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Living in Freedom

Published by InTouch Ministries for reading on February 27th.

Romans 6:1-14 Chapter 6 1 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? 2 God forbid. We who died to sin, how shall we any longer live therein? 3 Or are ye ignorant that all we who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were buried therefore with him through baptism unto death: that like as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we also might walk in newness of life. 5 For if we have become united with `him' in the likeness of his death, we shall be also `in the likeness' of his resurrection; 6 knowing this, that our old man was crucified with `him', that the body of sin might be done away, that so we should no longer be in bondage to sin; 7 for he that hath died is justified from sin. 8 But if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him; 9 knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death no more hath dominion over him. 10 For the death that he died, he died unto sin once: but the life that he liveth, he liveth unto God. 11 Even so reckon ye also yourselves to be dead unto sin, but alive unto God in Christ Jesus. 12 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey the lusts thereof: 13 neither present your members unto sin `as' instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves unto God, as alive from the dead, and your members `as' instruments of righteousness unto God. 14 For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under law, but under grace.

When Eve accepted Satan’s offer of greater independence from God, do you think she experienced more freedom? The answer is obvious. She, Adam, and the entire human race became enslaved to sin from that point onward. What looked like a great deal ended in deadly bondage.

Although Christ has set believers free from slavery to sin, we, like Eve, oftentimes long for the “freedom” to do what we want. But whenever we give in to sinful desires, we’re behaving like slaves instead of living as free children of God. He’s given us the Holy Spirit, who empowers us to say no to sin if we’ll just yield to His leadership.

The consequences of reverting to our old ways are devastating. We’ll sink deeper into bondage to sin, lose the peace and joy of fellowship with Christ, grieve the Holy Spirit, and find ourselves under the disciplining hand of the Father. We can also miss out on the blessing of helping to advance His kingdom—by falling into the hypocrisy of living like the world, we ruin our testimony because there’s no discernible benefit to having a relationship with God. Our unsaved friends, relatives, and coworkers are watching. Unless they see a difference between us and themselves, why would they want our Savior?

If Satan whispers in your ear that the Lord’s limitations are depriving you of something good, remember what happened to Eve in the book of Genesis. Liberty to do whatever we want is slavery to self and sin. Only when we live within the Father’s protective boundaries can we experience the freedom Christ purchased for us.

Bible in One Year: Deuteronomy 21-23 Chapter 21 1 If one be found slain in the land which Jehovah thy God giveth thee to possess it, lying in the field, and it be not known who hath smitten him; 2 then thy elders and thy judges shall come forth, and they shall measure unto the cities which are round about him that is slain: 3 and it shall be, that the city which is nearest unto the slain man, even the elders of that city shall take a heifer of the herd, which hath not been wrought with, and which hath not drawn in the yoke; 4 and the elders of that city shall bring down the heifer unto a valley with running water, which is neither plowed nor sown, and shall break the heifer's neck there in the valley. 5 And the priests the sons of Levi shall come near; for them Jehovah thy God hath chosen to minister unto him, and to bless in the name of Jehovah; and according to their word shall every controversy and every stroke be. 6 And all the elders of that city, who are nearest unto the slain man, shall wash their hands over the heifer whose neck was broken in the valley; 7 and they shall answer and say, Our hands have not shed this blood, neither have our eyes seen it. 8 Forgive, O Jehovah, thy people Israel, whom thou hast redeemed, and suffer not innocent blood `to remain' in the midst of thy people Israel. And the blood shall be forgiven them. 9 So shalt thou put away the innocent blood from the midst of thee, when thou shalt do that which is right in the eyes of Jehovah. 10 When thou goest forth to battle against thine enemies, and Jehovah thy God delivereth them into thy hands, and thou carriest them away captive, 11 and seest among the captives a beautiful woman, and thou hast a desire unto her, and wouldest take her to thee to wife; 12 then thou shalt bring her home to thy house; and she shall shave her head, and pare her nails; 13 and she shall put the raiment of her captivity from off her, and shall remain in thy house, and bewail her father and her mother a full month: and after that thou shalt go in unto her, and be her husband, and she shall be thy wife. 14 And it shall be, if thou have no delight in her, then thou shalt let her go whither she will; but thou shalt not sell her at all for money, thou shalt not deal with her as a slave, because thou hast humbled her. 15 If a man have two wives, the one beloved, and the other hated, and they have borne him children, both the beloved and the hated; and if the first-born son be hers that was hated; 16 then it shall be, in the day that he causeth his sons to inherit that which he hath, that he may not make the son of the beloved the first-born before the son of the hated, who is the first-born: 17 but he shall acknowledge the first-born, the son of the hated, by giving him a double portion of all that he hath; for he is the beginning of his strength; the right of the first-born is his. 18 If a man have a stubborn and rebellious son, that will not obey the voice of his father, or the voice of his mother, and, though they chasten him, will not hearken unto them; 19 then shall his father and his mother lay hold on him, and bring him out unto the elders of his city, and unto the gate of his place; 20 and they shall say unto the elders of his city, This our son is stubborn and rebellious, he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton, and a drunkard. 21 And all the men of his city shall stone him to death with stones: so shalt thou put away the evil from the midst of thee; and all Israel shall hear, and fear. 22 And if a man have committed a sin worthy of death, and he be put to death, and thou hang him on a tree; 23 his body shall not remain all night upon the tree, but thou shalt surely bury him the same day; for he that is hanged is accursed of God; that thou defile not thy land which Jehovah thy God giveth thee for an inheritance. Chapter 22 1 Thou shalt not see thy brother's ox or his sheep go astray, and hide thyself from them: thou shalt surely bring them again unto thy brother. 2 And if thy brother be not nigh unto thee, or if thou know him not, then thou shalt bring it home to thy house, and it shall be with thee until thy brother seek after it, and thou shalt restore it to him. 3 And so shalt thou do with his ass; and so shalt thou do with his garment; and so shalt thou do with every lost thing of thy brother's, which he hath lost, and thou hast found: thou mayest not hide thyself. 4 Thou shalt not see thy brother's ass or his ox fallen down by the way, and hide thyself from them: thou shalt surely help him to lift them up again. 5 A woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman's garment; for whosoever doeth these things is an abomination unto Jehovah thy God. 6 If a bird's nest chance to be before thee in the way, in any tree or on the ground, with young ones or eggs, and the dam sitting upon the young, or upon the eggs, thou shalt not take the dam with the young: 7 thou shalt surely let the dam go, but the young thou mayest take unto thyself; that it may be well with thee, and that thou mayest prolong thy days. 8 When thou buildest a new house, then thou shalt make a battlement for thy roof, that thou bring not blood upon thy house, if any man fall from thence. 9 Thou shalt not sow thy vineyard with two kinds of seed, lest the whole fruit be forfeited, the seed which thou hast sown, and the increase of the vineyard. 10 Thou shalt not plow with an ox and an ass together. 11 Thou shalt not wear a mingled stuff, wool and linen together. 12 Thou shalt make thee fringes upon the four borders of thy vesture, wherewith thou coverest thyself. 13 If any man take a wife, and go in unto her, and hate her, 14 and lay shameful things to her charge, and bring up an evil name upon her, and say, I took this woman, and when I came nigh to her, I found not in her the tokens of virginity; 15 then shall the father of the damsel, and her mother, take and bring forth the tokens of the damsel's virginity unto the elders of the city in the gate; 16 and the damsel's father shall say unto the elders, I gave my daughter unto this man to wife, and he hateth her; 17 and, lo, he hath laid shameful things `to her charge', saying, I found not in thy daughter the tokens of virginity; and yet these are the tokens of my daughter's virginity. And they shall spread the garment before the elders of the city. 18 And the elders of that city shall take the man and chastise him; 19 and they shall fine him a hundred `shekels' of silver, and give them unto the father of the damsel, because he hath brought up an evil name upon a virgin of Israel: and she shall be his wife; he may not put her away all his days. 20 But if this thing be true, that the tokens of virginity were not found in the damsel; 21 then they shall bring out the damsel to the door of her father's house, and the men of her city shall stone her to death with stones, because she hath wrought folly in Israel, to play the harlot in her father's house: so shalt thou put away the evil from the midst of thee. 22 If a man be found lying with a woman married to a husband, then they shall both of them die, the man that lay with the woman, and the woman: so shalt thou put away the evil from Israel. 23 If there be a damsel that is a virgin betrothed unto a husband, and a man find her in the city, and lie with her; 24 then ye shall bring them both out unto the gate of that city, and ye shall stone them to death with stones; the damsel, because she cried not, being in the city; and the man, because he hath humbled his neighbor's wife: so thou shalt put away the evil from the midst of thee. 25 But if the man find the damsel that is betrothed in the field, and the man force her, and lie with her; then the man only that lay with her shall die: 26 but unto the damsel thou shalt do nothing; there is in the damsel no sin worthy of death: for as when a man riseth against his neighbor, and slayeth him, even so is this matter; 27 for he found her in the field, the betrothed damsel cried, and there was none to save her. 28 If a man find a damsel that is a virgin, that is not betrothed, and lay hold on her, and lie with her, and they be found; 29 then the man that lay with her shall give unto the damsel's father fifty `shekels' of silver, and she shall be his wife, because he hath humbled her; he may not put her away all his days. 30 A man shall not take his father's wife, and shall not uncover his father's skirt. Chapter 23 1 He that is wounded in the stones, or hath his privy member cut off, shall not enter into the assembly of Jehovah. 2 A bastard shall not enter into the assembly of Jehovah; even to the tenth generation shall none of his enter into the assembly of Jehovah. 3 An Ammonite or a Moabite shall not enter into the assembly of Jehovah; even to the tenth generation shall none belonging to them enter into the assembly of Jehovah for ever: 4 because they met you not with bread and with water in the way, when ye came forth out of Egypt, and because they hired against thee Balaam the son of Beor from Pethor of Mesopotamia, to curse thee. 5 Nevertheless Jehovah thy God would not hearken unto Balaam; but Jehovah thy God turned the curse into a blessing unto thee, because Jehovah thy God loved thee. 6 Thou shalt not seek their peace nor their prosperity all thy days for ever. 7 Thou shalt not abhor an Edomite; for he is thy brother: thou shalt not abhor an Egyptian, because thou wast a sojourner in his land. 8 The children of the third generation that are born unto them shall enter into the assembly of Jehovah. 9 When thou goest forth in camp against thine enemies, then thou shalt keep thee from every evil thing. 10 If there be among you any man, that is not clean by reason of that which chanceth him by night, then shall he go abroad out of the camp, he shall not come within the camp: 11 but it shall be, when evening cometh on, he shall bathe himself in water; and when the sun is down, he shall come within the camp. 12 Thou shalt have a place also without the camp, whither thou shalt go forth abroad: 13 and thou shalt have a paddle among thy weapons; and it shall be, when thou sittest down abroad, thou shalt dig therewith, and shalt turn back and cover that which cometh from thee: 14 for Jehovah thy God walketh in the midst of thy camp, to deliver thee, and to give up thine enemies before thee; therefore shall thy camp be holy, that he may not see an unclean thing in thee, and turn away from thee. 15 Thou shalt not deliver unto his master a servant that is escaped from his master unto thee: 16 he shall dwell with thee, in the midst of thee, in the place which he shall choose within one of thy gates, where it pleaseth him best: thou shalt not oppress him. 17 There shall be no prostitute of the daughters of Israel, neither shall there be a sodomite of the sons of Israel. 18 Thou shalt not bring the hire of a harlot, or the wages of a dog, into the house of Jehovah thy God for any vow: for even both these are an abomination unto Jehovah thy God. 19 Thou shalt not lend upon interest to thy brother; interest of money, interest of victuals, interest of anything that is lent upon interest: 20 unto a foreigner thou mayest lend upon interest; but unto thy brother thou shalt not lend upon interest, that Jehovah thy God may bless thee in all that thou puttest thy hand unto, in the land whither thou goest in to possess it. 21 When thou shalt vow a vow unto Jehovah thy God, thou shalt not be slack to pay it: for Jehovah thy God will surely require it of thee; and it would be sin in thee. 22 But if thou shalt forbear to vow, it shall be no sin in thee. 23 That which is gone out of thy lips thou shalt observe and do; according as thou hast vowed unto Jehovah thy God, a freewill-offering, which thou hast promised with thy mouth. 24 When thou comest into thy neighbor's vineyard, then thou mayest eat of grapes thy fill at thine own pleasure; but thou shalt not put any in thy vessel. 25 When thou comest into thy neighbor's standing grain, then thou mayest pluck the ears with thy hand; but thou shalt not move a sickle unto thy neighbor's standing grain.




Wait for God’s Peace

Published by InTouch Ministries for reading on February 27th.

Colossians 3:15-17 15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to the which also ye were called in one body; and be ye thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly; in all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms `and' hymns `and' spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts unto God. 17 And whatsoever ye do, in word or in deed, `do' all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Many believers look for a sense of peace as a sign to help them determine God’s will in their life. However, a peaceful feeling may not be enough evidence to verify that a person’s decisions line up with the Lord’s plans. It’s wise to ask ourselves, Whose peace are we experiencing? Sometimes our sense of tranquility can be attributed to our own satisfaction about a choice we’ve made.

Today’s passage talks about letting “the peace of Christ rule in your hearts” (Col. 3:15). This kind of settledness originates from Jesus Christ and is the umpire that determines whether your decisions fit with God’s will. The word peace indicates harmony and oneness. So to have God’s peace about a matter means your decision must be aligned with His will. The only way to determine this is by comparing your thoughts and choices with His Word. Are you thinking the same way He does? Did you make your decision using scriptural principles or your own human understanding?

One of the reasons we often make choices without the guidance of Scripture is because we want a quicker method for finding an answer. The Lord doesn’t just pour His thoughts into our brain without our cooperation. He molds us gradually, day by day, as we read His Word and let its truths sink into our mind.

Building steadily over time is the only way to internalize a foundation of God’s truth. With His instructions as your basis, you can make decisions with confidence, knowing you are following His will. Then you’ll have a sense of oneness with the Lord, and His peace will guard your way.

Bible in One Year: Deuteronomy 21-23 Chapter 21 1 If one be found slain in the land which Jehovah thy God giveth thee to possess it, lying in the field, and it be not known who hath smitten him; 2 then thy elders and thy judges shall come forth, and they shall measure unto the cities which are round about him that is slain: 3 and it shall be, that the city which is nearest unto the slain man, even the elders of that city shall take a heifer of the herd, which hath not been wrought with, and which hath not drawn in the yoke; 4 and the elders of that city shall bring down the heifer unto a valley with running water, which is neither plowed nor sown, and shall break the heifer's neck there in the valley. 5 And the priests the sons of Levi shall come near; for them Jehovah thy God hath chosen to minister unto him, and to bless in the name of Jehovah; and according to their word shall every controversy and every stroke be. 6 And all the elders of that city, who are nearest unto the slain man, shall wash their hands over the heifer whose neck was broken in the valley; 7 and they shall answer and say, Our hands have not shed this blood, neither have our eyes seen it. 8 Forgive, O Jehovah, thy people Israel, whom thou hast redeemed, and suffer not innocent blood `to remain' in the midst of thy people Israel. And the blood shall be forgiven them. 9 So shalt thou put away the innocent blood from the midst of thee, when thou shalt do that which is right in the eyes of Jehovah. 10 When thou goest forth to battle against thine enemies, and Jehovah thy God delivereth them into thy hands, and thou carriest them away captive, 11 and seest among the captives a beautiful woman, and thou hast a desire unto her, and wouldest take her to thee to wife; 12 then thou shalt bring her home to thy house; and she shall shave her head, and pare her nails; 13 and she shall put the raiment of her captivity from off her, and shall remain in thy house, and bewail her father and her mother a full month: and after that thou shalt go in unto her, and be her husband, and she shall be thy wife. 14 And it shall be, if thou have no delight in her, then thou shalt let her go whither she will; but thou shalt not sell her at all for money, thou shalt not deal with her as a slave, because thou hast humbled her. 15 If a man have two wives, the one beloved, and the other hated, and they have borne him children, both the beloved and the hated; and if the first-born son be hers that was hated; 16 then it shall be, in the day that he causeth his sons to inherit that which he hath, that he may not make the son of the beloved the first-born before the son of the hated, who is the first-born: 17 but he shall acknowledge the first-born, the son of the hated, by giving him a double portion of all that he hath; for he is the beginning of his strength; the right of the first-born is his. 18 If a man have a stubborn and rebellious son, that will not obey the voice of his father, or the voice of his mother, and, though they chasten him, will not hearken unto them; 19 then shall his father and his mother lay hold on him, and bring him out unto the elders of his city, and unto the gate of his place; 20 and they shall say unto the elders of his city, This our son is stubborn and rebellious, he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton, and a drunkard. 21 And all the men of his city shall stone him to death with stones: so shalt thou put away the evil from the midst of thee; and all Israel shall hear, and fear. 22 And if a man have committed a sin worthy of death, and he be put to death, and thou hang him on a tree; 23 his body shall not remain all night upon the tree, but thou shalt surely bury him the same day; for he that is hanged is accursed of God; that thou defile not thy land which Jehovah thy God giveth thee for an inheritance. Chapter 22 1 Thou shalt not see thy brother's ox or his sheep go astray, and hide thyself from them: thou shalt surely bring them again unto thy brother. 2 And if thy brother be not nigh unto thee, or if thou know him not, then thou shalt bring it home to thy house, and it shall be with thee until thy brother seek after it, and thou shalt restore it to him. 3 And so shalt thou do with his ass; and so shalt thou do with his garment; and so shalt thou do with every lost thing of thy brother's, which he hath lost, and thou hast found: thou mayest not hide thyself. 4 Thou shalt not see thy brother's ass or his ox fallen down by the way, and hide thyself from them: thou shalt surely help him to lift them up again. 5 A woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman's garment; for whosoever doeth these things is an abomination unto Jehovah thy God. 6 If a bird's nest chance to be before thee in the way, in any tree or on the ground, with young ones or eggs, and the dam sitting upon the young, or upon the eggs, thou shalt not take the dam with the young: 7 thou shalt surely let the dam go, but the young thou mayest take unto thyself; that it may be well with thee, and that thou mayest prolong thy days. 8 When thou buildest a new house, then thou shalt make a battlement for thy roof, that thou bring not blood upon thy house, if any man fall from thence. 9 Thou shalt not sow thy vineyard with two kinds of seed, lest the whole fruit be forfeited, the seed which thou hast sown, and the increase of the vineyard. 10 Thou shalt not plow with an ox and an ass together. 11 Thou shalt not wear a mingled stuff, wool and linen together. 12 Thou shalt make thee fringes upon the four borders of thy vesture, wherewith thou coverest thyself. 13 If any man take a wife, and go in unto her, and hate her, 14 and lay shameful things to her charge, and bring up an evil name upon her, and say, I took this woman, and when I came nigh to her, I found not in her the tokens of virginity; 15 then shall the father of the damsel, and her mother, take and bring forth the tokens of the damsel's virginity unto the elders of the city in the gate; 16 and the damsel's father shall say unto the elders, I gave my daughter unto this man to wife, and he hateth her; 17 and, lo, he hath laid shameful things `to her charge', saying, I found not in thy daughter the tokens of virginity; and yet these are the tokens of my daughter's virginity. And they shall spread the garment before the elders of the city. 18 And the elders of that city shall take the man and chastise him; 19 and they shall fine him a hundred `shekels' of silver, and give them unto the father of the damsel, because he hath brought up an evil name upon a virgin of Israel: and she shall be his wife; he may not put her away all his days. 20 But if this thing be true, that the tokens of virginity were not found in the damsel; 21 then they shall bring out the damsel to the door of her father's house, and the men of her city shall stone her to death with stones, because she hath wrought folly in Israel, to play the harlot in her father's house: so shalt thou put away the evil from the midst of thee. 22 If a man be found lying with a woman married to a husband, then they shall both of them die, the man that lay with the woman, and the woman: so shalt thou put away the evil from Israel. 23 If there be a damsel that is a virgin betrothed unto a husband, and a man find her in the city, and lie with her; 24 then ye shall bring them both out unto the gate of that city, and ye shall stone them to death with stones; the damsel, because she cried not, being in the city; and the man, because he hath humbled his neighbor's wife: so thou shalt put away the evil from the midst of thee. 25 But if the man find the damsel that is betrothed in the field, and the man force her, and lie with her; then the man only that lay with her shall die: 26 but unto the damsel thou shalt do nothing; there is in the damsel no sin worthy of death: for as when a man riseth against his neighbor, and slayeth him, even so is this matter; 27 for he found her in the field, the betrothed damsel cried, and there was none to save her. 28 If a man find a damsel that is a virgin, that is not betrothed, and lay hold on her, and lie with her, and they be found; 29 then the man that lay with her shall give unto the damsel's father fifty `shekels' of silver, and she shall be his wife, because he hath humbled her; he may not put her away all his days. 30 A man shall not take his father's wife, and shall not uncover his father's skirt. Chapter 23 1 He that is wounded in the stones, or hath his privy member cut off, shall not enter into the assembly of Jehovah. 2 A bastard shall not enter into the assembly of Jehovah; even to the tenth generation shall none of his enter into the assembly of Jehovah. 3 An Ammonite or a Moabite shall not enter into the assembly of Jehovah; even to the tenth generation shall none belonging to them enter into the assembly of Jehovah for ever: 4 because they met you not with bread and with water in the way, when ye came forth out of Egypt, and because they hired against thee Balaam the son of Beor from Pethor of Mesopotamia, to curse thee. 5 Nevertheless Jehovah thy God would not hearken unto Balaam; but Jehovah thy God turned the curse into a blessing unto thee, because Jehovah thy God loved thee. 6 Thou shalt not seek their peace nor their prosperity all thy days for ever. 7 Thou shalt not abhor an Edomite; for he is thy brother: thou shalt not abhor an Egyptian, because thou wast a sojourner in his land. 8 The children of the third generation that are born unto them shall enter into the assembly of Jehovah. 9 When thou goest forth in camp against thine enemies, then thou shalt keep thee from every evil thing. 10 If there be among you any man, that is not clean by reason of that which chanceth him by night, then shall he go abroad out of the camp, he shall not come within the camp: 11 but it shall be, when evening cometh on, he shall bathe himself in water; and when the sun is down, he shall come within the camp. 12 Thou shalt have a place also without the camp, whither thou shalt go forth abroad: 13 and thou shalt have a paddle among thy weapons; and it shall be, when thou sittest down abroad, thou shalt dig therewith, and shalt turn back and cover that which cometh from thee: 14 for Jehovah thy God walketh in the midst of thy camp, to deliver thee, and to give up thine enemies before thee; therefore shall thy camp be holy, that he may not see an unclean thing in thee, and turn away from thee. 15 Thou shalt not deliver unto his master a servant that is escaped from his master unto thee: 16 he shall dwell with thee, in the midst of thee, in the place which he shall choose within one of thy gates, where it pleaseth him best: thou shalt not oppress him. 17 There shall be no prostitute of the daughters of Israel, neither shall there be a sodomite of the sons of Israel. 18 Thou shalt not bring the hire of a harlot, or the wages of a dog, into the house of Jehovah thy God for any vow: for even both these are an abomination unto Jehovah thy God. 19 Thou shalt not lend upon interest to thy brother; interest of money, interest of victuals, interest of anything that is lent upon interest: 20 unto a foreigner thou mayest lend upon interest; but unto thy brother thou shalt not lend upon interest, that Jehovah thy God may bless thee in all that thou puttest thy hand unto, in the land whither thou goest in to possess it. 21 When thou shalt vow a vow unto Jehovah thy God, thou shalt not be slack to pay it: for Jehovah thy God will surely require it of thee; and it would be sin in thee. 22 But if thou shalt forbear to vow, it shall be no sin in thee. 23 That which is gone out of thy lips thou shalt observe and do; according as thou hast vowed unto Jehovah thy God, a freewill-offering, which thou hast promised with thy mouth. 24 When thou comest into thy neighbor's vineyard, then thou mayest eat of grapes thy fill at thine own pleasure; but thou shalt not put any in thy vessel. 25 When thou comest into thy neighbor's standing grain, then thou mayest pluck the ears with thy hand; but thou shalt not move a sickle unto thy neighbor's standing grain.




Finally and Totally Justified

Published by John Piper for reading on February 28th.

Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. ( Romans 8:33 33 Who shall lay anything to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth; )

Paul could have said here, “Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect?” and then answered, “No one! We are justified.” That’s true. But that is not what he said. His answer instead is, “God is the one who justifies.”

The emphasis is not on the act but on the Actor.

Why? Because in the world of courts and laws where this language comes from, the acquittal of a judge might be overturned by a higher one.

So what, if a local judge acquits you, when you are guilty, if a governor has the right to bring a charge against you? So what, if a governor acquits you, when you are guilty, if the emperor can bring a charge against you?

Here’s the point: Above God, there are no higher courts. If God is the one who acquits you – declares you righteous in his sight – no one can appeal; no one claim a technicality; no one can call for a mistrial; no one can look for other counts against you. God’s sentence is final and total.

Hear this, all you who believe on Jesus, and become united to Christ, and show yourself among the elect: God is the one who justifies you. Not a human judge. Not a great prophet. Not an archangel from heaven. But God, the Creator of the world and Owner of all things and Ruler of the universe and every molecule and person in it, God is the one who justifies you.

The point: unshakable security in the face of tremendous suffering. If God is for us, no one can successfully be against us. If God gave his Son for us, he will give us everything that is good for us. If God is the one who justifies us, no charge against us can stand.



Walking Wisely

Published by InTouch Ministries for reading on February 28th.

Ephesians 5:15-17 15 Look therefore carefully how ye walk, not as unwise, but as wise; 16 redeeming the time, because the days are evil. 17 Wherefore be ye not foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.

When Paul exhorts us to walk wisely, he gives three instructions to help us make godly choices. First, he says to “be careful how you walk” (Eph. 5:15). Because we live in a morally corrupt society, we must be vigilant about the way we think and act. Unless we deliberately choose to guard ourselves, we will simply do what comes naturally and go along with cultural influences.

Next, in verse 16, the apostle instructs us to make the most of our time. The Lord has entrusted each of us with 24 hours per day and various opportunities to participate in His plans for us. But so often we are tempted to squander our time and energy on our own pursuits without a thought of what our heavenly Father may have in mind for us.

In verse 17, Paul lays out the final exhortation: to “understand what the will of the Lord is” (Eph. 5:17) In its broadest sense, God’s will for us is that we would each become the person that He created us to be and do the work He has planned for us to accomplish (Eph. 2:10). Knowing this, we should look at every decision with consideration of whether our choice will further or hinder our heavenly Father’s purposes for our life. To live thoughtlessly outside of His will is foolish.

The Lord wants us to walk wisely so that we can enjoy all of the marvelous benefits that He’s promised in His Word and longs to give us. Wasted opportunities and time misspent can never be reclaimed. Let’s commit to make each and every day count for Jesus Christ instead of merely living for ourselves.

Bible in One Year: Deuteronomy 21-23 Chapter 21 1 If one be found slain in the land which Jehovah thy God giveth thee to possess it, lying in the field, and it be not known who hath smitten him; 2 then thy elders and thy judges shall come forth, and they shall measure unto the cities which are round about him that is slain: 3 and it shall be, that the city which is nearest unto the slain man, even the elders of that city shall take a heifer of the herd, which hath not been wrought with, and which hath not drawn in the yoke; 4 and the elders of that city shall bring down the heifer unto a valley with running water, which is neither plowed nor sown, and shall break the heifer's neck there in the valley. 5 And the priests the sons of Levi shall come near; for them Jehovah thy God hath chosen to minister unto him, and to bless in the name of Jehovah; and according to their word shall every controversy and every stroke be. 6 And all the elders of that city, who are nearest unto the slain man, shall wash their hands over the heifer whose neck was broken in the valley; 7 and they shall answer and say, Our hands have not shed this blood, neither have our eyes seen it. 8 Forgive, O Jehovah, thy people Israel, whom thou hast redeemed, and suffer not innocent blood `to remain' in the midst of thy people Israel. And the blood shall be forgiven them. 9 So shalt thou put away the innocent blood from the midst of thee, when thou shalt do that which is right in the eyes of Jehovah. 10 When thou goest forth to battle against thine enemies, and Jehovah thy God delivereth them into thy hands, and thou carriest them away captive, 11 and seest among the captives a beautiful woman, and thou hast a desire unto her, and wouldest take her to thee to wife; 12 then thou shalt bring her home to thy house; and she shall shave her head, and pare her nails; 13 and she shall put the raiment of her captivity from off her, and shall remain in thy house, and bewail her father and her mother a full month: and after that thou shalt go in unto her, and be her husband, and she shall be thy wife. 14 And it shall be, if thou have no delight in her, then thou shalt let her go whither she will; but thou shalt not sell her at all for money, thou shalt not deal with her as a slave, because thou hast humbled her. 15 If a man have two wives, the one beloved, and the other hated, and they have borne him children, both the beloved and the hated; and if the first-born son be hers that was hated; 16 then it shall be, in the day that he causeth his sons to inherit that which he hath, that he may not make the son of the beloved the first-born before the son of the hated, who is the first-born: 17 but he shall acknowledge the first-born, the son of the hated, by giving him a double portion of all that he hath; for he is the beginning of his strength; the right of the first-born is his. 18 If a man have a stubborn and rebellious son, that will not obey the voice of his father, or the voice of his mother, and, though they chasten him, will not hearken unto them; 19 then shall his father and his mother lay hold on him, and bring him out unto the elders of his city, and unto the gate of his place; 20 and they shall say unto the elders of his city, This our son is stubborn and rebellious, he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton, and a drunkard. 21 And all the men of his city shall stone him to death with stones: so shalt thou put away the evil from the midst of thee; and all Israel shall hear, and fear. 22 And if a man have committed a sin worthy of death, and he be put to death, and thou hang him on a tree; 23 his body shall not remain all night upon the tree, but thou shalt surely bury him the same day; for he that is hanged is accursed of God; that thou defile not thy land which Jehovah thy God giveth thee for an inheritance. Chapter 22 1 Thou shalt not see thy brother's ox or his sheep go astray, and hide thyself from them: thou shalt surely bring them again unto thy brother. 2 And if thy brother be not nigh unto thee, or if thou know him not, then thou shalt bring it home to thy house, and it shall be with thee until thy brother seek after it, and thou shalt restore it to him. 3 And so shalt thou do with his ass; and so shalt thou do with his garment; and so shalt thou do with every lost thing of thy brother's, which he hath lost, and thou hast found: thou mayest not hide thyself. 4 Thou shalt not see thy brother's ass or his ox fallen down by the way, and hide thyself from them: thou shalt surely help him to lift them up again. 5 A woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman's garment; for whosoever doeth these things is an abomination unto Jehovah thy God. 6 If a bird's nest chance to be before thee in the way, in any tree or on the ground, with young ones or eggs, and the dam sitting upon the young, or upon the eggs, thou shalt not take the dam with the young: 7 thou shalt surely let the dam go, but the young thou mayest take unto thyself; that it may be well with thee, and that thou mayest prolong thy days. 8 When thou buildest a new house, then thou shalt make a battlement for thy roof, that thou bring not blood upon thy house, if any man fall from thence. 9 Thou shalt not sow thy vineyard with two kinds of seed, lest the whole fruit be forfeited, the seed which thou hast sown, and the increase of the vineyard. 10 Thou shalt not plow with an ox and an ass together. 11 Thou shalt not wear a mingled stuff, wool and linen together. 12 Thou shalt make thee fringes upon the four borders of thy vesture, wherewith thou coverest thyself. 13 If any man take a wife, and go in unto her, and hate her, 14 and lay shameful things to her charge, and bring up an evil name upon her, and say, I took this woman, and when I came nigh to her, I found not in her the tokens of virginity; 15 then shall the father of the damsel, and her mother, take and bring forth the tokens of the damsel's virginity unto the elders of the city in the gate; 16 and the damsel's father shall say unto the elders, I gave my daughter unto this man to wife, and he hateth her; 17 and, lo, he hath laid shameful things `to her charge', saying, I found not in thy daughter the tokens of virginity; and yet these are the tokens of my daughter's virginity. And they shall spread the garment before the elders of the city. 18 And the elders of that city shall take the man and chastise him; 19 and they shall fine him a hundred `shekels' of silver, and give them unto the father of the damsel, because he hath brought up an evil name upon a virgin of Israel: and she shall be his wife; he may not put her away all his days. 20 But if this thing be true, that the tokens of virginity were not found in the damsel; 21 then they shall bring out the damsel to the door of her father's house, and the men of her city shall stone her to death with stones, because she hath wrought folly in Israel, to play the harlot in her father's house: so shalt thou put away the evil from the midst of thee. 22 If a man be found lying with a woman married to a husband, then they shall both of them die, the man that lay with the woman, and the woman: so shalt thou put away the evil from Israel. 23 If there be a damsel that is a virgin betrothed unto a husband, and a man find her in the city, and lie with her; 24 then ye shall bring them both out unto the gate of that city, and ye shall stone them to death with stones; the damsel, because she cried not, being in the city; and the man, because he hath humbled his neighbor's wife: so thou shalt put away the evil from the midst of thee. 25 But if the man find the damsel that is betrothed in the field, and the man force her, and lie with her; then the man only that lay with her shall die: 26 but unto the damsel thou shalt do nothing; there is in the damsel no sin worthy of death: for as when a man riseth against his neighbor, and slayeth him, even so is this matter; 27 for he found her in the field, the betrothed damsel cried, and there was none to save her. 28 If a man find a damsel that is a virgin, that is not betrothed, and lay hold on her, and lie with her, and they be found; 29 then the man that lay with her shall give unto the damsel's father fifty `shekels' of silver, and she shall be his wife, because he hath humbled her; he may not put her away all his days. 30 A man shall not take his father's wife, and shall not uncover his father's skirt. Chapter 23 1 He that is wounded in the stones, or hath his privy member cut off, shall not enter into the assembly of Jehovah. 2 A bastard shall not enter into the assembly of Jehovah; even to the tenth generation shall none of his enter into the assembly of Jehovah. 3 An Ammonite or a Moabite shall not enter into the assembly of Jehovah; even to the tenth generation shall none belonging to them enter into the assembly of Jehovah for ever: 4 because they met you not with bread and with water in the way, when ye came forth out of Egypt, and because they hired against thee Balaam the son of Beor from Pethor of Mesopotamia, to curse thee. 5 Nevertheless Jehovah thy God would not hearken unto Balaam; but Jehovah thy God turned the curse into a blessing unto thee, because Jehovah thy God loved thee. 6 Thou shalt not seek their peace nor their prosperity all thy days for ever. 7 Thou shalt not abhor an Edomite; for he is thy brother: thou shalt not abhor an Egyptian, because thou wast a sojourner in his land. 8 The children of the third generation that are born unto them shall enter into the assembly of Jehovah. 9 When thou goest forth in camp against thine enemies, then thou shalt keep thee from every evil thing. 10 If there be among you any man, that is not clean by reason of that which chanceth him by night, then shall he go abroad out of the camp, he shall not come within the camp: 11 but it shall be, when evening cometh on, he shall bathe himself in water; and when the sun is down, he shall come within the camp. 12 Thou shalt have a place also without the camp, whither thou shalt go forth abroad: 13 and thou shalt have a paddle among thy weapons; and it shall be, when thou sittest down abroad, thou shalt dig therewith, and shalt turn back and cover that which cometh from thee: 14 for Jehovah thy God walketh in the midst of thy camp, to deliver thee, and to give up thine enemies before thee; therefore shall thy camp be holy, that he may not see an unclean thing in thee, and turn away from thee. 15 Thou shalt not deliver unto his master a servant that is escaped from his master unto thee: 16 he shall dwell with thee, in the midst of thee, in the place which he shall choose within one of thy gates, where it pleaseth him best: thou shalt not oppress him. 17 There shall be no prostitute of the daughters of Israel, neither shall there be a sodomite of the sons of Israel. 18 Thou shalt not bring the hire of a harlot, or the wages of a dog, into the house of Jehovah thy God for any vow: for even both these are an abomination unto Jehovah thy God. 19 Thou shalt not lend upon interest to thy brother; interest of money, interest of victuals, interest of anything that is lent upon interest: 20 unto a foreigner thou mayest lend upon interest; but unto thy brother thou shalt not lend upon interest, that Jehovah thy God may bless thee in all that thou puttest thy hand unto, in the land whither thou goest in to possess it. 21 When thou shalt vow a vow unto Jehovah thy God, thou shalt not be slack to pay it: for Jehovah thy God will surely require it of thee; and it would be sin in thee. 22 But if thou shalt forbear to vow, it shall be no sin in thee. 23 That which is gone out of thy lips thou shalt observe and do; according as thou hast vowed unto Jehovah thy God, a freewill-offering, which thou hast promised with thy mouth. 24 When thou comest into thy neighbor's vineyard, then thou mayest eat of grapes thy fill at thine own pleasure; but thou shalt not put any in thy vessel. 25 When thou comest into thy neighbor's standing grain, then thou mayest pluck the ears with thy hand; but thou shalt not move a sickle unto thy neighbor's standing grain.




February 28

Published by Grace To You for reading on February 28th.

Reading for Today:

  • Leviticus 25:1 Chapter 25 1 And Jehovah spake unto Moses in mount Sinai, saying, –55
  • Psalms 28:6-9 6 Blessed be Jehovah, Because he hath heard the voice of my supplications. 7 Jehovah is my strength and my shield; My heart hath trusted in him, and I am helped: Therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth; And with my song will I praise him. 8 Jehovah is their strength, And he is a stronghold of salvation to his anointed. 9 Save thy people, and bless thine inheritance: Be their shepherd also, and bear them up for ever. Psalm 29 A Psalm of David.
  • Proverbs 10:19-21 19 In the multitude of words there wanteth not transgression; But he that refraineth his lips doeth wisely. 20 The tongue of the righteous is `as' choice silver: The heart of the wicked is little worth. 21 The lips of the righteous feed many; But the foolish die for lack of understanding.
  • Mark 6:30-56 30 And the apostles gather themselves together unto Jesus; and they told him all things, whatsoever they had done, and whatsoever they had taught. 31 And he saith unto them, Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest a while. For there were many coming and going, and they had no leisure so much as to eat. 32 And they went away in the boat to a desert place apart. 33 And `the people' saw them going, and many knew `them', and they ran together there on foot from all the cities, and outwent them. 34 And he came forth and saw a great multitude, and he had compassion on them, because they were as sheep not having a shepherd: and he began to teach them many things. 35 And when the day was now far spent, his disciples came unto him, and said, The place is desert, and the day is now far spent; 36 send them away, that they may go into the country and villages round about, and buy themselves somewhat to eat. 37 But he answered and said unto them, Give ye them to eat. And they say unto him, Shall we go and buy two hundred shillings' worth of bread, and give them to eat? 38 And he saith unto them, How many loaves have ye? go `and' see. And when they knew, they say, Five, and two fishes. 39 And he commanded them that all should sit down by companies upon the green grass. 40 And they sat down in ranks, by hundreds, and by fifties. 41 And he took the five loaves and the two fishes, and looking up to heaven, he blessed, and brake the loaves; and he gave to the disciples to set before them; and the two fishes divided he among them all. 42 And they all ate, and were filled. 43 And they took up broken pieces, twelve basketfuls, and also of the fishes. 44 And they that ate the loaves were five thousand men. 45 And straightway he constrained his disciples to enter into the boat, and to go before `him' unto the other side to Bethsaida, while he himself sendeth the multitude away. 46 And after he had taken leave of them, he departed into the mountain to pray. 47 And when even was come, the boat was in the midst of the sea, and he alone on the land. 48 And seeing them distressed in rowing, for the wind was contrary unto them, about the fourth watch of the night he cometh unto them, walking on the sea; and he would have passed by them: 49 but they, when they saw him walking on the sea, supposed that it was a ghost, and cried out; 50 for they all saw him, and were troubled. But he straightway spake with them, and saith unto them, Be of good cheer: it is I; be not afraid. 51 And he went up unto them into the boat; and the wind ceased: and they were sore amazed in themselves; 52 for they understood not concerning the loaves, but their heart was hardened. 53 And when they had crossed over, they came to the land unto Gennesaret, and moored to the shore. 54 And when they were come out of the boat, straightway `the people' knew him, 55 and ran round about that whole region, and began to carry about on their beds those that were sick, where they heard he was. 56 And wheresoever he entered, into villages, or into cities, or into the country, they laid the sick in the marketplaces, and besought him that they might touch if it were but the border of his garment: and as many as touched him were made whole.

Notes:

Leviticus 25:8 8 And thou shalt number seven sabbaths of years unto thee, seven times seven years; and there shall be unto thee the days of seven sabbaths of years, even forty and nine years. –55 The Year of Jubilee involved a year of release from indebtedness (vv.23–38) and bondage of all sorts (vv. 39–55). All prisoners and captives were set free, slaves released, and debtors absolved. All property reverted to original owners. This plan curbed inflation and moderated acquisitions. It also gave new opportunity to people who had fallen on hard times.

Psalms 28:9 9 Save thy people, and bless thine inheritance: Be their shepherd also, and bear them up for ever. Psalm 29 A Psalm of David. Your inheritance. God amazingly considers His people a most precious possession (see Deut. 7:6–16; 9:29; 1 Samuel 10:1 Chapter 10 1 Then Samuel took the vial of oil, and poured it upon his head, and kissed him, and said, Is it not that Jehovah hath anointed thee to be prince over his inheritance? ; Pss. 33:12; 94:5; Eph. 1:18).

Mark 6:44 five thousand men. The Greek word for “men” means strictly males, so the numerical estimate did not include women and children (see Matt. 14:21). The women and children were traditionally seated separately from the men for meals. When everyone was added, there could have been at least 20,000.

Mark 6:50 Be of good cheer! This command, always linked in the Gospels to a situation of fear and apprehension (see 10:49; Matt. 9:2, 22; 14:27; Luke 8:48 48 And he said unto her, Daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace. ; John 16:33 33 These things have I spoken unto you, that in me ye may have peace. In the world ye have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world. ; Acts 23:11 11 And the night following the Lord stood by him, and said, Be of good cheer: for as thou hast testified concerning me at Jerusalem, so must thou bear witness also at Rome. ), urged the disciples to have a continuing attitude of courage. It is I. Literally, “I AM.” This statement clearly identified the figure as the Lord Jesus, not some phantom. It echoed the Old Testament self-revelation of God (see Ex. 3:14).

DAY 28: List all the Jewish feasts and dates.

Feast of

Month on

Jewish Calendar

Day

Corresponding

Month

References

Passover

Nisan

14

Mar.–Apr.

Exodus 12:1 Chapter 12 1 And Jehovah spake unto Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, saying, –14

Matthew 26:17 17 Now on the first `day' of unleavened bread the disciples came to Jesus, saying, Where wilt thou that we make ready for thee to eat the passover? –20

*Unleavened Bread

Nisan

15-21

Mar.–Apr.

Exodus 12:1 Chapter 12 1 And Jehovah spake unto Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, saying, 5–20

Firstfruits

Nisan

or Sivan

16

6

Mar.–Apr.

May–June

Leviticus 23:9 9 And Jehovah spake unto Moses, saying, –14

Numbers (28:26)

*Pentecost (Harvest or Weeks)

Sivan

6 (50 days after

barley harvest)

May–June

Deuteronomy 16:9 9 Seven weeks shalt thou number unto thee: from the time thou beginnest to put the sickle to the standing grain shalt thou begin to number seven weeks. –12; Acts 2:1 Chapter 2 1 And when the day of Pentecost was now come, they were all together in one place.

Trumpets, Rosh Hashanah

Tishri

1, 2

Sept.–Oct.

Numbers 29:1 Chapter 29 1 And in the seventh month, on the first day of the month, ye shall have a holy convocation; ye shall do no servile work: it is a day of blowing of trumpets unto you. –6

Day of Atonement, Yom Kippur

Tishri

10

Sept.–Oct.

Leviticus 23:26 26 And Jehovah spake unto Moses, saying, –32; Hebrews 9:7 7 but into the second the high priest alone, once in the year, not without blood, which he offereth for himself, and for the errors of the people:

*Tabernacles (Booths

or Ingathering)

Tishri

15-22

Sept.–Oct.

Nehemiah 8:13 13 And on the second day were gathered together the heads of fathers' `houses' of all the people, the priests, and the Levites, unto Ezra the scribe, even to give attention to the words of the law. –18; John 7:2 2 Now the feast of the Jews, the feast of tabernacles, was at hand.

Dedication (Lights), Hanukkah

Chislev

25 (8 days)

Nov.–Dec.

John 10:22 22 And it was the feast of the dedication at Jerusalem:

Purim (Lots)

Adar

14, 15

Feb.–Mar.

Esther 9:18 18 But the Jews that were in Shushan assembled together on the thirteenth `day' thereof, and on the fourteenth thereof; and on the fifteenth `day' of the same they rested, and made it a day of feasting and gladness. –22

*The three major feasts for which all males of Israel were required to travel to the temple in Jerusalem (Ex. 23:14–19).

From Daily Readings from the Life of Christ, Vol. 1, John MacArthur. Copyright © 2008. Used by permission of Moody Publishers, Chicago, IL 60610, www.moodypublishers.com.

Additional Resources        

God's Glory in Christ

Published by Grace To You for reading on February 28th.

“And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth” ( John 1:14 14 And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us (and we beheld his glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father), full of grace and truth. ).

Christ displayed God’s glory on earth and will again when He comes back. After seeing His glory in Scripture, we should respond in worship and righteousness.

From eternity past Christ had the glory of God. He “is the radiance of [God’s] glory and the exact representation of His nature” (Heb. 1:3), and He prayed, “And now, glorify Thou Me together with Thyself, Father, with the glory which I ever had with Thee before the world was” ( John 17:5 5 And now, Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was. ).

Christ also displayed God’s glory on earth. Most often He looked like an ordinary man, but one night He appeared in great glory to Peter, James, and John ( Luke 9:28-36 28 And it came to pass about eight days after these sayings, that he took with him Peter and John and James, and went up into the mountain to pray. 29 And as he was praying, the fashion of his countenance was altered, and his raiment `became' white `and' dazzling. 30 And behold, there talked with him two men, who were Moses and Elijah; 31 who appeared in glory, and spake of his decease which he was about to accomplish at Jerusalem. 32 Now Peter and they that were with him were heavy with sleep: but when they were fully awake, they saw his glory, and the two men that stood with him. 33 And it came to pass, as they were parting from him, Peter said unto Jesus, Master, it is good for us to be here: and let us make three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elijah: not knowing what he said. 34 And while he said these things, there came a cloud, and overshadowed them: and they feared as they entered into the cloud. 35 And a voice came out of the cloud, saying, This is my Son, my chosen: hear ye him. 36 And when the voice came, Jesus was found alone. And they held their peace, and told no man in those days any of the things which they had seen. ). “While He was praying, the appearance of His face became different, and His clothing became white and gleaming” (v. 29). Moses and Elijah came and spoke to Him, and the disciples “saw His glory” (v. 32).

When He comes again, He will come “on the clouds of the sky with power and great glory” (Matt. 24:30), to the joy of His people and to the terror of those who reject Him. His glory will fill the whole earth (Num. 14:21), and all creation will worship Him.

What should be our response to God’s glory? Like the angels who sing, “Glory to God in the highest” ( Luke 2:14 14 Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace among men in whom he is well pleased. ), we should give Him praise. Also, as we see His glory we should change: “But we all, with unveiled face beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit” (2 Cor. 3:18). As we look at God, the Holy Spirit convicts us of sin and helps us grow and live righteous lives. As “children of God,” we “appear as lights in the world” (Phil. 2:15).

The purpose of all creation is to glorify God. As a mirror reflects light, we are to reflect His glory to Him and to a sinful world. Seek to live a holy life so this reflection shines as brightly as possible, and make it your desire to glorify Him in everything you do.

Suggestions for Prayer

Thank God for the hope of glory we have as we wait for Christ’s return ( Titus 2:13 13 looking for the blessed hope and appearing of the glory of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; ). Ask that your life would brightly reflect God’s glory today.

For Further Study

Read about God’s glory in Heaven in Revelation 21:1 Chapter 21 1 And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth are passed away; and the sea is no more. —22:5. How is His glory displayed?

From Strength for Today by John MacArthur Copyright © 1997. Used by permission of Crossway Books, a division of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, IL 60187, www.crossway.com.

Additional Resources        

Acknowledging the Ultimate Source of Everything

Published by Grace To You for reading on February 28th.
"Joyously giving thanks to the Father" (Col. 1:11-12).

Joyous thanksgiving acknowledges God as the giver of every good gift.

The inseparable link between joy and thanksgiving was a common theme for Paul. In Philippians 4:4-6 4 Rejoice in the Lord always: again I will say, Rejoice. 5 Let your forbearance be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand. 6 In nothing be anxious; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. he says, "Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! . . . Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God." He told the Thessalonians to "rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus" (1 Thess. 5:16- 18).

As often as Paul expressed thanks and encouraged others to express theirs, he was careful never to attribute to men the thanks due to God alone. For example in Romans 1:8 8 First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is proclaimed throughout the whole world. he says, "I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, because your faith is being proclaimed throughout the whole world." He thanked God, not the Roman believers, because he knew that faith is a gift from God.

That doesn't mean you can't thank others for the kindnesses they show, but in doing so you must understand that they are instruments of God's grace.

Thanking Him shows humility and acknowledges His rightful place as the Sovereign Lord and the giver of every good and perfect gift ( James 1:17 17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom can be no variation, neither shadow that is cast by turning. ). Those who reject His lordship and refuse to give Him thanks incur His wrath (Rom. 1:21).

Only those who love Christ can truly give thanks because He is the channel through which thanks is expressed to the Father. As Paul says in Colossians 3:17 17 And whatsoever ye do, in word or in deed, `do' all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. , "Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father." Hebrews 13:15 15 Through him then let us offer up a sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of lips which make confession to his name. adds, "Through [Christ] then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name."

As one who is privileged to know the God of all grace, be generous in your praise and thanksgiving today. See everything as a gift from His hand for your joy and edification.

Suggestions for Prayer

Recite Psalms 136 Chapter 136 1 Oh give thanks unto Jehovah; for he is good; For his lovingkindness `endureth' for ever. 2 Oh give thanks unto the God of gods; For his lovingkindness `endureth' for ever. 3 Oh give thanks unto the Lord of lords; For his lovingkindness `endureth' for ever: 4 To him who alone doeth great wonders; For his lovingkindness `endureth' for ever: 5 To him that by understanding made the heavens; For his lovingkindness `endureth' for ever: 6 To him that spread forth the earth above the waters; For his lovingkindness `endureth' for ever: 7 To him that made great lights; For his lovingkindness `endureth' for ever: 8 The sun to rule by day; For his lovingkindness `endureth' for ever; 9 The moon and stars to rule by night; For his lovingkindness `endureth' for ever: 10 To him that smote Egypt in their first-born; For his lovingkindness `endureth' for ever; 11 And brought out Israel from among them; For his lovingkindness `endureth' for ever; 12 With a strong hand, and with an outstretched arm; For his lovingkindness `endureth' for ever: 13 To him that divided the Red Sea in sunder; For his lovingkindness `endureth' for ever; 14 And made Israel to pass through the midst of it; For his lovingkindness `endureth' for ever; 15 But overthrew Pharaoh and his host in the Red Sea; For his lovingkindness `endureth' for ever: 16 To him that led his people through the wilderness; For his lovingkindness `endureth' for ever: 17 To him that smote great kings; For his lovingkindness `endureth' for ever; 18 And slew famous kings; For his lovingkindness `endureth' for ever: 19 Sihon king of the Amorites; For his lovingkindness `endureth' forever; 20 And Og king of Bashan; For his lovingkindness `endureth' for ever; 21 And gave their land for a heritage; For his lovingkindness `endureth' for ever; 22 Even a heritage unto Israel his servant; For his lovingkindness `endureth' for ever: 23 Who remembered us in our low estate; For his lovingkindness `endureth' for ever; 24 And hath delivered us from our adversaries; For his lovingkindness `endureth' for ever: 25 Who giveth food to all flesh; For his lovingkindness `endureth' for ever. 26 Oh give thanks unto the God of heaven; For his lovingkindness `endureth' for ever. as a prayer of praise to God.

For Further Study

From Psalms 136 Chapter 136 1 Oh give thanks unto Jehovah; for he is good; For his lovingkindness `endureth' for ever. 2 Oh give thanks unto the God of gods; For his lovingkindness `endureth' for ever. 3 Oh give thanks unto the Lord of lords; For his lovingkindness `endureth' for ever: 4 To him who alone doeth great wonders; For his lovingkindness `endureth' for ever: 5 To him that by understanding made the heavens; For his lovingkindness `endureth' for ever: 6 To him that spread forth the earth above the waters; For his lovingkindness `endureth' for ever: 7 To him that made great lights; For his lovingkindness `endureth' for ever: 8 The sun to rule by day; For his lovingkindness `endureth' for ever; 9 The moon and stars to rule by night; For his lovingkindness `endureth' for ever: 10 To him that smote Egypt in their first-born; For his lovingkindness `endureth' for ever; 11 And brought out Israel from among them; For his lovingkindness `endureth' for ever; 12 With a strong hand, and with an outstretched arm; For his lovingkindness `endureth' for ever: 13 To him that divided the Red Sea in sunder; For his lovingkindness `endureth' for ever; 14 And made Israel to pass through the midst of it; For his lovingkindness `endureth' for ever; 15 But overthrew Pharaoh and his host in the Red Sea; For his lovingkindness `endureth' for ever: 16 To him that led his people through the wilderness; For his lovingkindness `endureth' for ever: 17 To him that smote great kings; For his lovingkindness `endureth' for ever; 18 And slew famous kings; For his lovingkindness `endureth' for ever: 19 Sihon king of the Amorites; For his lovingkindness `endureth' forever; 20 And Og king of Bashan; For his lovingkindness `endureth' for ever; 21 And gave their land for a heritage; For his lovingkindness `endureth' for ever; 22 Even a heritage unto Israel his servant; For his lovingkindness `endureth' for ever: 23 Who remembered us in our low estate; For his lovingkindness `endureth' for ever; 24 And hath delivered us from our adversaries; For his lovingkindness `endureth' for ever: 25 Who giveth food to all flesh; For his lovingkindness `endureth' for ever. 26 Oh give thanks unto the God of heaven; For his lovingkindness `endureth' for ever. list the things that prompted the psalmist's thanksgiving. How can that psalm serve as a model for your own praise?

From Drawing Near by John MacArthur Copyright © 1993. Used by permission of Crossway Books, a division of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, IL 60187, www.crossway.com.

Additional Resources        

February 28 - Satisfying Your Spiritual Hunger

Published by Grace To You for reading on February 28th.

“‘Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied’” ( Matthew 5:6 6 Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. ).

The all-important result for any believer hungering and thirsting after righteousness is to “be satisfied.” The verb translated “satisfied” frequently refers to the feeding of animals until they want no more. In a parallel to this, Jesus declares that people who hunger and thirst for righteousness will gain complete satisfaction. This satisfaction comes from God. Our part is to seek; His is to satisfy us.

Paradoxically, Christians continually seek God’s righteousness, always wanting more and never getting their fill in this life. Yet the Lord still satisfies them. Again, we can make the analogy to food. We can eat our fill of our favorite dishes, yet our taste for those foods remains. The satisfaction we derive only makes us want more. Believers who crave God’s righteousness will find it so satisfying that they will always want more.

Psalms speaks repeatedly about God’s satisfying our spiritual hunger. The most well-known psalm opens, “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want,” and later says, “You prepare a table before me … my cup overflows” (23:1, 5). A later psalm assures us that God “has satisfied the thirsty soul, and the hungry soul He has filled with what is good” (Ps. 107:9; cf. 34:10).

Jesus on another occasion told the crowds, many of whom were among the five thousand fed, “I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst” ( John 6:35 35 Jesus said unto them. I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall not hunger, and he that believeth on me shall never thirst. ). Our spiritual hunger will always be satisfied (cf. John 4:14 14 but whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall become in him a well of water springing up unto eternal life. ).

Ask Yourself

It may not happen all at once, but Jesus will always reward your hunger for righteousness with the deep satisfaction reserved for the humbly obedient. How has He satisfied you in the past? Think of a time when you and He celebrated what sanctification was accomplishing in you.

From Daily Readings from the Life of Christ, Vol. 1, John MacArthur. Copyright © 2008. Used by permission of Moody Publishers, Chicago, IL 60610, www.moodypublishers.com.

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Daily Bible - February 28

Published by Grace To You for reading on February 28th.

Reading for Today:

  • Leviticus 25:1 Chapter 25 1 And Jehovah spake unto Moses in mount Sinai, saying, –55
  • Psalms 28:6-9 6 Blessed be Jehovah, Because he hath heard the voice of my supplications. 7 Jehovah is my strength and my shield; My heart hath trusted in him, and I am helped: Therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth; And with my song will I praise him. 8 Jehovah is their strength, And he is a stronghold of salvation to his anointed. 9 Save thy people, and bless thine inheritance: Be their shepherd also, and bear them up for ever. Psalm 29 A Psalm of David.
  • Proverbs 10:19-21 19 In the multitude of words there wanteth not transgression; But he that refraineth his lips doeth wisely. 20 The tongue of the righteous is `as' choice silver: The heart of the wicked is little worth. 21 The lips of the righteous feed many; But the foolish die for lack of understanding.
  • Mark 6:30-56 30 And the apostles gather themselves together unto Jesus; and they told him all things, whatsoever they had done, and whatsoever they had taught. 31 And he saith unto them, Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest a while. For there were many coming and going, and they had no leisure so much as to eat. 32 And they went away in the boat to a desert place apart. 33 And `the people' saw them going, and many knew `them', and they ran together there on foot from all the cities, and outwent them. 34 And he came forth and saw a great multitude, and he had compassion on them, because they were as sheep not having a shepherd: and he began to teach them many things. 35 And when the day was now far spent, his disciples came unto him, and said, The place is desert, and the day is now far spent; 36 send them away, that they may go into the country and villages round about, and buy themselves somewhat to eat. 37 But he answered and said unto them, Give ye them to eat. And they say unto him, Shall we go and buy two hundred shillings' worth of bread, and give them to eat? 38 And he saith unto them, How many loaves have ye? go `and' see. And when they knew, they say, Five, and two fishes. 39 And he commanded them that all should sit down by companies upon the green grass. 40 And they sat down in ranks, by hundreds, and by fifties. 41 And he took the five loaves and the two fishes, and looking up to heaven, he blessed, and brake the loaves; and he gave to the disciples to set before them; and the two fishes divided he among them all. 42 And they all ate, and were filled. 43 And they took up broken pieces, twelve basketfuls, and also of the fishes. 44 And they that ate the loaves were five thousand men. 45 And straightway he constrained his disciples to enter into the boat, and to go before `him' unto the other side to Bethsaida, while he himself sendeth the multitude away. 46 And after he had taken leave of them, he departed into the mountain to pray. 47 And when even was come, the boat was in the midst of the sea, and he alone on the land. 48 And seeing them distressed in rowing, for the wind was contrary unto them, about the fourth watch of the night he cometh unto them, walking on the sea; and he would have passed by them: 49 but they, when they saw him walking on the sea, supposed that it was a ghost, and cried out; 50 for they all saw him, and were troubled. But he straightway spake with them, and saith unto them, Be of good cheer: it is I; be not afraid. 51 And he went up unto them into the boat; and the wind ceased: and they were sore amazed in themselves; 52 for they understood not concerning the loaves, but their heart was hardened. 53 And when they had crossed over, they came to the land unto Gennesaret, and moored to the shore. 54 And when they were come out of the boat, straightway `the people' knew him, 55 and ran round about that whole region, and began to carry about on their beds those that were sick, where they heard he was. 56 And wheresoever he entered, into villages, or into cities, or into the country, they laid the sick in the marketplaces, and besought him that they might touch if it were but the border of his garment: and as many as touched him were made whole.

Notes:

Leviticus 25:8 8 And thou shalt number seven sabbaths of years unto thee, seven times seven years; and there shall be unto thee the days of seven sabbaths of years, even forty and nine years. –55 The Year of Jubilee involved a year of release from indebtedness (vv.23–38) and bondage of all sorts (vv. 39–55). All prisoners and captives were set free, slaves released, and debtors absolved. All property reverted to original owners. This plan curbed inflation and moderated acquisitions. It also gave new opportunity to people who had fallen on hard times.

Psalms 28:9 9 Save thy people, and bless thine inheritance: Be their shepherd also, and bear them up for ever. Psalm 29 A Psalm of David. Your inheritance. God amazingly considers His people a most precious possession (see Deut. 7:6–16; 9:29; 1 Samuel 10:1 Chapter 10 1 Then Samuel took the vial of oil, and poured it upon his head, and kissed him, and said, Is it not that Jehovah hath anointed thee to be prince over his inheritance? ; Pss. 33:12; 94:5; Eph. 1:18).

Mark 6:44 five thousand men. The Greek word for “men” means strictly males, so the numerical estimate did not include women and children (see Matt. 14:21). The women and children were traditionally seated separately from the men for meals. When everyone was added, there could have been at least 20,000.

Mark 6:50 Be of good cheer! This command, always linked in the Gospels to a situation of fear and apprehension (see 10:49; Matt. 9:2, 22; 14:27; Luke 8:48 48 And he said unto her, Daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace. ; John 16:33 33 These things have I spoken unto you, that in me ye may have peace. In the world ye have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world. ; Acts 23:11 11 And the night following the Lord stood by him, and said, Be of good cheer: for as thou hast testified concerning me at Jerusalem, so must thou bear witness also at Rome. ), urged the disciples to have a continuing attitude of courage. It is I. Literally, “I AM.” This statement clearly identified the figure as the Lord Jesus, not some phantom. It echoed the Old Testament self-revelation of God (see Ex. 3:14).

DAY 28: List all the Jewish feasts and dates.

Feast of

Month on

Jewish Calendar

Day

Corresponding

Month

References

Passover

Nisan

14

Mar.–Apr.

Exodus 12:1 Chapter 12 1 And Jehovah spake unto Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, saying, –14

Matthew 26:17 17 Now on the first `day' of unleavened bread the disciples came to Jesus, saying, Where wilt thou that we make ready for thee to eat the passover? –20

*Unleavened Bread

Nisan

15-21

Mar.–Apr.

Exodus 12:1 Chapter 12 1 And Jehovah spake unto Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, saying, 5–20

Firstfruits

Nisan

or Sivan

16

6

Mar.–Apr.

May–June

Leviticus 23:9 9 And Jehovah spake unto Moses, saying, –14

Numbers (28:26)

*Pentecost (Harvest or Weeks)

Sivan

6 (50 days after

barley harvest)

May–June

Deuteronomy 16:9 9 Seven weeks shalt thou number unto thee: from the time thou beginnest to put the sickle to the standing grain shalt thou begin to number seven weeks. –12; Acts 2:1 Chapter 2 1 And when the day of Pentecost was now come, they were all together in one place.

Trumpets, Rosh Hashanah

Tishri

1, 2

Sept.–Oct.

Numbers 29:1 Chapter 29 1 And in the seventh month, on the first day of the month, ye shall have a holy convocation; ye shall do no servile work: it is a day of blowing of trumpets unto you. –6

Day of Atonement, Yom Kippur

Tishri

10

Sept.–Oct.

Leviticus 23:26 26 And Jehovah spake unto Moses, saying, –32; Hebrews 9:7 7 but into the second the high priest alone, once in the year, not without blood, which he offereth for himself, and for the errors of the people:

*Tabernacles (Booths

or Ingathering)

Tishri

15-22

Sept.–Oct.

Nehemiah 8:13 13 And on the second day were gathered together the heads of fathers' `houses' of all the people, the priests, and the Levites, unto Ezra the scribe, even to give attention to the words of the law. –18; John 7:2 2 Now the feast of the Jews, the feast of tabernacles, was at hand.

Dedication (Lights), Hanukkah

Chislev

25 (8 days)

Nov.–Dec.

John 10:22 22 And it was the feast of the dedication at Jerusalem:

Purim (Lots)

Adar

14, 15

Feb.–Mar.

Esther 9:18 18 But the Jews that were in Shushan assembled together on the thirteenth `day' thereof, and on the fourteenth thereof; and on the fifteenth `day' of the same they rested, and made it a day of feasting and gladness. –22

*The three major feasts for which all males of Israel were required to travel to the temple in Jerusalem (Ex. 23:14–19).

From The MacArthur Daily Bible Copyright © 2003. Used by permission of Thomas Nelson Bibles, a division of Thomas Nelson, Inc, Nashville, TN 37214, www.thomasnelson.com.

Additional Resources        

Five Rewards for Generosity

Published by John Piper for reading on February 28th.

Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality. ( Romans 12:13 13 communicating to the necessities of the saints; given to hospitality. )

What are the rewards if we trust God’s promises, give lavishly, and open our homes to each other and the needy?

  • The suffering of the saints will be relieved or at least diminished. That is what this verse means when it says, “Contribute to the needs of the saints.” We lift a burden. We relieve stress. We give hope. And that’s a reward!
  • The glory of God is displayed. “Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven” ( Matthew 5:16 16 Even so let your light shine before men; that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven. ). Lavish giving and open homes display the glory and the goodness and the worth of God in your life. The reason God gives us money and homes is so that by the way we use them people can see they are not our God. But God is our God. And our treasure.
  • More thanksgiving to God is unleashed. “The ministry of this service is not only supplying the needs of the saints but is also overflowing in many thanksgivings to God” ( 2 Corinthians 9:12 12 For the ministration of this service not only filleth up the measure of the wants of the saints, but aboundeth also through many thanksgivings unto God; ). God has given us money and homes not just so that we are thankful, but by our generosity and hospitality to make many people thankful to God.
  • Our love for God and his love in us is confirmed. “If anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him?” ( 1 John 3:17 17 But whoso hath the world's goods, and beholdeth his brother in need, and shutteth up his compassion from him, how doth the love of God abide in him? ). In other words, when we give generously and open our homes, the love of God is confirmed in our lives. We are real. We are not phony Christians.
  • Finally, we lay up treasure in heaven. “Sell your possessions, and give to the needy. Provide yourselves with moneybags that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail. . . . For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” ( Luke 12:33 33 Sell that which ye have, and give alms; make for yourselves purses which wax not old, a treasure in the heavens that faileth not, where no thief draweth near, neither moth destroyeth. –34).
  • Lavish giving and open homes are close to the center of life in Christ. The reasons we don’t open our checkbooks and homes as often as we should are rooted in the bondage of fear and greed. The remedy is the pleasure of Christ’s presence and the certainty of Christ’s promise: “My God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus” ( Philippians 4:19 19 And my God shall supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. ).

    Our reward is the display of God’s glory, the good of others, and the joy of treasuring Christ together forever. Therefore I exhort you, “Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.”



    Morning Devotional by C.H. Spurgeon for February 28th

    Published by C.H. Spurgeon for reading on February 28th.

    Psalms 62:5 5 My soul, wait thou in silence for God only; For my expectation is from him.

    IT is the believer's privilege to use this language. If he is looking for aught from the world, it is a poor "expectation" indeed. But if he looks to God for the supply of his wants, whether in temporal or spiritual blessings, his expectation" will not be a vain one. Constantly he may draw from the bank of faith, and get his need supplied out of the riches of God's lovingkindness. This I know, I had rather have God for my banker than all the Rothschilds. My Lord never fails to honour His promises; and when we bring them to His throne, He never sends them back unanswered. Therefore I will wait only at His door, for He ever opens it with the hand of munificent grace. At this hour I will try Him anew. But we have "expectations" beyond this life. We shall die soon; and then our "expectation is from Him." Do we not expect that when we lie upon the bed of sickness He will send angels to carry us to His bosom? We believe that when the pulse is faint, and the heart heaves heavily, some angelic messenger shall stand and look with loving eyes upon us, and whisper, "Sister spirit, come away!" As we approach the heavenly gate, we expect to hear the welcome invitation, "Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world." We are expecting harps of gold and crowns of glory; we are hoping soon to be amongst the multitude of shining ones before the throne; we are looking forward and longing for the time when we shall be like our glorious Lord—for "We shall see Him as He is." Then if these be thine "expectations," O my soul, live for God; live with the desire and resolve to glorify Him from whom cometh all thy supplies, and of whose grace in thy election, redemption, and calling, it is that thou hast any "expectation" of coming glory.

    Evening Devotional by C.H. Spurgeon for February 28th

    Published by C.H. Spurgeon for reading on February 28th.

    1 Kings 17:16 16 The jar of meal wasted not, neither did the cruse of oil fail, according to the word of Jehovah, which he spake by Elijah.

    SEE the faithfulness of divine love. You observe that this woman had daily necessities. She had herself and her son to feed in a time of famine; and now, in addition, the prophet Elijah was to be fed too. But though the need was threefold, yet the supply of meal wasted not, for she had a constant supply. Each day she made calls upon the barrel, but yet each day it remained the same. You, dear reader, have daily necessities, and because they come so frequently, you are apt to fear that the barrel of meal will one day be empty, and the cruse of oil will fail you. Rest assured that, according to the Word of God, this shall not be the case. Each day, though it bring its trouble, shall bring its help; and though you should live to outnumber the years of Methuselah, and though your needs should be as many as the sands of the seashore, yet shall God's grace and mercy last through all your necessities, and you shall never know a real lack. For three long years, in this widow's days, the heavens never saw a cloud, and the stars never wept a holy tear of dew upon the wicked earth: famine, and desolation, and death, made the land a howling wilderness, but this woman never was hungry, but always joyful in abundance. So shall it be with you. You shall see the sinner's hope perish, for he trusts his native strength; you shall see the proud Pharisee's confidence totter, for he builds his hope upon the sand; you shall see even your own schemes blasted and withered, but you yourself shall find that your place of defence shall be the munition of rocks: "Your bread shall be given you, and your water shall be sure." Better have God for your guardian, than the Bank of England for your possession. You might spend the wealth of the Indies, but the infinite riches of God you can never exhaust.

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