Daily Archives: April 26, 2018

April 26: Bitter and Betrayed

Joshua 16:1–17:18; 2 Corinthians 11:24–33; Psalm 55

The betrayal of a loved one can shake our world. It can make us feel vulnerable and used, and if we’re not careful, it can cause us to be bitter and suspicious toward others. The psalmist in Psalm 55 experiences such a betrayal from a friend who feared God: “We would take sweet counsel together in the house of God” (Psa 55:14).

The psalmist agonizes over how he was deceived: “The buttery words of his mouth were smooth, but there was battle in his heart. His words were smoother than oil, but they were drawn swords” (Psa 55:21). How does someone move beyond a violation of trust? Instead of growing bitter, the psalmist puts his trust in Yahweh: “Cast your burden on Yahweh, and he will sustain you. He will never allow the righteous to be moved” (Psa 55:22).

Similarly, in 2 Corinthians, Paul tells the church in Corinth about his sufferings. Among Paul’s lashings, stonings, shipwrecks (three of them), and robbings, he also lists “dangers because of false brothers” (2 Cor 11:26). He suffered anxiety because of the churches (2 Cor 11:28).

Paul adds to this list by discussing a force of oppression over him. He states that he prayed for his “thorn” to be taken from him (2 Cor 12:8). However, the Lord told him, “My grace is sufficient for you, because the power is perfected in weakness” (2 Cor 12:9). This reshapes Paul’s perspective on suffering: “I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in calamities, in persecutions and difficulties for the sake of Christ, for whenever I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Cor 12:10). By submitting to Christ, Paul relied less on himself and more heavily on God. As a result, God’s grace and power was manifested within him.

Betrayal causes bitterness that can poison our hearts. But, like Paul, we should use trials as an opportunity to submit more fully to God, and to show others His work in us.

How are you holding onto bitterness? What would God have you do instead?

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.

April 26 Paying the Price of Righteousness

“Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness” (Matt. 5:10).

✧✧✧

There is a price to pay for being a Kingdom citizen.

Unlike many today who try to make the gospel palatable for reluctant sinners, Jesus made it clear that following Him had its price. Rather than acceptance, fame, prestige, and prosperity, you can expect rejection and persecution. That’s not a popular approach to evangelism, but it’s honest. Also, it ensures that no one will try to enter the Kingdom on the wrong basis.

Jesus wanted His hearers to count the cost of discipleship. He knew that many of them would be disowned by their families and excommunicated from the Jewish synagogues. Many would suffer persecution or martyrdom at the hands of the Roman government. They needed to count the cost!

Persecution did come to those early Christians. The Emperor Nero smeared many of them with pitch, crucified them, and then burned them to light his garden parties. He condemned Christians for refusing to worship him as a god and blamed them for the burning of Rome in a.d. 64. Christians were also accused of cannibalism because Jesus said, “He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him” (John 6:56). They were also said to be revolutionaries because they believed that God would one day destroy the earth.

The world’s animosity toward Christians hasn’t changed. You might not face the severe persecutions the first-century believers faced, but you will be persecuted (Phil. 1:29). Even new Christians often face difficulties. If they refuse to join their former friends in sinful activities, they might be rejected. If they work for a dishonest boss who expects them to participate in or condone his evil practices, they might be fired or have to quit their jobs. That might bring extreme financial hardship to their families.

God won’t always shield you from persecution, but He will honor your integrity and give you strength to endure any trial that comes your way. Praise Him for His all-sufficient grace!

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Suggestions for Prayer:  Pray for those you know who are suffering hardship for Christ’s sake. ✧ Ask God for the wisdom and strength to face persecution with integrity and unwavering faith.

For Further Study: Read James 1:2–4 and 1 Peter 5:10. ✧ What purpose does suffering serve? ✧ How should you respond to suffering?[1]


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1993). Drawing Near—Daily Readings for a Deeper Faith (p. 129). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.

Liberals Urge Nation To Respect Minorities’ Opinions Until Those Opinions Contradict Them — The Babylon Bee

U.S.—After legendary hip-hop artist Kanye West expressed his support for President Donald Trump on Twitter, igniting a firestorm of controversy, liberals reminded the nation that everyone needs to respect minorities’ opinions until the exact moment those opinions contradict their own. Progressives confirmed they are totally passionate about listening to and supporting people of color, but…

via Liberals Urge Nation To Respect Minorities’ Opinions Until Those Opinions Contradict Them — The Babylon Bee

APRIL 26 THE WALK OF FAITH

Enoch walked with God…for God took him.

Genesis 5:24

There are spiritual lessons for every Christian believer in the life of godly Enoch, seventh generation from Adam through Adam’s third son, Seth.

We are impressed that he could resist the devil and find fellowship with his Creator God, for he lived in a worldly society headed for destruction.

Enoch’s daily walk was a walk of faith, a walk of fellowship with God. The Scriptures are trying to assure us that if Enoch could live and walk with God by faith in the midst of his sinful generation, we likewise should be able to follow his example because the human race is the same and God is the same!

Beyond that, Enoch reminds us that the quality and boldness of our faith will be the measure of our preparation for the return of Jesus Christ to this earth. We walk by faith as Enoch did, and although it is now twenty centuries after Christ’s sojourn on earth, we hold firmly to the New Testament promise that our risen Lord will return to earth again!

Lord, the example of Your servant Enoch is a reminder to me that it is possible to be godly in the midst of a perverse generation. Help me to remain faithful to You and Your ways, O Lord.[1]


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

Publishers stop printing Hybels’ books amid allegations of inappropriate behavior – Religion News ServiceReligion News Service

(RNS) — Several publishers have suspended printing books by former Willow Creek Community Church pastor Bill Hybels as the Chicago-area megachurch he founded more than 40 years ago investigates allegations of his inappropriate behavior toward women.
— Read on religionnews.com/2018/04/26/publishers-stop-printing-hybels-books-amid-allegations-of-inappropriate-behavior/

OPCW Investigators Found ‘No Evidence’ of Chemical Weapons at Syrian Facilities Bombed by US – PaulCraigRoberts.org

OPCW Investigators Found ‘No Evidence’ of Chemical Weapons at Syrian Facilities Bombed by US https://russia-insider.com/en/opcw-investigators-found-no-evid
— Read on www.paulcraigroberts.org/2018/04/26/opcw-investigators-found-no-evidence-chemical-weapons-syrian-facilities-bombed-us/

CA Bill Against Gay Conversion Could Ban Christian Books, Speech — Christian Research Network

(Michael W. Chapman – CNSNews) The California House recently passed legislation (AB 2943) that says “advertising, offering to engage in, or engaging in sexual orientation change efforts with an individual” is a fraudulent business practice, and if it passes in the Senate and becomes law, it could result in certain books, speakers, and conferences being banned, including the…

via CA Bill Against Gay Conversion Could Ban Christian Books, Speech — Christian Research Network

April 26, 2018 Afternoon Verse Of The Day

45 “Blessed” describes the happy situation of those God favors. Elizabeth gave the blessing Zechariah’s muteness prevented him from giving. See vv. 68–79 for the blessing he later pronounced on the infant Jesus. Luke uses the blessing Elizabeth gave Mary to call attention to Mary’s faith.

The way in which v. 45 supplements v. 42 is noteworthy. In v. 42, Mary is called the “blessed” one because of her maternal relationship with her son Jesus. In v. 45, however, Mary is recognized to be truly “blessed” because of her faith in and obedience to God. The same contrast is developed later in the Lukan material. In 8:19–21, for example, Jesus redefines family relationship in terms of one’s faith in and obedience to God: “My mother and brothers are those who hear God’s word and put it into practice” (v. 21).[1]


45. And blessed is she who believed,

Because there will be a fulfilment of the words

Spoken to her by the Lord.

Although the rendering “And blessed is she who believed that there will be,” etc., is also possible, the first translation has the following in its favor:

  1. The positive assurance that God is going to fulfil his promises to Mary is a more solid ground, a more valid reason, for calling her “blessed” than her own subjective faith in the fulfilment of these promises.
  2. “Blessed is she who believed” is a richer expression than “Blessed is she who believed that,” etc. The first rendering more definitely than the second describes Mary as a woman of faith.
  3. “Blessed is she who believed” is in line with “Blessed are those who, though not seeing, are yet believing” (John 20:29). See also Gen. 15:6 (cf. Rom. 4:3; Gal. 3:6, 9; James 2:23).
  4. As to conciseness of phraseology, the beatitude “Blessed is she who believed” is also more in line with the familiar beatitudes of Luke 6:20 f., cf. Matt. 5:1 f.
  5. Finally, the construction, “Blessed is she who believed,” describes more adequately than does its alternative what had been Mary’s reaction to Gabriel’s message.

That reaction, it will be recalled, had been: first, alarm and astonishment (verse 29); then, an earnest request for an explanation (verse 34); and finally, the complete surrender that characterizes the person who lives by the rule, “Trust and obey” (verse 38). For the rest, see the note on verse 45 on p. 99.

As to … “there will be a fulfilment,” etc., note the following: the words of the Lord (via Gabriel) recorded in 1:31a, 35a (unique conception) had already been fulfilled, and the promises contained in 31b, 32, 33, 35b (still largely unfulfilled) were going to be realized, as the rest of the Gospels, etc., abundantly prove.

What deserves special attention is this outstanding fact, namely, that in Elizabeth’s entire exuberant exclamation (verses 41b–45) envy never raises its head. Elizabeth was, after all, much older than Mary (cf. 1:7, 18, 36 with 2:5). Yet this aged woman is deeply conscious of her own unworthiness and genuinely rejoices in the joy of her much younger relative!

How can this complete absence of the begrudging attitude be explained? The answer is found in 1 Cor. 13:4: “Love does not envy.” Is not this a good reason for calling this poem “Elizabeth’s Song of Love”?[2]


1:45 Mary’s faith contrasts with the doubt of Zacharias. Blessed is she who believed: Mary’s response of faith was exemplary. She was simply waiting on God to bring His promises to fulfillment.[3]†


1:45 — “Blessed is she who believed, for there will be a fulfillment of those things which were told her from the Lord.”

What would have happened had Mary not believed Gabriel’s words? Would she have disqualified herself to be the mother of Jesus? The fact is she did believe, and God did fulfill His word in her.[4]


[1] Liefeld, W. L., & Pao, D. W. (2007). Luke. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Luke–Acts (Revised Edition) (Vol. 10, p. 64). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[2] Hendriksen, W., & Kistemaker, S. J. (1953–2001). Exposition of the Gospel According to Luke (Vol. 11, pp. 97–98). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.

[3] Radmacher, E. D., Allen, R. B., & House, H. W. (1999). Nelson’s new illustrated Bible commentary (p. 1250). Nashville: T. Nelson Publishers.

[4] Stanley, C. F. (2005). The Charles F. Stanley life principles Bible: New King James Version (Lk 1:45). Nashville, TN: Nelson Bibles.

Urgent Need for Discernment Among Evangelicals — Christian Research Network

Photo credit: 8:28 Ministries (Robert Nelson – Reformation Charlotte) “It is in this hour that the evangelist needs doctrinal discernment. A preacher must be ready to tear down these false gospels that oppose the true gospel of Jesus Christ. We must be equipped as Paul says In 2 Corinthians 10:4-6.” I am sending you out like sheep…

via Urgent Need for Discernment Among Evangelicals — Christian Research Network