HE IS RISEN!

"For at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord."
  • Daily Devotional InTouch Ministries
  • Daily Devotional InTouch Ministries
  • Daily Readings Grace To You
  • Solid Joys John Piper
  • Daily Devotional InTouch Ministries
  • Daily Bible Grace To You
  • Daily Readings Grace To You
  • Strength For Today Grace To You
  • Drawing Near Grace To You
  • Morning Devotion C.H. Spurgeon
  • Evening Devotion C.H. Spurgeon

  Choose a devotional on the left

...to read today's entry.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Brokenness: The Plan

Published by InTouch Ministries for reading on February 23rd.

1 Thessalonians 5:21-23 21 prove all things; hold fast that which is good; 22 abstain from every form of evil. 23 And the God of peace himself sanctify you wholly; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved entire, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Humans are born “bent away” from the Lord. Our natural inclination is to please and serve self, which is the opposite of a God-honoring lifestyle. When we become believers, our Father begins to bend our will and ways back towards Him. But we must cooperate and yield to the process; otherwise, we are of little use to the kingdom.

The Lord wants to eradicate every thought pattern and activity promoting dependency on anything other than Him. This means that relying on oneself for security, salvation, or physical and emotional comfort are outside His will. Actions that advance a person at the expense of others are also ungodly.

In areas where we resist bending toward the Lord, He may break us by allowing pain into our life. As a result, we are driven to Him in surrender. To break a person may sound harsh, but God does this work in love. He sees beyond the hurt to the outcome—we will be more mature and faithful servants for having walked through trial (Rom. 8:28). And our loving Father takes each hard step with us, offering guidance and comfort. Seeing the benefits He has brought about through my own hardships, I can honestly thank Him for every period of brokenness I’ve experienced.

The truth is that we all have areas of self-focus that need to be bent or broken by God’s hand. When we honestly look inward to discover wrong habits and thought patterns, our heavenly Father will bring them to our mind. Then, we must surrender to His work in our lives so we can become wise and useful servants.

Bible in One Year: Deuteronomy 6-8 Chapter 6 1 Now this is the commandment, the statutes, and the ordinances, which Jehovah your God commanded to teach you, that ye might do them in the land whither ye go over to possess it; 2 that thou mightest fear Jehovah thy God, to keep all his statutes and his commandments, which I command thee, thou, and thy son, and thy son's son, all the days of thy life; and that thy days may be prolonged. 3 Hear therefore, O Israel, and observe to do it; that it may be well with thee, and that ye may increase mightily, as Jehovah, the God of thy fathers, hath promised unto thee, in a land flowing with milk and honey. 4 Hear, O Israel: Jehovah our God is one Jehovah: 5 and thou shalt love Jehovah thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. 6 And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be upon thy heart; 7 and thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thy house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. 8 And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thy hand, and they shall be for frontlets between thine eyes. 9 And thou shalt write them upon the door-posts of thy house, and upon thy gates. 10 And it shall be, when Jehovah thy God shall bring thee into the land which he sware unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give thee, great and goodly cities, which thou buildest not, 11 and houses full of all good things, which thou filledst not, and cisterns hewn out, which thou hewedst not, vineyards and olive-trees, which thou plantedst not, and thou shalt eat and be full; 12 then beware lest thou forget Jehovah, who brought thee forth out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. 13 Thou shalt fear Jehovah thy God; and him shalt thou serve, and shalt swear by his name. 14 Ye shall not go after other gods, of the gods of the peoples that are round about you; 15 for Jehovah thy God in the midst of thee is a jealous God; lest the anger of Jehovah thy God be kindled against thee, and he destroy thee from off the face of the earth. 16 Ye shall not tempt Jehovah your God, as ye tempted him in Massah. 17 Ye shall diligently keep the commandments of Jehovah your God, and his testimonies, and his statutes, which he hath commanded thee. 18 And thou shalt do that which is right and good in the sight of Jehovah; that it may be well with thee, and that thou mayest go in and possess the good land which Jehovah sware unto thy fathers, 19 to thrust out all thine enemies from before thee, as Jehovah hath spoken. 20 When thy son asketh thee in time to come, saying, What mean the testimonies, and the statutes, and the ordinances, which Jehovah our God hath commanded you? 21 then thou shalt say unto thy son, We were Pharaoh's bondmen in Egypt: and Jehovah brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand; 22 and Jehovah showed signs and wonders, great and sore, upon Egypt, upon Pharaoh, and upon all his house, before our eyes; 23 and he brought us out from thence, that he might bring us in, to give us the land which he sware unto our fathers. 24 And Jehovah commanded us to do all these statutes, to fear Jehovah our God, for our good always, that he might preserve us alive, as at this day. 25 And it shall be righteousness unto us, if we observe to do all this commandment before Jehovah our God, as he hath commanded us. Chapter 7 1 When Jehovah thy God shall bring thee into the land whither thou goest to possess it, and shall cast out many nations before thee, the Hittite, and the Girgashite, and the Amorite, and the Canaanite, and the Perizzite, and the Hivite, and the Jebusite, seven nations greater and mightier than thou; 2 and when Jehovah thy God shall deliver them up before thee, and thou shalt smite them; then thou shalt utterly destroy them: thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor show mercy unto them; 3 neither shalt thou make marriages with them; thy daughter thou shalt not give unto his son, nor his daughter shalt thou take unto thy son. 4 For he will turn away thy son from following me, that they may serve other gods: so will the anger of Jehovah be kindled against you, and he will destroy thee quickly. 5 But thus shall ye deal with them: ye shall break down their altars, and dash in pieces their pillars, and hew down their Asherim, and burn their graven images with fire. 6 For thou art a holy people unto Jehovah thy God: Jehovah thy God hath chosen thee to be a people for his own possession, above all peoples that are upon the face of the earth. 7 Jehovah did not set his love upon you, nor choose you, because ye were more in number than any people; for ye were the fewest of all peoples: 8 but because Jehovah loveth you, and because he would keep the oath which he sware unto your fathers, hath Jehovah brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you out of the house of bondage, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt. 9 Know therefore that Jehovah thy God, he is God, the faithful God, who keepeth covenant and lovingkindness with them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations, 10 and repayeth them that hate him to their face, to destroy them: he will not be slack to him that hateth him, he will repay him to his face. 11 Thou shalt therefore keep the commandment, and the statutes, and the ordinances, which I command thee this day, to do them. 12 And it shall come to pass, because ye hearken to these ordinances, and keep and do them, that Jehovah thy God will keep with thee the covenant and the lovingkindness which he sware unto thy fathers: 13 and he will love thee, and bless thee, and multiply thee; he will also bless the fruit of thy body and the fruit of thy ground, thy grain and thy new wine and thine oil, the increase of thy cattle and the young of thy flock, in the land which he sware unto thy fathers to give thee. 14 Thou shalt be blessed above all peoples: there shall not be male or female barren among you, or among your cattle. 15 And Jehovah will take away from thee all sickness; and none of the evil diseases of Egypt, which thou knowest, will he put upon thee, but will lay them upon all them that hate thee. 16 And thou shalt consume all the peoples that Jehovah thy God shall deliver unto thee; thine eye shall not pity them: neither shalt thou serve their gods; for that will be a snare unto thee. 17 If thou shalt say in thy heart, These nations are more than I; how can I dispossess them? 18 thou shalt not be afraid of them: thou shalt well remember what Jehovah thy God did unto Pharaoh, and unto all Egypt; 19 the great trials which thine eyes saw, and the signs, and the wonders, and the mighty hand, and the outstretched arm, whereby Jehovah thy God brought thee out: so shall Jehovah thy God do unto all the peoples of whom thou art afraid. 20 Moreover Jehovah thy God will send the hornet among them, until they that are left, and hide themselves, perish from before thee. 21 Thou shalt not be affrighted at them; for Jehovah thy God is in the midst of thee, a great God and a terrible. 22 And Jehovah thy God will cast out those nations before thee by little and little: thou mayest not consume them at once, lest the beasts of the field increase upon thee. 23 But Jehovah thy God will deliver them up before thee, and will discomfit them with a great discomfiture, until they be destroyed. 24 And he will deliver their kings into thy hand, and thou shalt make their name to perish from under heaven: there shall no man be able to stand before thee, until thou have destroyed them. 25 The graven images of their gods shall ye burn with fire: thou shalt not covet the silver or the gold that is on them, nor take it unto thee, lest thou be snared therein; for it is an abomination to Jehovah thy God. 26 And thou shalt not bring an abomination into thy house, and become a devoted thing like unto it: thou shalt utterly detest it, and thou shalt utterly abhor it; for it is a devoted thing. Chapter 8 1 All the commandment which I command thee this day shall ye observe to do, that ye may live, and multiply, and go in and possess the land which Jehovah sware unto your fathers. 2 And thou shalt remember all the way which Jehovah thy God hath led thee these forty years in the wilderness, that he might humble thee, to prove thee, to know what was in thy heart, whether thou wouldest keep his commandments, or not. 3 And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by everything that proceedeth out of the mouth of Jehovah doth man live. 4 Thy raiment waxed not old upon thee, neither did thy foot swell, these forty years. 5 And thou shalt consider in thy heart, that, as a man chasteneth his son, so Jehovah thy God chasteneth thee. 6 And thou shalt keep the commandments of Jehovah thy God, to walk in his ways, and to fear him. 7 For Jehovah thy God bringeth thee into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and springs, flowing forth in valleys and hills; 8 a land of wheat and barley, and vines and fig-trees and pomegranates; a land of olive-trees and honey; 9 a land wherein thou shalt eat bread without scarceness, thou shalt not lack anything in it; a land whose stones are iron, and out of whose hills thou mayest dig copper. 10 And thou shalt eat and be full, and thou shalt bless Jehovah thy God for the good land which he hath given thee. 11 Beware lest thou forget Jehovah thy God, in not keeping his commandments, and his ordinances, and his statutes, which I command thee this day: 12 lest, when thou hast eaten and art full, and hast built goodly houses, and dwelt therein; 13 and when thy herds and thy flocks multiply, and thy silver and thy gold is multiplied, and all that thou hast is multiplied; 14 then thy heart be lifted up, and thou forget Jehovah thy God, who brought thee forth out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage; 15 who led thee through the great and terrible wilderness, `wherein were' fiery serpents and scorpions, and thirsty ground where was no water; who brought thee forth water out of the rock of flint; 16 who fed thee in the wilderness with manna, which thy fathers knew not; that he might humble thee, and that he might prove thee, to do thee good at thy latter end: 17 and `lest' thou say in thy heart, My power and the might of my hand hath gotten me this wealth. 18 But thou shalt remember Jehovah thy God, for it is he that giveth thee power to get wealth; that he may establish his covenant which he sware unto thy fathers, as at this day. 19 And it shall be, if thou shalt forget Jehovah thy God, and walk after other gods, and serve them, and worship them, I testify against you this day that ye shall surely perish. 20 As the nations that Jehovah maketh to perish before you, so shall ye perish; because ye would not hearken unto the voice of Jehovah your God.




Enjoying God

Published by InTouch Ministries for reading on February 23rd.

Psalms 5:11-12 11 But let all those that take refuge in thee rejoice, Let them ever shout for joy, because thou defendest them: Let them also that love thy name be joyful in thee. 12 For thou wilt bless the righteous; O Jehovah, thou wilt compass him with favor as with a shield. Psalm 6 For the Chief Musician; on stringed instruments, set to the Sheminith. A Psalm of David.

The Scriptures are full of verses that speak of the enjoyment God’s people find in Him, and this sometimes leaves us wondering why our experience doesn’t match theirs. If we aren’t delighting in the Lord on a consistent basis, there may be some hindrances in our life.

We may not know God. No one can have a personal relationship with the Father except through His Son Jesus. But when we believe in Christ as Savior and Lord, we become children of God. Then through His Word, we learn He’s not a Father who is quick to punish us for breaking His rules, but He’s one who tenderly watches over us and restores us when we fall.

We may be afraid of God. When the Scriptures tell us to fear the Lord, it means to honor, revere, and obey Him as a child does a parent. But if we see Him as a tyrannical Father, we’ll be afraid of Him, and this kind of fear keeps us from experiencing joy in our relationship with Him. We must remember that our heavenly Father loved us so much that He sent His Son to rescue us and has placed us securely in His loving family.

Sometimes the problem is sin. When we disobey the Lord, our fellowship with Him—but not our relationship with Him­—is broken. If we confess our sins, then He is faithful to forgive us and restore our intimacy with Him. (See 1 John 1:9 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. .)

When we really enjoy the Lord, we find ourselves slow to leave His presence and desiring to linger. Does this describe your relationship with your heavenly Father?

Bible in One Year: Deuteronomy 6-8 Chapter 6 1 Now this is the commandment, the statutes, and the ordinances, which Jehovah your God commanded to teach you, that ye might do them in the land whither ye go over to possess it; 2 that thou mightest fear Jehovah thy God, to keep all his statutes and his commandments, which I command thee, thou, and thy son, and thy son's son, all the days of thy life; and that thy days may be prolonged. 3 Hear therefore, O Israel, and observe to do it; that it may be well with thee, and that ye may increase mightily, as Jehovah, the God of thy fathers, hath promised unto thee, in a land flowing with milk and honey. 4 Hear, O Israel: Jehovah our God is one Jehovah: 5 and thou shalt love Jehovah thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. 6 And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be upon thy heart; 7 and thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thy house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. 8 And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thy hand, and they shall be for frontlets between thine eyes. 9 And thou shalt write them upon the door-posts of thy house, and upon thy gates. 10 And it shall be, when Jehovah thy God shall bring thee into the land which he sware unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give thee, great and goodly cities, which thou buildest not, 11 and houses full of all good things, which thou filledst not, and cisterns hewn out, which thou hewedst not, vineyards and olive-trees, which thou plantedst not, and thou shalt eat and be full; 12 then beware lest thou forget Jehovah, who brought thee forth out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. 13 Thou shalt fear Jehovah thy God; and him shalt thou serve, and shalt swear by his name. 14 Ye shall not go after other gods, of the gods of the peoples that are round about you; 15 for Jehovah thy God in the midst of thee is a jealous God; lest the anger of Jehovah thy God be kindled against thee, and he destroy thee from off the face of the earth. 16 Ye shall not tempt Jehovah your God, as ye tempted him in Massah. 17 Ye shall diligently keep the commandments of Jehovah your God, and his testimonies, and his statutes, which he hath commanded thee. 18 And thou shalt do that which is right and good in the sight of Jehovah; that it may be well with thee, and that thou mayest go in and possess the good land which Jehovah sware unto thy fathers, 19 to thrust out all thine enemies from before thee, as Jehovah hath spoken. 20 When thy son asketh thee in time to come, saying, What mean the testimonies, and the statutes, and the ordinances, which Jehovah our God hath commanded you? 21 then thou shalt say unto thy son, We were Pharaoh's bondmen in Egypt: and Jehovah brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand; 22 and Jehovah showed signs and wonders, great and sore, upon Egypt, upon Pharaoh, and upon all his house, before our eyes; 23 and he brought us out from thence, that he might bring us in, to give us the land which he sware unto our fathers. 24 And Jehovah commanded us to do all these statutes, to fear Jehovah our God, for our good always, that he might preserve us alive, as at this day. 25 And it shall be righteousness unto us, if we observe to do all this commandment before Jehovah our God, as he hath commanded us. Chapter 7 1 When Jehovah thy God shall bring thee into the land whither thou goest to possess it, and shall cast out many nations before thee, the Hittite, and the Girgashite, and the Amorite, and the Canaanite, and the Perizzite, and the Hivite, and the Jebusite, seven nations greater and mightier than thou; 2 and when Jehovah thy God shall deliver them up before thee, and thou shalt smite them; then thou shalt utterly destroy them: thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor show mercy unto them; 3 neither shalt thou make marriages with them; thy daughter thou shalt not give unto his son, nor his daughter shalt thou take unto thy son. 4 For he will turn away thy son from following me, that they may serve other gods: so will the anger of Jehovah be kindled against you, and he will destroy thee quickly. 5 But thus shall ye deal with them: ye shall break down their altars, and dash in pieces their pillars, and hew down their Asherim, and burn their graven images with fire. 6 For thou art a holy people unto Jehovah thy God: Jehovah thy God hath chosen thee to be a people for his own possession, above all peoples that are upon the face of the earth. 7 Jehovah did not set his love upon you, nor choose you, because ye were more in number than any people; for ye were the fewest of all peoples: 8 but because Jehovah loveth you, and because he would keep the oath which he sware unto your fathers, hath Jehovah brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you out of the house of bondage, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt. 9 Know therefore that Jehovah thy God, he is God, the faithful God, who keepeth covenant and lovingkindness with them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations, 10 and repayeth them that hate him to their face, to destroy them: he will not be slack to him that hateth him, he will repay him to his face. 11 Thou shalt therefore keep the commandment, and the statutes, and the ordinances, which I command thee this day, to do them. 12 And it shall come to pass, because ye hearken to these ordinances, and keep and do them, that Jehovah thy God will keep with thee the covenant and the lovingkindness which he sware unto thy fathers: 13 and he will love thee, and bless thee, and multiply thee; he will also bless the fruit of thy body and the fruit of thy ground, thy grain and thy new wine and thine oil, the increase of thy cattle and the young of thy flock, in the land which he sware unto thy fathers to give thee. 14 Thou shalt be blessed above all peoples: there shall not be male or female barren among you, or among your cattle. 15 And Jehovah will take away from thee all sickness; and none of the evil diseases of Egypt, which thou knowest, will he put upon thee, but will lay them upon all them that hate thee. 16 And thou shalt consume all the peoples that Jehovah thy God shall deliver unto thee; thine eye shall not pity them: neither shalt thou serve their gods; for that will be a snare unto thee. 17 If thou shalt say in thy heart, These nations are more than I; how can I dispossess them? 18 thou shalt not be afraid of them: thou shalt well remember what Jehovah thy God did unto Pharaoh, and unto all Egypt; 19 the great trials which thine eyes saw, and the signs, and the wonders, and the mighty hand, and the outstretched arm, whereby Jehovah thy God brought thee out: so shall Jehovah thy God do unto all the peoples of whom thou art afraid. 20 Moreover Jehovah thy God will send the hornet among them, until they that are left, and hide themselves, perish from before thee. 21 Thou shalt not be affrighted at them; for Jehovah thy God is in the midst of thee, a great God and a terrible. 22 And Jehovah thy God will cast out those nations before thee by little and little: thou mayest not consume them at once, lest the beasts of the field increase upon thee. 23 But Jehovah thy God will deliver them up before thee, and will discomfit them with a great discomfiture, until they be destroyed. 24 And he will deliver their kings into thy hand, and thou shalt make their name to perish from under heaven: there shall no man be able to stand before thee, until thou have destroyed them. 25 The graven images of their gods shall ye burn with fire: thou shalt not covet the silver or the gold that is on them, nor take it unto thee, lest thou be snared therein; for it is an abomination to Jehovah thy God. 26 And thou shalt not bring an abomination into thy house, and become a devoted thing like unto it: thou shalt utterly detest it, and thou shalt utterly abhor it; for it is a devoted thing. Chapter 8 1 All the commandment which I command thee this day shall ye observe to do, that ye may live, and multiply, and go in and possess the land which Jehovah sware unto your fathers. 2 And thou shalt remember all the way which Jehovah thy God hath led thee these forty years in the wilderness, that he might humble thee, to prove thee, to know what was in thy heart, whether thou wouldest keep his commandments, or not. 3 And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by everything that proceedeth out of the mouth of Jehovah doth man live. 4 Thy raiment waxed not old upon thee, neither did thy foot swell, these forty years. 5 And thou shalt consider in thy heart, that, as a man chasteneth his son, so Jehovah thy God chasteneth thee. 6 And thou shalt keep the commandments of Jehovah thy God, to walk in his ways, and to fear him. 7 For Jehovah thy God bringeth thee into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and springs, flowing forth in valleys and hills; 8 a land of wheat and barley, and vines and fig-trees and pomegranates; a land of olive-trees and honey; 9 a land wherein thou shalt eat bread without scarceness, thou shalt not lack anything in it; a land whose stones are iron, and out of whose hills thou mayest dig copper. 10 And thou shalt eat and be full, and thou shalt bless Jehovah thy God for the good land which he hath given thee. 11 Beware lest thou forget Jehovah thy God, in not keeping his commandments, and his ordinances, and his statutes, which I command thee this day: 12 lest, when thou hast eaten and art full, and hast built goodly houses, and dwelt therein; 13 and when thy herds and thy flocks multiply, and thy silver and thy gold is multiplied, and all that thou hast is multiplied; 14 then thy heart be lifted up, and thou forget Jehovah thy God, who brought thee forth out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage; 15 who led thee through the great and terrible wilderness, `wherein were' fiery serpents and scorpions, and thirsty ground where was no water; who brought thee forth water out of the rock of flint; 16 who fed thee in the wilderness with manna, which thy fathers knew not; that he might humble thee, and that he might prove thee, to do thee good at thy latter end: 17 and `lest' thou say in thy heart, My power and the might of my hand hath gotten me this wealth. 18 But thou shalt remember Jehovah thy God, for it is he that giveth thee power to get wealth; that he may establish his covenant which he sware unto thy fathers, as at this day. 19 And it shall be, if thou shalt forget Jehovah thy God, and walk after other gods, and serve them, and worship them, I testify against you this day that ye shall surely perish. 20 As the nations that Jehovah maketh to perish before you, so shall ye perish; because ye would not hearken unto the voice of Jehovah your God.




February 23 - The Result of Gentleness

Published by Grace To You for reading on February 23rd.

“‘Blessed are the gentle, for they shall inherit the earth’” ( Matthew 5:5 5 Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth. ).

God rewards the gentle with His own joy and gladness. But more specifically, He allows such saints to “inherit the earth.” In the future the Father will completely reclaim earth, and believers will rule it with Him. Because only believers are truly gentle, Jesus could confidently proclaim “they shall inherit the earth.”

“Inherit” denotes the receiving of one’s allotted portion and correlates perfectly with Psalms 37:11 11 But the meek shall inherit the land, And shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace. —“the humble will inherit the land.” We sometimes wonder why the godless seem to prosper while the godly suffer, but God assures us that He will ultimately make things right (cf. Ps. 37:10). We must trust the Lord and obey His will in these matters. He will settle everything in the right way at the right time. Meanwhile, we can trust His promise that we, as those who are gentle, will inherit the earth. This promise also reminds us that our place in Christ’s kingdom is forever secure (cf. 1 Cor. 3:21–23).

The promise of a future inheritance also gives us hope and happiness for the present. More than a century ago George MacDonald wrote, “We cannot see the world as God means it in the future, save as our souls are characterized by meekness. In meekness we are its only inheritors. Meekness alone makes the spiritual retina pure to receive God’s things as they are, mingling with them neither imperfection nor impurity.”

Ask Yourself

Yes, it often seems as though everyone “inherits the earth” but us mild-mannered believers. But what truly makes life enjoyable on the earth? And why do the curt and the coarsest among us not really get to experience its simple pleasures?

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

Additional Resources

The Hour of Unusual Threat

Published by John Piper for reading on February 23rd.

If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. ( 1 Peter 4:14 14 If ye are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed `are ye'; because the `Spirit' of glory and the Spirit of God resteth upon you. )

Many Christians in the world today do not know the life-threatening danger that comes with believing in Christ. We have gotten used to being free from such persecution. It seems like the way things must be.

So, our first reaction to the threat that things might be otherwise is often anger. But that anger may be a sign that we have lost our sense of being sojourners and exiles (“Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles . . .” 1 Peter 2:11 11 Beloved, I beseech you as sojourners and pilgrims, to abstain from fleshly lust, which war against the soul; ).

Perhaps we have settled too much into this world. We don’t feel as homesick for Christ as Paul did: “But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ” ( Philippians 3:20 20 For our citizenship is in heaven; whence also we wait for a Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: ).

Many of us need the reminder, “Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you” ( 1 Peter 4:12 12 Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial among you, which cometh upon you to prove you, as though a strange thing happened unto you: ). It isn’t strange.

Have you ever wondered how you will do in the hour of final trial? The gunman has you in his sights and asks, “Are you a Christian?” Here is a strong word to give you hope that you may do better than you think.

Peter says, “If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you” ( 1 Peter 4:14 14 If ye are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed `are ye'; because the `Spirit' of glory and the Spirit of God resteth upon you. ). This encouragement from Peter says that in the hour of unusual threat (whether insult or death) there will be “a Spirit of glory and of God resting on us.” Doesn’t that mean that God gives special help in the hour of crisis to those who suffer because they are Christians?

I don’t mean he is absent from our other sufferings. I just mean that Peter went out of his way to say that those who suffer “for the name of Christ” will experience a special “resting” on them of “the Spirit of glory and of God.”

Pray that this would be your experience when the trial comes. There will be resources of endurance in that moment that we do not have any other time. Take heart.



Seeing Christ in Our Circumstances

Published by InTouch Ministries for reading on February 23rd.

Philippians 1:12-25 12 Now I would have you know, brethren, that the things `which happened' unto me have fallen out rather unto the progress of the gospel; 13 so that my bonds became manifest in Christ throughout the whole praetorian guard, and to all the rest; 14 and that most of the brethren in the Lord, being confident through my bonds, are more abundantly bold to speak the word of God without fear. 15 Some indeed preach Christ even of envy and strife; and some also of good will: 16 the one `do it' of love, knowing that I am set for the defence of the gospel; 17 but the other proclaim Christ of faction, not sincerely, thinking to raise up affliction for me in my bonds. 18 What then? only that in every way, whether in pretence or in truth, Christ is proclaimed; and therein I rejoice, yea, and will rejoice. 19 For I know that this shall turn out to my salvation, through your supplication and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, 20 according to my earnest expectation and hope, that in nothing shall I be put to shame, but `that' with all boldness, as always, `so' now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether by life, or by death. 21 For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. 22 But if to live in the flesh, --`if' this shall bring fruit from my work, then what I shall choose I know not. 23 But I am in a strait betwixt the two, having the desire to depart and be with Christ; for it is very far better: 24 yet to abide in the flesh is more needful for your sake. 25 And having this confidence, I know that I shall abide, yea, and abide with you all, for your progress and joy in the faith;

If you had the power to change your circumstances, would you? Since no one has a life without problems, most of us would immediately say yes. However, the reality is that we must learn to live with some of our difficult circumstances, because only God has the power to alter them—and in His providence, He’s allowed them to remain.

Take the apostle Paul, for example. He had a desire to go to Rome and preach the gospel but didn’t anticipate the route God would use to bring him there. It began with false accusations in Jerusalem, an appeal to Caesar, a rough sea voyage, and a shipwreck and eventually included time spent in a Roman prison. This was probably not what Paul had envisioned, but as he sat chained to a Roman guard, he wrote the following words to the church in Philippi: “My circumstances have turned out for the greater progress of the gospel” (Phil. 1:12). The very circumstance that may have seemed like an unfair misfortune became the avenue for fruitful service.

What looks like a shipwreck or detour in our plans could actually be God’s ordained path for our lives. It may include financial challenges, health issues, relational conflicts, or any number of other hardships, but there is one certainty to which we can cling: Jesus Christ is our life, and He never changes.

Conditions around us will fluctuate, but if we belong to Christ, He’ll use every situation to accomplish His will in and through us. Even when we face matters of life and death, we can share Paul’s desire—that Christ would be exalted in us, whether through life or death.

Bible in One Year: Deuteronomy 6-8 Chapter 6 1 Now this is the commandment, the statutes, and the ordinances, which Jehovah your God commanded to teach you, that ye might do them in the land whither ye go over to possess it; 2 that thou mightest fear Jehovah thy God, to keep all his statutes and his commandments, which I command thee, thou, and thy son, and thy son's son, all the days of thy life; and that thy days may be prolonged. 3 Hear therefore, O Israel, and observe to do it; that it may be well with thee, and that ye may increase mightily, as Jehovah, the God of thy fathers, hath promised unto thee, in a land flowing with milk and honey. 4 Hear, O Israel: Jehovah our God is one Jehovah: 5 and thou shalt love Jehovah thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. 6 And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be upon thy heart; 7 and thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thy house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. 8 And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thy hand, and they shall be for frontlets between thine eyes. 9 And thou shalt write them upon the door-posts of thy house, and upon thy gates. 10 And it shall be, when Jehovah thy God shall bring thee into the land which he sware unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give thee, great and goodly cities, which thou buildest not, 11 and houses full of all good things, which thou filledst not, and cisterns hewn out, which thou hewedst not, vineyards and olive-trees, which thou plantedst not, and thou shalt eat and be full; 12 then beware lest thou forget Jehovah, who brought thee forth out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. 13 Thou shalt fear Jehovah thy God; and him shalt thou serve, and shalt swear by his name. 14 Ye shall not go after other gods, of the gods of the peoples that are round about you; 15 for Jehovah thy God in the midst of thee is a jealous God; lest the anger of Jehovah thy God be kindled against thee, and he destroy thee from off the face of the earth. 16 Ye shall not tempt Jehovah your God, as ye tempted him in Massah. 17 Ye shall diligently keep the commandments of Jehovah your God, and his testimonies, and his statutes, which he hath commanded thee. 18 And thou shalt do that which is right and good in the sight of Jehovah; that it may be well with thee, and that thou mayest go in and possess the good land which Jehovah sware unto thy fathers, 19 to thrust out all thine enemies from before thee, as Jehovah hath spoken. 20 When thy son asketh thee in time to come, saying, What mean the testimonies, and the statutes, and the ordinances, which Jehovah our God hath commanded you? 21 then thou shalt say unto thy son, We were Pharaoh's bondmen in Egypt: and Jehovah brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand; 22 and Jehovah showed signs and wonders, great and sore, upon Egypt, upon Pharaoh, and upon all his house, before our eyes; 23 and he brought us out from thence, that he might bring us in, to give us the land which he sware unto our fathers. 24 And Jehovah commanded us to do all these statutes, to fear Jehovah our God, for our good always, that he might preserve us alive, as at this day. 25 And it shall be righteousness unto us, if we observe to do all this commandment before Jehovah our God, as he hath commanded us. Chapter 7 1 When Jehovah thy God shall bring thee into the land whither thou goest to possess it, and shall cast out many nations before thee, the Hittite, and the Girgashite, and the Amorite, and the Canaanite, and the Perizzite, and the Hivite, and the Jebusite, seven nations greater and mightier than thou; 2 and when Jehovah thy God shall deliver them up before thee, and thou shalt smite them; then thou shalt utterly destroy them: thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor show mercy unto them; 3 neither shalt thou make marriages with them; thy daughter thou shalt not give unto his son, nor his daughter shalt thou take unto thy son. 4 For he will turn away thy son from following me, that they may serve other gods: so will the anger of Jehovah be kindled against you, and he will destroy thee quickly. 5 But thus shall ye deal with them: ye shall break down their altars, and dash in pieces their pillars, and hew down their Asherim, and burn their graven images with fire. 6 For thou art a holy people unto Jehovah thy God: Jehovah thy God hath chosen thee to be a people for his own possession, above all peoples that are upon the face of the earth. 7 Jehovah did not set his love upon you, nor choose you, because ye were more in number than any people; for ye were the fewest of all peoples: 8 but because Jehovah loveth you, and because he would keep the oath which he sware unto your fathers, hath Jehovah brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you out of the house of bondage, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt. 9 Know therefore that Jehovah thy God, he is God, the faithful God, who keepeth covenant and lovingkindness with them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations, 10 and repayeth them that hate him to their face, to destroy them: he will not be slack to him that hateth him, he will repay him to his face. 11 Thou shalt therefore keep the commandment, and the statutes, and the ordinances, which I command thee this day, to do them. 12 And it shall come to pass, because ye hearken to these ordinances, and keep and do them, that Jehovah thy God will keep with thee the covenant and the lovingkindness which he sware unto thy fathers: 13 and he will love thee, and bless thee, and multiply thee; he will also bless the fruit of thy body and the fruit of thy ground, thy grain and thy new wine and thine oil, the increase of thy cattle and the young of thy flock, in the land which he sware unto thy fathers to give thee. 14 Thou shalt be blessed above all peoples: there shall not be male or female barren among you, or among your cattle. 15 And Jehovah will take away from thee all sickness; and none of the evil diseases of Egypt, which thou knowest, will he put upon thee, but will lay them upon all them that hate thee. 16 And thou shalt consume all the peoples that Jehovah thy God shall deliver unto thee; thine eye shall not pity them: neither shalt thou serve their gods; for that will be a snare unto thee. 17 If thou shalt say in thy heart, These nations are more than I; how can I dispossess them? 18 thou shalt not be afraid of them: thou shalt well remember what Jehovah thy God did unto Pharaoh, and unto all Egypt; 19 the great trials which thine eyes saw, and the signs, and the wonders, and the mighty hand, and the outstretched arm, whereby Jehovah thy God brought thee out: so shall Jehovah thy God do unto all the peoples of whom thou art afraid. 20 Moreover Jehovah thy God will send the hornet among them, until they that are left, and hide themselves, perish from before thee. 21 Thou shalt not be affrighted at them; for Jehovah thy God is in the midst of thee, a great God and a terrible. 22 And Jehovah thy God will cast out those nations before thee by little and little: thou mayest not consume them at once, lest the beasts of the field increase upon thee. 23 But Jehovah thy God will deliver them up before thee, and will discomfit them with a great discomfiture, until they be destroyed. 24 And he will deliver their kings into thy hand, and thou shalt make their name to perish from under heaven: there shall no man be able to stand before thee, until thou have destroyed them. 25 The graven images of their gods shall ye burn with fire: thou shalt not covet the silver or the gold that is on them, nor take it unto thee, lest thou be snared therein; for it is an abomination to Jehovah thy God. 26 And thou shalt not bring an abomination into thy house, and become a devoted thing like unto it: thou shalt utterly detest it, and thou shalt utterly abhor it; for it is a devoted thing. Chapter 8 1 All the commandment which I command thee this day shall ye observe to do, that ye may live, and multiply, and go in and possess the land which Jehovah sware unto your fathers. 2 And thou shalt remember all the way which Jehovah thy God hath led thee these forty years in the wilderness, that he might humble thee, to prove thee, to know what was in thy heart, whether thou wouldest keep his commandments, or not. 3 And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by everything that proceedeth out of the mouth of Jehovah doth man live. 4 Thy raiment waxed not old upon thee, neither did thy foot swell, these forty years. 5 And thou shalt consider in thy heart, that, as a man chasteneth his son, so Jehovah thy God chasteneth thee. 6 And thou shalt keep the commandments of Jehovah thy God, to walk in his ways, and to fear him. 7 For Jehovah thy God bringeth thee into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and springs, flowing forth in valleys and hills; 8 a land of wheat and barley, and vines and fig-trees and pomegranates; a land of olive-trees and honey; 9 a land wherein thou shalt eat bread without scarceness, thou shalt not lack anything in it; a land whose stones are iron, and out of whose hills thou mayest dig copper. 10 And thou shalt eat and be full, and thou shalt bless Jehovah thy God for the good land which he hath given thee. 11 Beware lest thou forget Jehovah thy God, in not keeping his commandments, and his ordinances, and his statutes, which I command thee this day: 12 lest, when thou hast eaten and art full, and hast built goodly houses, and dwelt therein; 13 and when thy herds and thy flocks multiply, and thy silver and thy gold is multiplied, and all that thou hast is multiplied; 14 then thy heart be lifted up, and thou forget Jehovah thy God, who brought thee forth out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage; 15 who led thee through the great and terrible wilderness, `wherein were' fiery serpents and scorpions, and thirsty ground where was no water; who brought thee forth water out of the rock of flint; 16 who fed thee in the wilderness with manna, which thy fathers knew not; that he might humble thee, and that he might prove thee, to do thee good at thy latter end: 17 and `lest' thou say in thy heart, My power and the might of my hand hath gotten me this wealth. 18 But thou shalt remember Jehovah thy God, for it is he that giveth thee power to get wealth; that he may establish his covenant which he sware unto thy fathers, as at this day. 19 And it shall be, if thou shalt forget Jehovah thy God, and walk after other gods, and serve them, and worship them, I testify against you this day that ye shall surely perish. 20 As the nations that Jehovah maketh to perish before you, so shall ye perish; because ye would not hearken unto the voice of Jehovah your God.




Daily Bible - February 23

Published by Grace To You for reading on February 23rd.

Reading for Today:

  • Leviticus 15:1 Chapter 15 1 And Jehovah spake unto Moses and to Aaron, saying, –16:34
  • Psalms 26:6-12 6 I will wash my hands in innocency: So will I compass thine altar, O Jehovah; 7 That I may make the voice of thanksgiving to be heard, And tell of all thy wondrous works. 8 Jehovah, I love the habitation of thy house, And the place where thy glory dwelleth. 9 Gather not my soul with sinners, Nor my life with men of blood; 10 In whose hands is wickedness, And their right hand is full of bribes. 11 But as for me, I will walk in mine integrity: Redeem me, and be merciful unto me. 12 My foot standeth in an even place: In the congregations will I bless Jehovah. Psalm 27 `A Psalm' of David.
  • Proverbs 10:8 8 The wise in heart will receive commandments; But a prating fool shall fall.
  • Mark 4:1-20 Chapter 4 1 And again he began to teach by the sea side. And there is gathered unto him a very great multitude, so that he entered into a boat, and sat in the sea; and all the multitude were by the sea on the land. 2 And he taught them many things in parables, and said unto them in his teaching, 3 Hearken: Behold, the sower went forth to sow: 4 and it came to pass, as he sowed, some `seed' fell by the way side, and the birds came and devoured it. 5 And other fell on the rocky `ground', where it had not much earth; and straightway it sprang up, because it had no deepness of earth: 6 and when the sun was risen, it was scorched; and because it had no root, it withered away. 7 And other fell among the thorns, and the thorns grew up, and choked it, and it yielded no fruit. 8 And others fell into the good ground, and yielded fruit, growing up and increasing; and brought forth, thirtyfold, and sixtyfold, and a hundredfold. 9 And he said, Who hath ears to hear, let him hear. 10 And when he was alone, they that were about him with the twelve asked of him the parables. 11 And he said unto them, Unto you is given the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without, all things are done in parables: 12 that seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest haply they should turn again, and it should be forgiven them. 13 And he saith unto them, Know ye not this parable? and how shall ye know all the parables? 14 The sower soweth the word. 15 And these are they by the way side, where the word is sown; and when they have heard, straightway cometh Satan, and taketh away the word which hath been sown in them. 16 And these in like manner are they that are sown upon the rocky `places', who, when they have heard the word, straightway receive it with joy; 17 and they have no root in themselves, but endure for a while; then, when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, straightway they stumble. 18 And others are they that are sown among the thorns; these are they that have heard the word, 19 and the cares of the world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful. 20 And those are they that were sown upon the good ground; such as hear the word, and accept it, and bear fruit, thirtyfold, and sixtyfold, and a hundredfold.

Notes:

Leviticus 16:12 inside the veil. The veil separated all from the holy and consuming presence of God. It was this veil in Herod’s temple that was torn open from top to bottom at the death of Christ, signifying access into God’s presence through Jesus Christ (see Matt. 27:51; Mark 15:38 38 And the veil of the temple was rent in two from the top to the bottom. ; Luke 23:45 45 the sun's light failing: and the veil of the temple was rent in the midst. ).

Leviticus 16:20–22 This “sin offering of atonement” (Num. 29:11) portrayed Christ’s substitutionary sacrifice (vv. 21, 22) with the result that the sinner’s sins were removed (v. 22). Christ lived out this representation when He cried from the cross, “My God,My God, why have You forsaken Me?”(Matt. 27:46).

Leviticus 16:30 clean from all your sins. (See Ps. 103:12; Is. 38:17; Mic. 7:19.) This day provided ceremonial cleansing for one year, and pictured the forgiveness of God available to all who believed and repented. Actual atonement was based on cleansing through the sacrifice of Christ (see Rom. 3:25, 26; Heb. 9:15).

Mark 4:2 parables. A common method of teaching in Judaism, which Jesus employed to conceal the truth from unbelievers while explaining it to His disciples.

DAY 23: What does the parable of the soils warn us about our heart?

Jesus made it clear that as the sower sows his seed, some of those seeds fall to the “wayside” ( Mark 4:4 4 and it came to pass, as he sowed, some `seed' fell by the way side, and the birds came and devoured it. )—either a road near a field’s edge or a path that traversed a field, both of which were hard surfaces due to constant foot traffic. Other seed falls on “stony ground” (v. 5), where beds of solid rock lie under the surface of good soil. They are a little too deep for the plow to reach, and too shallow to allow a plant to reach water and develop a decent root system in the small amount of soil that covers them. Other seed falls among “thorns” (v. 7)—tough, thistle-bearing weeds that use up the available space, light, and water which good plants need.

Jesus warns in vv. 13-20 that our heart may be hard, like the stony ground, and the “word of God” never takes root in the soul and never transforms our life—there is only a temporary, surface change. Bring along the suffering, trials, and persecutions which result from one’s association with God’s Word and we fall away ( John 8:31 31 Jesus therefore said to those Jews that had believed him, If ye abide in my word, `then' are ye truly my disciples; ; 1 John 2:19 19 They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us: but `they went out', that they might be made manifest that they all are not of us. ). Then there are the “cares of this world,” or “the distractions of the age.” A preoccupation with the temporal issues of this present age blinds a person to any serious consideration of the gospel ( James 4:4 4 Ye adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? Whosoever therefore would be a friend of the world maketh himself an enemy of God. ; 1 John 2:15 15 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. , 16). And “the deceitfulness of riches” come our way. Not only can money and material possessions not satisfy the desires of the heart or bring the lasting happiness they deceptively promise, but they also blind those who pursue them to eternal, spiritual concerns (1 Tim. 6:9, 10).

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

Additional Resources        

February 23

Published by Grace To You for reading on February 23rd.

Reading for Today:

  • Leviticus 15:1 Chapter 15 1 And Jehovah spake unto Moses and to Aaron, saying, –16:34
  • Psalms 26:6-12 6 I will wash my hands in innocency: So will I compass thine altar, O Jehovah; 7 That I may make the voice of thanksgiving to be heard, And tell of all thy wondrous works. 8 Jehovah, I love the habitation of thy house, And the place where thy glory dwelleth. 9 Gather not my soul with sinners, Nor my life with men of blood; 10 In whose hands is wickedness, And their right hand is full of bribes. 11 But as for me, I will walk in mine integrity: Redeem me, and be merciful unto me. 12 My foot standeth in an even place: In the congregations will I bless Jehovah. Psalm 27 `A Psalm' of David.
  • Proverbs 10:8 8 The wise in heart will receive commandments; But a prating fool shall fall.
  • Mark 4:1-20 Chapter 4 1 And again he began to teach by the sea side. And there is gathered unto him a very great multitude, so that he entered into a boat, and sat in the sea; and all the multitude were by the sea on the land. 2 And he taught them many things in parables, and said unto them in his teaching, 3 Hearken: Behold, the sower went forth to sow: 4 and it came to pass, as he sowed, some `seed' fell by the way side, and the birds came and devoured it. 5 And other fell on the rocky `ground', where it had not much earth; and straightway it sprang up, because it had no deepness of earth: 6 and when the sun was risen, it was scorched; and because it had no root, it withered away. 7 And other fell among the thorns, and the thorns grew up, and choked it, and it yielded no fruit. 8 And others fell into the good ground, and yielded fruit, growing up and increasing; and brought forth, thirtyfold, and sixtyfold, and a hundredfold. 9 And he said, Who hath ears to hear, let him hear. 10 And when he was alone, they that were about him with the twelve asked of him the parables. 11 And he said unto them, Unto you is given the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without, all things are done in parables: 12 that seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest haply they should turn again, and it should be forgiven them. 13 And he saith unto them, Know ye not this parable? and how shall ye know all the parables? 14 The sower soweth the word. 15 And these are they by the way side, where the word is sown; and when they have heard, straightway cometh Satan, and taketh away the word which hath been sown in them. 16 And these in like manner are they that are sown upon the rocky `places', who, when they have heard the word, straightway receive it with joy; 17 and they have no root in themselves, but endure for a while; then, when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, straightway they stumble. 18 And others are they that are sown among the thorns; these are they that have heard the word, 19 and the cares of the world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful. 20 And those are they that were sown upon the good ground; such as hear the word, and accept it, and bear fruit, thirtyfold, and sixtyfold, and a hundredfold.

Notes:

Leviticus 16:12 inside the veil. The veil separated all from the holy and consuming presence of God. It was this veil in Herod’s temple that was torn open from top to bottom at the death of Christ, signifying access into God’s presence through Jesus Christ (see Matt. 27:51; Mark 15:38 38 And the veil of the temple was rent in two from the top to the bottom. ; Luke 23:45 45 the sun's light failing: and the veil of the temple was rent in the midst. ).

Leviticus 16:20–22 This “sin offering of atonement” (Num. 29:11) portrayed Christ’s substitutionary sacrifice (vv. 21, 22) with the result that the sinner’s sins were removed (v. 22). Christ lived out this representation when He cried from the cross, “My God,My God, why have You forsaken Me?”(Matt. 27:46).

Leviticus 16:30 clean from all your sins. (See Ps. 103:12; Is. 38:17; Mic. 7:19.) This day provided ceremonial cleansing for one year, and pictured the forgiveness of God available to all who believed and repented. Actual atonement was based on cleansing through the sacrifice of Christ (see Rom. 3:25, 26; Heb. 9:15).

Mark 4:2 parables. A common method of teaching in Judaism, which Jesus employed to conceal the truth from unbelievers while explaining it to His disciples.

DAY 23: What does the parable of the soils warn us about our heart?

Jesus made it clear that as the sower sows his seed, some of those seeds fall to the “wayside” ( Mark 4:4 4 and it came to pass, as he sowed, some `seed' fell by the way side, and the birds came and devoured it. )—either a road near a field’s edge or a path that traversed a field, both of which were hard surfaces due to constant foot traffic. Other seed falls on “stony ground” (v. 5), where beds of solid rock lie under the surface of good soil. They are a little too deep for the plow to reach, and too shallow to allow a plant to reach water and develop a decent root system in the small amount of soil that covers them. Other seed falls among “thorns” (v. 7)—tough, thistle-bearing weeds that use up the available space, light, and water which good plants need.

Jesus warns in vv. 13-20 that our heart may be hard, like the stony ground, and the “word of God” never takes root in the soul and never transforms our life—there is only a temporary, surface change. Bring along the suffering, trials, and persecutions which result from one’s association with God’s Word and we fall away ( John 8:31 31 Jesus therefore said to those Jews that had believed him, If ye abide in my word, `then' are ye truly my disciples; ; 1 John 2:19 19 They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us: but `they went out', that they might be made manifest that they all are not of us. ). Then there are the “cares of this world,” or “the distractions of the age.” A preoccupation with the temporal issues of this present age blinds a person to any serious consideration of the gospel ( James 4:4 4 Ye adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? Whosoever therefore would be a friend of the world maketh himself an enemy of God. ; 1 John 2:15 15 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. , 16). And “the deceitfulness of riches” come our way. Not only can money and material possessions not satisfy the desires of the heart or bring the lasting happiness they deceptively promise, but they also blind those who pursue them to eternal, spiritual concerns (1 Tim. 6:9, 10).

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

Additional Resources        

God's Wrath

Published by Grace To You for reading on February 23rd.

“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness” ( Romans 1:18 18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hinder the truth in unrighteousness; ).

God hates sin and will judge unrepentant sinners.

We now come to a topic that is perhaps unpleasant to discuss, but it is essential if we are to have a right understanding of God: His wrath. The idea of a wrathful God goes against the wishful thinking of fallen human nature. Even much evangelism today speaks only of the joys and blessings of salvation without mentioning that those who are without God are under His wrath (Eph. 2:3).

God’s attributes are balanced in divine perfection. If He had no righteous anger, He would not be God, just as He would not be God without His gracious love. He perfectly loves righteousness and perfectly hates evil (Ps. 45:7).

But God’s wrath isn’t like ours. The Greek word used for God’s wrath in the New Testament refers to a settled, determined indignation. God does not “fly off the handle,” whereas we tend to be emotional and uncontrolled in our anger.

Many times God expressed His wrath to sinful mankind in past ages. He destroyed all mankind except Noah and his family in the great Flood (Gen. 6—7). He destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah for their sins (Gen. 18—19). The Lord told unfaithful Israel, “Behold, My anger and My wrath will be poured out on this place, on man and on beast and on the trees of the field and on the fruit of the ground; and it will burn and not be quenched” (Jer. 7:20).

Some people today foolishly think the God of the Old Testament was a God of wrath and the New Testament God was a God of love, but His wrath is just as clearly taught in the New Testament. Jesus says, “He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him” ( John 3:36 36 He that believeth on the Son hath eternal life; but he that obeyeth not the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abideth on him. ). In the end-times Jesus will return “dealing out retribution to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus” (2 Thess. 1:8). God is the same God, and He will always hate sin.

Suggestions for Prayer

Praise God for His righteous hatred of sin.

For Further Study

Read more about God’s wrath in Romans 1:18 18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hinder the truth in unrighteousness; —2:16.

  • What specifically causes His wrath?
  • How does He display His wrath to the unrighteous?

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        

Realizing Our Ultimate Priority

Published by Grace To You for reading on February 23rd.
"To the glory and praise of God" (Phil. 1:11).

To glorify God is to reflect His character in your words and deeds.

Paul's prayer in Philippians 1:9-11 9 And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and all discernment; 10 so that ye may approve the things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and void of offence unto the day of Christ; 11 being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are through Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God. closes with a reminder that love, excellence, integrity, and righteousness bring glory and praise to God.

God's glory is a recurring theme in Paul's writings, and rightly so because that is the Christian's highest priority. But what is God's glory and what does it mean to bring Him glory? After all, He is infinitely glorious in nature, so we can't add anything to Him. His glory is never diminished, so it doesn't have to be replenished or bolstered.

In Exodus 33:18-19 18 And he said, Show me, I pray thee, thy glory. 19 And he said, I will make all my goodness pass before thee, and will proclaim the name of Jehovah before thee; and I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy. Moses says to God, "'I pray Thee, show me Thy glory!' And [God] said, 'I Myself will make all My goodness pass before you, and will proclaim the name of the Lord before you; and I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show compassion on whom I will show compassion.'" In effect God was telling Moses that His glory is the composite of His attributes.

That suggests we can glorify God by placing His attributes on display in our lives. When others see godly characteristics like love, mercy, patience, and kindness in you, they have a better picture of what God is like. That honors Him. That's why it's so important to guard your attitudes and actions. Paul admonished Timothy to be exemplary in his speech, conduct, love, faith, and purity (1 Tim. 4:12). That should be true of every believer!

Another way to glorify God is to praise Him. David said, "Ascribe to the Lord, O sons of the mighty, ascribe to the Lord glory and strength. Ascribe to the Lord the glory due to His name; worship the Lord in holy array. . . . In His temple everything says, 'Glory!'" (Ps. 29:1- 2, 9).

You cannot add to God's glory, but you can proclaim it in your words and deeds. What picture of God do others see in you? Does your life bring glory to Him?

Suggestions for Prayer

In 1 Chronicles 16:8-36 8 O give thanks unto Jehovah, call upon his name; Make known his doings among the peoples. 9 Sing unto him, sing praises unto him; Talk ye of all his marvellous works. 10 Glory ye in his holy name; Let the heart of them rejoice that seek Jehovah. 11 Seek ye Jehovah and his strength; Seek his face evermore. 12 Remember his marvellous works that he hath done, His wonders, and the judgments of his mouth, 13 O ye seed of Israel his servant, Ye children of Jacob, his chosen ones. 14 He is Jehovah our God; His judgments are in all the earth. 15 Remember his covenant for ever, The word which he commanded to a thousand generations, 16 `The covenant' which he made with Abraham, And his oath unto Isaac, 17 And confirmed the same unto Jacob for a statute, To Israel for an everlasting covenant, 18 Saying, Unto thee will I give the land of Canaan, The lot of your inheritance; 19 When ye were but a few men in number, Yea, very few, and sojourners in it; 20 And they went about from nation to nation, And from one kingdom to another people. 21 He suffered no man to do them wrong; Yea, he reproved kings for their sakes, 22 `Saying', Touch not mine anointed ones, And do my prophets no harm. 23 Sing unto Jehovah, all the earth; Show forth his salvation from day to day. 24 Declare his glory among the nations, His marvellous works among all the peoples. 25 For great is Jehovah, and greatly to be praised: He also is to be feared above all gods. 26 For all the gods of the peoples are idols: But Jehovah made the heavens. 27 Honor and majesty are before him: Strength and gladness are in his place. 28 Ascribe unto Jehovah, ye kindreds of the peoples, Ascribe unto Jehovah glory and strength; 29 Ascribe unto Jehovah the glory due unto his name: Bring an offering, and come before him: Worship Jehovah in holy array. 30 Tremble before him, all the earth: The world also is established that it cannot be moved. 31 Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice; And let them say among the nations, Jehovah reigneth. 32 Let the sea roar, and the fulness thereof; Let the field exult, and all that is therein; 33 Then shall the trees of the wood sing for joy before Jehovah; For he cometh to judge the earth. 34 O give thanks unto Jehovah; for he is good; For his lovingkindness `endureth' for ever. 35 And say ye, Save us, O God of our salvation, And gather us together and deliver us from the nations, To give thanks unto thy holy name, And to triumph in thy praise. 36 Blessed be Jehovah, the God of Israel, From everlasting even to everlasting. And all the people said, Amen, and praised Jehovah. David instructs Asaph and Asaph's relatives on how to glorify God. Using that passage as a model, spend time in prayer glorifying God.

For Further Study

Reread 1 Chronicles 16:8-36 8 O give thanks unto Jehovah, call upon his name; Make known his doings among the peoples. 9 Sing unto him, sing praises unto him; Talk ye of all his marvellous works. 10 Glory ye in his holy name; Let the heart of them rejoice that seek Jehovah. 11 Seek ye Jehovah and his strength; Seek his face evermore. 12 Remember his marvellous works that he hath done, His wonders, and the judgments of his mouth, 13 O ye seed of Israel his servant, Ye children of Jacob, his chosen ones. 14 He is Jehovah our God; His judgments are in all the earth. 15 Remember his covenant for ever, The word which he commanded to a thousand generations, 16 `The covenant' which he made with Abraham, And his oath unto Isaac, 17 And confirmed the same unto Jacob for a statute, To Israel for an everlasting covenant, 18 Saying, Unto thee will I give the land of Canaan, The lot of your inheritance; 19 When ye were but a few men in number, Yea, very few, and sojourners in it; 20 And they went about from nation to nation, And from one kingdom to another people. 21 He suffered no man to do them wrong; Yea, he reproved kings for their sakes, 22 `Saying', Touch not mine anointed ones, And do my prophets no harm. 23 Sing unto Jehovah, all the earth; Show forth his salvation from day to day. 24 Declare his glory among the nations, His marvellous works among all the peoples. 25 For great is Jehovah, and greatly to be praised: He also is to be feared above all gods. 26 For all the gods of the peoples are idols: But Jehovah made the heavens. 27 Honor and majesty are before him: Strength and gladness are in his place. 28 Ascribe unto Jehovah, ye kindreds of the peoples, Ascribe unto Jehovah glory and strength; 29 Ascribe unto Jehovah the glory due unto his name: Bring an offering, and come before him: Worship Jehovah in holy array. 30 Tremble before him, all the earth: The world also is established that it cannot be moved. 31 Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice; And let them say among the nations, Jehovah reigneth. 32 Let the sea roar, and the fulness thereof; Let the field exult, and all that is therein; 33 Then shall the trees of the wood sing for joy before Jehovah; For he cometh to judge the earth. 34 O give thanks unto Jehovah; for he is good; For his lovingkindness `endureth' for ever. 35 And say ye, Save us, O God of our salvation, And gather us together and deliver us from the nations, To give thanks unto thy holy name, And to triumph in thy praise. 36 Blessed be Jehovah, the God of Israel, From everlasting even to everlasting. And all the people said, Amen, and praised Jehovah. , noting any specific instructions that apply to you.

From Drawing Near by John MacArthur Copyright © 1993. Used by permission of Crossway Books, a division of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, IL 60187, www.crossway.com.

Additional Resources        

Morning Devotional by C.H. Spurgeon for February 23rd

Published by C.H. Spurgeon for reading on February 23rd.

Hebrews 13:5 5 Be ye free from the love of money; content with such things as ye have: for himself hath said, I will in no wise fail thee, neither will I in any wise forsake thee.

NO promise is of private interpretation. Whatever God has said to any one saint, He has said to all. When He opens a well for one, it is that all may drink. When He openeth a granary-door to give out food, there may be some one starving man who is the occasion of its being opened, but all hungry saints may come and feed too. Whether He gave the word to Abraham or to Moses, matters not, O believer; He has given it to thee as one of the covenanted seed. There is not a high blessing too lofty for thee, nor a wide mercy too extensive for thee. Lift up now thine eyes to the north and to the south, to the east and to the west, for all this is thine. Climb to Pisgah's top, and view the utmost limit of the divine promise, for the land is all thine own. There is not a brook of living water of which thou mayst not drink. If the land floweth with milk and honey, eat the honey and drink the milk, for both are thine. Be thou bold to believe, for He hath said, "I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee."In this promise, God gives to His people everything. "I will never leave thee." Then no attribute of God can cease to be engaged for us. Is He mighty? He will show Himself strong on the behalf of them that trust Him. Is He love? Then with lovingkindness will He have mercy upon us. Whatever attributes may compose the character of Deity, every one of them to its fullest extent shall be engaged on our side. To put everything in one, there is nothing you can want, there is nothing you can ask for, there is nothing you can need in time or in eternity, there is nothing living, nothing dying, there is nothing in this world, nothing in the next world, there is nothing now, nothing at the resurrection-morning, nothing in heaven which is not contained in this text—"I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee."

Evening Devotional by C.H. Spurgeon for February 23rd

Published by C.H. Spurgeon for reading on February 23rd.

Mark 10:21 21 And Jesus looking upon him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me.

YOU have not the making of your own cross, although unbelief is a master carpenter at cross-making; neither are you permitted to choose your own cross, although self-will would fain be lord and master; but your cross is prepared and appointed for you by divine love, and you are cheerfully to accept it; you are to take up the cross as your chosen badge and burden, and not to stand cavilling at it. This night Jesus bids you submit your shoulder to His easy yoke. Do not kick at it in petulance, or trample on it in vain-glory, or fall under it in despair, or run away from it in fear, but take it up like a true follower of Jesus. Jesus was a cross-bearer; He leads the way in the path of sorrow. Surely you could not desire a better guide! And if He carried a cross, what nobler burden would you desire? The Via Crucis is the way of safety; fear not to tread its thorny paths.

Beloved, the cross is not made of feathers, or lined with velvet, it is heavy and galling to disobedient shoulders; but it is not an iron cross, though your fears have painted it with iron colours, it is a wooden cross, and a man can carry it, for the Man of sorrows tried the load. Take up your cross, and by the power of the Spirit of God you will soon be so in love with it, that like Moses, you would not exchange the reproach of Christ for all the treasures of Egypt. Remember that Jesus carried it, and it will smell sweetly; remember that it will soon be followed by the crown, and the thought of the coming weight of glory will greatly lighten the present heaviness of trouble. The Lord help you to bow your spirit in submission to the divine will ere you fall asleep this night, that waking with to-morrow's sun, you may go forth to the day's cross with the holy and submissive spirit which becomes a follower of the Crucified.

Recent Videos

FIRST 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 LAST
Christian Praise and Worship in Songs, Sermons, and Audio Books Feb 23rd, 2019
Easy Believism - Dr. Curt D. Daniel Christian Audio Sermon 56:24 Easy Believism - Dr. Curt D. Daniel Christian Audio Sermon
Ligonier Ministries Feb 22nd, 2019
What is the goal of reformation? 06:49 What is the goal of reformation?
Reformation Bible College Jan 19th, 2019
Mark’s Story 45 Mark’s Story
The 1st Bible Team Jul 24th, 2016
Amazing testimony and words of Jim Caviezel, the actor who played Jesus in The Passion of the Christ film, which is the highest grossing R-rated film in history (and rightly so) just like the Holy Bible is the world's best-selling book (and rightly so). 39:27 Jim Caviezel's Testimony
Christian Praise and Worship in Songs, Sermons, and Audio Books Feb 22nd, 2019
Puritan Thomas Watson on the Word of God - Michael Phillips / Christian Audio Sermon 25:25 Puritan Thomas Watson on the Word of God - Michael Phillips / Christian Audio Sermon
Grace to You Feb 22nd, 2019
Paul’s Transformation, Part 2 47:51 Paul’s Transformation, Part 2
Ligonier Ministries Feb 19th, 2019
The Reformation under Attack 01:09 The Reformation under Attack
Reformation Bible College Sep 15th, 2018
Stephen Nichols: The Way, the Truth, and the Life Stephen Nichols: The Way, the Truth, and the Life
FIRST 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 LAST

Recent Audio Messages

FIRST 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 LAST
 

How To Listen

By on Feb 23rd, 2019

Length: 24:30

 

The Qualities of True Love, Part 4 B

By John MacArthur on Feb 22nd, 2019

Length: 00

 

The Secret of Health

By C. H. Spurgeon on May 2nd, 2016

Length: 50:00

 

The Gift of Forgiveness - Part 2

By on Feb 22nd, 2019

Length: 24:30

 

The Qualities of True Love, Part 4

By John MacArthur on Feb 21st, 2019

Length: 00

 

Marrow and Fatness

By C. H. Spurgeon on Apr 2nd, 2016

Length: 49:00

 

The Gift of Forgiveness - Part 1

By on Feb 21st, 2019

Length: 24:30

 

The Qualities of True Love, Part 3 B

By John MacArthur on Feb 20th, 2019

Length: 00

 

One Greater Than the Temple

By C. H. Spurgeon on Mar 26th, 2016

Length: 49:00

 

Favorites vs. Intimates - Part 2

By on Feb 20th, 2019

Length: 24:30

 

The Qualities of True Love, Part 3

By John MacArthur on Feb 19th, 2019

Length: 00

 

Cheering Words and Solemn Warnings

By C. H. Spurgeon on Feb 27th, 2016

Length: 48:00

FIRST 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 LAST

Recent Bible Studies

 
Why is Jesus to be worshipped as God?

Posted Jun 26th, 2016 by The 1st Bible Team

In this study, we delve into what the Bible says about the divinity of Jesus Christ...

Read More  

24/7 Spurgeon Radio

SRT