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Our Habitation of Peace

Published by InTouch Ministries for reading on September 28th.

Psalms 120:1-7 Chapter 120 1 In my distress I cried unto Jehovah, And he answered me. 2 Deliver my soul, O Jehovah, from lying lips, `And' from a deceitful tongue. 3 What shall be given unto thee, and what shall be done more unto thee, Thou deceitful tongue? 4 Sharp arrows of the mighty, With coals of juniper. 5 Woe is me, that I sojourn in Meshech, That I dwell among the tents of Kedar! 6 My soul hath long had her dwelling With him that hateth peace. 7 I am `for' peace: But when I speak, they are for war. Psalm 121 A Song of Ascents.

Have you ever cried out like the psalmist, asking God for deliverance from those with lying lips? Sometimes it seems that our world is being swallowed up by deception.

One of the results of being bombarded with lies is anxiety. No matter how deep and well-founded our peace is, there are duplicitous people who might unravel it. If we believe every news commentary, we may lose hope to the point of despair. If we become victims of slanderous gossip, we could become suspicious. Every day we must decide how to handle the deception around us and choose whether we will allow ourselves to be motivated by fear.

Psalms 120 Chapter 120 1 In my distress I cried unto Jehovah, And he answered me. 2 Deliver my soul, O Jehovah, from lying lips, `And' from a deceitful tongue. 3 What shall be given unto thee, and what shall be done more unto thee, Thou deceitful tongue? 4 Sharp arrows of the mighty, With coals of juniper. 5 Woe is me, that I sojourn in Meshech, That I dwell among the tents of Kedar! 6 My soul hath long had her dwelling With him that hateth peace. 7 I am `for' peace: But when I speak, they are for war. Psalm 121 A Song of Ascents. is the first of the Songs of Ascents, which the Israelites sang on their way to Jerusalem for the annual feasts. The psalmist says his dwelling place outside of Israel is with those who live by deceit and discord. In his words we sense a longing for Jerusalem, a city whose name derives from shalom, or “peace.”

And this is our refuge as well—not the physical location, but the habitation of peace that awaits us when we go to the Scriptures to gain God’s perspective. That’s where we learn to discern truth from error and discover Christ’s peace, which transcends every circumstance. It’s also where we find the courage to stand up for truth and oppose moral compromise.

The psalmist bemoans his situation by saying, “Too long has my soul had its dwelling with those who hate peace” ( Psalms 120 Chapter 120 1 In my distress I cried unto Jehovah, And he answered me. 2 Deliver my soul, O Jehovah, from lying lips, `And' from a deceitful tongue. 3 What shall be given unto thee, and what shall be done more unto thee, Thou deceitful tongue? 4 Sharp arrows of the mighty, With coals of juniper. 5 Woe is me, that I sojourn in Meshech, That I dwell among the tents of Kedar! 6 My soul hath long had her dwelling With him that hateth peace. 7 I am `for' peace: But when I speak, they are for war. Psalm 121 A Song of Ascents. :6). If you relate to feeling wearied by the world, find rest by inhabiting the peace found in God’s Word.

Bible in One Year: Zechariah 1-5 Chapter 1 1 In the eighth month, in the second year of Darius, came the word of Jehovah unto Zechariah the son of Berechiah, the son of Iddo, the prophet, saying, 2 Jehovah was sore displeased with your fathers. 3 Therefore say thou unto them, Thus saith Jehovah of hosts: Return unto me, saith Jehovah of hosts, and I will return unto you, saith Jehovah of hosts. 4 Be ye not as your fathers, unto whom the former prophets cried, saying, Thus saith Jehovah of hosts, Return ye now from your evil ways, and from your evil doings: but they did not hear, nor hearken unto me, saith Jehovah. 5 Your fathers, where are they? and the prophets, do they live for ever? 6 But my words and my statutes, which I commanded my servants the prophets, did they not overtake your fathers? and they turned and said, Like as Jehovah of hosts thought to do unto us, according to our ways, and according to our doings, so hath he dealt with us. 7 Upon the four and twentieth day of the eleventh month, which is the month Shebat, in the second year of Darius, came the word of Jehovah unto Zechariah the son of Berechiah, the son of Iddo, the prophet, saying, 8 I saw in the night, and, behold, a man riding upon a red horse, and he stood among the myrtle-trees that were in the bottom; and behind him there were horses, red, sorrel, and white. 9 Then said I, O my lord, what are these? And the angel that talked with me said unto me, I will show thee what these are. 10 And the man that stood among the myrtle-trees answered and said, These are they whom Jehovah hath sent to walk to and fro through the earth. 11 And they answered the angel of Jehovah that stood among the myrtle-trees, and said, We have walked to and fro through the earth, and, behold, all the earth sitteth still, and is at rest. 12 Then the angel of Jehovah answered and said, O Jehovah of hosts, how long wilt thou not have mercy on Jerusalem and on the cities of Judah, against which thou hast had indignation these threescore and ten years? 13 And Jehovah answered the angel that talked with me with good words, `even' comfortable words. 14 So the angel that talked with me said unto me, Cry thou, saying, Thus saith Jehovah of hosts: I am jealous for Jerusalem and for Zion with a great jealousy. 15 And I am very sore displeased with the nations that are at ease; for I was but a little displeased, and they helped forward the affliction. 16 Therefore thus saith Jehovah: I am returned to Jerusalem with mercies; my house shall be built in it, saith Jehovah of hosts, and a line shall be stretched forth over Jerusalem. 17 Cry yet again, saying, Thus saith Jehovah of hosts: My cities shall yet overflow with prosperity; and Jehovah shall yet comfort Zion, and shall yet choose Jerusalem. 18 And I lifted up mine eyes, and saw, and, behold, four horns. 19 And I said unto the angel that talked with me, What are these? And he answered me, These are the horns which have scattered Judah, Israel, and Jerusalem. 20 And Jehovah showed me four smiths. 21 Then said I, What come these to do? And he spake, saying, These are the horns which scattered Judah, so that no man did lift up his head; but these are come to terrify them, to cast down the horns of the nations, which lifted up their horn against the land of Judah to scatter it. Chapter 2 1 And I lifted up mine eyes, and saw, and, behold, a man with a measuring line in his hand. 2 Then said I, Whither goest thou? And he said unto me, To measure Jerusalem, to see what is the breadth thereof, and what is the length thereof. 3 And, behold, the angel that talked with me went forth, and another angel went out to meet him, 4 and said unto him, Run, speak to this young man, saying, Jerusalem shall be inhabited as villages without walls, by reason of the multitude of men and cattle therein. 5 For I, saith Jehovah, will be unto her a wall of fire round about, and I will be the glory in the midst of her. 6 Ho, ho, flee from the land of the north, saith Jehovah; for I have spread you abroad as the four winds of the heavens, saith Jehovah. 7 Ho Zion, escape, thou that dwellest with the daughter of Babylon. 8 For thus saith Jehovah of hosts: After glory hath he sent me unto the nations which plundered you; for he that toucheth you toucheth the apple of his eye. 9 For, behold, I will shake my hand over them, and they shall be a spoil to those that served them; and ye shall know that Jehovah of hosts hath sent me. 10 Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion; for, lo, I come, and I will dwell in the midst of thee, saith Jehovah. 11 And many nations shall join themselves to Jehovah in that day, and shall be my people; and I will dwell in the midst of thee, and thou shalt know that Jehovah of hosts has sent me unto thee. 12 And Jehovah shall inherit Judah as his portion in the holy land, and shall yet choose Jerusalem. 13 Be silent, all flesh, before Jehovah; for he is waked up out of his holy habitation. Chapter 3 1 And he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of Jehovah, and Satan standing at his right hand to be his adversary. 2 And Jehovah said unto Satan, Jehovah rebuke thee, O Satan; yea, Jehovah that hath chosen Jerusalem rebuke thee: is not this a brand plucked out of the fire? 3 Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments, and was standing before the angel. 4 And he answered and spake unto those that stood before him, saying, Take the filthy garments from off him. And unto him he said, Behold, I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee, and I will clothe thee with rich apparel. 5 And I said, Let them set a clean mitre upon his head. So they set a clean mitre upon his head, and clothed him with garments; and the angel of Jehovah was standing by. 6 And the angel of Jehovah protested unto Joshua, saying, 7 Thus saith Jehovah of hosts: If thou wilt walk in my ways, and if thou wilt keep my charge, then thou also shalt judge my house, and shalt also keep my courts, and I will give thee a place of access among these that stand by. 8 Hear now, O Joshua the high priest, thou and thy fellows that sit before thee; for they are men that are a sign: for, behold, I will bring forth my servant the Branch. 9 For, behold, the stone that I have set before Joshua; upon one stone are seven eyes: behold, I will engrave the graving thereof, saith Jehovah of hosts, and I will remove the iniquity of that land in one day. 10 In that day, saith Jehovah of hosts, shall ye invite every man his neighbor under the vine and under the fig-tree. Chapter 4 1 And the angel that talked with me came again, and waked me, as a man that is wakened out of his sleep. 2 And he said unto me, What seest thou? And I said, I have seen, and, behold, a candlestick all of gold, with its bowl upon the top of it, and its seven lamps thereon; there are seven pipes to each of the lamps, which are upon the top thereof; 3 and two olive-trees by it, one upon the right side of the bowl, and the other upon the left side thereof. 4 And I answered and spake to the angel that talked with me, saying, What are these, my lord? 5 Then the angel that talked with me answered and said unto me, Knowest thou not what these are? And I said, No, my lord. 6 Then he answered and spake unto me, saying, This is the word of Jehovah unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, saith Jehovah of hosts. 7 Who art thou, O great mountain? before Zerubbabel `thou shalt become' a plain; and he shall bring forth the top stone with shoutings of Grace, grace, unto it. 8 Moreover the word of Jehovah came unto me, saying, 9 The hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundation of this house; his hands shall also finish it; and thou shalt know that Jehovah of hosts hath sent me unto you. 10 For who hath despised the day of small things? for these seven shall rejoice, and shall see the plummet in the hand of Zerubbabel; `these are' the eyes of Jehovah, which run to and fro through the whole earth. 11 Then answered I, and said unto him, What are these two olive-trees upon the right side of the candlestick and upon the left side thereof? 12 And I answered the second time, and said unto him, What are these two olive-branches, which are beside the two golden spouts, that empty the golden `oil' out of themselves? 13 And he answered me and said, Knowest thou not what these are? And I said, No, my lord. 14 Then said he, These are the two anointed ones, that stand by the Lord of the whole earth. Chapter 5 1 Then again I lifted up mine eyes, and saw, and, behold, a flying roll. 2 And he said unto me, What seest thou? And I answered, I see a flying roll; the length thereof is twenty cubits, and the breadth thereof ten cubits. 3 Then said he unto me, This is the curse that goeth forth over the face of the whole land: for every one that stealeth shall be cut off on the one side according to it; and every one that sweareth shall be cut off on the other side according to it. 4 I will cause it to go forth, saith Jehovah of hosts, and it shall enter into the house of the thief, and into the house of him that sweareth falsely by my name; and it shall abide in the midst of his house, and shall consume it with the timber thereof and the stones thereof. 5 Then the angel that talked with me went forth, and said unto me, Lift up now thine eyes, and see what is this that goeth forth. 6 And I said, What is it? And he said, This is the ephah that goeth forth. He said moreover, This is their appearance in all the land; 7 (and, behold, there was lifted up a talent of lead); and this is a woman sitting in the midst of the ephah. 8 And he said, This is Wickedness: and he cast her down into the midst of the ephah; and he cast the weight of lead upon the mouth thereof. 9 Then lifted I up mine eyes, and saw, and, behold, there came forth two women, and the wind was in their wings; now they had wings like the wings of a stork; and they lifted up the ephah between earth and heaven. 10 Then said I to the angel that talked with me, Whither do these bear the ephah? 11 And he said unto me, To build her a house in the land of Shinar: and when it is prepared, she shall be set there in her own place.




When We Act Deceptively

Published by InTouch Ministries for reading on September 28th.

2 Samuel 11:1-27 Chapter 11 1 And it came to pass, at the return of the year, at the time when kings go out `to battle', that David sent Joab, and his servants with him, and all Israel; and they destroyed the children of Ammon, and besieged Rabbah. But David tarried at Jerusalem. 2 And it came to pass at eventide, that David arose from off his bed, and walked upon the roof of the king's house: and from the roof he saw a woman bathing; and the woman was very beautiful to look upon. 3 And David send and inquired after the woman. And one said, Is not this Bath-sheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite? 4 And David sent messengers, and took her; and she came in unto him, and he lay with her (for she was purified from her uncleanness); and she returned unto her house. 5 And the woman conceived; and she sent and told David, and said, I am with child. 6 And David sent to Joab, `saying', Send me Uriah the Hittite. And Joab sent Uriah to David. 7 And when Uriah was come unto him, David asked of him how Joab did, and how the people fared, and how the war prospered. 8 And David said to Uriah, Go down to thy house, and wash thy feet. And Uriah departed out of the king's house, and there followed him a mess `of food' from the king. 9 But Uriah slept at the door of the king's house with all the servants of his lord, and went not down to his house. 10 And when they had told David, saying, Uriah went not down unto his house, David said unto Uriah, Art thou not come from a journey? wherefore didst thou not go down unto thy house? 11 And Uriah said unto David, The ark, and Israel, and Judah, abide in booths; and my lord Joab, and the servants of my lord, are encamped in the open field; shall I then go into my house, to eat and to drink, and to lie with my wife? as thou livest, and as thy soul liveth, I will not do this thing. 12 And David said to Uriah, Tarry here to-day also, and to-morrow I will let thee depart. So Uriah abode in Jerusalem that day, and the morrow. 13 And when David had called him, he did eat and drink before him; and he made him drunk: and at even he went out to lie on his bed with the servants of his lord, but went not down to his house. 14 And it came to pass in the morning, that David wrote a letter to Joab, and sent it by the hand of Uriah. 15 And he wrote in the letter, saying, Set ye Uriah in the forefront of the hottest battle, and retire ye from him, that he may be smitten, and die. 16 And it came to pass, when Joab kept watch upon the city, that he assigned Uriah unto the place where he knew that valiant men were. 17 And the men of the city went out, and fought with Joab: and there fell some of the people, even of the servants of David; and Uriah the Hittite died also. 18 Then Joab sent and told David all the things concerning the war; 19 and he charged the messenger, saying, When thou hast made an end of telling all the things concerning the war unto the king, 20 it shall be that, if the king's wrath arise, and he say unto thee, Wherefore went ye so nigh unto the city to fight? knew ye not that they would shoot from the wall? 21 who smote Abimelech the son of Jerubbesheth? did not a woman cast an upper millstone upon him from the wall, so that he died at Thebez? why went ye so nigh the wall? then shalt thou say, Thy servant Uriah the Hittite is dead also. 22 So the messenger went, and came and showed David all that Joab had sent him for. 23 And the messenger said unto David, The men prevailed against us, and came out unto us into the field, and we were upon them even unto the entrance of the gate. 24 And the shooters shot at thy servants from off the wall; and some of the king's servants are dead, and thy servant Uriah the Hittite is dead also. 25 Then David said unto the messenger, Thus shalt thou say unto Joab, Let not this thing displease thee, for the sword devoureth one as well as another; make thy battle more strong against the city, and overthrow it: and encourage thou him. 26 And when the wife of Uriah heard that Uriah her husband was dead, she made lamentation for her husband. 27 And when the mourning was past, David sent and took her home to his house, and she became his wife, and bare him a son. But the thing that David had done displeased Jehovah.

From his youth, King David was a committed follower of God. Yet there was a time when this devoted believer gave in to temptation and committed adultery with Bathsheba. His walk of integrity was severely compromised.

Ethical and moral failings have beset Christians throughout the ages. When a believer does whatever it takes to obtain something he wants, selfishness or greed is often the root cause. At other times the desire for acceptance can tempt us to manipulate people and circumstances—including making up lies. And fear of conflict can result in compromised standards, as many people try to fit in to avoid arguments. When we resort to deception to meet our own needs, we are in danger of being hurt.

At first, even those close to us may not notice our deception. But God sees. He will use our conscience to produce guilty feelings so we might confess our sin and turn from it. Self-protection will take over if we continue in unrighteousness—we will try to quiet our conscience by justifying the behavior. Over time, we will draw away from certain people so they won’t discover our ungodly behavior. By keeping them at a distance, we hope to avoid their scrutiny. If habitual sin builds over time, it can lead to serious consequences, like a lost job, a damaged friendship, or a broken family.

When confronted by Nathan, David recognized his sin, acknowledged it, and received forgiveness (2 Samuel 12:13). How do you respond when the Holy Spirit convicts you of ungodliness? Do you see the reality of your behavior and repent? Or do you try to justify and persist in your conduct?

Bible in One Year: Zechariah 1-5 Chapter 1 1 In the eighth month, in the second year of Darius, came the word of Jehovah unto Zechariah the son of Berechiah, the son of Iddo, the prophet, saying, 2 Jehovah was sore displeased with your fathers. 3 Therefore say thou unto them, Thus saith Jehovah of hosts: Return unto me, saith Jehovah of hosts, and I will return unto you, saith Jehovah of hosts. 4 Be ye not as your fathers, unto whom the former prophets cried, saying, Thus saith Jehovah of hosts, Return ye now from your evil ways, and from your evil doings: but they did not hear, nor hearken unto me, saith Jehovah. 5 Your fathers, where are they? and the prophets, do they live for ever? 6 But my words and my statutes, which I commanded my servants the prophets, did they not overtake your fathers? and they turned and said, Like as Jehovah of hosts thought to do unto us, according to our ways, and according to our doings, so hath he dealt with us. 7 Upon the four and twentieth day of the eleventh month, which is the month Shebat, in the second year of Darius, came the word of Jehovah unto Zechariah the son of Berechiah, the son of Iddo, the prophet, saying, 8 I saw in the night, and, behold, a man riding upon a red horse, and he stood among the myrtle-trees that were in the bottom; and behind him there were horses, red, sorrel, and white. 9 Then said I, O my lord, what are these? And the angel that talked with me said unto me, I will show thee what these are. 10 And the man that stood among the myrtle-trees answered and said, These are they whom Jehovah hath sent to walk to and fro through the earth. 11 And they answered the angel of Jehovah that stood among the myrtle-trees, and said, We have walked to and fro through the earth, and, behold, all the earth sitteth still, and is at rest. 12 Then the angel of Jehovah answered and said, O Jehovah of hosts, how long wilt thou not have mercy on Jerusalem and on the cities of Judah, against which thou hast had indignation these threescore and ten years? 13 And Jehovah answered the angel that talked with me with good words, `even' comfortable words. 14 So the angel that talked with me said unto me, Cry thou, saying, Thus saith Jehovah of hosts: I am jealous for Jerusalem and for Zion with a great jealousy. 15 And I am very sore displeased with the nations that are at ease; for I was but a little displeased, and they helped forward the affliction. 16 Therefore thus saith Jehovah: I am returned to Jerusalem with mercies; my house shall be built in it, saith Jehovah of hosts, and a line shall be stretched forth over Jerusalem. 17 Cry yet again, saying, Thus saith Jehovah of hosts: My cities shall yet overflow with prosperity; and Jehovah shall yet comfort Zion, and shall yet choose Jerusalem. 18 And I lifted up mine eyes, and saw, and, behold, four horns. 19 And I said unto the angel that talked with me, What are these? And he answered me, These are the horns which have scattered Judah, Israel, and Jerusalem. 20 And Jehovah showed me four smiths. 21 Then said I, What come these to do? And he spake, saying, These are the horns which scattered Judah, so that no man did lift up his head; but these are come to terrify them, to cast down the horns of the nations, which lifted up their horn against the land of Judah to scatter it. Chapter 2 1 And I lifted up mine eyes, and saw, and, behold, a man with a measuring line in his hand. 2 Then said I, Whither goest thou? And he said unto me, To measure Jerusalem, to see what is the breadth thereof, and what is the length thereof. 3 And, behold, the angel that talked with me went forth, and another angel went out to meet him, 4 and said unto him, Run, speak to this young man, saying, Jerusalem shall be inhabited as villages without walls, by reason of the multitude of men and cattle therein. 5 For I, saith Jehovah, will be unto her a wall of fire round about, and I will be the glory in the midst of her. 6 Ho, ho, flee from the land of the north, saith Jehovah; for I have spread you abroad as the four winds of the heavens, saith Jehovah. 7 Ho Zion, escape, thou that dwellest with the daughter of Babylon. 8 For thus saith Jehovah of hosts: After glory hath he sent me unto the nations which plundered you; for he that toucheth you toucheth the apple of his eye. 9 For, behold, I will shake my hand over them, and they shall be a spoil to those that served them; and ye shall know that Jehovah of hosts hath sent me. 10 Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion; for, lo, I come, and I will dwell in the midst of thee, saith Jehovah. 11 And many nations shall join themselves to Jehovah in that day, and shall be my people; and I will dwell in the midst of thee, and thou shalt know that Jehovah of hosts has sent me unto thee. 12 And Jehovah shall inherit Judah as his portion in the holy land, and shall yet choose Jerusalem. 13 Be silent, all flesh, before Jehovah; for he is waked up out of his holy habitation. Chapter 3 1 And he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of Jehovah, and Satan standing at his right hand to be his adversary. 2 And Jehovah said unto Satan, Jehovah rebuke thee, O Satan; yea, Jehovah that hath chosen Jerusalem rebuke thee: is not this a brand plucked out of the fire? 3 Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments, and was standing before the angel. 4 And he answered and spake unto those that stood before him, saying, Take the filthy garments from off him. And unto him he said, Behold, I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee, and I will clothe thee with rich apparel. 5 And I said, Let them set a clean mitre upon his head. So they set a clean mitre upon his head, and clothed him with garments; and the angel of Jehovah was standing by. 6 And the angel of Jehovah protested unto Joshua, saying, 7 Thus saith Jehovah of hosts: If thou wilt walk in my ways, and if thou wilt keep my charge, then thou also shalt judge my house, and shalt also keep my courts, and I will give thee a place of access among these that stand by. 8 Hear now, O Joshua the high priest, thou and thy fellows that sit before thee; for they are men that are a sign: for, behold, I will bring forth my servant the Branch. 9 For, behold, the stone that I have set before Joshua; upon one stone are seven eyes: behold, I will engrave the graving thereof, saith Jehovah of hosts, and I will remove the iniquity of that land in one day. 10 In that day, saith Jehovah of hosts, shall ye invite every man his neighbor under the vine and under the fig-tree. Chapter 4 1 And the angel that talked with me came again, and waked me, as a man that is wakened out of his sleep. 2 And he said unto me, What seest thou? And I said, I have seen, and, behold, a candlestick all of gold, with its bowl upon the top of it, and its seven lamps thereon; there are seven pipes to each of the lamps, which are upon the top thereof; 3 and two olive-trees by it, one upon the right side of the bowl, and the other upon the left side thereof. 4 And I answered and spake to the angel that talked with me, saying, What are these, my lord? 5 Then the angel that talked with me answered and said unto me, Knowest thou not what these are? And I said, No, my lord. 6 Then he answered and spake unto me, saying, This is the word of Jehovah unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, saith Jehovah of hosts. 7 Who art thou, O great mountain? before Zerubbabel `thou shalt become' a plain; and he shall bring forth the top stone with shoutings of Grace, grace, unto it. 8 Moreover the word of Jehovah came unto me, saying, 9 The hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundation of this house; his hands shall also finish it; and thou shalt know that Jehovah of hosts hath sent me unto you. 10 For who hath despised the day of small things? for these seven shall rejoice, and shall see the plummet in the hand of Zerubbabel; `these are' the eyes of Jehovah, which run to and fro through the whole earth. 11 Then answered I, and said unto him, What are these two olive-trees upon the right side of the candlestick and upon the left side thereof? 12 And I answered the second time, and said unto him, What are these two olive-branches, which are beside the two golden spouts, that empty the golden `oil' out of themselves? 13 And he answered me and said, Knowest thou not what these are? And I said, No, my lord. 14 Then said he, These are the two anointed ones, that stand by the Lord of the whole earth. Chapter 5 1 Then again I lifted up mine eyes, and saw, and, behold, a flying roll. 2 And he said unto me, What seest thou? And I answered, I see a flying roll; the length thereof is twenty cubits, and the breadth thereof ten cubits. 3 Then said he unto me, This is the curse that goeth forth over the face of the whole land: for every one that stealeth shall be cut off on the one side according to it; and every one that sweareth shall be cut off on the other side according to it. 4 I will cause it to go forth, saith Jehovah of hosts, and it shall enter into the house of the thief, and into the house of him that sweareth falsely by my name; and it shall abide in the midst of his house, and shall consume it with the timber thereof and the stones thereof. 5 Then the angel that talked with me went forth, and said unto me, Lift up now thine eyes, and see what is this that goeth forth. 6 And I said, What is it? And he said, This is the ephah that goeth forth. He said moreover, This is their appearance in all the land; 7 (and, behold, there was lifted up a talent of lead); and this is a woman sitting in the midst of the ephah. 8 And he said, This is Wickedness: and he cast her down into the midst of the ephah; and he cast the weight of lead upon the mouth thereof. 9 Then lifted I up mine eyes, and saw, and, behold, there came forth two women, and the wind was in their wings; now they had wings like the wings of a stork; and they lifted up the ephah between earth and heaven. 10 Then said I to the angel that talked with me, Whither do these bear the ephah? 11 And he said unto me, To build her a house in the land of Shinar: and when it is prepared, she shall be set there in her own place.




A Partner for Accountability

Published by InTouch Ministries for reading on September 29th.

Galatians 6:1-10 Chapter 6 1 Brethren, even if a man be overtaken in any trespass, ye who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; looking to thyself, lest thou also be tempted. 2 Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ. 3 For if a man thinketh himself to be something when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself. 4 But let each man prove his own work, and then shall he have his glorying in regard of himself alone, and not of his neighbor. 5 For each man shall bear his own burden. 6 But let him that is taught in the word communicate unto him that teacheth in all good things. 7 Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. 8 For he that soweth unto his own flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth unto the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap eternal life. 9 And let us not be weary in well-doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. 10 So then, as we have opportunity, let us work that which is good toward all men, and especially toward them that are of the household of the faith.

An accountability partner is able to perceive what you can’t see when blind spots and weaknesses block your vision. Such a person serves as a tool in God’s hand to promote spiritual growth, and he or she watches out for your best interest. When choosing a confidant, look for seven characteristics:

1. Godly. A person who walks in the Spirit will offer genuine wisdom based on biblical principles rather than personal opinion.

2. Trustworthy. No matter what you share with this individual, you must be certain that he or she will keep everything in the strictest confidence.

3. Accepting. He or she must allow you to be yourself—frailties and all—and not try to remake you into someone “perfect.”

4. Courageous. A good accountability partner will lovingly confront you with the truth, even when it hurts (Eph. 4:15).

5. Forgiving. Trust is built when mistakes are forgiven.

6. Edifying. Don’t choose someone with an overly critical attitude, who will make you feel worthless. Love edifies and builds up (Eph. 4:29). It never destroys.

7. Encouraging. You don’t want someone with a checklist, who judges you or acts like a prophet. Instead, choose someone who takes great joy in encouraging you.

We can all benefit from someone who’s able to say what we need to hear without making us feel threatened. Answerability provides checks and balances that promote spiritual growth and protect us from pitfalls. If you don’t already have an accountability partner, ask God to lead you to such a person.

Bible in One Year: Zechariah 1-5 Chapter 1 1 In the eighth month, in the second year of Darius, came the word of Jehovah unto Zechariah the son of Berechiah, the son of Iddo, the prophet, saying, 2 Jehovah was sore displeased with your fathers. 3 Therefore say thou unto them, Thus saith Jehovah of hosts: Return unto me, saith Jehovah of hosts, and I will return unto you, saith Jehovah of hosts. 4 Be ye not as your fathers, unto whom the former prophets cried, saying, Thus saith Jehovah of hosts, Return ye now from your evil ways, and from your evil doings: but they did not hear, nor hearken unto me, saith Jehovah. 5 Your fathers, where are they? and the prophets, do they live for ever? 6 But my words and my statutes, which I commanded my servants the prophets, did they not overtake your fathers? and they turned and said, Like as Jehovah of hosts thought to do unto us, according to our ways, and according to our doings, so hath he dealt with us. 7 Upon the four and twentieth day of the eleventh month, which is the month Shebat, in the second year of Darius, came the word of Jehovah unto Zechariah the son of Berechiah, the son of Iddo, the prophet, saying, 8 I saw in the night, and, behold, a man riding upon a red horse, and he stood among the myrtle-trees that were in the bottom; and behind him there were horses, red, sorrel, and white. 9 Then said I, O my lord, what are these? And the angel that talked with me said unto me, I will show thee what these are. 10 And the man that stood among the myrtle-trees answered and said, These are they whom Jehovah hath sent to walk to and fro through the earth. 11 And they answered the angel of Jehovah that stood among the myrtle-trees, and said, We have walked to and fro through the earth, and, behold, all the earth sitteth still, and is at rest. 12 Then the angel of Jehovah answered and said, O Jehovah of hosts, how long wilt thou not have mercy on Jerusalem and on the cities of Judah, against which thou hast had indignation these threescore and ten years? 13 And Jehovah answered the angel that talked with me with good words, `even' comfortable words. 14 So the angel that talked with me said unto me, Cry thou, saying, Thus saith Jehovah of hosts: I am jealous for Jerusalem and for Zion with a great jealousy. 15 And I am very sore displeased with the nations that are at ease; for I was but a little displeased, and they helped forward the affliction. 16 Therefore thus saith Jehovah: I am returned to Jerusalem with mercies; my house shall be built in it, saith Jehovah of hosts, and a line shall be stretched forth over Jerusalem. 17 Cry yet again, saying, Thus saith Jehovah of hosts: My cities shall yet overflow with prosperity; and Jehovah shall yet comfort Zion, and shall yet choose Jerusalem. 18 And I lifted up mine eyes, and saw, and, behold, four horns. 19 And I said unto the angel that talked with me, What are these? And he answered me, These are the horns which have scattered Judah, Israel, and Jerusalem. 20 And Jehovah showed me four smiths. 21 Then said I, What come these to do? And he spake, saying, These are the horns which scattered Judah, so that no man did lift up his head; but these are come to terrify them, to cast down the horns of the nations, which lifted up their horn against the land of Judah to scatter it. Chapter 2 1 And I lifted up mine eyes, and saw, and, behold, a man with a measuring line in his hand. 2 Then said I, Whither goest thou? And he said unto me, To measure Jerusalem, to see what is the breadth thereof, and what is the length thereof. 3 And, behold, the angel that talked with me went forth, and another angel went out to meet him, 4 and said unto him, Run, speak to this young man, saying, Jerusalem shall be inhabited as villages without walls, by reason of the multitude of men and cattle therein. 5 For I, saith Jehovah, will be unto her a wall of fire round about, and I will be the glory in the midst of her. 6 Ho, ho, flee from the land of the north, saith Jehovah; for I have spread you abroad as the four winds of the heavens, saith Jehovah. 7 Ho Zion, escape, thou that dwellest with the daughter of Babylon. 8 For thus saith Jehovah of hosts: After glory hath he sent me unto the nations which plundered you; for he that toucheth you toucheth the apple of his eye. 9 For, behold, I will shake my hand over them, and they shall be a spoil to those that served them; and ye shall know that Jehovah of hosts hath sent me. 10 Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion; for, lo, I come, and I will dwell in the midst of thee, saith Jehovah. 11 And many nations shall join themselves to Jehovah in that day, and shall be my people; and I will dwell in the midst of thee, and thou shalt know that Jehovah of hosts has sent me unto thee. 12 And Jehovah shall inherit Judah as his portion in the holy land, and shall yet choose Jerusalem. 13 Be silent, all flesh, before Jehovah; for he is waked up out of his holy habitation. Chapter 3 1 And he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of Jehovah, and Satan standing at his right hand to be his adversary. 2 And Jehovah said unto Satan, Jehovah rebuke thee, O Satan; yea, Jehovah that hath chosen Jerusalem rebuke thee: is not this a brand plucked out of the fire? 3 Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments, and was standing before the angel. 4 And he answered and spake unto those that stood before him, saying, Take the filthy garments from off him. And unto him he said, Behold, I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee, and I will clothe thee with rich apparel. 5 And I said, Let them set a clean mitre upon his head. So they set a clean mitre upon his head, and clothed him with garments; and the angel of Jehovah was standing by. 6 And the angel of Jehovah protested unto Joshua, saying, 7 Thus saith Jehovah of hosts: If thou wilt walk in my ways, and if thou wilt keep my charge, then thou also shalt judge my house, and shalt also keep my courts, and I will give thee a place of access among these that stand by. 8 Hear now, O Joshua the high priest, thou and thy fellows that sit before thee; for they are men that are a sign: for, behold, I will bring forth my servant the Branch. 9 For, behold, the stone that I have set before Joshua; upon one stone are seven eyes: behold, I will engrave the graving thereof, saith Jehovah of hosts, and I will remove the iniquity of that land in one day. 10 In that day, saith Jehovah of hosts, shall ye invite every man his neighbor under the vine and under the fig-tree. Chapter 4 1 And the angel that talked with me came again, and waked me, as a man that is wakened out of his sleep. 2 And he said unto me, What seest thou? And I said, I have seen, and, behold, a candlestick all of gold, with its bowl upon the top of it, and its seven lamps thereon; there are seven pipes to each of the lamps, which are upon the top thereof; 3 and two olive-trees by it, one upon the right side of the bowl, and the other upon the left side thereof. 4 And I answered and spake to the angel that talked with me, saying, What are these, my lord? 5 Then the angel that talked with me answered and said unto me, Knowest thou not what these are? And I said, No, my lord. 6 Then he answered and spake unto me, saying, This is the word of Jehovah unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, saith Jehovah of hosts. 7 Who art thou, O great mountain? before Zerubbabel `thou shalt become' a plain; and he shall bring forth the top stone with shoutings of Grace, grace, unto it. 8 Moreover the word of Jehovah came unto me, saying, 9 The hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundation of this house; his hands shall also finish it; and thou shalt know that Jehovah of hosts hath sent me unto you. 10 For who hath despised the day of small things? for these seven shall rejoice, and shall see the plummet in the hand of Zerubbabel; `these are' the eyes of Jehovah, which run to and fro through the whole earth. 11 Then answered I, and said unto him, What are these two olive-trees upon the right side of the candlestick and upon the left side thereof? 12 And I answered the second time, and said unto him, What are these two olive-branches, which are beside the two golden spouts, that empty the golden `oil' out of themselves? 13 And he answered me and said, Knowest thou not what these are? And I said, No, my lord. 14 Then said he, These are the two anointed ones, that stand by the Lord of the whole earth. Chapter 5 1 Then again I lifted up mine eyes, and saw, and, behold, a flying roll. 2 And he said unto me, What seest thou? And I answered, I see a flying roll; the length thereof is twenty cubits, and the breadth thereof ten cubits. 3 Then said he unto me, This is the curse that goeth forth over the face of the whole land: for every one that stealeth shall be cut off on the one side according to it; and every one that sweareth shall be cut off on the other side according to it. 4 I will cause it to go forth, saith Jehovah of hosts, and it shall enter into the house of the thief, and into the house of him that sweareth falsely by my name; and it shall abide in the midst of his house, and shall consume it with the timber thereof and the stones thereof. 5 Then the angel that talked with me went forth, and said unto me, Lift up now thine eyes, and see what is this that goeth forth. 6 And I said, What is it? And he said, This is the ephah that goeth forth. He said moreover, This is their appearance in all the land; 7 (and, behold, there was lifted up a talent of lead); and this is a woman sitting in the midst of the ephah. 8 And he said, This is Wickedness: and he cast her down into the midst of the ephah; and he cast the weight of lead upon the mouth thereof. 9 Then lifted I up mine eyes, and saw, and, behold, there came forth two women, and the wind was in their wings; now they had wings like the wings of a stork; and they lifted up the ephah between earth and heaven. 10 Then said I to the angel that talked with me, Whither do these bear the ephah? 11 And he said unto me, To build her a house in the land of Shinar: and when it is prepared, she shall be set there in her own place.




Make War with Unbelief

Published by John Piper for reading on September 29th.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. ( Philippians 4:6 6 In nothing be anxious; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. )

When I am anxious about getting old, I battle unbelief with the promise, “Even to your old age I am he, and to gray hairs I will carry you. I have made, and I will bear; I will carry and will save” ( Isaiah 46:4 4 and even to old age I am he, and even to hoar hairs will I carry `you'; I have made, and I will bear; yea, I will carry, and will deliver. ).

When I am anxious about dying, I battle unbelief with the promise that “none of us lives to himself, and none of us dies to himself. For if we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s. For to this end Christ died and lived again, that he might be Lord both of the dead and of the living” ( Romans 14:7 7 For none of us liveth to himself, and none dieth to himself. –9).

When I am anxious that I may make shipwreck of faith and fall away from God, I battle unbelief with the promises, “He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ” ( Philippians 1:6 6 being confident of this very thing, that he who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Jesus Christ: ); and, “He is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them” ( Hebrews 7:25 25 Wherefore also he is able to save to the uttermost them that draw near unto God through him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them. ).

Let us make war, not with other people, but with our own unbelief. It is the root of anxiety, which, in turn, is the root of so many other sins. So, let us turn on our windshield wipers and use the washer fluid, and keep our eyes fixed on the precious and very great promises of God.

Take up the Bible, ask the Holy Spirit for help, lay the promises up in your heart, and fight the good fight — to live by faith in future grace.



September 29 - The Offer of Salvation

Published by Grace To You for reading on September 29th.

“‘For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him’” ( John 3:16 16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on him should not perish, but have eternal life. –17).

God’s gracious gift of salvation is freely available to whoever believes in Christ. The free offer of the gospel is broad enough to encompass the vilest sinner (1 Tim. 1:15), yet narrow enough to exclude all who reject Christ ( John 3:18 18 He that believeth on him is not judged: he that believeth not hath been judged already, because he hath not believed on the name of the only begotten Son of God. ). But to those who come to Him on His terms, Jesus said, “The one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out” ( John 6:37 37 All that which the Father giveth me shall come unto me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out. )—they will never perish.

To “perish” is to face God’s eternal judgment. It is true that “God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world.” Jesus Himself declared in John 12:47 47 And if any man hear my sayings, and keep them not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world. , “I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world.” Yes, God will ultimately judge those who reject His Son, but this was not the mission of the Son in His first coming.

Furthermore, the point of Jesus’ coming was not to redeem Israel and condemn the Gentiles, “but that the world might be saved through Him.” God’s gracious offer of salvation extended beyond Israel to all mankind. Once again, Nicodemus should have known this, for in the Abrahamic covenant God declared, “I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse. And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed” (Gen. 12:3). Gentile salvation was always God’s purpose.

Ask Yourself

Are you ever troubled that your salvation is perhaps still in doubt, eligible for recall if you don’t toe a certain line or achieve a base level of righteousness? Take heart in the promise that coming to Christ equates to never being “cast out.”

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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Spiritual Gifts

Published by Grace To You for reading on September 29th.

“But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good” ( 1 Corinthians 12:7 7 But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit to profit withal. ).

God wants every Christian to understand spiritual gifts and use his or hers wisely.

A spiritual gift is a channel through which the Holy Spirit ministers to the Body of Christ (1 Cor. 12:11). The day we were born again into God’s family, His Spirit distributed to us a spiritual gift. Therefore, having a spiritual gift does not mean a believer is “spiritual.” What we really must ask is, “Is the channel clear?” Hypothetically, someone could have all the recorded spiritual gifts and not be using any of them. Or that believer could be greatly abusing some gifts. In either case, such a person would not be spiritual.

It is also incorrect to equate a natural ability with a spiritual gift. Someone might say, “My gift is baking pies”; another might say, “I’m good at playing the piano.” Those are wonderful and useful abilities, but they are natural abilities, not spiritual gifts.

Paul illustrates the difference between abilities and gifts. He could have used his knowledge of philosophy and literature to write and deliver great orations. However, this is what he said to the Corinthians: “I did not come with superiority of speech or wisdom, proclaiming to you the testimony of God. For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified” (1 Cor. 2:1-2). The Holy Spirit uses the abilities of people like Paul and speaks through them, but He expresses Himself in a supernatural way, which is not necessarily related to the person’s natural skills.

If we rely on our own ability to produce spiritual fruit, we hinder what the Spirit wants to do in us. Instead, ponder what Peter says about using your gift: “As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. Whoever speaks, let him speak, as it were, the utterances of God; whoever serves, let him do so as by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ” ( 1 Peter 4:10-11 10 according as each hath received a gift, ministering it among yourselves, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God; 11 if any man speaketh, `speaking' as it were oracles of God; is any man ministereth, `ministering' as of the strength which God supplieth: that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, whose is the glory and the dominion for ever and ever. Amen. ).

Suggestions for Prayer

Thank the Lord for the special spiritual gift He has given you. Ask that He would help you use it faithfully, to its full potential.

For Further Study

Read Romans 12:4-8 4 For even as we have many members in one body, and all the members have not the same office: 5 so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and severally members one of another. 6 And having gifts differing according to the grace that was given to us, whether prophecy, `let us prophesy' according to the proportion of our faith; 7 or ministry, `let us give ourselves' to our ministry; or he that teacheth, to his teaching; 8 or he that exhorteth, to his exhorting: he that giveth, `let him do it' with liberality; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that showeth mercy, with cheerfulness. and list the spiritual gifts mentioned there. What does 1 Corinthians 12 Chapter 12 1 Now concerning spiritual `gifts', brethren, I would not have you ignorant. 2 Ye know that when ye were Gentiles `ye were' led away unto those dumb idols, howsoever ye might led. 3 Wherefore I make known unto you, that no man speaking in the Spirit of God saith, Jesus is anathema; and no man can say, Jesus is Lord, but in the Holy Spirit. 4 Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. 5 And there are diversities of ministrations, and the same Lord. 6 And there are diversities of workings, but the same God, who worketh all things in all. 7 But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit to profit withal. 8 For to one is given through the Spirit the word of wisdom; and to another the word of knowledge, according to the same Spirit: 9 to another faith, in the same Spirit; and to another gifts of healings, in the one Spirit; 10 and to another workings of miracles; and to another prophecy; and to another discernings of spirits; to another `divers' kinds of tongues; and to another the interpretation of tongues: 11 but all these worketh the one and the same Spirit, dividing to each one severally even as he will. 12 For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of the body, being many, are one body; so also is Christ. 13 For in one Spirit were we all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether bond or free; and were all made to drink of one Spirit. 14 For the body is not one member, but many. 15 If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; it is not therefore not of the body. 16 And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; it is not therefore not of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling? 18 But now hath God set the members each one of them in the body, even as it pleased him. 19 And if they were all one member, where were the body? 20 But now they are many members, but one body. 21 And the eye cannot say to the hand, I have no need of thee: or again the head to the feet, I have no need of you. 22 Nay, much rather, those members of the body which seem to be more feeble are necessary: 23 and those `parts' of the body, which we think to be less honorable, upon these we bestow more abundant honor; and our uncomely `parts' have more abundant comeliness; 24 whereas our comely `parts' have no need: but God tempered the body together, giving more abundant honor to that `part' which lacked; 25 that there should be no schism in the body; but `that' the members should have the same care one for another. 26 And whether one member suffereth, all the members suffer with it; or `one' member is honored, all the members rejoice with it. 27 Now ye are the body of Christ, and severally members thereof. 28 And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondly prophets, thirdly teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, `divers' kinds of tongues. 29 Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are all `workers of' miracles? 30 have all gifts of healings? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret? 31 But desire earnestly the greater gifts. And moreover a most excellent way show I unto you. , especially verses 12-31, emphasize regarding the use of the various gifts within the church?

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.

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The Value of Obedience

Published by InTouch Ministries for reading on September 29th.

John 14:23 23 Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my word: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.

Despite his years of fishing experience, Peter returned from a night’s work with nothing to show for it. The Lord’s request to let the nets down one more time perhaps struck him as unreasonable—after all, Peter and his partners were the professionals. Nevertheless, he complied, and his obedience blessed many.

Scripture demonstrates that divine plans often defy human logic. For instance, who would design a battle strategy that involved only marching and shouting? God told Joshua to conquer Jericho that way, and doing so proved successful (Josh. 6:1-5).

Moses is another example. When he felt unsure about his leadership potential, the Lord gave reassurance in an unusual way—by telling him to throw down his walking stick. When Moses obeyed, God powerfully confirmed His choice of a leader (Ex. 4:1-3).

Our Father may ask us to do something that seems illogical—perhaps to accept more responsibility when we were hoping to reduce our workload, to leave a position that He provided just recently, or to take on an assignment for which we feel ill-equipped. His plan might feel unrealistic in view of our age, stage of life, or health concerns. We must press forward in obedience, regardless of how impractical the request may appear.

To grasp the importance of obeying, think about children receiving instructions from parents or teachers. Careful listening is needed for the task to be done safely and properly. Some steps may seem pointless, but the rationale often becomes clear later. Always make obeying God your priority.

Bible in One Year: Zechariah 1-5 Chapter 1 1 In the eighth month, in the second year of Darius, came the word of Jehovah unto Zechariah the son of Berechiah, the son of Iddo, the prophet, saying, 2 Jehovah was sore displeased with your fathers. 3 Therefore say thou unto them, Thus saith Jehovah of hosts: Return unto me, saith Jehovah of hosts, and I will return unto you, saith Jehovah of hosts. 4 Be ye not as your fathers, unto whom the former prophets cried, saying, Thus saith Jehovah of hosts, Return ye now from your evil ways, and from your evil doings: but they did not hear, nor hearken unto me, saith Jehovah. 5 Your fathers, where are they? and the prophets, do they live for ever? 6 But my words and my statutes, which I commanded my servants the prophets, did they not overtake your fathers? and they turned and said, Like as Jehovah of hosts thought to do unto us, according to our ways, and according to our doings, so hath he dealt with us. 7 Upon the four and twentieth day of the eleventh month, which is the month Shebat, in the second year of Darius, came the word of Jehovah unto Zechariah the son of Berechiah, the son of Iddo, the prophet, saying, 8 I saw in the night, and, behold, a man riding upon a red horse, and he stood among the myrtle-trees that were in the bottom; and behind him there were horses, red, sorrel, and white. 9 Then said I, O my lord, what are these? And the angel that talked with me said unto me, I will show thee what these are. 10 And the man that stood among the myrtle-trees answered and said, These are they whom Jehovah hath sent to walk to and fro through the earth. 11 And they answered the angel of Jehovah that stood among the myrtle-trees, and said, We have walked to and fro through the earth, and, behold, all the earth sitteth still, and is at rest. 12 Then the angel of Jehovah answered and said, O Jehovah of hosts, how long wilt thou not have mercy on Jerusalem and on the cities of Judah, against which thou hast had indignation these threescore and ten years? 13 And Jehovah answered the angel that talked with me with good words, `even' comfortable words. 14 So the angel that talked with me said unto me, Cry thou, saying, Thus saith Jehovah of hosts: I am jealous for Jerusalem and for Zion with a great jealousy. 15 And I am very sore displeased with the nations that are at ease; for I was but a little displeased, and they helped forward the affliction. 16 Therefore thus saith Jehovah: I am returned to Jerusalem with mercies; my house shall be built in it, saith Jehovah of hosts, and a line shall be stretched forth over Jerusalem. 17 Cry yet again, saying, Thus saith Jehovah of hosts: My cities shall yet overflow with prosperity; and Jehovah shall yet comfort Zion, and shall yet choose Jerusalem. 18 And I lifted up mine eyes, and saw, and, behold, four horns. 19 And I said unto the angel that talked with me, What are these? And he answered me, These are the horns which have scattered Judah, Israel, and Jerusalem. 20 And Jehovah showed me four smiths. 21 Then said I, What come these to do? And he spake, saying, These are the horns which scattered Judah, so that no man did lift up his head; but these are come to terrify them, to cast down the horns of the nations, which lifted up their horn against the land of Judah to scatter it. Chapter 2 1 And I lifted up mine eyes, and saw, and, behold, a man with a measuring line in his hand. 2 Then said I, Whither goest thou? And he said unto me, To measure Jerusalem, to see what is the breadth thereof, and what is the length thereof. 3 And, behold, the angel that talked with me went forth, and another angel went out to meet him, 4 and said unto him, Run, speak to this young man, saying, Jerusalem shall be inhabited as villages without walls, by reason of the multitude of men and cattle therein. 5 For I, saith Jehovah, will be unto her a wall of fire round about, and I will be the glory in the midst of her. 6 Ho, ho, flee from the land of the north, saith Jehovah; for I have spread you abroad as the four winds of the heavens, saith Jehovah. 7 Ho Zion, escape, thou that dwellest with the daughter of Babylon. 8 For thus saith Jehovah of hosts: After glory hath he sent me unto the nations which plundered you; for he that toucheth you toucheth the apple of his eye. 9 For, behold, I will shake my hand over them, and they shall be a spoil to those that served them; and ye shall know that Jehovah of hosts hath sent me. 10 Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion; for, lo, I come, and I will dwell in the midst of thee, saith Jehovah. 11 And many nations shall join themselves to Jehovah in that day, and shall be my people; and I will dwell in the midst of thee, and thou shalt know that Jehovah of hosts has sent me unto thee. 12 And Jehovah shall inherit Judah as his portion in the holy land, and shall yet choose Jerusalem. 13 Be silent, all flesh, before Jehovah; for he is waked up out of his holy habitation. Chapter 3 1 And he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of Jehovah, and Satan standing at his right hand to be his adversary. 2 And Jehovah said unto Satan, Jehovah rebuke thee, O Satan; yea, Jehovah that hath chosen Jerusalem rebuke thee: is not this a brand plucked out of the fire? 3 Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments, and was standing before the angel. 4 And he answered and spake unto those that stood before him, saying, Take the filthy garments from off him. And unto him he said, Behold, I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee, and I will clothe thee with rich apparel. 5 And I said, Let them set a clean mitre upon his head. So they set a clean mitre upon his head, and clothed him with garments; and the angel of Jehovah was standing by. 6 And the angel of Jehovah protested unto Joshua, saying, 7 Thus saith Jehovah of hosts: If thou wilt walk in my ways, and if thou wilt keep my charge, then thou also shalt judge my house, and shalt also keep my courts, and I will give thee a place of access among these that stand by. 8 Hear now, O Joshua the high priest, thou and thy fellows that sit before thee; for they are men that are a sign: for, behold, I will bring forth my servant the Branch. 9 For, behold, the stone that I have set before Joshua; upon one stone are seven eyes: behold, I will engrave the graving thereof, saith Jehovah of hosts, and I will remove the iniquity of that land in one day. 10 In that day, saith Jehovah of hosts, shall ye invite every man his neighbor under the vine and under the fig-tree. Chapter 4 1 And the angel that talked with me came again, and waked me, as a man that is wakened out of his sleep. 2 And he said unto me, What seest thou? And I said, I have seen, and, behold, a candlestick all of gold, with its bowl upon the top of it, and its seven lamps thereon; there are seven pipes to each of the lamps, which are upon the top thereof; 3 and two olive-trees by it, one upon the right side of the bowl, and the other upon the left side thereof. 4 And I answered and spake to the angel that talked with me, saying, What are these, my lord? 5 Then the angel that talked with me answered and said unto me, Knowest thou not what these are? And I said, No, my lord. 6 Then he answered and spake unto me, saying, This is the word of Jehovah unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, saith Jehovah of hosts. 7 Who art thou, O great mountain? before Zerubbabel `thou shalt become' a plain; and he shall bring forth the top stone with shoutings of Grace, grace, unto it. 8 Moreover the word of Jehovah came unto me, saying, 9 The hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundation of this house; his hands shall also finish it; and thou shalt know that Jehovah of hosts hath sent me unto you. 10 For who hath despised the day of small things? for these seven shall rejoice, and shall see the plummet in the hand of Zerubbabel; `these are' the eyes of Jehovah, which run to and fro through the whole earth. 11 Then answered I, and said unto him, What are these two olive-trees upon the right side of the candlestick and upon the left side thereof? 12 And I answered the second time, and said unto him, What are these two olive-branches, which are beside the two golden spouts, that empty the golden `oil' out of themselves? 13 And he answered me and said, Knowest thou not what these are? And I said, No, my lord. 14 Then said he, These are the two anointed ones, that stand by the Lord of the whole earth. Chapter 5 1 Then again I lifted up mine eyes, and saw, and, behold, a flying roll. 2 And he said unto me, What seest thou? And I answered, I see a flying roll; the length thereof is twenty cubits, and the breadth thereof ten cubits. 3 Then said he unto me, This is the curse that goeth forth over the face of the whole land: for every one that stealeth shall be cut off on the one side according to it; and every one that sweareth shall be cut off on the other side according to it. 4 I will cause it to go forth, saith Jehovah of hosts, and it shall enter into the house of the thief, and into the house of him that sweareth falsely by my name; and it shall abide in the midst of his house, and shall consume it with the timber thereof and the stones thereof. 5 Then the angel that talked with me went forth, and said unto me, Lift up now thine eyes, and see what is this that goeth forth. 6 And I said, What is it? And he said, This is the ephah that goeth forth. He said moreover, This is their appearance in all the land; 7 (and, behold, there was lifted up a talent of lead); and this is a woman sitting in the midst of the ephah. 8 And he said, This is Wickedness: and he cast her down into the midst of the ephah; and he cast the weight of lead upon the mouth thereof. 9 Then lifted I up mine eyes, and saw, and, behold, there came forth two women, and the wind was in their wings; now they had wings like the wings of a stork; and they lifted up the ephah between earth and heaven. 10 Then said I to the angel that talked with me, Whither do these bear the ephah? 11 And he said unto me, To build her a house in the land of Shinar: and when it is prepared, she shall be set there in her own place.




Praying for Others

Published by Grace To You for reading on September 29th.
"With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints" (Eph. 6:18).

God wants you to look beyond your own problems and pray for the needs of others.

The great preacher D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones wrote, "Before the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War, in Barcelona, Madrid and other places, there were psychological clinics with large numbers of neurotics undergoing drug treatments and others attending regularly for psychoanalysis and such like. They had their personal problems, their worries, their anxieties, their temptations, having to go back week after week, month after month, to the clinics in order to be kept going.

"Then came the Civil War; and one of the first and most striking effects of that War was that it virtually emptied the psychological and psychiatric clinics. These neurotic people were suddenly cured by a greater anxiety, the anxiety about their whole position, whether their homes would still be there, whether their husbands would still be alive, whether their children would be killed.

"Their greater anxieties got rid of the lesser ones. In having to give attention to the bigger problem they forgot their own personal and somewhat petty problems" (The Christian Soldier: An Exposition of Ephesians 6:10-20 10 Finally, be strong in the Lord, and in the strength of his might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For our wrestling is not against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world-rulers of this darkness, against the spiritual `hosts' of wickedness in the heavenly `places'. 13 Wherefore take up the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and, having done all, to stand. 14 Stand therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 withal taking up the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the evil `one'. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: 18 with all prayer and supplication praying at all seasons in the Spirit, and watching thereunto in all perseverance and supplication for all the saints, 19 And on my behalf, that utterance may be given unto me in opening my mouth, to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak. [Grand Rapids: Baker, 1978], p. 357).

That's a negative illustration of a positive principle: your own problems pale as you pray in the Spirit on behalf of others. Praying "in the Spirit" (Eph. 6:18) is praying in concert with the Holy Spirit—in harmony with His Person and will. It's synonymous with praying according to God's will ( 1 John 5:14 14 And this is the boldness which we have toward him, that, if we ask anything according to his will, he heareth us: ).

As the Holy Spirit intercedes for you (Rom. 8:26-27), you are to intercede for others. That's not always easy in our contemporary religious environment where self- centeredness is praised rather than shunned, and more and more professing Christians are embracing the health, wealth, and prosperity heresy. But God's mandate is for us to love one another, pray for one another, and look out for one another's interests (Phil. 2:3-4). Let that mandate govern all your relationships.

Suggestions for Prayer

  • Make a list of people you want to intercede for.
  • Spend time praying for each person, asking God to show you specific ways to minister to his or her needs.

For Further Study

Read Philippians 2:1-11 Chapter 2 1 If there is therefore any exhortation in Christ, if any consolation of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any tender mercies and compassions, 2 make full my joy, that ye be of the same mind, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind; 3 `doing' nothing through faction or through vainglory, but in lowliness of mind each counting other better than himself; 4 not looking each of you to his own things, but each of you also to the things of others. 5 Have this mind in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: 6 who, existing in the form of God, counted not the being on an equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of men; 8 and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, becoming obedient `even' unto death, yea, the death of the cross. 9 Wherefore also God highly exalted him, and gave unto him the name which is above every name; 10 that in the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of `things' in heaven and `things' on earth and `things' under the earth, 11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. .

  • What should be your attitude toward other believers?
  • How did Christ set an example of proper attitudes?

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.

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Daily Bible - September 29

Published by Grace To You for reading on September 29th.

Reading for Today:

  • Isaiah 49:1 Chapter 49 1 Listen, O isles, unto me; and hearken, ye peoples, from far: Jehovah hath called me from the womb; from the bowels of my mother hath he made mention of my name: –50:11
  • Psalms 112:1-4 Chapter 112 1 Praise ye Jehovah. Blessed is the man that feareth Jehovah, That delighteth greatly in his commandments. 2 His seed shall be mighty upon earth: The generation of the upright shall be blessed. 3 Wealth and riches are in his house; And his righteousness endureth for ever. 4 Unto the upright there ariseth light in the darkness: `He is' gracious, and merciful, and righteous.
  • Proverbs 26:13-15 13 The sluggard saith, There is a lion in the way; A lion is in the streets. 14 `As' the door turneth upon its hinges, So doth the sluggard upon his bed. 15 The sluggard burieth his hand in the dish; It wearieth him to bring it again to his mouth.
  • Ephesians 1:1-23 Chapter 1 1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus through the will of God, to the saints that are at Ephesus, and the faithful in Christ Jesus: 2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 3 Blessed `be' the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly `places' in Christ: 4 even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blemish before him in love: 5 having foreordained us unto adoption as sons through Jesus Christ unto himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, 6 to the praise of the glory of his grace, which he freely bestowed on us in the Beloved: 7 in whom we have our redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, 8 which he made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence, 9 making known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he purposed in him 10 unto a dispensation of the fulness of the times, to sum up all things in Christ, the things in the heavens, and the things upon the earth; in him, `I say,' 11 in whom also we were made a heritage, having been foreordained according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his will; 12 to the end that we should be unto the praise of his glory, we who had before hoped in Christ: 13 in whom ye also, having heard the word of the truth, the gospel of your salvation,-- in whom, having also believed, ye were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, 14 which is an earnest of our inheritance, unto the redemption of `God's' own possession, unto the praise of his glory. 15 For this cause I also, having heard of the faith in the Lord Jesus which is among you, and the love which `ye show' toward all the saints, 16 cease not to give thanks for you, making mention `of you' in my prayers; 17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him; 18 having the eyes of your heart enlightened, that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, 19 and what the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to that working of the strength of his might 20 which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and made him to sit at his right hand in the heavenly `places', 21 far above all rule, and authority, and power, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: 22 and he put all things in subjection under his feet, and gave him to be head over all things to the church, 23 which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.

Notes:

Isaiah 49:8 acceptable time…day of salvation. The Messiah is represented as asking for the grace of God to be given to sinners. God gives His favorable answer in a time of grace (61:1) when salvation’s day comes to the world (Gal. 4:4, 5; Heb. 4:7). At His appointed time in the future, the Lord will, by His Servant, accomplish the final deliverance of Israel. Paul applied these words to his ministry of proclaiming the gospel of God’s grace to all people (2 Cor. 6:2). a covenant to the people. When the Lord saves and regathers Israel, they will return to the land, to which Joshua brought their ancestors after their exit from Egypt, now restored and glorious (44:26; Josh. 13:1–8).

Isaiah 50:6 My back…My cheeks…My face. The Servant remained obedient though provoked to rebel by excessively vile treatment. Jesus fulfilled this prophecy by remaining submissive to the Father’s will (Matt. 26:67; 27:26, 30; Mark 14:65 65 And some began to spit on him, and to cover his face, and to buffet him, and to say unto him, Prophesy: and the officers received him with blows of their hands. ; 15:19; Luke 22:63 63 And the men that held `Jesus' mocked him, and beat him. ; John 18:22 22 And when he had said this, one of the officers standing by struck Jesus with his hand, saying, Answerest thou the high priest so? ).

Isaiah 50:7 set My face like a flint. So sure was He of the Lord God’s help that He resolutely determined to remain unswayed by whatever hardship might await Him (Ezek. 3:8, 9). Jesus demonstrated this determination in setting His face to go to Jerusalem to be crucified ( Luke 9:51 51 And it came to pass, when the days were well-nigh come that he should be received up, he stedfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem, ).

Ephesians 1:13, 14 sealed with the Holy Spirit. God’s own Spirit comes to indwell the believer and secures and preserves his eternal salvation. The sealing of which Paul speaks refers to an official mark of identification placed on a letter, contract, or other document. That document was thereby officially under the authority of the person whose stamp was on the seal. Four primary truths are signified by the seal: 1) security (Dan. 6:17;Matt. 27:62–66); 2) authenticity (1 Kin. 21:6–16); 3) ownership (Jer. 32:10); and 4) authority (Esth. 8:8–12). The Holy Spirit is given by God as His pledge of the believer’s future inheritance in glory (2 Cor. 1:21).

Ephesians 1:19, 20 exceeding greatness of His power. God’s great power, that very power which raised Jesus from the dead and lifted Him by ascension back to glory to take His seat at God’s right hand, is given to every believer at the time of salvation and is always available ( Acts 1:8 8 But ye shall receive power, when the Holy Spirit is come upon you: and ye shall be my witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea and Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. ; Col. 1:29). Paul therefore did not pray that God’s power be given to believers but that they be aware of the power they already possessed in Christ and use it (3:20).

DAY 29: Why does Paul use the word “mystery” so often in his letter to the Ephesians?

Paul actually uses the word “mystery” six times in this letter (1:9; 3:3, 4, 9; 5:32; 6:19). By comparison, the word appears twice in Romans, once in 1 Corinthians, four times in Colossians, once in 1 Timothy, and nowhere else. Contrary to our use of “mystery” as a series of clues to be figured out, Paul’s use of the word points to mystery as a heretofore unrevealed truth that has been made clear. The word “mystery” preserves the sense that the revealed truth has such awesome implications that it continues to amaze and humble those who accept it.

Ephesians introduces various aspects of the “mystery.” Paul explained his use of the word in 3:4–6 by saying, “that the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, of the same body, and partakers of His promise in Christ through the gospel.” When the unsearchable riches of Christ are preached among the Gentiles, one result is an understanding of the “fellowship of the mystery” (3:9). And when God’s plan for human marriage is used to explain the unique relationship between Christ and His bride, the church, Paul reminded his readers that the real subject is a great mystery (5:32). And finally, Paul asked the Ephesians to pray for him that he would be able “boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel” (6:19).The gospel is not mysterious because it is hard to understand. It is mysterious because it is unexpected, unmerited, and free. Though Paul didn’t use the word in this passage, his summary of the mystery for the Ephesians can be found in 2:8,9:“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.”

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.

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Morning Devotional by C.H. Spurgeon for September 29th

Published by C.H. Spurgeon for reading on September 29th.

Leviticus 13:13 13 then the priest shall look; and, behold, if the leprosy have covered all his flesh, he shall pronounce `him' clean `that hath' the plague: it is all turned white: he is clean.

STRANGE enough this regulation appears, yet there was wisdom in it, for the throwing out of the disease proved that the constitution was sound. This morning it may be well for us to see the typical teaching of so singular a rule. We, too, are lepers, and may read the law of leper as applicable to ourselves. When a man sees himself to be altogether lost and ruined, covered all over with the defilement of sin, and no part free from pollution; when he disclaims all righteousness of his own, and pleads guilty before the Lord, then is he clean through the blood of Jesus, and the grace of God. Hidden, unfelt, unconfessed iniquity is the true leprosy, but when sin is seen and felt it has received its death blow, and the Lord looks with eyes of mercy upon the soul afflicted with it. Nothing is more deadly than self-righteousness, or more hopeful than contrition. We must confess that we are "nothing else but sin," for no confession short of this will be the whole truth, and if the Holy Spirit be at work with us, convincing us of sin, there will be no difficulty about making such an acknowledgment—it will spring spontaneously from our lips. What comfort does the text afford to those under a deep sense of sin! Sin mourned and confessed, however black and foul, shall never shut a man out from the Lord Jesus. Whosoever cometh unto Him, He will in no wise cast out. Though dishonest as the thief, though unchaste as the woman who was a sinner, though fierce as Saul of Tarsus, though cruel as Manasseh, though rebellious as the prodigal, the great heart of love will look upon the man who feels himself to have no soundness in him, and will pronounce him clean, when he trusts in Jesus crucified. Come to Him, then, poor heavy-laden sinner,

Come needy, come guilty, come loathsome and bare; You can't come too filthy—come just as you are.

Evening Devotional by C.H. Spurgeon for September 29th

Published by C.H. Spurgeon for reading on September 29th.

Song of Solomon 3:4 4 It was but a little that I passed from them, When I found him whom my soul loveth: I held him, and would not let him go, Until I had brought him into my mother's house, And into the chamber of her that conceived me.

DOES Christ receive us when we come to Him, notwithstanding all our past sinfulness? Does He never chide us for having tried all other refuges first? And is there none on earth like Him? Is He the best of all the good, the fairest of all the fair? Oh, then let us praise Him! Daughters of Jerusalem, extol Him with timbrel and harp! Down with your idols, up with the Lord Jesus. Now let the standards of pomp and pride be trampled under foot, but let the cross of Jesus, which the world frowns and scoffs at, be lifted on high. O for a throne of ivory for our King Solomon! let Him be set on high for ever, and let my soul sit at His footstool, and kiss His feet, and wash them with my tears. Oh, how precious is Christ! How can it be that I have thought so little of Him? How is it I can go abroad for joy or comfort when He is so full, so rich, so satisfying. Fellow believer, make a covenant with thine heart that thou wilt never depart from Him, and ask thy Lord to ratify it. Bid Him set thee as a signet upon His finger, and as a bracelet upon His arm. Ask Him to bind thee about Him, as the bride decketh herself with ornaments, and as the bridegroom putteth on his jewels. I would live in Christ's heart; in the clefts of that rock my soul would eternally abide. The sparrow hath made a house, and the swallow a nest for herself where she may lay her young, even thine altars, O Lord of hosts, my King and my God; and so too would I make my nest, my home, in Thee, and never from Thee may the soul of Thy turtle dove go forth again, but may I nestle close to Thee, O Jesus, my true and only rest.

"When my precious Lord I find, All my ardent passions glow; Him with cords of love I bind, Hold and will not let Him go."

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