Friday, March 30, 2012

Daily Devotional Friday 30th March

“God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” 2 Corinthians 5:21 NIV
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Morning and Evening by Charles Spurgeon

Morning

"He was numbered with the transgressors."
Isaiah 53:12

Why did Jesus suffer himself to be enrolled amongst sinners? This wonderful condescension was justified by many powerful reasons. In such a character he could the better become their advocate. In some trials there is an identification of the counsellor with the client, nor can they be looked upon in the eye of the law as apart from one another. Now, when the sinner is brought to the bar, Jesus appears there himself. He stands to answer the accusation. He points to his side, his hands, his feet, and challenges Justice to bring anything against the sinners whom he represents; he pleads his blood, and pleads so triumphantly, being numbered with them and having a part with them, that the Judge proclaims, "Let them go their way; deliver them from going down into the pit, for he hath found a ransom." Our Lord Jesus was numbered with the transgressors in order that they might feel their hearts drawn towards him. Who can be afraid of one who is written in the same list with us? Surely we may come boldly to him, and confess our guilt. He who is numbered with us cannot condemn us. Was he not put down in the transgressor's list that we might be written in the red roll of the saints? He was holy, and written among the holy; we were guilty, and numbered among the guilty; he transfers his name from yonder list to this black indictment, and our names are taken from the indictment and written in the roll of acceptance, for there is a complete transfer made between Jesus and his people. All our estate of misery and sin Jesus has taken; and all that Jesus has comes to us. His righteousness, his blood, and everything that he hath he gives us as our dowry. Rejoice, believer, in your union to him who was numbered among the transgressors; and prove that you are truly saved by being manifestly numbered with those who are new creatures in him.

Evening

"Let us search and try our ways, and turn again to the Lord."
Lamentations 3:40

The spouse who fondly loves her absent husband longs for his return; a long protracted separation from her lord is a semi-death to her spirit: and so with souls who love the Saviour much, they must see his face, they cannot bear that he should be away upon the mountains of Bether, and no more hold communion with them. A reproaching glance, an uplifted finger will be grievous to loving children, who fear to offend their tender father, and are only happy in his smile. Beloved, it was so once with you. A text of Scripture, a threatening, a touch of the rod of affliction, and you went to your Father's feet, crying, "Show me wherefore thou contendest with me?" Is it so now? Are you content to follow Jesus afar off? Can you contemplate suspended communion with Christ without alarm? Can you bear to have your Beloved walking contrary to you, because you walk contrary to him? Have your sins separated between you and your God, and is your heart at rest? O let me affectionately warn you, for it is a grievous thing when we can live contentedly without the present enjoyment of the Saviour's face. Let us labour to feel what an evil thing this is--little love to our own dying Saviour, little joy in our precious Jesus, little fellowship with the Beloved! Hold a true Lent in your souls, while you sorrow over your hardness of heart. Do not stop at sorrow! Remember where you first received salvation. Go at once to the cross. There, and there only, can you get your spirit quickened. No matter how hard, how insensible, how dead we may have become, let us go again in all the rags and poverty, and defilement of our natural condition. Let us clasp that cross, let us look into those languid eyes, let us bathe in that fountain filled with blood--this will bring back to us our first love; this will restore the simplicity of our faith, and the tenderness of our heart.

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Today's reading: Judges 7-8, Luke 5:1-16 (NIV)

View today's reading on Bible Gateway
Gideon Defeats the Midianites

1 Early in the morning, Jerub-Baal (that is, Gideon) and all his men camped at the spring of Harod. The camp of Midian was north of them in the valley near the hill of Moreh. 2 The LORD said to Gideon, “You have too many men. I cannot deliver Midian into their hands, or Israel would boast against me, ‘My own strength has saved me.’ 3 Now announce to the army, ‘Anyone who trembles with fear may turn back and leave Mount Gilead.’” So twenty-two thousand men left, while ten thousand remained.

4 But the LORD said to Gideon, “There are still too many men. Take them down to the water, and I will thin them out for you there. If I say, ‘This one shall go with you,’ he shall go; but if I say, ‘This one shall not go with you,’ he shall not go.”

5 So Gideon took the men down to the water. There the LORD told him, “Separate those who lap the water with their tongues as a dog laps from those who kneel down to drink.” 6Three hundred of them drank from cupped hands, lapping like dogs. All the rest got down on their knees to drink.

7 The LORD said to Gideon, “With the three hundred men that lapped I will save you and give the Midianites into your hands. Let all the others go home.” 8 So Gideon sent the rest of the Israelites home but kept the three hundred, who took over the provisions and trumpets of the others.

Now the camp of Midian lay below him in the valley. 9 During that night the LORD said to Gideon, “Get up, go down against the camp, because I am going to give it into your hands. 10 If you are afraid to attack, go down to the camp with your servant Purah 11 and listen to what they are saying. Afterward, you will be encouraged to attack the camp.” So he and Purah his servant went down to the outposts of the camp. 12 The Midianites, the Amalekites and all the other eastern peoples had settled in the valley, thick as locusts. Their camels could no more be counted than the sand on the seashore.

13 Gideon arrived just as a man was telling a friend his dream. “I had a dream,” he was saying. “A round loaf of barley bread came tumbling into the Midianite camp. It struck the tent with such force that the tent overturned and collapsed.”

14 His friend responded, “This can be nothing other than the sword of Gideon son of Joash, the Israelite. God has given the Midianites and the whole camp into his hands.”

15 When Gideon heard the dream and its interpretation, he bowed down and worshiped. He returned to the camp of Israel and called out, “Get up! The LORD has given the Midianite camp into your hands.” 16 Dividing the three hundred men into three companies, he placed trumpets and empty jars in the hands of all of them, with torches inside.

17 “Watch me,” he told them. “Follow my lead. When I get to the edge of the camp, do exactly as I do. 18 When I and all who are with me blow our trumpets, then from all around the camp blow yours and shout, ‘For the LORD and for Gideon.’”

19 Gideon and the hundred men with him reached the edge of the camp at the beginning of the middle watch, just after they had changed the guard. They blew their trumpets and broke the jars that were in their hands. 20 The three companies blew the trumpets and smashed the jars. Grasping the torches in their left hands and holding in their right hands the trumpets they were to blow, they shouted, “A sword for the LORD and for Gideon!” 21 While each man held his position around the camp, all the Midianites ran, crying out as they fled.

22 When the three hundred trumpets sounded, the LORD caused the men throughout the camp to turn on each other with their swords. The army fled to Beth Shittah toward Zererah as far as the border of Abel Meholah near Tabbath. 23 Israelites from Naphtali, Asher and all Manasseh were called out, and they pursued the Midianites. 24 Gideon sent messengers throughout the hill country of Ephraim, saying, “Come down against the Midianites and seize the waters of the Jordan ahead of them as far as Beth Barah.”

So all the men of Ephraim were called out and they seized the waters of the Jordan as far as Beth Barah. 25 They also captured two of the Midianite leaders, Oreb and Zeeb. They killed Oreb at the rock of Oreb, and Zeeb at the winepress of Zeeb. They pursued the Midianites and brought the heads of Oreb and Zeeb to Gideon, who was by the Jordan.

Judges 8

Zebah and Zalmunna

1 Now the Ephraimites asked Gideon, “Why have you treated us like this? Why didn’t you call us when you went to fight Midian?” And they challenged him vigorously.

2 But he answered them, “What have I accomplished compared to you? Aren’t the gleanings of Ephraim’s grapes better than the full grape harvest of Abiezer? 3 God gave Oreb and Zeeb, the Midianite leaders, into your hands. What was I able to do compared to you?” At this, their resentment against him subsided.

4 Gideon and his three hundred men, exhausted yet keeping up the pursuit, came to the Jordan and crossed it. 5 He said to the men of Sukkoth, “Give my troops some bread; they are worn out, and I am still pursuing Zebah and Zalmunna, the kings of Midian.”

6 But the officials of Sukkoth said, “Do you already have the hands of Zebah and Zalmunna in your possession? Why should we give bread to your troops?”

7 Then Gideon replied, “Just for that, when the LORD has given Zebah and Zalmunna into my hand, I will tear your flesh with desert thorns and briers.”

8 From there he went up to Peniel and made the same request of them, but they answered as the men of Sukkoth had. 9 So he said to the men of Peniel, “When I return in triumph, I will tear down this tower.”

10 Now Zebah and Zalmunna were in Karkor with a force of about fifteen thousand men, all that were left of the armies of the eastern peoples; a hundred and twenty thousand swordsmen had fallen. 11 Gideon went up by the route of the nomads east of Nobah and Jogbehah and attacked the unsuspecting army. 12 Zebah and Zalmunna, the two kings of Midian, fled, but he pursued them and captured them, routing their entire army.

13 Gideon son of Joash then returned from the battle by the Pass of Heres. 14 He caught a young man of Sukkoth and questioned him, and the young man wrote down for him the names of the seventy-seven officials of Sukkoth, the elders of the town. 15 Then Gideon came and said to the men of Sukkoth, “Here are Zebah and Zalmunna, about whom you taunted me by saying, ‘Do you already have the hands of Zebah and Zalmunna in your possession? Why should we give bread to your exhausted men?’” 16 He took the elders of the town and taught the men of Sukkoth a lesson by punishing them with desert thorns and briers. 17 He also pulled down the tower of Peniel and killed the men of the town.

18 Then he asked Zebah and Zalmunna, “What kind of men did you kill at Tabor?”

“Men like you,” they answered, “each one with the bearing of a prince.”

19 Gideon replied, “Those were my brothers, the sons of my own mother. As surely as the LORD lives, if you had spared their lives, I would not kill you.” 20 Turning to Jether, his oldest son, he said, “Kill them!” But Jether did not draw his sword, because he was only a boy and was afraid.

21 Zebah and Zalmunna said, “Come, do it yourself. ‘As is the man, so is his strength.’” So Gideon stepped forward and killed them, and took the ornaments off their camels’ necks.

Gideon’s Ephod

22 The Israelites said to Gideon, “Rule over us—you, your son and your grandson—because you have saved us from the hand of Midian.”

23 But Gideon told them, “I will not rule over you, nor will my son rule over you. The LORD will rule over you.” 24 And he said, “I do have one request, that each of you give me an earring from your share of the plunder.” (It was the custom of the Ishmaelites to wear gold earrings.)

25 They answered, “We’ll be glad to give them.” So they spread out a garment, and each of them threw a ring from his plunder onto it. 26 The weight of the gold rings he asked for came to seventeen hundred shekels, not counting the ornaments, the pendants and the purple garments worn by the kings of Midian or the chains that were on their camels’ necks.27 Gideon made the gold into an ephod, which he placed in Ophrah, his town. All Israel prostituted themselves by worshiping it there, and it became a snare to Gideon and his family.

Gideon’s Death

28 Thus Midian was subdued before the Israelites and did not raise its head again. During Gideon’s lifetime, the land had peace forty years.

29 Jerub-Baal son of Joash went back home to live. 30 He had seventy sons of his own, for he had many wives. 31 His concubine, who lived in Shechem, also bore him a son, whom he named Abimelek. 32 Gideon son of Joash died at a good old age and was buried in the tomb of his father Joash in Ophrah of the Abiezrites.

33 No sooner had Gideon died than the Israelites again prostituted themselves to the Baals. They set up Baal-Berith as their god 34 and did not remember the LORD their God, who had rescued them from the hands of all their enemies on every side. 35 They also failed to show any loyalty to the family of Jerub-Baal (that is, Gideon) in spite of all the good things he had done for them.


Luke 5

Jesus Calls His First Disciples

1 One day as Jesus was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret, the people were crowding around him and listening to the word of God. 2 He saw at the water’s edge two boats, left there by the fishermen, who were washing their nets. 3 He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, and asked him to put out a little from shore. Then he sat down and taught the people from the boat.

4 When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.”

5 Simon answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.”

6 When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break. 7 So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them, and they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink.

8 When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!” 9 For he and all his companions were astonished at the catch of fish they had taken, 10 and so were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, Simon’s partners.

Then Jesus said to Simon, “Don’t be afraid; from now on you will fish for people.” 11 So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed him.

Jesus Heals a Man With Leprosy

12 While Jesus was in one of the towns, a man came along who was covered with leprosy. When he saw Jesus, he fell with his face to the ground and begged him, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.”

13 Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” And immediately the leprosy left him.

14 Then Jesus ordered him, “Don’t tell anyone, but go, show yourself to the priest and offer the sacrifices that Moses commanded for your cleansing, as a testimony to them.”

15 Yet the news about him spread all the more, so that crowds of people came to hear him and to be healed of their sicknesses. 16 But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.

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Hosea, Oshea, Osee, Hoshea[Hōzē'ă, Ō shē'ă, Hō shē'ă]—jehovah is help or salvation.

1. The son of Beeri and first of the so-called Minor Prophets (Hosea 1:1).

The Man with a Sorrowful Heart

Little is known of Hosea’s history beyond what we find in his writings. He has been called the first prophet of Grace and Israel’s earliest evangelist. He was a native of the Northern Kingdom, the iniquities and idolatries of which weighed heavily on his heart. He bore the same name as that of the last king of Israel (2 Kings 15:30). In Jewish tradition, he is identified with Beerah of Reuben (1 Chron. 5:6 ). Christian tradition, however, relates him to the Hosea of the tribe of Isaachar.

The home tragedy overtaking him earned him the title of “The Prophet of a Sorrowful Heart.” Through the wrongs he suffered he came to realize the sins committed by Israel against God, and the long history of unfaithfulness to Him. The accounts of Hosea’s marriage, the birth of his children and his wife’s unfaithfulness and restoration make sad reading. Hosea was called to express God’s message and to manifest His character.

Gomer, his wife, was immoral; hence the word of the Lord came to him amid much personal anguish; his home life was destroyed. Society was corrupt and God’s law spurned, and Hosea came to see in his own suffering a reflection of what the sorrow of God must be, when Israel proved utterly unfaithful.

Three children were born to Hosea and Gomer:

I. Jezreel, recalling the deed of blood (2 Kings 10), and by it a knell was rung in the ears of Jeroboam. The name of this child was an omen of coming judgment.

II. Lo-ruhamah, meaning, “one who never knew a father’s love.” This expressive name pointed to a time when, no more pitied by Jehovah, Israel would be given over to her enemies.

III. Lo-ammi, signifying “one not belonging to me.” Israel had turned from a father’s love and deserved not to belong to God. Thus this third child’s name prophesied the driving out of the children of Israel from their land to exile.

Gomer, the erring wife, is received back (Hos. 3:1, 2), the price of her redemption being paid by Hosea. So the prophet was not only God’s messenger of grace—he reflected God’s character and foreshadowed ultimate redemption through the Messiah and Israel’s reestablishment as a nation.

The four lessons we learn from the broken heart and the Book of Hosea have been fully expounded by Dr. Stuart Holden:

Anguish quickens apprehension.

Iniquity inspires moral indignation.

Suffering begets sympathy.

The divine character sanctifies human conduct.

2. Joshua’s earlier name—changed by Moses ( Num. 13:8, 16).Deuteronomy 32:44 gives Hoshea.

3. The son of Azaziah and prince of Ephraim in David’s reign (1 Chron. 27:20).

4. A son of Elah, the last king of the Northern Kingdom (2 Kings 15:30).

5. A chief under Nehemiah who with others signed the covenant (Neh. 10:23).

Hosea is called Osee in the New Testament copy from the LXX.

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GiG Banner 2012 Big

March 29, 2012
The Slippery Slope of Comparison
Sharon Jaynes

Today's Truth
"He is before all things, and in him all things hold together," (Colossians 1:17 NIV).

Friend to Friend
OK girls, it's time for a little fun today. I hope you can get this picture in your mind. Let me paint it for you.

I am not, and never have been, a very athletic person. If it's round and moves, I can't hit it, catch it or kick it. My husband, on the other hand, is very athletic. He played sports in high school, and even had a partial baseball scholarship to Clemson University.

The one thing I can do athletically, besides walk, is snow ski. For some reason, that just came naturally to me, probably because there is no ball involved. When Steve and I started dating, I offered to teach him how to maneuver down the slippery slopes. He was aware of my athletic deficiencies and decided that if I could do it, he could do it.

We went to Sugar Mountain, N.C. for his first lesson. The key survival skills to learn when skiing are how to slow down, how to stop, and how to get up once you fall. The first thing Steve learned was how to get up, because the first thing he did was fall.

To slow down, I taught Steve to ski across the mountain, weaving back and forth, as he made his way down. He quickly learned to slow down by turning his skis to the left or to the right. However, he had a tendency to turn too far which left him with his skis pointing up the mountain. When this happened, he began sliding downhill backwards. Not good.

Finally, he figured out if he turned too much to the side, he could just continue the turn, making a complete circle. This slowed him down and prevented him from sliding downhill backwards. So here was this big guy making big circles all the way down the mountain like a human slinky on ice. It was a sight to behold, but it worked.

Near the end of the day, a lady skied up beside Steve and said, "I have been admiring your acrobatics all day long. Can you teach me how to make those beautiful circles?"

We burst out laughing! She thought he was an expert skier, but in reality, he was simply going in circles to survive.

Isn't that the way life is sometimes? You may look at someone and think she has it all together. You may want to be organized like her, have a neat home like hers, or have well behaved children like her. But the truth is that whoever you are comparing yourself to is probably going in circles, just like you are and they are doing whatever it takes not to go downhill backwards.

As you move through life today, don't look around to see who appears to be "doing life" better than you. Just keep your eyes on Jesus. He's the only one that has it all together…and I mean ALL.

Let's Pray
Dear Lord, I am so glad I don't have to be anyone today except who You created me to be. Help me to avoid comparing myself to other women who seem to "have it all together." Help me live my life for an audience of One – You!
In Jesus' Name,
Amen.

Now It's Your Turn
Is there someone to whom you tend to compare yourself?

If so, why do you compare yourself to her?

What do you think God would say to you about comparing yourself to someone else rather than being exactly who He has created you to be?

If you are willing to commit to not comparing yourself to anyone else, at least for one week, then click on my Facebook page at www.facebook.com/sharonjaynes and say… "I'm in!"

More from the Girlfriends
This story is just one of the devotions from my book Listening to God Day by Day. In it I've included 100 of my favorite devotions from the past 15 years. To watch a video about the book, click here and check it out.

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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P31Header
Lysa TerKeurst

March 29, 2012

A Complete Waste of Time
Lysa TerKeurst

"Post this at all the intersections, dear friends: Lead with your ears, follow up with your tongue, and let anger straggle along in the rear." James 1:19 (MSG)

My daughter Brooke got in the car the other day and sighed. It was one of those sighs that said, "I'm going through something, but unless you ask me, I'm not freely revealing this information."

I casually inquired, "Tell me the high from your day and your low."

"Mom," she groaned letting me know she secretly loved that I was asking, but all the middle school in her was making her play it cool.

I waited quietly knowing she'd eventually tell me. And she did. Something hard had happened at school that day.

I put my hand on hers, "I'm sorry sweetheart. I know that makes you sad."

To my surprise, this normally emotional child said, "Actually no. I've decided sometimes being sad or mad over stuff like this is a compete waste of my time."

And just like that she smiled and was ready to get on with her day. No tears. No tirade. No lamenting and wearing herself out with a tidal wave of emotion while over-processing this situation.

Just a 13-year-old's decision that this wasn't worth all that. The child turned tutor. The young one doling out wisdom.

Sometimes being sad or mad over stuff like this is a complete waste of my time.

I've mulled her statement over in my mind a hundred times. It's good. It's truth.

Indeed there are things to be sad about ... but so much of what pulls at my emotions isn't worth the time and energy I give it.

I love how James 1:19-21 reads in Eugene Peterson's paraphrase: Post this at all the intersections, dear friends: Lead with your ears, follow up with your tongue, and let anger straggle along in the rear. God's righteousness doesn't grow from human anger. So throw all spoiled virtue and cancerous evil in the garbage. In simple humility, let our gardener, God, landscape you with the Word, making a salvation garden of your life.

Is there something you've been sad or mad about that maybe is a waste of your time? Ask God to help you have a different perspective.

Dear Lord, some days my emotions seem to steam roll me. Please help me reconnect with You and know that many times being sad or mad over stuff is a complete waste of my time. I'd rather focus on You. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
Is there something you've been sad or mad about that may be a waste of your time? Ask God to help you have a different perspective. Leave a comment on Lysa's blog byclicking here letting her know how she can pray for you ... it would be her honor.

Becoming More than a Good Bible Study Girl is a perfect addition to spending time with the Lord and in His Word.

Lysa will be speaking in over 40 cities this year and would love to meet you. Click here to see her schedule.

Reflect and Respond:
Sometimes being sad or mad over stuff is a complete waste of time.

Replace anger or sadness with praises to the Lord today.

Power Verse:
Philippians 4:8, "Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirableóif anything is excellent or praiseworthyóthink about such things. (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 Savior's Healing Touch

Matthew 8:14-17 "This was to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah: 'He took our illnesses and bore our diseases'" (v. 17).

Today's passage is set in Capernaum, Jesus' home during His time in Galilee (Matt. 4:13). As in His healing of the centurion's servant there, our Lord uses a miracle to reveal His authority, but this time the person restored to health is a close acquaintance of Christ, a relative of Peter, one of Jesus' chief disciples.

Archaeologists think they have found Peter's house in Capernaum, under the ruins of a church built there early in church history, corroborating the historicity of Matthew 8:14-17. In any case, Jesus finds Peter's mother-in-law "sick with a fever" when He enters the home (v. 14). According to tradition it is improper to touch a feverish individual, but Jesus breaks this unbiblical custom and heals the woman (v. 15 ). Her restoration is instantaneous, and she immediately rises and serves her guest. By the Messiah's great authority, disease must vanish when He desires to bring healing.

That evening, the citizens of Capernaum bring demoniacs and the physically ill to Jesus for healing (v. 16). The people come after the sunset because it marks the end of the Sabbath (Mark 1:21-34), a day on which healing would break God's law, according to the Pharisees ( 3:1-6). Of course, Jesus will later demonstrate this instruction to be false, but at this point He apparently heals without explaining how such work actually fulfills the Sabbath's intent.

Matthew 8:17 tells us the Great Physician's work fulfills Isaiah 53:4. In context, Isaiah is describing how the Suffering Servant bears His people's sin (see v. 5 ). Matthew's reference to Isaiah's prophecy makes sense considering that the presence of illness and death is rooted ultimately in the fall of man. Jesus' healing begins to roll back the terrible effects of sin, thereby showing Him to be the Suffering Servant who suffers God's wrath to save His elect. Charles Spurgeon says, "Jesus is able to heal all the mischief that sin has worked...because He Himself took our sin upon Himself by His sacred Substitution. Sin is the root of our infirmities and diseases and so, in taking the root, He took all the bitter fruit which that root did bear" (The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, vol. 36, sermon no. 2,124).

Coram deo: Living before the face of God

Dr. John MacArthur writes: "In eternity, all sickness will be removed, so ultimately, healing is included in the benefits of the atonement" (The MacArthur Bible Commentary, p. 825). We have no right to expect that all our illnesses will be healed in this present age, only in the eternal state will Christ's work be fully applied and all disease gone. Still, we should pray for the sick knowing that our God may bring healing if we ask in faith and trust in His good purposes.

For further study:

Isaiah 25

The Bible in a year:

Judges 13-14

INTO the WORD daily Bible studies 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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The Savior's Healing Touch

Matthew 8:14-17

Dr. John MacArthur writes: "In eternity, all sickness will be removed, so ultimately, healing is included in the benefits of the atonement" (The MacArthur Bible Commentary , p. 825). We have no right to expect that all our illnesses will be healed in this present age, only in the eternal state will Christ's work be fully applied and all disease gone. Still, we should pray for the sick knowing that our God may bring healing if we ask in faith and trust in His good purposes.

For further study:

Isaiah 25

The Bible in a year:

Judges 13-14

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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Spurgeon-MetropolitanTabernacle-Header-1

The old, old story

‘In due time Christ died for the ungodly.’ Romans 5:6

Suggested Further Reading: John 5:39–47

Unbeliever, if God cannot and will not forgive the sins of penitent men without taking their punishment, rest assured he will surely bring you to judgment. If, when Christ, God’s Son, had imputed sin laid on him, God smote him, how will he smite you who are his enemy, and who have your own sins upon your head? God seemed at Calvary, as it were, to take an oath—sinner, hear it!—he seemed, as it were, to take an oath and say, ‘By the blood of my Son I swear that sin must be punished,’ and if it is not punished in Christ for you, it will be punished in you for yourselves. Is Christ yours, sinner? Did he die for you? Do you trust him? If you do, he died for you. Do you say, ‘No, I do not?’ Then remember that if you live and die without faith in Christ, for every idle word and for every ill act that you have done, stroke for stroke, and blow for blow, vengeance must chastise you. Again, to another class of you, this word. If God has in Christ made an atonement and opened a way of salvation, what must be your guilt who try to open another way; who say, ‘I will be good and virtuous; I will attend to ceremonies; I will save myself’? Fool that you are, you have insulted God in his tenderest point, for you have insulted his Son. You have said, ‘I can do it without that blood;’ you have, in fact, trampled on the blood of Christ, and said, ‘I need it not.’ Oh, if the sinner who repents not be damned, with what accumulated terrors shall he be damned, who, in addition to his impenitence, heaps affront upon the person of Christ by going about to establish his own righteousness. Leave it!

For meditation: The readings for most of the past week have concentrated on the shed blood and atoning sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ. Do these truths cause you relief, satisfaction and grateful thanksgiving in response to his love (1 John 4:10,19 )? If not, you either hate him or couldn’t care less about him, which in God’s sight boils down to the same thing. ‘How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation?’ (Hebrews 2:3).

Sermon no. 446
30 March (1862)

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Israel at the Red Sea

“He rebuked the Red sea also, and it was dried up: so he led them through the depths, as through the wilderness.” Psalm 106:9

Suggested Further Reading: Psalm 136

How sweet is providence to a child of God, when he can reflect upon it! He can look out into this world, and say, “However great my troubles, they are not so great as my Father’s power; however difficult may be my circumstances, yet all things around me are working together for good. He who holds up the starry heavens can also support my soul without a single apparent prop; he who guides the stars in their well-ordered courses, even when they seem to move in mazy dances, surely he can overrule my trials in such a way that out of confusion he will bring order; and from seeming evil produce lasting good. He who bridles the storm, and puts the bit in the mouth of the tempest, surely he can restrain my trial, and keep my sorrows in subjection. I need not fear while the lightnings are in his hands, and the thunders sleep within his lips; while the oceans gurgle from his fist, and the clouds are in the hollow of his hands; while the rivers are turned by his foot, and while he digs the channels of the sea. Surely he whose might wings an angel, can furnish a worm with strength; he who guides a cherub will not be overcome by the trials of a worm like myself. He who makes the greatest star roll in dignity, and keeps its predestined orbit, can make a little atom like myself move in my proper course, and conduct me as he pleases.” Christian! There is no sweeter pillow than providence; and when providence seems adverse, believe it still, lay it under your head, for depend upon it there is comfort in its bosom. There is hope for you, child of God!

For meditation: You may find it easy to think like this when all seems to be going well. The Christian is still able to look up spiritually when circumstances would make him look down naturally (Romans 8:28,31, 35-39).

Sermon no. 72
30 March (1856)

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If it happened to you, would you be ready?  Christian Persecution
The true story of a pastor, imprisoned and tortured for his faith in Christ ...it will ABSOLUTELY shock you!

The Voice of the Martyrs invites you to request acomplimentary copy of Richard Wurmbrand's international bestseller, Tortured for Christ.
Request your free copy now!

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John Mark: Recovered Failure

This week's reading: Acts 12:6-17, 25; 13:2-14; 15:35-16:3

Only Luke is with me. Get Mark and bring him with you, because he is helpful to me in my ministry. (2 Timothy 4:11)

I brought the small fragment of parchment up closer to my face and read it again, hardly daring to believe the words my eyes reported: "because he is helpful to me in my ministry." Imagine Paul actually putting that down in black and white for anyone to read! Tears of relief and joy suddenly welled up in my eyes, and I could read no further. After all these years Paul was calling for me to come and serve with him again, and describing me as "helpful."

This was the culmination of a long struggle, a difficult process for both of us. For him it was a matter of gradually relenting in his judgment that I was a coward, a failure, someone who did not merit further investment of apostolic time and energy. For me it was the need to change, to grow up, to develop the character necessary for rigorous apostolic duty in a demanding and frequently hostile environment.

I handed the letter back to Timothy, who had sought me out and was grinning widely. "Do you think he really means it?" I asked breathlessly. Timothy shrugged. "Have you ever known Paul to pretend?" he asked pointedly.

I laughed bitterly. "No, you're right. Paul always says what he means." Subtlety had never been the apostle's forte. I blushed as I remembered his frank descriptions of me as he argued loudly with my cousin Barnabas, who wanted to take me with them again on their second missionary journey. Though Barnabas argued that I should be given a second chance, even though I'd quit the first excursion and gone back home, Paul vehemently insisted that there was no way he was going to be burdened with a mama's boy who wouldn't follow through on his commitments. The issue had become so heated that the famous pair had split up, going in two different directions, all over a disagreement about me. I'd never felt so humiliated in my life.

But that experience had marked a turning point for me. I did learn steadfastness. Besides Barnabas, I also worked alongside Simon Peter for a while, and I wrote down his memoirs. Paul eventually acknowledged my recovery, mildly recommending that the Colossians welcome me if I should pass through their territory and listing me in his letter to Philemon, along with Demas and Luke, as fellow workers.

But now Paul was actually calling for me to come with Timothy so I could be with him and Luke, just a select, small group for what might be the apostle's last weeks on Earth. I scanned the letter a third time, and there was no mistaking the resolute tone of the request. Paul expected to die soon, but he wanted me to come and be "helpful" to him in his ministry again before his leave-taking! Praise God!

"When do we leave?" I asked Timothy. "I'm ready for this one. Let's go!"

Back to the Future

  • Have you ever been embarrassed by a failure that was due to character issues on your part? Was there anyone like Barnabas to take your side and help you to recover?
  • Do you know anyone else who has stumbled or turned aside from his walk with God? What can you do to encourage him to continue pressing forward?
  • Are you ever tempted to turn away from doing what God wants you to do? Who is surrounding you to encourage you when you are tempted to give up?

The Story Continues ...

Read more of Mark's story in Acts 12:6-17, 25; 13:2-14; 15:35-16:3; Colossians 4:10 (some Biblical scholars include Mark 14:51-52).

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Day 37

Now that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem. They were talking with each other about everything that had happened. As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them; but they were kept from recognizing him.

He asked them, “What are you discussing together as you walk along?”

They stood still, their faces downcast. One of them, named Cleopas, asked him, “Are you the only one visiting Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?”

“What things?” he asked.

“About Jesus of Nazareth,” they replied. “He was a prophet, powerful in word and deed before God and all the people. The chief priests and our rulers handed him over to be sentenced to death, and they crucified him; but we had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel. And what is more, it is the third day since all this took place. In addition, some of our women amazed us. They went to the tomb early this morning but didn’t find his body. They came and told us that they had seen a vision of angels, who said he was alive. Then some of our companions went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but they did not see Jesus.”

He said to them, “How foolish you are, and how slow to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Did not the Messiah have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?” And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.

As they approached the village to which they were going, Jesus continued on as if he were going farther. But they urged him strongly, “Stay with us, for it is nearly evening; the day is almost over.” So he went in to stay with them.

When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight. They asked each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?”

Do you believe Jesus rose from the dead? Why?

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Today's Lent reading: John 7-8 (NIV)

View today's Lent reading on Bible Gateway
Jesus Goes to the Festival of Tabernacles

1 After this, Jesus went around in Galilee. He did not want to go about in Judea because the Jewish leaders there were looking for a way to kill him. 2 But when the Jewish Festival of Tabernacles was near, 3 Jesus' brothers said to him, "Leave Galilee and go to Judea, so that your disciples there may see the works you do. 4 No one who wants to become a public figure acts in secret. Since you are doing these things, show yourself to the world." 5 For even his own brothers did not believe in him.

6 Therefore Jesus told them, "My time is not yet here; for you any time will do. 7 The world cannot hate you, but it hates me because I testify that its works are evil. 8 You go to the festival. I am not going up to this festival, because my time has not yet fully come." 9 After he had said this, he stayed in Galilee.

10 However, after his brothers had left for the festival, he went also, not publicly, but in secret. 11 Now at the festival the Jewish leaders were watching for Jesus and asking, "Where is he?"

12 Among the crowds there was widespread whispering about him. Some said, "He is a good man."

Others replied, "No, he deceives the people." 13 But no one would say anything publicly about him for fear of the leaders.

Jesus Teaches at the Festival

14 Not until halfway through the festival did Jesus go up to the temple courts and begin to teach. 15 The Jews there were amazed and asked, "How did this man get such learning without having been taught?"

16 Jesus answered, "My teaching is not my own. It comes from the one who sent me. 17 Anyone who chooses to do the will of God will find out whether my teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own. 18 Whoever speaks on their own does so to gain personal glory, but he who seeks the glory of the one who sent him is a man of truth; there is nothing false about him. 19 Has not Moses given you the law? Yet not one of you keeps the law. Why are you trying to kill me?"

20 "You are demon-possessed," the crowd answered. "Who is trying to kill you?"

21 Jesus said to them, "I did one miracle, and you are all amazed. 22 Yet, because Moses gave you circumcision (though actually it did not come from Moses, but from the patriarchs), you circumcise a boy on the Sabbath. 23 Now if a boy can be circumcised on the Sabbath so that the law of Moses may not be broken, why are you angry with me for healing a man's whole body on the Sabbath? 24 Stop judging by mere appearances, but instead judge correctly."

Division Over Who Jesus Is

25 At that point some of the people of Jerusalem began to ask, "Isn't this the man they are trying to kill? 26 Here he is, speaking publicly, and they are not saying a word to him. Have the authorities really concluded that he is the Messiah? 27 But we know where this man is from; when the Messiah comes, no one will know where he is from."

28 Then Jesus, still teaching in the temple courts, cried out, "Yes, you know me, and you know where I am from. I am not here on my own authority, but he who sent me is true. You do not know him, 29 but I know him because I am from him and he sent me."

30 At this they tried to seize him, but no one laid a hand on him, because his hour had not yet come. 31 Still, many in the crowd believed in him. They said, "When the Messiah comes, will he perform more signs than this man?"

32 The Pharisees heard the crowd whispering such things about him. Then the chief priests and the Pharisees sent temple guards to arrest him.

33 Jesus said, "I am with you for only a short time, and then I am going to the one who sent me. 34 You will look for me, but you will not find me; and where I am, you cannot come."

35 The Jews said to one another, "Where does this man intend to go that we cannot find him? Will he go where our people live scattered among the Greeks, and teach the Greeks? 36 What did he mean when he said, 'You will look for me, but you will not find me,' and 'Where I am, you cannot come'?"

37 On the last and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, "Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. 38 Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them." 39 By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified.

40 On hearing his words, some of the people said, "Surely this man is the Prophet."

41 Others said, "He is the Messiah."

Still others asked, "How can the Messiah come from Galilee?42 Does not Scripture say that the Messiah will come from David's descendants and from Bethlehem, the town where David lived?" 43 Thus the people were divided because of Jesus. 44 Some wanted to seize him, but no one laid a hand on him.

Unbelief of the Jewish Leaders

45 Finally the temple guards went back to the chief priests and the Pharisees, who asked them, "Why didn't you bring him in?"

46 "No one ever spoke the way this man does," the guards replied.

47 "You mean he has deceived you also?" the Pharisees retorted. 48 "Have any of the rulers or of the Pharisees believed in him? 49 No! But this mob that knows nothing of the law-there is a curse on them."

50 Nicodemus, who had gone to Jesus earlier and who was one of their own number, asked, 51 "Does our law condemn a man without first hearing him to find out what he has been doing?"

52 They replied, "Are you from Galilee, too? Look into it, and you will find that a prophet does not come out of Galilee."

[The earliest manuscripts and many other ancient witnesses do not have John 7:53-8:11. A few manuscripts include these verses, wholly or in part, after John 7:36, John 21:25, Luke 21:38 or Luke 24:53.]

53 Then they all went home,

John 8

1 but Jesus went to the Mount of Olives.

2 At dawn he appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them. 3 The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group 4 and said to Jesus, "Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. 5 In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?" 6 They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him.

But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. 7 When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, "Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her." 8 Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.

9 At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. 10 Jesus straightened up and asked her, "Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?"

11 "No one, sir," she said.

"Then neither do I condemn you," Jesus declared. "Go now and leave your life of sin."

Dispute Over Jesus' Testimony

12 When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life."

13 The Pharisees challenged him, "Here you are, appearing as your own witness; your testimony is not valid."

14 Jesus answered, "Even if I testify on my own behalf, my testimony is valid, for I know where I came from and where I am going. But you have no idea where I come from or where I am going. 15 You judge by human standards; I pass judgment on no one. 16 But if I do judge, my decisions are true, because I am not alone. I stand with the Father, who sent me. 17 In your own Law it is written that the testimony of two witnesses is true. 18 I am one who testifies for myself; my other witness is the Father, who sent me."

19 Then they asked him, "Where is your father?"

"You do not know me or my Father," Jesus replied. "If you knew me, you would know my Father also." 20 He spoke these words while teaching in the temple courts near the place where the offerings were put. Yet no one seized him, because his hour had not yet come.

Dispute Over Who Jesus Is

21 Once more Jesus said to them, "I am going away, and you will look for me, and you will die in your sin. Where I go, you cannot come."

22 This made the Jews ask, "Will he kill himself? Is that why he says, 'Where I go, you cannot come'?"

23 But he continued, "You are from below; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world. 24 I told you that you would die in your sins; if you do not believe that I am he, you will indeed die in your sins."

25 "Who are you?" they asked.

"Just what I have been telling you from the beginning," Jesus replied. 26 "I have much to say in judgment of you. But he who sent me is trustworthy, and what I have heard from him I tell the world."

27 They did not understand that he was telling them about his Father. 28 So Jesus said, "When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am he and that I do nothing on my own but speak just what the Father has taught me. 29 The one who sent me is with me; he has not left me alone, for I always do what pleases him." 30 Even as he spoke, many believed in him.

Dispute Over Whose Children Jesus' Opponents Are

31 To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, "If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. 32 Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."

33 They answered him, "We are Abraham's descendants and have never been slaves of anyone. How can you say that we shall be set free?"

34 Jesus replied, "Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. 35 Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. 36 So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. 37 I know that you are Abraham's descendants. Yet you are looking for a way to kill me, because you have no room for my word. 38 I am telling you what I have seen in the Father's presence, and you are doing what you have heard from your father."

39 "Abraham is our father," they answered.

"If you were Abraham's children," said Jesus, "then you would do what Abraham did. 40 As it is, you are looking for a way to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God. Abraham did not do such things. 41 You are doing the works of your own father."

"We are not illegitimate children," they protested. "The only Father we have is God himself."

42 Jesus said to them, "If God were your Father, you would love me, for I have come here from God. I have not come on my own; God sent me. 43 Why is my language not clear to you? Because you are unable to hear what I say. 44 You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father's desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies. 45 Yet because I tell the truth, you do not believe me! 46 Can any of you prove me guilty of sin? If I am telling the truth, why don't you believe me? 47 Whoever belongs to God hears what God says. The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God."

Jesus' Claims About Himself

48 The Jews answered him, "Aren't we right in saying that you are a Samaritan and demon-possessed?"

49 "I am not possessed by a demon," said Jesus, "but I honor my Father and you dishonor me. 50 I am not seeking glory for myself; but there is one who seeks it, and he is the judge. 51 Very truly I tell you, whoever obeys my word will never see death."

52 At this they exclaimed, "Now we know that you are demon-possessed! Abraham died and so did the prophets, yet you say that whoever obeys your word will never taste death.53 Are you greater than our father Abraham? He died, and so did the prophets. Who do you think you are?"

54 Jesus replied, "If I glorify myself, my glory means nothing. My Father, whom you claim as your God, is the one who glorifies me. 55 Though you do not know him, I know him. If I said I did not, I would be a liar like you, but I do know him and obey his word. 56 Your father Abraham rejoiced at the thought of seeing my day; he saw it and was glad."

57 "You are not yet fifty years old," they said to him, "and you have seen Abraham!"

58 "Very truly I tell you," Jesus answered, "before Abraham was born, I am!" 59 At this, they picked up stones to stone him, but Jesus hid himself, slipping away from the temple grounds.



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