Thursday, April 07, 2011

Daily Devotional Thursday 7th April

“This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.” - 1 John 3:16
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Morning and Evening by Charles Spurgeon

Morning

"Let us go forth therefore unto him without the camp."
Hebrews 13:13

Jesus, bearing his cross, went forth to suffer without the gate. The Christian's reason for leaving the camp of the world's sin and religion is not because he loves to be singular, but because Jesus did so; and the disciple must follow his Master. Christ was "not of the world:" his life and his testimony were a constant protest against conformity with the world. Never was such overflowing affection for men as you find in him; but still he was separate from sinners. In like manner Christ's people must "go forth unto him." They must take their position "without the camp," as witness-bearers for the truth. They must be prepared to tread the straight and narrow path. They must have bold, unflinching, lion-like hearts, loving Christ first, and his truth next, and Christ and his truth beyond all the world. Jesus would have his people "go forth without the camp" for their own sanctification. You cannot grow in grace to any high degree while you are conformed to the world. The life of separation may be a path of sorrow, but it is the highway of safety; and though the separated life may cost you many pangs, and make every day a battle, yet it is a happy life after all. No joy can excel that of the soldier of Christ: Jesus reveals himself so graciously, and gives such sweet refreshment, that the warrior feels more calm and peace in his daily strife than others in their hours of rest. The highway of holiness is the highway of communion. It is thus we shall hope to win the crown if we are enabled by divine grace faithfully to follow Christ "without the camp." The crown of glory will follow the cross of separation. A moment's shame will be well recompensed by eternal honour; a little while of witness-bearing will seem nothing when we are "forever with the Lord."

Evening

"In the name of the Lord I will destroy them."
Psalm 118:12

Our Lord Jesus, by his death, did not purchase a right to a part of us only, but to the entire man. He contemplated in his passion the sanctification of us wholly, spirit, soul, and body; that in this triple kingdom he himself might reign supreme without a rival. It is the business of the newborn nature which God has given to the regenerate to assert the rights of the Lord Jesus Christ. My soul, so far as thou art a child of God, thou must conquer all the rest of thyself which yet remains unblest; thou must subdue all thy powers and passions to the silver sceptre of Jesus' gracious reign, and thou must never be satisfied till he who is King by purchase becomes also King by gracious coronation, and reigns in thee supreme. Seeing, then, that sin has no right to any part of us, we go about a good and lawful warfare when we seek, in the name of God, to drive it out. O my body, thou art a member of Christ: shall I tolerate thy subjection to the prince of darkness? O my soul, Christ has suffered for thy sins, and redeemed thee with his most precious blood: shall I suffer thy memory to become a storehouse of evil, or thy passions to be firebrands of iniquity? Shall I surrender my judgment to be perverted by error, or my will to be led in fetters of iniquity? No, my soul, thou art Christ's, and sin hath no right to thee.

Be courageous concerning this, O Christian! be not dispirited, as though your spiritual enemies could never be destroyed. You are able to overcome them--not in your own strength--the weakest of them would be too much for you in that; but you can and shall overcome them through the blood of the Lamb. Do not ask, "How shall I dispossess them, for they are greater and mightier than I?" but go to the strong for strength, wait humbly upon God, and the mighty God of Jacob will surely come to the rescue, and you shall sing of victory through his grace.

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Jehoiada

[Jēhoi'a dă] - jehovah knows or knowledge of the lord.

1. The father of Benaiah and one of David's officers. Probably the priest and leader of the Aaronites who brought thirty-seven hundred men to David at Ziklag (2 Sam. 8:18; 20:23; 23:20, 22; 1 Kings 1; 2; 4:4; 1 Chron. 11:22, 24; 12:27; 18:17; 27:5).

2. The high priest who made Joash king, and possibly the husband of Jehosheba, whose presence of mind saved the infant Jehoash from massacre (2 Kings 11:4-17; 12:2-9; 2 Chron. 23; 24).

3. A son of Beniah, son of Jehoiada, the third of David's counselors (1 Chron. 27:34).

4. A son of Paseah, who repaired "the old gate" (Neh. 3:6). Called Joiada in the R. V.

5. A priest in Jerusalem before the exile, but displaced by Zephaniah (Jer. 29:26).

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Today's reading: 1 Samuel 4-6, Luke 9:1-17 (NIV)

View today's reading on Bible Gateway

Today's Old Testament reading: 1 Samuel 4-6

1 And Samuel's word came to all Israel.

The Philistines Capture the Ark

Now the Israelites went out to fight against the Philistines. The Israelites camped at Ebenezer, and the Philistines at Aphek. 2 The Philistines deployed their forces to meet Israel, and as the battle spread, Israel was defeated by the Philistines, who killed about four thousand of them on the battlefield. 3When the soldiers returned to camp, the elders of Israel asked, "Why did the LORD bring defeat on us today before the Philistines? Let us bring the ark of the LORD's covenant from Shiloh, so that he may go with us and save us from the hand of our enemies...."

...read the rest on Bible Gateway

Today's New Testament reading: Luke 9:1-17

Jesus Sends Out the Twelve

1 When Jesus had called the Twelve together, he gave them power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases, 2 and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal the sick. 3 He told them: "Take nothing for the journey--no staff, no bag, no bread, no money, no extra shirt. 4Whatever house you enter, stay there until you leave that town.5 If people do not welcome you, leave their town and shake the dust off your feet as a testimony against them." 6 So they set out and went from village to village, proclaiming the good news and healing people everywhere....

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Lent=Devotions-Header
Today's Prayer

Breathe in me, O Holy Spirit, that my thoughts may all be holy;
Act in me, O Holy Spirit, that I love but what is holy;
Strengthen me, O Holy Spirit, to defend all that is holy;
Guard me, then, O Holy Spirit, that I always may be holy. -- Augustine

Today's Scripture Reading: John 6:4-15

4 The Jewish Passover Festival was near.

5 When Jesus looked up and saw a great crowd coming toward him, he said to Philip, "Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?" 6 He asked this only to test him, for he already had in mind what he was going to do.

7 Philip answered him, "It would take more than half a year's wages to buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!"

8 Another of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter's brother, spoke up, 9 "Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?"

10 Jesus said, "Have the people sit down." There was plenty of grass in that place, and they sat down (about five thousand men were there). 11 Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed to those who were seated as much as they wanted. He did the same with the fish.

12 When they had all had enough to eat, he said to his disciples, "Gather the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted." 13 So they gathered them and filled twelve baskets with the pieces of the five barley loaves left over by those who had eaten.

14 After the people saw the sign Jesus performed, they began to say, "Surely this is the Prophet who is to come into the world." 15 Jesus, knowing that they intended to come and make him king by force, withdrew again to a mountain by himself.

Today's Quote

A healthy Christian is one of the liveliest creatures on earth. When he is at work you may hear him sing. He cannot help it; do not blame him for a little noise. Let him sing, and laugh till he cries. Sometimes he cannot help it; he will burst if his soul may not have vent. When he begins to talk about his Lord his eyes flash fire. Some people hint that he is out of his mind; but those who know best assure us that he was never before so sane as now. Of course, the world thinks religion is such poor stuff that nobody could grow excited about it. To my mind, cold religion is the nastiest dish ever brought to table. True godliness is served up hot. Newness of life means a soul aglow with love to God, and therefore earnest, zealous, happy. Let the believing man have space for his larger life, swing for his grander joy. Nay, do not gag him; let him sing his new song. If any man out of heaven has a right to be happy, it is the man who lives in newness of life. Come, beloved, I want you to go home to-day with the resolve that the newness of life shall be more apparent in your walk. Do not live the old life over again. Why should you? What good would come of it? -- Charles Spurgeon, "Christ's Resurrection and Our Newness of Life"

Something to Think About

Are you overjoyed by Christ's gift of salvation? In the Spurgeon quote above, what sort of joy is he describing? Does it mean we should feel happy all the time? How is it different from everyday happiness?
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Knowing Him - An Easter Devotional

MARKETPLACE IN THE WORSHIP PLACE

Jesus entered the temple area and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves. ‘It is written,’ he said to them,’ ‘My house will be called a house of prayer,’ but you are making it a ‘den of robbers.’” (Matthew 21:12-13).

Jesus entered Jerusalem to begin the last week of his life on earth (sometimes called Passion week) with incredible drama. What must his disciples have thought? He rode down the hillside path with throngs of people shouting his praise, and then, approaching the beautiful temple on the other side of the valley, he entered its courts and “cleansed” the temple. Sheep scattered through the courtyard, doves flew out of broken cages, coins rang out as they scattered on the stone plaza, and there was Jesus in the middle of it all, driving away the merchants who saw the temple courtyard as a great place to cash in.

Now Jesus had no problem with the sacrificial system. It’s in the Old Testament, and the principle of sacrificial giving is part of the plan of God. But when the din of human activity drowns out the prayers of the people of God, then it has gone too far.

The temple as “the house of prayer” was to be a place where the worshiper was caught up with awe for the Almighty. It was a place where the people could have an encounter with their Father and Lord. The hubbub of institutionalized religiosity was a poor substitute. And so, Jesus entered Jerusalem at the start of that important week, and smashed everything that did not fit with God’s character. Sometimes God can only build after he has torn down.

Ponder This: What part of your life might Jesus want to overturn, to cleanse, in order to start over?

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: Luke 17-18 (NIV)

View today's Lent reading on Bible Gateway
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.

7 "Suppose one of you has a servant plowing or looking after the sheep. Will he say to the servant when he comes in from the field, 'Come along now and sit down to eat'? 8 Won't he rather say, 'Prepare my supper, get yourself ready and wait on me while I eat and drink; after that you may eat and drink'? 9Will he thank the servant because he did what he was told to do? 10 So you also, when you have done everything you were told to do, should say, 'We are unworthy servants; we have only done our duty....'"



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