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A Person of Godly Influence

Published by InTouch Ministries for reading on November 27th.

Daniel 1:1-21 Chapter 1 1 In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah came Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon unto Jerusalem, and besieged it. 2 And the Lord gave Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, with part of the vessels of the house of God; and he carried them into the land of Shinar to the house of his god: and he brought the vessels into the treasure-house of his god. 3 And the king spake unto Ashpenaz the master of his eunuchs, that he should bring in `certain' of the children of Israel, even of the seed royal and of the nobles; 4 youths in whom was no blemish, but well-favored, and skilful in all wisdom, and endued with knowledge, and understanding science, and such as had ability to stand in the king's palace; and that he should teach them the learning and the tongue of the Chaldeans. 5 And the king appointed for them a daily portion of the king's dainties, and of the wine which he drank, and that they should be nourished three years; that at the end thereof they should stand before the king. 6 Now among these were, of the children of Judah, Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. 7 And the prince of the eunuchs gave names unto them: unto Daniel he gave `the name of' Belteshazzar; and to Hananiah, `of' Shadrach; and to Mishael, `of' Meshach; and to Azariah, `of' Abed-nego. 8 But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the king's dainties, nor with the wine which he drank: therefore he requested of the prince of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself. 9 Now God made Daniel to find kindness and compassion in the sight of the prince of the eunuchs. 10 And the prince of the eunuchs said unto Daniel, I fear my lord the king, who hath appointed your food and your drink: for why should he see your faces worse looking than the youths that are of your own age? so would ye endanger my head with the king. 11 Then said Daniel to the steward whom the prince of the eunuchs had appointed over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah: 12 Prove thy servants, I beseech thee, ten days; and let them give us pulse to eat, and water to drink. 13 Then let our countenances be looked upon before thee, and the countenance of the youths that eat of the king's dainties; and as thou seest, deal with thy servants. 14 So he hearkened unto them in this matter, and proved them ten days. 15 And at the end of ten days their countenances appeared fairer, and they were fatter in flesh, than all the youths that did eat of the king's dainties. 16 So the steward took away their dainties, and the wine that they should drink, and gave them pulse. 17 Now as for these four youths, God gave them knowledge and skill in all learning and wisdom: and Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams. 18 And at the end of the days which the king had appointed for bringing them in, the prince of the eunuchs brought them in before Nebuchadnezzar. 19 And the king communed with them; and among them all was found none like Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah: therefore stood they before the king. 20 And in every matter of wisdom and understanding, concerning which the king inquired of them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and enchanters that were in all his realm. 21 And Daniel continued even unto the first year of king Cyrus.

When Daniel was taken to Babylon, he had no idea God would give him an ever-widening sphere of influence. So what made him different from the other captives from Israel? His godly influence flowed from his strong beliefs based in Scripture.

Commitment. Daniel did not simply know God’s law; he was convinced there was no other way to live. When tested, he remained unswervingly faithful to God and His Word, because he considered obedience non-negotiable.

Following God doesn’t mean living out biblical principles only when it’s convenient or easy. Obedience is to be our consistent lifestyle no matter what the circumstances are. Without a firm commitment to our beliefs, we’ll waver back and forth, be a poor witness, and eventually give in to temptation.

Courage. As a captive, Daniel had no authority. Therefore, approaching the king’s chief official for special dietary consideration required courage. Although he had no way to know the outcome, Daniel didn’t let fear dominate his emotions. He simply trusted the Lord and spoke out.

God rewarded Daniel’s faithfulness with superior knowledge, wisdom, and understanding of all kinds, which resulted in his gaining greater influence in the Babylonian and Persian empires. Because of Daniel’s commitment to God and his courage in standing firm, his godly impact extended for many years.

The Lord doesn’t raise all believers to high positions of influence. But He wants to use each of us to impact others for Christ in whatever sphere of influence He’s given us. Therefore, we too need commitment to God’s Word, the courage to obey, and the confidence to trust the Lord with the outcome.

Bible in One Year: 1 Corinthians 4-6 Chapter 4 1 Let a man so account of us, as of ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God. 2 Here, moreover, it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful. 3 But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged of you, or of man's judgment: yea, I judge not mine own self. 4 For I know nothing against myself; yet am I not hereby justified: but he that judgeth me is the Lord. 5 Wherefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who will both bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and make manifest the counsels of the hearts; and then shall each man have his praise from God. 6 Now these things, brethren, I have in a figure transferred to myself and Apollos for your sakes; that in us ye might learn not `to go' beyond the things which are written; that no one of you be puffed up for the one against the other. 7 For who maketh thee to differ? and what hast thou that thou didst not receive? but if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory as if thou hadst not received it? 8 Already are ye filled, already ye are become rich, ye have come to reign without us: yea and I would that ye did reign, that we also might reign with you. 9 For, I think, God hath set forth us the apostles last of all, as men doomed to death: for we are made a spectacle unto the world, both to angels and men. 10 We are fools for Christ's sake, but ye are wise in Christ; we are weak, but ye are strong; ye have glory, but we have dishonor. 11 Even unto this present hour we both hunger, and thirst, and are naked, and are buffeted, and have no certain dwelling-place; 12 and we toil, working with our own hands: being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we endure; 13 being defamed, we entreat: we are made as the filth of the world, the offscouring of all things, even until now. 14 I write not these things to shame you, but to admonish you as my beloved children. 15 For though ye have ten thousand tutors in Christ, yet `have ye' not many fathers; for in Christ Jesus I begat you through the gospel. 16 I beseech you therefore, be ye imitators of me. 17 For this cause have I sent unto you Timothy, who is my beloved and faithful child in the Lord, who shall put you in remembrance of my ways which are in Christ, even as I teach everywhere in every church. 18 Now some are puffed up, as though I were not coming to you. 19 But I will come to you shortly, if the Lord will; and I will know, not the word of them that are puffed up, but the power. 20 For the kingdom of God is not in word, but in power. 21 What will ye? shall I come unto you with a rod, or in love and a spirit of gentleness? Chapter 5 1 It is actually reported that there is fornication among you, and such fornication as is not even among the Gentiles, that one `of you' hath his father's wife. 2 And ye are puffed up, and did not rather mourn, that he that had done this deed might be taken away from among you. 3 For I verily, being absent in body but present in spirit, have already as though I were present judged him that hath so wrought this thing, 4 in the name of our Lord Jesus, ye being gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus, 5 to deliver such a one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus. 6 Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump? 7 Purge out the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, even as ye are unleavened. For our passover also hath been sacrificed, `even' Christ: 8 wherefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. 9 I wrote unto you in my epistle to have no company with fornicators; 10 not at all `meaning' with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous and extortioners, or with idolaters; for then must ye needs go out of the world: 11 but as it is, I wrote unto you not to keep company, if any man that is named a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such a one no, not to eat. 12 For what have I to do with judging them that are without? Do not ye judge them that are within? 13 But them that are without God judgeth. Put away the wicked man from among yourselves. Chapter 6 1 Dare any of you, having a matter against his neighbor, go to law before the unrighteous, and not before the saints? 2 Or know ye not that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world is judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters? 3 Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more, things that pertain to this life? 4 If then ye have to judge things pertaining to this life, do ye set them to judge who are of no account in the church? 5 I say `this' to move you to shame. What, cannot there be `found' among you one wise man who shall be able to decide between his brethren, 6 but brother goeth to law with brother, and that before unbelievers? 7 Nay, already it is altogether a defect in you, that ye have lawsuits one with another. Why not rather take wrong? why not rather be defrauded? 8 Nay, but ye yourselves do wrong, and defraud, and that `your' brethren. 9 Or know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with men, 10 nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And such were some of you: but ye were washed, but ye were sanctified, but ye were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and in the Spirit of our God. 12 All things are lawful for me; but not all things are expedient. All things are lawful for me; but I will not be brought under the power of any. 13 Meats for the belly, and the belly for meats: but God shall bring to nought both it and them. But the body is not for fornication, but for the Lord; and the Lord for the body: 14 and God both raised the Lord, and will raise up as through his power. 15 Know ye not that your bodies are members of Christ? shall I then take away the members of Christ, and make them members of a harlot? God forbid. 16 Or know ye not that he that is joined to a harlot is one body? for, The twain, saith he, shall become one flesh. 17 But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit. 18 Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body. 19 Or know ye not that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit which is in you, which ye have from God? and ye are not your own; 20 for ye were bought with a price: glorify God therefore in your body.




Heirs to a Grand Inheritance

Published by InTouch Ministries for reading on November 28th.

Ephesians 1:9-14 9 making known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he purposed in him 10 unto a dispensation of the fulness of the times, to sum up all things in Christ, the things in the heavens, and the things upon the earth; in him, `I say,' 11 in whom also we were made a heritage, having been foreordained according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his will; 12 to the end that we should be unto the praise of his glory, we who had before hoped in Christ: 13 in whom ye also, having heard the word of the truth, the gospel of your salvation,-- in whom, having also believed, ye were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, 14 which is an earnest of our inheritance, unto the redemption of `God's' own possession, unto the praise of his glory.

Did you know that you are an heir to unimaginable wealth that will never fade away? If you’re a believer, then God has an inheritance reserved for you in heaven. In fact, He says you have already obtained it. (See Eph. 1:11.) Your right to this treasure is not based on anything that you’ve done, but on the one to whom you belong. If you are a child of God, then the inheritance is yours and will be “revealed in the last time” ( 1 Peter 1:4-5 4 unto an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, 5 who by the power of God are guarded through faith unto a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. ).

No one can take our inheritance from us, because God has guaranteed it by sealing us with His Holy Spirit of promise. The transaction is complete and merely awaits the ultimate consummation when everything will be brought under the headship of Christ. This seal shows His ownership and authority over us, and one day our full redemption will come.

Naturally, we all want to know what we’re going to inherit. Much of that is beyond our earthly comprehension, but Scripture gives us a few hints. It will involve the transformation of both our body and soul. The goal for which God predestined us will be completed as we stand before Him, conformed to the likeness of His Son (Rom. 8:29; 1 John 3:2 2 Beloved, now are we children of God, and it is not yet made manifest what we shall be. We know that, if he shall be manifested, we shall be like him; for we shall see him even as he is. ). And these weak, perishable bodies will be changed into strong, glorious ones that are free from sin and death (Phil. 3:20-21).

Why has God done all of this for us? Amazingly, He says it’s so that throughout eternity He can show us “the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus” (Eph. 2:7). In love and gratitude for such amazing goodness, let’s devote each day of our life to living for Him.

Bible in One Year: 1 Corinthians 4-6 Chapter 4 1 Let a man so account of us, as of ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God. 2 Here, moreover, it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful. 3 But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged of you, or of man's judgment: yea, I judge not mine own self. 4 For I know nothing against myself; yet am I not hereby justified: but he that judgeth me is the Lord. 5 Wherefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who will both bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and make manifest the counsels of the hearts; and then shall each man have his praise from God. 6 Now these things, brethren, I have in a figure transferred to myself and Apollos for your sakes; that in us ye might learn not `to go' beyond the things which are written; that no one of you be puffed up for the one against the other. 7 For who maketh thee to differ? and what hast thou that thou didst not receive? but if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory as if thou hadst not received it? 8 Already are ye filled, already ye are become rich, ye have come to reign without us: yea and I would that ye did reign, that we also might reign with you. 9 For, I think, God hath set forth us the apostles last of all, as men doomed to death: for we are made a spectacle unto the world, both to angels and men. 10 We are fools for Christ's sake, but ye are wise in Christ; we are weak, but ye are strong; ye have glory, but we have dishonor. 11 Even unto this present hour we both hunger, and thirst, and are naked, and are buffeted, and have no certain dwelling-place; 12 and we toil, working with our own hands: being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we endure; 13 being defamed, we entreat: we are made as the filth of the world, the offscouring of all things, even until now. 14 I write not these things to shame you, but to admonish you as my beloved children. 15 For though ye have ten thousand tutors in Christ, yet `have ye' not many fathers; for in Christ Jesus I begat you through the gospel. 16 I beseech you therefore, be ye imitators of me. 17 For this cause have I sent unto you Timothy, who is my beloved and faithful child in the Lord, who shall put you in remembrance of my ways which are in Christ, even as I teach everywhere in every church. 18 Now some are puffed up, as though I were not coming to you. 19 But I will come to you shortly, if the Lord will; and I will know, not the word of them that are puffed up, but the power. 20 For the kingdom of God is not in word, but in power. 21 What will ye? shall I come unto you with a rod, or in love and a spirit of gentleness? Chapter 5 1 It is actually reported that there is fornication among you, and such fornication as is not even among the Gentiles, that one `of you' hath his father's wife. 2 And ye are puffed up, and did not rather mourn, that he that had done this deed might be taken away from among you. 3 For I verily, being absent in body but present in spirit, have already as though I were present judged him that hath so wrought this thing, 4 in the name of our Lord Jesus, ye being gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus, 5 to deliver such a one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus. 6 Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump? 7 Purge out the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, even as ye are unleavened. For our passover also hath been sacrificed, `even' Christ: 8 wherefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. 9 I wrote unto you in my epistle to have no company with fornicators; 10 not at all `meaning' with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous and extortioners, or with idolaters; for then must ye needs go out of the world: 11 but as it is, I wrote unto you not to keep company, if any man that is named a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such a one no, not to eat. 12 For what have I to do with judging them that are without? Do not ye judge them that are within? 13 But them that are without God judgeth. Put away the wicked man from among yourselves. Chapter 6 1 Dare any of you, having a matter against his neighbor, go to law before the unrighteous, and not before the saints? 2 Or know ye not that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world is judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters? 3 Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more, things that pertain to this life? 4 If then ye have to judge things pertaining to this life, do ye set them to judge who are of no account in the church? 5 I say `this' to move you to shame. What, cannot there be `found' among you one wise man who shall be able to decide between his brethren, 6 but brother goeth to law with brother, and that before unbelievers? 7 Nay, already it is altogether a defect in you, that ye have lawsuits one with another. Why not rather take wrong? why not rather be defrauded? 8 Nay, but ye yourselves do wrong, and defraud, and that `your' brethren. 9 Or know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with men, 10 nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And such were some of you: but ye were washed, but ye were sanctified, but ye were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and in the Spirit of our God. 12 All things are lawful for me; but not all things are expedient. All things are lawful for me; but I will not be brought under the power of any. 13 Meats for the belly, and the belly for meats: but God shall bring to nought both it and them. But the body is not for fornication, but for the Lord; and the Lord for the body: 14 and God both raised the Lord, and will raise up as through his power. 15 Know ye not that your bodies are members of Christ? shall I then take away the members of Christ, and make them members of a harlot? God forbid. 16 Or know ye not that he that is joined to a harlot is one body? for, The twain, saith he, shall become one flesh. 17 But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit. 18 Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body. 19 Or know ye not that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit which is in you, which ye have from God? and ye are not your own; 20 for ye were bought with a price: glorify God therefore in your body.




The Root of Ingratitude

Published by John Piper for reading on November 28th.

Although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. ( Romans 1:21 21 because that, knowing God, they glorified him not as God, neither gave thanks; but became vain in their reasonings, and their senseless heart was darkened. )

When gratitude springs up in the human heart toward God, he is magnified as the wealthy source of our blessing. He is acknowledged as giver and benefactor and therefore as glorious.

But when gratitude does not spring up in our hearts at God’s great goodness to us, it probably means that we don’t want to pay him a compliment; we don’t want to magnify him as our benefactor.

And there is a very good reason that human beings by nature do not want to magnify God with thanksgiving or glorify him as their benefactor. The reason is that it detracts from their own glory, and all people by nature love their own glory more than the glory of God.

At the root of all ingratitude is the love of one’s own greatness. For genuine gratitude admits that we are beneficiaries of an unearned bequest. We are cripples leaning on the cross-shaped crutch of Jesus Christ. We are paralytics living minute by minute in the iron lung of God’s mercy. We are children asleep in heaven’s stroller.

Natural man hates to think of himself in these images: unworthy beneficiary, cripple, paralytic, child. They rob him of all his glory by giving it all to God.

Therefore, while a man loves his own glory, and prizes his self-sufficiency, and hates to think of himself as sin-sick and helpless, he will never feel any genuine gratitude to the true God and so will never magnify God, but only himself.

“Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners” ( Mark 2:17 17 And when Jesus heard it, he saith unto them, They that are whole have no need of a physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners. ).

Jesus has nothing to do for those who insist they are well. He demands something great: that we admit we are not great. This is bad news to the arrogant, but words of honey to those who have given up their charade of self-sufficiency and are seeking God.



The Power of a Discerning Spirit

Published by InTouch Ministries for reading on November 28th.

Hebrews 5:11-14 11 Of whom we have many things to say, and hard of interpretation, seeing ye are become dull of hearing. 12 For when by reason of the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need again that some one teach you the rudiments of the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of solid food. 13 For every one that partaketh of milk is without experience of the word of righteousness; for he is a babe. 14 But solid food is for fullgrown men, `even' those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern good and evil.

In a world filled with endless sources of information and opinions, believers need to develop a discerning spirit. Otherwise, how will we know what is true? Much of what we see and hear is based on a worldly perspective that’s influenced by Satan, the father of lies. Deception is found even in the religious realm: Some churches mix lies with enough truth to make some people consider them legitimate Christian institutions.

The only way believers can guard against deception is to ground themselves in God’s Word. The more time you spend filling your mind with the Lord’s thoughts, the more discerning you will be. However, just knowing biblical truth isn’t enough. You must put what you learn into practice so that it becomes more than head knowledge.

The goal is to let God’s Word become such an integral part of your thinking that it guides your decisions. Even if the situation you’re facing isn’t specifically addressed in the Bible, scriptural principles provide the needed wisdom for every choice. In addition, the Holy Spirit is given to each believer; He is a Helper, whose job is to guide you into truth ( John 14:26 26 But the Comforter, `even' the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said unto you. ; John 16:13 13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he shall guide you into all the truth: for he shall not speak from himself; but what things soever he shall hear, `these' shall he speak: and he shall declare unto you the things that are to come. ). However, your responsibility is to put Scripture into your mind so God’s Spirit can bring it to your remembrance. If you neglect the Word, you’ll lack discernment.

What are you allowing into your mind? Is the Word high in your priorities? Unless you’re careful, worldly thinking will overpower spiritual discernment. It’s difficult to keep God’s perspective in the forefront if you spend two or three hours in front of the television and only 10 minutes in the Bible.

Bible in One Year: 1 Corinthians 4-6 Chapter 4 1 Let a man so account of us, as of ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God. 2 Here, moreover, it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful. 3 But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged of you, or of man's judgment: yea, I judge not mine own self. 4 For I know nothing against myself; yet am I not hereby justified: but he that judgeth me is the Lord. 5 Wherefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who will both bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and make manifest the counsels of the hearts; and then shall each man have his praise from God. 6 Now these things, brethren, I have in a figure transferred to myself and Apollos for your sakes; that in us ye might learn not `to go' beyond the things which are written; that no one of you be puffed up for the one against the other. 7 For who maketh thee to differ? and what hast thou that thou didst not receive? but if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory as if thou hadst not received it? 8 Already are ye filled, already ye are become rich, ye have come to reign without us: yea and I would that ye did reign, that we also might reign with you. 9 For, I think, God hath set forth us the apostles last of all, as men doomed to death: for we are made a spectacle unto the world, both to angels and men. 10 We are fools for Christ's sake, but ye are wise in Christ; we are weak, but ye are strong; ye have glory, but we have dishonor. 11 Even unto this present hour we both hunger, and thirst, and are naked, and are buffeted, and have no certain dwelling-place; 12 and we toil, working with our own hands: being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we endure; 13 being defamed, we entreat: we are made as the filth of the world, the offscouring of all things, even until now. 14 I write not these things to shame you, but to admonish you as my beloved children. 15 For though ye have ten thousand tutors in Christ, yet `have ye' not many fathers; for in Christ Jesus I begat you through the gospel. 16 I beseech you therefore, be ye imitators of me. 17 For this cause have I sent unto you Timothy, who is my beloved and faithful child in the Lord, who shall put you in remembrance of my ways which are in Christ, even as I teach everywhere in every church. 18 Now some are puffed up, as though I were not coming to you. 19 But I will come to you shortly, if the Lord will; and I will know, not the word of them that are puffed up, but the power. 20 For the kingdom of God is not in word, but in power. 21 What will ye? shall I come unto you with a rod, or in love and a spirit of gentleness? Chapter 5 1 It is actually reported that there is fornication among you, and such fornication as is not even among the Gentiles, that one `of you' hath his father's wife. 2 And ye are puffed up, and did not rather mourn, that he that had done this deed might be taken away from among you. 3 For I verily, being absent in body but present in spirit, have already as though I were present judged him that hath so wrought this thing, 4 in the name of our Lord Jesus, ye being gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus, 5 to deliver such a one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus. 6 Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump? 7 Purge out the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, even as ye are unleavened. For our passover also hath been sacrificed, `even' Christ: 8 wherefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. 9 I wrote unto you in my epistle to have no company with fornicators; 10 not at all `meaning' with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous and extortioners, or with idolaters; for then must ye needs go out of the world: 11 but as it is, I wrote unto you not to keep company, if any man that is named a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such a one no, not to eat. 12 For what have I to do with judging them that are without? Do not ye judge them that are within? 13 But them that are without God judgeth. Put away the wicked man from among yourselves. Chapter 6 1 Dare any of you, having a matter against his neighbor, go to law before the unrighteous, and not before the saints? 2 Or know ye not that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world is judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters? 3 Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more, things that pertain to this life? 4 If then ye have to judge things pertaining to this life, do ye set them to judge who are of no account in the church? 5 I say `this' to move you to shame. What, cannot there be `found' among you one wise man who shall be able to decide between his brethren, 6 but brother goeth to law with brother, and that before unbelievers? 7 Nay, already it is altogether a defect in you, that ye have lawsuits one with another. Why not rather take wrong? why not rather be defrauded? 8 Nay, but ye yourselves do wrong, and defraud, and that `your' brethren. 9 Or know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with men, 10 nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And such were some of you: but ye were washed, but ye were sanctified, but ye were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and in the Spirit of our God. 12 All things are lawful for me; but not all things are expedient. All things are lawful for me; but I will not be brought under the power of any. 13 Meats for the belly, and the belly for meats: but God shall bring to nought both it and them. But the body is not for fornication, but for the Lord; and the Lord for the body: 14 and God both raised the Lord, and will raise up as through his power. 15 Know ye not that your bodies are members of Christ? shall I then take away the members of Christ, and make them members of a harlot? God forbid. 16 Or know ye not that he that is joined to a harlot is one body? for, The twain, saith he, shall become one flesh. 17 But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit. 18 Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body. 19 Or know ye not that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit which is in you, which ye have from God? and ye are not your own; 20 for ye were bought with a price: glorify God therefore in your body.




Sensing the Urgency

Published by Grace To You for reading on November 28th.

“‘You have left your first love’” ( Revelation 2:4 4 But I have `this' against thee, that thou didst leave thy first love. ).

A wise person loves Christ supremely.

Because the days were evil, the apostle Paul wanted the church at Ephesus to make the most of their time and walk wisely (Eph. 5:15-16). A little more than thirty years after Paul wrote his letter to the Ephesian church, the apostle John wrote more to them, saying, “You have left your first love. . . . Repent and do the deeds you did at first; or else I [Christ] am coming to you, and will remove your lampstand out of its place—unless you repent” (Rev. 2:4-5). But the Ephesians did not repent, and the lampstand was removed. Their time was shorter than they believed, because the evil was so great. Their church fell prey to the time in which they lived and, not sensing the urgency to return to its first love, eventually went out of existence.

I believe we need to have a sense of urgency in the evil days in which we live. I don’t know what’s going to happen to Christianity in America, but I’ve asked God that if it takes persecution to bring us to the place where we get a grip on what we ought to be, then let it happen. In many cases throughout history,the church has thrived better under persecution than it has under affluence. As the church father Tertullian once said, “The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church.”

I’m not specifically asking that the church be persecuted. I’m saying that sometimes we don’t sense the urgency of our evil day because we are sucked into the world’s system, and the lines of conviction aren’t clearly drawn. It’s an evil day in which we live, and the time is short. We need to realize that “evil men and impostors will proceed from bad to worse” (2 Tim. 3:13). The situation is not going to become better. The world is blacker and more expressive of its vices than ever before. We must have a sense of urgency and redeem the time.

Suggestions for Prayer

In Psalms 145 Chapter 145 1 I will extol thee, my God, O King; And I will bless thy name for ever and ever. 2 Every day will I bless thee; And I will praise thy name for ever and ever. 3 Great is Jehovah, and greatly to be praised; And his greatness is unsearchable. 4 One generation shall laud thy works to another, And shall declare thy mighty acts. 5 Of the glorious majesty of thine honor, And of thy wondrous works, will I meditate. 6 And men shall speak of the might of thy terrible acts; And I will declare thy greatness. 7 They shall utter the memory of thy great goodness, And shall sing of thy righteousness. 8 Jehovah is gracious, and merciful; Slow to anger, and of great lovingkindness. 9 Jehovah is good to all; And his tender mercies are over all his works. 10 All thy works shall give thanks unto thee, O Jehovah; And thy saints shall bless thee. 11 They shall speak of the glory of thy kingdom, And talk of thy power; 12 To make known to the sons of men his mighty acts, And the glory of the majesty of his kingdom. 13 Thy kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, And thy dominion `endureth' throughout all generations. 14 Jehovah upholdeth all that fall, And raiseth up all those that are bowed down. 15 The eyes of all wait for thee; And thou givest them their food in due season. 16 Thou openest thy hand, And satisfiest the desire of every living thing. 17 Jehovah is righteous in all his ways, And gracious in all his works. 18 Jehovah is nigh unto all them that call upon him, To all that call upon him in truth. 19 He will fulfil the desire of them that fear him; He also will hear their cry and will save them. 20 Jehovah preserveth all them that love him; But all the wicked will he destroy. 21 My mouth shall speak the praise of Jehovah; And let all flesh bless his holy name for ever and ever. , King David expressed his love for the Lord. Make his psalm your prayer and an expression of your love to God.

For Further Study

Read in Revelation 2 Chapter 2 1 To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand, he that walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks: 2 I know thy works, and thy toil and patience, and that thou canst not bear evil men, and didst try them that call themselves apostles, and they are not, and didst find them false; 3 and thou hast patience and didst bear for my name's sake, and hast not grown weary. 4 But I have `this' against thee, that thou didst leave thy first love. 5 Remember therefore whence thou art fallen, and repent and do the first works; or else I come to thee, and will move thy candlestick out of its place, except thou repent. 6 But this thou hast, that thou hatest the works of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. 7 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith to the churches. To him that overcometh, to him will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the Paradise of God. 8 And to the angel of the church in Smyrna write: These things saith the first and the last, who was dead, and lived `again': 9 I know thy tribulation, and thy poverty (but thou art rich), and the blasphemy of them that say they are Jews, and they art not, but are a synagogue of Satan. 10 Fear not the things which thou art about to suffer: behold, the devil is about to cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days. Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee the crown of life. 11 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith to the churches. He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death. 12 and to the angel of the church in Pergamum write: These things saith he that hath the sharp two-edged sword: 13 I know where thou dwellest, `even' where Satan's throne is; and thou holdest fast my name, and didst not deny my faith, even in the days of Antipas my witness, my faithful one, who was killed among you, where Satan dwelleth. 14 But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there some that hold the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols, and to commit fornication. 15 So hast thou also some that hold the teaching of the Nicolaitans in like manner. 16 Repent therefore; or else I come to thee quickly, and I will make war against them with the sword of my mouth. 17 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith to the churches. To him that overcometh, to him will I give of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, and upon the stone a new name written, which no one knoweth but he that receiveth it. 18 And to the angel of the church in Thyatira write: These things saith the Son of God, who hath his eyes like a flame of fire, and his feet are like unto burnished brass: 19 I know thy works, and thy love and faith and ministry and patience, and that thy last works are more than the first. 20 But I have `this' against thee, that thou sufferest the woman Jezebel, who calleth herself a prophetess; and she teacheth and seduceth my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed to idols. 21 And I gave her time that she should repent; and she willeth not to repent of her fornication. 22 Behold, I cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of her works. 23 And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he that searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto each one of you according to your works. 24 But to you I say, to the rest that are in Thyatira, as many as have not this teaching, who know not the deep things of Satan, as they are wont to say; I cast upon you none other burden. 25 Nevertheless that which ye have, hold fast till I come. 26 And he that overcometh, and he that keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give authority over the nations: 27 and he shall rule them with a rod of iron, as the vessels of the potter are broken to shivers; as I also have received of my Father: 28 and I will give him the morning star. 29 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith to the churches. —3 what the Lord says to the seven churches in Asia, noting what He approves and disapproves.

From Strength for Today by John MacArthur Copyright © 1997. Used by permission of Crossway Books, a division of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, IL 60187, www.crossway.com.

Additional Resources        

Accepting God's Provisions

Published by Grace To You for reading on November 28th.

"By faith [Moses] kept the Passover and the sprinkling of the blood, so that he who destroyed the first-born might not touch them. By faith they passed through the Red Sea as though they were passing through dry land; and the Egyptians, when they attempted it, were drowned" (Heb. 11:28-29).

The man or woman of faith gratefully accepts all God’s provisions, no matter how pointless some of them may seem.

When the time came for Moses to lead the Israelites out of Egypt, everything on the human level said it couldn't be done. Pharaoh wasn't about to let two to three million slaves just pack up and leave. His formidable army was ready to insure that no such exodus occurred.

But when God devises a plan, He always makes the necessary provisions for carrying it out. On this occasion, His provision came in the form of ten terrifying plagues designed to change Pharaoh's mind.

The tenth and worst plague was the death of all the first- born (Ex. 11:5). To protect themselves from this plague, the Israelites sprinkled the blood of a lamb on the doorposts and lintels of their homes. When the angel of death saw the blood, he passed over that house. Thus the Passover was instituted.

The blood from those first Passover lambs had no intrinsic power to stave off the death angel, but its presence demonstrated faith and obedience, thus symbolizing the future sacrifice of Christ (cf. John 1:29 29 On the morrow he seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold, the Lamb of God, that taketh away the sin of the world! ).

Pharaoh got the message and allowed the Israelites to leave. But soon afterward he changed his mind and commanded his army to pursue them. Again God intervened by parting the Red Sea, allowing His people to walk across on dry land. He then drowned the entire Egyptian army when it followed the Israelites into the sea.

That was a graphic demonstration of a lesson every believer must learn: God's provisions are always best. They may sometimes seem foolish to the human intellect—just as "the word of the cross is to those who are perishing foolishness" (1 Cor. 1:18)—but the man or woman of faith trusts God and receives His provisions gratefully.

Suggestions for Prayer

Thank God for the wise and gracious provisions He has made for your salvation and ongoing Christian walk.

For Further Study

Read the account of the Passover and the parting of the Red Sea in Exodus 11-14 Chapter 11 1 And Jehovah said unto Moses, Yet one plague more will I bring upon Pharaoh, and upon Egypt; afterwards he will let you go hence: when he shall let you go, he shall surely thrust you out hence altogether. 2 Speak now in the ears of the people, and let them ask every man of his neighbor, and every woman of her neighbor, jewels of silver, and jewels of gold. 3 And Jehovah gave the people favor in the sight of the Egyptians. Moreover the man Moses was very great in the land of Egypt, in the sight of Pharaoh's servants, and in the sight of the people. 4 And Moses said, Thus saith Jehovah, About midnight will I go out into the midst of Egypt: 5 and all the first-born in the land of Egypt shall die, from the first-born of Pharaoh that sitteth upon his throne, even unto the first-born of the maid-servant that is behind the mill; and all the first-born of cattle. 6 And there shall be a great cry throughout all the land of Egypt, such as there hath not been, nor shall be any more. 7 But against any of the children of Israel shall not a dog move his tongue, against man or beast: that ye may know how that Jehovah doth make a distinction between the Egyptians and Israel. 8 And all these thy servants shall come down unto me, and bow down themselves unto me, saying, Get thee out, and all the people that follow thee: and after that I will go out. And he went out from Pharaoh in hot anger. 9 And Jehovah said unto Moses, Pharaoh will not hearken unto you; that my wonders may be multiplied in the land of Egypt. 10 And Moses and Aaron did all these wonders before Pharaoh: and Jehovah hardened Pharaoh's heart, and he did not let the children of Israel go out of his land. Chapter 12 1 And Jehovah spake unto Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, saying, 2 This month shall be unto you the beginning of months: it shall be the first month of the year to you. 3 Speak ye unto all the congregation of Israel, saying, In the tenth `day' of this month they shall take to them every man a lamb, according to their fathers' houses, a lamb for a household: 4 and if the household be too little for a lamb, then shall he and his neighbor next unto his house take one according to the number of the souls; according to every man's eating ye shall make your count for the lamb. 5 Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male a year old: ye shall take it from the sheep, or from the goats: 6 and ye shall keep it until the fourteenth day of the same month; and the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it at even. 7 And they shall take of the blood, and put it on the two side-posts and on the lintel, upon the houses wherein they shall eat it. 8 And they shall eat the flesh in that night, roast with fire, and unleavened bread; with bitter herbs they shall eat it. 9 Eat not of it raw, nor boiled at all with water, but roast with fire; its head with its legs and with the inwards thereof. 10 And ye shall let nothing of it remain until the morning; but that which remaineth of it until the morning ye shall burn with fire. 11 And thus shall ye eat it: with your loins girded, your shoes on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and ye shall eat it in haste: it is Jehovah's passover. 12 For I will go through the land of Egypt in that night, and will smite all the first-born in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgments: I am Jehovah. 13 And the blood shall be to you for a token upon the houses where ye are: and when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and there shall no plague be upon you to destroy you, when I smite the land of Egypt. 14 And this day shall be unto you for a memorial, and ye shall keep it a feast to Jehovah: throughout your generations ye shall keep it a feast by an ordinance for ever. 15 Seven days shall ye eat unleavened bread; even the first day ye shall put away leaven out of your houses: for whosoever eateth leavened bread from the first day until the seventh day, that soul shall be cut off from Israel. 16 And in the first day there shall be to you a holy convocation, and in the seventh day a holy convocation; no manner of work shall be done in them, save that which every man must eat, that only may be done by you. 17 And ye shall observe the `feast of' unleavened bread; for in this selfsame day have I brought your hosts out of the land of Egypt: therefore shall ye observe this day throughout your generations by an ordinance for ever. 18 In the first `month', on the fourteenth day of the month at even, ye shall eat unleavened bread, until the one and twentieth day of the month at even. 19 Seven days shall there be no leaven found in your houses: for whosoever eateth that which is leavened, that soul shall be cut off from the congregation of Israel, whether he be a sojourner, or one that is born in the land. 20 Ye shall eat nothing leavened; in all your habitations shall ye eat unleavened bread. 21 Then Moses called for all the elders of Israel, and said unto them, Draw out, and take you lambs according to your families, and kill the passover. 22 And ye shall take a bunch of hyssop, and dip it in the blood that is in the basin, and strike the lintel and the two side-posts with the blood that is in the basin; and none of you shall go out of the door of his house until the morning. 23 For Jehovah will pass through to smite the Egyptians; and when he seeth the blood upon the lintel, and on the two side-posts, Jehovah will pass over the door, and will not suffer the destroyer to come in unto your houses to smite you. 24 And ye shall observe this thing for an ordinance to thee and to thy sons for ever. 25 And it shall come to pass, when ye are come to the land which Jehovah will give you, according as he hath promised, that ye shall keep this service. 26 And it shall come to pass, when your children shall say unto you, What mean ye by this service? 27 that ye shall say, It is the sacrifice of Jehovah's passover, who passed over the houses of the children of Israel in Egypt, when he smote the Egyptians, and delivered our houses. And the people bowed the head and worshipped. 28 And the children of Israel went and did so; as Jehovah had commanded Moses and Aaron, so did they. 29 And it came to pass at midnight, that Jehovah smote all the first-born in the land of Egypt, from the first-born of Pharaoh that sat on his throne unto the first-born of the captive that was in the dungeon; and all the first-born of cattle. 30 And Pharaoh rose up in the night, he, and all his servants, and all the Egyptians; and there was a great cry in Egypt, for there was not a house where there was not one dead. 31 And he called for Moses and Aaron by night, and said, Rise up, get you forth from among my people, both ye and the children of Israel; and go, serve Jehovah, as ye have said. 32 Take both your flocks and your herds, as ye have said, and be gone; and bless me also. 33 And the Egyptians were urgent upon the people, to send them out of the land in haste; for they said, We are all dead men. 34 And the people took their dough before it was leavened, their kneading-troughs being bound up in their clothes upon their shoulders. 35 And the children of Israel did according to the word of Moses; and they asked of the Egyptians jewels of silver, and jewels of gold, and raiment. 36 And Jehovah gave the people favor in the sight of the Egyptians, so that they let them have what they asked. And they despoiled the Egyptians. 37 And the children of Israel journeyed from Rameses to Succoth, about six hundred thousand on foot that were men, besides children. 38 And a mixed multitude went up also with them; and flocks, and herds, even very much cattle. 39 And they baked unleavened cakes of the dough which they brought forth out of Egypt; for it was not leavened, because they were thrust out of Egypt, and could not tarry, neither had they prepared for themselves any victuals. 40 Now the time that the children of Israel dwelt in Egypt was four hundred and thirty years. 41 And it came to pass at the end of four hundred and thirty years, even the selfsame day it came to pass, that all the hosts of Jehovah went out from the land of Egypt. 42 It is a night to be much observed unto Jehovah for bringing them out from the land of Egypt: this is that night of Jehovah, to be much observed of all the children of Israel throughout their generations. 43 And Jehovah said unto Moses and Aaron, This is the ordinance of the passover: there shall no foreigner eat thereof; 44 but every man's servant that is bought for money, when thou hast circumcised him, then shall he eat thereof. 45 A sojourner and a hired servant shall not eat thereof. 46 In one house shall it be eaten; thou shalt not carry forth aught of the flesh abroad out of the house; neither shall ye break a bone thereof. 47 All the congregation of Israel shall keep it. 48 And when a stranger shall sojourn with thee, and will keep the passover to Jehovah, let all his males be circumcised, and then let him come near and keep it; and he shall be as one that is born in the land: but no uncircumcised person shall eat thereof. 49 One law shall be to him that is home-born, and unto the stranger that sojourneth among you. 50 Thus did all the children of Israel; as Jehovah commanded Moses and Aaron, so did they. 51 And it came to pass the selfsame day, that Jehovah did bring the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt by their hosts. Chapter 13 1 And Jehovah spake unto Moses, saying, 2 Sanctify unto me all the first-born, whatsoever openeth the womb among the children of Israel, both of man and of beast: it is mine. 3 And Moses said unto the people, Remember this day, in which ye came out from Egypt, out of the house of bondage; for by strength of hand Jehovah brought you out from this place: there shall no leavened bread be eaten. 4 This day ye go forth in the month Abib. 5 And it shall be, when Jehovah shall bring thee into the land of the Canaanite, and the Hittite, and the Amorite, and the Hivite, and the Jebusite, which he sware unto thy fathers to give thee, a land flowing with milk and honey, that thou shalt keep this service in this month. 6 Seven days thou shalt eat unleavened bread, and in the seventh day shall be a feast to Jehovah. 7 Unleavened bread shall be eaten throughout the seven days; and there shall no leavened bread be seen with thee, neither shall there be leaven seen with thee, in all thy borders. 8 And thou shalt tell thy son in that day, saying, It is because of that which Jehovah did for me when I came forth out of Egypt. 9 And it shall be for a sign unto thee upon thy hand, and for a memorial between thine eyes, that the law of Jehovah may be in thy mouth: for with a strong hand hath Jehovah brought thee out of Egypt. 10 Thou shalt therefore keep this ordinance in its season from year to year. 11 And it shall be, when Jehovah shall bring thee into the land of the Canaanite, as he sware unto thee and to thy fathers, and shall give it thee, 12 that thou shalt set apart unto Jehovah all that openeth the womb, and every firstling which thou hast that cometh of a beast; the males shall be Jehovah's. 13 And every firstling of an ass thou shalt redeem with a lamb; and if thou wilt not redeem it, then thou shalt break its neck: and all the first-born of man among thy sons shalt thou redeem. 14 And it shall be, when thy son asketh thee in time to come, saying, What is this? that thou shalt say unto him, By strength of hand Jehovah brought us out from Egypt, from the house of bondage: 15 and it came to pass, when Pharaoh would hardly let us go, that Jehovah slew all the first-born in the land of Egypt, both the first-born of man, and the first-born of beast: therefore I sacrifice to Jehovah all that openeth the womb, being males; but all the first-born of my sons I redeem. 16 And it shall be for a sign upon thy hand, and for frontlets between thine eyes: for by strength of hand Jehovah brought us forth out of Egypt. 17 And it came to pass, when Pharaoh had let the people go, that God led them not by the way of the land of the Philistines, although that was near; for God said, Lest peradventure the people repent when they see war, and they return to Egypt: 18 but God led the people about, by the way of the wilderness by the Red Sea: and the children of Israel went up armed out of the land of Egypt. 19 And Moses took the bones of Joseph with him: for he had straitly sworn the children of Israel, saying, God will surely visit you; and ye shall carry up my bones away hence with you. 20 And they took their journey from Succoth, and encamped in Etham, in the edge of the wilderness. 21 And Jehovah went before them by day in a pillar of cloud, to lead them the way, and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light, that they might go by day and by night: 22 the pillar of cloud by day, and the pillar of fire by night, departed not from before the people. Chapter 14 1 And Jehovah spake unto Moses, saying, 2 Speak unto the children of Israel, that they turn back and encamp before Pihahiroth, between Migdol and the sea, before Baal-zephon: over against it shall ye encamp by the sea. 3 And Pharaoh will say of the children of Israel, They are entangled in the land, the wilderness hath shut them in. 4 And I will harden Pharaoh's heart, and he shall follow after them; and I will get me honor upon Pharaoh, and upon all his host: and the Egyptians shall know that I am Jehovah. And they did so. 5 And it was told the king of Egypt that the people were fled: and the heart of Pharaoh and of his servants was changed towards the people, and they said, What is this we have done, that we have let Israel go from serving us? 6 And he made ready his chariot, and took his people with him: 7 and he took six hundred chosen chariots, and all the chariots of Egypt, and captains over all of them. 8 And Jehovah hardened the heart of Pharaoh king of Egypt, and he pursued after the children of Israel: for the children of Israel went out with a high hand. 9 And the Egyptians pursued after them, all the horses `and' chariots of Pharaoh, and his horsemen, and his army, and overtook them encamping by the sea, beside Pihahiroth, before Baal-zephon. 10 And when Pharaoh drew nigh, the children of Israel lifted up their eyes, and, behold, the Egyptians were marching after them; and they were sore afraid: and the children of Israel cried out unto Jehovah. 11 And they said unto Moses, Because there were no graves in Egypt, hast thou taken us away to die in the wilderness? wherefore hast thou dealt thus with us, to bring us forth out of Egypt? 12 Is not this the word that we spake unto thee in Egypt, saying, Let us alone, that we may serve the Egyptians? For it were better for us to serve the Egyptians, than that we should die in the wilderness. 13 And Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of Jehovah, which he will work for you to-day: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen to-day, ye shall see them again no more for ever. 14 Jehovah will fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace. 15 And Jehovah said unto Moses, Wherefore criest thou unto me? speak unto the children of Israel, that they go forward. 16 And lift thou up thy rod, and stretch out thy hand over the sea, and divide it: and the children of Israel shall go into the midst of the sea on dry ground. 17 And I, behold, I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians, and they shall go in after them: and I will get me honor upon Pharaoh, and upon all his host, upon his chariots, and upon his horsemen. 18 And the Egyptians shall know that I am Jehovah, when I have gotten me honor upon Pharaoh, upon his chariots, and upon his horsemen. 19 And the angel of God, who went before the camp of Israel, removed and went behind them; and the pillar of cloud removed from before them, and stood behind them: 20 and it came between the camp of Egypt and the camp of Israel; and there was the cloud and the darkness, yet gave it light by night: and the one came not near the other all the night. 21 And Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and Jehovah caused the sea to go `back' by a strong east wind all the night, and made the sea dry land, and the waters were divided. 22 And the children of Israel went into the midst of the sea upon the dry ground: and the waters were a wall unto them on their right hand, and on their left. 23 And the Egyptians pursued, and went in after them into the midst of the sea, all Pharaoh's horses, his chariots, and his horsemen. 24 And it came to pass in the morning watch, that Jehovah looked forth upon the host of the Egyptians through the pillar of fire and of cloud, and discomfited the host of the Egyptians. 25 And he took off their chariot wheels, and they drove them heavily; so that the Egyptians said, Let us flee from the face of Israel; for Jehovah fighteth for them against the Egyptians. 26 And Jehovah said unto Moses, Stretch out thy hand over the sea, that the waters may come again upon the Egyptians, upon their chariots, and upon their horsemen. 27 And Moses stretched forth his hand over the sea, and the sea returned to its strength when the morning appeared; and the Egyptians fled against it; and Jehovah overthrew the Egyptians in the midst of the sea. 28 And the waters returned, and covered the chariots, and the horsemen, even all the host of Pharaoh that went in after them into the sea; there remained not so much as one of them. 29 But the children of Israel walked upon dry land in the midst of the sea; and the waters were a wall unto them on their right hand, and on their left. 30 Thus Jehovah saved Israel that day out of the hand of the Egyptians; and Israel saw the Egyptians dead upon the sea-shore. 31 And Israel saw the great work which Jehovah did upon the Egyptians, and the people feared Jehovah: and they believed in Jehovah, and in his servant Moses. .

From Drawing Near by John MacArthur Copyright © 1993. Used by permission of Crossway Books, a division of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, IL 60187, www.crossway.com.

Additional Resources        

Daily Bible - November 28

Published by Grace To You for reading on November 28th.

Reading for Today:

  • Ezekiel 47:1 Chapter 47 1 And he brought me back unto the door of the house; and, behold, waters issued out from under the threshold of the house eastward; (for the forefront of the house was toward the east;) and the waters came down from under, from the right side of the house, on the south of the altar. –48:35
  • Psalms 135:8-14 8 Who smote the first-born of Egypt, Both of man and beast; 9 Who sent signs and wonders into the midst of thee, O Egypt, Upon Pharaoh, and upon all his servants; 10 Who smote many nations, And slew mighty kings, 11 Sihon king of the Amorites, And Og king of Bashan, And all the kingdoms of Canaan, 12 And gave their land for a heritage, A heritage unto Israel his people. 13 Thy name, O Jehovah, `endureth' for ever; Thy memorial `name', O Jehovah, throughout all generations. 14 For Jehovah will judge his people, And repent himself concerning his servants.
  • Proverbs 29:9 9 If a wise man hath a controversy with a foolish man, Whether he be angry or laugh, there will be no rest.
  • 1 Peter 4:1-19 Chapter 4 1 Forasmuch then as Christ suffered in the flesh, arm ye yourselves also with the same mind; for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin; 2 that ye no longer should live the rest of your time in flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God. 3 For the time past may suffice to have wrought the desire of the Gentiles, and to have walked in lasciviousness, lusts, winebibbings, revellings, carousings, and abominable idolatries: 4 wherein they think strange that ye run not with `them' into the same excess of riot, speaking evil of `of': 5 who shall give account to him that is ready to judge the living and the dead. 6 For unto this end was the gospel preached even to the dead, that they might be judged indeed according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit. 7 But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore of sound mind, and be sober unto prayer: 8 above all things being fervent in your love among yourselves; for love covereth a multitude of sins: 9 using hospitality one to another without murmuring: 10 according as each hath received a gift, ministering it among yourselves, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God; 11 if any man speaketh, `speaking' as it were oracles of God; is any man ministereth, `ministering' as of the strength which God supplieth: that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, whose is the glory and the dominion for ever and ever. Amen. 12 Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial among you, which cometh upon you to prove you, as though a strange thing happened unto you: 13 but insomuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings, rejoice; that at the revelation of his glory also ye may rejoice with exceeding joy. 14 If ye are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed `are ye'; because the `Spirit' of glory and the Spirit of God resteth upon you. 15 For let none of you suffer as a murderer, or a thief, or an evil-doer, or as a meddler in other men's matters: 16 but if `a man suffer' as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God in this name. 17 For the time `is come' for judgment to begin at the house of God: and if `it begin' first at us, what `shall be' the end of them that obey not the gospel of God? 18 And if the righteous is scarcely saved, where shall the ungodly and sinner appear? 19 Wherefore let them also that suffer according to the will of God commit their souls in well-doing unto a faithful Creator.

Notes:

Ezekiel 48:35 the name. The city is called YHWH Shammah, “The LORD Is There.” The departed glory of God (chaps. 8–11) has returned (44:1, 2), and His dwelling, the temple, is in the very center of the district given over to the Lord. With this final note, all of the unconditional promises which God had made to Israel in the Abrahamic Covenant (Gen. 12), the Levitic Covenant (Num. 25), the Davidic Covenant (2 Sam.7),and the New Covenant (Jer. 31) have been fulfilled. So this final verse provides the consummation of Israel’s history—the returned presence of God!

Proverbs 29:9 contends. A fool may respond to wisdom with anger or laughter; but in either case, no agreement can be reached.

1 Peter 4:9 Be hospitable to one another. The Greek word means “love of strangers.” Love is intensely practical, not just emotional. In Peter’s day, love included opening one’s home and caring for other needy Christians, such as traveling preachers. It also included opening one’s home for church services. Scripture also teaches that Christians should be hospitable to strangers (Ex. 22:21; Deut. 14:28, 29; Heb. 13:1, 2).

1 Peter 4:12 the fiery trial. Peter probably wrote this letter shortly before or after the burning of Rome and at the beginning of the horrors of a 200-year period of Christian persecution. Peter explains that 4 attitudes are necessary in order to be triumphant in persecution: 1) expect it (v. 12); 2) rejoice in it (vv. 13, 14); 3) evaluate its cause (vv. 15–18); and 4) entrust it to God (v. 19). some strange thing happened. “Happened” means “to fall by chance.” A Christian must not think that his persecution is something that happened accidentally. God allowed it and designed it for the believer’s testing, purging, and cleansing.

DAY 28: What did Peter mean when he said “the end of all things is at hand” (1 Pet. 4:7)?

The Greek word for “end” is never used in the New Testament as a chronological end, as if something simply stops. Instead, the word means a consummation, a goal achieved, a result attained, or a realization. Having emphasized triumphant suffering through death, Peter here begins to emphasize triumphant suffering through the Second Coming of Christ (1:3; 2:12), which is the goal of all things. He is calling believers to live obediently and expectantly in the light of Christ’s return. “Is at hand.” The idea is that of a process consummated with a resulting nearness, i.e., “imminent.” Peter is reminding the readers of this letter that the return of Jesus Christ could be at any moment (Rom. 13:12; 1 Thess. 1:10; James 5:7 7 Be patient therefore, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient over it, until it receive the early and latter rain. , 8; Rev. 22:20).

“Be serious and watchful.” To be “serious” implies here not to be swept away by emotions or passions, thus maintaining a proper eternal perspective on life. The doctrine of the imminent return of Christ should not turn the Christian into a zealous fanatic who does nothing but wait for it to occur. Instead, it should lead the believer into a watchful pursuit of holiness. Moreover, a watchful attitude creates a pilgrim mentality (2:11). It reminds the Christian that he is a citizen of heaven only sojourning on earth. It should also remind him that he will face the record of his service to God and be rewarded for what stands the test at the judgment seat of Christ, which follows the return of Christ to rapture His church. “And watchful in your prayers.” A mind victimized by emotion and passion, out of control, or knocked out of balance by worldly lusts and pursuits, is a mind that cannot know the fullness of holy communion in prayer with God (3:7). A mind fixed on His return is purified ( 1 John 3:3 3 And every one that hath this hope `set' on him purifieth himself, even as he is pure. ) and enjoys the fullness of fellowship with the Lord.

From The MacArthur Daily Bible Copyright © 2003. Used by permission of Thomas Nelson Bibles, a division of Thomas Nelson, Inc, Nashville, TN 37214, www.thomasnelson.com.

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November 28 - The Perils of Legalism

Published by Grace To You for reading on November 28th.

“But the Pharisees went out and conspired against Him, as to how they might destroy Him” ( Matthew 12:14 14 But the Pharisees went out, and took counsel against him, how they might destroy him. ).

Sometimes neither the most persuasive arguments nor the most convincing deeds will change someone’s hard-hearted opposition. Such was the case for the Pharisees’ challenge to Jesus in considering the proper significance and use of the Sabbath. He had irrefutably connected the divine virtues of benevolence, kindness, mercy, goodness, and compassion with scriptural Sabbath observance. But the Phari-sees stubbornly rejected His exhortations and clung to their legalistic works and self-styled traditions. Not even God’s Word or the powerful demonstration by His Son would change their hard hearts.

Such legalism has always been an implacable enemy of grace. Even the law of Moses, with all its demands, reflected a strong measure of God’s grace in that it pointed men and women toward Christ as the only true hope of salvation. Paul says this about it: “Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith” (Gal. 3:24). If the very law of God has this more secondary role, how much less place does human tradition have in pleasing God?

Legalism and man-centered customs are also barriers to faithful, biblical sanctification after we are saved. The apostle again asked the Galatians, “Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?” (3:3). We must make sure that we, too, can answer this question rightly, bearing in mind Paul’s later admonition to the Galatian believers: “It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery” (5:1).

Ask Yourself

What do you plan to do to any remaining vestiges of legalism in your heart? And how do you intend to encourage others to do the same purifying work?

From Daily Readings from the Life of Christ, Vol. 1, John MacArthur. Copyright © 2008. Used by permission of Moody Publishers, Chicago, IL 60610, www.moodypublishers.com.

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Morning Devotional by C.H. Spurgeon for November 28th

Published by C.H. Spurgeon for reading on November 28th.

[3 John 3]

THE truth was in Gaius, and Gaius walked in the truth. If the first had not been the case, the second could never have occurred; and if the second could not be said of him the first would have been a mere pretence. Truth must enter into the soul, penetrate and saturate it, or else it is of no value. Doctrines held as a matter of creed are like bread in the hand, which ministers no nourishment to the frame; but doctrine accepted by the heart, is as food digested, which, by assimilation, sustains and builds up the body. In us truth must be a living force, an active energy, an indwelling reality, a part of the woof and warp of our being. If it be in us, we cannot henceforth part with it. A man may lose his garments or his limbs, but his inward parts are vital, and cannot be torn away without absolute loss of life. A Christian can die, but he cannot deny the truth. Now it is a rule of nature that the inward affects the outward, as light shines from the centre of the lantern through the glass: when, therefore, the truth is kindled within, its brightness soon beams forth in the outward life and conversation. It is said that the food of certain worms colours the cocoons of silk which they spin: and just so the nutriment upon which a man's inward nature lives gives a tinge to every word and deed proceeding from him. To walk in the truth, imports a life of integrity, holiness, faithfulness, and simplicity—the natural product of those principles of truth which the gospel teaches, and which the Spirit of God enables us to receive. We may judge of the secrets of the soul by their manifestation in the man's conversation. Be it ours to-day, O gracious Spirit, to be ruled and governed by Thy divine authority, so that nothing false or sinful may reign in our hearts, lest it extend its malignant influence to our daily walk among men.

Evening Devotional by C.H. Spurgeon for November 28th

Published by C.H. Spurgeon for reading on November 28th.

Esther 10:3 3 For Mordecai the Jew was next unto king Ahasuerus, and great among the Jews, and accepted of the multitude of his brethren, seeking the good of his people, and speaking peace to all his seed.

MORDECAI was a true patriot, and therefore, being exalted to the highest position under Ahasuerus, he used his eminence to promote the prosperity of Israel. In this he was a type of Jesus, who, upon His throne of glory, seeks not His own, but spends His power for His people. It were well if every Christian would be a Mordecai to the church, striving according to his ability for its prosperity. Some are placed in stations of affluence and influence, let them honour their Lord in the high places of the earth, and testify for Jesus before great men. Others have what is far better, namely, close fellowship with the King of kings, let them be sure to plead daily for the weak of the Lord's people, the doubting, the tempted, and the comfortless. It will redound to their honour if they make much intercession for those who are in darkness and dare not draw nigh unto the mercy seat. Instructed believers may serve their Master greatly if they lay out their talents for the general good, and impart their wealth of heavenly learning to others, by teaching them the things of God. The very least in our Israel may at least seek the welfare of his people; and his desire, if he can give no more, shall be acceptable. It is at once the most Christlike and the most happy course for a believer to cease from living to himself. He who blesses others cannot fail to be blessed himself. On the other hand, to seek our own personal greatness is a wicked and unhappy plan of life, its way will be grievous and its end will be fatal.

Here is the place to ask thee, my friend, whether thou art to the best of thy power seeking the wealth of the church in thy neighbourhood? I trust thou art not doing it mischief by bitterness and scandal, nor weakening it by thy neglect. Friend, unite with the Lord's poor, bear their cross, do them all the good thou canst, and thou shalt not miss thy reward.

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