HE IS RISEN!

"For at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord."
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Godly Wisdom

Published by InTouch Ministries for reading on July 21st.

Ephesians 5:6-17 6 Let no man deceive you with empty words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the sons of disobedience. 7 Be not ye therefore partakers with them; 8 For ye were once darkness, but are now light in the Lord: walk as children of light 9 (for the fruit of the light is in all goodness and righteousness and truth), 10 proving what is well-pleasing unto the Lord; 11 and have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather even reprove them; 12 for the things which are done by them in secret it is a shame even to speak of. 13 But all things when they are reproved are made manifest by the light: for everything that is made manifest is light. 14 Wherefore `he' saith, Awake, thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall shine upon thee. 15 Look therefore carefully how ye walk, not as unwise, but as wise; 16 redeeming the time, because the days are evil. 17 Wherefore be ye not foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.

Life is really just a series of decisions. Most of them are small and seem inconsequential, while others could change the course of our life. Whether choices are major or minor, we need to know how to make wise ones that align with God’s will.

Our thinking is limited to what our finite minds can perceive and understand. Relying on our own assessment of the situation and possible options could easily veer us away from the Lord’s will. Even the smartest among us are foolish compared to an infinitely wise, omniscient God.

Godly wisdom requires the right perspective as well as the appropriate action—that is, it seeks to gain the Lord’s viewpoint and respond according to scriptural principles. Such wisdom asks, How would God interpret these events? What would He want me to do? Then it answers these questions, based on the truth of God’s Word. That’s why becoming very familiar with Scripture is so important. The time to prepare for future decisions is now. If we consistently read and study the Bible each day, we’ll acquire a sound base for making wise choices whenever they arise, because we’ll understand what pleases and displeases God.

The Lord has also given us His Holy Spirit as our guide and enabler. He gives us understanding of Scripture and wise direction, convicts us when we drift into sin, and empowers us to obey God’s commands.

All that we need to live wisely has been provided by the Lord, but it’s up to us to access it. Self-reliance will always lead us away from God’s will, but obedience to Him will make us wise.

Bible in One Year: Song of Solomon 5-8 Chapter 5 1 I am come into my garden, my sister, `my' bride: I have gathered my myrrh with my spice; I have eaten my honeycomb with my honey; I have drunk my wine with my milk. Eat, O friends; Drink, yea, drink abundantly, O beloved. 2 I was asleep, but my heart waked: It is the voice of my beloved that knocketh, `saying', Open to me, my sister, my love, my dove, my undefiled; For my head is filled with dew, My locks with the drops of the night. 3 I have put off my garment; how shall I put it on? I have washed my feet; how shall I defile them? 4 My beloved put in his hand by the hole `of the door', And my heart was moved for him. 5 I rose up to open to my beloved; And my hands droppeth with myrrh, And my fingers with liquid myrrh, Upon the handles of the bolt. 6 I opened to my beloved; But my beloved had withdrawn himself, `and' was gone. My soul had failed me when he spake: I sought him, but I could not find him; I called him, but he gave me no answer. 7 The watchmen that go about the city found me, They smote me, they wounded me; The keepers of the walls took away my mantle from me. 8 I adjure you, O daughters of Jerusalem, If ye find my beloved, That ye tell him, that I am sick from love. 9 What is thy beloved more than `another' beloved, O thou fairest among women? What is thy beloved more than `another' beloved, That thou dost so adjure us? 10 My beloved is white and ruddy, The chiefest among ten thousand. 11 His head is `as' the most fine gold; His locks are bushy, `and' black as a raven. 12 His eyes are like doves beside the water-brooks, Washed with milk, `and' fitly set. 13 His cheeks are as a bed of spices, `As' banks of sweet herbs: His lips are `as' lilies, dropping liquid myrrh. 14 His hands are `as' rings of gold set with beryl: His body is `as' ivory work overlaid `with' sapphires. 15 His legs are `as' pillars of marble, set upon sockets of fine gold: His aspect is like Lebanon, excellent as the cedars. 16 His mouth is most sweet; Yea, he is altogether lovely. This is my beloved, and this is my friend, O daughters of Jerusalem. Chapter 6 1 Whither is thy beloved gone, O thou fairest among women? Whither hath thy beloved turned him, That we may seek him with thee? 2 My beloved is gone down to his garden, To the beds of spices, To feed in the gardens, and to gather lilies. 3 I am my beloved's, and my beloved is mine; He feedeth `his flock' among the lilies, 4 Thou art fair, O my love, as Tirzah, Comely as Jerusalem, Terrible as an army with banners. 5 Turn away thine eyes from me, For they have overcome me. Thy hair is as a flock of goats, That lie along the side of Gilead. 6 Thy teeth are like a flock of ewes, Which are come up from the washing; Whereof every one hath twins, And none is bereaved among them. 7 Thy temples are like a piece of a pomegranate Behind thy veil. 8 There are threescore queens, and fourscore concubines, And virgins without number. 9 My dove, my undefiled, is `but' one; She is the only one of her mother; She is the choice one of her that bare her. The daughters saw her, and called her blessed; `Yea', the queens and the concubines, and they praised her. 10 Who is she that looketh forth as the morning, Fair as the moon, Clear as the sun, Terrible as an army with banners? 11 I went down into the garden of nuts, To see the green plants of the valley, To see whether the vine budded, `And' the pomegranates were in flower. 12 Before I was aware, my soul set me `Among' the chariots of my princely people. 13 Return, return, O Shulammite; Return, return, that we may look upon thee. Why will ye look upon the Shulammite, As upon the dance of Mahanaim? Chapter 7 1 How beautiful are thy feet in sandals, O prince's daughter! Thy rounded thighs are like jewels, The work of the hands of a skilful workman. 2 Thy body is `like' a round goblet, `Wherein' no mingled wine is wanting: Thy waist is `like' a heap of wheat Set about with lilies. 3 Thy two breasts are like two fawns That are twins of a roe. 4 Thy neck is like the tower of ivory; Thine eyes `as' the pools in Heshbon, By the gate of Bath-rabbim; Thy nose is like the tower of Lebanon Which looketh toward Damascus. 5 Thy head upon thee is like Carmel, And the hair of thy head like purple; The king is held captive in the tresses `thereof'. 6 How fair and how pleasant art thou, O love, for delights! 7 This thy stature is like to a palm-tree, And thy breasts to its clusters. 8 I said, I will climb up into the palm-tree, I will take hold of the branches thereof: Let thy breasts be as clusters of the vine, And the smell of thy breath like apples, 9 And thy mouth like the best wine, That goeth down smoothly for my beloved, Gliding through the lips of those that are asleep. 10 I am my beloved's; And his desire is toward me. 11 Come, my beloved, let us go forth into the field; Let us lodge in the villages. 12 Let us get up early to the vineyards; Let us see whether the vine hath budded, `And' its blossom is open, `And' the pomegranates are in flower: There will I give thee my love. 13 The mandrakes give forth fragrance; And at our doors are all manner of precious fruits, new and old, Which I have laid up for thee, O my beloved. Chapter 8 1 Oh that thou wert as my brother, That sucked the breasts of my mother! `When' I should find thee without, I would kiss thee; Yea, and none would despise me. 2 I would lead thee, `and' bring thee into my mother's house, Who would instruct me; I would cause thee to drink of spiced wine, Of the juice of my pomegranate. 3 His left hand `should be' under my head, And his right hand should embrace me. 4 I adjure you, O daughters of Jerusalem, That ye stir not up, nor awake `my' love, Until he please. 5 Who is this that cometh up from the wilderness, Leaning upon her beloved? Under the apple-tree I awakened thee: There thy mother was in travail with thee, There was she in travail that brought thee forth. 6 Set me as a seal upon thy heart, As a seal upon thine arm: For love is strong as death; Jealousy is cruel as Sheol; The flashes thereof are flashes of fire, A very flame of Jehovah. 7 Many waters cannot quench love, Neither can floods drown it: If a man would give all the substance of his house for love, He would utterly be contemned. 8 We have a little sister, And she hath no breasts: What shall we do for our sister In the day when she shall be spoken for? 9 If she be a wall, We will build upon her a turret of silver: And if she be a door, We will inclose her with boards of cedar. 10 I am a wall, and my breasts like the towers `thereof' Then was I in his eyes as one that found peace. 11 Solomon had a vineyard at Baal-hamon; He let out the vineyard unto keepers; Every one for the fruit thereof was to bring a thousand `pieces' of silver. 12 My vineyard, which is mine, is before me: Thou, O Solomon, shalt have the thousand, And those that keep the fruit thereof two hundred. 13 Thou that dwellest in the gardens, The companions hearken for thy voice: Cause me to hear it. 14 Make haste, my beloved, And be thou like to a roe or to a young hart Upon the mountains of spices.




Courage in the Lonely Hour

Published by InTouch Ministries for reading on July 21st.

Deuteronomy 31:6-8 6 Be strong and of good courage, fear not, nor be affrighted at them: for Jehovah thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee. 7 And Moses called unto Joshua, and said unto him in the sight of all Israel, Be strong and of good courage: for thou shalt go with this people into the land which Jehovah hath sworn unto their fathers to give them; and thou shalt cause them to inherit it. 8 And Jehovah, he it is that doth go before thee; he will be with thee, he will not fail thee, neither forsake thee: fear not, neither be dismayed.

Loneliness is a powerful emotion. It can lead to despair, or it can draw us closer to the Lord. It is also a condition for which we were never designed. From the very beginning, God said that it was not good for man to be alone (Gen. 2:18). So, He created Eve. Then came sin, the separator.

Ever since, we have been trying to regain the intimate fellowship that was lost in the Garden of Eden. Most of us start this journey to recovery by seeking healthy connections with other people. Friends and family can help enormously, but their presence is no substitute for fellowship with the heavenly Father. In fact, our best friends can sometimes impede our efforts by appearing to offer what God alone can give. Falling for such pretense is idolatry—allowing something to take God’s place.

That is why you see godly individuals throughout the Bible put to the loneliness test. We find examples in the story of Jacob wrestling alone with an angel (Gen. 32:24-32), Elijah standing alone on Mt. Sinai ( 1 Kings 19:1-21 Chapter 19 1 And Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done, and withal how he had slain all the prophets with the sword. 2 Then Jezebel send a messenger unto Elijah, saying, So let the gods do to me, and more also, if I make not thy life as the life of one of them by to-morrow about this time. 3 And when he saw that, he arose, and went for his life, and came to Beer-sheba, which belongeth to Judah, and left his servant there. 4 But he himself went a day's journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a juniper-tree: and he requested for himself that he might die, and said, It is enough; now, O Jehovah, take away my life; for I am not better than my fathers. 5 And he lay down and slept under a juniper-tree; and, behold, an angel touched him, and said unto him, Arise and eat. 6 And he looked, and, behold, there was at his head a cake baken on the coals, and a cruse of water. And he did eat and drink, and laid him down again. 7 And the angel of Jehovah came again the second time, and touched him, and said, Arise and eat, because the journey is too great for thee. 8 And he arose, and did eat and drink, and went in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights unto Horeb the mount of God. 9 And he came thither unto a cave, and lodged there; and, behold, the word of Jehovah came to him, and he said unto him, What doest thou here, Elijah? 10 And he said, I have been very jealous for Jehovah, the God of hosts; for the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword: and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away. 11 And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before Jehovah. And, behold, Jehovah passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before Jehovah; but Jehovah was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but Jehovah was not in the earthquake: 12 and after the earthquake a fire; but Jehovah was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice. 13 And it was so, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle, and went out, and stood in the entrance of the cave. And, behold, there came a voice unto him, and said, What doest thou here, Elijah? 14 And he said, I have been very jealous for Jehovah, the God of hosts; for the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away. 15 And Jehovah said unto him, Go, return on thy way to the wilderness of Damascus: and when thou comest, thou shalt anoint Hazael to be king over Syria; 16 and Jehu the son of Nimshi shalt thou anoint to be king over Israel; and Elisha the son of Shaphat of Abel-meholah shalt thou anoint to be prophet in thy room. 17 And it shall come to pass, that him that escapeth from the sword of Hazael shall Jehu slay; and him that escapeth from the sword of Jehu shall Elisha slay. 18 Yet will I leave `me' seven thousand in Israel, all the knees which have not bowed unto Baal, and every mouth which hath not kissed him. 19 So he departed thence, and found Elisha the son of Shaphat, who was plowing, with twelve yoke `of oxen' before him, and he with the twelfth: and Elijah passed over unto him, and cast his mantle upon him. 20 And he left the oxen, and ran after Elijah, and said, Let me, I pray thee, kiss my father and my mother, and then I will follow thee. And he said unto him, Go back again; for what have I done to thee? 21 And he returned from following him, and took the yoke of oxen, and slew them, and boiled their flesh with the instruments of the oxen, and gave unto the people, and they did eat. Then he arose, and went after Elijah, and ministered unto him. ), and even Jesus praying alone in the garden because His friends had fallen asleep (Matt. 26:36-46). In all three cases, the picture is essentially the same.

Such heartrending experiences in our life are designed for one purpose: They bring us to the point where we can discover for ourselves that God is real. The learning process may take a while, but it is much more likely that we will rely on God if there is no one else to hang on to. When we experience utter loneliness, we can cling to the promise, “I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you” (Heb. 13:5).

Bible in One Year: Song of Solomon 5-8 Chapter 5 1 I am come into my garden, my sister, `my' bride: I have gathered my myrrh with my spice; I have eaten my honeycomb with my honey; I have drunk my wine with my milk. Eat, O friends; Drink, yea, drink abundantly, O beloved. 2 I was asleep, but my heart waked: It is the voice of my beloved that knocketh, `saying', Open to me, my sister, my love, my dove, my undefiled; For my head is filled with dew, My locks with the drops of the night. 3 I have put off my garment; how shall I put it on? I have washed my feet; how shall I defile them? 4 My beloved put in his hand by the hole `of the door', And my heart was moved for him. 5 I rose up to open to my beloved; And my hands droppeth with myrrh, And my fingers with liquid myrrh, Upon the handles of the bolt. 6 I opened to my beloved; But my beloved had withdrawn himself, `and' was gone. My soul had failed me when he spake: I sought him, but I could not find him; I called him, but he gave me no answer. 7 The watchmen that go about the city found me, They smote me, they wounded me; The keepers of the walls took away my mantle from me. 8 I adjure you, O daughters of Jerusalem, If ye find my beloved, That ye tell him, that I am sick from love. 9 What is thy beloved more than `another' beloved, O thou fairest among women? What is thy beloved more than `another' beloved, That thou dost so adjure us? 10 My beloved is white and ruddy, The chiefest among ten thousand. 11 His head is `as' the most fine gold; His locks are bushy, `and' black as a raven. 12 His eyes are like doves beside the water-brooks, Washed with milk, `and' fitly set. 13 His cheeks are as a bed of spices, `As' banks of sweet herbs: His lips are `as' lilies, dropping liquid myrrh. 14 His hands are `as' rings of gold set with beryl: His body is `as' ivory work overlaid `with' sapphires. 15 His legs are `as' pillars of marble, set upon sockets of fine gold: His aspect is like Lebanon, excellent as the cedars. 16 His mouth is most sweet; Yea, he is altogether lovely. This is my beloved, and this is my friend, O daughters of Jerusalem. Chapter 6 1 Whither is thy beloved gone, O thou fairest among women? Whither hath thy beloved turned him, That we may seek him with thee? 2 My beloved is gone down to his garden, To the beds of spices, To feed in the gardens, and to gather lilies. 3 I am my beloved's, and my beloved is mine; He feedeth `his flock' among the lilies, 4 Thou art fair, O my love, as Tirzah, Comely as Jerusalem, Terrible as an army with banners. 5 Turn away thine eyes from me, For they have overcome me. Thy hair is as a flock of goats, That lie along the side of Gilead. 6 Thy teeth are like a flock of ewes, Which are come up from the washing; Whereof every one hath twins, And none is bereaved among them. 7 Thy temples are like a piece of a pomegranate Behind thy veil. 8 There are threescore queens, and fourscore concubines, And virgins without number. 9 My dove, my undefiled, is `but' one; She is the only one of her mother; She is the choice one of her that bare her. The daughters saw her, and called her blessed; `Yea', the queens and the concubines, and they praised her. 10 Who is she that looketh forth as the morning, Fair as the moon, Clear as the sun, Terrible as an army with banners? 11 I went down into the garden of nuts, To see the green plants of the valley, To see whether the vine budded, `And' the pomegranates were in flower. 12 Before I was aware, my soul set me `Among' the chariots of my princely people. 13 Return, return, O Shulammite; Return, return, that we may look upon thee. Why will ye look upon the Shulammite, As upon the dance of Mahanaim? Chapter 7 1 How beautiful are thy feet in sandals, O prince's daughter! Thy rounded thighs are like jewels, The work of the hands of a skilful workman. 2 Thy body is `like' a round goblet, `Wherein' no mingled wine is wanting: Thy waist is `like' a heap of wheat Set about with lilies. 3 Thy two breasts are like two fawns That are twins of a roe. 4 Thy neck is like the tower of ivory; Thine eyes `as' the pools in Heshbon, By the gate of Bath-rabbim; Thy nose is like the tower of Lebanon Which looketh toward Damascus. 5 Thy head upon thee is like Carmel, And the hair of thy head like purple; The king is held captive in the tresses `thereof'. 6 How fair and how pleasant art thou, O love, for delights! 7 This thy stature is like to a palm-tree, And thy breasts to its clusters. 8 I said, I will climb up into the palm-tree, I will take hold of the branches thereof: Let thy breasts be as clusters of the vine, And the smell of thy breath like apples, 9 And thy mouth like the best wine, That goeth down smoothly for my beloved, Gliding through the lips of those that are asleep. 10 I am my beloved's; And his desire is toward me. 11 Come, my beloved, let us go forth into the field; Let us lodge in the villages. 12 Let us get up early to the vineyards; Let us see whether the vine hath budded, `And' its blossom is open, `And' the pomegranates are in flower: There will I give thee my love. 13 The mandrakes give forth fragrance; And at our doors are all manner of precious fruits, new and old, Which I have laid up for thee, O my beloved. Chapter 8 1 Oh that thou wert as my brother, That sucked the breasts of my mother! `When' I should find thee without, I would kiss thee; Yea, and none would despise me. 2 I would lead thee, `and' bring thee into my mother's house, Who would instruct me; I would cause thee to drink of spiced wine, Of the juice of my pomegranate. 3 His left hand `should be' under my head, And his right hand should embrace me. 4 I adjure you, O daughters of Jerusalem, That ye stir not up, nor awake `my' love, Until he please. 5 Who is this that cometh up from the wilderness, Leaning upon her beloved? Under the apple-tree I awakened thee: There thy mother was in travail with thee, There was she in travail that brought thee forth. 6 Set me as a seal upon thy heart, As a seal upon thine arm: For love is strong as death; Jealousy is cruel as Sheol; The flashes thereof are flashes of fire, A very flame of Jehovah. 7 Many waters cannot quench love, Neither can floods drown it: If a man would give all the substance of his house for love, He would utterly be contemned. 8 We have a little sister, And she hath no breasts: What shall we do for our sister In the day when she shall be spoken for? 9 If she be a wall, We will build upon her a turret of silver: And if she be a door, We will inclose her with boards of cedar. 10 I am a wall, and my breasts like the towers `thereof' Then was I in his eyes as one that found peace. 11 Solomon had a vineyard at Baal-hamon; He let out the vineyard unto keepers; Every one for the fruit thereof was to bring a thousand `pieces' of silver. 12 My vineyard, which is mine, is before me: Thou, O Solomon, shalt have the thousand, And those that keep the fruit thereof two hundred. 13 Thou that dwellest in the gardens, The companions hearken for thy voice: Cause me to hear it. 14 Make haste, my beloved, And be thou like to a roe or to a young hart Upon the mountains of spices.




Daily Bible - July 21

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

Reading for Today:

  • Ezra 3:1 Chapter 3 1 And when the seventh month was come, and the children of Israel were in the cities, the people gathered themselves together as one man to Jerusalem. –4:24
  • Psalms 86:11-17 11 Teach me thy way, O Jehovah; I will walk in thy truth: Unite my heart to fear thy name. 12 I will praise thee, O Lord my God, with my whole heart; And I will glorify thy name for evermore. 13 For great is thy lovingkindness toward me; And thou hast delivered my soul from the lowest Sheol. 14 O God, the proud are risen up against me, And a company of violent men have sought after my soul, And have not set thee before them. 15 But thou, O Lord, art a God merciful and gracious, Slow to anger, and abundant in lovingkindness and truth. 16 Oh turn unto me, and have mercy upon me; Give thy strength unto thy servant, And save the son of thy handmaid. 17 Show me a token for good, That they who hate me may see it, and be put to shame, Because thou, Jehovah, hast helped me, and comforted me. Psalm 87 A Psalm of the sons of Korah; a Song.
  • Proverbs 21:17-18 17 He that loveth pleasure shall be a poor man: He that loveth wine and oil shall not be rich. 18 The wicked is a ransom for the righteous; And the treacherous `cometh' in the stead of the upright.
  • Acts 22:1-30 Chapter 22 1 Brethren and fathers, hear ye the defence which I now make unto you. 2 And when they heard that he spake unto them in the Hebrew language, they were the more quiet: and he saith, 3 I am a Jew, born in Tarsus of Cilicia, but brought up in this city, at the feet of Gamaliel, instructed according to the strict manner of the law of our fathers, being zealous for God, even as ye all are this day: 4 and I persecuted this Way unto the death, binding and delivering into prisons both men and women. 5 As also the high priest doth bear me witness, and all the estate of the elders: from whom also I received letters unto the brethren, and journeyed to Damascus to bring them also that were there unto Jerusalem in bonds to be punished. 6 And it came to pass, that, as I made my journey, and drew nigh unto Damascus, about noon, suddenly there shone from heaven a great light round about me. 7 And I fell unto the ground, and heard a voice saying unto me, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? 8 And I answered, Who art thou, Lord? And he said unto me, I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom thou persecutest. 9 And they that were with me beheld indeed the light, but they heard not the voice of him that spake to me. 10 And I said, What shall I do, Lord? And the Lord said unto me, Arise, and go into Damascus; and there it shall be told thee of all things which are appointed for thee to do. 11 And when I could not see for the glory of that light, being led by the hand of them that were with me I came into Damascus. 12 And one Ananias, a devout man according to the law, well reported of by all the Jews that dwelt there, 13 came unto me, and standing by me said unto me, Brother Saul, receive thy sight. And in that very hour I looked up on him. 14 And he said, The God of our fathers hath appointed thee to know his will, and to see the Righteous One, and to hear a voice from his mouth. 15 For thou shalt be a witness for him unto all men of what thou hast seen and heard. 16 And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on his name. 17 And it came to pass, that, when I had returned to Jerusalem, and while I prayed in the temple, I fell into a trance, 18 and saw him saying unto me, Make haste, and get thee quickly out of Jerusalem; because they will not receive of thee testimony concerning me. 19 And I said, Lord, they themselves know that I imprisoned and beat in every synagogue them that believed on thee: 20 and when the blood of Stephen thy witness was shed, I also was standing by, and consenting, and keeping the garments of them that slew him. 21 And he said unto me, Depart: for I will send thee forth far hence unto the Gentiles. 22 And they gave him audience unto this word; and they lifted up their voice, and said, Away with such a fellow from the earth: for it is not fit that he should live. 23 And as they cried out, and threw off their garments, and cast dust into the air, 24 the chief captain commanded him be brought into the castle, bidding that he should be examined by scourging, that he might know for what cause they so shouted against him. 25 And when they had tied him up with the thongs, Paul said unto the centurion that stood by, Is it lawful for you to scourge a man that is a Roman, and uncondemned? 26 And when the centurion heard it, he went to the chief captain and told him, saying, What art thou about to do? for this man is a Roman. 27 And the chief captain came and said unto him, Tell me, art thou a Roman? And he said, Yea. 28 And the chief captain answered, With a great sum obtained I this citizenship. And Paul said, But I am `a Roman' born. 29 They then that were about to examine him straightway departed from him: and the chief captain also was afraid when he knew that he was a Roman, and because he had bound him. 30 But on the morrow, desiring to know the certainty wherefore he was accused of the Jews, he loosed him, and commanded the chief priests and all the council to come together, and brought Paul down and set him before them.

Notes:

Ezra 3:12 the first temple. The temple built by Solomon (1 Kin. 5–7).wept with a loud voice. The first temple had been destroyed 50 years earlier. The old men, who would have been about 60 years or older, knew that this second temple did not begin to match the splendor of Solomon’s temple nor did the presence of God reside within it (Hag. 2:1–4; Zech. 4:9, 10). The nation was small and weak, the temple smaller and less beautiful by far. There were no riches as in David and Solomon’s days. The ark was gone. But most disappointing was the absence of God’s Shekinah glory. Thus the weeping. shouted…for joy. For those who did not have a point of comparison, this was a great moment. Possibly Psalms 126 Chapter 126 1 When Jehovah brought back those that returned to Zion, We were like unto them that dream. 2 Then was our mouth filled with laughter, And our tongue with singing: Then said they among the nations, Jehovah hath done great things for them. 3 Jehovah hath done great things for us, `Whereof' we are glad. 4 Turn again our captivity, O Jehovah, As the streams in the South. 5 They that sow in tears shall reap in joy. 6 He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing seed for sowing, Shall doubtless come again with joy, bringing his sheaves `with him'. Psalm 127 A Song of Ascents; of Solomon. was written and sung for this occasion.

Ezra 4:6–23 This section represents later opposition which Ezra chose to put here as a parenthetical continuation of the theme “opposition to resettling and rebuilding Judah.” He first referred to the opposition from Israel’s enemies under King Ahasuerus (a regal title) or Xerxes (ca. 486–464 B.C.), who ruled at the time of Esther (4:6). Ezra 4:7 7 And in the days of Artaxerxes wrote Bishlam, Mithredath, Tabeel, and the rest of his companions, unto Artaxerxes king of Persia; and the writing of the letter was written in the Syrian `character', and set forth in the Syrian `tongue'. –23 then recounts opposition in Nehemiah’s day under Artaxerxes I (ca. 464–423 B.C.) expressed in a detailed letter of accusation against the Jews (vv. 7–16). It was successful in stopping the work, as the king’s reply indicates (vv. 17–23). Most likely, this opposition is that also spoken of in Nehemiah 1:3 3 And they said unto me, The remnant that are left of the captivity there in the province are in great affliction and reproach: the wall of Jerusalem also is broken down, and the gates thereof are burned with fire. . All this was the ongoing occurrence of severe animosity between the Israelites and Samaritans, which was later aggravated when the Samaritans built a rival temple on Mt. Gerizim ( John 4:9 9 The Samaritan woman therefore saith unto him, How is it that thou, being a Jew, askest drink of me, who am a Samaritan woman? (For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.) ). The opposition to Zerubbabel picks up again at 4:24–5:2 during the reign of Darius I, who actually reigned before either Ahasuerus or Artaxerxes.

Ezra 4:21 Now give the command. No small order for one or two workers, but rather the efforts of 50,000 were called to a halt. The king was commissioning a decree of great significance. The original language calls for the difference. This decree would not lose its authority until the king established a new decree.

Acts 22:3 3 I am a Jew, born in Tarsus of Cilicia, but brought up in this city, at the feet of Gamaliel, instructed according to the strict manner of the law of our fathers, being zealous for God, even as ye all are this day: I am indeed a Jew. A response to the false charges raised by the Asian Jews. born in Tarsus. Tarsus was the chief city of Cilicia. brought up in this city. Paul was born among the Hellenistic Jews of the Diaspora, but had been brought up in Jerusalem. Gamaliel. That Paul had studied under the most celebrated rabbi of that day was further evidence that the charges against him were absurd. fathers’ law. As a student of Gamaliel, Paul received extensive training both in the Old Testament law and in the rabbinic traditions. Also, though he did not mention it to the crowd, he had been a Pharisee. In light of all that, the charge that Paul opposed the law was ridiculous.

Acts 22:21 21 And he said unto me, Depart: for I will send thee forth far hence unto the Gentiles. –23 Paul’s insistence that the Lord had sent him to minister to the despised Gentiles was too much for the crowd. They viewed the teaching that Gentiles could be saved without first becoming Jewish proselytes (thus ranting them equal status with the Jewish people before God) as intolerable blasphemy.

DAY 21: Who were the people who made so much trouble for those Jews who returned from captivity?

In Ezra 3:3 3 And they set the altar upon its base; for fear was upon them because of the peoples of the countries: and they offered burnt-offerings thereon unto Jehovah, even burnt-offerings morning and evening. , it mentions “the people of those countries.” These were the settlers who had come to occupy the land during the 70 years of Israel’s absence. They were deportees brought in from other countries by the Assyrians and the Babylonians. These inhabitants saw the Jews as a threat and quickly wanted to undermine their allegiance to God (4:1,2). These are called “the adversaries”—Israel’s enemies in the region, who resisted their reestablishment of the temple.

These enemies came to the Jews offering their assistance, saying, “We have sacrificed to Him” (v. 2).This false claim represented the syncretistic worship of the Samaritans, whose ancestry came from intermarriage with foreign immigrants in Samaria after 722 B.C. (4:10). In the British Museum is a large cylinder; and inscribed on it are the annals of Esarhaddon, an Assyrian king (ca.681–669 B.C.), who deported a large population of Israelites from Palestine. A consequent settlement of Babylonian colonists took their place and intermarried with remaining Jewish women and their descendants. The result was the mongrel race called Samaritans. They had developed a superstitious form of worshiping God (2 Kin. 17:26–34).

Idolatry had been the chief cause for Judah’s deportation to Babylon, and they wanted to avoid it altogether. While they still had their spiritual problems ( Ezra 9 Chapter 9 1 Now when these things were done, the princes drew near unto me, saying, The people of Israel, and the priests and the Levites, have not separated themselves from the peoples of the lands, `doing' according to their abominations, even of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Jebusites, the Ammonites, the Moabites, the Egyptians, and the Amorites. 2 For they have taken of their daughters for themselves and for their sons, so that the holy seed have mingled themselves with the peoples of the lands: yea, the hand of the princes and rulers hath been chief in this trespass. 3 And when I heard this thing, I rent my garment and my robe, and plucked off the hair of my head and of my beard, and sat down confounded. 4 Then were assembled unto me every one that trembled at the words of the God of Israel, because of the trespass of them of the captivity; and I sat confounded until the evening oblation. 5 And at the evening oblation I arose up from my humiliation, even with my garment and my robe rent; and I fell upon my knees, and spread out my hands unto Jehovah my God; 6 and I said, O my God, I am ashamed and blush to lift up my face to thee, my God; for our iniquities are increased over our head, and our guiltiness is grown up unto the heavens. 7 Since the days of our fathers we have been exceeding guilty unto this day; and for our iniquities have we, our kings, and our priests, been delivered into the hand of the kings of the lands, to the sword, to captivity, and to plunder, and to confusion of face, as it is this day. 8 And now for a little moment grace hath been showed from Jehovah our God, to leave us a remnant to escape, and to give us a nail in his holy place, that our God may lighten our eyes, and give us a little reviving in our bondage. 9 For we are bondmen; yet our God hath not forsaken us in our bondage, but hath extended lovingkindness unto us in the sight of the kings of Persia, to give us a reviving, to set up the house of our God, and to repair the ruins thereof, and to give us a wall in Judah and in Jerusalem. 10 And now, O our God, what shall we say after this? for we have forsaken thy commandments, 11 which thou hast commanded by thy servants the prophets, saying, The land, unto which ye go to possess it, is an unclean land through the uncleanness of the peoples of the lands, through their abominations, which have filled it from one end to another with their filthiness: 12 now therefore give not your daughters unto their sons, neither take their daughters unto your sons, nor seek their peace or their prosperity for ever; that ye may be strong, and eat the good of the land, and leave it for an inheritance to your children for ever. 13 And after all that is come upon us for our evil deeds, and for our great guilt, seeing that thou our God hast punished us less than our iniquities deserve, and hast given us such a remnant, 14 shall we again break thy commandments, and join in affinity with the peoples that do these abominations? wouldest not thou be angry with us till thou hadst consumed us, so that there should be no remnant, nor any to escape? 15 O Jehovah, the God of Israel, thou art righteous; for we are left a remnant that is escaped, as it is this day: behold, we are before thee in our guiltiness; for none can stand before thee because of this. ; 10), they rejected any form of mixed religion, particularly this offer of cooperation which had sabotage as its goal (vv.4, 5).“King Cyrus…commanded us.” This note gave authority to their refusal.

Nevertheless, the enemies hired counselors who managed to “frustrate” the work on the temple. This caused a 16-year delay (ca. 536–520 B.C.). As a result, the people took more interest in their personal affairs than in spiritual matters (Hag. 1:2–6).

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

Models for Combating Discouragement

Published by John Piper for reading on July 21st.

My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. ( Psalms 73:26 26 My flesh and my heart faileth; `But' God is the strength of my heart and my portion for ever. )

Literally the verb is simply fail: “My flesh and my heart fail!” I am despondent! I am discouraged! But then immediately he fires a broadside against his despondency: “But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”

The psalmist does not yield. He battles unbelief with counterattack.

In essence, he says, “In myself I feel very weak and helpless and unable to cope. My body is shot and my heart is almost dead. But whatever the reason for this despondency, I will not yield. I will trust God and not myself. He is my strength and my portion.”

The Bible is replete with instances of saints struggling with sunken spirits. Psalms 19:7 7 The law of Jehovah is perfect, restoring the soul: The testimony of Jehovah is sure, making wise the simple. says, “The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul.” This is a clear admission that the soul of the saint sometimes needs to be revived. And if it needs to be revived, in a sense it was “dead.”

David says the same thing in Psalms 23:2 2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures; He leadeth me beside still waters. –3, “He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul.” The soul of the “man after [God’s] own heart” ( 1 Samuel 13:14 14 But now thy kingdom shall not continue: Jehovah hath sought him a man after his own heart, and Jehovah hath appointed him to be prince over his people, because thou hast not kept that which Jehovah commanded thee. ) needs to be restored. It was dying of thirst and ready to fall exhausted, but God led the soul to water and gave it life again.

God has put these testimonies in the Bible so that we might use them to fight the unbelief of despondency.



The Rich Young Ruler

Published by Charles Stanley, InTouch Ministries for reading on July 21st.

Luke 18:18-23 18 And a certain ruler asked him, saying, Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? 19 And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? none is good, save one, `even' God. 20 Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honor thy father and mother. 21 And he said, All these things have I observed from my youth up. 22 And when Jesus heard it, he said unto him, One thing thou lackest yet: sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me. 23 But when he heard these things, he became exceeding sorrowful; for he was very rich.

Three of the four gospels contain an account of the young man who asked Jesus a very important question: “What shall I do to inherit eternal life?” ( Luke 18:18 18 And a certain ruler asked him, saying, Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? ). A ruler with great wealth, he considered himself a moral man because he had kept the Lord’s commandments.

However, he was operating under the false assumption that good works bring salvation. He seemed to be asking Jesus what else he had to do to secure his place in heaven—besides all the good things that he had already accomplished.

This is what I refer to as the “great deception”—the false belief that eternal life can be earned through our own efforts. If we give credence to this lie, then we do not understand the problem of our sin and how it separates us from God. Scripture tells us that we have inherited a sinful nature from the first man (Rom. 5:12). Ever since that time, humanity has been in rebellion against the Lord and under His judgment. There is nothing we can do to pay for our sins.

If this were the end of the story, we would be a people without hope for today or the future. But the good news is that the heavenly Father recognized our plight and mercifully provided the way to heaven ( John 14:6 6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, and the truth, and the life: no one cometh unto the Father, but by me. ).

When God made us in His image, He created us to live forever. So, though our earthly bodies will perish, our spirits will never die. The question about eternal life is important, as we’ll spend eternity either with God in heaven or in an insufferable state, separated permanently from Him (Matt. 25:34, 41).

Bible in a Year: Song of Solomon 5-8 Chapter 5 1 I am come into my garden, my sister, `my' bride: I have gathered my myrrh with my spice; I have eaten my honeycomb with my honey; I have drunk my wine with my milk. Eat, O friends; Drink, yea, drink abundantly, O beloved. 2 I was asleep, but my heart waked: It is the voice of my beloved that knocketh, `saying', Open to me, my sister, my love, my dove, my undefiled; For my head is filled with dew, My locks with the drops of the night. 3 I have put off my garment; how shall I put it on? I have washed my feet; how shall I defile them? 4 My beloved put in his hand by the hole `of the door', And my heart was moved for him. 5 I rose up to open to my beloved; And my hands droppeth with myrrh, And my fingers with liquid myrrh, Upon the handles of the bolt. 6 I opened to my beloved; But my beloved had withdrawn himself, `and' was gone. My soul had failed me when he spake: I sought him, but I could not find him; I called him, but he gave me no answer. 7 The watchmen that go about the city found me, They smote me, they wounded me; The keepers of the walls took away my mantle from me. 8 I adjure you, O daughters of Jerusalem, If ye find my beloved, That ye tell him, that I am sick from love. 9 What is thy beloved more than `another' beloved, O thou fairest among women? What is thy beloved more than `another' beloved, That thou dost so adjure us? 10 My beloved is white and ruddy, The chiefest among ten thousand. 11 His head is `as' the most fine gold; His locks are bushy, `and' black as a raven. 12 His eyes are like doves beside the water-brooks, Washed with milk, `and' fitly set. 13 His cheeks are as a bed of spices, `As' banks of sweet herbs: His lips are `as' lilies, dropping liquid myrrh. 14 His hands are `as' rings of gold set with beryl: His body is `as' ivory work overlaid `with' sapphires. 15 His legs are `as' pillars of marble, set upon sockets of fine gold: His aspect is like Lebanon, excellent as the cedars. 16 His mouth is most sweet; Yea, he is altogether lovely. This is my beloved, and this is my friend, O daughters of Jerusalem. Chapter 6 1 Whither is thy beloved gone, O thou fairest among women? Whither hath thy beloved turned him, That we may seek him with thee? 2 My beloved is gone down to his garden, To the beds of spices, To feed in the gardens, and to gather lilies. 3 I am my beloved's, and my beloved is mine; He feedeth `his flock' among the lilies, 4 Thou art fair, O my love, as Tirzah, Comely as Jerusalem, Terrible as an army with banners. 5 Turn away thine eyes from me, For they have overcome me. Thy hair is as a flock of goats, That lie along the side of Gilead. 6 Thy teeth are like a flock of ewes, Which are come up from the washing; Whereof every one hath twins, And none is bereaved among them. 7 Thy temples are like a piece of a pomegranate Behind thy veil. 8 There are threescore queens, and fourscore concubines, And virgins without number. 9 My dove, my undefiled, is `but' one; She is the only one of her mother; She is the choice one of her that bare her. The daughters saw her, and called her blessed; `Yea', the queens and the concubines, and they praised her. 10 Who is she that looketh forth as the morning, Fair as the moon, Clear as the sun, Terrible as an army with banners? 11 I went down into the garden of nuts, To see the green plants of the valley, To see whether the vine budded, `And' the pomegranates were in flower. 12 Before I was aware, my soul set me `Among' the chariots of my princely people. 13 Return, return, O Shulammite; Return, return, that we may look upon thee. Why will ye look upon the Shulammite, As upon the dance of Mahanaim? Chapter 7 1 How beautiful are thy feet in sandals, O prince's daughter! Thy rounded thighs are like jewels, The work of the hands of a skilful workman. 2 Thy body is `like' a round goblet, `Wherein' no mingled wine is wanting: Thy waist is `like' a heap of wheat Set about with lilies. 3 Thy two breasts are like two fawns That are twins of a roe. 4 Thy neck is like the tower of ivory; Thine eyes `as' the pools in Heshbon, By the gate of Bath-rabbim; Thy nose is like the tower of Lebanon Which looketh toward Damascus. 5 Thy head upon thee is like Carmel, And the hair of thy head like purple; The king is held captive in the tresses `thereof'. 6 How fair and how pleasant art thou, O love, for delights! 7 This thy stature is like to a palm-tree, And thy breasts to its clusters. 8 I said, I will climb up into the palm-tree, I will take hold of the branches thereof: Let thy breasts be as clusters of the vine, And the smell of thy breath like apples, 9 And thy mouth like the best wine, That goeth down smoothly for my beloved, Gliding through the lips of those that are asleep. 10 I am my beloved's; And his desire is toward me. 11 Come, my beloved, let us go forth into the field; Let us lodge in the villages. 12 Let us get up early to the vineyards; Let us see whether the vine hath budded, `And' its blossom is open, `And' the pomegranates are in flower: There will I give thee my love. 13 The mandrakes give forth fragrance; And at our doors are all manner of precious fruits, new and old, Which I have laid up for thee, O my beloved. Chapter 8 1 Oh that thou wert as my brother, That sucked the breasts of my mother! `When' I should find thee without, I would kiss thee; Yea, and none would despise me. 2 I would lead thee, `and' bring thee into my mother's house, Who would instruct me; I would cause thee to drink of spiced wine, Of the juice of my pomegranate. 3 His left hand `should be' under my head, And his right hand should embrace me. 4 I adjure you, O daughters of Jerusalem, That ye stir not up, nor awake `my' love, Until he please. 5 Who is this that cometh up from the wilderness, Leaning upon her beloved? Under the apple-tree I awakened thee: There thy mother was in travail with thee, There was she in travail that brought thee forth. 6 Set me as a seal upon thy heart, As a seal upon thine arm: For love is strong as death; Jealousy is cruel as Sheol; The flashes thereof are flashes of fire, A very flame of Jehovah. 7 Many waters cannot quench love, Neither can floods drown it: If a man would give all the substance of his house for love, He would utterly be contemned. 8 We have a little sister, And she hath no breasts: What shall we do for our sister In the day when she shall be spoken for? 9 If she be a wall, We will build upon her a turret of silver: And if she be a door, We will inclose her with boards of cedar. 10 I am a wall, and my breasts like the towers `thereof' Then was I in his eyes as one that found peace. 11 Solomon had a vineyard at Baal-hamon; He let out the vineyard unto keepers; Every one for the fruit thereof was to bring a thousand `pieces' of silver. 12 My vineyard, which is mine, is before me: Thou, O Solomon, shalt have the thousand, And those that keep the fruit thereof two hundred. 13 Thou that dwellest in the gardens, The companions hearken for thy voice: Cause me to hear it. 14 Make haste, my beloved, And be thou like to a roe or to a young hart Upon the mountains of spices.




Reminders of Assurance

Published by Strength For Today - GTY for reading on July 21st.

“Therefore, I shall always be ready to remind you of these things, even though you already know them, and have been established in the truth which is present with you” ( 2 Peter 1:12 12 Wherefore I shall be ready always to put you in remembrance of these things, though ye know them, and are established in the truth which is with `you'. ).

Remembering where you’ve been is the key to getting where you want to go.

The summer of 1980 was a turning point in my ministry. After nearly a dozen years as pastor of Grace Community Church, I took a three-month sabbatical. In my heart I wasn’t sure if I would come back. I felt I had taught my congregation all I knew, and I feared boring them by reiterating the same old things.

But during that summer the Lord taught me a spiritual truth that revitalized my ministry. He showed me the importance of reminding believers of truth they already know. As I read and studied 2 Peter 1 Chapter 1 1 Simon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained a like precious faith with us in the righteousness of our God and `the' Saviour Jesus Christ: 2 Grace to you and peace be multiplied in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord; 3 seeing that his divine power hath granted unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that called us by his own glory and virtue; 4 whereby he hath granted unto us his precious and exceeding great promises; that through these ye may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in that world by lust. 5 Yea, and for this very cause adding on your part all diligence, in your faith supply virtue; and in `your' virtue knowledge; 6 and in `your' knowledge self-control; and in `your' self-control patience; and in `your' patience godliness; 7 and in `your' godliness brotherly kindness; and in `your' brotherly kindness love. 8 For if these things are yours and abound, they make you to be not idle nor unfruitful unto the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 For he that lacketh these things is blind, seeing only what is near, having forgotten the cleansing from his old sins. 10 Wherefore, brethren, give the more diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never stumble: 11 for thus shall be richly supplied unto you the entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. 12 Wherefore I shall be ready always to put you in remembrance of these things, though ye know them, and are established in the truth which is with `you'. 13 And I think it right, as long as I am in this tabernacle, to stir you up by putting you in remembrance; 14 knowing that the putting off of my tabernacle cometh swiftly, even as our Lord Jesus Christ signified unto me. 15 Yea, I will give diligence that at every time ye may be able after my decease to call these things to remembrance. 16 For we did not follow cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. 17 For he received from God the Father honor and glory, when there was borne such a voice to him by the Majestic Glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased: 18 and this voice we `ourselves' heard borne out of heaven, when we were with him in the holy mount. 19 And we have the word of prophecy `made' more sure; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day-star arise in your hearts: 20 knowing this first, that no prophecy of scripture is of private interpretation. 21 For no prophecy ever came by the will of man: but men spake from God, being moved by the Holy Spirit. , I realized the Lord had called Peter to that same ministry. The more I thought about it, the more important I realized such a ministry is, for it is all too easy to forget spiritual truth. The tragic story of Israel, whose forgetfulness of spiritual truth led to disaster, is a sobering warning.

One of the primary purposes of Communion is to remember the glorious truths about our Lord and His sacrifice on our behalf. Remembrance is also an essential aspect of assurance of salvation.

What are we in danger of forgetting? As he begins his second epistle, Peter lists several key truths Christians must not forget. He reminds us of the realities of our salvation and of the saving faith God graciously granted us based on the righteousness of Jesus Christ ( 2 Peter 1 Chapter 1 1 Simon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained a like precious faith with us in the righteousness of our God and `the' Saviour Jesus Christ: 2 Grace to you and peace be multiplied in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord; 3 seeing that his divine power hath granted unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that called us by his own glory and virtue; 4 whereby he hath granted unto us his precious and exceeding great promises; that through these ye may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in that world by lust. 5 Yea, and for this very cause adding on your part all diligence, in your faith supply virtue; and in `your' virtue knowledge; 6 and in `your' knowledge self-control; and in `your' self-control patience; and in `your' patience godliness; 7 and in `your' godliness brotherly kindness; and in `your' brotherly kindness love. 8 For if these things are yours and abound, they make you to be not idle nor unfruitful unto the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 For he that lacketh these things is blind, seeing only what is near, having forgotten the cleansing from his old sins. 10 Wherefore, brethren, give the more diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never stumble: 11 for thus shall be richly supplied unto you the entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. 12 Wherefore I shall be ready always to put you in remembrance of these things, though ye know them, and are established in the truth which is with `you'. 13 And I think it right, as long as I am in this tabernacle, to stir you up by putting you in remembrance; 14 knowing that the putting off of my tabernacle cometh swiftly, even as our Lord Jesus Christ signified unto me. 15 Yea, I will give diligence that at every time ye may be able after my decease to call these things to remembrance. 16 For we did not follow cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. 17 For he received from God the Father honor and glory, when there was borne such a voice to him by the Majestic Glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased: 18 and this voice we `ourselves' heard borne out of heaven, when we were with him in the holy mount. 19 And we have the word of prophecy `made' more sure; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day-star arise in your hearts: 20 knowing this first, that no prophecy of scripture is of private interpretation. 21 For no prophecy ever came by the will of man: but men spake from God, being moved by the Holy Spirit. :1), resulting in grace, peace, and knowledge of Him (v. 2). As a result, we have “everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence” (v. 3).

Having reminded us of the glorious truths of our salvation, Peter then calls us to remember several key virtues that need to be manifest in our lives. As we study them over the next several days, I pray that God will help you to remember what you know and thereby grow in your assurance of salvation.

Suggestions for Prayer

Thank God for the unsearchable riches of His salvation.

For Further Study

Begin a program of Scripture memorization today to saturate your mind with the truths of God’s Word.

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        

Remembering Your Inheritance

Published by Drawing Near - GTY for reading on July 21st.
"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you" (1 Pet. 1:3-4).

Victory over present circumstances comes when you focus on your eternal inheritance and praise God for it.

One amazing privilege you have as a Christian is to be the beneficiary of a rich and exciting spiritual inheritance. Jesus gave us a glimpse of its magnitude when He said, "The King will say to those on His right, 'Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world'" (Matt. 25:34). The kingdom itself is part of your inheritance!

This inheritance is shared by every child of God. Hebrews 9:15 15 And for this cause he is the mediator of a new covenant, that a death having taken place for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first covenant, they that have been called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance. says that Christ "is the mediator of a new covenant, in order that . . . those who have been called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance." Jesus commissioned Paul to preach to the Gentiles "so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the dominion of Satan to God, in order that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith in [Him]" ( Acts 26:18 18 to open their eyes, that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive remission of sins and an inheritance among them that are sanctified by faith in me. ).

No one can fully understand "all that God has prepared for those who love Him" (1 Cor. 2:9). Consequently, at times you might forget that you're a child of the King and begin to act like this world is all you have to live for. God may even have to discipline you from time to time to correct your behavior. But someday you will be all God created you to be and will know the full glory of your inheritance. In the meantime, be diligent to "set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on the earth" (Col. 3:2). Focus on your inheritance and praise God for it. That will help you see beyond your present circumstances to the glory that awaits you when Jesus calls you home.

Suggestions for Prayer

Thank God for the rich inheritance that is yours in Christ.

For Further Study

Read 1 Peter chapter 1.

  • What spiritual privileges did Peter mention?
  • What commands did he give?
  • Is there any connection between those privileges and commands? Explain.

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        

July 21 - Healings and the Existence of Disease

Published by Daily Readings - GTY for reading on July 21st.

“When evening came, they brought to Him many who were demon-possessed; and He cast out the spirits with a word, and healed all who were ill. This was to fulfill what was spoken through Isaiah the prophet: ‘He Himself took our infirmities and carried away our diseases’” ( Matthew 8:16-17 16 And when even was come, they brought unto him many possessed with demons: and he cast out the spirits with a word, and healed all that were sick: 17 that it might be fulfilled which was spoken through Isaiah the prophet, saying: Himself took our infirmities, and bare our diseases. ).

Jesus performed healing miracles for reasons far more profound than to wipe out all disease, which did happen in Palestine while He ministered. First, He healed to personally participate in humanity’s suffering and illness. He knew people’s inner feelings of agony, bewilderment, despair, and frustration because of disease, and He wanted to sympathize. He vicariously experienced those elements, “for we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses” (Heb. 4:15).

Second, Christ healed people because He experienced the awful effects of disease’s root cause, sin. He could not see the pain of disease and death without feeling sin’s pain. Jesus wept for Lazarus ( John 11:34-36 34 and said, Where have ye laid him? They say unto him, Lord, come and see. 35 Jesus wept. 36 The Jews therefore said, Behold how he loved him! ) not from sadness but from feeling the sting of sin and evil that brings death to everyone. Sin and sickness both operate as effects of the Fall, and only divine power can cure either.

Third, our Lord “took our infirmities and carried away our diseases” as a preview of His kingdom’s most wonderful elements—the permanent removal of sin, sorrow, and disease (cf. Rev. 21:1-4). His redeeming work to remove the penalty and guilt of sin for His own would be complete. Just as with His transfiguration, in which He pulled back the veil over His flesh and gave three disciples a glimpse of His divine glory, Jesus gave those healed and all who witnessed a gracious preview of His eternal kingdom.

Ask Yourself

The question is not whether or not Jesus can heal, but rather why He chooses to sometimes withhold the healing we seek. When He does, what eternal purposes might He have in mind?

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

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Morning Devotional by C.H. Spurgeon for July 21st

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

Isaiah 37:22 22 this is the word which Jehovah hath spoken concerning him: The virgin daughter of Zion hath despised thee and laughed thee to scorn; the daughter of Jerusalem hath shaken her head at thee.

REASSURED by the Word of the Lord, the poor trembling citizens of Zion grew bold, and shook their heads at Sennacherib's boastful threats. Strong faith enables the servants of God to look with calm contempt upon their most haughty foes. We know that our enemies are attempting impossibilities. They seek to destroy the eternal life, which cannot die while Jesus lives; to overthrow the citadel, against which the gates of hell shall not prevail. They kick against the pricks to their own wounding, and rush upon the bosses of Jehovah's buckler to their own hurt.

We know their weakness. What are they but men? And what is man but a worm? They roar and swell like waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame. When the Lord ariseth, they shall fly as chaff before the wind, and be consumed as crackling thorns. Their utter powerlessness to do damage to the cause of God and His truth, may make the weakest soldiers in Zion's ranks laugh them to scorn.

Above all, we know that the Most High is with us, and when He dresses Himself in arms, where are His enemies? If He cometh forth from His place, the potsherds of the earth will not long contend with their Maker. His rod of iron shall dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel, and their very remembrance shall perish from the earth. Away, then, all fears, the kingdom is safe in the King's hands. Let us shout for joy, for the Lord reigneth, and His foes shall be as straw for the dunghill.

"As true as God's own word is true; Nor earth, nor hell, with all their crew, Against us shall prevail. A jest, and by-word, are they grown; God is with us, we are his own, Our victory cannot fail."

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

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

Psalms 42:9 9 I will say unto God my rock, Why hast thou forgotten me? Why go I mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?

CANST thou answer this, believer? Canst thou find any reason why thou art so often mourning instead of rejoicing? Why yield to gloomy anticipations? Who told thee that the night would never end in day? Who told thee that the sea of circumstances would ebb out till there should be nothing left but long leagues of the mud of horrible poverty? Who told thee that the winter of thy discontent would proceed from frost to frost, from snow, and ice, and hail, to deeper snow, and yet more heavy tempest of despair? Knowest thou not that day follows night, that flood comes after ebb, that spring and summer succeed winter? Hope thou then! Hope thou ever! For God fails thee not. Dost thou not know that thy God loves thee in the midst of all this? Mountains, when in darkness hidden, are as real as in day, and God's love is as true to thee now as it was in thy brightest moments. No father chastens always: thy Lord hates the rod as much as thou dost; He only cares to use it for that reason which should make thee willing to receive it, namely, that it works thy lasting good. Thou shalt yet climb Jacob's ladder with the angels, and behold Him who sits at the top of it—thy covenant God. Thou shalt yet, amidst the splendours of eternity, forget the trials of time, or only remember them to bless the God who led thee through them, and wrought thy lasting good by them. Come, sing in the midst of tribulation. Rejoice even while passing through the furnace. Make the wilderness to blossom like the rose! Cause the desert to ring with thine exulting joys, for these light afflictions will soon be over, and then "for ever with the Lord," thy bliss shall never wane.

"Faint not nor fear, His arms are near, He changeth not, and thou art dear; Only believe and thou shalt see, That Christ is all in all to thee."

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