HE IS RISEN!

"For at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord."
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The Call to Serve

Published by InTouch Ministries for reading on June 25th.

Galatians 5:13 13 For ye, brethren, were called for freedom; only `use' not your freedom for an occasion to the flesh, but through love be servants one to another.

Jesus commanded that we serve one another, but obeying this is not natural for us. Sure, there are times we like to help others. But service that involves self-sacrifice—especially for someone we deem undeserving—is much more difficult to do.

What does it mean to serve? Consider Christ’s example. He gave up everything in heaven to live among us, subjecting Himself to dishonor and human frailty. And He loved even those who rejected Him. Think about how He humbled Himself and washed the disciples’ feet at Passover. This was a disgusting, lowly task that a slave might be assigned—far from anything a king should do. He even knew these men were about to abandon Him but served them anyway.

Ultimately, Christ gave His life for us. And He did so while we were still sinners (Rom. 5:8). Serving others was His lifestyle—part of who He was and what He did. As His followers, we should strive to be like Him.

Therefore, service involves first dying to our selfish attitudes and motives. Only then can we live to glorify Christ. Jesus said that the greatest commandments are to love God wholeheartedly and to love others (Matt. 22:37-39). Ironically, it is only when we humbly serve others that we experience God’s fullness in our own lives.

Many try to achieve happiness by striving after their own desires. The result? Tired, unsatisfied people. True contentment happens only when we walk closely with Jesus. He shows where we can humble ourselves and take care of others. These actions, done through His strength, will be blessed.

Bible in One Year: Psalms 76-78 Chapter 76 1 In Judah is God known: His name is great in Israel. 2 In Salem also is his tabernacle, And his dwelling-place in Zion. 3 There he brake the arrows of the bow; The shield, and the sword, and the battle. Selah 4 Glorious art thou `and' excellent, From the mountains of prey. 5 The stouthearted are made a spoil, They have slept their sleep; And none of the men of might have found their hands. 6 At thy rebuke, O God of Jacob, Both chariot and horse are cast into a deep sleep. 7 Thou, even thou, art to be feared; And who may stand in thy sight when once thou art angry? 8 Thou didst cause sentence to be heard from heaven; The earth feared, and was still, 9 When God arose to judgment, To save all the meek of the earth. Selah 10 Surely the wrath of man shall praise thee: The residue of wrath shalt thou gird upon thee. 11 Vow, and pay unto Jehovah your God: Let all that are round about him bring presents unto him that ought to be feared. 12 He will cut off the spirit of princes: He is terrible to the kings of the earth. Psalm 77 For the Chief Musician; after the manner of Jeduthan. A Psalm of Asaph. Chapter 77 1 I will cry unto God with my voice, Even unto God with my voice; and he will give ear unto me. 2 In the day of my trouble I sought the Lord: My hand was stretched out in the night, and slacked not; My soul refused to be comforted. 3 I remember God, and am disquieted: I complain, and my spirit is overwhelmed. Selah 4 Thou holdest mine eyes watching: I am so troubled that I cannot speak. 5 I have considered the days of old, The years of ancient times. 6 I call to remembrance my song in the night: I commune with mine own heart; And my spirit maketh diligent search. 7 Will the Lord cast off for ever? And will he be favorable no more? 8 Is his lovingkindness clean gone for ever? Doth his promise fail for evermore? 9 Hath God forgotten to be gracious? Hath he in anger shut up his tender mercies? Selah 10 And I said, This is my infirmity; `But I will remember' the years of the right hand of the Most High. 11 I will make mention of the deeds of Jehovah; For I will remember thy wonders of old. 12 I will meditate also upon all thy work, And muse on thy doings. 13 Thy way, O God, is in the sanctuary: Who is a great god like unto God? 14 Thou art the God that doest wonders: Thou hast made known thy strength among the peoples. 15 Thou hast with thine arm redeemed thy people, The sons of Jacob and Joseph. Selah 16 The waters saw thee, O God; The waters saw thee, they were afraid: The depths also trembled. 17 The clouds poured out water; The skies sent out a sound: Thine arrows also went abroad. 18 The voice of thy thunder was in the whirlwind; The lightnings lightened the world: The earth trembled and shook. 19 Thy way was in the sea, And thy paths in the great waters, And thy footsteps were not known. 20 Thou leddest thy people like a flock, By the hand of Moses and Aaron. Psalm 78 Maschil of Asaph. Chapter 78 1 Give ear, O my people, to my law: Incline your ears to the words of my mouth. 2 I will open my mouth in a parable; I will utter dark sayings of old, 3 Which we have heard and known, And our fathers have told us. 4 We will not hide them from their children, Telling to the generation to come the praises of Jehovah, And his strength, and his wondrous works that he hath done. 5 For he established a testimony in Jacob, And appointed a law in Israel, Which he commanded our fathers, That they should make them known to their children; 6 That the generation to come might know `them', even the children that should be born; Who should arise and tell `them' to their children, 7 That they might set their hope in God, And not forget the works of God, But keep his commandments, 8 And might not be as their fathers, A stubborn and rebellious generation, A generation that set not their heart aright, And whose spirit was not stedfast with God. 9 The children of Ephraim, being armed and carrying bows, Turned back in the day of battle. 10 They kept not the covenant of God, And refused to walk in his law; 11 And they forgat his doings, And his wondrous works that he had showed them. 12 Marvellous things did he in the sight of their fathers, In the land of Egypt, in the field of Zoan. 13 He clave the sea, and caused them to pass through; And he made the waters to stand as a heap. 14 In the day-time also he led them with a cloud, And all the night with a light of fire. 15 He clave rocks in the wilderness, And gave them drink abundantly as out of the depths. 16 He brought streams also out of the rock, And caused waters to run down like rivers. 17 Yet went they on still to sin against him, To rebel against the Most High in the desert. 18 And they tempted God in their heart By asking food according to their desire. 19 Yea, they spake against God; They said, Can God prepare a table in the wilderness? 20 Behold, he smote the rock, so that waters gushed out, And streams overflowed; Can he give bread also? Will he provide flesh for his people? 21 Therefore Jehovah heard, and was wroth; And a fire was kindled against Jacob, And anger also went up against Israel; 22 Because they believed not in God, And trusted not in his salvation. 23 Yet he commanded the skies above, And opened the doors of heaven; 24 And he rained down manna upon them to eat, And gave them food from heaven. 25 Man did eat the bread of the mighty: He sent them food to the full. 26 He caused the east wind to blow in the heavens; And by his power he guided the south wind. 27 He rained flesh also upon them as the dust, And winged birds as the sand of the seas: 28 And he let it fall in the midst of their camp, Round about their habitations. 29 So they did eat, and were well filled; And he gave them their own desire. 30 They were not estranged from that which they desired, Their food was yet in their mouths, 31 When the anger of God went up against them, And slew of the fattest of them, And smote down the young men of Israel. 32 For all this they sinned still, And believed not in his wondrous works. 33 Therefore their days did he consume in vanity, And their years in terror. 34 When he slew them, then they inquired after him; And they returned and sought God earnestly. 35 And they remembered that God was their rock, And the Most High God their redeemer. 36 But they flattered him with their mouth, And lied unto him with their tongue. 37 For their heart was not right with him, Neither were they faithful in his covenant. 38 But he, being merciful, forgave `their' iniquity, and destroyed `them' not: Yea, many a time turned he his anger away, And did not stir up all his wrath. 39 And he remembered that they were but flesh, A wind that passeth away, and cometh not again. 40 How oft did they rebel against him in the wilderness, And grieve him in the desert! 41 And they turned again and tempted God, And provoked the Holy One of Israel. 42 They remember not his hand, Nor the day when he redeemed them from the adversary; 43 How he set his signs in Egypt, And his wonders in the field of Zoan, 44 And turned their rivers into blood, And their streams, so that they could not drink. 45 He sent among them swarms of flies, which devoured them; And frogs, which destroyed them. 46 He gave also their increase unto the caterpillar, And their labor unto the locust. 47 He destroyed their vines with hail, And their sycomore-trees with frost. 48 He gave over their cattle also to the hail, And their flocks to hot thunderbolts. 49 He cast upon them the fierceness of his anger, Wrath, and indignation, and trouble, A band of angels of evil. 50 He made a path for his anger; He spared not their soul from death, But gave their life over to the pestilence, 51 And smote all the first-born in Egypt, The chief of their strength in the tents of Ham. 52 But he led forth his own people like sheep, And guided them in the wilderness like a flock. 53 And he led them safely, so that they feared not; But the sea overwhelmed their enemies. 54 And he brought them to the border of his sanctuary, To this mountain, which his right hand had gotten. 55 He drove out the nations also before them, And allotted them for an inheritance by line, And made the tribes of Israel to dwell in their tents. 56 Yet they tempted and rebelled against the Most High God, And kept not his testimonies; 57 But turned back, and dealt treacherously like their fathers: They were turned aside like a deceitful bow. 58 For they provoked him to anger with their high places, And moved him to jealousy with their graven images. 59 When God heard `this', he was wroth, And greatly abhorred Israel; 60 So that he forsook the tabernacle of Shiloh, The tent which he placed among men; 61 And delivered his strength into captivity, And his glory into the adversary's hand. 62 He gave his people over also unto the sword, And was wroth with his inheritance. 63 Fire devoured their young men; And their virgins had no marriage-song. 64 Their priests fell by the sword; And their widows made no lamentation. 65 Then the Lord awaked as one out of sleep, Like a mighty man that shouteth by reason of wine. 66 And he smote his adversaries backward: He put them to a perpetual reproach. 67 Moreover he refused the tent of Joseph, And chose not the tribe of Ephraim, 68 But chose the tribe of Judah, The mount Zion which he loved. 69 And he built his sanctuary like the heights, Like the earth which he hath established for ever. 70 He chose David also his servant, And took him from the sheepfolds: 71 From following the ewes that have their young he brought him, To be the shepherd of Jacob his people, and Israel his inheritance. 72 So he was their shepherd according to the integrity of his heart, And guided them by the skilfulness of his hands. Psalm 79 A Psalm of Asaph.




How to Know God’s Will

Published by InTouch Ministries for reading on June 25th.

Proverbs 3:5-6 5 Trust in Jehovah with all thy heart, And lean not upon thine own understanding: 6 In all thy ways acknowledge him, And he will direct thy paths.

Sadly, we frequently fool ourselves into believing that what we want to do is also what God wants us to do. Therefore, when we believe we have heard from the Lord, it is quite important for us to ask some serious questions.

Is it consistent with the Word of God? God will never tell you to do something that goes against His perfect, unchanging Word. If you feel called to do something contrary to Scripture, you can be certain that it is not the Lord who is urging you to do so.

Can you confidently ask God to enable you to do this? If you are feeling uneasy about requesting God’s help and empowerment, that may be a sign the direction did not originate with Him. We must never be ashamed to call upon the Lord’s power in the endeavors He sets before us.

Is it wise? The heavenly Father never calls us to act foolishly. Therefore, if there is no discernible purpose in the action, you may need to question whether the message was from Him.

Does it fit with your identity in Christ? We are God’s children, who are being conformed day by day into the likeness of Christ. If you feel led to do something that goes against the image of Jesus in your life, then you can be sure God hasn’t called you to do it.

The Lord has not left us in a void without help. He is here with us, in the presence of the Holy Spirit, enabling us to hear His voice and perceive His guidance in our life. Before rushing into action, be sure that you have heard Him correctly.

Bible in One Year: Psalms 76-78 Chapter 76 1 In Judah is God known: His name is great in Israel. 2 In Salem also is his tabernacle, And his dwelling-place in Zion. 3 There he brake the arrows of the bow; The shield, and the sword, and the battle. Selah 4 Glorious art thou `and' excellent, From the mountains of prey. 5 The stouthearted are made a spoil, They have slept their sleep; And none of the men of might have found their hands. 6 At thy rebuke, O God of Jacob, Both chariot and horse are cast into a deep sleep. 7 Thou, even thou, art to be feared; And who may stand in thy sight when once thou art angry? 8 Thou didst cause sentence to be heard from heaven; The earth feared, and was still, 9 When God arose to judgment, To save all the meek of the earth. Selah 10 Surely the wrath of man shall praise thee: The residue of wrath shalt thou gird upon thee. 11 Vow, and pay unto Jehovah your God: Let all that are round about him bring presents unto him that ought to be feared. 12 He will cut off the spirit of princes: He is terrible to the kings of the earth. Psalm 77 For the Chief Musician; after the manner of Jeduthan. A Psalm of Asaph. Chapter 77 1 I will cry unto God with my voice, Even unto God with my voice; and he will give ear unto me. 2 In the day of my trouble I sought the Lord: My hand was stretched out in the night, and slacked not; My soul refused to be comforted. 3 I remember God, and am disquieted: I complain, and my spirit is overwhelmed. Selah 4 Thou holdest mine eyes watching: I am so troubled that I cannot speak. 5 I have considered the days of old, The years of ancient times. 6 I call to remembrance my song in the night: I commune with mine own heart; And my spirit maketh diligent search. 7 Will the Lord cast off for ever? And will he be favorable no more? 8 Is his lovingkindness clean gone for ever? Doth his promise fail for evermore? 9 Hath God forgotten to be gracious? Hath he in anger shut up his tender mercies? Selah 10 And I said, This is my infirmity; `But I will remember' the years of the right hand of the Most High. 11 I will make mention of the deeds of Jehovah; For I will remember thy wonders of old. 12 I will meditate also upon all thy work, And muse on thy doings. 13 Thy way, O God, is in the sanctuary: Who is a great god like unto God? 14 Thou art the God that doest wonders: Thou hast made known thy strength among the peoples. 15 Thou hast with thine arm redeemed thy people, The sons of Jacob and Joseph. Selah 16 The waters saw thee, O God; The waters saw thee, they were afraid: The depths also trembled. 17 The clouds poured out water; The skies sent out a sound: Thine arrows also went abroad. 18 The voice of thy thunder was in the whirlwind; The lightnings lightened the world: The earth trembled and shook. 19 Thy way was in the sea, And thy paths in the great waters, And thy footsteps were not known. 20 Thou leddest thy people like a flock, By the hand of Moses and Aaron. Psalm 78 Maschil of Asaph. Chapter 78 1 Give ear, O my people, to my law: Incline your ears to the words of my mouth. 2 I will open my mouth in a parable; I will utter dark sayings of old, 3 Which we have heard and known, And our fathers have told us. 4 We will not hide them from their children, Telling to the generation to come the praises of Jehovah, And his strength, and his wondrous works that he hath done. 5 For he established a testimony in Jacob, And appointed a law in Israel, Which he commanded our fathers, That they should make them known to their children; 6 That the generation to come might know `them', even the children that should be born; Who should arise and tell `them' to their children, 7 That they might set their hope in God, And not forget the works of God, But keep his commandments, 8 And might not be as their fathers, A stubborn and rebellious generation, A generation that set not their heart aright, And whose spirit was not stedfast with God. 9 The children of Ephraim, being armed and carrying bows, Turned back in the day of battle. 10 They kept not the covenant of God, And refused to walk in his law; 11 And they forgat his doings, And his wondrous works that he had showed them. 12 Marvellous things did he in the sight of their fathers, In the land of Egypt, in the field of Zoan. 13 He clave the sea, and caused them to pass through; And he made the waters to stand as a heap. 14 In the day-time also he led them with a cloud, And all the night with a light of fire. 15 He clave rocks in the wilderness, And gave them drink abundantly as out of the depths. 16 He brought streams also out of the rock, And caused waters to run down like rivers. 17 Yet went they on still to sin against him, To rebel against the Most High in the desert. 18 And they tempted God in their heart By asking food according to their desire. 19 Yea, they spake against God; They said, Can God prepare a table in the wilderness? 20 Behold, he smote the rock, so that waters gushed out, And streams overflowed; Can he give bread also? Will he provide flesh for his people? 21 Therefore Jehovah heard, and was wroth; And a fire was kindled against Jacob, And anger also went up against Israel; 22 Because they believed not in God, And trusted not in his salvation. 23 Yet he commanded the skies above, And opened the doors of heaven; 24 And he rained down manna upon them to eat, And gave them food from heaven. 25 Man did eat the bread of the mighty: He sent them food to the full. 26 He caused the east wind to blow in the heavens; And by his power he guided the south wind. 27 He rained flesh also upon them as the dust, And winged birds as the sand of the seas: 28 And he let it fall in the midst of their camp, Round about their habitations. 29 So they did eat, and were well filled; And he gave them their own desire. 30 They were not estranged from that which they desired, Their food was yet in their mouths, 31 When the anger of God went up against them, And slew of the fattest of them, And smote down the young men of Israel. 32 For all this they sinned still, And believed not in his wondrous works. 33 Therefore their days did he consume in vanity, And their years in terror. 34 When he slew them, then they inquired after him; And they returned and sought God earnestly. 35 And they remembered that God was their rock, And the Most High God their redeemer. 36 But they flattered him with their mouth, And lied unto him with their tongue. 37 For their heart was not right with him, Neither were they faithful in his covenant. 38 But he, being merciful, forgave `their' iniquity, and destroyed `them' not: Yea, many a time turned he his anger away, And did not stir up all his wrath. 39 And he remembered that they were but flesh, A wind that passeth away, and cometh not again. 40 How oft did they rebel against him in the wilderness, And grieve him in the desert! 41 And they turned again and tempted God, And provoked the Holy One of Israel. 42 They remember not his hand, Nor the day when he redeemed them from the adversary; 43 How he set his signs in Egypt, And his wonders in the field of Zoan, 44 And turned their rivers into blood, And their streams, so that they could not drink. 45 He sent among them swarms of flies, which devoured them; And frogs, which destroyed them. 46 He gave also their increase unto the caterpillar, And their labor unto the locust. 47 He destroyed their vines with hail, And their sycomore-trees with frost. 48 He gave over their cattle also to the hail, And their flocks to hot thunderbolts. 49 He cast upon them the fierceness of his anger, Wrath, and indignation, and trouble, A band of angels of evil. 50 He made a path for his anger; He spared not their soul from death, But gave their life over to the pestilence, 51 And smote all the first-born in Egypt, The chief of their strength in the tents of Ham. 52 But he led forth his own people like sheep, And guided them in the wilderness like a flock. 53 And he led them safely, so that they feared not; But the sea overwhelmed their enemies. 54 And he brought them to the border of his sanctuary, To this mountain, which his right hand had gotten. 55 He drove out the nations also before them, And allotted them for an inheritance by line, And made the tribes of Israel to dwell in their tents. 56 Yet they tempted and rebelled against the Most High God, And kept not his testimonies; 57 But turned back, and dealt treacherously like their fathers: They were turned aside like a deceitful bow. 58 For they provoked him to anger with their high places, And moved him to jealousy with their graven images. 59 When God heard `this', he was wroth, And greatly abhorred Israel; 60 So that he forsook the tabernacle of Shiloh, The tent which he placed among men; 61 And delivered his strength into captivity, And his glory into the adversary's hand. 62 He gave his people over also unto the sword, And was wroth with his inheritance. 63 Fire devoured their young men; And their virgins had no marriage-song. 64 Their priests fell by the sword; And their widows made no lamentation. 65 Then the Lord awaked as one out of sleep, Like a mighty man that shouteth by reason of wine. 66 And he smote his adversaries backward: He put them to a perpetual reproach. 67 Moreover he refused the tent of Joseph, And chose not the tribe of Ephraim, 68 But chose the tribe of Judah, The mount Zion which he loved. 69 And he built his sanctuary like the heights, Like the earth which he hath established for ever. 70 He chose David also his servant, And took him from the sheepfolds: 71 From following the ewes that have their young he brought him, To be the shepherd of Jacob his people, and Israel his inheritance. 72 So he was their shepherd according to the integrity of his heart, And guided them by the skilfulness of his hands. Psalm 79 A Psalm of Asaph.




Integrity Is Devoted to Prayer

Published by Grace To You for reading on June 25th.

“Now when Daniel knew that the document was signed, he entered his house (now in his roof chamber he had windows open toward Jerusalem); and he continued kneeling on his knees three times a day, praying and giving thanks before his God, as he had been doing previously. Then these men came by agreement and found Daniel making petition and supplication before his God” ( Daniel 6:10-11 10 And when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went into his house (now his windows were open in his chamber toward Jerusalem) and he kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime. 11 Then these men assembled together, and found Daniel making petition and supplication before his God. ).

There is a direct link between prayer and integrity.

It is no coincidence that those whom God uses most effectively are those who are most fervent in prayer. David, for example, called upon the Lord in the morning, at noon, and at night, and the Lord heard his prayers (Ps. 55:17). Daniel followed the same pattern, praying three times a day from his roof chamber, where he could look out above the rooftops of Babylon toward Jerusalem.

Houses in Babylon often had latticework over their windows to allow ventilation, and Daniel would be visible through that latticework as he faced Jerusalem, prayed for its restoration, and gave thanks to God. He knew that Darius had issued a decree making it illegal to pray and that violating the decree would give his enemies opportunity to accuse him, but he would not forsake prayer or compromise his convictions. He would continue to call upon the Lord and leave any consequences to Him.

That was a bold decision for Daniel to make, especially in light of the punishment he would face. Would you be as bold if you knew that your prayers would lead to persecution and possible death? Perhaps more important, are you that committed to prayer even when you aren’t facing persecution? I trust that you are. The seriousness of the spiritual battles you face requires faithfulness in prayer. That’s why Paul said, “Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with an attitude of thanksgiving” (Col. 4:2).

Suggestions for Prayer

Are you devoted to prayer? If not, begin today to set aside a specific time daily to commune with the Lord and meditate on His Word. You might try keeping a written record of your prayer requests, noting the specific ways God answers them.

For Further Study

What was our Lord’s pattern of prayer, and how did He instruct His disciples to pray (see Luke 5:16 16 But he withdrew himself in the deserts, and prayed. ; 6:12; Matt. 6:5-13)?

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

Showing Mercy

Published by Grace To You for reading on June 25th.
"So speak and so act, as those who are to be judged by the law of liberty. For judgment will be merciless to one who has shown no mercy; mercy triumphs over judgment" ( James 2:12-13 12 So speak ye, and so do, as men that are to be judged by a law of liberty. 13 For judgment `is' without mercy to him that hath showed no mercy: mercy glorieth against judgment. ).

Showing mercy is characteristic of a regenerate person.

Divine judgment has never been a popular topic of conversation. Godly people throughout history have been ridiculed, persecuted, and even killed for proclaiming it. In their efforts to win the approval of men, false teachers question or deny it. But James 2:12-13 12 So speak ye, and so do, as men that are to be judged by a law of liberty. 13 For judgment `is' without mercy to him that hath showed no mercy: mercy glorieth against judgment. reminds us that judgment will come, so we'd better live accordingly.

The basis for divine judgment is God's Word, which James called "the law of liberty" (v. 12). It is a liberating law because it frees you from sin's bondage and the curse of death and hell. It is the agency of the Spirit's transforming work, cutting deep into your soul to judge your thoughts and motives (Heb. 4:12). It gives you the wisdom that leads to salvation, and equips you for godly living (2 Tim. 3:15-17). It imparts truth and discernment, freeing you from error and spiritual deception. It is in every sense a law of freedom and liberation for those who embrace it.

The law liberates believers but condemns unbelievers. The phrase "judgment will be merciless to one who has shown no mercy" (v. 13) speaks of unrelieved judgment in which every sin receives its fullest punishment. That can only mean eternal hell! If the Word is at work in you, its effects will be evident in the way you speak and act. If you are impartial and merciful to people in need, that shows you are a true Christian and have received God's forgiveness and mercy yourself. If you show partiality and disregard for the needy, the law becomes your judge, exposing the fact that you aren't truly redeemed.

Are you a merciful person? Do you seek to provide for others without favoritism? When you fail to do so, do you confess your sin and seek forgiveness and restoration? Those are marks of true faith.

Suggestions for Prayer

Praise the Lord for His great mercy toward you, and be sure to show mercy to those around you.

For Further Study

Read Luke 1:46-55 46 And Mary said, My soul doth magnify the Lord, 47 And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour. 48 For he hath looked upon the low estate of his handmaid: For behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed. 49 For he that is mighty hath done to me great things; And holy is his name. 50 And his mercy is unto generations and generations On them that fear him. 51 He hath showed strength with his arm; He hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their heart. 52 He hath put down princes from `their' thrones, And hath exalted them of low degree. 53 The hungry he hath filled with good things; And the rich he hath sent empty away. 54 He hath given help to Israel his servant, That he might remember mercy 55 (As he spake unto our fathers) Toward Abraham and his seed for ever. and 68-79. Follow Mary's and Zacharias's example by rejoicing over God's mercy toward His people.

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

Additional Resources

Daily Bible - June 25

Published by Grace To You for reading on June 25th.

Reading for Today:

  • 1 Chronicles 13:1 Chapter 13 1 And David consulted with the captains of thousands and of hundreds, even with every leader. –14:17
  • Psalms 78:1-11 Chapter 78 1 Give ear, O my people, to my law: Incline your ears to the words of my mouth. 2 I will open my mouth in a parable; I will utter dark sayings of old, 3 Which we have heard and known, And our fathers have told us. 4 We will not hide them from their children, Telling to the generation to come the praises of Jehovah, And his strength, and his wondrous works that he hath done. 5 For he established a testimony in Jacob, And appointed a law in Israel, Which he commanded our fathers, That they should make them known to their children; 6 That the generation to come might know `them', even the children that should be born; Who should arise and tell `them' to their children, 7 That they might set their hope in God, And not forget the works of God, But keep his commandments, 8 And might not be as their fathers, A stubborn and rebellious generation, A generation that set not their heart aright, And whose spirit was not stedfast with God. 9 The children of Ephraim, being armed and carrying bows, Turned back in the day of battle. 10 They kept not the covenant of God, And refused to walk in his law; 11 And they forgat his doings, And his wondrous works that he had showed them.
  • Proverbs 19:20-21 20 Hear counsel, and receive instruction, That thou mayest be wise in thy latter end. 21 There are many devices in a man's heart; But the counsel of Jehovah, that shall stand.
  • Acts 7:22-43 22 And Moses was instructed in all the wisdom of the Egyptians; and he was mighty in his words and works. 23 But when he was well-nigh forty years old, it came into his heart to visit his brethren the children of Israel. 24 And seeing one `of them' suffer wrong, he defended him, and avenged him that was oppressed, smiting the Egyptian: 25 and he supposed that his brethren understood that God by his hand was giving them deliverance; but they understood not. 26 And the day following he appeared unto them as they strove, and would have set them at one again, saying, Sirs, ye are brethren; why do ye wrong one to another? 27 But he that did his neighbor wrong thrust him away, saying, Who made thee a ruler and a judge over us? 28 Wouldest thou kill me, as thou killedst the Egyptian yesterday? 29 And Moses fled at this saying, and became a sojourner in the land of Midian, where he begat two sons. 30 And when forty years were fulfilled, an angel appeared to him in the wilderness of Mount Sinai, in a flame of fire in a bush. 31 And when Moses saw it, he wondered at the sight: and as he drew near to behold, there came a voice of the Lord, 32 I am the God of thy fathers, the God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob. And Moses trembled, and durst not behold. 33 And the Lord said unto him, Loose the shoes from thy feet: for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground. 34 I have surely seen the affliction of my people that is in Egypt, and have heard their groaning, and I am come down to deliver them: and now come, I will send thee into Egypt. 35 This Moses whom they refused, saying, Who made thee a ruler and a judge? him hath God sent `to be' both a ruler and a deliverer with the hand of the angel that appeared to him in the bush. 36 This man led them forth, having wrought wonders and signs in Egypt, and in the Red Sea, and in the wilderness forty years. 37 This is that Moses, who said unto the children of Israel, A prophet shall God raise up unto you from among your brethren, like unto me. 38 This is he that was in the church in the wilderness with the angel that spake to him in the Mount Sinai, and with our fathers: who received living oracles to give unto us: 39 to whom our fathers would not be obedient, but thrust him from them, and turned back in their hearts unto Egypt, 40 saying unto Aaron, Make us gods that shall go before us: for as for this Moses, who led us forth out of the land of Egypt, we know not what is become of him. 41 And they made a calf in those days, and brought a sacrifice unto the idol, and rejoiced in the works of their hands. 42 But God turned, and gave them up to serve the host of heaven; as it is written in the book of the prophets, Did ye offer unto me slain beasts and sacrifices Forty years in the wilderness, O house of Israel? 43 And ye took up the tabernacle of Moloch, And the star of the god Rephan, The figures which ye made to worship them: And I will carry you away beyond Babylon.

Notes:

1 Chronicles 13:3 3 and let us bring again the ark of our God to us: for we sought not unto it in the days of Saul. the ark of our God. Not only had the ark been stolen and profaned by the Philistines (1 Sam. 5–6), but when it was returned, Saul neglected to seek God’s instruction for it. Scripture records only one occasion when Saul sought God’s ark after its return (1 Sam.14:18).

1 Chronicles 14:8 8 And when the Philistines heard that David was anointed king over all Israel, all the Philistines went up to seek David: and David heard of it, and went out against them. –17 The Philistines desired to ruin David before the throne was consolidated. Their plan was to kill David, but God gave him victory over the Philistines (unlike Saul) and thus declared both to the Philistines and Israel His support of Israel’s new king.

Psalms 78:2 2 I will open my mouth in a parable; I will utter dark sayings of old, parable. The word is used here in the broader sense of a story with moral and spiritual applications. dark sayings. Puzzling, ambiguous information. The lessons of history are not easily discerned correctly. For an infallible interpretation of history, there must be a prophet. The specific puzzle in Israel’s history is the nation’s rebellious spirit in spite of God’s grace.

Acts 7:23 23 But when he was well-nigh forty years old, it came into his heart to visit his brethren the children of Israel. he was forty years old. Moses’ life may be divided into three 40-year periods. The first 40 years encompassed his birth and life in Pharaoh’s court; the second, his exile in Midian (vv. 29, 30); and the third revolved around the events of the Exodus and the years of Israel’s wilderness wandering (v. 36).

Acts 7:43 43 And ye took up the tabernacle of Moloch, And the star of the god Rephan, The figures which ye made to worship them: And I will carry you away beyond Babylon. Babylon. Amos wrote Damascus ( Amos 5:27 27 Therefore will I cause you to go into captivity beyond Damascus, saith Jehovah, whose name is the God of hosts. ), while Stephen said Babylon. Amos was prophesying the captivity of the northern kingdom in Assyria, a deportation beyond Damascus. Later, the southern kingdom was taken captive to Babylon. Stephen, inspired to do so, extended the prophecy to embrace the judgment on the whole nation summarizing their idolatrous history and its results. 

DAY 25: What does it mean that God “gave them up” in Acts 7:42 42 But God turned, and gave them up to serve the host of heaven; as it is written in the book of the prophets, Did ye offer unto me slain beasts and sacrifices Forty years in the wilderness, O house of Israel? ? 

“Then God turned and gave them up to worship the host of heaven.” Here Stephen quoted from Amos 5:25 25 Did ye bring unto me sacrifices and offerings in the wilderness forty years, O house of Israel? –27. It means that God judicially abandoned the people to their sin and idolatry (Hos. 4:17).The worship of the sun, moon, and stars began in the wilderness and lasted through the Babylonian captivity (Deut. 4:19; 17:3; 2 Kin. 17:16; 21:3–5; 23:4; 2 Chr. 33:3, 5; Jer. 8:2; 19:13; Zeph. 1:5).

Similarly, in Romans 1:24 24 Wherefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts unto uncleanness, that their bodies should be dishonored among themselves: , it states that “God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts.” The Greek word used is for handing over a prisoner to his sentence. When men consistently abandon God, He will abandon them (Judg. 10:13; 2 Chr. 15:2; 24:20; Ps. 81:11, 12; Matt. 15:14). He accomplishes this 1) indirectly and immediately, by removing His restraint and allowing their sin to run its inevitable course and 2) directly and eventually, by specific acts of divine judgment and punishment. “Uncleanness” is a general term often used of decaying matter, like the contents of a grave. It speaks here of sexual immorality (2 Cor. 12:21; Gal. 5:19–23; Eph. 5:3; 1 Thess. 4:7), which begins in the heart and moves to the shame of the body.

And “God gave them up to vile passions” (Rom. 1:26). This is identified in vv. 26, 27 as homosexuality, a sin roundly condemned in Scripture (Gen. 19; Lev. 18:22; 1 Cor. 6:9–11; Gal. 5:19–21; Eph. 5:3–5; 1 Tim. 1:9, 10; Jude 7). Rather than the normal Greek term for “women,” this is a general word for female. Paul mentions women first to show the extent of debauchery under the wrath of abandonment, because in most cultures women are the last to be affected by moral collapse.

And “God gave them over to a debased mind” (v. 28).This translates a Greek word that means “not passing the test.” It was often used to describe useless, worthless metals, discarded because they contained too much impurity. God has tested man’s minds and found them worthless and useless (Jer. 6:30).

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

June 25 - The Narrow Gate, Part 1

Published by Grace To You for reading on June 25th.

“‘Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it’” ( Matthew 7:13 13 Enter ye in by the narrow gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many are they that enter in thereby. –14).

Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount has been heading toward the appeal found in these two verses. Here is His call to people to make a decision about becoming a citizen of God’s kingdom and inheriting eternal life, or remaining a citizen of this fallen world and receiving damnation. Every person eventually comes to this crossroads in life, where he’ll need to decide on which gate to enter and which way to follow.

“Enter” is in a mood that demands a definite and specific action. Jesus pleads for people to enter the narrow gate, God’s gate, the only gate that leads to life and to heaven. Throughout the sermon Jesus had contrasted the narrowness of God’s internal standard of righteousness to the broad and external standards of Jewish tradition. The path to that narrow way of kingdom living is through the narrow gate of the King Himself: “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me” ( 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. ). We proclaim a narrow gospel because that is the only gospel God has given and therefore the only gospel there is.

Make sure you are proclaiming to others the narrow gospel God has given us.

Ask Yourself

We needn’t apologize that the way to Christ is narrow and exclusive. For if it weren’t for this narrow way, there would be no way. Try to avoid presenting the gospel to others in an apologetic manner, one that accommodates more human choice and preference than God’s Word allows. Invite them to the true gospel alone, knowing that the Spirit of God will draw others only to the truth.

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

Additional Resources

The Death Trap Called Covetousness

Published by John Piper for reading on June 25th.

Those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. ( 1 Timothy 6:9 9 But they that are minded to be rich fall into a temptation and a snare and many foolish and hurtful lusts, such as drown men in destruction and perdition. )

Covetousness can destroy the soul in hell.

The reason I am sure that this destruction is not some temporary financial fiasco, but final destruction in hell, is what Paul says in 1 Timothy 6:12 12 Fight the good fight of the faith, lay hold on the life eternal, whereunto thou wast called, and didst confess the good confession in the sight of many witnesses. . He says that covetousness is to be resisted with the fight of faith; then he adds, “Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession.” What’s at stake in fleeing covetousness and fighting for contentment in future grace is eternal life.

So when Paul says in 1 Timothy 6:9 9 But they that are minded to be rich fall into a temptation and a snare and many foolish and hurtful lusts, such as drown men in destruction and perdition. that the desire to be rich plunges people into ruin, he isn’t saying that greed can mess up your marriage or your business (which it certainly can!). He is saying that covetousness can mess up your eternity. Or, as 1 Timothy 6:10 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil: which some reaching after have been led astray from the faith, and have pierced themselves through with many sorrows. says at the end, “It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs” (literally: “impaled themselves with many pains”).

God has gone the extra mile in the Bible to warn us mercifully that the idolatry of covetousness is a no-win situation. It’s a dead-end street in the worst sense of the word. It’s a trick and a trap.

So my word to you is the word of 1 Timothy 6:11: 11 But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness. “Flee these things.” When you see it coming (in a television ad or a Christmas catalog or an Internet pop-up or a neighbor’s purchase), run from it the way you would run from a roaring, starving lion escaped from the zoo.



Morning Devotional by C.H. Spurgeon for June 25th

Published by C.H. Spurgeon for reading on June 25th.

Isaiah 40:9 9 O thou that tellest good tidings to Zion, get thee up on a high mountain; O thou that tellest good tidings to Jerusalem, lift up thy voice with strength; lift it up, be not afraid; say unto the cities of Judah, Behold, your God!

OUR knowledge of Christ is somewhat like climbing one of our Welsh mountains. When you are at the base you see but little: the mountain itself appears to be but one-half as high as it really is. Confined in a little valley, you discover scarcely anything but the rippling brooks as they descend into the stream at the foot of the mountain. Climb the first rising knoll, and the valley lengthens and widens beneath your feet. Go higher, and you see the country for four or five miles round, and you are delighted with the widening prospect. Mount still, and the scene enlarges; till at last, when you are on the summit, and look east, west, north, and south, you see almost all England lying before you. Yonder is a forest in some distant county, perhaps two hundred miles away, and here the sea, and there a shining river and the smoking chimneys of a manufacturing town, or the masts of the ships in a busy port. All these things please and delight you, and you say, "I could not have imagined that so much could be seen at this elevation." Now, the Christian life is of the same order. When we first believe in Christ we see but little of Him. The higher we climb the more we discover of His beauties. But who has ever gained the summit? Who has known all the heights and depths of the love of Christ which passes knowledge? Paul, when grown old, sitting grey-haired, shivering in a dungeon in Rome, could say with greater emphasis than we can, "I know whom I have believed," for each experience had been like the climbing of a hill, each trial had been like ascending another summit, and his death seemed like gaining the top of the mountain, from which he could see the whole of the faithfulness and the love of Him to whom he had committed his soul. Get thee up, dear friend, into the high mountain.

Evening Devotional by C.H. Spurgeon for June 25th

Published by C.H. Spurgeon for reading on June 25th.

Genesis 8:9 9 but the dove found no rest for the sole of her foot, and she returned unto him to the ark; for the waters were on the face of the whole earth: and he put forth his hand, and took her, and brought her in unto him into the ark.

READER, can you find rest apart from the ark, Christ Jesus? Then be assured that your religion is vain. Are you satisfied with anything short of a conscious knowledge of your union and interest in Christ? Then woe unto you. If you profess to be a Christian, yet find full satisfaction in worldly pleasures and pursuits, your profession is false. If your soul can stretch herself at rest, and find the bed long enough, and the coverlet broad enough to cover her in the chambers of sin, then you are a hypocrite, and far enough from any right thoughts of Christ or perception of His preciousness. But if, on the other hand, you feel that if you could indulge in sin without punishment, yet it would be a punishment of itself; and that if you could have the whole world, and abide in it for ever, it would be quite enough misery not to be parted from it; for your God—your God—is what your soul craves after; then be of good courage, thou art a child of God. With all thy sins and imperfections, take this to thy comfort: if thy soul has no rest in sin, thou are not as the sinner is! If thou art still crying after and craving after something better, Christ has not forgotten thee, for thou hast not quite forgotten Him. The believer cannot do without his Lord; words are inadequate to express his thoughts of Him. We cannot live on the sands of the wilderness, we want the manna which drops from on high; our skin bottles of creature confidence cannot yield us a drop of moisture, but we drink of the rock which follows us, and that rock is Christ. When you feed on Him your soul can sing, "He hath satisfied my mouth with good things, so that my youth is renewed like the eagle's," but if you have Him not, your bursting wine vat and well-filled barn can give you no sort of satisfaction: rather lament over them in the words of wisdom, "Vanity of vanities, all is vanity!"

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