Monday, April 30, 2012

Daily Devotional Monday 30th April

“I know that my redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand on the earth.” Job 19:25 NIV
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Morning and Evening by Charles Spurgeon

Morning

"And all the children of Israel murmured."
Numbers 14:2
There are murmurers amongst Christians now, as there were in the camp of Israel of old. There are those who, when the rod falls, cry out against the afflictive dispensation. They ask, "Why am I thus afflicted? What have I done to be chastened in this manner?" A word with thee, O murmurer! Why shouldst thou murmur against the dispensations of thy heavenly Father? Can he treat thee more hardly than thou deservest? Consider what a rebel thou wast once, but he has pardoned thee! Surely, if he in his wisdom sees fit now to chasten thee, thou shouldst not complain. After all, art thou smitten as hardly as thy sins deserve? Consider the corruption which is in thy breast, and then wilt thou wonder that there needs so much of the rod to fetch it out? Weigh thyself, and discern how much dross is mingled with thy gold; and dost thou think the fire too hot to purge away so much dross as thou hast? Does not that proud rebellious spirit of thine prove that thy heart is not thoroughly sanctified? Are not those murmuring words contrary to the holy submissive nature of God's children? Is not the correction needed? But if thou wilt murmur against the chastening, take heed, for it will go hard with murmurers. God always chastises his children twice, if they do not bear the first stroke patiently. But know one thing--"He doth not afflict willingly, nor grieve the children of men." All his corrections are sent in love, to purify thee, and to draw thee nearer to himself. Surely it must help thee to bear the chastening with resignation if thou art able to recognize thy Father's hand. For "whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons." "Murmur not as some of them also murmured and were destroyed of the destroyer."

Evening

"How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God."
Psalm 139:17
Divine omniscience affords no comfort to the ungodly mind, but to the child of God it overflows with consolation. God is always thinking upon us, never turns aside his mind from us, has us always before his eyes; and this is precisely as we would have it, for it would be dreadful to exist for a moment beyond the observation of our heavenly Father. His thoughts are always tender, loving, wise, prudent, far-reaching, and they bring to us countless benefits: hence it is a choice delight to remember them. The Lord always did think upon his people: hence their election and the covenant of grace by which their salvation is secured; he always will think upon them: hence their final perseverance by which they shall be brought safely to their final rest. In all our wanderings the watchful glance of the Eternal Watcher is evermore fixed upon us--we never roam beyond the Shepherd's eye. In our sorrows he observes us incessantly, and not a pang escapes him; in our toils he marks all our weariness, and writes in his book all the struggles of his faithful ones. These thoughts of the Lord encompass us in all our paths, and penetrate the innermost region of our being. Not a nerve or tissue, valve or vessel, of our bodily organization is uncared for; all the littles of our little world are thought upon by the great God.
Dear reader, is this precious to you? then hold to it. Never be led astray by those philosophic fools who preach up an impersonal God, and talk of self-existent, self-governing matter. The Lord liveth and thinketh upon us, this is a truth far too precious for us to be lightly robbed of it. The notice of a nobleman is valued so highly that he who has it counts his fortune made; but what is it to be thought of by the King of kings! If the Lord thinketh upon us, all is well, and we may rejoice evermore.

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Today's reading: 1 Kings 6-7, Luke 20:27-47 (NIV)

View today's reading on Bible Gateway 
Solomon Builds the Temple
    1 In the four hundred and eightieth year after the Israelites came out of Egypt, in the fourth year of Solomon’s reign over Israel, in the month of Ziv, the second month, he began to build the temple of the LORD.
   2 The temple that King Solomon built for the LORD was sixty cubits long, twenty wide and thirty high. 3 The portico at the front of the main hall of the temple extended the width of the temple, that is twenty cubits, and projected ten cubits from the front of the temple. 4 He made narrow windows high up in the temple walls. 5 Against the walls of the main hall and inner sanctuary he built a structure around the building, in which there were side rooms. 6 The lowest floor was five cubits wide, the middle floor six cubits and the third floor seven. He made offset ledges around the outside of the temple so that nothing would be inserted into the temple walls.
   7 In building the temple, only blocks dressed at the quarry were used, and no hammer, chisel or any other iron tool was heard at the temple site while it was being built.
   8 The entrance to the lowest floor was on the south side of the temple; a stairway led up to the middle level and from there to the third. 9 So he built the temple and completed it, roofing it with beams and cedar planks. 10 And he built the side rooms all along the temple. The height of each was five cubits, and they were attached to the temple by beams of cedar.
   11 The word of the LORD came to Solomon: 12 “As for this temple you are building, if you follow my decrees, observe my laws and keep all my commands and obey them, I will fulfill through you the promise I gave to David your father. 13 And I will live among the Israelites and will not abandon my people Israel.”
   14 So Solomon built the temple and completed it. 15 He lined its interior walls with cedar boards, paneling them from the floor of the temple to the ceiling, and covered the floor of the temple with planks of juniper. 16 He partitioned off twenty cubits at the rear of the temple with cedar boards from floor to ceiling to form within the temple an inner sanctuary, the Most Holy Place. 17The main hall in front of this room was forty cubits long. 18 The inside of the temple was cedar, carved with gourds and open flowers. Everything was cedar; no stone was to be seen.
   19 He prepared the inner sanctuary within the temple to set the ark of the covenant of the LORD there. 20 The inner sanctuary was twenty cubits long, twenty wide and twenty high. He overlaid the inside with pure gold, and he also overlaid the altar of cedar. 21 Solomon covered the inside of the temple with pure gold, and he extended gold chains across the front of the inner sanctuary, which was overlaid with gold. 22 So he overlaid the whole interior with gold. He also overlaid with gold the altar that belonged to the inner sanctuary.
   23 For the inner sanctuary he made a pair of cherubim out of olive wood, each ten cubits high. 24 One wing of the first cherub was five cubits long, and the other wing five cubits—ten cubits from wing tip to wing tip. 25 The second cherub also measured ten cubits, for the two cherubim were identical in size and shape. 26 The height of each cherub was ten cubits. 27 He placed the cherubim inside the innermost room of the temple, with their wings spread out. The wing of one cherub touched one wall, while the wing of the other touched the other wall, and their wings touched each other in the middle of the room. 28 He overlaid the cherubim with gold.
   29 On the walls all around the temple, in both the inner and outer rooms, he carved cherubim, palm trees and open flowers.30 He also covered the floors of both the inner and outer rooms of the temple with gold.
   31 For the entrance to the inner sanctuary he made doors out of olive wood that were one fifth of the width of the sanctuary.32 And on the two olive-wood doors he carved cherubim, palm trees and open flowers, and overlaid the cherubim and palm trees with hammered gold. 33 In the same way, for the entrance to the main hall he made doorframes out of olive wood that were one fourth of the width of the hall. 34 He also made two doors out of juniper wood, each having two leaves that turned in sockets. 35 He carved cherubim, palm trees and open flowers on them and overlaid them with gold hammered evenly over the carvings.
   36 And he built the inner courtyard of three courses of dressed stone and one course of trimmed cedar beams.
   37 The foundation of the temple of the LORD was laid in the fourth year, in the month of Ziv. 38 In the eleventh year in the month of Bul, the eighth month, the temple was finished in all its details according to its specifications. He had spent seven years building it.

1 Kings 7

Solomon Builds His Palace
    1 It took Solomon thirteen years, however, to complete the construction of his palace. 2 He built the Palace of the Forest of Lebanon a hundred cubits long, fifty wide and thirty high, with four rows of cedar columns supporting trimmed cedar beams. 3It was roofed with cedar above the beams that rested on the columns—forty-five beams, fifteen to a row. 4 Its windows were placed high in sets of three, facing each other. All the doorways had rectangular frames; they were in the front part in sets of three, facing each other.
   6 He made a colonnade fifty cubits long and thirty wide. In front of it was a portico, and in front of that were pillars and an overhanging roof.
   7 He built the throne hall, the Hall of Justice, where he was to judge, and he covered it with cedar from floor to ceiling. 8 And the palace in which he was to live, set farther back, was similar in design. Solomon also made a palace like this hall for Pharaoh’s daughter, whom he had married.
   9 All these structures, from the outside to the great courtyard and from foundation to eaves, were made of blocks of high-grade stone cut to size and smoothed on their inner and outer faces. 10 The foundations were laid with large stones of good quality, some measuring ten cubits and some eight. 11 Above were high-grade stones, cut to size, and cedar beams. 12 The great courtyard was surrounded by a wall of three courses of dressed stone and one course of trimmed cedar beams, as was the inner courtyard of the temple of the LORD with its portico.
The Temple’s Furnishings
    13 King Solomon sent to Tyre and brought Huram, 14 whose mother was a widow from the tribe of Naphtali and whose father was from Tyre and a skilled craftsman in bronze. Huram was filled with wisdom, with understanding and with knowledge to do all kinds of bronze work. He came to King Solomon and did all the work assigned to him.
   15 He cast two bronze pillars, each eighteen cubits high and twelve cubits in circumference. 16 He also made two capitals of cast bronze to set on the tops of the pillars; each capital was five cubits high. 17 A network of interwoven chains adorned the capitals on top of the pillars, seven for each capital. 18 He made pomegranates in two rows encircling each network to decorate the capitals on top of the pillars. He did the same for each capital. 19 The capitals on top of the pillars in the portico were in the shape of lilies, four cubits high. 20 On the capitals of both pillars, above the bowl-shaped part next to the network, were the two hundred pomegranates in rows all around. 21 He erected the pillars at the portico of the temple. The pillar to the south he named Jakin and the one to the north Boaz. 22 The capitals on top were in the shape of lilies. And so the work on the pillars was completed.
   23 He made the Sea of cast metal, circular in shape, measuring ten cubits from rim to rim and five cubits high. It took a line of thirty cubits to measure around it. 24 Below the rim, gourds encircled it—ten to a cubit. The gourds were cast in two rows in one piece with the Sea.
   25 The Sea stood on twelve bulls, three facing north, three facing west, three facing south and three facing east. The Sea rested on top of them, and their hindquarters were toward the center. 26 It was a handbreadth in thickness, and its rim was like the rim of a cup, like a lily blossom. It held two thousand baths.
   27 He also made ten movable stands of bronze; each was four cubits long, four wide and three high. 28 This is how the stands were made: They had side panels attached to uprights.29 On the panels between the uprights were lions, bulls and cherubim—and on the uprights as well. Above and below the lions and bulls were wreaths of hammered work. 30 Each stand had four bronze wheels with bronze axles, and each had a basin resting on four supports, cast with wreaths on each side.31 On the inside of the stand there was an opening that had a circular frame one cubit deep. This opening was round, and with its basework it measured a cubit and a half. Around its opening there was engraving. The panels of the stands were square, not round. 32 The four wheels were under the panels, and the axles of the wheels were attached to the stand. The diameter of each wheel was a cubit and a half. 33 The wheels were made like chariot wheels; the axles, rims, spokes and hubs were all of cast metal.
   34 Each stand had four handles, one on each corner, projecting from the stand. 35 At the top of the stand there was a circular band half a cubit deep. The supports and panels were attached to the top of the stand. 36 He engraved cherubim, lions and palm trees on the surfaces of the supports and on the panels, in every available space, with wreaths all around. 37This is the way he made the ten stands. They were all cast in the same molds and were identical in size and shape.
   38 He then made ten bronze basins, each holding forty baths and measuring four cubits across, one basin to go on each of the ten stands. 39 He placed five of the stands on the south side of the temple and five on the north. He placed the Sea on the south side, at the southeast corner of the temple. 40 He also made the pots and shovels and sprinkling bowls.
   So Huram finished all the work he had undertaken for King Solomon in the temple of the LORD:
   41 the two pillars;
   the two bowl-shaped capitals on top of the pillars;
   the two sets of network decorating the two bowl-shaped capitals on top of the pillars;
   42 the four hundred pomegranates for the two sets of network (two rows of pomegranates for each network decorating the bowl-shaped capitals on top of the pillars);
   43 the ten stands with their ten basins;
   44 the Sea and the twelve bulls under it;
   45 the pots, shovels and sprinkling bowls.
   All these objects that Huram made for King Solomon for the temple of the LORD were of burnished bronze. 46 The king had them cast in clay molds in the plain of the Jordan between Sukkoth and Zarethan. 47 Solomon left all these things unweighed, because there were so many; the weight of the bronze was not determined.
   48 Solomon also made all the furnishings that were in the LORD’s temple:
   the golden altar;
   the golden table on which was the bread of the Presence;
   49 the lampstands of pure gold (five on the right and five on the left, in front of the inner sanctuary);
   the gold floral work and lamps and tongs;
   50 the pure gold basins, wick trimmers, sprinkling bowls, dishes and censers;
   and the gold sockets for the doors of the innermost room, the Most Holy Place, and also for the doors of the main hall of the temple.
   51 When all the work King Solomon had done for the temple of the LORD was finished, he brought in the things his father David had dedicated—the silver and gold and the furnishings—and he placed them in the treasuries of the LORD’s temple.

Luke 20

The Resurrection and Marriage
    27 Some of the Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, came to Jesus with a question. 28 “Teacher,” they said, “Moses wrote for us that if a man’s brother dies and leaves a wife but no children, the man must marry the widow and raise up offspring for his brother. 29 Now there were seven brothers. The first one married a woman and died childless. 30 The second 31and then the third married her, and in the same way the seven died, leaving no children. 32 Finally, the woman died too. 33Now then, at the resurrection whose wife will she be, since the seven were married to her?”
   34 Jesus replied, “The people of this age marry and are given in marriage. 35 But those who are considered worthy of taking part in the age to come and in the resurrection from the dead will neither marry nor be given in marriage, 36 and they can no longer die; for they are like the angels. They are God’s children, since they are children of the resurrection. 37 But in the account of the burning bush, even Moses showed that the dead rise, for he calls the Lord ‘the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.’ 38 He is not the God of the dead, but of the living, for to him all are alive.”
   39 Some of the teachers of the law responded, “Well said, teacher!” 40 And no one dared to ask him any more questions.
Whose Son Is the Messiah?
    41 Then Jesus said to them, “Why is it said that the Messiah is the son of David? 42 David himself declares in the Book of Psalms:
   “‘The Lord said to my Lord: 
   “Sit at my right hand 
43 until I make your enemies 
   a footstool for your feet.”’
   44 David calls him ‘Lord.’ How then can he be his son?”
Warning Against the Teachers of the Law
    45 While all the people were listening, Jesus said to his disciples, 46 “Beware of the teachers of the law. They like to walk around in flowing robes and love to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces and have the most important seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at banquets. 47They devour widows’ houses and for a show make lengthy prayers. These men will be punished most severely.”

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Justification and glory

‘Whom he justified, them he also glorified.’ Romans 8:30
Suggested Further Reading: Revelation 21:22–22:5
If I might very hastily divide this glory into its constituent elements, I think I should say it means perfect rest. ‘There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God;’ life in its fullest sense; life with emphasis; eternal life; nearness to God; closeness to the divine heart; a sense of his love shed abroad in all its fulness; likeness to Christ; fulness of communion with him; abundance of the Spirit of God, being filled with all the fulness of God; an excess of joy; a perpetual influx of delight; perfection of holiness; no stain nor thought of sin; perfect submission to the divine will; a delight and acquiescence in, and conformity to that will; absorption as it were into God, the creature still the creature, but filled with the Creator to the brim; serenity caused by a sense of safety; continuance of heavenly service; an intense satisfaction in serving God day and night; bliss in the society of perfect spirits and glorified angels; delight in the retrospect of the past, delight in the enjoyment of the present, and in the prospect of the future; something ever new and evermore the same; a delightful variety of satisfaction, and a heavenly sameness of delight; clear knowledge; absence of all clouds; ripeness of understanding; excellence of judgment; and, above all, an intense vigour of heart, and the whole of the heart set upon him whom our eye shall see to be altogether lovely! I have looked at the crests of a few of the waves as I see them breaking over the sea of immortality. I have tried to give you the names of a few of the peaks of the long alpine range of glory. But where are my words, and where are my thoughts? ‘Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.’
For meditation: We cannot comprehend the glory of our Christian inheritance (1 Corinthians 13:121 John 3:2), which is the opposite of what we deserve as those who ‘have sinned, and come short of the glory of God’ (Romans 3:23). Are you ‘justified by faith’ in the Lord Jesus Christ and able to ‘rejoice in hope of the glory of God’ (Romans 5:1–2)?
Sermon no. 627
30 April (1865)

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The beginning, increase, and end of the divine life

“Though thy beginning was small, yet thy latter end should greatly increase.” Job 8:7
Suggested Further Reading: 2 Corinthians 13:5-9
If thou art saved—though the date be erased—yet do thou rejoice and triumph evermore in the Lord thy God. True, there are some of us who can remember the precise spot where we first found the Saviour. The day will never be forgotten when these eyes looked to the cross of Christ and found their tears all wiped away. But thousands in the fold of Jesus know not when they were brought in; be it enough for them to know they are there. Let them feed upon the pasture, let them lie down beside the still waters, for whether they came by night or by day they did not come at a forbidden hour. Whether they came in youth or in old age, it matters not; all times are acceptable with God, “and whosoever cometh,” come he when he may, “he will in no wise cast out.” Does it not strike you as being very foolish reasoning if you should say in your heart, “I am not converted because I do not know when?” Nay, with such reasoning as that, I could prove that old Rome was never built, because the precise date of her building is unknown; nay, we might declare that the world was never made, for its exact age even the geologist cannot tell us. We might prove that Jesus Christ himself never died, for the precise date on which he expired on the tree is lost beyond recovery; nor doth it signify much to us. We know the world was made, we know that Christ did die, and so you—if you are now reconciled to God, if now your trembling arms are cast around that cross, you too are saved—though the beginning was so small that you cannot tell when it was. Indeed, in living things, it is hard to put the finger upon the beginning.
For meditation: An ongoing Christ-experience in the present without a crisis experience in the past is far more valid than an isolated crisis experience in the past without the evidence of an ongoing Christ-experience in the present.
Sermon no. 311
30 April (Preached 29 April 1860)

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GOD USES PROBLEMS AND PERSECUTION TO PROTECT YOU

"You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” Genesis 50:20
Here is another of five ways God uses problems and persecution in your life: God uses problems and persecution to PROTECT you.
A problem can be a blessing in disguise if it prevents you from being harmed by something more serious. Last year a friend was fired for refusing to do something unethical that his boss had asked him to do. His unemployment was a problem—but it saved him from being convicted and sent to prison a year later when management’s actions were eventually discovered.
Eritrean Christian singer, Helen Berhane, testifies that God helped her at every turn during her almost three years of imprisonment in the infamous shipping containers. She saw God repeatedly turn evil plans into good:
One day they [the guards] brought two girls to my container. Their names were Rahel and Elsa. They were both in the army before they were arrested. They were supposed to spy on me and report back, because the authorities could not understand how, despite their treatment of me, I was still defiant. However, things backfired because the girls really liked me. Very soon we had become good friends and they even told me, “We were supposed to spy on you. But we like you, and so we won’t!”
…Since the girls were not spying as they had been told to, Rahel was released, but they left Elsa in the container with me for a while. Rahel left all her spare clothes for me. This was a blessing, as for a long time I had not been allowed any more clothes, even when the old ones were worn out. I felt that this was God’s provision for me, like the ravens he sent to Elijah. It was my experience that no matter what hardship I was in, God always sent someone to help me. So, although these girls were sent to spy on me, God used them to bless me.[1] (emphasis mine)
RESPONSE: God is at work in my life—even when I do not recognize it or understand it. It is much easier and more profitable when I cooperate with Him. This is the way to victory!
PRAYER: God help me to trust You to bring good from the challenges, difficulties and persecutions I might be subjected to today.
1. Helen Berhane, The Song of the Nightingale(Colorado Springs: Authentic Media, 2009), pp. 57-58.
Standing Strong Through The Storm (SSTS)
A daily devotional message by SSTS author Paul Estabrooks

© 2011 Open Doors International. Used by permission

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