Today marks the completion of our first month of study. If you have been reading along this last month we have read the entire book of Matthew, along with Genesis, Exodus, and today’s “Deeper Reading” plan will put us halfway through Leviticus. The goal for January was to motivate you to find a forever church, a good place to start volunteering at least one day a week, and begin a new workout regiment alternating simple body weight exercises and cardio days. Congratulations on making all these positive life changes! At the end of today’s Devotion I’ll preview all that is to come in February. Keep it up, let’s bring a final revival to America!
18Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20)
At the end of the first Gospel, the Book of Matthew, Jesus appears to the eleven disciples and gives them The Great Commission. From that moment on, they were no longer disciples, they became Apostles, which means teacher. Jesus had taught them all He could in His short time with them. The Gospels authors give us four different versions trying to capture what they felt were the most important words and actions they witnessed during their time with Jesus. I often wonder about what was lost; the private conversations Jesus had with His crew, or with His family, or how His relationship with Mary Magdalene truly shaped out to be. I cannot wait for the day when I meet Jesus face-to-face to ask about those inquiries. But to get to that day, I cannot read these last three verses of Matthew and think that this Great Commission was not meant for me as well. All the tools and knowledge Jesus wanted us to have is in the New Testament. While that is all we have, that is all we need. There is no need to study these books for years, to dissect every verse and every reference from the Old Testament. The Holy Bible is for you and me, for us to read and teach us how to live, and to inspire us to find one person, just one, who we can show the love of Jesus to. If everyone in the world did that, we could have accomplished Jesus’s commandment long, long ago.
But most of us haven’t even read the entire Bible. Most of America will not invest the time for them to learn the truth about the love of God and the Grace given through Jesus. So if most of us won’t do the work to make ourselves graduate from disciples to apostles, we will never fulfill the Great Commission.
The challenge of this devotion is to lead you through the entire Bible, to pause each day in reflection on the verses highlighted and on the reading plans. This day marks the completion of your first month in 2020 and your first book of the New Testament. We are one month in. Only eleven months of opportunity left in 2020. I hope you stay committed and continue to make the most of this new year and new decade.
Reading plan: reflect on the Book of Matthew
Deeper reading plan: Leviticus 15-18
Prayer and meditation: continue to pray for your request from day 1 and thank God for the miracle of Jesus and the job of being an Apostle for Christ.
Fitness challenge: Week five of our 7×14 challenge. Last week we slowed it down, this week let’s speed things up a bit. Slowly contract your muscles, then explode as you extend.
1. Standard push-up 2. Sit-up or crunches
3. Air squats 4. Hand-release push-up
5. Leg lifts 6. Lunges (7-each leg)
7. 4-count flutter kick
Journal: End of the month thoughts. What have you learned? What do you like? What do you wish to accomplish next month?
The Book of Mark
The Book of Mark is the shortest book of the Gospels. Mark writes in a much different style than the other Gospel authors. For the month of February we will be studying the parables Jesus loved to teach with and discussing why He chose to teach in that often cryptic style. This is a shorter month, and with a shorter Gospel, the reading plan will be a little less intense.
If you are following the extended reading plan, we will continue to push through the final three books of the Torah, the Books of Moses. To me, these first five books of the Bible are the hardest to read. Once you get through this month, the extended reading plan will be a breeze. So hopefully, with the time saved in reading the shorter Book of Mark, you will able to power through Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy.
Prayer and Meditation
You have been praying for a specific request or focus for the entire month of January. We will continue to focus on that prayer for this month. If you’re already seeing God work miracles in your life, that’s amazing! But if not, do not lose despair. God works all things for good, according to His purpose.
I hope you have been able to keep up with the fitness plan so far. We will continue to add an extra round of sets this month on our body weight exercises and will have our first cardio distance challenge: running one mile in less than 14-minutes. And that happens next.