Thursday, February 02, 2012

Daily Devotional Thursday 2nd February

“Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.” Deuteronomy 6:4-5NIV
Morning and Evening by Charles Spurgeon


"They shall sing in the ways of the Lord."
Psalm 138:5

The time when Christians begin to sing in the ways of the Lord is when they first lose their burden at the foot of the Cross. Not even the songs of the angels seem so sweet as the first song of rapture which gushes from the inmost soul of the forgiven child of God. You know how John Bunyan describes it. He says when poor Pilgrim lost his burden at the Cross, he gave three great leaps, and went on his way singing--

"Blest Cross! blest Sepulchre! blest rather be

The Man that there was put to shame for me!"

Believer, do you recollect the day when your fetters fell off? Do you remember the place when Jesus met you, and said, "I have loved thee with an everlasting love; I have blotted out as a cloud thy transgressions, and as a thick cloud thy sins; they shall not be mentioned against thee any more forever." Oh! what a sweet season is that when Jesus takes away the pain of sin. When the Lord first pardoned my sin, I was so joyous that I could scarce refrain from dancing. I thought on my road home from the house where I had been set at liberty, that I must tell the stones in the street the story of my deliverance. So full was my soul of joy, that I wanted to tell every snow-flake that was falling from heaven of the wondrous love of Jesus, who had blotted out the sins of one of the chief of rebels. But it is not only at the commencement of the Christian life that believers have reason for song; as long as they live they discover cause to sing in the ways of the Lord, and their experience of his constant lovingkindness leads them to say, "I will bless the Lord at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth." See to it, brother, that thou magnifiest the Lord this day.

"Long as we tread this desert land,

New mercies shall new songs demand."


"Thy love to me was wonderful."
2 Samuel 1:26

Come, dear readers, let each one of us speak for himself of the wonderful love, not of Jonathan, but of Jesus. We will not relate what we have been told, but the things which we have tasted and handled-of the love of Christ. Thy love to me, O Jesus, was wonderful when I was a stranger wandering far from thee, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind. Thy love restrained me from committing the sin which is unto death, and withheld me from self-destruction. Thy love held back the axe when Justice said, "Cut it down! why cumbereth it the ground?" Thy love drew me into the wilderness, stripped me there, and made me feel the guilt of my sin, and the burden of mine iniquity. Thy love spake thus comfortably to me when, I was sore dismayed--"Come unto me, and I will give thee rest." Oh, how matchless thy love when, in a moment, thou didst wash my sins away, and make my polluted soul, which was crimson with the blood of my nativity, and black with the grime of my transgressions, to be white as the driven snow, and pure as the finest wool. How thou didst commend thy love when thou didst whisper in my ears, "I am thine and thou art mine." Kind were those accents when thou saidst, "The Father himself loveth you." And sweet the moments, passing sweet, when thou declaredst to me "the love of the Spirit." Never shall my soul forget those chambers of fellowship where thou has unveiled thyself to me. Had Moses his cleft in the rock, where he saw the train, the back parts of his God? We, too, have had our clefts in the rock, where we have seen the full splendours of the Godhead in the person of Christ. Did David remember the tracks of the wild goat, the land of Jordan and the Hermonites? We, too, can remember spots to memory dear, equal to these in blessedness. Precious Lord Jesus, give us a fresh draught of thy wondrous love to begin the month with. Amen.


Today's reading: Exodus 27-28, Matthew 21:1-22 (NIV)

View today's reading on Bible Gateway
The Altar of Burnt Offering

1 “Build an altar of acacia wood, three cubits high; it is to be square, five cubits long and five cubits wide. 2 Make a horn at each of the four corners, so that the horns and the altar are of one piece, and overlay the altar with bronze. 3 Make all its utensils of bronze—its pots to remove the ashes, and its shovels, sprinkling bowls, meat forks and firepans. 4 Make a grating for it, a bronze network, and make a bronze ring at each of the four corners of the network. 5 Put it under the ledge of the altar so that it is halfway up the altar. 6 Make poles of acacia wood for the altar and overlay them with bronze. 7 The poles are to be inserted into the rings so they will be on two sides of the altar when it is carried. 8 Make the altar hollow, out of boards. It is to be made just as you were shown on the mountain.

The Courtyard

9 “Make a courtyard for the tabernacle. The south side shall be a hundred cubits long and is to have curtains of finely twisted linen, 10 with twenty posts and twenty bronze bases and with silver hooks and bands on the posts. 11 The north side shall also be a hundred cubits long and is to have curtains, with twenty posts and twenty bronze bases and with silver hooks and bands on the posts.

12 “The west end of the courtyard shall be fifty cubits wide and have curtains, with ten posts and ten bases. 13 On the east end, toward the sunrise, the courtyard shall also be fifty cubits wide. 14 Curtains fifteen cubits long are to be on one side of the entrance, with three posts and three bases, 15 and curtains fifteen cubits long are to be on the other side, with three posts and three bases.

16 “For the entrance to the courtyard, provide a curtain twenty cubits long, of blue, purple and scarlet yarn and finely twisted linen—the work of an embroiderer—with four posts and four bases. 17 All the posts around the courtyard are to have silver bands and hooks, and bronze bases. 18 The courtyard shall be a hundred cubits long and fifty cubits wide, with curtains of finely twisted linen five cubits high, and with bronze bases. 19All the other articles used in the service of the tabernacle, whatever their function, including all the tent pegs for it and those for the courtyard, are to be of bronze.

Oil for the Lampstand

20 “Command the Israelites to bring you clear oil of pressed olives for the light so that the lamps may be kept burning. 21 In the tent of meeting, outside the curtain that shields the ark of the covenant law, Aaron and his sons are to keep the lamps burning before the LORD from evening till morning. This is to be a lasting ordinance among the Israelites for the generations to come.

Exodus 28

The Priestly Garments

1 “Have Aaron your brother brought to you from among the Israelites, along with his sons Nadab and Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar, so they may serve me as priests. 2 Make sacred garments for your brother Aaron to give him dignity and honor. 3Tell all the skilled workers to whom I have given wisdom in such matters that they are to make garments for Aaron, for his consecration, so he may serve me as priest. 4 These are the garments they are to make: a breastpiece, an ephod, a robe, a woven tunic, a turban and a sash. They are to make these sacred garments for your brother Aaron and his sons, so they may serve me as priests. 5 Have them use gold, and blue, purple and scarlet yarn, and fine linen.

The Ephod

6 “Make the ephod of gold, and of blue, purple and scarlet yarn, and of finely twisted linen—the work of skilled hands. 7 It is to have two shoulder pieces attached to two of its corners, so it can be fastened. 8 Its skillfully woven waistband is to be like it—of one piece with the ephod and made with gold, and with blue, purple and scarlet yarn, and with finely twisted linen.

9 “Take two onyx stones and engrave on them the names of the sons of Israel 10 in the order of their birth—six names on one stone and the remaining six on the other. 11 Engrave the names of the sons of Israel on the two stones the way a gem cutter engraves a seal. Then mount the stones in gold filigree settings 12 and fasten them on the shoulder pieces of the ephod as memorial stones for the sons of Israel. Aaron is to bear the names on his shoulders as a memorial before the LORD. 13 Make gold filigree settings 14 and two braided chains of pure gold, like a rope, and attach the chains to the settings.

The Breastpiece

15 “Fashion a breastpiece for making decisions—the work of skilled hands. Make it like the ephod: of gold, and of blue, purple and scarlet yarn, and of finely twisted linen. 16 It is to be square—a span long and a span wide—and folded double. 17Then mount four rows of precious stones on it. The first row shall be carnelian, chrysolite and beryl; 18 the second row shall be turquoise, lapis lazuli and emerald; 19 the third row shall be jacinth, agate and amethyst; 20 the fourth row shall be topaz, onyx and jasper. Mount them in gold filigree settings. 21 There are to be twelve stones, one for each of the names of the sons of Israel, each engraved like a seal with the name of one of the twelve tribes.

22 “For the breastpiece make braided chains of pure gold, like a rope. 23 Make two gold rings for it and fasten them to two corners of the breastpiece. 24 Fasten the two gold chains to the rings at the corners of the breastpiece, 25 and the other ends of the chains to the two settings, attaching them to the shoulder pieces of the ephod at the front. 26 Make two gold rings and attach them to the other two corners of the breastpiece on the inside edge next to the ephod. 27 Make two more gold rings and attach them to the bottom of the shoulder pieces on the front of the ephod, close to the seam just above the waistband of the ephod. 28 The rings of the breastpiece are to be tied to the rings of the ephod with blue cord, connecting it to the waistband, so that the breastpiece will not swing out from the ephod.

29 “Whenever Aaron enters the Holy Place, he will bear the names of the sons of Israel over his heart on the breastpiece of decision as a continuing memorial before the LORD. 30 Also put the Urim and the Thummim in the breastpiece, so they may be over Aaron’s heart whenever he enters the presence of the LORD. Thus Aaron will always bear the means of making decisions for the Israelites over his heart before the LORD.

Other Priestly Garments

31 “Make the robe of the ephod entirely of blue cloth, 32 with an opening for the head in its center. There shall be a woven edge like a collar around this opening, so that it will not tear. 33Make pomegranates of blue, purple and scarlet yarn around the hem of the robe, with gold bells between them. 34 The gold bells and the pomegranates are to alternate around the hem of the robe. 35 Aaron must wear it when he ministers. The sound of the bells will be heard when he enters the Holy Place before the LORD and when he comes out, so that he will not die.

36 “Make a plate of pure gold and engrave on it as on a seal: HOLY TO THE LORD. 37 Fasten a blue cord to it to attach it to the turban; it is to be on the front of the turban. 38 It will be on Aaron’s forehead, and he will bear the guilt involved in the sacred gifts the Israelites consecrate, whatever their gifts may be. It will be on Aaron’s forehead continually so that they will be acceptable to the LORD.

39 “Weave the tunic of fine linen and make the turban of fine linen. The sash is to be the work of an embroiderer. 40 Make tunics, sashes and caps for Aaron’s sons to give them dignity and honor. 41 After you put these clothes on your brother Aaron and his sons, anoint and ordain them. Consecrate them so they may serve me as priests.

42 “Make linen undergarments as a covering for the body, reaching from the waist to the thigh. 43 Aaron and his sons must wear them whenever they enter the tent of meeting or approach the altar to minister in the Holy Place, so that they will not incur guilt and die.

“This is to be a lasting ordinance for Aaron and his descendants.

Matthew 21

Jesus Comes to Jerusalem as King

1 As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage on the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, 2 saying to them, “Go to the village ahead of you, and at once you will find a donkey tied there, with her colt by her. Untie them and bring them to me. 3 If anyone says anything to you, say that the Lord needs them, and he will send them right away.”

4 This took place to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet:

5 “Say to Daughter Zion,
‘See, your king comes to you,
gentle and riding on a donkey,
and on a colt, the foal of a donkey.’”

6 The disciples went and did as Jesus had instructed them. 7They brought the donkey and the colt and placed their cloaks on them for Jesus to sit on. 8 A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. 9 The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted,

“Hosanna to the Son of David!”

“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”

“Hosanna in the highest heaven!”

10 When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred and asked, “Who is this?”

11 The crowds answered, “This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee.”

Jesus at the Temple

12 Jesus entered the temple courts 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. 13 “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.’”

14 The blind and the lame came to him at the temple, and he healed them. 15 But when the chief priests and the teachers of the law saw the wonderful things he did and the children shouting in the temple courts, “Hosanna to the Son of David,” they were indignant.

16 “Do you hear what these children are saying?” they asked him.

“Yes,” replied Jesus, “have you never read,

“‘From the lips of children and infants
you, Lord, have called forth your praise’?”

17 And he left them and went out of the city to Bethany, where he spent the night.

Jesus Curses a Fig Tree

18 Early in the morning, as Jesus was on his way back to the city, he was hungry. 19 Seeing a fig tree by the road, he went up to it but found nothing on it except leaves. Then he said to it, “May you never bear fruit again!” Immediately the tree withered.

20 When the disciples saw this, they were amazed. “How did the fig tree wither so quickly?” they asked.

21 Jesus replied, “Truly I tell you, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and it will be done. 22 If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.”


Josiah [Jōsīah]—the fire of the lordor jehovah supports. The king of Judah who succeeded his father Amon, when only eight years old, and one of Judah’s good kings (1 Kings 13:2; 2 Chron. 34:3).

The Man Who Sought After God

The history of Israel’s later kings makes dreary reading. Says J. G. Greenhough,

Four-fifths of them were equally deficient in brains and morals, a combination of wickedness and folly, with nothing of the king about them but the name. But here and there you come upon a man amidst all these royal puppets. It is like finding a garden in a Sahara, or a jewel in a heap of sham trinkets and dirty stage finery. Josiah breaks a long, monotonous series of absolutely worthless monarchs. Before and behind him are moral waste and darkness. He stands out as a figure worth looking at and loving ... Josiah’s good reign was like a burst of brilliant sunset, before the final darkness comes on.

In a life worth studying, let us list a few incidents illustrating the noble character of Josiah.

He was left parentless at eight years of age. Josiah had a sorrowful childhood, and as a king at eight years of age, he was introduced to scenes of violence, outrage and civil war. But God was more than a Father to this fatherless boy.

He had a good and darling mother. We know nothing about the mother who undertook Josiah’s training apart from her name, Jedidah, meaning, “God’s darling,” which she was not called for nought. She sought to make her son what she was called, “God’s darling,” and her labor had its sweet reward.

He sought after God at the age of sixteen. After sixteen years in the nursing hands of his good mother, Josiah turned from the ways of his father Amon and his grandfather Manasseh, and took his nobler and remoter ancestor, David, as his model. In life’s fair morning, Josiah set his heart to seek the Lord.

He purged Judah and Jerusalem when he was twenty. Youth did not deter Josiah from necessary reformation. Out went all forms of idolatry. Borne along by a noble rage, he swept away the groves full of abominations. Would that the fervent zeal and righteous enthusiasm of this earnest, passionate young man might characterize more young men today!

He rebuilt the Temple when he was twenty-six. This consecrated young man saw that it was of no use destroying idols unless he had something better to replace them. Thus when his destroying fever had spent its force, Josiah began to rebuild and repair the house of God. In turning over the rubbish of the Temple, the king made a strange discovery. He came across a buried and forgotten copy of the Law, the reading of which strangely affected him. Profoundly humbled, he laid the axe to his own corruptions, and went forward to grow in wisdom and godliness.

He reigned for thirty-one years and was only thirty-nine when he died . That Josiah was beloved by his people is indicated by their deep and long-continued mourning after his death.

2. A son of Zephaniah who dwelt in Jerusalem in Zechariah’s time (Zech. 6:10). Perhaps the Hen of verse fourteen.


February 1, 2012

Can You Love Your Husband and Brad Pitt Too?

Sharon Jaynes

(If you are single, you're not off the hook here. Keep reading.)

Today's Truth

"Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life"(Proverbs 4:23 NIV).

Friend to Friend

Sitting in a waiting room, I rummaged through stacks of magazines to pass the time. A magazine for families, I thought as I picked up a popular title. That ought to be safe.

Thumbing through the pages, I went directly to the "Family Matters" column to see what the culture was teaching these days. The title? "Why You can Love Your Husband and Brad Pitt Too." I turned back to the cover to make sure I had not inadvertently picked up Cosmopolitan or The National Inquirer. Nope it was a magazine for families - targeted at wives and mothers.

This is some of what the author had to say.

Last spring I found myself applying a pretty shade of pink lipstick before heading off to the nursery to buy annuals. Why the fuss? I hoped to run into the handsome gentleman who worked there....According to experts, married crushes are natural and common. As long as you don't let them develop into full blown fantasies or consider acting upon them, these minor attractions can actually help you appreciate your spouse more...Infatuations offer a safe break from the marital routine. Everyday life is a bit humdrum, making it hard to maintain a passionate connection all the time...

Well friends, there is another expert on marriage who was not quoted in this article and his teaching is the antithesis of this one. His name is Jesus. This is what He has to say about infatuation with the delivery boy, flirting with the man at the nursery, or cattily toying with a coworker in the next cubicle.

"You have heard it said, Do not commit adultery. But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart" (Matthew 5:27-28).

Looking at another man with a flirtatious eye is such a serious offense that Jesus went on to say, "If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away," (Matthew 5:29 ). Now, don't worry, I'm not going to tell you to pluck out your eye if you do have a crush on the buff young man who bags your produce at the grocery store, but I am telling you that you might need to shop elsewhere. I am saying that if you find yourself adding a bit of lip gloss before heading to the post office where the cute blond with the steel blue eyes always greets you like you've made his day, you need to forget the gloss and go to another post office. And that man in the next cubicle who always showers you with compliments and makes your heart skip a beat? I think Jesus is saying to pluck it out, change cubicles, or even more drastic, change jobs.

Perhaps you think I've gone just a bit too far. I imagine the folks listening to Jesus' advice about running from temptation thought so too. The truth is, I've never known one woman who had an affair which did not begin with a toying glance or flirtatious "innocent" bantering. Every sin begins with a thought and every spiritual battle is won or lost at the threshold of the mind.

Let's face it, women long to feel beautiful. After being married for a few years and having a baby or two, we begin to wonder if we are still pretty or sexually appealing. Then a man comes along who pays us a compliment and our hearts skip a beat. That is natural. However, if that compliment or attention leads to infatuation, returning for more, or a "crush" as the article implied, Jesus tells us to turn and run in the opposite the delete button...and avoid reply. "Flee sexual immorality," (1 Corinthians 6:18). This is serious...pluck it out.

It is interesting that when Satan tempted Eve in the garden, the first step to her downfall was her eyes. "When the woman sawthat the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to theeye...." (Genesis 3:6). It all began with her eyes...what she looked at. I wonder what would have happened if she had chosen to look away.

The above article had very little to do with Brad Pitt or Mel Gibson, but more to say about men we come in contact with everyday. Honestly, had it been Brad or Mel, I might have had a chuckle. But this article was encouraging women to play with fire. The author went on to say...

Whether you have a soft spot for Mel Gibson or Mel the mailman, make sure your husband knows that a crush doesn't change the way you feel about him. We all want to know that we are number one in our spouse's life. As for me, I told my husband about the man at the nursery. 'Going to see your boyfriend?' he teased as I headed out the door to buy mulch. Later I assured him that while Garden Guy knew the best cure for aphids; he could never melt my heart.

I read that and tried to imagine my husband, Steve, saying to me...."Honey, I want to tell you that I have a crush on the check out girl at Home Depot, but I still love you the best." I get a queasy feeling just thinking about such a conversation. And yet, this is what the "family magazine" was suggesting for women of the new millennium. No wonder the divorce rate in this country is 50% and rising.

But what if you are single? Does this apply to you? Absolutely! The enemy would like nothing better than for you, in your singleness, to fantasize about a man that you come in contact with on a regular basis. He would like for your mind to go where it need not go. He knows that singleness can be a lonely place and he is an equal opportunity tempter.

Bottom line? "Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life," (Proverbs 4:23 NIV). The heart of the matter is the matter of the heart.

Let's Pray

Dear Heavenly Father, help me to guard my heart today and every day. Help me to recognize temptation and flee - run in the opposite direction. I know that temptation is not a toy to be played with, but an evil weapon used against us. Thank You for giving me the power of the Holy Spirit to resist temptation and the power of the Truth in Scripture to fight the lies that "I would be happy if..."

In Jesus' Name,


Now It's Your Turn

Is there any area in your life where you are toying with temptation?

If you are single, have you been entertaining a relationship that would not be pleasing to God?

Go back and print off today's devotion. Highlight the various verses and commit them to memory. Make them part of your arsenal to resist temptation.

What are some ways that we can resist temptation? Let's share at

More from the Girlfriends

Today's devotion was adapted from Sharon's book, Becoming the Woman of His Dreams: Seven Qualities Every Man Longs For. If you would like to learn more about how to have a wonderful marriage, this book is for you. And, if you would like to learn more about how to resist the lies of the enemy in every area of life, you'll want to see Sharon's book, I'm Not Good Enough...and Other Lies Women Tell Themselves. When it comes to spiritual warfare, let's be armed and dangerous to the enemy's lies.

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



Ministry in Galilee

Matthew 4:12-17

Today's passage is a powerful example of God's grace. Those who sit in darkness get to see the light, not those who think they are in the light already. Jesus came to call sinners to repentance, not the righteous ( Luke 5:32). This does not mean that there are some who are righteous in themselves. It means that He saves only those who confess their darkness and admit their need of His light. Do you understand your desperate situation apart from God's grace?

For further study:

Micah 7:8

The Bible in a year:

Leviticus 2-3

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.

Melissa Taylor

February 1, 2012

I'm Beyond Hurt
Melissa Taylor

"All your words are true..." Psalm 119:160a (NIV)

I'm beyond hurt.

I'm beyond confused.

I'm beyond stressed.

I'm beyond tired�physically, emotionally and mentally.

I could go on and on. But then I would be beyond depressed.

When feeling like this, I realize I have to get my mind out of the gutter and anchor myself on God's promises.

I have to be intentional to focus on a different set of "beyond" statements or I quickly find myself in a pit. I know this from experience. Even if the "beyond" statements above are true, there are others that are also true.

I am beyond blessed: From the fullness of his grace we have all received one blessing after another. John 1:16*

I am beyond strong: Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go. Joshua 1:9

I am beyond secure: Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. John 14:27

I am beyond safe: Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you preserve my life; you stretch out your hand against the anger of my foes, with your right hand you save me.Psalm 138:7

I am beyond hopeful: "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11

I am beyond loved: But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation. Psalm 13:5

I am beyond valued: For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16

I am beyond forgiven: Then Jesus said to her, "Your sins are forgiven." Luke 7:48

I am beyond found: Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn't he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, "Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep." Luke 15:4-6

I am beyond complete: So you also are complete through your union with Christ, who is the head over every ruler and authority. Colossians 2:10 (NLT)

I can't trust my feelings, or even circumstances, to tell me how I am. They change like the wind. Up one moment and easily shot down the next. His Word however, never changes. Its ceaseless truths go beyond emotions and whatever my day holds to anchor me to hope.

Some days, weeks or even seasons of life are discouraging and we can't see beyond the pain, hurt and stress. Searching God's Word for His view of our circumstances and us lifts our eyes off the problems and onto Him. He's our ultimate source of truth and encouragement!

Dear Lord, thank You for recording Your Word for me to reflect on and find truth in. Thank You for giving hope and peace beyond my feelings and circumstances. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
Visit Melissa's blog to enter a give-away for the book she'll be featuring in her next online Bible Study, Untroubled Heart by Micca Campbell

For daily doses of hope and truth, join Proverbs 31 Ministries' Facebook page

His Princess, Love Letters from Your King by Sheri Rose Shepherd

Reflect and Respond:
Do I focus more on discouraging "beyond" statements or God's "beyond" statements of truth?

What is one verse I can use to replace my feelings of "beyond" hurt, stressed, overwhelmed, etc?

Power Verse:
Psalm 139:17, "How precious to me are your thoughts, God! How vast is the sum of them!" (NIV)

* Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture references are taken from the NIV 1984

© 2012 by Melissa Taylor. All rights reserved.

Proverbs 31 Ministries
616-G Matthews-Mint Hill Road
Matthews, NC 28105



Ministry in Galilee

Matthew 4:12-17 "From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, 'Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand'" (v. 17).

Upon hearing of John the Baptist's arrest, Jesus returns to minister in Galilee (Matt. 4:12). It is important to note that this is a "new phase" of ministry, for our Savior does not enter Galilee immediately after His baptism. According to John's gospel, Jesus has already spent time ministering in Jerusalem and Judea after His baptism (1:29-42). In fact, the ministry of our Lord and His forerunner actually overlap (3:22-24), if only for a brief period.

When Jesus comes to Galilee, He settles in a small village on the northwest edge of the Sea of Galilee named Capernaum (Matt. 4:13). Matthew tells us this fulfills biblical prophecy, specifically the words of Isaiah 9:1-2, which the evangelist paraphrases in Matthew 4:15-16. The original setting of Isaiah's text helps us understand how Christ fulfills this passage. Isaiah predicted that God would use the Assyrian empire as His rod to judge the northern kingdom of Israel ( chap. 7-8), and as was foretold, Israel fell and the people were exiled over a period of many decades culminating in 722 b.c. (2 Kings 15:29; 17:7-23).

However, our Father also said this sad state of His people would not last forever. He said that He would raise up a Son of David who would restore the glory of the nation, beginning first with a restoration of joy in the north (Isa. 9:1-7). In some sense this began when the exiles returned to their land in 538 b.c. , but the full restoration had to wait for the coming of the Christ. John Calvin comments, "The commencement of this light, and, as we might say, the dawn, was the return of the people from Babylon. At length, Christ, 'the Sun of Righteousness' (Mal. 4:2), arose in full splendor, and, by his coming, utterly 'abolished' (2 Tim. 1:10 ) the darkness of death." Since Jesus is ministering in the north and bringing God's light to a dark land, He must be the long-awaited Messiah who comes to restore His people. This is Matthew's point in 4:12-17.

Scripture often uses light to refer to the knowledge of God and obedience to Him (Ps. 119:105; Prov. 4:18). As the light of the world ( John 8:12), Jesus gives us true knowledge of our Creator (12:44-50) and frees us from sin's oppression (Rom. 6:17-18), which makes us unable in and of ourselves to serve the Lord.

Coram deo: Living before the face of God

Today's passage is a powerful example of God's grace. Those who sit in darkness get to see the light, not those who think they are in the light already. Jesus came to call sinners to repentance, not the righteous (Luke 5:32). This does not mean that there are some who are righteous in themselves. It means that He saves only those who confess their darkness and admit their need of His light. Do you understand your desperate situation apart from God's grace?

For further study:

Micah 7:8

The Bible in a year:

Leviticus 2-3

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

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Nominal Christians—real infidels

‘If I say the truth, why do ye not believe me?’ John 8:46

Suggested Further Reading: Mark 1:1–15

The claims of Jesus of Nazareth are briefly stated by Peter, ‘Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord.’ He demands repentance ; that is, a change of mind—the changing of your mind with reference to sin, caring no more for its pleasures, despising it and turning away from it: a change of mind with regard to holiness; seeking your happiness in it: a change of mind with regard to Christ himself, so that you shall no longer look upon him as without form or comeliness, but as a most precious Saviour, such as you need. Sinner, Christ demands of you that you should take your ornaments of self-righteousness from yourself, and wrap yourself in the sackcloth of humiliation, and cast the ashes of penitence upon your head, and cry, ‘Unclean! unclean! unclean!’ Moreover, he requires faith of you. ‘Repent ye and believe the gospel.’ ‘This is the commandment that ye believe on Jesus Christ whom God hath sent.’ The Jews said, ‘What shall we do that we may do the work of God?’ Christ said, ‘This is the work of God, that ye believe on Jesus Christ whom he hath sent.’ He demands that faith which will accept him to be the sole cleanser from sin, and so to be sole possessor, as he is sole redeemer, of the heart. Friend, you believe that no less a person than the Son of God thus bids you look upon him and be saved; you believe that the Son of God was nailed to the cross, and that out of love to you he demands that you forsake the sin which will destroy you, and believe in his blood which will cleanse you. Does Jesus thus speak? Are these demands the hard inventions of a tyrannical priesthood, or the mild and tender claims of love?

For meditation: The Lord Jesus Christ commanded such repentance and faith in him at the start of his ministry (Mark 1:15); his apostles continued to combine the same two gospel commands (Acts 20:21). They have never been withdrawn. Have you obeyed them? If not, ‘What doth the Lord require of thee?’ ( Micah 6:8)

Sermon no. 492
1 February (1863)



Why are men saved?

“Nevertheless he saved them for his name’s sake.” Psalm 106:8

Suggested Further Reading: 1 Peter 1:1, 2

Jesus Christ is the Saviour; but not more so than God the Father, or God the Holy Spirit. Some persons who are ignorant of the system of divine truth think of God the Father as being a great being full of wrath, and anger, and justice, but having no love, they think of God the Spirit perhaps as a mere influence proceeding from the Father and the Son. Now, nothing can be more incorrect than such opinions. It is true the Son redeems me, but then the Father gave the Son to die for me, and the Father chose me in the everlasting election of his grace. The Father blots out my sin; the Father accepts me and adopts me into his family through Christ. The Son could not save without the Father any more than the Father without the Son; and as for the Holy Spirit, if the Son redeems, do you not know that the Holy Spirit regenerates? It is he that makes us new creatures in Christ, who “begets us again unto a lively hope,” who purifies our soul, who sanctifies our spirit, and who, at last, presents us spotless and faultless before the throne of the Most High, accepted in the beloved. When you say, “Saviour,” remember there is a Trinity in that word—the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, this Saviour being three persons under one name. You cannot be saved by the Son without the Father, nor by the Father without the Son, nor by Father and Son without the Spirit. But as they are one in creation, so are they one in salvation, working together in one God for our salvation, and unto that God be glory everlasting, world without end. Amen.

For meditation: We are to be baptised in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:19) in acknowledgement of the fact that all three persons of the Trinity have accomplished our salvation.

Sermon no. 115
1 February (1857)


At Issue: Relationships

2 Chronicles 18:1

You may not realize how important it is to make good alliances. Think about it. A corrupt business partner could send you to jail. A close friend who likes to bar-hop could cause you to lower your standards. An unsaved husband could divide your family. Jehoshaphat made a poor choice in allying himself with Ahab-a well-known evil king. Who are your business partners, closest friends and mentors? Take care that your most important relationships draw you closer to God instead of pulling you away from him.



True Identity: The Bible for Women
by Zondervan

The Bible that helps you see yourself as God sees you! Find your true identity in Christ through your relationship with him.


Conversations with Jesus

Today's reading: John 4

How did Jesus talk to ordinary people?

John 4:25-26 The woman said, "I know that Messiah" (called Christ) "is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us." Then Jesus declared, "I, the one speaking to you-I am he."

Water. Where it's plentiful, we tend to take it for granted, like air. We linger in the shower, hose down a dusty driveway, let a sprinkler spurt for hours to keep the lawn green.

Not so in the desert, where even plants hoard water with bristly defenses. There, water takes on a mythical aura. Taunting mirages of pools and streams dance in the heat waves. A craving for water crowds out all other thoughts, and one spoonful, on a parched tongue, is worth gold.

To a woman in a dry land who spent part of each day hauling clay jugs to and from a well, water was the most powerful symbol imaginable. Little wonder that when Jesus offered "living water" that would never run dry (John 4:10,14), the Samaritan woman paid attention.

Profoundly Simple Words

A simple word or phrase with a profound meaning: That is the style of Jesus' teaching as presented in John. No Biblical author used simpler, more commonplace words: water, world, light, life, birth, love, truth. Yet John used them with such depth that hundreds of authors since have tried to plumb their meaning.

Reading John is like sitting in a canoe in the middle of a deep, pristine lake. The clarity of the water reveals everything under the surface-you think. Yet, as you gaze deeper, you can never see the bottom. Something always remains hidden.

Those who look for a neat scheme of organization in John usually fail. John's Gospel omits many of the events recorded in Mark, most of the long public speeches of Matthew and all of the parables of Luke. Its teaching emerges mainly through Jesus' intimate encounters with diverse people.

Listening in on Private Conversations

Jesus uttered some of his most memorable sayings in the midst of very ordinary conversations. The book of John rarely shows him speaking to large crowds. Instead, we see Jesus meeting secretly with a nervous religious leader (see John 3:1-21) or talking with a promiscuous woman (see John 4:5-26) beside a well. Both visitors carried away simple-yet-profound images (a second birth, living water), and today we recall those words as among the most familiar in all the Bible.

John paints close-ups of individuals who responded to Jesus on Earth. Some followed him courageously, others remained skeptical and still others reacted with hostility. Often, John reports, people simply did not understand, despite Jesus' use of visual images. In short, response to the Son of God on Earth nearly 2,000 years ago bears a striking resemblance to the world's response to him now.

Life Question

Imagine yourself in a private conversation with Jesus, much like the Samaritan woman's. What would you want to talk about?



Today's reading is from the
NIV Student Bible
by Zondervan

A proven, common sense approach to studying the Scriptures appeals to high school and college readers (and students of all ages).

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