HE IS RISEN!

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Keep Praying

Published by InTouch Ministries for reading on March 19th.

Matthew 7:7-11 7 Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: 8 for every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. 9 Or what man is there of you, who, if his son shall ask him for a loaf, will give him a stone; 10 or if he shall ask for a fish, will give him a serpent? 11 If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father who is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?

The most powerful thing a Christian can do is pray. Yet how often are we guilty of making prayer our last resort or giving up on it if the answer isn’t immediately forthcoming? Perhaps it’s this human tendency that prompted Jesus to remind us to persevere in speaking with our Father.

The verb tenses of today’s passage in the original Greek could be translated as “keep asking, keep seeking, and keep knocking.” To persevere means to continue firmly on a particular course despite the obstacles or difficulties. It’s not a passive approach of asking once and sitting back to wait for the Lord’s intervention. The words seek and knock imply action and effort in discerning God’s will and moving in that direction. 

In fact, discovering God’s will is the very purpose of perseverance—not to override it or get Him to change His mind and do things our way. Through steadfastness in prayer, we learn to focus on the Lord’s faithfulness instead of our circumstances, which may show no signs of changing. Praying tenaciously builds our trust and at the same time teaches us to depend on God instead of rushing ahead to get what we want. 

God promises that in time we will be given an answer, find what we seek, and walk through an open door. That’s when we discover our heavenly Father always gives us what is good, even if it doesn’t look exactly the way we expect or fit our timetable. Through His answers, we gain greater faith in Him and insight into what He deems good. Then we’ll know how to pray more wisely according to His will the next time we have a need.

Bible in One Year: Judges 18-19 Chapter 18 1 In those days there was no king in Israel: and in those days the tribe of the Danites sought them an inheritance to dwell in; for unto that day `their' inheritance had not fallen unto them among the tribes of Israel. 2 And the children of Dan sent of their family five men from their whole number, men of valor, from Zorah, and from Eshtaol, to spy out the land, and to search it; and they said unto them, Go, search the land. And they came to the hill-country of Ephraim, unto the house of Micah, and lodged there. 3 When they were by the house of Micah, they knew the voice of the young man the Levite; and they turned aside thither, and said unto him, Who brought thee hither? and what doest thou in this place? and what hast thou here? 4 And he said unto them, Thus and thus hath Micah dealt with me, and he hath hired me, and I am become his priest. 5 And they said unto him, Ask counsel, we pray thee, of God, that we may know whether our way which we go shall be prosperous. 6 And the priest said unto them, Go in peace: before Jehovah is your way wherein ye go. 7 Then the five men departed, and came to Laish, and saw the people that were therein, how they dwelt in security, after the manner of the Sidonians, quiet and secure; for there was none in the land, possessing authority, that might put `them' to shame in anything, and they were far from the Sidonians, and had no dealings with any man. 8 And they came unto their brethren to Zorah and Eshtaol: and their brethren said unto them, What `say' ye? 9 And they said, Arise, and let us go up against them; for we have seen the land, and, behold, it is very good: and are ye still? be not slothful to go and to enter in to possess the land. 10 When ye go, ye shall come unto a people secure, and the land is large; for God hath given it into your hand, a place where there is no want of anything that is in the earth. 11 And there set forth from thence of the family of the Danites, out of Zorah and out of Eshtaol, six hundred men girt with weapons of war. 12 And they went up, and encamped in Kiriath-jearim, in Judah: wherefore they called that place Mahaneh-dan, unto this day; behold, it is behind Kiriath-jearim. 13 And they passed thence unto the hill-country of Ephraim, and came unto the house of Micah. 14 Then answered the five men that went to spy out the country of Laish, and said unto their brethren, Do ye know that there is in these houses an ephod, and teraphim, and a graven image, and a molten image? now therefore consider what ye have to do. 15 And they turned aside thither, and came to the house of the young man the Levite, even unto the house of Micah, and asked him of his welfare. 16 And the six hundred men girt with their weapons of war, who were of the children of Dan, stood by the entrance of the gate. 17 And the five men that went to spy out the land went up, and came in thither, and took the graven image, and the ephod, and the teraphim, and the molten image: and the priest stood by the entrance of the gate with the six hundred men girt with weapons of war. 18 And when these went into Micah's house, and fetched the graven image, the ephod, and the teraphim, and the molten image, the priest said unto them, What do ye? 19 And they said unto him, Hold thy peace, lay thy hand upon thy mouth, and go with us, and be to us a father and a priest: is it better for thee to be priest unto the house of one man, or to be priest unto a tribe and a family in Israel? 20 And the priest's heart was glad, and he took the ephod, and the teraphim, and the graven image, and went in the midst of the people. 21 So they turned and departed, and put the little ones and the cattle and the goods before them. 22 When they were a good way from the house of Micah, the men that were in the houses near to Micah's house were gathered together, and overtook the children of Dan. 23 And they cried unto the children of Dan. And they turned their faces, and said unto Micah, What aileth thee, that thou comest with such a company? 24 And he said, ye have taken away my gods which I made, and the priest, and are gone away, and what have I more? and how then say ye unto me, What aileth thee? 25 And the children of Dan said unto him, Let not thy voice be heard among us, lest angry fellows fall upon you, and thou lose thy life, with the lives of thy household. 26 And the children of Dan went their way: and when Micah saw that they were too strong for him, he turned and went back unto his house. 27 And they took that which Micah had made, and the priest whom he had, and came unto Laish, unto a people quiet and secure, and smote them with the edge of the sword; and they burnt the city with fire. 28 And there was no deliverer, because it was far from Sidon, and they had no dealings with any man; and it was in the valley that lieth by Beth-rehob. And they built the city, and dwelt therein. 29 And they called the name of the city Dan, after the name of Dan their father, who was born unto Israel: howbeit the name of the city was Laish at the first. 30 And the children of Dan set up for themselves the graven image: and Jonathan, the son of Gershom, the son of Moses, he and his sons were priests to the tribe of the Danites until the day of the captivity of the land. 31 So they set them up Micah's graven image which he made, all the time that the house of God was in Shiloh. Chapter 19 1 And it came to pass in those days, when there was no king in Israel, that there was a certain Levite sojourning on the farther side of the hill-country of Ephraim, who took to him a concubine out of Beth-lehem-judah. 2 And his concubine played the harlot against him, and went away from him unto her father's house to Beth-lehem-judah, and was there the space of four months. 3 And her husband arose, and went after her, to speak kindly unto her, to bring her again, having his servant with him, and a couple of asses: and she brought him into her father's house; and when the father of the damsel saw him, he rejoiced to meet him. 4 And his father-in-law, the damsel's father, retained him; and he abode with him three days: so they did eat and drink, and lodged there. 5 And it came to pass on the fourth day, that they arose early in the morning, and he rose up to depart: and the damsel's father said unto his son-in-law, Strengthen thy heart with a morsel of bread, and afterward ye shall go your way. 6 So they sat down, and did eat and drink, both of them together: and the damsel's father said unto the man, Be pleased, I pray thee, to tarry all night, and let thy heart be merry. 7 And the man rose up to depart; but his father-in-law urged him, and he lodged there again. 8 And he arose early in the morning on the fifth day to depart; and the damsel's father said, Strengthen thy heart, I pray thee, and tarry ye until the day declineth; and they did eat, both of them. 9 And when the man rose up to depart, he, and his concubine, and his servant, his father-in-law, the damsel's father, said unto him, Behold, now the day draweth toward evening, I pray you tarry all night: behold, the day groweth to an end, lodge here, that thy heart may be merry; and to-morrow get you early on your way, that thou mayest go home. 10 But the man would not tarry that night, but he rose up and departed, and came over against Jebus (the same is Jerusalem): and there were with him a couple of asses saddled; his concubine also was with him. 11 When they were by Jebus, the day was far spent; and the servant said unto his master, Come, I pray thee, and let us turn aside into this city of the Jebusites, and lodge in it. 12 And his master said unto him, We will not turn aside into the city of a foreigner, that is not of the children of Israel; but we will pass over to Gibeah. 13 And he said unto his servant, Come and let us draw near to one of these places; and we will lodge in Gibeah, or in Ramah. 14 So they passed on and went their way; and the sun went down upon them near to Gibeah, which belongeth to Benjamin. 15 And they turned aside thither, to go in to lodge in Gibeah: and he went in, and sat him down in the street of the city; for there was no man that took them into his house to lodge. 16 And, behold, there came an old man from his work out of the field at even: now the man was of the hill-country of Ephraim, and he sojourned in Gibeah; but the men of the place were Benjamites. 17 And he lifted up his eyes, and saw the wayfaring man in the street of the city; and the old man said, Whither goest thou? and whence comest thou? 18 And he said unto him, We are passing from Beth-lehem-judah unto the farther side of the hill-country of Ephraim; from thence am I, and I went to Beth-lehem-judah: and I am `now' going to the house of Jehovah; and there is no man that taketh me into his house. 19 Yet there is both straw and provender for our asses; and there is bread and wine also for me, and for thy handmaid, and for the young man that is with thy servants: there is no want of anything. 20 And the old man said, Peace be unto thee; howsoever let all thy wants lie upon me; only lodge not in the street. 21 So he brought him into his house, and gave the asses fodder; and they washed their feet, and did eat and drink. 22 As they were making their hearts merry, behold, the men of the city, certain base fellows, beset the house round about, beating at the door; and they spake to the master of the house, the old man, saying, Bring forth the man that came into thy house, that we may know him. 23 And the man, the master of the house, went out unto them, and said unto them, Nay, my brethren, I pray you, do not so wickedly; seeing that this man is come into my house, do not this folly. 24 Behold, here is my daughter a virgin, and his concubine; them I will bring out now, and humble ye them, and do with them what seemeth good unto you: but unto this man do not any such folly. 25 But the men would not hearken to him: so the man laid hold on his concubine, and brought her forth unto them; and they knew her, and abused her all the night until the morning: and when the day began to spring, they let her go. 26 Then came the woman in the dawning of the day, and fell down at the door of the man's house where her lord was, till it was light. 27 And her lord rose up in the morning, and opened the doors of the house, and went out to go his way; and, behold, the woman his concubine was fallen down at the door of the house, with her hands upon the threshold. 28 And he said unto her, Up, and let us be going; but none answered: then he took her up upon the ass; and the man rose up, and gat him unto his place. 29 And when he was come into his house, he took a knife, and laid hold on his concubine, and divided her, limb by limb, into twelve pieces, and sent her throughout all the borders of Israel. 30 And it was so, that all that saw it said, There was no such deed done nor seen from the day that the children of Israel came up out of the land of Egypt unto this day: consider it, take counsel, and speak.




The Process of Temptation

Published by InTouch Ministries for reading on March 19th.

1 Corinthians 10:12-13 12 Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall. 13 There hath no temptation taken you but such as man can bear: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation make also the way of escape, that ye may be able to endure it.

Many people act as if there’s no defense against temptation. With the first hint of desire, they immediately throw their hands up and give in to every little enticement. Can you relate to this? What we must realize is that temptation is a gradual process, and it can be short-circuited at any stage.

Temptation usually begins in the mind, where we live out imagined scenarios. The human mind has an amazing capacity to create entire exchanges and experiences out of nothing. Through fantasy, we can enjoy something without ever bringing it into the real world. Therefore, since it’s not real, we think it’s perfectly harmless.

But a fantasy world leads to a downward spiral of enslavement. Ultimately, our thoughts become so wrapped around the one temptation that it seems impossible to think of anything else. At this point, our minds are held captive by the desire. No matter where we go or what we do, we can’t outrun our own thoughts! And when our life becomes focused on anything other than God, we are trapped.

But the Lord is faithful and will provide the way of escape. Since temptation begins in the mind, that’s where the battle should be waged. The only way to disrupt the process is by filling our minds with the Word of God. As we continually feed on a hearty diet of Scripture, the Word will work in us— uprooting sin, transforming our thoughts, and overcoming the tempting fantasy. The Bible is powerful! We can trust it to set us free from the burden of temptation.

Bible in One Year: Judges 18-19 Chapter 18 1 In those days there was no king in Israel: and in those days the tribe of the Danites sought them an inheritance to dwell in; for unto that day `their' inheritance had not fallen unto them among the tribes of Israel. 2 And the children of Dan sent of their family five men from their whole number, men of valor, from Zorah, and from Eshtaol, to spy out the land, and to search it; and they said unto them, Go, search the land. And they came to the hill-country of Ephraim, unto the house of Micah, and lodged there. 3 When they were by the house of Micah, they knew the voice of the young man the Levite; and they turned aside thither, and said unto him, Who brought thee hither? and what doest thou in this place? and what hast thou here? 4 And he said unto them, Thus and thus hath Micah dealt with me, and he hath hired me, and I am become his priest. 5 And they said unto him, Ask counsel, we pray thee, of God, that we may know whether our way which we go shall be prosperous. 6 And the priest said unto them, Go in peace: before Jehovah is your way wherein ye go. 7 Then the five men departed, and came to Laish, and saw the people that were therein, how they dwelt in security, after the manner of the Sidonians, quiet and secure; for there was none in the land, possessing authority, that might put `them' to shame in anything, and they were far from the Sidonians, and had no dealings with any man. 8 And they came unto their brethren to Zorah and Eshtaol: and their brethren said unto them, What `say' ye? 9 And they said, Arise, and let us go up against them; for we have seen the land, and, behold, it is very good: and are ye still? be not slothful to go and to enter in to possess the land. 10 When ye go, ye shall come unto a people secure, and the land is large; for God hath given it into your hand, a place where there is no want of anything that is in the earth. 11 And there set forth from thence of the family of the Danites, out of Zorah and out of Eshtaol, six hundred men girt with weapons of war. 12 And they went up, and encamped in Kiriath-jearim, in Judah: wherefore they called that place Mahaneh-dan, unto this day; behold, it is behind Kiriath-jearim. 13 And they passed thence unto the hill-country of Ephraim, and came unto the house of Micah. 14 Then answered the five men that went to spy out the country of Laish, and said unto their brethren, Do ye know that there is in these houses an ephod, and teraphim, and a graven image, and a molten image? now therefore consider what ye have to do. 15 And they turned aside thither, and came to the house of the young man the Levite, even unto the house of Micah, and asked him of his welfare. 16 And the six hundred men girt with their weapons of war, who were of the children of Dan, stood by the entrance of the gate. 17 And the five men that went to spy out the land went up, and came in thither, and took the graven image, and the ephod, and the teraphim, and the molten image: and the priest stood by the entrance of the gate with the six hundred men girt with weapons of war. 18 And when these went into Micah's house, and fetched the graven image, the ephod, and the teraphim, and the molten image, the priest said unto them, What do ye? 19 And they said unto him, Hold thy peace, lay thy hand upon thy mouth, and go with us, and be to us a father and a priest: is it better for thee to be priest unto the house of one man, or to be priest unto a tribe and a family in Israel? 20 And the priest's heart was glad, and he took the ephod, and the teraphim, and the graven image, and went in the midst of the people. 21 So they turned and departed, and put the little ones and the cattle and the goods before them. 22 When they were a good way from the house of Micah, the men that were in the houses near to Micah's house were gathered together, and overtook the children of Dan. 23 And they cried unto the children of Dan. And they turned their faces, and said unto Micah, What aileth thee, that thou comest with such a company? 24 And he said, ye have taken away my gods which I made, and the priest, and are gone away, and what have I more? and how then say ye unto me, What aileth thee? 25 And the children of Dan said unto him, Let not thy voice be heard among us, lest angry fellows fall upon you, and thou lose thy life, with the lives of thy household. 26 And the children of Dan went their way: and when Micah saw that they were too strong for him, he turned and went back unto his house. 27 And they took that which Micah had made, and the priest whom he had, and came unto Laish, unto a people quiet and secure, and smote them with the edge of the sword; and they burnt the city with fire. 28 And there was no deliverer, because it was far from Sidon, and they had no dealings with any man; and it was in the valley that lieth by Beth-rehob. And they built the city, and dwelt therein. 29 And they called the name of the city Dan, after the name of Dan their father, who was born unto Israel: howbeit the name of the city was Laish at the first. 30 And the children of Dan set up for themselves the graven image: and Jonathan, the son of Gershom, the son of Moses, he and his sons were priests to the tribe of the Danites until the day of the captivity of the land. 31 So they set them up Micah's graven image which he made, all the time that the house of God was in Shiloh. Chapter 19 1 And it came to pass in those days, when there was no king in Israel, that there was a certain Levite sojourning on the farther side of the hill-country of Ephraim, who took to him a concubine out of Beth-lehem-judah. 2 And his concubine played the harlot against him, and went away from him unto her father's house to Beth-lehem-judah, and was there the space of four months. 3 And her husband arose, and went after her, to speak kindly unto her, to bring her again, having his servant with him, and a couple of asses: and she brought him into her father's house; and when the father of the damsel saw him, he rejoiced to meet him. 4 And his father-in-law, the damsel's father, retained him; and he abode with him three days: so they did eat and drink, and lodged there. 5 And it came to pass on the fourth day, that they arose early in the morning, and he rose up to depart: and the damsel's father said unto his son-in-law, Strengthen thy heart with a morsel of bread, and afterward ye shall go your way. 6 So they sat down, and did eat and drink, both of them together: and the damsel's father said unto the man, Be pleased, I pray thee, to tarry all night, and let thy heart be merry. 7 And the man rose up to depart; but his father-in-law urged him, and he lodged there again. 8 And he arose early in the morning on the fifth day to depart; and the damsel's father said, Strengthen thy heart, I pray thee, and tarry ye until the day declineth; and they did eat, both of them. 9 And when the man rose up to depart, he, and his concubine, and his servant, his father-in-law, the damsel's father, said unto him, Behold, now the day draweth toward evening, I pray you tarry all night: behold, the day groweth to an end, lodge here, that thy heart may be merry; and to-morrow get you early on your way, that thou mayest go home. 10 But the man would not tarry that night, but he rose up and departed, and came over against Jebus (the same is Jerusalem): and there were with him a couple of asses saddled; his concubine also was with him. 11 When they were by Jebus, the day was far spent; and the servant said unto his master, Come, I pray thee, and let us turn aside into this city of the Jebusites, and lodge in it. 12 And his master said unto him, We will not turn aside into the city of a foreigner, that is not of the children of Israel; but we will pass over to Gibeah. 13 And he said unto his servant, Come and let us draw near to one of these places; and we will lodge in Gibeah, or in Ramah. 14 So they passed on and went their way; and the sun went down upon them near to Gibeah, which belongeth to Benjamin. 15 And they turned aside thither, to go in to lodge in Gibeah: and he went in, and sat him down in the street of the city; for there was no man that took them into his house to lodge. 16 And, behold, there came an old man from his work out of the field at even: now the man was of the hill-country of Ephraim, and he sojourned in Gibeah; but the men of the place were Benjamites. 17 And he lifted up his eyes, and saw the wayfaring man in the street of the city; and the old man said, Whither goest thou? and whence comest thou? 18 And he said unto him, We are passing from Beth-lehem-judah unto the farther side of the hill-country of Ephraim; from thence am I, and I went to Beth-lehem-judah: and I am `now' going to the house of Jehovah; and there is no man that taketh me into his house. 19 Yet there is both straw and provender for our asses; and there is bread and wine also for me, and for thy handmaid, and for the young man that is with thy servants: there is no want of anything. 20 And the old man said, Peace be unto thee; howsoever let all thy wants lie upon me; only lodge not in the street. 21 So he brought him into his house, and gave the asses fodder; and they washed their feet, and did eat and drink. 22 As they were making their hearts merry, behold, the men of the city, certain base fellows, beset the house round about, beating at the door; and they spake to the master of the house, the old man, saying, Bring forth the man that came into thy house, that we may know him. 23 And the man, the master of the house, went out unto them, and said unto them, Nay, my brethren, I pray you, do not so wickedly; seeing that this man is come into my house, do not this folly. 24 Behold, here is my daughter a virgin, and his concubine; them I will bring out now, and humble ye them, and do with them what seemeth good unto you: but unto this man do not any such folly. 25 But the men would not hearken to him: so the man laid hold on his concubine, and brought her forth unto them; and they knew her, and abused her all the night until the morning: and when the day began to spring, they let her go. 26 Then came the woman in the dawning of the day, and fell down at the door of the man's house where her lord was, till it was light. 27 And her lord rose up in the morning, and opened the doors of the house, and went out to go his way; and, behold, the woman his concubine was fallen down at the door of the house, with her hands upon the threshold. 28 And he said unto her, Up, and let us be going; but none answered: then he took her up upon the ass; and the man rose up, and gat him unto his place. 29 And when he was come into his house, he took a knife, and laid hold on his concubine, and divided her, limb by limb, into twelve pieces, and sent her throughout all the borders of Israel. 30 And it was so, that all that saw it said, There was no such deed done nor seen from the day that the children of Israel came up out of the land of Egypt unto this day: consider it, take counsel, and speak.




A Six-Point Summary of the Gospel

Published by John Piper for reading on March 19th.

Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God. ( 1 Peter 3:18 18 Because Christ also suffered for sins once, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God; being put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit; )

Here’s a summary of the gospel to help you understand it and enjoy it!

1) God created us for his glory.

“Bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the end of the earth, everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory” ( Isaiah 43:6 6 I will say to the north, Give up; and to the south, Keep not back; bring my sons from far, and my daughters from the end of the earth; –7). God made all of us in his own image so that we would image forth, or reflect, his character and moral beauty.

2) Every human should live for God’s glory.

“Whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” ( 1 Corinthians 10:31 31 Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God. ). The way to live for the glory of God is to love him ( Matthew 22:37 37 And he said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. ), trust him ( Romans 4:20 20 yet, looking unto the promise of God, he wavered not through unbelief, but waxed strong through faith, giving glory to God, ), be thankful to him ( Psalms 50:23 23 Whoso offereth the sacrifice of thanksgiving glorifieth me; And to him that ordereth his way `aright' Will I show the salvation of God. Psalm 51 For the Chief Musician. A Psalm of David; when Nathan the prophet came unto him, after he had gone in to Bathsheba. ), and obey him ( Matthew 5:16 16 Even so let your light shine before men; that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven. ). When we do these things, we image forth God’s glory.

3) We have all sinned and fallen short of God’s glory.

“All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” ( Romans 3:23 23 for all have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God; ). “Although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him . . . and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images” ( Romans 1:21 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. , 23). None of us has loved or trusted or thanked or obeyed God as we ought.

4) We all deserve eternal punishment.

“The wages of sin is (eternal) death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” ( Romans 6:23 23 For the wages of sin is death; but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. ). Those who do not obey the Lord Jesus “will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might” ( 2 Thessalonians 1:9 9 who shall suffer punishment, `even' eternal destruction from the face of the Lord and from the glory of his might, ). “These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life” ( Matthew 25:46 46 And these shall go away into eternal punishment: but the righteous into eternal life. ).

5) In his great mercy, God sent forth his only Son Jesus Christ to provide for sinners the way of eternal life.

“God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” ( John 3:16 16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on him should not perish, but have eternal life. ). “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us” ( Galatians 3:13 13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us; for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree: ). “Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God” ( 1 Peter 3:18 18 Because Christ also suffered for sins once, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God; being put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit; ).

6) Eternal life is a free gift to all who will trust in Christ as Lord and Savior.

“Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved” ( Acts 16:31 31 And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus, and thou shalt be saved, thou and thy house. ). “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved” ( Romans 10:9 9 because if thou shalt confess with thy mouth Jesus `as' Lord, and shalt believe in thy heart that God raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved: ). “By grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast” ( Ephesians 2:8 8 for by grace have ye been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, `it is' the gift of God; –9). “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” ( Galatians 2:20 20 I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I that live, but Christ living in me: and that `life' which I now live in the flesh I live in faith, `the faith' which is in the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself up for me. ).



What Does It Mean to Be “Saved”?

Published by InTouch Ministries for reading on March 19th.

Psalms 25 Chapter 25 1 Unto thee, O Jehovah, do I lift up my soul. 2 O my God, in thee have I trusted, Let me not be put to shame; Let not mine enemies triumph over me. 3 Yea, none that wait for thee shall be put to shame: They shall be put to shame that deal treacherously without cause. 4 Show me thy ways, O Jehovah; Teach me thy paths. 5 Guide me in thy truth, and teach me; For thou art the God of my salvation; For thee do I wait all the day. 6 Remember, O Jehovah, thy tender mercies and thy lovingkindness; For they have been ever of old. 7 Remember not the sins of my youth, nor my transgressions: According to thy lovingkindness remember thou me, For thy goodness' sake, O Jehovah. 8 Good and upright is Jehovah: Therefore will he instruct sinners in the way. 9 The meek will he guide in justice; And the meek will he teach his way. 10 All the paths of Jehovah are lovingkindness and truth Unto such as keep his covenant and his testimonies. 11 For thy name's sake, O Jehovah, Pardon mine iniquity, for it is great. 12 What man is he that feareth Jehovah? Him shall he instruct in the way that he shall choose. 13 His soul shall dwell at ease; And his seed shall inherit the land. 14 The friendship of Jehovah is with them that fear him; And he will show them his covenant. 15 Mine eyes are ever toward Jehovah; For he will pluck my feet out of the net. 16 Turn thee unto me, and have mercy upon me; For I am desolate and afflicted. 17 The troubles of my heart are enlarged: Oh bring thou me out of my distresses. 18 Consider mine affliction and my travail; And forgive all my sins. 19 Consider mine enemies, for they are many; And they hate me with cruel hatred. 20 Oh keep my soul, and deliver me: Let me not be put to shame, for I take refuge in thee. 21 Let integrity and uprightness preserve me, For I wait for thee. 22 Redeem Israel, O God, Out all of his troubles. Psalm 26 `A Psalm' of David.

How does a person become acceptable to God? The path to redemption begins not with the decision to live a better life or to stop doing something wrong, but with the realization that we cannot correct our sinful nature. To find favor with the Lord, we must grasp that it’s impossible to make ourselves righteous. Instead, we need to depend on the sacrifice Jesus made on our behalf. When we trust in Christ as our Savior, God the Father applies the benefit of Jesus’ atoning sacrifice to our sin debt, thereby making us saved—that is, acceptable in His eyes.

Your good works and righteous acts are of absolutely no value in the mind of God. Compared to others’ actions, your generosity and good works might seem like enough to bring favor with the Lord, but Scripture tells us salvation is “not as a result of works, so that no one may boast” (Eph. 2:9). When you stand before God, the only way you can be forgiven of your sins is through Christ and His sacrificial, substitutionary atoning death at Calvary. The Savior came to give His life as a ransom for many ( Mark 10:45 45 For the Son of man also came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many. ).

Jesus’ crucifixion was a public demonstration of God’s hatred for sin and immense love for mankind. He who was blameless bore the penalty for all in order that wicked, corrupt people could be made righteous.

No matter what you have done, you can be cleansed of the stain left by sin. Confess any known transgressions to the Lord and turn from them. Then Jesus will forgive you and write your name in the Lamb’s Book of Life ( 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. ; Revelation 21:27 27 and there shall in no wise enter into it anything unclean, or he that maketh an abomination and a lie: but only they that are written in the Lamb's book of life. ). By trusting in Him, you are assured of eternity in His presence.

Bible in One Year: Judges 18-19 Chapter 18 1 In those days there was no king in Israel: and in those days the tribe of the Danites sought them an inheritance to dwell in; for unto that day `their' inheritance had not fallen unto them among the tribes of Israel. 2 And the children of Dan sent of their family five men from their whole number, men of valor, from Zorah, and from Eshtaol, to spy out the land, and to search it; and they said unto them, Go, search the land. And they came to the hill-country of Ephraim, unto the house of Micah, and lodged there. 3 When they were by the house of Micah, they knew the voice of the young man the Levite; and they turned aside thither, and said unto him, Who brought thee hither? and what doest thou in this place? and what hast thou here? 4 And he said unto them, Thus and thus hath Micah dealt with me, and he hath hired me, and I am become his priest. 5 And they said unto him, Ask counsel, we pray thee, of God, that we may know whether our way which we go shall be prosperous. 6 And the priest said unto them, Go in peace: before Jehovah is your way wherein ye go. 7 Then the five men departed, and came to Laish, and saw the people that were therein, how they dwelt in security, after the manner of the Sidonians, quiet and secure; for there was none in the land, possessing authority, that might put `them' to shame in anything, and they were far from the Sidonians, and had no dealings with any man. 8 And they came unto their brethren to Zorah and Eshtaol: and their brethren said unto them, What `say' ye? 9 And they said, Arise, and let us go up against them; for we have seen the land, and, behold, it is very good: and are ye still? be not slothful to go and to enter in to possess the land. 10 When ye go, ye shall come unto a people secure, and the land is large; for God hath given it into your hand, a place where there is no want of anything that is in the earth. 11 And there set forth from thence of the family of the Danites, out of Zorah and out of Eshtaol, six hundred men girt with weapons of war. 12 And they went up, and encamped in Kiriath-jearim, in Judah: wherefore they called that place Mahaneh-dan, unto this day; behold, it is behind Kiriath-jearim. 13 And they passed thence unto the hill-country of Ephraim, and came unto the house of Micah. 14 Then answered the five men that went to spy out the country of Laish, and said unto their brethren, Do ye know that there is in these houses an ephod, and teraphim, and a graven image, and a molten image? now therefore consider what ye have to do. 15 And they turned aside thither, and came to the house of the young man the Levite, even unto the house of Micah, and asked him of his welfare. 16 And the six hundred men girt with their weapons of war, who were of the children of Dan, stood by the entrance of the gate. 17 And the five men that went to spy out the land went up, and came in thither, and took the graven image, and the ephod, and the teraphim, and the molten image: and the priest stood by the entrance of the gate with the six hundred men girt with weapons of war. 18 And when these went into Micah's house, and fetched the graven image, the ephod, and the teraphim, and the molten image, the priest said unto them, What do ye? 19 And they said unto him, Hold thy peace, lay thy hand upon thy mouth, and go with us, and be to us a father and a priest: is it better for thee to be priest unto the house of one man, or to be priest unto a tribe and a family in Israel? 20 And the priest's heart was glad, and he took the ephod, and the teraphim, and the graven image, and went in the midst of the people. 21 So they turned and departed, and put the little ones and the cattle and the goods before them. 22 When they were a good way from the house of Micah, the men that were in the houses near to Micah's house were gathered together, and overtook the children of Dan. 23 And they cried unto the children of Dan. And they turned their faces, and said unto Micah, What aileth thee, that thou comest with such a company? 24 And he said, ye have taken away my gods which I made, and the priest, and are gone away, and what have I more? and how then say ye unto me, What aileth thee? 25 And the children of Dan said unto him, Let not thy voice be heard among us, lest angry fellows fall upon you, and thou lose thy life, with the lives of thy household. 26 And the children of Dan went their way: and when Micah saw that they were too strong for him, he turned and went back unto his house. 27 And they took that which Micah had made, and the priest whom he had, and came unto Laish, unto a people quiet and secure, and smote them with the edge of the sword; and they burnt the city with fire. 28 And there was no deliverer, because it was far from Sidon, and they had no dealings with any man; and it was in the valley that lieth by Beth-rehob. And they built the city, and dwelt therein. 29 And they called the name of the city Dan, after the name of Dan their father, who was born unto Israel: howbeit the name of the city was Laish at the first. 30 And the children of Dan set up for themselves the graven image: and Jonathan, the son of Gershom, the son of Moses, he and his sons were priests to the tribe of the Danites until the day of the captivity of the land. 31 So they set them up Micah's graven image which he made, all the time that the house of God was in Shiloh. Chapter 19 1 And it came to pass in those days, when there was no king in Israel, that there was a certain Levite sojourning on the farther side of the hill-country of Ephraim, who took to him a concubine out of Beth-lehem-judah. 2 And his concubine played the harlot against him, and went away from him unto her father's house to Beth-lehem-judah, and was there the space of four months. 3 And her husband arose, and went after her, to speak kindly unto her, to bring her again, having his servant with him, and a couple of asses: and she brought him into her father's house; and when the father of the damsel saw him, he rejoiced to meet him. 4 And his father-in-law, the damsel's father, retained him; and he abode with him three days: so they did eat and drink, and lodged there. 5 And it came to pass on the fourth day, that they arose early in the morning, and he rose up to depart: and the damsel's father said unto his son-in-law, Strengthen thy heart with a morsel of bread, and afterward ye shall go your way. 6 So they sat down, and did eat and drink, both of them together: and the damsel's father said unto the man, Be pleased, I pray thee, to tarry all night, and let thy heart be merry. 7 And the man rose up to depart; but his father-in-law urged him, and he lodged there again. 8 And he arose early in the morning on the fifth day to depart; and the damsel's father said, Strengthen thy heart, I pray thee, and tarry ye until the day declineth; and they did eat, both of them. 9 And when the man rose up to depart, he, and his concubine, and his servant, his father-in-law, the damsel's father, said unto him, Behold, now the day draweth toward evening, I pray you tarry all night: behold, the day groweth to an end, lodge here, that thy heart may be merry; and to-morrow get you early on your way, that thou mayest go home. 10 But the man would not tarry that night, but he rose up and departed, and came over against Jebus (the same is Jerusalem): and there were with him a couple of asses saddled; his concubine also was with him. 11 When they were by Jebus, the day was far spent; and the servant said unto his master, Come, I pray thee, and let us turn aside into this city of the Jebusites, and lodge in it. 12 And his master said unto him, We will not turn aside into the city of a foreigner, that is not of the children of Israel; but we will pass over to Gibeah. 13 And he said unto his servant, Come and let us draw near to one of these places; and we will lodge in Gibeah, or in Ramah. 14 So they passed on and went their way; and the sun went down upon them near to Gibeah, which belongeth to Benjamin. 15 And they turned aside thither, to go in to lodge in Gibeah: and he went in, and sat him down in the street of the city; for there was no man that took them into his house to lodge. 16 And, behold, there came an old man from his work out of the field at even: now the man was of the hill-country of Ephraim, and he sojourned in Gibeah; but the men of the place were Benjamites. 17 And he lifted up his eyes, and saw the wayfaring man in the street of the city; and the old man said, Whither goest thou? and whence comest thou? 18 And he said unto him, We are passing from Beth-lehem-judah unto the farther side of the hill-country of Ephraim; from thence am I, and I went to Beth-lehem-judah: and I am `now' going to the house of Jehovah; and there is no man that taketh me into his house. 19 Yet there is both straw and provender for our asses; and there is bread and wine also for me, and for thy handmaid, and for the young man that is with thy servants: there is no want of anything. 20 And the old man said, Peace be unto thee; howsoever let all thy wants lie upon me; only lodge not in the street. 21 So he brought him into his house, and gave the asses fodder; and they washed their feet, and did eat and drink. 22 As they were making their hearts merry, behold, the men of the city, certain base fellows, beset the house round about, beating at the door; and they spake to the master of the house, the old man, saying, Bring forth the man that came into thy house, that we may know him. 23 And the man, the master of the house, went out unto them, and said unto them, Nay, my brethren, I pray you, do not so wickedly; seeing that this man is come into my house, do not this folly. 24 Behold, here is my daughter a virgin, and his concubine; them I will bring out now, and humble ye them, and do with them what seemeth good unto you: but unto this man do not any such folly. 25 But the men would not hearken to him: so the man laid hold on his concubine, and brought her forth unto them; and they knew her, and abused her all the night until the morning: and when the day began to spring, they let her go. 26 Then came the woman in the dawning of the day, and fell down at the door of the man's house where her lord was, till it was light. 27 And her lord rose up in the morning, and opened the doors of the house, and went out to go his way; and, behold, the woman his concubine was fallen down at the door of the house, with her hands upon the threshold. 28 And he said unto her, Up, and let us be going; but none answered: then he took her up upon the ass; and the man rose up, and gat him unto his place. 29 And when he was come into his house, he took a knife, and laid hold on his concubine, and divided her, limb by limb, into twelve pieces, and sent her throughout all the borders of Israel. 30 And it was so, that all that saw it said, There was no such deed done nor seen from the day that the children of Israel came up out of the land of Egypt unto this day: consider it, take counsel, and speak.




Daily Bible - March 19

Published by Grace To You for reading on March 19th.

Reading for Today:

  • Numbers 35:1 Chapter 35 1 And Jehovah spake unto Moses in the plains of Moab by the Jordan at Jericho, saying, –36:13
  • Psalms 35:17-28 17 Lord, how long wilt thou look on? Rescue my soul from their destructions, My darling from the lions. 18 I will give thee thanks in the great assembly: I will praise thee among much people. 19 Let not them that are mine enemies wrongfully rejoice over me; Neither let them wink with the eye that hate me without a cause. 20 For they speak not peace; But they devise deceitful words against them that are quiet in the land. 21 Yea, they opened their mouth wide against me; They said, Aha, aha, our eye hath seen it. 22 Thou hast seen it, O Jehovah; keep not silence: O Lord, be not far from me. 23 Stir up thyself, and awake to the justice `due' unto me, `Even' unto my cause, my God and my Lord. 24 Judge me, O Jehovah my God, according to thy righteousness; And let them not rejoice over me. 25 Let them not say in their heart, Aha, so would we have it: Let them not say, We have swallowed him up. 26 Let them be put to shame and confounded together that rejoice at my hurt: Let them be clothed with shame and dishonor that magnify themselves against me. 27 Let them shout for joy, and be glad, that favor my righteous cause: Yea, let them say continually, Jehovah be magnified, Who hath pleasure in the prosperity of his servant. 28 And my tongue shall talk of thy righteousness `And' of thy praise all the day long. Psalm 36 For the Chief Musician. `A Psalm' of David the servant of Jehovah.
  • Proverbs 12:3 3 A man shall not be established by wickedness; But the root of the righteous shall not be moved.
  • Mark 15:25-47 25 And it was the third hour, and they crucified him. 26 And the superscription of his accusation was written over, THE KING OF THE JEWS. 27 And with him they crucify two robbers; one on his right hand, and one on his left. 28 `And the scripture was fulfilled, which saith, And he was reckoned with transgressors.' 29 And they that passed by railed on him, wagging their heads, and saying, Ha! Thou that destroyest the temple, and buildest it in three days, 30 save thyself, and come down from the cross. 31 In like manner also the chief priests mocking `him' among themselves with the scribes said, He saved others; himself he cannot save. 32 Let the Christ, the King of Israel, now come down from the cross, that we may see and believe. And they that were crucified with him reproached him. 33 And when the sixth hour was come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour. 34 And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani? which is, being interpreted, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? 35 And some of them that stood by, when they heard it, said, Behold, he calleth Elijah. 36 And one ran, and filling a sponge full of vinegar, put it on a reed, and gave him to drink, saying, Let be; let us see whether Elijah cometh to take him down. 37 And Jesus uttered a loud voice, and gave up the ghost. 38 And the veil of the temple was rent in two from the top to the bottom. 39 And when the centurion, who stood by over against him, saw that he so gave up the ghost, he said, Truly this man was the Son of God. 40 And there were also women beholding from afar: among whom `were' both Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James the less and of Joses, and Salome; 41 who, when he was in Galilee, followed him, and ministered unto him; and many other women that came up with him unto Jerusalem. 42 And when even was now come, because it was the Preparation, that is, the day before the sabbath, 43 there came Joseph of Arimathaea, a councillor of honorable estate, who also himself was looking for the kingdom of God; and he boldly went in unto Pilate, and asked for the body of Jesus. 44 And Pilate marvelled if he were already dead: and calling unto him the centurion, he asked him whether he had been any while dead. 45 And when he learned it of the centurion, he granted the corpse to Joseph. 46 And he bought a linen cloth, and taking him down, wound him in the linen cloth, and laid him in a tomb which had been hewn out of a rock; and he rolled a stone against the door of the tomb. 47 And Mary Magdalene and Mary the `mother' of Joses beheld where he was laid.

Notes:

Numbers 35:12 the avenger. The meaning of this term is “near of kin.” It refers to the person chosen by a family to deal with a loss suffered in that family. Here the close relative of a homicide victim would seek to avenge his death, but not until proper judgment was made.

Numbers 35:33 blood defiles the land. Though murder and inadvertent killing polluted the land, murder was atoned for by the death of the murderer. Failure to observe these principles would make the land unclean. If the whole land became unclean, then the Lord would no longer be able to dwell in their midst.

Psalm 35:21, 22 Our eyes have seen it. This you have seen, O LORD. What David’s enemy allegedly saw, the Lord has seen perfectly. David knew that his God would vindicate him based upon the true evidence, all in his favor.

Mark 15:26 inscription of His accusation. The crime for which a condemned man was executed was written on a wooden board, which was fastened to the cross above his head. Jesus’ inscription was written in Latin, Hebrew, and Greek ( John 19:20 20 This title therefore read many of the Jews, for the place where Jesus was crucified was nigh to the city; and it was written in Hebrew, `and' in Latin, `and' in Greek. ). THE KING OF THE JEWS. Since Pilate had repeatedly declared Jesus to be innocent of any crime ( Luke 23:4 4 And Pilate said unto the chief priests and the multitudes, I find no fault in this man. , 14, 15, 22), he ordered this inscription written for Him. While Pilate’s intent was probably neither to mock nor honor Jesus, he certainly intended it as an affront to the Jewish authorities, who had given him so much trouble. When the outraged Jewish leaders demanded the wording be changed, Pilate bluntly refused ( John 19:22 22 Pilate answered, What I have written I have written. ). A comparison of all 4 Gospel accounts reveals that the full inscription read: THIS IS JESUS OF NAZARETH,THE KING OF THE JEWS.

Mark 15:38 the veil of the temple was torn in two. The massive curtain separating the Holy of Holies from the rest of the sanctuary (Ex. 26:31–33; 40:20, 21; Lev. 16:2; Heb. 9:3). Its rending signified that the way into God’s presence was open by the death of His Son.

DAY 19: What happened to Jesus after His death?

Joseph of Arimathea, a prominent member of the “council” (or the Sanhedrin), who had opposed Jesus’ condemnation ( Luke 23:51 51 (he had not consented to their counsel and deed), `a man' of Arimathaea, a city of the Jews, who was looking for the kingdom of God: ), took courage and came forward ( Mark 15:43 43 there came Joseph of Arimathaea, a councillor of honorable estate, who also himself was looking for the kingdom of God; and he boldly went in unto Pilate, and asked for the body of Jesus. ). Pilate would not likely have been pleased to see a member of the Sanhedrin, after that group had forced him to crucify an innocent man. Further, Joseph’s public identification with Jesus would enrage the other members of the Sanhedrin. Nevertheless, he “asked for the body of Jesus.”

“Pilate marveled” that Jesus was already dead (v. 44). Victims of crucifixion often lingered for days, hence Pilate’s surprise that Jesus was dead after only 6 hours. Before granting Jesus’ body to Joseph, Pilate checked with the “centurion” in charge of the crucifixion to verify that Jesus was really dead. Having received confirmation from the centurion that Jesus was dead, Pilate granted Jesus’ body to Joseph (v. 45). By that act, the Romans officially pronounced Jesus dead.

Then Jesus’ body was wrapped in the linen (v. 46). The Jews did not embalm corpses, but wrapped them in perfumed burial cloths. Nicodemus, another prominent member of the Sanhedrin (see John 7:50 50 Nicodemus saith unto them (he that came to him before, being one of them), ), assisted Joseph in caring for the body of Jesus ( John 19:39 39 And there came also Nicodemus, he who at the first came to him by night, bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about a hundred pounds. , 40). These men, who had kept their allegiance to Jesus secret during His lifetime, then came forward publicly to bury Him, while the disciples, who had openly followed Jesus, hid ( John 20:19 19 When therefore it was evening, on that day, the first `day' of the week, and when the doors were shut where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace `be' unto you. ). Then they laid Jesus in a “tomb…hewn out of the rock.” This “tomb” was located near Golgotha ( John 19:42 42 There then because of the Jews' Preparation (for the tomb was nigh at hand) they laid Jesus. ). Matthew adds that it was Joseph’s own tomb (Matt. 27:60), while Luke and John note that no one as yet had been buried in it ( Luke 23:53 53 And he took it down, and wrapped it in a linen cloth, and laid him in a tomb that was hewn in stone, where never man had yet lain. ; John 19:41 41 Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden; and in the garden a new tomb wherein was never man yet laid. ).

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        

Looking Out for Others' Interests First

Published by Grace To You for reading on March 19th.

"Do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others” ( Philippians 2:4 4 not looking each of you to his own things, but each of you also to the things of others. ).

The Lord wants us to have a general but sincere concern for the ministry interests of fellow Christians.

We live in a world that is preoccupied with special interests. On the national and international levels, interest groups push for public acceptance of their particular agendas. Likewise, on the local level most people care only about their own personal interests. They’re concerned about their jobs, their families, their hobbies, and perhaps their favorite sports team. In addition to those, if you’re a Christian, you will be concerned about your local church. But even there you can become focused only on your area of ministry.

In today’s verse, the apostle Paul cautions us, “Do not merely look out for your own personal interests.” He is warning first of all that we shouldn’t see our personal activities and ministries as our only goals in life. When we become narrowly preoccupied with our own things, it can cause conflicts and other problems with people we know. Instead, God wants us to have a serious, caring involvement in some of the goals others are concerned about. And one way that will happen is if we take our eyes off ourselves and our often excessive concern for self-esteem in everything we do.

You may wonder exactly what Paul meant by the broad term “interests.” It is a nonspecific word that has several meanings and implications. It includes legitimate goals and responsibilities you have as a Christian, but it also extends to the same kinds of concerns others in your church and family will have. Their needs, tasks, gifts, character qualities, and ministries should be considered equal in importance to yours.

Paul, by the Holy Spirit, is calling us to pursue a high standard of Christian living, but the standard is worth pursuing. The more we understand the importance of fellow believers and that they need our prayer and concern, the less our fellowships will be plagued by unscriptural competitiveness and pride of personal interest.

Suggestions for Prayer

Ask the Lord to help you order your priorities today, so that you’ll have time for involvement in the concerns of a Christian friend or relative.

For Further Study

Read Luke 10:38-42 38 Now as they went on their way, he entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house. 39 And she had a sister called Mary, who also sat at the Lord's feet, and heard his word. 40 But Martha was cumbered about much serving; and she came up to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister did leave me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me. 41 But the Lord answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art anxious and troubled about many things: 42 but one thing is needful: for Mary hath chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her. .

  • What was Martha’s attitude regarding the interests of her sister?
  • What do Jesus’ words to Martha say about where our ultimate interest should lie?

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        

Forsaking Self-Centered Prayer

Published by Grace To You for reading on March 19th.

"Thy kingdom come" (Matt. 6:10).

Relinquish your will to Christ’s sovereign rule.

Attempting to explain all that is involved in the phrase "Thy kingdom come" is like a child standing on a beach attempting to scoop the entire ocean into a little pail. Only in eternity will we grasp all that it encompasses, but the poem "His Coming to Glory" by the nineteenth-century hymnwriter Frances Havergal captures its essence:

Oh the joy to see Thee reigning,Thee, my own beloved Lord!Every tongue Thy name confessing,Worship, honor, glory, blessingBrought to Thee with glad accord;Thee, my Master and my Friend,Vindicated and enthroned;Unto earth's remotest endGlorified, adored, and owned.

Psalms 2:6-8 6 Yet I have set my king Upon my holy hill of Zion. 7 I will tell of the decree: Jehovah said unto me, Thou art my son; This day have I begotten thee. 8 Ask of me, and I will give `thee' the nations for thine inheritance, And the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession. reflects the Father's joy on that great day: "I have installed My King upon Zion, My holy mountain. I will surely tell of the decree of the Lord; He said to Me, 'Thou art My Son, today I have begotten Thee. Ask of Me, and I will surely give the nations as Thine inheritance, and the very ends of the earth as Thy possession." God will give the kingdoms of the world to His Son, who will reign as King of kings and Lord of lords (Rev. 19:16).

With that promise in mind, beware seeing prayer primarily as an opportunity to inform God of your own plans and to seek His help in fulfilling them. Instead, pray "Thy kingdom come," which is a request for Christ to reign. In its fullest sense it is an affirmation that you are willing to relinquish the rule of your own life so the Holy Spirit can use you to promote the kingdom in whatever way He chooses.

That kind of prayer can be difficult because we tend to be preoccupied with ourselves. But concentrate on conforming your prayers to God's purposes. Then you will be assured that you are praying according to His will.

Suggestions for Prayer

  • Praise God for the hope of Christ's future reign on earth.
  • Ask Him to use you today as a representative of His kingdom.

For Further Study

According to Ephesians 4:17-5:5, how should citizens of Christ's kingdom behave?

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        

March 19 - Expecting Verbal Insults

Published by Grace To You for reading on March 19th.

“‘Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me’” ( Matthew 5:11 11 Blessed are ye when `men' shall reproach you, and persecute you, and say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. ).

Beyond physical persecution, Jesus encouraged believers with blessing for having insults cast against them. The Greek word for “insult” carries the idea of reviling, upbraiding, or serious insulting. To insult someone is to throw abusive words in the face of an opponent, to mock viciously.

To be an obedient citizen of the kingdom is to court verbal abuse and reviling. As He stood before the Sanhedrin after His arrest in the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus was spat upon, beaten, and taunted with the words, “Prophesy to us, You Christ; who is the one who hit You?” (Matt. 26:68). As He was being sentenced to crucifixion by Pilate, Jesus was again beaten, spit upon, and mocked, this time by the Roman soldiers ( Mark 15:19 19 And they smote his head with a reed, and spat upon him, and bowing their knees worshipped him. –20).

Faithfulness to Christ may even cause friends and loved ones to say things that cut and hurt deeply. But remember, it is clear that the hallmark of a blessed person is righteousness. Holy living is what provokes persecution of God’s people. Such persecution because of a righteous life is joyous.

Make sure you are doing all you can to live faithfully for Christ.

Ask Yourself

How would you define the joys and blessings that flow from being misunderstood and mistreated? What do we unwittingly choose to miss by responding to the words, actions, and demeaning looks of persecution with anger, bitterness, hate, retaliation, or any other less-than-godly reaction?

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 March 19th

Published by C.H. Spurgeon for reading on March 19th.

Romans 4:20 20 yet, looking unto the promise of God, he wavered not through unbelief, but waxed strong through faith, giving glory to God,

CHRISTIAN, take good care of thy faith; for recollect faith is the only way whereby thou canst obtain blessings. If we want blessings from God, nothing can fetch them down but faith. Prayer cannot draw down answers, from God's throne except it be the earnest prayer of the man who believes. Faith is the angelic messenger between the soul and the Lord Jesus in glory. Let that angel be withdrawn, we can neither send up prayer, nor receive the answers. Faith is the telegraphic wire which links earth and heaven—on which God's messages of love fly so fast, that before we call He answers, and while we are yet speaking He hears us. But if that telegraphic wire of faith be snapped, how can we receive the promise? Am I in trouble?—I can obtain help for trouble by faith. Am I beaten about by the enemy?—my soul on her dear Refuge leans by faith. But take faith away—in vain I call to God. There is no road betwixt my soul and heaven. In the deepest wintertime faith is a road on which the horses of prayer may travel—ay, and all the better for the biting frost; but blockade the road, and how can we communicate with the Great King? Faith links me with divinity. Faith clothes me with the power of God. Faith engages on my side the omnipotence of Jehovah. Faith ensures every attribute of God in my defence. It helps me to defy the hosts of hell. It makes me march triumphant over the necks of my enemies. But without faith how can I receive anything of the Lord? Let not him that wavereth—who is like a wave of the Sea—expect that he will receive anything of God! O, then, Christian, watch well thy faith; for with it thou canst win all things, however poor thou art, but without it thou canst obtain nothing. "If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth."

Evening Devotional by C.H. Spurgeon for March 19th

Published by C.H. Spurgeon for reading on March 19th.

Ruth 2:14 14 And at meal-time Boaz said unto her, Come hither, and eat of the bread, and dip thy morsel in the vinegar. And she sat beside the reapers, and they reached her parched grain, and she did eat, and was sufficed, and left thereof.

WHENEVER we are privileged to eat of the bread which Jesus gives, we are, like Ruth, satisfied with the full and sweet repast. When Jesus is the host no guest goes empty from the table. Our head is satisfied with the precious truth which Christ reveals; our heart is content with Jesus, as the altogether lovely object of affection; our hope is satisfied, for whom have we in heaven but Jesus? and our desire is satiated, for what can we wish for more than "to know Christ and to be found in Him"? Jesus fills our conscience till it is at perfect peace; our judgment with persuasion of the certainty of His teachings; our memory with recollections of what He has done, and our imagination with the prospects of what He is yet to do. As Ruth was "sufficed, and left," so is it with us. We have had deep draughts; we have thought that we could take in all of Christ; but when we have done our best we have had to leave a vast remainder. We have sat at the table of the Lord's love, and said, "Nothing but the infinite can ever satisfy me; I am such a great sinner that I must have infinite merit to wash my sin away;" but we have had our sin removed, and found that there was merit to spare; we have had our hunger relieved at the feast of sacred love, and found that there was a redundance of spiritual meat remaining. There are certain sweet things in the Word of God which we have not enjoyed yet, and which we are obliged to leave for awhile; for we are like the disciples to whom Jesus said, "I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now." Yes, there are graces to which we have not attained; places of fellowship nearer to Christ which we have not reached; and heights of communion which our feet have not climbed. At every banquet of love there are many baskets of fragments left. Let us magnify the liberality of our glorious Boaz.

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