Friday, February 03, 2012

Daily Devotional Friday 3rd February

“However, as it is written: “What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived”— the things God has prepared for those who love him—” 1 Corinthians 2:9 NIV
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Morning and Evening by Charles Spurgeon

Morning

"Without the shedding of blood is no remission."
Hebrews 9:22

This is the voice of unalterable truth. In none of the Jewish ceremonies were sins, even typically, removed without blood-shedding. In no case, by no means can sin be pardoned without atonement. It is clear, then, that there is no hope for me out of Christ; for there is no other blood-shedding which is worth a thought as an atonement for sin. Am I, then, believing in him? Is the blood of his atonement truly applied to my soul? All men are on a level as to their need of him. If we be never so moral, generous, amiable, or patriotic, the rule will not be altered to make an exception for us. Sin will yield to nothing less potent than the blood of him whom God hath set forth as a propitiation. What a blessing that there is the one way of pardon! Why should we seek another?

Persons of merely formal religion cannot understand how we can rejoice that all our sins are forgiven us for Christ's sake. Their works, and prayers, and ceremonies, give them very poor comfort; and well may they be uneasy, for they are neglecting the one great salvation, and endeavouring to get remission without blood. My soul, sit down, and behold the justice of God as bound to punish sin; see that punishment all executed upon thy Lord Jesus, and fall down in humble joy, and kiss the dear feet of him whose blood has made atonement for thee. It is in vain when conscience is aroused to fly to feelings and evidences for comfort: this is a habit which we learned in the Egypt of our legal bondage. The only restorative for a guilty conscience is a sight of Jesus suffering on the cross. "The blood is the life thereof," says the Levitical law, and let us rest assured that it is the life of faith and joy and every other holy grace.

"Oh! how sweet to view the flowing

Of my Saviour's precious blood;

With divine assurance knowing

He has made my peace with God."

Evening

"And these are ancient things."
1 Chronicles 4:22

Yet not so ancient as those precious things which are the delight of our souls. Let us for a moment recount them, telling them over as misers count their gold. The sovereign choice of the Father, by which he elected us unto eternal life, or ever the earth was, is a matter of vast antiquity, since no date can be conceived for it by the mind of man. We were chosen from before the foundations of the world. Everlasting love went with the choice, for it was not a bare act of divine will by which we were set apart, but the divine affections were concerned. The Father loved us in and from the beginning. Here is a theme for daily contemplation. The eternal purpose to redeem us from our foreseen ruin, to cleanse and sanctify us, and at last to glorify us, was of infinite antiquity, and runs side by side with immutable love and absolute sovereignty. The covenant is always described as being everlasting, and Jesus, the second party in it, had his goings forth of old; he struck hands in sacred suretyship long ere the first of the stars began to shine, and it was in him that the elect were ordained unto eternal life. Thus in the divine purpose a most blessed covenant union was established between the Son of God and his elect people, which will remain as the foundation of their safety when time shall be no more. Is it not well to be conversant with these ancient things? Is it not shameful that they should be so much neglected and even rejected by the bulk of professors? If they knew more of their own sin, would they not be more ready to adore distinguishing grace? Let us both admire and adore tonight, as we sing--

"A monument of grace,

A sinner saved by blood;

The streams of love I trace

Up to the Fountain, God;

And in his sacred bosom see

Eternal thoughts of Love to me."

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Today's reading: Exodus 29-30, Matthew 21:23-46 (NIV)

View today's reading on Bible Gateway
Consecration of the Priests

1 “This is what you are to do to consecrate them, so they may serve me as priests: Take a young bull and two rams without defect. 2 And from the finest wheat flour make round loaves without yeast, thick loaves without yeast and with olive oil mixed in, and thin loaves without yeast and brushed with olive oil. 3 Put them in a basket and present them along with the bull and the two rams. 4 Then bring Aaron and his sons to the entrance to the tent of meeting and wash them with water. 5Take the garments and dress Aaron with the tunic, the robe of the ephod, the ephod itself and the breastpiece. Fasten the ephod on him by its skillfully woven waistband. 6 Put the turban on his head and attach the sacred emblem to the turban. 7Take the anointing oil and anoint him by pouring it on his head.8 Bring his sons and dress them in tunics 9 and fasten caps on them. Then tie sashes on Aaron and his sons. The priesthood is theirs by a lasting ordinance.

“Then you shall ordain Aaron and his sons.

10 “Bring the bull to the front of the tent of meeting, and Aaron and his sons shall lay their hands on its head. 11Slaughter it in the LORD’s presence at the entrance to the tent of meeting. 12 Take some of the bull’s blood and put it on the horns of the altar with your finger, and pour out the rest of it at the base of the altar. 13 Then take all the fat on the internal organs, the long lobe of the liver, and both kidneys with the fat on them, and burn them on the altar. 14 But burn the bull’s flesh and its hide and its intestines outside the camp. It is a sin offering.

15 “Take one of the rams, and Aaron and his sons shall lay their hands on its head. 16 Slaughter it and take the blood and splash it against the sides of the altar. 17 Cut the ram into pieces and wash the internal organs and the legs, putting them with the head and the other pieces. 18 Then burn the entire ram on the altar. It is a burnt offering to the LORD, a pleasing aroma, a food offering presented to the LORD.

19 “Take the other ram, and Aaron and his sons shall lay their hands on its head. 20 Slaughter it, take some of its blood and put it on the lobes of the right ears of Aaron and his sons, on the thumbs of their right hands, and on the big toes of their right feet. Then splash blood against the sides of the altar. 21 And take some blood from the altar and some of the anointing oil and sprinkle it on Aaron and his garments and on his sons and their garments. Then he and his sons and their garments will be consecrated.

22 “Take from this ram the fat, the fat tail, the fat on the internal organs, the long lobe of the liver, both kidneys with the fat on them, and the right thigh. (This is the ram for the ordination.) 23 From the basket of bread made without yeast, which is before the LORD, take one round loaf, one thick loaf with olive oil mixed in, and one thin loaf. 24 Put all these in the hands of Aaron and his sons and have them wave them before the LORD as a wave offering. 25 Then take them from their hands and burn them on the altar along with the burnt offering for a pleasing aroma to the LORD, a food offering presented to the LORD. 26 After you take the breast of the ram for Aaron’s ordination, wave it before the LORD as a wave offering, and it will be your share.

27 “Consecrate those parts of the ordination ram that belong to Aaron and his sons: the breast that was waved and the thigh that was presented. 28 This is always to be the perpetual share from the Israelites for Aaron and his sons. It is the contribution the Israelites are to make to the LORD from their fellowship offerings.

29 “Aaron’s sacred garments will belong to his descendants so that they can be anointed and ordained in them. 30 The son who succeeds him as priest and comes to the tent of meeting to minister in the Holy Place is to wear them seven days.

31 “Take the ram for the ordination and cook the meat in a sacred place. 32 At the entrance to the tent of meeting, Aaron and his sons are to eat the meat of the ram and the bread that is in the basket. 33 They are to eat these offerings by which atonement was made for their ordination and consecration. But no one else may eat them, because they are sacred. 34 And if any of the meat of the ordination ram or any bread is left over till morning, burn it up. It must not be eaten, because it is sacred.

35 “Do for Aaron and his sons everything I have commanded you, taking seven days to ordain them. 36 Sacrifice a bull each day as a sin offering to make atonement. Purify the altar by making atonement for it, and anoint it to consecrate it. 37 For seven days make atonement for the altar and consecrate it. Then the altar will be most holy, and whatever touches it will be holy.

38 “This is what you are to offer on the altar regularly each day: two lambs a year old. 39 Offer one in the morning and the other at twilight. 40 With the first lamb offer a tenth of an ephah of the finest flour mixed with a quarter of a hin of oil from pressed olives, and a quarter of a hin of wine as a drink offering. 41 Sacrifice the other lamb at twilight with the same grain offering and its drink offering as in the morning—a pleasing aroma, a food offering presented to the LORD.

42 “For the generations to come this burnt offering is to be made regularly at the entrance to the tent of meeting, before the LORD. There I will meet you and speak to you; 43 there also I will meet with the Israelites, and the place will be consecrated by my glory.

44 “So I will consecrate the tent of meeting and the altar and will consecrate Aaron and his sons to serve me as priests. 45Then I will dwell among the Israelites and be their God. 46 They will know that I am the LORD their God, who brought them out of Egypt so that I might dwell among them. I am the LORD their God.

Exodus 30

The Altar of Incense

1 “Make an altar of acacia wood for burning incense. 2 It is to be square, a cubit long and a cubit wide, and two cubits high—its horns of one piece with it. 3 Overlay the top and all the sides and the horns with pure gold, and make a gold molding around it. 4 Make two gold rings for the altar below the molding—two on each of the opposite sides—to hold the poles used to carry it. 5 Make the poles of acacia wood and overlay them with gold.6 Put the altar in front of the curtain that shields the ark of the covenant law—before the atonement cover that is over the tablets of the covenant law—where I will meet with you.

7 “Aaron must burn fragrant incense on the altar every morning when he tends the lamps. 8 He must burn incense again when he lights the lamps at twilight so incense will burn regularly before the LORD for the generations to come. 9 Do not offer on this altar any other incense or any burnt offering or grain offering, and do not pour a drink offering on it. 10 Once a year Aaron shall make atonement on its horns. This annual atonement must be made with the blood of the atoning sin offering for the generations to come. It is most holy to the LORD.”

Atonement Money

11 Then the LORD said to Moses, 12 “When you take a census of the Israelites to count them, each one must pay the LORD a ransom for his life at the time he is counted. Then no plague will come on them when you number them. 13 Each one who crosses over to those already counted is to give a half shekel, according to the sanctuary shekel, which weighs twenty gerahs. This half shekel is an offering to the LORD. 14 All who cross over, those twenty years old or more, are to give an offering to the LORD. 15 The rich are not to give more than a half shekel and the poor are not to give less when you make the offering to the LORD to atone for your lives. 16 Receive the atonement money from the Israelites and use it for the service of the tent of meeting. It will be a memorial for the Israelites before the LORD, making atonement for your lives.”

Basin for Washing

17 Then the LORD said to Moses, 18 “Make a bronze basin, with its bronze stand, for washing. Place it between the tent of meeting and the altar, and put water in it. 19 Aaron and his sons are to wash their hands and feet with water from it. 20Whenever they enter the tent of meeting, they shall wash with water so that they will not die. Also, when they approach the altar to minister by presenting a food offering to the LORD, 21they shall wash their hands and feet so that they will not die. This is to be a lasting ordinance for Aaron and his descendants for the generations to come.”

Anointing Oil

22 Then the LORD said to Moses, 23 “Take the following fine spices: 500 shekels of liquid myrrh, half as much (that is, 250 shekels) of fragrant cinnamon, 250 shekels of fragrant calamus, 24 500 shekels of cassia—all according to the sanctuary shekel—and a hin of olive oil. 25 Make these into a sacred anointing oil, a fragrant blend, the work of a perfumer. It will be the sacred anointing oil. 26 Then use it to anoint the tent of meeting, the ark of the covenant law, 27 the table and all its articles, the lampstand and its accessories, the altar of incense, 28 the altar of burnt offering and all its utensils, and the basin with its stand. 29 You shall consecrate them so they will be most holy, and whatever touches them will be holy.

30 “Anoint Aaron and his sons and consecrate them so they may serve me as priests. 31 Say to the Israelites, ‘This is to be my sacred anointing oil for the generations to come. 32 Do not pour it on anyone else’s body and do not make any other oil using the same formula. It is sacred, and you are to consider it sacred. 33 Whoever makes perfume like it and puts it on anyone other than a priest must be cut off from their people.’”

Incense

34 Then the LORD said to Moses, “Take fragrant spices—gum resin, onycha and galbanum—and pure frankincense, all in equal amounts, 35 and make a fragrant blend of incense, the work of a perfumer. It is to be salted and pure and sacred. 36Grind some of it to powder and place it in front of the ark of the covenant law in the tent of meeting, where I will meet with you. It shall be most holy to you. 37 Do not make any incense with this formula for yourselves; consider it holy to the LORD. 38Whoever makes incense like it to enjoy its fragrance must be cut off from their people.”


Matthew 21

The Authority of Jesus Questioned

23 Jesus entered the temple courts, and, while he was teaching, the chief priests and the elders of the people came to him. “By what authority are you doing these things?” they asked. “And who gave you this authority?”

24 Jesus replied, “I will also ask you one question. If you answer me, I will tell you by what authority I am doing these things. 25 John’s baptism—where did it come from? Was it from heaven, or of human origin?”

They discussed it among themselves and said, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will ask, ‘Then why didn’t you believe him?’26 But if we say, ‘Of human origin’—we are afraid of the people, for they all hold that John was a prophet.”

27 So they answered Jesus, “We don’t know.”

Then he said, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things.

The Parable of the Two Sons

28 “What do you think? There was a man who had two sons. He went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work today in the vineyard.’

29 “‘I will not,’ he answered, but later he changed his mind and went.

30 “Then the father went to the other son and said the same thing. He answered, ‘I will, sir,’ but he did not go.

31 “Which of the two did what his father wanted?”

“The first,” they answered.

Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God ahead of you.32 For John came to you to show you the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes did. And even after you saw this, you did not repent and believe him.

The Parable of the Tenants

33 “Listen to another parable: There was a landowner who planted a vineyard. He put a wall around it, dug a winepress in it and built a watchtower. Then he rented the vineyard to some farmers and moved to another place. 34 When the harvest time approached, he sent his servants to the tenants to collect his fruit.

35 “The tenants seized his servants; they beat one, killed another, and stoned a third. 36 Then he sent other servants to them, more than the first time, and the tenants treated them the same way. 37 Last of all, he sent his son to them. ‘They will respect my son,’ he said.

38 “But when the tenants saw the son, they said to each other, ‘This is the heir. Come, let’s kill him and take his inheritance.’ 39 So they took him and threw him out of the vineyard and killed him.

40 “Therefore, when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants?”

41 “He will bring those wretches to a wretched end,” they replied, “and he will rent the vineyard to other tenants, who will give him his share of the crop at harvest time.”

42 Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the Scriptures:

“‘The stone the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone;
the Lord has done this,
and it is marvelous in our eyes’?

43 “Therefore I tell you that the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people who will produce its fruit.44 Anyone who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; anyone on whom it falls will be crushed.”

45 When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard Jesus’ parables, they knew he was talking about them. 46 They looked for a way to arrest him, but they were afraid of the crowd because the people held that he was a prophet.

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Jesaiah, Jeshaiah [Jēsā'iah,Jē shā'iah]—jehovah is opulent or hath saved.

  1. A son of Hananiah and grandson of Zerubbabel (1 Chron. 3:21).
  2. A son of Jeduthun and a musician in David’s time (1 Chron. 25:3, 15).
  3. A Levite, son of Rehabiah and grandson of Eliezer, son of Moses (1 Chron. 26:25).
  4. A son of Athaliah and head of his father’s house at Elam, who with seventy males returned from Babylon with Ezra (Ezra 8:7).
  5. A Merarite included in the above seventy ( Ezra 8:19).
  6. A son of Benjamin, the father of Ithiel whose descendants dwelt in Jerusalem (Neh. 11:7).
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No Questions Asked

Matthew 4:18-22

The disciples do not hesitate when Jesus calls them. Immediately, they leave all behind to follow Him. John Chrysostom comments, "Christ seeks this kind of obedience from us, such that we delay not even for a moment, though something absolutely most necessary should press in on us" (Homilies on the Gospel of Saint Matthew, 14.2). Where have you been refusing to obey the Lord's commands? Follow Him today without any questions.

For further study:

1 Samuel 15:22

The Bible in a year:

Leviticus 4-6

Coram Deo from TableTalk Magazine, Matthew Studies. Copyright © 2008 by Ligonier Ministries.

Subscribe to Tabletalk magazine and receive daily Bible studies & in depth articles from world class scholars for only $23 per per year! That's only $1.92 per month. And you can try it out for three months absolutely free! Bringing the best in biblical scholarship together with down-to-earth writing, Tabletalk helps you understand the Bible and apply it to daily living.

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February 2, 2012

Remodeling 101

Mary Southerland

Today's Truth

Colossians 3:13 "Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you."

Friend to Friend

I promised myself that I would never buy a house that could be described as a "fixer-upper." I don't like fixing things. I want everything to be fixed before I move in. But there I was -- buying a town house that needed so much work even the realtor couldn't believe my husband and I wanted to buy it. Why didn't someone stop me? No one did, so the sale was made and we went to work. Actually, my son and husband went to work while I went crazy.

I had no idea how horrible the process of remodeling could be. Layer after layer of dirt, grime, stains and ugliness was stripped away. Rotten kitchen cabinets were torn from the walls and rusty appliances were replaced. We basically gutted the whole place and rebuilt it - while living in it. I was not happy!

I will never forget the day I woke up to see a toilet sitting at the foot of our bed. It was at that moment I resolved to never set foot in another house that required so much work. I am so thankful God does not feel that way about me.

Honestly, I used to wonder why God didn't just demolish the old me and build a new one. Then He did just that - through a two-year battle with clinical depression. While sitting at the bottom of that deep, dark and slimy pit, the Father lovingly stripped away old fears and insecurities. From the walls of my heart, He tore the rotten attitudes, undisciplined thoughts and unholy desires that had walked me to the edge of my pit; then pushed me in. He replaced rusty old dreams with new ones and basically, gutted my life to build a new one, a better one, and a stronger one. Part of that new life was forgiveness. God taught me how to forgive myself so I could then forgive others.

Because forgiveness is so important, it only stands to reason that there are roadblocks that can hinder our willingness to forgive. We must make the commitment to identify and remove each one.

Selfishness

Selfishness shouts, "I have been hurt! It is so unfair. I have rights!" What I am really saying is that how I feel about the hurt is more important than forgiving the hurt.

Pride

Pride cries, "Look at what they have done to me. Don't they realize who I am?" To receive or give forgiveness requires humility.

Low self-esteem

Some of us have built an entire identity around a hurt. The attention we gain from the wrong we have suffered defines who we are. It is something we cherish and refuse to relinquish for the sake of forgiveness.

Blindness

We may be blind to the fact that we have not forgiven a hurt. We have convinced ourselves that we really have forgiven the one who hurt us by going through the motions and saying the right words without really dealing with the pain. In reality, all we have done is dig a hole and bury the pain. As long as hurt is buried alive, it will keep resurrecting itself in our life, but when the hurt is dealt with and forgiveness is given, the pain is buried dead - and it stays dead.

Pain

Forgiveness is spiritual surgery. It exposes old hurts that have never completely healed. We can move, change jobs, change churches, change friends or even change families, but until we yank up the root of bitterness and cover it with forgiveness, we will live with unresolved pain.

Ignorance

Maybe we don't know how to forgive someone because are under the impression that forgiveness is an emotion or feeling. True forgiveness is a choice - a deliberate choice to release the person who has hurt us from the pain they have caused. We can stop forgiving others when God stops forgiving us.

We need to identify and eliminate the roadblocks to forgiveness so God can set us free, heal our pain and make us more like Him. Now that is a remodeling job I would welcome.

Let's Pray

Father, I praise You for the changes You have made in my life through the power of Your forgiveness. Please help me forgive the people who have hurt me just as You have forgiven me.

In Jesus' name,

Amen.

Now it's Your Turn

Emotional pain can cripple our lives unless we deal with it and forgive the hurt. A family member has wounded you and shows no sign of remorse. Maybe a friend has betrayed you and refuses to apologize. Or you may be struggling to forgive yourself because you don't think you deserve to be forgiven. None of us deserves forgiveness. Forgiveness is a gift from God. Today is the day to make the choice to forgive. Beside each statement below, write the name of someone in your life who needs your forgiveness.

Forgiveness is not limited to those who deserve it. ______________________________

Forgiveness is not limited to those who apologize. ______________________________

Forgiveness is not limited to those who change. ________________________________

Read and memorize 1 John 1:9: "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness."

More from the Girlfriends

God is the One who heals. Forgiveness puts us in the correct posture for Him to do so. Don't wait another minute to deal with the issue of forgiveness in your life. Know that we are praying for you and standing with you as you choose forgiveness.

Be sure to check out the FREE MP3s on Mary's website.

Need help dealing with the sin and temptation you encounter in your life? Get Mary's E-Bible Study, Winning the War with Temptation for practical and powerful steps you can take to live a life of victory. .

Need help getting the Word of God into your life? Check out Mary's Weekly Online Bible Study, When I Am Afraid, to learn how to face, deal with and surrender your fears to God.

Are you ready to begin a new faith adventure? Get a copy of our new book, Trusting God.

Seeking God?

Click here to find out more about

how to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

Girlfriends in God

P.O. Box 725

Matthews, NC 28106

info@girlfriendsingod.com
www.girlfriendsingod.com

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Life in earnest

‘He did it with all his heart and prospered.’ 2 Chronicles 31:21

Suggested Further Reading: Joshua 14:6–14

Look around you; who are the most useful men in the Christian church today? The men who do what they undertake for God with all their hearts. Where is the preacher whom God blesses by the conversion of hundreds in a year? Is he a sleepy, prosaic soul? Does he confine himself within narrow limits? Does he speak sleepy words to a slumbering congregation? We know it is not so, but where God is pleased to assemble a congregation it is, whatever it may not be, a proof that there has been earnestness in the preacher. Who are the most successful Sunday school teachers? The most learned? Every superintendent will tell you it is not so. The most talented? The most wealthy? No; they who are the most zealous; the men whose hearts are on fire; those are the men who honour Christ. Who among you today is doing the most for your Master’s kingdom? I will tell you. Lend me a spiritual thermometer by which I may try the heat of your heart, and I will tell you the amount of your success. If your hearts be cold towards God, I am sure you are doing nothing though you may pretend to do it, but if you can say, ‘Lord, my soul is all on flame with an agony of desire to do good to the souls of men,’ then you are doing good, and God is blessing you as he did Hezekiah, who did it with all his heart and prospered. Feeling that very many Christians are not Christians with all their hearts, and that perhaps some of you have only given Jesus Christ a dull, cobwebby corner of your hearts, instead of bidding him sit at the head of the table and reign upon the throne: fearing that we are all in danger of getting into a Laodicean lukewarm state, I wish to stir you up.

For meditation: While we must avoid zeal without knowledge (Romans 10:2), it is not in God’s purposes for us to be satisfied with the possession of knowledge without zeal (Titus 2:14 ). Do you seek to do with all your might whatever your hand finds to do (Ecclesiastes 9:10)?

Sermon no. 433
2 February (1862)

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Lysa TerKeurst

February 2, 2012

Physically Overweight and Spiritually Underweight
Lysa TerKeurst

"'My food,' said Jesus, 'is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work.'" John 4:34 (NIV)

If you've attended many Christian women's events, you've probably heard the story of the Samaritan woman told from just about every possible angle. If I hear someone start to speak about her at a conference, I'll admit my brain begs me to tune out and daydream about tropical places or items I need to add to my grocery list.

It's not that I don't like her story. I do. It's just that I've heard it so many times I find myself doubting there could possibly be anything fresh left to say about it. But in all my years of hearing about the Samaritan woman, reading her story, and feeling like I know it, I missed something. Something really big.

Right smack dab in the middle of one of the longest recorded interactions Jesus has with a woman, He starts talking about food. Food! And I'd never picked up on it before. I somehow missed Jesus' crucial teaching that our bodies must have two kinds of nourishment: physical and spiritual.

Just as I must have physical food for my body to survive, I have to have spiritual food for my soul to thrive. Jesus says, "My food ... is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work" (John 4:34 NIV). And then he goes on to say, "I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest" (John 4:35b NIV).

There is a bigger plan here! Don't get distracted by physical food. Don't think physical food can satisfy the longing of your soul. Only Jesus can do this. Our souls were created to crave Him and love others to Him. So many people are waiting to hear the message of your calling. Don't get stuck in defeat and held back from it.

In the midst of offering salvation to the Samaritan woman, Jesus seems to wander off on this tangent about food. But it's not a tangent at all.

Actually, it fits perfectly. It relates directly to the core issue of spiritual malnutrition. Specifically, it's about trying to use food to fill not only the physical void of our stomachs but also the spiritual void of our souls. For years, I've been physically overweight but spiritually underweight. How crucial it is for us to remember:

Food can fill our stomachs but never our souls.
Possessions can fill our houses but never our hearts.
Sex can fill our nights but never our hunger for love.
Children can fill our days but never our identities.

Jesus wants us to know only He can fill us and truly satisfy us. He really wants us to really believe that.

Only by being filled with authentic soul food from Jesus-following Him and telling others about Him-will our souls ever be truly satisfied. And breaking free from consuming thoughts about food allows us to see and pursue our calling with more confidence and clarity.

Dear Lord, I know that it is true that only You can fill me. I acknowledge that You are the Lord of my life. I want to please You today in all that I do. Help me to follow You. In Jesus' Name. Amen.

Related Resources:
Click here to visit Lysa's blog for a chance to win her bookMade to Crave and her new 60 day Made to Crave Devotional.

If this devotion resonated with you, Lysa's book Made to Crave is just what you've needed. Click here to order your copy!

This book can be a group Bible Study by using these life-changing resources: Made to Crave Participant's Guideand Made to Crave DVD teaching series, also by Lysa.

When you purchase resources through Proverbs 31 Ministries, you touch eternity because your purchase supports the many areas of hope-giving ministry we provide at no cost. We wish we could, but we simply can't compete with prices offered by huge online warehouses. Therefore, we are extremely grateful for each and every purchase you make with us. Thank you!

Reflect and Respond:
Jesus wants us to know only He can fill us and truly satisfy us. He really wants us to really believe that.

Only by being filled with authentic soul food from Jesus-following Him and telling others about Him-will our souls ever be truly satisfied. How can I apply this statement of truth to my life today?

Power Verses:
John 4:14, "'...but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.'" (NIV)

John 4:35, "Don't you have a saying, 'It's still four months until harvest'? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest." (NIV)

© 2012 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.

Proverbs 31 Ministries
616-G Matthews-Mint Hill Road
Matthews, NC 28105
www.Proverbs31.org

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The enchanted ground

“Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober.” 1 Thessalonians 5:6

Suggested Further Reading: Matthew 26:31-47

You never read that Christian went to sleep when lions were in the way; he never slept when he was going through the river of death, or when he was in Giant Despair’s castle, or when he was fighting with Apollyon. Poor creature! He almost wished he could sleep then. But when he had got half way up the Hill Difficulty, and came to a pretty little arbour, in he went, and sat down and began to read his roll. Oh, how he rested himself! How he unstrapped his sandals and rubbed his weary feet! Very soon his mouth was open, his arms hung down, and he was fast asleep. Again the Enchanted Ground was a very easy smooth place, and liable to send the pilgrim to sleep. You remember Bunyan’s description of some of the arbours: “Then they came to an arbour, warm, and promising much refreshing to the weary pilgrims; for it was finely wrought above head, beautified with greens, and furnished with benches and settles. It had also in it a soft couch, where the weary might lean.” “The arbour was called the Slothful’s Friend, and was made on purpose to allure, if it might be, some of the pilgrims to take up their rest there when weary.” Depend upon it, it is in easy places that men shut their eyes and wander into the dreamy land of forgetfulness. Old Erskine said a good thing when he remarked: “I like a roaring devil better than a sleeping devil.” There is no temptation half so bad as not being tempted. The distressed soul does not sleep; it is after we get into confidence and full assurance that we are in danger of slumbering.

For meditation: What would have happened to the disciples in Gethsemane if Christ had not woken them up? Are you oblivious to spiritual danger even when God warns you in his Word (Revelation 3:2,3)?

Sermon no. 64
2 February (Preached 3 February 1856)

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Make the Most of Today

This week's reading: Matthew 24:36-51

Recommended Reading: Proverbs 11:30; Matthew 25:14-30; John 9:4; Philippians 1:20-26

Carpe diem.

This Latin phrase means "seize the day," and it certainly echoes a valid objective. We do need to seize each day, because we don't know whether tomorrow will come or just how much of this life remains for us.

But what if we did? Imagine if a clock on the bottom of one foot digitally displayed how many days remained before we died. Theologian Francis Schaeffer put it another way: "Life is like a clock with no hands. It's ticking but you never know when it's going to strike midnight."

What a sobering thought-for those living in the 1st century or the 21st century. Despite all of our advances in safety measures, in both industry and transportation, and all of our progress in the medical field, life still maintains a measure of unpredictability for us today. Accidents still happen, and people still suffer from strokes and coronary artery disease, often seemingly out of the blue. Nearly everyone has a story to tell regarding a friend, family member or coworker who has experienced something like this.

The 1st century disciples asked Jesus, "What will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?" (Matthew 24:3). In the midst of his teaching, Jesus replied, "Keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come" (Matthew 24:42).

In a way, Jesus urges his followers to "seize the day" because no one knows when he will return. But we do know that each of us will come face-to-face with Jesus and give an account of how we have lived for him. Each of us in large measure determines how that encounter will go.

Jesus wants us to be ready no matter when he returns-to be "faithful and wise" servants (Matthew 24:45). Who are the faithful and wise servants? Those who are ready-those whom the Master finds doing his will when he returns.

Are you ready?

To Take Away

  • How would your life be different if you knew you had just a year left to live? A month? A day?
  • God gives each of us gifts with which to serve him. Can you identify the ways in which God wants you to serve him?
  • Do you think God sees you as a "faithful and wise servant"? Why or why not?

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How Does Jesus' Saving Work Illustrate His Divinity?

Today's reading: 1 Timothy 1:12-17

Paul confessed that only through the saving grace of Jesus did he receive eternal life. Because Paul was aware of the depth of his sinfulness (he had been a persecutor of Christ's followers), he was especially sensitive to the abundant grace Jesus had "poured out" on his behalf (1 Timothy 1:14). Through Jesus, God made the supreme sacrifice to deliver this staggering grace to sinners like us and Paul.

Jesus' voluntary sacrifice on our behalf demonstrates a key attribute of God: grace. While mercy refers to what God doesn't give that we do deserve (punishment), grace refers to what God gives that we don't deserve (life with him for eternity). Throughout Jewish history, God showed his mercy by giving his people more chances to avoid judgment. Ultimately, he showed the extent of his grace by offering his own Son as a substitute for the sin of all humankind.

Jesus graciously and voluntarily became the substitute that paid the punishment for humankind's unholy rebellion against God. In this way, Jesus' death also shows another key attribute of God: his love (see John 3:16). Jesus extends to the undeserving- to Paul and to each of us- the very grace of God, which is evidence that Jesus is indeed the Son of God.

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No Questions Asked

Matthew 4:18-22 "Immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him" (v. 22).

Jesus' ministry begins a new phase when He settles in Capernaum (Matt. 4:13 ) in Galilee, because it is there that the people begin to take notice of Him. In His day, Galilee is a bustling commercial area bordered by Syria and Phoenicia, offering ample opportunities for Jesus to interact with Jews and Gentiles alike. Travelers on trade routes can spread news of His ministry outside of Galilee. Moreover, the leaders in Jerusalem, as we shall see, strongly oppose Jesus, but in Galilee He can minister more freely and not have to be constantly looking out for those who might kill Him before the appointed time.

When Christ begins His ministry He delivers virtually the same message as John the Baptist - "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand" ( v. 17) - because both the old covenant and the new speak of the same kingdom. John, the final prophet of the old covenant, preached repentance (3:1). Jesus, the first and greatest new covenant prophet, delivers the same message. Of course, the new covenant is better than the old (Heb. 8 ), giving a fuller knowledge of God and a greater outpouring of the Spirit. Nevertheless, repentance is foundational to both covenants. Only contrite hearts can receive divine revelation (Isa. 66:2).

Among the very first to heed our Lord's command are Simon Peter, Andrew, James, and John, as recorded in today's passage. Walking beside the Sea of Galilee, Jesus tells these men to follow Him and become "fishers of men" (Matt. 4:19 ). This is not the first time Andrew and Peter meet the Christ; John's gospel tells us they followed Him during His earlier ministry in Judea (1:35-42). Apparently, they went back to their work as fishermen for a time, but with the advent of the Lord's concentrated mission in Galilee, the time has come for them to leave their nets once more.

In Jesus' day, disciples normally choose their rabbi, but the Messiah reverses this custom and chooses His followers Himself. Most importantly, Christ does not "issue an invitation," as if these men have the option to say yes or no. Instead, He commands them to become His followers since obedience to Him is the only proper response to His call (John 3:16-18; 1 John 3:23-24).

Coram deo: Living before the face of God

The disciples do not hesitate when Jesus calls them. Immediately, they leave all behind to follow Him. John Chrysostom comments, "Christ seeks this kind of obedience from us, such that we delay not even for a moment, though something absolutely most necessary should press in on us" (Homilies on the Gospel of Saint Matthew, 14.2). Where have you been refusing to obey the Lord's commands? Follow Him today without any questions.

For further study:

1 Samuel 15:22

The Bible in a year:

Leviticus 4-6

INTO the WORD daily Bible studies from TableTalk Magazine, Matthew Studies. Copyright © 2008 by Ligonier Ministries.

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NIV Devotions for Moms

When Life Is Cut Short

Psalm 73:21–22

Additional Scripture Readings: Matthew 6:14; 2 Timothy 2:24

Resentment puts us in prison. Like a ball and chain, it holds us back from experiencing the positive emotions of joy and peace. Are you imprisoned by resentment?

Resentment is an inevitable result of being damaged and wounded by the words or actions of another. We will feel it. To try to squelch the pain that comes when we’ve been hurt is to deny our human ability to feel.

But we don’t have to make resentment our permanent home. When we choose to live, day in and day out, within the confines of resentment, we imprison ourselves, trapped in bitterness, incarcerated in a grudge. When our energy is poured into these negative emotions, we are barred from experiencing life-giving emotions like forgiveness, love and hope.

We can’t choose whether or not we will be hurt. The mistakes of others are out of our control. But we can determine how we will respond to the pain that comes by the hand of another. Release resentment. In so doing, we set our hearts free.

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