Stand: August 22-31, 2019 (Thurs-Sat): Read through 2 Chronicles, Psalms, Daniel, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, and 1-2 Peter

Everyone’s doing it. Well, everyone else may be doing it, but you have a choice to make. Are you going to do it? Maybe it’s going to church or seeing the latest Marvel movie or shacking up. Good or bad, you’ve got a choice to make, and just because everyone else is doing it doesn’t mean that you should. Examine it. Pray about it. Ask does it bring God glory?

Three men in the Bible were presented with a choice. Everyone else was doing it, so were they going to do it. Everyone else was listening to the band play, and everyone else was bowing down to a huge statue, an idol. Everyone else felt that they had no choice because non-bowers would be thrown into a furnace of fire to be burned alive. Everyone else valued their lives more than their worship preferences, but these three men valued worshipping their God more than their lives. In fact, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego refused to cower and proclaimed emphatically that they would not bow to the king’s idol. They were thrown into the furnace which killed the guards who had that hot job. Then the king saw not three but four men walking around in the fire. The king called the men out, and the three came out unbound and without a hint of smoke. He commended them and their God and rewarded the three. These three men stood for the Lord even when they didn’t know where that would lead them.

If you were to visit South Africa’s Krueger National Park, you’d get to see many native African animals, one of which is the impala. It’s a deer-like animal often shown by the Discovery Channel as dinner for lions and leopards. “The impala can actually jump a height of over 10 feet and leap distances of more than 30 feet. Yet zoos often keep their impalas in enclosures with walls no more than three feet high.” That sounds crazy until you understand the mind of the impala. These great leapers will not jump if they cannot see where their feet will land.

Jumping wasn’t an option for Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego when they faced the choice of bowing before the idol or standing tall for God. However, these three men chose to stand for God even though they didn’t know where they would land. Maybe God would deliver. Maybe God would allow them to burn. Regardless of the consequences, regardless of where they landed, they chose to leap in faith and stand for God that day and not bow to the king’s demands.

Today, we have a choice as well: Give in to the demands of the wicked world or stand for God and His righteousness. I pray that you and I will not bow but will stand in the evil day, and after the smoke blows away, we will still be standing.

Here’s a little more application for you if you want it. Let me give you three points to take home from this biblical and historical account of the fiery furnace.

Sometimes we’re tempted to place something before God. Don’t do it.

  • Some people know what God thinks about a matter and are tempted to rethink it. They’re tempted to value their fear, family, business, belief, comfort, culture, sin, or friends more than they value God. People can rationalize any sin or situation into being OK or even promoted. If you’re tempted to place something before God, just don’t do it.

We must choose to be faithful to God regardless of the consequences.

  • These three guys chose to be bold when they were the only ones standing for righteousness. They chose to put their lives on the line for the honor of the Lord. Be bold in your stand. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were so bold. Other than Jesus, can you find any stand for the Lord quite so bold as these three young men? They were standing against the supreme ruler of the world. Life and death were in his hands, and they spoke unapologetically to the king. Be full of faith in God. Ungodly people will sometimes become hateful due to your stand for God and righteousness.

Your faithfulness must not hinge on the possible consequences.

  • You may be delivered like Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, or you may burn. You may be destroyed financially due to your faithfulness to the Lord. You may be destroyed physically due to your faithfulness to the Lord. You may be destroyed socially due to your faithfulness to the Lord. However, your faithfulness must not hinge on the possible consequences.

This week you’ll read…

2 Chronicles 35-36: “But the Lord, the God of their ancestors sent word against them by the hand of His messengers, sending them time and time again, for He had compassion on His people and on His dwelling place. But they kept ridiculing God’s messengers, despising His words, and scoffing at His prophets, until the Lord’s wrath was so stirred up against His people that there was no remedy” (2 Chronicles 36 in The Christian Standard Bible).

Psalms 119-120: “Your word is a lamp for my feet and a light on my path” (Psalms 119 in The Christian Standard Bible).

Daniel 1-12: “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered King Nebuchadnezzar, ‘Your threat means nothing to us. If you throw us in the fire, the God we serve can rescue us from your roaring furnace and anything else you might cook up, O king. But even if He doesn’t, it wouldn’t make a bit of difference, O king. We still wouldn’t serve your gods or worship the gold statue you set up.’” (Daniel 3 in The Message Bible).

Habakkuk 1-3: “Though the fig tree does not bud and there is no fruit on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though the flocks disappear from the pen and there are no herds in the stalls, yet I will celebrate in the Lord; I will rejoice in the God of my salvation!” (Habakkuk 3 in The Christian Standard Bible).

Zephaniah 1-3: “Seek the Lord, all you humble of the earth, who carry out what He commands. Seek righteousness, seek humility; perhaps you will be concealed on the day of the Lord’s anger” (Zephaniah 2 in The Christian Standard Bible).

1 Peter 5: “Be sober-minded, be alert. Your adversary the devil is prowling around like a roaring lion, looking for anyone he can devour” (1 Peter 5 in The Christian Standard Bible).

2 Peter 1-3: “Dear friends, don’t overlook this one fact: With the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day. The Lord does not delay His promise, as some understand delay, but is patient with you, not wanting any to perish but all to come to repentance” (2 Peter 3 in The Christian Standard Bible).

August 22 (Thurs):


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And the Gold goes to Psalms: August 15-21, 2019 (Thurs-Wed): Read through 2 Chronicles, Psalms, Hebrews, and 1 Peter

I remember playing Bible Trivia when I was younger. Now, it’s seems odd, or even irreverent, to refer to anything in the Bible as trivia, so let me share some information about the Psalms which may be lesser-known and not as important as the gospel.

Psalms has won at least four gold medals in the world of the Bible Olympics. Of course, these stats are based on our modern English translations of the Bible, not the originals. First, it is the longest book of the Bible by number of chapters with 150 although Jeremiah is longest when measured by word count. Second, Psalms has more earthly writers than any other book of the Bible. At least seven different authors or groups of authors wrote the Psalms. David wrote half of them, and about one-third of the 150 are unattributed. (Who are the authors of Psalms?) Of course, God is the author, but He used humans to write it. Third, the shortest chapter in the Bible by verses is Psalm 117 with 2 verses. Lastly, the longest chapter in the Bible by verses is Psalm 119 which has 176 verses.

Psalm 119 has some interesting facts about it in Hebrew (the language in which it was written) which don’t transfer into the English translation. Psalm 119 consists of 22 eight-line sections. Each section corresponds with a letter of the Hebrew alphabet beginning with the first letter and down to the last letter of the alphabet. Each line in a section begins with that section’s letter of the alphabet. Imagine that it was originally written in English. The first section would be the A section, and every one of the eight lines in the A section would begin with the letter A. Next, would be the B section, and on and on until the Z section at the end. This is lost in translation, but it shows you that the writers were creative and sought ways to make truth memorable for singing and reciting and teaching.

One more fact about Psalm 119 is that the psalm revolves around God’s word. “Your word” or some synonym of it occurs in practically every verse. The psalmist is made happy, convicted, taught, made wise, freed, enlightened, saved, and guided by God’s word. What about you? Are you being changed by God’s word because you’re letting it get into you?

This week you’ll read…

2 Chronicles 25-34: “The Lord spoke to Manasseh and his people, but they didn’t listen. So He brought against them the military commanders of the king of Assyria. They captured Manasseh with hooks, bound him with bronze shackles, and took him to Babylon. When he was in distress, he sought the favor of the Lord his God and earnestly humbled himself before the God of his ancestors. He prayed to Him, and the Lord was receptive to his prayer. He granted his request and brought him back to Jerusalem, to his kingdom. So Manasseh came to know that the Lord is God” (2 Chronicles 33 in The Christian Standard Bible).

Psalms 116-119: “I have hidden Your word in my heart that I might not sin against You” (Psalms 119 in The New International Version).

Hebrews 11-13: “Now faith is the reality of what is hoped for, the proof of what is not seen” (Hebrews 11 in The Christian Standard Bible).

1 Peter 1-4: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Because of His great mercy He has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead and into an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you” (1 Peter 1 in The Christian Standard Bible).


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Like Father Like Son?: August 8-14, 2019 (Thurs-Wed): Read through 2 Chronicles, Psalms, and Hebrews

What kind of parental heritage do you have? Some people have godly parents who follow the Lord. Others have ungodly parents who follow the world and the devil’s ways. Of course, you may be someone who lacks or lacked a parent or two in your growing up years. They’ve been non-existent in your life through neglect or tragedy. Regardless, parents have a major effect on their children, but children do not always go the way of the parents. Godly parents can still have ungodly children, and ungodly parents can end up with godly children. Although parents and grandparents should work hard at training their kids in the ways of the Lord, children have a choice, and their choices will make them.

Rehoboam was an ungodly king of Judah whose father and grandfather were Solomon and David respectively. Solomon ended up going off the rails spiritually and that surely led to Rehoboam’s downward spiral. Rehoboam had a kid named Abijah who followed in his father’s footsteps. However, Abijah had a son named Asa who followed God. Then Asa had a son named Jehoshaphat who followed God. Then Jehoshaphat had a son named Jehoram who did evil in the Lord’s sight.

  • Here was the progression from David to Jehoram.
    • David begat
    • Solomon who begat
    • Rehoboam who begat
    • Abijah who begat
    • Asa who begat
    • Jehoshaphat who begat
    • Jehoram.


  • The simplified version:
    • Good begat
    • Good which turned Bad and begat
    • Bad which begat
    • Bad which begat
    • Good which begat
    • Good which begat
    • Bad.

Now we can’t really see their parenting styles, but we get a quick glimpse of the general direction in which they led their lives and the nation of Judah. We can see that no matter what your familial background is, you have a choice to follow God or not. God is able to work in the child in the hopelessly ungodly household or in the one who’s in a godly home. If you read 2 Chronicles 13-21, you’ll read about Abijah through Jehoram and see the progression. Some of it is spelled out better in 1-2 Kings. Here are some takeaways from the passage.

  • You may have had some ungodly parents leading you in some horribly ungodly ways, but you still have the choice to continue the ungodly legacy or break the mold and follow God.
  • You may have raised your kids to follow God, but they’re not following Him. Realize that your children make their own choices and that their bad choices are not necessarily because of you.
  • If you’ve raised your children to follow God, and they’re following Him, give God the glory.

This week you’ll read…

2 Chronicles 12-24: “‘Because you went for help to the king of Aram and didn’t ask God for help, you’ve lost a victory over the army of the king of Aram. Didn’t the Ethiopians and Libyans come against you with superior forces, completely outclassing you with their chariots and cavalry? But you asked God for help and He gave you the victory. God is always on the alert, constantly on the lookout for people who are totally committed to Him. You were foolish to go for human help when you could have had God’s help’” (2 Chronicles 16 in The Message Bible).

Psalms 109-115: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all who follow His instructions have good insight. His praise endures forever” (Psalms 111 in The Christian Standard Bible).

Hebrews 4-10: “I have a lot more to say about this, but it is hard to get it across to you since you’ve picked up this bad habit of not listening. By this time you ought to be teachers yourselves, yet here I find you need someone to sit down with you and go over the basics on God again, starting from square one—baby’s milk, when you should have been on solid food long ago! Milk is for beginners, inexperienced in God’s ways; solid food is for the mature, who have some practice in telling right from wrong. So come on, let’s leave the preschool finger painting exercises on Christ and get on with the grand work of art. Grow up in Christ” (Hebrews 5-6 in The Message Bible).

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Sustain: August 1-7, 2019 (Thurs-Wed): Read through 2 Chronicles, Psalms, Malachi, Titus, and Philemon

“Hope sustained us during that difficult time.”

“I don’t know if I can sustain this standard of living.”

“The roof, unable to sustain the weight of all the snow, collapsed.”

“The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact expression of His nature, sustaining all things by His powerful word” (Hebrews 1:3). That word translated as sustaining is a present participle (Ooo) which means that it’s an ongoing thing. Christ is continually holding it all together. He was on Day 1. He was on Day 1,098,894, and He is still holding it together today. It’s more than that though. He’s carrying it along. Christ is carrying creation on toward its goal. It wasn’t just set in motion. He’s moving it along purposefully. In case there’s any doubt, look at Colossians 1:17. Speaking of Jesus, Paul states, “He is before all things, and by Him all things hold together.” Christ was the One who created, but His hands are still fixed on creation as He sustains it. Even Greek philosopher Aristotle believed this concept that everything is “out of God” and that He holds it together. Christ holds everything together such that we have “a cosmos instead of a chaos” (Lightfoot). The Son is the “divine glue” and “spiritual gravity” that holds creation together. Christ is the Creator and Sustainer of the universe. He is the “rhyme and reason.” Everyone and everything is entirely dependent upon Christ whether they are atheistic or inanimate (Garland). Every day, every minute, every nanosecond, Christ keeps things in order in the universe and keeps them going toward His ultimate purpose. This includes you. You have a built-in purpose. Seek the Sustainer to discover it.

This week you’ll read…

2 Chronicles 1-11: “‘If I shut the sky so there is no rain, or if I command the grasshopper to consume the land, or if I send pestilence on My people, and My people, who bear My name, humble themselves, pray and seek My face, and turn from their evil ways, then I will hear from heaven, forgive their sin, and heal their land’” (2 Chronicles 7 in The Christian Standard Bible).

Psalms 106-108: “Hallelujah! Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His faithful love endures forever” (Psalms 106 in The Christian Standard Bible).

Malachi 1-4: “‘For look, the day is coming, burning like a furnace, when all the arrogant and everyone who commits wickedness will become stubble. The coming day will consume them,’ says the Lord of Armies, ‘not leaving them root or branches. But for you who fear My name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings, and you will go out and playfully jump like calves from the stall. You will trample the wicked, for they will be ashes under the soles of your feet on the day I am preparing,’ says the Lord of Armies’” (Malachi 4 in The Christian Standard Bible).

Titus 1-3: “But when the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared, He saved us—not by works of righteousness that we had done, but according to His mercy—through the washing of regeneration and renewal by the Holy Spirit” (Titus 3 in The Christian Standard Bible).

Philemon 1: “I always thank my God when I mention you in my prayers, because I hear of your love for all the saints and the faith that you have in the Lord Jesus” (Philemon 1 in The Christian Standard Bible).


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