PRECIOUS LORD, TAKE MY HAND
Thomas A. Dorsey, 1899–1993
For I am the Lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, “Do not fear; I will help you.” (Isaiah 41:13)
Out of a broken heart after his wife and newly born son had both died, Thomas Dorsey cried to his Lord to lead him “through the storm, through the night” In doing so, he created lines that have since ministered to others in an unusual way. This tender song, written by a black gospel musician in 1932, has since been a favorite with Christians everywhere.
Thomas A. Dorsey grew up in Georgia as a “preacher’s kid.” As he began to be successful as a composer of jazz and blues songs, however, he drifted away from God. After it seemed to him that he was miraculously spared in brushes with death, Dorsey came back to the Lord. As his life dramatically changed he began to write gospel songs and to sing in church services. It was during a revival meeting in St. Louis, Missouri, that he received a telegram telling the tragic news of his wife and infant son. Stunned and grief-stricken, Dorsey cried, “God, you aren’t worth a dime to me right now!”
A few weeks later, however, as Dorsey fingered the keyboard of a piano, he created the lines of “Precious Lord” to fit a tune that was familiar to him. The following Sunday the choir of the Ebenezer Baptist Church in South Chicago, Illinois, sang the new song with Dorsey playing the accompaniment. “It tore up the church!”
God continued to lead Thomas Dorsey by the hand until he had written more than 250 gospel songs. He once stated:
“My business is to try to bring people to Christ instead of leaving them where they are. I write for all of God’s people. All people are my people. What I share with people is love. I try to lift their spirits and let them know that God still loves them. He’s still saving, and He can still give that power.”
* * * *
Precious Lord, take my hand, lead me on, help me stand—I am tired, I am weak, I am worn; thro’ the storm, thro’ the night, lead me on to the light—Take my hand, precious Lord, lead me home.
When my way grows drear, Precious Lord, linger near—when my life is almost gone. Hear my cry, hear my call, hold my hand lest I fall—Take my hand, precious Lord, lead me home.
For Today: 27:11; 48:14; John 1:7; 10:3
Enjoy the fellowship of God so strongly that you feel He is holding your hand and leading you in whatever circumstances you may find yourself. Share this testimony of Thomas Dorsey as you go—
August 29: Becoming a Saved People
Isaiah 60:1–62:12; Luke 22:63–23:25; Job 13:13–28
For Luke, Jesus is the fulfillment of the prophet Isaiah’s message. At the beginning of Jesus’ ministry, according to Luke, Jesus opened the Isaiah scroll in a synagogue and proclaimed that the words in Isa 61 are about Him (Luke 4:17–19): “The Spirit of the Lord Yahweh is upon me, because Yahweh has anointed me, he has sent me to bring good news to the oppressed, to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim release to the captives and liberation to those who are bound, to proclaim the year of Yahweh’s favor, and our God’s day of vengeance, to comfort all those in mourning” (Isa 61:1–2). This moment defines what Jesus’ life would mean—and He was immediately persecuted for claiming the authority rightfully given to Him by God (Luke 4:20–30).
Luke’s message—an extension of Isaiah’s—is played out further near the end of Jesus’ life. Jesus’ claim to authority resulted in His being sentenced to death (Luke 23). It is easy to view the events of Jesus’ life as proof that He was the figure that Isaiah prophesied—that He was exactly who He said He was. But if we stop there, we miss the larger picture. Luke has an agenda: He draws on Isaiah and uses the story of Jesus reading in the synagogue because he intends for our lives to be changed by Jesus. We are the oppressed receiving the good news. We are the captives being liberated. We are meant to be a people called out to follow Him (Isa 40:1–2; 53:10–12).
When we look upon Jesus—the Suffering Servant, Messiah, prophet, and savior—we should be confronted with the reality that we’re still so far from what He has called us to be. We should be prompted to put Him at the center of our lives. We should be prompted to change. We must realize our place as the people He has saved and respond with gratitude.
How is Jesus’ sacrifice changing your life?
John D. Barry
Welcome to Daily Treasures from the Word of God. Today’s reading is Ezekiel 25 through 28. Our lesson is from Ezekiel 28:2, “Son of man, say to the leader of Tyre,” Thus says the Lord GOD, “Because your heart is lifted up And you have said, ‘I am a god, I sit in the seat of gods In the heart of the seas; Yet you are a man and not God, Although you make your heart like the heart of God—” (NASU)
Today’s text is directed to the ruler and the city of Tyre, an important trading city in the Mediterranean. Many cities traded with Tyre, which brought her great wealth and influence. She was also a strong maritime power. Let’s examine three things that the Lord says about Tyre.
First, the prince of Tyre became very proud. The word “leader” in our text can also be translated as prince. As was common in Bible times, many cities and city-states were ruled by governors who were not necessarily of royal blood but were called kings and princes. Because of Tyre’s wealth, its ruler became prideful and egotistical. Tragically, this happens so often; for example, think of kings like Nebuchadnezzar, Uzziah and Saul. All of them became prominent and supremely confident in their own strength. The Lord had to bring judgment into their lives because of their pride.
Next, the prince of Tyre considered himself equal to God. This is a major insult to the Lord, nothing short of blasphemy. There is no place for pride before the Lord.
The prince of Tyre dethroned God and placed himself on the throne of his life. So many people do the same. Personal ambitions crowd out God; they sit on the throne. They may not see it as such, but it is. There is so much wisdom in the biblical counsel to guard one’s heart, for it can be so deceitful.
Last, the prince of Tyre was nothing more than a mere mortal. Like the prince of Tyre, leaders such as Hitler, Stalin and so many others, have demanded that the world serve them because of who they were. How tragic it is to see all the pain and torment that these ungodly men caused humanity due to their evil ambitions.
In closing, the prince of Tyre became very proud. The prince of Tyre considered himself equal to God. And the prince of Tyre was nothing more than a mere mortal.
As believers in Jesus Christ, we have the perfect model to imitate. He was meek and humble of heart and a true servant; so much so that He gave His life even for those who opposed Him.
Allow the Holy Spirit to search your heart. Do not tolerate arrogance in your life and ministry. Surrender to Him totally!
It has been a pleasure to share with you Daily Treasures from the Word of God. Tomorrow’s Bible reading is Ezekiel 29 through 32. 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.
|Seven Things God Hates
“There are six things which the Lord hates, yes, seven which are an abomination to Him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that run rapidly to evil, a false witness who utters lies, and one who spreads strife among brothers” (Prov. 6:16–19).
God is clear about the things that displease Him.
God hates sin in any form, but Proverbs 6:17–19 lists seven that are especially loathsome to Him. First is “haughty eyes” (v. 17), which pictures a proud and arrogant person with his nose in the air and his eyes uplifted. The pride in his heart is reflected in his mannerisms.
Pride is perhaps listed first because it is at the heart of all rebellion against God—beginning with Lucifer himself, who cried out against God, “I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God, and I will sit on the mount of assembly in the recesses of the north. I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High” (Isa. 14:13–14).
God also hates “a lying tongue” (v. 17). Men often toy with truth, denying or distorting it to gain some supposed advantage. But God can’t tolerate deception of any kind. He expects us to live according to His truth.
Third, He hates murderous hands (v. 17). That speaks of people whose hatred and greed are so strong that they will kill rather than be denied what they want. God created life and established its sanctity. That’s why He ordained that murderers be put to death (Gen. 9:6).
God also hates a wicked heart and malevolent feet (v. 18). Sometimes people fall into sin inadvertently. But these people carefully plot their sinful activities and then hurry to execute their plans.
Finally, God hates “a false witness” and a divisive spirit (v. 19). Bearing “false witness” means telling lies about an innocent party. That can obstruct justice, destroy a reputation, and even destroy a life. A divisive spirit is one who creates divisions where there should be unity.
Those sins characterize unbelievers, but Christians aren’t immune from them. So be on guard not to stray into attitudes and actions that God hates.
Suggestions for Prayer: If you are practicing any of those things, confess them and repent.
For Further Study: According to Philippians 2:1–5, how should Christians treat one another?
The Wise Builder
He is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock.
The person who is wise spiritually, who is a true Christian, builds his life and performs his duties carefully, realizing the great substance and importance involved. He or she is not satisfied with a superficial profession of faith or with the shallow methods and easy shortcuts that so often accompany false religion.
Knowing that the Lord is due all credit, praise, and worship, the wise builder will want to give Him maximum effort and diligent service. This person knows that everything truly done for Christ is done out of love, not out of compulsion or fear. So serve the Lord with gladness and be a wise builder in His kingdom.
|Our All–Knowing God
“Do not be anxious then, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘ What shall we drink?’ or ‘With what shall we clothe ourselves?’ For all these things the Gentiles eagerly seek; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.”
To worry is to be like an unbeliever.
For us as believers, worry is needless because of God’s bounty, senseless because of God’s promise to provide, useless because of our inability to do anything, and faithless because by doing so we put ourselves in the same category as an unbeliever. In Matthew 6:32 the Greek term translated “Gentiles” can also be translated “pagans” or “heathen” and speaks of people without God and Christ. The Gentiles are consumed with seeking material gratification because they are ignorant of God’s supply and can’t claim His promise to provide. Instead of looking to God, they anxiously try to meet their needs on their own. But for a Christian to be preoccupied with material possessions and worry about the basics of life is a serious sin and uncharacteristic of his Christian faith.
The Christian faith says that God will supply all your needs and that you can trust Him (cf. Phil. 4:19). To worry about your food or your physical welfare or your clothing is to have a worldly mind. What about you? Do you face life like a Christian or an unbeliever? When things are difficult or the future is insecure, how do you react? Does your Christian faith affect your view of life? You should place everything in your life in the context of your faith—every trial, every anticipation of the future, and every present reality.
The Christian faith also says that “your heavenly Father knows” your needs (Matt. 6:32). If He knows your life and your needs, all you need to know is that He cares. And if He knows and cares, there’s no need for you to worry about anything. Your Heavenly Father has all the resources and love to provide for you.
Suggestions for Prayer: Praise your Father for knowing, caring, and providing for you.
For Further Study: Read and meditate on Psalm 145. Notice especially what God does in verses 14–16.
Forgive the Debt
Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
forgiveness is the act of setting someone free from an obligation to you that is a result of a wrong done against you. For example, a debt is forgiven when you free your debtor of his obligation to pay back what he owes you.
Forgiveness, then, involves three elements: injury, a debt resulting from the injury, and a cancellation of the debt. All three elements are essential if forgiveness is to take place.
A Rebellious Heart
Scripture reading: Psalm 55:1–6
Key verse: Psalm 55:1
Give ear to my prayer, O God, and do not hide Yourself from my supplication.
He has a wife and three children whom he adores. He spends time with them whenever he can, going fun places and listening to their hurts and needs. His business ethics are unimpeachable; he is known by all as a fair man who goes the extra mile when nobody asks him to. And his charity work for the local hospital helped build a much-needed burn treatment center.
Would you ever guess that this man has a rebellious heart? He does. It’s not easy to see by judging from external appearances. Even though he outwardly obeys the law and is concerned for the well-being of others, he is dead in his spirit to the things of God and doesn’t care what God says about his life.
Every person is born with a spirit that is disobedient to God. It is literally “bent away” from the Lord and set on its own course. According to Ephesians 2:1 (nasb), “You were dead in your trespasses and sins.” People who continue to go their own way, ignoring the way to God through Jesus Christ, will perish and be lost forever.
Are you camouflaging a rebellious heart? Have you asked Jesus to correct your sinful condition? Jesus is the only One who, through His grace, can make your heart right, inside and out.
Lord, through Your grace, please make my heart right inside and out.
August 29 The Liberty of the Spirit
Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.
Jesus knew that on their own the disciples, and all believers, did not have the power and spiritual resources necessary to be His witnesses throughout the earth. In every dimension of our lives, the Holy Spirit releases power within us to be witnesses to God’s truth, and only by submitting to the Lord’s leadership through the Spirit do we find wholeness.
Jack Hayford observes in The Power and Blessing:
In the judgment of some, “a life of submission” sounds like a page out of a handbook for membership in a religious order.… In fact, in much of today’s church, many have almost sanctified the notion of autonomy, of independence, of “I can do just about whatever I want, because of my freedom in Christ.”
In terms of spiritual reality, we are made free. But our liberty in Christ isn’t a program of perpetuating self–rule in the soul. Our “freedom” is (1) to free us from practicing sin, (2) to free us from smallness of soul, and (3) to free us from a “Lone–Ranger” order of independence which proposes “me” as the singlehanded controller of everything in my life.
The spirit of submission, lived out in biblical terms, proposes that God could, in fact, use other people to teach me.… I’m exposing myself to the possibility that at times these “others” will adjust and correct me in the spirit of love.
I’m free in You, Lord. Free from sin. Free from smallness of soul. Free from selfish independence. Your Spirit has made it possible. Thank You for my liberty.
Our Fleshly Nature
Scripture reading: Proverbs 6:16–19
Key verse: Galatians 5:17
For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish.
In Proverbs 6:16–19, the Lord lists six things He hates: a proud look, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that are swift in running to evil, a false witness, and a person who sows discord. The seventh one He includes also as an abomination.
Each testifies to the fleshly nature that was ours before we came to know Jesus as Savior and Lord. Many times we don’t know how to handle this side of our lives. Because we are believers, our sins have been forgiven. Still there are times when we return to our old way of thinking.
When this happens, go to God in prayer, and ask Him to speak His Word of truth to your mind and heart. By doing this, you can build discernment into your life. Godly wisdom does not come overnight. It must be cultivated. When the author of Proverbs wrote, “Feet that are swift in running to evil,” he was writing about a lack of true spiritual discernment.
Esau sold his birthright to Jacob for a bowl of soup. He was spiritually shortsighted, and his feet rushed to evil. Here is an excellent rule to follow: do not make any decisions when you are too hungry, angry, lonely, or tired. When situations arise that demand immediate action, refuse to rush to satisfy your flesh. Allow God to control your appetite, and you will mature spiritually in every way.
Dear Lord, when situations arise that demand immediate action, grant me the strength to refuse to satisfy my flesh. Help me control my desires. I want to mature spiritually.
Strength to Say Yes
Scripture Reading: Hebrews 12
Key Verse: Hebrews 12:1
We also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.
Imagine trying to go about the day with your legs tied together, with the rope just loose enough to allow minimal mobility. You would eventually get things done, but even the simplest task would be slow work. Between falling and tripping over your feet, you might avoid injury long enough to reach your destination.
That is a picture evoked by the word ensnares in Hebrews 12:1. This term was used to refer to snaring an animal with a trap or a net, leaving it alive but rendering it incapable of getting away. Habits of sin work in a similar fashion; ones that are allowed to remain a part of consistent behavior become a snare in your life.
You may be able to function in certain basic areas, and your appearance or career may not be affected immediately, but sin eventually trips you up and prevents the full and unencumbered life God wants you to experience. The “little” problem of fudging on an expense report may later turn into full-scale embezzlement as sin’s hold wraps tighter around your life.
If something bad has a hold on you right now, turn it over to the Lord before it gains a firmer grip. Jesus wants you to feel the exhilaration that comes from making choices that please Him, and He always provides the strength to say yes to His principles.
Father God, give me the ability to say no to things that ensnare. Clear my pathway of all that would trip and entrap. Give me divine strength to say yes to Your principles.
The Prince of Peace
Scripture Reading: Ephesians 2:14–18
Key Verses: Ephesians 2:14–15
For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace.
It is one of modern culture’s great tragedies: what many people seek and work so hard to achieve is in fact not a product of all their accomplishments and effort. Millions of people are turning the world upside down looking for peace, while never realizing that the “genuine article” is simply not of this world. Money cannot buy it; success and fame can never guarantee it. Until you have peace with God, you will never experience inner serenity.
Since genuine peace is not dependent upon outward circumstances, it is possible to experience a tranquility beyond our comprehension, even in the midst of life’s most tragic moments. But this real peace is not possible unless there exists absolutely no impediment between us and God, and the only way the barrier of sin and self can be removed is through the cross of Calvary. If we would simply bring our struggles and needs to the foot of the cross, we would find an abundant source of peace. A heart at rest is not rooted in some worldly principle or philosophy; it can be realized only through an intimate relationship with the person of Jesus Christ (Ephesians 2:14–15).
The devil will take every opportunity to destroy our calm by drawing attention away from Christ to things that may seem important at the time, but in reality have no other purpose than to distract. Don’t waste your life looking for peace in all the wrong places—just remember, the Prince of Peace is its only true source.
Lord, I seek no other source of peace. You are the Prince of Peace. Keep my eyes focused on You and eliminate every distraction.
Whoever trusts in the Lord, happy is he.
Lord God, like Abraham may I not waver at Your promise through unbelief, but be strengthened in faith, giving You glory, and being fully convinced that what You had promised You were also able to perform. The children of Judah prevailed, because they relied on You, the God of their fathers.
You are my refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore I will not fear, even though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea. It is better to trust in You, Lord, than to put confidence in man. It is better to trust in You than to put confidence in princes. Lord, You order my steps as of a good man, and You delight in my way. Though I fall, I shall not be utterly cast down; for You, Lord, uphold me with Your hand.
Lord, I’ve tasted and seen that You are good; I am blessed when I trust in You! Oh, I fear You, Lord. There is no want to me when I fear You.
Lord, may I trust in Your promises
and Your ability and willingness to keep them.
Then I will know Your blessings.
Proverbs 16:20; Romans 4:20–21; 2 Chronicles 13:18; Psalm 46:1–2; Psalm 118:8–9; Psalm 37:23–24; Psalm 34:8–9
Ye serve the Lord Christ
Our business as Christians is to serve the Lord in every business of life.
Mark Guy Pearse
HOW independent of outward circumstances the Holy Ghost can make the Christian! What a bright light may shine within us when it is all dark without! How firm, how happy, how calm, how peaceful we may be, when the world shakes to and fro, and the pillars of the earth are removed! Even death itself, with all its terrible influences, has no power to suspend the music of a Christian’s heart, but rather makes that music become more sweet, more clear, more heavenly, till the last kind act which death can do is to let the earthly strain melt into the heavenly chorus, the temporal joy into the eternal bliss!
Robin Hood and Little John
If when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.
Anyone who knows the story of Robin Hood will recall the first time the celebrated thief encountered Little John. Both men were traveling through the forest heading toward each other. They first saw each other at the opposite ends of a bridge which was designed to hold just one man at a time. Each was too proud to let the other pass first, so they both started across. They met at the middle, exchanged insults, and began to fight. As the story goes, both men fell into the waters below. Later, as they recovered on the banks of the river, they began to laugh at themselves. Subsequently, they became the best of friends. Not only had these adversaries settled their differences; they had gone a step further, becoming good friends.
Before we became Christians, we were in effect opposed to God. Our surrender to him didn’t lead to a mere master-slave relationship. As Paul says, Jesus Christ’s act of love has made His friends.
1 Samuel 21–22; 1 Corinthians 3; Ezekiel 1; Psalm 37
Ezekiel was jeremiah’s contemporary. Though he was born into a priestly family, Ezekiel was removed from the temple. In March, 597 b.c., he, young King Jehoiachin, the Queen Mother, the aristocracy, and many of the leading priests and craftsmen were transported seven hundred miles to Babylon. The young king was in prison or under house arrest for thirty-seven years. The exilic community, impoverished and cut off from Jerusalem and the temple, dreamed nostalgically of home and begged God to rescue them. They could not conceive that in another decade Jerusalem would be utterly destroyed. On the banks of the Kebar River—probably an irrigation canal swinging in a loop southwest from the Euphrates—the exiles tried to settle. And here, according to Ezekiel 1, when he was thirty years old and in the fifth year of his exile (i.e., about 593, still six years before the destruction of Jerusalem), Ezekiel received an extraordinary vision.
Detailed explanation of this apocalyptic vision demands more space than I have here. But some observations are crucial:
(1) In general terms, what Ezekiel sees is a vision of a mobile throne, the mobile throne of God. (I once preached on this passage to some hearing-impaired folk, and more than one thought I was saying it deals with the mobile phone of God!)
(2) The throne is made up of four “living creatures,” each with wings outstretched to touch the adjacent two at the wingtips, so that together the four creatures make a huge, hollow square. Inside this space there are torches, flashes of lightning, and fire. Each of the four living creatures has four faces—probably a way of signaling that God’s throne is intelligent (the human face), royal (the lion), strong (the bull), and compassionate (the eagle, cf. Ex. 19:4; Isa. 40:31). Beside each creature is a pair of wheels, intersecting each other so that they cannot fall over. The entire structure moves in straight lines, like a cursor on a monitor only in three dimensions, propelled by the wheels and additional wings of the living creatures, directed cohesively by the Spirit. Above the heads of the creatures, and supported by them, is a platform like a giant wok, sparkling like ice or hoarfrost. Above that is the throne of God.
(3) The importance of this mobile throne becomes clear later in the book. Here we must grasp two things: (a) The closer the vision gets to God himself, the more distantly he is described. The culmination—“This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord” (1:28)—elicits not an artist’s conception, but worship. (b) More broadly: visions of God always induce brokenness, humility, and worship (cf. Isa. 6; Rev. 1, 4–5).
1 Samuel 21–22; 1 Corinthians 3; Ezekiel 1; Psalm 37
The two extended metaphors that Paul deploys in 1 Corinthians 3:5–15 make roughly the same point, although each carries a special shading not found in the other.
In the agricultural metaphor (3:5–9), the Lord is the farmer, Paul prepares the ground and plants the seed, Apollos waters the fledgling plants, and the Corinthians are “God’s field” (5:9). In the context, which is designed to combat the Corinthians’ penchant for division based on attaching themselves to particular “heroes” (3:3–4), Paul is concerned to show that he and Apollos are not competitors, but “fellow workers” (5:9)—indeed, “God’s fellow workers” (i.e., they are fellow workers who belong to God, not fellow workers along with God, as if God makes up a threesome). Not only so, but neither Paul nor Apollos can guarantee fruit: God alone makes the seed grow (3:6–7). So why adopt a reverential stance toward either Paul or Apollos?
The architectural metaphor initially makes the same point: the various builders all contribute to one building, and therefore none should be idolized. Now the Corinthians are not the field, but the building itself (3:9–10). Paul laid the foundation of this building; otherwise put, he planted the church in Corinth. The foundation that Paul laid is Jesus Christ himself (3:11). Since his departure from this building project, others have come and built on this foundation. Thus, so far the architectural metaphor implicitly makes the same point that the agricultural metaphor made explicitly.
But now the architectural metaphor turns in a slightly different direction. Paul insists that later builders are responsible to choose with care the material they put into this building (3:12–15). A “Day” is coming (3:13), the day of judgment, when all that is not precious in God’s sight will be consumed. It is possible that a builder could use such shoddy materials that in the end, all that he has built is devoured, even if he himself escapes the flames.
Two observations: (1) The person Paul describes as being “saved, but only as one escaping through the flames” (3:15), is not some purely nominal Christian whose conduct is indifferentiable from that of any pagan. Such do not enter the kingdom (6:9–10). This is a “builder,” not the mass of Christians who constitute the “building” (3:10). The question is whether these evangelists and pastors are using proper materials. (2) In 3:16–17, the building, the church of God, becomes a temple. Later on, God’s temple is the individual Christian’s body (6:19–20), but here it is the local church. God loves this building so much that he openly threatens to destroy those who destroy God’s temple. Damage the church, and you desecrate God’s temple—and God will destroy you.
Sat, August 29, 2015
Lord Of Righteousness
In the midst of all the confusions of our day, it is important that we find out that Jesus Christ is the Lord of all righteousness and the Lord of all wisdom. Righteousness is not a word easily acceptable to lost men and women in a lost world. Outside of the Word of God, there is no book or treatise that can give us a satisfying answer about righteousness, because the only One who is Lord of all righteousness is our Lord Jesus Christ, Himself. A scepter of righteousness is the scepter of His Kingdom. He is the only One in all the universe who perfectly loved righteousness and hated iniquity. Our great High Priest and Mediator is the righteous and holy One—Jesus Christ, our risen Lord. He is not only righteous, He is the Lord of all righteousness! Then there is His wisdom. The sum total of the deep and eternal wisdom of the ages lies in Jesus Christ as a treasure hidden away. All the deep purposes of God reside in Him because His perfect wisdom enables Him to plan far ahead! Thus history itself becomes the slow development of His purposes.
But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom and righteousness.
1 Corinthians 1:30
Christ is the only One in all of the universe who perfectly loved righteousness and hated iniquity.
Lord, thank You for the reminder that You are the author of righteousness and wisdom. Help me to remember to always depend on You as the only source of those resources.
A. W. Tozer
August 29 – The Blind Men Reach Out
“Jesus sternly warned them: ‘See that no one knows about this!’ But they went out and spread the news about Him throughout all that land” (Matthew 9:30–31).
Usually believers need to say more, not less, about the gospel of Jesus Christ. But here our Lord had definite reasons for commanding the people to whom He had ministered most directly not to publicize what had occurred.
He did not forbid them from speaking simply because He did not want their specific healing made known or because He did not want His miracles in general to be proclaimed. The miracles were evidence of His deity and legitimate mission. Christ commanded silence because it was not time to widely publicize His messiahship, lest the news stir up premature opposition to Him or encourage revolutionary Jews to rally around Him as a political deliverer.
Jesus also did not want to overemphasize His miracles. While they were a key element of His ministry, they were not the primary reason for His incarnation. Many already were not understanding the miracles rightly: “Truly, truly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled” (John 6:26).
Another reason why the Lord may not have wanted the men heralding His messiahship was because He wanted others, especially the Jews, to look to Scripture for the fulfillment of prophecy about the Messiah.
But in spite of Jesus’ command, the blind men still “went out and spread the news about Him.” This was disobedient of them and was the wrong response. However, it was the sort of sin that only grateful, eager new converts would commit. The men could not resist telling everyone of their miraculous deliverance.
How much of your everyday conversation is taken up with what the Lord has done for you? Is it because you’re trying to be sensitive to the unsaved around you? Or is it more because you just haven’t thought about it that much?
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.
Reading for Today:
1 Corinthians 10:1-18
Psalm 103:2 forget not all His benefits. These earthly gifts from God included: 1) forgiveness of sin (v. 3); 2) recovery from sickness (v. 3); 3) deliverance from death (v. 4); 4) abundant lovingkindness and mercy (v. 4); and 5) food to sustain life (v. 5).
Psalm 103:5 youth is renewed like the eagle’s. The mysterious way of the long-lived eagle symbolized strength and speed (Ex. 19:4; Jer. 48:40), which also characterizes human youth. As a general rule, a person blessed of God will grow weak and slow down less rapidly than otherwise (Is. 40:29–31, which uses the same language).
1 Corinthians 10:4 that spiritual Rock. The Jews had a legend that the actual rock Moses struck followed them throughout their wilderness wanderings, providing water for them. Paul says they have a Rock providing all they need, but it is Christ. Rock (petra) refers to a massive cliff, not simply a large stone or boulder, signifying the preincarnate Messiah (Christ), who protected and sustained His people.
1 Corinthians 10:6 our examples. They died in the wilderness because of their failure of self-discipline and consequent indulgence of every desire (9:27). Four major sins characterized them: idolatry (v. 7); sexual immorality (v. 8); testing God (v. 9); and complaining (v. 10).
1 Corinthians 10:16 cup of blessing. The proper name given to the third cup during the Passover Feast. At the last Passover with the disciples, Jesus used the third cup as the symbol of His blood shed for sin. That cup became the one used to institute the Lord’s Supper. He set the cup apart as a token of salvation blessing before passing it to the 12. communion. Means “to have in common, to participate and have partnership with.” The same Greek word is used in 1:9; 2 Corinthians 8:4; Philippians 2:1; 3:10.Commemorating the Lord’s Supper was a regular and cherished practice in the early church, by which believers remembered their Savior’s death and celebrated their common salvation and eternal life which reflected their perfect spiritual oneness. the blood of Christ. A vivid phrase used to represent Christ’s sacrificial death and full atoning work. the bread. This symbolized our Lord’s body as the cup symbolized His blood. Both point to His death as a sacrifice for the salvation of men.
DAY 29: When Ecclesiastes encourages readers to “enjoy life,” is that unconditional?
Solomon balanced his enjoyment theme with repeated reminders of divine judgment. Even the best moments in life ought not to cut a person off from awareness of God as Provider to whom all will give an account. Solomon declared that the possibility of enjoyment was based on faith (Eccl. 2:24–26).
Part of Ecclesiastes reports the king’s experiment in trying to enjoy life without regard for the fear of God’s judgment. Solomon discovered that such an effort was in vain. In the end, he came to grasp the importance of obedience.
The tragic results of Solomon’s personal experience, coupled with the insight of extraordinary wisdom, make Ecclesiastes a book from which all believers can receive warnings and lessons in their faith (2:1–26).This book demonstrates that a person who sees each day of existence, labor, and basic provision as a gift from God, and accepts whatever God gives, will actually live an abundant life. However, anyone who seeks to be satisfied apart from God will live with futility regardless of personal successes.
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.
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