Daily Archives: January 27, 2020

January—27 The Poor Man’s Evening Portion

And on his head were many crowns.—Rev. 19:12.

Every view of Jesus is blessed. But there are some views which the heart of a believer finds a peculiar gratification in contemplating. The Holy Ghost hath in this scripture given a very interesting representation of Jesus. Heaven is opened—Jesus appears in his well-known characters, “faithful and true.” A “white horse” he rides on, to manifest his equity and justice. His vesture is “dipped in blood,” to intimate that by blood he hath purchased his kingdom. And his glorious name, “the Word of God,” is also mentioned to testify the greatness and almightiness of his person. But amidst these distinguishing characteristics, the coronation of the Lord Jesus is particularly striking. “On his head were many crowns.” The crown of Godhead is his by right, in common with the Father. And the crown of God-man mediator is his also, being his by gift, by purchase, and by conquest. Having conquered death, hell, and the grave, God the Father hath set “a crown of pure gold upon his head. For his honour is great in his salvation: glory and majesty hath he laid upon him.” But there is another crown put upon the head of our Jesus, and which every poor believing soul delighteth to see, amidst the many crowns on the head of Jesus; namely, the very crown which that poor precious believer puts by faith upon the glorious head of Jesus, when ascribing his own personal salvation to the merits of his blood and righteousness alone. This is a coronation day indeed of the Lord Jesus: and ever after, most blessed to the review of every believer. And as the Son of God was crowned “Lord of all,” in the day when he ascended to the right hand of his Father in Heaven, having finished redemption work, when the whole assembly of heaven cast their crowns at his feet: so is the adorable Redeemer again crowned, when, descending in the power of his Spirit, he takes the throne of a poor sinner’s heart, and rules and reigns there, the Lord of life and glory. My soul! pause and ask thine heart, what knowest thou of this coronation? Amidst the many crowns discoverable upon the head of the blessed Jesus, canst thou with rapture discern the one, the very one, he wears as thy Redeemer and Lord?—It is very easy to discover it, if thine hand of faith hath placed it there. Art thou his subject? “Know ye not, (saith the Apostle,) to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey; his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?” Hast thou been translated out of darkness into the kingdom of God’s dear Son! Is Jesus thy King, as the acknowledged and adored head of the Church which is his body? And art thou living upon him, and from him, as this glorious head, from whence is conveyed to thee, in common with all his members, life, light, grace, strength, and every thing, in a way of communion, by which thou provest that thou art among the members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones: and he the glorious source and fulness that filleth all in all? These are precious views and soul-comforting evidences to this grand truth. And if these be found in thy experience, then art thou so beholding him, on whose head are many crowns, as to venture all thy salvation wholly upon him; and every renewed act of faith is but a renewal of thy coronation of the Lord Jesus; for in every one thou bowest the knee of thine heart before him, and confessest that “Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father.”[1]

 

[1] Hawker, R. (1845). The Poor Man’s Evening Portion (A New Edition, pp. 31–32). Philadelphia: Thomas Wardle.

January 27 Streams in the Desert

Stablish, strengthen, settle you.” (1 Peter 5:10.)

I N taking Christ in any new relationship, we must first have sufficient intellectual light to satisfy our mind that we are entitled to stand in this relationship. The shadow of a question here will wreck our confidence. Then, having seen this, we must make the venture, the committal, the choice, and take the place just as definitely as the tree is planted in the soil, or the bride gives herself away at the marriage altar. It must be once for all, without reserve, without recall.

Then there is a season of establishing, settling and testing, during which we must “stay put” until the new relationship gets so fixed as to become a permanent habit. It is just the same as when the surgeon sets the broken arm. He puts it in splints to keep it from vibration. So God has His spiritual splints that He wants to put upon His children and keep them quiet and unmoved until they pass the first stage of faith. It is not always easy work for us, “but the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Jesus Christ, after that ye have suffered awhile, stablish, strengthen, settle you.”

A. B. Simpson.

There is a natural law in sin and sickness; and if we just let ourselves go and sink into the trend of circumstances, we shall go down and sink under the power of the tempter. But there is another law of spiritual life and of physical life in Christ Jesus to which we can rise, and through which we can counterpoise and overcome the other law that bears us down.

But to do this requires real spiritual energy and fixed purpose and a settled posture and habit of faith. It is just the same as when we use the power in our factory. We must turn on the belt and keep it on. The power is there, but we must keep the connection; and while we do so, the higher power will work and all the machinery will be in operation.

There is a spiritual law of choosing, believing, abiding, and holding steady in our walk with God, which is essential to the working of the Holy Ghost either in our sanctification or healing.—Days of Heaven upon Earth.[1]

 

[1] Cowman, L. B. (1925). Streams in the Desert (pp. 30–31). Los Angeles, CA: The Oriental Missionary Society.

Warning of Things to Come, the Revelation of Jesus — Eradicate: Blotting Out God in America

Remember the former things long past, For I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is no one like Me, Declaring the end from the beginning, And from ancient times things which have not been done, Saying, ‘My purpose will be established, And I will accomplish all My good pleasure’; Isaiah 46:9-10

There is only one true, living God, and all others are counterfeits. He is sovereign and sees the end from the beginning of time and creation. No matter what man does – including the Church – His purposes will prevail.

The Book of Revelation is the only one in the entire Bible that promises a blessing to the person who reads and hears and obeys it! Revelation spoke to the Apostle John’s day. It also speaks to church history, and it does have meaning for our personal lives today as Jesus warns Christians about things to come.

We cannot can’t deny the fact this book speaks with clarity about the end times. Revelation wraps up the redemption story that begins in Genesis, and its message heralds the details, events, and return of Jesus’ coming Kingdom. Revelation is from Jesus, about Jesus, to His churches.

A few years ago, I was teaching a Bible Study in Colossians, and one night I woke up at 3 AM and couldn’t get back to sleep. My heart was heavy because so few were showing up for prayer meetings, and more people were attending that Bible Study from other churches than the one hosting at the time. I started reading through Revelation and sensed the Holy Spirit speak to me through the Word of God, and speak to the state of the American church today.

Here are some important QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER:

  1. Is your life bearing fruit for the Lord Jesus Christ? JN 15:8
  2. Are you passionate about the things of God? COL 3:2, ROM. 12:11
  3. Who or what is your first love? What’s our main focus? MATT 6:33
  4. Have you conformed to our culture – or to Christ? ROM 12:2
  5. Do you love this world more than we love Gods Word? 1 JN 2:15-17
  6. Are you prepared for persecution when it comes? MATT 5:11-12

READ FULL POST, Transcript here:

via Warning of Things to Come, the Revelation of Jesus — Eradicate: Blotting Out God in America

January 27th The D. L. Moody Year Book

Search me, O God, and knew my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: and see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.—Psalm 139:23, 24.

IF we should all honestly make this prayer once every day, there would be a good deal of change in our lives. “Search me”—not my neighbor. It is so easy to pray for other people, but so hard to get home to ourselves. I am afraid that we who are busy in the Lord’s work, are especially in danger of neglecting our own vineyard. In this Psalm, David got home to himself.

There is a difference between God searching me and my searching myself. I may search my heart, and pronounce it all right, but when God searches me as with a lighted candle, a good many things will come to light that perhaps I knew nothing about.[1]

 

[1] Moody, D. L. (1900). The D. L. Moody Year Book: A Living Daily Message from the Words of D. L. Moody. (E. M. Fitt, Ed.) (p. 24). East Northfield, MA: The Bookstore.

TIL 243: What the Bible says about Codependency (feat. Cheryl Bell) — Association of Certified Biblical Counselors

Featuring: 
1. How does a biblical view of codependency differ from a secular view?
2. How does Scripture describe the consequences of this heart attitude and behavioral response?
3. How does God respond to those who chose codependence over God-dependence?

via TIL 243: What the Bible says about Codependency (feat. Cheryl Bell) — Association of Certified Biblical Counselors

Are there apostles and prophets today? — Christian Research Network

“Those foundational apostles had been eyewitnesses of Jesus both before and after His death and resurrection—plus they had been personally called by the living Christ! No person today can meet these requirements, and no person today can build the foundation of the church. That has been built, and nothing can prevail against it.”  

(Colleen Tinker – Proclamation!)  As often happens, we received a significant question in a recent email—and this one addressed the troublesome subject of apostles and prophets. It came from a woman who had just listened to our podcast in which Nikki Stevenson and I interviewed Justin Peters at the Truth Matters Conference last October. Her email was short but direct:

I’m a big fan of your new podcast! However, this latest one I couldn’t finish. I heard Justin say that EGW couldn’t be legit because she was a WOMAN, and then I heard him say that no one hears from God nowadays—it’s their imagination or the devil!! And the only apostles were the original disciples?

I’m no expert for sure, but this feels very much like Adventism’s penchant for “throwing out the baby with the bath water.” Why would Paul go to the trouble of teaching the new Christians all about the gifts of the spirit and the gifts to the church (apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor, teacher) if he knew it was all just a temporary thing that would die with the disciples? It doesn’t make sense.

Thanks for all the work you do to produce the new podcast.

This writer is not asking a unique question. In fact, in recent years a plethora of apostles and prophets—many of them women—has flooded charismatic and health-and-wealth communities, and their words from the Lord direct the lives and decisions of their followers.

How are we to understand the biblical roles of apostles and prophets? I will share my response to this letter writer below.  View article →

Research

New Apostolic Reformation

Word of Faith/prosperity/health & wealth

Discernment

via Are there apostles and prophets today? — Christian Research Network

January 27, 2020 Afternoon Verse Of The Day

5 Before reflecting on the joys of wisdom, the psalmist sets up a contrast between the way of fools and the way of God. Thus, he creates an antithesis from which the wise should deduce the superiority of godliness. The qualities reflecting the Lord’s wisdom are “love,” “faithfulness,” “righteousness,” and “justice.” God’s “love” and “faithfulness” are complementary terms; so also are his “righteousness” and “justice.” The faithfulness guarantees the constancy of his “love” (ḥesed) for his own. God’s righteous nature will effect justice on earth so that the righteous will experience his salvation and the wicked his judgment (see Reflections, p. 271, The Perfections of Yahweh).[1]


Your love, O Lord, reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness to the skies (v. 5). The idea of this verse is very similar to the opening of Psalm 89, which is proclaiming the wonder of God’s grace shown in his covenant with David (Ps. 89:1–4). Both ‘love’ and ‘faithfulness’ describe the unchanging commitment of God, his total dependability in keeping his pledged word. It is beyond human ability to grasp the full extent of this love (cf. Ps. 103:11 and Paul’s words in Eph. 3:18–19).[2]


36:5 Your love, Lord, reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness to the skies. Here begins the stanza (36:5–9) that is dominated by the four nouns of 36:5 and 6: “love” (hesed), “faithfulness” (’emunah), “righteousness” (tsedaqah), and “justice” (mishpat). The psalmist means to say that as the mountains are established on the “great deep,” the entire world is founded upon love, faithfulness, righteousness, and justice. See also Psalms 57:10; 89:14.

The extent of God’s “love” is measured by the altitude of the heavens. The created world, of course, is in view, and one cannot avoid the idea of the Creator who sustains the world with his love. The phrase “your faithfulness to the skies” is parallel to “your love, Lord, reaches to the heavens.” In Deuteronomy 32:4 “a God of truth/faithfulness” (’emunah; NIV: “faithful God”) means that God conducts the world in a just manner.10 The word translated as “skies” means “curtains” and refers evidently to thin, lacelike clouds.[3]


5. “Thy mercy, O Lord, is in the heavens.” Like the ethereal blue, it encompasses the whole earth, smiling upon universal nature, acting as a canopy for all the creatures of earth, surmounting the loftiest peaks of human provocations, and rising high above the mists of mortal transgression. Clear sky is evermore above, and mercy calmly smiles above the din and smoke of this poor world. Darkness and clouds are but of earth’s lower atmosphere: the heavens are evermore serene, and bright with innumerable stars. Divine mercy abides in its vastness of expanse, and matchless patience, all unaltered by the rebellions of man. When we can measure the heavens, then shall we bound the mercy of the Lord. Towards his own servants especially, in the salvation of the Lord Jesus, he has displayed grace higher than the heaven of heavens, and wider than the universe. O that the atheist could but see this, how earnestly would he long to become a servant of Jehovah! “Thy faithfulness reacheth unto the clouds.” Far, far above all comprehension is the truth and faithfulness of God. He never fails, nor forgets, nor falters, nor forfeits his word. Afflictions are like clouds, but the divine truthfulness is all around them. While we are under the cloud we are in the region of God’s faithfulness; when we mount above it we shall not need such an assurance. To every word of threat, or promise, prophecy or covenant, the Lord has exactly adhered, for he is not a man that he should lie, nor the son of man that he should repent.[4]


[1] VanGemeren, W. A. (2008). Psalms. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Psalms (Revised Edition) (Vol. 5, p. 337). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[2] Harman, A. (2011). Psalms: A Mentor Commentary (Vol. 1–2, p. 305). Ross-shire, Great Britain: Mentor.

[3] Bullock, C. H. (2015). Psalms 1–72. (M. L. Strauss & J. H. Walton, Eds.) (Vol. 1, p. 273). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

[4] Spurgeon, C. H. (n.d.). The treasury of David: Psalms 27-57 (Vol. 2, pp. 158–159). London; Edinburgh; New York: Marshall Brothers.

January 27 The Interpreter: Spurgeon’s Devotional Bible

January 27.—Morning. [Or February 22.]
“Fear thou not: for I am with thee.”

JOSEPH’S brethren returned to their father with abundant provisions, but these were before long exhausted, and the same distress filled Jacob’s household. Bread that perisheth does not endure like the bread of heaven.

Genesis 43:1–14

And the famine was sore in the land.

And it came to pass, when they had eaten up the corn which they had brought out of Egypt, their father said unto them, Go again, buy us a little food.

And Judah spake unto him, saying, The man did solemnly protest unto us, saying, Ye shall not see my face, except your brother be with you.

If thou wilt send our brother with us, we will go down and buy thee food:

But if thou wilt not send him, we will not go down: for the man said unto us, Ye shall not see my face, except your brother be with you.

Israel had said positively “My son shall not go down,” and yet it was needful that he should do so. We had better not be too positive in our determinations, or we may have to eat our words.

And Israel said, Wherefore dealt ye so ill with me, as to tell the man whether ye had yet a brother? (Poor Jacob, out of fear for his darling son, thinks his sons unkind. We should not do injustice to others because of our partiality to one, but we are very apt to do so.)

And they said, The man asked us straitly of our state, and of our kindred, saying, Is your father yet alive? have ye another brother? and we told him according to the tenor of these words: could we certainly know that he would say, Bring your brother down?

8, 9, 10 And Judah said unto Israel his father, Send the lad with me, and we will arise and go; that we may live, and not die, both we, and thou, and also our little ones. I will be surety for him; of my hand shalt thou require him: if I bring him not unto thee, and set him before thee, then let me bear the blame for ever: for except we had lingered, surely now we had returned this second time.

Judah in becoming surely for Benjamin is a delightful type of our Lord Jesus, who is the surety of the New Covenant. He will assuredly fulfil his obligations and say at the last, “Of all those whom thou hast given me I have lost none.”

11 And their father Israel said unto them, If it must be so now, do this; take of the best fruits in the land in your vessels, and carry down the man a present, a little balm, and a little honey, spices, and myrrh, nuts, and almonds:

This was prudence. Faith in God is not above using the means. It was well to conciliate those upon whom they were so dependent.

12 And take double money in your hand; and the money that was brought again in the mouth of your sacks, carry it again in your hand; peradventure it was an oversight:

The money had been put into their sacks by Joseph’s order, but they were not aware of that fact; therefore they were to restore it. This was scrupulous honesty, but not too scrupulous. We are not permitted to lake advantage of the oversights of others. Every honest man will rectify mistakes by which another is the loser, even though he had no share in the error. Note what a good calculator Jacob was, and how he knew that the corn would rise in price, “Take double money,” says he. Men of faith are not simpletons.

13 Take also your brother, and arise, go again unto the man:

14 And God Almighty give you mercy before the man, that he may send away your other brother, and Benjamin. If I be bereaved of my children, I am bereaved.

Jacob’s faith now came to the front. He left the issues of his case with the all-sufficient God, and in holy resignation accepted the trial, if the Lord willed to lay it upon him. When we resign our mercies cheerfully, we are most likely to have them back again. Abraham was allowed to keep Isaac because he was willing to part with him at the divine bidding, and so Israel received Benjamin again because, after some struggling, he at last acquiesced in the Lord’s will. When we are at the end of our self-will we are not far off the close of our trials.

Our times are in thy hand,

Why should we doubt or fear?

A Father’s hand will never cause

His child a needless tear.

Our times are in thy hand,

Jesus, the Crucified!

The hand our many sins had pierced

Is now our guard and guide.

January 27.—Evening. [Or February 23.]
“His banner over me was love.”

SO deeply interesting is this story of Joseph, that we must needs linger over it. The Holy Spirit indulges us with details, and we may be sure that he intended our profit thereby.

Genesis 43:15, 16; 18–23; 26–34

15 ¶ And the men took that present, and they took double money in their hand, and Benjamin; and rose up, and went down to Egypt, and stood before Joseph.

16 And when Joseph saw Benjamin with them, he said to the ruler of his house, Bring these men home, and slay, and make ready; for these men shall dine with me at noon.

Thus Joseph’s love sought an opportunity for closer personal intercourse with them.

18 And the men were afraid, because they were brought into Joseph’s house; and they said, Because of the money that was returned in our sacks at the first time are we brought in; that he may seek occasion against us, and fall upon us, and take us for bondmen, and our asses. (Love intended pleasure, but fear turned it into dread. Beware of doubts and mistrusts of the Lord Jesus, lest even his goodness should make us afraid.)

19, 20, 21, 22 And they came near to the steward of Joseph’s house, and they communed with him at the door of the house, And said, O sir, we came indeed down at the first time to buy food: And it came to pass, when we came to the inn, that we opened our sacks, and, behold, every man’s money was in the mouth of his sack, our money in full weight: and we have brought it again in our hand. And other money have we brought down in our hands to buy food: we cannot tell who put our money in our sacks.

Open confession was natural to honest men when in fear; it is also the ready way to peace with God.

23 And he said, Peace be to you, fear not: your God, and the God of your father, hath given you treasure in your sacks: I had your money. And he brought Simeon out unto them. (The hostage being delivered all was well. The bringing of our Lord Jesus from the dead was a token for good to all his brethren.)

26, 27 And when Joseph came home, they brought him the present which was in their hand into the house, and bowed themselves to him to the earth. And he asked them of their welfare, and said, Is your father well, the old man of whom ye spake? Is he yet alive?

28 And they answered, Thy servant our father is in good health, he is yet alive. And they bowed down their heads, and made obeisance. (By calling their father “thy servant,” and making obeisance for themselves and him, they fulfilled his second dream. The sun and the moon and the eleven stars did him homage.)

29, 30 And he lifted up his eyes, and saw his brother Benjamin, his mother’s son, and said, Is this your younger brother, of whom ye spake unto me? And he said, God be gracious unto thee, my son. And Joseph made haste; for his bowels did yearn upon his brother: and he sought where to weep; and he entered into his chamber, and wept there. (Love longs to express itself, but there is a time for everything. Jesus loves his brethren always, but he prudently conceals himself at times for their good.)

31 And he washed his face, and went out, and refrained himself, and said, Set on bread.

32 And they set on for him by himself, and for them by themselves, and for the Egyptians, which did eat with him, by themselves: because the Egyptians might not eat bread with the Hebrews; for that is an abomination unto the Egyptians.

33 And they sat before him, the firstborn according to his birthright, and the youngest according to his youth: and the men marvelled one at another.

34 And he took and sent messes unto them from before him: but Benjamin’s mess was five times so much as any of theirs. And they drank, and were merry with him.

How they must have wondered while they feasted to see the order in which he placed them, and the favour shown to Benjamin. How plainly everything said, “I am Joseph,” yet they perceived him not; and just so, despite all the loving deeds of Jesus, none ever discover him till he reveals himself by his Spirit.

Speak to us, Lord, thyself reveal,

While here on earth we rove;

Speak to our hearts and let us feel

The kindlings of thy love.

With thee conversing, we forget

All time, and toil, and care;

Labour is rest, and pain is sweet,

If thou, our God, art there.[1]

 

[1] Spurgeon, C. H. (1964). The Interpreter: Spurgeon’s Devotional Bible (pp. 53–54). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.

January 27 The Deserving One

John 4:23

The hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him.

When Lawrence of Arabia was in Paris with some of his Arab friends after World War I, he took them to see the sights of the city. His friends showed little interest in the Louvre, the Arch of Triumph, or Napoleon’s tomb. The thing that really interested them was the faucet in their bathtub. They spent much time turning it on and off; they thought it was wonderful. All they had to do was turn the handle and they could get all the water they wanted.

When they were leaving Paris, Lawrence found them in the bathroom with wrenches, trying to get the faucet off so they could take it with them. “You see,” they said, “it is very dry in Arabia. What we need are faucets. If we have them, we will have all the water we want.” Lawrence had to explain to them that the effectiveness of the faucet depended on the water system to which it was attached.

Our study of worship reminds us that the effectiveness of all that we do in the church is not to be found in outward activity or service, but in the One who stands behind it. The One whom we serve. The One deserving of our worship.[1]

 

[1] Jeremiah, D. (2002). Sanctuary: finding moments of refuge in the presence of God (p. 28). Nashville, TN: Integrity Publishers.

Monday Briefing January 27, 2020 – AlbertMohler.com

PART I

 The Death of NBA Icon Kobe Bryant: Understanding Multiple Layers of Grief in the Aftermath of the Death of a Superstar

PART II

 President Trump Becomes First President to Speak in Person at the March for Life: Why Have Other Pro-Life Presidents Not Addressed the Annual March?

PART III

 Trump Administration Backs Up Appearance at March for Life with Significant Pro-Life Action: There Is No Middle Position Between Life and Death

DOWNLOAD MP3


DOCUMENTATION AND ADDITIONAL READING

PART I

PART II

PART III

January 27 Thoughts for the quiet hour

Are there not twelve hours in the day

John 11:9

The very fact of a Christian being here, and not in Heaven, is a proof that some work awaits him.

William Arnot[1]

 

[1] Hardman, S. G., & Moody, D. L. (1997). Thoughts for the quiet hour. Willow Grove, PA: Woodlawn Electronic Publishing.

Rejoice Always | Ligonier Ministries

Do you know what the shortest verse in the New Testament is? The obvious answer is John 11:35: “Jesus wept.” It is the shortest verse in our English translations of the Bible. But the shortest verse in the Greek New Testament is 1 Thessalonians 5:16: “Rejoice always.” It is a little verse with big implications.

The word “rejoice” is a call to joy. The term was a watchword among early Christians. More than a term of worship, it was a word of salutation. Jesus used it as a greeting (Matt. 28:9). Paul used it as a farewell (2 Cor. 13:11). We typically greet one another with “Hello” or “Goodbye.” But what an encouragement it would be if we entered and departed one another’s presence with a call to rejoice.

In 1 Thessalonians 5:16, Paul exhorts the saints to rejoice. It is a command, which makes it clear that joy is more than happiness. Happiness is an emotional response to favorable, pleasant, or rewarding circumstances. You cannot compel a person to be happy. It’s based on what happens to a person. But Christians are commanded by God to rejoice. This command to rejoice is in the present tense. It means “keep on rejoicing.” This makes 1 Thessalonians 5:16 a hard command. This divine mandate would be easier to swallow if it simply directed us to rejoice. Indeed, there are many times, reasons, and occasions that call for rejoicing. But the command is to rejoice always, not only sometimes. How does the Christian rejoice always?

First Thessalonians 5:16–18 features what have been called “the standing orders of the gospel.” These exhortations apply to all Christians in every place and every situation. “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances.” These commands may be familiar. But the justification for the commands is often overlooked: “for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” Do we want to know God’s will for us in any situation? It is God’s will that we rejoice always, pray without ceasing, and give thanks in all circumstances. We are in spiritual rebellion if we are not joyful, prayerful, and thankful. God’s will for our lives is about more than the circumstances we face. It is about how we respond to those circumstances.

It is the will of God for us to rejoice always. But obedience to this command is not accomplished by an act of the will. It is only accomplished by faith in Christ. The believer’s unceasing rejoicing is the will of God for us “in Christ Jesus.” This is the key to the life of rejoicing. Unsaved people do not rejoice in God, pray to God, or give thanks to God. Religious people rejoice sometimes, pray when they feel like it, and give thanks when things are going well. But Christians rejoice always, pray without ceasing, and give thanks in all circumstances. This is not the believer’s response because we are impervious to life’s dangers, toils, and snares. It is our response to life because we are in Christ Jesus.

As the Lord Jesus concluded the Upper Room Discourse, He gave a provocative explanation for these final instructions He gave to the disciples: “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). The Lord wants His disciples to live in peace. But true peace is not the absence of negative, painful, or difficult realities. The fact is that disciples of Christ will have tribulations in this world. We are not exempt from trouble because we are in Christ. To the contrary, following Jesus will bring faith-testing, soul-burdening, and life-threatening pressures. Sickness. Heartbreak. Persecution. Rejection. Disappointment. Loss. We will even face death itself. Yet, we can take heart in the midst of it all because Christ has overcome the world.

Here are two essential things that you as a follower of Christ need to know about the world. First, the world is filled with tribulation. But, second and more importantly, it is conquered tribulation. The Lord has overcome the world. This bold declaration of sovereign authority is not a post-resurrection claim. Before the cross, with all its moral injustice, physical suffering, and spiritual agony, Jesus had already overcome the world. The One who was crucified for our sins rose again to declare, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me” (Matt. 28:18).

The tribulations of life are inevitable. But they do not have the last word. The crucified and risen Christ is the world conqueror. The Lord Jesus Christ reigns over heaven and earth. This includes all of the blessings and burdens of your private world. Rejoice in this glorious truth now and forever.

This post was originally published in Tabletalkmagazine.

— Read on www.ligonier.org/blog/rejoice-always/

January 27, 2020 Morning Verse Of The Day

Conviction

and he fell to the ground, and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?” (9:4)

Prostrate on the ground, Saul heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?” The repetition is emphatic, as elsewhere in Luke’s writings (cf. Luke 10:41; 13:34; 22:31). Here it marks a rebuke of Saul, intended to bring anguish of soul, so Saul would realize how wrong he had been, and guilt would overwhelm him. He was one who had hated Jesus Christ without cause (John 15:25).

Our Lord’s words “Why are you persecuting Me?” reflect the inseparable link between Himself, as head of the body, and its members. No blow struck on earth goes unfelt in heaven by our sympathetic High Priest. By persecuting Christians, Saul inflicted blows directly on their Lord.

Saul, who had been so violent, was violently brought face to face with the enormity of his crimes—not against Christians but against Christ. Those who go to hell do so ultimately because of their rejection of the Savior. Even those who don’t persecute believers, but simply live apart from Jesus Christ, are as guilty of crimes against Him as was Saul. As Saul himself was later to write, “If anyone does not love the Lord, let him be accursed” (1 Cor. 16:22). Jesus said the Holy Spirit would convict men “concerning sin, because they do not believe in Me” (John 16:9). The crime of all crimes for which men will be eternally damned is to refuse to love and follow the Lord Jesus Christ.

True salvation must include conviction of this damning sin, since it is this very sin and no other that finally separates man from God. Saul knew enough about the Christian faith to hate it and persecute it. He knew the claims of Jesus and the true history of God’s redemption as Stephen had preached it. He knew the apostles and their associates Stephen and Philip had miraculous power over disease and demons. All that the Spirit had laid as the groundwork in Saul’s life. When Jesus confronted Saul, the conviction must have been overwhelming. He knew about the truth; here he was crushed into the dust and made to believe it.[1]


4 Likewise, in v. 4 it is reported that Saul heard the voice (ēkousen phōnēn, GK 201, 5889) and in v. 7 that his companions also heard the voice (akouontes men tēs phōnēs), whereas in 22:9 it is said that his companions did not hear the voice (tēn phōnēn ouk ēkousan) and in 26:14 that only Saul heard the voice speaking to him (ēkousa phōnēn legousan pros me). Some commentators have seen here a flagrant contradiction in Luke’s source materials, which he unwittingly incorporated into his finished product. But since the noun phōnē means both “sound” in the sense of any noise, tone, or voice and “articulated speech” in the sense of language, undoubtedly it was understood by all concerned (as the respective contexts suggest) to mean that while the whole group traveling to Damascus heard the sound from heaven, only Saul understood the spoken words.

As Saul fell to the ground, the voice from heaven intoned his name in solemn repetition: “Saul, Saul.” It was common in antiquity for a person in a formal setting to be addressed by the repetition of his name (cf., e.g., Ge 22:11; 46:2; Ex 3:4; 1 Sa 3:10; Lk 10:41; 22:31; 2 Esd 14:1; 2 Bar. 22:2). The fact that the transliterated form Saoul (from Heb. and Aram. šaʾul) was used in addressing Saul, rather than the Greek vocative Saule, suggests that the words came to him in either Hebrew or Aramaic (cf. 26:14). Of more significance is the fact that Saul understood the voice to be a message from God himself, for in the rabbinic thought of the day to hear a voice from heaven (a bat qôl, lit., “a daughter of the [divine] voice”) never meant to hear a lower deity in the pantheon of gods speaking, as in Greek religious speculations, or some psychological disturbance, as many would presume today. Rather, it always connoted a rebuke or a word of instruction from the one true God himself. So when the voice went on to ask, “Why do you persecute me?” Saul was undoubtedly thoroughly confused. As he saw it, he had not been persecuting God; he was defending God and his laws![2]


9:4 / Why do you persecute me? The answer to this question has been found in Gal. 3:13. Before his conversion Paul regarded Jesus as accursed in terms of Deut. 21:22f. (see disc. on 5:20). For this reason, he blasphemed him (1 Tim. 1:13) and tried to make others blaspheme him (Acts 26:11), i.e., to say, “Jesus be cursed” (1 Cor. 12:3). After his conversion, Paul still went on saying, “God made Christ a curse,” but now added two words, “for us” or “for me” (cf. also Gal. 2:20). See J. Jeremias, The Central Message of the New Testament (London: SCM Press, 1965), pp. 35f.[3]


4. He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?”

Jesus brings Paul to conversion by appearing to him in heavenly glory light. In this supernatural light, the only thing man can do is fall to the ground and lie face down. And this is exactly what Paul does. Then Jesus personally addresses Paul by his given name. He asks Paul the penetrating question: “Why do you persecute me?” Indeed, Jesus’ wording is remarkable, for with this question he identifies himself completely with the believers whom Paul seeks to destroy. Jesus and his followers are one (compare Matt. 10:40; 25:45).

The cautionary message not to oppose God, advocated by Paul’s teacher, Gamaliel, now confronts Paul in stark reality. The martyred Stephen, the persecuted Christians driven from Jerusalem, the believers jailed by Paul—all these people are represented by Jesus Christ. Accordingly, Paul has been fighting against Jesus and has lost the battle. Jesus addresses Paul in Aramaic (see 26:14) and repeats his Hebrew name, Saul (compare, e.g., 1 Sam. 3:10). Paul knows that the repetition means that a divine voice is calling him.[4]


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1994). Acts (Vol. 1, pp. 267–268). Chicago: Moody Press.

[2] Longenecker, R. N. (2007). Acts. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Luke–Acts (Revised Edition) (Vol. 10, p. 853). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[3] Williams, D. J. (2011). Acts (pp. 172–173). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

[4] Kistemaker, S. J., & Hendriksen, W. (1953–2001). Exposition of the Acts of the Apostles (Vol. 17, pp. 331–332). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.

January 27 – Proverbs on mockers – Reformed Perspective

“A proud and haughty man —”Scoffer” is his name; he acts with arrogant pride.” – Proverbs 21:24

Scripture reading: Proverbs 14:6-9

If you believe in abstinence until marriage, or you take your children out of public schools, or you believe in the biblical grounds for divorce, you are seen, at the very least, as a prude, if not weird. Movie stars, politicians and judges loudly proclaim this. Christians are mocked and viewed as hindrances to progress. This is not abnormal. Christians have often been seen this way in history.

What happens to mockers? Proverbs 19:29 tells us “Judgments are prepared for scoffers, and beatings for the backs of fools.”

How are you to react when you are mocked? Don’t take mocking personally. It is God whom they are mocking. Avoid the scoffer. Proverbs 22:10 says: “Cast out the scoffer, and contention will leave; yes, strife and reproach will cease.” Chase him away because he is not interested in learning. Proverbs 15:12 adds: “A scoffer does not love one who corrects him, nor will he go to the wise.” As tough as it may be to do, leave him. Go far away. Proverbs 9:7-8 instructs:

“He who corrects a scoffer gets shame for himself, and he who rebukes a wicked man only harms himself. Do not correct a scoffer, lest he hate you; rebuke a wise man, and he will love you.”

What makes you able to react this way? Your time belongs to the Lord (Psalm 90) and He wants you to use your time wisely. If an activity will not lead to the salvation or sanctification of the soul, it is not worthwhile.

Suggestions for prayer

Pray that you will not take mocking of your faith personally and that you will persist in faithful obedience to the Saviour.

This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. Mitchell Persaud is pastor of New Horizon URC in Scarborough, ON, a mission church under the oversight of Cornerstone URC in London, ON. He was born in Guyana, South America, into a Hindu home, baptized Roman Catholic, raised Pentecostal and then became Reformed.

— Read on reformedperspective.ca/january-27-proverbs-on-mockers/

Why We’re Told Not to Fear — Daily Devotionals by Thoughts about God

There is much in the world that tempts us to fear.

Fear is typical in a world like ours.

Fear is a response that comes naturally.

But we’re told 365 times in Scripture to “Fear Not!”

Why are we told not to fear?

Because of who our God is.

  • Jesus told us we’d have tribulation in this world. But we’re to be of good cheer. He has overcome the world (John 16:33).
  • Nations are like a drop in a bucket and dust on a scale (Isaiah 40:15). He is mightier than all the world’s nations combined.
  • He spoke and everything was created. Everything. All He did was speak a word. Is there anything too hard for Him? (Jeremiah 32:17)
  • The “kingdoms of this world will become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever” (Revelation 11:15). We are on the winning side.
  • The Lord our God in the midst of us is mighty (Zephaniah 3:17).  In our midst. Not sitting on the sidelines, cheering us on or hoping we’ll make it. His might works in our midst.
  • He will never leave us or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5). The most repeated promise in Scripture. We have never been abandoned by our God and never will.

We serve a God who has a mighty hand on an outstretched arm that is not too short that it cannot. . .

No wonder He tells us 365 times to “Fear not!”

By Bethany Hayes
Used by Permission

Comments: If you don’t see our response form, please go to https://thoughts-about-god.com/blog/bethany-hayes_no-fear/

Learn more about knowing Jesus at: https://thoughts-about-god.com/four-laws/

via Why We’re Told Not to Fear — Daily Devotionals by Thoughts about God

Will the Rope Hold? — Daily Devotionals by Thoughts about God

The summer between my 3rd and 4th year of university I worked at Yellowstone National Park.

It was a great summer, full of adventures and new experiences.

On a day off, I had signed up for a day long class in rock climbing. I was successfully making my way up the side of a mountain when the instructor surprised me with an unexpected challenge, when he said,

I want you to push yourself off and fall on the rope!”

Questioning why he would ask me to do this, I hesitated, and he wisely pointed out that,

You will never be a good rock climber until you can trust that the rope will hold you. Push yourself off and fall on the rope.”

I was afraid.

Obviously, my trust was in my ability to use my hands and feet to scale the mountain. The rope was a secondary source of security, in case I slipped (which I did not plan to do!). I eventually did let go my hand holds, and I’m here to tell you that the rope held!

There are times when God seems to say the same thing to me as my instructor did that day. “Take the step, release your hands on what you are holding and see that I’m trustworthy.” The writer of the Psalms wrote,

O taste and see that the LORD is good; how blessed is the person who takes refuge in Him!” (Psalm 34:8)

Just as I would never be a good rock climber without experiencing that the rope will hold. The same is true of my spiritual life. I will never be a responsive Christ follower if I am unwilling to let go of whatever I am grasping when God says, “Let go, trust me.”

Are you willing to let go of the things that give you security?

We can only experience God’s goodness when we take those, sometimes scary steps that take faith. Do you trust God is able to hold you securely when you let go of the things that provide comfort or security? What step is God asking you to take? Could it be he is asking you to let go of a relationship, finances or a position … A thought that comforts me is God holds the universe together it is likely he can provide all I need to hold life together … Enjoy the adventure!

Question: Do you believe your rope, God, will hold you during tough times?

By Mike Woodard
Used by Permission

Comments: If you don’t see our response form, please go to https://thoughts-about-god.com/blog/mike-woodard_rope-hold/

Learn more about knowing Jesus at: https://thoughts-about-god.com/four-laws/

via Will the Rope Hold? — Daily Devotionals by Thoughts about God

01/27/20 By Our Name — ChuckLawless.com

READING: Genesis 41-42, Mark 16

I’ve read Mark 16 many times, and every time I’m caught by the words of the angel in verse 7: “But go, tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you to Galilee; you will see him there just as he told you.’” In particular, the words “and Peter” make me almost weep.

That’s because many scholars believe that Mark’s Gospel is actually Peter’s recollection of the story as he told it to Mark–and I can hear him telling the story. He had previously denied even knowing Jesus, and his grief over his failure had been deep. Now, I can just imagine Peter’s giving these details to Mark: “And, Mark, let me tell you what happened. The women went to the tomb, and they saw the Lord wasn’t there! The angel they met there called them to see where Jesus had lain, and then he told them to go tell the disciples and me!”

“Mark, the angel named me personally. Three times, I had said I wasn’t a follower of Jesus. Three times, I had lied. God could have turned His back on me then—but He didn’t do it. In fact, He sent an angel to make sure that I knew—by name—that I was still part of the disciples’ group! It was as if He went out of His way to tell me, ‘You denied me, but I won’t deny you.”

“He named me, Mark!”

Do you see why this text makes me weep? How grateful I am that God calls me by name even when I sometimes fail to magnify His name.

PRAYER: “Lord, You are so gracious to us. I can only bow before You.”

TOMORROW’S READING: Genesis 43-44, Psalm 24, Galatians 1

via 01/27/20 By Our Name — ChuckLawless.com

Dan Bongino: Trump’s impeachment legal team ‘decimated, destroyed, and annihilated’ Dems’ ‘really awful’ case | Fox News

Former NYPD officer and Secret Service agent Dan Bongino said Sunday that President Trump’s defense team “completely decimated, destroyed, and annihilated the really awful, horrible, case” that House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., and other House managers in Trump’s impeachment trial, “tried to make.”

Can This Be Naomi? (Part 1 of 2) – Programs – Truth For Life

Sometimes, life feels mundane and predictable. The book of Ruth, though, reveals that God is working behind the scenes, even in the ordinary seasons of life. Join us as we take a closer look at Ruth’s story on Truth For Life with Alistair Begg. 
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