Daily Archives: December 10, 2017

December 10 The Sacrifice and Exaltation of Christ

“When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high” (Heb. 1:3).

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Jesus Christ offered one sacrifice for all the sins of mankind, then sat down with the Father once He had accomplished it.

The Bible makes it perfectly clear that “the wages of sin is death” (Rom. 6:23). Jesus Christ went to the cross, died the death we deserved, and consequently freed us from the penalty of sin by our faith in Him.

The writer of Hebrews goes on to say that Christ “does not need daily, like those [Old Covenant] high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for His own sins, and then for the sins of the people, because this He did once for all when He offered up Himself” (Heb. 7:27). In the Old Testament, the priests had to make continual sacrifices, but Jesus made only one. And not only was He the priest, but also the sacrifice! He made a tremendously potent sacrifice, for He forever purged our sins—something the Old Testament sacrifices could never do.

When His sacrifice was complete, “He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high” (Heb. 1:3, emphasis added). That is significant, because the Old Testament priests never sat down; there were no seats in the sanctuary because they offered sacrifices day in and day out. But Jesus offered one sacrifice, finished it, and then went to the Father and sat down. What the Old Testament sacrifices couldn’t accomplish, Christ’s did for all time.

As a result, God exalted Him to His right hand, the seat of honor and rule and rest. But perhaps most important, it is the place where Christ intercedes to the Father on our behalf (Rom 8:34).

Don’t ever forget what Jesus accomplished for us—and what He still does for us: “If anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous” (1 John 2:1).

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Suggestions for Prayer:  Thank Jesus for His sacrifice on your behalf. Also thank Him for the salvation He has given you and the access you now have to God.

For Further Study: Read Hebrews 9:1–10:18 to gain a deeper understanding of Christ’s ultimate fulfillment of the Old Testament priestly system. In what specific ways did He fulfill it?[1][1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1993). Drawing Near—Daily Readings for a Deeper Faith (p. 357). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.

The Government is Bad and He is Good

Unfathomable Grace

Did you like Bill Clinton? Was Mr. Bush more to your liking? Do you look with longing at the days of Barak Obama? What is your view of Donald Trump? Who do you want next?

Is there a term that describes your political posture? Are you more liberal, progressive, moderate, or conservative? In your views, are you more inclined to side with the Democrats, Republicans, Libertarians, or “none of the above?”

Where are you in regards to:

  • Tax Cuts, Budget Deficit, and our National Debt
  • Single Payer Health Care, Fiscal Responsibility, and a Competitive Marketplace
  • Border Security, Immigration Law, DACA, and Amnesty
  • Iraq, Iran, Syria, Russia, North Korea, and Jerusalem
  • Marriage Definitions, Gender Definitions, and Religious Liberty
  • Standing for the Anthem, Pledge, Police, or Abused Brothers

Whoever you are, I am fairly sure you are frustrated. Approval numbers for all three branches of government are pathetic, and at any point, on…

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Miley Cyrus Tells Young Fans to Worship Satan to Have Stardom

Absolute Truth from the Word of God

I think that the tragedy of entertainer Miley Cyrus telling her young fans to worship Satan pales in comparison to parents who allow their children to see Miley acting out sexual moves onstage, and encouraging them to bow down to the enemy of God. These parents  know full well that their children are being subjected to this satanic rubbish.

AND THEY JUST DON’T CARE.

It is no secret any longer that Hollywood is the devil’s playground. During award shows, the public is subjected to blatant satanic entertainment and devilish hand signals from the audience. My husband and I have chosen not to watch these shows and we have not for quite a while.

Many from Hollywood are casually coming out and admitting that their stardom was made possible by Satan. To soften the news, many call him Lucifer. We know of whom they speak.

When I was growing up in…

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Let’s look at the meaning of love (Advent Week 2 – Love)

“This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.” 1 John 4:10, NIV

This week, we examine the word love and all of its forms. We hope the video above will inspire you to think about what love means to you, as well as the meaning of God’s infinite love.

Please feel free to click video image above, or go to this link to play this week’s video and continue your advent journey.

Honor Christ in the coming days

Derived from the Latin word adventum, meaning arrival or coming, the Advent season should be a time to gather with family and celebrate the arrival of Christ. We hope each weekly video inspires continued devotion, prayer, and celebration for our Savior’s arrival and sacrifice.

December 10 WAVES OF GLORY: NOW FEW AND FAR BETWEEN

…Ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full.

JOHN 16:24

There seems to be a chilling and paralyzing fear of holy enthusiasm among the people of God in our day. We try to tell how happy we are—but we remain so well controlled that there are very few waves of glory among us!

Some go to the ball game and come back whispering because they are hoarse from shouting and cheering. But no one in our day ever goes home from church with a voice hoarse from shouts brought about by a manifestation of the glory of God among us.

Actually, our apathy about praise in worship is like an inward chill in our beings. We are under a shadow and we are still wearing the grave clothes. You can sense this in much of our singing in the contemporary church. Perhaps you will agree that in most cases it is a kind of plodding along, without the inward lift of blessing and victory, resurrection joy and overcoming in Jesus’ name.

Why is this?

It is largely because we are looking at what we are, rather than responding to who Jesus Christ is!

We have often failed and have not been overcomers because our trying and striving have been in our own strength. This leaves us very little to sing about!

Brethren, human activity and human sweat and tears work not the victory of Christ! It took the sweat and tears and blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. It took the painful dying and the victorious resurrection and ascension to bring us the victory. Jesus Christ is our Overcomer![1][1] Tozer, A. W., & Smith, G. B. (2015). Evenings with tozer: daily devotional readings. Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.

December 10, 2017: Afternoon Verse Of The Day

The Premise

If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him? (11:13)

This premise, expressed in the form of a comparison, is the foundation upon which the whole discussion rests. Christ’s opening words, If you then, being evil, express the biblical doctrine of total or radical depravity. Even His true followers, those who had embraced Him as Lord, Savior, and Messiah, were still evil (ponēros; “bad,” “wicked,” “worthless”; also used as a title for Satan [Matt. 13:19, 38; John 17:15; Eph. 6:16; 2 Thess. 3:3; 1 John 2:13, 14; 3:12; 5:18, 19]). Significantly, the Lord did not say that they do evil, but rather that they are evil. Though they are redeemed and forgiven, sin remains a powerful operative principle in believers (Rom. 7:14–25). Yet despite being evil, human fathers still know how to give good gifts to their children. It is natural for even unbelievers to love their children, be kind to them, and provide for their needs. The image of God in that sense in people, though warped and scarred by the fall, is nonetheless still present.

The contrasting phrase how much more is the key to the Lord’s point. Reasoning from the lesser to the greater, if human fathers who are sinners, who love imperfectly, and often lack the wisdom to know what is best for their children lovingly provide for them, how much more will God, who is absolutely holy, loves perfectly (cf. John 13:1), and has infinite wisdom give what is best to His children. As the psalmist wrote, “No good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly” (Ps. 84:11; cf. 34:9–10; Matt. 6:33; Phil. 4:19).

Then Jesus concluded His point by promising that believers’ heavenly Father will give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him. This is an intriguing statement, which differs from the Lord’s teaching of this same truth on a different occasion, as recorded in Matthew 7:11. There He spoke of the Father giving what is good; here He expanded that and spoke of God’s giving the Spirit, who is the source of all goodness and blessing, to live within every believer.

To those who ask for a gift, He gives the giver; to those who ask for an effect, He gives the cause; to those who ask for a product He gives the source; to those seeking comfort He gives the comforter (Acts 9:31); to those seeking power He gives the source of power (Acts 1:8); to those seeking help He gives the helper (John 14:26); to those seeking truth He gives the Spirit of truth (John 16:13); to those seeking “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” (Gal. 5:22–23) He gives the producer of all those things. The indwelling Holy Spirit (Rom. 8:9, 11; 1 Cor. 6:19; 2 Tim. 1:14) is the source of every good thing in the Christian’s life (Eph. 3:20).

Though the New Testament would bring more complete revelation concerning the person and ministry of the Holy Spirit, the Jews of Jesus’ day were familiar with the Old Testament revelation concerning Him. They understood that He was involved in the creation (Gen. 1:2; cf. Job 33:4). Further, they knew that the Holy Spirit was associated with the coming of the Messiah (Isa. 61:1–3; cf. Joel 2:28–29, which was partially fulfilled on the Day of Pentecost [Acts 2:16–21]). They also understood that Messiah would send the Spirit to regenerate (Titus 3:5) and indwell those who put their faith in Him (Ezek. 36:25–27; cf. John 7:38–39; 14:16–17, 25–26; Titus 3:5).

The Holy Spirit is the cause of every truly good thing in the life of a Christian. He convicts unbelieving sinners, enabling them to be aware of and repent of their sin (John 16:8). They enter God’s kingdom of salvation by being born of the Spirit (John 3:5–8) in regeneration (Titus 3:5) and confessing Jesus as Lord through the Spirit (1 Cor. 12:3). It is through the Holy Spirit that they receive the knowledge of God (1 Cor. 2:11–12)—knowledge not understood by the unregenerate (v. 14). The Spirit frees believers from the law of sin and death (Rom. 8:2; 2 Cor. 3:17) and seals them for eternal life (Eph. 1:13; 4:30). They are baptized with the Spirit, placing them in the church, the body of Christ (1 Cor. 12:13), indwelt by the Spirit (Rom. 8:9, 11; 1 Cor. 6:19; 2 Tim. 1:14), and filled (controlled, empowered by) with the Spirit (Eph. 5:18). The Holy Spirit empowers believers for evangelism (Acts 1:8), intercedes for them (Rom. 8:26), sanctifies them (1 Cor. 6:11), makes them progressively more like Christ (2 Cor. 3:18), pours out God’s love into their hearts (Rom. 5:5), and gives them hope (Rom. 15:13).

Bold, confident prayer results in communion with God and all the rich blessings of His goodness as believers experience the reality that He “is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us” (Eph. 3:20).[1]


13 Luke specifically mentions the Holy Spirit, who was promised (Ac 2:33; cf. Lk 24:49; Ac 1:4). The giving of the Spirit in response to prayer can already be found in 3:21–22 where the descent of the Spirit takes place when Jesus was praying. This promise also anticipates Acts, where one witnesses the dramatic descent of the Spirit on the believing community (cf. Shepherd, 137–40).[2]


11:13 / though you are evil: Lachs (p. 142) suspects that underlying “evil” is the Hebrew word biša, which originally was intended only as an abbreviation for bāśār vādām (“flesh and blood”). He notes that to describe one as “flesh and blood” is to call someone mortal, and he cites a rabbinic tradition that parallels the logic of Jesus’ saying very closely: “If this man, who is flesh and blood, cruel and not responsible for her [his divorced wife’s] maintenance, was filled with compassion for her and gave her [aid], how much more should You be filled with compassion for us who are the children of Your children Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and are dependent on You for our maintenance” (Leviticus Rabbah 34.14).

Holy Spirit: Gundry (pp. 124–25) suspects that Luke’s “Holy Spirit” may be original, while Matthew’s (literally) “good things” (7:11) is a Matthean modification. I do not agree. Given Luke’s pronounced interest in the Holy Spirit (recall 1:35, 41, 67; 2:25; 3:16, 22; 4:1, 14, 18) it is much more probable that it was Luke who changed the original “good things” (as is read in Matthew) to “Holy Spirit” (so Schweizer, p. 192).[3]


11:13 A human father would not give bad gifts; even though he has a sinful nature, he knows how to give good gifts to his children. How much more is our heavenly Father willing to give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him. J. G. Bellet says, “It is significant that the gift He selects as the one we most need, and the one He most desires to give, is the Holy Spirit.” When Jesus spoke these words, the Holy Spirit had not yet been given (John 7:39). We should not pray today for the Holy Spirit to be given to us as an indwelling Person, because He comes to indwell us at the time of our conversion (Rom. 8:9b; Eph. 1:13, 14).

But it is certainly proper and necessary for us to pray for the Holy Spirit in other ways. We should pray that we will be teachable by the Holy Spirit, that we will be guided by the Spirit, and that His power will be poured out on us in all our service for Christ.

It is quite possible that when Jesus taught the disciples to ask for the Holy Spirit, He was referring to the power of the Spirit enabling them to live the other-worldly type of discipleship which He had been teaching in the preceding chapters. By this time, they were probably feeling how utterly impossible it was for them to meet the tests of discipleship in their own strength. This is, of course, true. The Holy Spirit is the power that enables one to live the Christian life. So Jesus pictured God as anxious to give this power to those who ask.

In the original Greek, verse 13 does not say that God will give the Holy Spirit, but rather He will “give Holy Spirit” (without the article). Professor H. B. Swete pointed out that when the article is present, it refers to the Person Himself, but when the article is absent, it refers to His gifts or operations on our behalf. So in this passage, it is not so much a prayer for the Person of the Holy Spirit, but rather for His ministries in our lives. This is further borne out by the parallel passage in Matthew 7:11 which reads, “… how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!”[4]


[1] MacArthur, J. (2013). Luke 11–17 (pp. 56–58). Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.

[2] Liefeld, W. L., & Pao, D. W. (2007). Luke. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Luke–Acts (Revised Edition) (Vol. 10, p. 207). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[3] Evans, C. A. (1990). Luke (p. 183). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

[4] MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (A. Farstad, Ed.) (pp. 1412–1413). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

Top Weekly Stories from ChristianNews.net for 12/09/2017

 

Illinois Boy Who Identifies as Girl Sues to Use Girls’ Locker Room to Change for Gym Class   Dec 06, 2017 01:51 pm

Photo Credit: ABC7 Screenshot CHICAGO — An Illinois teenager who was born male but identifies as female has filed a lawsuit against his school district as he claims that he has been prohibited from using the girls’ locker room for gym class. The district says that the legal challenge does not correctly cite the accommodations that have been offered to the…

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Atheist Flag to Be Raised Over New Hampshire Ten Commandments Monument   Dec 03, 2017 10:15 pm

Photo Credit: Facebook SOMERSWORTH, N.H. — A request from a local member of a national professing atheist organization to temporarily fly an atheist flag over a Ten Commandments monument in New Hampshire has been granted, and is scheduled to be hoisted next month. As previously reported, the city council of Somersworth voted to reinstall a nearly…

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US Supreme Court Hears Case of Baker Punished for Declining to Make Cake for Same-Sex Celebration   Dec 05, 2017 03:55 pm

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Supreme Court heard oral argument on Tuesday regarding whether or not a Christian baker in Colorado has the right to decline to make cakes for same-sex celebrations due to his religious convictions. The nine justices naturally were divided over Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, with the more liberal judges expressing…

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Barbie Instagram Account Shows Doll Wearing Homosexual Advocacy ‘Love Wins’ T-Shirt   Dec 02, 2017 05:30 pm

Photo Credit: Barbiestyle/Instagram MALIBU, Calif. — The designers of the famed fashion doll Barbie recently released two photos on Instagram of the figure wearing a “Love wins” t-shirt as a way to show support for homosexual causes. “Proud to wear this ‘Love Wins’ shirt with @songofstyle!” the Nov. 21 Barbiestyle post read in part, referring to designer…

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Supreme Court Declines to Hear Texas Case Regarding ‘Spousal’ Benefits of Homosexual Govt. Workers   Dec 06, 2017 11:13 pm

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Supreme Court has declined to weigh in on a ruling from the Texas Supreme Court expressing that the nation’s highest court has not made clear whether the “spouses” of homosexual government workers are entitled to benefits. The nine justices denied the appeal of Turner v. Pidgeon without comment on Monday, along with dozens of other…

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School District Revises Policy After Student Told to Remove Prayer From Graduation Speech   Dec 02, 2017 11:32 am

Photo Credit: Christen Bridges, courtesy of First Liberty Institute BEAVER, Pa. — A school district in Pennsylvania has revised its policy regarding graduation speeches after a student was told earlier this year that she had to remove a prayer from her speech because its inclusion would be illegal. The Beaver Area School District recently sent a letter to…

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Saying Grace Before Meal Could Offend Non-Christians and Atheists, UK Girl Guides Leaders Told   Dec 03, 2017 08:57 am

(Premier) — It has emerged young UK Guides members are not being invited to thank God during grace, under guidance being issued to leaders in a bid boost inclusivity. While acknowledging that it “may be traditional to say or sing grace before a meal” during a residential event, the advice urges leaders to consider “how this might make members who are from a…

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Supreme Court Declines Humanist Appeal of Ruling Declaring Prayer at Texas School Board Meeting Constitutional   Dec 05, 2017 10:27 pm

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Supreme Court has declined a humanist organization’s petition for an appeal of a federal circuit court ruling that unanimously concluded that prayers presented at board meetings for a Texas school district are constitutional and do not violate the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. “The speeches given by students at the board…

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‘I Was Led by God’: Police Officer Adopts Homeless Drug Addicted Woman’s Newborn Baby   Dec 06, 2017 11:24 am

Photo Credit: CNN screenshot ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A police officer in New Mexico recently adopted a homeless woman’s baby after finding the woman and her male friend shooting up heroin on the street. According to reports, Albuquerque police officer Ryan Holets was investigating a reported robbery at a convenience store in September when he spotted a man and…

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Pro-Life Teen Punched Outside Planned Parenthood Facility   Dec 04, 2017 06:49 pm

(Todd Starnes) — A 15-year-old pro-life student was sucker-punched during a violent altercation Saturday outside a Planned Parenthood clinic in Roanoke, Virginia. The unprovoked attack was captured on film by a Liberty University student. The teenager was part of a Students for Life of America group that was engaged on sidewalk counseling on public property…

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Survey: Majority of Western Europeans do Not Believe in Heaven or Hell

A new survey shows that in a number of Western nations, the population no longer believes in Heaven or Hell, even if they also claim to believe in God.

The global survey from Ipsos, called “Perils of Perception,” found that a small percentage of the population in those countries believe in Heaven or Hell.

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December 10 “THUS SAITH THE LORD”

The Lord giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding.

Proverbs 2:6

In a time when everything in the world seems to be related to vanity, God is depending on His believing children to demonstrate that He is the great Reality; that we are made by God and for Him! The answer to the question, “Where did I come from?” can never be better answered than by the Christian mother who tells her child, “God made you!”

The great store of knowledge in today’s world cannot improve on that simple answer! The scientist can tell us the secrets of how matter operates, but the origin of matter lies in deep silence, refusing to give an answer to man’s question.

It is important for Christian believers to be able to stand firmly and positively in this declaration: “Thus saith the Lord!” Our chief business is not to argue or to persuade our generation. With our positive declaration of God’s Word and revelation, we make God responsible for the outcome. No one can know enough to go beyond this!

Father, as humans we often try the impossible—we try to explain what in Your wisdom You have chosen not to include in Your Word! Give us the faith—and the restraint—to accept and live by the light You have revealed to us in Your Word.[1][1] Tozer, A. W. (2015). Mornings with tozer: daily devotional readings. Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.

December 10 Parable of the Sower: Superficial Hearers, Part 1

The one on whom seed was sown on the rocky places, this is the man who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; yet he has no firm root in himself, but is only temporary, and when affliction or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he falls away.—Matt. 13:20–21

Shallow acceptance of the gospel can be encouraged by shallow evangelism that promises blessings of salvation but ignores the costs of discipleship. If people just “make a decision” for Jesus Christ without accepting all His claims on their lives, they can become insulated from genuine salvation.

When superficial hearers first hear the gospel, they have a euphoric religious experience, believing that at last God has met their felt needs. They are often zealous and energetic in church activities and eager to tell others about their new happiness.

But sadly for such people, all the change is superficial rather than deep-down in the heart. Their feelings are changed, but not their souls. There is no repentance, mourning over sin, or humility, which is the first trait of real conversion (cf. Matt. 5:3). Such a person has placed his or her religious house on the sand, and when the storms of trials and persecution come, the house crumbles and washes away (Matt. 7:26–27).

For the superficial hearer, God’s truth has penetrated only the edge of the mind, but not the heart. That is why, when the high cost of salvation does confront the person, the gospel can be as quickly renounced as it was once seemingly accepted. Spiritual reality has no root and thus can’t produce true spiritual fruit, which as Jesus soon makes clear, is the only sure evidence of a transformed life.

ASK YOURSELF

How can you come closer to ensuring that those with whom you share your Christian faith are not given the impression that salvation is a quick, emotional, unthinking decision?[1]

[1] MacArthur, J. (2008). Daily readings from the life of Christ (p. 353). Chicago: Moody Publishers.

December 10 A Servant’s Attitude

Whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple.

Luke 14:33

Few in today’s church are as committed to Jesus Christ as the apostle Paul was. Paul exemplifies what Christ was talking about when He said, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me” (Luke 9:23). Paul was so given over to our Lord that he didn’t care whether he lived or died. That’s an attitude practically unheard of in our materialistic, self–centered, selfish day. Most people today live for everything except what Paul was focused on.

Paul remained joyful as long as his Lord was glorified, even when he was threatened with death. All that mattered to him was that the gospel was advanced, Christ was preached, and the Lord was magnified. The source of his joy was entirely related to the kingdom of God.[1][1] MacArthur, J. (2001). Truth for today : a daily touch of God’s grace (p. 371). Nashville, Tenn.: J. Countryman.

December 10, 2017: Morning Verse Of The Day

59:10 Someone has given us this unforgettable paraphrase of verse 10a: “My God, with His lovingkindness, shall come to meet me at every corner.” What a comfort for storm-tossed souls of every age! Linked with this assurance is the knowledge that God will preserve us to see this defeat of our enemies.[1]


59:10 God … will meet me. God will lead the way in the fight against the enemy. In the time of Joshua, the ark, symbolic of God’s presence, led Israel into the Promised Land.

look in triumph. For now, the enemy gloats over the psalmist, but the psalmist expects a reversal.[2]


59:10 My God of mercy: The term mercy is sometimes translated “loyal love” (13:5). The Lord is the “God of my loyal love.”[3]


9–10a The Lord is stronger than the enemy. They are “fierce men” (ʿazîm, v. 3), but he is the “Strength” of his people (ʿōz, GK 6437; cf. 62:11; 63:2). Though evil people may prowl the streets of the city and promote anarchy, the Lord is the “fortress” (cf. v. 1). In the face of the hatred shown by the enemies, the Lord is the “loving God” by whose “love” (ḥesed) his people thrive (v. 10a).[4]


[1] MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (A. Farstad, Ed.) (p. 638). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[2] Sproul, R. C. (Ed.). (2005). The Reformation Study Bible: English Standard Version (p. 787). Orlando, FL; Lake Mary, FL: Ligonier Ministries.

[3] Radmacher, E. D., Allen, R. B., & House, H. W. (1999). Nelson’s new illustrated Bible commentary (p. 687). Nashville: T. Nelson Publishers.

[4] VanGemeren, W. A. (2008). Psalms. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Psalms (Revised Edition) (Vol. 5, p. 473). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

December 10 TO PERFECTLY LOVE AND WORTHILY PRAISE

O God, my heart is fixed; I will sing and give praise, even with my glory.

—Psalm 108:1

I will refer to one of God’s great souls of the past and his book, The Cloud of Unknowing. We do not know the name of the devoted saint who more than 600 years ago wrote in his pre-Elizabethan English for the purpose, as he declares it, “that God’s children might go on to be ‘oned’ with God.”

At the beginning of his book, he breathed a brief prayer of longing and devotion, and I come back to it often for the good of my own spirit.

He said, “Oh God, under whom all hearts be open, and unto whom all will speaketh, and unto whom no privy thing is hid, I beseech Thee, so for to cleanse the intent of my heart with the unspeakable gift of Thy grace, that I may perfectly love Thee and worthily praise Thee!” …

I can discern no trace of theological fault or error in this prayer of devotion and desire breathed long ago by this saint of God.

“Oh God, fix my heart so I may perfectly love Thee and worthily praise Thee!” Nothing extreme and fanatical there. The true child of God will say “Amen” to this desire within the being to perfectly love God and worthily praise Him. ITB033-034

Father, may I love You and praise You with the same devotion; may I be one with You. Amen.[1][1] Tozer, A. W., & Eggert, R. (2015). Tozer on the almighty god: a 365-day devotional. Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.

December 10 The Humility of Christ

“He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”

Philippians 2:8

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Instead of asserting His divine rights, Christ submitted Himself to the cross.

Even though the people did not recognize the deity of Christ and treated Him as a criminal, He did not fight back. Instead, He “humbled Himself.” Consider His trial. He said not a word to defend Himself throughout unbelievable humiliation. They mocked Him, punched Him, pulled out His beard—yet He did not say a word. He was silent and accepted man’s abuse through each phase of His phony trial. He did not demand His rights but “humbled Himself.”

In humility Christ was “obedient to the point of death” (v. 8). At no time did our Lord say, “Stop! That’s enough”—not in the middle of His trial, not when He was mocked, not when forced to walk half–naked through the city of Jerusalem with a cross on His back, not even on the cross. Christ was willing to descend into the muck and slime of death that He might bring us out of death into life.

Christ suffered not just death but death on a cross—the most excruciating, embarrassing, degrading, painful, and cruel death ever devised. The Jewish people hated crucifixion because of Deuteronomy 21:23: “Anyone who is hung on a tree is under God’s curse” (niv). The God who created the universe suffered the ultimate human degradation—hanging naked against the sky before a mocking world, with nails driven through His hands and feet.

Early nineteenth–century American preacher Gardiner Spring wrote, “The cross is the emblem of peace, but it is also an emblem of ignominy and suffering: it was so to the Saviour—it is so to his followers.” Christ said that His disciples must take up their cross and follow Him (Matt. 16:24). In keeping with Christ’s example, have you taken up the cross, living for His honor and glory no matter what?

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Suggestions for Prayer: Ask the Lord to help you follow His example of self–denial.

For Further Study: Read Matthew 27:11–50, noting Christ’s obedience.[1][1] MacArthur, J. (1997). Strength for today. Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.

December 9 Daily Help

OUR good Shepherd has in his flock a variety of experiences; some are strong in the Lord, and others are weak in faith; but he is impartial in his care for all his sheep, and the weakest lamb is as dear to him as the most advanced in the flock. Lambs are wont to lag behind, prone to wander, and apt to grow weary; but from all the danger of these infirmities the Shepherd protects them with his arm of power. He finds new-born souls, like young lambs, ready to perish,—he nourishes them till life becomes vigorous; he finds weak minds ready to faint and die—he consoles them and renews their strength.[1][1] Spurgeon, C. H. (1892). Daily Help (p. 347). Baltimore: R. H. Woodward & Company.

December 9, 2017: Evening Verse Of The Day

20 And Samuel said to the people, “Do not be afraid; you have done all this evil. Yet do not turn aside from following the LORD, but serve the LORD with all your heart. 21 And do not turn aside after empty things that cannot profit or deliver, for they are empty. 22 For the LORD will not forsake his people, for his great name’s sake, because it has pleased the LORD to make you a people for himself. 23 Moreover, as for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the LORD by ceasing to pray for you, and I will instruct you in the good and the right way. 24 Only fear the LORD and serve him faithfully with all your heart. For consider what great things he has done for you. 25 But if you still do wickedly, you shall be swept away, both you and your king.”

The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (1 Sa 12:20–25). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.


12:20–25 / If verse 19 is meant to indicate that the Lord was viewed as particularly Samuel’s God, then these verses speak strongly against that view. They all are chosen by God. Whatever evil they have done, the important thing is to wholeheartedly serve the Lord from this point on. They have not yet reached the situation where God is about to reject his people, and they are his people. The language again closely reflects that of Deuteronomy (e.g., Deut. 6:2, 5; 7:7; 10:12, 21; 11:16; 31:6). The point is that they must remember all that is implied in being God’s people.

And Samuel, though opting out of the government of the nation and having made his displeasure with their decision clear, is not about to desert them. His roles of praying and teaching will remain. All the necessary information is there for them. If they or their king fail to follow up on that information they will be swept away, but it will not be Samuel’s fault. He has done all in his power to point them to God and to inform them of God’s truth.[1]


20 The literary coherence of vv. 20–25 (cf. also McCarthy, “II Samuel 7,” 135) is established by key words and phrases in the MT of vv. 20 and 24–25 to frame it: “be afraid” (v. 20); “fear” (v. 24); “you” (emphatic; vv. 20, 24 [second occurrence in Hebrew]); “evil” (vv. 20, 25); and especially “serve … with all your heart” (vv. 20, 24). Samuel concludes his address to the people of Israel by encouraging them to do good (vv. 20–24) and warning them not to do evil (v. 25).

Samuel reminds the people that they (emphatic “you,” ʾattem, v. 20) were the ones who asked for—indeed, demanded—a king (cf. v. 19); thus they have only themselves to blame if Saul proves to be either weak or despotic. Not all is lost, however, if only the people will acknowledge that their true King is the Lord himself: “Do not [ʾal] turn away.” Samuel further urges Israel to “serve the Lord with all your heart,” an often expressed covenantal requirement (e.g., Dt 10:12–13; 11:13–14; cf. also 30:9–10).

21 By contrast, says Samuel, the people are not to follow “useless” (tōhû [GK 9332], the word rendered “formless” in Ge 1:2) things/people. Although idols are described as tōhû in Isaiah 41:29 (“confusion,” NIV; cf. also 44:9, “nothing”)—hence the NIV’s “useless idols” here—the reference in this context is perhaps broader and denotes any defection from serving the Lord, including, of course, preference for a human king (so Eslinger, 418–19; cf. similarly Vannoy, 55). Only God can do the people good; no one else can “rescue” (cf. the NIV’s “deliver[ed]” in vv. 10–11; 10:18).

22 The Lord’s elective purposes for his people will not be denied. His intention to make Israel his own covenantal people (Ex 19:5; cf. 1 Pe 2:9) is not because of any merit on their part (Dt 7:6–7). Far from it, he has chosen them because of his love for them and in order to fulfill the oath he had sworn to their forefathers (Dt 7:8–9; cf. Ge 15:4–6, 13–18; 22:16–18). In addition, and perhaps most important of all, he has chosen them “for the sake of his great name” (cf. also Jos 7:9–11, where the Lord’s “great name” is linked to the Sinaitic covenant)—that is, based on the integrity of his self-revelation (cf. Vannoy, 56). In this last clause of v. 22, says McCarthy, “the problems raised in the pericope are finally solved. The kingship has been integrated into the fundamental relationship between Yahweh and the people and that relationship reaffirmed” (“The Inauguration of Monarchy,” 412; cf. further V. Philips Long, The Reign and Rejection of King Saul, 176–83).

23 Taking his rightful place among such giants of intercession as Moses (Ex 32:30–32), Daniel (Da 9:4–20), Paul (Ro 1:9–10; Col 1:9; 2 Th 3:10; 2 Ti 1:3), and Jesus (Isa 53:12; Ro 8:34; Heb 7:25), Samuel declares his unwillingness to sin against God (cf. Saul’s command in 14:33–34) by failing to pray for Israel (cf. also v. 19; 7:5, 8–9; 8:6; 15:11; Jer 15:1). To help the people live a life pleasing to God, Samuel promises to “teach” (the Heb. root is yrh, the same as in tôrâ, “instruction, law”) them “the way that is good and right” (cf. also 1 Ki 8:36 = 2 Ch 6:27; Pss 25:8; 32:8; Pr 4:11).

24–25 The rest is up to the people themselves; thus, ch. 12 ends with encouragement to faith and obedience (v. 24, which summarizes Dt 10:20–21) and with warning against the consequences of disobedience (v. 25) appropriate to a covenant-renewal document. Samuel’s admonition in v. 24a is strikingly similar to that of “the Teacher, son of David, king in Jerusalem” (Ecc 1:1): “Here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments” (Ecc 12:13). After all, the Lord had done “great things” for his people (v. 24b), which should have been a cause for rejoicing on their part (Ps 126:2–3; Joel 2:21).

Samuel feels constrained to remind them, however, that pursuing their penchant for evil will surely result in their destruction: “You and your king will be swept away” (v. 25). The verbal root is sph, which appears again in 26:10, where David predicts that the Lord will cause Saul’s demise, that perhaps Saul will go into battle and “perish”—and so it happened (31:1–5). Thus the final words of Samuel’s address and the final days of Saul’s kingship, passages that frame the account of Saul’s reign (chs. 13–31), are suffused with the stench of death.[2]


(Vv 20–25) Most of the final unit of chap. 12 is devoted to warning and exhortation. By the time this chapter was redacted, the warnings had resulted in the exile of 597 and 587: history was explained by, and seen as the consequence of the prophetic word of God in history (cf. Klein, Israel in Exile 25–26). With a word of assurance (do not be afraid) that resembles an important element in the Oracles of Salvation in Second Isaiah (cf. Israel in Exile 109), Samuel inaugurated his exhortation. He did not tone down the evil committed by asking for a king, but urged the people not to compound their sin by turning from Yahweh, but to serve Yahweh with their whole heart (vv 20 and 24; cf. 1 Sam 7:3). In v 21 the writer has idolatry in focus, referring to idols as vanity תהו, the word used in Gen 1:2 to describe pre-creation chaos, and in Second Isaiah to refer to idols (41:29; 44:9), which bring no benefits or profits (44:9–10; 57:12; cf. Jer 2:8; 16:19). Idols cannot save whereas salvation is one of Yahweh’s chief credentials (vv 10–11). Since some of the phraseology in v 21 is unique in Dtr., and since it adds an explicit reference to idolatry in addition to the more general exhortation to loyalty typical of vv 20–25, a number of scholars hold it to be a gloss by someone indebted to the theology of Second Isaiah. The repetition of תסורו in vv 20 and 21 may also indicate a secondary hand. In v 22 Samuel provides the motivation that undergirds his parenthesis in vv 20–21. Yahweh would never abandon his people despite the complaint of a Gideon, who suggested he had done just that (Judg 6:13). Yahweh’s great name—his own identity and reputation—guarantees his promise (cf. Josh 7:9; Isa 48:9; Jer 44:26; Ezek 20:9, 14, 22; 36:23). Yahweh’s election of the people is expressed by a variant form of the “covenant formula” (cf. Deut 7:6; 14:2; 27:9: 2 Kgs 11:17). Election and God’s great name are also joined in David’s prayer in 2 Sam 7:23–24. Yahweh’s resolve to make Israel a people stems from his love for them and his fidelity to his oath to the patriarchs (Deut 7:7–8; cf. 9:4–5). If the great sin for Israel had been the choosing of a king, climaxing all their own sins in the period of the judges, sin for Samuel would be to fail to carry out his prophetic, intercessory office. He called death down on himself if he failed to pray. We should not speak, therefore, of chap. 12 as Samuel’s farewell since he promised continued prayer. We might better speak of v 23 as a theological etiology for prophetic intercession (cf. 1 Sam 7:8–9). Samuel promised also to teach Israel (cf. Prov 4:11; Ps 25:8, 12).

In a final admonition (v 24) Samuel repeated the words fear and serve, which were the first two conditions listed in v 14. On serving Yahweh in fidelity (באמת), see 1 Kgs 2:4; 3:6; 2 Kgs 20:3. The basis for this final series of exhortations is Yahweh’s great actions for Israel, which might refer either to the great sign of rain in harvest time (vv 16–18) or to the righteousnesses of Yahweh (v 7), which have formed the legal basis of the lawsuit of Yahweh and Samuel against Israel—or to both. The last verse is a conditional curse. In 8:6 asking for a king was called evil, and in chap. 12 this request was called the climactic sin of the period of the judges (v 19). But the author (v 23) warns against other sins, namely, not fearing, serving, or obeying Yahweh in the period of the monarchy. Rebelling against this word of Samuel, or turning away to the service of vain idols, would inevitably lead to the sweeping away (cf. 1 Sam 26:10; 27:1) of the people and their king. Note that the potential sinners here are the people themselves, and not just their kings. The latter, of course, are the main culprits in the books of Kings (but for the sins of the people in Kings, see 2 Kgs 17:21–22 and Israel in Exile 32 and n. 16).[3]


[1] Evans, M. J. (2012). 1 & 2 Samuel. (W. W. Gasque, R. L. Hubbard Jr., & R. K. Johnston, Eds.) (p. 58). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

[2] Youngblood, R. F. (2009). 1, 2 Samuel. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: 1 Samuel–2 Kings (Revised Edition) (Vol. 3, pp. 129–130). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[3] Klein, R. W. (1998). 1 Samuel (Vol. 10, pp. 118–119). Dallas: Word, Incorporated.

December 9: Self-Evident Hope

Jeremiah 16:1–17:27; Romans 1:18–2:11; Proverbs 16:1–11

“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all impiety and unrighteousness of people, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because what can be known about God is evident among them, for God made it clear to them” (Rom 1:18–19). A statement like this could easily be taken out of context if we leave off everything after “people.” But when we contextualize this message, we find hope instead of hopelessness.

Paul goes on to tell us that creation itself reveals God and His goodness to humanity, so there is no excuse for failing to understand God and the salvation He offers: “For from the creation of the world, his invisible attributes, both his eternal power and deity, are discerned clearly, being understood in the things created, so that they are without excuse” (Rom 1:20).

We have all heard people who are concerned that salvation seems unfair: What about the people who won’t ever hear about Jesus? Yet Paul argues that everyone has an opportunity to witness Christ at work in creation itself. In Colossians he remarks that it’s in the “Son [Jesus] … whom we have the redemption, the forgiveness of sins, who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation, because all things in the heavens and on the earth were created by him, things visible and things invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or powers, all things were created through him and for him” (Col 1:13–16).

All people have an opportunity to know God. No one has an excuse. God’s justice reigns in creation; it reigns in Christ; and it reigns in the lives of those who choose Christ. Christ is everywhere, in all things. The world is not condemned unfairly by a God of unreasonable wrath; instead, it’s ruled by a God of joy and empathy who is love.

What misperceptions do you have of God? How can you correct them and work in the lives of others to do the same? How can you spread the empathy God wants you to display?

John D. Barry[1][1] Barry, J. D., & Kruyswijk, R. (2012). Connect the Testaments: A One-Year Daily Devotional with Bible Reading Plan. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.