"For at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord."
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The Key to Spiritual Maturity

Published by John Piper for reading on November 22nd.

Solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil. ( Hebrews 5:14 14 But solid food is for fullgrown men, `even' those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern good and evil. )

Now this is amazing. Don’t miss it. It could save you years of wasted living.

What this verse is saying is that if you want to become mature and understand the more solid teachings of the word, then the rich, nutritional, precious milk of God’s gospel promises must transform your moral senses — your spiritual mind — so that you can discern between good and evil.

Or, let me put it another way. Getting ready to feast on all God’s word is not first an intellectual challenge; it is first a moral challenge. If you want to eat the solid food of the word, you must exercise your spiritual senses so as to develop a mind that discerns between good and evil.

The startling truth is that, if you stumble over understanding Melchizedek in Genesis and Hebrews, it may be because you watch questionable TV programs. If you stumble over the doctrine of election, it may be because you still use some shady business practices. If you stumble over the God-centered work of Christ in the cross, it may be because you love money and spend too much and give too little.

The pathway to maturity and to solid biblical food is not first becoming an intelligent person, but becoming an obedient person. What you do with alcohol and sex and money and leisure and food and computers has more to do with your capacity for solid food than where you go to school or what books you read.

This is so important because in our highly technological society we are prone to think that education — especially intellectual development — is the key to maturity. There are many Ph.D.’s who choke in their spiritual immaturity on the things of God. And there are many less-educated saints who are deeply mature and can feed with pleasure and profit on the deepest things of God’s word.

New Birth: God’s Part

Published by InTouch Ministries for reading on November 22nd.

John 3:9-13 9 Nicodemus answered and said unto him, How can these things be? 10 Jesus answered and said unto him, Art thou the teacher of Israel, and understandest not these things? 11 Verily, verily, I say unto thee, We speak that which we know, and bear witness of that which we have seen; and ye receive not our witness. 12 If I told you earthly things and ye believe not, how shall ye believe if I tell you heavenly things? 13 And no one hath ascended into heaven, but he that descended out of heaven, `even' the Son of man, who is in heaven.

Ever since the original transgression of Adam and Eve in Genesis, all of mankind has been born with a sinful nature, and our sin creates a chasm separating us from our holy, perfect God. To be able to commune with Him, we must be born again, which is the way we receive a new nature, a new spirit, and a new eternal destiny.

Spiritual rebirth is a miraculous work of the Holy Spirit—He doesn’t simply freshen up our old nature but instead brings about a radical transformation, creating a brand-new spirit and life. As 2 Corinthians 5:17 17 Wherefore if any man is in Christ, `he is' a new creature: the old things are passed away; behold, they are become new. says, “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature” (emphasis added). As a result, believers can worship, praise, and serve the living God out of genuine love and devotion to Him.

God’s part in this rebirth involves forgiving us of our sins, and to do that, He sent His only begotten Son to die on the cross as our substitute. In that way, Jesus paid our sin debt in full. He is our sacrifice—that is, He is the one who suffered vicariously on our behalf.

Our Savior’s substitutionary atonement is the means by which a holy and righteous God forgives sin and makes us holy like Himself. Our cleansing doesn’t come from being religious, or even from confession of sin and repentance. Rather, it comes from the blood that Jesus shed on the cross at Calvary. When we believe that He died to pay the penalty we owed and then accept His sacrifice on our behalf, we are forgiven of our sins and God wipes them away (Eph. 1:7).

Bible in One Year: Romans 1-3 Chapter 1 1 Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called `to be' an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God, 2 which he promised afore through his prophets in the holy scriptures, 3 concerning his Son, who was born of the seed of David according to the flesh, 4 who was declared `to be' the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead; `even' Jesus Christ our Lord, 5 through whom we received grace and apostleship, unto obedience of faith among all the nations, for his name's sake; 6 among whom are ye also called `to be' Jesus Christ's: 7 To all that are in Rome, beloved of God, called `to be' saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 8 First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is proclaimed throughout the whole world. 9 For God is my witness, whom I serve in my spirit in the gospel of his Son, how unceasingly I make mention of you, always in my prayers 10 making request, if by any means now at length I may be prospered by the will of God to come unto you. 11 For I long to see you, that I may impart unto you some spiritual gift, to the end ye may be established; 12 that is, that I with you may be comforted in you, each of us by the other's faith, both yours and mine. 13 And I would not have you ignorant, brethren, that oftentimes I purposed to come unto you (and was hindered hitherto), that I might have some fruit in you also, even as in the rest of the Gentiles. 14 I am debtor both to Greeks and to Barbarians, both to the wise and to the foolish. 15 So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you also that are in Rome. 16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. 17 For therein is revealed a righteousness of God from faith unto faith: as it is written, But the righteous shall live by faith. 18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hinder the truth in unrighteousness; 19 because that which is known of God is manifest in them; for God manifested it unto them. 20 For the invisible things of him since the creation of the world are clearly seen, being perceived through the things that are made, `even' his everlasting power and divinity; that they may be without excuse: 21 because that, knowing God, they glorified him not as God, neither gave thanks; but became vain in their reasonings, and their senseless heart was darkened. 22 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, 23 and changed the glory of the incorruptible God for the likeness of an image of corruptible man, and of birds, and four-footed beasts, and creeping things. 24 Wherefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts unto uncleanness, that their bodies should be dishonored among themselves: 25 for that they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshipped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. 26 For this cause God gave them up unto vile passions: for their women changed the natural use into that which is against nature: 27 and likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another, men with men working unseemliness, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was due. 28 And even as they refused to have God in `their' knowledge, God gave them up unto a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not fitting; 29 being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malignity; whisperers, 30 backbiters, hateful to God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, 31 without understanding, covenant-breakers, without natural affection, unmerciful: 32 who, knowing the ordinance of God, that they that practise such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but also consent with them that practise them. Chapter 2 1 Wherefore thou art without excuse, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judges another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest dost practise the same things. 2 And we know that the judgment of God is according to truth against them that practise such things. 3 And reckonest thou this, O man, who judgest them that practise such things, and doest the same, that thou shalt escape the judgment of God? 4 Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance? 5 but after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up for thyself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God; 6 who will render to every man according to his works: 7 to them that by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and incorruption, eternal life: 8 but unto them that are factious, and obey not the truth, but obey unrighteousness, `shall be' wrath and indignation, 9 tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that worketh evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Greek; 10 but glory and honor and peace to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Greek: 11 for there is no respect of persons with God. 12 For as many as have sinned without law shall also perish without the law: and as many as have sinned under the law shall be judged by the law; 13 for not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified: 14 (for when Gentiles that have not the law do by nature the things of the law, these, not having the law, are the law unto themselves; 15 in that they show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness therewith, and their thoughts one with another accusing or else excusing `them'); 16 in the day when God shall judge the secrets of men, according to my gospel, by Jesus Christ. 17 But if thou bearest the name of a Jew, and restest upon the law, and gloriest in God, 18 and knowest his will, and approvest the things that are excellent, being instructed out of the law, 19 and art confident that thou thyself art a guide of the blind, a light of them that are in darkness, 20 a corrector of the foolish, a teacher of babes, having in the law the form of knowledge and of the truth; 21 thou therefore that teachest another, teachest thou not thyself? thou that preachest a man should not steal, dost thou steal? 22 thou that sayest a man should not commit adultery, dost thou commit adultery? thou that abhorrest idols, dost thou rob temples? 23 thou who gloriest in the law, through thy transgression of the law dishonorest thou God? 24 For the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you, even as it is written. 25 For circumcision indeed profiteth, if thou be a doer of the law: but if thou be a transgressor of the law, thy circumcision is become uncircumcision. 26 If therefore the uncircumcision keep the ordinances of the law, shall not his uncircumcision be reckoned for circumcision? 27 and shall not the uncircumcision which is by nature, if it fulfil the law, judge thee, who with the letter and circumcision art a transgressor of the law? 28 For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision which is outward in the flesh: 29 but he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God. Chapter 3 1 What advantage then hath the Jew? or what is the profit of circumcision? 2 Much every way: first of all, that they were intrusted with the oracles of God. 3 For what if some were without faith? shall their want of faith make of none effect the faithfulness of God? 4 God forbid: yea, let God be found true, but every man a liar; as it is written, That thou mightest be justified in thy words, And mightest prevail when thou comest into judgment. 5 But if our righteousness commendeth the righteousness of God, what shall we say? Is God unrighteous who visiteth with wrath? (I speak after the manner of men.) 6 God forbid: for then how shall God judge the world? 7 But if the truth of God through my lie abounded unto his glory, why am I also still judged as a sinner? 8 and why not (as we are slanderously reported, and as some affirm that we say), Let us do evil, that good may come? whose condemnation is just. 9 What then? are we better than they? No, in no wise: for we before laid to the charge both of Jews and Greeks, that they are all under sin; 10 as it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one; 11 There is none that understandeth, There is none that seeketh after God; 12 They have all turned aside, they are together become unprofitable; There is none that doeth good, no, not, so much as one: 13 Their throat is an open sepulchre; With their tongues they have used deceit: The poison of asps is under their lips: 14 Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness: 15 Their feet are swift to shed blood; 16 Destruction and misery are in their ways; 17 And the way of peace have they not known: 18 There is no fear of God before their eyes. 19 Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it speaketh to them that are under the law; that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may be brought under the judgment of God: 20 because by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified in his sight; for through the law `cometh' the knowledge of sin. 21 But now apart from the law a righteousness of God hath been manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; 22 even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ unto all them that believe; for there is no distinction; 23 for all have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God; 24 being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: 25 whom God set forth `to be' a propitiation, through faith, in his blood, to show his righteousness because of the passing over of the sins done aforetime, in the forbearance of God; 26 for the showing, `I say', of his righteousness at this present season: that he might himself be just, and the justifier of him that hath faith in Jesus. 27 Where then is the glorying? It is excluded. By what manner of law? of works? Nay: but by a law of faith. 28 We reckon therefore that a man is justified by faith apart from the works of the law. 29 Or is God `the God' of Jews only? is he not `the God' of Gentiles also? Yea, of Gentiles also: 30 if so be that God is one, and he shall justify the circumcision by faith, and the uncircumcision through faith. 31 Do we then make the law of none effect through faith? God forbid: nay, we establish the law.

Watch Your Step

Published by Grace To You for reading on November 22nd.

“Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men, but as wise” ( Ephesians 5:15 15 Look therefore carefully how ye walk, not as unwise, but as wise; ).

Walking wisely is a step in the right direction.

Sometimes a soldier has the thankless task of clearing mine fields from enemy territory. If you’re aware of the procedure, you know the work is both dangerous and tedious. To proceed in an orderly fashion, a soldier marks areas that are considered dangerous and areas that have been cleared. Above all, he makes sure he is careful where he’s walking! In the spiritual realm, Paul is telling believers in Ephesians 5:15 15 Look therefore carefully how ye walk, not as unwise, but as wise; to walk carefully. The Greek term translated “careful” speaks of looking carefully from side to side and being alert to what is going on. We need to be extremely alert because the world we’re walking through is a mine field of sin and temptation. Therefore, we must walk carefully, exactly, and accurately. The wise Christian carefully charts his course according to life principles designed by God. He doesn’t trip over the obstacles that Satan puts in his path or fall into the entanglement of the world’s system. He is “careful.” The Greek word translated “walk” means “daily conduct,” “daily pattern,” or “daily life.” The daily pattern of our lives must reflect wisdom. The Greeks saw wisdom primarily as head knowledge. They tended to spin off theories that had no practical implications. To them, the wise people were the intellectuals and the philosophers. The Hebrew mind, however, defined wisdom only in terms of behavior. When a person becomes a Christian, it’s more than a change in theory—it’s a change in how he lives.

Paul is saying in verse 15, “If you used to be a fool, but you’ve been made wise in Christ, then walk wisely.” In other words, we’re to practice our position, to live in accordance with who we are. When we became Christians, we came out of foolishness into wisdom. Therefore, we need to act like it!

Be careful not to act foolishly and step on Satan’s mines. Your spiritual transformation demands that you live your life with care.

Suggestions for Prayer

Thank the Lord for helping you obey His Word and avoid Satan’s destructive mines.

For Further Study

Read Titus 3:1-8 Chapter 3 1 Put them in mind to be in subjection to rulers, to authorities, to be obedient, to be ready unto every good work, 2 to speak evil of no man, not to be contentious, to be gentle, showing all meekness toward all men. 3 For we also once were foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, hating one another. 4 But when the kindness of God our Saviour, and his love toward man, appeared, 5 not by works `done' in righteousness, which we did ourselves, but according to his mercy he saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, 6 which he poured out upon us richly, through Jesus Christ our Saviour; 7 that, being justified by his grace, we might be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. 8 Faithful is the saying, and concerning these things I desire that thou affirm confidently, to the end that they who have believed God may be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable unto men: . What are you to be careful to do (v. 8)? Why?

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        

The Reluctant Patriarch

Published by Grace To You for reading on November 22nd.
"By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau, even regarding things to come" (Heb. 11:20).

When you disobey God, you forfeit joy and blessing.

Isaac is a fascinating Old Testament character. He was Abraham's long-awaited son, the covenant child, the child of promise. Yet aside from that, he was rather ordinary, passive, and quiet. Just over two chapters of Genesis center on him, whereas the other patriarchs (Abraham, Jacob, and Joseph) command about twelve chapters each.

In the final analysis, Isaac believed God and submitted to His will. But overall, his spiritual character seems more reluctant than resolute.

After a famine prompted Isaac to move his family to Gerar (a Philistine city on the border between Palestine and Egypt), he received a vision from the Lord. In it God passed on to Isaac the covenant promises He had made to Abraham: "Sojourn in this land and I will be with you and bless you, for to you and to your descendants I will give all these lands, and I will establish the oath which I swore to your father Abraham. And I will multiply your descendants as the stars of heaven, and will give your descendants all these lands; and by your descendants all the nations of the earth shall be blessed" (Gen. 26:3-4).

You would think such promises would infuse Isaac with boldness and confidence, yet no sooner had he received them, then he lied to the men of Gerar about his wife, Rebekah, because he feared they might kill him to have her (v. 7).

It was only with great difficulty and prodding that the Lord finally brought Isaac into the Promised Land, where He once again repeated the covenant promises (vv. 23-24).

Later in his life Isaac even sought to bless his son Esau after Esau had sold his birthright to Jacob (25:33). Only after he realized that God's choice of Jacob was irreversible did Isaac acquiesce.

Isaac is a vivid reminder of how believers can forfeit joy and blessing by disobeying God. But he's also a reminder of God's faithfulness—even toward reluctant saints.

Is your obedience reluctant or resolute?

Suggestions for Prayer

  • Thank God for His unwavering faithfulness to you.
  • Seek His forgiveness when your obedience is reluctant or withheld altogether.
  • Ask Him to teach you to love Him in the same unwavering, resolute way He loves you.

For Further Study

Read of Isaac in Genesis 25:19 19 And these are the generations of Isaac, Abraham's son. Abraham begat Isaac. —26:34.

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.

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Daily Bible - November 22

Published by Grace To You for reading on November 22nd.

Reading for Today:

  • Ezekiel 35:1 Chapter 35 1 Moreover the word of Jehovah came unto me, saying, –36:38
  • Psalms 131:1-3 Chapter 131 1 Jehovah, my heart is not haughty, nor mine eyes lofty; Neither do I exercise myself in great matters, Or in things too wonderful for me. 2 Surely I have stilled and quieted my soul; Like a weaned child with his mother, Like a weaned child is my soul within me. 3 O Israel, hope in Jehovah From this time forth and for evermore. Psalm 132 A Song of Ascents.
  • Proverbs 29:2-3 2 When the righteous are increased, the people rejoice; But when a wicked man beareth rule, the people sigh. 3 Whoso loveth wisdom rejoiceth his father; But he that keepeth company with harlots wasteth `his' substance.
  • James 3:1-18 Chapter 3 1 Be not many `of you' teachers, my brethren, knowing that we shall receive heavier judgment. 2 For in many things we all stumble. If any stumbleth not in word, the same is a perfect man, able to bridle the whole body also. 3 Now if we put the horses' bridles into their mouths that they may obey us, we turn about their whole body also. 4 Behold, the ships also, though they are so great and are driven by rough winds, are yet turned about by a very small rudder, whither the impulse of the steersman willeth. 5 So the tongue also is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how much wood is kindled by how small a fire! 6 And the tongue is a fire: the world of iniquity among our members is the tongue, which defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the wheel of nature, and is set on fire by hell. 7 For every kind of beasts and birds, of creeping things and things in the sea, is tamed, and hath been tamed by mankind. 8 But the tongue can no man tame; `it is' a restless evil, `it is' full of deadly poison. 9 Therewith bless we the Lord and Father; and therewith curse we men, who are made after the likeness of God: 10 out of the same mouth cometh forth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be. 11 Doth the fountain send forth from the same opening sweet `water' and bitter? 12 Can a fig tree, my brethren, yield olives, or a vine figs? Neither `can' salt water yield sweet. 13 Who is wise and understanding among you? let him show by his good life his works in meekness of wisdom. 14 But if ye have bitter jealousy and faction in your heart, glory not and lie not against the truth. 15 This wisdom is not `a wisdom' that cometh down from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish. 16 For where jealousy and faction are, there is confusion and every vile deed. 17 But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without variance, without hypocrisy. 18 And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace for them that make peace.


Ezekiel 36:1 This chapter presents the prerequisite regeneration which Israel must experience before they can nationally enter into the promised blessings. This chapter must be understood to speak of a literal Israel, a literal land, and a literal regeneration, leading to a literal kingdom under Messiah. prophesy to the mountains. vv. 1, 4, 6, 8. Ezekiel addresses Israel’s mountains as symbolic of the whole nation. He promises: 1) to give these mountains again to dispersed Israel (v. 12); 2) to cause fruit to grow on them (v. 8); 3) to rebuild cities and to multiply people there (v. 10); and 4) to bless in a greater way than in the past (v. 11). This promise can only be fulfilled in future millennial blessing to Israel that she has not yet experienced, because it includes the salvation of the New Covenant (vv. 25–27, 29, 31, 33).

Ezekiel 36:25–27 I will cleanse you. Along with the physical reality of a return to the land, God pledged spiritual renewal: 1) cleansing from sin; 2) a new heart of the New Covenant (Jer. 31:31–34); 3) a new spirit or disposition inclined to worship Him; and 4) His Spirit dwelling in them, enabling them to walk in obedience to His word. This has not happened, because Israel has not trusted Jesus Christ as Messiah and Savior, but it will before the kingdom of Messiah (Zech. 12–14; Rom. 11:25–27; Rev. 11:13).

Ezekiel 36:26, 27 What was figuratively described in v. 25 is explained as literal in vv. 26, 27. The gift of the “new heart” signifies the new birth, which is regeneration by the Holy Spirit (11:18–20). The “heart” stands for the whole nature. The “spirit” indicates the governing power of the mind which directs thought and conduct. A “stony heart” is stubborn and self-willed. A “heart of flesh” is pliable and responsive. The evil inclination is removed and a new nature replaces it. This is New Covenant character as in Jeremiah 31:31 31 Behold, the days come, saith Jehovah, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: –34.

James 3:6 6 And the tongue is a fire: the world of iniquity among our members is the tongue, which defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the wheel of nature, and is set on fire by hell. tongue is a fire. Like fire, the tongue’s sinful words can spread destruction rapidly; or as its accompanying smoke, those words can permeate and ruin everything around it. defiles. This means “to pollute or contaminate” ( Mark 7:20 20 And he said, That which proceedeth out of the man, that defileth the man. ; Jude 23). the course of nature. Better translated “the circle of life,” this underscores that the tongue’s evil can extend beyond the individual to affect everything in his sphere of influence. hell. A translation of the Greek word gehenna (or valley of Hinnom). In Christ’s time, this valley that lay southwest of Jerusalem’s walls served as the city dump and was known for its constantly burning fire. Jesus used that place to symbolize the eternal place of punishment and torment ( Mark 9:43 43 And if thy hand cause thee to stumble, cut it off: it is good for thee to enter into life maimed, rather than having thy two hands to go into hell, into the unquenchable fire. , 45). To James “hell” conjures up not just the place but the satanic host that will some day inherit it—they use the tongue as a tool for evil.

DAY 22: How does James explain the difference between the two kinds of wisdom in the world (3:13–18)?

The term “wise” in v. 13 is the common Greek word for speculative knowledge and philosophy, but the Hebrews infused it with the much richer meaning of skillfully applying knowledge to the matter of practical living. This passage points out that two groups of people can be called wise; but in each case, the source of wisdom and the character of the “wise” are entirely opposite.

Wisdom from above (v. 17) includes the following characteristics: 1) pure. This refers to spiritual integrity and moral sincerity. Every genuine Christian has this kind of heart motivation (Pss. 24:3, 4; 51:7; Matt. 5:8; Rom. 7:22, 23; Heb. 12:14); 2) peaceable. Means “peace loving” or “peace promoting” (Matt. 5:9); 3) gentle. This word is difficult to translate, but most nearly means a character trait of sweet reasonableness. Such a person will submit to all kinds of mistreatment and difficulty with an attitude of kind, courteous, patient humility, without any thought of hatred or revenge (Matt. 5:10, 11); 4) willing to yield. The original term described someone who was teachable, compliant, easily persuaded, and who willingly submitted to military discipline or moral and legal standards. For believers, it defines obedience to God’s standards (Matt. 5:3–5); 5) full of mercy. The gift of showing concern for those who suffer pain and hardship, and the ability to forgive quickly (Matt. 5:7; Rom. 12:8); 6) without partiality. The Greek word occurs only here in the New Testament and denotes a consistent, unwavering person who is undivided in his commitment and conviction and does not make unfair distinctions.

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

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November 22 - Submission to Jesus Christ

Published by Grace To You for reading on November 22nd.

“‘Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light’” ( Matthew 11:29 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. –30).

Jesus’ great invitation includes a call to submission, which inherently includes obedience and is symbolized by a yoke. The “yoke” was made of wood and designed to fit comfortably on the neck and shoulders of a work animal to prevent chafing. An ancient aphorism says, “Put your neck under the yoke and let your soul receive instruction.”

By analogy, Christ wants His disciples to be submissive and learn from Him. They must submit for many reasons, but foremost is to be taught by Him through the Word.

But in the process of submission, Jesus is “gentle and humble in heart” and graciously gives rest, not weariness, to His obedient disciples. Our Lord will never give us burdens too heavy to carry, because His burdens have nothing to do with works of the law or the human tradition of good deeds.

If we are faithful and submissive, our work of obedience to Christ will be joyful and happy. The apostle John explains, “This is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome” ( 1 John 5:3 3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous. ). Submission to Jesus Christ is the only true liberation anyone can experience, because only then can one become what God intended.

Thy precious will, O conquering Saviour,Doth now embrace and compass me;All discords hushed, my peace a river,My soul a prisoned bird set free.Sweet will of God still fold me closer,Till I am wholly lost in Thee.

Ask Yourself

Jesus’ purpose in calling you to submission is not to embitter you but to better you. Is anything keeping you from trusting that?

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

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Morning Devotional by C.H. Spurgeon for November 22nd

Published by C.H. Spurgeon for reading on November 22nd.

Hosea 12:12 12 And Jacob fled into the field of Aram, and Israel served for a wife, and for a wife he kept `sheep'.

JACOB, while expostulating with Laban, thus describes his own toil, "This twenty years have I been with thee. That which was torn of beasts I brought not unto thee: I bare the loss of it; of my hand didst thou require it, whether stolen by day, or stolen by night. Thus I was; in the day the drought consumed me, and the frost by night; and my sleep departed from mine eyes." Even more toilsome than this was the life of our Saviour here below. He watched over all His sheep till He gave in as His last account, "Of all those whom Thou hast given me I have lost none." His hair was wet with dew, and His locks with the drops of the night. Sleep departed from His eyes, for all night He was in prayer wrestling for His people. One night Peter must be pleaded for; anon, another claims His tearful intercession. No shepherd sitting beneath the cold skies, looking up to the stars, could ever utter such complaints because of the hardness of his toil as Jesus Christ might have brought, if He had chosen to do so, because of the sternness of His service in order to procure His spouse—

"Cold mountains and the midnight air, Witnessed the fervour of His prayer; The desert His temptations knew, His conflict and His victory too." It is sweet to dwell upon the spiritual parallel of Laban having required all the sheep at Jacob's hand. If they were torn of beasts, Jacob must make it good; if any of them died, he must stand as surety for the whole. Was not the toil of Jesus for His Church the toil of one who was under suretiship obligations to bring every believing one safe to the hand of Him who had committed them to His charge? Look upon toiling Jacob, and you see a representation of Him of whom we read, "He shall feed His flock like a shepherd."

Evening Devotional by C.H. Spurgeon for November 22nd

Published by C.H. Spurgeon for reading on November 22nd.

Philippians 3:10 10 that I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, becoming conformed unto his death;

THE doctrine of a risen Saviour is exceedingly precious. The resurrection is the corner-stone of the entire building of Christianity. It is the key-stone of the arch of our salvation. It would take a volume to set forth all the streams of living water which flow from this one sacred source, the resurrection of our dear Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ; but to know that He has risen, and to have fellowship with Him as such—communing with the risen Saviour by possessing a risen life—seeing Him leave the tomb by leaving the tomb of worldliness ourselves, this is even still more precious. The doctrine is the basis of the experience, but as the flower is more lovely than the root, so is the experience of fellowship with the risen Saviour more lovely than the doctrine itself. I would have you believe that Christ rose from the dead so as to sing of it, and derive all the consolation which it is possible for you to extract from this well-ascertained and well-witnessed fact; but I beseech you, rest not contented even there. Though you cannot, like the disciples, see Him visibly, yet I bid you aspire to see Christ Jesus by the eye of faith; and though, like Mary Magdalene, you may not "touch" Him, yet may you be privileged to converse with Him, and to know that He is risen, you yourselves being risen in Him to newness of life. To know a crucified Saviour as having crucified all my sins, is a high degree of knowledge; but to know a risen Saviour as having justified me, and to realize that He has bestowed upon me new life, having given me to be a new creature through His own newness of life, this is a noble style of experience: short of it, none ought to rest satisfied. May you both "know Him, and the power of His resurrection." Why should souls who are quickened with Jesus, wear the grave-clothes of worldliness and unbelief? Rise, for the Lord is risen.

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