Thursday, May 12, 2011

Daily Devotional Friday 13th May

“A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies. She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her:” - Proverbs 31:10, 27-28
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Morning and Evening by Charles Spurgeon

Morning

"And will manifest myself to him."
John 14:21

The Lord Jesus gives special revelations of himself to his people. Even if Scripture did not declare this, there are many of the children of God who could testify the truth of it from their own experience. They have had manifestations of their Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ in a peculiar manner, such as no mere reading or hearing could afford. In the biographies of eminent saints, you will find many instances recorded in which Jesus has been pleased, in a very special manner to speak to their souls, and to unfold the wonders of his person; yea, so have their souls been steeped in happiness that they have thought themselves to be in heaven, whereas they were not there, though they were well nigh on the threshold of it--for when Jesus manifests himself to his people, it is heaven on earth; it is paradise in embryo; it is bliss begun. Especial manifestations of Christ exercise a holy influence on the believer's heart. One effect will be humility. If a man says, "I have had such-and-such spiritual communications, I am a great man," he has never had any communion with Jesus at all; for "God hath respect unto the lowly: but the proud he knoweth afar off." He does not need to come near them to know them, and will never give them any visits of love. Another effect will be happiness; for in God's presence there are pleasures for evermore. Holiness will be sure to follow. A man who has no holiness has never had this manifestation. Some men profess a great deal; but we must not believe any one unless we see that his deeds answer to what he says. "Be not deceived; God is not mocked." He will not bestow his favours upon the wicked: for while he will not cast away a perfect man, neither will he respect an evil doer. Thus there will be three effects of nearness to Jesus--humility, happiness, and holiness. May God give them to thee, Christian!

Evening

"Fear not to go down into Egypt; for I will there make of thee a great nation: I will go down with thee into Egypt; and I will also surely bring thee up again."
Genesis 46:3-4

Jacob must have shuddered at the thought of leaving the land of his father's sojourning, and dwelling among heathen strangers. It was a new scene, and likely to be a trying one: who shall venture among couriers of a foreign monarch without anxiety? Yet the way was evidently appointed for him, and therefore he resolved to go. This is frequently the position of believers now--they are called to perils and temptations altogether untried: at such seasons let them imitate Jacob's example by offering sacrifices of prayer unto God, and seeking his direction; let them not take a step until they have waited upon the Lord for his blessing: then they will have Jacob's companion to be their friend and helper. How blessed to feel assured that the Lord is with us in all our ways, and condescends to go down into our humiliations and banishments with us! Even beyond the ocean our Father's love beams like the sun in its strength. We cannot hesitate to go where Jehovah promises his presence; even the valley of deathshade grows bright with the radiance of this assurance. Marching onwards with faith in their God, believers shall have Jacob's promise. They shall be brought up again, whether it be from the troubles of life or the chambers of death. Jacob's seed came out of Egypt in due time, and so shall all the faithful pass unscathed through the tribulation of life, and the terror of death. Let us exercise Jacob's confidence. "Fear not," is the Lord's command and his divine encouragement to those who at his bidding are launching upon new seas; the divine presence and preservation forbid so much as one unbelieving fear. Without our God we should fear to move; but when he bids us to, it would be dangerous to tarry. Reader, go forward, and fear not.

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Theophilus

[Thēŏph'ĭlŭs] - loved by god, lover of god, or friend of god. A Christian of high rank for whose use Luke wrote his gospel and the Acts of the Apostles (Luke 1:3; Acts 1:1). The term "most excellent," used also of Felix and Festus (Acts 23:26; 24:3; 26:25 ), indicates that Theophilus was a Roman official to whom Luke paid due deference, even though he was on intimate terms with him. It has been suggested "Theophilus" was the name this Gentile nobleman chose at his conversion to Christianity. Evidently Luke had fully instructed him in the cardinal truths of the Gospel (Luke 1:3).
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Today's reading: 2 Kings 15-16, John 3:1-18 (NIV)

View today's reading on Bible Gateway

Today's Old Testament reading: 2 Kings 15-16

Azariah King of Judah

1 In the twenty-seventh year of Jeroboam king of Israel, Azariah son of Amaziah king of Judah began to reign. 2 He was sixteen years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem fifty-two years. His mother's name was Jekoliah; she was from Jerusalem. 3 He did what was right in the eyes of the LORD, just as his father Amaziah had done. 4 The high places, however, were not removed; the people continued to offer sacrifices and burn incense there.

...read the rest on Bible Gateway

Today's New Testament reading: John 3:1-18

Jesus Teaches Nicodemus

1 Now there was a Pharisee, a man named Nicodemus who was a member of the Jewish ruling council. 2 He came to Jesus at night and said, "Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the signs you are doing if God were not with him."

3 Jesus replied, "Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again."

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LeeStrobel-Newsletter-Header-Final
The Power of Story

LeeheadshotMy first novel - a legal thriller - is now being released. Here's why I believe fiction can open new doors for the spiritually curious.

My buddy Mark Mittelberg recently interviewed me about my first novel, The Ambition, which is being released in a few days by Zondervan.

Q. Hey, Lee, you're known for non-fiction. Why venture into the untested waters of fiction?

A. When I was in the fifth grade our nation was at the height of the Civil Rights movement. My teacher, working in an all-white suburb of Chicago, knew she couldn't speak her mind about the need for equal rights. It would have been political dynamite. So she read the class a novel about the effects of slavery on an average family in the ancient world. It was a fictional account but its background setting was historically accurate, and it provided a compelling allegory that helped shape me - and, I'm sure, many others in my class - into an advocate for civil rights in America.

That's the power of stories. We read in 2 Samuel 12 that when Nathan wanted to confront David about his infidelity and the slaying of Bathsheba's husband Uriah, he used an allegory. When Jesus wanted to teach lessons, he often used parables. Many times people are receptive to stories even though they'd be closed to straight-out information.

Q. The Ambition reminds me of a John Grisham novel. Why this genre?

A. They say to write about what you know. When I was legal editor at the Chicago Tribune, I covered a lot of trials involving the crime syndicate. I hung around the courthouse, with the judges, prosecutors, cops and defense attorneys. Later I became a spiritual seeker and then a teaching pastor at two megachurches. So all of those experiences are reflected in the book.

Advertisement
Questions from readers:

  • What's the evidence for Old Testament?
  • Why did God create such a vast universe?
  • Are there prophets among us today?

Q. What would you say is the evidence for the Old Testament? I'm really impressed with your research on the New Testament, but I'm very curious about the Old. - Kyle

A. That's a really important question, Kyle, and I think you'll be encouraged by the evidence. It sounds like you're already aware of the historicity of Jesus and the rich manuscript evidence confirming the reliability of the New Testament, which I discuss in The Case for Christ and The Case for the Real Jesus. So it's important to remind ourselves of who Jesus is and what he says about the Old Testament.

After all, Jesus is not only the Messiah (also called Christ, meaning "anointed one"), but he is also the God-man, second person of the Trinity (for example, see John 8:58 and John 10:30). And he personally affirmed that some of the most miraculous stories of the Old Testament, such as Noah and the flood (Matt. 24:37-38) and Jonah and the whale (Luke 11:29-32), are historical events.

Read the rest of this answer!

Have a question? Send it to me at AskLee@Leestrobel.com. While the volume of emails precludes us from responding to each inquiry, we will choose questions with the broadest interest and offer responses in future newsletters.

Lee's Notes

• Are you on Twitter? Well, I'm finally tweeting - very actively! Please follow me at
@Leestrobel. This is a great way to keep in contact and let you know about important and interesting developments. Thanks to Chad Cannon of Outreach Speakers for prodding me into action. Next: Facebook? In the meantime, join me on Twitter!

• Did you know that the tenth anniversary of 9/11 is falling on a Sunday? What's your church going to do to appropriately mark this milestone? Well, I'd like to come to your church that evening via a live simulcast to clarify what Islam is all about and how we can effectively reach out to Muslims in our neighborhood and workplace.

Mark Mittelberg and I will commemorate this world-changing event, and then we'll be joined by experts on Islam to get beyond the hype and hysteria and discuss what Muslims really believe. This won't be political or incendiary; instead, everyone will walk away with a more accurate and balanced understanding of this major world religion and how we can build better bridges to our Muslim friends. After all, ten years after 9/11, most Americans remain ill-informed about Islam.

If you're a pastor, please visit www.incastevents.com to get more information, view a video explaining the concept behind the event and sign up to participate. If you're a member of a church, let your pastor know about this. We hope your church will join us on the evening of September 11!

Very cool trailer for my novel:

Ambition-small

A megachurch pastor. A cynical reporter. A corrupt judge. A gambling addict. A mob murder. They're all in my first novel, The Ambition and foreshadowed in this 60-second Hollywood-style trailer.


Lee's Links: Suggested articles from the web

Megachurch hires H'wood director
An Illinois church has hired director Dallas Jenkins and bought a sound stage to produce several faith-based films for theatrical and DVD release. Filming begins late 2011 or early 2012.

Conservative churches are thriving
Seminary president Al Mohler discusses the phenomenon that has liberals shaking their heads in disbelief: while mainline churches decline, theologically conservative churches continue to grow.
Learning from misleading article
We can either spend our time critiquing a misleading article in The Nation about Christian adoption practices or learn from some of its critiques. Christianity Today wisely urges the latter.
Six thoughts about Jesus
Joe Carter, web editor of First Things, says these half-dozen thoughts he has about his Savior might be banal or obvious - but to the contrary, they're worth visiting.
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