Saturday, March 24, 2012

Daily Devotional Saturday 24th March

“Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.”James 1:12 NIV
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Morning and Evening by Charles Spurgeon

Morning

"He was heard in that he feared."
Hebrews 5:7

Did this fear arise from the infernal suggestion that he was utterly forsaken. There may be sterner trials than this, but surely it is one of the worst to be utterly forsaken? "See," said Satan, "thou hast a friend nowhere! Thy Father hath shut up the bowels of his compassion against thee. Not an angel in his courts will stretch out his hand to help thee. All heaven is alienated from thee; thou art left alone. See the companions with whom thou hast taken sweet counsel, what are they worth? Son of Mary, see there thy brother James, see there thy loved disciple John, and thy bold apostle Peter, how the cowards sleep when thou art in thy sufferings! Lo! Thou hast no friend left in heaven or earth. All hell is against thee. I have stirred up mine infernal den. I have sent my missives throughout all regions summoning every prince of darkness to set upon thee this night, and we will spare no arrows, we will use all our infernal might to overwhelm thee: and what wilt thou do, thou solitary one?" It may be, this was the temptation; we think it was, because the appearance of an angel unto him strengthening him removed that fear. He was heard in that he feared; he was no more alone, but heaven was with him. It may be that this is the reason of his coming three times to his disciples--as Hart puts it--

"Backwards and forwards thrice he ran,

As if he sought some help from man."

He would see for himself whether it were really true that all men had forsaken him; he found them all asleep; but perhaps he gained some faint comfort from the thought that they were sleeping, not from treachery, but from sorrow, the spirit indeed was willing, but the flesh was weak. At any rate, he was heard in that he feared. Jesus was heard in his deepest woe; my soul, thou shalt be heard also.

Evening

"In that hour Jesus rejoiced in spirit."
Luke 10:21

The Saviour was "a man of sorrows," but every thoughtful mind has discovered the fact that down deep in his innermost soul he carried an inexhaustible treasury of refined and heavenly joy. Of all the human race, there was never a man who had a deeper, purer, or more abiding peace than our Lord Jesus Christ. "He was anointed with the oil of gladness above his fellows." His vast benevolence must, from the very nature of things, have afforded him the deepest possible delight, for benevolence is joy. There were a few remarkable seasons when this joy manifested itself. "At that hour Jesus rejoiced in spirit, and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth." Christ had his songs, though it was night with him; though his face was marred, and his countenance had lost the lustre of earthly happiness, yet sometimes it was lit up with a matchless splendour of unparalleled satisfaction, as he thought upon the recompense of the reward, and in the midst of the congregation sang his praise unto God. In this, the Lord Jesus is a blessed picture of his church on earth. At this hour the church expects to walk in sympathy with her Lord along a thorny road; through much tribulation she is forcing her way to the crown. To bear the cross is her office, and to be scorned and counted an alien by her mother's children is her lot; and yet the church has a deep well of joy, of which none can drink but her own children. There are stores of wine, and oil, and corn, hidden in the midst of our Jerusalem, upon which the saints of God are evermore sustained and nurtured; and sometimes, as in our Saviour's case, we have our seasons of intense delight, for "There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of our God." Exiles though we be, we rejoice in our King; yea, in him we exceedingly rejoice, while in his name we set up our banners.

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Today's reading: Joshua 13-15, Luke 1:57-80 (NIV)

View today's reading on Bible Gateway
Land Still to Be Taken

1 When Joshua had grown old, the LORD said to him, "You are now very old, and there are still very large areas of land to be taken over.

2 "This is the land that remains: all the regions of the Philistines and Geshurites, 3 from the Shihor River on the east of Egypt to the territory of Ekron on the north, all of it counted as Canaanite though held by the five Philistine rulers in Gaza, Ashdod, Ashkelon, Gath and Ekron; the territory of the Avvites4 on the south; all the land of the Canaanites, from Arah of the Sidonians as far as Aphek and the border of the Amorites; 5 the area of Byblos; and all Lebanon to the east, from Baal Gad below Mount Hermon to Lebo Hamath.

6 "As for all the inhabitants of the mountain regions from Lebanon to Misrephoth Maim, that is, all the Sidonians, I myself will drive them out before the Israelites. Be sure to allocate this land to Israel for an inheritance, as I have instructed you, 7 and divide it as an inheritance among the nine tribes and half of the tribe of Manasseh."

Division of the Land East of the Jordan

8 The other half of Manasseh, the Reubenites and the Gadites had received the inheritance that Moses had given them east of the Jordan, as he, the servant of the LORD, had assigned it to them.

9 It extended from Aroer on the rim of the Arnon Gorge, and from the town in the middle of the gorge, and included the whole plateau of Medeba as far as Dibon, 10 and all the towns of Sihon king of the Amorites, who ruled in Heshbon, out to the border of the Ammonites. 11 It also included Gilead, the territory of the people of Geshur and Maakah, all of Mount Hermon and all Bashan as far as Salekah- 12 that is, the whole kingdom of Og in Bashan, who had reigned in Ashtaroth and Edrei. (He was the last of the Rephaites.) Moses had defeated them and taken over their land. 13 But the Israelites did not drive out the people of Geshur and Maakah, so they continue to live among the Israelites to this day.

14 But to the tribe of Levi he gave no inheritance, since the food offerings presented to the LORD, the God of Israel, are their inheritance, as he promised them.

15 This is what Moses had given to the tribe of Reuben, according to its clans:

16 The territory from Aroer on the rim of the Arnon Gorge, and from the town in the middle of the gorge, and the whole plateau past Medeba 17 to Heshbon and all its towns on the plateau, including Dibon, Bamoth Baal, Beth Baal Meon, 18 Jahaz, Kedemoth, Mephaath, 19 Kiriathaim, Sibmah, Zereth Shahar on the hill in the valley, 20 Beth Peor, the slopes of Pisgah, and Beth Jeshimoth- 21 all the towns on the plateau and the entire realm of Sihon king of the Amorites, who ruled at Heshbon. Moses had defeated him and the Midianite chiefs, Evi, Rekem, Zur, Hur and Reba-princes allied with Sihon-who lived in that country. 22 In addition to those slain in battle, the Israelites had put to the sword Balaam son of Beor, who practiced divination.23 The boundary of the Reubenites was the bank of the Jordan. These towns and their villages were the inheritance of the Reubenites, according to their clans.

24 This is what Moses had given to the tribe of Gad, according to its clans:

25 The territory of Jazer, all the towns of Gilead and half the Ammonite country as far as Aroer, near Rabbah; 26 and from Heshbon to Ramath Mizpah and Betonim, and from Mahanaim to the territory of Debir; 27 and in the valley, Beth Haram, Beth Nimrah, Sukkoth and Zaphon with the rest of the realm of Sihon king of Heshbon (the east side of the Jordan, the territory up to the end of the Sea of Galilee). 28 These towns and their villages were the inheritance of the Gadites, according to their clans.

29 This is what Moses had given to the half-tribe of Manasseh, that is, to half the family of the descendants of Manasseh, according to its clans:

30 The territory extending from Mahanaim and including all of Bashan, the entire realm of Og king of Bashan-all the settlements of Jair in Bashan, sixty towns, 31 half of Gilead, and Ashtaroth and Edrei (the royal cities of Og in Bashan). This was for the descendants of Makir son of Manasseh-for half of the sons of Makir, according to their clans.

32 This is the inheritance Moses had given when he was in the plains of Moab across the Jordan east of Jericho. 33 But to the tribe of Levi, Moses had given no inheritance; the LORD, the God of Israel, is their inheritance, as he promised them.

Joshua 14

Division of the Land West of the Jordan

1 Now these are the areas the Israelites received as an inheritance in the land of Canaan, which Eleazar the priest, Joshua son of Nun and the heads of the tribal clans of Israel allotted to them. 2 Their inheritances were assigned by lot to the nine and a half tribes, as the LORD had commanded through Moses. 3 Moses had granted the two and a half tribes their inheritance east of the Jordan but had not granted the Levites an inheritance among the rest, 4 for Joseph's descendants had become two tribes-Manasseh and Ephraim. The Levites received no share of the land but only towns to live in, with pasturelands for their flocks and herds. 5 So the Israelites divided the land, just as the LORD had commanded Moses.

Allotment for Caleb

6 Now the people of Judah approached Joshua at Gilgal, and Caleb son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite said to him, "You know what the LORD said to Moses the man of God at Kadesh Barnea about you and me. 7 I was forty years old when Moses the servant of the LORD sent me from Kadesh Barnea to explore the land. And I brought him back a report according to my convictions, 8 but my fellow Israelites who went up with me made the hearts of the people melt in fear. I, however, followed the LORD my God wholeheartedly. 9 So on that day Moses swore to me, 'The land on which your feet have walked will be your inheritance and that of your children forever, because you have followed the LORD my God wholeheartedly.'

10 "Now then, just as the LORD promised, he has kept me alive for forty-five years since the time he said this to Moses, while Israel moved about in the wilderness. So here I am today, eighty-five years old! 11 I am still as strong today as the day Moses sent me out; I'm just as vigorous to go out to battle now as I was then. 12 Now give me this hill country that the LORD promised me that day. You yourself heard then that the Anakites were there and their cities were large and fortified, but, the LORD helping me, I will drive them out just as he said."

13 Then Joshua blessed Caleb son of Jephunneh and gave him Hebron as his inheritance. 14 So Hebron has belonged to Caleb son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite ever since, because he followed the LORD, the God of Israel, wholeheartedly. 15(Hebron used to be called Kiriath Arba after Arba, who was the greatest man among the Anakites.)

Then the land had rest from war.

Joshua 15

Allotment for Judah

1 The allotment for the tribe of Judah, according to its clans, extended down to the territory of Edom, to the Desert of Zin in the extreme south.

2 Their southern boundary started from the bay at the southern end of the Dead Sea, 3 crossed south of Scorpion Pass, continued on to Zin and went over to the south of Kadesh Barnea. Then it ran past Hezron up to Addar and curved around to Karka. 4 It then passed along to Azmon and joined the Wadi of Egypt, ending at the Mediterranean Sea. This is their southern boundary.

5 The eastern boundary is the Dead Sea as far as the mouth of the Jordan.

The northern boundary started from the bay of the sea at the mouth of the Jordan, 6 went up to Beth Hoglah and continued north of Beth Arabah to the Stone of Bohan son of Reuben. 7The boundary then went up to Debir from the Valley of Achor and turned north to Gilgal, which faces the Pass of Adummim south of the gorge. It continued along to the waters of En Shemesh and came out at En Rogel. 8 Then it ran up the Valley of Ben Hinnom along the southern slope of the Jebusite city (that is, Jerusalem). From there it climbed to the top of the hill west of the Hinnom Valley at the northern end of the Valley of Rephaim. 9 From the hilltop the boundary headed toward the spring of the waters of Nephtoah, came out at the towns of Mount Ephron and went down toward Baalah (that is, Kiriath Jearim). 10 Then it curved westward from Baalah to Mount Seir, ran along the northern slope of Mount Jearim (that is, Kesalon), continued down to Beth Shemesh and crossed to Timnah. 11 It went to the northern slope of Ekron, turned toward Shikkeron, passed along to Mount Baalah and reached Jabneel. The boundary ended at the sea.

12 The western boundary is the coastline of the Mediterranean Sea.

These are the boundaries around the people of Judah by their clans.

13 In accordance with the LORD's command to him, Joshua gave to Caleb son of Jephunneh a portion in Judah-Kiriath Arba, that is, Hebron. (Arba was the forefather of Anak.) 14From Hebron Caleb drove out the three Anakites-Sheshai, Ahiman and Talmai, the sons of Anak. 15 From there he marched against the people living in Debir (formerly called Kiriath Sepher). 16 And Caleb said, "I will give my daughter Aksah in marriage to the man who attacks and captures Kiriath Sepher." 17 Othniel son of Kenaz, Caleb's brother, took it; so Caleb gave his daughter Aksah to him in marriage.

18 One day when she came to Othniel, she urged him to ask her father for a field. When she got off her donkey, Caleb asked her, "What can I do for you?"

19 She replied, "Do me a special favor. Since you have given me land in the Negev, give me also springs of water." So Caleb gave her the upper and lower springs.

20 This is the inheritance of the tribe of Judah, according to its clans:

21 The southernmost towns of the tribe of Judah in the Negev toward the boundary of Edom were:

Kabzeel, Eder, Jagur, 22 Kinah, Dimonah, Adadah, 23Kedesh, Hazor, Ithnan, 24 Ziph, Telem, Bealoth, 25 Hazor Hadattah, Kerioth Hezron (that is, Hazor), 26 Amam, Shema, Moladah, 27 Hazar Gaddah, Heshmon, Beth Pelet, 28 Hazar Shual, Beersheba, Biziothiah, 29 Baalah, Iyim, Ezem, 30Eltolad, Kesil, Hormah, 31 Ziklag, Madmannah, Sansannah, 32Lebaoth, Shilhim, Ain and Rimmon-a total of twenty-nine towns and their villages.

33 In the western foothills:

Eshtaol, Zorah, Ashnah, 34 Zanoah, En Gannim, Tappuah, Enam, 35 Jarmuth, Adullam, Sokoh, Azekah, 36 Shaaraim, Adithaim and Gederah (or Gederothaim)-fourteen towns and their villages.

37 Zenan, Hadashah, Migdal Gad, 38 Dilean, Mizpah, Joktheel, 39 Lachish, Bozkath, Eglon, 40 Kabbon, Lahmas, Kitlish, 41 Gederoth, Beth Dagon, Naamah and Makkedah-sixteen towns and their villages.

42 Libnah, Ether, Ashan, 43 Iphtah, Ashnah, Nezib, 44 Keilah, Akzib and Mareshah-nine towns and their villages.

45 Ekron, with its surrounding settlements and villages; 46west of Ekron, all that were in the vicinity of Ashdod, together with their villages; 47 Ashdod, its surrounding settlements and villages; and Gaza, its settlements and villages, as far as the Wadi of Egypt and the coastline of the Mediterranean Sea.

48 In the hill country:

Shamir, Jattir, Sokoh, 49 Dannah, Kiriath Sannah (that is, Debir), 50 Anab, Eshtemoh, Anim, 51 Goshen, Holon and Giloh-eleven towns and their villages.

52 Arab, Dumah, Eshan, 53 Janim, Beth Tappuah, Aphekah,54 Humtah, Kiriath Arba (that is, Hebron) and Zior-nine towns and their villages.

55 Maon, Carmel, Ziph, Juttah, 56 Jezreel, Jokdeam, Zanoah,57 Kain, Gibeah and Timnah-ten towns and their villages.

58 Halhul, Beth Zur, Gedor, 59 Maarath, Beth Anoth and Eltekon-six towns and their villages.

60 Kiriath Baal (that is, Kiriath Jearim) and Rabbah-two towns and their villages.

61 In the wilderness:

Beth Arabah, Middin, Sekakah, 62 Nibshan, the City of Salt and En Gedi-six towns and their villages.

63 Judah could not dislodge the Jebusites, who were living in Jerusalem; to this day the Jebusites live there with the people of Judah.


Luke 1

The Birth of John the Baptist

57 When it was time for Elizabeth to have her baby, she gave birth to a son. 58 Her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had shown her great mercy, and they shared her joy.

59 On the eighth day they came to circumcise the child, and they were going to name him after his father Zechariah, 60 but his mother spoke up and said, "No! He is to be called John."

61 They said to her, "There is no one among your relatives who has that name."

62 Then they made signs to his father, to find out what he would like to name the child. 63 He asked for a writing tablet, and to everyone's astonishment he wrote, "His name is John."64 Immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue set free, and he began to speak, praising God. 65 All the neighbors were filled with awe, and throughout the hill country of Judea people were talking about all these things. 66 Everyone who heard this wondered about it, asking, "What then is this child going to be?" For the Lord's hand was with him.

Zechariah's Song

67 His father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied:

68 "Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel,
because he has come to his people and redeemed them.
69 He has raised up a horn of salvation for us
in the house of his servant David
70 (as he said through his holy prophets of long ago),
71 salvation from our enemies
and from the hand of all who hate us-
72 to show mercy to our ancestors
and to remember his holy covenant,
73 the oath he swore to our father Abraham:
74 to rescue us from the hand of our enemies,
and to enable us to serve him without fear
75 in holiness and righteousness before him all our days.

76 And you, my child, will be called a prophet of the Most High;
for you will go on before the Lord to prepare the way for him,
77 to give his people the knowledge of salvation
through the forgiveness of their sins,
78 because of the tender mercy of our God,
by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven
79 to shine on those living in darkness
and in the shadow of death,
to guide our feet into the path of peace."

80 And the child grew and became strong in spirit; and he lived in the wilderness until he appeared publicly to Israel.

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Felix [Fē'lĭx]—happy, prosperous. A cruel Roman governor of Judea, appointed by the Emperor Claudius, whose freedman he was (Acts 23:24,26; 24:2-27; 25:14). Felix is described by Tacitus as a bad and cruel governor, even though the title of “most excellent” was given to him.

The Man Who Procrastinated

As a true preacher, Paul pressed home the truth until it pricked the conscience of Felix so much so that he “trembled.” He did not resent Paul’s plain speaking but postponed the interview “till a more convenient season.” Such a “convenient season,” however, did not come, and Felix became a type of many whose consciences are stirred by the preached Word, but whose hopes of eternal security are ruined by a like procrastination. The two sworn enemies of the soul are “Yesterday” and “Tomorrow.”

Yesterday slays its thousands. Past sins plunge many into darkness and despair. Priceless opportunities were trampled upon, and the harvest is past. But God says there is mercy still and free forgiveness through repentance.

Tomorrow slays its tens of thousands. Vows, promises, resolutions are never fulfilled. “Some other time,” many say, when urged to repent and believe. They fail to realize that nowis the acceptable time. How pitiful it is that the convenient season never dawns for them! The pathway to their hell is strewn with good resolutions, and as they cross “The Great Divide,” the mocking voice cries out: “Too late! Too late!”

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The silver trumpet

“Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” Isaiah1:18

Suggested Further Reading: Zechariah 3:1-6

When a man believes in Christ, he is in that moment, in God’s sight, as though he had never sinned in all his life. Nay, I will go further, he is that day in a better position than though he had never sinned; for if he had never sinned, he would have had the perfect righteousness of man; but by believing, he is made the righteousness of God in Christ. We had once a cloak that is taken away: when we believe, Christ gives us a robe; but it is an infinitely better one. We lost but a common garment, but he arrays us royally. Strangely indeed is that man clothed who believes in Jesus. Yon thief who is hanging on the cross, is black as hell: he believes, and he is as white as heaven’s own purity. Faith takes away all sin, through the precious blood of Jesus. When a man has once gone down into that sacred laver which is filled with Jesus’ blood, there “is no spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing,” left upon him. His sin has ceased to be; his iniquity is covered; his transgressions have been carried into the wilderness, and are gone. This is the most wonderful thing about the gospel. This does not take away part of our sin, but the whole of it; it does not remove it partially, but entirely; not for a little time, but for ever. “He that believeth on him is not condemned.” And though today you should have committed every crime in the world, yet the moment you believe in Jesus, you are saved; the Spirit of God shall dwell in you to keep you from sin in the future, and the blood of Christ shall plead for you, that sin shall never be laid to your charge.

For meditation: How Satan must hate the doctrine of justification by faith in Christ alone! Never give him the satisfaction of seeing you grow weary of it. “Being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Romans 5:1).

Sermon no. 366
24 March (1861)

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March 23, 2012
What if Jesus were in the Boat with You?
Sharon Jaynes

Today's Truth
"I will never leave you nor forsake you," (Hebrews 13:5 NKJV).

Friend to Friend
She was among an eager group of four-year-old children crowded around my feet as I taught their Sunday school lesson. I was the teacher and they were the students – or at least that's how it started out. The pint-sized audience listened intently as I tried to create a mental image of Jesus and His disciples trapped in a thunderstorm on the Sea of Galilee.

"The winds bleeeeeeew and rocked the little boat back and forth, back and forth. The waves were soooooo big; they splashed over the wooden sides and got the men all wet. Then water started filling up the boat - and do you know what happens when a boat gets full of water?"

"It sinks," they chimed together.

"That's right." I continued with a wrinkled brow and concerned look on my face.

"That's not all. The lightening was sooooo bright; it looked like fire in the sky. And the claps of thunder were sooooo loud; they could feel it vibrate in their chests."

After painting this picture of impending doom and thinking I would have my "congregation" just a little worried about the fate of these men trapped in a storm, I asked the question. "Now if you were in a tiny boat like this, caught in a terrible storm like this, would you be afraid?"

Then one precious little girl, confident and unshaken by the entire scenario, shrugged her shoulders and replied, "Not if Jesus was in the boat with me."

I will never forget that answer. As her words have echoed in my mind, I've come to realize that this is the answer that calms all our worries and fears. Just as the disciples had the storm raging all around them, many times the storms of life rage around us. A friend discovers she has cancer, a husband loses his job, and a child is born with birth defects.

These are storms with waves of emotions so high that our lifeboat fills with tears and appears that it could sink at any moment. Waves of fear rock our boat and threaten to spill us into the depths of despair without even a life jacket to keep us afloat.

"Tell me, would you be afraid?"

"Not if Jesus was in the boat with me."

And guess what? He is. God said, "I will never leave you nor forsake you," (Hebrews 13:5 NKJV). Jesus said, "Surely I am with you always, to the end of the age," (Matthew 26:20). Although the storm may be fierce, you don't need to be afraid, because Jesus is in the boat with you. His power can calm the storm you're in and calm the storm in you. So hang on to Him and He'll pull you through.

Let's Pray
Dear Lord, I am so glad that You are always in the boat with me. When I feel like I'm sinking – You're in the boat with me. When the sail is full and I'm gliding along peaceful seas – You are with me. No matter what, no matter where, You are there by my side…and I praise You.
In Jesus' Name,
Amen.

Now It's Your Turn
Think back on the most difficult situation in your life. Now close your eyes and picture Jesus standing right beside you. He was, you know.

Is there someone in your life who is experiencing a terrifying storm in her life?
Perhaps today would be a great day to write her a note of encouragement. You might even want to consider sending this devotion to her as a way of reminding her that Jesus is going through this storm with her. She is not alone.

What is your favorite verse that reminds you of God's promises during the storms of life? Let's share atwww.facebook.com/SharonJaynes. Your verse might be what someone needs to hang onto today!

More from the Girlfriend
Do you feel like your faith is sagging? If so, you might need a "faith lift!" Learn more about how to strengthen your faith in Sharon Jaynes' book, Becoming Spiritually Beautiful.Do you love devotions? Sharon has a book titled,Listening to God Day-by-Day with 100 of her favorite devotions filled with stories just like the one you read today! 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
Glynnis Whitwer

March 23, 2012

I Know What I Should Do, But ...
Glynnis Whitwer

"If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn't do it, it is sin for them." James 4:17 (NIV)

It was just like any other day when my friend felt a lump in her leg. Thinking it was nothing, she didn't worry. A week later it was bigger. She didn't ignore it any longer, but made an appointment with her doctor. Tests confirmed the quiet suspicions; it was cancer.

In the past five years, friends have rallied around her with prayer and practical support. For a while I was able to help intermittently. Then I went through a season of constant family and work needs, and neglected to contact my friend ... for months.

Occasionally she would pop into my mind, and I would think of some way to bless her. I knew her family loved brownies, maybe I could bake some as a treat. Perhaps she'd like to get out and walk around the mall. A funny card would cheer her up.

But good intentions slipped away and rationalizations took their place.

One morning I read James 4:17. It was as if God took a highlighter, swiped it over the words and wrote my friend's name in the margin:

"If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn't do it, it is sin for them."

I immediately stopped reading and rushed to my computer. Fingers furiously typed an apology for being a distant friend, and asked if I could bring her lunch. We set a date and had a great time of catching up and prayer.

Thankfully God prompted me that day to follow through on my good idea. But my heart aches at the times I've either ignored or forgot those promptings. It's so easy to find reasons why not to do something. Excuses pop up like weeds. However, today's verse makes it clear that sometimes something else is at stake. It's not like forgetting to buy milk at the store; if there is good God is calling us to do - and we don't - it's sin.

I've learned when I listen to the nudge in my spirit to do good, I'm always part of God's bigger plan. It's like God is assembling a jigsaw puzzle with a beautiful picture only He can see as He asks me to care for the needs of others. To do this, He needs me to listen for His direction, and then prioritize my obedience. Not question, dismiss or excuse it away.

I'll be honest. Sometimes the needs of others overwhelm me. Without meaning to, I become numb, even to those around me. But then God reminds me I only have to do my part - and He'll tell me what that is. Sometimes my part is to take a friend lunch. Sometimes my part involves more.

I wonder what would happen if I always obeyed? And what if I wasn't the only one? What if everyone leaned in when God whispered, "Will you?" What if, instead of rationalizing why my little effort won't make a big difference, I just trusted God had a bigger plan ... and I simply obeyed.

It's got to start with me. Today. And the good I know I should do. No more "buts" about it.

Dear Lord, thank You for never withholding good from me. Forgive me for the times I've minimized this in my own life, or found excuses of why I can't do good for someone else. I long to be a woman who reflects You in all I do. Help me to follow through when I know I should. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
The P31 Woman magazine offers monthly encouragement for following God's will in all areas of a woman's life.

Visit Glynnis' blog where she shares about the biggest "yes" she and her husband ever said and how God is using that act of obedience.

I Used to Be So Organized by Glynnis Whitwer

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

Reflect and Respond:
What are some common excuses women make for not following through on good ideas? How can you overcome some of those excuses in your own life?

Has God nudged you lately to do good for someone else? Write it down and commit to obeying this week.

Power Verses:
1 Samuel 15:22, "Does the LORD delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the LORD? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams." (NIV)

1 John 4:11, "Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another." (NIV)

© 2012 by Glynnis Whitwer. All rights reserved.

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

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Positivism

Psalm 19

Many scientists say that a Creator does not exist or that there is no way of knowing if He exists because we cannot see, hear, taste, touch, or smell Him. Today's passage, however, states that there is empirical evidence to support the existence of God. Creation testifies to the reality of God (Ps. 19:1-6;Rom. 1:18-32). Take some time this week to find and make use of a good apologetic resource that discusses the evidence for the Lord's existence.

For further study:

Jeremiah 5:21-22

The Bible in a year:

Joshua 23-24

For the weekend:

Judges 1-5

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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Future punishment a fearful thing

‘It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.’Hebrews 10:31

Suggested Further Reading: Romans 5:6–11

It is the highest benevolence to warn men of their danger, and to exhort them to escape from the wrath which will surely come upon them, for ‘It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.’ We feel that it must be a fearful thing to be punished for sin when you remember the atonement. It is our full belief as Christians, that, in order to pardon human sin, it was necessary that God himself should become incarnate, and that the Son of God should suffer excruciating pains, to which the dignity of his person added infinite weight. Brethren, if the wrath of God be a mere trifle, there was no need of a Saviour to deliver us; it were as well to have let so small a matter take its course; or, if the Saviour came merely to save us from a pinch or two, why is so much said in his praise? What need for heaven and earth to ring with the glories of him who would save us from a small mischief? But mark the word. As the sufferings of the Saviour were intense beyond all conception, and as no less a person than God himself must endure these sufferings for us, that must have been an awful, not to say infinite evil, from which there was no other way for us to escape except by the bleeding and dying of God’s dear Son. Think lightly of hell, and you will think lightly of the cross. Think little of the sufferings of lost souls, and you will soon think little of the Saviour who delivers you from them. God grant we may not live to see such a Christ-dishonouring theology dominant in our times.

For meditation: As Spurgeon feared, vital and inseparable biblical doctrines such as the atonement and eternal damnation have come under tremendous attack in recent years in favour of more sophisticated teaching which is more acceptable to human taste. The Bible contrasts the words of the holy prophets and the apostles of our Lord, with the words of ‘scoffers, walking after their own lusts’ (2 Peter 3:2–3 ). Beware of people who twist the Scriptures to suit themselves (2 Peter 3:16–17).

Sermon no. 682
24 March (1866)

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Philip Melanchton: Gentleman German Reformer

The body of Philip Melanchthon (1497 - 1560) appropriately lies buried beside that of Martin Luther in Wittenberg. He is considered the second man - thegentleman - of the German Reformation, faithfully working alongside Luther for nearly three decades. Orphaned at ten, Melanchthon lived with his grandmother until he enrolled at the University of Heidelberg at age twelve to study philosophy, astronomy, and rhetoric. At sixteen he pursued graduate studies in theology at the University of Tübingen. A student of Erasmus, he was a published author by the time Luther (fourteen years his senior) was posting his Ninety-five Theses.

Melanchthon's opposition to scholastic theology prompted him to question Catholic dogma and traditions. At the same time he learned of Luther's insights. In 1518 he accepted a post at the University of Wittenberg, and the two scholars became life-long partners. Brilliant and popular, Melanchthon drew students much like Abelard did four centuries earlier. He was courted by other academic institutions, but with Luther and others playing cupid, he married Katharina Krapp, daughter of the Wittenberg mayor.

One of Melanchthon's most important achievements was his contribution, at the behest of Luther, to the Augsburg Confession. These twenty-eight articles, written in both Latin and German, were presented to Emperor Charles V, who summoned a Diet at Augsburg in 1530 to settle the religious differences among the German princes and people. Melanchthon began with his usual conciliatory style, affirming twenty-one statements accepted by both Catholics and Reformers. The remaining seven articles focused on matters disputed with Catholics, all supported with Scripture. The Augsburg Confession established the German Reformation on justification by faith alone and serves today as a foundational document of Lutheran belief.

In the remaining years of his life, Melanchthon was embroiled in family and religious difficulties. Although he was considered by many to be Luther's successor, opponents challenged his loyalty to the Reformation cause, insisting he was too eager to compromise with Catholics. Harshly criticized in his own day, he has been admired in recent generations for his keen intellect and his careful scholarship as well as for his efforts to foster unity among Christians. He was ever the patient and kind Reformer, generous to a fault.


If you enjoyed the above article, please take a minute to read about the book that it was adapted from:

ParadeofFaith-Bookcover

Parade of Faith: A Biographical History of the Christian Church

by Ruth A. Tucker
Buy the book!
The story of Christianity centers on people whose lives have been transformed by the resurrected Lord. Tucker puts this front and center in a lively overview peppered with sidebars; historical "what if?" questions; sections on everyday life; drawings and illustrations; bibliographies for further reading.
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Positivism

Psalm 19 "The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork" (v. 1).

Metaphysics is the study of that which transcends the physical realm accessed by our five senses. Every worldview has its own answer to the single most important metaphysical question: What principle makes sense of the diversity of creation? Is there something that explains the existence of the universe and demonstrates how the tremendous variety of "things" (dogs, stars, flowers, sand, and so on) all fit together as pieces of the whole?

Christian theology has always said that this unifying principle is the Creator who stands above all things. God is the one who makes sense of everything. Non-Christian philosophers have suggested that an abstract concept, such as reason serves as the unifying principle.

The nineteenth-century French thinker Auguste Comte was dissatisfied with both theological and philosophical views of metaphysics and turned to sociology. He said human society passes through three stages as it matures. In the stage of infancy, religion dominates one's study of the world. Philosophy is the means by which the world is understood in society's adolescence. Adulthood comes when empirical science alone is used to comprehend reality.

A movement called positivism expanded upon these theories. Denying that we could get to a single explanation for all things, positivism tried to understand each of the many particulars in our universe "scientifically." Since nothing brings unity, everything is relative. There is no final standard or ultimate criterion of transcendent truth, so we might as well give up our search.

Logical positivists said a statement has meaning only if it is empirically verifiable. If the senses cannot test it, we can have no knowledge of it. This principle guides most scientists today even if they do not call themselves logical positivists. Yet the idea that a statement has meaning only if it can be empirically verified is self-refuting. This maxim itself cannot be tested empirically; there is no way for the five senses to verify it. It is therefore meaningless according to the guiding idea of logical positivism. Logical positivism fails as a viable worldview if its basic tenet has no meaning according to its own standards.

Coram deo: Living before the face of God

Many scientists say that a Creator does not exist or that there is no way of knowing if He exists because we cannot see, hear, taste, touch, or smell Him. Today's passage, however, states that there is empirical evidence to support the existence of God. Creation testifies to the reality of God (Ps. 19:1-6;Rom. 1:18-32). Take some time this week to find and make use of a good apologetic resource that discusses the evidence for the Lord's existence.

For further study:

Jeremiah 5:21-22

The Bible in a year:

Joshua 23-24

For the weekend:

Judges 1-5

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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He Is- Worthy of Praise

1 Chronicles 16:34

As a righteous king, David wanted to instill praise in his people's hearts. What a good leader! First he taught the people whom to praise (the Lord) and then why they should praise him (because he is good, and his love lasts forever). And he gave them the words to say.

Remember that praise always begins with a heart of thankfulness-not just for what God has done but also for who he is. He is worthy of praise because he alone is good (seeMark 10:18), and he alone is capable of loving us forever.

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Day 31

Perhaps they sang a hymn from Psalms 115–118, the traditional psalms sung as part of the Passover meal. “The Lord is gracious and righteous; our God is full of compassion . . . Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever . . . Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.” What were the disciples thinking and feeling as they followed Jesus to the Mount of Olives? They had probably gone to this place with him many times before for prayer and conversation. But now, shadows too dark for them to comprehend were beginning to fall on their hopes and dreams.

Then Jesus told them, “This very night you will all fall away on account of me, for it is written:

“‘I will strike the shepherd,
and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’

But after I have risen, I will go ahead of you into Galilee.”

Peter replied, “Even if all fall away on account of you, I never will.”

“Truly I tell you,” Jesus answered, “this very night, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times.”

But Peter declared, “Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you.” And all the other disciples said the same.

Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled. Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.”

Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”

Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Couldn’t you men keep watch with me for one hour?” he asked Peter. “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

He went away a second time and prayed, “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.”

An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him. And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.

When he came back, he again found them sleeping, because their eyes were heavy. So he left them and went away once more and prayed the third time, saying the same thing.

Then he returned to the disciples and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Look, the hour has come, and the Son of Man is delivered into the hands of sinners. Rise! Let us go! Here comes my betrayer!”

While he was still speaking, Judas, one of the Twelve, arrived. With him was a large crowd armed with swords and clubs, sent from the chief priests and the elders of the people.

What can we learn from Jesus' disciples' behavior?

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Today's Lent reading: Luke 21-22 (NIV)

View today's Lent reading on Bible Gateway
The Widow's Offering

1 As Jesus looked up, he saw the rich putting their gifts into the temple treasury. 2 He also saw a poor widow put in two very small copper coins. 3 "Truly I tell you," he said, "this poor widow has put in more than all the others. 4 All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on."

The Destruction of the Temple and Signs of the End Times

5 Some of his disciples were remarking about how the temple was adorned with beautiful stones and with gifts dedicated to God. But Jesus said, 6 "As for what you see here, the time will come when not one stone will be left on another; every one of them will be thrown down."

7 "Teacher," they asked, "when will these things happen? And what will be the sign that they are about to take place?"

8 He replied: "Watch out that you are not deceived. For many will come in my name, claiming, 'I am he,' and, 'The time is near.' Do not follow them. 9 When you hear of wars and uprisings, do not be frightened. These things must happen first, but the end will not come right away."

10 Then he said to them: "Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. 11 There will be great earthquakes, famines and pestilences in various places, and fearful events and great signs from heaven.

12 "But before all this, they will seize you and persecute you. They will hand you over to synagogues and put you in prison, and you will be brought before kings and governors, and all on account of my name. 13 And so you will bear testimony to me.14 But make up your mind not to worry beforehand how you will defend yourselves. 15 For I will give you words and wisdom that none of your adversaries will be able to resist or contradict. 16You will be betrayed even by parents, brothers and sisters, relatives and friends, and they will put some of you to death. 17Everyone will hate you because of me. 18 But not a hair of your head will perish. 19 Stand firm, and you will win life.

20 "When you see Jerusalem being surrounded by armies, you will know that its desolation is near. 21 Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, let those in the city get out, and let those in the country not enter the city. 22 For this is the time of punishment in fulfillment of all that has been written. 23How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! There will be great distress in the land and wrath against this people. 24 They will fall by the sword and will be taken as prisoners to all the nations. Jerusalem will be trampled on by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.

25 "There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars. On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea. 26 People will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world, for the heavenly bodies will be shaken. 27 At that time they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. 28 When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near."

29 He told them this parable: "Look at the fig tree and all the trees. 30 When they sprout leaves, you can see for yourselves and know that summer is near. 31 Even so, when you see these things happening, you know that the kingdom of God is near.

32 "Truly I tell you, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened. 33 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.

34 "Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness and the anxieties of life, and that day will close on you suddenly like a trap. 35 For it will come on all those who live on the face of the whole earth. 36 Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man."

37 Each day Jesus was teaching at the temple, and each evening he went out to spend the night on the hill called the Mount of Olives, 38 and all the people came early in the morning to hear him at the temple.

Luke 22

Judas Agrees to Betray Jesus

1 Now the Festival of Unleavened Bread, called the Passover, was approaching, 2 and the chief priests and the teachers of the law were looking for some way to get rid of Jesus, for they were afraid of the people. 3 Then Satan entered Judas, called Iscariot, one of the Twelve. 4 And Judas went to the chief priests and the officers of the temple guard and discussed with them how he might betray Jesus. 5 They were delighted and agreed to give him money. 6 He consented, and watched for an opportunity to hand Jesus over to them when no crowd was present.

The Last Supper

7 Then came the day of Unleavened Bread on which the Passover lamb had to be sacrificed. 8 Jesus sent Peter and John, saying, "Go and make preparations for us to eat the Passover."

9 "Where do you want us to prepare for it?" they asked.

10 He replied, "As you enter the city, a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him to the house that he enters, 11and say to the owner of the house, 'The Teacher asks: Where is the guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?' 12 He will show you a large room upstairs, all furnished. Make preparations there."

13 They left and found things just as Jesus had told them. So they prepared the Passover.

14 When the hour came, Jesus and his apostles reclined at the table. 15 And he said to them, "I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. 16 For I tell you, I will not eat it again until it finds fulfillment in the kingdom of God."

17 After taking the cup, he gave thanks and said, "Take this and divide it among you. 18 For I tell you I will not drink again from the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes."

19 And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, "This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me."

20 In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you. 21 But the hand of him who is going to betray me is with mine on the table. 22 The Son of Man will go as it has been decreed. But woe to that man who betrays him!" 23 They began to question among themselves which of them it might be who would do this.

24 A dispute also arose among them as to which of them was considered to be greatest. 25 Jesus said to them, "The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those who exercise authority over them call themselves Benefactors. 26 But you are not to be like that. Instead, the greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the one who rules like the one who serves. 27For who is greater, the one who is at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one who is at the table? But I am among you as one who serves. 28 You are those who have stood by me in my trials. 29 And I confer on you a kingdom, just as my Father conferred one on me, 30 so that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom and sit on thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

31 "Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift all of you as wheat. 32 But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers."

33 But he replied, "Lord, I am ready to go with you to prison and to death."

34 Jesus answered, "I tell you, Peter, before the rooster crows today, you will deny three times that you know me."

35 Then Jesus asked them, "When I sent you without purse, bag or sandals, did you lack anything?"

"Nothing," they answered.

36 He said to them, "But now if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and if you don't have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one. 37 It is written: 'And he was numbered with the transgressors'; and I tell you that this must be fulfilled in me. Yes, what is written about me is reaching its fulfillment."

38 The disciples said, "See, Lord, here are two swords."

"That's enough!" he replied.

Jesus Prays on the Mount of Olives

39 Jesus went out as usual to the Mount of Olives, and his disciples followed him. 40 On reaching the place, he said to them, "Pray that you will not fall into temptation." 41 He withdrew about a stone's throw beyond them, knelt down and prayed, 42 "Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done." 43 An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him. 44 And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.

45 When he rose from prayer and went back to the disciples, he found them asleep, exhausted from sorrow. 46 "Why are you sleeping?" he asked them. "Get up and pray so that you will not fall into temptation."

Jesus Arrested

47 While he was still speaking a crowd came up, and the man who was called Judas, one of the Twelve, was leading them. He approached Jesus to kiss him, 48 but Jesus asked him, "Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?"

49 When Jesus' followers saw what was going to happen, they said, "Lord, should we strike with our swords?" 50 And one of them struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his right ear.

51 But Jesus answered, "No more of this!" And he touched the man's ear and healed him.

52 Then Jesus said to the chief priests, the officers of the temple guard, and the elders, who had come for him, "Am I leading a rebellion, that you have come with swords and clubs?53 Every day I was with you in the temple courts, and you did not lay a hand on me. But this is your hour-when darkness reigns."

Peter Disowns Jesus

54 Then seizing him, they led him away and took him into the house of the high priest. Peter followed at a distance. 55And when some there had kindled a fire in the middle of the courtyard and had sat down together, Peter sat down with them. 56 A servant girl saw him seated there in the firelight. She looked closely at him and said, "This man was with him."

57 But he denied it. "Woman, I don't know him," he said.

58 A little later someone else saw him and said, "You also are one of them."

"Man, I am not!" Peter replied.

59 About an hour later another asserted, "Certainly this fellow was with him, for he is a Galilean."

60 Peter replied, "Man, I don't know what you're talking about!" Just as he was speaking, the rooster crowed. 61 The Lord turned and looked straight at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word the Lord had spoken to him: "Before the rooster crows today, you will disown me three times." 62 And he went outside and wept bitterly.

The Guards Mock Jesus

63 The men who were guarding Jesus began mocking and beating him. 64 They blindfolded him and demanded, "Prophesy! Who hit you?" 65 And they said many other insulting things to him.

Jesus Before Pilate and Herod

66 At daybreak the council of the elders of the people, both the chief priests and the teachers of the law, met together, and Jesus was led before them. 67 "If you are the Messiah," they said, "tell us."

Jesus answered, "If I tell you, you will not believe me, 68 and if I asked you, you would not answer. 69 But from now on, the Son of Man will be seated at the right hand of the mighty God."

70 They all asked, "Are you then the Son of God?"

He replied, "You say that I am."

71 Then they said, "Why do we need any more testimony? We have heard it from his own lips."

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Today's Prayer

We come, O Christ to you, true Son of God and man,
By whom all things consist, in whom all life began.
In you alone we live and move, and have our being in your love.

You are the Way to God, your blood our ransom paid;
In you we face our Judge and Maker unafraid.
Before the throne absolved we stand, your love has met your law's demand.

-- "We Come o Christ To You." Learn more about this and other hymns at songsandhymns.org

Today's Scripture Reading: Psalm 122

1 I rejoiced with those who said to me,
"Let us go to the house of the LORD."
2 Our feet are standing
in your gates, Jerusalem.

3 Jerusalem is built like a city
that is closely compacted together.
4 That is where the tribes go up--
the tribes of the LORD--
to praise the name of the LORD
according to the statute given to Israel.
5 There stand the thrones for judgment,
the thrones of the house of David.

6 Pray for the peace of Jerusalem:
"May those who love you be secure.
7 May there be peace within your walls
and security within your citadels."
8 For the sake of my family and friends,
I will say, "Peace be within you."
9 For the sake of the house of the LORD our God,
I will seek your prosperity.

Today's Quote

"Our faith then must be different from the faith of devils. For our faith purifies the heart; but their faith makes them guilty. For they do wickedly, and therefore say they to the Lord, "What have we to do with You?" When you hear the devils say this, do you think that they do not acknowledge Him? "We know," they say, "who You are: You are the Son of God." This Peter says, and is commended; the devil says it, and is condemned. Whence comes this, but that though the words be the same, the heart is different? Let us then make a distinction in our faith, and not be content to believe. This is no such faith as purifies the heart. "Purifying their hearts," it is said, "by faith." But by what, and what kind of faith, save that which the Apostle Paul defines when he says, "Faith which works by love." That faith distinguishes us from the faith of devils, and from the infamous and abandoned conduct of men. "Faith," he says. What faith? "That which works by love," and which hopes for what God does promise. Nothing is more exact or perfect than this definition." -- Augustine

Something to Think About

Think about your words and actions over this last week. Is the fruit of faith evident in them? What can you do today to put your faith into action, and communicate Christlike love to somebody in your life?

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