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The Privilege of Knowing God

Published by InTouch Ministries for reading on June 27th.

Psalms 19:1-6 Chapter 19 1 The heavens declare the glory of God; And the firmament showeth his handiwork. 2 Day unto day uttereth speech, And night unto night showeth knowledge. 3 There is no speech nor language; Their voice is not heard. 4 Their line is gone out through all the earth, And their words to the end of the world. In them hath he set a tabernacle for the sun, 5 Which is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, And rejoiceth as a strong man to run his course. 6 His going forth is from the end of the heavens, And his circuit unto the ends of it; And there is nothing hid from the heat thereof.

There is no greater privilege than knowing God—and no greater tragedy than failing to develop a relationship with Him. Yet many people live their entire life apart from Jesus, and therefore, when they die, they are separated from Him eternally.

While on earth, both the righteous and unrighteous enjoy benefits of divine blessing (Matt. 5:45), so those who choose to live without Christ probably have no clue how dreadful a godless eternity will be. Some people seem to ignore the Bible’s warnings about “outer darkness,” “weeping,” and “gnashing of teeth” (Matt. 25:30). Or perhaps they’ve simply never heard the good news of salvation. Yet Romans 1:18-20 18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hinder the truth in unrighteousness; 19 because that which is known of God is manifest in them; for God manifested it unto them. 20 For the invisible things of him since the creation of the world are clearly seen, being perceived through the things that are made, `even' his everlasting power and divinity; that they may be without excuse: tells why such an excuse won’t hold up: Creation offers so much evidence of God that man is held accountable for unbelief. Consider nature’s design, beauty, and order—these things don’t just evolve.

Furthermore, God reveals Himself in the human conscience (Rom. 2:14-15). Even societies with no access to Scripture forbid ungodly behaviors like rape, murder, and theft. And as if all that weren’t enough, we also have God’s revelation of Himself through both His Word and the incarnation of Jesus ( John 14:7-9 7 If ye had known me, ye would have known my Father also: from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him. 8 Philip saith unto him, Lord, show us the Father, and it sufficeth us. 9 Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and dost thou not know me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; how sayest thou, Show us the Father? ). Christ, who was fully God, became fully man. His life perfectly demonstrates the heavenly Father’s character and heart.

Can you recognize evidence of the Almighty in creation and in the “law” written on your conscience? Do you seek to know Him better through His Word and the example of Christ? The Lord desires a relationship with you and is calling. Answer with a seeking heart, and watch for God to show up.

Bible in One Year: Psalms 85-89 Chapter 85 1 Jehovah, thou hast been favorable unto thy land; Thou hast brought back the captivity of Jacob. 2 Thou hast forgiven the iniquity of thy people; Thou hast covered all their sin. Selah 3 Thou hast taken away all thy wrath; Thou hast turned `thyself' from the fierceness of thine anger. 4 Turn us, O God of our salvation, And cause thine indignation toward us to cease. 5 Wilt thou be angry with us for ever? Wilt thou draw out thine anger to all generations? 6 Wilt thou not quicken us again, That thy people may rejoice in thee? 7 Show us thy lovingkindness, O Jehovah, And grant us thy salvation. 8 I will hear what God Jehovah will speak; For he will speak peace unto his people, and to his saints: But let them not turn again to folly. 9 Surely his salvation is nigh them that fear him, That glory may dwell in our land. 10 Mercy and truth are met together; Righteousness and peace have kissed each other. 11 Truth springeth out of the earth; And righteousness hath looked down from heaven. 12 Yea, Jehovah will give that which is good; And our land shall yield its increase. 13 Righteousness shall go before him, And shall make his footsteps a way `to walk in'. Chapter 86 1 Bow down thine ear, O Jehovah, and answer me; For I am poor and needy. 2 Preserve my soul; for I am godly: O thou my God, save thy servant that trusteth in thee. 3 Be merciful unto me, O Lord; For unto thee do I cry all the day long. 4 Rejoice the soul of thy servant; For unto thee, O Lord, do I lift up my soul. 5 For thou, Lord, art good, and ready to forgive, And abundant in lovingkindness unto all them that call upon thee. 6 Give ear, O Jehovah, unto my prayer; And hearken unto the voice of my supplications. 7 In the day of my trouble I will call upon thee; For thou wilt answer me. 8 There is none like unto thee among the gods, O Lord; Neither `are there any works' like unto thy works. 9 All nations whom thou hast made shall come and worship before thee, O Lord; And they shall glorify thy name. 10 For thou art great, and doest wondrous things: Thou art God alone. 11 Teach me thy way, O Jehovah; I will walk in thy truth: Unite my heart to fear thy name. 12 I will praise thee, O Lord my God, with my whole heart; And I will glorify thy name for evermore. 13 For great is thy lovingkindness toward me; And thou hast delivered my soul from the lowest Sheol. 14 O God, the proud are risen up against me, And a company of violent men have sought after my soul, And have not set thee before them. 15 But thou, O Lord, art a God merciful and gracious, Slow to anger, and abundant in lovingkindness and truth. 16 Oh turn unto me, and have mercy upon me; Give thy strength unto thy servant, And save the son of thy handmaid. 17 Show me a token for good, That they who hate me may see it, and be put to shame, Because thou, Jehovah, hast helped me, and comforted me. Psalm 87 A Psalm of the sons of Korah; a Song. Chapter 87 1 His foundation is in the holy mountains. 2 Jehovah loveth the gates of Zion More than all the dwellings of Jacob. 3 Glorious things are spoken of thee, O city of God. Selah 4 I will make mention of Rahab and Babylon as among them that know me: Behold, Philistia, and Tyre, with Ethiopia: This one was born there. 5 Yea, of Zion it shall be said, This one and that one was born in her; And the Most High himself will establish her. 6 Jehovah will count, when he writeth up the peoples, This one was born there. Selah 7 They that sing as well as they that dance `shall say', All my fountains are in thee. Psalm 88 A Song, a Psalm of the sons of Korah; for the Chief Musician; set to Mahalath Leannoth. Maschil of Heman the Ezrahite. Chapter 88 1 O Jehovah, the God of my salvation, I have cried day and night before thee. 2 Let my prayer enter into thy presence; Incline thine ear unto my cry. 3 For my soul is full of troubles, And my life draweth nigh unto Sheol. 4 I am reckoned with them that go down into the pit; I am as a man that hath no help, 5 Cast off among the dead, Like the slain that lie in the grave, Whom thou rememberest no more, And they are cut off from thy hand. 6 Thou hast laid me in the lowest pit, In dark places, in the deeps. 7 Thy wrath lieth hard upon me, And thou hast afflicted me with all thy waves. Selah 8 Thou hast put mine acquaintance far from me; Thou hast made me an abomination unto them: I am shut up, and I cannot come forth. 9 Mine eye wasteth away by reason of affliction: I have called daily upon thee, O Jehovah; I have spread forth my hands unto thee. 10 Wilt thou show wonders to the dead? Shall they that are decreased arise and praise thee? Selah 11 Shall thy lovingkindness be declared in the grave? Or thy faithfulness in Destruction? 12 Shall thy wonders be known in the dark? And thy righteousness in the land of forgetfulness? 13 But unto thee, O Jehovah, have I cried; And in the morning shall my prayer come before thee. 14 Jehovah, why castest thou off my soul? Why hidest thou thy face from me? 15 I am afflicted and ready to die from my youth up: While I suffer thy terrors I am distracted. 16 Thy fierce wrath is gone over me; Thy terrors have cut me off. 17 They came round about me like water all the day long; They compassed me about together. 18 Lover and friend hast thou put far from me, And mine acquaintance into darkness. Psalm 89 Maschil of Ethan the Ezrahite. Chapter 89 1 I will sing of the lovingkindness of Jehovah for ever: With my mouth will I make known thy faithfulness to all generations. 2 For I have said, Mercy shall be built up for ever; Thy faithfulness wilt thou establish in the very heavens. 3 I have made a covenant with my chosen, I have sworn unto David my servant: 4 Thy seed will I establish for ever, And build up thy throne to all generations. Selah 5 And the heavens shall praise thy wonders, O Jehovah; Thy faithfulness also in the assembly of the holy ones. 6 For who in the skies can be compared unto Jehovah? Who among the sons of the mighty is like unto Jehovah, 7 A God very terrible in the council of the holy ones, And to be feared above all them that are round about him? 8 O Jehovah God of hosts, Who is a mighty one, like unto thee, O Jehovah? And thy faithfulness is round about thee. 9 Thou rulest the pride of the sea: When the waves thereof arise, thou stillest them. 10 Thou hast broken Rahab in pieces, as one that is slain; Thou hast scattered thine enemies with the arm of thy strength. 11 The heavens are thine, the earth also is thine: The world and the fulness thereof, thou hast founded them. 12 The north and the south, thou hast created them: Tabor and Hermon rejoice in thy name. 13 Thou hast a mighty arm; Strong is thy hand, and high is thy right hand. 14 Righteousness and justice are the foundation of thy throne: Lovingkindness and truth go before thy face. 15 Blessed is the people that know the joyful sound: They walk, O Jehovah, in the light of thy countenance. 16 In thy name do they rejoice all the day; And in thy righteousness are they exalted. 17 For thou art the glory of their strength; And in thy favor our horn shall be exalted. 18 For our shield belongeth unto Jehovah; And our king to the Holy One of Israel. 19 Then thou spakest in vision to thy saints, And saidst, I have laid help upon one that is mighty; I have exalted one chosen out of the people. 20 I have found David my servant; With my holy oil have I anointed him: 21 With whom my hand shall be established; Mine arm also shall strengthen him. 22 The enemy shall not exact from him, Nor the son of wickedness afflict him. 23 And I will beat down his adversaries before him, And smite them that hate him. 24 But my faithfulness and my lovingkindness shall be with him; And in my name shall his horn be exalted. 25 I will set his hand also on the sea, And his right hand on the rivers. 26 He shall cry unto me, Thou art my Father, My God, and the rock of my salvation. 27 I also will make him `my' first-born, The highest of the kings of the earth. 28 My lovingkindness will I keep for him for evermore; And my covenant shall stand fast with him. 29 His seed also will I make to endure for ever, And his throne as the days of heaven. 30 If his children forsake my law, And walk not in mine ordinances; 31 If they break my statutes, And keep not my commandments; 32 Then will I visit their transgression with the rod, And their iniquity with stripes. 33 But my lovingkindness will I not utterly take from him, Nor suffer my faithfulness to fail. 34 My covenant will I not break, Nor alter the thing that is gone out of my lips. 35 Once have I sworn by my holiness: I will not lie unto David: 36 His seed shall endure for ever, And his throne as the sun before me. 37 It shall be established for ever as the moon, And `as' the faithful witness in the sky. Selah 38 But thou hast cast off and rejected, Thou hast been wroth with thine anointed. 39 Thou hast abhorred the covenant of thy servant: Thou hast profaned his crown `by casting it' to the ground. 40 Thou hast broken down all his hedges; Thou hast brought his strongholds to ruin. 41 All that pass by the way rob him: He is become a reproach to his neighbors. 42 Thou hast exalted the right hand of his adversaries; Thou hast made all his enemies to rejoice. 43 Yea, thou turnest back the edge of his sword, And hast not made him to stand in the battle. 44 Thou hast made his brightness to cease, And cast his throne down to the ground. 45 The days of his youth hast thou shortened: Thou hast covered him with shame. Selah 46 How long, O Jehovah? wilt thou hide thyself for ever? `How long' shall thy wrath burn like fire? 47 Oh remember how short my time is: For what vanity hast thou created all the children of men! 48 What man is he that shall live and not see death, That shall deliver his soul from the power of Sheol? Selah 49 Lord, where are thy former lovingkindnesses, Which thou swarest unto David in thy faithfulness? 50 Remember, Lord, the reproach of thy servants; How I do bear in my bosom `the reproach of' all the mighty peoples, 51 Wherewith thine enemies have reproached, O Jehovah, Wherewith they have reproached the footsteps of thine anointed. 52 Blessed be Jehovah for evermore. Amen, and Amen. Psalm 90 A Prayer of Moses the man of God.




Exposing Dead Faith

Published by Grace To You for reading on June 27th.
"What use is it, my brethren, if a man says he has faith, but he has no works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food, and one of you says to them, 'Go in peace, be warmed and be filled,' and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that? Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself" ( James 2:14-17 14 What doth it profit, my brethren, if a man say he hath faith, but have not works? can that faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister be naked and in lack of daily food, 16 and one of you say unto them, Go in peace, be ye warmed and filled; and yet ye give them not the things needful to the body; what doth it profit? 17 Even so faith, if it have not works, is dead in itself. ).

Dead faith is hypocritical, shallow, and useless.

Jesus said, "Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven" (Matt. 5:16). Your righteous deeds illuminate the path to God by reflecting His power and grace to others. That brings Him glory and proves your faith is genuine.

Your deeds also serve as the basis of divine judgment. If you practice righteousness, you will receive eternal life; if you practice unrighteousness, you will receive "wrath and indignation" (Rom. 2:6-8). God will judge you on the basis of your deeds because what you do reveals who you really are and what you really believe. That's why any so-called faith that doesn't produce good works is dead and utterly useless!

James illustrates that point in a practical way. If someone lacks the basic necessities of life and comes to you for help, what good does it do if you simply wish him well and send him away without meeting any of his needs? It does no good at all! Your pious words are hypocritical and without substance. If you really wished him well, you would do what you can to give him what he needs! Your unwillingness to do so betrays your true feelings. Similarly, dead faith is hypocritical, shallow, and useless because it doesn't put its claims into action—indeed, it has no divine capacity to do so.

I pray that your life will always manifest true faith and that others will glorify God because of your good works.

Suggestions for Prayer

Perhaps you know someone whose claim to Christianity is doubtful because his or her life doesn't evidence the fruit of righteousness. If so, pray for that person regularly and set an example by your own good works.

For Further Study

Read John 15:1-8 Chapter 15 1 I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. 2 Every branch in me that beareth not fruit, he taketh it away: and every `branch' that beareth fruit, he cleanseth it, that it may bear more fruit. 3 Already ye are clean because of the word which I have spoken unto you. 4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; so neither can ye, except ye abide in me. 5 I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same beareth much fruit: for apart from me ye can do nothing. 6 If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. 7 If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatsoever ye will, and it shall be done unto you. 8 Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; and `so' shall ye be my disciples. .

  • What illustration did Jesus use for spiritual fruitfulness?
  • What is the prerequisite for fruitfulness?

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 27

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

Reading for Today:

  • 1 Chronicles 17:1 Chapter 17 1 And it came to pass, when David dwelt in his house, that David said to Nathan the prophet, Lo, I dwell in a house of cedar, but the ark of the covenant of Jehovah `dwelleth' under curtains. –18:17
  • Psalms 78:17-25 17 Yet went they on still to sin against him, To rebel against the Most High in the desert. 18 And they tempted God in their heart By asking food according to their desire. 19 Yea, they spake against God; They said, Can God prepare a table in the wilderness? 20 Behold, he smote the rock, so that waters gushed out, And streams overflowed; Can he give bread also? Will he provide flesh for his people? 21 Therefore Jehovah heard, and was wroth; And a fire was kindled against Jacob, And anger also went up against Israel; 22 Because they believed not in God, And trusted not in his salvation. 23 Yet he commanded the skies above, And opened the doors of heaven; 24 And he rained down manna upon them to eat, And gave them food from heaven. 25 Man did eat the bread of the mighty: He sent them food to the full.
  • Proverbs 19:25-26 25 Smite a scoffer, and the simple will learn prudence; And reprove one that hath understanding, `and' he will understand knowledge. 26 He that doeth violence to his father, and chaseth away his mother, Is a son that causeth shame and bringeth reproach.
  • Acts 8:1-25 Chapter 8 1 And Saul was consenting unto his death. And there arose on that day a great persecution against the church which was in Jerusalem; and they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judaea and Samaria, except the apostles. 2 And devout men buried Stephen, and made great lamentation over him. 3 But Saul laid waste the church, entering into every house, and dragging men and women committed them to prison. 4 They therefore that were scattered abroad, went about preaching the word. 5 And Philip went down to the city of Samaria, and proclaimed unto them the Christ. 6 And the multitudes gave heed with one accord unto the things that were spoken by Philip, when they heard, and saw the signs which he did. 7 For `from' many of those that had unclean spirits, they came out, crying with a loud voice: and many that were palsied, and that were lame, were healed. 8 And there was much joy in that city. 9 But there was a certain man, Simon by name, who beforetime in the city used sorcery, and amazed the people of Samaria, giving out that himself was some great one: 10 to whom they all gave heed, from the least to the greatest, saying, This man is that power of God which is called Great. 11 And they gave heed to him, because that of long time he had amazed them with his sorceries. 12 But when they believed Philip preaching good tidings concerning the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women. 13 And Simon also himself believed: and being baptized, he continued with Philip; and beholding signs and great miracles wrought, he was amazed. 14 Now when the apostles that were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John: 15 who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Spirit: 16 for as yet it was fallen upon none of them: only they had been baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus. 17 Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit. 18 Now when Simon saw that through the laying on of the apostles' hands the Holy Spirit was given, he offered them money, 19 saying, Give me also this power, that on whomsoever I lay my hands, he may receive the Holy Spirit. 20 But Peter said unto him, Thy silver perish with thee, because thou hast thought to obtain the gift of God with money. 21 Thou hast neither part nor lot in this matter: for thy heart is not right before God. 22 Repent therefore of this thy wickedness, and pray the Lord, if perhaps the thought of thy heart shall be forgiven thee. 23 For I see that thou art in the gall of bitterness and in the bond of iniquity. 24 And Simon answered and said, Pray ye for me to the Lord, that none of the things which ye have spoken come upon me. 25 They therefore, when they had testified and spoken the word of the Lord, returned to Jerusalem, and preached the gospel to many villages of the Samaritans.

Notes:

1 Chronicles 17:27 The Davidic Covenant in Chronicles

1.

1 Chr. 17:7–27

God to Nathan to David

2.

1 Chr. 22:6–16

David to Solomon

3.

1 Chr. 28:6, 7

David to Solomon

4.

2 Chr. 6:8, 9, 16, 17

Solomon to the nation

5.

2 Chr. 7:17, 18

God to Solomon

6.

2 Chr. 13:4, 5

Abijah to Jeroboam

7.

2 Chr. 21:7

Chronicler’s commentary

Psalms 78:18 18 And they tempted God in their heart By asking food according to their desire. the food of their fancy. Instead of being grateful for God’s marvelous provisions of manna, the Israelites complained against God and Moses. God sent them meat, but also judged them (Num. 11).

Proverbs 19:25 25 Smite a scoffer, and the simple will learn prudence; And reprove one that hath understanding, `and' he will understand knowledge. scoffer…simple…understanding. Three classes of people are noted: 1) scoffers are rebuked for learning nothing; 2) simpletons are warned by observing the rebuke of the scoffer; and 3) the understanding deepen their wisdom from any reproof.

Acts 8:1 consenting. Paul’s murderous hatred of all believers was manifested here in his attitude toward Stephen (1 Tim. 1:13–15). scattered. Led by a Jew named Saul of Tarsus, the persecution scattered the Jerusalem fellowship and led to the first missionary outreach of the church. Not all members of the Jerusalem church were forced to flee; the Hellenists, because Stephen was likely one, bore the brunt of the persecution (11:19,20). except the apostles. They remained because of their devotion to Christ, to care for those at Jerusalem, and to continue evangelizing the region (9:26, 27).

Acts 8:3 3 But Saul laid waste the church, entering into every house, and dragging men and women committed them to prison. he made havoc of the church. “Made havoc” was used in extrabiblical writings to refer to the destruction of a city or mangling by a wild animal.

Acts 8:10 10 to whom they all gave heed, from the least to the greatest, saying, This man is that power of God which is called Great. , 11 the great power of God. Simon claimed to be united to God. The early church fathers claimed he was one of the founders of Gnosticism, which asserted there were a series of divine emanations reaching up to God. They were called Powers, and the people believed he was at the top of the ladder.

DAY 27: Is the Holy Spirit received subsequent to salvation?

In Acts 8:15 15 who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Spirit: , Peter and John were sent to Samaria to pray for those who had responded to the preaching of Philip ( Acts 8:4 4 They therefore that were scattered abroad, went about preaching the word. –13) that they might receive the Holy Spirit. “For as yet He had fallen upon none of them” (v. 16). This verse does not support the false notion that Christians receive the Holy Spirit subsequent to salvation. This was a transitional period in which confirmation by the apostles was necessary to verify the inclusion of a new group of people into the church. Because of the animosity that existed between Jews and Samaritans, it was essential for the Samaritans to receive the Spirit in the presence of the leaders of the Jerusalem church, for the purpose of maintaining a unified church. The delay also revealed the Samaritans’ need to come under apostolic authority. The same transitional event occurred when the Gentiles were added to the church (11:44–46; 15:6–12; 19:6).

So “they laid hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit” (v. 17). This signified apostolic affirmation and solidarity. That this actually occurred likely demonstrated that believers also spoke in tongues here, just as those who received the Spirit did on the Day of Pentecost, as the Gentiles did when they received the Spirit (10:46), and as those followers of John did (19:6). As Samaritans, Gentiles, and believers from the Old Covenant were added to the church, the unity of the church was established. No longer could one nation (Israel) be God’s witness people, but the church made up of Jews, Gentiles, half-breed Samaritans, and Old Testament saints who became New Testament believers (19:1–7). To demonstrate the unity, it was imperative that there be some replication in each instance of what had occurred at Pentecost with the believing Jews, such as the presence of the apostles and the coming of the Spirit manifestly indicated through speaking in the languages of Pentecost (2:5–12).

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 27 - The Two Ways

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

“‘Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it’” ( Matthew 7:13 13 Enter ye in by the narrow gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many are they that enter in thereby. –14).

Two gates lead to two different ways. The wide gate leads to a way that is broad; the narrow gate leads to a way that is narrow. The narrow way is the way of the godly, and the broad way is the way of the ungodly—the only two ways people can travel.

The way that is broad is the easy, attractive, inclusive, indulgent, permissive, and self-oriented way of the world. It has few rules, few restrictions, and few requirements. All you need to do is profess Jesus, or at least seem religious, and you’ll be accepted into that group.

The narrow way is the hard and demanding way—the way of self-denial and the cross. When Jesus was asked, “Lord, are there just a few who are being saved?” He replied, “Strive to enter through the narrow door; for many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able” ( Luke 13:23 23 And one said unto him, Lord, are they few that are saved? And he said unto them, –24). The Greek word for “strive” (agonizomai) indicates that entering the door to God’s kingdom takes conscious, purposeful, and intense effort.

The narrow way is for those who want God’s kingdom at any cost. Make sure that you’re following Christ as Lord along that narrow way.

Ask Yourself

We certainly live amid a “broad way” mentality—a mind-set that can worm itself into our own ways of thinking. But what has God taught and shown you during those times when you’ve been most devoid of worldly restraints, when your life has been most wholly devoted to His Word and His ways?

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

Integrity Accepts God's Will

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

“Then the king went off to his palace and spent the night fasting, and no entertainment was brought before him; and his sleep fled from him. Then the king arose with the dawn, at the break of day, and went in haste to the lions’ den. And when he had come near the den to Daniel, he cried out with a troubled voice. The king spoke and said to Daniel, ‘Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you constantly serve, been able to deliver you from the lions?’ Then Daniel spoke to the king, ‘O king, live forever! My God sent His angel and shut the lions’ mouths, and they have not harmed me’” ( Daniel 6:18-22 18 Then the king went to his palace, and passed the night fasting; neither were instruments of music brought before him: and his sleep fled from him. 19 Then the king arose very early in the morning, and went in haste unto the den of lions. 20 And when he came near unto the den to Daniel, he cried with a lamentable voice; the king spake and said to Daniel, O Daniel, servant of the living God, is thy God, whom thou servest continually, able to deliver thee from the lions? 21 Then said Daniel unto the king, O king, live for ever. 22 My God hath sent his angel, and hath shut the lions' mouths, and they have not hurt me; forasmuch as before him innocency was found in me; and also before thee, O king, have I done no hurt. a).

When circumstances seem darkest, we can see God’s hand most clearly.

It is obvious that King Darius cared deeply for Daniel and that he had some degree of faith in Daniel’s God. Although he believed that God could deliver Daniel (v. 16), he spent a distressing and sleepless night anxiously awaiting dawn, so he could see if his belief was true. At the crack of dawn he hurried to the lions’ den and called out to Daniel. Imagine his relief to hear Daniel’s voice and to learn about how the angel had shut the lions’ mouths.

Why did Darius think God would deliver Daniel? I’m sure he learned of God from Daniel himself. Surely Daniel talked about Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego’s deliverance from the fiery furnace and about other marvelous things God had done for His people. The king’s response shows that Daniel’s testimony was effective and that his integrity had lent credibility to his witness.

But suppose God hadn’t delivered Daniel from the lions. Would He have failed? No. Isaiah also believed God, but he was sawn in half. Stephen believed God but was stoned to death. Paul believed God but was beheaded. Trusting God means accepting His will, whether for life or death. And for Christians, “to live is Christ, and to die is gain” (Phil. 1:21).

Suggestions for Prayer

Pray for those Christian leaders today who influence kings and presidents throughout the world. Ask the Lord to give them boldness and blameless integrity.

For Further Study

How does God view the death of His children (see Ps. 116:15 and John 21:18-19 18 Verily, verily, I say unto thee, When thou wast young, thou girdedst thyself, and walkedst whither thou wouldest: but when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and carry thee whither thou wouldest not. 19 Now this he spake, signifying by what manner of death he should glorify God. And when he had spoken this, he saith unto him, Follow me. )?

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

A Hiding Place for the Helpless

Published by John Piper for reading on June 27th.

How abundant is your goodness, which you have . . . worked for those who take refuge in you. ( Psalms 31:19 19 Oh how great is thy goodness, Which thou hast laid up for them that fear thee, Which thou hast wrought for them that take refuge in thee, Before the sons of men! )

The experience of future grace often hangs on whether we will take refuge in God, or whether we doubt his care and run for cover to other shelters.

For those who take refuge in God, the promises of future grace are many and rich.

  • None of those who take refuge in him will be condemned. ( Psalms 34:22 22 Jehovah redeemeth the soul of his servants; And none of them that take refuge in him shall be condemned. Psalm 35 `A Psalm' of David. )

  • He is a shield for all those who take refuge in him. ( 2 Samuel 22:31 31 As for God, his way is perfect: The word of Jehovah is tried; He is a shield unto all them that take refuge in him. )

  • Blessed are all who take refuge in him. ( Psalms 2:12 12 Kiss the son, lest he be angry, and ye perish in the way, For his wrath will soon be kindled. Blessed are all they that take refuge in him. Psalm 3 A Psalm of David, when he fled from Absalom his son. )

  • The Lord is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; he knows those who take refuge in him. ( Nahum 1:7 7 Jehovah is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; and he knoweth them that take refuge in him. )

We do not earn or merit anything by taking refuge in God. Hiding in something makes no contribution to the hiding place. All it does is show that we regard ourselves as helpless and the hiding place as a place of rescue.

The condition we must meet to have this grace is not a meritorious one; it is the condition of desperation and acknowledged weakness and need.

Destitution does not demand or deserve; it pleads for mercy and looks for grace.



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

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

Exodus 8:28 28 And Pharaoh said, I will let you go, that ye may sacrifice to Jehovah your God in the wilderness; only ye shall not go very far away: entreat for me.

THIS is a crafty word from the lip of the arch-tyrant Pharaoh. If the poor bondaged Israelites must needs go out of Egypt, then he bargains with them that it shall not be very far away; not too far for them to escape the terror of his arms, and the observation of his spies. After the same fashion, the world loves not the non-conformity of nonconformity, or the dissidence of dissent, it would have us be more charitable and not carry matters with too severe a hand. Death to the world, and burial with Christ, are experiences which carnal minds treat with ridicule, and hence the ordinance which sets them forth is almost universally neglected, and even contemned. Worldly wisdom recommends the path of compromise, and talks of "moderation." According to this carnal policy, purity is admitted to be very desirable, but we are warned against being too precise; truth is of course to be followed, but error is not to be severely denounced. "Yes," says the world, "be spiritually minded by all means, but do not deny yourself a little gay society, an occasional ball, and a Christmas visit to a theatre. What's the good of crying down a thing when it is so fashionable, and everybody does it?" Multitudes of professors yield to this cunning advice, to their own eternal ruin. If we would follow the Lord wholly, we must go right away into the wilderness of separation, and leave the Egypt of the carnal world behind us. We must leave its maxims, its pleasures, and its religion too, and go far away to the place where the Lord calls His sanctified ones. When the town is on fire, our house cannot be too far from the flames. When the plague is abroad, a man cannot be too far from its haunts. The further from a viper the better, and the further from worldly conformity the better. To all true believers let the trumpet-call be sounded, "Come ye out from among them, be ye separate."

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

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

1 Corinthians 7:20 20 Let each man abide in that calling wherein he was called.

SOME persons have the foolish notion that the only way in which they can live for God is by becoming ministers, missionaries, or Bible women. Alas! how many would be shut out from any opportunity of magnifying the Most High if this were the case. Beloved, it is not office, it is earnestness; it is not position, it is grace which will enable us to glorify God. God is most surely glorified in that cobbler's stall, where the godly worker, as he plies the awl, sings of the Saviour's love, ay, glorified far more than in many a prebendal stall where official religiousness performs its scanty duties. The name of Jesus is glorified by the poor unlearned carter as he drives his horse, and blesses his God, or speaks to his fellow labourer by the roadside, as much as by the popular divine who, throughout the country, like Boanerges, is thundering out the gospel. God is glorified by our serving Him in our proper vocations. Take care, dear reader, that you do not forsake the path of duty by leaving your occupation, and take care you do not dishonour your profession while in it. Think little of yourselves, but do not think too little of your callings. Every lawful trade may be sanctified by the gospel to noblest ends. Turn to the Bible, and you will find the most menial forms of labour connected either with most daring deeds of faith, or with persons whose lives have been illustrious for holiness. Therefore be not discontented with your calling. Whatever God has made your position, or your work, abide in that, unless you are quite sure that he calls you to something else. Let your first care be to glorify God to the utmost of your power where you are. Fill your present sphere to His praise, and if He needs you in another He will show it you. This evening lay aside vexatious ambition, and embrace peaceful content.

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