Saturday, April 23, 2011

Daily Devotional Saturday 23rd April

“For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.” - Romans 1:20
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Morning and Evening by Charles Spurgeon

Morning

"Him hath God exalted."
Acts 5:31

Jesus, our Lord, once crucified, dead and buried, now sits upon the throne of glory. The highest place that heaven affords is his by undisputed right. It is sweet to remember that the exaltation of Christ in heaven is a representative exaltation. He is exalted at the Father's right hand, and though as Jehovah he had eminent glories, in which finite creatures cannot share, yet as the Mediator, the honours which Jesus wears in heaven are the heritage of all the saints. It is delightful to reflect how close is Christ's union with his people. We are actually one with him; we are members of his body; and his exaltation is our exaltation. He will give us to sit upon his throne, even as he has overcome, and is set down with his Father on his throne; he has a crown, and he gives us crowns too; he has a throne, but he is not content with having a throne to himself, on his right hand there must be his queen, arrayed in "gold of Ophir." He cannot be glorified without his bride. Look up, believer, to Jesus now; let the eye of your faith behold him with many crowns upon his head; and remember that you will one day be like him, when you shall see him as he is; you shall not be so great as he is, you shall not be so divine, but still you shall, in a measure, share the same honours, and enjoy the same happiness and the same dignity which he possesses. Be content to live unknown for a little while, and to walk your weary way through the fields of poverty, or up the hills of affliction; for by-and-by you shall reign with Christ, for he has "made us kings and priests unto God, and we shall reign forever and ever." Oh!, wonderful thought for the children of God! We have Christ for our glorious representative in heaven's courts now, and soon he will come and receive us to himself, to be with him there, to behold his glory, and to share his joy.

Evening

"Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night."
Psalm 91:5

What is this terror? It may be the cry of fire, or the noise of thieves, or fancied appearances, or the shriek of sudden sickness or death. We live in the world of death and sorrow, we may therefore look for ills as well in the night-watches as beneath the glare of the broiling sun. Nor should this alarm us, for be the terror what it may, the promise is that the believer shall not be afraid. Why should he? Let us put it more closely, why should we? God our Father is here, and will be here all through the lonely hours; he is an almighty Watcher, a sleepless Guardian, a faithful Friend. Nothing can happen without his direction, for even hell itself is under his control. Darkness is not dark to him. He has promised to be a wall of fire around his people--and who can break through such a barrier? Worldlings may well be afraid, for they have an angry God above them, a guilty conscience within them, and a yawning hell beneath them; but we who rest in Jesus are saved from all these through rich mercy. If we give way to foolish fear we shall dishonour our profession, and lead others to doubt the reality of godliness. We ought to be afraid of being afraid, lest we should vex the Holy Spirit by foolish distrust. Down, then, ye dismal forebodings and groundless apprehensions, God has not forgotten to be gracious, nor shut up his tender mercies; it may be night in the soul, but there need be no terror, for the God of love changes not. Children of light may walk in darkness, but they are not therefore cast away, nay, they are now enabled to prove their adoption by trusting in their heavenly Father as hypocrites cannot do.

"Though the night be dark and dreary,

Darkness cannot hide from thee;

Thou art he, who, never weary,

Watchest where thy people be."

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Tertullus

[Tûrtŭl'lus] - derived from Tertius, and meaning, liar or impostor.

A Roman advocate employed by the Jewish authorities to prosecute Paul before Felix, the Roman Governor or Procurator (Acts 24:1, 2; 25:8).

The style of his rhetorical address or brief was common to Roman advocates. With his power of glib eloquence as well as knowledge of Roman laws, the orator Tertullus sought to impress the mind of the judge. With the trick of his class, he began with flattery of the judge. All of the flattering epithets of the hired orator, however, stand out in striking contrast with "the righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come," Paul later spoke about to the same ruler.

From flattery of the judge, Tertullus passed to invective against the defendant, charging him with crimes he never committed. Paul in his defense presented a marked difference between his own frank manliness and the advocate's servile flattery. Tertullus could not rouse the conscience of Felix as Paul did. "Felix trembled," as Paul pressed home the truth of the Gospel and sent for him "the oftener," we read. What a tragedy it was that Felix did not follow his Spirit-impressed conscience!

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Today's reading: 2 Samuel 14-15, Luke 17:1-19 (NIV)

View today's reading on Bible Gateway

Today's Old Testament reading: 2 Samuel 14-15

Absalom Returns to Jerusalem

1 Joab son of Zeruiah knew that the king's heart longed for Absalom. 2 So Joab sent someone to Tekoa and had a wise woman brought from there. He said to her, "Pretend you are in mourning. Dress in mourning clothes, and don't use any cosmetic lotions. Act like a woman who has spent many days grieving for the dead. 3 Then go to the king and speak these words to him." And Joab put the words in her mouth.

4 When the woman from Tekoa went to the king, she fell with her face to the ground to pay him honor, and she said, "Help me, Your Majesty!"

...read the rest on Bible Gateway

Today's New Testament reading: Luke 17:1-19

Sin, Faith, Duty

1 Jesus said to his disciples: "Things that cause people to stumble are bound to come, but woe to anyone through whom they come. 2 It would be better for them to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around their neck than to cause one of these little ones to stumble. 3 So watch yourselves.

"If your brother or sister sins against you, rebuke them; and if they repent, forgive them. 4 Even if they sin against you seven times in a day and seven times come back to you saying 'I repent,' you must forgive them."

5 The apostles said to the Lord, "Increase our faith!"

6 He replied, "If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, 'Be uprooted and planted in the sea,' and it will obey you....

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Knowing Him - An Easter Devotional

THE CRUCIFIXION

They came to a place called Golgotha (which means The Place of the Skull). There they offered Jesus wine to drink, mixed with gall; but after tasting it, he refused to drink it. When they had crucified him, they divided up his clothes by casting lots. And sitting down, they kept watch over him there. Above his head they placed the written charge against him: THIS IS JESUS, THE KING OF THE JEWS. (Matthew 27:33-37)

Now came time for the clash between good and evil, heaven and hell. The crucifixion of Jesus is both the most horrific moment in human history and humanity’s only hope. That’s why we call the Friday before Easter Good Friday.

Jesus’ followers were still too weak to understand and so they scattered. The religious elite played out their plot; the political leaders passed the buck and in the end discarded Jesus for the sake of convenience. The crowds gawked. Two thieves hung on either side of a man whose crime was hard to comprehend. The placard above his head announcing with biting sarcasm “King of the Jews,” must have attracted some attention.

We know of seven things Jesus said from that cross including a pronouncement of forgiveness for soldiers, provision for the care of his mother, a plea for something to wet his parched mouth. But the last words on that last day of his natural human life were the most important: “It is finished!”

That was not a cry of resignation, not capitulation or surrender. It was the shout of victory that all that God-Father, Son, and Spirit-had planned for the restoration of sinful human beings was accomplished. Now there could be justification! Redemption! Reconciliation! All that needed to be done for the debt and scar of sin had been done. Now forgiveness was free. All that remained was for Jesus to step out from the shadow of death, which he would easily do after a couple of days. But first, disciples had time to search their hearts for how something good could be seen in something so bad, while the enemies of God disappeared into the darkness of their own duplicity.

Ponder This: How does the crucifixion of Jesus most powerfully impact you?

WHAT DO YOU THINK?

Resources

About The Author - Mel Lawrenz serves as minister at large for Elmbrook Church and leads The Brook Network. Having been in pastoral ministry for thirty years, the last decade as senior pastor of Elmbrook, Mel seeks to help Christian leaders engage with each other. Mel is the author of eleven books, the most recent for church leaders, Whole Church: Leading from Fragmentation to Engagement.
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Today's Lent reading: John 21 (NIV)

View today's Lent reading on Bible Gateway
Jesus and the Miraculous Catch of Fish
1 Afterward Jesus appeared again to his disciples, by the Sea of Galilee. It happened this way: 2 Simon Peter, Thomas (also known as Didymus), Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two other disciples were together. 3 "I'm going out to fish," Simon Peter told them, and they said, "We'll go with you." So they went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing.

4 Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus.

5 He called out to them, "Friends, haven't you any fish?"

"No," they answered.

6 He said, "Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some." When they did, they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish....

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Lent=Devotions-Header
Today is Good Friday, the day of Jesus' arrest, trial, and execution. The reading below describes his appearance before Pontius Pilate. For the complete Good Friday story, read John 18-19 on Bible Gateway.

Good Friday:
John 18-19

Jesus Before Pilate
28 Then the Jewish leaders took Jesus from Caiaphas to the palace of the Roman governor. By now it was early morning, and to avoid ceremonial uncleanness they did not enter the palace, because they wanted to be able to eat the Passover. 29So Pilate came out to them and asked, "What charges are you bringing against this man?"

30 "If he were not a criminal," they replied, "we would not have handed him over to you."

31 Pilate said, "Take him yourselves and judge him by your own law."

"But we have no right to execute anyone," they objected. 32This took place to fulfill what Jesus had said about the kind of death he was going to die.

33 Pilate then went back inside the palace, summoned Jesus and asked him, "Are you the king of the Jews?"

34 "Is that your own idea," Jesus asked, "or did others talk to you about me?" 35 "Am I a Jew?" Pilate replied. "Your own people and chief priests handed you over to me. What is it you have done?"

36 Jesus said, "My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders. But now my kingdom is from another place."

37 "You are a king, then!" said Pilate.

Jesus answered, "You say that I am a king. In fact, the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me."

38 "What is truth?" retorted Pilate. With this he went out again to the Jews gathered there and said, "I find no basis for a charge against him. 39 But it is your custom for me to release to you one prisoner at the time of the Passover. Do you want me to release 'the king of the Jews'?"

40 They shouted back, "No, not him! Give us Barabbas!" Now Barabbas had taken part in an uprising....

...read the rest of the Good Friday story at Bible Gateway

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Greetings from Bible Gateway! We've got an exciting new Bible announcement and some great Easter resources to share. Read on!

SBL Greek New Testament Now Available on Bible Gateway

We're pleased to announce that the SBL Greek New Testamenthas joined our library of online Bibles!

The SBL Greek New Testament (SBLGNT) is a major achievement in New Testament scholarship. Edited by Michael W. Holmes, its text draws on a wide range of scholarship and the latest manuscript discoveries. Here's a look at how the SBLGNT renders one famous passage:

That's the opening phrase of the gospel of John.

One other noteworthy aspect of the SBLGNT is its friendly publication philosophy: the entire text is freely available for download and boasts a generous re-use/distribution policy to encourage you to share and study the text, whether you're a scholar, pastor, or layperson.

We're grateful to Logos Bible Software and the Society of Biblical Literature for making the SBLGNT available on BibleGateway.com. Whether you're a Greek expert or just interested in seeing the Bible in an original language, you canstart reading now! Since it's Easter week, why not try reading the Resurrection account in the SBLGNT?

Easter resources from the Bible Gateway blog

Easter is coming--and at the Bible Gateway blog , we've been busy posting a lot of great Easter-related content! Here are some of the Easter articles we've posted recently:
  • Holy Week Timeline: a nifty visual chart that tracks all of the people and events of Holy Week.
There's more to come in the next several days, so keep an eye on the blog over Easter weekend.

That's all for today. Have a blessed Easter--He is risen indeed!

Sincerely, the Bible Gateway team


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