February 11: Morning
"And they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus." - Acts 4:13
A Christian should be a striking likeness of Jesus Christ. You have read lives of Christ, beautifully and eloquently written, but the best life of Christ is his living biography, written out in the words and actions of his people. If we were what we profess to be, and what we should be, we should be pictures of Christ; yea, such striking likenesses of him, that the world would not have to hold us up by the hour together, and say, "Well, it seems somewhat of a likeness;" but they would, when they once beheld us, exclaim, "He has been with Jesus; he has been taught of him; he is like him; he has caught the very idea of the holy Man of Nazareth, and he works it out in his life and every-day actions." A Christian should be like Christ in his boldness. Never blush to own your religion; your profession will never disgrace you: take care you never disgrace that. Be like Jesus, very valiant for your God. Imitate him in your loving spirit; think kindly, speak kindly, and do kindly, that men may say of you, "He has been with Jesus." Imitate Jesus in his holiness. Was he zealous for his Master? So be you; ever go about doing good. Let not time be wasted: it is too precious. Was he self-denying, never looking to his own interest? Be the same. Was he devout? Be you fervent in your prayers. Had he deference to his Father's will? So submit yourselves to him. Was he patient? So learn to endure. And best of all, as the highest portraiture of Jesus, try to forgive your enemies, as he did; and let those sublime words of your Master, "Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do," always ring in your ears. Forgive, as you hope to be forgiven. Heap coals of fire on the head of your foe by your kindness to him. Good for evil, recollect, is godlike. Be godlike, then; and in all ways and by all means, so live that all may say of you, "He has been with Jesus."
"Thou hast left thy first love." - Revelation 2:4
Ever to be remembered is that best and brightest of hours, when first we saw the Lord, lost our burden, received the roll of promise, rejoiced in full salvation, and went on our way in peace. It was spring time in the soul; the winter was past; the mutterings of Sinai's thunders were hushed; the flashings of its lightnings were no more perceived; God was beheld as reconciled; the law threatened no vengeance, justice demanded no punishment. Then the flowers appeared in our heart; hope, love, peace, and patience sprung from the sod; the hyacinth of repentance, the snowdrop of pure holiness, the crocus of golden faith, the daffodil of early love, all decked the garden of the soul. The time of the singing of birds was come, and we rejoiced with thanksgiving; we magnified the holy name of our forgiving God, and our resolve was, "Lord, I am thine, wholly thine; all I am, and all I have, I would devote to thee. Thou hast bought me with thy blood--let me spend myself and be spent in thy service. In life and in death let me be consecrated to thee." How have we kept this resolve? Our espousal love burned with a holy flame of devoutedness to Jesus--is it the same now? Might not Jesus well say to us, "I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love"? Alas! it is but little we have done for our Master's glory. Our winter has lasted all too long. We are as cold as ice when we should feel a summer's glow and bloom with sacred flowers. We give to God pence when he deserveth pounds, nay, deserveth our heart's blood to be coined in the service of his church and of his truth. But shall we continue thus? O Lord, after thou hast so richly blessed us, shall we be ungrateful and become indifferent to thy good cause and work? O quicken us that we may return to our first love, and do our first works! Send us a genial spring, O Sun of Righteousness.
[Ăd'ăm] - of the ground or taken out of the red earth.
The first human son of God (Luke 3:38), and God's masterpiece and crowning work of creation.
The Man God Made
All men should be interested in the history of the first man who ever breathed, man's great ancestor, the head of the human family, the first being who trod the earth. What a beautiful world Adam found himself in with everything to make him happy, a world without sin and without sorrow! God first made, as it were, the great house of the world, then brought His tenant to occupy it. And it was not an empty house, but furnished with everything needed to make life content. There was not a single need God had not satisfied.
The Bible does not tell us how long Adam's state of blessedness and innocence lasted. But Paradise was lost through listening to the voice of the tempter. Relieved of his occupation as a gardener, Adam was condemned to make his livelihood by tilling the stubborn ground, and to eat his bread in the sweat of his face.
I. Adam was a necessary complement to the divine plan. "There was not a man to till the ground" (Gen. 2:5). The accomplishment of God's plan required human instrumentality. God made the earth for man, and then the man for the earth.
II. Adam was fashioned a creature of God, bearing the image of God and possessing God-like faculties (Gen. 1:27; Ps. 8:6; Eccles. 7:29).
III. Adam was created a tripartite being, having a spirit, soul and body (Gen. 2:7; 1 Thess. 5:23).
IV. Adam was alone and needed companionship to satisfy his created instincts (Gen. 2:18), thus Eve was formed.
Society, friendship and love
Gifts divinely bestowed upon man.
V. Adam was enticed and sinned (Gen. 3:6). After the satanic tempter there came the human tempter, and the act of taking the forbidden fruit offered by Eve ruined Adam and made him our federal head in sin and death. "In Adam we die."
VI. Adam received the promise of the Saviour. The first promise and prophecy of One, able to deal with Satan and sin was given, not to Adam, but to the one responsible for Adam's trangression (Gen. 3:15), and in the coats of skins God provided to cover the discovered nakedness of Adam and Eve we have a type of the sacrifice of the Cross. In Adam we die, but in Christ we can be made alive. The first man Adam was of the earth earthy, but the Second Man, the last Adam, was from heaven and kept His first estate of sinless perfection.
Today's reading: Leviticus 11-12, Matthew 26:1-25 (NIV)View today's reading on Bible Gateway
Today's Old Testament reading: Leviticus 11-12
Clean and Unclean Food
1 The LORD said to Moses and Aaron, 2 "Say to the Israelites: 'Of all the animals that live on land, these are the ones you may eat: 3 You may eat any animal that has a divided hoof and that chews the cud...."
Today's New Testament reading: Matthew 26:1-25
The Plot Against Jesus
1 When Jesus had finished saying all these things, he said to his disciples, 2 "As you know, the Passover is two days away--and the Son of Man will be handed over to be crucified."
3 Then the chief priests and the elders of the people assembled in the palace of the high priest, whose name was Caiaphas, 4 and they schemed to arrest Jesus secretly and kill him. 5 "But not during the festival," they said, "or there may be a riot among the people...."