Day 355: Loving Life

The Daily Word: Tuesday, December 21st, 2021
Zechariah 1:1-21
Revelation 12:1-17
Psalm 140:1-13
Proverbs 30:17
For full text click here.

Commentary from Pastor Michael White:
And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death. – Rev. 12:11

The Bible gives us keys to overcoming. God’s people overcame the enemy by 1) the blood of Jesus, 2) the word of their testimony, and 3) not loving their lives to the death. The first two are pleasant: you can plead the blood of Jesus over your life every day, and you can share about everything God has done for you! But the third is not as enjoyable: “they did not love their lives to the death.”

If you want to be truly victorious, you have to give up your life for Jesus. You cannot love your life to the death! I pray that you would have all the wealth, health and happiness that you could ever desire. But I pray that you would never value your life more than Jesus. In fact, Jesus told His disciples that whoever does not “hate…his own life also” (Lk. 14:26) cannot be His disciple. You can either live your life for you, or His life for you; and you must make a choice!

It’s time to stop focusing on self-preservation and start focusing on Kingdom expansion! The ultimate reason for your existence is not to selfishly cling to your life and survive. It is to selflessly lay down your life that you might thrive. And God’s promise is that whatever you lay down for Him in this life, He will pay you back with much more in the end:

And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My name’s sake, shall receive a hundredfold, and inherit eternal life. – Matt. 19:29

Prayer:

Lord, I don’t want to cling to my life. I want to cling to You! I pray that I would always and only live for You. You are my Creator and my Redeemer! And I will gladly lay my life at Your feet, in Jesus’ name.

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

Day 354: Pass It On!

The Daily Word: Monday, December 20th, 2021
Haggai 1:1-2:23
Revelation 11:1-19
Psalm 139:1-24
Proverbs 30:15-16
For full text click here.

Commentary from Pastor Michael White:
In the second year of King Darius, in the sixth month, on the first day of the month, the word of the Lord came by Haggai the prophet to Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest, saying… – Haggai 1:1

The word of God came to Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah. But the word of God came through Haggai the prophet.

God will speak to you for someone else. He will speak through you, and ask you to deliver His rhema word (i.e. His spoken, on-time word as opposed to His written word or logos) to other people. So, when God speaks, ask Him: “Lord, who is this for?” Is this for me? Or is it for someone else? And in the event that He wants you to share His word with someone else, never be afraid to pass it on. Their destiny is tied up in your willingness to share the word of the Lord!

How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? – Rom. 10:14

Prayer:

Father, Your word says that he who is least in the kingdom of God is a greater prophet than even John the Baptist (Lk. 7:28). That means that I am called to a prophetic lifestyle, and that You will speak through me! Whenever You speak, help me to pass it on in Jesus’ name!

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

Day 353: Is There Something Else?

The Daily Word: Sunday, December 19th, 2021
Zephaniah 1:1-3:20
Revelation 10:1-11
Psalm 138:1-8
Proverbs 30:11-14
For full text click here.

Commentary from Pastor Michael White:
“I will stretch out My hand against Judah,
And against all the inhabitants of Jerusalem.
I will cut off every trace of Baal from this place,
The names of the idolatrous priests with the pagan priests—
Those who worship the host of heaven on the housetops;
Those who worship and swear oaths by the Lord,
But who also swear by Milcom;
Those who have turned back from following the Lord,
And have not sought the Lord, nor inquired of Him.” – Zeph. 1:4-6

As was typical in Old Testament prophecy, God was pronouncing judgment on His people. They had stopped following Him! But notice who is specifically targeted in these verses: the “idolatrous priests with the pagan priests.” There were priests – men who were supposed to facilitate worship of the Lord as their very profession – who were not following God. And look at God’s chief complaint against them in verse 5: they worshipped God “on the housetops;” but they also worshiped something else, in this case, a false God names “Milcom” (v 5). And God counted their dual worship as having “turned back from following the Lord” altogether.

If you’re going to worship God and something else, you might as well not worship Him at all. If you’re going to listen to God and someone else, you might as well not listen to Him at all! There is no room in your life for something else. Jesus Christ – and Him alone! – must sit on the throne of your heart.

So I ask you today: is there something else? Is there something else you are worshipping that is not God? Is there something else to which you are looking for safety and security that is not the Lord? Repent and return to God. He is all you need and so much more.

Prayer:

Father, I don’t need anything or anyone else! I will follow You and You alone, in Jesus’ name. Give me the strength and discernment to cast off every other idol so that You are the One and only object of my worship and my affection, in Jesus’ name.

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

Day 352: Only Worship

The Daily Word: Saturday, December 18th, 2021
Habakkuk 1:1-3:19
Revelation 9:1-21
Psalm 137:1-9
Proverbs 30:10
For full text click here.

Commentary from Pastor Michael White:
For there those who carried us away captive asked of us a song, and those who plundered us requested mirth, saying, “Sing us one of the songs of Zion!” – Ps. 137:3

Babylon was victorious! They had taken Israel captive. Israel had been overrun because she had forgotten the word of God. But even though the Babylonians were victorious, they were still unhappy. Why? Because joy comes from the Lord, and without Him, joy is absolutely impossible!

The Babylonians asked the people of Israel to worship. “Sing us one of the songs of Zion!” they begged. There is a level of joy that only comes with knowing God. There is a level of mirth that only comes with worshipping Jesus!

Now put this into practice. Play worship at your workplace. Sing songs about Jesus around your unsaved family members this holiday season! They think they are looking for joy; but they are really looking for Jesus.

Prayer:

Father, thank You for the tremendous power in worship! I am so grateful that worship brings joy. I pray that You would surround me with people who need to know You, Lord, and that when I worship they will realize that You are God!

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

Day 351: No More!

The Daily Word: Friday, December 17th, 2021
Nahum 1:1-3:19
Revelation 8:1-13
Psalm 136:1-26
Proverbs 30:7-9
For full text click here.

Commentary from Pastor Michael White:
Behold, on the mountains the feet of him who brings good tidings, who proclaims peace! O Judah, keep your appointed feasts, perform your vows. For the wicked one shall no more pass through you; he is utterly cut off. – Nahum 1:15

Evil exists. You have only to look at the news to realize that wickedness runs rampant in the world today. Children are starving all over the world. War is about to bubble over between Russia and Ukraine. Twelve major cities in the United States have already broken annual homicide records in 2021;[1] and the year is not even over yet! 

But good exists too. When you know Jesus, the One “who brings good tidings, who proclaims peace!” – “the wicked one shall no more pass through you; he is utterly cut off.” Jesus is the Prince of Peace! And when you trust in Him, Satan is “utterly cut off” from your life. He no longer has access to your emotions. He can no longer lay a hand on your person! Even if there is evil all around you, it will not come near you:

A thousand may fall at your side,
And ten thousand at your right hand;
But it shall not come near you. – Ps. 91:7

Cling to Jesus. He not only gives you protection; He redeems you from destruction.

Prayer:

Father, thank You for keeping me safe. I declare that the enemy no longer has access to my life. I am free from his influence because I follow You, in Jesus’ name.

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

[1] https://abcnews.go.com/US/12-major-us-cities-top-annual-homicide-records/story?id=81466453

Day 350: Don’t Be Strong

The Daily Word: Thursday, December 16th, 2021
Micah 5:1-7:20
Revelation 7:1-17
Psalm 135:1-21
Proverbs 30:5-6
For full text click here.

Commentary from Pastor Michael White:
And He shall stand and feed His flock in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the Lord His God; and they shall abide, for now He shall be great to the ends of the earth… – Micah 5:4

When you’re going through a difficult season in your life, well-meaning people will tell you to “be strong.” Pull yourself together! You’ll get through this. But Scripture notes that Jesus is the One who “feeds His flock in the strength of the Lord.” Jesus is the One who strengthens! It is not your job, then, to be strong. It is simply your job to “abide.”

To “abide” is the Hebrew yashab,[1] which means to dwell, remain, or inhabit. When life hits you hard, your responsibility is simply to dwell in the house of the Lord. It is to remain at the feet of Jesus! It is to praise the Lord so He can inhabit your praises as you inhabit His word.

Remember the words of the apostle Paul, as inspired by the Holy Spirit:

“And He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” – 2 Cor. 12:9

Don’t be strong! Confess your weakness. And as you do, the strength of the Lord will be made perfect in you.

Prayer:

Lord, thank You that Your strength is made perfect in me. You are the One who makes me strong! You feed me with the strength of the Lord. I am endlessly grateful, in Jesus’ name.

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

[1] Strong’s H3427; https://www.biblestudytools.com/lexicons/hebrew/kjv/yashab.html

 

Day 349: God’s Word Works!

The Daily Word: Wednesday, December 15th, 2021
Micah 1:1-4:13
Revelation 6:1-17
Psalm 134:1-3
Proverbs 30:1-4
For full text click here.

Commentary from Pastor Michael White:
You who are named the house of Jacob: “Is the Spirit of the Lord restricted? Are these His doings? Do not My words do good to him who walks uprightly?” – Micah 2:7

God’s word is powerful! It is “sharper than any two-edged sword” (Heb. 4:12).[1] God spoke the world we know and see around us into existence with His word (Heb. 11:3).[2] God’s word works (Isa. 55:11)![3] But if you want His word to work, there is one necessary condition: you have to “walk uprightly.”

My words do good to him who walks uprightly. – Micah 2:7

If you walk uprightly, God’s word will quite literally work miracles in your life. But if you walk in wickedness, His word will do nothing for you. What a travesty it would be to know of the power of the word of God, but never experience it in your life because you are too in love with your sin! God has done His part. He has given you His word! But it is now your job to “walk uprightly:” to live your life in such a way that sin never has the chance to choke out the word of God.

And here is the best part. Do you know who will help you to “walk uprightly”? The Holy Spirit! God Himself, in the Person of the Holy Spirit, came to live inside of you the moment you said yes to Jesus. He will help you to live a life of holiness so that you can see the power of the mighty word of God!

Prayer:

Father, thank You for Your word! Your word brings miracles. Your word brings healing! Your word brings provision, salvation and sanctification. Help me to walk uprightly, by the power of Your Holy Spirit, so that I can see the full fruit of Your word in my life, in Jesus’ name.

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

[1] “For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” – Heb. 4:12
[2] “By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible.” – Heb. 11:3
[3] “So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; it shall not return to Me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.” – Isa. 55:11

Day 348: What He Tells You

The Daily Word: Tuesday, December 14th, 2021
Jonah 1:1-4-11
Revelation 5:1-14
Psalm 133:1-3
Proverbs 29:26-27
For full text click here.

Commentary from Pastor Michael White:
Now the word of the Lord came to Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry out against it; for their wickedness has come up before Me.” – Jonah 1:1-2

There was a city that needed saving. God sent Jonah to deliver His message. But it wasn’t a message of approval; it was a message of repentance. Nineveh needed to turn to God! But God knew exactly what they needed to hear in order to respond.

God won’t always send you with a fun message. He may ask you to take a stand! He may ask you to call something out. He may ask you to challenge people who call themselves Christian and point out that they are not really following the Lord. Will you trust Him to give you the words to declare? Will you boldly step out and declare everything He tells you to say?

God wants to use you to save souls. You don’t have to figure out what to say; He will give you the words, and as you declare them people will turn to Him.

So the people of Nineveh believed God, proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest to the least of them. – Jonah 3:5

Prayer:

Father, thank You for giving me Your word to declare! Help me never to try to plan my messages on my own. I want to lean and rely on You: to trust that when I seek Your face, You will fill my mouth with speech, in Jesus’ name!

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

Day 347: Worship Will Get You There

The Daily Word: Monday, December 13th, 2021
Obadiah 1:1-21
Revelation 4:1-11
Psalm 132:1-18
Proverbs 29:24-25
For full text click here.

Commentary from Pastor Michael White:
“Whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to Him who sits on the throne, who lives forever and ever, the twenty-four elders fall down before Him who sits on the throne and worship Him who lives forever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying: ‘You are worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and by Your will they exist and were created.’ ” – Rev. 4:9-11

John saw heaven. He saw the Lord sitting on His throne. And here was the scene around Him, simplified for the sake of brevity: everyone worshipped. There was no one seated during worship. The “four living creatures…did not rest day or night” but sang out “Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come!” (v 8). The twenty-four elders seated around Jesus fell down before Him (v 10). They could not remain seated! They took their crowns – the heavenly reward they had earned for a lifetime of following Jesus on earth – and gladly cast it at Jesus’ feet.

God has given you a specific mission in your life. It may feel overwhelming! It may seem impossible. But worship will get you there. Take a cue from heaven. The only thing you will do for all eternity is worship Jesus and fall at His feet. You will gladly lay every accomplishment in front of His throne, endlessly grateful for His presence. So why not start now? Why not make today a day of worship? Whatever you are facing, and whatever you are striving for: lay it at His feet and worship.

Prayer:

Father, thank You for reminding me of the power of worship! I have much to accomplish that You have given me to do. But my first priority can always and only be one pursuit: worship. I will lay my life at Your feet. My life belongs to You! Help me to worship You with all that I have, and all that I am, in Jesus’ name.

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

Day 346: What Do You See?

The Daily Word: Sunday, December 12th, 2021
Amos 7:1-9:15
Revelation 3:7-22
Psalm 131:1-3
Proverbs 29:23
For full text click here.

Commentary from Pastor Michael White:
And the Lord said to me, “Amos, what do you see?” And I said, “A plumb line.” Then the Lord said: “Behold, I am setting a plumb line in the midst of My people Israel; I will not pass by them anymore.” – Amos 7:8

The Lord asked Amos a question. But was He really seeking information? Or was He checking to see if Amos was paying attention? Was He asking to see if Amos was willing to dialogue with God, instead of rushing on with his day?

I wonder how many times we miss what God is trying to show us because we don’t stop to consider what we see. We drown out His word with podcasts and music. We override His vision with Netflix and cable TV.

God already knew what Amos saw. But He needed to know if Amos was willing to participate before He decided to show him even more.

Prayer:

Lord, help me to pay attention to You! To Your word. To Your vision! I pray I would never be too busy for what You have for me, in Jesus’ name!

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

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