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Dying to Serve: A Parable

Published by InTouch Ministries for reading on June 17th.

John 12:23-26 23 And Jesus answereth them, saying, The hour is come, that the Son of man should be glorified. 24 Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a grain of wheat fall into the earth and die, it abideth by itself alone; but if it die, it beareth much fruit. 25 He that loveth his life loseth it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal. 26 If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will the Father honor.

Imagine two grains of wheat lying on the floor of a warm and cozy barn. One day, the farmer comes in and tells them, “I want to take you out of this comfortable barn and plant you in the earth. I’m going to place you in the cold ground and cover you with soil. It will be dark, and you will die. But I promise that you will multiply and become very fruitful.”

The first grain of wheat turns down the suggestion. “No way!” he says. “Count me out. I like my comfort, and I don’t want to die.” But the second one, after carefully considering the pain and discomfort of dying, decides the promise of a future harvest is worth the sacrifice. So the farmer takes him outside and plants him in the ground, while allowing the first grain of wheat to remain inside the barn.

A few days later, a small green sprout begins to appear over where the seed has been planted. Then it grows and becomes a tall stalk of wheat that produces one hundred more grains. For the next 40 years, the farmer plants all the seeds that originated from that first grain of wheat, and year after year the harvest multiplies. Meanwhile, the grain of wheat that stayed in the barn remains there all alone, never growing or multiplying—but he has stayed very comfortable.

Which grain of wheat are you? Are you playing it safe, or have you let Christ plant you in the world? The only way you’ll become useful and fruitful in God’s kingdom is by abiding in Him and trusting that His desires for your life are worthwhile.

Bible in One Year: Psalms 39-43 Chapter 39 1 I said, I will take heed to my ways, That I sin not with my tongue: I will keep my mouth with a bridle, While the wicked is before me. 2 I was dumb with silence, I held my peace, even from good; And my sorrow was stirred. 3 My heart was hot within me; While I was musing the fire burned: `Then' spake I with my tongue: 4 Jehovah, make me to know mine end, And the measure of my days, what it is; Let me know how frail I am. 5 Behold, thou hast made my days `as' handbreadths; And my life-time is as nothing before thee: Surely every man at his best estate is altogether vanity. Selah 6 Surely every man walketh in a vain show; Surely they are disquieted in vain: He heapeth up `riches', and knoweth not who shall gather them. 7 And now, Lord, what wait I for? My hope is in thee. 8 Deliver me from all my transgressions: Make me not the reproach of the foolish. 9 I was dumb, I opened not my mouth; Because thou didst it. 10 Remove thy stroke away from me: I am consumed by the blow of thy hand. 11 When thou with rebukes dost correct man for iniquity, Thou makest his beauty to consume away like a moth: Surely every man is vanity. Selah 12 Hear my prayer, O Jehovah, and give ear unto my cry; Hold not thy peace at my tears: For I am a stranger with thee, A sojourner, as all my fathers were. 13 Oh spare me, that I may recover strength, Before I go hence, and be no more. Psalm 40 For the Chief Musician. A Psalm of David. Chapter 40 1 I waited patiently for Jehovah; And he inclined unto me, and heard my cry. 2 He brought me up also out of a horrible pit, out of the miry clay; And he set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings. 3 And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: Many shall see it, and fear, And shall trust in Jehovah. 4 Blessed is the man that maketh Jehovah his trust, And respecteth not the proud, nor such as turn aside to lies. 5 Many, O Jehovah my God, are the wonderful works which thou hast done, And thy thoughts which are to us-ward; They cannot be set in order unto thee; If I would declare and speak of them, They are more than can be numbered. 6 Sacrifice and offering thou hast no delight in; Mine ears hast thou opened: Burnt-offering and sin-offering hast thou not required. 7 Then said I, Lo, I am come; In the roll of the book it is written of me: 8 I delight to do thy will, O my God; Yea, thy law is within my heart. 9 I have proclaimed glad tidings of righteousness in the great assembly; Lo, I will not refrain my lips, O Jehovah, thou knowest. 10 I have not hid thy righteousness within my heart; I have declared thy faithfulness and thy salvation; I have not concealed thy lovingkindness and thy truth from the great assembly. 11 Withhold not thou thy tender mercies from me, O Jehovah; Let thy lovingkindness and thy truth continually preserve me. 12 For innumerable evils have compassed me about; Mine iniquities have overtaken me, so that I am not able to look up; They are more than the hairs of my head; And my heart hath failed me. 13 Be pleased, O Jehovah, to deliver me: Make haste to help me, O Jehovah. 14 Let them be put to shame and confounded together That seek after my soul to destroy it: Let them be turned backward and brought to dishonor That delight in my hurt. 15 Let them be desolate by reason of their shame That say unto me, Aha, aha. 16 Let all those that seek thee rejoice and be glad in thee: Let such as love thy salvation say continually, Jehovah be magnified. 17 But I am poor and needy; `Yet' the Lord thinketh upon me: Thou art my help and my deliverer; Make no tarrying, O my God. Psalm 41 For the Chief Musician. A Psalm of David. Chapter 41 1 Blessed is he that considereth the poor: Jehovah will deliver him in the day of evil. 2 Jehovah will preserve him, and keep him alive, And he shall be blessed upon the earth; And deliver not thou him unto the will of his enemies. 3 Jehovah will support him upon the couch of languishing: Thou makest all his bed in his sickness. 4 I said, O Jehovah, have mercy upon me: Heal my soul; for I have sinned against thee. 5 Mine enemies speak evil against me, `saying', When will he die, and his name perish? 6 And if he come to see `me', he speaketh falsehood; His heart gathereth iniquity to itself: When he goeth abroad, he telleth it. 7 All that hate me whisper together against me; Against me do they devise my hurt. 8 An evil disease, `say they', cleaveth fast unto him; And now that he lieth he shall rise up no more. 9 Yea, mine own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, Who did eat of my bread, Hath lifted up his heel against me. 10 But thou, O Jehovah, have mercy upon me, and raise me up, That I may requite them. 11 By this I know that thou delightest in me, Because mine enemy doth not triumph over me. 12 And as for me, thou upholdest me in mine integrity, And settest me before thy face for ever. 13 Blessed be Jehovah, the God of Israel, From everlasting and to everlasting. Amen, and Amen. Psalm 42 For the Chief Musician. Maschil of the sons of Korah. Chapter 42 1 As the hart panteth after the water brooks, So panteth my soul after thee, O God. 2 My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: When shall I come and appear before God? 3 My tears have been my food day and night, While they continually say unto me, Where is thy God? 4 These things I remember, and pour out my soul within me, How I went with the throng, and led them to the house of God, With the voice of joy and praise, a multitude keeping holyday. 5 Why art thou cast down, O my soul? And `why' art thou disquieted within me? Hope thou in God; for I shall yet praise him `For' the help of his countenance. 6 O my God, my soul is cast down within me: Therefore do I remember thee from the land of the Jordan, And the Hermons, from the hill Mizar. 7 Deep calleth unto deep at the noise of thy waterfalls: All thy waves and thy billows are gone over me. 8 `Yet' Jehovah will command his lovingkindness in the day-time; And in the night his song shall be with me, `Even' a prayer unto the God of my life. 9 I will say unto God my rock, Why hast thou forgotten me? Why go I mourning because of the oppression of the enemy? 10 As with a sword in my bones, mine adversaries reproach me, While they continually say unto me, Where is thy God? 11 Why art thou cast down, O my soul? And why art thou disquieted within me? Hope thou in God; for I shall yet praise him, `Who is' the help of my countenance, and my God. Chapter 43 1 Judge me, O God, and plead my cause against an ungodly nation: Oh deliver me from the deceitful and unjust man. 2 For thou art the God of my strength; why hast thou cast me off? Why go I mourning because of the oppression of the enemy? 3 Oh send out thy light and thy truth; let them lead me: Let them bring me unto thy holy hill, And to thy tabernacles. 4 Then will I go unto the altar of God, Unto God my exceeding joy; And upon the harp will I praise thee, O God, my God. 5 Why art thou cast down, O my soul? And why art thou disquieted within me? Hope thou in God; for I shall yet praise him, `Who is' the help of my countenance, and my God. Psalm 44 For the Chief Musician. `A Psalm' of the sons of Korah. Maschil.




When Burdens Seem Unbearable

Published by InTouch Ministries for reading on June 17th.

Psalms 13:1-6 Chapter 13 1 How long, O Jehovah? wilt thou forget me for ever? How long wilt thou hide thy face from me? 2 How long shall I take counsel in my soul, Having sorrow in my heart all the day? How long shall mine enemy be exalted over me? 3 Consider `and' answer me, O Jehovah my God: Lighten mine eyes, lest I sleep the `sleep of' death; 4 Lest mine enemy say, I have prevailed against him; `Lest' mine adversaries rejoice when I am moved. 5 But I have trusted in thy lovingkindness; My heart shall rejoice in thy salvation. 6 I will sing unto Jehovah, Because he hath dealt bountifully with me. Psalm 14 For the Chief Musician. `A Psalm' of David.

Which is more influential in your life—circumstances or your perspective? Although we may long for a pleasant life filled with abundance, comfort, and good experiences, the reality is that we live in a fallen world. Almost nothing is as it should be, but the way we perceive life’s hardships and burdens depends largely on our perspective.

For example, when we are overburdened, the world might look dark even when the sun is shining. The birds may be singing, but all we hear are the sorrowful cries of our own heart. The burdens seem so overwhelming that we may even distance ourselves from others, yet that only encourages us to dwell even more on our problems and leads us further into despair.

But when we open the book of Psalms, the words penetrate our bleak circumstances, inviting us to draw near and find rest in the Lord. How gracious of Him to give us this amazing book of comfort. But greater still are the lessons we learn from it.

In today’s psalm, David is weighed down with burdens. He asks, “How long?” Have you ever felt like that? He describes his troubles and pleads for an answer, but by the end of the psalm, his perspective shifts when he remembers that God is trustworthy.

If you feel as if you’re bearing the weight of the world on your shoulders, stop and look up to your heavenly Father. Remember a time in the past when God carried you through hard circumstances, and rejoice in His steadfast faithfulness. He didn’t fail you then, and He will not fail you now.

Bible in One Year: Psalms 39-43 Chapter 39 1 I said, I will take heed to my ways, That I sin not with my tongue: I will keep my mouth with a bridle, While the wicked is before me. 2 I was dumb with silence, I held my peace, even from good; And my sorrow was stirred. 3 My heart was hot within me; While I was musing the fire burned: `Then' spake I with my tongue: 4 Jehovah, make me to know mine end, And the measure of my days, what it is; Let me know how frail I am. 5 Behold, thou hast made my days `as' handbreadths; And my life-time is as nothing before thee: Surely every man at his best estate is altogether vanity. Selah 6 Surely every man walketh in a vain show; Surely they are disquieted in vain: He heapeth up `riches', and knoweth not who shall gather them. 7 And now, Lord, what wait I for? My hope is in thee. 8 Deliver me from all my transgressions: Make me not the reproach of the foolish. 9 I was dumb, I opened not my mouth; Because thou didst it. 10 Remove thy stroke away from me: I am consumed by the blow of thy hand. 11 When thou with rebukes dost correct man for iniquity, Thou makest his beauty to consume away like a moth: Surely every man is vanity. Selah 12 Hear my prayer, O Jehovah, and give ear unto my cry; Hold not thy peace at my tears: For I am a stranger with thee, A sojourner, as all my fathers were. 13 Oh spare me, that I may recover strength, Before I go hence, and be no more. Psalm 40 For the Chief Musician. A Psalm of David. Chapter 40 1 I waited patiently for Jehovah; And he inclined unto me, and heard my cry. 2 He brought me up also out of a horrible pit, out of the miry clay; And he set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings. 3 And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: Many shall see it, and fear, And shall trust in Jehovah. 4 Blessed is the man that maketh Jehovah his trust, And respecteth not the proud, nor such as turn aside to lies. 5 Many, O Jehovah my God, are the wonderful works which thou hast done, And thy thoughts which are to us-ward; They cannot be set in order unto thee; If I would declare and speak of them, They are more than can be numbered. 6 Sacrifice and offering thou hast no delight in; Mine ears hast thou opened: Burnt-offering and sin-offering hast thou not required. 7 Then said I, Lo, I am come; In the roll of the book it is written of me: 8 I delight to do thy will, O my God; Yea, thy law is within my heart. 9 I have proclaimed glad tidings of righteousness in the great assembly; Lo, I will not refrain my lips, O Jehovah, thou knowest. 10 I have not hid thy righteousness within my heart; I have declared thy faithfulness and thy salvation; I have not concealed thy lovingkindness and thy truth from the great assembly. 11 Withhold not thou thy tender mercies from me, O Jehovah; Let thy lovingkindness and thy truth continually preserve me. 12 For innumerable evils have compassed me about; Mine iniquities have overtaken me, so that I am not able to look up; They are more than the hairs of my head; And my heart hath failed me. 13 Be pleased, O Jehovah, to deliver me: Make haste to help me, O Jehovah. 14 Let them be put to shame and confounded together That seek after my soul to destroy it: Let them be turned backward and brought to dishonor That delight in my hurt. 15 Let them be desolate by reason of their shame That say unto me, Aha, aha. 16 Let all those that seek thee rejoice and be glad in thee: Let such as love thy salvation say continually, Jehovah be magnified. 17 But I am poor and needy; `Yet' the Lord thinketh upon me: Thou art my help and my deliverer; Make no tarrying, O my God. Psalm 41 For the Chief Musician. A Psalm of David. Chapter 41 1 Blessed is he that considereth the poor: Jehovah will deliver him in the day of evil. 2 Jehovah will preserve him, and keep him alive, And he shall be blessed upon the earth; And deliver not thou him unto the will of his enemies. 3 Jehovah will support him upon the couch of languishing: Thou makest all his bed in his sickness. 4 I said, O Jehovah, have mercy upon me: Heal my soul; for I have sinned against thee. 5 Mine enemies speak evil against me, `saying', When will he die, and his name perish? 6 And if he come to see `me', he speaketh falsehood; His heart gathereth iniquity to itself: When he goeth abroad, he telleth it. 7 All that hate me whisper together against me; Against me do they devise my hurt. 8 An evil disease, `say they', cleaveth fast unto him; And now that he lieth he shall rise up no more. 9 Yea, mine own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, Who did eat of my bread, Hath lifted up his heel against me. 10 But thou, O Jehovah, have mercy upon me, and raise me up, That I may requite them. 11 By this I know that thou delightest in me, Because mine enemy doth not triumph over me. 12 And as for me, thou upholdest me in mine integrity, And settest me before thy face for ever. 13 Blessed be Jehovah, the God of Israel, From everlasting and to everlasting. Amen, and Amen. Psalm 42 For the Chief Musician. Maschil of the sons of Korah. Chapter 42 1 As the hart panteth after the water brooks, So panteth my soul after thee, O God. 2 My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: When shall I come and appear before God? 3 My tears have been my food day and night, While they continually say unto me, Where is thy God? 4 These things I remember, and pour out my soul within me, How I went with the throng, and led them to the house of God, With the voice of joy and praise, a multitude keeping holyday. 5 Why art thou cast down, O my soul? And `why' art thou disquieted within me? Hope thou in God; for I shall yet praise him `For' the help of his countenance. 6 O my God, my soul is cast down within me: Therefore do I remember thee from the land of the Jordan, And the Hermons, from the hill Mizar. 7 Deep calleth unto deep at the noise of thy waterfalls: All thy waves and thy billows are gone over me. 8 `Yet' Jehovah will command his lovingkindness in the day-time; And in the night his song shall be with me, `Even' a prayer unto the God of my life. 9 I will say unto God my rock, Why hast thou forgotten me? Why go I mourning because of the oppression of the enemy? 10 As with a sword in my bones, mine adversaries reproach me, While they continually say unto me, Where is thy God? 11 Why art thou cast down, O my soul? And why art thou disquieted within me? Hope thou in God; for I shall yet praise him, `Who is' the help of my countenance, and my God. Chapter 43 1 Judge me, O God, and plead my cause against an ungodly nation: Oh deliver me from the deceitful and unjust man. 2 For thou art the God of my strength; why hast thou cast me off? Why go I mourning because of the oppression of the enemy? 3 Oh send out thy light and thy truth; let them lead me: Let them bring me unto thy holy hill, And to thy tabernacles. 4 Then will I go unto the altar of God, Unto God my exceeding joy; And upon the harp will I praise thee, O God, my God. 5 Why art thou cast down, O my soul? And why art thou disquieted within me? Hope thou in God; for I shall yet praise him, `Who is' the help of my countenance, and my God. Psalm 44 For the Chief Musician. `A Psalm' of the sons of Korah. Maschil.




Teaching Our Children to Pray

Published by InTouch Ministries for reading on June 18th.

Luke 11:1-4 Chapter 11 1 And it came to pass, as he was praying in a certain place, that when he ceased, one of his disciples said unto him, Lord, teach us to pray, even as John also taught his disciples. 2 And he said unto them, When ye pray, say, Father, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. 3 Give us day by day our daily bread. 4 And forgive us our sins; for we ourselves also forgive every one that is indebted to us. And bring us not into temptation.

Because of pressing needs and full schedules, parents sometimes neglect teaching important spiritual lessons. It can be tempting to assume that the children will learn in Sunday school to pray and read the Bible. But the truth is, God has given parents the job of training their sons and daughters in spiritual matters.

After listening to Jesus pray, His disciples recognized that they had much to learn and asked Him to teach them how to pray. In the same way, we can motivate our children and help them develop a prayer life that will endure. It’s not enough to tell them to pray; they need an example. We must be willing to let them see and hear us as we talk to our heavenly Father.

When we bring our concerns to the Lord as a family, our children learn that God answers prayer. He’s our provider, protector, and guide. Seeing how the Lord responds to our requests will motivate our children to take all their concerns to Him as well.

Children also need to understand that prayer is not just a list of requests but a conversation that builds a relationship with the Lord. When they hear us praise and exalt Him, they’ll realize praying should be God-focused rather than self-centered. And as they observe us reading the Bible and letting it guide our requests, they’ll learn to pray according to God’s will.

Whether you have children or not, realizing that others learn about the Lord through your prayers may tempt you to feel inadequate. However, instead of dwelling on your shortcomings, let them motivate you to go to the Scriptures and learn from your heavenly Father how to pray.

Bible in One Year: Psalms 39-43 Chapter 39 1 I said, I will take heed to my ways, That I sin not with my tongue: I will keep my mouth with a bridle, While the wicked is before me. 2 I was dumb with silence, I held my peace, even from good; And my sorrow was stirred. 3 My heart was hot within me; While I was musing the fire burned: `Then' spake I with my tongue: 4 Jehovah, make me to know mine end, And the measure of my days, what it is; Let me know how frail I am. 5 Behold, thou hast made my days `as' handbreadths; And my life-time is as nothing before thee: Surely every man at his best estate is altogether vanity. Selah 6 Surely every man walketh in a vain show; Surely they are disquieted in vain: He heapeth up `riches', and knoweth not who shall gather them. 7 And now, Lord, what wait I for? My hope is in thee. 8 Deliver me from all my transgressions: Make me not the reproach of the foolish. 9 I was dumb, I opened not my mouth; Because thou didst it. 10 Remove thy stroke away from me: I am consumed by the blow of thy hand. 11 When thou with rebukes dost correct man for iniquity, Thou makest his beauty to consume away like a moth: Surely every man is vanity. Selah 12 Hear my prayer, O Jehovah, and give ear unto my cry; Hold not thy peace at my tears: For I am a stranger with thee, A sojourner, as all my fathers were. 13 Oh spare me, that I may recover strength, Before I go hence, and be no more. Psalm 40 For the Chief Musician. A Psalm of David. Chapter 40 1 I waited patiently for Jehovah; And he inclined unto me, and heard my cry. 2 He brought me up also out of a horrible pit, out of the miry clay; And he set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings. 3 And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: Many shall see it, and fear, And shall trust in Jehovah. 4 Blessed is the man that maketh Jehovah his trust, And respecteth not the proud, nor such as turn aside to lies. 5 Many, O Jehovah my God, are the wonderful works which thou hast done, And thy thoughts which are to us-ward; They cannot be set in order unto thee; If I would declare and speak of them, They are more than can be numbered. 6 Sacrifice and offering thou hast no delight in; Mine ears hast thou opened: Burnt-offering and sin-offering hast thou not required. 7 Then said I, Lo, I am come; In the roll of the book it is written of me: 8 I delight to do thy will, O my God; Yea, thy law is within my heart. 9 I have proclaimed glad tidings of righteousness in the great assembly; Lo, I will not refrain my lips, O Jehovah, thou knowest. 10 I have not hid thy righteousness within my heart; I have declared thy faithfulness and thy salvation; I have not concealed thy lovingkindness and thy truth from the great assembly. 11 Withhold not thou thy tender mercies from me, O Jehovah; Let thy lovingkindness and thy truth continually preserve me. 12 For innumerable evils have compassed me about; Mine iniquities have overtaken me, so that I am not able to look up; They are more than the hairs of my head; And my heart hath failed me. 13 Be pleased, O Jehovah, to deliver me: Make haste to help me, O Jehovah. 14 Let them be put to shame and confounded together That seek after my soul to destroy it: Let them be turned backward and brought to dishonor That delight in my hurt. 15 Let them be desolate by reason of their shame That say unto me, Aha, aha. 16 Let all those that seek thee rejoice and be glad in thee: Let such as love thy salvation say continually, Jehovah be magnified. 17 But I am poor and needy; `Yet' the Lord thinketh upon me: Thou art my help and my deliverer; Make no tarrying, O my God. Psalm 41 For the Chief Musician. A Psalm of David. Chapter 41 1 Blessed is he that considereth the poor: Jehovah will deliver him in the day of evil. 2 Jehovah will preserve him, and keep him alive, And he shall be blessed upon the earth; And deliver not thou him unto the will of his enemies. 3 Jehovah will support him upon the couch of languishing: Thou makest all his bed in his sickness. 4 I said, O Jehovah, have mercy upon me: Heal my soul; for I have sinned against thee. 5 Mine enemies speak evil against me, `saying', When will he die, and his name perish? 6 And if he come to see `me', he speaketh falsehood; His heart gathereth iniquity to itself: When he goeth abroad, he telleth it. 7 All that hate me whisper together against me; Against me do they devise my hurt. 8 An evil disease, `say they', cleaveth fast unto him; And now that he lieth he shall rise up no more. 9 Yea, mine own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, Who did eat of my bread, Hath lifted up his heel against me. 10 But thou, O Jehovah, have mercy upon me, and raise me up, That I may requite them. 11 By this I know that thou delightest in me, Because mine enemy doth not triumph over me. 12 And as for me, thou upholdest me in mine integrity, And settest me before thy face for ever. 13 Blessed be Jehovah, the God of Israel, From everlasting and to everlasting. Amen, and Amen. Psalm 42 For the Chief Musician. Maschil of the sons of Korah. Chapter 42 1 As the hart panteth after the water brooks, So panteth my soul after thee, O God. 2 My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: When shall I come and appear before God? 3 My tears have been my food day and night, While they continually say unto me, Where is thy God? 4 These things I remember, and pour out my soul within me, How I went with the throng, and led them to the house of God, With the voice of joy and praise, a multitude keeping holyday. 5 Why art thou cast down, O my soul? And `why' art thou disquieted within me? Hope thou in God; for I shall yet praise him `For' the help of his countenance. 6 O my God, my soul is cast down within me: Therefore do I remember thee from the land of the Jordan, And the Hermons, from the hill Mizar. 7 Deep calleth unto deep at the noise of thy waterfalls: All thy waves and thy billows are gone over me. 8 `Yet' Jehovah will command his lovingkindness in the day-time; And in the night his song shall be with me, `Even' a prayer unto the God of my life. 9 I will say unto God my rock, Why hast thou forgotten me? Why go I mourning because of the oppression of the enemy? 10 As with a sword in my bones, mine adversaries reproach me, While they continually say unto me, Where is thy God? 11 Why art thou cast down, O my soul? And why art thou disquieted within me? Hope thou in God; for I shall yet praise him, `Who is' the help of my countenance, and my God. Chapter 43 1 Judge me, O God, and plead my cause against an ungodly nation: Oh deliver me from the deceitful and unjust man. 2 For thou art the God of my strength; why hast thou cast me off? Why go I mourning because of the oppression of the enemy? 3 Oh send out thy light and thy truth; let them lead me: Let them bring me unto thy holy hill, And to thy tabernacles. 4 Then will I go unto the altar of God, Unto God my exceeding joy; And upon the harp will I praise thee, O God, my God. 5 Why art thou cast down, O my soul? And why art thou disquieted within me? Hope thou in God; for I shall yet praise him, `Who is' the help of my countenance, and my God. Psalm 44 For the Chief Musician. `A Psalm' of the sons of Korah. Maschil.




Integrity Triumphs Under Fire

Published by Grace To You for reading on June 18th.

“Then [Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego] were tied up in their trousers, their coats, their caps and their other clothes, and were cast into the midst of the furnace of blazing fire. For this reason, because the king’s command was urgent and the furnace had been made extremely hot, the flame of the fire slew those men who carried up Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego. But these three men, Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego, fell into the midst of the furnace of blazing fire still tied up” ( Daniel 3:21-23 21 Then these men were bound in their hosen, their tunics, and their mantles, and their `other' garments, and were cast into the midst of the burning fiery furnace. 22 Therefore because the king's commandment was urgent, and the furnace exceeding hot, the flame of the fire slew those men that took up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego. 23 And these three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, fell down bound into the midst of the burning fiery furnace. ).

When God doesn’t deliver you from a trial, He refines you through the trial.

When facing excommunication at the Diet of Worms, Martin Luther wrote to the Elector Frederick, “You ask me what I shall do if I am called by the emperor. I will go down if I am too sick to stand on my feet. If Caesar calls me, God calls me. If violence is used, as well it may be, I commend my cause to God. He lives and reigns who saved the three youths from the fiery furnace of the king of Babylon, and if He will not save me, my head is worth nothing compared with Christ. This is no time to think of safety. I must take care that the gospel is not brought into contempt by our fear to confess and seal our teaching with our blood.”

Luther was willing to risk even death for the sake of Christ. Like Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego before him, he valued integrity above his own life, and in his loneliest hour drew encouragement from their experience.

Often we pray to avoid trials when God wants to use them for our greater good. But trials test the genuineness of our faith and purge us of sin and shallowness like a refiner’s fire purges gold. The process may be painful, but the result is more precious than the purest gold ( 1 Peter 1:7 7 that the proof of your faith, `being' more precious than gold that perisheth though it is proved by fire, may be found unto praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ: ).Suggestions for Prayer

Pray that you might face each trial with wisdom, patience, and a clear sense of the Lord’s presence.

For Further Study

Read Acts 20:22-24 22 And now, behold, I go bound in the spirit unto Jerusalem, not knowing the things that shall befall me there: 23 save that the Holy Spirit testifieth unto me in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions abide me. 24 But I hold not my life of any account as dear unto myself, so that I may accomplish my course, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God. .

  • What was the apostle Paul’s perspective on the persecution that awaited him in Jerusalem?
  • What was his ultimate goal?

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

Looking Beyond Externals

Published by Grace To You for reading on June 18th.
"My brethren, do not hold your faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ with an attitude of personal favoritism" ( James 2:1 Chapter 2 1 My brethren, hold not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, `the Lord' of glory, with respect of persons. ).

Your true worth is based on the value of your soul, not on external considerations.

Jesus is "our glorious Lord" ( James 2:1 Chapter 2 1 My brethren, hold not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, `the Lord' of glory, with respect of persons. )—the Sovereign One who rules over all His creation, and the One in whom the fullness of God's glory is revealed. John said, "The Word [Jesus] became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth" ( John 1:14 14 And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us (and we beheld his glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father), full of grace and truth. ). Paul said, "In Him all the fulness of Deity dwells in bodily form" (Col. 2:9).

As God, Jesus shares the impartiality of the Father. He knows that a person's worth is based on the value of his soul, not on external considerations. That's why He always looks on the heart and never judges on externals alone.

That was evident in the way Jesus dealt with sinners when He was still on earth. He never hesitated to confront them—whether they were influential Jewish religious leaders or common folks. Even His enemies acknowledged His impartiality when they said, "Teacher, we know that You are truthful and teach the way of God in truth, and defer to no one; for You are not partial to any" (Matt. 22:16).

Like the Father, Jesus also extended the offer of salvation to men and women of every race, social class, and moral standing. That's illustrated by the parable He told in Matthew 22:1-14 Chapter 22 1 And Jesus answered and spake again in parables unto them, saying, 2 The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a certain king, who made a marriage feast for his son, 3 and sent forth his servants to call them that were bidden to the marriage feast: and they would not come. 4 Again he sent forth other servants, saying, Tell them that are bidden, Behold, I have made ready my dinner; my oxen and my fatlings are killed, and all things are ready: come to the marriage feast. 5 But they made light of it, and went their ways, one to his own farm, another to his merchandise; 6 and the rest laid hold on his servants, and treated them shamefully, and killed them. 7 But the king was wroth; and he sent his armies, and destroyed those murderers, and burned their city. 8 Then saith he to his servants, The wedding is ready, but they that were bidden were not worthy. 9 Go ye therefore unto the partings of the highways, and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage feast. 10 And those servants went out into the highways, and gathered together all as many as they found, both bad and good: and the wedding was filled with guests. 11 But when the king came in to behold the guests, he saw there a man who had not on a wedding-garment: 12 and he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding-garment? And he was speechless. 13 Then the king said to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and cast him out into the outer darkness; there shall be the weeping and the gnashing of teeth. 14 For many are called, but few chosen. about the marriage of a king's son (an illustration of Himself). The invited guests (Israel) didn't show up, so the king commanded his servants to go out and gather everyone they could find to furnish the wedding with guests. As a result, people of every station in life attended the wedding, just as people of every station in life are called to salvation.

As you have opportunities to minister to others today, don't be influenced by externals such as looks, clothing, or economic level. Do as Jesus did: treat them with compassion and speak the truth without compromise.

Suggestions for Prayer

Praise the Lord for His impartiality, and ask Him for special grace as you reach out to others today.

For Further Study

Read Matthew 20:1-16 Chapter 20 1 For the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that was a householder, who went out early in the morning to hire laborers into his vineyard. 2 And when he had agreed with the laborers for a shilling a day, he sent them into his vineyard. 3 And he went out about the third hour, and saw others standing in the marketplace idle; 4 and to them he said, Go ye also into the vineyard, and whatsoever is right I will give you. And they went their way. 5 Again he went out about the sixth and the ninth hour, and did likewise. 6 And about the eleventh `hour' he went out, and found others standing; and he saith unto them, Why stand ye here all the day idle? 7 They say unto him, Because no man hath hired us. He saith unto them, Go ye also into the vineyard. 8 And when even was come, the lord of the vineyard saith unto his steward, Call the laborers, and pay them their hire, beginning from the last unto the first. 9 And when they came that `were hired' about the eleventh hour, they received every man a shilling. 10 And when the first came, they supposed that they would receive more; and they likewise received every man a shilling. 11 And when they received it, they murmured against the householder, 12 saying, These last have spent `but' one hour, and thou hast made them equal unto us, who have borne the burden of the day and the scorching heat. 13 But he answered and said to one of them, Friend, I do thee no wrong: didst not thou agree with me for a shilling? 14 Take up that which is thine, and go thy way; it is my will to give unto this last, even as unto thee. 15 Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with mine own? or is thine eye evil, because I am good? 16 So the last shall be first, and the first last. . How does that parable illustrate the impartiality of God?

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 - June 18

Published by Grace To You for reading on June 18th.

Reading for Today:

  • 2 Kings 25:1 Chapter 25 1 And it came to pass in the ninth year of his reign, in the tenth month, in the tenth day of the month, that Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came, he and all his army, against Jerusalem, and encamped against it; and they built forts against it round about. –30
  • Psalms 75:1-10 Chapter 75 1 We give thanks unto thee, O God; We give thanks, for thy name is near: Men tell of thy wondrous works. 2 When I shall find the set time, I will judge uprightly. 3 The earth and all the inhabitants thereof are dissolved: I have set up the pillars of it. Selah 4 I said unto the arrogant, Deal not arrogantly; And to the wicked, Lift not up the horn: 5 Lift not up your horn on high; Speak not with a stiff neck. 6 For neither from the east, nor from the west, Nor yet from the south, `cometh' lifting up. 7 But God is the judge: He putteth down one, and lifteth up another. 8 For in the hand of Jehovah there is a cup, and the wine foameth; It is full of mixture, and he poureth out of the same: Surely the dregs thereof, all the wicked of the earth shall drain them, and drink them. 9 But I will declare for ever, I will sing praises to the God of Jacob. 10 All the horns of the wicked also will I cut off; But the horns of the righteous shall be lifted up. Psalm 76 For the Chief Musician; on stringed instruments. A Psalm of Asaph, a song.
  • Proverbs 19:4-5 4 Wealth addeth many friends; But the poor is separated from his friend. 5 A false witness shall not be unpunished; And he that uttereth lies shall not escape.
  • Acts 3:1-26 Chapter 3 1 Now Peter and John were going up into the temple at the hour of prayer, `being' the ninth `hour'. 2 And a certain man that was lame from his mother's womb was carried, whom they laid daily at the door of the temple which is called Beautiful, to ask alms of them that entered into the temple; 3 who seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple, asked to receive an alms. 4 And Peter, fastening his eyes upon him, with John, said, Look on us. 5 And he gave heed unto them, expecting to receive something from them. 6 But Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; but what I have, that give I thee. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk. 7 And he took him by the right hand, and raised him up: and immediately his feet and his ankle-bones received strength. 8 And leaping up, he stood, and began to walk; and he entered with them into the temple, walking, and leaping, and praising God. 9 And all the people saw him walking and praising God: 10 and they took knowledge of him, that it was he that sat for alms at the Beautiful Gate of the temple; and they were filled with wonder and amazement at that which had happened unto him. 11 And as he held Peter and John, all the people ran together unto them in the porch that is called Solomon's, greatly wondering. 12 And when Peter saw it, he answered unto the people, Ye men of Israel, why marvel ye at this man? or why fasten ye your eyes on us, as though by our own power or godliness we had made him to walk? 13 The God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob, the God of our fathers, hath glorified his Servant Jesus; whom ye delivered up, and denied before the face of Pilate, when he had determined to release him. 14 But ye denied the Holy and Righteous One, and asked for a murderer to be granted unto you, 15 and killed the Prince of life; whom God raised from the dead; whereof we are witnesses. 16 And by faith in his name hath his name made this man strong, whom ye behold and know: yea, the faith which is through him hath given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all. 17 And now, brethren, I know that in ignorance ye did it, as did also your rulers. 18 But the things which God foreshowed by the mouth of all the prophets, that his Christ should suffer, he thus fulfilled. 19 Repent ye therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out, that so there may come seasons of refreshing from the presence of the Lord; 20 and that he may send the Christ who hath been appointed for you, `even' Jesus: 21 whom the heaven must receive until the times of restoration of all things, whereof God spake by the mouth of His holy prophets that have been from of old. 22 Moses indeed said, A prophet shall the Lord God raise up unto you from among your brethren, like unto me. To him shall ye hearken in all things whatsoever he shall speak unto you. 23 And it shall be, that every soul that shall not hearken to that prophet, shall be utterly destroyed from among the people. 24 Yea and all the prophets from Samuel and them that followed after, as many as have spoken, they also told of these days. 25 Ye are the sons of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with your fathers, saying unto Abraham, And in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed. 26 Unto you first God, having raised up his Servant, sent him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from your iniquities.

Notes:

Psalm 75:1 Your name is near. God’s name represents His presence. The history of God’s supernatural interventions on behalf of His people demonstrated that God was personally immanent. But Old Testament saints did not have the fullness from the permanent, personal indwelling of the Holy Spirit ( John 14:1 Chapter 14 1 Let not your heart be troubled: believe in God, believe also in me. , 16, 17; 1 Cor. 3:16; 6:19).

Acts 3:13 The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. A description of God familiar to Peter’s Jewish audience (Ex. 3:6, 15; 1 Kin. 18:36; 1 Chr. 29:18; 2 Chr. 30:6; Matt. 22:32). He used this formula, which stressed God’s covenant faithfulness, to demonstrate that he declared the same God and Messiah whom the prophets had proclaimed. His Servant Jesus. Peter depicted Jesus as God’s personal representative. This is an unusual New Testament title for Jesus, used only 4 other places (v. 26; 4:27, 30; Matt. 12:18), but a more familiar Old Testament name for Messiah (Is. 42:1–4, 19; 49:5–7; 52:13–53:12; Matt. 20:28; John 6:38 38 For I am come down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. ; 8:28; 13:1–7). Pilate…determined to let Him go. Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor at Jesus’ trial, came from a national tradition that strongly supported justice. He knew Jesus’ crucifixion would be unjust and therefore declared Him innocent 6 times ( Luke 23:4 4 And Pilate said unto the chief priests and the multitudes, I find no fault in this man. , 14, 15, 22; John 18:38 38 Pilate saith unto him, What is truth? And when he had said this, he went out again unto the Jews, and saith unto them, I find no crime in him. ; 19:4, 6) and repeatedly sought to release Him ( Luke 23:13 13 And Pilate called together the chief priests and the rulers and the people, –22; John 19:12 12 Upon this Pilate sought to release him: but the Jews cried out, saying, If thou release this man, thou art not Caesar's friend: every one that maketh himself a king speaketh against Caesar. , 13).

Acts 3:15 killed…God raised…we are witnesses. Peter’s confident and forceful declaration (1 Cor. 15:3–7) was a clear defense of and provided further evidence for Christ’s resurrection. Peter’s claim was undeniable; the Jews never showed any evidence, such as Jesus’ corpse, to disprove it. Prince of life. The Greek word for “prince” means originator, pioneer, or beginner of something. Both Hebrews 2:10 10 For it became him, for whom are all things, and through whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the author of their salvation perfect through sufferings. and 12:2 translate it “author.” It describes Jesus as the Divine Originator of life (Ps. 36:9; Heb. 2:10; 12:2; 1 John 5:11 11 And the witness is this, that God gave unto us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. , 20).

Acts 3:19 Repent…be converted. “Converted” is a frequent New Testament word that relates to sinners turning to God (9:35; 14:15; 26:18, 20; Luke 1:16 16 And many of the children of Israel shall be turn unto the Lord their God. , 17; 2 Cor. 3:16; 1 Pet. 2:25). your sins…blotted out. Ps. 51:9; Is. 43:25; 44:22. Blotted out compares forgiveness to the complete wiping away of ink from the surface of a document (Col. 2:14).

DAY 18: How did Judah and Jerusalem finally fall?

Responding to King Zedekiah’s rebellion in 2 Kings 24:20 20 For through the anger of Jehovah did it come to pass in Jerusalem and Judah, until he had cast them out from his presence. And Zedekiah rebelled against the king of Babylon. , Nebuchadnezzar sent his whole army to lay siege against the city of Jerusalem (2 Kin. 25:1).The siege began in January 588 B.C. and lasted until July 586 B.C. In August 586 B.C., one month after the Babylonian breakthrough of Jerusalem’s walls (vv. 2–4), Nebuzaradan, the commander of Nebuchadnezzar’s own imperial guard, was sent by the king to oversee the destruction of Jerusalem. The dismantling and destruction of Jerusalem was accomplished by the Babylonians in an orderly progression (v. 8).

First, Jerusalem’s most important buildings were burned (v. 9). Second, the Babylonian army tore down Jerusalem’s outer walls, the city’s main defense (v. 10).Third, Nebuzaradan organized and led a forced march of remaining Judeans into exile in Babylon (vv. 11,12). The exiles included survivors from Jerusalem and those who had surrendered to the Babylonians before the capture of the city. Only poor, unskilled laborers were left behind to tend the vineyards and farm the fields. Fourth, the items made with precious metals in the temple were carried away to Babylon (vv. 13–17). Fifth, Nebuzaradan took Jerusalem’s remaining leaders to Riblah, where Nebuchadnezzar had them executed. This insured that they would never lead another rebellion against Babylon (vv. 18–21).

“Thus Judah was carried away captive from its own land” (v. 21). Exile was the ultimate curse brought upon Judah because of her disobedience to the Mosaic Covenant (Lev. 26:33; Deut. 28:36, 64). The Book of Lamentations records the sorrow of Jeremiah over this destruction of Jerusalem.

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

June 18 - Wrong Judgment: An Erroneous View of Ourselves

Published by Grace To You for reading on June 18th.

“‘Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, “Let me take the speck out of your eye,” and behold, the log is in your eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your eye’” ( Matthew 7:3 3 And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? –5).

When we judge critically we also manifest an erroneous view of ourselves. The “speck” Jesus refers to is not something insignificant—it was likely a twig or splinter. Though small in comparison to a log, it was not a good thing to have in your eye. Jesus’ comparison is not between a very small sin or fault and one that is large, but between one that is large and one that is gigantic. His primary point is that the sin of the critic is much greater than the sin of the person he is criticizing.

The wretched and gross sin that is always blind to its own sinfulness is self-righteousness. It looks directly at its own sin and still imagines it sees only righteousness.

The very nature of self-righteousness is to justify self and condemn others. Self-righteousness is the worst of all sins because it trusts in self rather than God. It trusts in self to determine what is right and wrong and to determine who does what is right or wrong.

Too, the term “notice” conveys serious, continual meditation. Until you have thought long and hard about your own sin, how can you confront another with his shortcomings?

Ask Yourself

Again, the thought conveyed here is not that we are forbidden from ever pointing out the sins of another, aiding him toward repentance and a desire for God’s forgiveness. But our hearts are so suspect, we must regularly keep our sins confessed and to the surface. How do you practice this discipline in your own life?

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

How to Plead for Unbelievers

Published by John Piper for reading on June 18th.

Brothers, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for them is that they may be saved. ( Romans 10:1 Chapter 10 1 Brethren, my heart's desire and my supplication to God is for them, that they may be saved. )

Paul prays that God would convert Israel. He prays for her salvation! He does not pray for ineffectual influences, but for effectual influences. And that is how we should pray too.

We should take the new covenant promises of God and plead with God to bring them to pass in our children and our neighbors and on all the mission fields of the world.

God, take out of their flesh the heart of stone and give them a new heart of flesh ( Ezekiel 11:19 19 And I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them a heart of flesh; ). Circumcise their heart so that they love you ( Deuteronomy 30:6 6 And Jehovah thy God will circumcise thy heart, and the heart of thy seed, to love Jehovah thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, that thou mayest live. )! Father, put your Spirit within them and cause them to walk in your statutes ( Ezekiel 36:27 27 And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep mine ordinances, and do them. ). Grant them repentance and a knowledge of the truth that they may escape from the snare of the devil ( 2 Timothy 2:25 25 in meekness correcting them that oppose themselves; if peradventure God may give them repentance unto the knowledge of the truth, –26). Open their hearts so that they believe the gospel ( Acts 16:14 14 And a certain woman named Lydia, a seller of purple of the city of Thyatira, one that worshipped God, heard us: whose heart the Lord opened to give heed unto the things which were spoken by Paul. )!

When we believe in the sovereignty of God — in the right and power of God to elect and then bring hardened sinners to faith and salvation — then we will be able to pray with no inconsistency, and with great biblical promises for the conversion of the lost.

Thus God has pleasure in this kind of praying because it ascribes to him the right and honor to be the free and sovereign God that he is in election and salvation.



Morning Devotional by C.H. Spurgeon for June 18th

Published by C.H. Spurgeon for reading on June 18th.

Isaiah 54:5 5 For thy Maker is thy husband; Jehovah of hosts is his name: and the Holy One of Israel is thy Redeemer; the God of the whole earth shall he be called.

JESUS, the Redeemer, is altogether ours and ours for ever. All the offices of Christ are held on our behalf. He is king for us, priest for us, and prophet for us. Whenever we read a new title of the Redeemer, let us appropriate Him as ours under that name as much as under any other. The shepherd's staff, the father's rod, the captain's sword, the priest's mitre, the prince's sceptre, the prophet's mantle, all are ours. Jesus hath no dignity which He will not employ for our exaltation, and no prerogative which He will not exercise for our defence. His fulness of Godhead is our unfailing, inexhaustible treasure-house.

His manhood also, which he took upon him for us, is ours in all its perfection. To us our gracious Lord communicates the spotless virtue of a stainless character; to us he gives the meritorious efficacy of a devoted life; on us he bestows the reward procured by obedient submission and incessant service. He makes the unsullied garment of his life our covering beauty; the glittering virtues of his character our ornaments and jewels; and the superhuman meekness of his death our boast and glory. He bequeaths us his manger, from which to learn how God came down to man; and his Cross to teach us how man may go up to God. All His thoughts, emotions, actions, utterances, miracles, and intercessions, were for us. He trod the road of sorrow on our behalf, and hath made over to us as his heavenly legacy the full results of all the labours of his life. He is now as much ours as heretofore; and he blushes not to acknowledge himself "our Lord Jesus Christ," though he is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords. Christ everywhere and every way is our Christ, for ever and ever most richly to enjoy. O my soul, by the power of the Holy Spirit! call him this morning, "thy Redeemer."

Evening Devotional by C.H. Spurgeon for June 18th

Published by C.H. Spurgeon for reading on June 18th.

Song of Solomon 5:1 Chapter 5 1 I am come into my garden, my sister, `my' bride: I have gathered my myrrh with my spice; I have eaten my honeycomb with my honey; I have drunk my wine with my milk. Eat, O friends; Drink, yea, drink abundantly, O beloved.

THE heart of the believer is Christ's garden. He bought it with His precious blood, and He enters it and claims it as His own. A garden implies separation. It is not the open common; it is not a wilderness; it is walled around, or hedged in. Would that we could see the wall of separation between the church and the world made broader and stronger. It makes one sad to hear Christians saying, "Well, there is no harm in this; there is no harm in that," thus getting as near to the world as possible. Grace is at a low ebb in that soul which can even raise the question of how far it may go in worldly conformity. A garden is a place of beauty, it far surpasses the wild uncultivated lands. The genuine Christian must seek to be more excellent in his life than the best moralist, because Christ's garden ought to produce the best flowers in all the world. Even the best is poor compared with Christ's deservings; let us not put Him off with withering and dwarf plants. The rarest, richest, choicest lilies and roses ought to bloom in the place which Jesus calls His own. The garden is a place of growth. The saints are not to remain undeveloped, always mere buds and blossoms. We should grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Growth should be rapid where Jesus is the Husbandman, and the Holy Spirit the dew from above. A garden is a place of retirement. So the Lord Jesus Christ would have us reserve our souls as a place in which He can manifest Himself, as He doth not unto the world. O that Christians were more retired, that they kept their hearts more closely shut up for Christ! We often worry and trouble ourselves, like Martha, with much serving, so that we have not the room for Christ that Mary had, and do not sit at His feet as we should. The Lord grant the sweet showers of His grace to water His garden this day.

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