Friday, April 06, 2012

Daily Devotional Friday 6th April

“For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.” 2 Corinthians 5:14-15 NIV
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Morning and Evening by Charles Spurgeon

Morning

"Let us go forth therefore unto him without the camp."
Hebrews 13:13

Jesus, bearing his cross, went forth to suffer without the gate. The Christian's reason for leaving the camp of the world's sin and religion is not because he loves to be singular, but because Jesus did so; and the disciple must follow his Master. Christ was "not of the world:" his life and his testimony were a constant protest against conformity with the world. Never was such overflowing affection for men as you find in him; but still he was separate from sinners. In like manner Christ's people must "go forth unto him." They must take their position "without the camp," as witness-bearers for the truth. They must be prepared to tread the straight and narrow path. They must have bold, unflinching, lion-like hearts, loving Christ first, and his truth next, and Christ and his truth beyond all the world. Jesus would have his people "go forth without the camp" for their own sanctification. You cannot grow in grace to any high degree while you are conformed to the world. The life of separation may be a path of sorrow, but it is the highway of safety; and though the separated life may cost you many pangs, and make every day a battle, yet it is a happy life after all. No joy can excel that of the soldier of Christ: Jesus reveals himself so graciously, and gives such sweet refreshment, that the warrior feels more calm and peace in his daily strife than others in their hours of rest. The highway of holiness is the highway of communion. It is thus we shall hope to win the crown if we are enabled by divine grace faithfully to follow Christ "without the camp." The crown of glory will follow the cross of separation. A moment's shame will be well recompensed by eternal honour; a little while of witness-bearing will seem nothing when we are "forever with the Lord."

Evening

"In the name of the Lord I will destroy them."
Psalm 118:12

Our Lord Jesus, by his death, did not purchase a right to a part of us only, but to the entire man. He contemplated in his passion the sanctification of us wholly, spirit, soul, and body; that in this triple kingdom he himself might reign supreme without a rival. It is the business of the newborn nature which God has given to the regenerate to assert the rights of the Lord Jesus Christ. My soul, so far as thou art a child of God, thou must conquer all the rest of thyself which yet remains unblest; thou must subdue all thy powers and passions to the silver sceptre of Jesus' gracious reign, and thou must never be satisfied till he who is King by purchase becomes also King by gracious coronation, and reigns in thee supreme. Seeing, then, that sin has no right to any part of us, we go about a good and lawful warfare when we seek, in the name of God, to drive it out. O my body, thou art a member of Christ: shall I tolerate thy subjection to the prince of darkness? O my soul, Christ has suffered for thy sins, and redeemed thee with his most precious blood: shall I suffer thy memory to become a storehouse of evil, or thy passions to be firebrands of iniquity? Shall I surrender my judgment to be perverted by error, or my will to be led in fetters of iniquity? No, my soul, thou art Christ's, and sin hath no right to thee.

Be courageous concerning this, O Christian! be not dispirited, as though your spiritual enemies could never be destroyed. You are able to overcome them--not in your own strength--the weakest of them would be too much for you in that; but you can and shall overcome them through the blood of the Lamb. Do not ask, "How shall I dispossess them, for they are greater and mightier than I?" but go to the strong for strength, wait humbly upon God, and the mighty God of Jacob will surely come to the rescue, and you shall sing of victory through his grace.

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Today's reading: 1 Samuel 1-3, Luke 8:26-56 (NIV)

View today's reading on Bible Gateway
The Birth of Samuel

1 There was a certain man from Ramathaim, a Zuphite from the hill country of Ephraim, whose name was Elkanah son of Jeroham, the son of Elihu, the son of Tohu, the son of Zuph, an Ephraimite. 2 He had two wives; one was called Hannah and the other Peninnah. Peninnah had children, but Hannah had none.

3 Year after year this man went up from his town to worship and sacrifice to the LORD Almighty at Shiloh, where Hophni and Phinehas, the two sons of Eli, were priests of the LORD. 4Whenever the day came for Elkanah to sacrifice, he would give portions of the meat to his wife Peninnah and to all her sons and daughters. 5 But to Hannah he gave a double portion because he loved her, and the LORD had closed her womb. 6Because the LORD had closed Hannah’s womb, her rival kept provoking her in order to irritate her. 7 This went on year after year. Whenever Hannah went up to the house of the LORD, her rival provoked her till she wept and would not eat. 8 Her husband Elkanah would say to her, “Hannah, why are you weeping? Why don’t you eat? Why are you downhearted? Don’t I mean more to you than ten sons?”

9 Once when they had finished eating and drinking in Shiloh, Hannah stood up. Now Eli the priest was sitting on his chair by the doorpost of the LORD’s house. 10 In her deep anguish Hannah prayed to the LORD, weeping bitterly. 11 And she made a vow, saying, “LORD Almighty, if you will only look on your servant’s misery and remember me, and not forget your servant but give her a son, then I will give him to the LORD for all the days of his life, and no razor will ever be used on his head.”

12 As she kept on praying to the LORD, Eli observed her mouth. 13 Hannah was praying in her heart, and her lips were moving but her voice was not heard. Eli thought she was drunk14 and said to her, “How long are you going to stay drunk? Put away your wine.”

15 “Not so, my lord,” Hannah replied, “I am a woman who is deeply troubled. I have not been drinking wine or beer; I was pouring out my soul to the LORD. 16 Do not take your servant for a wicked woman; I have been praying here out of my great anguish and grief.”

17 Eli answered, “Go in peace, and may the God of Israel grant you what you have asked of him.”

18 She said, “May your servant find favor in your eyes.” Then she went her way and ate something, and her face was no longer downcast.

19 Early the next morning they arose and worshiped before the LORD and then went back to their home at Ramah. Elkanah made love to his wife Hannah, and the LORD remembered her.20 So in the course of time Hannah became pregnant and gave birth to a son. She named him Samuel, saying, “Because I asked the LORD for him.”

Hannah Dedicates Samuel

21 When her husband Elkanah went up with all his family to offer the annual sacrifice to the LORD and to fulfill his vow, 22Hannah did not go. She said to her husband, “After the boy is weaned, I will take him and present him before the LORD, and he will live there always.”

23 “Do what seems best to you,” her husband Elkanah told her. “Stay here until you have weaned him; only may the LORD make good his word.” So the woman stayed at home and nursed her son until she had weaned him.

24 After he was weaned, she took the boy with her, young as he was, along with a three-year-old bull, an ephah of flour and a skin of wine, and brought him to the house of the LORD at Shiloh. 25 When the bull had been sacrificed, they brought the boy to Eli, 26 and she said to him, “Pardon me, my lord. As surely as you live, I am the woman who stood here beside you praying to the LORD. 27 I prayed for this child, and the LORD has granted me what I asked of him. 28 So now I give him to the LORD. For his whole life he will be given over to the LORD.” And he worshiped the LORD there.

1 Samuel 2

Hannah’s Prayer

1 Then Hannah prayed and said:

“My heart rejoices in the LORD;
in the LORD my horn is lifted high.
My mouth boasts over my enemies,
for I delight in your deliverance.

2 “There is no one holy like the LORD;
there is no one besides you;
there is no Rock like our God.

3 “Do not keep talking so proudly
or let your mouth speak such arrogance,
for the LORD is a God who knows,
and by him deeds are weighed.

4 “The bows of the warriors are broken,
but those who stumbled are armed with strength.
5 Those who were full hire themselves out for food,
but those who were hungry are hungry no more.
She who was barren has borne seven children,
but she who has had many sons pines away.

6 “The LORD brings death and makes alive;
he brings down to the grave and raises up.
7 The LORD sends poverty and wealth;
he humbles and he exalts.
8 He raises the poor from the dust
and lifts the needy from the ash heap;
he seats them with princes
and has them inherit a throne of honor.

“For the foundations of the earth are the LORD’s;
on them he has set the world.
9 He will guard the feet of his faithful servants,
but the wicked will be silenced in the place of darkness.

“It is not by strength that one prevails;
10 those who oppose the LORD will be broken.
The Most High will thunder from heaven;
the LORD will judge the ends of the earth.

“He will give strength to his king
and exalt the horn of his anointed.”

11 Then Elkanah went home to Ramah, but the boy ministered before the LORD under Eli the priest.

Eli’s Wicked Sons

12 Eli’s sons were scoundrels; they had no regard for the LORD. 13 Now it was the practice of the priests that, whenever any of the people offered a sacrifice, the priest’s servant would come with a three-pronged fork in his hand while the meat was being boiled 14 and would plunge the fork into the pan or kettle or caldron or pot. Whatever the fork brought up the priest would take for himself. This is how they treated all the Israelites who came to Shiloh. 15 But even before the fat was burned, the priest’s servant would come and say to the person who was sacrificing, “Give the priest some meat to roast; he won’t accept boiled meat from you, but only raw.”

16 If the person said to him, “Let the fat be burned first, and then take whatever you want,” the servant would answer, “No, hand it over now; if you don’t, I’ll take it by force.”

17 This sin of the young men was very great in the LORD’s sight, for they were treating the LORD’s offering with contempt.

18 But Samuel was ministering before the LORD—a boy wearing a linen ephod. 19 Each year his mother made him a little robe and took it to him when she went up with her husband to offer the annual sacrifice. 20 Eli would bless Elkanah and his wife, saying, “May the LORD give you children by this woman to take the place of the one she prayed for and gave to the LORD.” Then they would go home. 21 And the LORD was gracious to Hannah; she gave birth to three sons and two daughters. Meanwhile, the boy Samuel grew up in the presence of the LORD.

22 Now Eli, who was very old, heard about everything his sons were doing to all Israel and how they slept with the women who served at the entrance to the tent of meeting. 23 So he said to them, “Why do you do such things? I hear from all the people about these wicked deeds of yours. 24 No, my sons; the report I hear spreading among the LORD’s people is not good.25 If one person sins against another, God may mediate for the offender; but if anyone sins against the LORD, who will intercede for them?” His sons, however, did not listen to their father’s rebuke, for it was the LORD’s will to put them to death.

26 And the boy Samuel continued to grow in stature and in favor with the LORD and with people.

Prophecy Against the House of Eli

27 Now a man of God came to Eli and said to him, “This is what the LORD says: ‘Did I not clearly reveal myself to your ancestor’s family when they were in Egypt under Pharaoh? 28 I chose your ancestor out of all the tribes of Israel to be my priest, to go up to my altar, to burn incense, and to wear an ephod in my presence. I also gave your ancestor’s family all the food offerings presented by the Israelites. 29 Why do you scorn my sacrifice and offering that I prescribed for my dwelling? Why do you honor your sons more than me by fattening yourselves on the choice parts of every offering made by my people Israel?’

30 “Therefore the LORD, the God of Israel, declares: ‘I promised that members of your family would minister before me forever.’ But now the LORD declares: ‘Far be it from me! Those who honor me I will honor, but those who despise me will be disdained. 31 The time is coming when I will cut short your strength and the strength of your priestly house, so that no one in it will reach old age, 32 and you will see distress in my dwelling. Although good will be done to Israel, no one in your family line will ever reach old age. 33 Every one of you that I do not cut off from serving at my altar I will spare only to destroy your sight and sap your strength, and all your descendants will die in the prime of life.

34 “‘And what happens to your two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, will be a sign to you—they will both die on the same day. 35 I will raise up for myself a faithful priest, who will do according to what is in my heart and mind. I will firmly establish his priestly house, and they will minister before my anointed one always. 36 Then everyone left in your family line will come and bow down before him for a piece of silver and a loaf of bread and plead, “Appoint me to some priestly office so I can have food to eat.”’”

1 Samuel 3

The LORD Calls Samuel

1 The boy Samuel ministered before the LORD under Eli. In those days the word of the LORD was rare; there were not many visions.

2 One night Eli, whose eyes were becoming so weak that he could barely see, was lying down in his usual place. 3 The lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was lying down in the house of the LORD, where the ark of God was. 4 Then the LORD called Samuel.

Samuel answered, “Here I am.” 5 And he ran to Eli and said, “Here I am; you called me.”

But Eli said, “I did not call; go back and lie down.” So he went and lay down.

6 Again the LORD called, “Samuel!” And Samuel got up and went to Eli and said, “Here I am; you called me.”

“My son,” Eli said, “I did not call; go back and lie down.”

7 Now Samuel did not yet know the LORD: The word of the LORD had not yet been revealed to him.

8 A third time the LORD called, “Samuel!” And Samuel got up and went to Eli and said, “Here I am; you called me.”

Then Eli realized that the LORD was calling the boy. 9 So Eli told Samuel, “Go and lie down, and if he calls you, say, ‘Speak, LORD, for your servant is listening.’” So Samuel went and lay down in his place.

10 The LORD came and stood there, calling as at the other times, “Samuel! Samuel!”

Then Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant is listening.”

11 And the LORD said to Samuel: “See, I am about to do something in Israel that will make the ears of everyone who hears about it tingle. 12 At that time I will carry out against Eli everything I spoke against his family—from beginning to end.13 For I told him that I would judge his family forever because of the sin he knew about; his sons blasphemed God, and he failed to restrain them. 14 Therefore I swore to the house of Eli, ‘The guilt of Eli’s house will never be atoned for by sacrifice or offering.’”

15 Samuel lay down until morning and then opened the doors of the house of the LORD. He was afraid to tell Eli the vision,16 but Eli called him and said, “Samuel, my son.”

Samuel answered, “Here I am.”

17 “What was it he said to you?” Eli asked. “Do not hide it from me. May God deal with you, be it ever so severely, if you hide from me anything he told you.” 18 So Samuel told him everything, hiding nothing from him. Then Eli said, “He is the LORD; let him do what is good in his eyes.”

19 The LORD was with Samuel as he grew up, and he let none of Samuel’s words fall to the ground. 20 And all Israel from Dan to Beersheba recognized that Samuel was attested as a prophet of the LORD. 21 The LORD continued to appear at Shiloh, and there he revealed himself to Samuel through his word.


Luke 8

Jesus Restores a Demon-Possessed Man

26 They sailed to the region of the Gerasenes, which is across the lake from Galilee. 27 When Jesus stepped ashore, he was met by a demon-possessed man from the town. For a long time this man had not worn clothes or lived in a house, but had lived in the tombs. 28 When he saw Jesus, he cried out and fell at his feet, shouting at the top of his voice, “What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg you, don’t torture me!” 29 For Jesus had commanded the impure spirit to come out of the man. Many times it had seized him, and though he was chained hand and foot and kept under guard, he had broken his chains and had been driven by the demon into solitary places.

30 Jesus asked him, “What is your name?”

“Legion,” he replied, because many demons had gone into him. 31 And they begged Jesus repeatedly not to order them to go into the Abyss.

32 A large herd of pigs was feeding there on the hillside. The demons begged Jesus to let them go into the pigs, and he gave them permission. 33 When the demons came out of the man, they went into the pigs, and the herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and was drowned.

34 When those tending the pigs saw what had happened, they ran off and reported this in the town and countryside, 35 and the people went out to see what had happened. When they came to Jesus, they found the man from whom the demons had gone out, sitting at Jesus’ feet, dressed and in his right mind; and they were afraid. 36 Those who had seen it told the people how the demon-possessed man had been cured. 37 Then all the people of the region of the Gerasenes asked Jesus to leave them, because they were overcome with fear. So he got into the boat and left.

38 The man from whom the demons had gone out begged to go with him, but Jesus sent him away, saying, 39 “Return home and tell how much God has done for you.” So the man went away and told all over town how much Jesus had done for him.

Jesus Raises a Dead Girl and Heals a Sick Woman

40 Now when Jesus returned, a crowd welcomed him, for they were all expecting him. 41 Then a man named Jairus, a synagogue leader, came and fell at Jesus’ feet, pleading with him to come to his house 42 because his only daughter, a girl of about twelve, was dying.

As Jesus was on his way, the crowds almost crushed him. 43And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years, but no one could heal her. 44 She came up behind him and touched the edge of his cloak, and immediately her bleeding stopped.

45 “Who touched me?” Jesus asked.

When they all denied it, Peter said, “Master, the people are crowding and pressing against you.”

46 But Jesus said, “Someone touched me; I know that power has gone out from me.”

47 Then the woman, seeing that she could not go unnoticed, came trembling and fell at his feet. In the presence of all the people, she told why she had touched him and how she had been instantly healed. 48 Then he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace.”

49 While Jesus was still speaking, someone came from the house of Jairus, the synagogue leader. “Your daughter is dead,” he said. “Don’t bother the teacher anymore.”

50 Hearing this, Jesus said to Jairus, “Don’t be afraid; just believe, and she will be healed.”

51 When he arrived at the house of Jairus, he did not let anyone go in with him except Peter, John and James, and the child’s father and mother. 52 Meanwhile, all the people were wailing and mourning for her. “Stop wailing,” Jesus said. “She is not dead but asleep.”

53 They laughed at him, knowing that she was dead. 54 But he took her by the hand and said, “My child, get up!” 55 Her spirit returned, and at once she stood up. Then Jesus told them to give her something to eat. 56 Her parents were astonished, but he ordered them not to tell anyone what had happened.


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Amaziah [Ămazī'ah]—jehovah has strength.

  1. Son of Joash or Jehoash, king of Judah. Amaziah came to the throne after the assassination of his father. The writer of 2 Kings gives him unqualified praise for his religious acts (2 Kings 14), but in Chronicles he is accused of gross apostasy (2 Chron. 25:14).
  2. The priest at Bethel who opposed the prophet Amos in the matter of idol-worship (Amos 7:10).
  3. A man of the tribe of Simeon (1 Chron. 4:34).
  4. A Levite descended from Merari (1 Chron. 6:45).
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TT_devotionswithrc_ttlogo

Jesus, Friend of Sinners

Matthew 9:9-13 "Go and learn what this means, 'I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.' For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners'" (v. 13).

Tax collectors are among the most reviled people in Jesus' day because of the corruption associated with the office. Customs duties on goods transported through Galilee are among the taxes collected, and it is likely that Matthew, whom we meet in today's passage (Matt. 9:9 ), gathers these fees. In his work he collects a set amount for Herod Antipas, the ruler of Galilee, who in turn sends it to Rome. Matthew is free to assess the value of the goods carried through his region and, like other collectors, demands a tax higher than what the government requires and keeps the difference for himself. This offers ample opportunity for unjust taxation, giving the people reason to hate tax collectors.

Galilee also views the tax collectors as traitors, for they are representatives of Rome's oppressive government. Matthew goes by the name Levi, making it likely that he is a Levite (Luke 5:27-28). According to the Pharisees, this would make his collusion with Rome much worse because God set apart the Levites for Himself (Num. 8:5-22), not service to the pagans. In any case, the Pharisees are upset when Jesus calls Matthew as His disciple and then dines with him and other sinners (Matt. 9:10-11; Luke 5:29-30). Eating a meal with someone in the first century shows relational intimacy, and our Savior reveals His love for tax collectors and others deemed beyond forgiveness when He dines with them.

Christ responds to the Pharisees' objections by telling them to "go and learn" Scripture, specifically Hosea 6:6 (Matt. 9:12-13a). This is ironic because the Pharisees, of all people, should know the Bible, which says our Creator is eager to forgive the repentant (Ps. 86:15). Jesus has come to effect this pardon of sinners; the righteous have no need of His work (Matt. 9:13b). Of course, in saying this, Jesus is not asserting that the Pharisees are righteous in themselves. All men are sinners (Ps. 14:2-3 ), and only those who recognize their spiritual poverty can even begin to understand what righteousness really means (Matt. 5:3, 6). In effect Jesus is saying, "Pharisees, you of all people should know that the Messiah comes to save sinners, and, in fact, you would also see your desperate need for forgiveness if you knew the Scriptures as well as you claim."

Coram deo: Living before the face of God

We are all recovering Pharisees who must get over our tendency to frown only upon certain sins. John Calvin comments that we must "never think it strange that he should gather to salvation those who have been the worst of men, and who have been covered with a mass of crimes." Our churches must welcome repentant abusers, repentant homosexuals, and others often seen as beyond God's forgiveness. We deserve His pardon no more than they do.

For further study:

Proverbs 28:13

The Bible in a year:

1 Samuel 7-9

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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TT_Coramdeo_ttlogo

Jesus, Friend of Sinners

Matthew 9:9-13

We are all recovering Pharisees who must get over our tendency to frown only upon certain sins. John Calvin comments that we must "never think it strange that he should gather to salvation those who have been the worst of men, and who have been covered with a mass of crimes." Our churches must welcome repentant abusers, repentant homosexuals, and others often seen as beyond God's forgiveness. We deserve His pardon no more than they do.

For further study:

Proverbs 28:13

The Bible in a year:

1 Samuel 7-9

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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April 5, 2012
Knock. Knock. Is Anybody There?
Part 3

Sharon Jaynes

Today's Truth
But this iswhat I commanded them, saying, 'Obey My voice, andI will be your God, and you will be My people; and you will walk in all the way which I command you, that it maybe well with you,' (Jeremiah 7:23 NASB).

Friend to Friend
Yesterday I wrote about my little neighbor who had a tendency to walk into our house whenever he wanted to. After teaching him to knock first, if no one answered, he'd walk in anyway. It was a fun story. If you missed it, you can read it on my blog at www.sharonjaynes.com.

So what do we do when we knock on God's door and we don't hear an answer right away? We looked at various options, but one thing is for certain, silence from God cannot be interpreted as a "yes." "Well, God didn't tell me 'no,' so I went on ahead." That's not going to work. It could be that God is waiting for us to obey what He already HAS told us, before He gives further direction.

Let me share a story about a time when God was silent in my life. After my sophomore year in college, I decided to take a break and work for a year or so. After the first year, I felt an urge to go back to college, but my prayer for direction was met with silence. So I continued in my job.

When the next spring came around, my desire to return to school resurfaced. The confusion about what to do and where to go resurfaced as well.

I went to visit a man who had been a spiritual mentor to me during my teenage years. I told him about my confusion about college. Mr. Thorp decided that we should read some Scripture about prayer before we prayed for God's direction.

First he turned to Matthew 6:8-15.

"For your Father knows what you need before you ask him. This, then, is how you should pray: `Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins."

Then he turned to Matthew 18:19.

"'Again, I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them.' Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, 'Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?' Jesus answered, "I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times."

Each time Mr. Thorp turned to a passage about God answering prayer, there was one about forgiveness either before or after it.

"Sharon," he said, "I sense that God is telling you that you have unforgiveness toward your father. Is that true?"

I wanted to say, "Wait a minute. I came here to ask for prayer about my future, not about my past." But God was showing me that unforgiveness in my past was blocking His work in my future.

I had a very tumultuous childhood. My father had become a Christian when I was twenty, but I had yet to forgive him for all the pain he had caused. I knew God had instructed me to forgive, but I had not obeyed.

So that night, I forgave my father for everything he had ever done. Really. When I did, God set me free, and my life moved to a new and deeper level with Him. (That is what God really wants from us most of all.)

Interestingly, the next day, the cloud of confusion lifted. I knew exactly what to do. I applied to college, was accepted a few months later, resigned from my job, and began classes in the fall. I met my husband four weeks later, and soon became his wife.

I am not saying that obedience in one area will make you'll strike it rich, find the man of your dreams, or live happily ever after. However, I do believe that sometimes God's silence is due to the fact that He is waiting for us to obey what we do know before He gives us more direction. .

So go ahead and knock! Ask! Pray! But make sure that you are doing what you do know has told you to do first.

Let's Pray
Dear Lord, I pray that You will show me any areas of my life where I have not obeyed or am not obeying You. I'll admit, there are some areas You don't even need to tell me about. I know I haven't obeyed. There are things in my life that You've told me to let go of and I've held onto them. There are people that You have told me to reach out to whom I've ignored. There are steps of faith that You've called me to take and I've hung back. Show me, Lord. And give me the courage to live in obedience to what I DO KNOW, before asking for direction in areas that I DON"T.
In Jesus' Name,
Amen.

Now It's Your Turn
Some of you are mad at me right now. I don't blame you. This is a hard lesson. Philip didn't like it and honestly, sometimes I don't like it either. But I love you too much to tickle your ears with fluff rather than give you meat to chew.

So here we go: Is there any area of your life where you know that you are living in disobedience to God. Are you willing to make a change? If so, log onto my Facebook page at www.facebook.com/sharonjaynesor my blog atwww.sharonjaynes.comand write "yes" in the comment box.

More for the Girlfriends
Today's devotion was taken from Sharon's book, Becoming Spiritually Beautiful.To learn more about the keys to living fully and free found in this book, visit www.sharonjaynes.com. While you're there, check out all the free resources!

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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P31Header
Lysa TerKeurst

April 5, 2012

God, I'm a Little Mad and a Lot Confused
Lysa TerKeurst

"From the ends of the earth I call to you, I call as my heart grows faint; lead me to the rock that is higher than I."Psalm 61:2 (NIV)

When God doesn't seem to be answering our prayers it can be hard. Sometimes, down right awful.

One minute I'm determined to trust God.

In the next, I feel myself slipping. The "why" questions tumble in so hard. My heart hurts. My eyes leak. And in those raw moments I just feel a little mad and a lot confused.

Ever been there?

I don't want to oversimplify what to do in these times. I know from prayer requests I've received over the years many of us are facing really tough issues. Situations where the answers aren't easy or clear cut.

But I have discovered a few things that help me when God seems silent ...

* Press in to God when you want to pull away.
When I really want to hear from God but He seems silent, I sometimes find I want to disengage from my normal spiritual activities. Skip church. Put my Bible on my shelf. And let more and more time lapse between prayers.

But the Bible says we will find God if we seek Him with all our heart. Jeremiah 29:13, "You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart" (NIV). All my heart includes the parts that are broken. Bring it all to God.

He can handle your honesty and will respond. But we have to position ourselves to go where truth is. Go to church. Listen to praise music. Read verses. Memorize verses. And keep talking to God.

* Praise God out loud when you want to get lost in complaints.
In the midst of what you're facing, find simple things for which to praise God. I don't mean thank Him for the hard stuff. I mean thank Him for the other simple, good things still in the midst. A child's laugh. A bush that blooms. The warmth of a blanket. The gift of this breath and then the next.

Psalm 40:3 reminds me God will give me a new song when I make praise the habit of my heart and mouth. "He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear and put their trust in the LORD" (NIV).

* Put yourself in the company of truth.
That friend that speaks truth? Listen to her. Stay connected to her. Let her speak truth into your life even when you're tired of hearing it. Stand in the shadow of her faith when you feel your own faith is weak. Let her lead you back to God time and time again.

Proverbs 12:26, "One who is righteous is a guide to his neighbor ..." (ESV).

It's okay to feel a little mad and a lot confused. Our God is big enough to handle our honest feelings. But don't let your feelings lead you away from God or away from His truth. Press into Him. Praise Him. And put yourself in the company of truth.

As you stay with God in these ways, you will become ready to receive His answer when it comes.

Dear Lord, thank You for hearing every 'why' my heart sends up to You. Forgive me when I retreat from You and Your Word. I want to trust You more. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
If you need a truth friend, Lysa would love to have connect with you on her blog by clicking here. It's free and easy to sign up. Just put your email address in the box in top of the right hand column. Then you'll start getting her simple truth notes in your email inbox each day.

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

Reflect and Respond:
Bring it all to God. He can handle your honesty and will respond.

In the midst of what you're facing, what simple things can you praise God for?

That friend that speaks truth? Why not give her a call and set up a time to get together?

Power Verses:
Psalm 42:3-5, "My tears have been my food day and night, while people say to me all day long, 'Where is your God?' These things I remember as I pour out my soul: how I used to go to the house of God under the protection of the Mighty One with shouts of joy and praise among the festive throng.

Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God." (NIV)

© 2012 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.

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

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The two draughts of fishes

‘And he said unto them, Cast the net on the right side of the ship, and ye shall find. They cast therefore, and now they were not able to draw it for the multitude of fishes.’ John 21:6

Suggested Further Reading: John 6:22–35

The whole life of Christ was a sermon. He was a prophet mighty in word and deed; and by his deeds as well as his words he taught the people. It is perfectly true that the miracles of Christ attest his mission. But we ought not to overlook that probably a higher reason for the miracles is to be found in the instruction which they convey. To the world without, at the present time, the miracles of Christ are more hard to believe than the doctrine which he taught. Sceptics turn them into stones of stumbling, and when they cannot cavil at the marvellous teaching of Jesus, they attack the miracles as monstrous and incredible. I doubt not that even to minds seriously vexed with unbelief, the miracles, instead of being helps to belief, have been trials of faith. Few indeed are there in whom faith is wrought by signs and wonders; nor indeed is this the gospel way of bringing conviction to the soul: the secret force of the living word is the chosen instrumentality of Christ, and wonders are left to be the resort of that antichrist by whom the nations shall be deceived. We, who by grace have believed, view the miracles of Christ as noble attestations to his mission and divinity, but we confess that we value them even more as instructive homilies than as attesting witnesses; it is our conviction that we should lose much of the benefit which they were meant to convey to us, if we were merely to view them as seals to the roll, for they are a part of the writing of the roll itself. The marvels wrought by our blessed Lord are acted sermons full of holy doctrine, set forth to us more vividly than it could have been in words.

For meditation: The Lord Jesus Christ taught lessons as follow-up to and spiritual application of some of his miracles (Matthew 21:21–22; Mark 2:9–11; Luke 5:9–10; John 6:26–27;9:39–41). Are you learning them?

Sermon no. 443
6 April (1862)

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Effects of sound doctrine

“For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.” Matthew 24:24

Suggested Further Reading: 1 Peter 2:4-10

What effect does election have on our actions? If this doctrine be fully received and known, it breathes with all gratitude to God, an earnest desire to show forth his praise. It leads to all kinds of holy activity, and a hearty endeavour for the service of God. We are told continually by philosophic writers, that the idea of necessity—the idea that anything is fixed or decreed—tends at once to damp activity. Never was there a grosser misrepresentation. Look abroad, everything that has been great in the spirit of the age has had a Necessitarian at the bottom of it. When Mohammed preached predestination, he took a necessitarian view. Did that doctrine of predestination make his followers idle? Did it not make them dash into the battle, declaring they must die when the appointed time came, and while they lived they must fight, and earnestly defend their faith? Or to take an instance from the history of our own country. Did the Calvinism of Oliver Cromwell make his Ironsides idle? Did they not keep their powder dry? They believed that they were chosen men of God, and were they not men of valour? Did this doctrine mar their energy? So in every good enterprise our churches are never behind. Are we backward in missionary enterprise? Are we slow to send forth men of God to preach in foreign lands? Are we deficient in our efforts? Are we the people who would preach to a select few?—who would erect buildings for worship that the poor scarcely dare to enter? Are we the people who would keep our religious services for a privileged circle? The fact is, the most zealous, the most earnest, and the most successful of men, have been those who have held this truth.

For meditation: The doctrine of election is not supposed to turn us in upon ourselves, but to send us out to others (John 15:16; Acts 9:15).

Sermon no. 324
6 April (Preached 22 April 1860)

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Scared to Death

This week's reading: 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18

Recommended Reading: 1 Corinthians 15:1-58; Philippians 1:21-23

Despite all the personal fitness trainers, gastrointestinal bypass surgeries, expensive wrinkle creams and everything else people use to look young and keep fit, the mortality rate still stands at 100 percent! Someone once remarked that our generation will produce the best-looking corpses in history. Of course, Christians aren't immune from the desire to live longer and look better in the process. And while there's nothing wrong with caring for our bodies, Paul reminds us that death is nothing to fear.

Paul wants to address the concern of the Thessalonian Christians about loved ones who have died before Christ's return. Of course, behind this worry for others likely stands a more personal concern: "What will happen to me when I die?"

Paul gets straight to the point with his encouraging answer. Those who die before Jesus returns will on that final day rise from the grave and accompany Christ to meet those still alive. Death doesn't dash our hope in Christ; indeed, death for Christians marks a transition to an infinitely better life.

While Paul seeks to calm the fears of his readers, he also expresses his concern about the effect these anxieties will have on the other people around them-especially non-Christians. Paul reminds us that we don't need to grieve the deaths of our loved ones or worry about our own deaths like "the rest of mankind" (1 Thessalonians 4:13). Notice that Paul doesn't say that Christians won't grieve. Death is horrible, and it separates us from our loved ones. If we tried to pretend that this loss didn't matter, we wouldn't be authentic.

Paul, instead, wants us to know that we don't need to grieve like those without hope. Yes, we mourn our loss, but we also rejoice, knowing that one day we'll be reunited with loved ones who also knew Christ. More importantly, Christ will unite us with himself for all eternity. This truth allows us to, as Paul invites, "encourage one another with these words" (1 Thessalonians 4:18).

To Take Away

  • What is your attitude toward death?
  • How do you grieve? How does your response to death affect other people around you, especially non-Christians?
  • How can you find encouragement and even cause for rejoicing in the midst of your grief?

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The Miraculous Catch of Fish

Today's reading: Luke 5:1-11

Simon Peter and his partners had fished all night but had caught nothing, yet at Jesus' command their fishing nets filled with so many fish that the boats began to sink. This miracle proved Jesus' authority over nature and showed his power to provide for those in need (similar to the miracle of manna that God performed for the wandering Israelites in the desert; seeExodus 16:1-36). However, as with all of Jesus' miracles, this event can be understood on a deeper level.

This miraculous catch of fish illustrates a key aspect of Jesus' ministry: His call, when obeyed, changes everything. As soon as Peter saw the overflowing nets, he recognized his sinfulness in contrast to Jesus' power. From that point onward, every priority in the fishermen's lives changed, and things that once seemed important (the fish, the boats, their livelihoods) seemed so no longer.

The book of Amos uses a fishing metaphor to refer to the judgment of Israel: The people of Israel would be caught like fish and hauled off to exile (see Amos 4:2). Jesus, though, used fishing to symbolize the act of gathering disciples into his kingdom, giving the metaphor the very opposite meaning.

Far from simply a miraculous catch of fish, which was impressive in and of itself, Jesus' miracle was one of many that signaled the arrival of the kingdom of heaven. The fishermen, like many others who experienced Jesus' miracles, would never be the same. Jesus' authority to perform miracles testified to a deeper truth: The long-awaited Messiah had arrived.

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Day 44

Growing movements create logistical nightmares. As hundreds, then thousands, said yes to following the resurrected Jesus, they gathered together, full of joy and needs. So who would run the errands, distribute food, clean the dishes and make sure everyone had name tags? For these important service jobs, the 12 apostles chose a small corps of servers, considered to be the first “deacons.” Among them was a man described as “full of God’s grace and power.” His name was Stephen.

Now Stephen, a man full of God’s grace and power, performed great wonders and signs among the people. Opposition arose, however, from members of the Synagogue of the Freedmen (as it was called)—Jews of Cyrene and Alexandria as well as the provinces of Cilicia and Asia—who began to argue with Stephen. But they could not stand up against the wisdom the Spirit gave him as he spoke.

Then they secretly persuaded some men to say, “We have heard Stephen speak blasphemous words against Moses and against God.”

So they stirred up the people and the elders and the teachers of the law. They seized Stephen and brought him before the Sanhedrin. They produced false witnesses, who testified, “This fellow never stops speaking against this holy place and against the law. For we have heard him say that this Jesus of Nazareth will destroy this place and change the customs Moses handed down to us.”

All who were sitting in the Sanhedrin looked intently at Stephen, and they saw that his face was like the face of an angel.

Then the high priest asked Stephen, “Are these charges true?”

Stephen’s answer to this question came in the form of a Jewish history lesson about God’s great story of redemption. Then Stephen spoke of the “Righteous One,” Jesus.

“You stiff-necked people! Your hearts and ears are still uncircumcised. You are just like your ancestors: You always resist the Holy Spirit! Was there ever a prophet your ancestors did not persecute? They even killed those who predicted the coming of the Righteous One. And now you have betrayed and murdered him—you who have received the law that was given through angels but have not obeyed it.”

When the members of the Sanhedrin heard this, they were furious and gnashed their teeth at him. But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. “Look,” he said, “I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.”

At this they covered their ears and, yelling at the top of their voices, they all rushed at him, dragged him out of the city and began to stone him. Meanwhile, the witnesses laid their coats at the feet of a young man named Saul.

While they were stoning him, Stephen prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” Then he fell on his knees and cried out, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” When he had said this, he fell asleep.

And Saul approved of their killing him.

On that day a great persecution broke out against the church in Jerusalem, and all except the apostles were scattered throughout Judea and Samaria. Godly men buried Stephen and mourned deeply for him. But Saul began to destroy the church. Going from house to house, he dragged off both men and women and put them in prison.

Those who had been scattered preached the word wherever they went. Philip went down to a city in Samaria and proclaimed the Messiah there. When the crowds heard Philip and saw the signs he performed, they all paid close attention to what he said. For with shrieks, impure spirits came out of many, and many who were paralyzed or lame were healed. So there was great joy in that city.

How were the early Christians able to remain faithful even in the midst of extremely difficult circumstances?

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Today's Lent reading: John 19-20 (NIV)

View today's Lent reading on Bible Gateway
Jesus Sentenced to Be Crucified

1 Then Pilate took Jesus and had him flogged. 2 The soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on his head. They clothed him in a purple robe 3 and went up to him again and again, saying, “Hail, king of the Jews!” And they slapped him in the face.

4 Once more Pilate came out and said to the Jews gathered there, “Look, I am bringing him out to you to let you know that I find no basis for a charge against him.” 5 When Jesus came out wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe, Pilate said to them, “Here is the man!”

6 As soon as the chief priests and their officials saw him, they shouted, “Crucify! Crucify!”

But Pilate answered, “You take him and crucify him. As for me, I find no basis for a charge against him.”

7 The Jewish leaders insisted, “We have a law, and according to that law he must die, because he claimed to be the Son of God.”

8 When Pilate heard this, he was even more afraid, 9 and he went back inside the palace. “Where do you come from?” he asked Jesus, but Jesus gave him no answer. 10 “Do you refuse to speak to me?” Pilate said. “Don’t you realize I have power either to free you or to crucify you?”

11 Jesus answered, “You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above. Therefore the one who handed me over to you is guilty of a greater sin.”

12 From then on, Pilate tried to set Jesus free, but the Jewish leaders kept shouting, “If you let this man go, you are no friend of Caesar. Anyone who claims to be a king opposes Caesar.”

13 When Pilate heard this, he brought Jesus out and sat down on the judge’s seat at a place known as the Stone Pavement (which in Aramaic is Gabbatha). 14 It was the day of Preparation of the Passover; it was about noon.

“Here is your king,” Pilate said to the Jews.

15 But they shouted, “Take him away! Take him away! Crucify him!”

“Shall I crucify your king?” Pilate asked.

“We have no king but Caesar,” the chief priests answered.

16 Finally Pilate handed him over to them to be crucified.

The Crucifixion of Jesus

So the soldiers took charge of Jesus. 17 Carrying his own cross, he went out to the place of the Skull (which in Aramaic is called Golgotha). 18 There they crucified him, and with him two others—one on each side and Jesus in the middle.

19 Pilate had a notice prepared and fastened to the cross. It read: JESUS OF NAZARETH, THE KING OF THE JEWS. 20Many of the Jews read this sign, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city, and the sign was written in Aramaic, Latin and Greek. 21 The chief priests of the Jews protested to Pilate, “Do not write ‘The King of the Jews,’ but that this man claimed to be king of the Jews.”

22 Pilate answered, “What I have written, I have written.”

23 When the soldiers crucified Jesus, they took his clothes, dividing them into four shares, one for each of them, with the undergarment remaining. This garment was seamless, woven in one piece from top to bottom.

24 “Let’s not tear it,” they said to one another. “Let’s decide by lot who will get it.”

This happened that the scripture might be fulfilled that said,

“They divided my clothes among them
and cast lots for my garment.”

So this is what the soldiers did.

25 Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. 26 When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to her, “Woman, here is your son,” 27and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” From that time on, this disciple took her into his home.

The Death of Jesus

28 Later, knowing that everything had now been finished, and so that Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, “I am thirsty.” 29A jar of wine vinegar was there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put the sponge on a stalk of the hyssop plant, and lifted it to Jesus’ lips. 30 When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

31 Now it was the day of Preparation, and the next day was to be a special Sabbath. Because the Jewish leaders did not want the bodies left on the crosses during the Sabbath, they asked Pilate to have the legs broken and the bodies taken down. 32 The soldiers therefore came and broke the legs of the first man who had been crucified with Jesus, and then those of the other. 33 But when they came to Jesus and found that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. 34 Instead, one of the soldiers pierced Jesus’ side with a spear, bringing a sudden flow of blood and water. 35 The man who saw it has given testimony, and his testimony is true. He knows that he tells the truth, and he testifies so that you also may believe. 36These things happened so that the scripture would be fulfilled: “Not one of his bones will be broken,” 37 and, as another scripture says, “They will look on the one they have pierced.”

The Burial of Jesus

38 Later, Joseph of Arimathea asked Pilate for the body of Jesus. Now Joseph was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly because he feared the Jewish leaders. With Pilate’s permission, he came and took the body away. 39 He was accompanied by Nicodemus, the man who earlier had visited Jesus at night. Nicodemus brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about seventy-five pounds. 40 Taking Jesus’ body, the two of them wrapped it, with the spices, in strips of linen. This was in accordance with Jewish burial customs. 41 At the place where Jesus was crucified, there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb, in which no one had ever been laid. 42Because it was the Jewish day of Preparation and since the tomb was nearby, they laid Jesus there.

John 20

The Empty Tomb

1 Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance. 2 So she came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, and said, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!”

3 So Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb. 4 Both were running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. 5 He bent over and looked in at the strips of linen lying there but did not go in. 6 Then Simon Peter came along behind him and went straight into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there, 7 as well as the cloth that had been wrapped around Jesus’ head. The cloth was still lying in its place, separate from the linen. 8 Finally the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed. 9 (They still did not understand from Scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead.) 10 Then the disciples went back to where they were staying.

Jesus Appears to Mary Magdalene

11 Now Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb 12 and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot.

13 They asked her, “Woman, why are you crying?”

“They have taken my Lord away,” she said, “and I don’t know where they have put him.” 14 At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus.

15 He asked her, “Woman, why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?”

Thinking he was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.”

16 Jesus said to her, “Mary.”

She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means “Teacher”).

17 Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’”

18 Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: “I have seen the Lord!” And she told them that he had said these things to her.

Jesus Appears to His Disciples

19 On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” 20 After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.

21 Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” 22 And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”

Jesus Appears to Thomas

24 Now Thomas (also known as Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. 25 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.”

26 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!” 27Then 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.”

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

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

The Purpose of John’s Gospel

30 Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. 31 But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.

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Today's Old Testament Reading: Exodus 12:1-14
The Passover and the Festival of Unleavened Bread
1 The LORD said to Moses and Aaron in Egypt, 2 "This month is to be for you the first month, the first month of your year. 3Tell the whole community of Israel that on the tenth day of this month each man is to take a lamb for his family, one for each household. 4 If any household is too small for a whole lamb, they must share one with their nearest neighbor, having taken into account the number of people there are. You are to determine the amount of lamb needed in accordance with what each person will eat. 5 The animals you choose must be year-old males without defect, and you may take them from the sheep or the goats. 6 Take care of them until the fourteenth day of the month, when all the members of the community of Israel must slaughter them at twilight. 7 Then they are to take some of the blood and put it on the sides and tops of the doorframes of the houses where they eat the lambs. 8 That same night they are to eat the meat roasted over the fire, along with bitter herbs, and bread made without yeast. 9 Do not eat the meat raw or boiled in water, but roast it over a fire--with the head, legs and internal organs. 10 Do not leave any of it till morning; if some is left till morning, you must burn it. 11 This is how you are to eat it: with your cloak tucked into your belt, your sandals on your feet and your staff in your hand. Eat it in haste; it is the LORD's Passover.

12 "On that same night I will pass through Egypt and strike down every firstborn of both people and animals, and I will bring judgment on all the gods of Egypt. I am the LORD. 13 The blood will be a sign for you on the houses where you are, and when I see the blood, I will pass over you. No destructive plague will touch you when I strike Egypt.

14 "This is a day you are to commemorate; for the generations to come you shall celebrate it as a festival to the LORD--a lasting ordinance.

New Testament Reading: 1 Corinthians 11:23-32

23 For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, 24and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, "This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me." 25In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me." 26 For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes.

27 So then, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. 28 Everyone ought to examine themselves before they eat of the bread and drink from the cup. 29 For those who eat and drink without discerning the body of Christ eat and drink judgment on themselves. 30 That is why many among you are weak and sick, and a number of you have fallen asleep. 31 But if we were more discerning with regard to ourselves, we would not come under such judgment. 32Nevertheless, when we are judged in this way by the Lord, we are being disciplined so that we will not be finally condemned with the world.


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