March 1

Numbers 6:24-26 (NIV) 24"' "The LORD bless you and keep you; 25the LORD make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you; 26the LORD turn his face toward you and give you peace."'

What an awesome blessing prescribed by the Lord Himself. This is His desire for His people. He wants to bless us! To the Hebrew, this blessing meant having every good thing in every way both physical and spiritual. It meant one would be happy knowing he had all he needed. (Phil 4:19)

"Keep you" means to protect physically and spiritually. What good is being blessed if we are not kept in that way? "Make His face shine upon you" is to be pleased with you, to show you kindness. His eye is upon your circumstances. His ear is open to your prayer. His mouth is speaking to your situation. "Be gracious to you", we have learned from Christ how greatly we need the grace of God. How willing He is to show us that grace! It is grace that makes the rest of the blessing possible. "Turn his face toward you", to see your need, hear your prayer, be mindful of you. Is your face toward Him? "And give you peace", (shalom) to be in harmony with the will of God. It is to be in step with your created purpose, to have peace with God through the blood of Jesus. The opposite of peace is to be in turmoil and war within and without. God's desire for us is peace, and so He sent us the Prince of Peace.

This is the blessing the priests were to pronounce over the people of God. It is as good for us today as it was for them 3500 years ago. Man has changed his world, but his heart has the same needs. Let the LORD, Himself, speak this blessing upon you and your family.

Meditation: As priest of your household, pronounce this blessing over your family.

March 1

Matthew 13:56-58 (NIV) 56Aren't all his sisters with us? Where then did this man get all these things?" 57And they took offense at him. But Jesus said to them, "Only in his hometown and in his own house is a prophet without honor." 58And he did not do many miracles there because of their lack of faith.

At first, Jesus' hometown folk were impressed with Him. When they figured out what He was saying, they looked for reasons to be upset with Him. A person that does not like the message will soon accept a critical spirit and begin to find fault in the messenger. The Greek word for 'offense' is skandalizo which comes from the noun skandalon.Skandalon is the word used for the trigger of a trap. It is the lever that causes the trap to spring shut. When we look for faults in others, we are searching for something to grab hold of for accusation. The accuser of the brethren is Satan. We don't realize that when we seize that trigger, the trap closes in on our mind. From that time forward all that person's perfections appear in our mind as flawed. We assign motives that were never in that person's mind, thinking we are more spiritual. Remember, the unredeemed find fault in the church every day. It is not a sign of spirituality, but of immaturity.

Those hometown folk that were with Jesus did not accept the call on His life, even as He read it from the Word of God. "How could this man be the one Isaiah wrote of? We know His sisters! He didn't study under a great rabbi! How dare He claim a relationship with God that is greater than ours and instruct us!" When Jesus shared that His message would go to the Gentiles and reminded them of examples of the same in their own Bible, they tried to kill Him. It is sad that He could not do miracles there because of their refusal to believe and have faith. The trap they had sprung on themselves not only kept the miraculous from blessing the city, but it prevented them and those they influenced from entering the kingdom of heaven. The very people Jesus had grown up among, as a living example of a holy child, teen and young adult, refused the salvation they had been waiting for.

Don't reach for that trigger! If you already have, repent! God can free you from the trap, if you will confess your sin. The revelation of an error in another is the call to intercede, not condemn. Isn't that how you would like Jesus to treat you? (Ephesians 4:32; Matthew 6:14,15)

Warning: Don't let a critical spirit enslave your thought life. Always look for the good, not the fault. (Romans 12:21)