9th August: Luke 2: 1-20
God is in control! Jesus was born in Bethlehem. Long before it happened, God had it planned (1-7; Micah 5:2-3). As we approach Christ’s Return, God still has His plan. He is still in control. The birth of Christ is not merely an event from the past. It is also a message for the future. We look back so that we can move forward. We are fearful about many things. ‘What’s the world coming to?’, we ask. God turns our question on its head: ‘Christ is coming to the world‘. From His first coming, we look on to His second coming – He ‘will come to all the people’ (10): ‘every eye will see Him’ (Revelation 1:7). His Return invites us to ask another question: ‘when the Son of man comes, will He find faith on earth?’ (18:8). For you, is it still ‘before Christ’? Let the ‘new age’ begin: Let Christ be ‘born this day’ (11) – in your heart!
10th August: Leviticus 11:1-47
God sees only two types of people: ‘clean’ and ‘unclean’. All of us are ‘in Adam’ (sinners). Not all are ‘in Christ’ (saved) (Romans 5:12-21). How about you? – Are you cleansed, forgiven, born again, saved, committed (1 John 1:7,9; John 3:7; Acts 16:31; 2 Timothy 1:12)? Or, are you still in your sins, guilty of neglecting God’s great salvation, not far from – yet still outside of – God’s Kingdom, almost persuaded but still uncommitted (John 8:24; 9:41; Hebrews 2:3; Acts 26:28)? Before the call to holiness (45), there is the call to salvation. Give your heart to Christ. This is where holiness begins (Mark 7:14-23). Holiness is not our own achievement – ‘God is at work in you’ (Philippians 2:13). Remember: Our holiness is grounded in His redemption (45). Feed on His Word – and let holiness grow (Psalm 119:9-11).
11th August: Leviticus 12:1-13:46
How can I be made clean (12:8)? – This is the vital question to which the Gospel gives its emphatic answer. We ask, ‘What can wash away my stain?’. The answer is given, ‘Nothing but the blood of Jesus’. We ask, ‘Has atonement been made for my sin’ (12:8)?’. The answer is clear: ‘Christ has for sin atonement made’. You can be ‘washed in the blood of the Lamb’. What water cannot do, Christ does for us. The water used in baptism – ‘a little’ or ‘a lot’! – cannot wash away our sin. It can only point beyond itself to Christ’s Cross, where we hear the Good News: ‘There is wonder-working power in the precious blood of the Lamb’ (Redemption Hymnal, 333,615,309,288). Confess your sin – ‘Unclean, unclean’ (13:45). Christ will change you – beginning with your ‘heart’ (12:3; Romans 2:28-29).
12th August: Luke 2:21-52
Jesus ‘fulfilled all righteousness’ (Matthew 3:15). His circumcision and presentation to the Lord was ‘according to the law of Moses’ (21-24; Leviticus 12:1-8). Jesus’ obedience was always more than mere conformity to ‘the written code’. He was walking ‘in the Spirit’. He was filled with ‘the Spirit of the living God’ (2 Corinthians 3:3,6). His obedience came ‘from the heart’ and His ‘praise’ came ‘not from men but from God’ (Romans 6:17; 2:29). What joy there was for Simeon and Anna! This was ‘salvation’, ‘redemption’ (30,38). As you journey through life, don’t ‘lose Jesus’ (43-45). Keep close to Him! If you do ‘lose Him’, where will you find Him again? – ‘In the temple’ (46). Have you lost your way? Find your way back to ‘the sanctuary of God’ – and things will start to fall into place again (Psalm 73:16-17)!
13th August: Proverbs 4:20-27
‘Let your eyes look directly forward, and your gaze be straight before you’ (25). Living the Christian life is like ‘walking a tightrope’ – We must ‘not swerve to the right or to the left’ (27; Deuteronomy 28:14; Joshua 1:7; 23:6). Looking straight ahead, ‘let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith…'(Hebrews 12:2). In the face of life’s many difficulties, you may ask, “Can I ‘run with perseverance the race marked out for me’ (Hebrews 12:1)?”. Keep your eyes on your own capacity for perseverance – and you will be filled with thoughts of your own weakness. Keep your eyes on Christ and His preserving power (1 Peter 1:5; John 10:27-29; Philippians 1:6; Romans 8:37-39). You will grow strong – strengthened by Christ’s Word: ‘My grace is sufficient for you’ (2 Corinthians 12:9).
14th August: Leviticus 13:47-14:32
We read about skin disease. Remember: there is also the sin disease – and we’re all suffering from that!. Sin is a deadly ‘cancer’ for which there is only one treatment: ‘Oh, precious is the flow that makes me white as snow; no other fount I know, nothing but the blood of Jesus’ (Redemption Hymnal, 333). The new birth – like physical birth – is a unique, once-for-all, experience: it is the beginning of the Christian life (John 3:3-6). Many times over, we will need to be ‘washed a second time’ (58). Justification (Romans 5:1) happens in a moment: ‘The vilest offender who truly believes, that moment a pardon receives’. Sanctification (Romans 6:13,19). lasts a lifetime: ‘Take time to be holy…(Mission Praise, 708,625). God loves us: He will help us to ‘be holy’ (1 Peter 1:16).
15th August: Leviticus 14:33-15:33
You can get ‘dry rot’ in people – as well as houses (14:34; Hebrews 12:15)! Sin is like ‘a wasting disease’ (Psalm 106:13-15). It will only get worse – unless something is done about it! Sin spreads. and spreads, and… Can anything be done about this sad situation? Look into yourself, and you will find that the situation is hopeless (Romans 7:14-20). Look to Christ, and there is hope: ‘where sin increased, grace abounded all the more’ (Romans 5:20). Sin is not to be taken lightly. Don’t underestimate the power of sin. Little by little, it will lure you away from Christ. Keep close to Jesus, rejoicing in this: ‘He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world’ (1 John 4:4). God calls for holiness: ‘your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit’; ‘present your bodies…to God’ (1 Corinthians 6:19; Romans 12:1).
16th August: Luke 3:1-38
John’s message came from ‘God’ (2). He did not begin with love. He preached about sin and divine judgment, warning his hearers to ‘flee from the wrath to come’ (7). He called for ‘repentance’ (3,8). This was not what people wanted to hear. Before we can rejoice in the Good News concerning salvation, we must recognize our sin and our need of salvation. John prepared the way for Jesus. ‘All have sinned’, ‘The wages of sin is death’ – This is the ‘bad news’ which prepares us to receive, with joyful thanksgiving, ‘the Good News’: ‘the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord’ (Romans 3:23; 6:23). Like John, we are to point to Jesus, God’s ‘beloved Son’ : Before ‘Adam’ was, He is. Pray that the ‘Holy Spirit’ will bring people to Christ (22,38; 8:58).