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Live According to the Spirit

Published by InTouch Ministries for reading on July 8th.

Romans 8:12-17 12 So then, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh: 13 for if ye live after the flesh, ye must die; but if by the Spirit ye put to death the deeds of the body, ye shall live. 14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. 15 For ye received not the spirit of bondage again unto fear; but ye received the spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. 16 The Spirit himself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are children of God: 17 and if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with `him', that we may be also glorified with `him'.

Do you ever find yourself thinking other Christians have learned a secret that you don’t know about living the Christian life? Perhaps it seems as if they’ve solved the mystery of rejoicing in suffering, forgiving the unforgivable, conquering sin, or showing love in ways you haven’t yet discovered.

What you are seeing in these believers is not a secret reserved only for those who have gained a certain level of enlightenment, but a life lived according to the Spirit. He’s the one who is producing this amazing fruit in those who are being led by Him rather than by their own fleshly desires and efforts.

Spirit-filled living is not reserved for a select few Christians. On the contrary, it’s available to every believer who yields his or her life to the leadership of God’s Spirit. As a member of the Trinity, He has all the power, wisdom, and love of almighty God. We can rely on Him to teach us truth ( 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. ), help us in our weakness (Rom. 8:26), intercede for us according to God’s will (Rom. 8:27), and give us victory over sin (Gal. 5:16).

The Holy Spirit is a person whom we can know intimately and who continually works to transform us into Christ’s image ( 2 Corinthians 3:18 18 But we all, with unveiled face beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are transformed into the same image from glory to glory, even as from the Lord the Spirit. ). Like God the Father and Jesus Christ the Son, the Spirit of God loves, comforts, guides, and protects us. He is a friend like no other and will reveal Himself to us through the Scriptures.

Considering all this, we should gladly acknowledge our obligation to live according to the Spirit and delight in submitting to His leadership. 

Bible in One Year: Proverbs 5-8 Chapter 5 1 My son, attend unto my wisdom; Incline thine ear to my understanding: 2 That thou mayest preserve discretion, And that thy lips may keep knowledge. 3 For the lips of a strange woman drop honey, And her mouth is smoother than oil: 4 But in the end she is bitter as wormwood, Sharp as a two-edged sword. 5 Her feet go down to death; Her steps take hold on Sheol; 6 So that she findeth not the level path of life: Her ways are unstable, `and' she knoweth `it' not. 7 Now therefore, `my' sons, hearken unto me, And depart not from the words of my mouth. 8 Remove thy way far from her, And come not nigh the door of her house; 9 Lest thou give thine honor unto others, And thy years unto the cruel; 10 Lest strangers be filled with thy strength, And thy labors `be' in the house of an alien, 11 And thou mourn at thy latter end, When thy flesh and thy body are consumed, 12 And say, How have I hated instruction, And my heart despised reproof; 13 Neither have I obeyed the voice of my teachers, Nor inclined mine ear to them that instructed me! 14 I was well-nigh in all evil In the midst of the assembly and congregation. 15 Drink waters out of thine own cistern, And running waters out of thine own well. 16 Should thy springs be dispersed abroad, And streams of water in the streets? 17 Let them be for thyself alone, And not for strangers with thee. 18 Let thy fountain be blessed; And rejoice in the wife of thy youth. 19 `As' a loving hind and a pleasant doe, Let her breasts satisfy thee at all times; And be thou ravished always with her love. 20 For why shouldest thou, my son, be ravished with a strange woman, And embrace the bosom of a foreigner? 21 For the ways of man are before the eyes of Jehovah; And he maketh level all his paths. 22 His own iniquities shall take the wicked, And he shall be holden with the cords of his sin. 23 He shall die for lack of instruction; And in the greatness of his folly he shall go astray. Chapter 6 1 My son, if thou art become surety for thy neighbor, If thou hast stricken thy hands for a stranger; 2 Thou art snared with the words of thy mouth, Thou art taken with the words of thy mouth. 3 Do this now, my son, and deliver thyself, Seeing thou art come into the hand of thy neighbor: Go, humble thyself, and importune thy neighbor; 4 Give not sleep to thine eyes, Nor slumber to thine eyelids; 5 Deliver thyself as a roe from the hand `of the hunter', And as a bird from the hand of the fowler. 6 Go to the ant, thou sluggard; Consider her ways, and be wise: 7 Which having no chief, Overseer, or ruler, 8 Provideth her bread in the summer, And gathereth her food in the harvest. 9 How long wilt thou sleep, O sluggard? When wilt thou arise out of thy sleep? 10 `Yet' a little sleep, a little slumber, A little folding of the hands to sleep: 11 So shall thy poverty come as a robber, And thy want as an armed man. 12 A worthless person, a man of iniquity, Is he that walketh with a perverse mouth; 13 That winketh with his eyes, that speaketh with his feet, That maketh signs with his fingers; 14 In whose heart is perverseness, Who deviseth evil continually, Who soweth discord. 15 Therefore shall his calamity come suddenly; On a sudden shall he be broken, and that without remedy. 16 There are six things which Jehovah hateth; Yea, seven which are an abomination unto him: 17 Haughty eyes, a lying tongue, And hands that shed innocent blood; 18 A heart that deviseth wicked purposes, Feet that are swift in running to mischief, 19 A false witness that uttereth lies, And he that soweth discord among brethren. 20 My son, keep the commandment of thy father, And forsake not the law of thy mother: 21 Bind them continually upon thy heart; Tie them about thy neck. 22 When thou walkest, it shall lead thee; When thou sleepest, it shall watch over thee; And when thou awakest, it shall talk with thee. 23 For the commandment is a lamp; and the law is light; And reproofs of instruction are the way of life: 24 To keep thee from the evil woman, From the flattery of the foreigner's tongue. 25 Lust not after her beauty in thy heart; Neither let her take thee with her eyelids. 26 For on account of a harlot `a man is brought' to a piece of bread; And the adulteress hunteth for the precious life. 27 Can a man take fire in his bosom, And his clothes not be burned? 28 Or can one walk upon hot coals, And his feet not be scorched? 29 So he that goeth in to his neighbor's wife; Whosoever toucheth her shall not be unpunished. 30 Men do not despise a thief, if he steal To satisfy himself when he is hungry: 31 But if he be found, he shall restore sevenfold; He shall give all the substance of his house. 32 He that committeth adultery with a woman is void of understanding: He doeth it who would destroy his own soul. 33 Wounds and dishonor shall he get; And his reproach shall not be wiped away. 34 For jealousy is the rage of a man; And he will not spare in the day of vengeance. 35 He will not regard any ransom; Neither will he rest content, though thou givest many gifts. Chapter 7 1 My son, keep my words, And lay up my commandments with thee. 2 Keep my commandments and live; And my law as the apple of thine eye. 3 Bind them upon thy fingers; Write them upon the tablet of thy heart. 4 Say unto wisdom, Thou art my sister; And call understanding `thy' kinswoman: 5 That they may keep thee from the strange woman, From the foreigner that flattereth with her words. 6 For at the window of my house I looked forth through my lattice; 7 And I beheld among the simple ones, I discerned among the youths, A young man void of understanding, 8 Passing through the street near her corner; And he went the way to her house, 9 In the twilight, in the evening of the day, In the middle of the night and in the darkness. 10 And, behold, there met him a woman With the attire of a harlot, and wily of heart. 11 She is clamorous and wilful; Her feet abide not in her house: 12 Now she is in the streets, now in the broad places, And lieth in wait at every corner. 13 So she caught him, and kissed him, `And' with an impudent face she said unto him: 14 Sacrifices of peace-offerings are with me; This day have I paid my vows. 15 Therefore came I forth to meet thee, Diligently to seek thy face, and I have found thee. 16 I have spread my couch with carpets of tapestry, With striped cloths of the yarn of Egypt. 17 I have perfumed my bed With myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon. 18 Come, let us take our fill of love until the morning; Let us solace ourselves with loves. 19 For the man is not at home; He is gone a long journey: 20 He hath taken a bag of money with him; He will come home at the full moon. 21 With her much fair speech she causeth him to yield; With the flattering of her lips she forceth him along. 22 He goeth after her straightway, As an ox goeth to the slaughter, Or as `one in' fetters to the correction of the fool; 23 Till an arrow strike through his liver; As a bird hasteth to the snare, And knoweth not that it is for his life. 24 Now therefore, `my' sons, hearken unto me, And attend to the words of my mouth. 25 Let not thy heart decline to her ways; Go not astray in her paths. 26 For she hath cast down many wounded: Yea, all her slain are a mighty host. 27 Her house is the way to Sheol, Going down to the chambers of death. Chapter 8 1 Doth not wisdom cry, And understanding put forth her voice? 2 On the top of high places by the way, Where the paths meet, she standeth; 3 Beside the gates, at the entry of the city, At the coming in at the doors, she crieth aloud: 4 Unto you, O men, I call; And my voice is to the sons of men. 5 O ye simple, understand prudence; And, ye fools, be of an understanding heart. 6 Hear, for I will speak excellent things; And the opening of my lips shall be right things. 7 For my mouth shall utter truth; And wickedness is an abomination to my lips. 8 All the words of my mouth are in righteousness; There is nothing crooked or perverse in them. 9 They are all plain to him that understandeth, And right to them that find knowledge. 10 Receive my instruction, and not silver; And knowledge rather than choice gold. 11 For wisdom is better than rubies; And all the things that may be desired are not to be compared unto it. 12 I wisdom have made prudence my dwelling, And find out knowledge `and' discretion. 13 The fear of Jehovah is to hate evil: Pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, And the perverse mouth, do I hate. 14 Counsel is mine, and sound knowledge: I am understanding; I have might. 15 By me kings reign, And princes decree justice. 16 By me princes rule, And nobles, `even' all the judges of the earth. 17 I love them that love me; And those that seek me diligently shall find me. 18 Riches and honor are with me; `Yea', durable wealth and righteousness. 19 My fruit is better than gold, yea, than fine gold; And my revenue than choice silver. 20 I walk in the way of righteousness, In the midst of the paths of justice; 21 That I may cause those that love me to inherit substance, And that I may fill their treasuries. 22 Jehovah possessed me in the beginning of his way, Before his works of old. 23 I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, Before the earth was. 24 When there were no depths, I was brought forth, When there were no fountains abounding with water. 25 Before the mountains were settled, Before the hills was I brought forth; 26 While as yet he had not made the earth, nor the fields, Nor the beginning of the dust of the world. 27 When he established the heavens, I was there: When he set a circle upon the face of the deep, 28 When he made firm the skies above, When the fountains of the deep became strong, 29 When he gave to the sea its bound, That the waters should not transgress his commandment, When he marked out the foundations of the earth; 30 Then I was by him, `as' a master workman; And I was daily `his' delight, Rejoicing always before him, 31 Rejoicing in his habitable earth; And my delight was with the sons of men. 32 Now therefore, `my' sons, hearken unto me; For blessed are they that keep my ways. 33 Hear instruction, and be wise, And refuse it not. 34 Blessed is the man that heareth me, Watching daily at my gates, Waiting at the posts of my doors. 35 For whoso findeth me findeth life, And shall obtain favor of Jehovah. 36 But he that sinneth against me wrongeth his own soul: All they that hate me love death.




Listening to God

Published by InTouch Ministries for reading on July 8th.

Proverbs 2:1-7 Chapter 2 1 My son, if thou wilt receive my words, And lay up my commandments with thee; 2 So as to incline thine ear unto wisdom, And apply thy heart to understanding; 3 Yea, if thou cry after discernment, And lift up thy voice for understanding; 4 If thou seek her as silver, And search for her as for hid treasures: 5 Then shalt thou understand the fear of Jehovah, And find the knowledge of God. 6 For Jehovah giveth wisdom; Out of his mouth `cometh' knowledge and understanding: 7 He layeth up sound wisdom for the upright; `He is' a shield to them that walk in integrity;

Psychologists refer to a phenomenon known as dissociation to describe a mental state in which someone inhabits two worlds simultaneously. Many of us might have experienced this in its mildest form while driving. Our thoughts drift, and we fly right by our exit, traveling many miles before we recognize our mistake.

As Christians, we sometimes suffer from spiritual dissociation. With good intentions, we open our Bibles and begin reading only to realize several verses later that we have no idea what we just read. Although God was speaking, we failed to hear His voice. Usually, this situation can be easily remedied by rereading with focused concentration, but there are other times when we fail to hear God for more serious reasons.

Sometimes an inability to hear the Lord is simply the result of spiritual immaturity, but it could also indicate a perilous state of spiritual indifference or, worse still, rebellion. In that state, we run the risk of becoming like the man who hardens his neck after much reproof and is suddenly broken beyond remedy (Prov. 29:1).

Let’s not make it difficult for God to get through to us. He’s a loving Father who keeps speaking in order to turn us away from evil and direct us back to Himself. His goal is to transform us from stubborn children needing firm control to mature followers who can be counseled merely by a word or a nudge from Him. The more receptive we become to His instructions, the more we’ll experience His lovingkindness and the joy of obedience and righteousness.

Bible in One Year: Proverbs 5-8 Chapter 5 1 My son, attend unto my wisdom; Incline thine ear to my understanding: 2 That thou mayest preserve discretion, And that thy lips may keep knowledge. 3 For the lips of a strange woman drop honey, And her mouth is smoother than oil: 4 But in the end she is bitter as wormwood, Sharp as a two-edged sword. 5 Her feet go down to death; Her steps take hold on Sheol; 6 So that she findeth not the level path of life: Her ways are unstable, `and' she knoweth `it' not. 7 Now therefore, `my' sons, hearken unto me, And depart not from the words of my mouth. 8 Remove thy way far from her, And come not nigh the door of her house; 9 Lest thou give thine honor unto others, And thy years unto the cruel; 10 Lest strangers be filled with thy strength, And thy labors `be' in the house of an alien, 11 And thou mourn at thy latter end, When thy flesh and thy body are consumed, 12 And say, How have I hated instruction, And my heart despised reproof; 13 Neither have I obeyed the voice of my teachers, Nor inclined mine ear to them that instructed me! 14 I was well-nigh in all evil In the midst of the assembly and congregation. 15 Drink waters out of thine own cistern, And running waters out of thine own well. 16 Should thy springs be dispersed abroad, And streams of water in the streets? 17 Let them be for thyself alone, And not for strangers with thee. 18 Let thy fountain be blessed; And rejoice in the wife of thy youth. 19 `As' a loving hind and a pleasant doe, Let her breasts satisfy thee at all times; And be thou ravished always with her love. 20 For why shouldest thou, my son, be ravished with a strange woman, And embrace the bosom of a foreigner? 21 For the ways of man are before the eyes of Jehovah; And he maketh level all his paths. 22 His own iniquities shall take the wicked, And he shall be holden with the cords of his sin. 23 He shall die for lack of instruction; And in the greatness of his folly he shall go astray. Chapter 6 1 My son, if thou art become surety for thy neighbor, If thou hast stricken thy hands for a stranger; 2 Thou art snared with the words of thy mouth, Thou art taken with the words of thy mouth. 3 Do this now, my son, and deliver thyself, Seeing thou art come into the hand of thy neighbor: Go, humble thyself, and importune thy neighbor; 4 Give not sleep to thine eyes, Nor slumber to thine eyelids; 5 Deliver thyself as a roe from the hand `of the hunter', And as a bird from the hand of the fowler. 6 Go to the ant, thou sluggard; Consider her ways, and be wise: 7 Which having no chief, Overseer, or ruler, 8 Provideth her bread in the summer, And gathereth her food in the harvest. 9 How long wilt thou sleep, O sluggard? When wilt thou arise out of thy sleep? 10 `Yet' a little sleep, a little slumber, A little folding of the hands to sleep: 11 So shall thy poverty come as a robber, And thy want as an armed man. 12 A worthless person, a man of iniquity, Is he that walketh with a perverse mouth; 13 That winketh with his eyes, that speaketh with his feet, That maketh signs with his fingers; 14 In whose heart is perverseness, Who deviseth evil continually, Who soweth discord. 15 Therefore shall his calamity come suddenly; On a sudden shall he be broken, and that without remedy. 16 There are six things which Jehovah hateth; Yea, seven which are an abomination unto him: 17 Haughty eyes, a lying tongue, And hands that shed innocent blood; 18 A heart that deviseth wicked purposes, Feet that are swift in running to mischief, 19 A false witness that uttereth lies, And he that soweth discord among brethren. 20 My son, keep the commandment of thy father, And forsake not the law of thy mother: 21 Bind them continually upon thy heart; Tie them about thy neck. 22 When thou walkest, it shall lead thee; When thou sleepest, it shall watch over thee; And when thou awakest, it shall talk with thee. 23 For the commandment is a lamp; and the law is light; And reproofs of instruction are the way of life: 24 To keep thee from the evil woman, From the flattery of the foreigner's tongue. 25 Lust not after her beauty in thy heart; Neither let her take thee with her eyelids. 26 For on account of a harlot `a man is brought' to a piece of bread; And the adulteress hunteth for the precious life. 27 Can a man take fire in his bosom, And his clothes not be burned? 28 Or can one walk upon hot coals, And his feet not be scorched? 29 So he that goeth in to his neighbor's wife; Whosoever toucheth her shall not be unpunished. 30 Men do not despise a thief, if he steal To satisfy himself when he is hungry: 31 But if he be found, he shall restore sevenfold; He shall give all the substance of his house. 32 He that committeth adultery with a woman is void of understanding: He doeth it who would destroy his own soul. 33 Wounds and dishonor shall he get; And his reproach shall not be wiped away. 34 For jealousy is the rage of a man; And he will not spare in the day of vengeance. 35 He will not regard any ransom; Neither will he rest content, though thou givest many gifts. Chapter 7 1 My son, keep my words, And lay up my commandments with thee. 2 Keep my commandments and live; And my law as the apple of thine eye. 3 Bind them upon thy fingers; Write them upon the tablet of thy heart. 4 Say unto wisdom, Thou art my sister; And call understanding `thy' kinswoman: 5 That they may keep thee from the strange woman, From the foreigner that flattereth with her words. 6 For at the window of my house I looked forth through my lattice; 7 And I beheld among the simple ones, I discerned among the youths, A young man void of understanding, 8 Passing through the street near her corner; And he went the way to her house, 9 In the twilight, in the evening of the day, In the middle of the night and in the darkness. 10 And, behold, there met him a woman With the attire of a harlot, and wily of heart. 11 She is clamorous and wilful; Her feet abide not in her house: 12 Now she is in the streets, now in the broad places, And lieth in wait at every corner. 13 So she caught him, and kissed him, `And' with an impudent face she said unto him: 14 Sacrifices of peace-offerings are with me; This day have I paid my vows. 15 Therefore came I forth to meet thee, Diligently to seek thy face, and I have found thee. 16 I have spread my couch with carpets of tapestry, With striped cloths of the yarn of Egypt. 17 I have perfumed my bed With myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon. 18 Come, let us take our fill of love until the morning; Let us solace ourselves with loves. 19 For the man is not at home; He is gone a long journey: 20 He hath taken a bag of money with him; He will come home at the full moon. 21 With her much fair speech she causeth him to yield; With the flattering of her lips she forceth him along. 22 He goeth after her straightway, As an ox goeth to the slaughter, Or as `one in' fetters to the correction of the fool; 23 Till an arrow strike through his liver; As a bird hasteth to the snare, And knoweth not that it is for his life. 24 Now therefore, `my' sons, hearken unto me, And attend to the words of my mouth. 25 Let not thy heart decline to her ways; Go not astray in her paths. 26 For she hath cast down many wounded: Yea, all her slain are a mighty host. 27 Her house is the way to Sheol, Going down to the chambers of death. Chapter 8 1 Doth not wisdom cry, And understanding put forth her voice? 2 On the top of high places by the way, Where the paths meet, she standeth; 3 Beside the gates, at the entry of the city, At the coming in at the doors, she crieth aloud: 4 Unto you, O men, I call; And my voice is to the sons of men. 5 O ye simple, understand prudence; And, ye fools, be of an understanding heart. 6 Hear, for I will speak excellent things; And the opening of my lips shall be right things. 7 For my mouth shall utter truth; And wickedness is an abomination to my lips. 8 All the words of my mouth are in righteousness; There is nothing crooked or perverse in them. 9 They are all plain to him that understandeth, And right to them that find knowledge. 10 Receive my instruction, and not silver; And knowledge rather than choice gold. 11 For wisdom is better than rubies; And all the things that may be desired are not to be compared unto it. 12 I wisdom have made prudence my dwelling, And find out knowledge `and' discretion. 13 The fear of Jehovah is to hate evil: Pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, And the perverse mouth, do I hate. 14 Counsel is mine, and sound knowledge: I am understanding; I have might. 15 By me kings reign, And princes decree justice. 16 By me princes rule, And nobles, `even' all the judges of the earth. 17 I love them that love me; And those that seek me diligently shall find me. 18 Riches and honor are with me; `Yea', durable wealth and righteousness. 19 My fruit is better than gold, yea, than fine gold; And my revenue than choice silver. 20 I walk in the way of righteousness, In the midst of the paths of justice; 21 That I may cause those that love me to inherit substance, And that I may fill their treasuries. 22 Jehovah possessed me in the beginning of his way, Before his works of old. 23 I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, Before the earth was. 24 When there were no depths, I was brought forth, When there were no fountains abounding with water. 25 Before the mountains were settled, Before the hills was I brought forth; 26 While as yet he had not made the earth, nor the fields, Nor the beginning of the dust of the world. 27 When he established the heavens, I was there: When he set a circle upon the face of the deep, 28 When he made firm the skies above, When the fountains of the deep became strong, 29 When he gave to the sea its bound, That the waters should not transgress his commandment, When he marked out the foundations of the earth; 30 Then I was by him, `as' a master workman; And I was daily `his' delight, Rejoicing always before him, 31 Rejoicing in his habitable earth; And my delight was with the sons of men. 32 Now therefore, `my' sons, hearken unto me; For blessed are they that keep my ways. 33 Hear instruction, and be wise, And refuse it not. 34 Blessed is the man that heareth me, Watching daily at my gates, Waiting at the posts of my doors. 35 For whoso findeth me findeth life, And shall obtain favor of Jehovah. 36 But he that sinneth against me wrongeth his own soul: All they that hate me love death.




Six Ways Jesus Fought Depression

Published by John Piper for reading on July 8th.

And taking with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, he began to be sorrowful and troubled. ( Matthew 26:37 37 And he took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be sorrowful and sore troubled. )

The Bible gives us an amazing glimpse into the soul of Jesus the night before he was crucified. Watch and learn from the way Jesus fought his strategic battle against despondency or depression.

  • He chose some close friends to be with him. “Taking with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee” ( Matthew 26:37 37 And he took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be sorrowful and sore troubled. ).

  • He opened his soul to them. He said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death” ( Matthew 26:38 38 Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: abide ye here, and watch with me. ).

  • He asked for their intercession and partnership in the battle. “Remain here, and watch with me” ( Matthew 26:38 38 Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: abide ye here, and watch with me. ).

  • He poured out his heart to his Father in prayer. “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me” ( Matthew 26:39 39 And he went forward a little, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass away from me: nevertheless, not as I will, but as thou wilt. ).

  • He rested his soul in the sovereign wisdom of God. “Nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will” ( Matthew 26:39 39 And he went forward a little, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass away from me: nevertheless, not as I will, but as thou wilt. ).

  • He fixed his eye on the glorious future grace that awaited him on the other side of the cross. “For the joy that was set before him [he] endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God” ( Hebrews 12:2 2 looking unto Jesus the author and perfecter of `our' faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising shame, and hath sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. ).

  • When something drops into your life that seems to threaten your future, remember this: The first shock waves of the bomb in your heart, like the ones Jesus felt in Gethsemane, are not sin. The real danger is yielding to them. Giving in. Putting up no spiritual fight. And the root of that sinful surrender is unbelief — a failure to fight for faith in future grace. A failure to cherish all that God promises to be for us in Jesus.

    In Gethsemane Jesus shows us another way. Not painless, and not passive. Follow him. Find your trusted spiritual friends. Open your soul to them. Ask them to watch with you and pray. Pour out your soul to the Father. Rest in the sovereign wisdom of God. And fix your eyes on the joy set before you in the precious and magnificent promises of God.



    God’s Presence in Times of Trouble

    Published by InTouch Ministries for reading on July 9th.

    Psalms 32:1-7 Chapter 32 1 Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, Whose sin is covered. 2 Blessed is the man unto whom Jehovah imputeth not iniquity, And in whose spirit there is no guile. 3 When I kept silence, my bones wasted away Through my groaning all the day long. 4 For day and night thy hand was heavy upon me: My moisture was changed `as' with the drought of summer. Selah 5 I acknowledged my sin unto thee, And mine iniquity did I not hide: I said, I will confess my transgressions unto Jehovah; And thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin. Selah 6 For this let every one that is godly pray unto thee in a time when thou mayest be found: Surely when the great waters overflow they shall not reach unto him. 7 Thou art my hiding-place; thou wilt preserve me from trouble; Thou wilt compass me about with songs of deliverance. Selah

    Some of the most precious verses in the Bible were penned when the writer was experiencing strife, grief, turmoil, or heartache. From an earthly perspective, we can’t always distinguish between what’s trouble and what’s a blessing—at times trouble results in some of God’s most wonderful blessings in our life. And yet there’s a tendency to think that if we live just right in this ungodly world, we won’t have to face any struggles.

    David was able to write Psalms 32 Chapter 32 1 Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, Whose sin is covered. 2 Blessed is the man unto whom Jehovah imputeth not iniquity, And in whose spirit there is no guile. 3 When I kept silence, my bones wasted away Through my groaning all the day long. 4 For day and night thy hand was heavy upon me: My moisture was changed `as' with the drought of summer. Selah 5 I acknowledged my sin unto thee, And mine iniquity did I not hide: I said, I will confess my transgressions unto Jehovah; And thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin. Selah 6 For this let every one that is godly pray unto thee in a time when thou mayest be found: Surely when the great waters overflow they shall not reach unto him. 7 Thou art my hiding-place; thou wilt preserve me from trouble; Thou wilt compass me about with songs of deliverance. Selah 8 I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will counsel thee with mine eye upon thee. 9 Be ye not as the horse, or as the mule, which have no understanding; Whose trappings must be bit and bridle to hold them in, `Else' they will not come near unto thee. 10 Many sorrows shall be to the wicked; But he that trusteth in Jehovah, lovingkindness shall compass him about. 11 Be glad in Jehovah, and rejoice, ye righteous; And shout for joy, all ye that are upright in heart. , not because he’d calmly sat on a hilltop somewhere, watching sheep and playing his harp. Rather, he could express those profound truths after undergoing great difficulty and heartache as well as God’s forgiveness and deliverance. The joy David found in the Lord was sweeter because he had tasted bitterness.

    The heavenly Father will not always rescue you swiftly from trouble. He may watch you float downstream, right toward the waterfall, while you call out, “Lord, don’t You see where I am headed?” He does see you. He knows when you’re at your wits’ end, when you’re hurt and broken, when you feel resentful and bitter. So why does He sometimes seem so far away in those situations?

    The Lord doesn’t necessarily intervene as we would like Him to, but He’s always present in our times of trouble ( Psalms 46:1-3 Chapter 46 1 God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble. 2 Therefore will we not fear, though the earth do change, And though the mountains be shaken into the heart of the seas; 3 Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, Though the mountains tremble with the swelling thereof. Selah , Psalms 46:7 7 Jehovah of hosts is with us; The God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah ). What’s more, He meets our needs in a way that benefits us in the long term instead of merely providing a quick fix. The question we should ask ourselves is, Am I willing to learn what God wants to teach me through this situation?

    Bible in One Year: Proverbs 5-8 Chapter 5 1 My son, attend unto my wisdom; Incline thine ear to my understanding: 2 That thou mayest preserve discretion, And that thy lips may keep knowledge. 3 For the lips of a strange woman drop honey, And her mouth is smoother than oil: 4 But in the end she is bitter as wormwood, Sharp as a two-edged sword. 5 Her feet go down to death; Her steps take hold on Sheol; 6 So that she findeth not the level path of life: Her ways are unstable, `and' she knoweth `it' not. 7 Now therefore, `my' sons, hearken unto me, And depart not from the words of my mouth. 8 Remove thy way far from her, And come not nigh the door of her house; 9 Lest thou give thine honor unto others, And thy years unto the cruel; 10 Lest strangers be filled with thy strength, And thy labors `be' in the house of an alien, 11 And thou mourn at thy latter end, When thy flesh and thy body are consumed, 12 And say, How have I hated instruction, And my heart despised reproof; 13 Neither have I obeyed the voice of my teachers, Nor inclined mine ear to them that instructed me! 14 I was well-nigh in all evil In the midst of the assembly and congregation. 15 Drink waters out of thine own cistern, And running waters out of thine own well. 16 Should thy springs be dispersed abroad, And streams of water in the streets? 17 Let them be for thyself alone, And not for strangers with thee. 18 Let thy fountain be blessed; And rejoice in the wife of thy youth. 19 `As' a loving hind and a pleasant doe, Let her breasts satisfy thee at all times; And be thou ravished always with her love. 20 For why shouldest thou, my son, be ravished with a strange woman, And embrace the bosom of a foreigner? 21 For the ways of man are before the eyes of Jehovah; And he maketh level all his paths. 22 His own iniquities shall take the wicked, And he shall be holden with the cords of his sin. 23 He shall die for lack of instruction; And in the greatness of his folly he shall go astray. Chapter 6 1 My son, if thou art become surety for thy neighbor, If thou hast stricken thy hands for a stranger; 2 Thou art snared with the words of thy mouth, Thou art taken with the words of thy mouth. 3 Do this now, my son, and deliver thyself, Seeing thou art come into the hand of thy neighbor: Go, humble thyself, and importune thy neighbor; 4 Give not sleep to thine eyes, Nor slumber to thine eyelids; 5 Deliver thyself as a roe from the hand `of the hunter', And as a bird from the hand of the fowler. 6 Go to the ant, thou sluggard; Consider her ways, and be wise: 7 Which having no chief, Overseer, or ruler, 8 Provideth her bread in the summer, And gathereth her food in the harvest. 9 How long wilt thou sleep, O sluggard? When wilt thou arise out of thy sleep? 10 `Yet' a little sleep, a little slumber, A little folding of the hands to sleep: 11 So shall thy poverty come as a robber, And thy want as an armed man. 12 A worthless person, a man of iniquity, Is he that walketh with a perverse mouth; 13 That winketh with his eyes, that speaketh with his feet, That maketh signs with his fingers; 14 In whose heart is perverseness, Who deviseth evil continually, Who soweth discord. 15 Therefore shall his calamity come suddenly; On a sudden shall he be broken, and that without remedy. 16 There are six things which Jehovah hateth; Yea, seven which are an abomination unto him: 17 Haughty eyes, a lying tongue, And hands that shed innocent blood; 18 A heart that deviseth wicked purposes, Feet that are swift in running to mischief, 19 A false witness that uttereth lies, And he that soweth discord among brethren. 20 My son, keep the commandment of thy father, And forsake not the law of thy mother: 21 Bind them continually upon thy heart; Tie them about thy neck. 22 When thou walkest, it shall lead thee; When thou sleepest, it shall watch over thee; And when thou awakest, it shall talk with thee. 23 For the commandment is a lamp; and the law is light; And reproofs of instruction are the way of life: 24 To keep thee from the evil woman, From the flattery of the foreigner's tongue. 25 Lust not after her beauty in thy heart; Neither let her take thee with her eyelids. 26 For on account of a harlot `a man is brought' to a piece of bread; And the adulteress hunteth for the precious life. 27 Can a man take fire in his bosom, And his clothes not be burned? 28 Or can one walk upon hot coals, And his feet not be scorched? 29 So he that goeth in to his neighbor's wife; Whosoever toucheth her shall not be unpunished. 30 Men do not despise a thief, if he steal To satisfy himself when he is hungry: 31 But if he be found, he shall restore sevenfold; He shall give all the substance of his house. 32 He that committeth adultery with a woman is void of understanding: He doeth it who would destroy his own soul. 33 Wounds and dishonor shall he get; And his reproach shall not be wiped away. 34 For jealousy is the rage of a man; And he will not spare in the day of vengeance. 35 He will not regard any ransom; Neither will he rest content, though thou givest many gifts. Chapter 7 1 My son, keep my words, And lay up my commandments with thee. 2 Keep my commandments and live; And my law as the apple of thine eye. 3 Bind them upon thy fingers; Write them upon the tablet of thy heart. 4 Say unto wisdom, Thou art my sister; And call understanding `thy' kinswoman: 5 That they may keep thee from the strange woman, From the foreigner that flattereth with her words. 6 For at the window of my house I looked forth through my lattice; 7 And I beheld among the simple ones, I discerned among the youths, A young man void of understanding, 8 Passing through the street near her corner; And he went the way to her house, 9 In the twilight, in the evening of the day, In the middle of the night and in the darkness. 10 And, behold, there met him a woman With the attire of a harlot, and wily of heart. 11 She is clamorous and wilful; Her feet abide not in her house: 12 Now she is in the streets, now in the broad places, And lieth in wait at every corner. 13 So she caught him, and kissed him, `And' with an impudent face she said unto him: 14 Sacrifices of peace-offerings are with me; This day have I paid my vows. 15 Therefore came I forth to meet thee, Diligently to seek thy face, and I have found thee. 16 I have spread my couch with carpets of tapestry, With striped cloths of the yarn of Egypt. 17 I have perfumed my bed With myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon. 18 Come, let us take our fill of love until the morning; Let us solace ourselves with loves. 19 For the man is not at home; He is gone a long journey: 20 He hath taken a bag of money with him; He will come home at the full moon. 21 With her much fair speech she causeth him to yield; With the flattering of her lips she forceth him along. 22 He goeth after her straightway, As an ox goeth to the slaughter, Or as `one in' fetters to the correction of the fool; 23 Till an arrow strike through his liver; As a bird hasteth to the snare, And knoweth not that it is for his life. 24 Now therefore, `my' sons, hearken unto me, And attend to the words of my mouth. 25 Let not thy heart decline to her ways; Go not astray in her paths. 26 For she hath cast down many wounded: Yea, all her slain are a mighty host. 27 Her house is the way to Sheol, Going down to the chambers of death. Chapter 8 1 Doth not wisdom cry, And understanding put forth her voice? 2 On the top of high places by the way, Where the paths meet, she standeth; 3 Beside the gates, at the entry of the city, At the coming in at the doors, she crieth aloud: 4 Unto you, O men, I call; And my voice is to the sons of men. 5 O ye simple, understand prudence; And, ye fools, be of an understanding heart. 6 Hear, for I will speak excellent things; And the opening of my lips shall be right things. 7 For my mouth shall utter truth; And wickedness is an abomination to my lips. 8 All the words of my mouth are in righteousness; There is nothing crooked or perverse in them. 9 They are all plain to him that understandeth, And right to them that find knowledge. 10 Receive my instruction, and not silver; And knowledge rather than choice gold. 11 For wisdom is better than rubies; And all the things that may be desired are not to be compared unto it. 12 I wisdom have made prudence my dwelling, And find out knowledge `and' discretion. 13 The fear of Jehovah is to hate evil: Pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, And the perverse mouth, do I hate. 14 Counsel is mine, and sound knowledge: I am understanding; I have might. 15 By me kings reign, And princes decree justice. 16 By me princes rule, And nobles, `even' all the judges of the earth. 17 I love them that love me; And those that seek me diligently shall find me. 18 Riches and honor are with me; `Yea', durable wealth and righteousness. 19 My fruit is better than gold, yea, than fine gold; And my revenue than choice silver. 20 I walk in the way of righteousness, In the midst of the paths of justice; 21 That I may cause those that love me to inherit substance, And that I may fill their treasuries. 22 Jehovah possessed me in the beginning of his way, Before his works of old. 23 I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, Before the earth was. 24 When there were no depths, I was brought forth, When there were no fountains abounding with water. 25 Before the mountains were settled, Before the hills was I brought forth; 26 While as yet he had not made the earth, nor the fields, Nor the beginning of the dust of the world. 27 When he established the heavens, I was there: When he set a circle upon the face of the deep, 28 When he made firm the skies above, When the fountains of the deep became strong, 29 When he gave to the sea its bound, That the waters should not transgress his commandment, When he marked out the foundations of the earth; 30 Then I was by him, `as' a master workman; And I was daily `his' delight, Rejoicing always before him, 31 Rejoicing in his habitable earth; And my delight was with the sons of men. 32 Now therefore, `my' sons, hearken unto me; For blessed are they that keep my ways. 33 Hear instruction, and be wise, And refuse it not. 34 Blessed is the man that heareth me, Watching daily at my gates, Waiting at the posts of my doors. 35 For whoso findeth me findeth life, And shall obtain favor of Jehovah. 36 But he that sinneth against me wrongeth his own soul: All they that hate me love death.




    A Living Sacrifice

    Published by Grace To You for reading on July 9th.
    "Offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ" (1 Pet. 2:5).

    Every faculty you have is to be used for God’s glory.

    In Romans 12:1 Chapter 12 1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, `which is' your spiritual service. Paul pleads with believers to present their bodies to God as a living and holy sacrifice, which is an appropriate and acceptable act of worship. But as someone has rightly said, the problem with living sacrifices is they tend to crawl off the altar. That's because sacrificial living demands spiritual discipline and constant dependence on the Holy Spirit. We as Christians aren't always willing to do that.

    According to Paul, the motivation and ability for self-sacrifice are found in the mercies we've already experienced in Christ. In Romans 1-11 Chapter 1 1 Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called `to be' an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God, 2 which he promised afore through his prophets in the holy scriptures, 3 concerning his Son, who was born of the seed of David according to the flesh, 4 who was declared `to be' the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead; `even' Jesus Christ our Lord, 5 through whom we received grace and apostleship, unto obedience of faith among all the nations, for his name's sake; 6 among whom are ye also called `to be' Jesus Christ's: 7 To all that are in Rome, beloved of God, called `to be' saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 8 First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is proclaimed throughout the whole world. 9 For God is my witness, whom I serve in my spirit in the gospel of his Son, how unceasingly I make mention of you, always in my prayers 10 making request, if by any means now at length I may be prospered by the will of God to come unto you. 11 For I long to see you, that I may impart unto you some spiritual gift, to the end ye may be established; 12 that is, that I with you may be comforted in you, each of us by the other's faith, both yours and mine. 13 And I would not have you ignorant, brethren, that oftentimes I purposed to come unto you (and was hindered hitherto), that I might have some fruit in you also, even as in the rest of the Gentiles. 14 I am debtor both to Greeks and to Barbarians, both to the wise and to the foolish. 15 So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you also that are in Rome. 16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. 17 For therein is revealed a righteousness of God from faith unto faith: as it is written, But the righteous shall live by faith. 18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hinder the truth in unrighteousness; 19 because that which is known of God is manifest in them; for God manifested it unto them. 20 For the invisible things of him since the creation of the world are clearly seen, being perceived through the things that are made, `even' his everlasting power and divinity; that they may be without excuse: 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. 22 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, 23 and changed the glory of the incorruptible God for the likeness of an image of corruptible man, and of birds, and four-footed beasts, and creeping things. 24 Wherefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts unto uncleanness, that their bodies should be dishonored among themselves: 25 for that they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshipped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. 26 For this cause God gave them up unto vile passions: for their women changed the natural use into that which is against nature: 27 and likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another, men with men working unseemliness, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was due. 28 And even as they refused to have God in `their' knowledge, God gave them up unto a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not fitting; 29 being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malignity; whisperers, 30 backbiters, hateful to God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, 31 without understanding, covenant-breakers, without natural affection, unmerciful: 32 who, knowing the ordinance of God, that they that practise such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but also consent with them that practise them. Chapter 2 1 Wherefore thou art without excuse, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judges another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest dost practise the same things. 2 And we know that the judgment of God is according to truth against them that practise such things. 3 And reckonest thou this, O man, who judgest them that practise such things, and doest the same, that thou shalt escape the judgment of God? 4 Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance? 5 but after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up for thyself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God; 6 who will render to every man according to his works: 7 to them that by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and incorruption, eternal life: 8 but unto them that are factious, and obey not the truth, but obey unrighteousness, `shall be' wrath and indignation, 9 tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that worketh evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Greek; 10 but glory and honor and peace to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Greek: 11 for there is no respect of persons with God. 12 For as many as have sinned without law shall also perish without the law: and as many as have sinned under the law shall be judged by the law; 13 for not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified: 14 (for when Gentiles that have not the law do by nature the things of the law, these, not having the law, are the law unto themselves; 15 in that they show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness therewith, and their thoughts one with another accusing or else excusing `them'); 16 in the day when God shall judge the secrets of men, according to my gospel, by Jesus Christ. 17 But if thou bearest the name of a Jew, and restest upon the law, and gloriest in God, 18 and knowest his will, and approvest the things that are excellent, being instructed out of the law, 19 and art confident that thou thyself art a guide of the blind, a light of them that are in darkness, 20 a corrector of the foolish, a teacher of babes, having in the law the form of knowledge and of the truth; 21 thou therefore that teachest another, teachest thou not thyself? thou that preachest a man should not steal, dost thou steal? 22 thou that sayest a man should not commit adultery, dost thou commit adultery? thou that abhorrest idols, dost thou rob temples? 23 thou who gloriest in the law, through thy transgression of the law dishonorest thou God? 24 For the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you, even as it is written. 25 For circumcision indeed profiteth, if thou be a doer of the law: but if thou be a transgressor of the law, thy circumcision is become uncircumcision. 26 If therefore the uncircumcision keep the ordinances of the law, shall not his uncircumcision be reckoned for circumcision? 27 and shall not the uncircumcision which is by nature, if it fulfil the law, judge thee, who with the letter and circumcision art a transgressor of the law? 28 For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision which is outward in the flesh: 29 but he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God. Chapter 3 1 What advantage then hath the Jew? or what is the profit of circumcision? 2 Much every way: first of all, that they were intrusted with the oracles of God. 3 For what if some were without faith? shall their want of faith make of none effect the faithfulness of God? 4 God forbid: yea, let God be found true, but every man a liar; as it is written, That thou mightest be justified in thy words, And mightest prevail when thou comest into judgment. 5 But if our righteousness commendeth the righteousness of God, what shall we say? Is God unrighteous who visiteth with wrath? (I speak after the manner of men.) 6 God forbid: for then how shall God judge the world? 7 But if the truth of God through my lie abounded unto his glory, why am I also still judged as a sinner? 8 and why not (as we are slanderously reported, and as some affirm that we say), Let us do evil, that good may come? whose condemnation is just. 9 What then? are we better than they? No, in no wise: for we before laid to the charge both of Jews and Greeks, that they are all under sin; 10 as it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one; 11 There is none that understandeth, There is none that seeketh after God; 12 They have all turned aside, they are together become unprofitable; There is none that doeth good, no, not, so much as one: 13 Their throat is an open sepulchre; With their tongues they have used deceit: The poison of asps is under their lips: 14 Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness: 15 Their feet are swift to shed blood; 16 Destruction and misery are in their ways; 17 And the way of peace have they not known: 18 There is no fear of God before their eyes. 19 Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it speaketh to them that are under the law; that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may be brought under the judgment of God: 20 because by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified in his sight; for through the law `cometh' the knowledge of sin. 21 But now apart from the law a righteousness of God hath been manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; 22 even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ unto all them that believe; for there is no distinction; 23 for all have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God; 24 being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: 25 whom God set forth `to be' a propitiation, through faith, in his blood, to show his righteousness because of the passing over of the sins done aforetime, in the forbearance of God; 26 for the showing, `I say', of his righteousness at this present season: that he might himself be just, and the justifier of him that hath faith in Jesus. 27 Where then is the glorying? It is excluded. By what manner of law? of works? Nay: but by a law of faith. 28 We reckon therefore that a man is justified by faith apart from the works of the law. 29 Or is God `the God' of Jews only? is he not `the God' of Gentiles also? Yea, of Gentiles also: 30 if so be that God is one, and he shall justify the circumcision by faith, and the uncircumcision through faith. 31 Do we then make the law of none effect through faith? God forbid: nay, we establish the law. Chapter 4 1 What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather, hath found according to the flesh? 2 For if Abraham was justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not toward God. 3 For what saith the scripture? And Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned unto him for righteousness. 4 Now to him that worketh, the reward is not reckoned as of grace, but as of debt. 5 But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is reckoned for righteousness. 6 Even as David also pronounceth blessing upon the man, unto whom God reckoneth righteousness apart from works, 7 `saying', Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, And whose sins are covered. 8 Blessed is the man to whom, the Lord will not reckon sin. 9 Is this blessing then pronounced upon the circumcision, or upon the uncircumcision also? for we say, To Abraham his faith was reckoned for righteousness. 10 How then was it reckoned? when he was in circumcision, or in uncircumcision? Not in circumcision, but in uncircumcision: 11 and he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had while he was in uncircumcision; that he might be the father of all them that believe, though they be in uncircumcision, that righteousness might be reckoned unto them; 12 and the father of circumcision to them who not only are of the circumcision, but who also walk in the steps of that faith of our father Abraham which he had in uncircumcision. 13 For not through the law was the promise to Abraham or to his seed that he should be heir of the world, but through the righteousness of faith. 14 For if they that are of the law are heirs, faith is made void, and the promise is made of none effect: 15 for the law worketh wrath; but where there is no law, neither is there transgression. 16 For this cause `it is' of faith, that `it may be' according to grace; to the end that the promise may be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all 17 (as it is written, A father of many nations have I made thee) before him whom he believed, `even' God, who giveth life to the dead, and calleth the things that are not, as though they were. 18 Who in hope believed against hope, to the end that he might become a father of many nations, according to that which had been spoken, So shall thy seed be. 19 And without being weakened in faith he considered his own body now as good as dead (he being about a hundred years old), and the deadness of Sarah's womb; 20 yet, looking unto the promise of God, he wavered not through unbelief, but waxed strong through faith, giving glory to God, 21 and being fully assured that what he had promised, he was able also to perform. 22 Wherefore also it was reckoned unto him for righteousness. 23 Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was reckoned unto him; 24 but for our sake also, unto whom it shall be reckoned, who believe on him that raised Jesus our Lord from the dead, 25 who was delivered up for our trespasses, and was raised for our justification. Chapter 5 1 Being therefore justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ; 2 through whom also we have had our access by faith into this grace wherein we stand; and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. 3 And not only so, but we also rejoice in our tribulations: knowing that tribulation worketh stedfastness; 4 and stedfastness, approvedness; and approvedness, hope: 5 and hope putteth not to shame; because the love of God hath been shed abroad in our hearts through the Holy Spirit which was given unto us. 6 For while we were yet weak, in due season Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: for peradventure for the good man some one would even dare to die. 8 But God commendeth his own love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Much more then, being now justified by his blood, shall we be saved from the wrath `of God' through him. 10 For if, while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, shall we be saved by his life; 11 and not only so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation. 12 Therefore, as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin; and so death passed unto all men, for that all sinned:-- 13 for until the law sin was in the world; but sin is not imputed when there is no law. 14 Nevertheless death reigned from Adam until Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the likeness of Adam's transgression, who is a figure of him that was to come. 15 But not as the trespass, so also `is' the free gift. For if by the trespass of the one the many died, much more did the grace of God, and the gift by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, abound unto the many. 16 And not as through one that sinned, `so' is the gift: for the judgment `came' of one unto condemnation, but the free gift `came' of many trespasses unto justification. 17 For if, by the trespass of the one, death reigned through the one; much more shall they that receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one, `even' Jesus Christ. 18 So then as through one trespass `the judgment came' unto all men to condemnation; even so through one act of righteousness `the free gift came' unto all men to justification of life. 19 For as through the one man's disobedience the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the one shall the many be made righteous. 20 And the law came in besides, that the trespass might abound; but where sin abounded, grace did abound more exceedingly: 21 that, as sin reigned in death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. Chapter 6 1 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? 2 God forbid. We who died to sin, how shall we any longer live therein? 3 Or are ye ignorant that all we who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were buried therefore with him through baptism unto death: that like as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we also might walk in newness of life. 5 For if we have become united with `him' in the likeness of his death, we shall be also `in the likeness' of his resurrection; 6 knowing this, that our old man was crucified with `him', that the body of sin might be done away, that so we should no longer be in bondage to sin; 7 for he that hath died is justified from sin. 8 But if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him; 9 knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death no more hath dominion over him. 10 For the death that he died, he died unto sin once: but the life that he liveth, he liveth unto God. 11 Even so reckon ye also yourselves to be dead unto sin, but alive unto God in Christ Jesus. 12 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey the lusts thereof: 13 neither present your members unto sin `as' instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves unto God, as alive from the dead, and your members `as' instruments of righteousness unto God. 14 For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under law, but under grace. 15 What then? shall we sin, because we are not under law, but under grace? God forbid. 16 Know ye not, that to whom ye present yourselves `as' servants unto obedience, his servants ye are whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? 17 But thanks be to God, that, whereas ye were servants of sin, ye became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching whereunto ye were delivered; 18 and being made free from sin, ye became servants of righteousness. 19 I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye presented your members `as' servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity, even so now present your members `as' servants to righteousness unto sanctification. 20 For when ye were servants of sin, ye were free in regard of righteousness. 21 What fruit then had ye at that time in the things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those things is death. 22 But now being made free from sin and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto sanctification, and the end eternal life. 23 For the wages of sin is death; but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Chapter 7 1 Or are ye ignorant, brethren (for I speak to men who know the law), that the law hath dominion over a man for so long time as he liveth? 2 For the woman that hath a husband is bound by law to the husband while he liveth; but if the husband die, she is discharged from the law of the husband. 3 So then if, while the husband liveth, she be joined to another man, she shall be called an adulteress: but if the husband die, she is free from the law, so that she is no adulteress, though she be joined to another man. 4 Wherefore, my brethren, ye also were made dead to the law through the body of Christ; that ye should be joined to another, `even' to him who was raised from the dead, that we might bring forth fruit unto God. 5 For when we were in the flesh, the sinful passions, which were through the law, wrought in our members to bring forth fruit unto death. 6 But now we have been discharged from the law, having died to that wherein we were held; so that we serve in newness of the spirit, and not in oldness of the letter. 7 What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Howbeit, I had not known sin, except through the law: for I had not known coveting, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet: 8 but sin, finding occasion, wrought in me through the commandment all manner of coveting: for apart from the law sin `is' dead. 9 And I was alive apart from the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died; 10 and the commandment, which `was' unto life, this I found `to be' unto death: 11 for sin, finding occasion, through the commandment beguiled me, and through it slew me. 12 So that the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and righteous, and good. 13 Did then that which is good become death unto me? God forbid. But sin, that it might be shown to be sin, by working death to me through that which is good; --that through the commandment sin might become exceeding sinful. 14 For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin. 15 For that which I do I know not: for not what I would, that do I practise; but what I hate, that I do. 16 But if what I would not, that I do, I consent unto the law that it is good. 17 So now it is no more I that do it, but sin which dwelleth in me. 18 For I know that in me, that is, in my flesh, dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me, but to do that which is good `is' not. 19 For the good which I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I practise. 20 But if what I would not, that I do, it is no more I that do it, but sin which dwelleth in me. 21 I find then the law, that, to me who would do good, evil is present. 22 For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: 23 but I see a different law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity under the law of sin which is in my members. 24 Wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me out of the body of this death? 25 I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then I of myself with the mind, indeed, serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin. Chapter 8 1 There is therefore now no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus made me free from the law of sin and of death. 3 For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God, sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: 4 that the ordinance of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. 5 For they that are after the flesh mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. 6 For the mind of the flesh is death; but the mind of the Spirit is life and peace: 7 because the mind of the flesh is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can it be: 8 and they that are in the flesh cannot please God. 9 But ye are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you. But if any man hath not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. 10 And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the spirit is life because of righteousness. 11 But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwelleth in you, he that raised up Christ Jesus from the dead shall give life also to your mortal bodies through his Spirit that dwelleth in you. 12 So then, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh: 13 for if ye live after the flesh, ye must die; but if by the Spirit ye put to death the deeds of the body, ye shall live. 14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. 15 For ye received not the spirit of bondage again unto fear; but ye received the spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. 16 The Spirit himself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are children of God: 17 and if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with `him', that we may be also glorified with `him'. 18 For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed to us-ward. 19 For the earnest expectation of the creation waiteth for the revealing of the sons of God. 20 For the creation was subjected to vanity, not of its own will, but by reason of him who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the liberty of the glory of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. 23 And not only so, but ourselves also, who have the first-fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for `our' adoption, `to wit', the redemption of our body. 24 For in hope were we saved: but hope that is seen is not hope: for who hopeth for that which he seeth? 25 But if we hope for that which we see not, `then' do we with patience wait for it. 26 And in like manner the Spirit also helpeth our infirmity: for we know not how to pray as we ought; but the Spirit himself maketh intercession for `us' with groanings which cannot be uttered; 27 and he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to `the will of' God. 28 And we know that to them that love God all things work together for good, `even' to them that are called according to `his' purpose. 29 For whom he foreknew, he also foreordained `to be' conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren: 30 and whom he foreordained, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified. 31 What then shall we say to these things? If God `is' for us, who `is' against us? 32 He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not also with him freely give us all things? 33 Who shall lay anything to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth; 34 who is he that condemneth? It is Christ Jesus that died, yea rather, that was raised from the dead, who is at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or anguish, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 Even as it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; We were accounted as sheep for the slaughter. 37 Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. 38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Chapter 9 1 I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience bearing witness with me in the Holy Spirit, 2 that I have great sorrow and unceasing pain in my heart. 3 For I could wish that I myself were anathema from Christ for my brethren's sake, my kinsmen according to the flesh: 4 who are Israelites; whose is the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service `of God', and the promises; 5 whose are the fathers, and of whom is Christ as concerning the flesh, who is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen. 6 But `it is' not as though the word of God hath come to nought. For they are not all Israel, that are of Israel: 7 neither, because they are Abraham's seed, are they all children: but, In Isaac shall thy seed be called. 8 That is, it is not the children of the flesh that are children of God; but the children of the promise are reckoned for a seed. 9 For this is a word of promise, According to this season will I come, and Sarah shall have a son. 10 And not only so; but Rebecca also having conceived by one, `even' by our father Isaac-- 11 for `the children' being not yet born, neither having done anything good or bad, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth, 12 it was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger. 13 Even as it is written, Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated. 14 What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid. 15 For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion. 16 So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that hath mercy. 17 For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, For this very purpose did I raise thee up, that I might show in thee my power, and that my name might be published abroad in all the earth. 18 So then he hath mercy on whom he will, and whom he will be hardeneth. 19 Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth he still find fault? For who withstandeth his will? 20 Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why didst thou make me thus? 21 Or hath not the potter a right over the clay, from the same lump to make one part a vessel unto honor, and another unto dishonor? 22 What if God, willing to show his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering vessels of wrath fitted unto destruction: 23 and that he might make known the riches of his glory upon vessels of mercy, which he afore prepared unto glory, 24 `even' us, whom he also called, not from the Jews only, but also from the Gentiles? 25 As he saith also in Hosea, I will call that my people, which was not my people; And her beloved, that was not beloved. 26 And it shall be, `that' in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people, There shall they be called sons of the living God. 27 And Isaiah crieth concerning Israel, If the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea, it is the remnant that shall be saved: 28 for the Lord will execute `his' word upon the earth, finishing it and cutting it short. 29 And, as Isaiah hath said before, Except the Lord of Sabaoth had left us a seed, We had become as Sodom, and had been made like unto Gomorrah. 30 What shall we say then? That the Gentiles, who followed not after righteousness, attained to righteousness, even the righteousness which is of faith: 31 but Israel, following after a law of righteousness, did not arrive at `that' law. 32 Wherefore? Because `they sought it' not by faith, but as it were by works. They stumbled at the stone of stumbling; 33 even as it is written, Behold, I lay in Zion a stone of stumbling and a rock of offence: And he that believeth on him shall not be put to shame. Chapter 10 1 Brethren, my heart's desire and my supplication to God is for them, that they may be saved. 2 For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. 3 For being ignorant of God's righteousness, and seeking to establish their own, they did not subject themselves to the righteousness of God. 4 For Christ is the end of the law unto righteousness to every one that believeth. 5 For Moses writeth that the man that doeth the righteousness which is of the law shall live thereby. 6 But the righteousness which is of faith saith thus, Say not in thy heart, Who shall ascend into heaven? (that is, to bring Christ down:) 7 or, Who shall descend into the abyss? (That is, to bring Christ up from the dead.) 8 But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach: 9 because if thou shalt confess with thy mouth Jesus `as' Lord, and shalt believe in thy heart that God raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved: 10 for with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. 11 For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be put to shame. 12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek: for the same `Lord' is Lord of all, and is rich unto all that call upon him: 13 for, Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. 14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? 15 and how shall they preach, except they be sent? even as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that bring glad tidings of good things! 16 But they did not all hearken to the glad tidings. For Isaiah saith, Lord, who hath believed our report? 17 So belief `cometh' of hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ. 18 But I say, Did they not hear? Yea, verily, Their sound went out into all the earth, And their words unto the ends of the world. 19 But I say, Did Israel not know? First Moses saith, I will provoke you to jealousy with that which is no nation, With a nation void of understanding will I anger you. 20 And Isaiah is very bold, and saith, I was found of them that sought me not; I became manifest unto them that asked not of me. 21 But as to Israel he saith, All the day long did I spread out my hands unto a disobedient and gainsaying people. Chapter 11 1 I say then, Did God cast off his people? God forbid. For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. 2 God did not cast off his people which he foreknew. Or know ye not what the scripture saith of Elijah? how he pleadeth with God against Israel: 3 Lord, they have killed thy prophets, they have digged down thine altars; and I am left alone, and they seek my life. 4 But what saith the answer of God unto him? I have left for myself seven thousand men, who have not bowed the knee to Baal. 5 Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace. 6 But if it is by grace, it is no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. 7 What then? that which Israel seeketh for, that he obtained not; but the election obtained it, and the rest were hardened: 8 according as it is written, God gave them a spirit of stupor, eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear, unto this very day. 9 And David saith, Let their table be made a snare, and a trap, And a stumblingblock, and a recompense unto them: 10 Let their eyes be darkened, that they may not see, And bow thou down their back always. 11 I say then, Did they stumble that they might fall? God forbid: but by their fall salvation `is come' unto the Gentiles, to provoke them to jealousy. 12 Now if their fall, is the riches of the world, and their loss the riches of the Gentiles; how much more their fulness? 13 But I speak to you that are Gentiles. Inasmuch then as I am an apostle of Gentiles, I glorify my ministry; 14 if by any means I may provoke to jealousy `them that are' my flesh, and may save some of them. 15 For if the casting away of them `is' the reconciling of the world, what `shall' the receiving `of them be', but life from the dead? 16 And if the firstfruit is holy, so is the lump: and if the root is holy, so are the branches. 17 But if some of the branches were broken off, and thou, being a wild olive, wast grafted in among them, and didst become partaker with them of the root of the fatness of the olive tree; 18 glory not over the branches: but if thou gloriest, it is not thou that bearest the root, but the root thee. 19 Thou wilt say then, Branches were broken off, that I might be grafted in. 20 Well; by their unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by thy faith. Be not highminded, but fear: 21 for if God spared not the natural branches, neither will he spare thee. 22 Behold then the goodness and severity of God: toward them that fell, severity; but toward thee, God's goodness, if thou continue in his goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off. 23 And they also, if they continue not in their unbelief, shall be grafted in: for God is able to graft them in again. 24 For if thou wast cut out of that which is by nature a wild olive tree, and wast grafted contrary to nature into a good olive tree; how much more shall these, which are the natural `branches', be grafted into their own olive tree? 25 For I would not, brethren, have you ignorant of this mystery, lest ye be wise in your own conceits, that a hardening in part hath befallen Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in; 26 and so all Israel shall be saved: even as it is written, There shall come out of Zion the Deliverer; He shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: 27 And this is my covenant unto them, When I shall take away their sins. 28 As touching the gospel, they are enemies for your sake: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the fathers' sake. 29 For the gifts and the calling of God are not repented of. 30 For as ye in time past were disobedient to God, but now have obtained mercy by their disobedience, 31 even so have these also now been disobedient, that by the mercy shown to you they also may now obtain mercy. 32 For God hath shut up all unto disobedience, that he might have mercy upon all. 33 O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and the knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past tracing out! 34 For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counsellor? 35 or who hath first given to him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again? 36 For of him, and through him, and unto him, are all things. To him `be' the glory for ever. Amen. he mentions several, including love, grace, peace, faith, comfort, power, hope, patience, kindness, glory, honor, righteousness, forgiveness, reconciliation, justification, security, eternal life, freedom, resurrection, sonship, intercession, and the Holy Spirit. Because you've received all that, you should gladly surrender every faculty you have for holy purposes.

    "Body" in Romans 12:1 Chapter 12 1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, `which is' your spiritual service. also includes your mind. Verse 2 says, "Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect." A transformed mind is the key to transformed behavior.

    Prior to your salvation, you had neither the desire nor the ability to make such a sacrifice. But because you are a new creation in Christ, you are not to "go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but . . . as instruments of righteousness to God" (Rom. 6:13). One practical implication? Abstain from sexual immorality. Know how to possess your own body in sanctification and honor (1 Thess. 4:3-4).

    You are a holy priest, and your priestly work begins with presenting yourself as a living and holy sacrifice. Is that your desire? Are you a faithful priest?

    Suggestions for Prayer

    • Thank God for His bountiful mercies toward you.
    • Commit this day to Him, asking for the grace to live a holy life.

    For Further Study

    Read Romans 6 Chapter 6 1 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? 2 God forbid. We who died to sin, how shall we any longer live therein? 3 Or are ye ignorant that all we who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were buried therefore with him through baptism unto death: that like as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we also might walk in newness of life. 5 For if we have become united with `him' in the likeness of his death, we shall be also `in the likeness' of his resurrection; 6 knowing this, that our old man was crucified with `him', that the body of sin might be done away, that so we should no longer be in bondage to sin; 7 for he that hath died is justified from sin. 8 But if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him; 9 knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death no more hath dominion over him. 10 For the death that he died, he died unto sin once: but the life that he liveth, he liveth unto God. 11 Even so reckon ye also yourselves to be dead unto sin, but alive unto God in Christ Jesus. 12 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey the lusts thereof: 13 neither present your members unto sin `as' instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves unto God, as alive from the dead, and your members `as' instruments of righteousness unto God. 14 For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under law, but under grace. 15 What then? shall we sin, because we are not under law, but under grace? God forbid. 16 Know ye not, that to whom ye present yourselves `as' servants unto obedience, his servants ye are whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? 17 But thanks be to God, that, whereas ye were servants of sin, ye became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching whereunto ye were delivered; 18 and being made free from sin, ye became servants of righteousness. 19 I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye presented your members `as' servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity, even so now present your members `as' servants to righteousness unto sanctification. 20 For when ye were servants of sin, ye were free in regard of righteousness. 21 What fruit then had ye at that time in the things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those things is death. 22 But now being made free from sin and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto sanctification, and the end eternal life. 23 For the wages of sin is death; but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. .

    • What choices do you have as a believer that you didn't have as an unbeliever?
    • What is the benefit of being God's slave?

    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 - July 9

    Published by Grace To You for reading on July 9th.

    Reading for Today:

    • 2 Chronicles 13:1 Chapter 13 1 In the eighteenth year of king Jeroboam began Abijah to reign over Judah. –14:15
    • Psalms 81:1-5 Chapter 81 1 Sing aloud unto God our strength: Make a joyful noise unto the God of Jacob. 2 Raise a song, and bring hither the timbrel, The pleasant harp with the psaltery. 3 Blow the trumpet at the new moon, At the full moon, on our feast-day. 4 For it is a statute for Israel, An ordinance of the God of Jacob. 5 He appointed it in Joseph for a testimony, When he went out over the land of Egypt, `Where' I heard a language that I knew not.
    • Proverbs 20:22-23 22 Say not thou, I will recompense evil: Wait for Jehovah, and he will save thee. 23 Diverse weights are an abomination to Jehovah; And a false balance is not good.
    • Acts 15:22-41 22 Then it seemed good to the apostles and the elders, with the whole church, to choose men out of their company, and send them to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas; `namely', Judas called Barsabbas, and Silas, chief men among the brethren: 23 and they wrote `thus' by them, The apostles and the elders, brethren, unto the brethren who are of the Gentiles in Antioch and Syria and Cilicia, greeting: 24 Forasmuch as we have heard that certain who went out from us have troubled you with words, subverting your souls; to whom we gave no commandment; 25 it seemed good unto us, having come to one accord, to choose out men and send them unto you with our beloved Barnabas and Paul, 26 men that have hazarded their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. 27 We have sent therefore Judas and Silas, who themselves also shall tell you the same things by word of mouth. 28 For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things: 29 that ye abstain from things sacrificed to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication; from which if ye keep yourselves, it shall be well with you. Fare ye well. 30 So they, when they were dismissed, came down to Antioch; and having gathered the multitude together, they delivered the epistle. 31 And when they had read it, they rejoiced for the consolation. 32 And Judas and Silas, being themselves also prophets, exhorted the brethren with many words, and confirmed them. 33 And after they had spent some time `there', they were dismissed in peace from the brethren unto those that had sent them forth. 34 `But it seemed good unto Silas to abide there.' 35 But Paul and Barnabas tarried in Antioch, teaching and preaching the word of the Lord, with many others also. 36 And after some days Paul said unto Barnabas, Let us return now and visit the brethren in every city wherein we proclaimed the word of the Lord, `and see' how they fare. 37 And Barnabas was minded to take with them John also, who was called Mark. 38 But Paul thought not good to take with them him who withdrew from them from Pamphylia, and went not with them to the work. 39 And there arose a sharp contention, so that they parted asunder one from the other, and Barnabas took Mark with him, and sailed away unto Cyprus; 40 but Paul choose Silas, and went forth, being commended by the brethren to the grace of the Lord. 41 And he went through Syria and Cilicia, confirming the churches.

    Notes:

    2 Chronicles 13:1 Chapter 13 1 In the eighteenth year of king Jeroboam began Abijah to reign over Judah. 5 God struck Jeroboam and all Israel. At the time of certain defeat, with 400,000 troops behind and the same number in front, Judah was saved by divine intervention. What God did is unknown, but the army of Israel began to flee (v. 16), and the soldiers of Judah massacred 500,000 of them in an unimaginable blood bath (v. 17).

    2 Chronicles 13:1 Chapter 13 1 In the eighteenth year of king Jeroboam began Abijah to reign over Judah. 7 Before the battle, Jeroboam outnumbered Abijah two to one (13:3). After the fray, in which the Lord intervened on behalf of Judah, Abijah outnumbered Jeroboam 4 to 3.

    Psalms 81:3 3 Blow the trumpet at the new moon, At the full moon, on our feast-day. New Moon…full moon. The seventh month of Israel’s year (Tishri; Sept./Oct.) culminated the festival year with a succession of celebrations. The month began with the blowing of the trumpets, continued with the Day of Atonement on the tenth day, and celebrated the Feast of Tabernacles on the fifteenth day when the moon was full. The Feast of Tabernacles praised God for His care in the wilderness wanderings and also pointed to the coming kingdom (Matt. 17:1–4).

    DAY 9: How did a godly king respond to crises?

    Second Chronicles 14:1–16:14 records the reign of Asa in Judah (ca. 911–870 B.C.). First Kings 15:11 says that Asa did as his forefather David had done—honoring God while building the kingdom (vv. 6–8). Times of peace were used for strengthening. “Asa did what was good and right in the eyes of LORD his God” (v. 2). He removed elements of false worship that had accumulated over the years of Solomon, Rehoboam, and Abijah (1 Kin.15:12, 13). Apparently, he did not remove all the high places or, once removed, they reappeared (1 Kin. 15:14; 1 Chr. 15:6). His son Jehoshaphat later had to remove them (2 Chr. 17:6), although not completely (1 Chr. 20:33).This was done in an effort to comply with Deuteronomy 12:2 2 Ye shall surely destroy all the places wherein the nations that ye shall dispossess served their gods, upon the high mountains, and upon the hills, and under every green tree: , 3.

    Asa had an army of 580,000 men “who carried shields and drew bows; all these were mighty men of valor” (v. 8). Yet a major threat developed from Zerah, the Ethiopian, probably on behalf of the Egyptian Pharaoh, who was attempting to regain control as Shishak had during the days of Rehoboam (2 Chr. 12:7, 8), ca. 901–900 B.C. The Ethiopians came against them with “an army of a million men and three hundred chariots” (v. 9).

    Asa’s appeal to God centered on God’s omnipotence and reputation and is well worth memorizing. “LORD, it is nothing for You to help, whether with many or with those who have no power; help us,…O LORD, You are our God; do not let man prevail against You!” (v. 11). God’s response was to strike the Ethiopian army and overthrow them. “And they carried away very much spoil” (v. 13). It appears that this great horde was a nomadic people who moved with all their possessions and had set up their camp near Gerar. The spoils of Judah’s victory were immense.

    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.

    Additional Resources

    July 9 - Differences in Foundations

    Published by Grace To You for reading on July 9th.

    “‘Everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock. . . . Everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not act on them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand’” ( Matthew 7:24 24 Every one therefore that heareth these words of mine, and doeth them, shall be likened unto a wise man, who built his house upon the rock: , 26).

    Differences between wise and foolish builders are more important than the similarities. The greatest differences are the types of foundations the builders choose. One selects a solid expanse of bedrock—stable and unmovable. The other selects sand—unstable and very movable.

    The house built on a foundation of rock is a life that believes and obeys Jesus’ sermon and places all its hope in God. The sand, by contrast, represents paying little or no attention to the Word. The house built on that foundation is a life that relies on self-righteousness and trusts in changeable human opinions.

    The indicator of real discipleship is not merely hearing and professing, but believing and doing. True converts fit James’s picture: “One who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man will be blessed in what he does” ( James 1:25 25 But he that looketh into the perfect law, the `law' of liberty, and `so' continueth, being not a hearer that forgetteth but a doer that worketh, this man shall be blessed in his doing. ). False disciples, however, fit the other picture James paints: “merely hearers who delude themselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror; for once he has looked at himself and gone away, he has immediately forgotten what kind of person he was” (vv. 22–24).

    We can be assured of salvation only when we build on the rock of truth and obedience, not on the standards of human opinions and speculations.

    Ask Yourself

    Do you have a current undertaking—no matter how large or small—that’s tempting you to hurry up and build without spending much time on the foundation? What will every effort or enterprise suffer from if more thought is given to wallpaper than to substructure?

    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.

    Additional Resources

    In Order That You May Know

    Published by Grace To You for reading on July 9th.

    “These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, in order that you may know that you have eternal life” ( 1 John 5:13 13 These things have I written unto you, that ye may know that ye have eternal life, `even' unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God. ).

    The apostle John presents eleven objective and subjective tests for assurance of salvation.

    The New Testament epistles are filled with enough material on assurance to fill volumes of commentaries. Yet there is one small epistle, 1 John, that was written to deal exclusively with the issue of assurance. The apostle John states his reason for writing this letter in our verse for today: “These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, in order that you may know that you have eternal life” (emphasis added). John did not want his readers to doubt their salvation; he wanted them to have full assurance of it. Certainly what John wrote in this epistle will not disturb genuine believers, but it will alarm anyone who has a false sense of assurance. In fact, he directed his letter to those who have placed their faith in Christ, which is the bedrock of all assurance: “I have written to you who believe.” There is no place for self-examination outside of faith in Christ. That’s why everything John says about assurance is predicated on faith in Christ and the promises of Scripture.

    Throughout his epistle, John maintains a delicate balance between the objective and subjective grounds of assurance. The objective evidence makes up a doctrinal test, while the subjective evidence provides a moral test. John moves in and out between the two kinds of tests as he presents a total of eleven criteria that will indicate whether one possesses eternal life.

    As you study through these tests for the next eleven days, they will confirm for you, if you are a genuine believer, the reality of your salvation. But if you have been given a false assurance, you will know where you stand and what you need to do.

    Suggestions for Prayer

    If you are a true believer, ask God to use these upcoming days to give you a greater love for Him. If you’re not sure if you truly know our great Lord and Savior, ask Him to reveal Himself to you so that these next few days will be life-changing ones.

    For Further Study

    Read John 20:31 31 but these are written, that ye may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye may have life in his name. . How would reading through the Gospel of John also provide assurance of salvation? Begin such a reading plan.

    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

    6 Ways Jesus Fought Depression

    Published by John Piper for reading on July 9th.

    And taking with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, he began to be sorrowful and troubled. ( Matthew 26:37 37 And he took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be sorrowful and sore troubled. )

    There were several tactics in Jesus’s strategic battle against despondency.

  • He chose some close friends to be with him. “Taking with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee” ( Matthew 26:37 37 And he took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be sorrowful and sore troubled. ).

  • He opened his soul to them. He said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death” ( Matthew 26:38 38 Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: abide ye here, and watch with me. ).

  • He asked for their intercession and partnership in the battle. “Remain here, and watch with me” ( Matthew 26:38 38 Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: abide ye here, and watch with me. ).

  • He poured out his heart to his Father in prayer. “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me” ( Matthew 26:39 39 And he went forward a little, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass away from me: nevertheless, not as I will, but as thou wilt. ).

  • He rested his soul in the sovereign wisdom of God. “Nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will” ( Matthew 26:39 39 And he went forward a little, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass away from me: nevertheless, not as I will, but as thou wilt. ).

  • He fixed his eye on the glorious future grace that awaited him on the other side of the cross. “For the joy that was set before him [he] endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God” ( Hebrews 12:2 2 looking unto Jesus the author and perfecter of `our' faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising shame, and hath sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. ).

  • When something drops into your life that seems to threaten your future, remember this: The first shock waves of the bomb are not sin. The real danger is yielding to them. Giving in. Putting up no spiritual fight. And the root of that surrender is unbelief — a failure to fight for faith in future grace. A failure to cherish all that God promises to be for us in Jesus.

    Jesus shows us another way. Not painless, and not passive. Follow him. Find your trusted spiritual friends. Open your soul to them. Ask them to watch with you and pray. Pour out your soul to the Father. Rest in the sovereign wisdom of God. And fix your eyes on the joy set before you in the precious and magnificent promises of God.



    Morning Devotional by C.H. Spurgeon for July 9th

    Published by C.H. Spurgeon for reading on July 9th.

    Psalms 103:2 2 Bless Jehovah, O my soul, And forget not all his benefits:

    IT is a delightful and profitable occupation to mark the hand of God in the lives of ancient saints, and to observe His goodness in delivering them, His mercy in pardoning them, and His faithfulness in keeping His covenant with them. But would it not be even more interesting and profitable for us to remark the hand of God in our own lives? Ought we not to look upon our own history as being at least as full of God, as full of His goodness and of His truth, as much a proof of His faithfulness and veracity, as the lives of any of the saints who have gone before? We do our Lord an injustice when we suppose that He wrought all His mighty acts, and showed Himself strong for those in the early time, but doth not perform wonders or lay bare His arm for the saints who are now upon the earth. Let us review our own lives. Surely in these we may discover some happy incidents, refreshing to ourselves and glorifying to our God. Have you had no deliverances? Have you passed through no rivers, supported by the divine presence? Have you walked through no fires unharmed? Have you had no manifestations? Have you had no choice favours? The God who gave Solomon the desire of his heart, hath He never listened to you and answered your requests? That God of lavish bounty of whom David sang, "Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things," hath He never satiated you with fatness? Have you never been made to lie down in green pastures? Have you never been led by the still waters? Surely the goodness of God has been the same to us as to the saints of old. Let us, then, weave His mercies into a song. Let us take the pure gold of thankfulness, and the jewels of praise and make them into another crown for the head of Jesus. Let our souls give forth music as sweet and as exhilarating as came from David's harp, while we praise the Lord whose mercy endureth for ever.

    Evening Devotional by C.H. Spurgeon for July 9th

    Published by C.H. Spurgeon for reading on July 9th.

    Genesis 1:4 4 And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.

    A believer has two principles at work within him. In his natural estate he was subject to one principle only, which was darkness; now light has entered, and the two principles disagree. Mark the apostle Paul's words in the seventh chapter of Romans: "I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: but I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin, which is in my members." How is this state of things occasioned? "The Lord divided the light from the darkness." Darkness, by itself, is quiet and undisturbed, but when the Lord sends in light, there is a conflict, for the one is in opposition to the other: a conflict which will never cease till the believer is altogether light in the Lord. If there be a division within the individual Christian, there is certain to be a division without. So soon as the Lord gives to any man light, he proceeds to separate himself from the darkness around; he secedes from a merely worldly religion of outward ceremonial, for nothing short of the gospel of Christ will now satisfy him, and he withdraws himself from worldly society and frivolous amusements, and seeks the company of the saints, for "We know we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren." The light gathers to itself, and the darkness to itself. What God has divided, let us never try to unite, but as Christ went without the camp, bearing His reproach, so let us come out from the ungodly, and be a peculiar people. He was holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners; and, as He was, so we are to be nonconformists to the world, dissenting from all sin, and distinguished from the rest of mankind by our likeness to our Master.

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