Saturday, April 09, 2011

Daily Devotional Saturday 9th April

“For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!” - Romans 5:10
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Morning and Evening by Charles Spurgeon

Morning

"If they do these things in a green tree, what shall be done in the dry?"
Luke 23:31

Among other interpretations of this suggestive question, the following is full of teaching: "If the innocent substitute for sinners, suffer thus, what will be done when the sinner himself--the dry tree--shall fall into the hands of an angry God?" When God saw Jesus in the sinner's place, he did not spare him; and when he finds the unregenerate without Christ, he will not spare them. O sinner, Jesus was led away by his enemies: so shall you be dragged away by fiends to the place appointed for you. Jesus was deserted of God; and if he, who was only imputedly a sinner, was deserted, how much more shall you be? "Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?" what an awful shriek! But what shall be your cry when you shall say, "O God! O God! why hast thou forsaken me?" and the answer shall come back, "Because ye have set at nought all my counsel, and would none of my reproof: I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your fear cometh." If God spared not his own Son, how much less will he spare you! What whips of burning wire will be yours when conscience shall smite you with all its terrors. Ye richest, ye merriest, ye most self-righteous sinners--who would stand in your place when God shall say, "Awake, O sword, against the man that rejected me; smite him, and let him feel the smart forever"? Jesus was spit upon: sinner, what shame will be yours! We cannot sum up in one word all the mass of sorrows which met upon the head of Jesus who died for us; therefore it is impossible for us to tell you what streams, what oceans of grief must roll over your spirit if you die as you now are. You may die so, you may die now. By the agonies of Christ, by his wounds and by his blood, do not bring upon yourselves the wrath to come! Trust in the Son of God, and you shall never die.

Evening

"I will fear no evil: for thou art with me."
Psalm 23:4

Behold, how independent of outward circumstances the Holy Ghost can make the Christian! What a bright light may shine within us when it is all dark without! How firm, how happy, how calm, how peaceful we may be, when the world shakes to and fro, and the pillars of the earth are removed! Even death itself, with all its terrible influences, has no power to suspend the music of a Christian's heart, but rather makes that music become more sweet, more clear, more heavenly, till the last kind act which death can do is to let the earthly strain melt into the heavenly chorus, the temporal joy into the eternal bliss! Let us have confidence, then, in the blessed Spirit's power to comfort us. Dear reader, are you looking forward to poverty? Fear not; the divine Spirit can give you, in your want, a greater plenty than the rich have in their abundance. You know not what joys may be stored up for you in the cottage around which grace will plant the roses of content. Are you conscious of a growing failure of your bodily powers? Do you expect to suffer long nights of languishing and days of pain? O be not sad! That bed may become a throne to you. You little know how every pang that shoots through your body may be a refining fire to consume your dross--a beam of glory to light up the secret parts of your soul. Are the eyes growing dim? Jesus will be your light. Do the ears fail you? Jesus' name will be your soul's best music, and his person your dear delight. Socrates used to say, "Philosophers can be happy without music;" and Christians can be happier than philosophers when all outward causes of rejoicing are withdrawn. In thee, my God, my heart shall triumph, come what may of ills without! By thy power, O blessed Spirit, my heart shall be exceeding glad, though all things should fail me here below.

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Daniel

[Dăn'iel] - god is my judge.

1. The second son of David, also called Chileol (1 Chron. 3:1).

2. A son or descendant of Ithamar who, after the return from exile, sealed the covenant (Ezra 8:2; Neh. 10:6).

3. The celebrated Jewish prophet, fourth of the so-called Major Prophets, of royal or noble descent. Daniel was taken to Babylon and trained with others for the king's service (Ezek. 14:14, 20; 28:3; Dan. 1:6, 21).

The Man Who Kept His Window Open

Nothing is known of the ancestry and early life of this celebrated Jewish prophet who exercised tremendous influence in the Babylonian court, and whose name can mean: "Who in the name of God does Justice." Daniel was not a priest like Jeremiah or Ezekiel but like Isaiah he was descended from the time of Judah and was probably of royal blood (Dan. 1:3-6). A comparison of 2 Kings 20:17, 18 with Isaiah 29:6, 7 seems to indicate that Daniel was descended from king Hezekiah.

As a youth of the age of fifteen or thereabouts, Daniel was carried captive to Babylon (Dan. 1:1-4 ) in the third year of Jehoiakim. From then on his whole life was spent in exile. What Daniel was like we are not expressly told but the details given in the first chapter of his book suggest he must have been a handsome youth. There is a tradition to the effect that "he had a spare, dry, tall figure with a beautiful expression." Dr. Alexander Whyte says of Daniel: "There is always a singular lustre and nobility and stately distinction about him. There is a note of birth and breeding and aristocracy about his whole name and character." As we study his character we cannot but be impressed with his refinement, his reserve and the high sculpture of his life.

Daniel comes before us as an interpreter of dreams and of signs, a conspicuous seer, an official of kings. He lived a long and active life in the courts and councils of some of the greatest monarchs the world has known, like Nebuchadnezzar, Cyrus and Darius. Close intimacy with heaven made Daniel the courtier, statesman, man of business and prophet he was. Bishop Ken reminds us that "Daniel was one that kept his station in the greatest of revolutions, reconciling politics and religion, business and devotion, magnanimity with humility, authority with affability, conversation with retirement, Heaven and the Court, the favour of God and of the King."

The significant meaning of Daniel's name accords with the character and contents of the Book of Daniel, written by the prophet himself - the first six chapters in the third person, the last six in the first person.

As the distinguished historian of some of the most important dispensational teaching given in the Bible, Daniel's book sets forth:

A statement of God's judgment on history.

The purpose of God until the final consummation.

The vindication of righteousness.

It would take a whole book to deal with Daniel's prophetic visions of Gentile dominion and defeat. Profitable homiletical material can be used showing Daniel's self-control (Dan. 1:8; 10:3), undaunted courage (5:22, 23), constant integrity (Dan. 6:4), unceasing prayerfulness (Dan. 2:17, 18; 6:16), native humility (Dan. 10:17) and spiritual vision ( Dan. 7:9, 12; 10:5, 6).

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Today's reading: 1 Samuel 10-12, Luke 9:37-62 (NIV)

View today's reading on Bible Gateway

Today's Old Testament reading: 1 Samuel 10-12

1 Then Samuel took a flask of olive oil and poured it on Saul's head and kissed him, saying, "Has not the LORD anointed you ruler over his inheritance? 2 When you leave me today, you will meet two men near Rachel's tomb, at Zelzah on the border of Benjamin. They will say to you, 'The donkeys you set out to look for have been found. And now your father has stopped thinking about them and is worried about you. He is asking, "What shall I do about my son?"'

3 "Then you will go on from there until you reach the great tree of Tabor. Three men going up to worship God at Bethel will meet you there. One will be carrying three young goats, another three loaves of bread, and another a skin of wine. 4 They will greet you and offer you two loaves of bread, which you will accept from them....

...read the rest on Bible Gateway

Today's New Testament reading: Luke 9:37-62

Jesus Heals a Demon-Possessed Boy

37 The next day, when they came down from the mountain, a large crowd met him. 38 A man in the crowd called out, "Teacher, I beg you to look at my son, for he is my only child.39 A spirit seizes him and he suddenly screams; it throws him into convulsions so that he foams at the mouth. It scarcely ever leaves him and is destroying him. 40 I begged your disciples to drive it out, but they could not."

41 "You unbelieving and perverse generation," Jesus replied, "how long shall I stay with you and put up with you? Bring your son here."

42 Even while the boy was coming, the demon threw him to the ground in a convulsion. But Jesus rebuked the impure spirit, healed the boy and gave him back to his father. 43 And they were all amazed at the greatness of God....

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Lent=Devotions-Header
Today's Prayer

We come, O Christ to you, true Son of God and man,
By whom all things consist, in whom all life began.
In you alone we live and move, and have our being in your love.

You are the Way to God, your blood our ransom paid;
In you we face our Judge and Maker unafraid.
Before the throne absolved we stand, your love has met your law's demand.

-- "We Come o Christ To You." Learn more about this and other hymns at songsandhymns.org

Today's Scripture Reading: Psalm 122

1 I rejoiced with those who said to me,
"Let us go to the house of the LORD."
2 Our feet are standing
in your gates, Jerusalem.

3 Jerusalem is built like a city
that is closely compacted together.
4 That is where the tribes go up--
the tribes of the LORD--
to praise the name of the LORD
according to the statute given to Israel.
5 There stand the thrones for judgment,
the thrones of the house of David.

6 Pray for the peace of Jerusalem:
"May those who love you be secure.
7 May there be peace within your walls
and security within your citadels."
8 For the sake of my family and friends,
I will say, "Peace be within you."
9 For the sake of the house of the LORD our God,
I will seek your prosperity.

Today's Quote

"Our faith then must be different from the faith of devils. For our faith purifies the heart; but their faith makes them guilty. For they do wickedly, and therefore say they to the Lord, "What have we to do with You?" When you hear the devils say this, do you think that they do not acknowledge Him? "We know," they say, "who You are: You are the Son of God." This Peter says, and is commended; the devil says it, and is condemned. Whence comes this, but that though the words be the same, the heart is different? Let us then make a distinction in our faith, and not be content to believe. This is no such faith as purifies the heart. "Purifying their hearts," it is said, "by faith." But by what, and what kind of faith, save that which the Apostle Paul defines when he says, "Faith which works by love." That faith distinguishes us from the faith of devils, and from the infamous and abandoned conduct of men. "Faith," he says. What faith? "That which works by love," and which hopes for what God does promise. Nothing is more exact or perfect than this definition." -- Augustine

Something to Think About

Think about your words and actions over this last week. Is the fruit of faith evident in them? What can you do today to put your faith into action, and communicate Christlike love to somebody in your life?
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Today's Lent reading: Luke 21-22 (NIV)

View today's Lent reading on Bible Gateway
The Widow's Offering

1 As Jesus looked up, he saw the rich putting their gifts into the temple treasury. 2 He also saw a poor widow put in two very small copper coins. 3 "Truly I tell you," he said, "this poor widow has put in more than all the others. 4 All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on."

The Destruction of the Temple and Signs of the End Times

5 Some of his disciples were remarking about how the temple was adorned with beautiful stones and with gifts dedicated to God. But Jesus said, 6 "As for what you see here, the time will come when not one stone will be left on another; every one of them will be thrown down."

7 "Teacher," they asked, "when will these things happen? And what will be the sign that they are about to take place?"

8 He replied: "Watch out that you are not deceived. For many will come in my name, claiming, 'I am he,' and, 'The time is near.' Do not follow them. 9 When you hear of wars and uprisings, do not be frightened. These things must happen first, but the end will not come right away."

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Knowing Him - An Easter Devotional

STATUS SEEKERS OR SERVANT LEADERS?

He took the Twelve aside and told them what was going to happen to him. “We are going up to Jerusalem,”he said, “and the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and teachers of the law. They will condemn him to death and will hand him over to the Gentiles, who will mock him and spit on him, flog him and kill him. Three days later he will rise.” Then James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to him. “Teacher,” they said, “we want you to do for us whatever we ask.”

“What do you want me to do for you?” he asked. They replied, “Let one of us sit at your right and the other at your left in your glory.”

When the ten heard about this, they became indignant with James and John. Jesus called them together and said, “You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all.” (Mark 10:32-44)

In what was the worst moment for brothers James and John, they chose the occasion of Jesus’ ominous prediction of his suffering to see if there was something in it for them. “Do whatever we ask,” they said (a remarkable request!). Can we have elite spots beside you?

Some questions are innocent and open-minded; others reveal that we are completely confused. “You don’t know that you’re asking,” Jesus said, by which he meant: Are you really that anxious to be by my side when I am slaughtered? Would you like your own crosses? Do you really want to follow this world in seeking status and power?

No, Jesus told them, if you want to be great–really great–then you must become slave and servants of all.

And then Jesus made this most amazing statement: “the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” He was the fulfillment of the “suffering servant” the prophet Isaiah had spoken of seven centuries earlier. And he was the “ransom,” the one who would liberate us from the taskmasters of sin, death, and the Evil One.

Ponder This: What are the biggest barriers we face in giving up status and security, and instead living lives of servanthood?

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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* Knowing Him by Mel Lawrenz is a daily Easter devotional that helps you draw closer to Jesus during the Easter season. Each devotional challenges you to consider the person of Jesus Christ and his freely-offered grace from a fresh angle. Read an interview with Mel in which he discusses practical steps you can follow to make the Easter season a time of spiritual growth.

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Nueva Biblia Latinoamericana De Hoy is now on Bible Gateway

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The NBLH is a contemporary Spanish translation of the Bible published by The Lockman Foundation; it uses the less formal form of Spanish and incorporates many features to make the Bible text as clear as possible without sacrificing accuracy.

You can get started reading the NBLH, or if you want a flavor of this Bible translation, read this John 3:16 comparison showcasing the NBLH, the recently-released Nueva Traducción Viviente, the Nueva Versión Internacional, and the NIV.

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