Bible in 365 Days – Day 214

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Focus Chapters:

  • Habakkuk 1-3
  • Zephaniah 1
  • Zephaniah 2:1-7

 

Standout Verse(s):

Habakkuk 3:17-18 NLT

Even though the fig trees have no blossoms, and there are no grapes on the vines; even though the olive crop fails, and the fields lie empty and barren; even though the flocks die in the fields, and the cattle barns are empty, yet I will rejoice in the Lord! I will be joyful in the God of my salvation!

 

Observation (s):

  1. All the writer’s resources are barren or bearing no fruits.

    Even though the fig trees have no blossoms, and there are no grapes on the vines; even though the olive crop fails, and the fields lie empty and barren; even though the flocks die in the fields, and the cattle barns are empty, yet I will rejoice in the Lord! I will be joyful in the God of my salvation!

  2. Despite the writer’s dire situation, the writer still chooses to rejoice in the Lord.

    Even though the fig trees have no blossoms, and there are no grapes on the vines; even though the olive crop fails, and the fields lie empty and barren; even though the flocks die in the fields, and the cattle barns are empty, yet I will rejoice in the Lord! I will be joyful in the God of my salvation!

Application:

Choice is something that we were all given from the beginning of mankind in Genesis. Throughout the Bible, we see many examples of how persons reacted during their most negative of situations. Joseph chose to trust God despite being sold by his brothers into slavery and imprisoned wrongfully. His wait spanned years but his trust is rewarded when he eventually becomes second in command in Egypt. David chose to trust God when he opts to face Goliath, believing that the same God who empowered him to overcome the bear and lion will deliver the godless giant into his hands. In an instant, God rewards his faith and delivers Goliath to David with one blow to the forehead. David, again, has to demonstrate his trust in God when he is on the run from Saul, despite him being appointed Saul’s successor. Despite the attacks on his life, he still chooses to trust God and is rewarded when Saul acknowledges that he wronged him and he becomes king.

How do you choose to react when faced with negative situations? Let’s paint a picture. Like the writer’s olive crops, vines and fig trees, all the natural resources you were depending on have failed to produce fruit. All your efforts, no matter how strenuous, have been for naught. Like the writer’s flocks in the fields, they die before they are brought to fruition or, like the writer’s cattle barns, are empty. Like the writer, David and Joseph, despite the seemingly hopelessness of the situation, will you still make the choice to trust and rejoice in God and be joyful? It is easy to have faith and rejoice when things are going well. It is hard to be joyful and rejoice when our lands and lives are barren. During your barrenness and emptiness, which will you choose?


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Chañel

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Bible in 365 Days – Day 202

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Focus Chapters:

  • 2 Kings 19:1-19
  • Isaiah 37:1-20
  • 2 Chronicles 32:9-19
  • 2 Kings 19:20-37
  • Isaiah 37:21-28
  • 2 Chronicles 32:20-23

 

Standout Verse(s):

ACTION
Isaiah 37:10-14 NLT

“This message is for King Hezekiah of Judah. Don’t let your God, in whom you trust, deceive you with promises that Jerusalem will not be captured by the king of Assyria. You know perfectly well what the kings of Assyria have done wherever they have gone. They have completely destroyed everyone who stood in their way! Why should you be any different? Have the gods of other nations rescued them—such nations as Gozan, Haran, Rezeph, and the people of Eden who were in Tel-assar? My predecessors destroyed them all! What happened to the king of Hamath and the king of Arpad? What happened to the kings of Sepharvaim, Hena, and Ivvah?”

 

REACTION
Isaiah 37:14 NLT

After Hezekiah received the letter from the messengers and read it, he went up to the Lord ’s Temple and spread it out before the Lord.

 

Observation (s):

  1. The King of Assyria tried to make Hezekiah doubt God’s Word.

    “This message is for King Hezekiah of Judah. Don’t let your God, in whom you trust, deceive you with promises that Jerusalem will not be captured by the king of Assyria.

  2. The King of Assyria sought to remind Hezekiah of all the nations he had already conquered.

    You know perfectly well what the kings of Assyria have done wherever they have gone. They have completely destroyed everyone who stood in their way! Why should you be any different? Have the gods of other nations rescued them—such nations as Gozan, Haran, Rezeph, and the people of Eden who were in Tel-assar? My predecessors destroyed them all! What happened to the king of Hamath and the king of Arpad? What happened to the kings of Sepharvaim, Hena, and Ivvah?”

  3. Instead of responding to the King of Assyria and his tactics, Hezekiah placed the matter before God.

    After Hezekiah received the letter from the messengers and read it, he went up to the Lord ’s Temple and spread it out before the Lord.

     

Application:

Fear is an insidious enemy. It attacks; persistently throwing forth a series of what-ifs and pinpointing everything that can go wrong.

Like the King of Assyria, in his attempts to strike fear in Hezekiah, fear is not afraid to point out how others in your similar circumstances have faredThe King of Assyria reminded Hezekiah of the outcomes of all who had been in similar positions (sieges) as him. Other nations such as Gozan, Haran, Rezeph, and the people of Eden who were in Tel-assar who were destroyed by his predecessors. Nations such as Hamath, Arpad, Sepharvaim, Hena, and Ivvah who were destroyed by the Assyrians. Who has failed or been defeated that your fear has been “kind” enough to remind you of or compare you to?

The King of Assyria also demonstrated another important technique that fear uses. It strikes at the heart of our faith, causing us to doubt the capabilities of God. Has your fear every told you that the no one can help you or that you are the only one who can depend on in the midst of trouble? Have you been told not to trust in God? Not to hope or stand on His promises because you were bound to fail?

It can be hard when it seems like the odds are stacked against you. When you hear of the number of persons who have been defeated by your situation. When the situation you are in seems bigger and mightier than you are. When doubt in God’s abilities slithers within your subconsciousness. However, Hezekiah demonstrates that there is hope. Instead of engaging in a back and forth or rushing to fight or strategize, Hezekiah teaches us an important lesson: Spread the matter before the Lord.


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Chañel

Bible in 365 Days – Day 200

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Focus Chapters:

  • Isaiah 34-35
  • Micah 2-5

 

Standout Verse(s):

Isaiah 35:4 NLT

Say to those with fearful hearts, “Be strong, and do not fear, for your God is coming to destroy your enemies. He is coming to save you.”

 

Observation (s):

  1. We don’t have to be fearful because God is already on His way to destroy our enemies.

    Say to those with fearful hearts, “Be strong, and do not fear, for your God is coming to destroy your enemies. He is coming to save you.”

     

Application:

In our Christian life, we have two options when we are faced with enemies or obstacles:

  1. Fear and flight, or
  2. Faith and face.

On that fateful day when Goliath taunted the Israelites, there were two demonstrations of these reactions on the battle field. The primed soldiers ran away in fear but David stood and faced the unknown in faith.

One must note that David’s faith didn’t begin on that battlefield. He had already proven God when he faced the lion and the bear in the field. Eventually, those experiences prepared him for the bigger challenge of facing Goliath. Through faith, even when chastised by his brothers and questioned by Saul, David is able to stand unyieldingly. His faith and face attitude eventually leads to God’s demolition of Goliath, through him, and brings him one step closer to his purpose.

Faith in a fight guarantees the action of God. Prove God today. Fear not! Be strong in faith when facing your enemies. Shun the spirit of fear and flight. Embrace the spirit of faith and face. You are already victorious.


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Bible in 365 Days – Day 199

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Focus Chapters:

  • Isaiah 30-33

 

Standout Verse(s):

Isaiah 31:1 NLT

What sorrow awaits those who look to Egypt for help, trusting their horses, chariots, and charioteers and depending on the strength of human armies instead of looking to the Lord, the Holy One of Israel.

 

Observation (s):

  1. We tend to place our trust human resources that are bound to cause of sorrow.

    What sorrow awaits those who look to Egypt for help, trusting their horses, chariots, and charioteers and depending on the strength of human armies instead of looking to the Lord, the Holy One of Israel.

     

Application:

We have a common saying, “the enemy of my enemy is my friend.” In fact, many of us choose to live by this saying, choosing to rely on the forces of our enemies’ enemy to defend us or partner with us in our fight against our enemies. This is a flawed plan, especially when one considers all the variables that can change without notice. There has been too many occasions when our enemy of yesterday became our ally today.

Look at the Israelites. The Egyptians were their enemies for hundreds of years, yet when the fight with the Assyrians materialised, Israel sought out an alliance with Egypt. There is no guarantee that a similar relationship shift won’t occur between Egypt and Assyria change.

God also highlighted one primary flaw in Israel’s military strategy: the error of relying on human armies and resources when they have an All-Powerful God on their side. That strategy leads to sorrow because human armies and resources do not guarantee a win. God does!

How about you ally yourself with God? Through His strength and your trust, you are bound to win.


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Bible in 365 Days – Day 96

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Focus Chapters:

  • Judges 19-21

 

Standout Verse(s):

Judges 20:18-25, 27-30, 35 NLT

Before the battle the Israelites went to Bethel and asked God, “Which tribe should go first to attack the people of Benjamin?”

The Lord answered, “Judah is to go first.”

So the Israelites left early the next morning and camped near Gibeah. Then they advanced toward Gibeah to attack the men of Benjamin. But Benjamin’s warriors, who were defending the town, came out and killed 22,000 Israelites on the battlefield that day.

But the Israelites encouraged each other and took their positions again at the same place they had fought the previous day. For they had gone up to Bethel and wept in the presence of the Lord until evening. They had asked the Lord, “Should we fight against our relatives from Benjamin again?”

And the Lord had said, “Go out and fight against them.”

So the next day they went out again to fight against the men of Benjamin, but the men of Benjamin killed another 18,000 Israelites, all of whom were experienced with the sword.

The Israelites went up seeking direction from the Lord. (In those days the Ark of the Covenant of God was in Bethel, and Phinehas son of Eleazar and grandson of Aaron was the priest.) The Israelites asked the Lord, “Should we fight against our relatives from Benjamin again, or should we stop?”

The Lord said, “Go! Tomorrow I will hand them over to you.”

So the Israelites set an ambush all around Gibeah. They went out on the third day and took their positions at the same place as before.

So the Lord helped Israel defeat Benjamin, and that day the Israelites killed 25,100 of Benjamin’s warriors, all of whom were experienced swordsmen.

 

Observation (s):

  1. The first time Israel went up to fight Benjamin, as directed by God, they lost 22,000 of their men.

    Before the battle the Israelites went to Bethel and asked God, “Which tribe should go first to attack the people of Benjamin?”

    The Lord answered, “Judah is to go first.”

    So the Israelites left early the next morning and camped near Gibeah. Then they advanced toward Gibeah to attack the men of Benjamin. But Benjamin’s warriors, who were defending the town, came out and killed 22,000 Israelites on the battlefield that day.

  2. Despite their loss on the first day, Israel went up to fight again a second time, per God’s directive. This time they lost 18,000 men.

    But the Israelites encouraged each other and took their positions again at the same place they had fought the previous day. For they had gone up to Bethel and wept in the presence of the Lord until evening. They had asked the Lord, “Should we fight against our relatives from Benjamin again?”

    And the Lord had said, “Go out and fight against them.”

    So the next day they went out again to fight against the men of Benjamin, but the men of Benjamin killed another 18,000 Israelites, all of whom were experienced with the sword.

  3. Israel sought God following their second loss. Per his directive, they went up to fight a third time. This time they defeated Benjamin.

    The Israelites asked the Lord, “Should we fight against our relatives from Benjamin again, or should we stop?”

    The Lord said, “Go! Tomorrow I will hand them over to you.”

    So the Israelites set an ambush all around Gibeah. They went out on the third day and took their positions at the same place as before.

    So the Lord helped Israel defeat Benjamin, and that day the Israelites killed 25,100 of Benjamin’s warriors, all of whom were experienced swordsmen.

     

Application:

We tend to give up too easily. At the first sign of obstacles, some of us throw in the towel. We toss our faith and forget that God was the one who had led us on our path to our fight.

Israel’s reaction when faced with the challenge of defeating Benjamin has a lot to teach us. Can you imagine suffering defeat twice when God had been the one to tell you to go fight? It must have been hard and humiliating and devastating to suffer such heavy losses, yet Israel stuck to their guns. At each loss, they sought God, confirmed his directions, encouraged each other and got back into the fight. Eventually, on the third try they gained the victory.

God’s guidance is not the guarantee of an easy win. Don’t lose faith if you experience losses on your first few tries. If God has brought you to it, He will surely bring you through it. Take a page out of Israel’s book, encourage yourself and get back into the fight. Your victory is surely coming.


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Bible in 365 Days – Day 61

 

DAY 61 The God who showed His constant presence, parted the Red Sea and took care of your Egyptian enemies will be there, make a way and fight for you on any path that He takes you on.

Focus Chapters:

  • Numbers 11-13

 

Standout Verse(s):

Number 13:30-33 NLT

But Caleb tried to quiet the people as they stood before Moses. “Let’s go at once to take the land,” he said. “We can certainly conquer it!”

But the other men who had explored the land with him disagreed. “We can’t go up against them! They are stronger than we are!” So they spread this bad report about the land among the Israelites: “The land we traveled through and explored will devour anyone who goes to live there. All the people we saw were huge. We even saw giants there, the descendants of Anak. Next to them we felt like grasshoppers, and that’s what they thought, too!”

 

Observation (s):

  1. Caleb stood alone in his belief that they could conquer the land now, if God commanded it. All the other men disagreed.

    But Caleb tried to quiet the people as they stood before Moses. “Let’s go at once to take the land,” he said. “We can certainly conquer it!”

    But the other men who had explored the land with him disagreed. “We can’t go up against them! They are stronger than we are!”

  2. The men who came back with the negative reports though themselves inferior or less than the Canaanite dwellers.

    But the other men who had explored the land with him disagreed. “We can’t go up against them! They are stronger than we are!” So they spread this bad report about the land among the Israelites: “The land we traveled through and explored will devour anyone who goes to live there. All the people we saw were huge. We even saw giants there, the descendants of Anak. Next to them we felt like grasshoppers, and that’s what they thought, too!”

  3. The Canaanite dwellers saw the fear of the Israelite men and played on it.

    Next to them we felt like grasshoppers, and that’s what they thought, too!

     

Application:

Whenever God starts readying me to go down a new path, I sometimes find that the naysayers in my head and around me increase exponentially. Suddenly, I am flooded with doubts and all the reasons why I shouldn’t take the new step or why I will fail. In the midst of all this doubting, I find myself hesitating to make the God-ordained move because my mind is swamped by all the “what-ifs” and the giants and obstacles that I am seeing. I forgot that God has already proved Himself. The God who showed His constant presence, parted the Red Sea and took care of my Egyptian enemies will be there, make a way and fight for me on any path that He takes me on.

What has God promised you? Where is He telling you to go? Canaan is a singular representative of God’s promise to you. Are you willing to take the first step towards that promise? In order to gain that promise, the journey to Canaan calls for your Caleb-type belief in two things:

  1. God will equip you to conquer all giants and tear down all fortified walls and cities that stand between you and His promise.
  2. If God has commanded you to move, you need to move now.

 


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Bible in 365 Days – Day 19

Focus Chapters:

  • Job 1-4

 

Standout Verse(s):

Job 4:3-6 NLT

“In the past you have encouraged many people; you have strengthened those who were weak. Your words have supported those who were falling; you encouraged those with shaky knees.

But now when trouble strikes, you lose heart. You are terrified when it touches you. Doesn’t your reverence for God give you confidence? Doesn’t your life of integrity give you hope?

 

Observation (s):

  1. It is quite easy to encourage, strengthen and support others when we are not the ones in the situation.

    “In the past you have encouraged many peopleyou have strengthened those who were weak. Your words have supported those who were falling; you encouraged those with shaky knees.

  2. The true test of faith came when Job was the one enduring the hardship. It was then that he needed to have faith and believe that God could carry him through.

    But now when trouble strikes, you lose heartYou are terrified when it touches you. Doesn’t your reverence for God give you confidenceDoesn’t your life of integrity give you hope?

 

Application:

It is a strange phenomenon. Our hearts are filled with prayers and our mouths are filled with encouragements for our friends when they experience trouble. We will be their primary support and encourage them to trust in God and believe that their dawn is coming. Things change when the shoe is on the other foot; when we are the ones facing the problems. Then, it becomes hard to see beyond the darkness. I remember dark times when I couldn’t even muster up the energy or will to pray. Our darkest moments are the moments in which we need the most faith. It is then our eyes, like David’s, should be fixed to the hills from whence our help comes. Don’t focus on the spoils in the valley! Look to God and watch how your perspective and circumstances change. After all, your help comes from God.

 

XOXO,
Chañel