Some of us have not yet begun to delve deep into the Word and extrapolate the depth and richness of the original languages. Admittedly, I just began doing so last year, however, I include it as part of my study of the Word so much now, I thought it would be amazing to begin the New Year with a devotion with such a theme. For those who may not know, the original language of the New Testament is Greek and Old Testament is Hebrew. You will notice as we study the NT, we focus on the Greek meaning and when we study the OT, we will focus on Hebrew.
January 17, 2022:
🧡 Bible Verse: Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers,
☆ Psalms 1:1 NIV
💙 Let’s Dive Deeper: As we study the word blessed today, it is my hope that you would be just that. I think it's special that the first word of the book of Psalms (or songs) is blessed. In Hebrew "blessed" is ešer (eh-share) and means "a person's state of bliss; happiness." It comes from the root word ašer (ah-share) meaning "to go straight, walk, go on, advance, make progress." So, it means much more than simply happy or having favor from God.
It is used 44 times in the OT, mostly in the Books of Psalms and Proverbs, and while it is used to describe the state of humans, it is never used to describe God. The Greek Septuagint uses the word "makarios" (used 9 times in the Beatitudes) which is translated as happy, though the meaning is much deeper because happiness is circumstantial but being blessed is not.
One can be blessed in the midst of turmoil if one is walking with the Lord. And that's just what this Psalm dives right into sharing. As one of the first theological truths put in song, we see that the writer of this Psalm wants us to recognize blessedness comes from walking a holy life, and this can only be done by accepting Christ.
Sure, the Israelites had the Mosaic Law to follow, but that, as Paul explains repeatedly in his Epistles, falls short of relationship with Him (which we all have access to due to the death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ). Living a holy life actually sounds much harder than it is. The truth is, it is turning away from sin. As God points something out in us that is sinful, we are to thank Him for that correction, turn away from it, and continue walking in obedience. We must have the Holy Spirit to accomplish this. Without Him, there is no direction.
The next thing the psalmist brings up in v.2 is the fact that the blessedness comes from a passion for scripture. As Joshua 1:8 suggests, there is a much deeper transformation if we meditate on God's Word. Psalm 1:1, in my opinion, is more than likely inspired by this exact verse.
Finally, blessedness comes from a prosperity dependent on God. In v.3 we read the vivid picture of a tree near a river, producing fruit in every season. It's allegorical as we are the tree and God is the River, or source of life and abundance. See, trees can live a dormant life, or a fruitful life.
Every tree goes into phases of dormancy (kind of like bears go in to hibernation) for a season. While most do so during the winter, some fruit trees that produce during the colder months become dormant during the warmer months. It's truly a beautiful thing for the Kingdom as fruit is ALWAYS being produced! As some trees (believers) produce fruit, others go dormant, and those trees (believers) have a chance to rest and prepare for the coming fruitful season by focusing on replenishing from the River (God).
So, friend, what season are you in? Being aware of the times is important not just for the body of Christ but for you individually as well. If you are in a season of producing fruit, let it fall on fertile soil! If you are dormant right now, resting in the presence of God, replenishing your spirit and being filled with the refreshment only God can bring, enjoy the time you have with the King because soon, there will be a season of harvest!
January 18, 2022:
💜 Bible Verse: Your commandments give me understanding; no wonder I hate every false way of life.
☆ Psalms 119:104 NLT
💚 Let’s Dive Deeper: As we study today, we are going to take a deeper look at the word "understanding". In Hebrew it is translated as "biyn" (bean) and means much more than understanding. It is translated as understand or understanding 94 times in the OT but when we consider it in all its derivatives it appears 247 times. Sometimes it is translated as "consider, perceive, discern" and has a wide range of uses. Additionally, it can mean "to discern, perceive, observe, understand, pay attention, be intelligent, and be discreet." Therefore, "biyn" means much more than gathering knowledge. It is about understanding that knowledge.
For example, a non-English speaking tourist may hear you speak, but they won't understand what you say. There is a difference between hearing and listening just as there in a difference between knowing something and understanding how to apply that knowledge. As believers, it does us no good to read the Word if we don't apply it to our lives.
In fact, this Psalm, 119, is David's (most likely the author) prayer for understanding. He knows that God is the giver of wisdom and without Him, there can be no true understanding, hence why he states the supremacy of God's Law, or ways.
As Dr. J.D Watson says, "A consistent Christian life is absolutely impossible without constant learning and a growing understanding of what that knowledge will demand in one's Christian walk." We are expected to apply what we learn, friends, and the truth is, that is not always easy, especially if it goes against the mainstream culture of the day (which has been synonymous with Christianity from the beginning).
What is God asking you to understand in this season? How can you apply that understanding to your life?
January 19, 2022:
❤ Bible Verse: Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you believe in Him so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
☆ Romans 15:13 HCSB
💛 Let’s Dive Deeper: In this verse, we see joy coupled with hope and peace. This is interesting because without the Holy Spirit, we have no hope and without hope we have no joy, and without hope or joy we certainly can't have peace. Those three aspects of our faith are all tied together.
For the longest time, I didn't understand what someone meant when they said "choose joy". It's not easy to "choose joy" when you're grieving the loss of a loved one, in the midst of an abusive relationship, or tormented my past trauma. Or is it? See, friend, many of us view joy as being synonymous with happiness as if they are inextricably connected, but the truth is, those are two different things entirely. As J. Sidlow Baxter explains, "When happenings happen to happen happily, you have happiness; when happenings happen to happen unhappily, you have unhappiness; happiness then is merely circumstantial happenness. But joy is independent of circumstances."
When we understand that choosing joy is choosing to remember the faithfulness of God, we understand we can choose to do it. I dare you to try. You cannot think about everything God has done for you and stay grieved, hurting, or traumatized, not in that moment anyhow. Anytime we take the focus off ourselves and place it on God, we get perspective. We see that there is so much more than this moment which allows us to look past our situation and forward towards the hope of that which is to come. That hope should stir some joy!
"Chara" (kah-rah) is Greek for joy. It means "gladness and rejoicing". Ironically Paul uses this word five times in Phillipians, which was written while he was imprisoned. It is truly a testament to the consequential aspect of joy to every believer!
January 20, 2022:
💜 Bible Verse: Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
☆ Hebrews 11:1 NKJV
❤ Let’s Dive Deeper: Most of the Epistles start with a preamble or introduction. However, as we can see from today's reading, it is quite a different story for Hebrews. It is an anonymous piece and rather than beginning with introductions, jumps right into its main teaching point. It is almost as if the author was so excited to exhault the Lord that they forgot to introduce themselves.
So, what is the author's point? Well, the subject matter of Hebrews, especially chapter 11, is faith. While some people understand faith and belief to be the same thing, that is not all together true. Let me explain. While faith and belief are synonymous in our language, it's a bit deeper in the Greek.
"Faith" in Greek is "pisteuō" (pee-stee-woh). It's basic meaning is, "to have faith in, trust; particularly, to be firmly persuaded as to something." In this case then, all one would need to do to be saved is believe in Christ (exesistenially). However, understanding the existence of someone and knowing them are two different things. I know of LeBron James, but if I knock on his door, he's not inviting me in for dinner. 😜
As one Greek authority points out, "pisteuō" also very clearly carries the idea "to obey". So, we can't merely believe or have faith in Jesus, we must also walk in obedience. Faith and obedience are not different, they are one in the same. In fact, you could think about them as being two sides of the same coin. James explains that faith without works is dead. And while many a religious folk use this verse to justify salvation by works, that is not the case.
As believers, we come to faith by obeying the word of God to believe in Christ. Then, we continue to obey His commands because we have faith God will do what He says, that He is a man of His word. We walk in submission to the Lordship of Christ because we know we will be reunited with Him for eternity in glory. Obedience is the evidence that we have faith and it is just as essential to this Christian walk as faith.
Each person contained within Hebrews 11 believed what God told them and then took action. God told Noah it would rain in a time where that had never been seen. Did Noah simply respond with, "ok, God." No, he got to work on building an ark!
So, friend, what are you believing God for? What has He told you? What steps are you currently taking to help bring that dream or goal to fruition? I encourage you today, brothers and sisters, let's be a people of fruitful faith!
January 21, 2022:
❤ Bible Verse: Therefore give to Your servant an understanding heart to judge Your people, that I may discern between good and evil. For who is able to judge this great people of Yours?”
☆ I Kings 3:9 NKJV
💙 Let’s Dive Deeper: Many people say Solomon asked God for wisdom, but that isn't all together true. The Hebrew word we are focusing on today is "biyn" (bean), and while is can mean understanding (as we studying previously), it can also mean discern, consider, perceive, teach, and prudent".
Understanding this, we can see Solomon isn't asking God for just any wisdom, but a discerning wisdom. He wants to be able to discern between the truth and lies in order to have a greater understanding or perception of what is really occurring or happening.
Solomon wanted to be able to judge fairly and not be directed by his fleshly feelings, passions, perceptions, etc. While both (wisdom & discernment) come from God and walk hand in hand, discernment is something that cannot easily be perceived or explained. The main idea in this verse is that discernment brings proper, Godly, understanding.
Allow me to provide an example. While my son and I were at a theme park, we walked by a food stand. All of the sudden we saw a man jump up, grab his son by the arm and start hitting his back furiously. My son immediately said, "mom, that guy is beating his kid. Someone needs to do something." However, I could see the boy's lips turning blue. He was choking. As I watched and prayed in tongues quietly, the father scooped the child up turned him over and started hitting his back with a downward motion. Suddenly, a piece of churro came flying out. What my son saw as abuse, I recognized as a desperate attempt to save his son's life.
We don't always see the full picture as humans. Because of our ignorance, fallen nature, and the sin stricken world, we don't always discern the truth. Additionally, many within the body do not seek this spiritual gift because they do not see the benefit. Because of such, many are involved in churches that supply false teaching, a prosperity Gospel, tolerance of other religions, and/or New Age doctrine. This is due in large part to leaders who are not operating in and with discernment.
So what exactly is discernment? Discernment is following the Word of God. Discernment doesn't go by whether something sounds good, makes us feel good, or tickles our ears. It is determined by whether it is right according to scripture. When we hear someone speak of Christ or God or the Holy Spirit or Scripture, we should pay close attention and test it against God's Word. Is what was taught in context or did the speaker merely find a verse to fit their message?
As I studied this, my heart was grieved to know that we live in a day and age when most people have access to the Word of God. There is an app with virtually every translation ever created contained within. Yet and still, many believers don't take the time to read it for themselves. Like sheep led to slaughter, they follow the sheep in front of them, without ever checking to see if what they are taught is actually true according to the Word of God, the Holy Bible. Some people risk their lives to get Bibles to people. Meanwhile, we have free access anytime and can't find time to open it.
Today, let's make a pledge to be a discerning people, not taken captive by false teaching or idolatry, but steadfast and reliant on the Word of God! It is absolutely necessary, friend! In a postmodern world that believes there is no truth, let's proclaim the truth with boldness, authority, and with a discerning understanding.🙏
January 24, 2022:
❤ Bible Verse: I cleave to Your testimonies; O Lord, put me not to shame!☆ Psalm 119:31 AMPC
💙 Let’s Dive Deeper: Psalm 119 is such an amazing chapter in my opinion. The author certainly understands their need and dependency on God. It is also filled with great theological truths, for instance, that God's laws are written on our hearts, and more. Today, however we are going to focus on the Word, "cleave".
Cleave in Hebrew is "dābaq". It is used 26 times in the OT with only six uses being from a different term. This word, "dābaq" means "to cling to; join with; stay with; follow closely". However, it is its figurative use that is relevant to every believer as it speaks to the closeness and loyalty of relationships.
The first use of the word is when the Bible speaks about marriage, that the two will leave their families and cleave to one another (Gen. 2:24). However, there is none that cleave like God cleaves. His love and faithfulness is seen throughout this chapter and throughout the entire Bible.
God doesn't just want to cleave to us, though. The truth is, He wants us to cleave to Him. He gives us many commands to do so as it demonstrates our love for Him (Deut. 30:20). His testimonies fill the Bible. This verse is saying figuratively, that when we cleave to God's Word we will not be disappointed (another definition of the word used for shame here).
Finally, I want to provide a final illustration. A carpenter uses glue to join or cleave two boards together. The bond, because they have been stuck together, is so strong the board will break in another spot before it will break on that joint. This is why we are to be glued to the Word of God. If we are, then, as this verse says, we will not be disappointed.
Is the Word of God a priority in your life, friend? If not, why not pray and ask God to give you a burning desire for His Word? I remember, years ago, I was looking to find time to read the Bible before work. After a few days of praying about it, I began to wake up at 4:30 each morning. It happened 3 days in a row.
On the third day I asked, why are you getting me up so early, Lord? That's when He brought my prayer to mind. Since then, I spend time with the Lord each morning, before anyone else is up and everything is all quiet. I say all that to say, if you can't do it in your strength, ask God to give you some of His. After all, He is faithful!🙌
January 25, 2022:
💚 Bible Verse: Since we are now joined to Christ, we have been given the treasures of redemption by his blood—the total cancellation of our sins—all because of the cascading riches of his grace.
☆ Ephesians 1:7 TPT
💛 Let’s Dive Deeper: In the verse for today we see Paul is praying that the church in Ephesus (and us) would understand God's revealed truth. The word used in Greek for "reveal" is apokalupsis (ah-pock-ah-loop-sis). It is derived from the Greek words "kaluptō" which means to veil and "apo" which means from and literally means to remove the veil.
I've heard many say God is revealing something new, and while I understand they may not mean new but new to me, we must be careful. God's Word, or the Bible, is God's truth revealed. We don't need a revelation because we have layer upon layer of information ready to be revealed upon reading and by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Are you looking for a new revelation? Then I encourage you to dig in to God's Word! Try reading from some of the forefathers of our faith like John Wesley, Charles Spurgeon, C.S. Lewis, among others. They can help you see that which you may not notice by yourself.
Let's learn from Saul and quit seeking the advice of mediums, psychics, and false prophets. Rather, let's look to God and His Word to bring revelation and truth to our lives!
January 26, 2022:
❤ Bible Verse: and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength
☆ Ephesians 1:19 NIV
🧡 Let’s Dive Deeper: Did you catch that? Paul didn't just call God's power "power" but called it "incomparably great power". That's some power, there, y'all! Incomparably means there is nothing else like it and great can mean vast, large, above average, important, and even distinguished. It is no mistake Paul used those words then because the power of God is all of those things!
Today, if you haven't guessed already, we will be talking about power - God's incomparably great power! In Greek, "power" is "dunamis" (doo-nah-miss). It's actually where we get our words dynamic and dynamite from. Those too, in my opinion, can describe God's power. "Dunamis" is used over 100 times in the NT and speaks of inherent or raw power, the ability to do wonders, and that which overcomes any resistance.
So what is Paul telling us here, exactly? He's explaining that we have access to a power that can overcome any obstruction to our Christian walk. We need not walk around feeble. Meekness is humility, not inability. As believers, we really have no excuse for living in defeat because the power of God is at our disposal. He gave us access through Jesus Christ!
What is it you may be afraid of accomplishing? What in your life is God asking you to do that you are timid about? You have the King of Kings on your side and all of heaven is watching. I say, light the match....in God's perfect timing you'll bursting forth, shining the light of Christ!
January 27, 2022:
💜 Bible Verse: For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard.
☆ Romans 3:23 NLT
💚 Let’s Dive Deeper: We are talking about a touchy subject today; probably THE touches subject we can discuss...sin! Most teachers shy away from this subject because it does divide and cause division. But such is the case when pride is put in its place.
Some believe sin to be an accident, indiscretion, or mistake. Other liberal scholars say sin is due to a lack of self esteem. I do not personally support this view. If anything, we have WAY too much esteem especially in today's day and age as we idolize ourselves.
In order to understand sin as God sees it, however, we must understand that there are two words we have to look at; "paratōma" (pah-rah-toh-mah) which means "to fall along side of" in Greek and "hamartia" (hah-mar-tee-ah) which means "to miss the mark". Paratoma expresses a sense of deviation whereas hamartia expresses falling short of a purpose or standard.
So, sin therefore, isn't just missing the mark; it is missing the mark and deviating from God's instruction. Wow! No wonder we all fall short. We are not a perfect being, yet God is, and therefore His instructions are perfect. ANY deviation from perfect is not perfect and therefore sin.
What an amazing gift then, that those who believe in Jesus is the Son of God who died for our sins and rose from the dead are covered in His perfect blood! The Bible says that those who are truly saved don't continue sinning. This is because when you truly love someone, you don't go against their will but do everything they ask, just as they ask, not because you must but because you want to please them and make them happy.
Married folk know what I'm talking about! How many men have been sent to the grocery store to get something for their wife, only to come back with the wrong thing? Many! It happens. Men and women are wired differently. There is a natural deviation in the way each set thinks. Because of this, this type of thing happens.
She asked for Hershey chocolate and he brought nestle. She's not happy because even though it's chocolate, it's not the EXACT kind she requested. Never the less, most husbands do not intentionally go get the wrong thing, and we should not intentionally do things we know God has asked us not to.
How are we to know what we can and can't do? Read the Word! It is the only way to know what is expected of you. It is not enough to merely get taught in church on Sunday. You have to be willing to read and learn and communicate with God (which He does through His written Word) on your own, daily.
You don't look at your GPS before taking a road trip. You turn it on and keep it on for the duration of your trip. We are on a "road trip" right now and we need to keep the GPS (Bible) on for the duration if we expect to make it to our destination (heaven)!
January 28, 2022:
🧡 Bible Verse: But everyone has wandered astray, walking stubbornly toward evil. Not one is good; he can’t even find one.
☆ Psalms 14:3 TPT
💜 Let’s Dive Deeper: Yesterday we looked at a couple different Greek words for sin, and today we are going to focus on the Hebrew words for sin. There are four of them and they are used over 900 times in the OT. If you remember, one of the Greek words for sin is hamartia and its Hebrew equivalent is "chātā" (kah-tah). It too means "to miss the mark."
We are going to focus mainly on the other three Hebrew words for sin. There is "šagāh" (sah-gah) which means "to go astray, deceive, wander, make a mistake, swerving, meandering, and reeling in drunkeness." It is translated as "sin" in Leviticus and denotes sin through ignorance.
Next, we have "āwāh" (ah-wah) which means "to bend or twist" and is used to express a distortion or perversion of truth. It is used over 230 times in the Old Testament and is used to signify sin in 1 Kings 17 when a women thinks she may have sinned by distorting some requirement.
Lastly, the word "peša" (peh-sah) appears 90 times and means "willful deviation from, and therefore rebellion against, the path of godly living." Therefore, we can see that God has spent much of His time trying to teach and educate His people about sin. This is because it causes separation in our relationship with Him.
Because of that, it is important that we include a teaching on sin when ministering the Gospel message. If people don't understand the bad news (that they live in sin), they won't see a need to respond to the Good News. It is instrumental in sharing the Gospel to explain how EVERYONE falls short. If we choose not to, we are not sharing the true Gospel of Christ and we will be held accountable.
I don't know about you, but I don't want to face the consequences of not sharing the full Gospel. Jesus died so that every person has the opportunity to hear and respond, but it is up to those of us who are already children of God to share Christ's sacrifice honestly and fully. If we don't, we do a disservice to Him.
January 31, 2022:
💛 Bible Verse: She will bear a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus [the Greek form of the Hebrew Joshua, which means Savior], for He will save His people from their sins [that is, prevent them from failing and missing the true end and scope of life, which is God].
☆ Matthew 1:21 AMPC
💙Let’s Dive Deeper: I love the amplified version because it gives the missing details that help bring complete understanding. I've heard some say Jesus is not the name of Christ our Savior, but this not true. Jesus is the Greek way of saying Yehoshua or Yeshua, both of which are also names of Jesus and mean God is Salvation.
How fitting then on this last day of studying the original languages that we look at the word for salvation. "Salvation in Greek is "sōtēria" (soh-teh-ree-ah). It means "safety, deliverance, and preservation from danger." Salvation is deliverance from God's wrath. As we found previously, our sin separates us from God and it is only through Jesus we can be saved.
His name, again, means God is Salvation. When we look at the Hebrew it becomes glaringly obvious. The Hebrew word for "save" is "yāša" (yah-sah)while the Hebrew word for Salvation is "yešûāh" (yeh-shoo-ah). Did you catch that? The Hebrew word for salvation is the Hebrew name of Christ. He IS our salvation.
"Yāša" carries with it the idea of bringing to a place of safety or broad pasture (rather than a narrow straight). It is used over 200 times in the OT and was used to speak of God delivering the Israelites from bondage in Egypt. In the Septuagint (Greek OT/NT), "yāša" is translated as "sōzō" (soh-zoh). They both mean the same thing.
If being saved and Salvation both mean deliverance, than what does Salvation deliver us from? It delivers us from a spiritual death. It is clear then, as we study this out, that there is no way for us to have a hand in our own Salvation. It is an act of God based on the will of God and the submission of God. Once we make Christ our Lord, we are baptized in the Holy Spirit and God guides us throughout the rest of our life (as long as we do not turn away from Him and doing what He asks of us).
As Charles Spurgeon said, "the Lord has to apply it, to make unwilling willing, to make the ungodly godly, and bring the vile rebel to the feet of Jesus, or else Salvation will never be accomplished." At some point, many of us look for a way out of our situation. We call out to God, and He triumphantly answers, not because we deserve it, but because of his kindness, faithfulness and honesty. He is a man of His Word.
There are some who say they have a "new theology" of Salvation which means "liberation from the oppression of this world's structures." This is FAR from truth, and if you have heard anything similar I would tell you with all truthfulness and conviction to RUN from those who impose such a slanderous and tainted gospel. Salvation is not about self-esteem. It isn't about the seeker's needs. It isn't even about sentimentality. It is about our sin and the Savior who died and rose again so that we might live.
Jesus did not die on the cross for religion, He did it so that we could have relationship, a true, meaningful relationship with the Father through Him. I have titled this monthly Bible reading plan, “Jewish Jesus - Discovering our Jewish Roots in Christianity and to be honest, it may take more than one month to get through all of this. Just as we could not study the entirety of the Bible in one month, it may take more than one month to study our Jewish roots. However, I hope this does not deter you.
The gift of grace seems so obscure. How do we define grace? How do we receive grace? How do we live covered in grace?
If you are anything like me, you too have pondered these questions. This month, we will attempt to answer some of these questions and more.
I hope you find as much comfort in these verses as I have.
This month, we kick off weekly newsletters going out! I am seriously so excited for this because I know it will help each of us (is it weird I signed up for my own newsletter? Oh well, that's me!) stick with it and give us more time to enjoy God's presence. No more having to go to the website just to view the reading plan! Raise your hand if you are excited! 🙋♀️
So, as you can see...not much has changed on this front. This blog will be updated with the shareable graphics and verses each week. We hope you enjoy this new adventure God is taking us on as much as we enjoy it.