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• D E V O T I O N A L•

Notes b\ Robert Wolgemuth

NIV Dad’s Devotional Bible
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NIV Dad’s Devotional Bible


have no idea what you just read,” my friend reported, a blank stare on his face. “It
made absolutely no sense to me.”
“Whew,” I responded with a sigh, “I don’t have any idea what it means, either!”
We both laughed, although in retrospect, it really wasn’t that funny.
It was 1995 and my friend and I were enjoying an early morning coffee at our favorite place. He was the father of two teenage sons, and I was the father of two daughters
in their twenties. As we had done for many years, we were having our morning quiet
time together. I had just finished reading from a devotional book, and we were going to discuss what I had just read. But instead of discussing how the reading had
inspired or challenged us, we were joking over the convoluted obscurity of the words
I had just read. “Why,” I said after I had gone back for a refill, “can’t a devotional be
written in plain English so we don’t have to get our Ph.Ds to figure it out?”
One year later, my twenty-two-year-old daughter and I were standing in the hallway at Zondervan Publishing House in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Tom Mockabee, the
then-publisher for the Bible Division, and I were discussing a number of issues when
he asked me, “Do you know of anyone who would be willing to help us write a dad’s
Julie glanced at me with that winsome grin I have loved since she was in a high
chair. “Dad,” she whispered, “why don’t you do it?”
Another year later, the notes were complete. And what has happened to me as a
result of having composed this manuscript has been absolutely incredible.
In my imagination, I have returned to that coffee shop two hundred and sixty
times. I have opened my Bible, read a few verses to my friend, then he and I have had
imaginary discussions as to what these verses might mean to us.
This edition of the NIV Dad’s Devotional Bible has been refreshed, since the original was published in 1999. So much has happened since then, and I wanted to have a
chance to bring it up to date. With a brand-new updated NIV translation and my notes
polished to a contemporary sheen, this Dad’s Bible is spanking new.
It’s been an unspeakable honor to have had a chance to spend many hours soaking
in God’s Word and asking Him how this might make a difference in my life and in the
lives of you and your children.
If you have a few minutes every morning, my friend and I would love to have you
join us for coffee. We think it will be a great adventure.


The New International Version of the Bible
This book contains the entire text of the Bible in the New International Version
(NIV). Acclaimed by many of the world’s leading Bible scholars and millions of satisfied Bible readers, the NIV is now the most widely read modern-English translation
in the world.



Daily Insights
These two hundred and sixty daily readings are each linked to a particular Bible
text, and they have been written with one purpose: to bring God’s Word to life for you.
In my years as an advertising copywriter, my greatest challenge was to answer the “so
what” question. The Daily Insights are meant to help you understand what the truths
of God’s Word really mean in the day-to-day challenges of being a man, a husband
and a dad. They’re meant to help you understand the “so what.”
The Daily Insights can be read in sequence, Monday through Friday. At the bottom of each Insight, you will be directed to the next one.

Building Your Children
Seven special articles are placed throughout the text of this Bible to help you in
your role as a father. These articles reflect the main points of my book She Calls Me
Daddy. In these articles I outline seven key things that a dad needs to exhibit and
foster to build his child’s character: Protection, Conversation, Affection, Discipline,
Laughter, Faith and Conduct. These subjects are discussed from a Biblical perspective, and are linked to specific Bible texts. You can locate them by looking at this Bible’s table of contents on page vi.

The Bible for Dads
Starting on page 1411 you’ll find a helpful tool that will give you, as a dad, a bird’seye view of every single one of the books of the Bible. The Bible for Dads drills down
to the essence of how each Bible book speaks to your life as a dad. As you read through
God’s Word, let these brief summaries guide your study. Then read the books themselves — ​you’ll be changed forever.

Questions Kids Ask
As a dad, you know that kids ask questions all the time, and the Questions Kids Ask
feature that starts on page 1429 will help you answer some of the more common and
perhaps more complex questions that your kids will ask about their faith walk. The
feature starts with a three-page topical index of questions your kids may ask about
God, the Bible, Love, Sin and the like, then follows with a Genesis-to-Revelation,
verse-tagged listing of these questions and their answers.

Fruit of the Spirit Index
Starting on page 1469 you’ll find an index that will help you locate and use the features of this Bible. The Fruit of the Spirit Topical Index links each of the Daily Insights
to one of the fruit of the Spirit, listed in the book of Galatians (5:22).
Welcome to the NIV Dad’s Devotional Bible. It is my sincere prayer that you will
find inspiration, encouragement, challenge and even some laughter within its pages.
May God’s remarkable grace be yours to enjoy.

Robert Wolgemuth
Orlando, Florida



Conversation: just keep talking
[Joseph] kissed all his brothers and wept over them.
Afterward his brothers talked with him.  Genesis 45:15


he most precious connection between human beings is the bridge of
conversation. This is especially true between you and your children.
If you have small children, communication can be difficult. After all,
you live in a world that’s foreign to your son or daughter. You’ve got pressure
at work and are struggling to make ends meet. She’s got a dolly who scraped
her knee. He’s got a truck that lost a wheel. So you’ll have to find some things
to discuss and places to discuss them.
No problem. A good friend taught me a fathering lesson very early. “On
the weekends, never go anywhere alone,” he told me. This simple advice had
wonderful consequences. I took his advice, and when I ran errands on the
weekends, I almost always took one or both of my kids along.
And as we would drive along, I’d ask them questions. “Look over there in
that field. Have you ever seen so many cows? I wonder how many there are?”
They’d look and start counting. Or we’d play games. “Between here and the
store,” I’d say, “let’s count how many trucks we pass.” Or I’d try to make them
imagine, “If you were an animal in the zoo, what animal would you like to
be?” Early in our lives together, we built conversation bridges, a connection of
words that inextricably bound us together.
Of course, this discussion assumes that neither you nor your children have
electronic devices distracting you from these critical opportunities to communicate. Question: when you’re with your kids, do you have specific times of
the day when electronics need to be put away or turned off? Yes, I’m talking
about yours as well. Dinnertime? An hour or two before bed? Please establish
these times so that you can teach your children how to have a conversation.
Because our lives are so information intense, and because distraction and
short attention spans rule the day, perhaps some basic conversational reminders are in order. In describing good conversation, Dr. James Dobson uses the
helpful illustration of playing catch with a tennis ball. When you want to speak
to your son, you throw him a question. When he answers, he’s throwing a
response back. Once you’ve caught the response, you toss him another question. This is a good model to use as you teach your child how to carry on a
conversation. Use role play and practice regularly. Teach your child to listen so
he or she can ask a question that follows what you’ve just said.
Or try this strategy. Little children are famous for indecipherable drawings. When you see one, don’t cut off conversation with a quick, “That’s nice,


sweetie,” or “What is it?” Rather, extend this conversation by saying, “Tell me about
your picture, Jennifer.” Jennifer will describe what she sees — ​which, of course, is
all that matters. As she talks, listen carefully so you can say, “That’s so interesting
that you colored that pony orange. Can you tell me why you chose that color?”
Can you hear that tennis ball bouncing back and forth? Your child is learning
to speak, to accurately express her thoughts. And you’re learning to listen so you
can catch a glimpse of who this little person
really is. Keep it up. When your daughter Teach your kids to talk to
comes home from high school after a veryou. Open conversation
bal bout with one of her classmates, she will
will be the lifeline that
likely never talk to you about it unless, when
she was small and the stakes were not quite
will keep your kids from
as high, you taught her how.
Finally, make mealtime a priority. When emotionally hiding from
you and your wife.
I was a kid, holidays were filled with great
dinner-table conversation. In looking back
on those great feasts, I recall that my mother always did her best to add onto our
primary dining room table. “Since we’re a family,” she’d say, “we’re going to all eat
together at the big table. No ‘kids table’ in the other room.”
She was right. As children, my three brothers, two sisters and I learned the
importance of conversation. We learned that the dinner table wasn’t a conveyor
belt covered with food. We were taught that sitting down to a meal was an important time of conversation and listening.
Teach your kids to talk to you. Open conversation will be the lifeline that will
keep your kids from emotionally hiding from you and your wife. It will allow you
to learn who your children really are and will give you a vehicle to tell them about
yourself. Teaching your children the art of conversation is especially critical now.
Social networking and smartphones have supplanted the skills of good old-fashioned conversation. Commit that you will make your children stand out because
they can actually speak. If you do, you will introduce them to a world of other
adults who will honor them because of their ability to talk and listen. These skills
will help them win friends, impress adults and even earn good jobs way ahead of
their peers.



Protection: love stands guard
I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.  Psalm 32:8


s a dad, you protect your children from dangers that come in many
forms. When they’re very small, you may protect them from sharp
knives or hot things in the kitchen. As they grow older, you may need
to protect them from the neighbor’s snarling dog. But when they become
teenagers, the scenario changes a bit.
Coming home from work one evening, I noticed a shiny European coupe
parked in front of our house. “Nice,” I remember whispering. “Very nice.”
Steven was a senior in high school. I had already suspected that he was
interested in our daughter Julie because of his recent visits to our church. Julie
was only a week short of her 16th birthday, and Steven knew the rules that Julie
and I had agreed to: (1) No “single” dating until Julie turned 16, and (2) boys
must be “interviewed” by me.
Steven was tall and handsome, a varsity basketball player with a physique
to match. He followed me into my study where I invited him to sit in the chair
across from my desk.
I asked Steven about the car out front. He told me that he had bought it last
summer and had spent a lot of time fixing it up with his dad.
“Sounds like a special car,” I said. “Now, Steven, what would you have said
if I had come to your house last night, knocked on the door, and asked you if I
could borrow your car for the evening?”
Steven took no time to respond. “I’d have said, ‘No way.’ ”
“Why?” I replied, acting as though his answer fascinated me.
“Well, because I don’t know you. I don’t know how you drive. I don’t know
how you’d treat my car. I’m not sure I can trust you. That car’s important to me.”
Steven’s narrowed eyes let me know he was very serious.
I leaned forward on my elbows, taking just a moment to make sure he was
listening carefully. “That’s interesting, Steven,” I finally said. “I know exactly
what you’re saying. Tonight you’ve come to my house and asked to take our
daughter out for the evening. And before I let you do that, I want to find out
who you are.” He understood.
We talked about what was important to him: his sports, his family, his favorite subjects in school, his plans for next year, and his faith. I told him a little
about our family and assured him that he would always be welcome in our
home. I told him that our daughter’s friends were our friends. He seemed


appreciative. When we finished our conversation, we both stood up and shook
“You know, Mr. Wolgemuth, if I have a 16-year-old daughter of my own someday,
I’ll do what you did today.”
The story of my interviewing Steven is an example of fairly thorough emotional
protection. I was exercising my right to keep Julie from being hurt by this older
boy. I wasn’t angry; I didn’t threaten him. But I did, without a doubt, put him on
notice: “Be careful with this girl. She belongs to a family who really loves her.”
“What if I have a son?” you might be asking. Good question. Although we didn’t
have a son, I have made the following suggestion to friends of mine who have boys. It
I did, without a doubt,
has been met with rave reviews. Suggest that
put him on notice: “Be
your son volunteer for an interview with his
date’s dad. He can lead the discussion as the careful with this girl. She
suitor. The point is that once he is connected
belongs to a family who
with the girl’s family, he will be more apt to
really loves her.”
consider himself accountable to that family.
This will protect both your son and his date.
Protecting your children is your right and your privilege, but there’s no need to
be overbearing about it. In fact, you can actually have fun with it. It’s going to take
some of your time, but that’s okay. Your kids are worth it.

The Genealogy of Jesus the Messiah


ge­ne­a l­o­g y  a

This is the
of ­Jesus the Mes­
si­a h  b the son of Da­v id, the son of Abra­
2 Abra­ham was the fa­t her of Isaac,
Isaac the fa­t her of Ja­cob,
Ja­c ob the fa­ther of Ju­d ah and his
3 Ju­dah the fa­t her of Pe­rez and Ze­rah,

­whose moth­er was Ta­mar,
Pe­rez the fa­t her of Hez­ron,
Hez­ron the fa­t her of Ram,
4 Ram the fa­t her of Am­m in­a­dab,

Am­m in­a­dab the fa­t her of Nah­shon,
Nah­shon the fa­t her of Sal­mon,
5 Sal­
mon the fa­ther of Boaz, ­w hose

moth­er was Ra­hab,
Boaz the fa­
t her of Obed, ­
w hose
moth­er was Ruth,
Obed the fa­t her of Jes­se,
6 and Jes­se the fa­t her of King Da­v id.

Da­v id was the fa­t her of Sol­o­mon, w
­ hose
moth­er had been Uri­a h’s wife,
7 Sol­o­mon the fa­t her of Re­ho­bo­a m,

Re­ho­bo­a m the fa­t her of Abi­jah,
Abi­jah the fa­t her of Asa,
8 Asa the fa­t her of Je­hosh­a­phat,

Je­hosh­a­phat the fa­t her of Je­ho­ram,
Je­ho­ram the fa­t her of Uz­zi­a h,
9 Uz­z i­a h the fa­t her of Jo­t ham,

Jo­t ham the fa­t her of Ahaz,
Ahaz the fa­t her of Hez­e­k i­a h,
10 Hez­e­k i­a h the fa­t her of Ma­nas­seh,

Ma­nas­seh the fa­t her of Amon,
Amon the fa­t her of Jo­si­a h,
11 and Jo­s i­a h the fa­t her of Jec­o­n i­a h  c

and his broth­ers at the time of the
ex­i le to Bab­ylon.
12 Af­ter the ex­i le to Bab­ylon:
Jec­o­n i­a h was the fa­t her of She­a l­t i­el,
She­a l­t i­el the fa­t her of Ze­r ub­ba­bel,

13 Ze­r ub­ba­bel the fa­t her of Abi­hud,

Abi­hud the fa­t her of Eli­a ­k im,
Eli­a ­k im the fa­t her of Azor,
14 Azor the fa­t her of Za­dok,

Za­dok the fa­t her of Akim,
Akim the fa­t her of Eli­hud,
15 Eli­hud the fa­t her of El­e­a ­z ar,

El­e­a ­zar the fa­t her of Mat­t han,
Mat­t han the fa­t her of Ja­cob,
16 and Ja­c ob the fa­t her of Jo­s eph, the

hus­band of Mary, and Mary was
the moth­er of ­Jesus who is ­called
the Mes­si­a h.
17 Thus

­t here were four ­teen gen­er­a­t ions
in all from Abra­ham to Da­v id, four­teen from
Da­v id to the ex­i le to Bab­ylon, and four­teen
from the ex­i le to the Mes­si­a h.

Joseph Accepts Jesus as His Son
18 This is how the b
­ irth of J­ esus the Mes­si­a h
came ­about  d: His moth­er Mary was p
­ ledged
to be mar­ried to Jo­seph, but be­fore they
came to­geth­er, she was f­ ound to be preg­nant
­through the Holy Spir­it. 19 Be­cause Jo­seph
her hus­band was faith­f ul to the law, and yet e
did not want to ex­pose her to pub­lic dis­g race,
he had in mind to di­vorce her qui­et­ly.
20 But af­ter he had con­sid­ered this, an an­
gel of the Lord ap­peared to him in a d
­ ream
and said, “Jo­seph son of Da­v id, do not be
­a fraid to take Mary home as your wife, be­
cause what is con­ceived in her is from the
Holy Spir­it. 21 She will give b
­ irth to a son, and
you are to give him the name J­ esus, f be­cause
he will save his peo­ple from t­ heir sins.”
22 All this took ­
place to ful­fill what the
Lord had said t­ hrough the proph­et: 23 “The
vir­g in will con­ceive and give ­birth to a son,
and they will call him Im­man­u­el” g (which
­means “God with us”).
24 When Jo­seph woke up, he did what the

a 1 Or is an account of the origin    b 1 Or Jesus Christ. Messiah (Hebrew) and Christ (Greek) both mean
Anointed One; also in verse 18.    c 11  That is, Jehoiachin; also in verse 12    d 18 Or The origin of Jesus
the Messiah was like this    e 19 Or was a righteous man and    f 21  Jesus is the Greek form of Joshua,
which means the Lord saves.    g 23 Isaiah 7:14   



Passage for the Day
MATTHEW 1:1,2,16 – 17


Verse for the Day

Are you in here?

o one wants to be called a “late bloomer.” But in high school, that was me. Given my smaller stature compared to other boys, these four years were a lot of work. Thankfully, there was something
in my hereditary constitution that did not allow me to simply give up. I tried out for several sports,
and even though my name never made the final list posted on the coach’s door, I kept trying. It seemed to me
that I could make up for my small stature and inexperience by hustling just a little more than the other boys.
Although I never made a varsity squad in high school, I did finish my pre-college career with some of my
dignity intact. I had made many wonderful friends, was involved performing in the school’s talent show and
participating in several other enjoyable clubs and organizations. At least, I remember thinking, I’ll have a good
list of activities next to my name in my senior yearbook.
The day we received our yearbooks was a day I’ll never
The day we received our
forget. I had just been handed my copy of the 1965 Wheayearbooks was a day
ton Community High School Ilium, and I quickly scanned
I’ll never forget.
the senior pages. And there, right between the pictures of
Dennis Wiss and Ann Woodward, where I had found myself
lined up in every study hall for four years was . . . nothing. I looked again, quickly turning the adjacent pages to
see if, perhaps, I had been listed out of sequence. Again I found nothing. My heart stopped.
Filled with terror, I turned to find someone to tell. Standing five feet from me was Meredith Poe, my friend
and our yearbook editor. “I’m not in here,” I said to Meredith. “You completely missed me.” Quickly thumbing
through her own, she confirmed my assertion. “I’m so sorry,” she finally said to me, her face turning ashen,
“Oh, no . . . uh . . . I’m so . . . so sorry,” she repeated, turned and walked away.
The genealogies in Matthew are about as stem-winding as reading the names of students in a yearbook;
unless you’re looking for your own name. Then it’s an adventure to search and a victory to find. Unless, of
course, your name is inadvertently missed. Then it’s a heartbreak.
Matthew’s list of the Messiah’s ancestors starts with Abraham and stops with ­Jesus’ name, “the genealogy
of ­Jesus the Messiah the son of David, the son of Abraham” (verse 1). What you may not know is that from the
birth of ­Jesus, this list actually continues. Of course, this extended genealogy is not found in the Bible. It is,
however, listed in what the apostle John calls, “The Lamb’s book of life” (Revelation 13:8). This “yearbook” we
hear about in the book of Revelation does not have anything to do with ancestral lineage or bloodline.
The names recorded in the Lamb’s book, the most important yearbook in the history of eternity, are there
because of a different kind of “bloodline”: the sacrificial blood of ­Jesus. Those who show up in this book are
not there by birth: they are all adopted into God’s family. That list of grandfathers and grandchildren will also
end with ­Jesus Christ.
Matthew and the other gospel writers tell the story of how to get on this list. If you miss this one, it won’t
be Meredith Poe’s fault.




Passage for the Day
MATTHEW 1:18 – 25

Verse for the Day

Redford, Joseph and God’s Son

’ll never forget Redford, partly because his was such an unusual first name, but mostly because of his
One of Redford’s closest friends in the small North Dakota town where he grew up fell in love with the
cutest girl in school. Emily was everything a red-blooded teenage boy could have hoped for: happy, energetic,
talkative, beautiful . . . and willing. Late one night, Redford’s friend called him. “She’s pregnant,” he said, his
voice bursting through the phone lines. “What am I going to do?”
“What does Emily want to do?” Redford asked.
“Go away, have the baby, put it up for adoption and then come back,” Redford’s friend replied. “She’s not
putting any pressure on me to marry her, so I think this is a good plan.” Redford just listened.
Emily quietly disappeared. Life in rural North Dakota returned to normal, quite unimpeded by the predictable questions and soft whispers.
Redford graduated from the local high school, then attended the county’s junior college, just a few miles
east on Interstate 94. After receiving his associate’s degree, Redford took a job with a local merchant.
Two years later, an afternoon Greyhound bus brought Emily home. The locals were shocked to see her back,
especially with three children in tow. In one hand she held the hand of a five-year-old boy with familiar blond
hair and blue eyes, recognizable gifts from his well-known daddy. In the other hand was the hand of a striking,
dark-skinned girl. She looked to be about three. And strapped to Emily’s chest in one of those canvas slings was
a newborn. The town’s cheerleader-turned-woman-of-the-world had come home. And everyone knew that
each of these children was hers.
When Redford heard the news, he immediately looked for Emily. Her parents had mercifully invited her to
live with them, and their living room is where he found her, feeding her baby. Kneeling on the floor beside
Emily, Redford tenderly put his arms around his old friend. “I’m so glad to see you,” he said, his arms embracing
both the girl and her tiny baby. “Welcome home.”
In the weeks that followed, Redford renewed the friendship with his high-school best-friend’s girl. He
visited Emily and her children regularly, offering to help however he could. In what seemed like no time at all,
he was hopelessly in love. In six months they were married and today, Redford, Emily and their little eclectic
family live in a frame house, just inside the city limits of the same North Dakota town.
Joseph was faced with the dilemma of a lifetime. Mary, his precious fiancée, was pregnant. Incredibly, she
claimed to still be a virgin. A virgin? he must have muttered to himself, I wasn’t born yesterday. But in a dream, God
told Joseph to take Mary as his wife. “This child is from the Holy Spirit,” God told him, “and this baby’s going to
save his people from their sins.” So in a quiet ceremony, Joseph married Mary, tenderly taking her into his home.
Two thousand years later, ­Jesus Christ, Joseph and Mary’s boy, would be faced with a dilemma. You and I,
his wayward and unfaithful boys, need a home. God’s loving embrace is the best news we could ever receive.
Thanks, Redford, for your mercy. Thanks, Joseph, for your faithfulness. Thank you, Heavenly Father, for
your grace.


Matthew 1:25 

an­gel of the Lord had com­mand­ed him and
took Mary home as his wife. 25 But he did not
con­sum­mate their mar­r iage un­t il she gave
­birth to a son. And he gave him the name

The Magi Visit the Messiah


Af­ter ­Jesus was born in Beth­le­hem in
Ju­dea, dur­ing the time of King Her­od,
Magi a from the east came to Je­r u­sa­lem 2 and
­asked, “Where is the one who has been born
king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose
and have come to wor­ship him.”
3 When King Her­od h
­ eard this he was dis­
turbed, and all Je­r u­sa­lem with him. 4 When
he had c­ alled to­geth­er all the peo­ple’s ­chief
­priests and teach­ers of the law, he a­ sked
them w
­ here the Mes­si­a h was to be born. 5 “In
Beth­le­hem in Ju­dea,” they re­plied, “for this is
what the proph­et has writ­ten:
6 “ ‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of
are by no means least among the rulers
of Judah;
for out of you will come a ruler
who will shepherd my people Israel.’ b ”
7 Then Her­od c
­ alled the Magi se­cret­ly and
f­ ound out from them the ex­act time the star
had ap­peared. 8 He sent them to Beth­le­hem
and said, “Go and ­search care­ful­ly for the
­child. As soon as you find him, re­port to me,
so that I too may go and wor­ship him.”
9 Af­ter they had h
­ eard the king, they went
on t­heir way, and the star they had seen
when it rose went a­ head of them un­til it
­stopped over the p
­ lace ­where the c­ hild was.
10 When they saw the star, they were over­
joyed. 11 On com­ing to the h
­ ouse, they saw
the ­child with his moth­er Mary, and they
­bowed down and wor­shiped him. Then they
­opened ­t heir trea­sures and pre­sent­ed him
with g­ ifts of gold, frank­i n­cense and ­myrrh.
12 And hav­i ng been ­w arned in a ­d ream not
to go back to Her­od, they re­t urned to t­ heir
coun­t ry by an­oth­er route.

The Escape to Egypt
13 When

they had gone, an an­gel of the
Lord ap­peared to Jo­seph in a d
­ ream. “Get
up,” he said, “take the ­child and his moth­
er and es­cape to ­Egypt. Stay ­t here un­t il I tell

Matthew 3:4  


you, for Her­od is go­i ng to s­ earch for the c­ hild
to kill him.”
14 So he got up, took the ­
c hild and his
moth­er dur­i ng the n
­ ight and left for E
­ gypt,
15 where he s
­ tayed un­t il the d
­ eath of Her­od.
And so was ful­f illed what the Lord had said
­t hrough the proph­et: “Out of E
­ gypt I ­called
my son.” c
16 When Her­od re­a l­i zed that he had been
out­w it­ted by the Magi, he was fu­r i­ous, and
he gave or­ders to kill all the boys in Beth­le­
hem and its vi­cin­i­t y who were two ­years old
and un­der, in ac­cor­dance with the time he
had l­ earned from the Magi. 17 Then what was
said t­ hrough the proph­et Jer­e­m i­a h was ful­
18 “A voice is heard in Ramah,
weeping and great mourning,
Rachel weeping for her children
and refusing to be comforted,
because they are no more.” d

The Return to Nazareth
19 Af­ter Her­od died, an an­gel of the Lord
ap­peared in a d
­ ream to Jo­s eph in E
­ gypt
20 and said, “Get up, take the c
­ hild and his
moth­er and go to the land of Is­ra­el, for ­t hose
who were try­ing to take the c­ hild’s life are
21 So he got up, took the ­
c hild and his
moth­er and went to the land of Is­ra­el. 22 But
when he h
­ eard that Ar­che­la­u s was reign­
ing in Ju­dea in p
­ lace of his fa­t her Her­od, he
was a­ fraid to go ­t here. Hav­i ng been w
­ arned
in a ­d ream, he with­d rew to the dis­t rict of
Gal ­i ­lee, 23 and he went and ­lived in a town
­called Naz­a ­reth. So was ful­f illed what was
said ­t hrough the proph­ets, that he would be
­called a Naz­a ­rene.

John the Baptist Prepares the Way


In ­those days John the Bap­tist came,
preach­ing in the wil­der­ness of Ju­dea
2 and say­
i ng, “Re­pent, for the king­dom of
heav­en has come near.” 3 This is he who was
spo­ken of t­ hrough the proph­et Isa­iah:
“A voice of one calling in the wilderness,
‘Prepare the way for the Lord,
make straight paths for him.’ ” e
4 John’s ­clothes were made of cam­el’s hair,
and he had a leath­er belt ­a round his ­waist.

a 1 Traditionally wise men    b 6 Micah 5:2,4    c 15 Hosea 11:1    d 18 Jer. 31:15    e 3 Isaiah 40:3   


Matthew 3:5 

His food was lo­c usts and wild hon­ey. 5 Peo­
ple went out to him from Je­r u­sa­lem and all
Ju­dea and the w
­ hole re­g ion of the Jor­dan.
6 Con­fess­ing ­t heir sins, they were bap­t ized
by him in the Jor­dan Riv­er.
7 But when he saw many of the Phar­i ­sees
and Sad­du­cees com­i ng to ­where he was bap­
tiz­i ng, he said to them: “You b
­ rood of vi­pers!
Who ­w arned you to flee from the com­ing
­w rath? 8 Pro­duce f­ruit in keep­ing with re­
pen­t ance. 9 And do not ­think you can say
to your­selves, ‘We have Abra­ham as our fa­
ther.’ I tell you that out of ­t hese ­stones God
can ­raise up chil­d ren for Abra­ham. 10 The ax
is al­ready at the root of the ­t rees, and ev­ery
tree that does not pro­duce good f­ ruit will be
cut down and t­ hrown into the fire.
11 “I bap­
t ize you with a wa­ter for re­pen­
tance. But af­ter me c­ omes one who is more
pow­er­ful than I, ­w hose san­dals I am not
wor­t hy to car­r y. He will bap­t ize you with a
the Holy Spir­it and fire. 12 His win ­now­
ing fork is in his hand, and he will ­clear his
thresh ­i ng ­f loor, gath­er ­i ng his ­w heat into
the barn and burn­i ng up the ­chaff with un­
quench­able fire.”

The Baptism of Jesus
13 Then ­Jesus came from Gal­i ­lee to the Jor­
dan to be bap­t ized by John. 14 But John t­ ried
to de­ter him, say­i ng, “I need to be bap­t ized
by you, and do you come to me?”
15 Jesus re­
plied, “Let it be so now; it is
prop­er for us to do this to ful­fill all righ­
teous­ness.” Then John con­sent­ed.
16 As soon as ­Jesus was bap­t ized, he went
up out of the wa­ter. At that mo­ment heav­en
was ­opened, and he saw the Spir­it of God
de­s cend­ing like a dove and alight­ing on
him. 17 And a ­voice from heav­en said, “This
is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well

Jesus Is Tested in the Wilderness


Then J­ esus was led by the Spir­it into the
wil­der ­ness to be tempt­ed  b by the dev­i l.
2 Af­ter fast­i ng for­t y days and for­t y n
­ ights, he
was hun­g ry. 3 The tempt­er came to him and
said, “If you are the Son of God, tell t­ hese
­stones to be­come bread.”
4 Jesus an­s wered, “It is writ­ten: ‘Man shall
a 11 Or in    b 1 

Matthew 4:19 


not live on b
­ read a­ lone, but on ev­ery word
that c­ omes from the m
­ outh of God.’ c ”
5 Then the dev­i l took him to the holy city
and had him s­ tand on the high­est ­point of
the tem­ple. 6 “If you are the Son of God,” he
said, “throw your­self down. For it is writ­ten:
“ ‘He will command his angels
concerning you,
and they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot
against a stone.’ d ”
7 Jesus an­s wered him, “It is also writ­ten:
‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’ e ”
8 Again, the dev­i l took him to a very high
moun­tain and s­ howed him all the king­doms
of the ­world and ­t heir splen­dor. 9 “All this I
will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down
and wor­ship me.”
10 Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Sa­t an!
For it is writ­ten: ‘Wor­ship the Lord your God,
and s­ erve him only.’ f ”
11 Then the dev­
i l left him, and an­gels
came and at­tend­ed him.

Jesus Begins to Preach
12 When J­ esus h
­ eard that John had been
put in pris­
on, he with­
d rew to Gal­

13 Leav­i ng Naz­a ­reth, he went and ­l ived in Ca­
per­na­u m, w
­ hich was by the lake in the area
of Zeb­u ­lun and Naph­ta ­l i  — ​ 14 to ful­f ill what
was said t­ hrough the proph­et Isa­iah:

15 “Land of Zebulun and land of Naphtali,
the Way of the Sea, beyond the Jordan,
Galilee of the Gentiles — ​
16 the people living in darkness
have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of the shadow
of death
a light has dawned.” g
17 From

that time on J­esus be­
g an to
­ reach, “Re­pent, for the king­dom of heav­en
has come near.”

Jesus Calls His First Disciples
18 As J­ esus was walk­i ng be­side the Sea of
Gal­i ­lee, he saw two broth­ers, Si­mon ­called
Pe­ter and his broth­er An­d rew. They were
cast­i ng a net into the lake, for they were fish­
er­men. 19 “Come, fol­low me,” ­Jesus said, “and

The Greek for tempted can also mean tested.    c 4 Deut. 8:3    d 6 Psalm 91:11,12   

e 7 Deut. 6:16    f 10 Deut. 6:13    g 16 Isaiah 9:1,2   


Matthew 4:20

I will send you out to fish for peo­ple.” 20 At
once they left t­ heir nets and fol­lowed him.
21 Go­ing on from t­ here, he saw two oth­
er broth­ers, ­James son of Zeb­e­dee and his
broth­er John. They were in a boat with t­ heir
fa­t her Zeb­e­dee, pre­par ­i ng ­t heir nets. ­Jesus
­called them, 22 and im­me­d i­ate­ly they left the
boat and t­ heir fa­t her and fol­lowed him.

Jesus Heals the Sick
23 Jesus went through­out Gal­i ­lee, teach­i ng
in ­t heir syn­a­gogues, pro­claim ­i ng the good
news of the king­dom, and heal­i ng ev­ery dis­
ease and sick­ness ­a mong the peo­ple. 24 News
­about him ­spread all over Syr­ia, and peo­ple
­brought to him all who were ill with var­i­ous
dis­eas­es, ­t hose suf­fer­i ng se­vere pain, the de­
mon-pos­sessed, ­t hose hav ­i ng sei­z ures, and
the par­a ­lyzed; and he ­healed them. 25 Large
­crowds from Gal­i ­lee, the De­cap­o­l is,  a Je­r u­sa­
lem, Ju­dea and the re­g ion ­across the Jor­dan
fol­lowed him.

Introduction to the Sermon on the


Now when ­Jesus saw the ­c rowds, he
went up on a moun­tain­side and sat
down. His dis­c i­ples came to him, 2 and he
be­gan to t­ each them.

The Beatitudes
He said:
3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
5 Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the earth.
6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst
for righteousness,
for they will be filled.
7 Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
8 Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they will see God.
9 Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called children of God.
10 Blessed are those who are persecuted
because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
a 25 

Matthew 5:22 


11 “Blessed are you when peo­
ple in­sult
you, per­se­c ute you and false­ly say all ­k inds
of evil ­against you be­cause of me. 12 Re­joice
and be glad, be­cause g­ reat is your re­ward in
heav­en, for in the same way they per­se­cut­ed
the proph­ets who were be­fore you.

Salt and Light
13 “You are the salt of the e
­ arth. But if the
salt los­es its salt­i­ness, how can it be made
­salty ­again? It is no lon­ger good for any­t hing,
ex­cept to be ­t hrown out and tram­pled un­
14 “You are the l­ ight of the w
­ orld. A town
built on a hill can­not be hid­den. 15 Nei­t her do
peo­ple ­l ight a lamp and put it un­der a bowl.
In­stead they put it on its ­stand, and it ­g ives
­l ight to ev­ery­one in the ­house. 16 In the same
way, let your ­l ight s­ hine be­fore oth­ers, that
they may see your good d
­ eeds and glo­r i­f y
your Fa­t her in heav­en.

The Fulfillment of the Law
17 “Do not t­ hink that I have come to abol­ish
the Law or the Proph­ets; I have not come to
abol­ish them but to ful­f ill them. 18 For tru­ly
I tell you, un­t il heav­en and ­earth dis­ap­pear,
not the small­est let­ter, not the l­east s­ troke
of a pen, will by any ­means dis­ap­pear from
the Law un­t il ev­ery ­t hing is ac­com­plished.
19 There­fore any­one who sets ­a side one of
the ­least of ­these com­mands and teach­es
oth­ers ac­cord­i ng­ly will be ­called ­least in the
king­dom of heav­en, but who­ev­er prac­t ic­es
and teach­es t­ hese com­mands will be ­called
­g reat in the king­dom of heav­en. 20 For I tell
you that un­less your righ­teous­ness sur­pass­
es that of the Phar­i­sees and the teach­ers of
the law, you will cer­tain­ly not en­ter the king­
dom of heav­en.

21 “You

have ­heard that it was said to the
peo­ple long ago, ‘You ­shall not mur­der, b and
any­one who mur­ders will be sub­ject to judg­
ment.’ 22 But I tell you that any­one who is an­
gry with a broth­er or sis­ter c , d will be sub­ject
to judg­ment. ­A gain, any­one who says to a
broth­er or sis­ter, ‘Raca,’ e is an­swer­able to the
court. And any­one who says, ‘You fool!’ will
be in dan­ger of the fire of hell.

That is, the Ten Cities    b 21 Exodus 20:13    c 22  The Greek word for brother or sister (adelphos)
refers here to a fellow disciple, whether man or woman; also in verse 23.    d 22  Some manuscripts
brother or sister without cause    e 22  An Aramaic term of contempt   



Passage for the Day
MATTHEW 5:21 – 25,33 – 37


Verse for the Day

Ready, aim, speak

aylor University, my college alma mater, had a dinnertime custom for many years. Folklore had it
that, over the years, many women had transferred to other schools because of this tradition.
Every weekday, at exactly 6:00 p.m., the doors of the dining hall would open, but only for the
women. The ladies would stream in, filling every other seat at the round, eight-person tables. They made
this processional to the strains of an ancient upright piano in the corner, played, of course, by a music major.
Once the dining hall was exactly half-filled, the men were released, set free to prowl the tables, looking for
somewhere to sit. In selecting the chair they wanted, they were also choosing where they didn’t want to spend
their dinner hour. Now you know why the women hated this practice!
Women students waited on tables, which were served family style. I’m sure a homey atmosphere with
pleasant conversation is what the well-intentioned founders of the tradition had wanted to create. And most
of the time, the family thing worked pretty well. Most of the time.
One dinner in the spring of my freshman year, I was sitting with seven of my classmates — ​three other men
and four women. We were engaged in the usual college chatter when someone mentioned the breakup of one
of Taylor’s “fixture” couples. He was a sophomore; she was a freshman — ​one of our own.
All the side conversations at the table stopped immediately. Everyone wanted to hear about the big
breakup. We weren’t being hateful, mind you, just “fully informed.” One of the women gave the report that it
was Paula’s decision to break off the relationship. “Irreconcilable differences,” she said. “Paula loved Michael,
but there was just no future in it.”
“That’s not what I heard,” I announced, holding a virtual court, my voice raised to an unnecessary level.
“I heard that Michael really let her have it. He really hadn’t liked her all that much and just told her so. He
broke her heart, but . . . oh, well, these things happen.” I was a veritable fountain of gossip that evening, and
everyone was listening.
When I finished my thorough report, I took a breath and looked up into the faces of my classmates. They
were ashen, gazing at me in disbelief. The men in particular looked sick. As I looked more closely, I discovered
that they weren’t actually looking at me. They were looking at — ​you guessed it, our waitress.
I jerked around in my chair to see who had captured their attention. It was Paula. I will remember that
moment for the rest of my life — ​what it felt like to be sitting there, trapped in the crossfire of my friend’s
pain and the disbelieving stares of my tablemates. I don’t recall ever, before or since, feeling such embarrassment, such shame.
Words have unbelievable power. Clustered together well, they can restore and renew your family. They can
lift your children’s hearts and heal their spirits. Words can refresh a child’s self-confidence, but words can also
cause incredible pain. And once spoken, they can never be unsaid.
­Jesus was reminding his followers of the remarkable strength of spoken words. He was telling them that
mouths are like loaded guns, and words are like the deadly bullets that fly from them.
Protect your children from sniper fire — ​from each other and from you. The life you save may be your own.


Matthew 5:23 

23 “There­fore, if you are of­fer­i ng your gift
at the al­tar and ­t here re­mem­ber that your
broth­er or sis­ter has some­t hing a­ gainst you,
24 leave your gift ­t here in ­f ront of the al­t ar.
­First go and be rec­on­c iled to them; then
come and of­fer your gift.
25 “Set­t le mat­ters quick­ly with your ad­ver­
sary who is tak­i ng you to c­ ourt. Do it w
­ hile
you are s­ till to­geth­er on the way, or your ad­
ver­sary may hand you over to the j­ udge, and
the ­judge may hand you over to the of­f i­cer,
and you may be ­t hrown into pris­on. 26 Tru­ly
I tell you, you will not get out un­t il you have
paid the last pen­ny.

27 “You

have h
­ eard that it was said, ‘You
­shall not com ­m it adul­tery.’  a 28 But I tell you
that any­one who l­ooks at a wom­a n lust­f ul­
ly has al­ready com­m it­ted adul­tery with her
in his h
­ eart. 29 If your ­r ight eye caus­es you to
stum­ble, ­gouge it out and t­ hrow it away. It is
bet­ter for you to lose one part of your body
than for your w
­ hole body to be t­ hrown into
hell. 30 And if your r­ ight hand caus­es you to
stum­ble, cut it off and t­ hrow it away. It is bet­
ter for you to lose one part of your body than
for your w
­ hole body to go into hell.

31 “It

has been said, ‘Any­one who di­vorc­
es his wife must give her a cer­t if­i­cate of di­
vorce.’ b 32 But I tell you that any­one who
di­vorc­es his wife, ex­cept for sex ­u­a l im ­mo­
ral­i­t y, makes her the vic­t im of adul­tery, and
any­one who mar­ries a di­v orced wom­a n
com ­m its adul­tery.

33 “Again, you have h
­ eard that it was said
to the peo­ple long ago, ‘Do not ­break your
oath, but ful­f ill to the Lord the vows you have
made.’ 34 But I tell you, do not ­swear an oath
at all: ei­t her by heav­en, for it is G
­ od’s t­ hrone;
35 or by the ­earth, for it is his foot­stool; or by
Je­r u­sa­lem, for it is the city of the G
­ reat King.
36 And do not ­s wear by your head, for you
can­not make even one hair ­white or ­black.
37 All you need to say is sim­ply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’;
any­t hing be­yond this ­comes from the evil
one. c

Matthew 6:6 

Eye for Eye
38 “You have ­heard that it was said, ‘Eye for
eye, and t­ ooth for t­ ooth.’ d 39 But I tell you, do
not re­sist an evil per­son. If any­one ­slaps you
on the r­ ight c­ heek, turn to them the oth­er
­cheek also. 40 And if any­one w
­ ants to sue you
and take your ­shirt, hand over your coat as
well. 41 If any­one forc­es you to go one mile, go
with them two m
­ iles. 42 Give to the one who
asks you, and do not turn away from the one
who w
­ ants to bor­row from you.

Love for Enemies
43 “You

have ­heard that it was said, ‘Love
your neigh­bor  e and hate your en­e­my.’ 44 But
I tell you, love your en­e­m ies and pray for
­t hose who per­se­cute you, 45 that you may be
chil­d ren of your Fa­t her in heav­en. He caus­es
his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and
­sends rain on the righ­teous and the un­r igh­
teous. 46 If you love t­ hose who love you, what
re­ward will you get? Are not even the tax col­
lec­tors do­i ng that? 47 And if you ­g reet only
your own peo­ple, what are you do­i ng more
than oth­ers? Do not even pa­gans do that?
48 Be per­fect, there­fore, as your heav­en­ly Fa­
ther is per­fect.

Giving to the Needy


“Be care­ful not to prac­tice your righ­
teous­ness in ­f ront of oth­ers to be seen
by them. If you do, you will have no re­ward
from your Fa­t her in heav­en.
2 “So when you give to the n
­ eedy, do not
an­nounce it with trum­p ets, as the hyp­
o­c rites do in the syn­a­gogues and on the
­streets, to be hon­ored by oth­ers. Tru­ly I tell
you, they have re­ceived ­t heir re­ward in full.
3 But when you give to the n
­ eedy, do not let
your left hand know what your ­r ight hand is
do­i ng, 4 so that your giv­i ng may be in se­cret.
Then your Fa­t her, who sees what is done in
se­cret, will re­ward you.

5 “And when you pray, do not be like the
hyp­o­crites, for they love to pray stand­i ng in
the syn­a­gogues and on the s­ treet cor­ners to
be seen by oth­ers. Tru­ly I tell you, they have
re­ceived t­ heir re­ward in full. 6 But when you
pray, go into your room, c­ lose the door and

a 27 Exodus 20:14    b 31 Deut. 24:1    c 37 Or from evil    d 38 
e43 Lev. 19:18   


Exodus 21:24; Lev. 24:20; Deut. 19:21   




Passage for the Day
MATTHEW 6:5 – 13

Verses for the Day
MATTHEW 6:7 – 8

Show us how to pray

everal years ago, our older daughter was teaching fifth grade at a Christian school in North Carolina.
Classes would begin each day with an open prayer time. Missy asked each student for requests, and
then she would invite anyone to be a part of the experience — ​to pray out loud.
One morning, a boy began praying for his dog. “Dear God,” he began, “please bless Rascal today.” Missy
held her breath. “Please help him to be obedient to my mom while I’m here at school. And please help him not
to run out into the busy street in front of our house.” Fortunately, the boy didn’t give God his home address.
Unfortunately, he wasn’t quite finished. “And Lord, please help Rascal to get rid of his nasty ringworm.”
Missy silently gasped . . . but none of the children laughed. No one even made a sound. Of course, the children were silently saying, praying for Rascal’s ringworm seems perfectly reasonable to us.
When Missy told me this story I remember thinking how good it is that children are so comfortable with God
that they can bring their most important concerns boldly into His holy throne room.
When it comes to prayer — ​either on their own or with their children — ​many dads are stymied. “I am
comfortable asking God to bless our food,” they tell me.
“But beyond that, I’m kind of lost.”
You’re going to hear your
In the Lord’s Prayer, J­ esus gave us a wonderful patHeavenly Father get
tern to follow when we pray, either alone or kneeling
thanked for a whole lot of
with our kids before bedtime.
Praise and thank you’s. When you pray, always begin
interesting things.
by thanking God for his goodness. If your child is young
when you start this, you’re going to hear your Heavenly Father get thanked for a whole lot of interesting things:
birds, bicycles, Grandma, a new box of Cap’n Crunch cereal. That’s okay, let it roll. You’re helping your children
to remember that everything they have — ​including life itself — ​is a precious gift from God’s hand.
Please forgive me’s. You probably won’t have too much difficulty with this, since most children have a great
deal of sensitivity about their own shortcomings. But it’s still important that you help them identify specific
“forgive me’s.” “Forgive me for not sharing my toys with Jennifer,” when she’s three will translate to seeking
God’s grace when life gets a lot more complex and dangerous.
Requests. Like their lists of “thank you’s,” this might be a long one: “Bless Uncle Fred and Aunt Blanche, bless
my trucks (or my dolls), bless my mom and my dad (‘Amen’ to that), please help us have a sunny day for the
picnic tomorrow.” Again, it’s okay. Let this happen. Your child is learning that the Sovereign Lord of the universe
is a God of blessing — ​of good and perfect gifts.
And finally . . . close the prayer with one more statement of “thank you” — ​one more expression of gratitude.
There you have it — ​a bird’s-eye view of the Lord’s Prayer. Take the opportunity to actually teach this. If it
means having your child repeat phrases after you, that’s fine. In no time, you and your child will get the hang of it.
Think of it. You are ushering your family into the presence of a holy God. You’re teaching them how to speak
to Him, knowing He’s eager to listen. This is a very good thing.


Matthew 6:7 

pray to your Fa­ther, who is un­seen. Then
your Fa­t her, who sees what is done in se­cret,
will re­ward you. 7 And when you pray, do not
keep on bab­bling like pa­gans, for they t­ hink
they will be ­heard be­c ause of ­their many
­words. 8 Do not be like them, for your Fa­t her
­k nows what you need be­fore you ask him.
9 “This, then, is how you s
­ hould pray:
“ ‘Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
10 your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us today our daily bread.
12 And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation, a
but deliver us from the evil one. b ’
14 For

if you for­g ive oth­er peo­ple when they
sin ­against you, your heav­en­ly Fa­t her will
also for­g ive you. 15 But if you do not for­g ive
oth­ers ­t heir sins, your Fa­t her will not for­g ive
your sins.

16 “When you fast, do not look som­ber as
the hyp­o­c rites do, for they dis­fig­u re ­their
fac­es to show oth­ers they are fast­i ng. Tru­ly
I tell you, they have re­ceived t­ heir re­w ard
in full. 17 But when you fast, put oil on your
head and wash your face, 18 so that it will not
be ob­v i­ous to oth­ers that you are fast­i ng, but
only to your Fa­t her, who is un­seen; and your
Fa­t her, who sees what is done in se­cret, will
re­ward you.

Treasures in Heaven
19 “Do not s
­ tore up for your­selves trea­sures
on e­ arth, w
­ here moths and ver­m in de­stroy,
and ­where ­t hieves ­break in and ­steal. 20 But
­store up for your­selves trea­sures in heav­en,
­w here moths and ver­m in do not de­stroy,
and ­where ­t hieves do not ­break in and ­steal.
21 For w
­ here your trea­sure is, t­here your
­heart will be also.
22 “The eye is the lamp of the body. If your
­ hole body will be
eyes are h
­ ealthy, c your w
full of ­light. 23 But if your eyes are un­healthy, d
your w
­ hole body will be full of dark­ness. If

Matthew 7:5 


then the l­ight with­in you is dark­ness, how
­g reat is that dark­ness!
24 “No one can s
­ erve two mas­ters. Ei­t her
you will hate the one and love the oth­er, or
you will be de­vot­ed to the one and de­spise
the oth­er. You can­not s­ erve both God and

Do Not Worry
25 “There­fore I tell you, do not wor­r y a
­ bout
your life, what you will eat or ­d rink; or a­ bout
your body, what you will wear. Is not life
more than food, and the body more than
­clothes? 26 Look at the ­birds of the air; they
do not sow or reap or s­ tore away in b
­ arns,
and yet your heav­en­ly Fa­ther f­eeds them.
Are you not much more valu­able than they?
27 Can any one of you by wor­r y­i ng add a sin­
gle hour to your life e ?
28 “And why do you wor­r y ­about ­c lothes?
See how the flow­ers of the f­ ield grow. They
do not la­bor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that
not even Sol­o­mon in all his splen­dor was
­d ressed like one of ­t hese. 30 If that is how God
­clothes the ­g rass of the ­f ield, ­which is here
to­day and to­mor­row is ­t hrown into the fire,
will he not much more c­ lothe you — ​you of
lit­t le ­faith? 31 So do not wor­r y, say­i ng, ‘What
­shall we eat?’ or ‘What s­ hall we d
­ rink?’ or
‘What s­ hall we wear?’ 32 For the pa­gans run
af­ter all t­ hese ­t hings, and your heav­en­ly Fa­
ther ­k nows that you need them. 33 But seek
­f irst his king­dom and his righ­teous­ness, and
all ­t hese ­t hings will be giv­en to you as well.
34 There­fore do not wor ­r y ­about to­mor ­row,
for to­mor­row will wor­r y a­ bout it­self. Each
day has e­ nough trou­ble of its own.

Judging Others


“Do not ­judge, or you too will be ­judged.
2 For in the same way you j­udge oth­ers,
you will be ­judged, and with the mea­sure
you use, it will be mea­sured to you.
3 “Why do you look at the s
­ peck of saw­dust
in your broth­er’s eye and pay no at­ten­t ion
to the p
­ lank in your own eye? 4 How can you
say to your broth­er, ‘Let me take the s­ peck
out of your eye,’ when all the time ­t here is a
­plank in your own eye? 5 You hyp­o­crite, ­f irst
take the p
­ lank out of your own eye, and then

a 13  The Greek for temptation can also mean testing.    b 13 Or from evil ; some late manuscripts one, / for
yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.    c 22  The Greek for healthy here implies
generous.    d 23  The Greek for unhealthy here implies stingy.    e 27 Or single cubit to your height   



Passage for the Day
MATTHEW 6:25 – 33


Verse for the Day

We invest in our children

nder normal circumstances, panel discussions are about as spellbinding to me as watching my
bran flakes soak up skim milk. But this one was an exception.
Bobbie and I were attending a Christian conference sponsored by one of our favorite ministries. The experts at the dais were advising us about how to invest our capital in such a way as to allow for
tax-sheltered security, provide for retirement, and create ways for funds to be available for charitable work
when we’re gone.
One of the men on the panel had lived his whole life in Eastern Europe under communist domination. I was
actually feeling like he was out of place in this session. I had figured that Peter and his family had never been
challenged with questions about 401k’s and IRAs. He sat silently at his microphone for the first 30 minutes of
the discussion.
Then the moderator asked the inevitable question to this silent participant, “So, Peter, what do you think
about all of this?”
Peter cleared his throat, nervously sat up straight, and slid the microphone closer. He stared at the audience
for just a moment, creating serious uncertainty for everyone. “Well,” he finally said in his deep English-is-mysecond-language accent, “we don’t have retirement plans where I come from.” He paused. We were frozen in
our seats — ​no one even blinked. Peter slid the microphone even closer.
“We don’t have investment plans,” Peter continued. “We have families.”
Although the session continued for another half hour, I didn’t hear any more. I cannot tell you anything that
anyone said from that moment on. I made no additional notes on my yellow legal pad.
Long before there were stockbrokers and no-load mutual funds, centuries prior to retirement plans and
investment counselors, men and women had children. They raised these children with lavish love and unwavering discipline. The children grew up and their parents grew old. When dad and mom got so feeble that they
could no longer support themselves, the family took over. So much mutual respect had been poured into
this setting that no one even noticed that taking care of these elderly parents was hard work. “After all,” the
children would say, “they cared for us when we couldn’t care for ourselves.”
“I wonder what it would do to families everywhere,” I said to my wife later that day, “if parents knew that
in their old age they would be completely dependent on their children. How differently would we treat our
responsibility in raising them if we knew that they’d use these learned skills to care for us when we were unable
to care for ourselves?”
I came home from the conference a bit of a different dad. Of course, I didn’t fire my financial advisor or cash
in my portfolio, but I did look in a new way at the investment I was making in my children. What if, I remember
thinking, my personal long-term security was only a dividend of my investment in my family now? What if I had
no other collateral than this?
I still have no idea why the conference planner put Peter on the stand that day — ​unless God did it to seriously interrupt my life. Yes, maybe that was the reason.


Matthew 7:6 

you will see clear­ly to re­move the s­ peck from
your broth­er’s eye.
6 “Do not give dogs what is sa­c red; do not
­t hrow your p
­ earls to pigs. If you do, they may
tram­ple them un­der ­t heir feet, and turn and
tear you to piec­es.

Ask, Seek, Knock
7 “Ask and it will be giv­en to you; seek and
you will find; ­k nock and the door will be
­opened to you. 8 For ev­ery­one who asks re­
ceives; the one who seeks finds; and to the
one who k­ nocks, the door will be opened.
9 “Which of you, if your son asks for b
­ read,
will give him a s­ tone? 10 Or if he asks for a
fish, will give him a s­ nake? 11 If you, then,
­t hough you are evil, know how to give good
­g ifts to your chil­d ren, how much more will
your Fa­ther in heav­en give good g­ ifts to
­t hose who ask him! 12 So in ev­ery­t hing, do to
oth­ers what you ­would have them do to you,
for this sums up the Law and the Proph­ets.

The Narrow and Wide Gates
13 “En­

t­hrough the nar­row gate. For
wide is the gate and b
­ road is the road
that ­leads to de­struc­tion, and many en­ter
­t hrough it. 14 But s­ mall is the gate and nar­
row the road that ­leads to life, and only a few
find it.

True and False Prophets
15 “Watch out for ­
f alse proph­e ts. They
come to you in s­ heep’s cloth­i ng, but in­ward­
ly they are fe­ro­cious ­wolves. 16 By ­t heir ­f ruit
you will rec­og­n ize them. Do peo­ple pick
­g rapes from thorn­bush­es, or figs from this­
­ ears good
tles? 17 Like­w ise, ev­ery good tree b
­f ruit, but a bad tree b
­ ears bad f­ ruit. 18 A good
tree can­not bear bad ­fruit, and a bad tree
can­not bear good ­fruit. 19 Ev­ery tree that
does not bear good ­fruit is cut down and
­t hrown into the fire. 20 Thus, by ­t heir ­fruit
you will rec­og­n ize them.

True and False Disciples
21 “Not ev­ery­one who says to me, ‘Lord,
Lord,’ will en­ter the king­dom of heav­en, but
only the one who does the will of my Fa­t her
who is in heav­en. 22 Many will say to me on
that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not proph­e­s y in
your name and in your name ­d rive out de­
a 2 

Matthew 8:9


mons and in your name per­form many mir­a­
cles?’ 23 Then I will tell them plain­ly, ‘I nev­er
knew you. Away from me, you evil­do­ers!’

The Wise and Foolish Builders
24 “There­fore

ev­ery­one who ­hears ­t hese
­ ords of mine and puts them into prac­t ice
is like a wise man who b
­ uilt his h
­ ouse on the
rock. 25 The rain came down, the ­streams
rose, and the w
­ inds blew and beat a­ gainst
that ­house; yet it did not fall, be­cause it had
its foun­da­t ion on the rock. 26 But ev­ery­one
who ­hears ­these ­words of mine and does
not put them into prac­t ice is like a fool­ish
man who ­built his ­house on sand. 27 The rain
came down, the s­ treams rose, and the w
­ inds
blew and beat ­against that ­house, and it fell
with a g­ reat crash.”
28 When ­Jesus had fin­ished say­ing ­t hese
t­ hings, the c­ rowds were ­a mazed at his teach­
ing, 29 be­cause he ­taught as one who had au­
thor­i­t y, and not as t­ heir teach­ers of the law.

Jesus Heals a Man With Leprosy


When J­ esus came down from the moun­
tain­side, ­large ­crowds fol­lowed him. 2 A
man with lep­ro­s y  a came and ­k nelt be­fore
him and said, “Lord, if you are will­i ng, you
can make me clean.”
3 Jesus r
­ eached out his hand and t­ ouched
the man. “I am will­i ng,” he said. “Be ­clean!”
Im­me­d i­ate­ly he was ­cleansed of his lep­ro­s y.
4 Then J­ esus said to him, “See that you d
­ on’t
tell any­one. But go, show your­self to the
­priest and of­fer the gift Mo­ses com­mand­ed,
as a tes­t i­mo­ny to them.”

The Faith of the Centurion
5 When ­Jesus had en­t ered Ca­p er ­n a­u m,
a cen­tu­r i­on came to him, ask­ing for help.
6 “Lord,” he said, “my ser­v ant lies at home
par­a ­lyzed, suf ­fer­i ng ter ­r i­bly.”
7 Jesus said to him, “Shall I come and heal
8 The cen­t u­r i­on re­plied, “Lord, I do not de­
serve to have you come un­der my roof. But
just say the word, and my ser­v ant will be
­healed. 9 For I my­self am a man un­der au­
thor­i­t y, with sol­d iers un­der me. I tell this
one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and that one, ‘Come,’
and he ­comes. I say to my ser­vant, ‘Do this,’
and he does it.”

The Greek word traditionally translated leprosy was used for various diseases affecting the skin.   

The Bible for Dads
Welcome to the Bible for Dads. These book
introductions are designed to bring you
straight to what matters most in each Bible
book. As you read these brief introductions,
please be on the lookout for books that apply
specifically to your situation . . . and then go
and read that book. Many of them take only
a few minutes to read, and some will be a few
hours, but they’re all worth the investment
of your time.
God Himself is a Father who has a lot to
say to you today. He wants to speak to your
head and to your heart. And be encouraged:
you’re not alone.

The book of Exodus is about discovering
what it means to hear and to obey your heavenly Father. Listening to God often has a lot
to do with moving in faith away from familiar surroundings and into strange new territory. This is what Moses did with his people.
Or it may mean being faithful right where
you are. In either case, the stories in Exodus
ought to make one lesson clear to you and
to dads everywhere: When it comes time to
make a decision, a man can either obey God
or plan on paying a handsome penalty.


We don’t know very much about how the
Israelites worshiped God during their captivity in Egypt, but it’s safe to say that after
living in a foreign land for generations, they
Welcome to the world of the patriarchs — ​ had probably slipped into some bad spiritual
men whose names are indelibly chiseled on habits. The book of Leviticus describes how
the marbled walls of history: Adam, Noah, God, through Moses, got these people back
Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Joseph. Two on track in their relationship with Him. And,
things can be said about these men: First, although some of the particulars listed here
they were ordinary. Read on; you’ll see. Sec- may seem strange, the message of this book
ond, they had no idea that people would be ought to be clear: God takes our relationship
talking about them three millennia after with Him very seriously. He’s not pleased
their deaths.
when we saunter through church every
These common men did what dads have couple of weeks and casually tip our hats
been doing since time began. They found to Him. He’s the Sovereign Lord of the Uniwork to do, got married and had children. verse, and He deserves our humble worship.
And although this may be hard to compreMoving out of Egypt was no excuse for the
hend, you are a patriarch, too. Many years Israelites to get sloppy with their spiritual
from now, your name will be familiar to a discipline. For the Jews, there was no postlong line of offspring. They’ll remember ponement of regular religious rituals. There
your gifts and your flaws, your successes are really no excuses for us either.
and your failures. This is amazing . . . and it’s
true. Genesis provides some clues about how Numbers
to prepare for this kind of legacy.
“Follow the Leader” may be the name of a
child’s game, but for the Israelites, it was seExodus
rious business. These people — ​a couple of
Moses tried to convince Pharaoh to release million of them — ​were stuck between capthe millions of Jews being held captive in tivity in Egypt and new life in the promised
his country. But Pharaoh was no fool. Why land. For 40 years they lived from day to day,
would he knowingly give up the cheap labor not knowing where they were going. They
these slaves provided for his booming econ- felt lost, they acted lost, they grumbled and
omy? So Pharaoh refused. Unfortunately for complained as if they were lost . . . but they
the Egyptians, letting the Israelites go wasn’t weren’t lost.
God knew exactly where the Jews were.
just Moses’ idea; it was also God’s idea.



The Bible for Dads

He knew why they were there, how long they
were going to be there, and where they were
going. God even provided a huge cloud for
them to follow during the day and a fireball
to follow for late-night trips.
Following God every day in spite of feeling completely lost is the story of the book
of Numbers. It was also what ­Jesus, God’s
precious Son, told His disciples — ​a nd us as
well — ​to do. “Follow me,” ­Jesus said. And
since many dads would rather not take time
to stop and ask for directions anyway, this is
good news.

Life would be so much easier without rules.
We could drive as fast as we wanted, we
could eat chocolate for breakfast every day,
we could be as promiscuous as we wanted,
and you and I could tell our families that
they could do whatever they wanted because that’s what we were going to do.
Of course, this doesn’t sound like a good
time at all, does it? Societies and families
need rules to survive. Without them, chaos
and unhappiness take over.
The book of Deuteronomy was intended
to be a guidebook for God’s family, the Jews.
Sure, sometimes it may read like the tax code
from the Internal Revenue Service, but every word is there for a good reason. Families
who live together — ​like the Israelites’ and
like yours — ​need rules. Of course, our kids
may squirm a little; you and I may not be applauded every time we enforce the rules, but
guidelines make your family feel happy and
safe. Just ask a couple of million people who
wandered around in the desert for 40 years.

There may be no more thrilling words for a
father to hear than, “Daddy’s home!” Whether it’s been a full day away at work or a weeklong business trip, there really is no place
like home. The Israelites had been on a fairly
significant journey . . . having been away for
a few hundred years! But now they were back
in Canaan, the land of their forefathers, the
land God had promised them they would
Can you imagine the celebration when
Joshua stood in front of the Israelites and
shouted, “Welcome home!” These people,

who had for generations only heard about
this wonderful place, were now going to be
able to settle down. They would have their
own land, their own possessions, a place
that they and their families could now call
“home.” Can you imagine the joy? The book
of Joshua contains the celebration of this
precious place — ​home, a place of protection
and security for the children of Israel . . . and
for your children.

When kids challenge their dads to a game of
“who’s the boss around here,” they should
lose . . . every time. Your authority in your
home is something God established a long
time ago with His own children. When they
obeyed, they were rewarded. When they
disobeyed, they were punished. The book
of Judges clearly establishes this model as
God deals swiftly and fairly with the Israelites. However, what you’ll notice as you read
this book is that God usually chose to issue
His authority by way of His appointed associates: His judges. When Deborah, Gideon,
Jephthah or Samson spoke, they spoke on
behalf of their heavenly Father — ​a nd with
His complete sanction.
What a privilege it must have been for
these people to be God’s representatives!
Actually, this is exactly like the privilege we
have of being dads. You and I are God’s ambassador to our families.

Family relationships can be a real challenge.
Yours is no exception. Not only are there
daily hazards of living in a confined space
with people who are very, very different from
each other, but there are also the challenges
of coping with extended family — ​your parents and siblings and their families, and
your wife’s parents and siblings and their
families. Then, as time goes by, each of your
children will grow up, marry some lucky
person, and suddenly, you will become an
in-law! And if for some reason you’re part of
a blended family, that’s when the complexity
really sets in.
It’s no small challenge to keep all of these
connections intact. Happily, tucked away
in the book of Ruth is the tender account of
a family who successfully negotiated the

Questions Kids Ask Index
This index lists, in alphabetical order according to key word, each of the 100 “Questions Kids
Ask” features found in the next few pages of the NIV Dad’s Devotional Bible.
Angels: Do I have a guardian angel?
Psalm 91:11 – 12 (p. 1445)

Bible: Why is the Dead Sea dead?
Joshua 18:19 (p. 1438)

Apostle: What is an apostle? Is it the
same thing as a disciple? Mark 3:14 – 15
(p. 1454)

Bible: Why was Samson’s hair so strong?
Judges 16:13 – 14 (p. 1439)

Ark: Where’s Noah’s ark now? Genesis 6 – 8
(p. 1434)
Baptism: Who invented baptism?
Numbers 19:18 – 19 (p. 1436)
Bible: Does the Bible say we have to change
our underwear? Leviticus 6:10 – 11
(p. 1435)
Bible: How did the people who wrote the
Bible know what to write? 2 Peter 1:20 – 21
(p. 1466)
Bible: How did the wise men know
Bethlehem’s star meant J­ esus had been
born? Matthew 2:1 – 2 (p. 1453)
Bible: How did we get the Bible if it was
written so long ago? Exodus 24:3 – 4
(p. 1435)
Bible: How did we get the New Testament?
John 1:1 (p. 1457)
Bible: How does the Bible really help us?
2 Timothy 3:14 – 17 (p. 1463)
Bible: In the parable of the Good Samaritan,
why didn’t the priest or Levite help the
wounded man? Luke 10:25 – 37 (p. 1456)
Bible: Who were the bravest people in the
Bible? 1 Chronicles 11:10 – 21 (p. 1442)
Bible: Why are there four gospels? Don’t
they all say the same thing? John 21:25
(p. 1457)
Bible: Why could men in the Old Testament
have more than one wife? 1 Kings 11:3 – 4
(p. 1441)
Bible: Why did Elisha make bears attack
those boys? 2 Kings 2:23 – 24 (p. 1441)
Bible: Why do we have to read the Old
Testament? Isn’t that outdated now?
Nehemiah 8:14, 16 – 17 (p. 1443)

Bible: Why was there so much fighting in
the Old Testament? 1 Chronicles 16:18
(p. 1442)
Christianity: If J­ esus taught peace, why did
the Romans hate Christians and kill
them? Acts 11:19 – 21 (p. 1458)
Christianity: If someone hurts me,
why can’t I hurt that person back?
Romans 12:17 – 21 (p. 1459)
Christianity: What is the fish symbol on the
back of that car? 1 Peter 4:12 – 17 (p. 1465)
Christianity: Why are all other religions
wrong? Colossians 2:13 – 15, 23 (p. 1462)
Christianity: Why aren’t we supposed to
complain? It doesn’t really hurt anyone.
Philippians 2:14 – 15 (p. 1462)
Christianity: Why aren’t we supposed to
judge others? Esther 2:20 (p. 1443)
Church: Why is church on Sunday?
Revelation 1:10 (p. 1467)
Creation: Can scientists prove that creation
isn’t true? Genesis 1 (p. 1433)
Creation: Why did God rest on the seventh
day? Genesis 2:2 – 3 (p. 1433)
Disciples: Did the disciples get into trouble
for following ­Jesus? Acts 5:27 – 42 (p. 1458)
Discipline: If God hardened Pharaoh’s heart,
why did God punish him for not letting
the Israelites go? Exodus 10:27 (p. 1434)
Discipline: Why does God have to punish
us? Jeremiah 29:10 – 13 (p. 1449)
Discipline: Why was God so harsh with
Moses when Moses struck the rock?
Numbers 20:12 (p. 1437)
Ethics: Can something be right at some
times and wrong at other times?
James 1:5 (p. 1464)

Questions Kids Ask
Kids ask questions. You know this, because you’re a father. And sometimes the questions
kids ask of their parents are puzzling, especially as those questions concern matters of God,
the Bible and their growing faith.
This index is designed to give you a framework for answering some of the questions that
your kids may ask you. We hope that you’ll find it informative, and invite you to use it as you
respond to these questions and direct your children toward a deeper faith in God.
This index is organized in canonical order, from Genesis to Revelation, based on the
­verses referenced in the answers. There is a helpful topical reference chart for these questions as well on page 1429.

Creation:  Can scientists prove that creation isn’t true?
TEXT:  Genesis 1

Science doesn’t prove evolution or creation; it simply points out evidence for one theory or
the other. Many schools teach evolution as if it were scientific fact. But the scientific method
is based on observation, and since no human alive today witnessed the beginnings of the
world, that method won’t work for this discussion.
What we know from Genesis is that God created the heavens and the earth. And scientists
have discovered that fossils favor the idea of special creation rather than evolution. How
do fossils point toward creation? The answer is simple but very significant. Scientists have
never found “in-between life forms.”
In order for the fossil evidence to support the theory of evolution, fossils should show life
forms in the process of changing. Charles Darwin, the man who popularized the theory of
evolution, actually said that fossils were “perhaps the most obvious and serious objection”
to his theory (Parker, 60).
Much has been written about creation and evolution. And while we don’t have room to
discuss all the evidence here, this question provides you with a wonderful opportunity to
investigate the issue with your son or daughter — ​a nd uncover the facts yourself.
Parker, G. Dry Bones and Other Fossils. (1979). El Cajon, CA: Creation Life Publishers.

Creation:  Why did God rest on the seventh day?
TEXT:  Genesis 2:2 – 3

God didn’t have to rest on the seventh day, but he rested to set an example for us. He knew
that we would need rest for many reasons. God doesn’t need to rest to stay healthy, but we
do. If we work all the time and never rest, our bodies will get sick. We also need rest so we can
spend time with our family and friends.
The Jews in the Bible observed this day with great care. They called it the Sabbath, and
they had very specific rules regarding how much activity could be done on this day. One
such rule regulated how far they could walk on the Sabbath. A “Sabbath day’s journey” was
about a thousand yards. This regulation kept the people from moving too far away from the
center of the city, so the community stayed closely knit. And, in a symbolic sense, the rule
kept them close to God because they couldn’t move far from the temple, their place of worship. (You can read more about this command in Exodus 31:14 – 17.)
God sent us a message on the seventh day of creation: “Work hard, then rest. Take a break.
Spend time with your family. Worship me, and give me your full attention. Enjoy the blessings I’ve given you. Rest is one of them.”