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Monthly Bible Reading Plan - January - Ephesians 4:24 - New Nature/Man – Greek

January 3, 2022:

💜 Bible Verse: Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy. – Ephesians 4:24

💛 Let’s Dive Deeper: 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.

Today we are focusing on the new nature we each have due to our dependence on Christ and His atoning work on the Cross. How fitting with the new year we are stepping into, am I right?! Paul explains that we each have a new nature and that we were created to be like God in our verse today. Many of us don’t fully comprehend this new nature, and some of us may struggle to walk it in, and therefore, our transformation in Christ is not always evident to others. 

First of all, it is important to note that the literal translation of “new nature” is actually “new man”. However, because the Bible is referring to all those saved, not merely men, many modern translations use the dynamic translation of nature (rather than man) to encompass male and female. We understand this because the Greek word for “man” is “anthropos” (an-throh-pahs) and means mankind, not merely man. Anthropos also refers to the entirety of mankind as in every aspect of our nature, not just our flesh, or spirit, etc.

The Greek word for “new” is “kainos” (ky-nohs). The Greek language has multiple words used to express the thought of something being “new”. There is temporally new (think age – like a new baby), and there is qualitatively new (think condition of something – as in a new car that has never before been driven). Kainos refers to a newness of never before being used or impaired by time. 

Another meaning of “kainos” is “current or not before known”. An example of this type of “new” is when the Holy Spirit falls in Acts and people hear those who it fell upon speaking in “new” languages. Those languages weren’t necessarily new, but they were new to those hearing. Just as we are not literally new people with new features, we are new to the Kingdom of Heaven and we are new to enacting God’s will and hearing His voice. For some of us, it felt “new” hearing someone else speak in tongues for the first time. 

Finally, the last meaning for “kainos” is “new as opposed to old or former and hence also implying better because different.” As believers, Paul is referring to this last definition as it explains that those of us who are renewed and are changed from evil to good by the Spirit of God. Forgiven and free, we are seen by the Almighty Father as Christ Himself. His blood has washed our filthy rags white as snow.

If you find yourself falling into old habits or maybe your salvation is not apparent to others, I would encourage you to delve deeper into what Christ completed for you on the Cross. Our salvation is a gift. It cannot be earned. Those of us who walk in obedience for years have no more salvation than those who are freshly saved, as they say. We are free to be who we were created to be, like God, and usher the things of heaven here to earth. We are a kingdom of priests who serve a living God, and we have been made new. We are no longer held captive by our thoughts, our habits, our addiction…nothing. The price has been paid. 

The Good News, friend, is that the prison doors are open…you just have to be willing to walk out of the jail cell and shine the light of Christ!

January 4, 2022:

💜 Bible Verse: God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure.
☆ Ephesians 1:5 NLT

💛 Let’s Dive Deeper: In today’s devotional, we read about how God decided in advance to adopt those of us who believe in Christ. It may come to a surprise as some to realize you have been chosen by God Almighty to become one of His children; that during His creation of the universe, He thought of you and decided the world needed one of you and He would adopt you into His magnificent Kingdom. Now, if that isn’t good news, I don’t know what is!

As we dig deeper today, it is important for me to first tell you that this idea of adoption is one from Roman culture. The Jews would have known little about it from a cultural standpoint. It is a good thing, then, that the Apostle Paul was of both Roman and Jewish decent. It allowed him to take advantage of some of his Roman knowledge to help educate the newly converted Jews that began to follow the teachings of Christ Jesus.

We see the Greek word for adoption is “huiothesia” (hoo-yo-theh-see-ah). The literal translation of this word means “son placing”. See, in Roman culture, adoption didn’t just happen between a father and a child that wasn’t his; it also happened between a father and a child by birth.

Understand friend, the teenage years marked a change in position for the son in the family. Rather than be considered a child (having no responsibilities and no rights as well), the teen boy would become a son in an official sense, meaning he would now hold rights to the family estate if something were to happen to his father and also hold the responsibility in that regard as well.

It is this deep meaning that I want to focus on today. Yesterday, we spoke about those of us who struggle to walk in our new nature. Today, I want to dig a bit deeper so that those who do struggle in this sense have a greater understanding of who you are. Because you were adopted by Almighty God, you are now given certain rights. 

These rights are the same which Jesus Himself received. As believers, we are to preach the Gospel, cast out demons, heal the sick and hurting, and usher the Kingdom of God here to earth through prayer, song, dance, and worship. This is exactly what Jesus did, which is why He said, “the Kingdom of God is at hand” when He did the will of God (Matt. 4:17[ESV]).

The truth is, we were of our Father the devil (1 John 3:8-10) before we were saved. I understand this may be hard for some to grasp, but it is true, just as John explains. Once saved by the blood of Jesus, however, we become a child of God. We gain our Kingdom inheritance, and we also gain the responsibility to enact the will of God, not our own desires. In doing the will of God, others can see the fruit of the spirit alive and active in our life. Our life becomes a walking testimony for God. 

Lastly, let's look at the other meaning of adoption, between a man and child not his by birth. In Roman culture, once you were adopted, your debts were erased. This is because the adopted person literally became a new person (remember we too, have a new nature). This was good news because children who didn't have parents were usually slaves (similar to endentured servitude). Therefore, the adopted child would no longer be a slave. Sound familiar?

Because of what Christ did for us, and our believing that He paid the price on the Cross for our sins, we now have a new nature and are children of God, entitled to a Kingdom inheritance that comes with responsibilities on our part. We are no longer slaves, and our debt has been paid, PRAISE GOD!

January 5, 2022

💜 Bible Verse: “Watch out! Don’t do your good deeds publicly, to be admired by others, for you will lose the reward from your Father in heaven.
☆ Matthew 6:1 NLT

💛 Let’s Dive Deeper: When studying the Word, I always begin with the New Living Translation. It is my favorite, and that's my starting point, usually. When I studied Matthew six, I noticed the word "Father" used 12 times. I found that ironic as the number 12 is known to signify the tribes (and therefore people) of Israel.

While the Jews certainly didn't walk in obedience, they had quite an encompassing view of God. They saw Him in terms of His begetting (as the Creator of all). The Jews also saw Him as near. They believed Him to be closer than any relative or friend. This is seen in many instances within the Book of Psalms. They also saw God in terms of His guidance. Jeremiah speaks the word of God in Jer. 31:9 saying, "with supplications I will lead them [NKJV]."

As stated previously, we can see that the Jews also saw God in terms of their obedience. Rather than appreciate what He did for them by following His laws (or rules), they rejected what was holy. Because of this rejection, the Jewish people (as a whole) missed out on intimacy with God. They treated God like a genie and only turned to Him when they were under judgement. This loss in intimacy is seen by the fact that by the time Jesus walked the earth it was considered blasphemy to say the name Yahweh.

The fact that the Jews were unwilling to use the personal name God gave Himself in order to communicate with His people shows there was little, if any, personal connection. Many believers who study the OT will notice the religious nature of the Jewish people.

While we understand we have intimacy with God, we are also to show Him reverence. We do this by respecting Him, and we respect Him by obeying Him and trusting that He means what He says and that it is the truth. Many of us don't have great examples of fathers here. Some have lied to us, others may have been neglected or abused by their dads, but our Father God, or "pater" (pah-tayr) in Greek, does no such thing.

The truth is, Father God only wants what is best for us. He doesn't want to merely watch us survive, but walk with us and help us to THRIVE! Just as a good parent would ensure their child was well taken care of, our Father is the same. This is why, even when we mess up, He can bring good from it (Rom. 8:28). We aren't screw-ups in His eyes. We are His children and He wants to give us every good and perfect thing He has for us (James 1:17), and those things are being stored for us by Him in heaven.

January 6, 2022:

❤ Bible Verse: He has given me a new song to sing, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see what he has done and be amazed. They will put their trust in the Lord.

☆ Psalms 40:3 NLT

💚 Let’s Dive Deeper: It's quite fitting that as we start this new year, we read about David singing a new song. The Hebrew word for "new" is chadas (hah-dahs). This pronunciation begins with that throaty/phlemy sound heard in other Semitic languages like Arabic and means new as in "never seen or done before." It can also mean fresh. The Hebrew word for song is "shiyr" (sheer) and means a lyrical or religious song.

Interestingly, this phrase, "new song" occurs seven times in the Old Testament and in all the cases, someone is composing a new song based on what God has done. The truth is, those of us in Christ sing to a different song (or tune) than the rest of the world. And we have good reason to do so - because God's mercies are new every morning! Each new day is a new opportunity to sing a new song to our Father God and Savior Jesus Christ.

So, while the world is worried about the newest variant of the big "C", focus your attention on the One who deserves your praise. He is awesome in every way and certainly worthy to be praised! Be willing to step out of your comfort zone and sing Him a song that's never been sung before! Not only will He enjoy it, but it may help you realize a gift you didn't even know you had.💛 

January 7, 2022:

💙 Bible Verse: Sing to the Lord, all you godly ones! Praise his holy name. For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime! Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes with the morning.
☆ Psalms 30:4‭-‬5 NLT

🧡 Let’s Dive Deeper: Yesterday we focused on singing a new song. Today, I want us to dig a bit deeper into this Psalm before we discuss the Hebrew. We see in this Psalm that David is praying and thanking God for his health, but we also see him calling for others to join his song.

It is one thing for us to sing praises from the comfort of our own car, or home, or prayer closet, but it is another thing entirely when the saints come together to praise in one accord. There is power there because the Bible says that God inhabits the praise of His people [Psalm 22:3].

Today we are going to focus on the Hebrew word "mizmor" (miz-more). It is also a word that has to do with music and means "a praise song accompanied by a stringed musical instrument." This Hebrew word is confined to the Psalter so it denotes a religious song exclusive to the Israelite people. The Hebrew word for song (shiyr) is used outside the Psalter, so there is a slight difference between the two. These two words are used together in a couple instances (Ps. 40:1 & 65:1) and add emphasis when used together. It would be like us saying "the best church song" but since Hebrew doesn't have superlatives, it reads "a psalm song".

While God desires to hear our praise, He also loves to hear us worship as one with music. This is why church, or fellowship, is so important. There are times when some of us simply don't have a song to sing. As we grieve the loss of a loved one, we struggle to utter praise. However, we must remember verse 5. While weeping may endure for a night, joy comes in the morning. It may not be the next morning. It may be a morning years from now, but it is coming. And because there is hope that at some point, even if not until heaven, we will no longer grieve, it gives us something to sing about.

The Psalms contain such deep theological truths, singing them is a reminder of what God has done and can do. What are you waiting on God to do? Maybe you should try singing about what He's already done and watch your faith rise as God takes His place in your praise. For those who may be grieving today, we are praying for you. May God wipe every tear from your eye.🙏

January 10, 2022:

💙 Bible Verse: However, I have let you live for this purpose: to show you My power and to make My name known in all the earth.
☆ Exodus 9:16 HCSB

🧡 Let’s Dive Deeper: Today I want to focus on the Hebrew word for "name". It is "shem". In today’s verse we see God explaining that the purpose of the chosen and called is to showcase His power and make his name known in all the earth. It is interesting then to see that when we look up the Hebrew meaning of "shem" it means more than "name." It also means "famous!"

A other interesting fact is that the root word for this is unknown. Many scholars believe it comes from the Aramaic root "wšm" which means "¹to mark or brand or ²an external mark to distinguish one thing or person from another."

Hebrew names carried much more significance than our names do today in western culture. For instance, Adam was the first created man and his name in Hebrew literally means "man". We perceive it as his name, but it was God calling him what he was...man.

Shem (Noah's son), his name literally means "name" and the Semites or Semitic (Israelite) people are his descendents. Another example would be Isaac. His name means "he laughs" and was significant because of the fact that Sarah laughed when she was told she would birth a son in her old age.

We may not have Hebrew names, but there is still significance contained within. I encourage you to look up what your name means, then meditate on the fact that God created you because He knew you would testify to His goodness and, in turn, make His name famous!

January 11, 2022:

💚 Bible Verse: Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens — Jesus the Son of God — let us hold fast to the confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tested in every way as we are, yet without sin. Therefore let us approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us at the proper time.
☆ Hebrews 4:14‭-‬16 HCSB

💜 Let’s Dive Deeper: Prayer is something that is absolutely necessary for our faith as it is how we communicate with God. It is no wonder, then, why Paul feels it necessary to instruct the followers of Christ on how to approach prayer. As we see from today's verse, Paul says we can approach God with boldness. This does not mean we can blaspheme. The two are not the same.

The Greek word for "boldness" is "parresia" [pah-ray-see-ah (the r in ray is rolled as it would be in spanish)] and it means "freedom or frankness in speaking". It comes from the Greek word "pas" (meaning all, each or every) and "rhesis" (meaning a special form of speech). Again, while we can approach God with boldness in our communication, we should still have reverence for Him.

The gift that Christ gave us, the ability to be in communion with God once more and have relationship with Him is not to be taken lightly. We are only able to speak because of His great sacrifice, and therefore, we should still have reverence for God. I've seen some say you can speak to God any way you'd like, that He's a big God and he can take our cursing when we're upset. While that may be true to a certain extent, He didn't allow His son to be sacrificed so you can let the expletives fly when you're upset. He did so in order that we may come to Him with any and every problem, question, thought, etc.

We have the ability to ask God for anything and because He can do all things, we can expect that if it is His will, it will be done. This is not name it and claim it faith. This is an understanding of who God is. He is truth. He is love. And He is waiting to hear from you. So what are you waiting for? An invitation? Consider this it! It's time to RSVP, friend!❤

January 12, 2022:

💛 Bible Verse: For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation,
☆ Ephesians 2:14 NKJV

❤ Let’s Dive Deeper: As we look around today, we can see many are desperately seeking peace. Yet, they look in all the wrong places. I know because I used to do the same thing. The truth is, however, that peace can only come from one source because it is the same source for all that we see. Jesus, the Word of God, is more than just the giver of peace. He is peace.

First, if we dig into the original text here we see that a definite article is used before peace. It would literally read, "the peace", as in, Jesus is the peace. Peace in Greek is "eirēne" [eh-ray-nay (again, roll the "r")]. It means "a state of tranquility; the opposite of rage and war." The meaning of this word hasn't changed or varied over the years. The Hebrew equivalent is Shalom and is often used as a greeting ong Jewish brethren. It appears over 250 times in the Septuagint and doesn't mean so much the opposite of war as it means the opposite of any disturbance in the tranquility of God’s people.

Paul is stating that Christ is our peace, but the truth is much deeper than that. The truth is that because of Christ we believers now have harmony and tranquility. I understand it many not always feel that way, but that is reality. When we realize we don't fight our own battles the way others do, we appear to be resting when in war. What looks like lying prostrate in bed in actually prayer. What looks like hiding in a quiet room is actually prayer. What sounds like jibberish is actually prayer!

The flesh and this natural nature and order of things tries (and sometimes succeeds) in stealing our peace, but the truth is, Jesus is our peace because He IS peace. I hear people ask, 'when will we ever have peace?' The answer to that is...when you surrender your life to Christ and see that He is peace.

The Canadian Army Journal has some pretty startling facts and figures listed within. According to them, since 3600 BC, there have only been 292 years of peace. During this same time period, there were approximately 14,500 wars in which just over 3.6 billion people died. While there are many who have tried to be peacemakers, mankind doesn't usually get it right in the peacemaking department. This is due in large part to our prideful nature, more than likely.

Never the less, I hope you are "picking up what I'm laying down" as they say. You want peace? Find Christ, then you'll find peace!

January 13, 2022:

💛 Bible Verse: A man who endures trials is blessed, because when he passes the test he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love Him.
☆ James 1:12 HCSB

❤ Let’s Dive Deeper: I'm not sure many of us feel blessed when we are in the midst of a trial or test, but the Bible says that is exactly what we are. James is known as one of the Pastoral Epistles. It is no wonder then, why he needs to remind others that there are blessings to be had, even in the midst of difficulty. Pastors go through SO MUCH, and much of it they face by themselves with no one but Jesus by their side.

While it doesn't have to be this way, I believe it is because of the fact that people hold leaders up to a higher level of expectation, and the truth is, so does God. His Word says teachers will be held to a higher standard of judgment as well (James 3:1). So it makes sense then, why God would choose to walk with leaders through the muck rather than expect them to cling to others. The truth is, that is what God wants for all of us, leaders or not.

So, what exactly does James mean by "blessed"? Well the Greek word James is using here is "makarios" [mah-kah-ree-ohs (emphasis on the second syllable)]. The NT Word study dictionary defines is as "blessed one; possessing the favor of God; that state of being marked by fullness from God", meaning since we have the Holy Spirit within us...the precious Spirit of God Himself...we should be content in all circumstances.

Blessed doesn't mean happy. It doesn't mean wealthy or rich. It doesn't mean joyful. The closest English word we have that encompasses the meaning of blessed in the way James is using it is "contentedness". If we can stay content, even in the midst of unforseen circumstances, we are TRULY blessed.

I have an example to share. A little over a year ago, we noticed our wood floors bowing nearing a dining room window. After the floor was ripped up and the home inspected, we saw that the roofers had not put the roof back on correctly when it was replaced after Irma. Because of this, water was going into the attic and leaking down the drywall into the dining room. Rather than moan and complain in despair, I immediately said "well, it looks like Jesus wants to give us new wood floors!" We did get new floors and while my dining room was out of commission for months, it was put back together in time for the holidays and a small Bible study we started hosting out of our home.

Because we have the Holy Spirit. We have the unique opportunity to see everything in a different light. Sometimes we can see what God is doing in the midst of a trial and sometimes we can't, but never the less, it is always for a precious reason. That season showed me how God could use any situation for the advantage of His called ones.

What are you facing today, friend? Would you consider yourself blessed because of it? Maybe it's time you took those lenses off your eyes and wiped the muck off them. Maybe then you can see the blessing God has for you in the midst of your test.

Allow me to encourage you to look at your trial as a new opportunity to see who God is. Maybe He's teaching you He is Jehovah Rapha, the God Who Heals, or perhaps He wants you to remember He is El Roi, the God Who Sees. Whatever the case may be remember, He is Jehovah Nissi, The Lord is our Banner, and He never loses...the train of His robe fills the temple (Isaiah 6:1)!

January 14, 2022:

🧡 Bible Verse: Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price [is] far above rubies.
☆ Proverbs 31:10 NMV

💙 Let’s Dive Deeper: As we study this verse today, we see the value of a virtuous woman being far more than rubies. First off, it is important to understand that rubies, natural rubies, are very rare, especially in today's day and age, but even back when this was written, too.

Interestingly, like many other gemstones, rubies are made from extreme heat and pressure under ground. However, they get their red hue from two distinct elements, chromium and corundum (a by product of aluminum and oxygen). Like all gemstones, rubies start from sand and begin to harden and crystallize over time, however, most rubies do not grow large enough to be mined as a fine jewels and crystallized gems. This is another reason for their rarity. In fact, by today's standards rubies are worth much more than diamonds, especially if they are large enough to create a piece of jewelry.

I could stop right here for today and believe our knowledge of rubies speaks to the rarity of a virtuous woman, however the word we are focusing on today is virtuous.

In Hebrew the word "chayil" (kah-yeel) is used as "virtuous" in this passage but it also means, "strength; force; wealth; an army; valor." Once we see the meaning in the Hebrew we can better understand a virtuous woman to be a woman of strong moral character who influences others by that strength. The best example we have for a virtuous woman in the Bible is Ruth. She left everything behind (her family, pagan land, and pagan gods) to serve her mother in law and the One True Living God. She was obedient, had a strong work ethic and was always willing to do what needed to be done. Laziness was not part of her vocabulary. The same is so for the virtuous women of today.

Finally, however, it is important to understand we are not talking about an independent woman. Today's culture celebrates such a thing, but it is opposite of virtuous because a virtuous woman cares for all and supports any and all she can. She is a comfort to other women and helps to train younger women in the ways of God (think of Titus 2). Independence cannot be associated with a virtuous woman because that woman knows she is totally dependent on God.

It is my hope today, women, that you see your value. In a world that makes us believe we must look a certain way, dress a certain way, and act a certain way, God has His standard too and they are not the same as the world's. You do matter, beautiful lady, not only to to those closest to you, but to God Almighty as well. You are loved, and cherished and today, virtuous women...you are celebrated!

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