Daily Archives: August 19, 2018

August 19: The Cost of Comfort

Isaiah 39:1–40:31; Luke 14:1–35; Job 9:12–19

“ ‘[You all] comfort; comfort my people,’ says your God. ‘Speak to the heart of Jerusalem, and call to her, that her compulsory labor is fulfilled, that her sin is paid for, that she has received from the hand of Yahweh double for all her sins’ ” (Isa 40:1–2). God directed this command at the prophet and a group of people—possibly all those remaining in Israel. They were to speak comfort to the exiled Israelites, to call them home again.

Sometimes we feel the need for this kind of comfort. Like the prodigal son in the pig sty, we feel exiled and alone; we have paid our sentence, and we want to go home. We’re not even asking for joy—just comfort. Despite their sins, God responded to the Israelites. But God did not merely restore them to their former state. He sent the Suffering Servant, prophesied later in Isaiah (Isa 52:13–53:12), to die on behalf of the people, to pay for the sins that resulted in exile in the first place. God does this so that all our sins—past, present and future—might be paid once and for all.

But God requires much from those to whom much has been given, which is all of us. The great news of the Suffering Servant, Jesus, is not only that we find comfort and peace in Him, but also that we are empowered to act—free from sin. As Jesus’ disciples, we must live the way that He has called us to live, being willing to make the sacrifices that discipleship requires (e.g., Luke 14:25–35).

The grace we receive from God is free, but a great price was paid for it. We must live fully in it. We must embrace it with our entire being. For when we do, we become not just a comforted people, but a restored people, instruments of God’s work in the world.

What is God calling you to sacrifice? How can you take joy in the comfort He has brought you, and then show others that joy?

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.

August 19 The Generosity of Love

“[Love] does not seek its own” (1 Cor. 13:5).

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Love transforms selfish people into self-sacrificing people.

From the time of Adam and Eve, replacing God with self has been at the root of all sin. Our first parents had only one restriction: “From the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you shall surely die” (Gen. 2:17). But Eve believed the serpent’s lie that God was trying to keep her from realizing her full potential (Gen. 3:5). She ate the forbidden fruit and gave some to Adam, and together they plunged the human race into sin and death.

Christ changed all that when He came, not “to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many” (Matt. 20:28). Unlike Adam and Eve, He didn’t seek His own comfort or gain but made whatever sacrifices were necessary to redeem lost sinners.

It is reported that the inscription on a tombstone in a small English cemetery reads, “Here lies a miser who lived for himself, / And cared for nothing but gathering wealth. / Now where he is or how he fares, / Nobody knows and nobody cares.”

How tragic to spend your entire life enslaved to your selfishness! In contrast, a tombstone in the courtyard of St. Paul’s Cathedral in London reads, “Sacred to the memory of General Charles George Gordon, who at all times and everywhere gave his strength to the weak, his substance to the poor, his sympathy to the suffering, his heart to God.” The first tombstone testifies to the futility of greed and selfishness, the second to the glory of generosity and self-sacrifice.

Christ is the perfect example of self-sacrifice. If you love Him, you should be characterized by the same quality. Then others will see your genuineness and commitment to them and will by God’s grace be drawn to your Lord.

What epitaph might your family and friends write about you? I pray it is one that glorifies God for the selfless love He demonstrated through you.

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Suggestions for Prayer:  Thank God for those who have made significant sacrifices toward your spiritual growth. Seek to imitate their love.

For Further Study: List the fifteen qualities of love from 1 Corinthians 13:4–7, then determine how self-sacrifice relates to each one.[1]


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1993). Drawing Near—Daily Readings for a Deeper Faith (p. 244). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.

Twitter CEO admits platform is left leaning after complaints tech giant gags conservative voices

Twitter’s CEO Jack Dorsey admitted this that the social media powerhouse is “left-leaning” – but he stressed that the company operates without bias after complaints from conservatives that right-wing accounts are being silenced.

Source: Twitter CEO admits platform is left leaning after complaints tech giant gags conservative voices

Trump calls Mueller probe ‘McCarthyism at its worst’ lashing out at ‘fake’ New York Times

US President Donald Trump has taken to Twitter to launch another scathing attack on the New York Times and Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe, calling it “McCarthyism at its WORST.”

Source: Trump calls Mueller probe ‘McCarthyism at its worst’ lashing out at ‘fake’ New York Times

AUGUST 19 GOD FAR AWAY

Am I a God at hand, saith the Lord, and not a God afar off?…Do not I fill heaven and earth?

Jeremiah 23:23–24

I remember the words of a little song I heard when I was young about God’s presence “Far Away Beyond the Starlit Sky.”

That is really where mankind has placed God. He is far away, out there somewhere beyond the starlit sky.

As men and women in this world, we are prone to think of God’s presence in terms of space, as we understand it. We think in terms of light-years or meters or miles or fathoms. We think of God as dwelling in space—which He does not! God is not contained in heaven and earth as some seem to think.

God in His person and His attributes fills heaven and earth exactly as the ocean fills a bucket which is submerged in the ocean depths.

Why, then, does man say, “God is far, far away!”? Because of the complete dissimilarity between the nature of the holy God and the perverted nature of sinful man!

Heavenly Father, I praise You that You are not distant and detached from Your creation. Thank You that we can know You through Your Word and through prayer and fellowship with You.[1]


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

August 19, 2018 Afternoon Verse Of The Day

Trust

casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you. (5:7)

As believers endure humbly and submissively, they find their strength in the midst of trials, by means of confident trust in God’s perfect purpose. The psalmist David is surely Peter’s source, since this trust was his, and the apostle must have known his words well: “Cast your burden upon the Lord and He will sustain you; He will never allow the righteous to be shaken” (Ps. 55:22). David’s anxiety came from attacks by a Judas-like friend (see vv. 12–14), a most difficult trial to bear since it comes from one who is loved and trusted. Peter drew from that text to instruct all believers in all kinds of trouble to follow David’s example and give themselves to the Lord’s care (cf. 2:23; 4:19).

Casting (from epiriptō) means throwing something on something else or someone else. For example, in Luke 19:35 (kjv) it is used of throwing a blanket over an animal. Peter exhorts believers to throw on the Lord all their anxiety, a word that can include all discontentment, discouragement, despair, questioning, pain, suffering, and whatever other trials they encounter (cf. 2 Sam. 22:3; Pss. 9:10; 13:5; 23:4; 36:7; 37:5; 55:22; Prov. 3:5–6; Isa. 26:4; Nah. 1:7; Matt. 6:25–34; 2 Cor. 1:10; Phil. 4:6–7, 19; Heb. 13:6) because they can trust His love, faithfulness, power, and wisdom.[1]


6–7 Humility, however, is not mere self-effacement; it is an awareness of the greatness of God in comparison, as well as the realization that the humble one day will be exalted: “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.” James, also drawing inspiration from Proverbs 3:34, makes similar application; the common elements in both letters are (1) divine resistance to pride, (2) the bestowal of grace, (3) submission to God, and (4) the acknowledgment of a spiritual enemy (cf. Jas 4:6–7). The attitude of humility before Almighty God allows those who face hardship and hostility to cast all anxiety on him because he indeed cares for them.

Peter’s language in v. 7 is remarkably similar to Psalm 55:22: “Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you” (ESV). Psalm 55, it should be noted, is devoted to the complaint of the righteous and the cry of deliverance. In submission, one genuinely is set free from fear and anxiety; to be in the arms of God is to know divine provision and care. The psychological release that comes from “casting” (epiriptō, GK 2166, a strengthened form of riptō, “to cast down” or “throw”) our cares on the Lord is admirably described by Mounce, 87: “Anxiety follows when we forget that God is the One who cares for us. We are not left adrift on the sea of chance facing shipwreck on the shoals of an impersonal destiny. We are under the care of a sovereign God who controls the course of history and is intricately involved in the everyday life of each of his children.”[2]


5:7 / However trying the circumstances, therefore, believers are to look to God alone: Cast all your anxiety on him. Far from being an attitude of resignation, humility for the Christian has this very practical aspect. In response to humble trust, God is not only able to deliver his own, but is at all times ready and willing to do so: he cares for you. Without drawing attention to the fact, Peter is again quoting from the ot—this time from Psalm 55:22 lxx. Believers can safely leave all anxieties with their heavenly Father (Matt. 6:25–34). He will care about their cares. For their part, believers are to be care-free. It is one of the distinctive treasures which Christianity has inherited from Judaism that God is known to be concerned with the personal care of his people. Other religions at best see God as aloof, as one who, while good and perfect, keeps his distance from human beings.[3]


5:7. Satan and his attacks have not been mentioned overtly, but another resistance method for believers appears here. As we trust God and his mighty power, we follow a God who cares deeply for us. Peter may have had in mind the words of Jesus (Matt. 6:25–34). If so, he borrowed them and placed them in the context and crucible of suffering and persecution.

Cast means “to throw something upon someone or something else.” This word suggests a deliberate decision of trust. We are to trust God with our anxiety, the things we worry about. The term (merimnan) means “to be drawn in different directions, to be divided or distracted.” Whatever we are anxious about tends to distract us from trusting God. It tends to pull us in different directions so that we do not depend on him. When we limp in this direction, we do not resist Satan, but play into his hand. He wants us to put more trust in ourselves and others as opposed to God.

Peter’s first-century readers, like their twentieth-century cousins, failed to remember this truth even in the midst of anguish and pain: God cares for you. The form in which the verb appears (present active indicative with the dative) indicates that God’s care and concern for believers is constant, ongoing, and unending. God is not indifferent to the suffering of his followers, but desires our active, humble trust in him, especially during difficult days.[4]


Cast away anxiety

5:7

  1. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

Of all the religions in the world, only the Judeo-Christian religion teaches that God cares for his children. In fact, he cares so much that he bids them bring all their problems to him. The Bible says:

Commit your way to the Lord;

trust in him and he will do this:

He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn,

the justice of your cause like the noonday sun. [Ps. 37:5]

Cast your cares on the Lord

and he will sustain you;

he will never let the righteous fall. [Ps. 55:22]

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear.… For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.” [Matt. 6:25, 32]

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. [Phil. 4:6]

Notice that Peter uses the term cast. In the Greek, the tense implies that casting is a single act. In true humility and trust in God, the Christian throws all his anxieties on the Lord. The Greek word for “anxiety” means “to be drawn in different directions.” Anxiety has a debilitating effect on our lives and results from our loss of confidence and assurance. If we doubt, we assume the burden of worries and thus demonstrate a lack of faith. Therefore Peter urges us to cast our worries on God and to trust in him.

The verb to cast signifies the act of exerting effort to fling something away from ourselves. It describes a deliberate act. Once we have thrown away our anxieties, although not our troubles, we know that God cares for us. In both the Old and New Testaments God’s promise to care for his children is sure (see Deut. 31:6; Heb. 13:5).

Practical Considerations in 5:6–7

The world regards humility not as a virtue but as a weakness that man should avoid. Just as he avoids arrogance and pride, so he should abhor humility. Humbleness is understood in the derogatory sense of a weak person who is groveling in the dust. Scripture, however, teaches that meekness is not weakness but moral strength. Moses was known as “a very humble man, more humble than anyone else on the face of the earth” (Num. 12:3), and yet served as the greatest leader and lawgiver Israel ever had.

Scripture exhorts us to be humble before God and man. But in daily life, practice often differs from theory. For example, a pastor longs to be the minister of a large congregation but never receives a call; a member of a church openly campaigns for a position as elder or deacon but never is elected; someone vies for the editorship of a denominational paper but is not appointed. In these cases, pride and self-interest play a dominant role. A humble person knows that not man but God promotes and appoints people to work in the church. The words of the psalmist are to the point:

No one from the east or the west

or from the desert can exalt a man.

But it is God who judges:

He brings one down, he exalts another. [Ps. 75:6–7][5]


5:7 Believers are privileged to cast all their anxieties on the Lord with the strong confidence that He cares. Once again Peter is quoting from the Greek version of the OT (Ps. 55:22).

J. Sidlow Baxter points out that there are two kinds of care here:

There is anxious care, in the words: “Casting all your care upon Him”; and there is affectionate care, in the words: “He careth for you.” Over against all our own anxious care is our Savior’s never-failing affectionate care.

Worry is unnecessary; there is no need for us to bear the burdens when He is willing and able to bear them for us. Worry is futile; it hasn’t solved a problem yet. Worry is sin. A preacher once said: “Worry is sin because it denies the wisdom of God; it says that He doesn’t know what He’s doing. It denies the love of God; it says He does not care. And it denies the power of God; it says that He isn’t able to deliver me from whatever is causing me to worry.” Something to think about![6]


5:6–7. Knowing God’s attitude should cause Christians not only to be subject to others but also to subject themselves deliberately to God’s sovereign rule. The command humble yourselves (tapeinōthēte) could be translated “allow yourselves to be humbled.” Those who were suffering persecution for Christ’s sake could be encouraged by the fact that the same mighty hand that let them suffer would one day lift (hypsōsē, “exalt”) them up (cf. James 4:10).

Peter then referred to Christ’s classic words of encouragement in the Sermon on the Mount (Matt. 6:25–32), while quoting Psalm 55:22: “Cast your cares on the Lord and He will sustain you.” All a believer’s anxieties can be cast … on Him. Christ sustains because He cares. A Christian’s confidence rests in the fact that Christ is genuinely concerned for his welfare.[7]


5:7 — … casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.

Regardless of the concern or worry, God wants us to bring everything to Him. He always has our best interests at heart and will rouse all His infinite power to help us become the people we are meant to be.[8]


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2004). 1 Peter (pp. 279–280). Chicago: Moody Publishers.

[2] Charles, D. J. (2006). 1 Peter. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Hebrews–Revelation (Revised Edition) (Vol. 13, p. 354). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[3] Hillyer, N. (2011). 1 and 2 Peter, Jude (p. 145). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

[4] Walls, D., & Anders, M. (1999). I & II Peter, I, II & III John, Jude (Vol. 11, pp. 92–93). Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

[5] Kistemaker, S. J., & Hendriksen, W. (1953–2001). Exposition of the Epistles of Peter and the Epistle of Jude (Vol. 16, pp. 198–200). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.

[6] MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (A. Farstad, Ed.) (p. 2281). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[7] Raymer, R. M. (1985). 1 Peter. In J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck (Eds.), The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Vol. 2, p. 856). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

[8] Stanley, C. F. (2005). The Charles F. Stanley life principles Bible: New King James Version (1 Pe 5:7). Nashville, TN: Nelson Bibles.

US govt doesn’t think people have intelligence to decipher news, hence censorship – Keiser

As Twitter and Facebook are criticized over censorship and constant finger-pointing at Russia, RT’s Max Keiser speaks to the senior editor of the Grayzone Project, Max Blumenthal, who sums up the reality of the situation.

Source: US govt doesn’t think people have intelligence to decipher news, hence censorship – Keiser

Sunday’s Hymn: Christ Is Made the Sure Foundation

Christ is made the sure foundation,
Christ the Head and Cornerstone,
Chosen of the Lord and precious,
Binding all the church in one;
Holy Zion’s help for ever
And her confidence alone.

All that dedicated city,
Dearly loved of God on high,
In exultant jubilation
Pours perpetual melody;
God the One in Three adoring
In glad hymns eternally.

To this temple, where we call thee,
Come, O Lord of hosts today:
With thy wonted lovingkindness
Hear thy people as they pray;
And thy fullest benediction
Shed within its walls alway.

Here vouchsafe to all thy servants
What they ask of thee to gain,
What they gain from thee for ever
With the blessed to retain,
And hereafter in thy glory
Evermore with thee to reign.

Laud and honor to the Father,
Laud and honor to the Son,
Laud and honor to the Spirit,
Ever Three and ever One,
One in might, and One in glory,
While unending ages run.

 

Source: Sunday’s Hymn: Christ Is Made the Sure Foundation

The Church’s One Foundation — The Upward Call

The church’s one foundation is Jesus Christ her Lord;
She is his new creation by Spirit and the Word;
From heav’n he came and sought her to be his holy bride;
With his own blood he bought her and for her life he died.

Elect from ev’ry nation, yet one o’er all the earth;
Her charter of salvation: one Lord, one faith, one birth;
One holy name she blesses, partakes one holy food,
And to one hope she presses, with ev’ry grace endued.

‘Mid toil and tribulation, and tumult of her war,
She waits the consummation of peace for evermore;
Till with the vision glorious her longing eyes are blest,
And the great Church victorious shall be the Church at rest.

Yet she on earth hath union with God the three in one,
And mystic sweet communion with those whose rest is won:
O happy ones and holy!Lord, give us grace that we,
Like them, the meek and lowly, on high may dwell with thee.

via The Church’s One Foundation — The Upward Call