Daily Archives: January 14, 2018

January 14 Pursuing God’s Will

“In all wisdom and insight [God] made known to us the mystery of His will” (Eph. 1:8–9).

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Even if you haven’t obtained academic degrees, you have wisdom that far surpasses the most educated unbeliever.

When God redeemed you, He not only forgave your trespasses and removed the guilt and penalty of sin, but He also gave you spiritual wisdom and insight—two essential elements for godly living. Together they speak of the ability to understand God’s will and to apply it to your life in practical ways.

As a believer, you understand the most sublime truths of all. For example, you know that God created the world and controls the course of history. You know that mankind’s reason for existence is to know and glorify Him. You have goals and priorities that transcend earthly circumstances and limitations.

Such wisdom and insight escapes unbelievers because they tend to view the things of God with disdain (1 Cor. 2:14). But you “have the mind of Christ” (v. 16). His Word reveals His will, and His Spirit gives you the desire and ability to understand and obey it.

Today is another opportunity to cultivate that desire through diligent prayer and Bible study. Let the psalmist’s commitment be yours: “O how I love Thy law! It is my meditation all the day. Thy commandments make me wiser than my enemies. … I have more insight than all my teachers. … I understand more than the aged. … I have restrained my feet from every evil way, that I may keep Thy word” (Ps. 119:97–101).

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Suggestions for Prayer:  Thank God for the wisdom and insight He gives you through His Word. ✧ If you have neglected the Word, ask His forgiveness, and begin once again to refresh your spirit with its truths. ✧ Ask for wisdom to respond Biblically to every situation you face today.

For Further Study: Many Christians think God’s will is vague or hidden from them. But Scripture mentions several specific aspects of His will. Once you align yourself with those specifics, the Spirit will direct you in the other areas of your life. ✧ List six elements of God’s will from these passages: Ephesians 5:17–18; 1 Thessalonians 4:3; 1 Thessalonians 5:18; 1 Peter 2:13–15; 1 Peter 3:17; 2 Peter 3:9. ✧ Are you following God’s will in those areas? If not, what steps can you take today to do so?[1]


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1993). Drawing Near—Daily Readings for a Deeper Faith (p. 26). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.

JANUARY 14 FEELING RIGHT: NOT THE SAME AS BEING RIGHT

The LORD of that servant shall come…and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites….

MATTHEW 24:50, 51

It appears that too many Christians want to enjoy the thrill of feeling right but are not willing to endure the inconvenience of being right!

The glaring disparity between theology and practice among professing Christians is a more destructive evil in its effect upon the Christian religion than communism, Romanism and liberalism combined.

So wide is the gulf that separates theory from practice in the church that an inquiring stranger who chances upon both would scarcely dream that there was any relation between them.

An intelligent observer of our human scene who heard the Sunday morning sermon and later watched the Sunday afternoon conduct of those who had heard it would conclude that he had been examining two distinct and contrary religions!

Christians habitually weep and pray over beautiful truth, only to draw back from that same truth when it comes to the difficult job of putting it in practice.

The average church simply does not dare to check its practices against biblical precepts. It tolerates things that are diametrically opposed to the will of God. This can be explained only by assuming a lack of integration in the religious personality. The mind can approve and the emotions enjoy while the will drags its feet and refuses to go along!

And since Christ makes His appeal directly to the will, are we not justified in wondering whether or not these divided souls have ever made a true commitment to the Lord?[1]


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

January 14, 2018 Afternoon Verse Of The Day

39:43 Moses examined all the work. Fittingly enough, the one who had been with God on the mount and had passed on to the people the blueprints for everything connected with the Lord’s tabernacle personally inspected the work and confirmed its successful completion. The term “work” is to be taken as “the end result of professional and skilled craftsmen.” So Moses blessed them. By this act, Moses set his final and formal seal of approval on the outcome of their earnestness and diligence, and expressed his prayer-wish that good would result to them from their God. This is the only instance recorded in Exodus of Moses’ pronouncing a blessing upon his people. The other appearances of the verb “to bless” occur 3 times with God as the subject of the verb (20:11, 24; 23:25) and one time with Pharaoh requesting Moses to bless him (12:32).[1]


39:43 The words Moses looked suggest that Moses conducted a final inspection. He was satisfied that everything was finished according to the pattern he had seen on the mountain. Then Moses blessed them, a magnanimous gesture of approval for the work accomplished.[2]


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2006). The MacArthur study Bible: New American Standard Bible. (Ex 39:43). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

[2] The NKJV Study Bible. (2007). (Ex 39:43). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.

 

JANUARY 14 THE WONDER OF REDEMPTION

For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.

Colossians 2:9

My brethren in the Christian faith, stand with me in defense of this basic doctrine: The living God did not degrade Himself in the Incarnation. When the Word was made flesh, there was no compromise on God’s part!

It is plain in the ancient Athanasian Creed that the early church fathers were cautious at this point of doctrine. They would not allow us to believe that God, in the Incarnation, became flesh by a coming down of the Deity into flesh, but rather by the taking of mankind into God. That is the wonder of redemption!

In the past the mythical gods of the nations were not strangers to compromise. But the holy God who is God, our heavenly Father, could never compromise Himself!

He remained ever God, and everything else remained not God. That gulf still existed even after Jesus Christ had become man and dwelt among us. This much, then, we can know about the acts of God—He will never back out of His bargain. This amazing union of man with God is effected unto perpetuity!

Heavenly Father, thank You for making it possible for mankind to become redeemed. Praise to the most high God![1]


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

January 14 Jesus’ Real Food—Obeying the Father

He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.’ ”—Matt. 4:4

Above all, Satan’s temptations of Jesus Christ solicited His rebellion against the Father. But Jesus had come to earth to do the Father’s will and nothing else. In fact, His will and the Father’s were precisely the same (John 5:30; cf. 10:30; Heb. 10:9).

Case in point: In the ultimate test of obedience, just prior to His arrest and betrayal, Jesus prayed in the garden of Gethsemane, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as You will.” … “My Father, if this cannot pass away unless I drink it, Your will be done” (Matt. 26:39, 42). This supreme example of absolute trust and submission by Jesus to His Father is what Satan tried to smash. In his proudest and wickedest manner, the enemy attempted to fracture the Trinitarian nature of the Godhead.

But Christ, in His immeasurable humility and righteousness, replied to Satan’s first words, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.’ ” All three of our Lord’s responses to Satan would begin with the simple but straightforward appeal to the Word of God—“It is written” (cf. Ps. 119:11). In quoting Deuteronomy 8:3, Jesus affirmed that believers are far better off depending on God and waiting on His provision than they are in grabbing for their own satisfaction—something we all are tempted to do.

ASK YOURSELF

You may feel unsure of what God’s will is for you, but much of it is spelled out clearly in Scripture. How well are you obeying the aspects of His will that have already been revealed to you? In seeking to know His plan, a good place to start is always obedience to His Word.[1]


[1] MacArthur, J. (2008). Daily readings from the life of Christ (p. 22). Chicago: Moody Publishers.

Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves

Possessing the Treasure

by Mike Ratliff

15 “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. 16 You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? 17 Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Matthew 7:15-18 (NKJV) 

Who can we trust? I have been in many separate discussions with friends over that last several weeks and months pertaining to the seeming escalation of growing apostasy all around us. Some have lamented that it seems that there is no one who can be trusted anymore. I made the commen several nights ago to a friend that it was becoming increasingly more difficult to trust the fruit of those who minister for money or whose livelihood…

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Damage control: Bethel Church’s statement about the ‘Christian Tarot card’ controversy leaves many questions unanswered.

Holly Pivec from “Spirit of Error” raises some great points about the relationship  between Bethel and Christalignment in her latest article. Holly is the co-author of New Apostolic Reformation?: A Biblical Response to a Worldwide Movement and God’s Super-Apostles: Encountering the Worldwide Prophets and Apostles Movement. She has a master’s degree in Christian apologetics from Biola University.


Holly writes:

Bethel Church in Redding, California, last week, responded to the “Christian Tarot card” controversy that has created a buzz in the Christian media.

Apparently, church leaders could no longer ignore reports that people closely associated with the church — including students from their school — have used the controversial decks of cards known as Destiny Cards. And members of their pastoral staff have defended the use of the cards. One, Theresa Dedmon, even developed her own set of Destiny Cards. These reports seem to have damaged Bethel’s reputation given the…

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Toronto Blessing & Pensacola Outpouring failed end-times prophetic revivals?

Back in the day, it was continually claimed by leaders (particularly Dr Michael Brown), that the Toronto Blessing and the Pensacola Outpuring (aka Brownsville Revival) were not connected in anyway. In this article we let their own Apostles and followers tell the truth neglected by New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) Apostles like Dr Michael Brown.

We’ve documented this all before from another source also worth looking at.

David Yonggi Cho and Ken Sumrall’s “prophecy” over Pensacola

Older prophecies explain why these revivals were meant to occur, demonstrating how cult-like they are. Can anyone now claim that the Toronto Blessing and Pensacola Outpouring triggered Christ’s return and changed the nations for the glory of God? Why would Michael Brown want this failed prophetic end-times revival on his resume?


It is worth noting that ‘soothsayer’ David Yonggi Cho prophesied that the Brownsville Revival will continue until Jesus Christ returns:

“Brother Kilpatrick just asked before…

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The Bible has no comfort whatsoever to give to people who are not Christians

“The Bible has no comfort whatsoever to give to people who are not Christians – none at all; indeed the exact opposite. The Bible has nothing to say to such people except to warn them to flee from the wrath to come. It tells them that the sufferings of this present hour are not worthy to be compared with the sufferings they are going to endure, that these are but a foretaste of what is coming to them, that the account of the Flood, the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, and all similar calamities are but faint pictures of the suffering that is going to come to those who do not belong to the Lord Jesus Christ. There is no comfort here for an unbeliever – none at all.”

– Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones

Romans – The Perseverance Of The Saints

Source: The Bible has no comfort whatsoever to give to people who are not Christians

It is sin to allow the past, which God has dealt with, to rob us of our joy and our usefulness in the present and in the future.

Why believe the devil instead of believing God? Rise up and realize the truth about yourself – that all the past has gone, and you are one with Christ, and all your sins have been blotted out once and for ever. O let us remember that it is sin to doubt God’s Word. It is sin to allow the past, which God has dealt with, to rob us of our joy and our usefulness in the present and in the future.

D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones
Spiritual Depression – Its Causes and its Cures, Eerdmans, 1965, 76

The Work of the Holy Spirit

The work of the Holy Spirit is to take corrupted image-bearers who cannot glorify God, in whom the divine image is so marred that they will perish in hell—to take those marred and scarred people and to restore in them the likeness of Jesus Christ.

John MacArthur
Strange Fire – Session One

January 14 A Mysterious Union

Taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men.

Philippians 2:7

The humanity and deity of Christ is a mysterious union we can never fully understand. But the Bible emphasizes both.

Luke 23:39–43 provides a good example. At the cross, “… one of the criminals who were hanged blasphemed Him, saying, ‘If You are the Christ, save Yourself and us.’ But the other, answering, rebuked him, saying, ‘Do you not even fear God, seeing you are under the same condemnation? And we indeed justly, for we receive the due reward of our deeds; but this Man has done nothing wrong.’ Then he said to Jesus, ‘Lord, remember me when you come into Your Kingdom.’ And Jesus said to him, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.’”

In His humanness, Jesus was a victim, mercilessly hammered to a cross after being spat upon, mocked, and humiliated. But in His deity, He promised the thief on the cross eternal life, as only God can.[1]


[1] MacArthur, J. (2001). Truth for today : a daily touch of God’s grace (p. 25). Nashville, Tenn.: J. Countryman.

January 14, 2018 Morning Verse Of The Day

Jesus Is Equal to God in His Honor

“so that all will honor the Son even as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him. Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.” (5:23–24)

The Father’s purpose in entrusting all His works and judgment to Jesus is so that all will honor the Son even as they honor the Father. It is only fitting that those equal in nature (vv. 17–18), works (vv. 19–20), power and sovereignty (v. 21), and judgment (v. 22) would be accorded equal honor. The Father’s honor is not diminished by the honor paid to Christ; on the contrary, it is enhanced.

Although the unbelieving Jews thought they were truly worshiping God while rejecting His Son (cf. 16:2), such was not the case, for he who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him. This was an astounding claim on Jesus’ part, as D. A. Carson notes:

In a theistic universe, such a statement belongs to one who is himself to be addressed as God (cf. 20:28), or to stark insanity. The one who utters such things is to be dismissed with pity or scorn, or worshipped as Lord. If with much current scholarship we retreat to seeing in such material less the claims of the Son than the beliefs and witness of the Evangelist and his church, the same options confront us. Either John is supremely deluded and must be dismissed as a fool, or his witness is true and Jesus is to be ascribed the honours due God alone. There is no rational middle ground. (The Gospel According to John, The Pillar New Testament Commentary (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1991), 255).

When He was asked, “What shall we do, so that we may work the works of God?” Jesus answered, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent” (6:28–29). “He who hates Me,” He warned, “hates My Father also” (15:23). Those who refuse to honor the Son while claiming to honor the Father are actually self-deceived. John Heading writes,

It is not up to a man to decide that he will honour the One or the Other; it is either both or neither. In religious circles, it is too easy for unbelief to contemplate God but not the Son. Knowledge of One implies knowledge of the Other (John 8:19); hatred of One implies hatred of the Other (15:23); denial of the One implies denial of the Other (1 John 2:23). (What the Bible Teaches: John [Kilmarnock, Scotland: John Ritchie, 1988), 93)

That the Father and the Son are to be afforded equal honor forcefully asserts Christ’s deity and equality with God, who declared through the prophet Isaiah, “I will not give My glory to another” (Isa. 42:8; 48:11). Yet, the Father has commanded that all will honor the Son. In Philippians 2:9–11 Paul wrote,

For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Willingly or unwillingly, everyone will eventually obey the Father’s command to honor Jesus Christ.

Jesus closed this section of His discourse by reaffirming His authority to give eternal life to whomever He desires. The Lord underscored the statement’s monumental significance by introducing it with the solemn formula amēn, amēn (truly, truly). He identified those who receive eternal life as those who hear His word (or message) and believe the Father who sent Him. As always in the Scriptures, divine sovereignty in salvation is not apart from human responsibility to repent and believe the gospel. The blessed promise to those who believe is that they do not come into judgment, but have passed out of death into life. As Paul wrote to the Romans, “There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 8:1).

The claims of Jesus Christ confront everyone, forcing all to make a decision either for or against Him. There is no neutral ground, for as Jesus said, “He who is not with Me is against Me; and he who does not gather with Me, scatters” (Luke 11:23). Those who accept Him for who He is, God incarnate in human flesh, will be saved from their sins through Him (Matt. 1:21; 1 Tim. 1:15; Heb. 7:25). But those who believe Him to be anything other than who He truly is will one day face His judgment (John 3:18; 9:39; 12:47–48; 16:8–9; Acts 10:38–42; 17:31; 2 Tim. 4:1).[1]


24 Once again Jesus prefaces an important truth with his characteristic “I tell you the truth.” As in the other locations, it does not stem from fear that the hearer might think that Jesus is not telling the truth. Rather, it is a rhetorical way of underscoring the crucial importance of the pronouncement that will follow. Jesus has just spoken of his role in judgment; now he explains how not to be condemned. To be set free from condemnation and enter into eternal life requires that a person hear the message that Jesus brings and believe in the one who sent him. In John’s language, hearing and believing are not so much two separate steps as they are a single act of obedience. Barrett, 261, notes that “akouein [GK 201] is used, as shama [GK 10725] is often used in the Old Testament, with the meaning ‘to hear and do,’ ‘to be obedient.’ ” As Jesus spoke a word and an invalid who lay helpless by the pool of Bethesda rose and walked away, now he speaks a word and spiritual invalids who respond in faith rise up and enter into “eternal life.”

The message that Jesus brought centers in the redemptive love of God the Father. To learn of the Father who longs for the return of the prodigal and to return in faith to that intimate relationship abandoned by Adam is to “cross over from death to life.” The verb (metabainō, GK 3553) may be used to indicate a change of residence (BDAG, 638; cf. Lk 10:7). Jesus is saying that those who hear and believe have by that response left their former residence in the realm of death and moved to a new home in the sphere of life. The perfect tense of the verb indicates that the change of quarters has already been made. Believers are enjoying eternal life right now. This is the strongest statement of “realized eschatology” found in the NT. Those who have eternal life will “not be condemned.” They will “not come into judgment” (NASB; eis krisin [GK 3213] ouk erchetai [GK 2262]) because that question has been settled forever on the cross.[2]


5:24. In the Greek text our verse begins with the words, amen, amen, translated in the familiar KJV with the words “verily, verily.” Actually, this entire equality-with-God section began the same way back in verse 19. The theme of this entire section of John’s Gospel centers in the unity of the Father and the Son. John emphasized that both life and condemnation are present possessions with eternal consequences.

This verse challenges all readers to trust Christ through faith. Let us remember, too, that hearing and believing are almost synonymous in John’s use. The phrase he has crossed over appears in the perfect tense, meaning the actual crossing took place some time in the past, but the result continues to the present. In short, salvation is an accomplished fact and an assured position. Like John 3:16, John 5:24 is pure gospel.[3]


5:24 In the preceding verses, we learned that the Lord Jesus had the power to give life and that, also, the work of judgment had been committed to Him. Now we learn how one may receive spiritual life from Him and escape judgment.

This is one of the favorite gospel verses in the Bible. Multitudes have become possessors of eternal life through its message. Doubtless the reason for its being so greatly loved is the manner in which it sets forth the way of salvation so clearly. The Lord Jesus began the verse with the words “Most assuredly,” drawing attention to the importance of what He was about to say. Then He added the very personal announcement, “I say to you.” The Son of God is speaking to us in a very personal and intimate way.

“He who hears My word.” To hear the word of Jesus means not only to listen to it, but also to receive it, to believe it, and to obey it. Many people hear the gospel preached, but do nothing about it. The Lord is saying here that a man must accept His teaching as divine, and believe that He is indeed the Savior of the world.

“And believes in Him who sent Me.” It is a matter of believing God. But does that mean that a person is saved simply by believing God? Many profess to believe in God, yet they have never been converted. No, the thought here is that one must believe God, who sent the Lord Jesus Christ into the world. What must he believe? He must believe that God sent the Lord Jesus to be our Savior. He must believe what God says about the Lord Jesus, namely, that He is the only Savior and that sins can only be put away through His work on Calvary.

“Has everlasting life.” Notice it does not say that he will have eternal life, but that he has it right now. Everlasting life is the life of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is not only life that will go on forever, but it is a (higher) quality of life. It is the life of the Savior imparted to us who believe in Him. It is the spiritual life received when a man is born again, in contrast to the natural life which he received at his physical birth.

“And shall not come into judgment.” The thought here is that he is not condemned now and will never be condemned in the future. The one who believes on the Lord Jesus is free from judgment because Christ has paid the penalty for his sins on Calvary. God will not demand the payment of this penalty twice. Christ has paid it as our Substitute, and that is sufficient. He has finished the work, and nothing can be added to a finished work. The Christian will never be punished for his sins.

“But has passed from death into life.” The one who has trusted Christ has passed out of a state of spiritual death into one of spiritual life. Before conversion, he was dead in trespasses and in sins. He was dead as far as love for God or fellowship with the Lord was concerned. When he put his faith in Jesus Christ, he was indwelt by the Spirit of God and became a possessor of divine life.[4]


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2006). John 1–11 (pp. 190–191). Chicago: Moody Press.

[2] Mounce, R. H. (2007). John. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Luke–Acts (Revised Edition) (Vol. 10, pp. 428–429). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[3] Gangel, K. O. (2000). John (Vol. 4, p. 102). Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

[4] MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (A. Farstad, Ed.) (pp. 1493–1494). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

JANUARY 14 GIVE ME THYSELF

And the LORD spake unto Aaron, Thou shalt have no inheritance in their land, neither shalt thou have any part among them: I am thy part and thine inheritance among the children of Israel.

—Numbers 18:20

Above all gifts, God desires most to give Himself to His people. Our nature being what it is, we are the best fitted of all creatures to know and enjoy God….

When God told Aaron, “Thou shalt have no inheritance in their land, neither shalt thou have any part among them: I am thy part and thine inheritance among the children of Israel,” He in fact promised a portion infinitely above all the real estate in Palestine and all the earth thrown in (Numbers 18:20). To possess God—this is the inheritance ultimate and supreme….

To give God back to us was the chief work of Christ in redemption. To impart Himself to us in personal experience is the first purpose of God in salvation. To bring acute God-awareness is the best help the Spirit brings in sanctification. All other steps in grace lead up to this.

Were we allowed but one request, we might gain at a stroke all things else by praying one all-embracing prayer:

Thyself, Lord! Give me Thyself and I can want no more. WTA071-072

Lord, may I be truly satisfied today with nothing but the best gift of all—You. Amen.[1]


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

January 14 Identifying with Those in Need

“Remember the prisoners, as though in prison with them, and those who are ill–treated, since you yourselves also are in the body.”

Hebrews 13:2

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Because we too are human beings, God makes it possible for us to empathize with others who might be enduring hardship.

The Apostolic Confession, an ancient church confession, says, “If any Christian is condemned for Christ’s sake to the mines by the ungodly, do not overlook him, but from the proceeds of your toil and sweat, send him something to support himself, and to reward the soldier of Christ.” You can see from this quote that the early church took seriously its responsibility to help people who were suffering persecution. To obtain money to free a fellow believer, some early Christians even sold themselves into slavery.

It’s unlikely we’ll ever have to face such extreme measures. But we can definitely learn from the heart attitude that prompted such an action. The point is, we should do whatever we can to understand what others are going through. We don’t necessarily have to experience the same starvation, imprisonment, or harsh treatment that they are enduring in order to sympathize. Being human—“in the body,” as today’s verse says—and suffering our own hurts and hungers should be enough incentive for us to help others.

You can have loving empathy for someone in at least three ways. First, you can simply “be there” as a friend to encourage the other person when he is in trouble.

A second way to show empathy is by giving direct help. The Philippians shared with the apostle Paul in his affliction by financially supporting his ministry in other places (Phil. 4:14–16). In this way they also encouraged him spiritually.

Third, you can give empathy through prayer. Paul’s closing words to the Colossians, “Remember my imprisonment” (Col. 4:18), were an appeal for prayer. It was the only means remaining by which the church could effectively support him.

If we have Christ’s example, who is not “a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses” (Heb. 4:15), how can we possibly ignore the hurts of others, especially those of fellow believers? Instead, sincere empathy should be a regular part of our service for the Lord.

✧✧✧

Suggestions for Prayer: Pray for a greater alertness and sensitivity to those you know who might be hurting.

For Further Study: Based on the Good Samaritan story in Luke 10:29–37, what are the essential attitudes and actions of a good neighbor?[1]


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

January 13 Daily Help

AS sure as God is God, if you this day are seeking him aright, through Christ, the day shall come when the kiss of full assurance shall be on your lip, when the arms of sovereign love shall embrace you, and you shall know it to be so. Thou mayest have despised him, but thou shalt know him yet to be thy Father and thy friend. Thou mayest have broken his Sabbaths and despised his Word; the day is coming when the Sabbath shall be thy delight, and his Word thy treasure.[1]


[1] Spurgeon, C. H. (1892). Daily Help (p. 17). Baltimore: R. H. Woodward & Company.

January 13, 2018 Evening Verse Of The Day

9 Know therefore that the Lord thy God, he is God, the faithful God, rwhich keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations;

The faithful God; true to his word, and constant in performing all his promises.[1]


7:9 — “Therefore know that the Lord your God, He is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and mercy for a thousand generations with those who love Him and keep His commandments .… ”

The apostle Paul in Romans 8:35 rhetorically asks what could separate us from the love of God. The answer: Absolutely nothing! Even before God’s chosen people entered the Promised Land, God assured them of His everlasting love.[2]


7:9his loyal love The Hebrew term used here, chesed, denotes loving favor and is tied to the covenants Yahweh has made with His people (see Gen 15; Exod 24). Compare the use of chesed elsewhere (e.g., Gen 24:14, 27; Exod 20:6; 34:6; Deut 5:10).[3]


7:9, 10faithful God … for a thousand generations: Throughout all time, God has remained true to His commitment made to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. He is a faithful God (Ex. 20:6; Heb. 13:5). love Him and keep His commandments: Loving God always finds expression in doing His will. The Lord is a God of justice. He will repay those who rebel against Him.[4]


7:9 God noted in 5:9 that He may extend the punishment for sins to three or four generations. When children suffered this judgment it was chiefly temporal, usually deprivation and disease following a parent’s evil conduct (note that benefits of wise choices were similarly shared). Children are held personally guilty as regards eternal salvation only if they continue in the parent’s sin (Ezek. 18:14–17). And while the physical and social consequences of sin may persist as far as our great-grandchildren, God’s spiritual rewards for love, obedience, and faithfulness go on for a thousand generations.[5]


[1] Poole, M. (1853). Annotations upon the Holy Bible (Vol. 1, p. 351). New York: Robert Carter and Brothers.

[2] Stanley, C. F. (2005). The Charles F. Stanley life principles Bible: New King James Version (Dt 7:9). Nashville, TN: Nelson Bibles.

[3] Barry, J. D., Mangum, D., Brown, D. R., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Ritzema, E., … Bomar, D. (2012, 2016). Faithlife Study Bible (Dt 7:9). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

[4]The NKJV Study Bible. (2007). (Dt 7:9–10). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.

[5]The Open Bible: New King James Version. (1998). (electronic ed., Dt 7:9). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

January 13: Avoiding the Unavoidable

Genesis 24; Matthew 16–17; Ecclesiastes 5:8–11

It’s common to put people in our lives on hold, even if we love them, until something forces us to pay attention. Forgetting those who are closest to us is a frightening thought. Peter, Jesus’ disciple, likely realized that people were making a similar mistake in their relationship with Jesus.

In the district of Caesarea Philippi, Jesus asks His disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” (Matt 16:13–14). At first, they respond with the expected: John the Baptist, Elijah, Jeremiah, and the prophets—suggesting that Jesus is an esteemed and powerful prophet, but not more. Then Jesus asks the are-you-paying-attention question: “But who do you say that I am?” (Matt 16:15).

Simon Peter understood this, blurting out, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God!” (Matt 16:16). Jesus asked about the Son of Man, emphasizing His humanity; Peter responds by emphasizing both His status as the anointed one of God (the Christ) and His divinity, as God’s Son (which also has kingly implications).

Peter does all this in Caesarea Philippi, a place full of altars and idols to other deities. Caesar was worshiped and celebrated as god’s son there. Peter, surrounded by people worshiping the king of the known world, calls Jesus king.

Jesus responds by affirming that God has revealed this to Peter. And He states that following Him means completely giving up ourselves and being willing to suffer like Christ (Matt 16:24–25).

Just like a relationship with a spouse, parent, sibling, or friend, if we think Jesus is less than He is, we will inevitably misunderstand Him. And if we understand our relationship with Him to be anything less than life altering, we treat Him like someone we have fallen out of love with. The one who died for our sins wants and deserves so much more.

Who are you not noticing in your life that you should be? What parts of your relationship with Christ are you overlooking?

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.