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Living Without Goals

Published by InTouch Ministries for reading on January 26th.

1 Corinthians 9:24-27 24 Know ye not that they that run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? Even so run; that ye may attain. 25 And every man that striveth in the games exerciseth self-control in all things. Now they `do it' to receive a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. 26 I therefore so run, as not uncertainly; so fight I, as not beating the air: 27 but I buffet my body, and bring it into bondage: lest by any means, after that I have preached to others, I myself should be rejected.

Some of us are natural planners who know what we want to accomplish and set out to achieve it, whereas others are more flexible and spontaneous. Both approaches are determined by personality, background, and other factors but come with their own dangers. The organized people may be so focused on controlling their life that they leave God out of the picture, and the easygoing folks may end up never accomplishing what God intended for them.

In today’s passage, we see the Christian life compared to a race. As believers, we are admonished to exercise discipline and self-control in order to obediently follow the heavenly Father’s plan for our life. Otherwise our efforts will be as unproductive as a boxer who throws wild punches and never hits his mark.

Going through life without any objectives leads to wasted time and energy, mindless drifting, and mediocrity. After all, you can’t aim for nothing and expect to hit a bull’s eye. This is true in relationships, work, finances, and personal goals, but it’s also true of our spiritual life. Paul’s desire to fulfill the ministry God gave him was so strong that he was willing to give up his rights in order to reach the lost with the gospel ( 1 Corinthians 9:19-23 19 For though I was free from all `men,' I brought myself under bondage to all, that I might gain the more. 20 And to the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, not being myself under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law; 21 to them that are without law, as without law, not being without law to God, but under law to Christ, that I might gain them that are without law. 22 To the weak I became weak, that I might gain the weak: I am become all things to all men, that I may by all means save some. 23 And I do all things for the gospel's sake, that I may be a joint partaker thereof. ). Therefore, the apostle made his body his slave in order to finish the Christian life well.

One day we will all stand before Christ to give an account of our life and have our works evaluated by Him in the judgment ( 1 Corinthians 3:10-15 10 According to the grace of God which was given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder I laid a foundation; and another buildeth thereon. But let each man take heed how he buildeth thereon. 11 For other foundation can no man lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 But if any man buildeth on the foundation gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay, stubble; 13 each man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it is revealed in fire; and the fire itself shall prove each man's work of what sort it is. 14 If any man's work shall abide which he built thereon, he shall receive a reward. 15 If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as through fire. ). Therefore, today we must live with the goal of honoring God and bearing fruit as we seek His will.

Bible in One Year: Exodus 34-35 Chapter 34 1 And Jehovah said unto Moses, Hew thee two tables of stone like unto the first: and I will write upon the tables the words that were on the first tables, which thou brakest. 2 And be ready by the morning, and come up in the morning unto mount Sinai, and present thyself there to me on the top of the mount. 3 And no man shall come up with thee; neither let any man be seen throughout all the mount; neither let the flocks nor herds feed before that mount. 4 And he hewed two tables of stone like unto the first; and Moses rose up early in the morning, and went up unto mount Sinai, as Jehovah had commanded him, and took in his hand two tables of stone. 5 And Jehovah descended in the cloud, and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of Jehovah. 6 And Jehovah passed by before him, and proclaimed, Jehovah, Jehovah, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abundant in lovingkindness and truth, 7 keeping lovingkindness for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin; and that will by no means clear `the guilty', visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children's children, upon the third and upon the fourth generation. 8 And Moses made haste, and bowed his head toward the earth, and worshipped. 9 And he said, If now I have found favor in thy sight, O Lord, let the Lord, I pray thee, go in the midst of us; for it is a stiffnecked people; and pardon our iniquity and our sin, and take us for thine inheritance. 10 And he said, Behold, I make a covenant: before all thy people I will do marvels, such as have not been wrought in all the earth, nor in any nation; and all the people among which thou art shall see the work of Jehovah; for it is a terrible thing that I do with thee. 11 Observe thou that which I command thee this day: behold, I drive out before thee the Amorite, and the Canaanite, and the Hittite, and the Perizzite, and the Hivite, and the Jebusite. 12 Take heed to thyself, lest thou make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land whither thou goest, lest it be for a snare in the midst of thee: 13 but ye shall break down their altars, and dash in pieces their pillars, and ye shall cut down their Asherim; 14 for thou shalt worship no other god: for Jehovah, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God: 15 lest thou make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land, and they play the harlot after their gods, and sacrifice unto their gods, and one call thee and thou eat of his sacrifice; 16 and thou take of their daughters unto thy sons, and their daughters play the harlot after their gods, and make thy sons play the harlot after their gods. 17 Thou shalt make thee no molten gods. 18 The feast of unleavened bread shalt thou keep. Seven days thou shalt eat unleavened bread, as I commanded thee, at the time appointed in the month Abib; for in the month Abib thou camest out from Egypt. 19 All that openeth the womb is mine; and all thy cattle that is male, the firstlings of cow and sheep. 20 And the firstling of an ass thou shalt redeem with a lamb: and if thou wilt not redeem it, then thou shalt break its neck. All the first-born of thy sons thou shalt redeem. And none shall appear before me empty. 21 Six days thou shalt work, but on the seventh day thou shalt rest: in plowing time and in harvest thou shalt rest. 22 And thou shalt observe the feast of weeks, `even' of the first-fruits of wheat harvest, and the feast of ingathering at the year's end. 23 Three times in the year shall all thy males appear before the Lord Jehovah, the God of Israel. 24 For I will cast out nations before thee, and enlarge thy borders: neither shall any man desire thy land, when thou goest up to appear before Jehovah thy God three times in the year. 25 Thou shalt not offer the blood of my sacrifice with leavened bread; neither shall the sacrifice of the feast of the passover be left unto the morning. 26 The first of the first-fruits of thy ground thou shalt bring unto the house of Jehovah thy God. Thou shalt not boil a kid in its mother's milk. 27 And Jehovah said unto Moses, Write thou these words: for after the tenor of these words I have made a covenant with thee and with Israel. 28 And he was there with Jehovah forty days and forty nights; he did neither eat bread, nor drink water. And he wrote upon the tables the words of the covenant, the ten commandments. 29 And it came to pass, when Moses came down from mount Sinai with the two tables of the testimony in Moses' hand, when he came down from the mount, that Moses knew not that the skin of his face shone by reason of his speaking with him. 30 And when Aaron and all the children of Israel saw Moses, behold, the skin of his face shone; and they were afraid to come nigh him. 31 And Moses called unto them; and Aaron and all the rulers of the congregation returned unto him: and Moses spake to them. 32 And afterward all the children of Israel came nigh: and he gave them in commandment all that Jehovah had spoken with him in mount Sinai. 33 And when Moses had done speaking with them, he put a veil on his face. 34 But when Moses went in before Jehovah to speak with him, he took the veil off, until he came out; and he came out, and spake unto the children of Israel that which he was commanded. 35 And the children of Israel saw the face of Moses, that the skin of Moses' face shone: and Moses put the veil upon his face again, until he went in to speak with him. Chapter 35 1 And Moses assembled all the congregation of the children of Israel, and said unto them, These are the words which Jehovah hath commanded, that ye should do them. 2 Six days shall work be done; but on the seventh day there shall be to you a holy day, a sabbath of solemn rest to Jehovah: whosoever doeth any work therein shall be put to death. 3 Ye shall kindle no fire throughout your habitations upon the sabbath day. 4 And Moses spake unto all the congregation of the children of Israel, saying, This is the thing which Jehovah commanded, saying, 5 Take ye from among you an offering unto Jehovah; whosoever is of a willing heart, let him bring it, Jehovah's offering: gold, and silver, and brass, 6 and blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine linen, and goats' `hair', 7 and rams' skins dyed red, and sealskins, and acacia wood, 8 and oil for the light, and spices for the anointing oil, and for the sweet incense, 9 and onyx stones, and stones to be set, for the ephod, and for the breastplate. 10 And let every wise-hearted man among you come, and make all that Jehovah hath commanded: 11 the tabernacle, its tent, and its covering, its clasps, and its boards, its bars, its pillars, and its sockets; 12 the ark, and the staves thereof, the mercy-seat, and the veil of the screen; 13 the table, and its staves, and all its vessels, and the showbread; 14 the candlestick also for the light, and its vessels, and its lamps, and the oil for the light; 15 and the altar of incense, and its staves, and the anointing oil, and the sweet incense, and the screen for the door, at the door of the tabernacle; 16 the altar of burnt-offering, with its grating of brass, it staves, and all its vessels, the laver and its base; 17 the hangings of the court, the pillars thereof, and their sockets, and the screen for the gate of the court; 18 the pins of the tabernacle, and the pins of the court, and their cords; 19 the finely wrought garments, for ministering in the holy place, the holy garments for Aaron the priest, and the garments of his sons, to minister in the priest's office. 20 And all the congregation of the children of Israel departed from the presence of Moses. 21 And they came, every one whose heart stirred him up, and every one whom his spirit made willing, `and' brought Jehovah's offering, for the work of the tent of meeting, and for all the service thereof, and for the holy garments. 22 And they came, both men and women, as many as were willing-hearted, `and' brought brooches, and ear-rings, and signet-rings, and armlets, all jewels of gold; even every man that offered an offering of gold unto Jehovah. 23 And every man, with whom was found blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine linen, and goats' `hair', and rams' skins dyed red, and sealskins, brought them. 24 Every one that did offer an offering of silver and brass brought Jehovah's offering; and every man, with whom was found acacia wood for any work of the service, brought it. 25 And all the women that were wise-hearted did spin with their hands, and brought that which they had spun, the blue, and the purple, the scarlet, and the fine linen. 26 And all the women whose heart stirred them up in wisdom spun the goats' `hair'. 27 And the rulers brought the onyx stones, and the stones to be set, for the ephod, and for the breastplate; 28 and the spice, and the oil; for the light, and for the anointing oil, and for the sweet incense. 29 The children of Israel brought a freewill-offering unto Jehovah; every man and woman, whose heart made them willing to bring for all the work, which Jehovah had commanded to be made by Moses. 30 And Moses said unto the children of Israel, See, Jehovah hath called by name Bezalel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah. 31 And he hath filled him with the Spirit of God, in wisdom, in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship; 32 and to devise skilful works, to work in gold, and in silver, and in brass, 33 and in cutting of stones for setting, and in carving of wood, to work in all manner of skilful workmanship. 34 And he hath put in his heart that he may teach, both he, and Oholiab, the son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan. 35 Them hath he filled with wisdom of heart, to work all manner of workmanship, of the engraver, and of the skilful workman, and of the embroiderer, in blue, and in purple, in scarlet, and in fine linen, and of the weaver, even of them that do any workmanship, and of those that devise skilful works.




The Discipline of Meditation

Published by InTouch Ministries for reading on January 27th.

Joshua 1:6-8 6 Be strong and of good courage; for thou shalt cause this people to inherit the land which I sware unto their fathers to give them. 7 Only be strong and very courageous, to observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest have good success whithersoever thou goest. 8 This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth, but thou shalt meditate thereon day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.

As God instructed Joshua about how the Israelites would take possession of the Promised Land, He included a vital instruction: to meditate on His law day and night and to obey everything it said. This would guarantee success.

Meditation is still crucial for believers today. In our culture, we are inundated by worldly values and godless priorities. Unless we guard our heart, it will slowly begin to accept these unrighteous standards.

Therefore, we should discipline ourselves to meditate daily upon God’s Word, focusing our attention on His character and His ways. This involves prayerfully reading Scripture, being silent before the Lord so we can hear from Him, and applying biblical truth to our lives.

Of course, these things don’t just happen. Distractions take away from our ability to focus, so it is necessary to set aside a time when we can be still and listen. Consider the benefits of doing so. Meditation ...

• Quiets our spirit and provides an avenue for God to purify our heart.
• Develops a hunger for the Word so we can gain deeper understanding of Jesus and greater sense of His power.              
• Improves our discernment about His direction for our life.
• Sharpens our awareness of His presence.

Meditation may involve a small sacrifice of rising earlier or giving up free time during the day. But living a Christ-centered life filled with peace and joy depends upon our commitment to focus our mind and heart on Him regularly. Are you willing to discipline yourself to set aside time each day?

Bible in One Year: Exodus 34-35 Chapter 34 1 And Jehovah said unto Moses, Hew thee two tables of stone like unto the first: and I will write upon the tables the words that were on the first tables, which thou brakest. 2 And be ready by the morning, and come up in the morning unto mount Sinai, and present thyself there to me on the top of the mount. 3 And no man shall come up with thee; neither let any man be seen throughout all the mount; neither let the flocks nor herds feed before that mount. 4 And he hewed two tables of stone like unto the first; and Moses rose up early in the morning, and went up unto mount Sinai, as Jehovah had commanded him, and took in his hand two tables of stone. 5 And Jehovah descended in the cloud, and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of Jehovah. 6 And Jehovah passed by before him, and proclaimed, Jehovah, Jehovah, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abundant in lovingkindness and truth, 7 keeping lovingkindness for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin; and that will by no means clear `the guilty', visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children's children, upon the third and upon the fourth generation. 8 And Moses made haste, and bowed his head toward the earth, and worshipped. 9 And he said, If now I have found favor in thy sight, O Lord, let the Lord, I pray thee, go in the midst of us; for it is a stiffnecked people; and pardon our iniquity and our sin, and take us for thine inheritance. 10 And he said, Behold, I make a covenant: before all thy people I will do marvels, such as have not been wrought in all the earth, nor in any nation; and all the people among which thou art shall see the work of Jehovah; for it is a terrible thing that I do with thee. 11 Observe thou that which I command thee this day: behold, I drive out before thee the Amorite, and the Canaanite, and the Hittite, and the Perizzite, and the Hivite, and the Jebusite. 12 Take heed to thyself, lest thou make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land whither thou goest, lest it be for a snare in the midst of thee: 13 but ye shall break down their altars, and dash in pieces their pillars, and ye shall cut down their Asherim; 14 for thou shalt worship no other god: for Jehovah, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God: 15 lest thou make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land, and they play the harlot after their gods, and sacrifice unto their gods, and one call thee and thou eat of his sacrifice; 16 and thou take of their daughters unto thy sons, and their daughters play the harlot after their gods, and make thy sons play the harlot after their gods. 17 Thou shalt make thee no molten gods. 18 The feast of unleavened bread shalt thou keep. Seven days thou shalt eat unleavened bread, as I commanded thee, at the time appointed in the month Abib; for in the month Abib thou camest out from Egypt. 19 All that openeth the womb is mine; and all thy cattle that is male, the firstlings of cow and sheep. 20 And the firstling of an ass thou shalt redeem with a lamb: and if thou wilt not redeem it, then thou shalt break its neck. All the first-born of thy sons thou shalt redeem. And none shall appear before me empty. 21 Six days thou shalt work, but on the seventh day thou shalt rest: in plowing time and in harvest thou shalt rest. 22 And thou shalt observe the feast of weeks, `even' of the first-fruits of wheat harvest, and the feast of ingathering at the year's end. 23 Three times in the year shall all thy males appear before the Lord Jehovah, the God of Israel. 24 For I will cast out nations before thee, and enlarge thy borders: neither shall any man desire thy land, when thou goest up to appear before Jehovah thy God three times in the year. 25 Thou shalt not offer the blood of my sacrifice with leavened bread; neither shall the sacrifice of the feast of the passover be left unto the morning. 26 The first of the first-fruits of thy ground thou shalt bring unto the house of Jehovah thy God. Thou shalt not boil a kid in its mother's milk. 27 And Jehovah said unto Moses, Write thou these words: for after the tenor of these words I have made a covenant with thee and with Israel. 28 And he was there with Jehovah forty days and forty nights; he did neither eat bread, nor drink water. And he wrote upon the tables the words of the covenant, the ten commandments. 29 And it came to pass, when Moses came down from mount Sinai with the two tables of the testimony in Moses' hand, when he came down from the mount, that Moses knew not that the skin of his face shone by reason of his speaking with him. 30 And when Aaron and all the children of Israel saw Moses, behold, the skin of his face shone; and they were afraid to come nigh him. 31 And Moses called unto them; and Aaron and all the rulers of the congregation returned unto him: and Moses spake to them. 32 And afterward all the children of Israel came nigh: and he gave them in commandment all that Jehovah had spoken with him in mount Sinai. 33 And when Moses had done speaking with them, he put a veil on his face. 34 But when Moses went in before Jehovah to speak with him, he took the veil off, until he came out; and he came out, and spake unto the children of Israel that which he was commanded. 35 And the children of Israel saw the face of Moses, that the skin of Moses' face shone: and Moses put the veil upon his face again, until he went in to speak with him. Chapter 35 1 And Moses assembled all the congregation of the children of Israel, and said unto them, These are the words which Jehovah hath commanded, that ye should do them. 2 Six days shall work be done; but on the seventh day there shall be to you a holy day, a sabbath of solemn rest to Jehovah: whosoever doeth any work therein shall be put to death. 3 Ye shall kindle no fire throughout your habitations upon the sabbath day. 4 And Moses spake unto all the congregation of the children of Israel, saying, This is the thing which Jehovah commanded, saying, 5 Take ye from among you an offering unto Jehovah; whosoever is of a willing heart, let him bring it, Jehovah's offering: gold, and silver, and brass, 6 and blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine linen, and goats' `hair', 7 and rams' skins dyed red, and sealskins, and acacia wood, 8 and oil for the light, and spices for the anointing oil, and for the sweet incense, 9 and onyx stones, and stones to be set, for the ephod, and for the breastplate. 10 And let every wise-hearted man among you come, and make all that Jehovah hath commanded: 11 the tabernacle, its tent, and its covering, its clasps, and its boards, its bars, its pillars, and its sockets; 12 the ark, and the staves thereof, the mercy-seat, and the veil of the screen; 13 the table, and its staves, and all its vessels, and the showbread; 14 the candlestick also for the light, and its vessels, and its lamps, and the oil for the light; 15 and the altar of incense, and its staves, and the anointing oil, and the sweet incense, and the screen for the door, at the door of the tabernacle; 16 the altar of burnt-offering, with its grating of brass, it staves, and all its vessels, the laver and its base; 17 the hangings of the court, the pillars thereof, and their sockets, and the screen for the gate of the court; 18 the pins of the tabernacle, and the pins of the court, and their cords; 19 the finely wrought garments, for ministering in the holy place, the holy garments for Aaron the priest, and the garments of his sons, to minister in the priest's office. 20 And all the congregation of the children of Israel departed from the presence of Moses. 21 And they came, every one whose heart stirred him up, and every one whom his spirit made willing, `and' brought Jehovah's offering, for the work of the tent of meeting, and for all the service thereof, and for the holy garments. 22 And they came, both men and women, as many as were willing-hearted, `and' brought brooches, and ear-rings, and signet-rings, and armlets, all jewels of gold; even every man that offered an offering of gold unto Jehovah. 23 And every man, with whom was found blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine linen, and goats' `hair', and rams' skins dyed red, and sealskins, brought them. 24 Every one that did offer an offering of silver and brass brought Jehovah's offering; and every man, with whom was found acacia wood for any work of the service, brought it. 25 And all the women that were wise-hearted did spin with their hands, and brought that which they had spun, the blue, and the purple, the scarlet, and the fine linen. 26 And all the women whose heart stirred them up in wisdom spun the goats' `hair'. 27 And the rulers brought the onyx stones, and the stones to be set, for the ephod, and for the breastplate; 28 and the spice, and the oil; for the light, and for the anointing oil, and for the sweet incense. 29 The children of Israel brought a freewill-offering unto Jehovah; every man and woman, whose heart made them willing to bring for all the work, which Jehovah had commanded to be made by Moses. 30 And Moses said unto the children of Israel, See, Jehovah hath called by name Bezalel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah. 31 And he hath filled him with the Spirit of God, in wisdom, in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship; 32 and to devise skilful works, to work in gold, and in silver, and in brass, 33 and in cutting of stones for setting, and in carving of wood, to work in all manner of skilful workmanship. 34 And he hath put in his heart that he may teach, both he, and Oholiab, the son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan. 35 Them hath he filled with wisdom of heart, to work all manner of workmanship, of the engraver, and of the skilful workman, and of the embroiderer, in blue, and in purple, in scarlet, and in fine linen, and of the weaver, even of them that do any workmanship, and of those that devise skilful works.




He Knows Your Need

Published by John Piper for reading on January 27th.

“Do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.” ( Matthew 6:31 31 Be not therefore anxious, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? –32)

Jesus wants his followers to be free from worry. In Matthew 6:25 25 Therefore I say unto you, be not anxious for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than the food, and the body than the raiment? –34, he gives at least seven arguments designed to take away our anxiety. One of them lists food and drink and clothing, and then says, “Your heavenly Father knows that you need them all” ( Matthew 6:32 32 For after all these things do the Gentiles seek; for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. ).

Jesus must mean that God’s knowing is accompanied by his desiring to meet our need. He is emphasizing we have a Father. And this Father is better than any earthly father.

I have five children. I love to meet their needs. But my knowing falls short of God’s knowing in at least three ways.

First, right now I don’t know where any of my children are. I could guess. They’re in their homes or at work or school, healthy and safe. But they might be lying on a sidewalk with a heart attack.

Second, I don’t know what is in their heart at any given moment. I can guess from time to time. But they may be feeling some fear or hurt or anger or lust or greed or joy or hope. I can’t see their hearts. They don’t even know their own hearts perfectly.

Third, I don’t know their future. Right now they may seem well and steady. But tomorrow some great sorrow may befall them.

This means I can’t be for them a very strong reason not to worry. There are things that may be happening to them now, or may happen tomorrow, that I do not even know about. But it is totally different with their Father in heaven. Our Father in heaven! He knows everything about us, where we are, now and tomorrow, inside and out. He sees every need.

Add to that, his huge eagerness to meet our needs. Remember the “much more” of Matthew 6:30 30 But if God doth so clothe the grass of the field, which to-day is, and to-morrow is cast into the oven, `shall he' not much more `clothe' you, O ye of little faith? , “If God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you?”

Add to that his complete ability to do what he is eager to do (he feeds billions of birds hourly, around the world, Matthew 6:26 26 Behold the birds of the heaven, that they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; and your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are not ye of much more value then they? ).

So join me in trusting the promise of Jesus to meet our needs. That’s what Jesus is calling for when he says, “Your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.”



Life After Death

Published by InTouch Ministries for reading on January 27th.

Luke 12:16-20 16 And he spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully: 17 and he reasoned within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have not where to bestow my fruits? 18 And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my grain and my goods. 19 And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, be merry. 20 But God said unto him, Thou foolish one, this night is thy soul required of thee; and the things which thou hast prepared, whose shall they be?

The thought of death frightens many people. But believers have no reason to fear. Jesus’ empty tomb proves that there is life after the physical body dies.

Unbelievers who dread their demise have two different approaches to life. One group piles up wealth, good deeds, or worldly success in the hope of passing it on to their children or to charity. They expect to “live on” in the memories of those who benefit from their hard work. But it’s the rare person who is still remembered a few generations later. And none truly live on.

The other group chooses to laugh in the face of death. Their philosophy is “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die” (1 Cor. 15:32). Their existence seems pleasurable from the outside, but can you imagine a more futile way to live your life? God does not intend for us to pass the time with such meaninglessness.

Here’s the key to significance: fulfilling our unique, God-given, eternal purpose. In this life, we do not labor to leave a physical legacy or waste our days pursuing pleasure. Instead, we help those in need, influence our culture, and reach out to the lost. And when a believer enters heaven, he or she keeps on working for Jesus.

For the believer, death is not a fearsome end. It is the doorway to a new life of serving the Lord in heaven. Our days on earth are just the beginning of our existence; they will seem like only a few minutes compared to an eternity spent in His presence.

Bible in One Year: Exodus 34-35 Chapter 34 1 And Jehovah said unto Moses, Hew thee two tables of stone like unto the first: and I will write upon the tables the words that were on the first tables, which thou brakest. 2 And be ready by the morning, and come up in the morning unto mount Sinai, and present thyself there to me on the top of the mount. 3 And no man shall come up with thee; neither let any man be seen throughout all the mount; neither let the flocks nor herds feed before that mount. 4 And he hewed two tables of stone like unto the first; and Moses rose up early in the morning, and went up unto mount Sinai, as Jehovah had commanded him, and took in his hand two tables of stone. 5 And Jehovah descended in the cloud, and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of Jehovah. 6 And Jehovah passed by before him, and proclaimed, Jehovah, Jehovah, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abundant in lovingkindness and truth, 7 keeping lovingkindness for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin; and that will by no means clear `the guilty', visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children's children, upon the third and upon the fourth generation. 8 And Moses made haste, and bowed his head toward the earth, and worshipped. 9 And he said, If now I have found favor in thy sight, O Lord, let the Lord, I pray thee, go in the midst of us; for it is a stiffnecked people; and pardon our iniquity and our sin, and take us for thine inheritance. 10 And he said, Behold, I make a covenant: before all thy people I will do marvels, such as have not been wrought in all the earth, nor in any nation; and all the people among which thou art shall see the work of Jehovah; for it is a terrible thing that I do with thee. 11 Observe thou that which I command thee this day: behold, I drive out before thee the Amorite, and the Canaanite, and the Hittite, and the Perizzite, and the Hivite, and the Jebusite. 12 Take heed to thyself, lest thou make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land whither thou goest, lest it be for a snare in the midst of thee: 13 but ye shall break down their altars, and dash in pieces their pillars, and ye shall cut down their Asherim; 14 for thou shalt worship no other god: for Jehovah, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God: 15 lest thou make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land, and they play the harlot after their gods, and sacrifice unto their gods, and one call thee and thou eat of his sacrifice; 16 and thou take of their daughters unto thy sons, and their daughters play the harlot after their gods, and make thy sons play the harlot after their gods. 17 Thou shalt make thee no molten gods. 18 The feast of unleavened bread shalt thou keep. Seven days thou shalt eat unleavened bread, as I commanded thee, at the time appointed in the month Abib; for in the month Abib thou camest out from Egypt. 19 All that openeth the womb is mine; and all thy cattle that is male, the firstlings of cow and sheep. 20 And the firstling of an ass thou shalt redeem with a lamb: and if thou wilt not redeem it, then thou shalt break its neck. All the first-born of thy sons thou shalt redeem. And none shall appear before me empty. 21 Six days thou shalt work, but on the seventh day thou shalt rest: in plowing time and in harvest thou shalt rest. 22 And thou shalt observe the feast of weeks, `even' of the first-fruits of wheat harvest, and the feast of ingathering at the year's end. 23 Three times in the year shall all thy males appear before the Lord Jehovah, the God of Israel. 24 For I will cast out nations before thee, and enlarge thy borders: neither shall any man desire thy land, when thou goest up to appear before Jehovah thy God three times in the year. 25 Thou shalt not offer the blood of my sacrifice with leavened bread; neither shall the sacrifice of the feast of the passover be left unto the morning. 26 The first of the first-fruits of thy ground thou shalt bring unto the house of Jehovah thy God. Thou shalt not boil a kid in its mother's milk. 27 And Jehovah said unto Moses, Write thou these words: for after the tenor of these words I have made a covenant with thee and with Israel. 28 And he was there with Jehovah forty days and forty nights; he did neither eat bread, nor drink water. And he wrote upon the tables the words of the covenant, the ten commandments. 29 And it came to pass, when Moses came down from mount Sinai with the two tables of the testimony in Moses' hand, when he came down from the mount, that Moses knew not that the skin of his face shone by reason of his speaking with him. 30 And when Aaron and all the children of Israel saw Moses, behold, the skin of his face shone; and they were afraid to come nigh him. 31 And Moses called unto them; and Aaron and all the rulers of the congregation returned unto him: and Moses spake to them. 32 And afterward all the children of Israel came nigh: and he gave them in commandment all that Jehovah had spoken with him in mount Sinai. 33 And when Moses had done speaking with them, he put a veil on his face. 34 But when Moses went in before Jehovah to speak with him, he took the veil off, until he came out; and he came out, and spake unto the children of Israel that which he was commanded. 35 And the children of Israel saw the face of Moses, that the skin of Moses' face shone: and Moses put the veil upon his face again, until he went in to speak with him. Chapter 35 1 And Moses assembled all the congregation of the children of Israel, and said unto them, These are the words which Jehovah hath commanded, that ye should do them. 2 Six days shall work be done; but on the seventh day there shall be to you a holy day, a sabbath of solemn rest to Jehovah: whosoever doeth any work therein shall be put to death. 3 Ye shall kindle no fire throughout your habitations upon the sabbath day. 4 And Moses spake unto all the congregation of the children of Israel, saying, This is the thing which Jehovah commanded, saying, 5 Take ye from among you an offering unto Jehovah; whosoever is of a willing heart, let him bring it, Jehovah's offering: gold, and silver, and brass, 6 and blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine linen, and goats' `hair', 7 and rams' skins dyed red, and sealskins, and acacia wood, 8 and oil for the light, and spices for the anointing oil, and for the sweet incense, 9 and onyx stones, and stones to be set, for the ephod, and for the breastplate. 10 And let every wise-hearted man among you come, and make all that Jehovah hath commanded: 11 the tabernacle, its tent, and its covering, its clasps, and its boards, its bars, its pillars, and its sockets; 12 the ark, and the staves thereof, the mercy-seat, and the veil of the screen; 13 the table, and its staves, and all its vessels, and the showbread; 14 the candlestick also for the light, and its vessels, and its lamps, and the oil for the light; 15 and the altar of incense, and its staves, and the anointing oil, and the sweet incense, and the screen for the door, at the door of the tabernacle; 16 the altar of burnt-offering, with its grating of brass, it staves, and all its vessels, the laver and its base; 17 the hangings of the court, the pillars thereof, and their sockets, and the screen for the gate of the court; 18 the pins of the tabernacle, and the pins of the court, and their cords; 19 the finely wrought garments, for ministering in the holy place, the holy garments for Aaron the priest, and the garments of his sons, to minister in the priest's office. 20 And all the congregation of the children of Israel departed from the presence of Moses. 21 And they came, every one whose heart stirred him up, and every one whom his spirit made willing, `and' brought Jehovah's offering, for the work of the tent of meeting, and for all the service thereof, and for the holy garments. 22 And they came, both men and women, as many as were willing-hearted, `and' brought brooches, and ear-rings, and signet-rings, and armlets, all jewels of gold; even every man that offered an offering of gold unto Jehovah. 23 And every man, with whom was found blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine linen, and goats' `hair', and rams' skins dyed red, and sealskins, brought them. 24 Every one that did offer an offering of silver and brass brought Jehovah's offering; and every man, with whom was found acacia wood for any work of the service, brought it. 25 And all the women that were wise-hearted did spin with their hands, and brought that which they had spun, the blue, and the purple, the scarlet, and the fine linen. 26 And all the women whose heart stirred them up in wisdom spun the goats' `hair'. 27 And the rulers brought the onyx stones, and the stones to be set, for the ephod, and for the breastplate; 28 and the spice, and the oil; for the light, and for the anointing oil, and for the sweet incense. 29 The children of Israel brought a freewill-offering unto Jehovah; every man and woman, whose heart made them willing to bring for all the work, which Jehovah had commanded to be made by Moses. 30 And Moses said unto the children of Israel, See, Jehovah hath called by name Bezalel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah. 31 And he hath filled him with the Spirit of God, in wisdom, in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship; 32 and to devise skilful works, to work in gold, and in silver, and in brass, 33 and in cutting of stones for setting, and in carving of wood, to work in all manner of skilful workmanship. 34 And he hath put in his heart that he may teach, both he, and Oholiab, the son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan. 35 Them hath he filled with wisdom of heart, to work all manner of workmanship, of the engraver, and of the skilful workman, and of the embroiderer, in blue, and in purple, in scarlet, and in fine linen, and of the weaver, even of them that do any workmanship, and of those that devise skilful works.




Daily Bible - January 27

Published by Grace To You for reading on January 27th.

Reading for Today:

  • Exodus 3:1 Chapter 3 1 Now Moses was keeping the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian: and he led the flock to the back of the wilderness, and came to the mountain of God, unto Horeb. –4:31
  • Psalms 16:1-6 Chapter 16 1 Preserve me, O God; for in thee do I take refuge. 2 `O my soul', thou hast said unto Jehovah, Thou art my Lord: I have no good beyond thee. 3 As for the saints that are in the earth, They are the excellent in whom is all my delight. 4 Their sorrows shall be multiplied that give gifts for another `god': Their drink-offerings of blood will I not offer, Nor take their names upon my lips. 5 Jehovah is the portion of mine inheritance and of my cup: Thou maintainest my lot. 6 The lines are fallen unto me in pleasant places; Yea, I have a goodly heritage.
  • Proverbs 5:1-6 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.
  • Matthew 18:1-20 Chapter 18 1 In that hour came the disciples unto Jesus, saying, Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven? 2 And he called to him a little child, and set him in the midst of them, 3 and said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye turn, and become as little children, ye shall in no wise enter into the kingdom of heaven. 4 Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. 5 And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me: 6 But whoso shall cause one of these little ones that believe on me to stumble, it is profitable for him that a great millstone should be hanged about his neck, and `that' he should be sunk in the depth of the sea. 7 Woe unto the world because of occasions of stumbling! for it must needs be that the occasions come; but woe to that man through whom the occasion cometh! 8 And if thy hand or thy foot causeth thee to stumble, cut it off, and cast it from thee: it is good for thee to enter into life maimed or halt, rather than having two hands or two feet to be cast into the eternal fire. 9 And if thine eye causeth thee to stumble, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: it is good for thee to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes to be cast into the hell of fire. 10 See that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, that in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father who is in heaven. 11 `For the Son of man came to save that which was lost.' 12 How think ye? if any man have a hundred sheep, and one of them be gone astray, doth he not leave the ninety and nine, and go unto the mountains, and seek that which goeth astray? 13 And if so be that he find it, verily I say unto you, he rejoiceth over it more than over the ninety and nine which have not gone astray. 14 Even so it is not the will of your Father who is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish. 15 And if thy brother sin against thee, go, show him his fault between thee and him alone: if he hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. 16 But if he hear `thee' not, take with thee one or two more, that at the mouth of two witnesses or three every word may be established. 17 And if he refuse to hear them, tell it unto the church: and if he refuse to hear the church also, let him be unto thee as the Gentile and the publican. 18 Verily I say unto you, what things soever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and what things soever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. 19 Again I say unto you, that if two of you shall agree on earth as touching anything that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father who is in heaven. 20 For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.

Notes:

Exodus 4:21 I will harden his heart. The Lord’s personal and direct involvement in the affairs of men so that His purposes might be done is revealed as God informed Moses what would take place. Pharaoh was also warned that his own refusal would bring judgment on him (v. 23). Previously Moses had been told that God was certain of Pharaoh’s refusal (3:19). This interplay between God’s hardening and Pharaoh’s hardening his heart must be kept in balance. Ten times (4:21; 7:3; 9:12; 10:1, 20, 27; 11:10; 14:4, 8, 17) the historical record notes specifically that God hardened the king’s heart, and ten times (7:13, 14, 22; 8:15, 19, 32; 9:7, 34, 35; 13:15) the record indicates the king hardened his own heart. The apostle Paul used this hardening as an example of God’s inscrutable will and absolute power to intervene as He chooses, yet obviously never without loss of personal responsibility for actions taken. The theological conundrum posed by such interplay of God’s acting and Pharaoh’s acting can only be resolved by accepting the record as it stands and by taking refuge in the omniscience and omnipotence of the God who planned and brought about His deliverance of Israel from Egypt and, in so doing, also judged Pharaoh’s sinfulness.

Matthew 18:3 become as little children. This is how Jesus characterized conversion. Like the Beatitudes, it pictures faith as the simple, helpless, trusting dependence of those who have no resources of their own. Like children, they have no achievements and no accomplishments to offer or commend themselves with.

Matthew 18:20 two or three. Jewish tradition requires at least 10 men (a minyan) to constitute a synagogue or even hold public prayer. Here, Christ promised to be present in the midst of an even smaller flock—”two or three” witnesses gathered in His name for the purpose of discipline.

DAY 27: Is it okay to question God?

Upon hearing that God was sending Moses to be the leader/deliverer of Israel (Ex. 3:10), his response of “Who am I…?” is an expression of inadequacy for such a serious mission. It sounded reasonable, for after 40 years of absence from Egypt, what could he, a mere shepherd of Midian, do upon return?

But was Moses crossing the line from reasonable inquiry to unreasonable doubt in 3:13? God’s patient replies instructing Moses on what He would do and what the results would be, including Israel’s being viewed with favor by the Egyptians (3:21), ought to caution the reader from hastily classifying Moses’ attitude as altogether wrong from the very beginning of the interaction between him and the Lord. Yes, Israel might ask for God’s name in validation of Moses’ declaration that he had been sent by the God of their fathers. Asking “What is His name?” meant they sought for the relevancy of the name to their circumstances—the character, quality, or essence of a person. God’s answer was: “I AM WHO I AM” (v. 14). This name for God points to His self-existence and eternality; it denotes “I am the One who is/will be.” The significance in relation to “God of your fathers” is immediately discernible: He’s the same God throughout the ages!

A response of divine anger comes only in 4:14 at the very end of Moses’ questions and objections, where he moved beyond inquiry into objection.

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

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January 27 - The Lord's Ministry All According to Plan

Published by Grace To You for reading on January 27th.

“He withdrew into Galilee; and leaving Nazareth, He came and settled in Capernaum, which is by the sea” ( Matthew 4:12-13 12 Now when he heard that John was delivered up, he withdrew into Galilee; 13 and leaving Nazareth, he came and dwelt in Capernaum, which is by the sea, in the borders of Zebulun and Naphtali: ).

Nothing was accidental or happenstance about Jesus’ earthly ministry. He did not go from Judea to Galilee because Herod or the Jewish leaders forced Him to or because He had nowhere else to go. He left Judea because His work there was finished for the time being. And He came to Galilee because that was the next place, according to the Father’s plan, for Him to minister.

Humanly speaking, Jesus left the lower Jordan region for Galilee because of the Jewish leaders (cf. John 4:1 Chapter 4 1 When therefore the Lord knew that the Pharisees had heard that Jesus was making and baptizing more disciples than John , 3). His close association with John the Baptist as well as His growing number of followers had caused the scribes and Pharisees to hate Jesus as much or more than they hated John. Jesus was not afraid of their hatred but removed Himself from the leaders’ immediate influence because it was not yet time for them to fully turn their wrath on Him.

The Lord by no means avoided the Jewish leaders permanently, for at the appropriate, foreordained time, He faced them without flinching and denounced them far more harshly than John the Baptist ever did (cf. Matt. 23:1–36). Jesus was simply forever safe from wicked human schemes and devices. He knew He would die, but it would be according to the will of His Father, not that of His earthly enemies (cf. John 10:17 17 Therefore doth the Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I may take it again. –18). He also knew He would rise from the dead, all according to the divine plan.

Ask Yourself

Can Christians live with the same kind of bold assurance that Jesus did, fearlessly walking through life at the Spirit’s direction? If the worst that could happen would only put us that much closer to Jesus, what reason do we have for fear? Why not resolve to follow Jesus’ example?

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

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Seeking Righteous Attitudes

Published by Grace To You for reading on January 27th.

“I . . . entreat you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing forbearance to one another in love, being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” ( Ephesians 4:3 3 giving diligence to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. ).

God is most concerned about who we are, because who we are determines what we do.

Now that we’ve looked in depth at Ephesians 4:1-3 Chapter 4 1 I therefore, the prisoner in the Lord, beseech you to walk worthily of the calling wherewith ye were called, 2 with all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; 3 giving diligence to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. , let’s take a step back. These verses reveal a basic truth: the Christian life is not primarily about what we do but who we are. When Paul teaches about the worthy walk, about how we live each day, he never discusses actions, only attitudes.

It is possible to have what I call “action fruit”—such as praise (Heb. 13:15), giving (Phil. 4:17), evangelism (Rom. 1:13), and other good works (Col. 1:10)—without “attitude fruit,” which is the fruit of the Spirit: “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control” (Gal. 5:22-23). Plenty of people can do good deeds without inner righteousness. But that’s legalism; that’s the hypocrisy that the Bible speaks so much about. The right path to true spirituality is to have proper attitudes first. The Holy Spirit works through our attitudes to produce right actions.

Unfortunately, many Christians miss this point. To them, being a Christian is primarily a list of do’s—going to church, putting money in the offering, carrying a Bible—and don’ts—not cursing, not drinking, not murdering. They see external behavior as the fact of Christianity instead of the manifestation of it. They don’t cultivate the inner graces.

Of course, God wants us to live righteous lives. But to those with merely external actions, Jesus said, “Woe to you . . . hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside they are full of robbery and self-indulgence. . . . First clean the inside of the cup and of the dish, so that the outside of it may become clean also” (Matt. 23:25-26).

Don’t let yourself become a slave to external religion. Make sure you do your good works out of love for God and others, as part of the overflow of the spiritual fruit in your life.

Suggestions for Prayer

If you see hypocrisy in yourself, ask God to purge it. Pray for and diligently seek attitude fruit.

For Further Study

Jesus warned about internal sinfulness in Matthew 5:2122, 27-30 and external righteousness in 6:1-18 and 7:1-5. How is Proverbs 4:23 23 Keep thy heart with all diligence; For out of it are the issues of life. an antidote to those?

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.

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Trusting in God's Power

Published by Grace To You for reading on January 27th.

"I pray that ... you may know ... the surpassing greatness of [God's] power toward us who believe" (Eph. 1:18-19).

The same divine power that created, sustains, and controls the universe secures your salvation.

God’s power is awesome! David wrote, “Thine, O Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, indeed everything that is in the heavens and the earth; Thine is the dominion, O Lord, and Thou dost exalt Thyself as head over all. Both riches and honor come from Thee, and Thou dost rule over all, and in Thy hand is power and might; and it lies in Thy hand to make great, and to strengthen everyone. Now therefore, our God, we thank Thee, and praise Thy glorious name” (1 Chron.29:11-13).

In Ephesians 1:19 19 and what the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to that working of the strength of his might Paul focuses on one key feature of God’s power: His ability to secure the salvation of His people. And he prays for you to understand the surpassing greatness of that truth.

The Greek word translated “power” is dunamis, from which we get dynamite and dynamo. This power is active, dynamic, and compelling—and it is mightily at work on your behalf. You might not always sense it, but it’s there nonetheless.

Peter expresses the same thought in 1 Peter 1:5 5 who by the power of God are guarded through faith unto a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. , where he says you are “protected by the power of God through faith” in Christ. In that verse “protected” means “to keep or guard” and reflects Peter’s confidence that salvation is inviolable.

The same limitless power that created, sustains, and controls the universe saved you and keeps you saved. That’s why Jesus said no one can snatch you out of the Father’s hand ( John 10:29 29 My Father, who hath given `them' unto me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch `them' out of the Father's hand. ). Not even Satan has the power to do that. Paul confidently added that nothing therefore can separate you from God’s love (Rom. 8:38-39). That’s the confidence you should have as you live each day.

Suggestions for Prayer

Pray for greater spiritual enlightenment and a clearer understanding of your security in Christ. Nothing will rob you of your assurance quicker than unconfessed sin. If that has happened to you, confess it immediately and turn from it. Then ask God to restore to you the joy of your salvation.

For Further Study

Read 1 Chronicles 29:11-13 11 Thine, O Jehovah, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty: for all that is in the heavens and in the earth `is thine'; thine is the kingdom, O Jehovah, and thou art exalted as head above all. 12 Both riches and honor come of thee, and thou rulest over all; and in thy hand is power and might; and in thy hand it is to make great, and to give strength unto all. 13 Now therefore, our God, we thank thee, and praise thy glorious name. .

  • What prerogatives did David attribute to God (vv. 11-12)?
  • What was David's response to God's power (v. 13)?

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        

Morning Devotional by C.H. Spurgeon for January 27th

Published by C.H. Spurgeon for reading on January 27th.

John 1:16 16 For of his fulness we all received, and grace for grace.

THESE words tell us that there is a fulness in Christ. There is a fulness of essential Deity, for "in Him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead." There is a fulness of perfect manhood, for in Him, bodily, that Godhead was revealed. There is a fulness of atoning efficacy in His blood, for "the blood of Jesus Christ, His Son, cleanseth us from all sin." There is a fulness of justifying righteousness in His life, for "there is therefore now no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus." There is a fulness of divine prevalence in His plea, for "He is able to save to the uttermost them that come unto God by Him; seeing He ever liveth to make intercession for them." There is a fulness of victory in His death, for through death He destroyed him that had the power of death, that is the devil. There is a fulness of efficacy in His resurrection from the dead, for by it "we are begotten again unto a lively hope." There is a fuIness of triumph in His ascension, for "when He ascended up on high, He led captivity captive, and received gifts for men." There is a fulness of blessings of every sort and shape; a fulness of grace to pardon, of grace to regenerate, of grace to sanctify, of grace to preserve, and of grace to perfect. There is a fulness at all times; a fulness of comfort in affliction; a fulness of guidance in prosperity. A fulness of every divine attribute, of wisdom, of power, of love; a fulness which it were impossible to survey, much less to explore. "It pleased the Father that in Him should all fulness dwell." Oh, what a fulness must this be of which all receive! Fulness, indeed, must there be when the stream is always flowing, and yet the well springs up as free, as rich, as full as ever. Come, believer, and get all thy need supplied; ask largely, and thou shalt receive largely, for this "fulness" is inexhaustible, and is treasured up where all the needy may reach it, even in Jesus, Immanuel—God with us.

Evening Devotional by C.H. Spurgeon for January 27th

Published by C.H. Spurgeon for reading on January 27th.

Luke 2:19 19 But Mary kept all these sayings, pondering them in her heart.

THERE was an exercise, on the part of this blessed woman, of three powers of her being: her memory—she kept all these things; her affections—she kept them in her heart; her intellect—she pondered them; so that memory, affection, and understanding, were all exercised about the things which she had heard. Beloved, remember what you have heard of your Lord Jesus, and what He has done for you; make your heart the golden pot of manna to preserve the memorial of the heavenly bread whereon you have fed in days gone by. Let your memory treasure up everything about Christ which you have either felt, or known, or believed, and then let your fond affections hold Him fast for evermore. Love the person of your Lord! Bring forth the alabaster box of your heart, even though it be broken, and let all the precious ointment of your affection come streaming on His pierced feet. Let your intellect be exercised concerning the Lord Jesus. Meditate upon what you read: stop not at the surface; dive into the depths. Be not as the swallow which toucheth the brook with her wing, but as the fish which penetrates the lowest wave. Abide with your Lord: let Him not be to you as a wayfaring man, that tarrieth for a night, but constrain Him, saying, "Abide with us, for the day is far spent." Hold Him, and do not let Him go. The word "ponder, ' means to weigh. Make ready the balances of judgment. Oh, but where are the scales that can weigh the Lord Christ? "He taketh up the isles as a very little thing:"—who shall take Him up? "He weigheth the mountains in scales"—in what scales shall we weigh Him? Be it so, if your understanding cannot comprehend, let your affections apprehend; and if your spirit cannot compass the Lord Jesus in the grasp of understanding, let it embrace Him in the arms of affection.

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