian! Yet instead of coming together to worship God in spirit and in truth – united together as one – they were divided. There were factions among them (v 19). They didn’t even eat communion together (21)! They ignored the tremendous focus Jesus has on unity and reconciliation.

Paul did not hold punches as he issued an important reminder: church should be drama-free. Divisions in the church are damaging. Paul cautioned that when we experience divisiveness in church, it is not “for the better but for the worse” (v 17). It not only hinders the move of God through His body; it also contaminates the image we project to the rest of the world about who Jesus really is!

Commit to loving the people in your church family, no matter how hard to love they can be. Pray that God would make His church drama-free, in Jesus’ name!

Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. – Matthew 5:23-24

Prayer:

Father, let our churches be a reflection of Your love. Help us to sacrificially love others the way you first loved us. We rebuke all drama – both inside the church and out – in Jesus’ name!

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© Michael D. White, 2017. All rights reserved.

Day 229: Christ – Your Defender

The Daily Word: Thursday, August 17th, 2017
Nehemiah 12:27-13:31
1 Corinthians 11:1-16
Psalm 35:1-16
Proverbs 21:17-18
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Commentary from Pastor Michael White:  

Let those be put to shame and brought to dishonor who seek after my life; let those be turned back and brought to confusion who plot my hurt. Let them be like chaff before the wind, and let the angel of the Lord chase them. Let their way be dark and slippery, and let the angel of the Lord pursue them. – Psalm 35:4-6

Satan wars against the children of God. He knows he can never defeat us; the best he can do is convince us to let him win. But we know better! As God’s children, we know we don’t have to rush to defend ourselves, because God is our Defender.

God confuses the enemy’s plans. He scatters our enemies like chaff before the wind. The angel of the Lord chases after them: so as long as we rely on God, none of the enemy’s plans can ever succeed!

Jesus is in Heaven interceding for you (Rom 8:34). He defends you. He pursues your enemies, and chases them out of your life. Praise be to God, in Jesus’ name!

Prayer:

Father, thank You for defending me! Thank You for casting all the enemy’s plans into confusion. Thank you that none of his plans for me will come to pass, because I am Yours and You are mine!

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© Michael D. White, 2017. All rights reserved.

Day 228: Self-Preservation

The Daily Word: Wednesday, August 16th, 2017
Nehemiah 11:1-12:26
1 Corinthians 10:14-33
Psalm 34:11-22
Proverbs 21:14-16
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Commentary from Pastor Michael White:  

All things are lawful for me, but not all things are helpful; all things are lawful for me, but not all things edify. Let no one seek his own, but each one the other’s well-being. – 1 Cor 1:23-24

Self-preservation is, “…the protection of oneself from harm or death, especially regarded as a basic instinct in human beings and animals.”[1] We live in a world where people are driven by self-preservation. We live in a racial and political climate where major discourses and policy decisions are based on self-preservation. We fight for our own best interests. We feel most comfortable around people who look, think, and act like us.

But the Kingdom of God is not of this world. The Kingdom of God is not centered around self-preservation; it is propelled and advanced by self-sacrifice. Your life should not revolve around your own well-being; it should be centered around the well-being of others! Are you willing to sacrifice your own best interests every single day, in the pursuit of, “…the other’s well-being” (v 24)?

The only way you and I will become more like Jesus is by taking our eyes off ourselves. Spend time today with someone who doesn’t look, think, or act like you. Try your hardest to understand them: their point of view, and their way of life. Pray for them, and bless them – like you really mean it!

Prayer:

Father, help me to be selfless! I want to be driven by self-sacrifice, and not by self-preservation. Make me a friend to people who don’t look, think, or act like me, in Jesus’ name!

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© Michael D. White, 2017. All rights reserved.


[1] Google dictionary

Day 227: Free to Serve!

The Daily Word: Tuesday, August 15th, 2017
Nehemiah 9:22-10:39
1 Corinthians 9:19-10:13
Psalm 34:1-10
Proverbs 21:13
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Commentary from Pastor Michael White:  

For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win the more… – 1 Cor 9:19

Paul celebrated freedom. He knew he had been “set free from sin” (Rom 6:18). His relationship with Jesus made him “free from the law of sin and death” (Rom 8:2). But what did Paul do with his freedom? He served.

Paul served the men and women God put in his path by meeting them where they were. Paul served the Jews by becoming “as a Jew” (1 Cor 9:20). He served the lawless “as without law” (v 21). He served the weak by becoming “weak” (v 22). His highest form of service was becoming, “…all things to all men, that [he] might by all means save dome” (v 22). He related to men and women who didn’t know Jesus by meeting them on a level playing field, and showing them the love of Christ.

Freedom is not a release from service; it is an invitation to serve all the more.

Prayer:

Father, thank You for the freedom I have found in You! Thank You for freedom in the Gospel. Help me to serve You – and Your people – more fearlessly than ever before.

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© Michael D. White, 2017. All rights reserved.

Day 226: Finding Hope

The Daily Word: Monday, August 14th, 2017
Nehemiah 7:73-9:21
1 Corinthians 9:1-18
Psalm 33:12-22
Proverbs 21:11-12
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Commentary from Pastor Michael White:  

So the Levites quieted all the people, saying, “Be still, for the day is holy; do not be grieved.” And all the people went their way to eat and drink, to send portions and rejoice greatly, because they understood the words that were declared to them. – Neh 8:11-12

How could the people of Israel rejoice in good conscience, when they had strayed so far from God’s command? How could they do anything but weep after having their extreme disobedience exposed?

There was still hope. When the people didn’t know the Law, there was no hope: they were lost without any chance of regaining direction. But when God reiterated His word to them, hope was restored! For the first time in generations, the people knew their potential. They knew how God wanted them to live!

It is better to know the word of God and be convicted by its instruction, than to hopelessly wander through life without Heaven’s guidance.

“The better we understand the word of God the more comfort we shall find in it.” – Matthew Henry, Commentary on Neh 8

Prayer:

Father, thank You for hope. I pray that every time I open Your word, I would be filled with supernatural hope that can only come from knowing Your will. I want to return to Your word! I know that as long as I am still breathing, there is still hope in Jesus’ name!

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© Michael D. White, 2017. All rights reserved.

Day 225: God Spoke

The Daily Word: Sunday, August 13th, 2017
Nehemiah 5:14-7:73
1 Corinthians 8:1-13
Psalm 33:1-11
Proverbs 21:8-10
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Commentary from Pastor Michael White:  

By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, and all the host of them by the breath of His mouth. – Ps 33:6

God spoke and creation took shape. Never underestimate the power of the word of God!

There are things in your life that will not take shape until you breathe the word of God over them. You are created in His image (Gen 1:26). You have the Holy Spirit living in you (Rom 8:11)! When God speaks, creation responds; and when you speak His word over your life, “…it shall accomplish what [God pleases], and it shall prosper in the thing for which [He] sent it” (Is 55:11).

Declare God’s word over your life. When you speak His word, everything changes.

Prayer:

Father, I know my words are powerful. Give me the courage to speak light into every dark area in my life. I declare that as I speak Your word, everything is going to change.

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© Michael D. White, 2017. All rights reserved.

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