Day 263: How to Go Higher

The Daily Word: Monday, September 20th, 2021
Isaiah 33:10-36:22
Galatians 5:13-26
Psalm 64:1-10
Proverbs 23:23
For full text click here.

Commentary from Pastor Michael White:
He who walks righteously and speaks uprightly, he who despises the gain of oppressions, who gestures with his hands, refusing bribes, who stops his ears from hearing of bloodshed, and shuts his eyes from seeing evil: he will dwell on high; his place of defense will be the fortress of rocks; bread will be given him, his water will be sure. – Isa. 33:15-16

Holiness leads to new heights. Do you want to know what it feels like to “dwell on high?” To have all your needs met by your Father in heaven? To always have enough to eat and enough to drink? Walk righteously. Speak uprightly! Do the right thing, and keep your eyes on Jesus. He will give you everything you need.

I have been young, and now am old;
Yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken,
Nor his descendants begging bread. – Ps. 37:25

Prayer:

Father, thank You that I don’t have to dishonor You to become successful. I don’t have to compromise my integrity to accomplish my goals in life! I just have to keep my eyes on You, and You will do the rest, in Jesus’ name.

© Michael D. White, 2021. All rights reserved.

Day 262: When You Despise the Word

The Daily Word: Sunday, September 19th, 2021
Isaiah 30:12-33:9
Galatians 5:1-12
Psalm 63:1-11
Proverbs 23:22
For full text click here.

Commentary from Pastor Michael White:
Therefore thus says the Holy One of Israel: “Because you despise this word, and trust in oppression and perversity, and rely on them, therefore this iniquity shall be to you like a breach ready to fall, a bulge in a high wall, whose breaking comes suddenly, in an instant.” – Isa. 30:12-13

God told His children to trust Him! He told them to have faith in His word. But instead, they despised His word. They trusted in Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, to protect them instead of God! But here was God’s caution: when you despise His word and trust in someone else who is not God, your plan will be “like a breach ready to fall…whose breaking comes suddenly, in an instant” (v 13).

The word of God is your foundation. It is the only solid ground upon which you can ever stand. If you lose His word, you lose your compass. You lose your sense of direction and your hope. Your direction will no longer be based on truth; it will be based on your own perception and feeling instead of God’s will!

And if you rely on anyone but God, they will fail. If you rely on yourself, you will stumble and fall! God is the only One who can save! And His word is the only guarantee worth anything at all.

“Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock. But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall.” – Matt. 7:24-27

Prayer:

Father, I know that Your word is truth! Help me to trust Your word: always and forever, no matter what. There is no other foundation upon which I will stand! I love You, and I trust You, in Jesus’ name.

© Michael D. White, 2021. All rights reserved.

Day 261: Open to All

The Daily Word: Saturday, September 18th, 2021
Isaiah 28:14-30:11
Galatians 3:23-4:31
Psalm 62:1-12
Proverbs 23:19-21
For full text click here.

Commentary from Pastor Michael White:
There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. – Gal. 3:28

There are some who say that Christianity is exclusive. How could it be “fair” that only people who believe in Jesus go to Heaven? How is it “just” for God to exclude every other major world religion from His presence?

But here is the truth: the Gospel is open to all! There is “neither Jew nor Greek” in the kingdom of God: there are no cultural designations because we are all sons and daughters of the Most High! There is “neither slave nor free:” there are no economic limitations because God will supply all your need according to His riches in glory (Phil. 4:19)! There is “neither male nor female:” no gender limitations because men and women are equally valuable to God’s mission.

Christianity is not exclusive! It is open to all. There is nothing that can ever hold you back from God, and all it takes to know Him is a decision for Jesus.

“And it shall come to pass
That whoever calls on the name of the Lord
Shall be saved.” – Acts 2:21

Prayer:

Lord, today I am making a decision to follow You. I want to know You! And I know that my culture, my socioeconomic status, or my gender is not an excuse not to know You. I want Jesus! He is all I need.

© Michael D. White, 2021. All rights reserved.

Day 260: Not Cursed…Blessed!

The Daily Word: Friday, September 17th, 2021
Isaiah 25:1-28:13
Galatians 3:10-22
Psalm 61:1-8
Proverbs 23:17-18
For full text click here.

Commentary from Pastor Michael White:
Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”), that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith. – Gal. 3:13-14

What is the “curse of the law?” The law was the list of requirements that God communicated to His people through Moses for righteousness. If they wanted to be righteous, they had to fulfill the law! They had to earn the right to be in God’s presence. The only problem? The law was impossible to fulfill. Romans 3:23 says that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Perfection is required to be in God’s presence! But none of us is perfect. This is the curse of the law: a finish line that can never be reached.

But Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law. He became a curse for us! He lived a perfect life: He was the only Man who ever fulfilled God’s requirements for righteousness! But then He made a choice: to die in your place on the Cross, so that by His blood, you could be reconciled to God. Instead of receiving the reward He deserved for a perfect life, He gave up His life so that you could have it. You are far from perfect! But Jesus gave His life so that His perfection could be added to your account.

You are not cursed! Jesus died as the curse of the law for you. But the blood of Jesus not only removes the curse from you; it also adds the blessing of God on to you! The blessing of Abraham – righteousness by faith – has now come upon you because you believe in Jesus! And that means that you never have to work for the love of God ever again.

God loves you! He loves you so much that He not only removed the curse; He also added the blessing. You are righteous by faith, just as Abraham was! And you have received the promise of the Holy Spirit as a deposit:[1] proof positive that God loves you, and He will never change His mind!

Prayer:

Father, thank You for sending Jesus to die in my place. Jesus, thank You for becoming the curse so that God’s blessing could come upon me! Holy Spirit, thank You for filling me up with miracle-working power, and residing in me as a guarantee that I will receive eternal life, in Jesus’ name!

© Michael D. White, 2021. All rights reserved.

[1]

“…who also has sealed us and given us the Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.” – 2 Cor. 1:22

Day 259: The Gift of God

The Daily Word: Thursday, September 16th, 2021
Isaiah 22:1-24:23
Galatians 2:17-3:9
Psalm 60:1-12
Proverbs 23:15-16
For full text click here.

Commentary from Pastor Michael White:
So I will drive you out of your office, and from your position he will pull you down. – Isa. 22:19

Shebna was the royal steward who was “over the house” (v 15) of King Hezekiah. He was a trusted man of authority in the Kingdom of Judah! But he used his authority for personal gain. He selfishly used his position to carve out a place for himself (v 16), instead of using his God-given gifts to help God’s people.

Everything good in your life is a gift from God.[1] But with great authority comes great responsibility. Are you using what God has given you to bless His people? Are you freely giving away what you have freely received (Matt. 10:8)?

Shebna refused to give up his own selfish ambition. He refused to put his eyes back on God! So God replaced him, the same way He replaced King Saul with David. What a beautifully simple reminder Scripture gives us to 1) acknowledge God as the source of every blessing and 2) use what we have to bless others instead of blessing ourselves.

God has given you such amazing gifts. And it is your joy to turn and give them to others.

Prayer:

Father, thank You for blessing me! Thank You for every good thing that I have in my life. I know it is all a gift from You; and I am grateful. Help me to use what You have given me to help others, instead of just helping myself, in Jesus’ name.

© Michael D. White, 2021. All rights reserved.

[1] “Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.” – Jas. 1:16-17

Day 258: Babylon Will Fall

The Daily Word: Wednesday, September 15th, 2021
Isaiah 19:1-21:17
Galatians 2:1-16
Psalm 59:1-17
Proverbs 23:13-14
For full text click here.

Commentary from Pastor Michael White:
“And look, here comes a chariot of men with a pair of horsemen!”
Then he answered and said,
“Babylon is fallen, is fallen!
And all the carved images of her gods
He has broken to the ground.” – Isaiah 21:9

Babylon was one of the greatest, wealthiest, and most powerful cities of her day. The Babylonian empire achieved regional dominance between the 7th and 6th centuries BC. King Nebuchadnezzar ruled ancient Babylon with an iron fist! The Babylonian army overran every nation in its path, stretching from modern-day Israel in the west to Iran in the east, and from Saudi Arabia in the south all the way up to Turkey in the north.

But Babylon would fall, just like every other man-made nation. Cyrus the Great, king of the Achaemenid Empire, overran Babylon in 539 BC, sending shockwaves throughout the Middle East. This great city, which many thought could never be deposed, had fallen. “All the carved images of her gods… [were] broken to the ground” (Isa. 21:9).

Every man-made nation will fail. Every cultural institution that we labor to establish will eventually crumble! Can you see why it is so futile to put your trust in man? Anyone who trusted in the King of Babylon to protect him was put to shame. But those who put their trust in God were never disappointed. Even the people of Israel who remained loyal to God and were brought into captivity in Babylon were protected! Even in captivity, they prospered and flourished (Jer. 29:7).

So, what is your Babylon? Whom or what are you trusting instead of God? God is the only One who can be trusted! If you put your trust in princes (Ps. 146:3) or in chariots (Ps. 20:7) you will fail! But when you trust in the Lord your God, you will never be put to shame (Ps. 25:1).

Prayer:

Father, I know that Babylon will fall! Anything and anyone in whom I put my trust who is not You will be put to shame and embarrassed! But You, Lord, will last forever. You can be trusted! I will put my hope in You. Protect me and preserve me, in Jesus’ name!

© Michael D. White, 2021. All rights reserved.

Day 257: Are You A People-Pleaser?

The Daily Word: Tuesday, September 14th, 2021
Isaiah 15:1-18:7
Galatians 1:1-24
Psalm 58:1-11
Proverbs 23:12
For full text click here.

Commentary from Pastor Michael White:
For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ. – Gal. 1:10 

If Paul “still pleased men,” he would not [have been] a bondservant of Christ. You cannot be a people-pleaser and a true servant of Christ. Faith in Jesus requires radical obedience:

So Samuel said:
“Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices,
As in obeying the voice of the Lord?
Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice,
And to heed than the fat of rams.” – 1 Sam. 15:22

When Jesus asks you to do something, will you drop everything and do what He says? Even if other people hate you for it? Even if it doesn’t make them happy?

Love and support from other people will come and go. People will love you when you do well! But they will abandon you when your choices no longer align with their personal goals. And that is why you must align yourself with God’s agenda. Because at the end of your life, it won’t matter what other people thought. All that will matter is, will God declare these words over you?

“This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” – Matt. 3:17

Prayer:

Father, I don’t need to please other people! I could care less what they say. I have You; and You are all I could ever need, in Jesus’ name!

© Michael D. White, 2021. All rights reserved.

Day 256: Say Goodbye to Fear

The Daily Word: Monday, September 13th, 2021
Isaiah 12:1-14:32
2 Corinthians 13:1-14
Psalm 57:1-11
Proverbs 23:9-11
For full text click here.

Commentary from Pastor Michael White:
“Behold, God is my salvation, I will trust and not be afraid; ‘For Yah, the Lord, is my strength and song; He also has become my salvation.’ ” – Isa. 12:2

Are you afraid? Trust is the opposite of fear. Make a decision to trust God like never before in the face of your deepest, darkest fears! Because fear is not God’s will for your life:

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. – 2 Tim. 1:7

God has given you a “sound mind.” How do you get a sound mind? By renewing your mind in His word!

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. – Rom. 12:2

Any time you fear, then, the remedy is to steep yourself in the word of God. The more you immerse yourself in His word, the more you will trust Him! And the more you trust Him, the more you say goodbye to fear.

Prayer:

Father, I will not be afraid any more! I want to trust You; and I know the best way to do that is to fill myself up with Your word. Make me a man of Your word! Help me to trust You like never before, in Jesus’ name.

© Michael D. White, 2021. All rights reserved.

Day 255: Leave Your Mark

The Daily Word: Sunday, September 12th, 2021
Isaiah 10:1-11:16
2 Corinthians 12:11-21
Psalm 56:1-13
Proverbs 23:6-8
For full text click here.

Commentary from Pastor Michael White:
Truly the signs of an apostle were accomplished among you with all perseverance, in signs and wonders and mighty deeds. – 2 Cor. 12:12

Paul didn’t have to convince anyone that he was an apostle. People knew he was an apostle. Why? Because the power of God flowed out of him everywhere he went:

And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God. – 1 Cor. 2:4-5

When Paul encountered a sorcerer who tried to prevent him from preaching the Gospel, Paul spoke and the sorcerer went blind (Acts 13:11). When Paul saw a man who had “faith to be healed” (Acts 14:9), he commanded the man to get up and leap and walk; and the man was healed! God worked “unusual miracles by the hands of Paul, so that even handkerchiefs or aprons were brought from his body to the sick, and the diseases left them and evil spirits went out of them” (Acts 19:11-12). Eutychus fell from a third story window but Paul embraced him and he came back to life (Acts 20:10). Poisonous serpents could not kill Paul (Acts 28:5), and an entire island came to Jesus after Paul prayed for a wealthy man (Acts 28:8). Yes, Paul was smart! But even more importantly, his 1) knowledge of the Scriptures and 2) intimacy with Jesus caused the power of God to flow through him everywhere he went!

What will be the mark of your ministry? Do you want to be known for wise words? Or do you want to be known for “signs and wonders and mighty deeds”? God will meet you at your level of faith!

“According to your faith let it be to you.” – Matt. 9:29

Prayer:

Father, I want the mark of my ministry to be the power of God. I pray that You would move through me with miracle-working power, in Jesus’ name!

© Michael D. White, 2021. All rights reserved.

Day 254: Self-Promotion

The Daily Word: Saturday, September 11th, 2021
Isaiah 8:1-9:21
2 Corinthians 12:1-10
Psalm 55:1-23
Proverbs 23:4-5
For full text click here.

Commentary from Pastor Michael White:
For though I might desire to boast, I will not be a fool; for I will speak the truth. But I refrain, lest anyone should think of me above what he sees me to be or hears from me. – 2 Cor. 12:1-5

The Apostle Paul is being coy in verses 1 through 5. He doesn’t want to boast…so he pretends to tell a story about another man, while really talking about himself. “I know a man…[who] was caught up into Paradise” (vv 2-4). He doesn’t want to boast! So he boasts in the third person.

But notice where the Apostle Paul settles as led by the Spirit of the Lord: “For though I might desire to boast, I will not be a fool” (v 5). Boasting – which means to “glory”[1], in this case about oneself – makes you foolish. Boasting is never profitable! We should always refrain from boasting. Because when we refuse to humble ourselves, God will humble us.

Think about how this stands in stark contrast to the way we are told to build our careers and our relationships in modern-day society. You are expected to promote yourself if you want the job! You are supposed to speak highly of yourself if you want other people to respect you. But that kind of speech is diametrically opposed to the Gospel. If you boast about yourself, God will humble you; but if you humble yourself, God will exalt you.

Prayer:

Father, I refuse to promote myself. I trust You to do what You want to do in my life at exactly the right time. I will not take matters into my own hands. I will not speak more highly of myself than I ought! I will trust You to bring me into the glory of Your name, instead of trying to make my own name glorious, in Jesus’ name.

© Michael D. White, 2021. All rights reserved.

[1] Greek kauchaomai, Strong’s G2744

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