Thursday, April 14, 2011

Daily Devotional Thursday 14th April

“for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.” - Romans 3:23-24
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Morning and Evening by Charles Spurgeon

Morning

"A bundle of myrrh is my well-beloved unto me."
Song of Solomon 1:13

Myrrh may well be chosen as the type of Jesus on account of its preciousness, its perfume, its pleasantness, its healing, preserving, disinfecting qualities, and its connection with sacrifice. But why is he compared to "a bundle of myrrh"? First, for plenty. He is not a drop of it, he is a casket full. He is not a sprig or flower of it, but a whole bundle. There is enough in Christ for all my necessities; let me not be slow to avail myself of him. Our well-beloved is compared to a "bundle" again, for variety: for there is in Christ not only the one thing needful, but in "him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily;" everything needful is in him. Take Jesus in his different characters, and you will see a marvellous variety--Prophet, Priest, King, Husband, Friend, Shepherd. Consider him in his life, death, resurrection, ascension, second advent; view him in his virtue, gentleness, courage, self-denial, love, faithfulness, truth, righteousness--everywhere he is a bundle of preciousness. He is a "bundle of myrrh" for preservation--not loose myrrh to be dropped on the floor or trodden on, but myrrh tied up, myrrh to be stored in a casket. We must value him as our best treasure; we must prize his words and his ordinances; and we must keep our thoughts of him and knowledge of him as under lock and key, lest the devil should steal anything from us. Moreover, Jesus is a "bundle of myrrh" for speciality; the emblem suggests the idea of distinguishing, discriminating grace. From before the foundation of the world, he was set apart for his people; and he gives forth his perfume only to those who understand how to enter into communion with him, to have close dealings with him. Oh! blessed people whom the Lord hath admitted into his secrets, and for whom he sets himself apart. Oh! choice and happy who are thus made to say, "A bundle of myrrh is my well-beloved unto me."

Evening

"And he shall put his hand upon the head of the burnt offering; and it shall be accepted for him to make atonement for him."
Leviticus 1:4

Our Lord's being made "sin for us" is set forth here by the very significant transfer of sin to the bullock, which was made by the elders of the people. The laying of the hand was not a mere touch of contact, for in some other places of Scripture the original word has the meaning of leaning heavily, as in the expression, "thy wrath lieth hard upon me" (Psalm 88:7). Surely this is the very essence and nature of faith, which doth not only bring us into contact with the great Substitute, but teaches us to lean upon him with all the burden of our guilt. Jehovah made to meet upon the head of the Substitute all the offences of his covenant people, but each one of the chosen is brought personally to ratify this solemn covenant act, when by grace he is enabled by faith to lay his hand upon the head of the "Lamb slain from before the foundation of the world." Believer, do you remember that rapturous day when you first realized pardon through Jesus the sin-bearer? Can you not make glad confession, and join with the writer in saying, "My soul recalls her day of deliverance with delight. Laden with guilt and full of fears, I saw my Saviour as my Substitute, and I laid my hand upon him; oh! how timidly at first, but courage grew and confidence was confirmed until I leaned my soul entirely upon him; and now it is my unceasing joy to know that my sins are no longer imputed to me, but laid on him, and like the debts of the wounded traveller, Jesus, like the good Samaritan, has said of all my future sinfulness, Set that to my account.'" Blessed discovery! Eternal solace of a grateful heart!

"My numerous sins transferr'd to him,

Shall never more be found,

Lost in his blood's atoning stream,

Where every crime is drown'd!"

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Asa

[Ä€'să] - physician.

1. The third king of Judah who succeeded Abijah. He was the great-grandson of Solomon (1 Kings 15; 2 Chron. 14-16). He was an ancestor of Jesus Christ (Matt. 1:7, 8).

The Man Who Was Good and Right

Asa is a marvel. In spite of the fact that his father was a sinful man and his mother a heathen woman, he yet shines forth as one of Judah's most godly kings. He is praised for his religious zeal which led him to reform the worship of the people. Because of his devotion to God he deposed his idolatrous mother - an astonishing act for an oriental.

Asa's heart toward God was like David's and such was the secret of his godliness in a foul environment. He is spoken of as doing "that which was good and right in the eyes of the Lord, his God." Some people are presumptuous enough to settle what is good and right in their own eyes. Asa, however, did not invent a goodness or righteousness he could adapt to his own convenience and ambition. He only wanted what was good and right in God's sight.

I. Asa prayed before battle. He did not shrink from war with the Ethiopians. Before meeting the foe he met God. "Lord, it is nothing with Thee to help."

II. Asa began upon a good foundation. It took courage and Asa "took courage, and put away the abominable idols." Our idols of fortune, fashion, popularity, self-indulgence, must be severely dealt with if we desire God's best. We can only be right with God and with one another when we are right about our little gods, and man-made idols.

III. Asa was victorious. Being right with God, Asa was honored of Him. His foes surrendered for they saw that his God was with him.

IV. Asa was impartial. The grandeur of this good king is seen in that he would not even allow his mother to keep an idol. So he ruthlessly destroyed the little royal shrine. What was wrong for the subject was also wrong for the queen. Thus horrible abominations had to be abolished. No wonder when Asa died, his people sorely missed and mourned him!

2. A Levite, son of Elkanah and head of a family of Netophathites (1 Chron. 9:16).

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Today's reading: 1 Samuel 22-24, Luke 12:1-31 (NIV)

View today's reading on Bible Gateway

Today's Old Testament reading: 1 Samuel 22-24

David at Adullam and Mizpah

1 David left Gath and escaped to the cave of Adullam. When his brothers and his father's household heard about it, they went down to him there. 2 All those who were in distress or in debt or discontented gathered around him, and he became their commander. About four hundred men were with him.

3 From there David went to Mizpah in Moab and said to the king of Moab, "Would you let my father and mother come and stay with you until I learn what God will do for me?" 4 So he left them with the king of Moab, and they stayed with him as long as David was in the stronghold....

...read the rest on Bible Gateway

Today's New Testament reading: Luke 12:1-31

Warnings and Encouragements

1 Meanwhile, when a crowd of many thousands had gathered, so that they were trampling on one another, Jesus began to speak first to his disciples, saying: "Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. 2 There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known. 3 What you have said in the dark will be heard in the daylight, and what you have whispered in the ear in the inner rooms will be proclaimed from the roofs.

4 "I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more. 5 But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear him who, after your body has been killed, has authority to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him. 6Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. 7 Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows....

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Lent=Devotions-Header
Today's Prayer

O Almighty God, who alone can order the unruly wills and affections of sinful men: help us to love what you command, and desire what you promise. Among the world's many distractions, may our hearts be surely fixed where true joy is found, through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen. -adapted from the Book of Common Prayer

Today's Scripture Reading: Jeremiah 31:31-34

31 "The days are coming," declares the LORD,
"when I will make a new covenant
with the people of Israel
and with the people of Judah.
32 It will not be like the covenant
I made with their ancestors
when I took them by the hand
to lead them out of Egypt,
because they broke my covenant,
though I was a husband to them,"
declares the LORD.
33 "This is the covenant I will make with the people of Israel
after that time," declares the LORD.
"I will put my law in their minds
and write it on their hearts.
I will be their God,
and they will be my people.
34 No longer will they teach their neighbor,
or say to one another, 'Know the LORD,'
because they will all know me,
from the least of them to the greatest,"
declares the LORD.
"For I will forgive their wickedness
and will remember their sins no more."

Today's Quote

"I slew him--this right hand struck the dagger to his heart. My deeds slew Christ. Alas! I slew my best beloved; I killed him who loved me with an everlasting love. Oh eyes, why do you refuse to weep when you see Jesus' body mangled and torn? Give vent to your sorrow, Christians, for you have good reason to do so." - adapted from "The Tomb of Jesus" by Charles Spurgeon

Something to Think About

The Spurgeon quote above echoes the sentiments of the famous Easter hymn "Ah, Holy Jesus" in claiming that we, today, bear responsibility for Jesus' death. Is this true? How so?
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Today's Lent reading: John 5-6 (NIV)

View today's Lent reading on Bible Gateway
The Healing at the Pool

1 Some time later, Jesus went up to Jerusalem for one of the Jewish festivals. 2 Now there is in Jerusalem near the Sheep Gate a pool, which in Aramaic is called Bethesda and which is surrounded by five covered colonnades. 3 Here a great number of disabled people used to lie--the blind, the lame, the paralyzed. 5 One who was there had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. 6 When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, "Do you want to get well?"

7 "Sir," the invalid replied, "I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me."

8 Then Jesus said to him, "Get up! Pick up your mat and walk." 9 At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked....

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Knowing Him - An Easter Devotional

THUNDER WORD

“Now my soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour. Father, glorify your name!”

Then a voice came from heaven, “I have glorified it, and will glorify it again.” The crowd that was there and heard it said it had thundered; others said an angel had spoken to him.

Jesus said, “This voice was for your benefit, not mine. Now is the time for judgment on this world; now the prince of this world will be driven out. And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” He said this to show the kind of death he was going to die. (John 12:27-33)

In that last week of Jesus’ life on earth he taught one day about an event of the cosmos about to happen. The day of his death would not just be a martyrdom, but “the time for judgment.” By a great divine act the Evil One himself would be driven out, and by being “lifted up from the earth,” Jesus would draw people to himself.

Jesus said that sometimes death results in new life. Like a seed buried in the soil, soon to erupt into life, so would his demise be the brief prelude before life would burst out upon the human scene. It would be like that dark moment in a theater when all the lights go dim, all voices hushed, before the curtain comes up, the lights bathe the stage and we see what the playwright really has in mind.

This would not be easy–Jesus knew that. Showing his real humanity, Jesus told his disciples that his heart was troubled, but he also told the Father: “glorify your name!”

That’s all that was needed. Soon, the disciples would be having their last supper with Jesus, and in the meantime, a little while to think about seeds in the ground.

Ponder This: How would you like God to be glorified in your life?

WHAT DO YOU THINK?
Medishare-March

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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