Saturday, March 31, 2012

Daily Devotional Saturday 31st March

“He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem. Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted.” Isaiah 53:3-4 NIV
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Morning and Evening by Charles Spurgeon

Morning

"With his stripes we are healed."
Isaiah 53:5

Pilate delivered our Lord to the lictors to be scourged. The Roman scourge was a most dreadful instrument of torture. It was made of the sinews of oxen, and sharp bones were inter-twisted every here and there among the sinews; so that every time the lash came down these pieces of bone inflicted fearful laceration, and tore off the flesh from the bone. The Saviour was, no doubt, bound to the column, and thus beaten. He had been beaten before; but this of the Roman lictors was probably the most severe of his flagellations. My soul, stand here and weep over his poor stricken body.

Believer in Jesus, can you gaze upon him without tears, as he stands before you the mirror of agonizing love? He is at once fair as the lily for innocence, and red as the rose with the crimson of his own blood. As we feel the sure and blessed healing which his stripes have wrought in us, does not our heart melt at once with love and grief? If ever we have loved our Lord Jesus, surely we must feel that affection glowing now within our bosoms.

"See how the patient Jesus stands,

Insulted in his lowest case!

Sinners have bound the Almighty's hands,

And spit in their Creator's face.

With thorns his temples gor'd and gash'd

Send streams of blood from every part;

His back's with knotted scourges lash'd.

But sharper scourges tear his heart."

We would fain go to our chambers and weep; but since our business calls us away, we will first pray our Beloved to print the image of his bleeding self upon the tablets of our hearts all the day, and at nightfall we will return to commune with him, and sorrow that our sin should have cost him so dear.

Evening

"And Rizpah the daughter of Aiah took sackcloth, and spread it for her upon the rock, from the beginning of harvest until water dropped upon them out of heaven, and suffered neither the birds of the air to rest on them by day, nor the beasts of the field by night."
2 Samuel 21:10

If the love of a woman to her slain sons could make her prolong her mournful vigil for so long a period, shall we weary of considering the sufferings of our blessed Lord? She drove away the birds of prey, and shall not we chase from our meditations those worldly and sinful thoughts which defile both our minds and the sacred themes upon which we are occupied? Away, ye birds of evil wing! Leave ye the sacrifice alone! She bore the heats of summer, the night dews and the rains, unsheltered and alone. Sleep was chased from her weeping eyes: her heart was too full for slumber. Behold how she loved her children! Shall Rizpah thus endure, and shall we start at the first little inconvenience or trial? Are we such cowards that we cannot bear to suffer with our Lord? She chased away even the wild beasts, with courage unusual in her sex, and will not we be ready to encounter every foe for Jesus' sake? These her children were slain by other hands than hers, and yet she wept and watched: what ought we to do who have by our sins crucified our Lord? Our obligations are boundless, our love should be fervent and our repentance thorough. To watch with Jesus should be our business, to protect his honour our occupation, to abide by his cross our solace. Those ghastly corpses might well have affrighted Rizpah, especially by night, but in our Lord, at whose cross-foot we are sitting, there is nothing revolting, but everything attractive. Never was living beauty so enchanting as a dying Saviour. Jesus, we will watch with thee yet awhile, and do thou graciously unveil thyself to us; then shall we not sit beneath sackcloth, but in a royal pavilion.

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Today's reading: Judges 9-10, Luke 5:17-39 (NIV)

View today's reading on Bible Gateway
Abimelek

1 Abimelek son of Jerub-Baal went to his mother’s brothers in Shechem and said to them and to all his mother’s clan, 2“Ask all the citizens of Shechem, ‘Which is better for you: to have all seventy of Jerub-Baal’s sons rule over you, or just one man?’ Remember, I am your flesh and blood.”

3 When the brothers repeated all this to the citizens of Shechem, they were inclined to follow Abimelek, for they said, “He is related to us.” 4 They gave him seventy shekels of silver from the temple of Baal-Berith, and Abimelek used it to hire reckless scoundrels, who became his followers. 5 He went to his father’s home in Ophrah and on one stone murdered his seventy brothers, the sons of Jerub-Baal. But Jotham, the youngest son of Jerub-Baal, escaped by hiding. 6 Then all the citizens of Shechem and Beth Millo gathered beside the great tree at the pillar in Shechem to crown Abimelek king.

7 When Jotham was told about this, he climbed up on the top of Mount Gerizim and shouted to them, “Listen to me, citizens of Shechem, so that God may listen to you. 8 One day the trees went out to anoint a king for themselves. They said to the olive tree, ‘Be our king.’

9 “But the olive tree answered, ‘Should I give up my oil, by which both gods and humans are honored, to hold sway over the trees?’

10 “Next, the trees said to the fig tree, ‘Come and be our king.’

11 “But the fig tree replied, ‘Should I give up my fruit, so good and sweet, to hold sway over the trees?’

12 “Then the trees said to the vine, ‘Come and be our king.’

13 “But the vine answered, ‘Should I give up my wine, which cheers both gods and humans, to hold sway over the trees?’

14 “Finally all the trees said to the thornbush, ‘Come and be our king.’

15 “The thornbush said to the trees, ‘If you really want to anoint me king over you, come and take refuge in my shade; but if not, then let fire come out of the thornbush and consume the cedars of Lebanon!’

16 “Have you acted honorably and in good faith by making Abimelek king? Have you been fair to Jerub-Baal and his family? Have you treated him as he deserves? 17 Remember that my father fought for you and risked his life to rescue you from the hand of Midian. 18 But today you have revolted against my father’s family. You have murdered his seventy sons on a single stone and have made Abimelek, the son of his female slave, king over the citizens of Shechem because he is related to you. 19 So have you acted honorably and in good faith toward Jerub-Baal and his family today? If you have, may Abimelek be your joy, and may you be his, too! 20 But if you have not, let fire come out from Abimelek and consume you, the citizens of Shechem and Beth Millo, and let fire come out from you, the citizens of Shechem and Beth Millo, and consume Abimelek!”

21 Then Jotham fled, escaping to Beer, and he lived there because he was afraid of his brother Abimelek.

22 After Abimelek had governed Israel three years, 23 God stirred up animosity between Abimelek and the citizens of Shechem so that they acted treacherously against Abimelek.24 God did this in order that the crime against Jerub-Baal’s seventy sons, the shedding of their blood, might be avenged on their brother Abimelek and on the citizens of Shechem, who had helped him murder his brothers. 25 In opposition to him these citizens of Shechem set men on the hilltops to ambush and rob everyone who passed by, and this was reported to Abimelek.

26 Now Gaal son of Ebed moved with his clan into Shechem, and its citizens put their confidence in him. 27 After they had gone out into the fields and gathered the grapes and trodden them, they held a festival in the temple of their god. While they were eating and drinking, they cursed Abimelek. 28 Then Gaal son of Ebed said, “Who is Abimelek, and why should we Shechemites be subject to him? Isn’t he Jerub-Baal’s son, and isn’t Zebul his deputy? Serve the family of Hamor, Shechem’s father! Why should we serve Abimelek? 29 If only this people were under my command! Then I would get rid of him. I would say to Abimelek, ‘Call out your whole army!’”

30 When Zebul the governor of the city heard what Gaal son of Ebed said, he was very angry. 31 Under cover he sent messengers to Abimelek, saying, “Gaal son of Ebed and his clan have come to Shechem and are stirring up the city against you. 32 Now then, during the night you and your men should come and lie in wait in the fields. 33 In the morning at sunrise, advance against the city. When Gaal and his men come out against you, seize the opportunity to attack them.”

34 So Abimelek and all his troops set out by night and took up concealed positions near Shechem in four companies. 35Now Gaal son of Ebed had gone out and was standing at the entrance of the city gate just as Abimelek and his troops came out from their hiding place.

36 When Gaal saw them, he said to Zebul, “Look, people are coming down from the tops of the mountains!”

Zebul replied, “You mistake the shadows of the mountains for men.”

37 But Gaal spoke up again: “Look, people are coming down from the central hill, and a company is coming from the direction of the diviners’ tree.”

38 Then Zebul said to him, “Where is your big talk now, you who said, ‘Who is Abimelek that we should be subject to him?’ Aren’t these the men you ridiculed? Go out and fight them!”

39 So Gaal led out the citizens of Shechem and fought Abimelek. 40 Abimelek chased him all the way to the entrance of the gate, and many were killed as they fled. 41 Then Abimelek stayed in Arumah, and Zebul drove Gaal and his clan out of Shechem.

42 The next day the people of Shechem went out to the fields, and this was reported to Abimelek. 43 So he took his men, divided them into three companies and set an ambush in the fields. When he saw the people coming out of the city, he rose to attack them. 44 Abimelek and the companies with him rushed forward to a position at the entrance of the city gate. Then two companies attacked those in the fields and struck them down. 45 All that day Abimelek pressed his attack against the city until he had captured it and killed its people. Then he destroyed the city and scattered salt over it.

46 On hearing this, the citizens in the tower of Shechem went into the stronghold of the temple of El-Berith. 47 When Abimelek heard that they had assembled there, 48 he and all his men went up Mount Zalmon. He took an ax and cut off some branches, which he lifted to his shoulders. He ordered the men with him, “Quick! Do what you have seen me do!” 49 So all the men cut branches and followed Abimelek. They piled them against the stronghold and set it on fire with the people still inside. So all the people in the tower of Shechem, about a thousand men and women, also died.

50 Next Abimelek went to Thebez and besieged it and captured it. 51 Inside the city, however, was a strong tower, to which all the men and women—all the people of the city—had fled. They had locked themselves in and climbed up on the tower roof. 52 Abimelek went to the tower and attacked it. But as he approached the entrance to the tower to set it on fire, 53a woman dropped an upper millstone on his head and cracked his skull.

54 Hurriedly he called to his armor-bearer, “Draw your sword and kill me, so that they can’t say, ‘A woman killed him.’” So his servant ran him through, and he died. 55 When the Israelites saw that Abimelek was dead, they went home.

56 Thus God repaid the wickedness that Abimelek had done to his father by murdering his seventy brothers. 57 God also made the people of Shechem pay for all their wickedness. The curse of Jotham son of Jerub-Baal came on them.

Judges 10

Tola

1 After the time of Abimelek, a man of Issachar named Tola son of Puah, the son of Dodo, rose to save Israel. He lived in Shamir, in the hill country of Ephraim. 2 He led Israel twenty-three years; then he died, and was buried in Shamir.

Jair

3 He was followed by Jair of Gilead, who led Israel twenty-two years. 4 He had thirty sons, who rode thirty donkeys. They controlled thirty towns in Gilead, which to this day are called Havvoth Jair. 5 When Jair died, he was buried in Kamon.

Jephthah

6 Again the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the LORD. They served the Baals and the Ashtoreths, and the gods of Aram, the gods of Sidon, the gods of Moab, the gods of the Ammonites and the gods of the Philistines. And because the Israelites forsook the LORD and no longer served him, 7 he became angry with them. He sold them into the hands of the Philistines and the Ammonites, 8 who that year shattered and crushed them. For eighteen years they oppressed all the Israelites on the east side of the Jordan in Gilead, the land of the Amorites. 9 The Ammonites also crossed the Jordan to fight against Judah, Benjamin and Ephraim; Israel was in great distress. 10 Then the Israelites cried out to the LORD, “We have sinned against you, forsaking our God and serving the Baals.”

11 The LORD replied, “When the Egyptians, the Amorites, the Ammonites, the Philistines, 12 the Sidonians, the Amalekites and the Maonites oppressed you and you cried to me for help, did I not save you from their hands? 13 But you have forsaken me and served other gods, so I will no longer save you. 14 Go and cry out to the gods you have chosen. Let them save you when you are in trouble!”

15 But the Israelites said to the LORD, “We have sinned. Do with us whatever you think best, but please rescue us now.” 16Then they got rid of the foreign gods among them and served the LORD. And he could bear Israel’s misery no longer.

17 When the Ammonites were called to arms and camped in Gilead, the Israelites assembled and camped at Mizpah. 18 The leaders of the people of Gilead said to each other, “Whoever will take the lead in attacking the Ammonites will be head over all who live in Gilead.”


Luke 5

Jesus Forgives and Heals a Paralyzed Man

17 One day Jesus was teaching, and Pharisees and teachers of the law were sitting there. They had come from every village of Galilee and from Judea and Jerusalem. And the power of the Lord was with Jesus to heal the sick. 18 Some men came carrying a paralyzed man on a mat and tried to take him into the house to lay him before Jesus. 19 When they could not find a way to do this because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and lowered him on his mat through the tiles into the middle of the crowd, right in front of Jesus.

20 When Jesus saw their faith, he said, “Friend, your sins are forgiven.”

21 The Pharisees and the teachers of the law began thinking to themselves, “Who is this fellow who speaks blasphemy? Who can forgive sins but God alone?”

22 Jesus knew what they were thinking and asked, “Why are you thinking these things in your hearts? 23 Which is easier: to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’? 24But I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.” So he said to the paralyzed man, “I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.” 25 Immediately he stood up in front of them, took what he had been lying on and went home praising God. 26 Everyone was amazed and gave praise to God. They were filled with awe and said, “We have seen remarkable things today.”

Jesus Calls Levi and Eats With Sinners

27 After this, Jesus went out and saw a tax collector by the name of Levi sitting at his tax booth. “Follow me,” Jesus said to him, 28 and Levi got up, left everything and followed him.

29 Then Levi held a great banquet for Jesus at his house, and a large crowd of tax collectors and others were eating with them. 30 But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law who belonged to their sect complained to his disciples, “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?”

31 Jesus answered them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. 32 I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”

Jesus Questioned About Fasting

33 They said to him, “John’s disciples often fast and pray, and so do the disciples of the Pharisees, but yours go on eating and drinking.”

34 Jesus answered, “Can you make the friends of the bridegroom fast while he is with them? 35 But the time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them; in those days they will fast.”

36 He told them this parable: “No one tears a piece out of a new garment to patch an old one. Otherwise, they will have torn the new garment, and the patch from the new will not match the old. 37 And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the new wine will burst the skins; the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. 38 No, new wine must be poured into new wineskins. 39 And no one after drinking old wine wants the new, for they say, ‘The old is better.’”

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Potiphar [Pŏt'ĭphar]—who is of the sun or a fat bull. The captain of Pharaoh’s guard to whom Joseph was sold by the Midianites. It was his wife who tried to seduce Joseph (Gen. 37:36; 39:1).
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March 30, 2012
What is Normal?
Mary Southerland

Today's Truth
1 Peter 4:12-13 "Do not be surprised at the painful things you are now suffering. These things are testing your faith" (ICB).

Friend to Friend
The holidays are wonderful but I am always ready for them to be over so life can get back to normal. Hmmm…that word "normal" can definitely mean different things to different people. I have to admit that "normal" is not a word people commonly use to describe me or my life. I have heard more than one person say, "Mary, you are not a normal pastor's wife!" I smile and thank them for the compliment. Ignorance can definitely be bliss. Several of my closest friends are convinced that I could make millions by doing my own television reality show. "Nobody could make this stuff up!" they proclaim.

Author and speaker, Patsy Clairmont says that "normal" is just a setting on the dryer. I am inclined to agree with her. At birth, the world silently hands us a list of do's and don'ts that we must follow in order to "fit in" and qualify as "normal." I believe God's definition of normal is quite different from the one offered by the world.

As I look back over the lives of those who made the biggest difference in the early Kingdom days, they were anything but normal. A bag of mixed nuts is more like it – quirky men and broken women from all walks of life who were radical in their devotion to God to the point of placing their lives on the line every day for the cause of Christ. They were normal in that they celebrated their "sameness" with the pagans who were shunned by religious zealots but stubbornly loved by the Father. Yet, they were profoundly abnormal in the love they showed and the depth of their commitment to God and to His cause.

Last year, as I was putting the Christmas decorations away, I ended up in the study where we have a collection of gifts and souvenirs from the various countries where Dan and I have visited on mission trips. Each one brought back memories of precious people we met – people who are persecuted each day because of their faith in Jesus Christ. As far as material possessions are concerned, these saints have very little, but when it comes to joy, contentment and peace … they are filthy rich! These men and women have chosen to follow Christ in a radical obedience that may very well cost them their lives one day. Is that normal? It should be.

When an ordinary woman meets an extraordinary God, normal life takes on a whole new meaning. Knowing God changes everything. We cannot encounter the living God and be the same. A personal relationship with Him produces a holy discontent with the status quo and compels us to live in such a way that miracles are a daily occurrence.

Miracles come in all shapes and sizes. A woman chooses not to have an abortion. A pastor in Peru lives another day even though his name is first on a list of Christian pastors to be executed. An alcoholic makes it through one more day without a drink. An underground church in Cuba meets to worship God. A husband who has been unemployed for over a year gets a job. Bibles are smuggled into Mexico and distributed to remote mountain tribes. A couple seeks counseling instead of a divorce. Cancer goes into remission. The sun rises and sets. We have food to eat and water to drink. A life is changed in response to what God has done in ours.

People are desperately looking for ordinary women like you and me whose lives have been changed by an extraordinary God – the One who is calling us to be "God with skin on" to those who don't even believe He exists. I want to love every excuse and doubt right out of their minds. I want them to see a power in me that they cannot explain in human terms and a message that shouts of God's mercy and forgiveness. I want to be hungry and thirsty for God as never before. I want my normal life to be abnormally extraordinary because God is alive and well and at work in and around me.

How about you? Are you ready to step out in faith? Are you willing to live a normal life filled with people and circumstances that can only be explained by the extraordinary power and presence of God? Let's do it, girlfriend!

Let's Pray
Father, I am so tired of playing it safe, of bowing to the wrong crowd and listening to the wrong voices. I lay down my pride and surrender to You and Your plan for my life in this New Year. Stretch my faith. Give me Your eyes to see those in need. Fill me with Your power and strength so that others will be drawn to You.
In Jesus' name,
Amen.

Now It's Your Turn
In what way have you played it safe when it comes to your faith in God?
Are you willing to be a radical follower of Jesus Christ – no matter the cost?
Read Proverbs 3:5-6. How do these verses apply to an abnormal walk with God?
What first step do you need to take in order to walk by faith - not by sight?

More from the Girlfriends
The first time my husband, Dan and I visited Cuba, my eyes were opened to a whole new level of faith I had never seen or experienced. I watched believers live under the scrutiny of a godless government. Pastors and their families lived in poverty because they chose to worship God alone. Yet, there was no fear – only faith. They celebrated what they had instead of complaining about what they didn't have. We were humbled to be in their presence and challenged to live as they lived – in radical obedience to God. That same challenge is before us all today. Are you ready?

A daily time alone with God in prayer and Bible study will strengthen you to face whatever life throws at you. Check out my weekly online Bible study, Light for the Journey, for practical ways to tap into the power of God's Word.

FREE MP3s on Mary's website in the Freebies Section!

Do you or someone you love struggle with depression? Mary's book, Hope in the Midst of Depression, offers practical steps you can take to get out and stay out of that pit.

Need a friend? Connect with me on Facebook or through email.


Seeking God?

Click here to find out more about
how to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

Girlfriends in God
P.O. Box 725
Matthews, NC 28106

info@girlfriendsingod.com
www.girlfriendsingod.com

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The Cost of Discipleship

Matthew 8:18-22

John Chrysostom comments on today's passage that Jesus would not have us "think lightly of the honor due to parents." His words only signify "that nothing ought to be to us more urgent than the affairs of the kingdom of heaven" ( Homilies on the Gospel of Saint Matthew, 27.3). It can be hard to know how to honor one's parents and follow Jesus, but let us remember that His will alone deserves our undivided submission.

For further study:

Exodus 20:3

The Bible in a year:

Judges 15-17

For the weekend:

Judges 18-Ruth 2

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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The Cost of Discipleship

Matthew 8:18-22 "Another of the disciples said to him, 'Lord, let me first go and bury my father.' And Jesus said to him, 'Follow me, and leave the dead to bury their own dead'" ( vv. 21-22).

A great crowd gathers about Christ as His acclaim spreads in Capernaum, and He prepares to cross the sea of Galilee (Matt. 8:18). We are not certain why He makes this move, but many interpreters believe Jesus is seeking rest. After all, He is found asleep in the episode following today's passage (v. 24).

Seeing that our Savior is about to depart, a scribe trained in the law of Moses expresses His desire to follow Jesus wherever He goes (v. 19). Christ does not turn this would-be disciple away, but He explains to this scholar the cost of discipleship. Following Jesus, the scribe learns, might even entail the loss of a permanent home (v. 20). The Redeemer's people must accept that they are strangers and exiles in this present world (Heb. 11:13-16). In Christ we will one day rule over all (2 Tim. 2:12a), but the Christian life, as the church father Tertullian says, is a call to follow the Lord's pattern: "He walked in humility and obscurity. He had no definite home. ...He is unadorned as to dress. He exercised no right of power even over his own followers. ...Though conscious of his own kingdom, he shrank back from being made a king" (On Idolatry, 18.4-5).

Like Jesus, we must be willing to tell people that there is a cost to following the Savior. We do not help the non-believer if we teach or imply that Jesus can be folded into the fabric of our lives without the world hating us (Matt. 24:9).

Even family duties take second place when Jesus calls. After speaking to the scribe, another man says he is willing to follow Christ if he can first go bury His father. Yet Jesus allows no hesitation (8:21-22 ). This is a difficult saying, since Scripture tells us to honor our parents (Ex. 20:12 ), but it is likely that our Lord's reply to the dead man's son is a universal principle, not a universal application. Jesus alone deserves our supreme devotion, but the ways in which this principle is applied may vary. John Calvin comments, "Children should discharge their duty to their parents in such a manner that, whenever God calls them to another employment, they should lay this aside, and assign the first place to the command of God. Whatever duties we owe to men must give way, when God enjoins upon us what is immediately due to himself."

Coram deo: Living before the face of God

John Chrysostom comments on today's passage that Jesus would not have us "think lightly of the honor due to parents." His words only signify "that nothing ought to be to us more urgent than the affairs of the kingdom of heaven" (Homilies on the Gospel of Saint Matthew, 27.3). It can be hard to know how to honor one's parents and follow Jesus, but let us remember that His will alone deserves our undivided submission.

For further study:

Exodus 20:3

The Bible in a year:

Judges 15-17

For the weekend:

Judges 18-Ruth 2

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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P31Header
Kelly Langston

March 30, 2012

Broken
Kelly Langston

"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!" 2 Corinthians 5:17 (NIV)

Broken.

It was now broken, with an asymmetrical flutter to its wings that moments before lifted the butterfly in a dance around the church lawn.

The butterfly wasn't what first caught my eye though as I stood in line to pick up my son, Alec, from a day camp for special needs children. It was the boy with autism that first captured my attention. He was tugging on the arm of his caregiver with a brawny strength, roughly pulling her this way and that.

As I watched the two in their strange dance, my heart ached for the boy just as it does whenever I see a child with autism. A familiar feeling rose in the pit of my stomach. It was the same one I felt when I didn't know how to reach my autistic son in his younger years. I'll never forget how hard and long the days could be.

Lost in my memories, I was more than happy when the butterfly caught my eye. As I watched it, in one quick swoop-and before his caregiver could stop him-the boy's hand captured the butterfly in a clenched fist. She pulled it free from his grasp and I watched fragile wings fall to the sidewalk. The butterfly fluttered for a few moments before dying.

Isn't it strange how something so simple can hit you so hard? Grief rose in the back of my throat, but I wasn't sure what hurt me most. Was it the brokenness of a boy who longed to touch something beautiful and carefree, only to crush the life from it? Or was it the thought of how quickly something so lovely can die? The vivid scene stuck with me all night, broken wings falling to the ground.

The next morning, I walked with Alec up to the church for another day at camp. I stepped onto the sidewalk behind a little girl with Down Syndrome. Without a care in the world she sang, and when I heard the words, I stopped in my tracks:

"I am a beautiful butterfly! I am a beautiful butterfly"

With each light step, she twirled and sang this little song. I realized then what God was showing me.

Yes, Lord, I get it! These children are like that butterfly. They are full of beauty! Full of grace and wonder, and even so, they are broken. But oh, how lovely and special they are to You, Lord. And how precious to behold one single moment of the beauty that lives within them!

As a parent to one of these broken, beautiful butterflies, it is a privilege to see God carry him through painful days. And I know I'm graced to be touched by the beauty that exists in brokenness. To feel the loss of what might have been, the crush of overwhelming need, and the Divine Light that runs through it all and makes it worth our efforts.

Alec's teenage camp buddy leaned down to greet my son with a high five and a smile. It was then I noticed the counselor's shirts with the words "I am a New Creation" on the front and on the back was the week's Bible verse:

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! (2 Corinthians 5:17)

Like the butterfly, we're all broken. But, praise God, there is great beauty within our brokenness when we allow God to carry us through the pain. Better yet, we are new creatures with a future and a hope of eternityóunbrokenóin Christ. One day each broken body will be resurrected to a new beauty unimaginable in this life.

Dear Lord, thank You for choosing me to love a child with a special need. Help me to see the beauty in my child through Your eyes, as a marvelous creation, beautiful and full of potential. You've promised a purpose and a plan for my child. Your Word tells me that You use broken individuals to do amazing things for Your glory. Help me then, Lord, to be all that my child needs me to be, as I rely on Your strength to carry us through difficult days. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
Do You Know Him?

Visit Kelly's blog for more encouragement.

Autism's Hidden Blessings: Discovering God's Promises for Autistic Children & Their Families by Kelly Langston

Reflect and Respond:
Scripture is filled with stories when God chose people who were overlooked by others to do great things for Him. Never underestimate God's power to use your child to bring Him glory. God has a marvelous purpose for your child!

What is one weight of life you can trust God with today? Lean completely into His care. He did not spare His own Son to demonstrate the extent of His love. Knowing this, you can be certain He will honor every one of His scriptural promises for you! Take heart, your God is for you.

Power Verse:
Revelation 21:4, "He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away." (NIV 1984)

© 2012 by Kelly Langston. All rights reserved.

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

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Temple glories

‘They… praised the Lord, saying, For he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever.’ 2 Chronicles 5:13; 7:3

Suggested Further Reading: Psalm 136:1–26 (read earlier in the service)

The more Scriptural our hymns are the better. In fact there will never be found music which can excel old David’s Psalms. Let us interpret them in an evangelical spirit, let us fill them full of the gospel of Christ, of which they are, indeed, already full in prophecy, and we shall sing the very words of the Spirit, and shall surely edify each other and glorify our God. If, then, our music has been scriptural, if our praise has been hearty, if our song has been unanimous, if we have sung of that mercy which endureth for ever, we have good cause to expect that God will manifest himself to us, and faith will perceive the cloud. That is a grand old Calvinistic Psalm, ‘His mercy endureth for ever.’ What Arminian can sing that? Well, he willsing it, I dare say; but if he be a thoroughgoing Arminian he really cannot enjoy it and believe it. You can fall from grace, can you? Then how does his mercy endure for ever? Christ bought with his blood some that will be lost in hell, did he? Then how did his mercy endure for ever? There are some who resist the offers of divine grace, despite all that the Spirit of God can do for them, yet disappoint the Spirit and defeat God, are there? How then does his mercy endure for ever? No, no, this is no hymn for you, this is the Calvinist’s hymn. This is the hymn which you and I will sing as long as life shall last, and going through the dark valley of the shadow of death we will make the shades resound with the joyous strain—‘For his mercies shall endure ever faithful, ever sure.’

For meditation: Genuine Christians will persevere as the result of being united with Christ in the likeness of his resurrection (Romans 6:5); Christ will die no more and over him death has no more dominion; that is the nature of the eternal life Christians live with him (Romans 6:8–9 ). Rejoice in the one who said ‘Fear not; … I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore.’ (Revelation 1:17–18)

Sermon no. 375
31 March (Easter 1861)

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The march

“And it came to pass, when the ark set forward, that Moses said, Rise up, Lord, and let thine enemies be scattered; and let them that hate thee flee before thee.” Numbers 10:35

Suggested Further Reading: 2 Chronicles 20:1-30

“Rise up, Lord, Father, Son, and Spirit, we can do nothing without thee; but if thou wilt arise, thine enemies shall be scattered, and they that hate thee shall flee before thee.” Will you and I go home and pray this prayer by ourselves, fervently laying hold upon the horns of God’s altar? I charge you, my brethren in Christ, do not neglect this private duty. Go, each one of you, to your chambers; shut your doors; cry to him who hears in secret, and let this be the burden of your cry—“Rise up, Lord, and let thine enemies be scattered.” And at your altars tonight, when your families are gathered together, still let the same cry ring up to heaven. And then tomorrow, and all the days of the week, and as often as we shall meet together to hear his word and to break bread, cry, “Rise up, Lord, and let thine enemies be scattered; and let them that hate thee flee before thee.” Pray for your children, your neighbours, your families, and your friends, and let your prayer be—“Rise up, Lord; rise up, Lord.” Pray for this neighbourhood; pray for the dense darkness of Southwark, and Walworth, and Lambeth. And oh! If you cannot pray for others because your own needs come so strongly before your mind, remember sinner, all you need is by faith to look to Christ, and then you can say, “Rise up, Lord; scatter my doubts; kill my unbelief; drown my sins in thy blood; let these thine enemies be scattered; let them that hate thee flee before thee.”

For meditation: This call to prayer, which comes at the very end of the “New Park Street Pulpit” reminds us of some important lessons—the battle is the Lord’s, the armour is God’s, but the responsibility to pray still rests with us, God’s people (Ephesians 6:10-20).

Sermon no. 368
31 March (1861)

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Argula von Stauffer and Katherine Zell

Verse: Matthew 6:26

Quote: "I am distressed that our princes take the Word of God no more seriously than a cow does a game of chess." (Argula von Stauffer)

One of Luther's most outspoken defenders is Argula von Stauffer (1492 – 1563). But in the eyes of Catholic opposition, she is an "insolent daughter of Eve." Born into landed nobility in Bavaria, she marries a nobleman with whom she bears a daughter and three sons. For more than four decades she risks her life and the wellbeing of her family for the cause of the Reformation. She refuses to be silenced, and in a letter to Catholic authorities, she demands, "What have Luther and Melanchthon taught save the Word of God?" She taunts them for condemning him but not refuting him. In 1523, as a young mother, she boldly defends her views in a debate before the Diet of Nurnberg. The German princes, however, pay her little heed. "I am distressed," she laments, "that our princes take the Word of God no more seriously than a cow does a game of chess."

Persecuted not only by state officials but also by her husband, whose political career and very livelihood are in jeopardy because of her activities, she is aware of the risk: "I understand that my husband will be deposed from his office. I can't help it. God will feed my children as he feeds the birds and will clothe them as the lilies of the field." Martin Luther, writing to a friend, clearly recognizes her sacrifice, calling her "a singular instrument of Christ."

Her heroes are Old Testament women like Deborah and Esther, but she does not dismiss apparent New Testament constraints: "I am not unacquainted with the word of Paul that women should be silent in church," she concedes, "but, when no man will or can speak, I am driven by the word of the Lord when he said, 'He who confesses me on earth, him will I confess and he who denies me, him will I deny.' " She breaks civil law by repeatedly conducting religious meetings in her home and officiating at clandestine funerals. She faithfully carries on Luther's reform, outliving him by nearly two decades. The "old Staufferin," as the Duke cynically describes her, is twice imprisoned, the last time shortly before her death at age seventy.

Another Reformer who boldly challenges the religious establishment — and sometimes her fellow Reformers — is Katherine Zell (1497 – 1562). Her decision to marry Matthew Zell, a priest-turned-Reformer, corresponds with the Reformation focus on the family. She defends the marriage, insisting it diminishes the frequent priestly sins of lust and fornication. As a minister's wife in Strasbourg, she works with refugees fleeing persecution, providing shelter to hundreds of homeless exiles. During the Peasants' War of 1525, she directs a vast relief program, serving some three thousand who seek refuge in Strasbourg. The Zell home is also open to some of the most celebrated Reformers of the era, including Ulrich Zwingli and John Calvin. But she is not star-struck by fellow Reformers. "Why do you rail at Schwenckfeld?" she demands of a Lutheran leader. "You talk as if you would have him burned like the poor Servetus at Geneva" (a swipe at Calvin). She laments that the Anabaptists — good Christians "who accept Christ in all the essentials as we do" — are "pursued as by a hunter with dogs chasing wild boars."

Accused of becoming "Dr. Katrina" and taking over her husband's pulpit at his death, she angrily reacts, insisting that "instead of spending my time in frivolous amusements I have visited the plague infested and . . . those in prison and under sentence of death," often without eating or sleeping. She writes evangelistic tracts and devotionals as well as materials on religious education, civic reform, pastoral care, apologetics, and theology. In her spare time, she edits a hymnbook.

In her final act of selfless ministry, she officiates a funeral service for a woman regarded as a "radical" — a Reformation heretic. She crawls out of her sickbed at dawn to minister at the grave-side service. When the city council hears of it, they resolve to reprimand her when she recovers. But she dies before they can officially condemn her one final time.


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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Myth: “Sexual freedom is good for women.”

Galatians 5:13

My favorite movie? Pretty Woman, without a doubt! I watched it twice in one night when my friends and I sneaked back into the theater when we were in college. This is the ultimate chick flick. Julia Roberts had it made-a sexy, rich man wanted to take care of her and lavish attention on her with no strings attached. Of course, in 1990, the only way Hollywood could get away with portraying that ideal was to make the main character a prostitute-a likable one you'd want to be friends with-but a prostitute nonetheless. As if the picture of a woman who was in control of her sexuality and using it for her benefit was somehow unbecoming for the average woman.

Now we've grown into a more sophisticated sexual freedom. My girlfriends and I meet eligible single men at trendy clubs downtown. Most of the men there are stockbrokers or successful lawyers and doctors. We're adults with disposable incomes and time on our hands.

I was nervous the first time I had a guy I met at a club over to my flat. I poured some drinks, we talked about our families and work and then we messed around until he had to go home for work the next day. I recall looking in the mirror the next morning and strangely not recognizing my own face right away, but I also remember the rush of feeling empowered. Every time I hook up with a guy, I feel as if I break through some other barrier. It's as if I'm in control of my life in a way I couldn't have imagined before.

I'm not actually sleeping with these guys. Some of my girlfriends do, but I'm just out to have fun. It wasn't that long ago when only men were allowed to have fun like this, but this is an equal opportunity planet. More power to us!

-Nicole

The sexual revolution drastically changed how women viewed their sexuality. In the past, women hid their sexuality under restrictive clothing and severe social codes. Now we flaunt it. Women used to be envious of men's supposed sexual freedom and the apparent power it gave them. Now we have that same "freedom," but where has it gotten us?

  • Legalized abortion-A world in which even if a woman wants to keep her baby, her partner has no responsibility to stand beside her and support her. Too many women feel alone and pressured to abort their children. Is that freedom?
  • Disappointment-Relationships in which men won't commit because they don't have to. Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free?
  • Emotional baggage-Past physical attachments, emotional scars and the weight of guilt so that women can't enter fully into their marriages or the relationships God intended for them.
  • Disrespect-In a world of sexual freedom, women are often treated like (surprise, surprise) sex objects. When was the last time a man held the door for you?
  • Expectations-Just because a man buys you dinner doesn't mean you owe him sex-not after one date, four dates, six months or two years.

We're no better off sexually than our mothers and grandmothers. We may feel a sense of control, but it comes at a very high price-the price of our clean consciences, of our whole relationships, of our sexual purity.

God wants women to experience the powerful, intoxicating pleasures of their sexuality. Yet he has specific parameters in which that experience should take place-in a monogamous, marital relationship, one man and one woman, for life. Satan exploits a woman's sexuality by enticing her to express herself sexually outside of God's ideal-through promiscuity, premarital sex or adultery.

Sexual freedom God's way

We think we feel empowered. God says we are enslaved-either to sin or to righteousness (see Romans 6:16).

We tell ourselves we're in control when we use sex in relationships (since we have what men want).God calls that kind of control self-deception (see 1 Corinthians 3:18-19).

The world assures us sexual freedom is life's highest reward. God warns us that we will reap what we sow. (see Galatians 6:7).

"CDC estimates that approximately 19 million new [sexually transmitted disease] infections occur each year."

-CDC STD Surveillance 2006

"You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh."
Galatians 5:13

See also

Romans 1:24; 1 Corinthians 6:12-20; Ephesians 5:3
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Day 38

They got up and returned at once to Jerusalem. There they found the Eleven and those with them, assembled together and saying, “It is true! The Lord has risen and has appeared to Simon.” Then the two told what had happened on the way, and how Jesus was recognized by them when he broke the bread.

While they were still talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.”

They were startled and frightened, thinking they saw a ghost. He said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds? Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have.”

When he had said this, he showed them his hands and feet. And while they still did not believe it because of joy and amazement, he asked them, “Do you have anything here to eat?” They gave him a piece of broiled fish, and he took it and ate it in their presence.

He said to them, “This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.”

Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. He told them, “This is what is written: The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.”

Now Thomas (also known as Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!”

But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”

A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.”

Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!”

Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

What difference does it make knowing Jesus is alive today?

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Today's Lent reading: John 9-10 (NIV)

View today's Lent reading on Bible Gateway
Jesus Heals a Man Born Blind

1 As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. 2 His disciples asked him, "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?"

3 "Neither this man nor his parents sinned," said Jesus, "but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him. 4 As long as it is day, we must do the works of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work. 5 While I am in the world, I am the light of the world."

6 After saying this, he spit on the ground, made some mud with the saliva, and put it on the man's eyes. 7 "Go," he told him, "wash in the Pool of Siloam" (this word means "Sent"). So the man went and washed, and came home seeing.

8 His neighbors and those who had formerly seen him begging asked, "Isn't this the same man who used to sit and beg?" 9 Some claimed that he was.

Others said, "No, he only looks like him."

But he himself insisted, "I am the man."

10 "How then were your eyes opened?" they asked.

11 He replied, "The man they call Jesus made some mud and put it on my eyes. He told me to go to Siloam and wash. So I went and washed, and then I could see."

12 "Where is this man?" they asked him.

"I don't know," he said.

The Pharisees Investigate the Healing

13 They brought to the Pharisees the man who had been blind. 14 Now the day on which Jesus had made the mud and opened the man's eyes was a Sabbath. 15 Therefore the Pharisees also asked him how he had received his sight. "He put mud on my eyes," the man replied, "and I washed, and now I see."

16 Some of the Pharisees said, "This man is not from God, for he does not keep the Sabbath."

But others asked, "How can a sinner perform such signs?" So they were divided.

17 Then they turned again to the blind man, "What have you to say about him? It was your eyes he opened."

The man replied, "He is a prophet."

18 They still did not believe that he had been blind and had received his sight until they sent for the man's parents. 19 "Is this your son?" they asked. "Is this the one you say was born blind? How is it that now he can see?"

20 "We know he is our son," the parents answered, "and we know he was born blind. 21 But how he can see now, or who opened his eyes, we don't know. Ask him. He is of age; he will speak for himself." 22 His parents said this because they were afraid of the Jewish leaders, who already had decided that anyone who acknowledged that Jesus was the Messiah would be put out of the synagogue. 23 That was why his parents said, "He is of age; ask him."

24 A second time they summoned the man who had been blind. "Give glory to God by telling the truth," they said. "We know this man is a sinner."

25 He replied, "Whether he is a sinner or not, I don't know. One thing I do know. I was blind but now I see!"

26 Then they asked him, "What did he do to you? How did he open your eyes?"

27 He answered, "I have told you already and you did not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you want to become his disciples too?"

28 Then they hurled insults at him and said, "You are this fellow's disciple! We are disciples of Moses! 29 We know that God spoke to Moses, but as for this fellow, we don't even know where he comes from."

30 The man answered, "Now that is remarkable! You don't know where he comes from, yet he opened my eyes. 31 We know that God does not listen to sinners. He listens to the godly person who does his will. 32 Nobody has ever heard of opening the eyes of a man born blind. 33 If this man were not from God, he could do nothing."

34 To this they replied, "You were steeped in sin at birth; how dare you lecture us!" And they threw him out.

Spiritual Blindness

35 Jesus heard that they had thrown him out, and when he found him, he said, "Do you believe in the Son of Man?"

36 "Who is he, sir?" the man asked. "Tell me so that I may believe in him."

37 Jesus said, "You have now seen him; in fact, he is the one speaking with you."

38 Then the man said, "Lord, I believe," and he worshiped him.

39 Jesus said, "For judgment I have come into this world, so that the blind will see and those who see will become blind."

40 Some Pharisees who were with him heard him say this and asked, "What? Are we blind too?"

41 Jesus said, "If you were blind, you would not be guilty of sin; but now that you claim you can see, your guilt remains.

John 10

The Good Shepherd and His Sheep

1 "Very truly I tell you Pharisees, anyone who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber. 2 The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. 3 The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. 5 But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger's voice." 6 Jesus used this figure of speech, but the Pharisees did not understand what he was telling them.

7 Therefore Jesus said again, "Very truly I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. 8 All who have come before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep have not listened to them. 9 I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture. 10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

11 "I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 12 The hired hand is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it. 13 The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep.

14 "I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me- 15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father-and I lay down my life for the sheep. 16 I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd. 17 The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life-only to take it up again. 18 No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father."

19 The Jews who heard these words were again divided. 20Many of them said, "He is demon-possessed and raving mad. Why listen to him?"

21 But others said, "These are not the sayings of a man possessed by a demon. Can a demon open the eyes of the blind?"

Further Conflict Over Jesus' Claims

22 Then came the Festival of Dedication at Jerusalem. It was winter, 23 and Jesus was in the temple courts walking in Solomon's Colonnade. 24 The Jews who were there gathered around him, saying, "How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly."

25 Jesus answered, "I did tell you, but you do not believe. The works I do in my Father's name testify about me, 26 but you do not believe because you are not my sheep. 27 My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father's hand. 30 I and the Father are one."

31 Again his Jewish opponents picked up stones to stone him, 32 but Jesus said to them, "I have shown you many good works from the Father. For which of these do you stone me?"

33 "We are not stoning you for any good work," they replied, "but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God."

34 Jesus answered them, "Is it not written in your Law, 'I have said you are "gods"'? 35 If he called them 'gods,' to whom the word of God came-and Scripture cannot be set aside- 36what about the one whom the Father set apart as his very own and sent into the world? Why then do you accuse me of blasphemy because I said, 'I am God's Son'? 37 Do not believe me unless I do the works of my Father. 38 But if I do them, even though you do not believe me, believe the works, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me, and I in the Father." 39 Again they tried to seize him, but he escaped their grasp.

40 Then Jesus went back across the Jordan to the place where John had been baptizing in the early days. There he stayed, 41 and many people came to him. They said, "Though John never performed a sign, all that John said about this man was true." 42 And in that place many believed in Jesus.

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The devotional schedule is changing for the duration of Holy Week. Beginning this Sunday and going through Easter Sunday, we'll send out a daily Scripture reading instead of the usual mix of Scripture, quotations, and prayers. We hope it helps you focus your heart and mind on Jesus and God's Word as the glorious day of Resurrection approaches!

Today's Prayer


Let your mighty hand and outstretched arm, O LORD, be our defense;
Your mercy and loving-kindness in Jesus Christ, your dear Son, our salvation;
Your true and holy word our instruction;
Your grace and Holy Spirit our comfort and consolation,
Until the end and in the end. -- John Knox, Scottish reformer (1510 - 1572)

Today's Scripture Reading: Psalm 51:11-16

11 Do not cast me from your presence
or take your Holy Spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation
and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.

13 Then I will teach transgressors your ways,
so that sinners will turn back to you.
14 Deliver me from the guilt of bloodshed, O God,
you who are God my Savior,
and my tongue will sing of your righteousness.
15 Open my lips, Lord,
and my mouth will declare your praise.
16 You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it;
you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings.

Today's Quote

"We must come before God in silence, as evildoers, in order to obtain grace for the offenses that we have committed. We come clothed in shame, confessing that we are lost, that God might save us through the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. In short, we say that it is completely beyond our powers to acquit ourselves in the eyes of God. But he comes to our aid; he does not scrutinize us or enter into account with us. When we have offended him, there is no satisfaction for sin other than the sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ. The only way we can be cleansed is to wash ourselves in his blood." -- John Calvin, "Freedom from the Bondage of the Law"

Something to Think About

Did you make a commitment to do (or refrain from) a particular activity during Lent? How have you done so far? Whether or not you've kept up with your commitment, what have you learned from the experience?

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