Friday, April 29, 2011

Daily Devotional Friday 29th April

“In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross!” - Philippians 2:5-8
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Morning and Evening by Charles Spurgeon

Morning

"Remember the word unto thy servant, upon which thou hast caused me to hope."
Psalm 119:49

Whatever your especial need may be, you may readily find some promise in the Bible suited to it. Are you faint and feeble because your way is rough and you are weary? Here is the promise--"He giveth power to the faint." When you read such a promise, take it back to the great Promiser, and ask him to fulfil his own word. Are you seeking after Christ, and thirsting for closer communion with him? This promise shines like a star upon you--"Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled." Take that promise to the throne continually; do not plead anything else, but go to God over and over again with this--"Lord, thou hast said it, do as thou hast said." Are you distressed because of sin, and burdened with the heavy load of your iniquities? Listen to these words--"I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions, and will no more remember thy sins." You have no merit of your own to plead why he should pardon you, but plead his written engagements and he will perform them. Are you afraid lest you should not be able to hold on to the end, lest, after having thought yourself a child of God, you should prove a castaway? If that is your state, take this word of grace to the throne and plead it: "The mountains may depart, and the hills may be removed, but the covenant of my love shall not depart from thee." If you have lost the sweet sense of the Saviour's presence, and are seeking him with a sorrowful heart, remember the promises: "Return unto me, and I will return unto you;" "For a small moment have I forsaken thee, but with great mercies will I gather thee." Banquet your faith upon God's own word, and whatever your fears or wants, repair to the Bank of Faith with your Father's note of hand, saying, "Remember the word unto thy servant, upon which thou hast caused me to hope."

Evening

"All the house of Israel are impudent and hardhearted."
Ezekiel 3:7

Are there no exceptions? No, not one. Even the favoured race are thus described. Are the best so bad?--then what must the worst be? Come, my heart, consider how far thou hast a share in this universal accusation, and while considering, be ready to take shame unto thyself wherein thou mayst have been guilty. The first charge is impudence, or hardness of forehead, a want of holy shame, an unhallowed boldness in evil. Before my conversion, I could sin and feel no compunction, hear of my guilt and yet remain unhumbled, and even confess my iniquity and manifest no inward humiliation on account of it. For a sinner to go to God's house and pretend to pray to him and praise him argues a brazen-facedness of the worst kind! Alas! since the day of my new birth I have doubted my Lord to his face, murmured unblushingly in his presence, worshipped before him in a slovenly manner, and sinned without bewailing myself concerning it. If my forehead were not as an adamant, harder than flint, I should have far more holy fear, and a far deeper contrition of spirit. Woe is me, I am one of the impudent house of Israel. The second charge is hardheartedness, and I must not venture to plead innocent here. Once I had nothing but a heart of stone, and although through grace I now have a new and fleshy heart, much of my former obduracy remains. I am not affected by the death of Jesus as I ought to be; neither am I moved by the ruin of my fellow men, the wickedness of the times, the chastisement of my heavenly Father, and my own failures, as I should be. O that my heart would melt at the recital of my Saviour's sufferings and death. Would to God I were rid of this nether millstone within me, this hateful body of death. Blessed be the name of the Lord, the disease is not incurable, the Saviour's precious blood is the universal solvent, and me, even me, it will effectually soften, till my heart melts as wax before the fire.

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In the latest film in the BASIC series, join New York Times best-selling author and speaker Francis Chan as he candidly asks of Christians really understand the true nature of the Holy Spirit.

"If the spirit of God is really in me, I should look completely different than someone who doesn't have the Holy Spirit in them. And if the Holy Spirit is in the midst of our gatherings, then out gatherings should look supernatural and should look different than anything that the world could copy."

Is the church today "super" or "natural"? Would you like your church to be?

BASIC.Holy Spirit challenges us to take "church" back to its biblical origins, and allow the Holy Spirit to truly lead in every endeavor. As Francis says in the film, the results of doing so would be transformative.

"If we would just go back to those same basics, maybe we would see some of those supernatural results that the early church saw."

We invite you to view a BASIC.Holy Spirit trailer and to learn more at:
basicseries.com/films/holy-spirit.php.


What is church? You are church. I am church. We are church.

"If I only had this as my guide ... if all I had was the Bible ... and I was to read this book and then start a 'church,' what would it look like? Would it look like the thing that we've built here and all refer to as church? Or would it look radically different?"

—Francis Chan





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Judah, Juda, Joda

[Jū'dah] - object of praise or praise of the lord. The fourth son of Jacob by Leah, and founder of a tribal family (Gen. 29:35; Num. 26:19-21; 1 Chron. 2:3-6).

The Man Who Was Praised

The character of Judah is revealed in his confession of sin before Joseph (Gen. 44:18-34). This appeal has been described as "One of the noblest pieces of natural eloquence in any literature, sacred or profane." In the last words of Jacob much is said of Judah (Gen. 49:8). We have:

I. His praise. "Thou art he whom thy brethren shall praise." The origin of his name is to be found in the gratitude of his mother at the time of his birth (Gen. 29:35). A still more distinguished mother praised the Lord for a greater Son who came from the tribe of Judah (Luke 1:46, 47).

II. His conquests. "Thy hand shall be in the neck of thine enemies." Here we have the prophecy of a conqueror, the anticipation of the figure of the lion, which was emblazoned on the flag of Judah, and was symbolic of the strength of the tribe in battle. Judah was the first tribe called to fight the Canaanites after Joshua's death (Judg. 1:1, 2) - a battle ending in victory for Judah. See also Psalm 18:40.

III. His pre-eminence. "Thy father's children shall bow down before thee." The superiority of the tribe of Judah continued almost to the end of the Old Testament and passed on to Him who has the pre-eminence in all things. Judah was first in numbers, first in territory, first in marching order, first in prowess, first in war.

IV. His regal dignity. The lion-king of the forest became the symbol of Judah, as the king of the tribes (Num. 2:3, 4). "A lion's whelp," speaks of the first energy of youth, and the early days of Judah were full of vigor and energy. How prophetic all this is of Him who came as the Lion of the tribe of Judah! The old divines said that Christ was a lamb in His death, but a lion in His resurrection. How different is His prowess from the deadly power of him who is a roaring lion!

2. An ancestor of Kadmiel who helped to rebuild the Temple (Ezra 3:9).

3. A Levite who had taken a strange wife (Ezra 10:23).

4. A Benjamite, son of Senuah, second in authority over Jerusalem in Nehemiah's day (Neh. 11:9).

5. A Levite who returned from exile with Zerubbabel (Neh. 12:8).

6. A prince of Judah (Neh. 12:34).

7. A priest and musician (Neh. 12:36).

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Today's reading: 1 Kings 3-5, Luke 20:1-26 (NIV)

View today's reading on Bible Gateway

Today's Old Testament reading: 1 Kings 3-5

Solomon Asks for Wisdom

1 Solomon made an alliance with Pharaoh king of Egypt and married his daughter. He brought her to the City of David until he finished building his palace and the temple of the LORD, and the wall around Jerusalem. 2 The people, however, were still sacrificing at the high places, because a temple had not yet been built for the Name of the LORD. 3 Solomon showed his love for the LORD by walking according to the instructions given him by his father David, except that he offered sacrifices and burned incense on the high places.

4 The king went to Gibeon to offer sacrifices, for that was the most important high place, and Solomon offered a thousand burnt offerings on that altar. 5 At Gibeon the LORD appeared to Solomon during the night in a dream, and God said, "Ask for whatever you want me to give you...."

...read the rest on Bible Gateway

Today's New Testament reading: Luke 20:1-26

The Authority of Jesus Questioned

1 One day as Jesus was teaching the people in the temple courts and proclaiming the good news, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, together with the elders, came up to him. 2"Tell us by what authority you are doing these things," they said. "Who gave you this authority?"

3 He replied, "I will also ask you a question. Tell me: 4 John's baptism--was it from heaven, or of human origin?"

5 They discussed it among themselves and said, "If we say, 'From heaven,' he will ask, 'Why didn't you believe him?' 6 But if we say, 'Of human origin,' all the people will stone us, because they are persuaded that John was a prophet."

7 So they answered, "We don't know where it was from."

8 Jesus said, "Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things...."



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