Originally posted on Levi's Daily Thoughts:

I would like to wish you all a blessed Easter (Resurrection) Sunday. Today I’m interrupting our study of the life of David, and I would like to share with you 10 results of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.

If Christ has not been raised, our hope is futile and we are still in our sins.
 (1 Corinthians 15:17)

Here are ten amazing things we owe to Jesus’s resurrection:

1) A Savior who can never die again. “We know that Christ being raised from the dead will never die again” (Romans 6:9).

2) Repentance. “The God of our fathers raised Jesus, whom you killed by hanging Him on a tree. God exalted Him at His right hand as Leader and Savior, to give repentance to Israel” (Acts 5:31).

3) New birth. “By His great mercy we have been born anew to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” (1 Peter 1:3).

4) Forgiveness of sin. “If…

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Scripture: “I am the resurrection and the life. Everyone who lives in Me and believes in Me will never ever die.” John 11:25-26

Civil war in the Middle East. The political turmoil in Europe. The crises throughout Africa. The unrest in South America. All over the world, we see the truth of Jesus Christ’s statement to His followers: “you will hear of wars and threats of wars” (Matthew 24:6).

Many have predicted that when mankind became more educated, they would give up their warlike ways, and peace would rule the planet. Yet the story of humanity, right up to the present day, is a story of war, conflict and suffering.

Hope for a better world — for true peace — can be found only in God, not in ourselves. Human striving leads to death. Life comes from God alone.

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Just for You

How do you know for sure that you will enjoy God’s everlasting peace in the life to come? Click to learn more about assurance of Salvation with the Articles for Growth series.

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• For God’s peace, justice, and mercy
• To thank God for the perfect life and example of Jesus Christ
• To confess and repent from your sins and accept God’s forgiveness
• To praise God that He has conquered sin and death through Jesus Christ
• To thank God for the Resurrection of Jesus Christ and the eternal life offer through Him

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QuickViewBibleThe following Infographics are from the NIV QuickView Bible (Zondervan, 2012) (website). Navigate and understand the Bible easily with more than 360 visual Infographics, 20 maps, lists, and color-coded sections alongside the NIV text. The Bible is presented as never before through at-a-glance snapshots that visually display key stories and insights from God’s Word.

NIV QuickView Bible - Passion Week

NIV QuickView Bible - Good Friday

NIV QuickView Bible - Crucifixion Forecast

NIV QuickView Bible - Christ and the Crucifixion

NIV QuickView Bible - Resurrection

NIV QuickView Bible - Who is Jesus Christ?

NIV QuickView Bible - Teachings of Jesus in the Gospels

 

RisenIndeed The last week of Jesus’ ministry, often called Passion Week, was packed with action—powerful teaching, bold confrontation, intrigue, and prophecy both fulfilled and made anew. Explore it all with the free Faithlife Study Bible app.

Passion Week begins when Jesus rides into the Jerusalem on a donkey to the adulation and cries of, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” The account is recorded in several different places in Scripture, but the most detailed is found in Matthew 21:1–11. The study notes accompanying that passage include an detailed and visually interesting infographic:

jesuslife.passion_infographic

(Click to enlarge)

In this one event, Jesus fulfilled a number of Old Testament prophecies about the Messiah, something he did no less than 68 times in his life. This chart details each of them:

prophecychart

(Click to enlarge)

Jesus found many opportunities to preach throughout Passion Week. The Parable of the Two Sons (Matthew 21:28–32), Parable of the Tenants (Matthew 21:33–45), Parable of the Wedding Feast (Matthew 22:1–14), The Great Commandment (Matthew 22:34–40), and the Seven Woes to the Scribes and Pharisees (Matthew 23:1–36). And whenever Jesus taught, the religious leaders were close by to challenge him. One of their Passion Week challenges came in the form of a trick question about taxes, intended to trap Jesus. The Pharisees asked him if it was lawful to pay Roman taxes—a clever question because whether Jesus answered yes or no, the answer could be used against him. Jesus managed to answer without giving them the ammunition they anticipated. The Faithlife Study Bible notes explain: “Jesus both settles the matter and avoids incriminating Himself. The coin had Caesar’s image and title on it, and therefore by extension, belonged to Caesar—it was his currency. However, if Caesar got his due, God should likewise receive His due—the whole earth is His and everything in it (Psalm 24:1). What they were required to give God was of far greater worth than a coin—their entire lives. The currency of the kingdom of God is based on following Christ.” The Faithlife Study Bible also includes this great image so we can visualize the coin in question:

silverdenarius

(Click to enlarge)

After this, the religious leaders in Israel began making plans to kill Jesus. Scripture uses a unique word to describe their actions—dolos. It means deceitful, underhanded, or treacherous. The FSB’s study notes point it out and suggest that Matthew used it to contrast Jesus’ innocence and righteousness. I also see a link to A Greek–English Lexicon of the New Testament, since I have that book in my Logos library (don’t forget that books you get on Logos.com network automatically with your other resources to make them more powerful). The last night of Jesus’ ministry was spent with his disciples celebrating the Jewish holiday of Passover. He instituted our New Testament observance of communion in the midst of the Passover celebration. Afterward, Jesus and his disciples walked from the city to pray in the Garden of Gethsemane, where he would be arrested later that evening. We sent a video-production team to Israel to capture images and video of important locations like this. You can take a virtual stroll through the garden in the study notes on Matthew 26:36:

gardenvideo

(Click to enlarge &  play)

Judas Iscariot, one of Jesus’ disciples, led his enemies to the garden where they could arrest him in secret. Ten of the disciples fled, but Peter jumped to his defense, wounding a servant of the High Priest. Jesus intervened, reminding him that the armies of heaven stood ready to defend them all, but he chose not to call on them. The religious leaders of Israel bribed witnesses to accuse him in a secret trial held in the council chamber. The Faithlife Study Bible includes this image, helping you imagine the setting:

Sanhedrin

(Click to enlarge)

They found him guilty, but lacked the authority to carry out the death sentence they sought, so they brought Jesus to appear before Pontius Pilate, the Roman Prefect in Jerusalem. For years, Scripture was the only record of Pilate. Many skeptics denied his existence until an inscription was uncovered by Robert Bull in 1982. With this archaeological discovery, the details of the biblical narrative were once again confirmed accurate:

pilatesinscription

(Click to enlarge)

Though Pilate did not want to order Jesus’ execution at first, eventually he succumbed to the public pressure whipped up by the religious leaders. Jesus was crucified outside the city walls at a place called Golgotha, which means “place of the skull.” Protestant archaeologists in the nineteenth century identified this hill as the most likely spot because its location fits the biblical description and the rock formation does resemble a skull. The Faithlife Study Bible includes this image:

golgotha

(Click to enlarge)

If the story ended there, we probably would not know it today. But of course, Jesus did not stay dead. Three days after his execution, two women traveled to his tomb to pay their respects and felt an earthquake beneath them. When they arrived at the tomb, they found it empty. An angel told them not to fear, because Jesus had risen from the dead. The account is recorded in Matthew 28, and the Faithlife Study Bible puts it this way:

This chapter contains the most important event in human history: the resurrection of Jesus the Messiah from the dead. In fulfillment of his prediction, He conquers the grave and rises again to life.

So we celebrate, once a week on Sunday and once a year on Easter, the victory that Jesus won over death, hell, and the grave. He is risen. He is risen indeed.

To explore Passion Week and the rest of Scripture in a new way, download the free Faithlife Study Bible on your smartphone or tablet today.

Source

Up from the Grave He AROSE!!!

“Up from the grave He arose. Hallelujah, He did! That same power now has come to live in us to enable us to be what we could have never been apart from Him. The same way we received it, is the same way we appropriate it every day of our life. Surrender and bowing before Him.”
-Dr. Wayne Barber

In the JA wiki article “Up From the Grave He Arose!,” Dr. Barber says: “The resurrection of Jesus is the foundation of all of Christianity. In fact, if one could prove that Jesus did not bodily resurrect from the grave, then Christianity is dead…My question to all of us is, ‘Do we believe it?’ Do you believe it? Obviously, if you don’t, then you cannot claim to be a born-again believer. You must believe in the bodily resurrection of Christ in order to be a believer. That is Who you put your faith into, that is who comes to live in you. It is the keystone really of our Christianity.”

As believers in Christ Jesus, we believe that Resurrection Sunday is our greatest holiday. We pray your day will be filled with the power of His resurrection, and that you will take time to revel in how great a salvation is ours because of our Savior Jesus Christ!!

Read more of the article “Up From the Grave, He Arose!”

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15:19 most to be pitied. This is because of the sacrifices made in this life in light of the hope of life to come. If there is no life to come, we would be better “to eat, drink and be merry” before we die.

15:20 first fruits. This speaks of the first installment of harvest to eternal life, in which Christ’s resurrection will precipitate and guarantee that all of the saints who have died will be resurrected also. See Jn 14:19.

MacArthur Study Bible

15:20 Christ’s resurrection, grounded in the truth of eyewitness testimony (vv. 4–8), changes everything. If God raised Christ from the dead, then Christ truly was the firstfruits (Ex. 23:19; Lev. 23:10; Deut. 18:4; Neh. 10:35) or the first of many others who would also be raised from the dead. (See also Rom. 8:29; 1 Cor. 15:23; Col. 1:18.) The term “firstfruits” (Gk. aparchē) refers to a first sample of an agricultural crop that indicates the nature and quality of the rest of the crop; therefore, Christ’s resurrection body gives a foretaste of what those of believers will be like.

ESV Study Bible

Reading for Today:

Judges 5:1–6:40
Psalm 49:1-9
Proverbs 14:20-21
Luke 15:1-10

Notes:

Judges 6:8 the LORD sent a prophet. He used prophets in isolated cases before Samuel, the band of prophets Samuel probably founded (1 Sam. 10:5), and later such prophets as Elijah, Elisha, and the writing prophets—major and minor. Here the prophet is sent to bring the divine curse because of their infidelity (v. 10).

Psalm 49:6 Those who trust in their wealth. Mankind’s propensity to trust in his own material goods is well attested in Scripture (e.g., Ps. 52:7; Jer. 17:5). Biblically this is exposed as the epitome of stupidity (see Prov. 23:4, 5; Luke 12:16ff.).

Proverbs 14:20 This sad-but-true picture of human nature is not given approvingly, but only as a fact.

Luke 15:7 joy in heaven. A reference to the joy of God Himself. There was complaining on earth, among the Pharisees (v. 2); but there was great joy with God and among the angels (v. 10). persons who need no repentance. I.e., those who think themselves righteous (see 5:32; 16:15; 18:9).

DAY 20: Was it right for Gideon to ask God for signs?

In Judges 6:11, Gideon received a visitation from the “Angel of the LORD.” This is identified as “the LORD” Himself (vv. 14, 16, 23, 25, 27). See Genesis 16:7–14; 18:1; 32:24–30 for other appearances. Conditions in the land were grim due to the Midianites, which led Gideon to express his frustration that the Lord had forsaken them utterly.

Like Moses (Ex. 33), Gideon desired a sign when the Lord directed him to rise up and lead a deliverance (v. 17). In both incidents, revelation was so rare and wickedness so prevalent that they desired full assurance. God graciously gave it. In vv. 18–23, the fire from God brought the realization of the presence of God to Gideon, filling him with awe and even the fear of death. When he saw the Lord, he knew the Lord had also seen him in his fallenness. Thus he feared the death that sinners should die before Holy God. But God graciously promised life (v. 23).

In vv. 36–40, Gideon’s two requests for signs in the fleece should be viewed as weak faith. Even Gideon recognized this when he said, “Do not be angry with me” (v. 39), since God had already specifically promised His presence and victory (vv. 12, 14, 16). But they were also legitimate requests for confirmation of victory against seemingly impossible odds (6:5; 7:2, 12). God nowhere reprimanded Gideon, but was very compassionate in giving what his inadequacy requested. In 7:10–15, God volunteered a sign to boost Gideon’s faith.

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

You have heard that it was said, “You shall not commit adultery”; but I say to you that everyonewho looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. – Matthew 5:27–28

The seventh commandment protects the sanctity of marriage, and anyone who relies on external righteousness to keep it is prone to break it. Just as anger equals murder, lustful desire equals adultery.

In Jesus’ admonition, “looks” indicates intentional and repeated gazing. Therefore He means purposeful looking that arouses lust. In contemporary terms, it condemns a man who sees an X-rated movie, watches a salacious television show, or visits pornographic websites. It encompasses any thought or action done to arouse sexual desire.

Jesus is not referring to accidental exposure to sexual temptation. It is no sin if a man looks away from a provocative scene. It is the continued look that Christ condemns, because that demonstrates an adulterous heart. And by inference this prohibition would apply to women also, who must not gaze at men or dress in seductive ways to elicit stares.

In earliest redemptive history, Job understood these principles: “I have made a covenant with my eyes; how then could I gaze at a virgin? . . . If my step has turned from the way, or my heart followed my eyes, or if any spot has stuck to my hands, let me sow and another eat, and let my crops be uprooted” (Job 31:1, 7–8).

If the adulterous heart gives in to temptation, the godly heart will protect itself, praying, “Turn away my eyes from looking at vanity, and revive me in Your ways. Establish Your word to Your servant, as that which produces reverence for You” (Ps. 119:37–38; cf. 2 Tim. 2:22).

Ask Yourself

What could replace your next lustful thought or glance? Instead of focusing on what God has graciously restricted, what blessings, privileges, and freedoms can capture your attention instead?

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

 

Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God.

1 Peter 3:18

 

It’s incredible to think that One who was perfectly just would die for the unjust. Pilate was correct when he said of Jesus, “I find no guilt in this man” (Luke 23:4). The charges brought against our Lord were fabricated. The witnesses were bribed, and the conviction itself was illegal.

Yet Christ triumphed through such unjust suffering by bringing us to God. And though believers will never suffer as substitutes or redeemers, God may use our Christlike response to unjust suffering to draw others to Himself.

So when the Lord asks us to suffer for His sake, we must realize we are only being asked to endure what He Himself endured so that we can point others to Him.[1]

 

 

[1] MacArthur, J. (2001). Truth for today : a daily touch of God’s grace (p. 125). Nashville, Tenn.: J. Countryman.

“And many women were there looking on from a distance, who had followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering to Him.”

Matthew 27:55

✧✧✧

The women who supported Jesus’ ministry all the way to the cross are fine examples of compassionate loyalty.

Caring, consistent loyalty is a wonderful characteristic of godly women. This trait is probably more evident in them than it is in godly men. The women by the cross were the main group of believing eyewitnesses to Jesus’ crucifixion. They also showed incredible loyalty in the face of ridicule and danger. This courage contrasted with the disciples who, except for John, had fled in fear the night before Jesus was crucified.

We saw in a lesson earlier this month that some of the women, including our Lord’s mother, had been watching the crucifixion from the foot of the cross (John 19:25–27). But in today’s verse the women are described as “looking on from a distance.” They had not suddenly become afraid of the Roman soldiers or the Jewish leaders. Neither had they become ashamed of being known as Jesus’ followers. They withdrew because their grief was deep and their hope shattered at the impending death of their Master. The women’s endurance, however, was undaunted.

Throughout His ministry, devoted women such as those at the cross ministered generously to Jesus and the disciples. Luke 8:2–3 says, “Mary who was called Magdalene … Joanna the wife of Chuza … Susanna, and many others … were contributing to their support out of their private means.” It is probable that most of the meals Jesus and the Twelve ate were prepared by faithful women.

The women who followed Jesus set the standard for faithful service and compassionate loyalty that Paul later outlined for godly women: “a reputation for good works … washed the saints’ feet … assisted those in distress, and … devoted herself to every good work” (1 Tim. 5:10). Such self–giving acts of practical service are marks of excellence and spiritual maturity that ought to be evident in the lives of all believers.

✧✧✧

Suggestions for Prayer: Is there a Christian friend to whom you can affirm your loyalty? Pray for an opportunity to serve that person in a practical way.

For Further Study: Read John 13:3–17. How did Jesus demonstrate the theme of today’s study? ✧ What impact did Jesus’ example have on Peter?[1]

 

 

[1] MacArthur, J. (1997). Strength for today. Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God” (Matt. 5:8).

✧✧✧

You have a part to play in becoming pure in heart.

Purifying a heart is the gracious and miraculous work of the Holy Spirit, but there are some things we must do in response to His prompting. First, we must admit we can’t purify our own hearts. Proverbs 20:9 says, “Who can say, ‘I have cleansed my heart, I am pure from my sin’?” The implied answer is, no one!

Next, we must put our faith in Jesus Christ, whose sacrifice on the cross is the basis for our cleansing. Acts 15:9 says that God cleanses hearts on the basis of faith. Of course, our faith must be placed in the right object. First John 1:7 says, “If we walk in the light as He Himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.”

Finally, we must study the Bible and pray. The psalmist said we keep our way pure by keeping it according to God’s Word, which we must treasure in our hearts (Ps. 119:9, 11). As we pray and submit to the Word, the Spirit purifies our lives.

That’s how you acquire and maintain a pure heart. As a result you “shall see God” (Matt. 5:8). That doesn’t mean you’ll see Him with physical eyes, but rather with spiritual ones. You’ll begin to live in His presence and will become increasingly aware of His working in your life. You’ll recognize His power and handiwork in the beauty and intricacy of creation (Ps. 19). You’ll discern His grace and purposes amid trials and will learn to praise Him in all things. You’ll sense His ministry through other Christians and will see His sovereignty in every event of your life. Life takes on a profound and eternal meaning as you share Christ with unbelievers and see Him transform lives.

There’s no greater joy than knowing you are pure before God and that your life is honoring to Him. May that joy be yours today, and may God use you in a powerful way for His glory!

✧✧✧

Suggestions for Prayer: Ask the Lord for continued grace to live a pure life so others will see Christ in you.

For Further Study: Read Isaiah 6:1–8. ✧ Describe Isaiah’s vision of God. ✧ How did Isaiah respond to God’s presence?[1]

 

 

[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1993). Drawing Near—Daily Readings for a Deeper Faith (p. 123). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.

 

scripture reading:

 

2 Corinthians 7:9–10

 

key verses:

 

Isaiah 55:6–7

 

 

Seek the Lord while He may be found, Call upon Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake his way, And the unrighteous man his thoughts; Let him return to the Lord, And He will have mercy on him; And to our God, For He will abundantly pardon.

The newspaper headline read: “Bank Robber Turns Himself in After 20 Years.” The accompanying story told how a man finally had gone to a local jail and confessed to a crime he had committed twenty years earlier.

Why would he voluntarily surrender to authorities when he might not be found out, at least on earth? “I just could not live with the guilt anymore,” the man said.

Guilt afflicts the entire human race. We know the inner gnawing and churning that come with having violated the moral or civil code. It drives some to depression, others to compulsive behavior, still others to suicide.

The foundation for dealing with all guilt is the cross where Christ died. Jesus, the Son of God, became a guilt offering for us. Because Christ bore God’s ultimate judgment, we are free to experience the forgiveness of God.

When you receive Christ by faith, God declares you not guilty. The slate is clean—from both its penalty (which is death) and its guilt. Your conscience is cleansed, and your burdens are lifted.

The verdict is in, and I’m not guilty! I am free from sin and its penalties—both death and guilt. Thank You, Father, for a clear conscience.[1]

 

 

[1] Stanley, C. F. (1998). Enter His gates: a daily devotional. Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

 

Search for [wisdom] as for hidden treasures; then you will understand the fear of the Lord.

Proverbs 2:4–5

I can guarantee you that if I announced from the pulpit one Sunday that I knew with certainty that any person who would travel one hour north of Atlanta on a certain highway, turn onto a specific dirt road, travel four and one-half miles, turn onto another dirt road and travel one hundred yards, park under a giant tree to the right of the road, and then dig down four feet would find a million dollars’ worth of old silver coins … the church auditorium would empty quickly! People would be eager to get their tools together, fill up the car with gasoline, and head out to search for such a tremendous treasure.

God says that wisdom is more valuable than any amount of tangible treasure. Are you willing to make the effort to search for His wisdom?[1]

 

 

[1] Stanley, C. F. (2004). God’s way day by day (p. 121). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

 

Scripture reading: Judges 16:1–31

Key verse: Judges 16:28

Then Samson called to the Lord, saying, “O Lord God, remember me, I pray! Strengthen me, I pray, just this once, O God, that I may with one blow take vengeance on the Philistines for my two eyes!”

Samson was a man of supernatural strength. Yet even this gift from God did not keep him from seeking to meet his needs his way. And as the result of his wayward living, Samson died a tragic death.

God understands that we have needs, but He wants us to bring those needs to Him. Even the desires we experience are opportunities for God to answer prayer and provide for us in mighty ways.

Unfortunately, sometimes we allow our passions to control us. We overlook the fact that we belong to God, and He has a pathway for us to follow. We strike out on our own only to meet a costly defeat.

Samson had a deep need. Delilah was not the answer. Perhaps his need was to feel that someone loved him. Or it could have been that he had a need to feel worthy. All sin has a root, and that root runs directly to a basic need. When we choose to meet our needs in illegitimate ways, we suffer the consequences of our wrong decisions.

The way Samson’s life ended was not what God desired for him. Yet the Lord knew that Samson would turn back to Him. And at the very end, that was what God’s prophet did.

Don’t wait until the end of your life to enjoy God’s goodness. Make a vital decision to allow Him to meet your needs. When He is in control, blessings abound.

Heavenly Father, when you are in control, blessings abound. So please, take control of every aspect of my life.[1]

 

 

[1] Stanley, C. F. (2000). Into His presence (p. 115). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

 

Scripture Reading: Ephesians 2:1–10

Key Verses: Ephesians 2:4–5

God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved).

In his book The Cross of Christ, John R. W. Stott talked about why Christ’s death at Calvary is God’s greatest revelation of divine love:

It is not only the justice of God which seems to be incompatible with the prevailing injustices of the world, but also His love.

Personal tragedies, floods, and earthquakes, accidents which cost hundreds of lives, hunger and poverty on a global scale, the cold vastness of the universe, the ferocities of nature, tyranny and torture, disease and death, and the sum total of the misery of the centuries—how can these horrors be reconciled with a God of love?

Christianity offers no glib answers to these agonized questions. But it does offer evidence of God’s love, just as historical and objective as the evidence which seems to deny it, in the light by which the world’s calamities need to be viewed. The evidence is the cross.

Only one act of pure love, unsullied by any taint of ulterior motive, has ever been performed in the history of the world, namely the self-giving of God in Christ on the cross for undeserving sinners.

That is why if we are looking for a definition of love, we should look not in a dictionary, but at Calvary.

Calvary defines Your love for me, dear Lord. I receive it with thanksgiving and praise. Let me share its reality with others.[1]

 

 

[1] Stanley, C. F. (1999). On holy ground (p. 115). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

 

Scripture Reading: Mark 16:1–11

Key Verses: Mark 16:9–10

Now when He rose early on the first day of the week, He appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom He had cast seven demons. She went and told those who had been with Him, as they mourned and wept.

When you read the account of Jesus’ death and resurrection in the Bible, do you ever stop to wonder why He appeared to His disciples and friends after the Resurrection? They already knew that the stone had been rolled away and that His body was not there. He had already promised them that He would rise again on the third day.

It is common belief that Jesus’ multiple appearances were to answer the questions that existed among them and to cast out disbelief. He appeared to Mary Magdalene to rule out the possibility of His body being stolen and to expound upon the scriptural prophecies that were now fulfilled. He appeared to Thomas to prove that His broken, punctured body had indeed risen from the grave. He also appeared to Peter to reestablish His love, even after being denied.

These important visitations equipped the new messengers of the gospel with further knowledge and evidence of Jesus’ true identity as the Son of God. If any had held the slightest doubts in their hearts before, they could not doubt now. Jesus suffered the death of a criminal to rise as a King. He is alive, and His love is great enough to conquer doubt.

Meditate on the miracle of His resurrection as you lift your prayers to Him today.

Lord, just as You appeared to Your followers to equip them for ministry, so, too, help my finite mind grasp the wonder of Your death as a criminal, and resurrection as a King.[1]

 

 

[1] Stanley, C. F. (2006). Pathways to his presence (p. 115). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

 

Scripture reading: Luke 19:1–10

Key verse: Luke 19:8

“Behold, Lord, half of my possessions I will give to the poor, and if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I will give back four times as much” (nasb).

The story of Zacchaeus is usually taught with an emphasis on his complete enthusiasm to see Jesus. The picture of this short man climbing a tree just to get a glimpse of the Messiah is an example of how eager we should be to meet with the Savior.

It can be easy to overlook the life change that Zacchaeus experienced after Jesus called him down from the tree and asked if He could come to his house. Zacchaeus’s heart flooded with joy when Jesus loved and accepted him.

As they were on their way to his house, Zacchaeus said, “Behold, Lord, half of my possessions I will give to the poor, and if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I will give back four times as much” (Luke 19:8 nasb). Zacchaeus knew in his heart that his account of sin had been wiped clean because he placed his faith in Jesus. In that first moment of exultant freedom, he wanted to set accounts right with his fellowmen.

Notice that Zacchaeus changed his viewpoint only after he experienced the unconditional love of Christ. Before that day, Zacchaeus could not possibly have understood God’s priorities. Even if someone had explained the truth to him logically and carefully, he could not comprehend it until he had a one-on-one heart encounter with Jesus.

Only on the foundation of a relationship with the Lord can you grasp the application of His truth and the power of the Cross in your life.

Father, deepen my relationship with You. Let me grasp the application of Your truth in my life.[1]

 

 

[1] Stanley, C. F. (2002). Seeking His face (p. 115). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Joshua 4:1–6:27; 2 Corinthians 9:6–15; Psalm 48

Our culture encourages us to absorb the latest and greatest, and then cast off our gently used devices. We are targeted to accumulate and consume. The new feature we learned about yesterday is now the one we can’t live without. At first, 2 Corinthians 9 seems to appeal to our consumer lifestyle: “The one who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and the one who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully” (2 Cor 9:6).

This verse has often been used to encourage giving, because then, God will provide us with even more. But should we give more for the sake of consuming more? Should this be our motivation for generosity?

Paul debunks this idea in the next verse: “Each one should give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or from compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Cor 9:7). Certainly God will provide for those who give; He takes care of those who follow Him. But our willingness to give should not be out of compulsion, obligation, or giving in order to receive. Selfish giving produces selfishness, not the love and mercy God desires (Micah 6:8).

God is incredibly generous. He gives us gifts—even sending His Son to die for us. As a result of His gracious love, we should also freely give. It reflects the thankfulness in our hearts: “being made rich in every way for all generosity” (2 Cor 9:11).

God’s generosity doesn’t hinge on our giving. We should give out of love for Him, and not from expecting a return on our investment.

What are your motives for giving?

Rebecca Van Noord

 

 

Intro

Welcome to Daily Treasures from the Word of God. Today’s reading is Psalm 66 through 70. Our lesson is from Psalm 70:5, “But I am afflicted and needy; Hasten to me, O God! You are my help and my deliverer; O Lord, do not delay.” (NASU)

Lesson

Who has not found him/herself in the predicament faced by the psalmist? Who has not been desperate, isolated or confused because no one is there to help? Let’s consider three comments made by the writer.

First, let’s see the condition of the psalmist. The writer admits openly that he is afflicted and needy. At times a person tries to hide his/her conditions, but not the psalmist. His transparency is worthy of imitation. He is honest with himself and others. The writer does not hide his emotions.

Second, let’s see the response of the psalmist. He looks to the Lord to meet his need. Some people are so overwhelmed by their difficulties that they drown in their problems or blame others. But the response of the psalmist is to call on the name of the Lord. He recognizes that the Lord is his deliverer. The Lord is the deliverer of His people.

A biblical example is Daniel in the lion’s den. He was accused falsely by political leaders who were jealous of him. They tricked King Darius to sign a decree that would condemn Daniel. When the king realized what had happened, he could not go back on his word. So Daniel was thrown in the den with hungry lions. When the king arrived at the lion’s den the next morning, Daniel was not harmed. King Darius then ordered Daniel’s enemies to be thrown into the den and they were all killed. The Lord delivered Daniel and continues to be the deliverer of His people.

Finally, let’s see the petition of the psalmist. The writer asks the Lord to come to his side and not to delay. It appears that the psalmist could not wait any longer. He was desperate for the Lord to free him.

In review, there is the condition of the psalmist. Then there is the response of the psalmist. And there is the petition of the psalmist.

Let’s learn from the psalmist the importance of transparency in our prayers to the Lord. We cannot fool the Lord; so therefore, we should let Him know exactly how we feel. Prayers before the Lord should be from our hearts. Jesus criticized the Pharisees for their hypocrisy. May our hearts demonstrate true sincerity to the Lord at all times. Then He will come to our rescue and deliver us.

Take some time out to call on the name of the Lord. Let Him speak to your heart to bring healing and well-being to your life. The Lord continues to be the Great Deliverer of His people.

End

It has been a pleasure to share with you Daily Treasures from the Word of God. Tomorrow’s Bible reading is Psalm 71 through 75. Let’s not forget the words of the psalmist, “The law of Your mouth is better to me than thousands of gold and silver pieces.” Until tomorrow and may God bless you in abundance as you study the Word of God.[1]

 

 

[1] Venditti, L., & Venditti, N. (2012). Daily Treasures from the Word of God. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

 

None of the accursed things shall remain in your hand.

Lord God, You call me to come out from among them and be separate, to not touch what is unclean. Your Word begs me as a sojourner and pilgrim, to abstain from fleshly lusts which war against my soul and to hate even the garment defiled by the flesh.

Now I am one of Your children, God; and it has not yet been revealed what I shall be, but I know that when Jesus is revealed, I shall be like Him, for I shall see Him as He is. And with this hope in Jesus I purify myself, just as He is pure. For Your grace, Lord God, that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching me that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, I should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of my great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for me, that He might redeem me from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.

Lord God, please help me avoid what is unclean. Empower me to live a godly and pure life.

Deuteronomy 13:17; 2 Corinthians 6:17; 1 Peter 2:11; Jude 23; 1 John 3:2–3; Titus 2:11–14[1]

 

 

[1] Jeremiah, D. (2007). Life-Changing Moments With God (p. 123). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

 

Acts 20:35

It is more blessed to give than to receive.

Too often we forget that it is a blessing to be able to give. If we were as eager to do things for others as we are to receive favors, we would better understand the words of Jesus, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” A spring of water continually gives, while a pool continually receives. That is why the spring is always fresh, while the pool becomes stagnant and filled with refuse. If we knew the blessing of giving, there would be no need for drives, schemes, rummage sales, car washes, entertainments, and circuses to support church work. The poor preacher would not need to plead and urge and beg to keep things going. A giving church cannot die, but when a people stop giving, the church dies—spiritually as well as materially.

After a minister had earnestly pled for the cause of missions, a stingy old deacon complained, “All this giving will kill the church.” The pastor replied, “Take me to one church which died from giving and I will leap upon its grave and shout to high heaven, ‘Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord!’ ”[1]

 

 

[1] Jeremiah, D. (2002). Sanctuary: finding moments of refuge in the presence of God (p. 115). Nashville, TN: Integrity Publishers.

 

The living God has spoken to lost mankind in a variety of ways. The general response among us has been, “We did not hear His voice. We did not hear anything.” John recorded in his gospel the reactions of an audience of people who heard God speak audibly. When Jesus talked of His coming death, asking God to glorify His name through it, “a voice came from heaven, ‘I have glorified it, and will glorify it again’:” (John 12:28). And what were the reactions of the bystanders? “The crowd that was there heard it and said it had thundered; others said an angel had spoken to him” (John 12:29). People prefer their own logic, their own powers of reason. even when God speaks, they refuse to recognize His voice. They will not confess that God has spoken through Jesus Christ, the eternal Son. When He confronts them with their sin, they consult a psychiatrist and hope they can get their personalities “properly adjusted.” But in a coming day every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord of all!

Verse

I will hear what God the Lord will speak… peace unto his people. Psalm 85:8

Thought

People prefer their own logic, their own powers of reason. even when God speaks, they refuse to recognize His voice.

Prayer

Lord, let me value your will above my own. Make me reseptive and responsive to your bidding.

A. W. Tozer

http://www.cmalliance.org/devotions/tozer?id=255

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