Daily Archives: December 31, 2017

December 31 Our Sympathetic High Priest

“Assuredly He does not give help to angels, but He gives help to the seed of Abraham. Therefore, He had to be made like His brethren in all things, that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For since He Himself was tempted in that which He has suffered, He is able to come to the aid of those who are tempted” (Heb. 2:16–18).

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Jesus came to sympathize with us, so He could be our merciful and faithful High Priest.

In his letters to Timothy, Paul counseled and encouraged his young associate about many things—his health, his critics, his moral and spiritual warfare, and so on. His counsel is well summed up in these words: “Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, descendant of David” (2 Tim. 2:8).

Like Timothy, we need to be reminded of Christ’s humanity, especially when life becomes particularly tough. Then we can pray, “Lord, You know what You endured while You were here. I’m going through it now.” We can be sure that He knows and will encourage us.

Jesus came not only to save us but also to sympathize with us. He experienced what we experience, so He could be a “merciful and faithful high priest.” After all, “we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin” (Heb. 4:15).

Jesus felt everything we will ever feel—and more. Most of us will never know the full degree of any given temptation because we usually succumb long before we reach it. But since Jesus never sinned, He took the full measure of every temptation.

Ours is not a cosmic God who is powerful and holy but indifferent. He knows when we hurt, where we are weak, and how we are tempted. Jesus is not only our Savior, but our loving Lord who sympathizes with us. Rejoice in the greatness of His love for us.

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Suggestions for Prayer:  Ask God to remind you of your need of Him at all times, not just when times are tough.

For Future Study: Memorize 1 Corinthians 10:13 for quick recall whenever you are faced with any trial.[1]


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1993). Drawing Near—Daily Readings for a Deeper Faith (p. 378). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.

DECEMBER 31 A DAILY PRAYER: EVEN SO COME, LORD JESUS

He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, LORD Jesus.

REVELATION 22:20

The people of God ought to be the happiest people in all the wide world!

Fellow Christian, consider the source of our joy and delight: redeemed by the blood of the Lamb, our yesterdays behind us, our sin under the blood forever and a day, to be remembered against us no more forever! God is our Father, Christ is our Brother, the Holy Ghost our Advocate and Comforter!

Our Brother has gone to the Father’s house to prepare a place for us, leaving with us the promise that He will come again!

Don’t send Moses, Lord, don’t send Moses! He broke the tablets of stone.

Don’t send Elijah for me, Lord! I am afraid of Elijah—he called down fire from heaven.

Don’t send Paul, Lord! He is so learned that I feel like a little child when I read his epistles.

O Lord Jesus, come Yourself! I am not afraid of Thee. You took the little children as lambs to Your fold. You forgave the woman taken in adultery. You healed the timid woman who reached out in the crowd to touch You. We are not afraid of You![1]


[1] Tozer, A. W., & Smith, G. B. (2015). Evenings with tozer: daily devotional readings. Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.

December 31, 2017: Afternoon Verse Of The Day

The Invitation: Take Heed

Take care, brethren, lest there should be in any one of you an evil, unbelieving heart, in falling away from the living God. (3:12)

Based on the illustration of Israel’s unbelief in the wilderness, an appeal is made to the readers of Hebrews not to follow this example. It is a warning against rejecting truth that is known. The judgment of the wilderness days fell on those who rejected God’s Word through Moses, and the warning here is to those who reject God’s Word in Christ. Brethren is not a reference to Christians, as is “holy brethren” in 3:1. It refers to racial brothers, unbelieving Jews, as the term does throughout the book of Acts.

The greatest sin in the world is unbelief. It is the greatest offense against God and brings the greatest harm to ourselves. These readers were informed about the gospel. Many, perhaps, professed to be Christians. None considered himself to be actively, aggressively against Christ; but they all were against Him. No matter how close a person may be to accepting Jesus Christ as Savior, if he never comes to Him, he still has an evil, unbelieving heart. His punishment will be all the more severe because of his knowledge of the living God. If such “have fallen away, it is impossible to renew them again to repentance” (Heb. 6:6). When you have heard the truth of Jesus Christ, when you have acknowledged that it is the truth, and then turn your back and walk away from Him, there is nothing God can do. Once you have heard the gospel and understood its claims, and then say no to Jesus Christ, you have fallen away. You have become apostate.

The Holy Spirit is saying to everyone who hears the gospel: “Respond to Jesus while your heart is still warmed and softened by His truth, while it is still sensitive. Respond to His sweet love and His call of grace. Wait too long and you will find your heart getting hard and insensitive. The decision will become harder and harder as your heart becomes harder and harder. If you continue to follow your evil, unbelieving heart rather than the gospel, you will forever depart from the living God, and forfeit salvation rest.

Turning away from Jesus Christ is not rejecting a religion. Turning away from Jesus Christ is much more than rejecting historical, traditional Christianity. Turning away from Jesus Christ is turning away from the living God. It is turning away from life itself.[1]


12 The general message of the quotation is summed up in a brief second-person exhortation in vv. 12–13, picking up the imperative of Psalm 95:8; from v. 14 the author will revert to his more normal first-person style of “pastoral inclusion” for the remainder of this section. He explains the “hardening of hearts” in the psalm as, literally, “an evil heart of unbelief,” since he traces the failure of the wilderness generation to their refusal to trust God to bring them into the promised land (3:19; 4:2–3). The nature of this unbelief was that they “turned away from” God (apostēnai [GK 695], the root from which we get “apostasy” and which echoes the appeal of Caleb and Joshua to the people in Numbers 14:9 not to be apostatai from God). And the God they turned away from is no less than the “living God”; cf. Jos 3:10, where the successful crossing of the Jordan is proof to the succeeding generation that “the living God is among you.” This powerful title is used sparingly in both the OT and NT, with only fifteen occurrences in each; but four of those are in Hebrews (cf. 9:14; 10:31; 12:22). It speaks of a God who, in contrast both with literal idols and with mere formal ritual, is active and dynamic, a God to be confidently relied on but also a dangerous enemy.[2]


3:12 / The author now begins his commentary, employing key words drawn from the preceding quotation in good midrashic form. The point of the quotation is immediately evident in the words see to it. What is to be avoided at all costs is a heart that is sinful and unbelieving. Heart picks up the same word in verses 8 and 10, where it is described as “hardened” and “going astray.” This is the kind of heart that leads to apostasy, causing one to turn away from the living God. What is in view in this strong language (tō apostēnai, “to apostatize”) is a deliberate rebellion against the truth and therefore against God. The adjective living adds to the perception of the dynamic character of God, who will in no way overlook such action on the part of his children.[3]


12. See to it, brothers, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God.

The connection between Hebrews 3:6b and 3:12 is quite natural if we read the lengthy quotation from Psalm 95 as a parenthetical comment. This passage is an illustrative, historical reminder of the obstinate Israelites who died in the desert and were denied entrance to the land God had promised them. The readers are exhorted to hold on to their courage and hope as members of the household of God. They cannot turn their backs on Christ in unbelief, for turning away from Christ is falling away from God.

For Christians, therefore, the experience of the rebellious Israelites must serve as a warning that should not be taken lightly. Christians must thoroughly examine themselves and one another to see whether anyone has a sinful, unbelieving heart.

The author of Hebrews knows from Scripture that a falling away from God finds its origin, development, and impetus in unbelief. Unbelief—characterized by mistrust and unreliability—first comes to expression in disobedience, which in turn results in apostasy. The signs of apostasy are hardening of the heart and an inability to repent (Heb. 3:13; 4:1; 6:6; 10:25–27; 12:15). The following series of contrasts can be made:

unbelief

 

 

faith

 

disobedience

 

 

hearing obediently

 

neglect

 

 

steadfastness

 

apostasy

 

 

entrance to life

 

hardening

 

 

salvation

 

The heart of someone who turns away from God is described as sinful, which means evil or wicked. God does not take the sin of unbelief lightly, for he knows that its origin lies in man’s evil heart. “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?” (Jer. 17:9). Furthermore, the author of Hebrews indicates that it is possible to find persons with sinful, unbelieving hearts in the fellowship of the Christian church.

Whoever turns from the living God

must fall;

It’s he who shares his guilt, his lot

with all:

Family, kin, nation, state,

small and great.

Whoever forsakes God is forsaken;

Whoever rejects God is rejected.

Frequent voices daily claim:

Man who’s come of age will settle

down

But they who say so without God

drown.

—Nicholaas Beets[4]


3:12 The author is definitely speaking to genuine believers. He addresses them as brethren (Gk. adelphoi; compare “holy brethren” in v. 1) as is the uniform treatment throughout the book. Nowhere is there the slightest suggestion that they were mere professors as over against genuine Christians as is widely believed. an evil heart of unbelief: This refers to serious spiritual heart trouble. An unbelieving heart is evil because unbelief is evil. departing (Gk. aphistēmi): This word has the idea of “standing off.” from the living God: Serious losses accrue to unbelieving believers, those who refuse to listen and turn a cold shoulder to God. Evidently this describes a relapse from Christianity into Judaism. Jesus is God. To depart from Him is to depart from the living God. This is contrasted with the “hold fast” of v. 6.[5]


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1983). Hebrews (pp. 91–92). Chicago: Moody Press.

[2] France, R. T. (2006). Hebrews. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Hebrews–Revelation (Revised Edition) (Vol. 13, p. 64). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[3] Hagner, D. A. (2011). Hebrews (p. 65). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

[4] Kistemaker, S. J., & Hendriksen, W. (1953–2001). Exposition of Hebrews (Vol. 15, pp. 93–94). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.

[5] Radmacher, E. D., Allen, R. B., & House, H. W. (1999). Nelson’s new illustrated Bible commentary (pp. 1639–1640). Nashville: T. Nelson Publishers.

Eight Areas of Interest to Christians in 2018

Eradicate: Blotting Out God in America

A favorite Scripture of mine is Psalm 90:12 which states, “Teach us to number our days that we might gain a heart of wisdom.” As world events unfold and division in America increases, Christians need discernment today more than ever. With all that’s happening around us, it is so easy to want to avoid reality or become comfortable and complacent in life, but we must not.

At the end of each calendar year, it is reasonable and wise to look back and acknowledge God’s faithfulness, evaluate where we are as individuals and as a church, and learn from any mistakes. It is also imperative we have a sense of urgency and recognize the spiritually desperate condition of many around us. One priority should be to consider how we can be more effective in advancing the kingdom of God by sharing the gospel and living out our faith as we grow in…

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Benny Hinn’s Nephew: Hinn Clan Like ‘Royal Family’ and ‘Mafia,’ Prosperity Teaching Is ‘Twisted’

In an HLN exclusive interview with Carol Costello, Costi Hinn described growing up in the Hinn family as a hybrid of being a “royal family” (lavish riches) and the “mafia” (strict enforcement of the mafia). “You keep to your own, you defend your own. You never, ever, regardless of what the truth might be, do anything to harm or expose at the expense of family. It’s just a tight-knit, tight-lipped community,” Hinn explained.

The nephew of Benny Hinn, who is a pastor in Southern California, is criticizing his uncle’s prosperity theology and teaching, explaining how it cost him personally as a member of the Hinn family. The theology his uncle espouses is “twisted,” he said.

In an HLN exclusive interview with Carol Costello, Costi Hinn described growing up in the Hinn family as a hybrid of being a “royal family” (lavish riches) and the “mafia” (strict enforcement of the mafia).

“You keep to your own, you defend your own. You never, ever, regardless of what the truth might be, do anything to harm or expose at the expense of family. It’s just a tight-knit, tight-lipped community,” Hinn explained.

He recounted that the first time he ever said anything publicly about his family — as people had been asking — he got a phone call from a family member who told him “you need to pipe down, don’t talk about family.”

Hinn further explained that the luxurious way of life that he had was “living the dream,” with flights on a G4 or G5 private gulfstream airliners, layovers in Monte Carlo, and stays in a fancy hotel suites that cost $25,000 per night.

Costello asked Hinn how they justified preaching the message of Jesus, who was not a wealthy man, with such a lavish lifestyle.

The theology they used was “twisted,” he replied.

“If you take the Bible and you take what Jesus taught and you take some of the promises of heaven and the riches of heaven and the wonderful glories of heaven and you make them a now thing, then you really have a model for your best life now.”

“That’s really not the heartbeat of Christianity,” he continued, “the heartbeat of Christianity is, if you have wealth, you want to be generous and rich in good works. If God has blessed you with a lot, you have a great responsibility.”

Conversely, if one is poor, he added, God still loves you and has a purpose for your life, and in your poverty He is still with you; and the hope of Heaven is much greater than worldly riches and temporary earthly pleasures.

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The post Benny Hinn’s Nephew: Hinn Clan Like ‘Royal Family’ and ‘Mafia,’ Prosperity Teaching Is ‘Twisted’ appeared first on The Aquila Report.

Seven Celebrities Who Made Fools of Themselves in 2017

(Zachery Leeman – LifeZette) Prominent Hollywood figures spread fake news, bullied kids, tried (and failed) to take the moral high ground — and plenty more

The year 2017 was hardly a “best foot forward” period for Hollywood celebs.

The entertainment industry became increasingly political and aggressive toward average Americans during the first year of the Trump presidency — and celebs made fools of themselves as they abandoned common sense amid their red-hot anger over the results of the 2016 presidential election.  View article →

Source: Seven Celebrities Who Made Fools of Themselves in 2017

Adultery of the heart and apostasy

Possessing the Treasure

by Mike Ratliff

4 Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. 5 Whoever receives one little child like this in My name receives Me.
6 “Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were drowned in the depth of the sea. 7 Woe to the world because of offenses! For offenses must come, but woe to that man by whom the offense comes!
8 “If your hand or foot causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you. It is better for you to enter into life lame or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet, to be cast into the everlasting fire. 9 And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out…

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Biblical Justice vs Social Justice

Possessing the Treasure

by Mike Ratliff

1 “At the end of every seven years you shall grant a release of debts. 2 And this is the form of the release: Every creditor who has lent anything to his neighbor shall release it; he shall not require it of his neighbor or his brother, because it is called the Lord’s release. Deuteronomy 15:1-2 (NKJV) 

I was contacted by a friend right after Christmas about writing a post comparing what the Bible says about “justice” and how it is used by many today who call themselves “Social Justice Warriors.” I looked up the Hebrew and Greek words. I studied the context. It was very difficult to see how anyone could take those passages and come up with the Progressive political context called Social Justice from that. I did more research. I then found a very well grounded and well written article by E. Calvin Beisner that…

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DECEMBER 31 THE PERFECTIONS OF GOD

Give unto the Lord the glory due unto his name; worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness.

Psalm 29:2

I hope that if I am remembered at all, it will be for this reason: I have spent my efforts and my energies trying to turn the direction of the people away from the external elements of religion to those that are internal and spiritual.

I have tried to take away some of the clouds in the hope that men and women would be able to view God in His glory. I would like to see this sense of glory recaptured throughout the church—too many Christians do not expect to experience any of the glory until they see Him face-to-face!

Within our Christian fellowship and worship, we must recapture the Bible concepts of the perfection of our God Most High! We have lost the sense and the wonder of His awe-fullness, His perfection, His beauty.

Oh, I feel that we should preach it, sing it, write about it, talk about it and tell it until we have recaptured the concept of the Majesty of God!

Only that can be beautiful ultimately which is holy—and we who belong to Jesus Christ should know the true delight of worshiping God in the beauty of His holiness!

Dear Lord, on the last day of this year, I pray for Your Church in the coming New Year, that it will be biblically faithful, Christ-centered and proactive in its fight against the forces of evil. May the name of the Lord Jesus Christ be praised in every nation![1]


[1] Tozer, A. W. (2015). Mornings with tozer: daily devotional readings. Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.

December 31 The Parable of the Householder

“Have you understood all these things?” They said to Him, “Yes.” And Jesus said to them, “Therefore every scribe who has become a disciple of the kingdom of heaven is like a head of a household, who brings out of his treasure things new and old.”—Matt. 13:51–52

Jesus’ twelve disciples would eventually become His twelve apostles (Matthias replacing Judas, Acts 1:23). Through these men, and later Paul, our Lord entrusted the continued revelation of His Word and the extension of His church. Like “head[s] of a household,” which was analogous to being disciples in Christ’s kingdom, they drew from the old treasures of previous revelation and received additional, new truths. And these faithful men would proclaim both.

“Brings out” conveys the concept of scattering or distributing widely. Here it also connotes generosity—giving out God’s truth of the gospel wisely and liberally. Second only to their Lord, the apostles would be supreme scholars of Scripture, preachers, and teachers—scribes and disciples without equal (cf. Matt. 11:11) and superb evangelists.

With a slightly lesser degree of authority, the Lord’s charge to His apostles applies to every Christian (Matt. 28:16–20), and especially to those pastors, teachers, and missionaries He has called to spread His Word. It is a tremendous responsibility to warn the lost about hell and to offer them salvation through the blood of Jesus Christ. Paul stated it this way, “Knowing the fear [terror] of the Lord, we persuade men” (2 Cor. 5:11). The believer’s heart is cold indeed that is not profoundly concerned about those all around who are without Christ and headed for hell. Pray that you would genuinely warm to the task of reaching the lost in your community and beyond with saving gospel treasure.

ASK YOURSELF

The end of a year and the dawn of a new is always a time of reflection and renewed hope. What have you gleaned from walking with Jesus through these past months and seasons? What are your priorities for the coming year? May the Lord bless you as you follow Him there.[1]


[1] MacArthur, J. (2008). Daily readings from the life of Christ (p. 374). Chicago: Moody Publishers.

DECEMBER 31 DESIRES BALANCED BY NEEDS

Nevertheless to remain in the flesh is more needful for you. And being confident of this, I know that I shall remain and continue with you all for your progress and joy of faith.

Philippians 1:24–25

One mark of a spiritual man is that his own desires are balanced by the needs of others. That’s the kind of man who could write, “Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind let each of you regard one another as more important than himself; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others” (Phil 2:3–4, nasb).

The Philippian church needed Paul, as did many other churches. Paul knew they needed him badly enough that their need was likely to determine his future, which he expressed in today’s verse.

Although Paul desired to be with Christ in heaven, he also wanted to remain on earth to help strengthen the church. He knew that if he stayed the church would better glorify Christ, and glorifying Christ was all he desired.

As you contemplate a new year, what is Christ asking you to commit your life to? I hope it’s a desire to meet the needs of others with a humble heart.[1]


[1] MacArthur, J. (2001). Truth for today : a daily touch of God’s grace (p. 392). Nashville, Tenn.: J. Countryman.

December 31, 2017: Morning Verse Of The Day

43:2 the glory of the God of Israel. In earlier chapters of this prophecy, emphasis was given to the departure of God’s glory from the temple (see chaps. 8–11). Thus the Lord abandoned His people to destruction and dispersion. Here, in the millennial temple, the glory of God returns to dwell. His glory will be manifest in fullness in the future kingdom, after the Lord’s Second Advent, which is also to be glorious (Mt 16:27; 25:31). Verses 1–12 describe God’s glorious entrance into the sanctuary. coming from … the east. The glory had been in the tabernacle (Ex 40:34, 35) and the temple (1Ki 8:10, 11), though not in Zerubbabel’s temple. Here, the Lord returns to be Israel’s King. The glory departed to the E from Israel (11:23) when God judged them, so the glory returns from the E when He has regathered them, and is restoring their worship.[1]


43:2 The approach of the glory of the God of Israel recalls the overwhelming sensory experience of Ezekiel’s inaugural vision: the sound of many waters describes the roar of the approach (see 1:24); its brilliance caused the earth to shine with his glory (cf. 1:27–28).[2]


43:2 Nineteen years after the vision in which he had witnessed God’s departure, Ezekiel in this vision saw “the glory of … God” return the way it had departed (10:4, 18–22; 11:22–25). The return of God in the millennial age to the new temple is much like the vision of John, in which the heavenly voice declares that “the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God” (Rev. 21:3).[3]


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2006). The MacArthur study Bible: New American Standard Bible. (Eze 43:2). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

[2] Crossway Bibles. (2008). The ESV Study Bible (p. 1570). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[3] Criswell, W. A., Patterson, P., Clendenen, E. R., Akin, D. L., Chamberlin, M., Patterson, D. K., & Pogue, J. (Eds.). (1991). Believer’s Study Bible (electronic ed., Eze 43:2). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

DECEMBER 31 OUR REDEMPTION DRAWS NEAR

Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

—Matthew 28:20

We must meet the present emergency with a spirit of optimism. This is no time for repining, no time for looking backward, no time for self-pity or defeated complaining. We are on the winning side and we cannot lose. “I am with you alway” (Matthew 28:20) makes ultimate defeat impossible.

Surely the days are evil and the times are waxing late, but the true Christian is not caught unawares. He has been forewarned of just such times as these and has been expecting them. Present events only confirm the long-range wisdom of Jesus Christ and prove the authenticity of the prophetic Word. So the believer actually turns defeat into victory and draws strength from the knowledge that the Lord in whom he trusts has foretold events and is in full command of the situation….

Surely this is not the time for pale faces and trembling knees among the sons of the new creation. The darker the night the brighter faith shines and the sooner comes the morning. Look up and lift up your heads; our redemption draws near. OGM161, 163

We impatiently await Your coming, Lord, and we seek to be prepared for that glorious day. Even so, come, Lord Jesus. Amen. [1]


[1] Tozer, A. W., & Eggert, R. (2015). Tozer on the almighty god: a 365-day devotional. Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.

December 31 The Preeminence of Christ

“[Christ] is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the first–born from the dead; so that He Himself might come to have first place in everything. For it was the Father’s good pleasure for all the fulness to dwell in Him.”

Colossians 1:18–19

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Christ has preeminence in everything.

The apostle Paul presents four great truths in Colossians 1:18 about Christ’s relation to the church. The first is that Christ is the head of the church. This concept looks at the church as a living organism, inseparably tied together by the living Christ. He controls every part of it and gives it life and direction (cf. 1 Cor. 12:12–20).

Christ is also the source of the church. The Greek word translated “beginning” (arche) is used here in the twofold sense of source and primacy. The church has its origins in Jesus. God “chose us in Him before the foundation of the world” (Ephesians 1:4). As head of the Body, Jesus holds the chief position or highest rank in the church. As the beginning, He is its originator.

Another truth is that Christ is the first–born from the dead. Of all those who have been raised from the dead or ever will be, Christ is the highest in rank. Furthermore, it is Christ who will cause the resurrection of others (John 5:28–29; 6:40).

Finally, Christ is the preeminent One. As a result of His death and resurrection, Jesus has come to have first place in everything. Paul states that truth to drive home as forcefully as he can that Jesus is not merely another emanation from God.

Paul then summarizes his argument by saying that all the fullness of deity dwells in Christ alone (Col. 1:19). It is not spread out in small doses to a group of spirits, as the false teachers were saying. Rather, in Christ, and Him alone, believers are “complete” (2:10).

What should be your response to the glorious truths about Christ in Colossians 1:15–19? Be encouraged to meditate on the glory of Christ as revealed in this passage. Doing so will help you be transformed into Christ’s image and will prepare you to behold His glory in Heaven.

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Suggestions for Prayer: Thank the Lord for each of the four truths discussed above.

For Further Study: According to John 1:16, what have you received?[1]


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

December 30 Daily Help

CHRIST appears as a Shepherd to his own sheep, not to others. As soon as he appears, his own sheep perceive him—they trust him, they are prepared to follow him; he knows them, and they know him—there is a mutual knowledge—there is a constant connection between them. Thus the one mark, the sure mark, the infallible mark of regeneration and adoption is a hearty faith in the appointed Redeemer. Reader, are you in doubt, are you uncertain whether you bear the secret mark of God’s children? Then let not an hour pass over your head till you have said, “Search me, O God, and know my heart.”[1]


[1] Spurgeon, C. H. (1892). Daily Help (p. 368). Baltimore: R. H. Woodward & Company.

December 30, 2017: Evening Verse Of The Day

3 God is different from the “many” who oppose him. David addressed God confidently with an emphatic and contrastive use of the personal pronoun “you” (weʾattâ). How different he is from the rebellious masses! David was certain of God’s promises that are confirmed in the covenant (cf. 2:6–9); therefore, his confidence rested in the nature of God, described here by a metaphor (“shield”) and by one of his attributes (“glory”). He was convinced that God’s kingship is forever. And although the kingship was forcibly removed from the Lord’s anointed, he was still protected by God’s kingship. With the metaphor, “shield” (māgēn; cf. 7:10; 18:2, 30; 28:7; Ge 15:1), the psalmist places himself under the protection of the Great King, who has promised to protect his own (Ge 15:1; Dt 33:29; see Reflections, p. 733, Yahweh Is the Divine Warrior).

The power of the Great King is referred to by the word “glory” (kebôdî, lit., “my Glorious One,” NIV text note). The phrase signifies the Lord’s glorious rule over his kingdom. He is the Lord of hosts, with tens of thousands of angels at his command. Even as a king can be described as glorious because of his vast armies, so the Lord is glorious because he can marshal the angelic host to aid his children (34:7; 91:11). The king puts his confidence in the protection that God alone can provide, because his glory is greater than any human power. The glory of God is nothing less than the revelation of his hiddenness!

The psalmist explains further that the “Glorious One” gives him reason to lift up his head. The “lifting up of the head” is a Hebraism expressive of confidence in the Lord, who has power to raise up the humble and abase the mighty (1 Sa 2:7–8; Ps 103:7–9). He exalts whom he wills and when he wills. The psalms express confidence that the Lord will “lift up the head” of his people when he is victorious over his enemies (cf. 18:46–50; 27:4–6; 110:5–7).

Even though the king had reason for despondency, his knowledge of God gave him reason for hope. The confidence of the king was not in his knowledge of the future or in the might of his forces, but in God, who had installed him as king (2:6).[1]


3:3 The mood of the Psalm changes in verse 3. David gets his eyes off his enemies and on the Lord, and that changes his whole outlook. Immediately he realizes that he has in Jehovah a shield, a source of glory, and the One who lifts up his head. As his shield, the Lord gives him complete protection from enemy assaults. As his glory, the Lord gives him honor, dignity and vindication in place of the shame, reproach and slander that were being heaped upon him. As the lifter of his head, the Lord encourages and exalts him.[2]


3 Affirmation: divine protection. But you, is emphatic. The breakthrough from the gloom of vs 1, 2 is to grasp afresh what God is. My Glorious One, (lit.) ‘my glory’: David has been stripped of all earthly pomp but cannot be deprived of God. My head (cf. 2 Sa. 15:30).[3]


3:3. In the face of such antagonism, David found comfort in God’s character. Using the metaphor of a shield, he said that God was the true Source of his protection (in spite of their taunts). The psalmists often spoke of God as a shield to depict His protection (7:10; 18:2, 30; 28:7; 33:20; 59:11; 84:11; 115:9–11; 119:114; 144:2). David was confident that God would restore him to his throne. The words lifts up my head express restoration to dignity and position (see the same idiom in Gen. 40:13, 20; 2 Kings 25:27, kjv).[4]


[1] VanGemeren, W. A. (2008). Psalms. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Psalms (Revised Edition) (Vol. 5, p. 102). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[2] MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (A. Farstad, Ed.) (p. 551). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[3] Motyer, J. A. (1994). The Psalms. In D. A. Carson, R. T. France, J. A. Motyer, & G. J. Wenham (Eds.), New Bible commentary: 21st century edition (4th ed., p. 490). Leicester, England; Downers Grove, IL: Inter-Varsity Press.

[4] Ross, A. P. (1985). Psalms. In J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck (Eds.), The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Vol. 1, p. 793). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

December 30: The Proverbs 31 Woman

Lamentations 3:1–66; Romans 15:22–33; Proverbs 31:1–19

A Proverbs 31 woman is hard to find, but it isn’t for lack of effort. She’s been the topic of more than a few Bible studies. She can be recognized by her many positive traits—strong, courageous, and trustworthy. She is hardworking, discerning, giving, dignified, business savvy, wise, and kind. If we’re looking for a vice or an Achilles heel, we’ll have to turn to another passage in the ot (we’re sure to find more failures than achievers within its pages).

As we look through the list of qualities, though, it’s hard to check them all off, even for Type-A personalities. But the key to understanding the list of characteristics isn’t found in what we can attain. It’s found in the last verse—the crux of the poem. The crown of the woman’s wisdom isn’t her charm or her beauty or even her ability to “get things done.” It is her fear of Yahweh. This relationship with God guides all of her actions.

If we’re trying to earn favor with God by being “the best version of myself” or “being the best me,” we’ll fail miserably. If we live to define ourselves by a task, or even a role, we’ll fall short every time. It’s God’s work in us—through Christ—that defines us.

As redeemed people, we can strive to be wise and discerning thanks to the work of the Spirit. We can strive to be stewards of the time He’s given us. We can strive to live unselfishly in all of our relationships. When we fail, or when we fall short, we can trust that it’s not on our own merit that we find favor with Him. His favor extends from His enduring faithfulness to us.

How do you rest in the “fear of the Lord”? How do all of your actions proceed from your relationship with Him?

Rebecca Van Noord[1]


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