HE IS RISEN!

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Our Heavenly Father

Published by InTouch Ministries for reading on November 21st.

Matthew 6:9-13 9 After this manner therefore pray ye. Our Father who art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. 10 Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so on earth. 11 Give us this day our daily bread. 12 And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. 13 And bring us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil `one.'

When Christ taught His disciples to pray, He told them to call God “Our Father” when communicating with Him. Jesus often addressed God as “My Father,” but now they, too, shared in that privileged family relationship. All of us who’ve been born again are part of the household of God and have this same right.

Consider some of the ways our heavenly Father cares for His children. He ...

Loves. God’s love is unconditional, since it’s based on His nature rather than our performance ( 1 John 4:16 16 And we know and have believed the love which God hath in us. God is love; and he that abideth in love abideth in God, and God abideth in him. ).

Listens. When we pray, He gives us His full attention ( Psalms 55:16-17 16 As for me, I will call upon God; And Jehovah will save me. 17 Evening, and morning, and at noonday, will I complain, and moan; And he will hear my voice. ).

Provides. The Father assumes responsibility for meeting all our needs (Phil. 4:19).

Guides. He is the one who directs our path when we trust in Him (Prov. 3:5-6).

Protects. The Lord shields us spiritually, emotionally, and physically, sifting every experience through His sovereign fingers ( Psalms 121 Chapter 121 1 I will lift up mine eyes unto the mountains: From whence shall my help come? 2 My help `cometh' from Jehovah, Who made heaven and earth. 3 He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: He that keepeth thee will not slumber. 4 Behold, he that keepeth Israel Will neither slumber nor sleep. 5 Jehovah is thy keeper: Jehovah is thy shade upon thy right hand. 6 The sun shall not smite thee by day, Nor the moon by night. 7 Jehovah will keep thee from all evil; He will keep thy soul. 8 Jehovah will keep thy going out and thy coming in From this time forth and for evermore. Psalm 122 A Song of Ascents; of David. ).

Stays. He’s not an absentee parent, since He will never leave or forsake us (Deut. 31:8).

Disciplines. The Lord disciplines us for our good, so that we may share in His holiness (Heb. 12:5-11).

Though experiences with our earthly dads may have distorted our perspective of the heavenly Father, we can learn to see Him as He truly is. By viewing Him through the truth of Scripture instead of our preconceptions, we will see evidence of His loving care and discover a security we’ve never known before.

Bible in One Year: Acts 27-28 Chapter 27 1 And when it was determined that we should sail for Italy, they delivered Paul and certain other prisoners to a centurion named Julius, of the Augustan band. 2 And embarking in a ship of Adramyttium, which was about to sail unto the places on the coast of Asia, we put to sea, Aristarchus, a Macedonian of Thessalonica, being with us. 3 And the next day we touched at Sidon: and Julius treated Paul kindly, and gave him leave to go unto his friends and refresh himself. 4 And putting to sea from thence, we sailed under the lee of Cyprus, because the winds were contrary. 5 And when we had sailed across the sea which is off Cilicia and Pamphylia, we came to Myra, `a city' of Lycia. 6 And there the centurion found a ship of Alexandria sailing for Italy; and he put us therein. 7 And when we had sailed slowly many days, and were come with difficulty over against Cnidus, the wind not further suffering us, we sailed under the lee of Crete, over against Salmone; 8 and with difficulty coasting along it we came unto a certain place called Fair Havens; nigh whereunto was the city of Lasea. 9 And when much time was spent, and the voyage was now dangerous, because the Fast was now already gone by, Paul admonished them, 10 and said unto them, Sirs, I perceive that the voyage will be with injury and much loss, not only of the lading and the ship, but also of our lives. 11 But the centurion gave more heed to the master and to the owner of the ship, than to those things which were spoken by Paul. 12 And because the haven was not commodious to winter in, the more part advised to put to sea from thence, if by any means they could reach Phoenix, and winter `there; which is' a haven of Crete, looking northeast and south-east. 13 And when the south wind blew softly, supposing that they had obtained their purpose, they weighed anchor and sailed along Crete, close in shore. 14 But after no long time there beat down from it a tempestuous wind, which is called Euraquilo: 15 and when the ship was caught, and could not face the wind, we gave way `to it,' and were driven. 16 And running under the lee of a small island called Cauda, we were able, with difficulty, to secure the boat: 17 and when they had hoisted it up, they used helps, under-girding the ship; and, fearing lest they should be cast upon the Syrtis, they lowered the gear, and so were driven. 18 And as we labored exceedingly with the storm, the next day they began to throw the `the freight' overboard; 19 and the third day they cast out with their own hands the tackling of the ship. 20 And when neither sun nor stars shone upon `us' for many days, and no small tempest lay on `us,' all hope that we should be saved was now taken away. 21 And when they had been long without food, then Paul stood forth in the midst of them, and said, Sirs, ye should have hearkened unto me, and not have set sail from Crete, and have gotten this injury and loss. 22 And now I exhort you to be of good cheer; for there shall be no loss of life among you, but `only' of the ship. 23 For there stood by me this night an angel of the God whose I am, whom also I serve, 24 saying, Fear not, Paul; thou must stand before Caesar: and lo, God hath granted thee all them that sail with thee. 25 Wherefore, sirs, be of good cheer: for I believe God, that it shall be even so as it hath been spoken unto me. 26 But we must be cast upon a certain island. 27 But when the fourteenth night was come, as we were driven to and fro in the `sea of' Adria, about midnight the sailors surmised that they were drawing near to some country: 28 and they sounded, and found twenty fathoms; and after a little space, they sounded again, and found fifteen fathoms. 29 And fearing lest haply we should be cast ashore on rocky ground, they let go four anchors from the stern, and wished for the day. 30 And as the sailors were seeking to flee out of the ship, and had lowered the boat into the sea, under color as though they would lay out anchors from the foreship, 31 Paul said to the centurion and to the soldiers, Except these abide in the ship, ye cannot be saved. 32 Then the soldiers cut away the ropes of the boat, and let her fall off. 33 And while the day was coming on, Paul besought them all to take some food, saying, This day is the fourteenth day that ye wait and continue fasting, having taken nothing. 34 Wherefore I beseech you to take some food: for this is for your safety: for there shall not a hair perish from the head of any of you. 35 And when he had said this, and had taken bread, he gave thanks to God in the presence of all; and he brake it, and began to eat. 36 Then were they all of good cheer, and themselves also took food. 37 And we were in all in the ship two hundred threescore and sixteen souls. 38 And when they had eaten enough, they lightened the ship, throwing out the wheat into the sea. 39 And when it was day, they knew not the land: but they perceived a certain bay with a beach, and they took counsel whether they could drive the ship upon it. 40 And casting off the anchors, they left them in the sea, at the same time loosing the bands of the rudders; and hoisting up the foresail to the wind, they made for the beach. 41 But lighting upon a place where two seas met, they ran the vessel aground; and the foreship struck and remained unmoveable, but the stern began to break up by the violence `of the waves'. 42 And the soldiers' counsel was to kill the prisoners, lest any `of them' should swim out, and escape. 43 But the centurion, desiring to save Paul, stayed them from their purpose; and commanded that they who could swim should cast themselves overboard, and get first to the land; 44 and the rest, some on planks, and some on `other' things from the ship. And so it came to pass, that they all escaped safe to the land. Chapter 28 1 And when we were escaped, then we knew that the island was called Melita. 2 And the barbarians showed us no common kindness; for they kindled a fire, and received us all, because of the present rain, and because of the cold. 3 But when Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks and laid them on the fire, a viper came out by reason of the heat, and fastened on his hand. 4 And when the barbarians saw the `venomous' creature hanging from his hand, they said one to another, No doubt this man is a murderer, whom, though he hath escaped from the sea, yet Justice hath not suffered to live. 5 Howbeit he shook off the creature into the fire, and took no harm. 6 But they expected that he would have swollen, or fallen down dead suddenly: but when they were long in expectation and beheld nothing amiss came to him, they changed their minds, and said that he was a god. 7 Now in the neighborhood of that place were lands belonging to the chief man of the island, named Publius, who received us, and entertained us three days courteously. 8 And it was so, that the father of Publius lay sick of fever and dysentery: unto whom Paul entered in, and prayed, and laying his hands on him healed him. 9 And when this was done, the rest also that had diseases in the island came, and were cured: 10 who also honored us with many honors; and when we sailed, they put on board such things as we needed. 11 And after three months we set sail in a ship of Alexandria which had wintered in the island, whose sign was The Twin Brothers. 12 And touching at Syracuse, we tarried there three days. 13 And from thence we made a circuit, and arrived at Rhegium: and after one day a south wind sprang up, and on the second day we came to Puteoli; 14 where we found brethren, and were entreated to tarry with them seven days: and so we came to Rome. 15 And from thence the brethren, when they heard of us, came to meet us as far as The Market of Appius and The Three Taverns; whom when Paul saw, he thanked God, and took courage. 16 And when we entered into Rome, Paul was suffered to abide by himself with the soldier that guarded him. 17 And it came to pass, that after three days he called together those that were the chief of the Jews: and when they were come together, he said unto them, I, brethren, though I had done nothing against the people, or the customs of our fathers, yet was delivered prisoner from Jerusalem into the hands of the Romans: 18 who, when they had examined me, desired to set me at liberty, because there was no cause of death in me. 19 But when the Jews spake against it, I was constrained to appeal unto Caesar; not that I had aught whereof to accuse my nation. 20 For this cause therefore did I entreat you to see and to speak with `me': for because of the hope of Israel I am bound with this chain. 21 And they said unto him, We neither received letters from Judaea concerning thee, nor did any of the brethren come hither and report or speak any harm of thee. 22 But we desire to hear of thee what thou thinkest: for as concerning this sect, it is known to us that everywhere it is spoken against. 23 And when they had appointed him a day, they came to him into his lodging in great number; to whom he expounded `the matter,' testifying the kingdom of God, and persuading them concerning Jesus, both from the law of Moses and from the prophets, from morning till evening. 24 And some believed the things which were spoken, and some disbelieved. 25 And when they agreed not among themselves, they departed after that Paul had spoken one word, Well spake the Holy Spirit through Isaiah the prophet unto your fathers, 26 saying, Go thou unto this people, and say, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall in no wise understand; And seeing ye shall see, and shall in no wise perceive: 27 For this people's heart is waxed gross, And their ears are dull of hearing, And their eyes they have closed; Lest, haply they should perceive with their eyes, And hear with their ears, And understand with their heart, And should turn again, And I should heal them. 28 Be it known therefore unto you, that this salvation of God is sent unto the Gentiles: they will also hear. 29 `And when he had said these words, the Jews departed, having much disputing among themselves.' 30 And he abode two whole years in his own hired dwelling, and received all that went in unto him, 31 preaching the kingdom of God, and teaching the things concerning the Lord Jesus Christ with all boldness, none forbidding him.




Causes of Rebellion

Published by InTouch Ministries for reading on November 21st.

Romans 6:12-14 12 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey the lusts thereof: 13 neither present your members unto sin `as' instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves unto God, as alive from the dead, and your members `as' instruments of righteousness unto God. 14 For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under law, but under grace.

In God’s eyes, anyone who sins is rebellious, and Scripture tells us we’re all guilty (Rom. 3:23). Now, it makes sense that an unbeliever would choose to act apart from biblical teaching. But what about those of us who have committed to follow Christ—what would cause us to stray from the will of our heavenly Father?

There are two powerful human tendencies that lead to disobedience: doubt and pride. Both can be dangerously misleading.

1. Doubt is a mental struggle over whether or not to believe God’s promises. From our limited perspective, we cannot understand how the Lord works. Sometimes His way does not feel like the right path, so in order to obey, we must step out in faith. Then it can feel as though we are jumping off a cliff and trusting God’s invisible rope to hold us. If we listen to our doubt, we will surely transgress.

2. Pride is the sin that caused Satan to fall from heaven, and it is a deceptive obstacle for believers as well. Pride has to do with thinking that our way is best, putting more faith in our ability than God’s promises, and desiring praise. Anything we do out of pride is rebellion against the Lord.

Whatever the cause, sin never leads to the Lord’s best for our life. God’s way is the only road resulting in fulfillment and peace.

The enemy wants to lure us with doubt and pride—both feel right and are easily justifiable from our human perspective. But believers should follow Joshua’s wisdom instead: “Choose for yourselves today whom you will serve ... but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord” (Josh. 24:15).

Bible in One Year: Acts 27-28 Chapter 27 1 And when it was determined that we should sail for Italy, they delivered Paul and certain other prisoners to a centurion named Julius, of the Augustan band. 2 And embarking in a ship of Adramyttium, which was about to sail unto the places on the coast of Asia, we put to sea, Aristarchus, a Macedonian of Thessalonica, being with us. 3 And the next day we touched at Sidon: and Julius treated Paul kindly, and gave him leave to go unto his friends and refresh himself. 4 And putting to sea from thence, we sailed under the lee of Cyprus, because the winds were contrary. 5 And when we had sailed across the sea which is off Cilicia and Pamphylia, we came to Myra, `a city' of Lycia. 6 And there the centurion found a ship of Alexandria sailing for Italy; and he put us therein. 7 And when we had sailed slowly many days, and were come with difficulty over against Cnidus, the wind not further suffering us, we sailed under the lee of Crete, over against Salmone; 8 and with difficulty coasting along it we came unto a certain place called Fair Havens; nigh whereunto was the city of Lasea. 9 And when much time was spent, and the voyage was now dangerous, because the Fast was now already gone by, Paul admonished them, 10 and said unto them, Sirs, I perceive that the voyage will be with injury and much loss, not only of the lading and the ship, but also of our lives. 11 But the centurion gave more heed to the master and to the owner of the ship, than to those things which were spoken by Paul. 12 And because the haven was not commodious to winter in, the more part advised to put to sea from thence, if by any means they could reach Phoenix, and winter `there; which is' a haven of Crete, looking northeast and south-east. 13 And when the south wind blew softly, supposing that they had obtained their purpose, they weighed anchor and sailed along Crete, close in shore. 14 But after no long time there beat down from it a tempestuous wind, which is called Euraquilo: 15 and when the ship was caught, and could not face the wind, we gave way `to it,' and were driven. 16 And running under the lee of a small island called Cauda, we were able, with difficulty, to secure the boat: 17 and when they had hoisted it up, they used helps, under-girding the ship; and, fearing lest they should be cast upon the Syrtis, they lowered the gear, and so were driven. 18 And as we labored exceedingly with the storm, the next day they began to throw the `the freight' overboard; 19 and the third day they cast out with their own hands the tackling of the ship. 20 And when neither sun nor stars shone upon `us' for many days, and no small tempest lay on `us,' all hope that we should be saved was now taken away. 21 And when they had been long without food, then Paul stood forth in the midst of them, and said, Sirs, ye should have hearkened unto me, and not have set sail from Crete, and have gotten this injury and loss. 22 And now I exhort you to be of good cheer; for there shall be no loss of life among you, but `only' of the ship. 23 For there stood by me this night an angel of the God whose I am, whom also I serve, 24 saying, Fear not, Paul; thou must stand before Caesar: and lo, God hath granted thee all them that sail with thee. 25 Wherefore, sirs, be of good cheer: for I believe God, that it shall be even so as it hath been spoken unto me. 26 But we must be cast upon a certain island. 27 But when the fourteenth night was come, as we were driven to and fro in the `sea of' Adria, about midnight the sailors surmised that they were drawing near to some country: 28 and they sounded, and found twenty fathoms; and after a little space, they sounded again, and found fifteen fathoms. 29 And fearing lest haply we should be cast ashore on rocky ground, they let go four anchors from the stern, and wished for the day. 30 And as the sailors were seeking to flee out of the ship, and had lowered the boat into the sea, under color as though they would lay out anchors from the foreship, 31 Paul said to the centurion and to the soldiers, Except these abide in the ship, ye cannot be saved. 32 Then the soldiers cut away the ropes of the boat, and let her fall off. 33 And while the day was coming on, Paul besought them all to take some food, saying, This day is the fourteenth day that ye wait and continue fasting, having taken nothing. 34 Wherefore I beseech you to take some food: for this is for your safety: for there shall not a hair perish from the head of any of you. 35 And when he had said this, and had taken bread, he gave thanks to God in the presence of all; and he brake it, and began to eat. 36 Then were they all of good cheer, and themselves also took food. 37 And we were in all in the ship two hundred threescore and sixteen souls. 38 And when they had eaten enough, they lightened the ship, throwing out the wheat into the sea. 39 And when it was day, they knew not the land: but they perceived a certain bay with a beach, and they took counsel whether they could drive the ship upon it. 40 And casting off the anchors, they left them in the sea, at the same time loosing the bands of the rudders; and hoisting up the foresail to the wind, they made for the beach. 41 But lighting upon a place where two seas met, they ran the vessel aground; and the foreship struck and remained unmoveable, but the stern began to break up by the violence `of the waves'. 42 And the soldiers' counsel was to kill the prisoners, lest any `of them' should swim out, and escape. 43 But the centurion, desiring to save Paul, stayed them from their purpose; and commanded that they who could swim should cast themselves overboard, and get first to the land; 44 and the rest, some on planks, and some on `other' things from the ship. And so it came to pass, that they all escaped safe to the land. Chapter 28 1 And when we were escaped, then we knew that the island was called Melita. 2 And the barbarians showed us no common kindness; for they kindled a fire, and received us all, because of the present rain, and because of the cold. 3 But when Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks and laid them on the fire, a viper came out by reason of the heat, and fastened on his hand. 4 And when the barbarians saw the `venomous' creature hanging from his hand, they said one to another, No doubt this man is a murderer, whom, though he hath escaped from the sea, yet Justice hath not suffered to live. 5 Howbeit he shook off the creature into the fire, and took no harm. 6 But they expected that he would have swollen, or fallen down dead suddenly: but when they were long in expectation and beheld nothing amiss came to him, they changed their minds, and said that he was a god. 7 Now in the neighborhood of that place were lands belonging to the chief man of the island, named Publius, who received us, and entertained us three days courteously. 8 And it was so, that the father of Publius lay sick of fever and dysentery: unto whom Paul entered in, and prayed, and laying his hands on him healed him. 9 And when this was done, the rest also that had diseases in the island came, and were cured: 10 who also honored us with many honors; and when we sailed, they put on board such things as we needed. 11 And after three months we set sail in a ship of Alexandria which had wintered in the island, whose sign was The Twin Brothers. 12 And touching at Syracuse, we tarried there three days. 13 And from thence we made a circuit, and arrived at Rhegium: and after one day a south wind sprang up, and on the second day we came to Puteoli; 14 where we found brethren, and were entreated to tarry with them seven days: and so we came to Rome. 15 And from thence the brethren, when they heard of us, came to meet us as far as The Market of Appius and The Three Taverns; whom when Paul saw, he thanked God, and took courage. 16 And when we entered into Rome, Paul was suffered to abide by himself with the soldier that guarded him. 17 And it came to pass, that after three days he called together those that were the chief of the Jews: and when they were come together, he said unto them, I, brethren, though I had done nothing against the people, or the customs of our fathers, yet was delivered prisoner from Jerusalem into the hands of the Romans: 18 who, when they had examined me, desired to set me at liberty, because there was no cause of death in me. 19 But when the Jews spake against it, I was constrained to appeal unto Caesar; not that I had aught whereof to accuse my nation. 20 For this cause therefore did I entreat you to see and to speak with `me': for because of the hope of Israel I am bound with this chain. 21 And they said unto him, We neither received letters from Judaea concerning thee, nor did any of the brethren come hither and report or speak any harm of thee. 22 But we desire to hear of thee what thou thinkest: for as concerning this sect, it is known to us that everywhere it is spoken against. 23 And when they had appointed him a day, they came to him into his lodging in great number; to whom he expounded `the matter,' testifying the kingdom of God, and persuading them concerning Jesus, both from the law of Moses and from the prophets, from morning till evening. 24 And some believed the things which were spoken, and some disbelieved. 25 And when they agreed not among themselves, they departed after that Paul had spoken one word, Well spake the Holy Spirit through Isaiah the prophet unto your fathers, 26 saying, Go thou unto this people, and say, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall in no wise understand; And seeing ye shall see, and shall in no wise perceive: 27 For this people's heart is waxed gross, And their ears are dull of hearing, And their eyes they have closed; Lest, haply they should perceive with their eyes, And hear with their ears, And understand with their heart, And should turn again, And I should heal them. 28 Be it known therefore unto you, that this salvation of God is sent unto the Gentiles: they will also hear. 29 `And when he had said these words, the Jews departed, having much disputing among themselves.' 30 And he abode two whole years in his own hired dwelling, and received all that went in unto him, 31 preaching the kingdom of God, and teaching the things concerning the Lord Jesus Christ with all boldness, none forbidding him.




The Gravity of Gratitude

Published by John Piper for reading on November 21st.

But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful . . . ( 2 Timothy 3:1 Chapter 3 1 But know this, that in the last days grievous times shall come. –2)

Notice how ingratitude goes with pride, abuse, and insubordination.

In another place Paul says, “Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking . . . but instead let there be thanksgiving” ( Ephesians 5:4 4 nor filthiness, nor foolish talking, or jesting, which are not befitting: but rather giving of thanks. ). So, it seems that gratitude is the opposite of ugliness and violence.

The reason this is so is that the feeling of gratitude is a humble feeling, not a proud one. It is other-exalting, not self-exalting. And it is glad-hearted, not angry or bitter.

The key to unlocking a heart of gratitude and overcoming bitterness and ugliness and disrespect and violence is a strong belief in God, the Creator and Sustainer and Provider and Hope-giver. If we do not believe we are deeply indebted to God for all we have or hope to have, then the very spring of gratitude has gone dry.

So, I conclude that the rise of violence and sacrilege and ugliness and insubordination in the last times is a God-issue. The basic issue is a failure to feel gratitude at the upper levels of our dependence.

When the high spring of gratitude to God fails at the top of the mountain, soon all the pools of thankfulness begin to dry up further down the mountain. And when gratitude goes, the sovereignty of the self condones more and more corruption for its pleasure.

Pray for a great awakening of humble gratitude.



New Birth: Why?

Published by InTouch Ministries for reading on November 21st.

John 3:1-8 Chapter 3 1 Now there was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews: 2 the same came unto him by night, and said to him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that thou doest, except God be with him. 3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except one be born anew, he cannot see the kingdom of God. 4 Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter a second time into his mother's womb, and be born? 5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except one be born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God! 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born anew. 8 The wind bloweth where it will, and thou hearest the voice thereof, but knowest not whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.

The most horrible mistake people can make is also the one they can never correct—namely, living without God, only to die later and face the Savior whom they rejected. Choosing to live in denial about who Jesus Christ is does not change the reality of what will happen one day. God has gone to great lengths to put His truth into written form and protect it down through the ages so we could spend eternity with Him. It is foolishness to ignore His words.

Nicodemus, a Pharisee and teacher, might have made this mistake, had he followed the thinking of his colleagues. He was a member of the Sanhedrin—the ruling council that tried to discern false teaching and make sure God’s law was upheld. Realizing the signs Jesus performed were beyond the ability of a mere man, Nicodemus came at night to ask questions. The Lord simply said that “unless one is born again” he could not see the kingdom of God ( John 3:3 3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except one be born anew, he cannot see the kingdom of God. ). This must have come as a surprise to the Pharisee, who had been confident of his own religion and morality.

Are you like Nicodemus? In other words, does comparing yourself with others make you feel pretty good? Do you, like some people, believe good deeds and religious behavior can earn you a place in heaven? No matter how much you wish this to be true, the Bible teaches otherwise: We’ve all come into the world with a sinful nature, and our sin has separated us from God. Simply being good doesn’t bridge that gap or change the fact that “the wages of sin is death” (Rom. 3:23; Rom. 6:23). There’s only one way to salvation—through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ ( John 14:6 6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, and the truth, and the life: no one cometh unto the Father, but by me. ).

Bible in One Year: Acts 27-28 Chapter 27 1 And when it was determined that we should sail for Italy, they delivered Paul and certain other prisoners to a centurion named Julius, of the Augustan band. 2 And embarking in a ship of Adramyttium, which was about to sail unto the places on the coast of Asia, we put to sea, Aristarchus, a Macedonian of Thessalonica, being with us. 3 And the next day we touched at Sidon: and Julius treated Paul kindly, and gave him leave to go unto his friends and refresh himself. 4 And putting to sea from thence, we sailed under the lee of Cyprus, because the winds were contrary. 5 And when we had sailed across the sea which is off Cilicia and Pamphylia, we came to Myra, `a city' of Lycia. 6 And there the centurion found a ship of Alexandria sailing for Italy; and he put us therein. 7 And when we had sailed slowly many days, and were come with difficulty over against Cnidus, the wind not further suffering us, we sailed under the lee of Crete, over against Salmone; 8 and with difficulty coasting along it we came unto a certain place called Fair Havens; nigh whereunto was the city of Lasea. 9 And when much time was spent, and the voyage was now dangerous, because the Fast was now already gone by, Paul admonished them, 10 and said unto them, Sirs, I perceive that the voyage will be with injury and much loss, not only of the lading and the ship, but also of our lives. 11 But the centurion gave more heed to the master and to the owner of the ship, than to those things which were spoken by Paul. 12 And because the haven was not commodious to winter in, the more part advised to put to sea from thence, if by any means they could reach Phoenix, and winter `there; which is' a haven of Crete, looking northeast and south-east. 13 And when the south wind blew softly, supposing that they had obtained their purpose, they weighed anchor and sailed along Crete, close in shore. 14 But after no long time there beat down from it a tempestuous wind, which is called Euraquilo: 15 and when the ship was caught, and could not face the wind, we gave way `to it,' and were driven. 16 And running under the lee of a small island called Cauda, we were able, with difficulty, to secure the boat: 17 and when they had hoisted it up, they used helps, under-girding the ship; and, fearing lest they should be cast upon the Syrtis, they lowered the gear, and so were driven. 18 And as we labored exceedingly with the storm, the next day they began to throw the `the freight' overboard; 19 and the third day they cast out with their own hands the tackling of the ship. 20 And when neither sun nor stars shone upon `us' for many days, and no small tempest lay on `us,' all hope that we should be saved was now taken away. 21 And when they had been long without food, then Paul stood forth in the midst of them, and said, Sirs, ye should have hearkened unto me, and not have set sail from Crete, and have gotten this injury and loss. 22 And now I exhort you to be of good cheer; for there shall be no loss of life among you, but `only' of the ship. 23 For there stood by me this night an angel of the God whose I am, whom also I serve, 24 saying, Fear not, Paul; thou must stand before Caesar: and lo, God hath granted thee all them that sail with thee. 25 Wherefore, sirs, be of good cheer: for I believe God, that it shall be even so as it hath been spoken unto me. 26 But we must be cast upon a certain island. 27 But when the fourteenth night was come, as we were driven to and fro in the `sea of' Adria, about midnight the sailors surmised that they were drawing near to some country: 28 and they sounded, and found twenty fathoms; and after a little space, they sounded again, and found fifteen fathoms. 29 And fearing lest haply we should be cast ashore on rocky ground, they let go four anchors from the stern, and wished for the day. 30 And as the sailors were seeking to flee out of the ship, and had lowered the boat into the sea, under color as though they would lay out anchors from the foreship, 31 Paul said to the centurion and to the soldiers, Except these abide in the ship, ye cannot be saved. 32 Then the soldiers cut away the ropes of the boat, and let her fall off. 33 And while the day was coming on, Paul besought them all to take some food, saying, This day is the fourteenth day that ye wait and continue fasting, having taken nothing. 34 Wherefore I beseech you to take some food: for this is for your safety: for there shall not a hair perish from the head of any of you. 35 And when he had said this, and had taken bread, he gave thanks to God in the presence of all; and he brake it, and began to eat. 36 Then were they all of good cheer, and themselves also took food. 37 And we were in all in the ship two hundred threescore and sixteen souls. 38 And when they had eaten enough, they lightened the ship, throwing out the wheat into the sea. 39 And when it was day, they knew not the land: but they perceived a certain bay with a beach, and they took counsel whether they could drive the ship upon it. 40 And casting off the anchors, they left them in the sea, at the same time loosing the bands of the rudders; and hoisting up the foresail to the wind, they made for the beach. 41 But lighting upon a place where two seas met, they ran the vessel aground; and the foreship struck and remained unmoveable, but the stern began to break up by the violence `of the waves'. 42 And the soldiers' counsel was to kill the prisoners, lest any `of them' should swim out, and escape. 43 But the centurion, desiring to save Paul, stayed them from their purpose; and commanded that they who could swim should cast themselves overboard, and get first to the land; 44 and the rest, some on planks, and some on `other' things from the ship. And so it came to pass, that they all escaped safe to the land. Chapter 28 1 And when we were escaped, then we knew that the island was called Melita. 2 And the barbarians showed us no common kindness; for they kindled a fire, and received us all, because of the present rain, and because of the cold. 3 But when Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks and laid them on the fire, a viper came out by reason of the heat, and fastened on his hand. 4 And when the barbarians saw the `venomous' creature hanging from his hand, they said one to another, No doubt this man is a murderer, whom, though he hath escaped from the sea, yet Justice hath not suffered to live. 5 Howbeit he shook off the creature into the fire, and took no harm. 6 But they expected that he would have swollen, or fallen down dead suddenly: but when they were long in expectation and beheld nothing amiss came to him, they changed their minds, and said that he was a god. 7 Now in the neighborhood of that place were lands belonging to the chief man of the island, named Publius, who received us, and entertained us three days courteously. 8 And it was so, that the father of Publius lay sick of fever and dysentery: unto whom Paul entered in, and prayed, and laying his hands on him healed him. 9 And when this was done, the rest also that had diseases in the island came, and were cured: 10 who also honored us with many honors; and when we sailed, they put on board such things as we needed. 11 And after three months we set sail in a ship of Alexandria which had wintered in the island, whose sign was The Twin Brothers. 12 And touching at Syracuse, we tarried there three days. 13 And from thence we made a circuit, and arrived at Rhegium: and after one day a south wind sprang up, and on the second day we came to Puteoli; 14 where we found brethren, and were entreated to tarry with them seven days: and so we came to Rome. 15 And from thence the brethren, when they heard of us, came to meet us as far as The Market of Appius and The Three Taverns; whom when Paul saw, he thanked God, and took courage. 16 And when we entered into Rome, Paul was suffered to abide by himself with the soldier that guarded him. 17 And it came to pass, that after three days he called together those that were the chief of the Jews: and when they were come together, he said unto them, I, brethren, though I had done nothing against the people, or the customs of our fathers, yet was delivered prisoner from Jerusalem into the hands of the Romans: 18 who, when they had examined me, desired to set me at liberty, because there was no cause of death in me. 19 But when the Jews spake against it, I was constrained to appeal unto Caesar; not that I had aught whereof to accuse my nation. 20 For this cause therefore did I entreat you to see and to speak with `me': for because of the hope of Israel I am bound with this chain. 21 And they said unto him, We neither received letters from Judaea concerning thee, nor did any of the brethren come hither and report or speak any harm of thee. 22 But we desire to hear of thee what thou thinkest: for as concerning this sect, it is known to us that everywhere it is spoken against. 23 And when they had appointed him a day, they came to him into his lodging in great number; to whom he expounded `the matter,' testifying the kingdom of God, and persuading them concerning Jesus, both from the law of Moses and from the prophets, from morning till evening. 24 And some believed the things which were spoken, and some disbelieved. 25 And when they agreed not among themselves, they departed after that Paul had spoken one word, Well spake the Holy Spirit through Isaiah the prophet unto your fathers, 26 saying, Go thou unto this people, and say, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall in no wise understand; And seeing ye shall see, and shall in no wise perceive: 27 For this people's heart is waxed gross, And their ears are dull of hearing, And their eyes they have closed; Lest, haply they should perceive with their eyes, And hear with their ears, And understand with their heart, And should turn again, And I should heal them. 28 Be it known therefore unto you, that this salvation of God is sent unto the Gentiles: they will also hear. 29 `And when he had said these words, the Jews departed, having much disputing among themselves.' 30 And he abode two whole years in his own hired dwelling, and received all that went in unto him, 31 preaching the kingdom of God, and teaching the things concerning the Lord Jesus Christ with all boldness, none forbidding him.




Growing in Wisdom

Published by Grace To You for reading on November 21st.

“Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” ( 2 Peter 3:18 18 But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him `be' the glory both now and for ever. Amen. ).

Growing in wisdom means growing in Christlikeness.

Perhaps you’re asking, “Shouldn’t believers acquire more wisdom?” Yes, we should. No matter how much of God’s wisdom we have, we should always hunger for more. The Bible tells us that we have all the principles we need to walk in wisdom, and yet there’s much more available to us. We should “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” ( 2 Peter 3:18 18 But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him `be' the glory both now and for ever. Amen. ), and we should be more and more conformed to the image of Christ by the transforming work of the Spirit of God. Our wisdom should increase, as should our godliness, but we are given the basic principles at salvation. Even though a person may not know all the truths in the Bible, God’s Spirit, who is resident in him from the moment of salvation, will convict and convince him of righteousness and sin.

What do you do if you want more wisdom? First, worship. Proverbs 9:10 10 The fear of Jehovah is the beginning of wisdom; And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. says, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” Make it your goal to have a worshipful heart throughout each day and to be faithful in attending the Lord’s house regularly (see Heb. 10:25). Second, pray. James 1:5 5 But if any of you lacketh wisdom, let him ask of God, who giveth to all liberally and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. says, “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all men generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.” Make it your continual prayer to ask God for more of His wisdom. Third, receive instruction. The apostle Paul encouraged “admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom” (Col. 1:28). If you want more wisdom, one good way to receive it is to be instructed by someone who is wise. Finally, study Scripture. In 2 Timothy 2:15 15 Give diligence to present thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, handling aright the word of truth. Paul says, “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, handling accurately the word of truth.” Set up a regular Bible study time, and let the Holy Spirit teach you.

What about you? Are you growing in wisdom? If not, make it your priority.

Suggestions for Prayer

Ask God to help you grow in wisdom.

For Further Study

Make it your daily goal to implement the four ways mentioned in today’s lesson for growing in wisdom.

From Strength for Today by John MacArthur Copyright © 1997. Used by permission of Crossway Books, a division of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, IL 60187, www.crossway.com.

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Defeating Death

Published by Grace To You for reading on November 21st.
"By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau, even regarding things to come. By faith Jacob, as he was dying, blessed each of the sons of Joseph, and worshiped, leaning on the top of his staff. By faith Joseph, when he was dying, made mention of the exodus of the sons of Israel, and gave orders concerning his bones" (Heb. 11:20-22).

Faith triumphs over death.

Commentator Matthew Henry said, "Though the grace of faith is of universal use throughout the Christian's life, yet it is especially so when we come to die. Faith has its great work to do at the very last, to help believers to finish well, to die to the Lord so as to honor Him, by patience, hope and joy so as to leave a witness behind them of the truth of God's Word and the excellency of His ways."

God is honored when His people die triumphantly. When we've lived a life to His glory, and joyfully left the world behind to enter into His presence for all eternity, He is pleased, for "precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His godly ones" (Ps. 116:15).

Many believers who have dreaded facing death have experienced a special measure of God's grace that made their final hours the sweetest and most precious of their lives.

Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph are examples of men who faced death with great faith and confidence. Each "died in faith, without receiving the promises, but having seen them and having welcomed them from a distance, and having confessed that they were strangers and exiles on the earth" (Heb. 11:13). They hadn't seen all God's promises fulfilled, but by faith they passed them on to their children.

These men didn't have perfect faith. Joseph was exemplary, but Isaac and Jacob often vacillated in their walk with God. Yet each ended his life triumphantly. That's the reward of all who trust God and cling to His promises.

Like every believer before you, you haven't seen the fulfillment of all God's promises. But certainly you've seen far more than Isaac, Jacob, or Joseph did. How much more then should you trust God and encourage those who follow you to do the same?

Suggestions for Prayer

Thank God for His marvelous grace, which triumphs over sin and death.

For Further Study

Read the final words of Jacob and Joseph in Genesis 48:1 Chapter 48 1 And it came to pass after these things, that one said to Joseph, Behold, thy father is sick: and he took with him his two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim. —49:33 and 50:22-26.

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 21

Published by Grace To You for reading on November 21st.

Reading for Today:

  • Ezekiel 33:1 Chapter 33 1 And the word of Jehovah came unto me, saying, –34:31
  • Psalms 130:5-8 5 I wait for Jehovah, my soul doth wait, And in his word do I hope. 6 My soul `waiteth' for the Lord More than watchmen `wait' for the morning; `Yea, more than' watchmen for the morning. 7 O Israel, hope in Jehovah; For with Jehovah there is lovingkindness, And with him is plenteous redemption. 8 And he will redeem Israel From all his iniquities. Psalm 131 A Song of Ascents; of David.
  • Proverbs 29:1 Chapter 29 1 He that being often reproved hardeneth his neck Shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy.
  • James 2:1-26 Chapter 2 1 My brethren, hold not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, `the Lord' of glory, with respect of persons. 2 For if there come into your synagogue a man with a gold ring, in fine clothing, and there come in also a poor man in vile clothing; 3 and ye have regard to him that weareth the fine clothing, and say, Sit thou here in a good place; and ye say to the poor man, Stand thou there, or sit under my footstool; 4 Do ye not make distinctions among yourselves, and become judges with evil thoughts? 5 Hearken, my beloved brethren; did not God choose them that are poor as to the world `to be' rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he promised to them that love him? 6 But ye have dishonored the poor man. Do not the rich oppress you, and themselves drag you before the judgment-seats? 7 Do not they blaspheme the honorable name by which ye are called? 8 Howbeit if ye fulfil the royal law, according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself, ye do well: 9 but if ye have respect of persons, ye commit sin, being convicted by the law as transgressors. 10 For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one `point', he is become guilty of all. 11 For he that said, Do not commit adultery, said also, Do not kill. Now if thou dost not commit adultery, but killest, thou art become a transgressor of the law. 12 So speak ye, and so do, as men that are to be judged by a law of liberty. 13 For judgment `is' without mercy to him that hath showed no mercy: mercy glorieth against judgment. 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. 18 Yea, a man will say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: show me thy faith apart from `thy' works, and I by my works will show thee `my' faith. 19 Thou believest that God is one; thou doest well: the demons also believe, and shudder. 20 But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith apart from works is barren? 21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works, in that he offered up Isaac his son upon the altar? 22 Thou seest that faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect; 23 and the scripture was fulfilled which saith, And Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned unto him for righteousness; and he was called the friend of God. 24 Ye see that by works a man is justified, and not only by faith. 25 And in like manner was not also Rahab the harlot justified by works, in that she received the messengers, and sent them out another way? 26 For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, even so faith apart from works is dead.

Notes:

Ezekiel 33:2–9 watchman. Such men as Jeremiah and Ezekiel (3:16–21) were spiritual watchmen (33:7–9), warning that God would bring a sword on His people so that they had opportunity to prepare and be safe. This analogy came from the custom of putting guards on the city wall watching for the approach of danger, then trumpeting the warning.

Ezekiel 33:4 his blood…on his own head. Once the watchman did his duty, the responsibility passed to each person. Each person is accountable for his own response to God’s warnings, whether to die in judgment or to live as one who heeded and repented. Ezekiel had been a very faithful and obedient “watchman.”

James 2:1 the faith. This refers not to the act of believing, but to the entire Christian faith (Jude 3), which has as its central focus Jesus Christ. the Lord of glory. Christ is the One who reveals the glory of God. In His Incarnation, He showed only impartiality (Matt. 22:16)—for example, consider the non-elite people included in His genealogy, His choice of the humble village of Nazareth as His residence for 30 years, and His willingness to minister in Galilee and Samaria, both regions held in contempt by Israel’s leaders. partiality. Originally, this word referred to raising someone’s face or elevating the person, but it came to refer to exalting someone strictly on a superficial, external basis, such as appearance, race, wealth, rank, or social status.

James 2:8 royal law. This is better translated “sovereign law.” The idea is that this law is supreme or binding. love your neighbor as yourself. This sovereign law (quoted from Lev. 19:18), when combined with the command to love God (Deut. 6:4, 5), summarizes all the Law and the Prophets (Matt. 22:36–40; Rom. 13:8–10). James is not advocating some kind of emotional affection for oneself—self-love is clearly a sin (2 Tim. 3:2). Rather, the command is to pursue meeting the physical health and spiritual well-being of one’s neighbors (all within the sphere of our influence; Luke 10:30 30 Jesus made answer and said, A certain man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho; and he fell among robbers, who both stripped him and beat him, and departed, leaving him half dead. –37) with the same intensity and concern as one does naturally for oneself (Phil. 2:3, 4).

James 2:19 You believe that there is one God. A clear reference to the passage most familiar to his Jewish readers: the Shema (Deut. 6:4, 5), the most basic doctrine of the Old Testament. demons believe. Even fallen angels affirm the oneness of God and tremble at its implications. Demons are essentially orthodox in their doctrine (Matt. 8:29, 30; Mark 5:7 7 and crying out with a loud voice, he saith, What have I to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of the Most High God? I adjure thee by God, torment me not. ; Luke 4:41 41 And demons also came out from many, crying out, and saying, Thou art the Son of God. And rebuking them, he suffered them not to speak, because they knew that he was the Christ. ; Acts 19:15 15 And the evil spirit answered and said unto them, Jesus I know, and Paul I know, but who are ye? ). But orthodox doctrine by itself is no proof of saving faith. They know the truth about God, Christ, and the Spirit, but hate it and them.

DAY 21: If salvation is by faith in Christ alone, how can James write “faith without works is dead” (2:20)?

“Do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead?” Literally, “empty, defective.” The objector’s claim of belief is fraudulent, and his faith is a sham. James is not contrasting two methods of salvation (faith versus works). Instead, he contrasts two kinds of faith: living faith that saves and dead faith that does not ( 1 John 3:7 7 `My' little children, let no man lead you astray: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous: –10).

“Was not Abraham our father justified by works…?” (v. 21). This does not contradict Paul’s clear teaching that Abraham was justified before God by grace alone through faith alone (Rom. 3:20; 4:1–25; Gal. 3:6, 11). For several reasons, James cannot mean that Abraham was constituted righteous before God because of his own good works: 1) James already stressed that salvation is a gracious gift (1:17, 18); 2) in the middle of this disputed passage (v. 23), James quoted Genesis 15:6 6 And he believed in Jehovah; and he reckoned it to him for righteousness. , which forcefully claims that God credited righteousness to Abraham solely on the basis of his faith (Rom. 1:17; 3:24; 4:1–25); and 3) the work that James said justified Abraham was his offering up of Isaac (Gen. 22:9, 12), an event that occurred many years after he first exercised faith and was declared righteous before God (Gen. 12:1–7; 15:6). Instead, Abraham’s offering of Isaac demonstrated the genuineness of his faith and the reality of his justification before God. James is emphasizing the vindication before others of a man’s claim to salvation. James’s teaching perfectly complements Paul’s writings; salvation is determined by faith alone (Eph. 2:8, 9) and demonstrated by faithfulness to obey God’s will alone (Eph. 2:10).

“And by works faith was made perfect” (v. 22). This refers to bringing something to its end or to its fullness. Just as a fruit tree has not arrived at its goal until it bears fruit, faith has not reached its end until it demonstrates itself in a righteous life.

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 21 - The Nature of True Rest

Published by Grace To You for reading on November 21st.

“‘. . . and I will give you rest’” ( Matthew 11:28 28 Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. ).

Jesus promises genuine, unsurpassed spiritual rest to every person who turns to Him in repentance and humble faith. God’s rest is a key scriptural theme, and the writer of Hebrews warns we must not take it for granted and miss it—especially if we think we’re safe and yet do not believe, much as the Jews:

Therefore, let us fear if, while a promise remains of entering His rest, any one of you may seem to have come short of it. For indeed we have had good news preached to us, just as they also; but the word they heard did not profit them, because it was not united by faith in those who heard. For we who have believed enter that rest, just as He has said, “As I swore in My wrath, they shall not enter My rest,” although His works were finished from the foundation of the world. (Heb. 4:1–3)

The dictionary provides us several definitions of “rest” that remarkably parallel God’s spiritual rest. First, rest is a cessation from activity and exertion. By analogy, divine rest means stopping all efforts at earning salvation. Second, rest means freedom from all that wearies or disturbs. And God’s rest gives believers freedom from every worry.

Third, the dictionary calls rest a fixed, settled quality. Likewise spiritual rest means our eternal destiny is secure in Christ. And finally, rest means someone can be confident and trustful. The spiritual parallel is the assurance that “He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus” (Phil. 1:6).

Ask Yourself

Are you suffering from a lack of rest and contentment in your life? What are the main culprits for this? Even if your current circumstances were to change very little, is it possible that God’s brand of rest could still settle down among it all?

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 21st

Published by C.H. Spurgeon for reading on November 21st.

Ephesians 4:30 30 And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, in whom ye were sealed unto the day of redemption.

ALL that the believer has must come from Christ, but it comes solely through the channel of the Spirit of grace. Moreover, as all blessings thus flow to you through the Holy Spirit, so also no good thing can come out of you in holy thought, devout worship, or gracious act, apart from the sanctifying operation of the same Spirit. Even if the good seed be sown in you, yet it lies dormant except He worketh in you to will and to do of His own good pleasure. Do you desire to speak for Jesus—how can you unless the Holy Ghost touch your tongue? Do you desire to pray? Alas! what dull work it is unless the Spirit maketh intercession for you! Do you desire to subdue sin? Would you be holy? Would you imitate your Master? Do you desire to rise to superlative heights of spirituality? Are you wanting to be made like the angels of God, full of zeal and ardour for the Master's cause? You cannot without the Spirit—"Without me ye can do nothing." O branch of the vine, thou canst have no fruit without the sap! O child of God, thou hast no life within thee apart from the life which God gives thee through His Spirit! Then let us not grieve Him or provoke Him to anger by our sin. Let us not quench Him in one of His faintest motions in our soul; let us foster every suggestion, and be ready to obey every prompting. If the Holy Spirit be indeed so mighty, let us attempt nothing without Him; let us begin no project, and carry on no enterprise, and conclude no transaction, without imploring His blessing. Let us do Him the due homage of feeling our entire weakness apart from Him, and then depending alone upon Him, having this for our prayer, "Open Thou my heart and my whole being to Thine incoming, and uphold me with Thy free Spirit when I shall have received that Spirit in my inward parts."

Evening Devotional by C.H. Spurgeon for November 21st

Published by C.H. Spurgeon for reading on November 21st.

John 12:2 2 So they made him a supper there: and Martha served; but Lazarus was one of them that sat at meat with him.

HE is to be envied. It was well to be Martha and serve, but better to be Lazarus and commune. There are times for each purpose, and each is comely in its season, but none of the trees of the garden yield such clusters as the vine of fellowship. To sit with Jesus, to hear His words, to mark His acts, and receive His smiles, was such a favour as must have made Lazarus as happy as the angels. When it has been our happy lot to feast with our Beloved in His banqueting-hall, we would not have given half a sigh for all the kingdoms of the world, if so much breath could have bought them.

He is to be imitated. It would have been a strange thing if Lazarus had not been at the table where Jesus was, for he had been dead, and Jesus had raised him. For the risen one to be absent when the Lord who gave him life was at his house, would have been ungrateful indeed. We too were once dead, yea, and like Lazarus stinking in the grave of sin; Jesus raised us, and by His life we live—can we be content to live at a distance from Him? Do we omit to remember Him at His table, where He deigns to feast with His brethren? Oh, this is cruel! It behoves us to repent, and do as He has bidden us, for His least wish should be law to us. To have lived without constant intercourse with one of whom the Jews said, "Behold how He loved him," would have been disgraceful to Lazarus, is it excusable in us whom Jesus has loved with an everlasting love? To have been cold to Him who wept over his lifeless corpse, would have argued great brutishness in Lazarus. What does it argue in us over whom the Saviour has not only wept, but bled? Come, brethren, who read this portion, let us return unto our heavenly Bridegroom, and ask for His Spirit that we may be on terms of closer intimacy with Him, and henceforth sit at the table with Him.

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