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Hope Amidst Suffering

Published by InTouch Ministries for reading on August 20th.

2 Corinthians 12:7-10 7 And by reason of the exceeding greatness of the revelations, that I should not be exalted overmuch, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, that I should not be exalted overmuch. 8 Concerning this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. 9 And he hath said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for `my' power is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 Wherefore I take pleasure in weaknesses, in injuries, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.

We all go through distressing times in life. These seasons of suffering may be brought about by relational difficulties, financial hardships, or other trials. But as God’s children, we can take heart in knowing that our pain is not wasted.

Sometimes our pain is for the eternal benefit of others—God uses it to reveal the genuineness of our faith so that others might see it and be drawn to His Son ( 1 Peter 1:7 7 that the proof of your faith, `being' more precious than gold that perisheth though it is proved by fire, may be found unto praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ: ). By the way we respond to adversity, our belief in Jesus becomes visible to those around us. Believers will be encouraged, and seekers will ask us questions about our faith.

At other times, God uses trials to teach us to obey—Hebrews 5:8 tells us that even our Savior learned obedience from the things He suffered. Another purpose of hardship is to broaden our ministry. The apostle Paul’s imprisonment let him minister among the guards, resulting in the salvation of many.

Difficulties can also be the Lord’s tool in preventing a problem from happening—such as the unidentified ailment that kept Paul from becoming prideful. When disobedience threatens our walk with God, He will take whatever steps are needed to draw us back to Him. He may allow a need to remain unmet or something cherished to be removed. His purpose is that we confess our sin and return to Him.

We may not know the reasons for our heartaches, but the wisest choice we can make is to trust the heavenly Father. After all, He who saved us through the sacrifice of His Son has promised to use our suffering to bring about good (Rom. 8:28).

Bible in One Year: Jeremiah 37-40 Chapter 37 1 And Zedekiah the son of Josiah reigned as king, instead of Coniah the son of Jehoiakim, whom Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon made king in the land of Judah. 2 But neither he, nor his servants, nor the people of the land, did hearken unto the words of Jehovah, which he spake by the prophet Jeremiah. 3 And Zedekiah the king sent Jehucal the son of Shelemiah, and Zephaniah the son of Maaseiah, the priest, to the prophet Jeremiah, saying, Pray now unto Jehovah our God for us. 4 Now Jeremiah came in and went out among the people; for they had not put him into prison. 5 And Pharaoh's army was come forth out of Egypt; and when the Chaldeans that were besieging Jerusalem heard tidings of them, they brake up from Jerusalem. 6 Then came the word of Jehovah unto the prophet Jeremiah, saying, 7 Thus saith Jehovah, the God of Israel, Thus shall ye say to the king of Judah, that sent you unto me to inquire of me: Behold, Pharaoh's army, which is come forth to help you, shall return to Egypt into their own land. 8 And the Chaldeans shall come again, and fight against this city; and they shall take it, and burn it with fire. 9 Thus saith Jehovah, Deceive not yourselves, saying, The Chaldeans shall surely depart from us; for they shall not depart. 10 For though ye had smitten the whole army of the Chaldeans that fight against you, and there remained but wounded men among them, yea would they rise up every man in his tent, and burn this city with fire. 11 And it came to pass that, when the army of the Chaldeans was broken up from Jerusalem for fear of Pharaoh's army, 12 then Jeremiah went forth out of Jerusalem to go into the land of Benjamin, to receive his portion there, in the midst of the people. 13 And when he was in the gate of Benjamin, a captain of the ward was there, whose name was Irijah, the son of Shelemiah, the son of Hananiah; and he laid hold on Jeremiah the prophet, saying, Thou art falling away to the Chaldeans. 14 Then said Jeremiah, It is false; I am not falling away to the Chaldeans. But he hearkened not to him; so Irijah laid hold on Jeremiah, and brought him to the princes. 15 And the princes were wroth with Jeremiah, and smote him, and put him in prison in the house of Jonathan the scribe; for they had made that the prison. 16 When Jeremiah was come into the dungeon-house, and into the cells, and Jeremiah had remained there many days; 17 Then Zedekiah the king sent, and fetched him: and the king asked him secretly in his house, and said, Is there any word from Jehovah? And Jeremiah said, There is. He said also, Thou shalt be delivered into the hand of the king of Babylon. 18 Moreover Jeremiah said unto king Zedekiah, Wherein have I sinned against thee, or against thy servants, or against this people, that ye have put me in prison? 19 Where now are your prophets that prophesied unto you, saying, The king of Babylon shall not come against you, nor against this land? 20 And now hear, I pray thee, O my lord the king: let my supplication, I pray thee, be presented before thee, that thou cause me not to return to the house of Jonathan the scribe, lest I die there. 21 Then Zedekiah the king commanded, and they committed Jeremiah into the court of the guard; and they gave him daily a loaf of bread out of the bakers' street, until all the bread in the city was spent. Thus Jeremiah remained in the court of the guard. Chapter 38 1 And Shephatiah the son of Mattan, and Gedaliah the son of Pashhur, and Jucal the son of Shelemiah, and Pashhur the son of Malchijah, heard the words that Jeremiah spake unto all the people, saying, 2 Thus saith Jehovah, He that abideth in this city shall die by the sword, by the famine, and by the pestilence; but he that goeth forth to the Chaldeans shall live, and his life shall be unto him for a prey, and he shall live. 3 Thus saith Jehovah, This city shall surely be given into the hand of the army of the king of Babylon, and he shall take it. 4 Then the princes said unto the king, Let this man, we pray thee, be put to death; forasmuch as he weakeneth the hands of the men of war that remain in this city, and the hands of all the people, in speaking such words unto them: for this man seeketh not the welfare of this people, but the hurt. 5 And Zedekiah the king said, Behold, he is in your hand; for the king is not he that can do anything against you. 6 Then took they Jeremiah, and cast him into the dungeon of Malchijah the king's son, that was in the court of the guard: and they let down Jeremiah with cords. And in the dungeon there was no water, but mire; and Jeremiah sank in the mire. 7 Now when Ebed-melech the Ethiopian, a eunuch, who was in the king's house, heard that they had put Jeremiah in the dungeon (the king then sitting in the gate of Benjamin,) 8 Ebed-melech went forth out of the king's house, and spake to the king, saying, 9 My lord the king, these men have done evil in all that they have done to Jeremiah the prophet, whom they have cast into the dungeon; and he is like to die in the place where he is, because of the famine; for there is no more bread in the city. 10 Then the king commanded Ebed-melech the Ethiopian, saying, Take from hence thirty men with thee, and take up Jeremiah the prophet out of the dungeon, before he die. 11 So Ebed-melech took the men with him, and went into the house of the king under the treasury, and took thence rags and worn-out garments, and let them down by cords into the dungeon to Jeremiah. 12 And Ebed-melech the Ethiopian said unto Jeremiah, Put now these rags and worn-out garments under thine armholes under the cords. And Jeremiah did so. 13 So they drew up Jeremiah with the cords, and took him up out of the dungeon: and Jeremiah remained in the court of the guard. 14 Then Zedekiah the king sent, and took Jeremiah the prophet unto him into the third entry that is in the house of Jehovah: and the king said unto Jeremiah, I will ask thee a thing; hide nothing from me. 15 Then Jeremiah said unto Zedekiah, If I declare it unto thee, wilt thou not surely put me to death? and if I give thee counsel, thou wilt not hearken unto me. 16 So Zedekiah the king sware secretly unto Jeremiah, saying, As Jehovah liveth, that made us this soul, I will not put thee to death, neither will I give thee into the hand of these men that seek thy life. 17 Then said Jeremiah unto Zedekiah, Thus saith Jehovah, the God of hosts, the God of Israel: If thou wilt go forth unto the king of Babylon's princes, then thy soul shall live, and this city shall not be burned with fire; and thou shalt live, and thy house. 18 But if thou wilt not go forth to the king of Babylon's princes, then shall this city be given into the hand of the Chaldeans, and they shall burn it with fire, and thou shalt not escape out of their hand. 19 And Zedekiah the king said unto Jeremiah, I am afraid of the Jews that are fallen away to the Chaldeans, lest they deliver me into their hand, and they mock me. 20 But Jeremiah said, They shall not deliver thee. Obey, I beseech thee, the voice of Jehovah, in that which I speak unto thee: so it shall be well with thee, and thy soul shall live. 21 But if thou refuse to go forth, this is the word that Jehovah hath showed me: 22 behold, all the women that are left in the king of Judah's house shall be brought forth to the king of Babylon's princes, and those women shall say, Thy familiar friends have set thee on, and have prevailed over thee: `now that' thy feet are sunk in the mire, they are turned away back. 23 And they shall bring out all thy wives and thy children to the Chaldeans; and thou shalt not escape out of their hand, but shalt be taken by the hand of the king of Babylon: and thou shalt cause this city to be burned with fire. 24 Then said Zedekiah unto Jeremiah, Let no man know of these words, and thou shalt not die. 25 But if the princes hear that I have talked with thee, and they come unto thee, and say unto thee, Declare unto us now what thou hast said unto the king; hide it not from us, and we will not put thee to death; also what the king said unto thee: 26 then thou shalt say unto them, I presented my supplication before the king, that he would not cause me to return to Jonathan's house, to die there. 27 Then came all the princes unto Jeremiah, and asked him; and he told them according to all these words that the king had commanded. So they left off speaking with him; for the matter was not perceived. 28 So Jeremiah abode in the court of the guard until the day that Jerusalem was taken. Chapter 39 1 And it came to pass when Jerusalem was taken, (in the ninth year of Zedekiah king of Judah, in the tenth month, came Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon and all his army against Jerusalem, and besieged it; 2 in the eleventh year of Zedekiah, in the fourth month, the ninth day of the month, a breach was made in the city,) 3 that all the princes of the king of Babylon came in, and sat in the middle gate, `to wit', Nergal-sharezer, Samgar-nebo, Sarsechim, Rab-saris, Nergal-sharezer, Rab-mag, with all the rest of the princes of the king of Babylon. 4 And it came to pass that, when Zedekiah the king of Judah and all the men of war saw them, then they fled, and went forth out of the city by night, by the way of the king's garden, through the gate betwixt the two walls; and he went out toward the Arabah. 5 But the army of the Chaldeans pursued after them, and overtook Zedekiah in the plains of Jericho: and when they had taken him, they brought him up to Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon to Riblah in the land of Hamath; and he gave judgment upon him. 6 Then the king of Babylon slew the sons of Zedekiah in Riblah before his eyes: also the king of Babylon slew all the nobles of Judah. 7 Moreover he put out Zedekiah's eyes, and bound him in fetters, to carry him to Babylon. 8 And the Chaldeans burned the king's house, and the houses of the people, with fire, and brake down the walls of Jerusalem. 9 Then Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard carried away captive into Babylon the residue of the people that remained in the city, the deserters also that fell away to him, and the residue of the people that remained. 10 But Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard left of the poor of the people, that had nothing, in the land of Judah, and gave them vineyards and fields at the same time. 11 Now Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon gave charge concerning Jeremiah to Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard, saying, 12 Take him, and look well to him, and do him no harm; but do unto him even as he shall say unto thee. 13 So Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard sent, and Nebushazban, Rab-saris, and Nergal-sharezer, Rab-mag, and all the chief officers of the king of Babylon; 14 they sent, and took Jeremiah out of the court of the guard, and committed him unto Gedaliah the son of Ahikam, the son of Shaphan, that he should carry him home: so he dwelt among the people. 15 Now the word of Jehovah came unto Jeremiah, while he was shut up in the court of the guard, saying, 16 Go, and speak to Ebed-melech the Ethiopian, saying, Thus saith Jehovah of hosts, the God of Israel: Behold, I will bring my words upon this city for evil, and not for good; and they shall be accomplished before thee in that day. 17 But I will deliver thee in that day, saith Jehovah; and thou shalt not be given into the hand of the men of whom thou art afraid. 18 For I will surely save thee, and thou shalt not fall by the sword, but thy life shall be for a prey unto thee; because thou hast put thy trust in me, saith Jehovah. Chapter 40 1 The word which came to Jeremiah from Jehovah, after that Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard had let him go from Ramah, when he had taken him being bound in chains among all the captives of Jerusalem and Judah, that were carried away captive unto Babylon. 2 And the captain of the guard took Jeremiah, and said unto him, Jehovah thy God pronounced this evil upon this place; 3 and Jehovah hath brought it, and done according as he spake: because ye have sinned against Jehovah, and have not obeyed his voice, therefore this thing is come upon you. 4 And now, behold, I loose thee this day from the chains which are upon thy hand. If it seem good unto thee to come with me into Babylon, come, and I will look well unto thee; but if it seem ill unto thee to come with me into Babylon, forbear: behold, all the land is before thee; whither it seemeth good and right unto thee to go, thither go. 5 Now while he was not yet gone back, Go back then, `said he', to Gedaliah the son of Ahikam, the son of Shaphan, whom the king of Babylon hath made governor over the cities of Judah, and dwell with him among the people; or go wheresoever it seemeth right unto thee to go. So the captain of the guard gave him victuals and a present, and let him go. 6 Then went Jeremiah unto Gedaliah the son of Ahikam to Mizpah, and dwelt with him among the people that were left in the land. 7 Now when all the captains of the forces that were in the fields, even they and their men, heard that the king of Babylon had made Gedaliah the son of Ahikam governor in the land, and had committed unto him men, and women, and children, and of the poorest of the land, of them that were not carried away captive to Babylon; 8 then they came to Gedaliah to Mizpah, `to wit', Ishmael the son of Nethaniah, and Johanan and Jonathan the sons of Kareah, and Seraiah the son of Tanhumeth, and the sons of Ephai the Netophathite, and Jezaniah the son of the Maacathite, they and their men. 9 And Gedaliah the son of Ahikam the son of Shaphan sware unto them and to their men, saying, Fear not to serve the Chaldeans: dwell in the land, and serve the king of Babylon, and it shall be well with you. 10 As for me, behold, I will dwell at Mizpah, to stand before the Chaldeans that shall come unto us: but ye, gather ye wine and summer fruits and oil, and put them in your vessels, and dwell in your cities that ye have taken. 11 Likewise when all the Jews that were in Moab, and among the children of Ammon, and in Edom, and that were in all the countries, heard that the king of Babylon had left a remnant of Judah, and that he had set over them Gedaliah the son of Ahikam, the son of Shaphan; 12 then all the Jews returned out of all places whither they were driven, and came to the land of Judah, to Gedaliah, unto Mizpah, and gathered wine and summer fruits very much. 13 Moreover Johanan the son of Kareah, and all the captains of the forces that were in the fields, came to Gedaliah to Mizpah, 14 and said unto him, Dost thou know that Baalis the king of the children of Ammon hath sent Ishmael the son of Nethaniah to take thy life? But Gedaliah the son of Ahikam believed them not. 15 Then Johanan the son of Kareah spake to Gedaliah in Mizpah secretly, saying, Let me go, I pray thee, and I will slay Ishmael the son of Nethaniah, and no man shall know it: wherefore should he take thy life, that all the Jews that are gathered unto thee should be scattered, and the remnant of Judah perish? 16 But Gedaliah the son of Ahikam said unto Johanan the son of Kareah, Thou shalt not do this thing; for thou speakest falsely of Ishmael.




The Source of Jealousy

Published by InTouch Ministries for reading on August 20th.

Galatians 5:17-21 17 For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are contrary the one to the other; that ye may not do the things that ye would. 18 But if ye are led by the Spirit, ye are not under the law. 19 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are `these': fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousies, wraths, factions, divisions, parties, 21 envyings, drunkenness, revellings, and such like; of which I forewarn you, even as I did forewarn you, that they who practise such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

Most likely, you have been caught off guard by a wave of jealousy at some point in your life. Was it a spiritual attack? Did the enemy make you covetous? Was someone or something working to make you resentful?

The answer—which may surprise you—is no. Jealousy actually springs from within us, even though we might try to deflect the blame. For example, we may say, “Well, they just shouldn’t have that. They don’t deserve it, so I’m perfectly justified in feeling this way.”

Do you see what is actually going on here? We are not only feeling envious of someone, but we’re also saying that our jealousy is the other person’s fault! That’s simply not true. We are each 100 percent responsible for our own feelings of envy.

Jealousy is a product of the flesh. In the Bible, it is listed among such sins as idolatry, immorality, drunkenness, and sorcery—sins that stand against our holy God and are described as “earthly, natural, demonic” (Gal. 5:17-21; James 3:15 15 This wisdom is not `a wisdom' that cometh down from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish. ).

Envious feelings can lead to unhealthy comparison of one’s own success to someone else’s. That pattern can grow into a competition to outperform others—and may result in fear and resentment. What a horrible way to live!

Though jealousy is a common emotion, it has no place in a believer’s life. So each of us should try to look objectively at the motives of our heart. Are you plagued with an attitude of jealousy today? If so, lay your honest feelings out before the Lord, and ask Him to cleanse you of this sinful attitude.

Bible in One Year: Jeremiah 37-40 Chapter 37 1 And Zedekiah the son of Josiah reigned as king, instead of Coniah the son of Jehoiakim, whom Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon made king in the land of Judah. 2 But neither he, nor his servants, nor the people of the land, did hearken unto the words of Jehovah, which he spake by the prophet Jeremiah. 3 And Zedekiah the king sent Jehucal the son of Shelemiah, and Zephaniah the son of Maaseiah, the priest, to the prophet Jeremiah, saying, Pray now unto Jehovah our God for us. 4 Now Jeremiah came in and went out among the people; for they had not put him into prison. 5 And Pharaoh's army was come forth out of Egypt; and when the Chaldeans that were besieging Jerusalem heard tidings of them, they brake up from Jerusalem. 6 Then came the word of Jehovah unto the prophet Jeremiah, saying, 7 Thus saith Jehovah, the God of Israel, Thus shall ye say to the king of Judah, that sent you unto me to inquire of me: Behold, Pharaoh's army, which is come forth to help you, shall return to Egypt into their own land. 8 And the Chaldeans shall come again, and fight against this city; and they shall take it, and burn it with fire. 9 Thus saith Jehovah, Deceive not yourselves, saying, The Chaldeans shall surely depart from us; for they shall not depart. 10 For though ye had smitten the whole army of the Chaldeans that fight against you, and there remained but wounded men among them, yea would they rise up every man in his tent, and burn this city with fire. 11 And it came to pass that, when the army of the Chaldeans was broken up from Jerusalem for fear of Pharaoh's army, 12 then Jeremiah went forth out of Jerusalem to go into the land of Benjamin, to receive his portion there, in the midst of the people. 13 And when he was in the gate of Benjamin, a captain of the ward was there, whose name was Irijah, the son of Shelemiah, the son of Hananiah; and he laid hold on Jeremiah the prophet, saying, Thou art falling away to the Chaldeans. 14 Then said Jeremiah, It is false; I am not falling away to the Chaldeans. But he hearkened not to him; so Irijah laid hold on Jeremiah, and brought him to the princes. 15 And the princes were wroth with Jeremiah, and smote him, and put him in prison in the house of Jonathan the scribe; for they had made that the prison. 16 When Jeremiah was come into the dungeon-house, and into the cells, and Jeremiah had remained there many days; 17 Then Zedekiah the king sent, and fetched him: and the king asked him secretly in his house, and said, Is there any word from Jehovah? And Jeremiah said, There is. He said also, Thou shalt be delivered into the hand of the king of Babylon. 18 Moreover Jeremiah said unto king Zedekiah, Wherein have I sinned against thee, or against thy servants, or against this people, that ye have put me in prison? 19 Where now are your prophets that prophesied unto you, saying, The king of Babylon shall not come against you, nor against this land? 20 And now hear, I pray thee, O my lord the king: let my supplication, I pray thee, be presented before thee, that thou cause me not to return to the house of Jonathan the scribe, lest I die there. 21 Then Zedekiah the king commanded, and they committed Jeremiah into the court of the guard; and they gave him daily a loaf of bread out of the bakers' street, until all the bread in the city was spent. Thus Jeremiah remained in the court of the guard. Chapter 38 1 And Shephatiah the son of Mattan, and Gedaliah the son of Pashhur, and Jucal the son of Shelemiah, and Pashhur the son of Malchijah, heard the words that Jeremiah spake unto all the people, saying, 2 Thus saith Jehovah, He that abideth in this city shall die by the sword, by the famine, and by the pestilence; but he that goeth forth to the Chaldeans shall live, and his life shall be unto him for a prey, and he shall live. 3 Thus saith Jehovah, This city shall surely be given into the hand of the army of the king of Babylon, and he shall take it. 4 Then the princes said unto the king, Let this man, we pray thee, be put to death; forasmuch as he weakeneth the hands of the men of war that remain in this city, and the hands of all the people, in speaking such words unto them: for this man seeketh not the welfare of this people, but the hurt. 5 And Zedekiah the king said, Behold, he is in your hand; for the king is not he that can do anything against you. 6 Then took they Jeremiah, and cast him into the dungeon of Malchijah the king's son, that was in the court of the guard: and they let down Jeremiah with cords. And in the dungeon there was no water, but mire; and Jeremiah sank in the mire. 7 Now when Ebed-melech the Ethiopian, a eunuch, who was in the king's house, heard that they had put Jeremiah in the dungeon (the king then sitting in the gate of Benjamin,) 8 Ebed-melech went forth out of the king's house, and spake to the king, saying, 9 My lord the king, these men have done evil in all that they have done to Jeremiah the prophet, whom they have cast into the dungeon; and he is like to die in the place where he is, because of the famine; for there is no more bread in the city. 10 Then the king commanded Ebed-melech the Ethiopian, saying, Take from hence thirty men with thee, and take up Jeremiah the prophet out of the dungeon, before he die. 11 So Ebed-melech took the men with him, and went into the house of the king under the treasury, and took thence rags and worn-out garments, and let them down by cords into the dungeon to Jeremiah. 12 And Ebed-melech the Ethiopian said unto Jeremiah, Put now these rags and worn-out garments under thine armholes under the cords. And Jeremiah did so. 13 So they drew up Jeremiah with the cords, and took him up out of the dungeon: and Jeremiah remained in the court of the guard. 14 Then Zedekiah the king sent, and took Jeremiah the prophet unto him into the third entry that is in the house of Jehovah: and the king said unto Jeremiah, I will ask thee a thing; hide nothing from me. 15 Then Jeremiah said unto Zedekiah, If I declare it unto thee, wilt thou not surely put me to death? and if I give thee counsel, thou wilt not hearken unto me. 16 So Zedekiah the king sware secretly unto Jeremiah, saying, As Jehovah liveth, that made us this soul, I will not put thee to death, neither will I give thee into the hand of these men that seek thy life. 17 Then said Jeremiah unto Zedekiah, Thus saith Jehovah, the God of hosts, the God of Israel: If thou wilt go forth unto the king of Babylon's princes, then thy soul shall live, and this city shall not be burned with fire; and thou shalt live, and thy house. 18 But if thou wilt not go forth to the king of Babylon's princes, then shall this city be given into the hand of the Chaldeans, and they shall burn it with fire, and thou shalt not escape out of their hand. 19 And Zedekiah the king said unto Jeremiah, I am afraid of the Jews that are fallen away to the Chaldeans, lest they deliver me into their hand, and they mock me. 20 But Jeremiah said, They shall not deliver thee. Obey, I beseech thee, the voice of Jehovah, in that which I speak unto thee: so it shall be well with thee, and thy soul shall live. 21 But if thou refuse to go forth, this is the word that Jehovah hath showed me: 22 behold, all the women that are left in the king of Judah's house shall be brought forth to the king of Babylon's princes, and those women shall say, Thy familiar friends have set thee on, and have prevailed over thee: `now that' thy feet are sunk in the mire, they are turned away back. 23 And they shall bring out all thy wives and thy children to the Chaldeans; and thou shalt not escape out of their hand, but shalt be taken by the hand of the king of Babylon: and thou shalt cause this city to be burned with fire. 24 Then said Zedekiah unto Jeremiah, Let no man know of these words, and thou shalt not die. 25 But if the princes hear that I have talked with thee, and they come unto thee, and say unto thee, Declare unto us now what thou hast said unto the king; hide it not from us, and we will not put thee to death; also what the king said unto thee: 26 then thou shalt say unto them, I presented my supplication before the king, that he would not cause me to return to Jonathan's house, to die there. 27 Then came all the princes unto Jeremiah, and asked him; and he told them according to all these words that the king had commanded. So they left off speaking with him; for the matter was not perceived. 28 So Jeremiah abode in the court of the guard until the day that Jerusalem was taken. Chapter 39 1 And it came to pass when Jerusalem was taken, (in the ninth year of Zedekiah king of Judah, in the tenth month, came Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon and all his army against Jerusalem, and besieged it; 2 in the eleventh year of Zedekiah, in the fourth month, the ninth day of the month, a breach was made in the city,) 3 that all the princes of the king of Babylon came in, and sat in the middle gate, `to wit', Nergal-sharezer, Samgar-nebo, Sarsechim, Rab-saris, Nergal-sharezer, Rab-mag, with all the rest of the princes of the king of Babylon. 4 And it came to pass that, when Zedekiah the king of Judah and all the men of war saw them, then they fled, and went forth out of the city by night, by the way of the king's garden, through the gate betwixt the two walls; and he went out toward the Arabah. 5 But the army of the Chaldeans pursued after them, and overtook Zedekiah in the plains of Jericho: and when they had taken him, they brought him up to Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon to Riblah in the land of Hamath; and he gave judgment upon him. 6 Then the king of Babylon slew the sons of Zedekiah in Riblah before his eyes: also the king of Babylon slew all the nobles of Judah. 7 Moreover he put out Zedekiah's eyes, and bound him in fetters, to carry him to Babylon. 8 And the Chaldeans burned the king's house, and the houses of the people, with fire, and brake down the walls of Jerusalem. 9 Then Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard carried away captive into Babylon the residue of the people that remained in the city, the deserters also that fell away to him, and the residue of the people that remained. 10 But Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard left of the poor of the people, that had nothing, in the land of Judah, and gave them vineyards and fields at the same time. 11 Now Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon gave charge concerning Jeremiah to Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard, saying, 12 Take him, and look well to him, and do him no harm; but do unto him even as he shall say unto thee. 13 So Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard sent, and Nebushazban, Rab-saris, and Nergal-sharezer, Rab-mag, and all the chief officers of the king of Babylon; 14 they sent, and took Jeremiah out of the court of the guard, and committed him unto Gedaliah the son of Ahikam, the son of Shaphan, that he should carry him home: so he dwelt among the people. 15 Now the word of Jehovah came unto Jeremiah, while he was shut up in the court of the guard, saying, 16 Go, and speak to Ebed-melech the Ethiopian, saying, Thus saith Jehovah of hosts, the God of Israel: Behold, I will bring my words upon this city for evil, and not for good; and they shall be accomplished before thee in that day. 17 But I will deliver thee in that day, saith Jehovah; and thou shalt not be given into the hand of the men of whom thou art afraid. 18 For I will surely save thee, and thou shalt not fall by the sword, but thy life shall be for a prey unto thee; because thou hast put thy trust in me, saith Jehovah. Chapter 40 1 The word which came to Jeremiah from Jehovah, after that Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard had let him go from Ramah, when he had taken him being bound in chains among all the captives of Jerusalem and Judah, that were carried away captive unto Babylon. 2 And the captain of the guard took Jeremiah, and said unto him, Jehovah thy God pronounced this evil upon this place; 3 and Jehovah hath brought it, and done according as he spake: because ye have sinned against Jehovah, and have not obeyed his voice, therefore this thing is come upon you. 4 And now, behold, I loose thee this day from the chains which are upon thy hand. If it seem good unto thee to come with me into Babylon, come, and I will look well unto thee; but if it seem ill unto thee to come with me into Babylon, forbear: behold, all the land is before thee; whither it seemeth good and right unto thee to go, thither go. 5 Now while he was not yet gone back, Go back then, `said he', to Gedaliah the son of Ahikam, the son of Shaphan, whom the king of Babylon hath made governor over the cities of Judah, and dwell with him among the people; or go wheresoever it seemeth right unto thee to go. So the captain of the guard gave him victuals and a present, and let him go. 6 Then went Jeremiah unto Gedaliah the son of Ahikam to Mizpah, and dwelt with him among the people that were left in the land. 7 Now when all the captains of the forces that were in the fields, even they and their men, heard that the king of Babylon had made Gedaliah the son of Ahikam governor in the land, and had committed unto him men, and women, and children, and of the poorest of the land, of them that were not carried away captive to Babylon; 8 then they came to Gedaliah to Mizpah, `to wit', Ishmael the son of Nethaniah, and Johanan and Jonathan the sons of Kareah, and Seraiah the son of Tanhumeth, and the sons of Ephai the Netophathite, and Jezaniah the son of the Maacathite, they and their men. 9 And Gedaliah the son of Ahikam the son of Shaphan sware unto them and to their men, saying, Fear not to serve the Chaldeans: dwell in the land, and serve the king of Babylon, and it shall be well with you. 10 As for me, behold, I will dwell at Mizpah, to stand before the Chaldeans that shall come unto us: but ye, gather ye wine and summer fruits and oil, and put them in your vessels, and dwell in your cities that ye have taken. 11 Likewise when all the Jews that were in Moab, and among the children of Ammon, and in Edom, and that were in all the countries, heard that the king of Babylon had left a remnant of Judah, and that he had set over them Gedaliah the son of Ahikam, the son of Shaphan; 12 then all the Jews returned out of all places whither they were driven, and came to the land of Judah, to Gedaliah, unto Mizpah, and gathered wine and summer fruits very much. 13 Moreover Johanan the son of Kareah, and all the captains of the forces that were in the fields, came to Gedaliah to Mizpah, 14 and said unto him, Dost thou know that Baalis the king of the children of Ammon hath sent Ishmael the son of Nethaniah to take thy life? But Gedaliah the son of Ahikam believed them not. 15 Then Johanan the son of Kareah spake to Gedaliah in Mizpah secretly, saying, Let me go, I pray thee, and I will slay Ishmael the son of Nethaniah, and no man shall know it: wherefore should he take thy life, that all the Jews that are gathered unto thee should be scattered, and the remnant of Judah perish? 16 But Gedaliah the son of Ahikam said unto Johanan the son of Kareah, Thou shalt not do this thing; for thou speakest falsely of Ishmael.




Jesus Is Who You’re Looking For

Published by John Piper for reading on August 20th.

“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” ( Matthew 28:18 18 And Jesus came to them and spake unto them, saying, All authority hath been given unto me in heaven and on earth. –20)

The last chapter of Matthew is a window that opens onto the sunrise glory of the risen Christ. Through it you can see at least three massive peaks in the mountain range of Christ’s character: the peak of his power; the peak of his kindness; and the peak of his purposefulness.

And we all know in our hearts that if the risen Christ is going to satisfy our desire to admire greatness, that is the way he has to be.

People who are too weak to accomplish their purposes can’t satisfy our desire to admire greatness. We admire people even less who have no purpose in life. And still less those whose purposes are merely selfish and unkind.

What we long to see and know is a Person whose power is unlimited, whose kindness is tender, and whose purpose is single and unflinching.

Novelists and poets and movie-makers and TV writers now and then create a shadow of this Person. But they can no more fill our longing to worship than this month’s National Geographic can satisfy my longing for the Grand Canyon.

We must have the real thing. We must see the Original of all power and kindness and purposefulness. We must see and worship the risen Christ.



Building Muscles of Faith

Published by InTouch Ministries for reading on August 20th.

1 Kings 18:22-23 22 Then said Elijah unto the people, I, even I only, am left a prophet of Jehovah; but Baal's prophets are four hundred and fifty men. 23 Let them therefore give us two bullocks; and let them choose one bullock for themselves, and cut it in pieces, and lay it on the wood, and put no fire under; and I will dress the other bullock, and lay it on the wood, and put no fire under.

“I wish I had great faith.” These are words that almost every Christian has said at one time or another. But faith is like a muscle, which must be exercised in order to become strong; just wishing cannot make it happen.

As Christians, we are to believe God, not only for salvation but for everything in our lives. Rather than a spiritual plateau, faith is actually a process that involves increasing degrees of trust throughout life. Weak faith hopes that God will do what He says, but strong faith knows He is faithful to accomplish all He says He will do.

Elijah was a man of great faith. He saw increased challenges as opportunities for God to do His work—and the prophet believed Him for the supernatural. So can you. The Lord may not do every miraculous thing you ask of Him, but He does some extraordinary work in and through each person who is obedient and willing to trust in Him.

You may be thinking, I am not good enough for the Father to use me. The Scriptures are filled with examples of flawed people whom the Lord used to achieve His purposes. What He’s looking for isn’t perfection but, rather, individuals willing to believe in Him. He doesn’t simply work through people of faith; He transforms them.

Start by reading God’s Word to learn what He wants you to do. Each day’s situations and needs are opportunities to trust Him. Ask the Lord to bring to mind verses that apply to your circumstances. Trust Him and do what He says—your faith muscles will grow, and He will be glorified.

Bible in One Year: Jeremiah 37-40 Chapter 37 1 And Zedekiah the son of Josiah reigned as king, instead of Coniah the son of Jehoiakim, whom Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon made king in the land of Judah. 2 But neither he, nor his servants, nor the people of the land, did hearken unto the words of Jehovah, which he spake by the prophet Jeremiah. 3 And Zedekiah the king sent Jehucal the son of Shelemiah, and Zephaniah the son of Maaseiah, the priest, to the prophet Jeremiah, saying, Pray now unto Jehovah our God for us. 4 Now Jeremiah came in and went out among the people; for they had not put him into prison. 5 And Pharaoh's army was come forth out of Egypt; and when the Chaldeans that were besieging Jerusalem heard tidings of them, they brake up from Jerusalem. 6 Then came the word of Jehovah unto the prophet Jeremiah, saying, 7 Thus saith Jehovah, the God of Israel, Thus shall ye say to the king of Judah, that sent you unto me to inquire of me: Behold, Pharaoh's army, which is come forth to help you, shall return to Egypt into their own land. 8 And the Chaldeans shall come again, and fight against this city; and they shall take it, and burn it with fire. 9 Thus saith Jehovah, Deceive not yourselves, saying, The Chaldeans shall surely depart from us; for they shall not depart. 10 For though ye had smitten the whole army of the Chaldeans that fight against you, and there remained but wounded men among them, yea would they rise up every man in his tent, and burn this city with fire. 11 And it came to pass that, when the army of the Chaldeans was broken up from Jerusalem for fear of Pharaoh's army, 12 then Jeremiah went forth out of Jerusalem to go into the land of Benjamin, to receive his portion there, in the midst of the people. 13 And when he was in the gate of Benjamin, a captain of the ward was there, whose name was Irijah, the son of Shelemiah, the son of Hananiah; and he laid hold on Jeremiah the prophet, saying, Thou art falling away to the Chaldeans. 14 Then said Jeremiah, It is false; I am not falling away to the Chaldeans. But he hearkened not to him; so Irijah laid hold on Jeremiah, and brought him to the princes. 15 And the princes were wroth with Jeremiah, and smote him, and put him in prison in the house of Jonathan the scribe; for they had made that the prison. 16 When Jeremiah was come into the dungeon-house, and into the cells, and Jeremiah had remained there many days; 17 Then Zedekiah the king sent, and fetched him: and the king asked him secretly in his house, and said, Is there any word from Jehovah? And Jeremiah said, There is. He said also, Thou shalt be delivered into the hand of the king of Babylon. 18 Moreover Jeremiah said unto king Zedekiah, Wherein have I sinned against thee, or against thy servants, or against this people, that ye have put me in prison? 19 Where now are your prophets that prophesied unto you, saying, The king of Babylon shall not come against you, nor against this land? 20 And now hear, I pray thee, O my lord the king: let my supplication, I pray thee, be presented before thee, that thou cause me not to return to the house of Jonathan the scribe, lest I die there. 21 Then Zedekiah the king commanded, and they committed Jeremiah into the court of the guard; and they gave him daily a loaf of bread out of the bakers' street, until all the bread in the city was spent. Thus Jeremiah remained in the court of the guard. Chapter 38 1 And Shephatiah the son of Mattan, and Gedaliah the son of Pashhur, and Jucal the son of Shelemiah, and Pashhur the son of Malchijah, heard the words that Jeremiah spake unto all the people, saying, 2 Thus saith Jehovah, He that abideth in this city shall die by the sword, by the famine, and by the pestilence; but he that goeth forth to the Chaldeans shall live, and his life shall be unto him for a prey, and he shall live. 3 Thus saith Jehovah, This city shall surely be given into the hand of the army of the king of Babylon, and he shall take it. 4 Then the princes said unto the king, Let this man, we pray thee, be put to death; forasmuch as he weakeneth the hands of the men of war that remain in this city, and the hands of all the people, in speaking such words unto them: for this man seeketh not the welfare of this people, but the hurt. 5 And Zedekiah the king said, Behold, he is in your hand; for the king is not he that can do anything against you. 6 Then took they Jeremiah, and cast him into the dungeon of Malchijah the king's son, that was in the court of the guard: and they let down Jeremiah with cords. And in the dungeon there was no water, but mire; and Jeremiah sank in the mire. 7 Now when Ebed-melech the Ethiopian, a eunuch, who was in the king's house, heard that they had put Jeremiah in the dungeon (the king then sitting in the gate of Benjamin,) 8 Ebed-melech went forth out of the king's house, and spake to the king, saying, 9 My lord the king, these men have done evil in all that they have done to Jeremiah the prophet, whom they have cast into the dungeon; and he is like to die in the place where he is, because of the famine; for there is no more bread in the city. 10 Then the king commanded Ebed-melech the Ethiopian, saying, Take from hence thirty men with thee, and take up Jeremiah the prophet out of the dungeon, before he die. 11 So Ebed-melech took the men with him, and went into the house of the king under the treasury, and took thence rags and worn-out garments, and let them down by cords into the dungeon to Jeremiah. 12 And Ebed-melech the Ethiopian said unto Jeremiah, Put now these rags and worn-out garments under thine armholes under the cords. And Jeremiah did so. 13 So they drew up Jeremiah with the cords, and took him up out of the dungeon: and Jeremiah remained in the court of the guard. 14 Then Zedekiah the king sent, and took Jeremiah the prophet unto him into the third entry that is in the house of Jehovah: and the king said unto Jeremiah, I will ask thee a thing; hide nothing from me. 15 Then Jeremiah said unto Zedekiah, If I declare it unto thee, wilt thou not surely put me to death? and if I give thee counsel, thou wilt not hearken unto me. 16 So Zedekiah the king sware secretly unto Jeremiah, saying, As Jehovah liveth, that made us this soul, I will not put thee to death, neither will I give thee into the hand of these men that seek thy life. 17 Then said Jeremiah unto Zedekiah, Thus saith Jehovah, the God of hosts, the God of Israel: If thou wilt go forth unto the king of Babylon's princes, then thy soul shall live, and this city shall not be burned with fire; and thou shalt live, and thy house. 18 But if thou wilt not go forth to the king of Babylon's princes, then shall this city be given into the hand of the Chaldeans, and they shall burn it with fire, and thou shalt not escape out of their hand. 19 And Zedekiah the king said unto Jeremiah, I am afraid of the Jews that are fallen away to the Chaldeans, lest they deliver me into their hand, and they mock me. 20 But Jeremiah said, They shall not deliver thee. Obey, I beseech thee, the voice of Jehovah, in that which I speak unto thee: so it shall be well with thee, and thy soul shall live. 21 But if thou refuse to go forth, this is the word that Jehovah hath showed me: 22 behold, all the women that are left in the king of Judah's house shall be brought forth to the king of Babylon's princes, and those women shall say, Thy familiar friends have set thee on, and have prevailed over thee: `now that' thy feet are sunk in the mire, they are turned away back. 23 And they shall bring out all thy wives and thy children to the Chaldeans; and thou shalt not escape out of their hand, but shalt be taken by the hand of the king of Babylon: and thou shalt cause this city to be burned with fire. 24 Then said Zedekiah unto Jeremiah, Let no man know of these words, and thou shalt not die. 25 But if the princes hear that I have talked with thee, and they come unto thee, and say unto thee, Declare unto us now what thou hast said unto the king; hide it not from us, and we will not put thee to death; also what the king said unto thee: 26 then thou shalt say unto them, I presented my supplication before the king, that he would not cause me to return to Jonathan's house, to die there. 27 Then came all the princes unto Jeremiah, and asked him; and he told them according to all these words that the king had commanded. So they left off speaking with him; for the matter was not perceived. 28 So Jeremiah abode in the court of the guard until the day that Jerusalem was taken. Chapter 39 1 And it came to pass when Jerusalem was taken, (in the ninth year of Zedekiah king of Judah, in the tenth month, came Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon and all his army against Jerusalem, and besieged it; 2 in the eleventh year of Zedekiah, in the fourth month, the ninth day of the month, a breach was made in the city,) 3 that all the princes of the king of Babylon came in, and sat in the middle gate, `to wit', Nergal-sharezer, Samgar-nebo, Sarsechim, Rab-saris, Nergal-sharezer, Rab-mag, with all the rest of the princes of the king of Babylon. 4 And it came to pass that, when Zedekiah the king of Judah and all the men of war saw them, then they fled, and went forth out of the city by night, by the way of the king's garden, through the gate betwixt the two walls; and he went out toward the Arabah. 5 But the army of the Chaldeans pursued after them, and overtook Zedekiah in the plains of Jericho: and when they had taken him, they brought him up to Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon to Riblah in the land of Hamath; and he gave judgment upon him. 6 Then the king of Babylon slew the sons of Zedekiah in Riblah before his eyes: also the king of Babylon slew all the nobles of Judah. 7 Moreover he put out Zedekiah's eyes, and bound him in fetters, to carry him to Babylon. 8 And the Chaldeans burned the king's house, and the houses of the people, with fire, and brake down the walls of Jerusalem. 9 Then Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard carried away captive into Babylon the residue of the people that remained in the city, the deserters also that fell away to him, and the residue of the people that remained. 10 But Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard left of the poor of the people, that had nothing, in the land of Judah, and gave them vineyards and fields at the same time. 11 Now Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon gave charge concerning Jeremiah to Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard, saying, 12 Take him, and look well to him, and do him no harm; but do unto him even as he shall say unto thee. 13 So Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard sent, and Nebushazban, Rab-saris, and Nergal-sharezer, Rab-mag, and all the chief officers of the king of Babylon; 14 they sent, and took Jeremiah out of the court of the guard, and committed him unto Gedaliah the son of Ahikam, the son of Shaphan, that he should carry him home: so he dwelt among the people. 15 Now the word of Jehovah came unto Jeremiah, while he was shut up in the court of the guard, saying, 16 Go, and speak to Ebed-melech the Ethiopian, saying, Thus saith Jehovah of hosts, the God of Israel: Behold, I will bring my words upon this city for evil, and not for good; and they shall be accomplished before thee in that day. 17 But I will deliver thee in that day, saith Jehovah; and thou shalt not be given into the hand of the men of whom thou art afraid. 18 For I will surely save thee, and thou shalt not fall by the sword, but thy life shall be for a prey unto thee; because thou hast put thy trust in me, saith Jehovah. Chapter 40 1 The word which came to Jeremiah from Jehovah, after that Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard had let him go from Ramah, when he had taken him being bound in chains among all the captives of Jerusalem and Judah, that were carried away captive unto Babylon. 2 And the captain of the guard took Jeremiah, and said unto him, Jehovah thy God pronounced this evil upon this place; 3 and Jehovah hath brought it, and done according as he spake: because ye have sinned against Jehovah, and have not obeyed his voice, therefore this thing is come upon you. 4 And now, behold, I loose thee this day from the chains which are upon thy hand. If it seem good unto thee to come with me into Babylon, come, and I will look well unto thee; but if it seem ill unto thee to come with me into Babylon, forbear: behold, all the land is before thee; whither it seemeth good and right unto thee to go, thither go. 5 Now while he was not yet gone back, Go back then, `said he', to Gedaliah the son of Ahikam, the son of Shaphan, whom the king of Babylon hath made governor over the cities of Judah, and dwell with him among the people; or go wheresoever it seemeth right unto thee to go. So the captain of the guard gave him victuals and a present, and let him go. 6 Then went Jeremiah unto Gedaliah the son of Ahikam to Mizpah, and dwelt with him among the people that were left in the land. 7 Now when all the captains of the forces that were in the fields, even they and their men, heard that the king of Babylon had made Gedaliah the son of Ahikam governor in the land, and had committed unto him men, and women, and children, and of the poorest of the land, of them that were not carried away captive to Babylon; 8 then they came to Gedaliah to Mizpah, `to wit', Ishmael the son of Nethaniah, and Johanan and Jonathan the sons of Kareah, and Seraiah the son of Tanhumeth, and the sons of Ephai the Netophathite, and Jezaniah the son of the Maacathite, they and their men. 9 And Gedaliah the son of Ahikam the son of Shaphan sware unto them and to their men, saying, Fear not to serve the Chaldeans: dwell in the land, and serve the king of Babylon, and it shall be well with you. 10 As for me, behold, I will dwell at Mizpah, to stand before the Chaldeans that shall come unto us: but ye, gather ye wine and summer fruits and oil, and put them in your vessels, and dwell in your cities that ye have taken. 11 Likewise when all the Jews that were in Moab, and among the children of Ammon, and in Edom, and that were in all the countries, heard that the king of Babylon had left a remnant of Judah, and that he had set over them Gedaliah the son of Ahikam, the son of Shaphan; 12 then all the Jews returned out of all places whither they were driven, and came to the land of Judah, to Gedaliah, unto Mizpah, and gathered wine and summer fruits very much. 13 Moreover Johanan the son of Kareah, and all the captains of the forces that were in the fields, came to Gedaliah to Mizpah, 14 and said unto him, Dost thou know that Baalis the king of the children of Ammon hath sent Ishmael the son of Nethaniah to take thy life? But Gedaliah the son of Ahikam believed them not. 15 Then Johanan the son of Kareah spake to Gedaliah in Mizpah secretly, saying, Let me go, I pray thee, and I will slay Ishmael the son of Nethaniah, and no man shall know it: wherefore should he take thy life, that all the Jews that are gathered unto thee should be scattered, and the remnant of Judah perish? 16 But Gedaliah the son of Ahikam said unto Johanan the son of Kareah, Thou shalt not do this thing; for thou speakest falsely of Ishmael.




The Lord Who Provides

Published by Grace To You for reading on August 20th.

“Abraham raised his eyes and looked, and behold, behind him a ram caught in the thicket by his horns; and Abraham went and took the ram, and offered him up for a burnt offering in the place of his son. And Abraham called the name of that place The Lord Will Provide, as it is said to this day, ‘In the mount of the Lord it will be provided’” ( Genesis 22:13-14 13 And Abraham lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold, behind `him' a ram caught in the thicket by his horns. And Abraham went and took the ram, and offered him up for a burnt-offering in the stead of his son. 14 And Abraham called the name of that place Jehovah-jireh. As it is said to this day, In the mount of Jehovah it shall be provided. ).

When God provides for a believer, He’s being true to His name.

The Old Testament gives God many names, but one of the most lovely is Jehovah-Jireh, translated in verse 14 of today’s passage as “The Lord Will Provide.” It is so much a characteristic of God that it’s His name. We would never question that God is love and great and mighty and holy and just and good. But some question whether God provides. They doubt and are afraid that God isn’t going to meet their needs. That is exactly what the Lord speaks to in Matthew 6:25-34 25 Therefore I say unto you, be not anxious for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than the food, and the body than the raiment? 26 Behold the birds of the heaven, that they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; and your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are not ye of much more value then they? 27 And which of you by being anxious can add one cubit unto the measure of his life? 28 And why are ye anxious concerning raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: 29 yet I say unto you, that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 But if God doth so clothe the grass of the field, which to-day is, and to-morrow is cast into the oven, `shall he' not much more `clothe' you, O ye of little faith? 31 Be not therefore anxious, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? 32 For after all these things do the Gentiles seek; for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. 33 But seek ye first his kingdom, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. 34 Be not therefore anxious for the morrow: for the morrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof. when He says, in summary, “Don’t worry about what to eat, drink, or wear.” The Lord is still Jehovah-Jireh. That is His name, and it is synonymous with one of His attributes.

God is a God who provides, and that is why David said, “I have been young, and now I am old; yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken, or his descendants begging bread” (Ps. 37:25). The world digs and scratches and claws to make sure it has enough. Unlike the world, your Father knows your needs, and He will always give you what you need.

You don’t have to own everything, and you don’t have to control everything to meet your needs. You can receive what God gives you to invest in His eternal kingdom and put away all anxiety about your needs. Worship God with your life, and rest assured in His promise to provide for you.

Suggestions for Prayer

First Timothy 6:8 says, “If [you] have food and covering, with these [you] shall be content.” Does contentment characterize your life? If not, confess that to the Lord, and thank Him for the many ways He so faithfully provides for you every day.

For Further Study

Read the following passages, which show God’s faithfulness to provide: Deuteronomy 2:7 7 For Jehovah thy God hath blessed thee in all the work of thy hand; he hath known thy walking through this great wilderness: these forty years Jehovah thy God hath been with thee; thou hast lacked nothing. ; 1 Kings 17:1-16 Chapter 17 1 And Elijah the Tishbite, who was of the sojourners of Gilead, said unto Ahab, As Jehovah, the God of Israel, liveth, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, but according to my word. 2 And the word of Jehovah came unto him, saying, 3 Get thee hence, and turn thee eastward, and hide thyself by the brook Cherith, that is before the Jordan. 4 And it shall be, that thou shalt drink of the brook; and I have commanded the ravens to feed thee there. 5 So he went and did according unto the word of Jehovah; for he went and dwelt by the brook Cherith, that is before the Jordan. 6 And the ravens brought him bread and flesh in the morning, and bread and flesh in the evening; and he drank of the brook. 7 And it came to pass after a while, that the brook dried up, because there was no rain in the land. 8 And the word of Jehovah came unto him, saying, 9 Arise, get thee to Zarephath, which belongeth to Sidon, and dwell there: behold, I have commanded a widow there to sustain thee. 10 So he arose and went to Zarephath; and when he came to the gate of the city, behold, a widow was there gathering sticks: and he called to her, and said, Fetch me, I pray thee, a little water in a vessel, that I may drink. 11 And as she was going to fetch it, he called to her, and said, Bring me, I pray thee, a morsel of bread in thy hand. 12 And she said, As Jehovah thy God liveth, I have not a cake, but a handful of meal in the jar, and a little oil in the cruse: and, behold, I am gathering two sticks, that I may go in and dress it for me and my son, that we may eat it, and die. 13 And Elijah said unto her, Fear not; go and do as thou hast said; but make me thereof a little cake first, and bring it forth unto me, and afterward make for thee and for thy son. 14 For thus saith Jehovah, the God of Israel, The jar of meal shall not waste, neither shall the cruse of oil fail, until the day that Jehovah sendeth rain upon the earth. 15 And she went and did according to the saying of Elijah: and she, and he, and her house, did eat `many' days. 16 The jar of meal wasted not, neither did the cruse of oil fail, according to the word of Jehovah, which he spake by Elijah. ; 2 Kings 4:1-7 Chapter 4 1 Now there cried a certain woman of the wives of the sons of the prophets unto Elisha, saying, Thy servant my husband is dead; and thou knowest that thy servant did fear Jehovah: and the creditor is come to take unto him my two children to be bondmen. 2 And Elisha said unto her, What shall I do for thee? tell me; what hast thou in the house? And she said, Thy handmaid hath not anything in the house, save a pot of oil. 3 Then he said, Go, borrow thee vessels abroad of all thy neighbors, even empty vessels; borrow not a few. 4 And thou shalt go in, and shut the door upon thee and upon thy sons, and pour out into all those vessels; and thou shalt set aside that which is full. 5 So she went from him, and shut the door upon her and upon her sons; they brought `the vessels' to her, and she poured out. 6 And it came to pass, when the vessels were full, that she said unto her son, Bring me yet a vessel. And he said unto her, There is not a vessel more. And the oil stayed. 7 Then she came and told the man of God. And he said, Go, sell the oil, and pay thy debt, and live thou and thy sons of the rest. . In what different ways does He give that provision?

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        

Godly Anger Versus Selfish Anger

Published by Grace To You for reading on August 20th.
"[Love] is not provoked" (1 Cor. 13:5).

Self-centered anger cannot coexist with love.

The great eighteenth-century preacher and theologian Jonathan Edwards had a daughter with an uncontrollable temper. When a young man asked Dr. Edwards for his daughter's hand in marriage, he said no. The young man was crushed. "But I love her and she loves me," he pleaded. "That makes no difference," Edwards replied, "she isn't worthy of you." "But she is a Christian, isn't she," the young man argued. "Yes," said Edwards, "but the grace of God can live with some people with whom no one else could ever live."

That may seem harsh, but Jonathan Edwards knew what his would-be son-in-law hadn't yet learned: the presence of selfish anger indicates the absence of genuine love. "Love," said Paul, "is not provoked." It isn't given to sudden outbursts of emotion or action. It doesn't respond in anger to offenses committed against it.

Paul wasn't talking about anger over sin and its terrible consequences. That's righteous indignation, which Christians are expected to have. When Jesus drove the merchants and moneychangers out of the temple ( John 2:14-15 14 And he found in the temple those that sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the changers of money sitting: 15 and he made a scourge of cords, and cast all out of the temple, both the sheep and the oxen; and he poured out the changers' money, and overthrew their tables; ), He was genuinely angry because His Father's house was being desecrated. But He never reacted that way when He was personally attacked or maligned. In the same way, it's right for you to be angry when others are mistreated, when God is offended, or when His Word is misrepresented. But love always bears up under personal attacks.

Such graciousness is foreign to our society, which teaches us to fight for our personal rights and retaliate when we don't get what we think we deserve. That has produced greedy and loveless people who want little more than personal success and comfort. Anyone who dares to stand in their way is in danger of incurring their wrath.

As a Christian, you must resist such influences by focusing on your spiritual duty rather than your rights. If you expect nothing from the world, you won't be angered or disappointed when nothing comes. Remember, God is the giver of every good and perfect gift ( James 1:17 17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom can be no variation, neither shadow that is cast by turning. ). So humble yourself before Him and He will exalt you at the proper time ( James 4:10 10 Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall exalt you. ).

Suggestions for Prayer

Ask God for the grace to forgive those who wrong you.

For Further Study

According to Ephesians 4:26-27 26 Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: 27 neither give place to the devil. , how should you deal with anger?

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

Additional Resources        

Daily Bible - August 20

Published by Grace To You for reading on August 20th.

Reading for Today:

  • Job 31:1 Chapter 31 1 I made a covenant with mine eyes; How then should I look upon a virgin? –32:22
  • Psalms 98:1-3 Chapter 98 1 Oh sing unto Jehovah a new song; For he hath done marvellous things: His right hand, and his holy arm, hath wrought salvation for him. 2 Jehovah hath made known his salvation: His righteousness hath he openly showed in the sight of the nations. 3 He hath remembered his lovingkindness and his faithfulness toward the house of Israel: All the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God.
  • Proverbs 23:17-18 17 Let not thy heart envy sinners; But `be thou' in the fear of Jehovah all the day long: 18 For surely there is a reward; And thy hope shall not be cut off.
  • 1 Corinthians 2:1-16 Chapter 2 1 And I, brethren, when I came unto you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, proclaiming to you the testimony of God. 2 For I determined not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified. 3 And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling. 4 And my speech and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: 5 that your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God. 6 We speak wisdom, however, among them that are fullgrown: yet a wisdom not of this world, nor of the rulers of this world, who are coming to nought: 7 but we speak God's wisdom in a mystery, `even' the `wisdom' that hath been hidden, which God foreordained before the worlds unto our glory: 8 which none of the rulers of this world hath known: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory: 9 but as it is written, Things which eye saw not, and ear heard not, And `which' entered not into the heart of man, Whatsoever things God prepared for them that love him. 10 But unto us God revealed `them' through the Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. 11 For who among men knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of the man, which is in him? even so the things of God none knoweth, save the Spirit of God. 12 But we received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is from God; that we might know the things that were freely given to us of God. 13 Which things also we speak, not in words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Spirit teacheth; combining spiritual things with spiritual `words'. 14 Now the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him; and he cannot know them, because they are spiritually judged. 15 But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, and he himself is judged of no man. 16 For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he should instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.

Notes:

Job 31:35 35 Oh that I had one to hear me! (Lo, here is my signature, let the Almighty answer me); And `that I had' the indictment which mine adversary hath written! my Prosecutor had written a book. Job wished that God, the perfect Prosecutor who knows the allegations perfectly, had written a book that would have revealed God’s will and wisdom and the reasons for Job’s pain. This would have cleared him of all charges by his friends.

Psalms 98:1 Chapter 98 1 Oh sing unto Jehovah a new song; For he hath done marvellous things: His right hand, and his holy arm, hath wrought salvation for him. right hand…holy arm. These are symbols of power. the victory. The Lord is often pictured in the Old Testament as a divine warrior (Ex. 15:2, 3; Pss. 18; 68:1–8; Is. 59:15ff.). According to the prophets, Christ will begin His millennial reign following His victory over the nations of the world which will gather against Israel in the end times (Zech. 14:1–15; Rev. 19:11–21).

Proverbs 23:18 there is a hereafter. Anyone who might envy sinners needs to know that their prosperity is brief. They will die (“be cut off”); then there will be a time when all iniquities will be dealt with and divine justice will prevail (Ps. 37:28–38).The righteous will live forever.

1 Corinthians 2:7 mystery. This term does not refer to something puzzling, but to truth known to God before time, that He has kept secret until the appropriate time for Him to reveal it. for our glory. The truth God established before time and revealed in the New Testament wisdom of the gospel is the truth that God will save and glorify sinners.

DAY 20: How do we receive spiritual truth?

F Romans 1 Chapter 1 1 Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called `to be' an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God, 2 which he promised afore through his prophets in the holy scriptures, 3 concerning his Son, who was born of the seed of David according to the flesh, 4 who was declared `to be' the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead; `even' Jesus Christ our Lord, 5 through whom we received grace and apostleship, unto obedience of faith among all the nations, for his name's sake; 6 among whom are ye also called `to be' Jesus Christ's: 7 To all that are in Rome, beloved of God, called `to be' saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 8 First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is proclaimed throughout the whole world. 9 For God is my witness, whom I serve in my spirit in the gospel of his Son, how unceasingly I make mention of you, always in my prayers 10 making request, if by any means now at length I may be prospered by the will of God to come unto you. 11 For I long to see you, that I may impart unto you some spiritual gift, to the end ye may be established; 12 that is, that I with you may be comforted in you, each of us by the other's faith, both yours and mine. 13 And I would not have you ignorant, brethren, that oftentimes I purposed to come unto you (and was hindered hitherto), that I might have some fruit in you also, even as in the rest of the Gentiles. 14 I am debtor both to Greeks and to Barbarians, both to the wise and to the foolish. 15 So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you also that are in Rome. 16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. 17 For therein is revealed a righteousness of God from faith unto faith: as it is written, But the righteous shall live by faith. 18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hinder the truth in unrighteousness; 19 because that which is known of God is manifest in them; for God manifested it unto them. 20 For the invisible things of him since the creation of the world are clearly seen, being perceived through the things that are made, `even' his everlasting power and divinity; that they may be without excuse: 21 because that, knowing God, they glorified him not as God, neither gave thanks; but became vain in their reasonings, and their senseless heart was darkened. 22 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, 23 and changed the glory of the incorruptible God for the likeness of an image of corruptible man, and of birds, and four-footed beasts, and creeping things. 24 Wherefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts unto uncleanness, that their bodies should be dishonored among themselves: 25 for that they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshipped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. 26 For this cause God gave them up unto vile passions: for their women changed the natural use into that which is against nature: 27 and likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another, men with men working unseemliness, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was due. 28 And even as they refused to have God in `their' knowledge, God gave them up unto a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not fitting; 29 being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malignity; whisperers, 30 backbiters, hateful to God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, 31 without understanding, covenant-breakers, without natural affection, unmerciful: 32 who, knowing the ordinance of God, that they that practise such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but also consent with them that practise them. Corinthians 2:10–16, it is clear that the wisdom that saves, which man’s wisdom can’t know, is revealed to us by God. He makes it known by revelation, inspiration, and illumination. Revelation (vv. 10, 11) and inspiration (vv. 12, 13) were given to those who wrote the Bible. Illumination (vv. 14–16) is given to all believers who seek to know and understand that divinely written truth. In each case, the Holy Spirit is the divine agent doing the work (2 Pet. 1:21).

“God has revealed them” (v. 10). By the Holy Spirit, God disclosed His saving truth (Matt. 11:25; 13:10–13). The Spirit alone was qualified because He knows all that God knows, Himself being God. “To us.” As with the “we’s” in vv. 6, 7 and vv. 12, 13, Paul is, first of all, speaking of himself, and, in a sense, of believers who have been given the Word as recorded by the apostles and their associates who wrote the New Testament.

“We have received” (v. 12).The “we” and “us” refer to the apostles and other writers of the Word of God. The means was inspiration (2 Tim. 3:16; 2 Pet. 1:20, 21), by which God freely gave the gift of His Word. It was this process of inspiration that turned the spiritual thoughts into spiritual words (v. 13) to give life (Matt. 4:4).

“But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God” (v. 14). This refers to the unconverted, who lack supernatural life and wisdom. “Because they are spiritually discerned.” Through illumination of the Word, the Holy Spirit provides His saints the capacity to discern divine truth, which the spiritually dead are unable to comprehend ( John 5:37 37 And the Father that sent me, he hath borne witness of me. Ye have neither heard his voice at any time, nor seen his form. –39; 1 John 2:20 20 And ye have an anointing from the Holy One, and ye know all the things. , 27).The doctrine of illumination does not mean we know everything (Deut. 29:29), that we do not need teachers (Eph. 4:11, 12), or that understanding does not require hard work (2 Tim. 2:15).

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        

August 20 - Jairus’s Sense of Need

Published by Grace To You for reading on August 20th.

“A synagogue official came and bowed down before Him, and said, ‘My daughter has just died; but come and lay Your hand on her, and she will live’” ( Matthew 9:18 18 While he spake these things unto them, behold, there came a ruler, and worshipped him, saying, My daughter is even now dead: but come and lay thy hand upon her, and she shall live. ).

The accounts of this incident by Mark (5:22) and Luke (8:41) identify the synagogue official as Jairus. And everything he did in this encounter with Jesus demonstrated his humility and sincerity. His request of the Lord was a selfless one for something humanly impossible, and by making it he respected Christ’s power, compassion, and grace. Seemingly unworried about the reaction of his fellow religious leaders, he knew that only Jesus could help his daughter who had just died.

The Holy Spirit had obviously already worked in Jairus’s heart to bring him to this point. His request shows absolute faith that Jesus was able to do what was asked: “come and lay Your hand on her, and she will live.” Jairus’s sense of need was so urgent that he swallowed his fear and pride and came to Jesus without hesitation or doubt.

Often some tragedy such as this drives a person to Jesus Christ. Those who, unlike Jairus, are unaware of need in their lives will usually have no hunger for God. That’s why in evangelism, it is important to show someone their need of salvation and therefore of Christ as the only way to receive it. Jairus saw the emptiness of human resources in this situation and now knew Jesus was his last best hope. He may not have approached the Lord out of the purest motive, because his prime concern was his daughter’s life and his own despair. So his first thought was not solely to glorify Christ, but he did trust Jesus for help in bringing his child back—and he found Him truly accessible.

Ask Yourself

What needs do those around you have, perhaps without even knowing it? Identify several of them. As you go about your day, be aware of the needs they’re expressing. And as opportunities for spiritual conversation arise, show them the answer to their need in Christ Jesus.

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        

Morning Devotional by C.H. Spurgeon for August 20th

Published by C.H. Spurgeon for reading on August 20th.

2 Samuel 23:1 Chapter 23 1 Now these are the last words of David. David the son of Jesse saith, And the man who was raised on high saith, The anointed of the God of Jacob, And the sweet psalmist of Israel:

AMONG all the saints whose lives are recorded in Holy Writ, David possesses an experience of the most striking, varied, and instructive character. In his history we meet with trials and temptations not to be discovered, as a whole, in other saints of ancient times, and hence he is all the more suggestive a type of our Lord. David knew the trials of all ranks and conditions of men. Kings have their troubles, and David wore a crown: the peasant has his cares, and David handled a shepherd's crook: the wanderer has many hardships, and David abode in the caves of Engedi: the captain has his difficulties, and David found the sons of Zeruiah too hard for him. The psalmist was also tried in his friends, his counsellor Ahithophel forsook him, "He that eateth bread with me, hath lifted up his heel against me." His worst foes were they of his own household: his children were his greatest affliction. The temptations of poverty and wealth, of honour and reproach, of health and weakness, all tried their power upon him. He had temptations from without to disturb his peace, and from within to mar his joy. David no sooner escaped from one trial than he fell into another; no sooner emerged from one season of despondency and alarm, than he was again brought into the lowest depths, and all God's waves and billows rolled over him. It is probably from this cause that David's psalms are so universally the delight of experienced Christians. Whatever our frame of mind, whether ecstasy or depression, David has exactly described our emotions. He was an able master of the human heart, because he had been tutored in the best of all schools—the school of heart-felt, personal experience. As we are instructed in the same school, as we grow matured in grace and in years, we increasingly appreciate David's psalms, and find them to be "green pastures." My soul, let David's experience cheer and counsel thee this day.

Evening Devotional by C.H. Spurgeon for August 20th

Published by C.H. Spurgeon for reading on August 20th.

Nehemiah 3:8 8 Next unto him repaired Uzziel the son of Harhaiah, goldsmiths. And next unto him repaired Hananiah one of the perfumers, and they fortified Jerusalem even unto the broad wall.

CITIES well fortified have broad walls, and so had Jerusalem in her glory. The New Jerusalem must, in like manner, be surrounded and preserved by a broad wall of nonconformity to the world, and separation from its customs and spirit. The tendency of these days break down the holy barrier, and make the distinction between the church and the world merely nominal. Professors are no longer strict and Puritanical, questionable literature is read on all hands, frivolous pastimes are currently indulged, and a general laxity threatens to deprive the Lord's peculiar people of those sacred singularities which separate them from sinners. It will be an ill day for the church and the world when the proposed amalgamation shall be complete, and the sons of God and the daughters of men shall be as one: then shall another deluge of wrath be ushered in. Beloved reader, be it your aim in heart, in word, in dress, in action to maintain the broad wall, remembering that the friendship of this world is enmity against God.

The broad wall afforded a pleasant place of resort for the inhabitants of Jerusalem, from which they could command prospects of the surrounding country. This reminds us of the Lord's exceeding broad commandments, in which we walk at liberty in communion with Jesus, overlooking the scenes of earth, and looking out towards the glories of heaven. Separated from the world, and denying ourselves all ungodliness and fleshly lusts, we are nevertheless not in prison, nor restricted within narrow bounds; nay, we walk at liberty, because we keep His precepts. Come, reader, this evening walk with God in His statutes. As friend met friend upon the city wall, so meet thou thy God in the way of holy prayer and meditation. The bulwarks of salvation thou hast a right to traverse, for thou art a freeman of the royal burgh, a citizen of the metropolis of the universe.

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