Daily Archives: January 13, 2018

January 13 Enjoying God’s Forgiveness

“In Christ we have … the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of [God’s] grace, which He lavished upon us” (Eph. 1:7–8).

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In Christ we have infinite forgiveness for every sin—past, present, and future.

On Israel’s Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur), the high priest selected two goats. One was sacrificed, the other set free. Before releasing the second goat, the high priest symbolically placed the sins of the people on it by laying his hands on its head. This “scapegoat” was then taken a great distance from camp and released—never to return again (Lev. 16:7–10).

The Greek word translated “forgiveness” in Ephesians 1:7 means “to send away.” It speaks of canceling a debt or granting a pardon. Like the scapegoat, Christ carried away our sins on the cross.

In Christ, God canceled your debt and pardoned your transgressions, and He did so “according to the riches of His grace, which He lavished upon [you]” (v. 8). That means you have infinite forgiveness, because God’s grace is infinite. You cannot sin beyond God’s grace, because where sin abounds, grace super-abounds (Rom. 5:20).

God delights in lavishing His grace upon you. Such grace is overflowing and cannot be contained. You are forgiven for every sin—past, present, and future. You will never be condemned by God or separated from Him (Rom. 8:1–2, 31–39). Even when you fail, God doesn’t hold your sins against you. Christ bore them all so that you might know the joy and peace that freedom from sin and guilt brings.

Let the reality of God’s grace fill your heart with joy and assurance. Let the responsibility of glorifying Him fill you with awe and reverence. Let this day be a sacrifice of praise and service to Him.

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Suggestions for Prayer:  Thank God for His infinite grace and forgiveness. ✧ Look for opportunities to extend forgiveness to others.

For Further Study: Read Matthew 18:21–35. ✧ What characteristic marked the wicked slave? ✧ What was the king’s response to the wicked slave’s actions? ✧ What point was Jesus making? How does it apply to you?[1]


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1993). Drawing Near—Daily Readings for a Deeper Faith (p. 25). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.

Bad Examples of Women Pastors (But Great Examples of Godly Women)

“God made men and women different from day one of creation… sorry, day six. He meant for men to fill certain roles and women to fill certain roles. We are one body in Christ made of individual parts, each functioning in their own way. One person is not to infringe upon another or take it upon themselves to do the task given to someone else.”

In 1 Timothy 2:11-12, the Apostle Paul wrote, “Let a woman learn quietly with all submissiveness. I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet.” The context here is church leadership, an instruction that continues into chapter 3. A woman is not permitted to be a pastor in a church (elder, bishop, overseer, etc.). Only a man can be a pastor.

This instruction is not limited to the time-period in which Paul was writing. It applies to all people in every place at every point in the history of the church. How do we know this? Because Paul goes all the way back to Genesis with his explanation: “For Adam was formed first, then Eve; and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor” (verses 13-14).

So the first reason the role of pastor is to be filled by a man is because Adam was formed first, and Eve was formed from Adam as his help-meet. The differences between the sexes and the different roles they are assigned are not a result of the fall. They were established at creation and have applied to all people in all cultures at all times.

The second reason a pastor is to be man is because Adam was not deceived by the serpent, but the woman was deceived and transgressed the law of God. This might seem unfair because Adam certainly sinned as well, and death came to all men because Adam sinned (Romans 5:12, 1 Corinthians 15:21). But Adam wasn’t deceived, and Eve was. So whether we’re talking about a perfect, sinless world, or the fallen, sinful one we currently inhabit, God intends that a man be the one to shepherd the flock of God (pastor means “shepherd;” see also 1 Peter 5:1-5).

Elsewhere, Paul wrote, “As in all the churches of the saints, the women should keep silent in the churches. For they are not permitted to speak, but should be in submission, as the Law also says. If there is anything they desire to learn, let them ask their husbands at home. For it is shameful for a woman to speak at church” (1 Corinthians 14:33-35).

This doesn’t mean a woman is supposed to have duct-tape over her mouth from the moment she walks into church to the moment she walks out. The context is teaching the church, or administering the authority of the word of God over the gathered people of God. The role as overseer is set apart for specifically a man to fill.

This also doesn’t mean a church that obeys this instruction is oppressing women. Heavens, no! A woman sitting in that church during a gospel sermon is no more oppressed than any man in the congregation. The truth does not oppress those who listen to it — it sets them free (John 8:31). It is a woman’s delight to learn quietly with all submissiveness, and she does this in honor of the Lord.

Women serve an incredibly important role in the church. If a church was all men and no women, that would be a dysfunctional church (see Titus 2:1-8). The church is to be made up of men and women, young and old, complimenting one another in their strengths and weaknesses, working and growing together so that we may be a functioning body of Christ.

But each according to their own purpose. God made men and women different from day one of creation… sorry, day six. He meant for men to fill certain roles and women to fill certain roles. We are one body in Christ made of individual parts, each functioning in their own way. One person is not to infringe upon another or take it upon themselves to do the task given to someone else. We all submit to one another out of reverence to Christ (Ephesians 5:21).

Bad Arguments for Women Pastors
Over the weekend, a friend got into a discussion over this topic with a feminist, and the feminist retorted with a list of names — women of the Bible who were more than just “helps” but, in her view, were qualified to be pastors. That list was as follows: “Deborah, Hannah, Miriam, Ruth, Esther, Jael, Proverbs 31, Wisdom personified as woman in Proverbs 8 (present with God at creation), Phoebe, Lydia, Prisca, Mary, Mary Magdalene, [were] all just there ‘to help’?”

This is a very common tactic when arguing for why women deserve to be pastors: throw out the name of a woman from the Bible. Boom! But that name is always taken out of context. There are no examples of a woman serving as a pastor in the church. None of the apostles were women, for that matter. I can say “period” and leave it at that. The instruction in 1 Timothy 2:11-12 is clear.

But for the sake of teaching, I’d like to go through that list of names and explain why they’re actually bad examples. While they are not examples of women pastors, most of them are certainly great examples for being strong women of God.

Deborah
The book of Judges captures a very dark time in Israel’s history. In those days there was no king in Israel, and the people did what was right in their own eyes (Judges 17:6, 21:25). But God gave them judges to be their leaders, decision-makers, and deliverers.

The pattern of the story of Judges goes like this: the people sinned and worshiped false gods, the Lord sent an enemy to punish and oppress them, the people cried out for mercy, so God sent a judge to conquer their enemies and deliver a semi-repentant Israel. Wash, rinse, repeat. Three of the most famous judges were Samson, Gideon, and a woman named Deborah.

Deborah was a prophetess and a God-fearing woman who judged during a time when there were no God-fearing men. In Judges 4, Deborah confronted Barak, commander of the Lord’s army, who was reluctant to do what God had told him to do: gather his troops and fight the Canaanites. Instead, Barak told Deborah, “If you will go with me, I will go, but if you will not go with me, I will not go.” So Deborah mommied him and led him by the hand to get him to obey God.

If you had been reading through Deuteronomy and Joshua, by the time you got to Judges 4, you’d recognize Israel’s digression in faith and obedience. In Deuteronomy 1:15, the tribes of Israel had wise and experienced men as heads over them. In Joshua 24:1, these men met with Joshua to renew their covenant before God. But within a generation, Israel began worshiping the Baals and forgot what the Lord had done for them (Judges 2:10-12).

It got to the point that the men weren’t doing what the leaders of Israel were supposed to do. So God placed a woman over them as though to say, “Sure, I’ll deliver you from your enemies. But to your shame, I’m going to send a woman to do what no man will do.” It was an embarrassment that Deborah was judge, not a high achievement (consider Judges 9:53 where it was to Abimelech’s shame that he was killed by a woman and not a man). In Deborah’s song of victory, she praised the tribes that stepped up to fight and lambasted those who stayed home (Judges 5:14-18).

Isaiah 3:12 says, “My people — infants are their oppressors, and women rule over them.” It is the judgment of God upon a nation when women occupy the roles that should be filled by men. Barak should have been the judge of Israel, following in the footsteps of Othniel, Ehud, and Shamgar before him. But because he was kind of a weenie, God gave Deborah to do what Barak wouldn’t.

So using Deborah as an argument for why it’s okay for a woman to be a pastor really isn’t a good move. It would be to admit, “There are no godly men here, so a woman is going to have to do this job.” When a woman is pastor, the church is immature and disobedient, just like Israel was when Deborah was judge. She is a great example of a God-fearing woman. She is not an example of a pastor.

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Top Weekly Stories from ChristianNews.net for 01/13/2018

Moody Bible Institute President, COO Resign Amid Board’s ‘Unanimous Decision’ for ‘New Season of Leadership’   Jan 10, 2018 11:50 pm

CHICAGO — The president and COO of Moody Bible Institute have submitted their resignations amid controversy over the direction of the historic institution, and in light of the board’s “unanimous decision” for “new leadership.” The Moody Board of Trustees accepted the resignations of President Paul Nyquist and COO Steve Mogck on Wednesday, according to an email…

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Paula White Urges Followers to Give ‘First Fruits’ Offering of a Day, Week or Month’s Wages   Jan 08, 2018 02:30 pm

APOPKA, Fla. — Prosperity preacher Paula White, who also serves as the chair of President Trump’s Evangelical Advisory Board, is urging her followers to give a “first fruits” financial offering with the start of 2018, stating that there are “consequences” for those who don’t do so out of “ignorance or direct disobedience.” “As you remember the Lord your God,…

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School District to Pay Girl Who Identifies as Boy $150,000 for Not Being Allowed to Use Preferred Restroom   Jan 12, 2018 05:34 pm

Photo Credit: Transgender Law Center MILWAUKEE, Wisc. — A school district in Wisconsin has agreed to pay $650,000 in attorneys’ fees and $150,000 to a female former student who identifies as male, who sued in 2016 after being prohibited from using the boys’ restroom. The Transgender Law Center says that the $150,000 payment is for “harms … experienced as a…

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Paula White Reps. Scrub Web Page of Language Urging ‘First Fruits’ Offering of Day, Week, Month’s Wages, ‘Consequences’ for Not Giving   Jan 11, 2018 07:07 pm

APOPKA, Fla. — Following media reports and public backlash over the matter, representatives for false teacher Paula White, who also serves as the chair of President Trump’s Evangelical Advisory Board, have scrubbed a page on White’s website of any mention that she had urged followers to give a “first fruits” offering of a day, week, or month’s wages—and that…

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Former Teacher Has Certificates Suspended for Speaking Against Sin of Homosexuality on Facebook   Jan 09, 2018 09:45 pm

NEWARK, N.J. — The New Jersey Department of Education has suspended the teaching certificates of a former high school teacher who came under fire seven years ago for speaking against the sin of homosexuality on Facebook. As previously reported, Jenye “Viki” Knox, 56, first came under fire in June 2011 after she posted comments on Facebook decrying the…

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Ohio’s Largest Abortion Facility Launches Billboard Campaign to Claim: ‘Abortion Is a Blessing’   Jan 06, 2018 02:29 pm

CLEVELAND, Ohio — The largest abortion facility in Ohio has launched a billboard campaign in an effort to urge readers “to reflect on the powerful role that abortion plays in people’s lives.” The facility, called Preterm, has purchased 16 billboard locations around the Cleveland area to “spark conversation” surrounding its belief that abortion is necessary as…

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US Supreme Court Declines to Hear Challenge to Mississippi’s Freedom of Conscience Act   Jan 08, 2018 11:37 am

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Supreme Court has declined to hear an appeal of a Fifth Circuit ruling that upheld Mississippi’s “Protecting Freedom of Conscience from Government Discrimination Act,” a bill meant to shelter residents from punishment when acting in accordance with their religious convictions in regard to the institution of marriage. The court denied the…

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HIV Positive Teacher’s Aide, Track Coach Accused of Molesting 42 Youth Pleads Guilty to Sex Abuse Charges   Jan 06, 2018 11:38 am

WALDORF, Md. — A former Maryland teacher’s aide and track coach accused of sexually abusing 42 youth between 2015 and 2017 has accepted a plea deal after being charged with over 200 offenses, including the attempted transmission of HIV. According to reports, Carlos Bell, 30, was first investigated in December 2016 after a parent contacted authorities in…

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Gideons No Longer Allowed to Offer Bibles at Kansas Elementary School Following Complaint   Jan 07, 2018 11:05 pm

HERINGTON, Kan. — Representatives for Gideon International will no longer be allowed to make Bibles available to students at an elementary school in Kansas following a complaint from a national humanist organization. The American Humanist Association (AHA) recently sent a letter to the superintendent of Herington Schools and the principal of Herington Elementary…

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U.S. Department of State Announces Annual Notation of World’s Most Egregious Violators of Religious Freedom   Jan 07, 2018 08:27 am

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of State has announced its annual designation of “Countries of Particular Concern” (CPC) based on observance of ongoing violations of religious freedom. “In far too many places around the globe, people continue to be persecuted, unjustly prosecuted or imprisoned for exercising their right to freedom of religion or belief,”…

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Biola University – Going . . . Going . . . Gone As President Takes Sabbatical At Catholic Contemplative Monastery

(Lighthouse Trails) For many years, Lighthouse Trails has written about the slide that Biola University in Southern California has taken into contemplative spirituality. Our first indication that the school was heading that way was in February of 2006 when we learned that Biola was actively participating in a publication called Conversations Journal, a magazine whose primary purpose is to bring contemplative spirituality to the church, and editorial involvement includes names such as Richard Foster, Basil Pennington (a Catholic mystic), Tilden Edwards (co-founder of the panentheistic Shalem Institute), and others of the contemplative viewpoint. Since then, we have watched as Biola has gotten whole-heartedly on the contemplative band wagon with its own Institute for Spiritual Formation through Biola’s Talbot School of Theology.

Fast forward nearly twelve years to the fall of 2017 when the longstanding president of Biola, Dr. Barry Corey, took a month-long sabbatical leave starting with a week at the Glastonbury Abbey in Massachusetts (a Benedictine monastery) then wrote about his time of contemplative silence at the Abbey for the students of Biola in an article titled “The Abbey Makes Space for the Soul” in the school’s student-run newspaper Chimes.

Of course, it makes sense to us that the president of a strongly contemplative university would spend time in silence at a Catholic mystical retreat center. We have been explaining for many years now that contemplative prayer came to the evangelical church from the Catholic monasteries (e.g. Thomas Merton at the Abbey of Gethsemani in Kentucky). So naturally, a contemplative proponent such as Corey would be drawn to a Catholic contemplative retreat center. It’s like going back to the roots of what has become the foundation of Biola’s “faith.” And with the president himself boasting of his time at the Glastonbury Abbey, no doubt, many students will wish to follow suit. Most of them probably won’t have the money to take a week off and fly across the country to Massachusetts (college students are generally strapped for funds – Biola’s yearly tuition runs over $40,000 a year). But with President Corey’s glowing report of his time at Glastonbury, students can at least order a few books from Glastonbury’s online bookstore.

Here are some titles Biola students might purchase from the Glastonbury bookstore: Becoming the Presence of God (Contemplative Ministry for Everyone) by Michael Ford, Finding Our Sacred Center by Henri Nouwen, Divine Dance: The Trinity and Your Transformation by Richard Rohr, Christ in All Things: Exploring Spirituality with Pierre Teilhard De ChardinGuidelines for Mystical Prayer, What the Mystics Know: Seven Pathways to Your Deeper Self by Rohr, and a multitude of other similar books. The majority of the books in Glastonbury’s bookstore radiates with the contemplative message that God is in everyone. For those who are new to understanding contemplative spirituality, THAT is the foundation of contemplative prayer (i.e., Spiritual Formation) – God in everyone, which of course, if was true, then Christ died for us in vain as man would not need a Savior separate from himself. This is why we have given our lives up to warn the church about the infiltration of this panentheistic spirituality that now affects over 90% of the Christian colleges, universities, and seminaries. If contemplative spirituality (as promoted at Biola) is legitimate, then the Gospel is not needed, and those of us who believe in it are the worst of fools.

Some reading this may be thinking, well, just because Dr. Corey visited a contemplative monastery doesn’t mean that Biola itself is promoting or teaching contemplative prayer. On that matter, we could give one example after the next (see links to some of our former research below). But let’s look at just a few recent things from Biola’s website:  View article →

Related:

Articles on Richard Foster

See our Research Papers on Contemplative Prayer and Spiritual Formation

Source:  Biola University – Going . . . Going . . . Gone As President Takes Sabbatical At Catholic Contemplative Monastery

The Fortune-Telling ‘Encounter Gospel’ of Bethel & the NAR Explained

(Steven Kozar – Museum of Idolatry) Tired of getting no results with old-fashioned, Bible-based Christianity? It’s time to go off the map with Bill Johnson, Kris Vallotton and all of their New Apostolic Reformation friends! In this first episode of this series we will focus on the fortune-telling aspect of the “Encounter Gospel,” so get out your tarot cards, oops… I mean get out your Destiny Cards and let’s get started! Here’s a quick summary of the new and better Gospel of the Kingdom:

  • People aren’t really that bad, they just need to be convinced of how special they are-they need to understand their “true identity.”
  • Religion is the real source of people’s problems, not rebellion against God (sin).
  • God is desperately trying to get people to “accept” Him, but He’s been hindered by the historic Christian Church, with its specific, Biblical teachings about Salvation, Heaven and Hell, The Atonement of Jesus Christ, and all other forms of unnecessary “head knowledge” found in the Bible.
  • People would believe in God if they could just see some proof for themselves.
  • Bethel teaches how to give people the proof they need to believe that God is real, He loves them, and He wants all of their dreams to come true so they can fulfill their “Destiny.”

How does Bethel teach you to provide proof of God’s existence? How can you convert anyone you want?

Give people an “encounter with God.” This is the new and better “Gospel of the Kingdom!”

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  • Tell them something about themselves that can only be known supernaturally, exactly like a psychic, only much better! 
  • Always tell them something good about themselves; especially about how they have a great “Destiny” and how God thinks they’re amazing.
  • Do NOT call this fortune-telling, call it prophecy. Examples: “I operate in the prophetic,” or “I have a prophetic gifting/anointing/mantle/office,” or “Wow! I received a prophecy from Theresa and it was dead-on!” or “These aren’t tarot cards-they’re prophecy cards!”
  • It helps if you have some stock phrases memorized ahead of time, like these: “I’m sensing a shift in the atmosphere,” or “You’ve been waiting for a breakthrough, haven’t you?” or “God wants you to know that you’re very special and He hasn’t forgotten about you.”
  • If your prospect appears skeptical or nervous, assure them that you’re getting direct downloads from the third heaven realm.

View article →

Source: The Fortune-Telling ‘Encounter Gospel’ of Bethel & the NAR Explained

JANUARY 13 LEARN TO LOVE GOD FOR HIMSELF ALONE

We love him, because he first loved us.

1 JOHN 4:19

The phrase, “the love of God,” when used by Christians almost always refers to God’s love for us. We must remember that it can also mean our love for God!

The first and great commandment is that we should love God with all the power of our total personality. Though all love originates in God and is for that reason God’s own love, yet we are permitted to catch and reflect back that love in such manner that it becomes our love indeed!

The Christian’s love for God has by some religious thinkers been divided into two kinds, the love of gratitude and the love of excellence. But we must carry our love to God further than love of gratitude and love of excellence.

There is a place in the religious experience where we love God for Himself alone, with never a thought of His benefits. There is, in the higher type of love, a suprarational element that cannot and does not attempt to give reasons for its existence—it only whispers, “I love!” In the perfection of love, the heart does not reason from admiration to affection, but quickly rises to the height of blind adoration where reason is suspended and the heart worships in unreasoning blessedness. It can only exclaim, “Holy, holy, holy,” while scarcely knowing what it means.

If this should all seem too mystical, too unreal, we offer no proof. But some will read and recognize the description of the sunlit peaks where they have been for at least brief periods and to which they long often to return. And such will need no proof![1]


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

January 13, 2018 Afternoon Verse Of The Day

3:21This I recall to my mind: Jeremiah’s remembrance of God’s faithfulness brought about a change in the prophet’s emotions. As long as we contemplate our troubles, the more convinced we will become of our isolation, our hopelessness, our inability to extricate ourselves from the present trouble. But when we focus on the Lord, we are able finally to rise above, rather than to suffer under, our troubles.

3:22 This verse seems to contradict all that had been written up to this point (2:1–5). Yet the fact that there was a prophet left to write these words and a remnant left to read them show that not every person in Jerusalem had been consumed. The fact that there was a remnant at all was due to the mercies and compassions of God. Even in His wrath (2:1–4), God remembers to be merciful.[1]


3:21 This I recall. The prophet referred to what followed as he reviewed God’s character.

3:22 lovingkindnesses. This Heb. word, used about 250 times in the OT, refers to God’s gracious love. It is a comprehensive term that encompasses love, grace, mercy, goodness, forgiveness, truth, compassion, and faithfulness.[2]


3:21 This verse marks a change in the speaker’s attitude. The contentment he remembers renews the hope lost in v. 18. In view of vv. 22–23, 32, he may be reflecting on Ex. 34:6–7, which these verses echo.

3:22 God’s steadfast love (his “covenant mercy” or beneficial action on his people’s behalf) never ceases, even in the face of Judah’s unfaithfulness and the resulting “day of the Lord” (cf. Joel 2:1–2; Amos 5:18; Zeph. 1:14–16). mercies. Or “compassion.” This type of mercy goes the second mile, replacing judgment with restoration. never come to an end. God is willing to begin anew with those who repent.[3]


3:21 What Jeremiah does is what every believer must do when he is discouraged, disappointed, or depressed—he must call to mind the faithfulness of God and meditate upon it until the Spirit lifts him up again.

3:22 Jeremiah’s realization of Judah’s defilement in the presence of a holy God moves him to one of the more poignant expressions of the grace of God found anywhere in the Bible. The wonder to Jeremiah is not that some are lost, but that any are saved. All would be consumed were it not for God’s mercies. The word “mercies” is a translation of the Hebrew word hesed, sometimes rendered “lovingkindness” (cf. Jer. 2:2, note). The word captures the spirit of the term “grace” in the N.T. (cf. Eph. 2:8, note). “Mercy” and “compassion” alone stay the hand of God’s righteous and just indignation. Nor is this to be construed as an initial occurrence only. Each morning His mercies are fresh, verifying God’s great faithfulness to us (v. 23). Man’s only hope rests on this truth.[4]


3:21This I recall to my mind: Jeremiah’s remembrance of God’s faithfulness brought about a change in the prophet’s emotions. As long as we contemplate our troubles, the more convinced we will become of our isolation, our hopelessness, our inability to extricate ourselves from the present trouble. But when we focus on the Lord, we are able finally to rise above, rather than to suffer under, our troubles.

3:22 This verse seems to contradict all that had been written up to this point (see 2:1–5). Yet the very fact that there was a prophet left to write these words and a remnant left to read them show that not every person in Jerusalem had been consumed. The fact that there was a remnant at all was due to the mercies and compassions of God. Even in His wrath (2:1–4), God remembers to be merciful.[5]


3:22 — Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not.

Do you know the Lord as trustworthy, reliable, and consistent? Or do you question whether God will be there for you in your hour of need? From cover to cover, the Bible proclaims, “God is there, and He cares!” He never abandons us.[6]


21 This I †recall to my mind, therefore have I hope.

This, not what was already said, that made them despair, and their souls to bow down; but this, that which followeth, concerning the nature of God, and other good providences. I see nothing in the circumstances of my condition to comfort me, but I see something in God’s nature, and in some other dispensations of his providence, which gives me ground to hope for better things than an utter ruin and destruction.

22 ¶ It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not.

Mercy is nothing else but love flowing freely from any to persons in misery, and differs from compassion only in the freeness of the emanation. It is not because God had not power enough utterly to have consumed us, nor because we had not guilt enough to have provoked his justice to have put an end to our lives, as well as to the lives of many thousands of our countrymen, but it is merely from the Lord’s free love and pity to us in our miseries. If God had not a blessing in store for us, how is it that we are captives, and not slain as many others were during the siege?[7]


[1] Radmacher, E. D., Allen, R. B., & House, H. W. (1999). Nelson’s new illustrated Bible commentary (pp. 951–952). Nashville: T. Nelson Publishers.

[2] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2006). The MacArthur study Bible: New American Standard Bible. (La 3:21–22). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

[3] Crossway Bibles. (2008). The ESV Study Bible (p. 1487). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[4] 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., La 3:21–22). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[5]The NKJV Study Bible. (2007). (La 3:21–22). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.

[6] Stanley, C. F. (2005). The Charles F. Stanley life principles Bible: New King James Version (La 3:22). Nashville, TN: Nelson Bibles.

[7] Poole, M. (1853). Annotations upon the Holy Bible (Vol. 2, p. 655). New York: Robert Carter and Brothers.

JANUARY 13 LOVE WITHOUT MEASURE

Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love.

Jeremiah 31:3

I once wrote something about how God loves us and how dear we are to Him. I was not sure I should put it down on paper—but God knows what I meant.

I wrote: “The only eccentricity that I can discover in the heart of God is the fact that a God such as He is should love sinners such as we are!”

On this earth a mother will love the son who has betrayed her and shamed her and is now on his way to a life in prison. That seems to be a natural thing for a mother. But there is nothing natural about this love of God. It is a divine thing. It is forced out by the inward pressure within the heart of the God of all grace. That is why He waits for us, puts up with us, desires to lead us on—He loves us!

My brethren, this should be our greatest encouragement in view of all that we know about ourselves: God loves us without measure, and He is so keenly interested in our spiritual growth and progress that He stands by in faithfulness to teach and instruct and discipline us as His own dear children!

Dear Lord, this morning I’m struck with the thought of how much You have put up with me—because of Your endless love. Lord, help me take another baby step toward spiritual maturity today.[1]


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

January 13 Testing Jesus’ Divine Rights

“If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.”—Matt. 4:3b

Before Satan tempted Jesus more directly, he threw out a cynical challenge to test Christ’s deity. The devil’s conditional statement, “If You are the Son of God,” assumed that Jesus was indeed God’s beloved Son (3:17). But he hoped to persuade Him into a demonstration of divine power that would violate God’s plan, which called for Jesus to set aside His divine power while on earth and use it only when the Father commanded. If Satan could make Jesus presume upon His divine rights and act independently of His Father, this would amount to disobedience.

Obviously, then, the purpose of the first temptation went far beyond getting Jesus to satisfy His physical hunger by wrongly using miraculous power. The devil wanted Him to doubt the Father’s word, love, and provision—to disobediently declare that being hungry was simply not fit for God’s only Son.

Satan’s argument was, “Hadn’t He endured enough humiliating circumstances already (the stable, the flight to Egypt, obscurity in Nazareth, this time in the wilderness) in an effort to identify with unworthy humanity?” But unlike Eve in the Garden of Eden (cf. Gen. 3:1f.), Jesus stayed true to God’s will and did not cast doubt on the Father’s word or His already secured position as God’s Son.

ASK YOURSELF

Yes, there is more at stake in temptation than the mere subject of the enticement. There are significant matters of trust and freedom and identity involved. How seriously are you taking these threats to your Christian calling? Pray that God would help you see the battle for what it is.[1]


[1] MacArthur, J. (2008). Daily readings from the life of Christ (p. 21). Chicago: Moody Publishers.

January 13 Raised Through the Spirit

God does not give the Spirit by measure. The Father loves the Son, and has given all things into His hand.

John 3:34–35

Jesus took on a role requiring voluntary submission, and He did the will of the Father through the power of the Spirit. That is an amazing act of love and humility from One who is fully God and always will be throughout eternity.

It is important to recognize the Spirit’s work in the ministry and resurrection of Jesus because it indicates that the entire Trinity was involved in the redemption of mankind. The greatest affirmation that Jesus is who He claimed to be is that the Father raised the Son through the agency of the Holy Spirit.[1]


[1] MacArthur, J. (2001). Truth for today : a daily touch of God’s grace (p. 24). Nashville, Tenn.: J. Countryman.